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SCOTUS goes gay
June 26, 2003 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Supreme Court wisely rules that you can't legislate morality and that privacy between consenting adults is a-ok as the Texas sodomy law (that applies to homosexuals only) is struck down. Ruling invalidates other remaining sodomy laws on the books. Dancing in the streets ensues. And as usual, Scalia gets to add his wisecracks in the dissent. [via SCOTUSblog]
posted by mathowie (142 comments total)

 
Every now and then, my faith in our institutions is renewed. Scalia is still a gibbering caricature, and the court gets a lot of things wrong (IMO) but this is good.
posted by Irontom at 8:12 AM on June 26, 2003


"the so called homosexual agenda:"

9:00 - 10:00 meet John for breakfast

10:00-12:00 Recruit new "team" members

12:00-2:00 Meeting to plan world dominion

2:00-5:00 Recruit impressionable, young children

7:00-12:00 Attend awards meeting for best recruiters
posted by Red58 at 8:13 AM on June 26, 2003


This, friends, is a victory for America. Scalia dissented, saying that this means the Court has "signed on to the gay agenda." Bah, humbug. Upholding this law would have been dangerous to everyone, not just gay people.
posted by NedKoppel at 8:14 AM on June 26, 2003


Hell yeah! Let me be the first to congratulate gay MeFites on their first ever day of legally-sanctioned hot action! I hope that you are taking the day off of work to celebrate.

Now if they can only legalize the stuff that I do in the privacy of my own home.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:14 AM on June 26, 2003


Very good op-ed on Clarence Thomas.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:14 AM on June 26, 2003


It continues to surprise me that the conservative members of the court don't find a problem with gov't intrusion in the bedroom. I never understood the paradox of being aligned with the party of small government but allowing laws that dictate what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their own home to continue.
posted by mathowie at 8:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Awwwriiiiiight!!!

Scalia knows where he can stick his dissent.
posted by soyjoy at 8:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Well put mathowie. However, I think the zeal for small government is really nothing more than a zeal for lower taxes.
posted by caddis at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2003


soyjoy: The beauty is that it's now *legal* for Scalia to stick it there.
posted by ptermit at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2003


Sweet! I'm heading out to bone me some ass!
posted by vito90 at 8:24 AM on June 26, 2003


Although Texas itself did not make the argument, some of the state's supporters told the justices in friend-of-the-court filings that invalidating sodomy laws could take the court down the path of allowing same-sex marriage.

Oh no, not the feared same-sex marriage!
posted by mckayc at 8:25 AM on June 26, 2003


It continues to surprise me that the conservative members of the court don't find a problem with gov't intrusion in the bedroom. I never understood the paradox of being aligned with the party of small government but allowing laws that dictate what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their own home to continue.

Further than that, take the issue of gay marriage. Why in the hell isn't that a right-wing issue? What is more basically libertarian than marrying whoever the hell you want?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:27 AM on June 26, 2003


It is just scary to me that 3 of the supposed best-of-the-best justices in the country can still have such ideological and backward views.

Just think, after Bushie appoints two more like Scalia, we will be put back 100 years in time.
posted by eas98 at 8:28 AM on June 26, 2003


It continues to surprise me that the conservative members of the court don't find a problem with gov't intrusion in the bedroom. I never understood the paradox of being aligned with the party of small government but allowing laws that dictate what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their own home to continue.

Conservative? Republican? Who are you kidding.. Nowadays, Republican = religious, and Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents are everything else.
posted by eas98 at 8:31 AM on June 26, 2003


Previous discussion from December, when the court agreed to hear the case.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:33 AM on June 26, 2003


The reaction over at FreeRepublic. A very few small government conservatives there are approving the ruling (though most of those are taking pains to mention how they still hate gays so no one "gets them wrong").
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:33 AM on June 26, 2003


This is great news, but I am afraid that after Bush makes his appointments (as eas98 points out) that this will be brought back up again and possibly overturned. I wonder if all the Gay districts around here will have big parties tonight. Maybe I'll head to Oak Lawn to check it out.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:35 AM on June 26, 2003


Conservatism as practiced by the present day Republican party has never really been about small government. It's just about where the tax payers dollars are spent. Social assistance is frowned upon but a large military is embraced. Any law that requires oversight of a corporation is frowned upon but sticking your nose into the personal life of citizens is hunky-dory.

Overall the money spent is at best equal to what a Democrat would spend, it's just spent in different areas.
posted by substrate at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2003


mathowie: Conservative members of the * generally don't mind increasing the big bloated federal government, as long as its in their best interest.

*Courts, Legislature, Executive Branch

Another zinger from Justice Scalia. I was waiting for one after his wonderful idea that gays shouldn't teach kindergarten because "the children might be induced to follow the pathof homosexuality."
posted by gramcracker at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2003


supposed best-of-the-best justices

The Republican Party does not appoint adroit, respected talent. They appoint idealogical brethren.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2003


Both Kennedy's and O'Connor's opinions are worth reading. I haven't gotten to Scalia's and Thomas's yet because what I was most interested in is why the Supreme Court, which has been awfully protective of its power, lately, would be willing to overturn a previous ruling of its own, as if to say, "never mind. we didn't mean it" with respect to Bowers vs. Hardwick.

Basically, in Georgia, whose 1986 sodomy laws (assinine as they were) had been upheld by the SC (it was hard to argue with their reasoning), any form of sodomy was illegal. In texas, the laws applied only to same-sex sodomy, and O'Connor, who actually ruled in favor of sodomy laws in 1986, pointed out that the Texas laws, which applied only to homosexuals, violated equal-protection. Kennedy, giving the majority opinion, points out that the "historical ground" that Bowers v. Hardwick resides never focused on punishing homosexual acts specifically, as the texas laws do.

So I have to say, I'm (pleasantly) surprised that the legal decision went in the direction it did. The state of Texas must have known it was asking for trouble when it arrested those two guys and fined them for violating the law.
posted by deanc at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2003


Well, wonderful, the Queers in Texas are free to do as they please. Takes care of half the state.

But what about the steers? Won't someone please think of the steers??
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2003


Let me be the first to congratulate gay MeFites on their first ever day of legally-sanctioned hot action!

Not just gay MeFites in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, but all MeFites who live in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. Sodomy was illegal in those states for everyone--male, female, gay, straight, bi, whatever--and this ruling likely overturns those laws as well.

Possible but unlikely headline in the Miami Herald tomorrow: "Blow Jobs Now Legal for Floridians". Whee!
posted by Asparagirl at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2003


Yaay, score one for the good guys. Amazing, frightening, depressing that this is even still an issue nowadays, but take em when you can get em, I guess.

Sandra, o Sandra, please don't go...
posted by gottabefunky at 8:43 AM on June 26, 2003


Welcome to the 1960's America. Enjoy your stay.
posted by Adam_S at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2003


Come on folks, the Supremes dropped the ball on this one. Don't you know that freedom means buying SUVs, McMansions, guns and stuff at Wal-mart. Freedom is not about allowing two consenting adults the right to conduct their sexual affairs behind closed doors. Sexual activity is clearly the domain of government, especially when that government is run by crazy, rightwing Nazis.

