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April 22, 2005

Fearmongering Versus Free-Form Poetry

Commenter Fitz notes a post on Alas, a Blog, on which blogger Ampersand links to and quotes from various commentary on the McArdle debate, citing mine as the only one not worth reading (because it is "just more of the old 'same sex marriage will lead to incest' fearmongering).

Particularly when I don't recognize the paraphrased fearmongering as something that I wrote, or even closely related to my points, I'm not but so concerned about what is said over on Alas — except to recall the longevity of the "same-old-same-old" dismissal of disagreeable arguments. However, I thought commenter Kim's free-form ode to Fitz pretty well illustrates various, well, difficulties that traditionalists have in finding willingness to actually discuss these matters credulously on the other side:

Fitz, I don't like you.

I don't like you because you personify the unknown stranger that seems intent on invading and molesting my privacy and life.

I don't like you because your own fear and weakness makes you cling to a patriarchy and patriarchal roles that hurt me, other women and others in general that aren't willing to yeild to the power you falsely feel entitled to.

I don't like you because you infringe upon my right to religious freedom or lack thereof with your outspoken attempts at forcing your religion down my throat and into my life.

I don't like you because you are bigoted and unfairly discriminating and try to cover it up with strawmen arguments and a patronizing attitude.

I don't like you because you try to define my marriage based on your morality instead of respecting that the right to define a marriage belongs soley to the people entering into the contract.

I don't like you because you cling to gender-roles because of how they empower you without giving any consideration to how they disempower women.

I don't like you because you attempt to use feminism and liberalism as dirty words without even fully understanding them.

I simply don't like you. And I want you out of my marriage. I want you out of my bed. I want you out of my religious privacy. I want you out of my decision making when it comes to what role I will choose. I want you out of my family when it comes to deciding whether my family is abnormal because we have married gay relatives. I want you gone with all of your judgements and molestations of my life. In my eyes, you're a cultural and societal rapist of privacy and personal rights.

I don't like you.

Scat-dat-diddledy-do, Sister Same-Old.

Posted by Justin Katz at April 22, 2005 7:41 PM
Marriage & Family
Comments

Keep posting, Fitz, and I predict you'll encounter increasingly vicious personal attacks, eventually laced with profanity. Barry Deutch, the blog's moderator, will do nothing to stop them. Trust me on that part.

Does anyone know of a liberal blog where they don't tolerate personal attacks on conservatives? I've tried posting in a few places, but never with any luck. In my experience, only conservatives understand that conversation itself is impossible without social rules that are reliably enforced. For the liberals under the spell of relativism, any kind of decisive action implies an assertion of objective truth, which is impossible. In practice, of course, this means that whoever is most willing to poke people in the eyes will win the argument.

This reminds me of a line from the Black Book of Communism. It's from a letter that a USSR Communist Party leader in Moscow wrote in the early 1920s to a field agent charged with setting up a party office and security force in some Russian town. Advising the field agent on how to find the necessary manpower to bring the locals in line, the leader wrote (paraphrasing): "The people you want are the kinds of men who understand that the best way to win an argument is with a bullet to the head."

I really ought to have that done in calligraphy and framed. I'll look up the precise wording and post it tonight.

American liberals like Kim don't have the nerve to shoot people, of course. But they still have the same basic impulse: Kim doesn't like you. You're a poopiehead. So shut up.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at April 22, 2005 8:32 PM

ROFL! How about "I don't like men -- well, i don't like men who 'like' women.. well you know, men who like women that way..."

Fear. It reigns supreme, doesn't it?

(FWIW, i never read Amp's blog for the same reason i never read DU. Raving moonbats mostly...)

Posted by: Marty at April 22, 2005 8:33 PM

BB: In my experience, only conservatives understand that conversation itself is impossible without social rules that are reliably enforced.

Well, i'm conservative enough, but have never been smart enough to know when to keep my mouth shut -- too many questions, too much curiosity, and not enough couth nor ruth.

In practice, of course, this means that whoever is most willing to poke people in the eyes will win the argument.

I can relate to that too :P

Posted by: Marty at April 22, 2005 9:04 PM

Here's the quote I was trying to remember:

"You ask how to form the local Cheka [secret police]: just round up all the most resolute people you can, who understand that there is nothing more effective than a bullet in the head to shut people up. Experience has shown me that you only need a small number of people like that to turn a whole situation around."

Feliks Dzerzinsky, in a May 31, 1918 letter to A.V. Eiduk, his agent on a mission to Tver. From the Black Book of Communism, page 68.

Marty, the rules I'm talking about have to be enforced, not self-imposed. On a blog, that means that the moderator is willing to delete posts that violate the rules, or even ban IPs. As in other contexts, it's rarely necessary to enforce a rule as long as everyone is confident that enforcement will occur when needed. But it's also true that people will systematically violate the rule as soon as they perceive that it won't be enforced.

Posted by: Ben Bateman at April 22, 2005 10:58 PM

Thank you Justin for highlighting my difficulties over at alas.
As you and other commentators will note: I began my discussion with what I feel to be a fair-minded attempt to acclimate the opposition to more traditionalist thinking.
While my tone was prodding I don’t believe it was belligerent.
I thought I would reproduce that over here for those interested.
It really goes to what I think is the heart of the discord.


1. When no fault divorce was being introduced, one of the arguments against its opponents ran –
“What do two people getting a divorce have to do with your marriage?”
Well… now the divorce rate stands at 50%, and the rate of new marriages among the young continues to decline.
Simplistic and naďve understandings of foundational social institutions abound on the left.
A sophomoric scientific rationalism inspires calls of “prove it” along with a callous dismissal of the data on fatherlessness, illegitimacy, divorce and so fourth.
If you can answer the question of-
“What do two people getting a divorce have to do with your marriage?”
Then you are closer to understanding the way societies work.
If you can’t answer that question (if it leaves you baffled), well, then your probably for same-sex marriage.
If anyone is truly interested in understanding the complex ways that social tradition preserves the common good, the following links may prove helpful.
(as well as those presented in Ampersand | posting)
http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-01-038-f
http://marriage.rutgers.edu/]
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0408/opinion/bork.htm
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0402/opinion/eberstadt.html
http://www.policyreview.org/apr05/morse.html
http://www.americanvalues.org/html/hardwired.html

1. Here are two more (extremely timely) examples.
http://claremont.org/writings/crb/spring2005/watson.html
http://claremont.org/writings/050408cella.html
However, I still believe the most important article for understanding the complex ways that society, gender & tradition interact is the touchstones article focusing on the work of George Akerlof a Nobel prize-winning economist, and professor at Berkeley.
http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-01-038-f
I hope you all find this useful. (all sides of the debate)
The work of George Akerlof is the most interesting and if anyone has a link to the original research that would prove useful.

I have responded (and will continue to attempt to enlighten) my foe’s over at Alas.
As over here, however – well you know- the proverbial brick wall meets head.

Posted by: Fitz at April 24, 2005 4:58 PM

Another example of this leftwing bias is shown in this quote by Jeriyln from Talkleft over at Protein wisdom's blog:

"There is no such thing as Christian Conservatives. They are the radical right, there is nothing Christian about them. They just call themselves that in an attempt to imbue them with a modicum of legitimacy to which they are not entitled."

