Friday, November 06, 2015

Speech and service: why the racist comparison doesn't work

Typically, a couple doesn't just say "Just bake the damned cake, I want it white with chocolate frosting." They want something that helps to celebrate their relationship and upcoming marriage. If I were going to marry a man at long last because of Obergfell, I would probably want something like a rainbow arrangement and two grooms on top of the cake. Wedding photographers pose pictures to accentuate the romance between the couple. Ours certainly did. If they didn't, they wouldn't be good photographers. That is why at least some wedding services are engaged in what seems to me to be more like speech than just cooking a meal. And if they are traditional Christians and they are being asked to do this for a same-sex wedding, they are being asked to produce, and do a good job of producing, speech that celebrates something that their religion says should not be celebrated. 

There is a principled basis within the religion for taking this position. It's not just a cover for hating certain people. I am not saying it can't be challenged within Christianity. I have a lot of sympathy for people of Christian conviction who find that they are unavoidably gay and become convinced that the best way they can serve God is to have the kind of commitment in a gay relationship that is required of Christians in their marriages. Other Christians are convinced that such people have reached the wrong answer. In my view, neither side in this is stupid, ignorant, insane or wicked, nor is it right to call them bigoted. 

On the other hand, I don't see a principled Christian reason for opposing interracial marriage. So far as I can tell, race isn't even a biblical concept, except for Jew and Gentile, and Paul explicitly bridged that barrier. If someone convinced me that they had a principled religious reason for not providing wedding services to a racially mixed wedding, I actually think I would argue that they have the right to refuse service. Some people are going to get mad at me for this, but there can be cases where freedom of religion trumps equal rights. Convincing me that the religious objection to mixed-race marriage was motivated by religious principle and not racial prejudice would be the trick. 

Freedom of religion is central to any free society. For example, democracy is going to have a lot of trouble working in a country like Iraq where the two types of Muslims are unwilling to grant religious freedom to the other branch. 

The comparisons between defenders of traditional marriage and the KKK don't wash. Traditional marriage defenders may, at the end of the day, be mistaken. If people can't see the real differences between them, then I strongly suspect that they are not primarily concerned about equal rights for gay people, they are primarily concerned about bashing traditional religion and bringing it down a peg, and gays are just a tool for doing that.

49 comments:

Edgestow said...

From Chief Justice Robert's dissent to Obergefell:

"None of the laws at issue in [Zablocki, Turner, and Loving] purported to change the core definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. ... Removing racial barriers to marriage did not change what a marriage was any more than integrating schools changed what a school was. ... The problem with the analogy to interracial marriage is that it assumes what is in dispute: that sex is as irrelevant to marriage as race is. It's clear by any reasonable standard ... that race has nothing to do with marriage. ... Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and their children..."

Hugo Pelland said...

But the problem is with the perception that gay couples are somehow completely different. Personally, I see almost no difference between same-sex gay couples and heterosexual couples. There is a significant impact on how each type of couple can have children; but both can, and not all heterosexual couples can have them the traditional way, so they are just like gay couples in such case.

Victor Reppert said...

But the traditional view says that same-sex couples violate a divine command.

Hugo Pelland said...

Sure, that's where we obviously have to agree to disagree... divine command means nothing to outsiders of a specific religion.

Victor Reppert said...

But that is where freedom of religion comes into play. Pushing people into violating their religious beliefs is going to do nothing but turn supporters into opponents. I voted against the defense-of-marriage ballot proposition here in Arizona.

Hugo Pelland said...

Right, and it's very difficult to find the right accommodation when the freedom of 2 opposing groups are in direct contradiction.

What I will never understand with LGBT rights though is when situation X has absolutely no impact on opponents, but they are still against LGBT folks getting into situation X. Refusing to server a gay couple, ok fine, I disagree but it's their freedom with direct impact; but voting against them getting married when nobody but the couple itself is affected... weird.

Crude said...

Victor,

But the traditional view says that same-sex couples violate a divine command.

It's not just a divine command. It's a natural law, a cultural practice, and one that's foundational to society. It's not as if historically only the religious people rejected same-sex relationships.

The idea that 'same-sex marriage only affects the married couple' was never true. The moment the SCOTUS made their move, the talk immediately came about how to punish organizations that rejected same-sex marriage.

To say nothing of the fact that the people who make this claim repeatedly talk about the existence of 'rape culture' and 'microaggressions' which do damage to people, merely by disagreeing with them. But if you accept that talk, then you've already accepted the idea - indeed, you've gone overboard with the idea - that things that 'don't affect you' in a direct material sense, do affect you in a myriad of other ways.

Cal Metzger said...

Reppert: "Freedom of religion is central to any free society. For example, democracy is going to have a lot of trouble working in a country like Iraq where the two types of Muslims are unwilling to grant religious freedom to the other branch."

Your thinking seems so confused; in the first sentence above you declare that a free society must allow people to believe and practice as they will, and in the second sentence you decry the poor Muslims who won't allow each other to believe and practice as they will.

And after that, you want to say that we're better off in this country NOT allowing people to believe and practice as they will. Which is all that the proponents of same sex marriage are asking for -- to be allowed to live together as other married couples do, and enjoy the same benefits that other married couples are granted.

So which is it you're going for? A society that tolerates one another's practices and beliefs, as we do here in the U.S., or a society that doesn't tolerate one another's practices and beliefs, as you say Muslim sectarian societies do not.

