pageok
pageok
pageok
Religious liberty and SSM:

As wedding bells begin ringing for gay couples and families in California, opponents of gay marriage are turning up the volume on a relatively new argument: that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty. Just today we have seen two passionate salvos. Maggie Gallagher, writing at NRO, warns that gay marriage means "the official harassment and repression (by our own government) of traditional religious faiths." Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, writing in the L.A. Times, warns that "it is religious rights that are likely to be 'obliterated' by an emerging popular majority supporting same-sex relationships."

There was nothing very surprising in either of these op-eds. Maggie began pressing the religious-liberty argument against gay marriage at least three years ago. Stern has a chapter on "Gay Marriage and the Churches" in a forthcoming book of essays by several authors entitled Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty. The book is being sponsored by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which officially takes no position on gay marriage, but regularly files amicus briefs in gay-marriage cases warning of "looming conflicts" with religious freedom.

More surprising was a report broadcast yesterday by National Public Radio, which pointed to "signs of a coming storm" in the "collision" of two legal principles: "equal treatment for same-sex couples" and "the freedom to exercise religious beliefs." The radio version of the report offered two examples of this "collision" that have been widely circulated by gay-marriage opponents. A written addendum to the report offered several more. The most commonly cited examples, summarized below from the report, include:

*Adoption services: Catholic Charities of Boston refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. The group withdrew from the adoption business in 2006.

*Housing: In New York City, Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a school under Orthodox Jewish auspices, banned same-sex couples from its married dormitory. In 2001, the state's highest court ruled Yeshiva violated New York City's ban on sexual orientation discrimination and the school now lets same-sex couples live in the dorm.

*Medical services: On religious grounds, a Christian gynecologist in California refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship. (He referred the patient to a partner in his practice group, who agreed to provide the treatment.) The woman sued and the case is pending before the California Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in favor of the lesbian. [UPDATE from Andrew Koppelman, with info not provided by NPR: "Right now the dispute is being litigated on a motion for summary judgment, so there's been no trial, but Benitez's allegations are on pp. 4-6 of her Supreme Court brief, which you can find at http://data.lambdalegal.org/pdf/legal/benitez/benitez-opening-brief.pdf. If she's right, then she had no choice but to go to that group under her health insurance plan, received significantly inferior health care for nearly a year, evidently because of the doctors' scruples, and was finally told, after wasting a year waiting for appropriate treatment, that she wouldn't receive treatment from that group at all."]

*Civil servants: A clerk in Vermont refused to perform a civil union ceremony. In 2001, in a decision that side-stepped the religious liberties issue, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that he did not need to perform the ceremony because there were other civil servants who would. However, the court did indicate that religious beliefs do not allow employees to discriminate against same-sex couples.

*Wedding services: A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination and ordered her to pay the couple's legal fees. The photographer is appealing.

*Wedding facilities: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the state civil rights commission. The commission ruled that the property was open for public use and therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. The case is ongoing.

These examples, and others given in the NPR report and by gay-marriage opponents, illustrate many things. They show that there are indeed antidiscrimination laws that apply to those who provide services to the public. They show that these antidiscrimination laws sometimes require individuals and organizations to do things that these persons and organizations claim violate their religious beliefs. They show that conflicts between antidiscrimination laws and religious belief often wind up in court, requiring judges and other decisionmakers to decide how the conflict should be resolved under the law and the Constitution. They show that on at least some occasions antidiscrimination laws are held to trump religious beliefs and that, as a result, religious individuals and organizations must sometimes decide whether to comply with the law or to stop providing services to the public. They even show that many of these disputes arise in the context of religious actors who object in particular to gay relationships.

What these examples do not show, however, is that gay marriage is "repressing" or "obliterating" religious rights or that "a storm is coming" because gay couples are marrying. With the exception of the Vermont clerk refusing to perform a civil union ceremony (about which more below), none of them involve a claim of discrimination provided by the gay couples' status as married or as joined in a civil union or domestic partnership. All of the cases involve the application of state laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that pre-date the official recognition of gay relationships. Neither the viability of the discrimination claim nor the viability of the religious objectors' desired exemption turns on whether the gay couple is officially recognized. In most of the cited cases, in fact, the couples' relationship was not recognized by the state, but adding such a status to the cases would change nothing about their legal significance.

The most egregious abuse of these examples to undermine gay marriage is the Catholic Charities case, which involved the application of a 1989 antidiscrimination law. That dispute arose because the Catholic Church objected to complying with the law for the first time only after gay marriage was permitted in the state. It was a fortuitously timed conflict for gay-marriage opponents given that the state legislature was at that very moment considering a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

So it is not true that (as NPR put it) gay couples "armed with those legal protections" newly provided by marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, are suddenly challenging religious objectors. The conflicts between the law and religion that NPR points to have been around for a very long time. They go back some three decades, to the very first state and municipal laws that protected gay couples from discrimination in employment, housing, and education. (Indeed, conflicts between antidiscrimination law and religious objectors go back even further, to laws that forbade discrimination on the basis of race and sex.) NPR could have broadcast this same story using similar cases ten or even twenty years ago. But, apparently drawing on complaints by gay-marriage opponents, NPR chose to do so on the day California began to sanction same-sex marriages. That's misleading and irresponsible.

What Gallagher and many others in the anti-gay marriage movement are really objecting to is the extension of antidiscrimination law to gay people — at least insofar as this extension conflicts with someone's claim that their religious scruples require them to discriminate against homosexuals.

That's an argument we've been having for a long time, and it's worth continuing to have it. It is useful to continue to think about how antidiscrimination principles can accommodate religious faith. Religious freedom is a first and founding principle of this country. I think religious accommodation to private persons and organizations should be generously provided, even where not required by the Constitution. At the very least, accommodation should be made where it can be offered without harming the protected class. For that reason, I think an exemption should have been offered in several of the cases cited in the NPR report, including in the case of Catholic Charities of Boston (as I wrote at the time).

(In my view, public officials like the Vermont clerk cited in the NPR story, should be distinguished from private persons. As enforcers of the law and representatives of the state, they should be required to do their duty and enforce the law evenhandedly, regardless of their personal objections. While I'd be generous about accommodating the religious objections of private persons, I am very wary of introducing a system of exemption for public officers serving the public with taxpayers' money and charged with administering the law.)

In the larger national debate over gay marriage, the biggest problem for gay-marriage opponents has been to demonstrate what Eric Posner recently called it "impossible" to demonstrate: that recognizing gay marriage causes some tangible harm. They have tried many harm-based arguments but so far nothing has stuck. Not "evidence" of social decline from Scandinavia or the Netherlands. Not polygamy. Not population implosion.

So opponents of gay marriage are now using what is basically old news in the culture war as an argument to warn the country about the supposedly novel dangers "looming" ahead because of gay marriage. It is an attractive argument because it appeals to Americans' basic sense of fair play, their commitment to the country's fundamental principles, and of course their own deep religious faith. It casts good religious people as victims and gay couples as victimizers who care only about themselves. If you don't look at the complicated facts of the cases, if you disregard the applicable laws involved, if you ignore the difficulty of deciding how to administer exemptions in a consistent and principled fashion, this new harm-based argument is an appealing one.

Even the examples of conflict arising from antidiscrimination law are often exaggerated and oversimplified. The New Jersey beachfront pavilion case cited in the NPR report, for example, involves a plausible claim that the pavilion is quasi-public, not religious, property since the religious group got a $500,000 tax break after representing to the state that the disputed property would be open to the public. The group also reportedly gave up a degree of property ownership rights for the boardwalk and beach in the 19th century to avoid taxation. All of this is disputed, and the legal significance of these matters is open to debate, but it's hardly a straightforward case of a church being required to sanction a gay wedding on its own undisputedly exclusive and private property.

Now it's true that some states and cities (and to a limited extent, federal civil service law) protect people in various ways from "marital status" discrimination. It might be thought that such laws, where they exist, will provide more ammunition to married gay couples who face discrimination. But these laws already protect people even if they're single, much less if their marriage is a gay or straight one.

It's also true that we are likely to see a rise in conflicts between antidiscrimination law and religious objectors in the future. That's not really something gay marriage is "causing," though married gay couples will probably be most prominent among those complaining about discrimination. They don't see themselves as second-class citizens and are more likely to object when they think they're being treated as if they are.

Instead of gay marriage causing a collision, both gay marriage and religious conflicts with antidiscrimination law are themselves the product of a much larger trend that is moving the tectonic plates of our culture. That trend is the increasingly common view that homosexuality is a natural and harmless variation of human sexuality, that gay people are entitled to be judged on their merits and not on the basis of outdated opprobrium, and that these beliefs should to a significant degree be reflected in law.

Many people in our society object strongly to this trend. I think the law should make room for them to a considerable extent. It should be possible, in particular, to recognize gay marriage and to continue to protect religious faith at least to the extent we have already done so when religious views about marriage diverge from the secular law of marriage. Of course no religion should be required to change its doctrine to recognize gay unions. Of course no religious official should be required to perform a same-sex marriage (or an interracial wedding, as some once objected to, or a second-marriage wedding, as some object to now, or any other wedding he objects to). These things have never been required and nobody is asking that they should be.

While marriage and religious belief are one creature in the minds of many people, they are separate things in the law. Catholicism and Orthodox Judaism, for example, refuse to recognize secular divorce. But few argue that we should refuse to let people divorce for this reason. One can be divorced under the law but married in the eyes of the church. The statuses can be separated without a diminution of religious liberty. And nobody thinks that this de-linking of the two constitutes official oppression or the obliteration of religious freedom. Similarly, in principle, it should be possible to have a regime in which same-sex couples are married under the law but not married in the eyes of a given religion — all without extinguishing religious faith.

Matters are more complicated when religious persons and organizations provide services to the public or ask for public funds while at the same time requesting to be exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else. These conflicts come up in a dizzying variety of contexts, where the equities vary wildly and the costs of allowing exemptions are sometimes great and sometimes small. No person of good will should have a one-size-fits-all approach to this — everybody gets an exemption all the time or nobody ever does, no matter the circumstances — and our courts and laws don't usually adopt a categorical approach. Let's think hard about the hard choices involved, but let's not exploit pre-existing conflicts to gain the upper-hand in the gay-marriage debate or scapegoat gay couples who want their families protected by the law.

UPDATE: There's an engaging exchange now between Robert Vischer and Dan Markel, both of whom support SSM, on the subject of exemptions for religious dissenters from antidiscrimination laws. See Vischer's post here and Markel's response here. Vischer is somewhat more concerned about the conflicts between religious liberty and SSM than I am; Markel is generally less willing than I am to indulge accommodations. At any rate, it's a very good exchange and worth a look.

Steve2:
As someone who's been strongly opposed to allowing any sort of exceptions due to claims of religious belief, having always thought of it in terms of churches claiming immunity from zoning/land-use laws and pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions, I've got to say you've given me a slight pause.
6.17.2008 9:40pm
tvk:
I think this is fundamentally inaccurate. Yes, most of the decisions struck the disparate treatment down on grounds of sexual orientation discrimination. But absent gay marriage or civil unions, there would be a perfectly good reason for the disparate treatment and the decision would have gone the other way.

I assume that a religious organization could perfectly legally limit adoption services, residence in married dorms, and wedding services, to people in legally recognized weddings and marriages. That means, of course, that these would piggy-back off the discrimination that is inherent in not permitting same-sex marriage. But that does not mean that permitting same-sex marriage is not the "but for" cause of these issues. Indeed, the fact that same-sex couples now receive access to such services (against the service-provider's will) is part of the reason that they want same-sex marriage.

DC: All (not “most”) of the cases in the NPR report were or are being brought under sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies or statutes. Whether the other instances you provide involving "wedding" services could one day be examples where gay marriage/civil union alone would open up a claim not otherwise available is a different question. So far we’ve seen no such cases that I’m aware of. You’ll need to provide examples, not assumptions.
6.17.2008 9:42pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I think this is fundamentally inaccurate. Yes, most of the decisions struck the disparate treatment down on grounds of sexual orientation discrimination. But absent gay marriage or civil unions, there would be a perfectly good reason for the disparate treatment and the decision would have gone the other way.
New Mexico does ban gay marriage, and yet the photographer was punished for not photographing the unrecognized-by-the-state wedding on an equal basis with recognized weddings.
6.17.2008 10:05pm
AnneS (www):
Your analysis is demonstrably incorrect, tvk. Three of the cases occured in states where same sex unions/marriages did not enjoy legal recognition. One occured before same sex marriages were legal anywhere in the U.S. The New Jersey case involved a facility that held itself out as being available for a wide variety of events and was not limited to marriages. Finally, the legal issue in the Catholic Charities case dated back to 1993 and the organization had complied with the anti-discrimination law until the SSM ruling inspired the diocese to take notice and crack down.

That only leaves two cases in which the legal issues were at all related to the legal recognition, or nonrecognition, of same sex unions.
6.17.2008 10:06pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Who would have thought, as we were growing up after defeating fascism in WWII that in the 21st Century we would be living under gay fascism? It's a brave new world. No wonder intelligent educated people aren't having children.
6.17.2008 10:08pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
As an atheist, libertarian and rationalist I used to have nothing against gays. Live and let live. But as they force their agenda upon the country I find myself with much more animosity and very negative feelings toward them. At this point I would vote for any anti-gay measure just to fight the power.
6.17.2008 10:14pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
EPluribusMoney: I had thought that Mussolini, Franco, and Hitler (we Russians call him a fascist, but perhaps you meant to exclude him) were known for behavior just a little worse than applying sexual orientation discrimination bans. You know, like mass murder, dictatorship, killing or imprisonment of political opponents, and so on. I've certainly been willing to argue against some applications of antidiscrimination laws, including on First Amendment grounds. But isn't "gay fascism" just a bit lacking in perspective here?
6.17.2008 10:16pm
Francis (mail):
I found it an interesting exercise to mentally replace the word "gay" with the word "interracial" in the post and imagine I lived immediately post-Loving.

I remember race riots in Boston after mandatory busing was imposed. Somehow, I expect that if blogging and the non-stop newscycle existed around the time of Loving, we'd have read much the same as we're reading now.

It seems to me that some things never change. Nobody in this country can hate like the Christians.
6.17.2008 10:17pm
Anderson (mail):
Myself, I regret the enshrinement in the Constitution of the 13th Amendment, which diminishes my religious liberty by forbidding me to practice slavery as delineated in the Old Testament.

No wonder the country's been going to hell since then.
6.17.2008 10:22pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
Anderson, why limit to yourself to the Old Testament? That implies that the New one was different on the issue.
6.17.2008 10:27pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I think you're either misrepresenting or missing the arguments here. Elane Photography, for example, was found under an anti-sexual orientation discrimination law, but that finding was based on the assumption that a marriage and a civil commitment ceremony were equal enough that Mrs Huguenin's decision could have only be based on discrimination about sexual orientation.

The Elane Photography case, to paraphrase Mr. Volokh, was a rather clear violation of the right to freedom of speech, and would as a result be naturally rather worrying.

Of course no religious official should be required to perform a same-sex marriage (or an interracial wedding, as some once did, or a second-marriage wedding, as some do now, or any other wedding he objects to). These things have never been required and nobody is asking that they should be.


Why may I ask you to expect that? I'm honestly amazed that there have been no cases on this matter already, and I've seen a good many individuals call for such cases to be made in the future. Head to Democratic Underground and you've got even odds for seeing such a call on the first page in the gay forums.

If an individual can not decide whether or not to offer a different subject of artwork than what she normally provides, why do you think a religious organization would be exempted from providing the exact same service to different people?

I've got no problem with gay marriage, other than the stupid amount of political capital wasted on a slip of paper when the claimed goals could and have been changed faster by statute, but I can certainly understand the opposition to it and the associated
6.17.2008 10:27pm
Student:
So to summarize the argument you're making: The situations you cite (outrages or great leaps forward depending on your point of view I guess) have nothing to do with gay marriage; instead they are just a byproduct of gay activists we'd have to deal with whether or not those same activists are also pressing the marriage thing? I think I hear you, but I guess I can forgive the general public for not fully appreciating the nicety of the distinction....

And by the way, your otherwise pretty decent article would be much better if you were more respectful of the other side and their beliefs:

"They show that these antidiscrimination laws sometimes require individuals and organizations to do things that these persons and organizations claim violate their religious beliefs"

Would you also describe the dispute as a mere "claim" if we were talking about a racial minority that merely "claimed" to be offended by a racial slur? Or would you simply accept their statement that they were offended? Are you really suggesting the courts or anybody else ought to be in the business of evaluating the validity of people's religious beliefs? Mutual respect would go a long way towards achieving a civil discourse on this and many other matters.....

DC: The fact that the public might have trouble understanding the distinction between what is in reality an old conflict and the misleading use of that conflict to influence the outcome in a new one is exactly the sort of confusion these new arguments are exploiting. I think we should take the time to explore the distinctions and explain them, but I understand why some gay-marriage opponents would rather not.

I use “claim” here in the sense that I would use “claim” in the context of any litigation, as part of the description of the dispute. I hope that the post generally reflects my view that religious freedom is fundamentally important, that it should be respected, and that religious exercise should be given broad leeway.
6.17.2008 10:28pm
GaltLives:
Activist judges can force gay marriage down our throats (pardon the pun) but when Bill and George tell someone "We're married!" and people answer "Hey, congratulations!" just realize that 90% of them are really thinking "EEEEEWWWWW!!! YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!" and there is nothing you can do about that.
6.17.2008 10:33pm
Anderson (mail):
Of course I was being snarky, Chris, but I don't think the NT is quite so emphatic about endorsing slavery as the OT.

As you know, the NT treats slavery as a given fact (not unlike the Roman occupation); the OT purports to lay out God's express commands for the practice of slavery.

I suppose that in their own ways, Nietzsche and Luther would tell us that Christianity teaches us *all* to be slaves ...
6.17.2008 10:35pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Nice post. The religious liberties argument is the strongest (or least weak) argument against applying anti-discrimination laws to gay people, but, as you point out, the law frequently bars religious people from practicing parts of their religion. And employers aren't require to accommodate every belief (I could not successfully sue a prosecutor's office for failing to hire me for a death penalty job if my religious faith prohibits me from seeking the death penalty).

Of course, we have to draw lines: When must the law bend to an individual's religious beliefs? We can argue about where the lines should be drawn, but no thoughtful person says that religion gives people a free pass to violate general laws, and no thoughtful person says that the government can do what it wants regardless of an individual's religious beliefs.

I also see another problem for anti-gay people. It is becoming socially unacceptable to express anti-gay beliefs, just like, over only the past few decades, it became socially unacceptable to express anti-Jewish or anti-Black beliefs. If you believe that gays are somehow morally inferior to straights, and you express those beliefs, you will have a very difficult time getting along with your colleagues in my office. That's true for a lot of jobs these days. And it's becoming true for more and more jobs every day.

The tables are turning. Only a few decades ago, it was strange to think of allowing a gay person to teach in a public school. Now, in many circles, it's unthinkable to even argue that a gay person should be barred from teaching. And the pro-gay-rights side is gaining every year.
6.17.2008 10:38pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'm still waiting for the heavy hand of the state to force the Catholic church to recognize civil divorces. We've had no fault civil divorces for decades now (and at-fault civil divorces for a century if not longer) yet still no progress on this issue. I guess it's just a
0.000001% incline slippery slope that will take a few more centuries to come to fruition.
6.17.2008 10:39pm
Anderson (mail):
but when Bill and George tell someone "We're married!" and people answer "Hey, congratulations!" just realize that 90% of them are really thinking "EEEEEWWWWW!!! YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!" and there is nothing you can do about that.

How do you feel when interracial couples get married, "Galt"? More "ewww," or more "yuck"?

(A libertarian moniker, right? Fascinating.)

... The aversion to gay sex is childish, like a child's aversion to eating liver. I don't care for spinach myself, but I don't make pretend gagging sounds and roll my eyes when someone else eats it in my presence -- because I'm not nine years old.

Gay people have gay sex. Big deal.
6.17.2008 10:39pm
Dave D. (mail):
.. Recumbent steakholders, and Christianity is a big one, don't do very well in these times of assertive behaviour being the deciding factor in who wins the rights competition. Until Christianity gets militant, they are going to continue to lose ground. Less Kumbaya, more don't tread on me. They need a Stonewall '69 to galvanize the faithful.
6.17.2008 10:40pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
Well that's OK, I was being snarky too.

Isn't that what the intertubes are for? Transmitting snark?
6.17.2008 10:42pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Galt, I doubt that's the case. Depending on your source, there's somewhere between 2% and 5% of the populace self-identifying as gay or lesbian, another percent or two self-identifying as bisexual, with an additional and significantly larger number having 'experimented'. Just those numbers bring you pretty close to the mid-18% or low-20s% who've at least tried it. Even if everyone who hadn't were disgusted, you'd still be well under 90% of the populace.

Oh, and a lot of women find the male-male version attractive, although not as commonly as the men who find the female-female version hot. There are a lot of people grossed out by the matter, but not so many as to take Will and Grace off the air instantly...

Unfortunately for TV viewers everywhere.
6.17.2008 10:43pm
MarkField (mail):
In CA landlords have claimed the right to discriminate against couples who are NOT married.* You have to love the Catch 22 quality of their position -- if gays can't marry, it violates the rights of the religious to force them to rent to such couples because they aren't married; if gays can marry, it violates the rights of the religious to force them to rent to such couples because they are married. Remind me again just who it is who's trying to force an agenda here.

*The courts rejected this argument.
6.17.2008 10:46pm
GaltLives:
No matter how young children are taught to accept Bill and George as being married, no matter how many hours of "diversity training" college students and employees are forced to endure, any normal male who thinks about Bill and George being married is going to think "EEEEEWWWWW!!! YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!"

It's programmed into out genes for the propagation of the species. We can't help it. Nature makes most of mankind repulsed by gay sex so that mankind can continue. You can't criticize or punish people for something that is hard-wired into their genes.
6.17.2008 10:47pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Carpenter: Of course no religious official should be required to perform a same-sex marriage (or an interracial wedding, as some once did, or a second-marriage wedding, as some do now, or any other wedding he objects to). These things have never been required and nobody is asking that they should be.

Response: Why may I ask you to expect that? I'm honestly amazed that there have been no cases on this matter already, and I've seen a good many individuals call for such cases to be made in the future.


For the same reason I can't complain if a prosecutor who needs a lawyer to prosecute death penalty cases refuses to hire me because my faith prohibits me from seeking the death penalty. That's just not a job I'm suited for, and I'm much happier on my side of the case anyway.

But in the case Carpenter summarized, the result seems fair. Assuming the anti-Gay co-worker didn't burden his colleagues, they should let his colleagues handle the other cases. But, as I said in my previous comment, I bet the holdout faces substantial social pressure to perform the ceremonies. In many offices, expressing anti-gay beliefs is socially equivalent to expressing anti-Semitic or racist beliefs. You may have the First Amendment right to speak them, but the rest of us can still think you're a jerk.
6.17.2008 10:47pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
It's programmed into out genes for the propagation of the species. We can't help it. Nature makes most of mankind repulsed by gay sex so that mankind can continue. You can't criticize or punish people for something that is hard-wired into their genes.


No, not really. Nature programs mankind to really like heterosexual sex for the explicit purpose of continuing the species. You could be as grossed out by gay sex as Phelps, but if het sex squicks you too, you're not having many children.

And society can and has criticized or punished people for something hard-wired into their genes. Ignoring the fate versus free will argument, predisposition to gambling, drug, and alcohol addictions are known to be very heavily influenced by genes, but we have few issues punishing those individuals.

That's not to say forcing people to commit ceremonies they disagree with or take pictures of a subject they disagree with is proper, legally or morally, just that there's a few dozen slightly better arguments.
6.17.2008 10:57pm
smitty1e:
While I bear no animosity towards any individuals, and, indeed, have gay relatives who are fine American citizens, I think the idea of homosexuality unspeakable.
I want new words that mean, unambiguously, "husband", "wife", and "marriage", defined to be "male", "female", and "a joining by God in the eyes of the state between a male and a female".
I also want my rainbow back, and I'd like the word "gay" simply to mean "happy", as well.
In summary, I feel mugged on a symbolic level by all this.
6.17.2008 10:59pm
tvk:
DC and DMN, let us take the wedding photographer. Yes, New Mexico is a no-gay-marriage state. Which makes the trial court's decision clearly wrong, and I expect a reversal on appeal. In what universe is discriminating against non-state-sanctioned marriages a violation against the state anti-sexual-orientation statute, unless every benefit to married couples (from spousal health care to joint checking accounts) violates the same statute? In which case, all of a sudden I have more sympathy for the social conservatives.
6.17.2008 10:59pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
TVK, Elane Photography provided pictures of non-marriage related meetings, as well as marriage-related ones. She wouldn't photograph everything -- one memorable thing on her no list were photos that put horror movies in a positive light, as well as the traditional abortion or nudity -- but she didn't list fake heterosexual marriage ceremonies, so it's not quite as big a gap as that.

It's still a huge issue for the social conservatives and more libertarian-minded, though.
6.17.2008 11:06pm
GaltLives:
Anderson
How do you feel when interracial couples get married, "Galt"? More "ewww," or more "yuck"

My late mother said she looked forward to the day when all people were the same shade of beige. But being a diversity-lover myself I think that having blue-black Kenyans, near-albino Danes, as well as Amerinds, Pacific islanders, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, etc. (they don't all look the same you know) is a good thing. So while interracial marriage doesn't cause a yuck feeling (it's still the normal procreative transaction) I think it would be sad to dillute all the nationalities and races.
6.17.2008 11:06pm
Simon P:
I think you make a great point about the use of these anti-discrimination cases as cannon fodder in a debate about marriage. I disagree, however, that any of them suggest cases where "religious beliefs" should in some sense be accommodated.

You try to limit this manner of accommodation to cases where it does not "harm" a protected class -- but when is discrimination not harmful? What's the point of anti-discrimination laws, if not to acknowledge that there is some harm involved in discrimination itself? When Catholic Charities refuses to provide adoption services to same-sex couples, adoption opportunities for same-sex couples is correspondingly diminished. Is that not a cognizable form of "harm?" It's the same kind of harm that occurs when a gay person is fired or refused an apartment just because they're gay. To suggest that they simply aren't harmed in certain cases is to implicitly balance their harm against a "harm" against religious expression.

In my view, these kind of EC/FEC claims fit a model well-represented by the New Jersey beachfront case. Religious organizations invoke the EC/FEC in order to avoid some civil requirement that everyone else has to comply with. Typically, as in the zoning cases, the connection is spurious and attenuated. I think the same is true with all the cases you cite. What religious belief is implicated by telling a religious university to provide couples housing to same-sex partners? A religious belief that it is immoral to provide couples housing to same-sex partners? A religious belief that it is immoral to associate with people in a loving same-sex relationship? What religious belief is implicated by telling a doctor not to discriminate between people he provides in-vitro services to? A religious belief that children should not be raised by same-sex couples? Where does that belief come from?

No -- these actions are political in nature, and they are clearly rooted in unprincipled animus, not belief. But even if they were founded in religious beliefs, what then of the corresponding, contrary religious beliefs of people who view same-sex relationships as fully moral? Why should the religious views of a Baptist endocrinologist merit "accommodation" while the lesbian Episcopalian's views will be sufficiently accommodated by sending her to another doctor? If we accept that the religious photographer has a religious belief which prevents her from taking photographs of gay people, then why shouldn't the moral beliefs of most LGBT people be granted the same religious content and presumptive deference?

DC: If you maintain that discrimination by a private person against another private person is always a “harm” sufficient to deny an accommodation, regardless of any tangible harm independent of that dignitary one, these cases are easy for you. You never allow an accommodation. But if you agree that something more that this dignitary should be present before we move the power of the state against religious conviction, the cases become much harder.

Take the example of Catholic Charities. You claim that adoption opportunities for same-sex couples were “diminished” because Catholic Charities decided to stop providing the service to same-sex couples. What’s the evidence of this? About a dozen same-sex couples in the 15 or so years before Catholic Charities’ decision to withdraw used the group’s services to obtain an adoption. Under an exemption, they would have had to go elsewhere for the same service. But the same service was being provided to them by many other agencies in the state. There was no evidence that losing Catholic Charities as an available agency would have harmed gay couples wanting to adopt, or more importantly that it would have reduced adoption possibilities for children.

The whole controversy, fueled by absolutists on one side who demanded an exemption they never felt was needed and by absolutists on the other side who refused to consider one, had no point other than to allow the contestants to show how put-upon and oppressed they are. This game of chicken serves no purpose, wastes time, leaves everyone angry, and hurts gay advocates most of all.
6.17.2008 11:15pm
Random User Name:
Mr. Carpenter,
Would you support or oppose a law that required Catholic OB/GYNs to perform abortions? (That's not a leading question; I sincerely have no idea how you would answer that question.) I submit, though, that if you think the state is justified in applying non-discrimination laws to compel such a doctor to perform an in vitro fertilization on the grounds that very often the law does require people to choose between violating their religious belief or some other good, such as maintaining their current profession (or, as in Employment Division v. Smith, their unemployment benefits), then the state would be similarly justified, that is, would be acting just as legitimately, in coercing the doctor to perform the abortion. If the two cases seem different seem different to you, then I think the apparent difference results, at least unconsciously, from you different moral perceptions of gay marriage and abortion.

By the way, 'harm' is in the eye of the beholder. You don't consider gay marriage to cause harm because you do not value as a positive good a form of chastity that disapproves of same-sex relations. Instead, you value something else, perhaps autonomy, as a positive good. (I'm not a monist; I'm sure you value many other things, like food or safety, that are implicitly built into your concepts of 'good' and 'harm'.) But that in itself is the kind of first-order, subjective value judgment that in democracies (in so far as they are democratic, but not necessarily in so far as they are liberal or republican) is left to the will of the majority.
6.17.2008 11:19pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I rather think this post proves its opposite.

If gays want to get married, I can't say I care much (except that they should read G.B. Shaw's comments on the institution before signing up). But how about a world in which they did what they wanted, and everybody else did what they wanted? E.g., not photographing something if you don't want to, not having a ceremony on your land if you don't want to, etc..

It's true that the Roman Catholic church doesn't recognize divorce. OK. It just doesn't. If you don't like that, join another church. (More technically, if you don't like that you haven't met their definition of being RC, it's more than joining a club). I'm comfortable with that.

Interesting paradox: you can get married in a church and have it recognized, but not divorced in one. Divorce is purely a civil proceeding. And while marrige has few legal barriers, apart from no marriage to someone within whatever degree of consanquinity, which clerks have no way of checking, divorce has countless hurdles.

Question for the day: do the limits on consanquinuity (if I got all the vowels in there) apply to gay marriage?
6.17.2008 11:20pm
Joe G.:
@Dale Carpenter, just to clarify, Catholic Churches recognize civil divorce to the extent they require one before a tribunal will even hear a request for a "declaration of matrimonial nullity," or annulment.

@Cornellian, why should the Church be forced to recognize a civil divorce (assuming you mean to nullify the marriage within the Church) especially considering that the state's laws on marriage and the Church's teaching on marriage are rather separate issues? (Or perhaps even more importantly, considering that the Church already has a legal process in place to determine if a marriage was not valid when entered into.)
6.17.2008 11:26pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Hardy, whatever laws on consanguinity existed for heterosexual couples would exist for homosexual ones, until such time as the legislature passed exemptions. Some legislatures do exempt individuals who are unable to bear children, which would self-evidently include non-transexual homosexual marriages, but that exemption does not focus on sexuality, only sterility/lack thereof.
6.17.2008 11:33pm
John D (mail):

I want new words that mean, unambiguously, "husband", "wife", and "marriage", defined to be "male", "female", and "a joining by God in the eyes of the state between a male and a female".
I also want my rainbow back, and I'd like the word "gay" simply to mean "happy", as well.
maþelode smittye1.

I don't want language to change either. "Moody" should mean "thoughful" and "dreary" should mean "bloodspattered." Heck, we should all be speaking the way they did in the good old days, say about 900 A.D.

I also want chocolate ice cream to constitute a nutritious low-calorie breakfast.

Okay, I'm being sarcastic, but I don't want any of those things.

Except for the chocolate ice cream.

Oh, and God doesn't do anything for the state. Last time I checked, God was not an elected official.
6.17.2008 11:37pm
Russ (mail):
The gay rights movement is not about tolerance - it's about forced acceptance.
6.17.2008 11:58pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Odd, HE claims to be a Senator from Illinois.
6.18.2008 12:00am
Cornellian (mail):
@Cornellian, why should the Church be forced to recognize a civil divorce (assuming you mean to nullify the marriage within the Church) especially considering that the state's laws on marriage and the Church's teaching on marriage are rather separate issues? (Or perhaps even more importantly, considering that the Church already has a legal process in place to determine if a marriage was not valid when entered into.)

The Catholic Church should not be required to recognize a civil divorce. That was the point of my comment. I was mocking the argument that civil recognition of same sex marriage would lead inevitably to certain religious denominations being forced to recognize such marriages. We've had divorces for more than a century now and we still aren't compelling the Catholic Church to recognize them. So why would civil recognition of same sex marriages lead to compelling religious denominations to recognize them?
6.18.2008 12:02am
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Eugene Volokh:
EPluribusMoney: I had thought that Mussolini, Franco, and Hitler (we Russians call him a fascist, but perhaps you meant to exclude him) were known for behavior just a little worse than applying sexual orientation discrimination bans. You know, like mass murder, dictatorship, killing or imprisonment of political opponents, and so on. I've certainly been willing to argue against some applications of antidiscrimination laws, including on First Amendment grounds. But isn't "gay fascism" just a bit lacking in perspective here?

I didn't think that mass murder was a necessary component of fascism. I thought it was enough that the state forces it's beliefs and control upon the populace. I better re-read the fascism threads.

I really don't think it is lacking in perspective when the elites in government force their belief system on a society that doesn't agree. Marriage has never in the thousands of years of human history meant two dudes getting it on. Civil unions would be perfectly fine, but when they pervert an existing institution just so they don't have to feel so queer things have gone too far.
6.18.2008 12:09am
Bored HLS 3L:

The gay rights movement is not about tolerance - it's about forced acceptance.


That's funny. I was thinking the exact same thing about many positions pushed by organized religion.
6.18.2008 12:11am
Student:
"....and they are clearly rooted in unprincipled animus, not belief."

"Clearly" these beliefs must be so since you say so. Why bother even considering the opinion of those who might actually hold them?

I'm really not surprised, but am a bit disappointed by the anti-christian bigotry in this post and others on this thread. Somehow while it is wrong to stereotype racial or ethnic minorities, women, and homosexuals, it's just fine to do so to an entire religious group of who knows how many dozens of different denomonations, sects, millions of individuals, etc. I guess tolerance is just what we expect of others?
6.18.2008 12:14am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
What religious belief is implicated by telling a religious university to provide couples housing to same-sex partners? A religious belief that it is immoral to provide couples housing to same-sex partners? A religious belief that it is immoral to associate with people in a loving same-sex relationship? What religious belief is implicated by telling a doctor not to discriminate between people he provides in-vitro services to? A religious belief that children should not be raised by same-sex couples? Where does that belief come from?


In all of the above cases, a religious belief that interacting with and providing support for an act or group of acts that are believed to be immoral or unpleasant would be similar to condoning those beliefs.

I have a belief in lawful self-defense and defense-of-others with weaponry. For me, it's non-religious, but for some individuals (Sikhs), it is religious. People with such a belief will often avoid places or people that forbid the ownership or carry of arms. In the last week, I've skipped past several different places for such a reason, even when I wasn't carrying a forbidden arm.

It's not because I have a belief against providing goods at reasonable prices in bulk, or believe that a few people I've met don't exist or are evil, or believe against providing shelters for battered women. It's that I can not in good mind advocate such rules, and going out of my way to be in places where I must be disarmed is in my mind advocating them.
6.18.2008 12:14am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Marriage has never in the thousands of years of human history meant two dudes getting it on.
I hadn't thought it was about a man and n women getting it on either. I thought it had to do with providing love, companionship, commitment, a stable environment to raise children, legal rights and benefits, etc. And you know what happens to the rate of getting it on once people get married . . .

Also, "human history" includes the last decade or so. See, e.g., the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Kingdom of Spain. This particular argument is getting worse with every passing day.
6.18.2008 12:22am
Michael B (mail):
"Of course I was being snarky, Chris, but I don't think the NT is quite so emphatic about endorsing slavery as the OT.

