Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jesus Had it Right: Vote NO on Proposition 8

From this morning's sermon at All Saints Church in Pasadena ... the Reverend Ed Bacon, rector:



And let the people say: AMEN!!!
.

53 comments:

Pat in Phoenix said...

Say it, brother! Amen!!!!

Please pray for us in Arizona. We are not as publically articulate and have far fewer advocates. Our community organizers (forgive us Barack) have failed to mount a sufficient campaign strategy to defeat our prop. 102. Wish I'd sent my money to No on 8 in California. It is getting spent far more usefully.

Paul B said...

Every where you look, you find examples of people who love others restricting what they can do.

I restrict the freedom that my newly-driving teen has. I do it out of love, for I am aware of the dangers of teen aged driving.

I live in a society where it is illegal to cross the street outside of a crosswalk. It is illegal because pedestrians could be killed and drivers' lives ruined should one not see the other.

It is a fallacious argument to suppose that if I truly love you (in Christ) I will give you license to do whatever you please. If I feel the consequences would be detrimental to you, I am obligated to do something about it.

St Paul spent a lot of time admonishing various christians to reform their lives. Are we not to follow his lead? No, I am not a saint. But, would you really sit silently by, as a fellow christian, if you thought I was holding on to a belief that would be detrimental to my soul?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul ... there's a difference between "sitting silently when you think someone holds on to a belief that would be detrimental to their soul" and writing your opinion into OUR constitution.

That's why we have freedom of religion in this country.

And a No on 8 vote will help preserve that freedom from those who -- in my mind -- are no better than (hypberbole alert!) ... a Christian version of the Taliban.

Paul B said...

Susan, I do have issues with codifying someone's religious beliefs into law - but if one of us is going to do it, I'd rather it be me than you. I say that slightly tongue in cheek.

But, seriously, my comment goes to the crux of our disagreement. You, and Ed, seem to think that if I love you as Jesus commanded I will agree with everything you say and do. Ironically, you don't seem to feel that you need to reciprocate by agreeing with me, and instead can label me a taliban.

Jesus, while on earth, was never silent, never accepting of the status quo, never said what people wanted to hear.

"Love one another as I have loved you" - calling sinners to repent and showing us the way to eternal life. Isn't that the love he showed us?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul ... gotta get to work so let me make this brief:

I'm not asking you to agree with me.

In fact, I'm happy for you not to.

What I'm saying -- and what Ed is saying -- is that people of faith can come to different conclusions on reading the same scriptures.

When that happens -- and it clearly does on this issue (and others!) then the question is who gets to impose their beliefs as the Capital-T-Truth on the other?

Our answer is: NOBODY DOES.

(And the same answer holds for writing theology in the Constitution.)

And now I'm off to to preaching and usher schedules for November.

uffda51 said...

The argument is not about granting a license to do “whatever you please.” The argument is about using a very narrow interpretation of the Bible to discriminate against a specific group of God’s children. Some still cling to this interpretation, despite hundreds of years of biblical scholarship and a century of medical research, which would be impossible to summarize here. I feel obligated to urge anyone planning to vote “yes” on Prop. 8 to please watch the recent documentary “For the Bible Tells me So” before the election.

Paul B said...

I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall here.

Just for a minute, could you guys consider that the conservatives ARE trying to love our neighbors, all of our neighbors? You might not agree with us, as we do not agree with you, but our motivation is not hatred.

IT said...

Actually, paul b, as far as I'm concerned the result of your actions in supporting Prop8 are hateful, so therefore they come from hatred.

I'm not a Christian and I find it hard to see any justification for conservative Christian values with which I do NOT agree being FORCED upon me, except breathtaking arrogance, and, yes, hatred.

You can't even claim that they are Christian values, as many Christians as those here, disagree with you.

I married my partner of many years a few weeks ago with all the joy and love that weddings should hold.

The sun rose sparklingly the next day. The marriages of our straight friends and family remain resolutely intact. The only change is that our family has a bit more protection from people who would do us harm.

And that would be you, paul b. You would deny our family rights and protections that come with marriage in the name of "protecting" us.

The only thing we need protection from is your bigotry.

My marriage has no consequence to you. Your denial of my marriage has great consequences to me. How can your denial of my marriage be seen by me as anything but hateful?

IT

MarkBrunson said...

The problem is not your intention, Paul, but that your method is wrong, derived from an incorrect belief-position.

Sorry, but it is true. We're not teens, we're not jaywalking, we are adults who understand ourselves quite clearly.

Now, let me apply to you an argument that is given to us, frequently, regarding this self-understanding as an example of why we are frustrated and angry:

"Paul, you may not think you're hate-filled and bigoted, but you just don't see clearly. We do, and you're a hateful bigot!"