Posted by TalkLeft | permalink
on 04/24 at 12:10 AM


As I posted over there, this is the reason they lose and will continue to lose, and I guess that is a good thing for us, but a bad thing for their soul.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at April 24, 2005 6:22 PM

"Barry Deutch, the blog's moderator, will do nothing to stop them. Trust me on that part."

Oh, I do. And it's not surprising, since Deutsch himself has defended publically dismissing anyone who argues against SSM by branding them with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and has told those that object to this method that if they don't like it, well, just stop opposing SSM.

It doesn't take much to see that this is simply a method to stifle debate through the threat of ridicule. And that when people try to stifle debate, it is due to fear of it.

Posted by: R.K. at April 24, 2005 10:41 PM

Well Im over at “Alas a Blog” again trying to get a contrary point of view across. They have started to ban my posts, and edit them for content.


In response to a Post that contended this..

"""Faith drives a wedge between ethics and suffering. Where certain actions cause no suffering at all, religious dogmatists still maintain that they are evil and worthy of punishment (sodomy, marijuana use, homosexuality, the killing of blastocysts, etc.).""""

I quoted the relevant text and highlighted ""certain actions cause no suffering at all"""
Well as any thinking person would do - I presented for corresponding links showing that (sodomy, marijuana use, homosexuality, the killing of blastocysts, etc.)Do in fact harm people.

I found it really clever- direct proof that these behaviors do harm..
I.E. - Aids, addiction , memory loss, suicide, and dead babies..

Well they banned the post..

However in response to my assertion I have yet another example of "Free Form Poetry" as Justin calls it..


"""sodomy and homosexuality harm people?

BULLSHIT.

how’s that for eviserating debate Fitz? I am so sick of this calling good evil and evil, good stuff you are do in the name of ‘debate’.

YOU are what is causing harm and suffering Fitz. You. F$%^ YOU.

It’s your hatred of homosexuals, your promulgation of damn lies, made up and twisted facts and innuendos, your twisting of the truth that is causing harm and suffering. It’s YOU that caused me to be beaten to a pulp when I was 16 because I was a fag (or so they decided), it was YOU who caused my first love to slit his throat at the young age of 18 because his father called him a pervert and kicked him out of the house, it was YOU made me wish I were dead after years of change therapy, it was YOU who made my life miserable till I was 30, it was YOU forces us decide not to be able in my or my partner’s home states because of fear, it is YOU who forces us to spend thousands of dollars and hours and hours of time trying to legally and financially protect our family, its YOU who forced my friend from to marry or be ostracized from church.. and then live a life of desperation and loneliness, it is YOU YOU YOU YOU who cause the suffering and harm.

You and your ilk and your damn lies, innuendos, fraudulent studies and hatred that cause suffering and harm. That ilk would be the first to believe that porn causes rape and harm…

but no.. not your pornographic lies of hate hiding behind your false reading of the Christian message. No, those never cause harm and suffering.

You call good evil and evil good.

God, when will the lies stop?! """

Well- the devil is called the father of lies, when you wrap yourself in them- create a lifestyle out of it.. and then need to protect that identity in the public square,
Well, you get some twisted bunk like above.

I seriously doubt that this Trey guy even met that much adversity (emotiveism disguised as argument)
But for the life of me, - I cant tell how I’m responsible.

(NOTE - in order to stop the pain WE are causing[according to Trey] its necessary that we radically alter are societies conceptions of sex and gender to create a utopia were Trey and his brethren can exist unmolested.

Posted by: Fitz at April 30, 2005 11:16 AM

So much for tolerance, eh Fitz? Gabriel Rosenberg has been banning commenters (not mine, just yet (i think...)), and now Barry's doing it too. This is actually a good sign -- the bright light of Truth burns indeed!

Posted by: Marty at May 2, 2005 6:43 PM

I think it is a good sign guys.
We have the most resonable homosexuals on the planet (on this blog). Over there they just preech to the choir.

This is the latest, in response to the same post - were I merely mention that sodomy & homosexuality are not harmless.

Posted by: Fitz at May 2, 2005 8:14 PM

"""Sarah in Chicago Writes:

May 2nd, 2005 at 3:19 pm
trey -

I don’t know if you’ll read this given a few days have gone by, but I wanted to post a comment to reiterate what you said.

People like Fitz are the reasons I got thrown out of my home by my parents when I first started college because I couldn’t stop being a lesbian, had my mother hit me in my mid teens when she found out about me, had letters call me a freak turn up in at my apartment for my roommates to find from my loving parents, that contribute to the fact that my partner can’t take me with her to family gatherings back in MO, that one of my friends got her soul ripped out when her partner had to chose between her and her family and had to go with the latter, that an ex gf of mine had to cut herself to deal with the pain of her high school experiences where she was raped, repeatedly because she was a queer, that a friend broke down in front of me she was THIS close to making all the pain go away, forever, and on, and on …

People like Fitz are responsible for th above, and yet hides his hate behind his claims to being a Christian … well, you know what? My girlfriend is a Christian, and it is nothing like Fitz in any shape or form. I may never understand it myself, because for me religion will always be about hate and violence, but for her its about love and acceptance. Imagine that.

Thank you Adrienne and Amp for banning this hateful person. You are the kinds of people we proudly call Allies. """"


I cant believe Im responsible for all that pain
(maybe it has something to do with the lifestyle choice instead?)

Posted by: Fitz at May 2, 2005 8:17 PM

It's always somebody else's fault, isn't it? I remember being that way once upon a time... Poor kid.

Posted by: Marty at May 2, 2005 10:20 PM

Fitz -
Believe it.

And, regarding blogs banning/deleting people whose views don't accord with the blogster's -
FreeRepublic and LittleGreenFootballs come to mind. Fondness for echo chambers knows no ideological barriers.

Posted by: Robert at May 4, 2005 6:08 PM

Robert.
I simply won’t accept it. I have been accused of promoting and advancing, suicide, disownment, violence and self loathing. To wit, no one has described how this theory operates.
It seems more likely to me that the tactic is one of over emotionalism and scapegoating.
It is always prefaced with a “people like you” – yada yada - followed by the litany of accusations.
It seems to me this is a last refuge of retreat to intellectually defunct positions. The name calling is followed by the accusations and the guilt ladeled on.
Suicide rates should be going down as gay acceptance goes up.
That is not the case however.
It is much more likely to me – that homosexuality itself is a physiologically harmful lifestyle for many people to begin with. That youth, experimenting in homosexual sex find there spirits crushed and masculinity shattered – and then make a attempt to take their own life.

And that is but one example of what we (anti-SSM) side is accused of.
Its really rather ridiculous and self serving.

(NOTE - in order to stop the pain WE are causing[according to Trey] its necessary that we radically alter are societies conceptions of sex and gender to create a utopia were Trey and his brethren can exist unmolested.

(NOTE - in order to stop the pain WE are causing[according to Trey] its necessary that we radically alter are societies conceptions of sex and gender to create a utopia were Trey and his brethren can exist unmolested.

The most ineresting part of this approach is how it presupposes that in order to stop the pain WE are causing its necessary that we radically alter our societies conceptions of sex and gender to create a utopia homosexuals can exist unmolested.

Posted by: Fitz at May 4, 2005 8:14 PM

Justin begins this post by pointing out how difficult it is for traditionalists, like Fitz, to "discuss matters credulously with the other side." Fitz ends it by saying (multiple times) that "societies conception of sex and gender" make it necessary that homosexuals be, he says, "molested" by society. And this he says right after refusing to take any responsibility for any harm the "molestation" may have caused.

