November 28, 2006

Why not engage with me instead of trying to make me into your enemy?

Despite yesterday's forbearance, I feel I have to respond to this post of Andrew Sullivan's. I didn't say I'd resist forever. I just said I was sensitive about too much in a row of the intrablogospherical squabblage. But now that I've hit a couple other subjects and have a bit of time this morning to stir up a reasonably bloggy mix, I'm going to respond.

Here's his post, in its entirety, under the heading "Quote for the Day":
"What seems to be guiding Althouse and Reynolds' hatred of the term "Christianist" is that it highlights a fact which they both are eager to ignore - namely, that the political party to which they are so devoted is dominated by individuals who believe that their religious/Christian beliefs ought to dictate the American political process, shape secular law, and exploit coercive state power to constrain the choices of their fellow citizens," - Glenn Greenwald, responding to increasingly hysterical attacks on yours truly by some Republican bloggers.
Is this decent, Andrew? Greenwald, an extremely partisan blogger, known for swinging wildly, produced a post that was obviously designed to vilify me. Did you bother to check whether any of his assertions are fair or true, or do you think it's acceptable to just reprint something and let it work its damage because you're irked at me for raising some questions about your hostility to religious people? I see that you seem to be trying to make amends to the religious people you offended by printing some long emails from Mormons, so I have the feeling that my criticism had some effect. So why just reprint a hostile quote?

First, I'm not only not "so devoted to" the Republican Party, I'm not a Republican at all. The main reason I'm not a Republican is that I object to the social conservatism aspect of the party. I'm not a Democrat either, because of the Democratic Party's weakness on national security. I'm on record, time and again on this blog, as disliking both parties. In short, the entire premise of Greenwald's quote -- my supposed party affiliation -- is a lie.

Second, I don't have a "hatred" of your word "Christianist." As I said in the very post of mine that criticized you and that linked to Greenwald's abusive material:
I don't object to the word "Christianists" if it is used fairly to refer to something that is the equivalent of "Islamists." I use the word "religionists" myself. See here, here, here, and here. Words like this mean something and have a place. The key is to use them in the right place. I criticize Sullivan when he shows a hostility toward ordinary religious people who aren't trying to bully their way around the political world. There are distinctions to be made here.
Instead of letting Greenwald be your mouthpiece, why not engage with the issue I raised about your use of the word? I share your opposition about the social conservative political agenda, and I'm a strong supporter of the separation of church and state. Why not engage with me instead of trying to make me into your enemy? I have supported gay marriage in numerous posts on this blog for almost three years, and I am a law professor who teaches a course in Religion and the Constitution. Why don't you see me as a valuable ally or, at the least, a person to avoid reprinting lies about?

UPDATE: Sullivan responds to this post without linking to it. Great. I guess you want to make it hard for your readers to see what I actually said. He prefers to link to the Instapundit post that links to this. What's that all about? How many times is he going to print my name over there and talk about me without linking to me? It's really unfair! It flaunts unfairness! Here's what he writes -- note how it just merges me with Glenn Reynolds, knocks me, then proceeds to talk about things Reynolds wrote. Here's the part that is about me:
Today, the Althouse-Reynolds Axis begs for me to engage them on the issues, rather than making them my "enemy." I'm befuddled. I linked to a quote by Glenn Greenwald, which was very long and included many links to Althouse and Reynolds and others over the question of whether "Christianist" is an appropriate term to use to describe the fusion of political ideology and religious faith. Greenwald shows that Reynolds and Althouse simply refuse to allow me to deploy a word in a manner that makes sense to me. Althouse writes:
I criticize Sullivan when he shows a hostility toward ordinary religious people who aren't trying to bully their way around the political world. There are distinctions to be made here.
Indeed there are. That's why I call "ordinary religious people" Christians and call those who are "trying to bully their way around the political world" Christianists. Is that so hard for her to understand? I've stated it quite clearly from the beginning, but she refuses to take me at my word.
And you, Andrew Sullivan, refuse to engage with the serious argument I am making here. If you linked to the posts you talk about and cut way down, your readers would have a fair chance to see what I am saying. I have obviously agreed with your basic definition but called you on your overuse of it and the air of hostility toward religious people you're giving off. Why don't you deal with my argument fairly, including links to me, and why don't you treat me as an individual instead of lamely and inaccurately merging me with Glenn Reynolds? Glenn and I have taken different positions on this, and I'm the main blogger writing about the subject, so why are you linking to him linking to me? I would suggest it's sexism -- it certainly gives off a whiff of sexism -- but I think the real reason is that Reynolds's position is easier for you to oppose by trotting out your usual points.

215 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 215 of 215
Screwy Hoolie said...

Chrisitanist Christianist Christianist.

If you disagree only with some subjective inference, then why go on and on. It's called a difference, and people have them all the time.

What it smells like to me is someone who's lost an argument trying to save face by railing about minutae.

InAustin said...

Let us consider an alternative reasoning for why an opposition to gay marriage, a "defense" of traditional marriage is flawed.

1) People have a genetic predisposition to want to procreate their genes.

2) Childbearing and rearing of children, therefore is a evolutionary process. If it is allowed to single moms/dads, divorcees and other such people, it should be permitted to gay couples too.

3) A good stable family unit is essential to the rearing of the child. The child needs protection - legal and emotional, and for that, a social contract, marriage, binding its caregivers together is important.

