Shame on you, Sean Penn

Sean Penn won the Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role last night. 

I knew this was coming.  I really did.  In fact, I was surprised that “Milk” didn’t win Best Picture.  But what I wasn’t expecting was Mr. Penn’s acceptance speech.  He said,

“For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

Let’s forget for a second that Sean’s argument is flawed from the beginning because being married isn’t a basic human right

The point I want to make, and why Sean Penn should be ashamed of himself, is for attempting to make those who believe differently than him feel ashamed for those beliefs.  Isn’t this what he chides Christians for doing?  Doesn’t he chide Christians for forcing their beliefs on other people?  Isn’t this what Sean did last night?

Sean is attempting to tell me what my morality should be.  He says I should feel ashamed for where my morality comes from.  Isn’t this the exact behavior that all of us should shy away from?  Sure, Sean, make your argument and vote the way you want to vote.  But don’t make people feel ashamed for what they believe, because then you become exactly like the Christians you are arguing against.

Shame on you, Mr. Penn.  And shame on the Screen Actors Guild for cheering on this hypocrisy.

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41 Comments on “Shame on you, Sean Penn”

  1. Neil Says:

    Yes, that was disgusting and foolish on his part. I’d love to debate him on the Prop 8 topic. He seems more hateful than virtually all the Christians I know.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Neil

    Exactly. That’s the ironic part. Sure there are those Christians out there who are hateful, and I think some of them were outside the Oscars with some signs. I don’t know any personally, and if I did I’d give them an earful as well. But when you do what Penn did, you become exactly like those whom you are in opposition to.

    The other problem is that Penn is equating the hateful Christians with signs, with every single person who voted for Prop. 8. 52% of California isn’t Christian, so obviously many people with many different backgrounds and religious beliefs voted for Prop. 8 for many different reasons.

  3. javier Says:

    You might not ever live to be ashamed, but I can assure that my generation and upcoming generations will find your views on this topic extremely shameful. Many young Americans already do.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Javier

    And you see no problem with calling the beliefs of other people shameful? Don’t you see that when you do so, you become exactly what you are fighting against?

    And you see no problem with the fact that being married isn’t a basic human right, therefore there is no discrimination taking place?

    Let me ask you a question. What if Kirk Cameron won an Oscar for his role in “Fireproof” and he got up on the podium and said, “Shame on all of you who support same-sex marriage”? How angry would you be towards him? Can you imagine the media uproar? Yet, when Sean Penn stands up and says that exact same thing, just in the opposite direction, you applaud him. Can’t you see that the only reason you don’t find his tactics deplorable is because you agree with him?

  5. kip Says:

    You’re equating hate with belief. Two separate things. Please read my post on this subject.

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    I’m confused, but I’ll do so.

  7. krissmith777 Says:

    Sean Penn is a moron, along with 99.99999% of Holywood stars.

    This is nothing new.

    True, I voted against Prop 8, but that in no way indicates I share his pathetic views.

  8. Jamal Says:

    Your views on gay equality are indeed shameful, ignorant, and bigoted. Decent people don’t seek to take away the rights of people who were legally married by a state or try to make one group into second-class citizens. Decent people don’t try to make their very small-minded fundamentalist views into laws that impose upon the lives of the millions who don’t share their very rightwing religious views. Don’t use religion or primitive tradition to justify your cruelity toward other human beings. We can see through it.

  9. jennifer Says:

    Wait, hold on, let me get this straight, Sean Penn, who married one of the most immoral people on the planet and buddies up to one of the world worst tyrants, is trying to shame us???!!
    Let me just say Sean, you really need Jesus, I hope your conscience is not too seared to realize your sinfulness, and get saved.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To fear the Lord is to hate evil.

    Sean, you love evil, so you can’t be wise. Please, please stop displaying your filthy heart to the world. I’m praying for you to get a conscience.

  10. Eric Kemp Says:

    Jamal

    You have swallowed the liberal propoganda hook, line and sinker. I hope that this comment helps you to think through the issue rationally.

    Firstly, you shouldn’t go around calling names like Mr. Penn because, as I pointed out and as you blatantly ignored, you become just as bigoted and ignorant as you claim I am.

    “Decent people don’t seek to take away the rights of people who were legally married by a state or try to make one group into second-class citizens.”

    Prop. 8 didn’t anull any of the marriages that were performed in the state of California. So you’ve got your facts wrong. Secondly, being married is not a basic human right. Is the owning of a marriage license in the Bill of Rights, Jamal? Since it’s not, you can’t claim there are any rights violations going on. Also, twice now the people of California have voted for the traditional definition of marriage, and only through activist judges, going against the will of the people, have they been able to get it past us. You may not like how the people are voting, so you can vote differently, but don’t name call on people who vote differently than you. It makes you seem childish.

    “Decent people don’t try to make their very small-minded fundamentalist views into laws that impose upon the lives of the millions who don’t share their very rightwing [sic] religious views.”

    Again, you’ve just got your facts wrong. 52% of the state of California aren’t “fundamentalists” or “very right wing”. So you’re going to have to find another scapegoat for your anger. Also, you pretend and are blatantly ignorant of the fact that it is the homosexual agenda that is forcing their redefinition of the word “marriage” on the rest of us. For thousands of years, since the beginning of recorded history, marriage has been between a man and a woman. Only recently have the gays attempted to change this. The “fundamentalist”, as you call it, position has been the default position since the beginning of recorded civilization. We’re not forcing morality on anyone, the gays can live however they want, but they don’t get to change the definition of a word just because they don’t like it.

    Jamal, we disagree and have different sources for our morality, however the only one spreading name-calling and hate is you. You should be more self-reflective about how you go about attempting to get your point across, because this certainly isn’t working.

  11. DB Says:

    Eric said,

    The point I want to make, and why Sean Penn should be ashamed of himself, is for attempting to make those who believe differently than him feel ashamed for those beliefs. Isn’t this what he chides Christians for doing? Doesn’t he chide Christians for forcing their beliefs on other people? Isn’t this what Sean did last night?

    Yes, I agree! He should be ashamed of himself, but, as you know, Eric, he won’t be because he is a moral relativist who doesn’t believe in absolute anything! Because we believe in God and His truth, then we are not extended the same courtesies as the relativist in this twisted age.

    The word of God describes those, at this time, like Mr. Penn!

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them…they are without excuse…For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened…Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error…God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1: 18- end)

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    Dave

    Amen brother. The only ones worthy of their tolerance is the people who agree with them. Romans 1 just cuts to the heart of the issue.

  13. butttub Says:

    Here’s the logical problem with your argument:

    The state ought not legislate religious beliefs. However, marriage, to the state, is not a religious sacrament but a civil status that confers certain legal protections.

    I would never argue that the state should tell a given religion how to define marriage or that they have to marry gay couples. However, this is not what legalizing gay marriage does. It simply confers the same legal rights to all committed couples, regardless of gender.

    Not too long ago, anti-miscegenation laws barred mixed-race marriages in many states. Such laws were clearly discriminatory and bigoted. Today, if a given sect does not believe in mixed-race marriages, that is their prerogative. However, we can all agree that it is not the business of the state to decide who can marry but instead to provide legal protections to individuals that have made the contractual commitment to operate as a union.

    To use religious beliefs to determine who is legally allowed to enter into certain kinds of contracts is illegal and illogical. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue in the most literal sense and must be considered as such in any legal and moral discussion of the topic. To argue otherwise is to ask for a theocracy.

  14. Eric Kemp Says:

    Butttub

    “The state ought not legislate religious beliefs. However, marriage, to the state, is not a religious sacrament but a civil status that confers certain legal protections.”

    I agree, however it’s not JUST that but also the word itself has religious connotations whether people believe in them or not.

