Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Stupidest Ideology" Continues to be Goal of Gay Debate

Article 1: "Piers Akerman: Hypocrisy is the Winner in the Same Sex Marriage Debate"

This is a fascinating emotional appeal from conservative columnist Piers Akerman. He throws out a populist line about the Australian public, who will soon vote on marriage equality, having a longer memory than gay rights advocates credit them. There is some irony here, since he goes on to make a number of arguments that anyone paying attention to the gay rights debate could easily debunk.

a) Marriage equality is equivalent to discarding traditional marriage

He cites Masha Gessen (mistakenly printed as Marsha in the article) and her ideas about how marriage should change or be discarded. To my eye, Masha is advocating for typical feminist/leftist ideas. Conservative news sources pounced on this and interpreted it as the MYSTERIOUS AND POWERFUL GAY LOBBY admitting their true intent. Assuming that support for gay marriage is equivalent to extreme feminist propaganda is naive at best.

Support for marriage equality is an expansion of the definition of marriage. It does not nullify or discard traditional marriage. Indeed, if traditionalists were a bit smarter, they could easily ride the marriage equality train with the goal of strengthening all marriages, lowering the rate of divorce, and advocating for responsible sexual conduct. 

b) Gay marriage will have impending negative consequences

The consequences he cites are other western nations have enacted laws "to restrict freedom of speech." Naturally, if a law truly does that, it should be regarded with deep mistrust, but many measures that the right sees in this light don't do much to restrict religious freedoms, much less freedom of speech (more on this later). Blaming these kind of laws on gay marriage misses the deeper problem of authoritarianism.

c) Gay marriage leads to Marxism in schools

Cultural Marxism is stupid. Saying that all gay rights advocates believe what some far left nut-job thinks is misleading. Don't equate the two.

d) Pride is obscene, so how is it about love?

Yes, pride parades can be gross. I don't have any interest in them myself. But that doesn't change the overall fact that gay people shouldn't be treated differently. You can't take marriage away from straight people because lots of them get divorced. The whole point is you can't discriminate against minorities, even if some of them are jerks, et al.

Article 2: "Biological Argument for Homosexuality Examined"

Forget that even minor new discoveries point to homosexuality as primarily a fact of nature. We have a small study that we can tenuously warp to fit our narrative! Apparently, "greater promiscuity and pregnancy rates [among LGB people] are not surprising – given that most homosexuals admit being molested as young people." The APA declares outright that there is no such trend of gay people being abuse victims. But this article puts its faith in a pro-family attorney. Lawyers > Scientists confirmed?

The kicker is that it's this observation of promiscuity that “completely destroys the myth that people are born homosexual.”

When you've been taught your whole life to come to a specific conclusion - in this case, "homosexuality is a wrong choice" - you can twist observational science in spectacular ways to support that conclusion. Or that's my experience, at least. 

If this evidence is compelling, I certainly don't see it.

Article 3: "In major Supreme Court case, Justice Dept. sides with baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple"

The concept of public accommodations is by no means bizarre. It is the concern of the author of this article that giving accommodation exceptions for sincere religious beliefs undermines the laws in place that protect people of immutable attributes like race, as well as mutable ones like religion. 

We literally have a law in place that protects Christians from being treated like the more extreme of them want to treat gay people. I think this article has some good thoughts on why cakes do not constitute a form of speech in the same way a political speechwriter's speeches would count.

Article 4: "Giving the 'gay cure' quack a TV platform is an abuse of free speech"

Don't think I forgot about the left. This lovely trinket form the BBC argues that Good Morning Britain has transgressed the leftist orthodoxy by letting an advocate of conversion therapy have an appearance on their show. 

While I agree that with Owen's comments that people with anti-gay sentiments should find no legal punishment or silencing for their opinions, I find that he goes too far in calling out a TV show for bringing on what is today a fun curiosity for the more liberal audiences to shake their heads at while Piers Morgan rips his ideas asunder. Unless these anti-gay advocates are tackled head-on, what's to keep impressionable people from assuming they're telling the unvarnished truth? News organizations are by no means obliged to give both extremes of any debate equal airtime, but discouraging intellectual public debate isn't healthy.

