Religious Freedom and SSM: Pastors Being Forced To Wed Same-Sex Couples

Fresh on the heels of outrageous government encroachment into religious liberty on Sunday mornings in Houston, now we’re hearing of pastors being forced under threat of fines and imprisonment to violate their religious beliefs by performing weddings for gays:

Two ordained ministers have filed a federal lawsuit and are seeking a restraining order to prevent local officials from forcing them to marry same-sex couples, saying they have been threatened with fines and possible jail time over their refusal.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, claiming that city officials told them that they are required to conduct gay marriages under a nondiscrimination ordinance.

If they do not, the Knapps say, that they could “face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines,” according to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom. The firm said the couple could face up to 180 days in jail or $1,000 in fines for each day they refuse.

Gay “marriage” is overrunning religious liberty, as if sexual freedoms were more basic to a free society than religious freedoms. They aren’t. Religious freedom really matters.

Some commenters here have doubted that the gay marriage revolution would bring about harm to anyone. For example:

Sault, December 2013

I try to keep my beliefs based off of the evidence, and I still haven’t seen any that same-sex marriage is bad or causing harm to anyone. Got any?

The answer is yes, Sault.

Gavin, July 2013

… These sentences do not state exactly what actions the the state is enforcing in conflict with conscience, what cooperation is being mandated, or what “freedoms” are being forced down throats. Perhaps you could give a specific example so we could discus whether it represents a loss of religious liberty, or a loss of Christian privilege.

Here are a couple examples for you, Gavin.

There is harm for fundamental freedoms in this movement—freedoms that have sustained our society for centuries. This will not turn out well.

P.S. HuffPost says this isn’t what it’s claimed to be. I’ll try to find time to answer that soon. The short version is, they’re claiming a false separation of belief and business. That came up in the Hobby Lobby case, too.

Comments 165
  1. Reading Christian

    They’re being ‘forced’ to because their chapel is ‘for-profit’, which (I believe) would qualify it as a business and a not a religious organization. That’s why their business is subject to the nondiscrimination ordinance.

  2. Tom Gilson

    But that’s not a good reason for them to be forced (no scare quotes necessary); and just what is it you have read in the Bible or in doctrine, my reading Christian friend, that mandates that all religious organizations must be not-for-profit?

  3. Ray Ingles

    Actually, there are a few more relevant facts: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-peron/is-a-church-being-forced_b_6019354.html

    In the past their web page openly admitted they would “marry you using a traditional or civil ceremony” and would also “perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths as well as civil weddings.” Now the ADF claims the business will “only perform ceremonies consistent with their religious beliefs.”

    At no point did the doctrines the Knapps believe restrict their business activity prior to same-sex marriage becoming legal. These admissions were scrubbed from their page after they filed their lawsuit…

    What is at issue is that the Hitching Post has been a business, open to the public, with no religious requirements for almost a century, and for most of the time ceremonies were conducted by justices of the peace, until the state abolished that office. The Knapps purchased the business in 1989 and continued to run it as a business, never as a religious institution. They performed non-religious ceremonies and happily allowed ministers of other faiths to perform services whether they were employees or not.

    This isn’t a kosher deli being forced to serve ham sandwiches. This is a deli that’s had a non-kosher section, serving ham, for quite a while.

  4. BillT

    This isn’t a kosher deli being forced to serve ham sandwiches. This is a deli that’s had a non-kosher section, serving ham, for quite a while.

    But Ray, this isn’t true. If there was no possibility of them having to perform SSM prior to same-sex marriage becoming legal then their “open” policy didn’t include SSM at that time. That it included other OSM ceremonies is neither here nor there as it pertains to SSM. That changed when the SSM law changed. Don’t they have a right to change as well.

  5. Tom Gilson

    Ray at #5, that’s just silly. Sheesh. (So’s the article you quoted it from, in multiple ways.)

    Why would they restrict their business according to something they never heard of? Come on. Should they also list that in their charter that they won’t marry dogs to horses, or humans to ETs?

    I mean, in today’s climate, yes, there would be something to be said for a statement that, “We only marry opposite-sex humans in monogamous relationships.” Why didn’t they say that earlier? Because no one thought of the possibility of marrying anyone else. Are they to be fined and imprisoned for not writing down in their charter what no one every thought of writing down?

    And this business of dichotimizing “religious institutions” and “business” is egregiously uninformed–or else it’s letting government define what counts as religion, which amounts to a horrific overreach by the government. I’ll have more to say on that soon, probably tomorrow.

  6. Tom Gilson

    This isn’t a kosher deli being forced to serve ham sandwiches. This is a deli being forced by law to serve rocks and call them food.

  7. Gavin

    Pastors Being Forced To Wed Same-Sex Couples

    Nope.

    Let’s get an update on this rapidly dissipating nontroversy from the Coeur d’Alene Press

    http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_129c54cc-3dda-5868-8278-838cde92e17e.html

    A few of the key points:

    “We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind,” said city spokesman Keith Erickson.

    [City Attorney Mike] Gridley also noted that on Oct. 6, the Knapps filed an LLC operating agreement with the state indicating that the Hitching Post is a “religious organization.” He told the Knapps’ attorney in the letter that if the Knapps are “truly operating a not-for-profit religious corporation” they would be specifically exempted from the city ordinance.

    So that’s it. Knapps did some paperwork and they don’t have to do same-sex weddings. Great for them.

    Perhaps you should fix your headline so it isn’t completely wrong. For example, “Wedding Chapel Becomes Religious Non-Profit to Discriminate Against Same Sex Couples.”

    Keep us posted of other cases like this where the government is protecting religious liberties.

  8. Tom Gilson

    Thanks for the update, Gavin.

    You’re right: I could change the headline now. “Wedding chapel is forced to relinquish its for-profit status to comply with same-sex activist bullying.”

    How’s that?

    You probably don’t know Jeremy Tedesco, and you probably wouldn’t be impressed to find out that I do, and that I am quite sure of his honesty. I am strongly inclined to believe his side of the story. The city has its side of the story, too, and you can draw your own conclusions because I’m sure you will anyway. If it all goes away based on what the city says, and the non-profit shift the chapel has made, then that’s fine. For now.

    Should I be bothered that someone is discriminating against same-sex couples? Discrimination is only wrong when it’s done on irrelevant grounds.

  9. Tom Gilson

    Your link says,

    Gridley also noted that on Oct. 6, the Knapps filed an LLC operating agreement with the state indicating that the Hitching Post is a “religious organization.” He told the Knapps’ attorney in the letter that if the Knapps are “truly operating a not-for-profit religious corporation” they would be specifically exempted from the city ordinance.

    Why should a for-profit religious corporation be required to relinquish its religious rights?

  10. DJC

    In my view, this case has been selected and manufactured as a follow up to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision in order to expand and/or clarify the rights of religious for-profit business owners when it comes to religious beliefs.

    Consider two points. Hitching Post Weddings, LLC was registered Sept. 12, 2014 and all references to civil ceremonies or non-Christian faith marriages were scrubbed from their website despite years of allowing just that. The ADF lawsuit was then filed in October, stating that the business is for-profit, owned by persons with strong religious belief that are being compelled to go against their religious beliefs by government ordinance.

    This will probably go all the way up the courts one way or the other. Further analysis and direct links to filings here .

  11. Hal Friederichs

    DJC:Consider two points. Hitching Post Weddings, LLC was registered Sept. 12, 2014 and all references to civil ceremonies or non-Christian faith marriages were scrubbed from their website despite years of allowing just that. The ADF lawsuit was then filed in October, stating that the business is for-profit, owned by persons with strong religious belief that are being compelled to go against their religious beliefs by government ordinance.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Which amounts to lying in order to justify their freedom to practice religion claims. :-(.

    If they had been performing Christian only weddings for years I would support their position but now they simply appear to be gaming the system.

  12. BillT

    Again, like Ray, the secular contingent here has missed the point. Hitching Post Weddings performing OSM ceremonies of any kind, secular, civil, or religious for profit or otherwise has nothing to do nor is it relevant to them being required to perform SSM ceremonies. As there were no SSM ceremonies allowed under state law, they never had to consider that as an option. Now that they do, as the state confirmed, they have a right to change their business model so that they can continue to do the same kind of business they always have. But do try and spin this into something it isn’t (“…lying in order to justify their freedom to practice religion claims..”).

  13. Hal Friederichs

    BillT,
    The spin going on here is that supporters of gay marriage are out to deny religious people the right to live their faith.

    If these owners want to change their business practice and only perform Christian weddings then I support them doing so.

    I’ve seen too many posting over at sites like Redstate where the claim is being made that supporters of SSM are out to destroy religion in this country and this is one example of that. It is the conservative side that is pushing this issue.

  14. BillT

    Hal,

    The laws are changing and that puts people with religious convictions in difficult and heretofore unimaginable in positions. We’ve seen a ton of this already. That people with religious convictions want to secure their rights to the freedom of religion that has been a standard in this country for a couple hundred years is hardly surprising. What? Is it only ok for supporters of SSM to use the courts to advance their agenda? And if you don’t think the SSM supporters are at some point going to take a run at the churches, I believe you are either uninformed or naive.

    Oh and Hal, it wasn’t lost on me (or I would think anyone else) that you failed to address the (quite inflammatory) part of your post I referenced.

  15. Tom Gilson

    What is this blather about “Christian-only weddings”?

    What possible reason could you have to mention that?

    No one claimed it. No one considers it true. No sane person considers it relevant.

    Let’s be sane here, okay?

  16. DJC

    BillT,

    Again, like Ray, the secular contingent here has missed the point. Hitching Post Weddings performing OSM ceremonies of any kind, secular, civil, or religious for profit or otherwise has nothing to do nor is it relevant to them being required to perform SSM ceremonies.

    No, I think it is relevant because it gets to the heart of whether a belief is a religious belief or personal preference. Consider the difference in these two statements:

    (1) We will perform only Christian marriages.
    (2) We will perform civil unions and marriages of different faiths and religious beliefs as well as Christian marriages.

    The first is clearly a strongly conservative Christian position. It’s not hard to find support for the claim that SSM is forbidden by conservative Christian beliefs.

    The second statement, however, seems to be a quite more liberal form of Christianity. Liberal Christianity doesn’t seem to have a problem with SSM (at least from this list).

    So did the Knapp’s suddenly become more conservative just as the lawsuit was filed (which seems suspect), or are they expressing a personal preference in rejecting SSM rather than a well defined religious belief?

  17. Tom Gilson

    DJC:

    Huh?

    What is this nonsense about Christian-only weddings?

    Who even brought that up?

    Are you implying that because there are some Christian denominations that don’t have any problem with SSM, therefore the Knapps are expressing a personal preference rather than a well defined religious belief?

    Please say you’re not saying that. For your own sake, please say something that makes more sense than that.

  18. Tom Gilson

    Or, are you saying that because the Knapps were faced for the first time with an SSM wedding request, and turned one down for the first time, they suddenly became more conservative?

    Do you have the slightest idea how psychologically unlikely that would be?

  19. Tom Gilson

    How do you define the difference between a religious belief and a personal preference, and how do you apply it in this case, since you seem to think you’ve discovered the secret?

