You Say We’re Redefining Marriage? You’re Redefining Love

The Religious Right keeps saying gay-rights activists are “redefining marriage”:

Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the very nature that gives marriage its unique status in society. Ultimately, forcing marriage to mean all things will force marriage to mean nothing at all. (The Heritage Foundation)

The same group of people also goes on about how God loves gay people:

God loves homosexuals. He loves them just as he loves every other human on the planet.

People living a homosexual lifestyle are sinners like the rest of us and, like the rest of us, they are people created by God and loved by God. As such, we are called to love in whatever sinful state we happen to find them.

I say this to the religious people who oppose marriage equality:

You think we’re redefining marriage?

How can you accuse us of that when you’ve done something far worse?

You redefined love.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Please…

For you, “love” means making sure gay people cannot adopt a child who needs a home.

For you, “love” means stripping away the marital status of gay couples who were legally married in California before Proposition 8 took effect.

For you, “love” means accepting someone only if they never act on their sexuality.

For you, “love” means putting our country at risk if gay people in our military dare mention they are in a same-sex relationship.

For you, “love” means allowing doctors to refuse patients who need their help because the patients are gay.

For you, “love” means preventing homosexuals from serving in leadership positions for organizations like the Boy Scouts because you oppose their sexual orientation.

For you, “love” means telling someone else what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their bedroom.

For you, “love” means removing your children from school for a day so they can’t witness other students taking a stand for LGBT rights.

I know we’ve heard the rebuttal to this notion of “redefining marriage” — marriage has been redefined a countless number of times. From a property arrangement to a love marriage to interracial marriage, etc. The definition of marriage has never been static.

But how dare Christians make that accusation: You’re redefining marriage.

They say it like we’ve done something wrong.

How dare you belittle us for trying to promote equality and marriage and civil rights?

You’re Christians. Aren’t those values you’re supposed to endorse?

We are not trying to change how your church operates or how you practice your faith. We’re not telling you how to live your life. We’re not forcing you to adopt our beliefs.

Who is showing more love here?

  • matt

    Save’d

  • Tina

    Excellent, just an excellent article.

    I have been recently reminded of the terrible state of mind some people are in by the recent Miss USA pageant and Ms CA answer. It makes me sick to think that people who are “just raised that way” are obviously promoting against love without really thinking for themselves. INDOCTRINATION at its worse.

  • Stephan Goodwin

    Awesome post, I completely agree.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio

    Government shouldn’t have anything to do with marriage in the first place. Instead, adults should establish private contracts with those with whom they choose to live and love — not government contracts. This is all tied up with taxes and yet we think it is a morality argument. Arguing over marriage laws ignores the real enemy — the overreaching government !

  • NewDark

    Hell yes man, It still makes me laugh how in the quite small conservative area I live in… people can’t distinguish the difference a gay person and a straight person that supports gay rights. I can’t wait to get out of this town :D

    Couldn’t agree more
    /win

  • SarahH

    Well put. Some kinds of love aren’t really love at all.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    wow. That is an entirely awesome post.

    They’re obviously not using R.A. Heinlein’s definition of love: A condition that exists when another’s happiness is essential to your own.

  • http://foreverinhell.blogspot.com Personal Failure

    It’s especially disturbing to see this argument: “Well, I love my father, but I can’t marry him.”

    If you love your father like gay couples who want to get married love each other, that’s an Elektra Complex, and you shouldn’t be bragging about it.

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    Wow, great post!

  • Raze

    This is awesome and I love you for it.

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    Well put <3

  • Infinitemonkey

    I often get into discussions about this, and they pull the the “redifinition of marriage” line, then I point out this America, we redefine marriage on a daily basis, its our pasttime. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that the person who I’m having this discussion with would have been property of her father, until marriage. Her rebuttal is because these are people. But, then I point out that a lot of people in the Bible had multiple wives and concubines, but we redefined marrage as a 1-1 ratio, and wouldn’t let Utah in the union until they did so.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    Well, it’s true that legally recognizing gay marriage redefines “marriage”; ie. it extends the definition. But legal marriage is, in fact, a contract largely about property rights and decision making — and that is the only aspect the government should legitimately be concerned with. Whatever “spiritual”, social, emotional, etc. sigificance the institution may also have, is a matter to be worked out by the couple, between themselves, their families, and their religious community — and the government has no business in it. For the religious to assert that a purely secular legal redefinition of marriage somehow reflects on the religious definition, is to assert that they cede to the government the power to define their theology — an absurd position!

    The longer this argument goes on, the more I lean towards completely separating the legal aspects from the religious. The government will hand out civil unions to all and sundry. Any religious ceremony is a purely private decision, with no legal significance (the same as our other common rites of passage are purely social/religious occasions).

  • Mathew Wilder

    Bravo, Hemant. Excellent post! I will never understand how people can be so obviously wrong, and so hateful (and about their wrongness no less)!

