Sunday, November 7, 2010

Debate on Gay Rights

The debate began when I posted this status update on my Facebook account:

Matthew Rozsa

This is not a politically correct question, but it needs to be asked:

Those Yemeni terrorist bombs were sent to two Chicago synagogues, one of them distinguished by its predominantly gay congregation. Right-wingers claim to be outraged and appalled whenever Americans are threatened by Islamofascists... but is that priority just as high for them when the potential victims are non-Christians and/or homosexuals?

The discussion that followed is posted below, complete and unabridged.

Kevin Brettell
I'm not really a right-winger, but it is for me. I equate any outside threat to a US citizen with a threat to us all. Sort of like my brother and I used to fight all the time, but when the chips are down, we're still brothers.

Matthew Rozsa
I agree with that mentality and hope that conservatives as a whole share it. That said, there are several reasons why I am concerned that this would not be the case:

1) There is an undeniable string of anti-homosexual bigotry within the American right-wing, one so pronounced that even gay conservatives have made a point of saying that they feel unwelcome in their own party. While some may argue that these sentiments are strictly partisan in nature, and that as such Republicans would likely discard them and unite behind their gay fellow citizens the instant they came under attack (much as I sincerely believe they would rally behind Barack Obama and other Democratic politicians under similar circumstances), the nature of their animus toward the gay community makes me worry that it would be otherwise in that scenario.

To understand why I feel this way, one need look no further than two of the GOP's four top presidential contenders for 2012:

- Mike Huckabee has conflated homosexuality with incest, claimed that it was a sin on the same level as lying and stealing, argued that it contributed to the moral decay which facilitated the spate of school shootings in the '90s, and implied that allowing gays to marry would threaten our very civilization.

- Newt Gingrich has said: "There is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it."

For the record, I am making a point of excluding the other two top contenders, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, from this list. While both are adamant in their opposition to gay rights, neither has plunged to the depths of gay-bashing hatefulness in their rhetoric that both Huckabee and Gingrich have employed. That is noteworthy because, while a case could be made that someone who simply opposes gay rights would still possess a sense of solidarity with them on the basis of their fellow Americanhood, it is difficult to see people who view them as fascists, perpetrators or at least enablers of violence, and threats to our very civilization feeling the same way.

2) Although anti-Semitism is not nearly as prominent in the Republican Party as homophobia - and indeed many prominent Republicans today are Jewish, from former party chairman Ken Mehlman (who recently came out as gay, although this was not known during his tenure) and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to foreign policy advisers like Paul Wolfowitiz and Richard Perle and impending House Majority Leader Eric Cantor - the reality is that the repeated conservative rhetoric about America being a "Christian nation" calls into question whether right-wingers would feel a sense of patriotic solidarity with non-Christian American citizens.

Matthew Rozsa
PS: As an interesting note of trivia, three of the four open homosexuals who will be serving in the 112th Congress are also Jewish (Barney Frank, Jared Polis, and David Cicilline, of Massachusetts, Colorado, and Rhode Island respectively). The sole exception is Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Tiguhs OndaBayou
The lack of outrage is due to the media being relatively less hysterical than normal (and thankfully too)

Jim Chambers
Of course it's just as high priority, absolutely, and for the record, I agree with Huckabee and Gingrich completely.

Matthew Rozsa
To Jim:

- How is homosexuality comparable with incest?

- How is homosexuality comparable with lying?

- How is homosexuality comparable with stealing?

- How can homosexuality be attributed, even partially, for the school shootings of the '90s?

- How would allowing homosexuals to marry threaten our civilization?

- Considering that gay activists and their secular supporters are merely requesting that homosexuals be given certain rights (viz., the right to marry, to adopt children, and to openly serve in the military), how does that constitute "imposing their will" on anyone else?

- What evidence is there that homosexuals and their secular supporters have, systematically and in the mainstream, used violence and harassment to get their way?

Jim Chambers

You already know my answers to all of those questions (save the school shooting one, that I don't agree with, and hadn't seen that specific connection made). It's comparable because it's sinful, and inherently disordered. It threatens our c...ivilization because marriage is a major pillar of our civilization and homosexual marriage is a complete distortion of that institution.

I know you don't agree with that, and that's that.

As to the reality of a gay lobby that pushes its agenda aggressively and with the use of questionable tactics, start with GLAAD and work from there.

Matthew Rozsa

The "you already know this" line is a cop-out employed by those who don't have a case. I don't "already know" that evolution is a sham, I don't "already know" that the world is flat, and similarly I don't "already know" that any of the Huckabee or Gingrich have said about homosexuality or gay people are true. If you want people to believe that you're anything other than a bigot, you need to prove your case.

