Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Higher Law

Fundamentalist religious people like to talk about there being a higher law than the laws of human kind. Muslims take this to an extreme by basing the Sharia entirely on the Koran whereas Christians take a more piecemeal approach by demanding specific laws such as those making abortion illegal or by fighting against new laws that provide groups like gays protection from discrimination. Like religious zealots, I too believe in a higher law than the Constitution, namely the Declaration of Independence.

Kelly, a lawyer who both comments on my blogs and has a blog site of his own, has commented on my claim that the right to privacy is guaranteed both by the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble of the Constitution. He claimed that "the Declaration of Independence is not a source of law of any kind."

At another site, it is claimed, based on a search of Findlaw claims that though there were a hundred references to the Declaration of Independence, "not one single case can be found where the authority for the holding in that case was the Declaration of independence." So, this site seems to side with Kelly.

In fact, both Kelly and the claim just cited are clearly false. In Cotting v. Godard, 183 U.S. 79 (1901) we find:
The first official action of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words: 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' While such Declaration of principles may not have the force of organic law, or be made the basis of judicial decision as to the limits of right and duty, and while in all cases reference must be had to the organic law of the nation for such limits, yet the latter is but the body and the letter of which the former is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.
This passage elevates the Declaration of Independence over the Constitution in saying that "it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in spirit of the Declaration of Independence." Clearly, then, any "strict constructionist" like Kelly who likes to take the Constitution literally should see the Declaration of Indpendence as his guide to interpretation.

Ironically, in the Dred Scott case that fully legalized slavery, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney took the position in regard to
the phrase, "all men are created equal," that "it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this Declaration. . . ."
Here we find the Declaration of Independence being cited as if it had the power to determine how the Constitution should be interpreted for the Chief Justice takes pains to assert that it is clear that this language was not meant to provide equal protection to slaves. Of course, today, we would interpret the Declaration of Independence as including anyone in our borders except illegal aliens and even they are given some rights.

The only reasonable interpretation of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution that replaced it is that they codify the basic principle that 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' In my opinion, it is the principles of the Preamble that both Americans and others see as defining who we are. Now, I am not too excited by the religious language included here, but it is clear that those who founded our country intended that people be treated equally and this to me means that if persons who are heterosexual through no fault of their own are permitted to marry and enjoy the legal benefits of marriage then persons who are homosexual through no fault of their own should also enjoy these rights. Similarly, just as the government gives me, a male, full rights to control my own body -- to get a tattoo, to have one of my kidneys cut out of my body so it could be implanted in another person, or have a vasectomy or even cut off my balls, then women should be permitted to have an abortion if they want. The thing that pisses me off most about laws abridging the right of women to have abortions is that men are the ones making this decision for men control every legislature in the country. They would never tolerate an intrusion into their lives of this magnitude.

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Blogger concerned citizen said...

Even tho the language of the declaration has religious overtones, I think the philosophy of the "all men are created equal" statement is more humanist then Christian. Where in the Bible does it ever mention all people being equal? I don't know if the Christian God came up w/ that idea. On the other hand, that is what a God of my choice would say.

Some where in a book I read, was the idea that the statement, "All men are created equal" set the wheels in motion, thro the court for the abolishment of slavery.
The premise had to be addressed, because, it was a issue of higher consciencness. (Does that make sense?)
The trouble w/higher consciencness is, the majority has to catch up to it.

12:34 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

You make a strong case for viewing the Declaration of Independence as a persuasive authority rather than a controlling authority, and I would in fact support this view. I see no problem with it as a tool to determine the intent of the Founding Fathers just as the Federalist Papers are often used.

And I think the Dred Scott decision is a perfect example of how the Constitution's amendment process works. They were likely correct in determining that slavery was constitutional at the time, and after a terrible, bloody war, they made the right decision in choosing to pass a constitutional amendment to correct the situation. I wonder what would have happened had the Supreme Court decided the other way in that case, and I don't think that the results would have been any more pleasant.

As to the treatment of homosexuality, I lagely want to stay out of that discussion for now but I would like to point out that people also don't choose to be alcoholics, or schizophrenics, or many other things that justify what one could allege to be disparate treatment.

And as to the treatment of abortion, you are absolutely right that men would not want the government intruding into their reproductive rights. But there is no readily available analogy. Women can also get tattoos or have their "tubes tied." But in the view of pro-life advocates it's not a question about the woman's body, but a life in the womb that is deserving of protection by the government. Whether or not you accept this view, your arguments do not speak to the issue of ultimate importance: what is a fetus? Your arguments beg the question, and this is unhelpful.

As to the question of a higher law, I don't doubt that there is. And I think to a large extent almost everyone would agree that there are moral values which are more important than the laws of any given country, and that the country's laws should strive to reflect. I think you would also agree with this, and if you don't then I would question why you think equality should be achieved by our laws. The relevant question is the source or nature of those morals, something that those not committed to a particular faith have a hard time answering even though they would agree that there is an ideal set of morals.

That said, thanks for the link. :)

2:26 PM

Blogger Sean said...

"The relevant question is the source or nature of those morals, something that those not committed to a particular faith have a hard time answering even though they would agree that there is an ideal set of morals"

This is a question I have asked myself many times, as I do not commit myself to a particular faith and yet still seem to have found a set of morals that seems ideal, if not idealistic. This is what I have come up with.

There are realities that exist before religion, realities that are reflected by religion and not created by it. Things such as happiness, personal bonds to others around us, and empathy toward other creatures and objects. While these things may be amplified or diminished by religion, they exist outside of it. We are creatures naturally drawn to being happy, just like a dog likes to have his belly rubbed. We are social creatures that crave and need interaction with people and things around us, especially ones that will make us happy by rubbing our bellies. We have a natural capacity to empathize with people, animals, plants, and things surrounding us, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes and know that we do or do not like what is happening to them.

From these basic ideas I draw my morality. The crux of the matter for me is "Do no harm," because that interferes with happiness, social interaction and because I empathize with those being harmed. One may say "But sometimes harm must be done for the greater good," or "but you eat meat and you're harming that animal" (those people usually become vegan, which I can completely understand). I have to agree with both points, as it could be argued that to do a bit of harm here creates more happiness there, and that sometimes animals get eaten, it happens all the time, death is a part of life. What is required is some logic, some reason, and some ability to judge fairly.

So so far we have the pursuit of happiness, social bonds, and innate empathy as foundations, with logic, reason and judiciousness to guide us in furthing those foundations. I'll put them to the test on a subject near and dear to my heart and one Kelly can't keep his hands off of, no matter how hard he tries :)

Alcoholics, schizophrenics, kleptomaniacs, etc.etc.etc. cause harm when they act out on those things they "do not choose." They harm themselves, they harm other people. We do what we can to help them to keep them from doing more harm, and many times they want that help. But who am I harming by being gay? What group of people has their rights infringed upon by my being gay? What individual has their rights tread upon by my being gay? Where is the harm? I would love to hear people's ideas on where the see the harm, a discussion on that would be most interesting. A discussion about what harm is being done to me by my rights being infringed upon would be too easy.

Kelly, you place us in the same category as alcoholics and schizophrenics, focusing only on various similarities you can find and ignoring all that is different about the situations. It's very convenient to the point you try to make, namely that homosexuals are not deserving of any rights, but it is wholly dishonest and lacking in reason, and that undermines your argument.

