Misogyny isn’t new; consent shouldn’t be confusing

Helen Lewis at the New Statesmen shows us “What online harassment looks like.” It’s an awful, potentially triggering, collection of “Obscene images, hate sites, and a game where people are invited to beat you up.”

This is disturbing and disturbed. It’s hateful, hate-filled stuff posted by boys who simply hate women. These boys hate women viscerally and violently.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course.

Amanda MacInnis of Cheese-Wearing Theology is taking us on a tour of similar harassment during the Protestant Reformation. Here’s the second post in her series: “Invectives: Examples of Reactions to Women in Leadership in the Reformation.”

I’d never heard of John Knox’s treatise, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” but geez, that man had issues.

I can begin to understand the sort of cautiously conservative church person who sees some of those “keep silent” clobber verses and takes them as supporting limits on women’s participation in the church. I think those folks are utterly wrong, but I can appreciate that they’re at least basing their wrongness on something other than straight-up misogyny and a seething hatred of women.

But the kind of invective MacInnis collects here can’t be explained as a mere attempt to elevate the clobber verses into an eternal rule. You only write like that when you despise women.

For this collection of invective, as with Lewis’ more recent collection of online examples, it doesn’t seem we’re really seeing a “reaction” to women or to anything any given woman has ever said or done. For these men, hatred of women seems to be the starting point, not the conclusion, response or reaction they want to pretend it is.

* * * * * * * * *

American Family Association culture-warrior Bryan Fischer doesn’t understand consent.

Or, perhaps, Bryan Fischer doesn’t think that consent does, or should, have anything to do with sex:

Once you allow sex between two people of the same sex, there is no place to stop. You can’t stop just with homosexuality. You can’t stop with polygamy. You can’t even stop with pedophilia. You wind up going all the way to sex with animals.

In other words, if you ask Bryan Fischer why raping a small child is wrong, he would say it is wrong because it is an instance of sex outside of the context of marriage between one man and one woman. Not because it is coercive. Not because it is rape. But because, for Fischer, straight-married sex is always Good, and any other kind of sex, not being straight-married sex, is always Bad.

This is not “traditional religious ethics.” It isn’t ethics at all. It’s a single check-box formula for determining whether or not any sexual act is Fischer-Approved.

Yes, this makes Fischer a foolish moral imbecile. But it also makes him dangerous. He is arguing, vehemently, that consent is of no moral consequence. Bryan Fischer may not understand what rape is, but he’s working hard to defend it anyway.

Related: “How Censorship of the World ‘Vagina’ by the Michigan House of Representatives Is Related to Child Sexual Abuse

 

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  • http://twitter.com/CWtheology Amanda Mac

    Thanks for the mention Fred.
    “But the kind of invective MacInnis collects here can’t be explained as a
    mere attempt to elevate the clobber verses into an eternal rule. You
    only write like that when you despise women.”
    This is what I’m going to sift in my “evaluation” post in a couple of days, as I place these invectives side by side the other invectives thrown about during the Reformation between competing theologians (in particular Luther who hurled at invectives at nearly everyone!)

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

    Once you allow sex between two people of the same sex, there is no place
    to stop. You can’t stop just with homosexuality. You can’t stop with
    polygamy. You can’t even stop with pedophilia. You wind up going all the
    way to sex with animals.

    http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/MuzTx1/IDFP.jpg

  • LMM22

    You wind up going all the way to sex with animals.

    The most priceless reply I’ve seen to gay marriage — and this was in the mid naughts, when gay marriage started being on the table but wasn’t mainstream yet [1] — was someone who stated the obvious: If people are afraid of a slippery slope, let’s write a Constitutional amendment banning bestiality.

    [1] Future generations, I think, will never understand how fast our cultural transformation has been. I was in a high school debate — in ’99, maybe — over gay marriage. It was seen as a hypothetical issue, not something that would *ever* become real.

    Four years later was the brief madness in San Francisco. Five years after that was Prop 8. Nearly four years later, it’s clear the state amendments are being passed in desperation — five years from now, most of those amendments would be dead in the water.

  • Tricksterson

    Okay, some open questions riffing off this:  Does anyone see any of the current “Marriage is between a man and a woman only” state amendments being repealed within say the next ten yearts?  What about DOMA?  And How would the second affect the first?

  • Lori

     

    Does anyone see any of the current “Marriage is between a man and a
    woman only” state amendments being repealed within say the next ten
    yearts?  What about DOMA?  And How would the second affect the first?  

    I think most of the amendments already on the books will be struck down when we get the SCOTUS decision equivalent to Loving v Virginia. If we can get marriage equality on the books in a dozen or so more states that will happen. 

  • Tricksterson

    Don’t you mean if?

  • Sodajerk

    Reminds me of the DirecTV ads.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObFc64OnEk

  • Loki100

    The amazing thing is just how many people are willing to throw out the entire notion of consent to score rhetorical points. I have literally broken it down into one is “rape” and the other is “not rape” and still had people try to argue that consent is irrelevant.

  • Lori

    It’s also pretty amazing to me that Fischer seems to think that child rape is less bad than sex with animals. The way he phrased it, sex with animals is just the worst. There’s something really morally dubious about that.

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

    They see no difference between homosexuality and things like bestiality, rape, and murder. They also don’t see any of the subtle gradations of sin that most people take for granted; to them, stealing a stick of gum is the same as armed robbery is the same as genocide.

    They can’t grasp the difference between laziness and genocide because they can’t grasp the idea that two things can both be bad without being equally bad, and that punishments can (and perhaps must) scale to suit the severity of the offence — the death penalty for marijuana possession would be just as obscene and offensive as a month’s probation for mass-murder, for example.

    I don’t know how they got this way. Maybe it’s because their avenues for victimizing people are limited in a secular society; they victimize gay people not because they hate them the most but because society no longer allows them to hurt very many other groups. Maybe they really do think that being gay is as bad as child molestation. Or maybe it’s just a lazy, stupid argument they made up because, on some level, they understand that most people no longer find homosexuality shocking and offensive to the point where they feel the state must step in to punish gay people and they need to link being gay with something evil in order to justify their campaign of hate.

  • Tonio

    Plenty of people share Fisher’s slippery slope belief, and some of them explicitly claim that sexual desire is amorphous, at least in men. They sound very much like the fundamentalist Muslims who insist that burqas are necessary to protect women from rape, as if a glimpse of a shapely ankle will cause men to hump anything in sight. No, both arguments are most likely rationalizations for male entitlement. I suspect Fisher is trying hard to avoid the concept of consent because he knows damn well that it means gender egalitarianism. Or more broadly, it means entitlement involves only the individual’s bodily integrity. Defining sexual morality may or may not automatically mean entitlement by one group to use others how it wishes, but that is sure the effect, as least as far as Fisher is concerned.

  • Tonio

    I mean defining sexual morality in terms of rules and not principles.

