Are you against gay marriage based on the Bible?

The Nib provides a handy flowchart to inquire about about your beliefs about gay marriage, and to let you know the problems of rationalizing any opposition from the Bible. Most of us, however, will be on the right side, which is the right side.

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h/t: jsp

94 Comments

  1. Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    You could put together a not entirely unrelated chart of who’s actually going to heaven, only to discover that nobody is…with more than one of the denouements coming from the Sermon on the Mount itself….

    b&

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Yeah. Its sometimes fun to point out to American and other 1st world Christians that what they earn (well, what pretty much most Americans earn) puts them in the top 10% of wealthiest people on the planet. “American middle class” is “in global terms, you’re rich.” Do you earn more than $15k/year? Then camel, meet needle. We have a very ‘keep up with the Joneses’ mentality where we don’t think we’re wealthy if we just live like the other people around us, but in terms of global wealth and poverty, all those people around you are a really bad example of global average.

  2. Roan Ridgeway
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m convinced that the only sincere objections to same-sex marriages are the religious ones. Since prohibiting homosexuals from marrying each other on religious grounds is unconstitutional, the religious come up with substitute reasons. I’m willing to bet that anyone objecting to such marriages believes homosexuality is a sin.

    • Sastra
      Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      From what I’ve seen the arguments against ssm which claim to be secular usually turn out to be ‘spiritual,’ in that they fall back on some version of the Naturalistic Fallacy. It is not what Nature Intended.

      Or, if not spiritual, then they’re stupid — like arguing that gay marriage will lead to a society with no children and the human population will die out. Or — and yes, I’ve seen this one — they go all accomodationist and profess deep distress over upsetting religious people. This argument often ends up pleading that gay or even all non-religious people have ‘civil unions’ … and let the poor, simple people of faith keep marriage a sacred commitment to God.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        Re: The stupid. The argument that gay marriage will result in the human population dying out is a bold statement without facts.
        Many forget how there are children that need loving homes and having a hard time finding them. But, as always it is never about the children when it is claimed it is about the children.
        Distress over upsetting religious people?
        Do I need to express myself with their feelings in mind at all times? Let me call a Whambulance.
        Civil Unions put them in their place.
        Know your place.

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      There’re likely a few non-religious homophobes out there who object to it on “ick” grounds. I would similarly suggest that the overwhelming majority of those who continue to go out of their way to object to it on religious grounds are self-hating homosexuals and bisexuals who want Jesus and Uncle Sam to work together to prevent them from acting on their own sinful desires — a trait they share with prohibitionists of all stripes.

      Show me a fire-breathing anti-booze anti-gay pastor and I’ll show you somebody who desperately needs (and wants) to go to the local gay bar, hook up with somebody, get drunk, and get laid.

      b&

      • Benjamin
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Your last paragraph reminds me of a passage from Hitch-22:

        “Whenever I hear some bigmouth in Washington or the Christian heartland banging on about the evils of sodomy or whatever, I mentally enter his name in my notebook and contentedly set my watch. Sooner rather than later, he will be discovered down on his weary and well-worn old knees in some dreary motel or latrine, with an expired Visa card, having tried to pay well over the odds to be peed upon by some Apache transvestite.”

        I think the most perfect real-life example of this is the evangelical pastor Ted Haggard who was found to have been having sex with a male escort whilst doing crystal meth – despite being extremely vocal in opposition to gay marriage!

        • Posted April 30, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          I’m surprised you haven’t heard that Ted Haggard is completely heterosexual.

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            Beat me to it!

            …and Haggard isn’t the only one who got his own song, not by a long shot…lots more where that one came from….

            b&

        • merilee
          Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Not to forget Tammy Faye (God told me to wear so much mascara) Baker’s hubby.

        • StephaJL
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          Wonderful quote. I must re-read Hitch-22…

          As George Orwell observed, “Saints should be judged guilty until proven innocent”.

    • cipri
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Well, never underestimate the possibility of stupidity :))
      I recently debated the topic online and there was this one guy who insisted he was not religious, yet he kept arguing about homosexual couples not having children.
      It turns out in the end he wasn’t lying about being religious, but he was a fan of conspiracies of all sorts.
      He actually ended the discussion with a rant about how homosexuality was created artificially as a means for population control (!) by the elites (!!) and that it’s very likely that it’s going to be mandatory soon (!!!).

