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Axis of Medieval?
July 31, 2003 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Axis of Medieval? Hot on the heels of Bush's announcement that his adminstration is seeking ways to ban gay marriage, the Vatican has issued a document condemning same-sex unions as "deviant" and "gravely immoral." One Bishop has warned Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien (a Catholic) that "his eternal salvation is in jeopardy. He is making a morally grave error and he's not being accountable to God." Are we witnessing a coordinated attack on the burgeoning campaign for broader gay rights? What is the relevance of the Church's edicts, in combination with Bush's announcement? Are we about to see "the backlash" that some gay rights activists have warned of, or is this the (almost) last gasp of self-evidently outmoded thinking?
posted by stonerose (160 comments total)

 
So, let me get this straight: They have no trouble condemning same-sex unions as "deviant" and "gravely immoral" without hesitation, but they need a large-scale meeting of the bishops of the church to discuss how they should handle those same kind of relationships when one of the participants is underage, and the other is an ordained member of the Church?

If I didn't hate the Catholic Church before, I'd hate them now.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:15 AM on July 31, 2003


So, let me get this straight

No pun intended? LOL
posted by garyh at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2003


Well, I for one understand that that gay marriage must be at least as bad as allowing women to run a church alongside men.

thanotopsis - How dare you? the abuses were "an internal matter" and none of our business
posted by magullo at 7:19 AM on July 31, 2003


This reveals how utterly out-of-touch the Catholic Church is becoming. I know, uphold tradition, etc etc.

Does John Paul II realize that there are gay saints? I'm trying to locate the information, but they were officers in the Roman army who died for their Christian beliefs. And they happened to be sleeping with each other.

But yes, they were canonized.
posted by rocketman at 7:28 AM on July 31, 2003


Serge and Bacchus. That's their names.
posted by rocketman at 7:29 AM on July 31, 2003


As a mass-every-day-until-I-graduated lapsed Catholic, I have just one thing to say:

Who cares? Do the Catholic Church leaders honestly think they have any influence at all anymore? The church at this point reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne: fuzzy-headed, occasionally kind, but mostly embarassingly impotent and ineffectual in getting his kids to listen to him for any reason other than pity and a certain nostalgia. But at least Ozzy has a good time.
posted by pomegranate at 7:30 AM on July 31, 2003


Opposition to gay marriage may be successful in the short run, but it is a losing battle. Marriage status has all kinds of legal meanings ... and the state has offered secular marriage ceremonies forever. Hard to see how marriage discrimination is going to hold up for long.
posted by Isamu Noguchi at 7:31 AM on July 31, 2003


Gay is the new Race, in terms of an indicator of a society's (or institution's) enlightenment.

20 or 30 years from now, surviving members of the current US government will be attempting to distance themselves from their gay-bashing days.

50-500 years from now, JPII's succesor will be publicly apologizing to gays, just like JPII himself has to jews, etc.
posted by signal at 7:32 AM on July 31, 2003


I'd like to know what they mean by saying gay marriages "obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity."

What does that even mean?

When is the Catholic Church going to understand that they are not the be-all end-all authorities on anything relating to all of humanity? Did they not learn anything from The Crusades (well, other than learn how to do it better next time)?

I have no problem with the church banning gay marriages in their institutions, that's their choice, but do not be so arrogant as to assume that "humanity" needs to follow your mandates and legislation should be made to restrict those who don't follow your faith. Get over yourselves. The Vatican will be irrelevant soon. Not in my lifetime, but soon.

As an aside, how can anyone be against consentual euthanasia? How is it being Christian to say that you would rather prolong a dying person's intense suffering rather than allow them the dignity of death and an end to the pain????
posted by archimago at 7:34 AM on July 31, 2003


I'd like to know what they mean by saying gay marriages "obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity."

I think it means something like "those gay people can't produce any new fodde^Wbelievers for propagating our machin^Wcult^Wreligion, therefore we really don't like them. also, the bible tells us not to like them because they are different."
posted by dorian at 7:41 AM on July 31, 2003


What does that even mean?

It means the sight of two men kissing makes them uncomfortable.
posted by SPrintF at 7:44 AM on July 31, 2003


Well, it's hardly an unexpected move from the Catholic Church - what else could it do? However, I think the end result will not be what the Church intended. I think this will be the sourch of more separation from orthodox Catholicism and another incentive for people to rethink what, to them, feels like God's love and what feels like people's fear.

I've really enjoyed the gay marriage threads on Mefi - very cool to see such widespread support and even the changing of a few minds along the way.

Full steam ahead!
posted by widdershins at 7:48 AM on July 31, 2003


So what you're saying is the Catholic Church is against gay marriage and gay behavior in general? That's a new one. I offer you this thread from YESTERDAY!
posted by Witty at 7:50 AM on July 31, 2003


Witty, I was a participant in that thread. If you had read and considered the questions I posed in this post, you may have had something more worthwhile to offer than your usual sniping.
posted by stonerose at 7:53 AM on July 31, 2003


One Bishop has warned Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien that . . . "he's not being accountable to God."

And I thought politicians were supposed to be accountable to the citizens. I stand corrected.
posted by archimago at 7:56 AM on July 31, 2003


I read the post, I clicked and read the links. Yes, we will see "the backlash" from gay rights activists?
posted by Witty at 8:01 AM on July 31, 2003


Well, if God still judges nations, this would be something for any persuasion to ponder furiously.
If you don't believe He does, think whatever you will.
posted by konolia at 8:02 AM on July 31, 2003


Just another step in the direction of irrelevance for the Catholic Church in particular, and religion in general. Let us hope the dustbin of history opens soon and wide, and we shall all be better off.

Well, if God still judges nations, this would be something for any persuasion to ponder furiously.

God, should He exist, has embodied a laissez-faire attitude toward His creations for far too long for even the least rational among them to serve up blind obesiance now. A father who abandons his children to the whimsy of fate and the predation of wolves is no father at all, unworthy of the title, and certainly unworthy of either respect or allegiance.
posted by UncleFes at 8:12 AM on July 31, 2003


He is making a morally grave error and he's not being accountable to God

This turn of phrase amuses me.

If X is accountable to Y, all that means is that Y can hold X to account for something -- can punish him.

So in claiming that Chretien is not accountable to God, the bishop is claiming that God has no power to punish Chretien, which ought to be a comfort I guess.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:13 AM on July 31, 2003


Well, the United States is quite "blessed," despite keeping church and state separate, konolia. Maybe that's what God wants. /derail

We should just let churches use the word "marriage" and call the government-sanctioned union something else entirely.
posted by whatnot at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2003


From "Bush is just as evil as Saddam" to "gay marriage", the left's tone-deafness about political activism is appalling. If the issue is "gay marriage", Bush can only come out a winner. More than one-third of the American people has strong emotional ideas about what the word "marriage" means. The phrase "gay marriage" sets out a more radical agenda in most people's minds, and invites resistance from people who would otherwise find it easy to support legalistic arrangements for insurance and hospital visits for gay couples.

Gays in France (and soon in the UK) have been successful by not forcing people to change their idea about marriage. Let the religious people have their sacrament and let them keep calling it "marriage". If a "civil union" meme doesn't get going fast, we can expect the gay marriage issue to set the cause of gay rights back a decade within 6 months.
posted by fuzz at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2003


What's amusing is how many politicians and judges dismissed the Pope's comments against the death penalty, but I imagine we'll see quite a few turning around and quoting the Pope in regard to to gay (human) rights.

I guess you can have it both ways.
posted by aubin at 8:15 AM on July 31, 2003


Gay is the new Race, in terms of an indicator of a society's (or institution's) enlightenment.

Good point. The comparison of gay rights to the civil rights movement of the '60s can also yield insight into how the proponents of gay rights can best achieve their goals. I submit that countering hatred and discrimination with further insults and vitriol is the incorrect path. Instead, study the peaceful and inspirational response to oppression of Martin Luther King, Jr. His most famous speech was not an attack on his oppressors, but rather a message of hope, encouragement, and unity with the goal of inspiring others.

From the I Have a Dream speech: "In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

Focus on inspiring and encouraging others to help end the suffering and hurtfulness of the current situation, and I believe the movement will be much more successful.
posted by jsonic at 8:22 AM on July 31, 2003


I'm a firm believer in religious tolerance, but I'm beginning to consider making an exception for the Roman Catholic church. Sometimes it seems like they go out of their way to position themselves as the church for obsolete, out-of-touch hypocrites.

It seems like this issue is cropping up everywhere lately: here in Austin, TX a Presbyterian minister is being threatened with removal for performing gay marriages. The Episcopal church is in the midst of imploding over an openly gay bishop. Honestly, it's about time these issues boiled over. If they're going to be resolved, people have got to face them, rather than hide behind idiotic "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies that are about as ethically sound as Jim Crow, and will be remembered with equal ignominy.

When you find yourself in a position where you're saying things like, "THEY want to do the same things as US?" it's probably time to re-examine your moral compass.
posted by vraxoin at 8:23 AM on July 31, 2003


We should just let churches use the word "marriage" and call the government-sanctioned union something else entirely.

What about the United Church in Canada? They endorse gay marriage. Not all church bodies are as backward as the bigger, louder ones.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:23 AM on July 31, 2003


In the same sense, fuzz, I don't know why they went to all that trouble in the 60's for civil rights. Really, they should have just called it something else, because the word "rights" made it seem like all those black people were entitled to the same treatment from God (the white man in the sky) as white people were.

Asking them to limit their rights because it offends the delicate sensibilities of a large group of people whose ignorant throwback beliefs offend my not-so-delicate sensibilities as a thinking creature isn't getting at the problem.
posted by The God Complex at 8:28 AM on July 31, 2003


Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church is debating this weekend whether to ordain its first openly gay bishop. If it does so, and insiders at the annual Convention say it's likely, it will lead to a scism in the church, creating two equally-sized wings: one accepting gay clergy, the other not. It also is having an effect on the larger Anglican Communion, which includes the Church of England, Church of Canada, et al.
posted by darren at 8:32 AM on July 31, 2003


What the Pope and every other Christian on the planet has got to be absolutely sure of is that the voice they hear re-enforcing these beliefs is the voice of God and not the voice of the hate in their own heart.
posted by Ms.JaneDoe at 8:33 AM on July 31, 2003


On a broader point-is it just me or does it seem like right and wrong are more and more up for a popularity vote? Seriously.

There are those of us who see right and wrong as, well, written in stone so to speak. There are others of us who see moral and ethical standards as elastic and changeable. When these two subsets of humanity collide in a discussion such as this, it is pert nigh hopeless to expect any sort of consensus.

We should just let churches use the word "marriage" and call the government-sanctioned union something else entirelyexpect a consensus.

I actually think that is a good idea, for some reason.
posted by konolia at 8:35 AM on July 31, 2003


Fuzz, you forgot the part where the American president and many politicians go on and on about god this, god that. No French, or Brit, or Canadian, or Dutch, or Danish top-level politician would dream of bringing God into a political debate (effective separation of church and state and all that getting in their way). This perhaps explains the panic reaction of one third of Americans (source?) when they hear "GAY MARRIAGE!!!!". Keep god out of politics and you might be able to hear the melody.

