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Old 05-28-2015, 07:20 PM
 
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Christianity should be able to withstand scrutiny without accusing others of trying to derail it.
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Old 05-29-2015, 05:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
Homosexual people have the exact same rights as I do, which is to marry the opposite sex partner they wish.
Jews and gentiles alike would both be forced to pay a tax on yarmulkes were one enacted. Doesn't mean that such a law wouldn't be targeted at imposing a burden on a specific group. Likewise, while it is technically true that all people are prevented from marrying a same sex partner in states where it is illegal it is obvious such bans are targeted specifically at limiting the rights of gay couples.

I wish people could at least be honest about their motives instead of playing the "but it isn't discrimination to enact laws which only burden a small minority group my church tells me to hate" game. If not to everyone else, at least to themselves.

Last edited by KCfromNC; 05-29-2015 at 05:36 AM..
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Old 05-29-2015, 05:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Arach Angle View Post
middle ground ... we need a secular name for marriage.
We have one already - marriage. If religious extremists want to recreate separate but equal in their God's image, let them make up their own word for whatever it is they feel they need to stay pure.
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Old 05-29-2015, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
Homosexual people have the exact same rights as I do, which is to marry the opposite sex partner they wish.
As I've pointed out before, this is as ludicrous as claiming that Christians in Saudi Arabia have the same rights as anyone else - everyone there is equally allowed to practice Islam and everyone there is equally prohibited from practicing Christianity. Of course, it is glaringly obvious that the right to practice Islam for a Christian is as utterly useless as the right to marry someone of the opposite sex is for a gay person. Both notions are laughable.

PS:
The State of Virginia used your exact same logic in 1967, when it claimed to the United States Supreme Court that its laws banning interracial marriage were perfect just and reasonable because everyone of every race was equally banned from marrying everyone of another race. Not a single member of the high court gave any credence this completely wrongheaded notion, however, and into history's dustbin went that nonsense.
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Old 05-29-2015, 06:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
We have one already - marriage. If religious extremists want to recreate separate but equal in their God's image, let them make up their own word for whatever it is they feel they need to stay pure.
Yup, That makes even more sense. I like it.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
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Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
We have one already - marriage. If religious extremists want to recreate separate but equal in their God's image, let them make up their own word for whatever it is they feel they need to stay pure.
Actually, we already have two distinct aspects of marriage. There's civil marriage, which has absolutely nothing to do with religion whatsoever, and religious marriage. Many people combine these two, getting a state-recognized marriage while also having the ceremony conducted by a religious figure. But the notion that marriage is somehow inherently religious just because some people make a religious spectacle of it is no more valid than to claim that having a glass of wine or lighting a candle are inherently religious acts just because some people do those things are part of religious rituals.

For example, for reasons of practicality (it was logistically problematic to find a legal officiant to come into the very rural semi-wilderness where we held our marital celebration) my wife and I were legally married in a courthouse by a county judge. Nary a mention was made nor even a hint uttered of any deity or religion. Two days later, in the north woods of Minnesota, we had the ceremony. It is not lost on me that those who would reserve marriage exclusively as a religious event would deny me my entirely non-religious marriage.

The notion that civil marriage is religious is nonsensical. Thus, the idea that allowing gays to get a civil marriage is a religious offense to certain denominations is pretzel logic (and notice how they always conveniently disregard the religious interests of those denominations that happily recognize same-sex marriage? They are the self-appointed arbiters for what religious practices warrant respect from the state and which do not.).

