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Phoenix Clergy protest anti-gay declaration

Timothy Kincaid

October 15th, 2010

I believe that the ideals behind our quest for rights are appealing. We want equality, we want to be included, we want to make family, we want to be responsible citizens. In fact, I think that a decent society would be naturally inclined to positively address our concerns.

But there’s the God thing. Our culture has been convinced to a great extent that gay rights run counter to what “the church says” and, well, there are a lot of decent people who defer to religion when they are uncertain.

But what is seldom understood is that in America there is no one religious position on homosexuality. While the media pits “gay activists” against “people of faith” for more dramatic ratings, the truth is that a good many people of faith, congregations, regions, and even denominations loudly and proudly support gay people and their full inclusion into society.

But it is not just the media’s fault. It is, to an extent, our fault as well; we have been too compliant in allowing our enemies to set up the religion v. homosexuality dichotomy. And blame also rests on our religious allies who have allowed the discussion of religion in our country to be dominated by right-wing extremists. Those who are more religiously liberal have been embarrassed to sound as though they were claiming to be “real Christians” and were hesitant to denounce the beliefs of others, even those who espouse views that are exclusionary and homophobic.

But that may be changing. More and more I see men and women of the cloth publicly standing up and declaring anti-gay attitudes to be immoral and contrary to God. One such example is No Longer Silent – Clergy for Justice.

The group will be protesting the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix who has organized an event to celebrate their decision to adopt the virulently anti-gay Manhattan Declaration. (AZ Central)

The liberal clergy group, known as No Longer Silent – Clergy for Justice, plans to place several hundred people along the sidewalk outside the basilica to challenge what they consider hateful rhetoric. They will protext while people leave an 8 a.m. Mass kicking off the Manhattan Declaration events.

“When religious authorities in the name of God tell people they are less than whole, few things are more destructive,” said the Rev. David Ragan, a leader of the group who works at Beatitudes Campus.

The Rev. Jeff Proctor-Murphy of Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix said the group hoped to help people understand “there is an alternative way to be Christian and to understand scripture, to love people even when we don’t understand them.”

I wish them tremendous success and much visibility. And I hope that many more religious leaders will be emboldened to stand up for all of God’s children and oppose the voices of condemnation and contempt. As anti-gay ideology ceases to be the religious position and becomes just a religious position in the mind of the public, then they will feel freer to choose decency, equality and love.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I said repeatedly during the prop. 8 campaign that we must address the issues of religion AND religious bigotry, that gay supportive denominations had to stand up and be counted in a very public way.

The campaign chose to ignore this.

JakeInPHX
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I will be there with two friends! Hoping I can entice others.

Soren456
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

Just as an historical note: The first public religious involvement with gay civil rights ordinances, usually in cities, was supportive.

This began in the 70s and was considered unusual, as best I can discern. The pro voices were mainstream Protestant. They were in time overwhelmed by the evangelicals, who have not shut up since.

It’s my belief that religious statements and legislative testimony in support of gay rights, and the concomitant opposition, helped to open wide the doors to blatant religious participation in politics.

Dan
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

Back in the 1970s, the Roman Catholic Church opposed Anita Bryant’s heartless Save the Children campaign. Originally, the Southern Baptist Convention was also fairly progressive. Unfortunately, both groups were targets of a calculated conservative takeover.

Frijondi
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

The use of “Christian” as a synonym for “socially conservative evangelicals and (sometimes) their hard-line Roman Catholic allies” has got to stop. It’s an insult to several denominations, and also to the long social justice tradition with evangelical Christianity, which predates the current fundamentalist madness.

Also, is it just me, or does “Manhattan Declaration” sound a bit too much like “Manhattan Project”?

pax58
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I am friends with Jeff and David, as well as David Felten, another United Methodist clergyperson involved in Clergy Justice. They have long been advocated for the GLBT community. Jeff’s church Asbury has a large GLBT contingant. There are many in our community who look at national church postions and see the bigotry, forgetting there are many clergy out there who have been out spoken adovocates for a long time, I do blame the media for defining Christianity in terms of Roman Catholic and Evangelical. I am also grateful for the Arizona Republic for giving Clergy Justice a front page presence on this issue.

