Whoa! Questions about marriage and religious liberty!

YouTube Preview ImageYesterday some of us got a bit academic (and some of us practiced calling people bigots) as we discussed media coverage of the efforts to change marriage from an institution built on sexual complementarity to an institution built on sexual orientation.

Believing — by science, religion or otherwise — that all humans are made male and female and that the regeneration of humans requires the joining together of male and female is — as we all know — grounds for being openly derided, called names and generally marginalized. If you think the foundational unit of society is defined in terms of this reality, you’re basically the Ku Klux Klan. You might protest that you have reason, logic, science, tradition, or any number of things to appeal to. But we all know you’re really a bigot.

Mostly the media and other cultural elites know this. And they’re not afraid to point out that believing marriage is an institution based on sexual orientation like they do — as opposed to sexual complementarity — makes you a good person who believes in civil rights and other things on the side of angels. Not like those bad folks whose arguments can be dismissed without even so much as looking them over (do you give bigots the time of day? No you do not! Ignore them already!). Journalists at CNN and the Washington Post and the New York Times and NPR have all agreed — or at least pondered the approach as legitimate — these monsters don’t deserve fair treatment, inclusion in stories, or airing for their warnings.

Error has no rights, you know.

The genders are 100 percent interchangeable and we will make sure you agree! Are we getting tired of this media treatment yet?

Anyway, bucking the groupthink is a real, live journalist who should probably be sent to reeducation camp over the weekend. I don’t know where he got off thinking he could do this, but he got all skeptical about the value of this approach. In a newsroom! The gall!

John Kass is a traditional Christian at the Chicago Tribune and he has some questions regarding this debate:

Is it possible to be a traditional Christian or Muslim or Orthodox Jew — and hold to one’s faith on what constitutes marriage — and not be considered a bigot?

And is faith now a problem to be overcome, first marginalized by the state and then contained, so as not to get in the way of great changes to come?

No and yes. Can we go home now?

Oh wait, he has more. You should probably read the whole thing but it’s a little reflection on liberty and freedom … for all.

And while I hear the new moral arguments, about equal rights and equal protection, I’ve read little about the religious freedom aspects and what the Supreme Court’s ruling might mean for houses of traditional worship.

All I’m asking is that in the rush to establish new rights, that tolerance for religious freedom be considered as well.

The federal government has already told religious institutions that run hospitals that they must provide contraceptives to their employees, even if it runs counter to their beliefs. So now, if the government ultimately compels us to describe same-sex unions as marriage, what’s next?

For centuries now, churches have allowed the state (and by this I mean the government) to license marriage ceremonies. It follows then that what is happening in America at present was inevitable long ago.

To speak of faith in this context is to invite the charge of bigotry — if not outright, at least by comparison to angry fire-and-brimstone preachers who seem to use the Bible as a lash. Some wield the Old Testament like a cudgel, and avoid the New Testament, in which Christ asked us to refrain from judging and to love our neighbor.

No one with half a brain wants to be thought of as a bigot. But that’s what I and others risk as members of a distinct and irritating minority — as traditional Christians in journalism.

It is a world of language and political symbolism, a world where ideas are often framed so that they may lead to inexorable conclusions favored by the dominant culture. In this media world, I sometimes wonder whether the word “sin” has been outlawed by the high priests of journalism for fear of offending one group or another. And I’d rather not ask.

Now that the debate has been framed, if I hold to my faith and resist applauding the changes, I’m easily cast as some drooling white cartoon bigot of the Jim Crow era, denying black Americans the right to sit at a lunch counter and have a meal with the white folks.

It’s a cheap construction, yes, thoughtless, yet widely accepted in the news media and therefore effective…

And while I struggle with the fast-moving issue of the redefinition of marriage and its effect on our culture and how to reconcile the rights of others and my own religious beliefs, I ask only one thing:

Tolerance.

Remember that word? Tolerance?

Tolerance for those whose faith and traditional beliefs put them in what is fast becoming the minority.

