The Baroque Period of Official Multiculturalism

April 1, 2011

The government of the state of Minnesota has an Office of Minority and Multicultural Health.  (Since today is April Fools’ Day, I’ll add, as Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up!)  Are you feeling multiculturally healthy today?

I guess it’s no worse than universities’ calling foreign students “international students”, or calling a black person a “diverse individual”.  But “political correctness” doesn’t just arbitrarily substitute one term for another; I think it also erodes our ability to think clearly about the things we’re talking about.

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27 Responses to “The Baroque Period of Official Multiculturalism”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    On a related, or possibly unrelated note, 53% of Americans now support gay marriage. The tide has officially turned. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/18/957680/-Poll:-53-support-Gay-Marriage

    P.S. I agree that the term “international student” muddies the waters when we are talking about… um… wait, what were we talking about?

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    P.S. Another relevant article.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2290036/


  3. Sure, I’ll argue with you a little about your favorite off-topic topic!

    It’s funny, just the other day I was reading about Maryland, where the state legislature last month declined to enact same-sex “marriage”. I’m told that liberal Maryland, with Republicans in the minority, was thought to be one of the likelier places for such a bill to succeed, and supporters “expected this legislative session to be their best chance to date for passage”.

    Let me reprise a moment from our e-mail conversation about this last August:

    So, you’re saying that not only has this change in the definition of marriage been defeated in every single state in which it has been put to the people in a referendum (31 of the 50 states, according to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States#State_law ), but moreover, Vermont is the _only_ state where it has even won in a state legislature? The case for your original point that “the tide is turning” looks weaker and weaker.

    Of course Vermont isn’t the only state that has same-sex “marriage” (there are currently five, apparently), but generally, the few states that make that change do so by judicial fiat.

    Even in California, perhaps the epitome of liberalism, the people voted to uphold the traditional definition of marriage in 2008.

    In short, “The tide has officially turned” seems like a strange way to describe a situation in which, according to Wikipedia (which may be a little out of date but which is at least more or less correct about this), forty-one of the fifty states explicitly, officially maintain that marriage can only be between a man and a woman—twenty-nine of them in their state constitutions.

    Opinion polls depend a lot on how the question is phrased and how representative the sample is; even at their best, I think they have to be taken with a grain of salt. I think the foregoing shows that the “tide” has yet to “turn” in the polls that matter—i.e., at the ballot box.

    That said, everything I’ve read tends to indicate that (1) the Pew Research Center is good at what it does, trying to take care to conduct studies of public opinion accurately and impartially, and (2) if its results do contain any bias, it’s in liberalism’s favor. The linguistically challenged liberal blogger you link to begins, “This is a big shift. A new Poll conducted by ABC/Washington Post shows that for the first time in year, a majority of adult Americans support Gay Marriage.” But that’s just some survey by a newspaper and a news network—as someone has said, the press aren’t necessarily experts at anything but reporting the news. By the end of the blog entry, the blogger admits, “Early this month A Pew Poll showed that Americans were split on Gay Marriage. According to the poll, about 46% of Americans say gay marriage should not be legal. However, 45% said it should be legal.” She adds, “Hopefully other polls will confirmed ABC/Washington Poll.” But Pew’s results are likely to be the more accurate ones—and I would bet that even those are skewed in favor of “gay marriage”. Look at the way the Pew researchers frame the question: “Allow gays and lesbians to marry legally…
    “Favor
    “Oppose
    “Don’t know”

    It implicitly assumes that same-sex “marriage” is marriage, and asks whether such marriage should be “legal”. A more neutral way to ask the question would be something like “How should the state define marriage?” or “Can marriage include (check all that apply) two men, one man and one woman,” etc.


  4. Or even “Do you favor changing the legal definition of marriage to extend to same-sex couples?”


  5. So you’re ready to retreat from your “The tide has officially turned” last week to your “the tide is turning” of last August?

