Why the Defenders of Traditional Marriage are Totally Like Nazis

Several recent posts (here and here) on the topic of homosexuality and traditional Christian marriage evoked the usual hate mail, and some of it was worth reading. One comment, from a gentleman calling himself Joe Chip, illustrated why this conversation is so treacherous. Although it began with the usual ridiculousness (“Timothy Dalrymple is so wrong on every count it makes ones [sic] head spin”), it assumed ill motives on my part but turned in a more illuminating direction:

Timothy goes out of his way to dress up his animus directed towards homosexuals by using big words and appeals to authority. Increasingly, clear-thinking persons…are rejecting the “sophisticated theology” of the [defenders of "traditional marriage"). All we see is your actions, which really just boil down to making sure our homosexual brothers and sisters are forever classed as second class citizens in the eyes of the state.

Joe may find this impossible to believe, but the truth is that there are many gays I love and respect -- some chaste and many sexually active, some Christian and many not. I consider them brothers and sisters as well. My love for them is no different than my love for my heterosexual friends. But Joe has never understood where people like myself are coming from. It seems irrational to him, and inconceivable that it could flow from loving motives -- ergo people like myself must be driven by prejudice. Which is why, Joe says, it's fitting -- even though I myself have never done anything against the interests of gays except explain why I hold to traditional Christian teachings on sexuality and marriage -- to liken me and those like me to Nazis, slaveowners and the exterminators of Native Americans:

It is absolutely appropriate to lump your ilk in with those who use the power of the State to oppress 'the enemy', at which times in history HAS been the Native American, the Jew, the Black Slave, the interracial married couple, and the Homosexual...I wish you had the courage simply to admit you don't like homosexuals and don't want them to have the same rights you enjoy...We don't care about your words. We look at your actions and the suffering they cause to our friends.

It's these final lines that I find helpful. This is not new to me. I've been a part of this conversation for several years now. But "Joe Chip" states clearly a very important point for the defenders of traditional marriage to understand. He goes on at greater length in a second comment:

[Timothy] works under the assumption that one can support denying fellow US citizens basic human rights (in this case, the right to marry) and yet remain ‘pure’ and should be above being called nasty names. He is shocked, shocked, [NOTE: I'm not shocked at all, I simply think it's wrong] that “we have reached a point where anyone who believes gay sex is wrong or anyone who believes that marriage is ordained by God for the union of a man and a woman is ostracized and condemned as hateful, bigoted, and the equivalent of a racist. ”

Honestly, should a ‘nice person’ who claims to love women but still works to ensure they don’t have the right to vote be above criticism? Should a “kind master” not be condemned for owning slaves? Should a “Christian pastor” who believes a large segment of the citizens of his own country should never have the right to marry be untarnished?

WE DON’T CARE how nice you think you are. We look at your actions, which are devoted to making sure the State does as you think your religious book says and keeps your brothers and sisters from marrying.

Except, of course, (1) that I don’t believe there is a “right to marry,” much less a “basic human right” that any adult should be able to join himself or herself to any other adult and receive the full sanction and rewards of the state, and (2) I’m on record suggesting that Christians perhaps should no longer oppose a legal recognition of gay marriage, even if (I think) they should continue to insist on the moral teaching that acting on homosexual desires is wrong and the theological teaching that only male-female marriage is marriage in the eyes of God.

Yet this comment reflects the unfortunate legacy of draping the American gay-marriage movement in the flag of the civil rights struggle. Disagree on the definition of marriage or the morality of same-sex activity — and you’re some kind of Nazi. Neither your beliefs nor your motives matter. You simply are Bull Connor if your actions are not what the other side would prefer.

Let’s see how this would work in other areas. I believe that the unborn have a right to life. Let’s stipulate that Joe fights for abortion access. I don’t care that we disagree on the fundamental question at hand. I don’t care that he claims to care for life. What matters are his actions. He fights for abortion access — against the unborn’s right to life. Ergo he squashes human rights just like the Nazis. QED.

Or let’s take another example. I believe that business owners should have the religious freedom not to pay (even through insurance policies) for abortions or other services that go diametrically against their religious convictions. Let’s stipulate that Joe Chip does not, and takes actions to the contrary. I don’t care that he disagrees on whether I’m properly interpreting this right, and I care nothing for his claims to love small business owners. I just care that his actions deny my friends their basic human rights. Ergo he’s a human rights abuser on the level of those who slaughtered the Native Americans. QED.

Anybody else see the problem here?

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://Whatyouthinkmatters.org/blog Andrew Wilson

    Good stuff, Tim.