IOW, how fast does it take to an American conservative turn "civil union of same-sex couples" into "GAY MARRIAGE!!!!!"?
posted by magullo at 8:35 AM on July 31, 2003


What about the United Church in Canada? They endorse gay marriage. Not all church bodies are as backward as the bigger, louder ones.

Yeah, my church acknowledges them, too. Let each church decide who they will "marry"--the progressive churches are already doing it. I'm just saying let the state acknowledge the legal union in a separate process for the sake of insurance benefits, taxes, etc.
posted by whatnot at 8:36 AM on July 31, 2003


Addressing the potential connection to the Bush administration's similar condemnation, I believe that we will shortly be notified that the Fab 5 from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy have been identified, through a complex betting system intended to model the chaotic behavior of the stock market, to very likely be terrorists with evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
posted by Muraii at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2003


I should have added: "every other Christian on the planet who shares these beliefs"
posted by Ms.JaneDoe at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2003


More than one-third of the American people has strong emotional ideas about what the word "marriage" means...Let the religious people have their sacrament and let them keep calling it "marriage".

Yes, because letting emotion direct public policy and establish law is by far the best approach....

There are those of us who see right and wrong as, well, written in stone so to speak. There are others of us who see moral and ethical standards as elastic and changeable. When these two subsets of humanity collide in a discussion such as this, it is pert nigh hopeless to expect any sort of consensus.

Reason ever flounders upon a barren shore.
posted by rushmc at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2003


TGC, I don't see how you could possibly interpret my comment as asking gays to "limit their rights". I'm saying that they should focus on their rights, instead of focusing on legislating a change in other people's concept of the sacrament of marriage. A majority of Americans is against the concept of "gay marriage", but could be persuaded now to accept the idea of equal legal rights for gay unions as long as it didn't threaten the idea of marriage.

Real social change occurs because people's minds change. Some of us are old enough to remember how the Black Panthers and the school busing controversies set back the civil rights gains that were made by Martin Luther King's more inclusive and incremental movement. The real change in civil rights required another two generations. It came from seeing more blacks entering the mainstream of American society.

Gays have gone a long way with the same strategy. If civil unions are looking posible today, it's more because of "Will and Grace" than Queer Nation. Handing Bush the electoral gift of the "gay marriage" meme is an objective step backwards for gay rights. Achieve civil unions in a low-key way now, and in a generation gay adoption will seem normal.
posted by fuzz at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2003


letting emotion direct public policy and establish law is by far the best approach

Welcome to democratic society, where you actually have to convince people in order to effect change. Sometimes that requires understanding and respecting their emotions, in order to show them how the change you are promoting doesn't threaten them.

Of course, you could always try to become dictator-for-life, thanks to your infallible access to the glowing truth of reason. Funny how people try to oppose the Church's moral coercion by getting all moralistic and coercive.
posted by fuzz at 8:55 AM on July 31, 2003


There are those of us who see right and wrong as, well, written in stone so to speak. There are others of us who see moral and ethical standards as elastic and changeable.

I'm not so sure it's that simple. I see it as more of a disagreement over what set of principles does/should form the fundamental basis of society. You would probably see me as a moral relativist, but I have bedrock beliefs, too: liberty, equality, fraternity... that sort of thing. Whereas religious fundamentalists regard those principles as being embodied in (or subrodinate to) unchanging laws that come from God(s). I recognize that society does change over time, and in order to reflect my fundamental moral principles, our "less bedrock"(?!?) laws and practices need to change too. I see it as beautiful when we come to terms with history in a way that brings us closer to those ideals. Some religious fundamentalists don't share that view.
posted by stonerose at 8:57 AM on July 31, 2003


On a broader point-is it just me or does it seem like right and wrong are more and more up for a popularity vote? Seriously.

Here's a serious answer: The reason it seems that way to you is that we have this somewhat fallacious impression as a culture that there was a time in the past when "right" and "wrong" had strict meanings that could be applied to all behaviors. But such a situation has never prevailed. What we had instead was a Western culture composed of one part Protestant morality, one part Hellenism, and two parts European enlightenment. This homogeneity was preserved by actively excluding other points of view (female, gay/lesbian, Jewish, Asian, you name it). You can still see this in the stubborn resistance of some Universities to abandon their eurocentric literary canons, and in the sad efforts of white pride groups to preserve their "heritage."

Jesus taught, above all things, to be loving and respectful toward your neighbor. He accepted and welcomed everyone--especially those whom others considered untouchable and unworthy. Whenever a Pharisee accuses Jesus or someone else of trodding upon the law, Jesus always answered them with a variation on, "Don't worry about them--worry about getting yourself right with God and loving everyone unconditionally."

When Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath, he said, "So what? The Sabbath was created for man, not the other way around." In other words, moral laws are there to help us, not engender anger and division. Where the law is in direct contrast with love or good sense, it can be broken unrepentantly. Who are the villains of the Gospels? The Pharisees. Why? Because they consistently attempted to use their morality to exclude others and set themselves above them. When you're confronted with your own moral decision, ask yourself: am I being a Jesus, or a Pharisee? Which would any of us rather be, even those who think that all religion is a total crock?
posted by vraxoin at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2003


On a broader point-is it just me or does it seem like right and wrong are more and more up for a popularity vote?

The law, in a Constitutional democracy, expresses the rules by which the rights of citizens are protected from the actions of others.

The law does not tell you what is right or wrong in cases where the action of one person does not infringe opon the rights of another. Therefore, in these cases, right and wrong is the personal opinion of each individual.

Subtle, yet important, distinction.
posted by jsonic at 9:10 AM on July 31, 2003


Part of me thinks the Church has its panties in a wad because its priests, who have long been drawn from the pool of gay Catholics, are required to be single, so if gays can get married, who's left to enter the priesthood? It's a human resources thing.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:10 AM on July 31, 2003


On a broader point-is it just me or does it seem like right and wrong are more and more up for a popularity vote? Seriously.

It always has been a popularity vote. It's just that more people are getting to vote, whereas before it was just bishops, popes, kings, etc.

In the catholic church, in particular, religous dogma has always been defined by the bishop's council, i.e.: by vote.
posted by signal at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2003


It's ironic that a man named "Chretien" should find himself in such a situation. Anyway, as widdershins and Witty say, the Vatican document is nothing new considering the traditional tenets of the Catholic Church. As seen on yesterday's gay parade in this very site, homosexuals sometimes insulate themselves so much from the real world that they'll take any kind of evidence as proof that homosexuality is universally accepted. It isn't. It will never be. Homosexuality is fringe behavior. The Church talks every single day to literally billions of believers worldwide, not to the subscribers of The Advocate.

If homosexuals really want to stop homophobia and civil rights discrimination, they'd be wise to understand how other people think. When we say family, we're not talking about some shallow "we-are-family-I've-got-all-my-sisters-with-me" concept of family; we mean a real, nuclear family, with a mother, a father and children; a family that will later go on through other marriages and reproduction. When we say marriage, we're talking about a heterosexual union endorsed by the Church. Please get an education and be realistic.
posted by 111 at 9:20 AM on July 31, 2003


RE:

Sometimes it seems like they go out of their way to position themselves as the church for obsolete, out-of-touch hypocrites.

and

Are we about to see "the backlash" that some gay rights activists have warned of, or is this the (almost) last gasp of self-evidently outmoded thinking?

The church's way of thinking may be outmoded to educated folks in some parts of the world, but it's good to remember that the Catholic church is a global institution, who's largest current growth is in third world countries ... and in many of them the church's position is seen as nothing but an affirmation of the social and political status quo. So far as being outmoded ... that's hard to tell. Throughout history various cultures have, at various times, spanned the spectrum from full acknowledgement to violent condemnation (the ancient Greeks - 2,500 years ago - probably thought that complaints about man-boy sex were the "last gasps" of outmoded thought).

Whether the current political activism in the US and a few other countries is really establishing a new, global, permanent norm is highly questionable. Gay issues have been around for centuries - and clearly strike some folks at a deeply emotional level. They aren't likely to stop doing so anytime soon. Remember, this ol' world has 6 billion people on it - fully a third of the population is in India and China alone (in India, a good number of people consider homosexuality to be one of the corrupt practices imported from the west, and in China, it is officially considered an illness by the psychiatric profession - and much of the population).

Like it or not, the church's position probably express the human race's current majority opinion.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:26 AM on July 31, 2003


homosexuals sometimes insulate themselves so much from the real world that they'll take any kind of evidence as proof that homosexuality is universally accepted. It isn't. It will never be.

You're right. But it doesn't need to be universally accepted. Heck, racial integration isn't universally accepted, either - not by a long shot.

When we say family, we're not talking about some shallow "we-are-family-I've-got-all-my-sisters-with-me" concept of family; we mean a real, nuclear family, with a mother, a father and children; a family that will later go on through other marriages and reproduction.

Yes, that's how a lot of people think of family. And that's great: I have one of those families myself, and I love them. But, again, society recognizes lots of families that don't have a mother, or don't have kids, or don't result in reproduction. It's all good, as long as there's love and mutual support. Families are great for preventing social breakdown, atomization, and alienation. Lots of types of families accomplish that. :-)
posted by stonerose at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2003


Has anyone considered that the Catholic strategy might primarily be to chase people out of the church, rather than to expand their influence? That the goal might be to create a smaller group of hard-core true believers by ridding themselves of the moderate end of the cultural spectrum?
posted by gimonca at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2003


The Church talks every single day to literally billions of believers worldwide, not to the subscribers of The Advocate.

Which "The Church" are you referring to here? It's not like fundy Muslims and fundy Christians agree that they're all getting into heaven together, even if they are united on some issues, such as their hatred for gay people.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2003


111's performance art soldiers on, even as ticket sales drop dramatically
posted by zaack at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2003


Please don't forget that, stripped of all modishness, homosexuality is about love. That's why it's heartbreaking to see the Church which proclaims the redeeming value of love above all other things take this position.
posted by grahamwell at 9:36 AM on July 31, 2003


Like it or not, the church's position probably express the human race's current majority opinion.

Uh huh. And as an American, you believe that societal norms and social policy in this country should be dictated mainly by what the result of the world thinks, right?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2003


p.d.f.t.111
posted by signal at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2003


When we say marriage, we're talking about a heterosexual union endorsed by the Church. Please get an education and be realistic.

Some of us got our educations after the enlightenment.

Homosexuality is fringe behavior.

Everything outside of respiration, death, and waste elimination is fringe behavior. Vegitarianism is "fringe" behavior, and effects your life just as much as who people do it with does, so... we should ban vegitarianism? CBS News only gets like 12% of viewer... so those old people and Chuck Norris lovers can't get married?

111, you have every right to judge others, dislike them, consign them to hell or whatever, but the legal right for the state to deny rights and privileged based on prejudice does not exist. Even a conservative supreme court confirmed as much with the sodomy case.

Better watch out, man, 'cause those abberative homo freaks are about to get recognized as first-class citizens. Then who will you build yourself up by hating?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:38 AM on July 31, 2003


Welcome to democratic society, where you actually have to convince people in order to effect change. Sometimes that requires understanding and respecting their emotions, in order to show them how the change you are promoting doesn't threaten them.

