In this recent essay at The New York Times, philosopher Gary Gutting argues that the Catholic Church should reconsider its ban on gay sex and its opposition to gay marriage, for explicitly Catholic reasons. He is especially critical of “natural law” arguments against homosexuality.
It’s mostly a sensible essay, I think, but it is not the subject of this post. Instead I shall consider this reply to Gutting, written by John Finnis and Robert George. They were unhappy with Gutting, a philosophy professor at Notre Dame, for being so dismissive of natural law. Sadly, though, their attempted defense is entirely unsuccessful.
As presented by its supporters, the natural law approach to sexual morality is about undertaking a process of ratiocination in which we start with noncontroversial premises about human flourishing, applicable to all people at all times, and then deduce eternal moral truths from them. Not for them the messiness of actual human interactions, or the possibility that “flourishing” might mean different things to different people. No, the correct approach to morality, as they see it, is to sit in your comfy chair, place your feet on the ottoman, steeple your fingers, and then explain to others how they ought to live their lives.
Consequently, Finnis and George are endlessly tossing off abstract principles they evidently take to be axiomatic, but which more sensible people will regard as hard to defend, if not flatly false. Let’s pick up the action in the third paragraph:
The idea is not “heterosexual union,” nor “shared acts directed towards reproduction,” nor any of the other concepts Gutting refers to and associates with “nature.” Instead, it’s the idea--the intrinsic human value--of marriage.
This is introduced as “the idea that grounds and unifies the whole set of sex-morality teachings.” Which is a bit of a problem, since it is very unclear what it means. I am not sure what they mean by “marriage,” and I’m very unsure what they mean by “intrinsic human value.”
I think what they mean by marriage is something like, “a loving union between a man and a woman undertaken with an eye towards raising children. And by “intrinsic human value,” I think they mean that such unions are good for all people at all times. That, at least, seems to be what they need for the rest of their argument to hold any water. Here’s their next paragraph:
Even apart from any question of its legal status, marriage is a natural form of human association, with its own basic structure and value. It is the sort of loving union inherently oriented to family life; it is the sort of living bond that by its nature would be fulfilled—extended and enriched—by the bearing and rearing of children. Children by their nature need such familial, parental nurture, support, and guidance; by their coming to be, they make possible the continuance and flourishing of the wider society whose aid and social capital made feasible the wellbeing of their parents and other forebears.
Do you see what I mean about tossing off abstract principles? If all they mean is that men and women sometimes like to pair up and have children, and that society might have an interest in promoting such unions, then I’m fine with it. But in suggesting that a marriage just is that sort of union, they are trying to win the argument by definition. The only part of this paragraph that does not apply with equal strength to homosexual couples is the part about “bearing” children, by which Finnis and George evidently mean bearing children in the normal, biological way. But gay couples can certainly adopt, among other options, and once that’s recognized I fail to see why we cannot say that loving homosexual unions cannot also be inherently oriented to family life. I fail to see why the capacity to produce new children through sex should be thought to have any moral relevance here. Moreover, plenty of heterosexual marriages are childless, but no one then argues that such unions have no societal value, or fail to promote human flourishing.
In their next paragraph Finnis and George graciously acknowledge some of this, but then simply repeat, over and over again, their assertion that an ability to have children through sex is a fact of great moral significance in thinking about marriage. So let’s skip ahead to this:
Moral reasoning is “of a natural law kind,” whether in St. Paul or Aquinas--or in Plato, Aristotle, Musonius Rufus, and others untouched by Jewish or Christian thought--not because it tries to read premises or conclusions off biological or sociological facts. It doesn’t. Instead, it considers what are the basic forms of human flourishing: conditions or activities that are good for us in themselves: friendship, knowledge, life and health, and the like. The identification of these of course takes into account biological and other cause-and-effect facts. But it is focused not on those but on the intrinsic goodness of the various elements of human fulfillment. We can then reason to the moral goodness and badness of types of choice and act by considering which choices are consistent with love and respect for ourselves and all others in regard to each of these basic dimensions of fulfillment. A choice consistent with love and respect for all the goods in all persons is morally upright; one that isn’t, is immoral.
This is just silly. You can certainly define friendship and knowledge in ways that make them intrinsically good, but then you are not really saying very much. If instead we look to those biological and sociological facts that Finnis and George think we can ignore, you find that the picture is far more complex. Friendship is not always good, as when a teenager falls in with the wrong crowd, or when friendship leads to a misplaced sense of loyalty. Nor is knowledge always a good thing, as I would think would be obvious to anyone who has read Genesis 3.
These sorts of considerations apply with much greater force to marriage. For some people, the decision to get married and have children represents a deeply satisfying and fulfilling commitment that immeasurably enriches their lives. But for many others it is a terrible decision, one that causes tremendous pain and misery. That’s why so many marriages fail, after all. And that’s why it’s just absurd to think you can reason in the abstract about human flourishing, or to put forth non-trivial principles that will apply to all people at all times.
Well, as usually happens with these things, this post has gotten a bit long, and I have not yet come to some of the most asinine parts of the essay. So we’ll pack it in for today and come back to it another time.
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I think the bigger point is, even if you give them all of their axioms, as generous as that is, it is still incoherent, if not directly counter-productive to outlaw gay marriage. Outlawing gay marriage has no effect on encouraging hetero marriage. It definitely harms the children being raised by gay couples, which they claim to care about.
It is odd that advocates never get around to explaining how they get from A to B.
Even natural law in the Catholic framework, at least, can mean that different people have different callings and so aren't all required to do all of those things. For example, priests and nuns are called to their callings, and so aren't expected to get married and have children, for example. By the same token, some people just aren't supposed to get married, and so shouldn't. So there is definitely some consideration for what is really good for people. Additionally, all of those principles have to be applied in the real world, and so it is at that level that the messiness of real human interactions is taken into account. So it doesn't really have those flaws. Your disagreements there would be how they apply it, not that the general principle is incapable of taking it into account.
As for it not considering that other people might have different ideas of "flourishing", this doesn't seem like a problem for any moral view that isn't relativistic, because while people might have different ideas of what it means to flourish, that doesn't mean that they are in fact right about that. Even Sam Harris' view, at some point, comes down to telling people what are the right things to value and what really supports well-being despite what some people think supports well-being. So I don't see that as any kind of an objection; any objective moral code worth talking about will have that to some degree.
I think you're right about the former, but you're clearly wrong about the latter if you are talking about Catholic philosophers/theologians, since marriage is NOT considered to be a good thing for priests, for example. Essentially, marriage is considered a good in the same way that friendship is considered a good, directly from Aristotle. Which means that I can move on to your discussion of THAT:
Aristotle considered friendship to be something that a good person required to live a good life. The Stoics, who hold a very similar view to Aristotle, disagreed, and considered friendship to be an indifferent, and not required for a good life. But it wouldn't be a fair argument for the Stoics to make against Aristotle to say that a bad friendship of the sort you describe proves that he's wrong about friendship being necessary for a good life. In fact, it would be easy to say that in both cases it isn't friendship that's the problem, but how the person reacts to it that is the problem. For example, why is it bad for a teenager to fall in with a bad crowd, meaning being friends with "bad people"? Not because having them as friends is inherently bad, but because as a result of that friendship they end up doing bad things. But, then, why aren't they responsible for the bad things they do because of this friendship? Why is the friendship to blame for the things they choose to do for their friends?
A friendship that either doesn't fulfill the conditions of being a friendship in the sense that promotes the good or that pushes you to act against virtue isn't a friendship worth staying in. This does not mean that friendship, in general, is not an inherent good. It just means that if a friendship works against the overall good then either it's not really a friendship -- and there are strong criteria for what makes a friendship really a friendship, so it's not a "No True Friendship" argument -- or you aren't reacting properly to your friendship.
The same thing applies to marriage. If your marriage isn't promoting the good, then either you don't have a proper marriage or you are reacting badly to your marriage. This follows from the starting point of what human flourishing really is, through definitions and applications to real-life situations. Not all marriages are good, and not everyone should get married ... even if they think they want to.
Now, for me, since this is often a controversial topic to forestall objections about my views of marriage, let me point out that as someone who is Stoic leaning both friendship and marriage are indifferents, meaning that they have no direct relation to the good life at all, which means that a truly moral person can take them or leave them depending on their relation to virtue. Which means that in the case of homosexuality it is possible for it to be immoral but that in general since sex is an indifferent it seems odd to declare it a priori out of bounds. I can see the natural law theory arguments but find them wanting because of this, although they definitely make one of the more creative ones that I've ever seen.
Not really. They start from an overall principle and then work from that to show how a true marriage fits into that, which is an argument, not a definition. Yes, if you reject the overall principle you won't find the argument convincing but ... welcome to the wonderful world of moral philosophy, particularly with regards to objective moralities.
A real attempt to win the argument by definition is to define yourself as advocating for "marriage equality" and then using that framing to declare that your opponents are for "marriage inequality". That's precisely what the debate is over.
Indeed, Abnormal Wrench. In fact, one could argue that the case they are making would be better aimed at infertile couples than GLBT couples (or threesomes, or whatever consensual polyamorous relationship you find personally gratifying), and to the best of my knowledge no church leaders have ever seriously advocated fertility tests as a prerequisite for marriage. Not that infertility ought to bar one from marriage, of course - merely that if you define marriage as the sort of relationship people enter into with the intention of having kids, then logically the inability to do so should bar you from marriage.
"A real attempt to win the argument by definition is to define yourself as advocating for “marriage equality” and then using that framing to declare that your opponents are for “marriage inequality”."
How is that different from defining yourself as advocating "natural" law, and then using that framing to declare that your opponents are for "unnatural law"?
I admire this turn of phrase---
"...to sit in your comfy chair, place your feet on the ottoman, steeple your fingers, and then explain to others." So well described!
Since neither marriage nor straight relationships are universal, the natural law argument fails, no?
It isn't any different if the debate is over natural law, and you just define what natural law is. However, in terms of the same sex marriage debate or over homosexuality, most of the people doing that are starting from an idea of natural law that can be argued, and it isn't clear that natural law is the right way to approach the topic. Even the worst tend to define homosexuality as unnatural and argue that it should not be recognized because of that, but it is trivial to say even to THAT "So what? We do lots of things that aren't natural". It is not so easy to say "So who cares about marriage equality?" in a debate around whether denying marriage to same sex couples violates equality rights. That essentially concedes the argument.
Gazza at #3, my issue isn't what they find immoral through their "reasoning", but how they get from immoral/unnatural to "should be outlawed". Out here in normal land, you actually need to demonstrate some harm in order to outlaw something. They never mention any harm at all. They HINT that gay marriage might lead to less straight marriages, and/or less children, but at nowhere do they make a rational argument how that would work. And once again, even if that was feasible, is that societal harm that rises to the level of needing to be outlawed?
Could anyone even jokingly suggest gay marriage causes more harm than, say, alcohol? With a straight face? I don't think so.
Well said. I think the real answer to your "I fail to see" questions is probably "because the authors think gayness is icky", but of course they can't write that these days...
" consider this reply to Gutting, written by John Finnis and Robert George. "
I feel icky from having read that.
I'm kind of surprised they did not trot out evolutionary biology arguments to buttress whatever version of "Natural Law" they cite. That is slippery slope where there seems to be a lot of similar arm chair style philosophizing and cherry picking data/ideas.
Another evil of natural law based marriage is the second class status for women. They must raise the kids, so the husband has time to philosophize. :) The historical reason the "normal marriage" is man+woman is due to the suppression of other forms: gay, arranged and Polynesian style of raising all kids by everyone. Most "natural law" is culturally based and I think philosophers from different ones would derive different laws. I think "natural law" based constructs have no basis.
I was thinking of writing a long reply but VS made a number of them already. There are several issues here about natural law theory that should be noted to appreciate the issues. Note that Sam Harris himself develops a view of ethics which he takes to be objective and in many respects is similar to Aristotle (in its focus on "human well-being"). It is just that Harris thinks you can uncover what is good for human well-being through scientific means. This means that Harris and the Natural Law theorists both trace their roots back to Aristotle to some extent:
It is also worth pointing out that Gutting's argument against Finnis and George does not reject natural law theory. Rather, Gutting seems to be arguing that what counts as good for human fulfillment is broader than what they allow. Note where Gutting says the following: "The problem is that, rightly developed, natural-law thinking seems to support rather than reject the morality of homosexual behavior. Consider this line of thought from John Corvino...." So I think Gutting in part is making a natural law argument that Catholics don't have to be opposed to gay marriage.
Sam Harris was widely and properly excoriated for his overly simplistic discussion of “human flourishing,” and Finnis and George deserve no less.
As for Gutting, I never said he rejected natural law theory. The only reason I mentioned him at all was to provide context for Finnis and George.
What this illustrates to me is exactly why scientists get frustrated with philosophy and philosophers. Start with undefined terms or unclear definitions, arbitrary premises, and poorly-operationalized variables, use plenty of implicit reasoning, idiomatic language, and concretized metaphors, and the end-result is mush.
I'm an engineer with a deep lifetime interest in philosophical issues, and when I read all of this, all I can say is "clean-slate it!," by which I mean, start from scratch, because trying to remodel or repair a tangled mess is needless effort that at best produces a compromised result. With that in mind, and with both feet freshly washed in case either of them ends up in my mouth:
Natural: observed in the behaviors of organisms including humans who are not seeking to make a deliberate impression on an observer.
Natural law: moral principles that are derived from naturalistic observations.
Flourish: To live in a manner that is satisfying to oneself (individually and collectively as a society) without substantially impairing the ability of others to do likewise. Critical point: "others" necessarily includes "those who will live in the future," because one's present location on the time axis has no more claim to inherent privilege over others, than one's present location on any of the three spatial axes.
With regard to marriage, the first question is, do we observe same-sex pairing in humans and other organisms?, and the clear answer from observation is Yes. The fact that we observe same-sex pairing in numerous other species conclusively fulfills the criterion for "natural."
The second question is, what is the prevalence of same-sex pairing in humans?, and from observation we find that this is somewhere between 5% - 10% of human populations. Next, do individual humans flourish in same-sex relationships?, and clearly the answer is also Yes, based on numerous observations including comparative divorce rates.
Next, do those relationships impair the ability of others to flourish? The fact that some people find same-sex relationships "icky" is not sufficient to demonstrate impairment: people find all manner of things "icky" and they can choose to not do those things; further, the impact on same-sex couples of embodying the "aversion to feeling icky" in the laws of society is to deny same-sex couples one of the key elements of flourishing in their own lives.