About banning commentators, Justin has done it too.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 5, 2005 12:02 PM

Fitz -
In order for the 'utopia' you deride to exist, society would have to alter to the point where sexual orientation is as morally neutral as skin color or ethnic origin.
I am quite aware that you view this (society altering to that point) as intrinsically repugnant, and that nothing I can say will change that. Please consider that I find the current state of society - where it is socially acceptable to deride and deny the human worth of certain people due to their orientation - as equally repugnant. Nothing that you can say will change that. I am living for a future I may not see, but that my son can grow up in - a society in which the fact that both his parents are men is no more significant than the fact that one of them is black and the other is white.

Posted by: Robert at May 5, 2005 12:31 PM

Robert
Both your childs parents are not men, In order for you and your partner to have a "son" by neccesity you have deprived the poor child of a mother.
Children need and deserve a mother & father
To advocate a standard less than this is to deprive them of that opportunity.
I look forward to a day when the mother father standard for familie is restored.
Utopian is a desire for something that can never be. It will never be the case that children will not NEED both their Mother and Father.
Any society that adopts a standard that makes that fact indistingishable or unstatable is a inhumane society.

Posted by: Fitz at May 5, 2005 4:56 PM

Fitz -
"Both your childs parents are not men, In order for you and your partner to have a "son" by neccesity you have deprived the poor child of a mother."

Firstly,
he is our adopted son. According to his adoption records (and amended birth certificate), he has two parents. I am one, my husband is the other.

Second,
he was deprived of a mother by his birthmother, who neglected him to the point where CPS intervened and placed him in foster care. She and his birthfather had two years of reunification to demonstrate a) willingness to be parents and b) ability to care for a child. They relinquished parental rights due to their inability to demonstrate either one. If there had been any - ANY - husband-wife couples wanting to adopt him, do you seriously believe that the county agency would pushed them aside to make room for us? That was rhetorical; yes, you probably do believe it, and no, it would not have happened. If the rule had been "only legally married male-female couples can adopt", I am dead certain that he would still be in foster care - and would remain there for the foreseeable future.

Back to my main point - I personally know men who have been beaten by gangs of bashers, who believed quite sincerely that the men they were beating were worth less as human beings than they themselves were. They were the practice; you are the theory. Luckily, I've only been attacked once for having been perceived as gay,and then by only one assailant. He tried very hard to make his perceptions my reality.

I was fifteen years old at the time. I would have liked to have been living in a society where I could exist unmolested; my current hope is for my son to live in such a society. Utopia? No. Civilized and humane? Yes.

Posted by: Robert at May 5, 2005 7:08 PM

You dont have a Husband either, you have a partner.
A husband presuposes a wife.
(part of the agenda is to c0-opt the language and subvert it.

Its important to keep defined terms clear.

Secondly - If gangs of men are running around beating up anybody, well thats obviously wrong.
Violance did not become OK simply because SSM became an issue. Neither supporters or opponents of SSM are responsible for the actions of a few thugs.
Thirdly
The Utopian vision is one were the mother father standard becomes seen as arbitrary, discriminatory, or bigoted. (it is none of those)
A world free of violance is hopefull, but ultimantly utopian also.

Posted by: Fitz at May 5, 2005 8:08 PM
They were the practice; you are the theory.

You do realize, Robert, that this offensive and ludicrous comment removes the legitimacy of any attempt by you to separate your arguments from the "practice" of any group that seeks same-sex marriage as a point of leverage in dismantling our society?

Nobody here is "denying the human worth" of you or any other homosexual, and I defy you to describe how it is "socially acceptible" to do so. Yes, yes, of course you'll cite marriage, but then you'll have to make the case, and I'll defy you to do so without compromising swaths of the precedent for your views (e.g., that it is false that "a woman is incomplete without a man").

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 5, 2005 8:30 PM

Just a couple of posts I did at Galios.
Thought they were good enough for over here!

The idea behind this dispute seems to be what we call parents. Well its not all that complicated really. As a society we put value on certain things. In this case society has deemed the natural family (man + women + their natural children = family) .
In the case of adoption we try an approximate the natural family. We value a child having a mother and a father as a model. This hardly seems idiotic.
Single women having children out of wedlock is below the standard. This is something we rightly deplore. A single women or man raising a child (ala Murphy Brown) is rightfully condemned as selfish and unfair act to the child. I know plenty of single women who desperately want a child – but have no intention on simply getting pregnant and raising that child without a father. They are not that narcissistic to put there selfish wants over the well being of children. (even though they could easily put themselves in that position in order to “play house”)
Two good friends raising children would not be anymore tolerated as a parenting model, as me and my brother adopting a child and starting a household would. Group marriages also are considered as below our standards for childrearing. Groups of people from Mormons to Arabs to polymorists are considered a unfit model for child rearing. They are put under legal and social pressure to abandon this model.
Well…as we all no these are our societies model for parenting.
Some are attempting to change this, there efforts are centered around the proposition that all family forms are equally valid.
This is simply not the case.
Imposing a new and arbitrary legal standard that says all family forms are equally valid destroys are ability to discourage (both legally, politically & socially) illegitimacy, divorce, cohabitation, single parenting, fatherless ness and so on.
It’s a sad and selfish movement that puts its own need for normative acceptance above the welfare of children.


The arguments of SSM proponents rely on conflation, obfuscation, and cheap sentimentality.
The argument against SS parenting is not in the specific (alone), it is in the aggregate.
Galios mathematician’s brain wants to reduce everything to scientific rationalism.
Problem is – people are not perfectly (or even largely) mere rational creatures.
No they rely on tradition, social & legal norms to guide their behavior.
How to we maintain the (slipping) standard of Mother Father single households (i.e. against - divorce illegitimacy, abandonment- fatherless ness) When, as a culture, our laws don’t maintain the standard of Mother Father single households.
When 80% of all prison inmates don’t have Fathers in the home – you know something is intrinsically wrong with anti-traditional households. (of any form)
Trey would have us believe two Fathers is just as good, well would not three be even better?
One time on a trip to New England we visited a Shaker community. The Shakers were a religious community that maintained celibacy for their members. They relied on adoption of orphans to expand their ranks. This (successful) experiment was shut down through legislation, Not because the children were harmed specifically (they had specific, adoptive mother & fathers)- but because it was deemed harmful to the standard of childrearing for the larger community.
(just a interesting historical point – there are others)

No- the question of the hour is (and will remain)

How to we maintain (and advance) the standard of Mother Father single households (especially among the underclass) in the face of widespread avocation of SS marriage and parenting?


PS. If you advocate a NEW androgynous and childless standard of marriage, then say so.
If you think a androgynous conception of marriage – that has no natural basis for childbirth will be compelling enough to maintain (and advance) the marriage culture for the other 98% of humanity – then make the case.

Posted by: Fitz at May 6, 2005 11:47 AM

I think its utopian folly myself

Posted by: Fitz at May 6, 2005 11:49 AM

Orientation is a touchy-feely word used to disguise the fact that the practice of homogamous relationships is a choice Robert. It will always be necessary for societies to discourage morally objectionable choices. The 'practice' of discouraging those choices is not inherently violent in our society unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary. The vigilante violence is the exception, another choice that is morally objectionable. You should know all this though. To state otherwise is to over-dramatize your position, which might be emotionally gratifying to you but does nothing to further your cause.

