Timothy Dalrymple on homosexuality

Timothy Dalrymple on homosexuality August 30, 2012

Christina here…

The other day, JT posted this commentary on a blog post over at Patheos.

And since it’s on my mind, I came across this post by Timothy Dalrymple at Philosophical Fragments and thought I’d comment on part of it.

JT addressed only a small part of the post. I read it, and decided to comment on some more!

Here we go:

I hate that my gay friends find my views offensive.  I hate that my convictions on this issue come between us.

I know it’s hard when someone thinks your views are offensive. But at least those gay friends of yours are nice enough not to try to ban your marriage.

Imagine if I wanted to ban Christian marriage, and then said, “I hate it that my Christian friends find my views offensive” – would you have much sympathy for me? I wouldn’t even have sympathy for myself.

And, I confess, I hate that it’s not up to me.

Why wouldn’t it be up to you?

I hate that I’ve never found the arguments in favor of the view that the Bible does not really condemn homosexuality convincing.

Oh. that’s why.

Well, my Bible of Atheism (there is no such thing, this is a joke) says homosexuality is a perfectly normal expression of human love and sexuality. That’s not up to me either – it’s up to science.

I don’t get to say that Christianity causes brain cancer, because it doesn’t. The facts are not up to either of us.

You act like you don’t have a choice in how you frame homosexuality because your Bible says so, but you do. You can choose to advocate that the government stop banning gay people from being married, just like they don’t ban other sins, like cussing or coveting  or divorcing or lying. Your Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” so why all the focus on this particular sin?

A lot of people can read what they want into your Bible, which is one of the many reasons our country’s laws have to have a specific secular purpose, rather than a religious one. So your interpretation of your Bible has it condemning homosexuality.

That’s nice.

I noticed that in your Ten Commandments (which appear to be important, judging from the fact that the adherents of your religion seem quite fond of carving them into stone on important buildings),  homosexuality isn’t even mentioned. Why’s that? Shouldn’t you be more worried about the Big Ten? I don’t understand all this focus on what really seems like a minor sin in your Bible. At least, minor enough that your god didn’t bother to stick it in either version of the Ten Commandments.

I hate that the meaning of the covenant of marriage is not mine to define.

I think by this Timothy means that his god defined marriage in his Bible.

That’s nice.

I really don’t see what that has to do with the laws of our country.

I hate that Christians have often fallen short of the example of Jesus Christ and been unkind and ungracious toward those whom society rejects and maligns.

Damn straight.

 I hate that gays are bullied.

Well, that’s what happens when your religion causes you and your fellow Christians to focus so much of your mental energy on this particular sin. Your children notice. I don’t see any kids being bullied for coveting their neighbor’s iPad or saying, “god damnit”.

 I hate that some backwards church in Bigotville, USA, cheers at the notion of “homos” going to hell.

Me too. In fact, I hate it when anyone cheers at the notion of anyone going to hell. That’s certainly hatred: what else could it be when you cheer someone being tortured for eternity but hatred?

 I hate that children who feel same-sex attractions get mockery and judgment instead of compassion and care.

I hate that they don’t get acceptance.

 I hate that many gays feel that, without access to marriage, they are second-class citizens.

From wiki (emphasis mine): Second-class citizen is an informal term used to describe a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and economic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. Instead of being protected by the law, the law disregards a second-class citizen, or it may actually be used to harass them. (see police misconduct and racial profiling) Second-class citizenry is generally regarded as a violation of human rights. Typical impediments facing second-class citizens include, but are not limited to, disenfranchisement (a lack or loss of voting rights), limitations on civil or military service (not including conscription in every case), as well as restrictions on language, religion, education, freedom of movement and association, weapons ownership, marriage, gender identity and expression, housing and property ownership.

Gays do not “feel” as though they are second-class citizens. They are second-class citizens. Black folks did not “feel” as though they were second class citizens before the end of legal racial segregation. They were second-class citizens. Interracial couples did not “feel” like they were second-class citizens before the end of anti-miscegenation laws. They were second-class citizens. Back then, people argued that anti-miscegenation laws were not discriminatory because they applied to everybody: “nobody has the right to marry someone of a difference race, so therefore it;s not discriminatory”

On that note, what about gay people (or any people) whose religion says gay people should be able to get married? They are being denied their religious belief that gays should be allowed to legally marry. Here in St. Louis, the Ethical Society is banned by law from legally marrying gay people. Why do you think it’s okay to deny the Ethical Society the ability to practice their religion? What about their “definition” of marriage? Why is your religions definition of marriage more important? Tradition?

