May 10, 2012

"I don't think the argument for gay rights should hinge on whether you're gay or you know someone who is gay."

"If something is actually bad or morally wrong, you don't try to promote it by talking about the person in your family who does it. You may notice that I've been writing in support of same-sex marriage on this blog for more than 7 years, and I don't think I've ever bolstered the argument with anecdotes of personal experience. In fact, I think it cheapens the argument to blend that in."

That's what I wrote in September 2011, back when Dick Cheney clearly stated his support for same-sex marriage. A reader emailed me that in connection with Obama's statement about same-sex marriage, which was thoroughly bolstered with references to the real people he knows:
I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction....

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.
Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

132 comments:

Paul Zrimsek said...

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

By now, Amy Carter is too old to be worth consulting.

tree hugging sister said...

In many instances, yes. Unlike the cut or dried right and wrong of murder or stealing, something like a lifestyle described might seem so foreign to someone who never had come in contact with a "gay" person before, making them easy to demonize. Especially if all they've seen is dancing queens screaming in the streets of San Francisco. But face to face with the everyday person in your office, who, after the comfort of time, you come to find out has a "partner" of long standing...well, dang. He's not quite the boogeyman in reality you might have made him out to be in the abstract.

JAL said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

For BHO, yes. His "moral" values take shape around "me, myself and I": Shot through with expediency like a fine piece of marbled pricey steak, and marinated in self promotion every minute of every day.

harrogate said...

I understand and to a large extent agree with your point that ideally, anecdote ought not to rule the conclusions that we reach, intellectual or moral. However, in reality, the answer to this question:

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

is for almost everyone ever, a resounding yes. Most every religious person, for example, subscribes to the religion that they subscribe to, as a direct result of the people that they happen to know. Same with political allegiances.

I'm not taking a wholly deterministic position. But the idea that Cheney or Obama somehow reached corrupted decisions because they were influenced by their actual experiences and social relationships, is more than a little fucked up.

The John Rawls experiment sounds really really great ideally, but how often does it ever apply?

Mitchell said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

Yes. It used to be called "peer pressure."

Perhaps it's called that still.

Jay Retread said...

I notice that your sons don't post here any more. I would guess they don't appreciate that you threw one of them under the bus to keep your Althouse Hillbillies happy.

Of course personal experience shape our world view. Why do you think Dick Cheney supports gay civil rights?

Personal experience should of course not be the only thing but to say that it has no place in shaping policy is almost robotic. You are one cold fish Ann.

Mark O said...

Seriously?

rhhardin said...

Moral values are whatever you'll take responsibility for.

Moral arguments are about determining that, not settling that.

Disagreement is not a failure of argument but a success.

Gay marriage though is about doing in a word, so that what used to be marriage can no longer be thought.

Independent of morals, that's not a good idea. It's a new way to take away freedom.

Matthew Sablan said...

I think who you know and is around you does influence your moral outlook. I also think, in some cases, it should. Some things are simply, on their face, wrong or right. Personal experience, though, helps you understand it.

Scott M said...

Yes. It used to be called "peer pressure."

Perhaps it's called that still.


No, now it's called bullying.

Dave said...

"Moral values are whatever you'll take responsibility for."

That's why the term "values" is degenerate: it's a fluid metric.

Moral principles are static objective standards that exist independently of our wants or social pressures of the day.

Jay said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

In the era of "the personal is political," of course.

And of course this personalization is led by the left.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

Jay Retread said...
I notice that your sons don't post here any more. I would guess they don't appreciate that you threw one of them under the bus to keep your Althouse Hillbillies happy.


What are you talking about?

Lyssa said...

What we thought were our moral values could be shaped by ignorance, and knowing certain kind of people could be the cure for that. For example, if you've never met a Mormon family, and all you know are funny underwear and such, you might think of Mormons as creepy and cult-like. But if you meet a few Mormons, and they're nice and normal people, you realize that your initial belief was wrong.

But that's not really shaping your moral values, that's erasing the ignorance that may have stood in the way of the correct application of your moral values to the facts at hand.

And yes, it drives me crazy when I hear a "defense" of "well, I have a cousin/friend/neighbor who's ____" as if that's an argument as to why ____ is OK.

Carnifex said...

So professor, you think morality springs forth from our minds whole and complete like Athena from the head of Zeus? And you called my position naive?

Dan in Philly said...

Again we see the power of a minority lobbying group in influencing policy in Washington.

Patrick said...

I think anecdotes can help illustrate values, ideas and opinions as long as they are not mistaken for data. Often, however they are used to sway opinion based solely upon emotion, which while often persuasive, isn't an effective way to conduct policy. Because emotion can be a strong persuader it is often used, but it looks cheap.

Shanna said...

I think it's easy to think in generalities when you don't know anyone who is gay. That would be pure logic at work. But we humans are not purely logical, and having friends who really want this makes the issue personal.

Shanna said...

But that's not really shaping your moral values, that's erasing the ignorance that may have stood in the way of the correct application of your moral values to the facts at hand.

Thank you Lyssa. This exactly.

Phil 3:14 said...

Yes,

As we used to say:

Some of my best friends are colored

Pogo said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

Answer: Madison, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Portland, San Francisco, St. Paul.

Bob Ellison said...

As many above have said, "yes". My own conclusion on gay marriage have evolved partly because of the gay people I have known.

The trick is to draw the general lesson: what moral values do I hold that should fall or change if I were omniscient? What values should I hold that I don't hold now?

The value of simple honesty, I think, is lowly held outside western civilization, and among groups (like leftists) who disdain western civ. That's probably because those people have been insufficiently exposed to the benefits of ubiquitous honesty.

Well, I digress.

ricpic said...

Are there nice gay couples? I'm sure there are. And what does that have to do with opposing the gay marriage agenda, which is a spear thrown at the heart of traditional morality?

Scott M said...

What are you talking about?

As per usual, Jay Retread's not sure. He drifts in and out of consciousness before mustering up enough focus to get the two word verifications correct before hitting enter.

Bob Ellison said...

rhhardin wrote: "Gay marriage though is about doing in a word..."

I support gay marriage, but I agree with rhhardin here. Ask an (a?) SSM supporter whether he/she would be OK with "civil unions" that are identical, minus the name, with marriage, and you'll usually get hostility in response. This proves that SSM is not, for some supporters, about enabling new forms of coupling. It's about forcing the concept of SSM down the throats of traditionalists, presumably in the hope that society will evolve. That's a morally empty argument...as ricpic suggests right there.

