The Bigot as Vulcan

The American Decency Association is an absurd little Christian right group located in a small town about an hour and a half away from me. And I find it terribly amusing that in this column, Chris Johnson pretends that the pro-equality position is based purely on emotion while the anti-equality position exhibit Spock-like logical rigor.

We live in a very emotional culture. I once heard it pointed out – unfortunately I can’t remember by whom – that when the people of my generation give our opinion, we no longer tell you what we think. We will instead tell you what we feel…

This is why it sometimes seems that our arguments for marriage are the proverbial knife in a gunfight. We tend to fight an emotional battle with intellectual weaponry.

When the same-sex marriage proponent says “these two people love each other; why shouldn’t they be allowed to stand in front of their friends and family and make it official?” our response is that marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman and the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.

When they say, “why can’t this loving couple adopt a needy child who just wants a family?” we answer that, statistically speaking, the child will be better off waiting to be adopted by a heterosexual family which can give them the benefit of both a mother and father.

And these arguments are solid, but the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t make those arguments. If the only result was that we would be more resolute in our own support of God-defined marriage, that would be valuable enough to focus on those aspects – and that’s beside the fact that some people’s emotions may still be swayed by an intellectual argument.

The issue, in my opinion is that while we’re wielding a knife in the gunfight, we’re leaving our gun in the holster.

Let’s unpack this. First of all, I’m a little tired of this idea that any concern for justice, fairness and equality is just “emotional.” Yes, we feel passionately about it, but it’s also the right thing intellectually. Second, the notion that your position is logical could hardly be any more ridiculous. You weave these terrible dystopic visions of a future in which marriage, family and maybe even civilization itself will be destroyed if we let gay people get married. There isn’t any evidence for this, of course, nor is there even a remotely coherent argument to be made in its favor.

And no, the notion that leaving a child in foster care instead of giving him a loving family solely because the adoptive parent is gay is a “solid argument” is both intellectually and morally bankrupt. I dare say it is based upon the emotional response — hatred, bigotry, fear — that you have toward gay people. Irony!

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  • Doug Little

    our response is that marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman and the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.

    Sounds like socialism to me. Commies !11!1

  • Doug Little

    When they say, “why can’t this loving couple adopt a needy child who just wants a family?” we answer that, statistically speaking, the child will be better off waiting to be adopted by a heterosexual family which can give them the benefit of both a mother and father.

    There is no evidence to back up this position of course, where is the logic in that?

  • doublereed

    And since when do we use statistics like that to deny adoption to couples? Doesn’t that go against our traditions of equality, nondiscrimination, etc.?

  • Chiroptera

    …the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.

    Even if this were a legitimate interest of the state, the evolution from an iron age decentralized feudal agrarian to modern industrial capitalism has resulted in the “traditional” Western European family no longer being the most productive form. In fact, much of the so-called “decline” in the “traditonal family” is really the family structure adapting to more productive forms within the context of modern capitalism. Extending the family to include same-sex marriages is part of the adaptation.

  • rabbitscribe

    #1 Doug: I was about to past the same quote. It’s mind-boggling that a conservative could compose that. These people have absolutely no principles except “Do what I tell you to.”

  • bushrat

    With the amount of shit this guy is spewing, I would have thought he would be require to have a sewage waste permit before he spoke.

  • dingojack

    Firstly: ” our response is that marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman…”

    And how many wives did Solomon have again?

    Secondly: “… and the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.”

    And the state’s interest in denying marriage to one particular class of people is…?

    Thirdly: “When they say, ‘why can’t this loving couple adopt a needy child who just wants a family?’ we answer that, statistically speaking, the child will be better off waiting to be adopted by a heterosexual family which can give them the benefit of both a mother and father.”

    And your evidence of this assumed ‘benefit’ is… ?

    Fourthly: “And these arguments are solid,… ”

    Bwhahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh wait, you were being serious. Well, let’s see how ‘solid’ your reasoning is by allowing us to examining it in the spotlight of scientific rigour.

