Monday, September 24, 2007

The friend of my enemy is my... friend?

There's a famous unattributed quotation from WWII, alleged to be uttered by a Peer of the Realm: "This Hitler fellow makes it impossible for a gentleman to be an Anti-Semite."

That quotation leaped to mind as I read the reactions of socially-conservative voters to the news of San Diego's Mayor
Jerry Sanders' tearful reversal of his stance on Gay Marriage.

He began by explaining his refusal to veto the council's decision, saying his beliefs had “evolved significantly” since 2005, when he established his stance on civil unions during his first mayoral campaign.

In the time since, he said he realized he could not accept “the concept of a separate-but-equal institution.” Because of that, he continued, he was unwilling to send the message to anyone that “they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.”

The mayor, now crying openly, noted that he has close family members and friends in the gay and lesbian community, including staff members and “my daughter Lisa.”

“In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana,” said Sanders, who quickly thanked reporters and dashed from the room.

Now, as an Aspie/autistic, I have the unusual tendancy to take statements such as this at face value. I even take the emotional context at face value. If an issue causes a bluff old conservative police chief to break down in tears over what he plainly states to be a crisis of concience, I'm inclined to take him at his word, and indulge in the delusional procedure of supposed mind-reading about his "real" motivations.

But the comments on this article reveal that that is one of the most common - and possibly least offensive - assumptions made about him and the "gay agenda" he has "betrayed" the people in "condoning."

But the overwhelming majority of the outrage reveals a depth of hatred, bigotry and ignorance about law, constitution, spelling, grammar, logical construction, evidence, rational argument, ethics, reason and most especially the Bible that I suspect that the supporters for his former stance were as persuasive to him as those he'd been arguing against.

Here is one such argument, actually, one of the more articulate ones; penned by one
I don't know where, in our constitution, it says marriage is a "right".

The fact that you do not know something does not mean that that which you are ignorant of does not therefore exist.

US Constitution, Bill of Rights:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Faithful continues:

I highly doubt that the Founding Fathers were thinking about queer relationships when they penned it. That said, the same argument goes for heterosexual marriage. It is a privilege granted by the State.

More precisely, it is a right arrogated by the states; originally to deal with the "Plague" of interracial marriage. That's why "marriage licenses" were first issued by various States.

Then, of course, the advantage of it from revenue and record-keeping standpoints became obvious to cash-strapped states. But Constitutionally speaking, there's no argument that any form of permission for civil marriage is or should be required. Whether or not there is a compelling state interest in regulating marriage, much less giving substantial advantages to married people is a separate argument, but if such advantages do exist than the equal protection clause states that it should be given and withheld without arbitrary distinctions between persons over matters irrelevant to the goals of the state, or for goals that would be unconstitutional if they were admitted aloud.

In fact, the "granting of privilege" was one of the great issues for our founders and one thing they did their best to eradicate from and forbid to government. One expression of said intent was the so called "Equal Protection Clause -" which to paraphrase, states that all laws must apply equally to all, or be judged unconstitutional.
The term "marriage" is derived from the scramental institutution promoted by Judeo/Christian (and others) religion. I suppose one way to resolve the whole thing is for the State to quit calling it "marriage" and calling it "civil union" available to both heteros and homos, with only the individual religions permitting (or not) the sacramental term, marriage.
Putting the hilarity of an argument based on the authoritative nature of English word derivation aside, so what? If anything, that is a persuasive argument, given the Constitutional protection of religious practices, to stay out of the matter entirely. In fact, legal recognition for marriage comes out of English Common Law, which addressed the rights and responsibilities of those who chose to live together "without benefit of clergy."

This is a simple issue of citizenship, inheritances and transmission of rights, privileges and duties, when said matters had not already been defined by church records.

Would this make gays happy? Probably not, because it is the word "marriage" that they want applied to them. They also want to force religion to accept their unions as godly and "normal". They want homosexuality promoted in the schools as "normal" and "healthy" and have succeeded to a great degree in the public school system. They have plans to extend this "education" to the private education system. This is what I object to.
As the Mayor stated, any "separate but equal" solution has a particular stench of inequality to it in our culture.
By contrast, you want their relationships portrayed as "abnormal" and "unhealthy," and have up until now succeeded in that goal to a great degree in the public school system.

Personally, having for no other reason other than my appearance and personality been identified by my peers as "gay" in grade school, I think teaching acceptance of differences to be a good thing, and the rejection of persecution of others for transparently false religious rationalizations to be also a good thing.

