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Author Topic: Question about OSC and his views
Jeff C.
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SSM doesn't really bother or affect me. If I had to go out and vote on it (I honestly have never voted on anything), I'd support it. If a gay guy wants to go and marry another gay guy, why shouldn't he? The only arguments I've seen are either 1) religious or 2) procreation, and neither of them hold up. Why? Because non-religious people are allowed to marry, and women/men who can have kids are allowed to marry. So what's the problem?

It just seems to me that a lot of people are so held back by what their dusty old tome says that they are convinced it's the one that's right. Our country is supposed to be all about freedom and all about tolerance, and yet here we are debating about what's intolerant and what's not. While we should be celebrating our differences, instead we're focusing on them so much that we can barely even see straight.

I hope we're not still doing this in a hundred years.

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DustinDopps
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Jeff C. -

I think for a lot of religious people it comes down to a simple question: can they, with a clear conscience, vote to support something they believe is a sin?

They don't want to oppress anyone. They don't want gay people to die and go to hell. They have friends and co-workers and family members who are gay and they respect and love them. They just can't vote in favor of something God is against. God trumps any human relationships or concerns.

It doesn't matter if non-religious people can marry. What matters is this: if they are standing in the ballot box and have to choose to change the definition of marriage to include XYZ, can they do so with the belief that God approves? For many Christians - maybe most - the answer is no.

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kmbboots
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Wrong religious beliefs aren't any better than wrong any-other-kind of beliefs. Religion doesn't give us a pass. People had religious reasons for supporting slavery, too. And war. And all sorts of nasty things. Believing God says so is not an excuse. We are still responsible for our beliefs.

You don't like that? Believe in a God who doesn't want bad things.

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MattP
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quote:
I think for a lot of religious people it comes down to a simple question: can they, with a clear conscience, vote to support something they believe is a sin?
But we do that all the time. Very few things that are *only* a sin - as opposed to a tangible harm - are actually legislated. This why people with a religious objection to SSM strain so hard to find non-religious arguments - however tenuous - when arguing for these laws.

Take the Ten Commandments - most of them would make for unconstitutional laws, and yet violating any of them is a sin.

Should we outlaw blasphemy? That's a pretty serious sin. Yet freedom of religion is an express protection of blasphemy as your beliefs are almost certainly blasphemous to someone else's God.

It's not about voting against sin, it's about voting against an expression of agency and recognition of rights that you don't approve of.

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DustinDopps
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And there's that "But our side is RIGHT" smugness.

If Christians are correct and God did make the world, and he does want humans to obey Him, then the people supporting SSM are wrong. And, sadly, they will not share in the rewards of heaven. (They might not want to, of course, because who would want to support a bad God, right?)

It can be your *opinion* that Christians are wrong and religion is an excuse to be bigoted, but that's just what it is: your opinion. It is the conclusion you have reached based on your life experiences. But it's not the same conclusion millions of other people have reached.

This issue isn't black-and-white where one side is virtuous and the other is evil. In fact, both sides condemn the other side and it's horrible.

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DustinDopps
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MattP: you're talking about Old Testament law. The Bible makes it clear that the Old Testament had some laws related to holiness, others related to maintaining a community, and others related to health and well-being. But those laws were all fulfilled when Christ dies, making them moot.

That's why people who say "The Bible says don't eat shellfish! It says don't wear cloth made from two materials!" are automatically discounted. They don't understand the Bible, they are cherry picking (just like many Christians do).

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MattP
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quote:
If Christians are correct and God did make the world, and he does want humans to obey Him, then the people supporting SSM are wrong.
Well sure. And then our whole pluralistic Constitutional Republic is an obstacle to a proper theocratic government. But instead there's a pretense that equality and freedom of religion are sacrosanct right up to this one particular line. I can worship satan and sacrifice goats at a golden alter while drinking blood of a calf in its mother's milk, but somehow allowing two people of the same gender to become legally recognized as married is bridge too far.

And this is the position of people that, generally speaking, are OK with gays having all of the legal rights of marriage. So the sin in this case is allowing these rights to be granted under an existing legal structure which happens to be labeled according to a modern English word of human origin which has previously been used to describe only opposite-gender pairings.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by DustinDopps:

If Christians are correct and God did make the world, and he does want humans to obey Him, then the people supporting SSM are wrong. And, sadly, they will not share in the rewards of heaven. (They might not want to, of course, because who would want to support a bad God, right?)

It can be your *opinion* that Christians are wrong and religion is an excuse to be bigoted, but that's just what it is: your opinion. It is the conclusion you have reached based on your life experiences. But it's not the same conclusion millions of other people have reached.

This issue isn't black-and-white where one side is virtuous and the other is evil. In fact, both sides condemn the other side and it's horrible.

Please stop talking as if all Christians are opposed to SSM. Many Christians support it. many for religious reasons. I believe that God does want us to obey "Him" and that the people opposing SSM are wrong. Saying so may be "condemning you" but I am not using the law to oppress you.
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MattP
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quote:
you're talking about Old Testament law
Are you referring to the Ten Commandments here? I don't think many people put them in the category of "fulfilled law of the Old Testament that no longer applies."

ETA: Many people still believe OT law is valid today, so it's only a red herring if I'm speaking to a specific religion's doctrine vs religious opinion in general.

[ October 24, 2013, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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MattP
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quote:
Please stop talking as if all Christians are opposed to SSM. Many Christians support it.
Another point I was going to get to. There are several Christian and non-Christian denominations that solemnize gay marriages. An SSM ban is a restriction on their religious liberty while legal SSM is no imposition on anyone else's.
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scifibum
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I've tried and failed over the past day to articulate what tolerance for anti-SSM activists would or should look like in a post-SSM world. I don't have a very complete answer. I think mostly anti-SSM views will be met with disapproval and activism will be met with opposing activism. Not much else. And this is a simple, balanced, natural result of having opposing views in a society that embraces free speech. I don't think it's anything to complain about.

Luckily, being against SSM is not a centrally defining characteristic for most people. They most likely don't need to fear for their employment, or being denied housing. They won't lose any rights they have now. It shouldn't be hard for them to go about their lives.

For people like OSC that are at least somewhat vulnerable to a personal boycott, they could see some financial harm as a result of their actions. I don't quite think that "tolerance" as an ideal demands that this be avoided or prevented, though. People have the right to speak and spend as they wish, and if they find it distasteful to support Card with either their words or their dollars, I don't think that is "intolerant" in a way that rises to an important problem. It's not as if someone else's financial interests trump our own comfort with how we invest our time and resources. (We have the government to coerce a certain amount of paying-for-things-we-don't-want-to-pay-for, but the government isn't in charge of what movies we pay to see.)

