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October 10, 2014

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Now, this is something that has never even crossed my mind. And I'm not sure I buy it either. I can't imagine not wanting to be close to somebody for fear that other people might think I'm gay.

It seems to me that if homosexuality becomes more socially acceptable, people are going to lose their squeamishness about being thought of as gay anyway. For as long as I can remember, guys have been really defensive at any suggestion that they might be gay, but I've noticed that defensiveness has been going away in recent years. I remember watching an interview with Johnny Galecki where he was asked why he didn't defend himself when he was accused of being gay, and his answer was, "Because it's not an insult." If this defensiveness about being thought of as gay is going away with the growing approval of homosexuality, then I don't see how fear of being thought gay would put a damper on same sex friendships.

And I doubt it would anyway. I mean are you really going to turn your back on your best friend just because somebody out there MIGHT think you're gay because you're a little too close? I don't see it.


I could totally see this happening, and it's another illustration of how the devil is seeking to undermine God's truth. Think of this: this type of situation would run contrary to and cause us to disobey a Godly principle of friendships:

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Prov. 27:17

Sam, I don't think it's so much about a fear that people will think you're gay. I think it's more that when the theoretical possibility of a sexual relationship is always culturally there, you keep a certain distance. Think about friendships between men and women. I hold friendships with men at a certain distance, not wanting to signal that the friendship is heading towards a sexual relationship (doubly true for married men), so I have closer friendships with good women friends where emotional intimacy is safe. But what if it becomes culturally necessary, because it's no longer taken for granted, to signal to my female friends that I'm not interested in a sexual relationship with them, as well? Won't that also create a distance between women and women, and men and men?

Well, that's an interesting point I hadnt thought of. I guess I could see that happening if it was ambiguous to either party whether the other party was gay. If you knew your friend was straight, I don't see how that would be an issue. I had a close friend a while back who another friend of mine thought was gay. I never thought he was gay until my other friend said so, and even then it was a very remote maybe. One day's shortly after being told he was gay I was at his apartment, and I don't remember what I said to him, but his response was, "As you wish," That made me pretty uncomfortable.

It also depends on the people. Some people have an easier time becoming close to members of the same sex, and for other people it's the opposite sex. For me it's been about equal. I'm sure I've met women who kept me at arms length for the same reason as you, but some haven't, and I've managed to have some pretty close female friends, and sex was never an issue. I don't think I've ever intentionally kept somebody at arms length just because they MIGHT want more, but I have kept people at arms length when I knew or suspected they DID want more.

This actually happened to me. I've had many close relationships with women older than me. But it was shocking to find out that with one particular friend, there were rumors flying around that we were a lesbian couple. It did make for some discomfort but we didn't let it bother us much.

I too was a bit flabbergasted to see that some scholars have argued that Bonhoeffer and Bethge had a gay relationship. Yet it does make sense, when viewed in the light of the 21st century Western secular mindset. If one believes that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle, which has simply been intolerantly repressed over the eons of mankind's history, then it's easy to make such an inference.

I recall reading, about 10 years ago, the same argument being applied to... Abraham Lincoln. The gist was that he engaged in a deep friendship with another man, someone with whom he not only boarded with, but shared the same bed with! Aha! Never mind that the cultural norms of the time were much different than what we find today. And arguments have been made that David and Jonathan were homosexual lovers.

Seems that the tactic of Never Read a Bible Verse also applies in these cases.

I'm sorry, but no.

To even entertain the notion of reading eros into a strong philo relationship (of any nature) requires one of two mindsets:

(1) A desperate bid for validation of an eros relationship of that nature. This has been going on for decades, so it's hardly new and it's not possible that it's an "unintended effect [of] same-sex marriage". 25+ years ago, I was leading a very sheltered life, and even then, under those circumstances, I wove this issue into a short story I was writing, as two men with a deep philo relationship had to decide if/how to handle rumors of eros floating around them.

-- or --

(2) An obsession with sex so deep that porn stars would be advising counseling. Sadly, I think this is where a lot of the church finds itself. Phil Robertson was just repeating the mantra he heard on Sunday morning: after a passing shout-out to the Bible, we get to the heart of the matter -- all of homosexuality gets reduced to nothing more than a cage match between anuses and vaginas. We don't like homosexuality, and fortunately, God agrees with us.

