Saturday, May 3, 2014

Read The Bible, Reverend Hickey. It Says A Lot About Minding Your Own Business.

     Apparently the phallus stands tall in Steve Hickey's imagination.  Hickey, the South Dakota state legislator and pastor of a church in Sioux Falls, authored a disingenuously gratuitous Facebook post  a couple of days ago decrying the Sioux Falls Argus Leader's refusal to print this letter to the editor, which is aimed at "board-certified" doctors in South Dakota, asking them to weigh in on the matter of the safety of men having anal intercourse. Hickey's letter refers to the anal canal as a "one way garbage truck."  Hickey's "concern" about the safety of the practice is apparently limited to male  participants, as he claims, because homosexuality is about to become a "front page topic" in South Dakota "for the next few years."  Apparently, men and women engaging in the practice, having done so for eons (Shakespeare makes a sly reference to it in Romeo and Juliet, when Mercutio muses about it in Act 1, Scene 2with no particularly personal or epidemic consequences, is either ignored or overlooked by Hickey. Anal penetration is a long-standing sexual activity that probably doesn't merit any more than the usual cautionary practices that should be applied to all sexual encounters.  I'll bet Reverend Hickey knows that even the missionary position has its risks.
     So why does Hickey single out males engaging in the activity for public scrutiny by board-certified South Dakota doctors?  I doubt that he can answer that question.  His preoccupation with homosexuality has been evident in his legislative record, having, for example, just failed as a prime sponsor of a bill, that would excuse shop keepers from serving homosexual patrons if it offended their religious beliefs. But what up until now has seemed like mere preoccupation has flowered into an obsession, considering his poorly thought out insistence on limiting his concerns about anal penetration to men, completely ignoring its long history as an activity engaged in by heterosexual couples.  Slapping back at Hickey's implication that homosexual activity "is not good for the body or mind," is board-certified physician Kevin Weiland of Rapid City, whose televised rebuttal unequivocally rejects the notion that there is something inherently unhealthy about homosexual sex.
     Surprising to me about all this is that the Reverend Hickey seems to have lost touch with some pretty clear admonitions in the Holy Bible against meddling in other people's affairs.  For starters, there's Proverbs 26:17--"Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own."  Then Peter weighs in: I Peter 4:15--"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."  Consider that Peter puts meddling in other people's affairs right down there with the transgressions of a "murderer, thief, or evildoer."  Get that Reverend Hickey and like-minded supporters?  Though I think I've made my point, I'll throw in one more.  Here's Paul in his first letter to the Thesallonians 4:11--". . . study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you."  
     Going forth and spreading the word is a Christian imperative that I've long admired and supported.  I believe Reverend Hickey and his congregation are committed to living Christian lives and sharing the blessings of their spiritual bounty with others.  It's self-evident that these folks regard homosexuality as a sin. Its emergence as a socially acceptable and legally protected activity is abhorrent to them.  Hickey acknowledges as much by noting in his Facebook diatribe that "our religious community [is] leading on these moral issues." And therein lies the breakdown of the process. "Spreading the word" is one thing, "forcing it on others" is another.  Life in a Christian society is all about individuals making choices, not having their choices made for them, as Hickey's version of an oppresive Christian culture would do.  Lot's wife didn't have to look back at Sodom.  She chose to--and suffered the consequences.  That's the Bible's ultimate parable about choice, and it is lost on Hickey and his followers.  Why can't they see that?


  1. John,
    As with your article on the "happy couple", you have said quite eloquently what the LGBt community and those of us that advocate equal rights for all have been trying to say all week.
    It is being reported today that Rev. Hickey is "more than a little sore" about the hoopla he has caused and the threats to him and his family. I do not condone any physical threats to him, but he has righteously earned the verbal attacks.

    Again, a great column, thanks.

  2. Blather. I have every right as a pastor and legislator to comment on moral decline in society. In fact, Biblically, if I don't sound an alarm on my watch then the fault comes down on me.

    1. Nobody has challenged your right to freedom of speech Rev. Hickey, but surely with your age and experience, you realize that there are consequences to that action, especially when you pry into a citizen's bedroom.
      Donald Sterling is facing dire consequences for his racial comments this past week. Apparently you are facing them with threats to you and your family. Why would you jeopardize your family's safety with a situation that has been debated and resolved generations ago.
      I refuse to get into to contradictory messages of the bible, sometimes in our lives we should have learned when things are right or if they are wrong.
      Your Sunday sermon should be on judging yourself before you judge others, as a preacher, you should know that.

    2. Nobody's challenging your right to comment. But if the evidence for the fact of "moral decline" is your personal hatred of homosexuality or your application of Scripture, your argument is gravely fallacious. Even the Bible won't help you with that one.