    “I would never argue that the state should tell a given religion how to define marriage or that they have to marry gay couples. However, this is not what legalizing gay marriage does. It simply confers the same legal rights to all committed couples, regardless of gender.”

    Two points:
    1. Your facts are wrong. There is zero legal difference between a marriage and a civil union in the state of California. Everyone who has entered into a civil union has the exact same legal rights as any married couple. So to say that because a gay couple can’t use the word “marriage” is being denied rights is to ignore the facts. This should also show you that it isn’t about legal rights, it’s about the word “marriage”. The question you should be asking yourself is, “Since gay couples already have the same legal rights, why do they want to have the word “marriage” too?”
    2. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that giving gays the right to marry confers legal rights upon them yet doesn’t force those in religion to define marriage in the same way. It absolutely does.

    “Not too long ago, anti-miscegenation laws barred mixed-race marriages in many states. Such laws were clearly discriminatory and bigoted. Today, if a given sect does not believe in mixed-race marriages, that is their prerogative.”

    The problem with this argument is that you’re equating racial discrimination with defining marriage between a man and a woman. It’s just apples and oranges. I understand what you’re saying, that some sects of Christianity used the Bible to support their prejudices towards different races. I hear you and I agree with you. Unfortunately for your argument, a plain reading of the New Testament shows how Christ includes all peoples, and was explicit in this regard. Another thing the New Testament was explicit in was the rejection of sexual immorality, in which homosexuality is included (notice that homosexuals aren’t included in “peoples” because they are not a race).

    Whether you like it or not, and whether you agree or not, since the conversion of Constantine, the morality of the Western world has been shaped by that document. I understand that you and your activist friends have spent the last forty years trying to change that, but don’t suprised when people oppose you. And you don’t get to call “bigotry” on those who stand up for how morality has been defined for the past 1700 years. You and your friends are the ones attempting to change things, not the other way around.

    “Gay marriage is a civil rights issue in the most literal sense and must be considered as such in any legal and moral discussion of the topic. To argue otherwise is to ask for a theocracy.”

    You have been lied to. Owning a marriage license is not a civil right, it is not in the Bill of Rights. You can repeat this all you want, and your friends have been, but that doesn’t make it so.

    “To use religious beliefs to determine who is legally allowed to enter into certain kinds of contracts is illegal and illogical.”

    I agree. The government should have nothing to do with the word “marriage”. They should call everything a civil union, straight unions included, and allow the individual to “get married” if they want.

  15. Luckycloud Says:

    “The point I want to make, and why Sean Penn should be ashamed of himself, is for attempting to make those who believe differently than him feel ashamed for those beliefs. Isn’t this what he chides Christians for doing? Doesn’t he chide Christians for forcing their beliefs on other people? Isn’t this what Sean did last night?”

    Here’s a logical inconsistency: You say that because Sean Penn tries to make those who disagree with him feel ashamed, he should be ashamed. You are attempting to shame him for attempting to shame you. On these grounds, you are essentially asserting that both of you are acting with hypocrisy: to shame him for shaming those who disagree with him is to shame those who disagree with you. So, to bar his argument on your terms is to bar your own, and render both points logically impossible to pursue on the terms you set. As you can see, no progress can be made and it then results in a battle of ideologies.

    Furthermore, the right to marriage is a secular issue, not a Christian one. The state grants marriages to non-Christian heterosexual couples on a regular basis, and has been all but uncontested in doing so. The use of the term “marriage,” then, is not the issue at hand. More precisely, insofar as the church has not been actively pursuing a ban on heterosexual non-religious marriages, to ban gay marriage reveals itself as an affront on the separation of church and state called for in the first amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment is the very one that prevents the state from limiting the free exercise of religion.

    Which means that if the church believes that gay marriage is wrong, no one is in a position to tell them otherwise, but the church cannot be allowed to interfere in what should be strictly a matter of civil rights. To do so would be to violate the very amendment that protects the civil rights of those in the church to believe what they believe. Both religious and non-religious individuals should enjoy the full freedom to act as and enjoy the full rights of a citizen within their state. The ban on gay marriage is an affront to these civil rights. Yes, the church has the right to vote, but sexuality should not even appear in the terms of governance of a state founded on the proposition that all are created equal and all are entitled to equal and fair treatment under the law.

    To say, simply, that they should just be granted civil unions is tantamount to saying that they should be granted similar rights but to a lesser degree. Partners in civil unions do not enjoy the same rights as those in marriages. It might be fair if all unions were civil unions and people could, as you say, “get married if they want,” but this is not truly the case we are arguing. As it stands, after the banning of gay marriage, gay couples have been prevented from enjoying fair treatment and equal rights under the law.

    On the point of relativism: relativism is not, strictly speaking, a belief without absolutes, but the belief that the object of inquiry varies in its incarnation or actuality according to the individual situation. This is to say, for example, not that there is no such thing as morality, but that the moral act varies according to the circumstances obtaining. This is exactly the sort of belief that supports and validates the American legal system.

  16. butttub Says:

    I’ll take your points 1 at a time.

    1) Marriage, as a term, clearly has religious connotations, but those vary drastically from religion to religion. Further, we have many legal terms that also carry religious traces. This is simply a linguistic fact. Those terms can and must be applied secularly when in a legal context.

    2) Comparing race and gender-based discrimination is not, as you say apples and oranges. The state prohibits discrimination on the basis of either race or gender. To point out that laws have been struck down for discriminating on the basis of race is valid as a precedent for striking laws that discriminate on the basis of gender.

    2b– I’d appreciate being treated with respect, as I am treating you respectfully and taking your objections seriously. Lumping me in with a nameless mass of ‘activist friends’ who have been simply ‘lied to’ is insulting and unfair. Please tackle the logic of my argument, not the perceive origin. I am not attacking your beliefs as the ‘lies of right-wing nutjobs’ or some other such slander and would appreciate if you refrain from these kinds of smear-jobs/maintain a level of decorum in the discourse.

    3) I never once said that the right to marriage was a constitution right, nor is that relevant to the discussion. What is relevant is that all people are entitled to equal treatment under the law. To again refer to the precedent of racially discriminatory laws, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ was struck down by the Supreme Court, and for good reason. Language matters, as you well know, or else you wouldn’t argue so passionately for the ‘defense of marriage’ while accepting the idea of otherwise equal civil unions. De jure equivalence between marriage and civil union does not equate to de facto equality, but in fact by their very linguistic difference introduces the space of difference and non-equivalence and maintains the status quo hierarchy.

    4) Yes, in an ideal world marriage would not be a term handled by the state. Why don’t you defend marriage by proposing an amendment to the effect that the state ought to change all of its terminology? I would support you 100%. However, while marriage still has valence as a legal concept, it cannot be defended by means of discriminatory application.

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Buttub

    Thanks for the reply

    1. “Marriage, as a term, clearly has religious connotations, but those vary drastically from religion to religion.”

    Unfortunately for your argument, the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman has not varied at all from religion to religion since the beginning of recorded civilization. Sure, all kinds of other crazy stuff has gone on, but the “between a man and a woman” part has not changed.

    2. “The state prohibits discrimination on the basis of either race or gender. To point out that laws have been struck down for discriminating on the basis of race is valid as a precedent for striking laws that discriminate on the basis of gender.”

    Homosexuality is not a gender.

    2b. “I’d appreciate being treated with respect, as I am treating you respectfully and taking your objections seriously. Lumping me in with a nameless mass of ‘activist friends’ . . .”

    I truly apologize for any percieved disrespect. I meant none. It was unfair to lump you in with other liberal activists. However, I won’t apologize for pointing out the lies you’ve been told. If you have followed my blog and/or the comments section in the past, or continue to do so in the future, you will notice that I don’t call “lies” any many things, in fact I hardly ever do it. But when facts are being distorted, or in this case, just plain changed, I will point it out to those who I argue against.