  • George Yancey

    Having done some research an anti-Christian thought I am beggining to think that at least some of the objections launched by supporters of same-sex marriage is done more out of a hatred of Christians than a love of homosexuals. Of course such individuals would never say as much but the name calling speaks a lot more to hate than love. I know for a fact that there is a lot of hatred towards Christians due to my research but those with it are hesitant to suggest overt laws against Christians but they are trying to find ways to shut Christians up. I have no doubt that there are some who have a passion for homosexuals and engage in this mindless name-calling out of that passion. But I also have no doubt that some of this is motivated more by anti-Christian hatred and use this issue as an opportunity to promote the narrative of Chrisitanity as evil.

    • BlazerJason

      I must disagree. Being critical of a position which seems outdated, meddlesome, and at times cruel is not hatred. We non-believers are pretty good at separating the beliefs we disagree with from the people who hold them. It is analogous to love the sinner hate the sin; like the Christian, question the beliefs.

      • George Yancey

        Blazer. I do not assume that disagreement is hatred. But I have conducted research that clearly demonstrates hatred of conservative Christians. People talking about how nice it would be if those nasty Christians just die. So just like supporters of SSM should not lump all opponents of it into categories of bigots I should not, and do not, lump all supporters of SSM into Chrsitian haters. But I would be naive, given what I have seen in my data, to ignore the reality that some of this activism is motivated by real hate.

        • BlazerJason

          I agree that some supporters of gay marriage deeply mistrust and even hate Christians. That is unfortunate, but it doesn’t diminish the argument put forth by others who share no such hatred. Using the behavior of an extremist as a way to dismiss lucid arguments is unfair to say the least. I have seen liberals make dubious arguments against the 2nd amendment by citing the rantings of nutters who claim Obama is coming in black helicopters to seize guns. We all sometimes share views with crazy or unpleasant people and that shouldn’t diminish the validity of that view. Mussolini got the trains to run on time, but that doesn’t mean that anyone who argues for prompt rail travel is a fascist.

          • George Yancey

            I have no problems having a reasonable discussion about SSM. But actaully I find that it is almost impossible to have such a conversation without people coming in with accusations of homophobia. Ususally those accusations come in before people even listen to arguements on the other side so I choose not to engage in such discussions most of the time. But as I have conducted research I have found a high degree of, let’s call it what it is, hatred towards conservative Christians. So I respect that people disagree with me but I know that logical disagreement is not the only force behind this movement. My comment is that part of the wild accusations lauched is based in hatred as much as concern for equality. I do not think that you disagree with me on this and if it is true then Christians have to be aware of that dynamic.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107482524179395571971/posts Carson Weitnauer

    Tim, I appreciate your courage on this issue. It is ironic indeed. I have been told my whole adult life that it was hateful and outdated to believe that my moral standards applied to anyone else, and that to apply my morality to others was judgmental, mean, and wrong. Live and let live. Be tolerant. Accept differences. But now, there is a new morality, and if I deny people their rights, then I am oppressive, evil, and worthy of hate. It is a startling shift between “let’s tolerate each other” to “you are basically a slave-owning racist bigot who hates everyone.” The intellectual framework for this position is lacking, to say the least, but it is also a harmful and wrong position. I’m encouraged that you continue to graciously speak against this way of treating others.

  • Sam

    Doesn’t anyone proofread anymore?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      A little bit on blogs, but not too much. I think it’s understood that a lot of people who blogs (like myself) have other jobs that are very demanding and they’re struggling to punch out a blog post in the thirty minutes they have available. So you end up telling the spouse, “I’m almost done…almost done…there! Publish — and now we can go on our date.” It’s also understood that there’s no editing process. I’ve published pieces from many top writers, including columnists at major newspapers and magazines, and I can’t tell you how many misspellings I find in their pieces.

      It would be nice to have an editor here — but in the meantime, I have a few readers who usually point out my mistakes, and I go back in and fix them when available.

  • Crœsos

    Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees with Tim and holds that marriage is a basic civil right. From Loving v. Virginia:

    The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=388&invol=1

    If one holds that there is no right to marry, on what basis can we say Loving was correctly decided?

    • John I.

      Because courts can be wrong, which is why we have appeal courts. Because judges can be wrong, which is why there are minority decisions in many cases. Even supreme courts can make decisions that are overturned by later supreme courts because at a later time the earlier decisions are considered wrong. At one time courts upheld slavery and held that women had no right to vote–were they not wrong?

      • Crœsos

        Depends on what you mean by “wrong”. In the moral sense those decisions were definitely wrong. In the legal sense, however, the courts reached the right decision in most of those cases. The pre-thirteenth amendment Constitution DID allow slavery, and even included a Fugitive Slave clause. The pre-nineteenth amendment Constitution did not allow women the vote. Pretending that the Constitution we have today is somehow retroactive does violence to history.