Abortion also fits squarely into this, as I see more harm being done in unwanted children being born than in the termination of a pregnancy. I agree that the rights of the unborn child need to be taken into account, as do the rights of the woman. They both have the right to be happy, and unwanted children and the parents that don’t want them are rarely happy. It’s an over simplification of the issue, I know, but this is already a long post and will get longer, I’ll write a book later in life. I’ve always thought that the abortion argument was the wrong one to be having. If someone is getting an abortion, then something has already failed. Woman should not be getting pregnant who do not want to be pregnant. If we spent more time educating every adolescent about contraception, and the lovely ability for them to find happiness, social bond and a shared empathic experience in a blowjob we may not have to worry about this abortion thing so much. Having abortion as an available but very sad last resort seems prudent to me though.

We need something to guide us through morality, I believe this without a doubt, otherwise we have anarchy, and that furthers no ones happiness and undermines society. But religion is not the only game in town, nor do I think it’s the best. We have the ability to think, to reason, to empathize, things that very few other living creatures on this planet are capable of (though the fact that elephants weep over the dead bodies of their family members speaks volumes as to the inherent value of our natural empathy). We can decide upon the moral path without the writings of an old book, be it the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, or the Bible testaments, though each holds many great examples and lessons of happiness, empathy and the social bonds predicated upon those things. We can draw upon our mutual humanity to guide us. It was the lack of our mutual humanity and empathy that led to Dred Scott, that led to the Trade Tower attacks, that led to the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mathew Shepard. Religion today too often obscures what is best in each of us instead of bring the best out, which is what I always thought religion was supposed to do. For that reason, I don't desire religion, or any trappings there of. My happiness, my bonds to friends and family, and my ability to empathize don't need it, and neither do yours.

3:33 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Sean, that was the best comment you've ever posted here. It was intelligent, well-thought-out, coherent, and respectful. Bravo!

I will take issue with only one thing (at least for now) and point out that most schizophrenics don't harm anyone else. The vast majority of the mentally ill harm only themselves, not others. The most important harm seen by the religious in homosexuality is similarly a self-harm that may not be readily apparent to many people.

3:41 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Well Kelly, while your opening comment was a bit patronizing and seems to imply that my other posts have not been intelligent, well-thought-out, coherent or respectful, I will take your complement.

True, the mentally ill harm mostly themselves, and I said quite clearly that they harm themselves, which would constitute doing harm. I apologies if I wasn't clear on that being perfectly good grounds for something to not be ok and are deserving of help, and punishment if someone else is harmed. Suicide is another example. Not a good thing. I will throw in that both the mentally ill and suicides also harm the people that love them, through the justifiable mental anguish both can cause. There are ripple effects to everything we do, complex ones beyond the scope of this discussion.

To group homosexuality as a "self-harm and so it's not good" issue again leaves out the fact that no harm is being done. Am I hurting myself by continuing to act out on my homosexual feelings? I certainly don't feel hurt, and I am of sound mind to make that decision. And it’s in no way the right of other people to make that decision for me as I am of my right mind. All major psychiatric boards have determined, as unbiased and scientifically as is possible, that homosexuality is not a mental condition that would blind me from the harm I am doing myself, as some mental illnesses could. If you want to not believe them, that's certainly your right, though a head in the sand reference comes quickly to my lips.

In the end there is this fact; there are a lot of us who are gay, and only those who have been made to feel outrageously guilty about their feelings feel as though they are doing harm, and the source of that guilting is to blame for that, not their homosexuality. We are people, with brains, emotions, intelligence, rights, and empathy. We are not hurting anyone, least of all ourselves. Others are certainly taking it upon themselves to hurt us though, something I work at all the time to end, for moral and just reasons.

4:32 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Kelly, don't get us started on your biases again. We know you think gays are addicts who should magically change into straight people, and we know quite well that your faith excuses you from accepting the harm you perpetuate.

But could you just please leave it alone? Your Bible tells you you're right and that's all you need. You've said so. Why do you have to flaunt your bigotry so much?

I mean, I don't hate bigots. Some of my best friends are bigots. I just wish they didn't have to throw it my face all the time. It's disgusting, and people just don't want to see it.

4:44 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I certainly did not intend to be patronizing with that comment, although if I wanted to I could point to other comments you have made that did not meet all of those positive criteria simultaneously. The same could probably be said of me, though. I was intending to let you know that I appreciated your tone and your content even though I attacked one of your arguments, something that I think is helpful toward a productive discussion.

You're right that there are harms to family and friends when someone they love is a homosexual, and that much of it (but in my mind not all) stems from guilt. But I don't think guilt is an entirely socialized phenomenon. I think much of it is inherent in human nature, and there is a reason for that. But when we get into that discussion, we must inevitably get into epistemology, and that's the point of basic disagreement between us, a point which is not susceptible of persuasive argument, and therefore an unproductive area for discussion (at least in this context). So I will just leave it at that.

4:51 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Sorry for double-posting, but pastry chef added a comment that I didn't see before posting. I would like to point out, chef, that you are asking me to stop speaking my mind and making arguments from premises, while no one else is asked to do the same thing on this topic or any other. Simply because I don't agree with you does not make me a bigot, and it certainly doesn't mean I should be quiet. If you think you are so obviously right, then you should be thankful that I am making my position look so ridiculous to people who share your views. Likewise, you should be thankful that my arguments are so easy to debunk, if that's what you think. And finally, you should be thankful that my presence here keeps the debate and discussion lively. It would be quite boring without any dissent.

4:57 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Epistemology aside, is the only harm you can come up with from homosexuality the mental anguish family members face, much of which stems from guilt, wherever that guilt may come from? If that is the worst harm done, then I say let's all go gay, the harm quotient would drop significantly. But seeing as the possibility exists that the mental anguish faced by many families is needless and baseless self imposed harm (much like the mental anguish faced by a white family who's daughter decides to marry one of those dirty blacks) I think that's hardly a case for vilifying a group of perfectly harmless people.

I'm still waiting for a way homos are harming others, or even themselves. I'm eager to hear what people think.

5:01 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Well, I'll just name a few, and the biggest one won't sway you in the least.
1. Sin. There is a lot to this, and in my mind it's huge, but I can't sway anyone by going into it, so I won't.
2. Loss of sphincter control
3. "Gay bowel syndrome"
4. Diseases are more easily spread through the anal wall than the vaginal wall. You can easily get hepatitis if there are tears in the anal wall.
5. Statistically, gay men are incredibly more promiscuous than any other subgroup identified by sex and sexual preference. I understand that this doesn't hold true in every case, but as a rule it is very harmful.
6. There is harm to children cared for by a same-sex couple in that they don't have the right balance that evolution has proven to be best for parenting. I understand that many heterosexual couples can harm their kids as well, but pointing the finger elsewhere is not a valid argument. (Just because alcohol can be dangerous it does not follow that marijuana should be legalized.)
7. The only reason homosexuality is not still considered a mental illness is because of duress at an APA convention. It still meets the definition of mental illness, and it does cause psychological harm.

All that said, I'm going to refrain from further discussion of the subject for now because it leads to bad blood, and that's unproductive for any other discussions that we may have.