Bernie
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

It is heartwarming to here men of the cloth stand up for us.

Kevin
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

I completely agree that Christian and Jewish leaders who are supportive of LGBT dignity be bolder in opposing Catholic and evangelical fascists. They have staked out the turf of “moral values” and anyone who says anything contrary to them is told to “look for another Church” or simply just “go away.” Also, gays of faith need to assert that they will NOT abandon their faith because others bully them to leave. One can be gay, happy, and Christian. I am. I see no conflict.

I say all this for “strategic” reasons, too. I just finished watching the PBS series, “Religion in America,” and they make the important point that religious sensibilities have always been a part of this nation…and will almost certainly be a part of the public square. Many of us think that to advance our rights we need to abolish the tyranny of religion. Aint gonna happen, guys. Take the mantle back from the christianist homophobes!

JakeInPHX
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

@Frijondi re: “Manhattan Declaration”,

I too am sort of creeped by the easy mental leap one can make to the “Manhattan Project”.

Maybe we should understand it as that particular brand of Christianity’s nuclear option against GBLT people.

andrew
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

It’s still very taboo in this country to question anyone’s religious views. In so many cases, people are so careful not to offend, it functions as a “get out of jail free” card. Anyone can do anything, as long as they do it in the name of religion.

Now, I’m very much in favor of the religious diversity we have in this country, but it can’t be altogether blind. Great deference should be made for the religious traditions one chooses for oneself… but the PC nature of this has gone too far (And people on the political right complain about political correctness..)

The message needs to get out there that religious dogma is protected as long as you apply it to your own life… but not when you impose it on others.

Regan DuCasse
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

Several things are important, that should be, to all people of faith.
The ethics behind treating a person with regard to what you’d want for yourself.

Morals, if a person of faith wants to posit a discussion that way, is about how you treat another person, up front. Not how much you assert a rationale for dominating them.
In our culture, religious belief isn’t enforced because of the freedom of choice and the fluidity that represents it.
We witness how inconsistently one practices their rationales for civil discrimination for that reason.

But, most importantly, we have recent history of what faith communities supported abusive and oppressive laws, and charge people of faith to decide which side of historical precedent they want to be on.
Slavery isn’t supported in our culture, but is in the Bible. The subjugation of women is too.
The freedom to have contraception and certain other freedoms that represent contamination in faith communities are rejected by those who choose, but faith communities respect all these without complaining it compromises their religious freedom to take their hands off of it.

There is no basis, rationale or moral imperative consistent with those freedoms that require gay people to be exceptions to them.
Or any laws that protect gay people FROM anything that resembles oppression.
If the alternative is the self reliance of gay people, and consistent support and contribution FROM gay people when those freedoms are realized, there is even less support for religious people to say damage to them or anything else is the result.

We have those results on our side. People of faith have to be consistent. But there are no laws that require them to be either.

Making all their resistance to gay equality and protections, show them to be VERY dishonest and amoral about their commitment to taking all the advantages of our Constitutional laws, but expressing no obligation to reciprocate responsibility to it as well.

Regan DuCasse
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

con’t.
That is to say, the legacy of equality, justice and respect to individual freedom have consistently positive results to our communities, society and the social welfare of most.

The legacies of abusive laws, medieval or ancient traditions inconsistent with other progressive values do not have those results.

I would charge a person of faith too, to explain why they embrace the technology, futuristic values of a world without racism, sexism and poverty…yet embrace flat earth values with regard to homosexuality?
Almost the singular human value that transverses all human life, but at the same time, does not injure or betray another human being?

A morally thoughtful religious person, would be able to make the distinction between ‘sins’ that do those things that cause pain, and other sins that represent individual choices that alleviate pain and reduce personal risk that are a part of our human progress in understanding each other.

I always want to know, why even LISTENING to a gay person’s experience and their needs and comparing notes to achieve it, is one of the primary things that are resisted?
And why FALSE compassion, such as how Exodus extends itself to gay people in the guise of spiritual relief, is really a means of controlling a gay person’s life all over again?
To me, it’s another way of denying that gay person exists independently of the straight person’s narrow definition of what a person is ‘supposed’ to be.