However, neither do I think there's necessarily anything wrong with the conscience of anyone who doesn't boycott Card. I don't have a problem with the attitude that he's still deserving of rewards for his talents and efforts in other areas. *Edit: or more simply, the attitude that his products are worth paying for.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by DustinDopps:
MattP: you're talking about Old Testament law. The Bible makes it clear that the Old Testament had some laws related to holiness, others related to maintaining a community, and others related to health and well-being. But those laws were all fulfilled when Christ dies, making them moot.

That's why people who say "The Bible says don't eat shellfish! It says don't wear cloth made from two materials!" are automatically discounted. They don't understand the Bible, they are cherry picking (just like many Christians do).

So shall I assume that you are basing your Biblical objections to SSM on the Pauline letters? In which case, I would suggest that you are failing to take context into account as much as the shellfish objectors. I recommend "The Good Book" by Peter Gomes. After all, taken out of context, Paul could be said to advocate slavery as well. And has.
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BlackBlade
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Sam:
quote:
So if I describe that I'm not discriminating against people, not using legal force to suppress them in society and legal standing, not being bigoted against them, not attempting to hold back their relationship or denigrate it and call it unnatural and unholy .. but I'm not making an outward show of how pleasantly we can discuss their views, I'm not going far enough, that's not 'demonstrating tolerance,' I need to demonstrate it to them.

.. but if I were to discriminate against them, try to keep them second-class citizens and be bigoted against them, but smile and engage in pleasantries and be sure to stress I'm only doing what I think as moral so why can't we all just not resort to name-calling or being mean to each other, I'm 'demonstrating tolerance'

If I simply don't do things that are actively harmful I'm no more tolerant than Emily Dickinson staying at home and refusing to go outside and engage with humanity was.

And I'd say a person who is voting their conscience, but holds no ill will towards gay people. Who welcomes them into their life. Who engages them intellectually, and tries to work out why they haven't reached the same conclusion. But only when both sides want to. Who reaches an impasse, and recognizes that, but does not hold it against the other side. Who stands up to those who are abusing gay people. Who accepts that just as he voted his conscience, others vote theirs, and in a democracy that means rule of law changes. They don't necessarily agree with it, or like it, but they sustain the law.

A person who fits much of that, if not all, can be described as tolerant. That to me is what tolerance is. You can't reach an agreement, but where a person reaches that conclusion honorably, and willingly shares what goes into that belief, and listens, that is tolerance.

----------

Mucus:
quote:
I think you're reacting emotionally rather than thinking through the logic of the matter. The comparison is not on a moral level (e.g. "these people are as bad as slave owners!") but on a logical level.
I have gotten emotional about this topic, but I would not say I am right now.

quote:
In those times, people that approved of slavery were a good rough half of the voting population. People that disapprove of same-sex marriage used to, at least in the recent past, also comprise half of the population. However, when people that approved of slavery come up, you don't spend time understanding their "honourable reasons." By your strange definition of tolerance, you're "intolerant" of them. You dismiss them out of hand and in fact it seems that you find a comparison with them emotionally offensive.
I shouldn't dismiss anybody out of hand. That I have less patience for those who believe for example slavery was good for black people is a failing on my part, even if the greater sin lies within them.

Even abolitionism was much more complicated than racists vs non-racists. There were people in the North who were horribly racist, but hated slavery. Even in Liberal Massachusetts they were the last baseball team to sign a black man for example. There were people in the South who hated slavery, but could not see a viable alternative for their economy. It's like hating capitalism today, you still can't do anything with it. If you don't, do you hate poor people?

------------

Rakeesh:
quote:
As for Barilla, I'm not sure what the problem is. Their president stated that in the opinion of his company, homosexuals couldn't form 'classic' families, and that the company intended to focus their efforts towards these classic families. Then he invited those who didn't agree with this message to buy pasta elsewhere.
This is what the president said,

"I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals—who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others—but because I don’t agree with them and I think we want to talk to traditional families."

and

"If gays like our pasta and our advertising, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta."

He has since gone on to say,

"I respect everyone who does what they want to do without bothering others."

and,

"As a father of multiple children, I believe it's very hard to raise kids in a same-sex couple."

That seems like the most unoffensive way one could state their beliefs. He has since apologized for his comments and agreed to meet with gay groups to discuss how families have evolved and become educated.

Hasn't slowed down people's calls for boycotts one bit.

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Rakeesh
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Also, let's clear up this 'we can't support legalized breaking of God's law' business. When SSM proponents as a group work to criminalize blasphemy, other religions, adultery, excessive drinking, dancing, working on Sundays, covetous behavior, the list goes on because so do the variations of religion, then perhaps ill credit this suppose high-minded objection to flouting God's word.

But opponents of SSM don't seem much troubled with the fact of legal blasphemy, for example. I don't hear much talk about divorce being banned or restricted. The list here goes on too. So no, I'm sorry Dustin, but this explanation for opposition to SSM simply doesn't wash. I don't especially care that in their minds they believe it's the true reason, either-the circle still doesn't square.

And as for 'we can discount what those people say about the Bible, because they don't know it'...nonsense. There are as many ways to 'properly know it' as there are Christian sects, at least if we are to believe various Christians. Until you all can decide which interpretation is the proper one of the moral codes of Bronze Age shepards, though...no, it's not going to receive the sort of awed deference you're expecting. At least not once you cannot force the kssue.

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MattP
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quote:
Hasn't slowed down people's calls for boycotts one bit.
It hasn't? Like most of these sort of incidents, there's a bunch of noise at first and then it tapers off. Sure, some people have probably decided to never buy Barilla again, but I don't see a lot of ongoing agitation for boycott.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
If I simply don't do things that are actively harmful I'm no more tolerant than Emily Dickinson staying at home and refusing to go outside and engage with humanity was.

And I'd say a person who is voting their conscience, but holds no ill will towards gay people. Who welcomes them into their life. Who engages them intellectually, and tries to work out why they haven't reached the same conclusion. But only when both sides want to. Who reaches an impasse, and recognizes that, but does not hold it against the other side. Who stands up to those who are abusing gay people. Who accepts that just as he voted his conscience, others vote theirs, and in a democracy that means rule of law changes. They don't necessarily agree with it, or like it, but they sustain the law.

A person who fits much of that, if not all, can be described as tolerant. That to me is what tolerance is. You can't reach an agreement, but where a person reaches that conclusion honorably, and willingly shares what goes into that belief, and listens, that is tolerance.

