First ever Lander LGBTQ Pride Picnic set for Sunday

(Lander, Wyo.) – On Sunday, June 22, friends and supporters will gather with the LGBTQ community at City Park for the first ever Lander Pride Picnic. The picnic is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. at Lion’s Shelter in the park.

“Some changes take time” says Debra East, a longtime lesbian activist in Lander. “This picnic is happening at the right time. It’s taken some time, but we are ready now, and it is about time.” Debra and a group of LGBTQ organizers and their allies have been working together since March to plan the picnic.

The organizers think Lander is ready for such an event, and so does State Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander. “I’m proud of the organizers, and I am proud of Lander for doing this,” Case said in a news release.

The organizers hope the picnic will be a way for family members, friends and supporters to stand up with their loved ones and celebrate diversity in rural Wyoming. Lander’s Pride Picnic will feature live music from the Low Water String Band, a potluck barbeque and croquet tournament. The Lander Running Club is organizing a Rainbow Run to coincide with the event. Attendees are encouraged to dress in rainbow attire and bring a plate and a picnic item to share. 

76 Comments

  1. Floyd Stclair

    Can't wait.

  2. Releasda Kraken

    Of course Cale Case, who has a snowball's chance in hell of being reelected would ride this wave. Most people in his Senate district will see this for what it really is…just a desperate attempt to hold on to a Senate he should have let go long ago.

  3. Philip B. Strong

    This is not a good thing for Lander. It is never good for a people to embrace what God calls evil.

  4. Jean Parr

    I agree with Philip B Strong, this is not good for Lander. We should not embrace what God calls evil.

  5. Shawna Crispin

    Awesome! I'm so excited for Lander! Awww, it's growing up!

  6. Steph Boyd

    God never called homosexuality evil! The human (sinners) may have incorrectly interpreted it that way though! Many places in the Bible also say that we should love thy neighbor with no exceptions! Lander is a town, not a "church"! Keep your judgment for yourself and the members of your "Church"! I don't believe that God or Jesus would condone your judgmental attitude or the fact that people like you are pushing MANY people away from religion! SHAME ON YOU! Phillip B. Strong

  7. Brian Noon

    Come on people now,smile on your brother,everybody get together,try to love one another right now

  8. Jerry Gilland

    We are to love the sinner but not their sin. The word of God says that life style is sin.

  9. Sheila West

    Ohhh noooo! Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and questioning? No! no! not here too!

  10. Jenny Houston

    So sorry to hear this!

  11. Debi Ethredge

    I know you and your church have been in prayer about this. Have ya'll or anyone else in the area that you know of additionally planned any other outreach?
    :'(
    Really, this is a perfect opportunity if it can be used wisely for the kingdom.

  12. Anne Mason-Jezek

    Doesn't God preach love, not hate? I must have been misunderstanding the whole "Christian" message my entire life. Hmm…I'll stick with the love anyway. ;)

  13. Anne Mason-Jezek

    Way to go Lander! I am very proud of all the organizers and people who will attend to show their love and support. I haven't lived in Lander for many years, but it is my hometown and this, right here, makes me even more proud to call this little town "home." Have a wonderful, peaceful, and love-filled day!!

  14. Debi Ethredge

    Yes, Anne Mason-Jezek. I agree with you. If you believe Philips comment is one of hate, you have misunderstood the whole Christian message your entire life thus far.

  15. Richard Tayson

    Way to go, Lander! All of Wyoming on board to queer rights / happiness must have Matthew Shepard raising his voice in cheer!

  16. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Interesting. Where does "God" call it evil? Thank the Lord Debi is here to explain to us how we've misunderstood Christianity. That's a little blasphemous. Let he without sin cast the first stone, etc.

  17. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Where?

  18. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    So, no shellfish for you, then? Cool, more for me.

  19. Avery Anderson

    Blasphemous? God hates all sin, no sin is greater than another, every sinner needs Jesus Christ as their savior and must turn and repent of any sin they are living in. We are not called to love our sin and be defined by it but to repent and stop living in that sin if the Spirit is in us. it is not easy, but to tell someone living in sin that they are just fine and in no danger of Gods judgement is not love at all! God hates sin and everyone will give an account someday for the thoughts, words and actions!

