When We Have A Civil Discussion Of Marriage Equality, It Will Hurt

[Crossposted on Family Scholars Blog.]

A civil debate about marriage equality that includes lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people is very challenging. And yet, obviously, a debate about same-sex marriage that excludes LGB people, for example by making them feel attacked and unsafe, would lack legitimacy.

The trouble is, the debate inherently will make LGB people feel attacked, unsafe or at least hurt.

I want to discuss some of the inevitable pitfalls for anyone — or any website — trying to provide a place for a civil debate on marriage equality.

There are some arguments no reasonable person makes anymore. A person arguing that consensual gay sex is intrinsically immoral and perverse has disqualified themselves from reasonable debate. In mainstream society this is a settled question, and there’s no longer any need for any LGB person or ally to answer such arguments anymore (except perhaps with a raised finger).

From the point of view of a website wishing to facilitate a civil debate on same-sex marriage, such arguments must be moderated away, and the people making the arguments should be banned. It is no longer reasonable to expect LGB people to take such abuse with respect, any more than it would be reasonable to expect a Jewish person to listen respectfully to an argument that Jews are intrinsically weak and contemptible.

Of course, what is and isn’t “reasonable” is a moving target (albeit one that moves painfully slowly). Before world war two, “reasonable” Americans could express appalling opinions appalling opinions about Jews and few would blink. Within my lifetime, the argument that LGB sexuality is a gross deviation was considered perfectly normal. These are now settled debates in reasonable company, but they didn’t settle themselves; they were settled by decades of hard work and hard arguments.

But that’s an easy case. Let’s consider a harder case.

Even relatively reasonable arguments against marriage equality can rightly feel hurtful to LGB people. For example, it’s common for SSM (same-sex marriage) opponents to argue that “kids need both a mother and a father, and because same-sex marriage can’t provide that, it’s bad for society and kids.”

It’s one thing to make that argument as a matter of theory; it’s quite another to hear it when you’re a child of same-sex parents, or a same-sex couple raising a child, or a LGB person who’d like to raise children someday. Some LGB people can hear that without becoming defensive or feeling hurt, just because they have a talent for compartmentalization, or for letting arguments flow off like water off a duck’s back. But most people don’t have that talent, and it would be unreasonable to expect all LGB people to have that talent in order to participate in civil debate.

Virtually all arguments against same-sex marriage will feel hurtful to many reasonable, civil LGB people. Not 100% of LGB people will feel that way — some lucky folks have that water-off-a-duck’s-back talent — but many will. This is to be expected. LGB people are arguing about their own lives, their own rights, and their own dignity as equal citizens. It’s inherently personal.

At the same time, obviously, we can’t have a debate in which marriage equality opponents are expected to withhold all their arguments in order to avoid hurting LGB people. And, clearly, many people on both sides actively want to have this debate.

So what do we do with that?

I don’t really have a solution, other than to accept that these things will happen. Opponents of SSM will say things that LGB people experience as dehumanizing; lesbian and gay people will say “I found that hurtful to hear.” Good-hearted opponents of SSM will be hurt to know that they’ve said something that injured another person.

The right of SSM opponents to explain why they oppose marriage equality shouldn’t be doubted; but neither should the right of LGB people to say when they feel they’ve been hurt.

In a comment on this issue, Fannie wrote:

A two-way dialogue between people on opposing sides of an issue often will result in one or both of them feeling hurt, often for legitimate reasons. To me, I go into conversations willing to accept that risk.

What I’m less willing to accept is interacting with people who don’t abide by shared “ground rules” of communication – like people who regularly accuse others of acting in bad faith. For instance, there is an important difference between saying “what you said hurt me” and “you meant to hurt me.”

That’s a good start.

There’s much more to be said on this subject, but I think that’s enough for one post.

This entry posted in crossposted on TADA, Same-Sex Marriage. Bookmark the permalink. 

57 Responses to When We Have A Civil Discussion Of Marriage Equality, It Will Hurt

  1. 1
    Myca says:

    Does anyone notice that these situations are not analogous?

    Gay people: Will be hurt by being dehumanized.
    Straight bigots: Will have to hear that gay people are hurt.

    Poor straight bigots!

    I mean, I get what you’re saying, Amp … but I think you’re giving the straight bigots too much credit by thinking that they’ll give even one single measly fuck about hurting gay people.

    As an alternative, I would suggest a ‘results-based’ analysis that takes into account the relative negative results to opposing groups from the others’ behavior.

    So for straight bigots, their advocacy of bigoted laws results in gay people being denied equal treatment by the government.

    What would be equivalent? I’m not sure. I’ll tell you what wouldn’t be equivalent, though. It wouldn’t be equivalent to say “You are a horrible bigot, you are barely human, and I hope you and your children die in a fire, so that your bigot genes end soon and stop polluting our society.”

    That wouldn’t be as bad, because though it might hurt their feelings, there would be no actual discrimination involved. The odds that a straight bigot would have to face any actual results from that screed is miniscule, while the odds that a gay person would have to face actual results from, “You ought not be able to marry your partner,” is … well … 41 states make gay marriage illegal, so I guess they’re facing the results already.

    In conclusion, once again, poor straight bigots! It must be so awful to have people accurately describe your political position.

    —Myca

  2. 2
    mythago says:

    It’s one thing to make that argument as a matter of theory; it’s quite another to hear it when you’re a child of same-sex parents, or a same-sex couple raising a child, or a LGB person who’d like to raise children someday.

    Or, focusing on something other than the LGB people: It’s one thing to make that argument knowing that for you, the straight person, it will always and only be a matter of theory.

  3. 3
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Myca – that’s all well and good. And, in my opinion, pretty accurate, as far as describing the situation. And if our goal is to occupy the moral highground – well then, by supporting SSM, we’ve achieved it.

    But the moral highground is not a position from which one can engage in discourse. If our goal is not to simply know we are right, but also to convince others of that – well then, I think Amp’s post is exactly right.

    The reason we engage in discourse is because discourse is effective. It is not pleasant. It is not an affirmation of our position. It is a sacrifice – it is a process in which we must be considerate of the feelings of those who hurt us. Because that’s how we win.

    Now, you may deny the value of discourse – in the case of marriage equality, I think you may have a point, as it’s going to win eventually, with or without engagement of the other side in discourse. But discourse can speed up the process. There are several reasons for that – the main one is that a lot of the anti-gay bigots aren’t actually aware they are bigots, and don’t wish to be, they are just that way because they were not exposed to other views growing up, and were never confronted about it in a way that makes them anything but defensive. They may never come round fully, they may never become allies, but it’s possible to at least get them to stop actively obstructing equality.