In another fun bit of the same article, the author recolors the sacked model Munroe Bergdorf's blatantly racist comments as "demanding white people tackle a systemic racism." He presents L'Oreal's correct response to blatant bigotry as a reason why LGBT rights are under attack. You're the mainstream now, buddy. Time to buck up and recognize that plenty of people are sick of being told they're awful because they don't exactly line up with your moral code of race, sexuality, and speech.

Article 5: "Pretty and Witty and Gay: Tolerance isn’t enough"

You read that right. Tolerance isn't enough. But at least the author, Mac Ploetz, has the guts to admit it, because, "declaring your tolerance without your acceptance is still harmful to my safety and wellbeing and that of the LGBTQI community." 

Having an opinion that he disagrees with and is contrary to his identity somehow harms his safety and well-being. The former doesn't make sense unless you make very broad, communistic arguments. The latter has a bit more credence, but how is it healthy to project your insecurities onto everyone else? If someone calls me a fag, I might say, "Well, that's rude." And I probably won't befriend that person if it's meant as an insult. At the same time, however, I'm not going to broadcast on the internet that everyone else needs to start advocating for something they may take no interest in just to make me feel better. Nor will I, like Ploetz, major in gender studies.

The author also contends that "political neutrality only allows institutional homophobia to worsen," and saying you don't agree with the gay lifestyle is "oppressive." Again, the former only makes sense if you hold to the social justice hang-wringing that is social systems. Any legal rights denied to gay people are falling away, and really very little remains that makes LGBT people legally different from their straight counterparts. 

God, even saying LGBT people are somehow counterparts to straight people plays into their depressing narrative. Divisive identity politics drives gay and straight people into camps, when in reality they have just as much in common. I've met a lot of straight and gay people in my life. They're all people. And in the end, our commonly held humanity is what ties us together, not what drives us romantically.

I'm going to let Henry David Thoreau handle this one: "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support." - from Civil Disobedience

And that, I say, is enough.

And finally, disliking an imagined lifestyle is about as oppressive as disliking a color is oppressive. You're the one in charge of how you react to opinions, not those who hold them. They will answer for being right or wrong when the time comes, but if you place your emotions and happiness in the minds of other people, you're going to be miserable. And I for one, would rather enjoy myself.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Islam is Gay?

Amrou Al-Kadhi writes for the Independent that “Jahed Choudhury, 24 – who identifies as both gay and Muslim – married his partner in an Islamic ceremony, even though his family refused to attend.” He goes on to admit his family would also decline to attend his wedding, no matter how steeped in Islamic tradition it was. He says his relationship with his parents fell apart when they discovered his sexuality and tried to reform him. He writes that “this felt much more to do with their cultural association with Islam – their fear of what relatives would think – rather than anything to do with Islamic scripture.”

Yeah, why would you think it had anything to do with Islamic scripture? Cultural association with Islam has nothing to do with the Quran, just like Christian culture has nothing to do with the Bible. And by that I mean, I call bullshit. You can’t pretend the ceremony is primarily religious and the homophobia is primarily cultural.

Friday, May 12, 2017

No-Name Blogger Destroys Ideological Pastor Who Attacks Calm Christian Reverend

No matter how much I tell myself I’m over how society treats (or has treated) gay people, I’m not over it. I recently watched Brokeback Mountain (2005) for the first time, and bawled afterward. Take a look at what's facing gay men and women in Chechnya. The world is something of a hot mess (surprise).

The Video
I want to talk about a clip that’s surfaced both on my social media and in my thesis research. Ideologically labeled, “Christian Pastor Destroys Gay Pastor,” it’s a clip of two pastors debating same-sex marriage shortly after the corresponding Supreme Court ruling. To spare you from watching the exchange, I’ve paraphrased their discussion below. 'J' is Dr. Robert Jeffress arguing against gay marriage, and 'C' is Rev. Neil Cazares-Thompson arguing for it.

