Thinking Christian

Thinking Christianity for church, home, and community

You Stay Out!

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 by Tom Gilson

Here’s an email I got from SteveK, a friend and frequent commenter here. He said I could pass it along to you:

Christians to homosexuals: Stay out of our churches!

No, wait a minute. That’s not right.

Boston mayor to Chick-fil-A: Stay out of Boston!

Yep, that’s it.

And the reason they want Chick-Fil-A to stay away is because they think (falsely–check the sources) it’s not very welcoming.

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68 Responses to “ You Stay Out! ”

  1. Justin says:

    I posted this in another discussion group I am involved in to show how secularism is seldom actually neutral (I’m actually hard pressed to think of a case where it is neutral).

    Oh, and I think this may have had its beginnings with Rahm in Chicago, so there may be two cities taking this stance at once.

  2. Justin says:

    P.S. San Fransisco has become the third city to tell Chick-fil-A to keep out.

    Think I will start eating more Chick-fil-A.

  3. bryan says:

    The issue, I take it, has to do with same sex marriage. Some regard opposition to same sex marriage as a wrongful form of discrimination (like racism); others regard opposition to same sex marriage as their God-given responsibility (like almsgiving, perhaps). The Boston mayor apparently belongs in the former camp. From the mayor’s point of view, it seems appropriate to resist the expansion of a franchise that would support wrongful discrimination against his fellow Bostonians.

    The OP seems to trivialize the issue–as if it’s all just a matter of which side is being more “welcoming”. You can disagree with the Boston mayor, but should you trivialize the dispute?

  4. ordinaryseeker says:

    If CFA were to open a store in Boston, how would they deal with employees who were legally married to same sex partners?

  5. Tom Gilson says:

    Bryan, you trivialize religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and freedom of commerce.

    I do not think there’s a thing trivial about the dispute. I do think the mayor’s position is ironic. Ironic things typically have the characteristic of being funny from a certain angle while tragic from another. That’s the way it is.

  6. bryan says:

    Where have I trivialized these things Tom?

  7. hotshoe says:

    Chick-fil-A restaurants welcome the money of homosexual customers. Hypocrites.

    Thank God people like Thomas Menino are finally standing up to the well-financed forces of anti-gay bigotry. If you want to profit from selling chicken sandwiches while saying hateful things about everybody who accepts same-sex marriage:

    “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'” … our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”[Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A]

    then do it somewhere away from decent human beings who are working to expand freedom to all persons. “Our generation” doesn’t need your sandwiches, Mr. Cathy, and “our generation” doesn’t want you to use the profits you make from selling them to turn around and harm our friends.

  8. Tom Gilson says:

    When you assumed that it was only about welcoming.

  9. bryan says:

    Maybe re-read my first comment Tom.

  10. Tom Gilson says:

    hotshoe,

    Dan Cathy disagrees with homosexual marriage and you call it hate. You disagree with him and you don’t call that hate. Boston tells him keep out and you don’t call that hate.

    You have a very specific definition for “hate,” don’t you?

  11. hotshoe says:

    I do think the mayor’s position is ironic. Ironic things typically have the characteristic of being funny from a certain angle while tragic from another. That’s the way it is.

    Tom, if you would, explain why you think the mayor’s position is “ironic”. I don’t see that it has either the characteristic of being funny from a certain angle, or tragic from another, much less both.

  12. Tom Gilson says:

    I will grant you, Bryan, that “trivialize” was the wrong word for me to use there. I should have said “ignore” instead.

    hotshoe, if you don’t see the irony there I probably can’t help you.

    I’m done for the night, though.

  13. bryan says:

    Jeez Tom, you might as well also add that I’m ignoring the matter of civil rights, the importance of love, and the significance of marriage to those who seek it!

  14. hotshoe says:

    hotshoe,

    Dan Cathy disagrees with homosexual marriage and you call it hate. You disagree with him and you don’t call that hate. Boston tells him keep out and you don’t call that hate.

    You have a very specific definition for “hate,” don’t you?

    How do you miss the distinction between the words I wrote: “saying hateful things”, and just plain “hate” ?

    I already quoted the actual hateful things Mr. Cathy said. His words stand for all to see. He’s the one who chose not to say something relatively neutral like “I disagree with gay marriage” but rather that our nation supporting gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment” and “shake[ing] our fist at him”.

    Merely disagreeing ? Nonsense, that’s not what Mr. Cathy is doing with his bully speeches. It’s a shame you choose to misrepresent that.

    As for Boston telling him to “keep out”, you’re misrepresenting that, too, Of course, I don’t call it “hate”. A community unwilling to encourage bigots to expand their operations is not hate. It’s not “hate” by any reasonable definition. Unless you think the fact that you won’t encourage me to start bunking in your spare room means you “hate” me.

  15. SteveK says:

    hotshoe,

    Chick-fil-A restaurants welcome the money of homosexual customers.

    and anti-theists, and tax cheats, and Buddhists, and universalists, and Mormons, and naturalists, and drug users, and murders, and intolerant Mayors, and….sinners of all stripes. That covers everyone, I think.

  16. bryan says:

    Christian missionaries go through great pains to understand the people they are trying to convert. I’m not a big fan of Christians proselytization, but I respect the missionaries’ efforts to first understand those whom they seek to live among. A Wycliffe missionary once told me that his ambition was to first be a student, then a neighbor, and then–only after years in accomplishing those two steps–a teacher. When I read Tom Gilson’s portrayals of non-Christians, their causes, values, convictions, arguments and ideas, I think to myself that he has leaped over the first two steps. Perhaps he thinks that he is already familiar enough with the non-Christians he seeks to engage. In the highlands of the Papua New Guinea, Christians with such presumptions get eaten for dinner. In American philosophy departments Mr. Gilson would suffer a similar fate.

    But probably Mr. Gilson hasn’t set his sights so high: on the internet, one’s standards can be much lower. It may be enough for Tom if he can, in the eyes of fellow Christians, “win” arguments against random non-Christian–all the while knowing full well that his philosophical arguments wouldn’t merit five-minutes of scrutiny in a philosophy seminar room. If this is the case, I think Tom has set his sights too low.