        All of which ignores my main question. IF we hold that marriage is not a right THEN is there any reason Loving should have been decided the way it was? The reasoning for objecting to considering civil marriage to be a right, as far as I can follow it, is that IF marriage is not a right, THEN the state can impose any restrictions it likes for any arbitrary reason it chooses. This seems directly on point in the Loving case.

        • George Yancey

          No it is not on point with the Loving Case. The justices were quite clear that the Loving case is about race and used a colorblindness argument for their decision. If we take your interpretation of Loving then the State cannot impose any restrictions on who can marry who. This means that incese and pologamy is legalized. Clearly that is not the intend of Loving.

          • Crœsos

            Actually they rejected the state of Virginia’s colorblindness argument (see footnote 11), that the law was “colorblind” because its restrictions applied equally to whites and non-whites. They held that even if such a neutral application were possible “we find the racial classifications in these statutes repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment”.

            My interpretation isn’t that “the State cannot impose any restrictions on who can marry who”. Rather it’s that any restrictions the state imposes on marriage should be evaluated using “strict scrutiny” rather than a “rational basis” test. That’s the standard the court applies to everything else it considers a “basic civil right of man”. Why would a different standard be applied in this one particular case?

          • George Yancey

            Actually scholars generally recognize the fact that colorblindenss is the ideology used to eliminate misgentionation. For example

            http://www.albany.edu/~jn293713/research/ssmmiscart.htm

            Earl Warren does mention marriage as a basic civil right. But he also discusses it as something that cannot be unabridge by racial preferences in the state. He argued that:
            “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

            It is also worth noting that the court decison itself was based upon the fact that the Virgina law was not color blind. Indeed it promoted white supremacy
            “There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.”

            Finally in Hernandez v. Robles (2006) the courts did not use the Loving case since it was recognized that this case was decided with an historical background of slavery and the same-sex debate is a different context. The courts may well decide to legalize same-sex marriage everywhere, but the dynamics of race and sexual preference are not identical. That is why the Loving decision is not an automatic legal endorsment of same-sex marriage.

          • Crœsos

            No, the court very pointedly DID NOT base its decision on the non-colorblindness of the Virginia statute. I refer you again to Footnote 11 in Loving, where the bias inherent in the Virginia law is noted but held to be irrelevant to the legal reasoning at hand.

            “We need not reach this contention because we find the racial classifications in these statutes repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment, even assuming an even-handed state purpose to protect the “integrity” of all races.”

            C’mon, Footnote 11 is right there at the end of the passage you quote. Earl Warren didn’t just put it there as a placeholder. Do the man a favor and read what he put there! In short, contrary to your assertion, EVEN IF Virginia had crafted an anti-miscegenation statute that was even-handed to all racial classifications, it would still be unconstitutional under Earl Warren’s reasoning.

          • George Yancey

            Really Okay. This is the passage that you are referring to.
            ” Appellants contend that this distinction renders Virginia’s miscegenation statutes arbitrary and unreasonable even assuming the constitutional validity of an official purpose to preserve “racial integrity.” We need not reach this contention because we find the racial classifications in these statutes repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment, even assuming an even-handed state purpose to protect the “integrity” of all races.”

            Note that he is arguing that the state is arguing for raical intergrity which Warren finds repugant. That is not an argument for colorblindness. He argues that even if Virgina does apply the law to those of all races then it is still inconsistant with the fourteenth admendment. But we cannot take a footnote out of context. That larger context is the quote I provided above which indicate that anti-miscengenation laws are unconstitional because they do engage in racial discrimination or treat people differently by race. A colorblind norm is what drove the Loving decision. Did you read the artile in the link? The authors acknowledge the colorblind justication of Loving. One footnote when he is basically saying that even if Virgina could claim that they are inhibiting whites as well as blacks that it is still racial discrimintion does not hold up to the other evidence that colorblindness, or at least the desire to not discriminate against those of different races, is the major factor behind the Loving decision.

    • Sven

      Even more broadly: liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable human rights. If someone’s expression of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, such as same-sex marriage, does no harm to any person or property or society, then it must be lawful.

      • http://www.mindrenewers.com Jon Gleason

        Then by your reasoning, those who believe SSM will be detrimental to society must oppose it.

        Those who believe it is not detrimental to society must support it.

        So there’s no reason to call people names….

  • LexCro

    Tim,

    I echo Carson’s praise of your courage on this issue. Also, as an Black American man married to a White woman I appreciate the fact that you comment on “the unfortunate legacy of draping the American gay-marriage movement in the flag of the civil rights struggle.” It is deep nonsense when pro-gay ideologues accuse Christians that we are ideologically in league with segregationists and Nazis simply because we dare to speak prophetically against gay marriage.

  • George Yancey

    As someone who has done a lot of reseach on interracial marriage and thus had to familize himself with the “Loving” decision I can tell you that it was about whether a state could refuse to marry someone based on race. It was not a proclimation to marry anyone a person desired or else it would have invalidated incest and pologamy laws.