Now maybe the lazy construction of “good guys vs. bigots” works for you. But maybe you’re a journalist with a bit less of the activist in you and a bit more of the curious in you. Kass provides a good avenue for exploration.

The civil rights construction necessarily requires that those who are not brought into line be given the treatment Piers Morgan gave Ryan Anderson. It requires reeducation and ostracism. It certainly doesn’t require being open to hearing arguments that contradict deeply held emotions.

Exploring whether that framework is nothing but upside for all, exploring whether it’s the right way to view this discussion might be a good use of a journalist’s time, no? Or are we too busy changing our avatars?

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  • Phil

    I don’t understand the use of the phrase “marriage as an institution built on sexual orientation” (at the start of this blog post). I have never heard anyone argue that–although I don’t understand the phrase, (so maybe I have had).

    As pointed out in the March 27 blog post (Marriage v. Marriage), there is a “revisionist” understanding of marriage that builds/defines the institution on something other than opposite sex complementarianism, but that understanding of marriage has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

    • mollie

      You may have heard it as “who cares who you love?” or something like that. It doesn’t matter if you love a man or a woman — the sexes are 100% interchangeable — it just matters that you get to marry who you love. If your orientation is toward the same sex or a different sex, it’s all the same — now marriage is about you fulfilling your sexual orientation.

      • Phil

        Two thoughts:

        1) Reading through a number of these blog posts, I see that you are keen on the idea that “society” (or maybe more accurately, the Law) keeps mistakenly saying that the sexes are “100% interchangeable.” I don’t think this is accurate. A more valid way of looking at what keeps happening is that “society” (or the Law) asks the question/states: “We accept that the sexes are different, that is, they are not 100% interchangeable, so given that fact, explain why the difference between the sexes is meaningful ‘here’ (where ever ‘here’ happens to be)” If you cannot explain (in a rational, reasonable way, without appealing to Religion/Bible) why that difference is meaningful in any given circumstance, you do not get to use the difference of the sexes as the basis for your distinction.

        2) Rather than a long explanation of why “marriage is built on sexual orientation” is a wrong way to summarize what marriage is “built on” for the pro-same-sex marriage side of the debate, I think I can suffice to say that no one on that side of the debate would recognize it as accurate. If the other side doesn’t own it (or at least recognize it), it probably isn’t a fair way to refer to it.

        • mollie

          As for 1, you might take it up with Vaughn Walker, since it’s his argument.
          As for 2, I’m more than open to different ways of talking about the nut of the disagreement between those who wish to retain marriage as the institution built on sexual complementarity and those who wish for it to be built around something else.
          We’re a bit far into the battle without having even understood what the battle is precisely about, but better late than never.
          The current media frameworks “lovers vs. bigots” is so inadequate (at best) that I’m trying to just get some juices flowing about better frameworks.
          Saying marriage is about who you love, as revisionists say, seems to me to be about sexual expression (revisionists aren’t arguing that marriage should be open to other non-romantic (for lack of a better word) groupings of people). But I didn’t want it to seem like they are (consciously) arguing for polygamy/polyandry/other changes to marriage law so I thought “orientation” was a good way of expressing the idea that the sex of the partners is unimportant but that other changes aren’t on the table (yet).
          Again, though, I’m all for more ideas here. Just the “good guys vs. bigots” is not the best approach for the media. How to describe these different ideas in neutral but informative ways?

          • Phil

            1) I think someone has given you bad information about Vaughn Walker’s decision. I believe his reasoning was much closer to what I described, rather than what you described. (If you have a cite to a good summary of the decision I’m interested; I don’t have time to re-read it right now.) But simply put, Vaughn Walker examined the ways in which the parties had claimed the sexes were different as it relates to marriage, and found that there was no reasonable basis to differentiate based on those differences. (More technically, Vaughn Walker found that the parties had failed to offer evidence that there was a difference that needed to be taken into account here).

