Jesurgislac’s Journal

November 14, 2008

When you discover you never knew someone

Fred Clark at Slacktivist writes about the Liars for Christ:

Supporters of Proposition 8 were forced to resort to Lying for Jesus — pastors will be jailed! your church will be forced to conduct gay weddings! your organist may become even more flamboyant! — because they weren’t able to articulate any honest basis for opposing this right as an equal right. The ‘vixen and I got our marriage license on the same day that George Takei and Brad Altman got theirs. The wedding of George and Brad neither picked my pocket nor broke my leg, so what possible cause would I have had to object to it? What reason would I have to deny George and Brad the same happiness that my wife and I were permitted to enjoy? Such exclusion makes no sense unless we appeal to some imagined grave consequences such as those dreamed up by the Liars for Christ.

And here again we see that basing policy on imaginary fears and imaginary grave consequences leads to different, but very real, grave consequences. When we choose to make laws based on imaginary fears, we see our own rights reduced to mere privileges. This is what always happens when we place fear on the throne.

Orson Scott Card (homophobic terrorist), following his sustained campaign for Proposition 8 and whining about how that made some people not like him any more, writes a follow-up post after Proposition 8 passed with such a narrow and expensive margin, praising some of the younger bullies in the fight:

So when our Latter-day Saint singles heeded the call of the church’s leaders to take part in the defense of marriage, they, more than any other group of Saints, were swimming upstream.

They worked hard. They took risks. And many of them paid a price that is heavy indeed.

Many of them lost dear friends — sometimes with bitter, angry recriminations from people they had once been close to.

It seems ironic that these young Mormons were open-minded enough to be friends with people whose lives were so different from their own; but their friends, in the name of tolerance, could not remain friends with Mormons who merely stood up for their faith.

If the situation had been reversed, if Prop. 8 had failed, these LDS young people would not have rejected their friends who voted to repudiate the meaning of marriage. And if they had, would they not have been condemned as bigots, for being unable to tolerate someone else voting his conscience?

When people whom you thought were friends turn out to be bigots, this is a sad and painful moment indeed: I’ve experienced it myself on a personal level after I came out, discovering that people I thought liked/respected me only did so when they thought I was heterosexual, and on a broader level, with many people across science-fiction fandom who once thought of Card as a decent enough man, I share the disappointment and anger we feel to discover, not only is he a homophobic bigot wannabe terrorist, he doesn’t even recognise bad science when it suits his own prejudices.

But he’s also a whiner. It turns out that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints doesn’t even have the courage of their own convictions. Their First Presidency, the man they claim has a direct line to God, told them to campaign for and donate to the Yeson8 campaign. They did. It passed.

If the LDS Church had the courage of their convictions, if they truly believed that this action to remove the right to marry from Californian citizens was the right thing to do, why whine and bemoan and complain that they have been “singled out” as a key pressure group in getting it passed? Their complaints that people are pointing at the LDS and blaming them for enshrining this act of bigotry in the Californian constitution, seem to show either some decent shame for this horrible thing – or cowardice, a fear of taking responsibility for their actions. If it’s decent shame, let’s hear a public apology and acknowledgement that they were wrong: without that, I think we have to assume it’s pure cowardice. (Update: other examples of the Yes-on-8 crew lacking the courage of their convictions here and here: further examples welcomed.)

If the situation had been reversed, if Prop. 8 had failed, would the organisations who worked for No on 8 have whined and worried that they were being “singled out”? No. Because people who fight for civil rights have to be braver than that. Bullies are cowards.

These young bullies who rejected their friends, who joined the bigoted campaign their church ran against equal rights in California, who wanted God to have a spaceship and proposition 8 and probably a pony too – they were, Card says, “standing up for their faith”. They preferred loyalty to their church over loyalty to their friends, loyalty to the First Presidency over upholding the principle of freedom of religion and separation of church and state – and they rejected their friends. That their friends reacted to this rejection by these “heroes” with anger and bitterness is evidence, if Card were awake to that, of the importance of friendship in some people’s lives.

Tolerating someone while working to take away their civil rights is not friendship.

36 Comments »

  1. Hey there, thanks again for the interesting discussion. And I agree- bullies are cowards.
    Any thoughts, then, on this?

    http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2008/11/tolerance-of-tolerant.html

    Blessings.

    Comment by evenshine — November 14, 2008 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  2. And I agree- bullies are cowards.

    If you agree, why are you siding with the bullies? You believe that the children of same-sex parents ought to be legally discriminated against.

    Any thoughts, then, on this?

    That teenagers do terrible things to each other (if you mean the story about Catherine Vogt) and that no bullying ought to be permitted, of any description, by a school. Certainly and specifically, the teachers shouldn’t have allowed any student to call any other student “stupid” for their political choices.