  • xxldave

    Amen, brother!

  • PaulD

    If a child was running after a ball into the street and you saw a car coming, what would be your response? Would it be, “I think I will just let him express his individuality no matter if it kills him” or would it be “STOP” because you know better than he does. Would you not want to bother him because you would be infringing on his rights as an individual to follow his desires wherever they lead him, or would you tell him that it is a dangerous world out there and if you follow your desires wherever they lead you, you will surely end up dead.

    Love has been defined in the New Testament enough times for everyone to know what REAL Love is. It is charity. Loving without wanting anything in return. Loving so much that you would rather have someone hate you than see them destroyed. A humbling love. Do Christians love the way they are supposed to all the time? No…Are Christians sometimes just down right nasty? Yes… But gay marriage is not love, it is an Orange tree producing Bananas. It is an abomination. And calling it anything else is just silly. It is not unloving to tell someone that the path they are choosing is a path to destruction. Even Penn Jillette admits, “How much do you have to hate someone if you beleive in eternal life and do not tell everyone you know about it”. We are not pushing our ideals on you, we are trying to save you… Or at least lead you to someone who can.

  • http://www.abandonallfear.org.uk Lex Fear

    Ditto to the government staying out of marriage – however civil partnerships are required for recognising taxes, inheritances and other legals.

    The way I choose to see it is that I got married twice. I got married in the eyes of the government – signed their paper and paid the fees, then I got married in the eyes of God – in church the next day.

    We didn’t start acting married until after the church wedding, but legally we registered the day before.

    So let anyone of any sex have their marriage/civil partnership – and let those who are religious have their ceremony and vows.

  • http://endemoniada.org Nathaniel

    Christianity has itself been redefined to a straight-up policy of “do as I say, not as I do.” The people who call themselves Christian are, much too often, the least Christ-like, and are also the ones who most often criticize others for not being “good enough.”

  • Jessi

    The one thing that I didn’t see addressed here is the insurance and medical part of marriage. Lots of gay/lesbian couples want to marry so that their partner can get health insurance and so that if they were ever injured they would be allowed to see them in ICU, make medical decisions for them,etc. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to live with someone and love them and be told that I couldn’t be with them if they were hurt or ill. Marriage is supposed to be a sacred covenant and I think the hetros have made a huge mockery of it, evidenced by the high divorce rate. I believe that anyone that wants to marry, should be allowed to – period. It is no one elses business, not the church, not the government. We should all be promoting love, in all forms, by all people.
    Jess

  • PaulD

    Agreed. Whenever Jesus had something bad to say, he usually directed it to the religous leaders as hypocrites, and I don’t think that message has changed at all, or has meant to change. That is the great thing about Christianity, is that it is a religion with self criticism built into it which is why after a time a corruption (as all ideas go through in time) there is a biblical basis for reform.

  • debg

    I must point to our neighbors to the north here… Canada has given common-law rights to homosexual couples for 10 years and most provinces legalized gay marriage 6 years ago, with the federal government following suit in 2005. All a person has to do it visit Canada and then look me in the eye and tell me that gay marriage has degraded society. Bullshit.

    Oh, and did I mention I’m a Canadian? And that I suffer no ill effects for growing up in a society that openly acknowledges and accepts homosexuality? America is the country that goes around claiming to be the most “free” – so walk the walk.

  • Larry Huffman

    Love also means calling people: fags, queers, queens, homos, dikes…and far worse. Anyone who stood on a corner during the prop-8 protests heard a wide array of ‘loving’ words coming from these ‘loving’ people’s mouths.

    You know the old saying, “there is a fine line between love and hate”? Well, these people embody that perfectly.

  • Ninja

    PaulD becus you are a religous person you are closed minded. You look at the Picture as others want you to see it. You have to look threw every aspect not just one. IE is your religion you are looking from. ONLY if every one can be open minded and stop looking at the Fuck up things. How can you say gay love is not REAL they love with out wanting something in return too you ass. Your anoulagey with the kid is just stupid. Of corse a kid does not know that they are a KID. But you should not hid anything from them but you should in form. YOu say you dont “force” your religion on to people. THen why the fuck do you people insist on talking to us about it when you see us. I would tell you i dont want to hear it but your religon does not want to shuck the fuck up. I know about your religon who does not. You people will not shut the fuck up. Learn more about other religons and YOURS befor talking to people. DID you know that Marry who supposle did not have sex but had a child. Well she might have tooken shroms then not remember every thing that happen. Drugs been around since the binging of time too. Stupid people. YOu look at only your view of possibilty. THink out side the box. What if a burning “bush” that Moses was talking about could have been weed he was token. People see and talk about crazy shit when they are high.

