Ethics Dunce: The Ridgedale Church of Christ

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mother's tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they're doing!

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mothers tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they’re doing!

The culture’s rapid acceptance of same-sex romantic relationships and their natural progression, gay marriage, is leading some churches to isolate themselves from basic societal values, and call into question the sincerity and validity of organized religion itself. Today’s lesson: Chattanooga’s Ridgedale Church of Christ.

Linda Cooper and her family had belonged to the church and its community for more than 60 years. Then her daughter, Kat Cooper, led the months long effort that led to the Chattanooga suburb of Collegedale becoming the first city in Tennessee to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of its government employees.Kat, a detective the Collegedale Police Department was  married to her same sex spouse Krista, in Maryland, in May. During her successful and well-publicized legal battle, Kat was supported by her mom. Linda stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote in favor of same-sex benefits on Aug. 5.  Her church took notice…and disapproved.

That, said Ken Willis, minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ was an endorsement of homosexuality. “The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle,” Willis said. “The Bible speaks very plainly about that. “You certainly can’t condone that lifestyle, whether it’s any kind of sin — whether they’re shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they’re guilty of crimes,” he said. “You don’t condone it. You still love them as a parent.” But if you want to stay a member in good standing in the church, he said, you cannot support your daughter’s sinful ways. Thus Linda and other family members were given the ultimatum: repent their sin of appearing to endorse the union of Kat and Krista, by rejecting their kin’s unholy lifestyle in front of the congregation, or leave the church forever.

They left the church, as should anyone else with a brain, a heart, and a sense of right and wrong. Hunt Cooper, Linda’s opposite sex spouse, was eloquent on the decision, explaining to local media  that his family rejects the notion that being gay is a “lifestyle choice.” His wife, along with her similarly banned brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical, making the decision to leave unavoidable. “There’s no sin to repent for,” he said. “And she’s not going to turn her back on her daughter.”

Of course she isn’t. Meanwhile, the Ridgedale Church of Christ, which Linda’s parents helped to found, is only hastening its own demise, preceded by the erosion  of  its moral authority to do any good in its  community. Many, many other churches across the country, in various ways, are doing the same. In the end, organized religion, which has played such a vital role in civilizing American and binding together its communities, will be a casualty as well.

__________________________________

Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Source: CNN, Times Free Press,

Graphic: CNN

 

31 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: The Ridgedale Church of Christ

  1. “…the Ridgedale Church of Christ, which Linda’s parents helped to found, is only hastening its own demise, preceded by the erosion of its moral authority to do any good in its community. Many, many other churches across the country, in various ways, are doing the same. In the end, organized religion, which has played such a vital role in civilizing American and binding together its communities, will be a casualty as well.”

    We shall see.

      • You get my drift. The organizations may change; the objects of worship and faith may change; the most widely accepted and tolerated behaviors (and taboos) may change. But religion ain’t ever goin’ away, and moreover, it ain’t ever gonna lack pivotal influence on societies.

        • I will disagree with the last sentence. It did lack pivotal impact on atheist Russia when the Bolsheviks eliminated the influence of the church alon with all the other eliminations that occurred. Also in atheist china.

          • Okay, so in the examples you cited we can say that the churches’ *lack* of influence was pivotal. The churches’ lack of influence was nevertheless “pivotal influence,” because by way of the “eliminations,” the religion-oppressors exposed themselves for who they are (embodying self-discrediting evils which they embody still) while acquiring and retaining power.

            It’s just as easy to say that the Catholic church’s “lack of influence” was merely one enabling factor in the Jewish Holocaust under Germany’s Third Reich. Visit the Holocaust Museum in D.C., and you get a different take: The Catholic church’s influence caused the Holocaust.

  2. Hunt Cooper, Linda’s opposite sex spouse, was eloquent on the decision, explaining to local media that his family rejects the notion that being gay is a “lifestyle choice.”

    Of course it is a choice. The New Mexico Supreme Court implied it when they held that refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony constituted sexual orientation discrimination. (people, after all, choose to conduct same-sex commitment ceremonies.) Almost thirty years ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit described it as a “choice of sexual partners” National Gay Task Force v. Board of Education, 729 F.2d 1270 at 1273 (10th Cir. 1984) As a matter of law, it is a choice.

    Of course she isn’t. Meanwhile, the Ridgedale Church of Christ, which Linda’s parents helped to found, is only hastening its own demise, preceded by the erosion of its moral authority to do any good in its community.