AllieOop said...

Yes, it does in many instances.

Some people are so insulated from the mainstream of life, nicely tucked into suburbia, or their churches or wherever "safe", that they have never come into contact with minorities who live in the inner city, or gay people, or poor people, or "others".

They are far more judgmental and less empathetic than a person who has worked or lived among people who are not cookie cutter images of themselves.

"Walk a mile in my shoes".

Jay said...

AllieOop said...

Some people are so insulated from the mainstream of life, nicely tucked into suburbia, or their churches or wherever "safe", that they have never come into contact with minorities who live in the inner city, or gay people, or poor people, or "others".


Yeah, I've often said the same thing about Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Some people are so insulated from the mainstream of life, nicely tucked into suburbia, or their churches or wherever "safe", that they have never come into contact with minorities who live in the inner city, or gay people, or poor people, or "others"."

-- Yes. Some people just spend too much time in nearly all white establishments; like the ivory tower of educational institutions, the Obama campaign staff and MSNBC. Those people really need to get out more. Or was I supposed to only dislike when suburbia and churches aren't worldly enough?

Pogo said...

Like most lefties, they're only "nice" when they get their way.
When they don't, they get medieval.

Example: Madison, 2011-2012.
Planned Parenthood vs. the Susan G. Komen foundation.
The gays vs. anyone who gave money for Prop 8.

Once gay marriage is law, then they will destroy all who dare speak against it, as has occurred in Canada and England already.

"Nice" is just more bullshit.
The demands will never end.

Leeatmg said...

Bob Ellison wrote:

"I support gay marriage, but I agree with rhhardin here. Ask an (a?) SSM supporter whether he/she would be OK with "civil unions" that are identical, minus the name, with marriage, and you'll usually get hostility in response. This proves that SSM is not, for some supporters, about enabling new forms of coupling. It's about forcing the concept of SSM down the throats of traditionalists, presumably in the hope that society will evolve. That's a morally empty argument...as ricpic suggests right there."

Boy, isn't this true. Usually, the "separate but equal" argument comes up, and it gets ugly from there.

I have a bigger question - why is the government in the business of sanctioning marriage in any form at all? Doesn't the special treatment of married couples violate the spirit of equal protection? Why aren't conservatives or libertarians (or both) appalled at the special treatment by the government of this special class of citizen? Or is it OK to pick winners if you agree with who the winners should be?

Jay said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?


OH, and I wanted to add that since just about everyone in government can point to someone they know that is gay/disabled/down on their luck/discriminated against/an addict, etc. that's how we end up with a federal leviathan that can't even inventory its assets or run airport screenings, let alone not have a federal debt that will never be repaid.

Personalizing national policies has worked out swell, hasn't it?

MadisonMan said...

Yes. It used to be called "peer pressure."

I disagree. I observe the lives of gay partners I know, and draw my own conclusions. It has nothing to do with them -- they don't know they're being observed. Which is good because in one instance I am always rolling my eyes at their treacly vanity license plate.

My observations tell me that outwardly at least their lives have a boring sameness that compares to opposite-sexed couples.

Bob Ellison said...

Allie, your statement is insular and parochial.

harrogate said...

"The demands will never end."

Such unreasonable demands, too. "Give em an inch and they'll take a mile," right hoss?

dreams said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

I think it can give us a better perspective. It can make it real for us, so to speak.

traditionalguy said...

Values is a word that describes what we expect from other humans that we live among in a community.

It is based upon raising children to respect the boundaries of our community. That is a time consuming part of the Father's job description for boys and of the mother's job description for girls.

And it is then reinforced by a social group such as a church the family ttends together or a school the children attend alone.

The social order becomes the system of enforced conduct when men are assigned the role of judging and punishing the odd balls and the rebels. Without some level of enforcement, there is no boundary set by so called law/rules in a group and no safety.

We find ourselves more and more living in a society that is lazy and defaults to freedom rather than to values enforcement. Are we too free to be safe?

Whether a freedom is dangerous is unknown until it is tried out.

Adding more restrictions on freedoms such as in Prohibition of alcohol is a disaster. Voting to take away freedom to drink alcohol sounded all good to non-drinkers until it was tried out. It was not needed or respected and the rebel was really the rule enforcers and the mean ways it was used to harm people caught enjoying life.

The real problem here is the human mind that enjoys rules that it can proudly keep. That creates self esteem to be publicly better than others who can be called " the unclean dogs" because of what they eat and what sexual acts they perform. That's all.

Pogo said...

Yes, harrogate, redefining a word is unreasonable.

bearing said...

I think it is important for everyone to see "those people" (about whose choices we make moral judgments) as three-dimensional, real human beings.

It is not necessarily because our moral principles need altering, although sometimes that's the case.

It's because we need to understand how our judgments affect other people, because they are people and they deserve our understanding and engagement with them as people. We have to have the fortitude to look people in the eye and say, "Yes, my judgment about the best public policy for the nation logically means that I believe that you, sir, should not get something you, understandably, really want." We don't get to say, "You don't really want that," or "What you want isn't good for you anyway, and I know better."

If we are not willing to do that, we're cowards.

Carnifex said...

Who we are, and what we consider moral is wholly based on who we know, and knew in our past. We see behaviors in people we approve of, and try to emulate them. Based on how we are wired psychologically, that can be either a benefit, or not to ourselves and society as a whole.

This is a rephrasing of the old argument "Religion is bad, but it is better than the alternative".

Is it moral for a firefighter with a family to risk his life saving a strangers possessions from being burned? I would posit on the face that no, it is not moral, but to the greater good of society self sacrifice, and altruism, IS a good thing.

Morality is the labyrinth of our collective soul as a society. We wend our way through it, trying to find the center. Sometimes we find it, often times, we stumble into a blind alley. But always we seek the golden fleece at the center.

Some say there is no labyrinth. It's made up by bad men who want to use its power to confuse other men with promises of a map. These people are the atheist. The truth is that bad men do use the lure of a map to bad ends, but there are honest map makers too. Our experiences in the labyrinth determines who is who.

This also delineates the problem of creeping relativism. If you labyrinth is changing, or evolving as the progressives would say, then no map, and no amount of work matters. It just becomes a crap shoot. In todays society, minorities have "lucked" into the center. The our the wears of the fleece, and in the eyes of a lot of people, can do no wrong. The return of Aztlan, the NBBP, gay rights, are perceived as good things by a large section of our society. But for every hire based on perceived "past injustices" doesn't zero sum the balance, it doubles the balances to more injustice. So another aggrieved cross-section of society is created. White males vs. everyone, blacks vs. hispanics, Christians vs. atheist, etc.