5:12 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Oh my god. I have to go teach the music to the kids now, so I don't have time to address that, but I will be back. Talk about making one's position look ridiculous... -head is spinning with disbelieving laughter-

5:25 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Hurting someone's feelings isn't good, but no one should be held accountable for hurting someone's feelings. Murder is illegal because it kills someone. Keying someone's car is illegal because it damages property. Importing methamphetamine is illegal because it harms people's bodies. Homosexuality hurts no one in any way except their feelings. If we outlaw hurting someone's feelings, we go down a slippery slope that is too unpleasant to consider.

But Kelly, to your comment: Although I do believe I and every major medical and psychiatric organization are correct in saying that homosexuality is not disordered, I cannot say with absolute certainty that it is fact. While I do have evidence to back up my claims, and you have only a few phrases of a book to justify your bigotry, I cannot say with absolute certainly that you are wrong.

However, I can say - with the most absolute certainty possible - that your position does constitute bigotry. I won't insult your intelligence by quoting the dictionary because I'm sure you know how to use one.

However, I will go so far as to point out that you have advocated for discrimination against gays and stated that you would take personal action to oppress them given the opportunity. You have stated this even within the context of agreeing that gays have no control over their sexuality.

That is intolerance. That is bigotry. And no, you don't get to redefine the word just because you don't like it when it's applied to you. The shoe fits, and we can tell because you're already wearing it.

5:26 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Kelly, vaginal intercourse is accompanied by numerous complications, including sin. Are you also opposed to heterosexual intercourse?

All the reputable studies I'm aware of indicate that no harm is done to children raised in same-sex households. Can you cite a study that isn't compromised by religious bias that says otherwise?

And you say that the APA has been forced under duress to declassify homosexuality, do you? Any other comspiracy theories you'd like to share with us, or are you too busy at the moment adjusting your tin foil hat?

For someone who lauds people for independent thinking, you're showing a remarkable lack of it. That read like a pamphlet some wacko on the street would hand me in between shouts of "Repent sinners and rebellious women!"

5:35 PM

Blogger Lil said...

heheh. Kelly, you're funny.

When it comes to abortion, I say this: those who walk to the polls and vote against pro-choice, well, they only have that right if they've adopted crack addicted, minority babies. Yes, you read right-- plural babies, more than one. Those who vote against women's choices only have that right if they seek out, on a daily basis, ways to volunteer massive amounts of their free time at organizations that work with mentally and physically handicapped children. Those who vote against pro-choice only have that right if they have adopted children (not babies, mind you, but real, lets say 7 year olds) who have serious social disorders due to abandonment and abuse. Those who vote against women's rights and therefore their right to choose must also be donating huge amounts of their salaries to women's organizations that help with training for jobs, costs of daycare, food, rent, and medicine.

You can't just lay a rule down without the infrastructure to support it.

6:17 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

I'm not an expert on election practices across the country (and I've seen only Ohio absentee ballots for nearly twenty years now) so please correct me if I am mistaken in my assumptions, but it occurred to me recently that only those directly affected should be allowed to vote on certain issues. I was thinking in particular of things like school levies collected from increases on (real estate) property taxes: non-propertied apartment dwellers should have no business deciding how much homeowners should pay. The extension of this on the question of abortion should be obvious: no vagina, no vote.

(Again for the record, once we have the technology to harvest ANY fetus and maintain it through parturition-equivalent development and have established the social support system to care for unwanted children [Go, Lil!], I'll be the first to cross the line and join the pro-lifers. Until then, a fetus should not be granted human rights because it is only a potentiality. Anyway, I've already posted on my blog what I consider the definitive statement on both abortion and gay sex/marriage: If it ain't your hole, mind your own business.)

Anyway, let's rewind a bit to this: [same sex couples] don't have the right balance that evolution has proven to be best for parenting.

OK, Kelly, in a comment on your own blog you've stated that parts of Genesis may simply be allegorical and in another thread here you've agreed that ID is a non-theory. I'm really curious now as to what exactly your beliefs on evolution might be. Anyway, arguments from the (presumed) way Nature/God/Evolution "intended" us to live seem to me to be specious at best: very little of the way we live now can be termed "natural", and much of our technology has rendered evolution effectively irrelevant.

8:21 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

LOL...holy gawd I love you all...I've got more to say, but, I just got to LG's last post (thank you all for remembering me when I'm gone, BTW...) and I'm tired as hell...so, tomorrow!



5:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than go down the road of Gay vs. Hetero because quite frankly I'm bored with that. Gays are citizens and entitled to the same rights as everyone else end of story.

LG has hit upon a nerve that needs to be addressed:
Here we find the Declaration of Independence being cited as if it had the power to determine how the Constitution should be interpreted for the Chief Justice takes pains to assert that it is clear that this language was not meant to provide equal protection to slaves. Of course, today, we would interpret the Declaration of Independence as including anyone in our borders except illegal aliens and even they are given some rights.

My comment on what LG has hit upon about illegals having some rights is that; yes illegals have the right to a safe trip home to the country from where they came. They have the right to apply for citizenship in the process that is outlined in out immigration laws. They do not have the right to stage protests in the middle of our cities as if they are immigrants because they are not immigrants. Immigrants come to this country with the intention of assimilating and obeying the laws of our country and maybe adding some of the good things that come from their culture, that's what an immigrant does. No, the protesters are usurpers and have come here illegally and take from the people that have gone through the process to become citizens. They are not welcome here because no matter what the propaganda they are espousing they take from us and they take from those that did things the way our laws were meant to be obeyed.

The Declaration of Independence was the first official step that the Founders took to declare they no longer would tolerate the rules, regulations and taxes levied upon the Colonies and the document set the tone for the struggle to become independent from the British Crown. That is the difference between Americans and British. Americans are citizens and Brits are subjects. I have seen and read the document many times. Every one of the signers has his own story to why he was there to sign a document with such consequences. The signers of this document had a bounty put upon their heads for treason.

I am awful tired of hearing about some of the founders being slave holders. If it had not been for the Founders and the independence they sought there would still be slavery or it would have lasted for much longer than it did because the abolitionists would have to fight the British Crown and the slave holding states to abolish slavery. The Brits and the Dutch introduced slavery and made it a major part of their trade with the colonies although they outlawed the practice in their own countries. The Father of the US Navy, John Paul Jones started out his sailing career sailing a slaver but he could not tolerate the slave trade so he left it to do other kinds of trade and later to become the worst nightmare for the British Navy. The Brits never imagined being challenged on the high seas or in their home waters but John Paul Jones did both.

I wish people would stop trying to belittle the nation that has done so much good for the world. We have been the leaders in many of the advances that rest of the world has enjoyed. Americans are the number one source of personal charity in the world. We give to other countries from our own pockets more per citizen than any other nation.

If anyone thinks that freedom is this country is less than that of other countries than I suggest you go visit another nation and live there and write back to me and let me know how much freedom you are granted by their government because that’s the point of the Declaration of Independence, to declare that all men are created equal, and endowed with certain unalienable rights. We are the only nation to recognize that the freedom we have comes from God and from the people and not the government granting us our freedoms.

10:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC said;All the reputable studies I'm aware of indicate that no harm is done to children raised in same-sex households.

J_G says; name one.

(softball for ya Kelly:-)

10:25 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Kelly, you cannot both agree with me in regard to the role of the Preamble in interpreting the constitution and agree with the Dred Scott decision. Like most decisions of the Supremes, it was a decision based not on the law but on economic grounds. The Supremes simply wanted to protect Southern plantation owners. The Supreme Court of the US is for sale as we discovered in the first election of the notorious "I'm a war president" George Bush.