    However, the anti-marriage movement, compaiging for Proposition 8 and other anti-gay amendments, consistently opposed education measures against children being bullied… indeed, used the existance of such measures as an argument against same-sex marriage. How do you stand on this? Do you support public schools teaching children that being gay is normal and that having same-sex parents is normal? Or do you stand with the bullies on this, too?

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 14, 2008 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  3. Did you watch the video of the protest/old lady beatdown?

    No bullying “ought to be permitted…by a school”- but it’s ok if you’re a protester doing some old lady bullying, with a dash of religious intolerance thrown in for good measure?

    Comment by evenshine — November 14, 2008 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  4. Did you watch the video of the protest/old lady beatdown?

    No: at the computer I’m at right now, I can’t watch vdeos.

    No bullying “ought to be permitted…by a school”

    Absolutely not – just as no bullying ought to be permitted in the workplace. Again, your opinion of the anti-bullying measures that were attacked by the anti-marriage pro-prop8 movement?

    but it’s ok if you’re a protester doing some old lady bullying, with a dash of religious intolerance thrown in for good measure?

    I will watch the video when I can, and let you know what I think of it. I won’t render judgement based on bigoted reporting. In principle, of course, you’re the one who’s pro religious intolerance, as we’ve established in discussion elsewhere… Meantime, perhaps you’d care to give your opinion of these protestors on your side.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 14, 2008 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  5. Did you watch the video of the protest/old lady beatdown?

    I have now: I’m not quite sure what your problem with it is. A person who decided to attend a no-on-8 rally to tell the assembled people there that she’s a homophobic Christian, got yelled down by the crowd.

    No one laid a hand on her that I could see; your reference to “beatdown” was shameless exaggeration, wasn’t it? What I could hear the people yelling at her was “get out!” which seems reasonable enough: she was trying to present the case for religious intolerance and abuse/discrimination justified by Christianity.

    Contrast that with the face of the anti-marriage/Yes-on-8 crowd: this recording ends not with the dissenter walking off peacefully, but with an Yes-on-8 protester literally attacking the dissenter in order to knock the videocamera out of her hand.

    People who believe in civil rights are just generally nicer people than the anti-civil rights campaigners. As a rule of thumb, it works.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 15, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Reply

  6. Well now I just love you. (Please don’t panic, I’m happily married. But my gut reaction to such logic and eloquence is adoration and I felt compelled to say so. I swear I’ll stop fawning all over your comments section soon.)

    Comment by WaltzInExile — November 15, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  7. Well now I just love you.

    *blush!*

    Thank you!

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 15, 2008 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  8. Sorry, weekend always intrudes on my blog responses!

    “got yelled down by the crowd.”

    Right, and her cross was hit from her hands (kind of like the video camera you mentioned) and subsequently stomped upon in rage. Kind of like the wierdos who disrupted the church service. For people who consider themselves so “tolerant”, it’s amazing how intolerant they can be.

    Yes, I would argue that these kinds of behavior are unequivocally WRONG. On whichever side. MORE so on the side of the religious as they have a direct command to love one’s neighbor. The atheist has no such obligation. I wouldn’t even try to justify it, just to say that there are those of us out there that prefer love to hate, and civil conversation rather than mindless screaming in old ladies’ faces.

    Thanks for the conversation.

    Comment by evenshine — November 17, 2008 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  9. Right, and her cross was hit from her hands (kind of like the video camera you mentioned) and subsequently stomped upon in rage.

    She brought a cross along as a symbol of hatred and injustice – which, come to that, is kind of appropriate for a crucifixion, isn’t it?

    It was a homemade-for-the-occasion cross, not a treasured heirloom or an expensive item like a video camera: she displayed it for its symbolic value about Christian hatred of gay people, and it got trampled on, which is, if you think about it, equally appropriately symbolic.

    No, I’d feel strongly if they’d attacked her. Very much so. But she came along to make her hateful little protest, and got the reaction she intended to provoke: hatred back.

    On whichever side. MORE so on the side of the religious as they have a direct command to love one’s neighbor.

    Ha. Pity the Christians who voted for Proposition 8 didn’t remember that direct command, isn’t it?

    I wouldn’t even try to justify it, just to say that there are those of us out there that prefer love to hate, and civil conversation rather than mindless screaming in old ladies’ faces.

    I would say that bringing along a symbol of Christian loathing for gay people isn’t exactly trying to have a civil conversation.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 17, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  10. How do you know why she brought the cross? How do you know that she meant it as a symbol of hatred of gay people? How do you know anything about her intentions other than what you project onto her? How do you know that she intended to provoke hate?

    The thing is, you don’t. Neither do I, to be honest. She may have been a hatemonger in old lady clothes. The point is, she had just as much right to be there as any other person, and her voice (and those of millions like her) is equally as valid as yours, and those who would push your agenda.

    You seem like a thoughtful, intelligent person. But you assume a great deal, and it makes you unable to converse without overt loathing. I am all for civil conversation if you like. We may both learn something. But conversation won’t go anywhere if groundless assumptions are made. Cheers.

