Monday, December 29, 2008

Open Topic Week...

Since most of us are still taking vacation or otherwise downtime during the week between Christmas & News Years, I figured I'd try to fill in the time with another open topic.

21 comments:

  1. Not the other anonJanuary 2, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    My name is Harvey Milk, and I am here to recruit you.

    I saw the film, Milk last night. Overall, it was a nice tribute to Harvey Milk. It wasn’t propaganda as some would suspect it would be. It wasn’t preachy, sappy or sensationalized. It was fair; the portrayals of Milk’s opponents can be verified by public record. I would recommend it, but don’t consider it a “must see.”

    Personally, it was an eye-opener for me regarding how far homosexuals have come. Over the last 40 years, homosexuals have gained the subset of legal rights and the decent, yet secondary, social standing of today by battling from the weakest of standpoints: hated by self, family, community and the nation.

    It was also an eye-opener regarding how, after 40 years, the same arguments are made by similarly hypocritical people: God’s law should be applied to the fullest extent regarding homosexuals, but not divorce, adultery, gluttony, pride, gossip, . . .

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  2. God’s law should be applied to the fullest extent regarding homosexuals

    What exactly do you mean by "fullest extent"? I know of nobody here, nor in the American political mainstream (conservative or liberal) who is calling for any sort of legal action against homosexuals.

    If you are talking about judgment from God, then that's His call, not ours.

    but not divorce, adultery, gluttony, pride, gossip

    1) I don't know of anyone who believes these things are good. I can't speak for everyone at C4tR, but the general consensus would be that every single one of those things listed is sinful.

    2) While all sin deserves God's wrath and judgment, the Bible itself puts homosexual behavior on a different plain: Romans 1:18-26 shows such behavior as the culmination of depravity "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. [...] men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful"

    3) Even though divorce is not right, Moses made allowance for it due to the "hardness of [their] hearts" (Matthew 19:8). No such "exception" for homosexuality is made anywhere in scripture.

    4) Your argument seems to be that since many Christians may look the other way in regards to some subset of sins, they should do the same here is flawed. That would be akin to saying since jaywalkers aren't prosecuted, shoplifters should be let off as well. The correct response to an individual engaged in gossip would be to correct them as well.

    5) Finally, I don't know of to many gossips or gluttons marching in the streets demanding that people give up their beliefs and acknowledge their behavior as good and wholesome.

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  3. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 12:52 AM

    I think that you missed the point entirely.

    Those that speak about criminalizing or outlawing homosexuality in someway* because "the Bible says it is sin" should also speak of criminalizing and outlawing other behavior that the Bible also says is sin.

    Why don't they? The reason is very simple: they see themselves in those things. It is more difficult for people to hold to the hard line on issues that they see themselves struggling with.

    We see divorce allowed for any number of unbiblical exceptions. It is allowed to occur legally as well as in churches. Divorce is frowned upon, but is accepted.

    I can't take the hypocritical argument seriously: protect the sanctity of marriage by outlawing frivolous divorce as well as shunning homosexuals.

    *Separate is never equal -- treating homosexual marriages differently than heterosexual marriage is legal action against homosexuals. It is regardless of whatever social heritage or historical legal definitions do or do not exist.

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  4. As I've stated before, legal measures prohibiting same sex marriage are prohibitions on the state - meaning that the state cannot formally recognize SS marriage They do nothing to prevent homosexual behavior - nor do they prohibit homosexual couples from declaring themselves to be married. The reason for such legislation is to preclude the state forcing such recognition on those who believe it to be wrong - (although lack of SS Marriage didn't prevent the use of such force in NJ)

    Given that there are legal prohibitions on individuals against libel, slander & perjury we actually have stricter laws against gossip & lying than we do homosexuality.

    As far as divorce & adultery, I am certainly concerned with the current state of affairs in regards to marriage. I do wish there were fewere legal allowances for divorce - especially when there are children involved. However, as I stated in my first comment, the Bible itself specifically calls out homosexual behavior at a different level than the others, so Christians are not making up a double standard when they view it differently.

    Finally, the biggest flaw in this line of argument is this (as I stated earlier): When a person is guilty of hypocrisy (or a double standard - which is really what you are implying), the fault is not in what they are declaring something to be wrong, but that their other behavior is inconsistent - they should be urged to correct their other behavior.

