FFRF Puts Up Gay-Friendly Atheist Billboard in Missouri

The Freedom From Religion Foundation just put up this billboard in Missouri with the message “Ban Marriage Between Church and State”:

It comes in response to one put up by Catholic Radio reading “1 Man, 1 Woman, For Life!”

In fact, the two signs are situated fairly close to each other. (Billboard wars!)

Matt Gaines is the Smithville, MO resident and FFRF member who sponsored the billboard:

Gaines said he feels the Catholic-sponsored sign is offensive to gay couples — and even to anyone who has gone through a divorce:

“To denigrate other people’s relationships or the decisions they have had to make with their outdated religious dogmas is simply shameful,” said Gaines.

Said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor: “The only organized opposition to marriage equality comes from the Religious Right. Mormon, Roman Catholic and fundamentalist Protestant churches and organizations have spent hundreds of millions to amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage in the name of Christianity. Religious dogma must be kept out of our secular laws.”

No word yet on how Catholic Radio plans to respond.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • TheExpatriate700

    Note that the Catholic poster doesn’t mention anything about adults.

    • Drew M.

       In fairness, “man” and “woman” typically refers to adults, but I still lol’d.

    • Foster

      You might want to specify, as there are more than one of us.  :-)

      • Foster

        Oh, you meant “billboard.”  I thought you meant “commenter.”  Never mind, my mistake.

  • Barbara

    As far as sects of Christianity go, Roman Catholic is one of the least offensive (which really isn’t saying much, unfortunately). But they still go that extra mile to uphold a sense of Christian entitlement, don’t they? This whole ’1 man, 1 woman, for life’ business feels eerily similar to the days when interracial marriage was against the law in the United States (not so long ago, either). All those Catholic church signs I see in my area touting messages about universal love and togetherness really don’t mean much when Church dogma is still working hard to divide and cast away certain groups of people.

    • Foster

      So are you for polygamy?  If not, how do you see polygamy as being different from gay marriage?  If we mess with the nouns, why not mess with the quantifiers?

      • Deven Kale

        You’re poorly thought out arguments are still just as laughable as they were every other time you’ve posted here Foster. The fact that you can’t see the fundamental difference between polygamy and homosexuality is just another example of your obviously less than average intelligence.

        I’m from Utah, and there are parts of Utah where polygamous marriage still happens, places populated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as FLDS. The only way they’ve managed to make their polygamous system actually work without having large amounts of unmarried men is by forcing those men who do not fit into their particular mold of what a men should be to leave. There is even reason to think that some of those same men are killed if they refuse to leave, because the number of accidental deaths within those areas are higher than they should be, especially with men.

        In other words, to make a polygamous society actually work, you need to thin the number of men from the marriage pool. In a polygynous society, you must do the same thing with the women. There’s really no other way to make it happen.

        Allowing gay marriage requires nothing similar to this. In fact, allowing homosexual marriage wouldn’t change anything for anyone except the homosexuals. They’re going to be having sex with each other whether they’re allowed to be married or not. They’re not going to getting married to straight people either unless they do so for image (because of bigots such as yourself) or taxes. You’re never going to be married to a lesbian, are you? How likely do you think a straight woman is going to be married to a gay man? It doesn’t affect the marriage pool of straight people at all, which is a stark contrast to polygamy/polygyny.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Assuming a 1 man :  many women polygamy of course.

          • Deven Kale

             I’ve always thought that’s what polygamy means: 1 man, many women. Then you have polygyny which means one woman, many men. Both many women and many men, I’ve always known that to be polyamory.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Actually (and I had to look it up to be sure):

              Polygamy = more than 2 people
              Polygyny = 1 man N women
              Polyandry = 1 woman N men
              Polyamory = more than 2 people but includes ethical considerations

              All from wikipedia.

              • Deven Kale

                 lol Whoops! Well then in that case, I guess my argument isn’t against polygamy so much as polygyny and polyandry. Polygamy then is just as questionable as you stated earlier in your previous comment.

                This is what I get when I think I know something for certain. Oh well, live and learn I guess!

