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Why Anti-Gay Catholic Doctrine Is Good

It just gets sadder and sadder.

I received a response from the Catholic who spawned the last item I posted. Since she wasn’t interested in visiting the blog to see what people thought, I went ahead and issued a full response. Below is her initial note back to me today, along with my reply below that:

Her note from today:

Hey, thanks for the response. I knew when I first wrote you that we would most likely not be coming to an agreement or anything close to it, and I hope you realize that was not my point. I understand how this can look like bigotry because I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do. I just want to share with you a short explanation of my perspective and only ask that you try to imagine my point of view (as hard as it may be) for the time being. I’ve been studying Theology now for a while and it only finally came to me when I saw the whole picture. First, I would ask you to accept the claim that those who truly, that being the key word, try to live out there faith, sincerely and genuinely, really believe what their religion teaches. Whether it is out of ignorance, or a great deal of investigating and researching to see if there is truth behind it is irrelevant. The sincere and genuine person truly believes in the good and beauty of God and their faith and that is why they desire and choose to participate in it. There are of course exceptions to this and people who are not in religion for the right reasons, and although this does not contribute to my point, I want to acknowledge it. So, if we can say that a person genuinely believes the Church’s doctrine, and is sincere in their belief in it, we can say that their belief in a certain teaching is sincere as well. When they agree with a teaching on, lets say, loving your neighbor as yourself, it is because they genuinely believe with all their being that loving your neighbor as yourself is the right thing to do. Now shift the gears to a not so fuzzy sounding topic such as homosexuality. Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity. The sincerity in the belief that they feel it is false form of compassion (keep in mind this is the believers perspective) to find fulfillment outside of the will of God. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate, but one of love from their point of view as a result of their sincere beliefs. It contains no benefit for the individual, but is solely because of love for the other simply because of the fact that they are a human being with dignity. Whether the person agrees or not, in the believer’s opinion, the truth remains whether it is accepted or not. For example, if a girl with a eating disorder sees nothing wrong with her problem, the response of concern from her friends and family will remain even against her will, because they believe what they feel to be an objective truth and it is a result of their love for her. Even if they are seen as ignorant or stupid for their beliefs, it does not change the fact that they are wholehearted. Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point. I only wish to express this to you because, and I wont go into it, this is a very personal and important topic to me and I value all people so greatly it breaks my heart to see all this confusion going on in so many people’s lives right now. I respect our difference in beliefs and would only ask that you understand mine to be one of sincerity and love if you refrain from judging the heart and dig a little deeper.

Thanks for reading.
Peace my friend.

My reply:

Thanks for writing back:

>I understand how this can look like bigotry

You fail to understand, however, that it is bigotry. That’s where the breakdown is happening. Calling something wrong that isn’t wrong for no good reason is pure prejudice in action.

>I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do

Atheism has nothing to do with homophobia or lack of it. Some atheists are homophobic, some theists aren’t. You, unfortunately, have aligned yourself with theists who are. And you are causing needless harm to good people by doing so.

>Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity.

You seem to have a mistaken impression that it’s your attitude, and not your ideology or actions, I have a problem with? It’s the results you reap I oppose. Homophobic bigotry is harmful and wrong, whether it comes from horribly misguided ‘concern’ or open hatred. I hope that helps you better understand my position. Doing harm, but meaning well, is still harm. And I will continue to try to stop it and speak out against it.

>Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate

Fine. Your motive is not hate. But your actions are still misguided, harmful to others, and based on prejudice, lies and fallacies.

>Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point.

Yes, I agree. Gay is demonstrably not a disorder. And it’s not wrong, harmful or a problem. It’s also not your business or anything you need to be ‘concerned’ about. But you seem to think it’s loving to say it’s a ‘sin’ for fallacious and false reasons. I understand you think it’s sin. I think that’s ill, and I oppose it just as I would oppose bigotry from the KKK or any other brand of unwarranted prejudice from any group or authority.

Please understand that if All-Mighty God himself came to me and told me to call homosexuality a ‘sin,’ I would not agree to it. No authority can simply label benign action as wrong and make it so without justification. It would be immoral for anyone, and that would include a god, to require such a thing as ‘bigotry’ from his/her followers. And I am really not sure you understand that.