    3. Seriously, I'm wondering that with Hickey's recent gay tirade, is he planning to introduce legislation to regulate gay sex, or sex in general.
      Hickey's failure to recognize that gay sex does cause the downfall of a civilization, it is power and money that does.
      Rev. Hickey needs to read John's blog again, and not just make a defensive comment, but to digest the contents.
      I remain concerned for Rev. Hickey and his obsession for boy sex.

  3. I have no respect for Roger as he's impossible to converse with and I had some respect for John. But with Roger's last sentence and John's first in his article both prove to be cut from the same bankrupt cloth of ideas. Both of you flunk civility 101. If you can't engage a person's ideas you stoop to really slimy personal attacks. Shame on you John. You have no business quoting the Bible. Or, take your own advice and mind your own business not mine. I live very transparently before 1000 people and my kids are all pursuing ministry in some way attesting to the fact that I'm the same at home as I am in public. How are your kids Roger, John? Same paragraph where Jesus says don't judge he says we can discern a good tree from a bad by looking at the fruit. If not judging means turning off all discernment it's hard to inspect fruit. Someday we can have coffee and compare the fruit of my last 25 with the fruit of yours.

    1. I stand by my post, first word to last. And I continue to wait for your evidence that homosexuality is either a symptom or a cause of the "moral decline" that led to your commentary in the first place.

    2. Can I assume Rev. Hickey, that you subscribe to the same beliefs as most far right conservatives these days, that if people such as Roger, John, myself or most other reasonable folks, don't think like you do then we are to be dismissed as "cut from the same bankrupt cloth"? And as far as kids cut from this cloth, mine defend your right to spew your beliefs, I think I have done ok.

    3. Rev. Hickey,
      You can ban from me from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, but you can not hide from me on blogs. I will continue to call out your irrationalizations whenever I find them
      Mr. Tristan has the same right to quote the bible as you have to make obscene and degrading comments about the sexual activities of gays.
      As a 60 plus Native American I have spent most of my life fighting for civil, women's, LGBT rights, often times the fight has been for a cause, but all to often they have been because of a personal experience.
      There is no law that I know of that says you have to be in the clergy to serve God, many do the work in many shapes and forms daily. Often their toils are more pious than any clergy.
      Rev. Hickey, you consistently reinforce my disrespect, not just for you, but of the religious community when you promote your personal disdain for a group of individuals that continually have to struggle for the same rights as you.
      Your views maybe place on your religious experience and teachings, but they are in no way Christian. Christ would not demean any of his children.
      Like Mr. Tristan, I stand by every word I have ever said to you.

    4. Gosh, Reverend Hickey, is it OK for ME to quote the Bible?
      Where and how do I apply for your permission?

  4. Only Tim if you resort to personal attacks. Go ahead spew your beliefs, I'll spew mine with manners and no name calling. Nothing on this blog will be read by me again because John behaved in an immature way that removes him from the group of people I think might have something worthwhile to say. He would get censured in the legislature for such a breach of civil decorum. It contributes nothing of value and compromises everything else he says. One can only earn it back through personal apology. I promise to make no sick insinuations of him or question his motives as he has done me.

    1. Still waiting for your evidence that homosexuality is either a symptom or a cause of the "moral decline" that led to your commentary in the first place.

    2. Reverend Hickey, You wrote, "He would get censured in the legislature for such a breach of civil decorum."

      I take it that you are proud of your closed legislature, that doesn't dare say anything of which the leadership doesn't approve. Have you asked yourself, how it is that the only real challenger that Mike Rounds has for his nomination to be the Republican candidate for the US Senate, is Stace Nelson who was constantly at odds with that legislature that you would have censure John, were he in the legislature. I will tell you why. I am probably more ideologically different to Stace Nelson than to any other candidate. But I will be voting for Stace in the primary, as will a lot of other people, because he has had the courage to stand up to the would be party bosses, when they seem to think like you do, that we all have to be on the same page and the same track all the time.

      As conservative as the Catholic Church is, the new (probably 20 years old now) Catholic catechism mandates that each person has to form their own conscience (after thorough study) on an issue. Not even the Church can tell a person what he or she can or cannot do.

  5. Standard response, if I or people like me don't think like you do, you go off in a rant. Taking your toys and go home. I reread my post, no where do I see a personal attack, unless you are referring to the fact that my kids defend your rights to spew what you believe, guess you are having trouble reconciling that fact into your belief that people like us are not worthy.
    I have also read all of John's and RC's comments, they ask legitimate questions that a state representative should be able and willing to answer, without the religious rhetoric.