  • PaulD

    Degrading society is irrelavant to me. I am more concerned with degrading the mind, body, and soul. And is 10 years really long enough time to witness the effects of something like that. Having a whole society agree to a lie will degrade it regardless of any other kind of implication.

  • Ninja

    Im not gay or anything this. But this just shows another way that religion is stupid and wrong. But that is my opinion. You have to put down people for the religon to work. WTF? well for 99.9% of the religions.

  • Siamang

    PaulD,

    First prove we have souls.

    Next, prove your religion is true in such a way that all people can verify it.

    THEN you may get us to agree to abide by your religious laws.

    But as it stands, Christians can’t even agree *among themselves* whether gay marriage is allowed or not!

    Think about that. That tells you right there it ain’t as cut-and-dried as you pretend it is.

    If your religion says you can’t have a gay marriage, then by all means, do that.

    But WE are not MEMBERS of your religion. This is no different than a conservative Jew mandating by government law that everyone eat Kosher.

    What part of “we don’t follow your religion” do you not get?

  • Beetle

    @PaulD

    IMHO you are as much a hypocrite any figure in the New Testiment.

    Please re-read your “child running into the street” post with the following thought exercise in mind: (1) Imagine someone equally certain with their convictions as you are with yours. (2) Set the clock back 50 years. (3) Substitute “interracial marriage” for “gay marriage” in your post.

    Is it not obvious that your “path to destruction” comes only from prejudice?

    How is this analogy not appropriate? Please show us an arguement that works against gay marriage but not against conventional wisdom views some Christians held years ago on interacial marriage. Your post certainly fails just such a test!

    I submit that despite your sincerity, your possition against civil marriage for gay couples is morally bankrupt — and inconsistent with the teachings of your Jesus.

  • Tony

    If a child was running after a ball into the street and you saw a car coming, what would be your response? Would it be, “I think I will just let him express his individuality no matter if it kills him” or would it be “STOP” because you know better than he does. Would you not want to bother him because you would be infringing on his rights as an individual to follow his desires wherever they lead him, or would you tell him that it is a dangerous world out there and if you follow your desires wherever they lead you, you will surely end up dead.

    The child running into traffic analogy has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.

    Love has been defined in the New Testament enough times for everyone to know what REAL Love is. It is charity. Loving without wanting anything in return. Loving so much that you would rather have someone hate you than see them destroyed. A humbling love. Do Christians love the way they are supposed to all the time? No…Are Christians sometimes just down right nasty? Yes… But gay marriage is not love, it is an Orange tree producing Bananas. It is an abomination. And calling it anything else is just silly. It is not unloving to tell someone that the path they are choosing is a path to destruction. Even Penn Jillette admits, “How much do you have to hate someone if you beleive in eternal life and do not tell everyone you know about it”. We are not pushing our ideals on you, we are trying to save you… Or at least lead you to someone who can.

    No, you’re prejudging people because you fin their lifestyle to be personally distasteful.

  • Ron in Houston

    Definitely one of your best posts ever.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Of course Jesus himself was constantly saying that homosexuality was a terrible sin and practitioners would burn forever unless they gave up buggering about…Oh wait, that didn’t happen. The anti gay stuff is Old Testament, Jesus had nothing to say on the topic at all. Not. A. Word.

    The New Testament did talk about marriage though. In 1 Corinthians the message is clearly that is it better not to marry because marriage encourages sex and sex is icky. It is better all round if men chop off their own dangly bits. However if they can’t do that and still fancy some man-woman action then marriage is the last resort. Women don’t get a say, sorry about that.

    If you read it the bible has more to say against us vile and abominable vegetarians (Romans 14:2 and 1 Timothy 4:1-3) than it has about homosexuals.

    I don’t love homosexuals, I certainly don’t hate them. I have no interest in what two (or more) men or two (or more) women get up to in their lives because what they get up to has no impact at all on my life. It doesn’t hurt me, it doesn’t hurt them and it doesn’t hurt society. I quite literally find homosexual marriage a non-issue. I support it because it seems only fair that anything one group has should be available for another group whose only difference is a matter of sexuality.

    I have no clear idea why anyone would want to oppose gay marriage and not also oppose straight marriage. You don’t see many people doing that.

  • http://moralmajorityvsvocalminority.blogspot.com Sarah

    Excellent post Hemant, very moving and truly heartfelt. I live in Canada where gay marriage has been legal for a few years now.
    Our society is fine, our morals are fine (better than the morals of those in the bible belt that’s for sure!) Our churches haven’t started crumbling, our kids haven’t started rampaging, there has not been a dramatic increase in the number of homosexuals, people are not petitioning to be able to marry their house pets.

    We also have homosexual foster parents (who usually try harder and give more love than some straight foster parents) as well as gay people who either adopt or raise their own biological children. The earth has not stopped spinning on its axis because of this.

