Why Jesus’s two great commandments can’t be at odds with each other

The New Testament offers strong evidence that the two great commandments are inseparable. Here’s the story:

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35–40)

Jesus responds to the lawyer’s attempt to trip him up by referencing the most widely-known excerpt from the Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy 6, or the Shema, the prayer recited morning and evening by practicing Jews to this day.

By my reading, Jesus directly challenges the lawyer’s assumption that there can even be one great commandment, affirming that loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is “like unto” the first (love here meaning more than feeling or sentiment, but action, preference etc.).

Much hinges on the meaning of “like unto it” (Greek: homoios). It can mean “resembling, and it can mean equivalent to. Strong’s Concordance says the usage in this verse means “equivalent in authority,” in other words, they are equally important.

Jesus wants his Jewish listeners to remember that their own prophets insisted the law is more than obedience and ritual practices directed to God, but is wrapped up in how people treat each other. God demands “mercy” not merely “sacrifice” (ie, the fulfilling of ritual practices, Hosea 6:6).

Isaiah was more specific:

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks…When ye come to appear before me,… Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity,…Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:11–18)

Jesus offers a stunning, elegant, beautiful, and totally Jewish response to the challenger’s question. It seems to me Jesus is skillfully using a Hebrew rhetorical device, parallelism, to affirm, explain, and amplify the first commandment (love God) with instruction about how to fulfill it (love neighbor as self).

This interpretation is strengthened by other New Testament verses, like when Jesus outlines the logistics of the final judgment and directly says the way we treat others is literally how we treat God, and is the rubric we’ll be judged by:

“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt 25:36–40).

See also the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5) where Jesus clarifies that neighbor includes “enemy,” which the parable of the good Samaritan also echoes. Note that parable was elicited by similar adversarial questioning as reported in Luke (thank you Elisa).

And Jesus identified love toward each other as the defining characteristic by which people could recognize the Christian community (“by this shall people know you are my disciples…” John 13:34-35).

Other New Testament texts confirm this reading. Consider 1 John 4:20, which says it’s impossible to love God and also hate a brother.

Yes, we can talk more in depth about what love toward another person consists of, how love is shown, the role of a person’s intention in that love, and things like that. But by my reading of the text, and as Michael Austin recently wrote, the fulfilling of the “first” commandment is impossible without fulfilling the second—it is, in fact, the key to how the first is fulfilled. It is the accusing lawyer who wants to prioritize or assume that there is one great commandment. It is the accuser’s faulty logic that the first can be fulfilled apart from the second, or that it exists in tension with other commandments.

As with other questioning-accuser scenes in the New Testament, Jesus’s reply demonstrates the faulty logic of the questioner and overturns the premise of the question. What’s the greatest commandment? There’s two. Love God, love others as yourself. Everything—”the law and prophets”—hangs on them. Together. They’re like the oars of a rowboat. Using one oar would keep us spinning in circles. Add the second oar and they both become operative to move our boat forward together.

*art by Rivka Korf Studio
**See also Elisa, “Oaks, Love Laws, and The God of Small Things,” Wheat and Tare, Sept. 15, 2022.


  1. Have you recently come across someone saying that they are at odds with each other?

  2. Val Halla says:

    I’d say it is probably easier to love God than to love another person, especially, when that person has harmed us, threatens our identity, or simply is very different from us.

    I agree that we can’t love God without also loving literally “all man” (2.Nephi 30:20). But what I have seen is that we often downgrade others from being worthy of our love. “Because she did […], I don’t have to love her.” “Because he is […], he is unworthy of being loved. He must repent first, THEN I will love him again.”

    It is a visious strategy we employ to disconnect the two great commandments from each other and still feel like we are fulfilling them.

  3. I believe that I am called to love my neighbor, although I like to think in terms of mercy and compassion because “love” is complicated and potentially confusing in modern usage. I find no reason for caution or qualification about the call to mercy and compassion. No limit.

    Therefore, I agree with the main thrust of your argument, Blair. And Michael Austin’s argument in other places. However, I am cautious about overstating the case when it comes to Matthew 22:39 and the phrase “the second is like unto it” (KJV). I understand homoios can mean equal or same as, and that is frequently argued as the meaning in verse 39. However, I understand that as an argument, not a certainty. The word can also be used as in a simile or a comparison with like appearance that does not require equality or identity.

    The header says “can’t be at odds.” The body of the OP says “equally important” and “equivalent in authority.” It seems to me that equality is an unnecessarily high bar. I would stick with the argument that the two great commandments cannot be at odds, or that there is no sense in which mercy and compassion and love of my neighbor can be in conflict with loving God. Of that I am fully on board.

  4. Jader3rd, do you even general conference? Ever heard the name “Dallin H. Oaks”?

    Not trying to self-promote but I wrote a whole blog post on this same topic and I don’t want to regurgitate. If you’re interested, I (a lawyer myself, in a lawyerly way) argue that the idea that the two commandments conflict is (1) inconsistent with the plain language of those specific scriptures, (2) inconsistent with Jesus’s further explanation of what he means by that statement, and (3) produces bad policy results.

    Oaks, Love Laws, and The God of Small Things

  5. Buffalo Pete says:

    Great post. I don’t think most people will disagree with anything you said. The tricky part, as you allude to, is figuring out what it means to “love others.” This seems to be what sparks most of the debates over the two great commandments. For example, does loving others mean jettisoning adherence to or advocacy for God’s law, even when the others we are to love do not believe in the law or are offended by it. I think Church leaders have worked hard to suggest that the best way we love others is by strictly adhering to the law and encouraging them to do the same, as appropriate.

  6. Buffalo: “For example, does loving others mean jettisoning adherence to or advocacy for God’s law, even when the others we are to love do not believe in the law or are offended by it.”

    God’s law is love, though. Everything else has to be interpreted through the lens of love, everything else “hangs” on the two great commandments.

    Elisa, I will go and read! Thanks for linking.

    christiankimball: I like this: “there is no sense in which mercy and compassion and love of my neighbor can be in conflict with loving God.”