  • PJ Evans

     His treatment of same-sex partnership as some kind of gateway to acts which are illegal because consent cant be give, and which most people would consider morally objectionable, is even more dubious.

    He must have some very interesting material around his office. Or in his den. He sounds very weird on sex.

  • Lori

     One does wonder what a search of his browser history would turn up.

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

    It’s really a bit bizarre how some Christian folks seem to WANT to deny that morality and ethics can be innate to human beings.

    They who have so little faith in humanity are rather depressing.

  • http://blog.carlsensei.com Carl

    There was an interesting debate in the comments over at Rod Dehrer’s blog a couple of weeks ago about what it is that makes “consent” so great. To be a bit graphic for a second, in many cases of bestality the animal is the sexually active partner, which means that in one sense the animal is capable of giving “consent” to the activity. In another sense, the animal is incapable of “consent” because consent involves understanding of what’s being done, a lack of power differential etc. (The Latin means “with” con + “knowing” sent.)

    Let’s call these two kinds of consent “weak consent” and “strong consent.” It’s pretty obvious why weak consent would be needed on merely ethical, utilitarian grounds. Lack of weak consent is a form of harm, inflicts pain, etc. But strong consent seems less obviously necessary. Especially considering that we routinely kill and eat animals.

    That being so, how can we make the case for a norm of strong consent without making sex “special” in a moral sense? Isn’t the post-60s theory that sex isn’t special; it’s a human relationship and it sometimes makes babies, so you should treat it carefully, but isn’t it supposed to be just a normal thing people do without especially different ethical ramifications beyond the possibility of utilitarian style harm?

    OK, so commenters, why do we need strong consent if sex isn’t special?

  • http://blog.carlsensei.com Carl

    Replying to myself:

    On Kantian ethics, it would be wrong to have sex with a person without strong consent because you should always “treat others as an end and not only as a means.” However, it’s not clear that this would extend to animals for Kant, since the ends/means distinction is relevant to people since we’re rational, hence ends in ourselves. Animals, being irrational, are not means in themselves, according to Kant. This makes it harder to explain why this is so obviously wrong on Kantian grounds.

    On Utilitarian ethics, I think it all just depends on whether the animal enjoys it, which means that weak consent is important, but strong consent is not.

    On Virtue ethics, I think it’s pretty clear that beastiality is not a part of the Good Life, but I can’t really explain why in any depth.

    On Natural Law ethics, it’s unnatural therefore wrong, but once you buy into Natural Law, you’re practically a Papist, and we all know that Catholics are meanies. (Seriously, I like this blog, but I feel like there’s been a lot of Catholic bashing lately.)

    Other theories?

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

     

    On Virtue ethics, I think it’s pretty clear that beastiality is not a part of the Good Life, but I can’t really explain why in any depth. 

    A pity, as I might find such an explanation illuminating. It is not clear to me that bestiality is any less a part of the Good Life than hot fudge.

     

    On Natural Law ethics, it’s unnatural therefore wrong

    This, also, is unclear to me.

    On Utilitarian ethics, I think it all just depends on whether the animal enjoys it,

    Utility != pleasure. A preference utilitarian, for example, would say that it depends on whether (and the degree to which) all the entities involve prefer that the sex happen, regardless of who enjoys what.

  • Lori

     

    A preference utilitarian, for example, would say that it depends on
    whether (and the degree to which) all the entities involve prefer that
    the sex happen, regardless of who enjoys what. 

    This is sort of the angle that I tend to come at the issue from. AFAICT animals pretty much never consider humans to be partners of preference for sex. Animals can be the active partner in sex with humans but it’s either because they’re opportunistic and a human is what’s available (some cases with dolphins for example) or because the human manipulated the situation (most other cases of bestiality, including the more common* ones with horses & dogs). Most bestiality would therefore fail to meet the standards of preference utilitarianism because the animals would prefer to be having sex with members of their own species.

    *Common obviously being a relative term.

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

     

    Most bestiality would therefore fail to
    meet the standards of preference utilitarianism because the animals
    would prefer to be having sex with members of their own species.

    I’m not quite sure I follow your account of preference utilitarianism.

    As I understand it, if I have a choice between having sex with someone and not having sex with them, and of those choices I prefer to have sex with them, and they similarly prefer to have sex with me than not to have sex with me, and everyone else who is affected by the action also prefers that we have sex than that we not have sex, then a preference utilitarian would say that it’s better for us to have sex than for us not to have sex.

    The fact that there’s something else I would prefer to either of those choices (e.g., have sex with some unavailable third party) doesn’t change any of that.

  • Lori

    I’m expressing it badly, but most animals have to be manipulated to have sex with humans to an extent that I think negates the idea that they’d rather have sex with (general, hypothetical) you than not have it, third unavailable party aside.

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

    Going all meta with my ersatz Hobbesian Social Contract thing.

    Since we give up to the Leviathan* the right to kill or harm other
    people, it isn’t much of a stretch to say that the duty to not harm or
    kill applies even more strongly to those who can’t reasonably act
    for themselves in a full capacity.

    So according to the rule that only the Leviathan may harm or kill as a
    condition of the social contract of protecting from invaders without and
    criminals within, then where consent enters is that if a being or
    person could reasonably act for themselves when dealing with a(nother) human being, then that being or person could be construed as being capable of informed consent to acts done to or with him or her.

    Thus, if a being or person is NOT reasonably able to act for themselves (perhaps too young, perhaps not capable of understanding the situation, etc) then it can be assumed that such acts which require consent must be assumed, by default, to have not been done with the consent of the person unable to effectively act for themselves.

    This rather handily covers children and animals, but generally ignores inanimate objects.

    Children can obviously not act for themselves with the same degrees of capability as adults can. Therefore sex acts with children are not consensual and fall under the definition of a harmful, and therefore punishable, criminal act. Ditto animals.

    Now, sex with a toaster would be sex with an inanimate object, and while bizarre, does not constitute a non-consensual harmful act.

    As you can see the particular social contract theory I espouse is rather pragmatic and that the application of it in this case rests on a definition of what constitutes a human being fully capable of consent.

    Incidentally, the above model also neatly excludes the problem of animals having sex with one another since they can definitely act for themselves among members of their own species.

    —-

    * I define the Leviathan more broadly than Hobbes did, so that it includes democratic governments.

  • arcseconds

     

    I define the Leviathan more broadly than Hobbes did, so that it includes democratic governments.

    No you don’t, as Hobbes explicitly allows for the Sovereign to be a democratically elected body.

    He doesn’t think it’s pragmatically useful for various reasons, but he doesn’t disallow it as a possibility.

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

    I was always given to understand that Hobbes’s theory was, in fact, explicitly intended to be a defence of monarchy, which is most definitely not democratic.

  • arcseconds

    Well, no,  Leviathan isn’t a long and turgid apology for monarchy.  It’s a long and turgid analysis of government and society in general :]

    This is what it purports to be, and actually I think it’s reasonably fair to say that this is what it is. 