    Tom, I encourage you to aim higher.

  17. Justin says:

    Well, the comparison to racism is a poor one, no matter how many times it gets repeated.

  18. d says:

    And I already thought Boston was a great city.

    Chik-fil-a is a proud corporate sponsor of bigotry and stupidity. The Mayor of Boston’s words were far too kind. And their food isn’t very good.

  19. Justin says:

    I wasn’t aware that a position against gay marriage is bigoted and hateful. I’ll have to give that one some thought….

    Sorry, I don’t see how that is bigoted or hateful.

  20. d says:

    Justin,

    I’m sure there are plenty of racists today who have “good”, “logical”, and “sophisticated” reasons why people of [insert race here] shouldn’t have the same privileges and rights as others.

    And I’m sure those people are plenty attached to the idea that their principles are purely rational and logical and not at all racist.

    So what? They’re still racist. And Chick-fil-a is still a corporate sponsor of bigotry. Opponents of same-sex marriage are also supporters of bigotry. If neither like being called supporters of bigotry, well tough cookies for them. They are supporters of bigotry.

  21. Justin says:

    Racism is based on skin color, not a moral disposition though.

  22. hotshoe says:

    hotshoe,

    Chick-fil-A restaurants welcome the money of homosexual customers.

    and anti-theists, and tax cheats, and Buddhists, and universalists, and Mormons, and naturalists, and drug users, and murders, and intolerant Mayors, and….sinners of all stripes. That covers everyone, I think.

    Sorry, Steve, what’s your point with this silly list ?

    Is Mr. Cathy taking money from Mormons while simultaneously thundering that God’s wrath will be upon us all for having the audacity to define Mormons as equals to others in our communities ?

    Is Mr. Cathy taking money from Buddhists while simultaneously using his profits to attempt to harm Buddhists ?

    No ? Then it seems you’ve rather missed the point that Mr. Cathy is a hypocrite. Which is what I already said, correctly.

    Unless you are making a point about how difficult it is to be a bigot nowadays. Since everyone you need to avoid (to spare the hypocrisy of profiting from them while hating them) are horribly disguised as ordinary people, normal-looking customers without a mark upon them, how can you know which ones to perpetrate your bigotry upon ? What a difficult time! Not at all like the good old days, when bigots could refuse to serve the “coloreds” or when bigots could recognize a “dirty Mick” by his accent.

    Oh, yes, of course we should feel sympathy for Mr. Cathy. How troubled he must feel by his inability to see which men are to be turned away from his restaurants because they love other men. How could I have been so cold and unfeeling towards poor Mr. Cathy, caught between God and Mammon!

  23. SteveK says:

    Interesting news…

    “The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”

    The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage, Schwartz said, but noted that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage.

  24. SteveK says:

    hotshoe,

    Sorry, Steve, what’s your point with this silly list ?

    Glad you asked. The point is to make a comparison.

    Is Mr. Cathy taking money from Mormons while simultaneously thundering that God’s wrath will be upon us all for having the audacity to define Mormons as equals to others in our communities ?

    No. But that wasn’t the point of my comparison. The common denominator is that he is saying to each of them (according to the tenets of his faith) that it would be best if all of these people repented and changed their ways. He’s not saying anything about anyone being less than equal. They are all made in the image of God and thus each are very valuable and loved.

  25. hotshoe says:

    No. But that wasn’t the point of my comparison. The common denominator is that he is saying to each of them (according to the tenets of his faith) that it would be best if all of these people repented and changed their ways. He’s not saying anything about anyone being less than equal.

    That’s plainly untrue. Mr. Cathy is not saying to each of them … he has gone public with his bullying shouts about deserving the wrath of God only about those who accept same-sex marriage, not about those who cheat on taxes or join the naturalists. Unless you have evidence you haven’t shown yet, you can’t claim he is saying they all should “repent” or “change” – he has said nothing of the sort.
    Now, it’s possible that as a christian, Mr. Cathy is thinking those things – that all faithful Mormons and Buddhists need to “change their ways”. But we can’t know his thoughts, only his public speech and actions. His public speech is one-sided in his homophobia.
    And he puts his profits towards attempting to make sure gays can never be equal. WinShape, the charitable arm of CfA, forwarded more than a million dollars of Cathy family money to an anti-gay-marriage action group in 2010 (following other donations in previous years, and alongside lesser donations to other homophobic groups in 2010.)

    They are all made in the image of God and thus each are very valuable and loved.

    Funny, just not “valuable” enough to be considered equal under the law. Not enough to have the same rights as non-homosexual citizens. “Loved” by god, but not allowed to live in a committed union with the person whom they love.
    Bigots make me want to vomit.

  26. Ordinaryseeker says:

    IMO, the issue is whether they would follow the law in Massachusetts if they opened a restaurant in Boston. They are entitled to any viewpoint they have, and to express that viewpoint publicly, but they have to follow the anti-discrimInation and marriage laws in the state where they are operating.

  27. Tom Gilson says:

    hotshoe, you ask,

    How do you miss the distinction between the words I wrote: “saying hateful things”, and just plain “hate” ?

    Well, whatever distinction there is there, I confess I missed it. Perhaps you would be kind enough to clarify.

    Mr. Cathy holds an opinion concerning gay marriage. He has expressed his viewpoint. Obviously you disagree and you don’t like it. You consider it hateful and bullying. No, wait a moment, you have judged his message to be hateful and bullying, and you have done so with complete confidence that you are right and he is wrong.

    Now, do you see the parity in your stances? You are doing to him what you say he is doing to you. Now, throw in what the mayor did, which you seem to be supporting, and you have the active practice of discrimination against someone with whom you disagree. Then you can add this to the mix: if that mayor were to try to use legal means to keep Chick-Fil-A out, he would be violating the law.

    He’s not doing that. (An alderman in Chicago is, I’m told.) But still there is parity: both sides claiming to have the right answer, and both sides pronouncing some deserved judgment upon the other.