    Obviously I made a number of arguments above, but if you want me to simplify it and boil it down to just one, forget about Pew (forget about any surveys): Show me one state where the question has actually been put to the people to vote on, and a majority chose homosexuality, and I’ll entertain the possibility that “tides” are beginning to turn.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      If half, or more than half, of Americans support gay marriage, then the tide has surely turned. It’s irrelevant that popular votes do not reflect this fact, as most of the people that vote on referendums involving gay marriage are either gay rights activists or people who are strongly opposed to gay marriage (i.e. the religious right). Among these two blocs of voters, surely there are more religious voters than gay activist ones. Simply put, gay marriage is not an issue that is going to galvanize a vast majority of voters. Even for someone like me, if Ohio were to put gay marriage to a popular vote, I probably would not waste my time going to vote on the issue unless I was already at the ballot box voting on something else. But seeing as how I don’t vote, that would be highly unlikely.

      The problem with your thinking is that your sole definition of social change is a change in public policy. But a change in a society’s thinking can be just as significant, if not as concrete. And if a society changes the way it thinks, it is only a matter of time before public policy follows suit. I think that we can both agree that America as a whole is changing the way it thinks about gay marriage. Do you think that 50 years ago any poll ever would have reflected that a majority of Americans support gay marriage? I think not.

      Change is on the horizon Chillingworth, brace yourself accordingly.


  6. No, I agree both that the underlying culture is deeper and more important than (and changes) the government, and that American culture has slid a long way toward the pro-homosexuality end of the spectrum over the past fifty years or so. So perhaps my remaining disagreements with you can be divided into two categories:

    1 — By the way, what does it mean to say that a tide has turned or is turning? It sounds to me as you feel pretty sure that homosexuality is OK, and you naturally want people to agree with you, and want to hope that your opinion is the way of the future. I think that’s actually your best argument here—that (as shown in those 2008-2011 survey results from Pew) the trend over time has been in homosexuality’s favor. But that was never what you said, exactly; you made it sound as if, during that slide, we had passed some kind of turning point or tipping point. What was that point? It kind of sounds as if you wanted to be triumphal about homosexuality, and anything will do as the hook to hang that on—last August it was that courts called the legality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act into question; this time it was an opinion poll that claimed 53% support for same-sex “marriage”. In either case, I don’t think the facts alone prove that homosexuality is now sure to win; I think you’re bringing that in from outside, from a kind of faith.

    Yes, the trend is in your favor. But what is a trend? The direction things are going, and so the projected future, depends on the time period you look at. If you look at the last fifty years, sure, the trend is in favor of homosexuality. If you look at the period from 2008 to 2009 in those Pew results, apparently the trend is in the opposite direction. If you extrapolate the trend of the Pew results from 2008 to 2011 (+6% in favor of homosexuality), +2%/year, America should have a safe 75% consensus in favor of homosexuality around 2026; but then, at that rate, America is 145% in favor of homosexuality by 2061.

    Given that almost no culture of any time or place in human history has had an understanding of marriage that included same-sex couples, I think two questions suggest themselves: (a) How high can homosexuality’s favorability rating in America go before it reaches a saturation point, a point at which it hits its head on the hard ceiling of human nature? (b) How long can it stay so high before this historical aberration begins to correct itself and the number begins to go back down?

    2 — Pro-homosexuality types argue out of both sides of their mouths: On the one hand, they say, What men do in private doesn’t affect your marriage; why don’t you leave them alone? On the other hand, they call the pro-homosexuality movement the moral heir to the twentieth-century Civil-rights Movement, and say (more and less explicitly) that those of us who stand in its way are the moral equivalent of racists.

    But those two arguments are incompatible with each other. If the second is true, then this movement affects me very much; I’d better change my mind and be as happy about gayness as the next guy, or I’ll be ostracized, an ugly curiosity, like neo-Nazis or other remnants of white supremacism.

    This is a cultural conflict, and there isn’t room for both cultures; so it’s war. May the horizon belong to the more just cause.

  7. Snoodickle Says:

    Is justice preventing wounded soldiers from visiting their loved ones for fear of being discharged? Is justice condemning a way of life and treating fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers as subhuman? Is justice allowing the public scorn, ridicule, and ostracization of good people? Is justice not caring that differential treatment leads to self-loathing, lack of self-esteem, and in many cases suicide? If so, I fear that your sense of justice is twisted and cruel.