Certainly. But it should not require kowtowing to mindless prejudice or other biases, while muttering something about it being unassailable human nature. Having an emotional response to something does not excuse one from the responsibility to understand it and assess it on a more sophisticated level. And it certainly doesn't obligate us to lower ourselves as individuals or as a society to the level of those who childishly refuse to do so.
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on July 31, 2003


Sometimes that requires understanding and respecting their emotions

No, it only requires understanding. Why should black people in the 1950s have "respected" the emotions of racist white people?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2003


111 - Please get an education and be realistic. When I say "family," I'm not talking about some shallow heterosexual "lets bring your three kids from 4 former marriages and my four kids from three prior marriages together for a couple of years so we can later get divorced" kind of thing. I'm talking about deep emotional and behavioral committtment to one another, forming a lasting union that may or may not include children, that will present itself to society as a bonded pair.

Get the fuck over it.
posted by yesster at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2003


According to the Catholic Church, no one who is married outside The Church (TM) is really married anyway, so who cares what they think about non-Catholic marriage?

I still haven't had anyone answer the question I posed (in a roundabout way) in the previous thread. I don't believe in God. I'm not going to have kids. So why is my marriage more or less valid than anyone else's, gay or straight?
posted by JoanArkham at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2003


If the pope -- a religious figure -- wants to actually push the beliefs that are pretty clear in the main book of his religion -- the bible -- then more power to him.

The (american or pretty much any other) government on the other hand has no right to interfere with the personal lives of people.

You see, Christ preached grace, not laws. If everything is restricted then grace has no avenue to shine.

I need to change my party affiliation to Libertarian already.
posted by woil at 9:53 AM on July 31, 2003


oh 111, I'll bite: You would be wise to take your own advice and get and education and be realistic. Don't for one minute think that us queers don't understand the way the world works and thinks. I'm quite education about the rest of society and what they think of me, not knowing a single iota about me.

But I'll be polite, and ask you to please stop thinking of homosexuality as a behavior, because it is not. I am not defined by what I do with my pretty parts. Just as you probably do not go through your day thinking of yourself as a straight, being gay is not in the front of my mind every second of every day. If a gay person were celibate, how then can their gayness be described as a behavior? You should understand that this thinking is something that angers the queers. If you want us to understand your thinking, please understand that gay people get their panties in a bunch when others suggest that gayness is a behavior, fringe or otherwise. I'm assuming you are not gay, so you therefore cannot argue any points about a "behavior" you have never practiced, so leave it alone.

Just because you and your colleagues define family as one way, does not mean that me and mine cannot define it as another way. I am well aware of how many people use that word, but that does not mean that society cannot change the meaning of a word. Definitions of words evolve every day. It's called progress. I think there were some pamphlets circulating about that once. Using a quotation from a stereotypically gay-loved song is an indication that you are thinking in stereotypes, stereotype of what a family is and of how gay people think of the word family. I'm gay and 99.9% of my friends are straight, and I love it that way, so I do not have a gaggle of "sisters" with whom I surround myself and call them family. My "family" is my partner, our two dogs, our aunts and uncles and cousins and their wives and husbands and partners and children. You say only nuclear families are "real," so do you not consider extended cousins as part of your family? They don't live in your house, presumably, so are not part of your mother-father-children-continuing-the-family model. If they can be part of your family, why can't I extend my family to include my partner's grandfather, who has been more of a father to me in 10 years than my own father has been in my whole lifetime?

You seem very concerned about the gays and what they are up to. Do belong to the Phelps ministry?
posted by archimago at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2003


The Catholic church in Canada has been a big part of Quebecois life - most Quebecois swearwords relate to religion - and Chretien is from Quebec. I doubt it'll have much impact as he's a "lame duck" PM now, but I don't think one should discount the influence the Church carries in the west and certainly not in the third world.

No one expected the Church to back it and it'll still happen here, barring an extreme opposition forming. The trick in Canadian politics is to keep an eye on Ontario's views, it pretty much decides the federal policy for Anglophone Canada and so far as we've seen, Ontario is leading the charge for gay marriage rights.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2003


As seen on yesterday's gay parade in this very site

So that's what it's called when several gay people participate in a discussion?

, homosexuals sometimes insulate themselves so much from the real world that they'll take any kind of evidence as proof that homosexuality is universally accepted. It isn't. It will never be. Homosexuality is fringe behavior
...
If homosexuals really want to stop homophobia and civil rights discrimination, they'd be wise to understand how other people think.


Head your own advice, for your sake.


When we say family, we're not talking about some shallow "we-are-family-I've-got-all-my-sisters-with-me" concept of family; we mean a real, nuclear family, with a mother, a father and children

Who's 'we'? And since when does this 'we' get to speak for everybody?
posted by Space Coyote at 9:58 AM on July 31, 2003


Salmonberry: It's important to remember that Quebec now has the lowest proportion of its population attending church of any province. Mainly in reaction to the control the Catholic church used to exert on peoples' lives in the Duplessis era. Chretien being associated with Trudeau, who was part of the leading charge against the Catholic Church in Quebec means I'm hardly surprised that Chretien isn't too phased by what the Church thinks of his personal salvation.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:02 AM on July 31, 2003


What I don't get is why gay marriage is not considered a separation of church and state issue in the US. If you're a gay American and you can find a church that will marry you to your partner, shouldn't that be enough?

How can the government recognize some marriages and not others? By this behaviour, isn't it saying that some churches have more rights than others?
posted by alex_reno at 10:21 AM on July 31, 2003


What I don't get is why gay marriage is not considered a separation of church and state issue in the US. If you're a gay American and you can find a church that will marry you to your partner, shouldn't that be enough?

Marriage carries civil benefits (tax benefits, legal standing, etc.) that only the government can confer. So, a church can do whatever it wants, but the government decides whether a marriage is legal based on a set of criteria that is (ostensibly) not related to religion. So, on one level, by appearing to ignore what churches do, the government is maintaining the separation of church and state. But when the President himself sides with one set of churches and tries to ban equal treatment under the law, using a religious justification... there is your issue.
posted by stonerose at 10:48 AM on July 31, 2003


Like it or not, the church's position probably express the human race's current majority opinion.

Uh huh. And as an American, you believe that societal norms and social policy in this country should be dictated mainly by what the result of the world thinks, right?


Er, turn that around ... do you believe the societal norms and social policy in the rest of the world should be dictated mainly by the result of what American activists think?

I didn't express a personal opinion ... I was merely pointing out that those who think that the church is holding onto some archaic attitude really need a reality check. This is not some settled issue that just has a few radical opponents left. In fact, even in the US, despite a lot of attempts, gay marriage is still only permitted in one or two states ... i.e., it is far from the majority opinion in the US.

[So far as I'm personally concerned ... I'm straight-line libertarian on this one ... I don't give a flying crap whether a guy kisses or marries another guy, or his dog or horse, or the damn shrubbery in the back yard - as it has nothing to do with me. However, I also understand that this world is made up of many different cultures, that gay issues have been around for a very long time, and are unlikely to be settled in the forseeable future].
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:55 AM on July 31, 2003


Armitage, if I'm not mistaken there are approximately at least two billion christians in the world (one billion catholics more or less). BTW, catholics do not hate homosexuals. You must shelve your dramatic dreams of getting either total, uncritical acceptance or rabid rejection.

zaack, it's real life.

Everything outside of respiration, death, and waste elimination is fringe behavior.

This is so delusional I simply don't know how to react. You could say you disagree with the mainstream, but to deny its existence? That kind of rationale would make necrophiliacs perfectly normal citizens, for instance.

Homosexuals, imho, fall again and again into the same traps: they either take the exception for the rule (see yesster's comment about 3 children/4 former marriages etc) or else they'll try to completely subvert the normally accepted standards (when they suggest, for instance, that everybody is secretly bisexual or something like that).

Better watch out, man, 'cause those abberative homo freaks are about to get recognized as first-class citizens. Then who will you build yourself up by hating?

Homosexuals are not freaks, and they're entitled to civil rights. I do not hate them at all.

JoanArkham, you and your companion are a couple. Under the law, you're like everybody else.

archimago, I respect your relationship and I can relate to your description of familial affection (grandparents etc), but I argue that reproduction and child rearing must happen within the context of the nuclear family.

I also applaud your discreet behavior. Many homosexuals, as a matter of fact, do rely almost exclusively on the gay thing to be acknowledged as individuals (there's even a parody from the Onion about it; check out this one as well ). I mean, I'd rather not know about anyone's sex lives and I certainly do not want to deal with labels like "homosexuals", "blacks", "jews" or "ebay costumers"; I'd rather talk and deal with honest people, no questions asked.

Space Coyote, "we" means just us ordinary folks who believe in God and appreciate the opposite sex, if you don't mind.
posted by 111 at 10:56 AM on July 31, 2003


111 - Not trying to be snarky (I swear). I'm trying to see things from your point of view. Your argument (and that of many others) is that marriage is special since it's blessed by God and that marriage is an important first step to having a family.

I don't believe in God, and I'm not having kids. Yet the state has recognized my marriage since my husband has the appropriate Tab A to fit into Slot B. What's the difference between us and a gay couple?
posted by JoanArkham at 11:06 AM on July 31, 2003


Well, if God still judges nations, this would be something for any persuasion to ponder furiously.

...ponders the long history of vatican city occupants who must surely be burning in hell...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:07 AM on July 31, 2003


Er, turn that around ... do you believe the societal norms and social policy in the rest of the world should be dictated mainly by the result of what American activists think?

No, I just find it ironic that when it comes to some subjects, such as invading Iraq, you don't seem to give the opinion of the rest of the world much weight. For some reason, that's not the case on this subject.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2003


Interesting that no one seems to have mentioned that Canada (and Sweden) "started it", by threatening those who preached against homosexuality using bible verse.
Granted, the Catholics *might* legally continue to be permitted to exclude active homosexuals from their congregation, and they *might* be able to deny them a "church wedding" or even a *sanctified* funeral in *their* consecrated ground, and *might* be able to teach their children in Catholic schools that homosexuality is wrong (and even train teachers for public schools that are of the belief that homosexuality is wrong); but are those "rights" guaranteed, or will they be trumped by "equality?"

At what point is "enough"? When "your rights" start treading heavily on the rights of others?
posted by kablam at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2003


111 - When we say family . . .

Who is this "we?" Or do you mean it in the royal sense?

Wait, I think I know . . . . asshats, right?
/snark

On preview - what JoanArkham said.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:15 AM on July 31, 2003


111 -- I'm glad that we can agree to respect each other. That's a good start. But friend you are backpedalling on your previous post re: the definition of a family. Leave children out of it. You define a family as nuclear, I have a broader definition. A hetero couple living without kids is still a family in my eyes.

I agree with everyone who is arguing that the term "marriage" may be undermining our fight to get equal treatment under the law, and this is where religion gets involved. It's really not about religion. Just because a lot of people in this country identify themselves with Christian behavior does not mean that the laws of the land should be tailored to their morality. Just as other minorities have clawed their way into power despite the mainstream trying to prevent it, gay people are getting power in government, albeit slowly, and it is only a matter of time before legislature starts to reflect that.

My biggest problem with all this is that I don't understand why opponents of gay equal rights think that they somehow are going to lose their own rights in the process. Gay people are not trying to take anything away from anyone else. We just want equal respect under the law, and respect by society will follow that -- eventually. And I'm sorry to have to point out to you that barring gay people from adopting children is not allowing them respect as there is no proof that children raised in gay households are damaged. You are relying on a culturally-imbedded fear to dictate how you think and feel. You are repulsed by 2 men kissing on some level because society has taught you to be repulsed by that

If the politicians and the Christians are so worried about the sanctity of marriage, why aren't they doing something about the people who are already abusing it?
posted by archimago at 11:20 AM on July 31, 2003


Space Coyote, "we" means just us ordinary folks who believe in God and appreciate the opposite sex, if you don't mind.