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I think the ‘ick’ factor plays a (non-religious) part: some people have a visceral feel of disgust. They try and rationalize it by various means, but in reality the rationalization – including but not limited to religious rationalizations – is just a post hoc justification for what they feel.

  3. NewEnglandBob
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    They forgot about mixing wool and linen.

  4. Jacob
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a bad move to bring up bacon and shrimp when people are against something because of the Bible. At least for that, it is explicitly laid out in Acts 10 that these things are no longer unclean.

    Not that believing what Peter said is any more reasonable than believing Leviticus, but there just seem to be much better available examples of Christian hypocrisy than kosher foods.

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      We can also add to that there are NT denouncements of homosexual sex acts, though these denouncements are “explained away” by various rationalizations (e. g. this was about temple prostitutes, etc.)

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      That’s possibly a feature, not a bug.

      You see, it’s Leviticus where they get their “KILL ZE GHEYS! KILL ZEM ALL!” nonsense, which is also the place where the Bible also says, “KILL ZE BAKONZ ETRZ! KILL ZEM ALL!” If you’re going to claim that the Gospels say you can now go ahead and eat ZE BAKONZ, you’re going to have a difficult time claiming that you should KILL ZE GHEYS when there’s no red-letter text of Jesus saying that part specifically still holds.

      Of course, Jesus was big on killing and torturing everybody else, so it could still backfire….

      b&

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Jesus allegedly said to follow the OT law in Matthew 5:17, 5:18-19, Luke 16:17 and John7:19.

        • Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Oh, Jesus said pretty much anything you might care to think of him saying. He’s a case study in schizophrenic self-contradiction.

          That’s one of the keys to Christianity…picking and choosing which bits of the salad bar you like and don’t like.

          b&

      • Jacob
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I agree that as you put it, it’s likely a feature not a bug. But either way, it doesn’t seem that hypocritical or contradictory. There are many, many better examples of that!

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Christian hypocrisy isn’t so hard to find, especially when it comes to who to believe, JC or his audience hungry apostles and of course Paul, anti-Christ extraordinaire.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      It actually is more complicated than that, since the Jesus character is also on record as saying that not a bit of the law will “pass away”.

      The fundy way around this contradiction that I’ve heard, for what it is worth, is that Acts applies to non-Jewish converts only; Jewish converts are to continue with the law.

      (This is not supported by the text in any way, needless to say.)

  5. Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Love it, that’s hilarious.

    I have to crow a bit for my state of Minnesota. In the 2012 election, we went from a GOP majority in both legislative houses (firmly opposed to same-sex marriage, needless to say) and a constitutional amendment (holy crap!) to ban it, to an all-Democrat majority and same-sex marriage legalized by statute (after the defeat of the proposed amendment) within a year.

    Getting onto the right side of history (and humanity).

    • darrelle
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      What happen? I’m guessing Michelle Bachman scared the shit out of enough people.

      I envy Minnesota for having Al Franken as a rep.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Mr. Franken is a senator, not a representative. How about a Franken for president bid?

        • darrelle
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          So he is. I would love for Franken to make a run for president. Even though his chances certainly seem slim to none, I think that people like him visibly being a part of that process could be a help in giving the Overton window a bit of a nudge.

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Bachman eventually flamed out because of her delusions of grandeur, slipping election results and her attempted move to the national scene (running as quickly as she could behind Sarah Palin.)

        She was seen as a Washington insider.

        But it was the local elections (state house and senate) that were stunning. Big majorities for the Dems in both.

        I think the anti-gay-marriage amendment really energized its opposition (much like Obama energized the Dems in 2008) and the turnout was high, particularly amongst young people.

        The anti-gay people are simply going to lose based on demographics. All young people (who aren’t blinded by their faith) see that their gay school mates are fine just the way they are. And going after them isn’t tolerated — whihc is why there was such opposition to anti-bullying laws. The Faithers want to be able to stigmatize gays in order to prevent youngsters from thinking for themselves and realizing that gays are not threat (duh!).