    A charge of hypocrisy does nothing to invalidate an individuals argument (if it were, we could simply look at Al Gore's utility bill rather than the reams of data refuting the CW on AGW)

    If a charge of hypocrisy were sufficient, no one could present any arguments for or against anything. Every single one of us succumbs to hypocritical behavior at one point or another - the fact that we at least on occasion do wrong does not mean we should not champion right.

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  5. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    I am not trying to assert that the hypocrisy contained in the marriage debate should open the doors for homosexual marriage, but what I do assert is that having a hypocritical stance is not championing right. Fighting vehemently against homosexuals wrecking the sanctity of marriage and then only wishing for fewer divorces (especially when children are involved) is like fighting against only partial birth abortion while hoping that other sanctity of life issues would pan out somehow.

    A reason I bring it up: fighting for full-blown biblical marriage won’t go over as well as discriminating against homosexuals. If DOMA and the various Props and Initiatives would have been centered around disallowing divorced people from remarrying, I doubt if there would have been much public support.

    Another reason I bring it up: passing laws that match full-blown biblical marriage is probably impossible because there is no consensus in Christendom regarding the issue. The public would see that the arguments are based solely on religious opinion and would probably reject the legislation of the religious opinion.

    [[BTW, regardless of a measure being for the state or the individual, if the measure eventually prohibits the individual, it is a measure against the individual. Denying homosexuals marriage denies equality (aka legalized stigmatization) as well as a certain set of property and other rights given to married people.]]

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  6. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    continued from above. . .

    Let’s say the STATE were prohibited from recognizing churches as non-profit organizations.

    The church could still BE non-profit. They could even TELL people they are non-profit. (Yet the church is still taxed as a for-profit organization.)

    What’s the problem???

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  7. Bringing up taxes in this issue is a dodge. Neither you nor the anti-prop 8 demonstrators care about this at all - if taxes were the issue, then you would be embracing Civil Union legislation and not be forcing everyone to call it Marriage.

    Regarding churches & non-profit status, truth be told, I'd rather we had lower tax rates across the board & fewer (if any) exemptions.

    It would make things much simpler & get individuals & organizations away from figuring out what hoops they have to jump through to make the IRS happy & back to fulfilling their personal & organizational objectives.

    But again, taxes are a false flag in discussions of gay marriage.

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  8. Why do you really care so much about this gay marriage issue, NtoA?

    Hypocrisy in law making is to be expected. It's part of the curse of a sinful world. The sooner we realize that the better. To blame all of Christianity for engaging in it isn't always the best way to fight it either. Plenty of both Christians and Non-Christians are on both sides of the gay issue. Some folks are reasonable and conscientious while some are just plain idiots. If they are idiots, you don't have to listen to them. They will marginalize themselves all on their own.

    I realize what you are saying about the hypocrisy interfering with "championing the right." But I don't know what you expect us to do about that. More legislation, perhaps, but this time against hypocrisy too?

    But then again, many good people do fight those other sins you brought up. And since many of them do it more effectively without the law's help, it hasn't been worth bringing up before the state for further regulations. Doesn't mean the battle isn't being actively fought.

    And since none of the states' regulations have forced anyone to declare those obvious sins as acceptable either, it has not become an issue either way. So the fact that some may then say "homosexuality is Biblically wrong and we don't want legislation that forces us to accept it as right" does not automatically make them hypocrites for bringing that one up either. Perhaps their arguments for Prop 8 and others are not so biased as they are often propounded to be.

    You said:
    "*Separate is never equal -- treating homosexual marriages differently than heterosexual marriage is legal action against homosexuals. It is regardless of whatever social heritage or historical legal definitions do or do not exist." And later you said: "Denying homosexuals marriage denies equality (aka legalized stigmatization) as well as a certain set of property and other rights given to married people."

    Any law stigmatizes those who don't want to follow it. That is a no-brainer. Anti murder laws stigmatize serial killers. Anti theft laws stigmatize cleptomaniacs. The whole argument about equality, from equality of the sexes and races to equality of sexual-orientations has been over-rated in the past century. Just because the constitution says all men are *created* equal does not mean equality of ability or respect is then also an intrinsic right endowed by the Creator too. We are all initially to be given equal opportunity to succeed or fail by obeying or disobeying the laws at hand and by using or failing to use our talents. And since not all of us have the same talents as others or not all of us choose not to follow the law as closely as some, we automatically position ourselves differently within a society as worthy of respect for our abilities, expertise, or morality.