    Fifthly: “…. but the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain”.

    Nah, you don’t look like villains, you are villains. (And not in a good Saturday morning kid’s cartoon way).

    Dingo

    ——-

    Liberals are from Earth, Bigots claim they’re from Vulcan.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    … the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain.

    Yeah that’s a problem all right. But spiteful villains aren’t always wrong. Just look at God!

    So keep up the fight, Christians. And if stabbing your opponent isn’t working, you might want to try shooting, because Christians all have guns, right?

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Why does that name remind me of the Comité de salut public?

  • roggg

    “We’ve always done it that way” is a solid argument now?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    But he’s right. They are logical. Witness:

    1. I got mine.

    2. I enjoy my privilege.

    3. Ergo, screw you.

  • Chris J

    Yeah, everyone’s already commented on this, but…

    And these arguments are solid, but the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain.

    You know that nagging little voice in the back of your brain that’s making you feel shitty? That’s called a conscience. Don’t fight it, embrace it! It’s a good thing.

    I really want to know how this person managed to write this sentence and not double-take. It recognizes the personhood of gay people, so no jumping to absurd arguments about bestiality. It uses absurd language (“fray the fabric of society” if gay marriage is simply recognized by the government for tax purposes? Really?)

    And then he admits that holding this position will make you “always look like a spiteful villain.” It’s been a while since I’ve taken a philosophy course, but I’m pretty sure that even when there are no good choices to be made you can still argue for one without necessarily appearing spiteful or villainous. We accept that it is possible for Child Protective Services to take a child away from a parent in some cases, and even if that parent hates the result, we as outside observers can still see why it was necessary; there is a crystal clear argument about the well-being of the child.

    If you literally can’t make an argument against gay marriage without feeling like a spiteful villain, perhaps you should consider that maybe there isn’t actually an argument to be had.

    It’s especially frustrating because I get the sense that if I asked this guy “do you think there exists a gay couple that would make better parents (in terms of child welfare) than some straight couple that could legally have children,” the answer would be “yes.” And that thought is what makes him feel vilified; he could easily imagine a perfectly happy gay couple with children, and imagines having to take that child away for what he things are good reasons.

  • eric

    state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.

    Love the not-so-hidden misogyny. Do you hear this, women? Chris Johnson is basically saying that unless you have kids, you aren’t being productive to society.

  • busterggi

    “marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman”

    Another Christian who has never read his OT.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    And these arguments are solid…

    No, they’re not. The first one is simply begging the question, and the second is the ecological fallacy and is based on a false premise anyway. These are in fact very stupid arguments.

    And therein lies the problem. There are no good arguments against same-sex marriage that do not assume a priori that gays deserve discrimination. In the absence of emotional hatred of gay people, no one would concoct such silly rationalizations.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …Chris Johnson pretends that the pro-equality position is based purely on emotion while the anti-equality position exhibit Spock-like logical rigor.

    This a straight lift from libertarianism, which has long maintained that money and greed make us rational, and placing moral priorities above money priorities is emotional and irrational.

  • Doug Little

    Area Man @15

    And therein lies the problem. There are no good arguments against same-sex marriage that do not assume a priori that gays deserve discrimination. In the absence of emotional hatred of gay people, no one would concoct such silly rationalizations.

    Exactly.

  • gertzedek

    @14 — What are you talking about? Biblical marriage was totally between a man and a woman. And another woman. And another woman. And a few concubines. And another woman. And…

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “the anti-equality position exhibits logical rigor mortis.”

    FTFY

  • https://www.facebook.com/steven.schwartz.1069 Steven Schwartz

    And I am sure no one will be at all surprised that they are moderating opposing viewpoints into oblivion. 😉

  • John Pieret

    And I love the emotional argument he thinks they should be using:

    [A]t some level these men and women who deny the authority of God realize that they are created in His image and essentially to dull the pain of the fall and to numb their dissatisfaction with the sin they (and we) can’t help but commit, they deny what they know to be Truth. … This is the emotional argument we often leave unused – it’s not that God doesn’t want homosexuals to be happy or satisfied; it’s that His way always brings the most joy and satisfaction.