    • http://www.sunstonescafe.com/ Paul Sunstone

      But Loving did establish that, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”

      • Frank

        Procreation is implied there. SSM does not apply.

        • Sven

          Can you cite an example of a marriage being annulled in the United States because they didn’t reproduce? Can you cite an example of a marriage certificate being denies on the grounds of infertility?
          Just because marriage can promote reproduction, it does not follow that all marriages must be reproductive.

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            But just because some couples cannot reproduce doesn’t mean that the *institution* of marriage should not be made for male and female in part because of their reproductive capacity.

          • Frank

            All I said was that the court “married” procreation and marriage in their statement and in almost every case around this issue of marriage being a right. They are speaking to the institution as most people are when they talk about marriage. The idea of a heterosexual married couple who cannot have children is not relevant to the institution.

      • DougH

        Yes, marriage between one man and one woman – traditional marriage – is “one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” Certainly, no one at the time thought that basic civil right extended to the marriage of two men or two women, nor do most people even now seem to think it extends to one man and two women or two men and one woman – that was settled generations before Loving. If you are going to quote earlier Supreme Court decisions, you also need to include as context just what they considered marriage to be.

        • Crœsos

          “Expected application” is a very tricky standard to apply to Constitutional analysis. For instance, the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment didn’t seem to think it forbade anti-miscegenation laws, or Segregation generally for that matter, given that many of the same state legislators who voted to ratify it went on to pass the first iteration of Jim Crow laws. I’m not sure why their expected application of marriage law in the one case (gender restrictions) is held to be binding, but not the other (racial restrictions).

          • Basil

            There have been 14 cases since 1888 in which the Supreme Court has affirmed in various that marriage is a fundamental right:

            1.Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 205, 211 (1888): Marriage is “the most important relation in life” and “the foundation of the family and society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress.”
            2.Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923): The right “to marry, establish a home and bring up children” is a central part of liberty protected by the Due Process Clause.
            3.Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942): Marriage “one of the basic civil rights of man,” “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”
            4.Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486 (1965): “We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights—older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.”
            5.Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967): “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
            6.Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 376, 383 (1971): “[M]arriage involves interests of basic importance to our society” and is “a fundamental human relationship.”
            7.Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632, 639-40 (1974): “This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
            8.Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 499 (1977) (plurality): “[W]hen the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, this Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation.”
            9.Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S. 678, 684-85 (1977): “[I]t is clear that among the decisions that an individual may make without unjustified government interference are personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education.”
            10.Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, 384 (1978): “[T]he right to marry is of fundamental importance for all individuals.”
            11.Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 95 (1987): “[T]he decision to marry is a fundamental right” and an “expression[ ] of emotional support and public commitment.”
            12.Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 851 (1992): “These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
            13.M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 116 (1996): “Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as ‘of basic importance in our society,’ rights sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against the State’s unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect.”
            14.Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 574 (2003): “[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and education. … Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”

            Even prisoners still retain the right to marry (this has gone to the federal courts, apparently). Gay couples getting married should hardly attract the fuss and consternation that it seems to from those on the right.

          • Frank

            Thanks Basil for the information. It’s quite clear that the court “marries” marriage and procreation. SSM does not apply.

          • Crœsos

            That’s not clear at all, given the rulings in Griswold (#4 on Basil’s list) and Lawrence (#14).

          • Frank

            Eventually we will find out.

            I predict DOMA falls and Prop 8 stands.

          • DougH

            First, you’re conflating those that drafted the 14th Amendment with those that voted for it, they aren’t the same. Second, during Reconstruction anti-miscegenation laws were either unenforced, overturned by the courts, or even in some cases repealed by state governments. It was only after Reconstruction was abandoned – along with the recently freed Black population – that anti-miscegenation laws were again enforced and in some cases reinstated. By the time the Supreme Court found such laws constitutional under the 14th Amendment in 1883 in Pace v. Alabama, we were well into the period of the “Separate but Equal” distortion of the 14th Amendment that was cemented less than a decade later by Plessy and wasn’t corrected until the Civil Rights era.

            And yes, the Supreme Court has been very reluctant to officially apply the same strict scrutiny that it applies to racial classification and its corollaries to other categories, leaving them to the “rational basis” test or a rather squishy intermediate standard for issues of sex, gender and legitimacy.

            And all of that’s a bit beyond my point, which is that if you are going to quote someone in support of your position on marriage – especially when it comes to court precedent – honesty requires that their definition of marriage is at least within shouting distance of your own. IMHO, neither plural marriage of any variation nor same sex marriage are within shouting distance of the traditional marriage that the court justices were referring to as a fundamental civil right.