  7. Buffalo Pete says:

    BHodges: I understand what you are saying. What I was trying to get at is that in today’s world there are different, sometimes competing, ideas as to what “love” means and how that “love” is manifest. For example, Christ spoke of manifesting love by keeping the commandments — not just the two great ones — and by making sacrifices. Thus, some today argue that we show “love” to others by asking them to change, do hard things and to adhere to God’s other laws – even when making such requests would seem hard or be offensive to others. Elsewhere, as christiankimball notes, the scriptures speak of love in terms of compassion or mercy. Relying on those scriptures, some today argue that we show “love” by accepting others as they are and not focusing on whether they adhere to God’s law or asking them to change. Thus, even when one agrees that everything should be interpreted through the lens of love, people reach different results.

  8. Buffalo Pete says:

    BHodges: I’ll also note that it seems clear where the Brethren fall in this debate. I think all would agree that we love God by loving our neighbor. When they speak of putting the “first commandment first,” I think it is always in terms of that being the best way to show love to others. In other words, we are best able to love and help others by first focusing on our relationship with God.

  9. I’m going to set aside the question of whether the two laws are equally important or equivalent, but I’d suggest that assuming they are equal in importance, there is still a distinct order between the two of them: the first is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. That seems important to me because, while I agree that the reality is that there is never truly a conflict between loving others and loving God, it can sure seem that way, and the order of operations is to determine what it takes to love God, and then to determine what we should do to love others, keeping in mind that the second will not conflict with the first. Reversing the order runs the risk of accomplishing neither.

  10. christiankimball,

    I like what you say. I’ve always thought of the phrase “and the second is like unto it” with the Savior’s parable of the sheep and the goats in mind:

    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

  11. I’ve always seen a latter-day saint exaltation connection with these concepts.

    Love God, love your neighbor, serve God, serve your neighbor. The worth of souls is great. As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may become.

    It would seem any denigrating of your fellow man is afront to what God once was.

  12. Dsc: “Reversing the order runs the risk of accomplishing neither.”

    Yes–or at least not doing the latter as well as we might otherwise.

  13. Dsc: “Reversing the order runs the risk of accomplishing neither.”

    In my proposed reading you literally can’t reverse the order. The first is fulfilled via the second. As the context I provided above suggests.

  14. Buffalo, I see it differently. People can fulfill the greatest commandment via the second great commandment without even formally believing in God.

  15. Blair,

    That sort of ignores the difficulty that can arise. Yes, we love God by loving others. But what does it take to love someone? We can be tempted to believe that loving others requires reducing their discomfort or supplying their immediate wants. But clearly, it’s not love to enable another’s sin. At the same time, love doesn’t require standing in judgment of another when you’re not in a position to do so. For example, a parent has a solemn obligation to correct bad behavior in their child. A parent may therefore love their child by causing temporary discomfort. The child may even accuse the parent of lacking love.

    Our interactions with other people are complex, and it’s hard to tell what loving others requires. When such uncertainty arises, we can determine what actions constitute love by considering only conduct that will allow us to keep covenants with God. Of course, there’s a danger in believing that loving God releases us from our obligation to love others, so we have to also remember that loving God will never require withholding love from others, but the order is, I believe, significant.

  16. Just when you think you have a grip on this… Jesus goes and commands us to love our enemies.

  17. I can’t think of a commandment or covenant related to my neighbor’s choices and behavior other than to love them. I don’t see how a conflict can arise, where an ordering makes a difference.

    The question of where and when correcting someone might actually be loving them is a rational discussion. I bet my standards are very different than some commuters here, but I can acknowledge some complexity. However, none of that discussion is about loving God or not. An appeal to what might be right or wrong for my choices and my actions to apply that rule to others is not persuasive. Abstract notions of right and wrong don’t sell me.

    I’m supposed to love them, and if I can’t frame a decision as about loving them, the real flesh and blood human being in real time and place — not God or the Church or some abstract ideal — it’s off the table.

  18. What follows is a more laborious way of getting to what I think is the point christiankimball just made. I’ll put it here anyway, in case it helps someone to see it this way.

    If we try to prioritize loving God ahead of loving people, love of God quickly morphs into love of an idea or love of a principle. One can’t distinguish love of God from love of a neighbor except by pointing to some higher principle that represents God. When we start loving a principle as a stand-in for God, there is no way to avoid selecting the ideas and principles that we prefer to represent God. At that point, we are reshaping God in our image.

    In our relationship with a person, the concrete presence of the person means this mistake is harder to make. The persistent realities of the actual person will always push back against our attempts to reduce the person to a principle, a category, or a pigeonhole. When we love a real person, the person’s actual needs always keep insisting that we pay attention to the person as they are, not as we wish they were. People are much less malleable than principles.

    I think it’s a poor judgment to believe that some abstract principle must dictate how we treat others. The only way to love is to respond to what a person needs. The only way you can find out what a person needs is by looking the person in the face and knowing them.

  19. Loursat, you often say what’s on my mind but better. Thank you for this.

  20. Thanks for that Loursat!

  21. J. Mansfield says:

    A blog comment I read elsewhere yesterday:
    “Your speech is violence. My violence is speech.”

  22. J. Mansfield, you’ll need to be more specific. I don’t see how your comment connects to the post or the subsequent comments.

  23. MDearest says:

    My goodness, what sweet water for a parched thirst I barely knew I had. Thank you, and for the good comments generated by this.

    During the Prop 8 period, I wrestled with this very issue as I was challenged by reconciling rhetoric about the first great commandment I’d picked up somewhere, with boots on the ground relationships — actual dear friends who were marrying before the law changed. I came to my internal understanding via an intentional decision to strictly obey the second great commandment. And eventually I knew by experience that there was no conflict between the first and second great commandments given us in scripture. This analysis adds knowledge and logic to that experience, and is most appreciated.

  24. MDearest,
    Can you elaborate about the perceived dissonance between the first and second commandment in the case of gay friends getting married?

    Is the suggestion by some that loving God means you can’t view the actions of someone else you love as a mistake?

    I think the classical way of looking at this, and indeed during the Saviors time was there was a tension between knowing and following God’s law and how we treat people in a society/church/family to choose not to.

    The Savior came and cleared that up very painfully. But is anyone here suggesting the only way (or the best way) to view these two commandments is through a paradigm that would view gay marriage as equally “righteous” and beneficial all God’s children as hetero marriage?

  25. Sute: “Is the suggestion by some that loving God means you can’t view the actions of someone else you love as a mistake?”

