Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it and shape it and mark it with “LGBTQIXYZ”,
And bake it in the oven for my lawyer and me.
The ridiculous gay wedding cake nonsense in Oregon has taken a decidely nasty turn,
An Oregon administrative law judge recommended today that the bakers who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding should be fined $135,000.
“[T]he forum concludes that $75,000 and $60,000, are appropriate awards to compensate [the same-sex couple] for the emotional suffering they experienced,” wrote Alan McCullough, administrative law judge for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries in his proposed order.
Yes, you read that correctly $135,000 of damages because of the decision to not bake a cake. Now if at this point you’re bending over to pick up your jaw after it clattered onto the floor, well join the club. This is a farcical judgment. I can’t believe that the judge kept a straight face when issuing it. But lay down the verdict he did.
Now, I can’t decide which of the many travesties in this whole thing is the most egregious. First, the fact that no law was actually broken. Here’s the specific statute that was meant to be so viciously and flagrantly set aside by these wicked, wicked purveyors of pattiseries:
(1)Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age if the individual is 18 years of age or older.
But none of these were breached. “But, wait a moment David”, I hear you say. What about “sexual orientation”? (whatever that actually means). Surely that was the issue?
No, dear reader, it wasn’t. Because the reality is that if a straight couple had walked into the bakery and asked for the same cake to celebrate a friend’s wedding the same refusal would have arisen. The “sexual orientation” of the purchasor wasn’t the reason they couldn’t get a glorified bun. And had they entered the bakery just to get their morning croissants they would have received all the delightful breakfast goodies they wished to have.
But even more ridiculous is the reason for these “damages”. Here’s the actual complaint filed with the court. Take a moment to read through the 2 and a half page list of silliness.
Consider the claims being made. “Apprehension over possible physical confrontation with Respondent” and “Concern for safety in home” because, of course, what these near-homicidal bakers had next on their list of scheduled crimes was a little home invasion with assault and battery.
Better yet is the simultaneous claims of “Upset stomach” “Resumption of smoking habit” “Nervous appetite” “Impaired digestion” “Loss of appetite” all leading to the inevitable “Weight gain”. I kid you not.
Or how about “Inability to find work”. Yes, seriously, this poor gay couple are now hopelessly roaming the employment agencies of central Oregon to no avail all due to the “mental anguish” (another of the claims) that they were undergoing because they couldn’t buy their cake.
Perhaps the most bizarre for this lesbian couple is “Not wanting husband to touch her”.
The only one I can wholeheartedly endorse, having read this absurd list, is “Embarassment”.
I think their attorney added “Loss of confidence” just to see if they could get away with it.
Now if all of this seems unnecessarily snarky then I agree entirely. It is deliberately so because the only reasonable response to this whole thing is to mock it. This is a manufactured list of greviances and “hurts” that are obviously designed to, well, hurt these bakers. Can’t you imagine the meeting in the lawyers’ office?
Lawyer: so how do you feel about this?
Hurt: well, it wasn’t very nice….
Lawyer (who gets a third of everything awarded in damages): so you’re saying that you’re now unable to find any work, have an upset stomach and mental anguish?
Hurt: um, yeah … I guess
Of course what is even more ridiculous is that the court who heard this case believed it.
Eternity newspaper have run a story on this subject asking a number of people whether they would bake the cake. Well worth reading through to see a range of responses. Here’s what I had to say…
No – I don’t want to participate in such a clear public approval of something I think is wrong and harmful. I’d be happy to provide any other cakes for general use. Mind you, I wouldn’t expect a gay baker to provide something against their conscience either. These basic freedoms are important for our whole society and if they’re eroded then we’re in a very dangerous place. And, of course, the freedom to express our opinions and act according to conscience is ultimately the freedom to tell people about Jesus and for them to respond.
I think the question I’d want to ask those that said “yes” at this point is “would you decorate a “celebrate my abortion” cake or a “yippee, I committed adultery” gateaux?
One other observation. Jesus has one situation where people try to trap Him over the issue of marriage, asking His opinion on divorce and when it is and isn’t permissible. His response is to (again, somewhat sarcastically) say “haven’t you read…?” (Matt 19:4) and then point them to God’s created order of one man and one woman because it was entirely obvious what the answer is. Perhaps we need that same courage, and then more courage to not pay the unjust fine and to go to prison over it. Getting imprisoned for saying “Jesus tells us that marriage is one man and one woman” seems not a bad way to draw some attention to the issue. Or we could, perhaps, go on decorating “celebrate my abortion” cakes. Sorry; “celebrate my gay/polygamous/polyamorous/adulterous wedding” cake.
Except I’m not entirely convinced that decorating those cakes is going to communicate to people that we think Jesus shows us God’s good design and that it’s an important enough issue to be not liked over. Let’s just be part of it like everyone else. At least the music at the party will apparently be better…
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AMERICAN COURTS……….How can they be trusted ? Cakes lose printers win?
Difference between the “Cakes” and the “printers” – who knows! ?
Someone should sue that judge for the same list of damages occasioned by his decision. It’d be just as legitimate.
With you all the way on this one David. It’s certainly a good example of how complainants, quite possibly egged on by an unscrupulous lawyer, can abuse the legal system in terms of inhumanity, dishonesty and greed.
The purpose of the law is to ensure justice. This whole process is a travesty of justice. One can only hope that the victims of this hate campaign (the baker’s) can receive help to appeal against this foolishness and that the magistrate/judge and prosecuting lawyer receive (from a higher court) the censure they deserve for treating honest people acting from conscience (and doing no wrong or harm) as major criminals.
A couple of thoughts…
You are right. It is just a cake. Just as you can’t believe people are getting so upset at the baker for not baking it, I can’t believe the baker wouldn’t just bake it. It’s really not that big of a deal.
If it’s “entirely obvious” that marriage is between one man and one woman, then the wedding wouldn’t be legitimate anyway, right? (in your eyes, or the lord’s) So it’s not really a gay wedding cake at all, is it? Isn’t it (once again) just a cake?
Your beef seems to be more with the legal fraternity rather than the LGBTIQ community. And for the record I also think the fine is ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as not baking the cake in the first place.
Hope you’re well!
All good here! I feel so bad that I don’t respond to you anywhere near as much as you’re owed!
1. I don’t think on reflection you actually believe this. Say, for example, you had a large PVC sheet, maybe 20m x 2m. On it’s own it’s “just a sheet”. But what if someone printed “Heil Hitler, bring on the Fourth Reich” on it? Is it “just a sheet” then? I don’t think you could say that anymore.
What if, someone went to a Jewish sign maker and asked for that “sheet” to be made? Is it “just a sheet”?
Now VERY OBVIOUSLY (because I know you understand this but others can delight in drawing unwarranted conclusions) I am not equating “gay marriage” with Nazism, but the principle is the same here – the right of the service provider to decline something on the basis of their conscience. Does the Jewish sign maker have the right to decline to make the “Heil Hitler” banner? After all, it’s just a sheet of PVC.
2. No, because the decoration (and this is about the decoration, not the cake itself) makes a public statement. The purported illegitimacy (and understood immorality) of the ceremony does not negate the issue but is, rather, the essence of it.
3. Oh no, I’ve got beef for lots of people here! But in this particular case I am glad (and not surprised) that you and I agree wholeheartedly on the legal process. Except I think the fine is far more ridiculous than even your right to not to have to print a “Tim Austin smells like a Baboon’s mother’s sock” t-shirt 🙂
That’s OK, I know you’re busy. 🙂
I’ve seen this argument many times from “your side”, and, while I understand the sentiment behind it, it’s actually a specious comparison.
There are two groups of people in these situations – let’s call them passives and aggressives. The passives are basically sitting there, minding their own business. They aren’t trying to hurt anyone, they just want to be themselves. The aggressives, meanwhile, aren’t just sitting there minding their own business, they’re sitting there minding the passives’ business. For whatever reason, they’ve decided that the passives are bad, and they have to intervene.
It’s kind of like the Smurfs. And hopefully you can see that there is a big difference between Gargamel refusing to bake Papa Smurf a cake, and Hefty not wanting to make a “DEATH TO ALL SMURFS” sign for Gargamel.
But then, why could you not take it a step further? We talked about this at Michael and Gregory’s wedding… if the essence of the issue is the immorality of homosexuality, shouldn’t you be campaigning to make homosexuality illegal? Isn’t marriage equality just a side-show to the real issue?
I would love a “Tim Austin smells like a baboon’s mnother’s sock” t-shirt.
1. “specious” is a little overstated. I understand the point that you’re making, but I think you fail to engage with the wider point being made – the freedom to choose not to act against conscience. So irrespective of whether you think the baker’s moral position is correct or not is hardly the point – the issue is not the validity or otherwise of their position but their right to act according to (allegedly) flawed conscience.
Your rhetoric of “aggressive” and “passive” does nothing but muddy the water, which masks the actual argument being made here.
2. No, because not every immoral thing needs to be made illegal. This is not about civil or criminal wrongs, but about definitions and social goods.
3. I’ll see what I can do.
“the issue is not the validity or otherwise of their position but their right to act according to (allegedly) flawed conscience.”
But that’s precisely why the Nazi comparison is specious. The Jewish sign maker’s refusal isn’t a conscience call at all. It’s personal. The same-sex wedding cake isn’t personal.
All your example does is demonstrate the right to refuse service to someone who hates you.
A better example would be a racist baker refusing to bake a cake for a mixed race wedding. If it’s a matter of conscience, are we supposed to accept that as OK?
Well fair enough. Let’s make him a Gentile. My goyim mate Jim has a great printing business. Does he have the right to refuse the sign since he doesn’t want to be associated with something he considers is immoral? It’s just a piece of PVC, after all.
As for your racist baker, I think he does have the right to say no, as repugnant as it is. It makes him a fool because he’ll lose business, and rightly so I say. He has a massively warped conscience but he still has one. And which one of us can say our conscience is not flawed in one way or another?
I agree David. This issue is primarily about conscience (and the right to act according to one’s conscience). The bakers act towards the prospective customers by declining their request (not aggressively and probably reluctantly because they are missing out on income).
At the same time the bakers are also acting toward God. Their actions either co-operate with and ultimate the Word of God or are contrary to it. By co-operating with something that God has said is wrong they would be endorsing it against God’s will. They are acting from a spiritual conscience formed from the truths of the Bible i.e. from God.
The ‘customers’ may have a social ‘conscience’ formed from the current mores of the society around them. Without an input from God, such a conscience is formed from human derived ideas based on sense experience alone (the criterion is not whether it IS good but that it feels good here and now – to self anyway). It’s a case of ‘every person doing what is right in their own eyes’ (see Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 21:25; Proverbs 12:15).
One can also have a political or legal conscience. Once again, if any input from God is excluded there remains only short-sighted, self-serving human ideas/desires (as opposed to eternal ones in the case of God) that serve only short-term, personal ambitions and wants, more often than not, at the expense of others.
My stance is that only a spiritual conscience (based on God’s eternal perspective) is a true/real conscience. This can enter into, effect and help to form our social, political and legal ideas and concepts. Without God/a higher ideal, ‘conscience’ in these areas of life is warped and spurious.
Thanks for responding David, and thanks for being honest. I haven’t seen many Christians admit that they would also have to accept race-related parallels.
However, your comment, and Ralph’s reply, raise further issues.
1 – Ralph
Fine, fine… a “good” conscience can only be based on god’s perspective. The problem is… which god? And even if we manage to decide on which god, which interpretation of that god? Just as we can surely find some Zoroastrians who think homosexuality isn’t immoral, I’m sure we can find some Christians who would think it immoral to not bake the cake.
2 – David
Which leads me to David’s post. Is it not possible, then, to refuse service to pretty much anyone, as long as it’s justified by conscience? I could refuse to provide access to disabled people, because it violates my conscience. Or women. Or old people.
Is this really the society you want to live in?
The other option, of course, would be for people to just serve everyone. Or, if you have a business, advertise the fact that certain things violate your conscience. That would at least give you the option of boycotting stores because they violate your conscience.