  20. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Yes, blasphemous to tell someone that they have misunderstood Christianity, thus speaking on behalf of God. It is both blasphemous and heresy according to the Bible, and from what I've read here, y'all seem to be walking a VERY thin line. Further, every time you go to the Hitching Rack and order lobster or shrimp, you commit an abominable sin according to the Bible, as with mixing certain textiles. So, repent for your shrimp cocktail and your polyester. Never partake in either again or you aren't following the word of God, according to the Bible.

  21. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Yes, blasphemous to tell someone that they have misunderstood Christianity, thus speaking on behalf of God. It is both blasphemous and heresy according to the Bible, and from what I've read here, y'all seem to be walking a VERY thin line. Further, every time you go to the Hitching Rack and order lobster or shrimp, you commit an abominable sin according to the Bible, as with mixing certain textiles. So, repent for your shrimp cocktail and your polyester. Never partake in either again or you aren't following the word of God, according to the Bible.

  22. Andy Mason

    Debi Ethredge, Avery Anderson, Philip B Strong, Jean Parr and Jenny Houston….I dare you….I double dog dare you….to go to the picnic with an open heart and an open mind and meet some new people….I guarantee your heart will soften…..and you will be more inclined to leave the judging to your savior.

  23. Debi Ethredge

    Andy Mason, you are completely judging me incorrectly. I have nothing against those people.

  24. Debi Ethredge

    Heather you are also judging me incorrectly. The stone you threw at me missed its mark.
    Are you sincerely interested in learning where "God" calls it evil?

  25. Philip B. Strong

    Hi Steph-

  26. Philip B. Strong

    Hi Steph- I don't hate homosexuals, anymore than I hate drunkards or swindlers. My comment is not based on my opinion but on a plain reading of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. It is not loving to allow people to walk into harms way. Please read 1 Corinthians 6:9 and surrounding verses and explain to me what it means? I would love to sit and visit more about this issue if you would like?!?

  27. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip, do you think the Lander Bar is evil?

  28. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Considering I studied religion extensively at a Jesuit University, and went to Catholic school before that, Deb, I am guessing I might have a better idea of what God calls evil according to the Bible, where it is written, and the historical context of the portion of the Bible it is written in. Seems, though, you have much learning to do: about your religion and humanity in general. Time yo reexamine where you base your faith.

  29. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip, why do you get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible you follow? Why don't you speak out against divorce, premarital sex, shellfish consumption, textile mixing, haircuts, etc as evil acts as vehemently as you cast your judgment on homosexuality, of which there I'd no actual mention in the Bible?

  30. Debi Ethredge

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane
    The stones you are casting are will missing me.
    The amount of aggression and the accusations you are making are not only revealing, but also puzzling, seeing as how you do not know me.
    Do you eat no seafood, nor mix textiles?
    What else does God consider to be evil?

  31. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Oh no, I'm not interested in casting stones, my dear. I'm merely interested in why you are picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow?

  32. Shauna Plunkett

    1 Corinthians 6:9
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…continue reading through verse 11.
    Also read 1 Timothy 1:8-11

  33. Tony Huemer

    Ignorance, Ignorance everywhere

  34. Mallorie Dodson

    Your ignorance is sad people. I will be there proudly!

  35. Steve Jay

    non religious churches are great and they are non judgmental. my mom goes to great church in lander.

  36. Shauna Plunkett

    Heather, the part of the Bible Philip brought up perfectly addresses this particular subject-homosexuality, he's not picking and choosing different parts of the Bible to follow. Please read the verses I quoted in my latest comment.

  37. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Ok

  38. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    OK, Shauna, I don't see your verses but do you eat shell fish? What about all the other things directly addressed by name in the Bible?

  39. Shauna Plunkett

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane 1 Corinthians 6:9
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…continue reading through verse 11.
    Also read 1 Timothy 1:8-11
    No I don't eat shell fish but I also don't know what you are referring to.

  40. Jose Hernan Garcia

    Avery Anderson According to Mark 3:28-29 "“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” so as far as I can see, according to your own book, being gay has nothing to do with salvation. If what you say is true, and every sin is equal, then you have just as much to worry about as they do. Bottom line is, homosexuality is something that is most likely of very little concern to God, this is your own personal feeling. I would appreciate it if you stopped using God as a cover.

  41. Jose Hernan Garcia

    Philip B. Strong You forgot to mention if you hate drunkards and swindlers or not.