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                I was about to post something similar, you beat me to it.

        • Foster

          Nice to know you remembered our last encounter: since you bring it up, your cop out then because I used “nourished” and “fed” synonymously was what was really laughable to any honest observer of our little debate, Kale.  But I digress.  You are again misguided, Kale.  Your argument (guided perhaps by your mistaken definition of polygamy you acknowledged below) seems to be that polygamy doesn’t work in real unforced societies, whereas gay marriage would.  Well, I have news for you, friend.  Polygamy is thousands of years old and continues to be the norm in many  societies.  The real thing that makes you uncomfortable with it is that you happen to live in a society heavily influenced by the Roman and Christian norms of marriage between one man and one woman.  The gay movement is not built on the idea that gay marriage would not be detrimental to society, therefore gays should be allowed to marry.  It is built on the idea that whether or not it is detrimental to society, human liberty and justice requires that we allow people to love and live with whom they will and we should provide the legal framework to allow them to visit their loved ones in hospital, automatically inherit their spouse’s possessions, etc.  On that basis, it is inconsistent to defend gay marriage but not polygamy.  If the law is not permitted to be normative, but must instead be purely facilitator, that is, when you make it purely an issue of human rights, you must allow people to live as they will whether that is one man with one man, or one woman with three men.  Anything less is simply inconsistent.  Naturally, this is a ~reductio ad absurdum~, as we all (I hope) have the sense to agree that polygamy is disgusting and wrong, even though it can be defended on the same grounds as gay marriage. Incidentally, gay marriage is illegal in France (one of the most secular societies in Europe) precisely because they see it as detrimental to society. 

          • Deven Kale

            Since you say that there are other societies which still allow polygamy, then please tell us where those societies are and what it’s like living in those societies. I only know of those towns in Utah that I spoke of earlier, and using them as an example clearly shows that it’s highly detrimental to those living with it.

            Gay marriage, on the other hand, has not been shown to be detrimental to society. There is no loss in marriageable partners for straight people. When they adopt, those children are actually more likely to turn out as a boon to society. In fact, where they have any influence on anyone besides those who are getting married, studies have shown that it’s a net positive influence.

            So my being for gay marriage and against polygamy (for now at least, until I see conclusive and well established evidence that it’s not detrimental) is not inconsistent in the least. It’s simply myself applying the same principle of societal benefit to the known factors and coming to a conclusion based on that.

            Try again Foster, you’re still not getting anything right.

            • Foster

              Your argument appears to be thus:  Some polygamous societies I know of are bad, therefore all of them would be.  That argument allows me to run this similar one.  Most atheistic governments have been bad (Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong-Il, etc.), therefore all of them would be.  Now I happen to believe that both atheistic governments and polygamous societies will usually be bad precisely because they are atheistic and polygamous, respectively, but you (I assume, but correct me if I’m wrong) would say that it is presumptuous of me to say that those atheistic governments were bad *just* because they were atheist, no matter how obviously atheism dominated their leaders’ philosophies.  If you believe so, then it is inconsistent to say that all polygamous societies would be bad simply based upon the polygamous societies you are familiar with.  Perhaps they were just bad because only men were allowed to have multiple wives, whereas everything would have been better if women were also allowed to have multiple husbands, analogously with the way people say that had those unprecedented monsters I listed above not been Communists, regardless of their atheism, they would not have been the poor excuses for humans that they were and unfeelingly decimated their countrymen.  Both your historical argument against polygamy and my historical argument against atheism are based upon certain assumptions that do not deductively hold up.  We might make the *inference* (as I do) that both systems are bad, but you are not ready to make that inference when it is against atheistic government.  The fact is that you have no “conclusive and well established evidence” that either polygamy or gay marriage is detrimental.  This historical anti-polygamy argument being destroyed, since you will not accept the parallel anti-atheistic government argument above, you have also argued that no “marriageable partners,” (I will assume you meant fertile marriages) would be lost.  This is only too naive on your part.  The fact is that many gay and bisexually oriented men have entered into heterosexual marriages, sired and raised offspring precisely because there was societal pressure to do so. So yes, as France realizes when they reject gay marriage not on any religious basis, but for purely pragmatic reasons, behavior that you subsidize (by societal legitimization) you get more of, which means fewer heterosexual, fertile marriages.  Please cite the studies you mention, as I’d be very interested to read them.  Regardless, we have no reason to believe that polygamous families could not also adopt otherwise orphaned children doomed to some foster home without loving parental figures, and not (despite the structural problems of such a family you and I both seem to believe in) have a net positive influence on those children.  Again, you have given no persuasive reason to differentiate polygamous marriages and gay marriages.    