    Speaking for myself, I would say no. I think it’s possible to love people who you fundamentally disagree with on things like whether hetero-patriarchal supremacy is God’s will. I think it’s possible to show that love in action. I think love sometimes calls for us to openly disagree with a loved one, or to take actions that reduce or mitigate harms caused by their decisions. Suppose a loved one was addicted to drugs. Should I “support” them in doing something that so harms their physical and mental health? I would say no, of course. I would try harm reduction, interventions, and other means to help them, even if they don’t “want” to change. And this is the crux for people who oppose gay marriage, etc. They believe there’s something fundamentally sinful, evil, harmful in same-sex intimacy, and that allowing for it, encouraging it, or supporting it is therefore fundamentally harmful. I understand the impulses behind their opposition to queer life. I just don’t think they’re right to oppose queer life like that.

    So I’m not entirely different from people who want to parse the two great commandments in ways that allow for discrimination against queer people and their relationships: I believe they are wrong, I believe I can try to change their mind for their own benefit because I love them.

    But I also believe the power dynamics are very different. By inviting a cis-het person to accept same-sex intimacy or trans identities as acceptable, even beloved, in God’s sight I’m not asking them to deny their own sexual orientation, expunge their marriage or relationships, or otherwise impede their options of experiencing love. The same can’t be said for people who uphold a patriarchal hetero supremacism whose beliefs would stop others from experiencing romantic, sexual, and in some cases even platonic love and intimacy.

  26. Loursat, brilliantly expressed. The challenge, which you have stated quite well is, it’s often difficult if not impossible to detect when we have gravitated towards paying obeisance to the principle more than actual people.
    I see our allegiance to idea and principle shining through in how set church policy, govern and administer “blessings”.

    Case in point, The Sacrament.

    Why do we have policy that requires gatekeeping of Christ’s supposed infinite grace and mercy?

    I have long wrestled with how we reconcile our modern measurement and requirement of worthiness with what seems, so plainly, to be happening during Jesus’ ministry. Namely, the woman with the issue of blood is just one case of dozens where this same principle bears itself out.

    Is not our requiring a prior cleansing (wothiness) the equivalent to the Jewish tradition demanding that this woman be cleansed “first”? before she is worthy to approach Jesus? Their cultural law assumes that her uncleanliness will steal away the virtue held by the supposed righteous, or in this case, Jesus himself. Jesus proves the exact opposite is true. His virtue, strength and healing power has the power to overcome her uncleanliness. Why then would we not assume that the Sacrament is the equivalent to touching the hem of Jesus’ robe?

    The Sacrament is not a prize to be won, it’s an invitation to be part of the body of Christ, it’s something to be received. And our capacity to become like him is predicated on our receiving his Grace. We don’t invite people to this sacred communal meal because they have risen to some arbitrary level of personal purity. Performed in this way, our Sunday ritual becomes more a way to signify to fellow saints the story we want them to believe about us. It’s a story that projects the parts of me that are worthy of praise and obsesses and suppresses the weakness that contains the greatest sealing power.

    If partaking of the Sacrament begins with the idea that I am good, then the whole ordinance carry’s the danger of using it to signify our own worthiness to one another. In short, we have already lost the infinite nature of Christ’s sacrifice by reducing it to a medicine only available to those who first prove they are worthy. This is backwards, and furthermore obscures our focus during the sacrament, centering it first on fixing my flaws as a way to deserve his infinite love. Additionally, if I am consumed with my own flaws and sins, what is stopping me from fixating on the darkness in others?

    We invite them because we love them, and we have agreed, by way of covenant, to share life’s weakness, to bare each other’s imperfections, and to care for even the least of these.

  27. Thanks for the article. I think it’s important not to leave off the “as thyself” part in “love thy neighbor as thyself”. One of the ways I interpret this is as not claiming privileges for myself that I would deny to other people. If we define ‘the good life’ as marriage and family, I don’t think I can love my neighbor and deny them the right to those things.

  28. “Is the suggestion by some that loving God means you can’t view the actions of someone else you love as a mistake?”

    If the only reason you view those actions as a mistake is because someone else told you to and you have chosen to prefer that to the words and life of the someone you love, maybe you don’t love them as much as you thought you did?

  29. J. Mansfield says:

    Mr. Hodges wrote that he did not see how my short comment yesterday morning connected with his post. Blog posts like this one strike a universal stance of loving everyone, but they aren’t really about that. The authors are just drumming up compassion for those they already favor, and there are a dozen well-worn justifications why the compassion they are promoting should only be directed at those favored targets.

    It would have been 1995, I was back home visiting with a couple of childhood friends, Miles and Gary. Miles brought up his desire to help a couple of our old friends who were in prison at the time. One was in for drug distribution. The other had murdered his infant son. Gary felt rather bitter about our friend having murdered his child and wanted nothing to do with Miles’ idea of reaching out to the murderer in prison. Almost all of us are more like Gary than like Miles. In all my years I have never visited or written anyone in prison.

    On the surface Wednesday’s essay is about not being afraid that loving someone living a life at variance with the commandments of God somehow will also put us at variance with God. We should love greedy, dishonest thieves who scam people or carry away anything not guarded and tied down. We should love obnoxious racists. We should love philandering Congressmen. We should love murderers of infants and not think that loving them somehow could mean that we don’t love God (or infants). Do I miss my guess though, that our dealings with the thieves and racists and philanderers and murderers where not much on your mind, and that the point of Wednesday’s essay is really no more than to promote acceptance of homosexuality, or at least the silence of those who will not accept it?

    If my guess is off, then I recommend the Killers’ 2021 album Pressure Machine, or as I call it, “Eleven Songs about Nephi, the Town in Juab County.” There is a lot of love in that one for people leading lives at variance with the commandments of God, and it rewards an uninterrupted hour listening from end to end.

  30. BHodges,

    My kids are part of a generation that (generally speaking) doesn’t have a problem with the idea of queer intimacy–they’re not put off by it. Even so, they believe the church’s teachings on chastity and marriage & family to be inspired. And so, that (IMO) puts them in the position of having to place God’s wisdom above their own with respect to whether or not they should advocate equality for LGBTQ members in the church.

    That said, I want to make it clear that the situation I describe (above) isn’t about love (per se) so much as it is about loyalty. I think there are times when our loyalty to God serves as a “check” of sorts to our compassionate behavior towards our neighbors. Because it is possible for us to be overzealous in our efforts to salve every wound inflicted on humanity.

