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Oct 01 2012

Rooting for the home team for the first time

You all recall that vacuous op-ed by Riley Balling against gay marriage from last week, right? I replied to it, and now I see that Chris Kluwe, the awesome kicker (I have no idea how good he is at kicking a ball, but he seems to be awesomely smart) on the Minnesota Vikings football team, has written a sterling response.

Frankly, sir, your blatant attempt to sway people by using the “OH MAH GAWD THINK OF THE CHILDREN” argument is tiresome, bothersome, and insulting to anyone who cares to take the slightest interest in pulling aside your curtain of self satisfied drivel to expose the ugliness underneath. Furthermore, you never made any sort of logical attempt to explain how same-sex marriage affects your marriage in any concrete way, instead offering up vague generalizations with no proof. When it comes to “the children”, I can assure you that I *am* thinking of my children, and not just my children, but all the children they will come in contact with, and all the adults they will someday be; and it is my sincerest wish as a parent that I can raise them to be tolerant, to respect the free will of others, and above all, to see beneath the smug bigotry and oppression of those who would enslave the world to satisfy their own ugly lust for control. If you have any children, it is my hope that they enjoy a peaceful life, one free of tyranny.

I’m not really interested in that football thing. Can we just have the players write op-eds every week? It would be a much more productive use of their time, and it wouldn’t produce broken, brain-damaged people.

57 comments

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  1. 1
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I’ve loved Chris Kluwe ever since he said that marriage equality won’t turn you into a “lustful cockmonster”. :D

  2. 2
    bortedwards

    Wow. Kudos. And interesting to note that even a concussion-addled footballer (no disrespect) can mount a more rational, intelligent and sane argument than R. Balling.

  3. 3
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Hey, you want diversity at FtBs? How’s about a professional athlete?

    On a side note: I’ve been in Australia too long. “Rooting” for the home team for the first time has a much different, yet oddly appropriate, connotation here.

  4. 4
    bortedwards

    I deed fossil. I’m Aussie and more than happy to root for *any* team :)

  5. 5
    briansmith

    I like how Balling in his original op-ed talked about how in a traditional marriage the focus was on the children, the parents needs were tertiary, and how homosexuals were necessarily divorced from child rearing.

    Does he really think all the gay couples who’d love to adopt children wouldn’t sacrifice for their children?

    Also, here’s a link to a previous awesome piece by Kluwe.

  6. 6
    ImaginesABeach

    I’ve actually added his weekly blog to my “must read” list – even when he’s writing about (American) football, he’s an excellent writer.

    Also, he was on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” this weekend, and knew the answer to a question about the Ig Noble Award for Medicine before he was given his choices.

    AND he was a part of this Twitter conversation, as reported by John Scalzi on Whatever: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/09/30/a-man-and-his-hat-a-collaborative-metafictional-event-by-gaiman-wheaton-scalzi-kluwe-ellis-burns-and-a-hat/

  7. 7
    Loqi

    Former Vikings Center Matt Birk took an anti-gay dump on the Star Tribune. Fingers are crossed that Kluwe responds.

  8. 8
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Kluwe isn’t the only NFL player to support gay marriage. Brendon Ayanbadejo has supported it publicly since 2009. Interestingly, in his case his support stems from living with his family in an LGBT dorm in his teens, where his step-father was the headmaster. Somewhat amazingly, that experience didn’t tear his family apart and he wasn’t recruited by the gays.

    LGBT right have also been gaining support in the National Hockey League. A small start, but wouldn’t it be great if it became cool among jocks to be tolerant?

  9. 9
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What a Maroon, don;t you see how fucked up it made Brendon Ayandadejo? If he was raise like a proper person, he would never have spoken out in support of LGBT rights.

    (Extreme sarcasm.)

  10. 10
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What an odd typo.

  11. 11
    IslandBrewer

    I think I must now become a big fan of the purple machine. Really. Just no one use the magical curse word “Favre” around me.

  12. 12
    tubi

    In addition to being smart and right, Kluwe is also considered to be one of the best punters in the NFL. He has stated he will respond to Birk’s comments, which were surprisingly wrong, on his blog.

    Note: I realize “punter” can mean something else in Australia. He may also be that, I don’t know.

  13. 13
    scienceavenger

    While I agree with the sentiment, I think it was far from a stellar response. He left completely unaddressed the glaring issue of the children of gays, which the anti-gay crowd conveniently assumes don’t exist. “How is your position pro-children with regard to the children of homosexuals” needs to be the beginning of every rebuttal to anti-gay nonsense, because its certain to elicit a deer-in-the-headlights gaffe worthy of Todd Akin.