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 12:38 am | Reply

  11. How do you know why she brought the cross? How do you know that she meant it as a symbol of hatred of gay people?

    Because she brought it, specifically, so the news account said, as a counterprotest to support Proposition 8. Her being howled down by the anti-Prop 8 crowd wasn’t a misunderstanding: she wasn’t attending the demo with a homemade cross to protest the Christian support of Prop8, but to show her Christian support of Prop8. So yes, very clearly, she’d brought the cross as a symbol of Christian hate of gay people.

    The point is, she had just as much right to be there as any other person, and her voice (and those of millions like her) is equally as valid as yours, and those who would push your agenda.

    She could have stayed, of course. As you say, her voice was just as valid as any one of the pro-marriage demonstrators present. She was unwilling to stay, though, without her public symbol of hatred and without any ability for her single voice to drown out the many in opposition. But no one was attacking her: just her views, which were not being given any privilege in that assembly. And without that privilege, she was not willing to stay.

    But you assume a great deal, and it makes you unable to converse without overt loathing.

    Oh no, Evenshine. I don’t make assumptions. You do: you ended a conversation on your own blog after you made an assumption that the Catholic you were talking to didn’t know how to be a Catholic, and you assumed the privilege of lecturing a Catholic on her own religion, though you yourself are not Catholic.

    I have no loathing for this silly woman who thought she could parade a symbol of hate in front of a demo about the right to marry: a certain amount of contempt for her hatefilled foolishness, but loathing? You assume too much, and yet you feel free to accuse me of making assumptions.

    But conversation won’t go anywhere if groundless assumptions are made.

    I agree: I presume that’s why you had to end the conversation on your own blog after making that groundless assumption about a Catholic, and why – I suspect – you won’t be back here to apologize for making a groundless assumption that I loathe a silly woman I never met…

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 18, 2008 @ 1:04 am | Reply

  12. A groundless assumption is made without information. BD is not a traditional Catholic, as she *herself* has said. How is that a groundless assumption?
    I apologize freely if I groundlessly assumed you loathed the woman. The words you used to describe the symbol she held suggested so. You loathe the symbol, then?
    You didn’t, of course, answer WHY you think the symbol is one of hate. I’d love to hear why you think of it as such.
    I ended the conversation on my blog because I didn’t want to continue it there. Which is why I am here.
    And of course, I apologize. Suspect all you want, J, but I’m still here, still looking for some civil conversation. Up for it?

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  13. A groundless assumption is made without information. BD is not a traditional Catholic, as she *herself* has said. How is that a groundless assumption

    You groundlessly assumed she was ignorant and needed to be lectured. Then you closed comments.

    The words you used to describe the symbol she held suggested so. You loathe the symbol, then?

    No: I loathe the Christian homophobia and assault on freedom of religion which that symbol was used to represent by this woman. At less fraught times I think I’m merely saddened by the version of Christianity you and this woman profess, that makes homophobia a central tenet, but yes: when this version of Christianity is used to justify an attack on civil rights, I think it’s fair to say I loathe it.

    A cross can symbolise all kinds of things, you know…

    You didn’t, of course, answer WHY you think the symbol is one of hate. I’d love to hear why you think of it as such.

    I somehow can’t believe you would “love to hear” what I keep telling you, and you keep ignoring. This happened in previous comments on your blog, too, where you declared you had no idea why I thought taking away a person’s right to marry was abusive. I told you in the comment you have just responded to why use of a cross as a pro-Prop8 demo prop (so to speak) is a symbol of hate: claiming you’d “love to hear” why I think that while completely ignoring that I have already told you, is somehow… well, it’s late, so I’ll just recommend you go re-read my comment.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 18, 2008 @ 1:38 am | Reply

  14. Thanks for responding, but, as I said, I am seeking civil conversation, which means listening as well as speaking, j. At no time, either on this blog, on mine, or on the third party’s blog, have I advocated homophobia, assault on religious freedom, or loathing. I am sorry if I have misunderstood your position, but my presence here should prove my desire to understand. Believe what you will.
    The cross may be (to you) a symbol of hate. To the woman who carried it, it was a symbol of her faith. To see that trampled upon saddens me, just as I would be saddened by ANY symbol of faith trampled upon.
    My best to you.

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 1:58 am | Reply

  15. To the woman who carried it, it was a symbol of her faith.

    To the woman who carried it, it was a symbol of hate. Her faith was that Christianity requires hatred/contempt for LGBT people. As yours does.

    To see that trampled upon saddens me, just as I would be saddened by ANY symbol of faith trampled upon.

