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Carrie Sans-jean

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Gabriel Arana

November 17th, 2009

I dislike Carrie Prejean as much as anyone. She’s stupid, bratty, and immature. I want to throw a pie in her face. But the response to her CNN interview and her comment in Christianity Today — “I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn’t get breast implants” — has me questioning the tone of the  attacks from the gay community (and liberal folks).

Many gays call her a “slut” because of the sex tapes she made, the pictures, and her boob job. But should we? At the heart of the “slut”-bomb we keep dropping on Carrie is the assumption that women should be pure, that having too many sex partners makes you a skank and that all this behavior makes her bad. But I don’t think that. I don’t think sex outside of marriage is wrong, or that sex with many people — even at the same time! — is wrong. I might not personally videotape myself in sexual poses or take racy pictures (maybe I just need some confidence?), but I see these things as natural expressions of sexuality. She’s a bad person because she’s a bigoted fame-monger, not because she rubbed herself the wrong way.

You might say it’s about hypocrisy, but if so, let’s call her a hypocrite.

This brings me to another point: Carrie’s right when she says the Bible doesn’t say you can’t get implants. Despite being a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, I’ve often wondered why being Christian means, for some, that you repress sexual desire and abandon all concern for your appearance. Technical terms: vanity, lust. Carrie’s certainly a hypocrite when it comes to the Christian values of people she’s representing, but aren’t there there are versions of Christianity that make room for you to be human?.

Comments

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Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I’ve said from the very beginning that there’s nothing immoral about being a slut, its about the hypocrisy of being a slut and oppressing others because of their sexuality.

Gabriel Arana
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I agree wholeheartedly, Priya — I hope that comes across.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, I think it does.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps where I differ with you Gabriel is that I don’t consider the term slut to be an insult.

Gabriel Arana
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t either, per se. It depends on how it’s said/used — in the end, words only mean what we make them mean.

I’m concerned less with the term than with the disapproval it signals.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I’m with you on that.

Jason D
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

“but aren’t there there are versions of Christianity that make room for you to be human.”

I’m sure there are, I just don’t picture Carrie belonging to one.

There’s no part of the bible that’s anti boob-job. But there’s also no part that says gays can’t get married. In the same way people say certain sections talk about gay people in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sort of indirect way, you could also make the argument that the whole “your body is a temple” areas of the bible prohibit boob jobs as well.

Timothy Kincaid
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I think it fair to say that all forms of Christianity encourage congregants to live a life that is meaningful. And I’m sure that they would all agree that finding a partner and committing emotionally, spiritually, and yes sexually to that one person has more value than sexual promiscuity.

So no, I don’t think you are going to find a version of Christianity that appreciates or encourages sexual wantonness. Human, they get. But I can’t imagine any denomination thinking that it was wise to pose topless or make sex tapes to send to a guy with whom she has spent a total of four days.

Some may be more forgiving and others may not see it as sinful, but I think all branches of Christianity would consider Carries behavior as, well, slutty. And you can certainly disagree, but most churches would think of slutty as something to avoid being.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I think that while many churchs and Christians pay lip service to the idea of people having a meaningful sexual relationship, in fact many find all sex abhorrent. This is demonstrated in the insistence by many that the only acceptible sex is that which is intended to result in pregnancy and the disdain for any sense of sexually derived pleasure. I know certainly my religious parents were horrified by sex in general and have passed this on to many of my brothers and sisters.

There’s no doubt that churches and religion are predominantly responsible for the widespread sexual hangups people have in our society and I’m not just talking about slutty sex, but even sex within a monogamous relationship.

Emily K
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Let’s not pretend that even “most” people who comment on or write for this blog hold women up to be some kind of “pure ideal.” They don’t. I don’t think this article is really exposing anything here. Many people protested the use of “slut” from a previous article, including me.

In thinking about this characteristic of “pure,” I myself am not even quite sure how it would be properly defined. I suppose “pure” for me would equal “self-respect,” which it doesn’t seem Carrie has much. And that term still requires some kind of personal opinion to define it.