        Well, they just want the kids not to think anything that isn’t in their books or tracts.

        • darrelle
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          Yes, opposition to ssm is doomed to failure. It is just a matter of time. According to Gallup support for ssm among young adults is 80%, compared to 55% over all.

          We iz on your grass dancing old man!

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    ‘Remember: Before joining a major religion you should really read all of the paperwork’

    Caveat emptor, as the saying goes — and the emptor ought to be doubly caveat when buying a supernatural product, no enforceable point-of-purchase warranties made.

  7. Christopher
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    It could have begun with “Are you cleaned shaved?, have a tattoo?, wear different fabrics at the same time?, or are gay?”

    That would have done it.

    Humour aside, I doubt this represents most Christians, though.

  8. Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Many Christians are quick to say the “old law” no longer applies. While they may point to Leviticus to show that God doesn’t approve, ultimately they would see this specific law as superceded, and thus, this little diagram as beside the point. The main scripture these Christians use is Romans 1:

    “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    There are other passages, for example 1 Corinthians 6:9pp- “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    So you see when critics turn to Leviticus and use the bacon argument many of these Christians dismiss them as ignorant.

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s potentially theologically interesting that Paul is a bit obsessed with sex, but the Jesus of the Gospels? Not so much.

      Of course, few fundamentalists are likely to pick up on such subtlety, instead assuming that, if it’s in their officially-sanctioned copy of the right and true and proper translation of the Bible, it’s as good as if YHWH himself had personally dictated every word — rendering the actual human author entirely irrelevant.

      …but still….

      b&

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        I’ve long maintained that it would be more appropriate to call Christianity Paulism.

        • Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          There’s a lot to be said for that…but there might be at least as much to be said for calling it Markism.

          Jesus himself dates back half a millennium or so before the fall of Judea, to the book of Zechariah at least. There was some sort of a mystery cult devoted to Jesus when Paul showed up; Paul did a great deal to align that cult’s theology with Philo. Then, a generation or two later, after the Roman conquest, Mark invented an earthly biography for Jesus and almost everything non-theological that we “know” about him either traces back to Mark or is a dissenting revision to Mark.

          The one thing that’s for certain is that Jesus is no more real than any other ancient Jewish archangel….

          b&

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          Dawkins is continually run down by Xian apologists for calling Paul/Saul “the founder of Christianity,” which to my mind, and having been raised by devoutly Xian parents and having read the Bible through, I agree with.

          Jebus is the object of the church. Paul, in practical terms, made the church, the organization. Jebus could (according those fictions) could only attract a handful of serious followers.

          Paul*, on the other hand, spread and organized the church throughout much of the Roman world and set it up to dominate the West.

          (* Or perhaps a collection of early church leaders whose writings were collected under the one name — that conversion on the road to Damascus story and the big blanket (tent) story were pretty good propaganda. I don;t know the scholarship on this; but it seems to me likely — based on the rest of the Bible — that more than one author was involved in the epistles.)

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            It’s universally accepted by all but the most fundiest of the funny mentalists that a number of the Epistles with Paul’s name at the top were written by somebody else. Hebrews, for example, basically everybody realizes was written by a different person from the one who wrote Corinthians.

            It was a common practice then (and for millennia before and after) to write something in both the style and name of some famous figure who wasn’t you. That includes most of the New Testament, especially including the Gospels.

            (Actually, the names for the authors of the Gospels may well have been assigned long after the death of the actual authors, but it’s still the same basic idea.)

            b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Jesus not obsessed with sex, Ben? Renowned historian Dan Brown — well, he’s a much better historian than he is a prose stylist — would beg to differ.

        Next, you’ll be telling me that Jesus wasn’t “really Jewish.” 🙂

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Well…not as obsessed with sex?

          Paul rails against Teh Ghey and licentiousness and all the rest. Jesus sex obsession is mostly focussed on marriage, it seems.

          But I could well be forgetting or misremembering or what-not….

          b&

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            You telling me Mr. Brown’s book isn’t factually accurate? (I’d say more, but there’s an Albino monk skulking around outside my door.)

