Hate is what you do, not what you feel

AZspot highlights an insightful, helpful post from Danny Coleman in which Coleman argues that toxic theology motivates “Christian” opposition to LGBT people more than personal animus does.

Here’s the core of his point:

[Christians who oppose LGBT equality] do not hate or fear LBGT people. They fear God. They carry a perception of the wrathful Old Testament God who will destroy cities or nations if “sin” is found in the camp. … Attempts to reconcile this ancient God of wrath with the God of love and inclusion that Jesus represented tend to create a sort of congitive and spiritual dissonance. And so, most Christians don’t hate and fear gays — they really want to love them. What they fear is God’s wrath and what they hate is the idea of the destruction God will bring down if LGBT people are accepted — if “sin” is allowed. There is also an earnest desire to be faithful and obedient to what they perceive God’s will to be.

The distinction Coleman makes is accurate, and it can be helpful in shaping how we go about trying to reach such Christians, to persuade them to change, and to liberate them from the toxic theology* they’re trapped in — the one that leads them to behave hatefully toward people “they really want to love.”

The problem with Coleman’s post is that the accurate distinction he makes about the source of these Christians’ opposition to LGBT equality doesn’t mean everything that Coleman wants it to mean. “I do not like it when Christians who oppose LGBT equality are accused of ‘hating’ or being ‘homophobic,'” he begins. “They do not hate or fear LBGT people.”

Well, no. They actually do hate and fear LGBT people. That hate and fear may not be their starting point, but it’s where they end up. I’m not accusing them of hating or being homophobic to annoy you. I’m accusing them of these things because they are guilty of them.

Let’s deal with the fear first. These Christians do, in fact, fear LGBT people. They have to because, as Coleman notes, they believe God requires them to do so. This fear may be an indirect side-effect, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or that it somehow doesn’t matter.

This fear is the inevitable byproduct of the theology Coleman describes: God will punish me if I allow the human dignity and legal equality of Group X. To be safe, then, from the temptation of allowing such dignity and equality, I must avoid Group X. I must flee Group X.

That’s fear.

The fear of God’s wrath becomes, for these Christians, fear of association with those who might bring such wrath down upon them. And fear of association with such people brings with it fear of those people themselves.

This is much like the dual fear of bystanders in any context of ethnic cleansing. Their first fear is of the mob or the secret police. They understandably are frightened of incurring the lethal wrath that is sure to befall anyone who might appear to be giving aid or sympathy to the minority being targeted. And thus that first fear prevents bystanders from assisting, sheltering or defending the population being persecuted. The bystanders may feel bad about this, but they cannot or will not risk doing otherwise.

And thus bystanders never only fear the mob or the secret police. They also fear the knock at the door. I don’t mean the loud knocking of the mob or the police — they have obediently done nothing to have to dread such an inspection. No, the knock that they fear is the furtive knock of a neighbor in need. They come to dread this more than anything.

And that dread, ultimately, becomes resentment. Guilt always leads to resentment. And so those in need — the minority being targeted by the mob and the secret police — become both feared and hated by the bystanders.

So too, inevitably, these Christians come to fear and hate the people whose equality they oppose, however reluctantly and regrettably at first.

We only sometimes do wrong to those we hate, but we will always come to hate those whom we have wronged.

The core problem, I think, is that Coleman wants to limit hate to a feeling. And hate is not what you feel, it’s what you do.

Think of what the book of James says:

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill.” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

Or this, from  1 John:

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Consider this hypothetical case of Bob and Ted.

Bob hates Muslims — hates them with a visceral, fiery hatred that burns in the pit of his stomach and keeps him up at night. He feels hatred toward them.

So Bob supported the successful campaign that convinced the county zoning board to reject a local Muslim group’s bid to build an Islamic community center on the same block as two local churches.

Ted, on the other hand, does not feel any such visceral hatred toward Muslims. On the contrary, he says, he loves his Muslim neighbors. It causes him real grief, he says, that they have been deceived by a false religion. Ted thus believes that it would be wrong to allow an Islamic community center to promote this deceptive false religion, endangering and ensnaring the souls of even more of his neighbors. And he fears that America will be punished if it tolerates false religions, just as Israel was punished in the days of Gideon.

So Ted supported the successful campaign that convinced the county zoning board to reject a local Muslim group’s bid to build an Islamic community center on the same block as two local churches.

Now, if “hate” refers only to a feeling in the gut — to a palpable sensation of animosity, abstracted from any deed or action or tangible consequence — then I suppose we could say that Bob “hates” Muslims while Ted does not.

But so what? Their gut feelings may differ, but their actions do not. Only Bob feels hatred, but both of them behave hatefully.

The difference between Bob and Ted is meaningful as far as how we might go about trying to persuade them to change — to repent and be liberated — but it means nothing in terms of the real-world damage and harm that both are doing to their actual neighbors. Ted does not earn bonus points for not feeling animus while acting in a hostile manner. He does not get a cookie as a prize for not “hating” the people whose human dignity and legal equality he opposes.

Is Ted “better” than Bob? I guess, perhaps, maybe — but who cares? Being better than Bob is a dismayingly low standard. Better than Bob can still be a long, long way from being good.

When Christians oppose the equality of LGBT people or of any other minority, I don’t care about their feelings. I care about their opposition to equality.

Hate is what you do, not what you feel.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

* Just how toxic that theology is becomes clearer if we polish up the parallelism in Coleman’s post. He says these anti-gay Christians shouldn’t be “accused of ‘hating’ or being ‘homophobic'” because “They do not hate or fear LGBT people. They fear God.” Hate & fear, hate & fear. Fear.

Correct the parallelism, balance the equation, and you’ll notice that the logic of Coleman’s distinction shows us that these folks don’t just “fear God.” They hate God.

And of course they do. They resent God for forcing them to strangle their conscience by treating neighbors more poorly than they wish they could. They resent God for requiring them to behave hatefully to those “they really want to love.” They resent this God for making them worse people than the people they might otherwise be.

 

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

We've gotten better at mourning. That's a sick form of 'progress'
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning
Donald Trump's B-list 'evangelical advisory board'
James Dobson is reliably untrustworthy
  • FearlessSon

    Amen, Brother Fred. Excellent post.

    It reminds me how sometimes people like creationists justify inconsistencies in the positions they hold as being put there to “test our faith”. I have to wonder if this is another such inconsistency, another such “test”. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his child to him, and after wrestling with the subject, torn between his desire to submit to God and his love of his child, he refused and disobeyed God’s command for sacrifice. In doing so he passed the test, and God was pleased, his sense of love made him stand up to the authority he considered most dear.

    Could this not be a similar thing for modern Christians?

  • Gotchaye

    I’m confused. Are you saying that in the story as presented Abraham refused God’s command to sacrifice Isaaac?

  • Fusina

    According to one priest I know, yes. As she put it, everyone was sacrificing children to their gods, someone had to end it.

    I myself don’t know. I’ve always hated that story, because I can’t imagine myself killing my children to please God, therefore apparently I love them more than I love him. If anyone has any more insight into this than I have, I would love to hear it.

  • Jurgan

    My minister said he thinks it’s possible Abraham failed the test by not trying to protect his son. He referenced some rabbis who pointed out that God never spoke to Abraham face to face after that. Either way, the purpose of the story is to put an end to human sacrifice and make the point that killing God’s creation to glorify God is an oxymoron. Of course, lambs and other animals are also God’s creation, but since we’re made to eat them, I guess that’s different.

  • Fusina

    That is brilliant. Thank you. I have apparently never turned that story upside down and shaken it to see what fell out. Probably because I was so appalled that he would even think of killing his child to please God.

    On the other hand, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if Abraham had gotten even more brave and asked that Sodom and Gomorrah be spared because people are worth saving. Come to think of it, there must have been children living there, and babies. So much for children being innocent/righteous. Because there had to be more than ten kids, yes/no?

  • MarkTemporis

    If you didn’t love your children more than you loved God, you would be correctly branded a monster by nearly everyone.

    It’s not a moral bar that’s actually expected of people.

  • VorJack

    I always liked Dan Simmons’s interpretation in the Hyperion Cantos. Abraham is the one testing God:

    “With a sudden clarity which went beyond the immediacy of his pain or sorrow, Sol Weintraub suddenly understood perfectly why Abraham had agreed to sacrifice Isaac, his son, when the Lord commanded him to do so. It was not obedience. It was not even to put the love of God above the love of his son.

    Abraham was testing God.

    By denying the sacrifice at the last moment, by stopping the knife, God had earned the right — in Abraham’s eyes and the hearts of his offspring — to become the God of Abraham.”

  • Fusina

    That is also a very good outlook on it. Thank you both, you have given me lots of food for thought.

  • Jurgan

    Oh, that is wonderful. If God hadn’t stopped the sacrifice, he would have been no better than any of the other pagan gods, and Abraham would have abandoned him. That’s a brilliant outlook.

  • FearlessSon

    Admittedly, my details about Abraham from the Bible were a little hazy.

    Would you think less of me that most of what I know about the themes of that story came from my reading Hyperion?

    Man, that Cantos is a great series.

  • aklab

    I just finished The Fall of Hyperion — and read this passage — last night. I really like this interpretation.

  • AmaryllisZ

    Definitely pick up the Endymion series. It gives you a whole new outlook on Jesus.

  • Jason Jones

    Technically Abraham didn’t refuse to sacrifice Isaac; God sent him a ram to sacrifice in his son’s place, and Abraham correctly recognized that he wasn’t supposed to sacrifice his son. In contrast, Judges contains the story of Jephthah who swore he would sacrifice the first thing that came out from his home to meet him after winning a battle for Israel. His daughter came running out, and he went through with the human sacrifice. The story concludes by saying that Israel’s women at the time of the book’s writing would go out into the hills and mourn for the girl annually, so it’s clear he was not supposed to do the repugnant thing that he thought God wanted him to do.

  • Nick Gotts

    I don’t see any justification in the text for either the claim that Abraham refused to sacrifice his son, or the claim that God didn’t want Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter. Sure, these interpretations avoid making God appear evil, but there’s plenty else in the Bible that makes it clear he is indeed a pathologically jealous, dishonest, genocidal, psychopathic sadist.

  • Guest

    Accidentally posted, reworking. Edit: And nevermind; I don’t think I have anything useful to add.

  • http://wateringgoodseeds.tumblr.com/ Shira Coffee

    This is an extraordinary post. I know I will read it several times as I consider the implications in the next few days.

  • arcseconds

    This is basically the same phenomenon whereby often when white people talk about ‘racism’ (and how they’re not racist) they mean visceral, firey, burny things in their stomach, whereas non-white people often mean something that impinges on non-white people differentially to the way it does to whites.

    If, say, your family isn’t getting the health care it needs, the fact that no-one’s deliberately doing this due to visceral, firey, burny things is pretty cold comfort. The main problem is your kid is sick, not people’s feelings.