The reproductive arguement that unlimited same-sex pairing will lead to insufficient reproduction to sustain the species (human extinction as catastrophic impact on future societal and individual flourishing) also fails on the empirical facts: Human societies with economic security and equality of gender and sexual orientation, are observed to have a birth rate that fluctuates slightly around the actual replacement level for a steady-state sustainable population. Beyond that, we also observe exponential increase in human population, and the ecological impacts thereof including climate change: clearly, "too much reproduction" is an existential threat to the species, and "not enough reproduction" is not.
The arguement that same-sex couples don't reproduce is purely spurious: those same-sex couples who want children can have them via adoption and vial consenting-adult relationships with others (e.g. lesbian couple arranges for sperm donation from gay couple, and all parties agree as to who shall raise the children). In any case the choice of whether or not to have children at all, is also an individual one that has no effect on others except insofar as overall population must remain within sustainable limits in order to not impair the ability of future generations to flourish.
Based on these facts and principles, we can reasonably conclude that there is no basis for societies to restrict same-sex pairings, and that such pairings should have fully equal standing under the laws of society.
The foregoing does not mean that we should allow human societies to operate "naturalistically" in all respects. Obviously, all manner of violence occurs in "the state of nature," that would be inimical to human flourishing if it was to be allowed in human societies. In these cases the principle of individual and collective flourishing calls for prohibiting various types of violent behaviors that might otherwise occur.
My definition of "intrinsic value" is "not capable of being traded or exchanged for something else." Contrast to "exchange value" in which something "is capable of being traded or exchanged for something else."
Love, friendship, truth, duty, patriotism, integrity, artistic / scientific / technical originality, personal authenticity, etc., are examples of intrinsic values: trading on any of them is considered betrayal, dishonesty, treason, plagiarism, fraud, etc. as the case may be. Goods and services, financial instruments, etc., are examples of exchange values: we normally expect to buy and sell these for money or equivalent, and doing so does not create inherent moral contradictions. But there is far less moral hazard in treating a exchangeable item as an intrinsic value, than vice-versa.
Thanks for your comment. I might have misunderstood part of what you were saying I admit. In your second paragraph, Gutting is described as being "dismissive of natural law." For Finnis and George the problem is not that Gutting is dismissive of natural law, but that his interpretation of what natural law says with respect to human good is just mistaken. In any case cheers.
To clarify one thing: We observe exponential population increase in two conditions: one, populations that are far below their local ecological carrying capacity, and two, populations in which there is not economic security or gender equality.
Populations that are below carrying capacity can be expected to level off as they approach carrying capacity, so long as there is economic security and gender equality.
Populations in which there is not economic security and gender equality, by definition are instances where human flourishing is radically impaired. Thus for the immediate reason of human flourishing in the present, as well as for the long-term human flourishing in the future, economic insecurity and gender inequality are morally impermissible.
BTW, if anyone finds flaws with my grasp of facts or reasoning, feel free to tear it to shreds. I'm not ego-attached to this stuff, and empirical facts and logical consistency take precedence.
That's a pretty high standard. In fact an impossible-to-meet standard, even under catholic theology. As VS points out, RCC priests are enjoined not to marry as that would prevent them from doing their job correctly. So right there, it appears marriage is an immoral institution according to this standard because it is not consistent with respect for all the goods to all the people.
It also seems somewhat inconsistent with Matt 19:12, something I would think the RCC should care about given that AIUI it's cited as one of the reasons their priests see celibacy as a holy trait. Jesus is certainly not saying marriage is good for all the people. In fact he's basically saying that celibacy is good for all the people but since most of us will fail at that, marriage is better than sleeping around.
Having read up on the "thought" of Finnis and George, one wonders how people that clueless get big-time academic jobs. Religion truly does twist your brain.
Actually, that's a common but bad interpretation of the section. That last statement follows from Jesus outlining the details of marriage and saying that divorce isn't allowed. The disciples then comment that given the requirements of marriage and that you can't get a divorce, it'd be better to never marry. Jesus' reply, then, seems to be best interpreted as saying that, yes, if you can't take those sorts of requirements, then it would be better to stay single and be celibate. It's not an objection to the goodness of marriage or what it is to say "It'd be hard to do, so can't we change the rules?"
This also answers your first comment. It can still show love and respect for all the goods to note that for some people, based on their personality and capacities, that their role in achieving/preserving them might be different, or that it might even mean something different for them to achieve that. This is a strain that exists as far back as Aristotle himself.
Of course, there are issues over whether marriage is itself an intrinsic good or whether it just reflects or is a path to an intrinsic good, but that's a massively big question to try to answer.
@ 14: "Start with undefined terms or unclear definitions, arbitrary premises, and poorly-operationalized variables, use plenty of implicit reasoning, idiomatic language, and concretized metaphors, and the end-result is mush."
--- "String Theory" has been similarly reproached (with good cause, in my opinion) by some of its scientific critics. See Lee Smolin's The Trouble With Physics for example.
If you insist on being torn to shreds... just kidding, but here's a question: If you are starting with a clean slate, what is the justification for including the term "natural" at all?
That is the point of my comment #4 to verbose as well. It sounds an awful lot like a rhetorical tactic.
Re. Proximity1 @ 20:
I'm not a physicist but I'm somewhat skeptical of string theory based on the criticism (made by physicists) that it's not empirically testable. However, some other physicists have argued that there are ways in which some of its consequences may be testable, so that's got it back on my radar. The same case applies to Tegmark's multiverse theory, though I'm more partial to it because (and admittedly this is a poor criterion but none the less) "it appears sensible to me." (The root premise in Tegmark's multiverse is that our universe is non-unique and non-privileged, an assumption that has been supported in every increase in the scope of our knowledge from our solar system to our galaxy, therefore "it appears sensible" that it would also apply to our universe.)
Re. Zebra @ 21:
I use the term "natural" in another context in juxtaposition to "supernatural," where the latter is defined as "above, beyond, outside, or before nature," and "natural" in that context is defined as encompassing "the universe as constituted of matter and energy interacting in spacetime." Science does not purport to deal with supernatural phenomena (deities and souls), so I say that hypotheses about those phenomena are untestable and can't be resolved empirically (the word I use for that position is "uncertainism" which is subtly but significantly different to agnosticism).
(Yes, I'm engaged in the Fool's Task of seeking to put philosophy and even religion (with uncertainism about deities and souls) on an empirical footing. "Ought from Is" spoken here too;-)
But I also use the phrase "natural law" in juxtaposition to "social contract theory," and I believe there's sound basis for a "natural law" theory of civic morality and government. Start from two observables: organisms act to preserve their own existence, and organisms respond predictably to stimuli that are described as reinforcing or as aversive (in humans, "seek pleasure and avoid pain").
Those two items are also convergent with the "unalienable right to life" and to "the pursuit of happiness" described in the Declaration of Independence, which we can reasonably take as a condensed statement of an Enlightenment approach to the foundation of civic morality.
The item "...liberty..." in that statement in the Declaration is convergent with the concept of free will, which admittedly is controversial in current science and philosophy (e.g. Harris vs. Dennett and others). I believe that the evidence supports the existence of free will, but that the large majority of human behavior is "locally determined" by emotional reactions to stimuli including emotional communication from other humans. The assertion of hard determinism, that all is predictable from the moment of the Big Bang (and therefore that free will does not exist, _at all_), is unfalsifiable since even a negative result to an empirical test can be retrodictively considered as predetermined.
If we assume the existence of free will, then it becomes another starting point from which to develop a civic morality, alongside self-preservation and pleasure/pain responses. To this list we can also add reproduction and transfer of information, since both of those are universal observables among all species of organisms. And of course there are exceptions: altruistic self-sacrifice, non-reproductive sexualities, etc., but those don't invalidate the generalizations (even though we hold altruism as a central moral good, etc.).
To cut right to the chase, one of the principles I derive from all of this, is what I call "the diachronic golden rule," stated as "do unto the future as you would have the past do unto you." And a few of the direct implications of that, are the moral duty to preserve the Earth in a sustainable condition, the moral duty to continue the advance of science, and the moral duty to continue space exploration with the goal in mind of interstellar migration. The last point is by way of the fact that interstellar migration is necessary to escape the destruction of Earth's ecosystems as a result of increasing solar luminosity over time: those who will live in those times will want to continue to live rather than collectively perish, and only space migration affords them that opportunity.
Now I've left a bunch of loose threads that will probably seem like sloppy thinking, but I can address those if anyone's still interested.
Jason: "But in suggesting that a marriage just is that sort of union, they are trying to win the argument by definition."
I wouldn't say they're doing it "by definition". They are taking some common or significant feature of marriage (such as procreation) and declaring it to be "inherent" and "integral". They have a highly essentialistic way of thinking. They believe there are "inherent" properties to be found, and so they take a common property and jump to the conclusion that it's an "inherent" one, the essence of what it is for something to be a marriage.
And of course this basic error is covered up with a mass of obscurantist hand-waving, to make the argument seem more substantial. I detest such obscurantism. It's the opposite of truth-conducive critical thinking.
G-- are you sure you don't want to change your moniker to "verbose engineer"? ;-)
My point again: You juxtapose "natural law" with "social contract theory". Why? How would social contract theory be "unnatural"?
Richard, the inestimable John Wilkins has pointed out the thinking of guys like Finnis and George in his Salem Region paper - essentialism, authoritarianism, deductivism and conservatism. They really are practicing apologetics gussied up in academic prose. No matter what the RCC believed they would try to justify it - even if it leads them down a rathole. Jason's placement of them in comfy chairs is apt; if you asked them basic knowledge about the natural world they would be lost. I would bet they are creationists - longing for the good old days of straight white Christian male dominance - they do know best..
Yep, it is just nonsense on stilts.
Perhaps I could have been clearer regarding Gutting's intent. In the first paragraph I am explcit that he rejects natural law arguments against homosexuality. I could have been more precise in the second paragraph, but in context I think it's clear I meant Gutting is dismissive of Finnis and George's arguments.
But as many many people have pointed out many times, critics of SSM only apply this essentialism or integral requirement to gays. Not straights. Leading directly to the obvious conclusion that their complaint really has nothing to do with the essentialism of procreation at all, since they utterly ignore it in the case of non-gays.
They clearly can't be saying that since that logic would support SSM, not deny it.
Moreover, that argument is an argument against gay relationships, not gay marriage. Marriage is the government recognizing that relationships that do in fact exist should get a set of legal and economic benefits. Unnatural speech is still be protected by the first amendment. Unnatural religion by the first. Unnatural armaments by the second. My unnatural house is still protected by the 3rd and my highly unnatural computer by the 4th. So why shouldn't someone's unnatural relationship be protected by the 14th?
I think that the biggest problem opponents of SSM have is the assumption that marriage is somehow a possession of their religion. It is not. It almost certainly predates their religion (probably all religions) and is in fact a social "contract" (for want of a better term), and in our society a legal contract. The fact that people get married in churches is mere and irrelevant coincidence.
Here's a good perspective
Ha, well 'tis better to make one's meanings clear than to be terse and waste as much or more time playing "Twenty Questions" to get at what should have been said in the first place. The growing scarcity of complete sentences (much less coherent paragraphs!) in the culture is an artificial shortage brought about primarily via the use of 4" diagonal televisions as substandard two-way communications devices.
Good point re. "social / unnatural." That gets at yet another meaning of "natural," which in this context is "biological vs. social."
Yes, the word "natural" is fraught with the problems of multiple meanings, denotations, connotations, and associations. See also "natural medicine," which is no more or less natural than any other combination of chemicals, and very often isn't really medicine.
My problem with "social contract" isn't that it's in some way "unnatural:" clearly it's not supernatural, so it's natural by default.
The problem with "social contract" is that it becomes a contract of adhesion based on premises that can be purely arbitrary and that offer no firm place of principles on which to stand. Quite like the principle of "majority rule" without a countervailing check and balance in the form of unalienable personal and collective rights. On one hand, "everything" is "open to negotiation," including the rights of minorities, and on the other hand, nothing is truly negotiable by the individuals who are adversely affected: for the latter, it's "take it or leave it."
In that way, social contract theory also resembles postmodernism: nothing is objectively true, everything is relative. And in the end, there is nothing to stop the powerful from dominating and exploiting the powerless.
Whereas "natural law" as I do it, starts from empirical observables about the characteristics of organisms: self-preservation, pleasure-seeking and pain-avoidance, behavioral indeterminacy (free will), reproduction, and information transfer. To the extent that any society seeks to infringe upon the ability of its members to act in accord with those characteristics, it has to demonstrate an empirical basis and sound reasoning for doing so.
For example the military draft impinges upon self-preservation, but is permissible when there is an urgent need for collective defense against an existential threat. For example involuntary measures against unlimited reproduction are permissible when population threatens to overshoot resources and cause a generalized dieback. For example information transfer ("free speech") may be restrained when it entails threats of violence or incitement of violence against others. For example pleasure-seeking behaviors may be restrained to prevent immediate hazards to others (e.g. driving while intoxicated) or overshoot of resources. But all of these instances require setting forth empirical facts and sound reasoning, rather than merely asserting a change in the "terms and conditions" of life in a given society.
Here I should mention that although I've put this in terms of rights, there are also corresponding responsibilities that arise from empirical observables. (And here I'll also sprint across the territory and leave too many loose threads dangling.)
One of these is the responsibility to participate in the common defense, another is the responsibility to live in a manner that is ecologically sustainable, and another is a set of civic duties that are the logical outcomes of the complexity needed to sustain civilized societies (such as to vote, pay taxes, and serve on juries). Some of these are related to natural selection: for example the tribe that fails to defend itself against aggressors is eventually eradicated from the gene pool. Some are outgrowths of complexity (e.g. paying taxes), where the complexity in question is essential along the path to the continued existence of the society: ultimately leading to space migration as the means of avoiding a failure of natural selection on a cosmic scale. Some are matters of reciprocity among social animals (caring for others who are unable to care for themselves).
But the central point is that social arrangements of whatever kind: government, economics, etc.; should ultimately be required to be based on principles that in turn are grounded in observables and sound reasoning. That is to say, the Oughts need to be grounded in the Ises (bloody hell, there's no good spelling for the plural of "is";-) rather than being arbitrary or based on implicit reasoning. And if we can work backward from the Ought to the Is, then we can also work forward from the Is to the Ought.
There's an interesting intellectual aspect which comes through in the discussion of natural law as well as in the differences in approaches to solving the central questions confronting physicists in their attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics with the mechanics of the cosmos.
Physicists, like proponents of natural law still do, once took for granted a single universe in which one comprehensive order reigns throughout. Now some physicists seem to prefer to posit multiple universes of varying characteristics. But the whole point of physics had been to uncover the universal order of the physical world as it is supposed to manifest itself in its most fundamental characteristics as well as understand how these may function in interrelated ways---magnetism's and electricity's essential unfied nature, for example, or the essential equivalence of energy and mass in relation to a physical constant.