But, the assumption that gay people are shallow, while the self delusion, sense of supremacy and stubborn moral dishonesty in some people of faith, is remarkably deep.
Another thing to call them out on.

Amicus
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

@soren-we do not seek ‘battle’, but it is brought against us.

Thoughts, in random order.

1. left/right, liberal/conservative is only of marginal use
2. Need to do more than simple statements of inclusion, need a theological / scriptural defense that can be articulated, in the context of a wholly thought through “strategy” or conception
3. Can’t (or ought not) outsource – we define our lives, and that includes understanding these issues and all their import (I know this is distinct from the points above, not implied in them)
4. Can’t “defeat” ‘fundamentalism’, can only sidestep it
5. The challenge of atheism has a role to play, but it is just a tool
6. The “opposition” has many different ears and ‘tongues’ – a well calibrated response needs as many.

Richard Rush
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

Kevin wrote,

Many of us think that to advance our rights we need to abolish the tyranny of religion. Ain’t gonna happen, guys.

While I’m not holding my breath waiting for abolishing the tyranny of religion, I’m not so sure it can’t happen.

I “came out” as gay in 1969, and could not imagine then that we would possibly be where we are today. I don’t think young gays today can really understand where we were then compared to where we are now. If someone had predicted in 1969 that in forty years I would be able to marry my partner in several states, I would have said, “Ain’t gonna happen, guys.”

A movement away from religion is already happening slowly, and is accelerating, likely due to the Internet. The ex-gay ministries love to say, “change is possible,” but it’s not going to be the change they have in mind.

justsearching
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Try googling “atheists against gay marriage” and your top results will either be sites asking if such an occurrence exists, or a story about this odd case of an atheist, an Australian PM, who does oppose gay marriage.

You’re right in that religion isn’t going to disappear any time soon, however, we can still wish that it would. It’s undeniable that less overall religiosity would mean more overall acceptance of the idea of gay marriage.

I’m all in favor of those within religious structures reforming those structures in such a way that they become less onerous to the rest of society. But if the structures end up shrinking, splintering, or collapsing, you won’t see much grief from me.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

I would contest the view that there is some kind of benevolent “a religiosity” to be found out there, to gays or anyone.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

s/b “areligiousity” or “a-religiosity”, i.e. absence of or directed away from religiosity.

Priya Lynn
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

You can constest it all you want Amicus, but 85% of non-religious people favour marriage equality compared to a much smaller percentage of religious people.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

When you say “non-religious” what do you mean? Don’t these people just have a different religious belief system, that they just think of as non-religious, because it doesn’t fit with ‘going to church’?

If you scan history, don’t you think you can find secularists who are deeply (deadly) discriminatory, even against gays?

Priya Lynn
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Of course you can, but that says nothing about what the typical non-religious person is like. I’ve dealt with hundreds of atheists on the internet and I’ve only come across one who was anti-gay – lower levels of religiosity positively correlate with higher levels of gay supportiveness.

I’m not sure what the precise definition of non-religous was in the survey I mentioned but it would include atheists, agnostics, non-believer who don’t like those terms and people who may believe in “something” but who don’t consider themselves religious in any way.

Timothy Kincaid
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Here in the states, “non-religious” also includes those who are “spiritual” as well as those who say, “oh, I believe in God but I don’t like organized religion.”

Priya Lynn
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Doesn’t matter Timothy. Non-religious still equates to the a-religiosity that Amicus was falsely claiming is not benevolent towards gays and lesbians.

Jim Burroway
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

85% of non-religious people favour marriage equality compared to a much smaller percentage of religious people.

Could you please provide a source for that? Thanks.

I would contest the view that there is some kind of benevolent “a religiosity” to be found out there, to gays or anyone.

and

If you scan history, don’t you think you can find secularists who are deeply (deadly) discriminatory, even against gays?

Of course. While I challenged Priya to provide a source for her statistic, I would also note that religiosity (usually measured according to how often someone goes to church rather than by the depth or nature of their religious beliefs) often (but not always) correlates towards a more negative attitude towards gay people.