    He doesn’t think democracy is conceptually impossible, or cannot for some other reason serve as the Sovereign.  He explicitly allows for this, so you’re not ‘extending’ his analysis to cover democracy — as it already does that.

    There is an apology for monarchy within Leviathan, though. He thinks monarchy is superior for pragmatic reasons.  One such reason is that a democratic assembly can’t (he thinks) get secret advice and have it remain secret, so it’s a security risk, basically.   He’s also concerned that democratic assemblies are going to give too much field for allowing people to pursue personal agendas, and they’re going to be too swayed by populist arguments.

    It’s a good thing he was entirely wrong about all of that, and that actual representative democracies are actually crewed entirely by high-minded individuals who cooperate with one another to assess policy in a rational manner without any regard to their own advancement!

    But, this is just contained within a single chapter, IIRC.  If your copy was missing that chapter, you’d probably never know that he thinks monarchies are superior.  Of course, if you just opened on a random page you’d think he’s only talking about monarchies, as there’s all this talk of the Sovereign in the singular, but he’s explicit as soon as he starts talking about the Sovereign that it might not be a single individual, and may in fact be a democratic assembly.

  • AnonymousSam

    Well, the toaster is unlikely to be harmed…

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

    Yeah, I’m not exactly worried about the toaster, m’self. Now, the human being in question… *wince*

  • AnonymousSam

    And the only form of protection has been proven to have side-effects that are detrimental to your well-being. A victory for the Vatican. :(

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

    And the only form of protection has been proven to have side-effects that are detrimental to your well-being. A victory for the Vatican. :(

    Not sure how the Vatican got into a discussion about … wait, did I just seriously get into a discussion about toaster sex? :P

    Iiiiii think I know when it’s time for me to call it a night. :-)

  • Tonio

    She said in a breathy, sultry whisper, “Would you like it light or dark?” Then she got really freaky and opened the jar of apple butter…

  • Tonio

     

    toaster sex

    “You bastard! I can’t believe you’re cheating on me with the food processor!”

  • Donalbain

     A man goes into his butcher and is surprised to be served by a new Saturday assistant. He asks what happened to the old assistant.
    “He got fired”, replies the new boy. “The boss found him with his dick in the meat slicer.”
    “That’s disgusting.” Winced the customer. “Why would anyone put their dick in a meat slicer?”
    “Well,” replied the new boy “she was a very goo looking woman!”

  • hidden_urchin

    Now, sex with a toaster would be sex with an inanimate object, and while bizarre, does not constitue a non-consensual harmful act.

    Hey!  Cylons are people too, you know. 

    Maybe we should switch our example to “microwave oven” or “coffee pot.”

    OK, I’m getting silly.  Time for bed.

  • EllieMurasaki

     Maybe we should switch our example to “microwave oven” or “coffee pot.”

    Or ‘dildo’? Or would that not have enough of the ‘oh my god EW, what sort of freak would DO that’ vibe?

  • AnonymousSam

    Vibe — pun intended?

  • EllieMurasaki

    :p

  • arcseconds

    Well, Kant himself was of course a bit of a prude (that’s putting it mildly) and holds that engaging in sexual activity at all is using someone (yourself, even) as a thing for pleasure, and that’s against the Moral Law.  He has some convoluted and not terribly convincing account of how in marriage it’s OK because both parties have willingly contracted to be used by the other as a pleasure-thing.  I think the natural purpose of procreation also gets thrown in there somewhere, although I don’t think he advances that as an actual principle per se (he’s no Catholic).

    So on Kantian grounds it’s easy to argue against bestiality! It’s sex, and therefore wrong! Sex within marriage is more of a loophole than anything else :]

    I am a big fan of Kant, though,  and he’s got lots of good stuff to say when he’s not fixating on the social mores of his time (most of his stuff is pretty abstract, so this is to say, he’s got lots of good stuff to say most of the time).   The fulcrum of his ethics is the good will — what is done out of a good will is good (deserves our respect), whereas things that are done out of inclination are at best praiseworthy: the difference here is between  ‘good girl, you get a gold star!’ and ‘far out, you’re an amazing woman and I wish I were more like you’.

    So it’s moral character that’s ultimately what’s important, and while Kant thinks we can in a sense treat animals however we like, he also thinks that how we treat animals shows us about our moral character.  So while there’s no direct moral prohibition against animal cruelty in the same way there is against human beings, being cruel towards animals for fun means that you’re prepared to inflict pain for fun, which means that you’re likely to want to do this towards humans, too, which means your character is poorly aligned with the moral law.

    While perhaps that’s weaker than we might like, Kant was quite serious about all of this, it’s not just a sideline.  He didn’t think butchers should serve on juries, for example.

    It’s probably in reasoning of this sort that we should look for a Kantian account of treatment of animals.

  • friendly reader

    If I were to say why I wouldn’t consider bestiality part of a good life, it’s because it doesn’t make you a better person.

    Sex can be used to make yourself better. Better physically (health factors, both physical and mental, as well as a basic good of pleasure), better emotionally (building bonds of intimacy and love with another), even better intellectually (if that person is someone you respect and engage with, a peer).

    Rape violates all three (#1: physical and emotional damage; #2 encourages cruelty and lust for power rather than affection; #3 treats person as less than your mental equal by violating their free will). Pedophilia likewise. Bestiality may fulfill qualification #1, but it definitely fails at #3.

    Note that #3 puts a pretty high demand on equality and mutuality in a relationship. This is part of why the Greeks were so gung-ho on male
    homosexuality/homosociability; a woman couldn’t be your peer on that
    last bit. I’m inserting a far more modern sensibility into it in many aspects, particularly in not discounting pleasure as something automatically fleshly and bad.

    Basically you should be having sex that is healthy for you; makes you feel closer to the person(s); and lets you respect them as an equal. There’s nothing in homosexuality that of necessity violates these principles, any more than heterosexuality.

  • Gotchaye

    Speaking only of humans, it’s pretty clear that sex /is/ special.  Maybe there are possible cultures where it’s no big deal, but our culture is not like that, and we clearly /do/ think differently about sex.  People /say/ that they were very affected by sexual abuse as children, even when they’re not physically damaged by it.

    I admit, I don’t really see how you can get that bestiality is wrong because it’s a violation of an animal’s rights given that we’re fine with all of the other horrible things we do to animals.

  • CoolHandLNC

    That being so, how can we make the case for a norm of strong consent without making sex “special” in a moral sense? Isn’t the post-60s theory that sex isn’t special? It’s a human relationship and it sometimes makes babies, so you should treat it with prudential caution, but isn’t it supposed to be just a normal thing people do without especially different ethical ramifications beyond the possibility of utilitarian style harm?
    OK, so commenters, why do we need strong consent if sex isn’t special?