    Your reference to war is equally as frightening as your lack of empathy for those different than you. Obviously, you have no idea what real war entails. War is death, war is watching your best friend die in your arms as he gasps his last breath, war is you realizing you will never see your family again as you lay dying from an enemy bullet. I too know nothing of war, but comparing a cultural struggle to war? Please.

    The saddest part about this is I don’t believe you have the courage to truly stand for your own supposed convictions. I remember not long ago, I sat next to you in class and watched a fellow classmate berate you for insensitive comments you made about homosexuals. At that moment, you had a perfect opportunity to defend what you thought was right and said nothing. If that was war, you would not have survived.

  8. jon from sandiego Says:

    I love this debate but I am not sure why. This is America. Citizens should be free to marry anyone regardless of race or sex. Why anyone would argue against it I have never understood. Gays surely don’t hurt you chillingsworth, and many articles have been written that show gays are good for society and great at raising children. Why do you care? Gays will not hurt you, I promise.

    – Jon

  9. jon from sandiego Says:

    Its similar to how I THINK religion is bad for society. I THINK religion only exists because individuals are brainwashed into believing something higher must exist. I THINK religion breeds hostility and hatred and surely even you would agree with this.

    While I THINK religion is bad, I DON’T THINK it should be banned. This is America and individuals are free to be brainwashed if they want so long as no one gets hurt (of course religious hatred does hurt a lot of people, but these are generally extremists which exist on every side of every debate).

    So many people spend so much time hating gays. Who cares about gays. Worry about yourself and what you are doing in life and leave these people alone.

    The longer this debate goes on the more I am convinced that you may be confused about your own sexuality. This would explain why you care so much. If your gay, your gay; if your straight your straight. It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest, and I will respect you in either case. I don’t mean to make this personal but research has shown that many homophobic individuals struggle with their own sexuality.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/homophobic-then-youre-pro_b_158516.html

    – Jon

  10. outside observer Says:

    May I make a comment, as an outside observer? I’ve enjoyed reading your back-and-forth so far, and I don’t mean to interject an unwanted opinion; I’m not part of the conversation.

    I want to go back to Snoodickle’s comment and for ease of communication, I’ll address it to Snoodickle.

    Snoodickle, I think maybe your series of rhetorical questions about justice exemplify perfectly what Chillingworth was talking about in point two: that the opposing camp moralizes the issue in a way that leaves Chillingworth (for example) ostracized and treated like an ugly curiosity.

    Is justice allowing the public scorn, ridicule, and ostracization of good people?

    Now, Chillingworth seems to say it’s fine if you want to demonize everyone who sees a problem in the cultural affirmation of homosexuality. That means only that there are two competing moral ideologies, and one will win the day, and (thanks to you) Chillingworth’s point is proven. Even despite Jon’s great articulation of what comes out of the other side of the mouth.

    But right now, at least, your morality is intrinsically inconsistent, at least insofar as it implies that you don’t think it’s right to demonize good people, but you throw at Chillingworth adjectives like “twisted,” “cruel,” “frightening,” “sad,” “insensitive.”

    Empathy is an interesting idea. It’s a posh word these days. Do you think Chillingworth has no empathy? Do you have empathy? Do you think Chillingworth is a bad person? Does empathy necessarily impel one to act according to one’s feelings? Empathy is nothing more than a feeling. Empathy helps us love one another even when we disagree. It need not erase disagreement, and disagreement by no means indicates a lack of empathy. What about the kind of empathy that enables me to recognize an evil in me and that same evil in someone else, and to feel with him his struggles with that evil? That shouldn’t lead me to condone the evil.

    I do recognize that Chillingworth seems to you to be insensitive and uncaring. The national debate has a circular proof within which nobody opposed to homosexuality can be a decent person because being opposed to homosexuality is sufficient to prove one is a bad person. It is exceedingly difficult in that rhetorical climate to respond to accusations of insensitivity.