    Hardly. I’ve seen you express no sadness whatsoever over the trampling on people’s faith – not symbolic, but actual – that goes directly with supporting Proposition 8. Rather, you have smugly notified people whose faith you have trampled upon that their faith is not true, and so not entitled to any respect. So when you claim you’d be “saddened”, it comes across as distinctly insincere: if you’re genuinely saddened by trampling on other people’s faith, why do what makes you sad?

    At no time, either on this blog, on mine, or on the third party’s blog, have I advocated homophobia, assault on religious freedom, or loathing.

    You have advocated, on your own blog and on a third party’s blog, that your religious beliefs about what God wants are a sufficient reason to remove civil rights from same-sex couples. That is a direct assault on religious freedom, motivated by homophobia. You have advocated, directly, to a Catholic, though you are not one, that she can’t interpret her beliefs for herself, that you know better than she does what she should believe and how she should act.

    But you are unwilling to listen to me. And so you accuse me of not wanting to listen to you, and run away.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 18, 2008 @ 2:35 am | Reply

  16. Running away? Hardly. Still here, J. And listening. Just disagreeing.

    I think what you may be misunderstanding (or simply unwillilng to consider) is the idea that one can disagree with someone, and not hate that person for his/her beliefs. To you, a varying belief signifies hatred. I do not hate you for your beliefs, but you persist in using hate-filled language to describe mine.
    In addition, you berate me for speaking to another person about her faith, after SHE brought it up, something you continue to do to me. You make assumptions about my faith just as I made assumptions about hers. DIALOGUE suggests asking questions to determine the beliefs of another person. Surely you wouldn’t advocate judging a person on what you assume?
    And yes, I have advocated my religious beliefs, which is my right under law, the right you claim you support.
    Here’s the problem: in a pluralistic society, where morality is relative, how do you have any plausible authority to tell me that what I believe is wrong?

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  17. I think what you may be misunderstanding (or simply unwillilng to consider) is the idea that one can disagree with someone, and not hate that person for his/her beliefs.

    Ah, we are at cross-purposes, then. You see, what I am discussing here is not disagreement – but an attack on civil rights. In Canada – in any country where equal marriage exists – one could simply say “Well, you think same-sex marriage is wrong, I think same-sex marriage is right, we can agree to disagree”.

    Proposition 8 is an attack on two basic civil rights: Directly, on the freedom to marry; indirectly, given the motivation most of its supporters profess to impose their religious beliefs on others, on freedom of religion.

    Bigots do frequently argue that their motivation is not “hate” – that they simply don’t feel it’s right for a minority group to have the same civil rights as them. “We don’t hate black people – we just don’t want them to live here/vote here/work here/get to marry white people”… and so on.

    In addition, you berate me for speaking to another person about her faith, after SHE brought it up, something you continue to do to me.

    I continue to point out to you that your claim to respect the faith of others is clearly false – illustrated by that disrespectful dialogue with this other person of faith. Yes, I suppose you could say I’m “berating” you for this: but then, here you are lying/being hypocritical. Do you expect me just to let you falsely claim you “respect” the faith of others, when we both know it’s not true?

    Here’s the problem: in a pluralistic society, where morality is relative, how do you have any plausible authority to tell me that what I believe is wrong?

    Because you are trying to end the pluralistic society, and impose a single moral authority which all must obey. Proposition 8 is an example of this. If you believe you ought to have the right to hold your own beliefs, no one preventing you, you ought to believe your support of Proposition 8 is wrong.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 18, 2008 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  18. I agree, we are at cross-purposes. Thank you for clarifying your argument.

    In Canada: “Well, you think same-sex marriage is wrong, I think same-sex marriage is right, we can agree to disagree”.

    Sure, and theoretically this works. However, we have ramifications to this, which would directly impact a person’s freedom of religion- say a Christian business owner forced to provide health insurance against his religious beliefs. Is he supposed to just “get over it”?

    “we just don’t want them to live here/vote here/work here/get to marry white people”

    Again with the disanalogous race card. I’ve already refuted this one. Race is what you are. Sexuality is what you do.

    “disrespectful dialogue with the person of the other faith”

    Not at all. At no time did I disrespect her faith. I have great respect for the Catholic faith, as evidenced by the fact that I married a Catholic and attend Mass regularly. A conversation with someone about religion is hardly disrespect. When you begin to “berate” the person for their beliefs, as you have done repeatedly to me, THEN it’s disrespect.
    Again, this is the same point I made before: one can disagree with someone (vehemently, in fact) without lacing the conversation with “loathing”. Talking about these issues requires a great deal of tact, of course, but if you find that I wrote anything disrespectful to the Catholic faith, then quote me and I’ll answer it. Don’t just make arbitrary statement without support- hardly helps the dialogue.

    As to my final question- “how do you have any plausible authority to tell me that what I believe is wrong?”, you answer that I am trying to end the pluralistic society. ABSOLUTELY. In my ideal world there would be no such thing as moral relativity. But that hardly answers my question- why does your personal opinion of what is right and wrong matter more than mine?