And yet, polite about as they may be, they are using the law to keep them from having families. How is that better than someone who smiles at black people but advocates against them going to "white" schools - or marrying white people? Lots of honorable people reach dishonorable conclusions - even with the best of intentions. They are still wrong and still causing harm.
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BlackBlade
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MattP: I don't have statistics, but I read that Harvard yesterday indicated they were going to stop selling their pasta in their cafeteria.

kmbboots:
quote:
And yet, polite about as they may be, they are using the law to keep them from having families. How is that better than someone who smiles at black people but advocates against them going to "white" schools - or marrying white people? Lots of honorable people reach dishonorable conclusions - even with the best of intentions. They are still wrong and still causing harm.
Smiles at black people, but advocates segregation is *not* at all what I described in my paragraph. Simply smiling at somebody means almost nothing when it comes to tolerance.

Tolerance doesn't just boil down to the positions you take. As I've said, you can advocate for all the best things, and still be intolerant. Tolerance actually means accepting that people are going to believe and do things, that while harmful don't warrant our condemning them and shunning them. We do stuff they find equally harmful. It's impossible to have a society where everybody insists on this level of accountability.

If we did things that way, you could find a reason not to tolerate anybody.

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Rakeesh
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The problem, BB, is that there are multiple contradictions in his statements. He respects gay people, but finds their coupling inferior. He has no problem with those who do no harm to others, but supports a restriction of rights to exactly such people. So on and so forth. Now don't get me wrong , it's not enormous spat-in-face disrespect...but it's not exactly respect.

As for standing up to those who abuse gay people, again there are degrees. What do you imagine a happily committed loving homosexual couple thinks an effort to use the force of law to document their inferiority and prevent them from accessing wider legal and economic rights and responsibilities...seems a bit abusive to me, whatever the intentions.

I get that you're in a bind here, living so close to those who strongly disagree. It's tough for me to imagine how straining that can be. But I think you've gone over quite a bit too far into the importance of intent here-because in your examples and arguments, intent always seems to be the only or at least the most important thing.

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Amka
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Dustin Dopps made a very good point, coming from a Christian point of view.

It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.

Black people are human and in no control at all over being black. The fact that they are black has no impact on whether or not they can "go to heaven".

Homosexuals, like all people, have control over their behavior, including their sexual behavior. It is the behavior, not the state of being homosexual, that many Christians and most Mormons believe is a sin.

This has been said before, but it bears repeating. Mormons believe that gender is eternal. No matter how it bears itself out on this world, in this mortality, gender is a characteristic that was part of us before we were born and will be part of us after we die. This life is but a tiny fraction of that.

The eternal sealing of two individual souls of a different gender, of a man and a woman, is necessary to return to God's presence.

We understand that two same gender people can have deep love for each other. But letting them develop a relationship that will fall apart upon death and cannot be reconciled with the eternal reality is to us, one of the ultimate pains and tragedies. Better to have not been married than to have experienced that.

Most Mormons believe they are causing harm by saying SSM is just fine. Not just a little harm, but great harm. Most of them recognize this as a religious difference, but still find it difficult to let the law say otherwise. The family is central to our religion and lasts beyond the grave.

Let's also recall that even among those who would have had no religious reasons to oppose SS attraction or SSM, and do not oppose it now, felt that homosexual people were obscene and perverse just a few short decades ago. Something to be shunned and made fun of.

It was an unchristlike attitude, and continues to be.

But Mormons have been part of that culture as a whole, so some of them find it difficult to not act in unchristlike ways towards homosexual individuals, especially in conjunction with believing that the behavior is a sin. Many Mormons still have difficulty separating the state of being from the behavior.

This is why the church had to put up the mormonsandgays website. To educate us about being loving, and serving, and compassionate no matter what the differences are. To accept these different friends and family members into your life even if they make lifestyle choices that we believe are wrong.

You can say, all you want, that a religious belief is no excuse for bigotry. But we aren't being bigoted. It's a fear for the soul of another person.

You can't say this is the same as people having religious reasons to be racist against blacks. Because they were rationalizing hatred and slavery.

This is why, believing homosexual behavior is a sin doesn't mean that a person hates homosexuals or believes they are subhuman or anything like that.

Mormons believe that any behavior which is rude, hateful, violent (and words can be violent), dishonest (and people have been dishonest about Card) is sinful and bad behavior. We believe in helping everyone, no matter what.

Therefore, when people say they have every right to act in that manner towards a person because they disagree with the person, or because they have a prior history of intolerance directed at them by someone else, we call that intolerant behavior that breaks down the civility of our society.

You may disagree with us. Fine. Good! But to act in a hateful manner towards a person because you think you are right makes you intolerant. Not powerfully trying to secure your rights. Other people being intolerant towards you in the past, or even groups in the now, doesn't make make your anger or rudness toward them any better, nor does it make your intolerance not destructive to society.

When you want Mormons to change their doctrine to conform to society, you're telling them that they must literally destroy their church and beliefs. You're telling them that they must change their definition of God. That's not tolerance, as Card said before, that's requiring uniformity.

And requiring uniformity in the past has generally not lead to good results.

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Rakeesh
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Amka,

quote:
It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.
I'm afraid it is entirely analagous to the extent homosexuality is a choice, or a behavior built into one's genes. Furthermore I'm afraid Christianity in general, Mormonism not excepted, goes further than simply prohibiting homosexual actions. Thoughts are also condemned. But anyway, that's only somewhat relevant. All of this focuses on how very important it is for the folks being second-classed to be kind and friendly to those relegating them to legal inferiority. When you consider as well that it's all well and good to practice turning th other cheek yourself, insisting that others do so while you slap them-even when you insist and truly believe the slap is medicinal-is something else entirely.

quote:
This has been said before, but it bears repeating. Mormons believe that gender is eternal. No matter how it bears itself out on this world, in this mortality, gender is a characteristic that was part of us before we were born and will be part of us after we die. This life is but a tiny fraction of that.
All well and good. Don't be a practicing homosexual and Mormon at the same time. Why, though, should this matter one whit to someone who isn't of your religious tribe? Should for example Muslims someday become a majority in this country, or a disproportionately powerful minority, would you be as eager to empathize when they tried to point out, legally, how important it was everyone able make pilgrimage? Or would you then discover the reasons why it's bad for religion to dictate secular law?

quote:
We understand that two same gender people can have deep love for each other. But letting them develop a relationship that will fall apart upon death and cannot be reconciled with the eternal reality is to us, one of the ultimate pains and tragedies. Better to have not been married than to have experienced that.
Even accepting your religious statements as fact for the sake of argument, this is your choice to make...why? What other behaviors and beliefs do we need to stop or compel free-willed adults from doing or not doing because it would hurt them spiritually?