  20. Gavin

    Tom,

    While I criticized the second part of your title for being inaccurate, I also want to compliment you on the accuracy of the first part, “Religious Freedom and SSM.” Indeed, this is what we have achieved: religious freedom and same sex marriage.

    In July of 2013 only a few states had marriage equality, but the tide was clearly turning. You and many other Christians were issuing dire warnings about the coming erosion of religious liberty. I found these fears far fetched, which prompted my comment. (which you have generously brought back from complete obscurity.)

    Now, fifteen months later marriage equality has become the law in the majority of states, and will almost certainly be law in several more before the end of the year. I am thrilled by this, and I understand that others are not.

    What I think we should all celebrate is events like those that have unfolded for the Knapps. While marriage equality has come to Idaho, the Knapps are still able to live according to their conscience, to hold to their beliefs, to practice their faith. Idaho is protecting their religious freedom and granting the freedom to marry to couples regardless of gender. Our long tradition of expanding freedom is one of the great strengths of the United States of America.

    Thanks, Tom. This post made my day.

  21. Hal Friederichs

    BillT: Oh and Hal, it wasn’t lost on me (or I would think anyone else) that you failed to address the (quite inflammatory) part of your post I referenced.

    You are correct. My original post contained some inflammatory remarks. I retract those comments. Sorry.

  22. Hal Friederichs

    From the ADF site:

    On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.

    Is this really true? I’ve been unable to find evidence supporting these claims.

    And why did the Knapps remove statements from their site that mention they “perform weddings of other faiths as well as civil weddings”?

  23. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    Why would they restrict their business according to something they never heard of?

    Well, they didn’t limit themselves to just that, did they? They appear to have completely ditched the possibility of any civil ceremony. And, apparently, allowing other officiants anymore, as they have in the past.

    As DJC notes, this seems mostly to be an attempt to stick a crowbar into Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and pry it open as far as possible. (Me, I have problems with how that went down, but whatever.)

    But that doesn’t mean they aren’t sincere. If they want to reorganize their business because gays are icky, it seems they can do so. (Heck, there’s even an obvious precedent they can cite, though oddly it seems no one’s done so yet. Perhaps because it doesn’t put them in the best light?) But let’s be clear: they are indeed reorganizing.

    And this business of dichotimizing “religious institutions” and “business” is egregiously uninformed–or else it’s letting government define what counts as religion, which amounts to a horrific overreach by the government.

    Hold up. Of course the government must “define what counts as religion” – how else are things like “religious freedom” to be handled if there’s no concept of what “religious” means?

    And we’ve already had distinctions between “religious institutions” and “business”. The white-supremacist “Creativity” church is not obligated to hire a black preacher, or conform with discrimination law.
    Churches don’t have to follow discrimination laws.
    Businesses do. Churches don’t have to marry interracial couples if they don’t want to. Hotels have to rent rooms to interracial couples, however sincere their religious beliefs against them may be.

    The government has to make distinctions about religion, otherwise people could ignore whatever laws they don’t like simply by claiming “that’s against my religion”.

    The issue is that you don’t like where the lines are currently drawn, not that lines have been drawn. That’s okay, I don’t like where the some of the lines have been drawn either. And we can argue about that. But I don’t see how you can argue against the principle of the lines.

  24. Gavin

    Hal,

    It might be true. The city says they haven’t received a complaint, so that is probably the end of it. Marriage equality wins. Religious freedom wins.

    This thread has gone awfully quiet. Looks like it is just you and me here to celebrate. Here’s to equality and freedom, Hal!

  25. DJC

    Tom,

    What is this nonsense about Christian-only weddings?

    Please say you’re not saying that. For your own sake, please say something that makes more sense than that.

    This is needlessly inflammatory, given that my argument is made politely in good faith and appears sound, initially. I stick to the golden rule here: don’t be rude to others because I wouldn’t want others to be rude to me (regardless of how right I think I am or how wrong I think some one else may be). Is it too much to ask that you do the same? As a blog owner, your tone sets the example for others.

    To your specific questions:

    Are you implying that because there are some Christian denominations that don’t have any problem with SSM, therefore the Knapps are expressing a personal preference rather than a well defined religious belief?

    I’m stating specifically that the Knapps’ religious views must have been fairly liberal to have performed/officiated/solemnized civil unions and marriages of different faiths and religious beliefs in addition to Christian marriages.

    However, that has changed recently, coinciding with the lawsuit. Now the Knapps and their organization will only perform/officiate/solemnize ceremonies consistent with the Christian religion.

    This change seems to have been done specifically to strength their position in lawsuit in some way. I surmise that this was done because Knapp’s don’t want to open themselves up to the claim that their rejection of SSM is in any way a personal preference rather than sincerely held religious belief.

    Why would personal preference apply? Well, suppose someone identifies themselves strongly with the teachings and practices of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since the ELC supports same-sex marriage, however, it would be quite difficult for that person to simultaneously claim a strong religious belief against SSM. Religious beliefs are expected to be defined by and originate in the religion that one affiliates and associates with.

    Thus, the extent to which the Knapps practiced a form of liberal, inclusive Christianity that recognizes the validity of the other religious beliefs and practices could, I predict, be used today to judge whether their position on SSM is sincerely held religious belief or personal preference.

    Or, are you saying that because the Knapps were faced for the first time with an SSM wedding request, and turned one down for the first time, they suddenly became more conservative?

    I’m not aware they that were faced with a SSM request. But I expect rather that the Knapps have a personal preference against SSM and that they were approached by the ADF to be a test case, and so they shifted their official religious position in the conservative direction as a result. I base this on the fact that they founded an organization that was open in its practices to other religious beliefs and faiths. Inclusive Christianity that is open to the truths of other religious faiths and beliefs is not usually so strongly against SSM in my experience.

    How do you define the difference between a religious belief and a personal preference, and how do you apply it in this case

    I described above how I would do it, but I would also add that differentiating between sincerely held religious belief and personal preference has a long history in the courts. The 1972 Supreme Court Decision Wisconsin v. Yoder is a major precedent and establishes that “deep religious conviction must shared by an organized group, and intimately related to daily living”, for example, among other tests.

  26. Andy M

    “we’re hearing of pastors being forced under threat of fines and imprisonment to violate their religious beliefs by performing weddings for gays”

    Holy hyperbole!

    First the hypocrisy – do you believe polygamy should be legal? Or do you want to threaten Mormons with fines and imprisonment and violate their religious beliefs?

    Second – Tom, homosexuals are not immoral. Aside from their sexual orientation they’re largely the same as you. I know you feel otherwise (that they are being immoral) but frankly you’re just wrong. Perpetuating the notion that there is something wrong with homosexuals *is* immoral however. I have seen grown men cry when talking about their youth and how they have been treated. How horrible it is to live a life as an outcast for something you have no control over. And having to debate people like you about whether they are “moral” or not is just insulting to them. They’re people dammit. All they want is recognition from others that there is nothing wrong with them and acknowledgement that they’re equals – which they are. It’s the least we can do after the millennia of abuse they’ve received. Even the Bible categorically calls for their death.

    This country does not, and should not, in general allow businesses to discriminate against minorities for things they are unable to change. Color, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. To allow such behavior of businesses is unethical and harmful to society. We know this largely because we’ve *been there* before. Signs such as “Irish need not apply” and “Colored only” stand testament to that. It was terrible then and it’s terrible now.

    There *needs* to be a separation of belief and business where individual liberties are involved to ensure opportunity for all. And it’s for your own good as well. Early in this nation’s history there was also quite a bit of Christian in-fighting. Catholics led the charge against protestant Irish immigrants for example. Some states setup prefer religions *cough*Utah*cough*. These are not things that we want to encourage.

    I find your morality to be very black and white and naive at times. From my POV this is a delicate matter and needs to be considered carefully. At what point do you allow people to discriminate in their business and when do you not allow it is a very difficult question to answer. And remember that such laws apply to people you don’t like as well. It’s not so cut and dried as you make it out to be. There needs to be allowance for things like “men’s clubs” and “women’s clubs.” Or other such special interests. And there are. But it needs to be weighed against the impact on society. And that’s a case-by-case calculus. In this case, however, it’s pretty clear that your annoyance doesn’t come anywhere *near* approaching equality with the discrimination of homosexuals that you seek. Society has realized that as well. Hopefully you will to some day.

    TL;DR: No, your religious belief does NOT in any way trump sexual freedom. Quite the opposite actually. Refusing service to people based on natural attributes is immoral. Luckily for you the law allows you to be immoral so long as you claim to be a non-profit religious institution. It’s not a terrible compromise IMHO. It allows you to be a jerk, and for the rest of society to go on without you. Hopefully in 50 years your POV will be as archaic and strange as the “Irish need not apply” signs of old are today.

    And in case you’re wondering – yes I would apply this philosophy the other way around as well. If “homosexual businesses” (quotes because a business is not a person and has no beliefs per se) were categorically discriminating against Christians I would be the first to object – even though religious belief is much more flexible than sexual orientation. It would still be wrong for many of the same reasons.

  27. DR84

    In post #30 you say this ” Refusing service to people based on natural attributes is immoral.”

    How do you know that this is true?

    Prior to that you say this “All they want is recognition from others that there is nothing wrong with them and acknowledgement that they’re equals – which they are.”

    I doubt you will find anywhere here who believes people who identify as homosexual are anything less than fully and equally human. That said, why must anyone believe and affirm a relationship between two people of the same sex is a marriage just like the union of husband and wife is in order to acknowledge a person who identifies as homosexual is indeed an equal?

    Furthermore, why must anyone not believe that men engaging in sexual type acts together or women engaging in such acts together is immoral in order for people who do engage in such acts to feel good about themselves? Frankly, this is just absurd, and I am sincerely hoping I am just misunderstanding your point here.

    There is also a glaring problem with “sexual liberties trump religious liberties”. In all cases such as this one, along with various bakers, wedding venue operators, photographers, etc. the religious people who have objected were not at all limiting the sexual freedom of anyone. However, in all cases, it was demanded of these people that they act against their religious convictions or not operate their business at all.

  28. Holoupenko

    @30:

    homosexuals are not immoral. Aside from their sexual orientation they’re largely the same as you. I know you feel otherwise (that they are being immoral) but frankly you’re just wrong. Perpetuating the notion that there is something wrong with homosexuals *is* immoral however

    Care to back that emotional rant up with reasoned and referenced philosophical arguments that are actually sound? Don’t try empirical scientific arguments–you’ll get egg in your face, by the way. Your personal emotional needs as displayed in your comment is not of interest to a blog for thinkers: opinion is not truth.

  29. Tom Gilson

    Andy,

    My position on gay marriage is not based on the immorality of homosexuality. It’s based on the way it undermines marriage, family, community, and culture.

    It is not based on my feelings, as you say. It’s based on historical, social, and philosophical reflection, highly informed by considerable study on both sides of the issue.

    You cuss at me and remind me they’re people. I’ve given that some thought too, and I strongly agree.

    So let’s start out this discussion by pointing out that your opinion of me is based on falsehoods, most likely stereotypes. Do you believe in stereotyping?

    There does not need to be a separation of business and conscience.

