Two Things That Happened Yesterday

Two Things That Happened Yesterday April 4, 2014

If you follow either religion/social issues news or tech industry news, you will have almost certainly heard about the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. His sin? (And this is the right word.) Donating money to California’s anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition 8.

Many things could be said about this lamentable event. That Eich is being described in the press (here, for example, by my former colleague Jim Edwards) as “anti-gay” even though one of the things everybody involved agrees on is that nobody has ever witnessed Eich exhibiting any sort of animus towards gay people and Eich pledged support for Mozilla’s gay-inclusive policies. That Mozilla is an organization based on open source software, and that a cardinal value of open source is the idea that everybody’s contributions are judged solely on the merit of the contribution, not its author. That, as my friend Leah Libresco pointed out beforehand, these sorts of purges will only further radicalize the culture wars.

But before I tell you what I think about the Eich event, I want to talk about another thing that happened yesterday, and has received much, much less coverage in the press.


Activists in Uganda report that plain-clothes police raided a U.S. military-affiliated AIDS services clinic in Kampala today, accused it of promoting homosexuality, and ordered it to close. The clinic has been one of relatively few health-care facilities in the city that willingly treat LGBT people. […] Dozens of HIV-positive people relied on that clinic for ARV treatments.

Are you getting this? In Uganda, now, apparently, treating HIV-positive gay people is seen as promoting homosexuality and therefore verboten.

When I accused Uganda’s anti-gay (and the moniker is right, here) laws of homophobia, and the Catholic Church of being complicit in this homophobia by not criticizing these laws forcefully enough, I got a lot of pushback from my Christian brothers and sisters for (a) using the word homophobia which they see as being stripped of all meaning now that it is used against people like Brendan Eich; (b) essentially making a mountain out of a molehill.

But this is what is going on. If that is not oppression, I don’t know what is. If that is not injustice, I don’t know what is. If a key part of a Catholic bishop’s job isn’t to denounce and fight injustice, I don’t know why we have them. If you don’t think laity like me should occasionally criticize bishops for being insufficiently zealous in support of justice, I don’t know where you’ve been the last 15 years.

Here is the point I made in my previous post on the topic and which I will reiterate here since everybody conveniently missed it the last time: one of the absolutely fundamental themes of the Christian Gospel is the concept of scapegoating.

Scapegoating is a movement of collective violence wherein the community’s sins are imputed on a sacrificial victim. The sacrificial violence brings harmony to the community by uniting it against a common, demonized enemy. Of course, this harmony only lasts very briefly, because scapegoating is a lie and hasn’t actually solved anything.

Following René Girard, there’s a very good case to be made that every human society is based on scapegoating. Every human society finds its unity and harmony by demonizing someone, whether it’s black people in the South, or gay people in Uganda, or whoever it is. Every human society has a founding myth, and that founding myth is a scapegoating myth. We all live in Omelas.

Once we’ve said all this, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room, which is the Bible, and in particular, the Christian Gospel. As Girard points out, in many ways the story of Jesus of Nazareth follows the logic of the other scapegoating myths, except in one crucial respect: the scapegoat is firmly asserted as being innocent. In the Greek tragedy, Oedipus really did kill his father and have sex with his mother. Remus really did leap over the wall of Rome. But in the Christian Gospel, Jesus is portrayed as innocent. The Gospel of the Lamb exposes the lie and the atrocious evil at the heart of scapegoating, which is itself the heart of all human civilization.

To be a Christian is to refuse, reject and denounce scapegoating. To be a Christian is to immediately recognize it and have instinctive revulsion towards it. (The alternative? The Grand Inquisitor. He might not have had the theory, but Dostoevsky clearly understood that dimension of the Gospel.)

The Christian Gospel is unbelievably clear about this. This is the heart of the story of the woman taken in adultery. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. “Oh, Jesus is denouncing hypocrisy.” Well, sure. But he’s denouncing the particular hypocrisy of the scapegoater. When you scapegoat, you are imputing your sins onto the scapegoat. Did the scapegoat actually commit a sin? That’s irrelevant, Jesus says, because the reason you are scapegoating has nothing to do with the scapegoat’s guilt, and everything to do with yours.

You can always tell that scapegoating is going on when, when defending a scapegoat, you are accused of defending the scapegoat’s actions. Just like a clock is right twice per day, sometimes a scapegoat may even be guilty! But scapegoating is still wrong. I will even go so far as saying that in some circumstances scapegoating can even be necessary (because if Girard is right, then the alternative is the war of all against all). But it is never right.

Scapegoating is always built on a lie. Scapegoating is demonizing and Othering. The scapegoat might be guilty, but he is never a demon or an Other. In fact, it is because he is guilty that he is our brother, because we are guilty too–and this is the hard truth that scapegoating lets us evade.

As I’ve written in my previous post, for most of human history and still in the majority of the planet, gay people have been the scapegoat, with sometimes horrific consequences and, very often, in the West, with the complicity of Christians and Christian institutions. A new phenomenon is that in some quarters holding a Biblical view of sexuality can lead one to become a scapegoat (new, or old: the Romans viewed Christians as depraved for refusing to expose their infants and affording women social status).

For Christians, the worshippers of the ultimate Scapegoat, all scapegoating must be immediately and instinctively repulsive. When we endure it, we must do so with the joy of sharing in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the hope for the time when every tear is wiped from every face. When we see it–anywhere, everywhere–we must denounce it and combat it.

I want to make one thing clear: I am not setting up an equivalency between the fate of gay people in Uganda and Brendan Eich. Obviously, obviously, what is happening to LGBT people in Uganda is immeasurably more horrific than what has happened to Brendan Eich, who is a (presumably) rich white guy living in a rich Western country. This isn’t about setting up a moral equivalency or having sort of double-entry bookkeeping of sin. My point is that the process is the same, and it is a process that is always and everywhere evil.

I don’t know what the future holds for orthodox Christians in the West. Maybe Cardinal George is right, maybe he’s not. But in the end (the true end), it doesn’t matter. So, Christians: repent for past homophobia; denounce current homophobia; remember that what’s happening to you in the West isn’t nearly as bad as what’s happening to gays in Uganda; pray for all and love all, scapegoat and scapegoater alike; and always, always keep your eyes fixed on the Cross and Easter morning. For weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.


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  • NicholasBeriah Cotta

    I think I have figured out why I dislike this narrative you’re writing: the call to action is vague, silly, and reeks of cultural imperialism (scapegoating itself).
    I agree with the Girardian theory on scapegoating and think it’s a wonderful lens with which to view the Gospel; it is a descriptive lens though, and not a prescriptive one (at least for grand counter movements.)
    While Jesus identifies scapegoating as a sign of decay of human society, he also gives us the remedy: love God and love our neighbor. He does not propose that we scapegoat the scapegoaters – or in this case, “denounce” what is “going on recently,” he calls us to just love the people in our actual and physical vicinity. Besides that call to action being vague, it eliminates the chance to interact with the individuals who are responsible for the laws. We are effectively grouping them and their actions and then denouncing the lot. The culture of Uganda is so different from western culture that telling an archbishop how to proceed pastorally is just ridiculous; let’s just trust that he has weighed the pros and cons. Let’s trust that each person in Uganda is trying to use their legal framework to mirror natural law, and also trust that we are not in the best position to figure that out.
    The reason why Jesus fights scapegoating through love, and not widespread counter movements is that he recognizes that you can’t battle evil on its own terms. You get inside evil and destroy it from there with love (a guy wrote a book about a small person who goes on a whole journey to destroy a ring of power as metaphor for this concept.) Your call to action here is really to fight evil with the tactics of evil – widespread and vague denouncement.
    Why I initially argued from a legal standpoint is that I instinctively feel that since there is no legal injustice here, (and we can wait for the application of the law to bear that out, that little blurb you provided gives ZERO context to what happened at that facility but as of now the law is morally permissible by Catholic teaching) all we can do is hope and pray that our Catholic brothers will treat each individual with respect (this is why the catechism only governs our individual action, and I took umbrage at it being extrapolated to support your point for some sort of legal doctrine against grouping homosexuals). There is no good way to make laws and govern society without human inaccuracy – our eternal wish to make a perfect government (or reform other imperfect systems of government as is the call here) is a reflection of us as sinners, that we can’t build a system of laws that provides pure justice. As humans, we can try, but as Catholics, we know that the only way to provide justice is to do it at the individual level and the giving of our love to each other.

    • Taken to its conclusion, your logic here is a call to never get outraged over any sin and not combat any sin in the public square. That’s a consistent position. I don’t believe it’s the position supported by the Gospel, and certainly not by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

      If you *do* get outraged over *some* sins, if you *do* believe that Christians should be active in the public square denouncing *some* sins, then the question arises: why these, and not others? “What you do to the least of these, you do to me.” Scapegoats are always “the least of these.”

      And don’t give me that about Ugandan culture. Christ is the only King. There is no valid culture that justifies the acts I’ve described.

      • NicholasBeriah Cotta

        Well let me articulate it better: I don’t think that we should never get outraged nor combat sin in the public square, but I do believe that there is an order to how we Catholics do it and your call violates that order.
        The first priority of oppositiong is given to the individuals in Uganda, with special consideration given to the Archbishop, because they are the most informed on the situation.
        The second priority would be given to calls given there is clear evidence that something is an atrocity. Maybe we can disagree about whether the laws should be enacted or not, but I do believe it is not our place to condemn them unless they clearly violate Church teaching (which they don’t) or they are shown to be in practice clearly discriminatory (like the death penalty is condemned by the Church as practiced, but not inherently). This law was JUST enacted (that is why I said we should see how it “bears out”) so condemnation doesn’t come close to bearing the mark of patience to me.
        Christ IS King but you, nor me, are Christ. So Christ’s powers of kingship are given in a specific manner, to the neighbors wherever injustice occurs and to those charged with their pastoral care (and subsequently the leaders governing those individuals.) If you are that concerned, you should go there and gain membership in one of those groups re: the current situation. Until then, everything else is just a vague accusation in a vague public square about a vague group of people.

        • Ok, so it’s not clear that punishing homosexual acts with life imprisonment, or shutting down clinics that treat HIV-positive gay people is an atrocity? That’s what you’re saying?

          • NicholasBeriah Cotta

            Those are two very specific arguments. I think the first one is debatable and that the law is messy and that I trust the Archbishop’s discretion that the law is more just than unjust until I get more evidence.
            The second one I just don’t have enough information to go on – if you write a column that says, “Look at this here and here are the facts,” this should be condemned, I will agree with you. But to say that that one case clearly represents the effects of a law is silly or that the blurb you gave is a clear and total representation of what happened is silly too.
            I agree that I need to repent for the sins of everyone everywhere because I accept that in the same situation, I could be committing the same sins. I do not agree that I know exactly who is sinning or what to do about it – so I am not really sure what that reply is trying to say. I argue with a dialectical purpose – I would like for us both to come to a greater understanding. Like I said before, if I sound vitriolic or holier-than-thou, I apologize for my poor communication skils – I think your heart is in the right place. I just think here that your heart is being reactionary and over-prescriptive.

          • It isn’t even clear that punishing homsexual acts with life imprsonment isn’t a treatment for HIV-positive people (to reduce the number of HIV-positive people in society).

        • Also, Zosima disagrees. You are responsible for ALL the sins of the world. And so am I. The sins committed against gay Ugandans are sins that are imputable to me because I am a scapegoater, and so I need to repent from them.

          • JohnMcG

            You are responsible for ALL the sins of the world

            So how does this notion square with the logs/motes passage you cited in your earlier passages? If we are responsible for ALL the sins of the world, e.g. an unjust law passed on the other side of the world that I’ve never been near, then it seems that passage is pretty non-operational.

          • Nathaniel

            Hey, want to know why people think those who are against marriage equality are anti-gay? Because they have to tendency to be like the guy above declaring that jailing people for being gay isn’t unjust.

      • Except one following the gospel. Which, let’s face it, America and Europe aren’t and haven’t for a very long time now.

    • Mike

      “The reason why Jesus fights scapegoating through love, and not widespread counter movements is that he recognizes that you can’t battle evil on its own terms. ”

      This is important bc too often people want to cast Jesus in the role of a Revolutionary when he is NOT.