    So yes, discourse is painful. And it requires one to set aside one’s pride, however justified that pride is. But that sacrifice doesn’t have to be made by everyone. The people for whom the hurt will be too much are under no obligation to engage in it. But those of us who can bear the risk of being offended, and are willing to do so – well then, I think that’s a worthy sacrifice for them (us) to make in order to make equality for everyone come around faster.

  4. Eytan has argued beautifully. Discourse is effective because it gets opinions into the open, and subjects them to criticism. If that criticism is unfair, demeaning or inhumane, people can see it. If the arguments are fair, then slowly prejudices change

    We might argue that the eagerness of marriage equality opponents to debate, and their thirst for publicity, has actually harmed their cause. They show the world exactly what kind of people they are.

  5. 5
    Emily says:

    I think there need to be spaces for discourse with opponents, and those who feel personally able to endure the harm of debate can debate. There also need to be spaces for discussion where one can be protected from such harms and engage in theory development and discussion with those who will not harm hit in that way. Same with feminist spaces, anti-racist spaces, etc

  6. 6
    Grace Annam says:

    The Honourable Husband:

    If that criticism is unfair, demeaning or inhumane, people can see it.

    True, if it’s public and recorded. And in the meantime, of course, the person against whom the criticism is directed experiences that unfair, demeaning or inhumane treatment.

    A possible parallel is non-violent protest. By offering up your own body to risk and batons or fire hoses or pepper spray or gunfire, you can excite public outrage, and help to prompt change. But that doesn’t mean that you didn’t get hit, sprayed, or shot, and it doesn’t pay for your hospital bills or bring you back to life.

    And, it’s okay for individuals to weigh the risks for themselves and their children, to consider how much risk they want to take and how much gain that risk might get them.

    It’s a terribly unfair situation. Which is the point, I suppose. But still, when Myca rails against it, I feel her outrage in my gut, and rail with her. And although I agree intellectually with the logic offered by Eytan, the chill logic of necessity does little to cool my outrage.

    Grace

  7. 7
    Myca says:

    I think you may miss my point, Eytan. I agree with you as to the value of discourse. Where I disagree is with the idea that the hurt must be borne stoically by the oppressed group while all care must be taken to never bruise the delicate feelings of the oppressors.

    Something I’ve seen over and over in discussions of queer issues that that those advocating for second-class citizen status for QUILTBAG citizens get awfully offended at being called bigots, prejudiced, bad people, etc. Post Prop-8, the whining from the right and members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints was overwhelming. “People are being so mean to us! They glare at me in the grocery store! People won’t talk to me now!”

    Well, look … if we’re going to have an open and honest discussion, that goes both ways, and if people need to ‘suck it up’ and endure some hurt to be in the discussion, that goes both ways.

    We have no problem saying that people arguing that women ought not be allowed to vote are misogynists, we have no problem saying that people arguing that Jews ought not be allowed to live in certain neighborhoods are antisemites, and we have no problem saying that people arguing that interracial couples ought not be allowed to marry are racist. And we have no problem saying that in extremely strong language. And we have no problem making clear that their views take them outside the bounds of decent company.

    And if that hurts their delicate little feelings, if that makes them feel upset, if it bothers them that now people think really negative things about them and glare at them in the grocery store and don’t want to serve on the PTA committee with them …. well, their civil rights are still not being threatened, and they’ve still got full equality under the law.

    So, y’know … perspective.

    —Myca

  8. 8
    Susan says:

    I mean, I get what you’re saying, Amp … but I think you’re giving the straight bigots too much credit by thinking that they’ll give even one single measly fuck about hurting gay people.

    I think this might be unfair. I’m not arguing that people who are trying to prevent other people from having equal rights should have their feelings protected, but you seemed to be saying that they have no feelings, which is different.

    As incomprehensible as their arguments are to me, some of the people arguing against SSM seem well-motivated, they seem like decent people overall, and they really are not trying to hurt anyone. (Insensitive, yes perhaps.)

    We cannot have a civil conversation with anyone if we are not willing to concede at least in public (whatever our private opinions may be) that these people are, like ourselves, sensitive and well-motivated.

    Demonizing the opposition may feel good, but changes few hearts.

    I think that reasonable (I like to think that I am) straight people like myself may have an important part to play in this debate. I’m not going to get my feelings hurt, because I don’t have any personal skin in this game, but at the same time the “arguments” of the anti-SSM people strike me, quite frankly, as gibberish. I think it’s easier for me to point this out (as politely as possible) than it might be for someone who is personally affected.

  9. 9
    Myca says:

    I think this might be unfair. I’m not arguing that people who are trying to prevent other people from having equal rights should have their feelings protected, but you seemed to be saying that they have no feelings, which is different.

    No, no, I certainly believe that they have feelings, just that it’s unlikely that they care much about hurting gay folks. I mean, they’re openly advocating deliberate damage to the lives and well-being of LGBT citizens, so I’m not sure that ‘but that hurts their feelings’ is likely to give them pause, right?

    I believe that SSM opponents are human beings with the full range of emotional responses, I’m sure they love their spouses and children and are kind to puppies, etc. That’s not what I’m talking about, though.

    —Myca

  10. 10
    mythago says:

    We cannot have a civil conversation with anyone if we are not willing to concede at least in public (whatever our private opinions may be) that these people are, like ourselves, sensitive and well-motivated.

    Huh? Of course we can. Having a civil conversation doesn’t mean “conceding” anything about what a nice person your opponent is; it means behaving civilly. As an attorney, I’m sure you’ve cross-examined lying, hostile or otherwise ill-motivated witnesses in a way that makes it clear to everyone else that you are the civil, thoughtful, decent person and they’re the asshole – without having to suggest for a moment that the witness is “sensitive and well-motivated.”

  11. 11
    Eytan Zweig says:

    We have no problem saying that people arguing that women ought not be allowed to vote are misogynists, we have no problem saying that people arguing that Jews ought not be allowed to live in certain neighborhoods are antisemites, and we have no problem saying that people arguing that interracial couples ought not be allowed to marry are racist. And we have no problem saying that in extremely strong language. And we have no problem making clear that their views take them outside the bounds of decent company.

    I have, indeed, no problem with saying any of the above, when talking about those people. But if I want to engage those people, I won’t be saying it to them, not as a starting point, at least.

    The thing is, if I am talking to a person who holds bigotted views and my goal is to get him to change, or at least relax, those views, then I am not going to succeed if I call him a bigot. And that’s the important thing about the discourse. It’s not a discourse between equal positions. When I engage in discourse with anti-SSM people, I don’t start from a point of “let’s both sit here and maybe you’ll convince me, maybe I’ll convince you”. I have no interest in changing my position. Thus, I feel no need to express it properly.

