hmmm.. leave it to a conversation like this to drag me out of the woodworks.
First, let me commend you all for staying fairly civil.
Second, lets remember that a broad brush rarely if ever, paints a suitable picture.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist household, and we were raised to take the Bible at face value. I have always been a skeptic when it comes to fantastic things (though I want to believe).
I have several friends who are homosexuals, and I can tell you w/o a doubt in my mind that I care for them all equally, or at the very least, equally to how much i did before i knew they were gay.
That does not however mean that I find their lifestyle appropriate, or condone it. I neither accept it, reassure it, or give it any manner of positive re-enforcement. My friends know where I stand, they accept me for who I am and love me, just as I love them. There is something about them i don't particularly care for, and my dislike of it, is something about me they don't particularly care for either.. kind of balances out.. it's.. equal i gues.
Marriage - was setup in Judeo Christian Culture to be between a man and a woman. I still believe this, and while i have no problem w/ gay couples getting together in whatever type of relationship they want, I don't think it has to be called marriage.
I equate this to be SIMILAR to that young lady who forced her way into the CITADEL a while back, why did a woman feel a need to force her way into an all male institution? just because a 'boys' club exists doesn't mean it's wrong or sexist, discriminatory or hateful. there are good reasons for these seperations, and i don't think i ever recall a guy forcing his way into a womans school.. (he'd probably be labled as a perv).
Lets also face it, a man/man woman/woman relationship won't ever be equal to a man/woman relationship for the simple reason that call it what you will, as intimate as you may be capable of being, it will not produce a biological child, a component of both mother and father, which when you get right down to the metaphysical mumbo jumbo is the fusion of two people into one. You can perhaps adopt, and that in itself is a noble and honorable thing, and it will produce much the same result, but that child would be brought into your lives by a court system, compassion, and many other things, but not between that ultimate union that a man and woman can share. (Please note, I am not knocking adoption or minimizing the love and relationships created by it, there are 5 adopted kids in my family.)
point, until we can put a uterous in you, it's not equal. Why can't the heterosexual world have something of it's own? why must an institution that we hold sacred be shared in that way. because you want it? really? I want stuff too, but my wants arent right becuase they exist.
It's strange to me that a culture that is all about celebrating it's differences from the rest of us desires so much for this 'word' to be theirs too, it really is a matter of acceptance over law.
I think the homosexual community has made great strives in the last 50 years. Since the fall of the Roman Empire, homosexuality has been repressed, reviled, and shunned, and in the last 50 it has become so accepted that a vast portion of society doesn't care. that's a lot of progress, it's frankly quite amazing. not saying you should be happy w/ it. or even to slow down, but pointing out that just because many attitudes can be changed and conventions altered so rapidly, does not mean you should expect everything to fall before you like you were Alexander marching on persia.
and a few key points.
1) there is quite a bit of evidence for a global flood, not only is it mentioned by nealry every culture on earth, but there is physical evidence itself, Mt. Arrarat for instance has ball lava formations on top of it (not as old as the mt), ball lava only forms under water. Also, it has been scientifically proven that every race on the planet could have risen from one common race within 5 generations.
2) Um, the exedous did happen. it is not a disputed fact, it is documented not only in non-religious texts of the hebrew nation, but by the egyptians as well. Historians have established links, such as egyptian documents that not only recount the drowning of a pharonic army, but references to the plauges of egypt as well. Also, the ancient Hebrew people were a nomadic warrior society, it is now commonly heald in academia that the hebrew people originally arrived in egypt as hired mercenaries and maintained a strong discipline throughout their 'enslavement'. they have even found ridges of land in several seas that could be exposed easily by wind in years of drought allowing save passage across them (not the red sea however if i remember correctly.)
As for a young earth, well, that is hard to swallow, but there is a significant amount of evidence that does, if nothing else, shoot holes all through the structure that supports evolution. data can be read many ways by many people, interpretation of data is more of an art i think than a science.
The most interesting thing about this topic, is where it went, and so fast... originally it was about the ethics of a church denying a memorial service to a serviceman who was gay. I personally think the church made a comittment, and should have stuck w/ it no matter how they felt. now this young man will not be remembered for what he did in life, or how he died, but for the controversy surrounding his death. how sad.
I know this, I won't think of him as gay, or a controversy, the highest honor he can be given, is to remember that he served his nation loyally and dutifully, and put himself in harms way for the rights of others, some of which, he himself did not even enjoy.