If I would define Carrie by any characteristic, it would be by her rash behavior – one doesn’t make a sex tape because they don’t want to get noticed. She made a tape for a partner she had for all of 4 days. In the context of a long(er)-term relationship, a tape makes more sense in my brain – making that kind of video seems to call for trust on both ends of the relationship: trust that the subject of the tape won’t be ridiculed doing something that might make one vulnerable, and trust that the tape would remain private. But for a one-night-stand or a short-term partner one barely knows, it seems like a desperate ploy.

And, of course, people are welcome to vehemently disagree with me and call me a “prude” as a result.

Timothy Kincaid
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I would agree that sex in general is though of by many religious folk as something that is dirty and secretive and shameful. And I agree that this attitude causes hangups.

But I think and hope that attitude is less common than it once was.

Gabriel Arana
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I guess that’s why Christianity doesn’t appeal to me.

I just don’t see how committing sexually to one person is inherently more valuable than not (and this from someone who’s getting married). I like being with one person, but I imagine there are some out there who find they are happier having sexual relationships with more than one, sharing different parts of their personality with different people. Who’s to say that’s wrong?

It just seems to me that the same sexual mores that make Christians think Carrie is a “slut” — and that it’s a bad thing — are those used to say anal sex is wrong.

Swampfox
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Christians aren’t perfect and they aren’t supposed to dislike sex or their sexuality. Ms. Prajean needs to stop playing the martyr and get on with life. And, if she wants to promote her book on a book tour she needs to answer questions she may not like.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Gabriel said “I imagine there are some out there who find they are happier having sexual relationships with more than one, sharing different parts of their personality with different people. Who’s to say that’s wrong?”.

I wouldn’t say its wrong, but I’d say there are drawbacks. Its more difficult to maintain a loving relationship if there is more than one person involved and one runs the risk of transmitting STDs. To me, saying promiscuity is immoral is like saying skydiving is immoral – its not the case, but it is more risky.

David
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

Gabriel

You’ve completely missed the point of the criticism that has been directed at Carrie, fixating on the superficial word choices some, but not even most, people used in discussing the matter.

You write about “natural expressions of sexuality” but Carrie embraces a theology that explicitly rejects and condemns some natural expressions of sexuality, so she doesn’t get to use the ‘it is natural’ card.

Carrie spoke from a theology that imposes strict sexual mores, which she repeatedly violated, even as she vilified millions of people for their natural expression of sexual desire.

Folks don’t like the word slut, but lets be honest, it is just a slang term for what Carrie did – prostitute herself. She sold her body, on multiple levels, for money.

And while she was prostituting herself, she vilified other people for simply seeking the ability to protect their loved ones, because they did not fit in the same sexual code of conduct she violated repeatedly by posing in sexually exploitative imagery.

The problem is that Carrie comes from a “versions of Christianity” that does not make room for you to be human if you are gay or lesbian.

Had Carrie not publicly judged and condemned same-sex marriage, it is likely that most of the progressive/GLBTQ people who criticize her now, would be defending her instead.

Priya Lynn
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

No David, I don’t think Gabriel missed anything. Carrie was criticized for her anti-gay hypocrisy but some also made a point of condemning her sexual acts. That’s what he was criticizing and I agree with him.

Ken in Riverside
November 17th, 2009 | LINK

I agree with this post and would like to add that challenging her own morality is not the same thing as challenging the argument that we are immoral by nature of being gay. They are two completely separate issues.

It might make people feel better to point out that she’s not perfect (perfectly humble, perfectly moral) but that was never really a point of discussion. In fact, its an utterly unpersuasive argument to her’s. Instead, it just reinforces her victim narrative and presents us as petty and vindictive.

Regan DuCasse
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Hmmm…I don’t especially care about Carrie Prejean’s private sex life, nor that she has one.
I think the Miss America pageant is the one with the higher moral standards and the reason Vanessa Williams got in trouble.
What we have here, is a young woman who, spoke against marriage equality in a not as articulate a fashion as the Miss USA winner. Although Paris Hilton went on an ungentlemanly tear about her opinion, HE wasn’t the ultimate authority or vote in the pageant.
It was NOM, and Maggie Gallagher exploiting Ms. Prejean’s kerfuffle with a GAY man, setting her up as their spokesperson and presenting her as a paragon of sexual, marriage and family VIRTUE that is the problem.
NOM is working POLITICALLY. They engaged Prejean POLITICALLY to judge the sexuality of other people, and in that way, lose vital marriage rights.

