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"Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State."
Translation: "We support freedom of religion, but only for OUR religion."
relieved to find my church body has no signatories to this document!
I hope that Fred is right, and that this is just a tantrum. But when I read the statement, my blood ran a little cold. What I took away is that allowing people like me the right to marry will:
1. Destroy our civilization as we know it.2. Violate the human rights of children, and 3. Mean that the courts (i.e. rule of law) are illegitimate.
I don't believe that the people who wrote or signed this will engage in violence. And they did not make any direct threats of violence -- they didn't have to. But with the list of signatories including such mainstream staples of conservative Christian culture, this letter strikes me as reckless. It might fan the flames for someone unhinged enough to actually commit acts of violence.
It might fan the flames for someone unhinged enough to actually commit acts of violence.
It would be unsurprising if someone with a few screws already loose did take this as some call for desperate action. We have seen this pattern plenty of times before. Someone goes off all half-cocked, causes tragedy, the rest of the movement backpedals as fast as they can to distance themselves from it, etc.
But I would be surprised if the reaction was anything more than an isolated incident or two, even if they are more spectacular than usual. We are unlikely to find any of them a kind of trigger for, say, some kind of mass movement or national riot.
Sadly, we see this happening now. A man attacked an airport in order to try to kill as many TSA agents as he could. His motivation? Bill O'Reilly and other religious-right conservative talk shows.
Your general points about civil disobedience are good, but there are options to "not stand by." One is to actually interfere with government and social institutions (here, Clerk's Offices issuing marriage certificates or Churches performing weddings). Another would be the classic forms of protest in which one harms oneself to draw attention to injustice: hunger strikes and self-immolation being the major options.
Of course, all of these require massive sacrifice by the person performing them--at a minimum, jail time, at a maximum, death. They are completely ineffective unless you have an overwhelmingly strong moral argument on your side (and often ineffective even then). I just draw attention to these options because occasionally citizens face circumstances of massive injustice (such as unjust wars, disenfranchisement or persecution of others, etc.) where regular civil disobedience is unavailable because the State is not actually acting against the citizen. But, those are your options, and not one of these people is really willing to starve themselves to death or self-immolate.
I believe that clerks have tried refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and have been told that they have a choice: issue the license, or change jobs.
It would be lovely to believe that this would be an uncontroversial way to resolve the issue, but pharmacists won the right to avoid dispensing emergency contraception years ago.
In my area, the objecting clerks have been excused from any duties involving marriages. We're the only jurisdiction in the state that has objectors. They're wrong about this being a conscience issue for them, partly because it's none of their concern whether others choose to marry the opposite sex or the same sex, and partly because expecting the world to conform to one's conscience is not what the conscience is about.
What's so strange (well, part of what's so strange) about all the huffing and puffing of the rightwingnuts is that they're arguing as if the government is legalizing same-sex marriage AND banning different-sex marriage. Obviously, that's not the case, but if you listen to their arguments, they seem to be addressing the legalizing of same-sex marriage while outlawing different-sex marriage.
Note to religionists: straight couples will still be allowed to get married, even when gay couples are afforded the same right!
They aren't worried that families like theirs will be criminalized.
They are worried that we will eliminate the visible markers of superiority that families like theirs have over families like mine. (Beginning with the willingness to label families like mine a "family," rather than an "abomination," though hardly limited to that.)
I can understand that concern. If everyone comes to believe that my family is equivalent to theirs, they lose a kind of social superiority.
The fact that in the process my quality of life increases significantly and theirs doesn't significantly (or, frankly, measurably) decrease doesn't matter to them very much, because my quality of life doesn't matter to them as much as their social superiority.
This isn't admirable, but it's relatively common, and they aren't actually obligated to value my quality of life. If they don't, they don't, and that's just the way it is. I think less of them for it, and if they try to impose their values on my life they are enemies I have to oppose, but that too is just the way it is.
I don't like it, but I don't think it helps to pretend that they're worried instead over something that would be reasonable to worry about (their families being criminalized the way they want mine to be), if only it were in the least bit plausible.
but, in their minds they are losing quality of life points because they are unable to process the concept that joy is not a zero sum game.
your happiness, frankly, makes them less happy.
it makes no sense and displays a total lack of empathy, but there it is.
I suspect that their issue is that they need some bad guy to beat up on to feel good about themselves. Some deviant group that they can punish to feel satisfied in their own righteousness.
When you take away the deviance and put that group under general protection by the established authorities, they lose that outlet and can no longer stroke their feelings of superiority over them.
Oh, they can get the non-zero-sum-game aspect in general.
I'm sure they are genuinely joyful when members of their community get married, for example, without any concern for what that might take away from their lives, and they'd be genuinely bewildered and hurt by the suggestion that they only care about themselves.
It's families like mine (and many others, of course) they want to deny that respect to, not families in general.
I think there's more to it just their relative social status vis-a-vis gay people. Acceptance of gay people is already happening, quickly. It has already become the minority position to disapprove of, or dislike, gay people because of their sexual orientation. What's going on here is that these people will lose the government's agreement with them that gays are less deserving, and no matter how much they say they hate the government, they really do want government approval (on gay marriage, immigration, affirmative action, etc.).