    In other words, I don’t want an open and honest conversation. I don’t want a two way conversation. I want to explain to them why they’re wrong. Not tell them that they’re wrong – they know I think that, coming in.

    What I want is to get people to admit that they are bigots, or that at least, some of their positions are bigotted. And to do that, I need to be subtle. If I tell someone “you’re a bigot”, then the conversation will turn to them trying to prove to me that they’re not, and I’ve achieved nothing.

    And it doesn’t go both ways because the anti-SSM’s crowd isn’t the same goal. They aren’t interested in change, they’re interested in maintaining the status quo. Which means that it’s in their interest to derail every conversation, whether they realize it or not. If they manage to offend me so that I stop talking, they’ve won. But if I manage to offend them so that they stop talking, they also won.

    So yeah, I care if their feelings are hurt, because if used properly, people’s feelings are a tool that can be turned against their own bigotry. If I hurt a bigot’s feelings, I’m hurting my own goals.

  12. 12
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    It depends who is taking and who is listening.

    Some discourse is designed to convince the opponent. The chances of someone listening to you if they feel insulted are pretty damn slim. (“But I’m RIGHT!! So they should listen!” you say. Duh, they think the same thing. Would you listen to them if you felt insulted? Thought not. Sheesh.)

    Other discourse is designed to convince third parties. And if you’re trying to convince a group of LISTENERS, then the limitations are far fewer. It’s OK to demonize or insult your opponent if you don’t care what they think about you or your argument.

    If you want to host any discussions about it, you pretty much need to decide what category you’re in, before you start.

    And of course, whether or not we believe our opponents are right, it would be ridiculous to suggest they they aren’t invested in the correctness of their moral code, probably to the same degree that we are in ours. And irrespective of the magical belief that people shouldn’t get annoyed or object if you say their morals or conclusions are horrible (seriously, people, what is up with that ridiculous claim?) it doesn’t actually work that way.

    Seems like the most civil debates on these subjects tend to happen between those who aren’t personally invested, or between the VERY rare true advocates who can put on a bulletproof cloak for the purposes of a debate.

    That often results in proxy battles. Many civil gay marriage debates are held between left wing straights who support gay marriage, debating right wing moderates who don’t believe gays bear the mark of Cain. It’s the same reason that people use lawyers.

    These proxy battles are a very very good thing. It’s a bit like a peace treaty: The blood warriors on each side are those who define the general area of the DMZ through the scope of the war. But at some point there need to be folks who sit down and work out the precise boundaries, and exceptions, and so on.

  13. 13
    Myca says:

    My preferred answer to this is to recognize that there is no civil way to argue for legal inequality. Arguing, to someone’s face, that they ought to be a second-class citizen is an uncivil thing to do.

    In the light of this, I think I’d relax the civility standard for the other side as well.

    Both people in a debate want to be there, generally. Both people are invested in their positions. I just think it’s unfair for GLBT folks to have to cope with hurt and insult while the sensibilities of straight bigots are protected.

    —Myca

  14. 14
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Myca says:
    December 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

    My preferred answer to this is to recognize that there is no civil way to argue for legal inequality

    If you want to take the gloves off, who’s the target? If you go against opposing zealots who are 100% against your side, there’s nothing to lose but there’s almost no possibility of success.

    But if you define “your side” too narrowly, you’ll be battling a lot of people who support you in part and who may be driven off by the battle.

    I ask because this is both a moral and a legal question. IMO there’s no simple and civil way to easily argue about morals, but legal issues can be discussed .

    For example, we’ve seen debates about whether Prop. 8 is advisable. Those have been pretty heated…. but there have also been a lot of debates about whether it’s legal, and those are more reasonable. The same applies with issues like “how do you legally analyze gay marriage?” or “is it a constitutional requirement?”

    Many people are on different sides of different issues, especially when it comes to the moral/legal divide. The nastier the discourse, the more polarizing it becomes. Taking the civility away isn’t beneficial.

    For example, I believe that gay marriage is advisable though I can’t explain why. I’m in the “because because” camp, probably because I’m friends with a lot of gay married people. Similarly, I think that from a legal perspective, the Massachusetts constitution requires gay marriage.

    But I’m far from convinced that the U.S. Constitution prohibits a state from banning gay marriage, or that the U.S. Government cannot constitutionally discriminate against gays. Or that Prop 8. should legally have been tossed out, though I’m not an expert in CA law.

    I think that mixed positions like mine are more common than not; that’s why I’m using it as an example. Most folks aren’t 100% true believers, on either side.

    But what’s the result? Well, gay rights advocates will not take issue with my MORAL position. But many gay rights advocates will disagree with at least one of my LEGAL positions.

    Similarly, I regret to say that many gay rights opponents will agree with some of my LEGAL positions, though they will obviously oppose my MORAL ones.

    In a civil debate, those separations can be made clear. But if the debate gets wonky and into the “with us or against us” camp, then (depending on the general sense of it) I’m not sure what camp I’ll end up in. I’m sure as hell not going to change my stance just because I happen to share a perfectly valid legal opinion with someone I dislike. (If anything, I’m more likely to go the other way, rejecting those who insult me. Being on this board has changed my thinking on numerous subjects, but requires a frequent fight against the “fuck this shit, I’m joining the opposition” limbic response which arises in response to certain comments.)

    And again, I actually think I’m fairly representative in terms of that general human trait. Insults, labeling, and the like: they can have a reverse effect whether or not they are true.

    And because a lack of civility often leads directly to a lack of specificity, I’m not sure that losing civility is going to be a long term benefit.

  15. Pingback: A Civil Discussion: Should SSM Opponents Lose Their Children? | Alas, a Blog

  16. 15
    Grace Annam says:

    I used to float along serenely on a cloud of privilege, voting in the big elections and mainly ignoring the rest of it. I had some political opinions, and I advocated for them during conversations, but I was arguing with otherwise generally like-minded people, and the conversations were rational (intellectual, even) and civil.

    Then I looked into the Internet, and the Internet looked also into me.

    In short order, I was finding myself frequently angry and frustrated. I had to grow up a bit. And one of the ways I had to grow up was to learn that it was sometimes okay to be actually outraged, and sometimes okay to express it. Sometimes, outrage cuts through the fog of terribly intellectual, genteel discussion, and lets us put the tip of a broadsword on an important point.

    Eytan Zweig, gin-and-whiskey, and others are making solid rational arguments. They’re speaking tactical and strategic good sense.

    But I hear Myca expressing outrage, although in a very moderate manner.