Ms. Prejean nor NOM, nor anyone else for that matter should have blamed Hilton for her pageant loss.
But a hissy throwing gay man made good on their belief in stereotypes and hid the fact that Prejean is a sore loser.

Now that her sex vids and racy pictures are public, she’s no longer that virginal and family morals representative, but a typical entertainment wannabe who wants attention by any means necessary.

What Hilton did pales in comparison to what NOM did, and WHY Prejean spoke for them and why they wanted her in the first place.
The most cynical and unvarnished prejudiced reasons.
NOM got their way in ME, Prejean can’t handle any questions with a shrug or any kind of intelligence. Instead she gets petulant.

The fact is, she CAN’T think on her feet, she CAN’T handle the most softball of questions, she can’t be spontaneous in articulating on important issues. Exactly why she’s NOT Miss USA.
Or especially interesting. Girls like her are a nickel a dozen.

Her 15 was up a long time ago, and she needs to get the hell over herself.

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Ad hominem attacks against Ms Prejean should cease. It does not do the lgbt community any service to attack her personally by calling her a “slut,” or “skank,” or “ho”.

Calling Ms Prejean a hypocrite for claiming to champion Puritan mores, and falling short of those mores herself is also only marginally acceptable.

It is a well known to be an error to declare someone’s argument wrong merely on the basis that the defender does not live up to the same standard they defend. It makes the person a hypocrite, but it does not make their argument wrong.

Calling someone a hypocrite makes us all feel good – we get to imagine that we are better – more morally upright people – but it does nothing to invalidate her stance.

As morally upright people, the high road here is attacking Ms Prejean’s statements as based on fear and historical prejudice against a minority, and not attacking Ms Prejean herself, even her perceived character flaws.

None of us are morally perfect – so stop pretending to be better. It doesn’t do anyone any service.

Priya Lynn
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris, I may not be morally perfect, but I’m not a sexual hypocrite, so in that sense I certainly am better than Carrie. I’m sure the same is true of many commenters here.

I don’t think anyone said Carrie’s being a hypocrite made her argument wrong, they just said it shows her to be less than the good person she claims to be and as such in no position to be casting aspersions on gay people for the flaws she imagines them to have.

Alex
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris,

I’m not asking Carrie Prejean to be perfect. It’s just that if someone wants to lecture me about how immoral and wrong my relationship is, then the least she could do is not have a history of making sex tapes, posing for nude photos, and parading herself half-naked in a beauty contest. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn said:

Chris, I may not be morally perfect, but I’m not a sexual hypocrite, so in that sense I certainly am better than Carrie. I’m sure the same is true of many commenters here.

It makes you different. Making value judgments against Ms Prejean only lends her support when she says she is victimized for her beliefs.

No one wins when we merely attack people by casting aspersions. We are all winners when we help people see the errors in their ideas.

Life is not a contest that you win for being “better” than someone else.

It is my sincere hope that one day we get over the idea that one person can be intrinsically “better” than another. This is the root of prejudice – that some thought, or action, or status, automatically makes the person who possesses that attribute “better” than a person who does not.

Our differences make us different, they do not make one person better than any other.

This is what our founders meant when they said “All [men] are created equal.”

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Alex said:

I’m not asking Carrie Prejean to be perfect. It’s just that if someone wants to lecture me about how immoral and wrong my relationship is, then the least she could do is not have a history of making sex tapes, posing for nude photos, and parading herself half-naked in a beauty contest. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

Why?
Are those things also morally wrong?
If so, why?

Also, please explain how Ms Prejean’s actions in her personal life in any way, shape, or form, impact the validity of her argument against homosexuality.

Please also explain how the morality of the any of the other issues you mention support your assertion that her argument against homosexuality is wrong.

[Please note, I disagree with Ms Prejean’s position, but I can talk against her argument, without talking against her person.]