      EDIT: Read that again and realized i should have added he’s not a POLITICAL revolutionary in the modern sense! Whoops.

  • mochalite

    I love that in Leviticus 16, God actually mandated scapegoating as part of the process of redemption. Graphic as always, He told his people that they had to not just shed the blood of an innocent lamb for the remission of sin, but they also had to remove their sin (even unknown sins) from the camp. So, on the Day of Atonement, the scapegoat had the sins of the people laid on his head and was led out, never to return. How the people must have wondered over that … and drawn wrong conclusions.

    The utter joy of the Gospel is that we’re not left with OT pictures. As you said, Jesus is the final scapegoat. When He said “It is finished” on the cross, “it” was the redemptive process. The veil of the Temple was torn at that moment, significantly from top (God’s side) to bottom (man’s side). For me as a Christian, that is shiver-producing! It’s done, and it’s all of Jesus, and none of me. “Jesus paid it all,” says the old hym, “all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”

    But now, as you also said, “For Christians, the worshippers of the ultimate Scapegoat, all scapegoating must be immediately and instinctively repulsive.” In judging others, in “othering” others, we are saying that what Christ did was *not*
    sufficient … we have to keep doing it to make sure things are right. And that is pure blasphemy. God forgive me when I indulge in it for even a moment.

    • Wonderful comment as always. And tying it to the doctrine of salvation by grace is quite right. Thank you.

    • What happens when the others decide for themselves that we are the others?

      • mochalite

        I can’t answer for the state of other peoples’ souls, which sounds a little dismissive, but is actually freeing. It’s like the great Bonnie Rait song, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t.”

        • oregon nurse

          But it cannot be taken as literally as your words suggest (I don’t know your actual meaning) or we would have the anarchy PEG speaks of. We all judge others behavior and apply consequences. We not only have to in practical terms, we are required to. We just need to limit it to earthly justice and leave the final judgment to Jesus.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Great comment. Where you lose me though is in saying that ‘judging others, in “othering” others’, is synonymous with ‘scapegoating’ others. People don’t weigh in with their opinions of what constitutes ‘sinful’ behavior with the intention of excluding people, setting them up as a sacrificial lamb, rather I would think the intention is to advocate for a society that nurtures Christian morality and true virtue. Where would we be without the advocacy of Christianity as a basis for our laws and social norms?

      • Frank McManus

        I can’t speak for mochalite, but my understanding of Girard’s theory is that scapegoating works largely unconsciously in the world exposed to Jesus’ story. We no longer say we’re scapegoating; we say we’re seeking justice, or maintaining social order, or avenging wrongs. Naming ourselves as victims is an extremely popular way to justify our own acts of scapegoating. I think that for Girard, Jesus must ultimately undermine “Christianity as a basis for our laws and social norms,” because the dynamics of Christianity attempt to maintain the scapegoating system. As Christians we have no responsibility for shaping society to our way of thinking, no matter how wonderful our thinking may be. We are responsible only to follow our Master, and that means abandoning judgment and embracing forgiveness, love, the cross. Jesus’ revelation of the truth about our violent impulses will unavoidably result in social chaos, and what we Christians bring to the table is life in the Spirit, ultimately the only alternative to scapegoating violence.

        • Mike Blackadder

          Once again, reflect on where we would be if not for the advocacy of Christianity in shaping our laws and social norms.
          “As Christians we have no responsibility for shaping society to our way of thinking, no matter how wonderful our thinking may be.”
          That statement seems to contradict almost the entirety of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church not to mention the primary vocation of Christians as evangelists. Start by reading Evangelii Gaudium from Pope Francis. He covers this particular topic in explicit detail, and then read basically anything else that ever formed the basis of Catholic doctrine and then tell me how it is that you figure we have no responsibility of shaping society to our way of thinking.

          • Frank McManus

            I think maybe you’re hearing something I didn’t intend to convey. I’m not advocating that we become hermits or Amish and ignore the rest of the world. I’m saying that, as far as I understand it, mimetic theory is a powerful tool for seeing the ways we fool ourselves individually and collectively into thinking that the wonderful ideals we pursue are all of divine origin, thus making those who oppose us demonic, when in reality we all habitually use the language of God to pursue the goals of our relentlessly desiring selves. And we often succeed in glorifying ourselves — as we say we’re glorifying God — by “killing” our wicked enemies, either symbolically or truly. In short, the face of “virtue” is in virtually every case (the saints alone excepted) the face of hypocrisy longing for a lamb to slaughter to the God who will give us peace. If any of us is NOT a saint but ever has that inner sense of self-satisfaction at our own virtue, or even our mere advocacy of a virtuous society, then we have embraced the demonic and rejected Jesus. — That, by the way, is one reason PEG is entirely right to say that we are all guilty of every sin. Solidarity in sin is a much deeper truth than the varying degrees of individual culpability, and is the true path to intimacy with God. “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner” is the first and last sentence of the Church’s social doctrine; or if it is not, then that social doctrine is worthless.

        • Mike Blackadder

          And how is it that advocating on behalf of the truth, advocating for Christian virtue is akin to ‘scapegoating violence’? Christian virtue-scapegoating violence is an oxymoron.

  • Mike

    But what if you’re not homoPHOBIC which means an irrational fear but you are a homo sceptic? When you say Christians repent for past Homophobia are you saying the entire Church herself is guilty of this “sin”? That’s a big assertion wouldn’t you agree? Afterall the RCC is clear about this grave sin.

    Again, you say the word is the word so get used to it but it is so politicized it smears all people who happen to think differently. Again what if you disagree with homosexuality, does that immediately make you guilty of this sin called homophobia?

    • “When you say Christians repent for past Homophobia are you saying the entire Church herself is guilty of this “sin”?”

      I would definitely say that it is guilty in the sense that it is guilty of other sins that Saint John Paul II apologized for. And that it is guilty in the sense that it is made up of believers who are all responsible for all’s sins.

      “what if you disagree with homosexuality, does that immediately make you guilty of this sin called homophobia?”

      I have written numerous times that no.

      • Mike

        I think i see what you mean re: 1: the Church is guilty of this, of an perhaps irrational fear of homosexuality that led it or its members in the past to not protect people with this inclination/lifestyle/disposition enough, to perhaps use them as scapegoats.

        Ok, well with this i can agree, but of course to an extent too. I mean for ex. can you point to even 1 specific “massacre” of “gay people” by the Church? Or even 1 “gay person” who was killed by it or sent to prison by it? I’ve honestly never even heard of one person let alone a pattern of this kind.

        Again, and maybe this is because you’re from France but the word Homophobia itself is so charged it’s like asking a person when he stopped beating his wife, do you know what i mean? (it’s outrageous because he never stopped beating his wife because he never beat her to begin with!) It is so often thrown up as a discussion stopper that it has lost its proportion and become verbal dynamite in this debate.

        As the other person said we don’t know the situation on the ground in Uganda, the pressure from Muslims, the situation with respect to AIDS and native cultures etc. Nevertheless the law is wicked and unjust. I don’t know why the Catholic bishop there when to the celebration but i suspect he did bc if he hadn’t he’d’ve been chased out of the country i don’t know, but he shouldn’t have been there.

        One final point: as much as i agree the Church has to do all it can to accept gay people it CAN NOT start dividing people up into categories, gay, straight, bi, queer, black, asian, rich, poor etc. like the secular culture does because we are all the same children of God not different units produced by some blind evolutionary biology and so it has to resist this temptation to get into identity politics.

  • JohnMcG

    I don’t see what I was doing as deliberately missing your point — I am in agreement that gay people are called to embrace gay people as brothers and sisters, and that this would include solidarity in opposing unjust laws like those in Uganda.

    What I though I was doing was identifying stumbling blocks for me and I suspect other Western Christians from taking the actions your recommend. I guess the Internet term for what I was doing is “concern trolling” when it is insincere, but I think I am sincere.

    I also have to challenge the thrust of this. Can I improve in my love for same sex attracted individuals? Certainly. Am I guilty of scapegoating them and need to repent? I really don’t think so.

    This feels deceptive to me. Like I am being asked to be guilty for something that I am innocent of. The cause of Ugandan gays is just or unjust, and I agree that it is likely just. But its justice is not dependent on my guilt or yours.

    • JohnMcG

      And, to humanize this a bit more, I have spent much of the past 15 years reading liberal Catholics excuse their arms-length at best or contempt at worst for the pro-life movement based on various excesses, overly broad statements, etc. from pro-life individuals.

      Now, should that stop me? No.
      Should I be better than this? Yes.

      But again, I’m imagining that if, say, the Kermit Gosnell revelations came out at the same time a professor at a Catholic university was purged for donating to a pro-choice candidate’s campaign, I doubt liberal Catholics would be terribly receptive to accepting collective guilt for Gosnell. Particularly if Gosnell was on the other side of the world.

      Again, I am not saying this means it’s OK for us to shrug off injustice. But I’m more trying to explain why this particular pitch might not be so appealing.

    • JohnMcG

      I guess what I see you doing in these posts is the equivalent of a pro-life poster continuing to post pictures of aborted fetuses and stories about Dr. Gosnell in trying to get Christian liberals to embrace the pro-life cause.

      I think most of those liberals would agree that these things are horrible, but are still not moved to action for some other reasons, some of them good some of them bad. Posting another horror story isn’t going to change that.

      Similarly, I recognize the law in Uganda is unjust, and I recognize that both the Church and society at large have been guilty of terrible acts against gays. But I’m still not ready to buy my “Team Anti-Homophobia” T-shirt, for reasons that may be good or bad, but repeating the same horror stories, or the general admonitions against scapegoating are not an effective means of changing that.

    • JohnMcG

      Or, what would the response be to using the Eich case to say that we all must speak with one voice against “the homosexual agenda?”

  • tt

    Is there any confirmation that the clinic was treating only gay patients (or any gay patients)? Most of the HIV positive population in Africa is made up of heterosexuals.

    • I think the report says it wasn’t treating only gay patients, but was known for treating/being welcoming of gay patients, and that’s the reason it was shut down.

  • arcadius

    Fair enough. I still don’t like “homophobic” because I think it suggests a medical condition rather than an (albeit wrong) point of view. It also suggests a certain level of insensitivity toward people who really do suffer from debilitating phobias — implying that mental illness has moral implications.

    Anyway, I wonder if you heard this setting of Anima Christi:

    • I think your concerns about the word are fair, but I also think that ship has sailed.

      And yes, I’ve heard it, it’s wonderful. In fact, I often use it in my prayer (I sometimes like to use music to pray).

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Nathaniel Torrey

    Thoughtful post as always. How do we distinguish scapegoating from carrying out justice? Is all justice a form of scapegoating? Is something carried out by the society/community/state only scapegoating if it has the express purpose of creating unity?

    To be clear, I think the criminalization of all non-violent and non-coercive sexual perversions is unjust; homosexuals (and heterosexual fornicators) shouldn’t be punished by death or imprisonment. But I’m nervous about scapegoating being the only model, since it undermines justice (though perhaps it should be undermined? All good questions to think about).

    • Thanks for an excellent comment. Those are very good questions to which I only have inchoate answers.

      But here’s what I would say: first, before distinguishing scapegoating from justice, we should distinguish between /divine/ justice and /human/ justice. Once you do that, I think it seems pretty clear that the Bible is pretty unsparing on human justice.

      So, is all human justice a form of scapegoating? I would say that, at the very least, all human justice carries a /whiff/ of scapegoating, which the Christian nose should be trained to scent. (As a Continental European, for example, I’m suspicious of the institution of the trial by jury.)

      I mean, I keep going back to the story of the woman taken in adultery. Jesus expressly did not try to make excuses for the adulteress. He expressly did not claim that stoning is excessive punishment for adultery. Instead, he expressly indicted the capacity of any sinful human to form judgement. Now, you and I belong to apostolic forms of Christianity which don’t believe that the Christian Gospel mandates anarchism. But I do think it’s very hard to “overlearn” this aspect, and very easy to “underlearn” it.

      • I see the overlearning of it in how Same Sex Marriage has been imposed on society by court diktat.

  • I avoided reading this before finishing my own post on the matter, and I’m glad, as we explored different aspects of the same question. As one of the people who did some of the pushing back on “homophobia” (although I think of it more as pushing sideways) I do think there is a serious problem of degrees, which you recognize here. But what is happening in Uganda is anything but a molehill. At a minimum, they are trying to extinguish gays from the political community. I’d say they’re appear to be outright trying extinguish them.

