Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gay Marriage Activists Undermine Their Own Cause

There's a lot of interesting commentary tonight on the gay marriage debate.

Andrew Sullivan has new, windblown essay that is positively infuriating, frankly: "Modernity, Faith, And Marriage" (Pete Abel's got
the link if you want it):

If conservatism is to recover as a force in the modern world, the theocons and Christianists have to understand that their concept of a unified polis with a telos guiding all of us to a theologically-understood social good is a non-starter. Modernity has smashed it into a million little pieces. Women will never return in their consciousness to the child-bearing subservience of the not-so-distant past. Gay people will never again internalize a sense of their own "objective disorder" to acquiesce to a civil regime where they are willingly second-class citizens. Straight men and women are never again going to avoid divorce to the degree our parents did. Nor are they going to have kids because contraception is illicit. The only way to force all these genies back into the bottle would require the kind of oppressive police state Rod would not want to live under.
"Rod" is Rod Dreher, to whom Sullivan is responding. I want to comment on Dreher's piece in a later post.

What I find interesting and problematic is Sullivan's declaration of the death of conservatism by nothing other than fiat: His argument is a sophisticated version of the temper tantrum-demonstrations we've seen following the passage of Proposition 8 on November 4th.

Sullivan's assumption, stated in his "never again" declamations, is that success of the gay marriage movement is inevitable. The position, of course, is not only intellectually dishonest, but is radical secular propaganda: This idea of a teleological endpoint, of course, is the universal good of God's grace over mankind. To argue that conservatives must abandon that is like saying that a heart must stop beating. Sullivan appeals to death, because he can't argue straight to existential values, for he reject morals if that suits his utility-maximizing purpose.

Sullivan also can't make up his mind, for example, where tonight he says:
I have nothing against the voluntary and peaceful activities of any religious group, and regard these organizations as some of the greatest strengths of America.
But recall what he said just the other day, of the Mormon Church, which provided financial backing for Proposition 8:

... when they use their money and power to target my family, to break it up, to demean it and marginalize it, to strip me and my husband of our civil rights, then they have started a war.
Sullivan's a gasbag, frankly, and he's torn between sinister poles of outward belligerence and surreptitious persuasion.

I'll have more on this later, at least because of Sullivan's delusions of victory (recall that three states passed initiatives confirming marriage as between one man and one woman, so all this talk of inevitability is itself unhinged from fact).

In the meanwhile, readers should read
this essay from Lucy Caldwell at the Harvard Crimson (alternative link here):

The push for same-sex marriage is a rally for additional rights. While this characterization of the movement strikes most gay rights activists as harsh, it is a useful distinction to be made when devising ways to advance the cause effectively. Yet gay rights advocates have not taken the appropriate cues from their defeats earlier this month, as reflected in their continued ignorance of their opponents’ thoughts and motives. They seem unable to face that democracy has spoken, and it has said “no” on same-sex marriage.

One major problem with the gay rights movement is that it simultaneously champions democratic government and rejects it. The movement views marriage as a civic institution rather than a religious one (this is one distinction between marriages and civil unions), but only so long as government functions from a pro-gay marriage position. Once the cogs of government have turned to an anti-gay marriage slant, gay rights activists cease to be tolerant of the democratic process. Cue the banners decrying opponents as hateful and intolerant. Is this unfortunate divide what activists seek? Certainly that sort of culture of separatist intolerance is what arises when advocates take this approach.
And it is this very same-marriage authoritarianism that dooms the movement for the near future (who knows what happens in the long term?).

Sullivan's already noted this, but he's now changing his tune, blowing off the movement's violence and intimidation as aberrations, as part of his cognitive dissonance.

I can't say I'm as optimistic as Ms. Caldwell, especially with an activist judiciary caving to the radical secular humanist agenda. But given the outrageous behavior of the gay marriage H8ers so far, there's certainly a strong possibility of a crushing implosion on the activist left.


Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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repsac3 said...

