08 April 2015

Going to Take the Cake

by F.X. Turk

While I am still on Permanent Hiatus, I'm not dead.  The events over the last few weeks in the US have pricked my conscience, and so that those who are often intent on asking why this blog has not said anything about the current crisis (which has evidently changed even though the last crisis was never actually resolved -- except by being proven to be more like an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" than an actual crisis) will have something to slake their curiosity.  The TeamPyro Sock Puppet will be interviewing me this week on the subject of gay weddings, Jesus, and Pizza.

Word to the wise: Prolly not completely safe for Homeschoolers due to the subject.

TeamPyro Sock Puppet (TPSP): You don't think this format is a little ego-centric or vain, do you?  I mean: that's what people are going to say.

F. X. Turk (FXT): Look - this format was just aped by Ross Douthat at the NYT, and there is nobody in the Commercial Department of The Gifted Columnists' cabal who doesn't think Douthat is what we ought to aspire to.  I think we're safe.

TPSP : When you put it that way, it almost sounds reasonable -- but what is up with the name change?

FXT : Well, I'm tired of people asking me if I'm Frank Turek.  I have made the clarification once already, but the only way to really put the fences up it to change my pen name, so I am picking something fantastic.  F. X. Turk it is from this day forth.

TPSP : And the "X" stands for?

FXT : That will be the running joke. Next question.

TPSP : So what about gay weddings is it that makes you want to come off of hiatus to do an interview?

FXT : I really have no interest in gay weddings.  I'm really more interested in the totalitarian politics involved here.  Have you ever heard of a "kulak"?

TPSP : is that a kind of cookie?

FXT : No, it's a kind of property owner.  Back when Stalin was well known as a globally-dangerous villain, under Bolshevik rule in Eastern Europe the peasants were divided into three broad categories: bednyaks, or poor peasants; serednyaks, or mid-income peasants; and kulaks, the higher-income farmers who had larger farms than most Russian peasants. (they also had a category of batraks, or landless seasonal agriculture workers for hire) The Bolsheviks thought the bednyaks were their willing allies, the serednyaks were unreliable but on the side of the revolution, and the kulaks were the enemies of the people.  At first, the kulaks were by definition anyone who owned land -- that's what the definition of rich was back in the 1930's and 1940's: land ownership.  But by the time WWII was over, anyone who owned any livestock was also considered a kulak -- too rich to be anything but an enemy of the workers and too rich to be anything but an enemy of the state.

TPSP : This is a little boring, FX.  It's like Tolkien meets shabby mid-20th century Europe.  I feel like you're going to start a monologue in Elvish if we don't move things along.

FXT : Fair enough.  I bring it up because my Grandfather -- my father's father -- was a kulak in mid-20th century Hungary after WWII.

TPSP : What does this have to do with pizza or gay marriage?

FXT : I am glad you asked.  The first thing I want you to do is consider something: the definition of "kulak" under the Bolsheviks had to remain a sliding definition.  That is, it had to move to owning less and less in order for it to be an effective weapon for the State to keep finding more of what it needed to perpetuate its ideology -- mostly enemies.  So it started with land owners, but then anyone who was a permanent employee of a land owner by means of a lease-to-work agreement was made into a kulak because let's face it: you can only confiscate land once, but you can confiscate what is produced on that land over and over if you can prove that those working the land have no right to the (literal) fruit of their labor.

TPSP : So you think gay weddings are going to confiscate someone's farm?

FXT : No.  Please stay focused.  The plight of my Grandfather and all kulaks like him was that the problem was not that they were actually immoral: the problem for them was that they were actually in possession of everything the Bolsheviks (and the Soviets after them) needed to be prosperous and to gain credibility and acceptance.  The ploy of the State in that case was to villainize those who had everything the State wanted in order to take it all from them by every means necessary.  They were painted as immoral people by redefining morality.

TPSP : So gay weddings are going to take all the pizza?  I honestly can't follow where you're going.

FXT:  Well, take a look at this meme:

It seems like a very clever insight into the sort of hypocrites these so-called Christians are, right?  The problem, of course, is that the vast majority of food banks are fully funded by Christians (for example, in that link which is to the 1100+ food banks in NY, more than half are actually in churches) -- and none where shut down to send money to the people at Memories Pizza after they were forced to shut their business down.

But: the argument here is clear.  Not only is one pizza joint the enemy of actually-good people: Christians are also the enemies of good people because they are taking money from the poor and giving it to these property owners.  Morality (and actual facts) have to be completely redefined to gin up the outrage.

TPSP : That is what happened though, right? This Pizza Place refused to let gay weddings have their pizza (in the name of Jesus), and that's just wrong.

FXT : Are you homosexual, TPSP?

TPSP : I'm not sure I like the tone of your question, FX.