"As you know, the NT treats slavery as a given fact (not unlike the Roman occupation); the OT purports to lay out God's express commands for the practice of slavery."

In fact, it was similar to the eye for an eye thingy, it wasn't laying down the law for purposes of setting a minimum standard, it was doing so for purposes, within its time, of setting down a maximum standard. To understand the broader historical backdrop from which proto-historical accounts were arising out of ur-history, War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage or The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory.

Of course, that assumes more understanding is being sought, rather than facile expressions of triumphalism.
6.18.2008 12:24am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Myself, I regret the enshrinement in the Constitution of the 13th Amendment, which diminishes my religious liberty by forbidding me to practice slavery as delineated in the Old Testament.

No wonder the country's been going to hell since then.
1. American slavery was actually pretty far removed from Old Testament slavery.

2. We passed the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. Everyone discussed, debated, and then 2/3 of both houses of Congress and 3/4 of the states ratified the 13th Amendment. These impositions of SSM are not even close to that situation--they are simply judicial tyranny, imposing a minority viewpoint on the majoriyt.

3. We passed the 13th Amendment in the aftermath of a bloody war that happened at least partly because a relatively small but powerful minority decided that its desire to maintain the institution of slavery took precedence over majority will. we may be seeing the same coming.

4. While Professor Volokh is correct that this judicial tyranny doesn't quite rise to the level of fascism yet, slippery slopes are Professor Volokh's specialty--and it is very clear that homosexuals have applied a truly astonishing amount of K-Y Jelly to the slope. We can see where this is going in other countries: prison sentences for pastors who speak against homosexuality; the victim of a riot in Britain sent to jail for homophobia; Canadian efforts to suppress freedom of speech. Homosexuals are unprepared to accept anything except each and every "homophobe" fined, punished, and shut up. And they will be counting on law professors to rationalize and justify it.
6.18.2008 12:30am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm really not surprised, but am a bit disappointed by the anti-christian bigotry in this post and others on this thread.
You must be new around here.
6.18.2008 12:33am
subpatre (mail):
Eugene Volokh wrote: You know, like mass murder, dictatorship, killing or imprisonment of political opponents, and so on.

Sounds more like soviet. Mussolini’s fascism didn’t do any of that stuff compared to the soviets who hated him and insist on adding Hitler (who tended more socialist) to puff up the body count. As for Franco, who knows what would have been if the Soviets and Germans had stayed out; as it was Spain managed under him through the late 1970s.
EV: I've certainly been willing to argue against some applications of antidiscrimination laws, including on First Amendment grounds. But isn't "gay fascism" just a bit lacking in perspective here?

Perhaps. Fascism is often used (perhaps too often) to describe non-communist systems advocating blind adherence to law, systems where mala in se aren’t recognized, systems in which what isn’t authorized is implicitly prohibited. Singapore is a realistic modern example, as was Spain through the 1980s.

Fascism –describing a system in which the individual exists for the state-- is not a perfect description, but is closer than ‘gay totalitarianism’ or ‘gay tyranny’. If you don’t like the phrase, come up with a better term for the attempt to crush our culture. [Yes Francis, Christians can hate, but they pale in comparison to gay ‘advocacy’; that is hate.]

Most Americans’ religion makes homosexuality a transgression; a sin, something morally wrong. Many of them believe that. We are witnessing movement where anti-religious (not nonreligious or areligious) behavior is forced on the public, where parents’ religion puts their children at risk of government intervention.

Similar to EpluribusMoney, I am becoming more disturbed with this movement that appears to be headed for confrontation, not acceptance.
6.18.2008 12:37am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

It is becoming socially unacceptable to express anti-gay beliefs, just like, over only the past few decades, it became socially unacceptable to express anti-Jewish or anti-Black beliefs.
And yet about 70% of Americans disapprove of SSM. Does this tell you that perhaps a lot of people have been forced to shut up, but still disapprove?

I really wish attorneys and law professors spent some time with human beings. It might change their perspective on a lot of things.
6.18.2008 12:37am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I agree with Professor Carpenter that SSM really isn't a religious freedom problem. What is the problem is that antidiscrimination laws about sexual orientation are a religious freedom problem.

That trend is the increasingly common view that homosexuality is a natural and harmless variation of human sexuality, that gay people are entitled to be judged on their merits and not on the basis of outdated opprobrium, and that these beliefs should to a significant degree be reflected in law.
And this is where I have to disagree. Yes, elites believe this is "natural and harmless variation of human sexuality." And yes, this position has gone from perhaps 5-10% of the population when I was young (and I was one of those who believed this) to perhaps 25-30% of the population today. But you are going to need some serious fascism to get a majority on your side. And some serious fascism is going to be applied to us to make us shut up. That's the whole point of the antidiscrimination laws: a chance for liberals to force us to think correctly.
6.18.2008 12:41am
Splunge:
I dunno, Dale. Shakespeare comes to mind here (the lady doth protest too much).

If SSM were not a way to force on a heretofore unwilling populace more broad acceptance of the essential nature of being gay -- sexual congress with the same sex -- then why would it be so important in gay rights' circles?

I'm just finding it hard to believe that gays are so wonderfully more fired up about marriage than people in general, who have been treating the institution with steadily more contempt and indifference as the decades go by. What would make the trend of increasing contempt for marriage radically reversed among gays, compared to people in general? If SSM does not have strong implications about a broader acceptance of homosexual sexual practises, I don't see any good reason for the enthusiasm for it among gays. Do you, honestly?
6.18.2008 12:47am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Many people in our society object strongly to this trend. I think the law should make room for them to a considerable extent.
That's nice of you--deciding to let the majority under certain conditions, if we ask nicely, and aren't too pushy about it, not be ordered around too much by our gay overlords.

The more I read these remarks by Professor Carpenter, the less over the top "gay fascism" really sounds. It is a very good thing for homosexuals that traditional American society in 1960 decide that it was okay for homosexuals to promote their sexual orientation (although not their actual practice of it). Imagine if 1960 America had decided to shut up homosexual advocates the way that homosexuals now attempt to suppress freedom of conscience by those who don't approve of homosexuality?

I had hoped at one time that we could go for live and let live: Homosexuals could go do what they wanted in private. Those who didn't approve of it wouldn't have it thrown in their faces. Everyone could behave in a reasonably libertarian way, and get along. No laws against homosexuality; no special treatment; you go where you want; as long as you don't frighten the horses, we'll pretend that you aren't there.

It is increasingly clear that homosexuals aren't prepared to live and let live. Perhaps the only option left will be to force them all back into the closet. Homosexuality, right of conscience: pick one.
6.18.2008 12:52am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm just finding it hard to believe that gays are so wonderfully more fired up about marriage than people in general, who have been treating the institution with steadily more contempt and indifference as the decades go by. What would make the trend of increasing contempt for marriage radically reversed among gays, compared to people in general?
It is really about acceptance, and making homosexuals feel healthy and normal. Every time a homosexual is reminded that they are not normal, they are not healthy, it makes them feel bad. Hence the need to have not just civil unions that were marriage in everything but name, but marriage as well. The screeching and hollering that you have to have it exactly the same terminology reflects an enormous insecurity.
6.18.2008 12:54am
Simon P:
DC, thank you for your response.

I don't mean to say that the existence of a "discrimination by a private person against another private person is always a 'harm' sufficient to deny an accommodation." All that I'm trying to say is that your approach seems to draw the accommodation line at "harm" or "tangible harm," when really you mean "harm we should care about" or "significant harm," or something else. You're pretending that the prospective adoptive parents just are not harmed when they go to CC and CC says, "no," but even your reiteration of the point, in response to my comment, makes clear that you're really weighing harms here -- how many prospective parents were there, really? Didn't they have alternatives? Etc. All I'm saying is that the weighing needs to be explicit. Why should an apparent religious belief that children should not be exposed to loving (but gay) parents justify sending a prospective adoptive parent who has, for whatever reason, chosen CC for adoption services to another service? Why should that belief be accommodated?

If you think CC merits an exemption with respect to sexual orientation discrimination, I'm sure you must side with CC with respect to the provision of birth control in health care plans, right? I mean, how many women working for CC want to use prescription birth control, anyway? And they can just go to the doctor and get it on their own, right? So how are they harmed? Should CC be exempt from sex discrimination laws, too? I mean, how many women want to work for CC in the first place? If CC thinks that only men should serve in important policy-making roles, because they view those roles as imbued with a kind of pastoral-quality, then should that belief be accommodated? At what point does the harm become serious enough for you that you'll even notice it?

A couple points about the harm: The number of same-sex applicants may reflect a degree of self-selection. Are you saying, then, that because LGBT people have learned to expect discrimination from some corners, they are not harmed by continuing the status quo? The number also may reflect the number of same-sex couples there are in the first place. If there were only fifteen same-sex couples in Boston looking to adopt a child in the period of time leading up to CC of Boston's withdrawal, then the dozen who applied to CC seems more significant. In other words, the 13/720 ratio for CC adoptions needs to be read in the context of non-CC adoptions. I'll point out, here, that 13/720 would be just under 2% of CC's adoptions in the years leading up to its withdrawal; 2% has been bandied about as a conservative estimate of the number of LGBT's in the general population. The 13 of 720 adoptions you dismiss as insignificant may actually reflect a straight cross-section of the portion of the LGBT community who've entered into stable long-term relationships and who've sought to adopt children. Does that make the "harm" seem more significant to you?

DC: Good questions. I mean more than de minimis or trivial harm, not “balancing” one interest against the other. I’ve seen no evidence that same-sex couples in Massachusetts will be even inconvenienced by having Catholic Charities refuse to provide adoption services to them. The services are plentiful and freely provided elsewhere. While I express no view here on other cases, which would involve many more posts, the provision of needed medical services or employment or housing at least in theory involves much greater interests and greater potential harm. Much more than trivial harm or inconvenience. Now, I could be wrong about the triviality of the harm to gay couples in the Catholic Charities case, but so far I have not seen anyone on the gay-equality side of the dispute even think it necessary to argue beyond the idea that the very fact of discrimination is enough to force the law on Catholics.

Meanwhile, what’s at stake for the Catholic Church is a core belief about traditional family life. That claim is complicated in this particular case because Catholic Charities did, in fact, provide the services to same-sex couples for a time. But it seems plausible to me that the Church hierarchy cracked down on a dissenting but rare practice when it learned of it.
6.18.2008 12:55am
Simon P:
Student:

If you, or anyone, can plausibly explain to me how these anti-gay martyrs reach their specific anti-gay positions from specific doctrinal tenets, then maybe I'd be less inclined to describe their positions as "clearly" animus-driven.

As far as I can tell, the religious objection to "homosexuality" or "same-sex marriage" is entirely based upon a few scattered biblical passages targeting certain sexual acts. Same-sex physical intimacy -- short of sexual intimacy -- seems quite common both in the Bible and in the early Church and not immoral. So how does the religious photographer reach her conclusion that she cannot photograph a same-sex union ceremony? She can't be objecting to the fact that these are two people of the same sex, expressing their love for one another. Rather, she seems to be objecting to the possibility that they might later engage in immoral sexual acts -- sexual acts which she has no reason to believe or to know may ever occur. In other words, she has as much reason to believe that two lesbians exchanging vows will later engage in immoral sexual acts as she does any straight couple. Does a Catholic have a legitimate moral objection to photographing Protestants getting married, just because they're more likely to use contraception?

I compare them to the emergency-contraception martyrs. Pharmacists have at least a plausible claim that, by providing EC to women, they are playing a crucial role in enabling someone else's immoral acts. But a photographer, a landlord, a doctor plays no such role. It is not immoral to have your photograph taken, it is not immoral to live in the same residence with someone of your own sex, it is not immoral to give birth to a child. All of these objectors seem focused upon some speculative state of affairs, of sexual acts which may never occur, in a way that is very particular to homosexual sexual acts and exclusive of almost any other moral consideration. In light of this, I feel quite comfortable in explaining this peculiar tunnel-vision as based more in animus than precept. It makes no sense otherwise.
6.18.2008 1:14am
S--S:
I believe that all of the analyses on this thread exhibit the same flaw in reasoning — a conflation of morality and legality. Opponents of the legalization of SSM want SSM to be illegal because the corresponding conduct (gay sex) is immoral. Proponents of the legalization of SSM want SSM to be legal because the corresponding conduct (consensual loving) is not immoral. While I recognize that this is a simplification, it at least hints at a more sophisticated point that could be made on the subject.

While I am in the latter camp (immorality of gay sex — immoral in the sense that I don't believe that its pursuit is consistent with highest human happiness), I don't particularly mind its legalization. First, I don't really spend much time worrying about what our corrupt government condones. But even when I do, I can't say that condoning gay sex is less conducive to highest human happiness than, say, being in a perpetual state of war — conduct which the state, modern and ancient, seems hell-bent on. But, second, I don't think it's such a bad thing to have such stark examples of where legality is divorced from morality. It's a healthy development. Maybe people will start thinking for themselves.

People should behave properly because it's the right thing to do, not because it's the legal thing to do. For God's sake, if you oppose SSM then go to jail for refusing to perform a SSM marriage if you have to. Seems like we have some historical examples of that kind of behavior...maybe the Christian martyrs are strong enough role models? Whoever said that being pious was going to be easy? Stop your sniveling, everyone.
6.18.2008 1:23am
S--S:
former camp
6.18.2008 1:34am
Simon P:
gattsuru:

In all of the above cases, a religious belief that interacting with and providing support for an act or group of acts that are believed to be immoral or unpleasant would be similar to condoning those beliefs.

But think about how this "religious belief" finds expression in the real world. Gays are untouchable. Unmarried couples are frowned upon. Unwed mothers get prenatal support and anti-abortion counseling. Contraception and (straight) sodomy is swept under the rug. Divorce is tolerated. Different sects take different views on alcohol, tobacco, and pornography. Etc.

If there were a legitimate "religious belief" that associating with or providing support for immoral people or immoral acts amounts to "condoning" such acts in an unacceptable way (and I'll note that you've provided absolutely no doctrinal basis for the view that such association is morally equivalent to "condonation," or that such "condonation" is itself morally impermissible), then it seems to me that it ought to apply consistently, at least with respect to the degree of repentance shown by sinners. But this is not what we see. What we see, rather, is an especially targeted moral disapproval of same-sex relationships. Why is this?

How many heretics are there in the U.S., from any particular believer's point of view? How in the world does any earnest believer reach the conclusion that the unrepentant sexual behavior of a tiny minority of fellow citizens is morally significant enough to merit this kind of treatment, when hundreds of millions of other citizens are unrepentantly committed to religious tenets which are profoundly, metaphysically wrong? It seems to me that today's believers have quite more profound things to worry about than who's boinking whom. And yet it is the LGBT who get singled out for distinctly and intentionally second-class treatment. Why? Is this just a matter of "religious belief?"
6.18.2008 1:37am
Joe G.:

The Catholic Church should not be required to recognize a civil divorce. That was the point of my comment. I was mocking the argument that civil recognition of same sex marriage would lead inevitably to certain religious denominations being forced to recognize such marriages. We've had divorces for more than a century now and we still aren't compelling the Catholic Church to recognize them. So why would civil recognition of same sex marriages lead to compelling religious denominations to recognize them?


Thanks, now I see your point. Considering how the current conflict in worldviews in such a broad battlefield (marriage, children, rights of conscience, rights of association, etc.), I'm not sure that divorce and same-sex marriage are equivalent examples.

And you're probably right, that the church would not be "compelled" to recognize SSM. Maggie Gallagher's Banned in Boston, however, did a fair job of explaining how religious organizations could be forced to choose when it comes to the functions of a church.

For instance, the state of Massachusetts couldn't compel Catholic Charities to provide children to same-sex marriages. But CC was forced to choose between doing so, or getting out of adoption services altogether. The Westminster Catholic Children's Society in the UK is now facing the same dilemma, although that organization is taking it to the courts.
6.18.2008 1:46am
kipp (mail):
GaltLives can't stop thinking about gay sex - and meeting gay couples exacerbates this problem. Luckily his chronic ideation about gay sex is only because he's so very, very digusted by it.

EpluribusMoney finds the "idea of homosexuality unspeakable" yet quickly mentions "two guys getting it on" when the topic of marriage for same-sex couples comes up.

Perhaps you two should start a private chat to better revel in your unspeakable thoughts about two guys getting it on.
6.18.2008 1:53am
Simon P:
Joe G:

CC wasn't forced into choosing between providing children to same-sex marriages and getting out of adoption services. The San Francisco chose to deal with the higher-ups' demands that they not place children in same-sex marriages by assisting other agencies who could do so. CC of Boston's specific response was designed to attract attention to MA's law and to stir controversy. Which it has -- note how often it gets cited, and how infrequently CC of San Francisco is.
6.18.2008 1:55am
Michael B (mail):
This is very much in line with fascist or fascist-lite or fascist-like elements (a la Mussolini, the much feted proto-fascist and author of fascism, rather than Hitler) in terms of forcing conformity of both thought and conscience via the coercive elements of the law and the state. Which, for the Dale Carpenters of the world, is not a problem in the least. Even to the contrary, he harrumphs and intones his way rather casually into the thought and conscience of the other, into the inner sanctum of that conscience, running roughshod, with barely the slightest pang of his own conscience exhibited. Which leads to Simon P.

Simon P,

Your own animus, presumption and arrogations based upon nearly vapid incomprehensions are all something you might begin subjecting to some self-examination. You'll no doubt resist the idea, but just a suggestion that might register at some point in the future. There are in fact people in the world - and they are real people, not the cut-out caricatures you imagine - who think differently than the Simon Ps of the world! It's true, it actually is true! Who'da thunk it!

But Simon P feels "quite comfortable," doncha know, and who'd care to question the epistemic guarantor in "feeling comfortable"? Positively cartoonish. (Here, Simon, it'll be subjected to yet more predictably "comfortable" derision, but it does help to flesh-out one of the more considered positions.)
6.18.2008 1:56am
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
I want new words that mean, unambiguously, "husband", "wife", and "marriage", defined to be "male", "female", and "a joining by God in the eyes of the state between a male and a female".


Fine. So what are your unambiguous definitions of "male" and "female"?

A proposed Constitutional Amendment in California stated:

"A man is an adult male human being who possesses at least one inherited Y chromosome, and a woman is an adult female human being who does not possess an inherited Y chromosome."


Let's assume you want the following properties in a definition of F and M:

1. Everyone is either M or F, no-one is neither.
2. Everyone is M or F, but not both simultaneously
3. Everyone is permanently M or permanently F, it can't change.
4. M people can't get pregnant, and F people can't impregnate
5. You don't need a fully equipped laboratory to tell one M person from the majority of F people, or the reverse. That is, men look male, women look female.


No definition that has all these properties exists, but perhaps one that satisfies most will be acceptable.

Analysing the proposal:

Property 1 is preserved, providing you drop "male person" and "female person" and just say "person". If you don't drop the "male" or "female" bit then you violate the first property, as some people's appearance is ambiguous, and chromosomes don't match appearance in others - assuming you go by birth certificates. Which in some countries have an option for "X", neither M nor F (e.g Australia, see the Alex Macfalane case).

Property 2 is preserved - that's one out of 5.

Property 3 is violated by those who are 46xx/47xxy mosaics, with a low proportion of 47xxy. During cell turnover, 47xxy is selected against, so in later life, the person may be genetically entirely 46xx.

Property 4 is hopelessly compromised. There are people with defective SrY complexes who are 46xy but have become pregnant, and those with 46xx chromosomes but a translocated SrY complex who have become biological fathers. Worse, SrY isn't the only complex that can cause masculinisation, there are 3, so a test for SrY doesn't work either. Those women with Swyer syndrome can become surrogate mothers, they have all the normal female reproductive system bar the ovaries. They are 46xy and have streak (atrophied) male gonads.

Property 5 is also completely compromised. Apart from those who have transitioned, there are many women with 46xy chromosomes and feminising Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and many men with 46xx chromosomes and masculinising Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Not forgetting those born with other Intersex conditions (or victims of botched genital surgery such as infant circumcision) who have been surgically "corrected" at age 1 year without their knowledge or consent. Many don't even know this happened to them. Then there are those with 5ARD who look female at birth, but masculinise at puberty. There are other similar conditions too, 17BHDD being the most common. So you can't go by appearances, or even medical records. A simple, cheap test for presence of SrY will give a false positive for the presence of a Y chromosome if it's translocated. A single buccal smear or blood test and karyotype costing thousands won't detect mosaicism, you need multiple samples from different parts of the body, maybe a hundred thousand's worth.

Note I haven't even mentioned Transsexuality yet, just Intersex.
6.18.2008 1:58am
Michael B (mail):
Zoe E Brain,

Given the ambiguities involved on virtually every plane (you only touch upon the tip of the tip of the iceberg and there only in one area), it seems like a great opportunity for the demos to speak via the democratic process - in lieu of an increasingly usurping judiciary.
6.18.2008 2:13am
Simon P:
Michael B:

The piece you've linked is unresponsive to the point I'm trying to make.

I am not trying to say that homosexual acts are compatible with any religious faith. I am not trying to say that only "animus" can explain the position of religious people who claim that marital sex is the "ideal sex," marital sex serves some broader metaphysical purpose, or that heterosexual sex is in some sense superior to homosexual sex. I think that's all nonsense, obviously, but it is all beside the point.

The question I'm asking is this: given the broader metaphysical scheme in which that piece places the prohibition of homosexual sex, what explains the highly selective choice of homosexual sex as the object of broader, more concerted social disapproval? Given all the serious immorality which exists in this world, homosexual sex seems unique in the degree of disapprobation -- and the volume of literature it generates -- it generates. How can you make sense of that, from an Orthodox Jew's perspective? Why would it seem to drive them, say, to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony, but not a non-kosher or non-Jewish one?
6.18.2008 2:17am
Michael B (mail):
Firstly, it isn't merely metaphysical, almost to the contrary, it's a broadly based anthropological line of reasoning.

Secondly, you've attempted to suggest, indeed you've overtly stated, that it's merely animus which motivates.

Your goal posts are moving.
6.18.2008 2:20am
John10 (mail):
I don't care about SSM, but the way discrimination laws seem to be increasingly applied to require Christians either to compromise their doctrines or leave the public square, their professions, or their rights.

A few points:

1. Its a fact that millions of Christians read the Bible to say that any sex outside of marriage (along with lustful thoughts) is sinful. This will always be true, as the New Testament provides a clear framework for how sex and marriage are to be understood.

2. Christians mostly believe that salvation depends on repentence of sin. Failure to repent means eternal separation from God.

3. Christians are thus to avoid promoting or accommodating sin, or suggesting sin is not wrong, as doing so shows either a belief that unrepentant sin isn't a big deal, or a lack of concern or contempt for the sinners soul. Christian denominations vary on what constitutes promoting homosexuality, but the following seem to violate their conscience: requirements that they provide housing or benefits to homosexual couples, assist in weddings or obtaining a child, or include them in groups formed to promote Christian purposes.

4. When the law requires Christians to promote or accommodate open homosexual conduct, it is asking Christians to promote unrepentant sin, in violation of their doctrine.

Thus, as the law increasingly requires Christians to either accommodate or promote homosexual conduct, Christians will either have to compromise their doctrine or retreat from the activity in question. Just from the list above, Christians will no longer be able to have colleges that provide student housing, practice in some medical fields, provide commercial wedding services, offer adoption services, or work in county courthouses. Further, its not a stretch to see the discrimination laws applied further: christian schools won't be able to keep out gay teachers, christian social programs will shut down, christians won't be able to have roomates, christian groups will be banned at public schools and from public facilities, and eventually, Christians will be prohibited from preaching their view of marriage ans sexuality or preaching and teaching how to get out of the homosexual lifestyle. In the meantime, public schools attempt to teach Christian children that their views of marriage and sexuality are immoral.

I think much of the push against gay marriage is not so much against gay marriage, but against the rest of the agenda coming to pass. Had gay advocates humbly pointed out the discriminatory aspects of their inability to marry, and not focused so much energy attacking the traditional Christian view of sex and marriage, they'd have a much better chance of success.

Same sex marriage doesn't matter much to me, but as a libertarian, I have a hard time with the gay agenda when it comes to how the anti-discrimination laws are being applied. Christians are often simply seeking to protect their liberty to act according to their doctrines, and I'm not at all convinced that letting them do so in these contexts imposes any hardship on gays in most contexts.
6.18.2008 2:34am
Michael B (mail):
Also, Simon P, the notion the "culture wars" focus on SSM and related subjects, either singly or above all else, is silly. You are requiring virtually no rigorous thought of yourself.

As far as animus, and as an indictor of your "animus" theme: "these actions are political in nature, and they are clearly rooted in unprincipled animus, not belief."

So, I contradicted that, showing that it was and is belief, in turn rooted in a broad anthropological argument. But suddenly that doesn't matter either. That they are, in substantial part, political, is patently obvious. So what, what on earth does that seek to suggest, that the political aspect of the discussion is somehow warranted when you're the one forwarding the debate, but unwarranted when an opposing side forwards aspects of their considered position?
6.18.2008 2:34am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
If there were a legitimate "religious belief" that associating with or providing support for immoral people or immoral acts amounts to "condoning" such acts in an unacceptable way ... then it seems to me that it ought to apply consistently, at least with respect to the degree of repentance shown by sinners. But this is not what we see. What we see, rather, is an especially targeted moral disapproval of same-sex relationships. Why is this?


I'm not a Christian (or religious, for that matter), and thus can't really speak of the group's more insular tenets. From my understanding, though, the various texts do not find the sins to be equal in the first place -- otherwise male-male sexual intercourse would be little more interesting than that of the prohibition on types of shellfish. It's considered a fairly bad sin, almost on the level of things like beastiality.

Given the way the Greeks and early Romans practiced male-male intercourse, I can't say I honestly early Christian writers, although I don't agree with them.

Reality is tougher than simply saying X and Y are both supposed to be sins, why not treat X like Y? That's a great bumper sticker, but not remotely related to reasonable discourse. Traditional Christian texts don't even prohibit alcohol (the earliest noteworthy prohibitionist group dates back to right before the American Civil War, and not long before), only drunken behavior. Tobacco and pornography are pretty similar, without even the little canon that exists for alcohol (the closest is 'adultery in your heart', depending on interpretation) -- they're not even mentioned within the primary texts, and prohibitions or limitations on them only exist due to the authority of the various churches, not due to the gospels. The texts give rules for divorce, in Deuteronomy 24, but don't prohibit it. Violating those rules is condemned and considered immoral, but not found to be an abomination. Adultery is considered yet another sin, but still not an abomination.

(and I'll note that you've provided absolutely no doctrinal basis for the view that such association is morally equivalent to "condonation," or that such "condonation" is itself morally impermissible)


The concept of morality as a battle between inaction and action, rather than action against a void, predates the Christian religion by several hundred years. It's difficult to find a particular cite for such a thing, simply because it pervades a good portion of the various texts of most major religions and other systems of morality -- if morality provides a very good survival or reproductive technique, you usually don't want to associate with folk that don't follow it.

The specific dogma of many individuals in the United States, that simply filling a prescription presents a pharmacist as complicit in an abortion, or as codified in various complicit inaction laws within the United States and Canada for failing to assist at the scene of an accident. For examples more exact to the books, the destruction of Sodom is stated in Ezekiel 16 as being due to arrogance and failure to assist the needy (and violence against those who did, according to some of the Jewish texts).
6.18.2008 2:41am
Simon P:
Michael B:

I never said that the original belief, the belief that homosexual sex was immoral, was politically- or animus-driven. If you think that I have, you're not reading me closely enough.

What I am questioning is the claim that the moral belief that homosexual sex is wrong also compels the moral belief that any benign association with those who may or may not engage in homosexual sex (but who everyone believes probably do) is wrong because it amounts to a "condonation" of such behavior. The piece you linked, on a skim, does not appear to spend any time addressing that point, which is precisely the one I've driven from the beginning. If you'd like to point me to a portion of the linked piece which precisely addresses that point, I'll consult and respond to it.

Because I cannot find any logical connection between the moral condemnation of homosexual sex and the peculiar status homosexual sex has within our public moral discourse, I conclude that something other than genuine moral belief drives that selection. That "something else" likely being either politics, animus, or both, it is subject to greater scrutiny -- and less respect -- than genuine moral belief itself.

Incidentally, I find describing the piece you linked as providing a "broad anthropological argument" to be a bit... ambitious. I can see that it has a brief anthropological account of the emergence of Jewish "homosexuality" and an anti-homosexual norm, but it provides no "anthropological argument" justifying that norm or its perpetuation in the modern day. The "argument" is almost entirely theological. Which is fine, but it is, again, beside the point.
6.18.2008 2:56am
Frater Plotter:
Does a Catholic have a legitimate moral objection to photographing Protestants getting married, just because they're more likely to use contraception?

... or, for that matter, one of them may be divorced? To the Church, sex between two "married" people whose marriage is not legitimate in the eyes of the Church is fornication or adultery.

It requires a very selective reading of religious principles to come up with the squinting, narrowly-targeted animus towards homosexuality that is the predominant pose of religious conservatives today. The overweening focus of some Christians' (and Jews') notion of public "morality" as being almost exclusively concerned with sex, and not with any of the other moral issues discussed in the Bible, is a truly remarkable thing.
6.18.2008 2:58am
Brett:
Because I cannot find any logical connection between the moral condemnation of homosexual sex and the peculiar status homosexual sex has within our public moral discourse, I conclude that something other than genuine moral belief drives that selection.


Allow me to translate.

"I'm blazingly ignorant of what religious people actually believe, and why. But I don't see any good reason for it. Therefore I conclude that they're bigots, political animals, or both."
6.18.2008 5:24am
Perseus (mail):
I had hoped at one time that we could go for live and let live: Everyone could behave in a reasonably libertarian way, and get along. No laws against homosexuality; no special treatment; you go where you want; as long as you don't frighten the horses, we'll pretend that you aren't there. It is increasingly clear that homosexuals aren't prepared to live and let live.

This is yet another example of an inherent political weakness of the libertarian view. In a modern democracy, conflicts between equality and liberty tend to end up favoring greater equality, and as conditions become more equal any remaining inequality becomes even less tolerable, especially if it involves a struggle for recognition. Hence the inadequacy of civil unions and the ever more invasive attempts to prevent discrimination in civil society.
6.18.2008 5:30am
Public_Defender (mail):
"And yet about 70% of Americans disapprove of SSM."

Actually, about 70% of Americans used to disapprove of SSM, and there are fewer every year.

Maybe you were citing to the lead poll at this site. True, when asked to pick from gay marriage, civil unions, and nothing, only 30% picked gay marriage, but another 28% supported civil unions. That's 58% support for legalized gay unions. Only 36% opposed providing any recognition for gay unions.

This is a cultural fight that the gay rights side is winning. Time is on our side. Maybe California voters will pass the proposed anti-marriage amendment in November. But they could lose, something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. And even if the anti-marriage side wins this battle, voter attitudes are changing. Eventually, the pro-marriage side will win.

Back to my point, more and more parts of society find anti-gay rhetoric offensive and equivalent to antisemitic or racist rhetoric. That means social pressure will force more anti-gay people to exclude themselves from more and more parts of society or keep their feelings to themselves.

One real impact of SSM could be to further normalize gay people and further integrate them into the rest of society. That normalization and integration will likely increase the social pressure on anti-gay people.
6.18.2008 5:41am
Student:

Because I cannot find any logical connection between the moral condemnation of homosexual sex and the peculiar status homosexual sex has within our public moral discourse, I conclude that something other than genuine moral belief drives that selection.



Allow me to translate.

"I'm blazingly ignorant of what religious people actually believe, and why. But I don't see any good reason for it. Therefore I conclude that they're bigots, political animals, or both."



And what is all this about homosexuality occupying a "peculiar" place in our society? There are lots of things different people think are immoral, homosexual behavior is only one of many. It isn't even the only behavior people think is sufficiently immoral to prevent marriage. I'm not even going to bother responding to the part about the Bible and whether or not people have a legitimate "non-animus" basis for their belief (I'm not sure by what power you are entitled to tell people whether or not their beliefs are legitimate anyway) because it displays such a level of ignorance it is clear there is no genuine desire to make any effort to understand the people on the other side of the debate.
6.18.2008 8:01am
Al Maviva (mail):
Oh, come off it you would-be defenders of religious liberty. The Constitution clearly states religion isn't a valid basis for the formation of law and public policy, whereas gay marriage, as the California court correctly points out, is consistent with our constitutional traditions and cultural heritage. Religions that outlaw gay marriage or speak disparagingly of homosexuality are just practicing bigotry, the same as Bull Connor, and its about time they evolve. These Christianists are just offering special pleadings, and if there's anything we can't tolerate, it's the plaintive lowing of an unpopular minority asking for special rights. They must be driven from the public square. As Justice Kennedy correctly stated in Lawrence, your antiquated notions of morality are *never* a rational basis for state action.


Now would somebody come over here and help me finish stuffing the Constitution, "history", and the western cultural heritage down the memory hole? This crap is damned inconvenient to have around and I'd just as soon not have it laying around where these irrationally bigoted religious people can pick it up and throw it at me...
6.18.2008 8:53am
Mikey:
To paraphrase Jefferson, it does me no injury for my gay neighbor to marry another man. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

For years, I've heard it stated that gay marriage somehow threatens marriage as an "institution," but in all that time I've never had explained exactly how or why that is.

Can anyone here explain?
6.18.2008 8:55am
snelson (mail):
"the way discrimination laws seem to be increasingly applied to require Christians either to compromise their doctrines or leave the public square, their professions, or their rights."

Of course, there are other anti-gay religions, such as Islam, that aren't being forced to make those choices. Wouldn't have anything to do with their well-established doctrine of "a bomb in the bathhouse and a slogan gets you more than a slogan!"

A little more Church Militant and a little less turn the other cheek would seem to be the answer. "By any means necessary", to quote another spokesman whose group gets a pass....
6.18.2008 9:24am
Sarcastro (www):
Why does Scalia hate Catholics so much?

Cause it seems clear to me that Employment Division v. Smith is what allows these antidiscrimination laws to force Catholics to gay marry.

Years from now, Scalia will be seen as taking the first step down the slippery slope to everybody marrying dogs.
6.18.2008 9:32am
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
I am not a religious person, and I would vote for gay marriage if it were in a referendum. But I think it is presumptuous to accuse Christians of "unprincipled animus" for opposing gay marriage. It is, for one thing, tantamount to demanding that they renounce Paul's sainthood and remove his epistles from the canonical Bible.

My view on this does not indicate that I take the "anti-gay" side on all the above-mentioned disputes. It may indeed matter that a given church's boardwalk has some semi-public tax status; on the other hand, it would be a mistake (and worse, a blunder likely to lead to public backlash) for a state to require a church to allow gay weddings in its chapel because it rents the building out to straight weddings.
6.18.2008 9:46am
Elliot Reed (mail):
The question I'm asking is this: given the broader metaphysical scheme in which that piece places the prohibition of homosexual sex, what explains the highly selective choice of homosexual sex as the object of broader, more concerted social disapproval? Given all the serious immorality which exists in this world, homosexual sex seems unique in the degree of disapprobation -- and the volume of literature it generates -- it generates.
I am 100% in agreement on this point. Had there been an exceedingly proud and greedy couple, Catholic Charities would not have refused to give them adoption services, nor would people be refusing to photograph the wedding that they used as a vehicle for lording their greater wealth over their friends and family, nor would fundamentalist Protestants refuse to rent to them.

Christians do not decline to provide services to sinners, even where they are clearly going to use those services to engage in sin.
6.18.2008 9:46am
SeaDrive:

1. Its a fact that millions of Christians read the Bible to say that any sex outside of marriage (along with lustful thoughts) is sinful. This will always be true, as the New Testament provides a clear framework for how sex and marriage are to be understood.


For every one man who looks at the Bible for the answer to a question, ten thousand open it to find confirmation of their existing opinions. Looked at objectively, the NT is pretty short on the specifics of what is sin, and what is not.

If you want to accept the allusions to homosexuality that Paul makes in Romans as controlling doctrine, you put yourself in the position of accepting everything Paul says, including that the Second Comming was about 1900 years ago.

This morning's reading brought the news that if your eye sins, you should pluck it out. What was this morning's eyeball count, nationwide?
6.18.2008 9:51am
RBG (mail):
Simon P., I really think you need to spend more time around religious conservatives, as you obviously have no clear idea of the breadth of their concerns. You view them as somehow obsessed with gay marriage to the exclusion of other forms of religiously enjoined sexual behavior, much less other, non-sexual sins, but I think you misapprehend what's actually going on in those communities.