So yes, there is a gay lobby. And no, one isn't a bigot because one doesn't accept homosexuality as "normal" and "healthy".
No, one could merely be totally ignorant and willfully misinformed. But the venom in your tone strongly suggests bigotry, as well as a suspicious fixation upon the sexual practices of others that could be reasonably presumed to represent either repression or envy of the "sexual license" and "immoral lifestyle" you clearly presume all homosexual people practice. I presume neither, since I care nothing about why you would choose to act so intolerably toward others. I don't need to hear your excuses for evil thoughts and evil deeds, whatever they are, they will be neither original nor enlightening.

I've known a lot of Gay people - because gay people do accept differences, and so it's always been my practice to hang with the lesbigay crowd even though I prefer sex heterosexual style from an aesthetic perspective and in the "missionary position" for the sake of my dignity and my sadly defective joints.

To quote one strong advocate of what you would call the "gay agenda," "Don't call me a gay activist. I don't get laid that often." This is not a "gay" issue. It's a human rights issue on the most basic level - and you are presuming the "majority right" to decide who gets to be "human."

I assert the first and second amendment rights to contest the idiocies of the majority, with as much force as is needed to penetrate their skulls with a useful degree of enlightenment.

The fact is, the majority of gay people have as good moral character as any heterosexual; actually, they tend to have a better grasp of right and wrong. Being exposed on a regular basis to the evil of stark, evident hatred and persecution will tend to clarify your values big time.

"That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others."

Clearly, you find the "homosexual agenda" hateful... but yet you are perfectly comfortable forcing the "Right Wing Socially-Conservative Cultural Christian" agenda upon everyone. Furthermore, you claim a religious right to express this through force - state violence and even occasionally the justification of individual violence against gays and all sorts of other people you find "freaky" and "abnormal."

Me, for example. There are entire institutions devoted to eradicating the entire autistic spectrum, pre-birth, with no other justification than a parent's "right" to have a "normal" child. But we shall save the rest of this related rant about xenophobia for another day. Today, we are speaking of specific sins, not the more mental, moral and social failures our currently dominant social class are beset with.

In order to say that a certain behavior or attraction is "unnatural," you are absolutely stating that it doesn't occur outside of an artificial context, never occurs in nature, only occurs within the human species and as a result of deliberate, willful choice AFTER exposure to the behavior.

Provably and totally, the above assumptions are false. Homosexual preference occurs in many species, does occur outside of our society, in all cultures everywhere, regardless of social approval or moral stricture. It's recorded in history as far back as history occurs, both with and without exposure to "influence." And as far as we can tell, it was no MORE prevalent in societies that held it to be a virtue than in cultures that held it to be a vice. All it did was change who got to strut publicly.

Frankly, we are born attached to the parts that primarily influence us. All sexual morality and most reasoning is rationalization and regulation after the fact, in order to keep those parts from leading to do foolish, dangerous and evil things. I don't know about you, but in my experience, it is far, far more dangerous to pretend to be what I am not and try to apply moral standards which have no direct application to me or my needs, than to admit what I am and then try to act ethically towards others based in a sound and honest appreciation of what moral and ethical pitfalls exist for me.

I've found it quite dangerous to my safety, my mental health and my good self-opinion to pay much attention to what others think of as the "most important sins." I'm not particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation - I can wade through porn for days on end, with the greatest risk being either nausea or uncontrollable laughter. But I am daily beset by the temptation of arrogance. While self-righteousness is not my particular pitfall, it's a related failing, and clearly, that's your issue. It is also a sin your religious faith directly encourages you to indulge in the face of everything Jesus had to say about that particular vexation.

The bottom line is this: "Sin" is not about what other people do. It's about what YOU do to other people. By the tenants of your OWN faith, you will not be judged on what you prevented others from doing, or what you forced them to do, you will be judged on that which you did to others, and your rationalizations will not matter. For emphasis on the futility of human rationalizations, consult any dour Presbyterian you know.

As your religion clearly has not helped you identify and cope with your particular tendency toward the evil of self-righteousness, may I suggest your efforts might be better employed in finding a religion that emphasizes personal humility a bit more?

I'd also gently suggest that the besetting sin of Self-Righteousness is an even greater threat to Christianity itself, but that, my dear Faithful, is YOUR problem.

I've always felt that the question of what faith I have should come up in the context of "what is it you believe, to lead you to act as you do?"

Now, in your case, Faithful, that answer does not reflect well upon either Christianity - or your discernment of it's essential teachings.


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