As to the rest of what you wrote:

- How is homosexuality sinful? I define a sin as an action in which one human being knowingly harms another, something that I do not see applying here. As for it being "inherently disordered" - I think you're referring to the canard that homosexuality is unnatural (I say that because your phrasing is so vague that I have to fill in the blanks myself), to which I will only reply that homosexual relationships have been found throughout the animal kingdom, from giraffes to higher primates.

- How is homosexual marriage a complete distortion of that institution? Same-sex unions have existed throughout the world, including at various points in the histories of both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the two civilizations widely considered to be the progenitors of the Occident.

- While there have been isolated instances of harassment, vandalism, and other inappropriate activities from gay activists, there are just as many (if not more) from groups that oppose gay rights. Unless you feel that it would be fair for supporters of gay rights to brand all anti-gay rights activists with the actions of Fred Phelps or the murderers of Matthew Shepherd, the logical thing to do is acknowledge that, because fringe elements on both sides can engage in disreputable conduct, the fair thing to do is judge a movement based on the behavior of its mainstream members and institutional elements.

Christina Cruz
Well Jim, you've failed to support your beliefs and in that you have just made yourself look like a bigot, you cant ask people to do the legwork in supporting your claims. You say you have evidence involving GLAAD, then cite it.

Jim Chambers
I didn't say that you already knew I was right. I said that you already knew why I believe what I believe.

How is it sinful? That's exactly what I was referring to when I said that you already knew why I think the way that I do. Your definition of sin is a secular one, mine is not.

Jim Chambers
Also, the gay rights lobby constantly, not just in a few cases, engages in harassment. Anyone who dares to publicly express any anti-gay views is almost immediately blacklisted, and the major players in the gay rights lobby always lead that charge. I've already been called a bigot once in one brief FB discussion.

Jim Chambers
Point is, Matt, that I am a Catholic, and as such I believe in what the Church teaches. Contrary to popular belief, so doing is an important piece of membership in the Roman Communion.

Christina Cruz
There is a reason they are almost immeadiately blacklisted, because its discriminatory and ignorant. Just like if you were to make anti-Black sentiments I would call you a bigot. A bigot is a bigot. Being Gay doesnt hurt you, just like being Black, Jewish, etc doesnt hurt anyone. You want to force people to live the way YOU think is right, just like people wanted to force people to be slaves cuz THEY thought it was right.

Matthew Rozsa
While I firmly disagree with your moral beliefs on the issue of homosexuality, I acknowledge that you have the right to possess them. That said, one of the founding precepts of our legal system is that laws should not be used as a means for individual religious groups to impose their views on the rest of society. On that basis, how is it any more acceptable for Christians who oppose homosexuality to use the law to create a society based on their convictions than it would be, say, for religious Jews to use the law to ban the consumption of pork and shellfish?

In addition, I would like it if you addressed the points I made about (1) your claim that homosexual marriage would threaten civilization and (2) your claim that homosexuals try to impose their will on others. Although you've posted three replies, not one of them has addressed either of my rebuttals.

Finally, Christina is absolutely right in demanding that you provide evidence to substantiate your charges about gay activists. While expecting people to agree with you purely on faith may work when it comes to your religion, it won't fly when it comes to making serious charges against an entire political movement.

Christina Cruz
Ah yes, the Catholic Church, lord knows they have NEVER used religious doctrine to impose their will on people. Because the crusades, the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the hiding of Nazi war criminals, indulgences, the tolerance of slavery...all that was to HELP people. Ah yes. But, it is your right to subscribe to their teachings, and while I feel bad for the next set of people organized religion will choose to condemn, we persevere, knowing that eventually the Catholic church, as well as other institutions of religion, will be more than eager to apologize once the afflicted people they condemned are socially tolerated.

Jim Chambers
A) I never said that the Church, or any institution of Christendom, has any right, or should have any right to create laws.

That said, the left constantly makes the mistake that separation of church and state somehow also implies that peopl...e of faith have to drop their beliefs the moment they enter the voting booth or the public sphere. That's absurd. Feminists vote as feminists, environmentalists as environmentalists, and Christians as Christians.

B) If one maintains the (religiously informed) belief that homosexuality is sinful, contrary to God's law, and thus destructive to the family, then it follows that one would see it as a threat to civilization.

C) Name one public figure, outside of politics, who has expressed anti-gay sentiment and not had hell to pay for it. I don't feel the need to cite any specific examples for this.

Matthew Rozsa
To Jim:

A) I'm not saying that people of faith shouldn't use their convictions to influence their personal opinions on certain policies. That said, there is a difference between being individually motivated by one's religious beliefs and trying to create laws that are directly based on them. Even though you claim that your opinions do not constitute an attempt to do the latter, the reality is that there is no sound basis for denying gay rights on issues like marriage, adoption, or open military service except on the basis of individual religious conviction. That is a violation of the separation between church and state.