Posted by: NotSamIAm at May 6, 2005 1:04 PM

"...unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary."

I think that those who sincerely believe that their anti-gay position is for the good, like Justin (I think), will eventually realize that their position really cannot be separated from this kind of evil.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 6, 2005 1:25 PM

Yet more spam from Arturo. Honestly fellow, the way you twist things inside-out and all-about, it's amazing that you even remember to what you are responding since your response no longer bears any resemblence to normative thought patterns.

Posted by: NotSamIAm at May 6, 2005 1:42 PM

(Not that I'm claiming to have normative thought patterns either, but at least I know what they look like.)

Posted by: NotSamIAm at May 6, 2005 1:44 PM

>> Kim: "Fitz, I don't like you."

Maybe we oughta encourage a "Fitz, I like what ya gotta say" theme...

>> Fitz: "part of the agenda is to co-opt the language and subvert it. Its important to keep defined terms clear."

Fitz, I don't know you from Adam but I like lots of what you have to say.

Whatever your weaknesses, (and we ALL show our weaknesses in expressing ourselves to openly hostile co-commentators in internet discussions) I like that you strive for clarity on the use of basic terms. That's a great strength. And it is very likeable.

Post on, sir.

Posted by: Chairm at May 10, 2005 5:04 PM

Chairm:

Isn't it charming how he thinks that homosexuals cannot exist "unmolested"?

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 11, 2005 11:27 PM

Where did he say that, Arturo?

Yes, I think I know which post you are talking about.

Where does he say that "homosexuals cannot exist unmolested"? Which I take it you are further interpreting as a belief that homosexuals should be molested, rather than the obvious interpretation: as a statement of the fact that there is no way to guarantee that none will ever be molested, any more than it can be guaranteed that no human being (gay or straight) in our society will ever be murdered, or robbed, or bullied, or have their feelings hurt.

What I see you doing here is fishing around for any poorly phrased statement which you can twist into a defense of harrassment or violence against gays. And that, you believe, is all you need to make the case for lumping all who oppose SSM into one rotten basket. And this, in turn, you believe to be some kind of an argument for SSM. How many non sequiturs do we have here?

Posted by: R.K. at May 12, 2005 9:19 PM

R.K.:

No one is asking that in this imperfect world, that feelings don’t get hurt. What is important about what Fitz said, and you are evading, is that THE VERY SURVIVAL of the world you want (where conceptions of sex and gender remain “unaltered”), makes harassment of homosexuals inevitable (it’s a utopian fantasy, he says, to believe this won't happen). So whatever inspires you to defend these “conceptions”, your religion, is itself responsible for the harassment. We can see above, in what NotSamIAm says, that the harassment can be violent (“…unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary”).

Just like you have denied that you are responsible for the harassment (again, you are responsible because you argue that defending your world makes it inevitable), when violent harassment does happen you (“you” plural) will also abdicate responsibility. It is telling that today, in this liberal and tolerant environment, when violence does happen, you are always the last, if at all, to condemn it. But in the conservative environment you advocate, where religious “conceptions or sex and gender” are defended with more vigor, violent harassment will become more common and, consequently, easier to ignore or justify.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 13, 2005 1:17 PM

Let's trace the outlines of the exchange:

>> Fitz: "I merely mention that sodomy & homosexuality are not harmless."

>> Fitz: "I cant believe Im responsible for all that pain (maybe it has something to do with the lifestyle choice instead?)"

>> Fitz: "I have been accused of promoting and advancing, suicide, disownment, violence and self loathing. To wit, no one has described how this theory operates."

--

Fitz acknowledged the pain that is experienced. He pointed to sexual behavior that caused physiological harm. And he claimed that a person's attempts to embrace, as harmless, his or her same-sex behavior can cause yet more harm leading to self-destruction.

[By the way, I think this applies to many other forms of sexual behavior apart from that between two men or two women. And to many nonsexual behaviors, as well.]

In response, others claimed that the idea that same-sex behavior is harmful, as per Fitz, and expressions of that idea have caused the molestation of homosexual persons. I may be mistaken but I think the general thrust of the counterclaims is that Fitz is blaming the victim. However, Fitz appears to say that he hopes to protect the victim from harm.

Is that a fair description?

--

>> Fitz: "The most ineresting part of this approach is how it presupposes that in order to stop the pain WE are causing its necessary that we radically alter our societies conceptions of sex and gender to create a utopia homosexuals can exist unmolested."

>> arturo fernandez: "And this he says right after refusing to take any responsibility for any harm the "molestation" may have caused."

>> Robert: "In order for the 'utopia' you deride to exist, society would have to alter to the point where sexual orientation is as morally neutral as skin color or ethnic origin."

--

Robert and arturo fernandez confirm Fitz's claim that same-sex behavior is being promoted as a "sexual orientation" [I'm using plain old quotes and not scare quotes] which, in itself, is assumed to be immutable. The goal, as Robert said, is to classify same-sex behavior as "morally neutral".

It appears that Fitz perceives an important distinction between acceptance of the individual and approval of the individual's sexual behavior.

On the other hand, Robert and arturo fernandez seem to make no distinction between acceptance of the individual and approval the sexual behavior of a kind.

--

NotSamIAm clarified the distinction thus:

>> NotSamIAm: "Orientation is a touchy-feely word used to disguise the fact that the practice of homogamous relationships is a choice Robert. It will always be necessary for societies to discourage morally objectionable choices.

>> NotSamIAm: "The vigilante violence is the exception, another choice that is morally objectionable."

--

Justin delineated this as follows:

>> Justin Katz: "Nobody here is "denying the human worth" of you or any other homosexual, and I defy you to describe how it is "socially acceptible" to do so."

--

Some housekeeping.

I do not wish to detour the discussion into the weeds of terminology alone, however, Robert and arturo fernandez, do you agree that clarity of terms is an important, if difficult, goal to achieve in these sorts of discussions? That the effort needs to be made to understand the terms used?

Please clearly describe the "you" and "your religion" which appear in your comments. Also the "we" and the "liberal and tolerant environment".

When it comes to "molestation" it would appear that Fitz also needs to clarify. At this point, it looks like arturo fernandez has clarified that his own meaning is "harrassment" -- perhaps not exclusively of the physical kind.

Posted by: Chairm at May 13, 2005 1:44 PM

Let's take Arturo's post piece by piece here.

No one is asking that in this imperfect world, that feelings don’t get hurt.

But are you saying, Arturo, that in this imperfect world, we can somehow expect that nobody will ever by murdered, robbed, raped, bullied, or harrassed? The point I was making, and which I think Fitz was also trying to make, is that no matter what the policy, in this world of five billion plus, and in this country of 300 million, there is no way save extreme totalitarian measures that we can insure that nothing bad ever happens to anybody, whether we have SSM or not. All we can do is try to reduce the number of such incidents, and we can do that without SSM.

What is important about what Fitz said, and you are evading, is that THE VERY SURVIVAL of the world you want (where conceptions of sex and gender remain “unaltered”), makes harassment of homosexuals inevitable (it’s a utopian fantasy, he says, to believe this won't happen).

I am not the one who's evading here, Arturo, you are. Note that I asked you to point out just where Fitz stated that "homosexuals cannot exist unmolested", or, as you erroneously interpret it, that they must be molested because the survival of "the world we want" requires it. You have not done so. You just continue to do what I noted in my previous post, fishing for any statement you can twist to mean that. Please show me the specific statement Fitz makes which you think fits your interpretation, and explain to me why you think that.

