Smart people saying smart things

David Brin, interview with Wired magazine

The notion of self-righteous indignation being a drug high seems to develop naturally out of recent scientific results that show that addiction is actually the most natural of human processes. You’ve heard the phrase “addicted to love.” Well, you can deliberately enter less salubrious mental states. You can deliberately go to Las Vegas, and the slot machines are now tuned to track the pattern of your behavior at the slot machine and change their rewards pattern so you start getting more rewards when it calculates that you’re about to stand up and give up and leave. So there’s gambling, thrill addiction. Well, it turns out that there’s substantial evidence that self-righteous indignation is one of these drug highs, and any honest person knows this. We’ve all been in indignant snits, self-righteous furies. You go into the bathroom during one of these snits, and you look in the mirror and you have to admit, this feels great! “I am so much smarter and better than my enemies! And they are so wrong, and I am so right!”

And if we were to recognize that self-righteous indignation is a bona fide drug high, and that yes, just like alcohol, some of us can engage in it on occasion — as a matter of fact, when I engage in it, I get into a real bender — but then say, “Enough.” If we were to acknowledge this as a drug addiction, then it might weaken all the horrible addicts out there who have taken over politics in America, and allow especially conservatism to return to the genteel, calm, intellectual ways of Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley.

Paula Kirby: “How would Jesus vote?

Let us start with the question of wealth. Far from emphasizing the importance of wealth-creation, Jesus repeatedly told his followers to forsake it; that it would get in the way of their relationship with God. His advice to a wealthy would-be disciple? Sell all you have and give it to the poor. And give it to the poor! No sign here that he thought of the poor as being to blame for their own predicament, people to be frowned on, people who did not deserve to have their well-being taken into account. Suppose Jesus really were alive today. Would he despise the poor? Ignore their needs? Begrudge their miserable welfare hand-outs? Cheer at the idea of letting the uninsured die of disease?

When did the Jesus of the Gospels ever proclaim that the poor and sick and unfortunate do not deserve your compassion? That you are not your brother’s keeper? That paying tax is an abomination?

The Gospels show us a man who shunned the respectable, reaching out instead to the poor and weak, seeking out society’s rejects and publicly aligning himself with them. Would the Jesus who healed abundantly have been outraged at the idea of “Obamacare”? At the suggestion that he should put his hand in his pocket to help ensure the poorest in the wealthiest nation on Earth did not have to live in fear of illness?

James Fallows: “The Certainty of Even More Shootings

One person who (unsuccessfully) threatened the lives of his fellow airline passengers ten-and-a-half years ago has changed air travel for every single passenger on every U.S. flight in all the time since then. We responded (and over-responded) to that episode with a “this won’t happen again” determination, like other countries’ response to mass shootings. It is hard to know what kind of mass killing with guns would evoke a similar determination in America. The murder of six people including a federal judge and near-killing of a Congresswoman last year obviously didn’t do it. Nor, in all probability, will these latest two multi-death shootings. In their official statements of condolence yesterday, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney replicated their achievement after the Aurora murders: Neither used the word “gun.”

This will happen again.


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  • EllieMurasaki

    No, what I am saying is that the paramount principle is minimize harm. If something is done without the consent of an involved party, it does harm to the nonconsenting party. The inherent harm done to a woman by even the least troubled pregnancy plus the harm inherent in her not consenting to being pregnant equals more harm done by forcing her to continue the pregnancy than by allowing her to end it. Once the baby’s born, the situation is different: if the woman doesn’t consent to parenthood, the baby can be taken away from her. I repeat, if you can ensure that a woman can stop being pregnant without killing the fetus, I’ll be first in line to ban abortion.

    People who commit suicide do not, as I understand it, actually want to die. They want the pain to stop, and the only way they see to accomplish that is to die. We try to stop them from suiciding in order to show them that there are other ways: removing themselves from the situation that’s causing the pain, or using medication to rebalance the brain chemistry that’s causing the pain, or waiting it out. Consent still matters; the problem is that the suicidal person believes the only choices are ‘live with unbearable pain’ and ‘die’, and it’s kind of hard to consent to doing something that one doesn’t know is a possibility.