    Worrying about how people feel about you is a luxury more easily afforded when they’re not actually doing anything that harms you.

    Still, and all, we’re better off with people like Ted than Bob. They both might oppose the mosque, but Ted probably won’t join the local hate group and go around kicking people’s heads in.

  • Jurgan

    This is why I don’t call people racist. I may point out that their actions are racist, but there’s no point in calling someone’s fundamental character into question. All too often, people react to accusations of racism with defensiveness and excuses, rather than the genuine reflection that would be most helpful. Everyone has some sort of prejudice, but how you act on it is what matters. This is a principle I use when teaching students- criticize or praise the actions, not the students. It’s more meaningful when it’s specific, and it helps to shape their future behavior.

  • smrnda

    I think it’s better yet to think of ‘racism’ as a sort of cognitive, rather than a moral problem. Many people are affected by racist thinking even when they don’t consciously hold any prejudices against a particular group.

  • auroramere

    It’s a feature of some systems of cognitive behavioral therapy that it’s counterproductive to talk about people’s fundamental characters. Better to characterize an action or a statement as racist, ineffective, or mistaken, than to pass judgement on a person’s overall worth. This is especially important when you’re talking to yourself about yourself. “I am a failure,” as opposed to, “That didn’t work,” is verbal or cognitive self-harm.

    Your application of the principle to teaching is wonderful to hear about. Along with avoiding defensiveness and resentment, it may help them avoid the Faustian bargain of, “I am a good student, therefore I am a worthy person.” That one catches up with most students sooner or later.

  • Andrew

    If I recall correctly, a character in A Swiftly Tikting Planet says that love is what you do, not what you feel (in fact, the character claims to not feel at all, but still loves, through actions).

  • Jurgan

    It was Progo from A Wind in the Door. I’ve always liked that quote.

  • Tapetum

    That quote got me through the six months that my father-in-law was dying of cancer. He was a petty, immature, and generally unlikeable person, and if love had required that I feel warm and fuzzy toward him I would have been sunk before we even started. Instead I told myself every day that love was what I did, not what I felt, and for those six months I did everything I could – fed, cleaned, bathed, took to doctor’s appointments. If I hadn’t had Madeleine L’Engle to teach me that my feelings weren’t the important thing there, he wouldn’t have gotten the care that he needed (he’d alienated everyone else in his life), and I would have lived ever after guilty because I couldn’t feel warmly toward the man.

  • stardreamer42

    To me that’s maturity and responsibility, not love. You did what needed to be done because there was no one else. That doesn’t mean you loved him. (Having gone thru something related with my father, and having gotten sick and tired of people telling me that because I did what there was no one else to do meant that I REALLY DID LOVE HIM. No, I didn’t.)

  • Fusina

    We really need more words for love. There is the duty love, like what you did for your father. There is romantic love, and friendship love, and love for children, both our own and other children–I’m sure there are other definitions that should be listed.

    Best I can do is that you did indeed love your dad through actions, but you did not like him, in that you did what was necessary but not because you liked him. It took me a long time to understand that just because I didn’t like someone it didn’t mean I couldn’t love them, even if the love was shown by not being mean to them.

    We need more words for love, and yes, I do know the bible three.

  • JustoneK

    From my (very limited) understanding, those all stem from the same thing. You fulfill obligations because you care what happens. Romance is right out, but that’s a whole other story. But working at relationships, even the obligate ones, necessitates caring about outcomes and by extension, the people involved in all the outcomes.
    So at the very least, being mature enough to take care of no-longer-able-bodied assholes means you love the human race enough to not inflict it on anyone else. Maybe.

  • arcseconds

    this also reminds me of this quote from Immanuel Kant:

    When, therefore, it is said: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
    thyself,” this does not mean, “Thou shalt first of all love, and by
    means of this love (in the next place) do him good”; but: “Do good to
    thy neighbour, and this beneficence will produce in thee the love of men
    (as a settled habit of inclination to beneficence).”

  • Jurgan

    Shorter Kant: Fake it ’til you make it.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s working for me so far. I think.

  • Lori

    They resent God for forcing them to strangle their conscience by
    treating neighbors more poorly than they wish they could. They resent
    God for requiring them to behave hatefully to those “they really want to
    love.” They resent this God for making them worse people than the
    people they might otherwise be.

    I think you know nicer “Christians” than I do. Many of the ones I know do seem to hate God, but it’s because he keeps them from doing the things they want to do, not because He makes them treat their neighbors badly. They’re fine with treating others like crap. In fact for some of them that’s the only part of Christianity they actually seem to enjoy.

    We’ve talked about this before, but it’s still true. The reason they want gays in the closet, non-Christians afraid to be open about their faith or lack thereof and women subservient in the home is that if they can’t do what they want to do they don’t see why anyone else should be able to have any fun either.

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

    Yeah, I think Fred is giving certain people way too much credit here. He does that. It’s very, er, Christian of him.

    The fact is, these particular Christians are getting something out of hate. They aren’t sorrowful that they “have” to hate, whatever they may claim.

  • FearlessSon

    If nothing else, Fred offers them a way to step away from that hate while preserving face.

    The opportunity is there, if they should choose to take it.

  • Jurgan

    Well, some is, and some ain’t. It makes the most sense to focus on those who are most likely to change. You may be giving some people more credit than they deserve, but it’s better than alienating potential allies.

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

    I prefer to focus on the people they’re persecuting. And telling the people they’re persecuting that the persecuters mean well does not help.

  • Jurgan

    Seems to me like you can do both. In one of Fred’s Left Behind posts, he said the only two options when confronting a villain is to use force or persuasion. Some bigots have to be defeated by forcefully standing up to them, voting them down, fighting them in court, etc. However, converting as many as possible to your side first makes the eventual and inevitable battle that much easier.

    Your approach depends on your audience. I don’t think it makes sense to try to convince victims that their persecutors have good intentions. Why should they care, after all? With that audience, all that needs to be said is “what you’re going through is wrong, and I’ll help you fight it.” If your audience is the persecutors themselves, though, it can be good to give them the benefit of the doubt, and leave them the option of repenting and joining your side.

    Admittedly, I’m speaking in the abstract- this is not an issue that affects me personally. Were it more direct, I might have less patience, and so I don’t condemn anyone for feeling the way they do. Pleading for the oppressors can be a way of silencing the oppressed. All I can say is that I don’t want that to happen- I’m not asking victims of oppression to “be nice” for the sake of “unity” or anything like that. Say your piece, it’s your right, and I’ll do my best to understand your perspective.

  • FearlessSon

    Some bigots have to be defeated by forcefully standing up to them, voting them down, fighting them in court, etc. However, converting as many as possible to your side first makes the eventual and inevitable battle that much easier.

    Sometimes I think it would be awesome if life were more like a shōnen manga where when the righteous overcome their foes in combat those foes are often persuaded by the effort to change their mode of thinking and come around to the righteous side.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I went over and had my say. We’ll see if he posts it. The long wall of text below is my comment.

    If Christians were in the same situation that LGBTs are in now, with groups regularly lying about them, demonizing them, and generally doing everything possible to make sure that they stay second-class citizens, Christians would call that hatred. They would call it persecution.

    And they would be right.

    So why is it not hatred and persecution when Christians do it to another group? Why do we have to respect it, try to understand it, be nice about it, and try to compromise with them?

    Bigotry and hatred are bigotry and hatred, no matter what the cause. Claiming that God says you need to feel X way does not cause how you feel to cease to be bigotry or hatred. Your opinions being “deep personal beliefs” does not automatically make them right, respectable or okay. They’re still harmful. The person holding them just has an excuse that some people happen to find palatable.

    You can defend how they feel and why they feel that way from here to kingdom come, and more power to you. But don’t get pissy when someone calls a spade a spade. It’s not doing you, or anyone else, a favour. It just encourages them.

    And encouraging them only leads to more harm for the people they’re targeting.

  • Foelhe

    Looks like he posted your reply. I guess that’s something in his favor at least, he’s not sweeping disagreement under the rug.

    … And he’s posted mine too. I might have gone a little overboard. Kind of wish I hadn’t posted anon.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    What they trust in is being morally absolved of their hateful actions by their faith in their interpretation of the Bible being one where the only moral course of action is to make people suffer.

  • Runic

    Isn’t that the point that Fred made, or am I missing something here?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Baby_Raptor is re-posting the comment she made elseweb.

  • Gotchaye

    Where I don’t really follow along with this is that, for lots of people, “hate” does refer exclusively to a mental state. In any other context, if someone asked me to define “hate” I might well restrict it to some sort of “feeling in the gut”. That’s not to say that someone deserves a whole lot more credit for acting terribly without that feeling than for acting terribly with it, but it’s just a word – there doesn’t have to be a “so what?” to justify making a semantic distinction.

    “I don’t hate gay people.” “So what? You behave in terrible ways towards them.” — Is fine. It’s people’s actions that matter.

    “I don’t hate gay people.” “Yes you do; you behave in terrible ways towards them.” “But I don’t feel it in my gut.” “So what?” — Is a bit weird. The “so what?” is asking for justification of the definition of a word. Someone could sensibly reply to Fred’s asking of that question by saying “So I’ve used the word in the way prescribed by most dictionaries. Why on earth are you arguing about semantics?”

    I’m not sure that there’s a better word than “hate” to deploy here. “Homophobia” is clumsy and really has the same issues “hate” has. There’s no nice, neat equivalent of “racist”. “Bigot” is too vague, although it’s what I typically use in conversation.

    So I’m not saying that people shouldn’t use “hate” in this way. But it strikes me as really strange to argue for defining a word a certain way. It’s a word; it means what it’s used to mean. There’s undoubtedly strategic value in using a word that’s already laden with negative connotations, but people don’t typically make strategic arguments for it – Fred’s certainly not making a strategic argument.

    The error being made by people who open with “I don’t hate gay people.” isn’t that they’ve misunderstood the word “hate” – they’re using it in an entirely correct way and no one has any trouble interpreting what they’re saying. Their error is that they think that that matters very much to the people whose rights they’re against. They could also be misrepresenting their own mental state, as Lori suggests. But that’s a lie or self-deception, not confusion about a word.

  • Charity Brighton

    I think it’s really a perspective issue. From the perspective of Ted, his own personal feelings matter greatly. From the perspective of the Muslims in his community, it doesn’t — because his behavior is virtually indistinguishable from Bob’s. It’s less that Ted is personally being dishonest, and more that it is very difficult for someone who is not inside of your brain to distinguish between your beliefs and your actions.

    If I attend a Fred Phelps picket waving around a sign with anti-gay slurs on it, people who look at me are going to say, “She is a homophobe.” Even if, in my head, I’m only waving around the sign to work out my arm muscles and I don’t really have anything against gay people, the fact that I’m spending all that time and energy trying to insult them is going to be what people see and respond to, not my secret thoughts.