    What if I said, "I am a clepto-maniac, and I don't think it is fair that I am being treated with equality. You all need to make it legal for me to be who I am. I should be allowed to steal without stigma and penalty. I should be respected even though I am different and have no qualms inflicting trouble on others." It would be foolish for me to say, would it not? Obviously that is not the equality that the founders meant in the constitution. Common sense proves that.

    But the issue of "equality" in the homosexual marriage issue we now face is even crazier than that. No law in the constitution or in any state presently disallows homosexual consenting adults to act out their perversions on each other. But these folks are not just fighting to make their act legal. They are fighting to make it mandatorily accepted and even respected by all businesses, churches, and individuals. They are asking for all men to change their belief systems and accept this as normal or face legal retribution. That is the problem. That is why we are against these legislations.

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  9. If an adulterer or liar went to court to fight for his right to be accepted as an adulterer or liar in all churches and to have laws passed that declared it illegal to refuse them respectable positions of authority within those churches, I'd be marching against him too. It is not an issue of legislating what is legal or illegal. It is about legislating respect.

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  10. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    False flag? Taxes were brought as an addition to my parenthetical statement regarding the STATE vs INDIVIDUAL measures. You can fill in whatever measure you would like (taxes or otherwise) -- the end result is the church in the example is affected by the state measure in a real way. This so-called false flag also raises the issue of allowing people to do and say whatever they want about their marital status, but still not allowing them to enjoy the state benefits (taxes or otherwise) that come with the state recognizing the status.

    Also, the tax issue is not necessarily a false flag. Regardless of what YOUR thoughts and proposals are on income taxes (or organizational tax statuses), the fact remains that the married-filing-jointly status is probably better than filing as two single people. If taxes are not lower that way, married people can opt for whichever status has the more favorable tax treatment. This preferential treatment is certainly one of the benefits to being married.

    From a bird’s eye view, I personally don’t care about what term is used -- married or civil union. One issue is that there is probably some legal ramifications for choosing one term over the other, though. The other issue is that the term “civil union” would be the stigmatized version of “true marriage.” Having a different term applied to each is essentially state-sanctioned discrimination. I am not sure what the fall-out would be for NOT having that distinction. Would churches be forced to accept the SS marriage? I dunno, but probably not -- churches aren’t forced to accept anything now, are they? As far as I know, churches today are not forced to marry previously divorced people or even recognize that kind of marriage as legitimate. The church can exclude the couple based solely on the marriage. How would that situation be different than a same-sex example?

    The truth be told, I would prefer that the state stop using the word marriage and use the term civil union for everyone. Get married in church if you want to have a sacred union. Form a civil union partnership at the courthouse to get the legal status. Under this arrangement, the sanctity of marriage is upheld in the church (which is really the only place where sanctity of anything can be recognized) and state rights are bestowed without discrimination.

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  11. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    Melodie said:
    If an adulterer or liar went to court to fight for his right to be accepted as an adulterer or liar in all churches and to have laws passed that declared it illegal to refuse them respectable positions of authority within those churches, I'd be marching against him too.

    Well, put on your marching boots, Melodie because remarriage of divorced people (which, according to the Bible, is adultery) is already a state-sanctioned right.

    -------

    Your clepto example isn’t parallel. You have to show how same-sex marriage would inflict harm on others.

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    Melodie said:
    I realize what you are saying about the hypocrisy interfering with "championing the right." But I don't know what you expect us to do about that. More legislation, perhaps, but this time against hypocrisy too?

    No. Just have a consistent stance. If someone like Pat Robertson would advocate for legislation against both homosexual marriage and heterosexual abuses of marriage, then I would completely understand the viewpoint. Don’t say that you are preserving marriage by paying attention only to the outliers.

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    Melodie said:
    Any law stigmatizes those who don't want to follow it.
    Where not comparing a legal action with illegal one. I thought we were talking about two legal things, no? Why have one legal arrangement be called marriage and another legal arrangement be called something else? If they are essentially equal (and have exactly the same set of rights and privileges) as is purported by the bloggers here. If the gay side is playing semantics by trying to grab the term, then the other side is also by trying to stop them.

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  12. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    Darn typos and sentence fragments.

    My last thought should be the following, but you probably knew that regardless:

    We are not comparing a legal action with an illegal one. I thought we were talking about two legal things, no? Why have one legal arrangement be called marriage and another legal arrangement be called something else? If they are essentially equal (and have exactly the same set of rights and privileges) as is purported by the bloggers here, then why have a separate term. If the gay side is playing semantics by trying to grab the term, then the other side is also by trying to stop them.