    I have no solution for this problem. I imagine Chillingworth is right: it’s a culture war. Simple enough.

  11. Snoodickle Says:

    Outside observer, you can change your name, but I am sure you have posted on this blog at least once before. Instead of trying to make a beef with me personally, answer the questions I posed. They are not rhetorical, I ask seriously, is it okay to discriminate? More to the point, is it okay to discriminate when one knows the devastating consequences of that discrimination – self-loating, suicide, etc.? Answer the questions, they are not rhetorical.

  12. jon from sandiego Says:

    Sometimes I wonder
    Tis the time for us to pray
    Every time I hear about gays
    Venom flows through the air
    Embrace love and not hatred

    Forget all problems
    Incubate love
    Shed tears together
    Hold hands through the night
    Everyone of us together
    Relaxing together

    I am love
    Sin is not the way

    Calling all of us to join
    One for all
    Never forget your brother
    Self respect is key
    Energize the masses
    Revolution can happen
    Violence has not place
    Attitude must be positive
    Tis’ the season for revolt
    Idle by we cannot stand
    Vehemently I declare
    Everyone together pray

    Been thinking this over for a while
    Energized for the change
    Life is too important
    I at least declare
    Effort should not be limited
    Fear we shall not

    – The mysterious poet


  13. I agree with “outside observer”: Jon and “Snoodickle” have well ilustrated the two (mutually exclusive) sides of the pro-homosexuality argument: On the one hand, Jon says, “Gays surely don’t hurt you Chillingsworth” and “Why do you care?” On the other hand, Snoodickle tells me that opposition to homosexuality is “twisted and cruel” and “discrimination”, and that I had better “brace” myself for the changing times. (Jon’s use of the term “homophobic”, implicitly redefining a considered difference of opinion as an irrational and pathological fear, is also part of this second side of the argument.) In other words, whether homosexuality or homosexuals themselves hurt me or not, the pro-homosexuality culture is distinctly uncongenial to me.

    Outside Observer, you don’t owe us any apologies for participating in the conversation; I’m glad to have you here. (If we had wanted this conversation to be private, we wouldn’t have had it on the Internet.) I don’t understand Snoodickle’s implication that by pointing out the logical inconsistency in his calling me “cruel”, you are somehow “trying to make a beef with [him] personally”.

    Snoodickle, I understand that you’re now framing your questions as non-rhetorical. Among other things, you ask, “is it okay to discriminate?” and “is it okay to discriminate when one knows the devastating consequences of that discrimination – self-loating, suicide, etc.” I think a logically prior question is whether homosexuality is morally wrong. A related question is what marriage is. If you’d like to discuss or debate those questions, I’m happy to do so. I don’t see how we can discuss the questions that come after them without having some of that common understanding as a foundation. For example, if we agreed that marriage was by definition limited to unions of one man and one woman, we wouldn’t call it “discrimination” to exclude pairs or groups of people who didn’t meet that definition. If we agreed that homosexuality was morally wrong, we wouldn’t go back and change our answer to that question just because we then found that some people reacted badly to our moral stance.

    Jon, I don’t mean to accuse you of argumentum ad hominem, but I will say that, in conversations about homosexuality, I have personally seen both of the following:

    (1) The pro-homosexuality party assumes that I am not subject to homosexual desires; therefore, she reasons, it’s easy for me to tell other people to give up something that was never tempting to me in the first place.

    (2) The pro-homosexuality party assumes that I am subject to homosexual desires; therefore, she reasons, my opposition to homosexuality can be explained as part of my denial, repression, and/or self-hatred.

    So you see that regardless of which way you think I swing, if you so desire, you’ll easily be able to tell yourself that that’s the real reason I disagree with you. It’s very convenient, and avoids all the messiness of engaging with the substantive ideas at issue.

    Finally, Snoodickle said,

    The saddest part about this is I don’t believe you have the courage to truly stand for your own supposed convictions. I remember not long ago, I sat next to you in class and watched a fellow classmate berate you for insensitive comments you made about homosexuals. At that moment, you had a perfect opportunity to defend what you thought was right and said nothing.