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

              I must be that unidentified third person who hasn’t read the book…but, that omission notwithstanding, I feel perfectly comfortable suggesting that Mr. Brown’s account of Jesus’s history has every bit as much basis in fact as the Gospels themselves….

              b&

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

                So Jesus did get jiggy with Mary Magdalene, huh?

              • Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                It depends. Are you going with the traditionalist Jesus or the conspiratorialist Jesus? Orthodox Christian Jesus wouldn’t never get jiggy, but Newage Aquarius Dawn Jesus gets jiggy with everybody!

                b&

    • Michael Michaels
      Posted April 30, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      “… nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

      And that takes care of pretty much all the Republican politicians and their main supporters.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Hell, that knocks most of the GOP out of the box even if all five have to be proved in the conjunctive.

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          Seems there’s always some Republican inappropriately stepping out of the conjugal box…but this is the first time I’ve heard of fix at once. Some super-PAC orgy scandal that hasn’t hit my radar yet?

          b&

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            Most Young Republicans have the whole five-sin Corinthians circuit under their belt come Saturday morning at CPAC.

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

              Do they get discount coupons for volume buying?

              b&

    • Posted April 30, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Those examples remind me of what I thought when I read the bible long ago — it seemed to be saying no one remotely interesting is going to heaven. It’s one of the many things that made me uninterested in the sky fairy.

  9. jerbearinsantafe
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    Once again Jerry Coyne discovers a fabulous graphic. This one directs the bible-based opposition to marriage equality.

  10. Posted April 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Religion is like a terms & conditions notice. People scroll down and click the ‘I agree’ button without reading the fine print. Some Christians argue that Jesus came so the old laws don’t apply, but Jesus said that had come to fulfill the law, and if you throw out some of the rules you also have to throw out the ten commandments, which are in the Old Testament.

  11. Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Well this led me on an interesting foray into the world of making shIt up:

    As with anything, moderation is also important. While a tattoo is not wrong, it is excessive and probably immoral to cover your entire body in ink. It is certainly not in accord with the virtue of temperance and the scriptural command to exercise “moderation in all things.”

    The old argument from moderation fallacy…doesn’t seem to apply to the Catholics when it comes to things like masturbating though…

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      How much ink can you take and still get to purgatory? Did it cover that angle?

      • Posted April 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Whatever the answer is, we know the plotline doesn’t converge. It tends to infinity in both directions, but no one seems to know where the inflection points are that send you hopelessly hurdling in the wrong direction.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          Well, then, looks like it’s back to the dermabrasion-and-laser-removal man for me. Don’t wanna put too fine a line on the over/under bet when it comes to heaven or hell. I mean, eternity — that could be a long time, right? Better safe, than sorry, I always say.

  12. merilee
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    sub (with bacon and shrimp)

  13. barn
    Posted April 30, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I used to be all for gay marriage, until I tried to use a flowchart I found on Phyrangula to debate my father about it.. Dad’s argument went something like this..

    “If marriage is an entirely man made institution, if these people set their rules and they decided it’s going to be between a man and a woman, then they’ve invented it and they’ve defined it. What right does anybody have to go in there and tell them they have to change it?”…

    I didn’t have any answer for that on my flowchart…

    Then my father, a physicist, who was never religious, who also never married my mother simply said..

    ‘Why would gays want to get married anyway?’

    And that was that, I no longer could be bothered with gay marriage. It’s a petulant debate. You can’t tell Christians to change the rules of their silly institutions, and you sure as hell can’t force them to perform gay marriage in their silly churches if they don’t feel like it..

    Christians have this thing called Baptism, if I walk into a baptism ceremony and decide that I should be baptised as a New Atheist after reading Hitchens, then the Christians can tell me to get lost. It’s their institution, their ceremony, they set whatever rules they want. I can’t stitch on my own extra rules and interpretations onto their institution. And why do I want to get baptised anyway!

    So here I am, Radical Atheist, avid reader of WEIT since at least 2011, Religion is completely irrational yadda yadda yadda.

    The only argument against my position that I can think of is that I’m just a bumhole who doesn’t even believe in marriage between a man and a woman, let alone marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a transgender AI on a laptop..

