The battle against the culture wars II

More smart people saying more smart things about the “culture wars” and the culture warriors who fight them.

Chris Clarke: “An open letter to the right wing in the wake of the passage of Amendment One in N.C.

We are people who would really rather be left alone to live our lives. And we would rather leave other people alone to live theirs.

That’s why you’ve been able to push things this far. We’ve kind of been hoping that you’d wake up one morning, look at the things you’d written or said, the sermons you’ve preached, the blog posts you’ve published, the hateful things you’ve screamed at children and grieving parents, and suddenly see them with new eyes. We’ve been hoping that you’d wake up. No, not hoping — assuming. It happens often enough. People drop their fear all the time, shake their heads, make amends for the harm they’ve caused and start living their lives without the poisoned anger and hatred.

Because despite what we say sometimes when we’re frustrated, we don’t actually think you’re stupid. Not most of you. We’ve actually been expecting you to figure this all out on your own the way smart people do.

But that doesn’t seem to be going well. In fact, you just seem to be getting more and more afraid of everyone who doesn’t share your very specific beliefs.

Jason Pitzl-Waters: “Christianity and Marriage Equality

The real, unfortunate, truth is that Christianity is working against the lives of gay men and women, save for a small percentage who have broken away.

These laws not only tell gays and lesbians to get back into the closet, to forget legal protections or societal acceptance, they also work to limit the religious freedoms of non-Christian faiths. Belief systems that don’t endorse their views on marriage or morality are swept aside, invisible within the lens of Christian privilege. The fight for the equal rights and treatment of same-sex couples ultimately benefits the religions that support those rights, and destabilizes the ones that don’t. So it’s little wonder that opposition to same-sex marriage is regularly portrayed as a struggle against “paganism.”

Pam Spaulding: “It’s just the beginning for N.C. after passage of Amendment One

The coalition-building here has afforded North Carolinians for the first time to discuss the rights of LGBT neighbors and friends. It has shown the country that yes, the South has politically active voters of strong faith that are against discrimination for all of the right reasons — it’s not a matter of religion at all, but about the separation of church and state and protecting and extending the rights of minorities, not restricting them.

For those clinging to that notion in order to hide their own homophobia it has become challenging to defend their decision to vote for the Amendment. Not for those who see no separation of church and state, mind you, but those who are fuzzy on what they choose to believe in the Bible when it suits their needs.

But we won’t forget the support and love from many on the ground here and in digital space around the country.

The majority of North Carolinians voting today don’t believe that my civil marriage (legal depending on what state we travel to), should be recognized.  While perhaps some subset probably didn’t know they were banning civil unions and domestic partnerships (at this point, one has to believe these folks are pretty dense), the most vocal proponents of Amendment One not only wanted to “protect marriage,” they wanted to punish lesbian and gay couples. Apparently even at the expense of economic development and jobs or collateral harms to unmarried opposite couples and children, or what will now be legal chaos over all of these harms and the possible impact on private contracts as well.

It’s hard to view anyone who believes that is moral in any sense of the definition.

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    [T]he most vocal proponents of Amendment One not only wanted to “protect marriage,” they wanted to punish lesbian and gay couples.

    It’s this so-fervent desire to punish that I really don’t like among right-wing voters and the leaders of political parties that endorse such policies. It’s like they have this fantasyland idea about exactly how the world should look and when it doesn’t look that way they want to lash out at whoever’s upsetting their notions of things.

    How does it make heterosexual married couples any more well-off to prohibit same-sex married couples from being able to formalize that arrangement?

  • Lori

     

    How does it make heterosexual married couples any more well-off to
    prohibit same-sex married couples from being able to formalize that
    arrangement? 

    It helps keep their tribe on top of the heap. The punishment is a tool of social control, full stop.

  • hapax

     

    How does it make heterosexual married couples any more well-off to
    prohibit same-sex married couples from being able to formalize that
    arrangement?

    My personal theory is that has to do with knee-jerk purity taboos.

    You know those studies where researchers drop a fake plastic turd in a pitcher of soda, demonstrate that it’s a fake (even take it out of the package in front of the subject), remove it from the pitcher, and the subject still JUST CAN’T drink a soda that has been previously poured out of that pitcher because it has been somehow “contaminated” in their mind?

    I think  a lot of these people similarly feel that marriage equality will somehow magically by association “taint” their heterosexual marriage  with Teh Icky Icky ManSex. 

