Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let's Define a Few Terms

Day after day after day I read blog posts and articles written by people who define their religion by their bigotries. "I'm not a homophobe, I'm a Christian." "I'm not a misogynist, I'm a Christian." "I'm not hateful, I'm godly."

For one thing, thank you. Thank you for making your entire religion so revolting I don't have any doubts. It's easier on me that way. The Slacktivist gives me doubts occasionally, so filled is he with generosity and love for his fellow man. He makes me think*. You do not.

You make me grateful for my atheism. Good job.

Good job to Chuck Colson, who can be counted on to make me feel good about my lack of ability to believe.

For the past year, we’ve talked a lot about the threat to religious freedom in America.

You've talked. I've been over here nattering on about equal rights for all the women and gays and atheists.

We’ve talked about Christian adoption agencies closing rather than being forced to place children with same-sex couples.

No, those are adoption agencies who decided it would be better to leave children in group homes and foster care than give them to couples who would love and raise them simply because of a burning hatred for those couples. Get it right. Gays didn't make anyone shut down adoption agencies, adoption agencies chose to hurt, or at least stop helping, children instead of giving up their hatreds. Don't mistake hatred for nobility.

We’ve talked about health care professionals having to choose between their consciences and participating in immoral medical practices.

No, those are doctors and nurses and pharmacists who have decided they know better than women- always women, never men- what those women should do with their own bodies. They know whether or not a woman can afford or wants to be pregnant, they know exactly what every woman should do with her body far better than she does. Don't mistake arrogance for professionalism.

We’ve talked about the Administration playing fast and loose with the notion of religious freedom-choosing instead to talk about freedom of “worship.”

It took me a second, but he's referring to Obama using the phrase "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion", ignoring the fact that Reagan, Bush the Elder, Eisenhower and Lincoln all used the phrase "freedom of worship" and nobody clutched any pearls. Don't mistake sophistry for meaning.

But these threats to our first freedom pale in comparison to the threat posed by a single court case now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It's the gays again, isn't it?

The case is Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in which federal Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California’s Proposition 8 restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Judge Walker not only overturned the will of the people of California, he put all religious believers on notice: Their faith means nothing in the eyes of the law.

Actually, it’s even worse than that. The judge found as fact that “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”

If this judge’s decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit and eventually the Supreme Court, the religious beliefs of hundreds of millions of Americans will be seen as harmful in the eyes of the law.

Yes, because the most important thing about Christianity is it's homophobia, just as Jesus said . . . wait, he didn't say that? He said the most important thing is loving your neighbor as yourself? Huh.

Why is it that I know that and Mr. Colson doesn't?

Judge Walker also concluded that, quote, “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.” End quote. So, according to Judge Walker, if you believe marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman, you are a homophobe and a bigot.

Well, yes, actually. I guess this is hurtful to you, but yes, that's exactly what it is. There's really nothing else I can say about that. The sky is blue, water is wet, you are a bigot.

Such legal reasoning not only charts the course for destroying religious liberty, it paves the way for societal chaos. Arguing against so-called same-sex "marriage" is not "gay bashing." It is an argument for preserving traditional marriage. I've spent 35 years ministering in prisons and have seen the tragic results of broken homes. I know the disaster that awaits if so-called same-sex "marriage" is allowed to further devalue marriage and weaken the traditional American family.

What do broken homes have to do with same sex marriage? Nothing, really, but Chuck has seen people in prison- prison!- and you should be afraid!

Fortunately, Chuck doesn't really have any answers, just a video and the Manhattan Declaration. I think we'll be okay on the Chuck front.

*I think Fred would be as good a person had he never heard of Jesus, but he does make belief attractive.


  1. On the subject of Fred, I'm right there with you. Of course, even he, from time to time, reminds me that he's a theist:

    That verse, John 14:6, says this:

    Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

    And for those score-keepers keeping score, let me state for the record that I believe this. This is what we Christians mean by Christ-ian, after all.

    Shorter Fred: People that believe what I believe are right. People that do not believe what I believe are wrong.

    It's lines like that that remind me that no matter how much I may respect and admire certain people of faith (and I do have a few that fit the bill, Fred included), there is one gigantic point upon which we will likely never agree.