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  19. However, we have ramifications to this, which would directly impact a person’s freedom of religion- say a Christian business owner forced to provide health insurance against his religious beliefs. Is he supposed to just “get over it”?

    Well, I’m a little puzzled by your assertion that the provision of health insurance could be against a Christian business owner’s belief. Can you explain how this Christian business owner would justify this belief in terms of Christianity, with specific reference to Matthew, Chapter 5, verses 39-48; Chapter 6, verses 19-21; Chapter 7, verses 1-5; and very specifically and directly to this question of a Christian who thinks his faith requires him to deny someone health insurance, Chapter 25, verses 41-45? If he’s a believer, wouldn’t he think “On the day of judgement, do I really want to hear Jesus tell me ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'” and just provide his employee’s wife or husband with the health insurance? Is your argument really that Jesus would want this businessman to let an employee’s spouse go without health insurance, in order to make clear to the employee that the businessman disapproves of the relationship?

    This is actually a serious question: you’ve genuinely puzzled me. I thought Christians regarded the directives of Jesus rather more highly than this example suggests you do. Can you cite the sayings of Jesus that have led you to the conclusion that the Christian thing to do is to deny someone health insurance in order to show your moral disapproval, and if so, how you feel about answering that very direct statement in Matthew Chapter 25?

    Again with the disanalogous race card. I’ve already refuted this one.

    No, you really haven’t. In order to “refute” this, you would need to show that there is extensive scientific evidence that people choose their sexual orientation. As there is none – the notorious “ex-gay” movement is more of an example of how people can’t choose their sexual orientation, with the sheer number of people who try to be “ex-gay” for a while and fall away fro it – you would have a hard time refuting this claim, but you haven’t even tried. Religion is more of a choice than sexual orientation: are you arguing it’s okay to discriminate against people because of their religion?

    Not at all. At no time did I disrespect her faith

    This sounds rather like your assertion that taking a person’s right to marry away isn’t abusive… you don’t regard it as disrespectful to a person’s faith to tell them that they need to seek counselling in order to believe what you think they should believe?

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 18, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  20. No, of course, as a Christian I take the directives of Christ very seriously, and I do believe that loving one’s neighbor is paramount. But I see a real problem in supporting a lifestyle that one is morally opposed to. Sorry if my example was confusing, but I hope you can grasp my intended point.

    Let’s say that a person is born gay. Fine. People are born with all sorts of predilections that they would be better off not indulging- say violence or alcoholism. Is it good simply because someone feels it? If so, what argument do you have if I want to marry my brother, or a house cat?

    But again, you have failed to answer my question- in the pluralistic society in which we currently live, why does your opinion/belief/ethic trump mine?

    “at no time did I disrespect her faith”- again, you’ve left this one unanswered. I asked for a quote. There IS none. Refuted.

    And for the record, no, I don’t believe that suggesting someone do some research is offensive. Priests and pastors fulfill a counseling function- the statement you refer to had nothing to do with psychology. Don’t you think you’ve harped on this one enough? Familiar with the ad hominem?

    Again-in a morally relative society, why do I have to answer to YOU?

    Comment by evenshine — November 18, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  21. Evenshine: No, of course, as a Christian I take the directives of Christ very seriously, and I do believe that loving one’s neighbor is paramount. But I see a real problem in supporting a lifestyle that one is morally opposed to. Sorry if my example was confusing, but I hope you can grasp my intended point.

    Oh no, I think your example was extremely clear, very telling about what you actually believe. I wondered whether you would try to defend your assertion that a Christian businessman could use his beliefs to justify denying health insurance to the spouse of his employee, and if so, how you would try to do that – but I admit I did think it would be simpler for you to just run away from it, especially if you didn’t actually believe all that in the gospels about “For I hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” Because if you did, after all, how could you possibly reason that it would be justifiable to deny someone health insurance, or indeed any other benefit of employment, because they were in your view living an immoral lifestyle. Are you setting yourself up to be like Simon the Pharisee (Luke Ch7 36-50)? Is that your aspiration?

    Are you actually able to respond to this, Evenshine?

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 19, 2008 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  22. Of course I will, as soon as you respond to the question I have asked REPEATEDLY. Are you actually able to respond to that one, jesurgislac?

    Comment by evenshine — November 19, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  23. Of course I will, as soon as you respond to the question I have asked REPEATEDLY. Are you actually able to respond to that one, jesurgislac?

    This is the: Again-in a morally relative society, why do I have to answer to YOU?

    And the answer (though you won’t like it) is:

    You don’t.

    You are, in a free society (what you call a “morally relative” society) free to hold any opinion you choose, and pass those opinions on to your children, your friends, your family, your acquaintance, and random strangers met on the Internet. Those opinions may be hurtful, nasty, hateful, meanminded, and may bring you and your religion into disrepute: and other people are equally entitled to hold opinions of you based on the opinions you profess.

