Tag Archives: lesbian

Same Sex Marriage Discussions on Facebook, Part II

Read Part I here.

*Rhetoric is winning the day.  Both Christians and non-Christians supported same sex marriage, and employed a healthy dose of rhetoric and buzz words heavily laden with emotional meaning to assert their views.  Most, though not all, hadn’t a clue what those buzzwords meant.

*”You’re advocating discrimination!”  Not in that sense, no.  It’s the same discrimination made towards polygamy, polyamory, polyandry or any other relationship that doesn’t serve a social purpose as effectively as a marriage with one mother and father.  Prop 8 draws distinctions among different types of relationships–same as when the law refuses to put two college roomies living together on par with a married man and woman, but it does not discriminate towards individuals.

*”You’re denying gays and lesbians equality and fairness.  You’ve got the right to marry and they don’t.”  Actually, gays and lesbian individuals have the exact same rights as I.  Any gay man can marry any woman of any race that consents and is of the minimum age, and the same is the case with me.  What ssm advocates are pressing for is the elimination of the gender requirement and the wholesale changing of the meaning of marriage.   At bottom, the principle behind all this is the notion that marriage is a mere social construction, that anyone can define a family any way he chooses, with government/societal approval.  Nature no longer defines the institution, it is subject to whim.  When this idea takes root, there will be plenty of negative consequences.

I realize this might not hit you square between the eyes, so let me elaborate by quoting Greg Koukl:

“Smith and Jones both qualify to vote in America where they are citizens. Neither is allowed to vote in France. Jones, however, has no interest in U.S. politics; he’s partial to European concerns. Would Jones have a case if he complained, “Smith gets to vote [in California], but I don’t get to vote [in France]. That‚s unequal protection under the law. He has a right I don’t have.” No, both have the same rights and the same restrictions. There is no legal inequality, only an inequality of desire, but that is not the state’s concern.  The marriage licensing law applies to each citizen in the same way; everyone is treated exactly alike. Homosexuals want the right to do something no one, straight or gay, has the right to do: wed someone of the same sex. Denying them that right is not a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”

*Many mentioned “love” as a reason why they support same sex marriage.  In other words, we should love and accept gays and lesbians, showing compassion for them.  I agree fully with that.  My discussion partners carried that on further, however, suggesting that means lending support for same sex marriage.   My question: does “love” mean you must support and accept everything the beloved does or desires?  I’m glad my parents, friends, and co-workers don’t think so.  Whenever I do something that is morally wrong, harmful to myself, or harmful to others, many voices step in to voice loving opposition.  A few friends knocked some sense into me during my college days when I chased around a few girls that were bad news.  This is common sense to most of us, but why does this ethic suddenly fly the coup when it comes to homosexual behavior?  It is this lifestyle and behavior which same-sex marriage legitimizes by government fiat (it does other destructive things too).  Most ssm advocates will admit this, that its not about benefits and such: it is about social acceptance of homosexual relationships.  SSM places homosexual relationships on par with heterosexual ones, and this is what they’re after.

*Now, I know many earnestly desire such acceptance.  Even if I conceded that it social acceptance of homosexual relationships is a thing to be desired, why think it’s a “right”?

*How does same sex marriage harm others and society?  How do legitimizing homosexual relationships do so?  Many have misconstrued this issue by making it an individual thing.  They’ve asked, incredulously, “Rich, how does the homosexual couple next door hurt you at all?”  The answer is that it doesn’t, but that’s not the issue. 

Ideas have consequences. Let’s start there. The ideas of the “sexual revolution” of the 60’s, for instance, have wreaked havoc on society. Ask anyone who grew up in a divorced home how those ideas have affected them. Yes, the bedroom …activity of the couple next door might not affect *me* as an individual, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about ideas and morality enforced through public policy.  The striking down of Prop 8, by the way, was an enforcement of certain ideas and morality regarding marriage. We conservatives aren’t the only ones seeking to enforce ideas and morality through law.