J: Should bakers lose their business for not baking gay cakes?
C: Should the law not protect people who oppose slavery or support interracial marriage?
J: Race is different from sexual choice. My black friend agrees with me.
C: Being gay is a gift from God, it’s not a choice.
J: All sexual activity is a choice. Maybe not inclination though.
C: Christianity has continued to evolve through tradition and our understanding of scripture.
J: God’s word never evolves or changes.
C: God still reveals himself through living beings.
J: God doesn’t contradict himself. Jesus says a man shall leave for a woman, which has been the pattern for 2,000+ years.
C: Marriage wasn’t about a man and a woman loving each other as much as it was about property and men’s domination of women. We have evolved on marriage.
J: It was God’s created plan. It wasn’t about domination, but about one man and one woman. Who are we to say we know better than God?
C: Should we continue slavery, considering it was okay in the Bible?
J: Slavery was never condoned in the Bible. Those who led the fight against slavery were Christians.

Religious Freedom
Turning away gay customers is inherently not a good thing, and the manner in which the government interferes is something beyond the complexity of this post. Dr. Jeffress asks a loaded question, assuming at least a few things:

  • Catering a wedding means supporting the behavior and beliefs of the couple
  • Gay marriage is not compatible with Christianity
  • Religious beliefs must explicitly inform business practice
  • The government’s intervention in this matter is contrary to the first amendment

All of these should be argued in their own right before asking if bakeries should “have their businesses taken away from them.” I would hope that most Americans do not want to live in a “big brother” society. The way to balance that desire with protecting minority groups from unfair abuse is a matter more complex than this post intends to go.

Race vs. Sexuality
No, race and sexuality are not perfectly analogous. But analogies aren’t drawn between things that are the same, they’re drawn between things that are different but offer important similarities to clarify arguments about one or both. Saying these things are different does not nullify Rev. Cazarez-Thompson's analogy.

Orientation vs. Behavior
Sexual orientation is a construct of our society. Even heterosexuality wasn’t really an accepted concept until the 20th century. Rev. Cazares-Thomas implies as much in a different portion of the interview I’m not going over here (complete debate can be found here). First century understanding of same sex sexual behavior is naturally vastly different than ours. Conflating the two understandings is ignorant at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. Without engaging the concepts that make this entire debate function, it’s impossible to convey your belief for or against gay marriage.

Evolution of Religion
Be forewarned: You’re never going to win an argument about this with a fundamentalist. It doesn’t matter if you’re perfectly reasonable and have the perfect case for what is historically provable. Fundamentalism, like extreme liberalism, inherently ignores history in favor of revisionism. It took me a long time to accept this, but the “historical context” they provide for Scripture is little more than a snapshot of a 2,000 year old world with almost zero regard for everything that has happened since. To a fundamentalist, quoting a passage of scripture that sounds relevant has more weight than a rational argument based on thousands of years of tradition and history. The two should go hand in hand.

Instead of discussion divine revelation, however, I want to focus on the given examples of religious evolution: marriage and slavery.

Example A: Marriage
It was over a millennium after Jesus death that marriage for love began to become a thing—and that was only in Europe. In the Middle East and India today, love marriages are either unpopular or considered socially unacceptable.

Believing that the current Fundamental Baptist ideal for marriage has always been God’s plan and it’s always been that way is absurd. Many marriages in the Bible have components that are not acceptable today, especially when it comes to women. Polygamy, anyone?

And let me say how frustrating the How do we know better than God? reasoning is. The only way we can hope to perceive or understand the nature or mere possibility of a deity is through ourselves. We sense, observe, and interpret. How do we know better than God? ends up being a lazy rhetorical device used to shut down legitimate discussion on moral issues. I’ve seen it many times. The more subjects you put beyond the possibility of debate, the easier it is to control people with unwavering dogmatism.

Example B: Slavery
Go read Exodus Chapter 21. The entire passage assumes slavery is not only acceptable, but a natural part of life. There’s even a rule says you shouldn’t be punished for physically assaulting your slaves unless they die from the attack. No Christian would support that today, but many of them would happily quote Leviticus to delegitimize same-sex romantic love.

