Mar 28, 2010

facebook and teh ghey, pt. 2

Continuing a theme from the other day, in which I dissected a Facebook discussion about discrimination against gays. My various opponents raised several points, and since I view them as typical of the anti-gay rhetoric as a whole, we're going through them one by one here. They were:

  1. That if the petition were realized, then it would require us to hire wacked out cross-dressers in it for the lifestyle to take care of our children, and that discrimination against all gays and transsexuals was justified to prevent that result.
  2. Gays are attracted to same-sex children.
  3. Children might ask questions about gays.
  4. America is a Christian nation so Christian rules ought to apply.
  5. The Bible says homosexuality is wrong.
  6. You must respect me despite the fact that I just called you an abomination who is guilty-by-association of child molestation.
  7. My right not to see you trumps your right to exist.
I covered 1 - 3 in the previous post, so we'll pick up with 4 here.

4) "Being that this country was founded upon Christian values," he wrote, "why should we now work to legalize and perpetuate the homosexual lifestyle?" Well, first off, no: no it was not. America was founded specifically on Enlightenment principles and English common law:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history…

"It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service [making the US government] had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven… it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."
--John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" (1787-88)

Much as I love John Adams, he was of course dead wrong: it is pretended that the founders were under the influence of Heaven. But there is further evidence in the great mass of complaints about the godless nature of the new Constitution: without a religious test, wrote one, the following groups might come to power: "
Ist. Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence--2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity--3dly. Deists, abominable wretches--4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain--Sthly. Beggars, who when set on horse back will ride to the devil--6thly. Jews etc. etc. ...", and, "should [the President] hereafter be a Jew, our dear posterity may be ordered to rebuild Jerusalem." Writes another from the same source: "as there will be no religious test, [the Quakers] will have weight, in proportion to their numbers, in the great scale of continental government."

Note that the objection isn't that the Quakers might take over, but that they might get the same rights as me.

I include these quotes deliberately, because they contain a blatant admission of what "America is a Christian nation" always means: fear and hatred of the "other" (non-whites, non-Christians, and Christians whom they disagree with), and a desire to exclude the other, not from having special rights, but from having any rights or representation at all.

There are two more problems with #4: the first is, who decides what Christian principles are? I am Christian, but my view of Christian morality is markedly different from that of my opponent. Why should his interpretations take preference over mine? The final problem of course, is that even if the country were founded on Christian principles and we could reach some consensus as to what those were, there is no particular reason to enshrine any give one of them into law. It is a sin against charity to force others to follow a moral code they do not share absent a clear benefit to society. Thus, banning murder benefits society. Banning gay marriage, as many states now demonstrate, does not.

5. In fact the Bible does have several verses which condemn homosexuality in one form or another. (Curiously, although Paul speaks disparagingly of lesbianism, it is never explicitly forbidden.) I know what the text actually says, I merely disagree, or else think it no longer applicable. I demanded several times an explanation as to why the prohibition on male homosexuality (there is no prohibition on lesbianism) still applied, but several others (mixed fabric and shellfish, for example) did not. My opponent misunderstood "mixed fabric" as "cotton", and offered the following defense: "I agree times have changed and cotton shirts are a way of life. Unfortunately it would mean financial ruin for my family to spend its time making our own clothes, and I believe God wants me to provide for my family more than he wants me to [put the necessary effort into this]." He went on to add: "I've made it abundantly clear that [God] values all his laws."

Except when they might inconvenience you, amirite?

Either the OT law still applies or it doesn't. If parts of it do but others do not, then which parts and why? I have never--not once--gotten an answer other than "avoiding mixed fabric is inconvenient but gays are icky." My position is consistent: I don't think that Leviticus still applies. Anyone who quotes it though, stands condemned by their wardrobe if not their conscience. This, however, is quite a broad topic and perhaps deserves its own post (or series of posts) later.

But I'm afraid that I've gone on far longer than I intended to yet again, so we'll deal with the final two another day.

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