Ah, but you say, what about the gentile being asked to make the Nazi sign? Well, there is, once again, a very good reason for me (the gentile) to refuse service to the Nazi. Doing so would implicate me in his hatred. I would be participating in something that causes real world, objective harm. Same-sex marriage is not like that. At all.
Well, I’m not sure what you mean by “accept race-related parallels”. I entirely reject the canard that homosexuality is like race. Quite the opposite. It differs in a whole manner of areas such as genetics, it’s relationship with the essence of marriage, etc.
But as for the more general “honesty”, I think it’s necessary. We need to be consistent in our application of principles and whenever we place restrictions (or ask for them to be removed) then we need to do so in a consistent manner and be clear about the consequences.
Yes and no. I wish nobody acted in an immoral way. But the reality is that we all do.
So there’s 2 conflicting issues:
Do I want everyone to behave morally? Yes.
Do I want the freedom to act according to my own conscience, even if others think it immoral? Yes
I can’t have both.
Now you appear to be saying that the former trumps the latter. Fair enough. But it seems a little inconsistent to me. You take what is essentially a libertarian approach to morality saying “let homosexual couples do what they want to do, including redefining marriage” and yet at the same time you’re not prepared to be libertarian with the shopkeeper’s right to act as they want to.
Of course the reality is that it’s always somewhere in the middle and that a line has to be drawn somewhere. But if then the real difference between us is that we disagree on where the line is drawn, I don’t think you get to criticise my line-drawing in and of itself when you yourself also draw a line.
I say let people behave in repugnant ways and let them draw the consequences of it. If we as a society think that it’s wrong to refuse to decorate a cake because you don’t want to be involved in the endorsement of something you consider to be immoral, let society choose to get someone else to decorate their cake. Don’t shut down the bakery because one day it will you wanting to act according to conscience and you’ll wonder why you’ve ended up in jail.
Just wanting to pick up on the racial element of this. Based on the religious underpinning of apartheid, it is entirely possible that someone could say that they hold to a belief that non-white people are not equal to whites. Therefore it might be the case that either a person could refuse to make a cake for a mixed race wedding, or that a group might ask for a cake to be made that is decorated to support this belief (“Whites are better than blacks” for example).
At what point is a person’s belief to be considered acceptable?
I happen to agree with you, but I also think that there comes a point where people may have to either bite the bullet and do what is asked, or follow their conscience fully and resign rather than do it.
The key part is where the line between a conscience call and the law of the land should fall.
totally with you, Phil. Yes, there’s always going to be a line. Personally, I prefer to veer towards freedom. Which includes the freedom to be stupid and distasteful.
I disagree Tim. There is no such problem because there is (logically can be) only one true God. The true God is not the concept of God held by any one religion but the principles of goodness and truth/reality that underpin the various religious concepts of God.
All the major religions consider homosexuality as immoral because (from a rational perspective) it has no intrinsic purpose in the scheme of creation. It is in fact contrary to creation. It has no rational basis as heterosexuality, being the vehicle for the perpetuation of species, does.
I’m sure we could find ‘Zoroastrians’ and ‘Christians’ that think all sorts of things but the question is not what individuals think but what the religions actually teach. Any interpretation of scripture that sets up a contradiction (e.g. the assumption that two same entities are equivalent to two un-same entities) needs to be reexamined.
Christianity that is based on the teachings of Christ accepts the teaching of the OT where homosexuality is declared to be immoral and also spiritually self-destructive. Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6) affirms the sexual morality handed down in Genesis 2, a concept which perfectly aligns with common-sense and reason. Because of the complementary nature of the sexes a heterosexual union holds the potential for the two to become one (a necessary element of creation). A same-sex relationship has no such potential.
The onus is on the individual to make a wise choice. Same-sex attraction can make that choice more difficult but no more difficult than other trials of irrational feelings and thoughts that others face is other areas of their lives.
Not all heterosexual unions are moral because other criteria like love and commitment also apply. It is the complementarity/the lack of sameness of male and female that holds the potential for marriage. Male and female are of equal importance to a marriage because a complementary union cannot exist without both.
Our legislators, should base their judgements on fact and reason, not sell us out by listening to the emotional appeals of those who have made a bad choice. Human free-will means that people who want to form same-sex relationships should be free to do so but, IMO, they have no right to call such a relationship a marriage or to foist that false idea on the greater community.
Tim, I have to say that I have great difficulty in following your argument – you seem to change your position without regard to rationality or objectivity.
“Fine, fine… a “good” conscience can only be based on god’s perspective.”
That’s not Ralph’s point as I understand it, but rather that it is a matter of conscience in either case. And so it is. Any person should be entitled to decline to create a sign that is against their conscience – whether that’s because it is in favour of totalitarian ideology, or in favour of gay ideology. And after reading your comments here, it does appear that there is a link between the two – your arguments and those used by the judge in this case appear to be distinctly totalitarian.
“Just as we can surely find some Zoroastrians who think homosexuality isn’t immoral, I’m sure we can find some Christians who would think it immoral to not bake the cake.”
Sure, just as you can find liberals who agree with David Ould on this point. On that basis, your whole argument has fallen to pieces. The fact is that you can always find some members of any group who disagree with the rest, even scientists. There this point can be used against any issue in the world, yet is fundamentally meaningless.
“The problem is… which god? And even if we manage to decide on which god, which interpretation of that god?”
Its not a problem at all. Our society is based on Judaeo-Christian morality. It always has been. Arguments about “which god” are just a silly affectation of liberals who don’t like to face facts. Homosexuality has not been an accepted part of our society for as long as it has existed. Gays are protected against harm or real discrimination, but they have no right to force their views onto others, which is what you are arguing for here.
“Which leads me to David’s post. Is it not possible, then, to refuse service to pretty much anyone, as long as it’s justified by conscience? I could refuse to provide access to disabled people, because it violates my conscience. Or women. Or old people.”
He didn’t refuse them access. He didn’t refuse them service. It is a measure of the weakness of your argument that you feel forced to imply that he did. What he did was refuse to promote their ideology for them. And (to use your own analogy) yes he IS entitled to do that for all the other groups you mentioned – if he doesn’t agree with the political line that a feminist, or disabled, or seniors group is using, he doesn’t have to help them promote it.
Its the same as if I am a signwriter who is a passionate Labor voter, and a Liberal party organizer asks me to make Liberal voting signs – I am entitled to refuse. And no, your totalitarian attempts to force me to do so have no basis in law or morality.
“Is this really the society you want to live in?”
It certainly is, and I do not want my children growing up in the sort of society that you or this judge would like to promote. I think it is the duty of every person in his country who disagrees with him to agitate in order to have him removed from office and never permitted to hold judicial office again.
“Ah, but you say, what about the gentile being asked to make the Nazi sign? Well, there is, once again, a very good reason for me (the gentile) to refuse service to the Nazi. Doing so would implicate me in his hatred. I would be participating in something that causes real world, objective harm. Same-sex marriage is not like that. At all.”
Same-sex marriage is precisely like that. Firstly, it is not marriage at all, so it is just promoting a lie – marriage has always been only between a man and a woman. Secondly, homosexual behaviour is harmful to those who do it and to those who might be tempted to join them. Thirdly, look at the way that you and this judge have promoted totalitarian concepts and lack of free speech – you appear to be making a good case for an association between those things and same sex marriage.
Hi Michael, thanks for joining in. Although feel free to settle down a little.
I’m sorry to hear that. But I have made several arguments. Which one did you have difficulty with?
This would carry a little more weight if you hadn’t already expressed difficulty in following it. But anyway… as I said, I’ve made several arguments. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to which one you are referring.
Actually, it’s exactly his point (even if, perhaps, he doesn’t realise it). Ralph’s exact words were: “My stance is that only a spiritual conscience (based on God’s eternal perspective) is a true/real conscience. This can enter into, effect and help to form our social, political and legal ideas and concepts. Without God/a higher ideal, ‘conscience’ in these areas of life is warped and spurious.”
You then say “Any person should be entitled to decline to create a sign that is against their conscience – whether that’s because it is in favour of totalitarian ideology, or in favour of gay ideology”. The implication of Ralph’s point is the opposite. According to him, you are entitled to your conscience, but if it doesn’t meet his definition of conscience, then it’s not a “true” or “real” conscience, and it’s “warped” and “spurious”. I wonder, then, why he would be willing to tolerate it at all.
That is a ridiculous statement.
These are also a ridiculous statements. And I shouldn’t need to point out why.
OK maybe I do need to point out why.
The answer to both of these arguments is, “So what?”. Tradition doesn’t trump common sense, or empathy, or basic human decency. And if you don’t believe that, consider these statements:
1. Female suffrage has not been an accepted part of our society for as long as it has existed.
2. Inter-racial marriage has not been an accepted part of our society for as long as it has existed.
3. Stoning people for blasphemy has been an acceptable part of our society for as long as it has existed.
Each of those statements has been true at one point in history.
… by refusing them service. And baking someone a cake hardly constitutes promoting their ideology. Please be serious.
Stick to the topic. We’re discussion conscience, and, as before, that’s not a conscience issue. That’s personal. Especially since the only “true” conscience is informed by god, right?
Please direct me to where I said I wanted to force Christian bakers to make gay wedding cakes.
Well that’s unfortunate.
That is circular…
…and that is not only untrue, but irrelevant. Refer to female suffrage and inter-racial marriage examples above.
It can be. So can leaving your house. Or getting pregnant. What’s your point?
Again, please feel free to direct me to where I advocated for totalitarian concepts and the obstruction of free speech.
Firstly, it is not marriage at all, so it is just promoting a lie” (Michael)
That is circular…(Tim)
marriage has always been only between a man and a woman. (Michael)
…and that is not only untrue, but irrelevant. Refer to female suffrage and inter-racial marriage examples above. (Tim)
Tim, it couldn’t be more relevant. Michael is spot-on – same-sex relationships are not marriage relationships. They are not a marriage (as heterosexual relationships have the capacity to be). Those countries and states that have ‘legalised’ ‘gay marriage’ have enshrined a lie into their legal system. All they have really done is attribute a meaning to a word were it doesn’t apply in a vain attempt to ameliorate an emotional campaign. They have allowed emotion, fuelled by a inapplicable appeal to inequality, to rule over common-sense and reason.
A common way of teaching children is to show them pictures, one being different, and have them pick out the one that is different. Let’s say we show them two lions and a tiger. We can then progress to groups – two lions, two tigers and a lion and a tiger (together). The different group is the last because the other two groups have in common that there is two of the same.
If we use men and women instead of lions and tigers, we have two relationship groups that are of same things and one that is a relationship of different things yet some people want to use the one word to describe these two very different types of relationship. How silly and confusing.
The word marriage is applicable to the male/female relationship not because they love/feel emotionally attracted but because male and female are different and complementary. That is what marriage essentially means even when not being used for the human relationship. We could use another word to qualify same-sex relationships but to use the same word is deceptive or (as Michael said) “a lie”.
Your reference to female suffrage and inter-racial marriage is merely a diversion to the emotive charged issue of equality when what is needed is a rational analysis of what marriage is. Female suffrage has to do with gender equality, a quite legitimate topic but an entirely different issue from trying to convince others that male and female are the same. The opposition to interracial marriage was/is a racist issue. It had/has nothing to do with the nature of marriage.
David and Ralph have answered this post of Tim’s very well below, but I will add a couple of more specific points
“MichaelA: Its not a problem at all. Our society is based on Judaeo-Christian morality. It always has been.
Tim: These are also a ridiculous statements. And I shouldn’t need to point out why.”
Translation: You can’t point out why, therefore you resort to sweeping dismissals (and then later in the thread become unhappy when the same type of response is applied to you).
“The answer to both of these arguments is, “So what?”. Tradition doesn’t trump common sense, or empathy, or basic human decency.”
Of course it doesn’t, and nobody suggested it does. Rather, tradition in this case embodies common sense, empathy and basic human decency.
“1. Female suffrage has not been an accepted part of our society for as long as it has existed.
