In response to comment exchanges at Ryan's
Bigots Should Be Shamed - Even If They Don't See Their Bigotry
Ryan does seem angry at T. Paine’s religious position. I am not sure why, but the overtones of anger are there. T. Paine is defensive, perhaps because Ryan is angry. I was going to remain reticent, but I think I have to support the right of conservatives to reject gay marriage on ethical grounds. I will use T. Paine’s well-expressed commentary to start me off.
“Frankly, I don’t think the government should be involved whatsoever in my definition of marriage, but that is another topic.”
The government is not involved in your definition of marriage. Phew, that felt like the Cuban Missile Crisis for a moment. The Catholic Church can define a religious marriage as whatever it wants. The government should not dictate to T. Paine and me what we mean when we speak of marrying our wives. As T. Paine rightfully notes, the government should not force us to be gay in order to marry.
“When we redefine or don’t take marriage seriously, our society breaks down.”
I recommend not doing this. Marriage is
- An implied social contract.
- A legal contract.
- An implied religious contract if those involved obey the edicts of some faith.
When we mix up the three, we start speaking in tongues, and only God can understand that, and only then after a long night of heavy drinking. When we call marriage something other than these three things, such as toga party, then we become aphasic and society breaks down.
The point of using words is to communicate. Once we allow gays to marry, no one will know what in the hell T. Paine is talking about when he says he is engaged to be married to Lisa (or whomever). Without knowing what exactly T. Paine means by this statement, Society will fall apart.
Look at Rome. They practiced homosexuality all the time and now no one speaks Latin. It became meaningless.
“I give you the myriads of unwed mothers in society today, especially in inner cities, who struggle to survive.”
I assure you that homosexuals did not contribute to this problem. C’mon. It’s not possible. The heterosexuals must be stopped! We no longer abide unwedded mothering. T. Paine and I think the best way to stop this is to be gay prior to marriage and heterosexual therefore. In this way, we can enjoy the best of both worlds.
“Their kids often cannot learn and flourish.”
Idiots! It’s because a girl kissed a girl or something.
“How do we come up with new inventions or create masterpieces of architecture, science, medicine, or art when someone lives in such hopelessness.”
Through not marrying gays?
“Ask many of the children of gay parents if they feel deprived or if there is a sense of lacking in their lives accordingly.”
Done. The two children seemed very pleased and well-adjusted. They are in a din of gays. I don’t believe anything their little depraved minds can come up with.
“Those studies are dismissed and hidden from wide public dissemination though, because they don’t support today’s popular pro-gay agenda.”
Some may say that as long as we pretend that our repulsion to gay marriage is “about the children,” we are not going to get anywhere. We may have to argue what we believe for the reason we believe it to make any progress in this matter. However, I do want to deny gays the right to marry in order to protect the children from them. I think that should handle the matter. We need to keep our children safe and I can think of no better way to do it.
“Even if we remove God from the equation, the complimentary attributes of men and women through biology itself points to the natural fact that a male/female union is as it should be.”
I think when you used the word “should,” you were re-injecting God back into the equation. I agree. God will burn the gays and any child that rubs up against them, but it is not polite to speak of this in open society.
“Our society looks as sex as nothing more than a recreational activity.”
Recreation, procreation. We have to acknowledge all that as real or we begin to speak gibberish. Gays are reducing the number of unwanted children in America. I am going to be gay, and I am going to do it for the children.
“Just think, if you were truly open to the possibility of new life every time you made love with your spouse – the significance of the act becomes far more beautiful and important to both of you, rather than it being just another option instead of watching TV.”
Why is bringing a new life into the world good again? I only started to question this after turning gay.
“That doesn’t mean that the elderly or infertile should not be able to enjoy that blessed unitive aspect of it either though.”
O’ no they should not! That is disgusting. Sex as an expression of love with no hope of procreation is an abomination. Eww, yuck, ick!
“The fact that you and millions of other people 'don’t care either way' is part of the problem of why we have broken families and increased poverty accordingly.”
