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September 21, 2004

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» Mawwiage from Utopian Hell
{Hugo Schwyzer} wrote an excellent post yesterday about a couple of gay women that he knew when he was a children, and his observations. One of his conservative commenters and I got into a discussion about just why it is wrong for Gays and Lesbians. ... [Read More]

Comments

Amanda

People who scream and tear their hair about children being exposed to gays and lesbians are either really ignorant or using children to justify their bigotry. Well, it's usually a combination of both. Kids accept gay people as a matter of course, unless you make a big deal out of it.
It makes me really sad to see children who would otherwise not think much of it be taught bigotry by well-meaning parents who are "protecting" them.

Lauren

I have several gay friends, male and female, with whom Ethan has regular contact. I hope someday he'll grow up to realize just how important they are to us as a family.

Hugo

If they are anything like the lesbian couples I knew as a child, Ethan will.

Love conquers bigotry every time.

John

Love conquers bigotry every time.

Well, it looks like the six weeks of reaching out to understand the other fellow were short-lived.

JM

My friends Ann and Jane (not their real names) have a 12yo son. He's been in soccer and baseball since he was old enough to toddle, and Ann is the _best_ coach's assistant/coordinator of kid's activities/etc on the planet (in fact, she was asked to coach a t-ball team this year, despite the fact that she no longer has a t-ball aged kid!). Everyone loves Ann -- parents, kids, dogs, everyone. When she's at a game, the younger siblings of the boys on the team all go sit with her, want to do everything she does. Their parents love her for providing them the break. :) Anyway, one day at a baseball game one of the littler siblings of the older boys was sitting on Ann's lap and he looked up and all of a sudden said "do you have a husband?" Ann, Jane, myself, Jane's parents (we're a good cheering section) did the collective "oh crap, how do we handle the whole 'explain the gay thing/donor sperm/no husband' talk while sitting in the bleachers" intake of breath, and Ann calmly pointed to Jane and said "I don't have a husband, I have a Jane." Jane smiled and waved, and the little boy thought for a second and said. "Oh. Ok. Do you want to play catch now?" I _love_ kids.

joe

Let me start by saying, to me, homosexuality is both a perversion and a pathological state. I would like to hear the argument of just how a homosexual gene, or combination of genes, continually propagates into a “new species”. I understand folks are born with pathologies and these pathologies can be carried down into later generations. Their eventual prevalence I believe can largely be determined (intentional or accidental) by future breading—which makes me wonder, if homosexuals cannot bread amongst themselves, what is the factor that carries on a set of “homosexual genes” if it is not a perversion? I am not sure this discussion was meant to cover the “born gay” theory.

What Hugo refers to as bigotry, I am sure is based in fear. I believe this same fear is generated by people living in a democracy. In a democracy, people can chose what society should entail. Folks here are permissive of homosexuality, and the folks over there are not permissive of homosexuality. Fear is in not knowing if one is getting their way. Hugo my call me a bigot because I don’t want homosexuals in my society. If that is the case, then Hugo, from my perspective, is a bigot concerning my way of life. What escalates these fear are when society has to make decisions on what they aught to be. Liberals and homosexuals fear that if a vote today were to forever band homosexuality, they would lose. So they continuously try to get their foot further into the door namely by calling people bigots or simply flashing the intolerance card (similar to the race card). Is the opposite of bigotry, tolerance of everything—ones mind wide open, with ass ready to receive (no pun intended).

Hugo, surely your are tolerant of the self-determination of a society. Is your fear rooted in a society not being set up your way? My way of life doesn’t include homosexuality, nor do I want it in the society I belong to. So I chose to vote against it, do I not have that right? Does this make me a bigot?

Reading back on what I have written… “way of life or living” seems to be the best descriptor of homosexuality. They are not a race, ethnic group, regional group, gender(spare me a pseudo gender), they are not a “people”, nothing defines them as such! They are defined strictly by an act (hence the conservative jokes like I want to marry my dog, I want multiple wives etc., though some may be serious).

And Amanda,

Yes I believe I am protecting my children. Like you wanting to protect the masses from aggressive advertising. I guess we have taken a switch! Come to think of it, this is probably why my parents were disciplinarians(though I never remember homosexual education a topic—it was a given I guess) I believe people protect their children from the things they view as a threat i.e. drugs, rock n’ roll, pornography, violence(movies, games etc.), and even homosexuality. What these all have in common is a potential threat to ones way of life or living.