The fact is, as far as I have been able to determine, being a male homosexual is not something on chooses to be though heterosexuals might experiment with it for one reason or another. Either one’s genes determine this or some combination of genes and very early childhood development experiences occurring long before the age of consent. That much is perfectly clear to anyone who investigates the issue. The idea that the incredibly handsome men who are gay who could physically attract any woman they might want and who seem to have no disqualifying personality issues would choose to be homosexual with all the hassles that entails is ridiculous. No, beyond ridiculous.

When one of my married best friends outed himself it seemed that every time we talked about when he realized he was gay it got earlier and earlier in his life. He CHOOSE to act as if he were heterosexual and married a very attractive woman. But his being gay was never a choice for him. Not long after he outed himself, my wife, my daughter, he, and his son of like age to my daugher, and I went to a theme park near Cincy and at one point while waiting to get on a ride, I saw him gazing someplace. I looked and saw that he was looking at a good looking male the way I looked at good looking females. That was a telling experience for me.

You disappointment, Kelly, in being unable to understand a counterfactual claims. I said that men "would never tolerate an intrusion into their lives of this magnitude," "this magnitude" constraining the right of a woman to an abortion. My counterfactual claim cannot be refuted by facts of the sort you give. Men feel free to fuck up women's lives any way they feel like it, as violence against women shows, and as laws restricting the right of women to vote or own property(at one time here not so long ago, and currently in many other countries), etc. Laws against abortion are another instance of this. There are clearly other issues involved in the later case but we are as a society at a standstill on this controversy and will be until safe abortion meds become cheap and easily available legally or illegally. Women have always gotten abortions when they wanted them at least in the modern world after it was figured out how they could be done. Many women died thanks to misused coat hangers. When you are willing to say that it is okay for women who desperately want an abortion (because they are 12 years old and were raped by their fathers or any other reason) to die from illegal abortions to keep some fetuses alive, you really have no moral argument.

1:41 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Oh, J_G, I thought you believed that we should be equal. Are you showing other colors again? Am I going to have to call out the B word for you, too?

Irregardless of that, you're asking a question that's too easy to answer. How about the one released today?

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute - a nonpartisan policy organization that deals in adoption issues - released a study based on overwhelming evidence showing that there is no reason that children should not be placed in gay households.

To quote Adam Pertman, Executive Director, "There's simply no credible research to indicate that children are harmed in any way when they're adopted by gay and lesbian parents, but there's lots of evidence to indicate that they do well in those homes. So, if we as a society believe that kids should be our primary concern, we have to put aside our prejudices and preconceived notions, and do the best we can for them."

You may read as much as you like on their website. http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/

Want more? Just let me know, I can find reams of it.

1:46 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

I'm an alien, I'm a legal a-lie-n, I'm an Amer'can in Ja-pan...

I'm not sure what protests exactly you're referring to, J_G, but I was kind of surprised by this, given the opinion of CNN's Lou Dobbs you've expressed previously (in a comment on my blog, I think); with this you could do a guest spot on his show and fit right in.

I was a little confused by the last as well: do you want to compare the "freedoms" enjoyed by citizens in the US with the rights the same people would have as legal aliens in another country? (If so, it's naturally and uninterestingly true that aliens will be afforded fewer rights than citizens. I cannot own land, vote or run for political office [although as I have recently noted on my blog, starting from April I will be the neighborhood association "block head", hee hee, representing eight households hereabouts, a rotating position official enough to have necessitated having my name submitted to City Hall]; my particular visa also places additional restrictions on my activities [I can't take a side job in the "water trade", for instance].) Or did you mean to compare the relative freedoms/rights enjoyed by citizens of different countries? Sorry, but it wasn't clear to me what you meant.

You're tired of hearing about slave-holders; I'm tired of hearing of unalienable rights endowed us by God. We have "freedoms" because the Founding Fathers got together and said we do and established a system to insure the perpetuation of that concept/belief. Let that system (our government) pass away and then let's see how quickly God steps in when someone comes along wanting to alienate you from your rights. (Word of advice: don't hold your breath.)

(Finally, are we going to crack down on single-parent households as well? That ain't natural, can't be good for the children! Look how I turned out.)

1:50 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Well J_G may be bored, but I’m just getting going. The 7 points laid out by Kelly have had me laughing my ass off since I read them yesterday, and I feel they need to be addressed fully.

1. Sin. Why is it a sin? I know God says it’s a sin, but why is it bad to him? It may be the height of arrogance to question a deity, but we were given free will, so I am employing it. I can understand why “Thou shalt not kill” etc. etc. is bad to God, but why this one? I’ve always wanted an explanation.

2. Loss of sphincter control. Oh wow. This one still makes me laugh like a hyena. Do you ACTUALLY believe this?? I know MANY gay people, none of whom have lost sphincter control, and I somehow still retain control of mine. This sounds like something someone told you when you were 10 (“Fagots loose control of their sphincter!!” “Ewww!!!”), and you still believe it. Time to stop.

3. “Gay bowel syndrome” is an HIV related set of conditions. If you want to use that as a reason gays are bad, you’re on seriously shaky ground, on so many levels. Firstly because that’s like saying renal failure caused by diabetes is a way straight people cause harm. Secondly, so called “Gay” bowel syndrome is now being experienced by millions of not gay people around the world, most of them women. Which leads us to the next point.

4. Disease spread. While I have no data on whether anal walls or vaginal walls absorb disease better, the point seems moot; they both do a pretty fine job. And it also becomes moot with one more little word; condom. Diseases don’t care if you’re gay or straight, they like everybody. Disease spread is a reason to promote safe sex, not a reason gays do harm. We’re in the same boat you are.

5. Gay men are promiscuous. This is the only one of the reasons you gave Kelly that isn’t completely ridiculous. Gay men are promiscuous, and when it becomes unhealthy it’s not, well, healthy. I’ve always explained it this way; men love sex, gay or straight. Women don’t like to have sex as much (not in every case, but generally). Straight men can’t have sex as often because women won’t have sex with them as often. Get two gay men together and they’ll be having sex 3-4 times a day, because that’s how many times generally ALL men would like to have sex. I am of course speaking in general terms; a good number of men out there would say that mold doesn’t fit them.

But I will make two points on this subject; first, you seem to be suggesting that gay men are unable to not be promiscuous, and that their promiscuity harms others. So let us marry. The ability to form committed relationships could help curb some of that promiscuity. I’m also not sure how that promiscuity hurt others. Can you elaborate on how you think it does? If it’s disease spread you’re worried about, I’ll use the word again; condom. Secondly, many men I know that are promiscuous have emotional issues, most of which are caused by their being raised in a society that views them as broken, sick, and unworthy of love. So they seek love and validation it in meaningless sex. Straight people do it too. I think this is more your fault though, and not a consequence of their being gay. So shame on you, you’re helping to cause homosexual promiscuity, you are doing harm.

6. Gay couples harming their kids. This is a massive red haring, and this is why. Bad parents harm children, I don’t care what classification of person you fall into. If you want to make the case that gays, as a group, cause harm and should therefore be denied rights you need to make that same case for single parents as well. They are subjecting their kids to harm by getting divorced (but what about widowed parents…?), by not quickly getting remarried, or by not giving their kids to a male/female family to raise. To make the argument that a male/female household is the best possible way to raise children, and therefore it is the only way that is acceptable, all others do harm, is disrespectful to every good single and gay parent out there, and is fear mongering boot. The “What about the children???” line is used to needlessly scare people constantly, it’s cheap.

