Daily Archives: December 24, 2008

Celebrating Christmas

I have thought long and hard about how to celebrate Christmas (and therefore honor Christ) on this blog.

I will be celebrating the birth of Christ by…not doing a thing on the blog.

goodshepherd-ic.com

photo credit: goodshepherd-ic.com

Yup. Think about it; blogging, for me, is a black hole of time. I have spent so much time working on this thing. It’s borderline idolatry.

Jesus gets 100% of my time Thursday. I’ll see you all on Friday. Have a merry Christmas.

Adultolescence: Never-Never Land

Recently Mark Steyn wrote on our lovely education system in America.

His comments on adultolescence are extremely poignant:

“In droning the mantra that every kid should have the right to a college education, we’re doing the opposite of what we ought to be doing — which is telescoping education into a much shorter period. It’s taken for granted that our bodies mature much earlier than our great-grandparents so we all need access to condoms and abortion by Fifth Grade, but apparently our minds need longer than ever, and in some cases until early middle age. So we enter adolescence much sooner and leave it a decade or more later.

Right now, to put my demography hat on, the western world has a possibly terminal shortage of children. One reason it does is because the fellows on whom society traditionally depends for child-rearing — young adults — are staying in school until their mid-twenties and embarking on grown-up life ever later, if at all. Thirty per cent of German women are childless; among university graduates, it’s 40 per cent. The pursuit of a 100 per cent college-educated populace is a recipe for societal suicide.”

This whole “embarking on grown-up life later” thing does not bode well for America’s future.

See the “addendum” here.

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Same-Sex Marriage Conversation Part IV

Read the introduction and parts I , II, and III of this series.

Here was my response to my friend’s latest (part III)–her words are preceeded with a >, mine comes with a –:

babble.com

photo credit: babble.com

>The same argument was made when interacial marriage was not allowed–they all had the right to marry, just not between races. Bigotry, plain and simple.  If it was reversed Rich, and marriages were only allowed between the same sex, would heterosexuals be upset?

–The article I sent you actually gets into this a bit with the bank illustration. The fact that similar *objections* were used in both cases isn’t meaningful; the similarity of objections are only meaningful if the circumstances are the same, and in this case, the two relationships are very different.

With interracial marriage, skin color is trivial to the nature of the union. Gender, however, is key to unions. Like the article says, ‘Ethnicity has no bearing on marriage. Sex (not just asexual act, mind you, but the broader category of gender) is fundamental to it.’

To see this point, consider that you could make the same objection to any number of relationships. If, fifty years into the future, polygamists are fighting for multi-partner marriages, a polygamist could say to objectors, ‘They said the same thing about interracial marriage,’ but that response would be wrong headed, for the same reason its wrong headed here; the objection is the same, but the circumstances are very, very different. They could argue, as you have, that ‘if the situation were reversed and they only allowed polygamous marriages, would heterosexual couples be upset?’ Would they have a point? They could argue, ‘the difference between other committed relationships and polygamy is*choice.*’ Would they have a point?

>First, they don’t want preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved – that statement IS ignorant.

–So lets take sex out of it. Something is unique about homosexual relationships, and whatever it is, same-sex marriage proponents thinks it sets those relationships apart from other committed relationships to the point that they claim homosexual relationships should be called ‘marriages,’ where the other relationships shouldn’t be called that.

What is that ‘unique quality’ that sets those relationships apart from, say, me wanting to get married to my 12 year old cousin, or a three some or foursome? Why is age and number so significant? What’s so scary about the number 2 and the age 18? The key question is: if you are going to change the definition of marriage (which is what SSM proponents want to do), why have special pleading?

‘Choice’ doesn’t work, for then I could turn around and argue that I should have the choice to marry in a three some (or my12 year old sister, take whatever example you want) merely because I want to.

Here’s the bottom line: First, the reason why government grants special status (by calling it ‘marriage’) to heterosexual unions is because it benefits the next generation. This goes regardless of whether or not a specific couple or all couples choose to have children. Any child that *is* born/adopted deserves a mom and dad.

In the real world, a great number of children don’t have this, but that shouldn’t stop the government and society from making it easier. Basically, while certain heterosexual relationships indeed are dysfunctional (thanks to many things, no-fault divorce being one of them), and though I know a homosexual couple can and do love their children well (better than many heterosexual couples!), it remains true that having a mom and a dad is the best environment for a child.

This goes far past the ability to produce children. Rather, the matter is: given that government has a vested interest in the health of the next generation, what is the best environment for raising it?

Government allows many other relationships. It doesn’t criminalize single moms, for instance, but it does not privilege them by calling them marriage because those relationships don’t, strictly speaking, benefit society.

Secondly, *people* deserve to be treated equally, not relationships, feelings, behaviors, or desires. Rights are grounded in someone’s humanity, not those other things I just mentioned. Having a desire (in this case, to get married to a member of the same gender) doesn’t mean that the government should grant that desire. To see this, just think about the absurd examples I referenced above (the desire to get married to someone underage, for instance).

Thirdly, and most importantly, same-sex couples already *do*have the same benefits as heterosexual married couples under Family Code297.5 (go here:http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=00001-01000&file=297-297.5).

All that is left is the name ‘marriage.’ What’s so meaningful about that? Calling a same-sex relationship a ‘marriage’ doesn’t add any sort of benefit, so why is there such a big to-do about it?