Amen John (I don't mean to pull you into my club)


Hugo

I suspect, Joe, that John will not be willingly roped into your club. Joe, normally I don't make fun of people's typos, but frankly, I find your comments so offensive I can't help it:

breading -- done to chicken before frying
breeding -- making babies.

There, I couldn't help it.

By the way, Joe, what act do lesbians and gay men both engage in that straight folks don't?

John,let me make clear what I mean by "bigotry." Bigotry says that Jane and Carla were bad influences on me because they were lesbians. Bigotry fears them.

One could say, without being a bigot, that Jane and Carla fell short of the mark, just like my parents' single friends who lived with their partners outside of marriage. Mind you, that's not my position. One can theologically object to same-sex unions while at the same time loving and respecting homosexual folks. Love doesn't necessarily change people's theology -- but it does stop the kind of bigotry that, frankly, Joe evinces for all of us.

John

I have met many gay people, and they all, without exception, have been lovely, gentle, kind and gracious to me. That is irrelevant to whether homosexual practise is moral or not. I taught Sunday School with a lovely man who ran off with another woman and left his wife and son. Another mate of mine had pre-marital sex. Do I love them still? Yes, of course I do. Do I hate them? No. Do I approve of their choices? Hell No! Will I vote to declare any of them valid? No again. The argument you are making, Hugo, is weak: "But Phyllis and Del/ Julian and Quentin are so nice. Surely that means God/We should approve of them". It was lovely that they baby-sat you with the sailboat, just like it was lovely that my adulterous colleague taught 7 year old boys, and very well. But it doesn't give the rest of their lives a hallowed cloak of automatic sanctity. Likewise, the implication that because I believe gay sex to be immoral that I am attacking a person, or somehow opposing all goodness and kindness is offensive. All the "But they're so nice" argument does is engage in irrelevant emotional blackmail. They're lovely people. So what? I'm a nice person, but I sin all the time. I commit unnatural, depraved and immoral acts every single day, and sometimes I make excuses for myself too. But I'm not trying to pass my faults off as normal, because they aren't. It's my own lack, not anyone else's.

John

Sorry, Hugo, just saw your last. I think that gay and lesbian couples can be a bad influence on children. Of course, not more than many straight couples, but my position is that gay and lesbian adoptions treat as normal a way of life which is not, and any unit which puts a child in that position is wrong. The research is clear-A two-parent, married family is best for children. I'm sorry if I sound strident, I don't mean to be. I feel very strongly that children need a Mum and a Dad, especially since I have children in my class who have lost either or both, and they are never the same. Perhaps there might be situations in which homosexuals might be able to adopt children as a lesser-of-two-evils, but I'm having difficulty imagining it. Lastly, you are quite right about one thing; This Evangelical isn't going to be roped by anyone. I agree with some bits of what you say, Joe, but your tone needs some serious work. (That's rich, coming from me, I know, I know...)

Hugo

And I will say again, John, I don't think you're a bigot. I think Joe fairly clearly is by any understanding of the word. Indeed, your two comments juxtaposed illustrate the range of opinion that can exist on the conservative side.

Yours, John, is a theological objection -- one with which I strongly disagree, but one I respect as being rooted in Scripture. I can't say the same for Joe's, sadly.

The "Love conquers bigotry every time" line is too pat, too open to misinterpretation.

And lastly, I've got several teens in my youth groups who have gay parents, including a couple who were adopted at birth by gay couples. I don't believe in arguing from anecdotal evidence, but IF I did, I would say that they were just as normal (meaning just as screwy, loveable, and exasperatingly wonderful) as their peers raised in more traditional households. If they are suffering lasting psychic trauma, it isn't evident.

joe

Again, I do not want to pull John into my club. But what he has written is my point. I don't hate homosexuals and I don't persecute homosexuals. But I won't use euphemisms to soften my stance. I will not pretend their sexual behavior an example for society—that this is even God’s intent or even what he teaches/allows. Theology aside, I still don’t want their actions in my society.