7. APA under duress. I, like Pastry Chief, want to understand more about this. What duress? And this duress has gone on for over 30 years? A group of religiously motivated mental health doctors who feel pressured by the APA to say homosexuality is not a mental illness doesn’t support this claim either. Ulterior motives taint their position. Also, what criteria are you using for mental illness? With the right criteria heterosexuality could be a mental illness, as could love, and a number of other things we don’t consider a mental illness. You also state that “it does cause psychological harm,” and I would counter by saying no, YOU cause psychological harm, by perpetuating the myth that homosexuals are sick and by then telling them that they’re sick. It’s cruel, and cruel things cause harm.

Fear based arguments (which pretty much all of these are) are cheap, especially when they’re based on such shoddy logic. “Fear the gays! Look at all the terrible things that go on in gay land!!” People, gay or straight, do harmful things, and those individuals should be held accountable, and our efforts to prevent that harm should be directed toward the individual. Homosexuality is the cause of the day, and it’s gaining momentum, because we are an oppressed group who's time has come. Just as the judge tried ridiculously to use the Declaration of Independence to rationalize Dred Scott, so does the anti homosexual movement use ridiculous rationales to promote their position. I’ll say it one more time; we are human beings just like you are, our actions are neither better nor worse than yours are. To deny us the same rights as you enjoy is discrimination and bigotry.

PS I reject the complement given before. That you think so little of me and other gay people vastly outweighs any half complement that could be given. You may be a lovely person in many ways Kelly, but in this bigoted way you are evil. I don’t take complements from evil people.

1:54 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Having read your comment, Sean, I have come to a conclusion.

Kelly is a forum troll who perpetuates bullshit. You and I are consistently, successfully trolled by Kelly. I, for one, am irked by this but certainly don't intend to change my tactics. His fairydust notions of why he's superior and some arbitrarily chosen other group is inferior need to be called out and shown for what they are every time he parades them around like some debutante's hairdo.

And when I say he perpetuates bullshit, I mean that in the sense that Harry G. Frankfurt does. Kelly neither cares whether he's right nor wrong, he simply wants his preferred belief system to prevail regardless of its validity. He's the kind of person who suppresses science even though it leads to human suffering and death. Because he doesn't care about anything but his ideology.

In a way, it's a bit humbling to realize it's taken this long for me to come to this conclusion. Still, I will continue to call bullshit on Kelly, as you should, whenever we see him perpetuating it.

2:19 PM

Blogger Mr K said...

To be honest Kelly, I suspect ultimately your opposition of homosexuality comes from a religious viewpoint, and all the other points are merely reaching... on the dangerous sex point, will point out that this does not refer to homosexuality- lesbians, for example, have the safest kind of sex around, so they should be able to get married- and by this argument sodomy should be banned, which I would have to disagree with.

On the religious front... well the hatred of gays in the Bible only comes from a very literal reading- there are not a huge number of direct references, one in Leviticus, one, I think, in a letter from Paul, and one arguably about Sodom. However, if one was to believe everything in the bible then one would be a wife beating arsehole, with a very depressing view of God. A completely literal reading of the bible portrays God as a psychopath.

So ultimately it comes down to deciding which parts of the bible are inspired by God, and which are inspired by the prejudice of those who wrote it. The church has moved on on sex, and on race, and it WILL move on on sexuality, as soon as it sees the wind blowing hard enough. Like it or not, gay people are here to stay, and denying them rights is unfair.

Oh, on a random note, LG, I was reading somewhere the other day (How Mumbo Jumbo conquered the world by Francis Wheen), that apparently Shariah law is not in fact a direct reading of the Koran- certain rules, like apostay, are not mentioned at all. The rules were decided on by Muslim judges in the 10th(ish) century. Whether this is true or not, I know not, never having read the Koran, but if true it certainly is interesting.

It's really unfair to call anyone as literate as Kelly a troll. If you start using those terms, ultimately anyone who believes differently you to is a troll...

2:39 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

"Gays are citizens and entitled to the same rights as everyone else end of story."
I agree with this. The difference lies in what some people seem to think these rights are.

(I originally wrote more responding to the homosexuality issues, but I have deleted it.)

"I don’t take complements from evil people."
If that's the case, then you don't take compliments from anyone. All people are evil in one way or another. I'm sorry that we can't agree on the nature of homosexuality beyond the choice aspect.

I do like the idea that only those people affected by a law should vote on it, at least at first. But when you think of how this principle could be extended, the results could be scary. I think it's wise that we allow everyone to vote on everything.

As to the point on illegal immigrants, I think it's a problem that needs to be addressed. I disagree with you, JG, in that I think for the most part even the illegals want to be integrated into society. But we have immigration laws for a good reason, and the blatant violation of them undermines respect for the law as a whole. The correction for this situation, however, eludes me.

LG, I respectfully dissent from your statements on the Dred Scott case. It is an entirely reasonable position to think that slaves were not intended when they refered to all men, just as it is reasonable to think that they did not include women. Looking at it from the position in history where we are now, it seems silly, but in the first half of the 19th century I don't think it would have seemed silly at all.

Ibadairon, the best way to answer your question is to say that I find the evidence in favor of the evolutionary model persuasive. My view of epistemology places observation above reason. By that I mean that if something doesn't add up, then your reasoning is wrong. This naturally extends to the conclusion that the creation account is not meant to be literally interpreted. Revelation (not the book, the route to knowledge) is, in my mind, on relatively equal footing with observation. But our interpretations of revelation can easily be incorrect, and our interpretations (our reason) must yield to observation. A perfect example is the flat Earth theory.

2:42 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

"It's really unfair to call anyone as literate as Kelly a troll. If you start using those terms, ultimately anyone who believes differently you to is a troll..."
It's interesting to note that a friend of mine called Ibadairon a troll in re his comments on my first euthanasia post. We were in agreement that he is clearly an intelligent person, but the discussion went to the definition of trolling. The most obvious sign of trolling is changing the topic, but I think almost everyone does that from time to time, troll or otherwise. But I think that calling someone a troll just because they disagree with you is not a good route to go.

2:58 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Hello Kelly,

What are the rights you disagree on?

"(I originally wrote more responding to the homosexuality issues, but I have deleted it.)" Thank you for letting us know, now what did you say?

"I think that calling someone a troll just because they disagree with you is not a good route to go." I was under the impression that PC was calling you a troll because you "simply want (your) preferred belief system to prevail regardless of its validity" and that leads you to make constant trolling statements, not because you merely disagree with him. To dismiss it as "calling someone a troll just because they disagree with you" is to miss the point completely. It may help you sleep better at night to think "oh, they just disagree, those silly people", but it goes far beyond that. Your entire basis of logic is flawed, and it's leading you to incorrect conclusions, incorrect through observation (revelation is bullshit, read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason", he gives a good account as to why) and incorrect in execution.

So diminish the situation as much as you like, rationalize away all of the problems, but hopefully one day it will seep into your skull that your ideas are hurting rather than helping, and your proof is sitting right here.