    That (and that) being said–it’s not that we love our neighbors any less when we allow the Lord’s counsel to check our inclination to be supportive of behavior (on their part) that is contrary to the church’s teachings. We still love them–perhaps even more so. But if we set aside the Lord’s wisdom and allow our own sensibilities to be the sole guide for how we ought to love our neighbors we may, in fact, being doing more harm than good–though it may not be apparent in the moment.

    The first commandment must come first–if for no other reason than it informs us as to how we may best serve our neighbors.

  31. your food allergy says:

    ” . . . the Lord’s counsel to check our inclination to be supportive of behavior (on their part) that is contrary to the church’s teachings.”

    Jack, what specific counsel is this referring to?

  32. Mr. Mansfield: You do “miss your guess.” I’m even supposed to love passive-aggressive blog commenters who ignorantly or purposefully use outdated stigmatizing terms like “homosexual.” It’s probably the most difficult of gospel principles to live. And everything else hangs on it.

    Jack: I think there are times when our loyalty to God serves as a “check” of sorts to our compassionate behavior towards our neighbors.

    I think there are times when our “loyalty” to God (or the church’s declarations about God) is actually misplaced unloving human prejudice that runs exactly counter to God’s will or wisdom even when we are absolutely convinced otherwise. What serves as a “check” on that possibility for you? I’m sure I don’t have to run down the long history of people committing outright atrocities, even against their consciences, under the demands of misplaced and misguided loyalty.

  33. Many church members, it seems, have changed Jesus promise, “the truth will set you free,” to “the church will set you free.” They will argue it’s the same thing, but when the Church and its members favor dubious logic and unwillingness to confront facts over loyalty to the Church, when, then, they’ve made Church their God. Currently, the practice isn’t about loving God, our letting others worship how, where, or what they may, it’s about loyalty to the Church and legislating our beliefs upon others. As we’ve recently heard, Church now replaces Christ.

  34. Brian, amen to that. We often look to the recurring stories of Idolatry in the Old testament in disbelief, like, how stupid can these people be that they keep returning to these dumb idols.
    And yet, our entire Temple recommend interview, masquerading as a worthiness checkup, is primarily about testing “Loyalty”.
    It’s become more about affiliation than spiritual growth. We talk ad nauseum about our testimony of the gospel, how we believe the “church” is true.
    But it all holds a tone of moral superiority, and the fearful messgage of what will happen if your are not affiliated.

  35. We should love greedy, dishonest thieves who scam people or carry away anything not guarded and tied down. We should love obnoxious racists. We should love philandering Congressmen. We should love murderers of infants and not think that loving them somehow could mean that we don’t love God (or infants).

    I mean, you’re not wrong, but how serious is the problem of not loving the kind of people you refer to? After all, many Americans have no problem at all loving many of those you list above—we support their unprovoked invasions of neighboring countries, dismiss war crimes committed by our putative allies in the culture wars, emulate their behavior in public and private, invite them to address large audiences, donate money to their causes, purchase their products, support their candidacies and undermine efforts to prosecute their crimes. I know the people you have in mind are not loved universally, so if your point is that we can do better—well, point taken.

    Speaking of which, American bloodlust for the kind of criminals we are inclined to put on death row probably could use some tempering, especially in light of our poor track record of determining guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  36. Bhodges,
    Thank you for your considerate reply.
    To be clear, when you use the phrase sinful or evil to my (presumed) view of gay marriage, I want to be clear on the definitions. Anything sinful is something which detracts us from becoming like God. Anything that is evil, I would put as a burden (or a person) that, again, detracts us from becoming like God. These definition can be fleshed out a bit and I’m sure they can be refined, but I hope they are sufficient for charitable use the way I believe the Savior would use them. I don’t believe when the Savior said… “if you being evil….” was calling his listeners devilworshipping malevolent hitlermaniacs; the way we typically use the evil in our fairytale fashion.

    Rather, I look at evil and sin, again, as pretty much anything leading us away from becoming like our Father in Heaven. Aware of the common usage of “evil” and the connotation of “sin” I don’t often use those terms, because they have an almost racial-epithet like tone to them.

    In any case, the common argument is made that a gay marriage doesn’t affect me. Of course it does. It affects all of society. Trite hypothetical, but what trolley example isn’t afterall, but if someone went around destroying the reproductive capacity of everyone but my family, would have I reason to claim injury? Would it not adversely affect me? My children? And future generations? If instead of destroying, they massaged, persuaded, other forms of cultural weight and demagoguery to accomplish such an end, would I not also be affected? Yes.

    I don’t want to get fully into the argument of the gay gene, nature/nurture, hormones in pregnancy, etc. etc. All of those are interesting facets of people’s proclivities and choices as well as culture.

    I’d just say in short, it’s short sighted to suggest that the very fundamental activity that creates the the possibility of a society in the first place, and which is further required in perpetuity for society’s continuation is not out of bounds to question the ramifications on those actions in society. Does that mean strict regulation or just cultural norms? I’m not arguing for either right here. And my limited government nature would certainly oppose forced behavior.

    But take argument that one groups sexual behavior has no impact on the rest of society is both true in once sense, and very untrue when extrapolated at the margins.

    To whit – God wants his children to come to earth, have a body, and have the experience of repeating that process on their own, in his own way. That experience will not happen for everyone for variety of reasons. Actively choosing otherwise, where it is possible to do so is suboptimal.

    On one hand, you have people who say, culminate your life by becoming one with another gender, and creating new life with infinite potential, raising, supporting, and teaching those new lives.

    On the other hand, you have people saying, that’s not necessary for my fulfillment, I want to culminate my life by romance and activities I enjoy with the spouse/gender of my choosing.

    Ok. I think it’s possible to do good if you work intentionally at it with the latter. But it can never measure up to the eternal or even earthly generational potential of the former. When it comes to the gospel, you could look at it as the cursing of the fig tree. It had no fruit, and ultimately withered and died without blessing the world with it’s fruit and creating the possibility for it to carry on.

    Again, I recognize the natural debate approach is to argue the point and poke holes in the above example. I think that’s always doable. The reality and importance of bringing children into the world, the leavening that occurs in our own lives and that of the children when we do so, is far greater than just about any action or outcome that is typically voluntarily chosen when individuals claim a compulsion to do otherwise.