  42. Kristina Verley

    Totally agree with Steph if you can't respect others for living their own choices for experiencing happiness as well as everyone else on this earth than keep your nasty comments to your selves. I'm happy to say I support same sex relations and proud to stand by it. It's wonderful getting the opportunity for us all to stand for who we are and as for others with their dirty comments f*ck ur opinions and the words that come out your mouths you think we ain't seen or heard it before. It just makes us stronger to stand above you people and still smile in happiness.

  43. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Fantastic, Shauna. Thank you for opening that door for me. Let's talk about your fornicating history and habits, shall we? You seem to have reduced homosexuality to a sexual act, and seem very concerned with the sexual acts of others. So, let's talk about yours, and you don't mind if I use the Biblical definitions of fornication, do you? What was that passage… Something about it being better to plant one's seed in the belly of a whore than spilling one's seed on upon the ground? So let's talk about all the many and varied sex acts that people participate in that might not please the Lord. That would be so much fun. In case you haven't picked up, I'm not "your type" of Christian. You do not speak for me. But you don't need to tell me any more Biblical passages. I admit to sarcasm. I should also admit that much of my undergraduate work was done in religion. I'm pretty steady on biblical verse and translation. The version you are reading has taken modern libertiesin language and how convenient that it might match your bigotry.

  44. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    And I was referring to Leviticus. You might want to read that Bible you're thumping, and then take a real, actual history class on the Bible. It would blow your mind, give you a greatet understanding of your views, and your faith might be all the stronger for it. Good luck to you.

  45. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Leviticus.

  46. Dean Risher

    People are going g to judge no matter what no one on here can judge if u want to go the bible route only god can judge us u say its a sin to be gay its a sin to think u are better or perfect

  47. Azwy Hunter

    Le 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

  48. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    "And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination."

  49. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Leviticus also forbids: unkempt hair, eating any animal which does not both chew cud and have a divided hoof (pig, rabbit, etc), drinking alcohol in holy places (problem for the sacraments), eating fat, tearing your clothes, going to church within 33 days of giving birth to a boy or 66 if a girl, various degrees of incest, sex with a woman on her period, picking up grapes from the ground, perverting justice, holding the wages of an employee overnight, trimming your beard, planting different seeds in the same field, inflicting injury, killing someone else's animal, killing someone is to be punished in kind, and blasphemy is to be stoned to death. That is just Leviticus.

  50. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Shauna Plunkett I was referring to just one of the many things Leviticus forbids. It forbids shellfish, trimming your beard, tattoos, eating fat, and many other things. Corinthians commands women to keep silent in church, which somehow I doubt many women actually do. The historical ramifications for women in "The Church" due to that one passage are very interesting. Other parts of the Bible forbid "spilling the seed" for any purpose other than procreation.

  51. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – No I don't think the Lander Bar is evil. I don't think it is capable of evil. It is a building. I also don't think drinking is a violation of God's law. I think getting drunk is a violation, but not everyone who drinks is a drunkard.

  52. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip B. Strong Haha, it is a building, isn't it? You've got me there. Actually, I think the building is called the Coalter Block Building. Just a little Lander history there. There are many things listed in the Bible that are in violation of "God's law" with a strict literal/modern reading. These include trimming your beard, eating pork or shellfish, mixing textiles, drinking in church, women speaking in church, and of the many and varied forms of blasphemy that have occurred in this thread. How do you reconcile those "laws"? Further, how do you reconcile the parts of the Good Book that directly contradict each other?

  53. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – Hi Heather – Did I read that you went to a Jesuit school? What is their approach to the Old Testatment law in regard to the nation of Israel? Do they view the law as binding on all people today, or do they make a distinction between the laws i.e.. Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral? I ask because you are referencing the book of Leviticus, a great book by the way. The food restrictions in Leviticus had to do with ceremonial cleaness. In Acts 10:9 and following we have recorded for us the command to Peter to "kill and eat", thus undoing the restrictions on certain foods. The ceremonial laws in the Old Testament were there to prepare the people of Israel for their Messiah. (We can only come into the presence of a Holy God if we too are holy) Thus Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ie. unholy people like me and you. The problem I have with your rationale is that you are, it seems to me, neglecting the clear teaching of the New Testament which does not do away with the law concerning homosexuality, but reiterates the law in various places in the New Testament, one such place being 1 Cor. 6:9.
    I do not intend this to be "Sour grapes" to you, but am genuinely interested in discussing this issue in a civil manner.