I’m sure KKK members are very sincere. I’m sure they think their views are positive and helpful and would be good for society overall to adopt. But they’re clearly wrong, just as you are. And they’re harmful, just as you are. And I will oppose that sort of immorality from the KKK or the Catholic church.

>it breaks my heart to see all this confusion

I assure you we’re not “confused” at AE TV. In fact, the more you try to explain, the deeper you dig yourself in. You’re only demonstrating that a well meaning person can be taught to do evil in the name of religion. And the fact you’re blind to what you’re doing only makes it all the more tragic. You seem to think I think you think you’re motive is hate. What I’m really saying is that I don’t care what your motive is. Your view, and your promotion of that view, is flatly harmful and wrong. You’re causing harm to people who aren’t causing harm to you. I don’t particularly care why you do it. It’s wrong to do it
, because you’re hurting people for no good reason. You are on the side of evil when it comes to this issue.

I encourage you, again, to visit the blog.

-th

Comments

  1. says

    Nice response tracieh.I especially liked the idea that even if god told you that something was wrong you'd disagree. That is probably something we should bring up more often with religious sheeple.I am also very much in favour of no harm no crime (or sin in this case).

  2. says

    Excellent rejoinder tracy. Its amazing how childish theist arguments cna be sometimes.The only thing i would have added to your rebuttal is a request to not make walls of text. Belief in the supernatural is no excuse for bag essay form.

  3. says

    I would say that bigotry doesn't require emotion at all. I can be bigoted against a dog, and still like that dog, and have no particular problems with dogs…. but Fluffypoo and his friends shouldn't be eating at the table like us.

  4. says

    >The only thing i would have added to your rebuttal is a request to not make walls of text.Crossed my mind, believe me! HARD to read that.

  5. Mike says

    Excellent response.She's just trying to distort Kantian ethics, a zealous focus on 'motive' without considering respect for their free agency.I said something similar to your bigoted god comment when I came out to my family. No way in hell would I ever worship a god that demanded I sacrifice my child to prove my devotion. I don't care that god said "j/k!" at the last second, both Yahweh's request and Abraham's response were sick.

  6. says

    >>> 'I understand how this can look like bigotry because I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do.'Why is this used so often? I usually ignore the "I used to be like you… " because, for all I know, it could be true. Yet theists are so presumptuous as to claim that they know how people 'feel' or 'think' when they meet atheists. I've seen this on old episodes of AETV.It's like they're saying 'Since my thoughts eventually gave way to belief, and there can't actually BE any good position against acceptance of God, by exclusion I know what their inner thoughts are'

  7. says

    Pombolo:It's no different than saying "I used to not believe in Big Foot…" and then going on to assert all manner of things about what someone else "believes." It's coming from a basic lack of understanding about what atheism is or isn't. My response was on target in telling her that theist or atheist, some people are homophobic, some not.We do get it a lot on the show, you're right. Atheists believe in Evolution, Big Bang, etc. With zero regard for the reality that many theists believe these things, and that there is zero compulsion for an atheist to accept them. The claim itself DEFIES what they know is reality. They KNOW there are theists who believe evolution and Big Bang. They disagree with them, but they are aware they exist. But they insist that these things, regardless, are ATHEIST positions.???

  8. says

    Wouldn't the flip side of this coin be human euthanasia, or abortion? In each case (when administered responsibly), the practice is intended to prevent harm and/or suffering. Yet, catholics oppose each outright. It could encourage conflation of the two with atheism, but it may serve to shock this individual enough to give them pause.