  37. Raymond Winn says:

    Sute – I wish to thank you for your latest considered response to this fraught question, and I also wish to add my thoughts in response. Your posit that marriage is PRIMARILY for bringing additional children into the world does seem to square with much of what we understand from our society, as well as past lore. But – at least in my estimation – that falls so far short of being what marriage is for that your argument simply makes me irritated, rather than providing support and understanding of your rationale. I speak as married man; our 5 children are now grown and are wonderful, productive members of society with flourishing families of their own. And yet – and yet – I would have been just as happy in my marriage, and just as happy here after nearly six decades within the arrangement, as if the subject of natural-born children had not been part of the whole operation. To say that removing the ability to naturally and mutually create additional humans to repopulate – and increase the population of – the planet makes gay marriage a ‘sinful’ act is simply untenable and unacceptable; I wish you could see that.

  38. Sute,

    Your argument doesn’t work for me either. Procreation isn’t one of the two great commandments. Therefore, it’s one of those things that hangs off of love of God and fellow man. (Parenthood sure feels like a practice in both. )

    Here’s my re-write of you paragraph using what the NT teaches:

    “On the other hand, you have people saying, I want to culminate my life by loving God and my neighbor by giving mercy and compassion to all of those with whom I have relationships or interact with in society.”

    Seems bigger to me than marriage and family regardless of type.

  39. BHodges:

    “I think there are times when our “loyalty” to God (or the church’s declarations about God) is actually misplaced unloving human prejudice that runs exactly counter to God’s will or wisdom even when we are absolutely convinced otherwise.”

    Of course. But don’t you think the opposite is true as well? That we sometimes believe our compassionate service towards others must automatically be God’s will because it is born of love? Sometimes we do more harm than good–like the child who wants to help his dad fuel up the car. So he sticks the garden hose in the receptacle and turns the water on. It’s done with the purest of intentions–but, boy, what a mess.

    And so, because some folks may use their poor interpretation of the first commandment as an excuse to fail at keeping the second commandment doesn’t mean that we should avoid keeping the first commandment altogether–and vice versa.

    That said, I want to make it clear that if we do err –and we will — that our default position should cause us to err on the side of compassion. But where there’s clear counsel that runs counter to our religious sensibilities we should at least think twice before proceeding with our intended actions towards others. We should remember that even though we are to love and serve our neighbors they are God’s children–and he knows what’s best for them.

    I’m not suggesting anything new here. There’s wisdom in keeping the two great commandments in their proper order–if for no other reason than God knows more than we do.

  40. ReTx:

    “Procreation isn’t one of the two great commandments.”

    I’d say, though, that following the Lord’s counsel on the subject is part and parcel of keeping the first great commandment.

  41. Raymond et al,
    Obviously people disagree. Even married people with kids.

    It doesn’t change the fact that none of them would exist without a couple people creating them.

    And the world and eternity is literally infinitely better with you in it than not. I wish you weren’t annoyed I felt that way. Because I’m confident God thinks so too, because here you are, and he’d rather you exist than not. I think a lot of people can be “happier” on a variety of dimensions without kids or after kids leave, or even differently happy and enjoy both phases of life.

    I still suggest the world is infinitely better with those people than not, and choices that would have never made them possible is not a choice God would make. I guess you can place me in the Saturday warrior musical camp.

    This is a tangent to some degree, but I think at the root it reflects the difference in understanding of doctrine or belief at the core. Loving our neighbor can still be done when we disagree with important choices, even ones that have very real consequences.

    Refusing to accept gay marriage as a sin, is a little bizarre. Throwing scare quotes around sinful gets at the issue. People want to make sins and evil be this Hitleresque bad guy accusation. “They can’t be sinful, they helped me when my house got flooded and are nice to my kids”. But they are good people we say, good people we don’t want to describe as sinful. Jesus has an answer for that… he said don’t even call him good, only call the father good. Sometimes I think he was just being a little contrarian to certain people for effect. But if he didn’t want the label good applied to him, I guess he wouldn’t have applied it elsewhere.

    He had no qualms telling people coming for healing their sins were forgiven, telling his closest followers that forsook all they have no faith because they feared drowning in a storm, and so on.

    The advocates who see all love and mercy are right to recognize the infinite compassion of God, but wrong in seeing there’s no high standard behavior.

    Do what you want in your personal life, just volunteer at the soup kitchen misses a big part of following and becoming like God; even though volunteering at the soup kitchen is important. Although I’d suggest that anyone who thinks volunteer charity is a greater work than bringing life into the world, patiently loving, raising, teaching, etc doesn’t fully understand charity.

  42. Sute, are you suggesting that societal embrace of same-sex relationships will significantly harm population growth? Or maybe you’re suggesting you would miss out on possible grandchildren if you have gay kids. Or maybe suggesting that child-rearing of genetic offspring is vital for optimal human development. Or some combination of the above.

    Adoption, fostering, surrogacy, and advances in reproductive technologies have all expanded my vision of what awesome families can look like. I won’t denigrate these family structures by asserting the supremacy of hetero-patriarchal nuclear “traditional” family structures. I say that as a person whose family seems to mirror that family structure. Declining birth rates have little to nothing to do with increasing societal acceptance of same sex relationships. I’ve seem no credible data suggesting otherwise.

    So much for sociological reasons. Religiously, I see sin in much the same way you do. I just disagree about what constitutes sin in this case. The typical understanding of the “plan of salvation” is that a male god and female god literally sexually procreated, producing spirit offspring which are then sent to a physical body as a means of advancement toward themselves becoming gods and procreating their own spirit offspring, etc. I believe Latter-day Saints have alternate theological options we can trace back to Joseph Smith. He presented a model of identity that says spirits always existed, that God found themselves in the midst of these intelligences and set about helping them advance by adopting them. Sexual procreation matters very much in this model, but not as a type for eternal life.

    Above all, it is the forging of relationships that matters, that is the site of gospel practice. A gay couple can experience such development as much as anyone. The sealing power was to unite everyone.

    This is just a snapshot, but it’s one among many possible outlines of the plan of salvation we LDS could adopt.

  43. BHodges, there’re some points that can be debated (IMO) in your response to sute. But as it relates to your OP–here we have an example of how keeping the two commandments in their proper order can serve to settle the issue.