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  13. Well, I can't speak for John, but I'm going to let you win, if you like. I am a bit bored with this debate. I could keep up the argument, especially since I feel you misread/misinterpreted my comments, but I don't think it's worth it at this point to correct every jot and tittle. A part of me says you are twisting arguments to make them say what you want us to say, but then I wonder if it is just that we are coming from two different worlds and we cannot understand each other no matter what. I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

    I still maintain that this endless debate is about legislating "respect" for sin (and even legislating privileges for sinning) and not legislating "rights" to sin. Perhaps if you look at my post again with that in mind, you may understand the points better.

    I had a very long post before enumerating my thoughts, but I'll let it go.

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  14. "The truth be told, I would prefer that the state stop using the word marriage and use the term civil union for everyone. Get married in church if you want to have a sacred union. Form a civil union partnership at the courthouse to get the legal status. Under this arrangement, the sanctity of marriage is upheld in the church (which is really the only place where sanctity of anything can be recognized) and state rights are bestowed without discrimination."

    Excellent point Melodie!!!

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  15. Not the other anonJanuary 5, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    [[I am not posting this to turn a knife (if there is one to turn). I am posting it to state my opinion as succinctly as I can.]]

    Respect for sin in America:

    We are legally allowed to follow the religious ideas of Buddha, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Zoroaster, Mary Baker Eddy, et al, and we are legally compelled to honor one’s religious choices in most cases. Following the ideas of any religion other than Christianity is breaking the first and greatest of commandments, but religious choice is a basic American freedom. If this is a basic American freedom, what are logical conclusions? I am assuming that you want to curb the freedom because the logical conclusions are unsavory to you…

    I am not sure why asking for consistency is such an issue. Reluctance here to say that both gay marriage and divorce are assaults on marriage and need some legislation to protect the institution is proof enough for me that there is something deeper going on.

    Let me go on record to say that I don’t consider myself being obtuse here, and if I appear to be, know that I’m not doing it be to be annoying and argumentative. My entire argument is based on the freedom of religion in America and that freedom should be bound only when it does significant and demonstrable harm.

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  16. I am not sure why asking for consistency is such an issue.

    No problem with asking for consistency - but what you seem to be driving at is that perceived lack of consistency automatically negates any claim that a particular behavior is wrong. Something which does not logically follow.

    As Melodie alluded - you'd have a stronger argument that the state shouldn't be issuing marriage licenses whatsoever - since marriage is religious in nature.

    I'd rather see a simpler tax code that doesn't acknowledge any sort of status on the part of the earner - which would permit lower taxes across the board since nobody would be subsidizing anyone else's deductions.

    Individuals, businesses & organizations should be free to exercise their conscience when it comes to marriage & family issues.

    That said, this does not seem to be the point of your argument, or that of those demonstrating against Prop 8.

    If taxes and economics were the real issue, then Prop 8 wouldn't make a wit of difference to homosexuals since they would have the exact same tax benefits - and they force business owners to recognize their union as well.

    What is really being sought after is acceptance of their behavior. This is clearly the case in New Jersey as well given the use of the courts to force a religious organization to use their property to legitimize behavior they believe to be wrong.

    How's that for seperation of church and state?

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  17. Not the other anonJanuary 6, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    John, please read IRS Publication 501 and tell me that taxes don’t make a difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples: In general, your filing status depends on whether you are considered unmarried or married. For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife. Perhaps your point is that the IRS would not recognize a CA same-sex marriage regardless of the outcome of Prop 8. Is that true? Also, (assuming you can’t revamp the entire tax code, but just change a definition of a status) what are your thoughts regarding changing the married filing joint status to include same-sex couples?

    [[As an aside, I am completely in favor of streamlining income tax methodology or abolishing it altogether -- my candidate of choice a few years back was Alan Keyes who proposed a federal sales tax to replace the income tax, but this discussion is not about taxes]]

    My argument for same-sex marriage is NOT this:

    Arguments against same-sex marriage are hypocritical or are not complete ==> same-sex marriage should be allowed

    My argument for same-sex marriage is this:
    Freedom of religion allows Americans the freedom to come up with their own code of morality, as long as living by the code does not create harm.

