Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Dialogue With a Homosexual

Some highlights from a paper of the same name, from April 1999. My opponent's words will be in blue.

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The gay rights movement has nothing to do with seeking moral approval.

It sure does, else why do homosexual activists have a cow when we dare to state our Christian belief that homosexual acts are immoral, and that there is no such thing as same-sex marriage? Why don't they allow us to disagree with them, if they are supposedly so concerned about "tolerance" and "diversity?" To merely assert such beliefs is to assure being accused of "homophobia" (a stupid, typically-modernist term which means, literally, "fear of sameness"). Law inevitably has a moral component; there is no escaping it. That is a whole 'nother discussion, but I contend that this is almost a self-evident point (though often overlooked or applied hypocritically by various political activists).

If you want hypocrisy, look no further than the phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin".

How is that hypocritical? Of course, if you deny the existence of right and wrong, and sin, then there would be a contradiction. But then if you did that, you would have no grounds for saying I am wrong in my present opinions. If, on the other hand, there is such a thing as immorality, then it certainly is love (and profoundly so) to point out to someone that they are harming themselves, and their relationship with God and other human beings, by engaging in sinful activity.

Are we saying to homosexuals that "you must accept the tenets of Christianity and our traditional lifestyle or else you are obviously Christian-a-phobes (and we will force you to by law)?" I have no legal power to force a homosexual to attend church, but they have (or will soon have) the power to force me to accept them as tenants, or to be my church organist, etc.

You are indeed saying that.

Saying what? That a homosexual must attend my church???!!!!! That a homosexual must be a Christian by force of law???!!! This is ridiculous!

Fundamentalist Christianity unleashes it's syrupy vitriol at anyone who is not following the approved "Christian" way of life.

Why do you equate opposition to homosexuality with "Fundamentalist Christianity," when in fact, this has been the consensus of western civilization for 2000 years now? Granted, that civilization is profoundly Christian in its roots, but there are plenty of "secular" types who have agreed with this understanding of the nature of moral, legitimate sex and marriage. It was indeed a societal consensus until the Sexual Revolution made its appearance some 40 years ago.

. . . forced to deal with the likes of Fred Phelps protesting at FUNERALS.

This man is an idiot and no example of any kind of respectable Christian. I could pick the very worst example of a homosexual activists (say, that crazy group that blasphemed at a Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral a few years back), if I wanted to engage in this sort of rhetorical tactic. But I don't think you would appreciate that. Well, I have nothing to do with a fool like Phelps, either.

As long as a person's beliefs and values do not directly affect you, you have no claim to "punish" people, or attempt to make their lives difficult.

Ah, this is crucial. It does affect me, because such a momentous cultural / moral shift has far-reaching consequences for the whole society. This would undermine the very foundation of Christian sexual ethics, just as abortion already has done. Now the last remnants of Christian civilization are being attacked: the nature of marriage, family, gender, sexuality, etc. Your claim is the libertarian one, which is based on the demonstrably fallacious claim that every man lives for himself, and has no effect on anyone else. That is also another huge discussion, but I am saying that your statement is based on false premises.

You forget that Christianity and Judaism and the rest are johnny-come latelys. The earliest and most venerated religions, goddess worship, naturism, paganism, has no such learned hatred for same sex attraction. It is only after religion developed political appetite did the exclusion start.

So you determine the truth of a religion by its mere chronological age? By that reasoning, the human sacrifice of the Aztecs was more moral than the Catholicism of the Conquistadors, simply because it was there (in that particular region) first. Or the rampant cannibalism in the Caribbean islands before Columbus was acceptable -- a matter of "equal rights." Or the widow-burning of the Hindus was superior to the Christianity the English brought to India (even Gandhi opposed the practice, too). Or clitorectomies in Africa are morally preferable to Gloria Steinem "liberation" and "sexual freedom" because they stem from an ancient tradition of some sort. Or the brutal infanticide (by exposure) of babies in pagan Greece and Rome ought to have been retained, rather than the Christian compassionate ethic of protection from "womb to tomb" (now we have the wanton slaughter partial-birth infanticide, and deign to call ourselves "civilized"). Your reasoning here, therefore, is clearly absurd.

As for your comment "The left always thinks it can overturn the moral consensus of millennia by enough propagandizing, sloganizing, Big Lies (e.g., 10% of the population being homosexual -- Kinsey), fiat court decisions, Ellen shows, Heather Has Two Mommies books for first-graders, etc", this could just as easily be said of the religious right. Homosexuality can be changed, Homosexuals are Pedophiles, etc...

