Illinois Family Institute Named Anti-Gay Hate Group by Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center makes very clear on their website that “viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”

What does qualify them for that designation?

Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.

And the Illinois Family Institute has made their list. SPLC even calls them more hateful than Focus on the Family:

That response, however, hardly indicated that the IFI was backing down on its hard-line position. This year, Focus on the Family — for years, the powerhouse of anti-gay religious organizations in America — moderated its position markedly after founder James Dobson retired and pastor Jim Daly took over. In April, Daly told an interviewer: “I will continue to defend traditional marriage, but I’m not going to demean human beings in the process. It’s not about being highly confrontational.” The response of Laurie Higgins, IFI’s belligerent director of school advocacy, was that Daly was showing “surprising naïveté,” using the same language as pro-gay “homosexualists,” and failing to confront “the pro-homosexual juggernaut.”

In 2009, Higgins compared homosexuality to Nazism, likening the German Evangelical Church’s weak response to fascism to the “American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.” Elsewhere, Higgins has pined for the days when gays were in the closet. “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice… . [W]hen homosexuals were ‘in the closet,’ (along with fornicators, polyamorists, cross-dressers, and ‘transexuals’), they weren’t acquiring and raising children.” She’s also said that McDonald’s, because it ran a gay-friendly TV ad, is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.”

Two things you may not read elsewhere:

1) The SPLC has put IFI on it’s “Hate Group” list before. This was primarily based on IFI’s support (and website mentions) of Paul Cameron, a psychologist who peddled junk science. After getting the “Hate Group” label, IFI removed the articles by Cameron… and SPLC took IFI off the list.

2) I hate to defend IFI at all, after everything they’ve done to me, but I do want to make one clarification to what the SPLC said about IFI that’s not very apparent above.

I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person.

Her views on homosexuality (and so many other things) are abhorrent and completely misguided, she doesn’t believe tolerance is a virtue, and she thinks there’s some sort of gay agenda beyond seeking equal rights.

She’s wrong. Very wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. But that’s about the extent of it. I don’t see her as a hateful person.

When my “spies” went to the AFTAH anti-gay training seminar a few months ago, they made note that Higgins was one of the few non-crazy speakers there — through no coercion of my own.

Now, does her organization deserve to be labeled a hate group? Yep.

The things they say about gay people are designed to make readers fear and loathe homosexuality as if there’s something wrong, immoral, or unnatural about it. Those qualities alone, though, would make damn near every evangelical church come under the “hate” designation, and I don’t think that’d be accurate either.

So why should IFI be singled out? One major reason is that they promoted that Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality “Truth Academy” I mentioned above. Laurie spoke there. Go to those links above and read about what she and the other speakers said.

(I’ll give you the short version: Lies, lies, and more lies.)

You want hate? There was plenty of it present there.

Laurie and IFI also can’t stand the thought of gay people getting married or children being taught that “Heather has two mommies.”

It’s paranoia for no good reason. And bad logic coupled with ridiculous analogies.

For example, look at this recent email IFI sent members about the “threat” of civil unions:

Homosexuals are correct in their assertion that the marriage of any particular homosexual couple is unlikely to affect the marriage of any particular heterosexual couple. But that’s a silly non-argument. If Bob and Jim were to marry, their marriage would not affect mine. If Bob were to marry his sister, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. If Bob were to marry five women, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. If Bob were to marry even five children of assorted genders, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. Does the absence of impact on my particular marriage in these cases provide justification for legalizing incestuous, polygamous, or pedophilic marriages?

The truth is that eventually the redefinition of marriage will affect the public’s conception of marriage, the public’s investment in marriage, children, public education, and the future health of America. Severing marriage from gender and marriage from procreation renders marriage irrelevant as a public institution.

In addition, there will be significant financial costs to taxpayers if civil unions or same-sex “marriages” are legalized.

So gay marriage = incest, polygamy, and pedophilia.

(Yeah, I know, I said Laurie wasn’t a hateful person, yet she’s the person who wrote the piece above. Again, she really doesn’t strike me as hateful in person. Just horribly misguided…)

I think what we ought to take from this is that there really are no valid arguments to challenge equal rights for gay people. in order to find some, you have to resort to lies (including the Bible). Gay people have every right to get married and fight in the military, and groups like IFI aren’t doing themselves any favors by constantly spouting the bullshit they do.

At least young people have good bullshit detectors. And they’re very suspect of any group that would fight against anti-bullying laws, condemn gay people, and go after super-hot brown blogging math teachers.

As I write this, IFI has yet to respond to the SPLC Hate Group label. I can’t wait to see how they defend themselves.

For the record, here’s the current SPLC Hate Group list, just a little big longer than before…:

1. Abiding Truth Ministries [Scott Lively]
2. American Family Association
3. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality [Peter LaBarbera]
4. American Vision
5. Chalcedon Foundation
6. Dove World Outreach Center [Terry Jones]
7. Faithful Word Baptist Church [Steven Anderson]
8. Family Research Council
9. Family Research Institute [Paul Cameron]
10. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
11. Illinois Family Institute
12. MassResistance
13. Traditional Values Coalition

(via Truth Wins Out)

  • http://irrco.org Ian

    Someone doesn’t have to be shouting and spitting bile in your face to be a hateful person. A smooth voice and a gentle demenor do not indicate a lack of hate.

    I have no doubt you had some human connection with Laurie when you met her, Hemant, but I don’t see how that is relevant. Every hate-filled tyrant through history has commanded their platform because of a certain amount of charisma.

    The myth of the demon is naive. Real hate wears no horns. Real hate sits in people like Laurie Higgins. And her personable nature is irrelevant.

  • http://extro1.wordpress.com Extro

    So long as she acts within the realms of the law she can say whatever she wants, no matter how incorrect or hateful. That being said intentions are no excuse and personality, as Ian points out, is irrelevant.
    The hate label on her and others like her also makes people like this out of excuses. Once someone points out that what she is doing is hate then she is either spreading it deliberately, incredibly stupid or mentally ill. In any of those cases putting her in a position of influence makes her dangerous.

  • Iggy

    Odd, I didn’t see WBC on your list.

  • GentleGiant

    I also have to say that “excusing” people like Laurie Higgins by saying that they are just horribly misguided doesn’t add up. No matter how they came to their view, it’s still hateful. They have the means to educate themselves, but apparently choose not to, thus it’s a choice and they have choosen hate.
    It’s also incredibly dangerous because people like her have a following and some of those followers go out and do physical harm to people (not “just” emotional and monetary harm by legislation).

  • Franco

    Hemant, sometimes I think you’re just too friendly an atheist. Higgins is in the business of selling hate. Nice people just don’t do that.

  • Rollingforest

    My definition of hate is when you believe negative things about a group without evidence which no objective person would believe. I’m sure that many people in Al Qaeda who would be caring loving people if they weren’t brainwashed by that extreme fundamentalist organization (I know I’ll get flak for saying that, but I truly believe it is the ideology, not the people, that is evil). They truly believe that Americans have turned their backs on God and embraced Satan, thus dooming themselves to being killed for their sins. In the minds of Al Qaeda, they are the good guys, standing up for God against the evil Satanist Americans. Similarly, IFI, though thankfully less violent, has the mentality that gays are mocking God by their lifestyles and that that makes them as bad as child molesters. Both Al Qaeda’s view and IFI’s view are full of holes and make no sense when you consider ideas of basic human decency. Thus you can say that the people support hate even if you can’t say that the people are inherently hateful.