Einstein's objections were founded on his refusal to accept that in the domain of the physical there is more than one comprehensive order of things which, in the course of progress, is shown to unify and simply the previously supposed more complicated set of unrelated affairs.
So, in their peculiar way, adherents of natural law are exhibiting the same sort of faith that physicists had until QM so deeply upset the arrangements which had been thought to be so well understood.
I think you would do better to focus on articulating the basic principles and concepts rather than trying to explain by examples, since this might better clarify your own thinking about your philosophical position.
It's like math; you should be able to tell me the rules and axioms, and I should be able to arrive at the same conclusion. If you have to tell me every answer, then you are being as arbitrary as you suggest other systems are. Also if you have to keep saying "on the one hand, but on the other hand"... where's the basic principle?
Full disclosure: I think Rosenhouse nailed it with the term vacuous, and I would even argue that all moral arguments end up being vacuous. But the current crop of "natural law" stuff (not yours, G) is particularly so-- mostly just political rhetoric.
proximity1, yes - it is the problem with there being some objective "best" for everyone or everything. This is the issue with the so-called objective morality of Harris as well. We have individuals and populations - the mean of a population does not describe an individual.
Jason Rosenhouse writes (with my EMPHASIS):
“… I fail to see why we cannot say that loving homosexual unions cannot also be INHERENTLY oriented to family life. I fail to see why the capacity to produce new children through sex should be thought to have any moral relevance here.”
And how do the lives in those families inherently come about which the homosexual unions are inherently oriented to? This DOES seem to have moral relevance here.
“This is just silly. You can certainly DEFINE friendship and knowledge in ways that make them INTRINSICALLY GOOD, but then you are not really saying very much… Friendship is not always good, as when a teenager falls in with the wrong crowd…”
Now THAT is just silly. JR appears to acknowledge intrinsic good and a definition of such, then says that’s “not really saying much”! He then tries to illustrate his point by describing a “friendship” that was never truly good to begin with, by definition.
To use one of JR’s words, “asinine”.
To Michael Fugate #6:
“Since neither marriage nor straight relationships are universal, the natural law argument fails, no?”
Since the occasional incidence of murder and rape are universal, the natural law argument against murder and rape fails, no?
Growing up with two moms:
#35 See Noevo,
What *is* the natural law argument against murder and rape?
To G #14:
“Based on these facts and principles, we can reasonably conclude that there is no basis for societies to restrict same-sex pairings, and that such pairings should have fully equal standing under the laws of society.”
How about marriage between you and a platonic friend (or friends), with full equal standing under the laws of society?
Homosexuality has always existed in human history.
Why is it that homosexuality has NOT been looked upon favorably in all of human history?
(With possible exceptions in the latter days of the Roman Empire and the greatness that was Greece.)
What has changed?
"How about marriage between you and a platonic friend "
You've never been married, I am quite sure....
"or friends), with full equal standing under the laws of society?"
Why not? You can't do it in the USA without creating a whole new set of laws-- you can't use current monogamistic law for a group-- but feel free to submit some proposal.
With the precipitous drop in birth rates around the world, we are entering into uncharted territory. I’m not aware of any civilization or society in human history that “flourished” economically and culturally which had a declining population.
Just slightly off this topic, but very much relevant to concerning developments in the Middle East and elsewhere…
I’ll title this “How Islam will dominate the world: Babies”:
To eric #17:
With your hermeneutics on Mat 19:12, if you were a Christian, you’d belong to one of the 30,000+ sects that fails in their theology with an all too common “either/or” view of Scripture.
By contrast, the Catholic view is almost invariably a “both/and” view. Mat 19:12 is true, but so is, for instance, Mat 19:5 and Genesis 1:28.
To Michael Fugate #18:
“…one wonders how people that clueless get big-time academic jobs.”
That what I’ve said for years, about people with job titles such as “evolutionary biologist”.
“15 of the world’s weirdest marriages”:
Not sure if this made the list above:
SN, you have never been able to answer a single question posed to you on this site. Why is that?
What is the "natural law argument" against murder? The God of the Bible seems to revel in murder or is that the humans justifying their own "natures"..
As SN has consistently demonstrated, the practice of religion need not have any basis in fact or reality, merely one's own twisted ideas.
Stop with the relentless, short comments. If you want to make several points, write one longer comment. I don't like seeing my Recent Comments bar filled up with one name.
"Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a system of law that is determined by nature, thus is universal." Doesn't this imply that like a scientific law it is inviolable? If so then homosexuality is perfectly natural because it happens - if it were unnatural, then it couldn't.
You get married, have kids, get divorced, then get remarried.
You raise a family-member or good friend's kid after they die.
And since the '70s, you get artificially inseminated.
IOW, gay families form in the exact same way many many straight families have formed for thousands of years.
LOL, so your argument here is: "if you ignore the exceptions, you can't explain the lack of exceptions!" ???
MF @ 33:
How true! And yet, for many practical reasons,we have to find cerrtain moral standards and apply them more or less regularly--hence the enternal imperative of such issues and controversies. It's kind of a shame that the rather tentative approach of scientists (in theory, at least) isn't so readily adaptable to these conflicts over moral choice and moral imperative. Einstein's QM apostasy didn't make him a pariah even in the domain most dear to him.
Hmm. So I take it that by 'natural' law we mean 'natural' to be defined according to whatever understanding of so-called gods' will the speaker has unconsciously become accustomed to and naturally takes for granted without any uncomfortable questioning.
OK yeah, I agree you said it better:
"No, the correct approach to morality, as they see it, is to sit in your comfy chair, place your feet on the ottoman, steeple your fingers, and then explain to others how they ought to live their lives."
(So I'm literal minded and have to sound it out for myself.)
The fact that gay marriages are not allowed are not seen as right within the eyes of many is completely based only on the opinion of some, that gay marriages do not function and the fact that child bearing is impossible from it makes it to an extent a fake marriage whereby there is no real commitment within the relationship itself. The people who came up with this theory need to have a look at themselves at maybe reassess whether or not what they believe to be a strong and caring relationship is justified
One wonders how many same sex couples do have their own children in light of this ``amazing'' bit of information. One also wonders why the ``fake marriage'' charge is not extended to people who marry ``traditionally'' when they are past the child bearing age, or to ``traditional'' couples who are unable to have children or who choose not to have children.
Oh wait, my wife and I were told we didn't really have a marriage and family in the eyes of the catholic church because our boys are adopted. Told that by a priest, in fact. The fools on the extreme edge of religion seem to be oblivious to how ignorant their comments are.
DESIGN!!! Observe the Intelligent Design! Everything and anything is permissible and "ok" if there is no intention, Designer, law or Law Giver - but since there is, our little law opposing opinions mean nothing. The design alone let's us know how marriage should go as the purposes of the male and female genitalia (to isolate the most obvious) is self explanatory. If I shove a DVD in a toaster, it won't play and if I put bread in a DVD player it won't toast. This case is over before it starts. We're all here because sperm met an egg and any finagling around that fact doesn't change God's purpose or intention for marriage.
Also, we would be horrified if the government got so intrustive as to make these things illegal. So....great analogy. We should absolutely legalize SSM because, like putting a DVD in a toaster, it harms nobody and is nobody's business but the participants.
"We should absolutely legalize SSM because, like putting a DVD in a toaster, it harms nobody and is nobody’s business but the participants."
Anybody can have any ceremony, just about anywhere, exchange vows and jewelry, have flowers and cakes and receptions, and live happily ever after. Abnormal unions are not the issue.
"Also, we would be horrified if the government got so intrusive as to make these things illegal. So….great analogy. We should absolutely legalize SSM because, like putting a DVD in a toaster, it harms nobody and is nobody’s business but the participants."
I agree it's nobody's business until it is. People are getting riled up over these religious freedom laws in Arkansas and Indiana because (some) believers don't like it when an immoral or abnormal lifestyle becomes their business. I personally don't think that Jesus would ever reject anyone who wanted to shop at His store, but I don't think He would ever minister a gay wedding either (due to it falling outside of God's will).
"Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
Whether your a believer or not, heaven on earth is a nice thought because (considering a frequent atheist beef with God) we would all like to do away with the problem of evil. Believing that heaven is a reality, I'm always disappointed when we, I personally, fail to meet The mark so I say that we should absolutely NOT legalize SSM.
"We would be horrified if the government got so intrusive as to make these things illegal."
I would be horrified if the government stop enforcing laws that protect us from law violators (ourselves), even when the law violators aren't hurting me directly. We're changing existing laws as we speak, but how far do we want to go with that really? Legalizing crack? Surely we're grateful for the laws that we're grateful for? It's a fine line and if there are moral absolutes like I believe, breaking the (ultimate) law is breaking the law whether it directly affects another person or not. God bless us all because we all miss The mark, but we must know what/where The mark is (for a sense of direction).
However, ignorant bigotry like yours certainly is an issue.
Determining what is normal and what is moral are not easy things - not to mention what is best for anyone. When you all have objective criteria for us to evaluate stop back by.
"Determining what is normal and what is moral are not easy things"
It isn’t really all that difficult Michael. I’m sure you are willing to draw a line somewhere in regards to paraphiles. The problem for you is that any accommodation you extend to homosexuality automatically extends to people sexually attracted to children, animals or dead bodies. If you expect such folks to hold their desires in check, and refrain from what seems natural to them, then you are just a positional bigot.
You as usual don't know what you are talking about and once again can't explain what you assert is simple. If it is so damn simple then explain what normal and moral is - you can't.
"If it is so damn simple then explain what normal and moral is – you can’t."
But of course I can. Normal sexuality is on display in the animal kingdom anywhere you want to look for it...males made for females and vice-versa. It is only in a sick and twisted culture that normal physiology/psychology/sexuality is challenged.
But where, and on the basis of what, do you draw the line? When do you, and on what basis, do you take a fine stand and say "you are out of line...we will not tolerate your desires because they are out of bounds". Do you entertain any limits, or is this like all things evolutionary?
How about this guy Michael? Any confusion about morality or normalcy with this? I'm sure Dean thinks this is just racism as they perp is sufficiently black, but, since there were no conscious victims involved, I'm supposing you think this is all to do about nothing, right?
And what great progress that is. While SSM is still an issue in ~17 states, it is nice to see folks like you on the 'other side' tacitly agree that as a legal right, its pretty much a done deal. What a great change from a mere ten years ago, when even the Democratic (party) position was something like 'most of us don't support it at all, though some of our more radical liberals support separate-but-equal civil unions'!
You're right however on this particular point. The issue of the day is whether a public accommodation can discriminate in who it supplies services to based on the religious beliefs of the owner. I fully expect SCOTUS to answer "no" on that one too. As they should; that will be fully consistent with the "no" answer given in response to other public accommodation requests to discriminate since the 1960s. No you can't refuse service based on race. Or age. Or look. Or sex. Or political affiliation. Or handicap. Or orientation. Get over it and move on.
As far as the people want to go in the pursuit of life, liberty, etc.... That is the point of a constitutional democracy; we the people make the laws under which we live. Both state and national legislatures alter laws every year; that is, in fact, their job.
The problem for you is that any accommodation you extend to homosexuality automatically extends to people sexually attracted to children, animals or dead bodies."
The argument from the monumentally stupid. Think for a moment: there is no harm in a relationship between two consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation. We correctly recognize that there is hard in relationships between adults and children, or animals, and that the other issues you identify are not issues of sexual orientation but signs of mental issues.
As usual, it is impossible to say whether you are being internally dishonest or whether you truly are stupid enough to believe what you say. Either way, it's the contamination of religion speaking.
As usual Phil your ignorance of biology is a given. Looking to nature for how humans should act will get you just as much ambiguity as if you were looking at human actions. Epic fail.
And your ignorance of history is as well - the slippery slope arguments for moral decline have been employed forever - yet there is no reason to think humanity is any worse off than it has always been.
Your argument from the behavior of animals is specious. Even if we assume that you are correct in that animals don't practice homosexuality (in fact, homosexuality is present in the animal kingdom), why should animal behavior be any kind of guide to human behavior? Don't we aspire to be better than the animals? Or, just as one example, do you think that the use of toilet facilities for excretion of waste is somehow "unnatural" because that's not what we see in the animal kingdom?
Also the difference between same-sex marriages and the other examples you give is informed consent. Children are no capable of giving informed consent to sexual activity. Neither are corpses. Presumably, homosexual adults are capable of giving informed consent to sexual activities.
Indeed, whenever a gay person chooses to marry a person of the opposite sex, SSM opponents celebrate it as a victory. So clearly they accept that a gay adult is able to exercise informed consent. They just get upset about who they informed-consent to marry.
As for normal sexuality being on display in the animal kingdom (and that Ohio man), well Phil, you might not want to look up bonobos on the web. Or take a look at the 2003 IgNobel prize winner in biology (link, its at the bottom of the 2003 list). Let's just say that there are more sexual acts in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Just check out one of my former colleague's book -
Sexual Selections: what we can and can't learn about sex from animals, (2002). University of California Press, Berkeley by Marlene Zuk.
"The issue of the day is whether a public accommodation can discriminate in who it supplies services to based on the religious beliefs of the owner."
Not just religious beliefs. Any reason at all. It is their business. Forced service is no different, certainly no better than, forced patronage. The extreme elements of society are forcing attitudes to shift from tolerance to indifference to hatred with their tactics.
And who, at this point, gives a red rat's what the SCOTUS rules.
Not just religious beliefs. Any reason at all. It is their business. Forced service is no different, certainly no better than, forced patronage"
No, epic fail. You may be a huge bigot (as your posts demonstrate) but if you run a business to serve the public you don't get to pick and choose the public you serve. You are running out of people you can discriminate against, and that is a great thing - decent people get that. I'm sure you don't get it.
Let's play along with phil and assume his God created life in its current form. Now considered the "morality" of this God who creates a wasp for which the female manipulates the sex ratio of her clutch based on the number of male and female wasp eggs present on a leaf so that if there are no other clutches then she produces just enough sons to inseminate all of her daughters (incest! oh my!). If there is already a clutch she increases the sons to compete with the males of the other clutch for inseminations. No marriage, incest, polygamy and on and on.
As species go, homo sapiens, as benefactors of the larger natural world, compare very badly to, for example, common yeast spores which, just by their natural living characteristics, present immense benefits to uncounted other living animals and plants---and, holding the undisputed place as most selfish AND most benefited--after the yeast spores, proper---is, as you may have guessed, God's supposed favored creature, mankind. We're in many ways a terrible scourge on the planet's other living things. How about that!, God?
What a joke!