2. Inter-racial marriage has not been an accepted part of our society for as long as it has existed.
3. Stoning people for blasphemy has been an acceptable part of our society for as long as it has existed.
Each of those statements has been true at one point in history.”
No they haven’t. Each of those concepts have only been applied at particular times by particular societies. I can see where you are trying to go with this, but you have completely missed the mark with the way in which you have tried to argue it.
“… by refusing them service. And baking someone a cake hardly constitutes promoting their ideology. Please be serious.”
How about you start taking this seriously? There are lots of ways in which baking a cake can promote ideology. It could be for a gay “wedding”, or a Ku Klux Klan meeting, or a party political summit, or something else again. Only the naïve would believe otherwise.
“MichaelA: Its the same as if I am a signwriter who is a passionate Labor voter, and a Liberal party organizer asks me to make Liberal voting signs – I am entitled to refuse.
Tim: Stick to the topic. We’re discussion conscience, and, as before, that’s not a conscience issue. That’s personal.”
It is precisely a conscience issue, and no more or less “personal” than anything else. A baker does not have to bake a cake for a Liberal party meeting, or a Ku Klux Klan meeting, or a gay “wedding” or anything else that in conscience he cannot support.
“Especially since the only “true” conscience is informed by god, right?”
What on earth are you going on about?
“Please direct me to where I said I wanted to force Christian bakers to make gay wedding cakes.”
Oh please Tim, how about straight talking? The aim of fining the baker was to intimidate others into not refusing to bake cakes for gay “weddings”. That is your whole point of posting on this thread, so don’t try dodging out of that too.
“MichaelA: Firstly, it is not marriage at all, so it is just promoting a lie”
Tim: That is circular…”
No it isn’t, despite your bland assertion. Rather, it is your objections that so far appear to be circular.
“MichaelA: marriage has always been only between a man and a woman.
Tim: …and that is not only untrue, but irrelevant. Refer to female suffrage and inter-racial marriage examples above.”
Your examples were misconceived and irrelevant – see above. What I wrote was correct: marriage has always been only between a man and a woman. And that is directly relevant to the topic. Those who want to change something that has stood for thousands of years need to come up with some pretty good arguments for what it is so necessary.
“Again, please feel free to direct me to where I advocated for totalitarian concepts and the obstruction of free speech.”
In every post on this thread. The whole point of your posting here has been that coercive means should be used to silence those who do not agree with you on gay “marriage”.
This is admirable, in theory, but distinctly removed from the day-to-day reality of religious belief. And despite making an attempt to paint your view of homosexuality as rational, you highlighted my point, and gave the game away, as soon as you referenced scripture. There is actually no rational basis for thinking homosexuality is immoral – it may serve “no intrinsic purpose in the scheme of creation”, but that “scheme of creation” presupposes the existence of a god that has decreed it to be immoral through revelation. In short, it’s not a mere coincidence that the vast majority of people who think homosexuality is immoral are also religious.
Ah, but here’s the rub… religions are made up of people, and people can interpret things in different ways, and that interpretation is made more difficult and subjective by the fact that translations of word-of-mouth ancient texts are notoriously ambiguous and contradictory. People can justify, or condemn, just about anything through scripture. And they do.
Lots of things are declared to be immoral in the OT. Like ploughing with a donkey and an ox yoked together. Also, in a secular society, not everyone has to believe it’s immoral, and certainly not the state.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. For marriage equality, however, it would not work in your favour.
No one’s foisting anything on you. You are free to go on thinking marriage is only between one man and one woman, entered into voluntarily (except when it’s arranged) for life (except when you decide to divorce) to the exclusion of all others (despite adultery not being illegal).
“This is admirable, in theory, but distinctly removed from the day-to-day reality of religious belief. And despite making an attempt to paint your view of homosexuality as rational, you highlighted my point, and gave the game away, as soon as you referenced scripture.” (Tim)
Tim, religious belief is based on our understanding of scripture. It can range from blind adherence to tradition to an educated and rational comprehension of God and His purpose and hence cooperation with it. There are two sources of truth – God (the creator and source of all being) and Nature (which is created by God and reveals certain aspects of the Him).
It is possible to close one’s mind to the fact that Nature could not create itself (yet many do – we call them atheists) and believe that life and reality ‘just happens’ but it is not a rational approach. Only use and purpose driven by love and knowhow/wisdom can bring anything into being.
“People can justify, or condemn, just about anything through scripture. And they do.”
This is true but they can only do so by failing to see that the ambiguity and contradiction only occurs when is treated as a literal document. When (as Jesus demonstrated) it is seen to apply to the mind and how it needs to operate to produce true happiness and contentment, it is a very different story.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself. For marriage equality, however, it would not work in your favour.”
I believe it does “work in (my) favour” – see my answer to your 9:50 post where I show that so-called ‘marriage equality’ is a complete myth and misconception.
“No one’s foisting anything on you. You are free to go on thinking marriage is only between one man and one woman, entered into voluntarily (except when it’s arranged) for life (except when you decide to divorce) to the exclusion of all others (despite adultery not being illegal).”
What amazing blinkers you must have. This story is about a family that have had their livelihood destroyed because they stood up and spoke the truth as they in good conscience believed it. They intended and did no harm to anyone. The supposed ‘victims’ have used a foolish and corrupt legal system to crush them by telling a huge number of ridiculous lies (their list of grievances).
This is not an isolated case. The Barronelle Stutzman Story on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=313&v=MDETkcCw63c is another example.
Children are being taught the lie that same-sex relationships are the same as heterosexual ones and it is being enforced by ‘anti-discrimination’ laws. The examples of this corrupt intolerance keeps growing.
Your “adultery (is) not illegal” comment demonstrates a selfish, immature mindset. (I’m not being personal – just commenting on that self-justifing, escapist way of thinking ). Imagine a world where there were no adultery – where people were sincere, loved and were committed to their chosen spouse, meant and kept their marriage vows. We could immediately say goodbye to mistrust, domestic violence and a huge flow on of hate and harm.
One can’t enforce morality or spirituality through civil legality – it has to come from within – from a good, true heart. I do not believe that adultery should be illegal (choosing something good from one’s own understanding of truth without the threat of sanction or punishment is what builds character) but I do not believe any wise and sensible person would indulge in such activity. The same goes for homosexuality.
This is, as I said, circular. You are just declaring “marriage” to be the union of one man and one woman, and then using that definition to justify your opposition.
Which leads me to this:
Nothing could be further from the truth. The same arguments you are using now to oppose marriage equality are the exact same arguments used to argue against female suffrage and inter-racial marriage.
Consider these words, from a British parliamentarian:
Sounds like a speech against marriage equality, doesn’t it?
It was spoken by Mr S. Smith, Member for Flint, as he addressed the British House of Commons in 1892. Because he didn’t want t give women the vote.
And he based his argument on scripture.
“Same-sex relationships are not marriage relationships (Ralph)
This is, as I said, circular. You are just declaring “marriage” to be the union of one man and one woman, and then using that definition to justify your opposition.” (Tim)
Tim, that is not what I am doing at all. On the contrary, you are so determined to believe the duplicity that two men or two women can form the same sort of relationship as a man AND a woman (if this were so, man would have to equal woman and there would be no point to having the two separate terms ‘man’ and ‘woman’) that you miss the point entirely and, like so many others, are completely fooled by the ‘marriage equality’ rhetoric.
My point is that man does not equal woman – they complement/complete each other. Man and woman together can form a new complex unit that draws on the unique qualities of both. One of the obvious results is the creation of new life (procreation) but that is just the beginning. The potential cooperation between male and female units is as great as the cooperation that exist naturally between the heart and the lungs in an individual. NONE of this is possible between two men or two women. These two types of relationship are distinctly different. Therefore, the RATIONAL thing to do is to have distinct terms that explain the different types of relationship.
From time immemorial the term marriage has been used to designate the male/female relationship. Marriage is a term for a complementary type of conjunction. It is not exclusive to human beings. Any two entities that complement each other when joined together form a marriage. A physical example is a nut and a bolt. (For illustration, try joining two bolts or two nuts together sometime – good luck.) A mental/phycological example is goodness and truth.
There is no reason why someone cannot dream up another term that explains same-sex relationships if they want to. My beef is with using the same term for both. Doing so creates an entirely false and deceptive impression.
“The same arguments you are using now to oppose marriage equality are the exact same arguments used to argue against female suffrage and inter-racial marriage.” (Tim)
Again you are carried away by your imagination. My argument is not like the one you present at all. My argument appeals to common-sense and reason not emotion or tradition as does your British parliamentarian.
The reason ‘marriage equality’ advocates argue, inappropriately, for ‘equality’ is because they have misunderstood or are avoiding the proper/rational definition of marriage. Putting the focus on ‘equality’, based solely on the fact that we are all human, moves the attention away from analysing the situation of gender difference and purpose and leaves only emotion and/or deception.
They can. They often do. But they don’t have to. Just ask a gay person.
I’m sure gay men do this all the time.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
You seem to keep ignoring the point, but you can’t avoid it forever. This sort of argument could just as easily be deployed against inter-racial marriage, or female suffrage, or aboriginal citizenship. We have a thing, and that thing has been a certain way for a very long time, and now these people want to come and change the definition of that thing. Why can’t we just have a different word for inter-racial marriage? Or female voters? Or aboriginal citizens? Separate but equal doesn’t have a good track record.
Also, without knowing you better, I suspect this is a little disingenuous, given the whole “won’t someone think of the children” argument that is often deployed. Can you really say you would support same-sex marriage if they just changed the word? Or at least, not oppose it?
But if you really insist on using a different word… can I suggest “mawwiage”? I’m being serious… would that be OK?
For whom? You will go on thinking it’s not really marriage, and the rest of us will go on thinking it’s perfectly fine. In short, it won’t affect you at all.
I really love that you said this. Not only have you appealed to tradition in the very same post (“From time immemorial the term marriage has been used to designate the male/female relationship.”), but here is some more gold from the good ol’ Member for Flint:
I’m sure he thought he was being eminently rational. Just as you do.
“My point is that man does not equal woman – they complement/complete each other. (Ralph)
They can. They often do. But they don’t have to. Just ask a gay person.” (Tim)
They do (biologically, psychologically and spiritually, period (as the Americans say). Why would I ask a “gay person” anyway? I’m addressing a principle of reality not looking for opinions based on subjective feelings/emotion.
“Also, without knowing you better, I suspect this is a little disingenuous, given the whole “won’t someone think of the children” argument that is often deployed. Can you really say you would support same-sex marriage if they just changed the word? Or at least, not oppose it?”
I’m a lover of freedom of choice. If someone is silly enough to choose a same-sex sexual relationship I believe they should be free to do so provided it is properly labeled as what it is and is not falsely pretending to be something that it isn’t.
I would never support “same-sex marriage” because (as I’ve been explaining) there is no such thing. It’s a delusion to think that redefining a word to include something that is contrary to it’s meaning can in any way change the concept/principle behind it.
But, of course, that won’t stop our vote-chasing pollies and the inept legal fraternity making asses of themselves. God permits us to make fools of ourselves so that we can freely choose to reject folly when the results come back to bite us.
The effect on any children that may be involved in SSR’s is a very valid argument that people thinking only about their own pleasure would rather avoid. Children are important. In SSR’s not only do they grow up without a mum or a dad but they would be living in an atmosphere of pretence (one or both of the partners pretending to be what they are not). Both of these can be psychologically damaging.
“But if you really insist on using a different word… can I suggest “mawwiage”? I’m being serious… would that be OK?”
Sounds a bit Elmer Fuddish. How about something not mimicking marriage (which is the whole trouble in the first place). How about sronch (sexual relationships of non complementary humans).
‘The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church’ is the uniform language of Scripture, repeated in one form or another hundreds of times. Could a greater calamity befall the human race than to undermine this sacred institution? I [don’t] much doubt that … should female suffrage be successful, a time of social chaos would ensue.
I’m sure he thought he was being eminently rational. Just as you do.