B) How exactly do you define "the destruction of civilization"? Were the ancient Greeks and Romans "uncivilized" because of their institutionalization of same-sex unions (granted, I think a case could be made against the former for its misogyny and the latter for its gladitorial spectacles... but that's a debate for another time)? Is civilization coming apart at the seams as we speak in states like Massachusetts and Connecticut because they've legalized same-sex marriage?

C) Define "hell to pay." If you're referring to being criticized and encountering protests, then I don't see that as being at all problematic; indeed, I see those as being legitimate and healthy expressions of political opinion on the part of concerned constituents, and no more invalid than when conservatives criticize and protest politicians who are to the left of them on issues like abortion and health care reform.

To "TiguhsOnDaBayou":

While I'm not a fan of hysteria, I think the media should be spreading not only outrage, but deep concern. In the past twelve months, there have been four major instances in which terrorists attacked, attempted to attack, or threatened to attack American citizens (the Fort Hood shootings, the Northwest Flight Christmas Day bombing attempt, the South Park 200 death threats, and the intercepted Yemeni package). There is a difference between advocating Palmeresque overreaction and Churchillian diligence.

Jim Chambers
You understanding of Church history is way off base.

The "Hitler's Pope" myth has long been debunked, primarily by the Jewish community at large, including the Chief Rabbi of Rome during the Holocaust, who converted in great part due to the actions by the Vatican to help Jews. See what Einstein said about the Church as the Jews' greatest defender in Holocaust Europe. The myth began with a radical German play, and took off from there.

The Crusades are wildly misunderstood, and placed out of their historical context. Start here:

The Spanish Inquistion was never sponsored by Rome. It was in fact condemned.

If any force fought more significantly than any other for the general worldwide abolition of slavery, it was the Catholic Church. Your statements are absurd.

Can you define an indulgence for me? Probably not, because Martin Luther and one paragraph in a textbook probably told you one thing, and no one ever clarified it.

Jim Chambers
that is in response to Christina, (whose profile says she is a Catholic...) not Matt.

Christina Cruz
Of course you dont feel the need to cite anything...sigh.

A) The problem is that people are using the church to deny rights to people. If marraige didnt incur tax breaks and incentives, then I wouldnt be complaining. If adopting kids was based on ability to raise them and not on WHO raised them I wouldnt complain either. The seperation of church and state means that people's faith should never even be a factor in voting on law. Unfortunately, for some reason, it is.
B) You say that homosexuality is a threat to civilization, so seeing as how, historically, homosexuality has been around for centuries, how is it that civilization hasnt fallen apart? In fact, research has shown that homosexual couples raise more well adjusted kids than straight families, this would indicate that it is parental practices and not sexual orientation that determines a child's well being. (PEDIATRICS Vol. 109 No. 2 February 2002, pp. 341-344)
C) Those public figures who display anti-gay sentiment should be punished. Period.

Jim Chambers
This is a useful article, as well.

Jim Chambers
You want me to cite something? How about the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." THAT is the basis of "separation of church and state", that's it. There is nothing in there, nothing at all, that suggests that a person of faith should leave their faith at the door when it comes to policy.

Matthew Rozsa
‎1) With all due respect to my Catholic friends, I'm not sure if a Jew who converted to Catholicism is the most unbiased source for information on that institution's activities.

2) I was unaware that the criticisms of Pope Pius XII had been "debunked." While he definitely has his defenders, there are still many who severely criticize him for his actions during that time. Acting as if that debate is closed is intellectually dishonest.

3) The same point applies to your assertion on the Crusades.

4) You are correct that the Inquisition was never sponsored by the Vatican, but despite their condemnations, they did very little to actively stop it.

More important, though, is the fact that issue is NOT about the integrity of the Vatican as an institution, but rather whether people have used religious beliefs to justify great moral wrongs. Even if the Vatican had been extraordinarily diligent in fighting against the Inquisition, the very fact that so many other pious Catholics used their faith to justify it - and to justify the Crusades - supports Christina's basic argument.

5) You are correct that the Catholic Church opposed slavery. However, there were plenty of religious institutions which used the gospel to support slavery, including Catholic ones in nations like Spain and France... all of which goes back to Christina's earlier point. From the witch hunts in Salem to the Eastern European pogroms, from the historic oppression of women to the censoring of intellectuals like Galileo and Darwin, religion has motivated ill as well as good. This is not to deny that a great many wonderful things have come about from religious conviction, but to claim that religion alone can make a cause moral doesn't wash with the facts.

Matthew Rozsa
Thomas Jefferson, January 1, 1802:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions ...only, & 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 & State.