    I liked the way you delved into scapegoating is great here, but I wonder if you’re underselling it. Scapegoating isn’t just about community unity on false pretenses – its about blood lust and power. I don’t just see a community searching for a sacrifice, I see individuals hopped up on self-righteousness lead by leaders who wish to collect scalps to demonstrate their power. That kind of warrior’s honor is another lie revealed as such in the gospels – and whether or not your clients are deserving really doesn’t have much to do with it.

    • All fair points, thank you.

    • ” At a minimum, they are trying to extinguish gays from the political community.”

      YES- that is exactly what they are trying to do. The difference is, I believe they have their own good reasons for doing so, and you believe they have no reason for doing so.

      What if it isn’t on false pretenses? What if the false pretenses are indeed on the other side?

      • Well, the short answer is that they are not. But even if they were it wouldn’t matter because I believe as a starting point that there is no reason to extinguish anyone from the political community. I’m sure there are some exceptions out there, but I can’t think of any off hand that don’t also justify total exile.

        • “Well, the short answer is that they are not.”

          You believe they are not, because you are biased to believe so, not because you’ve actually bothered to investigate the situation.

          I’d say total exile would certainly be a more just law than life in prison- but given Uganda’s neighbors and several million years of cultural evolution in that area of the world, it might not be a more merciful method.

          • Are you my confessor now? My shrink, or my confidant? If not, how the hell do you think you have any idea why I believe what I believe?

          • Because you said what you believe- and you are biased to believe that. All human beings are biased towards their beliefs, the trick is to not condemn people for it.

          • Cute evasion, but no, you also baldly stated that I have not “bothered to investigate the situation.” Try again.

          • Because if you had, you’d know there is another side to the story, instead of just painting it all as one sided (“False pretenses”). It’s never all one sided. And given the violence that has happened in the rest of the world over gay marriage, I’d think trying to kick that segment out of a totalitarian society dependent upon homogenous viewpoints to avoid sectarian violence is a *reasonable* thing to try to do.

            Here’s the odd part. I’m really bad about putting myself in other people’s shoes, and even I can see the reasonable goodness in this. Why can’t you neurotypicals who supposedly have empathy and sympathy for other people’s positions see it?

          • Well, you’re failing pretty spectacularly to see the reasonable goodness about this. Just because you see something good and you (as you have self-declared) lack the lie called empathy doesn’t mean that what is left is reasonable.

            It is a maxim that it is never all one sided. I’m not sure that is true, but even if it was it doesn’t mean there are equal amounts of truth or value on each side. It doesn’t even mean that there is a significant amount of truth or value on each side. Same sex marriage is an issue I believe that reasonable men and women can disagree about in good faith. What is happening in Uganda, not so much. Based on your comments directly to me and elsewhere, if I believed to be true what you assert to be true I still would not accept what is going on, even if it would begin to justify the view that homosexuality is dangerous. However, what you assert to be true is based on ignorance, and far more damming, deliberate lies. Malicious slander. I believe to be the term of art here is actually false report, following a majority into a wrong doing.

            I don’t know your soul, so I don’t know if you believe that these lies are truths, but have been able to observe that they are lies. Let’s not waste our time pretending we have the sort of relationship or personalities where I could convince you of this fact.

          • “Same sex marriage is an issue I believe that reasonable men and women can disagree about in good faith. ”

            The Church has actually expressly defined that it isn’t. One cannot have good faith and advocate for an oxymoron of that sort.

            My observation shows these to be truth- your observation to me seems tainted.

  • Separately, the big photo of Eich really breaks the flow of the piece.

  • Ambaa

    That’s the most cogent explanation of the resurrection story I’ve ever heard. After asking Christians all my life why did their Jesus need to be sacrifcied, this is the first answer that makes sense.

  • It was an outpatient clinic. The proper treatment of AIDS in Uganda is jail.

    The sad part is, it will probably work a lot better than the outpatient clinic.

    The Inquisition has its place in the Church and in history- an actual good purpose. When you understand that, you’ll be less for prosecuting people like Eich, and you may even come to understand Uganda.

    I suggest you read Fr. Robert Benson’s science fiction novel _The Dawn of All_, then maybe you’ll understand.

    • Mike

      I’ve read somewhere that secular British medical groups that track this estimate that something like 1 in 10 gay men in London has HIV. I’ve also read in a secular paper that in France (i mention it not bc PEG is from there but bc it had the highest stat) the rate of HIV among gay men is 200! times higher; in the US it’s 50!

      A friend of mine once said condoms are the answer and education about sex. i responded that if there’s one group that knows more about sex than anyone else and who’s had more condoms pushed on them than anyone else it is gay men and it doesn’t seem to have helped them very much. He looked at me like i had 5 heads!

  • ahermit

    “nobody has ever witnessed Eich exhibiting any sort of animus towards gay people…”

    I would respectfully suggest that making a financial contribution to a campaign which sought to roll back the legal rights of married same sex couples might be taken by the targets of that campaign as a kind of animus…

    And having taken such an action Eich should not be surprised if some of those he sought to deprive of their rights and their supporters are less than enthusiastic about working with or doing business with him. If he had given money to the KKK would we accuse African Americans of “scapegoating” him when they refused to work with him?

    The process in his case is one in which people are objecting to having to do business with someone who has actively worked to harm them. This is not at all like the scapegoating of homosexuals in Uganda who are being persecuted simply for being different.

    • Ron Turner

      I respectfully reply that even the most limp-wristed Nancy boy isn’t that sensitive.

      • ahermit

        Interesting how you “respectfully” reply by using a nasty bigoted epithet. Maybe you have a different definition of “respect” than the rest of us…

        You should find out how the people actually affected by Eich’s behaviour feel about it before making such asinine comments.

    • Bert_1

      What right is being taken away, though? I don’t see marriage as being a right and there have been many other alternatives suggested but there is an absolute demand that it be marriage. Why? To me this is nothing more than a political statement. You can’t argue that homosexuals are being denied any kind of government program because they can’t get married. Most (?) heterosexual couples are not married and they have access to all of the same legal processes that a married couple have. So, what’s the problem?

      • ahermit

        What right is being taken away? The right to be treated equally under the law. There are more than thousand legal rights and benefits attached to the marriage contract in the United States; benefits which are still denied to same sex couples in many states.

        And remember, Prop 8 was about overturning the earlier decision to grant those rights and benefits to same sex couples, so you had thousands of people who faced the prospects of having rights and benefits taken away from them.

        You ask what the problem is; did you bother to read the link in the comment you were replying to? If you bothered to do so you would have discovered a real life example of a same sex couple being denied rights and benefits extended to heterosexual couples. This is a very real problem for a lot of very real people.

        • Bert_1

          I don’t see a link in the comment I replied to.
          What do heterosexual couples who are not married do, then? Are they also denied these thousand legal rights and benefits you refer to?

          • paizlea

            Yes, unmarried heterosexual couples are denied the legal benefits and rights of marriage, just like unmarried homosexual couples. But a heterosexual couple has the option to take advantage of the benefits of marriage, whereas the gay couple does not.

          • Bert_1

            It seems to me that answer isn’t to change the definition of marriage but to come up with something else that would cover both unmarried heterosexual couples and same sex couples.

          • paizlea

            I’d be absolutely fine with that. Marriage should be the province of churches; the state should have no business marrying anyone. Likewise, the act of entering into a sanctified union should confer no rights or benefits on a couple.

            But until the state stops granting rights to married couples, homosexuals should have the same protection under the law as their heterosexual brothers and sisters.

          • Bert_1


          • paizlea

            Color me a little surprised that you so quickly changed your position. Are you saying that you now support same sex marriage, if only to end discrimination? That you now believe the state should grant gay couples the same rights and benefits afforded heterosexual couples seeking civil recognition for their union?

          • Bert_1

            I didn’t change my position at all. I agreed with you that “until the state stops granting rights to married couples, homosexuals should have the same protection under the law as their heterosexual brothers and sisters.”. That has been my position all along. I simply don’t support SSM. Come up with a new institution that has the same legal standing, and I’m for it.

          • paizlea

            At this time, the only way to ensure that gay couples have the same rights as straight couples is to allow them to marry. Once the state stops calling any couple “married”, gay or straight, then we can pick another term for people seeking legal rights for their partnership. But since that’s not happening right now, the only option we have is the recognition of gay marriage by the state.

          • Bert_1

            No, it is not the only way to resolve this. If you want a lasting solution, then you MUST create a win/win solution. Otherwise, this will come back to haunt you. So, why not do it right the first time? Find a solution that it amicable to all parties involved and implement it.

          • ahermit

            This isn’t a zero sum game; extending those rights and benefits to same sex couples doesn’t take anything at all away from heterosexual couples so it’s not a “win/lose” proposition to begin with.

          • Bert_1

            And who, exactly, is campaigning to deny those rights and benefits from same sex couples? I’m not. Eich wasn’t. Prop 8 didn’t. You have blinded yourself with your hatred and bigotry that you can’t even bring yourself to even consider the fact that there MIGHT be another answer that can satisfy everyone. Hell, even Andrew Sullivan thinks that many of you are from the “gaystapo” and he sure as hell isn’t anti-gay.

          • paizlea

            You’re arguing that we must continue the evil of discrimination against gay couples until you’re comfortable with the solution? Would you have supported the continuation of slavery for decades longer if it could have avoided the civil war?

          • Bert_1

            You were doing so well… 🙁
            What discrimination? That we not change the definition of a word that has been with us for thousands of years? How is that discrimination? If there was absolutely no other choice for same sex couples to gain those rights and benefits except to change the definition, you may have had a case. But there are a number of ways to grant those rights to same sex couples without touching marriage, you just don’t want to consider them.
            I won’t even touch your moronic comparison to slavery. To do so would be an affront to every black person on the planet.

          • paizlea

            Oh, your condescension is so cute! I hope you stick with it, because it’s the best way to maintain civility in arguments, both online and off.

            Discrimination is, in this case, unequal protection under the law. Straight couples, married in a church of their choice, can take advantage of numerous benefits granted by state and federal governments. Gay couples, married in the church of their choice, cannot. Straight couples can opt out of a church wedding and have a government official grant marriage benefits directly. Until recently, gay couples did not have this option (though happily, this is changing at a rapid pace). Unequal protection under the law violates the US Constitution, which doesn’t seem to bother many who otherwise argue the Constitution should be inviolate. Isn’t hypocrisy lovely?

            Civil partnerships have been tried by several states over the past few decades in an attempt to create the “separate but equal” system that you’re advocating. And as with other attempts to keep people separate but equal, it only separated, and granted no equality. And now here you stand, saying that you’re fine with gays having marriage rights granted to them, so long as we make it comfortable for you. I’m sorry, but rights trump comfort. At least they do in a just society.

            That’s why my example of slavery is valid – in both cases, privileges are granted to some and denied to others for no justifiable reason.

          • Bert_1

            If the civil union did not grant equality, then it was implemented incorrectly. Fix the bloody problem! Many jurisdictions throughout the world have proven for decades that a solutions is both possible and workable.
            The only people denying anyone rights is people like you. There us a very workable solution available and you refuse to even consider it.

          • paizlea

            The fastest way to achieve my goal of equal rights for all couples to to adopt the word “marriage.” I don’t care about the word, I care about the legal institution. Why don’t your start a campaign to stop the state from recognizing and performing marriages, and then your problem will be fixed. My concern is granting equal rights to all Americans, not making people like you comfortable. Clearly, your comfort is more important to you than others’ constitutional rights.

            Also, why do you want the government to have any say over the sacrament of marriage?

          • Bert_1

            If your concern is with granting equal rights to all Americans, then do that! Accusing people who oppose SSM of being hateful bigots is not only wrong, it is decidedly unhelpful. I have proposed a solution that has been working in many parts of the world for decades but you steadfastly reject it. How is that helping anyone?
            People’s constitutional rights are one of my top priorities which is why I have, unlike you or ahermit, suggested alternative solutions. You two have proposed nothing. Its your way or the highway.
            And, I agree that the State should never have been involved in marriage in the first place. I strongly suspect that, had they stayed out, we wouldn’t be facing this issue today.