    Again: what you do not like in Mr. Cathy you are mirroring from your own stance. Do you recognize that your words are hateful?

    Mr. Cathy is not saying to each of them … he has gone public with his bullying shouts about deserving the wrath of God only about those who accept same-sex marriage, not about those who cheat on taxes or join the naturalists. Unless you have evidence you haven’t shown yet, you can’t claim he is saying they all should “repent” or “change” – he has said nothing of the sort.
    Now, it’s possible that as a christian, Mr. Cathy is thinking those things – that all faithful Mormons and Buddhists need to “change their ways”. But we can’t know his thoughts, only his public speech and actions. His public speech is one-sided in his homophobia.

    Well, of course he hasn’t gone public with his opinion on these non-controversies. They’re not controversies, and they’re not hinge issues in our culture, matters on which it even makes sense to make a statement because they’re not current topics in the national conversation.

    Don’t you think it’s significant that Chick-Fil-A is committed to equal treatment of all persons, including those with whom it expresses disagreement? If only the mayor of Boston would do the same!

    As for Boston telling him to “keep out”, you’re misrepresenting that, too, Of course, I don’t call it “hate”. A community unwilling to encourage bigots to expand their operations is not hate. It’s not “hate” by any reasonable definition. Unless you think the fact that you won’t encourage me to start bunking in your spare room means you “hate” me.

    That’s not analogous, and you know it. Encouraging Internet-based acquaintances to bunk in is not exactly normal in our culture. For a business to operate in a big city is. There are of course reasons why the former is not normal, one of which is that it’s not normal for me even to encourage my good friends to bunk in–not unless they have an apparent need for a place to stay.

    As for bigotry, recall that your attitude toward Cathy mirrors his attitude toward gays, as you perceive it. What makes yours righteous while his is bigoted?

  28. Adam S. says:

    SteveK, sorry to preempt your response to hotshoe, but I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. :)

    … he has gone public with his bullying shouts about deserving the wrath of God only about those who accept same-sex marriage, not about those who cheat on taxes or join the naturalists.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Cathy has only ever spoken publicly on this topic in response to direct questions. We have no way of knowing what he might say about anti-theists, etc, because no one has ever asked him.

    And he puts his profits towards attempting to make sure gays can never be equal. WinShape, the charitable arm of CfA, forwarded more than a million dollars of Cathy family money to an anti-gay-marriage action group in 2010 (following other donations in previous years, and alongside lesser donations to other homophobic groups in 2010.)

    Putting aside for the moment whether this is really even about equality, you are ignoring the fact that Cathy has given tens of millions more to support other causes that haven’t triggered so much McCarthyesque inquiry. This includes scholarships, funding for foster homes, and programs to combat child hunger.

    Cathy is simply not the anti-gay crusader that you and many others have made him out to be.

    but not allowed to live in a committed union with the person whom they love.

    Nothing prevents gay people from living in committed unions with one another. The argument is not about whether gay people should have equal rights. I think everyone here agrees that they should.

    Bigots make me want to vomit.

    Me, too. Think about this, if you would. What has Cathy done? Promoted violence against gay people or a return to the days of anti-sodomy laws? No, and no. The worst sin he’s committed is to promote a particular view of marriage and family. And for this, he has been positively excoriated in the popular media, and government officials have insinuated that they intend to revoke his rights, even though he hasn’t broken any laws. Who are the bigots?

  29. Tom Gilson says:

    Bryan, thank you for your assessment of my missiological methods. You have come into the middle of years of blogging. I’m sorry my listening is not apparent to you. I suggest you back up a few days and read my answer to the question, does atheism have a sexism problem?

    I have acknowledged that I used the wrong term with you when I said “trivialized.”

    To listen is the right thing to do and it is a very high value for me. I really don’t want to misinterpret others’ positions or their hearts. It is not the only value, however. Christians are called to speak truth to their culture, even if they culture doesn’t like it. So there is a balance to be maintained there. I won’t claim to have found that perfect point of equilibrium, so I’ll take seriously your encouragement to listen. Meanwhile I have no desire to fall off the fence on the side of only listening and never speaking.

    As for philosophy departments, I encourage you to listen a bit better yourself before you speak. I don’t know how long you’ve been visiting this blog, but I do know that you have been publicly active on it during a unique time. I don’t usually post the kind of short pithy entries that I have done recently. My series on “Sexism Among the Isms” is more typical. Take a look at those two entries (the second went live at 6 am EDT today) and see whether you think I’m being aware of opposing viewpoints.

  30. Tom Gilson says:

    hotshoe, please read the discussion policy. Thanks.

  31. Tom Gilson says:

    Funny, just not “valuable” enough to be considered equal under the law. Not enough to have the same rights as non-homosexual citizens. “Loved” by god, but not allowed to live in a committed union with the person whom they love.
    Bigots make me want to vomit.

    Here’s what’s missing from this discussion–and it’s hard to include it, seriously, in the midst of images of vomit on the keyboard. What’s missing is a sane and calm discussion on whether marriage is a right to be granted by governments, whether a same-sex union can actually be a marriage (that’s a technical discussion but a very important one), whether experimenting with alternate family forms might be damaging to a society or not, whether the denial of “marriage” to same-sex couples really prevents them from living in committed unions, whether homosexual practice might possibly be immoral, whether homosexual couples are being treated unequally under the law (there are reasons to doubt that, which I could expand upon but will not at this time), whether there has been a series of power plays exerted to bring our culture to the place of considering homosexual “marriage” a right that ought to be granted, whether those power plays have been morally legitimate or not, whether the language of “hatred” and “homophobia” is appropriate to the circumstance, whether homosexuality really belongs in the category of civil rights, and …

    Well, you get the picture.

    These are good things to discuss, but in the current atmosphere, where people like me get labeled homophobes, haters, and bigots, and where as a result we are de-humanized and shouted down (talk about people not listening!) it’s hard to do that.

    Bryan and hotshoe, I strongly recommend you both read my series, To Treat One Another As Humans. It’s a call to, well, treat one another as humans. I speak to gays and to gay-rights proponents with a plea that they quit dehumanizing us (I direct that request at you, hotshoe, here in this context). I speak to Christians with a plea that we understand better than we have. This is a two-way street for both sides of the debate.