So whatever inspires you to defend these “conceptions”, your religion, is itself responsible for the harassment.

You're making assumptions here. I am not personally religious, as I have said before. It's just not in my nature, but I am also not anti-religious and I respect the religious beliefs of others. I have to wonder, does the creation of the utopian world you want make the harrassment (or "molesting", if you prefer) of religious people inevitable?

We can see above, in what NotSamIAm says, that the harassment can be violent (“…unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary”).

Here is NotSamIAm's statement, including the surrounding sentences: "It will always be necessary for societies to discourage morally objectionable choices. The 'practice' of discouraging those choices is not inherently violent in our society unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary. The vigilante violence is the exception, another choice that is morally objectionable."

Yes, NotSamIAm does need to clarify just what he meant here, that is, just what "morally objectionable choices" society might have to discourage violently if the person being discouraged "makes it necessary", and what he means by "making it necessary". His was a bad choice of words and juxtaposition which left him wide open to (I think) misinterpretation. I assume that he's not talking about consenting adult homosexuals, but to those---gay, straight, or other---who act out on their desires in a way that is violent or harmful to others, such as the Jeffrey Dahmers, the Dean Corlls, or the heterosexual rapists and pedophiles. I don't think NotSam meant it the way Arturo reads it, but it should be clarified.

Just like you have denied that you are responsible for the harassment (again, you are responsible because you argue that defending your world makes it inevitable), when violent harassment does happen you (“you” plural) will also abdicate responsibility.

No, I, and Fitz, have not argued that "defending [our] world makes it inevitable". We are arguing that it is inevitable to some extent simply because it's an imperfect world and sadly, we cannot eliminate all the bad things that happen in the world, though we can certainly try to reduce them. And I am all for trying to reduce them, but without throwing out the baby with the bath water. Especially not when we don't even know that we're throwing the bath water out with the baby. You keep talking, Arturo, as if you know with certainty that passage of SSM will result in the elimination or the vast reduction of anti-gay violence and harrassment, when in fact we know nothing of the sort. The belief that SSM will create a world in which everyone just gets along and all anti-gay attitudes vanish is a utopian fantasy.

As for my "evading responsibility", I'm not going to take responsibility, say, for the thugs who beat and murdered Matthew Shepard (the thugs probably couldn't give you a coherent argument for or against SSM let alone read one), any more than I would ask you to take responsibility for the perverted duo that tortured and murdered Jesse Dirkhising.

It is telling that today, in this liberal and tolerant environment, when violence does happen, you are always the last, if at all, to condemn it.

Yeah, we're all in the same box. I see. You just know that we don't condemn it. Naturally, if I told you that I do strongly condemn such acts of violence against gays, you're not going to just dismiss it as some shrewd maneuver on my part to sound moderate, are you? I will condemn it, but most strongly to those who I think may actually listen to me and whom I think are really in a position to do something about it.

But in the conservative environment you advocate, where religious “conceptions or sex and gender” are defended with more vigor, violent harassment will become more common and, consequently, easier to ignore or justify.

Are there any statistics on just how much anti-gay violence there was, say, fifty years ago, when many, perhaps most heterosexuals just assumed that the gay guy down the street "hadn't found the right woman yet", and that he and the guy he shared a room with for all those years were "just good friends"? I don't know; motives weren't listed in reports much then. But you are again engaging in wishful thinking, believing apparently that true "pure" human nature is so gender neutral that an androgynous society could only result in a great world of tolerance for all. Utopianism pure and simple, and attempts to create utopias more often create dystopias. Androgyny is against human nature, as is becoming increasingly apparent to those that are not blinded by ideological commitment to it. (Just for starters, read Leonard Sax's Why Gender Matters, and no, he is not anti-gay). There are ways to reduce violence and harrassment against gays (and others) without androgynizing society, without SSM, and that's what I will support. Just as I will support trying to reduce our other social ills without putting every human being under 24 hour surveillance.


Posted by: R.K. Becker at May 14, 2005 2:59 PM

R.K.:

I argue that your defense of “societies conception of sex and gender” (that’s how Fitz put it) results in harassment of homosexuals. The more it is based on traditional beliefs, the greater the harassment. You respond by saying that fifty years ago, when conceptions of sex and gender were more vigorously defended, when “people assumed that the guy down the street hadn’t found the right woman yet,”, that there was probably less violence against homosexuals. But the very reason that the guy down the street encouraged that false assumption is because his very life depended on it. What do you think would have happened if it got out that he was a homosexual? So even if it’s true that there was less harassment (which, by the way, I don’t believe), the example you give us proves exactly my point.

You say that there are ways to be fair to society’s homosexual members without gay marriage. I do believe that that’s what you want. And believe it or not, I’m open to it. But there is no way that fairness will happen as long as three traditional ideas are discarded. One, that homosexuality is “learned” or “chosen.” Two, that homosexuals’ sexuality is inherently immoral. Three, that homosexuality is only a matter of sexual orientation. After these three lies are discarded, we can move forward in making a world that is fair for everyone; not perfect, not a utopia--just fair. This will not erase the differences between men and women. We will still be able to nurture what is good in men, and what is good in women.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 17, 2005 2:54 AM

I should have said "as long as three traditional ideas are kept in place," not "are discarded."

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 17, 2005 12:13 PM

--"One, that homosexuality is “learned” or “chosen.” Two, that homosexuals’ sexuality is inherently immoral. Three, that homosexuality is only a matter of sexual orientation."

On the other hand the lies can stop and the truth faced by those with same-sex attraction and by those who care about them:

1. Homosexed behavior is learned and chosen; it is immoral. It is unhealthy and is to be discouraged.

2. The homosexual person is disordered not immoral in him or herself. As with other disordered human urges, same-sex urges can be sublimated (does not mean 'repressed') and healthy behavior learned. This is to be encouraged.

3. The lifestyle built around same-sex attraction is a trap from which the individual can break free and live a moral, healthy, and loving life amongst neighbours, friends, and family.

Posted by: JohnLuke at May 18, 2005 8:14 AM

So from the example R.K. gave us, we can see that more conservatism means that (in matters of homosexuality) more people will be bigots and will be more likely to act on their bigotry (the only thing that stops them is that they are misled into thinking that the guy down the street hasn’t “found the right woman yet”). So it is extremely important that with this in mind, we consider what NotSamIAm said, and what JohnLuke now says.

The future will bring one of two things. Either society accepts that homosexuals should be treated with respect and dignity, which will involve discarding the three lies I list above. Or, in a more conservative world where homosexuals still refuse to get back into the closet, society will be “forced” to deal with homosexuals in very unpleasant ways: “the practice of discouraging morally objectionable choices is not inherently violent, unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary” is how NotSamIAm put it. It will be a difficult thing for religious people to commit, encourage, or allow this kind of evil, as religious people tend to be good people. But they will do it, nonetheless. In three easy lessons, JohnLuke has taught us how to keep a clear conscience.

(JohnLuke, I have discussed plenty the myth of “the person living with sex-attraction” with David Morrison. If you’re interested, check out his blog.)

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 18, 2005 11:06 PM

The fear that you feel is your soul wrestling with urges that are self-destructive.

It is a mistake to toss labels around such as conservative or liberal to describe the offer of love to someone whose urges threaten his well-being.

