Guest post: another brand of accommodationism

Columnist and gay activist Dan Savage, speaking at a journalism conference in Seattle, caused quite an uproar by criticizing Biblically-based bigotry against gays. Reader Sigmund draws some lessons about accommodationism from this incident.

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Religious accomodationism beyond evolution

by Sigmund

The Huffington Post recently posted a video of Dan Savage, the originator of the anti-bullying initiative, “It gets better”,  talking about the Bible and its use as moral justification for anti-gay bigotry.

The clip is worth watching for two reasons.

First, Savage, speaking at the National High School Journalist Conference in Seattle, points out the hypocrisy of someone using the Bible as a justification for certain actions while ignoring all the other questionable behaviors it endorses (such as slavery or stoning non-virgin brides to death). Savage says this:

The Bible. We’ll just talk about the Bible for a second. People often point out that they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans that being gay is wrong.

We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people, the same way, that we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation.

We ignore bullshit in the bible about all sorts of things.  The bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved bibles over their heads during the civil war and justified it. The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn’t say: “Christians, don’t own people”. Paul talks about how Christians own people.

We ignore what the bible says about slavery because the bible got slavery wrong.

Sam Harris, in ‘Letter to a Christian Nation’, points out that if the bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced, wrong, slavery. What are the odds that the bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong.  One hundred percent.

The Bible says that if your daughter is not a virgin on her wedding night, if a woman isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death.

Callista Gingrich lives. [a reference to the wife - and previously mistress - of the outspokenly religious Republican Presidential contender, Newt Gingrich.]

There is no effort to amend State constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding night, if they’re not virgins. At least not yet. We don’t know where the GOP is going these days.

People are dying because people can’t clear this one last hurdle. They can’t get past this one last thing, in the bible, about homosexuality.

Second, look at the reaction the speech receives, both in the hallway—a mass walkout by Christian students, and then on the Huffpo comment section—where it is met with the same sort of responses that Gnus get from religious accomodationists: don’t upset religious people, for we want them as our political allies!

Commenter Judmiller:

How did this guy think spewing hate would help his cause? He has set gay causes back 20 years with this video. People will hold this up as example of the hatred gays have for straights.

Commenter Rob in Oregon:

I wonder if he would also ridicule other minorities? Anti-Christian bigotry is America’s last acceptable prejudice.

Apparently criticizing the moral lessons in the Bible is equivalent to insulting Christians—and therefore Savage is bullying Christians!

After noting the walkout, Savage commented:

I apologize if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have a right to defend myself, and to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the bible and insisting we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.

The incident, as a whole, illustrates an important point in regards to accomodationism.

The right and even the moral necessity to criticize religious teachings, particularly those derived from ancient sacred texts, is not confined to the issue of evolution.

While fundamentalist Christianity impacts the teaching of science in public schools, particularly in those regions where politicians pander towards the faithful, it is primarily the more ‘moderate’ forms of religiosity that affect people’s lives lives.  Be it discrimination against gays or denying proper healthcare and reproductive choice to women, religously-based resistance to equality and choice is derived almost entirely from the core doctrines of the major denominations, such as the Roman Catholic church. Such teachings on homosexuality and birth control are based on religious grounds— primarily the revealed opinions of an unquestioned and even unquestionable deity—and are therefore not amenable to secular reasoning.

Accomodationism, insofar as it seeks to dampen criticism of moderate religion in order to foster political alliances, silences action against very real problems perpetuated by these supposedly friendly faiths.

86 Comments

  1. Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    The ‘Holy Bible’ in so many word a complete guide to evil and spitefulness.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      A veritable HOWTO !

  2. emmageraln
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on emmageraln and commented:
    The bible is a pile of repugnant hate.

