Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Gay War on Religion

Andrew Sullivan has gone off his rocking chair again this morning. I will quote in full without linking (to observe the general delinking policy on the right):

I strongly support civility in this struggle. Religious services and practices should be scrupulously respected. But when a church, like the Mormon church, makes a concerted effort to enter the public square and strip a small minority of basic civil rights, it is simply preposterous for them then to argue that the Mormon church cannot be criticized and protested because they are a religion. I have never done anything - nor would I do anything - to impede or restrict the civil rights of Mormons. I respect their right to freedom of conscience and religion. In fact, it is one of my strongest convictions. But 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. And I am not a pacifist.

I do not intend in any way to remove a single right from Mormons. I do intend to protest their imposition of their own religious dogma - that marriage is always between a man and a woman and it is eternal and will be replicated in heaven by the couple physically present - on civil rights protections vested in a civil constitution.

I should add that I dated a Mormon man for a few months a while back. What he told me about the LDS church's psychological warfare on their gay members, the brutality and viciousness and intolerance with which they attack and hound and police the gay children of Mormon families, would make anyone shudder.

They hounded my ex for having HIV and for being gay. They followed him secretly, outed him to his family and persecuted him for his illness. When he was diagnosed with HIV at Brigham Young, he had to run out of the college clinic to escape those who wanted to sequester and punish him. He died a few years ago. Most of his Mormon family didn't show up for his funeral. You want me to love these people? Let me say it's my Christian duty to try.

The Mormons are not unique in this persecution of their own gay folk. My own church has recently capitulated to bigotry in its own hiring practices, even as the Vatican is run by so many psychologically scarred gay men. But the Mormons are particularly vicious homophobes. Gay people are rendered invisible, their personhood erased in this church. The cruelty the Mormon church inflicts on its gay members is matched only by the Mormons' centuries-long demonization and hatred of black people. That African-Americans would seek common cause with a church that only recently still believed they were the product of Satan shows how profound homophobia can be. But this shared hatred can be exploited by the Hewitts and Romneys of this world. And what we have just witnessed is a trial run for much larger ambitions.

If we don't resist this now, we will not be able to resist it later.
Sullivan sees himself as some kind of elder statesman of the gay movement, writing from his nasty little perch at the Atlantic, a magazine whose reputation he's working steadily to destroy.

What he's good at is taking anecdotal experience and distributing those examples as not only honest truth, but as representative of some kind of hegemonic anti-gay bigotry.

But as the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday:

...the Mormon Church has a more tolerant stance on homosexuality than some evangelical groups. The church has pointedly declined to state that homosexuality is a choice. And it has cautioned against programs that purport to "cure" same-sex attraction, even though Mormon theology holds that marriage is a divine relationship between men and women that continues into the afterlife.
What we're seeing with gay activists is a campaign of anti-religious recrimination. It's a secular jihad against those of traditional values who are exercising their legitimate constitutional rights to influence the political process. Interesting, not only are leftists willing to resort to intimidation and violence against Mormons, they are generally igornant of church affairs as well.

One of the most common, and frankly stupid, arguments of the protesters is that since Mormons faced bigotry in their past, they should abandon their beliefs on the sanctity of divine heterosexual union in favor of homosexual license.

Ron Chusid really sums up how daft this meme is:

While they legally are calling for marriage to be between a man and a woman in California, many are perfectly willing to accept that marriage can be between a man and a woman, and a woman, and a woman, and even some under-aged girls in Utah. A group which has had their religious views of marriage limited by law would hopefully be above using the law to impose their religious views upon others.
The Mormon Church repudiated the practice of plural wives in an 1890 manifesto. I talk with many Mormon students in my classroom discussions on freedom of religion and in 9 years of teaching college I've never heard a single student defend the practice. Polygamy exists as a fringe cult movement and is not sanctioned by any official Mormon institution. Today, the Church in Utah has been experiencing some of its greatest public acceptance in history, following the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002, and the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

No, leftist gay actiivists hope to destroy the moral basis for traditionalists, to enact a civil religion of their own choosing.

That's what this is all about, as I've said before: a new culture war has erupted across America, one that is likely to define who we are as people in the 21st century.


Anonymous said...

There is no culture war other than the one chickenshit conservatives are trying to wage.
I haven't seen gays in tanks rolling over pictures of Jesus lately. Did I miss that?