    I find your morality to be black and white and naive. (See how easy that was? I can throw pejoratives around just like you can. What good does it do?) From my POV this is a delicate matter and deserves careful consideration; and in fact, I’ve been thinking about it quite deeply for many, many months. It needs to be weighed by its impact on society, and the calculus is proving that families and communities are falling apart for reasons that SSM endorses and tries to extend and approve even further.

    Almost you whole comment, Andy M., could be pointed back at you. You accuse me of much. You indict yourself.

  30. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    It’s based on the way it undermines marriage, family, community, and culture.

    It certainly “undermines” certain concepts of what marriage is.
    I actually think it strengthens families and therefore our communities. And I think it enriches our culture.

    I can understand how someone who thinks homosexual acts are sinful could hold your view. But there are many like myself who don’t consider them to be sinful.

    I have a number of gay friends and gay family members. Am now very glad that they are able to have their loving relationships legally recognized in this country just as us heterosexuals do.

  31. Billy Squibs

    I think you have to flesh out that response G. Rodrigues. There are probably a lot of people who would be swayed by Andy’s rhetoric and few by your reply.

  32. BillT

    I actually think it strengthens families and therefore our communities. And I think it enriches our culture.

    Unless, of course, it doesn’t. And what you “actually think” is relevant in what way? Would actual facts be important in any way. We get emotional argument after emotional argument and little else.

    It certainly “undermines” certain concepts of what marriage is.

    “Certain concepts” huh? You mean the certain concept of marriage that has been its accepted definition for the entire history of mankind. That certain concept?

  33. Skepticism First

    Tom Gilson wrote: “My position on gay marriage is not based on the immorality of homosexuality. It’s based on the way it undermines marriage, family, community, and culture.”

    Tom,

    Once again, I feel compelled to make a comment of a more personal nature instead of an argument. This isn’t because I don’t have arguments (those can be found, among other places, in the numerous court decisions and oral arguments in the slew of same-sex marriage cases). Rather, it’s because I think you and others have a fundamental misunderstanding about what LGBT people’s lives are like.

    You say that their marriages undermine marriage, family, community, and culture. But really, how could this possibly be the case? The LGBT community is struggling really hard to be a part of these things. They want *in*, they don’t want to undermine it – and they want in precisely because they hold the same values you do – they want to fall in love, raise children, give those children the best opportunities they can, and be equal members of their communities. Their daily lives and contributions to society are no different than yours. They go grocery shopping, they donate to charity, they run local businesses, they cook dinner for friends, etc. In short, they’re just living their lives, same as you.

    So they say, “hey, society, would it be alright if we could get some of those marriage licenses too? We’re members of this community, and it sure would help us out.” And then, you come along and say, “Sorry, gay people. No can do. Your marriages will undermine the community.”

    But what you’ve missed is that, like it or not, they’re part of the community already. They’re raising children already. If you care about community, doesn’t it make sense to do whatever you can to help *all* the members of that community? If you care about family, doesn’t it make sense to do whatever you can to help *all* families? How does it help the children of gay parents to deny their parents marriage?

  34. Hal Friederichs

    BillT,
    Unless, of course, it doesn’t. And what you “actually think” is relevant in what way? Would actual facts be important in any way. We get emotional argument after emotional argument and little else.

    If you want to start dealing with actual facts regarding what leads to a negative impact on families and marriage, you might want to take a look at this site:

    https://contemporaryfamilies.org/impact-of-conservative-protestantism-on-regional-divorce-rates/

  35. Bryan Howlett

    Nicely put, Skepticism First.

    Gay marriage allows gay couples to be part of the mainstream culture, instead of being made to feel different and set apart from the mainstream.

    The willingness to embrace new members into a culture is a sign of openness, of humility, of respect, of decency, of humanity, of civilization. It is the complete opposite of undermining. We should be doing everything in our power to welcome gays into our culture, to empower them and help them feel like they finally belong. We are all humans. Life’s hard enough as it is without also being cast out of mainstream society and treated differently.

  36. SteveK

    Getting from a list of several facts to “the way it should be” is a necessary step that the skeptics here are unable to make. There is no “the way it should be” under naturalism or any social order. There is only “the way me and my group want it” and the various ways to get there.

  37. Skepticism First

    SteveK wrote: “There is no “the way it should be” under naturalism or any social order.”

    I see Christians make this claim all the time, and it’s almost always stated as some sort of uncontroversial assumption. It’s getting frustrating, as the field of meta-ethics proceeds quite well without any theistic assumptions. If you want to say this, you’re going to have to address the work of philosophers such as James Rachels, Erik Wielenberg, Simon Caney, Wes Morriston, and (perhaps surprisingly) Richard Swinburne (and many, many others).

  38. Hal Friederichs

    SteveK,
    There is no “the way it should be” under naturalism or any social order.

    Which is a totally irrelevant point in this thread. After all many Christians believe gay marriage should be legalized.

  39. SteveK

    Skepticism,
    I will only say this: if those other philosophers aren’t arguing for a factual ‘should’, then nobody is obligated to their view. Theism is arguing for a factual ‘should’ so we are in the game in a very relevant sense.

  40. Tom Gilson

    Skepticism First, you write,

    You say that their marriages undermine marriage, family, community, and culture. But really, how could this possibly be the case? The LGBT community is struggling really hard to be a part of these things. They want *in*, they don’t want to undermine it – and they want in precisely because they hold the same values you do – they want to fall in love, raise children, give those children the best opportunities they can, and be equal members of their communities. Their daily lives and contributions to society are no different than yours. They go grocery shopping, they donate to charity, they run local businesses, they cook dinner for friends, etc. In short, they’re just living their lives, same as you.

    Statistically, no. Few are monogamous. This does not just come from conservative sources

    The average number of gay partners has decreased recently to 2.3 per year

    Few maintain long-term relationships:

    The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a “current relationship,” only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years.[4] While this “snapshot in time” is not an absolute predictor of the length of homosexual relationships, it does indicate that few homosexual relationships achieve the longevity common in marriages.

    I am aware of exceptions to this statistical norm–including friends of mine. Nevertheless, a statistical norm is a statistical norm, and your implication that gay couples’ norms are the same as straight couples’ is empirically false.

  41. Tom Gilson

    Hal, you misunderstand the place of “should.” Christians disagree on what should be. Naturalism undermines the very concept of “should be.” Christians can disagree on what one can say is morally right, naturalists probably cannot, for on naturalism the very concept of “morally right” is ephemeral, cultural, and therefore not binding in any way on any person.

  42. Bryan Howlett

    Fortunately, Christian “morality” is not binding on any of us either. We’re still allowed to think for ourselves about how to treat others and why.

  43. SteveK

    Fortunately, Christian “morality” is not binding on any of us either.

    Not sure if this comment was addressed to me. If not, then ignore what follows. If this factual ‘should’ obliges you to be bound, then your opinion to the contrary doesn’t change that.

  44. BillT

    If you want to start dealing with actual facts regarding what leads to a negative impact on families and marriage, you might want to take a look at this site:

    Great article there Hal. Oh, and completely worthless. Why, you may ask would a say such a thing. Two reasons off the top of my head.

    First, the results are already in. Careful, responsible studies of the correlation of the frequency of church attendance and divorce show that the more frequently people attend church the lower their divorce rates. The difference in those rates is a direct correlation and statistically significant. That is no longer in question.

    Second, the parameters of the study you linked are exceedingly broad. A county by county correlation doesn’t provide one verifiable direct correlation between religion and divorce. That, of course, is just what you find upon reading it. The virtually endless speculations by the author as to what can be gleaned from such broad statistics are in the end just that, speculations. All that work when the facts are already known.

    And Hal your post was a good attempt at a misdirection but that is the second time you’ve responded to me and avoided the points I raised in my post to you. Are we to assume that’s just how you roll?

  45. Tom Gilson

    Everyone, Bryan, is allowed to think for themselves. That’s moral thinking, and I can’t think of anyone who would deny anyone that right. Does that mean, however, that everyone’s moral conclusions are valid?

  46. SteveK

    BillT,
    I would say that Hal’s article serves to reinforce the idea that there’s a very strong correlation between sinning and destructive effects. Completely consistent with Christianity.

  47. Bryan Howlett

    No more than anyone’s conclusions on any topic can be valid. To make good decisions you need a good model that allows you to predict the effects.

  48. Tom Gilson

    Ahh… the epistemology of prediction. Tell me, what predictive model predicts that the predictiveness yields the only valid epistemology?

  49. Bryan Howlett

    If you have a better way of making decisions that does not require thinking about effects, please let me know.

    Your article is all about predicted effects. It seems that you also use this epistemologically flawed approach. Why on earth would you do that when you presumably have a much more sound technique at your disposal? I’m all ears…

  50. Tom Gilson

    Oh. I see. There is your epistemology that requires a model that can predict effects, or else there is some other (which you’ve challenged me to let you know about) that has no interest in effects.

    Has it occurred to you that those might not be the only two options?

  51. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    Everyone, Bryan, is allowed to think for themselves. That’s moral thinking, and I can’t think of anyone who would deny anyone that right. Does that mean, however, that everyone’s moral conclusions are valid?

    We live in a pluralistic society. Not everyone shares the same criteria for determining what is morally valid. Not even all theists share the same criteria. I know Christians who are strongly in support of gay marriage. I would not be in the least surprised to learn there are many atheists who oppose it.

    I think the anti-SSM folks have had a fair chance to present their case, but they have lost at this point.

  52. Tom Gilson

    Bryan, before I go on, tell me: do you really want to know? Pardon me for seeming a bit skeptical about your “I’m all ears,” but it sounds a lot more like a skeptic’s stance than an interested learner’s line. I could certainly be wrong, it’s hard to interpret these kinds of things over a blog. If you want to know, then I’ll be glad to respond.

    One way I could gain more confidence in your desiring to know would be if you were to put some more thought into your question. You started out with an impossibly false dichotomy, which I’ve already identified. You want me to illustrate the falseness of the dichotomy by telling you some other possible option. Why don’t you think it through yourself, and consider the kinds of questions that would have to be answered in order for there to be some other option?

    Your motivation for this might be that you want to exercise your own intellectual capacities. It might also be to show that you are capable of thinking beyond the simplistic and (to my mind) obviously false dichotomy you’ve presented. It seems to me those might be good reasons for you to actually get yourself involved in the thinking process, rather than just asking me to regale you with my own views. (I chose that word “regale” advisedly.)

  53. Skepticism First

    Tom Gilson #45:

    First off, having sexual partners “on the side” is not incompatible with the values I mentioned earlier. Second, perhaps you should look at trends in straight culture. They’re functionally identical, or at least analogous – look at all the serial monogamy, or even the flat-out trend of “hooking up”.

    I’d be really interested to hear what you think is the cause of this. I bet you wouldn’t attribute to to anything inherent in heterosexuality; but I bet you *would* (maybe) attribute the same trends in the homosexual community to something inherent in hmoosexuality – but what’s the difference?

    And, perhaps your solution to these heterosexual trends is to promote marriage, oppose divorce, and advocate for more family stability in general. But if those things would work for heterosexuals, why wouldn’t they also work for homosexuals? Why not promote marriage, oppose divorce, and advocate for more family stability *for homosexuals as well*, instead of denying them even the chance?

  54. Bryan Howlett

    Tom,

    Those words were skeptical. You have been happily arguing using models of predicted effects throughout this post and the comments.