    Anyone got a flow chat for me?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      You might want to check back at Pharyngula. See if PZ will upgrade you to the new-and-improved flowchart. Or at least return the one you got back there, try to get your money…er, dignity…back.

      • barn
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink

        Found the chart.. December 3, 2009

        Do I get a refund on any of my dignity if I visited in 2009?

        There is no rational reason to get married, so why, in the name of rationalism, should I fight to change some gender rules on marriage?

        I admit I am less aggressive towards Christians these days, they’re harmless, if they want to keep a few little whacky traditions they can have them.

        Maybe I need a flowchart that can convince me that marriage is important at all, and that somehow gays are being truly oppressed by not being invited..

        • Leslee
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:58 am | Permalink

          Arguing against all marriage is not the same as arguing for equal protection under the law. There are MANY advantages to getting married, most of which are financial. There is also the issue of end-of-life decisions when a loved one needs representation with doctors/hospitals.

          I teach psychology courses in an urban college. Most of my students also believe that marriage is unnecessary. I propose a hypothetical: if your boyfriend wins the lottery, then dies of a heart attack, who gets the money? His mom! Oh no!

          More realistically, if he’s been paying into Social Security, they will get nothing…and that little bit could make a difference in their lives.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:11 am | Permalink

          2009? Why didn’t you say so? That’s outside the dignity statute-of-limitations, barn, before the Social Justice Warriors took over the joint at Pharyngula. Consider your dignity fully restored. 🙂

          Gay folk aren’t clamoring to get married in church, at least none have ever sought the assistance of a court or legislature to compel a church to marry them. And if they did, they would face the insurmountable obstacle of the First Amendment’s “Free Exercise” clause.

          Instead, the issue is their access to the secular institution of marriage, the institution sanctioned by the state, through which numerous valuable benefits flow to married couples and their families — benefits unavailable to the unwed. Given that these are government-created benefits, why should a state be permitted to invidiously discriminate among its citizens by denying them to a particular class of people, especially a class identified by an immutable characteristic, anymore than it can invidiously discriminate in meting out any other government-created right, privilege, or benefit?

          Would your position have been the same as to Loving v. Virginia, the case that addressed that state’s prohibition (in that instance, enforceable through criminal penalties) on interracial marriage? After all, under your Dad’s test, white men in Virginia (like everywhere else in this country) created the institution of marriage; they set the rules, and they decided that marriage should be between people of the same race, and only between people of the same race. Who’s this black woman, calling herself “Mrs. Loving,” think she is anyway, busting in and telling the white guys who have always run the great Commonwealth of Virginia what’s what, demanding that they change all their old rules for her sake, asserting she has some right to live there in peace with this white fella calling himself her husband?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

            If you think about it along those lines, does the result maybe point in a different direction than the Pharyngula flowchart?

            • barn
              Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

              Thanks for expanding Ken, I should include that before anyone gets too hostile, I am from Australia so I do not have all the US laws on tap.

              This was maybe my 3rd comment in the last 5 years. Not trying to cause a fuss, I realise my stance is at odds with the general consensus..

              @2 Roan Ridgeway “I’m willing to bet that anyone objecting to such marriages believes homosexuality is a sin.”-

              Our solution here is a Civil Union; exactly the same as marriage except you don’t go through any religious rituals. In my mind, if two people of any sex want to form a Civil Union, have a party, get dressed up, then nobody would stop them..

              I didn’t realise this was not the case in the US. My only defence is that all the pro-gay marriage arguments from the US appear to be just an excuse for some Christian bashing, the above chart being a prime example. (back in 2009 I would tear Christians apart if given the chance, but check my blows these days)

              Here in Australia, we have people fighting for gay marriage, and it usually goes hand in hand with Christian bashing, but to me, now, it’s just turned into sport. Why are we winding up Christians over this, they should be thrown the odd bone. I actually liked Ayaan’s recent remarks “Let’s stop going after Christianity.”.. There’s bigger fish to fry. Marriage is just a word.

              Now, the interracial marriage point is a good one and I was expecting it, I admit that I don’t think my arguments for just avoiding marriage applies to this case. But I’m confident that the issue of interracial marriage was, or could easily have been addressed from within the religious community using religious arguments.

