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March 16, 2006



You claim to be a born-again Christian as well as a supporter of homosexuals. Just curious. Can you quote any verse from the Bible wherein God/ Lord Jesus/ the scripture writer advocates/extols homosexuality as a virtue.


Sam, I've visited this issue time and time again. The scriptural references to homosexuality in Leviticus, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and so on, do not refer to homosexual identity in the modern sense. There are no words of Jesus or the apostle that can be construed in clear opposition to same-sex unions.

As far as positive support is concerned, Jesus said nothing about birth control either -- doesn't stop a lot of Christian couples from using it. For that matter, his pronouncements about cell phones are also missing from Scripture.

If you'd like a Scriptural defense of same-sex unions, I can give you links. But that's not the topic of this thread.

The Gonzman

Well, speaking for me alone; if anything I was first harder on you because you were a man. Women, not being men, were entitled to not being able to put themselves in my shoes. You were a trator to manhood, and I think the term I used a few years ago was "Revoke your testicles."

That's changed, and the willingness to engage changed that. And I'm sure someone will regard me giving the benefit of the doubt to women and not you as condescending to women, but I won't win there no matter what I say.

Medium Dave

This was an interesting post, Hugo. While I'm not a church-going Christian, I try to incorporate many of the principles you're talking about into my own writing (which has been sporadic, but I'm also working on that). Like you, I aim to "speak" to as many people as possible, and I definitely want to reach my fellow men. But I've already had to confront the stark fact that not everyone can be reached.

To truly understand what Christiany is about, I believe, one must possess certain qualities such as faith and humility. These things can grow as you learn, but they have to be there in some measure to begin with. Similarly, to understand feminism it's necessary to have empathy, intelligence and courage. If one of these things is absent... especially empathy... it'll never take hold.


While I do think you sometimes give the MRAs too much latitude and credit, the folks at Pandagon are really on pretty shaky ground talking about civil debate and trolling. I recently stopped reading Pandagon because I just didn't want to deal with the sheer nastiness and invective in the posts anymore, and the actual comment threads are worse.


In my professional and avocational life, I'm dedicated to reconciling a vibrant, Scripturally-sound, faith in Christ with an unwavering commitment to feminist ideals of egalitarianism, autonomy, and justice. And because I am a man, I am particularly interested in challenging men to rethink their often hostile and suspicious responses to feminism.

Well, I’d say that “hostile and suspicious responses to feminism” used to pretty much describe my own take on Feminists. I’ve long had an interests in such things but my own perceptions were so clouded by the bad experiences I’ve had with a few of the women in my life over the years. And the sites like Ginmar’s and Pandagon just made that worse. I came here with a chip on my shoulder I guess.

And I came here after hearing your Glenn Sacks interview because I was genuinely curious what would make a man such an apologist for women. What planet was this guy from? How can he believe such drivel? What makes a man apologize for such spiteful and hateful rhetoric directed against him and other men.

And too, I was not an experienced blogger. I took a lot personally. I read a lot into posts that simply wasn’t there. I factored in my own experiences and I am sure, made a lot of the posts that some here complained about. Looking back, I’m grateful that you didn’t ban me, but I probably deserved it. But you were patient. Amazingly patient actually.

In the meantime, I managed to gain a lot of new insight into what women are thinking and feeling. Why there is anger and frustration. Why they were just as frustrated as I was. And in the process, I gained much from the self exam that you encouraged me to make. And I am grateful for that also. I will never be a Feminist. I could not adopt their total philosophy any more than I can stomach the MRA platform (that realization has been driven home for me the last couple of days). There are just too many extreme positions that I feel that I could not accept or respect. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have much to consider and much to learn about how to treat human beings and what it means to be a Christian. It will be a long road for me. I can only hope that the folks that post here will take that into consideration when they read my comments.

I know that no matter what I say, it will not appease the critics that have taken you to task. But know this. I have learned much here. I do have respect for what you have been trying to do. I’ve come to admire your willingness to work with men to make them better and stronger. I may disagree at times with the details of it, but I don’t believe for a second that you are not sincere. And that has given me much to think about.


Thanks, guys -- I'm glad we're in dialogue, and it validates my decision to be willing to "go to the mat" to stay in dialogue with you all.


I popped over from Pandagon and saw, first comment out of the box and your response to it, why people complain about your standards as a moderator.


