Jay Michaelson: “Why Rick Santorum Can’t Just Say: God Doesn’t Want You To Be Gay“
If it were social policy that motivated him, he’d read the studies of same-sex couples in Massachusetts and in other countries, which show that they raise children as well as opposite-sex couples, form stable families, and the rest. But what Santorum is motivated by is actually religion: a fear of sexuality and of women souped-up by a misreading of Leviticus, Romans, and Corinthians.
But he can’t really say that on television. If he were honest, he’d just come out and say something like: “I’m sorry, but God just cannot abide any homosexual behavior.” But he isn’t.
Now, in no way am I claiming that the Bible prohibits same-sex intimacy. I have written a book showing the exact opposite: that biblical values demand us to affirm it. Rick Santorum’s views are not dictated by St. Paul, but he believes that they are, and that’s enough.
Let me take one further step. Santorum and other homophobes cannot speak frankly because their real motivations are private, emotional, and incoherent. It’s not as though Santorum dispassionately selected Catholicism from a menu of religious ideologies. He believes because he feels.
… And this is why we cannot argue with people who subscribe to this framework: there is simply too much at stake for them. They have wedded their fundamental sense of okay-ness to the truthfulness of a set of doctrines. Not only is sociology not at issue for Rick Santorum, Romans isn’t either. What is at stake is his very sense that the world is a good place, that things are basically okay, and that he himself is okay as a result. That may be expressed in a theological framework, but it is a psychological reality. If I marry my partner, therefore, Rick Santorum is not okay.
The rest is window dressing.
D. Mark Davis: “Same-Sex Marriage: A Sign of the Times“
When it comes to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa, I believe that the State has spoken prophetically to the Church. I know, I know, the dominant voices in our society that speak in the name of the church seem to imply the opposite. They argue that the State has violated God’s clear and consistent law and that the Church has to speak prophetically to the State by condemning this action and working to reverse it.
I’m finding that argument to be tiresome. It is grounded in a view of sovereignty that looks too much like Empire thinking and not Cross thinking; it is grounded in a view of sin that always points outward and never seriously points inward; and it is grounded in a view of redemption that is essentially built on winning a game of tug-of-war, rather than discovering God’s redemptive presence among others.
In my mind, the State (for the most part) is right and the Church (predominantly, certainly not unanimously) is wrong on this one. It’s happened before, of course. Some churches were still banging on the ‘slavery is permitted by the Bible – even in the New Testament!’ drum long after the nation said ‘no more.’ Some churches were still intentionally racially divided long after the Civil Rights Act passed. And so on.
We woke up from our consumer coma to discover that the bastards had stolen everything. You’ve seen the numbers: The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, the super-rich targeted by OWS, emerged from this shattered, looted economy with a net worth greater than the “bottom” 90 percent.
… Meanwhile, one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line, and a full one-third,100 million — live in poverty or what The New York Times calls “the fretful zone just above it.” One in 15, the largest percentage since the Great Depression, falls 50 percent below the poverty line, with an annual individual income of less than $6,000. In a recent German study that established a “social justice” index (poverty levels, education, health care, income equality) for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked 27th among 31 nations, outstripping only Greece, Turkey, Chile and Mexico. Meanwhile, also, Wall Street banks on taxpayer life support continued to pay out billions in bonuses, monstrously inflated CEO salaries showed no signs of shrinking and the Republican Party campaigned for more of the bloody same, and a stronger dose of it: no taxes, no regulations, no unions.
What I hear God say in creation, through others, in the Scriptures, through a song, through a movie, through an experience, or directly is by design suspect, not because God doesn’t speak, but because I don’t hear so well. My listening ability is tempered by experiences in which I have been hurt or rejected, or given undue credit, or by a lack of perspective through missing knowledge or experience, or how I interpreted that knowledge or experience, or by a lack of accountability in my life, or by a thousand other possibilities that show me I am not God. I am just a human being. And even though being a human is a good thing, what I know for sure about every human is that we all make mistakes.
The way in which many Americans envision the good life, then, not only entails neglect of others’ needs and desires, but it also involves being constantly on guard against potential constraints that may be placed upon us. True autonomy, we believe, is equivalent to freedom from anything that would make claims upon the individual. Demands are feared as encroachments upon our ability to direct our life as we desire. If we cannot successfully avoid such intrusions, we are obviously not fully independent, and hence, we are not worthy to be called individuals. Additionally, if people dare to ask others for assistance, such requests are not only seen as proof of the petitioners’ weakness, but they are also often interpreted as attempts by the petitioners to achieve their desires by piggybacking on the hard work of others instead of doing that work themselves. Absent here is the understanding that humans cannot act in isolation from each other and that interdependence contributes to the health, strength, and richness of individuals and societies.
The valorization of isolated autonomy is evident, for example, in cries against government welfare programs, immigrant amnesty, public health care, government regulation of business, and “socialism” in general. People who take this perspective fear both that their material possessions will be decreased or taken away and that they will somehow be cheated if others receive assistance that they do not believe they require. This sense of ressentiment may disguise the unacknowledged fear that if we accept the validity of social safety nets, we may have to make use of them at some point in our own lives, thereby compromising our independence. And people tend to mask this fear with the openly declared anxiety that, should such assistance to others continue, the country as we know it will become unrecognizable and that we will abandon our historical respect for individual freedom along with it. As has been especially evident in recent national conversations about health care and taxation, for example, some people who expect such outcomes attempt to avoid this destruction of individual freedom by broadcasting ill-informed pronouncements that are intended to instill equal levels of fear in others. As a result, policy discussions become confused and then stall as legislators attempt to separate fact from falsity and sometimes give in to their own fear of losing their jobs by backing away from contested issues. Throughout this process, rhetoric becomes increasingly angry and accusatory, a situation which polarizes debates to an even greater degree and calls into doubt the belief that people of varying opinions are able to or even desirous of working or living together.