The animus you folks hold towards gays is just unbelievable. In order to not-serve them, you would happily throw away the entire civil rights era and go back to whites-only restaurants, No Irish Need Apply signs and other such evils. You would happily give away your own rights to be served and employed and allow businesses to have "no evangelical Christians allowed" policies. Given the choice between allowing discrimination against none or allowing discrimination against all, you choose discrimination against all merely because you want so badly to discriminate against this one particular group.
I think Jesus would have something to say about your attitude: " ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’"
Indeed, although there has been in several of phil's posts the mind-numbingly foolish lack of thought common to tea-baggers and libertarians, and his comment about ``forced patronage'' goes with that level of foolishness.
If there is a serious threat to liberty and society, it isn't from the nebulous "others" phil railed against earlier, people hiding in the shadows who worship the same god he does but not the way he believes appropriate, but it is people like him, who are continually working to destroy education and social structure because it doesn't fit their distorted view of reality.
I understand the point you are trying to make but I think it is also difficult for Roman Catholics to banish a law that has been there for centuries and has been adhered to for the longest of times,what you are also asking for is that they go against what they believe in which becomes a conflict of interest in moral terms making them accepting gay unions seemingly impossible.
I don't think anyone is trying to force Roman Catholics to accept gay marriage. The RC Church is free to define marriage in any way they see fit and is free to refuse to marry anyone that they choose not to marry. That's already the case and has always been so in secular societies. For instance, the RC Church is free to deny marriage, and actually does deny marriage, to individuals who have been previously married in the Church and have been divorced in a civil proceeding. I don't see that changing in any way with respect to SSM. Gay couples wishing to marry will not be able to do so in the RC Church. I don't think anyone has an issue with that.
Where the issue comes in is whether or not a business owner who is open to the public can deny their services to some segment of the public. I would think that this would not be too much of an issue for most businesses with respect to homosexuals; they likely are unknowingly already serving homosexuals anyway. I can't imagine even the most ardent opponent of gay marriage making the claim that serving a pizza to a homosexual is promoting the homosexual agenda; that seems pretty silly. Refusing to serve homosexuals in such situations is nothing but blatant discrimination.
This is absolutely not the case. The first amendment's religion clause does not require "they go against what they believe" by worshipping other gods. The first amendment's speech clause does not require "they go against what they believe" by taking the lord's name in vain. In the exact same way, if/when the government legalizes SSM across the board, such a law will no require "they go against what they believe" about homosexuality. A law permitting people to do what you consider sinful /= forcing you to commit a sin.
No, they are not being asked (or told or forced, as some would have you believe) to change their personal beliefs,or the procedures in their churches, at all. They will still be able to click tongues and comment on how "deviant" same sex relationships are.
What they cannot do is decide to refuse business services to same sex couples, or anyone they decide might not be heterosexual, purely for that reason. Neither can they use their "principled" stand against same sex marriage to force prohibitions against it in society.
eric and dean:
Absolutely correct. There is also zero likelihood that there would ever be a law forcing the RC Church to perform homosexual marriages. Such a law would indeed be blatantly unconstitutional.
What I do think is probably a bit of a gray area is the case of people like photographers and entertainers who routinely make a living by participating directly in weddings. Would a Christian photographer or entertainer be forced to work at a homosexual wedding? I would think that the answer would be yes. That would be unfortunate for anyone who sincerely opposed homosexual marriages, but the only remedy I could see for such an individual would be to stop working at any weddings. Of course, such a stance would require a pretty severe financial sacrifice on that individual's part. The alternative would be to bite the bullet and work the homosexual wedding. It would be a legitimate moral dilemma for some people, but we still should not sacrifice equality because of the moral discomfort of a relatively small number of people.
Besides, once the battle for equality is won, I doubt that this would be a serious issue in practice. Why would a homosexual couple want to force a photographer or entertainer to work their wedding? I would think that once this is no longer an issue, they would look for someone who welcomes their business and is happy to work for them.
If that person were the only provided of the service in a location (small town, rural community, for example) then I will guess the answer would be yes. If there were easy access to a competing, equivalent service - I doubt it.
There are some gray area cases which in fact have already cropped up and are not theoretical: for-profit wedding chapels. So far it appears that Nevada is going to require them to function by business non-discrimination rules in regards to SSM: yes the pastors in those chapels will be required to perform gay marriages, regardless of their personal denomination. If you want to maintain the power to decide who you're going to marry and who you won't, you can't operate your place of worship as a marriage-shop.
I don't see how in most cases. Does the DJ play YMCA or I Will Survive at other events? Almost assuredly so - they are popular disco songs. If so, they can't really complain about playing it here. If the couple created their own song with their own message and asked some entertainer to sing it, that might be one thing, but IMO there is zero legitimate reason why an entertainer cannot be asked to play songs (or tell jokes, or do a magic act, or whatever) at a gay wedding that he/she also plays at other 'straight' events.
Likewise with photography: if what you're asking for is standard poses and scenes the photographer uses at other weddings, I can't see any legitimate legal reason why they could deny giving that service to a same sex couple. OTOH if the couple is asking for some really unusual scene the photographer doesn't normally do ("everyone's going to be swinging from trapezes!"), or involving strong messaging the photographer doesn't usually involve ("everyone's holding a We Hate War sign!") they may have a reasonable case for saying 'I don't do ideological statement pictures regardless of who is in them.' Its a tough case because the obvious rejoinder is that any picture with a couple in it is an ideological statement, but again I think it comes back to whether the couple is requesting a standard/stock set of photographs (required) or some unusual job (not required).
All IMO and IANAL, but to use another example: if you typically bake 2-tier wedding cakes, a gay couple can come in and ask for a 2-tier cake. They can't come in and compel you to make a 5-tier one merely because they are gay. Same way with entertainers and photographers: (IMO) they can purchase whatever service you typically advertise and provide to others.
I tend to agree with you; I just thought that Constitutional law might be a bit murkier on cases like the ones I proposed. I do think, however, that Constitutionally there would be a distinction among those who perform marriages with two distinct groups being those who are religious and those who are secular in nature. The RC Church would certainly belong to the religious group. A case like the one you propose would likely be legally defined as belonging to the secular group. Like you, IANAL, but I would think that the religious group would have First Amendment protection with regard to which marriages they would be performing, whereas the secular group would not.
Hmmm, I think I still disagree. Groups and people can act in different capacities, and I think the point I'm trying to make is that it is the capacity in which you act that matters, not which group you affiliate with (or are). For example, an RC priest who is also a public school teacher will have their first amendment rights restricted while 'on the job' just as a secular school teacher would. They do not get to proselytize the kids merely because they belong to the distinct group of priests. If you are a person who wears 'different hats' at different times, then the law is going to pay attention to which hat you're wearing. It doesn't matter if you're priest or a secularist, during those times you put on a public school teacher hat or a business operator hat, you are governed by the laws about public school teachers and business operators. If you have a for-profit business signing marriage licenses, then on the job your ability to discriminate is based on the laws that govern for-profit businesses; off the job, when you perform marriages for little or no fee for friends and family and parishioners and the like, you can discriminate all you want.
I think we are in agreement here. What I was stating would be Constitutionally protected is the right of the Catholic Church to not allow homosexuals to marry as part of a Catholic wedding. If a priest is making a few extra bucks on the side signing marriage licenses, then he's subject to the same laws as any other performer of marriages.
Obviously, the same would apply to religious weddings of all stripes - Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, etc. If the pastor, imam, rabbi, etc. is performing a wedding as part of his/her official position within the church/mosque/synagogue, then it's protected by the First Amendment, otherwise it is not.
I think I confused the issue by referring to "those who perform marriages." What I really meant was those institutions that sanction marriages, not the individuals who perform them. As you stated, it's pretty clear that anyone who is offering marriage performance to the general public as opposed to just a set of members of a specific religious group is bound by law to perform weddings for all couples.
"As far as the people want to go in the pursuit of life, liberty, etc…. That is the point of a constitutional democracy; we the people make the laws under which we live. Both state and national legislatures alter laws every year; that is, in fact, their job."
You gave us a little taste of the Declaration of Independence here, but let's read some more in context:
"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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Before the part you mentioned; "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" occurred. What exactly are the unalienable rights that our Creator has endowed us with? Pursuing liberty and happiness for some might lead to (offenses) unhappiness for others, so the unalienable rights (that our Creator endowed us with) has to be clarified - and the "as far as the people want to go in the pursuit of" has to obviously be managed. What are other "self-evident" truths? The Creator (and the law until recently) never gave man the right to marry another man or a woman the right to marry a woman - therefore, that right can't be taken away because it was never granted (by God) in the first place. We are simply skating around obvious truths when we try and justify things that fall outside of order, and final authority on these and all other matters ultimately rests with God - not with governments, a Godless brand of science and/or individuals. The DVD doesn't play in the toaster because the toaster's manufacturer designed it specifically to make toast.
"No Irish Need Apply signs and other such evils."
Now that it's clear you have a morality meter and classify certain things as "evil", might there be a more important barometer of evil that supersedes your own mind and the shifting trends within human cultures? You go on to quote Jesus @77, which is perfect because it indicates that you believe that there is some value in what He taught (if only for a moment to make a point). Can you picture Him presiding over or ministering a gay wedding? Would God's opinion on the matter mean anything to you (if you knew He was up there)?
I argued in another thread that the U.S. is traditionally a "Christian nation" and I'm happy about that because I recognize the benefits (personally and nationally). On one level, I don't care what anyone does in the privacy of their bedroom, but on the other I do care if it's affirmed by law because (along with wanting the best for my neighbor) I view our nation as one founded under God - which has exalted us to where we presently are. It's a blurry line, but falling from under God's guidance and protection is something I fear (personally, nationally, globally, eternally) - so on this SSM issue, I conclude that we are playing with fire if we continue to green-light it. Once our government begins to openly disagree with our Creator, concern is justified.
This is the artist formally known as "Happy Easter!!!" BTW. I tried responding to your post under that name, but it wouldn't post for some reason. Maybe having Easter in my name was offensive to somebody.
There is no mention of who the creator is in the Declaration. It is only saying all people are born with certain rights. Natural selection could be the creator and it wouldn't change a thing; there is nothing in the Bible about guaranteeing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - so can't be the same creator.
You have absolutely no idea - if there is a God - what that God gave or didn't give. You are just making that up. If there were a God and that God created people as they are - then why wouldn't this God be perfectly happy presiding over a same-sex marriage?
The Declaration of Independence is a statement of philosophy and political position. It has absolutely no legal implications.
"I argued in another thread that the U.S. is traditionally a “Christian nation”
Which it is not, as some of the Founding Fathers pointed out.
Maybe having Easter in my name was offensive to somebody."
Maybe you're making things up. Maybe you did something wrong.
Those assertions have as much evidence behind them as yours.
If ? means that the majority of individuals in the US are and were Christian, then yes. If ? means that the US was founded on Christian principles and promotes Christianity, then no.
In Everson v. Board of Education, Hugo Black wrote:
Ignoring history and science - what else don't you know?
"The animus you folks hold towards gays is just unbelievable. In order to not-serve them..."
That isn't the issue either. If you don't want to cater my event, for whatever reason, you have the right to no-bid the deal. It happens all the time.
phil, people in business do not get to refuse service simply because they don't like the prospective customer. If someone is turned away for a reason like you state, they have legal recourse.
Your protestations that you don't have any bigoted attitudes toward those in same sex relationships is shown to be a steaming pile of crap by your other comments. But your falsehoods about your beliefs have been demonstrated many, many times, so that is nothing new.
"people in business do not get to refuse service simply because they don’t like the prospective customer."
Yes, they do. And there is no legal recourse for refusal to take on particular customers regardless of the reason. It can be multi-million dollar proposals, or single point sales. It happens all the time. You're simply naive.
You are simply dishonest. It you turn people away who are looking for the service you have, and you don't have a business related cause, you can, and should, have your butt in a sling. Especially for the bigotry you spew.
"and you don’t have a business related cause, you can, and should, have your butt in a sling"
But I won't. Any my business related cause could be anything, including the image I wish to maintain with current clients. You can't force a Jewish seamstress to make Klan robes, or compel a Muslim print shop to produce bumper stickers that say Muhammed was a pedophile. Your petty sensibilities don't apply in real life.
We are not talking about bidding on a contract or RFPs. Of course you don't have to bid on an open contract or respond to a request for proposal. We are talking about a public accommodation type of business that opens its doors to the public and provides services to people who walk in. Restaurants, hotels, and yes cake bakers and wedding photographers. Those sorts of businesses cannot refuse service to a member of the public because they don't like their race, religion, sex, age, marital status, ideology, or what have you.
You are confusing client and message. The law will indeed force a Jewish seamstress to make clothes for a Klan member if they are asking for some sort of robe she advertises in her catalog. The law will indeed force a Muslim print shop to produce bumper stickers for someone they disagree with, if that client asks them for a standard service they provide to others. But if they don't print "x was a pedophile" bumper stickers for anyone else, an anti-muslim can't force them to produce such targeting Mohammed. If a Jewish seamstress doesn't make religious or symbolic robes for anyone normally, the Klan can't make her do it for them. A gay client can request any cake in a baker's catalog and expect to get it, and the law will protect their right to do so. If they request some profanity-ridden message be written on the cake and the baker never does profanity-ridden cakes for anyone else, that request can be refused.
That last example is particularly relevant given that fundies have tried that exact strategy in response to their own civil rights violations; they go into a baker's shop and request some offensive message on a cake, and then when the baker refuses say that's just like someone refusing a gay client. Not so - because there is an obvious and significant difference between refusing service to someone because of who/what they are, and refusing to do a service you don't normally do for any other client.
This reasoning was rejected as bullflop in the 50s and 60s and is still rejected today. No, your restaurant cannot refuse service to blacks because accepting their business would cause your white racist regulars to stop frequenting your business. And likewise no, your bakery cannot refuse service to gays based on the argument that accepting their business will cause your fundie anti-gay regulars to stop frequenting your business.
"The law will indeed force a Jewish seamstress to make clothes for a Klan member if they are asking for some sort of robe she advertises in her catalog. The law will indeed force a Muslim print shop to produce bumper stickers for someone they disagree with, if that client asks them for a standard service they provide to others."
Good grief. Hell, the cops can't even keep up with violent felons, much less find the time to enforce laws passed by punks for the losers who decompose over their feelings being hurt. Get real.
That's a legal non-answer if I ever heard one. True, the cops can't prevent all violations of law...but you are still wrong in your idea of what constitutes legal vs. illegal discrimination, and you've said nothing whatsoever to refute any of my points.
"You have absolutely no idea – if there is a God – what that God gave or didn’t give. You are just making that up. If there were a God and that God created people as they are – then why wouldn’t this God be perfectly happy presiding over a same-sex marriage?"