Everyone knows that, except those who hate freedom.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2003


Howard Dean weighs in.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:47 AM on June 26, 2003


Ah, the fire you left me, the Democrats also appoint idealogical brethren. We just agree with them so it's less bothersome.

HOORAY For this ruling! It's about frigging time we came a little way out of the dark ages. It's always pissed me off that a lot of the straight men have anal sex with women but want to outlaw the same action between two men. Anal sex between two MEN is apparantely more unnatural than between a man and a woman. I'm suprised that the court was not more split down the middle. How nice. Only three (predicatable) dissenters.

Gay Pride parade is this weekend in SF. Can't wait to see that party.
posted by aacheson at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2003


I agree with Scalia on one thing, at least: "...what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples...?" Follow me down the slippery slope to freedom!
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:58 AM on June 26, 2003


"I'm suprised that the court was not more split down the middle." (aacheson)

A phrase that will live forever in the sodomy thread. Hee.

Yes, I'm five.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:58 AM on June 26, 2003


Aww, cripe. Thomas' opinion was spot on. Sometimes I think he's the only one who ever read The Constitution.
posted by trharlan at 9:04 AM on June 26, 2003


drstrangelove: people like you are the reason a lot of americans hate leftists or liberals or the counterculture or whatever you wanna call yourself.

Not because of your opinions, or your personal habits, but because you're boring as hell.
posted by jonmc at 9:07 AM on June 26, 2003


What kind of crazy world are we living in, when the Supreme Court is asked to weigh in on buttfucking?

Of course, the media can't say dirty things like "buttfucking" or even "anal sex", so it's lucky that we have the handy euphemism "sodomy" to bandy around. Good thing the word "sodomy" isn't loaded with heavy-handed and deeply negative theological symbolism!
posted by vraxoin at 9:10 AM on June 26, 2003


trharlan: I'd say amendments IV, IX and X spell out a constitutional right to privacy. Or at least that IV could be construed as a right to privacy, and IX and X make the "there's no right to privacy in the constitution" argument irrelevant.

Or to put it another way: I consider a right to privacy in my personal affairs a "pre-constitutional" inherent right. The fact that it is not specifically rescinded by the constitution makes it a de facto constitutional right in my view. But I am not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar. Just a citizen.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:12 AM on June 26, 2003


Trharlan, that's only because ultimately, Thomas does not accept the validity of Griswold v. Connecticut (yes, irony noted about the fact that he's quoting from the dissent), upon which almost all US sexuality-related case law rests.

That said, I do like Thomas's zinger about the Texas legal system: "Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consenual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources."
posted by deanc at 9:13 AM on June 26, 2003


It continues to surprise me that the conservative members of the court don't find a problem with gov't intrusion in the bedroom.

The conservative members of the court object to the "right of privacy." Why? Because there is no explicit right of privacy. The right of privacy was discovered in the penumbra of the Bill of Rights, which was first described to me by my noted con-law prof as "if you squint, you can see it."

While I like the rights that have resulted from this judicial construct, I would much have preferred the right of privacy had come from a constitutional amendment than some forced legal reasoning. And that, my friends, is simply the difference between a judicial activist and a judicial conservative.
posted by probablysteve at 9:16 AM on June 26, 2003


Yes!!

Now my girlfriend has no excuse.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2003


Thomas' opinion ignores that this is a discrimination issue in addition to a privacy issue. It's not just a stupid law, but an unfairly targeted stupid law.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:20 AM on June 26, 2003


'..boring'
Unlike you, eh jonmc? ad hominem straw man, a worthy contribution.
posted by asok at 9:26 AM on June 26, 2003


jonmc: Leftists, liberals and counterculture folk are not all the same group, but I suppose you know that, and are painting with a broad brush to make a point. I’ll agree that drstrangelove’s remark was knee-jerk and hyperbolic, but claiming that all on the left are boring on such grounds is pretty ridiculous. I assure you that my conversation has never put anyone to sleep, and I have no doubt that I get far more interesting, bizarre kicks than you do.
posted by Fenriss at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2003


probablysteve, there's no squinting involved to see that the constitution explicitly recognizes that rights exist that are not specifically mentioned:
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
So, objecting to a right solely because it is not explicitly mentioned is not a valid objection. If a right is not denied me by the constitution, then I have it.
posted by ewagoner at 9:31 AM on June 26, 2003


What kind of crazy world are we living in, when the Supreme Court is asked to weigh in on buttfucking?

Thanks, Vraxoin, I nearly spit my soda across the room when I read that. Well said, though. There should be no need for the highest court in the land to come out with an opinion on the privacy of, as you so nicely put it, buttfucking.
posted by greengrl at 9:38 AM on June 26, 2003


I think the right-to-privacy question is largely irrelevant here. Scalia's dissent spends a lot of time taking swipes at Roe v. Wade and trying to draw an equivalence (a pre-emptive strike for the grand overturning?). But the issues are fundamentally dissimilar: In Roe, the question of a woman's right to control her body is needed to counterbalance an act that is, in other legal contexts, considered fundamentally wrong: The taking of 'human' life. With sodomy, there's nothing to counterbalance (other than the will of Yahweh, or other ridiculous criteria). So the only question is, what is the point of making, or keeping, this illegal? What arguments can be made strictly for that? If there's no clear and present danger to society, no illegality. Boom.
posted by soyjoy at 9:39 AM on June 26, 2003


from the decision:
To the extent Bowers relied on values we share with a wider civilization, it should be noted that the reasoning and holding in Bowers have been rejected elsewhere. (list of European court decisions snipped.) Other nations, too, have taken action consistent with an affirmation of the protected right of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual conduct. See Brief for Mary Robinson et al. as Amici Curiae 11?12. The right the petitioners seek in this case has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom in many other countries.
This is where I play the proud big brother and point out: my sister, currently in her third year at Yale Law School, helped prepare the brief cited here. Go Melissa.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:40 AM on June 26, 2003


but claiming that all on the left are boring on such grounds is pretty ridiculous.

That's not what I claimed, Fenriss. I said the people like drstrangleove (who little pointless screed in this thread is incredibly boring, not to mention condescending and completely irrelevant) does more to turn people off from the left (political or cultural) than any republican propoganda ever could. To be quite honest, it because of people like him that I am not a liberal or a leftist or a member of the counter culture. I've also found that for all their vaunted openmindedness most of them are as close minded and conformist as a Kansas PTA quilting circle.

Pre-emptive strike: All rightwingers out there-dont get any ideas. As dumb as the left side of the fence is the right is even dumber
posted by jonmc at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2003


The state of Texas must have known it was asking for trouble when it arrested those two guys and fined them for violating the law.

It sort of did -- the DA was on record as saying that the best way to get rid of a stupid law is to enforce it. It looks like he was only prosecuting to get the law struck down.