quote:
Let's also recall that even among those who would have had no religious reasons to oppose SS attraction or SSM, and do not oppose it now, felt that homosexual people were obscene and perverse just a few short decades ago. Something to be shunned and made fun of.
I'd be eager to hear which people arrived at homophobic behavior absent religious influence.

quote:
This is why, believing homosexual behavior is a sin doesn't mean that a person hates homosexuals or believes they are subhuman or anything like that.
I do agree, hatred of homosexuals isn't a necessary component of opposition to SSM. But again the question I offer is, "So what?" Why does this lack of hatred (on the part of many, at least) deserve some special credit? Why are homosexuals expected to less unkind to those attempting-succeeding, actually-to interfere in their own lives and loves, just because it can't be taken as a given that they don't hate them?

quote:
Therefore, when people say they have every right to act in that manner towards a person because they disagree with the person, or because they have a prior history of intolerance directed at them by someone else, we call that intolerant behavior that breaks down the civility of our society.
What you're really insisting here is that those you are second-classing, they must take as given all of your own self-stated motives and goals for your behavior. It comes as no surprise, being human, that your explanations are the loftiest of high-minded. Far from legalizing intolerance and bigotry, you're helping them out of love! All well and good. Why then are they intolerant when they use exactly the same standard? When they say 'this is how your behavior effects us, this is what it means to us, it hurts us badly and doesn't help at all and even if we did, we didn't ask for the help!' But no. If they do that, they're being intolerant. I suppose it works because you've god on your side...but haven't we heard that being right doesn't make intolerance OK? It really seems that being the right kind of right-the unassailably religious kind of right-is all that's needed.

quote:
When you want Mormons to change their doctrine to conform to society, you're telling them that they must literally destroy their church and beliefs. You're telling them that they must change their definition of God. That's not tolerance, as Card said before, that's requiring uniformity.
I'm skeptical you'll even recognize the contradiction here, but here goes: it's intolerant to ask the religious (opponents, anyway, who it seems speak for the entire group according to them) to 'destroy their beliefs' by permitting SSM. Not forcing it on them, but permitting other people to engage in SSM. But it's not intolerant to control the behavior of others, to say 'you can't do this because God says so, but we're going to decide which thing God disallows will remain legal and you don't get to pick, and it doesn't matter if you're one of us or not.'

Samprimary is right. This is tone-policing. Opponents of SSM are finally losing this fight, and as they've begun to acknowledge that, they're setting up for how the victors will be able to speak about them. Don't like that analysis? Don't criticize, or else you'll be intolerant-I arrived at in without wishing to hurt anyone, and in fact I've seriously considered it and determined its true and beneficial.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
The problem, BB, is that there are multiple contradictions in his statements. He respects gay people, but finds their coupling inferior. He has no problem with those who do no harm to others, but supports a restriction of rights to exactly such people. So on and so forth. Now don't get me wrong , it's not enormous spat-in-face disrespect...but it's not exactly respect.

Contradictions would be him not acting in accordance with his convictions. If you believe in something that is offensive to others, you are going to offend them both with your thoughts, and more so with your actions that are the natural result of genuine belief.

I found this article of interest btw.

edit: Doesn't mean you say, "Welp offenses are coming anyway, I might as well stop caring." That's like a surgeon saying, "I've got to damage the skin with this incision anyway, so I might as well not worry about injuring the patient at all."

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Contradictions would be him not acting in accordance with his convictions. If you believe in something that is offensive to others, you are going to offend them both with your thoughts, and more so with your actions that are the natural result of genuine belief.
I don't see how him acting in accordance with his convictions is mutually exclusive with him sincerely offering statements with contradictions. I mean, I feel I've laid a pretty plain solid case for how he spoke some contradictions-unless you think someone can consistently say-logically, not consistent with their own beliefs-that they respect homosexuals but also feel that their desires and loves are fundamentally inferior to heterosexuals, and should be legally restricted. If you've explained how this isn't a contradiction then I missed it, but I don't see how him honestly speaking his opinion has any bearing on whether there might be a contradiction.

As for the article, well actually I agree with the author's respect for vigorous, continuous, unfettered debate where the right to free speech isn't just important for people to e able to speak their minds, but because it's also really important that people are exposed to ideas that will offend them. Orwell made that point as well a others but I heard it best expressed by him.

That said, I'm not going to shed a tear or criticize boycott efforts much at all because of how unfair and absurd it seems to me to insist that SSM advocated must be held to such a higher standard than their opponents, or be found lacking. Card, NOM, and others threw the first stone when homosexuals as a political group in terms of power were all but a whipped dog. Instead of people complaining how wrong it is to boycott, perhaps they ought to marvel at SSM proponents' comparative restraint.

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Marlozhan
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I like that article that BB linked.

As an LDS person who has had to reconcile sincere spiritual beliefs with my responsibility as a citizen whose job it is to defend my rights and the rights of others, I have not been able to identify any legitimate right that I have to deny other people the right to marry based on sexual orientation. To be clear, I don't want to have that right, either. I really am not interested in defining what others should and shouldn't do, as long as it doesn't violate rights.

I do firmly believe that gender is an eternal characteristic of our spirits. I do believe that there will be no such thing as same-sex marriage in heaven. I certainly don't want to see anyone split up in heaven who loved one another here. The God I have had personal experiences with is not someone who will do anything to make anyone unhappy in the end. That's enough for me to know. I have personally experienced the love of God for me and by extension, felt it for others. It is enough for me to know that God loves everyone.

I don't need to force my beliefs on anyone. I find it very peaceful to allow others to have their beliefs.

There is only one factor of this argument that has held any weight as a potential argument on the opponents of same-sex marriage, and it is this: that changing the definition of marriage for the benefit of one population forces a change on the definition of marriage on another part of the population. To be clear, I am not stating that this is an argument I believe. It is an argument I haven't entirely wrapped my brain around from a legal standpoint. In fact, I don't think I have explained it very clearly.

I would be interested in more discussion on the topic of changing the definitions of state-sanctioned entities and their effects of minority and majority populations... I hope what I just said makes sense.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
In those times, people that approved of slavery were a good rough half of the voting population. People that disapprove of same-sex marriage used to, at least in the recent past, also comprise half of the population. However, when people that approved of slavery come up, you don't spend time understanding their "honourable reasons." By your strange definition of tolerance, you're "intolerant" of them. You dismiss them out of hand and in fact it seems that you find a comparison with them emotionally offensive.
I shouldn't dismiss anybody out of hand. That I have less patience for those who believe for example slavery was good for black people is a failing on my part, even if the greater sin lies within them.

Honestly, I'm surprised by the idea that not having tolerance for slavers is a personal failing. Well, actually, you switched to the word patience there, how do you actually feel about tolerance?