Come on now Michael, you don't know if there is a God or not, so how could you know that I don't know if you don't know? I do in fact have knowledge about God's existence, and I'm acutely aware of what He's given me and to some degree, what He's given us collectively. And even if I didn't have a relationship with Him, and never had any revelations, or never embraced a lick of Scripture, or never had divine interventions, or any other subjective God confirming experiences, I would still conclude with my uninfluenced mind (that God gave me) that SSM goes against what is "natural". I stated; "design alone let’s us know how marriage should go as the purposes of the male and female genitalia (to isolate the most obvious) is self explanatory". There's so much more than that, but I understand why people dodge the obvious to maintain an accountability free idea of existence so I won't bother.
I have a (formally heterosexual) gay family member who I love dearly, but if push came to shove and they asked my true heart on the matter, I would say that Jesus probably wouldn't preside over their wedding ceremony as God "probably" doesn't honor it as a holy or righteous union. Granted, outside of the Bible, one would have to interview God on camera to convince skeptics that these convictions are God-breathed gospel, but you have my conclusion nonetheless.
"There is no mention of who the creator is in the Declaration. It is only saying all people are born with certain rights."
You right here, but based on Thomas Jefferson (and most of the founding fathers) being Christian, we can conclude that he was referring to the Biblical God.
"Natural selection could be the creator."
"There is nothing in the Bible about guaranteeing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – so can’t be the same creator."
Actually Jesus said; "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly" which kinda has a "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" ring to it. That's neither here nor there, the overall point is that God is the only authority on His intentions for life, marriage, moral absolutes and everything else of importance - and no individual, government and/or Godless brand of science could ever supersede that ultimate fact.
"Ignoring history and science – what else don’t you know?"
We've established that you don't know God. The McDonald's cashier (with a GED) who does, has got you beat in the knowledge department.
Irrelevant for legal purposes. Practically every aspect of modern life 'goes against what is natural.' Antibiotics go against what is natural. We do not restrict people's rights and freedoms to what is natural. Do you have any argument against SSM that does not rest on the naturalistic fallacy?
Again, irrelevant to US law and rights. Worse than irrelevant - if you make that argument in court, you will probably lose outright because it will likely fail the Lemon test.
So, you agree with Michael when he points out that you are not an authority on God's intentions etc.?
It's funny reading posts by Christians on here. They all, without fail, claim to know exactly what God wants us to do and how He wants us to live. They can quote chapter and verse from the Bible to support what they're saying. That's not the funny part. The funny part is that pretty much none of them actually agree with each other. It almost makes one think that the Bible is not really such a great source for moral guidance, doesn't it?
In this case, ?, you are aware, right that there are Christians who have no problem with homosexual marriages. There are even some Christian denominations that are officially sanctioning such marriages. I know, I know, here comes a "No True Scotsman". Eagerly awaiting that fallacy.
So God is a he - have you seen his genitalia? or is that just the gender God identifies with?
Why would your God create homosexuality if he didn't agree with it?
I am assuming that you were responding to ?, but I was also guilty of using the pronoun "he" in reference to God. I did so merely as shorthand and not to imply any knowledge of God's gender. That is the pronoun typically used and I didn't even think twice about it. Personally, I am an atheist, so the question of God's gender is pretty much moot anyway as far as I'm concerned.
Many people struggle to reconcile their personal beliefs with the teachings and laws of the Catholic church, and a prime example is that which is discussed in this blog; marriage. As a Catholic myself, I was interested in following the Synod of Bishops in October of last year, where there was robust debate between progressive bishops determined to adopt a more positive language on gays, people living together outside of marriage, and the divorced, and more conservative prelates determined to uphold tradition. There was a widespread assumption at the time that Pope Francis was backing the progressive side in that argument, leading to speculation in some conservative Catholic circles that Pope Francis had stacked the deck to favor certain outcomes. However, in light of the pope’s comments in the Philippines recently, these conclusions may have to be rethought. The pope has said before that marriage is between a man and a woman, and has also defended Paul VI and his position on contraception on multiple occasions — including beatifying Pope Paul last October, the last step before sainthood.
That, phil, is why you are a truly despicable person (well, it is one of many reasons). Not only are you a fan of discrimination and bigotry, you identify people who are discriminated against as merely people with hurt feelings.
The issue that was originally under discussion was simply the rational, fair, decent way to treat people. Those words: rational, far, decent - are clearly why the concept is foreign to you. You demonstrate none of those characteristics.
No. No outside groups are trying to change or suggesting we change "the [teachings or] laws of the Catholic church." This is an issue about civil law. The RCC response should not be any different from their response to the first amendment - another US law that enshrines a legal right to sin. By all means, continue to teach that taking the Lord's name or worshipping other gods or gay marriage is a sin. Knock yourself out. Granting a legal right to commit those sins /= forcing the Church to say its not a sin.
Well, technically the issue was whether Finnis and George have shown being gay is unnatural. They use a lot of presumptive assertions about what constitutes 'unnatural' to arrive at a 'yes' conclusion. The presumptions undermine and are a major flaw in their argument, but IMO a much bigger flaw is that they never answer the question 'why should the law care about natural vs. unnatural conduct.'
Eric: yes, my first bit was off target - I was referring to phil's objection to same sex marriage and his asinine diatribe about bestiality (with other nonsense) included.
In my opinion , there is no correct or incorrect method of strictly defining "Natural Law" in marriage, especially with regards to homosexual marriages. Therefore for Finnis and George to imply that homosexual marriage is immoral, unnatural and not completely in the interests or benefits of all those involved, seems a bit unfair. They also mention in their reply to Gutting's essay that "marriage is a natural form of human association." For homosexual couples, homosexuality is a way that is known and natural to them, in contrast to homosexual individuals forced to being married to heterosexuals, which is unnatural to them and not to the benefit of all parties involved, which disobeys Natural Law and the flourishing of life.
Yes I was responding to ? aka Happy Easter; I inadvertently deleted the ? at the start.
I am wondering if the person working at McDs knows the same God as ? and how would anyone know if the Gods were equivalent? Thousands of Gods have been "encountered" over the course of history - are they all manifestations of the same God or are there actually thousands of Gods out there. There is a continuing fascination with Norse Gods - Odin was supposedly spotted as late as the early 1200s before an important battle - some fun books dealing with the popularity of Gods are Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Michael Chabon's Summerland. I am fascinated by the "methods" people use to study Gods - I just haven't found out any thing that actually works.
"So God is a he – have you seen his genitalia? or is that just the gender God identifies with?"
Jesus is a He silly. Revealed as male and spoke reverentially about His Father in heaven - and in fact deflected a lot of the praise directed His way back to His Father. Humble Man huh? I take Him at His Word (obviously).
"Why would your God create homosexuality if he didn’t agree with it?"
You know that family member I mentioned? The (formally heterosexual) homosexual whom I love dearly? She doesn't believe that she was born gay and has an ex-husband and children and acknowledges that she chose. She also believes that her current lifestyle falls outside of God's will and she's nowhere near as religious as I am, but came to that conclusion despite the present trends of approval in our society. She does not think it's natural. This is my most intimate experience with this issue and it's telling because the Lady Gaga anthem "Born This Way" apparently doesn't apply here.
As for all the other gays not directly related to me, I'll try not to say anything too politically incorrect, but I believe we're all born rebelling against God and His way (born sinners as opposed to born gay). Kids lie, kids steal and misbehave in all kinds of ways, but we seldom green-light their bad behavior and say: "what you're doing isn't right, but go ahead and proceed". No, instead we correct them in hopes of leading them down a more righteous path because we recognize that stealing, cheating, sin is fruitless and will one day get them locked up if they don't cut it out. We maintain these sinful tendencies into/throughout adulthood and make conscious choices as to whether or not we're going to behave or rebel at any given moment. For example: whenever I see a woman built in a way that's pleasing to my eye, I can barely turn away before I'm lusting after her. If she's not observing me observe her, and is (therefore) not offended, what's the problem? Jesus says; "But I say, anyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart", and there's my problem. I could say; "but Jesus, I never touched her - I just looked and admired Your work. And I'm not even presently married, so how could I be committing adultery?" Though it's natural for me to be attracted to the female form, this poor woman riding up the elevator with me is not mine - and is in the grand scheme of things, somebody else's (present or future) wife. Jesus' words echo in my mind, they convict me and if I'm strong enough, they cause me to put my head down to avoid undressing the woman in my thoughts. I'm just like the gay person, I have sinful desires that are unholy and I - like them - need God's help to overcome. Granted, one has to actually care about morality and what God wants to turn away, but we're all born with the tendency to want to please ourselves first without a care for authority. Once we get the revelation that it's not about us though, we can unload baggage and travel lighter. Of course many here don't want there to be an Authority or moral absolutes or accountability, so what can I do but plant seed and leave the rest to God.
Crazy article Phil posted earlier @65 about that corpse-raper guy in Ohio. It's interesting to notice the satisfaction I feel seeing the perpetrator in custody. I see that I like justice, and dislike opposition to righteousness (including my own) - and I doubt that I'm alone here as most of us insist on justice when/where it's needed, and are disturbed when it's not carried out to our personal/collective satisfaction. Does anyone else find it comforting that they laid down the law on that Boston Marathon bomber yesterday? Now if it's difficult to escape justice and the watchful eye of peers on earth, how does anyone expect to avoid accountability to the ultimate Law Giver? I know, I know He doesn't exist even though He does, but really think about this Mind. You can't study His work all day everyday and not occasionally wonder Who put this universe together! I hear consistent talk about laws (gravity, thermodynamics, etc.) and seldom an interest in the origins/Originator of such laws. These laws are defined and they don't bend for changing human opinions. You're sure that you can't play around with the laws of gravity and go around jumping off skyscrapers without killing yourself, so why do you think you can play around with the Laws of morality or God? You know morality is real because your conscience confirms it, as you know gravity is real - so why not be heavenbent on getting down to the bottom of the Source of these mysterious phenomena? And please spare me the disappointment of suggesting that nobody (Intelligent) x nothing (intended) = EVERYTHING because it makes me chuckle, then amusement turns into sadness. It's FAR more important and fulfilling to discover the Genius behind this awesomeness than to accept materialism as being thorough.
"I am wondering if the person working at McDs knows the same God as ? and how would anyone know if the Gods were equivalent? Thousands of Gods have been 'encountered' over the course of history – are they all manifestations of the same God or are there actually thousands of Gods out there."
How about we deal with the only one to actually come to earth and generate an actual legacy, teaching actual principles that enhance actual lives, changing the trajectory of actual nations, individuals and history. A Person so significant, that the other major world religion (Islam) can't help but mention Him in their book. We've got a live one here!
You know come to think of it, it's interesting that atheists tend to beef with this particular God more than any "others". I seldom hear of a debate involving Allah or Mohammed or Zeus, but it's always Jesus and His Father generating most of these passionate responses. Why is that? I know a lot of us are American and this is a "Christian Nation", but I spend time on the internet all over and it's always Jesus taking the shots. Hasn't He been through enough? Maybe it's because He actually rules, or because there has to be an actual Personality/Person in authority for people to get angry with and complain about. Unicorns, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy (and other imaginary friends you folks like to throw out there) don't generate the same time consuming rants that the Biblical God does. Curious.
"Irrelevant for legal purposes. Practically every aspect of modern life ‘goes against what is natural.’ Antibiotics go against what is natural. We do not restrict people’s rights and freedoms to what is natural. Do you have any argument against SSM that does not rest on the naturalistic fallacy?"
On a side personal note; you mention antibiotics - to your knowledge, is there any difference between antibiotics for a dog or fish, and those made for humans? I'm not setting you up here, but it's a real question. If amoxicillin made for pets reads; "Pharmaceutical Grade", can a human being take them without harm? Thanks for any insight!
"Do you have any argument against SSM that does not rest on the naturalistic fallacy?"
Yep, God doesn't honor it and does not recommend the practice as stated in His Word: "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their ERROR" (Romans 1). Now I know that posting that might generate one of those passionate responses I mentioned, but take it up with God - not the messenger. There are more verses, but I don't wanna push it just now (congratulations Sean). Aside from sharing that nugget, I say that my conscience confirms that a resounding NO is appropriate on SSM because it goes against DESIGN (revisit my toaster/DVD analogy), morality, social progress and produces no natural fruit or offspring. God bless'em if they want to adopt or use surrogates, but the fact that they can't do it "naturally" has to say something about the Designer's intention - even if you insist on sweeping that part under the rug. I see the other thread has picked up steam and Michael is arguing that "ignorance of organismal behavior has people saying things like 'the only purpose of one’s sex organs are procreative" - but we're not talking about lesser creatures in the animal kingdom wanting to get marriage licenses. We're talking about God's chosen vessels aka human beings. We're made in His image, we express His will and when He chose to visit, He came as nothing less (though more) than a Human Being. We obviously mean something to His story and if everyone up and decided one day to be gay, the human show would enter it's final act - though we might already be doing so. Fathers are necessary, mothers are necessary and a double portion of either without the other can and has happened, but it may not be ideal for God's overall human development plan. Balance. Structure. Order.
Are you planning to answer my questions from #92, Eric? There I explain my concerns and give an "argument against SSM that does not rest on the naturalistic (reality)" which is; God's wrath and imminent judgement.
"They all, without fail, claim to know exactly what God wants us to do and how He wants us to live. They can quote chapter and verse from the Bible to support what they’re saying. That’s not the funny part. The funny part is that pretty much none of them actually agree with each other. It almost makes one think that the Bible is not really such a great source for moral guidance, doesn’t it? In this case, ?, you are aware, right that there are Christians who have no problem with homosexual marriages."
Yes I am aware, my girlfriend is actually one of them. But if I may confess, I'm always messin' up personally, and based on the 10 Commandments you're always messin' up and Christians from various denominations are always messin' up. Ultimately, God is the Authority on this and all other matters - and His ruling here is the only one that counts. That verse I posted (along with others that I didn't) doesn't seem to have much gray area on the topic - going as far to call it an "ERROR", but we know from Nazi Germany and U.S. slavery that it's possible for groups to justify unrighteous behavior for the sake of a consensus belief. Granted, this is NOWHERE NEAR as catastrophic an issue, but we see that groups (whether Christian, atheist or otherwise) can willingly endorse a practice that is less than right. Yes Christians disagree sometimes, compromise sometimes (unfortunately), but so do siblings. Our love, fear and reverence for God (and His love for us) will inevitably place us in PERFECT harmony - but it's a process. Forget the bickering Christians, what does God want? That's the question. You don't care, but you should.