    That is a bit of a strawman, isn’t it Carl? Who is it, exactly, arguing that “sex isn’t special”, how, in what way, and in what context? You are throwing out a lot of assertions disguised as questions. It is not an honest tactic. I don’t get why you think “strong consent” is less obviously necessary, but then you start out talking about animals and end up talking about people, and I’m not sure to which that statement applies. Is that a deliberate obfuscation? What the heck do you mean by morally special anyway? Everything that affects another person is morally special. I would hold that even strong consent is not sufficient in some regards: it is not moral to use someone for your own pleasure and against their best interest, even if they give enthusiastic strong consent.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

     

    . To be a bit graphic for a second, in many cases of bestality the
    animal is the sexually active partner, which means that in one sense the
    animal is capable of giving “consent” to the activity.

    Flag on the play: equivocation, 5 yards, repeat down.
    Consent does not refer to physical capacity, nor does the word include biological stimulus-response conditions. An animal whose genitalia are being stimulated will have a physical response; that is not consent of any kind. If you blow dust in my face, I do not give consent (or “weak consent”) to sneeze.

    Let’s call these two kinds of consent “weak consent” and “strong consent.”

    No, let’s not, because the word “consent” actually means something and you’re trying to make it mean something different. I would much rather you argue in good faith.

    But strong consent seems less obviously necessary. Especially considering that we routinely kill and eat animals.

    Flag on the play: unstated, unproven tacit assumption:
    “we routinely kill and eat animals” is not shown to be moral or immoral in the context of your argument.
    Additionally, whatever the argument for the morality of killing and eating animals, it is not necessarily transferable to non-lethal, sexual activities.
    Additionally, whatever that argument may be, it does not necessarily trump any other counter-arguments in a context other than survival. 

    That being so…

    It’s not.

    …how can we make the case for a norm of strong consent without making sex “special” in a moral sense?

    “special” compared to what? Killing and eating creatures? Seriously? Yes, I am quite alright with having a different set of morality govern behaviors necessary for individual survival versus those governing non-necessary sexual activities. I am also quite fine with having a special morality for situations involving unequal power dynamics; the morality for how I interact with my dependent child is different than how I interact with my independent neighbor. Not that hard.

    Isn’t the post-60s theory that sex isn’t special? …isn’t it supposed to be just a normal thing people do without
    especially different ethical ramifications beyond the possibility of
    utilitarian style harm?

    Flag on the play: flagrant straw-man, 15 yard penalty, loss of down. Please cite any primary source of your choice on “post-60s theory”. (no links to TownHall, WorldNewsDaily, or Conservapaedia, please)

  • Gotchaye

     Could you clarify if you’re saying that killing and eating animals, as practiced, is generally necessary for individual survival, or just that there may be times when killing and eating animals could be necessary for individual survival?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

     Could you clarify if you’re saying…

    Nope. Because I’m not saying either. I’m not making any arguments about the morality of killing and eating animals. The OP’s bad-faith argument was:
    a.) We kill and eat animals without their consent. (explicit statement)
    b.) Killing and eating animals is morally acceptable. (tacit claim)
    Therefore c.) Consent is not a necessary requirement for morally acceptable acts with animals.

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with B, I was just pointing out that you can’t assume B to be true, and even if you do, that doesn’t necessarily make C true because the categorical logic doesn’t work that way. 

  • Gotchaye

    To be as technical as you’ve been being: I didn’t say that you were making arguments about the morality of killing and eating animals.  I thought that you were making some claim about the practical necessity of killing and eating animals.  You say you weren’t making either of the claims I thought you might be making.  So now I’m really confused about the following:

    “Additionally, whatever that argument may be, it does not necessarily
    trump any other counter-arguments in a context other than survival.”
    It’s really hard to see what this means if “killing and eating animals” isn’t sometimes necessary for survival.  I could read this as talking about the animal’s survival, but that’s really strained.  Nobody had talked about human survival before this, so this is something that you introduced here for no reason other than to link it to “killing and eating animals”.

    “”special” compared to what? Killing and eating creatures? Seriously?
    Yes, I am quite alright with having a different set of morality govern
    behaviors necessary for individual survival versus those governing
    non-necessary sexual activities.”
    Then there’s this.  The common-sense reading of this is that killing and eating creatures is a behavior necessary for individual survival.  I suppose you could be read here as saying that eating is necessary for survival, and rules about killing and eating creatures are rules about eating, but that’s both pretty strained and only gestures at the sort of argument that you’d be all over with “flag on the play” if someone else had made it.

    So, what did you mean?

  • http://twitter.com/RtRDH RodRogueDemonHunter

    Hey Fred,

    I also issued a response to the misogyny of the gaming community’s trolls: http://politicaljesus.com/2012/07/08/dear-gaming-community-under-no-circumstances-is-misogyny-funny/

  • nirrti

    For men I have known such as my biological father and ex-boyfriends,  it seemed like the more religious they were, the less likely they were to see women as “people”.  They took the verses like the “women obeying husbands as men do the lord” ones as confirmation of their hierarchy-based social norms. God on top, men in middle, women and children at the bottom.

    A female’s relationship with any of these men was based on how well she kept quiet and kowtowed to what they wanted. What the female wanted didn’t matter at all. If she decided she had a mind of her own like I did, the men couldn’t possibly continue to socialize with such “uppity” women for fear their balls would shrivel up….or something.

  • MaryKaye

    “Wrong” is not the same as “against the law”.  Plenty of things are wrong that are not against the law (including a lot of things people do to animals, in my opinion).

    I think that most animals with which a human would consider having sex are complex social beings with their own rules of relationships, and humans are very ill equipped to enter into those relationships (and vice versa, obviously).  I think of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ discussion of the way the deer on her farm behaved–she didn’t like it, but eventually decided “Humans can’t intervene in deer politics any more than deer can intervene in human politics.”  So this Pagan is inclined to think that human/animal sex is trespassing.

    The experience of zookeepers and animal handlers is that you’re safer keeping animals animal and humans human; blurring the line can produce striking results, but it can also get you killed.  I also think of the chimpanzee researcher who dreamed he had gained entry to the chimp colony, but in his dream the chimps explained to him that he could not belong to their society–he was too weak.  And I think of Grizzly Man, who was a master at boundary blurring, but who was eventually eaten by a bear.

    In the presence of weak consent, though, it’s not at all in the wrongness category of rape for me.
     

  • AnonymousSam

     If you have an inexplicable urge to lose all faith in humanity, FSTDT’s top 100 list will link you to some revelations about the nature of sexuality, as told by adolescent males via the Internet. They have… unique arguments about consent, like how attraction = consent and an attractive male is incapable of rape by this fact.

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

    They have… unique arguments about consent, like how attraction = consent and an attractive male is incapable of rape by this fact.

    Oh dear. :(

  • phantomreader42

    So, if you asked Bryan Fischer the question “have you stopped raping your wife yet?” he’d proudly answer “No” and see nothing wrong with it.  

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t think he’d say that because I don’t think he’d understand the question.  To him a woman can’t be raped because a woman isn’t really a sentient creature.  Which is probably a major clue as to why homosexuality repulses him so.