Cars are designed for a purpose, with certain specifications of use. If I piss in the gas tank or drive it on the bottom of a lake (if I use it against its design, in other words), its going to break down. Likewise, humans are designed too. This design shows itself on every plane: physical, emotional, relational, sexual, etc. If someone behaves in a way that cuts against that design, problems happen. If I drink myself into a stupor every weekend, my liver is gonna shrivel to the size of a rasin. And so on. When it comes to homosexual behavior, this is easiest to see on the physical plane (no anatomy lesson needed), but you can see it on the other planes too: relationally, men and women fit like “hand in glove.” There is something that each gender possesses that the other lacks.  It’s not just that they’re merely “different,” but complimentary.  And it’s not a mere personality or feelings issue either, as in “my friend and I really get along well,” or “my romantic partner and I ‘click.’  I feel alive when we’re together!” but a deeper, more fundamental nature thing…anyone, religious or none, can see this.

For more specifics, some chapters in the books Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexual Debate* has some.

*Children need and deserve a relationship with both his/her mom and dad.  The optimal family structure for a child’s well being is one in which a mom and a dad are present.  I reckognize, of course, that not every kid gets this.  Some come from single parent homes, and it is not always due to that single parent.  In these situations, we do all we can to care and support that parent and the child.  Some children from these homes turn out allright afterall, oftentimes due to the heroic efforts of the single parent or a close mentor.  For some, one parent is abusive, and its better to be away from that adult.  Whatever the situation, though, very few would go on to balk at the general principle above, and few would suggest that those family structures are just as preferrable to those with a mother and father. 

There is a boat load of research backing this up (see the footnotes), but you don’t need to pour over studies to see that.  Experience confirms it as well.  When I worked as a teacher in an inner city school, if I had a dollar for every tired and haggard single mom that came through my classroom door dragging an out of control teenage boy with her, no father in sight, I coulda retired a while back.  If I were a bettin’ man, I’d bet she’d prefer to have a father in the picture.

Legalizing same sex marriage scoffs at the principle by asserting that there’s no real benefit to having both a mother and a father in the home.  Everything jr gets from dad he can get from another mom, and everything jr gets from mom he can get from another man.  We really should pause and ponder before we embrace that idea.

*Question for those who advocate for same sex marriage: do you really believe that men and women are completely interchangeable as parents?

*I also reckognize that not every marriage has children in it.  Some earnestly desire to conceive, but for some reason can’t, while others remain childless by choice for one reason or another.  If I may use a humorous illustration: not everyone uses ash trays for ashes…some use them for food.  Just because some use an ash tray as a food container, though, doesn’t negate its intended use…in the same manner, just because some marriages don’t have children doesn’t mean that bonding mother and father to child and mother and father to each other is not an essential purpose of marriage.  Exceptions don’t trump the general principle.

*A few in the discussions brought up our racial past, seeking to make a connection.  You know, the ‘ol “they said the same thing about interracial marriage way back when.”  There’s one huge difference here: race is incidental to marriage, but gender is essential to it.   There are no significant differences to differing races that matter to marriage.  Just look at it biologically: men of any race and women of any race have the plumbing to “get the job done.”  A white man can mate with a black woman and produce a healthy child.  There are enormous differences between the genders, though, that matter tremendously to marriage and raising children.  Again, think of it biologically.  As I’ve already mentioned, the same applies when it comes to raising children.  The genders are complimentary.

Dennis Prager puts it nicely:

There are enormous differences between men and women, but there are no differences between people of different races. Men and women are inherently different, but blacks and whites (and yellows and browns) are inherently the same. Therefore, any imposed separation by race can never be moral or even rational; on the other hand, separation by sex can be both morally desirable and rational. Separate bathrooms for men and women is moral and rational; separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is not.

Frank Beckwith elaborates more on the legal side why the analogy fails.

*At this point I should probably mention the recent studies that purported to show that kids do as well with same sex parents as they do with opposite sex parents, because someone mentioned those studies.  When I asked her for details, she failed to provide any, preferring instead to ridicule.  There are two that I’m aware of.  One comes from the United States National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study and the other is a summary of studies by Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz.

Both have been subject to much criticism. For the first, the sample size was quite small–78 children born to lesbian couples, plus a control group.  In addition, the lesbian couples were not randomly sampled, but instead recruited from lesbian and gay groups/communities.  It might be tough to get a random sample for a study like this, but the mere fact that they were non-randomly selected volunteers biases the results.

Furthermore, ethnicity and region of residence differs between the groups too.  There were many more minorities and those from the South in the control group.  As much as we might not like to admit it, that skews the results too.  Finally, the study made heavy, though not exclusive, use of self-reporting from the lesbian mothers.

