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Sometimes an Anti-Gay Appointment Makes Sense

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2007

glendon.jpgPresident Bush has named his appointment for Ambassador to the Vatican City, Mary Ann Glendon, an advisor to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Glendon, 69, is an anti-abortion scholar and an opponent of gay marriage who also has written on the effects of divorce and increased litigation on society. Her 1987 book “Abortion and Divorce in Western Law” was critical of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion.

I expect that we will hear from gay and pro-choice advocates that Glendon is not a suitable choice as a representative of America’s values and interests overseas. However, I think her beliefs and values will suit her well.

Glendon’s job will be to work for our country’s foreign interests and I think her positions and her history will cause her input to be well received by the political institution to which she will be our representative.

Glendon was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1994 to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, a panel that advises the Roman Catholic church on social policy.

Glendon has served as an adviser to the Vatican in several capacities. In 1995, she was the first woman to lead a delegation of the Holy See at the United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing. She has also served on the Pontifical Council for the Laity and as a consultant to the Pontifical Council on the Family.

Were Glendon being sent to a liberal European country, or even a developing nation, I would be supportive of arguments that she should not be confirmed. And some might claim that a better choice could be found in someone who could serve as a counter-voice to the Vatican’s current virulent attack on the lives of gay men and women around the world.

But for a political representative to the Catholic Church to be truly effective in influencing policy … well, I think an anti-gay appointment might make perfect sense.

Comments

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David
November 6th, 2007 | LINK

Miga’s piece on Google says that Glendon opposes gay marriage. Is opposing gay marriage enough in your mind to make a person anti-gay?

Also, what exactly is the Vatican doing that you consider to be a “virulent attack on the lives of gay men and women around the world.”

Emily K
November 6th, 2007 | LINK

Well said, Timothy. Agreed.

homer
November 7th, 2007 | LINK

Based on your reasoning, our Ambassador to Saudi Arabia should be a fundamentalist male who believes women shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Our ambassador to Sudan should be someone who believes genocide is an acceptable method for dealing with ethnic minorities.

Ben in Oakland
November 7th, 2007 | LINK

Well, david: let’s start with the phrases “pretend families” and “inherent moral EVIL” and “inherently disordered”–we can probably go downhill from there.

Timothy Kincaid
November 7th, 2007 | LINK

David,

The Vatican has of recent taken to actively campainging to reverse those protections that gay couple have won in European countries. The language used is well outside of civil and fair and seeks to demonize gay people and couples.

Re Glendon, not accepting gay marriage is not an indication of an anti-gay person. Taking an activist role in ensuring that gay citizens are denied the rights and priveleges that heterosexuals enjoy is anti-gay.

Timothy Kincaid
November 7th, 2007 | LINK

Homer,

I would not send “a fundamentalist male who believes women shouldn’t be allowed to drive” to Saudi Arabia. But I also would not send a Christian minister. I would try to send someone whom they could accept, someone who does not start with the premise that their core beliefs are not deserving of respect.

David
November 7th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy,

When you say that the Vatican uses language about gays that is neither civil nor fair and which seeks to “demonize gay people and couples,” I think you should provide examples — examples that include the context of the statements (unlike Ben in Oakland’s).

As for Glendon, your post clearly implied that she is anti-gay. Is Glendon an activist who wants to ensure homosexuals “are denied the rights and priveleges that heterosexuals enjoy”?

Ben in Oakland
November 8th, 2007 | LINK

SDavod: maybe you oculd suggest a context for inherent moral EVIL that makes it acceptable.

David
November 8th, 2007 | LINK

Ben in Oakland,

Why is there an S in front of my name?

I ask for the context of a quote so that just what those quoted where talking about is clear.

For an example of an acceptable usage of the phrase you mention, how about this: Rape is an inherent moral evil.

I think this example makes my point about examples of supposedly uncivil language needing to be in context.

Ben in Oakland
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

The mis-spelling is because I can’t type very well, and there is vno spell check here.

Google “inherent moral evil” and “ratzinger” and see what you ccome up with.

David
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

Ben in Oakland: The suggestion to use Google is a good one.

Timothy Kincaid: Are you ever going to answer my question about Glendon being an anti-gay activist?

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

David,

As I said above:

Re Glendon, not accepting gay marriage is not an indication of an anti-gay person. Taking an activist role in ensuring that gay citizens are denied the rights and priveleges that heterosexuals enjoy is anti-gay.

Incidentally, I think you may misunderstand the nature of the comments here. We do not seek to pummel others who disagree with us by means of arguing the minutia. We seek dialog and debate based on facts, thought, logic, and principles.

Glendon has demonstrated herself to be anti-gay by means of her activism. If you have some evidence to the contrary, please present it. Otherwise, I have no desire to debate with you exactly how far along the line of anti-gay activism one must go before being considered anti-gay.

David
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy,

Dialog based on facts is exactly what I’m after. Your post and subsequent comments on Glendon are long on assertions but short on facts. I am hardly seeking to pummel you with minutia simply by asking for some evidence to back up your assertions about a third party.

This site’s comments policy states that commenters may be banned or moderated for persisting in making “unsubstantiated claims, for example, claims which are not backed by direct quotes, links, or bibliographic references from independent sources.” I’m sorry, Timothy, but it seems to me you’re guilty of this right here on this page!

All I know about Mary Ann Glendon is that she is a Roman Catholic, law professor and constitutional scholar. Before reading your post, I knew nothing about any social activism on her part aside from that on the abortion issue, and I still don’t.

Jim Burroway
November 10th, 2007 | LINK

To be honest, I had never heard of Mary Ann Glendon myself. But a very quick google search provides this example, complete with all the typical anti-gay talking points concerning same-sex marriage.

David
November 10th, 2007 | LINK

Jim,

Thanks for providing an example of Glendon’s social activism on a topic other than abortion.

Still, this example is of oppostion to same-sex marriage. Timothy stated that wasn’t enough to label someone anti-gay.

Do you think any of the points she made in her op-ed suggest a more general anti-gay attitude?

Ben in Oakland
November 11th, 2007 | LINK

Here’s one from that article:

“Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.”

Translation: gay people will force you to accept their beliefs. gay people will force you to accept them. gay people and their silly demands for marriage equality are going to make your life hell. GAY PEOPLE ARE A THREAT!!

Does that sound anti-gay to you?

That religionists have been doing this to gay people for decades or centuries, with imprisonment, slander, and death as the consequnces, does not make any difference.

Ben in Oakland
November 11th, 2007 | LINK

The whole of the article does not discuss gay marriage on its merits–what are the benefits to gay people and to society– or the problem of prejudice and the costs to society. Rather, the whole discussion is based on fear.

Here’s another: “There is a real problem of distributive justice here. How can one justify treating same-sex households like married couples when such benefits are denied to all the people in our society who are caring for elderly or disabled relatives whom they cannot claim as family members for tax or insurance purposes? ”

Do you notice that was not a concern until now that gay people are asking for equal rights. A bogus argument, but it SOUNDS good.

David
November 11th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

I have begun to think that I started this conversation by misunderstanding Timothy Kincaid. He may have meant that while opposing same-sex marriage isn’t sufficient to be labeled as anti-gay, engaging in activism against same-sex marriage is enough to be so labeled.

In any event, I most certainly did notice Glendon’s worry about gay-marriage increasing intolerance of conservative religious. I wasn’t at all impressed by this line of reasoning, but I didn’t consider it to be anti-gay either, even though it could be made to counter any gay-friendly measure. My reason is that the fear expressed is not of homosexuals — it is fear of the political left.

Consider an opinion piece I found during a Google search of Glendon’s name which can be found at

http://media.www.hlrecord.org/media/storage/paper609/news/2004/03/11/Opinion/One-Students.Response.To.a.Response.To.Glendon-632127.shtml

The author,a Lawrence VanDyke, in responding to critics of Glendon’s editorial, gives his reasons for thinking her concern proper:

“In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace, a Saskatchewan newspaper and a private citizen were fined for simply publishing a newspaper ad listing Bible verses about homosexuality. In Ontario, police visited the home of a Christian because homosexuals complained about his defense of marriage website.