I only mind because what you've just described includes me, one who believes in (some concept of) God, and has an appreciation for the opposite sex. (I'm not going to touch the implication of your assumption of a lack of appreciation as opposed to sexual orientation here)

You were, however, not speaking for me, and thus not all those who believe in God and appreciate members of the opposite sex, when you started in on your claims about family only being mommy, daddy and the kids.

So please let's not make assumptions.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:23 AM on July 31, 2003


I hate jumping into threads late, but I had to make this comment, even if it's a bit tangential:

You see, Christ preached grace, not laws.

Bzzt. Try again.

Jesus preached works and love for fellow human beings. Paul preached faith in Christ and a mystical "grace".

Or as quoted here, "Paul substituted faith in Christ for the Christlike life."

Tangential I know, but it's a personal favorite subject of mine.


As far as the marriage thing goes: Let 'em get married already and stop sweating over the varying definitions of "marriage". Understand that when "gay marriage" is brought up, it doesn't mean they want to take over the Catholic Church and corrupt the sacred whatever, it means they want the same legal rights and protections afforded straight people. Entirely reasonable.
posted by nath at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2003


Thanks Space Coyote - you are much more eloquent than I, especially after having been pissed off by some ignorant coworkers.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:30 AM on July 31, 2003


...ponders the long history of vatican city occupants who must surely be burning in hell...

Having a vague memory of some historical reading on the subject I think I'd have to ponder with you on that one.


On the topic of public consensus on matters of morality-when I was talking of morality as "elected by the popular vote" I was thinking of the human tendency to go along with the crowd on things-and how sometimes this waters down the basic beliefs they started with. No matter what persuasion those beliefs took.
posted by konolia at 11:37 AM on July 31, 2003


but, konolia, those beliefs largely took hold by that same process. Strong leaders influencing public opinion until it took hold and became the norm is pretty much a good definition for religion, really.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:41 AM on July 31, 2003


just us ordinary folks who believe in God and appreciate the opposite sex

This is the heart of the matter, isn't it? This statement implies that there is a "normal" kind of person, and and "abnormal" kind of person. These ordinary folks just want to get on with their lives, without having to deal with all the weirdos. Why can't all the gays just straighten up and be normal like everyone else? Is that too much to ask?

God help us. It's this kind of attitude that the world "parochial" was invented to convey.
posted by vraxoin at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2003


111, stop being a turd.
posted by Hildago at 12:31 PM on July 31, 2003


111, stop being a turd.

You might as well go ask a turd to stop being 111-like. It's just what he does. He's getting his little jollies. I do, however, resent the chilling effect he has on good-hearted, somewhat conservative folks who might want to take part in a bona fide discussion, but don't do so for fear of being associated with him. The community can handle a huge range of views, but clearly, it's poorer for 111's presence.
posted by stonerose at 12:37 PM on July 31, 2003


At what point is "enough"? When "your rights" start treading heavily on the rights of others?
posted by kablam at 7:12 PM GMT on July 31

A) When we have equal rights.
B) Does not compute. How does affording denied rights trample on those traditional rights-holders?

Seriously, is there a finite supply of rights?

On preview:
The community can handle a huge range of views, but clearly, it's poorer for 111's presence. Maybe so, but the equality movement is diminished when anger (a feeling I often get when prejudice is thrust in my face by trolls) leads to abuse, such as labelling folks 'turds'. We maybe called turds by those who detest us: let the turds float, and turn away.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:43 PM on July 31, 2003


B) Does not compute. How does affording denied rights trample on those traditional rights-holders?

I think the traditional rights-holders are confused about what they have a right to. If we (queers) are granted certain rights, fundamentalists feel that their "right" to live in a polity that reflects their rules is impaired. Only, they don't actually have any such right, because their rules actually do impinge on our civil rights. So they use the ridiculous argument that granting queers civil rights results in harm to 'the family as the basic unit of society' or whatever. And in all the MeFi threads I've read on this topic, no one has ever explained how that's so.

the equality movement is diminished when anger (a feeling I often get when prejudice is thrust in my face by trolls) leads to abuse

Yup. I'll try harder.
posted by stonerose at 1:03 PM on July 31, 2003


vraxoin:

> we have this somewhat fallacious impression as a culture
> that there was a time in the past when "right" and "wrong"
> had strict meanings that could be applied to all behaviors.
> But such a situation has never prevailed.

Yeah! There's nothing objectively wrong with gay-bashing, homophobia is just another social construct like everything else, right yesterday because society said so, wrong today, right again tomorrow when society changes its mind, always drifting vaguely hither and thither upon the breezes of that only constant, change...

Say, I'm really glad I don't live in that world.
posted by jfuller at 1:04 PM on July 31, 2003


archimago/Joan,
What's the difference between us and a gay couple?

Sure, a childless couple is a family unit. As far as taxes, heritage etc go, homosexual couples should have similar civil rights.

And I'm sorry to have to point out to you that barring gay people from adopting children is not allowing them respect as there is no proof that children raised in gay households are damaged. You are relying on a culturally-imbedded fear to dictate how you think and feel.

archimago, there is a cultural component to our opinions, but we also have real, daily life as an important source to change, validate or keep our beliefs. For instance, while mothers are traditionally fluid, all-forgiving, sheltering entities, fathers must possess some degree of authority; can a father figure be successfully upheld within a homosexual couple? I frankly doubt it.

What I see in nature is that man + woman is the pattern. Given the option, I think not many children would choose to have two "dads" or two moms as opposed to having ordinary, peanut butter and jelly mom and dad parents. Even if it's a dysfunctional family, it's still within certain range of cultural and biological expectations, since every single human being has a male and a female as our immediate ancestry.

SC, no problem, I'll rephrase: "we" means at the very least we catholics. Also "appreciation" means sexual preference no more no less.
posted by 111 at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2003


People, please don't resort to name-calling. 111 is as entitled to his views as you are to yours.

111, I don't believe that you're a troll, so I would like to ask you the following: Without going into why you don't like homosexuality, can you still defend your position that homosexual couples should not have the same legal (not religious) rights as heterosexual ones? It's not enough to say boys kissing, ewww.

I'd like to ask the same question of konolia. I'm not picking on you, konolia, I'm honestly interested in whether you have any non-religious reasons for non-acceptance of homosexual unions. For me, this comes down to a simple issue of the state's hipocrisy in awarding civil rights based on religious ceremonies.

on preview: 111, I guess you answered my question. I'm glad you agree that homosexual couples should have the same civil rights. I'm not sure why you think homosexual couples are not able to provide father figures, though. Did you mean only lesbian couples? Or do you feel gay men are too effeminate? Please explain.
posted by widdershins at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2003


111: you are clearly still reading & participating, so why not answer my questions above?

To save you from scrolling:
- How does affording denied rights trample on those traditional rights-holders?

- Seriously, is there a finite supply of rights?

(from a gay dad - I provide a real male role model to my daughter, BTW).
posted by dash_slot- at 1:17 PM on July 31, 2003


Metafilter 27369:529978
And dash_slot did sayeth unto his brethren:
let the turds float, and turn away.
And yea, the MeFites turned away from the foeces; and were showered with pancakes and ponies.
posted by whatnot at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2003


For instance, while mothers are traditionally fluid, all-forgiving, sheltering entities, fathers must possess some degree of authority; can a father figure be successfully upheld within a homosexual couple? I frankly doubt it.

This argument makes no sense whatsoever. In the 1950's it may have held some water, but you may be interested to hear that there was this thing called the sexual revolution that took place about thirty years ago. We discovered that men can be sensitive and caring, and that women can be authoritative. We found that gender roles are shibboleths, not requirements. Many of us prefer it that way.

Listin, my mother is incapable of making a decision on her own, and my father can't talk about his emotions in any meaningful sense. That's the reality of this traditional family you're so crazy about. Is this the kind of family you actually prefer? Different strokes and all that, but I'd rather gouge my eyes out than live that way.

Live how you want--if you're into this Ozzy and Harriet fantasy, go for it. But don't try to tell me what my marriage or family--or anyone else's--ought to be like. That's none of your business.
posted by vraxoin at 1:24 PM on July 31, 2003


I misspelled "listen." Sue me.
posted by vraxoin at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2003


Whoa, 111. That's a pretty narrow definition of what a mother and a father are. And by extension, what men and women are.

The next person who says I have to be nurturing gets a kick in the arse! /joke
posted by JoanArkham at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2003


I'd like to ask the same question of konolia. I'm not picking on you, konolia, I'm honestly interested in whether you have any non-religious reasons for non-acceptance of homosexual unions.

First, let me mention I went to my senior prom with a gay male. I have also had friends that happened to be gay, and I don't think gay people are going to give me cooties.

My reasoning re gay unions does stem from my "religious" beliefs. In the Bible it is stated that marriage is a representation of the relationship between Christ and His Church. It is my belief that this representation is one of the reasons the Bible teaches against premarital and extramarital sex, as well as homosexual activity. God doesn't have to bless a nation that sinks into that, and we have been teetering on the edge for awhile.

Yes, I know that makes me the minority around here. But again let me make it plain that I think calling gay people names or beating them up is stupid and sinful. The only reason I don't have gay friends or acquaintances now is they probably think I'd reject them immediately because of my Christianity.
posted by konolia at 1:46 PM on July 31, 2003


Did you mean only lesbian couples? Or do you feel gay men are too effeminate? Please explain.

widdershins, although I have no practical knowledge on the matter either way, I'd say lesbians and gay men would have an equally hard time fulfilling fatherly duties. dash_slot says "no, I'm living proof"; I respect that but he could be an exception.

dash_slot,
- How does affording denied rights trample on those traditional rights-holders?

Homosexuals should be granted extensive civil rights except for adoption; homosexual couples should be entitled to civil unions (not "marriages") and the social benefits thereof. No Government action should be taken to equate essentially different views on nature, family and society though. Homosexuals should expect no mea culpa or approval from church and civil society.

-Seriously, is there a finite supply of rights?

Yes.
posted by 111 at 1:49 PM on July 31, 2003


archimago, there is a cultural component to our opinions, but we also have real, daily life as an important source to change, validate or keep our beliefs.

I'm not so sure one can rely on "real, daily life" to validate beliefs. Most people don't question their beliefs; they reinforce their beliefs when life events encourage that, but don't often question them when those same events might indicate they should.

What I see in nature is that man + woman is the pattern.

Well, of course, since for the majority of human history, that's how babies were made. But does that simple fact mean that this pattern is best? Does the fact that something was necessary in the past mean that it's superior in the present?

As far as that pattern goes, what I see in human history is the pattern of the extended family. This whole nuclear family thing is relatively new, isn't it? In extended families, I'm sure plenty of gay people contributed to the raising of children:

Familial Aspects of Male Homosexuality (Google cache)

And even if it's less than optimal, does that mean it should be against the law? It seems that the standards for parenting are oddly skewed, if so - practically any hetero couple, no matter how dumb or criminal, can just pop out as many kids as they like! I don't hear much of a call for doing something about that, though.