  32. Justin says:

    No ? Then it seems you’ve rather missed the point that Mr. Cathy is a hypocrite. Which is what I already said, correctly.

    That’s far from correct. How is he a hypocrite by serving others? It’s not like he is a politician, taking money solely because of his views and people’s expectations of how he will vote on certain matters. He “takes” their money because they want a chicken sandwich.

    If a campaign contributor gave money to a politician because the politician had explicitly voiced support for X, and then later voted for Y, that might be a case of hypocrisy. It would also be wrong if Chick-fil-A took their money and then refused to provide them with a sandwich because they supported gay marriage. But neither of these is the case.

    Calling him a hypocrite is simply poor logic, and is part of the uncritical bluster that surrounds this issue. It’s verbal bullying by the left/progressive/secularists in hopes of shaming people into agreeing with them. The same goes for the use of the term “bigot”, which has simply come to mean someone who disagrees with a secularist or leftist. Since that is all the word means these days, there’s really no shame in being a “bigot” if all it means is that I disagree with the left/secularist. So what?

  33. SteveK says:

    Bryan and hotshoe, I strongly recommend you both read my series, To Treat One Another As Humans. It’s a call to, well, treat one another as humans.

    Good suggestion, Tom. I cannot believe the flame-throwing rhetoric coming from these people. Hotshoe is so emotionally worked up that she can’t hear what we are saying no matter how calmly or clearly it is said.

  34. SteveK says:

    Justin,
    I’m glad you picked up on this,

    Calling him a hypocrite is simply poor logic, and is part of the uncritical bluster that surrounds this issue.

    and this.

    The same goes for the use of the term “bigot”, which has simply come to mean someone who disagrees with a secularist or leftist.

    I neither hate homosexuals nor am I intolerant of them engaging in that lifestyle no matter how much I disagree with it.

    I am, however, intolerant of them demanding that I agree with it, embrace it, champion it and celebrate it.

  35. Sault says:

    “Here’s what’s missing from this discussion–” (Tom)

    “Racism is based on skin color, not a moral disposition though.” (Justin)

    What I have realized is that until the anti-homosexual camp accepts the medical evidence that being homosexual is often in fact just as genetically predispositioned as skin color and not the “moral disposition” that Justin (and Tom, etc) asserts it to be then it’s not much use talking to them about it.

    This isn’t a “my opinion versus yours” issue if one side is choosing to ignore the medical evidence at hand and actively advocating discrimination on that basis. If being homosexual is not a choice, then discriminating against homosexuality is just as wrong as racism.

    Perhaps being homosexual isn’t wrong, but *acting* homosexually is – can we prove that homosexuality is damaging to our culture and the “moral fabric” of our society? Let’s ask for some decent qualitative, substantial evidence on this! I’ve asked Tom before if he had any, and to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t (and from what I’ve seen so far, no one else does either).

    So if it is a natural condition and does no harm, why all the hubbub, bub? (the current generation may feel free to substitute “why u mad, bro?” instead)

    To the rest of us… it gets better. It will get better.

  36. hotshoe says:

    hotshoe, please read the discussion policy. Thanks.

    Is this simply a reminder that you post to every person you notice making new comments ? Or is it pointed to me for some reason ? If so, you will need to be more specific, as I had already read your policy, and I’m not aware of anything in it that I need to be reminded of now.
    Please clarify.

  37. hotshoe says:

    Mr. Cathy holds an opinion concerning gay marriage. He has expressed his viewpoint. Obviously you disagree and you don’t like it. You consider it hateful and bullying. No, wait a moment, you have judged his message to be hateful and bullying, and you have done so with complete confidence that you are right and he is wrong.

    Now, do you see the parity in your stances? You are doing to him what you say he is doing to you.

    I do not say he is doing anything to me . Gracious, whatever gave you that impression! Do you perhaps labor under the misunderstanding that I take Mr. Cathy’s political stance seriously because I am gay and want to be in a legalized gay marriage ?

    I have indeed formed an opinion about Mr. Cathy. If you insist on the worst possible connotation, I will even allow that I have “judged” him. (As have we all; everyone who has heard him has “judged” him – some favorably, some unfavorably.)

    But there is no parity, as you keep trying to mistakenly claim. I am not the man who spends millions of dollars to enact new laws to codify anti-homosexual prejudice. I am not the man who hates gay men so much that I took a bully opportunity to thunder against anyone in the whole nation who dares to accept them.

    I don’t hate Mr. Cathy at all, not one bit. I think he’s a sad little relic of a more-hateful era. The only thing I’m concerned about is the damage he and his kind intend to inflict with their money and the politicians their money can buy Thank God the younger generation in the USA has better ideas of equality and civil rights.

  38. Tom Gilson says:

    Sault,

    I have read the medical evidence. I have studied the etiology of homosexual preference. I have also done so with respect to alcohol abuse.

  39. G. Rodrigues says:

    @Sault:

    What I have realized is that until the anti-homosexual camp accepts the medical evidence that being homosexual is often in fact just as genetically predispositioned as skin color and not the “moral disposition” that Justin (and Tom, etc) asserts it to be then it’s not much use talking to them about it.

    First “genetically predispositioned” is not “genetically determined”. Undoubtedly, there is a lot more to it than a bunch of genes gone bad. But let us grant for the sake of argument that you are right. Then it follows that homosexuality — conceived here simply as same-sex attraction — is objectively a genetic, disordered disposition, otherwise known as disease. This is self-evident, but do I need to spell it out? (hint: think in evolutionary terms). Diseases get cured they do not get enshrined with entitlements and rights.

    If being homosexual is not a choice, then discriminating against homosexuality is just as wrong as racism.