    It’s as though everyone is dancing, and the dance we’re doing involves stepping on the feet of designated people. Some dancers (let’s call them equal-righters) are arguing that we need to change that, and some dancers (let’s call them foot-steppers) are arguing against. The foot-steppers like to talk about the beauty of the dance, and how changing it will harm their aesthetic appreciation of it, and ruin it for them. Some equal-righters are pointing out that, in fact, it’s not fair that some of the dancers can’t dance pain-free.

    And some equal-righters are cutting to the heart of the matter: “You are standing ON MY FOOT! Right NOW! It HURTS! Do you see me hurting? I don’t give a good goddamn for your goddamn artistic aesthetic opinion. WHAT YOU ARE DOING ACTIVELY HURTS ME AND THE PEOPLE I LOVE MOST!”

    Then the other equal-righters sigh, and point out that it’s hard to get the foot-steppers to change when we turn them off by offending them. And that’s undeniably true.

    Still, the very existence of the dance harms us, and the act of making a superficially rational argument in favor of the dance is an insult in the ears of the people who are designated to suffer so that the privileged majority can have their fantasy. That act of argument by the foot-steppers is an act of aggression.

    To declare that no one should ever express outrage against that act of aggression is to make a tone argument, against the people who are already taking it on the chin the most.

    The fact that the declaration is probably tactically correct does not make it not a tone argument, and that’s just one more thing to be legitimately pissed about.

    Grace

  17. 16
    fannie says:

    “Where I disagree is with the idea that the hurt must be borne stoically by the oppressed group while all care must be taken to never bruise the delicate feelings of the oppressors.”

    I know, but that’s precisely the power oppressors have over those they marginalize. They have the privilege of being able to walk away from conversations that offend them and have it not really affect their lives or their rights. Marginalized people don’t.

  18. 17
    Myca says:

    I think I said what I needed to say in my new post. :)

    Now, of course, that’s still not comparable, because nobody is going to lose their kids because of it, while plenty of gay couple can’t marry (or adopt, for that matter) because of the ‘civil’ arguments of others.

    —Myca

  19. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Grace, you’re dead wrong here.

    Many people agree on the goals, but disagree about the methods of reaching those goals. I don’t think that insults are inappropriate because the poor majority needs “protection;” I think they’re inappropriate because they don’t work. IOW, I think that if Jill Unrestrained Radical and I hold similar positions on a subject, I’m more likely than she is to convince the general public.

    Do you disagree with that? OK, let’s have at it.

    But it’s stupid to classify that as a tone dispute and assume that the name solves the matter. That’s just empty liberalism talking: “an argument gets a Bingo name, and magically we don’t actually have to pay attention to it any more!”

    The fact that the declaration is probably tactically correct does not make it not a tone argument, and that’s just one more thing to be legitimately pissed about.

    No. Being pissed is not legitimate if it’s incorrect.*

    If the declaration is tactically correct, deal with it. If it’s not correct or if it’s irrelevant, point that out.

    But it’s not reasonable to get too pissed at someone else, for being right.

    Also, it’s a ridiculous tactic. Almost anything can be a “tone argument,” for those who don’t feel like discussing it. (Look! My response mentions tone! It’s a tone argument again! Ignore it, quick!)

    Who the freak cares what the name of the argument is? What matters is whether the argument is RIGHT.

    *Everyone’s entitled to their own feelings, of course. I’m talking about discourse.

  20. 19
    Elusis says:

    that those advocating for second-class citizen status for QUILTBAG citizens get awfully offended at being called bigots, prejudiced, bad people, etc. Post Prop-8, the whining from the right and members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints was overwhelming. “People are being so mean to us! They glare at me in the grocery store! People won’t talk to me now!”

    Oh, it gets better: Presidential candidates pledge to investigate those mean, mean gay people.

    This is a major, major issue in my field right now. Our Code of Ethics says two conflicting things:

    1) You must only practice therapy in a way that is within your scope of competence.
    2) You must not discriminate in your services based on [the usual diversity list].

    There are now three legal cases, two regarding students and one regarding an employee, where a person has refused to provide therapy to gay people or has been judged by their supervisors to be in need of training in order to increase their sensitivity and competence with gay people, then refused to participate. All on the basis of their religious beliefs, obviously. All three cases have initially been ruled in favor of the school or employer who chose to dismiss the student/therapist on the basis of discriminatory behavior, and the counter-claim of religious discrimination has been rejected. All are on appeal.

    But there are many training programs in my field located in religiously-based institutions (BYU being one of the biggest). And finally, after decades of a hands-off approach from our professional accrediting organization, they’re in a position of having to make the case for how they can refuse to train students to become competent in working with gay people, but also teach them to follow the ethical rule about non-discrimination. Individual therapists and agencies (hello, Bachmanns!) are also coming under such scrutiny, though slowly, as any action against them generally is only prompted by a formal ethical complaint by a consumer.

    Of course this has triggered a massive persecution complex in the religiously-biased, who only want to talk about how they’re hurt and offended and put upon, not about how sick and tired queer people are of being the turf on which everyone fights for an exception to the rules of ethical conduct (one of the students dismissed from a training program admitted she would do therapy with a rapist or murderer, even though their actions obviously violated her belief system as well) and how much pain incompetent therapists, who pretend they can do therapy with gay people “without supporting their lifestyle,” cause. (We won’t even get in to the whole “conversion therapy” nonsense.)

    Of course, the irony is that while there is absolutely no reputable documentation of anyone’s underlying sexual orientation being changed by choice, there are countless examples of people changing their religious beliefs for all kinds of reasons – sudden crises of faith, critical inquiry into their previously-accepted belief system, exposure to alternative interpretations of religious texts, intense experiences of worship, long-term dissatisfaction with religious teachings, etc. etc. But we must never suggest that religious people could choose to stop believing whatever they believe.

    So I am personally pretty tired of hearing about how we mustn’t ever call a spade a bloody shovel when it comes to the fee-fees of those who choose to believe that gay people are vile perverts.

  21. 20
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Grace @15 – To declare that no one should ever express outrage against that act of aggression is to make a tone argument, against the people who are already taking it on the chin the most.

    Elusis @19 – So I am personally pretty tired of hearing about how we mustn’t ever call a spade a bloody shovel when it comes to the fee-fees of those who choose to believe that gay people are vile perverts.

    Since I’m not sure if you’re referring to me here or not, I want to make it very clear – I have never meant to say that one should never express one’s rage, or expose bigotry, or point a blaming finger at those that deserve it. That’s a ridiculous position, and potentially as offensive as the bigotry it seeks to mollify.

    There are plenty of cases where there is no point in dialogue. And there are other cases where dialogue may be effective, but the price is too high, either on an individual level or a collective level. And in those cases, outrage is not only acceptable but it is necessary. But outrage is a two edged sword – sometimes, it’s exactly the right tool. Other times, it is not.