I would be the first to acknowledge that there is a visceral distaste for homosexuality among many religious conservatives that is lacking in their reactions to heterosexual sexual immorality and that this distaste is less theological than it is cultural and, at some level, probably instinctual. At the same time, most conservative religious groups I have associated with during my lifetime are admirably consistent in their treatment of all forms of sexual immorality: Church members are disciplined for adultery, for divorce, for pre-marital sex, as well as for homosexual acts; employment in church-related organizations is conditioned on adherence to traditional Christian sexual morality.

In short, the primary reason that conservative Christian organizations seem to be up in arms about gay marriage is simply because that's the sexual controversy du jour and because there's a - very reasonable, in my opinion - fear that the official sanction of homosexual relationships in a broadened definition of marriage will, given the pervasiveness of marriage in defining relationships, benefits, and privileges in our society, interfere with these organizations' ability to freely order their institutional life in a way that the largely cultural (rather than legal) sexual revolution did not. (The contrast with polyamory here is helpful, I think. You may hear condemnations of polyamory from the pulpit in many conservative churches, but it's not a political issue because (1) there isn't really a well-organized movement advocating for its acceptance and (2) there's little perceived risk of polyamorous relationships being recognized in law, whether through a redefinition of marriage or some other provision. Most Christian churches in this country are willing to live and let live, believe it or not. Now, if there was a movement to officially sanction polyamorous relationships in law and to condemn as illegitimate religious objections to facilitating or recognizing such relationships, you would be hearing a similarly vocal outcry from the religious right.)

But aside from this failure to understand the objects of your disdain and ire is the audacity of the demand that the morality of other people must make sense to you in order for you to respect their right to practice it. One would think that in a free society - not to mention a pluralistic society that supposedly values tolerance - one of the most basic freedoms would be to order one's life according to one's own concept of morality (oh, heavens, I'm sounding like Justice Kennedy here) without having to answer to anyone for the reasons or logical consistency thereof. Why should would-be petty tyrants like Simon P. be allowed, in a free society, to sit in judgment upon the legal legitimacy of the beliefs of others? One might argue that public reasons are the prerequisite for participation in the public square (though I would reject this), but it seems to me to be awfully close to totalitarianism to insist that one must give public reasons acceptable to intolerant - though high-minded - critics like Simon P. before one will be accorded the freedom to conduct one's life in accordance with one's beliefs. If that is to be the new standard, could we dispense already with all the talk of pluralism, because it's downright Orwellian.
6.18.2008 9:56am
Sk (mail):
Good Lord. The government is now forcing: photographers to photograph people that they would rather not, place children into adoptions that conflict with an adoption agency's religious beliefs, rent Church property to people who don't accept that Church's beliefs, provide medical services contrary to one's religious beliefs, and (in the one example that makes sense) require public civil servants to comply with the law. All in the name of freedom. All defended by, of all people, libertarians.

To repeat: the hearing conservatives or religious folks are getting, here, in this conversation, is the most open and positive you will get anywhere within the modern judicial infrastructure.

Sk
6.18.2008 9:58am
Sarcastro (www):
http://www.buddybuddy.com/quiz-1.html

Attorneys for the state of Tennessee argued that such unions should be illegal because they are "distasteful to our people and unfit to produce the human race." The state Supreme Court agreed, declaring these types of marriages would be "a calamity full of the saddest and gloomiest portent to the generations that are to come after us."
6.18.2008 10:12am
Gabo (www):
In the latter half of the article you say "NPR" when I think you mean "NRO." Is this an error or did I miss something?
6.18.2008 10:21am
P. Ingemi (mail):
It's very simple.

There is something called the bill of rights that guarantees religious liberty.

There is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees gay marriage or requires people to support or approve of it.

If in a state the populace decides to vote for Gay marriage so be it, although I consider it sin you can't legislate sin away, and people of faith have been living in countries with legalized sin for centuries. It's how we carry ourself as examples when derided for this that we follow the example set for us.

However unless I move to Canada under our Constitution the state can't force me to approve of gay marriage or make me teach my children that is it good and right. Unless of coure the advocates want to go through the tedious process of ammending it.

This is going to lead to more division in culture much in the same way that our liberal friends are very under-represented in the military.

As a Catholic in particular and a Christian in general we are obliged to do two things:

First we need to make the germaine non-religious argument against gay marriage, a religious argument won't do, we need to persuade in the same way that the mass media has choosen on the other side. This argument has to be on the field of reason.

Second we need to remember that part of the job description of Christianity is to suffer or suffer ridicule for the faith. This is a blessed thing. We've been spoiled on that score in the US for decades but the worm is turning and will continue to turn. When public opinion and cultural opinion generally against us (except for last weekend when with Tim Russett's death the media suddenly discovered Catholic Faith, school and prayer were virtues that create great people) we need to hold to our faith, defend it, and not follow the example of people of other faith in Europe who object to this. Sin is not the answer to another sin.

Eyes on the prize gentlemen and ladies, two prizes to win:

1. As members of a republic we want to promote and argue for laws that are in the best interests of our country.

2. As Christians in general and Catholics in particular the final person prize when this life is over.

Rendering to Caesar and to God.
6.18.2008 10:26am
Mike S.:
Simon P: As an Orthodox Jew, let me try to offer an answer. There is a concept of not assisting in other people's sins. The Hebrew phrase is "M'sayeiah l'ovrei aveirah." Thus providing housing to couples cohabiting in violation of Jewish law would be frowned upon. While my own profession does not service wedding ceremonies, I would not want to participate in a same-sex ceremony, nor one conducted on the Sabbath, nor one between a Jew and a Gentile, nor between a Cohen and a divorcee. It is only under rare circumstances that I will even be a guest at such an affair. Others more stringent than I refuse to participate in double ring ceremonies.

What some may call progressing beyond primitive superstitions and taboo, we religious types would call degenerating away from God's Law.

I think you are correct that someone who would participate in a variety of sinful ceremonies and object only to a same sex one is more motivated by animus than religion, but that does not apply to anyone I know. Although even there, there are degrees of sinfulness.


I do think that public schooling represents a far bigger clash between gay rights and religion than marriage. Here in MA, the courts have held that parents with religious objection cannot have his elementary school children excused from classes presenting a positive view of homosexuality, or even require the school to inform him of such presentations so he can present his own view the same day.
6.18.2008 10:28am
Chris the Younger:
The interesting thing is the number of posters assuming the litigants involved here are always "gay activists" instead of "normal people trying to find a photographer". Everyone who files a court case that goes against these posters' beliefs is an "activist", not a normal person trying to have a child, or get an important life event photographed. The mere idea that someone is trying to get artificially inseminated so they can have a child for the sole reason of wanting to take a case to court is somewhat cynical in my mind, and I'm a pretty cynical person.

The other intriguing idea is what happens when a Muslim landlord refuses to rent to a woman without a hajib? Or refuses to do business with a woman at all? It's the same, the exact same, religious liberty argument being made. If you're willing to stand up for religious liberty, you have to stand up for *all* religious liberty, not just the little bits that follow your religion. That's either a bug or a feature depending on your point of view.
6.18.2008 10:39am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Both the OT and the NT were anti-slavery documents. The OT rules for the treatment of slaves were designed to make slavery less desirable for the master.

Slavery was abolished in Europe within 700 years of the Christian takeover. The rest of the world took a lot longer to abolish it.
6.18.2008 10:41am
Randy R. (mail):
smitty: "I also want my rainbow back, and I'd like the word "gay" simply to mean "happy", as well. "

Well, we'll be happy to give you back that word just as soon as you give us back "queer." Queer was a word that used to mean odd, or out of the ordinary, but then anti-gay bullies used it as an epithet.

Then there is fag and faggot. Fag in Britain is simply a cigarette. A faggot is a bundle of sticks.

So when you guys stop using words like that to demean us, we will be very happy to give you back the rainbow and the the word 'gay.' Deal?

Galt: Unless you look like Brad Pitt, I can assure you that most gay men think YUCK!!! when they think of you having sex with anyone.
6.18.2008 10:55am
Randy R. (mail):
Oh, and most women probably do too....
6.18.2008 10:56am
Genghiz Cohen (mail):

And what is all this about homosexuality occupying a "peculiar" place in our society? There are lots of things different people think are immoral, homosexual behavior is only one of many

We're worried about that one because that's the one which is trying, successfully, to force its agenda down our throat. We can and do fire people for being drunk; or for having smoked a joint recently enough to get caught by a drug test, even if you smoked it before you were hired; or for flirting if the receipient or anyone else is offended or potentially offended; or for stealing; or for being unpunctual; or for...well, you get the point.
I don't agree with most of that. I'm a straight conservative Christian, but I don't care what you put in your bloodstream, as long as you aren't a safety problem for anyone except your self. I don't care who you sleep with. If your production is good, I don't care if you come in ten minutes late or take a two hour lunch or if you're stoned all day.
What I object to is your using government--ie, force--to make me do something I don't wish to. And that appears to be exactly what the gay agenda is aiming for.
6.18.2008 10:59am
Randy R. (mail):
I have yet to see a case whereby any Christian has evicted a tenant or fire an employee because they are having sex outside of marriage, are divorced, eat shellfish, lie to their best friend, have graven images all over the apartment, are atheist, fail to honor the Sabbath, fail to call home on Mother's Day or Father's Day (honoring thy parents, you know), or even for having an abortion.

Christians have no problems living and working with these people, knowing full well that they are engaging in sin, and their silence is tacit acceptance of these sins.

So why is homosexuality the one and only sin that Christians can't abide by? It seems rather hypocritical to me, and what it really says is it isn't about homosexuality being a sin, or even an act. It's just animus towards gay people.

If anyone can explain why Christians have no problem with people engaging in all manner of sins, including abortion, but homosexuality is the only one where they draw the line, please cite something -- anything at all -- that justifies such disparate treatment.
6.18.2008 11:04am
Per Son:
Wow. That is all I can say. I see no problem with small groups pushing their agendas (on all sides of the spectrum). For example, a minority group (Jehovah Witnesses) in Anne Arundel County - in Maryland was able to get lots of schools to drop Halloween activities. I think the other groups should have just pushed back, and recently the cancellations were reversed.

Moreover, a Democracy is not just majority rules. Indeed, much of our Constitution is counter-majoritarian. I doubt the First Amendment is just there to protect popular and beloved ideas and speech.

Oh, and Duncan Frissel, since when were the OT and NT anti-slavery documents? That is a new one on me. Heck, many Christians used both to argue why slavery was a - ok, and that was less than 200 years ago. Also, Europeans held slaves all over the world long after it was abolished on European soil, and how did the realities of Russian Serfs and indentured servants differ from other slaves?
6.18.2008 11:07am
Per Son:
Randy R.:

The Third Circuit just held that it was discrimination, when an extremely religious Christian employer terminated a woman for having an abortion.
6.18.2008 11:10am
ken (mail):
Although it was pretty far back in this thread, some one commented on the Bible and its position on slavery. I think I have something to contribute on that subject that has not been addressed so far. That is that the Bible is inconsistent on that subject. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy Chapter 23, it says not to return a runaway slave to his master. In the New Testament, in the letter to Philemon, the apostle Paul does exactly that.
6.18.2008 11:21am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Slavery was abolished in Europe within 700 years of the Christian takeover. The rest of the world took a lot longer to abolish it.
Because they only did it to black people (and the native peoples of the Americas, before they realized they weren't very good slaves), that makes it OK? (And as for the middle ages, I suppose serfdom was a step up from slavery.)
Both the OT and the NT were anti-slavery documents. The OT rules for the treatment of slaves were designed to make slavery less desirable for the master.
In general, the moral laws of God are supposed to be universal laws of moral behavior, not a system of incentives. If he had wanted to say slavery was wrong, he could easily have done so. And what's with the idea that you can make a man your permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he "agrees" to become your slave for life? See Exodus 21:2-6.
6.18.2008 11:22am
Randy R. (mail):
Cohen:"What I object to is your using government--ie, force--to make me do something I don't wish to. And that appears to be exactly what the gay agenda is aiming for."

then I guess what you are saying is that you would never fire a person for being gay, correct? And that your only problem is that the gov't prevents you from firing a person just because he is gay, correct?

Yet, if you don't ever fire a person for being gay, then what's the problem, other than a philisophical issue? And if it's a philisophical issue, then why don't you have a problem with the fact that the gov't prevents you from firing people for all sorts of issues, like gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy status, race and so on?

Or are you saying that you have no problem with the gov't mandating those things, but you just don't like gays being added into the mix? If so, why?
6.18.2008 11:24am
Elliot Reed (mail):
force its agenda down our throat.
Interesting how opponents of gay rights seem to be fixated on this particular metaphor.
6.18.2008 11:24am
Doc W (mail):
From Sk: "Good Lord. The government is now forcing: photographers to photograph people that they would rather not, place children into adoptions that conflict with an adoption agency's religious beliefs, rent Church property to people who don't accept that Church's beliefs, provide medical services contrary to one's religious beliefs, and (in the one example that makes sense) require public civil servants to comply with the law. All in the name of freedom. All defended by, of all people, libertarians."

Not this libertarian, Sk. And not most principled libertarians, in my experience. Private individuals properly have a right to deal or not deal with each other on a mutually agreeable basis: win-win or no deal. That includes gay couples making a life together. It also includes property owners and people in business who choose not to rent to them or photograph them. There is no need for government to define marriage; it can simply enforce contractual arrangements and leave people to call those arrangements whatever they want. Employees on the job are responsible for acting in accord with their employers' specifications (or change employer), and that includes government employees--but in a libertarian world there would be far fewer of those.
6.18.2008 11:24am
Dan Markel (mail) (www):
I've put a post up in response to Dale over at Prawfs.com:

Here's the link.
As you'll see, I disagree a little bit with some of what Professor Carpenter says, and I show that it's possibly a mistake to read what the GC from the AJCongress wrote in the LA Times as dispositive evidence that he or his organization is opposed to gay marriage.
6.18.2008 11:24am
Elliot Reed (mail):
And if it's a philisophical issue, then why don't you have a problem with the fact that the gov't prevents you from firing people for all sorts of issues, like gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy status, race and so on?
Also marital status, national origin, and previous history of military service.
6.18.2008 11:25am
PaulTX (mail) (www):
EPluribusMoney, supra:

But as they force their agenda upon the country I find myself with much more animosity and very negative feelings toward them. At this point I would vote for any anti-gay measure just to fight the power.


The whole aim of politics -- all politics, every kind of politics -- is to allow people to "force their agenda upon the country." This is what every ideology, party and interest group aspires to do. To that end, politics enables us to organize our animosities, as George Will has often observed, and the law codifies these animosities. So you're declaration is hardly novel.
6.18.2008 11:27am
Randy R. (mail):
I have a solution:

Why don't we just have laws that allow you to discriminate against gays as much as you want to. However, what ever you do to gays, you must also do to heteros. Equal treatment for all.

So -- if you don't want to take wedding photos of gays, you don't have to. But you must also refuse to take wedding photos of heteros.
If you don't want gays working for you, you don't have to, but you can't have heteros working for you either.
If you don't want to have gays as tenants, you don't have to, but you must also refuse tenancy to heteros as well.

This way, you can discriminate to your heart's content, and you won't run afowl of any laws. Everyone's happy.
6.18.2008 11:28am
PaulTX (mail) (www):
That you're should be your.
6.18.2008 11:29am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The other intriguing idea is what happens when a Muslim landlord refuses to rent to a woman without a hajib? Or refuses to do business with a woman at all? It's the same, the exact same, religious liberty argument being made. If you're willing to stand up for religious liberty, you have to stand up for *all* religious liberty, not just the little bits that follow your religion.
Well of course. We're not liberals. We believe that there should be limits to governmental power.
6.18.2008 11:31am
Randy R. (mail):
"The Third Circuit just held that it was discrimination, when an extremely religious Christian employer terminated a woman for having an abortion."

Ha! Well, then, I'm sure people are outraged over this intrusion on religious liberty...
6.18.2008 11:31am
Student:

The interesting thing is the number of posters assuming the litigants involved here are always "gay activists" instead of "normal people trying to find a photographer". Everyone who files a court case that goes against these posters' beliefs is an "activist", not a normal person trying to have a child, or get an important life event photographed. The mere idea that someone is trying to get artificially inseminated so they can have a child for the sole reason of wanting to take a case to court is somewhat cynical in my mind, and I'm a pretty cynical person.




But wait, we keep being told about the enormous tidal wave of support for gay rights and how this is really about a small minority of religious fanatics that are trying to force their antiquated irrational beliefs on everybody else. You're telling me in this massive ocean of modern progressive support that somebody can't get a picture taken without a court order? Please. Don't you feel like you're insulting your own intelligence by suggesting that? And haven't we come quite a ways from dealing with discrimination by a common carrier or an innkeeper to the day and age where we think we have a constitutional right to force a private person to take a picture?
6.18.2008 11:33am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Because they only did it to black people (and the native peoples of the Americas, before they realized they weren't very good slaves), that makes it OK? (And as for the middle ages, I suppose serfdom was a step up from slavery.)
Wrong on all counts. Whites were held in slavery in the Roman Empire. The Catholic Church strongly discouraged holding slaves, and prohibited holding of Christians as slaves. This leads to significant struggles in the New World as slaves become Christians, and eventually, Maryland and Virginia change this law.
6.18.2008 11:34am
JeanE (mail):
I think this is more a conflict over the rights of private associations to adhere to rules that others don't agree with than it is over SSM.

Catholic Charities probably only adopts to married couples, so before SSM was legal in Mass, this was not an issue fir them. Surely Catholic Charities would be unlikely to place a child for adoption into the home of a married couple who owned a strip club where the wife performed nightly. The couple are legally married, the marriage is between a man and a woman, they are legally employed and let's assume that business is good and they can financially provide for the child. Why would Catholic Charities refuse to place a child with them? Because they have chosen a lifestyle that is significantly out of step with the teachings of the Church, and Catholic Charities is likely to believe that the child will be better off in a different home. If they make that judgement, they are clearly discriminating against those who work in strip clubs. Choosing who is allowed to adopt and who isn't requires one to make a discrimination on some basis, and since children have emotional and spiritual needs in addition to their physical needs, a responsible party must try to determine whether prospective parents can meet those needs. If a woman giving up her chid for adoption chooses Catholic Charities to find a home for the child and there is no evidence that they are placing children into abusive homes, why shouldn't we accept their decision? Is there really a difference between refusing to adopt a child to a couple because they work in a strip club and refusing to adopt to a couple because they are in a gay marriage?

Let's consider the Methodist group refusing to allow the lesbian couple to marry in the boardwalk pavillion. One of the nice things about the Methodist Church is that they are usually willing to rent space to community groups. Scout groups, AARP, AA, ARC, La Leche League, and many other groups around the country have their meetings in churches, even though the church does not sponsor the group. By choosing to make space available to community groups, these churches are "open to the public". There are of course going to be some restrictions- you can use the church for a potluck, but not serve alcohol. You can have a fundraiser, but not a ca-sino night. Those restrictions exist in part because the church must comply with local laws, but also because drinking and gambling are out of line with church teaching. Since SSM is also out of line with church teaching, it seems as reasonable to say "you can't have a civil union ceremony here" as it is to say "you can't have a ca-sino night party here".

(sorry about ca-sino; it is apparently a blacklisted word when spelled normally)

These cases seem to be less about SSM and more about forcing private groups to either separate entirely from the community, or bow down to the choices of the larger culture. That doesn't seem to bode well for diverse, vibrant communities where people can come together in multiple, overlapping groups that share some things in commmon, but still maintain distinct purposes and activities.
6.18.2008 11:35am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

So -- if you don't want to take wedding photos of gays, you don't have to. But you must also refuse to take wedding photos of heteros.
The essential homofascist position: you have no choices about what to do, and when, and with whom.

Why do we get to decide who to refuse for sex? Or are you going to require everyone to be either celibate or accept homosexual partners on an equal basis? I think I can tell where this is going.

Homosexuality, freedom: pick one.
6.18.2008 11:36am
Elliot Reed (mail):
There is no need for government to define marriage; it can simply enforce contractual arrangements and leave people to call those arrangements whatever they want.
Nobody supported this idea twenty years ago, but it has become a remarkably trendy position now that gay marriage has become an issue. However, I think it's crazy to require people who want to marry to hire attorneys and specify their obligations in great detail and then resolve their disagreements according to the contract-law principles created for business disputes.

By default, family disputes should be governed by family law principles, not contract principles. And people who really want their relationships governed by detailed written contracts rather than the law of marriage are free to not get married.
6.18.2008 11:36am
Virginian:

GaltLives can't stop thinking about gay sex - and meeting gay couples exacerbates this problem. Luckily his chronic ideation about gay sex is only because he's so very, very digusted by it.

EpluribusMoney finds the "idea of homosexuality unspeakable" yet quickly mentions "two guys getting it on" when the topic of marriage for same-sex couples comes up.

Perhaps you two should start a private chat to better revel in your unspeakable thoughts about two guys getting it on.


Oh, yeah...the standard (and ridiculous) assertion that anyone who is disgusted by homosexuality is a closet gay.

I am also disgusted by pedophilia...does that make me a closet pedophile? I am disgusted by abortion...does that make me a closet abortionist? I am disgusted at the thought of eating liver...does that make me a closet liver eater?
6.18.2008 11:37am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Interesting how opponents of gay rights seem to be fixated on this particular metaphor.
Because we're being metaphorically raped: told by homosexuals that we must either shut up, smile stupidly, and pretend to approve, or we will be punished by fines or (in some countries) prison sentences.
6.18.2008 11:39am
cougian:
I think it's a little ironic that religious institutions would even want to claim they have a right to discriminate against anybody. Religions exist in this country specifically because we've decided, via the Constitution, not to discriminate based on religious beliefs. We, non-believers, won't discriminate against you, and you, believers, won't discriminate against us. There is some irony in using the mantle of religious freedom to deny the rights of others...

If Christians claim to have the right to not perform services to gays, wouldn't gays have that same right? Could you imagine the moral outrage if a Christian got refused service at a Starbucks because of their religious beliefs. "I'm sorry, you don't approve of my lifestlye, so you'll get no coffee..."
6.18.2008 11:39am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

"The Third Circuit just held that it was discrimination, when an extremely religious Christian employer terminated a woman for having an abortion."

Ha! Well, then, I'm sure people are outraged over this intrusion on religious liberty...
From this description, yes, I'm outraged.
6.18.2008 11:41am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

In CA landlords have claimed the right to discriminate against couples who are NOT married.* You have to love the Catch 22 quality of their position -- if gays can't marry, it violates the rights of the religious to force them to rent to such couples because they aren't married; if gays can marry, it violates the rights of the religious to force them to rent to such couples because they are married. Remind me again just who it is who's trying to force an agenda here.

*The courts rejected this argument.
Well of course the courts rejected this argument. Fascists can't bare the thought that someone, somewhere, isn't marching in goosestep with the elites.
6.18.2008 11:43am
SeaDrive:
Since Christianity is culturally dominant, Christians get a lot things the way they like it by default. Christmas and Good Friday as holidays, for example. Many don't actually grasp the notion that religious freedom means freedom to hold non-Christian belief.
6.18.2008 11:44am
Ga:
It matters not that there are anti-discrimination laws for gay people when your entire belief system, provided to you by a hierarchy of authority your entire life that tells you to only "believe what we say is true or you will go to hell," and that the ends always justifies the means.

Like with a myriad of issues, most Christians, Catholics etc. -- especially those on "The Right" -- can not be reasoned with. Which would not be all that bad except for the fact that they also believe with such fervor that YOU and everybody else MUST obey their LAWS.

End of story. The conflict will last for generations.
6.18.2008 11:56am
RBG (mail):
Am I the only one who finds Prof. Markel's post that he linked to above to be extremely disturbing in its willingness to use the power of the state to force groups with which he disagrees into the margins of society? Isn't this merely a difference of degree rather than kind with full-blown totalitarianism? Moreover, what are the limits to this type of coercion? And is society better off when we refuse to permit groups with which we disagree to provide charitable services? I mean, if I read Prof. Merkel correctly, he not only would have removed Bob Jones' tax exemption; he would have denied even its right to exist. How is this consistent with a supposedly pluralistic society, much less a free one?

And am I the only one that finds his final sentence ominous: "*One distinguished classmate from law school, now teaching at one of the finest law schools in the South, once argued that there are good reasons for extending anti-discrimination norms even into the market for love such that personal ads should be cleansed of racial preferences; I haven't bought the argument ... yet." One wonders just what will push Prof. Merkel over the edge - what is it that will convince him to completely jettison any robust conception of negative liberty? After all, what good is it if people use it to do things of which our betters disapprove.
6.18.2008 11:57am
Chris the Younger:

Nobody supported this idea twenty years ago, but it has become a remarkably trendy position now that gay marriage has become an issue. However, I think it's crazy to require people who want to marry to hire attorneys and specify their obligations in great detail and then resolve their disagreements according to the contract-law principles created for business disputes.


Standardized contracts, just like what are used for real estate transactions, adoptions, and so on, are how this would be handled. There is even a legal term for it, although it escapes me at the moment. Standard contracts would cover 99% of all cases, and the 1% would probably be the folks that get prenups right now anyway, which are generally pretty customized contracts. Stop at a stationary store, pick up a contract fill it out, sign and notarize and file a copy with the county if required. Done.
6.18.2008 11:58am
Jimmy S.:
This notion that Christians should defer to the opinion of atheists in the interpretation of their own religious texts is, I think, fascinating.
6.18.2008 12:00pm
Oren:
If Christians claim to have the right to not perform services to gays, wouldn't gays have that same right? Could you imagine the moral outrage if a Christian got refused service at a Starbucks because of their religious beliefs. "I'm sorry, you don't approve of my lifestlye, so you'll get no coffee..."
In all fairness, the orientation of a couple is germane to Church-related affairs while the religion of a coffee drinker is not.
6.18.2008 12:03pm
Deoxy (mail):
The real problem here is "anti-discrimination" laws that are clearly a bunch of hooey. They were wrong when they started, and they are wrong now. How much attention they get doesn't change how wrong they are.

Not only do they clearly violate several Constitutional rules, not to mention being, in essence, a form of takings in many cases (doing what YOU want to do with MY property is a taking), but, to add insult to injury, they are only enforced against certain groups (large businesses with deep pockets, anything involving white people, whenever possible with Christianity).

Now, I know that this position ends up aligning me with repugnant groups in some areas (ALL racial supremicist groups are repugnant, white, black, hispanic, or other), and I really dislike that... but I find the government suppression of rights to be MORE repugnant, so that's a fairly easy choice to make (though I rather hate the government for making me make such a choice to begin with).
6.18.2008 12:03pm
AnonLawStudent:

Religions exist in this country specifically because we've decided, via the Constitution, not to discriminate based on religious beliefs. We, non-believers, won't discriminate against you, and you, believers, won't discriminate against us. There is some irony in using the mantle of religious freedom to deny the rights of others...

Somebody obviously didn't do too well in conlaw. There is no constitutional right to be free from "discriminat[ion] based on religious beliefs."

If Christians claim to have the right to not perform services to gays, wouldn't gays have that same right?

Of course. I doubt that many of the commenters objecting to the mandatory provision of private services would disagree. The argument is that the state shouldn't be in the business of telling private parties whom they must engage in business.
6.18.2008 12:03pm
Chris the Younger:

There is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees gay marriage or requires people to support or approve of it.


Take the word "gay" out and I'm with you 100%. There is nothing in the Constitution, as amended, regarding marriage.

Now run through your entire post and do a block replace with "gay" for "interracial" and you're in a time machine to the 1950's, and making the same arguments. And in 50 years, we'll look back at this the same way we're looking back on interracial marriage now.
6.18.2008 12:06pm
cougian:
Jean E,

It's not about the right of private association. It's about discrimination. Everyone agrees that you can choose what to allow in your place of business, but not who can do it. You can ban alcohol, but you can't ban Irish people from drinking if you let everyone else drink. You can ban gambling, but not seniors from playing pull-tabs if everyone else can play. You can ban weddings, but not gay weddings if everyone else can get married. We've decided that it's ok to discriminate in the interests of public safety. Bartenders can stop serving people who appear intoxicated, in fact, we've decided they have a duty to do so. But declining to perform a service available to the pubilc to someone who is gay is flat out discrimination. And you don't have that right.
6.18.2008 12:06pm
Oren:
Well of course the courts rejected this argument. Fascists can't bare the thought that someone, somewhere, isn't marching in goosestep with the elites.

(1) See Eugene's earlier comment on the inappropriateness of the word "facist" in this instance. Hyperbole will get you nowhere.

(2) See Reitman for the relevant California precedent regarding discriminatory housing practices.
6.18.2008 12:08pm
DangerMouse:
I think P. Ingemi's comment really puts things in a much broader perspective.

Christianity has been around for 2000 years. It was born and immediately persecuted for the first 200 years of its existence, its believers among the rabble fed to the lions or blamed for starting the fires of Rome.

Christianity survived the fall of empires great and small. It has been supported by law and repressed by it. Catholics in England were put to death for preaching the mass, they were stripped of their lands, and public officials were prohibited from being Catholics. The French revolutionaries made an active effort to destroy the Catholic Church, in order that the people would worship at the God of Reason. Then there was the 30 years war, in which princes fought over a mixture of politics and also whether protestantism or Catholicism would be the religion in their lands. All the while, the people were not dissuaded from their faith and they did not abandon their teachings.

Christianity will survive the existing repression in Canada and the upcoming repression in America. It will survive when America's republic falls and passes away, and will survive what comes after. It will survive these republics and empires even in the face of, and in truth, because of, the suffering of its believers.

Every age has its error-filled philosophies. Sexual liberation seems to be our philosophy of error. The Church has withered the attacks of the gnostics, of arianism, of the pagans, islam, marconism, docetism, of the errors of the philosophers of the enlightenment, of the snide humor of Voltare and modern day George Carlins, and the brutal repression of the tyrants. Christianity will certainly withstand the attacks of the black robed unelected Judges, and the pseudo-philosophers in the legal elite today.

If America decides to feed Christians to the lions, it won't be something new to the Church. And these errors will all pass away, as they all do, and the Church will still exist, has it has, unchanged. And there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth among the elite who will see that they too, will die like Voltaire, and all their attacks have been for nothing, and that the Church will keep on existing and teaching its faith and the people will keep believing in it. And maybe some will realize that their energy spent on attacking the Church is nothing new, and their attacks are nothing more than a variation of the same attacks that the Church has withstood before. And then when the next philosophical error rears its head, the Church will confront that too and will withstand it also.

Of course, it'd be better if this ridiculious exercise were avoided. But if you MUST attack the Church, go on and DO IT. Hell, at least the Romans and the English and the French were honest about it. They knew what they were doing.
6.18.2008 12:10pm
Oren:
s/earlier comment/earlier comment/ my previous
6.18.2008 12:10pm
AnonLawStudent:

[D]eclining to perform a service available to the pubilc to someone who is gay is flat out discrimination. And you don't have that right.

Now you're just proving that you have no idea what you are talking about. Although some states have passed such laws, the federal government has not. This is a legal blog, try arguing the law, not what you *think* the law is.
6.18.2008 12:14pm
MPP (mail):
It never ceases to amaze me how religious" people so grossly misapprehend their own religious texts to elevate being anti-homosexuality as God's top priority. If you read both Jewish and Christian texts, you will see that homosexuality is such a minor part (arguably no part at all, but at the most, a very minor part). Yet certain members of these groups have made it their number one issue.

I think the truth is that the anti-gay sentiment comes from some place other than the religious texts. These people--already prone to anti-gay sentiment--use these texts to substantiate their prejudice.

It's clear that if someone was raised in isolation, with no cultural influences, and was given the Bible to read, when later asked what are the top 50 worse things you could do to offend God as per the Bible, homosexuality would scarcely make the list. Why aren't there crusades against the real issues here?
6.18.2008 12:15pm
AngelSong (mail):

and the Church will still exist, has it has, unchanged

Laughable doesn't even begin to describe this statement. Clearly you have absolutely no understanding whatsoever of church history, theology, Biblical scholarship, or any other aspect of Christianity and Christian practices.
6.18.2008 12:16pm
DangerMouse:
Clearly you have absolutely no understanding whatsoever of church history, theology, Biblical scholarship, or any other aspect of Christianity and Christian practices.

Well, that's a convincing argument. Of course the Church has changed in some ways. It's dogma, however, hasn't really changed at all. Its practices have altered slightly, but the teachings of the Church are the same now as they were 2000 years ago. And the mass that is said by Catholics now is basically the same type of worship that existed in the catacombs of Rome 2000 years ago, if the letters of the Bishops are any indication. Maybe you think that saying mass in a different language means that the entire dogma of Christianity is different?
6.18.2008 12:20pm
Mahoney (mail):
AnonLawStudent:

Why not try being less pompous in your posts? Just make your points without the gratuitous insults. The insults distract from and therefore weaken your arguments. As a practicing lawyer, I can tell you, it will get you a lot farther in life.
6.18.2008 12:21pm
ejo:
it would seem that gm proponents should have to come up with a net benefit to society for allowing such marriages, not vice versa. it's their orientation and they are the ones proposing changing millenia of tradition. one can easily argue it waters down an already ailing vital institution (for the propagation of society, something not of much significance to homosexuality, I suppose, given biology). one can argue the slippery slope, with recognition of gay marriage leading to the recognition of any other random grouping of folks as a marriage. no reason exists why any random coupling or tripling of folks of any sex is not a "marriage" if the sham of gay marriage is recognized as a constitutional right. finally, if sexuality is a fundamental right, why limit ourselves to just homosexuals? pedophiles have their own unique sexuality, as do all sorts of other -iles-shouldn't traditionalists be forced to recognize the good in all of them, by court order if necessary.
6.18.2008 12:22pm
JosephSlater (mail):
The problem with the original line of thought that "gay marriage leads to all these Free Exercise issues" was mentioned way at the beginning of the comments, and hasn't been dealt with much since (instead, we've been rehashing pro- and anti- gay marriage arguments).

As was noted way upthread, the gay *marriage* issue isn't what caused the list of allegedly troubling cases (I'm not saying here whether I think they are troubling or not). Rather, it's mostly anti-discrimination laws in employment and public accomodation.

This fact takes away one argument from the folks opposing the effect of gay rights: that the laws are illegitimate because they come from courts (reasoning badly) as opposed to legislatures. In fact, employment discrimination laws and public accomodations laws that generally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are quite common and, as far as I know, were pretty much all passed by democratically-elected legislatures.

Now, one can take the position Deoxy takes -- that all anti-discrimination laws (Title VII, etc.) are wrong. I disagree, but that's a principled position that addresses the actual issue.

Or, one could personally support Title VII and similar laws, but not support extending those protections to gays and lesbians. That's fine, but that position has been losing, increasingly, in the democratic process. Also, recall that we've been through decades of "what if my religious beliefs interfere with employing/serving blacks, women, etc.," and there is a bunch of law on who can claim exemptions (religious institutions, in various ways) and who can't (average businesses).

Bottom line: it's not gay marriage that is pushing the issues that the post actually identifies, nor is it the opinions of judicial "elites." Rather, it is that huge swaths of the country have enacted, entirely democratically, anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation. Nothing "fascist" about that, unless you think Title VII is fascist. Frankly, the hysteria crying "fascism" really just shows frustration with the fact that side opposed to civil rights laws protecting gays and lesbians is clearly losing and will continue to lose.
6.18.2008 12:23pm
Doc W (mail):
From Elliot Reed: "By default, family disputes should be governed by family law principles, not contract principles. And people who really want their relationships governed by detailed written contracts rather than the law of marriage are free to not get married." ..."I think it's crazy to require people who want to marry to hire attorneys..."

Why should government be making all the decisions? Why shouldn't people govern their own relationships? Why must marriage be a political battleground? Let people associate non-coercively, let them enter into agreements and let government enforce agreements. People aren't generally going to have to hire lawyers to hammer out contracts--there's no reason why they wouldn't be able to choose from various standard agreements. Churches would draw them up for their followers, gay rights organizations for theirs, etc. Pre-nuptual agreements are well recognized as it is.
6.18.2008 12:24pm
JosephSlater (mail):
AnonLawStudent:

State laws don't count as laws?
6.18.2008 12:24pm
Chris the Younger:
Why is this an attack specifically on Christians again? Are gay people trying to get married inside of churches that don't want them? Are police officers forcing priests at gunpoint to marry two gay men?