Aron Zavaro said...

Victor,

Even if you are correct that there is no principled Christian reason for oppose interracial marriage, plenty of Christian THINK there are. As you surely know, there are people who call themselves Christians with elaborate theologies about the superiority of whites. Of course, you think these people are mistaken about what the bible says, but are you really saying that only people with the CORRECT interpretation of the Boble are entitled to freedom of religion?

Moreover, if you think these racist "Christians" aren't really Christian, there is still no denying that they are practicing a religion, whether you want to call it Christianity or not. So why should traditional Christians be allowed to turn down services in the name of freedom of religion, but people who practice another religion that frowns upon interracial marriage cannot do the same?

SteveK said...

"If someone convinced me that they had a principled religious reason for not providing wedding services to a racially mixed wedding, I actually think I would argue that they have the right to refuse service."

I agree with you and would do the same. If I was the couple getting married I would choose to do business with another company because they are on my side. Problem solved.

If I felt a company was full of bigots *WHY* in the world would I even want to do business with them unless I HAD to?

Victor Reppert said...

No one is preventing the Metropolitan Community Church from holding weddings for same-sex couples. No one is preventing same-sex couples from buying a house together.

With freedom of religion you can always claim that something that is motivated by something else is really your religion. But that is what you have to live with with religious freedom. I already said if someone wanted to refuse to serve an interracial marriage on religious grounds, they should be permitted to do so. I think the marketplace would bite them in the butt if they did, but I don't think they should be punished by government for doing so. I would just have doubts about their sincerity.

Hugo Pelland said...

" The idea that 'same-sex marriage only affects the married couple' was never true. The moment the SCOTUS made their move, the talk immediately came about how to punish organizations that rejected same-sex marriage."

Same-sex marriage does affect only the married couple and I completely agree with you that anything done to punish organizations that rejected same-sex marriage is wrong. The government is the only one that should care since they issue the marriage licenses. It's completely possible to separate the 2 notions.

"...people who make this claim repeatedly talk about the existence of 'rape culture' and 'microaggressions' which do damage to people, merely by disagreeing with them"

These are also separate issues. The whole notion of 'rape culture' is debatable and far from clear cut; some people clearly exaggerate when listing ridiculous stats such as 1 female college student out of 4 will be rape during her studies. And microagression is the most laughable thing I have ever heard. There is actually something quite funny I realized recently...

Some people say that if you ask an Asian-looking person 'Where are you from originally?', it implies that you think they must be a foreigner, and that's a form of microagression, because they could be born in the USA and be an actual American. The funny thing is that I realized that, as a white male, I am also a regular "victim" of such microagression apparently. Why? Because my native language is French and I do have an accent when speaking English; so and many people ask me 'Where are you from?' when they hear me speak. So that's also microagression apparently because it assumes that I am not really from 'here', and cannot be a 'real' American (which I am not but that's not the point). It's hilarious because I really don't care; it's just an interesting thing to discuss...

Anyway, the point is that we can certainly be in favor of same-sex marriage without all that other baggage.

"If I was the couple getting married I would choose to do business with another company because they are on my side. Problem solved."

But what if the problem cannot be solved that way? I don't think it's a problem with gays today, but it certainly was not that long ago... or what about other countries where they are completely marginalized because the majority thinks they are sub-human animals that deserve to be put out of their misery?

Basically, my point is that even if I agree with you on the precise example of gays in the USA today, I disagree with the general principle that 'anything goes' with respect to the treatment of minorities and that it's up to them to find a place of commerce that will cater to their needs. When the majority is full of bigots, it takes a minority within that majority to recognize that the actual minority requires some form of protection. But maybe you guys disagree with that principle, I don't know...

Hugo Pelland said...

Actually, let me correct something here: "anything done to punish organizations that rejected same-sex marriage is wrong" may not always apply... if there is systemic discrimination against gays within a large community, where all organizations prevent them from getting service, then it can be a problem and actions should be taken. It's hard to define since, again, in the US today I would think most gays can find places where they are not hated for who they are. But there might be significantly large areas where it becomes very impractical for them to do anything without being discriminated against; I would be curious to know...

Cal Metzger said...

Reppert: " And if they are traditional Christians and they are being asked to do this for a same-sex wedding, they are being asked to produce, and do a good job of producing, speech that celebrates something that their religion says should not be celebrated. There is a principled basis within the religion for taking this position. It's not just a cover for hating certain people."

Ha.

If the "principled reason" is "it's written in my holy book" (usually written by men in a more barbaric past) or "because I imagine that there's an invisible, meaningless being whose existence and intent no one else can objectively, reliably, and verifiably" examine, then there's really nothing principled about it. It's just an inflated reverence for the past, or a transparent ploy to fob off one's preferences onto something that will hopefully grant one more authority than is otherwise deserved.

Samuel Johnson remarked that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." It's telling that those who struggle to find a reason to discriminate against same sex couple can only come up with, "But it's against my religion!" Really? That's the basis for your discrimination? If that's all you got, game over.

B. Prokop said...

""But it's against my religion!" Really? ... If that's all you got, game over."