    Do not be silly, Sault, please. Saying that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman is in no way discriminating against homossexuals. In order for you to make that argument, you would have to state that it is in the nature of the marriage institution that homossexuals have a right to enter into it, which is precisely what is in debate. SSM proponents start by denying that marriage has any essential nature or real definition to undermine their opponent’s case and then go on to present their own *version* of what marriage is. Sorry but no can do. If you deny that there is any real definition to marriage, as you must, then you do *not* get to say what marriage is or is not. And then, after the destruction is done, you must explain why not extend marriage to polygamy? Or any numerical arrangement of men and women? Or the following *real* cases:

    1. Can a man marry a dog?

    2. Can a man marry himself?

    3. Can a man marry a building?

    I could give more real-life ridiculous examples in this vein, but these will have to suffice.

    Perhaps being homosexual isn’t wrong, but *acting* homosexually is – can we prove that homosexuality

    This is not exactly what you asked, but on Christian doctrine, strictly speaking only homosexual *acts* are sinful; Persons suffering this condition (for whatever reasons, genetic or not) are invited to live a life of chastity. Of course, they can also marry, as long as they lay out all the cards on the table to their prospective spouse and are sure, as sure as one can be about these sorts of things, that they are able to fulfill their marriage vows.

    So if it is a natural condition and does no harm

    It is natural in the same sense that having a brain tumor is natural. And it *does* harm. First and foremost, spiritual harm to the person itself. You do not have to agree with me on that last sentence, as this is part of the debate as well.

  40. Tom Gilson says:

    Perhaps [says Sault] being homosexual isn’t wrong, but *acting* homosexually is – can we prove that homosexuality is damaging to our culture and the “moral fabric” of our society? Let’s ask for some decent qualitative, substantial evidence on this! I’ve asked Tom before if he had any, and to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t (and from what I’ve seen so far, no one else does either).

    Perhaps you missed my response to this question elsewhere.

  41. Tom Gilson says:

    This kind of thing always make me laugh, in a sad kind of way:

    But there is no parity, as you keep trying to mistakenly claim. I am not the man who spends millions of dollars to enact new laws to codify anti-homosexual prejudice.

    Somehow the word has gone forth that people opposed to gay marriage are the ones trying to change the law. Strange. I’ve said it often and I’ll say it again: we are not the legal or moral aggressors in this battle, any more than the RAF were the aggressors when they were shooting at the Luftwaffe over London. Any legal action we’re taking is essentially to avoid the enactment of highly disruptive new laws on marriage.

  42. Tom Gilson says:

    SSM proponents start by denying that marriage has any essential nature or real definition to undermine their opponent’s case and then go on to present their own *version* of what marriage is.

    Thank you, G. Rodrigues. This hasn’t come up in this thread before now, but it is the central issue. If there is something that marriage essentially is, and if that something is the union of a man and a woman (plus other characteristics) then same sex couples cannot be married regardless of what any law says.

    If there is nothing that marriage essentially is, then same sex couples can get married. A woman can marry a dolphin. A woman can marry herself. Or a robot. Think I’m kidding?

  43. hotshoe says:
    And he puts his profits towards attempting to make sure gays can never be equal. WinShape, the charitable arm of CfA, forwarded more than a million dollars of Cathy family money to an anti-gay-marriage action group in 2010 (following other donations in previous years, and alongside lesser donations to other homophobic groups in 2010.)

    Putting aside for the moment whether this is really even about equality,

    okay, for the sake of argument, go on …

    you are ignoring the fact that Cathy has given tens of millions more to support other causes that haven’t triggered so much McCarthyesque inquiry. This includes scholarships, funding for foster homes, and programs to combat child hunger.

    What?! That’s completely irrelevant, unless you’re trying to mitigate his sentence in a court of law (which we aren’t).

    I don’t think you really want to imply that we should stop opposing injustice – such as the injustice Cathy wants to perpetrate on gay people – merely because the perpetrator has other redeeming qualities.

    Cathy is simply not the anti-gay crusader that you and many others have made him out to be.

    Crusader ? Definitely not as bad as the Phelps… but a million dollars worth of anti-gay political donations is a lot of “crusader”.

    but not allowed to live in a committed union with the person whom they love.

    Nothing prevents gay people from living in committed unions with one another. The argument is not about whether gay people should have equal rights. I think everyone here agrees that they should.

    So you agree with same-sex marriage. That makes you one of the people Mr. Cathy was thundering against for inviting God’s judgement. Are you sure you still want to defend him, now that you know he blames you ?

    Bigots make me want to vomit.

    Me, too.

    Good. Glad we agree.

    Think about this, if you would. What has Cathy done? Promoted violence against gay people or a return to the days of anti-sodomy laws? No, and no. The worst sin he’s committed is to promote a particular view of marriage and family. And for this, he has been positively excoriated in the popular media, and government officials have insinuated that they intend to revoke his rights, even though he hasn’t broken any laws. Who are the bigots?

    Ah, yes, the popular claim “intolerance of intolerance is awful”. Calling somebody a “racist” is at least as bad, if not worse, than actually doing racist things. Calling somebody a “bigot”, no matter how well justified it is, is also being a bigot oneself. Well, no. Calling Cathy a “bigot” when he is taking bigoted actions impelled by bigoted ideology does not make me one of the bigots.
    It might make me a name-caller, but that’s a completely different sin.

    As for this “government officials” thing, one alderman and two mayors have said CfA should not expand into their districts. Again, them taking a stand for equal rights and against prejudice is not bigotry, not by any valid definition.
    But if they attempt to take concrete steps to bar the business (for example, denying a business permit it would have otherwise qualified for) then they will be breaking the law. I concur with the ACLU which has already said in this case that CfA must be treated equally wherever such businesses are legal, regardless of their hateful publicly-expressed corporate opinions.

  44. Tom Gilson says:

    There you go again equating disagreement with hatefulness. Don’t you see how hateful you’re being yourself, if that standard applies?

    You’re standing in a quagmire of self-referential incoherence.

    Let me expand that a bit. You think Cathy is hateful because he (a) expresses an opinion that (b) you think is wrong and (c) harmful, and because he (d) puts his money where his mouth is.

    From my perspective you are expressing an opinion that I think is wrong and harmful. (Whether you put your money into that opinion is nothing more than a measure of how consistently you hold to that opinion.)

