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  1. #91
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Frankly, I wish I could come to some other understanding of the relevant scriptures than homosexuality being a sin. I have read some other views on how those scriptures should be understood and it seems to me to be a pretty big stretch. TBH, I tend to like gay people a lot more than most of my fellow Christians (irl anyway) and personally, I don't see what the big deal is. I have a lot of cognitive dissonance about the whole thing.

    As it is, I am well aware of the many other (and more harmful, IMO) sins committed by Christians -- have been on the receiving end as well as the committing end countless times.

    Politically, though, I am very clear about how I feel and what I think. The government has no business enforcing my religious beliefs onto my fellow citizens, gay or straight. I believe we should have civil unions for tax, insurance, etc purposes and marriage should be the domain of the church and it's equivalents. I don't even see a reason to make the unions two person only things.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  2. #92
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    ...Politically, though, I am very clear about how I feel and what I think. The government has no business enforcing my religious beliefs onto my fellow citizens, gay or straight. I believe we should have civil unions for tax, insurance, etc purposes and marriage should be the domain of the church and it's equivalents.
    Thank for your post, it sort of sets everything back in perspective. While I did offer my opinion on it, my opinion is sort of irrelevant; it seems to me that one's position on the morality of homosexuality is really unrelated to how civil unions should be handled in a secular society.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  3. #93
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Frankly, I wish I could come to some other understanding of the relevant scriptures than homosexuality being a sin. I have read some other views on how those scriptures should be understood and it seems to me to be a pretty big stretch. TBH, I tend to like gay people a lot more than most of my fellow Christians (irl anyway) and personally, I don't see what the big deal is. I have a lot of cognitive dissonance about the whole thing.
    Well, honestly... me, too. I think I'd feel much more at peace spiritually if I did. The best argument I've heard comes from Dirt, Greed and Sex by William Countryman. His general argument is that most of the laws about sex and marriage in the Bible boil down to laws of purity and property. Even so, I find him more convincing about Old Testament law, and can't quite follow him as far as he wants to go otherwise.

    I'd be fine with "civil unions" for everyone, too, and just leave marriage to religious organizations. However, as a practical matter it seems like that's unlikely to happen. It's too bad, though, since "marriage" carries such emotional weight for people and has religious connotations as well.

  4. #94
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Politically, though, I am very clear about how I feel and what I think. The government has no business enforcing my religious beliefs onto my fellow citizens, gay or straight. I believe we should have civil unions for tax, insurance, etc purposes and marriage should be the domain of the church and it's equivalents. I don't even see a reason to make the unions two person only things.


    Thank for your post, it sort of sets everything back in perspective. While I did offer my opinion on it, my opinion is sort of irrelevant; it seems to me that one's position on the morality of homosexuality is really unrelated to how civil unions should be handled in a secular society.
    I have a lot of other things I need to address... but, this is probably the most important. Somehow the establishment clause and free exercise clause have been twisted to make people feel that political opinions cannot have religious reasons behind them. This is absurd. Any political view is going to be supported by a certain worldview. To say that political views can only be based on non-religious worldviews is frankly discriminatory.

    There also seems to be a basic misunderstanding of secular and religious. All that secular means in the strict sense is "pertaining to this world." Religions while certainly concerned with the spiritual are also plainly concerned with the secular and what occurs in this world. So simply because civil unions are completely secular does not mean religion cannot inform my political opinion on civil unions. Moreover, I would argue the reasons behind supporting Civil Unions are not purely secular. They generally are a result of some alternative worldview whether it be humanism, liberal christianity, or pluralism that postulates that homosexuality is an acceptable social practice and thus homosexuals have a right to be joined together and have the same basic rights as heterosexual married couples.