    Of course, my claim is premised on whether or not the proclamation on the family is inspired. But if we take it for granted that it is inspired — for argument’s sake — then what we have is a situation where our loyalty to the first commandment trumps all sociological and theological arguments on the issue.

  44. Jack, suppose the church issued a Proclamation calling on us to drown all non-members. Your reading of the two great commandments would be much more ready to sustain such a Proclamation than my reading would be. I see big problems with that.

  45. BHodges,

    Let’s suppose that my reading of the two commandments positions me to be open to anything that I believe to originate from God. That being the case, if I were faced with the scenario that you describe above the first thing I’d do is try to find out if it indeed does originate from God–and then go from there.

    The problem with talking about these ideas hypothetically is that we tend to remove them from their cosmic context. And that doesn’t work very well when we’re faced with the reality of a living God–that is, if we try to negotiate living the gospel on any terms that exclude revelation. Revelation is the life blood of the gospel. And so when we build hypotheticals (vis-a-vis the great commandments) that don’t include that vertical connection–then we’re not getting the full picture.

    And so, continuing in that vein I might ask the same question about the proclamation on the family: does it originate from God? And here’s the “real” question as it relates to the OP: how will my bias towards the positioning of the two great commandments affect how I approach the all important question of getting my own revelation on the subject?

    On the one hand, we might look beyond the mark–believing that we already know that it’s inspired. And on the other hand, we might fail to reach the mark–believing that we already know that it’s *not* inspired. The former perhaps being a product of an overzealous commitment to the first commandment and the latter being a product of a similar attitude towards the second.

    That said, if we allow revelation to guide our actions and commitments then the two commandments take their proper order automatically. Because we are doing the Lord’s will–whichever way he directs us.

  46. kablooie says:

    Jack would have willingly volunteered to be the trigger-man at MMM

  47. In my case, if I had been the trigger-man at that horrible atrocity it would mean that I had allowed my fears and biases and perhaps even hubris to get in the way of the Spirit of Truth.

  48. kablooie says:

    Jack participating in MMM sounds a lot like Jack IRL

  49. I think this is a vast oversimplification an ignores wrestling with a number of sayings of Jesus such as Luke 14:26
    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple”

  50. I won’t deny that my fears, biases, and hubris, get in the way of the Spirit of Truth IRL. It’s a fearful thing to imagine that I might have been a Nazi in 1930’s Germany. Even so it’s my belief and hope that I’ll mature enough in the spirit of revelation to recognize the difference between what comes from above and what doesn’t.

  51. I have a few, mostly unrelated thoughts on this post.

    If the only reason for marriage is to have children, then my two marriages have been abject failures. My late wife was unable to have children, which made her a pariah in at least one ward we lived in. And my current wife, who is also widowed, is past the age where she could bring children into our marriage.

    We can all only guess what Elder (then President) Uchtdorf had in mind when he told us to stop judging people because they sin differently than we do. But I have a hunch that he wasn’t talking about drinking coffee.

    There are three things most people think they know about the Church: we have lots of wives, we hate “the gays,” and we hate the blacks. If we really followed both commandments, public perception of us would be vastly different.

  52. Jack: “Let’s suppose that my reading of the two commandments positions me to be open to anything that I believe to originate from God. That being the case, if I were faced with the scenario that you describe above the first thing I’d do is try to find out if it indeed does originate from God–and then go from there.”

    I’d tell that god to do their own dirty work. From the jump.

  53. BHodges,

    Well you have constructed a bit of a strawman. I don’t think anyone here really believes that God would require us to do such a terrible thing. But be that as it may, my point was to point out that keeping the first two commandments doesn’t really make sense in purely ethical terms. There must be revelation. And when we allow revelation to have the final word–then that automatically places the two commandments in the order that we find them in the scriptures.

  54. As I explained at length, the “first” is fulfilled through the “second.” Forever, the end.

  55. There’s no question that the Savior suffered the excruciating weight of the atonement because of his love for us. But even so, he endured the *manner* of suffering that was placed upon him because of his love for the Father.

    So too the order of the two commandments suggests that while it is expected of us to love our neighbors–it is also expected that we will love them in the manner that the Lord prescribes.

  56. I have a bit of a different take, and just kind of thinking out loud on this one, so we’ll see…

    Given that it is a lawyer sent to test Jesus according to their law, Jesus’ response may be more geared toward showing the inadequacy and inherent contradictions in their law, and the need for a new law, rather than trying to actually set a moral equivalency of two commandment over or encompassing all other laws.

    Many of the leaders, it seems, understood their duty of loving God as following all of his commandments, no matter how large or small. But they couldn’t do it according to their laws – not perfectly, at least, and I think Jesus was demonstrating the inability to keep all of these laws, not only in this interaction with the lawyer, but in his ministry. He went about healing on the Sabbath… loving his brother with all of his heart, but also (apparently) not loving God due to his breaking a major component of the Law of Moses.

    He had purposely put himself in a double bind, perhaps. If he hadn’t healed, he wouldn’t have been loving his brother with all of his heart, and if he did, he wasn’t loving God – according to their law. Meaning, God himself demonstrated that even he couldn’t keep the Law of Moses as it was then taught and understood.

    The law, originally intended as something to remind the people of God (see Abinadi’s discourse), had become so grotesque in practice that this same law prevented the people from recognizing God when he was among them. It was literally doing the exact opposite of what it was intended to do, and it is for this reason that Jesus needed to fulfill it and create a new law.

    So, the debate about which of the two great commandments is more important if push came to shove or how they are or are not equivalent, or how one keeps one by doing the other, might be moot and not worth the effort. Under the new law that Jesus was bringing, the original question from the lawyer, let alone the answer, probably doesn’t make much sense anyway.

  57. “But even so, he endured the *manner* of suffering that was placed upon him because of his love for the Father.”

    I don’t get what you are saying here. It reads as if Jesus would have chosen a different manner to fulfill the Atonement if He hadn’t put loving God before His love of /sacrifice for humanity…?

    I guess for me, loving mankind, sacrificing for mankind is the ultimate proof of His love of God. (2nd Commandment is 1st commandment in action.) But I’m thinking you might disagree with that based on the discussion…?

  58. Jack, I can’t find your expressed theology in the New Testament. Even if it was there, we could still say Jesus fulfilled the first commandment by fulfilling the second.