I agree with you, Mr. Paine. Studies show that children in America with black parents are more likely to land in jail, get shot, get executed by the state, get pregnant at an early age, use drugs. I do not think blacks should be allowed to procreate except in the rare case when a white couple wants a child and can procreate (else why be married, eweee), but choose abstinence. We must follow the studies and take care of the children. Do it for the children!
“Being a racist is completely different from believing in traditional marriage.”
I quite agree. Believing in traditional marriage does not deny homosexuals their social and legal rights to marry; nor does it denounce them for it. Additionally, they can also have a religious marriage. Racism hates one for who or what one is. Allowing a man to marry a woman does not do this.
In fact, from this point forward, I think I am going to support the right of white men to marry white women (or whatever). On what grounds could I deny them this right? I certainly would not deny them the right to do this because they are using the term marriage, and black people and gay people already use that term to mean the same social and legal contract. They all describe the same thing, even if the couple is in some cases gay, some cases white and some cases black.
I don’t think we need to use the vocabulary issue to deny gays the right to marry. We can just to it. It turns out that marriage is not the word the church used and had first anyway, so we are OK. The word was “matrimonium” and to marry was something like “nubere.” I don’t think gays should get either of these words. The terms marriage and “to marry,” are already interpolations of the original intention of the church, which was nubere a Christian man with a Christian women in sanctus matrimonium. Back off, gays, these terms are ours and ours alone.
“The GLBT lobby has done a huge disservice to characterize their battle in the terms of civil rights equivalent of those fought in the 1960’s”
Yes, they have. They got gay marriage legalized and constitutionally recognized and that it is the last thing they wanted to happen. It legitimizes the whole disgusting practice.
“but the arguments from a biological and sociological standpoint are anything but poor.” Ewwww, iiiick.
“Being an atheist, means that you yourself are the ultimate authority in life.”
Christian Free will means the same thing, unless God is tricking us. Freedom to do whatever we want, but then get spanked for doing it, really is not freedom, but the compulsion of cowards to do as you say, but you digress.
“Being an atheist, means that you yourself are the ultimate authority in life, and therefore whatever you deem is best for you and society must be correct.”
No, no, it is not what Ryan deems is best for society that is correct. It is what T. Paine deems is best for society that is correct. Ryan is so stinking arrogant.
“It all becomes simply about what you want and your own desires.”
No, no, it is all about the hedonistic whims of I Am, or Ywyh, or whatever He calls Himself these days.
“To hell with the consequences, and any unfortunate children that should be affected by those choices.”
Enough with the denunciation of blacks, already. In fact, isn’t a white couple raising children as something other than Catholics, say Muslims or Hindus, much worse than a gay couple otherwise infusing their children with Christianity? In the first case, we condemn the child eternally, but in the other, we simply, well, ewwwww, iiiiiick.
It’s all about the children. That is what T. Paine and I are so riled up.
“If you want to make laws to support civil unions, then go ahead and advocate to do so. Just stop usurping words…”
Ryan, do you not realize the harm you are causing to children with your using a word the Church already used and secularizing it (I mean if the church had used that word, you know what I mean)? Even a blind man could see it.
On the surface allowing gays to do the thing that gay marriage implies, legally and socially, may seem to be the real issue, but it is not. It is the use of a vocabulary word, which when used by a gay man could and will condemn a hapless child playing in a schoolyard to perdition. I don’t even think you considered this at all. You are focused on the institution of marriage when you should be focused on the vocabulary word we use to represent it.
“It is easier to list me as an intolerant hater then acknowledge any of the truth in the arguments I presented.”
Me too, Ryan! We don’t hate you just because you want to steal our word. We are P’O’ed about it, sure, as anyone would be. If you allow gays to marry, then the meaning of the word changes and the rest of us become instantly de facto divorced. You don’t seem to even care. Fine, but what about the children?