              So why can’t Americans just lobby for Civil Unions? Is it because the issue has blown out into a much larger political issue and nobody is prepared to give the Crazy Christians any concessions?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

                No worries, mate.

              • StephaJL
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

                Why should they have to lobby for civil unions as opposed to marriage? It is an unnecessary distinction.

                I find the debate incredibly bizarre. Here, in Canada, we have had same-sex marriage — & they are *marriages*, not civil unions — since 2003 (2001 in some jurisdictions). This was accomplished by changing the definition of marriage.

                Yes, some religious zealots pitched a hissy fit about the change. We ignored them; the vast majority got over it.

                Offence & hurt feelings do not constitute adequate justification for undermining the rights of your fellow citizens.

              • StephaJL
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

                I would add re the civil union compromise:

                What that proposal entails is two distinct, yet ostensibly equivalent, institutions intended for two different groups.

                The US has ‘been there, done that’; cf. Plessy v. Ferguson.

          • StephaJL
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

            Exactly.

            To barn, I would add,

            Re the notion of “tell[ing] Christians to change the rules of their silly institution”:
            Which Christians? Christian denominations that are supportive of equality in marriage do exist. Even if marriage was a purely religious institution, why should the ideology of a sub-set of Christian sects be permitted to constrain that of other Christian sects? Does this not undermine the very freedom of religion which so preoccupies the Christian Right?

            Re “[w]hy … gays want to get married”:
            (i) As has been noted, marriage is an institution from which numerous benefits flow. Perhaps more importantly, however,
            (ii) Their motivations are neither here nor there. Do we ask heterosexual couples why they want to get married? Would your father support formulating a set of state-approved justifications for marriage (with those who fail to endorse them being forbidden to wed)?

            • barn
              Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

              RE “why should the ideology of a sub-set of Christian sects be permitted to constrain that of other Christian sects?”

              But why should we be allowed to compel a sub-set of Christians to change their institutions?

              Normally the reformers just split and start a new version. Start a whole new set of institutions.. Marriage+

              • StephaJL
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

                I am not asserting that we should compel them to change — nor are most others involved in the debate. This is about marriage. Christians do not have a monopoly on marriage.

                If a particular sect is opposed to performing marriages, they need not do so. Nonetheless, they have no right to constrain the ability of other sects to perform marriages.

                If the former sects are offended by the latter sects, too bad.

        • Tor I.
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:47 am | Permalink

          There is a rational reason to marry as long as the State provides (secular) benefits to married couples; it makes economic sense to seek out those benefits. If the people opposed to gay marriage want to turn marriage into a religious institution then those benefits should go away.

          • barn
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            I completely agree, either everyone has the same rights, or none do. And you’d get them if you just used another word! Compromise, move onto the next issue.

            (unfortunately, in Australia the argument is now ‘The only difference is the word, why can’t we have the word also’)

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted May 2, 2015 at 12:59 am | Permalink

              One of the problems is that the various right wingers who oppose same-sex marriage (and also try to curtail voting rights and give Christianity a favored status, among other things) seem to think that rights are a limited resource, like gold, platinum, water or petroleum, and that extending rights to one group somehow takes them away from others. They’re too stupid to realize that the only thing that’s diminished is their smug sense of superiority at being privileged.

              • Posted May 2, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

                I think I’ve missed the idea that right wingers think petroleum is limited. Perhaps it’s just drowned out by the chants of “drill, baby, drill!”

              • E.A. Blair
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

                They seem to believe in a version of the steady state theory in which petroleum, clean water and air, landfill space and other resources magically appear out of nowhere after they’ve been used. Maybe they think that all the pollutants and toxins that get dumped into the world somehow become new resources.

              • Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Oh, yeah of little faith! If Jebus can turn water to wine and feed thousands with food for twelve, why not turn waste into food and garbage into oil? and, if he doesn’t hell just come back and renew the whole planet someday anyway.

        • Adam L
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:17 am | Permalink

          There are rational reasons to get married. The government gives benefits to married couples on things such as tax, pensions, property etc.