Should I have not engaged Sam in dialogue? Or was I too snarky with him?

Medium Dave

That's exactly the problem, Hugo... you're not in dialogue with the trolls, despite what you'd like to think. They're just (if you'll pardon the expression) fucking with you, and you're letting them do it.


Medium, read what Gonz and Uzzah have had to say in this thread; I think we are in dialogue, and I rejoice in it.

The Gonzman

Dave, it is my philosophy, and has ever been, that when an idiot speaks, you give him a soapbox, and amicrophone, under the principle that those silent may be thought fools, why not let them open their mouth and remove all doubt? Besides, then they are in the open where you know where they are, what they are doing, and they can be pointed to, and laughed at; instead of in the corner, whispering, and leading the gullible astray.


I have appreciated and enjoyed your site, Hugo, for about a year. Thanks for addressing issues of faith, sexuality, and education. I think your blog is a great resource!

Mr. Bad

Like Gonz and Uzzah, I came over here after hearing you (and Barry/Amp) on the Glenn Sacks show (of note is the fact that I was slated to join you by telephone but a last minute scheduling snafu made it impossible). So instead I came over here to see what you were all about, and like Gonz, if anything I was prepared to be more harsh with you than women. (I've said this many times but it bears repeating: Male privilege is IMO a non-issue relative to female privilege, and the standards you described are just one example.) What I found here was a complex person who I still have a lot of trouble understanding and most of the time disagree strongly with, but you certainly are IMO the most decent and fair feminist/pro-femininst bloggers on the 'net. You and I will probably never agree with each on much of anything political, but I'd have you over to my home for dinner any time. I can't say the same for the likes of other feminist bloggers I've checked out.

I don't think that starting down the slippery slope of segregation and exclusion for some threads is a wise idea; that's antithetical to the marketplace of ideas and spirit of diversity that you've nutured here. People come here to debate all the issues in a candid and respectful manner; if they want "safe spaces" or echo chambers, there are plenty of places for that. What has become clear to me from my time here is that despite the rhetoric, the feminist community simply doesn't hold any real respect or commitment to the most important brand of diversity, i.e., diversity of thought and intellect, and you provide a refreshing and sorely-needed forum for this. Similarly, I don't feel that Alas is good model to emulate: Barry banned me from Alas simply based on what I wrote at another blog, StandYourGround - which I consider my home turf and a place where I should feel "safe" and comfortably - without even giving me the benefit of the doubt that I'm able to modify my behavior and do my best to make it appropriate for the space and audience. Therefore, he lost any respect that I may have had for his moderation style, sense of fairness and justice, committment to honest and open debate. Please Hugo, don't go that route; you and this space truly are unique.

As I said before, why are you concerned about what people like ginmar et al. think about you? After all, those are folks whose level of discussion and debate basically boils down to "fuck off, asshole - banned!" Such places are hardly worth browsing, let alone worrying about.

Medium Dave

So it comes down to this, Professor Schwyzer... between the voice that challenges you, and the voice that tells you what you want to hear, which one do you listen to?

The Happy Feminist

I have been watching this whole debate here and on various threads with great interest partly as a fan of this blog and partly as someone who seeks to model her management of comments on what has been accomplished here.

Until you actually go to war, I think there is always value in dialogue even with one's enemies. I WANT to know what people on the opposite side of the fence are thinking and feeling, and I WANT to tell them what I am thinking and feeling. Even if they are terrible people. Even if they don't respect me or my rights. Surely nothing BAD can come of talking and maybe, just maybe, some greater understanding will occur on both sides or maybe someone who is lurking will start to see things in a new way.

I like the idea of a smorgasbord of blogs. Some blogs are all about ridiculing the opposition and that can be enjoyable. Some blogs are for feminists only. And some blogs are for everyone. Personally, I enjoy commenting on patriarchal, anti-feminist sites. Maybe I would be considered a "troll" on their blogs but I have made some good cyberfriends among traditionalist women as a result of my trolling. I like to think that it might be harder for them to demonize feminists now that they have heard me out and I, in turn, have a learned a lot about the attractions of their lifestyle for them.


I completely buy that your choices and moderation policies are an outgrowth of your personality and various beliefs and commitments, and I respect that. I don't care much for this agressive policing of the boundaries of appropriate feminist message board policies.