  3. gravelinspector
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    So … what is needed is a sock puppet to stand up and try to legislate to re-introduce slavery or stoning of non-virgin women, on the grounds that the Bible supports it.
    Doesn’t the American Constitution have an explicit “adjustment” (I’ve forgotten the term … ) to ban slavery? I’m pretty sure that the European convention on human rights also has explicit bans on slavery. So that’s that approach stone dead. Unless there are some suitable legislative holes in the Antipodes or somewhere else.
    Killing non-virgin brides by torture … well, with Europe having banned judicial murder outside warfare, that’s not going to fly here. For the Antipodes, I don’t know ; comment invited. So, from this collection of Biblical insanities, the only readily approachable target would be to get the death penalty in some states of America extended to cover non-virginity of brides. The torture aspects I think are covered by the “cruel and unusual punishment” bit of the Constitution, so it’d have to be one really big rock.
    There are other approachable targets for legislative ridicule. The whole thing about visiting punishment “even unto the seventh generation” is just screaming for enactment.
    (Where has my “gravel inspector” avatar gone? I like that amphibolitite!)

    • FastLane
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Adjustment = Amendment

    • Marella
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps someone should agitate for the banning of mixed fabric clothes and advocate making it punishable by death to wear, manufacture or sell them.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Careful. Whatever crazy thing you think up, there are people who will believe in it if prompted the right way.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how some religions started.

        • bernardhurley
          Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Marella wasn’t being as creative as you seem to think. I think you’ll find it says something about this in Deuteronomy.

  4. corio37
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    Maybe in the spirit of the Least Offensive Atheist Poster Possible we should have a competition to write the Least Offensive Atheist Speech About the Bible.

    It could go like this.

    “The Bible. Yeah. That’s it.”

    • Aratina Cage
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      You know what though? A lot of us have been saying that the Bible is little more than a collection of fairytales for a while.

      And what is offensive about fairytales? Some of them are really dark, similar to the Bible. They make great musicals and plays, like the Bible. And they often reflect on the standards of morality of the people who wrote them, as does the Bible.

      The only reason Christians have to be offended by this is because they wrongly believe the Bible is not a work of fantasy but of facts. Still, it is really not offensive on any level other than that.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Yeah but most successful fairytales are far better and more entertaining than anything in the Bible. Unless you’re a sadist, I guess.

        Personally, I’ll settle for Terry Pratchett’s stories. Way better written and with an ironic sense of humour. Nobody with a sense of irony could possibly take the Bible seriously.

  5. gbjames
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    sub

  6. raven
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I wonder if he would also ridicule other minorities? Anti-Christian bigotry is America’s last acceptable prejudice.

    Xians make up 76% of the US population. How can the majority of the population be a “minority”? This is stupid.

    Although this troll does have a point. The fundie xian perversion of xianity is based on hates, lies, ignorance, and hypocrisy. Why shouldn’t we be bigots about all that?

    Unlike gays, nonwhites, or women they do have a choice. They could just open a few books. Being gay or female isn’t curable. Ignorance, in theory at least, is. At one time I didn’t even know how to walk much less speak English. I grew up.

    • Greg Esres
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      “Xians make up 76% of the US population.”

      Because “real” Christians make up a much smaller percent of the population.

    • Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      The evangelicals are taught that they are a small, select group that is constantly under attack. They are taught that disagreement equals attack, and that they must “defend” their faith and their God. It’s all fear-based “us vs. them” preacherbabble. Ignorance isn’t just bliss, it’s essential to the faith – as is hate, HOA neighborhoods, keeping women “in line”, and squashing anything that might resemble scientific curiosity. Ignorance (and childishness) are virtues, since “we’re all children in Christ, and none of us knows anything, really, so all we can do is trust Him.”
      It’s a nearly-bombproof shell, and very difficult to crack, even in small children.

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Recently, Barry Lynn, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, gave a talk followed by Q&A in San Antonio, TX. A local in the crowd stood, presumably to ask a question, and stated Barry’s three higher educational degrees (undergrad, ministeral, and law) put him in danger of burning in hell (I paraphrase, here) because only the ignorant can get into heaven. He mentioned the tree of knowledge, equating knowledge wtih sin.

        • Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          So heaven will be filled with the ignorant?! And suicide bombers?! Sounds like a wonderful place!

        • gr8hands
          Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          The yokel clearly hasn’t read Proverbs 1:22
          “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?”

          or 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto god…”

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Nailed it. None of this 76% nonsense for them; after all, the catholics aren’t christians. The liberal protestants aren’t christians. The “cults” (as if they themselves aren’t) aren’t christians. And they aren’t too sure about people in other conservative denominations, especially if they sprinkle instead of dunk. The figure we carried around in our heads (but never said where others could hear) was maybe 2%. We were the ones who truly followed the bible (was I really ever this freaking insane??). A few posts down, Daniel Mulvihill links to another post of Dan Savage’s. The last paragraph and a half of that post reads:

        [blockquote]There are untrue things in the Bible—and the Koran and the Book of Mormon and every other “sacred” text—and you don’t have to take my word for it: just look at all the biblical “shoulds,” “shall nots,” and “abominations” that religious conservatives already choose to ignore. They know that not everything in the Bible is true.

        All Christians read the Bible selectively. Some read it hypocritically—and the hypocrites react very angrily when anyone has the nerve to point that out.[/blockquote]

        Savage, as ironwing above, nailed it.

  7. raven
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    So … what is needed is a sock puppet to stand up and try to legislate to re-introduce slavery or stoning of non-virgin women, on the grounds that the Bible supports it.

    It’s even simpler than that.

    The bible in Deuteronomy says that false prophets are to be stoned to death.

    If the xians actually followed their magic book, there wouldn’t be a problem. All of their leaders would be dead under a pile of rocks.

  8. Rudi
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Well said. To me, the uglier contents of the bible are low-hanging fruit that we should be discussing more often – kudos to Dan for doing this, and drawing Christians’ attention to the vileness of their holy book. The more we do this, the more Christians will have to set out which of their God’s instructions they reject, and more importantly why. And if we can somehow force religious politicians to answer these difficult questions – an entirely reasonable request – then perhaps we can move the conversation forward.

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Dan’s main point here was ‘the vileness of their holy book.’ I think his main point was the inconsistent and exceptional treatment that conservative Christians give to the bible’s proscriptions on gay sex. Why not treat it the same way you treat the bible’s proscriptions on wearing different fabrics or marrying a non-virgin?

      I think in a strange way, he was trying to reach out to Christians. To say somethnig like: “why not be consistent? You wiped the slate clean on all those other laws. And you talk about how Jesus forgives all sins. Why not wipe the slate clean on this law and treat this sin as you would the sin of a child being unruly?”

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Sajanas
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        While I’m not entirely confident on my presumption, I don’t think Dan Savage thinks much of the New Atheists. I seem to recall a speech where he mentioned something like “Richard Dawkins isn’t the one taking people out of your churches, its your anti-gay policies”. He’s always struck me as more of an accomodationist in general.

        So in a way, its good for him to see more of the real problems with religion, and that it’s much harder to take a ‘let’s just interpret your holy book differently’ tactic in real life than it is on paper.

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s exactly what he was trying to say: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/04/29/on-bullshit-and-pansy-assed

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Yes, at the end of the video he explicitly made the point that Christians are hypocritical in ignoring the Bible’s support of slavery while not ignoring the Bible’s anti-gay stance. In fact, he could have been much more diplomatic by following a “why not be consistent?” tack. But he he chose to first explicitly trash the Bible (and I loved it).

  9. John K.
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    How did this guy think spewing hate would help his cause? He has set gay causes back 20 years with this video. People will hold this up as example of the hatred gays have for straights.

    I realize this is more or less a random cherry picked individual on a comment forum, but good grief. “Spewing hate”? Perhaps the word “bullshit” was too much for delicate ears?