“In London, England, police investigated a bishop for his advocacy of the view that homosexuals can leave the homosexual lifestyle… Harry Hammond, an English pastor, was beaten by a group of homosexuals because he carried a sign urging homosexuals to repent. What happened? Harry was fined and had to pay legal costs for “inciting violence and disturbing the peace.” His appeal was rejected.

“Sweden has just passed a sweeping “hate crimes” law forbidding criticism of homosexuality – just in time to coincide with their renaming state-sanctioned “partnerships” (which for almost 10 years have enjoyed all the same rights as marriage) as marriage… GIVEN THE RECENT FAD IN OUR HIGHEST COURT TO LOOK TO OTHER “ENLIGHTENTED” NATIONS FOR GUIDANCE, THESE ANECDOTES ARE QUITE DISTURBING.” [emphasis added]

The main concern here, as with Glendon, is with the politics of those who typically champion gay causes.

David
November 11th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

I must agree with you completely concerning Glendon’s “distributive justice” argument. Her line of reasoning is entirely bogus.

Ben in Oakland
November 11th, 2007 | LINK

Personally, I would be just as concerned about the politics of people who attack gay causes.

It is another straw man sort of an argument, this dichotomy. Fascism of any sort from either side of the political spectrum is still fascism.

Having said that, I would question these “news” citations, just based upon the language that they employ.
“In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace, a Saskatchewan newspaper and a private citizen were fined for simply publishing a newspaper ad listing Bible verses about homosexuality.” Very imflammatory language, that word forced. thre thing sounds unlikely on the face of it. At best, I suspect it is a distortion of what really did happen. It is my understanding that although not everyone supports it, a majority of canadians frankly don’t care, and the religionists opposed to it are not getting any traction.

All of those incidents sound like basic violations of basic free laws, and such violations owuld not occur in canada, britain, or here. nor do I know of any gay people who would sacrifice the first amendment for our own convenience.

rather, it sounds to me like yet another of those stories which, though not specifically and overtly antigay, nevertheless communicate that gay people are a threat to everything you hold dear. the queers are gunna get ya, as timothy said.

Sorry, i don’t buy it.

David
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

Whether or not you buy it is irrelevant. My point about what both writers are afraid of remains sound.

As for violations of free speech, that can happen even here in the US. People have been arrested for carrying signs critical of the President:

“When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, “The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.” The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a “designated free-speech zone” on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.” (Full story at http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/feature.html )

Also, students and parents wishing to hold prayer meetings at public schools have faced legal harassment: “the ACLU asserts that students and others read passages from the Bible, prayed, and made “references to Jesus Christ and Christian music.” The ACLU has alleged that the “See You at the Pole” event was unconstitutional…” “the ACLU has also sought to stop a parents group that meets on campus on a monthly basis to pray for the school, faculty, staff and students. The ACLU asserts that this prayer activity also constitutes “illegal acts” that must be stopped.” (See http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JaySekulow/2006/11/14/aclu_targets_removal_of_prayer )

I find VanDyke’s anecdotes about foreign countries entirely plausible.

Ben in Oakland
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

David: I make it a point to try to never say never, so I am willing to concede the possibilities that you suggest. However, your two citations, one being from Jay Sekulow, do not convince, because I already know what his bias is and how far they are willing to distort reality to win their causes.

however, in the case of this lady– and back to our original topic– i have to question EVERYTHING she says, because most of what she says is entirely bogus, and does not stand up to any kind of logic or truth, which is why I would label her not only as anti-gay marriage, but anti gay.

First, as i point out, she does nothing to address the substantive issues of gay marriage. As I said earlier “The whole of the article does not discuss gay marriage on its merits–what are the benefits to gay people and to society– or the problem of prejudice and the costs to society. Rather, the whole discussion is based on fear.”

not to mention distortions, unsubstantiated statements, and the ignoring of inconvenient facts. did i mention fear?.

Here’s some more. My comments (or translation) are in caps: “Yet a four-judge majority has ruled in favor of special benefits (SPECIAL? ANY TWO HETEROS WHO MET FIVE MINUTES AGO CAN GET MARRIED, BUT TWO PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOVED AND SUPPORTED EACH OTHER FOR 30 YEARS CANNOT) for a group of relatively affluent households (UNSUBSTANTIATED, DESIGNED TO PROMOTE ENVY, AND NOBODY IS STOPPING RICH HETS FROM GETTING MARRIED, SO WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WIT IT), most of which have two earners and are not raising children.(OF COURSE, WHAT ABOUT THE MANY THAT ARE? IF MARRIAGE BENEFITS CHILDREN, WHY ARE THESE CHILDREN EXCLUDED?) What same-sex marriage advocates have tried to present as a civil rights issue (EQUAL PROTECTION AND RIGHTS BEFORE THE LAW–WHAT A CONCEPT!!!)is really a bid for special preferences (SPECIAL????!!!!WTF? DO YOU MEAN THE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES THAT ARE ROUTINELY DENIED TO GAY PEOPLE BUT GRANTED TO ANY MAN AND WOMAN?) of the type our society gives to married couples for the very good reason that most of them are raising or have raised children.(BUT THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT MARRIED HETS PRODUCE CHILDREN, YET THEY GET MARRIED. WHAT ABOUT GAY PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN? WHAT ABOUT THE ORPHANAGES THAT WE WOULD EMPTY (or so I believe)WERE IT NOT FOR SOCIAL PREJUDICE?)

“SPECIAL RIGHTS” are the word anti-gay activists always use whenever gay people ask for an end to the SPECIAL treatment we receive for no other reason than that we are gay and they ust don’t like it, whenever we ask for equal treatment before the law, whenever we ask for an end to the prejudice that keeps making us so “special”.

And on and on.

But you see, David, what you really must understand that this is not about marriage, especially for educated, intelligent, and aware people like Glendon. Regardless of its cultural connotations, marriage is legally defined as a contract with mutual obligations that is regulated and enforced by the state. Certain people– children, animals, and I suppose the mentally deficient– cannot enter into this contract because they are legally incapable of entering into any contract. There are rights, responsibilities, and benefits that accrue to people who marry.

In most states, there are no requirements other than not being closely related and being a man/woman pair. Any man and woman can enter into this contract. There are no legal barriers: you don’t have to promise to stay married, you don’t have to have kids or even want kids, you don’t have to be nice to each other or love each other or anything, you don’t have to take a course to establish your fitness to be married–nothing. In fact, you can marry as many times as you wash, provided only that you terminate your prrevious contract.

In fact, any man and woman who met five minutes ago and have $50 for a marriage licnese can get married, and NO ONE WILL QUESTION IT, despite the so-called sacred nature of marriage, despite it being the cornerstone of our culture, blah blah blah.

Yet two men or two women who have spent decades building a life with each other, who have taken care of each other and their relationship for “better or worse, in sickness and in health”, who are in fact, gender apart, far more married than half the heterosexual couples in the country, are legal strangers to each other and barred from entering into this contract.

In other words, equality before the law goes out the window when gay people knock at the door. Does this sound like discrimination and bias in play? It does to me. As I have said repeatedly, this whole question is not about marriage, it is about prejudice, power, and money– and how much gay people bother some straight people. Don’t ask don’t tell is not about military preparedness, sodomy laws are not about enforcing god’s will or views on morality, anti-gay adoption laws are not about what’s best for the children.

It’s all about hatred and prejudice, whether given a veneer of respectability by organized religion, or admitted just for what it is. (But they won’t admit it, because it doesn’t sound, well, NICE). If gay people are allowed to marry, that is the end of that prejudice, because then we will no longer be outsiders, but normal.

Moreover, studies have consistently shown that married people live better, longer, healthier, more productive lives. Marriage is consistently described as a bedrock institution in society. For what reason do you think that people like Glendon want to exclude gay people from marriage if marriage is beneficial both to its participants and to society?