  • Guest

    So, should someone point out that debating whether or not bestiality is or is not morally wrong is probably NOT the best way to convince fundies that we don’t want to legalize human/animal marriage by legalizing gay marriage?

    That being said- I think the fundamental reason is the incapability of an animal to give or deny consent.  Which is, functionally, the same reason we ban pedophilia.  

    *sigh* I’mma end up on a watch list, I just know it….

    It’s a fact that starting at a young age, human beings have sexual urges- masturbation usually starts pretty early, often before puberty.   And by the time they’re 12, most humans have a good idea what sex is and that they probably want to have it (I’ve known people who consensually lost their virginity to their peers as young as 11.)  Therefore, from a strictly biological standpoint, children are capable of sex, and even capable of wanting to have sex.  A child could, in theory, say to an adult “I want to have sex with you” and mean it.However, we accept that there are things children simply cannot consent too, by dint of the fact that they’re children. Marriage, contracts, (not really that different, actually) driving a car, leaving the house by themselves- these are all actions that we accept as things that children cannot consent to do.  Within this class of things that children can’t consent to is sex.A dog cannot deny consent, or give consent. A dog is incapable of consent to an even greater degree than a child.Other example:  Me and my girlfriend come home from a party, and she passes out drunk.  Now, she had sex with me this morning, and last night, and right before we left for the party, so I could assume she’d consent to sex with me. I would still think it was rape to have sex with her while she was unconscious, because in that state, she is incapable of giving or denying consent at all. 

  • Lori

     

    So, should someone point out that debating whether or not bestiality is
    or is not morally wrong is probably NOT the best way to convince fundies
    that we don’t want to legalize human/animal marriage by legalizing gay
    marriage?  

    A. There is nothing we can do to convince fundies that we don’t want to legalize human/animal marriage or that full civil rights for same sex couples will not lead  to human/animal marriage . Their beliefs are irrational and, not incidentally, very politically convenient to them. They aren’t going to give them up because we don’t talk about it.

    B. It’s not like everyone is all “Yeah doing it with animals!” Trying to articulate a reason beyond “Grosssss!” is not the same thing as thinking it’s okay-dokey.

  • Tonio

    Fisher’s take on sexual morality: “How dare you tell me no. Only God tells me no.”

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    It always amuses my that John Knox was hoist upon his own petard. He wouldn’t back down when Elizabeth I became queen of England and she was no walkover. She never forgave him for writing that.

     

  • Tricksterson

    IIRC the queenships of the two Marys (especially the English Mary) and Elizabeth are why he wrote that.

  • PJ Evans

     He certainly didn’t like Mary of Scotland. She was *gasp* a Roman Catholic. (His views are not mine.)

  • Anon

    Mr Clark,

    Delurk for nitpick (and I know you are quoting Ms MacInnis). It is “Monstrous Regimen of Women”. “Regimen” as in Ruling Power, rather than “Regiment” as in a lot of them.
    End delurk.

  • hamletta

    Oh, no! Don’t tell me that!

    I always thought “Monstrous Regiment” would be a great name for a Christian Riot Grrrl band.

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

    Monstrous Regimen, on the other hand, sounds like something you would say about an exhausting exercise program.

  • thatotherjean

     Too late.  It’s already a book by Terry Pratchett.  No Christian band would touch it.

  • christopher_young

     It is “regiment” with a “t”, although as Anon points out, it means “regimen”. I don’t know whether the form Knox used was simply the 16th century spelling, or whether it was a Scots version of the word, but he definitely put a “t” on the end of it.

  • Tricksterson

    Well, it was a pretty good name for a Terry Pratchett nivel.  Does that help?

  • PJ Evans

     That’s one version. (It was also ‘Monstruous’.)

  • Richard Hershberger

    I see the John Knox essay as more of an opportunistic anti-Catholic argument, riffing off of the contemporary fact that the Catholic monarchs of both England and Scotland were women, to say nothing of the whole Mary of Guise thing.  If they had been left-handed redheaded men, he might have made something of that.

    His timing was terrible, as he wrote it just before Mary Tudor died and was succeeded by Elizabeth, who was a natural ally of his.  He, along with many other exiles in Geneva, returned to Britain.  In the ordinary course of events he would have gone to England and participated in the church there.  Elizabeth refused to let him enter England on account of the pamphlet.  He back pedalled a bit, not nearly enough to appease Elizabeth.  Instead, he went by sea to Scotland where he fomented rebellion against Mary Stuart.

    Was he a mysogynist asshole?  Almost certainly.  Was we more so than most men of his day?  Probably not.  I don’t think he had any genuine principled objection to a female monarch.  The idea was startling at the time, but generally people got over it.  He just made the mistake of strongly going on record for an unrelated reason.

  • phantomreader42

    Fred wrote:

    I can begin to understand the sort of cautiously conservative church
    person who sees some of those “keep silent” clobber verses and takes
    them as supporting limits on women’s participation in the church. I
    think those folks are utterly wrong, but I can appreciate that
    they’re at least basing their wrongness on something other than
    straight-up misogyny and a seething hatred of women.

    I don’t think enforcing the clobber verses is ever really motivated by anything but hatred. 

    Notice that women who love to preach the anti-gay and anti-atheist clobber verses don’t react well when their targets whack them upside the head with 1 Timothy 2:12.  Nor do divorced male homophobic misogynists treat Matthew 19:4-9 as authoritative unless they’re making some transparently idiotic effort to twist it into a prohibition on same-sex marriage instead of divorce.  People pick and choose which parts of the bible to believe.  People who believe the hateful parts do so either because they are hateful bastards who want them to be true, or because they’re victims of mental (and frequently physical) abuse by hateful bastards who want them to be true. 

  • Ursula L

    If you go to the ten commandments, they forbid adultery, but not rape.  

    And if you take the ten commandments as a starting point for understanding morality, that’s a really odd place to start.  So starting there, is it so surprising that people follow that lead, and define good sex based on the legal relationship between the people involved rather than enthusiastic and uncoerced consent? 

  • AnonymousSam

    Looking elsewhere isn’t going to help either. I can think of no less than eight places where the Bible advocates rape, including one lovely section (Zechariah 14) that Fred will most likely never quote:

    1 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

    2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

    3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

    God plans to personally do his share of the raping?See, this is why I have difficulty with reading the Bible and immediately drawing the conclusion that it portrays God as a force of light and love.

  • Ursula L

    If you judge the rightness or wrongness of sex by the standard of legal control of the woman who is having sex done to her, and completely discount what she thinks of what is happening, then it makes sense.

    A husband owns his wife’s sexuality, and can have sex with her as he chooses.  A father owns his daughter’s sexuality, and can give her to another man as a wife or a concubine or sell her as a slave as he chooses.  A slave owner owns a slave woman’s sexuality, and can have sex with her or allow other men to have sex with her as he chooses.   