Finally, it's not a "preference". Licking whipped cream from someone's armpit, now that's a preference. It's not like I woke up today and said, "I feel like having sex with a guy!"
posted by me & my monkey at 1:52 PM on July 31, 2003


111, are you really suggesting that we base public policy decisions on gender stereotypes? Moms who are "fluid, all-forgiving, sheltering entities" and fathers who are "authority figures"? Like all stereotypes, this of course has some basis in reality, but it seems incomprehensible that your definition of a proper family seems to be not only restricted to a certain configuration of people (mom, dad, and kids), but to people who play a certain predefined role within the family.

Even if it's a dysfunctional family, it's still within certain range of cultural and biological expectations.

So what you see as the cultural and biological imperative of one mother and father is so important that it trumps everything else, including whether or not a family is "dysfunctional." Are you suggesting here that an abusive nuclear family is superior to a gay family?

All of your assumptions about whether or not a child will thrive in a gay family seem ridiculous to those who live around them every day. They're not the Other.

I teach in an urban school district, and I see real families, not made-up constructs. Zachary and Javier are both boys being raised by lesbian moms. Zachary's doing great, and Javier's angry and rebellious. Tyler and Jeremy are both in nuclear families - Jeremy is an astounding student and Tyler is having a hard time, getting into shouting matches and blowups with other kids. Paul and César are both shuttling back and forth between mom and dad after a divorce; Paul is pretty stressed out a lot of the time, and César is thriving.

It's very cut-and-dried to imagine that there is an "ideal" family, but the real world is more complex than that, and in my experience, how kids actually do has a lot more to do with whether they are loved and well cared-for than anything else. I'd much rather people focused their attention on that.

But even if you hold out that the nuclear family (something which has not been a historical constant, mind you) is the chosen ideal, you'd still have to do a bunch of explaining as to why only gay families should have their parental rights taken away, where as the other configurations are still okay.
posted by Chanther at 1:54 PM on July 31, 2003


As an aside, how can anyone be against consentual euthanasia? How is it being Christian to say that you would rather prolong a dying person's intense suffering rather than allow them the dignity of death and an end to the pain????

Because God has purposes far beyond human understanding, and there is a reason for everything, and God is loving and kind and generous... and will smite us to hell if we interfere with his wonderful plan.

Personally, I think that kind of God deserves punishment, not reverence.

What the Pope and every other Christian on the planet has got to be absolutely sure of is that the voice they hear re-enforcing these beliefs is the voice of God and not the voice of the hate in their own heart.

Yeah, and it's so easy to tell the difference between the voice of God and other voices in your head, like the voice telling you to open the freezer, NOW, and eat the whole pint of Haagen Dazs....*drool*. And of course, what the voice of God says in the Pope's head exactly matches what the voice of God says in other people's heads. Right?
posted by beth at 1:57 PM on July 31, 2003


My reasoning re gay unions does stem from my "religious" beliefs. In the Bible it is stated that marriage is a representation of the relationship between Christ and His Church. It is my belief that this representation is one of the reasons the Bible teaches against premarital and extramarital sex, as well as homosexual activity. God doesn't have to bless a nation that sinks into that, and we have been teetering on the edge for awhile.

While I certainly respect your beliefs, should you even want God to bless the nation? Isn't that mixing the sacred and the profane? There are plenty of people in the nation who want no part of the Christian God, such as me. I was brought up as a Catholic, though, and I seem to recall being taught that I would be judged for my own actions. In that case, what is the nation to a true Christian? I don't recall reading much about Jesus' nationalist streak.

Given that you want the freedom to follow your own beliefs and moral guidelines within your own life, shouldn't you extend that freedom to me? Should I be able to constrain your rights because of your beliefs?
posted by me & my monkey at 2:02 PM on July 31, 2003


But there's still the matter of different churches having different opinions on same-sex marriage. No one has a monopoly on God, and 111 decried the 'stretching to find examples of homosexuality in the natural world' in yesterday's thread, so stretching in the same way to justify a narrow definition of a family seems rather perplexing.

And since loving parents of any gender are almost certainly better than an orphanage or foster homes, the adoption thing is bunk, IMO.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:04 PM on July 31, 2003


Say, I'm really glad I don't live in that world.

I'm not sure which world you're talking about: the world as I described it, or the disingenuous and absurd parody you made of it? What I said was that there has never been a time when a homogenous set of morals prevailed in Western culture. There has always been dissent over moral questions; there has always been change. If you can prove otherwise, you must have a different set of history books than I.

And if you think that any Christian faith has provided a consistent set of ethics over the years, you're dreaming. It must be really fun to perceive the world in terms of dualities like "always right" and "always wrong", but that is not the way the world is, or ever has been. Consider: slavery; the annihilation of native Americans; the selling of indulgences; witch-burning; the wholesale persecution of Jews; racial segregation. These are all pursuits that the Roman Catholic church has stood behind at some point in its history. With the exception of indulgences and witch-burning, most other Christian denominations have supported them as well.

Go back to 1803 and see if you can find ten "normal" people who'll aver that miscegenation isn't a sin. Find ten "average" citizens who think that women should be allowed to vote. To those people, modern views on these matters would have been considered dangerous and even blasphemous. Does acknowledging that fact make me some kind of amoral relativist?

As the world changes, our views of what constitutes right and wrong change--it's not that right and wrong change, but that the world changes around us, and eventually we are forced to accommodate new understanding. That's called "learning." It's how we grow as a species.
posted by vraxoin at 2:11 PM on July 31, 2003


(not that there are lineups of gay couples beating down the doors of social services to take away all the children. So raising the spectre of 'my two dads' is evading the central issue of rights as a couple. Those kids should be so lucky)
posted by Space Coyote at 2:18 PM on July 31, 2003


Wow, 111 not only thinks that gay couples are incapable of acting like strong father figures, he probably also thinks every straight couple has a strong father figure by default.

That is so cute!
posted by turaho at 2:20 PM on July 31, 2003


Homosexuals should be granted extensive civil rights except for adoption; homosexual couples should be entitled to civil unions (not "marriages") and the social benefits thereof. No Government action should be taken to equate essentially different views on nature, family and society though. Homosexuals should expect no mea culpa or approval from church and civil society.

The devil's in the details, other than a linguistic word play, how would civil unions be different from legal marriage (which most churches including the Catholich church treat as a different entity from spiritual marriage. Furthemore, is not the big hullabaloo about gay marriage primarily triggered by civil union laws?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:25 PM on July 31, 2003


I'd say lesbians and gay men would have an equally hard time fulfilling fatherly duties. dash_slot says "no, I'm living proof"; I respect that but he could be an exception.

But isn't the fact that there are exceptions--even if they're a minority among gay men (which I would dispute, but is not relevant to my argument)--sufficient reason not to forbid gay adoption?

An analogy: certain jobs require significant physical strength. On average, men are stronger than women. However, we, as a society, have decided that it is not acceptable to solicit only men for such positions, because some women will be strong enough to handle the job, even if it is only a minority of women. You can say "must be able to lift X pounds," which might by its nature disqualify the majority of women from the job. You cannot say "only men need apply." Each person's fitness for the job must be judged as an individual, not as a member of a group. Analagously, the fact that some gays will make good parents--even if it's only a minority--means that gay adoption should not be forbidden.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:26 PM on July 31, 2003


Thank you both, konolia & 111 - I appreciate your responses very much. I do have a couple of follow-up questions if you feel like answering them:

konolia - am I correct in assuming that you do not agree that there should be a separation between church and state? I understand that homosexuality is wrong according to your beliefs. But do you feel that your beliefs entitle you/the state to make laws about what others can or can't do in areas that do not have a direct, measurable effect on you?

111, other posters have posed many of the questions I also have for you. I understand that in your view the stereotypical strong and punitive father and soft and nurturing mother may represent the most common type of family. But as I'm sure you're aware, a significant amount of families do not fit this bill. As Chanther illustrated above, there are many kinds of families and many kinds of outcomes. Do you really feel that it is your right to dictate to others that only your view is correct, and any that do not agree with it may not have children? I understand that in your view it may not be optimal to have single mothers, divorced parents etc - but again, do you feel that you or anyone else can legislate how people can raise their children if they don't fit the 'authority figure father' and 'fluid, forgiving' mother equation?

Am logging off in a few minutes - look forward to reading your responses tomorrow.
posted by widdershins at 2:29 PM on July 31, 2003


If only we judged fitness for the job before we let people become parents ;)
posted by Space Coyote at 2:30 PM on July 31, 2003


If only we judged fitness for the job before we let people become parents ;)

I'm reminded me of Keanu Reeve's classic line from Parenthood: "You know, Mrs. Buchman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fucking fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."
posted by vraxoin at 2:43 PM on July 31, 2003


-Seriously, is there a finite supply of rights?

Yes.
posted by 111 at 9:49 PM GMT on July 31


This, more than anything else of an offensive & ill-informed nature posted in this thread, is what worries me the most. Who decides that there is a permanent drought on certain rights?

I don't necessarily refer only to the issue at hand (though, please, for Pete's sake, tell me how my permanent, loving gay union is different in quality from an instant Las Vegas straight wedding sufficient to deny me the legal, medical and financial benefits which accrues to the straights, without referring this atheist to god).

How are straight marriages harmed by gay unions/marriages sufficient to deny them the right to marry?

Are there any other rights you deem in short supply, 111?

Are there any others reading this that support that contention (I genuinely don't understand - is it a yank thing?)
posted by dash_slot- at 3:10 PM on July 31, 2003


my permanent, loving gay union

That bit was wishful thinking, I'm afraid!

posted by dash_slot- at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2003


konolia: The only reason I don't have gay friends or acquaintances now is they probably think I'd reject them immediately because of my Christianity.

But doesn't Christianity dictate that homosexuals are deviants who don't deserve the same rights you award yourself and others who think like you? With all due respect, it seems to me as though you are rejecting gay people immediately because of your religious beliefs. Really, the fact that you don't approve of physically beating someone because of their sexuality is nice, but not really a good basis for forming a friendship.
posted by jess at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2003


Chanther, please no twisting other people's words. The italics are here for a reason. Mother and father are not gender stereotypes, they're gender types.

you'd still have to do a bunch of explaining as to why only gay families should have their parental rights taken away, where as the other configurations are still okay.

What rights? Since when do we have natural child raising rights? People do have reproductive rights, but most homosexual choose not to exert them. The tutelage of orphaned children belongs to the State, who should carefully choose those who are really apt to be adoptive parents and raise kids. I offer most of the time children will be better off with heterosexual parents.
In the case of single gay/bisexual mothers/fathers, they should be treated as any single parent would. But the prerogative (not the right, mind you) of raising orphaned children should be given to heterosexual couples.

KirkJob, the name (civil union) and the adoption issue would not be the same for hetero and homosexuals, but the rest would be pretty much the same as I see it now.

DevilsAdvoc, the minority cannot be overlooked. But do we have a filtering system that's effective enough?
Let me say this to sum up my opinion: as an individual with voting rights, I would not ever endorse the adoption of a child by gay couples. Also, as tough as that seems, I'd rather have a child grow up with other kids in an orphanage than getting their values and upbringing from homosexuals.