  9. says

    The nazis were sincerely and lovingly motivated to propagate the Aryan race … does their motive make it okay?Done. :) I know comparing ppl to nazis is wrong.. but w/e

  10. says

    There's this funny idea people have that all the oppression and atrocities that have occurred throughout history were supported and carried out by spiteful, terrible people with no redeeming qualities. But it seems like that has never been such a huge institution-level problem.The big problems have always been sincere, nice/reasonable (or at least normal) sounding people who play along with terrible, terrible ideas. Your "mildly racist" grandma might be a sweet, loving woman 98% of the time you've known her, but back in the fifties, it was people like her who were complicit in racial segregation. Those with an openly prejudiced hatred of black people were certainly a problem, but they would have been relatively powerless without the support of various shades of normal, "decent" folks (and their voices and votes and money and "non-hateful" discrimination). These people generally believed that the races were kept separate by God, and so their racism was propped up by all the same (at least superficially) lovely, positive, feel-good messages about salvation that religions use today.Even that icon of evil known as Nazi Germany was like that. There were lots of wonderful, loving, happy people who were members of the Nazi party or went to their events or helped with the Hitler Youth or worked for the government or otherwise supported some part of the whole enterprise. The evils of the party were not just fueled from some inner spiteful evil rage that every individual Nazi supporter had. Rather, they were the result of a toxic, hateful, and false ideology that so many people were inculcated with, often wrapped into positive messages about hope, peace, prosperity, and salvation. This is my main objection to using "Nazi" as some sort of generic insult or provocation. As awful as the leaders were, the rank-and-file were normal, not-really-evil people who simply allowed themselves to fall for a particularly odious bit of deception.

  11. says

    Her entire argument is making the case the she, and people like her who are "sincere" believers, accept whatever their religion says without thinking it through themselves. They've pre-committed to the religion, therefore whatever the religion says is what they have to do.There are all kinds of things that should be criticized about that way of living, but what confused me is that she refutes her own point right in the middle:When they agree with a teaching on, lets say, loving your neighbor as yourself, it is because they genuinely believe with all their being that loving your neighbor as yourself is the right thing to do.So for things that actually align with her sense of fairness/morality, that's why she does it. Other stuff, she passes the blame to the teachings of her religion, and somehow thinks that makes it OK.This is a good example of the real harm that religion does. No need to think about what's right and wrong, just be very sincere about your religion and do what it says.

  12. Afterthought_btw says

    Why is it, exactly, that some people seem to associate sincerity with virtue? Just because you're being honest, doesn't mean you are a great person, or that you can't have negative attributes. Essentially, much of this theist's argument was:I'm sincere, so I'm not a bigot.No… it just means you're a sincere bigot. In many ways, that makes you an even worse person than an insincere bigot imho. At least an insincere bigot wouldn't actually believe the bile they spew.And finally, remember kids, for each wall of text you type, a leprechaun faces scaphism.

  13. says

    Tell it like it is Tracie. And, if you don't mind, I will add here the comment I made on the previous post:I used to be Catholic, I used to be homophobic, and this explains that quite a lot. It took me a while to get over it, reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and Earthly Powers (its chapter 11 is still one of my favourite bit of literature in all the books I read) contributed to my re-assessing of homosexuality.I don't know if what I am going to say makes sense, but what angers me about the way Catholicism considers the homosexual question is the contempt they show for love. Not only because they say gay love is only lust and sterile, but because they think that chastity or love within the boundaries of the Church is so much better. There is nothing more cold, sterile and downright monstruously against human nature than the "love" preached by the Catholic Church: it asks its adherent to deny their sexual urges to be faithful to an invisible man in the sky or to repress it in the boundaries of a marriage where sex is used solely to make children. And they have the nerve to call THAT love.

  14. says

    I think this is very well done, tracieh.One thing I would have answered differently:Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate….Fine. Your motive is not hate….But yes, it is.I think your correspondent has established–fairly reasonably, even–that, in the minds of many homophobes, certain kinds of mistreatment of GLBT folks are "loving." I think she makes a good case that many people do honestly, sincerely believe that cruel mistreatment of queers can be based on "love."That just doesn't make it so.Yeah, fine, these 'phobes honestly think that abusing GLBTs in certain ways is "loving"; that just doesn't help things much, because they're wrong: it's not loving. If anything, their deep misconceptions about their own motivations make things considerably worse, because it allows people who are acting out of brutal hatred, and often causing unbelievable harm to innocent people, to still be convinced that they are loving, upstanding people doing noble things. The result of homophobes (a) seeing themselves acting out of "love" rather than (b) seeing their own bigotry for what it is is more pain and sorrow for GLBTs and those many of us who love them.And this means the belief systems that allow your correspondent, and others like her, to pretend that brutal hatred is true love are outrageously harmful.So I think a better answer to "Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate…." is: No. The motive is hate. The people you're describing are just suffering from the tragic misconception that the hate they harbor is actually a kind of love. I agree with you that those people believe that, but the reality is that they are wrong, devastatingly wrong. And many innocent people suffer deeply as a result.Actually I think you did a fine job getting across the above points in your response; you just missed an opportunity in that one spot. Again, nice job!