And if slavery is not sufficient, how serious would a crime need to be for you to comfortable with targeting them with the kind of rejection from polite society that posters have been proposing in this thread for anti-SSM advocates?

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Amka,

quote:
It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.
I'm afraid it is entirely analagous to the extent homosexuality is a choice, or a behavior built into one's genes.
Oh come on man. No it's not.

It's possible to identify as gay and celibate. Having sex, having relationships, those are choices. Whether you think homosexuality is a choice or not.

Lots of Christians say being gay isn't a sin, having gay sex/gay relationships is a sin. This is a super common stance. I know you've seen it.

If you think it's sleazy for Christians to say that gay people ought to be celibate, fine. But then say that. This objection is nonsense.

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Rakeesh
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Except this 'decision' to be celibate-and I object to what seem a rather casual suggestion that it's possible*-only applies to the homosexuals. Celibacy isn't something expected of heterosexuals, although there was plenty in early Christianity that said celibacy was the proper way of behaving. No surprise, as a able the religion got over this little hurdle and relegated that view, where it remains, to be the objective of very few.

*i know none and have heard of very few people who are voluntarily celibate on the lifetime span. Even among those groups who are supposedly committed to it, stories and scandals crop up. When you add in that Christianity doesn't just forbid adulterous behavior but adulterous thought, and when you consider that this magic 'we condemn a behavior, not a state of being!' applies only to this small group who experiences urges the condemners won't ever be forbidden...

Yeah, I've officially run out of patience with that line of thinking. Especially, too, when it's never that long before you're heading about and pray the gay away therapy or camp or minister being as much about 'you actually want to be heterosexual!!' Overall in suppose I'm sick of having to listen to reasons why I should think homophobic politics and religion should be treated as anything but what it is-intolerant. Especially when, with just a little digging, those making such complaints have so little respect for tolerance themselves.

I'm sick of people who use 'God says so' as a reason why I or anyone should do or shouldn't do anything and then, when they start to lose that argument, lecture about the virtue they didn't give a fig for before they had to worry about losing.

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BlackBlade
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Rakeesh:
quote:
That said, I'm not going to shed a tear or criticize boycott efforts much at all because of how unfair and absurd it seems to me to insist that SSM advocated must be held to such a higher standard than their opponents, or be found lacking. Card, NOM, and others threw the first stone when homosexuals as a political group in terms of power were all but a whipped dog. Instead of people complaining how wrong it is to boycott, perhaps they ought to marvel at SSM proponents' comparative restraint.
Come on dude. Who is saying only one side needs to work on tolerance? Seriously who? We are only talking about tolerance coming from same-sex marriage advocates because I was under the impression we both take it as a given that those voting against same-sex marriage are in large part intolerant.

We are parting ways in two places.

1: Many same-sex marriage advocates are not being tolerant.

2: All same-sex opponents are intolerant.

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Rakeesh
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Also, for the record I *do* think the 'it's ok to be gay, just don't screw' to be sleazy, even though I recognize well-meaning people can think that way. But I'd like to note the Orwellian knots this nonsense thinking twists us into: 'it's not forbidden to *be* gay, just don't *do* anything gay-that's forbidden and sinful. And as a sign of how to do this, you can be gay and remain celibate for your life and that's ok-we don't have a promos with you being gay in *that* way. But heterosexual don't have to do this-they don't need to remain celibate, just until they marry...which we won't let gays do. But remember, it's ok to be gay.'

That's not at all a torturous back-winding path of contradiction and nonsense that doesn't almost at once show how *not* ok it is to 'be' gay. In order for this line of thinking to make any sense and not be immediately hypocritical, special categories of lifelong behavior have to be created. Different, much more difficult and indeed psychologically dangerous patterns of behavior have to be upheld for the class of people that we are assured are 'ok'...except for the part where they're inferior on a spiritual, legal, physical, and ethical level from the wider group.

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Rakeesh
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BB,

I didn't in fact take it as a given that we *did* believe that in large part they're being intolerant. Perhaps I'm blending yours, Amka's, and Dustin's replies, at least outwardly. I'll try to be more clear about who exactly I'm replying to.

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Marlozhan
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I agree that any hypocrisy between who celibacy outside of marriage applies to, based on sexual orientation, is ridiculous. However, my particular faith happens to be alive and well in the expectation that sex be only within the bonds of marriage. There is no hypocrisy within the doctrine that allows more leeway for heterosexuals to be celibate outside of marriage. The latest LDS General Conference was still very clear that God intends sex to be only within marriage, period. There has been no backsliding on this point.

Now, I realize that this is not a fair comparison, given that the doctrine allows heterosexuals to be sexual within marriage and homosexuals not ever.

But as far as the LDS expectations of lifelong celibacy for never-marrieds vs. homosexuals, it is the same. If someone within the church has sex outside of marriage because they are 70 years old and they say, "But I wanted to try it just once and I never got a chance to be married!" it will be called a sin just as much (assuming a non-bigoted person is the responder) as a homosexual who decides to be sexual because they don't want to be celibate forever, either.

Again, talking about LDS doctrine, not LDS culture.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Amka:
It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.

Personally, if it resolves your objection on the basis of nurture/nature, I wouldn't really mind shifting the comparison over to objections to interracial marriage as a better comparison to objections to same-sex marriage.

It's not as though society in general has a much better view of people that would ban interracial marriage than those that are racist against black people.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
That's not at all a torturous back-winding path of contradiction and nonsense that doesn't almost at once show how *not* ok it is to 'be' gay. In order for this line of thinking to make any sense and not be immediately hypocritical, special categories of lifelong behavior have to be created.

In fairness, they probably would have created the jobs of priest and senator one way or another [Wink]
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MattP
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quote:
It's not as though society in general has a much better view of people that would ban interracial marriage than those that are racist against black people.
At the time that laws against interracial marriage existed, they were defended using some of the same arguments currently used against SSM. Even some LDS church leaders expressed notoriously extreme public opinions on the vileness of such relationships. The church leadership actually has a softer public stance on SSM now than they once had on mixed-race marriages.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
If I simply don't do things that are actively harmful I'm no more tolerant than Emily Dickinson staying at home and refusing to go outside and engage with humanity was.

Emily Dickinson staying at home and not interfering with the lives of gay people doesn't 'express tolerance.'

Emily Dickinson acting against gay people in a bigoted fashion, speaking out against their marriages openly, and voting for representatives who will keep the law in accordance with her beliefs that gay people can't marry, but who will smile and invent her gay friends to dinner and use this to show that she 'doesn't have anything against gays' and that she 'respects them as people' and is 'willing to reach out to them' is 'expressing tolerance.'