  54. Philip B. Strong

    Jose Hernan Garcia – Hi Jose – No I do not hate drunkards nor do I hate swindlers. I do hate being swindled however! : ) I fail to see how speaking out about an issue and disagreeing with another's view point is "Hatred".

  55. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – Hi Heather thanks for responding! Good questions. I think I just answered your question below…at least some. I am curious about your schooling and what you learned, that is your hermeneutical approach to the Scriptures. To what contradictions are you referring?

  56. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – Heather do you attend the Roman Catholic Church now?

  57. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip B. Strong Corinthians also states that women should not speak in church. I haven't neglected it, actually, I addressed that fact about Corinthians to another poster. Leviticus, a very interesting book I agree and one I had to study at the Jesuit university I went to, and more at Oxford (with Franciscans) was written for purpose of instruction for a particular sect of priests out of the Levites tribe. Further, it was declared the "yoke of slavery" by Paul in Galatians. Where in the Bible does it say there is a distinction between Moral and Ceremonial law? That distinction was quite literally created men for the basis of interpretation. And thank you for bringing up Acts as a concrete example of cancellation of the ENTIRE law, not just for food. My sour grapes are simply this: people tend to use an interpretation of sections of the Bible in order to justify their own bigotry. People seem perfectly happy to reduce homosexual, HUMAN relationships to a sex act that they have deemed their business to weigh in on morally. Yet, you have said nothing here about the many and varied heterosexual sex acts that violate many parts of the Bible, but no one addresses those here. If you feel so strongly about homosexuality as to call a Pride picnic "evil", then you'd also do well to label those heterosexual sex acts as "evil" otherwise it seems you are crossing that very thin line into bigotry. But that is your choice.

  58. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip B. Strong Typically, labeling something as "evil" implies a sense of "hate" for Christians. If not for any other reason than "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." By the rules of logic it would follow that you hate evil. You called the Pride picnic evil. No, I do not attend the Roman Catholic Church. I am not, nor have I ever been Catholic. My scholarship led me to study many religions, including Christianity and it's various factions, as well as many of the other religions that don't fall under the tent of Christianity. I tend to keep my beliefs moderately private, but I think it's pretty clear that I do not believe that a two grown humans who love each other are evil or bad. Love is a gift, and in this case, it seems many people claiming to be Christians seem to be spreading a lot of hate, whether or not it is their intentional, it is the end product. And remember what is said about that road to hell. How very sad that people would take an obviously beautiful, happy event and label it evil. Aren't there plenty of other things for a purported religious leader to concern himself that might directly better his community, rather than divide it?

  59. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – Heather, when the Adulterers Club wants to hold a picnic in celebration of marital unfaithfulness I will address it. When the Brew Fest wants to become the Drunkenfest I will address it. I do address other sins from the pulpit of the church and in private with individuals. I am not the Judge, but God is. You know this. What did the Prophets of old do? What about John the Baptist? And Saint Peter who said, "And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;" 2 Peter 2:6
    Peter says that Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of what happens to those who live ungodly lives. It is a warning. Not only to homosexuals certainly, but to all who embrace sin. You act as if I don't address every single sin, I am to address no sins at all. Which is impossible. The article I responded to in comment was about the Pride in the Park. It is glorying a particular sin which is detrimental to individuals and to a culture.
    The distinction in the laws are taught by the Apostles and how they handled the law of God. Moral law – You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. Civil law – You shall not muzzle the ox…i.e. (as Paul applies it , pay your pastors). Ceremonial Law – fulfilled in the food laws as mentioned in Acts 10. This is not a new understanding of the law, but has been around a loooong time.
    I am failing still to see your "Beef" with calling out sin? If God says something is wrong. It is wrong. If God, Who is love, says something is wrong, does He says this because He is keeping us from some happiness? Or might the Almighty know better than the "wisdom" of man?
    So do you go to the Roman Catholic Church?

  60. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – I am not spouting off opinions that have been conjured up in my belly, I am stating what God Himself has said in the Bible and what has been believed and acted on for thousands of years.
    If I remain silent, I am not loving my neighbor. I don't hate any of these folks who went to the park. If they were in need of help, and I was in a place to help, I would like to think that I would help them. But I must not allow, if I can do something about it, my neighbor to walk into harms way.