“We now have put those ideals aside for our own personal sexual fulfillment and damn the consequences.”
This may seem like a confusing statement at first, but let me explain. Pre-marital sex is an abomination; therefore, this is not just a grand logomachy, but we can now have sex with our gay lovers. The issue of gay marriage is really all about sex, else why would T. Paine and I have even brought it up?
I could summarize the harm gay marriage causes, such as stealing our word, which we need if we are to stay married; or the harm done to children by allowing gays to marry, such as making them gay or whatever the harm is; or the harm done to society by allowing gays to act exactly has they always have, but now with legal rights attached. For example, if a gay can make medical decisions for his gay significant other under the contract of marriage, the harm that causes the rest of us hetero married people, but you don’t listen anyway, Ryan, so I will not bother.
You are hopeless. Like Paul trying to speak to the protesting Jerusalemites, I will just walk away and tell it to the Romans; and I will hold my head high, as if that were my intention all along.
John Myste is a constant reader, occasional commenter, and periodic contributor. His humor is frequently pointed, his satire often biting. Most of us cower, trying not to provoke him. The brave Mr. Paine is a courageous exception.
From Max's Dad:
It's been a long time since I've been to a political rally. I think the last one was when I had to see this Tea Party bullshit back in 2010 and knew then what an early bird special at Golden Corral must be like.
Yep, Bernie Sanders came to Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday night to rally the troops in his quest to unseat Corporate Lackey and presumed Democratic nominee Hillary C. Hey this place was nuts.
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You know what, I'm not your candidate. I don't want you to vote for me. I couldn't disagree with you more.
- Senator Lindsey Graham, in Iowa
at the suggestion that Islam be outlawed in the United States
- Vincent at A wayfarer's notes explores a Buddhist-like take on time and space and causality as illusions.
What to Do When the People Let Conservatives Down? (6:28)
Calls for assassination are moving from the fringes. Advocates of murder are now sharing the stage with all too willing mainstream conservatives.
Why Is My Religious Freedom Hate Speech? (6:15)
Religious freedom includes imposing my convictions on others. One Senator wants to add to my liberty a new freedom - freedom from criticism itself.
to get episodes automatically downloaded.
Marriage, as it has been defined and held to for millennia, was and is only between one man and one woman. It is a religious sacrament. It is the bedrock principle of western civilization. Without this sacrament, it is impossible to believe that our societies would have flourished and prospered.
- T. Paine, June 25, 2015
Words mean what we declare them to mean and sometimes they have multiple meanings. Just because we have defined a word a certain way for years or centuries or millennia doesn't mean that we must continue to do so. In this case, it's also worth noting that "marriage" has not meant one particular thing across all cultures throughout history. You know that it has not always been about your God or any god, about love, or about just two people, so your attempt to both claim it as your own and declare that it has a fixed meaning is disingenuous.
But the terminology is irrelevant. The Supreme Court decision does not require religious people to recognize gay unions (or any other kind of union) as spiritually valid marriages or to officiate gay weddings unless they are public servants. It merely allows gay people to become legally married in the same way that straight people can become legally married. What a gay or non-religious union *actually* is (legally or in your God's eyes) and what a Christian union *actually* is (legally or in your God's eyes) have not changed with this decision. The only change is that gay couples are now entitled to the goodies associated with civil marriage. We could call it something else, but changing words doesn't change reality. (Isn't that pretty much your point anyway?)
You know that what the State has recognized as marriage for years is totally disconnected from your own religious views and definitions. Atheists, after all, can get married. You claim now that the government should not be involved in marriage at all, but you seem to only be arguing this now that gay people are allowed to get married. This implies that your problem is specifically with gay marriage or homosexuality, not with any other disregard that our government has shown for your religious beliefs, despite your claims to the contrary. I could be wrong; perhaps you have held this position for years. But if that's the case, I wonder why you haven't been more vocal about it here over the years.