That's all the countless martyrs of the first centuries had, when they willingly went to their deaths, rather than submit to offering incense before the Emperor's statue. That's all that Thomas More had when he was beheaded by King Henry VIII for refusing to break with Catholicism (1532). That's all that John Ogilvie had when he was drawn and quartered on the charge of being a Catholic in protestant Scotland (1615). That's all that Fidelis of Singmaringen had when he was beaten to death (1622) for preaching against the Calvinist heresy. It's all that Lucius of Adrianople had when he was assassinated by Arians (350). It was all that Pope Martin I had when he was starved to death by Emperor Constans II for his condemnation of Monothelitism (655). It was all that Jacobur Lacops had when he was hanged by Calvinists for preaching the True Presence in the Eucharist (1572). It was all that Pope Silverius had when he was murdered on the orders of King Theodehad for affirming the two natures of Christ (537). It was all that Saint Publia had when she was beaten to death on the orders of Emperor Julian for singing Psalm 115 while the Roman Army marched past her home (370). It was all that Peter of Verona had when he was killed with an axe by a Cathar while reciting the Creed (1252). It was all that Saint Proterius had when he was stabbed to death in church, his body dragged through the streets and then burned by Monophysites (457). It was all that John Houghton had when he was hanged, drawn, and quartered on the orders of King Henry VIII for the crime of being a Catholic (1535), his last words being "Take my heart, O Christ" just prior to it being ripped out of his chest. It was all that Jan Sarkander had when he was tortured to death (the rack, and burning with torches) for refusing to violate the sanctity of the confessional (1620). It was all that Saint Andrew of Crete had when he was scourged to death by the Iconoclasts (766). It was all that Saint Rosa Kim had when she was tortured to death along with 10,000 other converts by the Korean government for her faith (1839). It was all that John of Cologne had when he was hanged by Calvinists for defending the True Presence in the Eucharist (1572). It was all that John Fisher had when he was beheaded on orders of King Henry VIII for defending the sanctity of marriage(1535).

Just a sampling. The merest tip of the iceberg.
"Game over"? I think not.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Talon said...

"But it's against my religion!" Really? ... If that's all you got, game over."

Not true, if you live in country that purports to respect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, this is quite sufficient, and if said country didn't respect these reasons they would be guilty of violating human rights as acknowledged by their own laws.

OTOH, If the universe is meaningless, purposeless, blah blah, why does anyone need a "reason" to reject SSMs and refuse to participate in them? Couldn't we just say Natural Selection has favored those who oppose SSM for whatever reasons (and thus happen to have more descendants and stronger cultural support) and be done with it? Maybe cultures who reject SSM are simply more fit than others?

Cal Metzger said...

Talon: "Not true, if you live in country that purports to respect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, this is quite sufficient,..."

No it's not. When a religious observance interferes with a protected right, then the religious observance loses, every time. What else you got?

Talon: "... and if said country didn't respect these reasons they would be guilty of violating human rights as acknowledged by their own laws."

Nope. The Constitution contains a bill of rights, and more than two hundreds years of its exercise and interpretation. And that legacy clearly protects individual rights when they conflict with religious ones.

Talon:"OTOH, If the universe is meaningless, purposeless, blah blah, why does anyone need a "reason" to reject SSMs and refuse to participate in them? "

Non sequitur much?

B. Prokop said...

"The Constitution contains a bill of rights"

Yup. I most certainly does. And the very first Article in it (the First Amendment) includes the phrase "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]". Somehow, these words always seem conveniently forgotten by those citing the "no ... establishment of religion" portion. The two are of equal importance. "Free exercise of religion" includes not being compelled to participate in acts contrary to one's faith (such as Quaker pacifists not being forced to kill enemy soldiers in wartime).

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

Bob,
Being willing to die/kill/fight 'only' because of religious doctrine only shows an unreasonable approach to resolving conflicts (both from the killer and the victim). But most of your examples, I hope, were about more than just doctrine?

Talon said...
"OTOH, If the universe is meaningless, purposeless, blah blah, why does anyone need a "reason" to reject SSMs and refuse to participate in them?"
Take a look at what Chris and I discussed yesterday, here, exactly the same.

"Couldn't we just say Natural Selection has favored those who oppose SSM for whatever reasons (and thus happen to have more descendants and stronger cultural support) and be done with it? Maybe cultures who reject SSM are simply more fit than others?"
This is worse than a simple non-sequitur, that's a horrible way to come about morality, ethics, laws, and an indirect comment on how non-believers must be immoral. 'Natural' does not equal 'Acceptable' and, ironically, that's actually the most basic and simplistic argument against SSM used by homophobes: it's not natural. But Naturalists don't claim that... just like any other human beings, their morality come from many sources and a thought process that acknowledges our humanity, not just the fact that we evolved...

B. Prokop said...

"But most of your examples, I hope, were about more than just doctrine?"

Nope. (I'm assuming you're referring to the list of martyrs I provided.) I actually handpicked that list to restrict it to those who quite specifically were willing to die for doctrine. Doctrine is worth dying for - something the Cal's of this world cannot fathom. Which is why they will lose in the end. There are some hills worth dying on, some battlefields where the cry must be, "¡No pasaran!" These include the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, and the integrity of marriage.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

Yep that's exactly what I was referring to, and you are right I cannot fathom it. It's insane to me to defend doctrines just because it's doctrine!

B. Prokop said...

Please keep in mind that doctrine is worth dying for - never killing for. But yes, if pressed to that extremity (as are so many in the territories ruled by ISIS are today), I personally would willingly die for even a single clause of the Nicene Creed.