And you're spot-on with your use of the phrase 'separate but equal'. It's an odious concept and history has shown, in the form of the neglected and underfunded black schools of the Jim Crow South, that separate is never equal. The usual suspects also like to claim that civil unions were equal (they never were, failing to grant hundreds of benefits conveyed by civil marriage) and that they would have been granted happily (this is more historical revisionism, because before same-sex marriage closed in on majority support, the anti-gay crowd fought tooth and nail against civil unions).
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
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All legal marriages in this country are civil marriages. We know this because it is the state that issues the marriage license. The religious part is purely optional, and in this country, always has been purely optional.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:32 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,250,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
First of all, I do desire to have an open dialogue, but you continually reference racism where it ought not to be referenced. The horrid, despicable attitudes and actions of the past concerning race were in no way backed up by the Scripture and simply from a vantage point of compassion, we all understand that the color of one's skin doesn't say a single thing about a person.
And that is a fine opinion to hold. One that was not shared by many Christians as recently as the 1960's, who also believed that their views on racial segregation were taught in the Bible. My point is not who is right or wrong theologically. My point is that there are significant parallels here. Aside from the fact that you have been parroting the same rhetoric used to oppose interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia ( which did not prevail, as we know) and applying it to homosexuals, we can see the same sort of pattern if we examine it culturally and religiously.
  • 150 years ago many Christians believed that Africans were inferior beings, and if they qualified as human at all, they were cursed by God ( the curse of Ham) to be subservient to the white man. They believed that this view was supported in Scripture
  • At some point after the Civil war, this changed. Most Christians would no longer espouse this view, they believed that the Bible did not support slavery, but that it did teach, both directly and through metaphor, that racial mixing was a sin against God.
  • Today, the vast majority of Christians believe that both slavery, and any form of racial segregation or discrimination is wrong.
  • Until the latter part of the 19th century, homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, was a crime, punishable by death in many places. This view was held by Christians to be a moral stance, supported by the Bible.
  • By the latter part of the 20th century, most Christians view homosexuality as a sin, but not something that should necessarily be criminal, and certainly not punishable by death. They believe this view was supported by the Bible.
  • Currently, we can see the beginning of a slow shift within Christianity, where a small number of Christians believe that the Bible has been misunderstood and mistranslated, and does not condemn homosexual relationships, as long as they are conducted within the same moral guidelines as heterosexual relationships. Again, they are firmly convinced that their view is supported in Scripture.
In all these cases we can clearly see an evolution in how the Bible is interpreted. I get that you believe your interpretation to be correct, and any previous or future interpretations that differ from yours are objectively wrong. But the holders of each and every one of these positions believed the exact same thing. So clearly something more than a believer's assertion that they have personally rightly divided the Word of Truth is needed to move morality from a changing, human construct to some objective immutable "Truth".

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
This is not that. As I explained in my previous post, Christians oppose actions, not people. This is in stark contrast to the racism of the past. Nor do Christians feel that others who partake in sin are beneath them or inferior to them. Again, this is in stark contrast to the feelings and attitudes of racist individuals.

We believe that marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman is sin. God is clear on this fact in the Scripture.
Can you point to this in scripture? As far as I am aware there is absolutely no mention of homosexual marriage at all in the Bible. You can make the argument that the Bible condemns homosexual sex, but as far as I can tell there is no more reason to suppose homosexual marriage is a sin than there is to condemn flying in an airplane.

If you wish to claim the explicit foundation of the Bible, you cannot be opposing homosexual marriage as sin, you have to be opposing homosexual sex. Biblically speaking, if two men wish to be married, to love and care for each other, to devote their lives to each other and remain celibate, I can see no reason why this would be a sin... Maybe I am missing something, can you explain how it would be wrong?

So, in short, I can understand how one could use the bible as a basis for prohibiting same-sex sex. But now that Christianity has basically given up on sodomy laws, and decided that homosexual's sin is between them and God, there seems to be no Biblical foundation to deny gay marriage... Which is as I believe it should be. Let God handle the judgement, and allow the law to treat everyone equally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
So what ought Christians do about this movement? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. Christians are divided when it comes to how or even if we should involve ourselves politically. We know that we are to follow the governments laws, except when they contradict God. We know we are to pay our taxes. But Jesus never involved himself in the social injustices of His day. He never spoke out about the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, the daily torture and crucifixion of Jews, the unfair taxation, etc... He seemed to focus more on the spiritual state of man and while never condoning these actions, He didn't stage a rally or protest and He didn't seek an audience with the government leaders.

Personally, I do not involve myself in the political machine, trusting it to God. I shepherd myself and my family and spread the gospel of Christ to all that I can. The world will sin. This is a fact. It is going to grow more depraved each passing year. I remain in constant prayer for my government and my country. I feel that is the extant of our Godly mission here on this planet. No matter the depravity around us, we must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, because we love them.
And I applaud you for that. I don't believe you have to have no political convictions simply because you are a Christian, but governance ought to be done on a rational, secular basis, as this has proven to be the best way to ensure religious freedom and tolerance for everyone. I am not interested in stamping out religion, but rather protecting the right of each individual to follow their conscience as much as is possible, without undue burden or harm to another.