By the way, in the vast majority of studies, this is how they define religiosity, which then encompasses Timothy’s definition which “includes those who are ‘spiritual’ as well as those who say, ‘oh, I believe in God but I don’t like organized religion.’” Mindful of that definition, I find in my own personal experience that people who claim to hold religious beliefs but never step inside a church include some of the most inflexibly hostile people to anti-gay causes, although I can’t say that I would define any of these people as secularists.

At the risk of invoking Goodwin’s law, I believe an argument could be made that Hitler could be considered a secularist. I say that as a secularist myself and strongly rejecting any and all arguments that Hitler’s place in history is any more an indictment of secularism than it is an indictment of limited-access divided highways. And yet he jealously protected the actions of his state against any encroachment of the church into any areas he felt were in his domain. He actively prohibited the church any instance in which he saw interference in matters of state, and had no compunction against murdering religious leaders, including anyone who was an ordained Catholic priest in Poland or who was discovered studying to become one. His talk of “Providence” was very much outside the language of the church. Most secular societies are truly benevolent, but Hitler’s example does demonstrate that secularism no more guarantees benevolence than does religiosity.

Richard Rush
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Amicus wrote,

If you scan history, don’t you think you can find secularists who are deeply (deadly) discriminatory, even against gays?

Yes. But there is nothing quite like having the backing of a god to justify the discriminatory impulse within one’s self, and to rally others to it as well. Once you believe you are doing a god’s will, you are relieved from the necessity of thinking much further.

Discriminating secularists would seem to require meeting a higher standard for justification, although they can certainly be irrational in developing those justifications.

But looking at history, it generally seems much easier, and less dangerous, for disagreeing people to challenge positions justified by secular reason, than it is to challenge positions justified by religious belief and dogma.

Jim Burroway
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Also,

I would contest the view that there is some kind of benevolent “a religiosity” to be found out there, to gays or anyone.

If you’re going to contest the view, then providing examples or backup would be helpful.

justsearching
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

http://www.gallup.com/poll/128291/americans-opposition-gay-marriage-eases-slightly.aspx

This 2010 Gallup poll doesn’t quite give the 85% that Priya mentioned, but it does say that of people who say religion is very important to them, only 27% support gay marriage. That percentage jumps to 71% for those who say that religion is not important at all. My guess is that this 71% is NOT made up solely up atheists. If it were solely self-identified atheists being asked, it’s my guess that the figure would be over 85%.

justsearching
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1699/was-hitler-a-christian

Was Hitler a secularist? He certainly used lots of Christian terms in his speeches, accommodated the Catholic Church well enough early on, and never ever asserted himself to be an atheist, even to his closest confidants. If by secularist, you mean atheist, then I don’t think Hitler would count as that.

You state that Hitler killed lots of people “including anyone who was an ordained Catholic priest in Poland or who was discovered studying to become one.” They were killed, not for being Catholic, but for being Poles who were trying to be Catholics. Inferior races had no place in Hitler’s Catholic Church.

You also state that “Most secular societies are truly benevolent, but Hitler’s example does demonstrate that secularism no more guarantees benevolence than does religiosity.”

It seems to me that it is entirely legitimate to say that secularism provides a better (but not perfect) guarantee than religiosity that a society will be benevolent. As you know, Canada, the UK, the Nordic countries and Japan all provide great examples of fairly secular countries that are fairly benevolent. And most highly religious countries are not as benevolent. You’re right, though, that some idea of secularism can exist in a very non-benevolent state (Russia under Stalin for example) but this is only because the presence of ideologies (nationalism, militarism, communism, leader-worship) more powerful than mild ol’ secularism.

Hitler was a fascist, an egotist, a racist, and somewhat of a lunatic, and (in my view) we can ascribe most of his terrible actions (including those that relate to his relations with religion/the church) to his fascism, ego, racism, and lunacy, more so then we can ascribe his actions to his supposed secularism.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

But there is nothing quite like having the backing of a god to justify the discriminatory impulse within one’s self, and to rally others to it as well.

I disagree. There is ample evidence of plenty of things surpassing it, even.