And it's not "just because it's doctrine" - it's because it is (despite how politically incorrect it is to say so) the "saving truth". The Gospel is worth more than everything else in the universe combined. Everything - all of our knowledge, all of our art, all of our wealth, everything we've ever invented or built or otherwise labored over, and everything that has never felt the hand of Man or been subject to his gaze. All the stars and galaxies and the space between them. They all count for nothing compared to what you label "just doctrine".

Allow that to sink in, and you'll see why the Cal's of this world will never conquer.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

There's nothing to let sink in... it's absurd, ridiculous, crazy, senseless, irrational, and potentially dangerous. Letting go of your own ability to process what's right or wrong, true or false, because of some unquestionable doctrine leads only to incoherence, ignorance and intolerance. It's not a path to truth; it's a delusional view that truth is already on one's side, regardless of any new evidence. It's an abdication of your own thinking faculties, a submission to the ideas of our predecessors who may had great things to say, but nothing we should refuse to question.

B. Prokop said...

"unquestionable"

Now whoever said that? Certainly not me! That's all in the fevered imaginations of those who do not understand. The Catholic Faith has a long and distinguished history of questioners: Augustine, Aquinas, Pope John XXIII, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Ignatius, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, G.K. Chesterton, Dante, Georges Lemaitre, Pope Francis...

Do you really think that a single one of those I just listed, plus the countless thousands of others I could have added, "abdicated their thinking facilities"? And if you even suspect that, I strenuously and urgently suggest you read up on them. It would disabuse you of such (to be perfectly blunt, ignorant) nonsense quickly. What a caricature of the Faith you have in your mind!

Start with Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain. It just might turn your world upside down.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

Right, as if everything was questionable... what a caricature of reality you have in your mind. And yes, they certainly check out their thinking abilities when it comes to certain topics. You do so when you write ridiculous things such as "sanctity of life from conception" which flies in the face of what we know about human reproduction, precisely because of your existing doctrine.

B. Prokop said...

"You [check out your thinking abilities] when you write ridiculous things such as "sanctity of life from conception""

That statement just shows how unquestionably you assume things without investigating them. Crude and other long-time contributors to this site can testify that did not always hold to this view. In fact, for years, far from "unquestionably" adhering to some doctrine, I actively resisted this particular teaching, and even argued against it. (The internet, being eternal, still retains those long-repudiated comments.) It is precisely due to my questioning of the pro-abortion beliefs which I had practically unconsciously absorbed in my youth, and my long and diligent investigation of the issue (listening to and sympathizing with all sides of the debate), that I am now able to affirm the humanity of the pre-born child from the first moments of its existence.

Hmm... That seems to me to be the very opposite of "unquestioning". No, you can't pin this one on "existing doctrine".

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

Great, I am glad to hear you do adjust your views! ...even if it's in the wrong direction.
I will adjust mine, regarding not questioning your doctrine, and move on.

Victor Reppert said...

I think we are in trouble if we think that we can infer from the fact that someone holds a view based on a religious conviction, it must therefore be an uncritical and irrational belief, and therefore we have the right to deputize the government to punish you if you try to act on it. This kind of "mind-virus" thinking concerning one's opponents is precisely what is going to turn the atheist movement in a totalitarian direction. I'm not going to argue that atheism always leads to totalitarianism, but well-intentioned anti-religious philosophies have produced the worst forms of totalitarianism the world has ever seen. How does this happen? It happens because people think there is a right answer to the world's problems, and to get us to the end, any means is justified.

The simple fact is that there are people at the top of every major academic field, from theoretical physics, to evolutionary biology, to philosophy, who are serious, orthodox Christians. These are people who think very hard about these issues, and come out where they come out. They are not going away, and they are not going to go away in response to anti-Christian bullying. Simplistic ways of explaining them away won't wash. If they are mistaken, the explanation for their error is more complex than the simplistic answers I am used to (and tired of hearing) from atheists.

Religious freedom is foundational to our country. People are going to disagree about religion, and we have to find a way to deal with it. Gay marriage? Maybe. But, oh, that's not enough. We have to protect gay people from anyone expressing openly the idea that they might not be doing the right thing before God, and therefore they are unable to produce speech congratulating them for doing what they are doing.

You can tell me that the deity I worship is "the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” and that's not hate speech. You can say that biology instructors who teach intelligent design should be fired from their jobs. But we have to punish people who won't do wedding photographers for a gay wedding when the couple can go right across the street and find a photographer who will? Ohhh, that's discrimination, you're just like George Wallace and Lester Maddox.

You're kidding. No?

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor said:
"someone holds a view based on a religious conviction, it must therefore be an uncritical and irrational belief..."
Not always, that's true. Religious convictions range from the most benign to the most serious, and from the undisputable to the easily rejected.

"...and therefore we have the right to deputize the government to punish you if you try to act on it."
Again, not always, that's true, but some convictions do lead to actions that should be punish, regardless of the religious connotation.

"This kind of "mind-virus" thinking concerning one's opponents is precisely what is going to turn the atheist movement in a totalitarian direction."
No link between these 2 things. There is definitely a form of "mind-virus" that infects the religious crowd, again with different level of implications, from crazy brain-washed sects who commit mass suicide with their children, to benign "mind-virus" beliefs that people hold as true since childhood despite the evidence.

"well-intentioned anti-religious philosophies have produced the worst forms of totalitarianism"
Absolutely, just like well-intentioned religious philosophies tear families, or entire societies, apart. This has no influence on the truths of the protagonists' beliefs.