Which was the case with _Griswold_ too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 AM on June 26, 2003


If there's no clear and present danger to society, no illegality.

Ah, but you forget that we will now all turn gay perverts and stop having children and the family, base of society, will disappear.

I'm not pulling a drstrangelove here - following jonmc's line of thought, have a glance at the corresponding Free Republic thread. Or, perhaps more palatable, take my word for it.
posted by magullo at 9:52 AM on June 26, 2003


Well, jonmc, you're entitled to your opinion.

Someone remind me again why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life? Not that they didn't get this one right, I just can't remember.
posted by widdershins at 9:54 AM on June 26, 2003


So the only question is, what is the point of making, or keeping, this illegal?

There are a few boringly pragmatic reasons for keeping the laws on the books. If they're on the books, then you can put a rapist away for longer -- at least if he's a buttfucking rapist. Or in rape cases where the victim doesn't want to get her reputation dragged through the mud by the defense, the prosecutors can just go for a sodomy conviction where her consent is irrelevant. Or if for whatever reason there's not enough evidence to get the rape conviction, but there is enough to get the sodomy one. It also is one more thing to plead down to in the plea-bargaining process.

Not actually good reasons by any stretch, but they are useful from time to time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:59 AM on June 26, 2003


Gah! Look, you had me right up to this point:

I've also found that for all their vaunted openmindedness most of them are as close minded and conformist as a Kansas PTA quilting circle.

See, you are generalizing that everyone on the left is boring. Or closed minded. ToMAYto, ToMAHto. I don’t want to get too far a field from the topic at hand (I hope it goes without saying that I am delighted at this ruling, and will spend much of this weekend dancing about in DuPont Circle) but don’t let’s oversimplify things. Maybe you’ve met a lot of dull lefties, but in my experience, it’s all a matter of where you look. I’m beginning to think that perhaps you are mistaking “highly vocal about their views” with “tiresome.” You may find the views themselves tiresome, but that’s no excuse for personal attacks.
posted by Fenriss at 10:01 AM on June 26, 2003


Someone remind me again why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life?

I believe the original intent was to make them less susceptible to the politics of elections and such. They're supposed to be above all that.
posted by Cyrano at 10:01 AM on June 26, 2003


Ah, but you forget that we will now all turn gay perverts and stop having children

U.S. Birth Rate at Record Low.
posted by the fire you left me at 10:04 AM on June 26, 2003


U.S. Birth Rate at Record Low.

It's working! It's working! All Hail The Great Gay Agenda!
posted by gramcracker at 10:14 AM on June 26, 2003


I'm pleased with the decision.

I am, however, suprised that only O'Connor based on the equal protection argument. This was, IMHO, the stronger of the arguments presented. Given the Court's preference for narrow rulings, vitiating the law under equal protection would have left Bowers essentially intact. As it is, the ruling is much, much broader.

Which is a good thing.
posted by Cerebus at 10:36 AM on June 26, 2003


I am, however, suprised that only O'Connor based on the equal protection argument. This was, IMHO, the stronger of the arguments presented. Given the Court's preference for narrow rulings, vitiating the law under equal protection would have left Bowers essentially intact. As it is, the ruling is much, much broader.

Actually, I disagree. If the case was decided on equal protection grounds, the court would have had to find that sexual orientation is a protected, or at least quasi-protected class. I think that would have more wide ranging implications than the substantive due process grounds.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:41 AM on June 26, 2003


>Oh no, not the feared same-sex marriage!

Oh yes. Canada's recent approval of gay marriage has the religious right lobbying for more "protection of marriage laws."

More here at the ACLU.
posted by skallas at 10:41 AM on June 26, 2003


Maybe you’ve met a lot of dull lefties, but in my experience, it’s all a matter of where you look. I’m beginning to think that perhaps you are mistaking “highly vocal about their views” with “tiresome.”

Nope, I mean intolerant, obnoxious, pushy, smug, snobbish, sanctimonious and terrified/contemptous of anyone who disagrees with their party line. These qualities are (correctly) decried in conservatives, but liberals seem unable to recognize it in themselves
posted by jonmc at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2003


"...God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Romans 1:24-43
posted by aaronshaf at 10:47 AM on June 26, 2003


aaronshaf, those jeans hug your ass nicely.
posted by jonmc at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2003


and oh yeah:

"judge not, lest ye be judged"

Matthew 7:1
posted by jonmc at 10:50 AM on June 26, 2003


Well, jonmc, I'd have to agree with you on obnoxious, pushy, smug, snobbish and sanctimonious. The intolerant part is the thing that I've always seen stronger in the right than the left, which is why, if I were to pick any party affiliation, it'd still have to be Democrat.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good reasons to dislike liberals, but I think most conservatives have picked the wrong ones. For me, at least, it's their inability to see the bigger picture in their inter-party squabbles. I mean, sure deforestation is bad, but incarcerating citizens without bringing charges against them is far, far worse. Trust me, Democrats have almost as much vitriol against one another as we get from Republicans, which is why we can never collude to bring good candidates into power. *sigh*
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:53 AM on June 26, 2003


Appeals to authority are a well known logical fallacy. Aaronshaf should know better, and Paul certainly should have.

Oh, wait, sorry, I was reading from the rules for Reasonable Discourse. Who put them in the Pointless Screed box? And where the heck are the dice?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:54 AM on June 26, 2003


which is why, if I were to pick any party affiliation, it'd still have to be Democrat.

Which is why I refuse to vote for either. It's like choosing between a stale biscuit and and moldy pancake.
posted by jonmc at 10:56 AM on June 26, 2003


Why is it that those of us who claim to be such strong adherants to "the one true faith" (whatever that may be) always seem to be the ones who least "get it".

Fucking hell, aaronshaf. Your use religion as a proxy for your intolerance is disguisting. Jesus was a man of peace and love. You use His words to expose your own hatreds, you misrepresent His message until it is as twisted as you are. You are a disgrace to your religion, and should be ashamed of yourself.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:01 AM on June 26, 2003


I'm not a Roman, aaronshaf.

Also, BIG GAY CIRCLE JERK AT MY PLACE TONIGHT, everyone's invited.

Black robes required.

For about 30 seconds, at any rate.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:03 AM on June 26, 2003


Statement from the Log Cabin Republicans.

Anything from GWB or anyone in the executive yet?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:06 AM on June 26, 2003


You use His words to expose your own hatreds

In this case, he's not even using Jesus' words--he's using Paul's words. Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality. When he was asked to condemn people for being immoral, he consistently reprimanded them for being judgmental. As in, "Let him without sin cast the first stone."
posted by vraxoin at 11:09 AM on June 26, 2003


Okay, I'm only a few pages into the dissent, but it looks like Scalia is arguing that this decision (to overturn Bowers) means that the court should also overturn Roe.