Matthew Rozsa
That is just my favorite Founding Father quote on this subject, by the way. There are plenty more here:

Jim Chambers
For one thing, in my mind, the Pius XII debate is closed. The evidence is overwhelming that the Vatican did nothing but help the Jews.

As to your eventual point, obviously religion has been used as justification for poor human behavior, though much less often than the contrary. The fact that people have used religion in the past to do wrong in no way precludes me from making a faith-based judgment.

Matthew Rozsa
Of course it doesn't prejudice you in that way, nor should it. That said, it SHOULD suggest that making decisions based SOLELY on faith is a bad idea. I'd say it's wiser to make decisions based on a recognition that religious faith, though a strong guide, can also be a fallible one. After all, if it wasn't fallible, we wouldn't have had centuries in which the Jews were blamed for killing Christ and the sun was believed to revolve around the earth.

Matthew Rozsa
That said, this debate has gone on a tangent (the history of the Catholic Church) that has taken attention away from the key questions that Jim has so far skirted answering:

1) How has gay marriage harmed "civilization" in the states where it has been legalized? How do you reconcile your conviction with the fact that it existed in Greece and Rome?

2) How have anti-gay rights political figures "paid hell" for their opinions?

3) How are homosexuals and their secular supporters trying to impose their will on others?

Jim Chambers
Fallible is the key word here. The Pope never proclaimed, ex cathedra, that the world was flat, or that Jews were Christ-killers. He has done so, however, with regard to the nature of homosexuality. For a believing Catholic, that's plenty.

Matthew Rozsa
Actually, the Vatican DID officially endorse the notions that the universe was geocentric or that the Jews killed Christ.

Incidentally, you still haven't answered either of my three questions, or for that matter a fourth one I brought up earlier:

4) No one is questioning your right to harbor personal opinions on issues pertaining to homosexual marriage, adoption, and military service. That said, how is it NOT a violation of the separation between church and state to have our laws on those issues based on specific religious convictions?

Matthew Rozsa
Please keep your post confined to answering those four questions. While some of these digressions are interesting, they are taking attention away from the central issues.

Jim Chambers
I didn't say who endorsed what. I said the Pope never made an "ex cathedra" statement on either, thereby not invoking the seal of infallibility.
I have to go play hockey.

Matthew Rozsa
I have to eat dinner, but I think your athleticism and my gluttony can wait a few minutes while you answer those last four questions.

Matthew Rozsa
I reread our debate and noticed three things:

1) You put an ellipsis after your observation about Christina being Catholic. While I won't go so far as to state what I think you were implying, I'm pretty sure that as Christina's friend I should be offended on her behalf (and certainly think you should account for yourself).

2) I made an oversight, since you specified that you were talking about people "outside of politics" who had "paid hell" for opposing gay rights, and my answer assumed that you were talking about political figures.

Interestingly, you didn't notice this oversight, but I did, so in the name of intellectual honesty I'm drawing attention to it. That said, my rebuttal to your position there still stands - how is being criticized for taking an anti-gay rights position the equivalent of "paying hell"?

3) The dominant theme of your approach to this discussion has been to avoid directly answering those questions that, I suspect, you know you can't effectively address. As such, when you return from your hockey game, please address them.

Christina Cruz
Yes, I am Catholic and? Just cuz I dont blindly follow all the rules set up by Catholicism doesnt mean I dont have faith. That being said, I agree that the argument as to the role of the Catholic church in WW2 is quite varied and still going. While the Catholic church may have opposed the slave trade, catholic priests and institution often used doctrine to to condone it. After slavery, there were segregated catholic churches, catholic institutions etc. The point being that religion has been twisted to condone things that are obviously wrong, and condemn thigs that obviously arent. Anywho, doesnt matter, Matt is right, you still havent addressed how Gays are ruining civilization, how it is ok to ban gay marraige, DADT, with the only justifications seeming to be "morals" and "values" and...glitter and whatever other whack job excuse that has been used. You want to make religion a purely religious issue, then dont offer government incentives to do so.

Christina Cruz
Oh and I have to go watch football, cuz I have stuff to do there.

Jim Chambers
‎1) I ask this with all respect, honestly, though unapologetically (even though Matt suggested i was out of line) because it puzzles me about many of the modern-day anti-authoritarians and moral leftists who still choose to identify themselves as "catholic": what, in your mind, makes you a catholic? Do you believe, word for word, in the Nicene Creed? Do you believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary? Do you believe in papal infallibility? The Ten Commandments? The seven sacraments, including penance/confession? The Real Presence in the Eucharist? The authority of the magesterium? Church teachings on modern moral concerns? If not, why do you choose to identify yourself as a Roman Catholic? I obviously don't agree with most Muslim theology, but seeing as I believe in one God, the God of Abraham, would it be reasonable of me, based on some agreement, to just label myself as a Muslim? Can I call myself a staunch democrat if I don't believe in taxes on the wealthy, abortion, gun control or withdrawal from Iraq?