    Paul: your analogy of the child running into the street after a ball is decidedly flawed. Perhaps if the discussion at hand were about legalising child marriages you might possibly have a point. As it is you didn’t make a point at all.

    Let me try to lead by example. Say you saw a man standing on a street corner throwing stones at passing cars and shouting obscenities at passer by. Would you say to yourself “not my problem, I’m not in the path of his rage” or would you say “wow, this guy is nuts, I’d better try and stop him before he hurts anyone else”.
    For atheists, christians are the screaming man, randomly hurling insults and trying to hurt innocent people. Sometimes we choose to remain silent because we’re afraid. Usually we stand up and fight you. This is what we’re doing by fighting for gay marriage.

  • PaulD

    You don’t have to make it a religous argument. A penis was designed to go into a vagina. The purpose of sex is reproduction. Anal sex is unhealthy. Giving into your animal instincts is unhealthy.

    Your inter-racial marriage analogy is irrelavant. You are still dealing with a penis and a vagina.

  • Jonsi

    Sorry PaulD, what you advocate goes beyond discussing with gays how and why you believe their path will lead to degradation. Getting the state involved essentially involves them pointing guns at them and saying “what you are doing is illegal.” That is what you advocate. You are allowed all you want to believe their acts are immoral. You are allowed all you want to engage them in discussion as long as you aren’t attempting to intimidate or incite violence.

    “That is the great thing about Christianity, is that it is a religion with self criticism built into it which is why after a time a corruption (as all ideas go through in time) there is a biblical basis for reform.”

    That is some holy shit. It took thousands of years for slavery to reform. There was plenty of time for pontifical, or protestant, reform on that issue. Only a few decades ago, people would be protesting outside schools holding signs saying “segregation is God’s way.” Interracial marriage — while certainly existing in the Bible — was argued against vehemently on Biblical grounds. The timescale for reform appears to be 2-4k years.

    “Degrading society is irrelavant to me. I am more concerned with degrading the mind, body, and soul.”

    How, exactly, will allowing gay marriage degrade the mind? In what way will it alter the neurochemical pathways? Will it really lead to the degeneration of synapses? No.

    How will it degrade the body? Will it really result in anemia, diabetes, or parkinsons disease? Leprosy? No.

    The only thing it can degrade is what you believe to be a soul, something defined only in the abstract. I can’t understand why homo sapien sapiens have one, but homo sapien neanderthalis and other sentient mammals (such as whales) — that your g0d created millions of years before humans — do not possess souls. But assuming homo sapien sapiens truly are g0d’s special creation and they uniquely possess souls, you encounter a problem. You advocate not just encouraging them not to follow their gay inclinations. You advocate using government guns to prevent such activity. How is that different than sharia law, which according to some Muslims is also needed to prevent the degradation of mind, body, and soul? You advocate for a theocracy conforming to your particular beliefs. Such an institution would surely degrade minds and bodies as they utilize brute force.

  • Jonsi

    You don’t have to make it a religous argument. A penis was designed to go into a vagina. The purpose of sex is reproduction.

    Penis are designed differently for different species. There is some evidence that human penis’s are designed specifically to displace rival human’s semen during gang rape (eg, http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep021223.pdf). While that may have proven advantageous from a gene standpoint, it certainly is not consistent with a perfect and powerful designer who loves us. Actually, I take that back. It goes quite well with the Christian g0d, where women are often viewed as property and expected to submit. I suppose women should get on their knees and thank g0d he didn’t design our penis’s with barbs and hooks like some species.

  • Siamang

    You don’t have to make it a religous argument. A penis was designed to go into a vagina.

    So, we’re nothing more than physical beings, PaulD?

    I guess then, since meat is for eating, and people are made of meat, and our teeth are for tearing flesh, that you support cannibalism?

    The purpose of sex is reproduction.

    Then explain to me why we don’t have a baby every single time we have sex.

    Maybe for you and your wife it’s for reproduction (pity her), but for most people it’s “for” love, closeness, togetherness.

    Anal sex is unhealthy.

    Ah, and so by making sure people can’t get married this will magically stop them from having anal sex? How?

    I guess by this token you’re okay with lesbian marriage?

    Giving into your animal instincts is unhealthy.

    But, but, but, you said that we’re FORCED to do what the physical nature of our bodies is designed for. Now you’re saying it’s wrong to consider ourselves animals?

    Wouldn’t our “animal instincts” be to PROCREATE? It sounds to me like someone who says “Sex is for procreation” is giving more into their animal instincts than someone who says “sex is for expressing love.”

    Your inter-racial marriage analogy is irrelavant. You are still dealing with a penis and a vagina.

    I say, we’re still dealing with a person and a person. So it IS relevant.

    Or do you deny that gay people are persons?

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    You don’t have to make it a religious argument. A penis was designed to go into a vagina. The purpose of sex is reproduction. Anal sex is unhealthy. Giving into your animal instincts is unhealthy.