That it can be changed is a demonstrable clinical and sociological fact. There are thousands of former practicing homosexuals out there (we define that by the cessation of sodomy). I agree that it is grossly unfair to paint all homosexuals with the pedophilia brush, but there is certainly overlap. I'm sure you have heard of NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association). But your analogy fails because homosexuality was not the "moral consensus of millennia" -- in terms of Western Civilization. Therefore we are merely attempting to preserve what is left of that culture. The "Gay" Activists are the ones attempting to undermine it. There is no comparison. Both sides have prejudice. I won't make any argument on that. At the same time, I won't stand for such prejudices being projected onto me simply because I have a traditional Christian opinion on the subject.

No one really cares what you think or believe. Your thoughts are your own.

You obviously do. :-)

Your actions, in the public sphere, are what is at issue. I believe you may hold whatever opinion of homosexuality and homosexuals that you like. But that does not mean you should be able to discriminate against someone, or seek to deny them the same EXACT rights that you enjoy, because they do things that make you uncomfortable.

Laws do that all the time. We can't take drugs. We can't kill ourselves. We can't yell "fire" in a crowded building. 5-year-olds can't drive. Teenagers need parental permission to get their ears pierced (but not to kill their preborn child), rape and sexual harassment are considered outrages against women (unless one happens to be the President, and unless one is a feminist defending that President) etc. And in Western Civilization up until very recently, sodomy was considered an objectively disordered, immoral act, contrary to the natural law of normal sexuality (this is arguably evident in the very reproductive anatomy of males and females).

"Unnatural", "unhealthy"? Even your use of those words illustrate my point. Nothing which exists in nature is unnatural.

By that reasoning, you could go have intercourse with a hog, or a baboon, or a duck-billed platypus (if indeed that is possible). You could go stick your toe up someone's nose, or your elbow in their ear. How ridiculous are we gonna get here? I guess you don't think much about the logical outcome of the amazing statements you make. Poisonous mushrooms are natural. Does that mean I should eat them? Swamps are natural. Should I drink from them, or take a bath in one? Niagara Falls is entirely natural, but if I take a boat ride over it, certain consequences will have to be faced. I could get more graphic and absurd, but I trust that you see my point by now.

I see no need to get explicit, because a debate on which sexual acts are unhealthy is purely situational.

It is not in your interest to get explicit. But I must regrettably do so for the very reason that your side does not (for good reason). It is a known fact that anal sex - whether heterosexual or homosexual -- is extremely unhealthy. That is true for the simple reason that the rectum was not intended, or "made," if you will, for these activities, just as a throat is not a receptacle for someone's hand or foot. And it is true because the diseases which result from such activity are manifest (and more than just AIDS and VD). And it is also patently obvious because we are dealing here with human waste. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that that is unhealthy and to be avoided (this is routine hygiene).

Your comparison of normal gay people to child molesters is interesting,

Of course I didn't do that. I was making an analogy to other activities considered "abnormal" by most people, including homosexuals. This is the art of rhetoric and logical argumentation. But listing other deviancies does not imply an equivalence or no difference of degree.

Like the GOP leaders, I imagine you feel frustration akin to "But WHY doesn't everyone see that we are RIGHT!??", never ever seeing how wrong you truly are in your hate, and in the lonely direction you are dragging your supporters in.

How do you define "hate," pray tell? You claim that I am entitled to my opinion, yet now the true colors come out, you drop all the pretense, and flat-out accuse me of hatred.

Religious fundamentalists are using whatever tools are at their disposal to prove that they are not. The difference is, homosexuals are trying to show that they are just as human and worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as anyone else. You, however, are trying to deny them this right, or even worse, trying to make those choices for them.

Societies have always had codes of right and wrong. The prohibition of homosexuality has been one of these codes in many societies, including our own. One has to draw a line somewhere. There are still a few things which virtually everyone (including yourself) agrees are wrong: pedophilia, wife-beating, child abuse, rape, incest, murder, theft, torture, etc. Child-killing and fornication and divorce, on the other hand, are now fine in our society at large. Homosexuality is somewhere in the middle: on the way to being accepted as a valid "lifestyle choice."

My question is, how come it took so long to grant equal rights to a community who's only "crime" is to love someone of the same sex?

Because people have an innate sense that this is unnatural and wrong, based on not only Christian teaching, but natural law, per my arguments above about what is "natural and healthy," and what is not. People even today (in our thoroughly secular society) have the same instincts about things like bestiality, incest, or child molestation (I suspect you would agree about those, too). So this sort of thing is not unusual in societies. Homosexuality has formerly been one of these things which most people deemed to be wrong, whether or not they could articulate why. You may not like that fact, but it is a reality, and you will never completely change that, anymore than the feminist movement could effect a fundamental change in how women viewed themselves.