            2) Hmmmm. Good question!

          • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

            Mollie: In most societies, marriage is about family and children, about duty and cooperation so that children can live in a stable environment, not about “love”, what ever that means.

          • Phil

            we discussed media coverage of the efforts to change marriage from an institution built on sexual complementarity to an institution built on sexual orientation.

            2. “we discussed media coverage of the efforts to change marriage from an institution built on the union of two people of the opposite sex to an institution built on the union of two people regardless of sex”

          • Phil

            Opps. Dang blockquote. Obviously the second half of my post should not be block quoted.

      • sari

        mollie,
        I am a little confused. How does marriage fulfill one’s sexual orientation? The real issue is how the concept of marriage has shifted over time from one which a) produced children, b) raised those children to be functional members of society, and c) defined how property would be transferred from one generation to the next. Jewish Scripture specifies that marriage involves one man and n+1 women, prohibits homosexual sex and bestiality for any reason, defines the basic rights and obligations that men, women,a nd their families have to one another, and demonstrates the problems inherent in marriage for passion alone (Jacob/Leah, David/Batsheva). When love defined who one would marry, when procreation became incidental–both the desire to have children and the need to have them within the confines of marriage, the definition shifted from one of duty and obligation to one defined strictly by love, even when the relationship was inappropriate.

        Current societal mores, as evidenced by the decline of marriage, the number of children born out of wedlock, the percentage of people who divorce, and the percentage who are childless by choice have made same-sex marriage an inevitability. Why should one group of people who set up households, when those households mirror the rest of society, be subject to lesser status and denied the same rights under the law? That’s the real question that should be asked. In the secular sphere, marriage fulfills the desire to be married, nothing more.

        • sari

          Ach! That should be Jacob/Rachel. Leah is widely considered to be the epitome of a good wife, and their marriage the better marriage.

  • Suzanne

    Meanwhile, Mollie, you practiced calling people Nazis. Seriously, how can you possibly have credibility on the issue of name-calling when you introduce a Nazi phrase to describe the thinking of people you disagree with?

    • Ryan

      What in the world are your referring to, Suzanne? Without substantiating such a charge, how are you doing anything more than irrational name-calling?

      • mollie

        To defend Suzanne here, she is upset that I used a German word that means “the enforcement of standardization and the elimination of all opposition within the political, economic, and cultural institutions of a state” — the reference was to the lack of curiosity about intellectual arguments in play and the end result of scary behavior as evidenced by Piers Morgan. I quoted the scholar on how the particular legal approach being taken by the courts will/would/does give only a provisional and contingent tolerance, tailored to accommodate those that hold what the court considers a publicly unacceptable private bigotry. He went on “Where over time it emerges that this bigotry has not in fact disappeared, more aggressive measures will be needed, which will include more explicit legal and educational components, as well as simple ostracism.” So I wrote:
        “The media — through the stories they choose to cover and the manner they choose to cover them are simply ahead of the game in this Gleichschaltung.”
        It does have Nazi connotations, I assume because that’s what the Nazi’s called their program to do this — but sometimes the German just works.
        I would love a non-German word for this, if anyone has any suggestions.

        • Suzanne

          I think you’re being disingenuous, Mollie. I’m sure you knew exactly what connotations the word had when you used it. It wasn’t just used by the Nazis, it was coined by them. The only current uses of it I’ve found have been by right-wing commentators employing it as a deliberate callback to Nazis Germany.

          Again, the whole point of your post was how the terrible liberal media are calling people names rather than discussing issues honestly. You undermine your entire argument when you use a term like that.

          • mollie

            Well, for the reasons you state, I would love to have a different word to use. I’ll look for one and please let me know if you have any suggestions.

            As for the whole point of my post, I was talking about the limits of the framework the media have adopted for how they tell the story. One of the side effects is the intolerance of that regime as it plays out in how suppressive persons are treated.