              • Deven Kale

                 And now it seems that you have a serious reading comprehension problem. I clearly stated that my opinion is based purely on the fact that all of the polygamous societies that I know of have serious negative consequences in order to make their polygamy work. I even stated later on that my opinion is subject to change if contrary evidence comes up, primarily since I know how limited my experience is. Hell, I even asked you to cite your examples of other polygamous societies and what the effects of that polygamy were on them as well.

                I have no reason, based on your previous history here on this website, to cite any specific studies because I know you will pay them no heed and continue on with your bigotry. I also wish you would not accuse me of the same bigotry you are guilty of. All of my opinions and beliefs are based on factual information and not simply because I “want it to be so.”

                Now I really think you should either stop posting here on this blog with your idiocy, or at the very least wear your dunce-cap with pride and stop pretending you know anything more than anyone else here.

                • Foster

                  You said “Gay marriage, on the other hand, has not been shown to be detrimental to society. ”  This statement leads to the conclusion that you believe “Polygamous marriage has been shown to be detrimental to society.”  You are claiming a fact here. Then you turn around and say, “I clearly stated that my opinion is based purely on the fact that all of the polygamous societies that I know of have serious negative consequences in order to make their polygamy work.” So now suddenly, it’s *not* a fact, it’s just your opinion.  You can’t have it both ways.  Either there’s compelling evidence that polygamous marriage is detrimental, (in which case, there’s also compelling evidence on the same grounds that atheistic leaders are detrimental) or there’s not, and it’s just your opinion, not based upon enough evidence to prevent polygamously married people to have the legal framework to live and love the way they desire (what I am arguing is the case).  Again, you can’t have it both ways, Kale.  I have not misrepresented you.  It is you who have tacitly changed your position and then cried fowl.

                • Deven Kale

                   All throughout this discussion I’ve been pretty clear on the fact that I have limited knowledge and experience with polygamy, but based on that knowledge it is my opinion that it is highly detrimental and therefore should not be allowed. I’ve also made it clear that I am open to new information and willing to change that opinion if the evidence is compelling.

                  On the other hand, my opinion about gay marriage has reams of scientific evidence showing that not only is it not detrimental, but there may in fact be a net benefit. Again, this is something that I’ve made clear from the beginning.

                  Your ridiculous application of my statement “Gay marriage [...] has not been shown to be detrimental” to my first paragraph is your own misinterpretation. I used no wording in my paragraph about polygamy to imply that it has anything to do with scientific evidence and everything to do with my own limited experience. The only thing you’ve done here is shown, again, you have serious problems with understanding even the basic precepts of online debate.

                • Foster

                  Lol, that’s a very convenient ellipsis you’ve inserted into your quotation of yourself directly above, Deven.  I wonder why you felt the need to omit what you said there?  Perhaps because the words “on the other hand” have inconvenient implications that contradict what you say above.  But if you admit that polygamy has *not* been shown to be detrimental any more than atheistic governments have been shown to be detrimental, based upon limited historical observation, then we have no problem, since we agree.

                • Deven Kale

                  Perhaps because I didn’t think the “on the other hand” was the part you were talking about, since it doesn’t seem important. “On the other hand” could also be said with “in contrast” or “otherwise” or “instead” or a number of other phrases. I quoted the important part. If you were doing anything other than trying to (wrongly) imply I had something to hide, you would have known that.

                  I will admit and agree that any government which tries to force any type of religious belief, including a lack of belief (because I’m directing this to you, Foster, I feel I need to be specific: so by “a lack of belief” I do mean atheism), on it’s citizens is always detrimental. After all, that’s what the evidence shows.