  • dpolicar

    > I’m not sure that there’s a better word than “hate” to deploy here.

    When I want to be precise and non-escalatory, I often use the word “heteronormative” to refer to the thing Teds do to gay people. But I don’t necessarily recommend being precise and non-escalatory. Sometimes “hate” is precisely the right word.

    When it comes to marriage equality in particular, I often use the formulation “people who think families like mine should be treated worse than families like theirs.” It’s long and not pithy, but I find it short-circuits a lot of time-wasting exchanges.

    It’s also sometimes worth noting that there’s a third face alongside Bob and Ted: Sam, who hates Muslims (or queers, or whatever), and has done as long as they can remember, for reasons they aren’t entirely clear on. They aren’t proud of the fact, but still, the very thought of a Muslim in their living room (or God forbid their child marrying one) makes them shudder in revulsion.

    When I want to be precise I sometimes use the word “homophobic” to refer to the thing Sams do to gay people. My best friend from high-school was a homophobe for a long time, for example, and when I came out to him in college this caused him a lot of anxiety. He eventually got over it.But I don’t use the word much, because it has been co-opted (as words like this often are) to mean “anti-queer bigot”. (Which I think is a pity. He wasn’t at all a bigot. He was just a homophobe.)

  • Vass

    Personally, as a lesbian, when I’m confronted with Bob and Ted, I much prefer Bob. He hates me, I’m not hugely fond of him, that’s the end of it. But Ted, Ted’s trying to gaslight me and everyone around me into believing that he’s acting against my best interests for my own good and out of love. That’s way more toxic than just being hated.

  • Anonymouse

    Oh. I never put that together with the concept of gaslighting before, but that’s a good way to put it. It’s almost like you’re not *allowed* to dislike Ted–because he’s still being nice about it, right? And with the social contract or what have you, you’re “supposed” to be nice to the people who are nice to you.

    People like that make my skin crawl.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I’m hardly the first person to compare God to an abusive parent, but the people Fred describes are like emotionally abusive parents. What they want, above all things, is deniability. Sure, they make their kids feel like shit, tear them down at every opportunity, gaslight them, make them feel stupid and always-wrong, but it’s not like they’re beating them or anything. I mean, that’s abuse, right? And you can’t blame them for “just trying to help” or “just telling the truth.” Why do their kids have to be so over-sensitive, anyway?

  • The_L1985

    I hate that horrible idea that people are allowed to strip you of your rights and your humanity as long as they’re “nice” or “loving” about it. WHAT IS LOVING ABOUT PREVENTING PEOPLE FROM BEING TREATED DECENTLY?

  • smrnda

    I agree – most people will want to distance themselves from Bob because most people want to dress up their prejudice with some sort of justification, and by stating things in a calm tone of voice, they’ll make people think that here might be something rational behind their position. Nobody is going to require that I ‘respect’ Bob’s point of view while he’s frothing at the mouth, but plenty of people will tell me that I’m bound to ‘respect’ Ted’s point of view because he’s phrasing things ‘respectfully.’

  • Lectorel

    I’m of the same opinion. I tend to ask ‘nice’ homophobes to quit lying and just admit I disgust them, because I have more respect for people who are at least honest. It’s thrown at least a few of them.

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

    Yes, exactly, and thank you for putting this so well.

  • Worthless Beast

    First of all, I want to apologize for once having been a “Ted.”

    Second, I understand the feeling (about other things that people look down on others about). I actually have mixed feelings, dependent upon the particular discrimination, however. For instance, when it comes to wealthy politicians and their flappy words about people on assistance programs (I’m Disabled)… I get the feeling that, if they could get away with it, they’d send out Kill the Poor death squadrons upon their election to Emperor of America – I wish they’d stop pussyfooting with their words and give some honesty about their true feelings. (If for nothing more than disgusting the voters so they don’t keep power). Occasionally, they do, and get called out for it. It’s better to know who the enemies are rather than have them pretend to be friends.

    However, when I deal with people who… talk down to me (in meatspace) as soon as they learn of my bipolar disorder, I’m actually pretty forgiving of that. I get annoyed that some people think that struggling with emotional instability is the same thing as mental retardation somehow (it’s not, in fact, the disorder is known to have had genus-sufferers), but I prefer dealing with “idiots who do not know how to deal with me but genuinely *try*” than people who would toss me in a Bedlam house and throw away the key or just have me lined up and shot. I prefer standards idiots to idiot-eugenicists in this case.

  • smrnda

    Very few of them are honest. When Romney made his comment about 47% of people taking no responsibility whatsoever (all because they weren’t rich enough to qualify for one type of tax) it was a moment of rare honesty, but probably only because he could count on anyone present to think the same way – he obviously never intended that remark to be heard by everyone. At the same time, even he wasn’t as honest as he could have been.

  • arcseconds

    what is a ‘standards idiot’?

    (like your post, but confused on this one reference…)

  • Worthless Beast

    A standard idiot.
    I made a typo. Didn’t catch it until it was already posted.

  • arcseconds

    Oh right…

    And here I was wondering whether it had something to do with DSM-IV… :-)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • FearlessSon

    You beat me to that punch.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Mostly I just enjoy how the examples you give from the Bible are…well, commie economic justice verses, & ANOTHER thing that the people in question are busy speaking out against.

  • Guest

    A person can believe that 12 year olds should not cohabit or marry without “fearing and hating” 12 year olds. The characterization of people who view homosexuality as a sin, is simply demonization of your opponents. You should expect more of yourself. Btw I support gay rights including marriage.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, but twelve-year-olds grow out of being twelve. Gay people do not (as a general rule–sexuality is fluid) grow out of being gay. Therefore banning gay people from marrying is not equivalent to banning twelve-year-olds from marrying.

  • Guest

    Your reading skills need a tuneup. The point wasn’t about 12 year olds or gays. It’s about demonizing those you disagree with.

  • Jurgan

    Whether you agree with them or not, comparing gays to twelve year olds is a pretty insulting analogy. It suggests you think they are unable to make decisions on their own due to some sort of mental immaturity (which, after all, is why we have age of consent laws). You claim you support gay rights, but your analogy is still belittling them, and doesn’t make a lot of sense as part of your argument.

  • Guest

    OK Jugen, you can oppose the admission of the Phoenix Warblers (softball) into MLB without “fearing and hating the Warblers”. Better? Demonizing opponents is part of the we-them tribalism which sadly defines American-politics these days. BTW you seem incapable of understanding that my comment was about piss poor logic and flawed reasoning and unproductive debate methods and has nothing to do with 12 year olds and only marginally touches on gay issues (since that is topic the deficient post was about) or a hypothetical softball team from Arizona. And questioning my “claim” to support gay rights only demonstrates that you are either an Internet genius able to read the souls of men from only a few words written in a comment or a class A jackass. You might not know the answer to that but let me pass on a hint – you are not a genius. Lol, smiley face, just kidding etc.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If your comment had nothing to do with twelve-year-olds or gay rights, why did you mention either?

  • Guest

    I give up.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, no, do explain, I’m curious why you spent half the comment under discussion on subjects the comment had nothing to do with.

  • Foelhe

    “And questioning my “claim” to support gay rights only demonstrates that you are either an Internet genius able to read the souls of men from only a few words written in a comment or a class A jackass.”

    Or, y’know, he’s capable of reading what you’re writing and drawing conclusions from it, just like any other person would pay attention to your actions and then draw conclusions from them. Clearly this must be internet magic.

    You’re claiming to be an ally, but the fact that you don’t get why your analogy was screwed up makes it pretty clear you’re terrible at it. And it’s not like bigots don’t lie about being bigots (“Some of my best friends are black!”) so I don’t know why you expect us to immediately believe you. You’re not special.

  • Jurgan

    Yeah, you’ve been trolling since your first comment here. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but starting off with “here’s an insulting analogy, but I’m an ally, really!” and then proceeding to say “well, I didn’t mean it, but you’re taking this much too seriously” is classic troll behavior. You can take your tone policing somewhere else- I’m done with you.

  • Guest

    Good.

  • Foelhe

    Stick the flounce, Craig.

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

    It’s sad how bad people are at flouncing these days. Why, I remember a time when people stuck to flounces for weeks, sometimes MONTHS. Nowadays, people can’t even seem to stick to it for a day. Our society is degenerating ;_;

  • Foelhe

    It’s a terrible tragedy. What are they teaching in schools these days?

  • dpolicar

    (shrug) I certainly agree that it’s possible to oppose the equal treatment of groups X and Y for entirely rational reasons, without hating or fearing group X.

    That said, when I look at the way many of my opponents treat queer families, it rarely resembles that, and often resembles hatred. So in the absence of counterindicating data, I treat it as hatred.

    If you jump to the conclusion that I’m “demonizing” them, you’re simply mistaken. I can prefer lime sorbet to hockey without demonizing hockey.

  • Guest

    Actually that is almost my point. When you start ascribing negative motivations to people with whom you disagree, trivializing their positions as being generated by fear, loathing, gender, victimization in their childhood, etc. you have shifted the argument to them and their character rather than whatever topic you are discussing. This thread is an example. Some folks claim that I am a troll. This shifts the argument to me and my character, rather than the topic, which is something along the lines of “you don’t win arguments by attacking your opponents motivations rather than his points of debate.”

    Apparently a troll in this forum is someone who says something others disagree with and posts non-anonymously. Other forums would define that behavior as “a participant”. I go to a right-wing AoG church here in Washington State. The very fact that I support human rights, which actually includes gays BTW, and think that the church should be more concerned with presenting Jesus as the means of reconciling humans to God than telling the secular world how to define marriage,means that a lot of folks that used to respect me now think that I might not be “saved” after all. As far as “Progressive or Emergent Christianity” apparently there’s no home there either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Your points of debate, as far as we can tell, are that it’s okay to ban gay people from marrying for the same reason it’s okay to ban twelve-year-olds from marrying, and, uh…actually that seems to be it.

    Not being a progressive Christian, I can’t say how you might find a home among progressive Christians, but “not saying gay adults are analogous to children” is probably a good start.

  • Gotchaye

    So, yes, there’s a lot of psychologizing of disagreement on this issue.

    But it’s not about avoiding having to address the arguments being made! You see all this psychologizing because the arguments being made against gay marriage (for example) are simply ridiculous. It may even be more charitable to assume bad faith than that people are really this sloppy in their thinking and incapable of learning to do better.

    For example, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman” is in no way a reason not to support legal gay marriage. It’s not even clear what it means, really, if we’re supposed to take it as something other than a straightforward expression of bigotry. And yet this is a pretty standard defense of the anti-equality position. So it begs for some psychologizing – how do you make sense of people saying such a weird thing as if it constitutes a reason to oppose gay marriage? You pretty much have to start talking about self-deception and (possibly unconscious) discomfort with homosexuality. It’s just not plausible that people are really so stupid that they could say things like that without some non-rational motivation.