    I think gay rights supporters need to do a better job at shooting down the comparisons between gay marriage and things like incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and polygamy. Incest should be banned because it increases the chance of genetic deformities in the child. Pedophilia and bestiality should be banned because they are non-consensual since children and animals don’t really have the mental capacity to fully consent. The problem with polygamy isn’t the practice itself, but rather the extreme fundamentalism that almost always goes with it ( allowing the prophet to control everything in your life, loss of women’s rights, ect). We need to focus on fighting the extreme fundamentalism in this case. It should be noted that gay marriage has NONE of these problems. Thus the comparisons are invalid.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    I agree with Comment#24 from the original article on Truth Wins Out:

    The more liberally the SPLC applies the “hate group” label, the less impact it will have. While I think that AFA and FRC are truly horrible organizations that harm gay people, it is ridiculous to lump them in with groups such as the KKK or the Aryan Nation.

    If AFA and FRC constitute hate groups b/c they support sodomy laws and have stereotypical ideas about gays, it is hard to see how SPLC can avoid “designating” a whole bunch of other groups, along with about a quarter to a third of the US population.

    It is already unclear why SPLC thinks it has any authority to make these designations. When they start applying them to non-violent public policy organizations that regularly host GOP Presidential candidates, it is a certainty that a lot of people will cease to care what SPLC has to say about anything.

    A “hate group” should be one that uses or advocates violence or unlawful means. Since the designation is intended to place the group beyond the pale, it should be used rarely. Non-violent advocacy of public policies – however repugnant and discriminatory – should not be enough.

    Comment by Steven — November 23, 2010 @ 3:29 am

    To me this is a classic case of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
    Why create hysteria where none is needed? Labeling idiots as “hate groups” merely serves to dilute the message and more importantly makes it difficult to take the accusers seriously when they label a REAL hate group as such. It betrays a crippling inability to discern difference of kind, not to mention degree.
    It can be effectively argued that most -if not all- of the groups on this list of “hate groups” create or contribute to the creation of a hostile political and cultural environment and that their actions are inspired or driven by hatred. However, the elements of violence or unlawful activity are entirely missing from the equation.
    I suggest we limit the label “hate group” to those entities which carry out, advocate or support so-called “hate crimes”.
    When the left begins to approach issues like this with foresight and moderation, it will become much easier to take them seriously. Until then…

  • Jeff

    When my “spies” went to the AFTAH anti-gay training seminar a few months ago, they made note that Higgins was one of the few non-crazy speakers there

    Sometimes psychotic people can effect a surprising facade of normalcy.

    I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person… She’s wrong. Very wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. But that’s about the extent of it. I don’t see her as a hateful person.

    Hemant, she believes we’re going to hell. In my book, that’s the very definition of hatefulness.

  • http://www.youtube.com/aajoeyjo Joe Zamecki

    Someone needs to remind these conservative anti-gay groups that they share their philosophy with the Westboro Baptist Church. They may not picket, and they sure don’t picket at funerals, but that’s about the only real difference between them and that VERY unpopular church.

    Plus they need to be asked the obvious: What about gays who turn out to be conservative Christians who have been speaking out against gay rights? Do they get a pass?

    Then the one that REALLY stands out in my mind: If they’re working against gay rights, they themselves might very well be gay. Did someone ask the IFI if they’re secretely gay? Cause it’s beginning to look like it.

  • badkungfu

    So gay marriage = incest, polygamy, and pedophilia.

    I actually think that’s a mischaracterization of the letter you quoted. She’s not saying that those things are equivalent (not here, at least), she’s saying a simplistic argument that “gay marriage won’t hurt your straight marriage” misses the point and could be equally applied to other circumstances. She then goes on to say that changing defining “marriage” to include gay people will “will affect the public’s conception of marriage”. She may not be entirely wrong there, although there are other factors at work as well.

    Now, what she does miss is that the argument really isn’t a simple as “it won’t hurt your particular marriage for gay people to marry”. That argument is largely a straw man. It’s about equal protection under the law. It’s about laws based on evidence and reason rather than ignorance, fear, and scripture. She certainly isn’t willing to look at the relative good health of marriage in states like Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is legal.

    This doesn’t really affect my opinion that they deserve the ‘hate group’ label for spreading fear based on mistruths, but I do think we should be careful with our rhetoric.

    Edit: Looking at comments added while I was typing, I have to say that The Godless Monster has a good point, and I’d rather see the “Hate Group” designation reserved for groups that advocate violence.

  • Tim

    Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical should definitely qualify an organization as a hate group. We shouldn’t be pulling punches here; we don’t have to be tolerant of intolerance.

  • http://idleeyesandadormy.blogspot.com/ Sean

    I have to agree with the majority here: a polite bigot spouting hateful ideologies is still hateful. My response when people try to defend such people is always “I bet Hitler was kind to somebody once, too.” Hate is not just about violence, and is often more dangerous when it’s seeped in slowly with gentle words rather than screamed and shouted with bats and rakes. Many people will react negatively to watching someone beat someone else for being gay (although not all, unfortunately) but will sit quietly and listen, perhaps even contemplatively, while someone describes how gays will destroy America, hurt children, disrupt marriage and poison our society. Have someone tell you you’re going to hell and that your a pedophile and pervert and an agent of Satan on your wedding day, then tell me how that’s not hate because the words were delivered by a kind person with a nice face. Sorry, my friend, but she doesn’t get a pass in my book if she continues to spread these messages.

  • Jeff

    @Time: Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical should definitely qualify an organization as a hate group. We shouldn’t be pulling punches here; we don’t have to be tolerant of intolerance.

    To be fair, it is unbiblical. I’d say that seeking to restrict a group’s civil rights based upon Biblical pronouncements should qualify it as a hate group.

  • Phoebe

    Higgins is definitely hateful towards homosexuals. No doubt about that.

    I disagree with “godless monster”. The IFI IS a hate group, just like the KKK.

    My great uncle was a Grand Dragon in the KKK. They preached hate, handed out flyers, held parades, burned crosses on their own property, but never once committed any violence.

    The “elements of violence or unlawful activity” were “entirely missing from the equation” the entire time (decades) that I knew what the KKK was up to due to my great uncle being the grand dragon, yet would anyone deny it is a hate group? No.

    The leaders of the KKK don’t go around murdering black people, they preach hate. They try to get people to think it’s right and proper to hate blacks, then people think they are justified in bullying or doing violence to black people. The IFI is no different. No different at all except in who they try to teach people to hate.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Misguided? Hemant, with all due respect, frankly I do not care what your impression of her was when you met her. She runs a hateful organization. Many people are civil when you meet them in person.