Unfortunately, there’s too much power, too much money, and way too much hate at stake. But people like glendon (and this is just my interpretation) don’t really want to admit to hate– its too obvious, doesn’t resonate well, and makes her look like a neanderthal.

David
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

I included both citations so that my examples would have political balance. The second report does come from a partisan, it is true. However, the fact remains that the ACLU has a strong bias against religious speech on public property and often harasses those engaged in it.

As for Glendon, I think your interpretation of her is wrong. She is a morals traditionalist. She doesn’t want society’s sexual mores to change from what have been its traditional norms. She opposes same-sex marriage because it is such a change.

Randi Schimnosky
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

Don’t be absurd David, she opposes same sex marriage because she opposes gays period. The dishonesty of people like her and Lawrence Van dyke is shown in this one quote you gave ““In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace…”.

Obviously no one is forcing same sex marriage on the populace – if you don’t want a same sex marriage no one will make you have one. Same sex marriages only affect the people involved in them. If you want to claim heteroesexuals are having same sex marriages “forced upon them” then it would be true that gays are having opposite sex marriages forced on them and that should be prevented as well – in other words no one should be married, obviously an absurd proposition. If you don’t want people opposing your marriage you have no right to oppose same sex couples marriages.

Ben in Oakland
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

David: Three points

1) Society’s morals change all of the time. More important is the question of who gets to decide what is a fit subject for morals, what is moral, why, how they reach that conclusion, and why they think they have the self-appointed right to appoint themselves and choose for others? Morals for me is personal to me.

2) If all of her arguments are bogus–and I think they are, as indicated– and if she lacks the intellectual or moral capacity or honesty to admit that they are irrelevant, rather than advancing them as ‘truth’– then why would I believe that her “morals traditionalist” persona is any more valid, or honest, or reality-based?

3) Her morals are her religious beliefs. She is absolutely entitled to them. That is called freedom of religion. It is a very conservative position that I support whole-heartedly. Where we part ways is where she says that just because SHE believes something that she thinks she understands that she read in a book somewhere, then I must believe it also, and in fact, my rights to equal treatment before the law must be compromised because of her religious beliefs. That is quite the opposite of religious freedom.

Moreover, no one is forcing gay marriage on anyone. that is a very subtle, but i think deliberate distortion. Ms. Glendon will not be required to marry the lesbian down the street. Nor will she be required to attend dinner party at my home, surrounded by all of those affluent fags. It has NOTHING to do with her.

She may not see herself as prejudiced, and may truly believe she is just expressing her religious beliefs. But that doesn’t make it true, and if freedom of religion means anything (as in freedom from religion), it also doesn’t make it right

Ben in Oakland
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

Sorry, Randi. i missed your posting while i was writing mine. Yours is more complete on this subject. If you don’t mind, i will appropriate it :)

Ben in Oakland
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

What i mean to say was, consider it inserted into the appropriate spot in my posting :)

David
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

I’m sorry to find you agreeing with Randi Schimnosky’s post, for Randi is way off base. There was no dishonesty in VanDyke’s statement. He was talking about the Candadian courts forcing a change in the institution of marriage on Canadian society (“the Canadian people”). It is a complete distortion to read VanDyke’s sentence as meaning that individuals were being forced into same-sex marriages!

As for Randi’s assertion that Glendon “opposes same sex marriage because she opposes gays period,” where’s the proof of that?

Now to your 3 points:

1)Society’s morals do change over time. Who gets to decide how they change? We all do. Every one of us helps to determine what our society’s values our. When the law becomes involved in moral questions — which, of course, it does all the time — all citizens have a right to a say.

2)You don’t have to accept Glendon’s traditionalist point of view as correct or “reality based.” But if you don’t recognize it as her honest point of view then you havn’t understood her.

3)Glendon doesn’t want to force you to accept her beliefs about same-sex marriage any more than you want to force her to accept your beliefs on the subject. She is simply voicing her opinion of what the law should be.

It is not at all proper to accuse people like Glendon of denying religious freedom simply because they hold public policy views that are or may be influenced by their religious beliefs. Laws must have a moral foundation, and morality is an inherently spiritual matter. It is not possible for religious people to be uninfluenced by their religious thoughts and feelings when considering questions of morality.

Ben in Oakland
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

David; I don’t think we’re going to agree, because I don’t think you understood mine or randi’s points. i’ll try again.

1)”You don’t have to accept Glendon’s traditionalist point of view as correct or “reality based.” (WE AGREE HERE)But if you don’t recognize it as her honest point of view then you haven’t understood her.”

No, I think I understand her very well. I’ve met many people like her in my life. My point was–and you did not address it–was because all of her points were bogus, relying on lies, distortions, and half-truths, why should I believe that her moral position is suddenly “true” in a way that all of her points supporting her position were not?

Here’s a real example. Many years ago, when I was fighting against an anti-gay initiative in my state, I met a lady on the opposite side who was full of mis-information and of hate-disguised-as-love. (Her favorites were that all gay men are mass murderers and child molesters). She asked me to write to her. I took all of her material, copied it, and did some research. I showed her where nearly every statement she made was, according to reputable research and information, either a distortion or an outright fabrication. I did it respectfully logically, and calmly. The next time I saw her, I asked her if she received and read my letter. Her response was: “I don’t have time to read letters from homosexuals.”

2) “There was no dishonesty in VanDyke’s statement. He was talking about the Candadian courts forcing a change in the institution of marriage on Canadian society (”the Canadian people”).

Or, you can read it and say it another way. The courts were not “forcing a change in marriage”. Rather, they were insisting that the under Canadian law, gay people have the same rights as straight people, and that prejudice has no place in a modern society, for whatever reason.

The courts have decided the same thing in this country when it comes to black people. Exactly the same arguments were used to support the ban on interracial marriage, which was seen as immoral. In loving vs. virginia, the court basically said it is not about morality, it is about prejudice.

moreover, it is a distortion to say “change in the institution of marriage.” What is the “institution of marriage?” Is it different than the sum of the individual marriages? If i have the same rights and responsibilities that you have, and must conform to the same laws you do in the same way, how does that “change” the institution, other than perhaps strengthening it? How does me marrying my boyfriend affect anybody’s marriage except our own? How does it affect anybody’s rights and responsibilities under marriage, except our own.

As I said earlier: “Regardless of its cultural connotations, marriage is legally defined as a contract with mutual obligations that is regulated and enforced by the state. Certain people– children, animals, and I suppose the mentally deficient– cannot enter into this contract because they are legally incapable of entering into any contract. There are rights, responsibilities, and benefits that accrue to people who marry. In most states, there are no requirements other than not being closely related and being a man/woman pair. Any man and woman can enter into this contract.In fact, you can marry as many times as you wash, provided only that you terminate your previous contract.In fact, any man and woman who met five minutes ago and have $50 for a marriage licnese can get married, and NO ONE WILL QUESTION IT, despite the so-called sacred nature of marriage, despite it being the cornerstone of our culture, blah blah blah. Yet two men or two women who have spent decades building a life with each other, who have taken care of each other and their relationship for “better or worse, in sickness and in health”, who are in fact, gender apart, far more married than half the heterosexual couples in the country, are legal strangers to each other and barred from entering into this contract”

In short, this is very much about the law, and not about someone’s moral beliefs. Both randi and i made the same point, and yes, it was made somewhat facetiously. glendon is entitled to her religious beliefs. No doubt. She is not entitled to use her religious beliefs to restrict my rights. The supreme court supported the religious/moral argument in 1986 in Bowers vs. hardwick. It rejected it in 2003 in Lawrence vs. Texas. “Moral concerns” did not trump “equality before the law.”

3) You said: “Glendon doesn’t want to force you to accept her beliefs about same-sex marriage any more than you want to force her to accept your beliefs on the subject. She is simply voicing her opinion of what the law should be.”

I have to disagree. She is not holding a gun to my head, so in that sense, there is no forcing. But, she supports not just a law, but a constitutional amendment forever barring me from equal protection of the laws in the matter. That is using the Constitution, the only document I do consider sacred, to enforce her PRIVATE views about how my PRIVATE life should go.

