"THEY DECLARE THEIR SIN AS SODOM"

“THEY DECLARE THEIR SIN AS SODOM”

By Gene Hogberg

Pastor General’s Report September 28, 1984

  One of the themes that Mr. Herbert Armstrong has emphasized in the past several years is “come out of this world.” And with good reason. The societies of modern-day Israel are on a moral toboggan slide. As a result natural calamities lie just over the horizon. There is little, in the end, that morally-upright leaders (such as President Reagan) or movements such as the “Moral Majority” can do to halt the downward spiral. The forces of evil are just too strong. Increasingly the peoples of the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and even a growing segment inside a one-time straight-laced South Africa, “declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it” (Isa. 3:9). Yes, they openly declare their sins just as the Sodomites did–professing, in fact, to have “come out of the closet.” Such homosexuals call themselves gays or lesbians–more positive and “progressive” terms they have chosen to describe their respective orientations. Reflecting their growing self-confidence, gays in Los Angeles and elsewhere now call heterosexuals “non-gays”–making the latter seem the oddballs. (That’s like using the terms “abnormal” and “non-abnormal.”) Tragically, the “age of innocence” is long gone from the peoples in the Sodomitish na- tions of Joseph today. God says, “The look on their countenance witnesses against them” (Isa. 3:9). Despite President Reagan’s earnest efforts to return the United States to its Judeo-Christian heritage, the homosexual rights movement is gaining strength, using the legislative and judicial processes to combat “discrim- ination.” One wonders how fast the U.S. will slide once Mr. Reagan is not on the scene any longer. Here, first, is an article which appeared in the September 2, 1984 NEW YORK TIMES, entitled: “Intensified Effort Is Seen on Banning Discrimination Against Homosexuals” : . . .56 cities, counties or states.. .now have laws or executive orders prohibiting at least some forms of discrimination against homosexuals. Leaders of the rights movement count five legisla- tive victories so far this year, on top of four last year and five in 1982. Stressing the relative youth of the homosexual rights movement, which is widely considered to have been born in 1969, Thomas B. Stoddard, legislative director of the New York Civil Liberties Union who is co-author of a book on the civil rights of homosexuals, called the progress “nothing short of a miracle.” An important recent success was the United States Conference of Mayors’ approval of a resolution recommendinq that “all levels of qovernment adopt leqalprotections for the riqhts of gay and lesbian Americans. By passing that resolution in June, the mayors enabled homosexual organizations to “raise the issue in city after city,” Miss [Virginia] Apuzzo of the National Gay Task Force said. “We have raised the dialogue; now we will have the local organizations bring it to the political representatives and their constit- uents.” Mayor Arthur J. Holland of Trenton, one of the sponsors of the measure, said: “Gays and lesbians are human beings, too. Average gays and lesbians are so inclined by their nature and just want what every other person wants.”… Conservative Christian organizations are often a strong voice against the passage of measures that specifically mention sexual orientation or homosexuality. “Homosexuals deserve protection under the law just like any other person,” said Stephen Heuston, a legislative assistant with Moral Majority in Washington. “Homosexuality is not a special class. Homosexuality, unlike race and unlike gender, is a choice.”… Many homosexual activists, however, with the support of many psy- choloqists, dispute these opponents’xsexion: Homosexuality is not a matter of choice, they say, but part of an individual’s basic makeup that is determined at an eaily age. Activists hope, Miss Apuzzo said, that work on the local level will build a “groundswell” toward getting Congress to add sexual orientation to the protected classes of race, reliqion and sex in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. An attempt to so amend the act has languished since 1975 in the House of Representatives, with 79 leqislators currently signed on co-sponsors. In the Senate, a similar version has nine co-sponsors…. [Note Isaiah 1:10–“you rulers of Sodom.”] The rights advocates’ first statewide victory came in 1982, when Wisconsin approved a comprehensive law forbidding discrimination against homosexuals in employment, public accommodations, housing, education, real estate practices, credit and union practices. “Only in San Francisco,” one is tempted to exclaim upon reading the following article entitled “Lesbians Argument Over Child Custody Presents New Issues,” from the September 9 NEW YORK TIMES. It concerns a unique child custody case which