I did not say that force is the answer. As a Catholic, I am not alone in having stood between attacker and victim. Love is the answer, not force. With love, self-destruction can be resisted and eventually overcome. But the person must come to this through his own path. If one lifts his eyes and sees the hands of acceptance that have been extended, the path need not be so lonely. He is not a discarded human being. His burden is shared through love and that does not mean approval of a disordered condition.

Respect of the individual is shown by the three points I made above.

I know of the weblog you mentioned. It has great merit and is inspired by a generous spirit.

Posted by: JohnLuke at May 19, 2005 1:46 PM

JohnLuke:

Just the opposite. The three lies you teach creates disorder: bigotry in the heterosexual and misery in the homosexual.

You can prove me wrong. Let's go back to R.K.'s example. Show me that fifty years ago, when your conservative social philosophy was dominant, and so everyone more receptive to your love, that heterosexuals were less bigoted and homosexuals were happy being "sublimated" into mental institutions.

You may not like the word "conservative," but it fits.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 21, 2005 1:57 PM

Arturo,

I will have much more to say later, but for now, could you give me your general definition of the term "lies"? My understanding of the term is things that are said when the person saying them knows them to be untrue. Not merely when another person feels them to be untrue.

Posted by: R.K. at May 21, 2005 2:28 PM

R.K.

I'm using the word in the same way that JohnLuke used it in his response to my use of it ("...on the other hand the lies can stop..."). Partly for dramatic impact. Partly because you should know better. Ideology can blind people to what is obvious; they can end up believing their own lies. Feminists, for example, believe (or believed) that there are no differences between men and women. The truth is so obvious. So I call those lies too.

And by the way, I blame homosexuals for advancing the third lie.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 22, 2005 2:27 PM

arturo fernandez, you described certain "traditional ideas" as lies. My comment followed yours. In reading R.K.'s comment, I think we both could have used a less accusative or inflammatory word, such as falsehoods or misconceptions.

You said: "After these three lies are discarded, we can move forward in making a world that is fair for everyone."

And you listed these ideas:

--"One, that homosexuality is “learned” or “chosen.” Two, that homosexuals’ sexuality is inherently immoral. Three, that homosexuality is only a matter of sexual orientation."

It appears that you may have misrepresented certain ideas, perhaps unintentionally.

1. It is not that homosexuality is learned or chosen, but that the homosexed behavior is learned and chosen.

2. It is not that homosexed urges are immoral, but that acting on these urges is immoral

Both of these ideas apply to other forms of disorder and other forms of immoral behavior. These are not exclusive to issues of sexuality dealing with homosexed urges and behaviors.

With your last comment, I am now unclear what your third point was.

You had previously said that it is untrue that homosexuality is only sexual orientation. And although you said earlier that this was a "traditional lie" you now seem to say that it is the lie promoted by homosexed persons. Presumably that would make it non-traditional, if I am not mistaken.

How do we disagree on this third point?

I apologize if I've summed us up inadequately and I welcome your clarifications, if any.

Posted by: JohnLuke at May 23, 2005 5:39 AM

Arturo: I argue that your defense of “societies conception of sex and gender” (that’s how Fitz put it) results in harassment of homosexuals. The more it is based on traditional beliefs, the greater the harassment.

So the only way to eliminate all harassment of homosexuals (or, at least, the way to reduce it most) is to eliminate traditional beliefs. Is this what you are saying? So, what are the new, non-traditional beliefs going to be built around, and who's going to decide this?

I think what concerns me most about your arguments, Arturo, is the underlying assumption that all of past human history and traditional attitudes have just been based on ignorance and bigotry, and that now, because we are so much more enlightened, we can safely just discard those stupid ideas without any problems, and without even examining the real reasons for them, and everything will be so much better for us all. When analyzed, this belief does not really make any logical sense, though you are certainly not alone in thinking that it does. It is a recipe for chaos, and ultimately for despotism. More on this in a later post.

You respond by saying that fifty years ago, when conceptions of sex and gender were more vigorously defended, when “people assumed that the guy down the street hadn’t found the right woman yet,”, that there was probably less violence against homosexuals. But the very reason that the guy down the street encouraged that false assumption is because his very life depended on it. What do you think would have happened if it got out that he was a homosexual?

Yes, history is so filled with great gay people who were attacked and killed because of their homosexuality. Leonardo DaVinci. Walt Whitman. Sandro Botticelli. Alexander von Humboldt. Michelangelo (active or not). Frederick the Great. Francis Bacon. Vice-President William R.D. King, and possibly even President James Buchanan. And the list could go on and on. Or maybe we had SSM during their days, only abandoning it in the late 19th century when Oscar Wilde was jailed.

How did these people make it to accomplish anything at all in those days? Not everyone knew of their homosexuality, but enough people did.

I'm not arguing that there was NO harassment in those times by any means. There certainly was, in varying degrees at different times, especially during totalitarian regimes. It's just not the simple matter of past=hell; future=enlightenment that you make it to be.

The point I was trying to make about attitudes fifty years ago was less about homosexuals than about the general public. Whether gays were open about it or not, the general public simply had much less awareness about homosexuality then, and this is probably why they just assumed that those two single guys sharing a room were just "good friends" who hadn't "found the right woman yet". The possibility I'm getting at is that harassment of homosexuals may increase the more it is publicly talked about. Today, even two same-sex heterosexuals rooming together are likely to be suspected of being gay by neighbors, so much so that many single young people who really can't afford rooming alone refuse to get a roommate out of fear of being falsely so labeled.

What appears to have happened most often, based on my understanding of gays throughout history, is an unofficial toleration of homosexuality in society's upper echelons (and in certain encapsulated subcultures) coupled with an effort to hide its existence as much as possible from the larger public. A kind of crude attempt at balance between two extremes which we could probably improve on, but that's the key, balance.

So even if it’s true that there was less harassment (which, by the way, I don’t believe), the example you give us proves exactly my point.

What you or I believe regarding anything which can potentially be measured is irrelevant to what the truth is. You say it like it was a matter of your faith that there was more harassment.

But there is no way that fairness will happen as long as three traditional ideas are kept in place. One, that homosexuality is “learned” or “chosen.” Two, that homosexuals’ sexuality is inherently immoral. Three, that homosexuality is only a matter of sexual orientation.

1. It is a gross simplification to say that homosexuality is "chosen" as if it were like picking between, say, two political candidates. It is also a gross oversimplification to say that therefore, homosexuality can only be 100 percent inborn. Not even the researchers often cited in support of this assertion (Simon LeVay, Dean Hamer, etc.) have said anything of the sort. But their research is misrepresented this way. What we have is a number of studies suggesting possible inborn factors in the development of homosexuality, not "proving" that gays are just "born that way". That there is only about a 50% concordance (less in some studies) between identical twins in sexual orientation indicates that we're probably talking about a mixture of inborn and environmental factors. (Hershberger, SL (1997): A twin registry study of male and female sexual orientation. J. of Sex Research 34, 212-222; Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536). Also, just how do we account for the existence of bisexuality if people are born either 100 percent gay or 100 percent straight? Or is bisexuality another completely rigid category, with no gradation at all between it and homosexuality and heterosexuality?

Are you saying that it is a "lie", not just to say that homosexuality is "chosen", but also to say that it may not be 100 percent inborn, even if that is the most honest way to read the evidence? This would be Lysenkoism, dogmatically declaring scientific truth based on ideology. (Yes, I know, some on the Right do it, too).