    “3) I never once said that the right to marriage was a constitution right, nor is that relevant to the discussion. What is relevant is that all people are entitled to equal treatment under the law.”

    I understand that you never invoked the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, that was all me. However, I was pointing out to you that when you call something a civil rights violation, there must be civil rights being violated. You say that not allowing gays to marry is a civil right violation. Unfortunately, being married is not a right of the people, nor is it a right of human beings in general. Owning a marriage license is a priviledge bestowed upon those that fit the criteria. Illegal aliens can’t get married, children can’t get married without parent’s approval, those who are already married can’t get married, and those of the same gender can’t get married. It isn’t a civil rights violation, it’s just that a gay couple doesn’t fit the criteria. To get a business license you must jump through some hoops; a marriage license is no different.

    If owning a marriage is a basic human right, then I should sue my ex-wife (I don’t really have one) for violating my rights. I should also sue the government for not allowing me to have a business license because I failed my credit check. Don’t you see where your argument leads?

    As for “all people are entitled to equal treatment under the law”. That’s just plain false. If all people should have equal treatment then there should be no interview process for jobs, it should just be “first come, first hired” situation. We’re all equal right? Registered sex offenders should be able to get jobs as pre-school teachers. But that’s not what we do, is it? We discriminate for a certain position or license based on certain criteria. Why is same-sex marriage any different? Are a felons rights being violated when he doesn’t get a job?

    “De jure equivalence between marriage and civil union does not equate to de facto equality, but in fact by their very linguistic difference introduces the space of difference and non-equivalence and maintains the status quo hierarchy.”

    You’re right, it does maintain the status quo hierarchy. Which includes the status quo of the definition of a word that has been defined this way since the beginning of recorded history. If you want to change the status quo, go for it, that’s your right as an American. But don’t call those standing up for the status quo “bigots”.

    “4) Yes, in an ideal world marriage would not be a term handled by the state. Why don’t you defend marriage by proposing an amendment to the effect that the state ought to change all of its terminology? I would support you 100%.”

    Write the petition! I’ll sign it and join you on the campaign trail! And many of my Christian and gay friends (those who I’ve talked to about this anyway) will join us!


  18. […] it is best to let the arguments speak for themselves from this point on: Here’s the post. Look for butttubb and luckycloud in the comments at the […]

  19. butttub Says:

    1) This is irrelevant. The point is that ‘marriage’ is not a static term and is being used in a legal context.

    2) I say this is a gender issue because if Tom wants to marry Jerry, he is not allowed to because he is a man. That is, he is denied access to the institution because of his gender.

    2b) Thank you. I understand that you are arguing from an earnest perspective and won’t quibble over the choice of the word lies.

    3) This is where I have real issues with your logic.

    Marriage is not actually the issue. The issue is that there is a state-sanctioned legal institution from which people are being barred. The civil rights issue is that for reasons of gender (as explained above) someone is being denied access to a set of protections to which they would otherwise be entitled. For this to be a civil rights issue, marriage need not be a general human right if it is a legal institution available to US citizens. If US citizens are denied access to a legal institution on the basis of a protected category like gender, that is considered discrimination.

    The key here is that gender is a protected category. Insolvency and criminally abusive history are not protected categories, so legally they must be treated totally differently. To say all people must be treated equally under the law means that the law cannot be different for men and women or for people of different genders, not that you can’t hire based on qualifications. There is a lot of legal precedent for this. Protection of equal treatment under the law is a long standing and fundamental tenet of the US legal system.

    (Aside: The category of minors, like that of the insane, is subject to a specific legal designation as without personal responsibility/without full legal agency. the question of the determination of legal responsibility/agency in minors has no bearing on this discussion.)

    3b)I’d remind you that there was a time when slavery was the status quo. The status quo can very easily also be bigoted. In fact, Christianity is a faith against the status quo. Christ was for equality and change. The eschatology of messianism is that of total revolution. Faith and stasis are hardly comfortable bedfellows.

    4) I actually find this to be a very hopeful sentiment. It seems like this is really the best solution and am hopeful that maybe something like this can gather momentum within both religious and secular communities. One of the main problems in the debate over gay marriage is that both sides automatically assume that the other totally disregards their own deeply held values. The fact is, we can logically and respectfully disagree and work towards making a fair set of legal principles that provide equal protection for all without making people of faith feel under attack. Of course, this won’t always be the case across the board- some issues are stickier than others- but in terms of marriage, I really do see this point as somewhere that we can inhabit as common ground regardless of our faith.

  20. johuat Says:

    If I may intrude on this discussion (sorry about botching this comment the first time my copypasta failed)
    Quoting Eric Kemp:
    “I understand that you never invoked the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, that was all me. However, I was pointing out to you that when you call something a civil rights violation, there must be civil rights being violated. You say that not allowing gays to marry is a civil right violation. Unfortunately, being married is not a right of the people, nor is it a right of human beings in general. Owning a marriage license is a priviledge bestowed upon those that fit the criteria. Illegal aliens can’t get married, children can’t get married without parent’s approval, those who are already married can’t get married, and those of the same gender can’t get married. It isn’t a civil rights violation, it’s just that a gay couple doesn’t fit the criteria. To get a business license you must jump through some hoops; a marriage license is no different.”
    The civil right being violated is the protection of the state to not discriminate based on gender. Being married is not a right, but the state extending rights to people entering the very specific contract of marriage is. The only part of the criteria that a gay couple does not fit is that they are both of the same gender, a discrimination state law forbids. A business license and marriage license are intrinsically different in the eyes of the law, in that they each have a specific set of rules that apply.

    “If owning a marriage is a basic human right, then I should sue my ex-wife (I don’t really have one) for violating my rights. I should also sue the government for not allowing me to have a business license because I failed my credit check. Don’t you see where your argument leads?”
    Basic Human rights are different (and much more nebulous) than the rights protected by State governments.

    “As for “all people are entitled to equal treatment under the law”. That’s just plain false. If all people should have equal treatment then there should be no interview process for jobs, it should just be “first come, first hired” situation. We’re all equal right? Registered sex offenders should be able to get jobs as pre-school teachers. But that’s not what we do, is it? We discriminate for a certain position or license based on certain criteria. Why is same-sex marriage any different? Are a felons rights being violated when he doesn’t get a job?”
    I’m fairly certain that is a large body of American legal precedent for equal treatment under the law, and specifically in California for equal treatment between genders. The laws of the government cover many things, but one thing I’m sure they don’t cover is a requirement for a “first come, first hired” practice in private business. The reason same sex marriage is different is because the state of California has a law that says you can’t discriminate based on gender when it comes to state practice (which marriage is), and it is perfectly reasonable to discriminate against people based on their past criminal activity, in accordance with local laws.

  21. Eric Kemp Says:

    Butttub and johuat

    Thanks for you replies and interest in this issue. You have given me much to write about and I hope to do your replies justice as I have time later on today. As I am still without internet at home, I must fit in what I can at work. Thanks for your patience and I will get back to you.

  22. Luckycloud Says:

    Eric,

    I was hoping that you would respond to my comments as well, and though I understand you are likely busy, I am a bit disappointed that you have not. I am interested to hear what you might have to say in response.

  23. Eric Kemp Says:

    Luckycloud

    I will respond to you first actually, since your comment is the oldest that has not been responded to yet.

  24. Eric Kemp Says:

    Luckycloud

    “Here’s a logical inconsistency: You say that because Sean Penn tries to make those who disagree with him feel ashamed, he should be ashamed. You are attempting to shame him for attempting to shame you.”

    Ah, but the part you’re missing is that Penn should be ashamed for trying to make others for being ashamed of their religious beliefs. See the distinction? Penn can say whatever he wants, and call shame on whoever he wants, and I’ll just chalk it up to him being a nincompoop. However, when he calls shame upon religious beliefs, and how people voted, that’s when I call shame upon him. So, if I was calling shame on for JUST calling shame on others, then yea, that would be quite hypocritical of me. However, I’m not shaming Penn’s religious beliefs, or lack there of. That’s what Penn is doing. That’s why it’s different and not logically inconsistent.