    You follow me? You’re entitled to tell me that in your view God hates queers. I’m entitled to tell you what I think of you for holding that opinion of God. In a free society, neither opinion is privileged above the other.

    But you have declared your active support for an unfree society – in which your belief about what God wants of people is imposed by law on others, forcing them to obey your views regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of them. (I don’t mean to single you out: obviously, many other people also hold this belief that the US ought not to be a culture that supports full equality under the law and freedom of belief protected by the courts.) Which made your question of me completely hypocritical.

    Now, I await your citation of gospel verses to justify your belief that on the day of judgement Jesus will ask that Christian businessowner “How could you let that immoral person have health insurance!”

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 19, 2008 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  24. “In a free society, neither opinion is privileged above the other.”

    Says who? This is an awfully absolute statement. Who makes this rule?

    Re: the Christian business owner- nope. Sorry. According to you, I don’t have to justify anything. According to you, I can use hateful language (though I haven’t at any time) and disperse these opinions freely, to the detriment of society. According to you, there is no such thing as right and wrong, so I am under no obligation to defend myself to you or anyone else.

    See where moral relativism leads?

    Comment by evenshine — November 19, 2008 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  25. Says who? This is an awfully absolute statement. Who makes this rule?

    The nature of a free society. If you get to impose your opinion on me so that I am not permitted to disagree with it, clearly this is not a free society. In the US, “who makes this rule” would be the Founders – the authors of the US Constitution, who set dwg a principle of the English common law from which the judicial system of the US is derived: that everyone is entitled to their own religious views, and no one may impose them on anyone else.

    Re: the Christian business owner- nope. Sorry.

    Apology accepted. I somehow thought you’d run away from the situation you yourself proposed as Christian.

    Comment by Jesurgislac — November 19, 2008 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  26. OK, so, following your own logic, the question (again) becomes- what happens when your views (i.e., that homosexuals may marry) are imposed on mine (i.e., that I am morally opposed to such a union? Because that would be the logical outcome of Prop 8’s passing.

    And J- repeatedly I have assured you that I am not running away from anything. You have failed to answer many of my questions, but I have yet to berate you for it. Doing the childish “nanny nanny boo boo” is hardly helpful to the discourse, don’t you think?

    Comment by evenshine — November 19, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  27. OK, so, following your own logic, the question (again) becomes- what happens when your views (i.e., that homosexuals may marry) are imposed on mine (i.e., that I am morally opposed to such a union? Because that would be the logical outcome of Prop 8’s passing.

    I assume you mean the logical outcome of Prop 8 failing? Prop 8 did pass, if you remember, with the exact reverse of the situation you describe.

    Prop 8 fails: Nothing. You freely retain your opinion that same-sex couples may not marry. Nothing is imposed upon you: you are fully entitled to refuse to marry another person of the same gender, and to continue to maintain that in your opinion, a same-sex couple are not “truly” married, regardless of the law. You remain free, just as same-sex couples remain free to marry. You are not, of course, entitled to refuse any married couple any of the legal rights of marriage, but a Christian who follows Jesus wouldn’t have any room to object to that, though the Simons the Pharisees obviously would have a lot to say.

    Prop 8 passes: Nothing happens to you, because you have successfully forced your opinion that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry on others. The people who believed that same-sex couples should remain free to marry have their freedom of belief diminished by its passing: the same-sex couples who want to marry or who are married in California, have their civil rights partially removed from them. Everyone who regards marriage as a civil right essential to the orderly pursuit of marriage is diminished: marriage in California has become a reserved privilege and not a civil right.

    And J- repeatedly I have assured you that I am not running away from anything

    Yet you’ve entirely failed to explain to me how a Christian businessman would justify in terms of his religion, denying health insurance which he is legally obligated to provide to his employee’s spouse merely because he believes his employee is living an immoral lifestyle. Your chosen example. Are you going to run away from it?