    It is standing for what is right. Buggery is a sin and malum in se.

    • Ugh.
      I have discussed this very issue with approximately 50+ gay men since I was a freshman in college, men I respected,and who would not lie to me. None of them said it was a choice. I think that is convincing and definitive authority, more than Biblical authors who had no idea what they were talking about.

        • Not hostile in the least. Wise and perceptive menfor their time. I am also not hostile to those raised to think the Biblical authors are more than that. Constantly amazed, but not hostile.

      • What part of the Bible contains opinions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which I cited in support of the notion that sexual orientation is a choice?

  3. Michael-

    If homosexuality is a “choice”, then heterosexuality would be a “choice” as well.

    Through your comment, you imply that at some point you “chose” to become a heterosexual. And because you made that “choice”, you could, at any moment, choose to become a homosexual as well.

  4. I should probably clarify this point, as I’ve spoken with Christians on this matter: Of the Christians I have talked with regarding homosexuality, they do not believe that the state of being homosexual is a choice. They do believe that acting on homosexual impulses is a sin. I.e., being gay is fine. Having gay sex is not.

    I can understand the concept behind this assertion, because people can have impulses that it would be unethical to act upon, such as violent urges. However, I find it perplexing that many Christians cannot tell the ethical difference between consensual homosexual sex and malicious actions like violence. Apparently both actions are wrong because God tells us so? I would appreciate being clued in by the “supreme being” as to what makes homosexual sex wrong. It appears our benevolent overlord created some people who inherently feel the desire to do things that they aren’t allowed to do ever, for no humanly apparent reason. I can’t help but feel that’s rather cruel, but that’s a conversation for another region in spacetime.

    • I would appreciate being clued in by the “supreme being” as to what makes homosexual sex wrong.

      The answer is very simple. He has the untrammeled, unrestricted power to cast anyone into an eternal, everlasting torture chamber. We can not stop Him from doing so, nor rescue anyone from that place. His might makes right.

      God is great!

    • “I would appreciate being clued in…”

      No, you wouldn’t, because you want to create a god in your image, to declare that what you think and believe is just, cruel, right, wrong etc.

      • Exactly, Eeyoure.

        The sincere belief is that God simply knows better than us. He loves us, and wants what is best for us – and has said that homosexual sex is not it. I don’t know why (although the health risks, apparent increase in depression and suicide would be good places to start, in my mind) I have a great deal of compassion for those who insist that they feel they really want it, but stamping one’s feet at the creator of all the universie is foolish at best, and self-destructive at worst.

        Calling Him a cruel sadist and pervert is not going to change that one truth a bit – He said it, I don’t understand, but I trust Him and believe. Now the chllenge is for people like me to find a way to live in co-existance with people who insist that I am a hateful person for applying the basic tenets of faith, and who demand that sit quiet and not protest when they trumpet the values of a culture in every form of media, in schools, in law, and in the streets.

        • I know this is an impossible argument to have, but if society is going to exclude a whole class of productive, law-abiding citizens from the basic rights and privileges others in society enjoy, it is fair to require more than “take our word for it” that a supreme being has demanded that it be thus, nor is it reasonable to expect those who, for whatever reason, see no convincing evidence that such a pronouncement actually comes from said supreme being, but a great deal of evidence that the claim of such is used to insulate an ancient, man-made taboo from rational examination, to meekly accept such exclusion, or to expect a government that is required by its founding documents not to endorse or require fealty of any particular religion, to legislate that religion cannot be used as the justification for exclusion.

          • I know this is an impossible argument to have, but if society is going to exclude a whole class of productive, law-abiding citizens from the basic rights and privileges others in society enjoy

            What are these basic rights and privileges?

            There is no basic right to benefits on the basis of a same-sex relationship, any more than there is a basic right to benefits on the basis of siblinghood.

            • I concur, and I further add that there is no basic right to benefits on the basis of an opposite-sex relationship. Why is it necessary for the government to recognize any relationships at all? I ask the question in earnest, because I suspect there are actually some reasonable answers. I just can’t think of any answers which would make all (adult) heterosexual marriages legally recognized but not any (adult) homosexual marriages.

              • I just can’t think of any answers which would make all (adult) heterosexual marriages legally recognized but not any (adult) homosexual marriages.

                Others have provided answers. “Marriage between two persons of one sex could have no validity, as none of the ends of matrimony could be accomplished thereby. It has always, therefore, been deemed requisite to the entire validity of every marriage . . . that the parties should be of different sex.”