All of the ceremonies I've heard of/seen on the news have been civil ceremonies, either in the County Clerk's office or on other neutral ground, similar to how many other marriages are conducted. With either civil servants or clergy that don't have a gun pointed at their head doing the ceremonies. I'd imagine a priest with a gun to his head refusing to perform a marriage rite would somehow make the evening news.

I'm not seeing the explicit tie-in here. With the noted exception of the clergy involved, non-religious ceremonies. Just like you can get in Vegas right now.
6.18.2008 12:26pm
MPP (mail):
DangerMouse:

The church-as-victim model that you are adopting is a protestant affect unknown to Catholic dogma or canon. As a former confirmation teacher, I can say that your overly simplistic view of gay rights as somehow equal to (acutally, you imply, worse than) attacks on the Church by those other groups is heavily flawed.

In any event, the Catholic Church strongly recommends against discrimination against gay people, regardless of its position on same-sex marriage. The American brand of Catholicism has often fallen victim to the "hate-the-sin" and "pretend-to-love-the-sinner" model of protestantism. This model has no place in the compassionate teachings of the Church.
6.18.2008 12:30pm
Oren:
And the mass that is said by Catholics now is basically the same type of worship that existed in the catacombs of Rome 2000 years ago
Clearly the Catholic mass could not predate the death of Christ (~30 AD). Christianity wasn't accepted in Rome until much later than that anyway.
6.18.2008 12:31pm
Student:

Why is this an attack specifically on Christians again? Are gay people trying to get married inside of churches that don't want them? Are police officers forcing priests at gunpoint to marry two gay men?


I think people are talking about the half dozen examples noted in the post itself, and making the assumption that if you can force someone to photograph a gay wedding ceremony who would rather not we aren't terribly far from forcing someone to perform a gay wedding ceremony who would rather not. Why is so much of the vitriol and reaction directed to christians rather than other religious groups? I'm not sure, but my current theory is that if you replace "christian" with "jew" in some of these posts you'd be accused of being anti-semetic, but if you talk about "christians" you're good to go. I'm honestly not sure though.
6.18.2008 12:34pm
Guest363:
Andrew Koppelman's article, "You Can't Hurry Love," 72 Brook. L. Rev. 125 (2006), "explains why religious exemptions are a sensible way to address America's cultural division over the moral status of homosexuality" from the pro-gay rights perspective. I'd advise posters from both sides of this issue to read it, as it is one of the more level-headed approaches out there.
6.18.2008 12:34pm
r78:
Didn't some of the faithful used to also argue that discrimination against people with darker colored skin had a biblical basis? Something about the mark of Cain or something?
6.18.2008 12:36pm
DangerMouse:
The church-as-victim model that you are adopting is a protestant affect unknown to Catholic dogma or canon.

I have no idea what you're talking about. I never even suggested that dogma has anything to do with the Church being a victim of history. The fact is, the Church is triumphant and its repression as a historical fact throughout the ages only verifies its continued success.

I can say that your overly simplistic view of gay rights as somehow equal to (acutally, you imply, worse than) attacks on the Church by those other groups is heavily flawed.

Depends on which groups you're talking about. Some were worse than others. In any event, I don't think I'm out of line by suggesting it is part of the challenge of our age. It's not for nothing that JP2 wrote the Theology of the Body.

In any event, the Catholic Church strongly recommends against discrimination against gay people, regardless of its position on same-sex marriage. The American brand of Catholicism has often fallen victim to the "hate-the-sin" and "pretend-to-love-the-sinner" model of protestantism. This model has no place in the compassionate teachings of the Church.

The Catholic Church teaches brotherly love towards homosexuals. It says they're to be treated fairly and with kindness as any other person should be treated. Are you implying, however, that homosexuality is not something condemned by the Church. It is, unreservedly. Homosexuals are priests and ministers and believers in the Church. But homosexuality is a sin and always will be.
6.18.2008 12:36pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
"impossible" to demonstrate: that recognizing gay marriage causes some tangible harm.

Dale, I take it that the scare quotes mean that you're not sure its impossible to establish tangible harm.

Let me count the ways...

1) Demotion of Husbands, Wives, Fathers, and Mothers to Partner A, Partner B, Parent A, and Parent B. (Are we male oppressors guaranteed the A label -- at least in hetero partnerships?) A demotion in rank is a tangible harm and gives rise to a legal claim. It also completely transforms human society by abolishing those status names but that may not be tangible harm.

2) Children in government owned and influenced school systems will be taught that whether you marry or not is irrelevant and that the sex of who you marry is irrelevant and that your sex is irrelevant (and that you must not use 'sex' in sentences like that you use use 'gender'.) Some of this has been happening anyway but it will accelerate.

3) This state-generated "gender dysphoria" will cause tangible damage to children and adults.

4) SSM will increase the number of intentionally fatherless or motherless children. A tangible harm except for those who believe that neither fathers nor mothers are significant factors in the development of children. See the confusion induced by 16 years as the child of lesbians: Growing Up With Mom and Mom "It took me a lot of struggle to realize that I really was attracted to men, yet now it is really hard for me to deal with men as human beings, let alone sexually." There was more along those lines -- Ry was intrigued but "repulsed" by heterosexual relations, afraid of the "sexist soul-losing domain of oppression." Her parting thought: "I cannot understand or relate to men because I am so immersed in gay culture and unfamiliar with what it is to have a healthy straight relationship."

5) SSM increases gay acceptance. Gay acceptance increases gays. 75% of gays are left wingers (based on the '04 vote for John Forbes Kerry). Left wingers cause tangible harm to me and to society. Aside from the obvious tax and regulatory damage; left wingers are more likely to commit murder, suicide, and other crimes and are more likely to take government jobs and go on the dole than right wingers.

6) SSM represents a claim that same-sex relationships are equivalent to opposite-sex relationships. That gay marriage=straight marriage. Since the term marriage refers to the melding of diverse characteristics (as in the marriage of different wine grapes), SSM can't be the same as OSM. The spread of loose definitions corrupts both language and law. Corruption of language and law causes tangible harm. It should be possible to maintain the distinction between genuine and meretricious relationships.

7) State licensure represents a tangible harm because it costs money and is a form of state regulation. Extending licensure to a previously unlicensed activity extends the harm. Had the residents of the states during the first half of the 19th century realized that the state takeover of domestic relations law would result in the marriages or men and women, they would have left dom rel with the churches where it belongs.

8) SSM will destroy the public schools as the 60% of the population that belong to religious faiths opposed to SSM withdraw their children. Oops! That's not tangible harm. BTW, try to avoid parallels between interracial and intrasex marriages. Exogamy was practiced by most human societies from time to time. Intrasex marriage was not even invented until the Reagan Administration. It's possible that not enough people will pull out to destroy the government schools but the opposition should be aware of the fact that intrasex marriage is a bit more significant for religious believers than earlier secular interventions like prayer bans and sex ed.

9) SSM, though it did not create, will increase government mandated firings for politically incorrect speech which favor only one side of the kulturkampf. Thus 20 years ago since queer marriage didn't exist I couldn't have used the term in a sentence and now I can be fired for it. Reducing employment opportunities for traditionalists is a tangible harm. It would be one thing if the government stayed out of these disputes and let us work them out for ourselves but since CRA '64 governments have been interfering in private relationships (employer-employee, buyer-seller, etc.). Just another expansion of the coercive state apparatus -- a tangible harm.

10) SSM harms libertarianism because it has caused many libertarians to advocate state licensure of a private act. They will, thus, be less able to argue against other forms of state licensure in the future. (Don't get me started on libertarian advocacy of government subsidy of scientific research or of the concept of state sovereignty.)

I've got a million of them but that's enough for now...
6.18.2008 12:38pm
DangerMouse:
Clearly the Catholic mass could not predate the death of Christ (~30 AD). Christianity wasn't accepted in Rome until much later than that anyway.

Oren,

Next time, I'll be sure to subtract 30 from 2008. Sheesh.
6.18.2008 12:38pm
Roger Zimmerman (mail):
All of these cases which do not involve state actors should be resolved in favor of the religious believers on grounds of free association. Now, I am not unaware that our courts and legislatures have cut off huge swaths of our social interactions from the private sphere. But, if a doctor cannot choose her patients, or a landlord cannot choose his tenants, we are left to battle each other over such impossible conflicts as these. A conception of "rights" which allows for some to trump others is a recipe for the eventual abolition of all rights. We must resist this conception on principle.
6.18.2008 12:38pm
Chris the Younger:
To drive back onto topic a bit...

I think that every business should have the right to discriminate on any basis. If you don't want to perform marriages for gay couples, or photograph the ceremonies, or whatever, that's fine.

I think that discriminated groups should very widely advertise who will and will not work with them.

I think that cities that have a high level of discrimination will find that they're wanting to reverse that trend. An average gay household tends to have a higher income, fewer children, and so they pay *more* in taxes and use *fewer* services because many tend to not have children to send to public schools.

I think that health insurance companies should reserve the right to ask providers if they discriminate, and either modify rate structures or refuse network membership based on that. If a provider refuses to do a procedure for non-medical reasons related to religious temperment, the insurance company should deal with it. They can, in a vanishingly small number of cases, cover it out of network and then vigorously recruit into the network doctors that don't discriminate, and then start dropping physicians who won't service their members.

I think that employers should be allowed to dismiss employees for discriminating counter to the company's policy. If my company says don't discriminate against gays, and you refuse to help them, I get to fire you. I don't care about your religion, you're not taking care of my customers. This isn't anything new. If a Jew got employment at a pork packing plant and refused to touch the pigs, he'd very likely get fired.

Local governments should behave the same way. If the government says "you will write marriage licenses for gays" and an employee refuses for religious reasons, then the employee is free to find other employment.

Pharmacists who refuse to dispense drugs they have a religious problem with should be replaced. With vending machines. 99% of all pharmacy transactions are recurring medications like birth control pills, allergy meds, and so on. A smart vending machine can do the same work with no religious problems. If pharmacists want to find themselves without a state-sanctioned monopoly, I'd suggest they all stick to their guns on religion. I'd love to have a Walgreens with a prime-time pharmacist to answer questions and a vending machine for routine stuff. I think it would lower my insurance premiums.
6.18.2008 12:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I think the truth is that the anti-gay sentiment comes from some place other than the religious texts. These people--already prone to anti-gay sentiment--use these texts to substantiate their prejudice."

I believe so. Why? Because one can be gay and be celebate. Ostensibly, even a generous reading of the bible or any other religious text speaks only to homosexual behavior. It says nothing about homosexual orientation.

Thus, even in the strictest sense, a celibate gay person should have nothing tyo fear from any Christian.

But can all these Christian claim that they are merely trying to avoid sin? The only way would be to determine wheher a gay person is actually having any gay sex. Or whether a heterosexual person is having gay sex (and yes it occurs. A lot. Just go to Criag's list sometime).

But they never seem to make this distinction. Therefore, my money is on the fact that it's purely anti-gay animous. The hetero who gets a blow job from his buddy is given a free pass - or at least he never has to worry about discrimination.
6.18.2008 12:43pm
David M (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/18/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
6.18.2008 12:50pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
One quibble. The argument is made that the gay marriage opponents are bringing up what are actually previously-decided anti-discrimination issues now that gay marriage has come into the equation. That may be technically true, but ignores a (not-contemptible) natural human reaction. People can be irritated but not galvanized for action until lines are crossed. Antidiscrimination laws often went through with assurances (ignorant, and sometimes dishonest), that it would certainly not lead to Methodists being made to entertain same-sex weddings at their facilities or Christian photographers being made to provide their services for same. You may be right on the point of law, but you also attack people's motives, and regard them as if their claim is dishonest and contemptible.

As people suspect religious folks of rationalization and impure motive whenever unattractive emotional leakage seeps out, so too do we religious people suspect that legal arguments are not entirely objective when unattractive emotional leakage seeps out from our critics. Whenever we seem obtuse and obstreperous you might keep that in mind.
6.18.2008 12:55pm
Student:


"I think the truth is that the anti-gay sentiment comes from some place other than the religious texts. These people--already prone to anti-gay sentiment--use these texts to substantiate their prejudice."

I believe so. Why? Because one can be gay and be celebate. Ostensibly, even a generous reading of the bible or any other religious text speaks only to homosexual behavior. It says nothing about homosexual orientation.

Thus, even in the strictest sense, a celibate gay person should have nothing tyo fear from any Christian.

But can all these Christian claim that they are merely trying to avoid sin? The only way would be to determine wheher a gay person is actually having any gay sex. Or whether a heterosexual person is having gay sex (and yes it occurs. A lot. Just go to Criag's list sometime).

But they never seem to make this distinction. Therefore, my money is on the fact that it's purely anti-gay animous. The hetero who gets a blow job from his buddy is given a free pass - or at least he never has to worry about discrimination.


Somebody help me understand how you can look at a few posts on Craigslist and rationally apply them to a group of people comprising several different major religions, hundreds of different sects and denominations, and tens of millions of individual people, leading to the inevitable conclusion that obviously every one of "these people" are hypocritical closet gays who are really just motivated by irrational hatred. Isn't it at least theoretically possible that some small handful of individuals is sincere in their beliefs?
6.18.2008 12:57pm
plutosdad (mail):
I don't know where in the Bible it says to refuse goods and services to people because they are gay. Not wanting to marry a couple in the Church is one thing, but to refuse to rent space to gay people is quite another.

Even the in-vitro fertilization. If the genes were some cross of two same-sex people I can see refusal, but to refuse a regular fertilization from a male donor, is that doctor also looking into the lives of his hetero clients to determine if they'll make good parents too?

Basically these people are going far beyond fighting against gay marriage and adoption and they think their religion gives them a right to treat certain people as second class.

The whole point of the parable of the Good Samaritan was this: the Samaritans and Hebrews didn't get along (much like modern times). Several Jewish people passed by a man in need, including a priest, but refused to help him. But then a Samaritan passed by and decided to help, even though he had just as much reason if not more to refuse to help.

The moral of that story is not to help others in need, but to treat everyone like your brother, no matter how you feel about them or the life they lead.
6.18.2008 1:02pm
AngelSong (mail):

I think the truth is that the anti-gay sentiment comes from some place other than the religious texts. These people--already prone to anti-gay sentiment--use these texts to substantiate their prejudice.

To some extent I think you're right, but I would also argue that even though anti-gay sentiment certainly has its roots in a much older and deeper prejudice (sexism and misogyny of course), it has become so enshrined in basic religious belief that for many it has become it has taken on its own identity free of its roots.

Moreover, homosexuality has also taken a primary role in the new and emerging American religion that is a combination of patriotism, populism, and personal piety. Even this goes deeper though. Christianity has always suffered from the difficulties associated with being a matter of BELIEF instead of action. When your entire concept of salvation by necessity involves something that is intangible and unknowable, complete certainty and assurance are impossible. But as humans, we want, no, we NEED to know for sure that we are "safe". So throughout the entire course of Christianity, we can trace a strain of what I would call "comparative" salvation.

Here's how it works. The Christian standard of living is impossible to reach. That's even a Biblical concept: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And Christians are painfully aware of how often they fall short. Again it's Biblical: I do what I don't want to do, and what I want to do, I don't do (Paul paraphrased of course). But what if I give my life for Christ? If I'm torn apart by lions for the sake of the Gospel, well, even if I told lies, or gossiped, or was greedy, or whatever other undesirable behaviors I may have committed, how could God turn me away? And as long as there is a big threat, as long as the Gospel means a quantifiable decision and risk, there can be a (perhaps false) sense of security.

But what happens when there are no more lions? What happens when Christianity becomes the dominant religion? There still has to be some way to prove who the "real" Christians are. And so we see the outcast heretics, which becomes particularly ugly in the witch trials. The thinking goes something like, I may have committed immoral acts myself, but I took a stand for the Gospel in repudiating some clearly "anti-Gospel" belief, person, item, etc.

And the easier it gets to be a Christian, the harder it is to "prove" oneself. Look at just some of the huge issues of the day. A new movie becomes the target of sentiment that might be construed as "anti-Christian" -- and EVERYONE goes to support it. A giant monument gets removed from a court room -- and it is carried around the country so crowds can worship it. Christian prayer is disallowed at public school events -- and thousands of high school students demand the right to pray.

Why? Because Christianity THRIVES on persecution. Maybe we don't stop to give money to the homeless man -- but we watched The Passion. Maybe we gossip about the next door neighbor -- but we vociferously support the Ten Commandments in courtrooms. Here's a thought -- how about if instead of saying the Lord's Prayer in unison at a football game during the "Moment of Silence", why don't we all volunteer at the local shelter? Or have a fundraiser for a local charity? Or maybe spend five minutes building each other up instead of tearing each other down? Why not? Because this is more definite, requires less sacrifice, and better yet, provides a sense of standing up to persecution.

And of course, the so-called "attack" on Christian values posed by homosexuality plays right into this. The more that Christians can convince themselves that they are being "persecuted" by some lobby or agenda, the easier it is to "take a stand for Jesus" in ways that require minimum sacrifice or actual meaningful change of behavior.
6.18.2008 1:05pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Chris the Younger and Roger Zimmerman:

While it is a principled position to oppose all anti-discrimination laws of all kinds, do you really think there is any chance that this position will prove successful in the democratic (or legal) process in the U.S.? The past couple of decades has seen the expansion of anti-discrimination laws. In the area I know best, employment, in addition to Title VII, we've seen the ADA, the ADEA, the FMLA (arguably in part an anti-discrimination measure), a host of state and local laws extending coverage to gays and lesbians. These measures have widespread support among the populace, won't be overturned by statute, and will almost certainly not be held unconstitutional even if McCain is elected and replaces Stevens and Ginsburg with hard-line conservativees.

The better tack, I would think, would be to consider how previous anti-discrimination laws have dealt with religious objections. The Catholic Church, as a church, is basically exempted from Title VII, for example; while Joe's Widgets, even if run by a believing Catholic, is not exempt for that reason. I would anticipate similar rules for anti-discrimination laws protecting gays/lesbians.
6.18.2008 1:09pm
Student:

I don't know where in the Bible it says to refuse goods and services to people because they are gay. Not wanting to marry a couple in the Church is one thing, but to refuse to rent space to gay people is quite another.


I don't know where in the Bible it says not to rent space to drug dealers, prostitutes, nude dancers, gamblers, or establishments that sell alcohol either, but I don't think you'll have to look too far to find someone declining to do so on religious grounds. I guess it would be fair to conclude that someone who did so was simply a hypocritical bigot in those cases as well.
6.18.2008 1:10pm
plutosdad (mail):
I have yet to see a case whereby any Christian has evicted a tenant or fire an employee because they are having sex outside of marriage, are divorced

Wheaton College just .. not fired but pressured into quitting.. a professor for getting divorced. Though technically it wasn't because he got divorced but because he refused to divulge details of the divorce to the College, so they could not judge whether the divorce was for acceptable reasons. The professor will be leaving next year.

chicago tribune link
6.18.2008 1:15pm
AngelSong (mail):

Well, that's a convincing argument. Of course the Church has changed in some ways. It's dogma, however, hasn't really changed at all. Its practices have altered slightly, but the teachings of the Church are the same now as they were 2000 years ago. And the mass that is said by Catholics now is basically the same type of worship that existed in the catacombs of Rome 2000 years ago, if the letters of the Bishops are any indication. Maybe you think that saying mass in a different language means that the entire dogma of Christianity is different?

I gather that when you say Church you are referring only to the Catholic church. Let's leave aside for a moment the great irony of a statement like

It's dogma, however, hasn't really changed at all. Its practices have altered slightly, but the teachings of the Church are the same now as they were 2000 years ago.

when referring to an institution that has experienced MASSIVE splits over doctrine (Greek Orthodoxy and Protestantism perhaps???) Even if we only consider Roman Catholicism, your statement is still so completely inaccurate and ill-informed as to be ridiculous. Are you SERIOUSLY trying to suggest that there are no appreciable differences from Paul to Origen to Gregory to Aquinas to Anselm to Torquemada?
6.18.2008 1:19pm
AngelSong (mail):
whoops, left off "to today?"
6.18.2008 1:20pm
Aultimer:

PaulTX :

The whole aim of politics -- all politics, every kind of politics -- is to allow people to "force their agenda upon the country." This is what every ideology, party and interest group aspires to do. To that end, politics enables us to organize our animosities, as George Will has often observed, and the law codifies these animosities.

That's either the best unintended irony or the most subtle use of irony ever on VC - a guy named Paul from Texas claiming that all politics is about reducing liberty.
6.18.2008 1:21pm
plutosdad (mail):
"Student"
Some of your examples are people involved in criminal activity, and I might worry about renting an apartment to a drug dealer since he might deal drugs out of the apartment.

But for the others, no, I don't think Jesus would approve of refusing to provide goods and services to an exotic dancer or gambler. Look at his life: Mary Magdaline was a close friend and accompanied him, or if you like many don't think she is the same as the prostitute mentioned that the religious leaders brought before him, some of his own apostles had done wrong including Matthew.

If people think Jesus himself violated their ethics, that right there is proof they are not following Christianity, since Christianity by definition is the teachings of Christ.
6.18.2008 1:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

It never ceases to amaze me how religious" people so grossly misapprehend their own religious texts to elevate being anti-homosexuality as God's top priority.
It isn't. But homosexuals, by insisting that they have a right to impose their beliefs on others, have made their fascism a top priority.
6.18.2008 1:23pm
ejo:
we know that in Canada this shift to homosexual rights trumping, basically, everything has flowered in full. why is it that these law professors seem to imagine such a pattern in the US in simply impossible. EV expressed amazement at the slippery slope which occurred in Canada-I find it amazing one could be shocked.
6.18.2008 1:23pm
Jamesaust (mail):
Yes, New Mexico is a no-gay-marriage state....In what universe is discriminating against non-state-sanctioned marriages a violation against the state anti-sexual-orientation statute...

Dale's analysis is spot-on: the discrimination is against gays in general, marriage is merely the forum for the discrimination.

Perhaps it is news to some but laws like that cited in New Mexico MERELY make the State not recognize these marriages for legal purposes. The marriage is not "illegal" (which I guess some take to mean criminal) nor is the State nor individuals charged to or free to take action to prevent or hinder such marriages. Thus, a photographer refusing to offer public services to all the public cannot hide behind a (made up) shield that the State has a policy of undermining same-sex marriage; the State is merely agnostic on the topic. The photographer is free (just like the State) to "not recognize" the same-sex marriage while he/she takes the photographs for the paying public.

Despite Dale's claims, however, it isn't all all clear that religious objection to "sin" attached to one or both of the individual is relevant. I am unaware of any photographers for example who actively seek out or passively would consider it objectionable to find that a couple seeking photographs contained a murder, liar, divorcee or thief, so why the hooplah about sex? Seriously, the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, so are Catholic photographers required by the Church (or religious beliefs) to refuse to photograph remarriages? Strange how its only gays who are required to meet publicly private moral standards.
6.18.2008 1:26pm
plutosdad (mail):
I guess my point is this: as Christians it is certainly within the bounds of our religion for us (or most of us) to believe homosexuality is wrong, and to not want gay people to get married.

But remember Jesus himself was often criticized by the religious leaders of the day for associating with "prostitutes", "drunkards" and "sinners"

But when we refuse to even photograph them, or rent space to them, we are acting like the Pharisees and Sagisees, and not acting like Jesus.
6.18.2008 1:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
Student: "Somebody help me understand how you can look at a few posts on Craigslist and rationally apply them to a group of people comprising several different major religions, hundreds of different sects and denominations, and tens of millions of individual people, leading to the inevitable conclusion that obviously every one of "these people" are hypocritical closet gays who are really just motivated by irrational hatred."

Oh please. Go ahead and read my post again. I was merely making the point that just because one is gay doesn't necessarily mean one is having gay sex. And just because a person says he is hetero does not necessarily mean he is either. And further, there are plenty of gay people who can easily 'pass' as hetero. Unless you hire a private investigator, you really don't know what the sexual proclivities of a person are unless they tell you and you assume they are telling the truth.

By discrminating against gay people, you are merely encouraging them to remain hidden. Which, of course, is a prime goal of some people, such as Clayton. But if you are going to talk about honesty, then perhaps the anti-gays should at least be as honest as he is and state that they just want gays to go back into the closet and remain there.
6.18.2008 1:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I don't know where in the Bible it says to refuse goods and services to people because they are gay.
It seems like a pretty good extrapolation from Romans chapter 1:

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Paul writes that "such things deserve death" but we shouldn't refuse to rent them an apartment? Oh yeah, I believe that!
6.18.2008 1:33pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I am unaware of any photographers for example who actively seek out or passively would consider it objectionable to find that a couple seeking photographs contained a murder, liar, divorcee or thief, so why the hooplah about sex?
Because a same-sex wedding ceremony is telling the photographer, "We're doing something that you don't approve of." I'm sure that if you called up Elaine Huguenin and said, "Hey, me and some of my fellow convicted rapists were going to have a party. Could you come and take some pictures of us having fun?" it wouldn't have gone over well.
6.18.2008 1:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

By discrminating against gay people, you are merely encouraging them to remain hidden. Which, of course, is a prime goal of some people, such as Clayton. But if you are going to talk about honesty, then perhaps the anti-gays should at least be as honest as he is and state that they just want gays to go back into the closet and remain there.
Hey, be honest about your homosexuality. But then don't complain that everyone doesn't run out and pat you on the back for it. And that's what your fascist attempt to suppress all differing opinions is all about--trying to force everyone to shut up and lie about approving of your homosexuality.
6.18.2008 1:38pm
AngelSong (mail):

Paul writes that "such things deserve death" but we shouldn't refuse to rent them an apartment? Oh yeah, I believe that!

Talk about missing the point! Let's leave aside the fact that your English translation of the text disguises the ambiguities and context inherent in the Greek language used here. I do have a full-length study of that issue available on my website if anyone is interested. But the great irony is that you completely overlook that inconvenient part about

envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless

to fixate on the one little shred that could be construed to address certain homosexual behavior. Do you really think that Christians should refuse to rent to gossips?
6.18.2008 1:39pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I believe so. Why? Because one can be gay and be celebate. Ostensibly, even a generous reading of the bible or any other religious text speaks only to homosexual behavior. It says nothing about homosexual orientation.
That's not even a generous reading, but the only reading. A person with a homosexual orientation who is celibate has a difficult situation, but they would be welcome in any church that I have ever attended. (As is the unmarried heterosexual who is celibate.)

The fact is that your efforts aren't to protect homosexual orientation, but to destroy any institution or person who refuses to play the little game of pretending that homosexuality is perfectly okay.
6.18.2008 1:44pm
Aultimer:


Cramer [quotes Romans 1] Paul writes that "such things deserve death" but we shouldn't refuse to rent them an apartment?


You forgot to turn the page - Romans 2 answers that:


Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
6.18.2008 1:44pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
It isn't. But homosexuals, by insisting that they have a right to impose their beliefs on others, have made their fascism a top priority.

Clayton the ideas that law-abiding citizens should be treated equitably by government, particularly in the realm of our civil rights, and that we as citizens have a civil obligation to tolerate other law-abiding citizens regardless of if they are doing some lawful act that we ourselves would not do should be a commonly held American beliefs, not 'their beliefs'.

I mean are people really saying I should be able to discriminate against the superstitious merely because they are superstitious? That I should be able to ignore their marriages because it I believe its a detriment to society to encourage their breeding? Is our society really supposed to be this 'free' or are we supposed to be allowing our fellow citizens they widest breadth possible in their pursuit of happiness just as we expect from them?
6.18.2008 1:44pm
Randy R. (mail):
AGreed, Bob. You can't have a free society when some people are subject to one set of laws, and another group is subject to another.

What this all boils down is that the anti-gay crowd wants the right to discriminate against gays, but they don't want anyone to discriminate -- or question -- themselves. And they call that religious liberty.

You want a slippery slope? i'll give you one. Once a religion is allowed to discriminate against gays, then the next thing is that they will discriminate against people who want condoms.

Think I'm joking? The Washington Post just ran an article in yesterday's paper about drug stores opening up that refuse to fill prescriptions they don't like, and they even refuse to sell condoms.

Make no mistake about it -- the religionists are out to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and they want to make life as miserable and difficult for anyone who doesn't like it.

Please -- I would love it for someone here to not only defend these drug stores, but claim that this harbors no intention of trying to remake society into a narrow Christianist one, and one that majority of Americans don't want.
6.18.2008 1:53pm
Chris the Younger:

The better tack, I would think, would be to consider how previous anti-discrimination laws have dealt with religious objections. The Catholic Church, as a church, is basically exempted from Title VII, for example; while Joe's Widgets, even if run by a believing Catholic, is not exempt for that reason. I would anticipate similar rules for anti-discrimination laws protecting gays/lesbians.

Oh, I don't think my position is in any way shape or form practical, it's just what I think should happen. I think that there's too much law enforcement and bureaucracy built up to enforce those laws for them to ever go away. Bureaucrats are the ulitimate lobbyists, and any attempt to remove the existing discrimination laws from the books will fail, simply because someone will lose the paperwork. There is too much money and professional interest in keeping the laws going, despite whether they are useful, necessary, or ethical.

Why yes, I am that cynical.

The way I think it'll play out is what you're suggesting: a framework of laws, broadly written, to make sure that bureaucrats will be able to expand their fiefdoms to include whole new areas of regulation. Oh, and as a side effect, it will get anti-discrimination laws passed, but only after a tremendous amount of persecution and possible loss of life by religious extremists doing what they've done in the past: lynchings, violence, intimidation, and so on.

I wasn't alive during the civil rights movement in the 60's, but I have studied it. And I don't think we've learned a darn thing in the meantime to prevent the circumstances from arising again. The same level of hate still exists in our society, now it's just got a new focus.
6.18.2008 1:54pm
Brian Mac:
For someone being silenced, Clayton sure makes a lot of noise.
6.18.2008 1:55pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Michael B:

The bad argumentation, bad logic, bad history and bad anthropology in that Dennis Prager article haven't gotten any better since the last three times you linked to it. It's still total bullhockey.
6.18.2008 2:03pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Chris the Younger:

I'll quibble on your first point. It's not really bureaucrats and their self-interest that is the primary factor keeping anti-discrimination laws in place. In fact, these laws are supported by an overwhelming majority in this (and other countries). Sure, a significant number of folks oppose affirmative action. But the basic principle that average private employers and restaurants shouldn't be able to refuse to hire or serve a customer because that customer is, e.g., black is something that is now a sincerely held value of most Americans.

Again, of course, you and others can disagree with the whole notion in a principled way, and there's nothing wrong with being in the minority on an issue, but you are in a minority on this one not because of the evil or self-interested machinations of bureaucrats.
6.18.2008 2:04pm
Ken Arromdee:
I don't think Jesus would approve of refusing to provide goods and services to an exotic dancer or gambler. Look at his life: Mary Magdaline was a close friend and accompanied him

Jesus also said "Go and sin no more" to Mary Magdalene. He accepted repentant sinners. He didn't hold their past actions against them, but he demanded that they not continue to perform those actions. Mary Magdalene didn't continue to be a prostitute when she accompanied him.

Unless you're suggesting that gays should repent of their homosexuality and avoid future homosexual activity, Mary Magdalene, and all the other examples of Jesus forgiving sinners, aren't relevant.
6.18.2008 2:07pm
RBG (mail):
Randy R.,

So you're attempting to argue that a privately owned establishment cannot even decide what goods it will sell, and that a decision by such an establishment not to sell certain goods is the sign of impending theocracy? Leaving aside the more complicated question of prescription medication, why should the government have the right to dictate what goods a private retail establishment carries? Do I now get to complain that Whole Foods' refusal to sell Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is part of a conspiracy by hippies to subject all Americans to their crusade against processed foods? Can I interpret the local GLBT bookstore's failure to stock John Paul II's Theology of the Body as part of the what Clayton describes as a gay-rights movement's fascist campaign to silence the speech of traditionalist Christians? I mean, really, man, get a grip - and a tin-foil hat while you're at it. I mean, I know what it's like not to be able to get hold of a condom just at the moment one's required, but I never imagined that it rose to the level of a violation of my constitutional rights....
6.18.2008 2:07pm
DangerMouse:
Think I'm joking? The Washington Post just ran an article in yesterday's paper about drug stores opening up that refuse to fill prescriptions they don't like, and they even refuse to sell condoms.

Make no mistake about it -- the religionists are out to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and they want to make life as miserable and difficult for anyone who doesn't like it.

Please -- I would love it for someone here to not only defend these drug stores, but claim that this harbors no intention of trying to remake society into a narrow Christianist one, and one that majority of Americans don't want.


Randy, what's wrong with a private business not selling a certain product? Catholics do not believe in contraception. So Joe Catholic starts a store, and doesn't sell condoms. I don't see any difference if it's a general store or a drug store. The guy doesn't want to sell condoms.

You view that as a punishment? What planet are you living on where a man who opens and operates a store should be forced to sell products that violate his religious beliefs? Not only do you call it a punishment that the Catholic is inflicting, but you also say it's an attempt to remake society into a "Christianist" one? Dude, he doesn't want to be forced to sell things that violate his conscience. If Joe Catholic opened up a medical facility, would you force him to perform an abortion? If he was a a priest, would you force him to perform a gay marriage?

Are you opposed to the marketplace of ideas? If you think a guy refusing to sell things that violate his conscience is "punishment" and an attempt to remake society, what about the guy on the street not just refusing to sell condoms, but preaching that condom use is wrong? What happens to THAT guy? Is he "punishing" people also?

The day that the government forces a Catholic owner of a store to sell condoms, or to force a Catholic doctor to perform an abortion, or to force a Catholic priest to marry gays, is the day that freedom dies in America, and the Church goes underground again.

That you view these individaul acts of conscience as "punishment" is so derranged and so warped that I have to wonder if you have any idea of the concept of individual freedoms at all.
6.18.2008 2:10pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Clayton Cramer:
Quoting:

"The Third Circuit just held that it was discrimination, when an extremely religious Christian employer terminated a woman for having an abortion."

Ha! Well, then, I'm sure people are outraged over this intrusion on religious liberty...

From this description, yes, I'm outraged.


Really? From the brevity of the description and the absence of a link, I would tend to withhold any outrage until I had a fuller description of the case.
6.18.2008 2:11pm
Ken Arromdee:
Please -- I would love it for someone here to not only defend these drug stores, but claim that this harbors no intention of trying to remake society into a narrow Christianist one, and one that majority of Americans don't want.

I'll defend them. They should be able to sell what they want.

As for your second point, I don't believe that restaurants which refuse to sell dishes containing meat are trying to remake society into vegetarians.
6.18.2008 2:11pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Dale Carpenter
RE: Am I Getting This Right?

"What these examples do not show, however, is that gay marriage is "repressing" or "obliterating" religious rights or that "a storm is coming" because gay couples are marrying." -- Dale Carpenter

Are you saying there is no such thing as 'Freedom of Association'? Are you declaring The Bill of Rights null and void?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Bill of Rights, void where prohibited by law.]
6.18.2008 2:12pm
Randy R. (mail):
" But homosexuals, by insisting that they have a right to impose their beliefs on others, have made their fascism a top priority."

I know I'm biased. Being gay, it's hard NOT to be. But it always astounds me when when we ask to be treated the same way as everyone else, and have the same rights as everyone else, THAT is considered fascism!

You can marry -- I want the same right. You are judged on your job primarily or solely based on your ability to do your job -- I want the same right. You can serve in the military -- I want the same right. You want to be able to kiss your loved one in public without being beated up -- I want the same right.

Some of these rights are legal ones, like the right to a job or to marry. Some are more of a societal issue, like kissing in public. Are those our goals? Of course.

But to claim that simply achieving these goals amounts to facism is just off the mark. Sure, there are boneheaded judges and litigants, and sometimes bad decisions. But the fact is that there are millions of gay people in the US, and many of them are covered by such laws, and the anti-gay crowd has only come up with a handful -- less than five -- court cases that might overstep their bounds. That amazingly low, and it means that few people are really burdened by these laws.

Okay, I even concede the that NM case of the photographer was boneheaded. But out of all the millions of transactions that occur each year, you can only come up with a couple that are wrong? Seems to me, those are pretty darn good averages.
6.18.2008 2:13pm
DangerMouse:
I would love it for someone here to not only defend these drug stores, but claim that this harbors no intention of trying to remake society into a narrow Christianist one, and one that majority of Americans don't want.