    I can’t think of an approach that would allow one to think about moral questions without being able to predict effects. Perhaps you do not consider a mental model of how reality works to be a model?

    The only alternative I can think of is that someone you trust has told you an answer and you do not think for yourself about whether it is right, you just follow it robotically. You can’t think because as soon as you start imagining scenarios and results of applying the rule, you are treating the rule like a model and predicting effects.

    As I see it, the Bible through its narratives provides hints at a model of how reality works that you can use to think and develop your own decisions. (My view also is that many of these models – such as the concepts of evil and sin – are immensely unhelpful, but that’s another story.)

    Am I missing another alternative? A skeptic is challenging, but that doesn’t mean undesirous to learn. If you have a more epistemologically sound way of coming to moral decisions that doesn’t involve models and predictions, I would love to hear about it.

  55. Skepticism First

    SteveK #44: The philosophers I mentioned are all moral realists. As such, they do argue for factual “shoulds”. Specifically, moral realism is the view that:

    1) Ethical sentences express propositions.
    2) At least some of these propositions are true.
    3) The truthmakers of these true propositions are objective features of reality, rather than the subjective attitudes of persons.

    More specifically, they are all nontheistic moral realists*, which adds to the position a fourth thesis:

    4) The truthmakers of these true propositions are not features of any sort of deity.

    This is not a fringe position in meta-ethics, and it cannot be arbitrarily dismissed with a wave of the hand.

    *”nontheistic moral realism” merely indicates that the form of moral realism is itself nontheistic – a theist could be a nontheistic moral realist, as Richard Swinburne is.

  56. DR84

    Skepticism First
    “And, perhaps your solution to these heterosexual trends is to promote marriage, oppose divorce, and advocate for more family stability in general. But if those things would work for heterosexuals, why wouldn’t they also work for homosexuals? Why not promote marriage, oppose divorce, and advocate for more family stability *for homosexuals as well*, instead of denying them even the chance?”

    I hope no one minds if I jump in and share some thoughts on this particular question.

    1. It is not about “homosexual” persons and “heterosexual” persons. Instead this is about heterosexual and homosexual behavior. There is no necessary link between one and the other. The behavioral differences, in other words, can be fully understood without any consideration of sexual orientation at all.

    2. Your question presumes that marriage can be something other than the union of husband and wife. It is nonsensical to promote that two people marry whom cannot possibly form a marital union together.

    3. You are equivocating heterosexuality and homosexuality.

    4. Promoting that men and women form life long, loving, and exclusive unions promotes the only set of behaviors that can build stable families…those in which the children produced by the relationship are raised by the man and woman who brought them into the world.

    5. Promoting that two men or women form a lifelong, intimately exclusive bond does not at all have anything to do with having and raising children. It does not lead to the same outcome as promoting the same between a man and woman.

    6. There is nothing more obviously morally virtuous about two men or women choosing to form a life long and exclusive relationship together as opposed to a temporary and/or open relationship together.

    7. If we promote a particular training regimen for football players, does it follow we must promote the same training regimen for all other athletes? Obviously not, obviously other sports involve different behaviors that are relevant to how said athlete trains. Even more so, such a training regimen may even be harmful to another athlete’s goals.

    8. There is no conceptual link between homosexual and heterosexual behaviors. If we promote heterosexual relations happen in the context of a particular kind of relationship it does not follow that we must also promote that homosexual relations happen in a particular kind of relationship.

  57. Skepticism First

    DR84: I don’t mind at all if you jump in. Public forum and all that.

    Anyway, I’d like to tackle these one at a time, and I’d like to start with (2), as we can’t really move forward at all until we resolve that one.

    You write, “It is nonsensical to promote that two people marry whom cannot possibly form a marital union together.” This statement demonstrates, though, that you’re not talking about the same thing that I am. When I talk about a same-sex couple getting married, I’m *not* talking about some kind of “metaphysics of marriage”. Rather, I mean marriage in only the civil and social sense. That is, I’m talking about a same-sex couple getting a marriage certificate from a clerk of the court, then having a wedding ceremony, then pooling at least some of their resources, then possibly filing taxes jointly, etc. etc. Surely, you can agree that same-sex couples can do all of that, correct?

  58. Hal Friederichs

    There is no conceptual link between homosexual and heterosexual behaviors.

    This is obviously false. They are each forms or types of sexual behavior.

    Oral and anal sex falls under both types.
    Both types can express affection and love.

  59. G. Rodrigues

    @Hal Friederichs:

    I think the anti-SSM folks have had a fair chance to present their case, but they have lost at this point.

    I do not what you mean by “lost”, but I suspect the court you are appealing here is that of public opinion.

    Be that as it may, the SSM confederacy did no so much lost the point, but never even made one to begin with.

    This is just to show that I can also make gratuitous claims. The only difference is that I am right and you are wrong. Grin.

    This is obviously false. They are each forms or types of sexual behavior.

    Oral and anal sex falls under both types.
    Both types can express affection and love.

    This is obvious false. Rape is a sexual behavior, but I take it as uncontroversial that it does not express love and affection.

  60. SteveK

    @Skepticism 61

    You said:

    3) The truthmakers of these true propositions are objective features of reality, rather than the subjective attitudes of persons.

    Panpsychism?? You are welcome to this view if you think it makes sense. My complaint was directed at naturalism. Naturalism is devoid of anything resembling an objective truthmaker.

  61. Hal Friederichs

    Rape is a sexual behavior, but I take it as uncontroversial that it does not express love and affection.

    True. And that is another example of the conceptual link between homosexual and heterosexual behavior.

  62. Hal Friederichs

    Naturalism is devoid of anything resembling an objective truthmaker.

    So where are you headed with this, Steve?

    If a person argues for or against SSM are his views not to be allowed in the public debate merely because his metaphysical position is that of naturalism?

  63. Gavin

    Tom, (@10)

    You’re right: I could change the headline now. “Wedding chapel is forced to relinquish its for-profit status to comply with same-sex activist bullying.”

    I have a hard time seeing how you could defend that with the actual facts of what happened. They were not forced; they made a choice. There wasn’t any bullying; they sought legal advice from the city and received it.

    Even so this headline is closer to the truth. So why haven’t you changed it? Your current headline, and many of the statements in your post, are false. I’m not going to make a claim about whether you “should” or “should not” be bearing false witness about the events in Coeur d’Alene, but that is what you have done. And until you make corrections it is what you continue to do.

  64. G. Rodrigues

    @Hal Friedrichs:

    And that is another example of the conceptual link between homosexual and heterosexual behavior.

    If all you want to say is that there is *some* genus of human acts under which both homossexual and heterssexual acts fall, then: shrug shoulders.

  65. DR84

    #63 Skepticism First

    It is still obviously inconsistent for one to believe that marriage is the union of a man and woman, to believe marriage is a good thing for the couple and society, and yet support society recognizing something else entirely as a marriage. Even making the distinction between metaphysical reality and a civil and social sense gets us nowhere. The problem remains. At this point, it seems it is on you to explain why one should support and promote something that is against what they believe is good.

    As far as doing those things, yes, in some places two people of the same sex can do those things. So what? Are suggesting if such things can be done we ought to be for them being done?

    Of course, it is not only homosexual couples that can do those things. Two men or women who are friends can do all of them too. Does this mean we should be for this and promote this as well? Do you? Other than the marriage certificate and ability to file a joint tax return, same sex family members can do these things too. They can have “wedding” ceremony for their relationship and pool resources as well. Their inability to get a legal marriage license and file joint tax returns together is completely arbitrary. If you promote same sex couples being able to do these things, you truly have no reason to not promote same sex family members also being able to do these things (which can also be made legally and socially possible as well).

    Really, there are no limits here. All of these things you mention are not only possible for same sex couples, they are possible for anyone in any kind of relationship.

  66. Skepticism First

    SteveK #66 said: “Panpsychism??”

    Ummmm….no. What? I’m really confused as to how you can possibly read panpsychism into that.

  67. Skepticism First

    DR84 #71:

    Let’s, again, be careful here to distinguish the concepts of “ontological marriage” and “civil marriage”. I’m not suggesting that same-sex civil marriage ought to be allowed just because it’s possible. But if it’s possible, that puts it on the table for consideration.

    But now, notice that what we should be looking at, given that it’s possible, is the same things we look at when considering any other civil institution – in general, does it help or hurt society, and in what ways? But notice that this is an empirical question. Notice also that this removes the “slippery slope” argument – if same-sex marriage helps society, and incestuous marriage hurts it, that’s a good reason to allow same-sex marriage while not allowing incestuous marriage. And if incestuous marriage does turn out to help society, “that” is the reason we should allow it, independent of our allowing same-sex marriage.

    So now, we have primarily a sociological question on our hands. agreed?

  68. SteveK

    @Hal 68

    If a person argues for or against SSM are his views not to be allowed in the public debate merely because his metaphysical position is that of naturalism?

    All views are allowed. Not all views are coherent.

  69. DR84

    Skepticism First #73

    Agreed, no, not at all. What is good for society is not an empirical question at all. This is a question of values and moral judgement. All of which are decidedly outset the realm of empirical pursuit.

    If our vision of the good includes children being raised in loving homes by their married mothers and fathers. Obviously, so called same sex marriage does not help society at all. No empirical study needed.

    If our vision of the good is that people who identify as homosexual cannot possibly be treated as full and equal human beings unless their romantic relationships with someone of the same sex are recognized as marriages and seen by law and society as no different than a marriage of husband and wife, it would obviously follow that it is good for society to recognize these relationships as marriages. Again, no empirical study is needed.

    That all said, I am no suggesting empirical study is worthless, it may useful to find if particular policies are really meeting their goals or not. It has its place, its just not at all what you suggest it is.

  70. DR84

    Skepticism First #73

    Agreed, no, not at all. What is good for society is not an empirical question at all. This is a question of values and moral judgement. All of which are decidedly outset the realm of empirical pursuit.

    If our vision of the good includes children being raised in loving homes by their married mothers and fathers. Obviously, so called same sex marriage does not help society at all. No empirical study needed.

    If our vision of the good is that people who identify as homosexual cannot possibly be treated as full and equal human beings unless their romantic relationships with someone of the same sex are recognized as marriages and seen by law and society as no different than a marriage of husband and wife, it would obviously follow that it is good for society to recognize these relationships as marriages. Again, no empirical study is needed.

    That all said, I am no suggesting empirical study is worthless, it may useful to find if particular policies are really meeting their goals or not. It has its place, its just not at all what you suggest it is.

  71. Ray Ingles

    DR84 –

    If our vision of the good includes children being raised in loving homes by their married mothers and fathers. Obviously, so called same sex marriage does not help society at all.

    That ‘obviously’ doesn’t follow, though. The actual goal is to make sure children are well-cared-for, and pretty much everyone agrees on that goal. The disagreement is tactical, not strategic.

    Certainly loving homes with married mothers and fathers tend to do well in terms of caring for children, and as such are ‘good bets’ from a social policy perspective. However, not all children are, or can be, raised in such homes. If we want children to be well-cared-for, we must explore alternatives. At which point, the goal agreed-upon, empirical research can make a contribution.