    So there’s parity there in spite of your objections to that. The only way to determine whether he or you are being hateful is to (1) determine that one or the other of you is wrong, and/or (2) recognize that holding an opinion is not necessarily an expression of hate–meaning that we must look to other signs that might signify hate.

    Are you sure you are right and Cathy is wrong? But he is sure that he is right and you are wrong. Parity. Unless there is some objective standard to settle the question. What’s your morally objective standard for that?

  45. hotshoe says:

    There you go again equating disagreement with hatefulness. Don’t you see how hateful you’re being yourself, if that standard applies?

    Nope, you’re the only one who is currently confusing disagreement with hatefulness. You could – and actually do – disagree without being hateful, as I am also disagreeing without being hateful right now.

    Mr. Cathy could (theoretically) disagree without being hateful. Unfortunately, that’s not what he has chosen to do lately.

    You’re standing in a quagmire of self-referential incoherence.

    Let me expand that a bit. You think Cathy is hateful because he (a) expresses an opinion that (b) you think is wrong and (c) harmful, and because he (d) puts his money where his mouth is.

    No, I never call things “hateful” when they are merely “wrong”. Yes, part of what escalates it from mere disagreement to actually being hateful is the degree to which he attempts to subvert the democratic process, with his money, to harm gay people. If all he were doing was talk, talk, talk, I would hardly care. You know, sticks and stones and all that ?

    From my perspective you are expressing an opinion that I think is wrong and harmful.

    Really??? Do tell. What opinion have I expressed that you think is “wrong and harmful” and why, specifically, is it either “wrong” or “harmful” ?

    (Whether you put your money into that opinion is nothing more than a measure of how consistently you hold to that opinion.)

    So there’s parity there in spite of your objections to that. The only way to determine whether he or you are being hateful is to (1) determine that one or the other of you is wrong, and/or (2) recognize that holding an opinion is not necessarily an expression of hate–meaning that we must look to other signs that might signify hate.

    Yes, which we already did look at. Remember that million-plus dollars of anti-gay political donations ? Yeah, that’s a sign right there that signifies hate. No surprise, it’s being used (in part) for propaganda campaigns to whip up further hate around the country against gay people. So we have plenty of evidence that Cathy is hateful.

    Are you sure you are right and Cathy is wrong? But he is sure that he is right and you are wrong. Parity. Unless there is some objective standard to settle the question. What’s your morally objective standard for that?

    Tee hee. Objective moral standards. Tee hee. We are so not getting into that silly hypothetical. Please do carry on if you wish; your house, your choice. But I won’t be drawn into it.

    My only concern is with the real world, the real world where gay people should be treated exactly equal with non-gay people. At least they should be, if Christian words are true, as SteveK already said:
    “He’s not saying anything about anyone being less than equal. They are all made in the image of God and thus each are very valuable and loved.”

    You did not disagree with SteveK at the time. Do you now disagree with Steve’s Christian ideal of equality for all ?

  46. Tom Gilson says:

    “Mr. Cathy could (theoretically) disagree without being hateful,” you say. “Unfortunately, that’s not what he has chosen to do lately.”

    I don’t believe you. I mean, I don’t think you believe that. Please explain what that would look like.

    I think homosexual marriage is harmful in that it is immoral and it undermines the most crucial institution in society. I won’t take time here to go into more detail on that here. Look elsewhere on this blog if you’re really that interested in knowing. It’s not hard to find.

    Subvert the democratic process? My gracious, I’d sure like you to explain how contributing money does that. I’d like to know how innocent you think pro-homosexual companies are on that count!

    The “millions of dollars” (do you have a source on that figure?) are just a man’s way of putting his money where his mouth is. It’s not a way of escalating his emotion, it’s a way of expressing it. If it’s not hate at 50 cents it’s not hate at a million dollars.

    If you think objective moral standards are laughable, then just look at what the lack of objective moral standards does to your position. For there is no difference between you and me on this issue: we both think we’re right. If there’s no objective moral standard, then I’m as right as you are, and you have no business disagreeing with me.

    Besides, your raining your moral standards all over the rest of us as if you believe they are objective: “gay people should be treated exactly equal with non-gay people.” (You misinterpreted SteveK there, by the way. Ask him.) If that isn’t objectifying and universalizing your morality, I don’t know what is.

  47. SteveK says:

    As if legally putting money toward something you support is deemed hateful and undermining the democratic process. Sheesh! Hotshoe is a rhetoric machine.

  48. SteveK says:

    Tee hee. Objective moral standards. Tee hee. We are so not getting into that silly hypothetical.

    Don’t look now, hotshoe, but you’re neck-deep in it already and you don’t even know it. Tee hee.

  49. hotshoe says:

    Hotshoe is a rhetoric machine.

    Is that type of comment allowed under your commenting policy here ?

  50. hotshoe says:

    “gay people should be treated exactly equal with non-gay people.” (You misinterpreted SteveK there, by the way. Ask him.)

    Okay, I’m sure you know SteveK better than I, and if you say he didn’t mean what it looks like he meant, then I accept your word for it. But we don’t have to rely on Steve for an example of Christians’ pro-equality stance. Millions of faithful Christians in this country not only accept the minimum of equal legal rights, they actively support same-sex marriage poitically, perform same-sex marriages in the sanctuary just like opposite-sex marriages, welcome families with two same-sex parents just like all other families into communion, encourage openly homosexual persons to join the clergy when they feel called to serve, and in general act on the ideal of Christian love (as they, and I, see it).
    What is the barrier to you being as pro-equality as those loving Christians ? Or, what is wrong with them that they do not oppose equality the way you do ? Do they not have access to the same source of God’s word ? Do they not have access to the same guidance from Heaven ?

    I just wonder if you ever consider, even for a few moments, that maybe you’re wrong … a fallible human being … maybe your particular church has been somehow (mis)lead by some traditional (mis)interpretation …

    It’s a fact that other Christians think you’re wrong. It’s not a fact that you are wrong, but it certainly looks like something to consider.