Priya Lynn
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris said “It makes you different.”.

Yes, different as in better.

Chris said “Making value judgments against Ms Prejean only lends her support when she says she is victimized for her beliefs.”.

When people criticize her for being a hypocrite they aren’t victimizing her for her beliefs, they are criticizing her for her actions – her beliefs have nothing to do with it.

Chris said “It is my sincere hope that one day we get over the idea that one person can be intrinsically “better” than another. This is the root of prejudice – that some thought, or action, or status, automatically makes the person who possesses that attribute “better” than a person who does not. Our differences make us different, they do not make one person better than any other.”.

I had this argument with a person on a different forum. He too claimed actions, wrong actions, don’t make one person less than another. He eventually agreed that he was no better than Hitler. Are you no better than Hitler Chris?

Jason D
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Isn’t there a Bible verse that comes into play here? Or a couple?

I might be paraphrasing….

Something about not judging gays unless you wish to be judged just as harshly for your sex tapes?

I swear there’s also a passage regarding taking the porn out of your own eye before speaking to you brother about the gay marriage in his.

Oh, and that whole thing about letting she who is without fake boobs cast the first stone.

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn said:

I had this argument with a person on a different forum. He too claimed actions, wrong actions, don’t make one person less than another. He eventually agreed that he was no better than Hitler. Are you no better than Hitler Chris?

Reductio ad Hitlerum.

Priya Lynn
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris it is not a fallacy to point out the ultimate absurdity of your position – that one’s actions do not make them a bad person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

Priya Lynn
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

So, how about it Chris, is it your “sincere hope” that your friends and family can one day “get over the idea” that you are “intrinsically” better than Hitler?

Jason D
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris, did you read that wikipedia entry?

This part in particular(bold is mine)…

“The fallacy claims that a policy leads to—or is the same as—one advocated or implemented by Hitler or the Third Reich, and so “proves” that the original policy is undesirable. For example: “Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism is wrong.” The tactic is often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger.”[1]

no such comparison has been made.

There’s also this part of the wikipedia entry:

“Reductio ad Hitlerum is no more than guilt by association, a form of association fallacy.”

Again, no such comparison has been made.

You might want to read wikipedia before quoting it.

Priya Lynn
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

For the record I think its a virtual certainty that Chris is a much better person than Hitler was. I just want to see if he’s going to agree with me, or stick with his original claim that a person’s actions don’t make them any better or worse than anyone else, just “different”.

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D said:

Chris, did you read that wikipedia entry?

Jason, you are correct.
I had meant it in the context of Godwin’s Law, but failed in making that distinction.

Chris McCoy
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn said:

For the record I think its a virtual certainty that Chris is a much better person than Hitler was. I just want to see if he’s going to agree with me, or stick with his original claim that a person’s actions don’t make them any better or worse than anyone else, just “different”.

Hitler owned dogs, and listened to classical music, and watched movies.

Were Hitler’s actions bad? Yes.
Am I a better person than Hitler? Mu.

Ben in Oakland
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

This whole argument remuinds me of “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Jason, maybe you can straighten it out for me.

BTW, wlecome back. you seem to have disappeared for a while.

Jason D
November 18th, 2009 | LINK

Chris, Godwin’s law involves saying someone or something is just like hitler.

You were asked if you considered yourself better than hitler. That’s not the same at all. Any mention of hitler is not cause for declaring Godwin’s Law is in effect.

And just to let you know, Chris, Wikipedia is the least reputable site to be quoting for your arguments. Great for finding out what happened in Uncanny X-Men 232, or if Ali Larter was in episode 12 of Heroes, but not much good for any substantial information, and certainly not credible enough to support an argument.

(Ben, I don’t know if I quite understand it, and hello!)

werdna
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

@Jason D:
Asking if someone thinks they’re better or worse than Hitler certainly involves a comparison to Hitler, and thus “proves” Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” It’s clear that Priya Lynn was aware of the ironic element of her comparison and it doesn’t seem to me to undercut her point (which was not that Chris McCoy is like Hitler, but that it would be absurd for him to claim that he’s not better in some way than Hitler) at all.