Do you find that palatable? Why should we find it palatable to be told we "think" we understand God's Will for us, but only you actually do?

If all else fails, take it as love that, in opposing Prop 8, Susan and Ed, and many others, are trying to prevent you from imperiling your eternal soul by damaging gays and lesbians in this life.

Paul B said...

IT, as long as you define both you AND me, there can be no dialog.

As long as you consider my views to be invalid, there can be no inclusiveness.

If I placed a hurtful label on you, would that make it true? Of course not. You are fighting hard for acceptance - do you really think that it has to be at the cost of my integrity and dignity?

IT said...

PaulB,
Interesting, I am having this same discussion with my new wife (she is Roman Catholic). She says the same thing about me.

You (and she) are right, it's gone beyond dialogue for me. And I DO recognize that as a failing of mine.

But it's to the point for me where every "yes on 8" sign feels personal, like a kick in the stomach. I'm angry about it. We're not hurting anyone but people want to hurt us.

You are obviously an intelligent person. Therefore I cannot ascribe your cruelty to stupidity or simple ignorance.

So what accounts for your bias in the face of science and medical knowledge that suggest being gay is a normal variant, like left-handedness?

What accounts for your willingness to impose religious values on a secular state, and deprive those who do not share your faith or views of fundamental CIVIL rights?

What is left but hatred?

Tell me, in words that an atheist can understand.

IT


Who voted on YOUR marriage?: rebutting the pro-Prop8 arguments.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul ... here's the bottom line:

There is a fundamental and critical difference between feeling excluded because you're disagreed with (which you have been) and BEING excluded because of who you are (which is what Prop 8 would do for same sex couples re: what the Supreme Court has ruled is a fundamental, protected right: civil marriage.)

Paul B said...

IT,
I was commenting on Ed's sermon equating "love your neighbor" with acceptance of everything that they do, not commenting directly on gay marriage, but I will now.

This month my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. Does your marriage somehow degrade what we have, make it cheaper? No, Brittany Spears does that! But it's not about me, is it?

At it's basest level, it doesn't matter how I formulate my views when I vote. I could listen to the painting of old Aunt Edna in the foyer to determine my political position, and you couldn't stop me.

However, in the present, there is something that you want from me. Marriage is the question on the table, but that's not really what it's about.

You want me to affirm your life and agree that your life (lifestyle?) is just as valid as mine. You want, now really, to be treated as normal by the law, but also by people like me.

But, no matter how I arrive at my position, I believe that civil unions are as far as I can go.

How can I hold that position and not be considered a hateful bigot? I've got tradition on my side. Society really has no reason to provide a marriage framework for relationships that intrinsically don't produce children. The couple has a reason, but society doesn't. So, society has provided an alternative legal framework that provides everything you want except normalcy. Everything except affirmation.

And that's where we are. I understand what you want, and I'm willing to give you almost everything that you want.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Paul ... and can you not hear that in saying "I am willing to give you almost everything you want" you elevate yourself ... your opinion and perspective ... as having the POWER to give others what you already have.

The stunning entitlement of such unexamined privilege is a perfect example of why we need both freedom of and freedom FROM religion in this country ... and why we need the judiciary to protect equal protection.

Paul B said...

Susan, I know exactly what i am saying. I am not engaging in rhetoric or using hyperbole. I am trying to truly have a dialog from my heart.

I've said it doesn't matter HOW I arrive at my position. As a matter of fact, I'm off this afternoon for Diwali. Go figure.

I don't know what to say. I think that you are equating this issue with acceptance and affirmation. You might not see it that way.

IT said...

Actually, Paul, you are wrong on several fronts.

First of all, I don't want your affirmation or your approval of my "lifestyle". I don't have the right to demand that, nor do you have the right to demand it of me. I certainly don't "approve" of a lot of straight marriages, but you know what? It's not my business to approve or disapprove.

(Not to mention, I don't have a "lifestyle". I have a LIFE. One that's pretty much like any straight person's life.)

Second of all, you are woefully WRONG that civil unions give the same benefits as marriage. Indeed, the architect of CA's domestic partnership law was denied being with his partner in a rural hospital in NorCal despite their DP. "We don't do that here", he was told. Small comfort that he could sue them after the fact, don't you think? That's just one anecdote. There are many examples.

If you think they are the same, imagine telling your wife, "Let's get DP'd instead of married." Does that work for you?

Third, marriage is NOT linked to procreation and children. As a society got rid of that a long time ago. We let straight couples who don't want kids to marry, infertile, sterile, or elderly couples too. No test for fecundity to get or keep a marriage license.

Fourth, like 25% of gay couples in CA, we have kids too. So your denial of our marriage hurts OUR kids. Kinda puts that "protect the children" thing on its head.