They also know the power of government to "normalize" that which might they believe to be not normal. They evidently have invested quite a bit of intellectual and philosophical capital in believing that gay people are defective, and they don't want they belief questioned.
Finally, they see it as one more example of government rejection of religious belief, even though we're "a Christian nation." They are sure God agrees with them that gays are bad, and therefore the government ought not to defy that.
The notion that marriage is outside the authority of the state is obviously the falsehood that marriage belongs solely to religion. Recently many folks have been pushing the so-called compromise of civil unions for all, reserving the word marriage for religious ceremonies. Maybe they really believe the demagogic claim that houses of worship will be forced to officiate for same-sex weddings, despite the explicit exemptions in the state laws.
Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to same-sex couples by legislative or judicial fiat also sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father.As I've said before, the assumptive leap here is massive.
Also, doesn't the fact that its legal to raise a child by yourself already send that message? (Yeah, I know they hate single parents, too. Just pointing out that that horse seems to be so far out of the barn that its in the next state.)
My point was that they don't explain why children would get that message. They seem to assume that the only real reason couples marry is to procreate. I would love for someone to challenge Brian Brown or one of his allies directly about this argument. Because when he argues that same-sex marriage leads to children being raised without fathers, this implies that straight men are being tempted to turn gay and abandon their families.
Sure, children sometimes lose parents through widowhood or desertion, but the folks we're talking about seem to care only about situations where the fatherlessness is intentional, meaning lesbian couples and Murphy Browns. Suspiciously similar to advocates of abortion bans who focus on women who want to have sex without becoming mothers.
Because when he argues that same-sex marriage leads to children being raised without fathers, this implies that straight men are being tempted to turn gay and abandon their families.
I suspect that such fear is born more from the phenomena of tightly closeted gay men coming out after getting married to a woman and having children with her, a situation I can only speculate is not uncommon among tightly-knit religious communities where people are told from birth that homosexuality is shameful.
Of course, if homosexuality was not seen as so shameful in the first place that situation would not be coming up and this would not be an issue for him, but that would require admitting that he was wrong.
Brian Brown converted from Quakerism to Catholicism, so I doubt he came from that type of community. I've heard it suggested that folks like him dread the two-mommy scenario, as if all women automatically crave motherhood no matter what their orientation. Either way, I haven't heard Brown explain how he sees same-sex marriage as depriving children of fathers.
So... he is worried that men will become obsolete?
Possibly. NOM's rhetoric treats the fatherlessness as an obvious outcome of legalization, leaving out the twists and turns in its arguments.
I wasn't disagreeing with you so much as pointing out that they're freaking out about something that doesn't make much sense.
And I'm quite sure that they blame women for single parenthood, regardless of how it came about.
Sin. Sin is how it came about. Eve's sin. So women are to blame, for that and for everything.
Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State.
Okay, let's say, for the sake of argument, that this is actually true. What would that look like? The jack-booted thugs bust down the door to your home/office/church/whatever and force you to do... what, exactly?
to bring a thoughtful gift and eat the hell-baked cake, of course. (probably devil's food, don't ya know.)
If they're going to hold their breath until they turn blue, can we get dibs on their stuff?
Ah, but you see, it they turn blue and faint, their body's autonomic breathing response will kick back in, and they won't be gone, sry2say,
Isn't blue the Democrats' colour?
Fingers crossed I will see a epic amount of new to me "You Mad?" gifs, macros, and whatnot very soon... With a side order of "And Not A Single Fuck Was Given That Day" ones.
If I had the money, I would seek out, buy, and wear a T-shirt featuring the most romantic moments between Iron Man and Captain America in the official comics from the last 25 or so years, with fanart of the two of them in tuxes with dazed and happy expressions smack in the middle.
Things they could do:
If they work in a hospital, refuse to recognize same-sex spouses and allow visitation as a spouse, or refuse same-sex couples access to their sick children.
If they work in a school, refuse to recognize the same-sex couples who are parents to their students as both being parents.
If they run a private school or daycare, refuse admission to the children of same-sex couples.
Basically, they could continue to do all the nasty, discriminatory things that they already do to same-sex couples, only with the added fun that they can call it "civil disobedience" because they're refusing to recognizes civil marriages.
But happily if DOMA gets struck down they can do so with new and improved ingredient "Congrats! You're a hateful asshole who just lost their job/got a lawsuit slapped on you/etc." Couldn't happen to nicer bunch of folks.
Thus proving their claim that they're persecuted!!!!!eleventy!!1111!!!
These people have always struck me as incredibly cowardly. Yes, there are a few willing to actually stick their necks out, but the vast majority will quietly do what the state tells them to and grouch about how horrible it is to the likeminded. They won't risk losing a promotion or being fired, let along jailed.
They've allowed their cause to become so vapid and shallow that they already regard being disagreed with as persecution and complaining as heroic resistance. They have no stomach for anything more.