          • deiseach

            Suzanne, please ask the pro-marriage equality side to stop calling me a homophobe. I’m not scared of gay people, much less suffer from an irrational fear. (Heights are a different thing).

            It’s a label I’ve seen used in tandem with the “bigot” one, or on its own. It reduces any opposition to the level of being the same thing as being scared of spiders, fire or small spaces (though much more socially harmful and less sympathetically regarded). Any arguments have not reason but unthinking psychological maladjustment behind them.

            If people insist on using a term connoting mental or psychic disorder, I am going to retort by accusing them of neurotypical prejudice, attempting to enforce neuronormativity (on the same lines as heteronormativity and not respecting neurodiversity. You have been warned!

        • sari

          mollie,
          Why not just stick with the definition, or condense it a little, in the absence of a good synonym? Homosexuals were targeted and killed by the Nazis in much the same was the Jews. Most journalists are careful about using Nazi-era terms when addressing issues relevant to Jews.

        • Will

          How about harking to Communist China, where censorship is officially dubbed “harmonization”. (Leading to such locutions as “my post was harmonized.”)

          • James Stagg

            Though it doesn’t roll off the tongue, Mollie, you might use the term “doctrinal intransigence”. It fits the situation exactly, and would scare the h-ll out of any liberal (“Doctrinal? You really think I’m doctrinal?”)

    • northcoast

      Suzanne, assuming I have a clue what the train of thought is here, would it have helped if Mollie had inserted a smiley face after that sentence? My great-grandparents were born in Germany, and I’m kind of used to the term whether it applies or not.

  • Jettboy

    If gay marriage passes, I think that religious people should get married by their Priests and Pastors (or whatever you call your religious leaders) without getting a marriage license. I remember looking at a piece of paper to sign when I got married and asking why I had to have permission from the state. Sure I signed it as a matter of protocol, but it was silly and even a little insulting. My marriage was between me, my wife, my church and my God.

    • Kate

      Honestly, because the legal marriage license provides legal protections for my kids, even if those protections have been weakened over the years. I fully expect the long term consequences of society’s changing definition of marriage to eventually reduce that protection to almost nothing, but at present, even the relatively minor difficulties and expenses involved in obtaining divorce help provide children with families that weather bumpy seasons, and give some financial landing spot for abandoned spouses. In addition, as a non-citizen who married a US citizen, my residency in the US was dependent upon that legal endorsement.

      But, I’ll note, we had the legal ceremony before we had our church wedding, and we did not consider ourselves married in a real sense until we had the church wedding.

    • Martha

      Mm-hmm, Jettboy. So if (God between us and all harm), your marriage broke down, you wouldn’t look for civil divorce? You wouldn’t maybe go to family law court over maintenance payments and custody and access and visitation rights? You would not remarry either civilly or in a religious service until the death of your spouse?

      All the people who protested over “I don’t need a piece of paper to enforce a commitment” and “It’s no businsess of the State whom I love” – all those who then went to court for ‘palimony’ and asked the law to decide on splitting income or profits for work done or services rendered, even when they had been cohabiting and chose not to get married; all those who wanted inheritance rights for children born out of wedlock and recognition that they had the rights to visit sick partners, be included on health insurance and pension plans, co-signers on mortgages and the like – I wish they’d make up their minds.

  • mollie

    By the way, I hope that everyone who complained about my use of the Piers Morgan video (man do some people dislike him!) will appreciate the use of this clip from The Life of Brian.
    We can at least all laugh at Monty Python, right? (Don’t answer that.)

    • Martha

      RE: disliking Piers Morgan, “Private Eye” magazine regularly refers to him as “Piers Moron” (due to a feud he started with the editor, Ian Hislop).

    • http://lostreef.blogspot.com/ Lasseter

      It’s been a long time, but I don’t even remember that movie being all that funny. That clip made me smile, though. A pleasant surprise. Poignant too, I tell you. Brought a tear to my eye.

      Thanks for the levity.

    • Ryan

      Absolutely; that clip from “The Life of Brian” occurs to me just about every time I hear news about this issue!