    Adoption, for example. The legal system is pretty firm on that score – the adoptive parent(s) are the legal parents for all intents and purposes, to try to shore up the relationship (as far as laws can). But even adoption is not as desirable, policy-wise, as having a biologically-related parent caring for the child. Even if they are not married to the other parent.

    Homosexual people do enter into long-term relationships. One can argue that the law shouldn’t care about that, perhaps – if there are no children involved. But what of children being raised by a homosexual parent? In that case, it may not be possible to arrange for a “mother and father”… but “loving homes” and “married” can be encouraged in those cases as much the law can for any heterosexual couple.

    We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good here. Especially because insisting on only the perfect can wind up being the enemy of actual children.

  72. Tom Gilson

    Oh. If our vision of the good is A, and B is incompatible with A, then it doesn’t “obviously” follow that B is incompatible with A, because our vision of the good is C.

    Or, if our vision of the good is A, the conclusions that follow from that don’t follow from it after all because our vision of the good is C.

  73. G. Rodrigues

    @Tom Gilson:

    I think you are missing the point of Ray Ingles’ comment and its force. What about children being raised by single mothers? It may not be possible to arrange for a “mother and father”, but by issuing a marriage license the Nanny State will encourage a “loving home”. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good here. You know, because of the children and all that. And the empirical research: because while we as society cannot provide them with a mother and a father, we can use them as guinea pigs in social experiments. For the glorious advancement of Science ™. And the confederacy of dunces.

  74. Hal Friederichs

    We have escaped the tyranny of those who consider homosexuality a sin.

    Their right to follow their moral system that should continue to be protected under the constitution. Just as the right to follow a differing moral system is now being protected.

  75. G. Rodrigues

    @Hal Friederichs:

    Their right to follow their moral system that should continue to be protected under the constitution. Just as the right to follow a differing moral system is now being protected.

    Not only is this completely irrelevant, it is actually false. SSM laws are not morally neutral, notwithstanding what the legal Pharisees would have us believe. Or to put the point ion another way: they are as morally neutral as the former Status Quo.

  76. Hal Friederichs

    SSM laws are not morally neutral, notwithstanding what the legal Pharisees would have us believe.

    I don’t know how you got that from my comment. I explicitly pointed out that there is a difference of view regarding the morality of SSM. Those who view homosexual acts and SSM as immoral can no longer impose their morality on those who don’t due to the legalization of SSM.

  77. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    If our vision of the good is A, and B is incompatible with A, then it doesn’t “obviously” follow that B is incompatible with A, because our vision of the good is C.

    I was responding to what DR84 wrote. And in his formulation, which I quoted, the ‘obviously’ doesn’t follow. You can keep his premises and add a few, and perhaps rescue the ‘obviously’, but that’s a different argument.

    G. Rodrigues –

    What about children being raised by single mothers? It may not be possible to arrange for a “mother and father”, but by issuing a marriage license the Nanny State will encourage a “loving home”.

    Interesting idea. How would it encourage a ‘loving home’? What benefits would it provide?

    I mean, the lesbian couple raising three special-needs children could articulate specific benefits that would help them provide and care for those kids. I’m sure you can match that.

    After all, it’s not like you to misrepresent what someone wrote…

  78. DR84

    #86 Ray

    I was not formulating fully fleshed out arguments with those examples. They were merely meant to represent two common worldviews with respect to the marriage debate in order to show that we first have to start with what we believe is good before looking at this empirically is even possible.

    That aside, it still seems you are mistaken. You have just switched from one vision of the good (children being raised by mom and dad) to another (children being raised by caring adults) and asserted this latter is the one that is the one true vision of the good that we should for.

    With respect to the vision of the good of mom and dad raising the children they have together, yes it is obvious that same sex couples cannot possibly participate in this.

    With respect to the vision of the good of children just being raised by any caring adults, of course same sex couples could participate in this. As could any combination and number of people…there are no limits. An entire football team could raise a child together and fulfill the purposes of this view just as well as any same sex couple (or mom and dad for that matter).

  79. G. Rodrigues

    @Hal Friederichs:

    I explicitly pointed out that there is a difference of view regarding the morality of SSM. Those who view homosexual acts and SSM as immoral can no longer impose their morality on those who don’t due to the legalization of SSM.

    If you concede that there is a different moral view underlying the SSM laws, then why don’t you drop the bogus crap about “imposition”? Legalization of SSM is as much an “imposition” on the whole of Society as the former status quo. Which was my point; to pretend otherwise, to pretend that they are morally neutral, is an insult to the collective intelligence.

  80. G. Rodrigues

    @Ray Ingles:

    After all, it’s not like you to misrepresent what someone wrote…

    Has anyone ever informed you that you are an insufferable self-righteous bore?

  81. SteveK

    G. Rodrigues
    No, but we have repeatedly informed Ray (in the midst of him throwing stones in our direction) that his moral view lacks obligation and culpability. Still, he continues to throw stones. Probably because he knows that he’s under no obligation to stop.

  82. Hal Friederichs

    Legalization of SSM is as much an “imposition” on the whole of Society as the former status quo.

    I can understand it being frustrating when the society you live in does not wish to enshrine your particular moral position in the legal system. I find it morally reprehensible that capital punishment is still being carried out in our society.

  83. DR84

    #91 Hal

    In regards to the legal recognition of so called same sex marriage. It is not just that such relationships are recognized as marriages, it is that people are being coerced on threat of punishment to act in support of so called same sex marriage.

    The application of the law resulting from this change is anything but neutral. The application of it is allowing some people to live according to their values while denying the same right to others.

    That said, I do not think it had to be this way. It seems possible at least for the law to recognize non-marital relationships (such as between people of the same sex) as if they were marriages and yet also not force/coerce anyone to support and/or act as if these relationships really are marriages. This clearly is *not* how things are going; though.

  84. Ray Ingles

    DR84 –

    You have just switched from one vision of the good (children being raised by mom and dad) to another (children being raised by caring adults) and asserted this latter is the one that is the one true vision of the good that we should for.

    Not quite. As I said, “not all children are, or can be, raised in such homes [“by mom and dad”]. If we want children to be well-cared-for, we must explore alternatives.” It’s not within the power of the law to guarantee such things, so the law must take into account other cases.

    I’ve got no problem with encouraging stable heterosexual parenting through a wide range of laws. For example I’d be totally down with laws making divorce harder – e.g. a waiting period, counseling, etc. – when there are children involved, absent evidence of domestic abuse. (I note in passing that there were constitutional amendments about SSM but I’ve never heard of a single effort to put an amendment about divorce on the ballot. Which problem affects more kids?)

    But stable heterosexual parenting isn’t always going to happen, and in such cases the priority has to be the care of the children. I am not down with laws that encourage stable heterosexual parenting… if they make it harder for kids who are in other situations.

    Not quite as important, but still relevant, is the way a whole lot of things like health insurance and hospital visitation and so forth have been tied in to marriage, in ways that unnecessarily burden people who aren’t married. (More here.)

    (Besides, why is “by mom and dad” the goal? Because it’s supposed to be best for the kids. The welfare of the kids is the ultimate concern there, too. That’s why I said ” The actual goal is to make sure children are well-cared-for, and pretty much everyone agrees on that goal.”)

  85. Ray Ingles

    G. Rodrigues –

    Has anyone ever informed you that you are an insufferable self-righteous bore?

    Nope. Can’t really be arsed to care about your opinion, unfortunately. Lemme know if you feel like answering the question I posed, though.

    SteveK –

    No, but we have repeatedly informed Ray (in the midst of him throwing stones in our direction) that his moral view lacks obligation and culpability.

    Hey, I understand them differently, but I still have ’em. You just kinda dropped the discussion last time.

  86. Gavin

    DR84,

    …people are being coerced on threat of punishment to act in support of so called same sex marriage.

    Could you provide some examples?

    Also note that this happens in some way to all of us. I opposed the war in Iraq, but I still paid taxes, under threat of punishment, in support of that war. I live in a society a society that I largely support, but not always. I can’t just opt-out of the parts I oppose.

    I do have choices, and there were people who made other choices so that they wouldn’t have to support the war—by withholding their taxes and suffering the punishment, and in some cases by reducing their income to the point where they wouldn’t pay taxes. Some people are willing to go farther than others.

    The Knapps are a perfect example of a couple that made a choice so that they could avoid performing same-sex marriages. The government is honoring that choice.

    It seems possible at least for the law to recognize non-marital relationships (such as between people of the same sex) as if they were marriages and yet also not force/coerce anyone to support and/or act as if these relationships really are marriages.

    That is exactly what happened in this case, and it seems to be what is happening generally. I’d be interested in examples to the contrary.

  87. G. Rodrigues

    @Ray Ingles:

    Can’t really be arsed to care about your opinion, unfortunately.

    That is indeed a very healthy attitude. But my expletive had nothing to do with my opinion, or your opinion about my opinion, or my opinion about your opinion on my opinion, but about you being unable to recognize what was deliberate, self-conscious, heavy-handed sarcasm. To complain about misrepresentation against sarcasm, which according to the conventions of the genre involves ad hominems and caricatures, is just you being an insufferable, illiterate bore.

    @DR84:

    It seems possible at least for the law to recognize non-marital relationships (such as between people of the same sex) as if they were marriages and yet also not force/coerce anyone to support and/or act as if these relationships really are marriages. This clearly is *not* how things are going; though.

    It is “possible”, in some sense, but it is not likely; it is the very nature of the beast, that this is a zero-sum game. And it is not very hard to see why. If you are are invested on making it a civil “right” not to be discriminated against on the basis of a self-identification (as homosexual, transgender, etc.), then every perceived slight, any negative social opinion or action, is but vile bigotry and is to be treated accordingly, e.g. punished formally and informally. So on all probability, Christians will be harassed, will pay fines, will see their liberties curtailed, go to jail, etc. Things will probably get much worse, before they get any better, if they will ever get any better (God knows). And to prevent misunderstanding, I am not laying all the blame on the SSM side; it just is the nature of the dispute that such tensions will inevitably arise. The illiberal liberals will do the rest.

  88. Tom Gilson

    Ray, you say, “As I said, “But stable heterosexual parenting isn’t always going to happen, and in such cases the priority has to be the care of the children.”

    Why can’t the priority be to stand in the way of destructive social trends that undermine stable heterosexual parenting, especially same-sex “marriage,” which is (among other things) practically the final endorsement of all the sexual revolution has done to ruin marriage?

    I mean yes, LGBT couples can help raise kids. So could LGBT throuples and quadruples, and so can divorced single parents and cohabiting parents and cohabiting moms with partners who aren’t the kid’s father and unmarried moms and grandparents and neighbors and aunts and uncles and foster parents and all kinds of other adult heads of households–not to mention the child’s actual parents, united in a real marriage in context of a society that recognizes and supports stable, long-lasting marital relationships for the good of the children?

    Which of those answers support long-term solutions to the underlying problem? Which of them of them cuts the very foundation out from under long-term solutions?

  89. Tom Gilson

    G. Rodrigues:

    I agree with this…

    It is “possible”, in some sense, but it is not likely; it is the very nature of the beast, that this is a zero-sum game.

    … and yet I think it’s worse than that. It’s a winner-take-all game, from the LGBT side. If straight society offered civil unions, it would be like Chamberlain offering (as it were) Poland.

    I could support civil unions if I thought that would settle the dispute. It wouldn’t. So I won’t.