  15. says

    @SeanI remember watching debates (or arguments) on TV about whether we should go into Iraq, or water board people, or commit other questionable acts, and one of the arguments I often heard was "we're the good guys! We're bringing Freedom." It was more than just the false dichotomy that you must be "with us" or "against us". The pundits and talk-show hosts honestly seemed to believe that we are above the rules, because we have good intent, and the rules exist only to keep the bad guys in line.This idea scares the hell out of me. I wonder how many atrocities begin with someone who feels that his good intentions make the rules inapplicable. I know I'm Godwinning, but I can't think of anything that can distort one's moral compass more than the emphasis in belief above outcome.

  16. says

    Thomas:I wonder how many atrocities begin with someone who feels that his good intentions make the rules inapplicable. I know I'm Godwinning, but I can't think of anything that can distort one's moral compass more than the emphasis in belief above outcome.Yes, I think that's the moral of this story. And it's no Godwin.

  17. DementedSnake says

    Hurray Tracie! That was a much better response than I could have given. Glad you're on our side.The only thing I didn't like was the reference to the KKK. I realize it's a reasonable analogy, but (to me at least) it seems to just be name-calling when you compare someone to racists or Nazis. Even if you have every justification to do so, I feel it's a low shot.I guess that's just because it's gotten so common, and that people use it for trivial reasons, or for shock value. But like I said, you had a good reason for the comparison, so no foul.

  18. Admin says

    You have to understand that I only condemn these people because my imaginary friend told me to. I'd only stone them to death if my imaginary friend commands it. I'm really a very tolerant and friendly person.

  19. says

    Demented:Plug in Jew or black instead of gay or homosexual and see how the statement sounds. Nobody would dare say the same sorts of things about a Jew or a black–because they'd be immediately labeled as antisemetic or racist. If they say the same ignorant things about gays–they're just as bad. Bigots on sexual orientation are no better and no different than racists who think there is something wrong with being black. It's not a low blow, it's a perfect analogy.Homophobic theists used to kill gays. Now they just denounce them as bad. Racists used to kill blacks, now they just denounce them as inferior. I see no difference, a bigot is a bigot. I make no apology for the comparison.

  20. says

    Hey, you know those 9-11 guys sure were sincere! What's the Islam version of Godwin called? Consider a few weeks ago in my life when I caught and old woman stealing flowers from my guardian. She believed these plants (weeds really) would help her daughter who had breast cancer. I told her she could keep the weeds if she wanted but they probably wouldn't help. Her sincerity sure helped me weed reducing my yard work…but if it keeps her daughter from getting real treatment….

  21. says

    Actually, you can plug in Jew, atheist, or even Protestant with most statements like this. After all, official church dogma is that anyone outside the Catholic Church cannot get into heaven. So conversion, even forceful conversion (if such were truly possible), would be a similarly loving action.It's impossible to claim that Catholic doctrine is not wrapped up in absolutely stupid amounts of prejudice and ignorance. If you look at what they've said about other belief systems and cultures, about gay people, about women…Frankly, even if the church welcomed gays tomorrow, I would still say that they are bigots because of their sexist beliefs, and even if they fixed that, I would still be concerned about the historical obsession that the church has had with celibacy and virginity (and contraception). The Catholic Church is filled with ridiculous and oppressive rules about sex and purity, and that constantly puts it in the position of drawing arbitrary lines between better and worse types of people based on harmless (or often good) behaviors.