          • paizlea

            I support the granting of marriage rights to all couples, gay or straight. You are opposed to that. You would hold up granting rights to gay couples over nothing more than a word: marriage. A word that you acknowledge the government has no business using, anyway. You are declaring a single, ill-used word to be more important than the rights of gay Americans.

            While I haven’t called you a hateful bigot, I can see why some would: you support denying currently existing rights to some, based solely on their sexual orientation.

          • Bert_1

            I have proposed a workable solution over and over again. So, who is being intractable? Why try to force a solution that you know – as evidenced by the outcome of prop 8 – that the majority of the people do not support? Especially when there are other solutions available? I only proposed one. There are bound to be many others out there that I haven’t even though of. And, for the record, it isn’t me or people like me who are holding things up. You and your ilk are just as responsible if not more so.
            And, there you go again, making claims that you know damned well are false. If I wanted to deny homosexuals any rights, the last thing I would do is to propose a solution that would GRANT them those rights if people like you would stop pushing an agenda you know the majority of people don’t support.

          • paizlea

            Yet here you are, denying gays the rights of marriage. Like I said before, if the word is so important to you that you’re willing to let injustice persist, then the word is more important to you than the rights. If the rights of homosexuals are, in fact, important to you, then why do you wish to take more time to create civil union laws, rather than simply opening up the current legal system to all couples? Gays should not have to wait around for you to feel comfortable with the terminology in order to have equal protection under the law. Justice delayed is justice denied.

            And why are you acting like the government institution of marriage has anything to do with the sacrament?

          • Bert_1

            Marriage is not a right. At all. And, I am not the one who is willing to let injustice persist, you are. I have proposed a solution and I am open to other solutions as well. You aren’t.
            I have no idea what you meant by your question…

          • paizlea

            According to the Supreme Court, marriage is a right, so I’m not sure why you think otherwise. And I am open to any solution that grants homosexuals the same rights as anyone currently called “married.” And since gays don’t have those rights throughout the US, I believe it is quite urgent to correct this injustice. While your solution might work, it will take far more time than is necessary to implement correctly. Why take more time than is needed to correct this wrong?

            Whose rights am I denying in my proposed solution?

          • Bert_1

            In this comment, you aren’t denying anyone, but in your earlier comments you seemed to be completely closed to anything except SSM, just like ahermit.
            It may be urgent, but you need to be careful. If you implement a poorly thought out solution, we will pay for it later. Therefore, I urge caution. Fix it, absolutely, but do it correctly. As others pointed out, if you approve SSM, what about polygamy? What about bestiality? Do we allow people to marry their dogs? If you expand the definition of marriage to include same sex couples, how can you say no to someone who wants to marry their dog? And, yes, bestiality is legal in many places already.

          • paizlea

            …and now it’s clear why you’ve been called a hateful bigot. You have just compared homosexuals to animals. Did you mean to do that?

          • Bert_1

            You can’t possibly mean that. No one with an ounce of intellect would interpret what I wrote as a comparison between homosexuality and bestiality.

          • paizlea

            From condescension to outright insulting my intelligence. You’re adorable!

            You said that by opening marriage to gays, we run the risk of allowing people to marrying dogs. Why? How are gays in any way like dogs?

          • Bert_1

            You are the one insulting your intelligence by interpreting what i said that way. Consider:
            The argument is that since homosexuality is legal, homosexuals should be granted the same rights as heterosexuals including marriage. Likewise, since bestiality is legal (in many places), folks who imbibe in such activities (I have no idea what you call them) should also be granted the same rights as heterosexuals, including marriage.
            It is a legal argument, not a comparison of homosexuality and bestiality.

          • paizlea

            Do you understand the concept of legal consent? Do you believe that animals are capable of granting consent?

            And as an aside, do you believe that homosexual acts between consenting adults should be legal?

          • Bert_1

            You have missed the point completely. Either that or you are intentionally trying to deflect an argument you can’t counter.

          • paizlea

            Apparently, I missed whatever point you were trying to make. Please elaborate.

            When you brought up bestiality in the context of marriage equality, you implied that homosexual adults are in some way similar to animals. Why else would you believe that SSM might lead to dog marriage?

          • Bert_1

            I implied no such thing. You imposed that interpretation on your own.
            I don’t know how to elaborate any more than I have. If you expand the definition of marriage to include “A”, how can you then argue against including “B”?
            We can argue that the definition of marriage cannot be expanded to include either incestual relationships or pedophilia only because both of those are illegal. If either or both of those were legal, then they would be arguable as well if you allow the definition of marriage to include homosexuals.
            Get the whole idea of homosexuality out of your head for a few moments and look at this as a number of groups of people in sexual relationships. Which ones should we allow to marry and which ones should we not allow to marry? Provide arguments to support your conclusions.

          • paizlea

            And now we’re back to you wishing to delay the granting of marriage rights to homosexual couples so that you can feel comfortable about it yourself. Your rights are not being denied, whereas the rights of gay couples are.

            When Americans were fighting for the rights of interracial couples to marry just a few decades ago, the exact same arguments were made as you’re making now: that it might very well lead to bestiality, polygamy, etc. How is this different? When we expanded marriage rights to mixed race couples, was that bad? The slippery slope concern is fallacious, and you know it. On top of that, you are helping to entrench the state’s validation of a sacrament. You haven’t answered me yet – why do you continue to support that?

            Your concerns about the definition of marriage mean very little when you stand by the continued discrimination of a whole class of American citizens. Bringing up bestiality is both ridiculous and demeaning to the cause of equality.

          • Bert_1

            I have already answered your concern about a delay. This is not an easy subject to address and if you implement an incorrect solution, it will hurt everyone. I am not suggesting that inappropriate delays be introduced, just that we take the time to do it correctly..
            I did not say that permitting SSM would lead to bestiality. Bestiality exists now and will continue to exist regardless of how/why/when you resolve the SSM issue. And at no time did I compare homosexuality to bestiality. What I said was that if you expand the definition of marriage to include one type of sexual relationship (in this case homosexuality), it becomes more difficult to deny another type of sexual relationship (bestiality, but it could be any) the same rights. You are the one who keeps arguing that if certain rights are extended to folks in one type of sexual relationship, you cannot legally or morally deny those same rights to folks in another type of sexual relationship. What difference does it make what types of sexual relationships we are talking about? The argument remains the same.
            At no time have I raised the religious aspect of this issue. So, how can you accuse me of entrenching the State’s validation of a Sacrament. You may or may not be aware of this, but people sit in Church. Does that mean that the State can’t pass any laws concerning sitting because they would be validating something from a Church?
            Again (and again, and again, and again…) I am in no way advocating discrimination against anyone. I have repeatedly offered a solution that has been proven to work in many parts of the world so it just needs to be implemented. And, the bestiality argument is neither demeaning nor ridiculous because there is no comparison between the two. Like it or not, bestiality is just another for of human sexual relationship.

          • paizlea

            How will an incorrectly implemented solution hurt anyone? Who will be hurt, and how?

          • Bert_1

            The ones who will be hurt are the children. As I said above, if you open up the definition of marriage to include a second form of human sexual relationship, you will have to open it up to all of them. And, it has been proven time and time again that children do best in a family with a mom and a dad.

          • paizlea

            So you would deny the right to raise children to anyone who is not married?

            And the slippery slope argument you’re using was also used, verbatim, by those opposed to mixed-race marriage. Do you believe that mixed-race marriage has led to today’s battle for same-sex marriage?

          • Bert_1


          • ahermit

            So some kind of “separate but equal” arrangement? Gee, where have we heard that before…?

          • Bert_1

            So, are you saying that you are not interested in equality but in making a political statement?

          • ahermit

            No, I’m the one who’s interested in equality. Equality would mean recognizing the marriages of same sex couple couples as deserving the same rights and benefits as those of heterosexual couples.

            You, on the other hand, seem to be more concerned with preserving some narrow definition of the word “marriage” than with the actual lives of real human beings.

            I used to “marry” steel structural members back in my days as a hands on construction labourer. Was that wrong of me?

          • Bert_1

            If you were truly interested in equality, then it wouldn’t make any difference to you what the resulting couple was called. Call it “Civil Union” or whatever. If the end goal is to obtain equal rights, then there is absolutely no need what so ever to redefine marriage. Those rights can be accommodated in many different ways. Pick one other than redefining the word “marriage”. It isn’t that difficult.

          • ahermit

            I don’t really care what it’s called, YOU are the one who is obsessing over the word “marriage.”

            But it is simpler to just recognize the marriages of same sex couples than to redefine everyone else’s marriages as “civil unions” just to satisfy your etymological interpretations, isn’t it?

            And why should a marriage performed by a church which recognizes sane sex marriage not be recognized by the state as a marriage? Are you suggesting that only YOUR religious belief deserves legal recognition?

          • Bert_1

            I’m not obsessing over anything. The question is: Do you support SSM? I didn’t ask the question – other people forced the question on the population so all of us have to answer it one way or another. My answer is “no”. That does not mean, contrary to your beliefs, that I hate anyone or that I want to see anyone lose any rights, benefits or privileges. Besides, there are a lot of gay people who also believe that marriage should remain as one man/one woman so your whole “hateful” argument takes a nose dive.
            As for the religious part, I didn’t say anything about religion. And, if you look at things such as common law, the same policies apply when crossing State lines and it has nothing to do with religion. If one State decides that they do or do not want to accept something and you disagree with it, take it up with the State.

          • ahermit

            Sorry, the link was in the comment above yours…


            And heterosexual couples who are not married have the option of getting married if they want to take advantage of the thousand+ legal rights and benefits of a marriage contract. Same sex couples are denied that option.

          • Bert_1

            That article has the same old same old. Why do people have to label Eich as “hateful”? He has an opinion on SSM that, admittedly, isn’t PC, but it is his opinion. And, I don’t see anything hateful in it.

          • ahermit

            He didn’t just “have an opinion.” He took positive action, in the form of a financial contribution, toward not just a denial of rights but the revoking of rights which had been granted; remember that Prop 8 was about overturning the inclusion of same sex couples under the marriage contract.

            How can actively working to deprive people of their legal rights be seen as anything but hateful?

          • Bert_1

            I do not support SSM and I can assure you that I do not hate anyone. At all. PERIOD. Eich’s objection, I believe, is to SSM. He does NOT want to deny anyone any kind of rights as far as I know and it is wrong of you to assume otherwise.
            As paizlea said below, this can be easily solved by coming up with something other than “marriage” that conveys the same legal rights on the couples as marriage does.

          • ahermit

            He absolutely wanted to deny people rights; that’s what Prop 8 was all about; taking away the right of same sex couples to have the same legal rights and benefits as heterosexual couples. There’s no way to put lipstick on that pig.

            The simplest way to give them those rights is to just recognize their marriages as marriages. Doesn’t mean your church has to marry them but those churches which do perform same sex marriages should be able to, shouldn’t they?

          • Bert_1

            That is NOT what Prop 8 was about. It was about SSM, nothing else. If denying SSM means that these people will be ineligible for certain rights, etc, then come up with an answer. It doesn’t have to be “my way or the highway”. Why not try for a win/win solution?

          • ahermit

            That is absolutely what Prop 8 was about. Same sex marriages had been given legal status in California and Prop 8 sought to take that away from them.

            The answer to giving those couples the same rights and heterosexual couples is simply to recognize their marriages. Would you deny them those rights for the sake of a dictionary definition?

          • Bert_1

            Yes, Prop 8 took away the legal standing of SSM. But, that was not the PRIMARY goal of the prop. As I have said, if you want to come up with an alternative to SSM that has the same legal standing as marriage, go for it. Just leave the institution of marriage alone. If you would get off your high horse for a few moments and actually LISTEN to what the “other side” is saying rather than vilifying anyone who disagrees with you, you would be surprised to learn that most folks who do not support SSM DO support the creation of some other institution that would provide the same legal standing as SSM WITHOUT redefining the word marriage. Simple, no?
            So, NO! Prop 8 was not about removing anyone rights, benefits or privileges.

          • ahermit

            Here’s the whole proposition:

            Section I. Title

            This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

            Section 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:

            Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

            The only effect if that proposition is to deny the legal rights and benefits of marriage to same sex couples. That is not only the primary, it is the ONLY possible effect of that proposition.