As for your belief that this is just the beginning, that soon the government will force churches to marry gay couples, that is pure speculation--and not very good speculation at that. Can you identify any cases where churches have been forced to marry other couples, like interracial or inter-religious or atheistic ones? *That* is the most important historical information to use if one wants to consider whether or not churches will be forced to marry gay couples. In any case, even if some people attempt to make it happen, even the ACLU, much maligned as it may be in conservative circles, will be on your side. And so will probably every liberal on this site. Could it happen? Could our culture change to allow it? It's possible, but it does not *follow* from the legalization of gay marriage and is, frankly, a separate issue entirely, somewhat like gay adoption.
"Without this sacrament, it is impossible to believe that our societies would have flourished and prospered."
It is not impossible. Both reproduction and child-rearing -- including raising children with all of the values that you or I have today, with the exception of marriage -- can occur without marriage. In fact, people can even commit to each other without marriage. I know that I am no closer to my wife for having married her, as it was always my intention to stay with her.
Ryan can also be found at Secular Ethics, a site devoted to the application of reason to ethical behavior.
From Shaun Mullen, TMV Columnist, at The Moderate Voice:
How can Republicans avoid losing the popular vote in 2016 for the sixth time in seven elections when the party is not only increasingly out of step with public opinion but seems determined to look back and not forward?
Polls show widespread support for increasing the minimum wage. The Republican Party is opposed. For a more inclusive immigration policy. Ditto. For access to health care. Ditto. For addressing climate change. Ditto. Against restrictions on abortion. Ditto. Against tax breaks for the rich. Ditto. And then there’s the seismic shift in support for gay rights and same-sex marriage. Ditto, ditto.
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That saved a wretch like me.
When John Newton wrote those words and led a congregation in the song, he may have been trying to reach out to a friend and colleague who seemed to be slipping back into the mental traumas that had haunted him throughout his life.
We don't know the ultimate fate of his friend. We do know that Newton's religious songs were more popular among common people than they were among publishers of the day. Successful religious leaders tended away from confessions of their own past sins. Portraying a good example was considered necessary for effective spiritual leadership.
Newton was different. His message of redemption had a special emphasis on the personal. His contemporaries found remarkable the journey that began in sacrilage. John Newson was a seaman with a reputation for creative profanity and defiance of authority. Standards change, sometimes for the better. Today, most of us would be struck by his history in the slave trade.
Even after his conversion to Christianity, John Newton continued sailing the Atlantic as a slave trader. He saw nothing in slavery that would conflict with his faith. We don't know his reasoning, or whether he found any reasoning necessary. Slavery in the 1700s was often regarded as an effective way of spreading the good news of the Gospels.
Those with a biblical bent could take comfort in numerous Old Testament commands. Slavery was accepted and loosely regulated by heavenly directive. Exodus ensured there would be no penalty for severely beating a slave, as long as death did not result for a few days. Exodus also allowed for an implied satisfaction guarantee in the sale of one's daughter. If the buyer was displeased with her services, a refund was in order. Do unto others, even in selling family members.
Those who believed in a New Covenant, replacing old arbitrary rules with new arbitrary rules, could point to the Apostle Paul advising a runaway slave to return to his owner.
As time went on, Newton took his developing faith seriously. He studied and thought and sought out mentors. He decided that the ownership of one human by another was evil, against God's love for all his children. He became a noted activist in the cause of abolishing slavery.
The lifetime transformation from slave trader to dedicated opponent of the entire system of human chattel seems to me the underlying theme of John Newton's most famous hymn.
I see John Newton as a beacon of guilt, hope, and redemption when I think of the perspective those of my generation might share in our treatment of those whose sexual orientation differs from our own. Most of us not only failed to give our attitude toward gay people a second thought, we never gave it any thought at all. It was how we had been taught all our lives.
Those who did think about gay people might have taken comfort in Old Testament prohibitions or a New Testament warning by the Apostle Paul. The rest of us simply knew that men who were attracted to men, or women to women, were not to be mentioned in polite company. They were, quite properly, outcasts whom God and nature had denied such rights as love and marriage.