I think this rather supports my point – that “the good ol’ Member for Flint” is arguing from prejudice and emotion. This is not “the uniform language of Scripture”. It is an idea of the apostle Paul (never taught by Christ) in maybe two or three verses, not “hundreds of times”. Thinking one is “being … rational” and being rational (actually researching the facts rather than grasping at whatever appears to back up one’s prejudice ) are distinctly different.
Come on Tim, you can do far better than this. It is quite clear that heterosexual relationships have essential differences to homosexual relationships. And it’s clear to you. Can you name them? Or do you need to keep avoiding these essential differences in order to maintain your position?
What IS marriage, Tim?
I know you sincerely believe that, but, I’m sorry, you’re focusing on only one aspect of reality – that, statistically, most men and women are heterosexual. But the reality is that a certain percentage of men and women are not. Not even a little bit. In fact, the reality is that, with 7 billion people on the planet, there is an extremely wide range of sexuality. Lumping everyone into a two-legs-good-four-legs-bad-type dichotomy, and then giving that invented classification a special and untouchable status, doesn’t reflect reality at all.
Yes, yes, yes… the only way to make babies through sexual intercourse is with a man and a woman. But since when is marriage only about children?
And asking a gay person would be very beneficial. You might discover that it’s not a choice, they’re not faking it, and they want nothing more than the same chance at happiness that you and I take for granted.
Thank you, that’s very generous of you.
With respect, that’s just silly. Firstly, no one’s “redefining” anything, and no one is advocating changing “marriage” to mean something “contrary to it’s [sic] meaning”. Unless, of course, you can point me towards someone suggesting it should be changed to mean “the union of no men and no women, to the inclusion of all others, entered into forcibly for a unit of Planck time.” Secondly, a word is nothing more than a bunch of sounds strung together, and they can – and do – change their meaning all the time. Christopher Hitchens used to be fond of pointing out that people are always saying something was “decimated”, without realising that reducing something by 10% isn’t really that dramatic. He was technically correct, of course, but also slightly ungenerous, since the dictionary also includes the meaning that people most often intend.
In short, adding “Also, the union of two men or two women” to the existing definition isn’t that big of a deal.
Firstly, no, it’s not a valid argument at all. Same-sex couples are already having children, and they will continue to do so, with or without marriage equality. You’re looking for the same-sex parenting debate, which I think is down the hall.
Secondly, would your opinion on same-sex parenting change if the evidence showed that their children turned out much, much better than the children of heterosexual couples? Please be honest.,
Thank you, that proves my point nicely.
And thank you again – that supports my point nicely, too. The Member for Flint absolutely believed he was arguing from reason and logic.
As do you.
Hi Tim, bit of a waste of time ‘conversing’ with you (you ignore whatever I say) but I’ll have one last try. IMO, there are no “gay people” other than those who have chosen to be gay. Some people do experience same-sex attraction (not a choice). But then some people feel sexually attracted to other people’s spouses. If they act on those tendencies they become adulterers. If they fight against their inclinations because (either from reason, religion or common-sense) they believe them to be wrong, they do not become adulterers.
The same goes for homosexual tendencies. I also believe heterosexuality is a choice but it doesn’t have a problem with reason, religion and common-sense as homosexuality does.
No human being is ‘big’ enough to grasp the totality of reality. The totality of all the humans that have existed and ever will exist are still not on a scale to do so. The only being/entity capable of such knowledge/omniscience is who or whatever created and sustains it. The only entity that makes any sense in that capacity is a ‘human/superhuman’ i.e. God (in whose image and likeness we are said to be made).
So, if I want to find out about the parameters of sexuality/marriage, I certainly would not consult someone who only had his personal sense experience to offer. Truth is not discovered by ruminating or democratically voting (90% of the voters may be ignorant bumpkins) on what may be true. True reason involves the recognition and acknowledgement that something revealed is so, regardless of what a whole bunch of deluded pleasure seekers might say.
“…… since when is marriage only about children?”
Human marriage is primarily about the joining together of male and female (so that they may become one – it’s in the effort to become one that children are produced. The joint effort of loving, raising and educating children is one of the key cooperative uses that bind the two parents together. If they are unable to have children it is the love and desire to perform that use that has the same effect. Homosexuals have chosen a relationship style that cannot possibly produce children.
“And asking a gay person would be very beneficial. You might discover that it’s not a choice, they’re not faking it, and they want nothing more than the same chance at happiness that you and I take for granted.”
They may not be “faking it” but they are deluding themselves if they think they can attain marriage happiness by simply putting a ‘marriage’ label on their non-marriage relationship. If it were that simple I might rebadge my old Toyota as a BMW.
“If someone is silly enough to choose a same-sex sexual relationship I believe they should be free to do so (Ralph)
Thank you, that’s very generous of you.” (Tim)
I’m not being magnanimous, just stating a fact. They do no immediate harm unless they falsely try to claim marriage status or try to recruit others to their unfulfilling and unfulfillable way of life. (Marital fulfilment is only achievable through the joining together of the complementary units of male and female.)
“It’s a delusion to think that redefining a word to include something that is contrary to it’s meaning can in any way change the concept/principle behind it. (Ralph)
With respect, that’s just silly. Firstly, no one’s “redefining” anything, and no one is advocating changing “marriage” to mean something “contrary to it’s [sic] meaning”.” (Tim)
Redefining, in a way that destroys the original meaning, is EXACTLY what is being done
“…. a word is nothing more than a bunch of sounds strung together, and they can – and do – change their meaning all the time.”
Some words do change their meanings over time (not all the time as you suggest). It usually comes about because of ignorance (being uneducated as to the meaning and/or concept behind the word) and laziness. With the word marriage becoming corrupted, we will need another word to express what marriage had previously meant (i.e. a complementary male/female union as distinct from an anything goes union).
“In short, adding “Also, the union of two men or two women” to the existing definition isn’t that big of a deal.”
It doesn’t appear to be unless you actually THINK about it. By inappropriately adding you are destroying the original meaning of ‘a man and a woman’ which is totally different from two same-sexes.
Lots to reply to, but I’d like to quickly explore this comment:
Firstly, my thanks was decidedly sarcastic.
Secondly, would you mind explaining what harms you are referring to?
That’s an interesting way to view the conversation. If I remain unconvinced of your arguments, it doesn’t mean that I am ignoring you. I haven’t convinced you either. Can I just say that you’re ignoring me?
A couple of comments:
1. “Some people do experience same-sex attraction” is a very mild way of putting it, almost to the point of dis-ingenuousness. We’re not talking about men who occasionally look at another man and say “Ooh he looks good in those jeans”. We’re talking about people who would never even entertain the idea of being with someone of the opposite sex (amongst others). It’s not a fleeting feeling, it’s the essence of their being.
2. Comparing it to adultery is also a little disingenuous. You’re comparing what is, in the secular world at least, a morally neutral attraction to something that is decidedly immoral. You are entitled, of course, to view it as immoral, but given that that is a religious position, and you are deciding on the rights of people in a secular society, you should really try and leave that out of it.
3. “If they act on those tendencies they become adulterers”. Matthew 5:28, anyone?
Do you mean that someone with “homosexual tendencies” can choose to be heterosexual? Despite admitting that people can’t help having same-sex attractions? Do you honestly think the right thing for a gay man to do is to choose to be with a woman, despite not being in any way attracted to her?
And that’s their choice, isn’t it?
Can you explain this further? In what way is adding to the definition completely redefining it? How is this different from an anti-universal suffragist complaining that admitting women to the definition of “voter” will destroy the original meaning?
Of course they have differences. The issue is whether those differences actually matter. And given that we don’t stop infertile couples from marrying, nor couples that simply don’t want children, those differences amount to nothing more than window-dressing.
Besides which, I find the similarities much more compelling than the differences.
A couple of thoughts:
The facetious answer is that marriage is whatever the Marriage Act says it is. Whether that accurately reflects what “marriage” can or should be is a different matter.
That being said, it’s not really my place to say what it can or should be. It only really matters what the people of Australia want or need, and whether that will cause any harm. I could tell you what it is to me personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to view it the same way, and it certainly doesn’t entitle me to withhold marriage rights from those who view it differently. If Cardinal Pell wants to believe that marriage is an institution ordained by god for the creation and nurture of children, that’s his right, and he can sit there and pretend that the marriages of childless atheists aren’t real marriages. But the secular state can’t.
Whatever marriage “really” is, the fact remains that a large number of couples feel the need to stand up before their family and friends and promise to love each other to the exclusion of all others until they die. Not only do they not promise to have children, but they go through the whole thing despite knowing that sometimes loving someone for 60 years just isn’t possible, and there is a good chance they will fall out of love with, or cheat on, their partner. I say this not to disparage the institution itself, which I believe to be wonderful, but to point out that the ideal you adhere to is very far removed from how things play out in practice. I alluded to this above, but Ralph seems to have missed it.
Marriage is for two people who love each other. But strangers can get married.
Marriage is for children. But we allow infertile couples to marry.
Marriage is for life. But we allow divorce.
Marriage is to the exclusion of all others. But we allow adultery .
It seems the only sticking point is the whole “one man / one woman” thing. Which seems a little… I dunno… silly.
Whatever marriage is, if the state is going to provide it for heterosexual couples, there is not a single secular argument for not allowing it for same-sex couples. And that’s pretty much what my whole point boils down to.
Well that’s the heart of the matter, do they matter?
We’ve already spoken about infertility and, at the time, you did concede the point. I’m surprised that you’re running it again now. When a heterosexual couple are infertile we recognise that it is an aberration from the norm, from what would be normally expected of heterosexual couples. So they’re the exception that proves the rule and what we’re talking about here is general rules.
So the general rule is that heterosexual couples are sexually reproductive.
When you have either an infertile or an unwilling couple, they are in that position contrary to the normative expectation. Our understanding of marriage derives from the normative expectation.
As for “window dressing”, I think your rhetoric is a valiant attempt to underplay the very real differences here. A homosexual couple cannot sexually reproduce, it’s not in the nature of their relationship. Now if you are suggesting that this basic difference between heterosexuality and homosexuality (the ability to sexually reproduce) is just “window dressing” then I think you’re the one who is working very hard to avoid the excruciatingly obvious.
of course, the reality is that we are now living in a world where people are keen to destroy the link between sex and procreation. But that link is something that cannot be so easily broken; it is a fundamental basic aspect of our biology. It’s not “window dressing” in the shop window, it’s a fundamental part of the main core business!
Yes, because marriage isn’t actually just for people who love each other. If it really was that, then we’d have to have a love test. The celebrant is not required to ask if the couple are in love, just if they want to get married.
Yes, because their infertility does not in any way detract from the basic observation that can be made about heterosexual reproduction in general. Their exception is just that, an exception, and because we recognise that something has gone wrong we often seek to rectify it.
Yes, because people break contracts. But we don’t ban contracts in toto because some people break them.
But we don’t approve of it, do we?
On the contrary, there are other massive sticking points and sweeping them under the carpet doesn’t make them go away.
Why does Tim limit marriage to an arbitrary number of two? Is he anti-polygamy? If so, on what consistent basis?
Why does MBurke not just ask him?
He did, and you refused to answer, as you do each time when you get a difficult question.
1. It was a joke. You really should lighten up a little.
2. Can you please point me towards where I refused to answer?
3. Actually, can you please show me a single instance where I’ve refused to answer any of these so-called “difficult questions”?
To answer your questions:
I am currently less concerned with polyamorous marriages that I am with marriage equality. I have already stated why in this thread, but in case you missed it in amongst all the comments, I will re-iterate.
It is not that I think the definition of marriage should be widened to include same-sex couples. It’s that the reasons you give for marriage, and the reasons you give for excluding same-sex couples, (a) simply don’t stack up, and (b) are essentially religious in nature.
The problem is actually that your criteria for marriage are not applied on a consistent basis.
No, I am not anti-polygamy. I do, however, have some reservations about allowing three or more people to get married: the ceremonies would be very confusing, with a wedding between, say, 8 people requiring 56 different vows; and custody battles are hard enough when only two people are involved.