  • JB13

    @Croesos: So the SCOTUS is now the arbiter of what is an is not, and what we all should believe? So how would you have felt about, say, Citizens United? Or Heller? The SCOTUS ruled in both of these cases: Are you prepared to say that their decisions were right, and you agree with them? That corporations are people? I seem to recall the Left berating Romney for saying that, but the SCOTUS had ruled, so I’m guessing you were among those who rose to defend Mitt, right? And in Heller, the Court held that individual gun ownership was a Constitutional right, as the Right had argued for decades. Yet, somehow, I’d bet you don’t believe the matter entirely settled yet. (And for the record, I believe you are perfectly free to hold that opinion, that the Court erred. But don’t come back and beat Timothy over the head with a Court opinion, simply because he disagrees with that particular opinion.)

    • Crœsos

      I hold that the SCOTUS is the arbiter of what is and is not the law of the land. More to the point for this discussion, their decisions on what is and is not a right, in the legal sense of the term, is dispositive in jurisdictions governed by the U.S. Constitution.

      So yes, you’re free to believe you have the right to a free ice cream sundae on your birthday. But the fact that you believe it doesn’t make it true.

  • SKPeterson

    Yes, marriage is a fundamental right: any man has the perfectly free right to marry any woman who will have him.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I get the point, and gay rights advocates will accuse you of being flip or cute, but I still don’t think that marriage is a fundamental right. Or, I can put it more precisely. I think a person has a right to get married. I don’t think any person — even a person in a hetero marriage — has a right to force the state to recognize that marriage.

      • Crœsos

        This seems to take a very limited view of liberty. Your position seems to be that the state can be arbitrarily discriminatory on any grounds it chooses, with a very few exceptions specifically noted in law.

        I take the opposite view: that if the state wants to discriminate between cases it cannot do so on a spurious or arbitrary basis. In other words, IF the state wishes to treat opposite-sex couples differently than same-sex couples (or opposite-handedness couples differently than same-handedness couples, or interfaith couples differently than same-faith couples, or . . . you get the idea) THEN the state should have to explain why the state has an interest in maintaining such a distinction and why the measures they’ve adopted are the least restrictive means to achieve this interest.

        In short, it should be the state’s burden to justify disparate treatment, not the citizen’s burden to justify their equality under the law.

  • Kelly

    I’ve noticed this trend in your comment section: people say that no matter what you say, no matter how you say it, no matter how nuanced your arguments, no matter how many gay friends you have, it’s all some thin screen for your seething hatred of homosexuals.

    You say “I don’t hate gays,” and they say “yes you do.” You say “I have gay friends” and they say “no you don’t.” It’s so silly and fruitless.

    • Will

      Well, Kelly, recall that all Tim has to do is say “I love gay people, and I’m trying to keep their rights restricted out of love!” He’s not being forced to deal with anything other than some upset internet commentators, unlike the people his faith has victimized, who deal with everything from violent bullying and exclusion to state-sanctioned discrimination largely because of the decades of advocacy by people like good ol’ loving Tim. So you will pardon us that we must take with a ten-pound grain of salt Tim’s declaration of his genuine love and respect for LGBT people. Actions, as they say, speak louder than words, and as George W. Bush put it so eloquently: “You’re either with us or against us.” I think it’s safe to say that Tim’s actions have declared that he is not with us, nor anyone else involved in the “defense” of “traditional marriage.”

      Next, while TIM HIMSELF may somehow have arrived at a philosophical position wherein the word “love” connotes “enforce second-class citizenship status upon,” but many of his (and I assume your) co-religionists are without question operating purely out of hate. You can’t tell me that the FRC or Westboro or the AFA or similarly hideous organizations that pounce on opportunities to capitalize on tragegy are anything other than bare-faced hate groups. The people who are saying “I can’t understand why everyone thinks Christians are anti-gay!” and “I have gay friends!” are the same people who were surprised when Romney lost the election. Christians can learn to love gay people the way the secular world does, by shutting up about it and getting on with your lives, or they can do what Tim is doing here and continue to tout their “compassion” while the rest of the world passes them by, again.

      • Regina Walker

        So, Will, what would be your feelings toward an adult male who wants to “marry” his adult daughter, or maybe even his adult son? or maybe even his horse or dog? Could you still accept him and love him? Could you really “put your money where your mouth is” and push for that kind of “marriage” because not doing so is enforcing “a second-class citizenship status” upon him?

  • http://www.sunstonescafe.com/ Paul Sunstone

    Tim, I think you beautifully point out the value of taking people’s words in good faith — as well as the risks of taking their words in bad faith. In my opinion, there needs to more discussion of that on the net because, from what I’ve seen, the norm either is, or is fast becoming, to take people’s words in bad faith.