"secular jihad"
So gay people are jihadists now?
Funny I always thought they were people with a particular sexual orientation, and that's all.

- Khe Sanh vet

Grizzly Mama said...

Did you see that video of the gays assaulting that little old lady because she had an opinion different than they? Next they'll claim that it is a civil right that everyone like and agree with them.

IMO, marrying a person who is the same sex is not a civil right. I'm really annoyed that they have decided to go that route - it's crap. As for the mormon church, they have a right to their own dogma and belief. A person has a right not to like that - so what?

shoprat said...

People voting according to their religious beliefs is not a theocracy. A theocracy only exists when the church authorities have either veto power or the power to force a decision on governing authorities and bypass the electoral process to do it.

If you consider Atheism to be a religion (as I do) you might argue that some of them are trying to set up what can be called, for lack of a better word, a secular theocracy where secular authorities have veto power over the electoral process.

Jan said...

They hounded Sullivan's ex 'for having HIV and being gay'..whether this is true, or not, we can't know for sure.

The fact that HIV and homosexuality seem to go hand-in-hand should be enough to convince anyone that someting is not right about it, and maybe should be avoided, aside from any moral reason...but in a magnanimous statement he says it is his Chiristian duty to try to love these people who object to all this immorality.

Here's the kicker, and it speaks volumes about who he really is, and the deluded way in which he thinks:

"But 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. And I am not a pacifist."

Sure sounds like he's ready to go to war--the war they, themselves, have declared.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Secular Theocracy. Well said, Shoprat. It would seem that O'Reilly was a little ahead of his time with his book "Culture Warrior." It's in full swing now.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Plessy v. Ferguson was correctly decided?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder of why neo-cons are being tossed out of office as we speak.

You have done enough damage with your massive deregulation, broze age morality, and your corporate welfare state.

I for one fully believe we are in a culture war. I'll wave to you across the battle lines!

Anonymous said...

The following are the definitions of a theocracy from several sources:
1). Government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
2). a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
3). A government ruled by or subject to religious authority.

Grizzly Mama
I do not advocate violence but there has been violence from the anti-gay marriage side as well. And marriage is not only a civil right but a moral one. However, a person can only realize this when their rights are removed.
“The rights of minorities do not depend upon the goodwill of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The rights of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions protect the rights of all citizens.”

Anonymous said...

So basically homosexuals are not the same humans we are, and while they live in the United States and are citizens, aren't entitled to the same rights as the others in this country? While we are taking away gay rights, why don't we just take away the rights of the African-Americans and go back to slavery.

That makes sense, right?

Bot said...

According to the New York Times, 90 percent of the abuse by Catholic priests was done by homosexuals. Homosexuals constituted 10 percent of the Catholic priests.

Do the math, that means that homosexuals abuse 81 times as frequently as do heterosexual priests. That's why the Catholic Church is sanitizing the Seminaries which were run by homosexuals, and attracted homosexuals.

Why should ANY government confer legitimacy to such a sordid lifestyle?

Anonymous said...

@bot The question that should be asked isn't "Why should ANY government confer legitimacy to such a sordid lifestyle?" it is WHY are priests abusing children. People will abuse children regardless of race, creed, gender, etc.

Is ignorance bliss for you?

shoprat said...

Anonymous People being persuaded how to vote by their religious beliefs fits none of your definitions.

Anonymous said...

Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The reason they got around this is because Prop 8 is an amendment to the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.

Prop 8 is respecting the views of the Mormons and other religions and is therefor in direct violation of Amendment I of the U.S. Constitution.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to post anonymous before. Hopefully this will work this time.
Actually, when people vote their religious beliefs actually does fit the definition: "form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler". The comments I hear about people who voted for Prop 8 was that "this is what God wants" or "its in the Bible". For these people, God is the supreme civil ruler.

With that kind of logic - Why should ANY government confer legitimacy to Catholicism?

Anonymous said...

Mr Douglas
You say "leftist gay activists hope to destroy the moral basis for traditionalists, to enact a civil religion of their own choosing."
I truly don't see how this is a true statement. People are fighting for rights for ALL people. Unfortunately, some people are fixated on a perceived threat to their way of life when none exists. However, Evangelicals have been trying to make this into a much larger issue. While I feel that some truly feel they are acting out of their convictions, they seem to fail how they are harming people. How exactly does gay marriage do anything but allow two people who love each other create a life together? It is legal and Canada and their country has not collapsed, heterosexuals are not leaving marriage in droves now that gay marriage is around. A comment that is often made is how to explain it to children? Well, tell them the truth. Children want direct answers - mainly asking questions out of curiosity.
I know many people, both straight and gay. Many of the gay ones live very wild lives, but so do some of the straights. Some of my gay friends have been with the same person for over 20 years, as have some of my straight friends. There really isn't any difference other than the gay people are staying together without benefit of religious, state or federal recognition, some without support of families or friends.

