Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Verbal persecution by way of twitter

The shadows continue to grow and it is particularly troubling when part of that  gloom is aimed at a friend, Professor Robert Gagnon and a familiar church, Sunrise CommunityChurch in Fair Oaks California.  I am very troubled that one Presbyterian, Teaching Elder, Tom Eggebeen, would do this to a colleague.  I will explain.
I often go to a page entitled The pcusa Daily. It is a daily news site spin off from the twitters of Presbyterians which I often read. Every so often if I have the hashtag (#) PCUSA on a twitter which links to my newest blog posting it will appear on the site which changes daily.  It is, I think, mostly an individually run site and I don’t really understand how it works or who, at the moment, is claiming to be the publisher. There are many such sites for various entities. This site seems to be mostly progressive but now and then a few of the orthodox make it through. In fact, today there were several orthodox postings, including mine. 
However, there is this:

Tom Eggebeen who has in the past blogged for the Presbyterian Outlook tweeted an article from a place called, Joe. My. God.  It is a gay blog of some sort.  When Eggebeen tweeted the link, he said this:

More about Prof. Gagnon at Pittsburgh: bit.ly/RGTsP9#pcusa #ga220 I find his virulence over the top.[1]
This is what Eggebeen linked to, NOM Speaker Robert Gagnon To Keynote "Ex-Gay" Brainwashing Conference"—which includes a picture of my friend Professor Robert Gagnon and a small article which begins:

Virulently anti-gay nutcase Robert "Gay Is Worse Than Incest" Gagnon, who regularly speaks at NOM affiliated events, will keynote the September "ex-gay" conference by the brand spanking new Restored Hope Network, which was apparently formed in reaction to Exodus International's recent rejection of brainwashing and torture.

The comments below the article are awful and at least one should be reported to some authority. It is, “To hell with circular logic. What they need is a circular firing squad.”

When one tweets an article  to go on Twitter and puts either a #PCUSA hashtag and/or a #ga2010 hashtag it is clear that you intend for all those who look for those hashtags to find the article.  Eggebeen wanted Gagnon to be abused and made fun of by other progressive Presbyterians.

This is really getting out of hand and it is my hope and prayer that some of the leadership in the PCUSA will take a stand against teaching and ruling elders harassing in this manner. It would have been acceptable for Eggebeen to disagree with Gagnon’s faith and teaching and explain why. But what he did instead is verbal persecution. Gagnon is after all a Professor in one of our Presbyterian Theological seminaries and he is a faithful Christian.  He is also a brother in the Lord.


Debbie said...

Eggebeen is recommending violence! That is clearly unacceptable.

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Anonymous said...

Viola: If you truly believe that homosexuality and gay ordination are a justice issue - and that gays are victims of discriminatin and injustice - then anyone opposed to that lifestyle is by definition guilty of hatred, prejudice and discrimination. That's how the liberals see it and from their perspective, evangelicals are no different than the KKK or men who tried to oppress, demean and subjugate women. If this is your worldview, it justifies all sorts of anger, vitriol and rage because they are championing the rights of the downtrodden. Of course, same-sex attraction is not at all a justice issue but a moral and behavioral issue. To call it a justice issue is like saying polygamy, theft or alcoholism are justice issues. If I snort cocaine or am a compulsive liar, that is not a justice issue. However, once you understand this liberal mindset I think you understand the self-righteous and uncontrolled rage of some liberals. To them, we are like South Africans in the 1960s, perpetuating apartheid and racisim. It also explains why the liberals will not ultimately allow any church the option of not ordaining gays because if it is a justice issue they would be condoning discrimination. I think by now you must understand this, but it seems that you are constantly surprised and shocked by all of this liberal animosity. Given their mindset, we should not be at all shocked or suprised. From their viewpoint, we are backward and benighted people who are denying human rights. Of course, in the words of Abe Lincoln, "No man has the right to do wrong."

Peter Larson said...

Viola: I posted the comment above. Not sure why it says "anonmymous." I don't post things anonymously. Have a blessed day! Peter

Jodie said...

Peter Larson said:

"Of course, same-sex attraction is not at all a justice issue but a moral and behavioral issue."

That is obviously not true. Consider the following thought experiment:

I lack same-sex attraction. Don't have an ounce of it. Is that a moral or behavioral issue? Of course not! I never made that choice. It's just the way my brain is wired. I would sooner be sexually attracted to a tree, or a tractor.

Likewise, if I had it, it would still not be a moral or behavioral issue. It's just not something people get to choose. The belief some have that it is, is not based on any verifiable evidence.