    Wrong. The penis wasn’t designed at all. Perhaps you meant “evolved” and that would be true. The penis has evolved to facilitate impregnation of a female by promoting more reproductive sperm reaching the fertile female egg. However we humans are social animals and don’t simply have sex to reproduce. We do it for enjoyment, we do it to form close bonds, usually with one exclusive partner, we do it to show the strength of these emotional bonds. Penetrative, vaginal intercourse is actually only one way of having sex. There are really a lot more and the vast majority of them are thoroughly and repeatably enjoyable.

    By your definition any infertile person would be barred from sex, that includes women and men over a certain age and anyone who was infertile from birth or through disease. Contraceptive use would bar couples from marrying. By your definition marriage is strictly for sex and reproduction and not for love or bonding or displays of affection at all. You must be aware that sex is not a requirement for marriage and that marriage is not a requirement for sex. Sex is simply one facet of many marriages, not the be all and end all of them. How shallow a life it would be if that were all there was to it.

  • Siamang

    Again, I ask PaulD…

    “What part of ‘we don’t follow your religion’ don’t you understand”?

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean SeanG

    PaulD, giving this only a biological view is just another way of ignoring the concept of love. Love goes beyond what is needed to continue as a species. Many philosophers and psychologists would argue that sex is not just for procreation. Humans are not the only animals who engage in sexual activities outside of procreation. And don’t assume that every couple who wants the legal status of marriage also has to have sex. It might be unlikely, but it is possible.

  • numsix

    Because if gay marriage is not legal gay people will stop being gay; and living together.

    I call Bull$h1t on that.
    Don’t want same sex marriage in your church; that is the church’s decision. Your beliefs telling others what they can and can’t do NO.

  • Beetle

    @ PaulD

    You say that you don’t have to make it a religious arguement — except the non-religious arguments against gay civil marriage fail even quicker than the “Christian” ones. We used to have anti-sodomy laws on the books too — even ones that were applicable to married couples. Or do you think we should go back to those bad old days? If it is only certain physical acts that trouble you so, do you support civil marriage for lesbians? If it is all about reproduction, are you against civil marriage for older couples?

    Please admit that you cannot make a coherent rational (non-old testiment) arguement against civil gay marriage. No one is asking you to like it.

  • Mimi

    PaulD:

    You seem to equate marriage with sex and sex with marriage. They aren’t the same thing; ask anyone in an unfulfilling, sexless marriage.
    From reading your argument, it is obvious to me that your problem is not really with gay marriage, but rather with gay sex. No, you’re right, gay sex is not going to produce children. But it is legal. Do you advocate making gay sex illegal? If not, then what’s it to you if people who have gay sex get married?

  • PaulD

    Jonsi,

    It did not take 2000 years to end slavery, slavery was non existant in Christian Europe until it was reinstitutionalized by Dutch tradesmen. Luther didn’t have to deal with that particular issue.

    I am not saying I don’t like gay marriage, or gays, but you have to call a spade a spade. It is an abomination. An unnatural act. That does not mean it is an unnatural desire. But all people have the desire to murder, steal, covet, overeat, etc. (animal instincts) It is how we act upon them. We do not fight to the death over a mate anymore. We have evolved. And we have evolved a sense of morality which comes as a direct result of the laws imprinted on the universe, by the creator. Not by Moses! I would love to have a conversation with maybe one of you at a time, and a civil one, because I am getting a lot of feed back and not enough time to answer and discuss with all of them, so I will do my best to speak my mind in a logical way that you approve of.

  • Siamang

    It is an abomination.

    … according to your religion, which we don’t follow.

    An unnatural act.

    Even if I grant that, which I actually don’t…. so what? Flying in an airplane is an unnatural act. Posting on the internet is an unnatural act.

    I love how you bounce back and forth saying it’s an animal instinct AND an unnatural act. Um…. which is it?

  • penguinsaur

    Paul is a bigot and hates homosexuals.

    People who want to take rights away from christians are bigots and hate christians.

    Lets see which of these he disagrees with.

    also you realize white churches fought interracial marriage EXACTLY like their fighting gay marriage now? You realize afew decades from now the anti-gay bigots will be quietly disowned and denounced as not ‘true christians’ exactly like the racists?

    Enjoy sharing a pew with the Church of the Aryan Nations paul.

  • PaulD

    The sexual drive is an animal instinct. Following it to an unhealthy existence leads to the unnatural act. Flying an airplan is not unnatural, we use the laws of nature to our advantage to manipulate devices as we see fit.

  • llewelly

    If a child was running after a ball into the street and you saw a car coming, what would be your response?

    Your presumption that gays are children playing a dangerous game is bigoted and grossly mistaken.

  • SarahH

    I would love to have a conversation with maybe one of you at a time, and a civil one, because I am getting a lot of feed back and not enough time to answer and discuss with all of them, so I will do my best to speak my mind in a logical way that you approve of.