Anonymous said...

"...that HIV and homosexuality seem to go hand-in-hand should be enough to convince anyone that something is not right about it...".

The issue of equal rights for gay couples has absolutely nothing to do with a discussion about HIV and your faulty assertion above is but one of a vast number of misconceptions listed in the Wikipedia article "HIV and AIDS misconceptions".

I recommend you read this Wikipedia article. Amazingly... their are even more appalling misconceptions than the one you have postulated.

In any case AIDS is a recent development and homosexuality has existed throughout recorded human history.

Perhaps we should deny human rights to everyone associated with a physical ailment. That would include all of us, eventually.

- Khe Sanh vet

Unknown said...


I'm not sure which NY Times article you were reading...

"Scientists who have studied sexual offenders warn that the scandal in the church has caused two distinct issues -- homosexuality and child abuse -- to become erroneously and recklessly intertwined. They note that homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to be pedophiles."


Maybe you read an Op-ed piece by another Neo-Con loon??

Anonymous said...

The gay people are not upset that the church exercised its free speech rights. They're upset over what was said and having their marriages annuled. If the mormons had spoken out on the side of gay marriage and not against it there would not be any protests. That's how you can know this is about what the mormons said and not the fact that they said something.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused here. Are you suggesting that when the AFA and other Christian groups call for boycotts, that's "righteous" yet when gay groups do the same thing, that's "recrimination?"

I think the Yes on 8 people have shown their true colors. They are for "values" - as long as they can work for them from the comfort of their living room sofas. The religious conservative movement seems to think that political activism is dangerous unless it involves laziness.

Anonymous said...

Give them the same legal rights and protections as a marriage, but change the term. It's the only fair way to do it.

By refusing to compromise, both sides are detracting from more pressing issues.

mgrace said...

Jan said:
The fact that HIV and homosexuality seem to go hand-in-hand should be enough to convince anyone that someting [sic] is not right about it, and maybe should be avoided, aside from any moral reason...
Let's not forget blood transfusions and heterosexual sex, too (whether in marriage or not). Let's be consistent.

bluecalx2 said...

So a group of people were denied the right to get married based on their sexual orientation and then they started to protest that decision. Who's being discriminated against again?

Look, if you're religious and think that homosexuality is a sin, you're welcome to believe that. If you think that gay marriage is wrong, then don't marry someone of the same sex as you. Your soul is saved. Good for you. You can even tell other people what you think. They might get very annoyed at you, but you have that right. That's freedom of speech.

Now when you pass a law like Prop 8, you are denying someone their rights based on their beliefs. Imagine if I said Christians can't get married. If gay marriage is legal, your rights aren't infringed on at all. And that's why Prop 8 isn't about free speech at all.

I don't want my rights infringed on, so I'll support the gay community when their rights are being denied. Just as I would fully support the Christian community if the government steps on their rights to free speech, even if I might not agree with them. That's not a contradiction. It's because I believe in the principles of both the right to marriage and free speech and that they should apply to everyone.

Anonymous said...

There is no logical argument anyone can make that could unequivocally prove that a relationship between two consenting adults is amoral.

Northernladz76 said...

OK this so way out of hand it's unbelieavable. There is no war on religion on my part as a gay man. This is a fight for equality. I find the term "war" an offensive scare tactic on the part of you over zealous conservatives. I want and deserve the right to marry my man of 14 years. The church has every right to their opinions and that is why this country is so great, what the Church does not have a right to do is now force their beliefs on all of us and make it law. None of you know me, I'm not some member of "The Gays" a group you can just easily label and shove on some shelf to hate. We are all individual american citizens in a democracy. I was born with these rights, i pay taxes for these rights. This is not a war...it's a struggle for equality. And we WILL persevere.

Anonymous said...

"Secular Theocracy" makes as much sense as "Jewish Mormon", "Heterosexual Gay", or a blind person whose eyes work just fine. It's what we call a contradiction in terms.