Do you really feel that it is your right to dictate to others that only your view is correct, and any that do not agree with it may not have children?

widdershins, strong is not the same as punitive. Re your question, I'm citizen living under a democratic regime; I voice my opinion and I practice what I preach. Nobody is dictating anything.
As a general rule, I think having/raising children is one of the most important decisions in your life; it involves the future of a human being. It's not like getting yourself a chihuahua.
posted by 111 at 4:19 PM on July 31, 2003


Also, as tough as that seems, I'd rather have a child grow up with other kids in an orphanage than getting their values and upbringing from homosexuals.

Wow.

What values would those be, exactly? What values do you find problematic? For that matter, what are the (near) universally-held values of homosexuals, beyond our belief that there's nothing morally wrong with homosexuality?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:30 PM on July 31, 2003


Also, as tough as that seems, I'd rather have a child grow up with other kids in an orphanage than getting their values and upbringing from homosexuals.

Also, as a father, a former childrens home worker and a humanist, I'd rather any 'orphaned' [read neglected/abused/abandoned*: their really aren't that many orphans round these days, y'know...] children were raised in any decent, approved family structure. You can only hear "don't tell me what to do, you're not my dad, you're only here cos you're paid to be here" a hundred times before realising that attachment, love and permanence - impossible in group homes, I'm afraid - are what these young people need as much as the average child.*neglected/abused/abandoned by heterosexual couples, in the overwhelming number of cases, btw.

In my world, any non-abusive structure of a family with caring, committed adults is better than the streets, foster homes or so-called 'orphanages'.

That, tho', is not on-topic: this is still about equal rights. And we will acquire them, one day.

One fine day.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:32 PM on July 31, 2003


What values do you find problematic?

me&mymonkey, it's the absence of values I find problematic.

dash_slot, a rhetorical question for you to think about: as a former child home worker, given the choice of two socially similar couples (one hetero, one gay) as candidates to adopt a child, which one would you choose? Why?
posted by 111 at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2003


Was just listening to the CBC news. In response to the bishop who is worried about the afterlife prospects of our Mr. Chretien, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying that the Prime Minister is a Catholic who believes in the separation of church and state. Whew, glad we settled that one.

dash_slot, a rhetorical question for you to think about: as a former child home worker, given the choice of two socially similar couples (one hetero, one gay) as candidates to adopt a child, which one would you choose? Why?

Here's a slightly different wording of the same question:

If you have two children, and two couples (1 hetero, 1 same-sex), each of whom are looking to adopt one child, do you only allow one of the children to go to a good home and leave the other one in the care of the state? Or do you allow the second child the opportunity to have a 'family' as well? Why?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:24 PM on July 31, 2003


Why do you ask such a question from me? After all, I am in the group you have just said have an absence of values!!

Why should I continue to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that you are open to persuasion, genuinely want to be informed of my values and beliefs, and willing to treat me as your equal?

Morrissey - not a fan, but there ya go - had a song about this.

Here goes: there is no shortage of young people needing decent - I emphasise decent - homes and families. Indeed, there is an oversupply. We need more families. There are gay couples available, flush with their 'pink pounds', who will provide what is necessary. There are safeguards for the adopted y.p.'s (anonymous phonelines, Social Worker visits, health professionals) just as there are for kids adopted into any home. Some errors will occur, as in any human system, just as occur now - for straight adoptions/fostering. We work hard to avoid them, and that's as it should be.

I say - if folk pass the welfare test, sexual orientation is irrelevant. You ask me to choose from a false dichotomy: I say there are other choices. It isn't (as you posit) '1 child, which family': it's 'many children, no families'.

And it needn't be that way.

As I said before, this is about equality, and that's not what you want to agree to - nor even talk about. Why?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:25 PM on July 31, 2003


me & my monkey: What values do you find problematic?

111: it's the absence of values I find problematic.

Riiiiiiight, because homosexuals lack values. Because "values" means "what I believe."

This holds even less water than the argument that atheists are necessarily amoral because morals only come from religion.
posted by UKnowForKids at 5:32 PM on July 31, 2003


Christianity doesn't attack homosexuality like you'd guess from listening to some of the idiots with TV shows. The most common quote about homosexuality, the one explicitly banning it, comes from Leviticus, which is an interesting background text for Christians, but not law. There's another reference in an epistle which refers to homosexuality as one of a number of sexual indiscretaions engaged in by a group of people. This reference specifically refers to adulterous homosexual affairs and some believe refers to sex with underaged male prostitutes. And that's about it. There are many issues Christ was more adamant about that are pretty well ignored by mainstream Christianity.

That said, can anyone expect the Pope to say anything in favor of gay marriage? Catholics believe the only purpose of marriage (and of sex) is to procreate. Many protestants differ from them on this point, however...

So that's why homosexuals assuming Christians would hate them would be incorrect.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:49 PM on July 31, 2003


Fes : God, should He exist, has embodied a laissez-faire attitude toward His creations for far too long for even the least rational among them to serve up blind obesiance now. A father who abandons his children to the whimsy of fate and the predation of wolves is no father at all, unworthy of the title, and certainly unworthy of either respect or allegiance.

Which is a much more eloquent way of saying what I had intended to say, which would have utilized at least one four-letter expletive in conjunction with the words 'god' and 'christian churches' and quite possible 'George Bush' too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:02 PM on July 31, 2003


111: It's the equality, cupid.

Please explain -
- why rights are limited in supply
- how am I deficient in values
- why are 'orphanages' better than gay homes
- why gays are bad parents
- why you think there's no homosexuality in 'nature'
- how many children have ever had the option of choosing their parents
- why you doubt I could be a father figure
- why you think many gay people 'rely on the gay thing' to be acknowledged as individuals
- why reproduction and child rearing must happen within the context of the nuclear family

What do you want to do with all the gays? we don't belong in families, do we? and yet we were all brought up in them.

Actually, I don't really know why I'm bothering any more. You don't tend to answer or explain in response to my earlier enquiries. You have demonstrated a huge gap in your critical thinking, you are prejudiced against me and I will never meet you. So - I guess it's so long, thanks - for absolutely nothing. I hope no young gay or lesbian in your family ever comes out to you. You would be a disaster to talk to, and increase the suicide risk that is already too high in relation to the average.

If it seems like I am taking this personally, you are right. The group you discriminate against includes real individual people, like many of the folk who have protested against you in this thread, and others, most of whom you are ignorant of. That is the mechanism of prejudice: beliefs formed from ignorance, leading to real life decisions unfair in application.

In ignorance and prejudice, you are wealthy. I am sad for you. Good luck, I hope it clears up soon.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:14 PM on July 31, 2003


I slide between wanting to reason and wanting to be angry after reading this thread and yesterday's related thread. All that comes to mind: this new decree from the Church, coupled with the Humanae Vitae, the general silliness of being taught about love, sex and marriage by men who'd taken vows of celibacy, and the slowness of the Vatican to condemn molesting clergy, all of it adds up to me being glad I'm no longer Catholic. You guys can have your church.

By the way, any of you who are gay and want a minister to solemnize your wedding, I'd be happy to volunteer my services. My rates are better than Vegas and I'll even wear the Elvis jumpsuit if you ask nicely.
posted by RakDaddy at 6:33 PM on July 31, 2003


the basic beliefs they started with.

Please enumerate for me these "basic beliefs" that everyone starts with in life, konolia.
posted by rushmc at 6:44 PM on July 31, 2003


I'm really late to this thread and am Catholic myself, but I have this to say: The Church teaches that marriage has two purposes: 1) be open to the chance of reproduction and 2) to further the love between you and your spouse (which wasn't even added till around the 40's or 50's IIRC). Now, take that into account with the fact the the Church teaches sex before marriage is a mortal sin (its not justy gay people- its all people that the Church teaches shouldn't have sex before marriage). Now, couple that with the Church's teachings on the purpose of reproduction, and there isn't a whole lotta' room for gays to have sex or marriage as far as the Church goes. See, in order for the CC to "accept homosexuals as equals" would require changing teaching that have been around for centuries. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but just trying to explain where the Church's stance on this stuff comes from.
posted by jmd82 at 8:38 PM on July 31, 2003


it's the absence of values I find problematic.

No, it's the absence of your values (which are outdated and twisted, but hey).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:54 PM on July 31, 2003


i'm late too, but since it's gay week here, i'm jumping in, too...What ANY religion or religious leader says about gay marriages has no bearing on what rights and priviledges the U.S. Government bestows on its citizens. If that government denies those rights and priviledges to some people and not others, it is unequal and unconstitutional. A heterosexual axe-murdering, pedophilic cannibal is entitled to over 1000 rights and benefits I am not entitled to, even though I pay the same taxes. (the above-mentioned person could even be a tax-evader and would still receive those rights I'm denied)

(and see dash_slot re:children, foster care and adoption)
posted by amberglow at 9:11 PM on July 31, 2003


should you even want God to bless the nation? Isn't that mixing the sacred and the profane?

Well, if God blesses the nation, all in it are blessed, not just the Christians. That's why Jesus told his followers they were like salt (the form of preservation at the time.)

konolia - am I correct in assuming that you do not agree that there should be a separation between church and state?

Actually I believe in rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's. The Bible does teach that God is the author of civic authority, but in the New Testament, civic authority and church authority are not one and the same.

Please enumerate for me these "basic beliefs" that everyone starts with in life, konolia.

Well, I'm not necessarily talking about a specific set of beliefs. People may change their own beliefs simply to fit in better. Of course what this mainly means is that their convictions weren't that strong to begin with.
posted by konolia at 9:23 PM on July 31, 2003


KirkJob, the name (civil union) and the adoption issue would not be the same for hetero and homosexuals, but the rest would be pretty much the same as I see it now.

If they are functionally the same, then should not the name be the same? And lets not forget that legal marriage and religious marriage are not the same. After all, my relationship qualifies as a legal marriage but not a religious one.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:38 PM on July 31, 2003


The Church teaches that marriage has two purposes: 1) be open to the chance of reproduction

But the hierarchy doesn't act as if it really believes this. If they really believed this, they would require that women who have had hysterectomies or are postmenopausal become celibate.

Sex between a man and his postmenopausal or hysterectomied wife has no more chance of reproduction than does sex between two men, or one man masturbating, or me typing this marriage. For a consistent church hierarchy to condemn gay sex, it must also condemn sex with a postmenopausal woman.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:14 PM on July 31, 2003


I meant:

For a consistent church hierarchy to condemn gay sex \emph{on the basis of its being not open to conception}, it must also condemn sex with a postmenopausal woman.

Both would require outright miracles from El Queso Grande.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:16 PM on July 31, 2003


Oops. LaTeX code instead of html code. Clever me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:16 PM on July 31, 2003


I am one of the (it seems like) very few members of my generation to have their parents remain married. But I have seen enough abusive (or just plain bad) marriages to know that man + woman does not always = a good moral foundation of happiness and puppy dogs and white picket fences.

I think that "Married by America" and its ilk insult the concept of marriage way more than gay marriage. If the state is going to judge who deserves to get married or not, they should do so on the basis of more than genitalia.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:25 AM on August 1, 2003


On a broader point-is it just me or does it seem like right and wrong are more and more up for a popularity vote? Seriously.

There are those of us who see right and wrong as, well, written in stone so to speak. There are others of us who see moral and ethical standards as elastic and changeable. When these two subsets of humanity collide in a discussion such as this, it is pert nigh hopeless to expect any sort of consensus.