                • Foster

                  I’m going to respond  directly off the parent comment since we have thread space issues, lol.

                • Deven Kale

                  Don’t waste your time. No matter what you say, it’s consistently and inevitably wrong.

                • Foster

                  You assume wrongly that I respond for your sake.

        • Donald Hipps

          poly gamy dosent effect the gay pool either you know

          • Deven Kale

            I’m not entirely sure what your point is here, or how it fits into the conversation. Care to explain?

      • Donaldhipps

        i agree gay and polygamy are the same as saying right and left

        • Foster

          If by that, you mean that people should have the same right to each, I thank you for being honest, but not everyone (Donald Kale, etc.) agrees with you and me on that point.  The fact is, either the civil law should be morally normative and guided by the morals of the culture in which it is instituted, or it should be purely pragmatic and not influence people’s morality unless absolutely necessary (as with prohibiting murder).  People may desire the latter, but I think that some people (like Deven Kale and Rich Wilson below) are not ready for the consequences of their choice, as evidenced by their reluctance to grant polygamists the same legal marriage rights as they would like us to grant to gays.  Be consistent is all I ask, even if unlike me you do not believe in the living God.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

             People may desire the latter, but I think that some people (like Deven Kale and Rich Wilson below) are not ready for the consequences of their choice, as evidenced by their reluctance to grant polygamists the same legal marriage rights as they would like us to grant to gays

            Somewhere between what I said, and what you read, something got lost.  My ‘reluctance’ to grant legal marriage to polygamists wasn’t moral in nature.  It has to do with the privileges we associate with marriage- in particular medial benefits.  And even then, it’s more that I don’t think I know enough, so I’m withholding.

            Is there a difference between a single adult sponsoring 20 adults from other countries to come to the US to be spouses, and a US couple adopting 20 children from other countries?  At least in the former the sponsor is financially responsible for the immigrant for 40 quarters.  That is, if they get divorced after 2 years, the state can come after the sponsor to make up any state support of the immigrant for the next 8 years.

            But should I be able to bring 20 adults into the country and make my employer pay for medical insurance for all of them?  I don’t know.  But that is my general concern, not that God says it’s wrong.  (Aside from the fact that God doesn’t)

            I think I’d call that pragmatic.

            • Foster

              Again, Rich, as I said below, I apologize if I misunderstood you to agree with Deven, who obviously comes down on the side of polygamy being justly illegal, but gay marriage being justly legal.  My only pony in this particular race is that there are no good reasons to legalize one without legalizing the other.  Though he may not realize it, he balks against polygamy because he is culturally still benefitting from  Roman and Christian assumptions.  If you do not, as evidenced by your withholding judgment, then I have nothing to say against you at this time.  Again, sorry I misunderstood you.

    • Foster

      Okay, this is an extension of the conversation with Kale, since we were running out of thread space below.  Kale, I think it’s great that you wouldn’t support atheist regimes that forced their views on their citizens, but that doesn’t directly respond to what I’m saying.  I’m saying that based on the sample of evil atheist leaders I mentioned, it would seem that *any* explicitly atheistic government, whether they force atheism on their citizens or not, would tend to be a bad government.  The problem with arguing from History in general is that we must assume what factors were crucial to the outcome when there were so many independent forces contributing.  To claim that they were evil just because they happened to force their views on their people (not all of them did.  Some of them just exterminated the “undesirables” suggesting that a desire to force their religious views on others was not the problem.) and not because of their atheism is just like assuming that their Communism was what caused them to be bad people.  As I said before, we might just as easily assume that the reason your polygamous society in Utah is supposedly so unhappy is that the women aren’t likewise allowed to have as many husbands as they like.  There are any number of small details that can be fastened upon, which is why I declined to mention any polygamous societies of the East, whose lower living standards might just as easily be attributed to their climate, or lack of Christian influence, as to the presence of polygamy.  Again, I say there is no credible reason I know of to reject polygamy but accept gay marriage.  We happen to live in a society where the one is in vogue and the other is not.  Research suggesting that gay couples can do good things does not imply that polygamy is less desirable than gay marriage.  It may simply be due to the cultural surroundings of people who happen to practice either.  