And if a gay person does not want to put up with bigoted people in their life and feel that they have the right to say "I want nothing to do with you, bigot" to bigoted Emily Dickinson, as part of whatever they're doing, as a marginalized class of people, to get by in life with people actively trying to keep them a second-class citizen, that gay person is 'intolerant.'

Again, that's the whole point. Your idea of 'tolerance' is useless, because all it is is tone policing for marginalized people. It boils down to "tolerance is if a bigoted person thinks they're being nice to a person they're oppressing, the person who is being oppressed by the bigoted person should be polite about the issue to the bigoted person, because if they express anger or even just refuse to be polite or associate with bigots, that's intolerant.'

I'll say it again — that kind of 'tolerance' can die in a fire.

quote:
And I'd say a person who is voting their conscience, but holds no ill will towards gay people. Who welcomes them into their life. Who engages them intellectually, and tries to work out why they haven't reached the same conclusion. But only when both sides want to. Who reaches an impasse, and recognizes that, but does not hold it against the other side. Who stands up to those who are abusing gay people. Who accepts that just as he voted his conscience, others vote theirs, and in a democracy that means rule of law changes. They don't necessarily agree with it, or like it, but they sustain the law.

A person who fits much of that, if not all, can be described as tolerant. That to me is what tolerance is.

That's because you're trying to make this about intent rather than impact, even when the intent is bigoted and actively causes harm.

The slavery comparisons keep coming up about this because they are being used to demonstrate how completely ridiculous this is. If I live in a country where slavery is a big issue or there's a party with slavery as a major active platform, whether or not a person has "good intent" or are "acting in a way they think is moral" when they espouse slavery, fight against anti-slavery, and vote in legislators to keep slavery on the books, really directly involves whether or not that person is a tolerant person. "good intent" is such a relatively worthless thing in these matters.

And, most importantly, "good intent" is no reason to tell an oppressed person that they are intolerant if they are nice to their oppressors.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Amka,

quote:
It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.
I'm afraid it is entirely analagous to the extent homosexuality is a choice, or a behavior built into one's genes.
Oh come on man. No it's not.

It's possible to identify as gay and celibate. Having sex, having relationships, those are choices. Whether you think homosexuality is a choice or not.

Lots of Christians say being gay isn't a sin, having gay sex/gay relationships is a sin. This is a super common stance. I know you've seen it.

If you think it's sleazy for Christians to say that gay people ought to be celibate, fine. But then say that. This objection is nonsense.

It goes right back down to that a person is born in a way which makes it so that they can't marry someone they have sexual interest in, and are called sinners if they do. They are in a different situation with regard to their romantic and sexual attractions, not by choice. Homosexuality, not as a matter of choice, makes that an issue and makes it discrimination when people are trying to enforce marriage as one particular thing based on a religious belief, or tell you to be celibate or be a sinner.

Gay people should not be asked to be celibate. You agree and you think the idea that they should is nonsense, right?

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happymann
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My own position on homosexuality and SSM has certainly evolved over time. I am a faithful and practicing LDS so my beliefs are highly influenced by that doctrine.

I believe for me currently the battle is semantic in nature (I am definitely not speaking on behalf of any one person, group of people, or organization when I say "for me"). To be honest, I haven't always believed this and have certainly rode the wagon of intolerance in the past. But currently as it stands I believe that, if we were to live in a more ideal and tolerant world, then the government should get out of the marriage game altogether. Because I believe that the definition of the word "marriage" is a binding of a man and a woman (for a family, etc.). Under this definition I would be perfectly fine with the government allowing for legal purposes to perform "civil unions" (or whatever you want to call it) to whomever would like it (heterosexual, homosexual, etc.) so that they have legal documentation for legal reasons. But the definition of the word "marriage", I believe, should stay as a heterosexual word.

I understand that in our imperfect society that my desires to keep "marriage" as a heterosexual word (if I were allowed to have my way) could in turn continue to have bigoted people still oppress homosexuals because they are not technically "married" but only have a "civil union".

So, knowing that we are not in a closed society with only a few variables (but in fact live in a society with so many variables and second, third, fourth, etc. orders of effect that we simply can't measure) I have come to realize that I have lost my own personal battle over the definition of the word "marriage". I am okay with it.

What I think should happen, where the LDS church is concerned, is that the church should continue to preach love and tolerance (it hasn't seemed to always do that but I think the church has done a lot of introspection since the backlash of Prop 8). Elder Dallin H. Oaks said an interesting statement on the Mormons and Gays website and I think it's particularly interesting specifically how he worded it. He said, "[H]ow can we help members of the church who struggle with same-gender attractions, but want to remain active and fully engaged in the church?" I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I would do if I found out that a child of mine was homosexual. I have come to the conclusion that I would try and teach them as much as I possibly can about the doctrine of my own beliefs and also teach them as much about the love and tolerance of Jesus Christ as I can and then ultimately give them the choice whether they "want to remain active and fully engaged in the church" and being okay with it if they don't because I understand that it is asking a lot from them. If they choose not to stay in the church, I would not be able to blame them.

Also I think, since I like to define words (I studied linguistics in college), that the church should move away from the word "marriage" by itself and start to define its own marriages as something else (like "sealings" since it's a word that already exists in our church lexicon). But that decision is out of my hands.

This has kind of turned into quite a rambling train of thought. Let me see if I can add one more thing into the mix.

I believe the word "marriage" should be a heterosexual word. I don't think ANY couple should be denied legal support and protection. I know that I've probably lost the battle on the definition of the word "marriage".

I am anti-SSM. Am I intolerant? Do my ramblings make sense?

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Rakeesh
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Here's a question, happyman. Also I did appreciate your post, me get a bit the difficulty and complexity of where you're coming from. Anyway, my question: why is it so important that 'marriage' remain a heterosexual word? I ask this because I'm unaware of any legal push to keep the word respectable and authentic with respect to the spiritual importance you're attaching to it. I'm unaware of any efforts to restrict people from having Las Vegas marriages, for example. I'm not familiar with any effort to intervene in couples that are regularly, flagrantly unfaithful and give them a different word for their marriage. Or even an effort to get involved in marriages rife with violence and forcibly break it up and at least give it a different name.

Why is it so important to keep faithful, committed, loving homosexuals from the word 'marriage'-but not important to keep faithless, adulterous, unloving and even violent heterosexuals from the same word?

A secondary question: when did conservative religious people take ownership of the word 'marriage'?

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Amka,

quote:
It illustrates where the comparison to racism against black people, and believing SSM is a sin, are not analogous.
I'm afraid it is entirely analagous to the extent homosexuality is a choice, or a behavior built into one's genes.
Oh come on man. No it's not.

It's possible to identify as gay and celibate. Having sex, having relationships, those are choices. Whether you think homosexuality is a choice or not.