    “these grounds, you are essentially asserting that both of you are acting with hypocrisy: to shame him for shaming those who disagree with him is to shame those who disagree with you.”

    I’m not shaming him because he disagrees with me, I’m shaming him because he shamed those that disagree with him. There’s a big difference. I’m shaming his actions, not his beliefs. Penn is shaming beliefs. Like I said, he can make his argument and vote how he wants, it’s a free society. It’s his behavior that’s unacceptable. Plus, I think the old school yard addage of “Yea well, he started it!” applies here.

    “Furthermore, the right to marriage is a secular issue, not a Christian one.”

    Says who? I would like to hope you’re not doing this, but it seems you are attempting to tell Christians what not to get involved with.

    “The state grants marriages to non-Christian heterosexual couples on a regular basis, and has been all but uncontested in doing so. The use of the term “marriage,” then, is not the issue at hand.”

    Those two points don’t follow, it’s a non-sequitor. “Marriage” is not defined as two Christian heteros getting hitched, just two heteros getting hitched.

    “More precisely, insofar as the church has not been actively pursuing a ban on heterosexual non-religious marriages, to ban gay marriage reveals itself as an affront on the separation of church and state called for in the first amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment is the very one that prevents the state from limiting the free exercise of religion.”

    Unfortunately, you are misinformed. The doctrine of “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. You are also misinformed that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. In order for it to be a civil rights issue, civil rights must be being violated. This is not the case on two levels. Firstly, being married is not a “right” of the people, it’s not in the Bill of Rights. Secondly, there is no legal difference between marriage and a civil union in the state of California. There are no rights lost to a couple who has a civil union vs. a marriage license. So in order for gay marriage to be a civil rights violation, there must be “right” involved and there is not, and there must be a violation, and there is not.

    “To say, simply, that they should just be granted civil unions is tantamount to saying that they should be granted similar rights but to a lesser degree. Partners in civil unions do not enjoy the same rights as those in marriages.”

    Ah, but the rights aren’t “similar” they are exactly the same, there is no “lesser degree”. The only difference between partners in a civil union and partners in a marriage is the word “marriage”. Don’t take my word for it, look it up.

    And even if the rights were different. That doesn’t mean we have to change the definition of the word “marriage” just so gays can have equal rights. That’s a false dichotomy. There can be equal rights without the word “marriage”. Lucky, don’t be misled, there is a homosexual agenda, just as much as there is a Christian agenda, and the homosexual agenda wants the word “marriage”, not just equal rights.

    ” …relativism is not, strictly speaking, a belief without absolutes…”

    That may be your definition of the “relativism”, but that’s not the definition of the word as accepted by Englishdom.

    “This is to say, for example, not that there is no such thing as morality, but that the moral act varies according to the circumstances obtaining.”

    So, under no circumstances is murder ok?

  25. Eric Kemp Says:

    Butttub

    Finally, I get back to you!

    “2) I say this is a gender issue because if Tom wants to marry Jerry, he is not allowed to because he is a man. That is, he is denied access to the institution because of his gender.”

    You’re entire argument hinges upon this point. If this same-sex marriage is not a discriminatory gender issue then the rest of your argument falls apart. On one hand, you’re right. This is a gender issue, because it involves the gender of human beings. However, there is no discrimination taking place.

    Here is why: the term “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoronic term. Marriage, the very word, is defined as a union between a man and a woman and has been since the beginning of recorded civilization. You are changing the definition of a word, and then manufacturing discrimination based upon your redefinition. In order to believe that discrimination is taking place, I must first swallow your redefinition of the word. That’s our sticking point and it’s where your argument falls apart.

    “Marriage is not actually the issue. The issue is that there is a state-sanctioned legal institution from which people are being barred.”

    But what does this “legal institution” grant upon those who enter into it? We could go over every single one of the distinctives of the institution, but what would come out in the end is that a “civil union” is granted every single one of those rights. So why the word “marriage”? Why not be happy with having equal treatment under the law under a “civil union”? What’s the big deal with the word marriage? I’m honestly curious.

    “The key here is that gender is a protected category.”

    So wait, are you saying that “homosexual” is it’s own separate gender?

    “To say all people must be treated equally under the law means that the law cannot be different for men and women or for people of different genders, not that you can’t hire based on qualifications.”

    But the only two genders are “man” and “woman”, right? And, again, this argument only flies if someone buys into your equivocation of the word “marriage”.

    “I’d remind you that there was a time when slavery was the status quo. The status quo can very easily also be bigoted. In fact, Christianity is a faith against the status quo. Christ was for equality and change.”

    I agree 100%. But the status quo can just as easily be protecting a revealed truth from the mouth of God. This is what we have in this case. Christ was just as against sexual immorality as He was for equality. The real issue is that the people on the opposite side of the street from me is either they don’t believe that this revealed truth exists or that they can bend the revealed truth how they see fit. Unfortunately, this difference is not reconciliable by discussing particular issues.

    “4) I actually find this to be a very hopeful sentiment. It seems like this is really the best solution and am hopeful that maybe something like this can gather momentum within both religious and secular communities.”

    I hope so as well.

    “The fact is, we can logically and respectfully disagree and work towards making a fair set of legal principles that provide equal protection for all without making people of faith feel under attack. “

    Amen, brother. I only wish all those that I discuss with were as cordial and self-reflective as you are.

  26. Eric Kemp Says:

    Johuat

    “Being married is not a right, but the state extending rights to people entering the very specific contract of marriage is. The only part of the criteria that a gay couple does not fit is that they are both of the same gender, a discrimination state law forbids.”

    First of all, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that being married isn’t a right and then say that there are still rights being violated.

    I understand where you are coming from, and where you’re coming from is a place of misunderstanding. By saying “The only part of the criteria that a gay couples does not fit is that they are both of the same gender”, you must understand that you have redefined the word “marriage”. Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, that’s just what marriage IS. If marriage was JUST a legally binding contract and institution, than sure, why shouldn’t polygamists and gays be allowed in the doors?? So by making your “gender discrimination” argument you must understand that you have already redefined the word marriage. And it is THAT redefinition that is the issue.

    “Basic Human rights are different (and much more nebulous) than the rights protected by State governments.”

    But you already admitted that being married isn’t a basic human right.

    “…and it is perfectly reasonable to discriminate against people based on their past criminal activity, in accordance with local laws.”

    And it is perfectly reasonable to defend the definition of a word that has existed as it is since the beginning of recorded civilization and that is a part of the revealed truth of God’s Word.

  27. butttub Says:

    I posted this as a comment on your ‘Why Prop 8 Still Scares Me’ post, but I think it is perhaps more salient here. What we’ve come to is essentially a disagreement about language and the meaning of the word ‘marriage’. You object to redefinition, I claim that that definition must and cannot help but me redefined. So here’s what I wrote earlier. I hope it clarifies my position:

    I think your argument rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the way language functions. Words do not have static meanings, but signify according to contingency. I would recommend Derrida’s ‘Of Grammatology’ to explain further. Or really Saussure or any structuralist or post-structuralist on language.

    Anyways, your argument against me here would be naturally to say, ok, yeah the arbitrary sign ‘marriage’ has taken on a certain significance through as history of usage. Correct, but the history of how marriage has been used varies culture to culture and era to era. I’d suggest that you look into anthropological work on the institution of marriage (Gayle Rubin’s work, for example) to see how drastically the institution has changed.