"...who are serious, orthodox Christians. These are people who think very hard about these issues, and come out where they come out."
It does not mean they think 'very hard' about the religious issues though. Look at people like Ben Carson and his ridiculous views on Evolution, Pyramids, Homosexuality... A great example of a smart brain surgeon being completely stupid on other issues.

"They are not going away, and they are not going to go away in response to anti-Christian bullying."
Bullying 'people' is certainly wrong, but we also hear whining about bullying of "ideas", which is a completely different thing. Christians have no intrinsic right to not be criticized for what they believe.

Hugo Pelland said...

"But, oh, that's not enough. We have to protect gay people from anyone expressing openly the idea that they might not be doing the right thing before God"
Things are not always 'black or white'. With LGBT rights we have at least 3 categories, probably more: (1) anti-LGBT-rights (always religious?), (2) PC-pro-LGBT and (3) non-PC-pro-LGBT. The 'PC' crowd is what you are having an issue with; they took the next steps after gay marriage rights to try to silence opponents in the name of political correctness, they are the ones who want safe space on campus and cause the "coddling of the American mind". Non-PC don't give a fuck about what you think; just don't try to impose your views on others, and if you think you have something that everyone should adhere to, you better have good reasons to defend that idea other than 'my religious doctrine says so'.

"You can tell me that the deity I worship is "[...]” and that's not hate speech."
Of course it's not, regardless of the content of the [...] which was too long to quote anyway. Hate speech would be to incite violence against you, personally or as a group, because of your beliefs. Makes me wonder whether you think that this 'could' be seen as hate speech?

"You can say that biology instructors who teach intelligent design should be fired from their jobs"
Yes, they should; science classes are for science. If they believe in it but don't teach it, different story.

"But we have to punish people who won't do wedding photographers for a gay wedding when the couple can go right across the street and find a photographer who will?"
It's stupid to punish people for that, yes, but most of us also don't want to live in a society where the majority can constantly bully minorities. There is no perfect way to balance these 2 things. Again, it's not all black and white. Only religions teach that this is how things work...

Cal Metzger said...

Reppert: "You can tell me that the deity I worship is "the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” and that's not hate speech."

Whatever hate speech is, that's not prohibited. Nor should it be. If you think that your religious beliefs need to be protected from (deserved, in this case) ridicule, then you align yourself with totalitarian regimes and the likes of ISIS. Is that the crowd you want to stand with?

Reppert: "You can say that biology instructors who teach intelligent design should be fired from their jobs."

Um, yeah. Because if your job is to teach biology, intelligent design has no place. Neither does, alchemy, or astrology, or scientology. But you think it does, because, Religion!

Reppert: "But we have to punish people who won't do wedding photographers for a gay wedding when the couple can go right across the street and find a photographer who will?"

This is like saying, "But we have to punish people who won't pay their taxes when the society can go right across the street and demand taxes from someone who will?"

Reppert: "I think we are in trouble if we think that we can infer from the fact that someone holds a view based on a religious conviction, it must therefore be an uncritical and irrational belief, and therefore we have the right to deputize the government to punish you if you try to act on it."

Stop being so histrionic. The problem isn't that belief is based on a religious conviction. The problem is beliefs that have no support outside religion. If you want to be taken seriously in our modern society, make your case, but stop whining about your religion needing special privileges, and defend it like the rest of us defend our beliefs.




Victor Reppert said...

I don't see anything wrong with criticizing my religious views. Trying to marginalize them, that's another matter.

Hugo Pelland said...

Well, they are marginalized, and should be. Your religious views are completely insignificant when it comes to addressing the real world we live in. If I am in front of a Hindu, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and an Atheist, why on Earth would I care about any specifics of their religion, or lack thereof, if we were to discus something, anything actually, except the religion itself or some specific demand because of the religion?

Victor Reppert said...

I think Dawkins has the right to ridicule my belief if he wants to. If Phil Robertson wants to ridicule gays, he has the right to. It doesn't mean that either action is socially productive.

Victor Reppert said...

The leading figures in these fields have given serious consideration to their beliefs, and have defended them in detail, in print.

Cal Metzger said...

Reppert; "I don't see anything wrong with criticizing my religious views. Trying to marginalize them, that's another matter."

But your religious beliefs are ridiculous. Demanding that others treat them not marginalize them because.... is special pleading. No thank you.

Reppert: "I think Dawkins has the right to ridicule my belief if he wants to."

I agree.

Reppert: "If Phil Robertson wants to ridicule gays, he has the right to."

I think people are worthy of respect. Ideas are fair game. Do you disagree?

Reppert: "It doesn't mean that either action is socially productive."

Ridiculing ideas is highly effective -- it is one of the more efficient ways to get people to abandon harmful and unfounded ideas. Ridiculing people just makes you look like an asshat.

Reppert: "The leading figures in these fields have given serious consideration to their beliefs, and have defended them in detail, in print."

The leading fashion designers in their fields have given serious consideration to the emperor's clothes, and have defended them in detail, in print.




Mr. Green said...

Victor Reppert: But the traditional view says that same-sex couples violate a divine command.

No, the traditional view says that it violates a natural “command”. Crude already said that, but it’s worth repeating because this is a fundamental misunderstanding in what marriage is all about. The idea that’s been foisted on us that somehow marriage is something floating free of human nature of course undermines any possibility of defending it. And leads to the anti-science nonsense about two men or two women being “just like” the pairing of a man and a woman.