Further to this point of criticism by Randy - WHAT is wrong with attempting to remake society into a Christian one? Is missionary activity now to be illegal? What's so bad about trying to spread one's values? Isn't that EXACTLY what the gay community is doing, trying to remake society so that THEIR values are accepted instead of traditional Christian values?

Honestly, I don't get Randy's complaint at all. Ooh! A scary guy refuses to sell condoms, and is a member of a conspiracy trying to remake society into a Christian one! Get him! As opposed to homosexuals who sue photographers, they're not trying to remake society at all. Oh no.

There is such a thing as the marketplace of ideas, Randy. What is wrong with that? Your complaint seems to suggest that any attempt by Christians to proclaim their values to the masses is to be supressed. You seem to want to shut down the marketplace of ideas and have the government enforce YOUR side as the winner.

All Clayton Cramer has to do to show the anti-freedom ideas of the homosexual movement is use you as an example.
6.18.2008 2:16pm
Ken Arromdee:
If Christians claim to have the right to not perform services to gays, wouldn't gays have that same right? Could you imagine the moral outrage if a Christian got refused service at a Starbucks because of their religious beliefs. "I'm sorry, you don't approve of my lifestlye, so you'll get no coffee..."

Seems fair enough. If Starbucks can do this and still make money, they're a private business; why not let them?
6.18.2008 2:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
Dangermouse: "Honestly, I don't get Randy's complaint at all. Ooh! A scary guy refuses to sell condoms, and is a member of a conspiracy trying to remake society into a Christian one! Get him!"

But, don't you see the irony? I was being slightly sarcastic in my story about the drug stores. Okay, fine -- the guy doesn't want to sell condoms. Hardly scary. And hardly as scary as gays wanting to marry or hold down a job.

"As opposed to homosexuals who sue photographers, they're not trying to remake society at all. Oh no."

And as I've said, I don't particularly like that case or support it. But seriously, that's the only one you can come up with? Sueing on photographer isn't going to remake society. Now, if you come up with whole classes of cases, or hundreds of them, then I might change my mind. But you are so scared of one lawsuit? Please.

"There is such a thing as the marketplace of ideas, Randy. What is wrong with that? Your complaint seems to suggest that any attempt by Christians to proclaim their values to the masses is to be supressed. You seem to want to shut down the marketplace of ideas and have the government enforce YOUR side as the winner."

Where have I said shut down the Christians? I support their right to worship, conduct their own services, or do whatever they want. But their rights stop when they try to have laws that preclude me from fully engaging in society. And my rights stop when we have laws that preclude them from doing whatever Christians like to do. Surely you agree with ALL that?

But of course you don't -- you want the right to discriminate against gays based on nothing more than some claims of religious obligation and vague notions of morality.
6.18.2008 2:30pm
AngelSong (mail):
Moral outrage or not, could Starbucks LEGALLY refuse to serve Christians? Or members of any other religious group? Maybe a good way to look at this would be to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the same way and under the same circumstances as we prohibit discrimination based on religion.
6.18.2008 2:31pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: The 'Difference'

"But it always astounds me when when we ask to be treated the same way as everyone else, and have the same rights as everyone else, THAT is considered fascism!" -- Randy R.

There's a difference between asking people to be treat you like other people and bludgeoning people to get them to treat you like other people.

The Law, in these cases—cited by Dale Carpenter—the activist judges are using the latter form. Saying, in effect, your beliefs don't matter a d---. My rules apply over God's. And, those that honor God more than judges are dropping out of supporting society going quietly 'mad'. And God bless them for their courage.

Do you have a 'moral code'? Provided by an authority greater than yourself? Do you follow it....'religiously'?

If someone were to come up to you are REQUIRE you to violate your 'religiously' held beliefs, would you do it?

Case in point....consider militant Islamists. If they got their hands on you, they'd require you to adopt Islam or die.

What would you do?

It's a similar situation with regards to these cases presented by Dale Carpenter. And kudos to those who chose the path less traveled.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. -- Joshua]
6.18.2008 2:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
The fact is that nondiscrimination laws apply to sexual orientation in many states and most major cities. They have been in place in some cases for decades. Out of all that time, you can only find three or four cases which arguably overstep the bounds.

And because of that, you want to overturn these laws? If that is the standard, then was basically have to eliminate all laws, even criminal laws, but we can always find a few cases where the outcomes were less than satisfactory.

So why focus on discimination against gays? There are plenty of cases that conservatives have held up about blacks abusing these laws, but at least they have the weight of many cases. And even then, there is simply no groundswell to get rid of these laws.
6.18.2008 2:38pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
The religious liberties argument is the strongest (or least weak) argument against applying anti-discrimination laws to gay people, but,

No, the strongest argument is that all anti-discrimination law violates the natural liberties of the American people to discriminate against anyone for any reason.

Your claim that I can be forced to deal with someone that I don't want to deal with is a horrific rights violation.

Discrimination in employment or business is identical to discrimination in friendship and marriage. If I can discriminate in one, I can (logically) discriminate in the other. This public/private distinction is utter garbage. Just because I make an offer to engage in commerce with others doesn't mean that I have suddenly become a public utility.

Luckily, between eBay, Craig's List, street corner hiring halls, and all the other electronically mediated methods of disintermediation it is easier that ever to make a living while avoiding the government restraints placed on interpersonal exchanges.
6.18.2008 2:40pm
AngelSong (mail):

If someone were to come up to you are REQUIRE you to violate your 'religiously' held beliefs, would you do it?

It depends on the nature of the supposed "violation" and how consistently your refusal is applied. Aside from the extremely isolated and much ballyhooed wedding photographer incident, how exactly are you being REQUIRED to violate your beliefs?
6.18.2008 2:42pm
DangerMouse:
I was being slightly sarcastic in my story about the drug stores. Okay, fine -- the guy doesn't want to sell condoms. Hardly scary.

He might not be "scary", but you said he was PUNISHING people. Who is he punishing by refusing to sell condoms? And what is the remedy for that presumably illegitimite punishment? Are you going to force him to sell condoms? Are you going to force Catholic doctors to perform abortions? Are you going to force Catholic priests to marry gays? You never really answered that, and in the context of your use of the term "punish" to describe private religious people refusing to do certain activities that violate their conscience, I have to believe that the answer is "yes."

Where have I said shut down the Christians? I support their right to worship, conduct their own services, or do whatever they want.

Do whatever that want, except open a store that doesn't sell condoms. Then, those darn Christians are PUNISHING people and they must be stopped. They must sell condoms!

But their rights stop when they try to have laws that preclude me from fully engaging in society.

That wasn't your complaint. You complained about a guy who didn't want to sell condoms. He was punishing people. Presumably, the state had to correct that. I think you revealed your intentions quite clearly there.

Surely you agree with ALL that?

If, as I suspect, you really want the state to force people to violate their conscience, then no, I don't agree with it. Joe Catholic must sell condoms, perform abortions, and marry gays. Right?
6.18.2008 2:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: " And, those that honor God more than judges are dropping out of supporting society going quietly 'mad'.

Uh, no, they aren't. they are demanding for the right to discriminate against gays. Please read the comments further up this thread.
6.18.2008 2:45pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
And as I've said, I don't particularly like that case or support it.

Oh Randy, the photographer made it very clear she was intentionally discriminating and shared her hateful superstitious views with the prospective clients. Sorry, I'd be pissed and sue her too. She wasn't being hired to officiate, she was being hired to take pictures of an event.

But that's what it comes down to, the greater issue is there are people here who think there shouldn't be any civil rights laws at all, that there's no such thing as a 'public accommodation' and if it doesn't matter if you are a law abiding citizen that a business owner can refuse your business for whatever reason whatsoever. How very Ayn Rand. I mean that was an interesting point of view when I was an adolescent but didn't everyone figure out that really can't work as they grew up?
6.18.2008 2:47pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Can You Say, "Self Contradiction"?

"Where have I said shut down the Christians? I support their right to worship, conduct their own services, or do whatever they want." -- Randy R. [Note: Emphasis added.]

Except in providing or withholding goods and services, i.e., condoms or use of a pavillion.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[TARGET! Cease fire....]

P.S. Reference the Catholic Charities of Boston and putting adopted children into 'arrangements' of homosexuals....

As Christ put it....

"Woe unto the person who causes one of these little ones to sin. It would be better for them if they were thrown into the sea with a millstone about their neck."

The Catholics at that organization know what is right and what is horribly wrong. And God bless them for their knowledge.
6.18.2008 2:48pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Yeah....Sure....Right....

"Uh, no, they aren't. they are demanding for the right to discriminate against gays. Please read the comments further up this thread." -- Randy R.

Tell that to Catholic Charities of Boston.

You're either (1) suffering from short term memory loss or (2) something far, far worse.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Fib, n., A lie that has not cut it's teeth yet.]
6.18.2008 2:52pm
Brett:
I mean that was an interesting point of view when I was an adolescent but didn't everyone figure out that really can't work as they grew up?


Since most of the "evidence" for the "private property rights really can't work in the real world" proposition amounts to assertions from self-interested cranks like yourself, no.
6.18.2008 3:00pm
AngelSong (mail):
RE: Catholic Charities of Boston

Do you think they should legally be able to refuse to place children in a Jewish or Muslim home?
6.18.2008 3:01pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Tell that to Catholic Charities of Boston.

Guess I am missing your point - CCoB WERE demanding a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation, they were told they couldn't and they did the right thing and got out of the business. Just like an Ayran Nation child placement service would have to.

if your chosen superstition demands you behave illegally in a situation probably best to avoid that situation. Of course the real best solution is to give up the superstition but this is America, people have a right to choose their own beliefs regardless of the inconveniences.
6.18.2008 3:01pm
Student:
Why don't we require Amish mechanics to repair people's cars? Or do we? Anybody aware of a case where some Amish guy has been hauled into court and ordered to change somebody's flat tire because he's in the business of servicing buggy wheels but refuses to handle modern technology? Or do we treat him respectfully and "allow" him to deal with the people and merchandise he chooses?

(leaving aside that as with all religions I'm familiar with the Amish have a number of different denominations, with widely varying beliefs on the whole technology thing; let's assume he's a "radical right-wing conservative" Amish guy)....
6.18.2008 3:02pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Since most of the "evidence" for the "private property rights really can't work in the real world" proposition amounts to assertions from self-interested cranks like yourself, no.

oooo! And ad hominem AND a strawman all in one sentence! That's a collectable! ;)
6.18.2008 3:03pm
SeaLawyer:

Clayton the ideas that law-abiding citizens should be treated equitably by government, particularly in the realm of our civil rights, and that we as citizens have a civil obligation to tolerate other law-abiding citizens regardless of if they are doing some lawful act that we ourselves would not do should be a commonly held American beliefs, not 'their beliefs'.



I hope you are against all smoking bans then.
6.18.2008 3:07pm
Brett:
Surely you agree with ALL that?


No.

Your "right" to "fully engage in society" does not entitle you to the involuntary servitude of others.
6.18.2008 3:11pm
AngelSong (mail):

Why don't we require Amish mechanics to repair people's cars?

Probably for the same reason NASA doesn't hire Jiffy Lube for the Challenger? I think there's a bit of a difference between discrimination based on the person offering the business versus based on the type of business offered.
6.18.2008 3:12pm
Brett:
oooo! And ad hominem AND a strawman all in one sentence! That's a collectable! ;)


Obviously, use of the terms "ad hominem" and "strawman" does not imply any understanding of said terms.

Also, lern 2 spel.
6.18.2008 3:13pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
I hope you are against all smoking bans then.

I think people should be able to smoke as much as they want as long as they don't make me smoke too. I am all for separate smoking areas and any other means that allows them to exercise their rights without endangering my health. Drink EtOH, ride a motorcycle on the freeway, do all sorts of crazy dangerous things because this is America, where you have a right, as my dad used to say "To do 10 stupid things before you've even had breakfast."
6.18.2008 3:14pm
nutbump (mail):
you guys talking about discrimination, so when do you think cloning is going to be legal for homosexuals? No one can discriminate homosexual couples if the want to procreate.
6.18.2008 3:14pm
SeaLawyer:

Uh, no, they aren't. they are demanding for the right to discriminate against gays. Please read the comments further up this thread.


People want the right of free association. The government should not have the right to discriminate, but I believe that people should have every right to discriminate against whoever they want for any reason.
6.18.2008 3:14pm
AngelSong (mail):

so when do you think cloning is going to be legal for homosexuals?

Probably not until it's legal for everyone else. Duh.
6.18.2008 3:15pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Brett I thought you were for personal choice - don't turn all dictionary nazi on me. ;)

Oh and since I had my neck broken I have oddly had strange 'word completions' when typing like 'they' for 'the' and 'and' for 'an'. Most get the meaning and go on with the context, but then context isn't really your concern is it?
6.18.2008 3:18pm
DangerMouse:
Your "right" to "fully engage in society" does not entitle you to the involuntary servitude of others.

In fairness to Randy, he's not the only one who wants Christians to be forced to provide services that violate their religion. Many politicians in New York want to force the numerous religious hospitals to provide abortion services, even though those hospitals are private and run by Church organizations. They also want to force schools to require abortion training for all doctors. No doubt, if you open a general store, they'd go ballistic if you refused to sell condoms.

That kind of slavery mentality, and the destruction of religious freedom, is rampant on the left. I don't think they really understand the consequences, for instance, of forcing a Catholic hospital to perform abortions. The hospital would be shut down rather than do that. Just like Catholic Charities shut down when it was forced to adopt to gays. Some, however, do understand that these social services will shut down, and are glad about it because they hate religion and especially Christianity.
6.18.2008 3:18pm
Student:


Why don't we require Amish mechanics to repair people's cars?


Probably for the same reason NASA doesn't hire Jiffy Lube for the Challenger? I think there's a bit of a difference between discrimination based on the person offering the business versus based on the type of business offered.


Really? The Amish guy is discriminating in the services he's offering based on his belief that modern technology offends his religious beliefs. How is this different from the photographer who refuses to do gay weddings because she thinks they offend her religion?
6.18.2008 3:20pm
Abomi Nation:
Clayton E Cramer wrote:


It seems like a pretty good extrapolation from Romans chapter 1:

{cut}

Paul writes that "such things deserve death" but we shouldn't refuse to rent them an apartment? Oh yeah, I believe that!


Once again someone quotes Romans Chapter 1 without getting all the way to the punchline:

"Therefore art thou inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnist thyself"

Paul isn't telling this story to condemn homosexuals. He is condemning those who condemn, among other things, homosexuals.

Further, check out Ezekiel 16:48-50 where God hisownself spells out the sins of Sodom: arrogant, overfed, unconcerned, did not help the poor and needy, were haughty and did detestable things. Somehow, God forgot to mention homosexuality in that list.
6.18.2008 3:21pm
AngelSong (mail):
There are obviously significant differences between performing abortions and providing services to gay people.
6.18.2008 3:23pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
he's not the only one who wants Christians to be forced to provide services that violate their religion.

But it doesn't violate the religion of the people buying the service. Again, are we advocating that we can treat everyone else as if they share our own personal belief system? If so that is a very radical change in how we have viewed civil liberties.
6.18.2008 3:23pm
AngelSong (mail):

Really? The Amish guy is discriminating in the services he's offering based on his belief that modern technology offends his religious beliefs. How is this different from the photographer who refuses to do gay weddings because she thinks they offend her religion?

Not at all. The Amish person's refusal is based upon the service provided. The customer who is making the request is irrelevant. The photographer's refusal is based upon the person making the request. (Please note that I am not arguing that said photographer was either right or wrong, just that the analogy is fatally flawed).
6.18.2008 3:26pm
Brett:
I don't necessarily consider it a religious freedom issue. I consider it a associative freedom/property rights issue. And, yes, I would agree that many on the left (as evidenced by Bob Van Burkleo) think associative freedom and property rights are quaint, adolescent concepts.

The attitude isn't limited to the left, by any stretch of the imagination. It's simply quite prevalent there.
6.18.2008 3:30pm
DangerMouse:
But it doesn't violate the religion of the people buying the service. Again, are we advocating that we can treat everyone else as if they share our own personal belief system? If so that is a very radical change in how we have viewed civil liberties.

So you want to force a Catholic doctor to perform an abortion? Yes, or no?
6.18.2008 3:30pm
nutbump (mail):
Discrimination is perfectly legal in this country. How come men are not allowed to enter women's bathrooms. If gay couples as a class are not allowed to procreate than it is absolutely legal to discriminate against them on the basis of procreation.
Also gay couples cannot rear children in optimal environment, accordingly it is legal to discriminate against gay couples on the ability to create optimal environment for the rearing children.
It has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Cathlic Church of Boston just have to file a counterlawsuit against gay activiststs and demand punitive damages.
6.18.2008 3:31pm
Brett:
There are obviously significant differences between performing abortions and providing services to gay people.


There are obvious differences. Those differences are not significant.
6.18.2008 3:33pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Nobody supported this idea twenty years ago, but it has become a remarkably trendy position now that gay marriage has become an issue

As a libertarian in the late '60s I (and all the libertarians I knew) certainly favored eliminating government regulation of marriage.
6.18.2008 3:42pm
Student:

Not at all. The Amish person's refusal is based upon the service provided. The customer who is making the request is irrelevant. The photographer's refusal is based upon the person making the request. (Please note that I am not arguing that said photographer was either right or wrong, just that the analogy is fatally flawed).



Thank you for a thoughtful response, but I don't think your assertion that the identity of the person making the request is what matters can possibly be correct. Suppose a heterosexual (perhaps a proud parent of the happy couple) tried to hire the photographer to shoot the gay wedding? Do you really think the photographer would then have agreed?
6.18.2008 3:46pm
AngelSong (mail):

There are obvious differences. Those differences are not significant.

I disagree. There is a fundamental distinction between discrimination based on the nature of the service and discrimination based on the nature of the person requesting said service.
6.18.2008 3:47pm
The General:
None of this nonsense would be happening if courts hadn't invented out of whole cloth a new right of homosexual couples (not individuals) to get "married." By eliminating the democratic process and usurping legislative authority to make laws governing behavior and relationships, the courts have eliminated compromise positions that can take into accounts all of the various points of view on the subject, not to mentions the people's right to govern ourselves. Now, all of these battles have to be fought out in the courts, and the decisions will be made by those least accountable and least qualified to resolve them. It wrecks democracy.
6.18.2008 3:47pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
So you want to force a Catholic doctor to perform an abortion? Yes, or no?

A different situation is it - in this instance the doctor is being forced to perform a service he considers objectionable in and of itself, an abortion.

In the example of the photographer she is only being asked to take pictures, not officiate at the service, her role is totally ancillary to the actual event itself which will occur regardless of her participation. So nless taking pictures is a 'sin' in her chosen superstition it requires her to do nothing immoral. Ditto with renting a room to a gay couple, etc.

The reply might be that she is supposed to 'shun' things her beliefs considers sinful or immoral but where does that stop? Do we as citizens have any sort of obligation to respect the rights of others to not believe as we do? Do I have the right to pretend that others share my beliefs and treat them accordingly?
6.18.2008 3:47pm
AngelSong (mail):

Suppose a heterosexual (perhaps a proud parent of the happy couple) tried to hire the photographer to shoot the gay wedding? Do you really think the photographer would then have agreed?

I would argue that in this instance, the third party is still just an agent of the customer who will be using the service. Ostensibly it's not the service itself that raised the issue but rather the people who were going to be at the altar.
6.18.2008 3:49pm
DangerMouse:
Bob,

I take it then, that you would not force a Catholic doctor to perform an abortion. Ok.

In the example of the photographer she is only being asked to take pictures, not officiate at the service, her role is totally ancillary to the actual event itself which will occur regardless of her participation

What about the Catholic general store owner? Presumably, he's not going to participate in whatever those condoms are used for, and his role is totally ancillary to the "event", so would you force him to sell the condoms?
6.18.2008 3:50pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
your entire belief system, provided to you by a hierarchy of authority your entire life that tells you to only "believe what we say is true or you will go to hell," and that the ends always justifies the means.

Looks like we need a little course in comparative religions here. I'm not sure that the above is a reasonable description of the organization or belief of any religion. Even Satanism would say: "believe what we say is true or and you will go to hell,"
6.18.2008 3:52pm
AngelSong (mail):
I think the main concern was related to the refusal to dispense prescriptions. The condoms were ancillary as Randy already noted.
6.18.2008 3:53pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
many on the left (as evidenced by Bob Van Burkleo) think associative freedom and property rights are quaint, adolescent concepts.

Gee and to think I haven't even mentioned either - amazing.

Of course she has associative rights - she can move to anywhere she wants and associate with whomever is there. But by opening a business in a community with legal standard she has announced her desire to associate with a set of customers that fits certain legal parameters. If she wants to shut down her business rather than continuing this association that's her right too but she can't pick and choose among them by qualities forbade by statute.

Have no idea what you are referring to for property rights since I've never even touched on the subject but then I''m sure you knew that.
6.18.2008 3:56pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
What about the Catholic general store owner? Presumably, he's not going to participate in whatever those condoms are used for, and his role is totally ancillary to the "event", so would you force him to sell the condoms?

Condoms? No, he would just lose the business. Wouldn't force him to carry them any more than I would force gas stations to put dispensers in the men's room.

My sole concern there is the state licensed pharmacies which act as intermediaries between a physician and patient. They are licensed to provide legal prescriptions and they knew that when they took the job. If they have a change of heart about doing their job as licensed then its probably best to change employments. I mean many people find their jobs becoming ethically troublesome - shoot my car mechanic and my realtor used to be lawyers and left because they found themselves being required to do what they considered unethical things.
6.18.2008 4:05pm
Chimaxx (mail):
The General:
None of this nonsense would be happening if courts hadn't invented out of whole cloth a new right of homosexual couples (not individuals) to get "married."...


Did you even read the post that started this comment thread? It is one thing to disagree with Professor Carpenter's post (and several people have done so with various degrees of success), but a comment like this that seems to come from a universe in which Professor Carpenter had not even written the post on which this thread hangs is simply breathtaking. Do you think that this bit of cut-and-paste outrage will convince anyone in this context?
6.18.2008 4:07pm
Student:

I would argue that in this instance, the third party is still just an agent of the customer who will be using the service. Ostensibly it's not the service itself that raised the issue but rather the people who were going to be at the altar.


Not an absurd argument, but I think many people on the other side of the aisle from you would disagree. I think they would tell you that it is the nature of the act to be performed rather than the identity of the performer that matters to them. I'm not aware of cases where drug stores refuse to sell things like aspirin or bottled water to people just because they are homosexual. And I'm having trouble thinking of an example of a case where someone refused to rent space to a homosexual who wanted to operate something like an accounting business (as opposed to refusing to rent space to the homosexual proprietor of the "Strap-on-dildo-gay-sex-orama" (sorry, I've been watching too much Jon Stewart lately), where I have no trouble imagining the, shall we say, somewhat sensitive members of our society refusing to lease space.

And if you turn the photography case around and imagine a homosexual (again, perhaps a proud parent of the happy couple) who hired the photographer to shoot a heterosexual wedding I don't think there would be a problem.

While not always entirely consistent perhaps, I think people on the other side of the argument are less hypocritical and more principled than some of the commentators here are willing to consider.
6.18.2008 4:08pm
RBG (mail):

My sole concern there is the state licensed pharmacies which act as intermediaries between a physician and patient. They are licensed to provide legal prescriptions and they knew that when they took the job. If they have a change of heart about doing their job as licensed then its probably best to change employments. I mean many people find their jobs becoming ethically troublesome - shoot my car mechanic and my realtor used to be lawyers and left because they found themselves being required to do what they considered unethical things.

True enough. And you may even be right that the honorable thing for the Catholic pharmacist to do is to surrender her license. But, my goodness, I would have hoped that on a libertarian-leaning site, of all places, we'd have commenters that could recognize the distinction between somebody forced to resign their position because their employer or clients required them to do something they believed to be unethical and somebody else forced to resign because the government imposed requirements that they believed were unethical. Sadly, it appears that distinction is becoming more and more blurred with each passing year.
6.18.2008 4:09pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Well RBG since the first civil rights legislation of any kind that blur should have been evident.

But lets see what could have been done that might have worked in the case of the photographer. Instead of the owner unleashing a condemnation of the ceremony she just said:

"I really don't feel comfortable doing your photoshoot because of my religious beliefs but there's another great company in town that I know doesn't feel the same and I'd be glad to call them and see if they could do your ceremony for you. Maybe I can even get you a bit of a discount..."

I wonder if this would even be an issue we even know about if EVERYONE'S beliefs had been shown a little bit of respect from the get go?
6.18.2008 4:20pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Hey, be honest about your homosexuality. But then don't complain that everyone doesn't run out and pat you on the back for it. And that's what your fascist attempt to suppress all differing opinions is all about--trying to force everyone to shut up and lie about approving of your homosexuality.
Nobody is being forced to do that. People are being forced not to discriminate in the provision of business services. But yes, we can, and we will, do everything possible to suppress your vicious, hateful views by power of social condemnation, just as we did with racist opinions, even those that purported to be based on religion.

Incidentally, the arguments being raised here about antidiscrimination laws could be applied, mutatis mutandis, to any and all antidiscrimination laws. If antidiscrimination laws are fascism, then America has been a fascist state since 1964.
6.18.2008 4:20pm
AngelSong (mail):

Not an absurd argument, but I think many people on the other side of the aisle from you would disagree. I think they would tell you that it is the nature of the act to be performed rather than the identity of the performer that matters to them. I'm not aware of cases where drug stores refuse to sell things like aspirin or bottled water to people just because they are homosexual. And I'm having trouble thinking of an example of a case where someone refused to rent space to a homosexual who wanted to operate something like an accounting business (as opposed to refusing to rent space to the homosexual proprietor of the "Strap-on-dildo-gay-sex-orama" (sorry, I've been watching too much Jon Stewart lately), where I have no trouble imagining the, shall we say, somewhat sensitive members of our society refusing to lease space.

I would tend to agree with you on your examples, although I also wouldn't put anything past people. But at least in the wedding photographer scenario, I am curious what aspect of the wedding ceremony you think the photographer found objectionable other than the gender of the participants.

And if you turn the photography case around and imagine a homosexual (again, perhaps a proud parent of the happy couple) who hired the photographer to shoot a heterosexual wedding I don't think there would be a problem.

I agree with you, at least as it applies to this particular scenario, but in that instance, I would argue that the proud parent is an agent of the heterosexual couple being married. Although I would note that in fact there have been instances of refusals to officiate and/or host the weddings of children of gay couples.

While not always entirely consistent perhaps, I think people on the other side of the argument are less hypocritical and more principled than some of the commentators here are willing to consider.

That depends on whether your definition of hypocrisy requires "mens rea" so to speak. In other words, some people are hypocritical in their inconsistency whether they realize it or not.
6.18.2008 4:24pm
Student:

I wonder if this would even be an issue we even know about if EVERYONE'S beliefs had been shown a little bit of respect from the get go?


But then you're in effect criminalizing a mere lack of courtesy (or at least making it civilly actionable). Hard for me to see how this is a good thing, and seems to provide fodder for your opponents, who are accusing you of being a fascist....
6.18.2008 4:26pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
But then you're in effect criminalizing a mere lack of courtesy (or at least making it civilly actionable). Hard for me to see how this is a good thing, and seems to provide fodder for your opponents, who are accusing you of being a fascist....

Don't tell me - you're a student of law! Of course that isn't 'criminalizing a mere lack of courtesy' its saying that the laws are there to hem in the edges of acceptable behavior - just because a law exists doesn't mean you can't act better than the law requires, does it? Not the first impulse of a law acolyte I know but then there's a reason used car salesmen and lawyers are considered in the same regard: one thinks anything you can get away with is ok, and the other thinks anything you can get to be considered legal is ok. But then that people disagree is why I have such a knowledgeable car mechanic and realator. ;)
6.18.2008 4:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
Too much ridiculousness to answer. It's so strange, though, that Christians (at least the so-called Christians here) like to trumpet how moral they are. in fact, isn't that the very thing you say to try to convert people?

I have no problem with a person proclaiming how much more moral he is than the other guy, and he is so willing to prove his superiority that he would deny goods ands services to people he doesn't like. Because otherwise, his "religious values" would be offended. And what could be worse than that!

Furthermore, you have to get the rest of society to prohibit rights to gays, such as gay marriage, all because you 'know' what is morally superior. Great. Except what happens when people no longer agree with you? Heck, even a lot of Christians don't believe it any longer either.

But my favorite argument remains this one from Duncan:
5) SSM increases gay acceptance. Gay acceptance increases gays. 75% of gays are left wingers (based on the '04 vote for John Forbes Kerry). Left wingers cause tangible harm to me and to society. Aside from the obvious tax and regulatory damage; left wingers are more likely to commit murder, suicide, and other crimes and are more likely to take government jobs and go on the dole than right wingers."

Talk about the gay boogeyman! This is guy is finding gays lurking everywhere, and there are more and more of them!
6.18.2008 4:42pm
Student:


Don't tell me - you're a student of law! Of course that isn't 'criminalizing a mere lack of courtesy' its saying that the laws are there to hem in the edges of acceptable behavior - just because a law exists doesn't mean you can't act better than the law requires, does it? Not the first impulse of a law acolyte I know but then there's a reason used car salesmen and lawyers are considered in the same regard: one thinks anything you can get away with is ok, and the other thinks anything you can get to be considered legal is ok. But then that people disagree is why I have such a knowledgeable car mechanic and realator. ;)


I might respond to this if I had any idea what it meant.

In the words of the immortal Scotty Briggs: "You ruther hold over me, pard. I reckon I can't call that hand. Ante and pass the buck."
6.18.2008 4:45pm
Al Maviva (mail):
Just like an Ayran Nation child placement service would have to.

A good, valid comparison. Catholic = nazi. Quite a reasonable position, really.

But yes, we can, and we will, do everything possible to suppress your vicious, hateful views by power of social condemnation, just as we did with racist opinions, even those that purported to be based on religion.

Excellent. What other thoughts and religious beliefs ought society be in the business of suppressing? I just need to know so that my personal viewpoints don't get me condemned as a bad person or otherwise suppressed.

And oh BTW, if it's about suppressing beliefs, what would be wrong with Christians seizing power and suppressing your viewpoints? Please don't tell me that oppressing gays is wrong, because if there's no more or less timeless standard of right and wrong, you really have no authority to appeal to other than power...
6.18.2008 4:45pm
Oren:

1) Demotion of Husbands, Wives, Fathers, and Mothers to Partner A, Partner B, Parent A, and Parent B.
You are free to use whatever terms you want to refer to people around you. You are not free to whine about demotion just because the government calls a shovel a spade.

2) Children in government owned and influenced school systems will be taught that whether you marry or not is irrelevant and that the sex of who you marry is irrelevant and that your sex is irrelevant (and that you must not use 'sex' in sentences like that you use use 'gender'.) Some of this has been happening anyway but it will accelerate.

3) This state-generated "gender dysphoria" will cause tangible damage to children and adults.
You are free to teach them otherwise.

4) SSM will increase the number of intentionally fatherless or motherless children.
As opposed to those that are already adopted by gays?

6) SSM represents a claim that same-sex relationships are equivalent to opposite-sex relationships. That gay marriage=straight marriage. Since the term marriage refers to the melding of diverse characteristics (as in the marriage of different wine grapes), SSM can't be the same as OSM.
I know a lot of gay couples that are more different from each other than some hetero couples. At any rate, the idea that if A gets X and then B gets X then A=B is absurd on its face. After all, I get a driver's license and a trucker gets a driver's license, therefore the gov't makes the claim that car driving = truck driving.

7) State licensure represents a tangible harm because it costs money and is a form of state regulation. Extending licensure to a previously unlicensed activity extends the harm. Had the residents of the states during the first half of the 19th century realized that the state takeover of domestic relations law would result in the marriages or men and women, they would have left dom rel with the churches where it belongs.
Perfectly acceptable solution IMO.

8) SSM will destroy the public schools as the 60% of the population that belong to religious faiths opposed to SSM withdraw their children. Oops! That's not tangible harm.
This hasn't happened in MA and won't happen in CA. Counter-factual in the extreme.

9) SSM, though it did not create, will increase government mandated firings for politically incorrect speech which favor only one side of the kulturkampf. Thus 20 years ago since queer marriage didn't exist I couldn't have used the term in a sentence and now I can be fired for it. Reducing employment opportunities for traditionalists is a tangible harm.
The yawning chasm between being a traditionalist and actually harassing a coworker needs to be taken into effect here. I expect that the vast majority of human beings are capable of working in a professional environment without intruding on their coworkers private lives.

10) SSM harms libertarianism because it has caused many libertarians to advocate state licensure of a private act. They will, thus, be less able to argue against other forms of state licensure in the future.
This is a dupe of (7) but I will reiterate: the state may chose to license marriage or not license marriage but it may not (IMO) discriminate. Marriage for homos or marriage for none are both equally acceptable.

I've got a million of them but that's enough for now...
One good reason is better than any list. In fact, having a profusion of reasons for something is usually indicative of someone that throws any rhetorical argument at the issue and hopes that one will stick.
6.18.2008 4:57pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
If antidiscrimination laws are fascism, then America has been a fascist state since 1964.

And it has been. A majority just felt that the benefit was worth the price.
6.18.2008 4:59pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Right of Refusal

"Do you think they should legally be able to refuse to place children in a Jewish or Muslim home?" -- AngelSong

If they, in their honestly held religious beliefs feel it is wrong.

However, before you got totally ballistic, maybe you should present your case in terms of what they believe. For instance, where is it written—in that Old Book—to call Jews or Muslims an abomination?

And, on the other hand, are there not sources of children in need of a home other than Catholic Charities of Boston? Why sick the lawyers on them? Unless you're on the proverbial 'witch hunt'? Which all these cases seem to be indicators of; if you're a christian and a practicing one, target them for a lawsuit.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Lawyer, n., One skilled at perverting the law. -- Ambrose Beirce, The Devil's Dictionary (Paraphrased)]
6.18.2008 5:13pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Student
RE: You....

"Why don't we require Amish mechanics to repair people's cars? Or do we?" -- Student

...have just won your case.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste.]
6.18.2008 5:15pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I know I'm biased. Being gay, it's hard NOT to be. But it always astounds me when when we ask to be treated the same way as everyone else, and have the same rights as everyone else, THAT is considered fascism!

You can marry -- I want the same right. You are judged on your job primarily or solely based on your ability to do your job -- I want the same right.
I've had jobs where that wasn't the case. I am not alone. I had one boss who told someone during a lunch job interview that he didn't trust people that didn't drink. But there's no special protection for me because non-drinkers are politically unimportant.


You can serve in the military -- I want the same right.
I have some reservations about gays the military, but primarily because of the fascist identity politics of homosexuality.

You want to be able to kiss your loved one in public without being beated up -- I want the same right.
And you have the same right on this that I do. EXACTLY THE SAME RIGHT! There are no laws prohibiting this. If someone attacks you for a PDA, they are a criminal, and you have the right to use force in response, to call the police, and to have that attacker prosecuted--JUST LIKE ME.

Some of these rights are legal ones, like the right to a job or to marry. Some are more of a societal issue, like kissing in public. Are those our goals? Of course.
So your solution to the lack of societal acceptance is more force--which if anything increases disapproval. I don't approve of homosexuality, but adding your fascist desire to run the rest of our lives gives me dramatically more reason to see you pushed back into the closet. If you want freedom, you have to be willing to grant it--something that homosexuals do not seem to be willing to grant to others.

But to claim that simply achieving these goals amounts to facism is just off the mark. Sure, there are boneheaded judges and litigants, and sometimes bad decisions. But the fact is that there are millions of gay people in the US, and many of them are covered by such laws, and the anti-gay crowd has only come up with a handful -- less than five -- court cases that might overstep their bounds. That amazingly low, and it means that few people are really burdened by these laws.

Okay, I even concede the that NM case of the photographer was boneheaded. But out of all the millions of transactions that occur each year, you can only come up with a couple that are wrong? Seems to me, those are pretty darn good averages.
Ignoring that many cases never get into court because people are now afraid to say, "I would rather not photograph your gay wedding."

When homosexuals denounce these fascist attempts by the ACLU (who sued the printer in Seattle), there might be some hope of discussing this calmly. But as long as you keep defending fascism, you are the enemy.
6.18.2008 5:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bob Van Burkleo
RE: Not Quite Hitting On All 2 Cylinders?