            Creating “some other institution” for same sex couples doesn’t solve the problem because a separate institution can always be subject to different rules and standards. “Separate but equal” is a myth; it’s been tried before in other contexts and it doesn’t work.

          • Bert_1

            The ONLY effect of that prop is that same sex couples will not be able to get married. One of the effects of same sex couple not being able to get married is that they lose certain legal rights. That can be easily rectified by creating a new institution that is legally equal to marriage that same sex couples can use.
            And don’t give me that garbage about separate but equal being a myth. In many parts of the world, married and common law are legally identical. Couples in both circumstances get exactly the same legal rights and benefits. You are just trying to make a political statement, nothing more.

          • ahermit

            Why create an identical but separate set of rules? If the rules are the same the institution is the same.

            And common law marriages have the same status as formalized marriages because they are both marriages. They aren’t a separate institution they are the same thing.

          • Bert_1

            No, they are not marriages and, to make things more interesting, they are not the samelegally in many parts of the US. The rest of the world? Yes, they are the same. Not in the US, though.

          • ahermit

            Well make up your mind; are they identical or not?

          • Bert_1

            I said “In many parts of the world, married and common law are legally identical”. Many, not all. And, if it is possible for them to be identical in “many”, they can be identical anywhere there is a will to make them so.

          • ahermit

            So they can be identical, which means the definition of marriage must not be as ironclad and inflexible as you were just saying it is…

          • Bert_1

            They can be legally identical without being practically identical. Men and women are legally identical but we definitely aren’t identical in any practical way.

          • ahermit

            So now you’re arguing that the legal definition of marriage CAN be applied to relationships which you personally don’t consider a marriage. So it shouldn’t be a problem to include same sex marriages under that definition even if you personally don’t think they are “practical” marriages (whatever that means….)

          • Bert_1

            You can’t possibly be that obtuse.

            In simple terms: come up with another institution (Civil Union or whatever), grant it the same legal standing as marriage (in terms of rights, benefits, etc) and have it open to same sex couples. There, is that better?

          • ahermit

            Why go to all that trouble? Why not just recognize same sex marriages as being eligible for the same benefits as other marriages? If it can be done for common law relationships why not for same sex relationships?

            It’s a much simpler solution, don’t you think?

            And the problem with setting up a separate institution, as I think I’ve pointed out already, is that it can then be subjected to different rules (something you’ve correctly pointed out applies to common law marriage in many places.) Separate is not equal, and if things are equal there is no need to separate them.

            If you want to go on believing that those relationships aren’t “real” marriages you go ahead and do that. But there are plenty of people who believe they are real marriages, so why should your particular religious belief about marriage take legal precedence over the beliefs of others?


          • Bert_1

            Why go through all of the trouble of redefining what marriage is when you have other, simpler, options available to you? That is the simplest solution available.

            Why are you raising the religious flag again? You have mentioned that a number of times in these conversations and not once have I said anything even remotely religious. You would love for this to be all religion based so that you could go home and comfort yourself in the fact that you are ridding the world of religious extremism. The problem is that many of the people who oppose SSM aren’t religious. Many are Atheist. Many are also homosexual so you can’t even raise the “homophobia” flag. Get over it. Many people – including the majority of Californians – don’t want the definition of the word “marriage” changed. Period.

          • ahermit

            The simplest option is to just include same sex couples under the existing set of legal rights and benefits. How is creating a whole separate institution simpler?!

            And the opposition is almost entirely religious. Let’s not pretend otherwise, OK?

          • Bert_1

            But that isn’t the simplest because there is so much opposition to it. Why implement something as a win/lose solution when a win/win is readily available? Why not make everyone happy?

            I don’t doubt that there are a lot of religious folks on the anti-SSM side of this debate but I honestly have no idea what the percentages are. For that matter, there are a lot of religious folks on the pro-SSM side and I don’t know what percentage of the pro-SSM forces they make up. But, does it make any difference? I am entitled to my opinion on any issue in a free society and I do not have to provide justification for my that opinion. You, in that same free society, are also free to agree or disagree with me and you are under no obligation to justify your stand, either. As Glenn explained in his little video, that is called “tolerance” and it is tragically missing in action on the left side of so many arguments.

          • ahermit

            Well it would be the simplest option if so many people weren’t stubbornly clinging to a narrow definition of a single word…and don’t kid yourself, if it wasn’t that there would be some other excuse, some other obstacle because there is opposition to accepting same sex relationships as normal and healthy; it isn’t really just about the word.

            I haven’t heard too many arguments against same sex marriage that don’t depend on some religious underpinning. I’ve seen some that try to wrap themselves up in other reasons, but religion is always there in the background.

            And yes, you are entitled to your opinion. What you aren’t entitled to is to have your opinion take precedence over the rights and lives of other people who don’t share it. You have a right to express your opinion, but not to deprive other people of their rights on the basis of that opinion.

            And others have the right to object to attempts to roll back their rights or the rights of their friends and neighbours, whether it’s being done on the basis of sexual orientation race or religion. Objecting to injustice is not intolerant.

            You and Glenn Beck seem to be upset that other people are expressing their opinions; Beck reminds me of the schoolyard bully who runs crying to the teacher when the kid he’s been picking on finally hits him back.

            And you’re right, I’m not a fan of Glenn Beck; I can’t decide if hes a cynical snake oil salesman taking advantage of his gullible audience or if he genuinely believes the wild conspiracy theories he rants about.

          • Bert_1

            I hate to be the one to point this out to you, but you are being just as stubborn. Many, including myself, have offered up a workable solution but you steadfastly refuse to even consider it. Isn’t that the definition of stubbornness?

            As for your suggestion that homosexual relationships as “normal and healthy”, I can’t agree with you. If you look at the definition of the word “normal”, it means that, statistically, in order for something to be normal, it must be usual, common or even natural. Yet, according to government statistics, only around 2% of the population is homosexual so fewer than 2% of the population is involved in a homosexual relationship. Less than 2% of anything is not considered normal.

            As for healthy, the CDC reports that 80% of all new HIV infections occur in man-on-man sex. So, we have less than 1% of the population (2% of the pop is homosexual but about half of that would be women) are responsible for 80% of all new HIV infections. Would you consider that to be healthy? I would consider it to be tragic. HIV isn’t some embarrassing disease that you have to apply a salve to your butt for 7 to 10 days to be cured from. Currently, there is no cure from such an infection so it is life altering.

            So, according to science (both mathematics and medicine) homosexual relationships are neither normal nor healthy.

            And, now you are back to the “you hate gays” routine. Sorry to disappoint you but I don’t hate anyone. And I have no interest in denying anyone his/her rights – as I have said many times. It seems to be that since you seem to be so stubborn in your refusal to accept anything other than the usual “you hate gays” routine, it must be you who is full of hate. Most rational people can evaluate a person’s opinion and extract facts from it. You can’t or won’t. You WANT me and others to carry “Death to Fags” banners so that you can feel justified in holding the irrational, hate-filled, bigoted opinions that you hold. Wake up and smell the coffee. I am not interested in killing anyone or in seeing anyone “get dead”. I simply don’t support redefining a word especially when there are other viable alternatives available.

            You might want to look at that Glenn Beck video again. Perhaps many, many more times because you seem to have missed everything he was saying. Did you even watch it? The one thing I like so much about Glenn and people like him is that he is exactly opposite to what you just claimed he is. I have never (not once) heard him say anything about shutting down people who are saying things he disagrees with. Quite the opposite. He stands up for the rights of people no matter what they say – just like he pointed out in the video. He does NOT object to people expressing their opinion unless their opinion is encased in lies and slander. Otherwise, have at it.

          • ahermit

            ” Many, including myself, have offered up a workable solution”

            Except that it’s not really a workable solution since it would require rewriting marriage related laws in all 50 states and federally, which realistically is never going to happen. That’s not a solution, it’s a stalling tactic.

            “As for your suggestion that homosexual relationships as “normal and healthy”, I can’t agree with you.”

            Because you’ve swallowed all that dishonest anti-gay propaganda you’re now spouting, dishonestly portraying homosexuals as dangerous deviant disease carriers when in fact they are just people like you and me.

            Shame on you.

          • Bert_1

            If you change the definition of the word “Marriage”, it will have to be changed in all 50 states and federally. What’s the difference?

            Providing government maintained data is now considered dishonestly portraying something? I provided hard, cold facts. Not something dreamed up by some political hack with an agenda.

            It is interesting, though, that you made no attempt to address my statements.

            Shame on you.

          • ahermit

            “Providing government maintained data is now considered dishonestly portraying something?”

            Pulling isolated data out of context and using it to paint a misleading picture of a whole class of people is dishonest. The vast majority of homosexuals do not have AIDs so using those statistics as a way to paint same sex relationships as “abnormal and unhealthy” is just a nasty, small minded smear tactic.

            If 3.4% of the American population are gay men…

            That’s about 10,000,000. The 30,000 new infections you’re talking about would be .03% of that population.

            Why would you pick something that affects such a small proportion of that population to characterize the whole group?

            I’m going to be charitable and chalk it up to ignorance as opposed to malice, but either way it’s a dishonest, distasteful, nasty and misleading tactic and yes, you should be ashamed of yourself for stopping so low.

          • Bert_1

            Wow, you can’t even bring yourself to quote statistics accurately. For the record, that site says “Williams Institute reported that 3.4% of US adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender”, NOT gay men as you suggest. So, that brings us back to the stat I gave earlier that homosexual men make up around 1% of the population. That would be about 3 million men. If your 30,000 new infections is correct, that would mean that 1% of homosexual men are infected **each year**. That number **DOES NOT** include the number of homosexual men who are already infected. Now, just for kicks and giggles, look up the definition of the word “epidemic”.

            As for why I would select something like this is because of how devastating HIV is. THERE IS NO CURE!!!! This is life altering infection. You seem to think that it is of no consequence which leads me to wonder if you really do give a rat’s petooti about these people or if you are, like so many people, using them as a prop to further your own political goals.

            You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • ahermit

            Yeah, I shouldn’t do statistics first thing in the morning, Depending on which set of numbers you use” the percentages change but you’re grasping at typos now; the point is that you’re choosing to smear everyone who is GLBT because of the misfortune of a small subset of that population.

            And I’m not dismissing the problem, I’m putting it in perspective. You are exaggerating it and using that as an excuse for treating the whole of that population as second class citizens. If anyone is cynically using their misfortune as a “political prop” it’s you.

          • Bert_1

            I am not trying to smear anyone. You are the one who claimed that homosexual relationships are healthy. I simply responded with statistics showing the truth.

            Demagoguery? Demagoguery implies that I make some sort of political gain through rabble rousing. I am neither seeking political gain nor am I rabble rousing, I am simply correcting another of your errors.

          • ahermit

            You responded with statistics that show that HIV is still a concern and affects a small minority of homosexuals.

            That doesn’t do anything to show that homosexual relationships in general are any less healthy than heterosexuals. It’s a smear tactic, plain and simple.

            Some forms of STD’s are more common in heterosexuals by the way; that doesn’t mean that heterosexual relationships are inherently unhealthy,does it?

          • Bert_1

            80% of all new infections of an infection as serious as HIV occur in 1% of the population and you think that that is insignificant?? Are you serious? That is catastrophic. And, no, there is no equivalent in any other population that I am aware of.

            And, may I remind you yet again, that I didn’t say a thing about HIV/AIDS in this conversation until you raised the health aspect of homosexual relationships. Even then, I did not offer any kind of person opinion on the subject, I simply provided statistics maintained by a government body.

          • ahermit

            I didn’t say it was “insignificant”, don’t put words in my mouth.

            I expressed the opinion that same sex couples can have the same kind of healthy relationships as heterosexuals which is a rather obvious truth. Most homosexual relationships are every bit as healthy, physically and psychologically, as heterosexuals.

            You pulled out your out context statistical canard to smear all those healthy relationships with the AIDs brush. (Which is actually a good example of the scapegoating that was the subject of the post we’re commenting on here…)

            And I’ll ask you again, since you didn’t really answer; Some forms of STD’s are more common in heterosexuals; does that mean that heterosexual relationships are inherently

          • Bert_1

            The fact that you keep comparing HIV infection with other types of STD’s implies that you don’t consider it to be very significant. The fact is that comparing HIV with other STD’s is like comparing a wart to cancer. They may be the same classification of disease, but they are in completely different ball parks.