    I submit that the concept of anyone having a right to anything is not a secular concept, but must be based in a worldview that goes beyond the secular. So then it is not wrong to frame the debate as a conflict of worldviews. This is not the same thing as debating whether we should put a stop sign up on 22nd street.

    edit: Don't forget what I posted here about Washington's view that morality and religion are the two pillars that uphold government.
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  5. #95
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    I submit that the concept of anyone having a right to anything is not a secular concept, but must be based in a worldview that goes beyond the secular.
    Why?
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  6. #96
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    I have a lot of other things I need to address... but, this is probably the most important. Somehow the establishment clause and free exercise clause have been twisted to make people feel that political opinions cannot have religious reasons behind them. This is absurd. Any political view is going to be supported by a certain worldview. To say that political views can only be based on non-religious worldviews is frankly discriminatory.
    Of course one's religious perspective (and other experiences) directly inform one's political decisions. You have every right for that to be the case and to vote your conscience. For example, I would argue that the New Testament's statement of equality for all believers (which I quoted above) had an effect on some in the anti-slavery and women's suffrage movements in this country.

    However, outside of a Christian theocracy "because the Bible says so" is not a convincing justification (even were there only one interpretation possible) for a law that governs Christians of other denominations, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists. The equal worth of human beings is arguable from a multiplicity of perspectives. People having the freedom to find their own way (which the protestant "priesthood of all believers" informs) and pursue their own happiness (and freedom of conscious, also a protestant value) appeals to more than the Bible alone.

    If you believe that God's laws are not arbitrary and reflect deeper truths, then they should be arguable from a non-religious perspective. If that's not the case, then you shouldn't expect for others to be content when you impose those views as laws upon others, any more than you would be content having laws from another religion imposed upon you.

    No one is stopping you from voicing your opinion or voting your (religiously informed) conscience. However, we here in the U.S. live in a pluralistic society and our government does not endorse any one denomination or religion (not even atheism). We tolerate religious differences, and ask for tolerance from our citizens in return.

  7. #97
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Why?
    Because rights are fundamentally linked to values which are in no way secular so even if you use the secular measuring stick of societal impact. Determining what is a good or bad societal impact is a moral or value judgement... whether you view the secular data through the lens of utilitarianism, deontology, christianity, or law and economics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Of course one's religious perspective (and other experiences) directly inform one's political decisions. You have every right for that to be the case and to vote your conscience.
    That's all I ask.


    However, outside of a Christian theocracy "because the Bible says so" is not a convincing justification (even were there only one interpretation possible) for a law that governs Christians of other denominations, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.
    No, I doubt it is convincing. But, I challenge the Idea that "because the bible says so" is somehow equal to theocracy. I support laws against murder first and foremost on the basis that that it is a societal sin condemned by God.

    The equal worth of human beings is arguable from a multiplicity of perspectives. People having the freedom to find their own way (which the protestant "priesthood of all believers" informs) and pursue their own happiness (and freedom of conscious, also a protestant value) appeals to more than the Bible alone.
    I think your concept of the priesthood of all believers is a bit misinformed, but I won't get into that.

    Your argument that other faiths agree on certain tenants is a good policy argument. But, it does not completely delegitimize my views which are based on a more narrow perspective.

    If you believe that God's laws are not arbitrary and reflect deeper truths, then they should be arguable from a non-religious perspective. If that's not the case, then you shouldn't expect for others to be content when you impose those views as laws upon others, any more than you would be content having laws from another religion imposed upon you.
    I don't expect other people to be content when my views are imposed upon them regardless of whether they're on religious grounds. Nonetheless, If I can get a constitutional bill I support based on my view of the bible passed by congress and signed by the president... well that's that. It's not fundamentally unfair.

    There are tons of laws imposed on me that I don't like... thousands likely.

    However, we here in the U.S. live in a pluralistic society and our government does not endorse any one denomination or religion (not even atheism). We tolerate religious differences, and ask for tolerance from our citizens in return.
    Religious tolerance is a separate issue from policy motivation.

    Gay marriage is strictly an equal protection clause issue. The establishment clause does not come into play... I'm pretty sure you can read any court opinion on same-sex marriage and they're not going to bring up the establishment clause.
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  8. #98
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I guess for me, my duty as a Christian is to be a good citizen and in doing so, I have to look at the basic concept of what our laws are supposed to do -- the spirit of the laws, if you will. In the US, the essential theme is freedom and equailty -- people should be free to live as they want to up to the point that doing so will infringe upon the freedom of others and citizens in good standing (those not guilty of crimes against their fellow citizens, etc) should be equal under the law.