    Did I say there was anything wrong with consensual cannibalism provided measures are taken to ensure no harm is done? Because I don’t think I said anything of the sort. I also know of no way to ensure no harm is done in such a situation, which trumps.

    Is consent to getting in a car also consent to dying in a car crash?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yay, we have liked books in common. Woohoo. You’re still arguing from the perspective that the Catholic Church has moral credibility. As long as it is protecting child-raping priests and punishing child-rape survivors, rather than the reverse, the Church has nothing even vaguely resembling moral credibility.

  • Shane

     Yeah, here’s where we reach an impasse.  I don’t believe THE guiding moral principle is to minimize harm.  Now that we have reached that full definition, the fork splits.  I do not believe that principle is a good or just one for organizing and ordering a moral life and social order.  Goes back to my language analogy.

  • EllieMurasaki

    For what reasons and under what circumstances is it acceptable to do things that do harm, or unacceptable to do things that do no harm? Why is the idea of minimizing harm not the best idea for a person or a society to live by? What would be a better idea for a person to live by? What would be a better idea for a society to live by, given that the rules governing society must be agreed to by people of vastly different opinions on what the rules should be?

  •  My wife recently went and looked up the actual catholic rules on these things (Because I said something she didn’t like and had to find the evidence to prove me wrong), and as it turns out, the letter of canon law actually does say that if the mother has a grave fear for her life, then having an abortion is not considered a grave sin.

    I’ve never actually heard of a case where the church upheld this, but apparently it’s on the books.

  • EllieMurasaki

    the letter of canon law actually does say that if the mother has a grave
    fear for her life, then having an abortion is not considered a grave

    That doesn’t make sense. Ectopic pregnancies. Until we learned how to surgically end them, more than one in two women with an ectopic pregnancy died of it. Ectopic pregnancy is still the number one cause of death in women in the first trimester of pregnancy. ‘Ectopic pregnancy’ is synonymous with ‘pregnant woman in grave fear for her life’. And yet Catholic hospitals refuse to use any method of ending an ectopic pregnancy that isn’t removing the whole fallopian tube. No tube connecting ovary to uterus means no way for an egg from that ovary to be fertilized, so removing the fallopian tube halves the woman’s fertility, which one would think Catholics especially would want to preserve. If it’s not sinful in Catholic eyes to use a pharmaceutical method of ending an ectopic pregnancy, or a surgical method that takes out only the relevant bit of the fallopian tube instead of the whole thing, then why do Catholic doctors insist on taking the whole thing?

  • Shane

     Hm.  So what happens if a vast number of people don’t any longer agree upon consent as the pivotal unifying public morality?  One of the things that got me here is that most of you have done a decent (Though not great) job at justifying the killing of children based upon consent.  Rather than that convincing me of consent’s usefulness, it tells me that something is deeply, deeply wrong.  What would be a better method?  If I had to take a stab at it, a localistic quasi-communitarian community based off an Aristotelian teleology and political philosophy.

    If, for example, the pro-life movement managed to succeed, passing their Life Amendment to the Constitution.  Since those would entail the notion, by your logic, that the harm principle has been bypassed by people of “Vastly different” opinions.  Would the logic that the respect of innocent life is the supreme principle of the land then be valid if it provides the unifying notion that you talk about?

  • Shane

     I’m trying to find the Canon for it, but abortion is always a grave sin.  If the Canon turns out to be true, it would reduce moral culpability for the mother, not for the physician. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Google ‘rape culture’. Come back when you understand that people who have power (almost always straight cis men) are not thereby entitled to force or coerce people who do not have power (almost always people who are at least one of female, gay, trans, or too young to consent) into being sex objects or (if applicable) into being vats wherein fetuses grow.

    It was not right to enslave black people before the constitutional amendment forbidding enslaving black people, and passing a constitutional amendment permitting the enslavement of pregnancy-capable people won’t make that right either.

