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Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Ever so often a work is crafted with such insight and passion that it becomes the standard by which other works on the same subject are judged. In grappling with the subject of homosexuality / sexuality and the bible, Linda Patterson brings a refreshingly clear perspective about what many have left to the purview of theologians. Tackling the standard "baseball bat" passages...bringing to the table sacred texts that the church would just as soon forget...opening the door on the dichotomy between what the Judeo-Christian scriptures say verses what the proof-texting interpretations proffered by many major and minor religious groups proclaim: Ms. Patterson's method draws the reader into a dialogue with the Divine at a level, though unintended, that challenges the believer and agnostic alike to wrestle with God for the truth behind canonical inspiration.

I whole heartedly recommend this book, both for the religious and non-religious alike. Let its pages inspire you to question the majoritarian miss-use of the Divine for political purposes. And, allow its process to draw you out of complacency, challenging the propaganda of those loud bullies whose twisted measure of the Holy is exclusion, hate, objectification, and separation.

Rev. Houston Burnside, Jr.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
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This book covers much of the same ground that other recent books do in examining those biblical passages used to condemn homosexuality. The author is agnostic rather than devoutly Christian, however, and in individual chapters she offers her own analysis of the verses in Genesis, Leviticus, Romans, 1 Timothy and 2 Corinthians that Christians associate with homosexuality. The analysis of these scriptures in itself offers little that is new, although her perspective as a doubter gives her a somewhat different focus.

The author does add additional chapters on subjects not often included in similar reviews, including a summary of harsh and condemning statements about homosexuals by "devout" Christians; a review of Biblical creation myths used to condemn or dismiss same-sex loving relationships; the love stories of David and Jonathan and Naomi and Ruth; an examination of the "family values" associated with Abraham, David, and Christ; and a review of the strong biblical support for slavery and how Christians justified using it. It was not until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention - which strongly supported slavery - issued an official statement and apology condemning the racism that grew out of the practice.

One significant error in the book is that in discussing Paul's statements in Romans 1:26-27, the author falls into the same interpretative trap that many Christians do, equating condemnation of specific sexual behaviors with condemnation of sexuality per se. The author does not readily recognize that Paul's statements ("God gave them up to degrading passions") are embedded in a lengthy rant against a return to idolatry and practices associated with it, including the sexual behaviors he references. Paul is condemning orgiastic sexual behavior that is out of control and unassociated with a psychological connection to others, that is wholly self-indulgent, lacks restraint, and is undisciplined - behavior that devout gay Christians themselves strongly object to and reject. As she does say, this behavior may or may not have been associated with individuals who were genuinely homosexual.

Although rather short, this book is well written and very carefully footnoted. The author does a professional job of relating her commentary to other texts so that readers can clearly determine how they are connected to what she says.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I believe that the title of this book is at least a little 'tongue in cheek' But I love it. It illuminates the example many conservative Christians give by both what they say and how they live. Often one hears them quote the words of Jesus "love thy neighbor as thy self" but do they practice this? Sadly I think that the answer to that question is often, but not always, a resounding 'no'. As example I quote from the author: "Over the centuries...some of Jesus' followers have used the Bible to support such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisition, oppression of women, burning of "witches", anti-Semitism and slavery." One wonders who do they think their neighbors are, other Conservative Christians? I digress. I have read many books on this subject and found this one to be informative. It also an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
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Linda has written a very thoughtful book, which is great reading for anyone who has heard any religious rhetoric to condemn not only homosexuality. It is a pretty quick read because the actual scripture about homosexuality is quite sparse and usually part of a list of other abominations which are common accepted practice today by Christians, Jews and agnostics alike.
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on October 8, 2014
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Concise, easy to read, and the title catches the attention of Christians who have been taught wrong but think they must be right. This one is getting passed around a lot.
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on February 2, 2015
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So true. People that are holier than thy and cannot love. Jesus taught love and he did not exclude anyone. Great writing and reading.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
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Linda Patterson brings to the table some very thorough research and quite a few insights that the average person has likely never considered. Here's an example from chapter five:

"As discussed in chapter 4, Paul had an aversion to sex in general, regardless of who was involved. Instead of viewing sex as a gift from God/nature, he viewed it as something that should be avoided. And while Paul should not necessarily be blamed for failing to understand that homosexuality is natural, his ignorance is not an excuse for modern Christians. Just as it was irresponsible for Christians to persecute Galileo for contradicting erroneous claims throughout Scripture that the earth is flat and stationary, it is also irresponsible for them to persecute homosexual people by relying on Paul's antiquated beliefs regarding sexuality in general, and upon homosexuality in particular."