When Hannah Arendt a couple of generations ago studied the culture of Nazi Germany as she reviewed the crimes of Adolf Eichmann, she referred to the "banality of evil." Many of those who passively went along with the Hitler regime thought of their support as simply the natural order of things. They were just ordinary people believing ordinary things.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his study of the ideology in America of white supremacy, talks of a myth, the "Racist Child Molester Serial Killer theory of America."
Racists -- should they even exist -- are not people we know, but people who existed either in some distant history or in a far off cave somewhere.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic Magazine, August 29, 2011
The conclusion Arendt closes in on, the conclusion Coates explicitly advances, is that the horror of the holocaust, the long pernicious grind of racism, cannot be assigned to the sociopathic fringes and forgotten. The real perpetrators have been the good people of society, those who can be recognized and appreciated in any time and place.
Ordinary folks who worked hard, loved their children, were kind to their neighbors, contributed to their houses of worship, those have been the pillars who condoned and participated in the denigration of others whose crime was a sexual love for the wrong gender. We who now recognize the monstrous role we played can know that we were captives of the strongest source of evil there can be. It is the closest secular equivalent to original sin. We were thoughtless and we knew not what we committed.
John Newton never mentioned any specific connection between his slave trading past and Amazing Grace. We know the public confession of his life of wrongdoing did include slavery. I sometimes wonder if his self-description, "a wretch like me," implied the crushing regret many of us would feel. Did his nights include dreams of those he condemned to a life of involuntary servitude?
The shame that comes to a bigot is one of epiphany. It arrives at the door of those of my generation as we come to realize that our bigotry was not some horrible distant event, but something that lived in our own hearts, in our own social interactions, the jokes we told, the messages in our churches.
For some of us, it still maintains a sad dwelling place in the dimmer recesses of the human soul. Others of us know the inner struggle against the prejudices of our upbringing.
Was blind but now I see.
The redemption we seek is intertwined with a sincere regret at broken lives and loves. That inner apology should be perpetual.
We hope and pray and work to ensure that it is a shame our children are spared, that their children never know.
From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:
For all of the disputes and controversies over the Affordable Care Act, one thing has been consistent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has repeatedly forecast that Obamacare would reduce the national debt. Nevertheless, when CBO told Congress in July 2012 that a repeal of Obamacare would raise the national debt by $109 billion over the ensuing decade, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the agency's supposed "budget gimmickry." Former Speaker and 2012 GOP White House hopeful Newt Gingrich went even further, declaring "if you are serious about real health reform, you must abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies."
Now with the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and their man Keith Hall installed as its director, CBO has once told GOP leaders what they don't want to hear.
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From Tommy Christopher The Daily Banter:
What with all the Confederate apologism, “confusion” about the Charleston shooter’s motives, and concern-trolling about President Obama’s use of the n-word, you wouldn’t think things could get any stupider in post-Rachel America, but you would be wrong. On Tuesday night, Twitter users incredulously shared a screenshot of a CNN chyron that asked the molten-take question “Should Pres. Obama Apologize For Slavery?”, and wondered if it could possibly be real.
A reasonable person would assume that maybe CNN had booked a guest who had written a hot take with that absurd premise, for the express purpose of destroying it with fire. That person would only be half-right, since anchor Don Lemon instead invited New York Times contributing op-ed writer Timothy Egan onto his show in order to entertain the notion with the straightest of faces. Just to prove it really happened, here’s the full segment, but for the sake of brevity, I’ve only transcribed radio host Joe Madison’s response to Egan’s titular query:
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From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:
I’m in the curious position of having met a great many Nobel laureates. I’ve had dinner with some, gone drinking with others, had long conversations with a few. I’ve gone to the Lindau meetings twice, where Nobelists are everywhere. Furthermore, I’ve known brilliant people who have done phenomenal work of Nobel quality who would never be awarded one because the Nobels only cover a very small, limited number of subjects.