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    “Believing — by science, religion or otherwise — that all humans are made male and female and that the regeneration of humans requires the joining together of male and female and that no one should have any legal right to do anything different is — as we all know — grounds for being openly derided, called names and generally marginalized.”

    ‘Fixed that for you’, as they say on the interwebs.

    • mollie

      I know you’re just expressing yourself, but of course one of the problems with media coverage is that it conflates freedom to express your sexual orientation however you may wish with whether or not marriage should be the institution in which that happens.

      • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

        So… what you meant to say was:
        “Believing — by science, religion or otherwise — that all humans are made male and female and that the regeneration of humans requires the joining together of male and female and that no one should have any legal right to do anything different with respect to marriage is — as we all know — grounds for being openly derided, called names and generally marginalized.”

        Are there any more steps or qualifications you left out when characterizing people you disagree with?

  • Cathy G

    1) Not all religious people are opposed to gay marriage. Where are they mentioned in this post?
    2) No one in favor of gay marriage wants people who oppose it on religious grounds to be free from expressing their opposition. That opposition, however, is not free from criticism when it is expressed. I think we need to file that under freedom of expression on both sides.
    3) Playing victim is fun, until it is exposed for what it is: http://prospect.org/article/oppressed-christians-and-second-class-citizenship

    • Steve Bauer

      The point you seem to miss is that what the media is engaged in is not legitimate criticism, which would consider the arguments presented seriously, but demonization.

  • Cathy G

    I think the parallels in media coverage have a certain similarity. Note the compilation from the local newspapers of the time.

    On May 3, 1908, The New York Times reprinted national coverage of something called the “Black and Tan Festivity,” which apparently was an event in which black people and white people ate together in New York City. While many local papers in the South were outraged by the events, the Richmond News Leader wasn’t too concerned that Yankee immorality would creep down South. “Of course, the whole affair was eminently disgusting, but really it does not concern the South in the least. It is a matter of Northern taste, though taste most offensive to the every instinct of every man and women who as a right to be recognized as white, and not a Caucasian degenerate and pariah.”

    Link to full story: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F50817FD3D5517738DDDAA0894DD405B888CF1D3

    • Dale

      You’re quoting early twentieth century editorials about miscegenation. How is that relevant to this conversation? First, they are editorial comments, not (supposedly) objective journalism, which is what Mollie is criticizing. Second, by modern standards, early twentieth century journalism was about as unprofessional as you can get, which is why it gets slammed with the pejorative “yellow journalism”. See Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane

      If, as the current American journalism profession claims, the goal of good journalism is objective coverage of the news, then it is incumbent upon the journalist to accurately describe the positions of the opposing parties in a disagreement. It is not to declare the disagreement resolved, adopt one party’s terminology and arguments as established fact and impugn the character of anyone who should disagree. That’s editorializing, and doing a hack job of it.

      • Cathy G

        Well, I’m all for opponents of SSM to get their day in print, whether it’s based on animus towards gay people or something else. I prefer those who do not want equality under the law for all citizens to state their case publicly, where it can be seen and examined. But it seems to me that in the piece I linked, the language against race-mixing and the language used by opponents of SSM are remarkably similar. The editorial style was in fact the way hard news was presented then, and both sides are heard from there.

        Should the press today give the KKK equal time, as though their views are just another viewpoint? How about people who deny the Holocaust? At what point does a viewpoint cross over to something that a majority can safely concur on, as a society?

        I seem to recall a piece written by an author at “Gawker.com” – of all places – where he visited a KKK compound to find out what they believed and how they operated in a society that rejects them. He interviewed several members of the Klan, and while the tone wasn’t fawning, he sure did attempt to be balanced about it. His disapproval came through anyway. It had to – the Klan is revolting. http://gawker.com/5898493/

        Is that happening here? Can that be shown in any concrete way?