This is not religious marriage we are talking about. This is civil marriage. Frankly, I think that EVERYONE should have a civil union from the state, and restrict "marriage" to churches. But unless or until that happens, the state has no justifiable or compelling interest to prevent my marriage if it allows yours.

But congratulations on your anniversary. I hope my beloved and are as lucky! We'll be 70 if we are. We've been together 14 years, and now married just 2 weeks. Like you, I'm sure, we know that successful marriage takes lots of love and lots of work.

But my parents who are just shy of their 60th: we'll never be able to match that. And that's sad.

uffda51 said...

Paul, I appreciate your civility and your sincerity. I do, however, consider your views to be, to use your word, “invalid.” The writers of the Bible thought the universe was three-tiered, the earth was flat, and the sun revolved around the earth. We no longer recognize these views as valid. They had no knowledge of DNA, chromosomes or the human zygote. They had no real understanding of heterosexuality, let alone homosexuality. We now know that homosexuals are not simply heterosexuals misbehaving. They share a different sexual orientation, not a “lifestyle,” not deficient, just different, and everyone’s orientation is morally neutral. These are simply facts, not subject to debate, and not awaiting a final judgment from a “Blue Ribbon Panel” or a neighborhood church. We can disagree about matters of faith such as the virgin birth and the resurrection. But Prop 8 is a civil rights issue and in this country and in this state we don’t discriminate on these issues and there is no compromise position.

Religious conservatives always cite “tradition” as a component of their views. Religious conservatives supported slavery, apartheid, and segregation and fought women’s suffrage, the ordination of women, and racially mixed marriages. The Bible was invoked by conservatives in each of these causes. That's not a very proud tradition to celebrate. Your motivation may not be hatred but many on the “yes on 8” side are hate-filled, and conservatives churches are the source of their talking points. Whether these folks are ignoring the facts or are ignorant of the facts, the injustice to the LGBT community remains.

Paul B said...

it,
I'll take your comments in order.

1. I've always suspected there is a acceptance component to this. If you say no, then, for you it's no.

2. Discrimination occurs no matter what the labels involved. Do you think that "We're married" would have held more sway in your example? That was an issue with one person. We can all come up with annecdotal evidence of various things.

But, to your question - that is the point. Civil union and marriage are not the same. That's at the heart of our disagreement.

3. No evidence presented to support your point. But, you are right - there is no test for sterility or fertility. It is assumed for the class (men and woman getting married) and handled accordingly.

4. Not one of those chidren issued from both parents in a same sex union. Not a single one. Something voluntary occurred. Whether it be a child from a previous heterosexual union (and one partner has custody) or an artifical conception, they are children that occurred outside the union of the couple. We can handle that civilly/legally.

Thanks about my anniversary. My wife deserves most of the credit! No, it's mutual.

I am very conflicted by one group imposing it's will on another. I would not want it done to me. But, I fear that it's going to be done to one of us.

If I asked, "How can we both preserve our freedom in this area," what would you say? How can we respect my right to teach my children and run my life in accordance with my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, and at the same time respect your desire to be married?

IT said...

Paul,
The Roman Catholics have no problem denying divorcés access to marriage in their church, and teaching that divorce is wrong, although it is legal in the civil sphere. Similarly, contraception is contra-indicated by Catholics (not very successfully, it's true). These seems to be very reasonable analogies for how to deal with this issue.

What you teach your children is what you always have. That some people disagree with your faith tradition and its views. As citizens in a pluralistic secular state, however, you must respect their right to disagree, and tolerate without necessarily approving--just as the Catholics must co-exist with civil divorce, and contraception, without ncessarily approving it (and I have to co-exist with religious conservatives, I might add. But I do NOT attempt to deny them marriage or free exercise of civil rights just because I think they're wrong).

But you don't have a right to force others to adhere to YOUR rules, any more than they can force you to live by theirs.

you see, my marriage has no REAL effect on you, certainly nothing akin to the effect on ME of you denying me mine. I'm not FORCING you to do anything, except allow me equivalent civil rights to have civil rites. I don't ask you to marry me in your church, or teach your children contra your faith. I'm asking you the same respect for my beliefs, which you emphatically do not ahve.

Don't you get it that there is a fundamental difference in whose rights are actually affected or infringed upon here? YOUR FREEDOM TO BELIEVE WHAT YOU WILL is unimpeded by my marriage. Not at all.

BTW, your comments about children are a weasel job and you know it. Either there is a fertility test, or there isn't. If there is, no post-menopausal women or quadraplegics should be allowed to marry. QED. And marriage protects even the children of blended families, adoptees, and fosters. Certainly you are not suggesting that it shouldn't. Also QED.

When you say, "we can handle that civilly": that's the POINT. This is Civil Marriage, not a churchy sacrament. We ARE trying to handle it civilly. But the only way to give equivalent civil rights is, well, to give equivalent civil rights.