    Join the forums. Lots of interesting discussions there.

    I am not saying I don’t like gay marriage, or gays, but you have to call a spade a spade. It is an abomination.

    So then, do you “like” gay marriage? You seem to be arguing against its legalization, but if we’ve just misunderstood you, here’s a chance to clear that up. Do you think it would be fair to legalize it despite your personal objections (the way premarital sex is legal)?

  • Troll

    Following it to an unhealthy existence leads to the unnatural act.

    and it’s unhealthy, how?

  • penguinsaur

    Following it to an unhealthy existence leads to the unnatural act.

    Name ONE way homosexuality is more unhealthy then being straight. “Jebus says so” and “Dey cant have kidz!” will not be accepted as i’m sure someone has explained to you before why those are dumb.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    But all people have the desire to murder, steal, covet, overeat, etc. (animal instincts)

    I don’t. I have no desire to kill anyone or steal from others. I may covet but I find desire to be a healthy trait in a competitive species like humanity. I don’t desire to over eat either. I know a few people who desire the exact opposite actually.

    I would love to have a conversation with maybe one of you at a time, and a civil one, because I am getting a lot of feed back and not enough time to answer and discuss with all of them, so I will do my best to speak my mind in a logical way that you approve of.

    Sarah has suggested the forums already. There are several theistically inclined commenters who might support your apparent viewpoint so you are not on such a strong defence. Some of them might not though. Your view may be inspired by religion but it is not held by all Christians.

  • David D.G.

    BRAVO, Hemant! This is one of your finest posts ever, and I think it states the situation perfectly.

    ~David D.G.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    I’d like to add just one small comment. There’s more than enough hate in the world, and prejudice, and division, and sorrow, and pain to go around.

    I have no idea why anyone at all — never mind Christians who are supposed to represent the love of God — would want to stop two adults who love each other from making a commitment to continue that love and to join together to form a family unit. It’s just counterintuitive and hypocritical and myopic.

    If there is a god (and I really don’t think there is), I can’t imagine that she would not fully support every kind of love that we human beings can find in our short lives.

  • PaulD

    I give up. I admit it, I’m a poe.

  • Siamang

    The sexual drive is an animal instinct. Following it to an unhealthy existence leads to the unnatural act.

    Wait…. I don’t get this. Is gay sex unnatural because it’s unhealthy? If so, is eating pork unnatural.

    Because if eating bacon is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

    Flying an airplan is not unnatural, we use the laws of nature to our advantage to manipulate devices as we see fit.

    Why can’t we use the laws of nature to our advantage to manipulate our sexual organs as we see fit?

    Oh right. The air belongs to us to do what we want with it. Our penisses belong to the church, so we have to ask them if we’re using them right.

    Is that it?

  • Josha

    Thanks for the great post Hemant!

  • Siamang

    PaulD Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I give up. I admit it, I’m a poe.

    Hrmph.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Hemant: Thank you. This is entirely made of win. This completely hits the nail on the head about what’s wrong with “love the sinner, hate the sin” — it is a bullshit definition of “love.” Well done.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Oh, and P.S.: If PaulD really is a Poe, then IMO, that’s almost more trollishly obnoxious than if he were sincere. A one-time parody to make a point is one thing; repeated, ongoing attempts to derail comment threads is another.

  • Zar

    Conservative Christians love gays the way Ike Turner loved Tina.

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  • Dallas

    Hemant, you really knocked it out of the park. Bravo!

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    I think I hate Poes more than trolls. Trolls are just dumb, but Poes are going out of their way to purposefully annoy you. Grumble.

    Though to kudos to everyone discussing penis evolution. I love all of you.

  • Troll

    Trolls are just dumb.

    Hey, I resent that.

  • Anne

    Hear, Hear. Very nicely done.
    Applause!!!!!

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Bravo. Well stated.

  • Brooks

    It is an abomination. An unnatural act. That does not mean it is an unnatural desire.

    If you admit homosexuality is a natural desire, and since the bible says God created us in his image, then does that mean God naturally desires homosexuality? And if penises are designed to go into vaginas, why didn’t Jesus put his penis in a vagina when he had one? Or why didn’t Paul put his penis in a vagina or any of the apostles at all? If penises are designed to go into vaginas and we’re made in the image of God, does that mean God has a penis that he likes to put into vaginas?

  • Siamang

    why didn’t Jesus put his penis in a vagina when he had one?

    Don’t go spoiling the new Dan Brown novel already.

    Brooks, you really would win the thread with this one, except PaulD admitted he was just trolling for laffs.

  • Jen

    Great job. Between this and the recent Slactivist post on Fred Phelps disproving the NOM ad, I am thrilled that we can start overcoming the bullshit arguments that the bigots keep using.