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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
As I said before, I am not looking to force anyone to do anything. People are going to do what they wish, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it or take part in it. I am blessed that I don't work in the service industry, but there have been times in my life where I have professionally refused to perform certain actions due to my morality. Every time my employer completely understood. It should be no different here.
Again, I agree with you. But, I do not believe an employer should be forced to accommodate your beliefs if they are causing an undue burden. At some point it is your responsibility to choose a profession that is compatible with your belief. If you cannot touch a pig or a dead body because of your faith, you should not expect a long career as a meat packer at a pork sausage company. Likewise, if you cannot preside over a legal civil union between gay couples, or divorced people, or mixed race couples, you should not be a Justice of the Peace. There is an, admittedly fuzzy, line between being reasonably accommodated, and demanding employment when you are religiously incapable of doing your job. I am all for reasonable accommodation, but there does come a point where if your conscience prevents you from doing the job you are hired or elected to do, you should simply find other work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
As I said, I don't personally wish to prevent anyone from doing any action they wish, but I also don't believe others are wrong standing for keeping marriage as between a man and a woman, because that's just what it is. I would be hypocritical if I disagreed with it and then pushed for its acceptance. I don't deny that the majority will succeed and same-sex marriage legalized nationally, but I agree with those trying to prevent it. Homosexual people have the exact same rights as I do, which is to marry the opposite sex partner they wish.
And this is why the race issue keeps coming up. You are reciting the arguments in Loving V Virginia in favor of refusing marriage licenses to mixed race couples. There is a very strong parallel between this case, and the current gay marriage debate which has nothing to do with your theology.


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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
We use the coercive power of government to force a set of morals as a matter of course. That's what laws are after all. Do you believe everyone agrees with every moral law? Of course not. Someone's morals need to become law, why do you feel yours is somehow special?
Exactly! All laws are coercive, so in general principle we should minimize the number of laws to the minimum needed for a stable society. In addition, because we are a diverse society, the only way to minimize government intrusion in matters of faith is to base our governance on a rational, secular morality. I am certainly not advocating that I become the moral authority for the nation, but that we base it on things we can see, things we can measure, actual harms, actual benefits. These are things that matter regardless of your religious convictions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
I only brought it up because all of the 'sticking points' you mentioned were related to homosexuality so I figured it was of great importance to you.
I do find it an unconscionable failure of the American ideal of equality under the law, and an unacceptable intrusion of religion into governance, but most I bring it up because it is happening now. There is little point in arguing the morality of, say, the Indian Removal Act, because no matter what the conclusion, it still happened and nothing will make it go away. Marriage equality is still an ongoing issue, and is worth talking about.

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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
As far as the existence of objective morality, you and I are both aware that it exists.
. We can debate how we know it exists, but we cannot deny that it does indeed exist.
Um, no... I make no such claim. In fact I think all the evidence points to the opposite, a lack of a transcendent objective morality. The closest thing I think the evidence supports is that there may be some principles like reciprocity and cooperation that we are evolutionarily predisposed towards, but that is a far cry from the kind of objective morality you are claiming that I "secretly" believe in.
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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
If I asked you if there could be a universe where torturing babies for fun is a moral act, I think you would concede that argument that no, there cannot exist a universe where torturing babies for fun is good or moral. Likewise, I think you would agree that even if Nazi Germany brainwashed everyone on the planet into thinking the Holocaust was necessary or good, that it would still be objectively evil and repugnant. This is a fact in which the whole of humanity understands at the core of their being.
Nope, I would not agree with you. Your question is flawed, in that is assumes an objective morality and simply asks what kind of objective morality I would find acceptable. You are assuming that a moral judgment is a property of the universe, which is simply begging the question.

Let me rephrase the question in a way I think make sense.
Could there be a person or society that believes torturing babies for fun is a moral act?
And the answer is, of course there could. I still believe they are wrong. I make moral judgments with the only yardstick I have, the only yardstick anyone has, my own personal morality. Even if there were a mass brainwashing, say to take genocide and sexual slavery and cast it as moral (Numbers 31), I would disagree and believe that the perpetrator of said acts was evil and repugnant. But clearly I have no way to demonstrate that it is objectively evil, because as best I can tell, the objectivity of morality is not in evidence! It is a matter of faith that some things are always right and always wrong (except when they aren't), because the evidence points to morality that differs regionally, culturally, and through time.