    I hate slavery. I hate bigotry based on things people cannot control. I hate any dehumanizing mechanism people use to justify mistreatment of others. If that means I hate you, tough shit. The whole “tolerate my intolerance” tactic is really baffling.

  10. Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    the Christiansn really need to get their story straight. Is there anti-Christian bigotry or is it that the US is 99% Christian? Poor things, I guess lies do happen when you keep telling them and not paying attention.

  11. bonetired
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed that. As a straight man I enjoyed seeing the sheer bullshit of the Bible (why do I capitalise that word?) being exposed for what it.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      You capitalized it because it’s the title of a book. You would probably do the same thing with the Magna Carta.

    • Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Then you would doubtless enjoy reading Letter To A Christian Nation (if you haven’t already done so).

  12. Dr. J
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    The most important part of the whole video are all the people that walk out because they don’t want to hear anyone question the bible. The bible can be used to justify anything…and it pretty much has.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Interesting that the walkout started before he even got around to any real bashing. They started pretty much as soon as he said “bible”.

      Smug little martyrs, aren’t they? Watching them engendered fairly equal amounts of humor and disgust. Must remember that they are just kids. I hope they manage to beat their programming.

      • bernardhurley
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        This is one reason why I think the walkout was probably planned in advance. You will also notice that none of them looked particularly offended and there was a certain amount of giggling going on.

        • darrelle
          Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

          Ya. I am sure that they are proud how they stuck it to the people who are persecuting xians so horribly.

        • Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Yep. Ophelia Benson makes the same inference. Very few (any?) of them look truly affronted. This feels wholly orchestrated.

          /@

        • Filippo
          Posted May 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          “Our chaperones say it’s time to walk out. But I can’t help giggling, I feel so self-conscious and conformist and inadequate thinking for myself.”

  13. Egbert
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    As Ophelia Benson pointed out on her website, these are bloody Journalist students. Journalists? What the hell kind of journalists are these people going to be when they graduate?

    • gbjames
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      Christian journalists, of course. Duh!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 2, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

        Surely that’s an oxymoron?

        • gbjames
          Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

          Don’t call me Shirley.

    • andrewD
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Bad ones?

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Fox news anchors.

      • FastLane
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        This. ^

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        My first thought, too.

        /@

    • truthspeaker
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      The kind of journalists who would never consider asking Dick Cheney why he’s making statements based on intelligence that’s already known to be wrong.

  14. bernardhurley
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    As I’ve said elsewhere, the walkout looked staged to me.

  15. Tim
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The walkout began just as Savage was getting warmed up – I think it was planned too. The conference has a list of speakers, presumably. They knew Dan Savage was talking and even with their stunted “journalism” skills, they could hardly be unaware of the guy who promoted the word “santorum”. If you invite Dan Savage, you can’t be surprised when he acts like Dan Savage. It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens, on being “interviewed” by Sean Hannity on the occasion of Jerry Falwell’s death, telling the blow-dried pipsqueak that he could hardly be surprised that he had nasty things to say about Falwell.

  16. Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I would like to know how he set ‘the gay cause’ back 20-years. In 1998 gay teenager Matthew Sheppard was murdered by homophobes. Ten years later Lawrence King was shot to death at his middle school because he was gay.

    THe Muslims certainly aren’t shy about it. In 2010, at a Muslim Day event in DC, an American Muslim says that under Sharia there is capital punishment for homosexuals. And they’re more than happy to enforce it since some peodophile lunatic said God said so…

    Not to let the Christians off the hook. You see plenty of them supporting crap like Uganda’s ‘kill the gays’ law. And I don’t mean just one fringe guy. We’re talking about some fairly important evangelicals and their organizations.

    • Aratina Cage
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      No kidding. People who think that have not been paying attention. Lawrence v. Texas anyone? That was in 2003–not even a decade ago yet. And that commenter has the nerve to say that this shows how gays hate straights? LOL! Whose families are being torn apart right now at fundamental levels of law, gays/bis/trans or straights? Yeah, wake me when straight people’s marriages start being banned statewide and nationwide through laws enacted by popular vote or by legislative acts.