  • PJ Evans

    It’s the cigarettes made from specially-bred high-nicotine tobacco
    plants plus three thousand carcinogenic and addictive additives that’ll
    kill you.

    Plus the various fungi and bacteria that make themselves to home in the leaves while they’re being cured in a warm, dark, damp structure. (There’s a strong suspicion that some of those may be part of the various conditions that smokers are more likely to get.)

  • PJ Evans

    Shane, your arguments, such as they are, are leading me to think that kicking the Vatican out of the Catholic Church might be a good solution to a lot of problems.

  • Beroli


    Not donating a kidney to someone would be letting them die vice actively killing them, which is what abortion is considered.

    You’re using passive voice to claim an authority you do not have. (Nor does your church or your political party, don’t try.)
    “Not donating a kidney to someone would be passively killing them as opposed to actively killing them, which is what I, Shane, consider abortion to be.”
    “Not donating a kidney to someone would be passively killing them as
    opposed to actively killing them, which is what the Catholic Church states
    abortion is.”
    “Not donating a kidney to someone would be passively killing them as
    opposed to actively killing them, which is what the common position of the Republican Party states that abortion is.”

    There. You now have three potential versions of a more-honest–if still meaningless–version of that sentence.

     Cancer is not a human. 

    Neither is a newly-conceived embryo.

    Rather than that convincing me of consent’s usefulness, it tells me that something is deeply, deeply wrong.

    Is that a question?

    What is–from your perspective–“deeply, deeply wrong” is that the world is full of people who don’t accept your moral principles. For my part, I gather that your morality states that letting someone die is completely morally different from actively killing them. That doesn’t mean such a distinction logically means anything, but I gather that you believe it does.

    The Church is not advocating for a more communal society?  Uh, what do you think Catholic social teaching says on such matters?

    I don’t know what Catholic social teaching says on such matters. I do know that the causes the Church pushes in the United States indicate a belief that a fetus must not be aborted until it is born, although if it dies because of its host being malnourished or lacking medical treatment she cannot afford that is acceptable, and if it starves or dies very shortly after being born that’s just fine.

    I know that’s not what the Church says. When actions don’t line up with words it’s called hypocrisy, and the actions demonstrate the actual beliefs, not the words. In light of the Church’s actions, what the Church says is relevant only in that it makes the crucial difference between “hypocrite” and “straight-up monster.”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And yet Catholic hospitals refuse to use any method of ending an ectopic pregnancy that isn’t removing the whole fallopian tube.

    Is that a universal claim, or just something that some Catholic hospitals have been known to do? Cos if the former, then I know a bunch of people working at/treated by Catholic hospitals that are breaking their own rules.

  • Shane

     Ah, ok, not killing unborn children is now slavery.  Understood.

    You might say “I do not get it”, but I actually do.  I just orient myself to the notion that this notion of antinomian freedom (Upon which any opposition is termed “slavery”) underwrites the state-sanctioned murder of children. 

    I find it a philosophy that is very useful for those powerful in society, contrary to your claims about mine.  It is a philosophy upon which those who are powerful can justify, in a world of deep injustice, a life of the satisfaction of ones whims.  Their children they can kill for their offense against their sacred body.  Yes, I find this nihilistic.  Yes, I find it destructive. 

    If you call an alternative to a consent based morality a “rape culture”, then I have no qualms calling yours a culture that will either devolve into a totalitarian excess worthy of the great 20th century empires, or a Randian anarchy. 

  • Beroli


    I would assume if she asking my advice on this matter, she would have some idea of moral and religious beliefs.

    …Are you completely unaware of the existence of non-Catholic morality in the world, Shane?

    Oh. Right. You did claim that someone who showed morality showed allegiance with Church teaching even without believing it. You really are completely unaware of the existence of non-Catholic morality.

  • Shane

    Typo, I forgot to put in the word “my” in there.  My apologies. 

  • Shane

    Actually, you would probably be surprised on my political positions outside of abortion and same-sex marriage.  Suffice to say, I’d probably be welcome at a socialist party rally when it comes to economic beliefs. 