    In my worst moments, I sometimes cynically think that the best tactic for marriage equality advocates is to somehow associate it instead in the public mind with Hawt GirlOnGirl Action, and then these same troglodytes will be all for it, in order to magically spice up their own relationships.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    In my worst moments, I sometimes cynically think that the best tactic
    for marriage equality advocates is to somehow associate it instead in
    the public mind with Hawt GirlOnGirl Action, and then these same
    troglodytes will be all for it, in order to magically spice up their own
    relationships.

    It won’t work. These are the same guys who denounce homosexuality as immoral in public and engage in no-strings attached, often drug-fueled anonymous sex with other men. These are the same guys who condemn pornography while indulging it in at a rate higher than everyone else. I’m sure they can find it in their hearts to fantasize about GirlOnGirl Action while still hating real-life lesbians.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In my worst moments, I sometimes cynically think that the best tactic
    for marriage equality advocates is to somehow associate it instead in
    the public mind with Hawt GirlOnGirl Action, and then these same
    troglodytes will be all for it, in order to magically spice up their own
    relationships.

    Bad plan. Reinforces the idea that it is simultaneously inconceivable and intolerable for men to be desired. Also reinforces the idea that all things men can gaze on with desire are good and all else is bad.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    My personal theory is that has to do with knee-jerk purity taboos.

    FWIW, this is my theory as well. The underlying idea is that marriages like mine taint the purity of marriage; families like mine taint the purity of family.

    This is also (I think) why arguments like “how can you complain about my marriage when you do such perverse things within your own?” fail to get anywhere; the purity response is “you queers are the reason we can’t have nice relationships!”

    It’s also (I think) why arguments like “if the point of marriage is to create a stable environment for mutual support and the raising of children, why oppose marriage among same-sex couples, many of whom want to support each other and raise children” fail to get anywhere; the purity response is “but you queers won’t have *clean* marriages and you’ll raise tainted children!”

    We went through all the same things with miscegenation arguments back in the day… white people marrying black people were seen as tainted, because black people were seen as impure. They still are, but less universally, and it’s less acceptable to say so. It’s still acceptable to say queers are impure, but it’s growing less so.

    We’ve won this fight, but oh god the suffering until the enemy finally realizes it has lost and falls over already is heartbreaking.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Even if that would work, it’s more or less throwing non-lipstick lesbians under the bus. Or to the wolves, since I’m sick of the other cliche.

  • Jessica_R

    And I honestly think the Bishops are just trolling us at this point, Girl Scouts? http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/9643204.html#comments

  • Lori

    I wish they were just trolling, but they’re not. The Bishops have joined in the Right wing hateathon against the Girl Scouts for the same reason they’re POed at the nuns—they’ve been doing entirely too much thinking for themselves. The Boy Scouts have dutifully continued to hate on the gays and other assorted Them, the Girl Scouts have not. There doesn’t seem to be anything the Bishops hate more than females who don’t do as they’re told.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     At least the Girl Scouts aren’t under their authority, so they can stand up for themselves no matter how aggressively they push.

  • Matri

    I’d facepalm, but there isn’t a hand big enough…

  • Jessica_R

    And to the Right Wing is trying push the super creepy GodN’Country GS alernative  American Heritage Girls,  http://www.ahgonline.org/

    And considering our host’s daughters plays sports, yep, Catholic Bishops hate female athletes too, http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/05/11/482600/catholic-school-forfeits-arizona-state-baseball-championship-rather-than-face-a-co-ed-team/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wow. O.o Some people really seem to work hard at their notions of trying to make everybody else conform to their idea of how things ought to be.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I prefer the Rainbow Squirts as an alternative organization.  

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    But they’re legitimately creepy!

  • Tricksterson

    I’ll stick to the Fireside Girls, thank you.

    Wait, that didn’t come out right at all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Eh, you can’t blame the Bishops for the last one. The Catholic school that is scared of a girl is run by right-wing breakaways. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Yeah.

    This was a group that left the Catholic Church because they saw the bishops as being too liberal.

    (Incidentally, if you’re ever in a situation where your beliefs are so rigid that the Catholic Church hierarchy has to tell you to lighten up, you’re probably an extremist.)

  • Kirala

    And to the Right Wing is trying push the super creepy GodN’Country GS alternative  American Heritage Girls,  http://www.ahgonline.org/

    I haven’t clicked the link or investigated, so I’ll take your word that it’s a super-creepy organization. However, I find the concept of an organization that deeply values both religion and patriotism to be theoretically fine.* (I’ve been part of a group that deeply values both religion and geek culture, which are also mostly-unrelated concepts that can get their own gathering.) I’d much, much rather have them go form their own club than try to force the Girl Scouts to be something they ought not to be.