            You didn’t express an opinion that “same sex couples can have the same kind of healthy relationships as heterosexuals which is a rather obvious truth”, you said that homosexual relationships are “normal and healthy”. I already showed that homosexual relationships are not statistically “normal” and, according to HIV infection rates, they aren’t “healthy”. And, I didn’t even mention the rate of infection in many cities. Heterosexuals have a statistically insignificant (<1%) chance of contracting HIV. Many cities – particularly the larger ones – are reporting that your chance of contracting HIV jumps to 25% or more if you become sexually active in the homosexual community there.

          • ahermit

            So are you saying those other STD’s are insignificant?

            And you haven’t shown that homosexual relationships are not healthy; you have demagogued an isolated statistic which applies to a small minority of male homosexuals and used it to smear everyone who might be in a same sex relationship.

            By your reasoning only lesbians can be said to have healthy relationships since they have the lowest HIV infection rate…

          • Bert_1

            OK, I’ll bite: What is a statistically significant portion of a population to you? We have already established that HIV infection is growing at a rate of 1% per year among male homosexuals but we don’t know what the current level of infection is – at least I don’t know. You have said a few times that you consider that to be a “small minority of homosexuals”. So, what *isn’t* a small minority in your opinion?

          • ahermit

            The question here is why you think the fact that some homosexuals suffer from HIV we should treat all of them as if they do.

            Here’s another statistic:

            “Blacks/African Americans continue to experience the most severe burden of HIV, compared with other races and ethnicities. Blacks represent approximately 12%
            of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% infections in 2010. They also accounted for 44% of people living with HIV infection in 2009”

            By your reasoning that means that black relationships are unhealthy and we should treat all African Americans differently becasue of it.

            Does that sound at all reasonable to you? If not then ask yourself why it’s reasonable to apply that same reasoning to GLBT Americans…

          • Bert_1

            I’m not “applying” anything to anyone. I am simply reporting facts. You said that homosexual relationships are healthy and I simply provided government data that shows otherwise. Whether it is black homosexuals or white ones or Asian or whatever race, I don’t know and I had no intention of making this a racial issue. We were talking about homosexual relationships, not those of a specific race. I don’t know if the CDC stats showing that 80% of all new HIV infections come from 1% of the population are broken down by race. But, what difference does it make it they are? The common denominator is that they are all involved in homosexual sex, not what color their skin is. You are the one who made the carte blanche statement that homosexual relationships are healthy, not me. And, you did not differentiate based upon race.

          • ahermit

            You just don’t get it do you? You’re using something that affects a very small number of homosexual couples to characterize ALL of their relationships as unhealthy, even thought the vast majority of them are not.

            Do you not see how dishonest that is? Or do you just not care that you’re smearing all those people who are in healthy relationships??

          • Bert_1

            Not ONCE di I say that ALL homosexual relationships are unhealthy. NOT ONCE. That is something that you have read into what I said. You said that homosexual relationships are “normal and healthy” and I countered that statement showing that there is a very large incidence (yes, I reject your “small number” claim as unsubstantiated) of HIV infection in that community. That is not the same as saying a 100% infection rate. Then, again, you don’t have to have a 100% percent infection rate for a community to be considered unhealthy.

          • ahermit

            So what ‘s your point then? Is it possible for same sex relationships to be healthy or not? Are many of them healthy, most of them? Almost none of them?

            Whats the point?

          • Bert_1

            My point is: Why don’t you answer my question? You started the whole conversation about whether homosexual relationships are healthy or not, not me.

            Then you changed it into a racial issue and now you are questioning whether specific, individual relationships can be healthy or not. The level of irrationality in your arguments tells me that a) you have never thought any of this through – you have just swallowed whatever you were fed and b) you desperately want to believe that homosexual relationships are “normal and healthy” in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

            To address your question: Of course a **specific** homosexual relationship can be healthy, both physically and psychologically. But, you didn’t start the “healthy” part of the conversation in regards to a **specific** couple and I did not provide any data for a **specific** couple.

            As for numbers, I have already said repeatedly that I don’t know. CDC reports that the rate of HIV infection in the male homosexual group is growing 1% per year. I have not seen what the level of HIV infection is in the male homosexual group as a whole, though. You reported that it is at 44% in the black male homosexual group so I would think that somewhere in the 15% to 20% overall infection rate for all male homosexuals would be a good guess but I don’t know.

            Also, bear in mind that I am referring to HIV **only**. I have no idea what the rate of other communicable diseases is or if there is an appreciable level of psychological disorders among that group so I am not in a position to make any cross the board pronouncements.

          • ahermit

            In other words you cherry picked a piece of data you don’t really understand (44% of infections does NOT mean 44% of the population are infected!) to try and create a picture of same sex couples as generally being “unhealthy” and use that as a reason to treat them all differently.

            This is just the kind of dishonest demonizing dehumanizing tactic we always see from bigots of all kinds.

            You really should be ashamed of yourself for spreading such ignorant, vicious lies.

            And more importantly, even IF it were true that same sex relationships were statistically less healthy than heterosexual ones that would not be a justification for creating a separate set of laws for them as a group. In a just society you don’t punish individuals for the perceived sins of the group.

          • Bert_1

            Wow, you really are desperate, aren’t you? I was guessing at infection rates because you seem to be hung up on numbers. If I erred, it means that I erred, not that I am a bigot or any of those other things. If anyone in this conversation is a bigot, it is you. You are trying so desperately to label me using the same sort of demeaning and dehumanizing tactic you accuse me of using just so that you can make yourself feel better. Unfortunately, you know that I am not any of those disgusting things you accuse me of. I provided data from a reputable government source to make a point about something that YOU claimed. Nothing more.

            To borrow from something someone else said:

            This is just the kind of dishonest demonizing dehumanizing tactic we always see from bigots of all kinds.

            You really should be ashamed of yourself for spreading such ignorant, vicious lies.

          • ahermit

            I see, you’re guessing at numbers in a vain attempt to paint same sex couples as some kind of disease ridden deviants and that makes me desperate?

            You think I’m “hung up on numbers” when you’re the one who is apparently just looking for any numbers you can find to make it look as if there’s some kind of rational basis for your bigotry.

            You haven’t just “provided data” you’ve misrepresented and distorted that data to fit your bigoted narrative.

            And I notice yo haven’t tried to answer my last point; even IF it were true that same sex relationships were statistically less healthy than heterosexual ones that would not be a justification for creating a separate set of laws for them as a group. In a just society you don’t punish individuals for the perceived sins of the group.

          • Bert_1

            This is getting ridiculous. I don’t know if you really are stupid or if you are just trying to argue a losing cause. I didn’t try to make this a racist argument, you did. I didn’t say anything about the relative health of homosexual couples until you did. I didn’t suggest that anyone be denied any rights or privileges, you did. Yet I’m the ogre? Childish at best.

            Having 80% of all new infections as serious as HIV being produced by 1% of the population is a cold, hard, scientific, devastating fact. It has nothing to do with any political agenda I may or may not have. It is published by CDC, not me, so it is not possible for me to skew that data in any way shape or form. I merely stated it. No bigotry, no malice, no opinion of any kind stated on my part. Just cold, hard facts. And if you gave the slightest damn about the people involved, you would want to do something to help them, not bury that fact.

            I have answered your question many, many, many times. If you would kindly pull your head out of whatever orifice you have it inserted in, you would realize that I have called for the same rights, benefits, etc be extended to all Americans. No caveats attached. I have only seen people like you want to deny anyone their rights.

          • ahermit

            You’re misrepresenting the facts by pretending that something that affects a small minority of GLBT people means that none of their relationships are healthy.

            And there’s another lie from you, you nasty little smear merchant. You just can’t help yourself it seems.

            Whose rights have I said should be denied?

          • ahermit

            ” If you would kindly pull your head out of whatever orifice you have it
            inserted in, you would realize that I have called for the same rights,
            benefits, etc be extended to all Americans. No caveats attached.”

            No caveats? Weren’t you just insisting that same sex relationships shouldn’t be called “marriages?” Isn’t that a caveat?

            Have you changed your mind now?

          • paizlea

            So you fully support giving homosexuals every right and benefit of marriage – including tax benefits, inheritance, next-of-kin rights, child-rearing obligations, etc, etc – but only wish to call them something other than married? Yes? Every single aspect of marriage, except the word itself?

          • Bert_1

            Yes. That is what I have been saying all along.

          • paizlea

            I find it ironic we’re having this discussion on the day before the dedication of a monument to Judge J. Waties Waring, who was the first southern justice to roundly condemn the idea of “separate but equal.” It is impossible to create two classes of people, yet grant them equality in any practical sense.

          • Bert_1

            No one is suggesting “separate but equal”. Having homosexual couples use a legal vehicle other than marriage to legally recognize their union is not the same as having them ride in the back of the bus. It is a legal concept, nothing more.

          • paizlea

            This is the exact same argument the southern segregationists used to justify separate schools for blacks. They claimed that there would be identical institutions, but it was in the best interest of keeping the peace to keep the two classes of people separated. It didn’t work then – why do you believe it will work now?

            And I find it unbelievable that you don’t believe this is another case of separate but equal thinking. You explicitly say that gays should have every right and benefit of marriage, but must use a different word to describe their partnership. How is that not separate but equal?

          • ahermit

            Here’s a good look at how the people on the receiving end of the Prop 8 campaign felt about it:


            “The tactics used by pro-Prop 8 campaigners were not merely homophobic. They were laser-focused to exploit Californians’ deepest and most
            irrational fears about gay people, indoctrinating an entire state with cruelly anti-gay propaganda. Early on, Prop 8’s supporters decided to focus their campaign primarily on children, stoking parents’ fears aboutgay people brainwashing their kids with pro-gay messages or,
            implicitly, turning their children gay…

            …This message of belittlement cut across pretty much every pro-Prop 8 ad—ads that ran incessantly in the state for months. The campaign’s strategy was to debase gay families as deviant and unhealthy while insinuating that gay people are engaged in a full-scale campaign to convert children to their cause. This strategy worked. And it worked because wealthy donors like Brendan Eich flooded the campaign with the money it needed to run ads like the ones above. Eich wasn’t just a casual opponent of marriage equality. He was a major contributor to the most vitriolic anti-gay campaign in American history, one that set the standard of homophobic propaganda that continues to this day. When we talk about Eich’s anti-gay stance, we aren’t just talking about abstract beliefs. We’re talking about concrete actions that harmed thousands of gay families and informed innumerable gay Americans that they were sinful, corrupted predators.”


            “Oh but it was a tad more than that. The eternal trope of the bigots is that to be gay is to be a child molester. You’re gay because you weremolested and now you’re out to turn other kids gay by molesting them. That’s what homosexuals are, that’s what homosexuals do. Homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit… That’s what was being dog whistled in Each And Every Proposition 8 Ad. And Brendan Eich bought a thousand dollar share in that ad campaign.

            And when his one-grand contribution came back to haunt him, instead of even making a minimal effort to distance himself from that massive, slick, professional The Gays Are After Your Children smear campaign he just clammed up and said it was his personal business.Well, when you throw a multi-million dollar smear campaign at me and thousands like me, designed Specifically to arouse the most primitive fears adults could have about their children and make us a target for violent passions…well…that’s my personal business too.”

            Are you telling me they should just shut up and forget about it? ’cause I don;t think they’re going to…

            “Forgive and forget? At least say you’re sorry. Not that you’re sorry we got angry, not that you’re sorry we felt hurt, but that what you did was wrong. And if that’s too much to ask of you then, let’s face it, you’re still in the fight aren’t you…you’re still waiting for your next chance to arouse the old hatreds, the mindless passions, against me and other’s like me, and what you want isn’t for me to put it all behind me and let’s have a fresh start and all be fellow Americans again, but for me and others like me to let our guard back down so you can kick us in the face again.

            What happened in California in the summer and fall of 2008 will go down in history in the annals of anti-minority hate mongering. Gay people have been brutalized, jailed, medicated, lobotomized, tortured, burned at the stake, beaten to death, murdered, for so terribly, terribly long, all the way back to when the first scribe wrote that god hates fags in what was to eventually become the bible. And the lies spread by the Proposition 8 campaign have been the tools by which hate has traditionally excused itself, and incited even more hate. They say that history is written by the victors, but the history written in bloodnever forgets. If you don’t want your name written in the roll call of hate, the time to make amends is always now, not tomorrow, not some day.”