  14. 14
    IndyM, pikčiurna

    Former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita is pretty damn cool, too.

  15. 15
    Stardrake

    What A Maroon, el papa ateo @8: Kluwe’s first pro-gay-marriage rant (linked to by Briansmith @5) was in support of Brendon Ayandadejo. It was addresses to Maryland delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr., who had asked the Baltimore Ravens’ owner to shut Ayandadejo up.

    The thing that impresses me is that Kluwe hasn’t gotten any flak from his teammates! It seems even NFL locker rooms, home of those big bastions of masculinity, are changing. No wonder the Christurds are scared and desperate…

  16. 16
    Stardrake

    Me @ 15: “addressed”, not “addresses”!!

    Fatfinger, servant of Tpyos, strikes again!

  17. 17
    Socio-gen, something something...

    Chris Kluwe makes it so hard not to be a Vikings fan, especially after being on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me this weekend.

  18. 18
    DaveH

    @scienceavenger:

    Original or creative thought is strongly discouraged among fundies. The idea that a person may have felt pressured by fucked-up “social norms” to marry and have children with a member of the opposite sex when that really wasn’t their cup o’ tea so to speak, or that a bisexual person might have a first spouse of the opposite sex, and a second spouse of the same sex, is just too foreign an idea for their minds to hold.

    When you have been told your entire life that there is “The Truth” that you must follow, the idea that there might be more than one “correct” answer to something (such as the organization and make-up of a family) is so utterly incomprehensible to them as to render them… well… stupid. Of course, from their point of view, WE are the ones doing mental gymnastics to justify multiple truths, when really there is just one Truth. If you have spent your world looking through a distorted piece of glass, and learning to walk around with it glued over your eyes, you might stumble a bit when someone kindly rips it off for you, nor would the process of getting it off be… painless. Nevertheless, I would never hesitate to help in the removal of said glass.

  19. 19
    gregpeterson

    Kluwe was pretty awesome on Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! over the weekend, and now I’ll also be looking for a chance to see his bad, Tripping Icarus, for which he plays bass. He’s a smart guy with strong convictions. AND…he’s a good punter. Let’s not forget that sometimes it’s the other, less meaningful things that people accomplish that win them the cache that enables them to speak on things that actually do matter.

    Think of punting as applied physics if it helps.

  20. 20
    steve84

    He really has a way with words.

    What these idiots don’t get – or don’t admit – is that marriage isn’t necessarily required to have children. American laws are actually relatively good about that. For example while joint adoption isn’t legal everywhere, for some reason single parents can adopt instead (if anything, that one doesn’t make much sense). With or without marriage, gay couples will still raise children. There is just no connection there.

  21. 21
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    He seems to be a gamer and a geek as well as a pro footballer.

    Good combination, and he does have a fantastic way with words. The “clean” version of his open letter to Burns is, if anything, even funnier than the sweary original.

  22. 22
    a3kr0n

    The packers just whipped the win-less Saints. Makes me proud to be a cheesehead.
    No, I don’t follow football either.
    In other news:
    California bans “gay cure” therapy

  23. 23
    crowepps

    Burns isn’t just ignoring the harm this does to the children of gay parents, he’s also ignoring the message legal discrimination against gays sends to the children discovering themselves to *be* gay, which is “no happily ever after for YOU”.

  24. 24
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    And here is the clean version of the Burns letter.

    “BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE SPARKLEPONY” for the fucking win.

  25. 25
    sirbedevere

    The anti-gay-marriage folks are getting more irrational all the time. I believe the cause for their desperation may be that, deep down, they fear that they’re wrong and therefore realize that eventually (unless this is stopped very soon) society will have a significant number of adults who have been raised by gay couples (anyone know about the current statistics?) and — gasp — they’re probably going to be fine, healthy, upstanding members of their communities. In other words, the longer this confounded tolerance continues, the more likely it is that a rant against it (like Riley Balling’s) will be met, not with an outstanding written rebuttal like Chris Kluwe’s, but by a lot of people standing up and saying “but I was raised by a gay couple…”

    What the Ballings of the world are really afraid of is day when they won’t be able to make these ridiculous claims at all because the evidence against them will be too obvious to ignore — and will also be, not coincidentally, of voting age.

  26. 26
    carlie

    He was fantastic on Wait Wait this weekend, so I looked him up on twitter (as mentioned in the show). One of his most recent tweets just now was a reply to someone that: “I’m beginning to suspect you don’t understand how “logic” works. You can’t hold two competing views at the same time.” Be still my suddenly fast beating heart.