  22. says

    Ah… but then we actually USE the brains that they claim god gave us and we express dissent in a noxious line of thinking. That IS the reason we have so many durned religions anyway is that someone eventually said, "This isn't right," and off they trotted. (OR they wanted money… whatever.)It's so easy for the religious to give up their brains in favor of using a book to tell them what to do… even if what it says to do makes no sense at all. I don't care how smart you are… if you believe in a religion, you have surrendered your ability to think for yourself. And there is NO WAY I will EVER think that is a good thing, regardless of the purity of what they tell me to believe.

  23. says

    One could build a parallel argument, i.e. leveraging her same “logic” and motivations, regarding the need to silence all non-believers for the glory of god, as directed god (Deuteronomy 13:6-9). The reasoning could certainly be the protection of innocent people that may be persuaded by non-believer arguments; hence, forthwith subject to eternal damnation as was introduce by gentile Jesus in the New Testament. But then the Theist may say, “But the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament”. If that is the case, what did Jesus say about homosexual behavior? That is correct, nothing.

  24. says

    Great response, Tracie!I recently engaged a similar discussion with an "atheist" that believes homosexuality is wrong (image someone like SE Cupp). It amazes how they always use the same moronic arguments to justify their prejudice.

  25. says

    Simple test for:"HATE AND DISCRIMINATION"Do you follow all the Leviticus laws or just the once that match your personal intolerances?As for "used to be an atheist": if she was actually a genuine atheist, then I want to see the evidence that changed her mind – because it should impress me. Or is it just extraordinary claims backed up by… "meh, a kind of feeling"?

  26. says

    At Michael: Wow, isn't that interesting that if you say "I think your belief is wrong" that's "bigotry?" But "you're immoral and going to hell" is "love"?Ing: RE 9-11, no doubt!Sean: You are right that all of us outside the right religion are on our way to the great underground BBQ. But really, when would someone deny Jews or blacks the right to marry? I do get your point–it's insulting to us all. But if anyone stood up and said we should treat blacks or Jews differently under the law–can you imagine? I do get racism exists and that depending on the situation, there are instances where people ARE treated unfairly under the law, but to openly state it should be that way for X-group…? It would be political suicide. But a politician who says we ought to discriminate against gays openly and legally–can be elected by huge numbers of conservative voters still today.David: Bear in mind "atheist" and "skeptic" do not mean the same thing. I doubt this woman was a skeptic, but will accept her word that she once did not believe in god. I would guess that whatever convinced her, would fail to convince you, or most people on this list. So, I'd vote for "meh."

  27. DementedSnake says

    Maybe I was unclear. I agree that what you said was completely justified, I was just commenting on how common comparisons to racism have become in arugments and debates. I guess that's a symptom though, I mean: I can't go online without hearing a bunch of straight white guys shouting racist and homophobic slurs at everyone they pass.Assholes are assholes, regardless of who they crap on.

  28. says

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.Susan B. Anthony

  29. says

    "The only thing I didn't like was the reference to the KKK. I realize it's a reasonable analogy, but (to me at least) it seems to just be name-calling when you compare someone to racists or Nazis. Even if you have every justification to do so, I feel it's a low shot.I guess that's just because it's gotten so common, and that people use it for trivial reasons, or for shock value. But like I said, you had a good reason for the comparison, so no foul."What people won't learn from reason they might learn through shame.

  30. says

    "I used to be like you."If she was an atheist (which I highly doubt), she was one for the wrong reasons, because her acceptance of catholicism does not appear to have been borne of any rational inquiry.