Particularly troubling is the movement to prevent psychiatrists from trying to change orientations even when a person desires to be changed. We are to readily agree to change a person's actual physical sex when they are uncomfortable with it, but if they are uncomfortable with their sexual orientation (yes, I'll get to your "lie" number three), we are not to respect their wishes but to try to make them more comfortable with their orientation. What's wrong with this picture?

I realize that you may sincerely feel that you were just born gay, but individuals just cannot be the judges of the causes of their behavioral traits, any more than they can diagnose the natures and causes of their physical conditions by themselves.

I also fail to see how you can be certain that eliminating the "lie" that homosexuality is "chosen" or "learned" will result in less harrassment. Nobody ever thought that blacks "learned' or "chose" their blackness, but that didn't stop them from being enslaved and lynched, did it?

Let's just report all the evidence honestly, without regard to ideology of any kind.

2. There is no way to empirically prove or disprove whether or not homosexuality is immoral. JohnLuke believes it is (based on the Bible, which he believes is the truth); you believe it is not. (I'm speaking here of homosexual activity---as JohnLuke indicates, he does not regard mere homosexual proclivity as immoral). Hence, while it can't be objectively declared "true" outside of a religious context, it cannot be called a "lie" either.

Still curious, though. If the belief that homosexuality is immoral must be discarded in order for "fairness" to occur, and if such beliefs inevitably mean that homosexuals will be "molested", does not your belief that these religious beliefs must be discarded inevitably thus mean that religious people holding these beliefs must be "molested"? If there is no middle ground between extreme anti-gay bigotry, on the one hand, and total social and moral equivalence between homosexuality and heterosexuality on the other hand, how can there be any more middle ground between acceptance of the belief that homosexuality is immoral, on the one hand, and the harrassment and "molesting" of religious people who hold these beliefs, on the other? Do you believe that this is what will have to be done? Are you saying that it's either you or them, that your survival depends on them being gone? So it's just a matter of who's got power, right? No, I don't think you mean this; I honestly don't think you realize that your statement logically puts you in that position.

And again here, how can you be certain that eliminating the notion that homosexuality is immoral will really end the harrassment? If harrassment is the result of a belief in the immorality of something, why have we not had far more harrassment of unmarried heterosexual couples, or of the divorced, or of adulterers? Something else other than just society or the church's declaration of "immorality" is at work in the harrassment of gays, something more in adolescent male psychology.

3. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that it's a "lie" that homosexuality is "only a matter of sexual orientation". I imagine you mean that it encompasses much more, a whole identity and culture. But you should elaborate a bit and explain why you blame other homosexuals for advancing this "lie", and why you think that belief that homosexuality is only about orientation encourages harrassment. (I think the case could be made that harrassment occurs because of a perception that it's about much more)

The future will bring one of two things. Either society accepts that homosexuals should be treated with respect and dignity, which will involve discarding the three lies I list above. Or, in a more conservative world where homosexuals still refuse to get back into the closet, society will be “forced” to deal with homosexuals in very unpleasant ways: “the practice of discouraging morally objectionable choices is not inherently violent, unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary” is how NotSamIAm put it. It will be a difficult thing for religious people to commit, encourage, or allow this kind of evil, as religious people tend to be good people. But they will do it, nonetheless. In three easy lessons, JohnLuke has taught us how to keep a clear conscience.

I can easily turn this around: "The future will bring one of two things. Either society accepts that religious traditionalists should be treated with respect and dignity. Or, in a more liberal world where religious traditionalists still refuse to get back into the closet, society will be 'forced' to deal with them in very unpleasant ways: 'the practice of discouraging socially objectionable choices is not inherently violent, unless the person being discouraged makes it necessary'. It will be a difficult thing for gay people to commit, encourage, or allow this kind of evil, as gay people tend to be good people. But they will do it, nonetheless. In three easy lessons, Arturo has taught us how to keep a clear conscience."

Explain why I'm wrong in saying that the logic of your either-or argument can only imply that the above is as inevitable in the culture you want as you say that harrassment and violence against gays is inevitable in the culture you believe traditionalists want.

You say that there are ways to be fair to society's homosexual members without gay marriage. I do believe that that's what you want. And believe it or not, I'm open to it.

That's a start. Believe it or not, I really do want to stop harrassment against gays. But I am not going to just trade harrassment of gays for harrassment of some other group.

Posted by: R.K. at May 23, 2005 11:34 PM

R.K.

So you see that my use of the word “lies” is not meant to impugn character, but to question the mind, which is the same thing JohnLuke does when he talks about my “internal struggles”? The important difference is that he sees it as a struggle between good and evil, with homosexuals’ sexuality being evil, while I see evil coming from lies, or misconceptions. While it is possible, I suppose, as you argue, that if the tables were turned (and Christians were 2% of the population), Christians might be subjected to oppression, if Christianity was deemed “disordered” or “immoral” by a non-Christian majority. If that was the case, I would not show the insensitivity that Fitz shows, and that Justin, Ben Bateman, and Chairm have encouraged in this thread. I would defend the Christian.

I appreciate your patience in extensively replying to me. There’s really so much in your post, and I’m not as patient as you. There are things I agree with, like your point about harassment resulting from “male psychology,” although you seem to want to attribute this only to “adolescent” male psychology, and I’m not really sure if you think it is “in part” or “entirely” a result of this psychology. But the things that are true in your post are being clouded by your inability to question tradition. I have listed three ways in which religion has surrendered to “adolescent” male psychology and, in it doing so, has deepened the problem of prejudice against the homosexual. You see this as me wanting to undo all of tradition, and all of Christianity, in its entirety. I certainly don’t want that.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 25, 2005 4:52 AM

Urges, that might spring from a form of same-sexed attraction, are not in themselves immoral. Acting on them is.

Arturo seems to merge into one the attraction and the action. I do not. Not all urges can be morally expressed in behavior. That is the case with same-sex attraction, but also many other forms of sexual urges and nonsexual urges.

Even if a person feels there is nothing discovered in revealed truth or by faith in God (such as with Christianity in arturo's example), basic human reasoning leads to the objective truth that human sexuality is two-sexed, not homosexed. And yet reason also shows that the individual cannot morally act on all the multiforms of urges that might arise. The need to discern what is and is not moral is inherent in the nature of humankind -- a social creature that regenerates within the fundamental community of man and woman.

The innate power (personal and communal) of human sexuality is procreative and hence necessarily unitive.

And to reiterate: violently interfering with an individual's free will would do violence to that person's human dignity. From what I have read here, none of the commentators have advocated that sort of societal violence on people who experience same-sexed attraction.

Posted by: JohnLuke at May 27, 2005 9:48 AM

JohnLuke:

The urges you encourage in heterosexuals (prejudice, violence) when you condemn homosexuals’ expression of their sexual nature is immoral.

Reproduction is not the only purpose of the human being. Homosexuals, as has been discussed in this website several times, have been imparted talents and gifts that have contributed much to making this a better world for everyone. It is not a coincidence that artists tend to be homosexual.

The objective truth is that morality is about (as you wrote in your first post) being good and kind to our neighbors, family, and friends. Because heterosexuals reproduce, thus bringing children into the community of humankind, and because heterosexual relationships are made up of two unlike parts (men and women), their sexual behavior needs to be directed by certain rules. These rules, however, do not apply when two homosexual men have sex, as neither is a woman and as their encounter will not result in children. Applying the same rules creates disorder, and creates unjustice.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 28, 2005 2:24 PM
Applying the same rules creates disorder, and creates unjustice.