Someone please tell me I'm misunderstanding him.
posted by stefanie at 11:19 AM on June 26, 2003


aaronshaf:
what book was that again? it sounds interesting. i've been won over by the gay agenda in the last few hours, and I was wondering, are you busy tonight?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:29 AM on June 26, 2003


Okay, I'm only a few pages into the dissent, but it looks like Scalia is arguing that this decision (to overturn Bowers) means that the court should also overturn Roe.

Not exactly. The way I read the dissent is that Scalia is accusing the majority of inconsistency. In order to overturn Bowers, Kennedy had to show that Bowers was beyond the protection of stare decisis, in other words, that the legal rule coming out of Bowers meets the criteria set up in Casey; (1) its foundations have been "eroded" by subsequent decisions; (2) it has been subject to "substantial and continuing" criticism; and (3) it has not induced "individual or societal reliance" that counsels against overturning. Scalia argues that Bowers and Roe should be treated substantially similarly under these criteria, and because the Court did not overturn Roe in Casey, it should not overturn Bowers here. Scalia most certainly also thinks Roe should be overturned, but I don't think he needs to reach that conclusion in order for his dissent to make sense.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2003


Actually, I disagree. If the case was decided on equal protection grounds, the court would have had to find that sexual orientation is a protected, or at least quasi-protected class.

I think I'd phrase it differently (and I'm not quite sure if this is just a different way of saying the same thing, or actually saying something different): the argument is that the idea of sexual orientation being a protected class is inherent in the concept of gender being a protected class.

O'Connor makes the point in her concurring opinion that miscegenation laws were struck down as racially discrminatory--even when they only said that you could only marry someone of your own race and thus applied equally to people of all races.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:44 AM on June 26, 2003


Here's an interesting linguistic puzzle. Why does a Google search find that the phrase "so-called homosexual agenda" is generally used by those who are highly dubious of folks who crusade against the "homosexual agenda"... but Scalia protests against today's majority decision saying, "The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda"?

Possible explanations
  1. Scalia was just going to rail against the homosexual agenda. But that would have been to sneer only once. Wouldn't "so-called" in front of it communicate an even more categorical suspicion of anything that gays are up to, even their "agenda" (a product of paranoid culture-warriors' imagination)?
  2. Scalia actually recognizes that "homosexual agenda" is the sort of thing frothing bigots spew, and he illogically supposes that inserting "so-called" saves him from sounding like a paranoid bigot. This is a shorthand way of getting at the "sophisticated" thought, "the thing the good bible-beating man in the street calls the 'homosexual agenda'—that's what we're in danger of signing on to here—though no doubt there is a more accurate way to designate the erosion of our nation's moral foundations in question..."
Note also Scalia's statement that he has "nothing against homosexuals." Gee, where have I heard that before?

And this is the man whose clones GWB wants to fill the court.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:46 AM on June 26, 2003


Note also Scalia's statement that he has "nothing against homosexuals."

That means he has nothing against them. As in rubbing against?
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:53 AM on June 26, 2003


Does anyone have any access to quick statistics about how many times Thomas has voted differently from Scalia out of the total number of cases Thomas has heard?

Thomas calls himself a strict adherent to the actual words of the Constitution as opposed to modern-day interpretations.

Because sometime it seems like the above should be re-written as:

Thomas calls himself a strict adherent to the words of Scalia as opposed to his own interpretations.
posted by pitchblende at 11:54 AM on June 26, 2003


Actually, Thomas votes differently from Scalia quite often, and in many of the cases where they both reach the same conclusion, their reasoning is very different. See this interesting article for a discussion of how the Justices have voted in First Amendment speech cases.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:58 AM on June 26, 2003


Appeals to authority are a well known logical fallacy. Aaronshaf should know better, and Paul certainly should have.

Appeals to a mutually accepted authority aren't at all outside generally epistemologically acceptable grounds – the Bible may not be it for you, but I'll bet there are some you're willing to appeal to. Authority is not always arbitrary, even if it's almost never unchallangeable. The link you provided has subsection on legitimate appeals to authority. Indeed, the common citation (or hyperlink), is something of an implicit appeal to authority.

Of course, you can view it as a simple direction to content contained elsewhere. But then you could view aaronshaf's comment the same way, whether or not you accept the Bible as containing some measure of authority.

And it would seem to me that a much better response to an appeal to authority you don't accept would be a simple statement of that fact, perhaps with reasons why.

Fucking hell, aaronshaf. Your use religion as a proxy for your intolerance is disguisting. Jesus was a man of peace and love. You use His words to expose your own hatreds, you misrepresent His message until it is as twisted as you are. You are a disgrace to your religion, and should be ashamed of yourself.

and

In this case, he's not even using Jesus' words--he's using Paul's words. Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality. When he was asked to condemn people for being immoral, he consistently reprimanded them for being judgmental. As in, "Let him without sin cast the first stone."

This is puzzling to me. If one accepts the Bible (and the Gospels) as an authoritative source for the life/teachings of Jesus and followers, I don't understand how it's that simple to just shrug off Paul's epistles. Rejecting the whole thing outright makes more sense.... or at least coming to a better resolution of the dichotomy than just excising the parts one doesn't like.

And there was a little more dialogue between Jesus and the woman taken in adultery after he'd chased of the rabid clergy...
posted by weston at 12:19 PM on June 26, 2003


Ari ducked the question in the press briefing. His response: "The administration did not file a brief in this matter. It is now a state matter." When pressed for the President's opinion, he just repeated his response.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2003


Devil, monju: Ok, I'll buy that. Opinion amended.
posted by Cerebus at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2003


Weston: fair enough. My main intent was to mock Aaronshaf as I consider appeals to or citations of scripture in a discussion of US law utterly pointless. Perhaps a bit immature on my part, but I can live with that.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2003


* US Evangelical Christian right runs shrieking in horror, shouting "The End of Times!.....The Final Days!" *
posted by troutfishing at 12:33 PM on June 26, 2003


The Supreme Court justices are apppointed for life to remove the politics from their decisions as much as possible. If the justices were worried about reelection or reappointment every 4 years, it would be less about intrepreting the constitution and more about doing what the public wants you to do so you get reelected. Additionally, it would change the makeup of the courts so drastically and so often that the court wouldn't be consistant and would constantly be contridicting earlier opinions as the appointments shift back and forth on the conservative/liberal scale.