    But the truth is, this is never about the feelings of the other side. It is our feelings that are at stake. And, as Amp pointed out, we must be willing to risk our feelings. Because otherwise, if we insist on protecting ourselves, we do so at the expense of those that don’t have that luxury.

    Now, I feel the need to point out here, I’m not gay. I feel passionately about marriage equality, but it’s not a fight I engage in on my own behalf – my right to marry is secure. But it’s still a fight that’s important to me – perhaps my yet unborn children, or grandchildren, will be gay, and I want them born to a society where they never experience bigotry. Certainly, some people I love dearly are gay and affected by this issue directly. But still – when anti-gay bigots say offensive things, I am not their target. So, on this issue, one may question how appropriate a commentator I am.

    But I have been on the side of the directly attacked in other issues. I have experienced Anti-Semitism first-hand, both obliquely and directed personally at me, on one occasion in the form of physical violence. I have had people put pamphlets through my door telling me how foreigners like me are robbing the British of their jobs and how we must be expelled. The people who posted those pamphlets probably didn’t know that I am a foreigner and an immigrant here in the UK, but that doesn’t change the impact of what they said. So, I may not be gay, but I know what it is like to face bigotry.

    Outrage has its place. To insist that it be suppressed is to oppress, and I would never advocate that. But choosing to suppress it in order to weaken the support for bigotry is an important weapon in the arsenal of those who fight on behalf of equality. And, returning to Ampersand’s original point – saying that those whose weapon of choice is discourse must be prepared to be hurt, isn’t saying that everyone must choose this path. Just that those who do choose dialogue, need to understand the sacrifices that they need to make to do so effectively.

  22. 21
    Ampersand says:

    Myca wrote:

    Where I disagree is with the idea that the hurt must be borne stoically by the oppressed group while all care must be taken to never bruise the delicate feelings of the oppressors.

    Wait, where the heck did I ever write this? I think that the “delicate feelings of the oppressors” are definitely going to be hurt, and if the folks who are against SSM want a civil debate than they just have to put up with their feelings being hurt.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty much reading this thread agreeing with almost everyone, and thinking that Eytan has done a great job explaining what my views are.

  23. 22
    Myca says:

    I think that the “delicate feelings of the oppressors” are definitely going to be hurt

    How so?

    —Myca

  24. 23
    Myca says:

    Allow me to expand.

    Traditionally, when I encounter the idea of, “we must be civil in this discussion of whether or not you ought to have equal rights,” it means something along the lines of “no name calling, no imputing bad motives, no rhetorical overreach, etc.”

    It’s unfair to blame SSM opponents for the suicide of gay teenagers. It’s unfair to call them bigots. It’s unfair, as Elusis says, to call a spade a bloody shovel.

    Now, I see in your original post that you wrote:

    Good-hearted opponents of SSM will be hurt to know that they’ve said something that injured another person.

    … evidence?

    I have yet to meet an opponent of SSM (honestly, truly, no exaggeration) who I think gives a shit whether they hurt gay people or not. That includes every single opponent who posts here.

    Oh, I’m sure that there are plenty of opponents who might pay it some feeble Blankenhornesque lipservice, but if you honestly feel bad about hurting people you either 1) stop or 2) if it’s really that important to keep doing what you’re doing, figure out some other way to mitigate it.

    It’s not the failure of SSM Opponents to do #1 that bothers me, it’s their failure to do #2.

    Talk is cheap. It’s not enough for abusers to say they feel bad about continuing their abuse.

    —Myca

  25. 24
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Probably of interest: Klan-destine Conversations by Daryl Davis– he’s black, and got interested in finding out how people could hate him without knowing him. So he started conversations about it with selected Klan members.

    To say much more would be spoilers, or at least I think the book is better if it’s read straight through.

    I’m not saying a gentle approach works with everyone, or that everyone is obligated to use it– it is a lot of work, and I think of Davis’ book as the emotional equivalent of parkour.

  26. 25
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t really spend a lot of time wondering about what’s in people’s hearts; it’s not the part of the debate that interests me. I can’t imagine what evidence I could show to indicate that someone like Blankenhorn is or isn’t telling the truth about what he feels. Nor do I really want to be pressed into the position of defending SSM opponents. (To put it mildly.)

    When I mentioned SSM opponents being hurt (or, technically, saying that they feel hurt), my point wasn’t to say that my heart bleeds for them; it doesn’t. My point was that because SSM opponents say they’re hurt because someone says “X” is not a reason not to say “X.”

  27. 26
    Myca says:

    Sure, but I think you have to be careful of false equivalence.

    “It hurts when you argue that I am inherently inferior, and it hurts more when that’s enshrined in law so that I cannot marry the person I love”

    Is not in the same universe as

    “Well … I feel bad that you’re hurt.”

  28. 27
    Grace Annam says:

    Grace, you’re dead wrong here.

    Whew. I’m so relieved. I had feared that whoever responded would be tempted to mollycoddle me. Well done. ;)

    Do you disagree with that?

    Broadly, no. If a single individual must be responsible for the success or failure of advocacy on an issue, then the strategy you advocate is probably the best one, for the reasons you and others have stated. Indeed, not deliberately insulting people is my default strategy and my comfort zone.

    However, I disagree that it is the best strategy for all people and circumstances. I think that advocacy on an issue is best pursued by a variety of strategies, which will inevitably conflict with one another to some extent.

    Kinsey Hope wrote about this at length. To use her terminology, I am advocating for a Nuker/Emoter-type strategy, and you are advocating for an Appeaser/Logic-Bomber-type strategy.

    Both have their place. It’s fine to have a conversation, but in order to have one, first you must get someone’s attention in order to be heard. Sometimes, this requires that you be impolite, to whatever extent that is necessary.

    I am reminded of Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham jail, which I recently re-read.

    You may well ask, “Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.

    gin-and-whiskey:

    But it’s stupid to classify that as a tone dispute and assume that the name solves the matter.

    Good thing I didn’t do that last part, then. I wouldn’t want to be stupid.

    “You’re saying it too angrily” is two things, simultaneously: it’s an argument that the tactic is ineffective, and it’s a tone argument. I already agreed with you and others, in my prior comment, that you’re, if I may quote myself,

    …speaking tactical and strategic good sense.

    So we agree on that part. We even agree completely, as long as I’m permitted to qualify your argument with “most of the time, under most circumstances”. At the same time, to tell a member of the group most affected by the issue that they should never express outrage… that’s hard to take, and one more of the slings and arrows which that person must endure.

    Gotta go earn a living. Hope this makes sense.