    It’s difficult to dispute the extremely situation-specific decisions of when to speak, when to listen, and what to say in a conversation that took place a year ago, but I think I remember the class you’re thinking of, and I certainly disagree with your conclusion that it reflects poorly on my courage, or on my beliefs (“your own supposed convictions”?).

    The way I remember it, the classmate you mention was not “berating” me, but yes, he did talk for a long time. By the time he was done and I had the opportunity to speak, he had drifted so far that it would have been quite off-topic for me to say anything in defense of my original comments.

  14. Snoodickle Says:

    You contend that Jon’s argument that gay marriage doesn’t hurt you (which I completely agree with), and my argument that discriminating against gays is cruel and insensitive are mutually exclusive propositions. This contention suffers from a very serious flaw, unfortunately, that being it is completely nonsensical.

    Take interracial marriage for example. I could argue that a black person marrying a white person doesn’t hurt you, and at the same time argue that prohibiting black people from marrying white people is cruel and insensitive. I am confident that you would agree with both of these propositions Chillingworth, would you not? As you can plainly see, these two arguments are not in any sense “mutually exclusive.” Quite the contrary, they actually fit perfectly together. When you think about it carefully, the very fact that interracial marriage does not hurt anyone, and indeed affects no one but the parties to the marriage, makes it MORE cruel to prohibit interracial marriage. Far from being mutually exclusive, the two arguments complement each other wonderfully

    The same rationale applies to gay marriage. I could argue that two people of the same sex marrying doesn’t hurt you, and at the same time argue that prohibiting these two people from getting married is cruel and insensitive. This is no different from the interracial marriage situation. As you are beginning to see, these two arguments are in no way mutually exclusive.

    In case the point is not clear enough already, allow me to provide another illustration of why Jon and I’s arguments are complementary, not mutually exclusive. Imagine if you were going to murder an innocent person for no reason. I could argue that you should not murder this person because they have done nothing to hurt you, while at the same time arguing that murdering this person is cruel and insensitive. Are these arguments mutually exclusive? Of course not.

    The only mutual exclusion going on in this blog is your and outside observer’s view that gays should be excluded from sharing in the happiness that everyone else is entitled to share in.


  15. I think you’ve failed to grasp the argument I made. Let me put it this way:

    Either (1) the question you’ve wanted to debate this whole time is whether homosexuality is immoral in the first place (and/or what the non-legal definition of marriage is or should be)—which would be strange, inasmuch as you haven’t advanced any arguments about that question here, but rather have assumed the answer in the (logically subsequent) arguments you have made—or (2) you’ve been arguing that, notwithstanding our known disagreement on that question, we should still be able to agree that the state should extend its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, because it doesn’t hurt me.

    I’ve been assuming that we’re in situation 2. I think part of the reason we’re talking past each other is that you’re conflating arguments 1 and 2.

    Reread part 2 of the comment above in which I originally said “those two arguments are incompatible with each other” and Outside Observer’s comment, and maybe the “Snoodickle, I understand…” paragraph of my most recent comment, and tell me if you still don’t understand what we said.

  16. Snoodickle Says:

    Did I misread “mutually exclusive?”


  17. Do you think this conversation has been about argument 1, argument 2, or both?

  18. Snoodickle Says:

    This coversation began with a simple observation -“the tide has officially turned.” This observation was not intended as part of a broader normative argument – it was, rather, a statistical analysis of two recent opinion polls and a description of what is actually happening in our country with respect to gay rights.

    At some point, you shifted the direction of the conversation by arguing that pro-homosexuality types are prone to making incompatible (“mutually exclusive”) arguments, and then declared war on the pro-homosexuality movement, and stated that your side of the “war” is more just.

    I responded by pointing out that, in my opinion, your side of the “war” is actually less just, and the struggle over gay rights was not actually a war at all. In making my point that proponents of gay rights are on the more just side of the cause, I posed some very specific questions that were never answered.