          Getting married in a church is a different matter and is quite irrational (on the whole g*d thing not because it’s normally a nice setting). However Christians don’t have a monopoly on marriage. You can marry if you’re Hindu, Sikh, Muslim or Atheist as long as you’re straight at the moment. That excludes a portion of society which is completely unfair. Just because they claim their book says homosexuality is wrong doesn’t mean they get to impose that view on everyone else.

          It might not be important to you but it’s important to others.

          Adam

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          In the USA, there are many reasons to get married.

          It remains an individual choice, of course, as it should. However, something like 90% in the US choose marriage (at least once).

          Among the most important:

          1. Spouses inherit the deceased spouse’s estate without probate or taxation.

          2. Spouses are the assumed benefactor in insurance, pensions, funds, etc.

          3. Visitation rights and health care decisions for a seriously ill spouse.

          4. Child custody (though this is less of an issue now, it used to be the most important factor).

          5. Pension and other employer-provided benefits: Especially for pensions, the spouse is the person who can receive full-survivor benefits.

          6. Taxation: Many places where married couples get a break, especially income taxes.

          It’s also socially the least problematic: If your married, it’s the universal solvent for your relationship.

          I think that, in the absence of the legal benefits heterosexual couples have derived and continue to derive from being married, the situation in the courts might be different.

          But, given the big hitters above, such as 1, 2, 3, and 6, the courts cannot (in my opinion) take such benefits away from gay folk, especially considering that it’s all based on religious prejudice, which is not allowed for the government (Amdt. 1).

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            Or even: “if you’re married …” 🙂

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            ‘If you’re married, it’s the universal solvent for your relationship.’

            If by “universal solvent” you mean something that eats through everything — home, furniture, cars, bank account, assets of all kinds — a couple buddies of mine would tell you that’s not marriage; that’s divorce. 🙂

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          I admit I am less aggressive towards Christians these days, they’re harmless, if they want to keep a few little whacky traditions they can have them.

          What, like shipping their leadership from remote town to remote town so they can always have a fresh supply of children to rape and still stay one step ahead of the local authorities?

          There’re a great many good people who deserve great credit for rising above the evil that is Christianity. But the religion itself is powerfully and fundamentally corrupt to the core.

          This shouldn’t be surprising. Its central figure is a death god, bastard son by rape of a war god. And they don’t hide that. Not only is Jesus quoted as ordering his followers to kill all non-believers, his primary theological purpose is to do the same, himself, in the great battle of Armageddon — after which he’ll have his brother, Satan, infinitely torture 99 44/100% of all those who ever lived.

          The sooner our civilization grows out of the insanity that is religion, the better.

          b&

    • darrelle
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I hope you carefully read the comments below in response to yours, especially Kens. You are ill informed about this issue. The aspects that you are arguing are inconsequential to the issue, and you have not even mentioned the relevant aspect.

      This issue has nothing to do with the religious institution of marriage. It is about the legal institution of marriage. Two distinctly different things.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Others have already said most of this, but I’m going to echo their sentiments.

      ‘Marriage’ is not a Christian institution. It is a social institution. Christians may have their own additional customs that they add to marriage (just like every other religion), but calling marriage a strictly Christian institution is like claiming the Last Supper shows that supper is a Christian institution.

      Unless you’re arguing to do away with marriage entirely, the fact that one group of people can enter into that legal contract while another group can’t is discrimination against the group that can’t. It doesn’t matter if you don’t particularly like that type of contract or don’t know why some people would want to participate in it. As long as that type of contract is open to anybody, it should be open to everybody.

      There are plenty of secular reasons for marriage to exist. Just the fact that a lot of people are going to get married anyway is a big one. The state makes all types of laws for common types of contracts, for example mortgages and loans. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel each time two parties enter into one of these common contracts. Since many people are going to enter into a marriage contract, a little bit of standardization makes things simpler for everybody. Just look to jbillie’s comment for a lot of the issues addressed by marriage.

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        [C]alling marriage a strictly Christian institution is like claiming the Last Supper shows that supper is a Christian institution.

        Interesting you should pick that example…the Christian Eucharist was a direct rip-off of the Mithraic Eucharist; see Justin Martyr, for example. And similar ceremonies were common and widespread; the Mithraic Eucharist itself was not an original invention.

        b&

      • barn
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I’m not sure on the posting etiquette in replying to several posts that make similar points that I feel I have just addressed. But I’m not used to the attention so I will answer anyway.