    Grace

  29. 28
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    I agree with you folks about SSM, but I’m feeling rather glad that I was introduced to it as “this is the only reasonable and kind way to treat people” rather than “you’re obligated to take any abuse I feel like dumping on you because my feelings are more important than yours”.

    What’s more, as a result of reading a good bit of zero-sum approach to peace of mind, I’ve been nastier (but as far as I can tell, not particularly effective) than I wanted to be because the attitude that being harsh is a proof of virtue and status has rubbed off on me.

    This may not be my last thought on the subject, but I think it’s the better part of self-preservation to not knock myself out for people who make it clear they don’t care how they treat me, and that they’ve made not caring how they treat me part of their ideology.

    Myca, this is somewhat in the spirit of “nothing about us without us”, with the us in this case being conflict-averse people. Except that when I really was in that category, I couldn’t have posted this bit of feedback.

  30. 29
    Robert says:

    I have to agree that both modes (well, there are more than two, but let’s keep it simple) have their place. Look at Jackie Robinson, and then look at the civil rights activists of a slightly later time. It would have been 100% understandable for Jackie Robinson to blow up, to be outraged, to walk out in disgust…and it might have had some beneficial effect, although I think at the time that effect would have been swamped by negative reactions.

    Instead Jackie was a frickin’ hero of self-restraint and “civility.” He would have been just as heroic, in a different way, if he had Fought The Man instead of playing the man’s game – but it took heroism to play the man’s game in the way that he did.

    You need both types of personality, or both types of strategy, in order to win the war. One strategy is better for a particular type of battle, but neither strategy is dispensable in the big picture. Anybody who thinks that the (often grudging) respect that Robinson earned with a big chunk of White America didn’t have dividends in the later battles, is mistaken.

  31. 30
    Austin Nedved says:

    There are some arguments no reasonable person makes anymore. A person arguing that consensual gay sex is intrinsically immoral and perverse has disqualified themselves from reasonable debate. In mainstream society this is a settled question, and there’s no longer any need for any LGB person or ally to answer such arguments anymore (except perhaps with a raised finger).

    According to this Gallup pool taken in June 2008, 48% of people described homosexual relations as being “morally wrong”. A great deal must have changed in the past three years…

    From the point of view of a website wishing to facilitate a civil debate on same-sex marriage, such arguments must be moderated away, and the people making the arguments should be banned.

    If you don’t mind my asking, how do you feel about consensual incest? If I said that such relationships were immoral, would you describe my views as outdated and bigoted? Would you ban me?

  32. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Geez, that poll sure is depressing! But at least the direction of change is in the right direction. I’d be very interested in seeing the results of that question according to age group.

    And yet, I predict that the GOP nominee — whoever that turns out to be — will not dare say that gay sex is intrinsically immoral, during the general election. Why do you suppose that is? I think it’s because anyone who is serious in a national, general election will realize that overtly anti-gay attitudes aren’t welcome among moderate voters.

    As for incest, it’s a completely different issue. For one thing, as a blog moderator, I’m not really worried about creating an environment in which people who are pro-incest feel that it’s open season on them, whereas I definitely do worry about that regarding QUILTBAG folks.

  33. 32
    Austin Nedved says:

    And yet, I predict that the GOP nominee — whoever that turns out to be — will not dare say that gay sex is intrinsically immoral, during the general election. Why do you suppose that is? I think it’s because anyone who is serious in a national, general election will realize that overtly anti-gay attitudes aren’t welcome among moderate voters.

    I dunno. We still have Perry and Santorum whining about the DADT repeal, and the belief that gay people should not be allowed to serve in the military strikes me as a lot more idiotic than the belief that gay sex is immoral.

    As for incest, it’s a completely different issue. For one thing, as a blog moderator, I’m not really worried about creating an environment in which people who are pro-incest feel that it’s open season on them

    I don’t think it’s a different issue at all. And I’m really worried that you don’t mind making people who are pro-incest, or who engage in it themselves, feel that it’s open season on them. Here we have a minority of people whose sexual behavior and orientation is so stigmatized that virtually none of them dare come out of the closet. If they made any indication at all of their orientation, they would be excluded from civilized society. Like I said – it’s basically the same issue.

    I like to keep these sorts of conversations as civil as possible, but I think that your views on incest are extremely bigoted. Outdated, unfortunately not, but they certainly are bigoted.

  34. 33
    Myca says:

    I don’t think it’s a different issue at all. And I’m really worried that you don’t mind making people who are pro-incest, or who engage in it themselves, feel that it’s open season on them. Here we have a minority of people whose sexual behavior and orientation is so stigmatized that virtually none of them dare come out of the closet. If they made any indication at all of their orientation, they would be excluded from civilized society. Like I said – it’s basically the same issue.

    Are you trying to be funny?

    —Myca

  35. 35
    Bear says:

    Are we really going to pull the Incest Gambit? What’s next, the Pedophile Gambit?

    As a gay person who has managed most of his adult life to defer outrage for the sake of intelligent debate, this is the exact kind of argumentation that brings the hurt and pain of it all to the surface. If we’re talking about civil discussions, I think the criteria for both sides has to be that such irrelevant factors are off-limits. If both sides can’t agree to at least that much, then the discussion can’t be said to be civil.

    Also, the gallup poll for 2011 shows that only 39% of respondents find homosexuality morally wrong. So that’s a 9% drop in 4 years. So yeah, a lot has changed in the last three years.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1651/gay-lesbian-rights.aspx

  36. 36
    Myca says:

    So this is your thread, Ampersand, and I think I’m generally more banhappy than you are, but I can’t help feel like this site would be better off without Austin’s oh so clever trolling.

    Seriously. Save it for Bible Camp.

    —Myca

  37. 37
    Ampersand says:

    I gotta agree. Bye, Austin.

  38. 38
    Grace Annam says:

    Eytan @20,

    I was not directing my comments at any specific individual. I was, rather, expressing some thoughts on reading the general tenor of the comments which seemed to be in opposition to what Myca was saying.

    I agree with most everything you wrote in @20, and I particularly like your highlighting the aspect of choice, and who gets to choose for whom, which is near the heart of what I was trying to get at.

    Grace

  39. 39
    Grace Annam says:

    Nancy Lebovitz:

    I agree with you folks about SSM, but I’m feeling rather glad that I was introduced to it as “this is the only reasonable and kind way to treat people”…

    I’m glad of that, too.

    … rather than “you’re obligated to take any abuse I feel like dumping on you because my feelings are more important than yours”.

    Is that how you heard what I was saying, or is that directed elsewhere? If the former, how disheartening. Back to the drawing board. Again.