  17. Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Excellent article/posting, Sigmund. I stumbled across Dan Savage only in the last year, somehow as an offshoot of atheist videos I was finding on YouTube. He is rational, realistic, intelligent, insightful, and a decent human being (in every sense of the word). This morning, former Methodist minister Teresa MacBain was heard on NPR’s morning edition. She came out as an atheist at the recent AA meeting, the day after the Reason Rally. The marginalization she felt outside her family, when she got home to Tallahassee was compared with the result of coming out as a homosexual. There is much overlap between the two civil rights movements. I am glad to see each being supportive of the other, because in the end, it all breaks down to the same basic human rights.

  18. MAUCH
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    According to the accomadationist logic standing up to bible thumping gay bigotry is bullying the faithful. If I said that owning slaves was a travesty of a person’s human rights would be accused of bullying slave owners? You have some weird logic going here.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, as in “How dare you punch me in the fist with your nose.”

  19. DV
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Most Christians don’t take their cue from the bible, they take it from their church leaders who justify the doctrine using the bible. So it’s not so much that flock are picking and choosing from the bible (they probably don’t read the bible all that much), it’s the leadership that’s picking and choosing.

    • RFW
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      The “leadership” (really, the bag-men-in-chief) don’t just pick and choose. They make stuff up. “The Bible says such-and-so” when it says no such thing. IOW, just more of the same old lies.

  20. Myron
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    There is no accomodationist way of telling the religious people that their homophobia is based on nothing but stupid religious delusion. It needs to be hammered into their theistically poisoned brains over and over again that homosexuality is a totally natural phenomenon, and that there is nothing morally wrong with or “sinful” about homosexual activities.

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Actually I think there is an accommodationist approach to this, and I think you’re wrong about the basis for a lot of people’s homophobia.

      Just my personal opinion, but I think in most cases religion is used to justify an independent or pre-existing bias against gays. I think in many cases, the basis of the bias is nothing more complicated than the ‘ick factor’ some folks have with the idea of male gay sex.

      If I’m right, it points to an accommodationist approach similar to the one Dan took. I.e., point out that they are treating this one sin differently from other sins; (2) suggest this difference may be from personal feeling rather than theology, and (3) suggest that theologically, it makes sense to treat it as you would any other sin.

      • gbjames
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Maybe it is just me, but I have trouble wrapping my brain around sentences that contain both the words “make sense” and “theologically”.

        • Rob
          Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Theology doesn’t make sense.

          There you go, one that contains “Theology” and “makes sense”
          :D

          • gbjames
            Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            ;)

      • Dan L.
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        ust my personal opinion, but I think in most cases religion is used to justify an independent or pre-existing bias against gays.

        But where did that come from?

        From raising people to believe that Christianity is sinful and wrong. I’m not sure the “ick” thing is really built in. From my perspective as a USian, eating bugs is totally icky and gross but there are plenty of places in the world where this is not the case. And that’s “ick” that you’re actually putting into your body, which is way more “ick” than anything anyone else does with their bodies. So I tend to think “ick” is largely cultural in nature.

        Christians raise their children to despise homosexuals. I’m almost certain it’s not a natural thing.

  21. herewegoagain_a
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    These student knew what Dan Savage was all about. And I agree with others that the walk out looked staged, but too bad Dan insulted the students who were leaving. Now the media is spinning it as if he were bullying the students who left. O well. Journalism students? No way are they ready for the real world. Guess they still have time to grow up.

    • bernardhurley
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Huh! I thought he treated them rather well.

    • gbjames
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      He insulted them? How exactly?

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        He merely pointed out what the Bible actually says! Too much for their delicate ears?!