  31. says

    @Tracie:I agree with you absolutely that homophobia is far and away more acceptable in this country than racism or (certain types of) religious intolerance. My point was more that the justifications given for discrimination against gay people are intellectually similar to the justifications for religious intolerance and sexism, and that anyone who believes that it's wrong to be gay probably believes in a system that approves of those things as well.But, although I'm not taking offense at your words at all, I really feel like making this clear. My parents were put under pressure not to marry because my mom's family was against interracial marriage (and my dad was apparently too brown a Hispanic to pass muster). But even for my parents, by the time they got together, interracial marriage was at least a dead political issue.I've spoken with GLBT people who, when they first realized the truth about their sexuality, attempted suicide, or as teenagers tried to run away from home with no assets or plans, rather than have to deal with the consequences of coming out. I've met many people (including old "friends") who have told me that they don't advocate gay people being treated too badly, but by the way homosexuality really is wrong and it's not right to consider gay couples to be as good as straight couples. I recently spoke to someone who was told off at length by a "good Christian woman" for participating in an anti-AIDS fundraiser. I'm following the news and realizing as a bisexual that if I at some point want to share my life with another man, I likely won't be allowed to marry unless I move to a different state.I submit that no other group of people in the US has to deal with such constant, open, and personal prejudice (even atheists, though perhaps only because atheists are easier to marginalize). And I think that, although there are some other factors, I am 100% justified in laying this whole mess of a problem at the feet of Abrahamic religion, and within "the West" the issue is almost entirely due to Christianity. I wouldn't dispute that there may be bigger problems caused by religion, and I would still approve of criticizing religion even if it didn't cause any problems except "just" credulity. But treatment of GLBTs is my driving motivation for advocating secularism. If someone asks me why I care, and "What harm does religion do, anyway?", there's an obvious answer to me. Millions of normal people like myself have been constantly, throughout our lives, sent the message that we are wicked or mentally sick. Many of us have been driven to self-destructive behaviors, others have been assaulted directly, ostracized, or fired, and about half of the population of the country in which I live still finds it acceptable to use the force of law to maintain at least part of this charade.\rant offI realize that the goals of the atheist community (insofar as it has shared goals) and the goals of the GLBT community (insofar as that has shared goals) are not the same, but even coming originally from the gay side of things (advocacy-wise), I feel like it is so vital that religious people get called out on all their crap, because otherwise these stupid "culture wars" are going to keep cropping up and we'll keep having to deal with it for untold generations (much like Roe v. Wade and creationism).

  32. says

    "I'm following the news and realizing as a bisexual that if I at some point want to share my life with another man, I likely won't be allowed to marry unless I move to a different state."I actually think that this is important. The existence of bisexuals needs to be popularized more and brought into the gay rights debate. It breaks the anti-gay paradigm. An ostentatiously straight person who wants the rights you're denying to gay people adds a new element to their question. PLus I think there are a number of bisexuals closeted, who support gay rights and are gay friendly, but shammed and mortified of their same sex attraction. Also Marlon Brando was bi, so are the christians really willing to challenge The Godfather? They'll wind up with the head of a Virgin Marry statue in their bed. '

  33. says

    Between one insinuation about the 'risks' of homosexual parents, and the next, why would people not consider the risks of being raised by heterosexual parents? If we were to weigh the 'risks' of heterosexual parenting the same as homosexual parenting, we would have long ago herded all the kids onto ships and shot them into interstellar space, for their protection.For example, heterosexual couples frequently are confronted with "Suprise!" pregnancies, and are frequently in conflict about whether they can afford, or even want, this child. If either of those cases hold true, then the child is in much higher risk of being mistreated, or improperly raised…. whereas …Homosexual parents, most of the time, have children because they want children. Thus, they are much more likely to be good parents, and raise the children under loving and nurturing environments.Thus, the 'risks' are heavily leaned away from homosexual parents, within this particular metric.Disclaimer: I realize I'm pulling this out of my own perceptions, and not on any particular factual data

  34. says

    This argument, while amusing, always frustrates me when it comes to gay marriages, mostly because it's the wrong debate. Are catholics bigots? Is the churches doctrine bigoted? Doesn't matter actually, what does matter is that it's "catholic" doctrine, and they have no right to force that doctrine onto others by the force of law. I don't give a rats butt if the catholic church thinks something is wrong, what I do care about is when the go on to force other non-catholics to abide by that. The churches position should be "we think homosexual marriage is wrong, but we have no opinion on the secular laws regarding marriage". Anything else (like what they do now) is just forcing other people to practice their religion. Gay marriage opponents love to yell about their freedom of religion, yet seem to have no problem having the government go into a church that supports gay marriages (and yes, there are many), and telling those churches how to practice their religion. The argument that needs to be made is that gay marriages IS a freedom of religion question, and those that are against it, are against freedom of religion.

  35. says

    This girl is happily overlooking a key fact here.At some point in her process of becoming a devout Catholic, she was presented with the idea that her faith viewed homosexuality as deviance, and she accepted that position. She chose to accept it. She didn't have to, just like Tracie said.