  90. Ray Ingles

    G. Rodrigues –

    To complain about misrepresentation against sarcasm, which according to the conventions of the genre involves ad hominems and caricatures

    Sure, but it’s gotta be recognizably related to the original. Take Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” – there’s a lot to legitimately criticize about the book, and the director of the film claimed to be parodying it. But there is such a thing as bad, incompetent parody.

    In the book, there’s a scene where a trainee asks why they are learning to throw knives when they’ll be armed with nukes. The drill sergeant stops the drill to explain some notions of the measured use of force, and tells the recruit where to go to get further questions answered. In the film, a recruit asks the same question; the drill sergeant pins the recruit’s hand into a wall with a knife and says, “Hard to push a button now, huh?”

    That’s the difference between a caricature and a strawman.

    I used some sarcasm to point out where your ‘sarcasm’ had gone wildly astray. You got the form right – few can match you for snide, you have a definite gift – it’s just the actual substance was lacking, that’s all. I have faith you can do better.

  91. Gavin

    Tom,

    It’s a winner-take-all game, from the LGBT side.

    Take all of what? What is the LGBT side taking? I’d really like to know.

    I actually care about your rights and freedoms. Even if you have views that I disagree with, I want you to be free to express those views and to live as you would like, right up to the point where you start denying the rights and freedoms of others. So I’m asking—what have you lost?

    Everything I hear is either ominous and vague—like the conflict-enforcing, cooperation-mandating, throat stuffing comments from fifteen months ago—or specific but false, like your original post above.

    Same sex marriage has been legal in some parts of this country for ten years now and is currently allowed in over 30 states representing the majority of the US population. I believe that thousands of same-sex couples have legally married. Based on all that I have seen, you have lost precisely nothing as a result. Feel free to give specific examples or statistics to show I’m wrong.

  92. Tom Gilson

    What the LGBT side wants is the ability to require people not to disagree with them. See the speech codes at dozens of universities if you care for one example of how that works in practice.

    Everything I hear is either ominous and vague—like the conflict-enforcing, cooperation-mandating, throat stuffing comments from fifteen months ago—or specific but false, like your original post above.

    What in the world are you talking about from fifteen months ago?

    And how could you possibly think we have lost “precisely nothing”? How could you possibly think I haven’t written about anything specific and true?

    My goodness!

    I don’t have time to format these links.

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/12/duck-dynastys-phil-robertson-on-indefinite-hiatus-following-anti-gay-remarks/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/02/a-new-gay-rights-assault-on-freedom-of-conscience/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/04/boy-scouts-and-homosexuality-bullying-at-its-worst/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2012/10/gay-advocacy-doesnt-affect-anyone-else-right/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/series/dan-savage/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2011/06/what-do-diversity-and-inclusion-mean-at-cisco-systems/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2011/06/hatred-leading-to-a-firing/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2010/11/to-treat-one-another-as-humans/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2011/01/canadian-court-redefines-religious-freedom/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2010/07/disgusta-state-university-to-counseling-professor-change-your-beliefs-or-get-out/

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/07/hobby-lobby-and-the-freedom-to-be-wrong-or-right/

    The above links are all from my blog. True cases. Specific cases.

    There is also:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/mozilla-ceo-resigns-calif-gay-marriage-ban-campaign/story?id=23181711

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/14/houston-subpoenas-pastors-sermons-equal-rights-ordinance-case-prompting-outcry/

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/21/judge-fines-christian-farm-owners-13000-for-refusing-to-host-gay-wedding/

    Point 2 at http://blog.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/2013/07/02/supreme-court-marriage-rulings-your-two-big-takeaways-should-be/

    A long list at http://www.christianpositivespace.com/discrimination-cases.html

    So with that, I’m going to invite you to respect your own integrity and retract your nonsensical statement about “precisely nothing.” It’s not just a little bit off the mark. It misses by miles.

  93. Ray Ingles

    G. Rodrigues –

    Christians will be harassed, will pay fines, will see their liberties curtailed, go to jail, etc.

    Got a timeline, particularly with respect to Christians being jailed? ‘Cause I’ve heard such predictions for a while now, but they haven’t panned out so far.

    If straight society offered civil unions, it would be like Chamberlain offering (as it were) Poland.

    You tend to disagree with my analogies, and I’m going to have to disagree with this one. Hitler didn’t have any just claim to Poland, but I – and a lot of other people – think homosexuals deserve some legal recognition and protection of their relationships.

    There is a tenuous link, though. Hitler could never have come to power the way he did, capitalizing on popular resentment and anger, if the allies hadn’t imposed the draconian Treaty of Versailles after WWI, crippling Germany’s economy. (Thankfully, Thurgood Marshall learned that lesson and implemented the Marshall Plan. And now all the Axis countries are our allies.)

    You can compare homosexual activists with Hitler if you choose, at the peril of Godwin’s Law. But even if you do, they are taking advantage of an actual injustice. When Republican strategists decided to make same-sex marriage a campaign issue in 2004 as a ‘get-out-the-vote’ measure, 3/4 of those state amendments banned civil unions too.

  94. Tom Gilson

    You consider it an actual injustice. Your views are duly noted.

    I think it’s rather cute, though, the way you try to make it sound as if it were the Republicans who made this into a political issue.

  95. BillT

    It was noted at the time, and by post-game analysis.

    Nothing like relying on the MSM and some college professors to question Republican strategy. Who’s next, Rachel Maddow?

  96. DR84

    1. It seems a foregone conclusion that same sex relationships will be recognized as marriages in all states in the near future.

    2. If not a forgone conclusion, it is very likely that one will not be to operate a business that is involved in wedding ceremonies without also participating in same sex “weddings”. This was not always the case.

    3. If not a forgone conclusion, it seems likely that it will be against the law for an employer to fire an employee because of their homosexuality. However, it will not be for an employer to fire an employee if it is found out that the employee holds to Biblical views of sexual morality. These employees will not get any protection from the law. This has not always been the case.

    4. It seems that the next battle ground so to speak will be in the churches. Getting married in a church in a religious ceremony is normal. It is something many people want. It is also something that same sex couples are for the most part unable to get, or at the very least a church wedding is not nearly as accessible for them.

    I really do not know what will happen here. Who does? But the situation is at least ominous. Particularly because it is said so often and even accepted by people in high places (such as the Supreme Court) that the only reason anyone refrains from supporting so called same sex marriage is because they hate homosexuals. Yes, there are churches that do not marry the previously divorced. No one believes they do so only because they hate the previously divorced.

    So, yes, we have lost something and it seems there is a lot more to lose.

  97. Gavin

    Tom,

    What in the world are you talking about from fifteen months ago?

    Sorry, I thought you would recognize that from when you quoted me in the original post above.

    I don’t have time to format these links.

    It looks like you also didn’t have time to check if they were relevant. Here again is the question: What have you lost? I have numbered them in the order you have above. I’m not doing all of these in one sitting, so some numbers are left out on this round. On the first pass I’m just doing the obvious misses.

    2) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/02/a-new-gay-rights-assault-on-freedom-of-conscience/

    LGBT Resource Office distributes free shirts and faculty get an email encouraging them to wear the shirts. Obnoxious, but what did you lose? (Also, you sure love those Nazi references. Haven’t lost that!)

    3) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/04/boy-scouts-and-homosexuality-bullying-at-its-worst/

    This is about a proposed law. You don’t lose anything because someone proposes a law. Nothing here.

    4) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2012/10/gay-advocacy-doesnt-affect-anyone-else-right/

    Another proposal. Nothing here.

    5) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/series/dan-savage/

    Dan’s calling people names! Obnoxious, but what did you lose?

    8) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2010/11/to-treat-one-another-as-humans/

    People on the internet are rude and sometimes wrong! Obnoxious, but what did you lose?

    9) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2011/01/canadian-court-redefines-religious-freedom/

    Indeed, you were never allowed to use your government position to promote your religious views. If you work for the government doing something like giving out marriage licenses, then you have to give them to the people who are legally allowed to get them, you can’t refuse to do your job for citizens based on your religious views. Now when the law changes you may be required to do new things, but you didn’t lose any religious rights in your position because you didn’t have those rights in the first place. Nothing lost here.

    10) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2010/07/disgusta-state-university-to-counseling-professor-change-your-beliefs-or-get-out/

    Disgusta University isn’t real. You made it up. Nothing lost here.

    11) https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/07/hobby-lobby-and-the-freedom-to-be-wrong-or-right/

    You won this case. Nothing lost here.

    13) http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/14/houston-subpoenas-pastors-sermons-equal-rights-ordinance-case-prompting-outcry/

    Subpoenas have been dropped. Nothing lost here.

    15) Point 2 at http://blog.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/2013/07/02/supreme-court-marriage-rulings-your-two-big-takeaways-should-be/

    “The way in which DOMA was struck down enhances the danger to your (already threatened) religious freedom.” So they think that this could somehow sort of maybe lead to a loss of something. However, nothing actually lost.

    So that is 10 out of your 15 examples with nothing. The remaining five are more interesting. I’ll look at them in more depth. There may actually be something in there somewhere.

  98. SteveK

    Not being a lawyer, I like the idea that Greg Koukl at STR thought up for a photography businesses – which might apply to several businesses. The ideas is this: you do your best to get out of doing the ceremony by speaking honestly about your faith, how you feel, etc in order to get them to disqualify the business as a place they’d like have doing the ceremony – but you never outright decline.

    If that doesn’t work, and they keep insisting they want you to do it, you tell them that part of the legal contract that ALL people must sign and agree to says that the business has the right to make Christian material openly available during the ceremony. This is just the way you conduct business. Of course, it must be true.

    Perhaps this material would be on a side table that’s visible to all guests as they come in. There’s more to it than that, but the idea of putting things into the contract that are unsettling to most SSM couples might help.

    Again, not a lawyer.

  99. DR84

    #112 SteveK

    Yes, Mr. Koukl’s steps are great…sorry if I am being nitpicky but I believe you missed a few steps; though.

    He makes a point that one should not commit to a yes or no until absolutely necessary. He suggests to first that you just need to look into things and ask them details about when, where, and who is involved so you can look into it. This is, in part, to find out if they are for real. At this point, you leave it to them to follow up. If it seems the event is not real, and they follow up…you can dismiss them easily without ever getting into anything else. If they do not follow up, its over.

    Only after these steps, if it is a real event and they do follow up would one be advised to bring up one’s beliefs about marriage and/or homosexual behavior with the hope that they take their business elsewhere.

    …also not a lawyer.

  100. Tom Gilson

    Gavin, don’t be ridiculous. I mean, I’m glad you see something of substance in five cases, but you can’t be so foolish as to think these are just nothing.

    1. Faculty members are being assigned to wear a t-shirt expressing a message that, for some of them, violates their conscience. And you dismiss this as “LGBT Resource Office distributes free shirts and faculty get an email encouraging them to wear the shirts.”

    2, 3. Proposed laws and regulations are inconsequential??? Wow.

    4. Dan Savage is not just calling people names.

    8. What do we lose when people redefine hate, so that we’re considered haters because we disagree with them? You mean you don’t know??