A very solid argument and one I'd never heard anyone use before! She really nailed it! And she does it again on the very next page!

"Perhaps those who believe that HIV/AIDS is God's punishment against homosexuality can explain why some 270,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS in 2007-more than 90% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Does God hate children? Especially impoverished children? Surely if God had intended to punish homosexual people with HIV/AIDS, he would have seen to it that its effects were so limited. Indeed, if the absurd argument of the homophobic fear-mongers is taken to its conclusion, then God must favor sex between women over all other types of sex, as sex between two women is the least likely to result in HIV/AIDS."

I've actually made the above argument before about lesbians having lower rates of contracting HIV/AIDS than heterosexual men, homosexual men or heterosexual women, however when Linda Patterson does it she sounds more articulate than I ever did.

Also, she got it published.

I've never gotten paid for my opinion. I've simply offered my opinion up for free on Internet discussion forums.

But I digress.

I highly recommend this book! This book is FILLED with thought provoking passages like the ones I quoted above! If you're debating rightwing Christians who insist that "God hates homosexuals" or "The Bible condemns homosexuality" or "AIDS is Gods punishment for gays" or similar ridiculous talking points, this book will be an invaluable resource for countering their propaganda.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
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This was a very interesting book. The author is a lawyer, so sometimes I got lost in her "lawyer speak" and occasionally had to go back and re-read things. But, that's ok, not a big problem. While I didn't agree with 100% of her arguments, she raised many of the same questions I've had throughout my life. You must be willing to look at your beliefs openly and honestly, and see things from other perspectives. This book will definitely make you think, which is a good thing.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
The reviewers here have more or less said everything I would have noted about Linda's very fine book. She's articulate (doesn't babble--an inside joke), reasons very well, and presents her arguments from the view of an agnostic, and that in and of itself gives this book a fresh sense of the issues of the Bible and homosexuality.
What I admire about Linda is her thorough-going research into whatever topic she undertakes. Although her views can be discussed by readers who may disagree with them, her reasoning of those views is spot on, and they never leave the reader wondering where she stands on any particular issue.
As the title of this review suggests, Linda is writing another book about the Bible, one that will explore its other aspects in terms of human morality and many other topics. It too, demonstrates her determination to write as closely to the topic as possible after having read widely to prepare her arguments. I strongly recommend Hate Thy Neighbor as a primer to her excellent thinking and unfailing devotion to the search for truth and enlightenment.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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Linda Patterson has done a valuable service by debunking the prevalent misinterpretation of those passages in the Bible that are misused to support the false claim of divine endorsement of homophobia. She has done her homework, and presents the results clearly and lucidly.

What she doesn't mention, and perhaps should, is the mechanism which, generally during the eighth month of one's fetal existence, determines one's sexual orientation by the amount of estradiol present in the fetal brain. Strange as it may seem, the female hormone estradiol, if present in sufficient quantity, causes the development of a male brain pattern, which, at puberty, results in one being attracted to women; absence of estradiol in the brain at that time results in a female brain pattern, causing one to be attracted to men. The developing fetus produces a protein called alpha fetaprotein, which binds to estradiol and prevents it from crossing the blood-brain barrier, but the male hormone testosterone can cross, and the fetal brain produces an enzyme that causes testosterone to be converted to estradiol. So if the testes of a male fetus produce testosterone soon enough, which most do, or if he does not produce sufficient alpha fetaprotein, then when that male reaches puberty, he will be attracted to girls; if not, then he will be gay. Likewise, if a female fetus doesn't produce enough alpha fetaprotein, she will become a lesbian.

I know that I could not be sexually attracted to men even if I wanted to, nor could I choose not to be attracted to women. And I know that no one in his or her right mind would choose to become a second-class citizen by being attracted to the same sex if he or she could choose to be heterosexual. So no matter how many preachers spread the lie that homosexuality is a choice, or the lie that God said so, or how many believe it, they are still lies. (Ok, I can't present a constructive proof that God didn't lie, but I certainly don't believe that God promulgated or approved that lie or any other lie.)

Like most of the rest of us, the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians are nice people who should be loved, not hated. And we should be thankful that more and more of us are coming to understand that fact, as evidenced by the recent victories for marriage equality at the polls.

Love works better.

watziznayme@gmail.com
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