  • Foelhe

    I take it reading comprehension is not your strong point?

    The entire point everyone’s been making is that we care more about people’s actions than people’s motivations. If your actions are hateful, we will call you hateful. Doesn’t matter if you feel hateful or not, because I’m not psychic and don’t have to deal with what’s in your headspace. So stop whining about motives already, this isn’t a crime drama, nobody cares.

  • Lorehead

    If some anonymous person on a blog calling you a name means you have no home in all of Progressive Christianity, you will never have a home anywhere unless you keep your opinions to yourself. This is the Internet. That happens.

  • dpolicar

    When you start ascribing negative motivations to people with whom you disagree [..] you have shifted the argument to them and their character

    Sure, agreed.
    Similarly, when I start characterizing the behavior of people, I’ve shifted the discussion to them and their behavior.

    So?
    People discuss what they want to discuss.

    For example, you’re choosing now to discuss how welcome or unwelcome you are in this forum. That’s fine, you can talk about that if you want. It doesn’t mean you’re “demonizing” us or anything.

    Granted, I don’t find it a terribly interesting subject, but you’re not obligated to interest me.

    When you start […] trivializing their positions as being generated by fear

    If you consider fear-generated behavior trivial, that’s on you; don’t put that in my mouth. I don’t consider it trivial at all.

    Apparently a troll in this forum is someone who says something others disagree with and posts non-anonymously.

    Nah. There’s plenty of trolls who post anonymously here, and plenty of non-trolls who post things others disagree with.

    a lot of folks that used to respect me now think that I might not be “saved” after all

    I’m sorry to hear that.

    As far as “Progressive or Emergent Christianity” apparently there’s no home there either.

    Really?

  • smrnda

    I’d argue that excessive use of this would be bad, but on some level, one has to attempt to figure out what’s motivating your opposition. I think Fred does a good job of being critical of people without demonizing them, unless suggesting anything bad about someone is demonizing them.

  • Lori

    When you start ascribing negative motivations to people with whom you
    disagree, trivializing their positions as being generated by fear,
    loathing, gender, victimization in their childhood, etc. you have
    shifted the argument to them and their character rather than whatever
    topic you are discussing.

    Fred is actually focusing on their actions. That’s what he means by “hate is what you do.” You’re the one who wants to make it all about their inner state and how they’re not hateful, they just believe such and so. I think the technical term for that is bullshit.

  • Lorehead

    On the other hand, if you don’t want to let women who are good enough to play, play, because you’re sure God doesn’t want them to and will smite us if we let them, you really do hate women. This often happens at the 12-and-under age range, where a lot of little girls are better at sports than a lot of little boys.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you say so. Meanwhile, there are still people out there who think it’s a horrible thing that my state just voted to let me get married. When they stop demonizing me, I’ll stop being furious with them.

    Note the distinction. Comes of the fact that I don’t think they’re actually evil incarnate, and they do think I am.

  • Guest

    Sorry Ellie still better than last year huh? You don’t have to demonize folks that have demonized them selves. You just need to act like Jesus. And carry a gun so you can shoot the bastards if you need to so you don’t end up like Matthew Shepard! Maranatha and goodnight all!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hi. Atheist. Morally opposed to gun violence. Fuck off.

  • Guest

    Hi. Christian. Morally opposed to gun violence. Bless you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Then why in the fuck did you suggest I carry a gun?

  • Guest

    I’m not morally opposed other people carrying and using guns to defend their lives. To give you some background Ellie, all though others here will think I’m trolling, I have killed people. I served with the 173rd Airborne as an infantry squad leader in Vietnam. I understand what can motivate someone to kill to save the lives of self or others. When I became a Christian in May of 1983, I became a pacifist as well. But I won’t impose my standards on others.

    LGBTs are a persecuted minority. Matthew Shepards death is an example of how bad that can be. It makes sense to me that they might feel the need to defend themselves.

    Probably wont post on this topic again, be assured Ellie that I really hope your life goes well and you are happy and content in it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Somehow I do not believe you.

  • Foelhe

    Sweet motherfucking god, guns are not magical talismans that protect people from harm. Unless you think what we really need to stop gay lynchings are more gun-fights in gay bars.

  • Foelhe

    Because criticizing someone’s behavior is totally the same as shooting them! Adios, troll.

  • Guest

    Sorry, they did more to Matthew Shepard than criticize him.

  • Foelhe

    At this point you’re either a troll or you’re breathtakingly stupid. I’d go with troll. And then knock it off.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    In order for your argument to be legimate, you have to assume that “forbidding twelve-year-olds from marrying” is comparable to “forbidding same-sex couples from marrying”. Because if those things aren’t comparable, then your argument makes as much sense as “You can forbid froobles from glodshapping without fearing or hating froobles.” Or “You can believe it’s okay to kill and eat cows without fearing and hating cows”. In fact, let’s try that “You can believe it’s okay to kill and eat cows without fearing or hating cows. So you’re just demonizing your opponents by saying that they fear and hate homosexuals just because they think it’s okay to kill and eat them*.”

    So either (a) you have no argument at all because you are comparing two things which are unlike in the specific way relevant for the purpose of the argument or (b) you believe that same-sex couples and children are alike in the moral validity of forbidding their marriages.

    (* Like that time Larry and Patti were lost in the amazon basin and got captured by the lesbian cannibal tribe “Let’s kill him and eat him! And vice-versa for the girl!”)

  • Worthless Beast

    I remember a scene in an anime I’ve seen where a character (an alien/cosmic being) is comparing human beings to animals people raise for food and arguing that, despite the known cruelty of man toward beast, the various livestock species benefit as a whole in that they are kept free of disease and have a guaranteed chance to pass on their genes – That, from an evolutionary perspective, cattle experience a kind of “love” from the beings that eat them.

    The human that this alien creature was comparing to a cow for the net benefit of her species and the cosmos… let’s just say she didn’t feel comforted by this. At all.

    (I eat meat, and am, in fact, a daughter raised by a butcher. I’d probably kill my own meat if I had the freezer space).

    That said, I’d say the 12 year old analogy falls apart for a reason not listed here. In some cultures and historically… hasn’t it been that 12 year olds *are* considered adults? I mean, I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some NatGeo stuff about cultures where girls are considered ripe for marriage and motherhood as soon as they have periods and grow breasts and where the 12-13 year old boy’s manhood ritual actually made him *a man* rather than the somewhat meaningless ways we “make men” in the West. In some cultures, killing your first deer (or your first lion) qualifies you to have your own house/requires you to pull your own full weight in work, and makes having a wife a right of yours.

    A lot of ideas on “age of maturity” do vary by culture.

  • Guest

    I don’t care if gay people marry. Someone who says I believe that because Im unsaved and don’t believe the Bible, has demonized me. The same holds true for vice-versa.

  • stardreamer42

    If that was supposed to be your point, you chose a really poor analogy to illustrate it, for exactly the reasons mentioned above.

  • Lori

    Accurately describing what people are doing is only demonizing them if they are in fact demons. The fact that someone doesn’t like what you say and it portrays them in a bad light does not demonization make.

    So no, Fred is not demoning “nice” bigots. He’s accurately describing them and the description isn’t flattering because the behavior isn’t actually nice.

  • Guest

    Sigh, how do you know he is accurately describing them? Because you two agree? Is it possible to see gossip as a sin without fearing and hating gossips? Is it possible to see homosexuality as a sin without blah blahblahblah?

  • Lori

    If your belief that gossiping is a sin leads you to want to treat gossips as second class citizens and refuse to allow them to exercise rights which should be theirs by virtue of being adult citizens of this country then I’d say that yes, your feelings about gossip have gone past a belief in its sinfulness and into a realm that could fairly be called hate and/or fear.

    This is the thing you’re refusing to get. Fred isn’t talking about people who think same sex marriage is a sin. He’s talking about people who expect those beliefs to be the law of the land and for a segment of the population to lack full civil rights because of it. That’s hate and fear, not belief and it’s not OK and I don’t care if that fact hurts some bigots’ feelings.

  • Guest

    Finally a reasonable POV. If you are reading Fred correctly and I am not, I apologize. For those of you who called me names and said F* off, shame on you. You are no better than the right wing fanatics you claim to oppose. I think used to think that homosexuality was just a sin but who was I to deny civil rights to gays? I still believe the same, but that doesn’t change thefactthat you folks are jerks ( more accurately – some of you) which I guess I’d part ofbeinghuman.

  • Craig Thompson

    I hate auto-correct

  • EllieMurasaki

    What rights of yours or the right-wing folks I do in fact oppose (not merely ‘claim to’) am I denying to you and/or them by telling you and them to go fuck your collective self?

  • Craig Thompson

    Why Ellie, you should say what you feel. Whoever said you could not or should not? You have an absolute right to be a jerkette if you wish. I support your right to be an idiot completely. A bit confused on the mechanics of your proposal but that’s probably because I too amascrewed up piece of turtle poop. Perhaps we should form a club? Let me know.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What rights of anyone’s am I denying by telling you to go fuck yourself?

  • dpolicar

    For those of you who called me names and said F* off, shame on you.You are no better than the right wing fanatics you claim to oppose.

    One group calls their opposition names. The other group calls their opposition names, passes laws to break up their families, and otherwise denies them civil equality.

    If you genuinely believe one group is no better than the other, we have very different understandings of “better”.

  • Guest

    Right wing fanatics, left wing zealots. Hypocrites all neither better than the other. You can be conservative or liberal without being a cows patoot. Or at least those of us who aren’t socially dysfunctional or morally corrupt can. Leave the Dark side, come to the freeing land of reason, compassion and hope. Turn from the dark side Dave, stop being a cow patoot. Turn, tis not too late.

  • AnonaMiss

    tl;dr: “It’s worse to call someone an asshole than to be an asshole. Unless you use silly euphemisms, then it’s OK.”

  • dpolicar

    Apparently, we also have different understandings of namecalling, reason, compassion, and hope.

  • Lori

    Missed this earlier:

    Sigh, how do you know he is accurately describing them?

    Because I am not blind. I see them opposing civil rights for gay people.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s possible to see homosexuality as a sin without hating and fearing homosexuals. You can pray for their souls, pray for God to change His mind, you can stomp your feet and huff and puff and rail at the cruelty of a universe that would produce people who can’t find happiness without sinning. You can weep and gnash your teeth

    But as soon as you start trying to stop adult consenting humans from marrying as they choose, you’ve crossed over from “seeing homosexuality as a sin” and into “committing an act of hate.”

    See, trying to restrict the basic human rights of another person is an act of hate. And no matter how “nice” you are about it, you can’t commit an act of hate without hating.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah, but I think that likening consenting adult human beings to twelve-year-olds in order to justify denying them the rights due all consenting adult humans is the sort of thing you can’t do without “fearing and hating” them.