Scan through the genocides of the past century, including, say, Stalin’s famine.

Hitler was a fascist, an egotist, a racist…

He had a well developed worldview that one could describe as his own ‘religion’, no? Bringing up the question, what is meant by ‘a-religious’?

Pol Pot targeted monks, as did the Chinese revolutionaries. They were’t church-going people, the Khmer Rouge, so by Gallup distinctions, …

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Discriminating secularists would seem to require meeting a higher standard for justification, …

Are you sure? _I_ haven’t seen Barack Obama’s birth certificate, I think he’s a closet Muslim in traitorous league with political ideologies that threaten me and the nation, and I’ve heard that he sometimes doesn’t wear a flag pin or – horrors – put his hand over his heart during the singing of the National anthem.

Clearly, we should be in open revolution and need to restore honor to the country.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

adding…: the danger is real, the change is the largest and most radical you can imagine, you are being lead to a place of slaughter, the constitution hangs by a thread, the President is a racist against your race.

However, you come to judge all that, it is the foundation on which political power will shift in two weeks time, control over the vast resources of the most powerful country in the history of the world…

justsearching
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

“He had a well developed worldview that one could describe as his own ‘religion’, no? Bringing up the question, what is meant by ‘a-religious’?”

If we stretch religion to mean a worldview/what someone thinks/anything, as you seem to do, then the word a-religious means nothing.

“Pol Pot targeted monks, as did the Chinese revolutionaries. They were’t church-going people, the Khmer Rouge, so by Gallup distinctions…”

I don’t know what exactly you’re trying to imply. It’s already been stated that there are other “isms” that can cause states to pursue an anti-religious agenda, but secularism is NOT by definition anti-religious; it’s a-religious. In the US at least, it’s often secularists who are more ardent supporters of freedom of religion because they know that freedom of religion also means the freedom NOT to practice a religion. Secularists are more likely than highly religious Fundies to support Muslims’ right to practice their own religion.

Tom in Lazybrook
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Scott Lively is listed on the Manhattan Declaration website (see additional signers) as a prominent signatory. They are PROUD to have his support and to be associated with him.

Amicus
October 17th, 2010 | LINK

the word a-religious means nothing

Could be that’s true, right? Do you have a line to draw that makes sense to you?

but secularism is NOT by definition anti-religious; it’s a-religious

not benevolent, by definition or in practice, then, right?

Amicus
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

@justsearching, here is a tidbit from Damon Linker (I don’t read Harris or Dawkins – mostly because their issues are ‘old’ – so I can’t offer any confirmation or share my own perspective):

I devote one of the six chapters in my book to criticising such writers as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Mr Harris has denounced religious toleration, one of the founding ideals of liberal politics. Mr Dawkins, meanwhile, calls religious education a form of child abuse, which seems to imply that devout parents should be thrown in jail and their children placed in protective custody by the state. Such views are profoundly illiberal and have far more in common with the intolerant, ideological atheism of the French Revolutionary Terror and Marxist dialectical materialism than the humanistic scepticism of Socrates, Voltaire, or Camus.

justsearching
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

“Mr Harris has denounced religious toleration, one of the founding ideals of liberal politics.”

That’s a misrepresentation. Harris is saying that it is our tolerance of moderate religions that allows more extreme factions of a religion to get away with things. He is NOT calling for state intervention to shut down religions nor for us to abolish the freedom of religion.

“Mr Dawkins, meanwhile, calls religious education a form of child abuse, which seems to imply that devout parents should be thrown in jail and their children placed in protective custody by the state.”

Dawkins does say this, but what he is emphasizing, when I see him talk about education, is that the state should not be funding religious education. Yes, he’d be much happier if devout parents waited until their child was old enough to make a decision for his or herself before proselytizing them (or allowing a religious school to do so), but to twist Dawkins words into indicating he wants to throw devout parents into jail and take away their children is hyperbolic nonsense.

Amicus
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Interesting.

Of course, one might say that tolerance of moderate atheists permits more radical ones to get away with things.

I believe you about Dawkins, for reasons I’ll leave without enumeration, but clearly his thinking could be “properly applied” by someone with some political talent.