I'm so glad that you've finally come around to opposing same-sex marriage! Disorder, injustice... you've got it right.

On the artist thing: even granting your broad and wild statement that "artists tend to be homosexual," it seems to me rational to suggest the possibility that the culturalization of artists in recent history has encouraged them to be homosexual, or perhaps the homosexuality and the artistry have formed together as a result of culture. Either option has far different implications than your apparent belief that homosexuality is a matter of intrinsic nature and that artistry is somehow intrinsic to that.

Of course, you remind us again of the impossibility of discussion when you write, "The urges you encourage in heterosexuals (prejudice, violence) when you condemn homosexuals' expression of their sexual nature is immoral." Simply "condemning expression" — any expression condemned in any way? — is, in your view, an incitement to violence. Best not to engage us in conversation, then, eh? We might say something that conflicts with your worldview and thereby encourage other readers to break out the baseball bats.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 28, 2005 9:02 PM

Justin:

I thought that that might get your attention. I'll say a few things shortly.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 28, 2005 10:42 PM

Arturo,

Just a few clarifications/points.

1. By "adolescent male psychology", I don't mean that this is exclusive to adolescents. Unfortunately today, more and more chronological adults have failed to mature beyond their adolescent stage, and we get very adolescent behavior even among 40-and-50-year olds. I don't think this needs clarification; we all probably see examples of this on the news every week. A bigger question is what has caused this in recent years. When all is sorted out, I would not be at all surprised if something we all thought was "progress" turns out to have had a major contributing role. (I'm not pointing a finger at anything more specific than that).

2. You replace my term "religious traditionalist", with "Christian". The two terms only partially overlap. By the former I mean not only traditionalist Christians, but Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and even traditionalists of religions outside the monotheist subkingdom who feel that their moral standards are lasting and not just subject to the changing times. By "Christian" I think you mean not just traditionalists but Unitarians, liberal Methodists, and other groups well represented in the NCC which have adopted positions regarding same-sex unions (and other issues) which you find more acceptable. You say you would "defend the Christian" if he were attacked in a future society, but do you mean that you would defend those who still believed that homosexuality was immoral? I do believe that you, and most of the others who post here and support SSM (Mark Miller, Matt Taylor, Michael, etc.) would strongly oppose attacks on people because of their religious beliefs. I am not at all sure, however, about those posters that populate Alas, A Blog, for instance.

And that's the question I'm getting at. You hold that religious traditionalists who feel homosexuality is wrong, yet oppose violence or harrassment against them, are nevertheless responsible for the acts of those who do engage in harrassment or violence against gays. Does it not then also follow that people who hold that the belief that homosexuality is immoral is itself immoral, yet would oppose violence/harrassment against religious traditionalists who hold these beliefs, are nevertheless responsible for the acts of those who would engage in violence/harrassment against such traditionalists?

And a group doesn't have to constitute only 2 percent of the population to be subjected to violence. History is replete with examples.

I don't think you want to undo all of Christianity, even if you might prefer that it be divested of some things. The trouble is, to remove these things necessitates saying much more, essentially that it has nothing permanent to say about anything regarding morals. You also say you don't want to undo all of tradition, and I don't think you do, but one of the problems with SSM is that once it is enacted, appeal to tradition on any other issue will be rendered effectively meaningless. It will cement in the next generations a notion that we need not look to the past for guidance at all.

"Ideology can blind people to what is obvious; they can end up believing their own lies." Regardless of which definition of "lies" we use, I fully agree. And I hope you realize that you're no more exempt from this vulnerability than the rest of us are.

Posted by: R.K. at May 31, 2005 1:10 AM

The only thing that the fact that gay sex cannot be rationally called immoral means is that the marriages that homosexuals will enter into will be different. If this is not understood, it will lead to disordered gay marriages (not straight ones). Gay marriages don’t need to be as exclusive sexually, for the reason I stated, that sex involves neither a woman nor the possibility of children being born from it. I’ll go even further: also because it does not involve heterosexual men, who become good men by learning to be good to women, which to their wife includes being faithful to her. Gay men don’t need exclusivity as much to be good. They need marriage for some of the same reasons that straights do, and for other reasons. But they will not be identical as straight marriages. This should be understood or there will be confusion.

Your suggestion that “art and homosexuality form together as a result of culture,” is not only wrong, but a dangerous idea. It leads to the elimination of art to try to get rid of homosexuality. That’s what Islamists have done. All they’ve accomplished is to destroy art, yet there are still homosexuals, hiding it for fear of their lives, pretending to be heterosexuals, avoiding all things (like art) that might lead to questions about their “manliness.” A place where all homosexual instincts are oppressed is an (artless) heterosexual wasteland.

While homosexuals were created to be specially driven to, among other things, make art, societies advance when everyone learns to appreciate it and everyone is encouraged to discover their talents. That’s what homosexuals do. It is how they are part of the community of humankind. (JohnLuke, on your belief that homosexuals’ sexuality, as it’s not procreative, is necessarily not “unitive”: should we talk about how that makes bigots feel justified when they renounce their gay children?)

Someone should do a study on anti-gay activists. It will be discovered that they are all conservatives who have been touched by homosexuality in some very real way. Either they have a child who turned out gay (and is not ashamed of it). Or they are “waverers” (I’ve talked about this before). Or they are artists and traditionalists. In a conservative environment, where traditional “conceptions of sex and gender” (Fitzs’ words) are important, there is a fear that to be into art is not “manly” enough. This is what RK called “adolescent male psychology.” Among conservatives, it afflicts “grown ups.”

By the way, when I talk of homosexuality, I am only talking of homosexual men. The dumbest thing that gay rights activists did was to put everyone (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders) into one category. They are all different and need to be discussed separately.

This will be my last comment on this website. Writing is not fun for me. I’d rather do fun things.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 31, 2005 12:02 PM

I would hope it is not the last.

-- "JohnLuke, on your belief that homosexuals’ sexuality, as it’s not procreative, is necessarily not “unitive”: should we talk about how that makes bigots feel justified when they renounce their gay children?"

Since you have introduced the idea, please do describe what you mean by it.

To press marriage onto relationships that are outside of marriage would be to misapply the "rules" of marriage. I cannot see how retrofit marriage to fit homosexed relations can benefit such relations, let alone serve marriage. The two are incompatable and as, you say, to treat them otherwise would produce disorder.

Marriage is indeed the community of man and woman for the purpose of creating and socializing each generation. The expectations (or "rules") of marriage do not apply to homosexed bedmates. Those of friendship, on the other hand, surely do apply to non-marital relationships.

Fidelity comes in nonsexual forms, of course, but within marriage monogamy is uplifting and as essential, if not moreso, than marital friendship. In fact, it would be very difficult to un-twine them without destablizing the marriage.

Arturo, your description of SSM is beginning to emerge as something less and less like marriage and more and more like a ruinous mixture of self-destructive behaviors -- beyond homosex -- of a contrarian lifestyle to the core.

Posted by: JohnLuke at May 31, 2005 2:32 PM

Well, Arturo, if it's your last comment, I won't bother responding to it. It's been good (if sometimes frustrating) to have you 'round.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 31, 2005 4:53 PM