And so tomorrow, what favored group will fall into the fleece? Will it benefit you personally? Will it harm you personally? Would you speak up against one but not the other, or speak up against both, or just stay silent?

Remember when winding your way through the labyrinth, it's always easier to go downhill, but not always the wisest choice.

AllieOop said...

Bob Ellison, hardly.

I observe many of my suburban neighbors who are incredibly judgmental, who actually spell the word "gay" in front of their young children as if it is a profanity. Even if they have gay relatives in their own families they "hide" the fact that they are gay from the children.

As a nurse I came across many people from different walks of life that gave me a better understanding of what made them tick.

jvermeer51 said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"
Or look like a son you might have had?

Bob Ellison said...

Pogo, are you serious there? The meanings of words change routinely, like it or not. I don't like a forced change, like re-naming racial identification for PC reasons, but I'm OK with the idea that "marriage" will (and it will) come to mean something different from what it used to mean. We can always invent a new word to point to the old meaning. English is wonderful that way!

jvermeer51 said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"
Or look like a son you might have had?

jimbino said...

Does Obama know any single people, or sister-sister pairs, or grandma's living with grandkids, or single mothers and fathers, all of whom will suffer more than they now do once gays join the ranks of the heteros in gaining special privileges involving taxes, inheritance, hospital visitation and the other 1000 privileges the gummint accords a couple who is married and denies the other 50% of Amerikans.

bagoh20 said...

When you start paying for the food, shelter, and college tuition of random people around the world who you don't know, you can tell me this is your thinking.

Some people do that. Them, I believe.

Dave said...

"They are far more judgmental and less empathetic than a person who has worked or lived among people who are not cookie cutter images of themselves."

It's my experience (I lived in Ann Arbor and worked in Berkeley) that lefties can be extremely insular and regularly bully anyone who disagrees. It was worse in Ann Arbor by the way, the work environments tends to be more pragmatic. By contrast many conservatives, don't care much about politics and are quite comfortable with those they disagree with. Many of us would love to have more areas of life free of the interference of politics. Marriage is one those areas.

Bob Ellison said...

Allie wrote: 'I observe many of my suburban neighbors who are incredibly judgmental, who actually spell the word "gay" in front of their young children as if it is a profanity.'

Before, Allie wrote: 'Some people are so insulated from the mainstream of life, nicely tucked into suburbia...'

You are generalizing. Profiling. How can I separate what you are doing from what a racist does?

ndspinelli said...

I'm sure if I were put into a situation where I had numerous meals w/ a French Canadian I would think they should not be allowed in this country instead of the mere utter disdain I currently feel. Familiarity can breed more contempt.

Carnifex said...

Leeatmg so far has made the only logical argument so far, even including mine. I will ponder his words, they have weight.

@harrogate

Yes, the demand next will be for polygamy, and then bestiality, and pedophilia, and finally we get to necrophilia, but the enlightened Egyptians are already trying to tackle the "I want to fuck my dead spouse" vote. Let's wait and see how that goes.

Bryan C said...

"And what does that have to do with opposing the gay marriage agenda, which is a spear thrown at the heart of traditional morality?"

Should we oppose someone who wants to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or who may have ulterior motives with which we disagree?

That doesn't seem morally consistent to me. In fact, it seems to leave those nice gay couples you mention in a bad spot. Their supporters are using them as pawns in their radical agenda, and you're rejecting their arguments out of hand because they're tainted by association.

My only concern about same-sex-marriage is religious freedom. This applies to contraception, hiring, firing, membership, and marriage ceremonies. It's important to defend that principle as broadly as possible. To tie it to a specific issue like same-sex-marriage, where marriage is already a creature of the state, narrows the scope and badly weakens the argument. Don't fall for it.

AJ Lynch said...

"Redifining a word is unreasonable".

This is my main objection to gay marriage too. It is preposterous.

Call it something else- I am OK with civil unions for same sex arrangements.

Matthew Sablan said...

That's surprising that suburbia is so hostile towards homosexuality, since it is more accepted in suburbia and among the middle-class families than in poor, minority-ghetto cultures (see the Latino/black voting on the issue).

How is it that liberals seem to always be so close to stereotypical, cartoon versions of conservatives that I never, ever see?

AJ Lynch said...

I have never heard of anyone spelling the word gay to avoid saying it aloud in front of their kids. That is a preposterous story.

You are now making shit up Allie. Which is not surprising to most of us.

AllieOop said...

Bob Ellison, I think you may merely be trying to be a contrarian here.

Take from it what you will, but you would probably be wrong, on purpose.

Joe said...

I have a bigger question - why is the government in the business of sanctioning marriage in any form at all? Doesn't the special treatment of married couples violate the spirit of equal protection? Why aren't conservatives or libertarians (or both) appalled at the special treatment by the government of this special class of citizen? Or is it OK to pick winners if you agree with who the winners should be?

It's worse than this. Government has picked the "winners" in marriages themselves: women. The second winner in divorces is, ironically, the more irresponsible party. If you refuse to work, or blow all the money you do earn, in most jurisdictions, you still get to take the more responsible spouse to the cleaners.

The fact is that government policy has done more to destroy marriage than anything gays could dream of doing.

(And for those who argue that the word marriage should be changed, it already has been. I seriously doubt the vast majority of women would really like to enter a truly traditional marriage where she has absolutely no rights.)

Jay said...

Black voters in NC supported Amendment One by 2-1 margin.

White leftists rushed to the Internet to call them bigots and hicks.

I love it!

Jay said...

observe many of my suburban neighbors who are incredibly judgmental, who actually spell the word "gay" in front of their young children as if it is a profanity. Even if they have gay relatives in their own families they "hide" the fact that they are gay from the children.



Um, so?

AllieOop said...

AJ lynch, you need to get to get out more. Hearing things that you don't want to accept because they reflect badly on your mindset does not make them untrue.

Pogo said...

@Bob Ellison

I am dead serious. Redefining words is a dangerous undertaking. All of the PC bullshit had no effect other than preference falsification.

Murder will always be murder, no matter what word you use to hide it.

Marriage will be redefined precisely because they intend on destruction of religion and family. I do not have to pretend it is otherwise. If civil unions were the point, they would have stuck with that. But they are after far more than that.

Quayle said...