  6. So, Hickey is running and hiding from his constituents once again, no more comments here and blocked comments on his church page.
    As he bemoans personal attacks and name calling when it relates to him, he makes the most personal crude comments about the sexual proclivity of gays.
    This gay obsession is disgusting, why he singles out the gay lifestyle is puzzling, particularly when there are so many sins the Bible points out. But, it is better to point out the sins of others than your own, right Hickey?
    Divorce is at epidemic proportions in this country with all the resulting problems related to it, why is divorce not included the religious rights family values.
    Let's also include spousal abuse, child abuse, elderly abuse, racial and religious discrimination, are they not sins of equal concern of the right and worthy of the public spotlight?
    Rev. Hickey and Dr Bosworth have brought shame on South Dakota this week with that public spotlight, once again embracing hate and discrimination

  7. You won't get a response to your request John. Hickey stops talking with people who disagree with him. He doesn't talk with several bloggers and blog commenters any more.

    It is a very sensible thing to question his apparent obsession with sexuality in all it's variations. I'm guessing it's partially personal and partially pre-1960s conservative Protestant. Many denominations of Christianity were taught for centuries that sex was evil, enjoying it was sinful, it should be rare, limited to missionary position, and Only for procreation. Oh yeah, and it's dirty and nasty.

    Of course we continue to see many echoes of those beliefs from the "Good Old Days." Hickey and other far right religious types want their vision of the "Good Old Days" to return. Women's empowerment, gender fluidity, homosexuality, and other issues are huge threats to their memories of male hegemony.

    I have read that 95% of the attacks on sexuality that is not strictly and obviously binary are based on fear. In fact, there are piles of peer reviewed studies that support that understanding. It's not mine.

    Sometimes it just strikes me as purely nuts. I'm referring to the desire to control the sexuality and sexual behavior of others. I mean really. Get a life! People don't want anything from people like Hickey, except to be left alone. Nobody needs to do anything about LBTG people, except leave them alone. Let life go on and those of you longing for your view of the "Good Old Days" will be just fine.

  8. Deb,
    Great response. Larry over on madville provided a link to Hickey's church where he continues with his tirade and attempts to justify his insidious behavior.
    I don't know how to link stuff, but if you can find it, I'd appreciate your opinion.

    1. Thanks for the question Roger, and sorry for my delay in responding.

      I heartily agree with Hickey's concerns about sex trafficking, degradation of women, and sexualization of children. His jump from there to fecal matter as causation is really bizarre. I just don't follow that, and I doubt that other biblical scholars do either.

      I read a couple other posts too. It looks to me that Hickey tends to make interesting/odd connections regularly. He tried to relate biblical references on the death penalty to Nero.

      Most creative is his discourse on something he calls "First Mention." He refers to unnamed "scholars" as agreeing with him. I have no idea who Hickey is referring to, but I can name which scholars have been influential for me: Rev. Dr. Don Juel, who last taught at Princeton Seminary; Rev. Dr. Terry Fretheim, Luther Seminary; Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor; Rev. Dr. Sarah Heinrich; Dr. Sherry Jordan, and so many more. These are individuals who have devoted themselves to Christian scholarship and research. They have translated the oldest known copies of biblical letters and books, they can read the original Koininia Greek of the New Testament and the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Old Testament. They're experts on Middle Eastern and Roman Empire history, artifacts, commerce, culture, social life, coinage, customs, religions, military, and every other thing that made up the pertinent time's experience.

      They are the top experts in the field of Christian scholarship. They are also kind and modest people. They'd gently and thoroughly explain to Hickey where his errors occur and help him understand how to correct those errors.

      From my perspective, it appears that Hickey has fallen into the trap of Selective Literalism. Many on the right say they take the Bible literally, but they don't. There are too many contradictions, too many conflicting accounts for the same event. Everything about the time affects the way people understood their own language. So just saying, "Well the Bible says . . ." is often inaccurate.

      Selective Literalists take some parts literally, and not other parts. That kind of cherry picking leads to a distorted misunderstanding of the biblical message.

      Okay, so that was waaay too long. John, if you feel it's too long, I understand.

    2. It may be long Deb, but it was very educational. Thank you.

    3. Thanks Deb, you have provided me the phrase I have been seeking for sometime, "Selective Literalists".
      I asked in one of my comments here why Rev. Hickey is obsessed with gay sex and not with divorce, there was no response. It seems to me that the greatest threat to the family unit is the rate of divorces and those consequences. Selective literalism would seem to be the correct answer, but it doesn't grab as many headlines.
      Thanks Deb

    4. Well said, Roger. As one who is divorced, I can attest to the fact that what you wrote is really accurate. As a family with two children who were young adults when we divorced after 26 years, and a family which was very close for most of those years, the closeness has gone, perhaps forever and I blame no one but myself for that loss of family relationship.

  9. I don't think you can link here in the comments section, Roger. You could C&P the url, though.

  10. For every Steve Hickey, there is an Ernie Otten waiting to jump all over gay rights issues. If Steve Hickey was no longer in the mix, the GOP would have plenty of people to follow suit. That is a large part in what is causing the Republican party to stumble in many places with the 40 and under group. They will find a few fanatical followers, but even Fred Phelps had people following him.

  11. If they keep trying to legislate religion why don't we start taxing these churches and organizations?