"Tell that to Catholic Charities of Boston." -- Chuck Pelto to Randy R.

"Guess I am missing your point - CCoB WERE demanding a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation, they were told they couldn't and they did the right thing and got out of the business. Just like an Ayran Nation child placement service would have to." -- Bob Van Burkleo

If that's their honestly held religious beliefs.

"if your chosen superstition demands you behave illegally in a situation probably best to avoid that situation." -- Bob Van Burkleo

So, if we declare YOUR honestly held beliefs to be 'superstition', we can walk all over you too. Eh? Or are you going to try to claim protection under the Bill of Rights?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where there is NO religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste.]
6.18.2008 5:20pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
How can you make sense of that, from an Orthodox Jew's perspective? Why would it seem to drive them, say, to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony, but not a non-kosher or non-Jewish one?
Well, for one thing, in Judaism there's nothing wrong with non-kosher food or non-Jewish weddings. Non-kosher food is only forbidden to Jews, not Gentiles. And of course Gentiles are free to marry (each other, not Jews. But I doubt any Orthodox Jew would participate in an interfaith wedding ceremony, including by photographing it.)

But setting that aside, your logic appears to be, "None of this stuff matters to me, so it's all the same to me, so therefore it must all be the same to everyone, so if people don't treat every sin equally, they must not be sincere."
6.18.2008 5:20pm
AngelSong (mail):

However, before you got totally ballistic, maybe you should present your case in terms of what they believe. For instance, where is it written—in that Old Book—to call Jews or Muslims an abomination?

Well, since "to'evah" (the Hebrew word that you are translating as "abomination") has a connotation of a practice connected to idolatry, one could make the argument that certain religious practices outside of Judaism could be construed as "to'evah". But ostensibly the issue is beliefs held and behaviors consistent with said beliefs that do not conform to certain Christian beliefs held by the service provider. So all I'm asking is whether the standard should be applied universally or not.
6.18.2008 5:21pm
Brett:
<i>Incidentally, the arguments being raised here about antidiscrimination laws could be applied, mutatis mutandis, to any and all antidiscrimination laws. If antidiscrimination laws are fascism, then America has been a fascist state since 1964.</i>

This is categorically false, insofar as antidiscrimination laws initially only applied to the provision of <i>government</i> services. It was only much later that they were extended to apply to purely private transactions.
6.18.2008 5:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Once again someone quotes Romans Chapter 1 without getting all the way to the punchline:

"Therefore art thou inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnist thyself"

Paul isn't telling this story to condemn homosexuals. He is condemning those who condemn, among other things, homosexuals.
He is telling that story to condemn a number of sins, of which homosexuality is only one. And guess what? Christians would be upset if the government was ordering them to rent to "gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful" people as well. And why do you insist that you get special treatment with these antidiscrimination laws, but not all those others?
6.18.2008 5:22pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: nutbump
RE: You're Right

"Discrimination is perfectly legal in this country." -- nutbump

ALL laws in this country 'discriminate' against someone; one way or another.

RE: Forget THAT One

"How come men are not allowed to enter women's bathrooms." -- nutbump

I do believe that Governor Ritter (D-CO) just signed into law an action by the Democrat-controlled State Assembly that will allow such.

All you have to say is you're a lesbian trapped in a male body.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Oh what tangled webs they weave.....]
6.18.2008 5:23pm
P. Ingemi (mail):
The free market comes into effect here.

If a business refuses to; say do wedding photography at a homosexual marriage. There are likely quite a few other photographers who would like to get the business and will take it.

Thus the business will go where the market is, if the Christian loses business because of his stance they have to make the choice between faith and business. Those are choices that people make every day and not just about faith, for example, I don't want to mow the lawn, but if I don't then the grass grows and the yard looks bad or the bugs increase etc...Its all choices.

Now that is different that say that same gay couple coming to a public accomodation for example if a public employee refused to issue a gay marriage license due to religious beliefs he should either tranfer or resign as it is a public service that current law supports.

For general services such as public resturants, amusement parks and the like the issue should also be moot since serving a person a meal or allowing them on an amusement park ride is not a direct affirmation of something a religion doesn't allow.

If you had a religion that specifically forbade contact that would be an interesting constitutional mess
6.18.2008 5:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot Reed
RE: Give It Time

"Nobody is being forced to do that [having to pat people on the back for being homosexuals]." -- Elliot Reed

When was the last time you attended corporate mandatory 'diversity training'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Diversity Training in the conference room, tomorrow morning at 9 am. Body armor, a thick skin and/or a muzzle are recommend attire.]
6.18.2008 5:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Your Ignorance/Prejudice....

"It's so strange, though, that Christians (at least the so-called Christians here) like to trumpet how moral they are. in fact, isn't that the very thing you say to try to convert people?

I have no problem with a person proclaiming how much more moral he is than the other guy..." -- Randy R.

...is showing.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Christian, n., someone who recognizes that they have a grave problem.]
6.18.2008 5:28pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Nobody is being forced to do that. People are being forced not to discriminate in the provision of business services. But yes, we can, and we will, do everything possible to suppress your vicious, hateful views by power of social condemnation, just as we did with racist opinions, even those that purported to be based on religion.
If you fascists would stop with "power of social condemnation" we wouldn't be happy, but so what? Instead, showing the essentially fascist nature of homosexuality, you insist on using the government to impose your moral code on others.

If social conservatives (who often think of me as not being conservative enough for them) ever get back in charge of America, and they criminalize homosexuality again,
you will have utterly destroyed any argument that starts out, "You shouldn't be imposing your moral code on others" because you clearly do believe in imposing your moral code on others, punishing people that refuse to go along with your program.

Majority oppression of a minority is bad; minority oppression of the majority is insane.
6.18.2008 5:28pm
AngelSong (mail):

When was the last time you attended corporate mandatory 'diversity training'?

Do you object as strenuously to being required to act civilly toward people of a different faith?
6.18.2008 5:30pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The yawning chasm between being a traditionalist and actually harassing a coworker needs to be taken into effect here. I expect that the vast majority of human beings are capable of working in a professional environment without intruding on their coworkers private lives.
Oh, very true. So how is someone at work going to be offended by your private life? Over the years, I've worked with a lot of gay people. Most of them were pretty discrete; they had the good taste not to go out of their way to offend anyone by calling attention to their homosexuality. But unfortunately, it was only most--and those that were not were going out of their way to make a big stinking deal of it in the workplace. Of course, no employer would say anything about it, for fear of being sued.
6.18.2008 5:34pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Args

“Well, since "to'evah" (the Hebrew word that you are translating as "abomination") has a connotation of a practice connected to idolatry, one could make the argument that certain religious practices outside of Judaism could be construed as "to'evah".” -- AngelSong

One can ‘make an argument’ out of anythink they wish. But the point is will it stand up to REAL scrutiny. I’m confident that orthodox Jews would take extreme umbrage at my consuming bacon. What do YOU think?

So. As Dale Carpenter et al., would have it, any restaurant operated by a Jew should offer bacon on demand. Otherwise, it’s DISCRIMINATION!!!!!!

So. What’s your point here....REALLY?

“But ostensibly the issue is beliefs held and behaviors consistent with said beliefs that do not conform to certain Christian beliefs held by the service provider. So all I'm asking is whether the standard should be applied universally or not.” -- AngelSong

Not just that, but to whom should the standard be applied. And why? Or rather, what ‘standard’ should be applied?

I would suggest that the persons individual, honestly held religious beliefs, that can be backed up by established doctrine/documentation, should be recognized under the Bill of Rights. Not some wackadoo judge with a bone to pick; like so many people we see here.

What do YOU think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Justice, n., What comes down from the bench if it is in our favor. The Devil’s Dictionary]
6.18.2008 5:35pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):



When was the last time you attended corporate mandatory 'diversity training'?




Do you object as strenuously to being required to act civilly toward people of a different faith?
You might look in the suit that AT&T lost several years ago. It wasn't a matter of requiring people "to act civilly." The corporate homofascists required an employee to claim that he approved of homosexuality--not simply behave properly at work, but pretend to approve. And that's what homofascism is all about: forcing people to lie.
6.18.2008 5:36pm
Brett:
There is a fundamental distinction between discrimination based on the nature of the service and discrimination based on the nature of the person requesting said service.


That's a distinction without a difference in the context of associative freedoms and property rights. In that context, the basis of discrimination is entirely irrelevant: taking associative freedoms and property rights seriously means that individuals must be free to discriminate, in private transactions, on any basis, or even no basis at all. "I have a problem providing this particular service," is as good as, "I have a problem serving this particular class of customer," is as good as, "The rhododendron told me not to serve you, today."
6.18.2008 5:39pm
Jay Myers:
If the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the 1875 Civil Rights Act has itself been overturned so that private actors can now be held accountable for violating Constitutional rights, then when do we begin demanding due process of law before fetuses can be deprived of life by their mothers?

Or are we going back to the Dred Scott position that not all living humans are people entitled to protection under the law? If so, then I can't wait to see liberals' faces when the Klan submits its list of groups that shouldn't be considered people.
6.18.2008 5:40pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Barking....

"Do you object as strenuously to being required to act civilly toward people of a different faith?" -- AngelSong

...up the wrong tree, dearie.

I was born and raised in the military. We're VERY eclectic. As a famous First Sergeant put it to an AGI Equal Opportunity inspector, "When I look at that formation, I don't see black, white, yellow, brown or red. All I see is GREEN."

That goes for religious beliefs as well. I've got close friends and associates who are practicing Athiests, Wiccans, Buddhists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Free Catholics, Presbyterians, Congregationalists. I give them the same respect and regard they give me.

What's your point?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.18.2008 5:42pm
M. Python:
No right, well gentlemen, I'll just remind you of the faculty rules: Rule one--no pooftahs.
6.18.2008 5:43pm
RBG (mail):

Do you object as strenuously to being required to act civilly toward people of a different faith?


AngelSong, have you ever worked at a large law firm on either coast? If you had - particularly as a religious conservative who has no problem working collegially with anybody from any background (perhaps permitting my colleagues not to suspect that I was such) - you'd know that it's far more likely to have one's faith mocked, parodied, and ridiculed than it is to have one's sexuality treated flippantly. And that's the problem with mandatory diversity training: In every video I've seen, it's always the white male, the heterosexual male, or the overtly religious white female that are used as examples of problematic behavior; it's never the enlightened coastal liberal who doesn't care if she offends with off-handed comments about the benighted beliefs of a particular Christian denomination because (1) she can't conceive that someone with those beliefs would be intelligent enough to be one of her colleagues and (2) she can't conceive that someone who held those beliefs would be worthy of respect.

In short, I have no problem treating all of my colleagues with respect; I only wonder why I walk out of almost every diversity session feeling as though I've just been subject to harassment - not unlike how I often felt outside those sessions. Can you understand that?
6.18.2008 5:44pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. I spent a wonderful night discussing the concept of the Virgin Mary over fine scotch and tobacco after watching Dogma.

We're still great friends.
6.18.2008 5:45pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. He's a devote, practicing Roman Catholic.....
6.18.2008 5:45pm
KWC (mail):
That some people are willing to spend every last ounce of their energy fighting against the so-called "gay agenda" is quite telling.

Simply put, get a life.
6.18.2008 5:46pm
AngelSong (mail):

So. As Dale Carpenter et al., would have it, any restaurant operated by a Jew should offer bacon on demand. Otherwise, it’s DISCRIMINATION!!!!!!

You completely mischaracterize the argument which gives you a nice strawman. Your analogy is completely flawed, because the discrimination does not involve which services are offered or not offered. The discrimination involves offering services to some people but not to others.

I would suggest that the persons individual, honestly held religious beliefs, that can be backed up by established doctrine/documentation, should be recognized under the Bill of Rights. Not some wackadoo judge with a bone to pick; like so many people we see here.

Established doctrine/documentation? And who determines that? Are we going to have courts decide which doctrine is established enough to uphold? Perhaps this idea would make more sense if you reconnect it to an actual scenario. Or maybe it's just meaningless rhetoric, I can't tell.
6.18.2008 5:48pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.P.S. Oh. Yeah. I forgot to mention, I'm a devote, evangelical generic christian with tendencies towards {HORRORS!} 'fundamentalism'; if you look on that old Book as a compilation of fact, allegory, and trying to understand things seen from the perspective of people in centuries without runaway nuclear reactors, attack helicopters and a detailed knowledge of Quantum Physics.
6.18.2008 5:48pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

This is categorically false, insofar as antidiscrimination laws initially only applied to the provision of government services. It was only much later that they were extended to apply to purely private transactions.
Uh, no. See Heart of Atlanta Motel (1964). That was a private business. The rationale for why federal law could apply is that they were engaged in interstate commerce. As I recall, the federal statute only applied to corporations above a certain size (50 employees?) on the theory that a company of that size would be unavoidably engaged in interstate commerce--and with time, the law kept getting revised downward so that even the pretense of interstate commerce regulation was abandoned.

Part of why I have had a grudging tolerance of racial and sexual antidiscrimination laws is that:

1. Both federal and many state governments actively promoted racial and sexual discrimination, requiring private firms to do so--even if they weren't engaged in government contracts. A free market would likely correct irrational discrimination but the government had worked so aggressively at promoting it, that you could make a case for a temporary corrective. (Of course, there comes a point where it is no longer justified, and becomes simply a way to throw a bone to identity groups.)

2. Racial discrimination is not part of the Christian tradition. It was a liberal innovation of the 17th century American colonies to draw distinctions that had not formerly existed in law, and contrary to the Bible. Homosexuality is definitely not in the same category--quite the opposite. Along with many other sinful behaviors (greed, adultery, theft, murder), the Bible is clear that these are sinful, and to require Christians to pretend approval is a violation of the right of conscience.
6.18.2008 5:48pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Yeah....Sure....Right....

"You completely mischaracterize the argument which gives you a nice strawman. Your analogy is completely flawed, because the discrimination does not involve which services are offered or not offered. The discrimination involves offering services to some people but not to others. " -- AngelSong

And the moon is made of green cheese. Either that of the rules of English, Logic and/or Rhetoric were re-written last night while I was asleep.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.18.2008 5:50pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton the ideas that law-abiding citizens should be treated equitably by government, particularly in the realm of our civil rights, and that we as citizens have a civil obligation to tolerate other law-abiding citizens regardless of if they are doing some lawful act that we ourselves would not do should be a commonly held American beliefs, not 'their beliefs'.
1. The notion that you have an equal protection right to marry is laughably absurd. The California Supreme Court's position fails even the most obvious examination of the evidence. The EPC dates back to at least 1879, a time when homosexual sex was a felony under California law. To argue that Calif. Const.'s equal protection clause could therefore be understood as protecting a right to same-sex marriage is wrong.

2. Tolerance? You might want to look up that word in the dictionary. Tolerance doesn't mean equality; it means that we don't punish you. If you and your friends all want to have an orgy, go ahead. But that doesn't mean that I have to smile stupidly and print the orgy announcements for you.

I mean are people really saying I should be able to discriminate against the superstitious merely because they are superstitious? That I should be able to ignore their marriages because it I believe its a detriment to society to encourage their breeding? Is our society really supposed to be this 'free' or are we supposed to be allowing our fellow citizens they widest breadth possible in their pursuit of happiness just as we expect from them?
You want freedom? Give a little. I don't see that the religious antidiscrimination laws are of any real value. They are routinely violated in California to discriminate against Christians.
6.18.2008 5:55pm
AngelSong (mail):

TO: AngelSong
RE: Barking....

"Do you object as strenuously to being required to act civilly toward people of a different faith?" -- AngelSong

...up the wrong tree, dearie.

I was born and raised in the military. We're VERY eclectic. As a famous First Sergeant put it to an AGI Equal Opportunity inspector, "When I look at that formation, I don't see black, white, yellow, brown or red. All I see is GREEN."

That goes for religious beliefs as well. I've got close friends and associates who are practicing Athiests, Wiccans, Buddhists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Free Catholics, Presbyterians, Congregationalists. I give them the same respect and regard they give me.

What's your point?

Perhaps the rest of the context is necessary, I try not to quote too much usually.

"Nobody is being forced to do that [having to pat people on the back for being homosexuals]." -- Elliot Reed

When was the last time you attended corporate mandatory 'diversity training'?

If you can pat Jews and Muslims and atheists on the back, I'm not sure why it would kill you to do the same to gay people.
6.18.2008 5:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

That some people are willing to spend every last ounce of their energy fighting against the so-called "gay agenda" is quite telling.

Simply put, get a life.
We aren't the ones that keep trying to persuade the courts to find a constitutional right to something that even 30 years ago would have been recognized as arguably mental illness: two guys getting married.
6.18.2008 5:58pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If you can pat Jews and Muslims and atheists on the back, I'm not sure why it would kill you to do the same to gay people.
Oddly enough, I don't have a problem doing so. I do have a problem when you use the government to force everyone else to pretend that it is okay. And that's what this homofascism is all about: forcing everyone to lie.
6.18.2008 5:59pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Well....

"If you can pat Jews and Muslims and atheists on the back, I'm not sure why it would kill you to do the same to gay people." -- AngelSong

...maybe you should learn more about christian ethics. I can recommend a Good Book.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Know your enemy and know yourself and you shall never be defeated. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War; required reading for students at Benning School for Boys]

P.S. My brother-in-law is an Iranian.
6.18.2008 6:00pm
AngelSong (mail):

P.P.P.S. Oh. Yeah. I forgot to mention, I'm a devote, evangelical generic christian with tendencies towards {HORRORS!} 'fundamentalism'; if you look on that old Book as a compilation of fact, allegory, and trying to understand things seen from the perspective of people in centuries without runaway nuclear reactors, attack helicopters and a detailed knowledge of Quantum Physics.

I had rather guessed. I forgot to mention, I'm a seminary graduate who reads and analyzes that "old Book" in the original languages and in dialogue with 2000+ years of interpretation and translation. And a Christian too, imagine that!
6.18.2008 6:00pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. And I agree with Clayton. I've had friends and I've got associates in my neighborhood who are practicing homosexuals. I get along with them fine. But then again, they aren't trying to force me, via the courts, to do their bidding. Nor am I trying to do such with them.
6.18.2008 6:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Good On You

"I had rather guessed. I forgot to mention, I'm a seminary graduate who reads and analyzes that "old Book" in the original languages and in dialogue with 2000+ years of interpretation and translation. And a Christian too, imagine that!" -- AngelSong

Tell me if this sounds familiar....

"A tree is known by its fruit."

What does it mean to you?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.18.2008 6:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Scholars are the cisterns of knowledge. Not the fountainheads.
6.18.2008 6:04pm
AngelSong (mail):

"You completely mischaracterize the argument which gives you a nice strawman. Your analogy is completely flawed, because the discrimination does not involve which services are offered or not offered. The discrimination involves offering services to some people but not to others. " -- AngelSong

And the moon is made of green cheese. Either that of the rules of English, Logic and/or Rhetoric were re-written last night while I was asleep.

Perhaps you could attempt to actually address my challenge to your analogy. Once again, I would argue that there is a distinct difference between a religious business (Catholic Charities for instance) that offers a service (adoption) to some people but not to others based on some shared attribute (sexual orientation) and a religious business (Jewish restaurant) that offers one service (eggs) but not another (bacon) to all people.
6.18.2008 6:07pm
AngelSong (mail):

"A tree is known by its fruit."

What does it mean to you?

What you have already demonstrated, that when you have no good response or argument that can be made, you combine some tautological nothing with a pithy remark and pretend that you have said something profound.
6.18.2008 6:09pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Your Analogy

“Perhaps you could attempt to actually address my challenge to your analogy.” -- AngelSong

It appeared to be a futile effort to twist English, Logic and Rhetoric.

RE: Your Analogy 2

“Once again, I would argue that there is a distinct difference between a religious business (Catholic Charities for instance) that offers a service (adoption) to some people but not to others based on some shared attribute (sexual orientation) and a religious business (Jewish restaurant) that offers one service (eggs) but not another (bacon) to all people.” -- AngelSong

Offering services or denying such based on religious belief is what is being discussed. You attempted to say that the Roman Catholics have no right to believe and practice what they believe. You disavow the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

You can disavow it all you like. I’ll stand for it.

You want to equate personal preference with ethnicity or gender. And that is pure, unadulterated poppycock. Any reasonably prudent individual will tell you so. And I think several here have.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.18.2008 6:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AngelSong
RE: Heh

"What you have already demonstrated, that when you have no good response or argument that can be made, you combine some tautological nothing with a pithy remark and pretend that you have said something profound." -- AngelSong

Just as I expected. You either evade or you're a bald-faced liar about your 'christianity'.

Good-bye.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A tree is known by its fruit. -- some Wag, about 2000 years ago]

P.S. For the uninformed/uneducated, Christ is saying that you are known by your actions. Not by what you call yourself. In this instance, AngelSong claims a seminary education and being a 'christian'. Real christians recognize this phrase and know what it means. Furthermore, they will gladly tell you it's meaning and significance.

AngelSong MAY have been through seminary, but he/she/it behaves more like the Pharisees of Christ's time than any real christian. I wonder if he/she/it enjoys openly making a show of prayer, likes the places of honor at banquets, wears special apparel/accoutrements that proclaim her 'christianity'....
6.18.2008 6:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Do you really think that Christians should refuse to rent to gossips?
Yup. Gossip is very destructive.
6.18.2008 6:24pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
might respond to this if I had any idea what it meant.

Well was just trying to make some sense out of your 'criminalizing courtesy' comment - made no sense to me except from what I understand the 'lawyer' point of view is.

So, if we declare YOUR honestly held beliefs to be 'superstition', we can walk all over you too. Eh?

Honey, people do that all the time - like when they say the state should pretend I'm not married when I have been for 18 years. And I use the terms religion and superstition as synonyms... don't you?

A good, valid comparison. Catholic = nazi. Quite a reasonable position, really.

Since when have the Ayran Nations been nazis? It was an easy example of another adoption agency that would have illegal discriminatory practices, pick another if you are offended. (though a group that almost single handedly brought down the greatest western civilization and helped enforce a 1000 year dark age isn't exactly an admirable institution either...)

You want freedom? Give a little.

Must be a joke, right? You are the ones saying my marriage should be ignored by the state. You are the one saying that you have a right to treat others as if they shared your faith and yours alone.

I mean take your announcement printing snarky comment - If I asked you to print up my wedding invitations you can do so with the completely accurate knowledge that you aren't helping me to sin because I can't - the concept is not even in my belief paradigm. I fully agree that if you were doing what I'm doing YOU would be sinning according to your beliefs, but rest assured I am not - worry no further about it.

I would be asking you to perform a service you had advertised to the public in a business licensed with the understanding there are certain qualities about your customers you do not use to determine if you are going to perform the job or not, one of them being belief. I don't share your belief system, why in the world would you think it is ok to pretend that I do when I come in to your business and ask to purchase an advertised service?
6.18.2008 6:30pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
And oh BTW, if it's about suppressing beliefs, what would be wrong with Christians seizing power and suppressing your viewpoints? Please don't tell me that oppressing gays is wrong, because if there's no more or less timeless standard of right and wrong, you really have no authority to appeal to other than power...
Are the only people who believe in a "more or less timeless standard of right and wrong" the subset of Christians who adhere to the theological view that homosexuality is morally wrong?
If social conservatives (who often think of me as not being conservative enough for them) ever get back in charge of America, and they criminalize homosexuality again, you will have utterly destroyed any argument that starts out, "You shouldn't be imposing your moral code on others" because you clearly do believe in imposing your moral code on others, punishing people that refuse to go along with your program.
I know people on my team like to talk about "not imposing your moral code on others," but it's nonetheless a really dumb argument. I am happy to impose my moral code on others, which is why I endorse criminal laws banning murder, rape, slavery, theft, battery, etc. Likewise for civil penalties for violating antidiscrimination laws. Hardcore libertarians are free to complain that the '64 Act made this a fascist state, but I am not a libertarian.
6.18.2008 6:30pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Established doctrine/documentation? And who determines that? Are we going to have courts decide which doctrine is established enough to uphold?
Hey, you could do better, and leave people alone. You know, what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business? It's a shame that homosexuals no longer believe that.
6.18.2008 6:31pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Clayton E. Cramer
RE: Gossips

"Yup. Gossip is very destructive." -- Clayton E. Cramer

Unfortunately, all to many of us have issues with that particular sin.

BUT, not that many of us are practicing homosexuals. The latter are more readily identified than the former. Furthermore, when confronted with an allegation of being a 'gossip', the accused normally doesn't start screaming DISCRIMINATION and waving lawyers in your face. Especially if they're christians. Instead, they tend to become rather reflective.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. -- Will Rogers]
6.18.2008 6:36pm
RBG (mail):
Ah, but Clayton, you apparently didn't get the memo that as long as the government "stays out of their bedrooms," they don't care what it does elsewhere. In other words, "in private" is currently construed as "while naked." Tyranny is impossible while that liberty is protected.
6.18.2008 6:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


You want freedom? Give a little.



Must be a joke, right? You are the ones saying my marriage should be ignored by the state. You are the one saying that you have a right to treat others as if they shared your faith and yours alone.
I'm saying that if you want certain protections associated with marriage, you can get just about all of them without any great struggle. (Not all, I concede, such as tax status.) I'm not saying that the government should be forcing you to do things, or not do things. You, on the other hand, are intent on having the government tell me to do business with.


I mean take your announcement printing snarky comment - If I asked you to print up my wedding invitations you can do so with the completely accurate knowledge that you aren't helping me to sin because I can't - the concept is not even in my belief paradigm. I fully agree that if you were doing what I'm doing YOU would be sinning according to your beliefs, but rest assured I am not - worry no further about it.

So it's okay to force me to do something that I don't approve of, because it is okay for you to do it. How fascist of you.


I would be asking you to perform a service you had advertised to the public in a business licensed with the understanding there are certain qualities about your customers you do not use to determine if you are going to perform the job or not, one of them being belief. I don't share your belief system, why in the world would you think it is ok to pretend that I do when I come in to your business and ask to purchase an advertised service?
All the extra verbiage above is basically covering over your desire to FORCE me to do your bidding.

If you were looking for a job, and I had a position open paying minimum wage, why should you have the right to refuse that job? Just because it isn't the job that you want?
6.18.2008 6:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I know people on my team like to talk about "not imposing your moral code on others," but it's nonetheless a really dumb argument. I am happy to impose my moral code on others, which is why I endorse criminal laws banning murder, rape, slavery, theft, battery, etc. Likewise for civil penalties for violating antidiscrimination laws. Hardcore libertarians are free to complain that the '64 Act made this a fascist state, but I am not a libertarian.
So you aren't going to object when Rev. Fred Phelps makes twenty million clones, gets control of the judiciary, and makes homosexuality a capital offense. I mean, you might dislike the results, but you can't really argue that there's something IMMORAL about the actions of the Phelpocracy, right?
6.18.2008 6:39pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
All the extra verbiage above is basically covering over your desire to FORCE me to do your bidding.

Only in the sense that I expect you to obey the law and assume you realized you would be expected to follow the law when you opened the business. In that sense we are all FORCED by the law to do everything every day. I'm FORCED to wait for the green light when I'm driving! That's simply outrageous! :)
6.18.2008 6:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

"Yup. Gossip is very destructive." -- Clayton E. Cramer

Unfortunately, all to many of us have issues with that particular sin.

BUT, not that many of us are practicing homosexuals. The latter are more readily identified than the former. Furthermore, when confronted with an allegation of being a 'gossip', the accused normally doesn't start screaming DISCRIMINATION and waving lawyers in your face. Especially if they're christians. Instead, they tend to become rather reflective.
If only.... I could tell you stories... but that would be gossip.
6.18.2008 6:40pm
AngelSong (mail):

Offering services or denying such based on religious belief is what is being discussed. You attempted to say that the Roman Catholics have no right to believe and practice what they believe. You disavow the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

You can disavow it all you like. I’ll stand for it.

You want to equate personal preference with ethnicity or gender. And that is pure, unadulterated poppycock. Any reasonably prudent individual will tell you so. And I think several here have.

And once again you mischaracterize the position of another to bolster your own argument. What is being discussed is NOT "Offering services or denying such based on religious belief". Actually, what is being discussed is offering services to some people and denying the same services to other people based on religious belief. Which is a different animal altogether, as many people have pointed out.

You attempted to say that the Roman Catholics have no right to believe and practice what they believe. You disavow the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

I said no such thing. I inquired whether that belief was being applied uniformly to all people with preferences that do not mesh with Roman Catholicism. And if not, what is the distinction?

You want to equate personal preference with ethnicity or gender.

Actually you'll note that I haven't made any such claim. If you want to equate sexual orientation with personal preference, I would equate it with religious preference, not ethnicity or gender.
6.18.2008 6:40pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
If you were looking for a job, and I had a position open paying minimum wage, why should you have the right to refuse that job? Just because it isn't the job that you want?

Sorry I missed this silliness - because you are selling the job and I don't have to buy it if I don't want it. I'm not a business selling my service, you are a business selling a job, and once again, you entered into the business fully aware there were restrictions how how you could treat and evaluate potential customers/employees.
6.18.2008 6:43pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Only in the sense that I expect you to obey the law and assume you realized you would be expected to follow the law when you opened the business. In that sense we are all FORCED by the law to do everything every day. I'm FORCED to wait for the green light when I'm driving! That's simply outrageous! :)
Hmmmm. It's 1960. "I expect you to obey the law against sodomy and assume you realized you would be expected to follow the law when you started breathing. In that sense we are all FORCED by the law to do everything every day."

There are people that argue for the rule of law (no matter how unjust or stupid the law), and mean it. But it really says something about how rapidly the world has changed that a homosexual is arguing for the rule of law. Back when I was in high school, one of my English teachers was a raging leftist (when that wasn't the norm). The books that he had us read for Western World Ideas class included books that promoted the idea that "rule of law" was a dangerous idea--and that such an approach put homosexuals at risk was one of the arguments advanced.
6.18.2008 6:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If you were looking for a job, and I had a position open paying minimum wage, why should you have the right to refuse that job? Just because it isn't the job that you want?

Sorry I missed this silliness - because you are selling the job and I don't have to buy it if I don't want it. I'm not a business selling my service, you are a business selling a job, and once again, you entered into the business fully aware there were restrictions how how you could treat and evaluate potential customers/employees.
Except that Elaine Huguenin was offering her services as a photographer. But you homofascists decided that "I don't have to buy it if I don't want it" doesn't apply if the buyers are homosexual.

Why does Elaine Huguenin have to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't? Or is it just that homosexuals are special?
6.18.2008 6:48pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Hmmmm. It's 1960. "I expect you to obey the law against sodomy and assume you realized you would be expected to follow the law when you started breathing. In that sense we are all FORCED by the law to do everything every day."

But its not 1960 is it Clayton? Like it or not being gay isn't illegal and you won't turn back the clock by whining about. (as it stands I 100% obeyed all laws against such acts in 1960 and for many years after that actually).

But now the man who argues for the 2nd amendment almost as a religious tenet is now saying that expecting people to follow the law is a 'dangerous idea'. A servere case of moral relativity it seems ;)

I do note you just passed over my questions about your right to pretend others share your religious beliefs - do you think you have a right to pretend I am a sinner and treat me as such even though I don't share your faith?
6.18.2008 6:54pm
bls (mail):

Non-kosher food is only forbidden to Jews, not Gentiles.


Which is also the case for homosexuality.

And I was quite glad a couple of people pointed out to Clayton Cramer that Romans vv 1-2 is actually aimed at people who spend their time condemning others; somehow, many people really do forget to turn the page. BTW, Clayton: there are gay people - including some on this thread - who openly say that many of these lawsuits are stupid. (Was anybody surprised that gay people might bring stupid lawsuits, too?) But you seem far more interested in keeping the warfare going against your "enemies." (And BTW, didn't the Lord say that, to the contrary, a person was to love his enemies?)
6.18.2008 6:55pm
AngelSong (mail):

P.S. For the uninformed/uneducated, Christ is saying that you are known by your actions. Not by what you call yourself. In this instance, AngelSong claims a seminary education and being a 'christian'. Real christians recognize this phrase and know what it means. Furthermore, they will gladly tell you it's meaning and significance.

AngelSong MAY have been through seminary, but he/she/it behaves more like the Pharisees of Christ's time than any real christian. I wonder if he/she/it enjoys openly making a show of prayer, likes the places of honor at banquets, wears special apparel/accoutrements that proclaim her 'christianity'....

Oh please. I didn't mention my background in the context of "I'm a better Christian than you". You cited your religious background in the context of your approach to Biblical interpretation. I did the same. Just because I didn't feel the need for an exegetical excursus doesn't mean that I didn't recognize the source of the quote.

I think my rather extensive post above about a Christian persecution complex should give you all the answers to your questions you need. In fact I don't enjoy openly making a show of prayer, my favorite part of banquets is the food not the seat, I think there are far more pressing concerns than wearing a cross or flag pin, and I'm a him not a her.
6.18.2008 6:57pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
So you aren't going to object when Rev. Fred Phelps makes twenty million clones, gets control of the judiciary, and makes homosexuality a capital offense. I mean, you might dislike the results, but you can't really argue that there's something IMMORAL about the actions of the Phelpocracy, right?
Of course I can. Whether "forcing your moral beliefs on others" is OK depends mostly on whether your moral beliefs are correct or not.
Except that Elaine Huguenin was offering her services as a photographer. But you homofascists decided that "I don't have to buy it if I don't want it" doesn't apply if the buyers are homosexual.
You are free to complain that the U.S. has been a fascist state since 1964, but it is, in fact, not true.
6.18.2008 6:59pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Why does Elaine Huguenin have to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't? Or is it just that homosexuals are special?

That question amazes me - she was a licensed business who by taking the license had agreed to run it in accordance with the law. As I said I am not a business.

Even gay people running businesses have to follow the same rules, several cases here in Seattle went against such businesses because they discriminated based on sexual orientation with a customer or employee.

Don't worry Clayton, its sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. If a gay photographer was asked to take pictures at one of your kid's weddings they wouldn't be able to refuse because of their religious or political views, or even if their beliefs thought it wrong for them to be marrying. They would just be there to take pictures though I'm sure they would be fabulous.
6.18.2008 7:00pm
RBG (mail):
So, Bob, you'd be okay with a gay printer being forced to print the signs for a Fred Phelps protest? After all, Phelps' speech is generally constitutionally protected and he's exercising his genuinely held religious beliefs.
6.18.2008 7:06pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Why does Elaine Huguenin have to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't? Or is it just that homosexuals are special?
She doesn't, she just has to not discriminate on the basic of race, ethnicity, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, prior history of military service, sexual orientation, and maybe some other characteristics I'm forgetting. I don't have to do that because I'm not offering my services to the general public. But once I (hopefully) pass the bar and start doing that, I'll have to refrain from such discrimination as well, even if I'm a member of the Church of White Male Supremacy.
6.18.2008 7:07pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
So, Bob, you'd be okay with a gay printer being forced to print the signs for a Fred Phelps protest? After all, Phelps' speech is generally constitutionally protected and he's exercising his genuinely held religious beliefs.

Sure! Its illegal to discriminate according to religious belief - I guess I don't see the issue here - its just printing - the evil is in the people, not the cardboard.

I as a gay printer would gleefully extract every penny I could out of the good Reverend - better in my hands than his. Probably make a big to do about donating it to Equality Washington or some such thing.
6.18.2008 7:14pm
RBG (mail):
Bob, I admire your consistency. My position is opposite yours but equally consistent: I believe that, apart from certain facilities that would be deemed "common carriers" under the common law (or their analogues) anybody (or any business) should be permitted to refuse service to any person for any reason. The rest of us should be free, of course, to heap social opprobrium on said persons or businesses for doing so. I believe that my approach, particularly in a diversified economy, maximizes liberty for all participants: Those who are not served will be inconvenienced, to be sure, as they will have to look elsewhere for service, but to my mind this inconvenience is much more tolerable to a free society than restrictions on liberty enforced by the government's threat of force - and I say that as one who has personally faced discrimination in the housing market because of my race and marital status (though not in this country).

That said, I can respect your position. My fear is that your ideological compatriots (and having lived several years in Seattle, I know many of them well) are not likely to be quite as consistent as you. And I worry that it's they who will be making the rules for the new order. In the case of Phelps, it'll probably start with transforming his speech from protected to prohibited "hate" speech, thus giving our gay printer the out he's been hoping for.
6.18.2008 7:25pm
John D (mail):

So you aren't going to object when Rev. Fred Phelps makes twenty million clones, gets control of the judiciary, and makes homosexuality a capital offense.