  • http://bloggingpriest.blogspot.com Tom Sramek Jr

    I think that the key question here is: “In a secular, pluralistic society, do we have the right to impose our religious beliefs on those who do not share them?” I personally think we should separate civil and religious marriage–the state should allow any consenting adult to marry any other consenting adult (with obvious restrictions on marrying family members, for genetic reasons). People are then free to marry or not to marry in the eyes of the state. Separate from that would be the religious ceremony. Perhaps rather than couples going to obtain a marriage license before a church wedding, we should just have them obtain a marriage certificate. We can then pronounce God’s blessing on that marriage. No imposition at all.

    I don’t think that defenders of traditional marriage are Nazis, bigots, hateful or anything else (some are, some aren’t). But I think we need to admit that if this was ever a “Christian nation” it is no longer one. Just as we would object to the imposition of Sharia law in the United States, I don’t see any reason why we should impose “Christian law” on those not a part of the church. If Jesus had wanted to do so, he could have overthrown the Roman occupation and assumed rule over Israel and perhaps the entire Roman empire and imposed God’s law on the entire known world. He did not, and indeed intentionally chose not to when people tried to make him. We should do no less.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Tom, we have some points in common. See my post here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2012/11/30/ten-things-i-believe-about-evangelicals-and-same-sex-marriage/

      I’m also going to post something new on this topic shortly. Hope you keep reading! ;-)

    • Crœsos

      You seem to be making the radical suggestion of adopting the system that’s been in place for decades within the U.S. Churches cannot, by themselves, perform legally-recognized marriages. Without a state license a church wedding has no legal binding force. (Except in the few states which still recognize common law marriage, where a church wedding is a superfluity.) A lot of states will permit clergy to act as witnesses to the certificate, but since there’s a lengthy list of civil officials who can do so as well this is hardly a necessity. In short, churches have been out of the the civil marriage business for decades in the U.S.

  • matt

    You say that you are on record as opposing efforts of Christians to make gay marriage illegal, but that’s because you feel like it hurts the Christian “brand” right? If you were king of the world, you wouldn’t allow gay people to get married: is that an unfair characterization?

    Every time you write about marriage equality, you mention that you have gay friends that you love and respect. I think it would be great if you asked one of them to weigh in on this debate. How do they feel about you? Do they love and respect you too? Given that you believe that gay marriage is not only sinful, but that it harms society, how do you relate to each other? I’m not trolling at all; I would like to understand.

  • John Mark

    It cannot be proven, not easily, at any rate, that one can hold to a traditional view of marriage and not hate gay people. We come to this argument with our paradigm firmly in place. Still, I think it should say *something* that Tim is willing to discuss this and allow the inevitable push-back he will get for airing his views. I have had homosexual friends, and also friends who were adulterous, liars, self-righteous, or crude or profane; I have been able to continue to be their friend in most cases. Without being able to print a sworn deposition from any of these (I’m a self-righteous jerk, but John continues to befriend me) I can’t really prove this.
    I thank you, Tim, for continuing your work with what I believe to be a very irenic approach to a controversial issue: for taking an increasingly misunderstood and rejected stance.

  • rumitoid

    Curious. I took you to be on the opposite end of the questions at hand, which led to an interesting reading. I did not have to play Devil’s advocate: my misconceptions incidentally put me there.

    The preposterous nature of elevating homosexuality as “the sin of sins” (just after or equal to abortion) is silly and dangerous. And unbiblical. Get a life.

    • Frank

      Sin is sin is sin.

  • Basil

    I think Nazi comparisons can be overblown, but a lot of the rhetoric of the Christian right is really ugly, inciting bigotry and violence. Just today, James Dobson (from your friends over at Focus on the Family) stated that the tragic murders of the children at Sandy Hook were because of abortion and same -sex marriage. The fact that he is looking for vulnerable groups to scapegoat for the murder of innocent children — that’s a classic Nazi tactic isn’t it? If “Christians” don’t want people comparing them to Nazis, then maybe they should stop sounding like the Westboro Baptists.

    For the record, the Nazi killed thousands of gay people during the Holocaust, though a full accounting is not possible — After the Second World War, gays were not acknowledged or compensated as victims, because homosexuality remained illegal in Germany into the 1960′s — most survivors simply tried to disappear, so as to avoid further imprisonment. That has changed more recently in Europe, there are memorials to the gay victims of the Holocaust in Amsterdam, Cologne, Sachsenhausen and other places. The person believed to be the last survivor, Rudolph Brazda, died in France in 2011.

    A simliar anti-gay extermination drive is being debated in Uganda (it is already quite dangerous to be gay in that country) — and it was American Christian activists (including those “ex-gay” types) who did much to inspire and encourage it. There is much work that we can all do to keep this from happening again (that includes Rick Warren doing something more than a frickin tweet!). Never Again!

  • J. Chadwick

    I definitely see the problem with the “rights” argument, and I have been pondering that myself quite a bit lately.