        People have pointed out that the only arguments against it are religious, and gays are only after marriage because it cuts the paperwork down. Since we don’t have that issue in OZ, I don’t understand why that can’t copy us.

        People are saying this is not an issue with religion. But I have heard many times that people are pro gay marriage primarily because it pisses off the Church. Does anybody deny this is a fairly common stance? It doesn’t seem right to jump on a cause because the end goal is pissing off Christians..

        How many people are really suffering over this?

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          People are saying this is not an issue with religion. But I have heard many times that people are pro gay marriage primarily because it pisses off the Church. Does anybody deny this is a fairly common stance?

          First I’ve heard of that. And if I ever expressed anything like that, myself, it’d be out of sarcasm as much as anything else.

          b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        OK, supper itself might not be an institution started at the Last Supper. But having everybody sitting on the same side of the table — that one’s definitely an institution started by the first Christians at the Last Supper.

  14. Diane G.
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    sub

  15. Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Invisible Atheist.

  16. Delphin
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    All is proceeding as I predicted. Gay marriage appears in a few socially liberal places. Doom is predicted. Nothing bad happens. It spreads to the next few jurisdictions. Doom is predicted. Nothing bad happens. (See Canada.) The dam will burst eventually. I expect this is the time. Doom will be predicted. In 5 years only the die-hards will be against gay marriage. Many who were desultorily against it will forget or deny their previous opposition. It’s a wearisome process and of course one wishes it were quicker and easier, but it IS progress and it will be hard to reverse.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      In my opinion, the tide turned in mid-2012.

      The sitting President (who was campaigning for reelection) endorsed same-sex marriage.

      All the state-wide measures (which had an unbroken string of wins (count in the mid-teens) for the anti-gay-marriage position) went for gay marriage (count=4, including Maine, which had, just a few years before, voted the opposite way on a state-wide measure.)

      The dominoes have been falling ever since.

      The anti-gay people are fighting a rearguard action and they know it. When they started pulling out the butt-hurt card because people were identifying them as religious bigots, then you know the game is up.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘All is proceeding as I predicted.’

      Damn. Who do you like for the Daily Double at Belmont today?

  17. Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    So, the other thing that the anti-gay marriage crowd (generally Xians in the USA) is this: The Bible is rank with marriages that violate their rules!

    Harems, plural wives, concubines, etc. all over the place.

    One-man, one-woman marriage (as a supposed universal) is really very new. And it still does not prevail in many parts of the world.

    And trying to define marriage as THE source of children and child care is very problematic, given the true nature of families in the US these days (including heterosexual couples). (Seriously, should heterosexual couples who are not going to have children not be able to get married — since it’s supposed purpose is making babies? I know many childless (by choice) (het.) couples.)

    They are trying to define-away everything that happened since 1950.

  18. muffy
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Sub.

  19. Shane
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The following New Testament passages deal with homosexual actions:

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26–27).

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10).

    “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:8–10).

    “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

    But God’s displeasure with acting out on homosexuality is depicted as early as Genesis 19 in the Old Testament. Also see Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

    As far as divorce in the New Testament, it says:

    Matt 5:32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for [the] cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    Matt 19: 9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

  20. muffy
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I was listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR the other night, and she had this asshat on who was making the same tired old arguments against gay marriage, only he was pretending that they were new and special.

    Someone pointed out that his argument was flawed – ‘marriage is for procreation – because by that metric, 70 year olds and the infertile should be denied the right to marry. His refutation was to deny that he was making the ‘marriage is only for procreation argument’, and that his argument is thus:

    Marriage exists, and has existed, since the beginning of time, to make babies. One man, one woman. This is the essence of marriage. Marriage is about the kids. Marriage is about keeping kids safe and happy. Marriage is a sacred institution because of this. If gays are allowed to marry, marriage as an institution will be tarnished, and if it is tarnished, the children will suffer. We can’t permit children to suffer, as it will be disastrous for civilization. Permitting gay marriage will erode the family unit to the point that future children will be doomed.


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