        • Dale

          Cathy wrote:

          I prefer those who do not want equality under the law for all citizens to state their case publicly, where it can be seen and examined.

          I want equality under the law for all citizens; I don’t see this as an issue of equality before the law. I have a law degree, so I DO understand what the concept means, and I know that you’re abusing it by suggesting that same-sex marriage is a clear-cut case of equal protection. It ain’t.

          Your mischaracterization of the opponents to same-sex marriage shows exactly the complaints that are being made about the press coverage. If you, or a member of the journalism profession are so incapable of listening to others arguments and reporting them accurately, then get out of the profession..

          But it seems to me that in the piece I linked, the language against race-mixing and the language used by opponents of SSM are remarkably similar.

          And I can find arguments by pederasts about sexual identity and free sexual expression that are remarkably similar to those made by gay rights activists. But pointing out those similarities wouldn’t be particularly enlightening– in fact, it would be playing on people’s emotions to prejudice them against gay people without considering the validity of the arguments presented. And that’s your game.

          • Cathy G

            Dale, with all due respect, your attainment of a law degree doesn’t preclude you from misunderstanding what equal protection under the law means. The Phelpses have law degrees too. I know that the comparison is icky, but the fact is that claims that “God ordained segregation based on natural differences between the races” bear a striking resemblance to “natural law” arguments against SSM. There’s no way around that.

            Loving v. VA’s majority holding said that the right to marry a person of one’s choosing is a fundamental right. It didn’t get into gender distinctions. The Bible was invoked by the lower court as a justification for prohibiting miscegnated marriages, and the Court found that argument wanting.

            You can trot out the pederast canard all you want, without any consideration of the fact that they are speaking of people – children – who are incapable of consent to marry anyone. Also, as we know, sexual identity and expression are only part of marriage, not its totaliity. That’s apples and oranges, and you know it. I can’t even say “Nice try.” You did not, in your comment, raise a valid argument or any argument at all to support unequal treatment of gay couples under the law.

            As I said, those who wish gay couples to be treated unequally under the law have the right to be heard, and I like it when the press gives them equal time. They sound a lot like you, and that means that the law will continue to move in the direction of social and legal parity for gay couples.

          • Mr. X

            “I know that the comparison is icky, but the fact is that claims that “God ordained segregation based on natural differences between the races” bear a striking resemblance to “natural law” arguments against SSM. There’s no way around that.”

            First of all, no it doesn’t. Secondly, even if the logical forms of the argument were the same, that still wouldn’t establish that the arguments against SSM are wrong, because they start from different premises.

          • Brian Westley
  • http://www.johannite.org Jordan Stratford+

    It does seem to me that this article is first and foremost a lazy straw man argument (“an institution built on sexual orientation” is something advocated by no one), and thereafter something of a tantrum. This is not up to the standards of this site as a whole.

    There has, since Henry VIII, in Western culture been a gradual divorce (!) between the Church’s sacrament of marriage and the state’s paperwork. Curiously, the state doesn’t ask me to fill out forms for Eucharist, or Baptisms, but it does for matrimony. That seems to me a worthwhile topic of exploration.

    Now, I think if the issue at hand is “someone called me a bigot and I don’t like it” then this article can stand as a personal rant. But if the broader issue is “someone called me a bigot and I don’t think that’s fair” then please DEFINE terms and walk the reader through the degree to which the author is not in fact a “white cartoon” lunch counter bigot. If there’s a case to be made, make the case. If the story is that the media is not letting the case be heard, show me an interview with an editor who’s saying “we don’t want to air the reasons why opposition to same-sex marriage may not be bigotry.” Make *that* case.

    As a reader, I’d greatly appreciate reading any one of the above stories. But as to whatever this was… more heat than light, as they say. Or is GR just a Facebook wall now?

  • tmatt

    WOW.

    Note how many people in this thread are reacting to the actual content of the piece in The Chicago Tribune! Lots of interest here in improving basic journalism on this issue.