    Watch this:

    Surely a person can believe that dogs and cats should not cohabit or marry without “fearing and hating” dogs and cats. The characterization of people who view miscegenation as a sin, is simply demonization of your opponents

  • smrnda

    Most people accept placing restrictions on what young people can do because we treat young people *legally different* from adults. Most of us agree that nothing magical happens when you turn 18, just that it’s a convenient limit to use when assessing what you can and can’t do.

    I could agree that opponents of same-sex marriage often view homosexuals as if they were children who needed some responsible, ‘godly’ adult to tell them what to do, but that’s just saying that you can oppose gay marriage without hating or fearing gays, because you can be arrogant and patronizing instead. Doesn’t really improve things much.

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

    People can also think you should be allowed to walk down the sidewalk wearing jeans, but that you shouldn’t be allowed to murder people.

    I am sick and tired of analogies that are not analogous. I’m not going to try to argue with people who compare oranges and orangutans any longer. Heck, at least oranges and orangutans are both forms of life.

  • Craig Thompson

    You are absolutely correct.

  • Carstonio

    There is no legitimate argument for preventing consenting adults from choosing their marriage partners irrespective of gender. Advocating that amounts to discrimination no matter what the reason, and asking for sympathy for folks who advocate discrimination is morally offensive.

    The fact that you would compare a stance on marriage for adults to that on children suggests you’re being needlessly provocative. Opposition to marriage for 12-year-olds is based on the principle that children of that age aren’t capable of informed consent for sexual matters. Cultures may disagree as to what age represents that capability but the principle is the same.

  • Wednesday

    I don’t understand what you are saying is demonization of opponents. Would you mind clarifying? Characterizing the people who view homosexuality as a sin as… what? Without specifying what type of characterization you object to, the only way I can interpret your comment is that you object to characterizing the group of people who view homosexuality as a sin as people who view homosexuality as a sin. I imagine that’s not at all what you meant. :)

  • Carstonio

    The claim that homosexuality is a sin should apply only to people who share the religion of the person making the claim. There’s no reason such people couldn’t take the same stance on homosexuality that the Amish do for modern technology, where they don’t expect people to live as they do. If you’re going to claim that homosexuality is wrong for everyone, you need to present a secular argument for it, and not just simply resort to “My religion says so.” That’s simply a euphemism for “Everyone should belong to my religion.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    Missed the point like a champ.

    One can hold the view that “homosexuality is a sin” and still not actively do things that harm homosexuals. One can personally approve of same sex marriage but still choose to not vote against it because they’re intelligent and mature enough to realize that forcing everyone to live by X person’s religious view is wrong.

    In other words, it’s the *actions* we’re “demonizing” people for, not the views.

  • azspot

    Have you read *The God Shaped Brain*(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16204581-the-god-shaped-brain)? Where a Christian psychiatrist posits that your view of God molds your mind. The author posits that love and fear are polar opposites on the constructive/destructive cognitive continuum. And that clinging to fear of a wrathful God gainsays the truth that “God is love”.

  • Kirt

    I can’t believe we’re forty comments in without someone noting that “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

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

    What, from Darths and Droids? That was a particularly funny one.

  • Craig Thompson

    You are absolutely correct or “Correct absolutely are you” – Yoda

  • Baby_Raptor

    I, probably the only person in the galaxy who has never seen any of the Star Wars movies, started playing SWTOR recently.

    I find the Sith side more enjoyable and better for the types of decisions I’d make. The whole “There is no emotion…” part of the Jedi code just doesn’t sit well with me.

    I don’t know what that says about me.

  • AnonaMiss

    They’re both phenomenally unhealthy philosophies.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    The “no emotions” thing, AFAICT, seems to be something Lucas cooked up for the prequel movies and everything made since then. From what I’ve heard of the Star Wars expanded universe before that, in the storylines post-original trilogy, when Luke Skywalker starts training Jedi, he doesn’t hold with that nonsense.

  • FearlessSon

    The impression that I always got of the Force is that there is an emotion-in/action-out kind of relationship. Like Obi-wan said, the Force controls your actions but also responds to your commands.

    There is this kind of idea that what you put into the Force will affect what the force makes you do. If you are upset, out of balance, and/or filled with hate, the Force will manifest that, and the chaos and destruction will flow around you. After a certain point, you are not so much the one controlling the Force as being controlled by it.

    On the contrary, if you are serene, your emotions stable and in balance, and in control of yourself, you can likewise have more full control over the Force. It is not that you need to have no emotions (you see plenty of emotive Jedi in the films,) it is that you need to be aware of your own emotions and know how to best handle them.

    Down the path of the Dark Side, the only way to become more powerful is to give yourself into your passions, to gradually surrender control so that they might be channeled into greater acts of power. But on the Light Side, the only way to become more powerful is to develop self-discipline, and to better learn to harness what you have.

  • stardreamer42

    My feeling about people who excuse their hateful treatment of gays on “the Bible” or “God’s Word” is that they should stop hiding behind God and own their behavior. Unlike gay people, they DO have a choice, and they’re making the wrong one every single day.

  • Guest

    You are absolutely correct.

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

    You are absolutely trolling. Most of us didn’t just discover the internet yesterday, you know. Go away.

  • Carstonio

    Exactly the point I’ve made elsewhere. LGBT people are still receiving hostility from both Bob and Ted, no matter what the reasons for it.

    Fred seems to ignore a third type of person, who I’ll call Jim. This guy is uncomfortable with gays and the theology conveniently allows him to remain uncomfortable and indulge his self-righteousness. Jim’s conscience doesn’t make a peep about the people he’s mistreating.

    And Ted sounds suspicious as well. If he really hates and resents his god for making him go against his conscience, he should bring this up to his god directly, instead of projecting this onto LGBT folks. Just once I’d like to hear a Ted say that the punishment they fear is grossly unjust.

  • Jurgan

    I would guess Jim doesn’t know any gay people personally, or if he does, they aren’t open around him.

  • Foelhe

    Y’know, on a certain level I can kind of sympathize with Bob. Sure, he desperately needs to pull his head out of his ass and deal with his emotions like a grownup, but it can be hard to look honestly at yourself and deal with your own crap. He’s an unconscionable sleazebag, but I can at least understand why he’s an unconscionable sleazebag. Seems like the main difference between Bob and Ted is that Ted should know better.

  • Carstonio

    Michele Bachmann-Hatred-Overdrive claimed that her god would destroy her home state for legalizing same-sex marriage. Seems reasonable to me that we should demand that the nation’s Teds, like Bachmann, produce proof for their claims.

  • arcseconds

    haha! that’s definitey going to be my new name for her from now on. :-D

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, they keep claiming that weather disasters are “God’s judgement,” and those certainly do cause destruction.

    Their god’s aim is *terrible,* though.

    (No disrespect meant to any of the victims of these tragedies.)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Their god’s aim is *terrible,* though.

    As Stephen Colbert says, apparently God is ok with gays, but hates the gay-adjacent.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That is, if you assume they don’t just hate QUILTBAG people and deny it because as Real True Christians, they are above such pettiness, knowing how they’ll be going to Heaven and the Other will be going to Hell.

  • Matticus

    This post actually got me thinking about Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card, actually. See, Card’s message in Ender’s Game is basically this concept taken to its logical conclusion. If someone’s motives are all that matter, then nothing a person can do can be evil or hateful if that person isn’t motivated by evil or hate. Ted can help deny his neighbors a place of worship and still be a good person because he wants them to turn away from what he sees as a false god. Likewise, Ender Wiggin can kill multiple other children with his bare hands and drive an alien species into extinction and still be a good person because he didn’t mean to.

    In other words, the road to Hell isn’t paved with good intentions, because having good intentions automatically makes your actions good.

    It’s a toxic idea, and I thank Fred for calling it out.

  • smrnda

    Good point. I think people have a responsibility to sort out if their actions are really doing more harm than good, which requires at least admitting that even if you’re intentions are good, you could be doing harm just out of ignorance of what works.

  • Lectorel

    On the other hand, Ender is being manipulated and coerced by the adults around him to do exactly those things, and iirc, once he finds out about the consequences of those actions, he does try to fix them – baby bugger queen adoption, etc.

    Which is a damn sight more forgivable than adult christians freely choosing to behave like dicks.

  • Matticus

    Except that Card goes out of his way to say that Ender doesn’t need to feel that guilt. All of his actions that seek to deal with the consequences of his actions are portrayed as an unnecessary burden that Ender chooses to bear, despite being a perfectly guiltless pure hearted snowflake.

    He commits violence on a scale far beyond that of his evil brother, but Ender is always told that he isn’t like his brother because he doesn’t enjoy said violence. Sounds like Ted to me.

    And on the subject of Ender being manipulated and abused by the adults? The man responsible for all of it gets acquitted of negligent homicide in the cases of the two boys Ender killed, and ends up labeled a hero for his actions. The best part? He continues to insist that despite everything he did to Ender, he’s Ender’s friend–and Card insists that it’s true!

  • Danny Coleman

    Hi Fred!

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and and respond to it! I first became aware that you had done so when a couple of somewhat harshly-worded comments appeared on my otherwise rather quiet and irenic blog (from folks who didn’t seem to catch that I am an outspoken advocate for full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ people).

    Perhaps I should have been more clear about defining who I had in mind when speaking of the Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians that get labeled as homophobic haters. I was not referring to extremists such as Fred Phelps or Tony Perkins or Pat Robertson, but rather to the “rank and file” folks–many of whom have family or friends who are LGBTQ. My central point is that many of these folks would honestly not be aware that they feel hatred or fear directly towards LGBTQ people. Therefore, to accuse them of hatred and homophobia is to engage in an exercise of polemics which cuts off opportunities for meaningful dialogue.

    I very much appreciate your insights and those of your commenters. There is lots of good stuff here to flesh out what was a pretty simple statement on my part. I did want to take issue, however, with a specific point you made:

    “Let’s deal with the fear first. These Christians do, in fact, fear LGBT people. They have to because, as Coleman notes, they believe God requires them to do so. This fear may be an indirect side-effect, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or that it somehow doesn’t matter.

    God will punish me if I allow the human dignity and legal equality of Group X. To be safe, then, from the temptation of allowing such dignity and equality, I must avoid Group X. I must flee Group X.

    That’s fear.”

    Well, no. That’s exclusion. The exclusion comes about, as you rightly state, from a fear of association. But the party feared is God. God does not require them to fear (or hate) LGBTQ people. God does require (they believe) that they exclude people who are LGBTQ in order to resist what they perceive to be the encroachment of a sinful “lifestyle.” It is often a rather dispassionate exclusion. Sometimes it is a genuinely regretful and conflicted exclusion.