  • Beroli

    Until you started talking about the Church and it became evident that you were the only person in the room who didn’t recognize their fundamental opposition–as a political organization–to everything the rally was about.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Forcing women to bear unwanted children is enslaving the woman to either the fetus  or the father. I’m not sure which.

    My wanting women not to be raped, my wanting women not to be told that if they are raped it’s because they were drinking or because they were dressed provocatively or because they had sex before, my wanting women to be able to choose whether and when and with whom to have children without that choice necessarily influencing whether, when, or with whom they have sex, my wanting women to have enough support from family, friends, neighbors, and government to ensure that no woman who wants to bear and raise a child is in a situation where such would be difficult or impossible, that makes me Rand or Romney or Mao?

    And you keep ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church from which you draw your moral code has a great many members who rape children and a great many more members who deny that the rapes occurred, who transfer the offenders from parishes where they’re known threats to parishes where they can endanger the community’s children with impunity, who give money to the offenders in the name of Christian charity, who do not cooperate with law enforcement’s efforts to apprehend the offenders, who do everything in their power to silence the survivors who speak out. Until the Catholic Church solves this problem–which will of necessity entail the collective realization that the rapists’ sin was not, or not only, against God, and that the rapists’ sin cannot be washed clean until amends have been made to the survivors–then the Catholic Church has no authority to take a moral stance on anything.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you stand with the Nuns on the Bus against Romney and Ryan, and you support measures that ensure no one is too poor or too unhealthy or too at risk of pregnancy-related job loss to bear and raise a child? Good to know.

  • Shane

    The rest of my post got cut off, sorry.  Is letting someone die when one has no recourse to a fix wrong?  There is simply not other choice in the matter.  I was speaking on the topic of murder; murder being the direct killing of the innocent.  When it comes to letting someone die when there are other options of keeping them alive, then one is obligated to help them.  It’s a passive vs. active proposition, but there is moral responsibility all around. 

  • AnonymousSam

    “Fed and cared for”? I take it you didn’t read Exodus 1 where the antagonistic relationship is set up between the Egyptians and the slaves.

  • Shane

    A priest attempted to rape my mother when she was a little girl.  No one believed her when she tried to report.  I am pretty sure I fucking get it, ok?  Do not think I am blind to such things.  I would say that the story you weave is simplistic, but do not think I am unaware, removed, or ignorant of the rapes. 

    There’s an awful lot of assumptions here about my personal character which I do not appreciate, but the notion that I am “ignoring” the rapes pushes me too far.  Please stop using that as a stick to beat me with. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    When it comes to letting someone die when there are other options of keeping them alive, then one is obligated to help them.

    Everything you have said thus far gives me the impression that if a woman is dying because of her pregnancy, you feel obligated to let the woman die in the attempt to save the fetus, even if the fetus is beyond saving. Is this impression true or false? What moral responsibility do you bear either way?

    What about LGBT youth who commit suicide because they believe they cannot live happy lives in this society? Catholic opposition to letting LGBT people marry whom they please and Catholic opposition to making it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are large parts of that. You are one of the reasons that these teenagers and young adults kill themselves; what moral responsibility do you bear?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am sorry I upset you and I wish that hadn’t happened to your mother.

    I mentioned the rapes several times and this is the first time you have responded. The conclusion that you were ignoring the situation was a reasonable one to draw. The question, however, remains: why should anyone, especially someone who isn’t Catholic, abide by Catholic ideas of moral behavior, when the Catholic hierarchy so blatantly does not?

  • Shane

     I was also borne out of wedlock to a father who was dying of an incurable disease.  He was separated, but not divorced from his then-wife.   He eventually committed suicide, rather than be infirm in his final days.  I was two when he died. My mother was counseled by her very Catholic family members to abort me. 

    It probably would have served me better to be upfront about these things, as it would have given personal credibility.  I am angry now, because people are saying that I “don’t understand”, or that I advocate a rape culture, or that I am somehow removed from these life events.

    I hope this sketches a slight background of me, because these attacks are getting far too personal regarding a person you don’t know.  Back off. 