Jim Chambers
‎2) As to the question that you claim I didn't answer (I think I did, but ok):
A) I believe that homosexuality is inherently disordered and sinful.
B) I believe that the family, based in heterosexual marriage and the possibility of procreation, is the most meaningful cultural expression that we possess. As such, in my mind, the alteration of that institution to now embrace and include a practice that I view to be sinful and disordered naturally would be destructive to society at large.

The gay rights movement, for better or for worse, was clearly a major result of, and major player in the so-called "sexual revolution" of the 60's/70's. The cultural ramifications of the sexual revolution have been a major spike in divorce, pregnancy out of wedlock, STD transmission, abortion, exploitation of performer and viewer in widespread pornography, etc., not to mention the complete disappearance of any real intellectual presence in the public sphere, it having been replaced by a culture of sex. Any furthering of the agenda of that movement, in my mind, can only be more destructive.

Matthew Rozsa
Regarding your response to Christina:
- You have a hyperliteral interpretation of what it means to be a Catholic, a right to which no one denies you. At the same time, you proceed to declare that anyone who does not share your fundamentalist views - any Catholic who might share some of the beliefs in that faith without embracing all of them - is somehow not a Catholic at all. This is not a call that you have the right to make, and although I don't doubt that you'll claim the Vatican agrees with you, I strongly suspect that if they did, they would have to question the validity of millions of other self-proclaimed Catholics throughout the world.

Regarding the fact that you failed to address three of the four questions I asked:
- You failed to address how homosexuals and their secular supporters are attempting to impose their will on any other human being. I was going to write that this is because you couldn't think of a logical argument to support that claim, but since those arguments you have used aren't logical either, I think it'd be more accurate to say that you couldn't even think of an illogical one.
- You failed to address how anti-gay rights figures have "paid hell" for their opinions. Presumably this is because I established the criterion that "simply saying they've been criticized doesn't count as them having to pay hell"; once that had been put in place, you had no case.
- You failed to address my question of how basing our laws on anti-gay beliefs isn't a violation of the separation between church and state, since it would by its very nature consist of creating statutes based on the moral opinions of specific religious groups. Once again, I think your failure here comes from lacking a decent case.

Regarding the fourth question you did address:
- Heck, I'm grateful that I got a direct response out of you on something, although I wish it had been a more intelligent one. You start off by explaining that you oppose gay marriage because you think it's a sin, even though your right to hold that personal opinion was never in question; you claim that it's "disordered" although you never elaborate on that term (and, as I've pointed out, if this is another way of saying it's "unnatural", basic science disproves you); you then argue that because, you hold the institution of heterosexual marriage in very high regard, you'd consider allowing gays to marry to be destructive to society, an assertion any logician would immediately recognize as tautological; and finally you make a flurry of claims about the negative ramifications of the gay liberation movement, which given their outlandish nature would require a fair amount of evidence to be taken seriously, although you don't see fit to provide any.

Regarding why I'm ending this debate:
- I could accept continuing our dialogue if you had given me four lousy answers to my questions. The fact that you only gave me one while continuing to ignore the other three betrays to me not merely that you're intellectually dishonest, but that you also know yourself to be in the wrong. After all, why else would you so diligently avoid questions that someone convinced of the rightness of his position would have no difficulty answering?

Quick clarification:
- When I write that you know yourself to be in the wrong, I do not mean that you think you are morally or even factually in error. Rather I write that because you know that, in the eyes of society, being an anti-gay bigot is perceived as wrong, and since you are one, you try your best to avoid having that prejudice exposed when conveying your positions on this issue.

I know you don't like being called a bigot, by the way, but unfortunately the term does fit.

From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:
a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.

Jim Chambers
Matt, your interpretations of the way things are, and the way a discourse pans out are just as biased as mine. You have a really nasty tactic of always intellectually belittling people you don't agree with.

And no, I'm not afraid of being called a bigot, at all. I understand and accept that society will label me as such. I consider this to be an example of the gay lobby imposing their will on others. As to my alleged failures, I didn't hang on to those questions, because quite honestly, I was much more interested, as usual, in discussing the church.

How do they impose their will? Well, there's still a major segment of the population that believes what they do to be abhorrent, but we are flooded with messages of how they need to be accepted at every cornre, and media is power and it is policy. Does my side do that, too? Of course, and im ok with that, because I agree with it (I'm sure you will say that this is an approach you disagree with. That's fine). But they mask themselves in discrimination laws they have no right belonging to. It's not a minority, it's a perversion. Further, your own rebuttal illustrates a great lie of the gay lobby. The idea that the innate natural existence of homosexual feelings in people is absolute, settled science is just not a right one, but it gets shoved down our throats.