I’ve listened to pastors and other Christians try to explain why the Bible doesn’t support slavery, but all it took was one step back to realize how tenuous those arguments are. The Bible never celebrated the institution of slavery, of course, but its writers provided a framework in Christians could interact with it (see Paul’s letters). Likewise, the Bible certainly never advocated for abolition of slavery. And while many abolitionists were Christians, so were their pro-slavery counterparts. Both sides argued their position from scripture. Both sides declared God was on their side. And one side was wrong.

There are cases to be made for both positions reflected in the original video. And while I don’t think either advocate got a chance to fully explain his position, I contend that Dr. Jeffress’s arguments are deceptive, inaccurate, or both.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pride and Prejudice's Insidious Agenda

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” - Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 1. This clear endorsement of the heterosexual lifestyle is a shocking summary of the flagrant pro-heterosexual agenda of the pop novel Pride and Prejudice. Who is this Jane Austin, and what is her purpose in writing this book? There are rumors that the author, never married, was a heterosexual, and actually believed it was acceptable for her to date men. Her sexuality never realized, she turned to writing to live out her strange fantasies.

Though Mrs. Bennet's concern for her daughters secure the family fortune is noble, the implication is clearly that she believes they should form romantic attachments with men to do so. Later in the book, a clergyman actually proposes to Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine! A man of God, suggesting a sexual connection to a woman? Outrageous.

These disturbing heteroerotic undertones continue throughout the book. Male and female characters refer to having "regard" for each other. What unspeakable heterosexual euphemism is this? I shudder to think of what terrible sexual exploits underwritten by this word.

Austin plays with our morality when Elizabeth (rightly) rejects Mr. Darcy's sexually disturbing advances halfway through the book. We think she is proclaiming the unnatural practice of different-sex relations, only to turn around and have Elizabeth fall for his hidden charms, which before she was happy to leave to his male friends.

Strangely, much of the family's tension does revolve around a different-sex relationship, that of Lydia and the shameless Mr. Wickam. That their horror at this attachment does not extend to the other daughters of the Bennet family leads you to wonder what a morally sick atmosphere the early 1800s had.

It reminds us to pray more for the healing of our land from the cancer of heterosexuality. It has pervaded our media, our neighborhoods, even our churches. How can we raise a pure generation if heterosexual people pass themselves off as normal?

Books like Pride and Prejudice only advance this mentality. I recommend leaving this title for the perverts that enjoy the kind of immorality it advances, the unnatural bonds between a man and a woman.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

[Short Story] The Book of Rime

The Book of Rime
Riley C. Pritchett
April 24, 2016

A dim sliver of light flickered across my face. An ache that hinted at a lack of sleep tugged at my mind. I surveyed the other bunks in my monastical hideaway. Seven holy Brothers, my faithful companions for the past two years, still slept. The sylvan scent of pine leaked through the dragon-eye slit which also let in the sun, our call to action.
I pulled out the trunk containing my five possessions. The first possession was a vaguely red formal robe with my mother’s initials stitched in the collar in black thread. The second was a heavy book in which I had recorded sayings from the Book of Rime. It represented a year of toil, and treasuring it was my greatest sin. Staring at the words brought back my faith, quelled my doubts. The third possession was a small dining set: metal bowl, metal cup, wooden fork, wooden spoon. The fourth was a satchel, into which I shoved my book and my last possession. I blush to mention the stack of money I had saved from my old life. It would do little good to give it to the poor—if I gave it here at Renwald Abbey, that is.
It isn’t that our abbey is corrupt, but the ways of men are not forgotten here. A holy brother once spoke of Brother Ezriel’s endless pockets. Though he swore by the feet of the gods he meant nothing by it, he spoke as one who said a woman was not of concern to him, when his heart ached to watch her pass. The next day, I observed Ezriel dig his bloated hands into the bag and stuff coins into his habit when he thought no one was looking.