    New question – By what standard do you decide right and wrong?

  61. Steph Boyd

    God himself said? hmmm.. If I said that Philip B. Strong said " I like to have sex with men", does that make it true if I write it down somewhere? We don't let hearsay into our courts, so why on earth would we let it rule our lives?

  62. Philip B. Strong

    Steph Boyd If I show you in the Bible will you believe me?

  63. Steph Boyd

    Using your reasoning Philip B. Strong – Women live longer than men so, You need to have a sex change! I just can't remain silent on this issue because I love you as my neighbor and I can't allow you to walk in harms way! Your reasoning not mine!!!

  64. Philip B. Strong

    Steph Boyd Do you think the Bible is to be regarded as authoritative in any way?

  65. Steph Boyd

    I see the Bible as more of a historical document rather than a rule book for gaining entrance in to heaven. Considering the Old testament was written way before Jesus was born, I have a hard time believing it was on par with God's thoughts or he wouldn't have sent his only son to save our souls. None of the Bible was written by God or Jesus himself. The bible was comprised of people's own religious experiences or supposed encounters with God. I know there was a process to choose which "stories" were included in the bible, but how do WE know which were accurate and which were not? The people choosing which books would be included and which would be denied were humans (sinners according to God). These people were products of their environment and the time in which they lived! Who's to say they didn't have their own agenda?

  66. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip, many biblical scholars widely agree that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was one of inhospitable acts. There have been very interesting liberties taken in various translations and interpretations of that text can take various different meanings depending on both translation and historical context. Some theorists give viable arguments for the "sin" being more like bestiality, as angels are an entirely different species. I have studied Sodom and Gomorrah references and interpretations pretty extensively and there are some pretty important fallacies that need to be addressed in regard to your conservative Christian interpretation of the text. The only book to directly address the sins of S&G as explicitly sexual is Jude. The original Greek was "sarkos heteras" which means "other flesh." A likely reading is that the men of Sodom wanted to participated in sexual acts with the angels, and this was deplorable because the angels are other beings and, you know, rape is bad. The gender of angels is widely considered to be ambiguous as they are created not to reproduce, but also referred to as "sons of God." There's also a fair argument for the historical interpretation that "other flesh" was referring to cannibalism, which was practiced in early Canaanite culture. It is also important to note that the Hebrew "to'ebah" is often translated as "abomination" as it is in S&G, but that translation is used elsewhere in the Bible to refer to various "impure" acts, many of which we have covered here, so there are many interpretations depending on linguistics and history, and some much more viable than homosexuality. If "all" the meb of Sodom were homosexual it would create sooo many problems of a logical nature, so even basic logic shows the theory does not work. So much so that biblical scholars can only agree that the true sin of S&G was inhospitable acts and lack of charity, pride, and laziness.

  67. Philip B. Strong

    Steph Boyd – You realize I am sure that the Bible claims to be the very Word of God in 2 Timothy 3:16. The greek uses a word that literally means "God breathed". This is what it claims. I have no reason to believe otherwise. The Bible also claims that God cannot lie in Titus 1:2. Therefore I have a Word from God Who cannot lie. What does that lead me to believe? That the Word of God is His word and that it is true, therefore it is good and should be listened to. There is no question that He used men to write His word down. But can't the God who made you and me and the whole world and everything in it have His word recorded and keep it from error? Certainly a mighty God can do that, wouldn't you agree?

  68. Philip B. Strong

    Steph Boyd What do you think the Old Testament was about?

  69. Azwy Hunter

    Read Romans chapter 1 also when Paul is talking to the Romans about the sins of the gentiles. The whole point is that homosexuality is a sin and no I am not a hater of them but I don't think it needs to be promoted or is something to be proud of. Yes I am a sinner just like everyone else. You wouldn't go around promoting to be a liar or a thief or an adulterer. These people are lost and need a Savior, they need Jesus!

  70. Jose Hernan Garcia

    Philip B. Strong It's true that disagreeing with someone else's views doesn't constitute hatred, if it did I'd probably be the most hateful person on earth. However, it becomes hatred if you wish to deny them any legal or human rights that you enjoy. I'll answer your new question as well. There is objective right or wrong, there is only existence and human interpretation of that existence.