    Your next move, logically, is to say something like: ‘Well, but even so, there has been a consistency of man and woman (or, in many cases women) being the primarily joined parties. This is only partially true, as marriage historically was a contract between men in which women were exchanged to solidify kinship bonds. Yes, in these cases man and woman were wed, but the agents were both men who were using marriage to secure their own interests.

    Still, I’ll provisionally grant you that marriage has tended to bond man and woman. Regardless, the case to enshrine this definition in US civil law falls apart upon further inspection. Let’s take the example of the medical profession. For a very very long time, to become a licensed medical doctor, a person had to be a white male who had successfully completed medical school. At a certain point, the racial and gender-based qualifications had to drop away, even though they had always been that way. Take property ownership, take military positions…. The point is that there are many institutions that have been historically only accessible to a particular privileged group but that at some point had to be opened to include others. Because marriage is a civil institution, it is only logical that it be legally defined so as to be inclusive of all members of the polity.

    The most you can really say is that we are in a period of history where the definition of marriage is in flux in a way that it has not previously been. Ok fine. What about words like ‘gay’ and ‘queer’? What about a word like ‘rabid’ which once signified a specific disease and can now be used to mean extreme devotion (as in ‘rabid fan’). What about your own example of the word ‘murder’? Murder as a concept has changed drastically over the course of history. The legal concept of murder is constantly being redefined and held distinct from concepts like ‘manslaughter’ or ‘wrongful death’.

    Meanings shift and slip, and the job of the US legal system is not to be a retrograde language academy, but to ensure that the laws we have are applied fairly and without discrimination. What you have to ask yourself is: Am I really defending marriage by fighting for the freezing of a word’s meaning at this arbitrary point in time? Would I not do marriage a better service by, say, promoting free couples counseling and other social services that would take the some of the burden off of struggling families? In what way do I help anyone by maintaining marriage as an exclusionary institution?

  28. butttub Says:

    PS: I posted about this discussion on my blog to encourage people to be open to creative solutions and working with people of faith even when faced with fundamental disagreements. I also appreciate your civility and the time you’ve taken to respond to my points.

  29. rubyeliot Says:

    Eric, thank you for your post. I also enjoyed your conversation with another blogger.

    The definition of marriage (1 man + 1 woman) applies to everyone no matter their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, etc.

    Sexual orientation expresses itself in behavior (unlike race which is immutable). Behavior always includes a choice.

    If someone does not want to marry because they are not attracted to people of the opposite gender, there are a variety of other choices to them.

    Marriage is not a fundamental right. We have other restrictions that almost no one contests: you can’t marry a close relative, you can’t marry more than once simultaneously, and you can’t marry someone under the age of consent.

    So, if you use the argument of “equality for all”, that also includes people who want to marry their sister (maybe just for the federal benefits), or a woman who wants to marry two men.

  30. Luckycloud Says:

    Eric,

    Thanks for your response. I would like to respond as well, if possible. And maybe in a manner that is point-by-point as well.

    1) Let’s skip the bits about Penn, it’s unimportant who started what or who is shaming whom, and schoolyard adages are best left there. I think we’ve gotten to the more salient points of the argument later on.

    2) I am not telling Christians what not to get involved with so much as trying to bring a little more definition to the line between the secular state and the right of the religious to exercise their faith. Between what should be a matter of law and what a matter of opinion. Marriage is a union that is granted and validated by the state no less than it is granted by whichever church someone decides to be married in. In many cases, as probably pertains to this argument, a person could even be married in city hall and eschew religion altogether. This is why I say that it is a secular matter–I by no means want to restrict Christians from their opinions, I do think it is important to restrict the opinions of all people, Christian or otherwise, in the case they could potentially impinge on certain rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the state to all citizens.

    3) Marriage was, at at least one point, defined in the state of California as two people getting hitched, not just “two heteros.” Also, “marriage” is not currently defined in the state of MA as a union between a man and a woman. So, the legal definition is variable, though perhaps not the religious one.

    4) Yes, you are correct, the Constitution does not contain the language “separation of church and state.” Nor, actually, does it contain the words “bill of rights,” however, this is entirely beside the point. The point is that the language of the Constitution carries a very strong separationist charge. Furthermore, if the argument is to hinge upon founding documents such as the Constitution, we are in the position of having the opportunity to examine the aim of Thomas Jefferson in the drafting of the particular bit of language in question by looking at a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptists which makes explicit what is already nearly so in the first amendment–that the intent is not only to keep the state from limiting the free exercise of religion, but also to keep the opinions of the church or the religious in general from interfering in state business insofar as those opinions interfere with the granting of the equal rights guaranteed to all by the government. I hope you don’t mind if I include the entire text of the letter, it being fairly short.

    Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists:

    “Gentlemen,

    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.”

    Marriage to a person of the same gender can and has been granted by the state in the absence of the church, and marriage to another person of one’s own gender does not place one “in opposition to his social duties,” only in opposition to one’s religious duties. Thus, if we are to hold to the Constitution as a founding document (which no one seems to be contesting), same-sex marriages should be granted by the state regardless of the opinions of the church, though the church is fully entitled to those opinions.

    5) As to the similarity of civil unions and marriage in CA, I looked it up again and they are not granted the same rights. In some cases the differences are small (but no less important). Partners in same-sex unions are not eligible for certain kinds of state insurance and federal benefits. If they want equal rights, then give them equal rights, not similar and lesser ones. Furthermore, until all unions are civil unions, this is another case of “separate but equal.”

    6) What exactly do you mean by Englishdom? If we are to look to the Oxford English Dictionary (the authoritative account of the English Language) we find more than one definition for the word “relativism,” including “The doctrine that knowledge is only of relations. Also, a name given to theories or doctrines that truth, morality, etc., are relative to situations and are not absolute.” Relativism, then, is not the belief that there is no truth, morality, etc. but that it varies according to the circumstances of the situation.

    7) I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking, so I will respond to what I think you’re asking. Killing in self-defense is morally and legally justifiable, yes. The judgment of the justifiability of killing is relative.

    On your references to “how things have always been” or “how things have been since the beginning of time”: That things have been a certain way for a long time does not mean, in itself, that those things are correct. That there are more who believe a thing than those who do not also does not, in itself, make that thing correct.

    An example: There is recorded history (recorded outside of religious documents) before the birth of Jesus. The advent of the messiah was a revolution, one that changed what were then predominant definitions (“how things had been”) and the status quo (“what most people agreed upon”). Christianity cannot deny change or the unpopular outright, as it is essentially a religion founded on an initially unpopular, radical change.

    If it truly is just the word “marriage” that lies at the crux of the issue, then I say toss it and make all unions civil unions, let people get married if they want to. This is the best point you’ve made, I think. I agree with the rest: if equal civil rights are granted and respected, and not in the sense of “separate-but-equal rights,” then I think we will be in a good position. I also have to say that I am quite encouraged by the respectful discourse here, conversations on this topic don’t often reach this level of depth.

  31. johuat Says:

    Mr. Kemp,

    “First of all, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that being married isn’t a right and then say that there are still rights being violated.

    I understand where you are coming from, and where you’re coming from is a place of misunderstanding.”

    I’m not having it both ways – being married is not a right. But having the option of entering into the state sanctioned contract of marriage IS. There’s a difference there.

    By saying “The only part of the criteria that a gay couples does not fit is that they are both of the same gender”, you must understand that you have redefined the word “marriage”. Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, that’s just what marriage IS. If marriage was JUST a legally binding contract and institution, than sure, why shouldn’t polygamists and gays be allowed in the doors?? So by making your “gender discrimination” argument you must understand that you have already redefined the word marriage. And it is THAT redefinition that is the issue.

    The thing is, when it comes to the government, marriage is in fact as you described it – a legally binding contract and institution. The reason polygamists aren’t covered here is because the contract of marriage is between two people. The reason gays should be covered is because there is a law on the books in California that prohibits discrimination based on gender. It is the reconciliation of the laws regarding marriage and the laws regarding discrimination that is at issue here, not people’s privately held views on the matter. I am not asking for a redefinition – I am asking that the law be consistent.