It's frustrating when there's a justice you don't agree with that will be there for a long time, but it does add stability to something that NEEDS to be as stable as it can be. And it's still frustrating how they can shift back and forth as they do even with life long appointments. I think it works pretty well though, even when I don't agree with them.
posted by aacheson at 12:45 PM on June 26, 2003


Too bad you have to be gay and male to celebrate this one in a truly appropriate way.
posted by orange swan at 12:46 PM on June 26, 2003


aacheson, the same result of removing political considerations might be achieved with a required retirement age, based on an independent standard such as whatever Social Security sets for 100% benefits to kick in. Save some grief and also give the system a little more certainty as to when slots become vacant. Death aside, of course.
posted by billsaysthis at 12:55 PM on June 26, 2003


To follow aacheson's point, remember that as much as you might dislike Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas, Republican Presidents also nominated O'Connor, Kennedy, and, if you can believe it, Souter. Perhaps the most famous example of a Justice being at odds with the appointing President was Earl Warren, who was nominated by Eisenhower. Eisenhower came to say that the appointment
of Warren was "The biggest damn-fool mistake I ever made."
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2003


Great, now that gay sex is legal all the squares will start having it. That does it, gay sex is officially no more fun. Here's hoping they don't decriminalize drugs, I'd hate to lose that one.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:05 PM on June 26, 2003


Hmm. Sex, drugs - Ty, there's still rock and roll. That's still criminal.
posted by yhbc at 1:18 PM on June 26, 2003


Something to keep in mind about all the cheers for butt fucking...sodomy != butt fucking. Well, not entirely. Sodomy is any non male-female genital only intercourse. So cock sucking, among other things, is an equally valid way to celebrate, as it were.
posted by Snyder at 1:31 PM on June 26, 2003


Probably only coincidentally, but everyone in my office just received pamphlets about sexual harrassment. So my circle-jerk is for everyone BUT my co-workers. Butt my co-workers? Whateva.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:40 PM on June 26, 2003


aaronshaf: If the Bible forbids sodomy, what do you make of the story of Moses, God's butt, and the gloryhole?

And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

(Exodus 33:21-23)

posted by ptermit at 1:56 PM on June 26, 2003


To all you Scalia bashers, I also disagree with him, but his dissent is not based on his personal sense of morality. He's not a mindless Republican drone, and his opinion makes some very important points.

While his opinion is based on the assumption that homosexuality is a choice (says me, based on the fact that believing it is an unalterable condition must make homosexuals a protected class, equivalent to race and gender), his problem is more with the Court's unwillingness to go all the way with the ruling, and with the apparent hypocrisy of using the exact opposite argument to overturn Bowers than they did to uphold Roe.

Scalia is basically saying that the other Supreme Court Justices, because of the indoctrinated culture of lawyers, are imposing their own moral ideas in a way that unjustly overrules democratic process. In doing this, they have ignored their own rational doctrines -- including ones that they previously professed in other controversial cases -- and undermined the stability of the Supreme Court.
posted by hammurderer at 1:59 PM on June 26, 2003


fair enough. My main intent was to mock Aaronshaf as I consider appeals to or citations of scripture in a discussion of US law utterly pointless. Perhaps a bit immature on my part, but I can live with that.

Fair enough, too. Throwing in said Biblical citation really was a bit of a non-sequitor/troll.
posted by weston at 1:59 PM on June 26, 2003


I'm amused that while other countries are busy legalizing gay marriage, we choose to legalize gay sex.
posted by nickmark at 2:02 PM on June 26, 2003


I'm surprised nobody's posted that joke that was going around the UK recently:

'Three hundred years ago, homosexuality was punished by death. A hundred years ago, you'd be sentenced to prison and hard labour. Twenty years ago, it was legal as long as you were 21. Now it's okay if you're 18. I'm getting out before they make it compulsory".
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:07 PM on June 26, 2003


Too bad you have to be gay and male to celebrate this one in a truly appropriate way.

Who said anything about having to be gay?

nickmark: good one. irony at its best.
posted by gramcracker at 2:07 PM on June 26, 2003


says me, based on the fact that believing it is an unalterable condition must make homosexuals a protected class, equivalent to race and gender

This is curious to me, because both 100% hetero- and homosexuals have both been altered from their natural bisexual state. Think about it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:12 PM on June 26, 2003


This is puzzling to me. If one accepts the Bible (and the Gospels) as an authoritative source for the life/teachings of Jesus and followers, I don't understand how it's that simple to just shrug off Paul's epistles. Rejecting the whole thing outright makes more sense.... or at least coming to a better resolution of the dichotomy than just excising the parts one doesn't like.

Why not? That's essentially the process that was used in compiling it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:18 PM on June 26, 2003


In doing this, they have ignored their own rational doctrines -- including ones that they previously professed in other controversial cases -- and undermined the stability of the Supreme Court.

where were you in December 2000?
posted by matteo at 2:29 PM on June 26, 2003


As long as we're quoting scripture:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

When dealing with "religious" conservatives my favorite scripture is:

(From The Living Bible)

Here are some of the other things he taught them at this time:

"Beware of the teachers of religion! For they love to wear the robes of the rich and scholarly, and to have everyone bow to them as the walk through the markets. They love to sit in the best seats in the synagogues, and at the places of honor at banquets - but they shamelessly cheat widows out of their homes and then, to cover up the kind of men they really are, they pretend to be pious by praying long prayers in public. Because of this, their punishment will be greater."

Mark 12: 38-40
posted by whatever at 2:30 PM on June 26, 2003


matteo: I was in Canada, and thus didn't care. Fill me in?

WolfDaddy: yup.
posted by hammurderer at 2:52 PM on June 26, 2003


hammurderer - I suspect matteo was referring to this whole thing we had with an election back a couple years ago... Scalia's vote counted, even if other people's didn't.
posted by nickmark at 2:59 PM on June 26, 2003


So when is this effective? What exactly happens to the law in, say, Utah today - is it immediately ok to be gay, or can there be appeals, delays, tactics to circumvent in the legislatures?
posted by dash_slot- at 2:59 PM on June 26, 2003


You can't appeal above the Supreme Court, dash_slot. The decision is effective immediately, and the only thing that could change it is an amendment to the Constitution.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2003


Why not? That's essentially the process that was used in compiling it.

Somewhat true, not entirely accurate. From what I've been able to tell, the focus of the canonization process was on determining authenticity of document: that is, if it was written by its claimed author.

Not that it was without its own political biases...

Why am I discussing this again?

I'm amused that while other countries are busy legalizing gay marriage, we choose to legalize gay sex.

This comment alone serves as a justification (and reward for reading) for this thread.
posted by weston at 3:22 PM on June 26, 2003


the only thing that could change it is an amendment to the Constitution.

It could also be changed by another Supreme Court decision, just as Lawrence v. Texas overturned Bowers v. Hardwick. Thus all the concern about whether any Justices will be retiring and who W would appoint to replace them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2003


the only thing that could change it is an amendment to the Constitution.

...or a later reversal of this reversal by the Court itself. Remember, this decision reverses a SCOTUS ruling made back in 1986, when the Court upheld a Georgia state law, which essentially stated that consensual sodomy or other "deviant" acts could be criminalized and not subject to right-to-privacy considerations.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2003


oops.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2003


Will this decision affect the Supreme Court's "don't ask don't tell" position in any way? Or is that another issue entirely?
posted by tyro urge at 3:41 PM on June 26, 2003


This is puzzling to me. If one accepts the Bible (and the Gospels) as an authoritative source for the life/teachings of Jesus and followers, I don't understand how it's that simple to just shrug off Paul's epistles.

Sorry for the derail, but this is such a tantalizing question...