  • Joshua

    Good article. Being a believer in Jesus and politically moderate, I appreciate your perspective and thoughts, as they are well-articulated and intentioned.

    Sadly, I agree that being a believer in Jesus these days may necessarily pigeonhole us, in many people’s minds, into a severely unfortunate caricature. If I were to offer a soft counter-point, I’d suggest that many believers refuse to rebuke or correct one another when the more public Christians make controversial and outrageous statements. As a result, many people lump Christians altogether into one monolithic group and project their rage onto them.

    That said, the world hates godly things, so there will always be people who hate, rage, and troll on believers anyways. I don’t need to tell you this, but I suppose that’s why we pray … because we don’t always have the words or ability to change people’s minds or even comfort the listeners, but we trust that the Holy Spirit supplies us with the words to say at the proper time, even if to simply plant a seed.

  • Tony

    Timothy,
    Before commenting, I read in detail your post on what you believe about evangelicals and same-sex marriage. I didn’t want to set up straw men. I think you and many evangelical posters are missing a very big and basic point. Setting aside what you think about the effects of same-sex marriage on the institution of marriage itself or on society as a whole, your views on homosexuality in general and on same-sex marriage in particular are ultimately informed by scripture – not only that but your own individual, personal interpretation of what you believe to be the word of your god. My point is that no-one, and I mean no-one, is in any way obligated in any way to accept that your holy book is the word of god, or that your interpretation of your holy book is the correct one. In order for anyone to be obligated to accept what you say, you still have it all to prove i.e. that your holy book is actually and in fact the word of god and that your interpretation of it is actually the correct one. In the absence of any such proof, there is no reason why anyone should give your opinions any more credence than anyone elses. In fact, there is ample reason to give your opinions less credence, since Christians in general make such extraordinary claims yet fail to produce anything remotely like sufficient evidence to back up those claims. So in short, Christians are as entitled to their opinion as anyone else but don’t tell me that what you believe is what god thinks or wants unless you can prove it.

    • Michele Klika

      Even if I (or Tim or any other follower of the Christ) proved it to you, you still wouldn’t believe. Even if the Maker of all things seen and unseen appeared to you in person, you would find an excuse not to believe. At least this is my experience with people who do not believe. There is no proof or evidence sufficient enough for the person who does not want to believe.

      • Tony

        Michele,
        Firstly, you know absolutely nothing about me so please don’t presume to tell me what I would or wouldn’t believe, or what I want or don’t want.
        Secondly, if doubt was good enough for Thomas in your bible (John 20:24-29) it’s good enough for me. I see your Jesus had no problem providing Thomas with some evidence. Do I not deserve the same consideration?

        • Michele Klika

          Dear Tony,
          I was thinking about you this morning as I read Acts 15 and 16, especially the part about the Philippian jailer who believed after an earthquake opened all the doors in his jail and broke the chains off all the inmates (two of whom were Paul and Silvanus, who had been beaten and jailed for casting a familiar spirit out of a girl who brought her masters lots of income by her divination abilities). I also thought about the Apostle Paul, how he believed when on the road to Damascus, and was blinded by a dazzling light, with a voice speaking to him, telling Paul it was hard to kick against the pricks. The Jews at Berea believed Paul’s preaching, but only after they searched the Scriptures (what we would call the Old Testament) to make sure that what he was preaching could indeed be backed up. Jesus told a parable about a rich man who died and wanted someone to be sent back to his brothers so they wouldn’t end up in the same place as he, to which the reply was, “They have the Law and the Prophets. If they won’t listen to that, then they won’t believe even if someone rose from the dead.” I don’t know exactly what kind of evidence you are looking for. Jesus commended those that wouldn’t need the kind of evidence that Thomas asked for. (Blessed are those that have not seen me and believe. John 20:29)
          I already believed that God existed when I went searching to know Him. He abundantly answered my search, definitely saved me from self destruction, proved to me that Jesus is the promised Messiah who takes away the sin of the world, showed me my own need for Jesus’ death on the cross , without me even being a part of an organized church (that was 30+ years ago.) To quote from Hebrews 11:6: Weymouth New Testament
          “But where there is no faith, it is impossible truly to please Him; for the man who draws near to God must believe that there is a God and that He proves Himself a rewarder of those who earnestly try to find Him.” Tony, if you sincerely want evidence, go to God himself. Then you won’t have to take someone else’s word for it. I believed first, was greatly rewarded by God and later made sure that all I believe/d is true. The main thing is to be really looking for the truth, not just your own version of it, and that might be more dificult than you think. But if you are sincerely, honestly looking for the truth, you will find it.

          • Tony

            Michelle,
            The point of my original question was that I don’t believe that the bible is the word of a god and that I have good reasons for thinking that. You can’t “prove” the bible is the word of god just by quoting it at me.