Crude: The idea that 'same-sex marriage only affects the married couple' was never true.

Of course; and we don’t even need to go as far as the persecution to see that. As you just pointed out, it’s a cultural and societal matter, so by its very nature it affects everyone who is part of society. (Here’s a hint: you don’t need to make a federal case, literally, over something that “has no effect on anyone else”. We don’t pass (or arbitrarily “redefine”) laws for things that have no effect on anyone.)

Hugo Pelland said...

Green said:
"it’s a cultural and societal matter, so by its very nature it affects everyone who is part of society. (Here’s a hint: you don’t need to make a federal case, literally, over something that “has no effect on anyone else”. We don’t pass (or arbitrarily “redefine”) laws for things that have no effect on anyone.)"

The law has nothing to do with the culture in this case. You are still free to yell 'fags!' at a gay couple holding hands, or stop talking to a relative you used to like but found out was gay. Others are free to throw insults back at you for your ignorant intolerant views.

The law was fixed so that gay couples are not disadvantaged by specifying the gender of the 2 people involved in a legal contract. There is no impact on heterosexual couples who were already equal under the law, regardless of their race, age, religion, intention to have kids, etc...

Cultural acceptance of a phenomenon has never been perfectly in synch with the law, be it women's rights, gay rights, civil (race) rights, animal rights, children'a rights, etc... so the SCOTUS decidinin this case is no different. And again, any wrongful persecution of homophobic Christians is outside of the law.

Mr. Green said...

Pelland: The law has nothing to do with the culture in this case.

Sure, that’s the problem: the “redefined” law has become unmoored from the culture that gives it meaning in the first place. A mere fiat of “might makes right”.

You are still free to yell 'fags!' at a gay couple [etc.]

Curious that your immediate reaction is to portray anyone who might disagree with you in such a negative way. I hope that you are simply trying to be a smart-aleck and that isn’t how you really view the world.

The law was fixed so that gay couples are not disadvantaged by specifying the gender of the 2 people involved in a legal contract. There is no impact on heterosexual couples who were already equal under the law, regardless of their race, age, religion, intention to have kids, etc…

Of course there is an effect, unless you mean to exclude those people from society completely. But it’s really interesting that you say the law was “fixed”, which entails that there is a way it is supposed to be, a certain “natural state” it ought to live up to. This is of course just what traditional advocates claim, whereas you have been defending the view that it should be arbitrarily left up to individuals.

Cultural acceptance of a phenomenon has never been perfectly in synch with the law

That isn’t the argument.


how each type of couple can have children; but both can, and not all heterosexual couples can have them the traditional way

Er, I can guarantee that any children wherever they are were had in the “traditional” way: a male father who begot the child, and a female mother who bore it. This is consensus-science here, all the biologists agree.

so they are just like gay couples in such case.

“Just like”? Well, when a man and a woman cannot produce children, it means something is wrong with one or both of them. Some disease or injury or deformity, something that impairs the ability of normal healthy adult humans to engage in reproduction, whatever the cause may be. I’ve heard people make the claim that a same-sex couple is “just like” the dysfunctional two-sex couple, but nobody can ever tell me what’s wrong with the former. If they are “just the same”, then they must also be damaged or disordered in some way too. Perhaps you can finally be the one to tell me: what’s defective about the same-sex couple?

Mr. Green said...

Cal Metzger: Demanding that others treat them not marginalize them because.... is special pleading.

I think you may be unfamiliar with what “special pleading” means.

Ridiculing ideas is highly effective -- it is one of the more efficient ways to get people to abandon harmful and unfounded ideas.

Not really. Sometimes it works, for some people; and it doesn’t distinguish between “unfounded” ideas and good ones. Personally, I prefer to rely on facts and reason to change someone’s mind instead of bullying.

The leading fashion designers in their fields have given serious consideration to the emperor's clothes, and have defended them in detail, in print.

I think you may be unfamiliar with what the actual story was about.

Cal Metzger said...

Cal Metzger: "Demanding that others treat them not marginalize them because.... is special pleading."
Green: "I think you may be unfamiliar with what “special pleading” means."

I think you may be unable to imagine the many ways that ellipsis is often filled in.

Me: "Ridiculing ideas is highly effective -- it is one of the more efficient ways to get people to abandon harmful and unfounded ideas."
Green: "Not really. Sometimes it works, for some people; and it doesn’t distinguish between “unfounded” ideas and good ones. Personally, I prefer to rely on facts and reason to change someone’s mind instead of bullying."

That sounds good. But it's not really true. For one, facts and reasons are very often not enough to get someone to abandon false beliefs, and that's because (surprise!) people often adopt beliefs for reasons other than facts and reasoning. They also adopt false beliefs for social reasons. And ridicule can serve a valuable purpose by stripping away the social benefits that are otherwise the only thing supporting a false belief.

Me: "The leading fashion designers in their fields have given serious consideration to the emperor's clothes, and have defended them in detail, in print."
Green: "I think you may be unfamiliar with what the actual story was about."

This is quite rich.

Hugo Pelland said...