    You have to judge a person by his or her deeds. Laurie Higgins obviously hates gays and lesbians. She runs an organization dedicated to advocating against their equal rights. This is unacceptable. I know you know that, but I don’t understand why you have to let her off the hook

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    Some folks seem to have trouble discerning between a group that is hateful and what is a hate group. Maybe not all of you who have commented up to this point are Americans, in which case I can chalk it some of it up to cultural differences.
    Nobody can seriously argue that the groups in question are not hateful, I am merely asserting that in the parlance of the day -based on past, established common and legal usage- the term “hate group” is associated with groups like the Klan.
    Yes, I agree these groups and the individuals that make them up are despicable and hateful, but according to common usage, would not have qualified as “hate groups” in the past. If we are going to be moving the goalposts constantly and redefining the enemy according to the latest whim, it does very little to establish our side as serious. Leave the whining and hand-wringing emotion out of it, and we can deal with these scumbags more effectively.
    Also, anyone who asserts that homosexuality is not in conflict with the Bible is in serious error. Read the book. It’s a guidebook for homophobes, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, slavers, etc.
    @ Phoebe…personal anecdotes do not make for a valid argument. I am also personally familiar with the activities of right-wing groups. I am also aware of their history. In addition, they were a part of my professional study curriculum in my past career. It’s silly and dangerous to make no distinction between groups like the IFI and the Klan. As to the assertion that your great uncle never committed a crime…wanna bet? You can only assert that he was never charged or convicted of a crime…no more, no less. Stick to facts and your argument will carry further.

  • Alex

    Maybe it’s just the Chicago in me, but in order for the IFI to make money, they need to pick on a minority group which happens to be vilified by their book of authority.

  • Janice in Toronto

    I really believe you need to rethink your definition of what a hateful person is.

    Hate is hate is hate, no matter how nicely it’s delivered.

    Really, I’m disappointed in you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Laurie Higgins not hateful? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ll join the chorus. Sometimes hate is spoken in a velvet voice.

    Her disingenuous nature is revealed in the letter from her you blockquoted at that link above. If it was never her intent to get you fired, then why exactly did she e-mail your administrators and school board? It wasn’t to nominate you for teacher of the year.

    Keep in mind that neither Hitler nor Charles Manson is known to have personally killed anyone. They were content to get others to do so. If you think, Ms. Higgins is naive enough to fail to consider that her words might incite others to violence, given the history of gays in this country, you are dead wrong. She knows full well that it could. She just doesn’t give a damn. As long as she doesn’t personally have to soil her hands. That’s for the thugs to do. And she relies on the thugs. She hopes to recruit them to her side.

    Godless Monster does have a point, however. Not sure where the goalposts should be set, however. But if so many organizations that never take physical action are on the list, it’s going to lose its effectiveness. To include anyone who ever said anything hateful kind of smacks of repressing free speech rights too.

    And, really, how seriously can they be taken when speakers who don’t directly call for violence are on the list and the Westoro Baptist Church isn’t? They may not rise to violence (though I wouldn’t be at all surprise if they resort to it if they haven’t already and just haven’t been caught) but they are, at best, disruptive and certainly rise to harrassment. There’s no other word for it when you target and disrupt funerals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Oh, and Phoebe, I’ll second Godless Monster. Whether or not your great uncle actually resorted to violence or law breaking (I too am skeptical that he’s squeaky clean just because he hasn’t been caught) doesn’t clear an organization that certainly has and doesn’t exactly advocate peace and tolerance now. What the hell do you think it means when they burn a cross on private property? Do you think they’re calling for nonviolence against those they hate or that it’s a symbol for something quite different than that?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @muggle,

    “To include anyone who ever said anything hateful kind of smacks of repressing free speech rights too.”

    Ah, I’m glad to see someone mention this fact. We may be correct in our opinions about gay rights, but we do not have the right to not be offended. Officially and publicly labeling a group as a hate group can certainly be viewed as a first step towards silencing that group. Labels, like many words, can be powerful instruments and dangerous weapons. Let’s not abuse them merely because the other side sees fit to do so.
    Better to teach the next generation how to think logically and compassionately than violate the rights of a few in the current generation. Once lost, they may be impossible to regain.

  • Kyle

    I’ve met enough people to know that they don’t have to be obvious about it to be hateful. I can’t say that I’ve met Higgins before, but I’m going to assume that the reason she’s not screaming at the top of her lungs with spit flinging from her lips is because she’s secure in her “knowledge” of homosexuality. I hate to only invoke fictional characters, but she’s sounds like (still haven’t actually met her) Nurse Ratchet or Professor Umbridge. She’s able to blindside you by being as non-threatening as possible at first glance.

    Someone already mentioned it, but where’s the Westboro Baptist Church? Is it because they don’t have to put them on this list for people to want to smack them? The only time they’re mentioned in the SPL Center article is in the exerpt for the Dove Outreach Center. So I don’t think it just slipped their mind.

    I do hope this mentality, with the help of the internet, is brought down a few more thousand pegs before I have kids. I don’t want them growing up having to fight against a brick wall of ignorance.

  • MamaGump

    “I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person. ”

    Hateful is as hateful does, Forrest

    — Mama

  • Stephen P

    @Tim:

    Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical should definitely qualify an organization as a hate group.

    Working on Saturdays is unbiblical (before sunset, that is). Indeed allowing people who work on Saturdays to live is unbiblical: the bible says quite clearly and repeatedly that such people should be put to death. Am I being hateful for pointing this out?

    If I were to propose that people actually follow the biblical commandments, however, then yes: that ought to get me arrested.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    I agree with Godless Monster that the SPLC looses credibility with calling these right-leaning social advocacy groups “Hate groups”. These groups see themselves as being God’s hands and feet in doing God’s work. They see themselves as trying to work within the political system to pass laws that will please God and hopefully enable more people to make it to heaven. They see themselves as loving and caring and view anyone that opposes them as working against God.

    What we really need is for the evangelicals to go back to being content with trying to spread what they view as God’s message but disengage from the political process. In a free society, they can believe whatever they want and interpret their holy book however they like. We just need to convince them to be satisfied with their envisioned eternal afterlife and not to meddle so much in everybody else’s life in the here and now.

    Since they view everybody’s earthly existence as a “test” for admission to heaven, we need to convince them that conscribing behavior by force of law prevents the “test” from having its intended purpose. The “test” only has meaning in a truly free society. For example, they should politically support making marriage between same-sex couples legal. Then God can better evaluate whether people pass the “test”. They should support abortion being legal so God can better evaluate the “test”. They should support making all offices and clubs available to atheists so God can better evaluate the “test”. The list goes on.

  • cat

    @Goddless Monster, no, it does not violate free speech. SPLC has the right to say what it likes about these groups. The anti-queer groups can cry all of the crocodile tears they want about it, SPLC has the right to express its opinions as well. SPLC is a private organization, not a governmental law making body. It is also worth noting that the SPLC has a long, long history of battling the Klan. The first president of SPLC was Julian Bond, formerly of SNCC. Tracking and legally battling white supremecists groups is one of its central activites. This group has been directly threatened with murder and bombings by the Klan. If anyone knows how nasty the Klan and neo-nazis are, it is these people. You might disagree with how the SPLC designates hate groups (I do not), but to claim it is minimizing Klan violence is flat out absurd.

    @Phoebe, I have personally dealt with the Klan and with neo-nazis before, and I have found what you said to be very true. Those at the top do not personally commit crimes, they have a sort of outer circle of thugs who do that. Anti-queer and anti-choice violent groups operate similarly, they teach hate and elimination of the target group, but they maintain a careful illusion of distance from their footsoldiers.

    @Hemant, I wanted to join in on saying that someone who hates queer people and dedicates their life to stripping us of rights and destroying our lives is hateful.