    9. You’re just wrong here–too much to detail it all.

    10. You didn’t read the whole post. Disgusta State University is a parody name for Augusta State University, which denied a student her right to complete her degree because she referred a gay counseling client to another counselor. NOTHING LOST THERE?????

    11. You can’t possibly be so naive as to believe that winning a difficult court case means “nothing lost.” Wow.

    13. Subpoenas dropped because of loud outcry against them! Nothing lost? Maybe: but the attempt was made to undermine religious freedom.

  101. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    You didn’t read the whole post. Disgusta State University is a parody name for Augusta State University, which denied a student her right to complete her degree because she referred a gay counseling client to another counselor. NOTHING LOST THERE?????

    The student in question failed to meet the requirements of the professional organization she wanted to be licensed in, as Judge Hall noted in his decision in favor of the university:

    “The counselor program’s charge is to train and prepare students to become licensed professional counselors, and to this end ASU faculty and officials have incorporated into the program professional codes of conduct applicable to practicing counselors. Indeed, adoption of the professional codes and the concomitant remediation mechanism were measures animated in large part by the desire to obtain and maintain the counselor program’s professional accreditation — an important designation that assures students, employers, and the public that its curriculum meets professional standards. The legitimate sweep of the program’s policies therefore cannot be doubted.”

    As Gavin has noted, nothing lost here.

  102. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,

    Maybe: but the attempt was made to undermine religious freedom.

    Have you posted somewhere what your definition or view of “religious freedom” is?
    Do you recognize that sometimes limits have to be put on our constitutionally based freedoms? For example, free speech does not extend to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater if there really is not a fire.

  103. Tom Gilson

    Hal, your quote from the Augusta State court case is just a re-wording of the problem. Do you see how that’s so?

    To ask it in a different manner: Are you aware that it’s standard counseling practice to refer patients to other counselors when one feels there might be issues affecting one’s ability to meet a client’s needs? Are you aware that this student did exactly that?

    In the OP I included a link to religious freedom really matters. Though it’s not a definition, I think you’ll find an adequate answer to your last question there.

    Religious freedom is the freedom to practice one’s religion according to one’s beliefs and conscience. Of course there are limits on every freedom. That’s hardly a secret.

  104. Tom Gilson

    Further: if you have any doubt that government interference in pastors’ sermons, emails, and conversations, for the sake of a court case to which they are not parties, amounts to a violation of religious freedom, then you do not know enough about the basis of liberty in this country. When an educated person can ask a question like the one you just did, that’s more than a little concerning.

  105. SteveK

    @DR84,
    I purposely left those details out for the sake of brevity. You are correct though.

  106. Tom Gilson

    And for crying out loud, to continue to say “Nothing lost there,” is to overlook the fact that she lost her entire educational program and her degree and her chances at a license and her career and all the expenses paid for her education.

    Nothing?

    Don’t be an idiot.

  107. Tom Gilson

    I’ll bet you didn’t know, Hal, that an almost exactly parallel case came up at the same time at Eastern Michigan University, and the judge made the opposite ruling. If one of those judges was right, the other one was wrong. If I were you, I’d be cautious about siding with the courts until you know all the courts are saying.

  108. Hal Friederichs

    Nothing?

    Don’t be an idiot.

    The “nothing” refers to loss of religious freedom.

    If a person wants to be a professional counselor they have to meet the criteria established to obtain a license to practice.

    This student knew what the requirements were and refused to adhere to them.

    She has a right to believe homosexuality is immoral. That does not give her the right to not abide by the licensing requirements of a professional organization.

    I’ll bet you didn’t know, Hal, that an almost exactly parallel case came up at the same time at Eastern Michigan University, and the judge made the opposite ruling.

    Would you mind giving a link to this?

  109. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    Religious freedom is the freedom to practice one’s religion according to one’s beliefs and conscience.

    Well, one can believe whatever they want. But sometimes there are consequences for what one practices. One does not get a free pass on their behavior simply because they claim it is a result of a religious belief.

  110. Tom Gilson

    “The ‘nothing’ refers to loss of religious freedom.”

    Really? Oh. I thought we were talking about Gavin’s assertion in #100:

    Same sex marriage has been legal in some parts of this country for ten years now and is currently allowed in over 30 states representing the majority of the US population. I believe that thousands of same-sex couples have legally married. Based on all that I have seen, you have lost precisely nothing as a result.

    Links would be easy enough for you to find, but here are a couple if you need me to do that work for you:

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/12/11/university-and-student-settle-lawsuit-over-requirement-counseling-gay-people

    http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/141

    She has a right to believe homosexuality is immoral. That does not give her the right to not abide by the licensing requirements of a professional organization.

    This is really being obtuse. You’re asking us to believe that because the APA holds to a certain position, that therefore there is no harm incurred to those whose religious freedoms and conscience are violated, or their professional careers yanked out from underneath them, because some people running this organization have made it the APA’s position. You’re treating the “licensing requirements of a professional organization” as written-in-stone, superseding (among other things) the First Amendment or the equivalent guarantee in Georgia’s constitution.

    Has it occurred to you that this might not be the golden answer, explaining why this isn’t a problem, but could actually be another expression of the very same problem?

  111. Tom Gilson

    You write, “Well, one can believe whatever they want. But sometimes there are consequences for what one practices. One does not get a free pass on their behavior simply because they claim it is a result of a religious belief.”

    Of course, silly. Everyone knows that. It’s been discussed in America for centuries now.

    You can stroke your chin while you intone the obvious, hoping it will look like you’ve put some thought into response; but if you really want to rise to the occasion you could explain why you think this platitude means this student should lose all her investment in her education and her career. What consequences should be forced upon a student who says, “I suggest you see another counselor rather than me”? Do you think it’s equitable? Really?

  112. Tom Gilson

    If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m rather exercised over your lack of thoughtful participation in this discussion. It’s bothering me, I’ll admit, and I’m letting that show.

    Would you please think a while and say something that moves the conversation forward next time? Thanks.

  113. Tom Gilson

    By the way, the EMU case was settled out of court rather than being decided in the end by a judge. I’ll admit I was wrong on that. EMU settled for a reason, though.

  114. DJC

    G. Rodrigues,

    “What did you loose?” asks the thug with his boot on our faces.

    How about some predictions? I predict by 2020, many more Christian churches and organizations will be accepting of SSM and will have adjusted their theology to no longer consider homosexual behavior a sin. I also predict that Western civilization on the whole will be doing better than ever by most metrics one can think of.

    Here’s the 2012 fact sheet on all religious group’s official positions on Same-Sex Marriage: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/07/religious-groups-official-positions-on-same-sex-marriage/

    What do you think it will look like in 2020?

  115. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    Really? Oh. I thought we were talking about Gavin’s assertion in #100:

    “Same sex marriage has been legal in some parts of this country for ten years now and is currently allowed in over 30 states representing the majority of the US population. I believe that thousands of same-sex couples have legally married. Based on all that I have seen, you have lost precisely nothing as a result.”

    I still understand that “nothing” to refer to religious freedom.

    You are still perfectly free to believe that homosexuality is a sin and still can believe that gays should not be allowed to marry. You are no longer free to force those beliefs on others. Leastways, not legally.

  116. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,

    Okay… changing the subject again….

    How is that changing the subject? I was responding to what you wrote.

  117. Tom Gilson

    Let me be a bit more explicit. When the topic is, “what have we lost,” and no one has suggested that we have “lost the freedom to force our beliefs on others, then for you to say that we no longer have that freedom is a change of subject.

    (Was that hard?)

  118. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    You can stroke your chin while you intone the obvious, hoping it will look like you’ve put some thought into response; but if you really want to rise to the occasion you could explain why you think this platitude means this student should lose all her investment in her education and her career. What consequences should be forced upon a student who says, “I suggest you see another counselor rather than me”? Do you think it’s equitable? Really?

    Neither of us know all the details in this case. I’m basing my view on what the judge wrote in his finding. And according to that ruling the student was unwilling to accept the conditions for obtaining a license in counseling.

    Sorry, but her religious beliefs don’t entitle her to ignore the requirements everyone else has to meet in order become a licensed counselor in her state.

  119. DR84

    Stevek

    My apologies if that came across as a correction. I was hoping to further bolster your point.

    PS I share Tom’s bafflement that there is no loss when one cannot get a professional license to practice as a counselor because they do not believe homosexual behavior is morally good, cannot support, and therefore cannot “help” others with their relationships that involve such behavior. I think there is additional irony here because I doubt any student would lose their education and chance to practice if they referred a person who was wanting help with dealing with their same sex attractions that they do not want to act on to another counselor (or even no one at all).

  120. Hal Friederichs

    DR84,

    This student refused to complete a required course.

    From the Student Press Law Center website:
    Keeton, who was enrolled in ASU’s Counselor Education Program, sued the university in July 2010 after faculty members told her she couldn’t complete the degree program if she did not complete a remediation plan, which included attending diversity workshops, reading articles about counseling GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer/Questioning) students and submitting monthly writing assignments detailing what she learned.

    Keeton was vocal about her beliefs inside and outside the classroom, and said she would not “condone the propriety of homosexual relations or a homosexual identity in a counseling situation,” according to the judge’s opinion.

    The faculty was concerned Keeton’s strong beliefs could interfere with her ability to become an effective practitioner, as they conflicted with the professional ethical standards set forth by the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association.

    The American Counseling Association is certainly entitled to set its professional ethical standards. Keeton is not being forced to join that Association. She should have been aware of those standards and also that she would have to take that class in order to graduate.

    I see no violation of religious freedom here.

  121. Tom Gilson

    Hal, the requirement that she take the course was part of the problem.

    But if you see nothing wrong with all this, then enjoy life that way. It’s no longer my problem.

  122. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,

    That course was necessary in order to help ensure that graduates of that program were able to fulfill the professional ethical standards of the American Counseling Association.

    There are good reasons for having those ethical standards. Being a counselor requires very special skills. This appears to me to be a case of someone who is not qualified for that professional line of work.

    It is a misfortune for the student, but I think that those in need of counseling are being protected from someone who would not be a good counselor. That would be a greater misfortune.

  123. Tom Gilson

    Hal, feel free to enjoy life the way you’re enjoying it. Feel free to pretend you know something about the “good reasons” those standards were written. Or see the end of #125 again.

    It’s your choice. But if you want to say something about it, please say something about it. Don’t just tell us there are good reasons, when that’s what’s in question. Your opinion is of value to the extent that it’s informed with knowledge, thought through with good reasoning, and articulated that way. Otherwise, hey, it’s your opinion, and you can enjoy your life with it.

  124. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    This is what you wrote at the
    This is really being obtuse. You’re asking us to believe that because the APA holds to a certain position, that therefore there is no harm incurred to those whose religious freedoms and conscience are violated, or their professional careers yanked out from underneath them, because some people running this organization have made it the APA’s position. You’re treating the “licensing requirements of a professional organization” as written-in-stone, superseding (among other things) the First Amendment or the equivalent guarantee in Georgia’s constitution.
    Has it occurred to you that this might not be the golden answer, explaining why this isn’t a problem, but could actually be another expression of the very same problem?

    All healthcare organizations have to set up a code of professional ethics to ensure proper care of patients being treated. The hospital where I work has us review annually the ethical guidelines employees are expected to meet. The organization that issues my credentials also has ethical guidelines I am expected to follow. What the ACA is doing is considered to be a part of good healthcare.
    Working in healthcare is not a right, it is a privilege.