presents “novel legal issues in family law.” A judge in Oakland has ruled that a lesbian may seek visiting rights to the child born to her former companion while the two women were living together. Judge Demetrius Agretelis of Alameda County Superior Court ruled this week that Linda Jean Loftin could petition the court for visiting rights to the 6-year-old child, who was conceived through artificial insemination, under a state law that grants certain custody rights to nonbiological fathers…. Miss Loftin and Mary Elizabeth Flournoy exchanged vows in a church ceremony in 1977, but such unions are not legally recognized. When the couple decided to have a child, sperm was obtained from Miss Loftin’s brother, and Miss Flournoy was inseminated with Miss Loftin’s assistance. A daughter was born the next year and was given the family name of Loftin. Miss Loftin is listed as — the father on the child’s birth certificate. The couple separated in 1980, and although Miss Loftin made voluntary child support payments, Miss Flournoy refused to let her visit the child. In March 1983, Miss Loftin, a 35-year-old postal worker, filed suit seeking visiting rights. “Innumerable numbers of lesbians in the area are havinq children – like this ” [ Flournoy’s lawyer] said, “and the Judge took notice of that.” In the Los Angeles area, there are a number of instances of single women, whether lesbian or “straight,” who have chosen to become single parents by means of artificial insemination. Speaking of Los Angeles, it is now believed that it is taking over the “gay capital” role from San Francisco. Better climate and, especially, greater access to the entertainment industry–a growing haven for homosexuals–are given as chief reasons. And, true to form, Hollywood recently hosted a unique awards ceremony, as reported in the article “Portrayals of Gays Honored” in the September 19 LOS ANGELES TIMES: “We can show parents that their gay children are not destined to lead lonely and dreary lives…. We can provide positive gay and lesbian role models for young people, regardless of sexual orientation.” With that, Chris Uszler, chairperson of the Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Artists, opened the alliance’s fourth annual AGLA awards presentation, which recognizes “responsible portrayals of gays and lesbians in the entertainment media. ” Winners included the TV series “Hill Street Blues,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Hotel” and the movie SILKWOOD and one of its stars, Cher. The ceremony, held.. .at the Huntington Hartford Theatre before a capacity crowd of more than 1000, featured awards presented by Alan Bates, Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Thomas, Ed Marinaro and others. Julie Harris delivered a special award to the late writer Truman Capote …. [Capote, incidentally, reportedly said on one occasion: “I am a drug addict; I am an alcoholic; I am a homosexual; and I am a genius.”] NBC’s “St. Elsewhere” was recognized for “Aids and Comfort,” an episode that focused on a patient–who is also a city councilman –dying of AIDS…. Cher, who played a lesbian in SILKWOOD, won an award, as did the film…. “Human Sexuality,” a Cable Health Network production, received an award for its series on bisexuality, lesbianism and sexual identity. “Livewire,” a children’s – show on Nickelodeon, another cable network, was honored for its presentation of children asking experts questions on sexuality.. . . Jerry Wheeler, who co-produced this year’s ceremony, said that “those people who have created a program with honest depictions of gays in a positive manner deserve to be recognized. We (AGLA) prefer to be seen as a celebrator, not a watchdog.” In addition to staging the awards, the alliance is active in offering suggestions to the producers of shows, plays and movies in which gay characters are depicted …. “Our organization is growing in size and influence,” Uszler said, “and now people are returning our phone calls. But biggest proqress has been in television. We’re now seeing the ‘happens to be gay-characters, when before it was the ‘I didn’t know he was gay’ type of character. Gayness is no lonqer an oddity. They’re just another person. And that is a big change in the last four years. Yes, watch out for those “gays in positive roles” on television. There’ll be more of them this year, according to an article entitled “Prime time comes to terms with gay roles in fall series” in the May 30, 1984 USA TODAY: Gay characters finally may be coming out of the closet in the coming TV season, and coming out in a way that won’t send gay ac- tivists into the streets in protest. Not only will an old woman- izing pal of the Doc on “The Love Boat” admit to his friend that he’s homosexual, but there also will be a “reverting” gay character in a hit’prime-time soap, continuing gay parts in proposed network series and a key gay role in a Showtime [cable TV] sitcom. “In 