    My argument for consistency is based on this:

    Fact. Christians want to protect the sanctity of marriage.
    Fact. In today’s political arena, Christians are rallying behind and creating measures to stop same-sex marriage because it is unbiblical.
    Fact. Christians are not rallying behind nor creating measures to stop unbiblical divorce.
    Fact. Christians are participating in unbiblical divorce.

    Result. In general, from the facts above (but not every single one, mind you) Christians appear to want to discriminate against homosexuals MORE THAN they want to protect the sanctity of marriage.
    Result. Christians are viewed as bigots and hypocrites.

    Given the facts, could anyone blame someone for thinking of Christians that way?

    ----------

    I’ll try to address the NJ lesbians and the Methodist camp later.

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  18. So if IRS Publication 501 weighed Civil Unions on par with Marriage from an income tax perspective, you'd be OK? If that is the case, then you should be arguing for such and not for marriage - especially since civil unions garner more support than homosexual marriage. If that is not the case, then you are still throwing out taxes as a red herring.

    As far as rallying goes, most are against same sex marriage because they do not want to be forced to acknowledge illicit behavior as good.

    Regarding consistency, sure, push for that, but it still has no bearing on whether or not individuals and organizations should be forced to recognize homosexual "marriages".

    Basically your three arguments for why individuals should be forced to acknowledge same sex marriage are these:

    Taxes: doesn't hold water since Civil Unions aren't satisfactory

    Christians aren't consistent: has no bearing on whether or not same sex marriage should be recognized by the state or not. Even if I were to concede that we were inconsistently applying scripture, it's not the States job to tell me what my beliefs should be.

    Harm: The only demonstrable harm you could claim is in regards to US tax law, but as I stated before, that's not your issue nor your desired result.

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  19. dayzeegirrl,

    You said,

    "Excellent point Melodie!!!"

    Thanks for the credit, but I didn't say it.

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  20. Not the other anonJanuary 7, 2009 at 12:13 AM

    I’m not on top of all the reasons for the push for same-sex marriage versus civil unions, but I can think of two right off the top of my head:

    1. There are more than 100 rights granted to married couples. I think vying for each one individually is prohibitive. Redefine marriage and get them all at once!
    2. Homosexuals don’t want to be treated like second class citizens anymore.

    You presume what MY desired result is regarding the debate about homosexuality. Let me state it: My desired result is to apply the freedom of religion equally to all the citizens of the United States. That includes both homosexuals and non-homosexuals. Religious organizations should continue to have the right to include or exclude whomever they want, and landlords, employers, businesses, etc. should continue to NOT have the right to discriminate against anyone based on their religious choice.

    The issue becomes fuzzy to me when religious organizations selectively rent resources to non-members. I would probably favor the side of the religious organization, though, in cases where the resource isn’t vital.

    I doubt that anyone would come to me to judge these matters, though. Am I selling the church and her rights down the river by advocating the state recognize gay marriage? I don’t foresee that as a result.

    I sense that you also presume something about my thoughts about homosexuality. Let me make some clarifications:

    A. I believe that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so outright; because it obscures the picture of Christ and the church which Biblical marriage is supposed to portray; because it is outside of the natural order that God created…

    B. I think your arguments make perfect sense for yourself, your family, your church and the personal relationships you want to have.

    C. I think it is perfectly OK to voice your opinion about the subject -- to tell people around you that you think homosexuality is sin & why you think that way.

    D. Since God is involved in marriage contracts and He disapproves of homosexuality, homosexual marriage does not even exist.

    E. I would love to have a heterosexual outlook that you assume is automatic, but I’ve never had.

    Regarding the term marriage or civil union, I’ve already said:

    The truth be told, I would prefer that the state stop using the word marriage and use the term civil union for everyone. Get married in church if you want to have a sacred union. Form a civil union partnership at the courthouse to get the legal status. Under this arrangement, the sanctity of marriage is upheld in the church (which is really the only place where sanctity of anything can be recognized) and state rights are bestowed without discrimination.

    John said:
    …it’s not the States job to tell me what my beliefs should be.

    Right, the state should not tell me that homosexuality is wrong and should not discriminate on that basis.

    Here’s an honest question:
    You don’t want to be forced to recognize gay marriage. Are people forced to recognize YOUR marriage, and should they be if they disagree with its premise?

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  21. "I would love to have a heterosexual outlook that you assume is automatic, but I’ve never had."

    The bottom line is that Christians should have a Biblical outlook that transcends all our other outlooks.

    Food for thought :)

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