    A woman’s consent is irrelevant, except in the narrow situation where a man has sex with her without her husband/father/owner’s authorization.  And in that case, her consent only makes the situation worse, because she is a co-conspirator in the crime.  

    And God owns, controls, is lord over Jerusalem.  Over Israel.  Over the world. If God decides that this or that man may have sex with a particular woman, that comes naturally from the understanding that a woman’s sexuality is the property of the man who controls her, to be used as he sees fit.

    If a slave owner raped a woman slave he owned, he was not, by the standards of slave owners, doing anything wrong.  If he chose another man, and offered the slave woman he owned for sex, he was doing nothing wrong.  He might deliberately do this to punish the slave he owned, and by the standards of slave owners, he was doing nothing wrong.  If anything, that excused any distress they noticed from the slave woman in question, as she was obviously being punished by her legal owner, as was his right.

    And if God decides to punish the city of Jerusalem, or the Israelite people, and that punishment included the women of those communities being raped…

    It isn’t wrong, from the slave owner’s perspective or according to a standard based on ownership rather than consent,  for the owner to use a slave sexually in any way or for any purpose, even as punishment.  But a slave, by definition, is seen by slave owners to deserve whatever the slave owner decides.  

    ***

    The Bible doesn’t really portray God as a force of “light and love.”  It defines God as a force of “light and love.”  Or not really of “light and love” but as a force of power that is to be obeyed for pragmatic reasons not much different from unarmed civilians not publicly opposing an invading and occupying army.  

    If you start with that as your definition, rather than starting by defining “light and love” and seeing if the description fits, then there is no conflict, just rules, which are the right rules, and whose rightness is defined pragmatically based on unequal power,  rather than growing from any principle or ethical standard.  

  • AnonymousSam

    The issue then becomes “If God is love, how can God…”

    But then, we’ve already visited that debate a thousand times over. Fred’s conclusion is that it only works if God doesn’t want these bad things to happen. Reading the Bible, though, informs us that he does.

    Which is why the Bible is not my resource for understanding the mind of God. :D

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Fred’s conclusion is that it only works if God doesn’t want these bad things to happen. Reading the Bible, though, informs us that he does.

    Sigh. Reading the Bible informs us that some of the people who contributed to the Bible think that he does.

  • AnonymousSam

    True.

  • swbarnes2

    Reading the Bible informs us that some of the people who contributed to the Bible think that he does.

    So, how, from the text alone, do you determine which parts accurately describe what God wants, and which parts do not?  Which parts of the text do you conclude are accurate, despite the fact that they clash with your moral preferences? 

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Most traditions don’t operate from the text alone.

    Actually, even though some claim to come at it from the text alone, none do.  The text alone is a bunch of squiggles on paper.  If you are able to understand those as words and sentences that means you’re bringing some outside knowledge and experience in.  You’re interpreting the text in light of your understanding of the language, which may be radically different from the translator’s understanding of the language.

    If you attempt to learn the translator’s understanding or the language, then you bring even more not-the-text-alone stuff to the table.  Every attempt to get closer to the original intended meaning of the text will require bringing in more and more stuff that is outside of the text,

    “from the text alone” simply doesn’t work.

  • swbarnes2

    Actually, even though some claim to come at it from the text alone, none do.  The text alone is a bunch of squiggles on paper.  If you are able to understand those as words and sentences that means you’re bringing some outside knowledge and experience in.  You’re interpreting the text in light of your understanding of the language, which may be radically different from the translator’s understanding of the language.

    I don’t think you quite understood me.  By “text alone” I mean “without reference to the way you personally wish things to be”.

    Okay, let’s be specific.  Exodus 12:29.  I interpret line that to mean that God killed the firstborn son of the captive.  But you say that that’s not what that means, that there is some way of understanding the author’s culture and frame of reference, so that that phrase will mean something entirely different from that?  Or maybe you mean to say that that part of the Bible is simply inaccurate, and wrong, and that event never happened?  That’s what I took Pepper’s meaning to be.

    Did God let Job’s family die for no good reason?  Or is that another part where there is some culture context whereby I’m supposed to understand that story to mean exactly the opposite of what the text looks like it means?  Or is that yet another part which is actually an inaccurate description of how God works?  How did you conclude that?  From the text itself, or because you don’t like the implications of the story?

    What about John 3:16?  Is that just inaccurate?  Or is there some correct cultural context  which I should apply so that it means the opposite of what it appears to mean? 

    How do you know that John 3:16 is an accurate portrayal of what God is like and Exodus is not?  What objective measurements lead you to those conclusions?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     How do you know that John 3:16 is an accurate portrayal of what God is
    like and Exodus is not?  What objective measurements lead you to those
    conclusions?

    “Scripture, tradition, experience, reason”.

    In other news… I believe that the God I have encountered is a loving god – and I am interested in following him. If he, in fact, turns out not to be loving – then I don’t want to follow a god like that, and would rather follow the loving god of my own imagination.
    Since, either way, I’m going to be following a loving god – real or imaginary – as best I can, why do I really need to spend my time looking for more reasons to justify my beliefs?

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

     

    Since, either way, I’m going to be following a loving god – real or
    imaginary – as best I can, why do I really need to spend my time looking
    for more reasons to justify my beliefs?

    Absolutely agreed. If I’ve already decided what I’m going to do no matter what the facts turn out to be, then searching for facts is a waste of my time.

  • swbarnes2

    In other news… I believe that the God I have encountered is a loving god – and I am interested in following him.

     
    The Newmans believed that not giving their daughter medical treatment for her diabetes was the right thing to do.  Their daughter died, but if their reason and traditions and scripture and experiences told them that that’s what God wanted, you can’t say that you know they are wrong, can you?  (I’m sure if asked they’d say they believed in a loving God too, that God loved Kara so much, he wanted her to be with him right away, which is why her immune system destroyed her pancreatic beta cells.)
     
    Lots of people believe lots of things.  Doesn’t it matter at all if there’s any evidence to believe those things are true?
     
    But okay, so the tsunami in Japan.  Is that one of those experiences that leads you to believe that the Job story is more or less true?  That God kills innocent people just because?  You believe that John 3:16 is accurate because look how much the scripture praises Abraham for trying to kill a child, so God killing his son must also be good?
     
    Malaria kills a million people a year.  That’s your reason that a loving God exists?  

    Since, either way, I’m going to be following a loving god – real or imaginary – as best I can, why do I really need to spend my time looking for more reasons to justify my beliefs?

     
    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you.  You don’t have to worry about stuff like that.  How fortunate for you.  See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.  We do this, not by preening about how comfortable we are with our traditional ideas, or by cherry-picking bits from old texts that agree with what we like (while scrupulously avoiding parts of the same text that disagree with us).  No, we check our beliefs against reality, and we are as objective as we can possibly be.  And if we find that our beliefs can’t be substantaited, we don’t sigh and keep believing imaginary things anyway.
     
     

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    What the hell is your problem?