More at Who voted on YOUR marriage?

Paul B said...

it,
It's true - my marriage is not affected adversely by yours.

It's also true I'm Catholic, and I don't contracept.

To be honest in this discussion, I must disclose that, while I was born in California, I presently live on the other coast. This is of great interest to me, though, because the question will come to my state, and eventually the Supremes will have to sort it all out.

Please, answer this about indoctrination fears for children. If Prop 8 does not pass, then marriage for all will be the law of the state. Parental notification won't be required when an elementary school teacher mentions what she and her wife did over the weekend. No notification will be required when various families are discussed. And it will be. The California Teachers Association donated 1 million dollars to defeat Prop 8 - we know where the teachers' agenda is. So, address the fears that the classroom teachers will not be indoctrinating children into the idea that all marriage is the same. Not during sex ed or health classes, but every single day.

IT said...

Paul B,

Oh, you don't jsut want to deny us marriage, you want us back in the closet and pretend we aren't here?

Well, Prop8 changes nothing in that regard, Paul. The teacher may ALREADY mention her same-sex partner in a casual conversation. Your child may ALREADY have a friend with "two dads". Your teen may ALREADY know a classmate who identifies as gay.

You can't shield your children from our existence. The fact is gay folks are here, living vibrant, complete family lives that intersect with yours in lots of ways. The gay genie isn't going to go back in the bottle even if this passes.

But values come from home, and you can tell them that your faith doesn't agree with them, just like the divorce or contraception issue. But I don't see the Catholics putting up a Constitutional amendment against divorce, or The Pill.

In the same way, the teacher may mention she keeps kosher, or the friend's family might fast for Ramadan. The fact that they do so doesn't force your kids to do it, or you to endorse it.

Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, Paul.

And no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be formally taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it. The state superintendant agrees.

Gay indoctrination is as bankrupt an idea as "recruiting", I'm sorry to say.

Finally, if values come from home, so does bigotry. Otherwise there wouldn't be nearly so many racists, no matter what the schools teach.

MarkBrunson said...

Paul,
You're doing exactly as you said we are.
All we are getting from you is that it is all about you.
There is inherent selfishness in your statements. I live in the South, and mixed-race couples are legal, but you wouldn't know it from the remarks. However, I've never known one of the racists I've heard making these remarks to be sued or forced to teach their children to marry those of another race. Children in California, and in the rest of the world, will constantly meet things of which their parents disapprove. The parents - if they are good parents - know this and teach accordingly at home, then hope that their children will make a good decision later on, because - if they are good parents - want their children to be separate individuals with their own decision-making ability!
Your point on procreation is moot, as, as IT has said, marriage is not about procreation. If it is, then you lower married couples to no more than a mating pair, rutting animals.
You're feeling that we've put a "hurtful label" on you, yet, you don't mind - implicitly - doing the same to us.
I don't believe that you are aware of the damage you are doing, to yourself, as well as us.

Paul B said...

it,
As someone who grew up in the south during the last gasps of segregation, I can tell you that institutions can have a far greater effect than family.

Institutional racism was insidious and all pervasive and had an effect to perpetuate the problem. Everywhere one looked one saw little things that shaped kids' perceptions.

So, why should I not expect institutional acceptance of gay marriage to have the same effect? I can teach all I want at home aqnd church, but if everywhere the kids go they see institutional acceptance of all things gay, that totally undercuts what I am teaching.

You probably would consider that a good thing. But, it's not neutral. It's not live and let live. Within a generation it totally marginalizes a traditional, majority view.

Unlike civil union, where both sides get a little and give a little, the gay marriage thing would have one side give everything and the other get everything.

I'm sure there a lot of people that read Susan's blog who think is the way it should be. I obviously do not.

uffda51 said...

So Paul, what exactly are you “teaching” that would be undercut? What “tradition” are you citing? Traditionally, the LGBT community has been shunned, scapegoated, threatened, discriminated against, and worse. This is not a tradition worth preserving.

As a straight married man, which “side” am I on? Can you tell us about the day you chose the faith tradition in which your parents brought you up? Can you tell us about the day you chose to be heterosexual? Could you change your sexual orientation if provided with three months of “therapy?” Could you tell us your understanding of the ancient Jewish purity codes? Could you tell us why you find the medical research on human sexuality of the past 100 years unconvincing?

IT said...

Paul B,
You admitted, It's true - my marriage is not affected adversely by yours.

That sums it up.

You have not addressed any of the points I made; you keep coming back to "inevitably my values will be undercut". That is not an argument. The experience of Catholics in divorce and birth control shows that to be untrue. (And conversely, you have no problem whatsoever EXPLICTLY and MATERIALLY undercutting my values.)

i have no problem disagreeing with you on every point of Catholic doctrine. I have no problem with YOU and YOURS living your conservative Catholic values. I simply don't want ME and MINE to be forced to live them.