I don’t want force her to accept my beliefs on the subject. I don’t care what she believes, or what nonsense and hatred she might teach her children (but call sincere religious belief or, laughably, love). If she doesn’t want to invite my husband and me into her home, she doesn’t have to. If she wants to tell her friends that homosexuality is an abomination, be my guest. If she doesn’t want to hire me, I don’t want to work for her, though I would caution her that in many states that is just as bad as not hiring someone because you don’t like black people, or jews.

This what i would say to her personally: “If you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, then you don’t have to. THAT’S liberty. If you want to disapprove of gay people, you can do so, however uncomfortable it may be for me to hear it. THAT’S liberty.
Liberty is not denying me what you have and enjoy–denying me the same rights–simply because you are in the majority, think you know something about me.”

David, this is my real point here, and i have made it repeatedly. THIS IS NOT ABOUT MARRIAGE, ANY MORE THAN DADT IS ABOUT THE MILITARY, OR SODOMY LAWS ARE ABOUT PRESERVING THE FAMILY.

It is about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people. It is about ending a prejudice that says we can be treated differently because of that prejudice. If it were not about prejudice, given its very thin veneer of respectability by religion, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Segregation in the old South was very much supported by law AND by religious belief. Yet we now see it as prejudice, and not divine rule, or moral behaviour, or anything like that.

Gay rights laws, including marriage laws, are not intended to oppress you. They are intended to keep you from oppressing me. It is no different than legislation ending segregation. You can still have your prejudices. Just don’t expect the law to support them.

This is why i am so passionate on this subject. What i care about is an end to persecution, oppression, and bigotry that is sanctioned and paid for with my tax dollars. What i care about is being treated unequally before the law, which allegedly guarantees equal treatment.

I am equally sick of this: that gay people are imprisoned, attacked, fired, murdered, executed, used as political fodder, vilified, condemned, persecuted, jailed, slandered, libeled, and accused of all sort of things that are simply NOT TRUE because someone doesn’t approve, or believes their God does not approve.

Jason
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

“Laws must have a moral foundation, and morality is an inherently spiritual matter.”

you forgot something. The phrase “for some people” as in “for some people morality is an inherently spiritual matter.” Because for some it is, and for some it is not.

There are people that have no faith, they are called atheists, and they are capable of having morals despite no spirituality whatsoever. Therefore morals are not a spiritual matter for everyone, just for those who chose to get their morals from a faith, rather than another source.

Timothy Kincaid
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

3)Glendon doesn’t want to force you to accept her beliefs about same-sex marriage any more than you want to force her to accept your beliefs on the subject. She is simply voicing her opinion of what the law should be.

You are mistaken. Glendon does wish to force me to live according to her beliefs about same-sex marriage. I do not have any desire to force her to either agree with me or to live according to my beliefs.

If she wishes to continue to think that gay marriages are not “real marriages”, that’s fine with me. In no was does Massachusetts’ recognition of her neighbors’ marriage impact her life.

However, she does seek to impact the lives of those with whom she disagrees. She seeks to invalidate their marriages.

You must remember, David, that not all “opinions” are equal. “I should hit you with a stick” is NOT equal to “No one should hit anyone with a stick”.

And lest we think that Glendon’s “opinion” was theoretical and unobtrusive, the facts stand otherwise. Glendon was very involved in the anti-marriage campaign as a primary legal advisor to the campaign. And she was also involved with the Catholic Church’s effort to strong-arm Catholic legislators to vote according to the Church’s dictates.

Ben in Oakland
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Jason: Thank you for addressing that issue. i meant to, and then I forgot. It was looooong post.

I would also add here that rather than morality being an inherently spiritual matter, religion has appropriated that role in morality and has claimed authority in moral matters. Yet we see constant contradictions to religions claims: religions behaving immorally.

Here’s an old one: withches, heretics, and yes, faggots, (whence the term) used to be tortured and burned with the full “moral” authority of the church. It does not help or excuse to say that was an old thing. We don’t do that any more. It was a great evil, done with the full approval of the source of morality.

Here’s and older one: “Moral” refers to an absolute, which means that it need not be conscious, intelligent, compassionate, and responsible– a bit like that moralizing Old Testament God who thinks nothing about sending a flood amd wiping out little children who couldn’t sin even if they wanted to, all to prove his point that he is moral and they are not. (Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth is a great exposition of this mind-boggling intellectual and ethical vacuity and vanity on the part of Our Lord and Father). and yes, i do presume to judge the “Fount of Morality” in this matter. Mass murder, even done by god, is not moral.

Here’s a newer one: the catholic church repeatedly covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests, moved those priests to new parishes, and then tried to blame the whole thing on gay men in the priesthood. (I guess the girls being molested were just an accident).
Quite apart from studies which have repeatedly shown that gay men are no more likely to molest children than straight men, and apparently, far less likely than your usual catholic priest. quite apart from these “men of god” molesting children, where is the morality of the cover ups, the blame shifting, and so on?

And here, david, is a gray area- though not really gray to me. The catholic Church considers it a mortal sin (i.e., very immoral) to use birth control, even if you are so dirt poor than your children will starve and be uneducated, even if you will sell your child into seuxal slavery, as in the phillipines.
You may not use birth control even if your husband is HIV positive, even if he forces you to have sex, even if you will likely become infected with the disease, and when you die your long, slow, horrible death, leave your children to fend for themselves.

Morality, as people like glendon define, and which you defend, is a rule which leaves no room for consideration of the consequences to modify it, as indeed all of my examples here show. And these consequences, to my atheisitic, non-spiritual, non-rleigious mind, are highly IMMORAL.

I do not need purveyors of this kind of immorality telling me what’s right.

Randi Schimnosky
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

David, Van Dyke is dishonest when he says same sex marriage has been forced on Canadians. Society is a collection of individuals, without individuals there is no society. Same sex marriage is not forced on any individual thus it is not forced on society (a collection of individuals).

David said “Laws must have a moral foundation, and morality is an inherently spiritual matter.”

Your statement here directly contradicts your claim on anonther thread that you are not religious. If you weren’t religious you wouldn’t be making a statment like that.

Morality has nothing to do with religion. The essence of morality is do whatever you want as long as you don’t interfere in someone else’s right to do the same. Do whatever you want but harm no one. A same sex marriage harms no one and is by definition moral. Glendon’s attempts to prevent loving unions deeply harms the people who would otherwise be joined and is by definition immoral.

Its no coincidence that in morally advanced societies when religions disagree on what the law should be the law is determined on the basis of avoiding harm to individuals.

“Glendon doesn’t want to force you to accept her beliefs about same-sex marriage any more than you want to force her to accept your beliefs on the subject. She is simply voicing her opinion of what the law should be.”

Oh whoopi, she doesn’t want to force her beliefs on us, she just wants to force us to forgo marriage to the one person we love most, to forgo the same rights she has – cold comfort that. Yeah, that’s real moral and decent alright…

The fact is if you’re against gay marriage you’re anti-gay. There’s no way around it. If she had no problem with gays, if she thought gays were deserving of equal rights, if she thought there was nothing wrong with gays she’d support same sex marriage. She doesn’t, she’s anti-gay. Calling it something else like “protecting” marriage is just as dishonest as arguing that a flipped coin can’t be tails down because its heads up.

Randi Schimnosky
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

I forgot to add, David we did not distort Van dykes statement, his statement was in error, same sex marriage is not forced on any individual, thus it is not forced upon the Canadian people (or society as you put it – a collection of individuals).

Ben, you’re welcome to apropriate anything I say if you feel its useful.

Ben in Oakland
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Randi– we have a little different formulation, but basically, we agree.

To me, morals are about rules–Thou shal or Thou shalt not– regardless of context or consequences.

Ethics are about principles: “do no harm” is the guiding principle, and then you make your rules up to further that.

to me, killing someone, for example, is in every case immoral. This informs my beliefs about war, capital punishment, ethnic cleansing, and so on. (And I didn’t need god to tell me about it!)