Lots of Christians say being gay isn't a sin, having gay sex/gay relationships is a sin. This is a super common stance. I know you've seen it.

If you think it's sleazy for Christians to say that gay people ought to be celibate, fine. But then say that. This objection is nonsense.

It goes right back down to that a person is born in a way which makes it so that they can't marry someone they have sexual interest in, and are called sinners if they do. They are in a different situation with regard to their romantic and sexual attractions, not by choice. Homosexuality, not as a matter of choice, makes that an issue and makes it discrimination when people are trying to enforce marriage as one particular thing based on a religious belief, or tell you to be celibate or be a sinner.

Gay people should not be asked to be celibate. You agree and you think the idea that they should is nonsense, right?

I think the whole "is it a choice" argument is pretty stupid. I'm not remotely convinced that sexual orientation is genetic or that it's immutable.

That said, it's also not a "choice" the way most Christians mean it either. And of course I think asking gays to be celibate is stupid.

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dkw
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Tertiary question(edit: for happyman): in your ideal linguistic world, what word is used by religions who accept and solemnize same-sex marriages? A civil union is the government's recognition of the legal aspects of the partnership, what is the word for the religious aspects that other religions recognize but yours doesn't?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I think the whole "is it a choice" argument is pretty stupid. I'm not remotely convinced that sexual orientation is genetic or that it's immutable.

That said, it's also not a "choice" the way most Christians mean it either.

It's not choice, period. Your sexuality doesn't come down to something you chose for yourself, or anything you could 'take back' if you wanted. People don't choose to be gay any more than they choose to be straight.
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dkw
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People who are naturally bi can choose to act as one or the other. I suspect that's the reality for many of the people, self-identified gay or straight, who believe it's a choice.
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Dan_Frank
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Sigh. Probably not the thread for me to jump into that discussion.

I already clarified what I think of the idea that gays should be celibate. Guess I'll leave it at that.

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Rakeesh
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I'm interested in that discussion, though I can see why you might be wary given the thread context. But my question would be, for that discussion, is that it's surely theoretically possible for a human being to choose to be celibate. But I look around at how many (almost none anywhere) actually make that choice voluntarily, and then I look at those groups where it is supposed to be the norm (priests, monks, divorcees, unmarried adults) and when I look at these groupings, I *still* see quite a bit of sexual exploration. It even exists among groups that self-select for celibacy such as monks and priests.

All of this, to me, calls into question just how authentic celibacy is on a lifetime level for human beings. A person can certainly choose to be celibate for a given instant, or a day, or a week, or a month, but a lifetime? That has an uncertain success rate even for people who isolate themselves in monasteries! How many deserted islands are there in the world for homosexuals to make lifetime celibacy a real option? What are your thoughts on that, Dan? All of this is setting aside that Christians don't, in fact, simply say 'if you don't do it, you're OK'-they're also instructed that it's sinful-extra sinful in the case of homosexual-to *think* adulterously.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
People who are naturally bi can choose to act as one or the other. I suspect that's the reality for many of the people, self-identified gay or straight, who believe it's a choice.

Probably. I know a few people who at one point assumed sexuality is a choice based on their own personal experience as bisexual, because from their own perspective they were 'choosing' and presuming that it was a model for how other people's non-bisexual sexuality worked.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Janis Ian is Mr. Card's Jamaican neighbor.

This made me laugh so loudly I had a coworker walk over and ask me what was so funny. I could not, of course, explain it why.

[ROFL]

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Samprimary
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the worst/best part about that is that three days ago I found out my neighbors are actually Jamaican, and I accidentally laughed out loud
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happymann
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Here's a question, happyman. Also I did appreciate your post, me get a bit the difficulty and complexity of where you're coming from. Anyway, my question: why is it so important that 'marriage' remain a heterosexual word? I ask this because I'm unaware of any legal push to keep the word respectable and authentic with respect to the spiritual importance you're attaching to it. I'm unaware of any efforts to restrict people from having Las Vegas marriages, for example. I'm not familiar with any effort to intervene in couples that are regularly, flagrantly unfaithful and give them a different word for their marriage. Or even an effort to get involved in marriages rife with violence and forcibly break it up and at least give it a different name.

Why is it so important to keep faithful, committed, loving homosexuals from the word 'marriage'-but not important to keep faithless, adulterous, unloving and even violent heterosexuals from the same word?

A secondary question: when did conservative religious people take ownership of the word 'marriage'?

The statement about really awful people being in heterosexual marriages is one of the arguments that led me towards making the leap to recognizing the need for legal recognition of all types of couples (two committed and loving homosexuals wanting to share a life together can contribute more healthily to a society than awful heterosexual couples. Orders of magnitude better I would wager).

Your questions are really good and they're questions I don't really have concrete answers to and I've been asking them of myself for a while, which is why I feel that this "battle" is "lost" where the word "marriage" is concerned. I can't think of adequate answers to your questions.

quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Tertiary question(edit: for happyman): in your ideal linguistic world, what word is used by religions who accept and solemnize same-sex marriages? A civil union is the government's recognition of the legal aspects of the partnership, what is the word for the religious aspects that other religions recognize but yours doesn't?

This is another brilliant question. "Sealing" is a term that is pretty specific in Mormon theology. I would be open to a word possibly present in the religions you reference (ones open to same-sex marriages). So, I guess that's another question I don't know the answer to. Good discussion.

edited for minor stuff.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
I agree that any hypocrisy between who celibacy outside of marriage applies to, based on sexual orientation, is ridiculous. However, my particular faith happens to be alive and well in the expectation that sex be only within the bonds of marriage. There is no hypocrisy within the doctrine that allows more leeway for heterosexuals to be celibate outside of marriage. The latest LDS General Conference was still very clear that God intends sex to be only within marriage, period. There has been no backsliding on this point.

Now, I realize that this is not a fair comparison, given that the doctrine allows heterosexuals to be sexual within marriage and homosexuals not ever.

Well that is a good first step. And so?
quote:


But as far as the LDS expectations of lifelong celibacy for never-marrieds vs. homosexuals, it is the same. If someone within the church has sex outside of marriage because they are 70 years old and they say, "But I wanted to try it just once and I never got a chance to be married!" it will be called a sin just as much (assuming a non-bigoted person is the responder) as a homosexual who decides to be sexual because they don't want to be celibate forever, either.

Again, talking about LDS doctrine, not LDS culture.