Who cares what their religious definition of marriage is. Who cares that the Ethical Society of St. Louis is being denied the freedom to practice their religion. When you argue about definitions, it makes you look as though you care more about the established usage of words than you care about people. However, the meaning of words changes over time: language evolves. Your religious freedoms are not being infringed upon because the usage of a word changes over time.

But I hate too that the homosexual debate has been defined in such a way that there is no space for loving disagreement.

I could say the same thing. You’re the one doing the defining, with all of your chatter about the “definition” of marriage.

I hate that I’m told that my view, that marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female, is hateful by virtue of the fact that it oppresses a people group.

You can hold that view all the live long day. Gay people are banned from getting married. That’s what is hateful. I know that sometimes it seems like we’re just mad about your opinion, but really, we’re not just whining about your opinion. Let me explain:

“Marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female” – This is a religious viewpoint. It is not oppressive. Go ahead and think that. Similarly, I am not oppressing anyone by thinking marriage has nothing to do with any gods.

“Marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female, therefore gay marriage should be illegal” oppresses gay people.

People have told me that my marriage isn’t a real marriage because I and my husband are atheist. We didn’t make any sacrament or covenant with any god when we got married.

To those people I say: that’s nice. You go ahead and think that, just don’t get in my way when I go marry my husband. They aren’t hurting anything other than my feelings, if they hurt me at all.

I don’t believe in any god, and I therefore don’t think any god is, or ever was, involved in any kind of marriage. Is my view hateful or oppressive? Not really. Now, if our society were mostly atheist, and we decided to ban any kind of religious wedding ceremony or ban religious people from getting married, that would be hateful.

Lots of people used to think black people shouldn’t marry white people. Whatever. Go ahead and think that. But don’t make interracial marriage illegal.

I don’t believe that’s true, but I hate that the traditional Christian standpoint has been framed as hateful, and I hate that there are gays who hate the “hateful” Christians.  Because I don’t hate gay people, and I certainly don’t hate my gay friends, but I hate that I’m told that I must hate them, and I hate that some part of those friends will never accept me because I’m trying to be faithful to what I believe God has made known.

You know, you don’t have to say, “I hate gay people!” to be a hater of gay people. You don’t have to say, “I am obstinately or intolerantly devoted to my own opinions and prejudices! I regards and treat the members of a group with hatred and intolerance!” to be a bigot.

Actually, saying, “I hate gay people!” doesn’t hold a candle to the real harm gay people face by being denied their rights. Denying their right to marry is worse than simply feeling hate for them. You’re not saying, “In my opinion, homosexuality is wrong and I don’t want to personally view your marriage as a marriage, because you’re the same sex”. You’re saying, “In my opinion, gay marriage is wrong, therefore I’m going to advocate that nobody gets to do it. Oh and by the way, I hate it that you guys think I hate you guys.” which is entirely different.  You get to have your cake and eat it too: deny the rights of others while seeing yourself as the victimized, persecuted one.

I can hate those people in Bigotville, USA for being bigots. I’m not hurting them with my hatred: but if I don’t support their right to believe gay people are going to hell, and actively work to prevent them from speaking their minds about their beliefs, I’m hating them and hurting them.  That’s worse than just simply hating them.

 I hate that this debate has pitted us against each other, because I love them and respect them and want to enjoy our friendship.

Yet you don’t respect them enough to let them practice their religion/religious views as they see fit and get married. You are more concerned with “definitions” of marriage than you are of actual, real, living human beings.

You don’t respect churches with gay members enough to oppose any ban on their religious freedom.

I hate that none of this will change anyone’s mind.  I hate that I will still be thought to hate gays even though the truth is that I hate the fact (even though I understand it, from their perspective) that this whole issue comes between me and the gay people I love.

Here is how to fix it. Go on having your opinions and views about gay marriage – but staunchly support their right to get legally married.

The Bible says homosexuality is a sin – fine. I assume you don’t want to make all sins illegal, so support their right to sin (not all sins, you probably shouldn’t support people’s right to murder, but I assume you’d support their right to be atheist).

The Bible says marriage is between one man and one woman – fine. Support people who have different religious beliefs about what marriage means.

You might disagree with divorce (for example) but you still (I assume) believe in individuals having the right to get divorced. You might disagree with people who are atheist, but you still support their right to not believe in any gods.  You might disagree that atheist marriages are real marriages because of the covenant thing, but you still support the right of atheists to get married. So go on disagreeing with homosexuality, but support their right to get married.

That’s how you can start to mend the broken bonds between you and the people you love.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.



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