Try then to imagine a Universe where the shoe was on the other foot. Where same-sex attraction was the norm and heterosexual attraction was treated with the same theological, social, and ethical prejudice we reserve for homosexual attraction.

In my case I would probably be driven to suicide.

Does the ability to conduct thought experiments make one a liberal? Does having empathy make one a liberal? It's not about being a liberal. It's about treating others the way you would like them to treat you if the circumstances were reversed.

It's about loving your neighbor as yourself. There is no sin in that.

Viola Larson said...

Same sex attraction, like adultery and fornication, is a moral issue because the Bible says it is.

Viola Larson said...

If you don't have a blog that you are connected to the comment section does not automatically put your name into the comment section, but instead uses anonymous.(At least I think that is the whole answer)
On my expectations, one cannot expect civility from others if they are not civil themselves. The blog posting that Eggebeen linked to was not Christian and was awful-I think Eggebeen whether he thinks it is justice or not understands the difference between real dialogue and insults.

Viola Larson said...

And as Debbie said above-Eggebeen is recommending violence. Clearly something much more heinous is going on.

Anonymous said...

Almost pains me to say it, but, I always tell myself, "when she is right, say so"

You are entirely correct. The language used was over the top, and utterly inappropriate. You are right about that. And you are correct to mention it in your blog and call the persons who said such things out on it.
On this, you are 100% correct

As per your comment to Jody, You made the mistake again Viola. N, YOUR interpretation of the scripture leads you to incorrectly understand that being gay is immoral or sinful. You should not speak as if this was some universal understanding of the church, especially since you have chosen to stay in a denomination that ordains GLBT people, and blesses our Holy Unions in our churches. It would give people the wrong idea that this issue is settled in your views favor, and that our denomination holds positions other than those it does.


Viola Larson said...

Did you ever hear of Jeremiah? He stayed with Israel preaching God's word to them even when they kept on with their worship of many false gods. They also were involved with greed, the killing of children in their worship and perverse sexuality. But Jeremiah stayed to do what God called him to do. I think you are going to face many Jeremiahs in the PCUSA. So probably you should quit using that argument. A Christian is called to obey the Lord above all else.

Viola Larson said...

Oh, and thank you for agreeing with my post.

Anonymous said...


I looked at the link you provided for Eggebeen's twitter page.

We all get mad at things on occasion, but how does he have the energy to be in such a state of perpetual rage? It's not just Gagnon he despises, it's pretty much anyone who holds a different opinion on anything.

Maybe he can get a gig on MSNBC.

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL

Anonymous said...

Viola, we are playing the part of Jeremiah.

Not your side. Ours.

And I have noticed that the other side, from the conservatives ranging from Rogers to Acttenmier to Duba are the ones changing their understandings to be in allignment with a proper understanding of scripture, while others leave the church, or, prudently seeing that they will not win the argument, agree to disagree and go on about the other business of the church.

Did I ever hear of Jeremiah? An odd question to ask of a fellow Presbyterian. I have heard of some other obscure people like Ruth and Aaron and Elijah also. Perhaps you don't realize it, and maybe you were phrasing it that way to intentionally make a point, but it says a lot about what you think of me, and others in the church who disagree with you.
Respectfully, it's not a question I would ever have asked you.

Perverse...your choice of language says so much about you Viola. I will think of that as I make extra time to volunteer with the local GLBT youth group. A lot of them have had words like that said to them, and you remind me of the need to work to overcome, and to help them heal. Thank you for the reminder and inspiration to volunteer and work even more.


Jodie said...


You said "Same sex attraction, like adultery and fornication, is a moral issue because the Bible says it is"

I am afraid you are quite mistaken there. Nowhere in the Bible is same sex attraction even addressed, much less made into a moral issue.

Fornication, adultery, and lots of other things, are all frowned upon one way or the other in the Bible, I agree.

But same sex attraction (to my knowledge at least, please show me otherwise) is never mentioned.

And yet we hold it with such scorn.

Viola Larson said...

Of course I am making a point-and answering your comment that suggests that I should leave or get with the program.

Jeremiah didn't leave when his worshiping community started following strange unbiblical ways of living out their unbiblical faith.

And you are repeating your self again.

Viola Larson said...

Okay Jodie, I will revise my statement giving in to same sex attraction is morally wrong as is adultery and fornication wrong. I didn't quite catch the difference. However, let’s go with Jesus' thought about sexual sin--if you look after a woman lusting for her (paraphrase) you have sinned. In the same way if a person with same sex attraction does the same with some one of the same sex it would be the same case. So the act can be in the heart and be sin.

Viola Larson said...

I would now like to return the thread back to the subject I posted about, verbal persecution of someone because they don't agree with same-gender sex.