FXT : I'm fine with that -- are you personally homosexual?

TPSP : I'm a sock puppet, FX.  Like an Angel, I am neither male nor female, and I am not ever going to be married.  So I have to say "no, I am not gay."  I'm a sock puppet.  But: I don't like your label.  I am sure they prefer "LGBT."

FXT : Good Call - why do you think that is?

TPSP :  What?  How should I know?  Why do you like to be called "white" or "male" or "Christian"?

FXT : For me, that's easy: because those actually describe me.  They don't obscure who I am or what I believe.  But let me suggest to you something: the point of taking on the label "LGBT" is to obscure something about the members of that group which, frankly, would lower their moral high ground if it were made clear.

TPSP : I don't get it.  What about "LGBT" obscures "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender"?

FXT : What does it mean to be "transgender," Sock Puppet?  Is that like getting an MFA in Art History, or becoming a Cubs fan?  Is it an ideological position, or does it describe something else?

TPSP :  This is a family blog, FX.  You better tread softly for the sake of the homeschoolers.

NOTE TO THE READER: really not kidding here.  Under 17 should be under parental supervision from this place forward.

FXT : Why?  What do you mean by that?  I thought that we should all say, "not that there's anything wrong with LGBT," and it's just a label like "Christian."  I can describe a Christian in 25 words or less, without offending anyone.  Why can't I do that with someone who is "transgender"?

TPSP : Well, I guess it's because, um, ... look, you know why, and you can't make me be the bad guy here by saying it.

FXT : That's actually a better answer than I expected from you, Sock Puppet.  Why would you be a "bad guy" by lining out what it means to be "transgender"?  Why would I be a bad guy for lining it out?

TPSP : Because what underlies this status is complicated, and to put it into simple terms will require me to be coarse and un-nuanced.  Describing the afflictions and the remedies here would be insensitive at best.

FXT : You're saying there's not a nice way to describe this, right?  Every approach you would take would, right away, make the "T" in "LGBT" seem utterly tragic and utterly unnatural.  It would evoke the kind of revulsion and sympathy anyone has for babies born without organs or for conjoined twins, yes?

TPSP : That's one way to say it, I guess.  I might add that you gamed the interview to try to make me say something there which would have also made me look a little heartless.

FXT :  We'll get back to the alleged "heartlessness" in a second.

We have approached the "T", what about the "L"?  Can you explain the "L"?

TPSP : I'm thinking you think I can't, but I can: it's when two women love each other.

FXT : So my wife and her sister are "L"?

TPSP : No, not like that.  Maybe like that but with something else.  It's when two women love each other the way ... um ... You're about to spring a trap here, I can see it.

FXT : which trap is that?

TPSP : I almost said, "the way a husband and wife do," which sets hetero marriage as the norm.  That's not at all how they would want to say it, I'll bet.

FXT : For a Sock Puppet, you're pretty clever.  But that was not my point. Let's say for the sake of argument that we can describe "L" as "two women who love each other sexually."

TPSP : Not that there's anything wrong with that.

FXT : You say that, but I'll bet if we surveyed the readers of the internet -- not just the readers of this blog -- and asked them, "if you became a parent to a girl, would your highest hope for her include that she will become a 'L'?" do you think even 25% would say yes?  Nobody has children with the idea that this child would be "L" or "G"as an aspirational part of their lives.

What I want to ask you at this point is, "why?" but: we still have one more initial to unveil: "B".  How would you, in the most family-friendly way possible, describe the "B" in "LGBT"?

TPSP : That's not fair.

FXT : What's not fair?

TPSP : It's not fair that you have covered three of the 4 initials, made them out to be somehow unsavory, and then turn to the last one as if it is the worst one.  It's all in the drama you have whipped up here to get here and make me feel like I can't win.

FXT : The problem, actually, is that you can't win -- not by anything but cheating.  See: for that "T" initial, we can maybe say that this is a medical tragedy which ought to be somehow be treated to make aid and comport to the person born this way.  For the "L" and the "G" initial, the settled science says that there's no reason to try to treat these people because they are born this way -- even if it is the opposite of what the outward appearance of what nature would say they ought to be and do; even if we would ourselves admit that we would not want them to be born this way.  But when we get the the "B" initial, all these other explanations sort of melt away -- because how do you explain someone who is rather omnivorous in this matter?  Euphemistically, some might try to call them "open minded," but that's just transparently a desperate attempt to call sexual depravity something you can bring home to mother.  There's nobody who has bothered to read this far who is not going to admit (at least to themselves) that they do not want to be partnered with someone like that -- someone who simply wants sex with whoever will provide it, with no regard for any of the constraints of civilized relationships except that from time to time they might feel like putting some clothes on.  There's certainly no one who has read this far who would say that there's a basis for marriage buried in there someplace.