    Why are you berating me? Why are you beating me over the head with Bible verses? Why are you asking me to justify my beliefs based on someone else’s beliefs causing problems? Why are you claiming that I am not open to making mistakes?

    IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT I BELIEVE. SHUT THE HELL UP, AND STOP MAKING WILD ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT ANY BASIS.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    (Not sure why Disqus belatedly deleted my comment. Let me redo that.)

    What the hell is your problem, swbarnes2?

    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you.

    Of course not. Which is why I never realised I’d been wrong about homosexuality.

    See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.

    Nope, never started looking into political issues, either.

    We do this, not by preening about how comfortable we are with our traditional ideas, or by cherry-picking bits from old texts that agree with what we like (while scrupulously avoiding parts of the same text that disagree with us).

    Yep. That’s why I never left my church, never changed my voting stance, never became an inclusivist, never started reading left-wing blogs…

    Once again: WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?

    I am not required to justify my beliefs to you, I’m certainly not required to justify someone else’s beliefs to you, I don’t need to provide you with an explanation for tsunamis and malaria – and I am absolutely not going to do any of the above for someone who cannot treat me with common courtesy but would rather sarcastically berate me for daring to think they might be wrong about what I am allowed to think.

    GROW THE HELL UP, AND LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE.

  • swbarnes2

    Of course not. Which is why I never realised I’d been wrong about homosexuality.

     
    And did you accomplish this by declaring that there was no point in spending a lick of time trying to see if your beliefs were justified, and then followed up by never spending a second for the rest of your life testing if your beliefs were justified, and then one day out of nowhere, you just changed your mind for no good reason?  I bet not.
     
    I bet you eventually did try to justify your old beliefs, and you found that they failed your testing, and had you tested them sooner, you would not have been in the wrong for so long.  People who make mistakes have to test things.
     
    If someone said “I choose to believe in a God who lays down strict rules for us to follow, rules about things like homosexuality.  Why do I need to spend my time justifying my beliefs?”  would you have any criticism to make about that stance? 

    Let me try this a different way, though I figure you won’t answer.
     
    What is the practical difference between being a loving person, and following an imaginary loving God?  It’s quite hard for a person who follows the God responsible for Leviticus, the Fall, the global flood, and all those wars, and plagues, and other killings to be fair to gay people (or women, or anyone really), don’t you think that a person who simply classed themselves as “loving” and didn’t care what Leviticus said at all would have had an easier time treating gay people fairly?   
     
    But whatever. 

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I have no intention of justifying my beliefs or my actions to someone who is behaving so nastily to me.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Hey, swbarnes2?

    So, the whole being open to learning that you are wrong about things, that’s not for believers like you. You don’t have to worry about stuff like that. How fortunate for you. See, the rest of us are fallible mortals, and we make mistakes, and those of us who are honest enough to care about that are constantly checking to see if our preconceived ideas are mistaken.

    You were an arsehole to Deird. Being an arsehole to Deird is not going to achieve anything worthwhile. Thinking otherwise is a mistake. Are you honest enough to care about that?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     So, how, from the text alone

    Yeah – as Chris said, we don’t tend to do anything from the text alone.

    I would go with “scripture, tradition, experience, reason” as a pretty good basis for thinking about God and God-related things.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I would go with “scripture, tradition, experience, reason” as a pretty good basis for thinking about God and God-related things

    Chuck in revelation, too–which is tested against the others–and you’ve got a pretty good set.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So, how, from the text alone, do you determine which parts accurately describe what God wants, and which parts do not?  Which parts of the text do you conclude are accurate, despite the fact that they clash with your moral preferences? 

    I don’t determine anything from the text alone. Most people don’t. I’m not your fundamentalist relative from Kansas.

  • badJim

    Consent works pretty well as a principle when one of the parties is a human adult. Kids and critters are out because they’re presumed unable to consent. Few of us would contend, though, that kids can’t fuck each other, and it would be lunacy to extend strict standards of consent throughout the animal kingdom. (Stop, that, Rover! You’re just a dog!)

    Coercion is a broader and more flexible standard. Any disparity in power between partners is automatically suspect, including relations between boss and underling or teacher and student, and the greater the disparity the stronger the presumption of coercion. Even though many slaves may in one sense or another have loved their masters, absent equality it’s impossible to infer consent.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Consent works pretty well as a principle when one of the parties is a human adult … it would be lunacy to extend strict standards of consent throughout the animal kingdom. 

    It would be lunacy, but that’s because animals aren’t moral agents. Animals lack the capacity for morality; it’s a categorical error to try and apply standards of morality to their behavior.

    Few of us would contend, though, that kids can’t fuck each other…

    Flag on the play: moved goalposts.
    The contention isn’t capacity for action (“kids can’t fuck each other”) the contention is the morality of the action. (“kids should/shouldn’t fuck each other”) Children are developing moral agents, with a pretty direct relationship between their age, their capacity for moral judgement, and the responsibility to act morally placed upon them socially. We recognize diminished capacity for moral action in children, which is why we have a  juvenile  justice system. But merely having the capacity to act does not make an action moral, and lacking the development to understand the morality involved does not always excuse bad behavior. 

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

    In a practical sense, bestiality doesn’t really harm the creature in most cases, so I don’t really see anything morally wrong with it if the critter isn’t harmed (in the case of horses, I kind of doubt they even NOTICE). 

    Disgust, okay, but lots of things that aren’t illegal I find disgusting (pet food, liver, brussels sprouts, eyes…)

    Existing animal cruelty statutes could apply if harm came to the animal, but if not I don’t see why I should care. 

  • Lori

    In a practical sense, bestiality doesn’t really harm the creature in
    most cases, so I don’t really see anything morally wrong with it if the
    critter isn’t harmed (in the case of horses, I kind of doubt they even
    NOTICE).  

    Have you spent much time with horses? The fact that they’re so much bigger than we are doesn’t mean that we can’t harm them, even when we don’t mean to do so. Horses are prey animals and humans are predators. It’s pretty easy for us to scare them really badly. Add in the manipulation factor we talked about before and I suspect it’s rare for human/horse bestiality to occur without psychological damage to the horse.

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

     

    Have you spent much time with horses? The fact that they’re so much
    bigger than we are doesn’t mean that we can’t harm them, even when we
    don’t mean to do so. Horses are prey animals and humans are predators.
    It’s pretty easy for us to scare them really badly. Add in the
    manipulation factor we talked about before and I suspect it’s rare for
    human/horse bestiality to occur without psychological damage to the
    horse. 

    Granting this for the sake of discussion, can you clarify how I might confirm that getting on a horse’s back and coercing it to move around all day and pull heavy things around at my command is not equally psychologically damaging?

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

    I don’t think using a horse as a beast of burden fits in the same category as sexual coercion.

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

     

    I don’t think using a horse as a beast of burden fits in the same category as sexual coercion.

    Nor am I suggesting it does. However, I saw nothing in Lori’s reasoning about what constitutes harm to animals (which I quoted) that restricted it to sexual coercion.