      • Deven Kale

         I’m getting a little tired of this, and so I’m just going to ignore you from now on. But I will say this: You do realize that the US is secular, right? Which means that, where the government and religion are concerned, the government is atheistic. However, we are not forced by the government to follow in that atheism, since we are allowed to follow any religion we choose (as long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others through that religion). This essentially collapses your entire argument. Unless of course, you’re going to argue that the US has a bad government, which you can do but that’s a totally different game.

        Now as I said before, whatever you post after this, I will ignore it. If you wish to have this conversation continued, then I hope somebody else will pick up where I left off. I’m tired of you.

  • Tainda

    I pass one of the Catholic Radio billboards every day on the Heart of America bridge coming out of downtown KC.  The picture of jeebus is creepy as hell (pun intended).  It says something about “I am truth” or some BS.  I don’t go to Smithville but yay for them!!  That’s a fairly small town too.  I’m proud of them :D

  • Ikcelaks

    I vehemently DO NOT support this billboard, because it makes a dangerously bad metaphor.

    • Ibis3

       How so?

      • Baal

         I would hazard a guess.  The pro-gay atheist billboard is using separation of church and State (establishment clause) and then throwing in marriage (a bond of persons not large scale entities (non-persons State / Church).  It’s a little sloppy due to how the senses of the words fit together.  that said, i think it still works for message and in dealing with the limits of what fits on a billboard.

    • onamission5

      And that metaphor would be?

      • Ikcelaks

        It suggests a parallel between banning gay marriage and banning the “marriage” of Church and State.  While I absolutely understand that this is being done sarcastically, this isn’t the sort of idea you want to give.  The religious right has a nasty tendency to take everything literally.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          That’s a stretch even a yogi would have trouble making.

    • Drew M.

       I’m not seeing it either. Enlighten us, please.

    • Pseudonym

      If you meant that marriage is between a consenting adult and another consenting adult and not between two abstractions, I guess I can see that. Otherwise, I would also like clarification.

  • Grizzz

    Fan FREAKING tastic!

    That is a great sign!!!

    • Pseudonym

      I agree!

      It’s extremely unusual for the FFRF to make a sign which actually makes the point they (claim they) are trying to make. Next week they’ll no doubt drop a clanger, but for this week we can all be proud.

  • A3Kr0n

    That’s so totally offensive to someone.

    • Coyotenose

       Well, the religionists pitched hissies over the sign with cats, and the one that only said “Atheism”, so they will take offense to anything.

    • Pseudonym

      The graphic design is totally unforgivable to someone, too.

  • Joe Zamecki

    Nice billboard by the FFRF! Score.

  • Reddwynge

    For LIFE?!?!?  The Catholic Church is playing a game of “let’s pretend.”  Let’s pretend the couples who come to church aren’t using birth control.  Let’s pretend they waited until their wedding night to have sex.  Let’s pretend they aren’t going to divorce and remarry if they are not happy together.

  • jose

    That’s rather clever :D

    America should appreciate that first amendment of yours. We don’t have it in this part of the world and it shows.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Didn’t they try to tell Henry VIII that marriage was for life?

    • Drew M.

      Oh, that’s good!

    • Winchester

      Yeah, but he didn’t listen…he preferred to murder his wives.

      And, of course, many men abandon their wives quite legally…the blessing of “no fault” divorce.

      Secular Progress!

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        Well, infantilizing women certainly isn’t progress. Women aren’t helpless, dependent children, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. A man should be able to get a divorce if he feels like it. He shouldn’t need an excuse. The same goes for a woman. If one party isn’t happy, then he or she should be able to initiate a divorce. The fact that you think men are somehow obligated to stay married to their wives (or else they’re “abandoning” them) shows just how rigidly you adhere to outdated gender roles.

      • Coyotenose

         Being sarcastic about men AND women being legally allowed to not ruin their entire lives only tells us that something is wrong with you, not the law.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Have you ever known anyone in a physically abusive relationship?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          I’m guessing not.