Mr. Green,
" Pelland: The law has nothing to do with the culture in this case.
Sure, that’s the problem: the “redefined” law has become unmoored from the culture that gives it meaning in the first place
"
It's not a problem; it's a fact related to the situation. The legal aspects of marriage, under the law, have nothing to do with culture, even if it is indeed a consequence of the cultural/religious/personal practice known as 'marriage'. Honestly, a lot of issues would have never been raised if the government were to use different words such as 'civil union', or '2-person life-sharing contract', and never mentioned 'marriage' anywhere...

" "You are still free to yell 'fags!' at a gay couple [etc.]"
Curious that your immediate reaction is to portray anyone who might disagree with you in such a negative way. I hope that you are simply trying to be a smart-aleck and that isn’t how you really view the world
"
I don't think you got the point; my views are both more positive and more negative than you might think. Let me explain:
- In theory, we could have 'Person A' who hates gays and yell 'fags!' at them, but still think their legal rights should be equal. - And most people, let's say 'Person B' group, who disagree with same-sex marriage say that they don't hate them, would never yell 'fags!'; they just don't agree with the government sanctioning their unions.

Therefore, my view is that 'Person B' is actually much worse than hypothetical 'Person A'. The politeness hides a view that's really damaging to gay couples in a real meaningful, and legal, way. So yes, I absolutely do portrait anyone who disagrees with me on this legal issue very negatively, more than you probably thought. But I also recognize that, in reality, people who yell 'fags!' are also against same-sex marriage and, thankfully, not a majority of the anti-SSM crowd. Most people are polite and have genuinely good intentions; but I still see their position as completely irrational, damaging to others, and thus much worse than someone who would just yell insults, but without caring about the legal aspects.

Hugo Pelland said...

" Of course there is an effect, unless you mean to exclude those people from society completely. "
What's the effect on heterosexual couples? How are they excluded from anything by including more people under marriage laws?

"But it’s really interesting that you say the law was “fixed”, which entails that there is a way it is supposed to be, a certain “natural state” it ought to live up to. This is of course just what traditional advocates claim, whereas you have been defending the view that it should be arbitrarily left up to individuals."
This has nothing to do with my comments so I am not sure if we simply disagree, or if you misunderstood my position. I explained in great details why the law was wrong in another thread on this blog, so it's getting a bit tiring to repeat... but, in short, yes the law needed to be 'fixed' because it included the notion of 'gender' in its definition, for no reason.

" Cultural acceptance of a phenomenon has never been perfectly in synch with the law
That isn’t the argument.
"
Exactly my point! It is not an argument, yet it is the only argument that opponents to SSM have. There is no cultural-neutral definition of marriage that would work, under the law, with gender being specified. It's only because of the cultural attachment to man-woman marriage that SSM opponents want their cultural definition to be used instead of a fair gender-neutral, cultural-neutral, definition for 2-people legal contracts.

" Er, I can guarantee that any children wherever they are were had in the “traditional” way: a male father who begot the child, and a female mother who bore it. This is consensus-science here, all the biologists agree."
Again, you missed the point I think, and it's another thing we discussed at length recently... heterosexual couples are not asked to produce proof of fertility being getting married, nor do they need to promise to have children. Therefore, including references to children is meaningless. Both hetero and homo-sexual couples can have a family with children through adoption, regardless of them being married.

"Perhaps you can finally be the one to tell me: what’s defective about the same-sex couple?"
Their sexual orientation is not normal; just like being left handed is not normal. I don't think 'defective' is the right word in either case, for the same reason.

Mr. Green said...

Cal Metzger: I think you may be unable to imagine the many ways that ellipsis is often filled in.

Ah, it was an imaginary retort. Gotcha.

That sounds good. But it's not really true.

I think I have a better idea than you whether I prefer reason to bullying, so yes, it is true. Nobody said people don’t sometimes adopt beliefs for other reasons, but unless you think the ends justify the means that doesn’t defend bullying.

This is quite rich.

No, but it struck me it fit the pattern of those who like to criticise (or bully) without understanding that which they criticise.

Mr. Green said...

Hugo Pelland: The politeness hides a view that's really damaging to gay couples in a real meaningful, and legal, way.

Interpersonal relationships are more important than you seem to think. I also note that you consider merely holding a view “damaging”, whereas actually imposing the opposite position supposedly no effects (which was already pointed out to be false).

yet it is the only argument that opponents to SSM have.

That’s blatantly false — you yourself have repeatedly given a different argument that you think they use, even though it is just as false. (Nobody ever offered “Because I don’t like it” as the reason.)

yes the law needed to be 'fixed' because it included the notion of 'gender' in its definition, for no reason.

You can’t get “fixing” out of that, and I’ve already pointed out that of course there is a reason: matrimony inherently is related to having children — it’s right there in the name matrimony, from the Latin mater, “mother”. The ancient Greeks and Romans had various legal duties related to raising families. An inability to have children did rule out marriage in the Church, and still does. (On a technicality, a small number of couples only discover after the fact that they may not be able to bear children, but you couldn’t tell that by looking at them. You can tell that two people of the same sex cannot bear children just by looking at them.) And did you ever hear of that little fuss with Henry VIII? “Consummating a marriage” was not only necessary by Church law but by civil law. We’re not talking about whether you like the facts or not, this is just simple history.

The legal aspects of marriage, under the law, have nothing to do with culture, even if it is indeed a consequence of the cultural/religious/personal practice known as 'marriage’. Honestly, a lot of issues would have never been raised if the government were to use different words

Of course law has to do with culture, it is not an arbitrary free-floating imposition of power. Or at least, it didn’t use to be. But despite being so unlike marriage, certain people are for some strange reason dead-set on calling this new thing “marriage” anyway.

