A Living Illustration of the Problem With Trying To Love The Gay Person But Hate Her Gayness

The AP reports:

Barbara Von Aspern loves her daughter, “thinks the world” of the person her daughter intends to marry and believes the pair should have the same legal rights as anyone else. It pains her, but Von Aspern is going to skip their wedding. Her daughter, Von Aspern explains, is marrying another woman.

“We love them to death, and we love them without being judgmental,” the 62-year-old Chandler, Ariz., retiree said. “But the actual marriage I cannot agree with.”

Or, as Digital Cuttlefish puts it in the closing verse of “No Disrespect Intended…”:

I mean no disrespect, of course,
I love her to the core—
It’s just that, when it comes to this,
I love religion more.

So it has actually happened–someone has said to her own daughter, “I totally love you and your partner but will not attend your wedding”. This is exactly the sort of practical contradiction I warned about in my piece about why loving the sinner but hating the sin is not an option when dealing with gay people and which I tried to point out to my politically progressive evangelical Christian friend who wanted to simultaneously support gay rights but deny the moral legitimacy of their unions religiously:

They want to obliterate homosexuality from existence and are in denial that in practice that means harming homosexuals. The logic of the Bible which leads to killing them is the same logic at work and they cannot make that square with the inclusive circle of modern, non-violent democratic society [...] You cannot have it both ways, you cannot love the sinner while locking him in a closet.

I once had a long talk with a relatively liberal, well-educated evangelical, who was a passionate supporter of Obama even, who didn’t want to alienate gays but still thought homosexuality was immoral for biblical reasons. She tried to make the case that she could be accepting on a social level and I asked her, “How can you? if you have a gay couple for friends, can you have them over if you insist that their relationship is immoral?  Can you acknowledge and respect their love as legitimate when you think God condemns it?   Can you attend their wedding and wish them well without qualifications? This is a practical contradiction you cannot live out.”

Her response: I was making her uncomfortable. So, I dropped it. Hopefully, she’ll drop it too when she (inevitably) has to make a choice between acting in accord with her beliefs about the immorality of her gay friends’ loving relationships and making them uncomfortable.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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