  36. says

    To add my couple of cents in addition to the fine comments above:The writer says she's acting out of love. Fine. I accept that she thinks so, but I think we've established that she's wrong and what she's doing isn't out of love at all. But again, she thinks what she does is out of purest Christian love.The sad part is, people who believe they're doing something hateful out of love are very easily manipulated by those who are acting out of real hate and real fear and admit as much. Real hate and real fear can and do latch on to misguided love such as that of Tracie's correspondent and turn it into something just as destructive.Sean made the point that most supporters of the Nazi regime weren't hate-fuelled monsters like Hitler; rather they were ordinary, decent Germans who fell for Hitler's promises and succumbed to his fear-mongering. Sean's exactly right and I think many Christians who oppose GLBT equality (and GLBTs existing at all) are in a similar position.That, or they simply will not admit to the hate and fear they feel and are bullshitting themselves and everyone else when they say they're acting out of love. But I think Tracie's correspondent is the former case: genuinely misguided.

  37. says

    DarkEternal – vulgar moral relativism lies that way.It is incumbent upon us to try to enforce our beliefs on others.When I see a people performing FGM I feel the need to enforce my belief that it is a barbaric, harmful and pointless act upon those performing it.When I see a government spying on it citizenry 'for their own safety' I feel the need to impose my belief that such Orwellian tactics are counter productive and ultimately cost many more lives than they can ever save.

  38. says

    >For example, if a girl with a eating disorder sees nothing wrong with her problemTo which I ask: and what if you're the one who has the disorder and cannot see it?

  39. says

    I love the harping on sincerity, since it dovetails so nicely with one of the recurring themes in Fred Clark's analysis of the Left Behind series: it doesn't so much matter what you believe as long as you believe it with passionate sincerity, since you can't apparently be passionately, sincerely wrong. Speaking of Fred Clark, you might want to direct our misguided Catholic friend here to his series on Sex and Money (1, 2, 3). He's a Christian (albeit a liberal protestant rather than a Catholic), arguing against homophobia from a more Biblical standpoint, so she might be more willing to consider his position. Tracie: But really, when would someone deny Jews or blacks the right to marry?I'm not sure that's relevant, since Catholic doctrine doesn't really say anything about relationships between Jews or between blacks. As I understand it, though, in order for a marriage to be recognized by the church, both of the parties have to be Catholic. I have to imagine that, if they had the ability, the Catholic Church would do just that: refuse to allow anyone but heterosexual Catholics (excluding nuns and priests, of course) to marry, and then refuse to allow any of them to divorce. Ing: I actually think that this is important. The existence of bisexuals needs to be popularized more and brought into the gay rights debate.If my (non-Catholic Christian) mother is any indication, it won't help. Gays are perverts, but Bis just want to screw anything that moves. Part of the problem with this whole argument is that many (if not most) homophobes can't separate sexual orientation from sexual activity. They hear "gay" and think "someone who has sex with members of the same sex," not "someone who's attracted to members of the same sex" or "someone who falls in love with members of the same sex." I've heard it expressed (by my mother, and others) that one wouldn't be gay/bi unless and until they'd already had sex with a member of the same sex, because how else would they find out? The notion that sexual attraction is biological and consists of more than just intercourse is something that many have trouble wrapping their brains around.It's also why so many anti-gay arguments revolve around anal sex; buttsecks is gross, so it must be wrong. Let's ignore the simple fact that straight couples engage in anal sex in similar ratios to gay couples (in fact, last I checked, straight people did it more) and that this says almost nothing about lesbians. I can speak from my own experience on this one: realizing that my discomfort with the idea of anal sex had nothing to do with gays was a major part of discarding my own homophobia. JT: Disclaimer: I realize I'm pulling this out of my own perceptions, and not on any particular factual dataI had remembered hearing data to back your claim up–and it seems to be valid for gay couples who had children intentionally, but according to this article there are some problems with using that statistic. Still, all the studies show that kids raised by same-sex couples are no better or worse off than kids raised by opposite-sex couples, and we've got decades of research all pointing in that same direction.

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