The substance of your argument is that if you are not allowed to discriminate, that means you are discriminated against.

I'm sorry, I find that to be no argument at all.

I'm done.

IT

Paul B said...

it said,
The substance of your argument is that if you are not allowed to discriminate, that means you are discriminated against.

And that, also, is the substance of your argument.

Somebody's values are going to be codified in law, and others are going to have their values trampled on.

We can argue about who is more discriminated against, but...

Obviously, we are not going to change each others minds. I wonder sometimes whether increased compassion and understanding is even possible.

I'll let you guys have the last word.

MarkBrunson said...

Paul,
As I've told you from living presently in the South, Paul, it hasn't had that great an effect. With all love and compassion, if you have that little effect on your children, the problem may be you.
You speak of love and compassion, yet you show us no respect, which is the minimum requirement of both love and compassion. I'm really trying to hear what you're saying, but it sounds - I'm not trying to be cruel - like a child telling me about a nightmare. I reassure the child it's not real, there are no monsters.
Let me try to sum up what my understanding of this situation is, and see if this is correct: you see homosexual expression as sexual excess and deviation, therefore, any acceptance of this opens the floodgate to all sexual deviancy and excess. I assure you, Paul, this is not the case. Contrary to certain teaching, we are not child molesters, nor did we choose our sexuality, nor are we any more deeply disturbed, scarred, addicted or sex-obsessed than heterosexuals are. I am not interested in a sexual relationship, IT is committed to a partner, and, yes, there are young and not-so-young gays out looking to . . . well, the same thing as heterosexual young and not-so-young, just with people of the same sex.
The disrespect you show us lay in this; you keep telling us what we are, and rejecting out of hand what we tell you of ourselves and giving us arguments that have convinced you but not us, and blame us for not being convinced. This is not compassion, Paul.
Now, you've said that you are letting us "have the last word" - and I have to say, if you run from this debate with no better than you've done, then that will let you know why there is no understanding between us, and why you see your views have no staying power with others.

JCF said...

Somebody's values are going to be codified in law, and others are going to have their values trampled on.

So somebody wins, and in so doing, defeats the loser?

Hmmm... hmmm... what does that remind me of?

"The first shall be last, and the last shall be first"

In all honesty, PaulB: what would Jesus do?

[So glad Jesus DIDN'T say to Judas Iscariot "One of us is going to betray the other (to death on the cross), and if one of us is going to do it, I'd rather it be me than you." Praise Christ!]

Paul (A.) said...

Upthread Paul B wrote: "You want, now really, to be treated as normal by the law, but also by people like me."

He doesn't get it that gay people in California and elsewhere are not concerned about "people like him" but that they are entitled "to be treated as normal by the law". He is arguing that they should be treated as abnormal not only by him but by the law. THAT is what is impermissible in a civil society.

Even further upthread he asserted: "It is a fallacious argument to suppose that if I truly love you (in Christ) I will give you license to do whatever you please. If I feel the consequences would be detrimental to you, I am obligated to do something about it."

Aside from the fact that his personal feelings are an insufficient basis for state legislation that doesn't affect him, he adopts a greater fallacy: If I truly love you (in Christ), I will impose civil restrictions on your acts that affect only you. Such an argument is the "justification" for enslaving all gays and lesbians. I had thought that we had gotten past religious justifications for slavery a century and a half ago. But maybe not.

uffda51 said...

Paul B., while you are not on trial here, you have chosen to not answer the valid questions put to you as to why your "traditional" values should be upheld. To me, it's as though you still choose to believe that the earth is flat, all facts to the contrary.

Paul B said...

uffda51, come on. There is absolutely nothing that I can say that could sway your opinion. Not a thing.

At this point, we have each heard all of the arguments of our side and the other.

So, the only reason you want me to answer your questions about traditional values, defend my position, is for you to tell me that I haven't defended my position sufficiently.

I do not for a minute think that you are hoping that I'll come up with the reason for you to jump up from the computer and exclaim "Holy Moly, I've been wrong all these years!"

I posted to this article because it was actually interesting, I thought, to discuss what Jesus meant by "love your neighbor as yourself." I never mentioned gay marriage or prop 8. Simply asked if love of my neighbor meant agreeing with all of their actions.

And to jcf, Jesus knew exactly what he thought and told anyone in earshot. He didn't tell the woman at the well that she was living with a man not her husband and that was okay. He did not tell the woman caught in adultery that she should continue with her adulterous affair. He called her a sinner. He told the rich man, who was doing everything else right, to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor - he went away unhappy because he had many possessions.

Jesus was concerned about people entering the Kingdom of Heaven, not having a cool, happy life on earth.

JCF said...

He called her a sinner.