    Ya see, you LGBT people are just trying to dull the pain of your sin of being LGBT people, which of course you chose to be. It isn’t that God wants you to be unhappy, he just wants you to stop loving the people you love.

    Yeah, that’ll work!

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Whaddya mean there are no solid arguments against gay marriage? I don’t wanna marry another dude and no liberal law can ever make me!

  • matty1

    Even if the argument about two parents of different sexes were true it is unlikely to be relevant. I doubt adoption agencies face many cases where a stable hetero couple and a stable gay couple are ‘competing’ for the same child.

  • zmidponk

    When the same-sex marriage proponent says “these two people love each other; why shouldn’t they be allowed to stand in front of their friends and family and make it official?” our response is that marriage has always been defined as between as a man and a woman

    The actual question being considered is ‘should it be?’ It’s not very logical to try to logically determine the answer to this question whilst starting from the basis that it has to be ‘yes’.

    and the state’s interest in marriage is to regulate the individual units of society in the way that’s most productive to society.

    Logically, this would mean not restricting a certain status to certain couples purely because of gender unless there is objective evidence that doing so actually increases productivity in society. Is there such evidence?

    When they say, “why can’t this loving couple adopt a needy child who just wants a family?” we answer that, statistically speaking, the child will be better off waiting to be adopted by a heterosexual family which can give them the benefit of both a mother and father.

    Well, logically, we need to make sure those statistics are accurate and stand up to scrutiny, so a citation telling us what those statistics actually are and where they came from is needed. Even if they are and do, what is still needed is a proposed mechanism for ensuring that ALL needy children will be adopted by such a suitable heterosexual couple in a timely manner and will not, for example, still be waiting when they no longer need adoption as they’ve reached adulthood.

    And these arguments are solid, but the problem is that if you tell two people who really do love each other, that making the state recognize their love will fray the fabric of society, you will always look like a spiteful villain.

    Well, logically, objective evidence that the state ‘recognising their love’ will indeed ‘fray the fabric of society’ is needed before making that statement. Given that these people are members of the society that will allegedly be frayed, and, when you boil it down to essentials, the issue is whether or not a simple fact (that they love each other) can legally be recognised as being a fact, I cannot see how that can logically be the case. Of course, any attempt at such an argument will be listened to.

    That is not to say that we shouldn’t make those arguments. If the only result was that we would be more resolute in our own support of God-defined marriage, that would be valuable enough to focus on those aspects – and that’s beside the fact that some people’s emotions may still be swayed by an intellectual argument.

    Well, logically, this can only be determined when this starts happening.

    The issue, in my opinion is that while we’re wielding a knife in the gunfight, we’re leaving our gun in the holster.

    Mainly because the barrel has been put on pointing backwards.

  • scienceavenger

    We tend to fight an emotional battle with intellectual weaponry…

    This “we’re logical, you’re emotional” trope is standard fare in conservative circles, and its scientifically out of date. Logic and emotions are (by my read of the literature) intertwined, and when the emotional component is removed or damaged, the result is not Mr. Spock, it’s Rain Man. Perhaps that’s why so many conservatives (who are reported to score lower than average in empathy) tend to chant certain phrases (Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Solyndra…) over and over again without seeming to grasp what they are saying.

  • dingojack

    scienceavenger – it’s ‘magical thinking’. If you use a phrase (or an image) just right, magical things happen.

    And if at first you don’t succeed ….

    Dingo

  • freehand

    roggg: “We’ve always done it that way” is a solid argument now?

    .

    Yes, but only if it can be demonstrated that we actually haven’t always done it that way. That establishes that our claim is based on faith, not emotion, and so any pseudo logical fallacies like argumentum ad data will fall by the wayside, ignored by our mighty bulwark of reason and most rigid logic of the holy spirit, amen!