  • Jagyr

    Seeing Paul Cameron’s name in this context was a bit of a shock, as I’d never heard of him, and I happen to know a Paul Cameron who is a very nice gay man who works with solar hot water heaters.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    they’re hate groups alright. mostly: self-haters in the Closet. i don’t really worry about most of them, tho. not like i do the Klan or other neo-Nazi groups with a commitment to physical violence. did you see any videos from the NOM tour this summer? the one where they went on a bus and stopped in big cities rallying to “save marriage” from us homos? heh. if there were 25 supporters at any of them, you really couldn’t tell. after a few counter-protesters starting putting up the videos of the pathetically low turnout, the NOM people started getting the cops to make the pro-equality people to stand so far away that taking the videos was hard.

    cowards, wimps and closet cases: that’s what these groups are. i love the SPLC, but i almost think they’re wasting their time with these con artists. that list will be a lot shorter, in about 15 years or so, when the last of the fundie bluehairs who give them money dies off and they can’t find younger suckers willing to pay them.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @cat,
    I hate few things more than when someone quotes me incorrectly or misrepresents what I said or wrote. Are you familiar with the term “straw man argument”? That is precisely what you did to me with your opening salvo.
    I neither stated nor implied one thing you assert I did. You are either lying, insane or completely misunderstood my meaning. I’ll optimistically assume it’s the latter.
    As far as your history lesson, most educated grown-ups are aware of the SPLC’s history, make-up and (initial)focus.
    Keep in mind that all organizations need to justify their existence or they go the way of the dodo and passenger pigeon. There is no better way to ensure your survival than to expand your focus and generalize.
    That’s exactly what’s happened with the SPLC. As right-wing extremist groups started to lose membership and became more and more marginalized, the SPLC needed to turn their attention to other groups. Of course, humans being what they are, the pendulum has swung back the other way again…

  • Secular Stu

    I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person.

    What is a hateful person?

    When you look at pictures of lynchings in the old South, you don’t see people yelling and screaming. It’s a carnival atmosphere. You see smiling faces. They brought their kids. They even took photographs and turned them into postcards.

    You don’t see them red-faced and screaming, and mere displays of anger, or use of violence, is what makes a person “hateful”. Otherwise various injustices would not have been considered “hateful”. Separate drinking fountains, sitting at the back of a bus, and in a striking parallel – restrictions on marriage rights.

    These kinds of actions exemplify what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil“:

    It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

  • Robert W.

    Godless monster,

    Officially and publicly labeling a group as a hate group can certainly be viewed as a first step towards silencing that group.

    We don’t agree on much, but I certainly agree with that comment. The next step would be to call it a hate crime and punish it.

    Joe,

    Someone needs to remind these conservative anti-gay groups that they share their philosophy with the Westboro Baptist Church. They may not picket, and they sure don’t picket at funerals, but that’s about the only real difference between them and that VERY unpopular church.

    Since when does behavior not come into play?

    It is so easy to throw around the hate group badge. Like throwing out the bigot badge.

    I could do it too and say all of those who believe that homosexual behavior is ok are hate groups and bigots because they feel animosity and hostility towards those who feel differently then them. Particularly if we are just talking about philosophy justifying that label.

    And the disclaimer on the SPLC website doesn’t cure this issue. If you disagree with what they think is scientific authority and your are vocal, even by just calling people names, you are now a hate group. So I guess when the gay rights movement calls people of faith bigots repeatedly they should be classified as a hate group.

    I truly appreciate the history of the SPLC and what they have done as well as their bravery , but this looks like nothing more then pandering.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Laurie must be proud. I wonder where she will place her trophy? I have a suggestion, but it’s not pretty.

  • Samiimas

    We don’t agree on much, but I certainly agree with that comment. The next step would be to call it a hate crime and punish it.

    Except that a hate crime requires, you know, a crime. Blacks have been on the hate crime laws for decades, you can still hate black people and say literally whatever you want about them, here’s an example:

    Use some fried chicken and malt liquor to lure the darkies onto a giant boat, tell them they’re going back to Africa, then nuke the boat halfway there!

    ^Racist, offensive, ignorant, hateful and completely 100% legal to say whether it’s said to a friend, written online or aired on television. You can say the most disgusting, racist things you can possibly think of and their will be absolutely no legal repercussions. You’ll be shunned and ridiculed by society, but they have the 1st amendment right to do so.

    The only time a racist organization can be charged with any kind of crime is if one of them actually commits a crime obviously motivated by hate. The KKK and neo-nazis are allowed to march to their hearts content as long as they don’t break the law and the hate groups you support have exactly the same rights. Of course it’s obvious you already knew that no anti-gay group could ever be charged with a hate crime unless they actually started breaking the law but you chose to lie about it.

  • Heidi

    I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person.

    Oh, Hemant. *shaking my head sadly* May the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless your hopelessly naive little heart.

  • http://www.youtube.com/aajoeyjo Joe Zamecki

    When these anti-gay activists speak at their own conventions, they probably tone down their own rhetoric a bit, just because of the parade of the same attitude happening at that convention.

    So when a diehard trooper for their cause seems like the meek and friendly one during their convention, don’t assume it’s their real feelings showing. Fire and brimstone talk at their own convention is just preaching to the choir. But a lot of activists don’t want to pour it on too thick in one day. Few of them want to be thought of as the hottest firebrand there. This does not eliminate the negative work they do.

  • Richard Wade

    You are what you do. You are what you do. You are what you do. You are what you do.

    Not what you say you are.
    Not how you present your demeanor.
    Not the softness of your voice.
    Not the expression on your face.

    What does Laurie Higgens do? She constantly, consistently, with great energy and dedication promotes hate and fear of people who mean her no harm. She spreads lies, and is unwilling to admit that they are lies, despite powerful evidence that they are lies. She takes advantage of people’s ignorance, childish naivete, and predilection to hating and fearing anything they’re told to hate and fear by authority figures, all to further her own selfish ends.

    She does the work of hate, so what she is is hateful. You are what you do. Making nice faces and pleasant tones over coffee is irrelevant.

    She reminds me of Dolores Umbridge, the sadistic character in the Harry Potter novels whose manners and deportment become sweeter the more viciously she torments someone.

  • Jeff

    She reminds me of Dolores Umbridge, the sadistic character in the Harry Potter novels whose manners and deportment become sweeter the more viciously she torments someone.

    Yes. Very good.

  • Lauren

    Laurie must be proud. I wonder where she will place her trophy? I have a suggestion, but it’s not pretty.

    Lol, that’s great. It sort of goes along with what I was going to say.

    It’s not nice, but we’re all thinking it.

    She’s a total twat.

    Which is perhaps the place or nearby region of which she can place her trophy.

  • Secular Stu

    I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person.

    I still cannot understand how you can reconcile a statement like that with comments Laurie Higgins has made like these:

    “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice.”

    First, volitional homosexual behavior is deviant, immoral behavior regardless of its etiology. (in a piece arguing that you should not vote for gay political candidates)

    Once again, Barack Obama has affirmed his commitment to radical, subversive change; his sycophancy to the homosexual lobby; and, implicitly, his embrace of heresy. … Those who experience, for example, selfish, vain, greedy, gluttonous, deceitful, promiscuous, incestuous, sadistic, pederastic, gossipy, philandering, or polyamorous impulses and engage in behaviors impelled by such impulses have also contributed to society.

    What is alarming about the account of the German Evangelical Church’s reprehensible failure [in combating Hitler] is its similarity to the ongoing disheartening story of the contemporary American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.