1984,” says John Pike, vice president of programming for Paramount Video, producing the Showtime series, “gayness is a fact of life–nothing to be ashamed of…. TV has definitely come a longway.” But for gays, says Newton Deiter, consultant to the networks for the Gay Media Task Force, “it has been a slow progression to this point …. Basically, what you’ve seen on TV has been reactive characterizations, (where) someone reacts to the fact that a person is gay or lesbian,” says Deiter. “This is the first year you will see.. .where we’re not a problem, but are (treated as) whole people. ” As mentioned in the introduction, the same rot in varying degrees extends to the other modern-day descendants of Joseph. Here is a report from the August 3, 1984 issue of THE AUSTRALIAN titled “ABC to Give Gays ‘Equal Rights’ ” : The homosexual lovers of people working for the Australian Broad- casting Corporation can claim a series of benefits at the tax- payers’ expense under an initiative revealed by the ABC…. Aus- tralia’s homosexual community yesterday applauded as historic the decision of the ABC board to officially recognise de facto homosexual relationships and to give them all the entitlements of their heterosexual counterparts. … The ABC said it would recognise de facto homosexual relationships for the purposes of staff entitlements to cover items such as bereavement leave, removal costs and accommodation in remote areas…. The head of equal opportunity at the ABC, Ms. Elsa Atkin, said: ‘It’s been a subjective area where we’ve had no uniform policy …. I don’t believe the ABC should set itself up as a moralist. We are an equal opportunity organisation that doesn’t discriminate against people because of irrelevant characteristics like their sexual preference.” Back in the United States, it is becoming increasingly difficult to uphold moral standards against the activists pushing an end to so-called anti-gay discrimination. One high class restaurant in Los Angeles, reported the July 24 LOS ANGELES TIMES in the article “Women Win $250 Each in Restaurant Bias Case,” found out how expensive it was just to try to defend itself against “gay rights.” Two women who were denied access to intimate curtained dining booths reserved for “romantic eveninqs” because they are of the same sex won $250 each Monday in a court ruling ending their dis- crimination case against the Papa Choux restaurant. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles E. Jones issued the sum- mary judgment (a decision made without trial and based on law rather than disputed facts) on behalf of Zandra Rolon and Deborah Johnson four months after the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled – that barring same-sex couples – was illegally discriminatory. The higher court enjoined the downtown restaurant from excluding such couples from the booths while the suit was pending, and Jones’ ruling Monday made the ban permanent. Restaurant owner Seymour Jacoby, unable to persuade the Supreme Court to hear the case, closed the six booths last March after the Court of Appeal issued its decision rather than abandon his policy of seating only heterosexual couples. Judge Jones also indicated Monday that he plans to order Jacoby to pay nearly all the $27,767 fee billed by the women’s attorney, Gloria Allred, plus $600 for Monday’s court hearing …. He refused a request by restaurant attorney Arnold Barry Gold to divide the total into monthly payments so that it would not become a hardship for the restaurant. “We were never in this for the damages. We wanted to prove a point,” Allred said. “We would have settled for no damages and no attorney fees if they had simply changed their policy. But they chose to fiqht, so now they will pay.”. . . Johnson said she was “just delighted” with the finale of the case Monday and that their efforts, which publicly exposed their “lesbian life-mate” relationship, were “more than worth it.” When they started to “come out,” gay/lesbian activists appealed for “under- standing” from the community at large. But now, utilizing the muscle of the courts, gay activists–just like the men of Sodom–are displaying an intol- erant “get out of my way” attitude. Meanwhile, the mainline churches, as noted in this column in the September 14, 1984 PASTOR GENERAL’S REPORT, are wilting under the pressure of the gay rights onslaught. The reason for this mainly lies in their own approach to the Bible. To them, the Bible is no longer an inerrant guide to life. AS a result, the churches have no “Biblical comeback” to the shifty arguments of the moral relativists and gay rights exponents. Here, in the article “Homosexual Weddings Stir Dispute,” published in the September 5 NEW YORK TIMES, is a good example of this. For nearly a year, the two dozen parishioners of the Ray of Hope Metropolitan Community Church worshiped in undisturbed tranquillity & Sunday. But that solitude was shattered after the Metropolitan Community Church conducted several marriaqes for homosexual couples…. Too tiny to have its own building, the nondenominational church, which reaches primarily into Syracuse’s homosexual community for parishioners, has held services since last October at the 108- year-old, gray, stone Grace Episcopal Church. The Metropolitan parishioners, who worship on Sundays after the regular Episcopal services, have the blessing of Grace’s rector…Judith Upham. “Metropolitan Community Church is offering an alternative to the bar scene,” said Miss Upham. “It is offering an opportunity for fidelity and commitment.”