Some people are so insulated from the mainstream of life, nicely tucked into suburbia, or their churches or wherever "safe", that they have never come into contact with minorities who live in the inner city, or gay people, or poor people, or "others".

They are far more judgmental and less empathetic than a person who has worked or lived among people who are not cookie cutter images of themselves.


I have to disagree.

After suffering years of his life in the Gulags, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn had this to say:

"A free head - now is that not an advantage of life in the Archipelago?"

And what came to Solzhenitsyn in this free head?

"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either - but right through every human heart - and through all human hearts."

"This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years."

"And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained."

"And even in the best of all hearts, there remains...an un-uprooted small corner of evil." [end quote]

So, A-oop, it isn't about races, or churches or neighborhoods. It is about what each person decides to do in and with their heart.

In rich neighborhoods there are people that think of and care only for themselves, and there are people that think of and care for others.

In the poor neighborhoods there are people that think of and care only for themselves, and there are people that think of and care for others.

In the gay 'community' there are people that think of and care only for themselves, and there are people that think of and care for others.

There are people of each racial background that think of and care only for themselves, and there are people that think of and care for others.

Which is why the American political discussion focusing on groups and categories has been such a complete waste for the past 50 years.

Or as Solzhenitsyn said, "...[S]ince that time I have come to understand the falsehood of all the revolutions in history: They destroy on those carriers of evil contemporary with them (and also fail, out of haste, to discriminate the carriers of good as well.)"

"And they then take to themselves as their heritage the actual evil itself, magnified still more."

Bob Ellison said...

Allie, I think you may merely be trying to be contrarian. Maybe you're a suburban, knuckle-dragging, right-wing troll...

No, I don't actually think that.

harrogate said...

Carnifex,

"Yes, the demand next will be for polygamy, and then bestiality, and pedophilia, and finally we get to necrophilia, but the enlightened Egyptians are already trying to tackle the 'I want to fuck my dead spouse' vote. Let's wait and see how that goes."

Shiny object and slippery slope rolled into one. It IS a popular objection, I grant you.

But I believe we are capable of dealing with each of these separately. Sure, let's hear the arguments for necrophilia, and arguments against. I am betting we can do better to justify our ban on necrophilia than "ewww that's gross." Similarly, perhaps we can do better than "what? we don't even let gays gbet married! we damned sure aren't allowing polygamy!"

We gotta ban on marijuana but not on alcohol. And many who want to legalize marijuna do not want to legalize cocaine or heroine. And some like Rand Paul, hope they never get asked about anything like that at all, on live television. ;-)

bagoh20 said...

Do gays really want to be like everyone else? Really?
I was thinking of trying it, but now I'm turned off to the whole boring concept. Victim is just not my style.

paul a'barge said...

No gay marriage.

If it takes an amendment to the US Constitution to finally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman (and it will take such an amendment) then let's get started on the amendment now.

Tim said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

Moral values?

Does anyone really think this about anything but the simple fact that one out of six Obama bundlers are gay?

Before yesterday, Obama seemed blissfully untroubled by his lack of support for gay marriage. What provoked this change in his moral values...?

MadisonMan said...

Call it something else- I am OK with civil unions for same sex arrangements.

This goes to the argument of why have the govt involved at all? I see marriage as a religious ceremony. Govt cannot force a church to marry a couple (not in the US, at least) with views not supported by the Church.

If the government is going to grant special rights to those who are married, then it should call that union of two people something besides marriage. So you can get married in a church, and that confers nothing on you but the church's recognition of the union. For government benefits, you have to file a civil union license. Everyone is happy.

wyo sis said...

JAL nicely put.
When we set ourselves up as judges of what others "proudly" decide is correct are we any less proud?
Morality in a sense is born in us. We know when we've done something wrong. Our conscience tells us.
Our ability to listen to or obey our conscience can be shaped by people and events, but we just know that some things are wrong. I can be an habitual thief, and know habitual thieves, and live in a little cocoon of habitual thieves and still recognize that when you take my stuff you are crossing a moral line. I don't expect it or condone it when it's done to me just because it's what everybody does.
Some things are just right or just wrong. These things don't change just because I know someone does something wrong. It's called honor. We still recognize right and mourn when people we love do wrong. We try to help them change because we love them and want them to be happy. We don't, or shouldn't, demand that right and wrong are redefined just because it's hard for some people we love to do right.
Now, someone is going to say I'm setting up myself to be the arbiter of right and wrong. I'm not. I'm simply saying right and wrong exists and we can know what it is, and we can conform or not conform to it, and we will get whatever consequences come from obedience or disobedience to it.

harrogate said...

Jay you responded to Allie with the following:

"Um, so?"

SO, thankfully, more and more we are recognizing the behavior she describes as asinine.

I trust it doesn't describe your own behavior?

Jay said...

harrogate said...
Jay you responded to Allie with the following:

SO, thankfully, more and more we are recognizing the behavior she describes as asinine.


It isn't "asinine"

Being gay is not normal.

Jay said...

SO, thankfully, more and more we are recognizing the behavior she describes as asinine.

I trust it doesn't describe your own behavior?


By the way, nothing warms my heart more than wathcing you stay out of our bedrooms leftists getting all judgemental and preachy about how people parent their kids.

Hypocrite much?

harrogate said...

"Being gay is not normal."

Neither is being a great artist. neithe is being a great cook. Neither is being unable to cook at all. Neither is being able to dunk a basketball. Neither is thinking the Eagles rock. Neither is being a 40 year-old virgin.

Come now. Surely you've got more holstered than an appeal to normality.

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leeatmg said...

MadisonMan said:

"Call it something else- I am OK with civil unions for same sex arrangements.

This goes to the argument of why have the govt involved at all? I see marriage as a religious ceremony. Govt cannot force a church to marry a couple (not in the US, at least) with views not supported by the Church.

If the government is going to grant special rights to those who are married, then it should call that union of two people something besides marriage. So you can get married in a church, and that confers nothing on you but the church's recognition of the union. For government benefits, you have to file a civil union license. Everyone is happy."

This makes absolutely perfect sense and seems fair and reasonable to everyone.

I tried that out as a suggestion during a "debate" with as supporter of SSM. His response: "Oh, so now you want to take it away from everyone because you don't want us to have it."

Jay said...

Neither is being a great artist. neithe is being a great cook. Neither is being unable to cook at all. Neither is being able to dunk a basketball.

And of course none of which are trying to be normalized by a very vocal 1% of the population.