    (All quotes can be found looking through these posts.)

    What the hell does a person have to say to be considered “hateful”, then?

  • cat

    @Godless Monster, did you get amnesia about your comment at 9:31 am? You are confusing freedom of speech with freedom from criticism. “Better to teach the next generation how to think logically and compassionately than violate the rights of a few in the current generation.” SPLC has in no way violated these group’s rights or their freedom of speech. Whining about how any criticism is ‘silencing’ is not actually talking about free speech or rights, it is supposing some sort of right not to be criticized. Also, I mentioned SPLC’s anti-Klan work, becuase you are whining about how their system reflects seriousness of Klan violence, but this is something which this group knows far better than you. “As right-wing extremist groups started to lose membership and became more and more marginalized…” Are we living in the same country? White nationalism is experiencing a resurgence, not a decrease.

  • http://extro1.wordpress.com Extro

    Even if the ‘hate” group label is a matter of definition labeling a group or person as such, unless it is flatly wrong, helps bring about awareness of a problem. so long as this awareness does not bring about more hate this is a good thing, especially if such person or group is in a position of influence and/or power. Those of you nitpicking the language seem to be missing this point.

  • kat

    I have to disagree with Godless Monster on this, I think most of these groups are clearly hate groups and ought to be labeled as such.

    Advocates from these groups HAVE called for some pretty disgusting violence against LGBTers, helping to create the atmosphere in Uganda that laid the grounds for their “Kill-the-gays” bill & actually defending the bill back in the US. Some of them have even openly called for the death penalty to be applied for homosexual acts here at home, for example, “American Vision”:

    DeMar has modified that dictum slightly in the past, saying that homosexuals wouldn’t all be executed under a “reconstructed” government, but that he did believe that the occasional execution of “sodomites” would serve society well because “the law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectively drives the perversion of homosexuality underground, back into the closet.” More recently, while hosting American Vision’s “The Gary DeMar Show” in December 2009, Joel McDurmon, the group’s research director, agreed that the Bible does call for killing homosexuals. And, he said, “when most of a society is Christian, is biblical, then it [execution of gays] is perfectly normal; it should definitely be in place.”

    They also have a pattern of regularly fighting anti-discrimination laws, hate crimes legislation, and anti-bullying programs and statutes (implicitly seeking to legitimatize an environment where LGBT persons are in physical danger).

    If they said the same thing about Jewish folk as they did about LGBT persons there would be no doubt that they are “hate groups” (hell, a number of them are both anti-gay and holocaust revisionists, claiming that gays ran the Nazi party and that homosexuals were never persecuted under Hitler’s regime). Anti-gay groups may not, like some of their white supremacist counterparts, exist to demand violence against their targets, but they sure do demand intimidation, shaming, and action to take away full rights from LGBT people. As the SPLC says these groups deliberately spread vicious lies about the LGBT community in order to influence public opinion (including commissioning sham scientific studies): about the pathology of same-sex attraction or being transgendered, about relationships to children, about AIDS and other STDs, about the causes of being gay or transgendered, etc.

    These groups want to marginalize LGBT people and maintain their status as 2nd-class citizens. The fact that these groups largely do not operate through calling for violence does not change the fact that they are waging a campaign to intimidate queer persons into shame and silence, through channels that sometimes call for the removal of basic human rights (not even marriage, but right to find work, to have custody of a biological child, to free association, etc.).

    These groups aren’t included on the list merely because they’ve said something hateful once before or even necessarily because they support anti-gay legislation, it is because they have a clear and persistent pattern of releasing untrue and extremely inflammatory propaganda against the LGBT community for the sole purpose of demonizing them. To me this clearly constitutes a “hate group”: they are a group that exists to spread animus and discrimination against some target population of people.

  • Jason

    Gotta disagree, Hemant. Non-hateful people simply do not make those kinds of claims and promote this kind of garbage.

  • Rooster

    I guess a lot depends on what you mean by the word “hateful.” What does it mean to be hateful? Just because you think someone is going to hell, does that mean that you are hateful? Many people think that Hitler is going to hell, but the average Joe would not say that they are being hateful for thinking Hitler is going to hell. Catholics used to believe that only Catholics could make it into heaven. Does that mean that all Catholics hate non-Catholics because the Catholics thought the non-Catholics were going to hell? If someone is hateful just because he thinks someone else is going to hell, then there have been a lot of hateful people in this world. Just because someone thinks that I am going to hell does not mean that they are a hateful person. It could be that they are just plain wrong. Isn’t everyone entitled to their own opinion?

    As far as hate goes, is it only those that are against gay marriage that are hateful or are those that are for gay marriage hateful too (hating those who are in opposition to them)? Why did the signers of a petition to repeal Washington State’s civil unions law want their names protected? This case went all the way to the Supreme Court and was settled in June of this year. It seems to me that the signers of this petition feared that there would be retaliation against them for their signing this petition. People do not usually take something all the way to the Supreme Court without having a just cause, though this may happen, it is not typical. People associated with Proposition 8 in California claim that they were harassed by homosexual activists. Are the claims of the supporters of Proposition 8 unwarranted or are the homosexual activists hating the anti-homosexual activists?

    Although this may not be the case with all anti-homosexual activists, I would think that most of them would say that they hate the homosexual action and not the person. Such as one can hate someone’s actions without hating them. Joe can hate that I stole his wallet without hating me, though it may be difficult.

  • Osperus

    If you knowingly weave hate into society, then you are a hateful person. Hate is grown by acceptance of hate. Generally, if you scream, no one wants to be around you. But talk calmly, twisting the facts to as you see fit while being ‘logical’ and people will follow. Sweet words can still be used to harm.

  • AxeGrrl

    badkungfu wrote:

    what she does miss is that the argument really isn’t a simple as “it won’t hurt your particular marriage for gay people to marry”. That argument is largely a straw man

    I’m sorry, but it’s absolutely NOT a straw man. One of the endlessly repeated vacuous ‘arguments’ from the anti-same-sex-marriage side is that it would undermine traditional marriage, that it is an ‘attack’ on traditional marriage.

    That’s the ONLY reason that the phrase “it won’t affect my marriage” has been uttered at all ~ in response to the above nonsense.

    Sorry, there’s no strawman there.

  • AxeGrrl

    Phoebe wrote:

    The leaders of the KKK don’t go around murdering black people, they preach hate. They try to get people to think it’s right and proper to hate blacks, then people think they are justified in bullying or doing violence to black people. The IFI is no different. No different at all except in who they try to teach people to hate.

    Nail. Head.

  • AxeGrrl

    kat wrote:

    If they said the same thing about Jewish folk as they did about LGBT persons there would be no doubt that they are “hate groups”

    Exactly.

    What does that tell us? That disparaging/demonizing/discriminating against homosexual people isn’t taken as seriously as the same egregious behaviour directed towards other minority groups…..

    And a significant reason for this is the cry of ‘but my religion says its wrong’ tripe. So frigging what? If I adhered to a religion that dictated that Christians are the devil’s minions here on earth and we’re ‘commanded’ to speak out to that effect, do you think the general reaction would be quite as ‘meh’? I don’t think so.

  • Jeff

    @Rooster: I guess a lot depends on what you mean by the word “hateful.” What does it mean to be hateful? Just because you think someone is going to hell, does that mean that you are hateful?

    Yes.