  • http://jspen.deviantart.com Joseph Spence

    I’m christian, but I do support your cause, may I ask if there is anything I can do to make stand, please.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    This is definitely one of your best posts which I have ever read.

    Insufferable, long-term Poes are incredibly vexing individuals, and their actions are supremely lame.

    Please get a life (and give us back the one we’ve got!)

  • Matt

    I can appreciate the viewpoint, but the arguments are simplistic, and are based on a caricatured (I won’t go as far as ‘bigoted’) understanding of Christianity. This is a common tool used when one wishes to make an argument without actually putting any effort into it, or to avoid recognizing the humanity of the target of the criticism (or both).

    Don’t get me wrong, though — I’m not defending the other side of the argument. Frankly I think all organized religions are, well, doltish.

    Humanity’s need to resort to bald-faced lies for answers to questions that can’t be answered, and then believe them so fervently that others who don’t believe must ___ (put punishment here… they’ve all been done at one time or other), is one of our greatest failures.

    But this post is not helpful — it’s just a sermon being delivered to the choir (yes, I did just compare the poster with a preacher).

    The ironic thing is that petitioning the government to recognize gay marriage isn’t the solution to any problem — it’s a repetition of the problem!

    Are we to believe that there are only three legitimate scenarios for marriage: man/woman, man/man, woman/woman? Even an entry-level anthropology course teaches that there have been, throughout history, many other ways of structuring familial unions.

    This entire debate has nothing to do with right or wrong — it’s simply one set of bigots fighting with another set of bigots about who gets to use the authoritarian cudgel that is government to force their will upon us all.

  • Saint Splattergut

    Hey now. I think the Poe made my day. So did Siamang and Hoverfrog. Damn, we need people like you when the crazy people start talking. Come to Singapore!!!

  • Lainie

    The ironic thing is that petitioning the government to recognize gay marriage isn’t the solution to any problem — it’s a repetition of the problem!

    Why would this be true? I don’t think that standing up for your lifestyle is a repetition of the problem. I don’t understand what you mean.

    Additionally, just because there are many ways to structure a family unit doesn’t mean that gay and lesbian couples should be prohibited from structuring their family units the way that they want to. Allowing homosexual individuals to get married does not condemn other lifestyles.

    Who cares if the definition of marriage changes? Things are going to change and there is no stopping them. The best that we can do is to listen to our peers with open ears and open hearts.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Astoundingly beautiful post!

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Writerdd makes a good point. If a god who is styled as being all loving exists then why would one form of mutual love be so vilified? This point is a clear indication that the biblical laws are man made and not divinely inspired. That or Fred Phelps is right. Not a comforting thought.

  • Brooks

    Are we to believe that there are only three legitimate scenarios for marriage: man/woman, man/man, woman/woman? Even an entry-level anthropology course teaches that there have been, throughout history, many other ways of structuring familial unions.

    So, what’s the other solution then? I love how you accuse Hemant of not having any solutions but don’t offer any solutions yourself. And of course to you he may seem to be “preaching” to the “choir.” This is an atheist posting at an atheist site. What do you expect? Huge sudden massive deconversions from Christians?

    This entire debate has nothing to do with right or wrong — it’s simply one set of bigots fighting with another set of bigots about who gets to use the authoritarian cudgel that is government to force their will upon us all.

    Ok, are you just now accusing Hemant of being a bigot? How was his post bigoted in any way? How is the side supporting equal rights bigoted for supporting equal rights? That’s like saying blacks were bigoted for supporting an end to inter-racial marriage. Is this another Poe here?

  • Erp

    Couple of things.

    1. Many Christians have no problems with marriage between two men or two women and are also working on getting their churches to perform and support such marriages.

    2. I suspect for some Christians the redefinition of marriage that matters the most is that the two partners are equal partners, not one (the wife) subordinate and the other (the husband) lord and master. Remember that the Bible often uses the metaphor of God as the husband and the church or the human soul or the people of Israel as the wife. What happens to that metaphor if the wife is considered equal to the husband? They could ignore to a degree this redefinition in society as long as the two partners were male and female; however, if both partners are the same sex, it destroys the subordinate/dominant definition and ruins the metaphor for them.

  • Brooks

    But then why aren’t these same Christians out to make it illegal for women to have jobs or for women to be the head of a household? I didn’t see fundies bashing Sarah Palin because she wasn’t following the metaphor of God by taking a leadership role in her family.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Actually I read one article that said they were OK with Palin having political power as long as she submitted to her husband within the family. In other words, it would be OK for her to run the country, but not to usurp her husband’s authority as big boss-man at home.

    That said, there are many conservative Christians (including evangelicals that border on fundamentalist) who have equal marriages, and even have husband and wife teams pastoring churches as equals. So while the idea of submission might be an issue for some of the most conservative groups, that’s not the main problem, from what I see.