And I realized that I’ve known more Nobel prize winners, and with greater familiarity, than I’ve known plumbers. I’ve probably known only 3 or 4 plumbers, and not well at all: they come to my house, they do a job, and they leave, and we don’t go out for drinks afterwards. So my knowledge base for plumbers is a little weak, but I can do a comparison anyway. Here’s what I’ve learned.
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From Infidel 753:
The Civil War ended 150 years ago. It's time to finish it once and for all.
The image above is from Saturday's rally in South Carolina calling for the flag of treason to be removed from the state capitol (more images here). This person's sign speaks for me. Whatever "heritage" that flag represents is a shameful one. The Confederacy was all about preserving slavery -- its founders proudly and unambiguously proclaimed that fact at the time. Any claim to the contrary is a flagrant lie, and yet we've tolerated and indulged that lie for decades.
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From T. Paine at Saving Common Sense:
In the Old Testament book of Genesis, scripture tells us how God decided to wipe all of humankind from the earth with a great flood because of their wickedness. Only the righteous Noah and his family were spared because of his faithfulness to God. After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah and his kin that He would never again send a flood to destroy the earth. His promise of this covenant was the beautiful rainbow He set in the sky.
I have always loved rainbows, since I first heard this story as a child. There is something about them; about the prism that the rain droplets make that separate the light wavelengths into their different beautiful colors that has always fascinated me and made me feel joyful.
These days, it is both ironic and frustrating to me that the rainbow has been recognized as the symbol for the gay rights movement. I don’t know if this misappropriation was done intentionally and mockingly of God or not, but regardless, I have long ago discovered that God allows us to suffer the consequences of our own sinful actions – particularly when we purposefully choose to take a stand against Him. As a nation, we seem to have done precisely that, and embracing the LGBT movement is just one more example of our turning our backs on God.
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From Human Voices:
"Words no longer have meaning" says Justice Scalia and he should know, being a major contributor to the vocabulary of Right Wing babble.
Chief Justice Roberts' reasoning in yesterday's decision on the Affordible Care Act was "Argle-bargle. The decision against the Defense of Marriage Act was "Jiggery-pokery." That's the power of words to hide the embarrassing truth and in Scalia's case, the truth is he's arguing the reverse of last years' Bargerly Argle.
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In response to a posted comment by an NRA Board Member
And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead.
- Charles Cotton, Member of the Board of the National Rifle Association, June 18, 2015
Guns don't kill people. People against concealed carry kill people?
Normally, I would argue against these "blame the victim" accusations. Pointing out that at least some of these people might be alive if they had had guns is, if true, like pointing out that a woman who was attacked while walking alone at night through a dangerous part of her town might have avoided the danger by taking a different route or walking with a friend. It's not about blaming the victim, but about identifying which elements of a situation are within the victim's control so that he can minimize his chances of being hurt. Sometimes our "liberal outrage machine," as conservatives call it, goes too far.
However, when crafting such messages, it is very easy to cross the line into blaming the victim. Rather than merely point out that the situation could have been different if people had been allowed to carry and did carry concealed guns, Mr. Cotton singled out one person for voting a particular way. Anyone should have known better, but as an NRA board member, it's fair to have higher expectations of him. Moreover, given that he said this on his own message board, likely to fellow NRA members with whom he is comfortable, it seems fair to conclude that he meant what he said. Feeling no need to sugarcoat his message among his brethren, he simply said what was on his mind.
At least the NRA has distanced itself from his comment. Unfortunately, "Individual board members do not speak for the NRA and do not have the authority to speak for the NRA" is a far cry from actually condemning it.
Ryan can also be found at Secular Ethics, a site devoted to the application of reason to ethical behavior.
Conservatives were left baffled after Chief Justice John Roberts saved Obamacare three years ago. On Thursday, as the George W. Bush appointee again helped President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement avoid a potentially devastating blow, they felt betrayed.
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