There are plenty of Christians who don't try to interpret the Bible literally. First of all, such a task would be herculean and largely futile. I mean, it's a pretty complex set of documents full of all kinds of different literary styles and agendas. Second of all, a lot of it is irrelevant to the task at hand and what is relevant is often contradictory. There are contradictory accounts of the same events, a moral code that evolves over the course of hundreds of years.

The thing about the Bible is that no sane person, after having read it, would ever argue that it was written by a single hand for a single purpose. The voice of Genesis is nothing like that of The Song of Solomon, which is nothing like Isaiah, which again is nothing like the Gospels, and so on. There's no coherent narrative. For long stretches, there's not even any religion.

In the Middle Ages, the vast majority of Christendom never even saw the Bible. It was revered as a holy object, though almost no one (including many of the clergy) had much of an idea what was in it. This ignorance was a significant factor in the Protestant Reformation. Luther and his many philosophical descendents preached a doctrine called sola scriptura, that Scripture was the only authority; i.e., as opposed to Catholic Dogma. It's not difficult to see how the doctrine of sola scripture quickly came to mean that the Bible itself was infallible. Nobody believed such a thing before the 15th century, and there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that it is, in fact, the final word of God.

Paul was a well-intentioned, often prudish early Christian who had a distinctly first century worldview. His letters are canon because they contain a lot of what was considered to be good advice for running churches in the early years of the faith. Paul had no idea that he was writing what would eventually be collected into what some would consider "the final word" on the religion of Jesus. Why God would give some 4th century clergy the divine mandate to determine what that final word ought to be--and to conceal this fact for another thousand years--has never been explained.

So, to answer your question: There's no textual indication that Paul was in any way divine. I don't so much shrug him off as recognize that the social world he inhabited was utterly different from my own, and so the rules of navigating our two societies are completely different.

Sorry for taking up so much space...
</derail>
posted by vraxoin at 3:47 PM on June 26, 2003


Not at all! A clear and useful exposition of the case for keeping scripture in it's place: as perhaps history, perhaps advice, and definitely fallible.

Thank you, vraxoin.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:32 PM on June 26, 2003


Note also Scalia's statement that he has "nothing against homosexuals." Gee, where have I heard that before?

Is that kinda like when a Southerner says, "bless her heart, but..." and follows with some nasty rumors?

Or the old standard, "with all due respect..." which usually means you have no respect whatsoever?
posted by notsnot at 4:38 PM on June 26, 2003


I don't understand how it's that simple to just shrug off Paul's epistles.

Actually, it's pretty simple to do: all you have to do is to believe that the authority of Jesus' teachings (recorded in the gospels) is real in a way that the authority of Paul's writings (with nothing to back it but the approval-stamp of the early Church and Paul's own account of having hallucinated Jesus).

This is what most irks me about literalists. They treat as the "word of God" that which Jesus never called the word of God. Our Bible texts come with very simple designations affixed to them: "The Good News According to Mark" (or just "According to Mark"), "Paul's Letter to the Romans," etc. News flash: each of these books is what it says it is (at least, these designations are better than the lame idea that the whole library of the Bible is speaking with one voice).

P.S. Well & good what I've said here, but without Paul we're left with a Jesus for whom the Mosaic law has more authority... even if, as folks observe here, Jesus' consistent line was not to judge, etc.

P.P.S. What is the "Christian" argument for accepting Paul's writings as authoritative? You basically have to believe that the "miracle" of the early Church itself validates that great voice to the Gentiles, Paul, AFAICT.
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:51 PM on June 26, 2003


aaronshaf: I kind of made a promise to myself to ignore pretty much anything that you spew out after this comment, but it's good to see you're still around. Your little scripture trolls really liven up the conversation, and add to the debate! And, as long as you're going to quote Paul, I think I'll join you! Excerpts from I Timothy:

2:12 "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain silent"

2:9 "likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire"

And from I Corinthians:

14:33-35 "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
---
Interestingly enough, from an empirical standpoint, Paul actually has much more to say about the place of women in society than he does about "sexual deviation". So, I find it hard to understand how Christians can so easily explain passages such as the above away, yet retreat to Paul when they want to condemn homosexuality. When I asked my Pastor, when I was 12 and I first read the above passages, why we didn't do that anymore, he said, "The times have changed." Well, thank you SCOTUS and news to you, they just changed again whether you like it or not.

Oh, and Aaron, don't worry about being embarrassed belonging to a race that advocates homosexuality--as far as I can find from google, homosexuality was never a problem with dinosaurs.
posted by Swifty at 5:12 PM on June 26, 2003


aaronshaf, those jeans hug your ass nicely

Snarf!
jonmc, let's stop the fussin' and the feudin'... You win by virtue of your wit.
posted by Fenriss at 5:53 PM on June 26, 2003


Now if we can get Santorum's "man on dog" hot action legalized!
I really want to see Santorum do a beastiality thing in the halls of Congress. It would liven up CSPAN considerably.
posted by nofundy at 6:04 PM on June 26, 2003


From what I've been able to tell, the focus of the canonization process was on determining authenticity of document: that is, if it was written by its claimed author.

Oddly enough, I've been studying up on this recently. It seems that a man called Irenaeous culled, from the many different accounts, the so-called "four formed gospel." He used only the accounts that were written or supposedly written by people who had actually been there, and even rejected some of those.

A good book to read up on is Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elain Pagels.

Living in Illinois, i know of no such laws in my bedroom. But i'm happy that folks, hetro or otherwise, in other states can now legally get their salad tossed :-)
posted by schlaager at 6:05 PM on June 26, 2003


jonmc ... You win by virtue of your wit

I've got some comments concerning dissent, as well as butt-fucking, but I think I'll just retire now.
posted by scarabic at 6:24 PM on June 26, 2003


Fenriss-- that's one of the joy's of being a contrarian, eventually you'll both endear yourself to and piss off everyone ;)

This is curious to me, because both 100% hetero- and homosexuals have both been altered from their natural bisexual state. Think about it.

Right on the money, WolfDaddy. I don't actually believe that sucha creature as a 100% either exists quite frankly.

aaronshaf-- just so it dosent seem like a merciless pile-on, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you've got some Christian compassion in your soul. Do yourself a favor, go out and actually meet a gay person, be their freind you'll figure out that they're more or less like the rest of us, only better groomed.
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on June 26, 2003


Will this affect the sentence that this guy got? As the poster pointed out, the guy's punishment would've been vastly different if it had been a heterosexual act.
posted by GeekAnimator at 7:04 PM on June 26, 2003


Ned Koppel is right: tis indeed a great day for America.

Certain SCOTUS decisions are talismanic of the evolution of American societal values to embrace previously rejected "outsiders" as legitimate citizens before the law. Today's Lawrence decision will be seen as one of these landmark cases.

As any hard-working pothead could tell you, the threat of a criminal sanction for private conduct is an insult as well as a restraint. Given the enormous discretion possessed by the prosecutor and the constable, such sanctions generally devolve into a tool for the oppression of the group whose conduct is so sanctioned. The hypocrisy and corruption of the "Vice Squad" is proverbial.