And NO ONE is talking about taking your right to call me (et al) "a sinner", PaulB. That'll be legal if Prop 8 passes, and just as legal if it doesn't.

But Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world."

You seem to think that your (anti-gay) Kingdom SHOULD be.

That's the difference.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

And here's where I comment:

Jesus was concerned about people entering the Kingdom of Heaven, not having a cool, happy life on earth.

We pray very time we gather as our Lord taught us ... "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" ... not "get us into heaven."

For many of us ... Me, for example ... the core message of Jesus was NOT people "entering the Kingdom of Heaven" but people recognizing the kingdom was HERE and bringing it to earth.

Paul B said...

Susan, It's really:

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So, whether it's in heaven or on earth, His will should be done. I think we can agree on that. We are longing for his second coming when his Kingdom will be perfected here on earth.

We are also working to bring his Kingdom here, and it will be perfected here when He comes again. But, it's the same Kingdom - by working to bring His kingdom here, we are also working out our salvation. By working out our salvation, by doing His will, we are also advancing his Kingdom here.

Of course, Susan, we disagree on how that will happen. We disagree on some theological points.

But, once again, I don't expect you to stand by when you see sin in someone's life. I'm sure that you let people have it when you think they are not advancing the Kingdom on earth. Why would you expect others to not do the same?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

I do not expect others not to express their opinion ... even to "let someone have it" on occasion.

What I do expect -- require, even -- is that they not write their theological opinion into our constitution.

That's what the Prop 8 fight is about.

Paul B said...

Susan, I'll be honest. As an Irish Catholic, I am well aware that my family back in Ireland could not own land for hundreds of years, and that once my grandfather came here there was discrimination as well.

I feel uncomfortable writing my beliefs into law. I do.

But, being honest here, I have never had a discussion on the subject with a gay apologist that has not ended with me being called a hateful homophobe or a taliban or something worse. Yeah, I know, sticks and stones. But, the militancy that I see makes me more uneasy than writing my beliefs into law.

IT said...

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

MarkBrunson said...

PaulB,
I'm sorry you've been called "Taliban" -- the Taliban is truly awful. I won't get in to what certain fundamentalists might do if pressed, but I don't see "Taliban" in you. Homophobe - that's different. I get called alcoholic. I am an alcoholic, and, knowing it, I resist the urge to drink. The truth is, your words do show a deep fear of homosexuals without a corresponding reasonable basis. That is homophobia.

But, I would remind you that being treated badly by others does not give your position virtue by default. After all, you've consistently refused to even acknowledge my presence here, though I've addressed you at length, but I don't take that as a sign that I am, by default, right.
You are being asked to defend your position here, yes. If you are unable to do so, then, perhaps, it is not a Universal Truth you are defending. I accept that you will never accept us, Paul, and that is your path - it is where God has put you.

IT did, at one point on another thread, suggest that perhaps the legal, governmental recognition should be "civil union" regardless of sex, and that "marriage" should be a term reserved for use by churches.

IT said...

But unless and until that is the case, Mark B (ie, that the state gives civil unions to all), it's marriage for all. (It was on this thread, somewhere).

October 12 2008 was the absolute happiest day of my 46 years on this earth. On that joyous and amazing day, I married my beloved, in the eyes of the state, in the eyes of our friends and family, and yes, I am assured (me being the ol' atheist and beloved being a Roman Catholic), in the eyes of God.

The PaulB's of this world say that the mere act of my marriage discriminates against them, because it prevents them from discriminating against me.

This long thread started because I told PaulB I was unable to find an explanation but bigotry and hatred in this opposition.

Many bytes and much bandwidth later, I sadly think I was right.

IT

Paul (A.) said...

Paul B wrote: "But, the militancy that I see makes me more uneasy than writing my beliefs into law."

Those who would be the victims of your writing your beliefs into law are more uneasy about THAT than any of us should be about their or even your "feelings".

Consider another example: Say I am concerned about your eating rare beef as sinful (and I can well argue that I have greater biblical authority for that than you can present about homosexuality). Am I justified in amending the constitution to require all beef to be cooked to 170 degrees, just to be sure that you do not sin? Or would you dismiss this as just a silly fancy on my part?

Paul B said...

Mark , I will address you personally. When commenting on a blog where I am a minority, I find it hard to respond to everyone. I've never managed to handle multiple threads at the same time, I guess.

I am going to try to be honest here. I'm not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine. You can find many variations of our arguments in many places - we don't have to rehash them here. Maybe we could, though, understand each other better.

A phobia is an intense or irrational fear of something. Actually, homophobia is an intense or irrational fear of homosexuality, isn't it?

So, if I have a less intense fear, or my fear is rational, I am not a homophobe. What's the scale one uses to determine this? When does rational become irrational? Is it the same for each person?