3:17 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

The only right that I disagree on is the right to marry anyone you choose. Somebody in another thread made the comment that it's not "gay" marriage, it's "same sex" marriage. They intended to further their argument that "same sex" marriage should be allowed, but it actually hurts the cause, just like saying that Article V of the Constitution is an argument in favor of a "living Constitution" method of interpretation. If you don't understand, allow me to explain. If it's just "same sex" marriage that you want, then why does homosexuality bear on the issue at all? In fact, if you want this argument, I would argue that this would hurt women because they don't make as much money as men, and allowing two high-earning men to marry has a discriminatory effect on women.

I also don't think you should get special treatment in any way because you are homosexual. You should be treated the same way as everyone else. You can marry any woman who would agree to it. I don't think employers should be allowed to discriminate against homosexuals, but I also don't think they should be allowed to discriminate against smokers, diabetics, or Nascar fans. It has no bearing on employment qualifications.

As to revelation being "bullshit," that's your opinion. It's not something susceptible of argument. I don't think that espousing a particular form of epistemology is trolling. I don't see how observation necessarily leads to any conclusion as to homosexuality either.

And no, I won't tell you what I typed. I don't want hard feelings any more than there already are. In any event, it was a response to some of the criticisms of the list of harms of homosexuality that you requested.

3:34 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

"I also don't think you should get special treatment in any way because you are homosexual. You should be treated the same way as everyone else. You can marry any woman who would agree to it."

You and your talking points never cease to be repetitive. This just insults our intellence, Kelly. We're smarter than that, and I'm surprised you think otherwise. This isn't about special rights, and no talking point can make it true. It's about marrying the person you love.

I would say the right to marry the person you love is only special when someone who has the right denies it to someone else. It's a right you have that you staunchly deny to people like me. That is bigotry, and you are a bigot of the first order.

Your attempts to intellectualize your bigotry do nothing more than show how desperate you are to avoid the label and perpetuate the harm you continue to spread.

4:24 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Ok, we got a little more out of you, "it was a response to some of the criticisms of the list of harms of homosexuality that you requested." What was your response? Your little tid bits are like someone saying “I have a secret, but I can’t tell you what it is *giggle*.” They say it for attention and for power, and by “they” I mean children.

And there can't be any more hard feelings than there are, Kelly, don't stop talking now. You've basically placed me, my friends, and every man I've ever loved on the same plane as animal rapists, alcoholics and the mentally ill, it doesn't get worse than that. So speak your mind.

I'm not going for any of your arguments on the “gay” vs. “same sex” marriage front. I was always under the impression that you marry someone because you love them, all the ancillary benefits that come after that merely help in making the life you build together easier to manage, such as tax codes, joint ownership of property and hospital visitation/decision rights. I could marry any woman I chose to, who also chose to marry me, but that's not the point of marriage. I don't want "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage", I want "marriage", to marry the person I love. End of story.

You've attempted before to make the argument that since I can marry any woman who would marry me back, I do have equal rights, and to allow me to marry a man would be special rights, because you wouldn’t want to do that and why should I get to do something you don’t want to do? It is pseudo logic that drives your argument though, again filled with assumptions and fallacies. It’s like saying that everyone gets to marry white people, they get to marry them equally, any white person who will marry them back is fair game. But you can’t marry black people, no matter how much you may love that black person. To get to do so would be special rights, special rights protecting Those Who Love Black People, and that would be unfair to those who don’t love black people, making a mockery out of their white person marrying institution. It’s insane. I SHOULD be treated the same way as everyone else, just as you said. I should be allowed to marry the person I love. THAT is real equality.

Revelation as bullshit is my opinion and the opinion of many others, for many hundreds of years. Dismiss it as merely my “opinion” all you like, or actually look at the arguments against revelation that support my opinion and make an informed decision. I already sited one source, you can start there.

The part of your argument about men and women's income brings to mind my own little Latin phrase; post hoc ergo propter hoc. Men make more than women, ergo two men marrying would harm women. Shoddy logic. Fix the wage disparity, a disparity that is ridiculous, for that is the real issue there, not marriage of same sex couples. Not only that, but again I thought marriage was about love not socio-economic standing. Also, by your same logic we should not allow a man and a woman who are both independently wealthy to marry, because that is harmful to couples who are not independently wealthy. This feels more like you’re grasping for straws, trying to come up with anything you can that would make same sex marriage a bad thing since no really good reason exists.

I’m think PC has a point; I think you get some sick thrill out of putting up these silly posts that are so filled with lapses in intelligence and logic, riling up those of us who don’t like such lapses. Perhaps this is a ploy for attention, I have no idea. But, I had the time yesterday morning and today, so I don’t mind paying attention to you for now.

4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK PC, I was just checkin to see if you wuz blowing smoke out you butt or what. I know the studies. I was tossing one out to Kelly to see if he would call you on it like I did. I did my time standing up for the rights of the LGBT community now it’s time for me to talk about sumpin else. You can call me a bitch if you like but as we were discussin before there are consequences to speech like or not. I’ve accepted that because as you all can see I’m just human like everyone else.

Ron (lots of splainin to do here Lootzy), the somewhat unsuccessful protests I was referring to were staged in Milwaukee and Atlanta and there was supposed to be protests staged in every major city but those two were the only ones with numbers significant enough to report on the news. Atlanta barely had enough to make the news. Philly was supposed to have a protest a week ago but no one bothered to show up for that one either. They were supposed to be protesting the new laws that are coming through Congress as we speak. You know the new laws ol’ Aunty Hill was tooting about yesterday saying Jesus wouldn’t like them very much (blog post coming up on that one in the next day or so) The new laws are designed to change immigration back to what it was intended to be; orderly and fair with intent on assimilating to our culture not the other way around. The intent is also on collecting the taxes that have not been paid by both the employers and the illegals. You’ve been away far too long to see the havoc that’s being caused by over 11 million (as of today) illegals on our healthcare, education and other social services by people that do not belong here. They are already criminals deserving deportation according to our laws. I have no problem with orderly immigration but that’s not what is going on. My ancestors came here because they were being starved by the British during the potato famine in Ireland in the early 1850’s. They had to go through the process of becoming citizens and these illegals should have to also.

My references to rights as citizens were meant to say that only in the US is it that the people retain the rights and not the government according to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US. In all other countries the government is the one that grants rights if there are any. In the US our rights are God given and I'm not too worried about God intervening because it happens even if you are can't recognize it. Do you like Ben Franklin, yeah, everyone likes Ben, and how you could not like such a sage of a person. These are the thoughts of Ben Franklin expressed at the Constitutional Convention of 1789 about God’s involvement in the formation of the Government and the Country.
"I've lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth —That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, —and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and Bye word down to future Ages."

Think you’re better informed than ol’ Benny? No answer required.
Although I’ve tried to get this point across before but I was assailed by a misinformed lunatic that Benny’s thoughts didn’t count because he was a slave owner like the rest of the founders, hence my references to the founders not being disqualified for being astute enough to form a nation even if some of them did own slaves at the time. By the by or is that bi, whatever, Ben never owned a slave and was actually the big cheese behind abolition.

7:35 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

(Damn, I forgot whoa-oh at the beginning of my Sting quote!)

Uhm, J_G, I think he meant "Bigot". Anyway, CNN finally got around to covering the protests you mentioned. (And Lou was, predictably, positively priapic.) I don't consider myself in the same league as Benjamin Franklin, but I do have the benefit of two hundred years more of historical perspective. Although ahead of his time he was still a man of his times, and I would speculate that he was speaking to his audience (i.e., in terms familiar & agreeable to them), but I don't know enough about the context of that particular quote. So I'll just (mis)quote more lyrics, Tina Turner this time:

What's God got to do, got to do with it? (Not such a misquote if you agree with the Pope, that God = Love, eh!)