And of course none of which are hazardous to your health.

You failed.

Jane said...

What is the point of Gay Marriage, anyway?

First, it’s societal recognition: gay-married couples want to be called “spouses” – not just by the government in official documents, but by their extended family, their neighbors, the social institutions they’re involved with, etc. It’s a standard complaint to advice columnists: “My parents won’t accept my wife as my wife but say she’s my ‘lesbian partner’ instead. How can I make them acknowledge her as my wife?” (Right along there with “my parents won’t include my long-time partner in the family picture, just because we haven’t gotten married.”) Legal recognition is a way to force societal recognition.

Second, it’s being able to legally become someone’s “next of kin” without a whole host of legal documents (power of attorney, etc.). This really ought to be unnecessary – one should be able to legally declare this sort of relationship without being married. Some time ago, my next-door neighbor, an elderly widow with no children or other relatives, was watched over by the neighbor on the other side. It should have been possible for them to declare a “next of kin” relationship, too.

Third, it’s government and employer-related benefits, though I suspect that gay couples are even more likely than straight couples to do the math about whether they benefit or lose financially and make decisions accordingly (insofar as it matters at the state level) and would be just as likely to do so at the federal level should this become possible. The fact that these exist is, in many cases, a remnant of a system in which wives were dependents – spousal Social Security benefits, for instance, assume that the wife didn’t work. (In other countries, this is handled by giving Social Security credits for years of no/low income due to full-time parenting.) Oh, and The Netherlands, rather than deliberating about who’s “married” or “partnered” just says that any two over-65’s living together (spouses, lovers, friends) count as a “couple” for benefit purposes, and receive, between the two of them, about 140% of a “single” benefit. (As for being able to receive health care from the spouse’s employer – this is also something of a muddle, but a bit of a moot point as employers are chomping at the bit to bail out of providing health care, and once that happens and all anyone has are government subsidies, people are probably better off being unmarried so that the unemployed partner can claim the low-income subsidy.)

Fourth, it’s the ability to be a legal parent to a child raised by the two partners, regardless of biological relationship. This is really the murkiest – when we have birth certificates in which the child legally has no father (or no mother), but just Parent A and Parent B. This isn’t like the situation of a single mother where the father is not acknowledged on the birth certificate. Legally, the father is declared to not exist. In this day and age when adoptees are fighting to have access to birth certificates with their actual parents listed, why are we now erasing biological fact when it comes to gay and lesbian couples parenting a child?

What's the point of "regular marriage"? To provide a "protected" institution in which children can be raised with a mother and a father committed to each other.

AJ Lynch said...

Harrogate- I just redefined "dunking" a basketball to include layups. So yes, now almost anyone can dunk a basketball.

See- this is a game we can all play.

Jake said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"


Yes, when we use empathy to make important decisions.

Matthew Sablan said...

Objection. It is perfectly normal to accept the high level of rocking inherent to the Eagles.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man- my point exactly.

You know social security treats single people adversely yet the gays have never fought that battle . Why? They could have easily won public support for the right to let everyone designate a beneficiary regardless of marriage status. They didn't go that route because they wanted to re-define the word marriage.

roesch/voltaire said...

Yes folks tend to learn from experience and not from abstract moral positions. We think in our gut as much as in our mind at times.

bagoh20 said...

Of all the protected groups except the handicapped, I think gays are the least hated by bigots, the most accepted, and most integrated. In addition, they actually excel economically, and socially.

Of course there are gay jokes, and it's the most common un-serious slur to call someone "gay", but they are not really hated for their sexual preference, by the vast, vast majority of people.

By far the most hateful speech and attitudes openly and privately expressed are by liberals against conservatives, especially conservative women, rural people, southerners, poor whites, the less educated, and a whole host of innocent people they know little about. I have heard the most foul, unfounded, stupid, and hateful things said by liberals against these people. If there ever was a group with a hate problem in it's ranks liberals are there to see open and ugly.

I will not be lectured by them about bigotry, intolerance, or hate.

harrogate said...

Jay,

So, let me get this straight(haha): You are appealing to normality, and also saying thatbeing gay definitively is hazardous to one's health.

As we have seen, being not normal doesn't make something shaemeful or wrong in any way, and so your fixation on the cencept of normality remains empty. And I think you know that in the United States, the "It's not normal" argument, regarding homosexuality, is well on its way to becoming exlusive to polite society. Thankfully. Your can sacreech "It's not normal" on an anonymous blog as much as you want, of course. But even here it makes you , the artist formely known as "Jay,"look bigoted and silly.

Now, as far as the "hazardous to your health" thing goes, you have a silly claim there. Even if it were true, would still not justify spelling the word "gay" (Aunt Jill is coming over. I wonder if she is still a s-m-o-k-e-r?) or trying to hide that one's friends/relatives/etc. are gay, let alone actively degrading people for being gay.

Got anything else?

I mean, REALLY. WHY is it important to you to maintain social stigmatization of homosexuality?

dreams said...

"White leftists rushed to the Internet to call them bigots and hicks."

Read today's powerline post about intolerant and ill-informed liberals.

MadisonMan said...

Oh, so now you want to take it away from everyone because you don't want us to have it.

When someone introduces me to their wife, I have never said Oh? Wife as in Civil Union/Domestic Partnership Wife or Wife as in Married Wife? And if someone says they're married, I never ask for particulars. Does anyone? How rude with that be, anyway?

Axe-grinders on this subject merit at most an eye-roll.

Bender said...

If something is actually bad or morally wrong
_______________

Again, we see here a total ignoring of the primary essential issue.

On the question of "same-sex marriage," questions of morality and fairness and equality and feelings are tangental side issues.

Rather, the foundational and determinative question is: Truth. What is the truth of marriage? The question of "what is marriage?" is what determines the issue of "same-sex marriage." And the answer to that ontological and existential question, concerning the nature and essence of marriage, is itself determined by the foundational question of "what is the truth of the human being, male and female?"

The answer to the questions of the truth of the human person and the truth of marriage are what determines the morality and the fairness and equality of the issue.

But instead of engaging in this foundational question of truth, it is totally ignored or relativized.

Jane said...

oooh, fun game: what other words can we redefine?

harrogate said...

AJ,

The terms and definitions of marriage have changed for millenia, as you know. Of course you've seen this argument before. Surely you are not vociferously opposed to the concept of gay marriage because "this changes the definition of marriage!" I suspect your objections lie elsewhere.