    At this point, you reiterated that pro-homosexuality types are prone to making “mutually exclusive” arguments. I responded by pointing out that the arguments Jon and I are making are not in fact “mutually exclusive.” (and did that quite well, I might add.) Again, this post was not intended as part of a broader normative argument, its purpose was merely to refute the false claim that Jon and I were advancing inconsistent propositions.

    To answer your question, much of our conversation has been about neither argument 1 or 2. Certainly the part about turning tides had nothing to do with either, neither did the part about your allegation of incompatibility. As far as the general question I posed “Is it okay to discriminate?”, as you pointed out, this question would tend to lead to a conversation about morality and whether the definition of marriage should include same-sex couples. But seeing as how we never actually had that conversation, I would say that our overall conversation has been about neither argument 1 or 2.


  19. So we’re agreed that we haven’t (in this conversation) talked about whether homosexuality itself is immoral.

    Do you think that, notwithstanding our known disagreement on that question (I think it’s immoral, you don’t), I should still agree with you that the government should change its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, because that change wouldn’t affect me?

  20. Snoodickle Says:

    You should agree with me not because the change wouldn’t affect you (though it would not), but because every citizen should be wary of government discrimination. It strikes me as odd that, given your obvious distrust of the government, you are not alarmed by the government trying to exclude a class of citizens from enjoying a fundamental right.

    The fundamental flaw in your thinking lies in the fact that you assume that the government will always condone your way of life. You cannot envision a scenario where the government would prohibit you from marrying a woman, practicing Christianity, or even having your own blog. If you could, you would be as concerned as I am that the government thinks it has the power to tell two people they cannot get married. If the government can prohibit gays from marrying today, maybe it can prohibit heterosexuals from getting married tomorrow. Or maybe it will prohibit Christianity, or free speech. All it would take is a constitutional amendment, or a renegade executive that ignores the judiciary, or a renegage judiciary that ignores the Constitution. You should not take freedom for granted.

    If I had to describe myself, I would say that I am not so much pro-gay rights as I am anti-government discrimination. That is because I recognize the danger posed by a government that has the power to discriminate. Government discrimination is a slippery slope, and the government may someday decide that it does not condone my way of life. If that happens, the freedom I have cherished for so long will be lost.

    Maybe if you viewed things from this perspective, you would change your mind on gay marriage. Unfortunately, I fear that you are so rooted in your ways you have lost the capacity to change.


    • OK, I have two things to say, but they’re both at risk of sounding like a broken record; so I think this should probably be my last comment on this entry.

      1 — You just said, “You should agree with me not because the change wouldn’t affect you (though it would not), . . . .” That’s the contradiction, right there. You yourself chose the example of interracial marriage, just a few comments back. What happened to the people who opposed interracial marriage? They’ve been marginalized. Changing this law would be part of creating a cultural consensus that would exclude me and anyone else who maintains that homosexuality is a sin. As I said above, in such a culture, “I’ll be ostracized, an ugly curiosity, like neo-Nazis or other remnants of white supremacism.” That’s the harm to me. That’s why your and Jon’s two arguments are mutually exclusive.

      2 — Believe me, I don’t take freedom for granted, and I want to agree with some of your sentiments about slippery slopes and government encroachments on our liberty. At the same time, you have to understand that a lot of what you just said can’t make any sense from my point of view, because I don’t share the underlying premises. As I said above, “For example, if we agreed that marriage was by definition limited to unions of one man and one woman, we wouldn’t call it ‘discrimination’ to exclude pairs or groups of people who didn’t meet that definition.” It’s not at all “odd” that I’m not “alarmed” by the government’s not positively recognizing same-sex “marriages”; from the point of view of my premises (as opposed to yours), you might as well say that the government “discriminates” when it refuses to extend veterans’ benefits to someone who has never been in the military, or refuses to give farm subsidies for a potted plant, or doesn’t provide disability benefits to someone who isn’t disabled.

      I would like to recommend National Review’s editorial on marriage. They put it a lot better than I do.

      Other than that, I would refer you back to a previous conversation in which I tried to explain to you that the government isn’t denying homosexuals any of their rights; it’s declining to extend to them a positive benefit, such as it is.