As for the US being the only country where the people retain the political power, keep in mind that we helped the locals over here rewrite their constitution after assisting in their urban renewal efforts (by clearing vast tracts of land for development!), so strictly speaking that claim may not be true; I'll have to check the exact wording but the Emperor is now just a symbol of the nation, not the source of power.

Let's see, what next? Ah, yes, trolling. A much misused word. A true troll intends to create chaos and disrupt discussion. I don't know that I would agree that anyone here fits that definition. (But of course only each of you knows what lies in your heart of hearts. Personally, I prefer to style myself a gadfly.)

On to Kelly:

My view of epistemology places observation above reason. ... Revelation (not the book, the route to knowledge) is, in my mind, on relatively equal footing with observation.

My but that was a pretty one! The choice to use revelation (in lieu of insight or intuition) is a bit transparent given your basic beliefs (and presumed agenda), but leaving the conclusion ("Revelation is above Reason") unstated is simply brill. Bravo!

But maybe I'm reading into that more than was intended? Let's try this then: Observation (objective, reproducible data) trumping reason (theoretical connecting of the dots [data points]) is the key to scientific progress. Revelation (an event occurring between two ears) is subjective and (usually?) non-reproducible. The two cannot be compared and the latter is essentially irrevelant...er, irrelevant to anyone but the person experiencing it. (Just a thought or two which grew out of the fertile [or fertilizer? ; ) ] direction in which Sean had already taken this.)

I do like the idea that only those people affected by a law should vote on it, at least at first. But when you think of how this principle could be extended, the results could be scary. I think it's wise that we allow everyone to vote on everything.

??? Specifics, clarifications, qualifications! God, mon petit, is in the details. What "results" other than that loss of control you seem to fear? (I'd touch on the sphincter thing, but that might be unwise, not knowing what reaction it might provoke.)

All people are evil in one way or another.

I reject this categorically. (Or universal-quantificationally?) We're all damaged goods, we all fail to live up to our potentials, we all hurt ourselves and each other. The only evil is not trying to become better. But if you want to define human as evil, that's fine with me, it's your mental prison. But don't expect me to become your cellmate voluntarily. (Just in case, I call bottom bunk. Figure you'd want top anyway, nearer thy god to thee, and all that.)

As for homosexuality, it's so "been there, done that!" Er, I mean, in terms of discussion here of its origins and ramifications. Ditto for marriage (Abolish it!) and abortion (Fund med-tech development & social support and render the question moot!). We've reached an impasse so let's move on to something else.

And now, it being a beautiful Saturday morning here, I think I'm going to go outside and turn the ground in the veggy patch. We all have to cultivate our gardens....

(Besides, Larry King is on and he's got Laura Bush as guest and if I hear her recommend Condi as a candidate for 2008 again I swear I'll soil myself.)

9:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait til you hear aunty Hillith's obserdvations over at nfsd later this weekend, it will make you lustith for Condi . Hillith has found the Lord and she's comin to git ya. Hillith speakith saith the Lord.

"I don't consider myself in the same league as Benjamin Franklin, but I do have the benefit of two hundred years more of historical perspective." "Tough crowd"- Comicus at the palace.

10:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that my keel has righted itself I apologize to LG and the rest for my uncalled for and profane outburst. It was totally unChristian like behavior and I was wrong to let my emotions take control. Jennifer

10:12 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Iste "Comicus in Palatio", de quo dicis, quis est? Hominem non novi.

Condi libidoque? "Casta est, quam nemo rogavit."

4:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've beem staying out of this conversation, because you all are so much more talented w/the words then I am, so it's better for me to listen.
But, I am wondering why this homosexual thing keeps cropping up? & I want to point out one theological concept that has been touched upon (ref. "all people are evil, etc..") that I think has alot to do w/basic philosophical disagreements between secular thinkers & loyal Christian thinkers.

That is; the concept that man is born with a sin nature (inherently bad) & must be redeemed.
My mother a devout fundamentalist Christian, abbours her human nature & sees everyone that has not been redeemed as 'bad' & on their way to hell, w/no hope unless they get on the right path. As I am a secular humanist in my thinking, you can imagine how we differ in our veiws. We see things in a whole diff. perspective.
I don't know if my arguments make her stronger in her faith (I suspect it confirms to her how far I've fallen & how intrenched in sin, I am) but, her arguments help me realize how Christians are trained to think.
I have to admire Kelly for sticking to his guns in his desire to be the best person he can be. (Oh course that goes for everyone else, too.)

But Kelly, from a Christian perspective it just comes down to 'God says it's wrong, therefore I believe it's wrong.' You Christians don't even have to prove it's wrong w/any logic at all.You got the Book that has all the answers. (The book of revelations shows that the proof is in the pudding, anyway, right?)

Kelly, as a Christian all you have to do is believe, right? You are going to leave this discussion w/ the 'Word of the One True God' in your pocket, anyway. I don't see why you continue, unless prehaps there is some doubts in your own heart. In that case, carry on...

And... there is the desire to merge the religious w/the secular. I tried to do it myself when I was religious. But, since i had no faith & couldn't believe I was lousy as a Christian.

Lawyers win arguments, real Christians don't have too.

1:46 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Sorry! That last comment wasn't anonymous it was me.

1:47 PM

Blogger Copernicus Now said...

"5. Statistically, gay men are incredibly more promiscuous than any other subgroup identified by sex and sexual preference. I understand that this doesn't hold true in every case, but as a rule it is very harmful."

There may be a perverse grain of truth in the argument that "gay men are more promiscuous than any other subgroup". I remember a world in which it was perfectly respectable to vilify, attack, disparage and humiliate gays. Not just respectable, but only proper. Gays could lose their jobs for the crime of being gay. Gays could go to jail for the crime of being gay. And if somebody thumped a fag or two, who really minded? I remember a world where gays had to hide what they are and who they are. They had to hide from us. They even had to hide from themselves. It was a nazi-like world of not so long ago. The nazis were us. Still are, in many cases. We were the top-secret branch of the KKK. We were so damn secret, we didn't know it ourselves. We saw ourselves as respectable, enlightened people.

As far as I can see, gays lived in a world where trying to have open committed 2-person (gay) relationships was not particularly encouraged. As far as I can see, gays lived for ages in a world where underground relationships, uncommitted relationships, involving fleeting encounters, were the safest relationships. (Unless of course they were willing to marry the opposite sex and try to live the straight life.)

If there is any truth to the statement that "...Statistically, gay men are incredibly more promiscuous than any other subgroup...", I suspect it has more to do with being driven into that behavior by a hostile society that has insisted on marginalizing gays. The apparent fact of gay promiscuity should be considered an argument in favor of encouraging gays to form committed 2-person (gay) relationships, and not as an argument to the contrary.

10:25 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

copernicus, my buddy mentioned in the original blog told me when we discussed promiscuity that gays were so far from being acceptable to the middle class that they saw no virtue to buying into the middle class value against promiscuity so they didn't. Then came Aids. Sadly my buddy and his long time partner both died of Aids thanks to this promiscuity. The emergence of Aids did tend to lead to the formation of relationships based on permanence and fidelity and I suspect this has been one of the factors leading to a push for same-sex marriage.