  • Shane

     You are now laying the guilt of LGBT suicides at my feet.  How fucking dare you.  As someone who has talked down people, LGBT and straight alike, from suicide, that is a tremendous slap in the face.  As someone who, if not for the courage of an LGBT person, would probably not be here right now, you again make assumptions into someone you do not know.  Stop, kindly.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What have I, what has anyone, said to attack you personally? I’ve seen and made lots of attacks on the Catholic Church, but unless you’re a bishop or higher, that’s not an attack on you.

    Though I do feel I must note that saying consent is not vitally important, as you have been saying, is the exact same thing as saying that it is (at least sometimes, with at least some people) okay to rape. That is advocating rape culture. If you don’t want to be accused of advocating rape culture, stop saying that consent isn’t always important.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The only thing I have assumed (if ‘assume’ is the right word given that you’ve said it flat out) is that you oppose LGBT rights on Catholic grounds. That doesn’t make you the whole of the problem, but it certainly makes you part of it.

  • Shane

     Rape is always intrinsically evil, the same as abortion.  Rape can never be justified.  Just because I don’t believe in consent as the moral doctrine, doesn’t mean I cannot sort out always wrong actions.

  •  If you asked my wife, I think the answer woudl be “Those catholic hospitals are misinformed and not abiding by the letter of canon law.” But there is a bit of a loophole I think where *only* the person in grave fear for their life is on the moral high-ground, and any *doctor* who performed the procedure would still be in trouble.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The difference between consensual sex, which is okay, and rape, which is not, is consent. If lack of consent is not the reason rape is wrong, then what is the reason?

  • Shane

     No, it doesn’t.  I don’t believe the choice is to legitimize, legally, morally, and theologically, certain romantic engagements or force kids to kill themselves.  So, are those LGBT Catholics who are trying to live their lives in accordance with Church teaching, being an incredible witness for Christ, are they also to blame for the suicides of LGBT youth?  Please, I’ll be happy to pass along that message to the ones I know.

  • Shane

     I would add a caveat:  consensual sex within marriage.  But we are in a semantical issue here; non-consensual sex is the definition of rape.  Me not being an advocate of using consent as the guiding of all moral questions does not mean that consent is completely expunged from moral reasoning.  It just means that consent is not absolute in ALL moral decisions, and that it is placed in its context by higher principles ( the highest of which is love). 

  • EllieMurasaki

    If they are supporting the idea that gay people should not be allowed to have sex with someone they’re attracted to, then yes, they share the blame for the suicide of every person who thinks life is not worth living without being allowed (as straight people are) to have sex with someone they’re attracted to. Ditto if they’re supporting the idea that a gay man cannot be a Catholic priest. That does not mean that gay people who choose to be celibate (whether to follow Catholic teaching or otherwise) are in the wrong; in fact, by being living proof that it’s possible to be both happy and gay, they are doing some good, as long as they don’t say or imply that the choice that is right for them is necessarily the choice that is right for anyone else in their position.

    And nobody gives a damn whether it’s theologically permissible in a church not one’s own to have gay sex. Nor is anyone going to compel a Catholic church to marry a gay couple, any more than anyone has ever compelled a Catholic church to marry a divorcee. If the Catholic Church would stop thinking it’s any of their business whether the application for a marriage license says ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ or ‘spouse 1’ and ‘spouse 2’, most of us would shut up about the Catholic Church’s view of gay folk. Certainly I would.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the highest moral principle is love, and consensual sex is only okay within marriage, then why is it not okay for two people who love each other and want to have sex with each other to get married to each other?

    Or the other question: if God doesn’t want gay people to have sex, why did She give gay people sex drives?

  • Shane

     Considering I am opposed to “sodomy” laws which ban non-heterosexual conduct and homosexual relations, this is kinda benign.  I am not advocating rounding up all homosexuals (And heterosexuals who have sex before marriage).  In fact, I am supportive of the creation of a special legal class that allows people to designate another person from which they can share power of attorney, medical insurance, death benefits and the like.  It wouldn’t be designed for LGBT people, as it would allow someone to take care of an aging parent, for example.  The specific policy is kinda murky, but its a rough sketch. 