As to the second, the authors actually end up saying that women are better: two women are better than a man and a woman.  In other words, totally get rid of dad, because he is disposable.  This is far different from saying the gender of parents doesn’t matter (which is controversial enough).  Here are a few quotes:

“Two women who choose to parent together provide a ‘double dose of middle-class feminine approach to parenting.’”

“Women parenting without men scored higher on warmth and quality of interactions with their children than not only fathers, but also mothers who coparent with husbands.”

“If contemporary mothering and fathering seem to be converging,… research shows that sizable average differences remain that consistently favor women, inside or outside of marriage.”

 

(HT: Jennifer Roback-Morse)

This should give us great, great pause in jumping on the Stacey-Biblarz bandwagon.  We ought not blithely throw these studies around gleefully. The idea that fathers really aren’t needed, for one, has been tried on extensively in the inner cities and found wanting. More is found here.

At some point, dissenters usually respond by saying, “well, I was raised by only my mom, and I turned out ok.”  I’m glad, and many single parents deserve a huge pat on the back and much support, but it is odd that when we are talking about general societal trends, people’s first response is to turn it a) individual (*I* turned out ok), and b) feelings focused (I didn’t *feel* a difference).  We’re so individualistic that that is our knee jerk reaction. 

Remember, I nor anyone else is saying that any and all kids raised by some arrangement other than a mother and father will 100% turn out “bad” or that you as an individual are “messed up.”  I don’t know your situation individually.  I just know the trends and I know the human design I see in nature.  What I am saying is that there is a huge trend in society that shows moms and dads matter.  Statistically and generally experientially, it affects children.  Check out the links I provided, and think back to my illustration with the inner city.  Sure, in my time as a teacher there, I met plenty of well-adjusted kids raised by single parents, or in some cases, same-gender parents.  But those were dwarfed by the numbers the other way.

Same Sex Marriage Discussions on Facebook, part I

I recently participated in a few discussions on Facebook regarding Judge Walker’s ruling overturning Proposition 8.  Here are some reflections on those discussions:

*As weird as it sounds, I originally jumped in because I didn’t really want to.  A friend of mine recently told me that, “if you want to grow, you must put yourself in increasingly uncomfortable situations.”  I didn’t want to get involved in these discussions because I admit I was a bit intimidated.  Advocating the biblical point of view when it comes to homosexuality and/or same sex marriage, or many times even asking challenging questions of those who approve of homosexual behavior/relationships,  gets mental daggers and verbal rocks thrown your way.  I don’t like that any more than the next soft-skinned, comfortable American.  I realized my feelings on the matter, and jumped right in.

Most of the people, though, were pretty respectful.  There were only a few who spewed vitriol.   Not too bad.  When folks do that–when they play the ‘ol “you’re ignorant/bigoted/hateful/unloving/judgemental/ugly” card–they need to be called out.   Far too often, conservatives and Christians allow themselves to be bullied around by that sort of tactic.  We somehow think we have something to apologize about in those situations.  The Church has plenty to apologize about, but name calling isn’t an indication of that.  People do that so much because it works…it often culls people into silence.

So time to speak up and call a spade a spade.  “Calling out” is what I did.   Name calling is not an argument…it’s a verbal temper-tantrum because someone disagrees with you, and that’s it.  Saying I’m wrong is fine.  Critiquing my view with toughness is fair game.  But leaninig on the faithful “you’re ignorant!” response shows that you’ve got nuthin.

*This would be a great time for churches to step up and educate their flocks on both the biblical view of marriage in general, the biblical view of homosexual behavior, the public welfare arguments against same sex marriage, and how to advocate for those in a compassionate manner. This is an awesome opportunity for churches to inform and equip, but my hunch is that it won’t happen. Most will sit by and let other outlets woo with rhetoric. Most won’t go near the topic and will stay silent. There are some apologetic organizations out there doing a stellar job on this front, but few churches, though that’s just a hunch.  As much as I hate to bag on the church (it is a favorite pass time of Christians and non-Christians alike.  Very common for Christians to bash the Church and apologize incessantly, much more rare to encourage and spur it on.), I just gotta say it.