Wikipedia is a perfectly adequate reference for many things, including logical fallacies–particularly when there are citations which support the article. If you disagree with the information in a linked Wikipedia article you can explain why (just as you should when you dispute the veracity of any source), but absent such an argument is it really unreasonable to assume that information (especially clearly-sourced and supported information) in a Wikipedia link is credible? Indeed, it seems funny that you’re claiming Wikipedia is unreliable when just a few comments ago you were quoting from an article there!

Jason D
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

werdna,
No school accepts wikipedia as a legitimate reference source.

Wikipedia even notes this in it’s citation page (bold is mine):

“For many purposes, but particularly in academia, Wikipedia may not be an acceptable source;[1] indeed, some professors and teachers may reject Wikipedia-sourced material completely. This is especially true when it is used without corroboration. However, much of the content on Wikipedia is itself referenced, so an alternative is to cite the reliable source rather than the article itself.

We advise special caution when using Wikipedia as a source for research projects. Normal academic usage of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias is for getting the general facts of a problem and to gather keywords, references and bibliographical pointers, but not as a source in itself. Remember that Wikipedia is a wiki, which means that anyone in the world can edit an article, deleting accurate information or adding false information, which the reader may not recognize.”

As to this..

Werdna said:
Indeed, it seems funny that you’re claiming Wikipedia is unreliable when just a few comments ago you were quoting from an article there!

Way to pay attention to context. I wasn’t citing wikipedia as an authority. Chris made a claim, using a wikipedia article as his reference. I checked his reference (as you should always do) and his reference didn’t say what he claimed it said. Regardless if he’d been referencing Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica, the article didn’t support his argument! In fact, it had nothing to do with the argument.I wasn’t referencing wikipedia, I was fact-checking his source. What’s funny is that you don’t understand that very distinct difference.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

No, I wasn’t comparing Chris to Hitler, I was asking a rhetorical question whose obvious answer is yes, Chris is a better person than Hitler. This was to establish the absurdity of his position, that Hitler’s actions don’t make him a bad person.

The idea that a person’s action don’t say something about the intrinsic nature of the person himself is something that not even Chris sincerely believes.

For example:

Suppose Chris was looking to invest his life savings. He has an opportunity to invest with Bernie Madoff (the criminal ponzi schemer who stole billions) or someone he’s known for 20 years who has a track record of honesty and integrity. According to Chris actions don’t make Bernie a bad person, so is Chris going to invest with Bernie Madoff? Not a chance, he knows Bernie is inherently bad and no way is he going to trust him with his life savings.

Similarly, suppose Chris was living in 1943 in Germany. His jewish friend asks him which baby sitter he should choose for his children, Hitler, or the baby sitter Chris has used for all his children. Once again, according to Chris gassing all those Jews doesn’t make Hitler a bad person so is he going to recommend Hitler as a baby sitter for Jewish children? No, obviously not in a million years, because he knows in his heart Hitler is evil and actions arise from the internal nature of a person – evil actions come from evil people. If that wasn’t the case Chris would have no problem investing his life savings with Bernie Madoff or recommending Hitler as a baby sitter for Jewish children.

And so it is with Carrie Prejean. The idea that her being a hypocrite doesn’t say something negative about who she is as a person is preposterous – its an argument that falls apart upon the face of it.

Chris McCoy
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D said:

And just to let you know, Chris, Wikipedia is the least reputable site to be quoting for your arguments. Great for finding out what happened in Uncanny X-Men 232, or if Ali Larter was in episode 12 of Heroes, but not much good for any substantial information, and certainly not credible enough to support an argument.

And yet this very blog here sees Wikipedia as fit enough to cite, 3 times, in its Comments Policy, specifically in relation to logical fallacies.

When in Rome.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Similarly that Chris would sooner agree to absurdities (he is no better than Hitler) rather than admit he’s wrong says something negative about who Chris is as a person.

Chris McCoy
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn said:

No, I wasn’t comparing Chris to Hitler, I was asking a rhetorical question whose obvious answer is yes, Chris is a better person than Hitler. This was to establish the absurdity of his position, that Hitler’s actions don’t make him a bad person.