  27. 27
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    What A Maroon, el papa ateo @8: Kluwe’s first pro-gay-marriage rant (linked to by Briansmith @5) was in support of Brendon Ayandadejo.

    Yeah, it was through Kluwe that I learned about Ayandadejo. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

    Given the adulation of professional athletes in the US, it’s an excellent sign that they’re starting to speak out on LGBT rights, without any apparent repercussions among their peers. It won’t be long before some players in the major professional leagues start coming out, and that’ll be the beginning of the end of anti-gay bias in US culture. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    What a Maroon, don;t you see how fucked up it made Brendon Ayandadejo? If he was raise like a proper person, he would never have spoken out in support of LGBT rights.

    Not to mention he’s got a weird foreign name. Must be a Muslim. Clearly this is the first step down the road to Sharia in the US.

  28. 28
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Of course, the flip side of my optimism is the fact that Tim Tebow and his faith-based quarterbacking are far more well-known and celebrated than Kluwe or Ayandadejo. It’ll be a long time before the verbing of either of their names.

  29. 29
    tubi

    @27

    Given the adulation of professional athletes in the US, it’s an excellent sign that they’re starting to speak out on LGBT rights, without any apparent repercussions among their peers.

    True, although I’ve heard people observe that Kluwe is “only a punter” implying that it’s going to take an athlete more well known by non-fans, like our host, to really start the process. Imagine the impact of someone like Peyton or Eli Manning, or Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, etc saying the same thing. Or Ray Lewis, Champ Bailey, or Larry Fitzgerald, i.e. a respected veteran who happens to be black.

    I have no idea what any of those people think about SSM, but Kluwe, Ayanbadejo, et al are hopefully the catalysts for others to be more comfortable sharing their thoughts. Kickstarters, if you will. And certainly, having a prominent player come out will be the tipping point, especially when he does it while active in the league.

  30. 30
    irisvanderpluym

    I don’t know about that, sirbedevere. Since when was obvious evidence enough to make such people change their minds about anything?

  31. 31
    david23

    LOL, sorry I could not watch the video as all I saw was Lenore, Mr Universe’s wife from the movie Serenity.

  32. 32
    david23

    sorry disregard #31 to many fields open at once.

  33. 33
    benwalsh

    It’s very, very important to make it clear that you don’t like football and have no interest in football and sports are beneath you. We wouldn’t have known, otherwise. Don’t just comment on the article or the issue, no; it’s crucial that you have to get in two or three smug and contemptuous references to the author’s career.

  34. 34
    Ichthyic

    In other news:
    California bans “gay cure” therapy

    about time someone did. It was always cultism masquerading as legitimate mental health care.

    OTOH:

    The governor also signed into law a bill that will allow parents who don’t have their children vaccinated to enroll their children in school

    *sigh*

    someone missed the lectures on what “herd immunity” means.

  35. 35
    irisvanderpluym

    benwalsh:

    Right. Because on PZ’s personal blog, he is only permitted to opine on subjects benwalch wants him to.

  36. 36
    Ichthyic

    Don’t just comment on the article or the issue, no; it’s crucial that you have to get in two or three smug and contemptuous references to the author’s career.

    of course. why should anyone bother posting their opinions on a blog?

    why, it just boggles the mind.

  37. 37
    Amphiox

    benwalsh;

    Sense of perspective. Learn what it is. Get some.

    Sense of humor. Learn what it is. Get one.

  38. 38
    kome

    Several baseball teams have made videos for the It Gets Better project. I’m very happy to see this emergence of athletes coming out on the side of tolerance, intelligence, and decency, because they all seem to do it in different ways. Kluwe is just, by far, my favorite because of his unapologetic tone and approach. The reverence our country has towards celebrities, particularly athletes, means that more of them speaking out means more people will end up having to think about these issues. It’s progress, and I thank these athletes for getting involved and speaking out.

    That said, I’m not a Vikings fan by any means (go Ravens!), but I do want a Kluwe jersey.

  39. 39
    samwisecg

    I have become a fan of Kluwe’s writing.

    It lays to rest the assertion that profanity is a sign of poor vocabulary. Used correctly, profanity is the twist of the knife and the wasabi in the tuna roll, highlighting and emphasizing the content.

    Of course, for this to work there must be content, and Kluwe delivers on that in spades.

  40. 40
    screechymonkey

    That said, I’m not a Vikings fan by any means (go Ravens!)

    Unfortunately, Ravens center (and former Kluwe teammate) Matt Birk wrote a piece against gay marriage, to which Kluwe has again responded well.