Say that I have plenty of reasons for a rational fear of gay people, or a dislike of gay people. What then? Homophobia doesn't even address the people, just the concept, anyway.

Or are you, like Coretta Scott King and others, equating homophobia with racism? Racism is bad - it's an act of the will. A phobia is a mental illness, according the the DSM IV. I'm quite sure that I don't have a diagnosable phobia against homosexuality.

So, I think what you are really saying is that I have a negative view of homosexuals, and since you guys are so darn great, there can't be any basis for it.

Mark, I accept you as a human being. I accept your dignity and your worth before God.

IT said...

What my marriage means to me:

here.

REmember, if Prop8 passes, there is a solid chance that my married will be nullified.

Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

Paul B said...

Paul(a) said: Consider another example: Say I am concerned about your eating rare beef as sinful (and I can well argue that I have greater biblical authority for that than you can present about homosexuality). Am I justified in amending the constitution to require all beef to be cooked to 170 degrees, just to be sure that you do not sin? Or would you dismiss this as just a silly fancy on my part?

Paul, that's a silly analogy. How about this - the bible says that divorce is only allowed for cases of adultery. Should that be in the constitution? You only get one shot at picking your life partner?

Would society be better or worse?

uffda51 said...

Paul B. said “I am going to try to be honest here. I'm not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine.”

I would guess that all of us who have posted here and were raised in mainstream American denominations were taught the same “traditional” position on homosexuality you were.

As The Rev. Dr. Laurence C. Keene said in “For the Bible Tells me So,” "There's nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God -- as long as you're in the fifth grade."

We changed our minds. The reasons why have been covered in this thread.

Paul B said...

As The Rev. Dr. Laurence C. Keene said in “For the Bible Tells me So,” "There's nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God -- as long as you're in the fifth grade."

We changed our minds. The reasons why have been covered in this thread.


Yep, and I'm not convinced.

Your insulting post seems to indicate that if people would just think they would agree with you.
I could say something insulting back, but suffice to say that I have greater than a fifth grader's view of God and disagree with you.

Paul (A.) said...

You see, Paul B, the reason that you inspire the "Taliban" label (it was admitted hyperbole) is your rush to constitutionally impose your own religious prejudices on everyone else.

I don't care that you think my example is silly. Take yours: What is the advantage to society of forcing battered women to remain in loveless and life-threatening marriages for the sake of imposing your likely erroneous scriptural interpretation?

You keep saying "I'm not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine." None of us cares about your beliefs, so long as you stop going about imposing them on others by law.

And quit the canard that "homophobia" can't apply to you because you're not feeling afraid of gay people: Homophobia is defined as "an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality". Etymology does not trump usage.

If your homophobia justifies (in your mind) prohibiting gay people to have the benefit of marriage, does it go so far as to justify Levitacally stoning them as well? Kindly explain why or why not.

You actually could do well to watch For the Bible Tells Me So. One of the parents in that documentary also claims that he knows the way God thinks. Follow his story and see what he learned.

You might learn something also (no longer being the fifth grade).

I do hope that you learn not to make others slaves to your shallow preconceptions.

MarkBrunson said...

PaulB,
I'm not saying we're so darn great, nor am I trying to change your mind about us. I believe I pointed out earlier that we have just as many problems as heterosexuals; it's simply that we don't have any more than heterosexuals.

I'm afraid, however, that I find it difficult to accept your assertion that you accept my dignity as an individual, as you seem to have little interest in accepting what I say, as a homosexual, of homosexuality, and that is inherently disrespectful. At the same time, I'm not particularly worried about it, but about those whose marriages are in danger.

Now, for the homophobia deal: consider it a bit of role reversal. What you are telling us here is that we are in an unnatural or "disordered" state, but we don't know it. Yet, when I tell you the same thing, you seemingly became extremely defensive. Perhaps there are lessons you can take from that?

Honestly, I don't know what it would take to change my mind, but, keep in mind that what you are saying to us is no more convincing than what what we are saying to you. That isn't the question. The question is, rather, given the unconvincing nature of the explanation, you are entitled to write it into law. I would accept your argument that that cuts two ways if you were being forbidden to teach your children differently, if you were being forced to attend gay weddings, or if your church were being forced to hold gay weddings, but they are not. While you are dealing with frustration and an outraged morality, your "opponents" are dealing with the loss of protections and benefits offered by the state.

I understand that you believe you are doing this in compassion and with a love of Christ, but I'm asking you to see that we have legitimate reasons for believing differently.

Paul B said...

Mark, one of the mistakes that the Church made was to use the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin". While true, for everyday people having "hate" in the definition of our interaction is confusing and seems to overshadow the "love" part.