    The ones who are in the best position for determining what qualities are needed for being a good counselor are those professional counselors who have been in practice for years.

    You don’t appear to be taking into account the rights of patients. They are entitled to quality care.

  125. Tom Gilson

    Enjoy your life that way, Hal, regarding the professional association as infallible. Glad that works for you. I suppose you still think that being overruled by an infallible body means she experienced no loss. I’m glad life is so simple for you in that way, too.

    What if the same thing happened to you someday?

  126. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,

    Who said it was infallible? We all make mistakes.

    But when it comes to patient care, I’d much rather have it dictated or controlled by those who are experienced at practicing it than by someone’s religious beliefs.

    Before I went into my profession I researched it and talked to people in the field. Based on that info I felt I would be able to do the job. I would be surprised if this particular student didn’t do the same. If so she should have realized it required more tolerance of different lifestyles than she had.

    I’m sure she has experienced pain and loss from this. I’ve never denied that. What I’ve denied is that she has lost her religious freedom. She is completely free to continue to believe that the gay lifestyle is a sinful one.

  127. G. Rodrigues

    @Tom Gilson:

    While the thugs, with their jackboots on our necks, assure us that we are still free to “continue to believe that the gay lifestyle is a sinful one” (how very kind of them), I recommend to you the reading of a lecture by Robert George: On Marriage and Religious Liberty.

  128. DR84

    Hal

    Would you still hold there was no loss if instead the APA as part of their licensing requirements required all counselor’s to counsel anyone who has same sex desires that they do not want to act on in order to help them deal with those desires and not act on them? Would you think it was fine if a student who made it clear they could not condone anyone not living out their sexual desires (or at least same sex desires) was told they must attend remediation classes and effectively change their view?

    Do you not see the one way street here? Professional counselors *must* support and help people engage in homosexual relationships. However they can opt out of supporting someone in *not* engaging in homosexual relationships.

    Do you not see that this means one must believe in or at least act as if they do a particular view on what kinds of sexual behavior are morally acceptable for humans to engage in in order to be a professionally licensed counselor? A view that happens to be in contradiction of the one that Christians hold. Also, that it has not always been this way. That someone like Ms. Keeton in the past would have not had any issue getting a professional license in her chosen field due to her beliefs.

    Even if you believe with all your heart that the APA is right to not license Ms. Keeton because of her beliefs, it remains true that she can no longer do what she could have once done. I.e. she has lost something.

  129. Gavin

    Tom, (@114)

    8. What do we lose when people redefine hate, so that we’re considered haters because we disagree with them? You mean you don’t know??

    Oh, brother. You dish it out, but when it comes back your way it’s a violation of your human rights.

    I will take back what I said. You lost the public debate. You lost in the courts. You lost the respect of most Americans. You have lost a great deal indeed.

  130. DJC

    Tom,

    Meanwhile DJC is refuting what we’ve lost by predicting what we won’t lose.

    One thing is clear: no amount of persecution will change Christianity. That has never worked in the past, it won’t work in the future. If Rodrigues is correct that the state, metaphorically, has its jackboot on the neck of Christians, that’s a sure sign that Christianity will prevail. You can not change a man’s heart by beating him over the head.

    No, I think the greatest threat to your Christian doctrine on SSM is from within: a rising tide of change in Christian attitudes towards homosexuality. Mainstream Christianity appears to be changing from the inside, from the heart, and slowly but surely moving to accepting homosexuality without conditions.

  131. BillT

    …a rising tide of change in Christian attitudes towards homosexuality. Mainstream Christianity appears to be changing from the inside, from the heart, and slowly but surely moving to accepting homosexuality without conditions.

    Depends on where you’re looking. The mainstream Protestant churches have been moving that way if not leading that way for decades. When the Catholic or Evangelical churches move that way we’ve got a problem, Houston.

  132. Tom Gilson

    Gavin, you’re jumping categories. First, either what I’ve described is a violation of human rights or it isn’t, regardless of what I’m dishing out. Second, I don’t know what you think I’m dishing out falsely.

  133. Tom Gilson

    Hal, this is most instructive:

    What I’ve denied is that she has lost her religious freedom. She is completely free to continue to believe that the gay lifestyle is a sinful one.

    Do you maintain that her freedom to believe is all that is involved in her having religious freedom?

  134. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,

    Of course not. As you have pointed out such freedom also entails practice.

    We agree that there are limits to that practice. I think we have very different criteria for where to place those limits.

    Healthcare organizations establish ethical guidelines for healthcare professionals to aid them in giving quality care to their patients. To be honest it boggles my mind that you would think that someone who is not a healthcare professional can override those ethical guidelines based on a religious belief.

    Ms. Keeton has a right to believe and practice her faith. She does not have a right to a job that she is clearly not qualified for.

  135. Hal Friederichs

    DR84,
    Even if you believe with all your heart that the APA is right to not license Ms. Keeton because of her beliefs, it remains true that she can no longer do what she could have once done. I.e. she has lost something.

    It is not because of her beliefs that the APA is not licensing her. It is because she has shown a lack of tolerance that the APA considers to be essential in being a good counselor.

    Healthcare practice and ethical guidelines change over time. I’ve been in healthcare for over 20 years and have seen a great deal of change in those ethical guidelines. Tolerance of difference in others is extremely important. I can understand that in counseling it would be essential in providing good patient care.

    I understand you being sympathetic for the pain this has caused Ms. Keeton, but what about the patients who need counseling? Aren’t they entitled to good healthcare?

  136. Tom Gilson

    Oh. She can have her beliefs, as long as they don’t lead her to this “intolerance.” Is that what you mean? Does that mean (I ask again, in a different way) she’s free to have her beliefs but not to practice them?

  137. Hal Friederichs

    Tom,
    Does that mean (I ask again, in a different way) she’s free to have her beliefs but not to practice them?

    Of course she can practice them. But we’ve already agreed that there are limits on that practice, haven’t we? Leastways, this is what you wrote above:
    “Religious freedom is the freedom to practice one’s religion according to one’s beliefs and conscience. Of course there are limits on every freedom.”

    It is clear that Ms. Keeton was unwilling to comply with the ethical guidelines established by the APA for good patient care.

    Patients have a right to good care when they seek counseling.

    Ms. Keeton’s religious freedom certainly does not entitle her to any job she wants. Unfortunately for her, she does not meet the qualifications needed to provide good care to patients.

  138. DR84

    Hal

    What ethical guideline was Ms. Keeton attempting to override? What exact qualification or qualifications set by the APA does she not meet?

  139. Gavin

    Regarding Hal’s point. This might be easier to understand in a situation where the shoe is on the other foot.

    Based on any performance criteria, I would make a pretty good Boy Scout leader. I’m an Eagle Scout. I have experience working with youth. I know the knots, the first aid, the survival skills. I can give boys encouragement and an support in their spiritual development because I honestly believe that understanding a faith, or many faiths, is a good idea.

    However, I’m an atheist, and the Boy Scouts don’t what an atheist leader. So, when my son was that age, I couldn’t be a leader. That was a real disappointment to us and I think a loss for boys. But the Boy Scouts don’t want me, solely based on what I believe. That is that.

    The APA doesn’t actually care what people believe, but they do have standards for patient care and she did not want to do some of the things that they expect. Maybe that is wrong; maybe it is a loss for patients. but it is not an infringement of her rights any more than my exclusion from Boy Scouts. I bet she can get a certification through a Christian counseling program that is more in line with how she would like to practice, just as I can work with other organizations that don’t exclude atheists. That may not be our first choice, but we don’t have a right to tell organization who they should accept as representatives.

    I realize that there is a slight difference here. As a leader I would be representing the Boy Scouts while she was hoping to get a certification from the APA, not become a representative of the APA. However, the other difference—that I was excluded solely based on my beliefs while she was excluded because of perform counseling in certain situations—I think explains why the APA still has the right to make this requirement.

  140. Hal Friederichs

    DR84,

    From Judge Hall’s decision:
    “The counselor program’s charge is to train and prepare students to become licensed professional counselors, and to this end ASU faculty and officials have incorporated into the program professional codes of conduct applicable to practicing counselors. Indeed, adoption of the professional codes and the concomitant remediation mechanism were measures animated in large part by the desire to obtain and maintain the counselor program’s professional accreditation — an important designation that assures students, employers, and the public that its curriculum meets professional standards. The legitimate sweep of the program’s policies therefore cannot be doubted.”

    From the SPLC site:
    Keeton was vocal about her beliefs inside and outside the classroom, and said she would not “condone the propriety of homosexual relations or a homosexual identity in a counseling situation,” according to the judge’s opinion.

    I’ve read some claims that Ms. Keeton would try to turn gays straight if she were counseling them. I don’t know how accurate those claims are. But, it is clear from the quote above, she was vocal enough in her opposition that concerns were raised about her ability to maintain the professional standards required by the APA.

    Organizations like the APA are not out to attack or denigrate religious beliefs. They are primarily intended to help ensure that patients obtain quality care. Don’t you think that is important? Don’t those patients have some rights?

  141. DR84

    Hal

    http://www.acluga.org/issues/religion-and-belief/keeton-v-anderson-wiley-et-al/

    Minor detail but it appears this is the ACA we are talking about and not APA.

    Let’s get this straight because you really did not answer the question.

    Can a person who is known to believe that homosexual acts are immoral receive an ACA license or not? By this is I mean the organization is aware of the person’s beliefs and it is known that this person will refer someone who is seeking help for their homosexual relations to another counselor (i.e. that the person intends to live in accordance with their beliefs).

    Is this particular belief (that sexual acts between people of the same sex are immoral) a religious/moral belief or not?

  142. DR84

    Hal

    The claim that it was feared she would try to turn gays straight sounds like a whole lot of fear mongering.

    It also raises another question, so what?

    More specifically, what if a person who was struggling with homosexual attractions and possibly even a history of homosexual behavior had come to her and asked for her counseling help to better deal with these attractions, not engage in said behavior anymore, and maybe even be able to form a healthy romantic relationship with someone of the opposite sex?

  143. Hal Friederichs

    DR84,

    Sorry but it looks to me like you are not addressing the points I made in my post. I don’t see much use in continuing the conversation until you do.

  144. DR84

    Hal

    You are just copy and pasting. I have not seen any post from you that shows any understanding of the situation at all.

    I dont like to play games, and you can either think a little harder here or not. I cannot do that for you.

    At this point, I can only conclude that if the ACA put in their code of ethics that the color blue is the best color and accordingly any person wanting to be a professional counselor must be believe blue is best or not be licensed, you would think that that must obviously be the case because the ACA says so.

    Ok, really, I hope that this is not the case. The problem is that you are not giving any reason for me or anyone else to think otherwise.

  145. DR84

    http://globalnews.ca/news/1646129/b-c-lawyers-vote-against-approving-trinity-western-law-school/

    I see some parallels in this case in Canada and the one involving Ms. Keeton. Seems the legal societies in Canada believe that anyone who believes that sexual activity belongs in a marital union cannot be a good lawyer. This seems much like the ACA which apparently believes that anyone who does not believe in the moral goodness of homosexual behavior cannot be a good counselor.

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