The Stonewall riots of 1969 began as a spontaneous eruption against the extortionate tactics of the vice police. When any person in a club can always be rousted on a "morals charge" if they push back, the constabulary have powerful leverage for shaking down the clientele. That leverage got a lot less potent today.

By removing the criminal sanction for private sex on the basis of the human being's right to privacy, the Court did not merely make it possible for gay Americans to engage "en culaire' without being busted at the whim of Barney Fife. The Court-- symbolically at least-- has dissolved the gay community's "outsider" stigma, as a matter of law.

By doing the right thing by the gay community, however, the Court has also affirmed the right of all individuals to conduct their private lives privately. It is at least somewhat reassuring to learn that the Court is willing to uphold the right of privacy that so many of today's alleged "conservatives" seem so willing to cast away in return for a chimerical promise of "security."
posted by rdone at 7:08 PM on June 26, 2003


I don't actually believe that sucha creature as a 100% either exists quite frankly.

Word.
posted by soyjoy at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2003


I don't actually believe that sucha creature as a 100% either exists quite frankly.

I agree, and I also believe it's not a fixed percentage, but fluid (which is why I try to say "orientation," rather than "preference"). There's huge societal pressure to define yourself as one thang or the other, though.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:15 PM on June 26, 2003


...so why do none of you fluid freaks ever call me, hmm? It's legal now, you know. To call and to booty call. Legal. Hmph.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:46 PM on June 26, 2003


Back in the days when Bob Goldthwait was actually funny, he had a joke that ran something like, "Sometimes I'll look at a picture of Tom Cruise or somebody and think, 'Hey, he's cute! I'd kinda like to kiss him!' And then I hit myself in the face and shriek 'He's a guy! He's a guy!'"

I imagine most straight guys have experienced that feeling at least once in their lives. I mean, I haven't. But some other guys probably did...
posted by vraxoin at 7:56 PM on June 26, 2003


Addressing:

Paul was a well-intentioned, often prudish early Christian who had a distinctly first century worldview. ...There's no textual indication that Paul was in any way divine.

and

Actually, it's pretty simple to do: all you have to do is to believe that the authority of Jesus' teachings (recorded in the gospels) is real in a way that the authority of Paul's writings (with nothing to back it but the approval-stamp of the early Church and Paul's own account of having hallucinated Jesus).
...
P.P.S. What is the "Christian" argument for accepting Paul's writings as authoritative? You basically have to believe that the "miracle" of the early Church itself validates that great voice to the Gentiles, Paul, AFAICT.


Paul's vision and commission are actually discussed in Acts, whose author is supposed to be the same as the author of Luke's Gospel. Also, during the accounts given in Acts, Paul's actions are depicted as highly coordinated with those of the disciples of Jesus associated with him pre-death, and sanctioned on equal footing .

This implies to me that Paul's ministry (and therefore the letters) can claim an endorsement by the authors of at least one of the Gospels (one of the more detailed gospels, at that, if it means anything) and the same measure of authority as those depicted as having authority in the Gospels (Peter, James, and John, for example). At that point, I think the only way out of accepting (or rejecting) both is to reject the idea that Acts and Luke had the same author. I do not know how conclusive the evidence is that this is so.

This is what most irks me about literalists. They treat as the "word of God" that which Jesus never called the word of God. Our Bible texts come with very simple designations affixed to them: "The Good News According to Mark" (or just "According to Mark"), "Paul's Letter to the Romans," etc. News flash: each of these books is what it says it is

I'm aware of the Bible's history... and pre-history as a set of independent documents that had their own authors, and agree that it's ridiculous to ignore that (and that the mortal Christ couldn't have called anything but the Old Testament the word of God : ). But that doesn't mean the combination was arbitrary. It seems likely that the justification of Paul's authority I offered above was at least part of the rationale for his inclusion in the canonized collection we've come to know by the B-word. The authors were associated, some apparently quite closely, and referenced similar events and in some cases each other, and that's one reason their works are combined.

P.S. Well & good what I've said here, but without Paul we're left with a Jesus for whom the Mosaic law has more authority...

Actually, Acts also recounts a vision given to Peter which reads as something of a repeal of the Mosaic law. God tells Peter it's OK to eat some things that were formerly off limits, and everybody realizes that bacon doesn't have to move over for something leaner. So to speak.

('course, this is still the same Acts that I'm tying to the Gospel of Luke and Paul's authority...)

On Preview:

schlaager, I'll check it out. I read the Gospel of Thomas itself along with a number of other apocryphal texts, and this discussion has piqued my interest in looking at these things again.
posted by weston at 8:09 PM on June 26, 2003


Two things, completely unrelated.

First, if you allow that people's sexuality is "fluid", as you say, that there is a spectrum of hetero-to-homo, then you surely must concede that there *are* some people who define the degrees. That is, there must also exist people who are on either end of the spectrum, and are either completely homosexual or heterosexual, as both of these points lie on the same spectrum.

Like with sexuality, one's belief in god can fall in a spectrum, thus it takes just as much conviction to believe that there is no God as it does to believe there is one. While most people fall somewhere in the middle, there certainly exist people who are either completely fundementalist, or completely atheist.

Going from that segway, I'm surprised nobody has noticed that the extreme conviction fundementalists have in the Word of the Bible is very similar to the strict constructionalist method of meating out Constitutional justice that people like Thomas practice. Both are based on codified documents that we use for our belief structure -- one religious, the other political.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:12 PM on June 26, 2003


jonmc,

Thanks for giving me so much credit in the left's destruction. I didn't know I had it in me.

As for my post, yes it's obnoxious. But it's not irrelevant. I frequently argue with people on the "hard right" who constantly tout Uh-mur-ka as a land of "freedom." Yet their ideas of freedom usually boil down to a Christian, consumerist, gun-toting utopia. Mention gay rights and they instantly lose their "freedom" platitudes and start spouting hateful "family values" bullshit. The mere fact that anti-sodomy laws still need to be debated, in this day and age, points to the idea that we've got a long ways to go.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:27 PM on June 26, 2003


if you allow that people's sexuality is "fluid", as you say, that there is a spectrum of hetero-to-homo, then you surely must concede that there *are* some people who define the degrees.

Why must I concede that? If I say that the secondary sex characteristics associated with males and females may occur to different degrees in different people along a spectrum, would I then be logically obligated to concede that there exist "100% masculine" and "100% feminine" people? I don't see the step(s) between your "if" and your "then." Please supply, if there are any.
posted by soyjoy at 8:30 PM on June 26, 2003


busted at the whim of Barney Fife

Hey, Fife was a known homosexual so why would he be busting anyone?
posted by billsaysthis at 8:33 PM on June 26, 2003


Going from that segway,

Offtopic, but sometimes I wonder if Kamen's invention will result in a spelling change for a perfectly good word.