  51. SteveK says:

    hotshoe,

    It’s a fact that other Christians think you’re wrong. It’s not a fact that you are wrong, but it certainly looks like something to consider.

    It has been considered – for centuries it has been considered. Guess which group of Christian’s have always been in the minority and have always been told they have it wrong? What has changed recently that would switch it around?

  52. Adam S. says:

    @hotshoe

    What?! That’s completely irrelevant, unless you’re trying to mitigate his sentence in a court of law (which we aren’t).

    I don’t think I made my point very clear. You seemed to be arguing with SteveK that Cathy is a hypocrite for singling out gay people. My arguments in response were, firstly, that you aren’t justified in concluding that he does single out gay people because his public statements on the matter haven’t been spontaneous, and we don’t know what he would say if asked about Buddhists, etc. And, secondly, Cathy’s charitable giving suggests that his interests are far wider ranging than just support for traditional marriage.

    So you agree with same-sex marriage.

    Very funny. Have you seen G. Rodrigues’ question to Sault in #39? “Saying that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman …” and following. Unless you have a defensible answer to it, I don’t see how you can claim that Cathy’s position implies that gay people are being denied rights to which they are entitled.

    Ah, yes, the popular claim “intolerance of intolerance is awful”.

    On the contrary, I tend not to use that word until someone else does, and then only to point out how silly it is.

    Cultural liberals are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to tolerance. They’ve castigated conservatives for years for trying to “legislate their morality”, so they can’t very well talk about right and wrong without being hypocrites. But nor can they explain why they think some things should be tolerated and some shouldn’t without admitting that they’ve inserted their own subjective moral views into the calculation.

    Usually they resort to circular reasoning. Cathy hates gay people and wants to deny them equality, so he’s intolerant and a bigot. But he’s intolerant and a bigot because he hates gay people and wants to deny them their equality.

    Again, them taking a stand for equal rights and against prejudice is not bigotry, not by any valid definition.

    If Cathy is a bigot for championing traditional marriage, then it’s hard to see how telling someone they aren’t welcome to conduct perfectly legal business in your very large city because you disagree with their beliefs isn’t. Keep in mind that the mayors of Chicago and Boston aren’t simply exercising their right not to patronize Chik-fil-a, but would deny the citizens of their respective cities the opportunity to make the same decision for themselves.

  53. Sault says:

    Tom –

    I’m going to have to make this a very quick response.

    “Objective, unbiased science is hard to find, the most relevant social research hasn’t been run,” (from your referenced article)

    “I have read the medical evidence. I have studied the etiology of homosexual preference. I have also done so with respect to alcohol abuse.” (from your quote above)

    Bunk. Alcohol abuse is a well-studied, well-documented, incredibly deleterious medical condition. There is, on the other hand, no scientific research showing that SSM is “bad”.

    You can’t have it both ways, Tom – you can’t pretend that alcoholism is comparable to SSM while at the same time claiming that there is no scientific research about its effects!

  54. hotshoe says:

    hotshoe,

    It’s a fact that other Christians think you’re wrong. It’s not a fact that you are wrong, but it certainly looks like something to consider.

    It has been considered – for centuries it has been considered. Guess which group of Christian’s have always been in the minority and have always been told they have it wrong? What has changed recently that would switch it around?

    It seems telling that you answer a question about whether you personally could be wrong with an answer about the authority of tradition.

    But since that’s how you see it, how are you going to buttress your belief when the time comes that our growing minority of gay-accepting Christian churches becomes a majority ?. We’re certainly on track for that within this century. Are you going to die before it happens ? Likely I’m not. I’ll be happy to check back with you then to see how you’ve changed your rationale when you can no longer prop yourself with careless adherence to “they’re a minority, therefore they must be wrong”.

  55. hotshoe says:
    So you agree with same-sex marriage

    Very funny. Have you seen G. Rodrigues’ question to Sault in #39? “Saying that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman …”

    Oh dear, my apologies for mistaking you for one of the Christians who believe in true equality and accept same-sex marriage.

    I had no idea that you believe in “equality BUT”. How far does your “equality BUT” go ? “Equality of civil unions” BUT they better not expect the law to protect their (non-existent) right to make medical decisions for their lifetime civil-union partner. “Equality of civil unions” BUT they better not ask for their civil-union partner to be protected from deportation; that’s reserved for “real” marriages between non-gay partners. “Equality of civil unions” BUT there won’t be a state-sanctioned method of dissolving the union if necessary; divorce is reserved for “real” marriages, Christian and non-Christian alike, as long as they’re not gay.

    Or does your Equality BUT not even go that far ? Not even civil unions ?

    Never mind. The fact that you’re an Equality-BUTer is enough info.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want to hear any more of the uncompassionate rationalizations of why causing harm to one group of God’s created people is just fine with you.

  56. G. Rodrigues says:

    @Sault:

    There is, on the other hand, no scientific research showing that SSM is “bad”.

    Considering that SSM is only very recently on the table and that social experimentation is a no-no, it is hardly surprising that there is little research on its effects.

    But no research? Debut of the New Family Structures Study. The link was obtained from here Liberals Used to Value The Truth, Part 345, where you can read an accompanying discussion on the weaknesses and strengths of the study.

    Furthermore, it is plainly obvious the deleterious effects of homossexual acts. But I will leave this to Tom Gilson, since the arguments I am interested in are more of a philosophical nature.

  57. G. Rodrigues says:

    @hotshoe:

    I don’t want to hear any more of the uncompassionate rationalizations of why causing harm to one group of God’s created people is just fine with you.

    The way you speak it is almost as if you actually *listened* to any of the arguments that were advanced. But you do not listen. You do not interact. You just shout out loud. I suspect you do not even know what is to listen given the consistently angry tone of your long, boring screeds with nary an argument in them.

    So saying you “don’t want to hear” is, strictly speaking, completely redundant. You have made it quite clear throughout all your posts that you do not want to hear. You already made up your mind; opponents of SSM do not have, cannot have, valid, rational reasons for their position, only “uncompassionate rationalizations”. You even got us all pinned down: “The fact that you’re an Equality-BUTer is enough info.”