    • Sajanas
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      The only way he insulted them is by pointing out they they were feeling bullied by it being pointed out that they bully gays for their religions. And that he, as an actual recipient of physical abuse, has no sympathy for them. They need more such insults, in my opinion.

  22. truthspeaker
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    subscribing

  23. Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    “How did this guy think spewing hate would help his cause?”

    People who spew hate and then accuse others of spewing hate should be fed to wild dogs. How can Fox News and their followers spread such blatant lies?

    Anyway, laws are laws. I hope Savage contines this line of speaking however religious people will bash gays not only because of the Bible but because they’re ignorant and insecure.

    One caveat, I would not include some religions such as Wicca (or the sort of religion, Buddhism) in this; those folks as far as I know, fight for gay rights.

    • Egbert
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Fed to wild dogs? My goodness. Sounds a bit like Biblical or Koranic justice than justice found in the civilized world.

      • bernardhurley
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Then Fox news should find it quite congenial.

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Good. Then it’s worth it just for the irony.

        (And in case it wasn’t blindingly obvious, the statement was meant as a figure of speech).

    • TheSkepticalChymist
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Actually, the Dalai Lama has stated that homosexuality is “sexual misconduct”: http://thewickedwoman.com/2007/03/08/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-on-homosexuality-2/

      • Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Very clearly from the quotes used by the blogger, Dalai Lama is referring to certain types of activities he says are also used by heterosexuals, use of certain *ahem* body parts, not being gay in general. And later on it appears as though he’s saying

        Although he viewed homosexuality as “sexual misconduct” for Buddhists, he said that it was “non-harmful” for non-Buddhists. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes him as saying, “From society’s viewpoint, mutually agreeable homosexual relations can be of mutual benefit, enjoyable and harmless.”

        In any case, I know plenty of Buddhist who think the Lama is a bit sheltered and not quite with the times; there are other far, far more enlightened Lamas who have taken a more progressive stance.

        • Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          That middle paragraph was intended to be enclosed in quotation marks. Apologies.

  24. Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I loved the Pansy-ass remark. Brilliant.

  25. Posted May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I’m sure if someone gave a speech about the bullshit in Mein Kampf that nobody would decry the speaker’s hate filled anti-Nazi bigotry, setting back Jewish rights by 20 years.

  26. Roz
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Quite a few people appear to be walking out on him

  27. Kevin
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    “Such teachings on homosexuality and birth control are based on religious grounds…and are therefore not amenable to secular reasoning.”

    Of course they are based on religious grounds, i.e. value judgments based on the importance of man to God combined with the fact that sex is how man comes into being.

    What “amenable to secular reasoning” is supposed to mean is anyone’s guess. “Secular” moral reasoning can no more surmount the is-ought problem than religious reasoning, and will also ultimately be grounded in value judgments.

    • MadScientist
      Posted May 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      People frequently forget or are unaware of the value judgement. How is slavery wrong? If we go back 200 hundred years it was perfectly acceptable throughout the USA, the UK, and many other nations around the world. The “obviously wrong” attitude is something I find peculiar. One day I hope the psychologists will have a good idea of how morals are formed and how they develop within a community.

      • Yazhi
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Stephen Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature.”

  28. Harbo
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “Accommodation” is now just the excuse to decry any logical or evidence based statement.
    We can from now on ignore it, and just get on with normal rational discussion.

    When believers rant they are described as honest and sincere and we must Respect their view as “valid”, when we merely stand our group we are berated as fanatics.

    I suggest we just press on regardless.

    Thank You everyone

    Harbo in Darwin NT

  29. Harbo
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    PS “friendly faiths” gives me a new oxymoron for my collection.

  30. revjimbob
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “other minorities”
    Since when were Christians a minority in America?

  31. Posted May 7, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Boggles the mind… to hear people spouting the rhetoric of peace and love while at the same time insisting (and voting for policies to support the claim that) others are “less than equal” for some, relatively insignificant/inherent difference.


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