I will point out to you that homosexuality is fundamentally identical to heterosexuality. A person's sexual identity is part of who they are. What they do is a reflection of that, and as such, their public actions should be subject to the same standards of conduct.

So if someone wants to engage in bestiality, would you acknowledge that as a valid form of "sexual identity"?

Normal is as normal does. I suppose you would consider yourself, hatred and all, normal?

No, because I am a sinner. Complete "normalcy" is a sin-free existence, in perfect union with God. But it is one thing to acknowledge that one sins and falls short, quite another to redefine certain sins so that they no longer exist. And there is the hatred charge again. You merely prove my point that the bigotry is just as much on your side as it is on our side, by casually throwing out an outrageous charge of hatred, based on mere disagreement.

All forms of discrimination are NOT illegal. Churches are still allowed to fire or deny advancement to gay members, discriminate on the basis of who they allow to be married.

This is not discrimination. It is a failure of the "member" to be in conformity with the beliefs of the Church (therefore a form of dishonesty and subterfuge). A church is not the state (we have "separation of church and state," remember? The left loves that when it suits their purposes). You talk about us compelling you to adopt our beliefs, yet you think nothing of forcing a Catholic or other Christian to allow members whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to our teaching! You want to force us to deny our heartfelt religious beliefs for the sake of your politico-social agenda. This is no different than the pagan emperors demanding idolatry from Christians. You know what the Christians chose to do in that quandary.

I agree, you cannot legislate morality, any more than you can legislate maturity or enlightenment. Morality is a personal decision, and thoughts cannot be legislated. It is only public action, after objective scruitiny, that can be legislated. Feel free to provide even one, unquestionable, objective reason why homosexuality is any less worthy of public protection as heterosexuality.

I have already given them. Sodomy should be outlawed on health grounds alone, if not moral, religious, and philosophical. These abnormal acts are what Christians oppose. I don't care if two men love each other as long as they are chaste and abstain from immorality. Jonathan and King David did that! This is the Catholic position.

You may most certainly act on what you believe in, for YOUR life. You cannot expect to be supported when you attack ME for living MY life.

Not if my Church is forced to "legitimize" what it believes to be immoral. You can't have it both ways. You spout your libertarian, supposedly "tolerant" and "enlightened" rhetoric, but when push comes to shove -- despite yourself -- you are quite willing to compel Christians to adopt your viewpoint, by force of law and coercion, not the force of moral and philosophical persuasion.

Your view of homosexuality is irrelevant. You are not a homosexual, and therefore speak only from ignorance as to the mind of a homosexual person, of which there are millions anyway.

Well, then all your opinions about Christianity are "irrelevant" since you are not a Christian! There are many more millions of Christians than homosexuals -- if numbers must be a criterion of truth.

You have not objective basis on which to label homosexuality for the rest of the thinking public.

So you say. I have given my arguments, but you obviously are not addressing them. Prove to me, e.g., that sodomy is a healthy thing (the moral and health equivalent to vaginal sexual intercourse), and that no one has to worry about it harming them. I would love to see you attempt that.

I am neutral towards most Catholics, or people of any faith, even of people who are fundamentalist or conservative. Their beliefs are their own, and it is not my place to think for them.

If this is "neutral," I would hate to see "hostile" or "opposed."

Their public actions, which seek to try and deny a community equal rights, are worthy of the highest contempt, as are those of racists, and other dictatorial movements.

But of course homosexuals aren't ever bigots, right? And that's because they are victims, and so it is impossible by definition, just as we are told that by some leftists that black people can't be bigots, either.

I can take it that you are definitely not black.

Correct. We have to find something we can agree on . . .

10,000,000 people can still be wrong.

Of course. And one can be right, if that is all that is left. Athanasius contra mundum.

You cannot even see what you are saying as venomous hatred, because you think you have the omnipotent god on your side. So how could you be wrong? Simple. Your positions attempt to strip people of the basic rights that you enjoy because they make you uncomfortable.

You confirm precisely what I have critiqued: the attitude of scorn and derision directed towards all who merely take another view from yourself. In your black-and-white humanist world without nuance of philosophy or the accumulated human wisdom of religious reflection, a disagreement -- by its very nature -- becomes "venomous hatred." I guess there really is no dialogue here after all. My initial impression was that you were a very intelligent, thoughtful person, with whom I could dialogue and reach some level of understanding. But your persistent charges of hatred, bigotry, spiritual pride, etc. will not make that possible. Constructive discourse cannot exist with such extreme charges being cavalierly spewed out.

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