This is a bit late, but it came to me last night while heading towards slumber...

People who allow for changing moral and ethical standards don't necessarily see them as elastic and changable. It is certainly possible that there is a concrete set of moral and ethical laws, but it's incredibly presumptuous and anthropocentric to think that humans have found these laws, especially in a society where most people don't know the difference between "its" and "it's." It's certainly possible to, in lieu of knowing these laws, see an ideal and work toward that, changing values and ethical standards gradually over time to conform to that ideal which is the embodiment of what we think to be moral law.
posted by The Michael The at 4:54 AM on August 1, 2003


Well, if God blesses the nation, all in it are blessed, not just the Christians. That's why Jesus told his followers they were like salt (the form of preservation at the time.)

Why would god bless a nation, something based on arbitrary and human (read: profane) borders? A nation's definition has nothing to do with god, unless you believe that god controls the actions of individuals responsible for nation-defining. Thus, if god blesses a nation, he is blessing an arbitrary group of people... and that's just wacky.

Also, if Jesus were here today, would he tell christians they were like refrigerators?
posted by The Michael The at 5:02 AM on August 1, 2003


God reserves the right to be arbitrary. Book of Romans, if you don't believe me.

And as to the refrigerator bit-no, because the idea of salt was that it permeated what it was preserving. We are in the world but not of it.

I still don't understand why national borders would be considered profane.
posted by konolia at 5:55 AM on August 1, 2003


God reserves the right to be arbitrary. Book of Romans, if you don't believe me.

But that then removes the meaningfulness of moral law derived from a higher being. If it's arbitrary, then the moral law could be anything (say, "killing is good") and it's good because god says it is. On the other hand, if the law is good and god is only voicing that it is good, then the law exists a priori without god. If god is omnipotent, that's not possible. Can you work through this paradox?

And as to the refrigerator bit-no, because the idea of salt was that it permeated what it was preserving. We are in the world but not of it.

I was being flippant, naturally, though I highly disagree that we are not of this world. Another discussion for another time.

I still don't understand why national borders would be considered profane.

Profane as in this definition (from M-W.com, definition 2):
Main Entry: profane
Function: adjective
...
1 : not concerned with religion or religious purposes : SECULAR
...
posted by The Michael The at 6:18 AM on August 1, 2003


People may change their own beliefs simply to fit in better. Of course what this mainly means is that their convictions weren't that strong to begin with.

Conversely, people may change their own beliefs simply to fit better with the facts, as they are discovered. Of course what this mainly means is that their convictions are tied to their current understanding of the world, and change as it changes. (This kind of open-mindedness is the basis for the scientific method, which works toward discovered and demonstrated truth, rather than proceeding from pronounced or revealed truth.)

God reserves the right to be arbitrary. Book of Romans, if you don't believe me.

I don't find it, but what a discrediting statement that is!
posted by rushmc at 6:19 AM on August 1, 2003


And you didn't explain why god would bless a nation.
posted by The Michael The at 6:21 AM on August 1, 2003


Morality is what God says it is, God blesses who/what He wants to bless, and sin is disobediene to God. The whole point is relationship to God, not the rules themselves, which is why the Pharisees got into so much hot water. But that doesn't mean that the rules were meaningless-Jesus said that just to LOOK upon a woman lustfully was to commit adultery.

If someone either does not believe in God or rejects God, the idea of "righteousness" being connected with relationship with a real Person must indeed sound odd.

Look, I don't mind talking about this stuff, but I don't want to annoy the stuffings out of you all either. I just want to point out that trying to figure out God using human logic is a fool's errand. To some of you that makes ME a fool. I will just have to live with that.
posted by konolia at 6:32 AM on August 1, 2003


AndrewSullivan's EMAIL OF THE DAY: "Sorry, Andy me boy, but buttfuckery will NEVER be an act of marriage. And if you don't like the backlash? Well, as you have so often observed, Americans will put up with abuse for a very long time, then we'll put our foot down and crush it, and the abusers who cause it, if the abusers go too far. Just be glad that stopping gay marriage is as far as we'll go. We regard the prospect of judge-mandated queer "marriage" as the political equivalent of flying jet aircraft into a 110 story paired bride and groom. We are not going to put up with it. If you DO want to stay here, respect our fucking laws, thank you very much."

He also says: "Hence the current FMA which, on my reading, would also bar any state from enacting any benefits to gay couples whatever - even modest domestic partnership deals. That's how radical an attack on federalism this amendment is. They want to gut federalist principles, end a volatile national debate before it goes against them, and write anti-gay animus into the only place the courts cannot resist: the Constitution itself. Whatever else these people are, they sure aren't conservatives." I heartily agree.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:32 AM on August 1, 2003


So I'm just scanning 111's comments, and I think we need to give him a break. I think he's A) very young and B) very sheltered. He has not made the distinction between his Ideal world and the Real World, and can only argue based on black and white, seemingly linear thinking which actually is founded in his feeling that seeing two boys kissing is icky or will give him cooties. He may see the fundamental flaws in his logic but feel so backed into a corner that he can no longer really deal, and so is lashing out with more and more extreme comments. Let's let him grow a little out of his inexperience and naivete before expecting him to play fair with adults.
posted by pomegranate at 6:33 AM on August 1, 2003


Yeah, never mind about the underdogs, let's give the topdogs a break. It worked for womens suffrage, it worked for racial equality...

oh, wait...

'Let's let him grow a little out of his inexperience and naivete before expecting him to play fair with adults.' What does that mean in the context of Metafilter, tho'? Personally, I will do my best to operate a 'killfile' on trolls and bigots, of which 111 is not alone. I don't think he has much experience of exclusion, tho', or he would likely not think like he does.

It is difficult to express the mixture of anger and sadness I feel at the denial of equality by the majority to the minority. I've done my best here. Over & out.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:04 AM on August 1, 2003


Wow, pomegranate, that was pretty condescending. I don't agree with 111's opinions re this either, but I don't think a couch analysis of his psychological development is appropriate. There are many, many people in the world who believe like he does who are not necessarily young or sheltered.

111 and konolia, thank you again for answering my questions.

konolia, if you do believe in the separation of church and state (which is what I think you are saying w/your Caesar comment), then I'm confused why you believe that the state can justify its discrimination based on religious distinctions. I can understand that to you, a marriage is between a man and a woman. But if the secular state can only justify its decision to not allow gay people to form a civil union because it's against God's law, then the flaw is very clear. Either it needs to come up with another, non God-related reason, or it needs to give the same rights to committed gay relationships as it gives to committed heterosexual relationships. Please note that I'm only talking about civil rights (tax benefits, medical rights, insurance etc), which is all the state should concern itself with. I'm not saying that any church should be forced to perform gay marriages if it does not wish to.

I believe in God too. But I recognize that not everyone believes as I do, which is why I agree that church and state should remain separate. Would you disagree?
posted by widdershins at 7:14 AM on August 1, 2003


If civil unions are looking posible today, it's more because of "Will and Grace" than Queer Nation.

yeah, but how do you think we got to a point where "Will and Grace" was possible?


Those civil union options do not carry all the same rights as marriage does (some het couples in france choose to do the "civil union" thing first, as a kind of pre-marriage marriage - like moving in together, but more official).

Anyway, if you can understand why some hets would want to reserve the name marriage for themselves, you should be able to understand why some homos would want to have that word apply to them - if the word itself has some kind of importance for one group, why wouldn't it for the other? Anyway, I'm pretty optimistic that this is a losing battle for the fundies and those who wish everyone were the same.
posted by mdn at 7:16 AM on August 1, 2003


It is difficult to express the mixture of anger and sadness I feel at the denial of equality by the majority to the minority.

But sadly that is the way it works, even in our constitutional republic with its supposed safeguards against the tyranny of the majority.

At least it looks like people who aren't ignorrant and conteptful of your sexual identity will soon be the majority.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2003


Thanks to all the tolerant, logical and supportive commenters in this thread. Inasmuch as western civilisation has a longterm future - and it's not a foregone conclusion - it will be based on personal equality, I believe.

If I lived on the bigger shore of the pond, I'd consider supporting this: MillionforMarriage Petition - ( did I find that on Mefi? It was only a few minutes ago, but I've lost it now!)

Really gone now!
posted by dash_slot- at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2003


111 you had me in your corner, at least in regard to listening to your arguments and trying to understand where you are coming from, but I am having a very difficult time doing that now based on your further arguments.

I will assume that you are not just trolling and really do think and feel these statements that you have made. I can only hope that on some level this discussion has broadened your mind to the possibility that you have a prejudice against gays. It's okay. You can admit it and no one is going to judge you. Admitting it is the first step towards overcoming it. You say that you want gays to have equal rights, but then undermine your own statements by adding the exceptions. That's a bigotry. Your basing your beliefs on antiquated ideals of gender and sexuality, and your're basing your ideas of child rearing on the fear of your own children being converted to The Gay by being in contact with us homos. Why are you replulsed by the sight of 2 men kissing? Is it because you are threatened by it? Is it because it stirs something in you that your brain cannot deal with because your god has planted shame in your soul? I am not repulsed by the sight of a man and a woman kissing, why is that? Is my sexuality more fluid than yours, or is it because I know that what two other people are doing has no bearing on my own identity nor my happiness?

I'm most offended by your suggestion that a gay household is valueless. I may not follow your religious morality, but these are my core values, and if they disagree with yours, then by all means call me valueless: I believe in treating my neighbor with more respect than I expect to be treated; I believe in helping less fortunate people even if it means burdening my own life; I believe in forgiving people when they hurt me; I believe in providing children with a nurturing environment, physically, mentally and emotionally; I believe in recycling and conserving energy; I believe in saving my money for a rainy day; I believe in being kind to the Jehovah's even when they are bothering me at my door; I believe in NOT having a theological argument with my mother who strongly believes in God's ultimate plan because her faith is her own business and I am no one to tell her how to live; I believe in letting my neighbors do whatever the fuck they want as long as it is not infringeing on my rights to do likewise.

So now call me valueless and please share with me these fundamental values that I do not possess that I cannot possibly pass on to a child. And also explain to me how my father is one of the most bigoted and hateful and violent men I have ever known, and straight, yet I grew up without any of his values or sexual identity.
posted by archimago at 8:01 AM on August 1, 2003


Thanks for the eloquence, archimago, and also for today's MeFi crack-me-up line: converted to The Gay.
posted by RakDaddy at 8:35 AM on August 1, 2003


111: DevilsAdvoc, the minority cannot be overlooked. But do we have a filtering system that's effective enough?

We already have systems in place which filter people who seek to adopt children. Why would these systems be any less effective in evaluating homosexual couples' fitness as parents than they would in evaluating the fitness of heterosexual couples?

Let me say this to sum up my opinion: as an individual with voting rights, I would not ever endorse the adoption of a child by gay couples.

You are of course entitled to vote how you please, and there are many Americans who agree with you. This fact is highly relevant to the question of whether gay marriage or gay adoption can be legalized; it is completely irrelevant to the question of whether they should be legalized.

konolia: Well, if God blesses the nation, all in it are blessed, not just the Christians.