4) Gay couples where one partner is a biological parent of the child have a right to ensuring that their child enjoys the security that other children feel within the familial unit.

5) Hence, parenting gay couples (breeders, ha!) should be allowed to marry, to seal their contract together.

This in itself makes an outright ban on gay marriages unethical.

But there is more.

6) Rational people recognize that homosexuality is not a choice - but part of the human condition.

7) Marriage induces heterosexual couples to work, make sacrifices and leading lives for a cause beyond their own selfish happiness. They think about each other and their children.

8) Unless (5) is permitted, many homosexual couples will be discouraged from settling down into stable monogamous relationships.

9) Thus everyone needs to be encouraged to form stable monogamous relationships so that they might have a shot at contributing to society by caring for the next generation and perpetuating their genetic material.

zerozipzilch said...

cb and chickenlittle,
Why don't you want to water the parts of the yard where you've brought in sod, or are thinking about bringing in sod? Seems more efficient than continuing to water the parts of the existing grass which are already infected with fairy ring, pink snow mold, and slime mold fungi.

Robert said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
"I criticize Sullivan when he shows a hostility toward ordinary religious people who aren't trying to bully their way around the political world."

I've read back quite a ways in Sullivan's blog, and haven't found any instances of him doing this specific thing. You claim to have explained the discrepancy 'about twelve times'; looking back through this comment thread, I haven't found anything that reads (to me) as an explanation of the discrepancy.

Sullivan quite specifically pillories those who ARE 'trying to bully their way around the political world.'

noho-missives said...

reoconnot (or like-thinkers),

1. I live is Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. Do you support ending that on the logical basis put forth by reoconnot?

2. Since women only can be a breeding partner up to a certain age, where would you set the maximum legal age for women to marry? 50, 75, 100? Clearly, any 90 year old woman who marries is doing it for sentimental reasons and not to further the perpetuity of the state.

You said:

"We don't distinguish between child producing marriages and non child producing marriages principally because we don't know when marriages are entered into which ones will produce children".

But, sometimes we do.

zerozipzilch said...

Boy, just reread my comment and realized that due to my unfortunate coincidental use of the words sod, fairy, and pink, people might incorrectly conclude that I'm speaking ironically and agreeing with the lawn-waterers. I'm not. New sod = homosexual couples raising children without "germinating" in the traditional way. Fungus = heterosexual couples failing to reproduce appropriately.

chickenlittle said...

zerozipzilch said:

"Why don't you want to water the parts of the yard where you've brought in sod, or are thinking about bringing in sod? Seems more efficient than continuing to water the parts of the existing grass which are already infected with fairy ring, pink snow mold, and slime mold fungi."

Yes, I did think that and found it quite amusing!

Sorry, but I won't let you take it back now

A Hermit said...

"you haven't shown me the basic respect of reading and understanding what I wrote"

Oh I've read it, but I will confess to having trouble understanding the steadily shifting, meandering course of what you wrote. You seem to have reacted to Sullivan in a knee-jerk reaction (or "recoil" to use your own word) to the use of the term "Christianist", got caught in a bit of hypocritical faux outrage about "how snide and hostile" the term is and are now backpedalling and rationalizing to try and maintain this tired old phony "moderate" pose. I don't see why anything you've written here deserves the least bit of respect, but I did read it.

I'm no fan of Sullivan's by the way, but your response to all of this frankly looks more than a little irrational to me.

Sorry, but I do find it amusing.

chickenlittle said...

no-ho missives: said:

"I live is Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. Do you support ending that on the logical basis put forth by reoconnot?"

No but do think your legislature should vote to allow the popular referendum.

A Hermit said...

Reoconnot's whole argument is flawed right from the very first proposition:

"1.The state recognizes marriage because marriages produce children."

Does this mean my Grandfather's second marriage was invalid?! He and the woman I always knew as "Grandma" never intended to have children together, not at their age.

The history of marriage as a legal institution has nothing to do with childbearing and everything to do with property. Modern marriage has to do with two people making a commitment to live together in a committed, exclusive relationship with certain legal rights and responsibilities attached. There is simply no rational argument against offering that same legal arrangement. None.

chickenlittle said...

a hermit (no less) said:

"There is simply no rational argument against offering that same legal arrangement. None."

That sounds convincing for the legal part. How about the part about legal precedent for offering it to anybody and his uncle?

A Hermit said...

"How about the part about legal precedent for offering it to anybody and his uncle?"

Ever hear of the 14th Amendment? Something in there about "equal protection of the laws".

Given that marriage provides certain legal rights and "protections" it must therefore be applied equally to all, whether it's me and my wife of 25 years, or my Aunt and her partner of 35...

There, that was easy...

chickenlittle said...

Gosh hermit, you're awfully smart, are you a lawyer by chance?

Robert said...

Because if you're not a lawyer, Hermit, you mustn't express opinions on the applicability of Constitutional guarantees to specific real-life examples of perceived injustice. That's a _lawyerly_ prerogative.

Otherwise, pseudonymous online persons will snark you with malice aforethought.

mdhatter said...

the whole gay marriage thing is dumb, and hermit has it almost right.

Let the churches worry about who can marry whom. giove that power to the church.

Then, let the govenment do it's job and collect all the taxes and records.

Don't like gay marriage? avoid Unitarians.

is that so hard?

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 215 of 215   Newer› Newest»