    To stick with your analogy of the ethnic cleansing scenario, it is a case of wishing it were possible to help the person at the door, but being too intimidated by the potential repercussions (and thus feeling secretly ashamed, perhaps to the point of not even admitting it to oneself). It is an unsubstantiated claim to say that this then morphs into resentment and hatred. Perhaps in some. More likely, it manifests as profound denial and rationalization, as in “I didn’t realize an injustice was occurring,” or “I was just doing what I was told” or “They are welcome here if they just repent of their lifestyle” or “I hate the sin but I love the sinner” (we know, of course, that the teaching of Jesus was actually to love the sinner and focus on our own sin, not what we perceive to be the sins of others).

    Your “ethnic cleansing” scenario is also helpful to me in that it dials up in my mind the significance of peer pressure. This is a whole other realm of fear that I didn’t touch upon in my original post. I often receive private messages from Christians (including pastors) who say that they really want to be open and affirming but, besides being unsure if they can do so and remain faithful to scripture, they are also afraid that if they go down that road it will cost them their reputation or place in their faith community. They fear becoming ostracized themselves, not just by God but by the church. Yet they are practically inviting me (and you) to keep chipping away and help them break free.

    Your “Bob & Ted” analogy is apt: Ted doesn’t hate Muslims. But Ted is participating in a system of oppression towards Muslims because of his fear, which is born of ignorance. As you point out, our awareness of Ted’s condition gives us a sense of how we might move forward in constructive dialogue with him.

    I don’t believe that the folks I had in mind hate God. That is a charge that will only close ears and build walls. One can act in unkind ways for all sort of reasons other than hatred, such as ignorance or apathy or even love-fueled but misdirected zeal. I believe that the solution to the issue at hand lies in helping our brothers and sisters open up to a greater revelation of God’s profound and relentless and radically inclusive love. We need to tell them, as Jesus did over and over in Matthew’s Gospel, “Do not be afraid…”

    We are experiencing a sea change in attitudes towards people who are LGBTQ–in both the civic realm and the church. I believe that this is a move of God and I stand as one who had his heart changed and his eyes opened. To paraphrase a wise Pharisee named Gamaliel, if it is from God, it is unstoppable and those that oppose it will find themselves fighting against God (Acts 5).

    BTW, part of what inspired me to write that post in the first place was watching a powerful documentary entitled Question 1, in which a film crew followed both proponents and opponents of an effort to repeal same-sex marriage in Maine. The film-makers remained fairly neutral and were able to elicit a great deal of candor from their subjects, including the Fundamentalist Evangelicals of the type we have been discussing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qc2fwGNLv4

  • Foelhe

    Okay, would you like to personally escort me around and explain to me which Christians enjoy acting like dicks toward me and which ones are doing it because they think they have to? Because I sure as hell can’t see any difference.

    Don’t tell me none of them enjoy it, because I think we both know you’re not that naive. And don’t tell me I should give everyone the benefit of a doubt, because I think we all know who gets screwed over in that situation, not to mention I don’t have that kind of energy.

    Bottom line, there are (by your estimations) two flavors of anti-gay Christians – the assholes, and the people who are completely indistinguishable from assholes. Neither group has any right to complain when I call them assholes.

    And by the way, you’re not the first person on this thread to say how much you support LGBTQ rights. Scroll up if you’d like to see your fellow ally. Telling me you support my rights does not impress me.

  • Gotchaye

    Too many Foelhes.

  • Foelhe

    Sorry?

  • Gotchaye

    I’m just sayin’. If the first one in the thread replies again, assuming you’re not the first one, this is going to get really confusing really quickly.

  • Foelhe

    I’m pretty sure I am the first one, unless I’ve missed a post. Disqus signed me in and out a few times, so there might have been some confusion there.

    [Insert rant about Disqus here]

  • Gotchaye

    Oh. Reloaded. The post by “Danny Coleman” looked to me like it was by you. Disqus.

  • Foelhe

    My hypothetical rant has been vindicated!

  • Carstonio

    God does require (they believe) that they exclude people who are LGBTQ in order to resist what they perceive to be the encroachment of a sinful “lifestyle.”

    That’s fundamentally incompatible with a society that embraces religious diversity. Similar to how Catholic bishops in the US define the conscience so broadly that their flocks could preserve their consciences only by living in societies where all the institutions are Catholic. You come close to suggesting that they see homosexuality as contagious. Maybe the folks you describe could just retreat into their own communities, like a LaHaye version of Witness.

  • stardreamer42

    You may have heard the aphorism, “On the internet, if you do a letter-perfect imitation of a troll, you are one.” Something similar can also happen in real life, and you’ve described it very well. A person who works openly and cheerfully for the same ends as a hate-filled bigot is indistinguishable from a hate-filled bigot.

    I don’t CARE that Ted’s motivations are different from Bob’s. The results are exactly the same — and to a significant extent, Ted’s motivations are worse than Bob’s. He’s doing the wrong thing because he’s convinced himself that it’s right — he has turned himself into a good man who pursues evil goals. C.S. Lewis had something to say about that in the Silent Planet trilogy, as did G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown.

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

    When someone is punching me repeatedly in the face, I’m not going to think they’re a little less bad because they think what they’re doing is right or for my own good or for the good of their soul. In fact, their moral superiority complex makes me like them even less than I would someone who is honest that they’re punching me in the face because they hate me.

    People like Ted actually do significantly more harm than people like Bob. Ted’s supposed to get a pass because ooh, in his heart, he doesn’t mean — oh, bollocks. Look, this is exactly what abusers say. They kick your ass and gaslight you, they get you to stay around because they convince you they love you, really, even though they cause you harm all the time. They get you to think it must be your fault. Ted’s as much an abuser as Bob is. He’s just smarter about it, and he actually causes more harm, because he causes more psychological harm. And that’s supposed to make Ted a BETTER person?

  • Baby_Raptor

    There was nothing in my comment that was harshly worded; with the possible exception, I guess, of the word “pissy.”

    Criticizing someone does not automatically mean they are being harsh or rude.

    And really, the fact that you personally advocate for LGBT rights doesn’t come into play here. You’re still trying to excuse and engender sympathy for people who actively go out of their way to harm LGBTs. You’re still defending and enabling them. You’re still telling victims that they need to stop thinking about themselves and have a heart for their oppressors.

    *Why* they are acting like this simply does not matter. That’s the short of it. What they’re doing matters. And what they’re doing is causing great amounts of harm. The fact that they think God says they need to do this, if that’s even true, doesn’t factor into it.

    And it certainly does not mean that we need to be more understanding about the entire thing. People who believe that their god is an assholic child that would order them to hate and step on others and still submit to the guy need a good wake-up call. They need help out of their delusion. They don’t need their hateful actions “understood” so they can continue being hurtful.

  • alegrenaje

    As a gay guy, I can personally say that I don’t care whether or not someone feels as though they are doing the best for me. Pretty much everyone else has said it better, but -not- hating someone you are hurting is not an excuse for hurting them.

  • Jeff

    I think I have an analogy that basically works.
    Let’s say that I want to have my children educated outside of the public school system, and I want my school district to release to me the typical per-pupil expenditure so that I can put it towards the costs I incur in the alternative educational mode that we choose.
    Now, let’s say legislation comes up in our town, or our state, or at the national level, requiring that school districts compensate families like mine in the way I’ve proposed above. I think I’d be correct to assume that most of this blog’s audience would oppose such legislation. But would I be correct to infer from your opposition that you “hate” my family?
    Please note: I’m not looking to debate school vouchers, but am merely raising them as an analogy. So, by all means, say that they’re a bad /analogy/, but whether or not they’re a bad /idea/ is largely irrelevant.

  • Jeff

    Let’s remove a couple of the obvious objections to my analogy, by saying that we will voluntarily accept the school retaining 10% of the typical per-student expense, to be put towards a cost associated with “vetting” the institution/option we select, to ensure it’s of acceptable educational quality.
    And, we’ll accept the school retaining another 10% as a “goodwill” expense to support running the school, providing for special education expenses, etc. Finally, let’s stipulate that we are only reimbursed for that portion of the typical expenditure that we actually use — if we’re “due” $10k and private school costs $5k, the district keeps the difference.

    These should adequately deal with obvious objections that say “it’s different, because in your analogy, letting you take money out of the district harms the district, whereas there’s no harm in letting homosexuals leave the prospective heterosexual marriage pool.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Still not seeing how it could possibly be analogous.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am completely failing to see how this is analogous. I can’t even explain how it’s not, because I can’t see how you think it is.

    School vouchers, by the way, are a horrible idea. Unless the legislation you mention also has as many mandates on how your children get educated as public school teachers have to deal with, specifically including that the education is secular instead of sectarian. But that defeats the purpose of hijacking secular-education money for sectarian purposes, doesn’t it?

  • Jeff

    If it helps, note that I’m not going for one-to-one correspondence between the two situations (homosexual marriage and school vouchers), but am merely pointing out a situation in which “your” side (a) may have an objection that leads you to oppose something, which (b) causes harm to someone, and (c) may go so far as to deprive them of a right.
    I won’t debate school vouchers, but since you’re against them: does your opposition reflect hatred on your part towards those families that want them and would benefit from them?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fuck no. It reflects the fact that government programs such as education must be secular (they are not always, which is a major problem), and the people who want school vouchers invariably want them in order to use government money for religious education. The vast majority of those people want it for some flavor of Christian education; hence the shitfits when Muslims try to get in on the school-voucher party.

    What right are you being denied by being unable to use government education money for religious education? What harm does it do you to spend out of pocket for the religious education that you are choosing, that you are not required and are certainly not forced, to provide your child?

    What is your point?

  • Jeff

    The analogy can be tweaked to accommodate your (unreasonable) objections — maybe my family wants to send our children to a private, non-sectarian school. Or maybe we want to homeschool. (Lots of non-Christians do this, by the way…). Maybe instead of receiving the money /spent/ on my children by the district, a family could at least receive the amount of their school taxes back, to put towards their children’s education. Or maybe they could receive a tax deduction for the educational costs they incur.
    But let’s say for the sake of argument that in my analogy, we are speaking of a family that wants to use a religious private school, but can’t afford to pay both their school tax bill and the school’s tuition. You clearly have no problem with such a state of affairs. Maybe you’d even pay lip service to acknowledging a fundamental right on the part of parents to determine how their own children are educated, but you don’t support them where the rubber meets the road — doesn’t that mean that you “hate” that family?

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, it means they can send their kids to (always free) public school on weekdays and to (far as I know, always free) church-sponsored Sunday school on Sundays. Or they can get scholarships from the church running the school or from wealthier members of the church community. (I went to Catholic school for a couple years. On scholarship. Woulda been longer–the scholarship money was there–except the Catholic high school sucked.) Church and state stay separate and nobody hates anybody.

  • Gotchaye

    To clarify – Are you trying to get at how opposition to a sort of libertarian “live and let live” policy (where no voter opposing it is directly harmed) doesn’t imply hate and fear of the people who would benefit from the policy?

  • Jeff

    Basically, yes.