*Many have misunderstood the role religion has played in this, and have also misunderstood the legitimacy of relgion in this debate. First, I, and others, are completely within our bounds to let our views be informed by the Bible or any other holy book, and we are completely within our First Amendment rights in having our voting convictions informed by such Scriptures. This happens all the time with more liberal views, in fact, with virtually no one raising an eye brow. How many times have I seen religious people reference the Scriptures and/or make religiously motivated appeals for health care reform (Obama himself did it!), outlawing capital punishment, offering contraceptives in schools, and, yes, the legalization of same sex marriage? Answer: often, but no one, and I mean no one, cries foul because they violate the Establishment Clause or because they are religious in nature. The debates in those instances are on the merits of the appeals themselves (“does the Bible really call for the outlawing of capital punishment?” for instance), which is right where those debates should be…and it shouldn’t change here regarding Scriptural and religious references against same sex marriage.

A Muslim should be able to vote his conscience. A Hindu should be able to do the same. Ditto with an atheist, the secularist, and, dare I say, the Christian. All are fully within their citizenly rights to vote according to their convictions and worldview.  Having a religious “agenda” doesn’t disqualify someone from participating in politics.  The First Amendment guarantees it, not outlaws it.  If Joe from your local GLBTQ organization wants to address a Metropolitan Church congregation and talk to them about “Same sex marriage and the Bible” to get them to agree with him, more power to him. James from Focus on the Family should be able to do the same when it comes to lobbying the faithful for his point of view. One will be incredibly, horribly mistaken about his case, but not because he references religion in his appeal.

No one should have to shed their worldview and act/vote as a secularist, though I have the inckling that is what Christians are being asked to do, and no arguments should be swept off the playing field because they either comport with Scripture or come from religious people/organizations, though that is what’s happening here. Otherwise, laws against murder, theft, white collar crime (Jim Wallis, anyone?), perjury, and a host of other laws would be suspect.

I do admit, however, that there is a difference between being religiously motivated/allowing Scripture to inform beliefs, and making an argument in the public square of ideas about public policy. If I show up in the California legislature and argue against same sex marriage by opening up to Romans or 1 Corinthians, that is not gonna fly. In that sphere, I must make arguments (and there is a distinction between arguments and motivations, I hope you can see that) based on the public welfare, common morality, and nature, since people from a wide array of backgrounds find common ground with those things.

When it comes to this, folks on both sides of the debate somehow think that the only arguments against same sex marriage are religious in nature. The best arguments do not make reference to Scriptures, though they comport with them. I’ve made such arguments frequently and have seen others make them in the public square, but people just act like they don’t exist. Mostly they are dismissed, twisted into being religious, or ignored completely.

An aside: you can legislate morality, btw. Though Judge Walker scoffed at that, his own decision shows he tried. Legalizing ssm legislates a certain moral point of view.

Day of Silence Redeux

See my first post on this here.

Last week, the LGBT group at our school held the annual Day of Silence. For those that aren’t aware, the Day of Silence (D.O.S) is a day where gays  and lesbians, in addition to many straight students, protest harrassment and anti-gay bullying by taking a vow of silence for the day.  The protesters wear large decorated cards around their necks saying, “ask me why I’m silent today.”  If someone asks, they hand them a flyer that describes the point of the DOS.

Bullying in any form is out of line.  No teacher worth his/her salt actually wants a student to be called names and pushed around.  High school can be a cruel place for anyone, gay or straight, and that needs to change.

Seems to me, though, that  the DOS goes farther than that.  Why do I say that?

Go up to almost anyone who helped put on the DOS and ask them this question:

“What would you say to a person who harbors no ill will or hatred against gay people, but has moral objections to homosexuality?”

That is a crucial distinction that often gets lost in the fray.  Morally objecting to a desire/act/lifestyle isn’t hatred.  People object to what I hold dear all the time; it doesn’t bother me.  Why should it?

If someone says, “I have a sexual attraction to people of the same gender, and this condition is good and is part of who I am,” I cannot affirm or encourage that.  I deeply disagree with them,  but that doesn’t mean I hate the person, and it doesn’t mean I advocate hatred and violence.  If that is hatred, then A.A hates alcoholics.

I hold that a person’s desire is not his destiny.  Therefore, I disagree when a gay person equates his inclinations with his identity.  But that is not bigotry.  Again, if it were, then Alcoholics Anonymous would be a bunch of bigots.