  2. Absolutely, comradh, but Fred also doesn't believe in hell, or that you or I should burn in it, so . . . you know, I can't entirely figure Fred out. I'm not sure what the point is of religion if the end is the same for everyone.

    He's certainly nicer than Colson, though.

  3. Reading these things is tricky.

    “...bla, bla, bla faith means nothing in the eyes of the law.”
    ---ok, fine---
    “Actually, it’s even worse “
    --wait, what worse? What was bad? Go back, reread. Oh. I get it; shift mental transmission into “fanatic” gear, continue on ---

  4. what about those of a religious bent who DO believe that SSM marriage is valid? what about the religious belief that gay is ok? [sorry, couldn't help the almost-rhyme...] what about the religious belief in polymarriage? any and all polymarriage, i mean - not JUST how "those muslims do it"

    WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER RELIGIONS?!?! "Freedom of Religion" MEANS "You do your religion, i do mine, they do theirs - and NONE of us IMPOSE our beliefs on the other!" which means ALLOWING GAY PEOPLE TO MARRY is allowing religions that allows that to function, with *NO* downside for religions that DON'T allow it, because they can refuse to perform those marriages!!!
    but not allowing gay people to marry is IMPOSING THEIR beliefs on people who DON'T HAVE THOSE BELIEFS! like, say, the gay people who want to get married. or the gay peoples' friends and families who want to SEE them get married. etc

    WHY is it ALWAYS persecution against *YOU* EVEN WHEN it's persecution AGAINST US!!!

  5. Denelian: I think you're onto something. if we define "being gay" as a religous belief, and getting married as a part of that religon, then crap like Prop 8 becomes unconstitutional... oh wait, it already is. Besides, I suspect the gay community wouldn't want to win their rights by cheating.

    But it is interesting that if we gave the Radical Gay Agenda ("Dey took owr JAWBS!") one of the same priviledges as the poor persecuted Christians, that they're only denied because they don't relate their lifestyle to supernaturalism, it makes it illegal to deny them a whole swathi> of the rights the bigots are so keen to. (Uh oh, I ended a sentence with a preproposi- AAAARRRRRGGGHHHGHGGHGGH- *dies*]

    Also, +50 points for the Slacktivist Fangirlism. [/Fanboi]

    @comhradh: I think (though I can't say for sure) John 14:6 means a very different thing to Fred than to the Bigotians: namely, being a "follower of jesus" doesn't necessarily imply that you pray to the guy personally. Those who "help the least of us" are the ones who know him, so I suspect he believes the likes of Mahatma Ghandi and the Dalai Lama are following Jesus without realising it.

  6. Quasar;

    i was meaning more, religions that allow gay marriage - THOSE rights are being trampled. i must know a dozen OPENLY PAGAN gay people. and Wicca allows for SSM, so do MOST forms of paganism, so does UU and several types of Christianity...

  7. Oh, that works. It is their right after all: if a hindu wedding or a buddhist wedding or a christian or muslim wedding can be legally acknowledged as marriage, what right do right-wing Christians have to stop Pagans, Wiccans or liberal-church Christians from getting married according to their beliefs, which allow for same-gender marriages?

    Off-topic: I've been de-sexualising my language recently (hense "same-gender marriage" above). Being attracted or falling in love with another isn't the same thing as having sex with them, so why do we define gay people by what (I've always felt) ought to be private? Maybe it's just semantics, but this oversexualising seems detrimental to me. (I'm not condemning sharing private info, if that's your thing, but I don't think "I'm gay" should be parsed as "I like to have sex with guys/girls").

    What do you guys/girls think?

  8. Q;

    i totally understand what you're saying/meaning. decoupling SEX could be good - but then, i'm unsure what saying "i'm gay" would mean [as opposed to "i'm queer" meaning "i am somewhere in the LGBTQTI area]

    on the other hand, if a person says to me "i'm gay. that is my identity. it doesn't necessarily mean i only want to sleep with men" i'll take it. i tend to identify people as they tell me they want to be identified. if that makes sense?