Matthew: I like the Eagles too, when the mood is right. They've got some kickass lyrics. But I cannot get on board with the claim that they *rock* in the true sense of the word.

Now Joe Walsh solo. That's another story! ;-)

carrie said...

They are different. Biological children result from heterosexual marriages and they don't from gay relationships. Monogamy is key to heterosexual marriage because of the children. Monogamy is not key a gay relationship. When people think of gay marriage they think of the gay couples they know who have modeled their relationships after traditional heterosexual marriages. But not all gay relationships and marriages are like that--monogamy is optional as has been discussed on this forum before. For gay marriage to be included within heterosexual marriage, the values need to be identical. If they aren't, then the lowest moral value will become the baseline for what is acceptable. Research shows that kids do better in intact families and gay marriage will only diminish the number of intact families because most marriage do not survive infidelity. If the government was consistent in its paternalism and in mandating that people only do what is healthiest, then it should start enforcing the laws that require that sex should only occur within marriage--that would reduce STDs, children born into poverty, guilt of teenage girls who have abortions, the low self esteem suffered by teenage girls who are induced to have sex even if they don't really want to do it, etc. If the government did that, then I would support gay marriage. What is gay marriage?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Being gay is not normal."

Neither is being a great artist. neithe is being a great cook. Neither is being unable to cook at all. Neither is being able to dunk a basketball. Neither is thinking the Eagles rock. Neither is being a 40 year-old virgin.

However, none of the above groups are demanding that everyone else cowtow to their particular lifestyle, be forced to accept their lifestyle and make exceptions for them.

Erika said...

I observe many of my suburban neighbors who are incredibly judgmental, who actually spell the word "gay" in front of their young children as if it is a profanity. Even if they have gay relatives in their own families they "hide" the fact that they are gay from the children.

The sanctimony and hypocrisy is getting a little thick in here.

Allie, are you aware of how incredibly judgmental this statement and its implications are?

You listen in on how other people speak to their children and then sniffily draw conclusions on what you think that means? Who on earth are you to decide how, when, and with what attitudes others should speak to their children about anything, let alone a topic as complicated and charged as sexuality?

You're in such a hurry to sit in judgment of others and confirm what you "know" about the bigotry, etc of people who aren't signed on to your Extremely Enlightened and Correct views on homosexuality that you start projecting that because they want to be vague about something, they must equate it with profanity. It's not at all possible that those parents don't want to usher in a "Mom, is is true that Aunt Susan is gay? And what does gay mean?" at the time of Allie's choosing, but rather on their own terms? It must be a lot of work for you to decide how everyone else should believe and speak, but you sure are a trooper for stepping up to the plate!

That Me Right! Them Wrong! intellectual and social tribalism is so aggravating to me.

AJ Lynch said...

I am going to head to the gym and dunk a basketball for the first time in my life. I always wanted to do that before I turned 60 [next month]. So scratch this off the old bucket list.

Harrogate - in spite of your suspicions, I have no other objections to gay marriage.

Freder Frederson said...

Marriage will be redefined precisely because they intend on destruction of religion and family.

same sex marriage is perfectly in line with the precepts of my "mainstream" christian denomination, as it is with Obama's, so the argument that "they" intend to destroy religion is just silly. And no one has forwarded a rational scenario how allowing two men or women to marry will undermine anyone's family.

Richard Dolan said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

It's hard to take that as a serious question. Is there anyone who doubts that one's experiences in life shapes moral values? And what is more central to life experiences that our interaction with others, especially "the people we know"? One reason, of course, is that it's hard to interact (in any meaningful sense in this context) with people we don't know.

The analytic philosophers would say that language captures and structures that experience, by both generating and reflecting the terms we use to categorize and discuss moral values. That view is, in essence, a secular version of the idea that moral values are written on one's heart and conscience, by substituting language (a stand-in for the collective experience of mankind) for a divine agency.

It's a very strange idea to suggest that moral values are best discussed in the abstract, without reference to "the people we know" and how they (and we) have lived. By the same token, it would be a strange idea to suggest that how they (and we) have lived defines the moral values by which we all should have lived.

Jane said...

"The terms and definitions of marriage have changed for millenia, as you know."

I don't think so -- the core definition of marriage is a man and a woman becoming a single entity. The purpose of the marriage -- political alliance or romantic love or upbringing of children -- is beside the point. The number of marriages a person has, too, is also irrelevant to the core definition. In the days when the nobility used marriage as a political tool, none of them would have suggested that a peasant marrying for love was not "really married." Even in the days of miscegenation laws, the racists never said that a mixed-race couple couldn't get married by definition, just that they opposed it and it was an illegal act.

Freder Frederson said...

Biological children result from heterosexual marriages and they don't from gay relationships.

Not all heterosexual marriages result in children, either by choice or circumstances. Are those couples who choose not to, or cannot, have children less married in your eyes?

AJ Lynch said...

And Harrogate, my opposition to gay marriage is far from vociferous. But I suspect even you would admit, due to the state of the economy, the American people would likely rank it as maybe 20th on their list of things we need to address now.

Freder Frederson said...

then it should start enforcing the laws that require that sex should only occur within marriage--that would reduce STDs, children born into poverty, guilt of teenage girls who have abortions, the low self esteem suffered by teenage girls who are induced to have sex even if they don't really want to do it, etc.

And where do these particular laws exist?

Freder Frederson said...

So you can get married in a church, and that confers nothing on you but the church's recognition of the union.

Except of course many denominations and non-Christian religions (e.g., reform Judaism) perform same-sex marriages. So under your system, gay couples will still be "married" in the eyes of God.

Bender said...

The error of "same-sex marriage" is not that it is immoral or bad or unnatural or an abomination. Rather the error of "same-sex marriage" is that it is incompatible with truth, namely, the truth of the nature of marriage -- that is, it is a lie, a fiction. It is counterfeit.

And that is the primary reason for so-called opposition to "same-sex marriage" ("so-called" because opposing something that does not and cannot, by its very nature, exist is beside the point).

It is not a matter of hating gays or wanting to oppress gays or keep them in an unequal status in society. It is a good faith matter of truth.

And to prove the good faith of those who refuse to embrace counterfeit marriage is the widespread offer of a compromise -- the "civil union," which is for all legal purposes, the equivilent of marriage in law (and if in social settings they want to call each other "spouses" that is their business). But what do we see in response to this good faith attempt to address the equality concerns of same-sex attracted persons? Wholesale rejection.

Civil unions are rejected because, in the end, they really are not concerned with equality under the law.