How can I respect for someone who disagrees with me, who wants to write into law something that I totally disagree with, who wants to make normal something I think is not normal? I am working on that. I pray for Susan and some others every day on the way to work. Just a simple "Send your Holy Spirit to comfort and guide them". I read blogs like this. I pray that I see all people the way God sees them.

Meanwhile, I find that to accommodate the gay minority, we are being forced to change institutions and definitions all around us. It starts, actually, with the label you choose to call your detractors. As brought up by paul (a) above, no other phobia has "discrimination" in it's definition, does it? Not a one. The gay lobby has taken a mental illness (a phobia) and changed the definition to mean a hateful person who opposes the gay agenda. Wow, call me crazy and a bigot all in one word.

Marriage. Family. Tolerance. Inclusion. Tradition. All being rewritten.

Marriage - between any two people
Family - any group of adults with or without children
Tolerance - you must accept the gay agenda or be labeled a hateful, intolerant, homophobic bigot. Gay people can not be intolerant.
Inclusion - you must include gay people in everything, and gay people don't need to include you.
Tradition - a bad thing. Used by hateful bigots to oppress people.

I find it hard to get on board with a group that comes on the scene and demands that 100% of their agenda by implemented, no compromises, no discussion, just do it, no matter what has to change.

uffda51 said...

Paul B. –
“Meanwhile, I find that to accommodate the gay minority, we are being forced to change institutions and definitions all around us.”

Change the word “gay” to black. Or female. Or any number of other groups in American history.

Changing our institutions and definitions has always been about expanding the rights of minorities to provide the same freedoms and rights as the majority. Conservatives have historically opposed all of these changes, frequently citing the Bible as their justification, while defining themselves as the victims. The fight over Prop. 8 is no different.

Paul (A.) said...

I don't know about your church, Paul, but mine doesn't use the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin" because we recognize that that is just a veil for hatred.

Your reference to people "who want[] to write into law something that I totally disagree with, who want[] to make normal something I think is not normal" is revealing. These are things that HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU other than your feelings but greatly impact the lives of those that the proposal would discriminate against.

As to "normal", you missed the boat. The medical establishment agreed in 1973 that homosexuality would no longer be treated as a disorder.

As to the "phobia" part of homophobia, only a fifth-grader would really think we were speaking in a clinical sense. In nonclinical usage, many "-phobia" terms refer c`ommonly to discriminatory attitudes like yours. If you don't like the "-phobia" you could call yourself a "homobigot" instead and see if it catches on. If you hear yourself using terms such as "the gay lobby" or "the gay agenda", then you would qualify.

Just as racism is often defined, and with good reason, as racial prejudice combined with the power to enforce discrimination, so you are guilty of that level of "homobigotry" when you combine with others to enforce discrimination against gay people by law. If it were just your attitude of prejudice alone, we wouldn't care. Your need to enforce it by law, however, is what has led others here to call you "hateful".

The answer is simple: If you are against same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of your own sex.

And if you need to think of gay people in terms of sin, then remember that that is God's province, not yours, to determine. What part of "judge not" in the Gospel did you miss?

I'm afraid that what has to change is you.

Paul B said...

Nope. Not buying it.

Female. Black. Who I like to have sex with.

Which doesn't fit?

Two are immutable characteristics that can be proven physically. One is a preference or orientation.

I am all for equal rights based on race and gender. I don't think gay people should be discriminated against in the workplace, just like one shouldn't be discriminated against for one's religious beliefs.

But, I just can't see changing existing laws (or interpretation of law) to change societal institutions to accommodate the minority in this case.

And paul (a), the APA was extorted into removing homosexuality from the DSM. Haven't you read about the zapping of their conventions?

And, if you think there is no "gay agenda" or "gay lobby" ask Susan about the groups that she belongs to and what their goals are. It's not bad, per se, to have an agenda, is it? To acknowledge that gays are a group, are organized, and have legislative and social engineering goals makes them pretty mainstream in that regard, doesn't it? Why would you think only "homophobes" or "bigots" would hold this view?

MarkBrunson said...

PaulB,

I am sorry that you've bought into conspiracy theories.

You're right. I can't discuss this with someone who operates from delusion and irrational fear. I'm sorry you can't see that in you, but your last diatribe - there's no other word for it - it became painfully apparent. I was foolish not to see it and hope for better.
I pray for your well-being, Paul, and I pray that your attempts to do us harm will be unsuccessful.

God go with you.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

paul .. we're done here. closing off comments on this post.

To reduce the deepest most profound intimate relationships of gay and lesbian partnerships to "who you like to have sex with" is dismissive, demeaning and just plain ignornant.

Do "my groups" have an agenda? You bet we do. It's called "the gospel agenda" and it's to respect the dignity of every human being as we strive to love God with our whole hearts and love our neighbors as ourselves.

It's an agenda worth getting up every morning for and working hard for every day.

Pity you choose not to share it with us.

Go in peace.