Thursday, April 26, 2012

THe hypocrisy of opposition to marriage equality

As we've discussed, lots of writers are dealing with issues facing Christianity in the current era. Andrew Sullivan wrote a provocative piece on Christianity in Crisis, that places much of the blame on rigid conservative views. Contrasting this, the conservative writer and Roman Catholic Ross Douthat has written a book called "Bad Religion" , that apparently calls for a return to more traditionalist discipline. (I haven't read it, I've only seen reviews.)

Douthat is engaged in a conversation with writer Will Saletan, at Slate. Their back-and-forth is worth reading, if only to watch Douthat's contortions to justify certain traditionalist views; as Saletan says, about DOuthat's view of gays,
"I’m watching an intelligent, compassionate writer torture his intellect and his values to fit a dogma that can no longer be justified by anything outside itself.

Your argument requires you to believe that God’s natural order inflicts on hundreds of millions of people a sexual orientation they can never consummate or solemnize in a way that would honor His purposes. ”

Andrew Sullivan also takes on Douthat by pointing out the most glaring hypocrisy in Douthat's argument against gay people. And it's one that we need to point out frequently.
Let me use an obvious analogy which really gets to the heart of the unfairness at the center of this.

Modern America is full of divorced couples. Unlike homosexuality, Jesus spoke unequivocally about divorce. Does Ross insist that our civil laws return to banning divorce on all grounds? No. Does he back a constitutional amendment to ban civil divorce? No. His reason would be to say that it simply cannot be done democratically. But that precisely reveals the church's discriminatory position on gay people...

Notice too how they are not threatening to shut down services for the poor and homeless because one of their civil employees might be re-married or divorced (and thereby violating church doctrine). And yet they apply that standard to gay people - who have not chosen any lifestyle, but are guilty purely of being as God made them. They do it because we are few in number and they can deploy the power of religion to demonize us.

This deliberate tolerance of heterosexuals and deliberate intolerance of homosexuals on the same issue is on its face discriminatory…..What else can this be rooted in but animus? And total panic.
If the "religious freedom" of the Roman Catholic bishops requires that secular employers who are Roman Catholic can interfere in the most personal decision of a woman's health care, and deny benefits to gay couples, then they should also expect those employers to deny coverage of divorced-and-remarried spouses as well. Or is it just the women and the gays who are to be victims of "religious freedom"?


dr.primrose said...

This is one of my hobby-horses. I'm afraid I find few people more infuriating than those who are divorced and remarried or who are married to someone is divorced and who are anti-gay rights. Particularly those in the church. There's a bishop in New England who is married to someone who is divorced who's terribly anti-gay. I find this bishop utterly hypocritcal.

Totally OT but this is something IT may find especially interesting. There's a story on-line that will be published Friday in the L.A. Times, Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds, which says that researchers have found that those who think more analytically are less inclined to be religious believers than are those who tend to follow a gut instinct.

"Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane — for skeptics and true believers alike."

I'm not sure the research supports the conclusion but it's an interesting line of thought.

Counterlight said...

Something else relevant to this whole topic is the under-reported and under-noted news that the last smidgen of scientific legitimacy to the "ex-gay" therapy movement evaporated recently with Dr. Robert Spitzer publicly renouncing his 2001 essay that suggested that homosexuality could be changed. He publicly apologized for the harm his article caused. "Reparative therapy" for same sexuality now joins bleeding and leeches as just so much medical quackery.

This ends any legitimate idea that homosexuality is somehow mutable. The idea that homosexuality is immutable and innate has profound implications for future discussions about the morality of sexual orientation.

I've always argued that the animus against homosexuality and gay people on the part of many of the pious is entirely arbitrary with no foundation in evidence, reason, or experience. They have only 6 obscure passages in the whole of Scripture to stand on. As a consequence, they've so inflated the importance of those passages that they might as well be written on separate scrolls kept in the Ark with the Torah. They've made heterosexuality into a precondition for salvation.

IT said...

Primrose, thanks for the link. I think there is definitely something to that. By Myers-Brigg, I am an INTJ. As far as the "T" goes, it's about 95%! while the others are much more balanced.

COunterlight, I did highlight that over on the blog-no-one-reads, Gay Married Californian. But as we've seen, facts and science actually make no difference to these people. That's why they get away by continuing to cite Paul Cameron and his ilk.

dr.primrose said...

Hi IT. I'm also an INTJ. Balanced in the middle; not so much on the ends.

Interesting posting at Episcopal Cafe today --Polls show changing attitudes on gay marriage. While the overall polling shows an increase of those in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, most of the increase has come from the religiously unaffiliated with some increase from black Protestants. Meanwhile there's been a drop from white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Protestants and a drop in the last year from Roman Catholics. That doesn't portend well, particuarly from the white mainline Protestants and the Roman Catholics but so much depends on the actual question asked and the context in which it is asked.

JCF said...

*I* read GMC, IT! :-)

INFJ here. Analysis will always have its place (and should have MORE of a place, when it comes to critical-thinking).

But for art, poetry, music, (liturgy), falling-in-love? Well, I'm glad to be, um, irrational in that regard! ;-)

IT said...

I get weary of hte media describing it as a "competition". (Susan Russell is talking about this on th radio today; Primrose, if you get Pat Morrison on KPCC you can hear it.)