Hugo, I can take poking fun of. :o) I think you are being intolerant of my views though, and simply labeling me a bigot.

Hugo

One definition of a bigot is someone who thinks that his personal likes and dislikes ought to be the basis of social policy. Civilized people are willing to live in proximity to those who practice different religions, lifestyles, and who love differently.

Newsflash, Joe: It's NOT your society.

John never, ever calls gay folks "pathological." His grace would be an example well worth following, Joe. Words matter.

joe

Oh, I agree Hugo in your definition of bigotry. I believe the vote is yet to come on things like gay marriage, society is yet to decide.

When I read your post, it also seems to me that you think everyone would just go along with your idea of society (you did use likes)- that no one could see it any other way. Which I think was John's point. You just threw out the theological argument as if it didn't exist or matter.

joe

concerning the term pathological. i guess i could use a neutral term to describe the state of homosexuality. however, i do not take a neutral stance on the issue, nor do i want to invoke such. if there is another term which doesn't invoke neutrality and that is to your liking, please tell. i won't resort to hate, but shame will work and should be acceptable.

DJW

I've got plenty of friends and colleagues who think that evangelicals are bad for society, and especially bad for children who have the misfortune to be raised by them, and who would be aesthetically and personally much happier if they didn't have to see those people and listen to what they say (or, at least, if they have to be evangelicals, they should have the decency to not flaunt it and shove it in our faces).
Evangelicals may claim that they don't have a choice, that God called them, but clearly they didn't have to listen. And there is no compelling evidence that there is some kind of evangelical gene, so clearly they do have a choice!

The difference between these people and Joe is that they understand that they have business trying to legislate their personal views on such matters.

(Personally? I think the empirical case against evangelicals is probably slightly better than the case against gays, but that's not saying much; they're both pretty unimpressive.)

DJW

*sigh*

The one missing word screws up the punchline pretty badly.

understand that they have no business trying to legislate their...

Aurora

The research is clear-A two-parent, married family is best for children.

Research has also shown that black people made excellent slaves because they're much too stupid and dangerous to be allowed any freedom.

Research has also shown that the Jew was dirty and conniving and a threat to the Aryan race.

Research has also shown that women who refused to marry and instead chose to remain single are mentally ill and should be institutionalized.

Are you getting it, yet?

Dig a little deeper. Go read Trish Wilson. You may find some interesting data on how well children do in certain activities with the father's involvement vs. the mother's, and how well children of single parent households do.

Astarte

This is why I fled Chritianity. Out here in the real world, we don't think that God's going to care what we do in our bedrooms with consenting adults. I mean, why would he? What's the point? Who really gives a damn, anyway?

And if everyone were to breed without any sort of contraception, do you realize how overfilled the earth would become? Perhaps this is nature's way of keeping us from making our own selves an endangered species.

Astarte

It's also why I fled Christianity. Chritianity is a lesser-known version.

John

Aurora: I have a BSc. I am well aware of the various uses of research, and the political agenda that shapes them. I work with all sorts of families, and many different sorts of kids: Sole parents, of both sexes, traditional families, families with no functional parents, and some kids who are Wards of the Crown, even. ("in care"). I think many sole parents do a great job, and I have done my best to support them in it. But I maintain that the two parent family is best. So does the following Sociological research, which is only scratching the surface, and not deeply Child Development, Vol. 74, pp. 801-821; David
Popenoe, Life Without Father (Harvard, 1996); Eleanor
Maccoby, The Two Sexes (Harvard, 1998); and Steven
Rhoads, Taking Sex Differences Seriously (Encounter,2004).

Both boys and girls need a Mum and a Dad. Other sorts of arrangements can approximate that structure, but never surpass it.

"Attempts to define the family as something other than a solemnized lifelong
union of man and woman which looks to the birth and nurture of children is bound to prove destructive. This claim is not a matter of attachment to a bygone cultural model which refuses to face facts, but
precisely a recognition of a fundamental truth: the family is the basic cell of human society not only because it is there that human life is born, but because it is there that children best learn the dispositions and skills which they require in order to grow into mature human beings capable of contributing to the common life and good of society. It is in the family that they best learn the truth of what it means to be a person endowed with intelligence and will, called to freedom and responsibility, and challenged by rights and duties"

John Paul II "Remarks to the NZ Ambassador to the Holy See" 2000.