    However, I think it is endemic to our culture where we view sex as being essential to a happy life.  I find it not only terribly misguided, but destructive when it comes to the rise of internet pornography, sexual trafficking, a rape culture, and an unrealistic attitude towards sex within a marriage.  I do think the reclamation of chastity as a life option in wider culture could be corrective of this, but I doubt it will happen.

  • Shane

    Ah, there’s an assumption that one knows fully what love, in a Catholic sense, is.  I’m not talking about romantic love, though that can be an aspect of it.  I’m talking about love as the essence of God, which allowed Him to, in Christ, die on a Cross for the salvation of man. 

    Furthermore, a Catholic understanding of marriage understands it as a relationship that is fundamentally tied to the raising and nurturing of children.  That’s not all what marriage is, but it is an essential part.  It is ordered to the welcoming of children into this life.  It’s why the Church doesn’t allow contraception, because it severs procreative functions from sexual activity. 

    On the notion of sex drives:  sex drives can be a great force for good if rightly ordered.  With LGBT, the sex drive is ordered wrongly.  Of course, in this society, I’d be willing to say most of ours are (And I am by no means implying that one can “cure” homosexuality). 

  • AnonymousSam

    Such a legal class exists in the form of civil unions, but separate is not equal and real life frequently demonstrates this to be the case.

    Reclamation? We’ve never had it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What harm does people having gay sex, or heterosexual oral or anal sex, or penis-in-vagina without wedding rings, or producing or consuming pornography, or buying or selling sex, do to them or to you, provided that everyone who’s having such sex is an adult who knew exactly what they were getting into beforehand and wants to do it and is safe doing it and isn’t being exploited in the process? Spiritual harm only counts if you can prove it happens to the satisfaction of a panel of people who include atheists, agnostics, and a variety of nonChristians as well as Catholics and various flavors of Protestants, specifically including people who consider all sex sacred provided everyone’s a consenting adult. And if no non-spiritual harm is done by such sex, what is objectionable about it?

    Though I do agree with you that people shouldn’t make the assumption that sex is a necessity for everyone. Some people are asexual, others have a low sex drive, still others have other priorities. However, you need to remain aware that many people do consider sex a personal need. Also that you cannot prevent someone from having solo sex or sex with a consenting adult partner, and that it is abhorrent of you to try.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I do not want to have the argument that begins ‘why the hell should God torture himself to death in order to take on the punishment God assigned us for breaking rules God made? why didn’t God make different rules or set a less harsh punishment to begin with?’ I have a feeling you don’t want to have that argument either. So how about we not bring the crucifixion into this at all?

    You seem to be saying that the Catholic Church would rather children grow up with no parents than with loving same-sex parents despite the clear negative effect on children of growing up parentless, and would rather a household have several children growing up without enough to go around than a few children growing up with all of their needs and some of their wants met, and should prohibit sterile people from marrying and perhaps also dissolve the marriages of the postmenopausal on the grounds that there’s no reason for people who can’t have kids to be married. And should also prohibit in vitro fertilization, because it severs sexual activity from procreative functions, and also all the spare embryos that won’t ever get implanted. And let’s not even mention the fact that the planet’s already overcrowded.

    You also seem to be saying that God made us wrong. Why give anyone a sex drive that the giver says they’re not allowed to use at all? I can accept–I don’t like, but I can accept–only being allowed to use a thing in certain circumstances; it’s okay to chop vegetables with a knife, it’s not okay to use the same knife to hurt someone. (Unless it’s in a BDSM context, but I don’t actually want to know what the Catholic position on BDSM is.) So I can accept sex only being permissible within marriage, provided the only restrictions on marriage are that one can’t marry a child, a close relation, someone who’s already married to someone else, or someone who doesn’t want to marry one. Saying sex is only permissible within marriage while also saying not everyone can marry the person of their choice is like saying it’s never okay to use that knife: why then do we have it at all?