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 19, 2008 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  28. First, I think it’s laughable that someone who believes that there is no such thing as right and wrong would ask me to justify anything.
    Secondly, I think it’s incongruous of you to in one breath, say that I am free to believe anything I want to, and in another breath to tell me to justify my beliefs.
    Thirdly, I think it’s insanity for an atheist to ask me to explain my beliefs based on the Bible, when that atheist neither believes in the Bible NOR God.
    However, since you insist-
    Start with any of Jesus’ teachings. His exhortation is “go and sin no more”. He sits with sinners and tax collectors, but doesn’t provide them with health insurance, nor does he support their lifestyle. Try Mark 9:42, where we are exhorted not to cause anyone to sin. Supporting a lifestyle we know is sinful would be causing someone to sin. Try Proverbs 24, where it exhorts us to pull back those who are staggering towards death. Try Romans, where we are exhorted to NOT conform to the pattern of the world. Romans 14 tells us that he is blessed who does not condemn himself by what he approves. I Corinthians 5 asks us to “expel” the immoral brother, specifically dealing with this issue of sexual immorality. Or the passage in chapter 10 that asks us to work for the good of many. In Galatians 4, Paul warns against being separated from the teachings of Christ by our zeal for others. Ephesians 4 talks about being truthful to one’s neighbor, telling us not to be partners with sinful people.
    Shall I go on?
    The challenge for the Christian (and NOT for the atheist) is to balance our love of God’s truth and our love for others. Supporting a lifestyle we are morally exhorted not to engage in is, in itself, sinful. Let me give you an example that you might understand: you have a dear relative who is a continual heroin addict. You have helped him off the floor, out of the gutter, and out of jail many a time. He persists. You explain your concern for his life. He persists. Finally, after many years of this behavior, you realize that you must try an intervention, or he will die. You do. He responds, enters rehab, lives.
    Would you honestly argue that he should have been left to his own, addictive behavior, which inevitably leads to death? Is that love?
    Moreover, would you support a measure that channels your tax dollars toward heroin distribution?

    Comment by evenshine — November 20, 2008 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  29. . His exhortation is “go and sin no more”. He sits with sinners and tax collectors, but doesn’t provide them with health insurance, nor does he support their lifestyle. Try Mark 9:42, where we are exhorted not to cause anyone to sin. Supporting a lifestyle we know is sinful would be causing someone to sin.

    So you think that when Jesus said ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ – he specifically did not intend to include any sinners – or at least, no one “living an immoral lifestyle” – among the “least ones”?

    Let me give you an example that you might understand: you have a dear relative who is a continual heroin addict. You have helped him off the floor, out of the gutter, and out of jail many a time. He persists. You explain your concern for his life. He persists. Finally, after many years of this behavior, you realize that you must try an intervention, or he will die. You do. He responds, enters rehab, lives.

    Well, according to your own example, the Christian thing to do would be to deny him help, wouldn’t it? He’s a sinner living an immoral lifestyle, therefore, not included among those “least ones” whom Jesus required you to help. Or would that just be if he were a gay heroin addict?

    Would you honestly argue that he should have been left to his own, addictive behavior, which inevitably leads to death? Is that love?

    But, if we’re continuing this analogy, your argument is that lesbians and gays ought to be left to the kind of societal denial and rejection that leads to the damaging statistics that the homophobes are so fond of citing – the children brought up in the knowledge their own parents consider them inferior, the adults living in fear and secrecy, often with no access to any secure relationships, anonymous promiscuity rife, lesbians marrying men because they have no alternative, living unhappy, unfulfilled lives. Any attempt to change this – above all, to ensure through good teaching at public schools that even the children of homophobes will grow up knowing that being lesbian or gay is normal, regardless of what their parents tell them – is greeted by your kind of Christian with fury and hostility.

    Yet you assert that this is “love” – that damaging people, bullying children, denial of civil rights, breaking up families – is somehow what Jesus wants, based on his behavior towards sinners and tax collectors. Ever read the parable of the Samaritan?

    And, not that this is relevant, since drug addiction and sexual orientation do not equate:

    Moreover, would you support a measure that channels your tax dollars toward heroin distribution?

    D’oh! Best means of keeping a heroin addict alive and healthy and reduce crime is to provide medical-quality heroin on prescription. I would a hell of a lot rather my tax dollars pay for that than have my tax dollars pay for the crime wave that follows any attempt to ensure heroin addicts can only get heroin by criminal action.

    Comment by Jesurgislac — November 20, 2008 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  30. First, I think it’s laughable that someone who believes that there is no such thing as right and wrong would ask me to justify anything.

    I believe in right and wrong. Very much so.

    Secondly, I think it’s incongruous of you to in one breath, say that I am free to believe anything I want to, and in another breath to tell me to justify my beliefs.

    You were and remain absolutely free to refuse to do so. I have no power to compel you.

    Thirdly, I think it’s insanity for an atheist to ask me to explain my beliefs based on the Bible, when that atheist neither believes in the Bible NOR God.

    I don’t believe in God, no. But the Bible exists, and I’m seriously well-read in what it says – so when a Christian asserts that they believe in persecuting, humiliating, and discriminating against LGBT people, because “God says so” – by which they usually mean a couple of verses culled from Leviticus, a couple of verses culled from Paul – I am well able to point out that doing so means a fairly absolute rejection of what Jesus said in the gospels.

    Comment by Jesurgislac — November 20, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  31. “specifically did not intend to include any sinners”

    Not at all, and again you’ve deliberately misunderstood (or misread?) my statements. LOVE balanced with TRUTH. Jesus says, “your sins are forgiven, now go and sin no more.” I don’t know if you have children, but it’s the same principle- you love them SO much that you show them right from wrong. Do you ever stop loving them? By no means! But who would let their child (or anyone they love- which, for Christians, includes ALL PEOPLE) run into oncoming traffic, citing their “personal freedom” to do so?