However...I think there's a way in which your feminist critics have a point--it's that you (and I, seeing as how I engage them too sometimes) would probably be far less likely to politely and patiently engage the racial equivalent of the house MRAs. I know I would, and I don't much care for that disparity.

On the other hand, I don't think you have to worry about providing a platform for them.


Whoops, finishing my last thought....

...because I can't imagine, reading what you write and what they write, that they're winning converts to the cause. If anything, I expect they're doing more to undermine their cause than anything else. Gonzman's hand 'em a microphone principle is apt.

As a final point, I don't really worry about whether or not people I don't care to engage with are commenting at this blog or that blog. If I have a comment, or want to read the comments, I read the ones by the commenters I want to and skip the rest. Same goes for who I reply to. Long-winded, offensive comments are actually not that hard to ignore if you put your mind to it.

David Thompson

It's my unearned male privilege that leads so many to assume that I will somehow be more objective and dispassionate

What makes you think so? That's a very long leap to take.


You have no idea how much hope people place in you, Hugo. Before your class, I didn't know any men cared about women's issues. I didn't know any men who really tried to live out their feminism. I look at you sometimes in class, and I wonder: is this all an act? Is it all bullshit? Because I want so badly to believe that there are men out there who care, and if it's just a front, that's really going to hurt. So I guess what I'm telling you, Hugo, is please be real."

(...) So it's no wonder that when I make decisions that others find mysteriously incompatible with my professed ideals (such as the decision to encourage dialogue between feminists and men's rights advocates), some folks react with anger and disappointment.

Speaking only for myself, this has absolutely nothing to do with why I found your recent posts so frustrating. It is a complete red herring. Every man I count as a friend in real life is a feminist, and there's no shortage of them. Of course it is a combination of luck, social/class factors, and geographical location that allows me to say this, but nevertheless, it is true: You are not, as a male feminist, some kind of wondrous mythical beast to me, and I do not hold you to higher standards than I do other feminists, or other people. With no insult intended, you are not a focus for blog readers' hopes and dreams.

The one bit of male privilege you seem most reluctant to abandon (by asserting that it cannot be abandoned) is the conviction that what you say matters more than what others (read: women) say. There are times when, through no fault of your own, this is true, as in your class, but I do not believe that this applies in the blogosphere, and I don't think it serves as any explanation for the difficulties you have with some other feminists. It just isn't the issue at all.

Michael Flood

Hugo, I'm thrilled that you're in the world and taking up space in the blogosphere. Having added your blog to the links on XYonline ages ago, I've finally come back to actually having a regular read of your blog. It's great stuff. I tend to ignore the blogosphere, partly out of ignorance, partly out of lack of time, and partly because of some prejudice that its contents are less valuable or legitimate than what I might read in an academic journal or a newspaper. But I can see that there's some valuable political work being done here.


michael flood.


Michael, thank you so much -- you're a constant inspiration to me. All the best!


Hugo: I must say I really appreciate what you're doing. The forum, and the discussion. I've learned a lot about myself, and my feminism: and I've been exposed to folks whose ideas are worlds apart from the (admitted/spoken) ideas of people I know personally. I find it very helpful.

For me your discussion boards are extremely useful, but I think due to the nature of the issues they are sometimes going to be hurtful to people. You're brokering a discussion between Israel and Palestine, here; that's a tough place to be. But I honour your respect of both voices. I don't know if any good will come of it in the long run: it's a hope that must be taken on faith, and I always have that hope.


Well, I've been reading the latest threads with interest and have decided to throw in my two cents, just for the record.

I'm a longtime reader (well over a year, I think) and occasional commenter. I really enjoy your blog and your perspective, Hugo. Up until about 2 months ago I religiously read every post and then every single comment with great interest (I'm an obsessive compulsive type). Now, I continue to read every post, scan the comments to confirm that they're all written by MRAs/anti-feminists, shake my head, and wander off. It saves me a lot of time but it sure is a shame.

(Having just read the last few posts, it's amazing the difference in commenters, as compared to a few months ago. It seems to be all men, all the time now, and I agree with what other feminists have said about how that affects women's participation in your blog.)


David Thompson: He thinks that because people have told him, in so many words, that they think he's more objective and that what he says is more important because he's a man. In other words, (some) people listen to him because of his Y chromosome, which he did not earn, rather than because he's done the hard work of showing himself to actually be a fair and thoughtful teacher. This is a perfect example of privilege.

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