What is the practical benefit of being blessed by God? Is there one? If not, why should a nation seek God's blessing? With Canada having legalized gay marriage, have they lost God's blessing? If so, will we soon see the effects on that country of no longer being blessed?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:50 AM on August 1, 2003


111 - it's the absence of values I find problematic.

Possessing love and respect broad enough to encompass people who love differently than you do is the exact opposite of "the absence of values."

***

I was batting similar ideas back and forth in email yesterday:

If you argue that the name of it is a difference important enough to maintain, then you are necessarily depriving homosexual unions of something you acknowledge is important and valuable, meaning you are not creating an equivalent arrangement and are denying them the full benefits heterosexuals legally enjoy.

So either the name "marriage" makes no difference, in which case you should be willing to share it, or it does make a difference, in which case denying it to one type of union means they ARE being denied "the benefits of marriage".

I think that "marriage" refers to a specific type of relationship. One that can produce offspring as nature intended.

...relying what you think nature intended is bullshit at best. Did you know that in humans an incident of heterosexual rape is more likely to result in pregnancy than an incident of consensual heterosexual intercourse?
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2001-06/NS-Raes-1906101.php
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1398894.stm

>...homosexuality is thoroughly natural, and examples of it abound throughout nature.

That statement is clearly hyperbole. In the animal kingdom, a homosexual relationship cannot create offspring, which would be a pretty good indicator that nature is selecting it for removal as a trait like any other genetic anomaly. Can you cite a few examples for me?


Your conclusion is nothing more than your own unfounded opinion. Natural selection demands that heterosexual sex happen, not that it happen to the exclusion of homosexual sex.

abound:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=378679AF.B93F79BF%40yahoo.com&oe=UTF-8
http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/031225377X/
http://www.gaymormon.com/dealingwithit/understandinghomo/unnatural/instincts.htm
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_43383.html
posted by NortonDC at 9:24 AM on August 1, 2003


-Seriously, is there a finite supply of rights?

Yes.
posted by 111 at 9:49 PM GMT on July 31


I love it. An intangible principal that we can somehow run out of. Like the rights quarry is about to collapse due to over mining.

Seriously, it's not as if all the straight people have used up their child rearing rights, and now we're fresh out of 'em. Rights can be given and taken away as we see fit, and it's idiotic to think that your right to raise a child is somehow more "right" than a gay person's. That is just exceedingly stupid to me.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:26 AM on August 1, 2003


i think Jon Stewart said it best last night on The Daily Show: "Both President Bush and the Vatican have spoken out strongly this week against gay marriage, which, as far as I can tell, is going to be mandatory...because, otherwise, I can't see why it would be any business of theirs."
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2003


dash, that would be "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side". Morrissey, as I said before, is my favorite artist of all time.

archimago, out of respect for your thought-out responses and your overall politeness, I'll say this: I'm not prejudiced at all. You correctly assume I'm not trolling, and I'll say more for your and other homosexual's sake: if you think I am conservative, you have seen nothing yet. Believe me. I'm also certainly not a homophobe; I do not have gay friends or enemies.

You say that you want gays to have equal rights, but then undermine your own statements by adding the exceptions. That's a bigotry.

No, that's not true. No rights are all-encompassing; limits apply everywhere. Nobody has carte blanche to do as s/he pleases. There is an obvious, commonplace biological foundation to reproduction and child-upbringing; if you do not engage in the former because you have a same-sex partner, I don't think you'd be well qualified for the latter. There are, of course, bisexuals and so on, but at any rate get this: children want and deserve a straight mother and a straight father.

I am not repulsed by the sight of a man and a woman kissing, why is that?Is my sexuality more fluid than yours, or is it because I know that what two other people are doing has no bearing on my own identity nor my happiness?

Do you really want to know why? I'll tell you: you're nothing but a closet hetero!
Settle down, just kidding. I don't know why archimago, I think women and homosexuals do have other levels of perception.

I'm most offended by your suggestion that a gay household is valueless.

I can understand how you, dash_slot and others may feel aggravated by that kind of thinking. Sometimes the innocent bear the burden of the guilty, but exceptions do not necessarily justify the rule. But the mere lack of religious values and ethics, for instance, is a very serious handicap in my opinion.

And also explain to me how my father is one of the most bigoted and hateful and violent men I have ever known, and straight, yet I grew up without any of his values or sexual identity.

I think you already know the theories to "explain" that, so let's leave it at that. The nature-nurture origins of homosexuality are exceedingly complex.

You should take into account that I'm not a "bigot", a "homophobe" or anything like that: I'm a Catholic. In this sense, the kind of civil union endorsed to a certain extent by yours truly would have to be limited to specific legal aspects. Roma locuta, causa finita.
posted by 111 at 10:22 AM on August 1, 2003


but at any rate get this: children want and deserve a straight mother and a straight father.

children of same sex couples don't exhibit this innate desire for straight parents. Why do you think you know what children "want"? What kids deserve is parents who love and care for them, and communities who love them (I grew up in downtown nyc, and the extended community of my parents - just their artsy/academic friends who were always around - was an important part of my "family".) Considering that kids raised by same sex couples seem to be okay with it, why do you think it's detrimental? What about the kids who never would have existed if not for the choice of a gay person to have a child (with the help of a donor or surrogate)?

But the mere lack of religious values and ethics, for instance, is a very serious handicap in my opinion.

Plenty of gay couples are religious, and plenty of straight couples are not. Should atheists be barred from reproducing as well, in your opinion? I was brought up in a non-religious household, and while you may disapprove of me, I am not infringing on your rights, so I don't see why you should feel you ought to have been able to tell my parents how to bring me up...

and obviously, obviously, obviously, you can be ethical without being religious; in fact I think it's easier, but we don't have to get into all that right now. The point is, please don't make such ridiculously unfounded blanket statements: ethics do not depend on religion, but on concern for other human beings and the community at large.
posted by mdn at 10:58 AM on August 1, 2003


I've always been intrigued by the supposition that religious values/ethics are automatically superior to those values/ethics that aren't religious.

...for example, my religion demands that two-thirds of humanity be killed, regardless of age, race, gender or physical condition.

Am I now superior, ethically, to a non-homicidal atheist? After all, my values are given directly to me by God itself. I mean it, by the way. There is no greater calling than to murder two-thirds of humanity, and the person that pulls it off will be The Messiah. I'm hoping to earn that position, but I can't say it's been going very well for me.
posted by aramaic at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2003


I do not have gay friends

Then allow me to be the first to extend the hand of friendship to you. Perhaps I can help you understand that being a good person does not begin and end with a relationship to the church.
posted by archimago at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2003


But the mere lack of religious values and ethics, for instance, is a very serious handicap in my opinion.

Ah, ah, here we go. What mdn said, mostly, and I'd like to reemphasize that values and ethics do not need to stem from religious authority to be valid. If they did, philosophy would have been a dead branch of thinking by now.

I'm reminded of something George Carlin said once: "I was a Catholic until I reached the age of reason."


Oh, and one more thing:

Whatever else these people are, they sure aren't conservatives.

Man, it always cracks me up how Andrew Sullivan is always shocked-- shocked!-- to find there's bigotry going on here! The man must have some amazing powers of cognitive dissonance to remain aligned with the neocons.
posted by nath at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2003


... the kind of civil union endorsed to a certain extent by yours truly would have to be limited to specific legal aspects.

Well, blow me down! We agree! Civil marriage is only about specific legal aspects (over 1000 of them), so therefore gays and lesbians are entitled to it too, right?
posted by amberglow at 11:44 AM on August 1, 2003


I'm not a "bigot", a "homophobe" or anything like that: I'm a Catholic.

We have a WINNER! False dichotomy of the day!

NEWSFLASH--You, yes YOU, can be all those things simultaneously.
posted by NortonDC at 12:13 PM on August 1, 2003


I feel a bit like Andrew Sullivan in that I am a Catholic by birth who's always been sympathetic to the church, and spent much time defending it while I was attending a predominantly Southern Baptist Christian high school, and I'm gay. I've always thought of the Catholic Church as being, counter-intuitively, much more progressive than the Southern Baptist Church I grew up surrounded by, and I felt secure in this thought because I'm pretty well-versed in the Catechism, and I find it a decently progressive book, on the whole, as organized religion handbooks go.

The Church's actions in so many circumstances throughout the past three years have been absolutely indefensible. yet I'm still torn between the churches I know and appreciate, whose work in their communities is invaluable, who maintain loving ministries by and for gay people in defiance of the Vatican, and the Church I'm quickly growing to hate. My relationship to the Pope mirrors my relationship to my own relentlessly homophobic parents — I really love and admire the man on one hand, and on the other, I can't abide by the utter excrement that's clogged the sphincter of his judgment.

I can delineate quite clearly where my own personal theology departs from Catholic theology, and I don't go to church anymore, but I feel a connection to the Church that's more cultural and sentimental than it is theological. So I think I have a small window on what Sully must feel.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:42 PM on August 1, 2003


"Roma locuta, causa finita." -111

Yes, by all means abdicate your responsibility to think critically, and surrender your right to make for yourself such important decisions about your life and your relationships to others.

...This isn't Catholicism as it's generally practiced in the US today. It's cult mentality.
posted by clever sheep at 12:51 PM on August 1, 2003


111: children want and deserve a straight mother and a straight father.

Tell that to Jared Diamond, among others. There are a few social scientists and anthropologists (and Diamond is a doctor if I'm not mistaken) propagating what they term "The Grandmother Hypothesis." It essentially states that having a grandmother present in a child's life from birth to maturity (or adolescence, I forget which) increases the child's chance of survival greatly, while not having the grandmother present lessens the child's chance of survival. The presence of a father, on the other hand, has no impact whatsoever on the child's chances of survival. This is backed up by extensive research from societies of all sorts across the globe and by evidence from many animal species as well. I can get you source citations if you really want.

Basically: fathers have sex and then their role is essentially finished. That kinda lessens the need for a straight nuclear family, huh?

I can understand how you, dash_slot and others may feel aggravated by that kind of thinking. Sometimes the innocent bear the burden of the guilty, but exceptions do not necessarily justify the rule. But the mere lack of religious values and ethics, for instance, is a very serious handicap in my opinion.

If this were a playground, dash_slot would be beating you senseless and then taking his ball and going home.
posted by The Michael The at 12:53 PM on August 1, 2003


So I think I have a small window on what Sully must feel.

I think the difference is that while Catholic belief systems may lead to bigotry and discrimination, they don't have to (especially if people actually paid closer attention to what Jesus said, and not the Pope or Paul or whoever else).

On the other hand, Andy subscribes to a set of political beliefs that has, for a long time, been intertwined with bigotry and discrimination, and then he gets upset every time something reminds him of that.


I understand where you're coming from, and my analogy and reasoning is somewhat flawed, as I can tell as I'm writing it, but I think it's a bit disingenuous for Sullivan to propagate his political ideology and then be surprised as to what it actually entails.
posted by nath at 2:45 PM on August 1, 2003


There is an obvious, commonplace biological foundation to reproduction and child-upbringing; if you do not engage in the former because you have a same-sex partner, I don't think you'd be well qualified for the latter.

Because of course the skills involved in reproducing and in raising a child are identical...wait, what??
posted by rushmc at 5:29 PM on August 1, 2003


... and furthermore, by that logic, it isn't adoption by same-sex couples that should be banned, it is all adoption, period.
posted by Chanther at 6:29 PM on August 1, 2003


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