    Many people think that Hitler is going to hell, but the average Joe would not say that they are being hateful for thinking Hitler is going to hell.

    Irrelevant.

    If someone is hateful just because he thinks someone else is going to hell, then there have been a lot of hateful people in this world.

    That’s correct.

    Just because someone thinks that I am going to hell does not mean that they are a hateful person.

    And that is incorrect.

    Isn’t everyone entitled to their own opinion?

    No.

  • German atheist

    In my opinion some commenters are overstretching the term hate a little bit. In most of the stated examples or comparisons the term “hate” is applied on people who are just uneducated or plain stupid. The “you are going to hell” phrase for example. If someone is willfully applying this term on someone, it may be hate or the ohter option: plain stupidity as this phrase is what they’ve been told in their indoctrination. They are victims of their own mental immaturity as they only repeat what others told them or they just don’t know any better. That stated i want to say Laurie may not be a hatefull person but at least a dumb one

  • Claudia

    She’s wrong. Very wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. But that’s about the extent of it. I don’t see her as a hateful person.

    This is, to a certain extent, irrelevant. One psychologist once did a study on failed suicide bombers and noted that they were generally speaking, nice kids. They truly, in their heart of hearts, believed that what they were doing was virtuous. Their very core concept of right and wrong had been twisted by religious ideology. I think it’s absolutely essential that we look at the actual motivations of people we oppose because it helps us counter them more effectively, but this is merely a matter of strategy, not principle.

    Just in case, I should note that the suicide bomber thing is a mere analogy. I am in no way trying to make Laurie Higgins out to be equivalent to a suicide bomber. They belong in different moral universes.

    So gay marriage = incest, polygamy, and pedophilia.

    I think this is a missrepresentation or at the very least missinterpretation of her argument. In fact, the argument itself is quite sound. The mere fact that a certain kind of marriage does not affect your marriage does not itself constitute a good reason to make it legal. The problem is that here the IFI is arguing against a straw-man. No one is saying that the fact that other marriages are unaffected is a good reason to legalize gay marriage. Those of us on the pro-equality side are merely countering the anti-equality argument that heterosexual marriages are harmed by same-sex marriages. It’s false that they don’t argue that. When pressed, they’ll admit that individual marriages won’t be affected, and then go all esoteric (as at the end of the quote) about how the larger “institution of marriage” will be harmed. They have, to date, provided absolutely no substantial evidence of this.

  • Rooster

    Maybe I’m just naïve, but why does thinking that someone is going to hell make them a “hateful” person? So, let me get this straight. If I want to be a “loving” person rather than “hateful” person, I must believe that no one is going to hell. This seems to be more of a matter of belief than of hate. Jesus spoke about hell, so would you say that Jesus was a hateful person?

    The Bible has a long list of people who are going to hell (1 Cor 6:9-10). It says that the fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers are going to hell. It seems that the homosexuals seem to be more bent out of shape than any of the other groups mentioned. Why is that?

    I do not understand why everyone is not entitled to their own opinion. It seems to me like this is viewpoint discrimination. Who gets to decide which opinions are permitted and which opinions are outlawed and what standard is used to determine which opinions are acceptable?

    Jeff, you say that I am incorrect in my belief that “Just because someone thinks that I am going to hell does not mean that they are a hateful person.” How can I know that you are not being “hateful” in telling me that I am just plain wrong? It seems to me that as soon as the anti-homosexual crowd says anything negative about homosexuality, then they are labeled as being “hateful.”

    Is it “hateful” to say anything that contradicts the view of another? It appears that this is where we are headed and it is not beneficial to anyone. Obviously everyone’s point of view cannot be right because many people’s point of view contradicts that held by others. We can also learn how to better articulate our point of view from those who contradict us, so not giving everyone an opinion could turn out to hurt us.

  • Samiimas

    Many people think that Hitler is going to hell, but the average Joe would not say that they are being hateful for thinking Hitler is going to hell.

    They wouldn’t describe it as ‘hateful’, but if you were to ask someone “do you hate Hitler?” every single non-nazi would answer “Yeah I hate him.”

    It seems to me that as soon as the anti-homosexual crowd says anything negative about homosexuality, then they are labeled as being “hateful.”

    “Why do the people who hate gays get called hateful just for saying hateful things about gay people?”

    The same reason we call someone a racist if they oppose interracial marriage and claim god only loves white people.

  • bernerbits

    I’ve taken heat for expressing this opinion before, but the reality is a majority of Christians who believe 2/3 of the world will go to hell, also don’t want that to happen, which is one of the main reasons for all the proselytizing. In a sort of twisted way, making sure they regularly remind us of this, and of how we can avert this fate, they’re actually doing the loving thing, not the hateful thing, and it’s got to be frustrating for them to hear us call their earnest efforts to save us from hell hateful. So I try to take it for what it is.

    I wholeheartedly agree that a God who would make 2/3 of the world’s population immortal for the purpose of eternal torture, just for doubting something for which he has failed to provide sufficient evidence, is a pretty vindictive bastard. However, although I’ve run into plenty of folks on the internet who are just tickled pink knowing that’s where we’re purportedly headed, most of the folks in real life who tell us we’re going to hell do so out of genuine concern.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Rooster,

    Out of all of the following:

    fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers

    only homosexuals can’t get married.
    (granted, adulterers had to already be married).

    The people in the gay community only want to be able to get married. You are free to believe anything you want. That is your right and no-one will ever take that away from you. Don’t turn this into a Christians being persecuted thing. Gays just want the same legal rights as all the other people in your “going to hell” list.

    I say this as a straight “gay enabler”.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @bernerbits

    I agree. Most of the people who believe in a theistic God are better than the God they believe in.

  • bernerbits

    @Rooster – you forgot liars, magicians, and children who disobey their parents.

  • Silent Service

    Isn’t everyone entitled to their own opinion?

    No.

    Wow. I can’t believe somebody here would say that. Well Jeff, you are entitled to your opinion just as much as everybody. It’s a good thing you don’t get to decide what opinion everybody gets to have. I’d hate to live in that echo chamber.
    There’s no law against hate. You can’t govern people’s thoughts. What is somebody’s opinion? It’s what they think about a given topic. Until you can crank up the Dream Police and start controlling thought it’s my opinion that yes everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Silent Service,

    I agree, that other Jeff was out of line.

    I’m against any kind of “Dream Police” whether coming from “Brave new World” monitors on the wall or notions of “all loving” Gods.

  • Jeff

    Maybe I’m just naïve, but why does thinking that someone is going to hell make them a “hateful” person? So, let me get this straight. If I want to be a “loving” person rather than “hateful” person, I must believe that no one is going to hell. This seems to be more of a matter of belief than of hate. Jesus spoke about hell, so would you say that Jesus was a hateful person?

    This is just too stupid even to bother responding to.

  • bernerbits

    There’s no law against hate. You can’t govern people’s thoughts. What is somebody’s opinion? It’s what they think about a given topic. Until you can crank up the Dream Police and start controlling thought it’s my opinion that yes everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

    I’m against any kind of “Dream Police” whether coming from “Brave new World” monitors on the wall or notions of “all loving” Gods.

    I suddenly feel inexplicably compelled to start playing some Cheap Trick…

  • Jeff

    Silent Service, Rooster, Jeff P. – Eternal damnation is whole other matter. If you people can’t see that, I can’t be bothered trying to explain it to you.