Can I ask bluntly: when was their case ever solid and deep? The argument has always been "I don't like what these people are doing. They are not doing it to or with me. They like it and they are happy. I do not believe they can love each other, and nothing they say will change my mind. It must be stopped." They just keep finding new "causes" to bolt on to this. I do not understand the arguments against gay rights, chiefly because the word "gay" should be redundant- they are human rights that everyone has or should have. What rational, evidence based, intelligent and reasonable argument have "these people" ever offered?
To be fair to them, there was a time when homosexuality was largely seen by the professional medical community as a kind of disorder, a sickness of the mind. At best, this was a kind of compassionate patronizing attitude, at worst a way to legitimize the social punishment of behaviors which most others considered strange and incomprehensible.
Later research eventually had the medical profession abandon that view of homosexuality being a deviant mental malfunction, and recognize that it is more just part of who someone is, and there is no medical reason to single it out as harmful to the self or others. Science is a self-correcting process that way, and older ideas are sometimes discarded in favor of newer ones which make more sense across a broader set of data.
Unfortunately, some people are not so fond of abandoning older ideas. Particularly, people who have a greater emphasis on the importance of dogma, of having the right, true, unchanging answer to something. By which I mean, mostly people both devout and authoritarian, which means largely the religious right. Their ideas about sexuality seemed broadly agreeable by even professionals a little over half a century ago, but not so much today. But as I mentioned, they value standing their ground above changing their minds, and they cling desperately to long discredited ideas instead of quietly revising their world view.
Yes, there was a time when medical science held this- but that was also a time when religion was still of great influence in society, and so there's a chicken-and-egg question about why it was viewed as a mental illness. The point, as you say, is that science allows ideas that are no longer tenable to be discarded when better explanations come along. In the case of the religious right's (wide) stance on homosexuality the explanations are constantly retooled to reconfirm a prejudice- which is irrational. Arguments that "evidence shows" that the government will step in to enforce gay marriages are bogus- it has never happened before so there is no evidence to support this. It is irrational and based on fear. The whole argument against gay rights seems to rest on "I think it's gross, therefore it shouldn't be allowed" which is my view of broccoli, and I accept this will never become law. Equally I am aware that it is unlikely anyone in uniform is ever going to force me to eat broccoli. So again, what intelligent and reasonable argument i.e. one based on actual evidence and not speculation based on personal distaste have they ever offered?
These people have always struck me as incredibly cowardly.
That is because they are cowardly. Trying to leverage a position of strong influence into disenfranchising a minority population for little reason other than to make sure they know "their place" is not something done by anyone of courage, any more than is kicking someone while they are down and outnumbered is.
We are seeing a lot of previously moderately anti-homosexual people walk back their positions on the issue, and I suspect that this has less to do with a genuine change of opinion on the matter and more to do with them realizing that they do not have as much backup on the issue from the population in general as they did before. Absent anyone guarding their social flanks, they back off.
"The effort to redefine marriage threatens the proper mediating role of the Church in society. "
This, *this* right here, is the Religious Right's *true* objection to same-sex marriage! It proves that they truly have no "mediating role" in American society. It tells them that they are *not* the supreme arbiters of morality in this country. It bluntly indicates that their beliefs have no validity whatsoever to our system of jurisprudence. It tells them, "You are not the unquestioned and unquestionable authority on public morals and policy. So sit down and shut up."
It goes deeper than that. Their rejection of secularism is so thorough that it's as though the Enlightenment never happened. It's the concept of theocracy as applied to society instead of government.
In the UK we have bishops who take a direct role in legislation- basically we have a part theocracy. And they spend all their time bitching that no one listens to the CoE any more, despite it being the overly-dunked biscuit of world religions. In the US you have no established church, yet your legislators' hands are forced by the religious right on this, and abortion and stem cell research etc. I feel like a less succinct English Yakov Smirnoff right now.
I felt the same way when I heard Tony Benn describe democracy as having taken power out of the hands of rich people and given it to poor people.
Here we live in a democracy where our only vote is which group of rich people have the most power.
Oh, and for bonus points, the rich people are now using democracy to take the vote away from poor people.
It just makes things easier that way. "Streamlining" it think is the management-speak term for it.
Exactly right. Same sex marriage has become a proxy issue for the entire conservative Christian worldview. Becoming the moral minority on LGBT issues portends a complete loss of influence on the culture. Alas, would that be true!
"I will do such things,--What they are, yet I know not: but they shall beThe terrors of the earth. "
Frankly, if they were going to riot over anything, you'd think it would be abortion. But they haven't there, so I don't think they will here, either.
I don't doubt that there will be an uptick in violence against gays, lesbians, and their supporters. I don't doubt that for a second. But riots? No. If anything, they'll use it to continue to feed their persecution complex, continue to stomp their feet and pass meaningless testaments to their dead agenda, and use it as an excuse to rub the balm of indignation and bitterness on their wounded egos in public. in short, they're going to use it to grandstand and pretend they're both "moral" and "adults".
Yep. They'll fundraise off of it. Which they were doing anyway. It's a racket to separate gullible people from their money, as always.