However, is someone were threatening to kill me or someone I love, I would probably overcome that moral law to protect us even if it meant killing that person. however, the threat would not make my action moral. It would still be highly immoral. but I would hope that I would be imaginative and couraegous enough to find another means of protecting us that would not involve killing another person.

That’s ethics.

Morality, as with Glendon, is just the easy way out.

David
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Jason,

I did not forget “for some people.”

You are confusing spirituality with religion. When I use the term “spirituality” I mean the concern for what is eternally true about the human condition, persons, reality itself.

It is not even true that an atheist necessarily practices no religion. It certainly isn’t true that atheists must be devoid of all spirituality.

David
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

1)If you find all of her reasoning to be faulty, then yes, you do have reason to doubt just how morally correct Glendon’s position is.

2) Let’s review VanDyke’s sentence in its entirety and in context:

“In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace, a Saskatchewan newspaper and a private citizen were fined for simply publishing a newspaper ad listing Bible verses about homosexuality. In Ontario, police visited the home of a Christian because homosexuals complained about his defense of marriage website.”

VanDyke is writing entirely about legal matters. Here “forcing same-sex marriage” means forcing legal recognition of same-sex marrriage, and “the populace” means the population of Canada as a whole. NO OTHER FAIR READING OF VANDYKE’S STATEMENT IS POSSIBLE.

3) You wrote that you parted ways with Glendon where “she says that just because SHE believes something… then I must believe it also.” But you have produced no evidence of such thinking on Glendon’s part.

Glendon doesn’t think that other people are obligated to agree with her, and she hasn’t advocated coercing others into changing their opinions either.

Discussing his own thinking, the late mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that when he was in the Orient he was for the Occident, and when in the Occident he was for the Orient. I have taken this attitude to heart and it guides much of the commenting I do at BTB.

Were I dialoging with Glendon I would want to probe and challenge her prejudices. I am doing the same here with BTB readers. We all have prejudices, Ben.

You have displayed a very strong prejudice against anyone who opposes same-sex marriage (“This is not about marriage… It is about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people.”), all while assuming the opposing side has the monopoly on prejudice.

Please think about how your strong desire for gay rights can distort your perception of those who oppose particular gay-friendly measures. As Blaise Pascal said, “Where passion is high, reason is low.”

David
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy,

When you write, “Glendon does wish to force me to live according to her beliefs about same-sex marriage,” you are making a serious exageration. Glendon is objecting to the legal recognition of homosexual relationships as marriages. She is not saying that gay couples should be kept from living as they wish.

If you want to describe Glendon’s opinions in this way, how are you going to distinguish them from measures like the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act proposed by Nigerian justice minister Bayo Ojo?

David
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

Randi,

Yes you did distort VanDyke’s statement. His sentence cannot be fairly read to imply that individuals were being forced into same-sex marriages. Please see my reply to Ben in Oakland above.

As for my comment about morality and spirituality, I explained that in my response to Jason. If you read that comment you will see there is no contradiction with my statement in the other thread.

Speaking of that other comment thread, after the way you treated me there, you and Timothy should consider yourselves fortunate I do you the courtesy of replying to you at all.

“Oh whoopi, she doesn’t want to force her beliefs on us, she just wants to force us to forgo marriage to the one person we love most… Yeah, that’s real moral and decent alright…”

I’m not passing moral judgment on Glendon, and I don’t think you should either. Again, see my above reply to Ben.

“The fact is if you’re against gay marriage you’re anti-gay.”

Here you reveal your problem, Randi. You are a dogmatist. Anyone who disagrees with you is an evil son of a bitch. So how can anyone have a reasonable conversation with you?

Ben in Oakland
November 13th, 2007 | LINK

David: I gave it my best shot for you.
I don’t think I can convince you.

“In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace, a Saskatchewan newspaper and a private citizen were fined for simply publishing a newspaper ad listing Bible verses about homosexuality. In Ontario, police visited the home of a Christian because homosexuals complained about his defense of marriage website.”

The use of the word “forcing” on the populace, when it is my understanding that a lot of people don’t care, is intentionally imflammatory. The incidents described seem to so unlikely, so much the result of a right-wing imagination, that I can give them no credibility as fact. Produce some police reports, some credible journalism, David, and you might find me agreeing with you, because those incidents would be grossly wrong, if they are true as reported.

but meanwhile, it sounds like the Supreme court in our country “forced” interracial marirage on the populace, “forced” an end to segregation on the populace. No, what they “forced” was equality before the law. The nigerian minister is a good example of what can happen when there are no courts committed to equality and justice to stand in the way of prejudice.

“Glendon is objecting to the legal recognition of homosexual relationships as marriages. She is not saying that gay couples should be kept from living as they wish.” That is exactly what she is saying, because I wish to marry and have the same rights, benefits, and responsbilities she has. nothing more and nothing less. She even supports a constitutional amendment to make sure that I don’t have those same rights, and cannot get them without another ocnstitutional amendment.

“You have displayed a very strong prejudice against anyone who opposes same-sex marriage (”This is not about marriage… It is about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people.”), all while assuming the opposing side has the monopoly on prejudice.”

False, David, I have a very strong prejudice against prejudice directed towards anybody for any reason not rationally and demonstrably related to their condition. (Child molesters do not belong in day care centers. Very easy. Gay people don’t belong in the military. Prejudice).

as I said repeatedly, i don’t really care anything about glendon or what she thinks. What i care about is anyone who tells me that because they don’t like my sex life, which is none of their business, and has nothing to do with anything, that they can then pass laws which treat me differently than they are. as a Jew, I have the same prejudice against people who don’t like Jews.

I am a productive, law-abiding, contributing, tax-paying member of the community.

I expect that equality before the law is my birthright. nothing more. nothing less.

Jason
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

“You are confusing spirituality with religion. When I use the term “spirituality” I mean the concern for what is eternally true about the human condition, persons, reality itself.”

No i’m not. I at no point mentioned religion. You’re reading that into my response.

M-w.com defines spiritual(the root of spirituality) in these ways(bold is mine):
1: of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal
2 a: of or relating to sacred matters b: ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal
3: concerned with religious values
4: related or joined in spirit
5 a: of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena. b: of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic.

Nowhere in there do I see anything that remotely resembles your statement:”the concern for what is eternally true about the human condition, persons, reality itself.” That might make a good definition of humanity or mortality perhaps even life, but not spirituality.

Once more, atheists (at least the ones I’ve met) do not even believe there is a soul (in other words a spirit) so how on earth could they be spiritual, or have spiritual beliefs?

Yes, I am aware that Buddhism is an atheist religion, but that’s more on the technicality that they have no central religious diety. When most people refer to atheists, they refer to those who deny anything that isn’t scientific.

“It is not even true that an atheist necessarily practices no religion. It certainly isn’t true that atheists must be devoid of all spirituality.”

Perhaps not for the Atheists you know, but the ones I’ve met don’t believe in God, the supernatural, the soul, or any of this religious/spiritual/new age mumbo jumbo. They think it’s all crap. And yet they still have morals.

Had I known that you have a completely different take on “spirituality” than the common belief, or the dictionary definitions, then perhaps I would not have corrected you.

It helps that if you’re going to redefine words to suit your arguments that you provide your audience with your own dictionary.

So, I’m sorry, based on common understanding of the words, morality is dependent on spirituality for some people, but not necessarily all.

Ben in Oakland
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

David; I do have one last thought to add to this, then I think I am pretty much done.

I will believe that glendon is not an anti-gay bigot when she says this: “I believe that marriage is for heterosexual people. However, the points that gay people make about their lives and the need for a)legal protection and recognition of their relationships, and b)an end to prejudice are valid.

“Therefore, I will support civil unions for gay people, with all the rights and responsbilities of marriage, at both the federal and state levels.”

Anything less than that says that in her eyes, I am “less than”.

Randi Schimnosky
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

David said “VanDyke is writing entirely about legal matters. Here “forcing same-sex marriage” means forcing legal recognition of same-sex marrriage, and “the populace” means the population of Canada as a whole. NO OTHER FAIR READING OF VANDYKE’S STATEMENT IS POSSIBLE.”.