    It’s all about the sex that is not between one man and one woman joining their souls together in some kind of magical unity that makes them become “one flesh” when they have intercourse. They are being superstitious about sex. It’s not just that they don’t like certain acts. They actually believe that sex has eternal supernatural & spiritual results.

  • Siamang

    So, what’s the other solution then? I love how you accuse Hemant of not having any solutions but don’t offer any solutions yourself.

    I’m not Matt, and I probably don’t have as strong libertarian views as I think Matt might (he can correct me if I’ve misread him).

    But for me, I think everyone should be able to declare a legal next of kin and legally binding family household with a mutually-consenting adult and gain all the benefits government currently extends to married partners.

    Here’s my test family: Ex-fiancee of a soldier killed in the Iraq war raising a child on her own. Mother of the soldier moves in. Both women raise the child together. Not gay. Not married. Not legally bound nor related by law. But still a family and a household.

    Government needs to get out of the business of declaring people “married” and get to the heart of things: making families secure stable entities easily able to buy a house, work and pay taxes and expenses as a single unit. It’s about stability, not morality.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    The solution is mind your own business and lead life the way you believe you should, but don’t try to force everyone else to live your way through legislation. As far as this goes, I think the Amish are the most admirable. You don’t see them trying to make laws against buttons or cars just because they don’t use them.

    This whole thing about Christians trying to force their values on everyone else through legislation is entirely unChristian. Christianity is worthless if it is not voluntary. If evangelicalism wants to use politics to coerce everyone else into living “righteously” then how is that any different than the Spanish Inquisition, etc, except in degree?

    Of course, many Christians keep saying that they don’t sin because they fear hell, so maybe for them legislation is the only way they can see to keep us heathen under control. That’s a fucked up view of life and morality if you ask me. I guess they can’t understand the concept of being “good for goodness sake” (which is quite ironic if you ask me).

  • Turrboenvy

    @Siamang:

    Great, now they’ll complain that we’re redefining “family.” Of course they’ll say the definition of family “has always been:” A father, a mother, and as many kids as possible.

  • Paul

    Its sort of funny regarding the question of mariage and the redefinition. Just so the namecallers can get their rocks ready I’m white straight and christian although not a regular attender, and in truth if as a WASP I am at the top of the social ladder every one else has a right to complain as my life is frequently difficult and if this is as good as it gets no wonder everyone else is pissed off.

    I recently had someone become very upset with me for raising the question of with Iowa’s redefinition of mariage and raising the question of poligamy. Apparently the gay individidual didn’t appreicate the comment being compared to people he considered filthy and degenerate /shrug sometimes open mindedness only applies to you and isn’t something you’d extend towards others.

    More just to stir the pot I find I also find I have some very different views on the Gay Lesbian and /salute to the brave transgenders who have the courage of thier convictions. From the I respect that fact that you are a woman and are attracted to women and that if you are a man and are attracted to men. You know who you are and what you want and I’m ok with that. I do however find my self less sympathetic to the women who like women and then seek to become men without having the courage to go all the way. I mean by that those who do thier very best to appear as men/women when they are not rightly or wrongly I judge those individuals as people who have not chosen to admire and desire those of the same sex but those who are so deeply unhappy with themselves that they wish they were different. While I’m sure to catch the flames for this from those who proclaim they are happy with who they are I ask the simple question if you are happy with who you are and the choices you make why do you seek so desperately to appear as other than you are.

  • Erp

    Note the women submissive, man leading has gotten stronger in some denominations. The Southern Baptists had one seminary fire a women in the Theology school because women shouldn’t be instructing adult men in theology (she was actually teaching Greek but that was considered close enough). The Southern Baptists have also been limiting the authority of women missionaries (they aren’t allowed to be senior pastors). This is perhaps because many of the moderates (such as Jimmy Carter) have been pushed out or left the Southern Baptists.

  • AxeGrrl

    writerdd said:

    I have no idea why anyone at all — never mind Christians who are supposed to represent the love of God — would want to stop two adults who love each other from making a commitment to continue that love and to join together to form a family unit. It’s just counterintuitive and hypocritical and myopic.

    It’s because they don’t care about love as much as they care about protecting their figurative ‘country club’ from being ‘diminished’ by letting ‘undesirables’ join.

    Sad.

    and as you said….’counterintuitive and hypocritical and myopic’.

  • Wayne R.

    My two favorite things: Insight & clarity. Thanks.

  • Joe

    How do you people know all Atheists support gay marriage? Why do Atheists spend so much time hating religion. Get a life you idiots!

  • Richard Wade

    Joe, thank you for your sincere and open-minded questions, for your thoughtful suggestion, and for your insightful, positive and encouraging epithet.

    I’m sure that we are as better off for your having visited us as everyone else in your life is for your gracious and generous input.

  • Sean

    Great article. I completely agree! :)

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