    • northcoast

      I decided it was worth while to sign in with the Tribune, but their anal-retentive password policy got under my skin, and I gave up with the text unread. I was able to listen to the recording.

    • Phil

      I too gave up when I saw that I had to sign in.

      Having said that, the excerpt that is contained in this blog post was not particularly impressive (IMHO). Kass starts with the (tired) tactic that legalization of same sex marriage means that the government may very well come for the churches next (those that won’t recognize same sex marriage). I believe that this is simply a scare tactic, devoid of reality. Every (I believe) legislative legalization of SSM recognizes that churches do not have to perform such marriages. In any case, even if a legislature didn’t explicitly recognize this right, the courts would uphold the churches’ right not to perform such ceremonies.

  • dalea

    Part of the problem here is that almost none of the GR staff are old enough to remember segregation as it actually existed and the long struggle to end it. John Kass writes without using the concept of ‘public accomodation’ which was the issue and ultimate solution to segregation. Distinguishing between ‘public accomodations’ and private life which includes religious practice would solve most of the problems we are looking at. Why journalists have abandoned this I do not know.

    One major error Kass makes is here: I’m easily cast as some drooling white cartoon bigot of the Jim Crow era. Factually, this is incorrect. Segregation was upheld and promoted by many learned and intelligient people, mostly but not always Southerners. Rev Criswell (sp?) for whom the SBC has named a major seminary, wrote a highly popular book entitled ‘Why I Preach Segregation is Biblical’. When I was a teenager, very well educated people would appear on teevee to argue on behalf of segregation. So, arguments from the pro SSM side depicting opponents as ‘drooling’ know nothings are really not helpful, nor are they good journalism. Precisely because segregation was not a project advanced by ignorant people.

    Coverage should look at all sides of the arguments without resorting to crude stereotypes that do not have historical foundations. I can remember that as late as 1967 and 68, the National Review ran articles defending racial segregation. Those who argued for racial segregation were not crude stereotypes devoid of reason; nor are those who argue for opposite sex marriage only. There are parrallels but there are also differences. Both should be recognized but they are not.

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    You know, non Christian cultures also define marriage as between a man and a woman ( or more commonly a man and one or more women. Where are the arguments from non European and non Christian countries?

    Confucius anyone?
    Traditional marriage in Africa? India? Native American tribal customs?
    Marriage in traditional Africans or here in Asia is about having a family. People are not free individuals but a member of an extended family which has duties and gives support to their weaker members (mainly women and children). Sex is essentially surrounded by strict customs so that the children will not be abandoned in poverty, the parents won’t live abandoned, and in times of trouble, the family is there to help you.

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  • Steve

    Since they are sure that the modern good guy-bigot designation is just a Christian straw man, I am sure that Cathy, Phil and Ray are going to come to my defense in the uproar when I disallow ssm in my church and fire a youth minister that “comes out” on the biblical principle that homosexuality is a sin. For those of us who are active Pastors and have “skin in this game,” this is not some abstract philosophical excercise.

    • Suzanne

      There is not a single same-sex marriage law in the country that doesn’t include exceptions for precisely the situations you have described. And news accounts have been very clear about that. I do believe that the media could do a better job of bringing up more gray-area issues raised by same-sex marriage, but disagree that this is due to some sort of jack-booted attempt to silence dissent.

    • Phil

      The supreme court recently found (in a 9-0 decision–even the most liberal of judges agreed) that you have the right to fire the youth minister. This isn’t even a question.

      I have no idea how church membership works (or how you would “disallow ssm in your church”) so I cannot comment there.

    • Cathy G

      Steve, I concur that you can fire who you wish, but your theology would be atrocious. Even the most conservative Christians seem to think that homosexuality is not a sin; only homosexual acts are. But no one is saying you can’t fire anyone you want and no one wants to force you to perform SSM ceremonies.