I have some questions for you, too.
Why does MBurke not exclude infertile couples from marriage? Why does he not make having children a legal requirement of marriage? Why does he not campaign to make divorce illegal? Why does he not criminalise adultery? Why does he allow an uncle to marry his niece? Why does he think that his religious beliefs should be used as the basis of laws that apply to everyone?
These are actually serious questions. I hope to see your responses.
But you still haven’t attempted to answer the question, what is marriage. Along with several others. The reason you are not being taken seriously is because you are dodging and weaving.
“It is not that I think the definition of marriage should be widened to include same-sex couples.”
Then why waste everyone’s time with this? I agree, you seem less interested in the topic, and more with how many of your words you can get someone else to post on his blog!
“It’s that the reasons you give for marriage, and the reasons you give for excluding same-sex couples, (a) simply don’t stack up, and (b) are essentially religious in nature.”
So what if they are “essentially religious in nature”? Sorry, but you have lost me here – is that supposed to be a serious objection? Its not our fault if the secular world lacks content or reasoned thought about very important human issues; that may just explain why so many people are religious. And as for reasons not stacking up – you need to provide some reasoned responses before you can say that.
“The problem is actually that your criteria for marriage are not applied on a consistent basis.”
An assertion you have made several times yet you have never provided any content in support of it. The criteria for marriage is that it is between a man and a woman, a union for life, with the intent of nurturing any children in a loving home. All you have managed to show is that some couples do not go into marriage with that intention, and that some change their mind afterwards – so what?
“No, I am not anti-polygamy.”
Of course you aren’t – it was pretty obvious from your first post where this would lead. Another reason why rational people don’t take you seriously.
“Why does MBurke not exclude infertile couples from marriage?”
Why should he? Being fertile has never been a requirement of marriage – that is just something you have made up yourself.
“Why does he not campaign to make divorce illegal?”
Why should he? It has always been with us.
“Why does he not criminalise adultery?”
Why should he? Most societies have not done so. Most societies have frowned upon it, but that is a different matter.
“Why does he allow an uncle to marry his niece?”
He does? What is your basis for this assertion?
“Why does he think that his religious beliefs should be used as the basis of laws that apply to everyone?”
Why shouldn’t he? We are all allowed to vote – even if you apparently don’t think so.
“These are actually serious questions. I hope to see your responses.”
I have given you the courtesy of serious answers, but I frankly see no sign that these questions were meant seriously by you. Just more attempts to dodge and weave.
So now back to you, Tim. What IS marriage? What exactly is the institution to which the right to enter is being argued over?
How is it defined? What are its boundaries?
and most importantly, WHY?
Sorry for the delayed response… life getting in the way as usual!
I think I’ve already answered most of these questions, but perhaps I’m misinterpreting where you’re coming from. I wrote this earlier:
I’m sorry if you think that’s evasive, but that is honestly how I feel. I can, of course, tell you what it means to me personally if you’d like.
The only thing I know for sure is that a legal status X exists, but (a) it’s purported reasons for existing can vary depending on who you ask, and (b) some people are being excluded from X for what are, at the heart of the matter, religious reasons.
Except it’s not, is it?
If the exclusion is “at the heart of the matter” for religious reasons then how do you account for almost identical arguents being made by atheists and secularists? How do you respond to the entirely non-religious argument set out (as just one example) here?
I think what frustrates me here is that you’ve read the arguments, but you persist with the “it’s just religion” line when quite clearly it’s not.
And you’ve not yet actually defined marriage. You argue for the right to enter into an institution but you can’t yet clearly define what that institution actually is and what it’s boundaries are and why those boundaries exist. You state “that doesn’t mean everyone else has to view it the same way, and it certainly doesn’t entitle me to withhold marriage rights from those who view it differently” but then all that demonstrates is that you simply view the word “marriage” as a non-descript label with no inherent meaning. That’s a, frankly, incredibly dangerous position from which to then demand we legislate huge social change. Why can’t I marry my son when he comes of age? Why can’t my 38 member stamp club get married?
I must admit that I haven’t seen any arguments from atheists and secularists. Are you able to link me towards any?
Sorry, I’m probably not being clear.
I’m not saying it’s “just” religion, or that you don’t have non-religious arguments against marriage equality. I’m saying that even if I were able to argue a religious person out of all their non-religious objections, it is very likely that they would still be against marriage equality, because of their religious beliefs. For that reason, it does often feel like a lot of the arguments against marriage equality consist of starting at the conclusion and working backwards. Perhaps that’s unfair, but it definitely looks like that at times, and it can make the non-religious discussions feel a little redundant.
Also, it is, I think, fairly well established that the vast majority of marriage equality opponents are religious. That can’t be mere coincidence.
Well, as I’ve said, I don’t think I need to. I only need to demonstrate that, whatever it is in law, there is no real reason to exclude same-sex couples.
But if you’re asking on my own view of marriage… it is a consensual, life-long commitment of non-platonic love between two people, to the exclusion of all others. But here we immediately see the problem. That is my personal view. That is how I personally would enter a marriage. Yes, you may well say that opens me up to all kinds of marriage that I personally find distasteful, and it does. But I also wouldn’t dream of stopping a marriage between two 90-year-old (platonic) friends, or two people who admit to wanting an open marriage.
Secular laws are there to accommodate a wide range of people, not our own personal preferences.
Well, exactly. So then we might agree that it really has little weight on that basis. Whereas the “traditional” view is not simply “personal” but thoroughly grounded in the nature of people themselves – that we are male and female with all the obvious conclusions one can draw from there.
So when I say “this is what marriage is…” I’m not simply saying “here is my personal view….” I (and so many others) are saying “look, this is very obviously what people are like, as male and female, and here are the obvious agreed outcomes of that and here are therefore some legitimate conclusions that may be drawn and therefore boundaries that must also be drawn”.
You might not agree, but it would be unfair not to recognise that nature of what is being argued. When I say “Marriage is…” I do so on the basis of undisputed biology, the very nature of who we are. When you say “Marriage is…” you do so on personal preference. I think therefore it’s legitimate for me to claim you need to do a lot more work before decrying my position.
Unless you’re actually arguing that personal preference is the better arbiter. Which is, on reflection, exactly what the noisy people in this wider debate appear to be doing.
“…. it is, I think, fairly well established that the vast majority of marriage equality opponents are religious.”
Tim, I hope you and David don’t mind me jumping into your discussion. Many secularists and atheists peddle the line (as you are doing) that opposition to ‘gay marriage’ is grounded in religion. David has demonstrated that this is not the case. Reason and common-sense also align against the idea of ‘gay marriage’. It’s quite possible to show the incongruity of “gay marriage” without even a mention of religion. Secularists/atheists don’t get it because they don’t think from reason (which looks at the way things really are – in essence rather than appearance) but from their will (the way they want them to be).
The way to think from reason on this issue is to explore the nature of marriage (something you keep evading) and the nature of homosexuality and see if they are compatible. Until this is done there is no basis for asking a question about ‘equality’. When one thinks from personal preference/emotion the reasoning faculty simply becomes a rubber stamp for what the will wants.
What religion does is provide answers as to why this particular order is stamped on creation i.e. is part of the reality of the natural world. God’s commandments are not made at whim. They are statements of the spiritual laws of order that govern His creation on the spiritual plane of existence i.e. that of the spirit or inner mind. To help put this in perspective, the ‘laws of Nature’ are the natural/scientific laws that God has put in place to govern the working of the natural/physical world.
God didn’t just make one type of (asexual) human being, He made two – male and female. God is Love but love is not true love unless it is wise so God is love and wisdom totally and perfectly combined in an absolute, infinite and eternal form.
IMO, everything God creates receives existence from the combination of love and wisdom going forth to create. Living forms receive their love and wisdom (their life) from Him. God created human beings in His own image capable not only of receiving love and wisdom but also of feeling love and wisdom as their own and reciprocating it. They are able like no other creature to understand and love their creator and thus connect with Him and attain eternal life.
This potential is achieved by making one creature more attuned to love/nurturing and the other more attuned to wisdom/truth seeking. This is the source of the complementarity of men and women and God’s directive that by co-operatively joining together through sexual union (as husband and wife) they would become ‘one flesh’/one in heart and mind.
The ideal is that God’s love and wisdom are reunited in a married unit of one man and one woman. This obviously does not work for two of the same sex. Such joinings are an abuse or misuse of the sexual function and have no place in eternal life – hence God’s warnings against them.
The greatest blessing God has given us as humans is the ability to share in His creation by having and raising children – an obvious possibility (given there are no physical or psychological impediments) stemming from the joining of a man (husband) and a woman (wife) in marriage.
“That being said, it’s not really my place to say what it can or should be.”
Dodge, dodge, weave, weave…
“It only really matters what the people of Australia want or need, and whether that will cause any harm.”
Sorry Tim, but “not causing any harm” has never been a criterion for any law – particularly in the sense that you mean – “poor gay people feel left out because they can’t classify their relationships as marriage, therefore they are suffering harm”. Laws cause harm all the time in this sense – some people miss out, so sad too bad.
“I could tell you what it is to me personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to view it the same way, and it certainly doesn’t entitle me to withhold marriage rights from those who view it differently.”
Since you personally don’t grant or withhold marriage rights from anyone, this is an irrelevant comment.
“If Cardinal Pell wants to believe that marriage is an institution ordained by god for the creation and nurture of children, that’s his right, and he can sit there and pretend that the marriages of childless atheists aren’t real marriages. But the secular state can’t.”
Why do you keep making things up? I am not Roman Catholic, but I know perfectly well that Catholics do not “pretend that the marriage of childless atheists aren’t real marriages”. You don’t seem to have much knowledge of your subject.
And sorry to let reality intrude on your fantasies, but the secular state can in fact rule that marriage is between a man and woman, for life, and that it includes the creation and nurture of children – that is exactly what the secular state has been doing for thousands of years.
Well why ever not? Isn’t all love equal? Who are you to express your hatred and bigotry against them in this way?
Or perhaps one more. Why does Tim keep asking this question when he’s been answered many many times? I remember sitting on my deck with you, explaining this to you and you saying “well that makes sense”. The answer has already been addressed in this thread and yet you show no evidence of actually engaging with it. I’m disappointed by that.
I didn’t say I’m against polyamorous marriages. I said I have some reservations… which I am open to being challenged on.
And no, all love isn’t equal. I’ve never said that.
Apologies for this… I shouldn’t have asked again, or at least, not without first addressing your post above, which I forgot to get back to.
I must also apologise for not having a very good recollection of our conversation on your deck. I don’t quite remember what I said “made sense” at the time, but I will state my position now clearly, which hasn’t changed since we last spoke.
You answered my “infertile question” with this:
You may well say that when two otherwise-healthy, young, heterosexual adults get married, the “normative expectation” is that they will be able to produce children. That is not really in dispute, but it’s also not really what my point is about.
My point is essentially in two parts.
If we’re speaking of “normative expectations”, it should be equally indisputable that more and more married couples are choosing not to have children, whether or not they are able. If, in another ten years time, the normative expectation actually becomes that married couples don’t have children at all, would that change your position? That is, if our “understanding of marriage” is simply derived from a normative expectation, shouldn’t our understanding change if the expectation does?
I suspect you, and many people against marriage equality, will answer “no” at this point (but correct me if I’m wrong). And that’s where the religious nature of marriage comes in to play. Your opposition isn’t solely religious, but if you take away all the non-religious arguments, your opposition remains, doesn’t it?
A related point is that couples are increasingly having trouble having children naturally. And so, once again – if, in twenty years time, half of all heterosexual couples need to use assisted reproduction, would that change your position?
What is the normative expectation of two 90-year-olds getting married?
It’s not just a certain class of couples that can “normally” have children if they choose to, is it?
Sorry, I meant “It’s not just about a certain class of couples that can “normally” have children if they choose to, is it?”
No, because that “expectation” is contrary to biology. I’m arguing a basic natural law principle at this point. Men and women together make babies. If we don’t want that, then we want something contrary to the nature of the relationship that we’re in.