  • Gotchaye

    OK, yes, you seem to be clear that that’s what you’re after in your reply to Ellie; I didn’t read closely enough.

    One can explain opposition to school vouchers without having to talk about irrational hostility towards religious people or voucher programs. One can disagree with or weigh differently the reasons or values motivating that opposition, but it is clearly possible for legitimate reasons of the sort appropriate for motivating public policy to be behind that opposition.

    I think a major difference is in what I posted earlier about psychologizing disagreement. I’ve also said that I don’t really like the “hate and fear” language, so I’m not the best person to be arguing for a distinction, but it’s very, very hard to explain opposition to gay marriage without having to talk about irrational hostility towards gay people. It just isn’t believable that someone could believe the things that anti-SSM folks say without that animus being involved somewhere in there. At best one might suppose that the people opposed to gay marriage have no issues with gay people at all but they’ve mistakenly bought into belief in a bigoted God. However, they’d all affirm that God is the source of morality (or is perfectly good, or something like that) such that they’re necessarily endorsing that bigotry, so I don’t think that helps.

    There might be a few people who have never (knowingly) met a LGBT person, are pretty uneducated and incurious, and who have just heard from serious-sounding people that everyone around them seems to trust that science shows how important it is for kids to have a mother and father, and who further don’t worry much about divorce and the like because, again, they trust that if taking on divorce made sense here those same serious-sounding people would be on the case. I’m willing to grant that these people might not be hostile at all. But these are not the people expressing anti-gay views anywhere where they’re in danger of being called out for them.

  • Jeff

    That’s a fair response, but I think you’re getting deeper into the weeds than Fred is (or I am). You’re saying that my analogy fails because you have reasons that you think are legitimate for objecting to vouchers, whereas you don’t believe any such reasons are available for the case of homosexual marriage. But that’s not where Fred draws the line — following his logic, it seems that the motivation for your opposition is largely irrelevant, because the action itself is what is harmful. So, why does that apply in some cases but not others?
    What I think I’m getting at overall is that Fred’s article seems to basically boil down to “I don’t /like/ opposition to gay marriage.” That’s a perfectly fine opinion to hold, but it goes too far to extrapolate from that to say that hatred is the primary motivation for those who take the opposite view. That seems to be the point of Coleman’s article. And it sounds like you agree with this, to some degree at least.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What harm is done to you by saying you cannot use secular-education money for religious education, given that both free-to-you secular education and free-to-you religious education are available?

    As far as I can tell, it’s only that you can’t afford the thing you do want. Well, I want a shiny new black Corvette. I can’t afford a new car of any variety, and my vintage-2001 car gets me to work just fine. Am I harmed by not having that Corvette?

  • Jeff

    Again, it’s just an analogy, but how many plausible scenarios do you want me to concoct to establish a situation where the lack of available funds to access a non-public school education does actual harm? And is it really your place to say “they’re not actually suffering any harm”?
    Let’s instead springboard off of your example, and imagine that your 2001 car breaks down and you don’t have the money to fix it, leaving you carless and potentially jobless; you write your Congressperson, and, moved with sympathy by your plight, he/she introduces a bill called the “Transportation Access for All Act”, which mandates a cash payment to anyone in your situation. Let’s say someone opposes the bill; does that mean they hate you and want you to be jobless, broke, starving, and dead?
    Anyway, clearly you don’t like my analogy, but that’s ok. You have the last word; thanks for the discussion.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Why would I write to my congressman instead of asking my bank for a loan to help me fix the car or buy a new one? Your analogy fails, Skippy. Again.

  • Jeff

    Because you have terrible credit, or you’re up to your eyeballs in debt and can’t take on another payment, or the bank manager is mad at you because you TP’d his house as a high schooler, or whatever other thing; you’re nitpicking the details of the analogies, without engaging what they are actually analogies /for/. And don’t call me Skippy!
    Anyway, as promised, the last word is yours (for real this time…)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Has it occurred to you that maybe you’re just shit at analogies? I’m not engaging how they’re analogous because I cannot see how they’re analogous.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Well, some cities try to have “Transportation Access for All” — they just do it in the form of public buses and subways.

  • Jeff

    Sorry, not where Ellie lives; she is (in our imaginary extrapolation from my analogy) way out in the boondocks, with a 30 mile commute to work each way, and sadly, the commuter rails promised by Obama haven’t materialized for her yet. And she also doesn’t know anyone with whom she can carpool.
    I appreciate that you didn’t call me Skippy, though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Only ten miles out in the boondocks; ‘course, compared to an actual metro area, this is all boondocks, even downtown. And you’re ignoring buses (though to be fair, I work nights and the buses don’t run nights) and other potential sources of transportation (my parents wouldn’t put up with more than a couple weeks of being my transportation but that would probably be plenty; my credit’s fine, thank you very much, and if it weren’t, my parents’ is excellent; all else fails, I could pay one of my coworkers to be my transportation, though the one who lives nearest to me is also least likely to take my money).

    Your analogy skills need serious work, is what I’m saying.

  • phantomreader42

    Jeff:

    Again, it’s just an analogy

    It’s a shitty analogy. I’ve seen far worse, but those involved things like diseased milkmen and books made of human skin. Maybe you should actually learn how to make your analogies analogous before trying to use them to support arguments that you can’t be bothered to state clearly.
    Jeff again:

    but how many plausible scenarios do you want me to concoct to establish a situation where the lack of available funds to access a non-public school education does actual harm?

    ONE would be nice. Seriously, start with a SINGLE scenario that is actually plausible in the REAL WORLD, without torturing logic and piling on tons of special pleadings. You have utterly failed at that.
    Jeff yet again:

    And is it really your place to say “they’re not actually suffering any harm”?

    Actually, it is YOUR place to demonstrate that the people you claim are suffering harm are, in fact, actually suffering harm, and you have not done so. Your attempt to dodge the burden of proof does not support your case.
    In the case of denying marriage equality, the harm has already been well established, many times, both in actual cases involving actual same-sex couples being denied actual legal benefits and suffering as a result, and in situations involving other principles that are ACTUALLY analagous (Loving v. Virginia, Brown v. Board of Ed, the 14th Amendment in general) and established that “separate but equal” is not, in fact, equal.

  • Gotchaye

    I think that’s basically correct, taking Fred at face value, but surely he doesn’t actually believe that support for any policy that is actually harmful constitutes acting hatefully. One can make an error in good faith. The problem with Ted is not simply that he is mistaken, but that he is culpably mistaken. He’s making an error that he should not be excused for making (provided he is being honest about what he thinks his motivations are).

  • Jeff

    To be honest, I actually like my analogy better than the Bob/Ted analogy, for this reason: Bob and Ted are clearly in the wrong in Fred’s analogy, because their actions suppress a right that the Muslims /already possess/, explicitly, by the free exercise clause in the 1st Amendment. Whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry is what’s in dispute, and it doesn’t seem to be unambiguous, although perhaps the Supreme Court will settle the question, at least legally speaking.
    Incidentally, I think Fred’s analogy would be a bit more “edgy” and challenging if, instead of an Islamic community center, it was a fundamentalist mosque preaching Jihad. Are Bob and Ted still wrong? Legally? I think so. Morally? Err…I don’t know, that’s a tough one. (Note that I’m certainly not drawing any kind of equivalence between Islamic fundamentalism and homosexual marriage! I just like analogies that make you think, and the Bob/Ted one is kind of a failure in that regard.)
    I have to run for the day, so the last word is yours, but thanks for the discussion.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry is what’s in dispute, and it doesn’t seem to be unambiguous

    EVERYONE HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO MARRY. (Subject to a few restrictions, namely age, whether they’re already family with the person they want to marry, and whether they’re already married to someone.)

    THIS IS NOT AMBIGUOUS IN THE SLIGHTEST.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There are days I wish I could take your posts and squeeze them for all the juice, load it into a Super Soaker and blast it at people. I’ve spent all day repeatedly explaining how the due process and equal protection clauses of the fourteenth amendment guarantee the right to marry as a civil right inherent to any citizen of the United States, and how the Supreme Court has expressly, specifically upheld this interpretation (most notably in Loving v. Virginia).

    It would be so much easier if I could just come here, wring out one of these posts, load up my quadruple-barrel, high-pressure squirt device and BRAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHKKSSSSSTTTTTTTTTT.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But Loving is different because shut up that’s why.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That’s pretty much how NOM responded to it in Illinois today.

    “Despite what the bill’s supporters claim in a dishonest attempt to stigmatize supporters of natural marriage, the retention of sexual complementarity in the legal definition of marriage bears no kinship to bans on interracial marriage. Nor does it signify injustice to those who seek to marry someone of the same sex.”

    It’s different because shut up and this isn’t unjust because you’re all wrong.

  • Foelhe

    “I think Fred’s analogy would be a bit more “edgy” and challenging if, instead of an Islamic community center, it was a fundamentalist mosque preaching Jihad.”

    … Let me try to explain this with small words.

    When you try to stop anything, you try to stop it for a reason. Anything you think is bad, and must be stopped, has an idea it’s based on that you think you should hate. If a mosque is hurting people, and you stop it because it’s hurting people, it doesn’t matter that it’s a mosque. You hate things that hurt people. If a church is hurting people, you should also stop that church from hurting people. If a mosque isn’t hurting people, there’s no need to stop it. See?

  • Foelhe

    If I actively and aggressively attacked any legislation that supported vouchers, then you could absolutely say that I hate… vouchers.

    If the only possible way your family could educate your children is to use vouchers, then yeah, it’d be reasonable to say my hatred of vouchers means I hate your family. Luckily, this theory does not reflect reality in any way, shape, or form. So.

  • smrnda

    I’ll be honest, some people want to use ‘vouchers’ to bring the whole public education system down in a way that will leave poor kids without a chance, since no ‘voucher school’ will be required to take difficult students (and can’t afford to, since they can’t risk a low performer making them look bad which can hurt profits.) I might not hate people like that, but I dislike them and believe their main goal is the creation of a permanent underclass just so their kids can get some perks.

  • smrnda

    Here’s how I would take it.

    Let’s say you needed textbooks. You should be furnished either with up-to-date books on par with what are available in school or provided some kind of voucher for obtaining them. If you were poor enough that your kids would qualify for some kind of free or reduced rate food in school, you should still get that. If you could not afford them, I’d have no problem with the school providing some sort of computer for your children to use. I’ve heard of similar cases happening, though I don’t know much about official policies.

    In another comparison, let’s say that I am disabled (I am) and that without ADA, I would not be able to work. I don’t believe that a person can oppose ADA without hating me UNLESS they propose a better solution.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m not clear here. In this analogy, are the gay people supposed to be the parents, the children, or the neighbors whose children’s schools are going to be underfunded? And are the marriages textbooks? Are the gay people asking for a voucher they can use to pay for their weddings? I’m not clear on this analogy at all.