You don’t know what Van Dyke was thinking, you’re not a mind reader, all we can go on is what he DID say and what he did say is WRONG – no one is forcing same sex marriage on any individual and thus no one is forcing same sex marriage on the Canadian people. THAT’S what he said, not what you claim to think he meant. Its pretty ironic that in your very next paragraph you criticize Ben for having no evidence of what Glendon thinks when you yourself have adamantly insisted you’re a mind-reader when it comes to Van Dyke. His statement was dishonest and all your claims as to what he really meant hold no water at all – you are not Van Dyke.

David said “You have displayed a very strong prejudice against anyone who opposes same-sex marriage.”.

Absolutely not. In no way have I opposed such people’s equal rights with my own as they’ve done with me. To suggest I’m prejudiced because I demand the same rights these anti-gay people have is to turn logic and reality on its head. The only one who is prejudiced is the one that wants to deny others the equality they have. That’s strictly those that oppose same sex marriage, certainly not me.

David said “You are confusing spirituality with religion. When I use the term “spirituality” I mean the concern for what is eternally true about the human condition, persons, reality itself.”.

As Jason pointed out religion and spirituality are synonyms. You don’t get to have your own meaning of words and once again what I said is bang on. You wouldn’t say morality is an inherently spiritual matter if you weren’t religious and its clear that despite your denials in the other thread you are.

David said “It is not even true that an atheist necessarily practices no religion. It certainly isn’t true that atheists must be devoid of all spirituality.”

There, even you have used the terms religion and spirituality as synonyms. No atheist practices religon or spirituality. Atheists by definition do not believe in spirits or religious values or supernatural beings or phenomena

David said “I’m not passing moral judgment on Glendon, and I don’t think you should either.”.

We most definitely should pass moral judgement on anyone who wishes to deny others the same rights she has. Would you refuse to pass moral judgement on slave owners as well?

David said “Glendon is objecting to the legal recognition of homosexual relationships as marriages. She is not saying that gay couples should be kept from living as they wish.”.

Stop with the double talk. That makes no more sense than arguing that a coin can’t be heads up because its tails down. Glendon is saying that gay couples should be kept from living as married. That is keeping them from living as they wish. Marriage provides all manner of protections from inheritance rights to visitation in hospitals to the rights to make funeral arrangements, to legally assume custody of your partners children, to social security benefits, and so on. Glendon is trying to deny gays 1400 rights and benefits of marriage that she takes for granted. When you try to deny others the same rights you have you are prejudiced period. That is the essence of anti-gay.

Ben in Oakland
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

Randi– nice try, but i really think it is a waste of time and energy. I realized it was pointless when he just aovided addressing any of the substantive issues, and then I was accused of being prejudiced against people who are prejudiced against me. He cannot, apparently, recognize the difference between being angry at unjust treatment and prejudice against the people who perpetrate it. the idea that we are entitled to equal treatment before the law is clearly a foreign one to him. that’s why I said i am done.

On the positive side, I did get some good material for my future book, though. :)

Randi Schimnosky
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

I never expected to change his opinion Ben, I can see where he’s coming from. I merely address what he’s said to keep reasonable doubters from falling for his schtick.

Timothy Kincaid
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

Speaking of that other comment thread, after the way you treated me there, you and Timothy should consider yourselves fortunate I do you the courtesy of replying to you at all.

Then clearly there’s no point in conversing with you.

Ben in Oakland
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

Randi– and a valid goal. I have to add one thing. when he linked the two articles, one from Jay sekulow and one from American conservative, I was pretty sure his mind was closed. when he admitted that Sekulow is biased, that kind of lcinched it.

quoting Timothy or jim: I wouldn’t believe anythinhg sekulow says if he said he had oatmeal for breakfast. I am quite passionate about what i believe, and i am willing to make guesses, but i am always willing to be corrected if what i say isn’t true or accurate.
Those quoted articles soundedl ike a right-winger’s wetdreams. See how persecuted we are for our beliefs. see what those goddamned liberals do. if you give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a gay nine!

On a non-related note, did you see that bob allen was ocnvicted yesterday of soliciting for prostitution? i wonder if the ACLU (presiding universal spirit love ‘em) takes on his case? Irony of ironies. they’re defending larry Craig!

David
November 14th, 2007 | LINK

Jason,

You wrote, “you forgot something. The phrase “for some people” as in “for some people morality is an inherently spiritual matter.” Because for some it is, and for some it is not.

“There are people that have no faith, they are called atheists…”

When you mention “faith” and proceed to talk about atheists in implied opposition to theists, you are talking about religious faith. There was no need for me to read religion into your comments; it was already there.

Not believing in “the supernatural, [or]the soul” is not a hallmark of athiesm. What you are describing is so-called ‘naturalistic’ philosophy. Atheism is simply not believing in dieties. It is true that many modern atheists are philosophical naturalists, but such opinions are not an integral part of atheism.

I was not aware that my understanding of the term “spirituality” was so uncommon. I am interested in comparative mythology and the philosophy of religion. My scholarly interests certainly color my understanding of these matters, but I didn’t think my distinction between religion and spirituality was so unusual.

If you Google the word “spirituality,” the first result is the Wikipedia entry on the subject ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality ). There it says:

“The spiritual, involving (as it may) perceived non-physical eternal verities (or even abilities) involving humankind’s ultimate nature, often contrasts with the earthly, with the material, or with the worldly. … Like some forms of religion, spirituality often focuses on personal experience…

“Spirituality may involve perceiving or wishing to perceive life as more important (“higher”), more complex or more integrated with one’s world view; as contrasted with the merely sensual.”

The article also quotes Ursula King: “spirituality is now understood anthropologically as an exploration into what is involved in becoming fully human.”

I most certainly did not redefine the word to suit my argument.

David
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

Did you read my last reply to you?

We have not been discussing the merits or demerits of same-sex marriage. We have been discussing Mary Ann Glendon.

In the course of your comments, you have accused Glendon of a number of things that go far beyond what can be inferred from anything she said in her opinion piece.

You have accused her — among many other charges — of wanting to control your private life, and of being the sort of person who would never invite a homosexual into her home. But you have no basis for these accusations at all!

I asked you to consider “how your strong desire for gay rights can distort your perception of those who oppose particular gay-friendly measures.” How do you respond? By falsly accusing me of not “addressing any of the substantive issues” and then saying I am unacquainted with equal treatment by the law.

In the BTB mission statement, Jim Burroway wrote, “Gays, lesbians and bisexuals have been a hot topic of conversation lately which, unfortunately, has turned very ugly at times. People on all sides hurl claims and counterclaims, and it seems that everyone is relying on stereotypes and misinformation to support their arguments. … We’ve lost the ability to oppose other viewpoints without demonizing those who hold them.” [emphasis added]

In his 19 April 2007 post, “Know Thy Neighbors,” Jim addressed this theme again: “One of the concerns I’ve had with the state of activism today is the tendency to literally “dehumanize” opponents — by that, I mean the process by which activists reduce those who disagree with them to caricatures which make them appear to be, well, not people. … Sadly, this observation is all too true for gay activists as well as anti-gay activists.”

You should think about this before you assume the very worst about any and every political opponent. Or before you attack someone who simply asks you to.

David
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

Randi,

In his paragraph on Canada, VanDyke discusses court rulings, a newspaper and private citizen being fined, and an Ontario resident’s home being visited by the police becuase of the contents of his website. These are all legal matters. There is no mind reading required; I am simply reading his statement in context.

The court rulings in question affect the entire population by impacting the nature of Canadian society.

When it comes to claims of mind reading and irony, those honors belong to you, Randi. You keep insisting I’m religious even though you don’t know me. I am not religious because I don’t practice a religion. It’s that simple.

The terms “religion” and “spirituality” are no more synomynous than the terms “circle” and “square,” and I never used them as if they were.