The answer is that calling same-sex relationships ‘marriages’ confers approval. This is what the debate is all about: if government privileges same-sex relationships (saying ‘allows’ is not the right word, for the government already does that–same-sex couples can love each other, live together, walk down the isle,and get partner benefits…the government isn’t making any of that illegal and it isn’t criminalizing same-sex relationships.), that is tantamount to approval. That means the people, who are part of the government, approve as well.

If you listen carefully to same-sex marriage proponents, you’ll hear this come out. (Current addition coming up) In fact, Augustine, who attempted to “eviscerate” Greg Koukl (whom I linked to in both the introduction and part two of the series) admitted as much when he said, “I have argued is that disallowing gay marriage unfairly prevents same-sex couples from being given the same level of respect and validation by the state as every single heterosexual couple is entitled to.”

The key question is this: Is *approval* of one’s relationship a right? Someone might want approval,and those relationships might or might not be morally ok, but does that make it a right?

No…well, I take that back, it might be, but you’ve gotta argue for it. You’ve gotta show how the government approving of same-sex relationships would benefit society (even if you were able to show that, that wouldn’t make it a right, but a privilege.). That is something I’ve seen no one do. What I’ve seen so far (and I’ve been reading around and talking to lots of different people) is a lot of question-begging: calling it a right without arguing for it, then attacking the character of those that disagree (no matter what their reason for disagreeing is).

This goes right to the heart of Koukl’s “French voter” illustration. Yes, I’m aware the guy doesn’t live in France. That is a difference, but not an important one.

The relevant part of the analogy is desire: should the government actively sanction something just because someone desires it? Not unless such sanctioning will benefit the common good. Again, desires, inclinations, and behaviors are not proper grounding for rights; this was the point of the illustration.

You know what, at the end of the day, even if there people did vote for traditional marriage for only religious reasons, whats so out of bounds about that? It is perfectly fine. It’s not a violation of the Establishment Clause to vote for an individual citizen to vote for a certain bill/candidate based upon religious conviction.

In the public square it is more beneficial to have arguments that a wide swath of people from different viewpoints can agree to, but that doesn’t mean religious conviction has no place in my (or anyone else’s) voting conscience.

Crying foul because some voted for religious reasons is a foolish attempt at marginalizing a certain point of view. When I go to the voting booth, should I act, believe, behave, and vote like a secularist, or should I, as a Christian, just have no voice?

Keep reading on Friday (I will not post on this on Christmas day…Jesus, not homosexuality, owns that day!) for the conclusion of this series!

Also check out related posts from my own blog:

Oy

Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience

Tony Jones: Same-sex Blogalogue Update

Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed

Jim Carey, Eat your Heart Out

Proposition 8 Protest Links

Rights, Shmights

But its a Religious Argument!

Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (RSS button is found at the top right in the sidebar)!

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Same-sex Marriage Conversation Part III

Read the introduction and parts I and II of this series.

Yesterday I posted my response (part II) to my teacher-friend (part I).  I really didn’t make much of my own argument in my response; I just linked a very insightful article.  Now is when things get real interesting. Here is her response to the article:

Ok, first off Rich I’ve never acted like these arguments don’t exist- I’ve heard them, but here’s the difference: in your opinion they are ‘good’ arguments, while in my opinion they are not, in fact I think they are ridiculous excuses to back up and justify discriminating against the gay community. And yes, I did read the article.

I’m not going to apologize for using the word bigot-if you were offended, good. You should be. I realize everyone has the right to their own opinion. But to take action against a group of people who are different than you, to take their rights away is WRONG. You did that by voting Yes – you took action against a group of people, the gay community, and took their right to marry away from them.

I could go into detailed responses to all of the points made in the article you sent me, but quite frankly I dont have the time right now. I will however respond to the two that I think are the most absurd.

1. ‘Any homosexual can marry in any state of the Union and receive every one of the privileges and benefits of state-sanctioned matrimony. He just cannot marry someone of the same sex. These are rights and restrictions all citizens share equally.’

This is absurd to me. The same argument was made when interacial marriage was not allowed – they all had the right to marry, just not between races. Bigotry, plain and simple. If it was reversed Rich, and marriages were only allowed between the same sex, would heterosexuals be upset? Absolutely, and they would point out that their wanting to marry has nothing to do with having sex with someone of the opposite sex, but wanting the right to be married to them, with all of the rights that be married entails. which brings me to the second point.

2. ‘If homosexual couples face ‘unequal protection’ in this area (referring to the legal benefits as married heterosexuals regarding taxation, family leave, health care, hospital visitation, inheritance, etc), so does every other pair of unmarried citizens who have deep, loving commitments to each other. Why should gays get preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved?’

First, they dont want preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved – that statement IS ignorant. They want it for the same reasons married couples have those rights (as listed in your article). However, the difference is the unmarried citizens with ‘deep, loving commitments’ who have chosen not to get married — they had a CHOICE Rich, something you and the other 52% who voted Yes have taken away from the gay couples. They don’t get a CHOICE – according to all of you, they don’t deserve one because you don’t agree with who they have sex with. And guess where that argument stems from – two places usually: the Bible/God stating it OR people’s fears of the unknown, of the gay community.

I stand by my statements before. This is a HUMAN rights issue. You DO NOT have the right to take another Human’s rights away. How dare you.

My response is in the next post.

Also check out related posts from my own blog:

Oy

Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience

Tony Jones: Same-sex Blogalogue Update

Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed

Jim Carey, Eat your Heart Out

Proposition 8 Protest Links

Rights, Shmights

But its a Religious Argument!

Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (RSS button is found at the top right in the sidebar)!