This has been the case for a while. It's especially prevalent in online fandoms, as touched on with Sam & Frodo.

These people twist the most beautiful, pure relationships and made them into something vile. Why? Because apparently they have no same-sex close friendships, and so cannot conceive of anyone else having such relationships. And so they have to add the sexual component.

It makes me angry.

Actually, Christians have been doing this for ages now. I blog about it often.

I have a blog on Word Press called "Christian Pundit" (not to be confused with another Word Press blog of a very similar name, "THE Christian Pundit") where I explain how mainstream evangelical and other conservative Christian teaching about the genders, dating, and sex carry the same exact attitudes you are discussing in your post.

In a lot of Christian material on the genders, marriage, sex, dating, etc, Christians make the same (incorrect) assumptions as secular society does about these topics, with the result that everything is sexualized.

A few examples of what I mean:

-A lot of Christians repeat the unproven, untrue assertion in their sermons, pod cats, blogs, magazine articles, and books that "men are visually wired by God and visually stimulated"

(as though women are not - but women are also visually stimulated), the results of this teaching:

- women's sexuality is rarely to never considered in Christian teachings;
- sexist "modesty" teachings are foisted on women, and
-women are blamed for men's sexual sins
(if only the woman had not worn "that" skirt, the man would not have lusted after her"
- all responsibility is removed from the man for the man's behavior)

-married men (and sometimes un-married ones) are assumed to have little to no control over their sexual drives, so they are forever advised in Christian material to stay away from women, especially from un-married women.

-Christians assume that single women are harlots with no sexual impulse control who will "hit on" and sleep with married men,

while

-Christians assume married women are frigid, hate sex, and would prefer reading poetry to having sex,
ergo, preachers often cajole or guilt trip married women into "putting out more" for their spouses, when they give the monthly "sex and marriage" sermon

Now, the problem with a lot of these Christian teachings about sex, gender, etc, is that they are based on untrue stereotypes and tend to sexualize any and all relationships.

As a never married woman who is past 40, I find myself isolated from Christian fellowship quite a bit, because most church-goers are married couples who are trained to be suspicious of me, and men are taught that I am a temptation they are to flee.

These married couples are taught that I am a threat to them, because I supposedly want to boink the husband (I do not).

So, married women will shun me, and the husbands won't even engage in polite chit chat. I get cut off from Christian fellowship.

Christians are so afraid of fornication happening, that they often advise even adult singles "to flee" temptation, which translates to (I have seen this in Christian dating books, even ones aimed at adults over 30) to never go on dates.

Single, adult men are told never to meet with a single women over coffee for a chat. Again, this is advice that gets doled out by Christians to singles who are over 30 years of age, not just teen aged kids.

Big problem: one of the only ways way a person can marry in American culture as an adult is to meet alone with an opposite gender person over coffee.

However, many Christian books on dating are telling singles - even adults for pete's sake - to stay away from each other. So, how is a Christian single woman supposed to marry? It's impossible in this scenario.

If a Christian single brings an opposite gender FRIEND to a church service with her, all the church people automatically assume these friends are lovers, and start joshing the two with "so when are you guys gonna get married" rhetoric, which is embarrassing.

Christians need to realize there is worse things in life than fornication, and that a man and woman CAN be platonic friends, CAN be left alone, and no sex will take place.

As it is, however, most of evangelical, Reformed, and Baptist Christian views I have seen on men, women, sex, dating and marriage carries much of the same assumptions as secular culture to the point that conservative Christians ALSO sexualize all relationships, which damages a lot of adult singles who just want friendship, not sex.

So please don't assume it's only pro- homosexual marriage advocates who are creating this issue, it's also conservative Christians. See my blog for many links to other web pages by Christians that explain all this.

Me too, Mo. Bert and Ernie is another one.

Social taboos were not the reason my parents or siblings didn't sexually molest me. Nor were they the reason my male friends and I didn't have sex with each other during sleepovers.

What a patently absurd argument.

Name one society in which homosexual marriage has been allowed in which a causal link between homosexual marriage and the deterioration of same sex friendships has been demonstrated beyond question.

Baseless, absurd, bigoted speculatio .