Barring divine intervention, nothing. But that doesn’t negate the point. Procreation is of the essence of heterosexual relationships. That there is an age beyond which fertility stops doesn’t negate the fact that sexual reproduction is still intrinsic to the nature of the relationship in general.
“If we’re speaking of “normative expectations”, it should be equally indisputable that more and more married couples are choosing not to have children, whether or not they are able.”
This is indicative of Tim’s constant attempts to lead this debate into red herrrings. Of course there are couple who choose not to have children. There always have been. Nobody knows what the proportion is, and it probably fluctuates, but so what? There are also couples who go into marriage intending from the start to be unfaithful. Again, so what?
None of this changes the reality that marriage has always been between a man and a woman only and for life, that Jesus Christ taught that it is only between a man and a woman (which is conclusive for Christians, and for many non-Christians as well) and that the only reason change is being sought now is to satisfy a silly pseudo-intellectual fad which will last a few decades at most. That is no reason why same-sex “marriage” (I use inverted commas because such couples are not married whether or not they persuade governments to issue them a certificate to that effect) should be taken seriously by rational people.
I might also point out that, as indicated in the post that you linked to above, yes, couples who have never met are able to get married.
But that’s not the normative expectation. 🙂
So what? What does that have to do with the nature of marriage?
These are a sample of examples. Not surprised that you’ve not seen them, publishing them would go against the delierate mainstream media narrative we’re seeing.
commentary about the phenomenon http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2012/08/opposing-gay-marriage-is-rational-not-religious
Haha… yeah, OK.
Are you kidding? Please tell me you are kidding.
Well there’s no problem then, is there.
Oh I’m sorry… I thought we were having an honest discussion about our disagreement. I didn’t realise I wasn’t being taken seriously. Thanks for debating in good faith.
And I have answered the question. You know, the discussion would be a lot more fruitful if you actually bothered to read what I write, instead of putting all your efforts into being snarkily dismissive.
“Are you kidding? Please tell me you are kidding.”
Don’t beg, it just makes you look abject. And no, of course I am not kidding.
“Well there’s no problem then, is there.”
The problem is that some silly people are trying to get laws changed, and are also acting terribly hurt when others like me disagree with them.
This next point is not directed at Tim of course, but to others: Marriage as it has always been understood is fundamental to our society, and it is vital that Christians and non-Christians who believe this speak out on this issue. Non-Christians who believe in traditional marriage can take comfort from knowing that Christians will stand with them and speak out on this, even if secularists like Tim have abandoned them.
“I didn’t realise I wasn’t being taken seriously. Thanks for debating in good faith.”
Don’t thank me; thank yourself – you’ve earned it!
“And I have answered the question. You know, the discussion would be a lot more fruitful if you actually bothered to read what I write, instead of putting all your efforts into being snarkily dismissive.”
No, you haven’t answered the question; rather, you have avoided it. And I have read what you have written, hence why some of my points may appear to be dismissive, although they are really just telling you where you currently stand.
1. This just proves you’re not really interested in honest debate. My subsequent comments render your question completely irrelevant.
2. We’re not wasting everyone’s time. The people standing in the way of the inevitable are the ones wasting everyone’s time. We’d really like to move on to something else, too.
3. Yes, because getting comments posted on a blog is a real source of pride for me. What on earth are you talking about?
Tell me, Michael… how do you feel about Sharia law?
You really need to start reading before you comment.
Haha… that’s classic.
Was it? Have you actually read my first comment? Can you point out the part that makes it “obvious”? And did I say I’m pro-polygamy? Can you recognise a difference between actively supporting something and not actively opposing it?
I gather you’re an Anglican, so the divorce thing is probably understandable. But let me summarise your position:
“Same-sex couples can’t get married because marriage is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others with the intent of raising children in a loving home except when it’s not for life and it doesn’t exclude any others and they can’t have or don’t want any children and Jesus said the same thing but you have to go along with all this even if you don’t believe in Jesus because lots of other societies have done the same although some societies were heaps into polygamy and some were even into gay marriage but please just ignore them.”
And I’m the one that’s not being taken seriously.
Australian marriage law. Do you not think an uncle should be able to marry his niece?
Secularism’s terrible, isn’t it? Until it’s Islam you’re being protected from, of course.
And you really don’t need to add the snide remarks.
Actually, you have a marriage equality proponent who has taken the time to come here and engage with you in a respectful manner, rather than wave a placard in your face and call you a bigot. And in turn you’ve shown no courtesy at all.
Tim, your merely abusive comments in this last post do not merit a response, although they do speak volumes about the extent to which you believe your cause can survive rational challenge. I will deal with the few parts of your post that have substantive content:
“MichaelA: So what if they are “essentially religious in nature”?
Tim: Tell me, Michael… how do you feel about Sharia law?”
Is this meant to be the entire response to my question? Okay, if that’s the best you can do, here is my answer: I disagree with Sharia law. However, I do not disagree with it merely on the grounds that it is “religious”, any more than I disagree with the practices of Pol Pot’s murderous regime in Kampuchea merely because they were “secular”. Some of us think a little deeper than just attaching labels like religious and secular and then thinking no further.
“You really need to start reading before you comment.”
I did, and my comment stands.
“Haha… that’s classic.”
Once again, on this particular point you do not appear to have any rational response, and so resort to comments like this. Here is my point again: All you have managed to show is that some couples do not go into marriage with that intention, and that some change their mind afterwards – so what?
“And did I say I’m pro-polygamy? Can you recognise a difference between actively supporting something and not actively opposing it?”
Certainly, in this context it is a semantic difference. Your reason for not actively supporting it is that the ceremony might get confusing! It is no surprise whatsoever that someone who supports gay marriage also supports polygamy (however they might dress it up as “not actively opposing”).
“But let me summarise your position: …”
Sure, if you can, but you have just demonstrated that you can’t. Take this part for example: “Same-sex couples can’t get married because marriage is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others with the intent of raising children in a loving home except when it’s not for life and it doesn’t exclude any others and they can’t have or don’t want any children…” The word “except” shows that you still don’t comprehend the majority position on marriage, and yet you loudly criticise it:
Firstly, if you had read what I wrote above you would have realised that a couple not having children doesn’t negate marriage. This should be obvious since no-one can guarantee either having children or not having children. But if children do eventuate, the intent must be to raise them in a loving relationship – something you also seem to have a problem with.
Secondly, you latch on to cases where people knowingly enter into marriage not intending to obey current laws or current morality. For example, one or both of them may already intend to get divorced (even though the law says it is a union for life) or intend to commit adultery (even though the vast majority of people, Christian or non-Christian, consider this to be morally wrong). For some reason you think those cases by themselves render the whole concept of marriage meaningless – and the rest of us are saying, “No it doesn’t Tim. Try coming up with an argument instead of just making unsupported assertions”. A judge may take his oath of office knowing full well that he intends to be corrupt; A police officer may do the same; yet neither of those things means that the whole concept of judges and police officers are meaningless. Just so, the fact that some people do not intend to enter into marriage as they should does not render the concept of marriage meaningless.
“MichaelA: We are all allowed to vote – even if you apparently don’t think so.
Tim: Secularism’s terrible, isn’t it? Until it’s Islam you’re being protected from, of course”
Secularism has nothing do with voting, hence my comment. And nobody needs protecting from “Islam”, as you put it. Whereas we do need protection from militant or extremist islam, and hence why we have a political system. Thank you for agreeing with me, on that at least.
“And you really don’t need to add the snide remarks.”
Oh please – your posts on this thread have been replete with snide remarks. Whereas my comments have been to the point, particularly about the voting and the totalitarianism.
“Actually, you have a marriage equality proponent who has taken the time to come here and engage with you in a respectful manner…”
Since you raise the subject, yes you have been respectful at times, but you have also often been dismissive, as well as dodging away from questions you don’t like or can’t handle, and resorting to invective at times when you are challenged.
“…rather than wave a placard in your face and call you a bigot”
Since that would in no way be warranted, it is nothing to be grateful about.
You are right, of course… except for the part where I said this:
OK, I’m done with you. I’ll stick to engaging with people who actually read what I say.
Ah fair point, Tim. I must say, when I read that I thought you were
Ah fair point, Tim. I must say, when I read that I thought you were quoting someone else. I can see now my error, so I apologise for that one.
“OK, I’m done with you. I’ll stick to engaging with people who actually read what I say.”
Since this is just one among many, I am not particularly heartbroken.
OK, I know I said I was done, but I just wanted to highlight as couple of things to highlight why debating this with you is pointless.
Ralph, in a previous comment: “My stance is that only a spiritual conscience (based on God’s eternal perspective) is a true/real conscience.”
Tim, later, to Ralph: “Especially since the only “true” conscience is informed by god, right?”
Michael, in response: “What on earth are you going on about?”
Once again, reading would help.
Michael: “Why shouldn’t he [think that his religious beliefs be used as a basis for laws that apply to everyone]? We are all allowed to vote – even if you apparently don’t think so.”
Michael: “the secular state can in fact rule that marriage is between a man and woman, for life, and that it includes the creation and nurture of children”
Michael: “None of this changes the reality that marriage has always been between a man and a woman only and for life”
Michael: “Since you personally don’t grant or withhold marriage rights from anyone, this is an irrelevant comment.”
Sooo… religious opinions like marriage can be codified through the democratic process, and the secular state, as voted for by the people, can make a ruling on what marriage is, although marriage is defined separately to the secular state, and an individual voter can’t influence the secular state anyway.
Tim: “Please direct me to where I said I wanted to force Christian bakers to make gay wedding cakes.”
Michael: “Oh please Tim, how about straight talking? The aim of fining the baker was to intimidate others into not refusing to bake cakes for gay “weddings”. That is your whole point of posting on this thread, so don’t try dodging out of that too.”
“Your beef seems to be more with the legal fraternity rather than the LGBTIQ community. And for the record I also think the fine is ridiculous.”
“The other option, of course, would be for people to just serve everyone. Or, if you have a business, advertise the fact that certain things violate your conscience. That would at least give you the option of boycotting stores because they violate your conscience.”
Reading would help. It really, really would.
“The whole point of your posting here has been that coercive means should be used to silence those who do not agree with you on gay “marriage”.”
An absolute lie. Nothing I have said on this thread could possibly be construed to give that impression.
So, you were quoting Ralph’s position in a response to me, as though it was my position? Well thanks for finally letting me know – I thought you were telling me what my position was, and that was not an unreasonable conclusion to draw given the rest of the post.
“Sooo… religious opinions like marriage can be codified through the democratic process, and the secular state, as voted for by the people, can make a ruling on what marriage is, although marriage is defined separately to the secular state, and an individual voter can’t influence the secular state anyway. Right.”
Pretty much. Although you appear to have completely misconstrued the final comment. You argued that your personal beliefs did not entitle you “to withhold marriage rights from those who view it differently”, and I pointed out that we were talking about the body politic here. Or as I put it, you personally don’t grant or withhold marriage rights from anyone, so it’s irrelevant. The other side of the coin is that your personal views do influence how you vote and exercise other democratic rights, including political activism.
“Reading would help. It really, really would.”
And I did. Just because you propose some “alternatives” doesn’t change the fact that you are defending the imposition of a fine on a baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay “wedding”.
Tim: “Reading would help. It really, really would.”
Michael: “And I did… you are defending the imposition of a fine on a baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay ‘wedding’.”
Tim, right at the very beginning of this post, and in the very same comment you’re replying to: “And for the record I also think the fine is ridiculous.”
Yeah, your reading’s heaps good.
How can you possibly say that opposition to same-sex marriage isn’t grounded in religion?
Tim, you’ve somehow managed to put the exact opposite meaning on what I said. When I said that, “opposition to same-sex marriage isn’t grounded in religion” I meant that one doesn’t have to believe or even know about religious teaching to see how contradictory and irrational the idea of so-called same-sex marriage is.