But let's be clear here: it's just the last stop for the morality the "LGBT" has to be looking for.  If it's really true that one person is just the same as another, so that those with matching parts are just as appropriately joined as those with mismatched parts, the real innovators are the ones who are not committed to one sex or the other but any sex, any gender, any pairing for the sake of gratification.

TPSP :  THAT, my friend, is quite a mouthful.  What in the name of deep dish deluxe does that have to do with Christians being accused of taking money from the poor and giving it to bigots?

FXT : Indeed.  When you say that, it assumes that there's bigotry buried in the idea that anyone would refuse to celebrate a LGBT wedding.  And it's hard to argue against that when we leave LGBT packed up and disguised as some sort of optional feature.  But when we unpack it to mean, "someone would refuse to celebrate the sexual union of two men," or "someone would refuse to celebrate the sexual union of two women," or "someone would refuse to celebrate the sexual union of any number of people as a semi-permanent orgy," one starts to wonder what all the fuss is about.

If you are saying otherwise, I want to see how ready you are to affirm this statement: "I am personally ready to participate in any of the unions indicated by LGBT."  Failure to say less than that is, to be blunt, pretty bourgeois hypocrisy.  The idea that's it's OK in theory but it's something I would personally never do out of personal revulsion ought to strike the LGBT people looking for advocates in the straight world as the most insulting sort of condescension.

And when I say that, I want to make sure that I call the reader's attention back to the fact that Sock Puppet is the one who says he is afraid of looking "heartless."  I think it's pretty heartless to tell someone that somehow when they do something which fires up our moral gag reflex, we are perfectly fine with that - as long as they don't mean we also have to do it. If what they are doing would make us sick if we had to do it, telling them it's fine for them but not for us is duplicitous at best.

TPSP : You seriously think they can't just live and let live?  You're serious about that and you don't call yourself a bigot?  Who is asking you to be gay anyway?

FXT : Since you asked - the people phoning death threats into Memories Pizza.  Because look at this situation: no actual LGBT person was refused a pizza.  Nobody was turned away.  No order refused.  No actual commerce was declined.  All that was said was that celebrating a ceremony (which calls holy that which you and I would always refuse to do ourselves) is an immoral act that one ought to refuse, and all that was missing in the response was torches and pitchforks.

The response to this incident is clear: the demand is not merely that we look away and live and let live, but that we must participate, and enjoy it, and be part of the celebration, or else.  If there is anything worse than that here, it is this: not only must we do it, but we should be able to be bought out of our convictions with money.

The response is to be LGBT or else -- with "or else" clearly being made to mean your life is in danger, and you will be branded a bigot for hating that which is being demanded of you.

Let me tell you something: when my grandfather was branded a kulak for share-cropping a plot of land and owning an ox, a pig and a few chickens, at least he knew exactly why it was happening.  At least he knew these people were the enemies of his family, and his livelihood, and life, and his faith in God.  Here today we are supposed to pretend we don't know that there's something afoot here intent to destroy the way we live, the way we work, the way we procreate, and the way we worship.

TPSP : well, you have jumped a few sharks in this interview so far, FX, but this one if the most life-like.  You think that Memories Pizza is about the way you worship?

FXT : How can it not be?  How can it not be about whether or not we must celebrate what God wants celebrated and we must mourn or refuse those things God calls unholy?  That is actually what is on the table: being part of a celebration which calls sinful sexual unions holy.  If I refuse, I'm a kulak - part of the hated class who cannot be allowed to own property anymore, who cannot be allowed to buy or sell anymore, and who must be called out as immoral and as enemies of the new way of life.

I am really not that concerned that gay people (at least superficially) say they want to be "married".  I am concerned that anyone who objects to the new moral definitions is clearly being called politically unfit for use.

TPSP : Well, here is one way it might not be: Jesus said to turn the other cheek.  You make this out to be about worship as so on, but here's what Jesus says in Matthew's account:|
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
He says it this way in Luke, which is even worse for you:|
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
All your Calvin-like talk about worship seems to overlook that Jesus said you are held to a higher standard than those who are not believers, so you are expected to do more for them than one might expect.  Now what?

FXT : Before I answer this, I want to make sure you're in for a dollar here and not just trying to nickel-and-dime me.  You're saying that you're ready to admit that the way Christians are being treated in this case looks like what Jesus here describes as "if anyone forces you to go one mile," and "if anyone would sue you," and "anyone who takes away your goods," yes?  You're ready to admit that what is happening here is that the Christians are being treated as poorly as possible?

TPSP : I'm not, but that is your claim -- that's what you are saying.  You're saying that the Christians are getting the worst possible kind of treatment, and I'm saying that lucky for you Jesus has already covered what it is you ought to do in that case.