    “But you already admitted that being married isn’t a basic human right.”

    What do basic human rights have to do with any of this conversation? We are only talking about the rights protected by the government – not the same thing as basic human rights.

    “And it is perfectly reasonable to defend the definition of a word that has existed as it is since the beginning of recorded civilization and that is a part of the revealed truth of God’s Word.”

    Not if its in violation of local laws.

  32. Eric Kemp Says:

    Everyone

    Thank you for all your replies. I will get back to each one of you as soon as I can.

  33. Eric Kemp Says:

    Butttub

    I agree that our conversation has come down to the definition of the word marriage. It is what both our arguments hinge upon.

    I also agree that marriage has been abused in one form or another throughout history (polygamy, arraigned marriages, marriages for the exchange of wealth) and I respect your admittance that through out all of this the definition has still stayed between a man and a woman.

    I think our disagreement starts here:

    “For a very very long time, to become a licensed medical doctor, a person had to be a white male who had successfully completed medical school. At a certain point, the racial and gender-based qualifications had to drop away, even though they had always been that way.”

    This is a completely different scenario on many levels, having to do with the history of racism, that we cannot get into here. The two points worth making is 1. that the definition of a licensed medical doctor, at it’s most basic, has nothing to do with race or gender, only that the person is able to pass the tests and perform the profession sufficiently. In contrast, the definition of marriage, at it’s most basic, as you’ve admitted, is a union between a man and a woman.

    2. Gender and race are biological distinctions, not behaviors. Homosexuality is a behavior as it is defined by who you are having sex with. Now, you’re counter argument to this point would be that homosexuality actually is a biological distinction just like race or gender. Unfortunately, in order to force this argument upon civil law, you’re going to have to biologically prove it to be on the same level as race or gender. I hope you see how scientifically impossible this would be, especially considering the gross (and my ‘gross’ I mean, obvious. ‘Gross’ is just the anatomical term) anatomical distinctions (skin color and sexual organs) that race and gender enjoy.

    “Because marriage is a civil institution, it is only logical that it be legally defined so as to be inclusive of all members of the polity.”

    Correct. Your other recourse is to appeal to the inclusivity of the law and to a standard of “equal treatment under the law” in order to redefine the word “marriage”. This is definetly a rout that you can go. However, in order to be logically consistent, you must then open the civil institution of marriage to polygamists, siblings, cousins and minors. Think about it, the argument is exactly the same.

    You also can’t claim to attempt to not force this definition on the faith-based community.

    “What you have to ask yourself is: Am I really defending marriage by fighting for the freezing of a word’s meaning at this arbitrary point in time? Would I not do marriage a better service by, say, promoting free couples counseling and other social services that would take the some of the burden off of struggling families? In what way do I help anyone by maintaining marriage as an exclusionary institution?”

    And this is the other irreconcilable separation between you and I. Your motives are to fight for equality. A word in itself that has shifting definitions. You are fighting for the right to change definitions towards the direction society “should” go, or is going, according to you.

    On the other hand, I am a follower of the Word of God. My goal is to fight for how God defines words, and how God would have us act. In this situation, my purpose is to defend the definition of a word laid down by God Himself. Now, if others want to redefine words, they can have a ball. However, when they try to force redefinitions on the state I live in, and therefore upon me, I will fight. I put the Word of God as a greater good than the shifting definition of “equality”.

  34. Eric Kemp Says:

    Luckycloud

    2. “Marriage is a union that is granted and validated by the state no less than it is granted by whichever church someone decides to be married in. In many cases, as probably pertains to this argument, a person could even be married in city hall and eschew religion altogether.”

    Correct, and your focus is to turn marriage into a purely secular institution but mandating a definition that is against the vast majority of religious institutions. You are attempting to redefine marriage in purely secular terms. It’s this redefinition that I’m arguing/fighting against.

    3. “Marriage was, at at least one point, defined in the state of California as two people getting hitched, not just “two heteros.” Also, “marriage” is not currently defined in the state of MA as a union between a man and a woman.”

    Again, your focus is on the legal definitions of words, which change frequently. My focus is on the Biblical definition of the word set down by God. No matter how abused, the definition of marriage as revealed by God does not change, nor does law have the absolute say on how words are defined.

    “So, the legal definition is variable, though perhaps not the religious one.”

    Correct. So you cannot pretend to not be forcing a legal definition of marriage upon the religious community.

    “Nor, actually, does it contain the words “bill of rights,” however, this is entirely beside the point. The point is that the language of the Constitution carries a very strong separationist charge.”

    Actually, the point is that the Constitution is up for interpretation. The bottom line is that how we now interpret the doctrine of “separation of church and state” has only existed for the last 40-50 years, it hasn’t always been so. Let me show you.

    I’m familiar of Jefferson’s letter from which the doctrine of “separation of church and state” comes from, although I did not know the name out of hand. The ironic point of posting Jefferson’s letter is that he not once mentioned Church interfering with state, only state interfering with Church. This should give you a hint on how Jefferson interpreted his own doctrine.

    “that the intent is not only to keep the state from limiting the free exercise of religion, but also to keep the opinions of the church or the religious in general from interfering in state business insofar as those opinions interfere with the granting of the equal rights guaranteed to all by the government.”

    But even this is not how it’s defined now. “Separation of church and state” is being now seen as the church should have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING state oriented on ANY level. This is evidenced by your argument that the legal definition of marriage shouldn’t be influenced in any way by the religious definition of the word. My point is this: The law and the Constitution hasn’t always been defined this way and I don’t have to acquiesce to this definition just because you say so. I don’t mean to be inflammatory, I’m just saying that this interpretation is not accepted without a fight nor without a valid counter-interpretation.

    One of these valid counter interpretations is that you cannot separate the Constitution from it’s Christian roots because 90% of the forefathers were born-again YEC Christians. How they intended the Constitution is absolutely valid in how we interpret it today.

    5) “As to the similarity of civil unions and marriage in CA, I looked it up again and they are not granted the same rights. In some cases the differences are small (but no less important). Partners in same-sex unions are not eligible for certain kinds of state insurance and federal benefits.”

    Well yea, a civil union is only recognized in the state in which is was performed. But does insurance constitute “rights” and could you point me in the right direction so I can see the exact difference?

    “If they want equal rights, then give them equal rights, not similar and lesser ones. Furthermore, until all unions are civil unions, this is another case of “separate but equal.” “

    But see, now you’re just arguing semantics. If the issue was really just about the rights, then the homosexual community would merely fight for a change in the laws regarding civil unions, like getting federal protections and such. However, they don’t just want the same rights, they want the word “marriage”. Why is that?

    ” If we are to look to the Oxford English Dictionary (the authoritative account of the English Language) we find more than one definition for the word “relativism,” including “The doctrine that knowledge is only of relations. Also, a name given to theories or doctrines that truth, morality, etc., are relative to situations and are not absolute.” “

    I guess we’re just misunderstanding our different points then. I never claimed that with relativism there is no morality, just that there is no absolute morality. Personally, I find a relativist position to be morally bankrupt because when you get down to brass tacks with relativism you end up not being able to call anything “absolutely evil”. But again, I’m not saying that relativist doesn’t have morality though; it’s just a shifting, dependent, logically inconsistent morality.

    For instance: I asked you if murder was ever OK. You responded: “Killing in self-defense is morally and legally justifiable, yes. The judgment of the justifiability of killing is relative.”
    Don’t you see what you had to do there to hold to a relativist position? I asked about “murder” and you responded with an answer about “killing”. Those are two very different things. Murder is defined as . . . murder. Self defense is not murder, the killing of combatants in war is not murder. So I ask again; is there ever a time when murder is morally justifiable?