With marriage you have two complementary entities designed to go together, complement and complete each other. Same-sex entities can’t do that because (regardless of what they might or might not feel) they are designed like every other human being (uniquely male or uniquely female) – to find and join with a complementary being – a female if they are male and vice versa.
Sure we have pseudo intellectuals like Richard Dawkins who says things like , “Creation looks as if it’s designed but it can’t be because that disagrees with my Godless, ‘everything just happens’ theory.” but why should anyone listen to someone who merely tries to make the facts fit the theory?
We know for a fact that the complementary nature is designed because, looked at universally and from the perspective of principle, it produces a positive/rational/useful result – the perpetuation of the species. Same-sex relationships, aside from possibly a short-term friendship, produce zilch.
Religious knowledge, which looks to meaning and purpose, adds an extra/more in-depth layer of understanding as to why it has been designed in this way. God could have created genderless creatures that reproduce asexually but our earthly life is a training ground for our spiritual/eternal life that is based on loving and caring for those outside of ourselves. The two complementary genders idea provides the ideal universal training environment where all people can learn to cooperate (with God) in the perpetuation of the race and be involved in the rearing and educating of each succeeding generation.
I fear, as Ralph points out, you have not paid careful enough attention to what is being argued. The key line of Ralph’s is here:
What religion does is provide answers as to why this particular order is stamped on creation i.e. is part of the reality of the natural world.
ie it’s a natural law argument. What some particular religious perspectives do is provide a reason why this law exists but the “religious” argument itself is not the main thrust – it simply provides explanatory power for a principle that many (including the non-religious) recognise.
I’ve finally had a chance to have a look at the secular links you provided.
The first was written by Michael Bauman, who is Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of Christian Studies at Hillsdale College.
The third is a hodge podge of various people’s opinions, many of which could probably be used as homophobia textbooks, as they read more like arguments against gay relationships and gay parenting – “Homosexuality is rarer than Albinism, and therefore not natural”, “Homosexual men are more than twice as likely to spread HIV and other STDs than straight men, which applies to lesbian woman too [sic]”, “Gay are not the proper role models to raise children [sic]”. etc. One even quotes the Regnerus study. Hmm.
The fourth is by Dr. Leroy Huizenga, Director of the Christian Leadership Center and Assistant Professor of Scripture at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The second one isn’t as obviously religious or homophobic as the others. It’s by Adam Kolasinksi, a Professor of Finance from Texas A&M University. I’ve googled him, and there is an Adam Kolasinski who was an editor for Catholic Insight, although it’s not clear if it’s the same person. His argument seems to be based on two assumptions – that equality doesn’t make economic sense, and that marriage is about procreation.
For the economic case, he says that “homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest”. So, he uses the “marriage is good” argument to allow it for child-bearing couples, but “marriage is costly” argument to deny it to same-sex couples, despite same-sex couples being perfectly able to have children. That they have to do this by means other than intercourse should be irrelevant to an economics professor (or student at the time of writing), but his argument addressing this fact is flimsy, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that (a) weddings in themselves are of enormous economic benefit, and (b) all of the “costly benefits” he mentions are spousal, rather than procreational, and so apply equally to childless hetero couples.
He also says that “children need both a male and female parent for proper development”, which is simply false. Perhaps he did not have access to proper research at the time (the article was written in 2004), but that notion has been long since discredited.
In any event, his whole “argument”, such as it is, rests on the assumption that marriage is about the ability to produce children. From a purely secular viewpoint, that view is irrelevant in today’s society.
So you have two articles by Christians, a bunch of posts from Joe and Jane Average that are riddled with homophobia, and an article by an economics student who is possibly Catholic and has attempted to make an economic case against equality while completely ignoring the many economic benefits of expanding the definition.
Are they really the best non-religious arguments you could find?
I think you miss the point. These are “secular” arguments, ie not grounded in a religious basis – they could equally well be made by “secular” authors.
Plus, I’m not at all clear where your accusation of “homophobia” comes from. That’s an easy label to throw out to muddy the water. But where do any of these pieces show an irrational fear or hatred of homosexual people?
Finally, you claim, “He also says that “children need both a male and female parent for proper development”, which is simply false. Perhaps he did not have access to proper research at the time (the article was written in 2004), but that notion has been long since discredited.”
To which I say, nonsense. There is no research with a randomly selected sample of gay parents that “discredits” this conclusion. All we have is self-selecting and self-reporting samples – each time we have those pieces of “research” we get a positive result on gay parenting. Every time we have a large random sample of parents then we get deleterious effects where children are raised by a homosexual parent. Go figure.
As for the discussion about whether opposition is largely grounded in religion…
The poll shows that nearly 50% of the Americans who oppose equality do so with direct reference to the bible. That jumps to nearly 70% if you include people who think it’s “morally wrong” and “against the laws of nature”.
Now, again, I’m not saying that all opposition is religious, or that your opposition is religious. Nor am I saying that there are no non-religious arguments against marriage equality. But the fact remains that:
(a) the majority of opponents are religious (this can’t be coincidence!); and
(b) even if we somehow managed to unburden opponents of their non-religious objections, most would likely still oppose it.
What are we to make of this, in a secular society that has to cater for all religions and none?
Well. We recognise that we’re all part of that “all religions and none” and everyone has a say. Democracy.
Sorry, but I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around this. It just doesn’t make sense to me that you can claim:
1. Law X exists; and
2. It exists because god made it that way; but
3. Law X is not religious.
To pre-empt an obvious retort, no, it is not the same as something like gravity. Not only is gravity observable, provable, and occurs without exception, it also isn’t being used to deny rights to minority groups. This whole “male and females are complementary” thing is also observable, obviously, but there are also a large number of exceptions to that “law”, and it is being used as a basis for discrimination.
In actual fact, if you take the “reason” for the law’s existence out of it, it’s not a law at all. If you remove god from the equation completely, you’re just left with “the majority of people are attracted to the opposite sex, but some aren’t”. There is no “law”, natural or otherwise. This should be perfectly obvious from Genesis, where god explicitly makes Eve as “an helpmeet” for Adam. Seriously… how can you claim this complementarity angle isn’t religious?
Importantly, however, it’s not even really relevant .That is, even if I admit that there is such a natural law, that’s still no reason for the state to deny recognition of same-sex relationships. So heterosexual couples can have children, given the ability and desire to. So what? Why does this mean that the state can’t formally recognise a lifelong, monogamous commitment between two same-sex attracted people? Why?
Also, I’ve just read your latest post. Some fairly strong hints at religion there. 🙂
On the contrary. The complementary nature of a heterosexual relationship is quite clear, both to those who are religious and those who are not. I fear that your assertions otherwise are just that, assertions.
As previously argued, this is a “natural law” argument. It is the sort of thing that even the greats like Aristotle recognised. Now different philosophical positions will then seek to provide different explanations for that law that they observe but the law itself is commonly observed.
I fear, also, that you misunderstand what is meant by “natural law”. It is not simply, as you put it, “that people are attracted to one another”. Rather (in this case) that the very nature of humanity (male and female) argues towards the “normalcy” of heterosexual relationships. This is an important distinction that you appear to consistently set aside.
Every time we have a large random sample of parents then we get deleterious effects where children are raised by a homosexual parent
Would you mind providing links?
Possibly. But the authors you have provided aren’t exactly heavyweights of secular though, are they? When we have previously discussed the historicity of Jesus, you have said “no serious historian doubts his existence”. Are you able to find any “serious secularists” to support your claim in this case? Surely you can do better than a bunch of randoms, a couple of theologians, and an economics student…?
* heavyweights of secular thought
Well the most regularly cited are the Regnerus study (which despite its valid critics about the definition of “same-sex parent” still stands up) and the newer work being done on the Canadian census. I just cited both works on another thread here but given more time (and a lack of utterly engrossing sport on the TV) I could find that comment and set it out again.
Well I haven’t chased up your challenge yet so I’m unable to respond to it. However, for clarity what would actually satisfy you and what would it change in your mind?
Umm… I challenge you to find a single quote from Dawkins that suggests he thinks creation looks designed.
He actually says the opposite.
It took me about two minutes to find this one Tim.
From:- http://creation.com/dawkins-and-design#endRef1 (second paragraph)
‘In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”,1 then proceeds to argue that they were not.’
That’s almost exactly what I said.
Maybe Dawkins never heard the saying, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test
This shows a deep, deep ignorance of Dawkins’ actual point. From a superficial perspective, and a with bronze-age knowledge of biology, sure, the eye looks designed. When you dig deeper, however, it becomes obvious that it’s either been designed very poorly, or it has evolved over millions of years and adapted to the environment around it.
Dawkins’ point is that the appearance of design only comes from ignorance of biology and evolutionary processes. There are literally thousands of examples that show that, on the contrary, animals look exactly as they should look if they weren’t designed. This is my favourite:
In any event, your “Dawkins says things look designed” comment is taken out of context, given his point is actually the opposite. If you’re going to argue that way, you may as well say the Harbour Bridge is an actual coat hanger. It kind of looks like one, after all.
But perhaps we’re getting off topic.
“This shows a deep, deep ignorance of Dawkins’ actual point.”
On the contrary Tim, I understand exactly what Dawkins is saying – making excuses for the obvious because it doesn’t coincide with his much loved, human derived theory. Appearances can be deceptive but in this case “the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” (Dawkins own words) is true.
How otherwise does one explain purpose/the use (or good) that the object serves? Purpose is the soul of creation and everything is created for a purpose. Without purpose there would be nothing there. I have grave doubts but evolutionists may be correct about the development of the eye (and eny other complex structure). If they are, that’s the way God chose to bring it into being to fulfil His purpose i.e. the development was purpose/God ordained and driven.
Creation (IMO) is not a ‘zap’ and it’s there but a process (in fact an ongoing process) of ‘bringing into being/existence’. God creates our bodies using natural processes (that He has designed and developed) and then creates our spirit by means of our responses to His principles or rules of life (presented in His revelations in Sacred Scriptures. The ‘end game’ is a species that can experience eternal life by learning to reciprocate and share God’s love.
I find your ‘Harbour Bridge’ comparison a very poor attempt at an analogy. The Harbour Bridge does not give the appearance of BEING a coat hanger, it merely vaguely resembles one from a distance. There is no part to actually hang it on a rail and the two ends are firmly fixed to the land making it impossible to hang anything on it.
What is the purpose of anthrax?
“What is the purpose of anthrax?”
Don’t know specifically but the purpose of all evil/harmful stuff is so that we can have free choice. Only when we see the effect of good juxtapositioned against evil are we truly free to choose one or the other. God (being Love) doesn’t create evil (He only creates good – see Genesis 1), we create evil by ignoring and/or rejecting good but God permits this because something good can come from it.
As well as free-will, God has also created us with rationality to see the distinction/discriminate between good and evil and so make our choice. The worse evils we choose the greater the contrast yet the more we choose evil the more addicted we become and the harder it becomes to repent and reject it but that’s the process we need to go through to regain our integrity.
Did evil exist before The Fall?
“Did evil exist before The Fall?” (Tim Austin – July 10, 2015 at 10:30 am)
I’m not sure but I’d say the potential did in the fact that God created beings with free-will and rationality. The two trees, both of which are said to be in the centre of the Garden of Eden (but not both at the same time) illustrate this.
The GOE is a picture of the human mind. When the Tree of Life/God’s teaching and influence is at the centre and rule our minds, life is like a paradise. If or when the Tree of (self-derived) Knowledge of Good and Evil becomes the ruling influence, all hell breaks loose (so to speak). We are the one’s who decide which ‘tree’ will hold prominence.
The Greek myth of Pandora’s box is another way of saying the same thing.
Note: It’s not worldly/scientific knowledge that’s being spoken of but moral/spiritual (of good and evil). People like Richard Dawkins are great intellects if one just looks at their worldly knowledge and insight but when they try to rewrite the moral and spiritual landscape using such knowledge, they’ve lost the plot.
Well obviously, since it’s a post about what Jesus did or did not say about this topic in the Bible. Hard to escape from “religion” when you ask that question.