As I told Jason above, you are conflating atheism with philsophical naturalism. There is no requirement for a religion to include belief in or worship of dieties.

I have not engaged in any double talk. Stopping people from living as they choose involves a lot more than refusing them legal recognition.

Conversing with you is very tedious, Randi. You are too militant an ideologue to ever concede a good point by anyone who disagrees with you. And you argue like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum — accussing others of the very games you are playing (mind reading, double talk). I’ve had enough.

Ben in Oakland
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

David: It is kinda pointless, but I will make two corrections of your statements about what I have said. I don’t have the time to make the rest of them.

“You have accused her — among many other charges — of wanting to control your private life, and of being the sort of person who would never invite a homosexual into her home.”

If I told her that she could not marry the person she loves, she would justly accuse me of trying to control her private life. Why is it different when she does the same, especially when it is none of her business.

Nor did i ACCUSE her of being that sort of person. What I said clearly was that if that was something she wanted, i would have no problem with that. Perhaps I didn’t subjunctivize it enough?

You, on the other hand have accused me of being bigoted and prejudiced. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t care anything aobut her.

Quoting myself:

This what i would say to her personally: “If you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, then you don’t have to. THAT’S liberty. If you want to disapprove of gay people, you can do so, however uncomfortable it may be for me to hear it. THAT’S liberty.
Liberty is not denying me what you have and enjoy–denying me the same rights–simply because you are in the majority, think you know something about me.”

I think that is pretty clear.

I will admit one thing, though. You are quite right: I don’t much care for people who think that because i am gay, they can deny me equal protection of the law. the difference is that i have no interest in passing laws against them.

Timothy Kincaid
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

David,

It appears that you are making a false assumption about the nature of “legal recognition” and how it impacts the way in which one can live one’s life.

Sadly, legal recognition is not some officious but otherwise irrelevant sanction. It is not, for example, like recognition by Great Aunt Bessy. If Bessy doesn’t recognize your marriage, well I guess that might make things uncomfortable at Christmas but otherwise it has little impact on the daily mechanics of life.

What Glendon opposes, according to her writings, is not only legal sanction for the “recognition” of marriage, but also those life impacting tools that come with it. She is in opposition not just to legality but also to the relationship itself.

I’m a bit surprised that in your reading of Glendon’s writings you haven’t discovered this for yourself. (Perhaps you were not as careful scutinizing Glendon as you were in looking for a word or sentence in Ben’s writing to argue?)

When any person – Glendon, you, Great Aunt Bessy – doesn’t recognize a relationship, that’s fine. But when any person – Glendon, you, Great Aunt Bessy – seeks to use the power of the state to dissuade, disadvantage, punish, or otherwise negatively impact that relationship, then they are indeed seeking to influence (or even control) the lives of the persons in the relationship.

If their only (or even if one of their primary) reason for seeking to negatively impact the relationship is because the individuals involved are gay (or because it is a same-sex relationship) then by very definition, their activism is anti-gay. And if is safe to say that those who actively engage in anti-gay activism are overwhelmingly anti-gay themselves.

I have little objection to those who – like Great Aunt Bessy – say, “well I don’t like it and I ain’t going to go or send a wedding gift”. But I do object to those, like Glendon, who say, “Well I don’t like it so I’m going to campaign and rally and write articles and letters to get the constitution changed to use the force of the state and all of its power to hurt your relationship”.

I don’t hate her. I don’t want to harm her life. Heck, I even support her nomination as Ambassador to the Vatican. But I’m not so much a fool as not to see that she is anti-gay.

And I’m certain, David, that if you think about it you can see that as well.

Ben in Oakland
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

THANK YOU TIMOTHY!!!!!!!!!

Randi Schimnosky
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

David says “Not believing in “the supernatural, [or]the soul” is not a hallmark of athiesm.”.

Absolutely they are. You don’t get to redefine atheist the way you attempt to have your own meaning for spirituality.

David said “Atheism is simply not believing in dieties.”.

Atheism is not believing in religion, the supernatural, souls, or deities. Its time you got acquainted with a few atheists as you know precious little about us.

David said “The terms “religion” and “spirituality” are no more synomynous than the terms “circle” and “square,” and I never used them as if they were.”.

They most certainly are synonymous, go back and actually read the dictionary definitions that Jason gave note the relation of spirituality to spirits, religious values, and supernatural beings of phenomena. No rational person would suggest religon and spirituality are anything but synonymous. And you said ““It is not even true that an atheist necessarily practices no religion. It certainly isn’t true that atheists must be devoid of all spirituality.” – YOU USED THEM AS A SYNONYM DAVID.

David said “There is no requirement for a religion to include belief in or worship of dieties.”.

Relgion is most certainly about the belief in deities. Read your dictionary David. Religion – 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe especially belief in or the worship of god or gods. 2. an organized system of belief in and worship of god or gods.. Buddhism is sometimes refered to as an atheist religion but this is incorrect. Some sects of Buddhism believe in gods and the supernatural and those that do not are not religions as such but merely a philosophy.

The fact remains contrary to your claim in the other thread you would not have said morality is inherently spiritual if you were not religious. There’s an easy way to settle this. For once answer a question that is put to you: Do you believe in god?

And while your at it you have failed to answer another question which goes to your motives: prior to the proposal to add sexual orientation to the civil rights act of 1964 just how much did you complain about it being unconstitutional? You claim you are not a hypocrite, let’s see the truth.

David said to Ben “In the course of your comments, you have accused Glendon of a number of things that go far beyond what can be inferred from anything she said in her opinion piece.”.

That’s hypocritical. You have done the same thing with Van Dyke. You’ve taken what he did say and claimed he meant something entirely different – you are not a mind reader. The fact is we can only go on what Van Dyke’s actual words were, not what you’d like to think he meant and what he said was ““In Canada, where their courts are forcing same-sex marriage on the populace” – that’s dishonest, same sex marriage is not forced upon any individual, the populace is made up of individuals therefore the populace has not had same sex marriage forced upon it.

David said to Ben “You have accused her…of wanting to control your private life…But you have no basis for these accusations at all!”.

Wake up and smell the coffee David. She wants to force gays to live as unmarried couples, that is wanting to control gays’ private lives!
David said “Stopping people from living as they choose involves a lot more than refusing them legal recognition.”.

You’re claiming that living as a cohabitating couple is the same as living as married – it most certainly is not. Married couples have more stable relationships, live longer, and are happier than cohabitating couples. She wants to control gays’ private lives by preventing this. Marriage involves 1400 rights and benefits that deeply affect a married couples life. Married couples can make health care decisions for each other, visit each other in the hospital when visitation is restricted to family, inheret from each other (wills between unmarried gay couples ar often overriden by anti-gay family members sometimes resulting in a home which was bought together going to the family with the surviving gay partner thrown out into the streat), receive social security benefits of a dead partner, assume control of children raised together when a partner dies, don’t have to testify against each other in court, get health care employment benefits of one of the partners and on and on. Glendon and your kind most assuredly are determined to prevent gays from living as they chose, from having the same rights you and she have. Thats WRONG.

David quotes the Box Turtle Bulletin Mission statement: “We’ve lost the ability to oppose other viewpoints without demonizing those who hold them.”. He’s suggesting this is us when its been him at least as much – he says “You are a dogmatist. Anyone who disagrees with you is an evil son of a bitch.” and then he calls me “militant” and says I’m “like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum”. He whined in the other thread about me attacking him and “not knowing” him, yet here he attacks me after I apologised and makes claims about me he can’t possibly know – you owe me an apology David for your attack on me – you broke the Box Turtle Bulletin commenting policy just as much as I did. Merely disagreeing with me doesn’t make someone an “evil son of a bitch” by any stretch of the imagination, but trying to deny others the same rights you have certainly isn’t moral either. Your own words come back at you: “You should think about this before you assume the very worst about any and every political opponent.”