Legally fails the Lemon test. "God doesn't honor it" is not a secular purpose, you've described a primarily religious effect of the law (to prevent behavior God doesn't honor), and basing a law on what God wants entangles the government excessively in trying to figure out which religion and which sect to take as authoritative.
Such arguments are not legally tenable; no sectarian religious arguments are. Which is also why your @92 claims are legally irrelevant. As for the @92 personal question about Jesus presiding at a gay wedding....I have no idea. But again, that's irrelevant to the question of the legality of SSM because we do not base US secular law on what Jesus would do. The first amendment is a great example: it explicitly gives us the right to worship other gods, to make graven images, to take the lord's name in vain, to dishonor our fathers and mothers (at least in speech), to lie to your neighbor (in a nonlegal setting) and to covet all the things our neighbor has. Wow, that's 5-6 commandments Jesus wouldn't break knocked down in just one measly amendment!
Look, its perfectly okay for you to teach your kids to avoid behaviors you think are sinful. Its perfectly okay to express your belief that some behavior is sinful. Legalizing SSM doesn't alter any of that. It allows other people to commit what you consider a sin...but since we already have tons of laws that do exactly that (of which the first amendment is a prime example), I don't see how this is any different. To consistently apply the argument you describe, you should be fighting against the first amendment AND SSM...or fighting against neither. But you can't fight against one and not the other using a "WWJD" style argument without appearing to be selectively targeting gays.
It is with some trepidation that I engage in this conversation, since I am pretty sure that you won't take it too seriously, but you claim that I should care what God wants. Why should I?
What I am asking you to do here is to go outside the Bible and provide evidence that God exists. The Bible is not a reliable historical document; it is a compilation of oral mythology, oral histories, poetry, and religious propaganda. For example, AFAIK, the Bible is the only document that outlines the life of Jesus. Beyond the Bible, it's not even entirely clear that someone named Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, let alone did what the Bible claims he did. The Bible also contains quite a few discrepancies as compared to other historical documents from the time. For instance, there was no census requiring people to return to the towns of their birth at the time of the purported birth of Jesus. Roman records on that matter are quite clear.
In any case, the Gospels were written down at least several decades after the purported date of the death of Jesus. They can hardly be called eyewitness accounts, even if their true authors are who they are purported to be. Which would you believe, an account of a World War II battle written in the immediate aftermath of that battle or an account written by an 95 year old man in 2015 who was a participant in that battle? I hope the answer is obvious, and that you realize that even though the 95 year old veteran writing today was there, that his memory might just be incorrect. Now suppose that this account written 70 years after the fact included features that would have been well noted at the time, but were not discussed in any contemporary accounts. Would you believe that what the old veteran recounted 70 years after the fact actually occurred, or would you have skepticism about his account? I would certainly think that skepticism would be in order.
I get that you have faith. I cannot argue with that. If you believe in God based on that faith, more power to you. However, you CANNOT use that faith to justify pushing laws upon the rest of society, many, if not most, of whom do not believe what you do. That was kind of the point of my previous observation. It is not a matter of Christians being sinful or erroneous. Other Christians believe what they do with just as much faith as you do, only they believe things that are different from what you believe. The Episcopal Church, for example, allows homosexuals to marry within the church. It certainly does not believe that this is a sinful or erroneous practice (although I suspect you'd disagree). They are doing so based on their belief that homosexuals are children of God and are just as deserving of pastoral care as heterosexuals, including being married in the church. Of course, your going to invoke a "No True Scotsman" in a case like that and claim that the Episcopal Church is not acting in truly Christian fashion in that regard, but that's just proving my point.
If there is an all-powerful God, and that all-powerful God desires that we believe in a certain way, then why are there so many disputes about what that desire is? Why cannot an all-powerful God tell us what He wants more clearly. My example shows that even the Bible is not particularly clear on what God wants. Various Christian groups, all looking to the same Bible, disagree about what it is that God wants us to do. All those Christians who disagree with you believe that you are in error just as strongly as you believe that they are in error. How do you know that you are the one who is correct and that those Christians who disagree with you are wrong?
Then simply put, you don't know science. Trying to figure out if disparate laws have some deeper underlying principle and what that principle is, is a big part of research. But scientists are interested in testable hypotheses about the origins of various laws, and do not presume the answer must be God. Theology commits both explanatory sins - it produces untestable hypotheses, and presumes an answer and then works backwards to defend it.
No, not when it comes to legality/illegality it isn't. Its a fine theological question and by all means, you are mostly (but not entirely) free to live your life by your understanding of what God wants. If you don't think he likes gay marriage, don't get gay married. But when it comes to secular law in the US, that's the wrong question and "God wants..." is not a legitimate reason for forbidding a practice.
Anecdotes ? are not evidence. You've got one person who claims her homosexuality is not innate and you think that is somehow relevant to anything?
Just how does anybody know what a God wants? You don't answer that - it could be that slavery is what God wants. Dragging in God is just a means of trying to impose an greater authority behind that you want.
That last sentences is error-ridden
"Dragging in God is just a means of trying to impose a greater authority behind what you want.
Let me add to my anecdote comment - the Gospels are not history but hagiography and everything supposedly said by Jesus is at least secondhand if not further afield. It is all hearsay and says more about the writers than it could about Jesus. I still can't figure out how any believer can blithely ignore all the other gods and religions past and current - as if they are irrelevant.
"Let me add to my anecdote comment - the Gospels are not history but hagiography and everything supposedly said by Jesus is at least secondhand if not further afield. It is all hearsay and says more about the writers than it could about Jesus."
It's precisely the fact that this Individual wrote nothing about Himself, and allowed His disciples/followers to promote His life that further piques my interest. This sounds about right for a humble God Man. Some religions come out of a singular mind, and are "probably" nothing more than the imaginations and/or delusional assertions of an ego maniac who can write. Scientology for instance; an eccentric science-fiction writer invents some stuff about aliens, thetans or whatever else and profits from it while leading his followers God knows where. Muhammad said Allah told him some stuff, wrote it down and 22% of the world believes him. I'll skip Darwin. Jesus on the other hand, in all the humility that we've grown to associate with Him, seemed to have no ego and no deceptive agendas - but only cared about the glorification of His Father and the execution of His will. He served, ministered, loved on people, did some God glorifying miracles that amazed some and infuriated others, then witnesses spread what they witnessed. No need to boast or toot my own horn, just I AM. His only immediate profit from all this BTW was the cross. And why was He on a cross? You ever think about that? What was it that was so bad that it got a good man (who no respectable scholar labels as a criminal) crucified as a criminal? A curious transpiration to say the least. Anyway, I don't trust most human minds, especially those without guidance from God - but several accounts about an Individual saying the same kind of consistent "WOW" means a lot more than the ideas of one self promoter.
"Just how does anybody know what a God wants? You don’t answer that – it could be that slavery is what God wants."
Drop sin, follow Jesus. That sums up what God wants. Submit to God and love Him above all else - observing and obeying His laws (the 10 Commandments, etc.). The Bible tells you in detail what He wants and to a certain degree your conscience let's you know what He wants as many of the commandments decreed jive with it. Yes, you disagree with it's position on this SSM issue and many other things I'm certain, but your conscience (hopefully) agrees that murder, theft, placing materialism before your Creator is wrong and worthy of discipline. What God wants is laid out in that book you scoff at, but is perennial for a reason. In fact, I'd say that the reason why Jesus is so well known is because God wants/designed it that way as He's effectively communicating with the world His desires and intentions. Mainly: "be like My Son because He is the template for you nuts" and there's been perpetual church growth century after century indicating that the message/communication is working. You can reject The Book, not believe in Jesus, but you've heard the redemptive message - which will enable Him to say; "I told you so" when you have your court date. Despite your atheism, Jesus is very much a part of your consciousness - and AFAIK is the only Man ever to have a reputation for being God.
"What I am asking you to do here is to go outside the Bible and provide evidence that God exists."
I'm working on a work in progress that is building what I believe to be a strong case for God's existence (for those who need something more than creation as proof). The problem is, however, that God events (miracles, divine interventions, revelations, CREATION, etc.) can't be reproduced for scientific testing and evaluation, and in many cases are subjective. This doesn't mean that they didn't/don't happen, but just that God intervenes when He intervenes and that's that. The Resurrection cannot be reproduced, but people claimed to have seen it. The Big Bang can't be duplicated, but scientists claim that it happened. I have things that I could share, but since they're subjective experiences encouraging my own personal faith, I should solve a little more of the puzzle before I try to increase yours. I do assertively share, however, that we have not been left alone.
"AFAIK, the Bible is the only document that outlines the life of Jesus. Beyond the Bible, it’s not even entirely clear that someone named Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, let alone did what the Bible claims he did."
"In any case, the Gospels were written down at least several decades after the purported date of the death of Jesus. They can hardly be called eyewitness accounts, even if their true authors are who they are purported to be. Which would you believe, an account of a World War II battle written in the immediate aftermath of that battle or an account written by an 95 year old man in 2015 who was a participant in that battle?"
The Christian position is that God wrote the Bible, and if God wrote something through a 105 year-old Alzheimer's patient who recalled somebody rising from the dead 70 years ago, I'd give it a listen. I suspect He'd be able to communicate His message through any time, person and/or circumstance. We must not forget that this movement was met with MUCH MORE resistance than the type that occurs on the internet in forums like this. Starting with Jesus Himself - they took Him out, but He didn't stop. The disciples faced persecution at every turn, but Word still got out. The very Romans that participated in the execution, are now rolling over in their graves because some of their descendants are now Jesus believing Catholics.
Wait for it...
"When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: 'Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5)
It seemed improbable at the time, but we're still here and swelling. I'm convinced that (you'll hate this one...) God did it!
"Various Christian groups, all looking to the same Bible, disagree about what it is that God wants us to do. All those Christians who disagree with you believe that you are in error just as strongly as you believe that they are in error. How do you know that you are the one who is correct and that those Christians who disagree with you are wrong?"
The verse I posted on homosexuality is not gray as I mentioned before, but crystal clear. It refers to the lifestyle or act as "unnatural", an "error" or to paraphrase; wrong. The disagreements between Christians is irrelevant because as I keep saying, GOD IS THE AUTHORITY and His intentions are all that matter. All of us Christians should be looking to perform exegesis to get down to the bottom of His Word's meaning instead of omitting things because we have a gay friend that we want to be able to get married. I too misinterpret things, but my lifelong objective is to understand precisely what God has communicated - knowing that my understanding is inferior to His. I know you reject the Bible, but that aside, what it says on same-sex love affairs must be clear to even you. We got nothing without a clear sense of Godly direction.
Christians jumping on the bandwagon of SSM support might be entertaining these thoughts (because I've considered them): judgement is ultimately God's not yours, all have been given free will so mind your own, we're all sinners and no one sin is greater than another - all of which are points, but we're not reading ANYWHERE in Scripture that this type of union is endorsed/supported by God, but that it is condemned, therefore, God's people have no reason to endorse or support it. Not calling a sin a sin, is a sin because we should want "Thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven" seeing that we are the salt of the earth and are salty to preserve. Jesus died for all types of sinners and homosexuals are among them.
You're looking for a legal argument against SSM as opposed to a moral one, and I can only say that if God is God, it behooves every government to allow Him to govern them. The court does participate in judging many acts of immorality, but just refers to them as broken laws (as does God incidentally) and punishes people accordingly when they violate them. Governments are in place to govern and maintain order, and deviation from divine laws can/will affect that order. I keep saying God is the Authority, GOD DEFINES MORALITY over and over because that's literally what's up and if we step from under His umbrella of blessings and protection, I fear. "One nation under God" is in the pledge of allegiance, not "one nation above God", and I'm hoping we don't lose sight of that.
Once God's objectives are defined (as I believe they have been), they can't be toyed with to please a small segment of the population. Since the morality code is clearly stated in the Bible, and since we've decided we can break the code with the law's consent, why don't we start legalizing everything else that the Bible says don't do? Let's destroy order to the point where everybody can just do whatever they want. Nobody wants that, but we might as well while we're at it. People cannot go as far as they want to go in the pursuit of liberty and happiness because not everyone wants to pursue what is "good".
I'm sorry if I didn't address every point, but this post is long enough. God bless gay folks and you folks!
Why won't anyone accept that "morality" does not exist? It is just something someone came up with because they felt that certain things were not 'right'. So, what gives us the right to judge people's sexualities?
You might as well say that there is no conscience or gravity while you're making your assertions Luyandza u15020429. You know that there is gravity keeping your feet on solid ground and you know that there is conscience keeping your feet on solid ground. We feel the twinge within when we sin from year one of existence and need no one to "make up" morality (just laws and Authority to clarify and enforce it).
“AFAIK, the Bible is the only document that outlines the life of Jesus. Beyond the Bible, it’s not even entirely clear that someone named Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, let alone did what the Bible claims he did.”
▸ Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor and friend of Tacitus, wrote about early Christian worship of Christ “as to a god.”
▸ Suetonius, a Roman writer, lawyer and historian, wrote of riots in 49 C.E. among Jews in Rome which might have been about Christus but which he thought were incited by “the instigator Chrestus,” whose identification with Jesus is not completely certain.
▸ Mara bar Serapion, a prisoner of war held by the Romans, wrote a letter to his son that described “the wise Jewish king” in a way that seems to indicate Jesus but does not specify his identity.
▸ Celsus, the Platonist philosopher, considered Jesus to be a magician who made exorbitant claims.
?, there is no external historical evidence for the supernatural being you call Jesus.
There is no evidence of the events of his execution on the cross.
There was no mass census of the type described around his birth.
The only references to his existence is the bible, written after the fact by those who had a great interest in
* documenting his existence
* "verifying" several "prophecies" came true
It is a long line of empty crap.
That's precisely what I'd expect you to type Dean. Thanks for your perspective and happy Sunday after Easter ;)
It's a pity you don't recognize the reality about your just so stories.
So you're FINALLY acknowledging that Jesus was here, and you've promoted Him from nonexistent to "just so"?
"The only references to his existence is the bible, written after the fact by those who had a great interest in
* documenting his existence
* “verifying” several “prophecies” came true"
In other words, someone or some group of people, devised a conspiracy, and convinced other people to collaborate for decades in a fraud by independently concocting dizzying collections of lies designed to match scores of obscure details recorded in the Old Testament.
Even if a historical figure named Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified by the Romans, there still is no historical evidence that he was a divine figure, that he was resurrected after his crucifixion, or that he performed any of the miraculous acts that are attributed to him. Without any of that, all you have is someone who went around preaching, not an uncommon thing in those days, and garnered the support of some followers, also not particularly uncommon.