            That writer sounds pretty angry, and I think he has every right to be, and he has every right to express that anger to the people, like Brendan Eich, who treated him that way.

            Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion too; you go ahead and tell Garret and the rest of the LGBT community to sit down and shut up if you like. But don’t be surprised if they don’t listen to you….

          • Bert_1

            Just about everything in that article is one person’s opinion at best and hearsay at worst. Just like in your early posts on this thread, you were convinced that the ONLY purpose of Prop 8 was to deny homosexual couples equal rights, etc, with heterosexual couples. That was its raison d’etre in your opinion. But, you seem to have softened that stance quite a bit because of what many have said to you here. We have simply pointed out the truth.

            I can’t speak for Brendan Eich. I’ve never met the man and aside from the fact that he made a donation to the Prop 8 campaign, I have no idea what his politics are. He may very well have made that donation specifically to hurt homosexuals but I have seen no evidence to support that position so I won’t accuse him of it.

            I find it hard to accept that that number of Californians would be such hard core haters of homosexuals. It simply doesn’t wash. If it was true, there would be stories of absolutely horrendous atrocities committed against homosexuals on almost a daily basis but there aren’t any. There is no way that the police would be able to contain that level of hatred against one group of people. Hell, if it was that bad, the police would likely be in on it as well. But that isn’t happening so I simply cannot accept the theme of that article as being true. People, like me, simply don’t want the definition of “marriage” to be changed. That isn’t anti-gay nor does it express any ill wishes towards homosexuals. Believing otherwise is to delude yourself and is just as hurtful as the article describes its authors believe others were.

          • ahermit

            What other possible purpose do you imagine Prop 8 had?

            ” People, like me, simply don’t want the definition of “marriage” to be changed”

            And that tiny semantic nitpick is more important to you than the rights of your LGBT neighbours. You value a definition more than people.

            What does that say about you?

          • Bert_1

            You really are running out of arguments, aren’t you? You have said this same thing in about 4 or 5 different ways and I have always countered with the same argument. I am not trying to deny anyone their rights. I have proposed a workable solution that would make sure that everyone’s rights were respected and protected. You have made no such proposal.

            What does that say about you?

          • ahermit

            You haven’t actually been able to explain what other purpose Prop 8 had.

            And you have not proposed a workable solution; you’ve proposed a solution that you have to know will never happen.

            Meanwhile the simplest solution is to just include same sex couples in the existing legal framework. It’s being done now, it’s not going to stop and you’re just going to need to accept it.

          • Bert_1

            Based on your comments in this thread, I suspect that you aren’t a Glenn Beck fan but he did a piece on tolerance that is very applicable. He even includes the Mozilla fiasco in it.


          • ahermit

            I’ll watch it later when I have some time and get back to you…

          • paizlea

            Just noticed you mentioned me here, so let me clarify: I absolutely support stripping the state of the ability to “marry” any couple, gay or straight. But until that happens, gays should be given the same rights as straights to the benefits of legal marriage.

          • JohnMcG

            Every change in law alters what was one a “legal right” in one direction or another. My property right to my house denies others the right to use it. That doesn’t make it hateful.

          • ahermit

            My property right to my house denies others the right to use it.

            Including same sex marriages under the legal definition of marriage doesn’t deprive you of anything. Refusing to recognize those marriages deprives those couples of more than a thousand legal rights and benefits.

            If someone wanted to pass a law taking away your right to own that home would you see that as a hateful act on their part?

          • JohnMcG

            Including same sex marriages under the legal definition of marriage doesn’t deprive you of anything.

            It changes the definition of marriages, which, to some who supported Proposition 8, is a deprivation of what their marriage means, and a deprivation to children of support for their parents’ marriages. You may disagree with that, just as I disagree with your comparison of Eich’s act to the KKK, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sincerely held.

            If someone wanted to pass a law taking away your right to own that home would you see that as a hateful act on their part?

            No. Socialism and communism may have been wrong, but I don’t believe all socialists and communists were motivated by hate. They were of the belief that this was a more just way to distribute goods.

          • ahermit

            Well I’ve been married for thirty years and raised two children; the fact that my gay friends and relatives can get married has absolutely no effect on me or my marriage (except making me happy that they can have the same rights as I do.) Broadening the definition of the word deprives me and my children of nothing, nor does it deprive any other person of anything.

            On the other hand, the measure Eich supported, had it succeeded, would have had the material effect of denying those rights to thousands of couples, and depriving those who had already gotten married under the earlier law of those rights.

            What you’re telling me is that clinging to a rigid definition of a single word is more important than the rights of living human beings. Maybe you don;t think that’s hateful but to the people whose rights are being threatened I don’t think it makes much difference what your motive is.

          • JohnMcG

            I understand you don’t feel that changing the definition of marriage causes any harm to other; I and others believe it does. You find that absurd; I find it absurd to say that supporting a measure to restore the definition of marriage that had been in place since time immermorial is analagous to membership with the KKK.

            So, who wins? How do we live together?

            I suppose we could have it your way, with the winners declaring the losers hateful bigots and unworthy of even holding prominent positions in business. I think humility and charity demand that we find a way to live together.

          • ahermit

            I think the attitudes that lead people to work to deprive others of their rights just because of their sexual orientation need to be exposed and brought to the same state as racist or anti-semitic attitudes. Because that’s exactly what they are like; the idea that people should be treated differently just because of who they are. You may not like having it pointed out but there it is.

            And yes, I’ve known people who were perfectly nice, lovely folks who held really awful ideas about African Americans and Jews. They certainly weren’t hateful bigots in all aspects of their lives but that blind spot was there…

            By the way, that definition of marriage you’re obsessing about hasn’t been around since “time immemorial.” And even if it had is that really more important than the rights of human beings?

            Getting back to the original point of this post which was drawing parallels between the backlash against Eich and persecution of homosexuals; Eich is being attacked becasue of something he did to other people, homosexuals are persecuted because of who they are. The latter is scapegoating, the former is not.

          • JohnMcG

            With your repetition of “the rights of human beings,” you are begging the question.

            As I said, by enforcing my property rights on my house, I could be found guilty of the same crime.

            EIch no more did something to other people than redefining marriage did something to me. If you want to cultivate anger toward him over it, I can’t stop you, but I don’t think it’s good either for you or society as a whole.

          • ahermit

            your property rights analogy makes no sense. Try it this way: You being able to own a house doesn’t hurt anyone. Denying the right of someone else to also own their own house would hurt them.

            You keep insisting that redefining marriage does you harm; please explain what harm you suffer as a result; are you prevented in any way from marrying or have you lost any of the benefits and rights attached to the marriage contract? What actual, material harm have you suffered here?

            I don’t think it harms society to draw attention to bigotry and injustice.

          • JohnMcG

            My asserting my property right over my home means everyone else can’t use it.

            Changing the definition of marriage means that marriage means less than it did before. I’m not certain that this means, on balance, that changing the definition of marriage to include same sex couples isn’t worth it, but it’s not bigoted to think that expanding the definition of a credential doesn’t weaken the credential and harm those who hold it.

            If my alma mater started handing out degrees to people who had done less rigorous coursework, there would not be an immediate material harm to me. I could still claim that degree on my resume, or pursue another degree myself. But I don’t think it would be bigoted or hateful for me to object, or even move to roll this change back after it had been enacted.

          • ahermit

            “My asserting my property right over my home means everyone else can’t use it.”

            How is that at all analogous to the marriage debate? No one is asking to do anything with YOUR marriage; they are asking for the right to have their own marriages. Why would you, to use your analogy, deny your neighbour the right to own his house?

            “Changing the definition of marriage means that marriage means less than it did before.”

            Nonsense. We’ve had legal same sex marriage here for ten years. The meaning of my marriage hasn’t changed one bit. If your marriage is so weak that it can’t withstand the fact that someone else gets to be married than I submit that you haven’t got much of a marriage to begin with…

            “If my alma mater started handing out degrees to people who had done less rigorous coursework?”

            Another bad analogy; in what way have same sex couples done “less rigorous work” than you? Who are you to judge the value and commitment of relationships between people you’ve never met and know nothing about?

            I your objection to people getting degrees was based on nothing more than their race, religion or sexual orientation that would indeed be bigotry.

          • JohnMcG

            It’s obvious you are determined to see hatred where none exists, so I’ll bow out.

            You object to my forming judgments (though I did not) about people I have never met and know nothing about, but you have never me me or Eich, and know precious little about us, yet you seem quite free with your judgments about us.

            My judgment is not on the level of commitment; it is that their relationships do not ordinarily produce children. I’m confident you do not buy that distinction, but that does not change the fact that I sincerely do.

            I will challenge whether it benefits same sex attracted people to claim that large number of people hate them who do not.

            And I challenge whether it is good for your soul to see people as hateful who are not.

          • ahermit

            I haven’t said that you or Eich are hateful people, I have pointed out that when someone take actions directed at restricting the rights of others it is not surprising that the targets of those actions interpret them as hateful. I’m judging the behaviour not the person.

            You, on the other hand, know nothing about the people affected by the denial of marriage rights yet you feel free to argue against them having those rights and to dismiss their relationships as somehow inferior to your own. Which of us is being more judgmental?

            You may not see it as hate, but it is discriminatory, biased, prejudiced even bigoted.

            And whether or not a marriage produces children is not a bar to anyone else marrying (for example the re-marriage of my elderly, widowed grandfather or the marriages of infertile couples) so childbearing cannot be a reason for denying all those legal rights and benefits to anyone.

          • Mike Blackadder

            ahermit, it seems that you simply cannot form your argument without assuming that those who disagree with you have some kind of defective attitude or deep seated hatred that you’re not actually able to define or articulate. JohnMcG cannot have said it better:

            “I suppose we could have it your way, with the winners declaring the losers hateful bigots and unworthy of even holding prominent positions in business. I think humility and charity demand that we find a way to live together”.

            ahermit, for starters, please define how it is that opposing same-sex marriage is a denial of rights. If the law says that marriage is legally recognized as a union between a man and a woman, the obvious purpose of which is to strengthen the most basic and essential societal entity which is the family, then how do you arrive at the conclusion that opposition to redefinition of that law is a violation of rights?

            Think about this ahermit: what if we changed the law to say that married couples no longer get tax or death benefits as a result of their legal union? What if the law changed to reflect that marriage is NOT a beneficial attribute of modern society – and that it’s significance is ONLY religious? What if the law changed and simply declared that ‘marriage’ is no longer a legally recognized term?

            Since you claim that marriage is a right, you must conclude that any policy which would change or compromise law surrounding marriage is necessarily hateful, bigoted and in contradiction to the rights of others. Since you claim that marriage is a right, but will not recognize that there is such a thing as a ‘legal definition of marriage’ which defines exactly in what circumstances the status of marriage applies, you do not recognize any standard for what IS NOT marriage. If marriage is a ‘right’ like free speech or like a freedom to practice religion then who are YOU to deliberately deny this right to unions among polygamists, or a union between a father and his daughter?

            If marriage is a ‘right’ then how can you deny the corollary right to unmarry without repercussions? That’s like saying that you have religious freedom to choose to be an Evangelical Christian, but that the government would hold you to account to preach Evangelical Christianity thereafter. That’s like saying you have a right to express your opinion, but unexpressing it is forbidden.

            It’s somewhat ignorant to not even take into consideration defining your terms (like marriage, like ‘rights’) and then dismiss the opinions of others as unloving or some deep seeded bigotry.

          • ahermit

            It’s the right to be treated equally by the law that;s in question here. I am not asserting a “right to marry” here; I am asserting the right for all citizens to be treated fairly by the existing law. If the law excludes someone simply because of who they are, ie because of some characteristic like race religion or gender, that is unjust.

            What’s being denied to same sex couples is equal treatment under the law. If their relationships aren’t recognized as legal marriages those couples are denied a thousand rights and benefits simply because of who they are. That is bigotry.

          • Mike Blackadder

            You’re calling marriage a ‘right’ because it suits your agenda, but it’s not a sensible position to try to defend. That point is illustrated in my last comment.