The idea that a person’s action don’t say something about the intrinsic nature of the person himself is something that not even Chris sincerely believes.

So all criminals are intrinsically bad people and should be put to death immediately to save society from their evil ways.

See, I can put forward absurd arguments, too.

As the Dalai Lama said, “There are no bad people, only people led astray by bad ideas.”

Having compassion means seeing that there are no “bad people” or “good people.” There are only “people.”

If that view makes me seem naive to you, I can live with that.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Chris said “So all criminals are intrinsically bad people and should be put to death immediately to save society from their evil ways. See, I can put forward absurd arguments, too.”

What do you mean “too”? You’re the only one putting forth absurd arguments. Your comment is an example of the straw man fallacy, that’s a position I haven’t taken and its rather dishonest of you to pretend that I have.

A person’s badness or goodness lies on a continuum, the world isn’t absolute black and whites like you’re falsely claiming I painted it to be.

Yes, to a certain degree all criminals are bad people, some worse than others, a murderer presents more of a risk and deserves more punishment than a thief.

If we take your argument to its logical conclusion, actions like theft, rape, and murder don’t make someone a bad person, that being the case there is no reason to punish them at all. Tell me Chris, why have punishments for crimes if the people committing them aren’t bad people?

Elliot in NY
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

“So all criminals are intrinsically bad people and should be put to death immediately to save society from their evil ways.”

Criminals should be separated from society and put into prison. Killing them makes no sense, and would do nothing to protect people from further harm.

The problem with your arguments is that while we don’t put people to death immediately, their crimes do speak for their sense of character. This is why they are imprisoned, and not simply left to cause more trouble.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

And Chris, I don’t think you’re naive, I think you’re dishonest – you know better. You know you’d never trust a Bernie Madoff to invest your money, or a pedophile to babysit your children. You know that is because by their nature these are bad people, their actions aren’t somehow miraculously divorced from who they are as people. You know this, but you’re to dishonest to admit it.

Ben in Oakland
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

“You know that is because by their nature these are bad people, their actions aren’t somehow miraculously divorced from who they are as people. You know this, but you’re to dishonest to admit it.”

Yet, this is what love the sinner, hatre the sin, is about.

Can someone enlighten me?

Chris McCoy
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn said:

If we take your argument to its logical conclusion, actions like theft, rape, and murder don’t make someone a bad person, that being the case there is no reason to punish them at all. Tell me Chris, why have punishments for crimes if the people committing them aren’t bad people?

Yet if we take your argument to its logical conclusion, people who commit bad acts – any bad acts – are bad people forever, never capable of learning from their mistakes, doomed forever to be labeled a “bad person” – unworthy of our trust for eternity.

Priya Lynn said:

And Chris, I don’t think you’re naive, I think you’re dishonest – you know better. You know you’d never trust a Bernie Madoff to invest your money, or a pedophile to babysit your children. You know that is because by their nature these are bad people, their actions aren’t somehow miraculously divorced from who they are as people. You know this, but you’re to dishonest to admit it.

I think there is a difference between making a judgment call about someone’s fitness to perform a certain job, and judging a person to be wholly less than another person.

My original comments, which have now been lost in a battle of argumentum ad absurdum, was that judging Ms Prejean as a person is an undesirable course of action; that we should instead concentrate our efforts on correcting the errors in her statements, and not stooping to the level of Puritanical “Holier than Thou” character assassination.

Timothy Kincaid
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

A few thoughts:

The argument that no people are better or worse is, at heart, a religious contention. All are equal in the sight of God (or the Dalai Lama). Sin is forgiven by divine redemption leaving all equal before God. Intrinsically no one is better or worse. Hitler, Idi Amin, Mother Teresa, St. Francis, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, none are better or worse in the sight of God.

Whether one holds to such declarations of faith (some here do, some don’t, and let’s not argue the point), we should remember that this is but one context in which we measure “better”.

From a human perspective, we also measure better and worse pragmatically. As in many of the examples given above, we use previous behavior and track record to measure who is to be trusted.

We are not just what we come into the world with. We are not just that which is intrinsic. We are also those behaviors and attitudes we choose to adopt. And I am not hesitant to state that some are better than others.