What was less common about the Christian message was that it was intended to appeal to the masses, but not in such a way as to agitate the masses against the Roman authorities. That was seized upon later by Roman emperors, most notably Constantine, who realized that the religion could become a unifying force for an empire that was starting to become disunited. Had the ruling elites not adapted Christianity, it likely would have went the way of various other "mystery cults" in Roman times and would not have become the major force in Western Civilization that it was. It was during this process of politicizing Christianity that the Bible was developed. Christianity was governed by a hierarchy of clergy appointed by the Roman emperors, and therefore controlled by them. It was these councils that developed the Bible in its modern form. The Gospels were only four among many writings that existed that told the story of Jesus, who by the time of those writings had become legendary, much like later legends regarding King Arthur or Robin Hood. The council selected those accounts that meshed well with their political and theological goals. Other accounts that were extant were suppressed. The Church added the assorted writings of Paul, some older Jewish texts and the Bible was formed. There were other theological writings in existence that conflicted with the ones selected, which were ignored by the council.
I hope you see the point that the Biblical accounts are therefore not necessarily reliable. It did not require a major conspiracy among many people, only the suppression of conflicting accounts by those in power. Unfortunately, that is all to easy to achieve, especially in an era where there was no mass communication and where the majority of the masses were not well educated.
Before the USG could 'allow God to govern them, it would first have to decide *which* religion had it right. Our first amendment basically forbids that, because its endorsement. So nope, yours is not a good legal argument.
And yes, I do think that legal arguments are what we should be discussing here, because as I said above, if you think its immoral or sinful you are perfectly welcome to not get same sex married. You are perfectly welcome to speak out against it and tell other people not to do it. That's where the moral argument leads you. However if you want to stop other people from getting same sex married as a matter of law, you need to make a legally valid argument.
No, that's the endorsement problem again. The USG cannot constitutionally prefer any person or sect's understanding of God's objectives over anyone else's. That includes not preferring 'God's objectives' under the monotheist view over 'the Gods' objectives' in a polytheistic view, 'Karma's objectives' in an eastern view, etc... and so on.
You mean like wearing cotton polyester blends, allowing witches to live, eating seafood, etc..? We do. The only biblical laws we keep are those that make a secular sense to keep (like 'don't steal'); we ditch the rest.
Another way to put that is: as a secular nation, we don't care if some legal proscription occurs in the bible. Its presence in someone's theology will cause us to adopt it, nor cause us to abandon an otherwise (secularly) useful proscription. The government strives to remain neutral in regards to religion, and one way it remains neutral is neither adopting nor rejecting laws on the grounds that some religion supports it. Laws much be adopted or rejected on secular grounds.
oops, that last paragraph should read "Its presence in someone’s theology will not cause us..."
No, stories are just that - no reference to real entities required. There is no evidence of your jesus ever existing.
Phil - yes indeed, that's pretty much it.
Of course Jesus is real. Why just last week I had a card on my door from a realtor Jesus (De la Cruz) wanting to sell my house. I seem to remember another Jesus wanting to mow my lawn and trim my trees.
Cute little atheists :)
I am not an atheist (how could one be absolutely sure, but I have yet to encounter any convincing evidence). I am definitely not a Christian - that's easy.
"yes indeed, that’s pretty much it."
Yeah, but that idea is a really far-fetched. Too many people involved, too much coordination, too much tedious scratching around in the OT finding things to match up with contrived stories by different writers. In short, there are too many ways to fail. Humans really aren’t good at conspiracies in the long term, especially if they involve lots and lots of complete lies.
I'm not aware of any exposés, and there surely would have been plenty of them in the first century if the whole thing was fabricated, especially with that many people involved. Churches were being founded just weeks after the crucifixion by people who were in Jerusalem when it occurred.
For myself, it is much easier to take the Gospels at face value. There are thousands of manuscripts that show how seriously the books were taken, and these comparatively confirm fidelity to original works. If they were updated, edited or revised to improve the narrative, there would be lots of evidence. To my knowledge, there is no such paper trail.
Yet you believe thousands of scientists are conspiring to hide the falsity of evolution. What an idiot.
Julian the Apostate wrote an exposé "Against the Galilleans", but it hasn't made it out the other end. The only fragments are in a rebuttal by Cyril of Alexandria.
"Yet you believe thousands of scientists are conspiring to hide the falsity of evolution."
Not at all. But I definitely believe that there is a reluctance to publicly express doubts or ask questions that would only result in accusations and punishment. Nobody is going to get grant money for opposing establishment religion.
Throw in the towel Michael.
“As far as the people want to go in the pursuit of life, liberty, etc…. That is the point of a constitutional democracy; we the people make the laws under which we live. Both state and national legislatures alter laws every year; that is, in fact, their job.”
Muslims, Christians, gays, atheists are all a part of "we the people" and we all have a say and we all get a vote. This upcoming presidential election will inevitably have some candidate get up there promising a return to traditional American values - and many will be listening closely taking his/her sales pitch into consideration.
"Even IF a historical figure named Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified by the Romans, there's still is no historical evidence that he was a divine figure, that he was resurrected after his crucifixion, or that he performed any of the miraculous acts that are attributed to him. Without any of that, all you have is someone who went around preaching."
And with any of that, we've got God. "Even IF a historical figure named Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified by the Romans" you're only willing to acknowledge that He was someone who "went around preaching". The deal is though, once you've acknowledged His existence (which we see you're reluctant to do) and once you've acknowledged that He "went around preaching", you might have to consider His other production. If He performs those miracles, atheism looks even sillier than it already does and you have to give up something(s), so you (and your posters in crime) hang on to the delusion that a nonexistent Jesus could generate all the repercussions of His life that we observe today. I doubt you even believe that yourself.
If Jesus were here today preaching His message and performing miracles on YouTube, would you become a follower or be one of the ones asking for His head? How would you react if God were confirmed for you in some satisfactory way - would you be elated, or would you be disappointed at the discovery?
Nobody is going to get grant money for opposing establishment religion."
Since science is not a religion that is a stupid statement. Since showing evolution is false (with science based methods, not the bullocks creationists try) would cement a person's fame in the scientific communtiy (at least), it is an incredibly stupid syayement as well.
If Jesus came today and performed miracles and they were properly recorded and other naturalistic explanations were eliminated, then sure, I'd believe he's divine. I am quite willing to change my beliefs based on new evidence. That's what rational people do. Give me the link to the You Tube video of Jesus performing miracles. Give me enough background to investigate it and determine if it was truly a miracle or if it's just some parlor trick, illusion, etc. If you do, I'll happily believe. If you can't, I'll continue to look at the evidence in a dispassionate way, and that evidence points to the lack of divine intervention in the universe.
Indeed, I'm counting on politicians being concerned about public scrutiny and paying attention to what the majority of American people want.
If we only knew what "traditional American values" meant. Every time I ask someone what it means, I get nothing concrete back. It is like the recent survey that has people wanting more services and fewer taxes - it has no connection to reality - past or present.
"Indeed, I’m counting on politicians being concerned about public scrutiny and paying attention to what the majority of American people want."
I'm sure you'll find those politicians. And eventually, other groups will not have to endure the pain and abuse of being ostracized, stigmatized and rejected on the basis of who they love. Nobody should feel the sting of bigotry and discrimination. LGBTQ+P
Aah Reisman, noted liar: false accusations about Kinsey's research, pusher of the unsubstantiated idea of "erototoxins" (a non-existent thing) that causes brain damage when people view pornography, who has asserted that homosexual culture in Germany led to the Nazis and the Holocaust, and who has a degree in communications, not law, not science - of course she is a reliable source of something. Bald faced lies, of course, but the link to Fox News and the tie to Liberty diploma mill already told normal people those facts.
The notion that the american psychological association would condone pedophiles is, of course, stupid and completely false. Phil's point is, as everything else he's asserted, built on a pile of lies.
They also seem to turn a blind eye to the concept of 'informed consent', which has been mentioned it looks like at least four times in this thread alone and which easily deals with all their slippery slope arguments. Mystifying.
Liberty U - whose motto is surely "come here and know even less after four years of study" or maybe "we will never challenge your beliefs or encourage you to think for yourself."
How about "Scholarship, we don't need no stinkin' scholarship" or one they would probably like "The Fox News of Universities."
“Aah Reisman, noted liar: false accusations about Kinsey’s research”
So you’re a Kinsey fan and defender? What false accusations do you have in mind? Kinsey is a Youtube sensation, but not everyone shares you sympathy.
“The notion that the american psychological association would condone pedophiles is, of course, stupid and completely false.”
Well first, I’m not sure about that. But the issue is more about the shift in perceptions and clinical approach to this particular downtrodden community. I guess they still think some kind of reparative therapy is called for (which has, of course, become taboo for homosexuals). Personally, I think pedophiles belong in cemeteries. At the very least, a vigorous response is called for. Do you think if Obama had a son, he’d look like this?
Alcee Hastings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcee_Hastings looks to be the kind of champion you might be looking for as a political advocate for the marginalized:
“…so that we can continue to move this country towards fully achieving its promise of justice and liberty for all Americans.”
Here you go dean:
The Institute is right next door in Indiana. You can probably smell it from where you are. Perhaps they have a summer camp for children. I hear they love kids.
Interesting how the current keepers of the archives are prepared to destroy the records isn’t it?
Wow phil, you really have a problem with the whole "reliable sources" stuff don't you? Not surprising really, since they don't exist in theology.
You also have a problem reading for context: I'd ask you to find anywhere in my earlier comment where there was support, or even a pass, for pedophiles. You'd have to look at John Paul II and his immediate successor for two high profile people who did everything they could to keep offenders in their employ, all over the world, away from the law. (Spare me your explanations for why those two, or the people who did the child molestations and worse, were set up, not true christians, or any other line of crap.)
Are you familiar with the work of Robert Conquest on the Stalin era in the Soviet union? From his descriptions of the type of thug employed by the secret police to carry out the over-night kidnappings, tortures, and executions, (blind obedience to authority, hatred for "others", no conscience, sociopathic hatred for people not like themselves), you would have fit right in and had a great career. You're simply living 80 years too late.
Thanks for the article, Eric. You know my vote. Opponents have been relatively dormant or at least less active than usual allowing proponents to "play offense" as the piece puts it. We see in Indiana and Arkansas, however, that some are not willing to just lay down and be silent and I expect that opposition to rise as Obama's reign comes to a close. This movement has really needed him and his endorsement throughout the past few years and we mustn't forget that initially he agreed that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but said later that his views on the issue "evolved". It's no secret that politicians flip flop, and will say whatever's politically correct to keep their polls up and ensure that their most important agendas have a fighting chance. I suspect that those candidates who are opponents of SSM will do the same; have something politically correct to say in public, while having something entirely different in their heart. Or some might value correctness over political correctness and just come right out confessing their plans to squash the momentum. My trajectory and convictions remain the same no matter what happens - and I'm not gonna drop dead if every state green-lights it, but I have a vote.
"If we only knew what “traditional American values” meant. Every time I ask someone what it means, I get nothing concrete back."
A moral authority. A diligent effort to be one nation under God.
"Give me the link to the You Tube video of Jesus performing miracles. Give me enough background to investigate it and determine if it was truly a miracle or if it’s just some parlor trick, illusion, etc. If you do, I’ll happily believe. If you can’t, I’ll continue to look at the evidence in a dispassionate way, and that evidence points to the lack of divine intervention in the universe."
Can I offer you my certainty that divine intervention occurs in the universe? In one ear/out the other because subjective experiences mean nothing to you I know, but if you consider my certainty, your "dispassionate" search might get lit with some expectation.
"Can I offer you my certainty that divine intervention occurs in the universe?"
That provide no valid support for your contention at all. What is it about solid evidence that is impossible for you folks to grasp?
"That provide no valid support for your contention at all. What is it about solid evidence that is impossible for you folks to grasp?"
"Valid support for my contention" is something I have, but for now I'm offering encouragement. I have that to give as opposed to a YouTube link with Jesus doing miracles. A little optimism is good and if a fellow human being INSISTS with a genuine heart that divine intervention occurs, the skeptic might (just might) develop some anticipation for a breakthrough where God is concerned. Or not, but I must offer the encouragement.
"Valid support for my contention” is something I have"
Probably not "valid" in the sense that reality and science demands. A good feeling that convinces oneself that a special thing has occurred is worthless. After all, Son of Sam was convinced that his neighbor's dog was giving him commands.
"Voices in your mind": evidence of miraculous intervention or suggestion of mental problem? Evidence supports the latter.
Who said anything about voices in one's head?
Dean, you're convinced that you got here without divine intervention or an Intelligent Designer so why should anyone take your mind serious? Afterall, it came from nothing and nobody. You are proof that delusions do occur in the minds of men, but divine interventions can occur outside the mind and can, therefore, be evaluated by others.
Yes Phil, I get it, you think there's a slippery slope from gay marriage between legal adults to pedophilia. Instead of repeating that assertion over and over again, you might try actually addressing the counterargument that the former involves people the law already recognizes can give informed consent, while the latter does not.
Its a skewed poll, eh? Well, I've heard that before. Last time, the mainstream polls turned out to be extremely accurate while the right-wing "unskewed" versions got reality completely wrong. I expect the same thing is happening here and its a true majority that supports SSM. I could always be wrong about that, but give that Rubio has already dodged on this issue, a mere day after declaring candidacy, it looks to me like even the mainstream GOP and right-leaning candidates believe the mainstream numbers are accurate.
Huh? It was Biden, no Obama, that started the snowball, and he didn't start it intentionally but by making an accidental faux pas (which is par for the course for Biden). The administration was firmly in the "ambivalent" camp until after the groundswell produced by Biden's comment happened. Moreover, neither Biden nor Obama have been involved in the various state legislative decisions to legalize SSM.
Lastly, I don't get this obsession the right has with the opinions of Obama. He's already pretty much a lame duck President. I think, frankly, he matters far more to you guys on the right than he matters to the left or mainstream. Hilary's very first campaign ad was actively supportive of gay rights, but somehow you think support for SSM is going to fall off with Obama? His stepping down isn't going to change either the popular or democratic (party) support for SSM. This is not a cult of personality effect; its a sea change in opinion, driven primarily by the under-30 generation.
Oh goodness. My sincere apologies about improperly closing that html tag.
Why, did you leave the support in your other pants? If you have it, produce it!
I see. So I take it you are developing some anticipation for a breakthrough where karma and reincarnation is concerned, because of all of your fellow humans who insist with a genuine heart that they're real? We are not unduly or irrationally skeptical; we simply have the skepticism towards your religion that you have towards all the others.
At eric: It is no surprise that rubrio is off the mark on the same sex marriage issue: this is the man who for years repeated to lie and say his parents came to the United States to get away from Castro. It wasn't until he was asked multiple times in public, and it got into the news, that they left before Castro took power, in order to get away from Batista, that he sort of changed his story. Escaping from a brutal Communist dictator plays so much better than escaping from a brutal right-wing dictator, after all.