    I’m unsubscribing from this thread now. I’m not going to wast my time arguing over whether or not a woman who believes in – in fact, eagerly anticipates – the eternal torment of most of the rest of humanity is a hateful person. It’s sad that you can’t seem to get this on your own.

  • Silent Service

    bernerbits,

    I agree that most religious people don’t actually hate LGBT people. They fear for us. That fear produces a lot of anger and frustration because we don’t understand how horrible what we’re doing is (condemning ourselves to hell for all eternity, in their opinion). It’s a kind of self deluded crusade on their part to save us from ourselves. They think that if they can just stop us from sinning, we’ll eventually see the light and find doG’s love (or fear doG enough to obey) and repent for our sinful thoughts. But if they let us start down the path of actual physical sin, then it’s that much harder to save us from ourselves. It’s twisted and sick, but they see themselves as promoting a distorted kind of Tough Love because eternity with their doG is worth any price in this world, even bullying and abuse if we turn to doG at the last moment for salvation.

    To me, this kind of sociopathic thinking is worse than hate. It’s this crap that justified things like the Crusades and the Inquisition. Forcing us to conform for our own good out of love and if we get harassed, beaten, abused, or murdered along the way, it’s our own fault. If we’d just behaved properly like doG wants, nobody would abuse or murder us.

    So no, they don’t hate us, but I’d rather they did. That way I can spitefully look down upon them for the hateful jerks they are. I’d rather be hated by ignorant idiots that pitied by them for going to a hell that doesn’t even exist. It’s easier to dislike the haters.

  • Silent Service

    I suddenly feel inexplicably compelled to start playing some Cheap Trick…

    YES!!!! I can even Jedi Mindtrick somebody over the internet.

  • Rooster

    @ Jeff P,

    What rights do married people have that unmarried people do not have? It is my understanding that they are both equally protected under the Constitution and by the laws in the United States.

    Why do people want to get married in the first place? I can understand that the religious want to get married so that they do not fornicate and can stay true to their religion, but if you are not religious, it seems like it would just tie you down. If you decide to get a divorce, then you have to go through the courts which may take a while.

    One of the purposes of marriage is to procreate if I am not mistaken. Heterosexual couples can procreate, unless they are infertile. The husband contributes the sperm and the wife contributes the egg in order to make the baby. However, in a homosexual couple, there cannot be procreation. You either have two men contributing sperm, which cannot make a baby, or two women contributing eggs, which cannot make a baby. It just appears that if the pieces do not fit together, then it ought not to be.

    It seems like the ideal family should have one male father and one female mother. The father can teach the boys how to be gentlemen and the mother can teach the girls how to be ladies.

  • bernerbits

    @Silent Service

    I’m not LGBT (didn’t know if you were assuming that in your post or not), but I agree with most of what you said.

    With regards to these two pieces,

    eternity with their doG is worth any price in this world, even bullying and abuse if we turn to doG at the last moment for salvation.

    Forcing us to conform for our own good out of love and if we get harassed, beaten, abused, or murdered along the way, it’s our own fault. If we’d just behaved properly like doG wants, nobody would abuse or murder us.

    I cannot say if it applies to a majority of Christians or not, but most of the Christians I knew growing up were pretty conservative and still found the actions of these people utterly reprehensible (though ostensibly if you murder a non-believer, you take away any future chance they might have of coming to faith). Growing up we were always taught that any sinner was to be compelled with love and compassion, not hate and violence.

    I don’t know if I have a point at all here. I guess if it were anything, it would be that, if any bridges are to be built, maybe we shouldn’t be throwing the term “hate” around so freely.

  • Rooster

    @ bernerbits

    I agree that most Christians who think a majority of the world is going to hell do not want it to happen. Most see their proselytizing as loving. It’s like everyone has AIDS and they have the cure. It would not be right for Christians to keep the cure all to themselves and not at least tell anyone else about it.

    You say that God has failed to provide sufficient evidence of his existence. I’m just curious what evidence it would take to convince you of his existence. Have you looked into Dr. Behe’s idea of irreducible complexities in cells?

  • bernerbits

    What rights do married people have that unmarried people do not have?

    Lots, though this has been covered before. People can be denied access to visit their unmarried partners in hospitals. People usually cannot share in a partner’s insurance benefits unless they are married. In homosexual relationships with a biological child, the non-biological parent has no rights at all in custody hearings.

    Why do people want to get married in the first place? I can understand that the religious want to get married so that they do not fornicate and can stay true to their religion, but if you are not religious, it seems like it would just tie you down. If you decide to get a divorce, then you have to go through the courts which may take a while.

    I would think the ideal is that people get married out of love and a desire to express their commitment to someone for the rest of their life, not for procreation. If people really think, “I’d like to have some kids. Better find me a wife/husband!” then it would give me cause to really fear for the state of marriage in this country.

    And I find it rather ignorant that you’d suggest atheists have no reason not to be promiscuous because we have no religion to forbid it.

    It seems like the ideal family should have one male father and one female mother. The father can teach the boys how to be gentlemen and the mother can teach the girls how to be ladies.

    All reputable psychological studies indicate this particular argument holds no water in real life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Isn’t everyone entitled to their own opinion?

    No.

    Seriously, Jeff. Are you seriously saying that? So you’re for totalarism then?

    The point was that if the SPLC calls everyone under the sun a hate group, they lose any seriousness. Not that those who speak vilely aren’t haters. Those who call for violence in their speech certainly are justifiably included. People like Laurie Higgins who don’t call for violence (even though they aren’t exactly going to sob over any committed) shouldn’t be. Yes, they’re hateful; yes, they are not as benign as Hemant is thinking but they are entitled to their opinion.

    If you call anyone having a differing opinion from you a hate group, you are attempting to do something very hateful and repulsive yourself.

    And, no, I wouldn’t suggest someone just saying retarded things about Jews and blacks but not promoting violence should be listed as a hate group. I mean if that’s where you draw the line, then everyone — yes, everyone — is going to be part of a hate group.

    I have some awfully derogatory things to say about fundamentalists of all stripes. I regularly refer on this blog to my mother who I honestly do hate as my fundie nutjob mother. Should I be considered part of a hate group if I form a group with other child abuse victims who hate their parents every bit as much as I vehemently hate mine? Should SNAP?

    Hell, I can’t be bothered to visit my parents graves but if I ever did, I’d spit on my father’s and dance on my mother’s (yes, crippled and all, I’d find a way because she considered dancing a sin). That’s action I promote. If I could get my seven siblings to join me in this, are we a hate group?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Rooster said:

    I’m just curious what evidence it would take to convince you of his existence. Have you looked into Dr. Behe’s idea of irreducible complexities in cells?

    For me, seeing the stars in the night sky suddenly re-arrange to spell out something like “I am God and I am here” would get my attention.

    I’ve read Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” and am only convinced that if a coherent argument can be shown that a system has “irreducible complexity”, this only indicates that we don’t yet have a an understanding of how the system originated. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that the system was created by a creator. At best, Behe shows some areas of biochemistry where more research is needed. At worst, he distorts what is already known to reconcile his own religious beliefs.

  • bernerbits

    You say that God has failed to provide sufficient evidence of his existence. I’m just curious what evidence it would take to convince you of his existence.

    Lots of things.

    If there were a single study indicating that prayer improves healing rates beyond the placebo effect, I would give it serious weight.