Bruce Hayden said...

As many above have said, "yes". My own conclusion on gay marriage have evolved partly because of the gay people I have known.

I would agree there. My big change of heart was maybe a decade ago. Was walking around town one night, and ran into an old friend/neighbor from K-12. He and his younger brother were walking around. Apparently, they had just come from their attorney, and were winding down. The younger brother had had his partner die recently. He had been paying the mortgage, but since they weren't married, got nothing. And, then the partner's family moved in at the end, and kept this younger brother away.

Which got me to the point of civil unions - why shouldn't everyone have the right to decide who gets to inherit from them, or who gets to control their affairs when they no longer can? Most of the gay guys I know aren't gay because they want to be (just like I really didn't have a choice in the fact that I am physically attracted to women, and not men).

As for gay marriage, I figure that if a religion wants to sanction such, then it is among the membership to make that determination. And, it should end there, but it doesn't, because the state does confer benefits and inflict burdens based on marital status. And, I think the reality is that for most gay couples, financially marriage will more of a burden than an advantage. I might be opposed if it looked like a financial giveaway to gays who marry, but I don't think it does.

Bruce Hayden said...

The one place though that is given short shift by proponents of gay marriage is that of the slippery slope into sanctioning polygamy.

Keep in mind that polygamy is legal for a large percentage of the world's population, even today. And, we have thousands of years of allowing polygamy without allowing same sex marriages. While there are parts to the Bible that would seem to disfavor homosexuality, it seems to be at least mildly positive at times about polygamy.

And, if the argument for gay marriage is the fundamental right of free association, then why is there anything magic about the number two? Why shouldn't three or more people be able to do what those two could, if the decision is separated from traditional moral and religious values?

edutcher said...

In answer to the question, I think it's, "No". You can know people of a certain class or behavior who will make you say, "There's a reason some people aren't allowed to...".

As I say, they have the same Constitutional rights as everyone else. The "gay rights" thing is about being a privileged class.

Tank said...

bagoh20 said...
Of all the protected groups except the handicapped, I think gays are the least hated by bigots, the most accepted, and most integrated. In addition, they actually excel economically, and socially.

Of course there are gay jokes, and it's the most common un-serious slur to call someone "gay", but they are not really hated for their sexual preference, by the vast, vast majority of people.

By far the most hateful speech and attitudes openly and privately expressed are by liberals against conservatives, especially conservative women, rural people, southerners, poor whites, the less educated, and a whole host of innocent people they know little about. I have heard the most foul, unfounded, stupid, and hateful things said by liberals against these people. If there ever was a group with a hate problem in it's ranks liberals are there to see open and ugly.

I will not be lectured by them about bigotry, intolerance, or hate.


You left out the most hated group of all: black conservatives. Now those poor souls have it rough from the left. Except maybe for Palin who seems to have struck the motherlode of hate.

mariner said...

JAL,
For BHO, yes. His "moral" values take shape around "me, myself and I": Shot through with expediency like a fine piece of marbled pricey steak, and marinated in self promotion every minute of every day.

... served on a bed of arugula.

Carnifex said...

@harrogate

You said--"Now, as far as the "hazardous to your health" thing goes, you have a silly claim there. Even if it were true,"

It were, it were. There's no doubt taking your sex organ, and placing it into another persons sphincter is like sticking an open wound into a sewer.

You also said--"I like the Eagles too, when the mood is right. They've got some kickass lyrics. But I cannot get on board with the claim that they *rock* in the true sense of the word.

Now Joe Walsh solo. That's another story! ;-)"

I can agree with that sentiment.

Freder Frederson said...

There's no doubt taking your sex organ, and placing it into another persons sphincter is like sticking an open wound into a sewer.

You know, heterosexuals also have anal sex. If you don't believe me, I can recommend some movies you might enjoy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He had been paying the mortgage, but since they weren't married, got nothing. And, then the partner's family moved in at the end, and kept this younger brother away.

Dumb shit....he should have structured the title to the property correctly.

Not that it makes it right for the family to ace him out, but a little common sense and planning goes a long way.

Tracey said...

Does Insulite Lab's anecdotes count?

http://pcos.insulitelabs.com/PCOS-and-Lesbians.php

Do the symptoms of a syndrome have civil rights protection?

chickenlittle said...

Wow! Allie really is special oops for Team Sullivanist!

chickenlittle said...

Jane @ 9:27: Nicely put

Rusty said...

I observe many of my suburban neighbors who are incredibly judgmental, who actually spell the word "gay" in front of their young children as if it is a profanity. Even if they have gay relatives in their own families they "hide" the fact that they are gay from the children.



And this represents all suburban neighbors everywhere?

Jay said...

harrogate said...
Jay,


Now, as far as the "hazardous to your health" thing goes, you have a silly claim there


Yes! Because as well all know, facts you don't like are "silly claims"!

Jay said...

harrogate said...
Jay,

So, let me get this straight(haha): You are appealing to normality, and also saying thatbeing gay definitively is hazardous to one's health.




No stupid, I'm actually saying both.

You can understand that, right?

As we have seen, being not normal doesn't make something shaemeful or wrong in any way,

And as we have seen, being not normal makes a lot of things wrong and shameful.

Duh.

edutcher said...

Freder Frederson said...

There's no doubt taking your sex organ, and placing it into another persons sphincter is like sticking an open wound into a sewer.

You know, heterosexuals also have anal sex. If you don't believe me, I can recommend some movies you might enjoy.


Clearly Freder does, perhaps because he doesn't know the proper way to please a lady, but those heterosexuals who do - and most women don't - don't do it so often that they have to have a new one ripped because the original is no longer able to carry out its intended function.

MadisonMan said...

Dumb shit....he should have structured the title to the property correctly.

Maybe more lazy than dumb.

Still, the Govt protects lazy/dumb straight couples, but not lazy/dumb Gay ones. Why the distinction?

Chip Ahoy said...

Man, I am totally digging these smackdowns. I want you to know how much you people teach me. If you could have only seen me last night deliver two in a row POW POW and then switch to something pleasant as if that didn't just happen two seconds ago. You would have recognized it as yourselves and cheered the success.

Bryan C said...

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's. The word "marriage" has belonged to Caesar for a very, very long time. It's a few centuries too late to win that argument.

"What's the point of "regular marriage"? To provide a "protected" institution in which children can be raised with a mother and a father committed to each other."