More from Sullivan's piece:

"The reason the marriage debate is so intense is because neither side seems able to accept that the word "marriage" requires a certain looseness of meaning if it is to remain as a universal, civil institution. This is not that new. Catholics, for example, accept the word marriage to describe civil marriages that are second marriages, even though their own faith teaches them that those marriages don't actually exist as such. But most Catholics are able to set theological beliefs to one side and accept a theological untruth as a civil fact. After all, a core, undebatable Catholic doctrine is that marriage is for life. Divorce is not the end of that marriage in the eyes of God. And yet Catholics can tolerate fellow citizens who are not Catholic calling their non-marriages marriages - because Catholics have already accepted a civil-religious distinction. They can wear both hats in the public square."

While I fully expect that Grace will be intellectually honest in her belief that Christianity is the defining characteristic of marriage, and as such, there is no such thing as "divorce" or "second marriage," (or that those who stand before a judge or ship captain aren't "really" married, either), I wonder whether the rest of you would agree or disagree that there is (or should be) a difference between marriage under God & marriage under law? (& if not, are you prepared to vote for a proposition banning divorce or second marriage, both of which violate God's definition of marriage, as well?)

Trish said...

The key here is what Ms Caldwell said "One major problem with the gay rights movement is that it simultaneously champions democratic government and rejects it."

What part of No did they miss? The vote is in, and they ought to be getting together and planning how to get it on the ballot again next election, then getting out to the people and convincing them that they deserve to have their right to marry.
But no, it's not about that apparently. It's about shoving their lifestyle down the throats of average Christian (and non-Christian)folks, who do not believe in it. It's about acting like bad tempered children, and in lots of case, downright thugs.

I have no sympathy for them any longer. Vote is in, now take it, just like we have to take Obama's election.
Not the outcome we wanted either, but the people voted and we are a democracy. End of story.

repsac3 said...

That isn't the way it works, Trish. Here in the US we cannot vote to give or take away inalienable rights from any group of citizens, because if we allowed such a thing, there'd be no saying what group might be next, or whether you or yours might be a part of it. Constitutional guarantees are there to prevent a tyranny of the majority over the minority.

As conservatives are often fond of reminding we liberals, America is not a Democracy, but a Constitutional Republic, and as such, the mob doesn't always get to rule.

No one can force another to participate in, believe in, or even accept another's lifestyle. Neither those who believe the gay (or the divorced/remarried) lifestyle is a sin or those who don't should have any effect on the lives of those on the other side of the argument. While you can rail against those who do not share your own views, perhaps it'd be better to enjoy your own relationships according to your morals & standards, and leave them to enjoy theirs according to their beliefs. If you believe that God will punish the sinful behavior of those who are gay or who divorce &/or get involved in a second (or worse) marriage, why do you feel the need to help Him by punishing those same behaviors here on earth?

shoprat said...

I used to respect him until he snapped his cap over DOMA. His sexuality trumps all else and is the beginning and end of his thinking.

Secondly the Constitution says nothing sexual freedom thus there is no point in appealing to it and using the equal protection clause here is a long stretch because it is limited to protecting only the rights enumerated in the Constitution and sexual freedom is not there.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Gayle said...

Everyone has already said pretty much all there is to say, Donald. So all I will say is "God bless you."

Trish said...

BS Repsac3.
Gay marriage is not an "inalienable" right, fer chrissakes. So no one is taking it away, despite the mayor of San Fran allowing them.
However I repeat, this proposition was on the ballot, and the people of the state of California voted to retain marriage between men & women. Someone had to have lobbied to include the Prop. I hardly call this "mob rule".
For the time being, no same sex marriage allowed.
If gays are honest and only really want to get married, they can go to MA or CT and get married there.

Geez, is this that difficult to follow?

AmPowerBlog said...

Trish: Repsac's deluded himself into believing that gay marriage is an inalienable right. Unfortunately, your rational powers won't bring back from the postmodern netherworld.

Trish said...

Thanks for pointing that out Don, sometimes you just gotta knock some sense into this ol' girl..

repsac3 said...

The inalienable right isn't to marriage, gay or straight, but to equal treatment under the law. We here in America don't single out a group of citizens with laws that apply exclusively to them.

If homosexuals could legally marry on 11/3/08, and cannot legally marry now, they did lose the right to do so, no matter how you choose to spin it.
In fact, a quick look at the title of the ballot measure puts the lie to any claim that there is no such right. "The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." I'd think that it'd be hard to sustain the claim that there never was any such right, given the title put on the measure... ...but it shouldn't stop you folks from tryin' I suppose...