                Joel Prentiss Bishop, Commentaries on the Law of Marriage
                & Divorce § 225 (1st ed. 1852), quoted in Defendant Sally Howe Smith’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support With Consolidated Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, Bishop v. United States, 04-CV-848-TCK-TLW (N.D. Okla.), at 18

                The fact remains, though, that refusing to provide benefits on the basis of a relationship does not interfere with the relationship. Texas’s refusal to recognize same-sex relationships does not penalize persons in such relationship, for they have access to the same state law benefits to which they were entitled prior to their relationship.

                • People do not necessarily agree on what the “ends” of matrimony are. I will accept, however, that we can establish a “correct” definition of matrimony such that its purpose is defined. I agree the government isn’t penalizing people who don’t fulfill that purpose, but on the other hand, why should the government give people special benefits for fulfilling it? For that matter, can the government nullify the marriage of a heterosexual couple if it can be shown that their matrimony’s purpose is not being fulfilled?

        • @ Eeyoure: I would appreciate people not presuming to tell me what I do and do not want. As a matter of fact, I greatly appreciate people (or superior cosmic energy beings, if they exist) showing me why what I believe is wrong, because I don’t want to persist in a wrong belief. I always try to see others’ points of view so that if they are right I might see that and correct myself; this is humility. However, until and unless I understand their reasoning process, I can’t accept their assertions (unless I trust them because I have evidence of their generally sound judgment). If I were to defer to a being I do not have any perceived reason to trust despite not being able to make sense of their reasoning, I would be credulous, not humble.

          And let’s face it, I can’t trust a being claiming to be made of love and also claiming responsibility for natural disasters. A perfect loving being ought to be able to communicate that love much more effectively than what I’ve seen. The fact that we must look at the observable world sideways and squinting (and “listening with our hearts,” and other indecipherable platitudes, et cetera) in order to see a perfect, loving deity in them means, res ipsa loquitur, that that deity is abysmal at demonstrating loving kindness and is therefore far from perfect indeed. Forgive me if I don’t accept as a perfect master someone who keeps shaking my goldfish bowl.

          @ aaronpaschall: I agree that it is by and large inaccurate to describe Christians as hateful towards homosexuals, since Christians generally behave with respect but also do what they think is right. I do find it disturbing that Christians purport to derive what they think is right from a single book written (or “revealed,” if you prefer) in a region of spacetime in which, for instance, women were treated as second-class citizens with few or no rights, especially when said book did nothing to correct those cultural norms that are now recognized to be unethical. To someone like me who derives a consistent, comprehensible, and benevolent ethics system virtually from scratch, that seems scarily arbitrary. Please see also what I said to Eeyoure.

  5. Just what else could that pastor do? To condone this sort of thing is to disclaim, in essence, the moral authority of God in the issue of legitimate human morals and behavior. Thus, had he caved in to the pressures of the decadent culture and its adherents, he would have not only betrayed God, his oath and his congregation, but he would also have joined hands with Christianity’s most bitter earthly enemies. The choice was a clear one to any man who takes his responsibilities as a minister of God seriously.

    • What???? The pastor should not force a loyal member of the Congregation to publicly reject her own daughter or leave the Church. It was a disgraceful power play using humiliation and cruelty. Talk about “What would Jesus DO?”! I presume one thing he would do upon hearing about this is throw up.

    • It seems to me that rather than necessarily disclaiming the moral authority of God, condoning homosexuality can simply disclaim the idea that the anti-homosexual interpretation of the Bible accurately reflects God’s will. Personally, I’d like to go further and question why the Bible is necessary to determine what is good, but for now, it’s enough to point out that different people have historically interpreted the Bible in very different ways.

      For instance, many 19th Century American Christians used the Bible to justify slavery, and I have no reason to doubt that many of them were sincere. Nowadays most modern Christians would consider them misguided at best, and would consider their interpretation of the Bible to be incorrect. What makes so many modern Christians so sure that an anti-homosexual interpretation of the Bible will not considered misguided by Christians of the future?

      I’m not advocating moral relativism by any stretch. I’m merely pointing out that to have any hope of reaching any sort of objective truth, you have to embrace the idea that your interpretation of what you perceive may be wrong. You must seek to understand the perspectives of others. Just as I don’t want to abandon other people to their false beliefs, I don’t want to believe something false myself. Therefore, I question all my assumptions when confronted with a reason to doubt them, such as meeting a person who does not make those assumptions.

Leave a Reply to Eeyoure Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.