      • Deven Kale

         You do realize that it’s actually the woman filing for divorce twice as often as the man, right? If anybody is abandoning the women, they’re abandoning themselves.

      • Georgina

        Dear Winchester,
        Actually, he preferred to divorce his wives, and only had them beheaded for treason when it was necessary.

        Since the then pope was so stubborn – he demanded far more money  for a  second divorce than for a first – he founded the Anglican religion, which permits divorce and remarriage. 

        Unlike the Americans, we Brits – having got out from under the heel of papal greed – now take religion less seriously than we do our cooking.
        And you know what they say about our cooking!

        • Foster

          There are a number of problems with your ignorant response.
          1. Henry did not  “behead his wives for treason when it was necessary,” but rather beheaded them when they failed to give him the sons he wanted.
          2. The pope denied divorce because it was a cultural taboo, and he had already bent over backwards to get him married to his dead brother’s wife in the first place.  It wasn’t about money, it was about doctrine.
          3.  Unlike Americans, you Brits have a state-funded church.
          But I’m right with you on the cooking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351473675 Matthew Baker

    Its good to see a nice straight to the point billboard given that some billboards get wordy

  • Renshia

    I like it. It’s nice.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I like.

  • Russbear3

    I live in the Kansas City area and there is more than one obnoxious billboard for this ETWN radio station. On Sunday I saw two of their other billboards:

    “We are a force against socialism in America” and “We educate more children than any other religious denomination.”

    As I passed these billboards on the highway I thought they should be changed: “We are a force against REASON in America” and “We MOLEST more children than any other religious denomination.”

    That’s truth in advertising.

    • Tainda

      Have you seen the one beside the Heart of America bridge?  It’s scary!

  • DragonScorpion

    1 priest, 1 altar boy, until mid-adolescence.

    How about these conservatives, religious and otherwise, who are increasingly becoming minority and marginal, show some inclusiveness. If individuals, couples, families, communities and thus society all benefit from the stability & responsibility that marriage is supposed to foster, then why not encourage same-sex couples to create and maintain such unions?

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Because they want them to be punished. It’s all about stigmatizing people for making what they believe are inferior choices. In the conservative religious view, if same-sex couples and their families are given the same rights as everyone else, then they won’t suffer consequences for doing the wrong thing.

      A lot of these people also believe that homosexuality is choice, and they seem to be worried that treating same-sex couples equally is going to make people more likely to identify as gay and live their lives openly. They want gay and lesbian people to be celibate, so giving them any kind of rights or benefits works against their desire for them to stay in the closet, silent and ashamed.

      • DragonScorpion

        “Because they want them to be punished. It’s all about stigmatizing people for making what they believe are inferior choices. In the conservative religious view, if same-sex couples and their families are given the same rights as everyone else, then they won’t suffer consequences for doing the wrong thing.”
        Yes, this is true, they really are that glaringly self-righteous and arrogant. And myopic. Not only believing that if they treat us as if we should be silent & ashamed then we will conform, but they also fail to see that if there are inherent undesirable consequences for same-sex couples then those consequences would simply come to pass by default with or without their efforts to use government us a cudgel. 

        Ironic, too, how often these folks scream about a tyrannical government suppressing their religious beliefs when it doesn’t impose those beliefs on others as they see fit.

  • se habla espol

    “1 Man; 1 Woman; For Life!”
    Gee, the election is still weeks away, and the catlicks are already going for anti-mormon billboards.
    Remember that Missouri is the site of the Mormon garden of Eden; and that MO still has a non-negligible Mormon presence.  Then observe that many of the Mormon sects (some still in MO) still believe in plural marriages, not the current “1 man; 1 woman” ‘tradition’ of many christianities.  Then note that Mormons imagine that a proper marriage is “for time and all eternity”, not just “For Life!”
    RCC vs LDS!  Rah, religions! Fight! Fight! Fight!