The fact is David Glendon opposes giving gays the same rights she has and that makes her anti-gay If she believed there was nothing wrong with gays, if she believed they deserved equal rights she’s support same sex marriages. She doesn’t and she is by definiton ant-gay

Jason
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

David, I pull out a dictionary website and you refute it with wikipedia? The online dictionary that anyone can edit? Wikipedia is a good place to find out what happened on the 27th episode of Dawson’s Creek, but it is hardly a reliable source of quality information. Nice try. No sale.

It’s quite obvious that since you refuse to be corrected on a minor point which you are clearly and deliberately misunderstanding and misinterpreting to suit your needs that you are not at all interested in a reasoned discussion. Your interaction with other members shows a lack of compassion and a lack of both listening and respect.

And let me state one final point.
We are not the bigots here. We are not the prejudiced ones here. None of the posters in this entry, or others has advocated quarantining anyone, not letting certain people hold certain jobs, claiming that a class of people are diseased, disordered, unwell, or dangerous. None of the posters here have created a fake illness defined in unscientific terms, cast it onto a class of people and adamantly lobbied to both use this classification against that people and also strongly persuade those people to seek “help”. None of the posters here has advocated laws to restrict the ability of an entire class of people to adopt children, have basic fairness, hold a job, live in certain areas. And finally no one here is advocating, calling for, or supporting a constitutional amendment to keep an entire class of people away from legal recognition of their relationships. No sir, we are not the bigots here.

You know who are the bigots here? The people who are supporting all the things I mentioned above. People are certainly free to think whatever they want to about gay people. They don’t have to like us and they certainly don’t have to show up to our birthday parties —however when they start trying to tell us how to live and start telling the government that it should deny us this, and keep us from that —they have attacked us and we have every right to speak up and defend ourselves. We have every right to go to court, to go to the legislature to stop them. Gay rights and gay marriage harm no one, and there is no evidence to the contrary.

I’m not a violent person. In fact, you could say I’m a nonviolent person. Let’s say someone attacks me violently, and then I respond, defending myself with violence. Does that make me a hypocrite? Does that make me a violent person? No, of course not, it makes me a survivor. It’s self defense. Tolerance works very much the same way. Tolerance only works if everyone participates. If someone comes along, wants to join the Circle of Tolerance but is actively intolerant of everyone at the circle our ONLY defense is intolerance. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s self defense. You get what you give. If everyone is giving tolerance, then everyone is getting tolerance.

Intolerant people often try to use tolerance against us, trying to pull the whole “you have to be tolerant of my viewpoint! You have to be tolerant of my intolerance!” Why should we give someone something they categorically refuse us?

Ben in Oakland
November 15th, 2007 | LINK

Very good, Jason. Take a bow!!!!!

Randi Schimnosky
November 16th, 2007 | LINK

I’ll second that Jason, excellent job.

David
November 27th, 2007 | LINK

Ben,

I’m sorry for the long delay in responding; after my last comment my computer suffered a meltdown.

I have not accused you of being a bigot — a person who is completely intolerant of any belief, race, etc., different from his own. I said you displayed a prejudice against people who oppose same-sex marriage.

When you write that Glendon must “support civil unions for gay people, with all the rights and responsbilities of marriage, at both the federal and state levels” in order for you not to consider her an anti-gay bigot, I don’t see how my saying so is inappropriate.

Many people want to preserve marriage as a social institution that promotes a healthy integration of the sexes and the preconditions for responsible procreation. Such an attitude is not concerned with marriage as a vehicle for the happiness of adults; it sees marriage as about the good of human society. It is not fair to call people who see marriage this way as anti-gay.

In your dialogue with Randi you have leveled some accusations at me — accusations at which I take a great deal of exception. You both think you know where I’m coming from, but you don’t even though I told you:

Discussing his own thinking, the late mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that when he was in the Orient he was for the Occident, and when in the Occident he was for the Orient. I have taken this attitude to heart…

You must try to understand where an opponent to any social change you favor is coming from, rather than just assuming the opposition is motivated by hatred of you.

David
November 27th, 2007 | LINK

Jason,

It is not that I am refusing to be corrected. When I wrote that “morality is an inherently spiritual matter” and then defined sprirituality as “concern for what is eternally true about the human condition, persons, reality itself,” I honestly didn’t think I was saying anything that would cause such controversy. Call me a fool if you must, but that is the truth.

As for Wikipedia (which is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary), I was not using it as an authority. You said I was redefining words to suit my arguments. I pointed to the Wikipedia article to show that my understanding of the term spirituality is not unique to me.

* * * *

I am plenty interested in reasoned discussion. The hyper-emotional lack of reason has been displayed here by others, not by me.

I asked people to defend their calling Mary Ann Glendon an anti-gay bigot. What happened? I get lectured on every injustice ever done to homosexuals as if I were born yesterday, and accused of being unfamiliar with equal treatment before the law because I dared link to an article at American Conservative — even though I was pointing out the unfair treatment of a man for daring to criticize President Bush!

I explain my interests in comparative mythology and the philosophy of religion and how they color my perceptions of the spirituality/religion relationship, and for my trouble I’m accused of being deceitful.

So just who is having trouble listening and showing respect here?

Randi Schimnosky
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

David said “Many people want to preserve marriage as a social institution that promotes a healthy integration of the sexes and the preconditions for responsible procreation.”.

And to the degree that it does that prior to passing equal marriage for same sex couples it will continue to do that after passing equal marriage for same sex couples. The marriage of a same sex couple down the street in no way affects any heterosexual couple’s marriage. To suggest otherwise is to be a bigot as Glendon is.

For you to suggest we’re prejudiced against those who opppose equal marriage is absurd. We’re not trying to deny any such people rights, they’re trying to deny others rights and equality and that makes them prejudiced. Opposing prejudice is not prejudice itself.

Randi Schimnosky
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

And David, answer the question, do you believe in god?

Randi Schimnosky
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

David, its time you sat back and had a an objective look at how twisted your position is. Think about it “The people who want to deny gays marriage aren’t prejudiced, but those who criticize this promotion of inequality are”? That’s crazy David. Stop posting for a while and think about it.

Timothy Kincaid
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

Many people want to preserve marriage as a social institution that promotes a healthy integration of the sexes and the preconditions for responsible procreation. Such an attitude is not concerned with marriage as a vehicle for the happiness of adults; it sees marriage as about the good of human society. It is not fair to call people who see marriage this way as anti-gay.

David,

If this were true it might well be a starting point for conversation. We could discuss whether that is a reasonable intent for marriage and whether same-sex marriage either hinders or helps such efforts. In fact, this is the thrust of Jonathan Rauch’s lectures and writings.

But, alas, that is not the reason that Glendon, or indeed anyone I’ve experienced in the anti-gay-marriage movement has for opposing gay marriage.

You may question how I can know the motivations of Glendon. But it isn’t difficult.

Glendon’s proposals do not seek to limit marriage in any way that would encourage responsible procreation. They do not encourage the healthy integration of the sexes. They do not look at opposite-sex couples at all and are not concerned with how they impact the good of human society.

The only approach that Glendon has towards marriage is to exclude same-sex couples. Further, her primary purpose, as best it can be deduced, is to bring marriage laws into compliance with the teachings of her religious denomination.

David, I would prefer that those who have anti-gay biases not hide their championing of discrimination behind flowery philosophy that they clearly do not believe. It makes me think that in addition to a core belief in their own superiority (by condition of orientation) they also have little regard for their own integrity.

Randi Schimnosky
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

And David, I’d add that if marriage is supposed to be for the good of society it must be concerned with the happiness of adults – the happiness of adults is essential tothe good of society.

Jason
November 28th, 2007 | LINK

**Jason,

It is not that I am refusing to be corrected.**

Really? I still haven’t seen anything to the effect of “I stand corrected”. All I see is you continuing to defend your viewpoint, then your sources, but at no point have you even conceded that you might possibly be wrong, let alone admitted to being wrong.

Course you’ve avoided answering the question about civil rights, and Randi’s question about your belief in God. So I’m not terribly surprised.

There’s no point in me continuing to dialogue with you, you’re determined to be right on anything, and everything, despite clear evidence and sources.
That’s fine, I have better fish to fry.

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