FXT : There ain't nothing like a clever sock puppet.

TPSP : You're too kind, but you're out of arguments now.

FXT : What you're assuming is that my objection that no one should be treated this way is somehow subverted because Jesus says we should expect martyrdom and in fact bear it as if we were doing it for His sake.  I'm ready to go on the record to say this: all who lead a Godly life will be persecuted.  Unlike some on the political right who are starting to ask if we need to start protecting ourselves from violence (which seems like a good question given the actual events we are discussing), I think Christians ought to expect that when we follow Jesus, we are going to get persecuted.

What that does not mean is that we stop following Jesus.  You can't construe the passages above to mean that Christian should surrender their moral principles when they are challenged by immoral people: it means that we apply all our moral principles with love -- and we, for example, come to the aid of those who have been put out of business by those who hate our moral principles.  We can love people without telling them lies and rejecting what God has told us in his word.

TPSP : Well, let me be honest:  You have said some radically-stupid things in the past which have made people hate this blog, but this one is going to take the cake -- so to speak.  If people start to read this post/interview, you are in for it, bub.

FXT : I'll bet.  God willing, it will be for their eternal good.


Michael Coughlin said...

Enjoyed reading. Whoever played the sock puppet part is really sick, but thank God FX was there to reel things in.

FX Turk said...

No that there's anything wrong with that, eh, Michael?

Phil Johnson said...

Well done.

Unknown said...

Great work here, Frank. Glad to see hiatus is sharpening and not dulling your tongue (keyboard).

MJ said...

Last week I felt like I was getting yelled at for even having the idea in my head that gay marriage is wrong. The people who were doing the most yelling were supposed to be my Christian friends. That is how I saw this meme on FB. Thank you for addressing this as it helps me a lot. I have family and friends who are gay and polyamourous. They all come from church backgrounds. What you write helps me to love them, take a step back from the emotional aspect and the anger and think it through. Many Christians including myself are really struggling with this.

FX Turk said...

At the risk of having a Derek-Webb-esque melt down in the comments here, if this post is helpful, share it. Get people to read it. It is not the soft-handed, high-minded approach which you see everywhere because of the supposed "inevitability" of this destination.

Share this post. It will make all the right people angry.

Robert said...

Great work, Frank. I think we all need to be preparing ourselves for the persecution that is coming. We need to be prepared to turn the other cheek and suffer at the hands of a government that is going to become more lawless as the days go on.

I wonder if people have really worked out the trajectory of where all of this erotic liberty is headed. If you connect the dots, it seems inevitable that we are headed towards the type of culture that existed in Sodom and Gomorrah. When you remove all restraints upon sexual desire and expression, where else do you think we will wind up? What is sad is that no sane person will say that is what they want to happen, but they can't see that this is what will happen if we can't say some form of sexual desire is wrong (which the culture used to say of homosexuality).

David Regier said...

"Bake a cake for my wedding!!

"I don't know how to bake."


PuritanD said...


Thank you for this great article. It is well done, touching on many of these false notions and gross eisegesis.

SuzanneT said...

Brilliant, and helpful. "X"-tra helpful. :~)

Luke Wolford said...

Hello Frank, or should I call you Professor X?

Thanks for the article.

I shared this on FB and for some reason the text beside the picture of the sock puppet was the rules for posting a comment instead of text from the article. I don't know if you can change it but I would think that text from the article would get more people to click on a shared link.

Captcha had me picking images of beer. Does that mean this blog is going to go more toward craft beer than theology? ;)

FX Turk said...

If I could control Facebook, The "X" would stand for "Warlock."

FX Turk said...

I'm a little disappointed that this post has such a stale comments section. I thought it would make all the right people express their opinions.

Michael Coughlin said...

If I ever write a blog post and Phil Johnson comments, "Well done," please come shoot me if I'm not satisfied.

Frank - you're probably right, but ever since you restricted comments there's been a big trend away from long pyro threads. I think most of the opposers are playing elsewhere. Maybe that explains the lack of action?

And, in essence: you really didn't say anything you haven't said before, albeit maybe not so creatively.

Be content with food and clothing and let God handle the extent of the reach of this post...brother. :)

FX Turk said...

Phil always says, "Great Post."

Unknown said...

Hi, Frank. It's been a few years since I've read this blog. I had forgotten about it, although I can't figure out why since you all are really interesting folks. (I really mean that.) So I was so glad that someone directed me to this article. It really helped me because you got underneath ("unpacked" as you say) the situation to get to the bottom line. When one does that in a challenging situation, it makes the biblical response so much easier to understand. I really thank you for taking the time to put such a creative and meaningful article together. I've posted it on facebook and shared it with my young adult children. Keep up the good work!