    • Eidolon

      Those are some great responses for the youth pastor question. What about if you operate a business taking photos at weddings and don’t want to take pictures at gay weddings? Or you own a hotel and you don’t want to rent out the bridal suite? There have already been suits about this. Are we to believe that the same people who said they only wanted decriminalization are going to let that slide?

      Between the contraceptive mandate, the Hobby Lobby case, and the mayors trying to keep Chic-Fil-A out of their cities just because the CEO said some things they didn’t agree with, the government is making it clear that whoever has the best lobbyists and activists gets to decide what religious practices are acceptable for anyone who isn’t actually running or working at a church. Religion is a private matter, and can only be practiced in private. In business, it’s do the immoral thing the government tells you to do or get out of that business altogether.

      Gay people have never been forced to denounce homosexuality to participate in public life, but Christians are being forced to do things which are contrary to their beliefs, and basically being told that if they want to own a business they’d better check their faith at the door.

      Finally, the fact is that the gay rights lobby has lied over and over about this issue. First it was just decriminalization, just tolerate the existence of homosexuality and we’ll be happy. Then it was civil unions — just give us an equivalent and we’ll be satisfied. Now it’s marriage — just redefine a core element of every society which predates human civilization for us and that will be enough. With that track record I don’t have much trust in them stopping once they have marriage. They’ll be punishing churches that don’t allow gay marriage ceremonies soon enough. You just have to look at the bullying of anyone who supported Proposition 8 in California to see what’s coming.

      • Suzanne

        “Gay people have never been forced to denounce homosexuality to participate in public life.”

        Seems to me you’re overlooking hundreds (thousands?) of years in which gay people had to hide their sexual orientation or risk losing their jobs, families, their freedom or even their lives. There was tremendous pressure to act as though they were something they weren’t and to, yes, denounce homosexuality to throw off suspicion that they might be gay.

        The points you raise about businesses are good ones and need to be talked about in the media and at a legislative level. But to pretend that that religious conservatives are the only people ever to face societal pressure over this issue is just silly.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    None of the stories I have read in the mainstream media point out one irrefutable major fact:
    That a nation which embraces sterility enthusiastically on a large scale (whether by condom, killing of the unborn, or promotion of homosexual practices ) is a nation realistically and effectively on a path to self-genocide. And that is fast becoming modern America.

    • sari

      They don’t point these out as “facts”, Deacon John, because they are non-data-based assertions made by people who believe them to be facts and who seem to feel that their beliefs should be imposed on the population at large. Not so different from the allegations made against the media is it? Media bias is wrong, but so is fudging or misrepresenting the issues by the other side. In fact, this is a society which embraces fecundity by choice, not one which advocates sterility or rigid population control a la China. Limiting family size, planning one’s family do not equate to no family.

    • Cathy G

      I’m pretty sure that orphanages are full to the rafters with children who are unwanted, despite the ready availability of contraception and abortion and a dropping American birth rate. How do I know this? Well, where it is legal, gay couples are adopting such children. Quite a bit, actually. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/us/14adoption.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  • Julia

    Cathy: there are very few orphanages any more; lots of older kids in foster care. What does this have to do with same sex marriage and the issues raised in this post?

    • Cathy G

      Nothing, Julia. But it has everything to do with the Deacon’s false assertions with regard to self-genocide.

      • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

        It is not a false assertion. Whole books have been written on the topic of Islam taking over Europe by demography as well as the demographic collapse of Americans of European stock here in the U.S.
        As far back as 2002 some people have noticed this demographic collapse (which I called self-genocide, since groups are doing this to themselves.)
        One of Pat Buchanan’s biggest selling books is titled “The Death of the West.” and was published many years ago before a lot of others caught on to what was happening on the demography front. But, of course, when someone like the controversial conservative Buchanan is prophetically correct the liberal media doesn’t exactly tell the world much about it.

  • FW Ken

    This thread is not worthy of Get Religion. I hate to say that (and heaven knows I’m not without sin), but there it is.

  • Pingback: A primer of resources on the case against same-sex marriage | Notes from a Small Place


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