  • Carstonio

    Did you even read Fred’s column? You’re trying to defend opponents of same-sex marriage against a charge that Fred doesn’t make. No matter what opponents feel about same-sex couples, they’re still treating the couples with hate. Their intentions don’t matter.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Your analogy has several flaws.

    In your hypothetical, you have decided that, for whatever arbitrary reason, public schooling is not good enough for what you want your kids taught. You have then decided out of somewhere, no idea where, that you are due tax money for your personal decision that public school doesn’t meet your standards and that you need to educate your children yourself.

    Assuming that I have the hypothetical correct, the flaws are as follows:

    1) You have access to a functional form of educating your child already. It just does not meet your personal standards, be it for religious reasons or whatever. Gays in states without equality, and all gays at the federal level, do not have access to marriage and all its benefits in any way whatsoever. (Yes, civil unions exist in some places, but they are far from equal to an actual marriage.)

    2) Gays are not in any way asking everyone else to help fund their marriages as you are asking everyone else to help fund your childrens’ education.

    3) Gays are not demanding that money that would originally be spent helping everyone else go directly in their pocket, even though they haven’t even really shown need of aid. Your hypothetical is.

    4) Your situation brings up potential Constitutional issues in the form of tax money going to pay for religious education. “I don’t want gays to be able to marry because ick,” the general argument against equality, does not have any Constitutional support. Nor does the secondary “My religion says no.”

    5) Denying you use of tax money does not harm you in any way. Denying LGBTs marriage equality harms us.

    And, yes. For what it’s worth, you’re right. I would oppose such a law. If you choose to not take advantage of the school you have access to for an arbitrary reason (as compared to something like having a special needs child that the school is simply not equipped to handle,) then yes. You should fund it yourself. Your reasons are personal, your funding should be personal. I choose to sleep on Sundays instead of going to church as the majority of the people in my city do because that’s what suits my personal choices the best; should I demand that the city give me tax money for a better bed?

  • Jeff

    Baby Raptor, thank you for engaging my analogy. I’ll push back on a couple of points to see if the analogy holds up.

    “In your hypothetical, you have decided that, for whatever arbitrary reason, public schooling is not good enough for what you want your kids taught. You have then decided out of somewhere, no idea where, that you are due tax money for your personal decision that public school doesn’t meet your standards and that you need to educate your children yourself.”

    Well, again, I don’t want to debate school choice, but I think you could reasonably stipulate to the legitimacy of a family’s desire to opt out of public school — isn’t the President himself on record as acknowledge the existence of “failing schools”? And what I’d be asking for is, instead of public school spending /the money that it already spends on my children anyway, and that I as a taxpayer partially contribute/ on public education, I’d like to have some say over how it’s spent. So, I don’t think you’re off to a great start by trying to make me look unreasonable and random. But let’s move on:

    “Gays in states without equality, and all gays at the federal level, do not have access to marriage and all its benefits in any way whatsoever.”

    They do, actually, although I’ll grant that they don’t have access to /same-sex/ marriage.

    “(Yes, civil unions exist in some places, but they are far from equal to an actual marriage.)”

    Side question — if civil unions were strengthened so that they were equal to an “actual marriage” in every way, but weren’t called “marriage”, would you accept that as a compromise solution?

    “2) Gays are not in any way asking everyone else to help fund their marriages as you are asking everyone else to help fund your childrens’ education.”

    Well, they are asking for (among other things) the tax benefits that married couples conventionally receive; it’s a little different, but it’s not a huge difference.

    “3) Gays are not demanding that money that would originally be spent helping everyone else go directly in their pocket, even though they haven’t even really shown need of aid. Your hypothetical is.”

    See above; advocates of school vouchers would be asking for control over the funds that they’re already receiving anyway. This isn’t a point at which the analogy is strong, but it’s important that you correctly understand what’s being asked for.

    “5) Denying you use of tax money does not harm you in any way. Denying LGBTs marriage equality harms us.”

    Denying vouchers may deprive a family of educational freedom, and that may harm the family and the kids involved. Even if you (bizarrely, in my view) reject the idea that a family should be empowered to control its own educational decisions, I’ll trust that your imagination is sufficient to envision a scenario where remaining in a public school does actual harm to a child by a standard that even you are willing to grant.

    And the bigger question is, who gets to define what constitutes “harm”?

    “And, yes. For what it’s worth, you’re right. I would oppose such a law. ”

    Ok, great. So, shouldn’t I conclude that you “hate” families in this situation?

  • Carstonio

    if civil unions were strengthened so that they were equal to an “actual marriage” in every way, but weren’t called “marriage”, would you accept that as a compromise solution?

    How would that compromise benefit both sides? Why would someone oppose calling such unions marriages?

    It’s really no compromise at all. There’s no valid reason to assign a separate legal status for same-sex couples. We’ve already learned from US history that “separate but equal” doesn’t work. What you propose merely provides an out for court employees and health care workers to discriminate against those couples – “You’re not really married so I don’t have to do anything for you.”

    The analogy you’re pushing doesn’t sense. Are you implying that taxpayers who oppose same-sex marriage are harmed when the state uses tax money to facilitate that type of marriage?

  • dpolicar

    instead of public school spending the money that it already spends on my children anyway, and that I as a taxpayer partially contribute on public education, I’d like to have some say over how it’s spent.

    I agree; you absolutely should have a say over how the funds we collectively allocate to the common wealth are spent. And you do; it’s called a vote. Whether you have children or not, and whether those children go to public school or not, has nothing to do with it.

    If you think you should have more of a say than I do, though, I disagree.

    “Gays [..] do not have access to marriage and all its benefits in any way whatsoever”
    They do, actually, although I’ll grant that they don’t have access to /same-sex/ marriage.

    How important do you consider that distinction? That is, do you think being free to marry someone you aren’t sexually/romanted attracted to and denied the freedom to marry someone with whom you have a mutual desire to marry is pretty much the same as being free to marry someone with whom you have a mutual desire to marry, or radically different from it, or somewhere in between?

    Because it seems pretty clear to me they are radically different, so from my perspective that exchange sounds like “Gays don’t have X”/”Well, they do have Y, though I’ll grant they don’t have X” and just leaves me wondering whether you’re even serious.

    if civil unions were strengthened so that they were equal to an “actual marriage” in every way, but weren’t called “marriage”, would you accept that as a compromise solution?

    The problem, as I see it, has nothing to do with what rights are being granted, or what words we use. It has to do with equality.

    If your family and my family are treated equally, great.
    If your family gets special treatment because your family has a man/woman pair and mine doesn’t, that’s a problem.
    It’s really not that complicated.

    So, sure, if you want to create a robust system of civil unions that replaces marriage and everyone has civil unions instead, I think that’s a silly waste of time and money and effort, but it’s not unjust.

    If you want to create a system of civil unions for families like mine while you use the existing system of marriage, that’s not inherently unjust, but I absolutely don’t trust it, any more than you would trust me if I told you I wanted to stop treating your children as your children and instead create a parallel system of “civil adult/child union” which would, honest, be equal to parentage in every way, just sign on the dotted line here, we’ll work out the details later.

    Well, they are asking for (among other things) the tax benefits that married couples conventionally receive

    Not at all. If we decide not to provide married couples with tax benefits, then same-sex married couples won’t receive tax benefits, and that’s perfectly just.

    What isn’t just is giving families like yours special benefits which my family doesn’t get because your family has a man/woman pair and mine doesn’t.

    Again, the point here is about equality.

    the bigger question is, who gets to define what constitutes “harm”?

    In the U.S. that’s primarily the legislatures, and indirectly the various constituencies that influence those legislatures; secondarily the judiciary.

  • Jeff

    Minor clarification first:

    “I agree; you absolutely should have a say over how the funds we collectively allocate to the common wealth are spent. And you do; it’s called a vote.”
    Well, right, that’s what we’re talking about — a hypothetical law that mandates school vouchers. If you vote against it, is that hateful?
    As to your larger and more cogent point: I’ll acknowledge that my analogy works better if we’re speaking of an emphasis on /rights/, and less well if we’re speaking of an emphasis on /equality/ (because one could argue that denying vouchers doesn’t deny equality). Thanks for calling attention to that distinction. Would you say, based on Fred’s argument, that’s it’s intrinsically hateful to suppress /equality/, no matter the reason, but it’s not intrinsically hateful to suppress /rights/? In other words, would you say that there are sometimes non-hateful reasons to suppress rights, but there’s never a reason to suppress another person’s equality, other than hatred?

    I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if I’ve stated things incorrectly from your view.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You still haven’t established how denying school vouchers harms anyone in any way.

  • dpolicar

    Honestly, I consider the whole “hateful” thing a silly derail.

    If you oppose my equal treatment, I don’t care whether or not you hate me, you are harming me. If you support my equal treatment, I still don’t care whether or not you hate me… I mean, no offense, but I don’t know you and I don’t really care about your feelings very much; that’s really between you, your friends, your therapist, etc.

    I respect the motivations of people who want to define “hate” to not be about feelings at all, as Fred and many commenters do here, but as far as I can tell it simply creates further encouragement for everyone to talk about their feelings rather than talk about justice, so I don’t do it myself.

    Anyway, getting back to your question:

    [is it] intrinsically hateful to suppress /equality/, no matter the reason, but it’s not intrinsically hateful to suppress /rights/?

    I’m not quite sure what it means to “suppress” equality or rights, but I assume you mean here treating people unequally, and failing to respect people’s rights, respectively.

    I don’t think suppressing equality necessarily entails any particular emotional state. For example, it’s possible to treat me unequally out of love for me, or out of hate for me, or out of indifference to me, or out of various other emotional states.

    Similarly, I don’t think suppressing rights necessarily entails any particular emotional state.

    That said, some emotional states correlate better with both than others. For example, within the community of people who want to suppress my rights I’d expect many more of them to hate me than love me. The same goes for people who want to deny me equal treatment.

    Does that answer your question?

  • Jeff

    “Honestly, I consider the whole “hateful” thing a silly derail.”
    Err…hopefully you mean a derail on Fred’s part, not on mine? I’ve been trying to be responsive to the subject of this post specifically, which is a subset of the larger issue, of course.

    “Does that answer your question?”
    It does. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

  • dpolicar

    I mean the whole topic: your comments, Fred’s post to which you are responding, the various discussions elsewhere to which Fred is responding, the various commenters responding to you, and so forth.

    But, yes, to the extent that you in particular choose to focus your attention on continuing to discuss what deserves the label “hate”, rather than attending to questions of what is and isn’t just, is and isn’t hurtful, etc., I mean on your part in particular.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    They do, actually, although I’ll grant that they don’t have access to /same-sex/ marriage.

    Ooh, I’m sorry. By playing the “Gay guys CAN get married… To women Hurr Durr!” card, you get an automatic disqualification from having your argument taken seriously.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X