    What’s more, as a result of reading a good bit of zero-sum approach to peace of mind, I’ve been nastier (but as far as I can tell, not particularly effective) than I wanted to be…

    Yeah. In my experience, each of various modes of communication is a somewhat separate learned skill. One of the reasons that I feared expressing anger, growing up, was that I didn’t know how to do it, and I knew that I didn’t know how to do it, and so the prospect of trying to do it was frightening. This is a vicious cycle, because in order to become skilled at something, one must, sooner or later, do it.

    For me, expressing outrage is similar. I’m not very good at it, and I fear the consequences if I go too far. However, in rare circumstances it is just the right skill to have.

    This may not be my last thought on the subject, but I think it’s the better part of self-preservation to not knock myself out for people who make it clear they don’t care how they treat me, and that they’ve made not caring how they treat me part of their ideology.

    Nancy, is that directed at me? I surely hope not, because I have followed your blog ever since you encouraged me in the comments after my first post, here, and I would not like to think that I caused you distress. But if so, please let me know, so that perhaps we can keep talking and fix it to the extent possible.

    Grace

  40. 40
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Grace Annam, not one word of what I posted was directed at you. I don’t think I’d even seen your post when I was writing.

    I was pleased you’d put in the Kinsey Hope link– I’d thought it might be appropriate, but I was getting around to finding it.

    I was thinking about Myca when I posted, though to be fair, what Myca is talking about is considerably less poisonous than RaceFail, which I admit is still on my mind. In particular, Myca is talking about opposing a well-defined political point of view. This isn’t the same thing as going after people for not having the right analysis of fiction, and it isn’t tied to unchangeable personal traits like race or gender.

  41. 41
    Grace Annam says:

    Grace Annam, not one word of what I posted was directed at you.

    I’m very glad to hear it. Thank you for letting me know.

    Grace

  42. 42
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Bear says:
    Also, the gallup poll for 2011 shows that only 39% of respondents find homosexuality morally wrong. So that’s a 9% drop in 4 years. So yeah, a lot has changed in the last three years.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1651/gay-lesbian-rights.aspx

    Seriously? 39%?

    Well, that’s depressing. However, it does make this incorrect:

    There are some arguments no reasonable person makes anymore. A person arguing that consensual gay sex is intrinsically immoral and perverse has disqualified themselves from reasonable debate. In mainstream society this is a settled question….

    That’s wrong for a huge amount of the population. generally speaking and irrespective of the subject matter, it takes a pretty big stretch of definitions if you want to suggest that 39% of the population is per se unreasonable, or that something which is opposed by 39% of the population is a “settled question.” I don’t think that’s an accurate portrayal.

  43. 43
    Bear says:

    GW, I think it’s still correct to say that it is unreasonable to oppose SSM because one thinks homosexuality is morally wrong, and that the argument is settled, at least when we are talking about legalities. We all have things that we consider to be morally wrong, but rarely do we seek to codify that morality into law. The church I was raised in felt that divorce, for example, was as immoral as one could get. At no point has that church ever worked to get divorce outlawed, or to involve itself in the legislating of divorce. That’s because while they are strict about the morality they expect of the congregation, they recognize that not everyone subscribes to their particular brand of Christianity.

    Reasonable people understand that their personal morality is not necessarily a basis upon which to craft public policy or the law. Reasonable people understand that the basis upon which one is forced to follow a morality to which they don’t describe must be extremely narrow, and backed up by other considerations than just “because my religion says so.” So when one’s justification for opposing SSM is based upon their own personal belief that homosexuality is wrong and nothing else, we can characterize that justification as unreasonable.

  44. 44
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Hmm. When you put it that way, I’m inclined to agree about the “reasonable” issue; you’ve made a convincing argument.

  45. 45
    JutGory says:

    gin-and-whiskey,
    I am surprised how easily you were persuaded by Bear.
    I think morality is quite often the basis for crafting laws.

    Two old ideas (you know they are old because they are in Latin!) in the law is the distinction between “malum prohibitum” (evil because it is prohibited) and “malum in se” (evil in itself). Speeding is an example of the former and murder is an example of the latter.

    Pretty simple distinction. And, the question would be, is murder wrong because it is immoral, or because it is an infringement on the rights of another? In our time, you could say both, but the prohibition on murder pre-dates our relatively recent notions of personal liberty and civil rights.

    Many laws arise out of our moral notions: prostitution, child pornography, the abolition of slavery, civil rights, and consumer fraud statutes. You also hear both sides of the legislative aisle using the language of morality to justify legislation, including a support of the welfare state, environmental regulation, the tax code, etc.

    -Jut

  46. 46
    Myca says:

    Many laws arise out of our moral notions

    I’m with Rawls and the overlapping consensus here. There is a burden on the religious person operating within the public realm to make arguments that don’t rely on being part of their particular religion to accept.

    Opponents of gay rights have tried to do that, and, broadly, have failed. The non-religious anti-gay arguments are really, really, really bad. Like … as-bad-as-the-arguments-in-my-satire-post bad.

    —Myca

  47. 47
    Bear says:

    Jut,

    I didn’t deny that morality is used to craft laws. I said, ‘Reasonable people understand that the basis upon which one is forced to follow a morality to which they don’t describe must be extremely narrow, and backed up by other considerations than just “because my religion says so.”’

    The concepts of “malum prohibitum” and “malum in se” might indeed be old and latiny, but we don’t live in a society that accepts the concept of “malum in se” as a stand-alone. We do have concepts of personal liberty and civil rights, and in fact these concepts are cornerstones of American governance. Prohibitions on murder may have at one time been guided by the concept that it is evil in itself; in our modern society, though, that prohibition is guided by the rights of personhood. Prohibition of speeding might at one time been guided by the concept of “malum prohibitum” (though considering the relative youth of the automobile, I have my doubts), but in modern times, speeding is wrong because it risks the lives and property of innocent parties.

    Even laws prohibiting prostitution have as much to do with enslavement, predation and abuse of innocent parties, peripheral criminality and economic effect as it does with morality.

  48. 48
    renniejoy says:

    Maybe it would be worth pointing out to marriage equality opponents that the argument that children “need a mother and father” can be hurtful to a lot of cisgendered, straight people too? People that they are more likely to consciously know?

    Like people who are or have been: orphans, children in foster care, victims of abuse by parents or stepparents, single parents and their children, children who rarely interact with their parents, people whose parents stayed together “for the children”, children who are raised by non-parental relatives, etc.

    It is trivially true that “every child needs a mother and father”; without a sperm and an egg, there will be no child (leaving out the possibility of viable human cloning).

    But the fact of “having a mother and father” does not mean that everything is happy, shiny, unicorns and rainbows for any child, QUILTBAG or not.

  49. 49
    Susan says:

    The non-religious anti-gay arguments are really, really, really bad.