      If you reread that conversation and understand what I was explaining, it remains for you and the rest of the same-sex-“marriage” lobby to undertake what I asked for at the time: “The onus then is on you, the people in favor of the change, to explain why it would be a good idea. As part of that process, I think it is incumbent on you to think through the underlying question of why (if at all) the state should recognize marriage in the first place. You should then explain to us how your change to the definition of marriage would interact with those underlying reasons.”

  21. jon from sandiego Says:

    Having previously discussed this issue with you I wonder if you still stand by the following (I apologize for the graphic nature of this discussion):

    If my wife sticks a finger in my butt, its not immoral.

    If she sticks a small cylinder shaped item in my butt it’s not immoral.

    If I stick my penis in her butt it’s not immoral

    If I stick my penis in another man’s butt its immoral.

    I have always enjoyed the absolute moral argument we have had in the past (even though they normally leave me very confused), so I will take the bait.

    If you truly believe in moral absolutism, aren’t you going against your own belief by insisting on the discrimination of gays? In my opinion opposition to gay rights is an absolute wrong and in your opinion its an absolute right.

    In the past I have always taken the position that moral absolutism is a myth. I have come to realize that you may be right and moral absolutism may in fact exist. Perhaps the true reason why I never agreed with you was because your moral belief’s were in fact immoral. My point being, I am sure that my moral compass is pointing in the correct direction (lets call it North) and you are sure your moral compass is also pointed North, yet we are heading in completely opposite directions. Either one of us is wrong, or there is no such thing as absolute morals.

    Now I understand you take the position that not approving of gay marriage has nothing to do with discrimination. Here I believe you have made an error. 50 years ago if I said: “blacks and whites should not be allowed to marry because it is immoral”, I could have successfully argued that this was based on morals and was not discriminatory in nature. If I were to make that statement today it would be discrimination.

    Even if I were to agree that gays could have some negative effect on your life, this should not end the debate. Imagine being gay and being told that you could not marry the one you love. This would be devastating to you. My point being, even if polls showed that 80% of citizens did not support gay marriage, it should have no bearing on whether gays should in fact be able to get married. The Supreme Court will hear this case in the next decade, and I am sure they will agree with me. The negative connotation associated with gays injures gays more than the legalization of gay marriage would hurt the rest of the country.

    I am thoroughly enjoying this discussion. My only wish is for you to answer my abortion question with the child that cannot survive outside of the womb. Wouldn’t it be best to abort the child before the child further develops?

    – Jon


  22. Jon, sorry, I wrote that response to Leroy before I saw this from you. Yes, I agree with you now that there is a moral law (independent of our opinions on it—absolute, as you say), and that therefore logically at least one of us is incorrect about this question (whether homosexuality is a sin). I agree that the moral law is what it is regardless of the opinion of 80% of the public; the opinion of the Supreme Court; or the prevailing cultural winds, whether of the South fifty years ago, of our own time, or any others.

    So, how should we investigate the moral law? How do we know what’s right and what’s wrong?

  23. Snoodickle Says:

    Chillingworth, when I say “the change the wouldn’t affect you,” I mean the change itself would not affect you. That is, gays marrying one another would have no quantifiable impact on your life. I do not mean “opposition to the change wouldn’t affect you.” Certainly, your opposition to the change, which is your decision, may affect you. But you have to separate the change itself from your opposition to the change. These are two completely different things. I am shocked that you have been unable to grasp this.

    So, when Jon says gay marriage will not affect you, he means that gay marriage itself will not affect you. He is not implying that your opposition to gay marriage, which again is your decision, will not affect you. If you still think our arguments are mutually exclusive, I urge you to go back and reread my post explaining why they are not.

  24. Snoodickle Says:

    P.S. Your assertion that the government is not denying homosexuals any right, but rather is merely denying them a positive benefit is ludicrous. The right being denied is the right to equal protection of the laws. Once the government decides to distribute the benefit of marriage, it must distribute that benefit equally. Do you not consider equal protection a constitutional right?


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