Okay. This attitude toward celibacy is just a tad offensive. Please bear in mind that sex between two people of the same gender is not just sex for them any more or less than it is for straight people. It is not just a physical urge or "something they wanted to try". By demanding celibacy we are not merely denying arousal and orgasm. We are denying them the comfort of being held at night, the quick kiss on the way out the door in the morning, the ease of being comfortable in your skin with someone who cherishes every inch of that skin, of knowing that your lover thinks you are beautiful (even when you don't), slow dancing with your partner, sleeping in spoons and having someone to chase away the nightmares, of laughing at things that are only funny in bed. Physical love is not just physical between people who love each other. It is intimacy. This is just as true for gay people as it is for straight ones. When you demand they give up sex, you are stripping away the possibility of finding that kind of intimacy.

Likewise, marriage is not just legal protections - though God knows those are important. It is about families. Not just children, but also in-laws and cousins and friends. About sharing responsibility for a home and a life. About deciding where to go for Thanksgiving because you are not going alone. It is about being the next-of-kin because you have made a family. And, someday, about being acknowledged as being the bereaved and receiving comfort rather than being consigned to a back pew at a funeral. It is belonging to each other.

When you so blithely decide that people can just be celibate, really acknowledge what that means. What you are deciding they can do without. If you claim to be compassionate, how can you not weep to be so cruel?

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Rakeesh
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Emotional appeals aside (though you make a compelling case for some of the associated realities of lifelong celibacy), people can often without much difficulty be cruel to an 'other', of course-especially when they can be persuaded it's for their own good. Especially when that 'other" is secretly (or at least originally, traditionally) reviled. But then when you throw in a dash of 'God says so', it doesn't seem surprising at all.
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kmbboots
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I know. But I want them to darn well acknowledge it.
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Marlozhan
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
I agree that any hypocrisy between who celibacy outside of marriage applies to, based on sexual orientation, is ridiculous. However, my particular faith happens to be alive and well in the expectation that sex be only within the bonds of marriage. There is no hypocrisy within the doctrine that allows more leeway for heterosexuals to be celibate outside of marriage. The latest LDS General Conference was still very clear that God intends sex to be only within marriage, period. There has been no backsliding on this point.

Now, I realize that this is not a fair comparison, given that the doctrine allows heterosexuals to be sexual within marriage and homosexuals not ever.

Well that is a good first step. And so?
quote:


But as far as the LDS expectations of lifelong celibacy for never-marrieds vs. homosexuals, it is the same. If someone within the church has sex outside of marriage because they are 70 years old and they say, "But I wanted to try it just once and I never got a chance to be married!" it will be called a sin just as much (assuming a non-bigoted person is the responder) as a homosexual who decides to be sexual because they don't want to be celibate forever, either.

Again, talking about LDS doctrine, not LDS culture.

Okay. This attitude toward celibacy is just a tad offensive. Please bear in mind that sex between two people of the same gender is not just sex for them any more or less than it is for straight people. It is not just a physical urge or "something they wanted to try". By demanding celibacy we are not merely denying arousal and orgasm. We are denying them the comfort of being held at night, the quick kiss on the way out the door in the morning, the ease of being comfortable in your skin with someone who cherishes every inch of that skin, of knowing that your lover thinks you are beautiful (even when you don't), slow dancing with your partner, sleeping in spoons and having someone to chase away the nightmares, of laughing at things that are only funny in bed. Physical love is not just physical between people who love each other. It is intimacy. This is just as true for gay people as it is for straight ones. When you demand they give up sex, you are stripping away the possibility of finding that kind of intimacy.

Likewise, marriage is not just legal protections - though God knows those are important. It is about families. Not just children, but also in-laws and cousins and friends. About sharing responsibility for a home and a life. About deciding where to go for Thanksgiving because you are not going alone. It is about being the next-of-kin because you have made a family. And, someday, about being acknowledged as being the bereaved and receiving comfort rather than being consigned to a back pew at a funeral. It is belonging to each other.

When you so blithely decide that people can just be celibate, really acknowledge what that means. What you are deciding they can do without. If you claim to be compassionate, how can you not weep to be so cruel?

Perhaps I should clarify. I am not the one blithely deciding who should and shouldn't be celibate. I do not want to decide that for someone else. I was responding to someone else's claim that Christian religions are hypocritical on the specific point of saying it is kind of okay for heterosexuals to have sex outside of marriage but never okay for homosexuals to have sex outside of marriage. I was pointing out that the LDS church, on that specific point, is still strong in expecting celibacy of non-married heterosexuals. That's all I was saying. I was not stating my opinion at all.

I will state my opinion and personal beliefs to clarify. I have a strong belief that spirits have an eternal gender that does not change and that there will be no coupling of same-gendered people in heaven. I have no problem with others believing otherwise.

I also have no desire to take my belief and start making judgments of others who are gay and the lifestyles they choose. I will not expect celibacy of my gay friends and I will not expect it of non-married heterosexual friends. It is simply not my place to judge or expect.

For SSM couples, all I want for them in the end is to be happy and I will leave that matter in God's hands. If my belief is true, that spirits have eternal gender, then I have no idea how it will be worked out when two loving gay people, that were married in this life, arrive in heaven. I only believe that God will work things out for the happiness of everyone. And I hope this doesn't sound like a cop-out. It is not. It comes from having no need to judge another's behavior as sinful or not, again, as long as they don't violate my rights or others' rights.

If I were gay, I do not believe I could lead a celibate life my entire life. I might be able to. But I doubt it. As a heterosexual with certain spiritual beliefs about the sacred nature of sex, I have made mistakes that go against my own values. I have also had to revise my values. In essence, I am a human being who doesn't know the answers to everything, including my own sexuality and especially the eternal nature of things. And I extend that same respect to have other beliefs, or simply 'not know', to other people as well.

I feel happy for gay couples who are happily together. Because they are God's children and I want people to be happy. Do I wonder how things will work out for them in the next life? Yes, but not in a "I will pray for your soul" kind of hypocritical way. I just wonder. That's it. Because I don't know and I am at peace with that. I also happen to not know what will happen to myself in various ways, or to my various heterosexual friends who have been married or sealed multiple times.

What I don't know I leave in God's hands, and what I do know for myself, I don't have a need to thrust that knowledge upon someone else. I am LDS because there are certain things I have experienced for myself that I cannot deny. But there are things about the LDS church that I don't agree with.

If two of my friends were gay and wanted to be married and I was invited, I would go. I would support them like any other couple. Because I am respecting their decision. I respect that it is not mine. I have no need for it to be mine.

And if you put me in the ballot box right now, I would vote to support SSM, because my values demand it based on everything I have learned about being a decent human being and respecting others' rights. If by some chance God wanted me to vote otherwise, then I will have that conversation with him in the next life and he will understand my motives and explain to me a very good reason why he wanted it that way. That is the kind of God I have a relationship with. Not one who is going to thrust me to hell for such a vote.

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