    *Emphasis on “theoretically”. I don’t think it will be safe to have American religion and politics in a room alone together until they realize that a relationship between actual living people is the only sort of union that ought to involve so much knowing-in-the-Biblical-sense.

  • Tonio

    Are there actual examples of organizations that value both religion and patriotism where “religion” isn’t an especially tribalist type of sectarianism? I doubt it. Even deeming religion to be a good thing is problematic because it creates an in-out divide between those who are religious and those who are not. And both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are effectively taking sectarian positions on religion by talking about duty or service to” God,” ignoring Scouts who may belong to non-monotheistic religions.

  • Kirala

    Are there actual examples of organizations that value both religion and patriotism where “religion” isn’t
    an especially tribalist type of sectarianism? I doubt it.

    Right now, no; hence my asterisk. But in theory, there shouldn’t be a problem.

    Even deeming
    religion to be a good thing is problematic because it creates an in-out
    divide between those who are religious and those who are not. And both
    the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are effectively taking sectarian
    positions on religion by talking about duty or service to” God,”
    ignoring Scouts who may belong to non-monotheistic religions.

    I find it to be problematic when the organization’s purpose and central idea are mostly non-sectarian – Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, for example, are supposed to be about learning skills and forming social connections, and nothing in their history supports using them for indoctrination. I see no problem with forming a sectarian group, provided that group’s purpose is not to hate on other sects. Everyone deserves safe spaces.

  • Tonio

    That’s my point – it’s inconsistent for a group that labels itself as nonsectarian and inclusive to have a sectarian concept in its creed. Different from a group whose stated basis is sectarian.

  • Kirala

     

    That’s my point – it’s inconsistent for a group that labels itself as
    nonsectarian and inclusive to have a sectarian concept in its creed.
    Different from a group whose stated basis is sectarian.

    Okay. But I wasn’t talking about a nonsectarian group. Jessica posted a link to an explicitly sectarian alternative to Girl Scouts; I said I had no problems with this in theory, as I’d rather have the sectarians pull out of Girl Scouts than try to remake it. So do we actually have any disagreement here?

  • Tonio

    Not really a disagreement, just a need for clarification on my part. I was objecting to an explicitly sectarian group describing patriotism as a core value, which implies that love of the sect’s gods is synonymous with love of country. Sectarianism is exclusive while patriotism should be inclusive of all citizens. This also  applies somewhat to the GS/BS use of “God.” That was probably intended as nonsectarian by people who didn’t give much consideration to non-Christian religions.

  • Kirala

    And this isn’t a double post, though responding to the same point…

    That’s my point – it’s inconsistent for a group that labels itself as
    nonsectarian and inclusive to have a sectarian concept in its creed.
    Different from a group whose stated basis is sectarian.

    I hadn’t thought about the Girl Scout Pledge in ages. I suspect it’s a matter of inertia – it seemed nonsectarian at the time it was written. Also, what was probably the original sentiment in that phrase is really hard to replace. I wish there were simple, nonsectarian language for “I promise to work for a higher cause than sheer self-interest, according to a strong moral code.” (Then again, seeing the twisted ways in which people “serve God” contrary to that idea… let’s find a way to convey it.)

  • hapax

     

    Are there actual examples of organizations that value both religion and patriotism where “religion” isn’t an especially tribalist type of sectarianism?

    Despite their demonization by the Faux panic on the Right, the American Civil Liberties Union does fabulous work in protecting the freedom to worship as well as the  freedom not to.

    One of the many reasons they get regular checks from me.

  • Tonio

    As a fellow supporter of the ACLU, I would say that the group values not “religion” but individual religious freedom. I was interpreting “value religion” to mean the position that everyone should be religious.

  • WingedBeast

    People have asked what affect same-sex marriage would have, upon marriage as an institution, that so many feel the need to defend marriage from.  The answer is that it would force upon their minds the idea that two people of the same sex can get married…  That’s it.

    “Marriage is defined as between one man and one woman” you’ll note this partial definition thrown around in “defense of marriage”, oftentimes making me wonder if the poeple using this definition know that they’re being incomplete.  You know, things like love and sharing lives together and being partners in the business of life and, in many a case, things like monogamy.  Those tend to be rather more important than just being between a two individuals possessing of different reproductive organs.

    If gay people can get married, the people seeking to defend marraige will see marriage being degraded by being something they have to think of as something gay people can do.  Again, that’s it.

    I’d like to say that they’re aware they’re responding to a challenge to their entrenched illusions of superiority, but that’s unlikely.  This kind of hate tends to be thoughtless, no question of why the hate only of how to enforce the hate.

  • Mary Kaye

    WingedBeast writes:

    People have asked what affect same-sex marriage would have, upon
    marriage as an institution, that so many feel the need to defend
    marriage from.  The answer is that it would force upon their minds the
    idea that two people of the same sex can get married…  That’s it.

    Feminist writers also bring up the idea that if your model of marriage has strict gender roles,  gay marriages are threatening because they point out that those roles aren’t essential.  Two guys making a go of it proves that relationship maintenance is not only Her job.  Two gals making a go of it proves that household defense is not only His job.  This is threatening.  I suspect that a lot of the “keep quiet about your gayness” is an attempt to keep these ideas quiet.

    A lot of people felt feminism would cause their spouses to leave them.  Many of them were right.  Some may feel that marriage equality will be just another round of that.  They may be right too.  Egalitarian marriage *is* a threat to patriarchal marriage, just the same way that free blacks are a threat to the slave state.  It sets a dangerous example.  And while gay marriages are not necessarily egalitarian, they often are, and even when unfair they do not support the idea that the unfairness is biologically ordained.

  • WingedBeast

    While I don’t disagree with the effect of showing gender roles for an illusion, I do disagree that most hate is all that sophisiticated as to keep this in mind.  I think the hate, the “protection of marriage” is just to protect the picture, in their heads, of what marriage is.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Actually the hate from many of them is that sophisticated — though I prefer the terms “convoluted”, “ignorant”, and “pathetic”.

    About 2 years ago, an article in a Christian publication posited that if two people of the same sex could get married, women would be entirely unprotected and in constant danger of being gang-raped. They also used the term “concubinage” to refer to what would supposedly inevitably happen to women were gay marriage legalized. 

    The logic went something like this: men cannot control their sexual urges. Marriage to a woman is the only place those urges can be satisfied. A man will want to protect his wife, of whom he has sexual ownership, and will care for her to a certain extent because she is “his”. Therefore she will be able to do what she wants to do within certain limits if she is married. To a man, of course, because of course a woman could never protect another woman. But if men can marry other men, or are not socially forced to marry women, they will not feel that ownership of women. Further, unless a woman is owned by a man, other men will feel perfectly free to do whatever they want to her. Heterosexual marriage is the only refuge for women from the dangerous lusts of men. You either get gang-raped constantly or raped by one person who will “take care” of you, is the gist.

    This all depends on the idea, central to so many of the groups we discuss here, that a woman’s consent is not something that exists. She has two options: marry one man and be his sex toy, incubator, and thing he owns and therefore will protect, or marry no man and be used by many men and thrown away as an object that has no value to any of them. 

    Further, gay marriage disproves resoundingly the idea that marriage is based on one protector/wage-earner/master and one sex slave/incubator/servant. It is, in fact, a massive threat to “traditional” marriage. Most Americans look at this and go “bwuh?” because most Americans think companionate marriage is what marriage is. Two equals, loving each other (including physically), helping each other, and caring for each other. It is, at least, the ideal for most of us. But that is absolutely not what marriage is to the right-wing religious types who oppose gay marriage. And right-wing religious types have learned over the years that if their kids see freedom, imagination, love, and equality through the grimy glass prisons that are right-wing religious organizations, they are very likely to leave them, and very likely to refuse to participate in things like oppressive patriarchal traditional marriage.

    Tl;dr: gay marriage absolutely is a threat to traditional marriage. And thank goodness for that. It’s past time traditional marriage died forever.

  • EllieMurasaki

    *nodnodnod*

    Also, all of this: http://imgur.com/gallery/CZHeU Which I found because one of my Catholic cousins shared it on Facebook. There is hope, there really is.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’d buy it, considering there are still people today who believe Deuteronomy 22:28 is not only moral, but still applies enough to put it into law.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The logic went something like this: men cannot control their sexual urges.

    *blink*
    *blink*
    *blink*

    I–

    That is to say–

    *sighs* I can’t possibly fathom this mode of thinking. I’m pretty darn sure I’ve had no problem controlling my sexual urges.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    All my teen years and into my adulthood, I’ve been plagued with the fear that some day I’ll lose control of my sexual urges.  It’s never happened. It’s never even come close. But I’ve spent a good chunk of my life being told that it’s unreasonable for me to expect to be able to control my sexual urges.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Ah yes: Men are uncontrollable beasts who are only barely kept from committing rape by women performing their duty of sexually servicing them.

    Also, men are naturally superior to women and should be in charge.

    Makes perfect sense. Just like how Christianity in America is a Persecuted Hegemon.

    The capacity for cognitive dissonance and doublethink that some people have boggles my mind.

  • AnonymousSam

    A duty to which they should take no pleasure. Marital rape is not only a thing, but some of the legislators trying to repeal laws outlawing it were probably born of the times when it was legal and abortion was not. <.<

  • Tonio

    A perfectly repulsive rationalization of patriarchy, sounding like a protection racket. Perhaps the worst example is the practice of child bride hood in some countries. Apparently some families there see this as the only alternative to their daughters ending up in prostitution. The real problem is that such societies have no options for females where they’re not male property. The only difference between that and the slut-shaming in our culture is of degree. Men certainly can control their urges – ownership of women is about them not having to do so.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    That is a very good argument for castrating men that they have there. 

  • reynard61

    “The logic went something like this: Men cannot control their sexual urges.”

    Oh, I can control my sexual urges just fine. What I *am* losing control of is the urge to choke the living shit out of the purveyors of such twaddle. I mean, for the love of Luna’s left hoof, if it’s the *men* that we fear going bonkers anytime a hint of womanly pheromone wafts it’s way into a room, then why do we punish *women* (and gays) for it?

    (Note: That question is strictly rhetorical. I’m already well aware of the answer.)

  • Matri

    Because the kind of logic-twisting required to come to that conclusion cannot be conceived, understood, rationalized nor justified by any compassionate human being.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I mean, for the love of Luna’s left hoof, if it’s the *men* that we fear going bonkers anytime a hint of womanly pheromone wafts it’s way into a room, then why do we punish *women* (and gays) for it?

    Hell, why can’t we punish and shame men who try to institutionalize misogyny?  I get the feeling that would be a much more productive means of behavioral correction. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The logic went something like this: men cannot control their sexual urges.

    If that really were the case, then I would ask those who care about me most to kill me as soon as possible.  Please, before I hurt someone! 

    I’m a monster, waiting to happen!  *Sob* 

    … waitaminute… I think I just figured out why cultural conservative youths identify with Twilight so much. 

    … now I feel even more dirty.  Yuck.  :(

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Damn, you nailed it. I honestly am stunned that I didn’t realize that before.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    (Interjecting for a moment so I can whinge.)

    My grandmother, whom I love dearly, just told me that “there is apparently a man shortage”, owing to women not knowing what they want, and because men have no self-esteem due to feminism so they’re too scared to ask women out.

    *sigh-sobs*

    (As you were.)

  • EllieMurasaki

     …

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Er, has she checked China recently? Man shortage!

  • Tricksterson

    Woman shortage actually because the one child laws have encouraged the practices of  abortion  and infanticide if the kid is female.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Has she been having problems picking up men at seniors’ night? She should try the internet.

  • WingedBeast

    The whole idea of men being unable to control themselves in the absence of a sexual outlet and women being unable to defend themselves in the absence of a man… both of these ideas are antithetical to what it means to be a man or a woman.
     
    As a young lad, about 13, my father sat me down and had a firm discussion with me, telling me, on no uncertain terms, in a calm and serious tone of voice that, to be honest, frightened me with the seriousness of it, that no means no.  The assumption that has to be in place before that can work is that I, at the time a thirteen year old with not yet fully developed brain or impulse control mechanisms, could control myself in the face of desire.  This was one of the things that I had to learn, intensly, both the respect for the rights of others to refuse and the ability/responsibility to control myself in all possible contexts of said refusal, in order to be a man.
     
    To suggest that, absent marriage, men would become mindless rapemonsters is to say that the writer of the article has no concept of what it means to be a man.  The publishers understand what it means to be a mindless ogre, but nothing of what it means to be a man.

    That was my response to the publication that Lliira sited.  In response to your actual post, Lliira, it all strikes me an example of not what really explains the hate but rather what they used to justify the hate.  Of course it’s convoluted, it all comes after the hate.  The hate, itself, based on what I’ve seen of it, isn’t self-aware enough to have any sophistication.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I just wanted to mention. Today, while I was out with my family, I passed a bunch of kids on their way to the prom. One of the couples was a same-sex interracial couple, one of whom was dressed in formalwear not normally associated with her gender. 

    It gave me a certain amount of hope for our future.

  • reynard61

    “I just wanted to mention. Today, while I was out with my family, I passed a bunch of kids on their way to the prom. One of the couples was a same-sex interracial couple, one of whom was dressed in formalwear not normally associated with hr gender.

    “It gave me a certain amount of hope for our future”

    “…and in our latest Traffic update, watch out if you’re traveling near any High Schools today because we’ve been getting reports of numerous accidents in those areas due to exploding heads. Remember that this is Prom season and not all kids will be conforming to culturally assigned sex or gender roles, so you more conservative drivers might want to be extra careful about where you go…”


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