  59. WW: “…showing the inadequacy and inherent contradictions in their law, and the need for a new law, rather than trying to actually set a moral equivalency of two commandment over or encompassing all other laws.”

    I tend to see Jesus calling the people back to an underlying Hebrew Bible ethic in his teachings. I recommend checking out the Jewish Annotated New Testament.

  60. ReTx,

    Maybe I’m reading too much into the text. When the Savior says, “not my will, but thine be done,” it could be that he’s telling the Father that he’ll go through with it *period* rather than he’ll go through with it even though there may be other options.

    Even so, the Savior appeals to the father for the cup to be removed *only if it’s possible*. So whether that means, “if there’s another way,” or, “if there’s a way out,” it is still an admission that he was willing to do the whole thing the Father’s way.

    That said, I agree that keeping the second commandment ought to be a fulfillment of keeping the first. Even so, the Lord knows what’s best for his children–and so it should follow logically that his disciples will place their loyalty to his wisdom above their own with regard to how minister to his children.

  61. BHodges,

    “Jesus fulfilled the first commandment by fulfilling the second.”

    I’d say that he fulfilled the first commandment by keeping the second commandment in the manner that the Father prescribes.

  62. WW,

    The Savior gave his disciples a new commandment–which was to love one another the way that he loved them. What that does (IMO) is broaden the scope of the commandment so that we try to love others the way that God loves them rather than as ourselves. IMO, that implies that we learn how to love others the way God does to the degree that we come to know him–as per John 17.

  63. I would like to comment that love is not one thing. The Greek three types of love, eros, philios, and agape, are examples. But there are more. Could something like loyalty be like love? Could always remembering and considering? Could fear drive love?

    I am reading the most interesting book, “South to America,” generally about the South and racism. It is utterly amazing that these good Christians could calmly beat a slave to death. One Black man was commanded to beat his wife to death. It boggles my mind that we can stretch love of God and our neighbor so far as to exclude the obvious.

    What is love? What do we owe love? And, seeing how God is a Darwinist, letting the Russians slaughter the Ukrainians to determine who is the fittest, how do we love this? Are we not permitted to retain a little bit of reserve in this relationship?

  64. “we will love them in the manner that the Lord prescribes.”

    Which is unconditionally, which is incredibly hard, which we only very occasionally actually manage to do, and which, if used to justify bigotry, oppression, slavery, genocide, murder, or any other number of obvious crimes, is to take the Lord’s name in vain.

  65. John C,
    Strawman anywhere there? Who among your brothers and sisters in the faith are using loving our neighbor to justify oppression, bigotry, genocide, and the like?

    If you’re arguing against someone somewhere at some point in the past in a specific instance that said something….ok. But let’s be specific when making accusations of those weighty words.

    If you feel not agreeing with a person’s choices is bigotry, make that argument. But I’ve never been to church with someone that said we love God by hating our neighbors.

  66. Responding to @Jack’s comment at March 26th, 6:28 PM. The Old Testament CFM lesson about 1 Samuel leverages the account in chapter 15 to discuss the virtues of exact obedience. Here is the exact text from the manual “While we don’t know all the reasons Saul was commanded to kill all of the Amalekites and their animals, there are lessons to learn from his response to that commandment. To help class members identify these lessons, you could write on the board To obey is better than … and invite class members to ponder this phrase as you review together events from 1 Samuel 15.” and here is the verse from 1 Samuel 15:3 (emphasis mine): “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly adestroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, INFANT and SUCKLING, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

    Apparently, the Old Testament God didn’t get the memo that little children are not only without sin, but are incapable of being sinful…

    So, either you have to accept that God WILL give those sorts of commandments and envision yourself stabbing a newborn after you ripped it from its mother’s arms (and prevarications about “different culture / different times” don’t hold logical water)… OR you have to accept that either 1) the OT account is inaccurate OR 2) Samuel failed as a prophet.

    BUT–even if you defer to option #1 or #2, you must also then admit that our modern day church sees fit to use the example of genocide against INNOCENTS as a way to help its members learn how to “righteously obey”.

  67. Nope. No straw man. There are plenty of bigoted Mormons online who are happy to act as such and justify it in the name of God. If you are unaware of that, good. But I ain’t lying.
    Also, so we are clear, transphobia and homophobia are bigotry and the church’s history with LGBT people has, generally, been both transphobic and homophobic.

  68. John C.,

    We can love a junkie unconditionally whilst dragging him to a rehab clinic.


    I admit that’s a scary lesson. But let’s think about this for a minute. Let’s suppose that in the present there was some cult out in the boonies doing everything that caused God to send the floods upon the wicked. What would our response be? My guess is that the FBI would raid the place and dismantle the whole project. And then after an in depth investigation many of the folks involved would serve sentences of varying lengths in prison–some of them in isolation and some on death row.

    Thankfully we’re better equipped to deal with that kind of situation than the ancients were–especially when we’re talking about the comparatively small population of ancient Israel. Even so, another thing that we need to keep in mind is that the kinds of unsavory activities that the prediluvian people were involved in (using those people as a type) were an automatic death sentence in ancient Israel. So time and place is a critical factor.

    With regard to slaying the innocent–two things come to mind: first we have to remember that much of the language surrounding Israel’s conquests are likely inflated with hyperbole–whether it’s inflated numbers or language that expresses a sense of annihilation. And second — and this is the difficult one for us moderns — they weren’t merely punishing the wicked. They were destroying a wicked culture–again, as when the Lord sent the floods upon a people who had become collectively irredeemable.

  69. J. Mansfield says:

    Reading the comments above, it appears that the concern of Mr. Hodges (and several others) is that not only does giving a priority to loving God over loving men and women mistakenly give us the idea that loving men and women could be in conflict with loving God, but it also makes us susceptible to heeding false prophets (or true prophets acting wrongly) who falsely claim that some unloving, evil action could be God’s desire for us.