    As a citizen, the only objections I can see to same sex unions are essentially religious in nature. Two men or women receiving marriage-like health insurance/tax status, if they live like a married couple, does not infringe upon the rights of their fellow citizens in any significant way that I can see. If I felt there was some infringement upon the freedoms of others because of these unions -- infringement specific to this kind of union -- then it would be a different matter.

    The idea that one group can have freedoms while not giving those same freedoms to others is repulsive to me as a citizen and as a Christian. I'll give an example of the way I look at it: as a Protestant believer, I don't have a problem of conscience with some types of birth control above and beyond, say, what a lot of Catholic believers might have a problem with. I believe God gave married couples sex for not just procreation, but as an outlet for their sexual cravings and (according to my understanding of scripture) they should not abstain from sex for reasons other than a mutually agreed upon (and brief) period of prayer and fasting. This is somewhat different from the way some Catholic believers see things, if I understand correctly.

    My husband and I have four children and feel that our family is complete, so I have been sterilized. If I had not had the procedure done, with our record I'd probably have . . . at least eight kids by now. I don't want to have ten or more children (I have at least five more childbearing years ahead of me) and there is nothing in my belief system against limiting my family size by artificial means.

    Now I don't believe a Catholic doctor, or hospital, or other medical staff ought to be forced to preform sterilizations, but I also don't believe that I should be prohibited from receiving that procedure if I want it. So how would I feel if I was not allowed to have that procedure based on religious beliefs that I do not share? I would probably feel nauseous because I'd be pregnant, but beyond that, I would feel pretty imposed upon and discriminated against. I would feel it was unjust.

    Or what if a Muslim or Jewish group wanted to ban the consumption of pork or Hindus the consumption of meat for everyone in the country based on their religious beliefs alone?

    To me, it's the same kind of thing to deny equal rights to homosexuals based on religious beliefs or even the status quo.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  9. #99
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The answer's in your question.

    The point is that the goal of those pushing the issue is that it will be within every church, they arent content to live after their own fashion and let others live after their own, its a campaign to achieve universal acceptance, appreciation, support, endorsement, approval.

    Often its as a substitute for the approval they couldnt receive at home or in their own communities and that's so fucking neurotic, its impossible to satisfy and ultimately will send people insane because no matter how much legislation, change etc. there is they'll always be left with the suspiscion that some place some where the thought of their sexual behaviour makes someone want barf because that same someone thinks its abnormal, unnatural, perverse.

    This is part of the reason why I dont think this issue is anything like the half a dozen other minority-majority relationships or discrimination issues which its compared to, its nothing like the racial discrimination and black civil rights movements because they had a point at which they were prepared to say "OK, its done", at least some of their pundits where.

    For many conscientious objectors to homosexuality, including religious, its a water mark, how far are people willing to go to try and create an artifical consensus and enforce a political correctness or closed mindedness (yeah, closed minded, why is it not to suppose that everyone is latently homosexual when there is such a great number of people who are not and never develop that way?).
    Seconded. Great post.

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  10. #100
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    Because rights are fundamentally linked to values which are in no way secular
    You just repeated yourself, so I'll ask again:

    Why? Lay out for me how an atheist cannot logically believe in rights?
    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    so even if you use the secular measuring stick of societal impact. Determining what is a good or bad societal impact is a moral or value judgement...
    My belief in certain inalienable rights is not based in a view of good or bad. It's quid pro quo. I believe in my fellow man's right to life because I wish to be guaranteed that right in return. I believe in a right to individual pursuit of happiness because I'm on that same pursuit, and as such I know that each pursuit is as unique as the person who pursues.

    So I, as a hypothetical atheist, believe that we should treat human beings as we wish to be treated, not because of scripture, but because we're all in this together. Belief in the absence of God, and therefore that this is all there is to it does not in any way make life easier, and does not inherently lead to a disregard for the sanctity of others. On the contrary, I would assume that it causes one to seek greater comfort and companionship from those around oneself, as there's nowhere else to turn.
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

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