Hell to pay? Tim Hardaway, Carl Paladino, Kanye West, my friend Allen, who was suspended indefinitely from high school for failing to concede that his beliefs about gays were wrong. That's not uncommon, either. I have to hide my beliefs at my own college.

As to the issue of separation of church and state, I take it to mean quite literally what it says, that no church will be installed as the official state church, and that no lawmakers will legislate as agents of that church. That said, it does not follow, to me, that a church member cannot vote according to his/her beliefs, regardless of what they are influenced by.

And your ideas about Catholicism are way off. I'm not a fundamentalist, at all, I'm a run of the mill Catholic, I'm not a member of SSPX, Opus Dei, or the like. Being a catholic requires Catholicism, and yes, the Vatican agrees with me. The pope himself said that the church may have to shrink to get to it's true core. Want proof that belief in the whole faith is required for membership? Read a catechism. I'm sorry that you feel insulted, but maintaining a belief in some tenets of the catholic faith while rejecting many others is a totally viable option, it's just not Catholicism, it's the very definition of Protestantism.

Let me point out, once again, that I haven't called anyone a bigot, liar or idiot. I can't say the same about y'all.

God Bless

PS- I would include people with your beliefs in that "intellectual presence" I referred to. I think that in a different context, you would both agree that politics aside, the public sphere is full of trash.

Pss- to be very faithful to the actual point, the question originally posed was, do right-wingers believe gay americans should be protected/defended? I said yes, in my case.

Matthew Rozsa
1) The arguments you made here were, for lack of a better word, dumb. While a case could be made that I was wrong for belittling you on that basis, it's a little hard to blame me.

2) I reject the notion that I have been just as biased in this debate as you. The centerpiece of your argument is that you have the right to impose your religious values on other people because you have faith that the tenets of your creed are correct; the centerpiece of my argument is that, given the precepts upon which America was founded, it is illogical to have any laws outlawing gay marriage, adoption, or open military service. In short, while your position was based on emotion, mine was based on reason. This was not a situation in which different biases happened to collide.

3) For the umpteenth time... being criticized is not a form of "paying hell" and it is not a form of having one group "impose their will on you." If you honestly believe that that is the case, then your opposition to the First Amendment goes beyond simply disliking that whole separation between church and state aspect of it.

4) Saying that you didn't "hang on to those questions" because you wanted to focus on church history is a blatant cop out, and I'm calling bullshit on that. Since the ultimate purpose of a debate is for each side to have to prove the correctness of its opinion, neither side has the right to just ignore potential weaknesses that are identified in its position because it doesn't feel like addressing them. While you have every right to bring up external issues and points that are related to the subject of the debate, you are still obligated at the end of the day to attempt to rebut - or at least to acknowledge - the flaws that the other side perceives in your argument. Your excuse is like a man accused of murdering his wife saying that, so long as he explains to the detective how much he adored his spouse, he shouldn't be expected to also divulge his whereabouts at the time of her death.

5) What strikes me about your definition about how they "impose their will on others" is that it essentially consists of them demanding the right to live a lifestyle of which you disapprove. That is NOT imposing their will on you. No, imposing their will on you would be if they made it illegal for heterosexuals to get married, or if they didn't allow heterosexual couples to adopt children, or if they prohibited heterosexuals from openly serving in the military; those are all situations in which homosexuals would be actively preventing heterosexuals from living their lives in the manner of their choosing, which is what it means to have one's will imposed upon you. On the other hand, simply insisting that you have the right to live your life as you wish unmolested is NOT an imposition on anyone else, even those who may disagree with your lifestyles. After all, does the fact that my fat ass likes to scarf cheeseburgers and pie impose on those who are disgusted by the obesity epidemic? Does your interest in reading about the 1950s impose on those who find that decade boring?

Matthew Rozsa
‎6) With regard to your comments about it being a "perversion"... no one questions your right to believe that. All we question is whether the government has the right to enforce laws that discriminate against those who do not share your belief.

7) First of all, even if homosexuality WAS a choice instead of a biological imperative, I still wouldn't have a problem with it, since it isn't morally wrong in the first place. That said, scientists HAVE come to the conclusion that there are definite biological factors which compel homosexuals toward their various sexual proclivities. What's more, scientists have found abundant examples in the animal kingdom of homosexual relationships, from giraffes to higher primates. Finally, historians can provide scads of instances in history, both ancient and relatively recent, in which homosexuality was both acknowledged and accepted (in varying degrees, of course). The facts do not support you on this point.