Most likely, their response to that question will reveal an agenda that goes past just silencing bullying to silencing any disagreement with a lifestyle.  Most gays (as well as what are called “allies.”  I am using the term “gay” to denote not all who have same-sex attractions, but those who affirm such attractions as normal and good parts of their identity.) I have talked to can’t make the distinction that’s embedded in the question.  If I don’t affirm and encourage homosexual behavior and desire, then I automatically hate gay people.   As the years go by, I see a greater and greater effort on the part of many to stigmatize any and  all disagreement as hateful and bigoted.  This is an exercise in stereotyping and broadbrushing, which, ironically, is what gays and lesbians object to conservatives doing (and, admittedly, in many instances this accusation does stick.).

I asked a fellow teacher that question Friday, and she said, “they can think that, as long as they keep it to themselves.  They should keep quiet.  It could hurt people.”

Ah, I see.  Everyone can speak their mind but conservatives.  You, teach, can speak your mind, but I’ve gotta “keep quiet.”  How is it that when you voice disagreement (as you just did with me), you are being tolerant and truthful, but when I voice my disagreement, I’m just hateful?

There are many other questions that need to be asked as well:

Does ‘love’ mean you must encourage everything the beloved does or desires?

Short answer: no.  I’m glad my parents didn’t think so.  Whenever they saw me doing something that was destructive to me and others, they steadfastly stood against it.  This was an expression of their love, because they desired what was best for me.  Even if they were wrong that what I was doing was destructive, they were just wrong on the facts; this didn’t make them hateful.

Why think that gays are “born this way”?

Also: what does “born this way” mean, really?  What reputable scientific research shows that same-sex attraction is meaningfully genetically pre-determined?

I’m aware of Levay, Hamer, Bailey, Pillard, and others.  What, exactly, do those studies show? Hint: not what folks think they show.  Most, though, when they talk of gays  being “born this way,” the only justification they have for that is that of a strong felt inclination/desire for the same gender.  Is that a good reason to say someone was “born that way”?

If there is a genetic component to same-sex attraction (this is a much less controversial and appropriate way of phrasing it), does that mean we must surrender our moral concerns about same-sex relationships?

If so, then what does that say about our moral concerns about a myriad of other inclinations that have a genetic component to them (alcoholism, for example)?

Are all consensual relationships equal?

Most would say no.  Why?

While we’re at it:

Define equality…as well as homophobia, bigotry, rights, tolerance, discrimination, and other loaded words.

Those are incredibly emotionally laden words that are rarely defined.  The way those words are used by gay activists are sketchy at best.  Just say the words, and that’s enough to sound persuasive.  They function as sound bite bludgeons to marginalize any and all objections.  Those who use these terms in such undefined ways need to be called out on it, because name calling is not an argument.

The way “equality” is being used, if I say that certain inclinations are unhealthy or if I don’t affirm all relationships as normal, I’m guilty of profound prejudice.  How does that follow?

The same goes for all the other words.  If I think homosexual behavior is destructive and goes against the way we are designed, I’m a bigot.  If I hold to a traditional  view of marriage, I’m a bigot…somehow.  How is that?  As philosopher Doug Geivett points out, calling someone names like that might work as an intimidation strategy, but not much else.

If I hold to a traditional view of marriage, I’m somehow denying gays  their rights.  For gays to say they have a right to such and such means they have a just claim to something, for that is exactly what a right is.  Forget all the talk about benefits and hospital visits.  In California, gays already have that in their relationships.  This debate is about approval and affirmation.  Gays understand that legalizing same-sex marriage confers societal approval on their relationships.  That might be desirable, and, hypothetically, good, but why is it a right?  Since when is affirmation and approval of a relationship a right?  How is “being in love” (another popular justification for the right to same-sex marriage) a sufficient basis for granting the “right” to same-sex marriage?  If it is, then why should a right to SSM be any more legit than a “right” to enter into any number of other unions?

Tolerance…since when has tolerance come to mean that one has to agree with everything?  Classically, tolerance refers to people but not ideas and desires.  That distinction, however, is lost today.

I’d say there could be just a little more room carved out for tolerance in the classic sense.  Asking these questions, I think, will make that point.

Check out my other related posts on education, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage.