Sunday, November 13, 2005

Answering Jason

I'm now going to answer a comment I received to my gay marriage post, "Gay Marriage Fails in the Lone Star State ." The comment was from a man named Jason, and I feel that he raised some issues I should respond to.

First, I'd like to clear up an apparent misunderstanding that I certainly didn't intend anyone to come away with. In my post on gay marriage I stated that the most important reason I voted for Prop 2, which defines marriage in Texas as being only between one man and one woman, was that gay marriage violated the Judeo-Christian moral order on which the West, including America, has been based for 2000 years. I now see how easy it is for some people reading that to assume that I'm a Christian, but I'm not. I describe myself as a Christian sympathizer, a traditionalist, someone who is unchurched but not anti-church. The reason I don't call myself a Christian is that I don't feel myself to be "saved" as Christians would understand that term. However, I do believe most, if not all, of the fundamental doctrines of the historic Christian faith, and I believe in Biblical morality. That's why I wrote that my support for Prop 2 was primarily "Christian" in origin. I appologize for any confusion.

This idea that I am a Christian seemed to have captivated all of Jason's attention, because his response to my post dealt exclusively with that issue. As you might've guessed, Jason is a Christian, but he said he would've voted against Prop 2 if he still lived in Texas. He expressed the concern that Christians have an image as bigoted, intolerant people, and that Prop 2 would only add to that negative stereotype. Futhermore, Jason insisted that Christians are called to love people where they're at, bring them to Christ, then tell them to sin no more. He also said that while it's ok to oppose gay marriage on Christian principles, it's wrong to impose those principles on non-Christians. I understand all of Jason's concerns, but I think he's way off the mark in thinking that that was the gist of my post. Apparently, he didn't read the whole post because if he had, he would've had a better understanding of what I was trying to say.

Yes, I based my support for Prop 2 primarily on Christian principles, but not exclusively on Christian principles. Jason would've known that if he'd read the whole article. I also supported Prop 2 because of my dislike of the heavy-handed tactics gay rights activists use to advance their cause. In his comment, Jason claimed that Christians are viewed as "self-righteous, hypocritical, hostile, and full of rejection of anyone who is different"--that's exactly how I view gay rights activists! My voting for Prop 2 was a way of taking a stand against what I call gay Stalinism. The gay activist elite--GAE--is as intolerant of opposing views, and the people who hold them, as Christians are so often accused of being. In my post I clearly differentiated between the GAE and ordinary gays, opposing the former but having benign tolerance for the latter. I also differentiated between people and behaviour, pointing out that you can accept people while merely tolerating, or even actively opposing, their behaviour. I don't know how Jason missed that.

And as for Christians imposing their principles on non-Christians, Jason missed the mark again.
In theory, we can say that nobody should impose their principles/morals/beliefs on anyone else. But in the real world, all law is the imposition of somebody's principles/morals/beliefs on society. If you doubt that, ask yourself why some people are for gay marriage. What reasons did they have for voting against Prop 2? The answers to those questions will inevitably delve into the waters of principles/morals/beliefs. Anti-Prop 2 people might say, for instance, that everyone has the right to love whom they chose. But isn't that a principle/moral/belief? Jason's own reason for opposing Prop 2--that it violated the Christian duty to love and not judge--is itself not only rooted in principle, but principle that is religiously based. Therefore, voting against Prop 2, which Jason said he would've done, would've been hypocritical on his part because it would've meant imposing a Christian principle--judge not, lest ye be judged--on non-Christians, something Jason said Christians have no right to do!

Of course, Prop 2 was just a skirmish in the culture war, a war in which the real question isn't can we legislate morality, but whose morality will we legislate. As stated above, somebody's morals, principles, or beliefs are going to undergird the laws of the land. For millenia, Biblical morality was the foundation on which Western law stood. America, founded as it was by Western Christians, carried on that tradition. Now, rabidly anti-Christian forces are fighting ferociously to destroy that foundation and replace it with a fanatically secular one in which every hint of Biblical influence is stricken from the law and, indeed, from all public life. For these people, the public square is a temple of Godlessness, an anti-sacred space in which only the opinions of Man may hold sway. The legitimization of homosexuality is sort of a consecration of this temple, a bold declaration to the religious that they are not allowed there unless they shed their faith. Religious freedom? Sure, inside your church or home, but not in the public square, where God is verboten.

The simple truth is that all law is made in the image of some group's world view. Therefore, it is grossly unfair to condemn Christians for imposing their views on others when gay activists are doing the exact same thing. In fact, gay activists aren't just imposing their views on society, but are striving to censor their opponents by criminalizing criticism of their lifestyle as "hate speech". This is part of the gay, or should I say GAE, Stalinism I criticized in my post.

So, to reiterate, I supported Prop 2 because I believe in the Judeo-Christian moral order and because I vehemently oppose the Stalinist tactics of the GAE. The two reasons go together. I don't hate ordinary gays and I'm not trying to harm them. Some sincere Christians might feel that supporting Prop 2 is an act of unChristlike judgmentalism; I respect their opinion, but ask them to consider that they become guilty of judgmentalism when they criticize me. Lastly, I remind the liberal types that the establishment clause of the Constitution wasn't written to ban Christian participation in public life, nor to exclude religiously informed conscience/beliefs from the guarantee of free expression. Now, Jason, I hope you get it.


SweetP2 said...

I just want to say that there is a place, in my opinion, for the more radical element when people are trying to bring about social change. The activists push the boundaries, stir up the controversy, and shake things up. The Suffragettes, the Panthers, S.D.S., the Chicago Seven were all radicals, but these radicals, although viewed as the hot-headed crazies, are often the catalysts that make people mad and start them talking, but then when the cooler-headed moderates begin to present logical argument for social change, they are more easily considered and viewed as the compromise position. Maybe you object to gay marriage, as not what God intended, but you will eventually consider a more moderate compromise (a civil union, for example) so that gay people can be afforded the same rights as others.

PoorGrrl said...

Hello Sweetp2! Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I was actually kind of scared to write both my gay marriage post and the response to Jason's comment to it. I thougt I'd be slammed with all kinds of hate mail. Guess the GAE Stalininsts aren't as powerful or numerous as I feared.

As for your view that the "hot-headed crazies" serve a purpose as a catalyst for change, I think you're too trusting of them. What happens if cooler heads don't prevail and the "crazies" win? Do the words "gulag" and "killing fields" ring a bell? Just because some person or group claims to be fighting for justice doesn't mean we should give them a pass on the tactics they use.

Finnally,I don't think civil unions are a compromise;they're just marriage by another name. I don't have time for Orwellian doublespeak. Lets all be honest about what we really want, democratic in our means to get it, and then, no matter which sides ultimately wins, freedom will still stand.

SweetP2 said...

"Gulags" and "killing fields" existed in countries where the freedom of speech did not exist. Radicals, by definition, exist on the fringe, but should still be allowed to express their minority views (so long as they don't break the laws). I still think that ANY view can expand the conversation and keep minds open. I keep thinking about those hot headed crazy women who marched and protested the fact that women could not vote in this country. I am sure that thought had not even occurred to many people before and that they were referred to as those Suffragette Stalinists or some verison of that. Yes, let's do be honest with what we want and democratic about how we acheive it, but let everyone speak.

As for gay people. I still don't see how providing gay people the same rights and protections that straight married couples have threatens us in any way. It is not "double speak". Civil unions are arrangements by the state...Marriages are unions blessed by churches. You can certainly have one without the other.

PoorGrrl said...

Again, Sweetp2, your comments are thoughtful, and I appreciate them.

I agree that gulags and killing fields exist in countries without freedom of speech, and my point is that America can become such a country if we ignore the totalitarian tendencies in some radical groups/people. Taking note of such tendencies is NOT the same thing as denying radicals freedom of speech. I believe in free speech for all, but that doesn't mean I refuse to think critically about the content of some protestors' speech. After all, free speech not only gives people the right to dissent, but also gives other people the right to dissent from the dissenters.

As for the alleged difference between civil unions and marriage, I really can't believe you wrote that! Don't you know that marriage is legalized by the state? Why do you think people have to have marriage licences? If marriages are only unions blessed by churches, does that mean that heterosexual atheists can't get married? What about straight people who marry before a judge, or a ship's captain? They aren't really married, according to your definition of marriage.

C'mon, Sweetp2! Civil unions ARE marriages, and marriages ARE civil unions! Yes, most people who get married have a religious ceremony
in a church or other house of worship, but that ceremony isn't what makes them married, the marriage licence, granted by the government, is what makes them married. You know that, Sweetp2. If you, or anyone else, is going to argue for gay marriage, at least do it without insulting people's intelligence. It's very annoying!

SweetP2 said...

When I was married by a justice of the peace, I then went to my Episcopal priest and had my marriage blessed by the church. There is a service in the prayer book called the Blessing of a Civil Marriage...a distinction IS there and can by used to distinguish between civil and religious unions. Heterosexual atheists cannot be married, in my church, but they can be married somewhere. I actually feel that churches should get out of the marriage business altogether, given the fact that in most cases it is not til death do us part anyway. I would never insult your intelligence. I just feel that there can be alternatives to a one-size-fits-all notion of "marriage".

Gonzo said...

UHH-HEEM, girls, ahh girls,AHH GIRLS!Don't you see whats happening here? The very ZEALOT that created this sqwabble wins! This was the whole point of the of the original post by Jason. Check his profile, and see who is mixing what with what. Shake hands and go after for the original culprit. This is where the argument resides. Do you two see why these people are dangerous???????????? Smart girls, but you are not cat fighting the right source! Sharpen your nails on the mix christianity with everything person.

SweetP2 said...

Oh, Gonzo, I'd much rather debate a smart girl like poorgrrl, than take on someone who makes the assertion that most homosexuals are not Christian. I figured that Jason would just start trotting out the Bible quotations and I hate it when that happens. I liked our little conversation, P.G., keep blogging.