The fact that homosexuals have to go to specific states to marry, and that even those marriages are not subject to the same constitutional "full faith & credit clause" that yours and mine are, and thus are not legally recognized outside of those states, is itself proof that whether you call them civil marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships, they are not treated the same under US law as heterosexual civil or religious marriages.

Right Truth said...

Legalizing gay marriage goes against basically ALL religions and is just wrong. I have nothing against equal legal rights/benefits for gay partners like insurance, property ownership, etc. But legal marriage, no way. If I'm supposed to go against what I believe in order to get a president elected, then count me out.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

repsac3 said...

While there aren't many religious denominations in support of gay marriage, it'd be wrong to assume that ALL religions oppose it. Fer instance:

• United Church Of Christ (1.3 million members): The 25th biennial General Synod in July 2005 approved an "equal marriage rights for all" resolution, making it the first mainline Christian denomination to endorse gay marriage.

• Unitarian Universalist Association (158,000 members [including repsac3]): It passed a resolution in 1996 supporting the legal right to same-sex marriage and urging UUA congregations to bless such marriages.
• Metropolitan Community Church: The church, whose motto is "sexuality and spirituality rejoined," welcomes gays, lesbians, transgendered people and bisexuals and encourages the blessing of same-sex marriages.

•Reform Judaism (1.5 million members): Reform Judaism, the largest of the three main branches of Judaism in America, is the only one to officially allow same-sex commitment ceremonies. In 2000 the Central Conference of American Rabbis approved a "Resolution On Same Gender Officiation" allowing rabbis to officiate at gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies.
- ReligionLink - A guide to covering same-sex marriage debates

Other inclusive denominations include:
The Alliance of Baptists
And, Traditional Native American groups: In many aboriginal traditional faiths, homosexuals are held in high regard as having received a special blessing. They often became the shamans (healers) of the community. They are referred to as the berdache or 'two-spirited' people."

"equal legal rights/benefits for gay partners like insurance, property ownership, etc." is all many folks are asking for. They call it "marriage," because that's the term that most laws use when granting those legal rights & benefits. As long as gay couples who legally commit receive the same legal rights, benefits, and privileges as straight couples who legally commit, it really doesn't matter much what people call either commitment. (In truth, I believe that only religious ceremonies create marriages. If you're united by a judge, like I was, I'm fine with calling that a civil union, whatever the gender of the two participants.)

It may be that while Debbie & I disagree on the morality of gay marriage, we may be able to see eye to eye on allowing every citizen to enjoy their rights under US law.

AmPowerBlog said...

"The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

That's not much to hang your hat on, Reppy. Four justices of the court overturned the will of a 61 percent majority.

Besides, the 14th Amendement protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of arbitrary categories like race and gender, not behavior, like homosexual activity.

California already has the most extensive protections for gays, which include forcing private religious schools receiving state funding to accept homosexual students against their religious doctrines.

You've yet to make a good case for gay marriage. Citing ballot language or Mrs. Loving's not going to cut, Repmaster Crash

Tom the Redhunter said...

repsac3 wrote "Christianity is the defining characteristic of marriage, and as such, there is no such thing as "divorce" or "second marriage," "

er, nowhere in the Bible is divorce absolutely forbidden. Indeed, there are two Biblical grounds for divorce; marital unfaithfulness (Matt 5:31-32) and if the spouse is an unbeliever (1Cor 7:15). Further, second marriages are allowed (Matt 19:9, Deut 24:1-2 Ezra 9:1-2).

As for the denominations you cite as approving of gay marriage, let it be noted that none pay much attention to the Bible.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
repsac3 said...

Although God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), he allowed it in ancient times with few restrictions. Jesus restored the prohibition against divorce that had been in place before the Mosaic Law was delivered.

So yes, there are references to divorce & remarriage being allowed in the Old Testament.