  • AnonymousSam

    For that matter, the people who literally consider sex and sensuality to be sacred, such as (if memory serves) the Hindus? As the third largest religion, I’d say they have significant stock ownership in this market. :p

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know about Hindus, though given the existence of the Kama Sutra I bet you’re right, but Wiccans for sure.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, yes, true of at least some (my experience with Wiccans is a selection sample of exactly one, but it was true of her).

    Mentioning such always brings up the implicit question therein, “Why is X correct, but not Y?” — the arguments for the legitimacy of one religion over the others tend to require recognition of the authority of that religion in order to… recognize the authority of that religion. “The Bible is the word of God because the the Bible says so. The Church is the moral authority because God gave it authority. We know God exists because the Bible and the Church prove God exists using the Bible.”

    Well, my relationship with God is as such that when I ask for enlightenment, I occasionally get it. The last time I spoke to God, I was informed that God is plagued with the difficulty of communicating with humans in such a way as to leave a message of import. Too much gets lost in the foibles of our language, our comprehension and the way we relate stories to one-another.

    (Of course, my version of God comes to me when I’m having hallucinations brought on by sleep deprivation caused by the illness I suffer. That’s not all that far from how people of old used to communicate with the supernatural, though.)

  • Kiba

    I am gay. I am not a Christian. You do not get to tell me how to life my life. You do not get to force me to follow religious beliefs that I reject. In the U.S that pesky First Amendment guarantees me that (unless things go completely pair shaped and we end up a theocracy). If any church decides that it does not want to allow same-sex marriages that is their right; however, they do not have the right to deny civil marriages to anyone. 

    With LGBT, the sex drive is ordered wrongly.

    Let me say this with the utmost passion and sincerity: Fuck you.   

  • Beroli


    I hope this sketches a slight background of me, because these attacks
    are getting far too personal regarding a person you don’t know.  Back

    You get to call abortion “murder” without worrying about who here has had an abortion and state that “With LGBT, the sex drive is ordered wrongly” while knowing multiple people here are QUILTBAG, but no one gets to call you on the consequences of what you advocate, hm?

  • WORD.

  • Shane

     This becomes a question of political authority within a pluralistic society that I do not want to get into; suffice to say that there needs to be a public morality that governs the social order.  All the we are differing here is what that morality constitutes, rather than the question of public morality at all. 

  • Shane

     The notion that if I do not affirm the sexual impulse and desires of certain people, then that leads them to suicide is quite a leap.  The irrational hatred of those who are LGBT is a terrible thing, but the main thing here is that I don’t reduce sexual orientation as something fundamental about a person; it is therefor something that doesn’t necessarily require social legitimation.

    The notion that I am supposed to say abortion is not murder because someone might have had one is illogical.  If I recognize abortion as murder, and someone has an abortion and feels troubled by it, I hope that pang of conscience leads them to seek healing.  If they don’t believe abortion is murder and don’t have qualms about having one, then how is what I am saying bothering them?   


    The notion that if I do not affirm the sexual impulse and desires of
    certain people, then that leads them to suicide is quite a leap.

    (shrug) For my own part, I think the emphasis on queer suicide rates is useful only when dealing with people who don’t care about the suffering caused to queer people by their social stigmatization, but might not be so without empathy as to also not care about their deaths.

    The notion that people whose sexual orientation is socially legitimized
    suffer less than people whose sexual orientation is socially stigmatized
    isn’t much of a leap. And for those who do care about the suffering caused to queer people (even when we don’t kill ourselves), that notion is frequently enough to inspire us to support the social legitimization of queer people.

    Because it alleviates suffering.

    Of course, I do understand that there exist other goods besides the alleviation of suffering in a particular group of people. It’s worth asking whether there are social costs of legitimizing queer sexuality, and if so whether they outweigh the reduced suffering that such legitimization provides.

    If you believe the cost is high enough that it’s worth that increased suffering, then by all means go on opposing such legitimacy.

    I don’t, so I’ll go on supporting it.