    This brings to me the thought: Why are the desires of those who desire our love be expressed in certain ways so highly trusted and not viewed with as much guarded skepticism as the teachings of leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

    And that thought brings me back to that Killers album I mentioned Friday morning, and its eighth track, “Desperate Things.” (The only real reason I am commenting again.) As I wrote before Pressure Maching is a rather loving, sympathetic depiction of its subjects:

    When you’re in love /
    You can be blinded by your own heart /
    You’ll bend you own truth /
    So twisted up you could justify sin /
    And when people in love are desperate enough /
    To abandon their dreams / People do desperate things

  70. Jack,
    To argue that queerness is akin to an addiction (or other mental illness) is homophobic.

  71. John C,
    According to your paradigm, it is. Unfortunately, your paradigm rests on a relativist foundation. You’ve rejected “God” as the ultimate arbiter, because there are too many gods and too many people claiming to speak for him. Fair enough. But instead, you’ve inserted your own notions of what constitutes right and wrong, and then forced the rest of the world into compliance with your paradigm, else they are bigots.

    You are a mirror image of what you claim to despise.

  72. “We can love a junkie unconditionally whilst dragging him to a rehab clinic”

    As someone who has spent years coping with a sibling with severe issues, this scenario might be motivated by love but it isn’t felt love by the junkie nor is it actually helping them.

    Dragging someone on to a path of righteousness just doesn’t work. The individual has to choose the path themselves. A hard lesson I had to learn multiple times over and one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this topic.

    Loving people where they are is love of God. Loving them while insisting/forcing them to change when they don’t want to is not. The latter is all about the giver. The former is about the receiver.

  73. John C.,

    I wasn’t addressing LGBTQ folks specifically–just the general idea that unconditional love can manifest itself in seemingly counterintuitive ways at times.


    Perhaps my analogy is flawed. Maybe something like forcefully dragging a suicidal man away from the edge of a cliff would make better sense.

    Even so, the interesting thing about your comment (IMO) is that it imports knowledge and experience that changes the landscape of the analogy–at least when applied to *specific* situations–I say “specific” because I don’t think it works in every situation like yanking a toddler out of a busy street.

    Even so, I can imagine a scenario where we are serving someone as best we know how–according to our “default” position on the second commandment. But then we feel inspired to do things a bit differently than we would otherwise. IMO, heeding that counsel is a manifestation of placing our loyalty to the first commandment above the second. Our love for the individual we are serving hasn’t diminished even though we may feel it would be a bad idea — at least in that moment — to give him the keys to our car.

  74. Yes, I’d agree that the immediacy of danger makes a difference (suicidal someone on a cliff, child on a road).

    When it comes to people though (and for sure my sibling), I have never felt a *default* position existed. There is just the person, and my seeking ways to truly help, while also acknowledging that unless they want my help nothing I offer is likely to assist. Even more, my trying to help unsolicited can (and has) made thing worse for them.

    For me, following the spirit in how to help isn’t about loving God directly, it’s about loving the other person so deeply I reach out to God for help. Although, in our family’s situation this didn’t help either. Numerous family members and church leaders had revelation/guidance on what my Sib and/or my parents needed to do. None of that helped either. This is getting a bit off track, but I came to believe that their revelation was for them, about them and their needs, not my Sibs who many times they barely knew.

    It’s this giant gray area and I don’t know that I find black and white principals all that helpful. I do find empathy, compassion, kindness, listening, not judging is hugely helpful. It’s also the ONLY thing that helped my Sib at all or got him to even engage with the rest of us.

  75. Jack,
    First, rehab doesn’t have much effect on junkies that don’t want to be there. Second, why do you think getting a junkie to rehab is counter-indicative of unconditional love?

    I’m not clear on what you are referring to. Are you arguing that homophobia is not bigotry?

  76. John C –
    We agree murder is bad.
    We may not agree that all killing is murder.
    I hope neither of us believes meat is murder.

    I know what other people mean when they say homophobia and bigotry. It’s like I’m having a conversation with a hardliner evangelical who wants to explain precisely why our church is a cult and I’m in one. We all know that when 99.99% of them use the word cult it’s for one reason and one reason only.

    Your use of homophobia and bigotry against your fellow church members (I assume?) seems in the same vein.

  77. Next this rehab argument is kind of cute. You guys would have been a hoot conversing with Jesus every time he gave a parable. Next you’ll be telling us that only 1/3 of people to court appointed rehab make it through the program. Would that I had such great friends, where if I was in the thrall of addiction they’d all debate about the efficacy of rehab in the other room while I threw my life away.

  78. Sute,
    If I follow your argument, i think you are saying:
    Bigotry is bad
    Not all discrimination based on broad categories of being is bigotry

    Is that right?

  79. ReTx,

    “I do find empathy, compassion, kindness, listening, not judging is hugely helpful.”

    IMO–that is the “default” position.

    “For me, following the spirit in how to help isn’t about loving God directly, it’s about loving the other person so deeply I reach out to God for help.”

    I think that’s the right approach. Even so, if we reach out to God for help–then we’re saying (in so many words) “thy will be done, and not mine.” We’re placing our loyalty to him ahead of our own wisdom. Or at least we should be willing to do so–because who knows but what the “help” we receive from him might be counsel to stand still and do nothing?

  80. John C.,

    I’d say that not everything that *looks like* discrimination is bigotry.

  81. “We’re placing our loyalty to him ahead of our own wisdom.”

    Yes! It can be a scary sacrifice. So powerful when we make that sacrifice on behalf of someone else.

    I”d quibble with the word loyalty, which for me is not the same thing as love. I’ve seen a lot of pain received and hurt given on behalf of loyalty.

  82. Okay, Jack. How are we to judge when broad discrimination is or isn’t bigotry? More importantly, how are the victims of broad discrimination to know the difference between when they are discriminated against unjustly (bigotry) and it is healthy normal broad discrimination against provided as a kind of living service? I’m sure they don’t want to offend the nice “pretend” bigots.

  83. “how are the victims of broad discrimination to know the difference between when they are discriminated against unjustly (bigotry) and it is healthy normal broad discrimination against provided as a kind of living service? I’m sure they don’t want to offend the nice “pretend” bigots.’
    “And when it is normal healthy broad discrimination against them provided as a kind of loving service?”

  84. “When you’re in love /

    [With the belief that you belong to the one true religion and that you will obey infallible leaders]

    You can be blinded by your own heart /
    You’ll bend you own truth /

    [Like the truth of love, you’ll bend it into justification for annihilating other human beings in the name of God]

    So twisted up you could justify sin /

    [Including the sin of heterosupremacy]

    And when people in love are desperate enough /
    To abandon their dreams / People do desperate things

    [Like disown their own queer kids and kick them out on the streets]

    I don’t have time to keep going in circles in the comments. We can close this one down.

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