Their sexual orientation is not normal; just like being left handed is not normal. I don't think 'defective' is the right word in either case, for the same reason.

You are apparently using “normal” to mean “statistically prevalent”, but infertile couples are not merely a minority, they are broken in some way. They are lacking the ability to do something that healthy adults males and females should be able to do. “Defective” is exactly the right word, from Latin de + facio, “to do”, meaning there’s something they cannot do. Some couples even spend tremendous amounts of money seeking medical help to remedy their lack. It’s a flaw, a deficiency, and you said same-sex couples are “just like” them, so what is their flaw, their deficiency?

Cal Metzger said...

Cal Metzger: I think you may be unable to imagine the many ways that ellipsis is often filled in.
Green: "Ah, it was an imaginary retort. Gotcha."

Close. You said that you didn't think I knew what special pleading meant. In order to think that, you had to fill in the ellipsis with what you imagined (not what I meant to convey -- that the ellipsis could be filled with the usual suspects of special pleading offered by apologists). So, it was your "gotcha" that was imagined.

Cal Metzger: "That sounds good. But it's not really true."
Green: "I think I have a better idea than you whether I prefer reason to bullying, so yes, it is true. Nobody said people don’t sometimes adopt beliefs for other reasons, but unless you think the ends justify the means that doesn’t defend bullying."

I took your earlier comment to mean that you thought ridicule was largely ineffective, and that facts are reasoning are all that is needed to persuade. I pointed out that this is often not true.

One thing I think is rather funny about your comment above (et al.) is that you have appeared here with a snide and condescending tone at the same time you want to lecture me on the ineffectiveness of using a snide and condescending tone. Um, something's gotta give. Could it be that you don't really agree with the strict approach you're insisting is all that is needed?

Green: "Green: "I think you may be unfamiliar with what [The Emperor's New Clothes] was about."
Metzger: "This is quite rich."
Green: "No, but it struck me it fit the pattern of those who like to criticise (or bully) without understanding that which they criticise."

My retort pointed out that, like the comment of Victor's I parodied, it appears you would rather feign a superior understanding as a means of diverting attention away from the facts. You have done nothing here to make me think otherwise.

Mr. Green said...

Cal Metzger:not what I meant to convey -- that the ellipsis could be filled with the usual suspects of special pleading offered by apologists

Oh, so I was right: it was an imaginary response not to what Victor said, but about what someone somewhere hypothetically could be imagined saying.

you have appeared here with a snide and condescending tone at the same time you want to lecture me on the ineffectiveness of using a snide and condescending tone. Um, something's gotta give.

That would only follow if I thought that some mild sarcasm would make you change your mind and that that would be a good thing. So the only thing that has to give is your imagining that I think that.

it appears you would rather feign a superior understanding as a means of diverting attention away from the facts.

Since I am familiar with the story, I don't know what I'm supposed to be feigning, but trying to ignore the facts is the anti-intellectual position I was disdaining.

Cal Metzger said...

Green: "Oh, so I was right: it was an imaginary response not to what Victor said, but about what someone somewhere hypothetically could be imagined saying."

No. Victor wrote (I did not imagine this, and you can check for yourself above): "The leading figures in these fields have given serious consideration to their beliefs, and have defended them in detail, in print."

As I pointed out, Victor's statement can easily be lampooned as one of many cases of special pleading, because people giving serious consideration to a belief (even in print!) is hardly something that we'd all accept as sufficient demonstration. Thus, putting that argument forward in favor of your belief (the truthfulness and intellectual validity of Christianity) is an example of special pleading because Victor et al. wouldn't accept this same argument for Islam, e.g.

See? No imagination necessary. No hypothetical required. Simple, old fashioned reading comprehension, based on the discussion following this post and some background knowledge. And yet you appear so eager to pick a fight that you'd rather be shown to be obviously wrong, over and over like this, rather than admit that you just look kind of foolish.

Green: "That would only follow if I thought that some mild sarcasm would make you change your mind and that that would be a good thing. So the only thing that has to give is your imagining that I think that."

But I don't have to imagine what you think; you already told me what you think. You wrote: "Personally, I prefer to rely on facts and reason to change someone’s mind instead of bullying."

I have just pointed out that what you think (according to you, not my imagination) is in conflict with what you have done here.

Ball yourself up much?

Mr. Green said...

Cal Metzger: Thus, putting that argument forward in favor of your belief (the truthfulness and intellectual validity of Christianity)

But that is not what it's an argument for, obviously, and of course Victor never claimed or even suggested that it was. It's only part of a different argument, and even if — despite numerous postings of his that clearly disqualify such an interpretation — you assumed that was what he meant, what it actually might amount to would be some sort of fallacy of authority.

I have just pointed out that what you think (according to you, not my imagination) is in conflict with what you have done here.

And again, not only does that not follow from what I said, it doesn't even follow from what you said. To draw such a conclusion you have to ignore the reasons I've given, and ignore the very point I corrected you on in the last post, and invent a premise that I can never do anything that isn't arguing for — oh, you know, instead of getting perplexed at how you can commit such elementary logical errors, I should remember that you seem to think ridicule is more effective than reason, so the more charitable reading is not that you cannot reason logically, but that you aren't trying to. So go ahead and have the last word, you can fill it with as much irrational snark as you like.