I'm surprised nobody has noticed that the extreme conviction fundementalists have in the Word of the Bible is very similar to the strict constructionalist method of meating out Constitutional justice that people like Thomas practice. Both are based on codified documents that we use for our belief structure -- one religious, the other political.

Wow. Here I was thinking that the discussion of the Bible in this thread was largely offtopic and irrelevant...
posted by weston at 9:14 PM on June 26, 2003


"...if you allow that people's sexuality is 'fluid'..."

Look, people, this is a new millennium, and you should all know by now that if you're not in a long-term committed relationship you should keep your sexual fluids to yourselves.

"...meating out Constitutional justice..."

Well, I suppose they did, in a manner of speaking.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:25 PM on June 26, 2003


I don't actually believe that sucha creature as a 100% either exists quite frankly

I've never had any sexual inclination towards men. Never had any passing erotic thoughts, never even had dreams (which technically wouldn't mean anything, anyway). I'm 100% straight. The "spectrum" crowd tend to read my words and think "no, you're mistaken, I don't believe you" the same way fundementalist Christians hear gay people profess their sexuality and say "no, you're just kidding yourself." It's still sexual intolerance, an inability to see things from a perspective you don't personally experience. A spectrum is defined by limits, and at the extremes of those limits exist people who define the boundaries.

On preview: Weston - Whoops. Crash - Funny, I was thinking of that when I wrote it, and decided to leave it just in case someone found humor in it. Admittedly, not nearly as good as Dipsomaniac's comment.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 PM on June 26, 2003


First, if you allow that people's sexuality is "fluid", as you say, that there is a spectrum of hetero-to-homo, then you surely must concede that there *are* some people who ... are either completely homosexual or heterosexual, as both of these points lie on the same spectrum.

a spectrum is an abstract concept; there's no need for all points along it to be actually represented by definition. Most people have a dominant side & we call ourselves right- or left-handed - but pretty much no one is absolutely one-handed, unless they've had some kind of injury.

I tend to think sexuality is similarly divided - a few people are truly ambidextrous; a fair number are unevenly ambidextrous ( e.g., write with one hand, but pitch with the other); most could adapt if necessary to using the other hand but would prefer not to; and a few are just incapable on the other side.

aaronshaf, your comment read like a condemnation of christianity to me. I might've posted it myself on a different thread...
posted by mdn at 10:08 PM on June 26, 2003


Going from that segway, I'm surprised nobody has noticed that the extreme conviction fundementalists have in the Word of the Bible is very similar to the strict constructionalist method of meating out Constitutional justice that people like Thomas practice. Both are based on codified documents that we use for our belief structure -- one religious, the other political.

I guess that's true in one sense, but I disagree with your lumping in of strict constitutionalist to a Bible thumper. We know with 100% certainty that the Constitution was written by the founders of our country for a specific purpose. With further evidence from constitutional conventions and federalist letters, we also have a pretty good idea on how to interpret it (of course, there are disagreements). To me, the Bible is little more than a good story, with some historical tidbits thrown in here and there. There's a huge difference between the two groups you're trying to lump together.
posted by gyc at 10:31 PM on June 26, 2003


weston,

You're quite right to point to Paul's story in Luke-Acts (really just one book, no one disputes that). But, again, by what criteria would one really be compelled to care about the account by "Luke" of how Peter & Paul got visions? To me, the fact that "Luke" redacted an account of Jesus' life doesn't invest Peter & Paul's visions, which he also relates, with any particular authority. Put another way, let's say that "Luke" is a reliable source—if so, we know (a) that Jesus' teachings & sayings were believed to include XYZ etc., (b) that a guy named Paul "saw" Jesus at a later date and was given a special mission. It just isn't true that trusting Luke as a historical source compels us to be Pauline Christians. This is, again, the idea that "Christians" should care what Luke believed, as opposed to what Jesus believed. For reconstructing what Jesus believed, category (a) is immeasurably more significant than category (b).

In my opinion, the only real defense* for taking the whole package is to come right out and say, "The Christian community (Church) is the source of authority, not the historical Jesus." It is this community, not Jesus, for whom Paul was "highly coordinated with those of the disciples of Jesus associated with him pre-death." To a certain kind of believer (whom I could understand), the same way Jesus' truth can be recognized because it transformed or created the community, so too with the truth of Peter and Paul. (This is a very Gentile Christianity, not, one suspects, the faith of most of Jesus' intimate followers.) But a different way of believing says: "I accept Jesus' mission, Jesus' only: what did Jesus believe?" It is important to acknowledge that even Paul was partial to this fantasy of "true, original" authority: not only in experiencing a personal commission from Jesus, but in telling Christians that their relation with God goes all the way back to the Abrahamic covenant (bypassing the "Paul" figure of Moses?). For the iconoclast who wants to follow Jesus, Luke-Acts is still a useful historical source, but really only b/c it includes the gospel.

I think the irony is that many who take the whole doctrinal package (trinity, divinity of Jesus, etc.) think of Jesus as the authority for this, not a post-Jesus experience (Paul) or interpretation (NT authors) of Jesus.

* (At least, I actually find this way deeper religiously than saying, for example, "A bunch of people saw the miracle of Paul's sight restored," etc. Stories of this type of miracle are a tricky genre, and a faith based on them might not survive a better acquaintance with the genre...)

Gleefully chasing this tangent, and if folks don't like it, sheepishly pointing out to them that I did my part bashing Scalia above...
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:27 PM on June 26, 2003


Paul's vision and commission are actually discussed in Acts, whose author is supposed to be the same as the author of Luke's Gospel. Also, during the accounts given in Acts, Paul's actions are depicted as highly coordinated with those of the disciples of Jesus associated with him pre-death, and sanctioned on equal footing .

Yes, but there's some evidence, and schools of thought, that say this was not the case at all: Check here (and the entire website is really illuminating on this whole manner, I think).

I've really enjoyed this thread. Both WolfDaddy's comments and the Freepers' reactions to the verdict have cracked me up (albeit for different reasons entirely).
posted by nath at 11:59 PM on June 26, 2003


As someone in the SF gay.com chat room is fond of saying quite frequently and randomly:

Penis for all.
posted by divrsional at 5:42 AM on June 27, 2003


I'm 100% straight.

no, you're just kidding yourself

If you say so.
posted by soyjoy at 7:09 AM on June 27, 2003


Funny, silly Americans. If you weren't so terrifyingly evil and stupid and dangerous, I'd give you noogies like nobody's business.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:10 AM on June 27, 2003


Woo-hoo!

Oh, sorry, thought you meant something else...
posted by nickmark at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2003


Predictably, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ is horrified.

I guess freedom only really applies to Gawd-fearin' Kurshtuns.
posted by drstrangelove at 1:58 PM on June 27, 2003


and it has effect already! yay : >
posted by amberglow at 8:49 PM on June 27, 2003


It's really entertaining to hear the US evangelical right frothing and fulminating about "totalitarian judicial activism".

Maybe all the whining will push SCOTUS more towards the left (out of general annoyance).
posted by troutfishing at 3:17 PM on June 29, 2003


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