But, I wouldn’t want the conversation to get snagged in weeds on neo-atheism or whatever.

The broader point is that it’s harder to meet the goals Tim lays out with atheists in tow salivating that gays are the spearhead they’ve been waiting for or whatever and/or an overconfidence that ‘atheism’ or ‘a-religiousity’ is *necessarily* benign at its core, to gays or to any other minority group.

In all things, balance.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Jim asked “Could you please provide a source for that? Thanks.”.

I didn’t have it quite right going from memory, but here it is:

“81% of Americans who claim no religious affiliation favor legal same-sex marriage. ”

http://www.gallup.com/poll/128291/americans-opposition-gay-marriage-eases-slightly.aspx

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Jim said “I believe an argument could be made that Hitler could be considered a secularist.”.

Yes, right. Secularists always have these sort of beliefs:

“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.”
[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.152]

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”
[Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

“In nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social Party was correct and well-planned.”
[Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine.”
[Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf" Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

“The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, are creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life”
[Adolph Hitler, in a speech to the Reichstag on March 23, 1933]

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Amicus said “”but secularism is NOT by definition anti-religious; it’s a-religious”

not benevolent, by definition or in practice, then, right?”

Wrong. Not benevolent by definition, but definitely benevolent by practice.

Amicus said “Of course, one might say that tolerance of moderate atheists permits more radical ones to get away with things.”.

That’s not a valid analogy. Moderate religionists validate the view that the bible and its writings are important and thus support the idea that the extreme passages of the bible such as killing gays and non-believers have merit. There is no associated philosophy, or book of rules for atheists so merely being a moderate atheist in no way provides support for extemist actions of some atheists.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching said “This 2010 Gallup poll doesn’t quite give the 85% that Priya mentioned,”.

Correct, it says 81% of people with no religious affiliation support gay marriage – my memory wasn’t quite accurate.

Jim Burroway
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

I tink wherever examing Hitler is concerned, it’s more instructive to look at what he did, rather than the platitudes he expresssed before coming to power. I still believe that a very strong argument can be made that Hilter was very secular in his policies and practices. Otherwise, by your alternate standard, then Barack Obama shall always remain our “Fierce Advocate.” That said, I do believe there are plenty of other instances to support Amicus’ suspicion that there are secularists who are not benevolent. The former Eastern Block provides plenty of other examples. The tone previously in this thread suggested that secularism virutally guarantees benevolence. It doesn’t. In the end, it often ends up being an alternate pathway to power. What is done with that power depends on those who wield it.

Thanks for providing the Gallup poll link. Unfortunately, they don’t provide a good definition of what it means to “claim no religious affiliation.” It seems that Timothy’s “spiritual but not religious” definition could easily fit that description since the context appears to be that these people didn’t affiliate with a particular denomination.

And that said, the same poll does lend some support to what Amicus said: there are people with “no religious affiliation”, whatever that means precisely, who nevertheless oppose marriage equality.

Jim Burroway
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

But getting back to the subject of this thread that has gotten badly off track, the opportunities to sway broader public opinion does not rest with those with no religious affiliation. It rests with those with a religious affiliation. As much as people in this thread would like to wish them away, they aren’t going anywhere. The fight instead is to pursuade more Catholics to join the 48% who support marriage equality and more Protestants to join the 33% who support marriage equality. Which is what the protests by Phoenix clergy is all about. That’s where the real work needs to be done, and it will only be done by those willing to roll up their sleaves and doing the hard work, not by those who carp about how awful religion is and wish it would just go away.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Jim said ” I do believe there are plenty of other instances to support Amicus’ suspicion that there are secularists who are not benevolent.”.

No one has denied that. What we’re saying is that in general non-religous people are more accepting of gays then religous people.

Jim said “And that said, the same poll does lend some support to what Amicus said: there are people with “no religious affiliation”, whatever that means precisely, who nevertheless oppose marriage equality.”.

Once again, no one has denied that but what Amicus actually said was that he doesn’t believe there is any benevolent a-religiosity to be found, towards gays or anyone else. That is so demonstrably far wrong as to be utterly absurd and malicious.