          • Michele Klika

            Dear Tony,
            I wasn’t trying to prove the Bible to you by quoting from it. I was merely giving examples of the different conversion types and what it takes to actually believe.
            I was trying to find out what kind of revelation would be necessary for you to be converted. You have let me know that the collection of texts in the Bible are not sufficient. You mentioned above that you have good reasons for thinking that the Bible is not inspired, or as you put it “the word of a god.” I would be pleased if you could share those reasons.

          • Tony

            Michele,
            Certainly. If God wanted something from me, he could tell me himself, directly, without there having to be any fallible human intermediary at all. He is omnipotent after all, nothing could prevent him from doing this. As for the bible, it’s many contradictions are well known. Not only that but there isn’t a single line in that book which could not have been written by a human being, therefore it behaves me to conclude that there was no divine hand in its creation. The gospels are hearsay at best. Is that sufficient?

          • Michele Klika

            Hi Tony,
            Sorry for the delay in responding. I hope you are still there.
            Yes, God could tell you directly. Maybe He still will. But, this sort of goes counter to how He designed us, and the nature of His relationship to us. It works on faith, not sight. And I believe because of God’s being, we really couldn’t stand that direct of contact from Him anyway. It would literally, physically kill us, because God’s physical presence wipes out sin, and our beings are riddled with sin.
            Those people that recorded what you find in the Bible, were recording an account of God’s interaction with people, perhaps directly speaking to them even, people mostly of Hebrew descent, although there are plenty of examples where a Gentile was the person at the receiving end. You have rejected those accounts as records of encounters with God. You said because of contradictions.
            I have looked at a blog before, where a guy was detailing all the contradictions in the Bible (his list had about 100) and I easily refuted them all, so I still would like to hear what contradictions you are referring to. What leads you to believe that the gospels are hearsay? I believe they are records of eyewitness accounts.
            Here is one big point to consider – that the nation of Israel, which in AD 70 was dispersed from Jerusalem, returned to the land of Israel again, after 1900 years. Unimaginable for any nation of people for this to be possible. And the Bible records that this would happen long before it actually did. For a book full of contradictions, this is an odd thing. It at least deserves some honest attention.

          • Tony

            Hi Michele,
            First of all, every bit of evidence that we have indicates that we weren’t designed but evolved.
            Secondly, you contradict yourself when you say that sight of god would kill us, and then mention people in the bible (who presumably were sinners too?) who saw god face-to-face and didn’t die.
            Thirdly, you mentioned faith. Sorry but faith is not and cannot be a pathway to truth. Lots of people of different religions all round the world have “faith” and all these faiths tell their adherents totally different things. From the perspective of a disinterested outsider, these “faiths” can’t all be right. Therefore they must all be wrong.
            Fourthly, the gospels are hearsay. No-one knows who wrote them. They quote no sources or references. We have only a vague idea of when they were written. None of the gospel writers were contemporaneous with or ever met Jesus or saw for themselves what Jesus is alleged to have done or said. St Paul never met Jesus.
            Finally, contradictions – the Gospel of Luke mentions a census and there is no evidence outside the bible that this census, which is alleged to have been ordered by Qurinius, took place when Luke says it does. This also contradicts the Gospel of Matthew which puts the alleged birth of Jesus at a completely different time, i.e. just after the reign of Herod the Great. The bible also contradicts itself in its teachings to Christians e.g. the bible says that baptism is necessary for salvation, and also that baptism is not necessary for salvation (that’s not me saying that, by the way, that’s Christians arguing between themselves, each quoting the bible in “support” of their assertion).

  • Joe Chip

    Well, I didn’t anticipate my comments to be taken up by Timothy so directly, but am glad to say he quoted me quite correctly, and at some length. I stand by my points, although I should have left out the ad homs and personal jabs, which I regret. This topic tends to rile me up like few others. While not gay myself, I am angered by what I see as the “Religious Right” (Pharisees), working to impose their *personal* religious interpretation of their holy book onto the rest of society who does not share their values. Real people (many of them friends of mine) are being harmed by their actions and are being prevented from enjoying the rights we so easily take for granted.
    Timothy, the Family Research Council and defenders of DOMA, etc are only “totally like Nazi’s” in type, obviously not by severity. Granted, no one is (in this country) shoveling gays into ovens or enslaving them, but the dehumanization, societal rejection and second-class citizenship bestowed upon ANY group of people is the bitter root whereby such atrocities are made possible. You can be a frothing Westboro-sign holder or a soft-spoken, kind, educated opponent of marriage equality, but if you work for the same goals, you will be lumped together.
    In closing, Tim, thanks for providing your insights on this topic and letting the rest of us the use of your forum where we can vent our spleen. I enjoy reading your blog and will continue to do so.

  • Tony

    Of course I meant “behoves”.


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