  9. " but then, i'm unsure what saying "i'm gay" would mean [as opposed to "i'm queer" meaning "i am somewhere in the LGBTQTI area]"

    Hmmm... I wasn't aware 'queer' was a secondary semantic, but I think it's something different to what we're discussing. My point is more about public perception: if someone says to someone else "I'm gay," right now, there's a decent chance the other person will read that as "I like to have sex with people of the same gender."

    That's kind of confronting: it's like someone coming up and listing their fetishes for you. And the problem isn't that (I have no problem with people coming up and listing their fetishes, though I may prefer to excuse myself from their presence before they get to the later half of the alphabet ;) ), it's the fact that "I'm gay" shouldn't be like that: it should be more like "I fall in love with/want to spend my life with someone of the same gender."

    I guess what you said above should be implied, rather than explicitly stated. The oversexualisation of being gay just seems to feed into the fundie impression of homosexuals as sexy sinful deviants (and the two phenomena are probably related, in a semi-causal way. Not That There's Anything Wrong With... actually, there is. A lot wrong with it. Goddamn fundies, ruining my jokes with their bigotry).

  10. i totally get what you're stating. unfortunately, as much as i agree, i have ZERO clue as to how to affect it. see, specifically, romantic love includes sex - without that idea of who you want to have sex with, there's no real chance of romantic love... [i leave aside asexual people.]

    and you're totally right - the PROBLEM is that it IS, in a way, a declaration of wanting to have sex. or, at least, an acknowledgement that sex is one of the motivators for romantic relationships. the problem THERE is the fucking prudery that fundies want - it's SEX, for fuck's sake! arguably THE reason for life! there's nothing wrong with it, it's not evil, it's not sinful! and any religion that says it IS wrong and/or sinful is a screwed up religion i don't want.

    erm... rant aside, it's the prudery involved that makes it weird. if you try to set a guy up with a girl, what are you ultimately trying to do? you're trying to get them married and you want them to have sex. because that's what married people are supposed to do. so when the guy says "sorry, i'm gay" you're already thinking about sex.

    but, really - when someone tells me "I'm gay" i hear "i am attracted to people of the same sex". because *I* am not a stupid fundy. :)

    i don't know how we get the whole world [or, at least, the whole country] to make that shift. any ideas?

  11. I see what you mean. It's hard not to deal with sex when it's such a major motivator, but I think there is a subtle distinction. Yes, if you try to get two people to hook up you're implying sex, but usually that's not the reason you want them to hook up: ie. you don't bring people together because they'd have great sex, you bring them together because they have things in common or because you know they're both really nice people.

    I'm a bit of a self-prude on my part (I'd never consider forcing my prudery on others, but heck: I'm uncomfortable without a shirt on in front of my own family), but I'm trying to keep my own discomfort out of the discussion: I don't think my anti-oversexualisation is predicated by that. I'm sure even people extremely comfortable with sex feel some discomfort when they find themselves unexpectedly considering strangers doing it.

    "any ideas?

    Hmmm... not really, but an interesting example is the everlasting weirdness of El Goonish Shive. The gay characters there are introduced as people before they're shown as gay/straight/bi/teddsexual (I did say weird), and the entire series is quite platonic despite the focus on relationships, probably because all the characters are still in school. There is also the fact that being gay in that series makes you more 'normal' than most of the others.

    I don't think I can do the comic justice, but I will say this: before reading it, I had a slight level of subconsious discomfort around LGBT people, in the same way as people who grow up amongst white people can find it hard to approach people from other cultures. Reading El Goonish Shive eliminated that completely.

  12. i've heard of El Goonish Shive - Pete has some of them. :)

    so, what i think you're saying, is, El Goonish Shive introduced you to a new normal; by extension, we could [in theory] introduce the WORLD to a new normal, one where orientation isn't necessarily predicated upon who one wants to have sex with, but rather who one wants to have romantic relationships with.

    that being a *VERY* fine distinction, i can also see how damned useful it'd be. i sort of see this shift on a fairly regular basis - when someone's grandma finds out their grandchild is gay, for instance, they often do an about-face - now that they KNOW someone like that...



Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

Creative Commons License
Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at