7:30 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I will only comment on two things.

Copernicus: that's a very interesting theory, and there may be something to it. I've never heard it before and that's why i wanted to say "Thank you" for saying it.

L>T said: "Kelly, as a Christian all you have to do is believe, right?"
L>T, believing is no small thing, and generally it's more difficult to have faith in something you can't see than to believe in something that you can see. It takes a lot more courage, I think (certainly not intending to demean anyone by that). I just wanted to say that because it sounds like you belittle belief.

9:45 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

O sola fide
in Filio Dei,
ego credo, credo quia

[to be sung to the tune of "O sole mio"]

(I like to imagine ole "All Faith & No Fruits" humming that to himself as Nero had him dragged away.)

Someone has to belittle it, if only to maintain the balance of the world.

10:59 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

"Someone has to belittle it, if only to maintain the balance of the world."

I suppose that's true. The world would be pretty boring if everyone agreed on everything. I only said it because I don't know if l>t intended to belittle belief.

11:43 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I guess you could say that I belittle faith.
I think it's overrated.
Faith is a fine thing as long you are a Christian?

1:56 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

To elaborate, worthless if you are Muslim or homosexual. :)

2:02 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Now I'm really interested in what you meant about faith being worthless to a Muslim. What exactly do you mean by that?

2:06 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

That was a tongue in cheek statement.
I meant in regards to Muslims;
since Christian people think their way is the only way, what is the use of faith to any other religion?
In regards to homosexuals;
since Christians think homos are 'bad' on their way to hell, (however you want to word it) what is the point of faith? From your perspective.

8:44 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I think the error in your second line of thinking (on homosexuals) is that to most Christians homosexuals are no different from anyone else. Sin is sin and we all have our own vices, and like homosexuality a person's susceptibility to a vice probably largely stems from genetics and early childhood experiences. The problem with homosexuality in today's world, to me and most other Christians, is the attempt by many people to say that it's not a sin and that it's OK, and even to the point of celebrating it. To us, it's no different from accepting and celebrating alcoholism or any other kind of extra-marital sex. It's the emphasis on homosexuality in today's society that makes it seem like it has been elevated to the level of an extra-bad sin.

In short, to most Christians (including me) homosexuals are no more hellbound than anyone else, unless they treat it as if it's not a bad thing. Faith could do a lot to help them, and even a practicing, proud homosexual could in theory go to heaven--I don't know all the rules and I'm not here to judge, but I am here to let the world know what the Bible says about it.

12:34 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I guess I must be talking about the unrepentant ones.

I suppose if there are any Christian homosexuals that feel like you do, then at least they can have hope that they'll be rescued from their sinful life.

I notice that there are some Christian churchs made up of homosexuals & some ministers that acually perform marriage ceremonys for them.
Not only proud & unrepentant, but even promoting it. In other words, 'celebrating it'.

Kelly, I think homosexuals are here to stay. AIDS, (the scourge that some christians say God struck them down with) didn't even wipe them out. Not only that they've found a toe-hold in your religion.

(I wonder if there are any homosexual Muslim mosques?)

Not only do I belittle faith, I belittle belief. It's just a choice, it doesn't make anything 'true' & when religious people use their faith & belief to try to drum people out of society, justify murder, or think certain people are worthy of hell, it galls me.
Religion does more to seperate human beings then it does to bring them together.

12:41 PM

Blogger Lil said...

l>t, if I knew your address I would send you the book The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.

Whether you agree or disagree with many of his points, I can almost guarantee you will enjoy it-- not only does much of what you say remind me of his major thesis, but you seem to be always looking for more information. www.samharris.org

5:46 PM

Blogger Lil said...

Kelly, I read your words. I'd like to give you a quick opinion.

Maybe you aren't aware of it, but when you write, "I'm not here to judge..." but preclude that statement with, "To us, it's no different from accepting and celebrating alcoholism or any other kind of extra-marital sex" some readers will construe this as completely contradictory. Why? Well, so much of what you write does seem judgemental to many of your readers. If you aim to reach a wide audience and enter into real information gathering, then you should be very aware of this.

I realize that now I'm judging you and the circle of judging gets wound up tighter and tighter. Still, when you say something like, "I'm not here to judge," you are setting a high standard that is totally impossible for any human to achieve. You do judge, Kelly. And so do I. And so does everyone, unfortunately. And one of the first steps towards counterblancing those judgements is to understand where our biases come from and to be aware of the words we choose and how they may impact others. Why do you think journalism is so hard?

What does judgement really mean to you? Do you separate your legal concept of judgment with your biblical faith in who and how to judge?

Of course, all of this could be irrelevant: you, "...are here to let the world know what the Bible says about it [homosexuality]." In this case, perhaps you do not care how your words are perceived. Perhaps, you are really only here to proselytize?

Did I say it would be quick? eek! But at least I spelled proselytize right. err... did I?

6:06 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I think you did in fact spell the word correctly. Your comment made me smile. I've heard that before, and I see why someone would interpret it that way. But saying that an action is wrong is a far cry from saying that the actor is going to hell. Judging by your language, it seems that you understand this, or at least that you understand that the statements are not inherently contradictory.

I do judge, just like everyone else. But I try not to. And to some extent I am proselytizing, as my religion requires me to do.

9:25 PM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

Kelly, you beat me to it in your response to Lil. I was going to write nearly the same thing.

This is confusing for a lot of people. Christians especially are confused about what it means to not judge others.

11:02 PM

Blogger Lil said...

Thats a very fine hair that you are splitting. But, I do see your point.

7:19 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

SusieQ: sorry, if I'd known you were going to say it I would have let you, only because I like you so much. :)

Hair-splitting? I'm calling bullshit on that. I know you said you see my point, but this is not hair-splitting. Distinguishing between act and actor is no different than distinguishing between argument and arguer. You're expected to distinguish between the latter two or else you are making ad hominem arguments. It's no different from distinguishing between the former two.

9:44 AM

Blogger Lil said...

You can write your expletive in bold all you want, but:

I think it's splitting hairs if a lot of people, as SusieQ stated, even Christians, are confused by the difference. If it was so clear cut, then why the confusion? And if it's not splitting hairs then you should be able to represent yourself in a fashion that is easily understood; as it stands you are not doing so, and many feel that you do, in fact, judge others and not just their actions.

Naw-- splitting hairs means the difference is negligible: it's not stating that there is no difference, but rather that people cannot readily see that difference. And I'm stating to you that your words are interpreted as judgement, on actions and on people, and if you think that others' perceptions are irrelevant then so be it. Hmmm.. but then again, I am starting to get the impression that you aren't real interested in people's perceptions but only God's. Would that be accurate? No, wait, nevermind-- I'm dropping the issue.

now, go ahead and boldy say all you want. ;) heheh

1:30 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

In fact I am interested in what other people have to say. I was calling BS because it is BS, even though some people may not be able to see the difference.

I do understand that I may not be making my positions as clear as possible, and I thank you for pointing that out. If anyone was unclear, I do not condemn people, only actions.

2:12 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

This might not make any sense to anyone except me, but, keep in mind Christians have had 2,000 years (more or less, in case some one wants to split hairs) to grow said hair.
So, they have plenty of hair to split.

This puts a new spin on the Samson/Delilah saga. :)

5:59 PM


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