8) With the exception of your friend Allen (whose case, conveniently, I can't look up and will thus have to take your word on), all of the examples of people who paid hell were tormented by... criticism. Oh horror of horrors.

As for your friend Allen, I'll reserve judgment until I hear both sides of the story there, since I can't conduct independent research on it myself.

9) Again, for the umpteenth time...

No one said that the separation of church and state means you can't use your religious beliefs to influence how you vote. What it means is that the government can't create policies based on the beliefs of individual religious groups. Regardless of whether you personally believe that morality is based on secular principles (i.e., people not harming each other) or religious ones, the government is ABSOLUTELY based on secular principles. It's sole job is to make sure that people don't harm each other and that they are protected from national calamities such as war, natural disaster, economic crises, etc. Beyond that, it needs to stay the hell out of their lives. And if you don't believe me, visit that website I posted further up. It has hundreds of quotes from our Founding Fathers (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, all the good ones) to back me up. Heck, even conservatives are beginning to concede that Jefferson believed in secular government, which is why the Texas Board of Education is minimizing his role in developing our country in their social studies textbooks.

10) Finally... There are Catholics who disagree with you on whether they can be referred to as members of that faith even if they disagree with the Vatican, from pro-choice Catholics to pro-gay marriage Catholics. You act as if you are the voice of authority on this, but there are millions upon millions of people who would strongly beg to differ.

PS1) Do I think the public sphere is full of trash? Yes, but I would consider "The 700 Club" and "Left Behind" to be just as useless as "Jersey Shore".

PS2) I appreciate that we can at least agree on this last issue. Let's end on that note.

Jim Chambers
I don't really want to keep this up, either, but your assertions of my "intellectual dishonesty" are a little much, and I find it very odd that you would accuse me of having "dumb", undeveloped arguments, when your only argument against my very reasonable characterization of what it means to be a Catholic is that "some people don't feel that way". You think I'm a religious zealot with caveman ideas, and I think you're a deluded leftist who sees only hate and ignorance when (especially socially) conservative ideas are put forth in any form. A discourse is, thus, quite difficult. There's nothing wrong with any of my arguments, it's just that A) you just don't like them, and I don't like yours, and B) you're a much, much crisper debater than I am (though the same can't be said for your bud), as you spend most of your time on such things, and have an inherent gift for it.

Jim Chambers
PS- Did I ever say that I thought the 700 Club or Left Behind weren't trash?

And I don't act as if I'm the final authority on what being a Catholic is, I act as if the Catholic Church, Her catechism, Her See of Cardinals, and the Pope, are the authorities. My characterization echoes theirs.

Christina Cruz
Wow Jim, the case cant be said for you as well, as you make claims you cant back up with evidence, only conviction. Which Im afraid wont cut it. Plus, you seem to repeat yourself alot, which is a classic sign of a weak argument. Work on it dude. Im sorry I cant be crisp, as I respond to you in between thesis revisions which takes the majority of my attention. Anywho, your a bigot because you hate and favor discrimination against people that do nothing to you. Their lifestyle doesnt hurt you, their serving in the army doesnt hurt you, their being able to adopt doesnt hurt you. All you say is, being homosexual is an abomination...cuz the church told you so. But you havent really pointed out any evidence to how they are hurting society, other than your weak sexual revolution argument, in which case you better be getting mad at straight people too, deny them the right to marry and reproduce.

The separation of church and state, to me, means that you cannot make a law (especially a law that hinders the rights of others) based on religious doctrine or belief. Just like the government cant go in and dictate acceptable religious services and doctrine, unless it infringes on the rights of others. People and politicians like you, can provide no evidence for how homosexuality hurts society, so they rely on convoluted definitions of morals and values based on religion to deny rights to people. This is unacceptable.

So you can attempt to go at me for whatever lack of Catholic knowledge you believe I have, but in the end, you have no argument, and the longer you prolong this, the more embarrassing this is for you.

I love that you bring up that there is a major section of the population that is against homosexuality. There was a major section of the population that was against abolition, a major section of the population (in several parts of the world) that was against Judaism. Im sure those who were against those measures often complained about how this agenda was being unfairly shoved down their throats. Sorry dear, but social norms change all the time, Gays are just the newest oppressed minority and eventually the social norm will change again. You will find yourself on the wrong side of Strom Thurmond yay!

Oh and you complain about the Gays shoving their agenda (to get basic Civil rights, those monsters) down your throat, so what is voting for anti-gay legislation? Is that not pushing the will and agenda of others down their throats, except that ya'll are ACTUALLY shoving your agenda down their throats by hindering their rights, not just asking them to please stop being gay? Hmm. Aaahhhhh, you actually make me sad, but I know history always repeats itself.