    “things have been a certain way for a long time does not mean, in itself, that those things are correct. That there are more who believe a thing than those who do not also does not, in itself, make that thing correct.”

    I absolutely agree. My only point is that the picture is being painted as fundamentalists forcing their narrow minded religious definition on the rest of society, when in actuality it’s the other way around. This “fundamentalist” definition of the word “marriage” is how it’s always been, and it’s the American, increasingly liberal, society that is attempting to change things.

    “Christianity cannot deny change or the unpopular outright, as it is essentially a religion founded on an initially unpopular, radical change.”

    But here is the point that you’re missing. Jesus Christ may have been a revolution against the religious status quo of the day, but it wasn’t a revolution to God’s Word (which, of course, at the time was just the Old Testament). The point is that the Jewish ruling class had the Scriptures wrong, and Jesus and his followers had it right (which is a theological debate that was settled long ago, even though some may still be arguing over it today). The point is that God’s Word is not some arbitrary “status quo” or “it’s always been this way so it should always be this way”. If the Bible is really the Word of God, should we really be trying to change it, or go against it? If the Bible is the Word of God is it really so surprising that I would have no choice but to follow it?

    “If it truly is just the word “marriage” that lies at the crux of the issue, then I say toss it and make all unions civil unions, let people get married if they want to.”

    I’m with you, brother!

    “I also have to say that I am quite encouraged by the respectful discourse here, conversations on this topic don’t often reach this level of depth.”

    As am I. I must say that this conversation with the three of you has restored my hope in cordial and honest discourse among those who greatly disagree about an emotional issue. That we really can discuss rationally, without degredation to our base emotions.

  35. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rubyeliot

    “So, if you use the argument of “equality for all”, that also includes people who want to marry their sister (maybe just for the federal benefits), or a woman who wants to marry two men.”

    Exactly right. The argument for “equality” is exactly the same. I wonder if anyone will finally address this point. Good one.

    And thanks for the encouragement, it means everything.

  36. johuat Says:

    “Rubyeliot

    “So, if you use the argument of “equality for all”, that also includes people who want to marry their sister (maybe just for the federal benefits), or a woman who wants to marry two men.”

    Exactly right. The argument for “equality” is exactly the same. I wonder if anyone will finally address this point. Good one.

    And thanks for the encouragement, it means everything.”

    I’ll address that point if you respond to my previous ones 🙂

  37. Eric Kemp Says:

    johuat

    “I’m not having it both ways – being married is not a right. But having the option of entering into the state sanctioned contract of marriage IS. There’s a difference there.”

    I understand what you’re saying. But you are attempting to still have it both ways (just in a different way). Let me explain using your next comment…

    “The reason polygamists aren’t covered here is because the contract of marriage is between two people. The reason gays should be covered is because there is a law on the books in California that prohibits discrimination based on gender. It is the reconciliation of the laws regarding marriage and the laws regarding discrimination that is at issue here, not people’s privately held views on the matter. I am not asking for a redefinition – I am asking that the law be consistent.”

    Ok, polygamists are out of this conversation because the law says, “Marriage is between two people”. Yet, the gays are included because the law DOESN’T say, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman”. Do I have that right?

    So you must then ask yourself, “When these laws regarding marriage were written, why didn’t they specify ‘between a man and a woman’?” The answer is the because the word “marriage” ITSELF means “a union between a man and a woman”. There was, and is, no reason to be redundant in writing the law because of the definition of the word “marriage”. Saying, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman” is a redunancy just as saying, “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron. So when arguing in affirmative for same-sex marriage, you’ve already redefined the word.

    So, you want it both ways because you want to redefine the word marriage to fit gays into the equation regardless of how the law means “marriage” because it’s “equal” and yet exclude polygamists with a correct interpretation of the law and the word “marriage”. Now, let me ask you a question. If I wanted to make an argument in affirmative for polygamists wouldn’t I just use your exact argument for homosexuals yet just replace the word “homosexual” with the word “polygamists”? What about “siblings”? If there is a difference, why? Remember, that it doesn’t matter what the law says right now, it matters what is equal.

    The other thing you want to do is call this a “gender” issue on par with “male” and “female”. Are you trying to say that being homosexual is just as a distinctive of a gender as male and female?

    “Not if its in violation of local laws.”

    But you’re reinterpreting laws and redefining words to make your argument. It’s those equivocations that I’m arguing against.

  38. johuat Says:

    Rubyeliot
    “So, if you use the argument of “equality for all”, that also includes people who want to marry their sister (maybe just for the federal benefits), or a woman who wants to marry two men.”
    Exactly right. The argument for “equality” is exactly the same. I wonder if anyone will finally address this point. Good one.
    And thanks for the encouragement, it means everything.

    I think you guys are really missing the point of “equality for all.” It means that people in equivalent circumstances should be treated equally. It doesn’t mean that people can do whatever they want, only that they be treated equally along certain criteria, in this case, gender. Allowing two men to marry, or two women to marry, is not the same as allowing siblings to marry, or allowing pederasts to teach kindergarten.

    “I’m not having it both ways – being married is not a right. But having the option of entering into the state sanctioned contract of marriage IS. There’s a difference there.”

    I understand what you’re saying. But you are attempting to still have it both ways (just in a different way). Let me explain using your next comment…

    Do you understand the difference between having marriage as a government guaranteed right and having the option of marriage as a government guaranteed contract as a right?

    “The reason polygamists aren’t covered here is because the contract of marriage is between two people. The reason gays should be covered is because there is a law on the books in California that prohibits discrimination based on gender. It is the reconciliation of the laws regarding marriage and the laws regarding discrimination that is at issue here, not people’s privately held views on the matter. I am not asking for a redefinition – I am asking that the law be consistent.”

    Ok, polygamists are out of this conversation because the law says, “Marriage is between two people”. Yet, the gays are included because the law DOESN’T say, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman”. Do I have that right?

    No, you don’t have it right. Gays should be included because marriage is a contract between two people and there is a law that says the government can’t discriminate based on gender.

    So you must then ask yourself, “When these laws regarding marriage were written, why didn’t they specify ‘between a man and a woman’?” The answer is the because the word “marriage” ITSELF means “a union between a man and a woman”. There was, and is, no reason to be redundant in writing the law because of the definition of the word “marriage”. Saying, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman” is a redunancy just as saying, “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron. So when arguing in affirmative for same-sex marriage, you’ve already redefined the word.

    So, you want it both ways because you want to redefine the word marriage to fit gays into the equation regardless of how the law means “marriage” because it’s “equal” and yet exclude polygamists with a correct interpretation of the law and the word “marriage”. Now, let me ask you a question. If I wanted to make an argument in affirmative for polygamists wouldn’t I just use your exact argument for homosexuals yet just replace the word “homosexual” with the word “polygamists”? What about “siblings”? If there is a difference, why? Remember, that it doesn’t matter what the law says right now, it matters what is equal.

    Again, I’m not asking for a redefinition of the word, I just want the law to be consistent. Polygamists have nothing to do with this conversation, it’s a separate argument – there is a law that says you can’t be in two different contracts of marriage at the same time. The argument here is a resolution of the state of California’s treatment of equality between genders and marriage. This is the second time I’ve brought up this point and you have yet to respond to it. How do you reconcile the two laws?

    The other thing you want to do is call this a “gender” issue on par with “male” and “female”. Are you trying to say that being homosexual is just as a distinctive of a gender as male and female?

    I am saying that the laws of California imply that two males or two females should be allowed to enter into the contract of marriage. Because, in the eyes of the state, the gender of the individuals entering into the contract should not matter.


    “Not if its in violation of local laws.”

    But you’re reinterpreting laws and redefining words to make your argument. It’s those equivocations that I’m arguing against.