    Sadly true. I did try at one time to get one of a group of conservatives to make a non-religious anti-SSM argument to me, and you would not believe the anti-rational horseshit I got. Even I didn’t believe how bad it was.

    I like to think that there are two sides to every question, and that my opponents on whatever point have something to say for themselves, being rational beings, even it I don’t agree. I don’t know where I got this expectation; it has been so often proved wrong. People take all sorts of positions on non-rational grounds.

    The anti-SSM arguments, by and large, strike me as being like the arguments we heard during the 60′s in the South against the right of blacks to vote. Now, making an argument that any adult citizen of the US in the middle of the 20th century should not have the right to vote because of his or her color…..well, that does take you out where no one has gone before, pretty much. And in fact the people who argued that didn’t have anything to say, at least not anything that much made any sense. The anti-SSM arguments, similarly, strike me as not having any real intellectual traction.

  50. 50
    pillowinhell says:

    Oh yes, children need both a mother and a father!*snark*

    I wonder if these people ever stop to think of the full implications of that argument. Really, we can never take children from their abusive parents. We would be letting out convicts if the welfare of children were really at the forefront. And every widow or divorcee with kids would be immediately required to remarry, so important is the need for opposite gender parenting. Have these people never heard of extended families, mentors and friends? Or how about the quality of the involved parent/s?

    It always strikes me as strange, that no matter the ism you wish to consider, the arguments to continue oppressing people seem to boil down to roughly the same tired dozen arguments repeated over and over. This is one area where human creativity has really failed us (thankfully)

    I suppose what’s really lacking is empathy. I propose an experiment. From now on, anyone convicted of the moral character flaw of lacking empathy will receive a turquoise stripe across the forehead. All other people in the society must then treat that person just the same as they treated the people they were trying to oppress. That turquoise strip stays in place until they can convince the oppressed community that they’ve truly changed as a person. Of course, turquoise stripes would probably be on just about everyone….

  51. 51
    Lord Cerbereth says:

    People talk about Gay marriage and how it is wrong to disallow gay marriage, because homosexuality is a sin since there are so so many sins that our society allows and commits everyday and I was starting to douby my own arguments like many of my generation and say well maybe it should be allowed.

    Then I see your post and it says not only should gay marriage be allowed, but the idea that it is a sin at all has been decided in the negative by society. When did that even come close to happening? Maybe San Francisco decided, but I think that comes as a big revelation to the people of the red states of the united states and a laughable assertion by the people of Asia, Latin America, The Middle East and Africa. The people of a few blue states must be inestimably smarter than billions of people around the world. I see that as pride a sin in its own right, but maybe you feel it is a deep faith in your cause. I am willing to look past all that.

    What really convinced me that my religion’s belief that homosexuality is a sin was right was seeing these posts on a different blog. Don’t even accuse me of cherry picking these since there are plenty of them and plenty like them.

    Apparently your side puts forth one side of the arguement “gays just want to be married”, but that isn’t the whole story is it?

    They want to subvert and destroy the Christian religion.

    “Being black …
    left-handed or being gay is just as natural. Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus 18:22 should be
    immediately banned for promoting hatred against minorities; namely the gay
    community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches.

    The evil
    writings in Leviticus 18:22 against gays depict; rules for temple rituals or
    “P” … Priestly Rules & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious
    frauds to attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public but
    to priests. Leviticus exists in the old testament & torah.

    “It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the
    chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy.” To see
    the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is
    shameful.”

    So apparently my religion is not just wrong, but it is evil and bible’s should be burnt.

    Then there is this thankfully short piece of heresy.

    “Christianity is basically a fiction which turned out to be one of the most
    hateful & evil concoctions ever perpetrated on the world.”

    What Christianity is some kind of evil conspiracy now? The only way I can read that and not cry for that person’s soul is if it was typed by the devil himself, but it wasn’t was it?

    You can call these people extremists, but the truth is that sentiment is part of the gay marriage platform and not only are they not denounced they are encouraged and sheltered.

    When did Christianity become the one sitting in the defendant’s chair?

    They want to become christians fine some christian church somewhere will accept them with open arms.

    The gay’s want absolution for their sins fine they only need to ask forgiveness.

    They want gay marriage fine they only need to ask our society to allow another sin as it has down for others.

    They want affirmation that homosexuality isn’t a sin. That is impossible the bible says it is a sin and that is the end of the debate for Christians.

    They want to burn bibles and overthrow Christianity who are these people and why are they being protected and not thrown out or censored by their own groups?

  52. 52
    pillowinhell says:

    Wow, what a long winded whine over your percieved christian persecution complex. Come back and talk when its more than just a few people saying they don’t like your religion and actually means that your civil liberties, like being able to go to school or marry the person you love or find work or not be hunted down and murdered starts happening.

    I’ve met very few christians who actually live anything like what Christ teaches. And its that disparity that draws so much criticism.

  53. 53
    Lord Cerbereth says:

    “Wow, what a long winded whine over your percieved christian persecution complex. Come back and talk when its more than just a few people saying they don’t like your religion and actually means that your civil liberties, like being able to go to school or marry the person you love or find work or not be hunted down and murdered starts happening.

    I’ve met very few christians who actually live anything like what Christ teaches. And its that disparity that draws so much criticism.”

    “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:11)”

    Christians acknowledge the impossibility of living like Christ since he was a God and we are mere men. We strive to live like him regardless of the futility. The only thing that is required to be a Christian is to ask forgiveness for your sins and to acknowedge Christ as your savior.

    Do you turn away from Christ because you feel Christians are hypocrites or is that just an excuse to ignore their teachings and their arguments? Ask yourself was Jesus a hypocrite not are Christians hypocrites?

    You’ll be following Jesus as your savior not other Christians if you convert.

  54. 54
    pillowinhell says:

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Love your enemies.

    When someone slaps you in the face, offer them the other cheek. When someone demands your coat, offer them your tunic as well.

    It is harder for a rich man to pass into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

    Tell you what, when you stop judging other peoples sins and attend to your own you’ll find you have much less to whine about. Attend to your own soul because when you get to heaven the fact that other people do sin in the eyes of God matters naught.

  55. 55
    Ampersand says:

    Lord Cerbereth, I think it’s time you moseyed along; I feel that any further discussion here will just be people talking past each other. Please do not post any further comments on this blog. Thanks very much for your contributions, and best of luck to you in the future.

  56. 56
    Lord Cerbereth says:

    “Lord Cerbereth, I think it’s time you moseyed along; I feel that any further discussion here will just be people talking past each other. Please do not post any further comments on this blog. Thanks very much for your contributions, and best of luck to you in the future”

    Very true. Best of luck to you as well.

    The bloodline champions and league of legends forums are in need of me at this very moment.