I would argue that morality is inherently social, that is an entity cannot be moral alone. After all, in a world with one conscious being, he can harm no other, he can benefit no other, his only possible moral standard would be his own desires.

In a world with two entities, morality is a negotiated arrangement between them. They have to decide what is right and wrong. It is right for the stronger to dominate the weaker? Is it right for both to suffer for the mistakes of one?

As two from a family, then a tribe, then a nation, as religions and cultures form, this morality is rebalanced and renegotiated countless times. Sometimes a culture's morality changes from being conquered, sometimes from conquering, sometimes by assimilation, sometimes by trade. These are the patterns we see in history, not some monolithic moral framework.

-NoCapo
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
@mordant - You keep referencing racism and I have now explained quite clearly how the Christian position is not discriminatory. I'm not exactly sure why you fail to address these points if you also wish to ignore them. Christians, such as myself, are not afraid of homosexuals. In fact, this is about same-sex marriage, regardless of sexual orientation. A same-sex marriage is an act, not a person, and this act can be performed by any persons regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Many, many Christians are not afraid of homosexuals (though of course many ARE) and nearly all of them make, on paper at least, the distinction between personhood and conduct, usually some form of "hate the sin, love the sinner". When it comes time to put that into practice though by treating the sinner equally, the very concept of sin means that this person still has, for lack of a better term, sin-cooties on them, and so, eeeewww. We can't have that sinner sinning next door to us or in our neighborhood. We can't have them partaking in society like we do. They're not wholesome like us.

So I think this is a distinction you're making that doesn't matter. You say that discrimination must by definition be based on an "immutable attribute" of a person or persons. Well no wonder so many Christians labor mightily to argue, based on nothing at all and contrary to all actual evidence, that homosexuality is not an immutable attribute, but a chosen attribute. It's not chosen.

Above you say "Christians such as myself are not afraid of homosexuals" which I am willing to grant you -- I have no reason to tell you if you and people who think and believe exactly like you are afraid of them or not; perhaps your discrimination is purely ideological or dogmatic. But then later you said "Christians (no longer ones "like you", but all of them as a group) simply do not have any sort of hatred or disdain towards homosexuals. A casual perusal of postings by Christians here, in R&S and in the Christianity forum on the topic shows that this is demonstrably not so. Many (not all) Christians have a serious malfunction with homosexuality and rail against it from the very pulpit. "Love the sinner" is just empty rhetoric to those folks.

To the point of this thread, I don't feel that we pick on Christians on this or any other topic. Just the other day a popular atheist website called out a fellow atheist who was being a deliberate provocateur by staging a protest in front of a Phoenix mosque and drawing pictures of Mohammed -- so we're quite capable of doing slapdowns of other atheists, much less other religions.
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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
This term of homophobia is simply a divisive pejorative used to paint a group of people in a way that is not at all truthful. If you and NoCapo know the Sacred Scriptures and the teachings of Christ as well as you claim, I would hope you would know the truth of Jesus' teaching.
I know that the scriptures say that god is love and he loves everyone and we should too. Talk of love is cheap. It needs to be evidenced by loving actions. This also happens to be Biblical. Love is doing what's best for the other person, even if it costs you something. I completely get that you have a different criteria than I for "what's best" -- you would say obedience to what you see as god's clear commands / proscriptions, I would say not denying another human being rights you afford to yourself.
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Originally Posted by JJ_Maxx View Post
Be that as it may, I would ask if you feel you are contradicting yourself when you claim that the tide of popular opinion is turning and then accuse me of using an argument from popularity. If popularity cannot determine what is moral, then it must be true for both sides, logically.
No, I don't. I'm making an observation about what is happening, not using what is happening as validation for the morality or correctness of my position. You observed the same things happening. I simply agreed.

Societal consensus on this matter is shifting; we both recognize that. I think it's the right call -- not because it's increasing in popularity and acceptance, but because it removes structural inequality and disenfranchisement. You think it's the wrong call because it's contrary to your dogma. The only way you can validate dogma is to appeal to authority and/or longstanding tradition (popular interpretation or practice) or special pleading for a particular holy book.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:54 PM
 
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I don't know about the religion, but I sure don't like some of its people.
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