Jodie said...
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Jodie said...
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Pete Larson said...

Jodie: If I am understanding you correctly, our thoughts and feelings are undeniable - meaning that they are something we cannot change or deny. I disagree. For many years when I was a single person I had an undeniable urge and impulse to sleep with women, which led to a very promiscuous and empty life. Looking back on those years, I would say that I was enslaved by those thoughts and feelings, like an addict hooked on drugs or alcohol. They were like heavy chains that held me captive. On some deep level I was conscious that what I was doing was wrong, but I was powerless to change my behavior. It was only when Christ came into my life that He gradually set me free from those thoughts and feelings. I will never forget the day Christ actually spoke to me suddenly in almost an audible voice and told me to stop sleeping with my girlfriend. From that point on, I didn't sleep with anyone until I was married, which was truly a miracle of God's grace. The bottom line is that our thoughts, feelings and sexual desires are very powerful indeed and can lead us astray. Only by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit are we able to resist temptation and say "No" to these urges and live a holy life that is pleasing and obedient to God. I hope this is helpful. The truth is that all of us have struggled in the area of sexuality and that all of us are in need of the healing, transformation and freedom that Christ offers. He still "sets the prisoners free."

Jodie said...


I don't know if Viola will let me respond, so I will try and keep it short and show how it addresses Viola's original post.

I think you would understand and enjoy the book by my friend the late Gerald May called "Addiction and Grace".

But I am not talking about thoughts and feelings. Or addictions. I am pointing out that the object of your thoughts and feelings were women, not men. That part was programmed into your DNA and has not changed, even as you have been healed in Christ of your addiction.

It is important to acknowledge the distinction. It is at the crux of the disconnect between what you and Viola think is going on and what is really going on.

I don't think characterizing people's responses to Gagnon as "persecution" quite captures the real issue. As best as I can tell, he has only polarized the issue more, and contributed to the lack of empathy and mutual forbearance the Scriptures require of the disciples of Jesus.

Recognizing that gays and lesbians are people just like you and me, with all our own strengths and weaknesses, but who have been ostracized, persecuted, tortured, driven to suicide, and murdered, for thousands of years because of their minority biological status - one they have no more control over than you have over the color of your eyes - is a better start.

Hope that helps.

Viola Larson said...

What you are really saying is you disagree with Gagnon’s views that people in the LGBT community can either be transformed by Jesus or given the power to abstain from same gender sex. And you think it is okay to treat him the way he has been treated, which of course means it is okay to treat the rest of us that way too, since we agree with Gagnon.

What you are also attempting to do, and the reason I deleted you, is to get some of us to say that same gender sex is not a sin like adultery or any other sin. We are not going to do that. It is not a sin for a person to be attracted to others of the same sex, but it is brokenness. And if some one is lusting after members of the same sex it is sin. And if they have same gender sex it is sin just like it is sin to commit adultery or fornication. I don’t believe I can be any clearer. If you comment and say you don’t understand me again I shall delete you again.

Anonymous said...
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Jodie said...

Thank you, Viola,

But I am really saying only what I am really saying.

You said:
"It is not a sin for a person to be attracted to others of the same sex"

I am saying that too.

Then you said:
"but it is brokenness"
I've read nothing in Scripture or Science to cause me to think that.

So I don't think that's true. All the evidence says its just a minority but perfectly normal biological trait.

Jeff Winter said...

Off and on I have read Tom Eggebeen's comments on the internet. His words describing Professor Gagnon are reprehensible. I don't know this man's background though its evident he has some personal issues he needs to deal with. Any person who writes the kinds of things he puts into print needs help from the grace and healing of God as well as a therapist

Viola Larson said...

Jeff I think I had more problems with Eggebeen linking, and seeminly agreeing, with that bit of hate more than anything. How can a Christian pastor be in agreement with such vilness?

peter larson said...

Jodie: Thanks for your response. I'm not sure I see the distinction you are making between our desires and feelings and the object of those feelings. For instance, a person might strongly desire to have sex with children (this has been epidemic in the Roman Catholic Church) but that does not mean it is moral or right. In the same way, a man might desire to have many wives (polygamy) but that does not mean that his/her behavior is acceptable in the sight of God. I believe the Bible clearly teaches that any object of my desire which is contrary to God's Word and revealed will for human beings is wrong and illicit. Does that make sense? To take this to a logical extreme, there are people who strongly desire to have sex with animals (bestialty) or the dead (necrophilia) but those behaviors are forbidden by God's word.

Jodie said...


It is interesting, but also tragic, that you do not see the distinction.
I believe you. It is interesting because it does explain things a little.


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