    If everyone who claimed to know the will of God really did know the will of God, there should be a wide consensus of religious belief, and not the massive disparity that we actually see. The devil is just a convenient excuse.

    If religious people behaved morally at a statistically significant higher rate than non-religious people, I would at least investigate the reasons why.

    Not to mention, if there is sufficient evidence, why do many religions consider faith a virtue?

    Have you looked into Dr. Behe’s idea of irreducible complexities in cells?

    Yes, and irreducible complexity is so easy to refute that you really shouldn’t be bringing that up, if you’re going to derail this thread into an evolution debate.

    Do you know about the presence of retrograde virus DNA within human DNA that confers immunity to certain diseases on our species? Did you know that it’s located in the exact same place in the ape genome? Or is that just “evidence” that God saw fit to make apes and humans equally resistant to these diseases?

  • bernerbits

    Rooster, before we go any further, I’d just like you to know that although I understand that you desire to to rehash old arguments with me out of a spirit of genuine good will, I would also appreciate if you allow me to be responsible for my own eternal fate. If there’s an ocean full of drowning people, and one person resists being rescued, your time is better served going after someone else, after all.

  • Steve

    What rights do married people have that unmarried people do not have? It is my understanding that they are both equally protected under the Constitution and by the laws in the United States.

    You are misinformed. There 1138 federal rights alone. In addition to rights conferred by the states:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States

    Most have to do with finances, taxation and child-rearing. And their lack can have devastating consequences.

    For example if one partner dies, the other inherits their belongings. If you’re married you don’t have to pay inheritance taxes. Unmarried couples lose a lot of money.
    Health insurance is a huge issue in the US.
    There are cases where parents don’t have a legal connection to their children because they can’t even adopt them.

    Another unfortunate consequence of DOMA is that legally married citizens can’t sponsor their foreign spouse for a green card. Thousands of couples are either forced to live apart or into exile.

    One of the purposes of marriage is to procreate if I am not mistaken.

    No, it’s not. That’s maybe a side-effect. But people have children regardless of their marriage status. And not just by accident.

    If procreation were a condition of marriage, we wouldn’t allow infertile couples to marry, or couples who don’t want to have children, couples where one partner is in prison, or older people who are past child-bearing age.

    However, in a homosexual couple, there cannot be procreation.

    Are you kidding? Gay people procreate all the time. It’s so common that it’s downright normal these days. 25 years ago it was revolutionary. Not so today.

    Straight people adopt children that aren’t biologically theirs. Straight people use technologies like artificial insemination and in-vitro-fertilization to have children. A biological connection for both isn’t that important.

    With gay people, one of the partners can be a biological parent. Men can use surrogacy for example or just conceive a child using the old-fashioned way.

    It seems like the ideal family should have one male father and one female mother.

    Every study has shown that it doesn’t matter. And this has been going on for about 30 years. Children ideally need two parents. Their gender is irrelevant.

  • Silent Service

    Just ignore the Rooster, er, Troll, er, Rooster; whatever it is. Anybody silly enough to bring up Irreducible Complexity which has been so completely refuted for decades it isn’t considered an argument anymore, claim that there are no rights given to married heterosexuals that aren’t given to others when there are thousands just at the Federal level, and thinks that marriage is primarily for procreation and child raising when most of our married lives are not spent raising children unless you’ve got a Quiverfull up your theology, hasn’t bothered to even examine the existing evidence or research the ongoing debate before touching the keyboard. Tell him to go crack the books and research the counter-arguments before reposting for the billionth time all the same old canards we see every single week. Then ignore the lazy troll until he does.

  • Anna

    Rooster,

    However, in a homosexual couple, there cannot be procreation.

    Like Steve mentioned, you might want to get with the times. Lesbians and gay men routinely conceive children. My parents are lesbians, and my brother and I were both born in the late 70s. It was revolutionary then, but certainly not now.

    It seems like the ideal family should have one male father and one female mother.

    Well, I disagree. My family is just as “ideal” as a heterosexual family. By what standard are you judging my family as less ideal than one with a mother and father?

  • Claudia

    @bernerbits I’ve actually argued that prosletyzing is a sign of concern myself. People who want to convert you are showing that they really believe you’re destined for hell and they really don’t want that to happen, and are willing to spend time and effort to prevent it.

    However I would go further and say that most people don’t actually believe that a huge proportion of the population is going to hell. Think of it this way. If you knew that X group of people was routinely taken off the streets and then slowly tortured to death by the government you, and any decent minded person, would find this unacceptable and protest. The only way non-protest would even be an option is if you really hated the victims. A hate strong enough to lead to indifference when confronted with the torture of men, women and children is an emotion strong enough that it would manifest in other ways. Someone you hate enough to be ok with their torture is not someone you’ll smile at in the morning, someone you can have a coffee with or even like living in your own neighborhood. Muslim terrorists act like this. They think we’re going to hell and would like to hurry the process along if possible. The vast majority of Christians however do not act like they hate us enough for them to be ok with our eternal torture. That kind of hate would be far too evident to not be noticable, so I think it’s fair to conclude that they don’t actually believe it, whatever they profess.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Claudia,

    I basically agree with what you said. I think every Christian has doubts. Its only the community of Christians, the peer pressure, and the regular pep talks by their pastors and priests that keep them in the fold. Take away all that structure and they all become at best “spiritual but not religious”.

    Of course some just “hedge their bets” by proclaiming belief while never looking at their doubt squarely in the face. For this group, saving their own hide trumps worrying about other people.

  • Unrein

    I’ve taken heat for expressing this opinion before, but the reality is a majority of Christians who believe 2/3 of the world will go to hell, also don’t want that to happen, which is one of the main reasons for all the proselytizing. In a sort of twisted way, making sure they regularly remind us of this, and of how we can avert this fate, they’re actually doing the loving thing, not the hateful thing, and it’s got to be frustrating for them to hear us call their earnest efforts to save us from hell hateful. So I try to take it for what it is.

    I wholeheartedly agree that a God who would make 2/3 of the world’s population immortal for the purpose of eternal torture, just for doubting something for which he has failed to provide sufficient evidence, is a pretty vindictive bastard. However, although I’ve run into plenty of folks on the internet who are just tickled pink knowing that’s where we’re purportedly headed, most of the folks in real life who tell us we’re going to hell do so out of genuine concern.

    If they were truly loving instead of just covering their delusional asses, they’d say “Fuck you God, hell is evil. I’d rather go to hell than have any part in this.”

  • Heidi

    @Rooster:

    It just appears that if the pieces do not fit together, then it ought not to be.

    Are you familiar with the term, “blowjob?”

    You say that God has failed to provide sufficient evidence of his existence. I’m just curious what evidence it would take to convince you of his existence.

    This question is complicated. First of all, do you mean that “a” god exists, or that “your” god exists? Jeff P’s star thing would do it for the former (for me), but not for the latter.

    If he passed his own Ba’al test, then I might be more inclined toward thinking it was your guy.

    OTOH, if you mean, what would it take for me to become a Christian, the answer is, there is nothing that could or would ever make me a Christian, up to and including your god flying down out of the sky and providing solid, irrefutable evidence for everything in the Bible. If your god is accurately represented in the Old Testament, then I would never follow him under any circumstances.

    So… what evidence would convince you that your god almost certainly doesn’t exist?

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