  41. 41
    irisvanderpluym

    @screechymonkey – thanks, that Kluwe piece is great. A commenter there said (paraphrasing) “Jesus had two dads, and he apparently turned out okay.”. LMAO

  42. 42
    jimkakalios

    You want to know how awesome Kluwe is? He pops into a Twitter wise-off with Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, Warren Ellis and others.

    http://serenefire.tumblr.com/post/32574349731/potentially-the-best-thing-to-happen-on-the

    Cheers,

    Jim

  43. 43
    kome

    @40 – I know. But on the plus side, Brendon Ayanbadejo is a pile of awesome and the Ravens have backed him up with regard to the politician who decided to make a stink over Ayanbadejo showing public support for same-sex marriage.

  44. 44
    DLC

    Actually, Riley Balling (what a name) has missed a major point in his arguments. He passed entirely on telling everyone that the reason Gay marriage harms children is that God smites cities where Teh Gay Lifestyle is tolerated. What could be more dangerous for tehChildren than if a hurricane were to strike?
    Or an Earthquake ? Why, we have to deny rights to a whole bunch of people in order to prevent God! from blasting cities!
    Then we can say Gawdh doesn’t want foreigners to be President. (for certain racist values of the word “foreigner”)

    Of course, someone else could equally cite god as blasting cities in the United States (and elsewhere) because we do not accord people equal rights. . . .

  45. 45
    cazfans

    It is interesting to see how attitudes toward gay marriage have changed. In 1988 and then again in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, the General Social Survey, sociology’s workhorse national survey, had respondents respond to the statement, “Homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another,” with responses Strongly agree through Strongly disagree. The change over 20 years is striking (3 percent strongly agree and 9 percent agree in 1988 goes to 21 and 24 percent in 2010). Attitudes are strongly linked to age. A little over half of the 18 to 30 year olds and a little under half of the 31 to 40 years agreed or strongly agreed in 2010 while less than 30 percent of the 51 and overs agreed or strongly agreed. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Kluwe was born in 1981, putting him in one of the younger demographics. I’d wager that the median NFL age is younger that his. Education is also positively related to favorable attitudes; Kluwe attended UCLA. Those who want to play with the data can go to sda.berkeley.edu/archive.htm and choose General Social Survey (GSS) Cumulative Datafile 1972-2010 . Use MARHOMO (I don’t pick the variable names!) for the row variable, something interesting like FUND (how fundamentalist is the respondent’s religion), DEGREE, REGION, or PARTYID for the column variable, and year as the control variable. There are other related dependent (row) variables like HOMOCHNG (is homosexuality inborn or a choice?) or HOMOSEX (Is gay sex okay?). Something a tad ugly like AGE (r:1 “YOUNG” =18-30;2 “Less young” =31-50; 3 “fossiliferous” =51-80) can be used to group age as a column or control variable.

  46. 46
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I shall choose to consider “fossiliferous” to be a compliment, little sonny cazfans. (My lawn, you – OFF!)

  47. 47
    tomh

    Icthyic wrote:
    The governor also signed into law a bill that will allow parents who don’t have their children vaccinated to enroll their children in school
    *sigh*

    The law is actually a step forward. It requires parents to produce a doctor’s certificate in order to enroll unvaccinated children in school. There is still a religious exemption available, but it eliminates the “personal belief” exemption that only required parents to sign a form. The bill was fought tooth and nail by the anti-vaccine crowd.

  48. 48
    mildlymagnificent

    tomh. The bill itself is a step forward.

    Governor Brown’s statement about signing it into law may be a bit of a problem. See paragraph 4 here http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/10/01/governor-jerry-brown-signs-california-bill-ab-2109-but-tries-to-water-it-down-in-a-sop-to-religion/

    With any luck it’ll not have any effect.

  49. 49
    tomh

    mildlymagnificent says:
    Governor Brown’s statement about signing it into law may be a bit of a problem.

    But not surprising. Forty seven other states grant religious exemptions for vaccinations. Even in California there are a number of religious exemptions available to parents related to children’s health care. Newborn screening for preventable heritable disorders, infant hearing screening, prenatal testing, newborn eye pathology screening, TB tests for pupils, all these and more are required by California statutes and all can be avoided if they conflict with one’s religious beliefs.

    California child abuse and neglect laws include failure to provide medical care in the definition of neglect. But the law also includes the provision, “a child receiving treatment by spiritual means… or not receiving specified medical treatment for religious reasons, shall not for that reason alone be considered a neglected child.”