Amicus
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

being a moderate atheist in no way provides support for extremist actions of some atheists.

I could disagree, suggesting that the absence of an endorsed belief system simply opens the door to more radical belief systems.

However, as long as everyone is of the opinion that there is no necessary link between “a-religious” (whatever that means) or atheistic beliefs and some kind of benevolence toward gays or whatever, that’s enough, that’s good in itself.

As for an assessment of a-religiosity, self-described, in practice, I suspect one would approach that with caution, too.

One could conjecture that such people may feel natively hostile to religion and, therefore, feel a fealty to gay people, the objects of religious scorn. In the absence of such considerations, one wonders if those emotions would be the same. It would be interesting to poll ‘a-religious’ people on how they feel about religious gay people, for instance.

Also, in societies one might point to for de facto success of “secular a-religiosity”, it might be hard to disentangle all religious beliefs enough to make a full, accurate assessment. So, for instance, someone might self-describe as a-religious, because they’ve rejected the sexual more of “the Church”, say, but, upon probing, they actually have fair amount of their belief system linked to religious teaching of one kind or another or get enjoyment out of celebrating holidays and associated traditions…

All’s to say that rushing into the arms of secularism or a-religiosity for a perceived safety might be a dicey bet.

Amicus
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

But getting back to the subject of this thread ..
—-
I’ll just add that I think that some of the external perceptions about atheism or avowed atheism or a-religiosity inside the gay community are overblown.

Put another way, among the atheists I know (of know of), the ones who are the most “anti-religious” are the *nongay* ones.

Most of the gay a-religious attitudes in the gay community seem to be more about reclaiming power from a religious oppression (I know that generalization is fraught with peril, as soon as I make it, but it is my experience, at least). They really don’t “hate” religious _people_ the way some nongay a-religious people do.

justsearching
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Here’s a case of a lesbian (and an excellent writer) who actually feels that these days it’s becoming harder to be an atheist in the gay community because of how religious the gay community is. (http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2008/12/being-an-atheist-in-the-queer-community.html)

(http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/282-spiritual-profile-of-homosexual-adults-provides-surprising-insights?q=gays)

Barna’s researchers show that there is some difference between the religious beliefs of straight and gay American adults. “Straight adults (72%) were more likely than gay adults (60%) to describe their faith as ‘very important’ in their life. And even though most Americans consider themselves to be Christian, there is a noticeable gap between heterosexuals who self-identify that way (85%) compared to homosexuals (70%).” In short, I’d agree with Amicus that quite a large chunk of the gay community is religious. However, I’d disagree with the conclusion he drew based on a few personal relationships that non-gay atheists “hate” religious people more so than gay atheists do.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Amicus said “I could disagree, suggesting that the absence of an endorsed belief system simply opens the door to more radical belief systems.”.

You can suggest all kinds of BS, but without any evidence, it remains just that. No one grows up without an endorsed belief system, including the children of atheists, atheists pass along their beliefs to their children just like any other parent.

Amicus said “However, as long as everyone is of the opinion that there is no necessary link between “a-religious” (whatever that means) or atheistic beliefs and some kind of benevolence toward gays or whatever, that’s enough, that’s good in itself.”.

I certainly never said I was of that opinion, in fact the survey quoted showed the opposite – a-religiosity is positively correlated with gay supportiveness, to the tune of 81% supportive.

Amicus
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

I’d disagree with the conclusion he drew based on a few personal relationships that non-gay atheists “hate” religious people more so than gay atheists do.

It is/was grounded in the broad acceptance that is/was a foundation of gay culture for a long time.

Among the larger faultlines inside the gay community, religious/areligious is/was a small one.

As for the nongays, all I can say is that I find a wholly different tenor when I compare them to gay activists who the Right label as “viciously anti-Christian lesbian”, say. I admit, it is a difficult comparison to make, and perhaps more trouble than it is worth, but I find gay atheists more likely to say, ‘atheism isn’t anti-religious’ and nongay atheists more likely to say, ‘f-k “you”, religion, and the horse you rode in on.’

But, this is perhaps a fine point among ourselves and not really key to the entire purpose of fleshing out some opinions relevant to Tim’s point(s).

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