    I’m not reinterpreting any laws. Do you not see how the following two laws are contradictory?

    Law 1: The State is forbidden from discriminating solely on the basis of gender.

    Law 2: The State allows its citizens to enter into a state sanctioned contract called “marriage” where one person is a man and the other is a woman.

    There is an obvious conflict here that needs no reinterpretation.

    p.s. sorry about any double posting just trying to get the formatting correct

  39. Neil Says:

    Much is made over the “rights” of gays to “same-sex marriage.” But as my oldest daughter pointed out when she first heard of the concept in 9th grade, it is an oxymoron: “The same sex union of a man and a woman.”

    You can have as much of a right to that as I have the right to demand a square circle or any other logical impossibility.

    What they want, of course, is recognition of their relationship — even when they get all the benefits without the name, as gay couples do in California. To get the recognition they seek they need to redefine marriage to mean not just a marriage of one man and one woman. It means society can define it to be whatever they like. This opens the door to polygamy and other ills, of course, and it leads to children as young as five being exposed to all sorts of innocence destroying things in school.

    No one is stopping gays from loving each other and having committed relationships. They can even get “married” in many apostate churches. We shouldn’t let all the “rights” talk and personal attacks stop us from pointing to the facts.

  40. Eric Kemp Says:

    johuat

    “I think you guys are really missing the point of “equality for all.” It means that people in equivalent circumstances should be treated equally. It doesn’t mean that people can do whatever they want, only that they be treated equally along certain criteria, in this case, gender. Allowing two men to marry, or two women to marry, is not the same as allowing siblings to marry, or allowing pederasts to teach kindergarten.”

    I understand that this point has been made, and not just by you. The point that those making this argument are missing is…explain yourself. That is, you say that allowing two men to marry is not the same as allowing siblings to marry. My question to you is, why? Why is it different? You want equality for all don’t you? Why should people be discriminated against just because they have the same parent(s)?

    “Law 1: The State is forbidden from discriminating solely on the basis of gender.
    Law 2: The State allows its citizens to enter into a state sanctioned contract called “marriage” where one person is a man and the other is a woman.
    There is an obvious conflict here that needs no reinterpretation.”

    This just doesn’t follow, no matter how many times you repeat it. Here’s the problem: You are equating the law on “gender” with homosexuality. Gender is “male” and “female”. Gender is defined as what sexual organs you possess, what your x and y chromosomes are. Being homosexual is not a gender, it is a behavior. It is defined by who you are having sex with, not by your anatomy, as gender is. I mean, the difference between gender and homosexuality is so obvious, do I really have to explain it to you?

    Secondly, you can ignore all you want that you are redefining the word “marriage”, but you did it again here. By saying, “A state sanctioned contract called ‘marriage’ where one person is a man and the other is a woman” you are being redundant. The word “marriage” by itself, with no explanation, means a union between a man and a woman. That’s just what the word means. So to find a contradiction between the two laws, you must first call homosexuality a gender on par with male and female, then you must pretend that is an alternative definition to the word “marriage” besides “a union between a man and a woman”.

    “Because, in the eyes of the state, the gender of the individuals entering into the contract should not matter.”

    Right, so you decide to take this precedence as more important than the definition of the word marriage and redefine marriage and gender in order to hold to this precedence. I’m not sure if I said this to you, but the irroncilalbe difference between us is that you hold this idea of “equality” as the highest good (in this situation) while I hold the Word of God to be the highest good in this situation. What the Bible says is the ultimate authority on anything it speaks about, and in this case, it has alot to say.

  41. johuat Says:

    I understand that this point has been made, and not just by you. The point that those making this argument are missing is…explain yourself. That is, you say that allowing two men to marry is not the same as allowing siblings to marry. My question to you is, why? Why is it different? You want equality for all don’t you? Why should people be discriminated against just because they have the same parent(s)?

    “Law 1: The State is forbidden from discriminating solely on the basis of gender.
    Law 2: The State allows its citizens to enter into a state sanctioned contract called “marriage” where one person is a man and the other is a woman.
    There is an obvious conflict here that needs no reinterpretation.”

    This just doesn’t follow, no matter how many times you repeat it. Here’s the problem: You are equating the law on “gender” with homosexuality. Gender is “male” and “female”. Gender is defined as what sexual organs you possess, what your x and y chromosomes are. Being homosexual is not a gender, it is a behavior. It is defined by who you are having sex with, not by your anatomy, as gender is. I mean, the difference between gender and homosexuality is so obvious, do I really have to explain it to you?

    Secondly, you can ignore all you want that you are redefining the word “marriage”, but you did it again here. By saying, “A state sanctioned contract called ‘marriage’ where one person is a man and the other is a woman” you are being redundant. The word “marriage” by itself, with no explanation, means a union between a man and a woman. That’s just what the word means. So to find a contradiction between the two laws, you must first call homosexuality a gender on par with male and female, then you must pretend that is an alternative definition to the word “marriage” besides “a union between a man and a woman”.

    “Because, in the eyes of the state, the gender of the individuals entering into the contract should not matter.”

    Right, so you decide to take this precedence as more important than the definition of the word marriage and redefine marriage and gender in order to hold to this precedence. I’m not sure if I said this to you, but the irroncilalbe difference between us is that you hold this idea of “equality” as the highest good (in this situation) while I hold the Word of God to be the highest good in this situation. What the Bible says is the ultimate authority on anything it speaks about, and in this case, it has alot to say.

    Ok, let me try and describe a situation: A man is working at some office where they process marriage applications in California. A woman walks up to the man and says “I want to apply for a marriage license.” So the guy in the office says, “Ok, who are you getting married to?” So the woman points to another person, who is dressed in clothes that make office man uncertain as to whether it’s a man or a woman. The office man asks this person of unknown gender what their name is and they say “Chris.” Then the office man says “are you male or female?” Then the person of ambiguous gender says “the laws of this state say it shouldn’t matter. See, I have a copy of the applicable state laws right here.” The office man reads them. How do you resolve this situation? The person of ambiguous gender can point to a law that says that State cannot discriminate based on gender. The law says that gender should not matter when it comes to marriage, because marriage is a state enforced contract, and therefore falls under the purveyance of the anti-discriminatory law.

    The word marriage, when it comes to State law means something very specific – it’s a contact between two people. What your personal or the historical meaning of the word was or is does not matter. If the state is going to use the word, it still has to use it in accordance with the other laws of the state. Using it to mean only a man and a woman is in violation of other laws of the state.

    I respect your personal religious beliefs and I know that the history of the United States (and of humanity in general) has a lot to do with religious history. The Bible may be your ultimate authority but it is not the ultimate authority of the State of California – the ultimate authority for State law in California is, and all the legal precedent will back me up here, the laws as they are written. You may believe, and the etymology of the word may show, that the usage of the word marriage means a man and a woman, but there is an exception with the practice of state law – only state laws apply when you use marriage in the context of state law.

    And why should homosexuality matter? What if two straight men or two straight women want to marry? What if a gay man and gay woman want to marry? There are also some people who are born with XX or XY chromosomes and have the reproductive organs of the other sex instead. Which represents gender to you? Your chromosomes or your genitalia?

    I do not hold equality to be the highest good. I don’t think I’ve used the word “good” (at least not as you are using it here) in any of our conversations. I just want the state to enforce its own laws because, to me, that’s how governments should work. My own opinions about who should or shouldn’t be married don’t enter into it.

    The difference between siblings who want to marry is that there is a law that says siblings cannot marry, no matter what they race or gender or any of the other criteria are. They just can’t be siblings. There is still equality here. Equality doesn’t mean you have to treat siblings as if they weren’t, it means that when it comes to certain criteria (i.e. gender) you can’t discriminate when it comes to state practice. It doesn’t matter what the gender of the siblings are, they are in violating of a clearly stated law that does not discriminate.


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