Matthew 19:9: Separation, allowed, but not divorce: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. This verse has raised the question whether "the putting-away of the wife and the dissolution of the marriage bond were not allowed on account of adultery." 3 If this were an accurate interpretation of Verse 9, (or of Matthew 5:31-32) then these passages would be in contradiction with other statements by Paul, and by the authors of Mark and Luke. The consensus of Catholic theologians is that such an analysis would violate "the infallibility of the Apostolic teaching and the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture." 3 Thus, an alternative interpretation is required. The consensus is that this verse is referring to a marital separation, not a divorce. That is, the marriage bond remains in place. Although the husband and wife live separately, they are not free to remarry.

- Divorce, remarriage and annulment within the Roman Catholic Church

It does seem there are a variety of views, depending on denomination, but most I've read seem pretty clear about "what God has joined together, let no man put asunder" as being the overriding Christian belief on the subject, and then finds the loopholes. As I came from a Roman Catholic background, I confess to being unaware that other denominations had gotten so liberal as concerns divorce (& remarriage, in some cases.) Good for them.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Divorce (In Moral Theology)

As for the denominations you cite as approving of gay marriage, let it be noted that none pay much attention to the Bible.

I'd say it's closer to 50/50, but I was responding to Debbie, who talked about how no *religions* allowed gay marriage. (And I hope you're not suggesting that the ones who don't adhere to the Bible aren't "real" religions, or something...)

Grace: As I said above, I come from a Roman Catholic background, and the the Teachings, the Church, & the Pope are all pretty clear about divorce & remarriage. I was wrong to assume that other more conservative Christian denominations (or you) felt the same. In fact, I've come to believe that God does forgive all sins, which is among the reasons I no longer consider myself a Roman Catholic.

But that [divorce/remarriage] is a matter between Christians and God. It is a matter of conscience. And we, as Christians, are not to be the judges of the conscience of others even if we have a strict view and they say that by their own conviction they believe remarriage is permissible and sanctified by God.

That's how I feel about all these issues, including gay marriage. It isn't for me to judge the conscience of others, whatever their faith or lack of it. That is a matter between them & God. It certainly isn't a matter for the state to decide.

Another note from your comment. If you were married... to a person of the opposite sex... in front of a judge, you're married in the sight of God and He sanctifies the union. That's "marriage".

My great-aunt & uncle, as well as two of their three children would be glad to hear you say so... They refused to attend (& in the case of the the great aunt & uncle, even acknowledge afterward) my wedding, on the grounds that a priest did not perform the ceremony.

I don't buy into your belief that the US was, is, or ever should be a Christian nation. I don't believe that any of the laws of this land are or should be based on the word of God.

I do believe that marriage is a religious rite however, and that no state representative can perform a religious rite, even if God is in the room. (God is everywhere, but that doesn't mean He approves of every bar fight, bank robbery, or act of infidelity He witnesses.) Why would God approve of a civil ceremony to which He was not invited & in which His name is never invoked? Are the participants in civil ceremonies in effect choosing not to be "included" in Christ on this earth, choosing the path of the reprobate, rather than that of the elect? How is it that God would bless their unions regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of them, but not save their souls on that same basis?

It's whether God sanctifies the union that matters... and He doesn't need the state's approval..

I agree... But just as God has no need of the law of man to sanctify a religious union, the laws of man have no need of God to create a legal union. God's union and man's union, both of which are called marriage, (which is how we get into this mess in the first place, if you ask me) are two things separate & apart from one another.

While I do think that man ought to recognize any/every union sanctified by God, I would never presume to say that God must recognize or sanctify every union created by man. I'm surprised that you believe otherwise (at least until man creates homosexual unions, anyway... Which leads me to ask... Isn't God present in Massachusetts courtrooms, too?)

I'd reject the Government's documents at that point as unholy.

They always were unholy.

I cannot comment on the rest... I'm just left speechless...

Anonymous said...

".......Which leads me to ask... Isn't God present in Massachusetts courtrooms, too?)"

Now thats funny. I am trying to figure that out as well.

Anonymous said...

Leslie McFall has an interesting way to deal with the so-called exception clause in Matthew 19:9 that appears to allow for divorce and remarriage for marriage unfaithfulness.

He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall's paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.

I also wrote an article on all most popular reasons that people give for Divorce and Remarriage.