It's in the two parent family that modelling of masculinity and femininity happens. It's the two parent family which forms our attitudes to the opposite and the same sex, by modelling values and ways of behaviour. It's the two-parent, married family which is the foundation of Western society. That's fact, not ideology. It's two heterosexual parents which produce children. It's for these reasons that the State has an interest in recognising an institution called "Marriage", and for these reasons, which have only tangential relationship to my Faith, that I oppose gay marriage. Some level of recognition, perhaps. But not, never, marriage. Marriage is a self-defence mechanism, by which we are perpetuated and nurtured. Gay couples may aspire to or approximate it, but they will always fall short. Biology, not religion.

John

By the way, DJW, even ignoring your tone, your analogy is unsound. One of the major points of Christian Theology is that there is free will, and we do have a choice.

Astarte: The West has a declining birth rate, and an aging population. By the time I come to retire, it is by no means certain that New Zealand Superannuation will even exist, since the tax base will be so small. We are kept afloat here by net migration from Asia, as Europe is from Africa. Do the Maths-Children are a blessing, both emotionally and practically. We are having to close rural schools which could have been kept open if "contraception" (including Abortion) hadn't been so widespread. Surely, Hugo, even in CA, you realise the importance of such institutions to community life, and the importance of a tax base to fund services. Someone has to pay the money the Labour Party are spending.

joe

DJW

i am not trying to legislate anything. do you mean that in a democracy people have no right to chose their way of life and how to be governed? my personal views are held by millions, to varying degrees, and i imagine yours are too. i accept that in a democracy, these views need to be hammered out. i live in a democracy where many things are not the way i would prefer, and yet i still live peacefully. are you suggesting that only you can voice your opinion? i agree in the absurdity of your argument. but we have opposing views in this society, how do you suggest we regulate which is to govern? interests are beyond the individual here.

Astarte

What an insult. Women are baby factories so that the earth can keep on spinning. Spit 'em out until they kill you, girls! The rest of the EARTH depends on it, or God will send you to hell.

New Zealand has always been sparsely populated. It is not a basis for the rest of the world, particularly the United States. There is no sudden fear that people are going to stop having children. Just not so damned many. The economy will shrink to accomodate it, just as it rose to accomodate the dramatic raise in population that modern Christianity brought.

John

By the way, I forgot to say that Christianity teaches God cares about everything, as Astarte said. There is no "public/private" split in Christianity, by which I can compartmentalise my life. (Sometimes I wish there was) Indeed, Jesus taught that God is most concerned with your private life, and that includes everything from my heart attitudes to what I do with my wallet, and yes, my sex life. Christians ought not to have a "personal life", because we're supposed to have given it to God, to live it His way. By His rules, and in the power and grace of His Spirit. That's why I can't stand all this "Personally opposed" "What he does in private..." nonsense. If you hold a moral world-view, it affects and colours everything. Including what you do with your wallet, and your sexuality, and your voting record. I'm not there yet, I admit, but I'll be weighing the issues carefully next year when I cast my vote. What you do in private shows your character, and your character shows what you'll do when you're in public. Now, I'm going to stop raving, and do some actual work for once. ;-)

John

Hold on, Astarte, I didn't say that. I said that the primary reason there is a State interest in an institution called "marriage" is because marriage produces children, and children do better in families. The last population survey of the whole world showed that over the last 50 or so years, the entire Western World has gone from 30% of humanity to just over 20% of humanity. During the same time, the Islamic world jumped from 15% to 20%. Sooner or later, we will face "extinction", as you put it, if our birth rates keep declining.

Astarte, I am not in the "keep them barefoot and pregnant" school, and your assumption that I am does not reflect anything I actually said. Perhaps you are projecting stereotypes of patriarchal control, and male domination of women? If you disagree with my first paragraph, which is to say that the compelling State interest in marriage is the pro-creative partnership, perhaps you wouldn't mind telling me what you think the State's recognition of marriage IS based on? The only other one I could come up with was the combination of economic power, on the grounds of which I support some sort of legal recognition for gay relationships, provided that other economic units are recognised as well. I don't think the State should really be interested in whether you are in love or not-Can you come up with an alternative ground of interest?

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