Well the most regularly cited are the Regnerus study (which despite its valid critics about the definition of “same-sex parent” still stands up)
Oh Daivid. Not you too… say it aint so! Regnerus? Really?
This is by no means the only site discrediting that study, but it is one of the better ones:
To which the only appropriate answer is “Oh Tim, Not you too … say it aint so! Regnerus Fallout? Really?
We’ve had this discussion on another thread. The main contention with the study is that it’s definitions of same-sex parents are far too loose to draw definitive conclusions. Of course Regnerus himself recognises this and has written further to address this issue. Regnerus’ opponents (who can blame them, the results from this broadly sampled well-handled research are devastating for their political agenda) launched all sorts of assaults re academic integrity etc yet today not one has held up.
The clone has a good analysis here, sensitive to the issues of allocation.
You might also be interested in the first results coming out of the work done on the Canadian census data (about as polar opposed to the self-selecting subjective research you touted to us as proof that gay parenting is better)
1. your EEEEEEEEEEEE sent the comment straight to the spam bin!
2. I’m not convinced you yet understand the point being made but it is fascinating that you seem unable to discern the difference between a clearly religious argument and an argument not grounded in religion put forward by somebody who has a religious worldview. That distinction has been set out to you more than once but you appear to not want to take it on board.
so now what do you want to do with this Tim? We could recognise that the criticism is one already acknowledged (as I pointed out, that Regnerus’ classifications of “gay parent” were open to scrutiny). Or we could recognise that the author is a prominent pro-gay activist. Does that render his argument invalid? By no means, but you ought to be open to holding his own motivations and arugment open to scrutiny.
As I was told by one of the LaTrobe researchers, “at the end of the day, it’s all politics”. I think you need to be a little more open to the notion that it’s also bilateral.
David… since you seem open to accepting the research on the outcomes of same-sex parenting, I have a question.
You seem to be under the impression that I think “gay parenting is better”. I don’t, and as far as I’m aware, I don’t think that’s the point of any of the research either. Most of the studies I’m aware of simply show that it’s no worse than heterosexual parenting. Or, if there are detrimental differences, they are insignificant compared to other factors such as income and education. I believe there are some studies that show positive differences, but these are, I believe, in the minority.
So my question is, leaving your view of current research aside, what if future research did conclusively show that same-sex parenting produced children who were just as happy, healthy and well-adjusted as the children of heterosexual parents? What would that do to your opinion of same-sex marriage, and same-sex parenting?
And, as already pointed out, the only studies that give this result are self-selecting, self-reporting. You repeatedly fail to acknowledge this.
It would certainly have to be taken into account in any argument about the effect on children! Of course! But the reality is that the research is pointing us in a different direction; every large random sample, objectively measured survey, shows deleterious effects for children not raised by their biological parents in a permanent relationship (and yes, that includes children raised in any way by a homosexual parent, natural or not). Regnerus demonstrates this even on a limited sample. The Canadian data more than demonstrates it (with a much much bigger sample).
Asking a bunch of lesbian women who read a particular magazine to take part in a survey they knew was on a political issue that they have a keen interest in demonstrates very little indeed, other than (and now I’m swinging) the willful blindness of those who keep touting it as proof of anything.
“Open to scrutiny” is a mild way to put it! A more accurate description is that his classification was rubbish. 🙂
The author of the Washington Post article is. Do you have any evidence that the authors of the actual study are?
No, not necessarily. Data is data. (sorry, data are data). The same principle applies to the Catholic Regnerus. The only thing I would add is that, like you, apparently, I am keenly aware that a study’s design can be heavily influenced by pre-existing biases. And, yes, that also obviously applies to both sides of politics.
The study mentioned in the Washington Post article suggests otherwise:
Time to put Regnerus to bed, methinks.
I will have to look into the Canadian census study.
not at all, it’s the best we’ve got so far – and certainly far betterthan anything else produced. I’m loathe to quote at length but since you obviously haven’t read the pieces I linked to I’ll do so now. This is the last 3 paragraph of the Clone’s (who works full-time in the field of statistical analysis) piece:
It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we have. If you want to tout other studies as demonstrating anything then there is zero reason to ditch Regnerus. At least he’s open about the extent of what his reseach demonstrates.
Any comment on the study I linked to earlier? “These reanalyses provide a “reality check” regarding the conclusions from the original Regnerus study. The patterns from these reanalyses offer evidence of the fragility of these conclusions—so fragile, in fact, that they are due primarily to the methodological choices made by Regnerus. Or to put it another way, when equally plausible and, in our view, preferred methodological decisions are used, a different conclusion emerges: adult children who lived with same-sex parents show comparable outcome profiles to those from other family types, including intact biological families.”
Given that this is the best research you have, it probably deserves a look-see.
Well now you’re changing your tune. Because just up this thread you were mounting the “research shows kids of gay parents do OK as opposed to the Regnerus study which is flawed”.
Now you acknowledge that Regnerus is the best study we have so far.
I think the clone’s 2nd para more than covers the quote you provide. Have they actually done the maths on this stuff? If so it would be interesting to see their own methodological choices on how to categorise the “families”.
Haha, no, not at all… I meant “yes, exactly, it’s the best you have, and it doesn’t even provide the conclusion you want it to” 🙂
Another reason why these conversations are best had over beer!
There is another, very important, point to consider.
The point of all this discussion, it would seem, is to establish that the children of same-sex parents do worse on average than the children of heterosexual parents. This is used as an argument in favour of maintaining the traditional definition of marriage, apparently because same-sex marriage will lead to same-sex parenting (why mention it otherwise?). This is not the case, of course, since same-sex couples are already having children, and I suspect very few are sitting around not having children purely because they can’t get married. However, because I am a generous fellow, I will set this aside, and assume for the time being that it is the case. That is, I will assume that marriage equality will lead to lots and lots of children being raised by same-sex couples, and for that reason it is important to establish the parenting abilities of those couples before allowing them to marry.
I will further assume that, yes, children of same-sex couples do worse than their heterosexually-raised equivalents. Again, because I am generous. 🙂
The question is… how much worse? And is the difference enough to prevent same-sex couples from raising any children at all?
The first point to note is that, whatever the difference is, it can’t be too bad. After all, the “best” study available is… well… let’s just call it dubious. If the outcomes were really that bad, it would be easy to demonstrate, and Regnerus wouldn’t have needed a shoddy methodology to do so. The fact that it hasn’t been demonstrated – clearly, and unequivocally – makes it reasonable to expect that, if there are negative differences, they certainly aren’t catastrophic.
The second point to note is that there is a bit of a logical inconsistency going on. Marriage equality opponents say:
1. Marriage is about children, and
2. Children of same-sex couples don’t fare as well, so
3. Same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry.
But if we’re going to go down this route, ought we not consider other factors? Especially factors that already have a well-established research base? Factors such as income, and education? After all, the children of poor parents fare worse than the children of rich parents on a range of measures, and the difference there is likely to be much more pronounced than any sexual-orientation difference. If the logic above is sound, shouldn’t we be stopping poor people from marrying? I know you will answer “no”, but my question is… why is it OK for one, but not the other?
Or how about this… children are most likely to follow the religion of their parents. So, the children of Christian parents are more likely to be Christian, and the children of atheists are more likely to be atheists. From a Christian perspective, this makes them more likely to end up with the worst outcome imaginable (I hear Hell is no picnic). If a Christian is going to stop same-sex couples from marrying / having children because their children would not fare as well, why wouldn’t they also want to stop atheists from marrying / having children?
Well one simple reason, which has already been made clear to you a number of times. Gender/sex is of the essence of marriage. Income/education/race/religion are not.
If marriage is about one man and one woman united together for life in a relationship that is open to procreation then questions of gender strike to the heart of that definition. Questions of income/education/race/religion/sportsteamallegiance all do not. Surely you understand this clear distinction?
Regnerus doesn’t have a shoddy methodology. His methdology was fine and I don’t see anyone questioning it. What is being questioned is something that he himself acknowledges; that the definition of “same-sex parent” is very broad. But the overall results are incontrovertible – that children do best when raised by their biological parents living in a stable relationship.
I don’t see anyone arguing that they all are. But what is established is that for several key factors there are statistically significant differences between outcomes for children in a “normal” family situation and those in others.
Just for clarity, the position that Ralph is espousing here, a “free choice” between good and evil on the part of man, is what is commonly called Pelagianism. It is a position that the Christian church has long rejected. The classic example of which is Augustine’s writing against Pelagius.
David, I find that I agree with you on a lot of things but I believe that Augustine got it wrong. I hadn’t heard of Pelagius so I looked him up (Wiki of course). It seems he (and his ideas) became a victim of the politicking of the early Catholic Church. I liked him immediately because, “He opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will.” I’m a great lover of freedom and find the idea of predestination completely unjust and cruel (something God could never be).
I found this at the end of the introductory paragraph: “Due to some calling him a heretic, little of his work has come down to the present day except in the quotes of his opponents. However, more recently some have defended Pelagius as a misunderstood orthodox:”
A few published fragments are referred to here:
“Pelagius’ views were sometimes misrepresented by his followers and distorted by his opponents. Pelagianism has come to mean – unfairly to its founder – the view that human beings can earn salvation by their own efforts.” Despite the attacks of his opponents, “it seems that the Celtic monk held to an orthodox view of the prevenience of God’s grace, and did not (as Augustine claimed) assert that individuals could achieve salvation purely by their own efforts…:”
I interpret his idea this way: If you are drowning in a sea of evils and God sends a boat (the story of Noah) and you get in the boat and are saved you’re kidding yourself if you think you were saved by your own efforts. Who sent the boat? Who was behind/supplied the inspiration and effort to get into the boat? God, of course; God is the Saviour.
God is at the door to our mind and heart, knocking. (Revelation 3:20) He does not impose Himself/override our free-will. We need to open the door and let Him in, which we do by acknowledging (the source of) and using His gifts of rationality – to affirm His commandments and free-will – to act upon them.
Maybe, given traditional Christianity’s current problems with understanding the nature and place of free-will (the excusing of pedophile priests and ‘progressives’ who believe some people are born homosexual), it might be time to revisit some of the ‘political’ decisions of the past and review them in the light of the direct teachings of Jesus (the true author of Christianity).
Gasp! Ralph, how could you?! 🙂
Just as well… as I was about to ask how Adam & Eve could have made a free choice in a world without evil.
These two sentences don’t really go together, David. The definition is so broad that the results aren’t incontrovertible… they’re essentially meaningless.
Regnerus is the best you’ve got, and it doesn’t show anything. You haven’t yet addressed the conclusions presented in the study mentioned in the Washington Post article, and the explanation provided by Clone doesn’t redeem Regnerus enough to show the conclusion you want.
He says this:
I know you’ve read this, but the meaning seems to have been lost. It cannot be used to argue that poorer outcomes are generated by long-term monogamous relationships. That is, marriage relationships.
And now the part that you appear to be focusing on:
By definition, this specifically excludes the couples in long-term, monogamous relationships. What does that leave us with? Short-term relationships, and non-monogamous relationships. How can that be used as an argument against same-sex marriage, where the participants make vows of monogamy for life?
Well then it’s somewhat irrelevant to be discussing the parenting abilities of same-sex couples.
No it doesn’t. And this is where you’ve failed to engage with the exact nature of the (self-acknowledged) criticism of Regnerus’ work or even, dare I say, properly understood his work itself rather than simply reading a criticism that suits your purposes. The category “one or more of those biological parents has a same-sex relationship whilst they were growing up” includes any relationship, whether short or long term. It doesn’t “specifically exclude” long-term relationships; it includes them but it does wrap them in together with short-term relationships. Thus the criticism and the various responses to that criticism as well (the main one being that the sample wasn’t large enough to allow such small sub-categories (e.g. long-term vs short-term with each further analysed between monogamous and not etc) to give statistically meaningful results).
not at all, because gender and parenting are directly linked. Only a man and a woman can naturally produce a child. And if the research on parenting shows us that children fare better when raised but those biological parents then it’s another important factor to take into account as we work out what relationships to particularly privilege when it comes to having a best-functioning society.