    In the US there is nothing easier to pass than a religious exemption to just about any law. I’m sure the Dept of Public Health will follow Brown’s directive, but if it becomes necessary I have no doubt the California legislature would simply pass a religious exemption.

  50. 50
    Ichthyic

    There is still a religious exemption available, but it eliminates the “personal belief” exemption that only required parents to sign a form. The bill was fought tooth and nail by the anti-vaccine crowd.

    hey! good news for a change.

    thanks for the clarification.

  51. 51
    julietdefarge

    I do hope Mr Kluwe’s fine brain survives his career unscathed. I’ve been reading that lesser knocks on the noggin can have a serious cumulative effect, too. By way of illustration I give you Chuck Norris and Jesse Ventura.

  52. 52
    grumpypathdoc

    julietdefarge@51

    Luckily, Chris Kluwe chose one of the least at risk positions in American Football; it’s the frontline that catches the trauma.

    But,I’m no expert in the sport. The only time I even catch a glance at the professional American gladiators is by chance or if the Bills are doing well (fat chance of that this year again, I’m afraid) or the SuperBowl (usually for the commercials and the half time show, though both have deteriorated in recent years).

    My father watched every sport on TV. Baseball (especially), Football, Basketball, Golf etc., etc. Therefore he was an absentee father via his obsession. Our vacations centered around going to Cincinnati Reds games, though I made my parents take me to see “2001, a Space Odyssey” at a theater in Cincinnati that was showing it in “Cinerama”.

    I think that fostered my dislike of sports in general.

    I do enjoy Olympic fencing(foil) and target shooting. Funny swords and other weapons?

  53. 53
    Ichthyic

    TB tests for pupils, all these and more are required by California statutes and all can be avoided if they conflict with one’s religious beliefs.

    i’ve never understood how applying one’s religious beliefs balances against risk of death in not just one’s own person, not just one’s own children, but OTHER PEOPLE’S health and THEIR children too.

    I could understand deciding for oneself to avoid vaccination, if the idea was self autonomy. But of course, the problem is that this decision AFFECTS OTHERS, not just yourself. it isn’t anything like refusing cancer treatment, for example.

    sorry, but this insanity just has to end.

    people are dying because of this.

    even governor moonbeam should be able to understand this.

  54. 54
    randay

    scienceavenger #13, I disagree with your adding children into the equation. Kluwe did the right thing in sticking precisely to the point. Anymore would have diverted readers from his main point. That is a sign of a good writer.

    I propose Kluwe for the Hunter Thompson Gonzo Journalism Award. If there isn’t one, there should be.
    _____

    julietdefarge#51, there is a world of difference between Jesse Ventura and Chuck Norris. You can only use them in the same sentence for the purpose of noting totally opposing views. Just look up on YT interviews with Jesse. He regards the Catholic Church as a criminal organization which should be prosecuted under U.S. RICO laws. And that is just the beginning.

  55. 55
    tomh

    i’ve never understood how applying one’s religious beliefs balances against risk of death in not just one’s own person, not just one’s own children, but OTHER PEOPLE’S health and THEIR children too.

    The only court case I know of that successfully challenged the vaccination exemption, used the danger to other people’s children as the basis for the opinion. In 1979, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that Mississippi’s policy of granting certain religious exemptions was an unconstitutional violation of the equal-protection rights of already vaccinated children.

    The argument was that religious exemptions disproportionately endanger the lives and health of already vaccinated students who attend school with unvaccinated students, compared with those vaccinated students who happen to have no unvaccinated children at their school. It is this creation of two spheres of protection, those who are endangered by religious exemptions and those who are not, that contradicts the equal-protection clause.

    Mississippi is one of only two states, (West Virginia is the other), that has no religious exemption from mandatory vaccination.

  56. 56
    Ichthyic

    The only court case I know of that successfully challenged the vaccination exemption, used the danger to other people’s children as the basis for the opinion.

    2 years ago here in NZ, a (now with fatalities) outbreak of whooping cough was traced directly to a family whose parents refused to vaccinate, then took their kids to Thailand and brought back whooping cough with them.

    We are still trying to get a handle on that outbreak.

    it should be a case of criminal felony endangerment NOT to vaccinate your kids.

  57. 57
    Ichthyic

    …in any case, criminal or not, it surprises me that there haven’t been more civil cases brought against parents who refuse to vaccinate, but end up being the identifiable source of a particular outbreak.

    because it’s become unfortunately all too common.

    it’s no longer a hypothetical that herd immunity “might” be affected by antivaxxers.

    it has.

    people are dying.

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