    Nor should it… abuse is abuse, and abusing an animal (including humans) doesn’t somehow become acceptable if it turns out no sex is involved.

  • Lori

     

    Nor should it… abuse is abuse, and abusing an animal (including
    humans) doesn’t somehow become acceptable if it turns out no sex is
    involved. 

    Absolutely. Abuse is never OK. My only point was that it’s very nearly impossible to get the horse to have sex with you without abusing it, but if you know what you’re doing you can easily get the horse to carry you where you want to go without hurting it in any way.

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

     (nods) Yup, understood. Your first comment confused me a little, because it sounded like you were deriving the conclusion that the animal was being abused from the fact that certain activities just are abuse because we say so, which is why I wanted to explore further how you draw the line between abuse and non-abuse. Your followup explanation (that, basically, the measure is how much damage it does to the individual, and you can tell an individual has been damaged by, basically, looking) resolved that confusion quite crisply. Thank you for clarifying.

  • Tricksterson

    “Where I’m from we put people on leashes and ride them like ponies.”

    Sorry the toaster debate put me in a silly mood.  Well, sillier than usual.

  • Lori

     

    Granting this for the sake of discussion, can you clarify how I might
    confirm that getting on a horse’s back and coercing it to move around
    all day and pull heavy things around at my command is not equally
    psychologically damaging?  

    The horses’ behavior mostly. If you’ve been around horses much at all it isn’t difficult to tell animals who have been well treated by knowledgeable riders and those who have been hurt.

    Several years back I saw a documentary about men who had sex with horses*. The horses behaved like horses who had been abused, not like horses who had been properly cared for. The men would deny to their last breath that they were hurting the animals**, but horses can’t really lie. If they’re acting like they’ve been mistreated it’s because they’ve been mistreated.

    *Strictly speaking I saw parts of it. It was watch-from-the hall levels of oogy for me so I missed some stuff.

    **A major part of the ooginess is the way the men talked about how the horses wanted to have sex with them. At least one guy talked as if the horse had seduced him. It was classic abuser self-justification and it totally freaked me out.

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

     ROT13d stuff in the same vein:

    Gurer jnf n sbehz cbfg V ernq bapr va juvpu n zna qvfpybfrq gung uvf fba unq fbqbzvmrq gurve snzvyl qbt jvgu n sbervta bowrpg. Gur svefg fvta bs vg jnf pynffvp nohfrr orunivbe – gur qbt jnf jvguqenja, jnf ershfvat beqvanel pbagnpg jnl zber guna hfhny (abg yvxr n pnfr jurer n ubhfr crg whfg jnagf gb or fbzrjurer ryfr naq qbrfa’g srry yvxr orvat fpevgpurq be crggrq nalzber), rgp.

    for the ts;dr*: I read of a similar case involving a dog. Cue my D: expression as I read.

    —-
    * Too squicked, didn’t read.

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

    The horses behaved like horses who had been abused

    Ah, gotcha. Yeah, absolutely, if my sexual partner shows signs of sexual abuse, you are entirely justified in assuming that I’m being sexually abusive. That’s true even if my partner is a human adult, but it’s certainly also true if my partner is not both of those things.

  • Tricksterson

    “a documentary about…

    Okay, tat’s it. I’m outta here.  My weirdness meter just went into the red zone.

  • Lori

     

    Okay, tat’s it. I’m outta here.  My weirdness meter just went into the red zone.  

    It was actually quite well done and showed up on a lot of lists of best documentaries. It was about the case in (IIRC) Washington state where a guy died as a result of sex with a horse, which lead to the realization that A) bestiality was not illegal in the state and B) some folks were taking advantage of that.
     
    I think the filmmakers did a good job presenting the men in a fair, non-salacious way without making it seem like the behavior is OK. Considering how little is really known about people who engage in bestiality I thought it was brave and worthwhile for them to make the film and also brave in a weird way for people to agree to talk to them, even with their identities obscured.

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

    Yeah, that was the one I saw. “Zoo”. Actually, I found it a tad boring in places, which considering the subject matter was kind of a feat. I suppose I’m interested in deviant people and the like, but less so in animal behaviour.

  • Tricksterson

    Eyes?  What are you, the Corinthian?

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

    More like I had trouble reading that particular Sandman arc, or the NCIS with the optic-nerve replacing the martini olive, or listening to the King Diamond album where the bad guy removes people’s eyes to make dolls, etc. Until last year I couldn’t comfortably put in eyedrops. And I won’t even consider using contact lenses. 

  • Tricksterson

    So you’re more like the anti-Corinthian.  Good, I feel a lot more comfortable knowing you then.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I mean, there is also the fact that if there are these “cautious conservatives” tip-toeing around the clobber verses…maybe the clobber verses are a problem, too?  I mean, you haven’t been shy about saying we should ignore parts of the Bible that deal with, for instance, slavery.  Sounds to me like an easy extension of that idea.  ‘course, ignoring the whole thing is an option too.

  • Xian-x

    Since Terry Pratchett’s novel Monstrous Regiment has already been mentioned: Toward the end of the novel, a prophet of the god Nuggan announces that the god is “nothing but the poisonous echo of all your ignorance and pettiness and malicious stupidity! Find yourself a worthier god.”

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Am I just experiencing Deja vu, or have we really been right here before?

    Sex with a member of the same sex means sex with animals.  Misogyny in the church from way back, discussion of Martin Luther’s invective being thrown everywhere, the various other stuff here, all in one post.

    I swear we’ve been here before.

    I suppose it does come up fairly often.

  • Lorehead

    So, should someone point out that debating whether or not bestiality is or is not morally wrong is probably NOT the best way to convince fundies that we don’t want to legalize human/animal marriage by legalizing gay marriage?

    Eh.  First, it’s not all about them; the ethics of animal rights is an interesting topic in itself.  Second, the best way to do that (for those who are amenable to rational persuasion) is to explain how we can distinguish them. If we take the Fundies at their word that they’re genuinely ignorant of any sexual ethics other than moral relativism, which is what an appeal to personal distaste amounts to, then perhaps it would open their eyes.

    One might begin by asking how, if we take consent and the quality of nonhuman animals’ lives as seriously as we seem to in the context of sex, it would be acceptable to kill animals for the sake of a tasty meal.  Or how killing dogs for food would be a moral outrage, but not pigs, which are capable of the same intelligence and emotions.  Presumably it is either ethical to harm a particular animal in order to satisfy some human desire, or it is not.  What analogy to rape would not apply equally to Dahmer or Mengele?

    That bestiality is an easy sin to condemn, giving a feeling of moral outrage without having to make any sacrifice whatsoever, whereas we like the taste of meat, is not the most compelling moral argument when stated that baldly.  I therefore must request that you consider how your arguments for why sex with animals is or is not ethical would imply we should treat them in other ways.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    …and now both comments are back. Well, that’s just dandy.

    *sighs*


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