Or to cement a financial partnership. Or establish a lineage for inheritance. Or to gain the benefits of citizenship. Or to have companay in old age. Or to be eligible for certain government benefits. Or to symbolically unite two people who must then part ways out of service or duty. Or none of the above.

Bryan C said...

"While there are parts to the Bible that would seem to disfavor homosexuality, it seems to be at least mildly positive at times about polygamy."

Mildly positive? It's positively endorsed. God actually tells people to take on second wives and concubines. Solomon, King David's favored son, was born of Bathsheba, who was one of David's many wives and concubines.

AllieOop said...

Yes Chickie how did you know?! Oh gosh I'm found out.

That is why you are wise to not trust me.

edutcher said...

Bryan C said...

While there are parts to the Bible that would seem to disfavor homosexuality, it seems to be at least mildly positive at times about polygamy.

Mildly positive? It's positively endorsed. God actually tells people to take on second wives and concubines. Solomon, King David's favored son, was born of Bathsheba, who was one of David's many wives and concubines.


When the Israelites were few. Later, it's a lot less in favor, especially in the New Testament.

And, considering how David got his hands on Bathsheba and other stories, there are more than a few cautionary tales in the Old about multiple partners and they eventually seem to get to the point where it's not such a swell idea, after all.

joated said...

"Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?"

Seems to work for Obama unless you care to reference Bill Ayers or Rev. Wright. Then they (the people you associate with) have no influence at all.

edutcher said...

PS Bathsheba really wasn't a "concubine"; she was the wife of one of David's commanders whom David had murdered.

Nathan the prophet later upbraids him for this and tells David his house will be wracked with turmoil.

And it was.

CWJ said...

I'm with Madison Man on this issue. I have no objection to civil authority sanctioning civil unions to SS couples, and granting them the same legal benefits and obligations that married couples have. But leave the word marriage alone.

To those who then object with a "separate but equal" objection, I would say that we have that already. Couples can be married by any one of dozens of religious sects, or by the state without benefit of religion at all. In the public square we make no distinction among them.

As to Freder's observation that some religious sects already join SS couples, I say so what. That is their prerogative to control their own dogma.

Like many others, I resent the demand to coopt the word marriage, and the implication that anyone who feels this way is bigoted. I also suspect that the ultimate goal of such cooption is to force universal religious as well as civil recognition of SS unions. Before anyone scoffs at that notion, I'd point them to this administration's contraceptive mandate.

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

Jay,

Goodness you are hostile. You write:


"No stupid, I'm actually saying both.

You can understand that, right?"

Well first of all, Yes. In fact, that's why I used the word AND to join the two positions you took. To indicate that you meant both. With the word "and."

And then I simply noted that, whether one likes it or not, neither the "normalcy" appeal, nor the "hazardous to your health" appeal, makes any less asinine, the following behavior: "spelling the word 'gay' in front of [one's] young children as if it is a profanity," or, "Even if they have gay relatives in their own families, "hiding" the fact that they are gay from the children."

Indeed, Jay. Verily, nothing you have said so far justifies being so very--well, how shall we say it? MORTIFIED, by the very thought of homosexual sex.

So in the interests of good faith. Good faith, by the way, being a principle which our friendly neighborhood blog admins for some reason continue to pretend to care about:

WHY, Jay, are you so invested in defending and strengthening social stigmitizations of homosexuality?

harrogate said...

And Dear Jay,

You also write:


"And as we have seen, being not normal makes a lot of things wrong and shameful.

Duh."

That is an impossible statement to defend. Even in tghe eys of most regular commenters here, I'd doubt seriously if you could sell that statement as true.

When you say "It is not normal," as though that somehow is supposed tobe a ringing indictment. It must be that you mean something else. So Again, what is it, praytell, that you mean?

Kirk Parker said...

leeatmg,

"I have a bigger question - why is the government in the business of sanctioning marriage in any form at all?"

Seriously??? You really wonder why the government might want to support the institution that literally supplies our future?



Freder,

Go ahead and name the denomination. That way we can look at its overall membership trends, before we glibly conclude that it's not slowly committing suicide (like mine is--the UPC.)

n.n said...

Yes. They influence the process by which we resolve conflicts of interest. At the very least, it will motivate the direction of our arguments. Sometimes we are fortunate and our bias can be supported through objective principles, while other times it exhibits as a purely selective interpretation of history, science, reality.

Kit said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

Not necessarily, but those we do cross paths with can help us better define what they are.

Freeman Hunt said...

Do our moral values take shape around the activities of the people we happen to know?

They should if our exposure to other people corrects a point of fact. Being around people one might have made incorrect assumptions about could do this.

If our experiences are not, however, correcting a point of fact and merely adding in other powerful incentives to think another way (peer pressure, glamour, acclaim), one is taking a servile position to change on those grounds.

As far as the issue of gay marriage goes, I think that there are quite a few people who have incorrect assumptions about gay people that could be corrected through exposure.

Trashhauler said...

It is quite possible to make a decision about gay marriage without bringing morals or religion into the mix. After all, strictly-speaking we are not talking about a right to marry, we are talking about the benefits that society has granted to those who are married.

Heterosexual marriage has accrued any benefits and advantages because society has long believed that encouraging such marriage bolsters the fabric of society through child-rearing and clear property rights. Society believes this despite the many flawed heterosexual marriages that fail, based on the experience of centuries.

Now, the LGBT community wants society to extend those same benefits to them under the assumption that giving them the same benefits and advantages is only right. But will gay marriage bolster society in the same way that heterosexual marriage is believed to do? What evidence is there for that assumption?

John Lynch said...

Morality is the basis for all law, period. People who say it's not simply want to substitute their own morality instead, where different things are right or wrong. People always judge whether something is right or wrong. It's a matter of who gets their way. I don't like when people pervert the language to serve their ends, and denying that morality exists, or should exist, is a perfect example. If it doesn't, then what's the basis for law? Identifiable damage? OK, but so what? Why is damaging another person wrong?

It seems to me that gay people exist, and it seems to me that we need a really good reason to ban their activities. When liberty is limited we have to justify why.

The reasons presented to do this don't make much sense to me, given the current state of heterosexual morality. It's hypocritical. Also, it's not very humane. I don't care all that much why gay people are gay, the fact is that they are.

If we're going to condemn them based on Judeo-Christian morality, then where is a comparable condemnation of adultery? Or covetousness? Or greed? Sure, people do condemn these things, but we don't have constitutional amendments against them, do we?

Gays aren't being treated fairly, or humanely, and that bothers me.