            What is marriage? Is marriage not a particular relationship being specially recognized and engrained in particular laws of our society? You cannot logically recognize a relationship as ‘marriage’ without recognizing which relationships are NOT ‘marriage’. Yet, this seems to be your entire premise of your position on marriage – that we must recognize marriage in a wider sphere of relationships in order that everyone is treated equally.

            When I mentioned possible revisions to marriage laws whether in taxation, in benefits to diminish the ‘rights’ currently enjoyed under marriage it’s obvious that you find no grounds for complaint. This only illustrates that what you are actually calling a right is not a right. What bothers you is the inequality. In other words, what bothers you is the special recognition of marriage that actually exists.

            Now perhaps you can see why it is that the Church and advocates for a traditional definition of ‘marriage’ can see how SSM activism is actually an attack on the institution on marriage itself. Marriage, and it’s actual significance in society and culture is to be abandoned in the name of equality.

          • ahermit

            Before you can begin to argue against my position you have to first understand what it is and I think you are still missing the point. I have not at any time asserted that there is “a right to marry.” I have pointed out that there currently in the United States more than a thousand legal rights and benefits attached to the marriage contract and that those rights and benefits are unfairly denied to married couples of the same gender.

            It doesn’t matter what those rights and benefits are; the fact that are extended to some couples and denied to others on the arbitrary basis of their gender is the issue. The right in question is not the right to marry, it’s the right to have one’s marriage treated equally by the existing body of law.

          • Mike Blackadder

            OK, but the point is that the definition of marriage that you criticize is not arbitrary. That’s exactly why you scoot and minimize the actual reasons for a legal and cultural recognition of marriage. For you, there would be no dispute if marriage didn’t exist. That illustrates exactly why your position is an ATTACK on marriage. It is not about affirming an actual right among gay couples, it is about disassembling the institution of marriage in the name of equality.

            I’m not saying this is an evil position or anything like that. I think that this simply reflects a lack of recognition of the importance of solid family life in our society. It’s not a trend that only began with talk of gay marriage, it’s gradually fading in significance over time as pre-marital sex, contraceptives, abortion and divorces become ever more common.

            In fairness we might notice that the Church has had the foresight to recognize this eventuality when they opposed these other developments (divorce, contraceptives, etc) in our society. At the time we say that there’s no good reason for the Church to oppose the sexual revolution, they appear obtuse in opposition to pre-marital sex and contraceptives, yet now we talk openly about how marriage is actually of no significance. Very interesting that the Church tends so often to be right about these things.

          • ahermit

            Of course the definition is arbitrary. Just as it was when it restricted those rights and benefits to “one man and one woman of the same race….”

            Expanding that definition to include “non-traditional” couples does nothing to “disassemble” the institution of marriage. Heterosexual couples are not going to stop getting married just becasue same sex couples or mixed race couples get married.

            I’m not sure who you think is saying that marriage is of no consequence; on the contrary it would seem to be very important for those couples seeking to have their marriages recognized as deserving the same legal rights and benefits as those of their neighbours..

          • Mike Blackadder

            ahermit, no it actually doesn’t follow that just because we’ve gotten past the ill advice of eugenicists that a definition of marriage is arbitrary. Has rape law evolved over time? Does that mean that a definition of rape is arbitrary?

            Generally speaking ‘expanding’ or changing a definition of marriage is not an ATTACK or disassembling of marriage, but treating it as arbitrarily defined absolutely denies any legitimacy of legal recognition of marriage.

            Contemplate why we recognize marriage to support family life. What happens in a society where most children are born out of wedlock, where women and children are not legally protected, where parenthood is not validated? Tell me again that it doesn’t matter. And then tell me again that the institution of law surrounding marriage is just an arbitrary decision to give some people benefits for no particular reason.

          • ahermit

            You’re wandering off topic aren’t you?

            Having children is not a prerequisite for being married. No one’s marriage is invalidated if they are bad parents or choose not to be parents even if they are incapable of becoming parents so parenting can’t be used an excuse for denying all those rights and benefits to same sex couples.

            And in any case many of those same sex couples actually have children, so if your concern is strengthening the family how does excluding those families work towards that goal? Why do those families not deserve the same rights and benefits as others?

    • JohnMcG

      Wow, Eich supported a law defining marriage the same as it had been for everyone’s living memory. For that, he gets compared to:

      * The KKK
      * The Ugandan government closing an AIDS clinic and sending gays to prison for life.

      And, hounding him out of his job is glossed over as “less than enthusiastic with or doing business with him.”

      If that is how some people feel, I can’t claim they don’t feel that way. But I might suggest they check those feelings with reality before those feelings are the model for both of us.

      I am pro-life. As far as I am concerned, Planned Parenthood is guilty of the contract killing of hundreds of thousands of unborn children each year.

      Yet, not everyone agrees. Many people see them as a benevolent organization that empowers women and families to choose when they have children. Even some who consider themselves pro-life consider them on-balance to be positive because their other activities reduce the need for abortions, and abortions are only a tiny portion of their business.

      How should I respond to this reality?

      • Yonah

        Respond this way:

        First, let issues that are different, be different. Abortion and gay marriage do not have an intersection.

        Second, with gay marriage, study your criteria. You mention duration of time. How is that, in itself, a valid criteria…since much injustice has existed for long durations of time?

        Third, study your own actual behavior toward other human beings. There are many things people do or seem to be that you do not agree with…and yet, you do not campaign against them personally or legally/politically. Why? What is the difference? Why do you not go after the co-habitating heterosexual couple with the same energy as the gay couple?

        • JohnMcG

          Where did I say I “go after” gay couples?
          Where did I stress duration of time?

          My point was that supporters of Proposition 8 were not proposing a novel policy in order to harm gay people, as the original poster suggested.

          Now, I agree that just because the definition of marriage had been in place for some time does not, in itself, make it just. But it does suggest that it may have been established for reasons other than hatred of gays, and that there may be reasons other than hatred for supporting it.

          • Yonah

            Yes. You wish to go after gay couples to stop them from marrying. In as much as cohabitating heterosexuals flout traditional marriage norms, why would you then not go after them. After all, there was once a time when civil law did that. Would you seek to reinstall that state of affairs. If not, why not?

            Your English is plain. You should bear responsibility for it. You are indeed claiming that duration of time applied to traditional marriage norms is compelling. Why?

            Whether or not Prop 8 was proposing something novel, is beside all points. The question is: Does it propose something good? I say not. It is an attempt to put gays back in the closet.

          • JohnMcG

            The only position I have taken here is that there are non-bigoted reasons for supporting Proposition 8, and thus support for Propistion 8 is not, in itself evidence of bigotry or animus.

            If you read below, I expressed that I am unsure whether maintaining the traditional understanding in law, was worth the pain doing so apparently causes

            No matter. I am not completely on board, so I am “going after” gay couples. Even suggesting that not all those supporting Proposition 8 may not be bigots is apparently now sufficient to bring out the pitchforks.


          • Yonah

            You simply don’t want to bear responsbility for your position slung broadbrush out of what?…emotional dislike for gays? You are not going to achieve societal reversal of both acceptance of gays and gay marriage.

          • Asemodeus

            “The only position I have taken here is that there are non-bigoted reasons for supporting Proposition 8”

            Which explains why there wasn’t any justified secular purpose to prop 8. when it went to trial. Weird that.

          • JohnMcG

            “Not secular” =/= “hateful and bigoted”

          • JohnMcG

            Also, am I allowed to disagree with that judgment, or is that now too verboten?

          • Asemodeus

            Disagree with it on what grounds?

          • JohnMcG

            Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t really asking your permission to disagree, and thus won’t try to justify it.

            But interesting that you think you can grant it.

  • Charles G

    I am not addressing the main point, but I wish to register a complaint about terminology used in this article. I really, really, really object to use of the vocabulary of the “gay” ideology, especially by those who are orthodox Catholics. The word “gay” is a completely ideological word. It does not describe those who experience same sex attraction neutrally but is completely tied with the ideology of making that sexual inclination the primary focus of one’s public identity. I know many who experience same sex attraction who object to using the word “gay” to define themselves — it is absolutely demeaning to be reduced to a one dimensional caricature as someone who is completely defined by their proclivity to a certain sexual sin. As for “homophobia”, it is a ridiculous word that literally means “fear of same” in Greek. Also, it patently does NOT mean lack of charity toward those with same sex attraction in accordance with the Christian principle of loving the sinner and hating the sin. As used by the gay activists, it simply means anything that is not 100% in lockstep with the gay ideology and agenda. If, God forbid, the Catholic Church’s magisterium were ever to adopt the highly un-Christian and un-Catholic ideology of gay activism and use its terminology, I would have to investigate whether the Church has fallen into heresy despite the promise of Our Lord, and would have to make a difficult choice about Church membership.

  • Mike


  • apostleshadamishe


    Apostle Shada Mishe

    Sir / Madam,

    For the past 12 years I have been studying and researching Ambush, a Palm plant extract that is effective in curing HIV.

    Name of Plant; Palm

    Name of ingredient: Ambush

    Molecular weight 640 (similar to the sequisulfides)

    Where found: In and around the areas of South Florida where uranium waste was dumped in the 1920’s from the nuclear programme that has now leaked out into the water system. A specie of the PALM plant has picked up this waste to be the valuable AMBUSH.

    Chemical compd; Uranium isotope (cus.n) Grayish white soft metallic compound NOT found in chemistry books.

    Uses: Antiviral DRUG..Ambush

    Found to “KILL” the HIV virus when given in a dose of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days at a known concentration.

    Mode of action.. Ambush kills the HIV virus by causing the viral shell to rupture . In the lymph system Ambush produces “natural radioactivity” that “kills” the virus that ‘hides’ in the lymph system . This crosses the blood-brain barrier since the ‘patients’ claim that they are able to see,hear and think more clearly after taking Ambush.

    Viral Loads…This decreases from 100,000 to ‘undetectable’ in 21 days….. but I have had patients VL go to ‘undetectable ‘ in 5 days.

    1. After 5 to 7 days of treatment, patients MAY complain of HEADACHES.
    2. After 5 to 7 days male patients experience an increase in erection.
    3. Stool becomes soft and REGULAR
    4. Patients c/o being WARM in the trunk area mainly at night when lying down.

    Toxicology……Before administering to any person a complete toxicological analysis was done to include, arsenic, barbiturates and NO KNOWN poisons or harmful substances to mankind were found.


    Skin…becomes clean, smooth and free of eczema or other say they have small eczema patches in the first week that go away by the third week.

    Since this is a very LARGE molecule it is excreted relatively unchanged via urine and feces.

    After 149 days the patents revert to being HIV NEGATIVE after finishing a course in Ambush hence no one goes public to say they WERE HIV positive.

    Pharmacology of Ambush on the GUT of an end stage AIDS person.

    It is known that late stage AIDS patients posses a high level of the virus in the GUT which should include the entire GI tract from stomach to rectum. Here the virus is found in the lining and this is difficult for ARV’s because these are the areas needed by the ARV’s to enter the blood supply. There is not a high enough blood level returning back to the stomach lining hence the virus remains in high concentration.

    This causes the person’s appetite to decrease which causes a spiraling downhill of the body.

    When Ambush is taken in the liquid form, it is slightly basic and forms a stable compound in the acidic stomach.The Ambush compound is close to the stomach lining to exert the “natural radioactivity” effect which kills the virus in the stomach. Here the entire mid section feels very warm and sometimes feverish. The infected stomach lining with the dead areas is then passed out as a black slime in the stool. This usually happens about day 4 while on an Ambush regime of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days, wherein the person has a large bowel movement.

    After the bowel movement, the person becomes extremely hungry and eats TWO to THREE times a normal serving. Here I usually recommend cornmeal porridge with butter or cooking oil as a prevention against malnutrition and add a daily multivitamin. By day 10 the stomach has recovered and the person eats normally.


    The challenge is to find a Virologist, or Biologist of HIV Researcher who is willing to put some Ambush in a Human culture medium infected with the HIV virus, incubate with proper controls and report their findings to the world.

    More info is at or

    Thank you for your interest and we will be happy to send you samples and answer any and all questions.

    Apostle Shada Mishe
    Dallas Texas,
    1-972 294 5161