Matthew Rozsa
You may not feel that Christina is a crisper debater than you, Jim, but she has one inestimable advantage over you - she's absolutely right.

Jim Chambers
It's disgusting to equate gay rights with the civil rights movement. Goodnight.

Matthew Rozsa
Jim,you're in the hole and you don't even realize it.

Put down the shovel.


I'm not even angry with you. This is just sad now.

Christina Cruz
Lol, your disgusting to not see the parallels. Buh bye.

Matthew Rozsa
PS: If this will make you feel any better about the whole gay rights issue, Jim... I think you're hella cute.

Christina Cruz
Lmao, he just has no recourse. He has no argument. So he's gotta say something kind of random. My mother was part of the civil rights movement, and she can see how gay rights and civil rights had the same problems to overcome and the same reasoning to fight for their rights ie discrimination against them for simply being born, and she was born and raised in a time where there was even less tolerance of homosexuality and being black. I think it is logical and rather obvious to draw parallells between them. But dont be mad Jim! One day, gay people will be equals, and we can all pretend this never happened. Goodnight! (In a huff, madface >:( hahaha.)

Jim Chambers
In the hole? What is it that has me on the hole? Have you disproven the existence of God and of the Church and Her dogma as His agent? Have you shown that diminishing the already trod upon meaning of marriage is not going to harm it even further? Have you pointed to any line in our constitution that says that religious people cannot make policy decisions based on moral beliefs? You've called me a bigot, which is fine. I detest the practice of homosexuality, and I detest its existence. I don't wish to outlaw its practice, but I wish to prevent it from encroaching into the realm of heterosexual marriage, which serves a purpose, and has deep meaning for many. All you've done is attacked ME, but you've failed to defend your own point. The burden is on the left/gay lobby to show why gay marriage ought to happen. You'll say that people of my opinions are preventing others from enjoying "civil rights". If I were proposing that discussing homosexuality be outlawed, that gay sex be outlawed, or that two men personally dedicating themselves to one another be outlawed, you would be correct, but I'm not. I'm asking that a legal institution, recognized by the state and by a number of faiths, not be redefined by the state because certain people would like it to be. Every gay man/woman is fullyewntitled to his/her right to marry, just not to marry a dog, their child, or a person of the same gender, as those unions do not fall into the definition of marriage.

Matthew Rozsa
Come now, Jim. Can't we discuss this like sexy "Sex and the City" loving men?

Christina Cruz
Okey dokey, and Im asking that all married couples be stripped of any privileges they may incur as a result of marraige if gays are not allowed to get married, as the practice of marraige then becomes discriminatory allowing benefits to some but not all. Also, if I could go ahead and be able to marry my cat that would be very much appreciated, cuz its ALL THE SAME! Also, Im so glad that marraige is only meaningful when its straight people, cuz Brittany Spears just for funsies Vegas marraige was so meaningful. Huzzah! I say we just start responding to Jim with rediculous things, since he doesnt awnser and questions in a debate he started.

Matthew Rozsa
For what it's worth, Jim, I'm not actually hitting on you, since (a) I'm not gay and (b) if I was gay, you would definitely not be my type. That said, my faux homosexuality was more than just a joke at your expense; it was used to illustrate a point.

In the midst of all the cruel verbiage you spewed against homosexuals in your latest diatribe - one in which you conflated their consenting adult relationships with the actions of those who engage in bestiality and pedophilia, to cite just a single example of the bile you spewed - you seemed to pay very little attention to who exactly it is that you have deemed to be your enemy on these issues.

Are we talking about terrorists who want to kill you? No.

Are we talking about violent criminals who want to mug you in a dark alley? No.

Are we talking about noisy teenagers who play lousy pop music outside your apartment at three in the morning and prevent you from sleeping? No (although I've had my fair share of confrontations with them recently... damn kids).

We are talking about men and women who, quite frankly, want nothing to do with you. They just go about their lives - in a variety of professions, from all walks of life, rich, poor, young, old, black, white, atheist, religious - and they don't want a thing from you.

Not a thing.

All they want is the same rights that we guarantee, without a moment's hesitation, to every other American citizen.

You would say no to them because of their sexual orientation. In short, you would say no to them for being no worse than I was to you in the last few posts.

If you can't realize how pathetic that is, then you are beyond hope.

Matthew Rozsa
PS: I deleted your last comment because I'm tired of watching you repeat yourself over and over again. Say something new or stay silent.

Jim Chambers
And they have those rights.

Actually, I have a lot of hope :)

Matthew Rozsa
OK, that was something new.

It was just really stupid.

Christina Cruz
They dont, but if you want to just keep claiming that they do, then you once again continue to embarrass yourself.

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