… In July, two parishioners participated in a marriage, which was conducted by a minister “from a mainstream church,” said Michael Royce, a member of the Metropolitan congregation, declining to identify the minister or the denomination…. Several days later, … Robert F. Haskell, the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church across town, sent a letter to Miss Upham, with copies to the [ local] newspaper and to the local Bishop,. . . [Bishop] 0′ Kelley Whitaker. It read in part: “The organization which you permit to use your church advocates homosexual conduct as an alternative life style, and its members admit that they actively engage in homosexual behavior without acknowledgment that such conduct is against the word of Holy Scripture. The Scriptures clearly teach that to practice homosexual relations is sin. We are especially concerned that you are permitting the sanctuary of an Episcopalian Church to be used to perform ‘marriages’ of homosexual persons. Marriage is a most holy sacrament of the church involving a man and a woman.” Miss Upham said she was surprised at the tone of the letter. “Clearly, it’s an issue of different theologies,” she said. “Scripture is certainly the major basis for making decisions. Then comes the question of how you read Scripture, whether you take it as a whole or you pick it apart. I don’t know any respectable theologian that does hunt and peck theology, what we call proof-texting. It’s also important to look at science. If, in fact, people are born homosexuals, then we should say, if God created people that way, we should let them be homosexuals.”… Then, Bishop Whitaker addressed two specific issues raised by [ rector] Haskell’s letter. “From perspective [notice: not God’s perspective!], there is no such thing as a ‘homosexual marriage.'” But, he added, my understaning that the Metropolitan Community Church does not actually speak of ‘marriages’ between homosexual persons of the same gender but rather of ‘unions.'” Thus, he wrote, it was “technically incorrect” to characterize the ceremony as a “marriage.” As to the broader issue of scriptural sanctions of homosexuality, Bishop Whitaker cautioned against selective readings of the Bible. “From time to time, isolated verses of the Bible are used by Christians to justify condemnation of homosexual activity and ostracism of homosexual persons,” he wrote. “Such use of Scripture is very danqerous.” In the meantime, Miss Upham said she intended to keep Grace Episcopal Church open to the Metropolitan parishioners. “We need a place where virtues like fidelity and commitment are promoted,” she said. “I think what we’re doing is Christian. I think what we’re doing is providing a place for people who have nowhere else to go.” I’m reminded of an experience I had this past summer when I made a one-day over-and-back journey to Budapest, Hungary from Vienna (the two cities are only 3 1/2 hours apart by car). Hungary is a Communist country, although remarkably free of socialist slogans and banners extolling the virtues of the party. Austria is a free Western society–with all of the ills of the West, including a remarkably free attitude toward pornography. Going through the border checkpoint, my eyes were drawn to a huge message board straddling the traffic lanes. On the board were square pictographic representations of items not permitted into Communist Hungary. One pictograph displayed a hypodermic needle–meaning no drugs, please. In the next square were the silhouettes of a hand gun and what looked to be a sawed-off shotgun. The message was: no firearms permitted. In the last square were, simply, five letters–“PORNO,” with the inside of the last “0” shaped in the outline of a nude woman, in case anyone missed the point. Hungarian authorities wanted none of these dangerous and corrupting influences brought in from the decadent West. While Austria may not be Israelitish, it nevertheless has been influenced by the pornographic cultures of the U.S., Britain and Denmark. Our peoples really have no excuse, which is why God prophesies in Lamentations 4:6, “The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom.” Our peoples, in “declaring their sin as Sodom,” have ignored the very reason for Sodom’s destruction.]]>

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