John Howard,
Clayton E. Cramer

It's so easy to confuse these things. I saw cloning and I just thought...

It's a separate argument as whether one may clone oneself. However, if Reverend Phelps was allowed to clone himself, I would assume that the cloning facilities would be open to people in a non-discriminatory fashion.

So we just clone up five million Harvey Fiersteins, five million Larry Kramers, five million Ellen Degenereses, five million Del Martins, and an additional five million Barney Franks to boot.

Your suggestion was of course, "what do you do if the bulk of public opinion is against gay people." We don't have to imagine it. We've been there. Or we've read a book or two.

But it'd take more than twenty million Fred Phelpses to return to that.

It's not going to happen. You are engaged in a rear-guard action, because you know with each passing year a greater percentage of people find homosexuality morally neutral. (Yeah, gay people can do bad things to, and they are the same bad things that straight people do.)

And while I'm at this: gay people don't actually engage in any sexual acts that straight people don't. I am well aware that everything I do in bed is popular with heterosexuals. This only underscores the irrationality opposition to rights for gay people. Because of their sexual acts?

You'd better be ready to lock up a lot of people.
6.18.2008 7:27pm
Michael in Houston (mail):
Homosexuals are not marrying. It is simply ontologically impossible for them to do so. Marriage is a condition, a state of being, which, by definition, can only be entered into by a specific class of things, namely human beings of opposite sexes. Nothing that anybody does can cause people or things not in that class to be married. If the United States Congress and all fifty state legislatures unanimously passed laws and you got togather the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court jointly to perform the ceremony, it would not cause two motorcucles to be married, or two monkeys. Nor could it cause a human being to be married to a motorcycle or a monkey. Nor can it cause two people of the same sex to be married. All such an action can do is create a legal pretense of marriage and the law should not pretend. People have a pretty good common sense understanding of this which is why they have never acted, either directly or through their elected representatives caused any such law to be enacted and indeed, have always acted to have exactly opposite laws passed.
6.18.2008 7:30pm
Brett:
You are free to complain that the U.S. has been a fascist state since 1964, but it is, in fact, not true.


So you keep claiming. And yet there is no principled distinction between fining Elaine Hugeunin for refusing to photograph a gay wedding and fining her because she insisted on photographing a gay wedding.
6.18.2008 7:40pm
AngelSong (mail):

It is simply ontologically impossible for them to do so. Marriage is a condition, a state of being, which, by definition, can only be entered into by a specific class of things, namely human beings of opposite sexes.

Ridiculous. Do you think that the definition of words never changes? Who do you think defines them?
6.18.2008 7:40pm
Brett:
Which is a different animal altogether, as many people have pointed out.


My definition of "many people" is "more than just AngelSong".

In any case, approximately the same number of people have pointed out that it isn't a different animal altogether; you're making a distinction without any meaningful difference.
6.18.2008 7:44pm
Brett:
That question amazes me - she was a licensed business who by taking the license had agreed to run it in accordance with the law.


The law, here, is an ass. No matter how much Elliot Reed stamps his feet and jams his fingers in his ears and shrieks, "America has NOT been a fascist state since 1964! America has NOT been a fascist state since 1964!"
6.18.2008 7:47pm
Brett:
Whether "forcing your moral beliefs on others" is OK depends mostly on whether your moral beliefs are correct or not.


And how fortunate that we have people like you around to act as arbiters of moral correctness, eh?
6.18.2008 7:51pm
AngelSong (mail):

you're making a distinction without any meaningful difference.

Why is the difference not meaningful? We already have plenty of laws that address providing a service to some people but denying that service to other people, i.e. discrimination. In fact, that's pretty much the definition of discrimination, treating one group differently than another group because of some characteristic.

On the other hand, the issue has been raised of a business deciding to provide some services and to deny some services. Regardless of the nature of the service, as long the provision or denial is universal, that is not per se a discriminatory practice. And wonder of wonders, anti-discrimination laws don't address such a situation. So why exactly is the difference meaningless?
6.18.2008 8:06pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Homosexuals are not marrying. It is simply ontologically impossible for them to do so. Marriage is a condition, a state of being, which, by definition, can only be entered into by a specific class of things, namely human beings of opposite sexes.

Hardly, marriage is when to people commit to intentionally pair-bond indefinitely with the relationship most often initiated by the oxytocin-vasopressin mediated mammalian pair-bonding response. Most marry only someone of the opposite gender, some only of the same gender. Regardless same biological mechanism in play, same desires by the citizens, same results for the citizens and society. The state licenses a contract in support of these marriages and if all citizens should have reasonable ability to license it with a spouse regardless of their gender.

I've been married to the same guy for 18 years - that your view of marriage is so limited to not recognize this is too bad for you but has nothing to do with me or my right to license my marriage with the state.
6.18.2008 8:11pm
Vanceone:
My simple question to Professor Carpenter is this: what is his prediction on when the cases in Canada come here, where people start getting fined for quoting the Bible?

There is indeed growing pressure by gay activists to force doctrinal changes--one only needs to see the virtual civil war in the US Angilican church to see that. In my own denomination a bunch of gay activists are trying to force changes too.

Here's a relevant question: If it becomes the law that anyone has to marry a gay couple or lose the right to marry people at all, what happens to ministers?

I especially am thinking of the LDS church, which recognizes regular civil marriage and has their own version, Temple Marriage. That grants quite a few more religious benefits than a regular marriage. Will the gay rights mafia try to force LDS temples to be open to gay marriage too? And how can I believe them when they say they won't? They have lied numerous times before about how this doesn't impact religions....
6.18.2008 8:17pm
PaulTX (mail) (www):
Aultimer, supra:

That's either the best unintended irony or the most subtle use of irony ever on VC - a guy named Paul from Texas claiming that all politics is about reducing liberty.


I didn't say that all politics is about reducing liberty.

I said, in response to another reader's comment, that the aim of "all politics ... every kind of politics ... is to allow people to 'force their agenda upon the country.'"

The Libertarians have an agenda, one they believe expands liberty. And if the Libertarians also had political power, they would force their agenda upon the country, i.e. impose it over the objections of the dissenters.

Put differently, the aim of all politics is to have your way, whatever that way may be.
6.18.2008 8:17pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
That said, I can respect your position.

Well thank you and I can understand your point of view but you're missing 'the way it was'. What happens when the only place or all places in town you can get a service refuses to provide it merely because of some quality they perceive in you? What happens if the good Reverend wants some hate literature printed up quickly in a town with only one printer who's gay? Or needs a place to stay but the only motel with rooms has a gay owner? Or the only diner in town has a gay owner?

I know I was raised that you don't withhold services from someone because you don't agree with them, but then that's just the old Dutch "your business is your business" mindset I would guess. But then that would be the 'courtesy' angle again - you wouldn't need civil rights laws in a town populated by clones of my dad because he would never have refused to sell to you because he didn't agree with you engaging in a legal activity.

Of course in Washington states many of these cases would be moot: our civil rights legislation exempts non-profits and small businesses.
6.18.2008 8:24pm
Brett:
Saying that the law makes the same distinction you're making does not magically render it meaningful. The law enshrines all manner of idiotic, anti-freedom propositions. This is one.

As I said above: to take associative freedoms and property rights seriously means that non-state actors must be permitted to refuse to contract with anyone, for any reason -- even for lousy reasons, or no reason at all. Otherwise you are, in effect, arguing for politically correct involuntary servitude.

People who refuse to do business with gay people are assholes. Assholery, in a free society, is not a basis for civil or criminal penalties.
6.18.2008 8:28pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
what is his prediction on when the cases in Canada come here, where people start getting fined for quoting the Bible?

Never happened (hint: the case you are probably thinking about wasn't about what you think it was ;)

If it becomes the law that anyone has to marry a gay couple or lose the right to marry people at all, what happens to ministers?

Same thing that will happen when the giant space goat comes to eat the sun I guess. If the Catholics haven't been required to perform religious marriages on civil divorced citizens I doubt there's much chance they will be forced to perform the religious rite of marriage on same gender ones.

That is part of the confusion:

A there is natural marriage, the biological reality.
B there is a contract licensed by the states in support of natural marriage.
C there is a religious rite of marriage in many belief systems that allows all sorts of silliness - some religions let bunches of women all marry the same dead guy (necropolygyny?)

A and B have nothing to do with C.
6.18.2008 8:33pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Brett:

In your comment upthread about anti-discrimination laws that have existed since 1964, you mistakenly asserted that such laws applied only to government behavior. In fact, Title VII (and the rest of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) applied to private behavior. For example, after that law went into effect, it was illegal for private employers covered by the law to refuse to hire black employees because they were black.

You are free to believe that this is "fascism" or otherwise a bad idea, but it has been the law in the U.S. for almost 45 years. The laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and public accomodation are of more recent vintage, but the principle is the same.

And again, I think this conversation would be more productive to look at the history of Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws and see how they dealt with the issue of those who believe their religion compels them to violate these laws. Because that's where the future of this issue will be.
6.18.2008 8:45pm
Brett:
You are free to believe that this is "fascism" or otherwise a bad idea, but it has been the law in the U.S. for almost 45 years. The laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and public accomodation are of more recent vintage, but the principle is the same.


The only "principle" is politically-correct involuntary servitude. Having a "productive" conversation about the cases in which religious freedoms should occasion exemptions from the politically-correct involuntary servitude regime is to grant it a legitimacy it does not, and never has, deserved.
6.18.2008 8:57pm
Oren:
Hey, you could do better, and leave people alone. You know, what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business? It's a shame that homosexuals no longer believe that.
The irony of this coming from someone that doesn't believe Lawrence is beyond words.

We aren't the ones that keep trying to persuade the courts to find a constitutional right to something that even 30 years ago would have been recognized as arguably mental illness: two guys getting married.
A wonderful indictment of past intolerance, not such a great condemnation of the present.
6.18.2008 8:58pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
if the Libertarians also had political power, they would force their agenda upon the country, i.e. impose it over the objections of the dissenters.

Oh my God! Imposing non-imposition. Horrors. Anyone who wants to be imposed on after the takeover can join an S&M club and be imposed on to his heart's content.
6.18.2008 9:42pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
The law, here, is an ass. No matter how much Elliot Reed stamps his feet and jams his fingers in his ears and shrieks, "America has NOT been a fascist state since 1964! America has NOT been a fascist state since 1964!"
I was responding to claims that my support for antidiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation makes me a "homofascist." But the purported intrusions on liberty caused by such laws are no different than the intrusions imposed by the laws barring race discrimination. If you want to support the "homofascist" claim, you either need to come up with some principled distinction between the two intrusions, or assert that the nondiscrimination provisions of the '64 Civil Rights Act turned the U.S. into a fascist state.
So you keep claiming [that antidiscrimination laws are not fascism]. And yet there is no principled distinction between fining Elaine Hugeunin for refusing to photograph a gay wedding and fining her because she insisted on photographing a gay wedding.
Huh?
6.18.2008 9:55pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Talk about the gay boogeyman! This is guy is finding gays lurking everywhere, and there are more and more of them!

I think it's OK to oppose something (like, say, government schools) because it creates more people who will vote to raise my taxes and restrict my freedom of action. Certainly gender confusion creates more lesbians (since women are more flexible in that regard) and lesbians tend to vote left. Nothing outrageous about that argument.
6.18.2008 9:56pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
And again, I think this conversation would be more productive to look at the history of Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws and see how they dealt with the issue of those who believe their religion compels them to violate these laws. Because that's where the future of this issue will be.
That's actually an interesting idea. Do you happen to know anything about the subject? I sure don't.
6.18.2008 9:59pm
Ken Arromdee:
Why does Elaine Huguenin have to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't? Or is it just that homosexuals are special?

That question amazes me - she was a licensed business who by taking the license had agreed to run it in accordance with the law.


The question is really about why the law is justified, so your answer doesn't explain anything. It just leads to the further question "why does the law demand that Elaine Huguenin has to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't"?
6.18.2008 10:02pm
ReaderY:
If the state has the power to claim that a church that seeks to ensure its children are raised in its faith is in the "adoption business", wouldn't it equally have the power to claim that a church which serves bread or wine (or both) is in the "restaurant business" and can be regulated as such (and if it plays music, can be regulated for being in the "entertainment business"?)

Care of orphans has been a religious vocation for millenia. Churches choose how to care for orphans on religious grounds out of concern for their religious welfare. If a state can simply such activities to be a business, it can declare anything a church does to be a business.

On the counter side, perhaps a state can declare that same-sex couples (or any kind of couples) are operating a business if part of their lifestyle is that one gives the other money and the other gives services.
6.18.2008 10:06pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
The question is really about why the law is justified, so your answer doesn't explain anything. It just leads to the further question "why does the law demand that Elaine Huguenin has to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't"?
She is not under any such requirement. She is only required not to discriminate on the basis of certain specified criteria (race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, disability, etc.).
6.18.2008 10:07pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
The question is really about why the law is justified, so your answer doesn't explain anything. It just leads to the further question "why does the law demand that Elaine Huguenin has to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't"?

Why do we have civil rights statutes? I would think its mostly a right to privacy and autonomy - that individual citizens have a right to be different from other citizens and still have access to civic features. That while we have a right to disagree with others on certain issues and the value of some certain qualities we don't have a right to say we won't do business with them because of them. One thing we should all agree on as Americans is that everyone has a right to their own pursuit of happiness within the law and the one right we all don't have is to tell someone they don't have that right to be different.
6.18.2008 10:28pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
If the state has the power to claim that a church that seeks to ensure its children are raised in its faith is in the "adoption business"

Again, if that were the issue it might be different. We are talking about a registered non-profit organization who's child brokering services were licensed by the state and did business with people not of their faith as a matter of policy.
6.18.2008 10:35pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
One can ‘make an argument’ out of anythink they wish. But the point is will it stand up to REAL scrutiny. I’m confident that orthodox Jews would take extreme umbrage at my consuming bacon. What do YOU think?
You're wrong. If you're not Jewish, Orthodox Jews couldn't care less whether you eat bacon. The law applies to Jews, not goyim.
6.18.2008 10:43pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Non-kosher food is only forbidden to Jews, not Gentiles.

Which is also the case for homosexuality.
Incorrect. You should read up on the Noachide laws.
6.18.2008 10:53pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Why do we have civil rights statutes? I would think its mostly a right to privacy and autonomy - that individual citizens have a right to be different from other citizens and still have access to civic features. That while we have a right to disagree with others on certain issues and the value of some certain qualities we don't have a right to say we won't do business with them because of them.
No, that's pretty much the antithesis of privacy and autonomy.
6.18.2008 10:54pm
Oren:
A non-Jew need only obey the Noahide laws if he wishes to live among the Jews (Ger Toshav) in Jewish lands. Everyone else is unconstrained, although advised that God probably thinks those laws are a good idea.
6.18.2008 10:58pm
Oren:
I think it's OK to oppose something (like, say, government schools) because it creates more people who will vote to raise my taxes and restrict my freedom of action. Certainly gender confusion creates more lesbians (since women are more flexible in that regard) and lesbians tend to vote left. Nothing outrageous about that argument.
Yup. Totally unobjectionable.
6.18.2008 11:00pm
mrsizer (www):
Sorry if there has already been a response to Galt @ 6.17.2008 9:47pm but I had to skip down and leave a comment.

Galt,

I believe that you are partially correct. Hetro men have an instinctive "eew!!" reaction to gay sex. However, gay sex is not the same as a gay couple.

I'm trying to resist the urge to be explicit here - please give me credit for that.

My partner (not spouse) and I have been together for nine years, now. We have many straight friends and a many parties at our house.

I work with many Russians, who, I believe I can say without prejudice, have a less "tolerant" view of gay couples than Americans.

We do not talk about sex. I don't want to hear about what they do with their wives and they CERTAINLY do not want to hear about what I do with my partner.

That does not prevent us from having good - more than casual - relationships. Where "us" includes all of my co-workers, not just the Russians, and both my partner and I.

Having an "eeww!!" reaction to gay sexual activities is not at all the same as having that reaction to gay people.

BTW: Я говарю по-русскпй - тоже материться.
6.18.2008 11:10pm
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
I don't like discussing my personal circumstances, but I guess this is a "teachable moment".

This question is aimed at those who think it's same-sex "marriage" as opposed to same-sex marriage. Those who are against homosexuality.

My UK Birth Certificate says "boy". My UK passport says "Female". In Australia, where I live, I could only marry a man, as same-sex marriage is forbidden. In the UK, where I was born, I could only marry another woman, as again, same-sex marriage is forbidden. In Malta, I couldn't marry anyone, not being considered either male or female.

I have a (fortunately) rare medical condition. Just as some people with 46xy(male) chromosomes and 5ARD or 17BHDD look female at birth, then masculinise, I looked male at birth, then feminised. I have male chromosomes (well, mostly), but female genitalia etc.

In 1985, as the result of a very basic examination at a fertility clinic, I was diagnosed as an undervirilised (intersexed) male, with all the signs of mild androgen insensitivity. I looked undubitably male. In 2005, as the result of a massive series of tests, MRIs, Ultrasounds etc, all taken because of the spectacular changes, I was diagnosed as a severely androgenised (intersexed) woman. By then, I looked indubitably female.

In the USA, I would be considered male or female depending on the state, and in Texas, the county. In Kansas, I could only marry another woman, and in Kentucky, a man.

This whole mess reminds me far too much of the anti-miscegenation laws, where one's race could depend on which state one lives in. In some places, 1/64 Black meant Black, in others, White.

So, my question is this: if I am to avoid the "sin" of homosexuality, must my sexual orientation change depending on where I am? And if not, who should I be attracted to? And why?

Not that it matters, but I consider myself a straight woman with an unusual medical history and an interesting past, but I don't get a say in it, do I?

OK, over to you. I expect deafening silence. People like me don't fit your world-view, so we get ignored. We really suffer the consequences of inconsistent and illogical laws though. Marriage, parental rights (for although most are sterile, some are not), even passport issue can be a problem.
6.18.2008 11:26pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
No, that's pretty much the antithesis of privacy and autonomy.

No only if you consider businesses 'people' which of course they aren't in most cases. Even more obvious in states like Washington where civil rights statutes don't apply at all to small businesses and non-profits, and religious organizations. People have privacy and autonomy, not made up things like businesses. Its a balance - real live people's rights to privacy and autonomy vs businesses which by their very nature are there to sell products and services and if they are true to that wouldn't turn down business for these qualities anyway.
6.18.2008 11:30pm
mrsizer (www):
Skipping down again, this one to Clayton @ 6.17.2008 11:54pm:

I think you are about 70% correct. The activist crowd - a part of which I am not - is driven by insecurity.

However, there is some rational basis for SSM. When marriage goes awry, the family law issues can be nightmarish. However, when it works as intended, there are quite a lot of benefits.

Let's take an easy case: Why shouldn't my partner get my social security benefits? It's not a matter, such as a will, that can be taken care of externally. It's a government mandate: Spouses get them; no one else does.

I have no particular desire to get "married" to my partner/boyfriend. However, the existing framework makes that the easiest choice.

Can you imagine a battle like this over every single attempt to extend each federal marriage benefit to gay couples?

I, personally, am for the libertarian solution: Take the State out of marriage entirely.

Your Social Security benefits go to who you will them to. If you don't will them to anyone, more money for the government.
6.18.2008 11:32pm
Public_Defender (mail):

If you fascists would stop with "power of social condemnation" we wouldn't be happy, but so what? Instead, showing the essentially fascist nature of homosexuality, you insist on using the government to impose your moral code on others.


Yawn. It wasn't long ago that social conservatives supported jailing gays. In fact, there were signs in San Fransisco over the past few days demanding to "Recriminalize Sodomy."

As to "fascism," well, lots of American anti-Gay Episcopalians decided to cleave to a Nigerian Archbishop who supports putting gay people in jail for being gay or merely for speaking for gay rights. Worse, they are cleaving to the thug specifically because he is anti-gay.

And my guess is the Jews would have been a lot less ticked about the Nazis if the Nazis had just required Jewish photographers to take pictures at Nazi events.

I think the photographer case was wrongly decided, but it's just self-parody to call it "fascism." Mass murder it ain't. Get a grip.
6.19.2008 12:00am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Hey, you could do better, and leave people alone. You know, what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business? It's a shame that homosexuals no longer believe that.


The irony of this coming from someone that doesn't believe Lawrence is beyond words.
Your dishonesty knows no words. The Lawrence decision was wrongly decided as a matter of constitutional law. The Texas law that Lawrence overturned was a very silly law, and one that I would have supported repealing.
6.19.2008 1:11am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But its not 1960 is it Clayton? Like it or not being gay isn't illegal and you won't turn back the clock by whining about. (as it stands I 100% obeyed all laws against such acts in 1960 and for many years after that actually).

But now the man who argues for the 2nd amendment almost as a religious tenet is now saying that expecting people to follow the law is a 'dangerous idea'. A servere case of moral relativity it seems ;)
Learn to read. I was arguing against your insistence that once you should always obey the law, and never question it, no matter how stupid.
6.19.2008 1:13am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Yawn. It wasn't long ago that social conservatives supported jailing gays. In fact, there were signs in San Fransisco over the past few days demanding to "Recriminalize Sodomy."
Isn't it interesting that an idea that no one except Rev. Fred Phelps thought was a good idea is suddenly now back on protest signs? You kept pushing, and forcing, and demanding, and telling judges to ignore the federal and state constitutions--and now that reappears. Do you suppose that your fascism is having negative consequences?
6.19.2008 1:15am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Let's take an easy case: Why shouldn't my partner get my social security benefits? It's not a matter, such as a will, that can be taken care of externally. It's a government mandate: Spouses get them; no one else does.
And this is among the silliest parts of the whole system. Believe me, this objection you have to the current system is about number 37 down the list of things wrong with it!

I will tell you that here are changes that I might find acceptable. If you wanted to form "domestic corporations" to handle not just gay couples, but some other complicated situations with respect to taxes, it would be worth discussing. Insisting on turning this whole matter into a self-esteem builder by calling it "marriage" creates a lot of serious concerns and objections in traditional America.
6.19.2008 1:19am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I was responding to claims that my support for antidiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation makes me a "homofascist." But the purported intrusions on liberty caused by such laws are no different than the intrusions imposed by the laws barring race discrimination. If you want to support the "homofascist" claim, you either need to come up with some principled distinction between the two intrusions, or assert that the nondiscrimination provisions of the '64 Civil Rights Act turned the U.S. into a fascist state.
I've already pointed out one significant difference, because of the long history of state imposition of racial and sexual discrimination on private employers. And yes, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well-intentioned as it was, started us down the slope to a society where the distinction between public and private has been gradually eroded away--and that is one of the defining characteristics of fascism. Mussolini was explicit that fascism meant, "Nothing against the state, nothing outside the state." And that's essentially what you are arguing for (unless you want to have sex--then the state isn't allowed to step in).
6.19.2008 1:23am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

People who refuse to do business with gay people are assholes. Assholery, in a free society, is not a basis for civil or criminal penalties.
As a general statement, I will agree with you. But there are circumstances where there is nothing inappropriate with refusing to do with business with gay people. For example, some people find fisting objectionable, and do not want to even think about it. (I certainly don't, but having lived in a gay controlled section of the country, there wasn't any way to avoid thinking about it--along with the vast majority of other activities that yes, some straight people do--but are primarily gay activities.)

"Hi there, me and my partner would like you to cast some Plexiglas fists modeled after our hands. Can you do that for us? They have to be very smooth, and with a Teflon finish so that feces don't stick."

"Sir, please take your business elsewhere. And I'm going to put up a sign on the front of my plastic fabrication shop that says, 'Perverts, please go elsewhere.'"

But the homofascists would object to me putting up such a sign.
6.19.2008 1:28am
Oren:
Your dishonesty knows no words. The Lawrence decision was wrongly decided as a matter of constitutional law. The Texas law that Lawrence overturned was a very silly law, and one that I would have supported repealing.
Ah yes, your favorite rights are Constitutionally protected but mine are at the tender mercies of the legislature. Your assertion that "what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business" rings hollow (IMO) if the government can make it their business any time they feel like it.

BTW, I wouldn't object to that sign you mentioned at 12:28.
6.19.2008 2:16am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Learn to read. I was arguing against your insistence that once you should always obey the law, and never question it, no matter how stupid.

Like some interpretations of the second amendment? Not discriminating over sexual orientation isn't 'stupid', its being reasonable - I mean really when is sexual orientation even relevant to most business transactions?

For example, some people find fisting objectionable, and do not want to even think about it.

What the heck does that have to do with sexual orientation? Take a cruise around the internet - heterosexuals are doing it too in large numbers (lots of DVDs available). Are you seriously saying that a civil right statute against sexual orientation would force YOU to make sex toys? (yes I did note your change of context to 'homofascists' object to YOU putting up such a sign.)

Clayton you can see that many of your 'concerns' really exist only in your head, right?
6.19.2008 2:26am
Cornellian (mail):
I've had friends and I've got associates in my neighborhood who are practicing homosexuals.

And are you a "practicing heterosexual?" Do you mean you're trying to get better at it?
6.19.2008 2:37am
Pas de Junk (mail):
It strikes me that what is missing in the hundreds of comments here is that gay marriage and homosexual behaviour has to do with sex. And religious institutions have always been interested in sex -- mainly in sexual morality.

Most people agree that it's legitimate for religious institutions to teach on sexual morality -- adultery, pre-marital sex, the role of sex in relationships, homosexual sex, polygamy. Most people agree that that's a legitimate and desirable role for religious institutions to play in society regardless of whether they agree on the institutions' particular positions.

Same-sex marriage and same-sex discrimination laws that do not have accommodations built in for religious and faith-based institutions will, as we've seen, cut into the associational and expressive rights of religious institutions in probably undesirable ways. Now, nobody is saying that religious institutions will somehow suddenly not be able to teach from the pulpit on these issues -- it's subtler than that, but it's no less harmful to their free expression and association rights.

Can a faith-based institution or church dismiss someone who is in a same-sex marriage or relationship under a same-sex discrimination law? Before, the answer would probably have been yes, because it was a question of that employee adhering to a moral code promoted by and maintained by the religious employer. With same-sex marriage, it would be illegal to discriminate on the basis of marital status, and with same-sex discrimination laws, illegal to teach within the organisation anything appearing disapproving of homosexuality.

That's the crux of the problem and what makes this issue different from race, it's not the red herring of whether clergy will be forced to marry same-sex couples.

So the core of it is whether we are willing to recognise that, regardless of what you personally believe about homosexuality or extra-marital sex or pornography, expressions by religious institutions on sexual morality should be protected in a way that teaching on racism isn't.
6.19.2008 2:40am
Cornellian (mail):
You want to be able to kiss your loved one in public without being beated up -- I want the same right.

Depending on my mood, I'm inclined to recommend the following method of exercising that right.

1) "shall issue" state
2) concealed carry
3) respond to would-be assailant with demonstration of your Second Amendment rights. Bear in mind that dead men don't testify.

A few well-publicized instances of the above, combined with a few jury aquittals (quite possible depending on the circumstances) and you're likely to see a dramatic decline in such assaults in your area.
6.19.2008 2:41am
Jubal Early (mail):
Thought control has arrived, via, you guessed it, unaccountable, lawless judges ruling against the popular will of the people on an already voter decided law. Judges rule us now, with politicians a mere formality and our elected officials only decide things that judges don't care much about. "Don't look at me", the politician explains, "a judge decided that" wink and nudge the judge. In time, they will decide every single thing. Think about it. If they declare that they will determine what your theological beliefs are, there is nothing to stop them from full Soviet psychiatry and mind control. Times like these make me think it could not be much worse under Islamic law. At least then we will not ever see power players try to force homosexuality on the Boy Scouts, OR anyone else.
6.19.2008 5:32am
byomtov (mail):
If you're not Jewish, Orthodox Jews couldn't care less whether you eat bacon.

Not strictly true - they might get jealous. :-)
6.19.2008 10:22am
Ken Arromdee:
It just leads to the further question "why does the law demand that Elaine Huguenin has to offer her services to anyone that asks for them, but you don't"?

She is not under any such requirement. She is only required not to discriminate on the basis of certain specified criteria (race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, disability, etc.).


However you choose to characterize the requirement, it's one which you don't have. If someone wants to hire you, you can say "I don't want to work for them. They're gay/black/Christian/whatever".

But if someone wants to hire her, she can't say that.

What's the difference?
6.19.2008 10:47am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Michael in Houston
RE: Homosexual Marriage

"Homosexuals are not marrying....Marriage is a condition, a state of being, which, by definition, can only be entered into by a specific class of things, namely human beings of opposite sexes." -- Michael in Houston

Good point. Furthermore, marriage is a state of being ordained by God.

The 'state' has always been envious of God, what with His authority over so many people. This latest effort on the part of California and some other coast-bound states is just another manifestation of their covetousness. They can call it whatever they want, but God knows better. And so do those who understand God better.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Those who talk most about the blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very people who declare that if the chain were broken and the prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly asunder. -- George Bernard Shaw]

P.S. Funny how he was so prescient. Even though he thought he was being sarcastic.
6.19.2008 11:57am
Aultimer:

PaulTX
And if the Libertarians also had political power, they would force their agenda upon the country, i.e. impose it over the objections of the dissenters.


I don't believe it's meaningful to say that people are being "forced" to do what they otherwise wanted to do after removing prohibitions on doing it. It requires a peculiarly authoritarian/statist (or perhaps Scientoligy-like) worldview to think otherwise.
6.19.2008 11:57am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bob Van Burkleo
RE: Try....

“what is his prediction on when the cases in Canada come here, where people start getting fined for quoting the Bible?” -- someone Bob is citing

“Never happened” -- Bob Van Burkleo

...not to be too ignorant.

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/archives2/020641.php

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The future is closer than you think.]
6.19.2008 12:02pm
Aultimer:

Chuck Pelto

"Homosexuals are not marrying....Marriage is a condition, a state of being, which, by definition, can only be entered into by a specific class of things, namely human beings of opposite sexes." -- Michael in Houston

Good point. Furthermore, marriage is a state of being ordained by God.



Guys - you may be shocked to learn that just last night I quite lawfully, outside of California and quite (gramatically and) correctly MARRIED two very homogenous......bottles of ketchup.

Seriously - Jews don't really recognize non-Jewish marriages, Catholics don't really recognize non-Catholic marriage and so on. There a lots of marriages that won't meet religious critera, we're only concerned with government critera in this thread.
6.19.2008 12:06pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Then again, more specific to the point of Christianity being 'persecuted'....

Christian Arrested on the Street for spreading the Gospel

Now. I admit I do not know all the details of this matter. But I thought this report—TODAY—apropos vis-a-vis your allegation.
6.19.2008 12:09pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
No, that's pretty much the antithesis of privacy and autonomy.

No only if you consider businesses 'people' which of course they aren't in most cases.
Regardless of whether I consider businesses people, I certainly consider business owners people.

People have privacy and autonomy, not made up things like businesses. Its a balance - real live people's rights to privacy and autonomy
It doesn't matter if businesses don't have rights; just looking at it from the consumer's side of the equation, it's still the antithesis of "privacy and autonomy" to say, "I want the government to compel you to do business with me."

vs businesses which by their very nature are there to sell products and services and if they are true to that wouldn't turn down business for these qualities anyway.
The "very nature" of a business is to fulfill the wishes of its owner. (The "person," remember? A business, being a "made up thing," doesn't have a "nature.") A business owner is under no obligation to maximize his profits.
6.19.2008 12:13pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Brett:

I was merely correcting your mistaken assertion that anti-discrimination laws have only applied to private parties recently. Again, we've had such laws since 1964, at least. Again, you can refer to this as fascism and I'll take you at your word that you sincerely believe that. But don't pretend what's going on with these laws being extended to protect the category of sexual orientation is some big new leap. And don't pretend you are ever going to succeed, politically or in court, in getting rid of, say, employment discrimination laws. Sorry you think the U.S. is a fascist country because of that reason. I think it's one of the things that makes our country stronger.
6.19.2008 12:24pm
AngelSong (mail):
JosephSlater is right on with this. A lot of the comments on this thread seem to be directed toward discrimination laws in general. If that's your beef, knock yourself out tilting at windmills. My concern is directed toward those who think that sexual orientation should not be one of the protected classes, and it is to that end that I direct my arguments.
6.19.2008 12:34pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Chuckles says:
...not to be too ignorant.

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/archives2/020641.php


Your link refers to no case. Again, very ignorant... I know of one case of a fine where a man printed a reference to a biblical passage saying gays should be put to death tied with a totally non-biblical sign of 2 guys with a not sign through it. He was fined for soliciting the killing of homosexuals. He later displayed the actual quote without the 'not sign' and that was not fined.

Again, if you have a link to where someone was fined for quoting the bible I'm all ears. Seems you don't.

As to business being the business owner, obviously not. No, one person can't decide for all manner of other people that they must be discriminate on these issues. I would say the individual customer's right trump the rights of made up organizations, and yes - businesses to have a 'nature', e.g. "the basic or inherent features of something, esp. when seen as characteristic of it", and commerce is the 'nature' of business.

The "very nature" of a business is to fulfill the wishes of its owner.

Not if he hires even one person because then they have rights he can not override no matter what his 'wishes' are. And of course he can choose not to do business illegally, so his rights to autonomy and privacy are intact. He chooses to be a public accommodation and there are consequence to that choice.

If you want to go back in t
6.19.2008 1:05pm
nutbump (mail):

JosephSlater: Sorry you think the U.S. is a fascist country because of that reason. I think it's one of the things that makes our country stronger.

Only you think that people say U.S. is a fascist country because of that reason.
The actual reason is completely different, the reason is that only certain elite (similar to communist party or national socialist party) have a right to determine what discrimination is and where that discrimination occurs.
It seems to be that we going to have a party of leftist liberals pretty soon that will be entitled to control the whole society and put people in jail or psychiatric clinics for any kind of disagreement with the party.
6.19.2008 1:12pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bob Van Burkleo
RE: No Case?

"Your link refers to no case." -- Bob Van Burkleo

You must live under a rock or some similar locale. In other words, you evade like AngelSong. And deserve just as much recogniztion.

Good-bye....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[I am not here to educate people who refuse to learn.]
6.19.2008 1:30pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: JoesphSlater
RE: Strong?

"Sorry you think the U.S. is a fascist country because of that reason. I think it's one of the things that makes our country stronger." -- JosephSlater

As in strongly fascist? I'll agree. Suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of association are characteristics of fascism. Don't you think?

Therefore, you must also think that what Glenn Reynolds points out in the article I linked to—that Bob Burke dissed—are indications that we are becoming more fascistic. Especially when he closes his comment saying....

Maple-leaf fascism? Just remember, there are plenty of people who'd like to see this happen in America, too.


Those people can be readily identified by their comments here by their comments supporting the idea what one MUST associate with people who are diametrically opposed to your honestly held religious beliefs.

Hope that helps....but...you know.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.]
6.19.2008 1:36pm
AngelSong (mail):

You must live under a rock or some similar locale. In other words, you evade like AngelSong. And deserve just as much recogniztion.

Another pithy remark when obviously no relevant or intelligible response is possible. How is it evasion to point out what is obvious to anyone that actually follows your link?
6.19.2008 1:38pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
You must live under a rock or some similar locale. In other words, you evade like AngelSong. And deserve just as much recogniztion.

Chuckles, either your link doesn't go where you think it goes or you are the one evading the question - when was someone in Canada fined for solely preaching the gospel? Please a single instance.
6.19.2008 2:02pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Nutbump:

My original and continuing point is that it's not "elites" that created or are continuing basic anti-discrimination law. That's the facade of much of this thread -- that the cases cited in the original post have anything to do with gay *marriage*. Gay marriage, at least mostly, has come through judicial opinions, and obviously folks can disagree with those opinions and even claim they are the products of "elites" (although those judicial decisions you like are, too).

But anti-discrimination laws in, say, employment and public accomodations all came through the regular democratic process, and have been widely supported by almost all of the country for decades. Title VII has been around for almost 45 years. It was brought in democratically (and in part by virtue of a bottom-up civil rights movement). Same for other employment and public-access laws, state and federal.

Again, it's fine if you and some others think that all of that is contrary to libertarian principles, fascist, or otherwise wrong. Just don't pretend that you are in anything other than a tiny minority. Nothing wrong with being in a tiny minority -- I'm in some myself on some issues -- but accepting that fact would make this whole debate more honest and possibly practical.
6.19.2008 2:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: JosephSlater
RE: That Was Then...