    Now I have a new question, what is God, not just a description of it's (thinking that a divine being has a gender is a bit naive in my opinion) qualities, but a description of it's substance.

  71. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Azwy…if you haven't picked up on it, I have read Romans and these other books you cite. I have studied them them through historical and linguistic context. These books were nor written in English. They have changed throughout history and those changes have been made by man. A perfect example is the Schism. At any rate, I don't think these people should be ashamed of who they are or who they love. If I were a gambler, I would be willing to wager Jesus would be deeply saddened by your judgements of others.

  72. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane where do you get your definition of love?

  73. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane – Thanks for your thoughtful response regarding S&G. The weaknesses, as I see it, with your response are these: "Many Biblical Scholars"…if you look long enough and far enough you can find enough people to agree with you, especially in our age of internet access. The plain reading of Scripture is that the men of S&G wanted to have sex with men. There were no doubt others sins, as you mentioned in S&G, but this is the one that the Biblical writer is highlighting here in the text of Genesis 19. Yes the men were Angels, but they took the form of men. The text says that the men of S&G recognized them as men. They had feet 19:2, they ate 19:3, they were on their way to bed 19:4, and they are called "Men" by the men of S&G 19:5, Lot offers his daughters to the men of S&G and says of them that they "have never slept with a man".
    While they had many sins, the sin for which S&G was destroyed was their homosexual sin. A fact to which both Peter and Jude refer.
    One of the central tenants of the Protestant Reformation was Sola Scriptura, I am sure I am not saying anything you have not heard before, but that Scripture is the final authority on issues of faith and practice, not the writings of men. Men do make mistakes and councils do err, but God does not. Where the Scriptures are clear we should be clear; where they are vague we should be vague; and where they are silent so must we be silent.
    In my early days of preparation for the ministry, I was exposed to what I would call almost a "gnostic" approach to the Scripture. Always questioning but never able to really and truly know what the Bible means. Only the "truly enlightened" could really know anything. So we leave it thinking it is one giant mystery, and we can't read or understand it. There is far more certainty and clarity than there is ambiguity. I encourage people to read their Bibles. Ask the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? God made language. He gave His word using that language. God is sufficiently clear in what He says. No doubt there are things hard to understand because the concept is difficult to wrap the brain around, but it is not difficult to understand because the nouns and verbs etc. are not working properly but because God's thoughts are much higher than our thoughts…like the heavens are above the earth.

  74. Heather Batmo Biel Doane

    Philip B. Strong Thanks, but considering I went to very reputable schools such as the University of San Francisco and, as mentioned before, Oxford, I don't think you need to question the scholars I worked with or studied as "weaknesses." It's not about "agreeing," sir. It's called scholarship. And as the internet would say "I haz it." You have shown a line of arrogance in this conversation that you are, as you say, "enlightened" and I am asking you "good" questions. Did it ever occur to you, sir, that I might actually know what I'm talking about? People look to you for the answers to the questions in their souls. You do your best to guide them. Make no mistake, Philip, I am not one of those people. If I need answers, you're not on my list of resources simply because of your arrogant certainty, your obvious proclivity to speak FOR Him, which is warned against in the Bible far more than what you've interpreted as "homosexuality." You are absolutely correct, you are not saying anything I have not heard before in my study of both sides of this conversation. You will not change my mind and I do not wish to change yours; however, I do encourage you to have a softer hand with your terminology, especially labeling members of your community as "evil." You do more harm than you know, and I can speak to that from direct experience.You take care of yourself, and thank you for engaging in this conversation. May God bless you and your congregation.

  75. Philip B. Strong

    Heather Batmo Biel Doane Heather, my sincerest apologizes for appearing condescending toward you. Please forgive me. I am honestly trying to have a dialogue and to hear where you are coming from. If you would rather not further the dialogue I will understand.

    One point of clarification I do think needs to be made is that in my original statement I said, "…it is never good for a people to embrace what God calls evil." I never said that the homosexual was more evil than other men, for we are all evil "There is none righteous" "All have sinned" etc.

  76. Di W. Morrow

    How sad that folks who want to force sin on this community. Pray that the Lord shall open your eyes and turn your lives around. The Lord never condones sin and trying to force it on this country is sad and we who love the Lord shall continue to pray for those caught in these sad lifestyles.

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