Well, christianpundit, that was quite hilarious (sorry). So you tell us that Christian untrue stereotypes are the problem and then you list all of your untrue stereotypes about Christians to make that point? Maybe you should start with a mirror when you give your next sermon about the problem of stereotypes? Just an idea....

Sadly, this same accusation has been put forth about Jesus and His relationship with John or other apostles. There is no end to the depths the enemy will go to discredit and upend the gospel and the supremacy of God.

I also find it interesting, ChristianPundit, that your website stated this: "views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters."

So you aren't up to debating anyone who dissents from you, but feel free to dissent on another website. Interesting irony again (brguler post above). I wonder what bible you are reading to say that there is no support for sexual purity in it's pages.

I see this as a result of people's hatred of gay people and not the acceptance of them.

@ Nathan

"I see this as a result of people's hatred of gay people and not the acceptance of them."

What on earth are you talking about?

Nathan,

"I see this as a result of people's hatred of gay people and not the acceptance of them. "

What could possibly justify the hatred of people with developmental issues? It is like saying that Christians hate womanizers. Huh? Just because someone thinks that someone else is wrong on a particular issue, does not automatically means that there is animosity involved. Or is this culture getting to the point where it is blurring the line between the two so that animosity is demanded if there is disagreement? Is that what this culture has come to that we cannot have a disagreement without bringing our six-shooters and that's an order?

I see it being more an issue for school administrations with minors...how are they to know which same sex friends are just friends and which are more on overnight school trips? Might be really uncomfortable for the other 2 kids in motel room of 4. Or unwanted advances in locker rooms or those same school trips in a motel room? In my day, it was never as issue as the girls who latter became gay, would have never acted on their desires at school and still don't attend any reunions. Even before my life as a Christian, I considered/described myself as hopelessly straight and yet friends of gay team mates were very forward..stealing cell phones to call me or get my number and trying to buy me drinks/ask me to dance in public even after they were told I was not interested...so as the social stigma lessens and lines blur, it could certainly cause the issues stated in this article and a headache for schools.

@Louis Kuhelj @mo

If gay people aren't despised, then why are people so concerned to be mistaken for being gay? People will give up deep, meaningful, and needed relationships because of what supposedly others will think. Why? Because gay people are so accepted?

"If gay people aren't despised, then why are people so concerned to be mistaken for being gay?"

Hi Nathan,

I don’t have a strong opinion either way on this topic “how same sex marriage will affect friendships”, but I don’t think that not wanting to be mistaken for someone means that someone or certain people are despised. Nor do I think a person’s or people’s actions have to be accepted for them not to be hated.

The paranoid conservative imagination never ceases to amaze me. Either gays stay in the closet or go through life alone and celibate or else friendships and familial ties are destroyed and the sky falls on us. Gay marriage has arrived and there is no going back. Please find something else to obsess over or maybe just live your life without having a boogeyman always threatening to destroy life as we know it. A host of dire predictions preceded women being able to vote but who now would want to turn the clock back on that issue. Marriage equality is a giant step forward in honoring God's creating us is such a way that it is not good to be alone. God did not create us for celibacy. He wants us each to be able to have a suitable and appropriate (read sexually compatible) life companion. For heterosexual Adam that was Eve. For gays it is necessarily a person of the same sex.

This isn't paranoid imagination. We already see it happening. Turning your entire culture into the chief enabler of a serious mental disorder will cause all sorts of disorder in your culture.

60 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien could write about Frodo and Sam slogging their way across Mordor falling asleep huddled next to one another for warmth, and most people could see the powerful bond between them and the love and respect Sam had for Frodo without anything remotely sexual crossing anyone's mind. Millions of men had been in the trenches of the second world war (Tolkien himself was a veteran of the first world war) and they had experienced bonds of friendship and fellowship that close, that deep, that intimate. These days, people speculate whether or not Tolkien was a closet homosexual because they can't conceive of a relationship that intimate, a friendship that deep that doesn't (some might even suggest should get sexual, too.

I see my kids struggling with that attitude in their opposite sex relationships. There is a pressure to consider sex as just a "benefit" of deep friendship. My own kids have had to deal with their peers speculating about close friends being something more than friends. And this has resulted in them pulling away from long-time bosom buddies (at least until they work through not caring about some idiots perverted opinion). You see this in commercials and sit-coms where guys throw their arms around one another after their football team scores, realize what it looks like, and quickly pull away.

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