Shoprat, atheism isn't a religion. It doesn't matter if that's how you see it- you could consider the Empire State Building to be in Chicago, but you'd be wrong. It's the same way here- Atheism is not a religion, just as a canvas that has no paint on it is not art (no matter what some people might say).

Atheists don't congregate, don't tithe to a central source, don't have any central leadership, there is no centralized dogma, and it is in no way shape or form a religion. You are saying that Oil is Water, and you are wrong.

What you are describing as "secular theocracy" is authoritarianism, and what we seek is the true separation of church and state. You seek to make all churches definition of marriage synonymous (through government regulation), what we seek is to remove the Government's role.

Church "A" doesn't think gays can be married. That's fine- they don't have to perform gay marriages. But church "B" wants to let homosexual couples get married, so church "A" dumps a giant pile of money into legislation, makes sure that the Government steps in, and invalidates church "B"'s marriages. Get it? You're the Oppressor, the Authoritarian, you want the government to intervene in religious affairs.

You do not seek theocracy, but you DO want the government making sure that the weirdo church down the road can't play by their own rules. It's hypocrisy, to deny one church's rights in the name of another church's rules.


Dan InMI said...

I see. So these gays very cleverly lost proposition 8 so that they could attack religion. What a devious plot.

That plot is just about as sinister as Barak Obama pretending to be a Christian since he was about 4 years old so that someday he could be the first Muslim President.

You have to keep an eye on these anti-Christians they are sure cunning.

Dan InMI said...

Some of the incredibly stupid things said here so far:

"The fact that HIV and homosexuality seem to go hand-in-hand should be enough to convince anyone that someting is not right about it..."

HIV and homosexuality do NOT go hand in hand, the gay community was just the first section of the population that HIV impacted. In fact, lesbians are the least likely demographic to contract HIV disease, does that make them God's chosen people?

Dan InMI said...

Stupid statement two:

If you consider Atheism to be a religion (as I do) you might argue that some of them are trying to set up what can be called, for lack of a better word, a secular theocracy

A religion has clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy by which to live and provides a means of understanding our existence. Atheism has no such rules and does not attempt to provide a means of understanding our existence. Atheism is a rejection of those conventions.

Dan InMI said...

Stupid statement three:
(I am sure there are others, I am being selective.)

Why should ANY government confer legitimacy to such a sordid lifestyle?

Are you arguing that the government should not confer legitimacy on the lifestyle of being a priest? Now look who is being anti-religion!

It would seem that being a priest is the negative aspect of that example, since homosexuals in the general population commit sex crimes at a FAR lower rate than heterosexual males.

Hmmm ....perhaps it is the convention of repressing ones sexuallity that seems to have mucked things up. Perhaps the priesthood attracts persons that have deep seat feelings of shame over the sexuality that they have been hiding and so they turn to the priesthood as a place that they can hide behind the cloak of "celibacy."

Perhaps that doesn't work out so well.

Nah, that couldn't be it.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

How anyone (or any church for that matter)could hate gays so completely is beyond me. Considering that about 80% of gays testify that they were born gay and have had very early memories (as young as 4) of having strong feeling for the same sex, one would think that the church, ANY church, would be more tolerant, as if god created the gays this way, then he must love them and they must have purpose (in being gay)
correct? BUT, the best (some) churches can do is treat gays like they're handicapped and try to "cure" them.

Anonymous said...

"If you consider Atheism to be a religion (as I do) you might argue that some of them are trying to set up what can be called, for lack of a better word, a secular theocracy"

Secularism is not atheism. Atheism is a religious orientation - a belief about the nature of ultimate reality.

Secularism is a political system that is divorced from religion, which allows different faiths to coexist in the public sphere.

State enforced atheism would consist of the state closing your church and persecuting you for your religious beliefs. Nothing like that is happening in America right now.

Are you against secularism? Do you want the American government to explicitly base itself on a specific religious doctrine to the exclusion of all others? Do you see any problems that might arise from such an arrangement?

I thought that conservatives were supposed to be about self reliance and minding your own business. For some reason having the state have a say in making your medical decisions is tyranny, but having the state impose itself in your love life is fine.

Are you comfortable enough in your faith to allow me to live mine? Or do you want to relive the religious civil wars of yesteryear?

Anonymous said...

So for all you people who insist that democracy must rule in this case and that gays have no right to be upset that religion trumps their right to live as they choose...can I vote on your marriage?