  58. Tom Gilson says:

    Sault, you missed it by a mile.

    You were making the case that because homosexuality has an etiology that is beyond the control of the person, it is therefore natural and right and should be accepted. But the same is true of alcoholism: its etiology is based partly in genetic predisposition, early life experience, and etc. If that kind of thing makes homosexual activity okay, it should also by the same principle make alcohol abuse okay.

  59. Tom Gilson says:

    hotshoe, you make a major point of equality. By all appearances it is for you the one great moral test that should be applied to this question.

    Our position is that every person has equal access to marriage. Not every person has equal access to marrying the person they want to marry. If I want to marry my dolphin or my robot I cannot do that. If I had wanted to marry Courtney Cox I could not have done that. (I didn’t want that, but you get my point.) If I had wanted to marry the married woman in the next apartment, and if she in return had wanted to marry me, we couldn’t have married each other without ending our own marriages first (again, I didn’t want that, but you get my point I’m sure). If I wanted to marry my sister (I didn’t but …) and if she had wanted to marry me, we still couldn’t have done that.

    There is no principle of law or morality that says equal access to marriage means anyone can marry just anyone. That’s an invented principle with no particularly strong thinking behind it, only good PR and loads of emotional appeal. There just isn’t any case for it.

    And the emotion is evident in our own screeds, as G. Rodrigues has already noted.

    This is a blog for thinking interactions, and I would welcome it if you would treat it that way. Thank you.

  60. Tom Gilson says:

    The “rhetoric machine” language is fine under my blogging policy.

  61. Tom Gilson says:

    Is there any response to what we wrote about the democratic process?

    It’s so rare to see the atheist interlocutors answer when one of their points has been rebutted successfully. They don’t acknowledge the correction. They just change the subject. Not always. But too often.

  62. Adam S. says:

    @hotshoe,

    Most of the issues you mentioned could be handled with contracts and Power of Attorney.

    Can you explain why the state would have an interest in regulating same-sex relationships?

    I don’t want to hear any more of the uncompassionate rationalizations of why causing harm to one group of God’s created people is just fine with you.

    You have a lot of strong opinions, but you don’t seem to have the foggiest idea about what makes you right and us wrong. Even so, instead of pleading ignorance, you try to intimidate everyone with name-calling and other kinds of posturing. Now that’s failed, so you’re leaving in a huff. Your parting shot? More posturing and name-calling!

  63. hotshoe says:

    And the emotion is evident in our own screeds

    Yes, thanks for noticing that the emotion is evident in your own screeds. Not that there is anything wrong with emotion – it can even be a tool to enhance rational discussion, to draw attention to a good point. But you folks sure have been loading your discussions with emotionally charged words and it’s obscuring your sense of balance.

    Oh, you made a typo – you were attempting to accuse me of being over-emotional. Sweet! I Iove it! What a way to enhance the discussion – to accuse just one person in the “opposition” of being too emotional. Way to silence your opposition, guys!

    Well, before I go, let’s just take another look at some of the manipulative, over-emotional distortions your friends and you have posted:

    Cathy has given tens of millions more to support other causes that haven’t triggered so much McCarthyesque inquiry … he has been positively excoriated in the popular media,

    … people like me get labeled homophobes, haters, and bigots, and where as a result we are de-humanized and shouted down …

    … verbal bullying by the left/progressive/secularists in hopes of shaming people into agreeing with them. The same goes for the use of the term “bigot”, which has simply come to mean someone who disagrees with a secularist or leftist. Since that is all the word means these days, there’s really no shame in being a “bigot” if all it means is that I disagree with the left/secularist.

    I cannot believe the flame-throwing rhetoric coming from these people.

    we are not the legal or moral aggressors in this battle, any more than the RAF were the aggressors when they were shooting at the Luftwaffe over London. Any legal action we’re taking is essentially to avoid the enactment of highly disruptive new laws on marriage.

    Don’t you see how hateful you’re being yourself,

    I don’t believe you. I mean, I don’t think you believe that.

    Sheesh! Hotshoe is a rhetoric machine.

    Don’t look now, hotshoe, but you’re neck-deep in it already and you don’t even know it. Tee hee.

    Furthermore, it is plainly obvious the deleterious effects of homossexual acts.

    But you do not listen. You do not interact. You just shout out loud.

    Physicians, heal thyselves!

  64. hotshoe says:

    The “rhetoric machine” language is fine under my blogging policy.

    Okay, Tom, your house, your rules. I did expect better from you, since you seem proud of your policy of courtesy and no insults.

    I don’t need to stay where your friends can get away with insulting me by being calling me a “machine”. I deserve better than that.

    Bless your little hearts, y’all.

  65. SteveK says:

    hotshoe,

    I’ll be happy to check back with you then to see how you’ve changed your rationale when you can no longer prop yourself with careless adherence to “they’re a minority, therefore they must be wrong”.

    Once again you miss the salient point. The point was never “they’re in the minority, therefore they must be wrong”. It was “they’ve been wrong from the beginning, and they will remain that way unless we have a reason to change our understanding”.

    I asked you if anything changed recently? Do you have something to offer us Christian’s? Becoming the majority, if it happens, is not a reason.

  66. SteveK says:

    hotshoe,

    The fact that you’re an Equality-BUTer is enough info.

    You are also one so get used to it.

    Equality of driving privileges BUT not for young people. Equality of marriage BUT not if you want to marry a dead person. Equality of government financial aide BUT not if you earn too much. Equality of everyday freedoms BUT not if you are a convicted sex offender.

    Every adult has the right to marry, even homosexual people. The only requirement is that they marry a person of the opposite sex. That rule applies to everyone equally.

  67. Charlie says:

    The internet brings out the worst of knee-jerk responses, of course, as evidenced by the fact that even those liberals papers can see the truth.
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2012/07/27/liberal-papers-boston-globe-chicago-sun-times-attack-their-mayors-bull

  68. Holopupenko says:

    Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda campaign, which is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror.

    I.e., atheism hiding behind a different name.

  69.    
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