    “your kind of Christian with fury and hostility”

    I challenge you to show me where I have shown fury and hostility. Again with the projection, jesurgislac.

    …but what am I talking about? You don’t believe in right and wrong, which makes you, by all estimations, a sociopath. You sure don’t talk like you believe that…I wonder if you really do?

    “I would a hell of a lot rather”- but that’s all it comes down to for this position you say you hold, J. Ultimately why should anyone be convinced, when you can’t assert with any kind of authority that your view is right? Get what I’m saying? If you believe that no one can ever be wrong about anything, then why are we even talking? I suspect that, like most people, you DO believe in right and wrong. Your discourse certainly gives proof- it is RIGHT to let people of the same sex marry, it is RIGHT to give them benefits, it is RIGHT to give anyone the ability to have a family.

    Your thoughts?

    Comment by Evenshine — November 20, 2008 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  32. Oops, sorry, didn’t see your second comment. Thanks for clearing up the right/wrong issue. Could you tell me whence you derive this sense of right and wrong?

    Comment by Evenshine — November 20, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  33. Not at all

    No, Evenshine, you just said exactly the opposite (November 20, 2008 @ 2:21 pm) where you assert that Jesus himself would never have helped someone “living an immoral lifestyle”. This is specifically on the issue of: How does a Christian businessman justify in terms of his faith refusing health insurance to the spouse of his employee?

    Your answer was, today, that Jesus would just have “sat with them” – not actually felt himself obliged to help. Have you already forgotten that?

    I don’t know if you have children, but it’s the same principle- you love them SO much that you show them right from wrong.

    Fairly plainly, Evenshine, if any of your children turn out to be lesbian or gay, you don’t love them enough to show them “right from wrong”. If you tell your children, as apparently you plan to do with any lesbian or gay children you have, that it doesn’t matter how they behave towards their partners – no matter how loving, caring, faithful, hateful, spiteful, promiscuous they are, whatever they do it’s wrong – you are not, in any sense of the word, showing your children “right from wrong”. You’re just condemning them regardless of their behavior.

    I challenge you to show me where I have shown fury and hostility.

    I challenge you to read the spiteful words that the “iProtectMarriage” crew have routinely written about people trying to teach kids in school to be respectful and kind towards each other and not see fury and hostility.

    Your discourse certainly gives proof- it is RIGHT to let people of the same sex marry, it is RIGHT to give them benefits, it is RIGHT to give anyone the ability to have a family.

    Of course it is!

    Could you tell me whence you derive this sense of right and wrong?

    I assume that ultimately it all derives from the instincts that evolved when we were grunty primates living in a troop somewhere on the seaside in Pliocenic Africa, about how to get along with other members of the troop.

    As a conscious human of course I can think abstractly about the human instincts that say I should try to be fair, share equally, protect children, stop bullies, and generally get along with people: just as a conscious human, you are capable of rejecting those instincts and behaving unfairly, inequiably, harm children, join bullies, and generally act aggressively and disruptively towards members of the human community who have done you no harm.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 20, 2008 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  34. Thanks for the convo. It’s been enlightening, but I’m done talking when the person deliberately twists my words. You’ve ignored everything I’ve said about loving, everything about the balance of love and truth. You have repeatedly challenged me, and, when I answered your challenges, have drawn your own erroneous conclusions. You’ve called me names, accused me of things you have no proof of, and infused the entire conversation with “loathing”. As there can be no conversation without an attempt at understanding, I’m done.
    I wish you the best! Thank you for your time. You’re welcome to comment on my blog, but I won’t be back here.
    Blessings.

    Comment by Evenshine — November 20, 2008 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  35. You’ve ignored everything I’ve said about loving, everything about the balance of love and truth.

    Well, yes. You’ve been talking about taking away people’s civil rights: about taking away a person’s health insurance, in this thread! – and while you may mouth words about your wanting to deny civil rights, to deny health insurance, in a “loving” way, you plainly have no notion of what real love is. Certainly no notion of the kind of Christian love Jesus professed. Why should I pay attention to words that have no meaning for you?

    accused me of things you have no proof of

    Ha. No, while you may claim this, I’ve said nothing to you that you hadn’t demonstrated you believed. Your belief that Christians deny health insurance to people “living an immoral lifestyle” is all the proof anyone would need of your evilminded loathing of lesbian and gay people.

    Comment by jesurgislac — November 20, 2008 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  36. […] insurance, homophobic God, Mark 9, Matthew 25, Matthew 5, Matthew 6, Matthew 7, Proposition 8 In a recent dialogue with one of the homophobic Christians who support government bans on same-sex marriage, we had a […]

    Pingback by Jesus just sat down with sinners, he didn’t offer them health insurance! « Jesurgislac’s Journal — November 21, 2008 @ 1:26 pm | Reply


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