Yes, I am “better” than some people. By that I mean that I am more trustable, a greater contributor to society, less of a threat, more conscientious, easier to get along with, and more inclined to strive for an advanced world.

Does that make me “intrinsically better”? Other than religiously, who cares? It does make me, from a pragmatic point, better.

And, of course, I am also much worse than some other people.

In looking at those who oppose decency and equality for gay people, I am more than willing to assign judgment of who is better or worse.

Those who have flawed information, who truly seek to find resolution, who are inching towards equality, and especially those who are troubled by the way in which their positions harm the lives of others – without question – are better people than those who willfully lie, view us as an evil enemy rather than as people, who close their minds to any consideration, and especially those delight in the misery of others.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

Chris said “Yet if we take your argument to its logical conclusion, people who commit bad acts – any bad acts – are bad people forever, never capable of learning from their mistakes, doomed forever to be labeled a “bad person” – unworthy of our trust for eternity.”

Straw man fallacy yet again. I don’t take that position at all and I resent your grotesque mischaracterization of my position. Of course people are able to learn from their mistakes and we are all some combination of good and bad, some more good or bad than others and some more or less deserving of our trust. Nevertheless, you know you wouldn’t trust a Bernie Madoff to invest yoru money or a pedophile to babysit your kids.

Chris said “I think there is a difference between making a judgment call about someone’s fitness to perform a certain job, and judging a person to be wholly less than another person.”.

When you’re judging someone’s fitness to perform a job, you’re judging their character, who they are as a person. To suggest that a person’s past actions have no bering on their character is preposterous. As to whether or not Carrie Prejean is “wholly less” a person than someone like myself, I don’t know enough to make that judgment and that is not the point I’ve been trying to make here. My point is that her hypocrisy reflects negatively on her character and certainly is something I wouldn’t do and in that aspect I’m better than her.

I never said one action by a person “wholly” sums up who they are, you’re beating that straw man to death – please stop and demonstrate some honesty.

Given that Carrie is judging gay people negatively it is perfectly apropriate to note that her hypocrisy reflects negatively upon her character and she is in no position to be judging others based on a standard she herself fails to live up to.

Timothy Kincaid
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

It is a well known to be an error to declare someone’s argument wrong merely on the basis that the defender does not live up to the same standard they defend. It makes the person a hypocrite, but it does not make their argument wrong.

But it does diminish the argument.

Part of any argument is the conviction of belief by the person arguing. It takes it from “this may possibly be true” to “I am here to witness for its veracity”.

This is especially the case with Carrie Prejean. Her arguments in favor of biblical standards were not based in her theological studies, her anthropological research, her societal studies, or her deep reflection on the nature of human structure.

No. Prejean’s only basis for argument in favor or religious standards was “I believe”.

If it can be shown that Carrie, indeed, did not really believe in the “biblically correct” standards that she argued for, then there was no basis whatsoever for her argument.

That isn’t to say, exactly, that her conclusions are incorrect; even a fool can get lucky. But it does say that her argument is invalid and can be dismissed in its entirety.

Ben in Oakland
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

thank you, Timothy, for straightening it out for me.

Timothy Kincaid
November 19th, 2009 | LINK

:)

werdna
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

@Jason D:

You wrote, “No school accepts wikipedia as a legitimate reference source.”

Duh. But we’re talking about a discussion in a comments section of a blog.

“Way to pay attention to context.”

Indeed.

Pavel Okun
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

Thank god you said it. Carrie sucks but there is nothing wrong with being a slut. Women are free to enjoy sex and since they are not hurting anybody its not immoral.

By and by the guys I know who rial against sluts don’t get laid. Their bitter and would use these sluts if they had half the chance.

Beware of moralists–whoever rails agaisnt the whore wants to use her the most

Pavel Okun
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

By and by have you read the Bible? Because the fundamentalists have and their right. If their is a god he does hate gays and sluts.

Of course lets be honest, “god” is just as real as Zeus–ie not real at all.

Timothy Kincaid
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Pavel,

Your theological sophistication and your observations on humanity are about as keen as your sense of grammar.

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