Why is phil and some much of the rest of the right wing obsessed with President Obama? He's not a white male, yet he dares use the front door to the White House.
There is no scientific evidence for a creation. Your refusal, and phils, and that of every other creationist, to make any attempt to understand the science and, when you find disagreement, support your side with science - something that could be tested, make predictions, etc - does lend any credence for your views. The bit of saying something is true because of belief alone will fly in theology, where facts are irrelevant, but not elsewhere.
If you wish to convince rational people that some mystical being created everything, you have to do more than simply say "look around you - how else could this happen?" At the least, the correct response is "How do you know it was your mystical being, and not the one those people over there are pushing?" There's not a fact-based way out of that - except, of course, belief.
And strong belief in personal interaction with a god, or that a miracle occurred, as you've mentioned you have, doesn't mean squat in a fact based world. Again, it is no more reliable or meaningful of something special than are the imaginations of a madman that the neighbor's dog is giving him orders.
"A diligent effort to be one nation under God."
Which has been in the pledge only since the 1950s - wonder why the minister who wrote the pledge in the 1800s did not include it then?
Since the founding fathers never stated this was a christian nation, but one where people would be free to practice any religion of their choice, or no religion at all, one has to wonder what isis-similar vision you have in mind. Given your bigoted and ignorant screeds about same sex marriage - your vision can't be one any decent person would like.
"Its a skewed poll, eh? Well, I’ve heard that before."
Where did I say the poll was skewed? Copy and past it. What I said was that opponents have been relatively dormant and I know this because I am one and I have been dormant. This is the 1st time I've expressed my views on the matter in a while, and I can't be the only one watching (disapproving) and waiting to throw in my 2 cents.
"Huh? It was Biden, not Obama who started the snowball...."
Obama is a POPULAR face and mouthpiece of support and whether you think he's a lame duck president or not, he's contributed to the momentum. Can you picture ANY president before the second Bush (excluding maybe Clinton) publicly supporting SSM? Probably not, as Obama is unique in that regard. His evolution from "ambivalence" to support has been on display: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2520962
"Hilary’s very first campaign ad was actively supportive of gay rights, but somehow you think support for SSM is going to fall off with Obama? His stepping down isn’t going to change either the popular or democratic (party) support for SSM. This is not a cult of personality effect; its a sea change in opinion, driven primarily by the under-30 generation."
Hillary's not a lock BTW - we had her on that pedestal before, remember? Oh those seas of opinion are always changin' so you just never know how things are gonna turn out in the GRAND scheme of things.
If one were truly open to "voices from above", then how could one be a Christian? The "voice" could be from any number of "gods" who have "appeared" in various guises over the millennia. We also know that some of those "voices" were not from "above", but from within. If you are only open to Jesus, then will Zeus stop to chat or Odin? How do you know they don't exist if you aren't open to all gods?
"Why is phil and some much of the rest of the right wing obsessed with President Obama?"
Anyone who has kids should recognize that the irreversible damage that is being done is going to fall very hard on their children and grandchildren.
I agree the money owed from the two wars that were not paid for and the asinine tax cuts President Bush pushed through when he was wrecking the economy will cause a burden, but you can hardly blame the current president for them. The fact that he is of the incorrect race for people like you to tolerate is still the most likely reason for your dislike.
The damage from the economy will not be as great on your children as the things they learn from your bigotry, dishonesty, and all around lack of integrity phil
Even if this were true, how is it all Obama's fault? I know data is not your strong suit phil, but take a look at deficits and spending over the last 50 years - I think you will be surprised that Republicans don't practice what they preach. There are things we could do that Obama is not doing enough of - like shifting toward a circular economy, stop using growth as a "good", reconsider things like GNP and GDP. Much like SSM, it will take all the old to die off before we can move on.
"The fact that he is of the incorrect race for people like you to tolerate is still the most likely reason for your dislike."
Well, my black grandsons would not agree with you Dean. Nor would the normal black folks who recognize what liberals have been doing to American blacks for about 50 years, with other people’s money. People like you don’t give a fat damn about blacks. You have them sequestered in government financed toilets from coast to coast, and you’ve paid them to adopt dog morals. As long as they vote for liberal scum, you can’t bother to notice what you’ve done. You are the racist. You are the bigot. You, and people like you, are to blame, with your slogans, and your petty accusations, and your abysmal hypocrisy.
“it will take all the old to die off before we can move on”
I’ve got some news for you. ‘we’ are on an unstoppable downhill slide. America is being removed.
Dog morals? That pretty much sums up your despicable social bigotry in one. Ugly phrae. Again, you prove what a horrible person you are.
Your fever speckled description of modern society is rather scary - straight from the tea bagger mythology of lamentations about the decline of the power of the white male.
What a sad ugly delusional person you sre.
“Dog morals?That pretty much sums up your despicable social bigotry”
There it is, right on cue. Phony indignation cloaked in buzz words. You are the racist, and you are the bigot.
You forget which of us used that language, apparently. Just as you forget which of us supports discrimination against, well, pretty much anyone who is not the same as you.
There is no hope for an honest comment from you, something we should have learned long ago. It isn't clear what type of society you miss and would like to go back to, but it is clear it would be a hell hole for anyone who wasn't white and willing to worship the same despicable being you do, in exactly the same way.
you've spoken of a threat to the country: there is an internal threat, from people just like you. Years ago you would have been scorned for sounding like Timothy McVeigh : now that level of dishonesty and paranoia, free of facts, makes you a main stream republican supremacist.
I expect Hillary to win BTW, but don't go counting your chickens before they hatch. With her potential election or this SSM issue because it's called a battle for a reason.
"Which has been in the pledge only since the 1950s ('one nation under God') – wonder why the minister who wrote the pledge in the 1800s did not include it then?"
I explained earlier that God has been a part of the consciousness of our leaders since way before 1950. Who was Jefferson referring to when he mentions the Creator in the Declaration of Independence? The Biblical God since he was Christian.
"Since the founding fathers never stated this was a christian nation, but one where people would be free to practice any religion of their choice, or no religion at all."
God gives you this same freedom incidentally, so knock yourself out. The fact is; these men were ALL believers and had reverence, fear, respect for The Creator. They were not atheists and, therefore, had (the most important) sense.
"One has to wonder what isis-similar vision you have in mind."
ISIS? What the hell are you talking about? My (ideal) vision was mentioned earlier: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" and that vision does not include beheadings. Heaven on earth must be a nice thought for even you - and before you squash the idea with one of your patented put downs, don't forget how much you hate the problem of (everybody else's) evil and blame (nonexistent) God for it.
"Given your bigoted and ignorant screeds about same sex marriage – your vision can’t be one any decent person would like."
I tried to make it clear that I have love in my heart for gay folks and desire for God to bless them (which would include Him discipling them like the rest of His children) - I hope there's been a common thread of kindness running through my posts as opposed to hate for the group. Some believers have wide perspectives that calculate things eternally rather than temporally, and I anticipate repercussions no matter the "sea change in opinion" as Eric put it.
Example (though SEEMINGLY minuscule): there was a time not too long ago when it was proper for women to save themselves until they were married and expected gentlemen callers to court them, meet their fathers to ask for permission to do so and wouldn't think of giving away their cookies without a wedding ring (if they did, they'd be labeled). Now grown women (and men) treat virginity like an outdated practice for squares, and women give away their womanhood like a tip after a nice dinner and a movie. This has surely removed a layer of purity from our society that we don't notice because we continuously devalue righteousness. Illegitimate children, emotional baggage, disease, erosion of the (ideal) family structure, etc. are all potential byproducts - none of which are good for the overall development of offspring and future societies.
The sexual revolution of the 20th century might have seemed cool at the time, but it eventually lead to a rise in all kinds of crap (abortions, STD's, illegitimates, etc.). Things that we now consider "whatever", though situations that none of us want to deal with. God had it right when He suggested sex as something for marriage, and He's right on other things. I may be called a bigot, old fashioned or a man of God for having certain views, but I'm not wrong in saying that we move backwards if we continue greenlighting what's less than right - even if the repercussions are not immediately noticeable. Quakes and aftershocks.
"How do you know they don’t exist if you aren’t open to all gods?"
I'm open to the only God that came and walked among us. One can walk in His footsteps because He actually made footsteps.
Good thing I was drinking when I read that or I would be replacing the keyboard. You must have missed my comment earlier that Odin was spotted in Sweden in the 1200s, no? The Coyote and Raven stories, you need to get out more.
And by the way your comment on traditional values is less than useless. Name a time and place with better morality than today.
I did miss the Odin comment, thanks Michael. Just looked him up and did a skim read. I feel no allegiance; didn't create me, hasn't Fathered me, hasn't taught me, can't save me. Next?
I did miss the Odin comment, thanks Michael. Just looked him up and did a skim read. I feel no allegiance; didn’t create me, hasn’t Fathered me, hasn’t taught me, can’t save me. Next?"
But there is no more factual support for that statement than there is that your choice walked the earth. Delusions all the way down.
Get your brain fixed. It came from nothing and nobody (you stupidly maintain), therefore, nothing of value comes out of it.
"And by the way your comment on traditional values is less than useless. Name a time and place with better morality than today."
Radical Islam, mass shootings, beheadings, infidelity, rapes, drugged rapes, child rapes, child abductions, racism, police brutality, pornography, promiscuity, STD's, abortions, drug addiction/dependency, big business fraud, gov't fraud, broken homes, devaluation of human life, serial killers, Godlessness, lack of accountability, etc., etc., etc.
We'll find issues in every era because the problem of evil is what it is, but this generation is dealing with some shit. And moral it is not. Not many Jesus', MLK's or Mother Theresa's running around changing the world for the better at this particular time.
Materialism, pride, selfishness, greed, self righteousness, are important parts of the etceteras.
And I meant to say devaluing of human life rather than devaluation.
When was that time again?
Like none of those things happened in the past - once again ignorant of science ignorant of history.
I don't know about you, but I was fathered by a human and so was he and his father , etc. Never any gods in the lineage - I can trace my ancestry to common ancestors with apes - all the way back.
Now if I recall, you said that you don't identify with atheism and acknowledge that you don't know if you have a Father God or not. Did your monkey grandpas give you anything, an inheritance, life, leave anything in a will for you?
"Did your monkey grandpas"
Are you really stupid enough to think the "evolved from monkeys" line is what science says?
(Looks back at your irrational screeds)
Yes, you really do appear to be that stupid.
You obviously aren't up to snuff on the little scam she ran.
Also got some mitochondria from the maternal side. Unlike the human with traditional values, nature is not patriarchal.
Yes, I get it. You think there is a silent majority against SSM and that the polls saying that the majority supports SSM are wrong, because this majority is underrepresented in current polling. Am I correct in how I describe your position? Because I think that position is wrong. I think mainstream polling provides a reasonably accurate picture of the US public, including both the 'loud' (i.e. voting, vocally pubic) public and the 'silent' (not voting or vocal in public) public.
Wow, what a crazy own goal. By excluding Bush II and Clinton you are basically saying you wouldn't have been surprised with a president supporting SSM for the 16 years preceding Obama. How in the world does that support your claim that Obama is key?
But let's put that aside. To answer your question directly: I can't picture Obama supporting SSM if Biden hadn't put his foot in his mouth and the public hadn't responded with a collective shrug. IMO he was not leading on this issue, he was a windsock; following public opinion. When his best strategists thought it was not a winning issue, he didn't support it. When his best strategist thought it was a winning issue, he supported it. He is certainly not critical to the movement because, frankly, most major politicians including the GOP contenders for President will also be windsocks on this issue. They will attempt to ride public opinion rather than buck it. I think that's enough mixed metaphors for one evening. :)
An inability to produce vitamin C. Unless you want to say that was God that did that.
Fine Eric, I'll go along with you. There are no unpolled opponents of SSM out there (except me). And Obama (one of the more influential people in the world) is completely irrelevant to the movement and contributed nothing by verbally cosigning. But I want something in return; you must acknowledge that you owe thanks, gratitude and while we're at it praise to the Intelligence that gave you life and all it's perks. Deal?
Just close your eyes right where you're at, appreciate your breaths and say; "thanks".
since the good relationships and marriage are universal is the natural law accepted to be true?
The difference ?, is that we know there are people like you who are willing to lie at the drop of a hat when you don't like a question. We know there is a president now, there was a president 10 years ago, and there will be one in the future. But there is no external proof of any type of designer: personal incredulity doesn't qualify as proof anywhere outside a school religion, where they give away degrees to the gullible - as long as the check clears.
Thank Him Dean, just to try it - go ahead! For the food you tasted this morning and the taste buds to do it. Let's start with something small and work our way up. Go on...
Wow, you really don't have anything rational to say. You don't have evidence for any creator, and you don't have evidence that, if one were acknowledged to exist, that it would be the one you think it is.
Why is it that so many creationists have no understanding of logic, no ability for critical thinking, and as has been aptly demonstrated by so many of you on these blogs, not a whit of integrity? (Lots of bigotry and racism on display from all of you though.)
"not a whit of integrity"
Integrity? You should probably find different entries for your "words I like to use" list Dean. Only filth-worshipping scum like you would call the stuff Alfred Kinsey was doing "research".
I don't worship anything Phil. You are on a roll: you've never been right about anything you've asserted in your posts.
“I don’t worship anything Phil”
Oh yes, you do. You worship abnormal thought and abnormal behavior. You worship abnormal, money-grows-on-trees Paul Krugman economics. Everything you are is a result of your misplaced veneration.
“you’ve never been right about anything you’ve asserted in your posts”
Really? You believe you are the result of space particles, or some other asinine idea. And you actually believe, in spite of everything normal, and everything in evidence, that random DNA replication train wrecks really do result in hyper-complex biological systems. You even believe that soft tissue in a T rex can last for 65 million years. You are a deluxe idiot.
But those are just the contraindications of your evidence-free worldview. The cruelty and destruction you are all hooked up with is much worse. You are a sick racist, and you despise normalcy. You spout stupid slogans, and advocate policies which sap the life, decency and hope out of millions of people. You ignore suffering. You think blacks are just animals. You tolerate what is happening on this very night in their communities…murder, cruelty, unthinkable crime…all things abnormal. But they are all things you can ignore while you are here is your support group. I hope you meet a good black man someday who recognizes what you are, and I hope he slaps you out of your rainbow flip-flops. You are blue-ribbon scum.
Speaking of natural law and sex - I have been reading this great book on the myriad sex lives of organisms - Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson. Evolution is much more interesting than boring old god-based creation.