"But anti-discrimination laws in, say, employment and public accomodations all came through the regular democratic process, and have been widely supported by almost all of the country for decades. Title VII has been around for almost 45 years. It was brought in democratically (and in part by virtue of a bottom-up civil rights movement). Same for other employment and public-access laws, state and federal." -- JosephSlater

...this is NOW.

Looking over the items that Dale Carpenter provided in the initial article here....

...which of those were acts of the legislative process? Most of them look to me to be acts of men-in-black.

There are two points here:

[1] It was not 'democratic' process at play. It was activist judges. There's something of a difference. Don't you think?
[2] The civil rights process which you are correct was a democratic process, by and large, has been perverted by the homosexuals.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 2:08pm
yankev (mail):

I’m confident that orthodox Jews would take extreme umbrage at my consuming bacon. What do YOU think?
I don't know waht Angel Fire thinks, but as as an Orthodox Jew, I know what I think. I think you don't know very much about Orthodox Judaism. Judaism sees nothing wrong with non-Jews consuming bacon. Judaism teaches that some of its laws (including the prohibtions against murder, idolatry and sexual immorality -- including homosexual intercourse) are universal, while others (e.g. Sabbath observance, dietary restrictions, prohibition on dressing in a certain way) are addressed only to Jews. And there is zero disagreement among Orthodox authorities as to which are which.

If I were going to take umbrage at anything (and I don't), it would be your assumption that Orthodox Jews would expect a non-Jew to observe laws that were given to and for Jews exclusively.
6.19.2008 2:14pm
yankev (mail):
Sorry, I meant Angel Song, not Angel Fire.


A non-Jew need only obey the Noahide laws if he wishes to live among the Jews (Ger Toshav) in Jewish lands. Everyone else is unconstrained, although advised that God probably thinks those laws are a good idea.


Oren, it goes beyond that. True, that Jewish courts cannot punish violation of the Noahide laws outside of Jewish lands, but that hardly makes it irrelevant. As you flippantly allude to in your last clause,

1. One of the Noahide laws is the requirement to establish courts of justice to prosecute those who violate the Noahide laws.
2. Gentile violators of the Noahide laws are subject to Divine punishment if not punished by the court.
3. Societies that tolerate violation of the Noahide laws are deemed evil and are subject to Divine punishment.
6.19.2008 2:30pm
AngelSong (mail):
Yikes, don't impart ignorance to me! :) Of course I have no expectation that an Orthodox Jew (or probably any other Jew) would have an objection to a Gentile who chooses not to follow Kosher!
6.19.2008 2:53pm
bls (mail):
"Incorrect. You should read up on the Noachide laws."

One little logical problem there: only some Jews (and a very few others, I gather) hold that "all mankind" is bound by the Noachide laws. And QED.

They do go to prove one point made on this thread, though. Astrology is also forbidden by the Noachide laws, and yet there isn't a wholesale campaign to get the astrology columns banned from newspapers and websites. Gee, I wonder why not?
6.19.2008 2:59pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Chuck Pelto:


P.S. Then again, more specific to the point of Christianity being 'persecuted'....

[Link to:] Christian Arrested on the Street for spreading the Gospel

Now. I admit I do not know all the details of this matter. But I thought this report—TODAY—apropos vis-a-vis your allegation.


Is this a person being arrested for the content of his message, or just his general behavior (or some other non-message reason)?

I ask this because, every year we have a GLBT film festival in Tampa. It lasts every night for roughly two weeks in an historic theater downtown. Without fail, a few people show up with the usual "God Hates Fags" signs and loud bullhorns and harass the event attendees. (The bullhorns, BTW, are so large they cannot be held but mounted on tripods and powered by something more than a simple battery.)

The area around the theater, because of the layout, may be rented by the city. Further, the courtyard of the building across the street is also available for private rental. In an attempt to prevent harassment, the event organizers now rent the sidewalks, street, and courtyard on that small block.

Last year two people were warned then arrested for crossing into the private event to harass attendees directly.

As it happens, they were Christians and preaching the Gospel to the GLBT folks. I do not believe they were "arrested on the street for spreading the Gospel" but instead they were arrest for trespass and a few other things that probably make more sense to police and lawyers than to me.
6.19.2008 3:00pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: Missing the Point, Are We?

"I don't know waht Angel Fire thinks, but as as an Orthodox Jew, I know what I think. I think you don't know very much about Orthodox Judaism. Judaism sees nothing wrong with non-Jews consuming bacon." -- yankev

The point was if I demand an orthodox Jew-owned restaurant serve me bacon. Going a step further that they should eat the bacon too.

And if they didn't have it on the menu and refused to go out and get some for me, that I should go to court and file suit against the establishment.

Do you understand now?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 3:01pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: shawn-non-anonymous
RE: That Street Minister's Arrest

"Is this a person being arrested for the content of his message, or just his general behavior (or some other non-message reason)?" -- shawn-non-anonymous

As I said in the initial post, I don't know all the details. For instance, what the charge was on the arrest report. But as I recall from abortion cases, the police used charges like "blocking public right of way", when the sidewalk was certainly wide enough to walk around.

On other occasions, I've known of police to arrest people for 'illegal flight', when they base-jumped off of El Capitan at Yosemite. Indeed, I was threatened with arrest by my local police for camcordering a Board of Directors meeting of an organization in which I am a paying member. The proposed charge...."Invasion of Privacy". At a public meeting no less.

My point here is that the police with pull anything out of their proverbial fourth-point-of-contact in order to get you to stop doing what is perfectly legal. And they've got a boiler-plate item that covers their malfeasance, if you read your ordinances carefully.

Back to the citation....

I suspect that the police used something like "disturbing the peace" in their arrest. But I'd like to see the arrest report.

As it is, on a busy city street in an upscale restaurant? I doubt if the patrons could hear what the fellow was saying, unless he was using a bullhorn. They just objected to his message and complained accordingly. The police did what I've noticed them doing elsewhere....violated the man's right to freedom of speech in the public venue.

I recall a similar incident years ago. While on an exercise in the field at Fort Riley, KS. We were in a GP medium tent doing staff work in support of the exercise. I was processing reports and smoking a cigar. It was Summer in Kansas, the sides of the tent were rolled up. It was somewhat 'breezy'. The smoke from my cigar was being wafted out the end of the tent I was sitting near, 5 feet away.

Upwind, at the other end of the 20' long tent was a female major. She complained about my cigar.

I looked at her. Then I looked at her female buddy who was smoking a cigarette, right beside her. I then said, "I'll put out my cigar when you order your friend to put out her cigarette."

Nothing further happened. And I'll bet she still hates me.

What's the point of that anecdote? That PC people hate what they hate and are hypocrites about it too.

Regards,

Chuck(le)


Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Welcome to the world of the REAL.]
6.19.2008 3:12pm
bls (mail):
"It strikes me that what is missing in the hundreds of comments here is that gay marriage and homosexual behaviour has to do with sex. "

If this were all there were to it, then gay marriage wouldn't be an issue at all. Gay people would simply have sex and that would be the end of it.

Religious groups can teach whatever they like - to their own adherents. They can't teach it to other people and expect to be obeyed or even listened to.

What you're really talking about is personal and/or religious discomfort with the fact of homosexuality, I think. And the question is, should this be accommodated in the law? Probably not - but it should probably be accommodated by common sense. You shouldn't sue, IOW, just because you're insulted. You shouldn't sue when there are other businesses who can accommodate you.

But people are people and are going to bring lawsuits that shouldn't be brought. Others are going to hate gay people unreasonably. Oh, well.
6.19.2008 3:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Yankev
RE: The Noahide Laws

"Societies that tolerate violation of the Noahide laws are deemed evil and are subject to Divine punishment." -- Yankev

Where can I find information on these laws on the internet? Do you have a URL you'd be willing to share?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 3:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: bls
RE: Yes....But....

"Religious groups can teach whatever they like - to their own adherents. They can't teach it to other people and expect to be obeyed or even listened to." -- bls

...should they be arrested for speaking in the public venue?

Should they be told they cannot speak in the public venue?

Should they be ordered to violate their own honestly held beliefs?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 3:21pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. On the other hand, we have reports of homosexual rallies outside churches in SanFran where they were shouting and yelling obscenities at the parishoners inside during services.

The police did nothing to stop them.

We're talking serious hypocrisy in enforcement of laws here.
6.19.2008 3:22pm
bls (mail):
(Again, the question comes down to: why is homosexuality the gigantic bugaboo - when other "sins" are accommodated all the time?

The photographer would certainly have worked the wedding of two fat people - even though gluttony is a sin (a Deadly Sin, matter of fact). She would have worked at the wedding of two very prideful individuals. She would certainly have taken the wedding of people who'd previously been divorced - even though that's named in the New Testament as forbidden. She would even have worked, I'd bet, at the wedding of two Astrologers, or at the wedding of two atheists - and if she hadn't, she would have opened herself up to a lawsuit, too. And I bet nobody here would be complaining - or anyway, very few would be.

So the question is: why is homosexuality so out of bounds? Really, it's because it's a tiny minority of people involved, and their intimate "practices" are not to the majority's taste. And people are afraid of it, too, I think, because they don't understand it.)
6.19.2008 3:26pm
AngelSong (mail):

Should they be ordered to violate their own honestly held beliefs?

Depends on what those "honestly held beliefs" are and how they impact the lives of other people.
6.19.2008 3:34pm
bls (mail):
"...should they be arrested for speaking in the public venue?

Should they be told they cannot speak in the public venue?

Should they be ordered to violate their own honestly held beliefs?
"

Who's been arrested for speaking? Who's been told they can't speak? None of the examples given allege these things.

If people have "honestly held beliefs" against homosexual sex, I'm sure nobody is going to force them to engage in it. You're really talking about "distaste," not "beliefs," I'd say. Otherwise, you could also use the same argument in favor of racial discrimination.

If you want to say that nobody should be protected against discrimination, then that's something different. "Honestly held beliefs" can be anything, though.
6.19.2008 3:44pm
AngelSong (mail):

So the question is: why is homosexuality so out of bounds? Really, it's because it's a tiny minority of people involved, and their intimate "practices" are not to the majority's taste. And people are afraid of it, too, I think, because they don't understand it.)

Exactly, and also because it is relatively easy to oppose homosexuality and allows a false sense of "taking a stand for Jesus" so to speak in the face of "persecution". I went into more detail in my post above (6.18.2008 12:05pm)
6.19.2008 3:51pm
yankev (mail):
Mark, I agree with your observation about demanding that a Jewish-owned restauarant serve bacon. That's a far cry from the erroneous assumption posited that an Orthodox Jew would be offended by a non-Jew eating bacon.

I seem to recall a thread last year or so about a community "civil rights" group that filed a discrimination complaint against a Jewish-owned medical clinic for not having Saturday office hours, which simply goes to prove your point.

I would be leary of any web site dealing with Noahide laws unless it is run by a reputable Orthodox source.
6.19.2008 3:52pm
yankev (mail):

One little logical problem there: only some Jews (and a very few others, I gather) hold that "all mankind" is bound by the Noachide laws.
By definition, all Orthodox Jews do. But you are right, that's a small number. So what?


Astrology is also forbidden by the Noachide laws,
Says who? Worship of stars, planets etc. is forbidden, but that's vdry different from astrology, which is prohibited to Jews but not to gentiles -- the antithesis of a Noahide law.
6.19.2008 3:55pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: bls
RE: A Lack of Understanding

"Again, the question comes down to: why is homosexuality the gigantic bugaboo - when other "sins" are accommodated all the time?" -- bls

There are sins and then there are abominations. Surely God despises both.

All men and women 'sin'. It's because we're, generally speaking, ignorant, stupid and/or weak. In most cases it's all three. Just look around you here.

But not all commit abominations. Homosexuality is, based on my readings over the last 25 years, an abomination.

And, as Christ put it, it is wrong to support such things as sins and abominations. Especially the latter.

RE: The Photog Scenario

Yes. Gluttony is a sin. But, as I said, everyone sins. The big difference between Judeo-Christian philosophy and these atheists around here is the former recognize they've got problems and, hopefully, are trying to do something about it. Whereas the latter.....well....they're still in denial. Most especially of God.

RE: The Problem Is....

...that people don't care to be told they're doing something wrong.

Case in point, go to a bar and when someone who is obviously drunk reaches for his car keys and staggers for the door just TRY to take those car keys away from him. See what you get for your effort to help him. Even from someone you know.

RE: The Noahide Laws

Found them. Very interesting. I guess, based on what I've read, a lot of people here are in a LOT of 'trouble' with Him.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Death, n., To finally stop sinning.]
6.19.2008 3:56pm
yankev (mail):
Chuckle, I have trouble posting url links here, but try seaching "noahide laws" at aish.com or at jewfaq.org. There is also a detailed article (which I have not read) by Rabbi Michael Broyde, a Modern Orthodox scholar for whom I have great respect, at http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/noach2.html

Also, I apologize for referring to you as "Mark" a few posts ago, re the bacon. Still recovering from the pain meds.
6.19.2008 4:01pm
AngelSong (mail):

There are sins and then there are abominations. Surely God despises both.

All men and women 'sin'. It's because we're, generally speaking, ignorant, stupid and/or weak. In most cases it's all three. Just look around you here.

But not all commit abominations. Homosexuality is, based on my readings over the last 25 years, an abomination.

And, as Christ put it, it is wrong to support such things as sins and abominations. Especially the latter.

The problem with your analysis is that you are imparting the connotations of an English word into a Hebrew word and simultaneously disregarding the connotations of the Hebrew word! In fact, the word "to'evah" does NOT mean something that is inherently sinful or evil, but rather something that is culturally unacceptable. Furthermore, the word as used in the Bible is connected to and has connotations of idolatry and pagan religious practices. Many Bible scholars have now concluded that what was so "abominable" about the prohibited practice was the use of male temple cultic prostitutes, a very common practice in many of the other religious practices of the region. Although it is not completely clear to which practices specifically this verse referred, it is quite clear that to interpret the verse as a blanket prohibition of any and all homosexual behaviors and acts is a false reading.
6.19.2008 4:11pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: [OT] Trouble Citing URLs

"I have trouble posting url links here...." -- yankev

I know what you mean. I had problems with my second citation in this thread. Took me five minutes to sort it out to the point it would link properly.

Never fear. I found a reliable source on my own. Very nice information.

RE: Misappropriation

Not a problem. I figured you'd figure it out.

RE: [OT] Pain Meds

They can do interesting thinks to you. I remember mine after leg surgery. Wild visions and dreams...as opposed to thrashing about in the hospital bed.

Hang in there.

Keep up the Go[o]d work....

....we're all excited.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. -- John Adams]
6.19.2008 4:11pm
Chairm (mail):
Regarding the example of the Ocean Grove boardwalk in New Jersey:

How would a civil union ceremony constitute or contribute to "the conservation of natural resources or a public recreation", as per the purpose of the Green Acres program?

Weddings are not treated as such.

But maybe gay activists believe that civil union ceremonies are a form of natural resource consevation or a form of public recreation.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, marriage has been established, in law, as both-sexed and constitutionally so. And civil union is one-sexed, as per the enactment of Civil Union.

Weddings are not civil union ceremonies. So the performance of weddings does not mean 1) that the Methodist organization must allow such ceremonies for the sake of Green Acres or otherwise, nor that 2) civil union ceremonies, contrary to the Methodist organization's policies, are marriage ceremonies.

The gay activists are out to punish, not to restore justice, and in their zeal they have demonstrated that the SSM campaign's littany of false equivalencies will inevitably clashe with property rights and with the liberties of the First Amendment.
6.19.2008 4:11pm
Chairm (mail):
Regarding Boston Catholic Charities:

See here:

Of the four agencies involved in adoptions (among other charitable activities) three have categorically denied placing children with couples in same-sex relationships. That alone refutes your remark (i.e. "The Cathlic Church in Boston had no problem placing children in homes for gays") [...] The fourth adoption agency, in Boston, responded to the coercion of the state agents. The entire charitable program was at risk, as was the the license to facilitate adoptions of children in need. They tried to rebalance but in so doing they clearly ran afoul of the teachings of their Church.
6.19.2008 4:14pm
bls (mail):
"By definition, all Orthodox Jews do. But you are right, that's a small number. So what? "

Because the argument was that homosexuality was forbidden to Jews and not Gentiles?

Here are the Noachide Laws, as I understand them:

1. Do not murder.
2. Do not steal.
3. Do not worship false gods.
4. Do not be sexually immoral.
5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6. Do not curse God.
7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

Why do you believe this says something about "homosexuality"? Where does it say that? Or, rather: where are you getting that from?
6.19.2008 4:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: bls
RE:

"Who's been arrested for speaking? Who's been told they can't speak? None of the examples given allege these things." -- bls

Maybe you should go back and read that item I linked to above. Look for the blue link text.

"If people have "honestly held beliefs" against homosexual sex, I'm sure nobody is going to force them to engage in it." -- bls

Really?

Where do most homosexual rapes occur? Think it through.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 4:16pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: bls
RE: You....

"Here are the Noachide Laws, as I understand them:

1. Do not murder.
2. Do not steal.
3. Do not worship false gods.
4. Do not be sexually immoral.
5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6. Do not curse God.
7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice." -- bls

...are either grossly misinformed or much, much worse.

Please give me the url you got this set from. I'd like to see it for myself. It would help me determine whether or not you are option 1 or option 2 as I proposed.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 4:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Is that a typo in "Noachide"? Or are you doing CYA? I wonder if there are a set of "Noachide Laws".
6.19.2008 4:24pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Chuck Pelto

P.S. On the other hand, we have reports of homosexual rallies outside churches in SanFran where they were shouting and yelling obscenities at the parishoners inside during services.

The police did nothing to stop them.

We're talking serious hypocrisy in enforcement of laws here.



Cites?

Even if some folks decided to give a Church a taste of its own medicine (juvenile as that is), it doesn't prove the police behaved hypocritically. It may only prove that one set of protesters was smarter about not breaking the laws than the other.
6.19.2008 4:28pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: shawn-non-anonymous
RE: Hypocrisy In Action

"Even if some folks decided to give a Church a taste of its own medicine (juvenile as that is), it doesn't prove the police behaved hypocritically." -- shawn-non-anonymous

Actually....it does.

So....tell us where YOU hang out and I think someone could arrange a demonstration there. Let's see what happens. Maybe I could get the 'good' Reverend Phelps to do it.

Care to place a wager on the results? Say, the cost of all judgements and legal fees?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 4:31pm
grendel (mail):
Please give me the url you got this set from. I'd like to see it for myself. It would help me determine whether or not you are option 1 or option 2 as I proposed.


try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noahide_Laws
6.19.2008 4:39pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Chairm:

Of the four agencies involved in adoptions (among other charitable activities) three have categorically denied placing children with couples in same-sex relationships. That alone refutes your remark (i.e. "The Cathlic Church in Boston had no problem placing children in homes for gays") [...] The fourth adoption agency, in Boston, responded to the coercion of the state agents. The entire charitable program was at risk, as was the the license to facilitate adoptions of children in need. They tried to rebalance but in so doing they clearly ran afoul of the teachings of their Church.



As I linked in a previous thread...

The 42 member board of that Catholic adoption agency voted unanimously to continue serving gay and lesbian parents. Further, when the Bishop ordered a stop to all such adoptions, 8 members of that board quit in protest.

This is inconsistent with your claim that the agency was only doing so out of coercion. If that was the case, the vote would have been divided and no one would have quit in protest.
6.19.2008 4:44pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: grendel
RE: Sorry....

" 1. Prohibition of Idolatry: You shall not have any idols before God.
2. Prohibition of Murder: You shall not murder. (Genesis 9:6)
3. Prohibition of Theft: You shall not steal.
4. Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: You shall not commit adultery.
5. Prohibition of Blasphemy: You shall not blaspheme God's name.
6. Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals: Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive. (Genesis 9:4)
7. Requirement to have just Laws: You shall set up an effective judiciary to enforce the preceding six laws fairly." -- grendel's proposed url

That is not a match with bls.

Let's see bls report the url.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I found a number of sets. And I have to say, your url provides evidence that wikipedia is not the most accurate source of information on the face of the Earth. But thanks. That information, in and of itself, is useful.....
6.19.2008 4:48pm
yankev (mail):
bis, sexual immorality takes in a lot of ground. It is always dangerous -- as Angel points out -- to generalize from English translations of anything written in Hebrew or Aramaic.

I do not have a source at this time. The Talmud Bavli covers a lot of ground, and not always where you expect it to be.
6.19.2008 4:53pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Chuck Pelto:


So....tell us where YOU hang out and I think someone could arrange a demonstration there. Let's see what happens. Maybe I could get the 'good' Reverend Phelps to do it.


Ybor City, Tampa, FL. Best on a Saturday night.

Note that we often see Christians dragging full-sized crosses on their shoulders down the sidewalk. They have their bullhorns out and they yell at people they believe are immoral for one reason or another. If you look, you'll find a cop nearby, keeping an eye on things. I've never seen nor heard of one getting arrested down there.

I have recently seen an atheist group handing out literature and holding up a sign that says "God does not Exist" as a counter-protest. They don't arrested either and they too have a cop nearby.

Last year the police even let the protesters walk down the Gay Pride parade route (not as part of the parade, of course) and harass attendees. No arrests there either.

If the Phelps clan were to join in the fray, I'm sure little would change.
6.19.2008 4:57pm
yankev (mail):

Many Bible scholars have now concluded that what was so "abominable" about the prohibited practice was the use of male temple cultic prostitutes, a very common practice in many of the other religious practices of the region. Although it is not completely clear to which practices specifically this verse referred, it is quite clear that to interpret the verse as a blanket prohibition of any and all homosexual behaviors and acts is a false reading.



Angel Song, I am not much persuaded by Christian interpretation of what Jewish law permits or prohibits. By definition, Christianity and Judaism have radically different views of the role, source and interpretation of Jewish law. If you have something from a reputable Orthodox Jewish source, please share it. If not, it may be interesting but it is hardly relevant.
6.19.2008 4:58pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: URLs Reprised

It would be good to see a url that you recommend for an English translation of the Noahide Laws.

I know that TVC has 'issues' with long words, as found in urls. I recommend breaking it up. I think some of us could figure out how to reconnect the text to go see what you think is the most accurate translation from Yiddish to English.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 4:58pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: As Some Hebrew Put It....

"If you have something from a reputable Orthodox Jewish source, please share it. If not, it may be interesting but it is hardly relevant." -- yankev

....around 2000 years ago....

....you cannot put new wine into old skins.

NOW! As my Bible study group examined that passage last Friday morning, I fully appreciate what we determined.

THANKS!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 5:19pm
yankev (mail):
Chuck, "Noahide" and "Noachide" are two different English spellings of the same Hebrew-based English word. The Hebrew name Noach ends with the Hebrew letter chess (that's with a ch as in the Scottish loch, not the game you play on a board with 64 squares). The English Bible was first translated into English from Greek, and retained the Greek spelling of words from the earlier translation from Hebrew into Greek. Greek has no sound -- and hence no letter -- for the guttural "ch" and tranliterated it with the sound "H". Hence Noah, Ahasuserus, Isaac (in Heb. Yitzchak).

Similar issues with the Hebrew letters Sh with becomes s in Greek (Sabbath for Shabbos) J becomes Y and v becomes b (Jacob for Yakov, Abigail for Avigail) and a plain guttural stop ayin beomes G (Gaza for 'Aza, Gemora for 'Amora) ph and p interchange at times (Pharoah for Paro) and TS becomes z (Hepzibah for Cheftziva, Zion for Tsion).
6.19.2008 5:24pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):

TO: shawn-non-anonymous
RE: Hanging Out

“Ybor City, Tampa, FL. Best on a Saturday night.” -- shawn-non-anonymous

Most places are ‘best on a Saturday night’, in Occidental World.

My Father, God bless him, when he retired from the Air Force, eventually wound up in Clearwater.

“Note that we often see Christians dragging full-sized crosses on their shoulders down the sidewalk. They have their bullhorns out and they yell at people they believe are immoral for one reason or another. If you look, you'll find a cop nearby, keeping an eye on things. I've never seen nor heard of one getting arrested down there.” -- shawn-non-anonymous

Based on your report, your cops are better than those in SanFran; and some other places I’ve heard of/experienced/reported. And that’s a blessing. Count it amongst your prayers tonight.

But I’m not too keen on the bullhorn idea. It’s a bit crass for my taste. I only use such instruments when I can’t bellow far enough to get someone’s attention at 100 meters. [Note: I used to call cadence for massed battalions of airborne-infantry. You need a powerful set of lungs to be heard over the roar of a C130’s four turboprops when giving jump commands while the doors are open and you have to be heard clearly in the front of the aircraft from the rear of it. God, how I miss that s---!]

“I have recently seen an atheist group handing out literature and holding up a sign that says "God does not Exist" as a counter-protest. They don't arrested either and they too have a cop nearby.” -- shawn-non-anonymous

I REALLY enjoy engaging people who don’t believe that God exists. Or have serious problems recognizing Him. The JWs and Mormon’s don’t come round here no more. I invite them in for tea and reading lessons. Indeed, the last JW that came by was so ‘entertained’ that her compatriots had to come back and ‘rescue’ her from the clutches of the evil evangelical christian who was explaining the deep, dark secrets of Revelation. Unravelling the mysteries, with the gift of knowledge to her....sweet little old lady that she was.

A fine time was had by all, except her compatriots.

Now they don’t come around anymore.....{heavy sigh}.

“Last year the police even let the protesters walk down the Gay Pride parade route (not as part of the parade, of course) and harass attendees. No arrests there either.” -- shawn-non-anonymous

Good for them. The public venue should be open for all to participate in. Not just the politically correct of the moment.

“If the Phelps clan were to join in the fray, I'm sure little would change.” -- shawn-non-anonymous

That WOULD be ‘impressive’, considering the rap that Phelps, et al., have at this time.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular. -- Adlai Stevenson]
6.19.2008 5:28pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: Clarifications

""Noahide" and "Noachide" are two different English spellings of the same Hebrew-based English word." -- yankev

Greatly appreciated. Ain't English 'fun'? One could make a career out of sorting it out for people like me. Indeed. I think some people do such a think.

RE: Noahide Laws

Still hoping you'll provide a url, even broken in format, for me to check. I found several. But I'd like to see what you, from your professional and spiritual perspective recommend.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Keep the Faith, babe!]
6.19.2008 5:32pm
yankev (mail):
Chuck, there were a number of reliable Orthodox sources 2000 years ago, but I doubt that's what Angel Song is referring to when he talks about recent conclusions by Bible scholars that Jewish law sees nothing wrong with homosexuality among non-Jews. He seems to be referring to much more recent scholarship.


The application of Noachide law to many general areas is relatively clear. Homosexuality is forbidden,[37] as is adultery[38] and bestiality.[39]


Without knowing more, I will have to take his opinion over those alluded to by Angel Song.

As to your observation that "you cannot put new wine into old skins", that is from a decidedly non-Orthodox source. Orthodox sages taught in Tractate Avos that one should look at the wine and not the container that holds it; a new container may hold old wine, while an old container may be hold no wine at all. You are of course free to disagree, just as Angel Song is free to cite non-Jewish Bible scholarship, but please do not try to pass it off as authentic Judaism.
6.19.2008 5:37pm
AngelSong (mail):

Angel Song, I am not much persuaded by Christian interpretation of what Jewish law permits or prohibits. By definition, Christianity and Judaism have radically different views of the role, source and interpretation of Jewish law. If you have something from a reputable Orthodox Jewish source, please share it. If not, it may be interesting but it is hardly relevant.

Of course you recognize that Orthodox Judaism is not the only branch, and both Conservative and Reformed Jewish scholars have different interpretations as well, particularly as this passage applies to halachah. Regardless, you would be hard-pressed to argue that the passage quoted prohibits lesbianism, and as such, it cannot constitute a blanket condemnation of all homosexual behavior.
6.19.2008 5:41pm
yankev (mail):
Sorry, I omitted the source of the following quote, which of course, was not Angel Song. The quote is from the article I linked to by Rabbi Broyde about the application of the Noahide (or Noachide) laws:

The application of Noachide law to many general areas is relatively clear. Homosexuality is forbidden,[37] as is adultery[38] and bestiality.[39]


Bis, I think this answers your question.
6.19.2008 5:42pm
yankev (mail):
AngelSong, Orthodox Judaism is the only "branch" that believes that the laws are of direct Divine origin, and that the Oral as well as the Written Torah were directly authored by G-d. These beliefs formed the basis of all Judaism until the late 18th century, with the exception of heretical sects such as the Karaites and the Sadducees. The laws of the Talmud were debated and developed by Sages who took these beliefs as a given. Attempting to reinterpret their rulings in a way that disregards these beliefs would be as intellectually dishonest as positing that the authors of the US Constitution intended to create a right to same sex unions, mandate popular election of the president, or ban the death penalty.
6.19.2008 5:50pm
AngelSong (mail):
And yet as you are well aware, even in the Jewish community there is widespread disagreement about what manner of adherence may be required in this particular area, especially given our understanding of sexual orientation that obviously was not present 3000 years ago. I think it would be even more intellectually dishonest to try to suggest that the verses in question address lesbianism or homosexual orientation in general.
6.19.2008 6:01pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE:

“.....there were a number of reliable Orthodox sources 2000 years ago, but I doubt that's what Angel Song is referring to when he talks about recent conclusions by Bible scholars that Jewish law sees nothing wrong with homosexuality among non-Jews. He seems to be referring to much more recent scholarship.

The application of Noachide law to many general areas is relatively clear. Homosexuality is forbidden,[37] as is adultery[38] and bestiality.[39]

Without knowing more, I will have to take his opinion over those alluded to by Angel Song.” -- yankev

And you are well advised in doing so. AngelSong, despite the claims of having attended seminary, has, in my honest opinion, SERIOUS problems with either English, Logic, Rehtoric and/or God.

Case in point....homosexuality and Hebrew laws, as documented in the Talmud and other reliable sources.

AngelSong is trying to revise historical knowledge for an aim that is less than what He prescribed for us. That’s why he/she/it evaded on my question about a tree and its fruit. AngelSong will no more accept your reports than he/she/it will accept mine.

I’ve learned to discern and hence I don’t bother with he/she/it anymore.

Once you successfully identify the nature of a party, you know how to engage them....or, in this instance....disengage. Time is better spent engaging people who can actually think and, therefore, debate an issue.

Don’t you think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Let the dead bury the dead. -- some Wag, around 2000 years ago]

P.S. And He was right!
6.19.2008 6:05pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: Immorality, Expanded

"The application of Noachide law to many general areas is relatively clear. Homosexuality is forbidden,[37] as is adultery[38] and bestiality.[39]" -- yankev

This correlates well with some of the sources I found. Much different from the euphemisms/obfuscations of bls. And I think it 'significant'—from the military intell aspect—that bls has remained silent on my request for the url that he got his vague report of the Noahide Laws; the one that left out homosexuality as a form of "sexual immorality".

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[What they are telling you may be important. What they are NOT telling you can be vital. -- CBPelto]
6.19.2008 6:09pm
AngelSong (mail):

Time is better spent engaging people who can actually think and, therefore, debate an issue.

Rather fortunate for you that many people don't hold to this standard, isn't it? You haven't exactly demonstrated that you have much ability to do more than make pithy remarks and irrelevant tautologies.
6.19.2008 6:18pm
AngelSong (mail):

AngelSong is trying to revise historical knowledge for an aim that is less than what He prescribed for us. That’s why he/she/it evaded on my question about a tree and its fruit. AngelSong will no more accept your reports than he/she/it will accept mine.

No dearie, I "evaded" your supposed "question" because it was completely irrelevant to the issue at hand, as are most of your pithy remarks.
6.19.2008 6:28pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Where's Was Dale? [Then Governor of Texas Barbara Whatzhername at the 2000 Democratic National Convention (paraphrased)]

I find it particularly interesting that Dale Carpenter, the initiator of this discussion, has not come forward—at least in an honest fashion—to defend himself and his opinions.

Or maybe he/she/it is....under an assumed identity/identities. Who can tell?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.19.2008 6:32pm
yankev (mail):

And yet as you are well aware, even in the Jewish community there is widespread disagreement about what manner of adherence may be required in this particular area,
Not in the Orthodox community. I know of no reputable Orthodox authority who rules that homosexual conduct is permitted, and certainly none who would recognize a same sex union. In fact, the Talmud notes that even in the most immoral and licenstious societies, men do not contract marriages with other men.

especially given our understanding of sexual orientation that obviously was not present 3000 years ago.
Judaism does not prescribe or proscribe orientation, only conduct. The sages recognized that one man might lust after another man, just as men (or women for that matter) might have appetites or lusts for things that are forbidden. But they taught that man is expected to resist those urges and not give in to them.

As to what we know today about sexual orientation, I do know that one and only one study purported to prove that it is determined at birth, and that a later study that set out to duplicate the results of the first one was unable to. Yet on the basis of that one study, suddenly "everyone knows" that sexual orientation has been conclusviely proven to be determined at birth. Well, "everyone knows" that wife beating goes up on Superbowl Sunday, that gun owners are more likely to be shot with their own guns than to defend themselves from a criminal with them, and that Bush lied about 9/11 and WMD.

I think it would be even more intellectually dishonest to try to suggest that the verses in question address lesbianism or homosexual orientation in general.
Perhaps I was not clear. I never claimed that Judaism prohibits homosexual orientation. It doesn't. It does prohibit same sex unions and it does prohibit homosexual conduct.
6.19.2008 6:50pm
AngelSong (mail):

Perhaps I was not clear. I never claimed that Judaism prohibits homosexual orientation. It doesn't. It does prohibit same sex unions and it does prohibit homosexual conduct.

Unless you are using the phrase "homosexual conduct" in the masculine sense only, I would question exactly what verse you think prohibits lesbianism.
6.19.2008 6:52pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: Can You Say....

"Perhaps I was not clear. I never claimed that Judaism prohibits homosexual orientation. It doesn't. It does prohibit same sex unions and it does prohibit homosexual conduct." -- yankev

...'tripwire'?

I knew you could.

Get the attorneys ready. Someone is going to order a BLT.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Welcome to the 'party', pal! -- Bruce Willis in Die Hard]
6.19.2008 6:56pm
yankev (mail):

I would question exactly what verse you think prohibits lesbianism.


I don't claim to be expert on this topic, but I will note that (1) not every prohibition is based on an explicit verse, and (2) according to a quick search on Google, the RamBam (or Maimonides as the Greeks call him) finds the source of the prohibition in


"I am the Lord, your God. Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, nor of Canaan to where I am bringing you. Do not follow their customs (be-hukotehem lo teileichu)" (Leviticus 18:1-3, cf. also, 20:23).
6.19.2008 7:29pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: yankev
RE: Experts R Us

"I don't claim to be expert on this topic..." -- yankev

Sorry to disappoint, but you're the closest we've got to an 'expert' on the Hebrew Laws.

"....but I will note that (1) not every prohibition is based on an explicit verse, and (2) according to a quick search on Google, the RamBam (or Maimonides as the Greeks call him) finds the source of the prohibition in..." -- yankev

This, I suspect, is not going to, pardon the expression, 'satisfy' AngelSong. He/she/it wants you to accept homosexual activities as being acceptable to God. I find he/she/it differentiation between male and female homosexuality an interesting 'indicator'.

The point here, in the long run, is that AngelSong is not an honest debater. He/she/it will twist around whatever the opposition will say to suit their particular purpose; in this case advancing homosexual—male or female—activities as acceptable to God....and therefore acceptable to Judeo-Christian understanding of God's ordinances.

RE: The First Commandment

"'I am the Lord, your God. Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, nor of Canaan to where I am bringing you. Do not follow their customs (be-hukotehem lo teileichu)' (Leviticus 18:1-3, cf. also, 20:23)." -- yankev

Gotta love it.

On the other hand, AngelSong and he/she/it's ilk would re-write that first sentence....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[I am the lord my god. Thou shalt have no other god before ME!]
6.19.2008 7:42pm
AngelSong (mail):

The point here, in the long run, is that AngelSong is not an honest debater.

The irony of a person like Chuck(le), who epitomizes not only dishonesty in his "debate" ability (come to think of it, there is a great deal of debatability about his debate ability), but also ignorance, disingenuity, and above all astounding arrogance coupled with classic fallacious reasoning and logic in almost every post, making such a statement is truly breathtaking...
6.19.2008 8:06pm