  • SJH

    Religious dogma out of our laws? Which dogma? Isn’t it pretty much integrated within it already? Is Mr. Gaines concerned about the alignment of religious dogma and our law or legislating morality? Isn’t legislating morality, to some degree, a requirement for civilized society? The question should not be whether we legislate morality but which morality we choose.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I wouldn’t say ‘which morality’ but rather ‘the methods we use to defend our morality’.  “God says so” is open to “My God said something else”.  If we want to legislate someone else’s morality, then we need something more than “Because I said so!”.

      • SJH

        Of course, that is true, however there are some issues which we may not have complete knowledge and therefor are not in a place to make an adequate judgment. In these cases do we rely on incomplete data or do we play it safe? Which position is the safe one? For whom is it safer? Does one’s safety overide another’s? For those of faith they might be inclined to trust in that which they have faith rather than wait for science to tell us. For some they might assume that if science does not show anything conclusively flawed in an issue then we should assume that there is no flaw. Of course there are those that look blindly at an issue and assume that there side is right no matter what the other side says. This is true for everyone to some degree, including atheists, mormons and catholics.

      • Foster

        Really? Because “All people should be equal before the law.” strikes me as a statement which from the atheistic point of view is defended by basically a “because I said so” argument.  No matter how hard you try, you never get an “ought” from an “is.”  We all use non-scientific means forming our morality, and no magical methods will remove this inherent subjectivity.  For example, if you defend gay marriage, why not defend polygamy too?

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Does the net outcome increase well being and decrease suffering?

          Granted those can be hard to measure, but it’s a damn sight better than making a claim with nothing substantive whatsoever to back it up.

          We can argue about whether two people of the same sex marrying increases well being or suffering, but at least it’s a discussion with some basis.  If you want to argue divine revelation, then how is your argument any different that mine from 1st Flying Spaghetti Monster 21:20?

          What is the basis for so called ‘blue’ laws?  Why is buying a beer on Sunday any different than Monday?  What is the basis for restricting store hours on Sunday vs. any other day of the week?  Making sure employers giving their employees a day off is one thing, but why Sunday in particular?  What is the basis for obscenity laws?  How do I or you or a child suffer more at “Fuck” than “Fizzlebomb”?  Why is it that wearing a hat inside (when you’re not obstructing anyone’s view that is) considered rude?

          The fact that we use non-scientific means to form our morality doesn’t mean we have to invoke God to make our laws.  Big difference there.  The fact that I think you’re an idiot if you drink alcohol shouldn’t in and of itself prevent you from drinking alcohol.  On Sunday or any other day of the week.

          As for polygamy, if you strip out all the non-consensual cases and issues with legal benefits, then we get to “where is the harm?”  What right do you or I have to tell other people what they can or cannot do because of our discomfort?  If you want to find a study in which children in communes have all kinds of social problems because they have too many caring adults in their lives, be my guest.  But at least then you’re arguing from a rational basis, not saying you know what God wants.  Although, in this case, you’d be hard pressed to argue that God doesn’t want polygamy- although I don’t think his included the ‘consensual’ part.

          • Foster

            “Granted those can be hard to measure…” Try impossible to measure.  “Well-being” is too slippery a term to quantify, regardless of the bogus utilitarian arguments of John Stuart Mill, and might always fail to take into account the future negative consequences of what currently “feels good.”  I have no desire on this issue to argue, nor have I argued here, from “divine revelation,” you misunderstand my point. But I only attempted to make you see that your defense of gay marriage requires you also to defend polygamy in order to be consistent.  Actually, when you talk seemingly facetiously about “too many caring adults” you seem to be agreeing with me that we shouldn’t think polygamy is below gay marriage, and I apologize if I misapprehended your arguments above to be agreeing with Deven Kale, when you actually differ.  Kale, on the other hand, argues that we can defend gay marriage while not defending polygamy.  I disagree, not directly because I am a theist, but because I strive to be rationally consistent.  

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    1 Man

    1 Woman 

    Free from Religion for Life!

  • http://twitter.com/69wyocowboy Amonymous

    everyone knows that religious marriages are more superior….lmfao at that…matter in fact you don’t need religion to get married


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