Honest, Calm Question – What’s Wrong with Gay Marriage?

Bizarre news cycle, huh? Crowds flood to a chicken restaurant to stand up for the Biblical standard of marriage (presumably not including rape, incest and bigamy?), while liberals (like me) who avoid chain restaurants for a dozen other reasons have to announce that we aren’t eating at that restaurant because we don’t want our dollars going to the CEO’s charities.

I wish I were in the business of making saddles for high horses. Everyone seems to have saddled up this week.

Throughout it all, though, I have to admit in all honesty that I have a massive blind spot in my position. I don’t think I even know what the other side is talking about. What is wrong with gay marriage?

I sincerely don’t get it. It doesn’t appear to me that it is based on the Bible, because marriage in the Bible is pro-rapist, pro-bigamy, and pro-incest. Jesus certainly said nothing one way or the other.

It doesn’t appear to me to be based on damaging the institution of marriage. I don’t see a whole lot of Iowa farm families breaking apart because of the fabulous gay couple down the street.

So, honestly and calmly – I promise not to call you a bigot or even a knucklehead – if you oppose gay marriage, please explain why. I’m not interested in hosting a screaming thread of hate; I’ll delete comments that are trying to attack other commenters but I’ll happily host those who calmly offer perspectives that differ.

Why should gay marriage not be legalized?

43 Responses to “Honest, Calm Question – What’s Wrong with Gay Marriage?”

  1. Nick says:

    The online news items (including the Star) all referenced Chick Fil A supporters showing up (at multiple locations) in droves.

    All but lowing one suspects.


    As for your query, well…’cause I said so, that’s why.

  2. Cecil Caulkins says:

    I would legalize same-sex marriages, but I’ve developed a bit of a libertarian viewpoint in my old age that causes me to prefer more freedom rather than less. Wikipedia has some interesting information about the history of marriage, and it’s worth a read:


    I understand the notion that the primary purpose of marriage can be said to be the propagation of the human race. But marriage also is an elaborate contractual arrangement with many facets to it. Our laws endow married partners with a lot of rights and privileges denied to those who are not married. I believe we should extend those rights and privileges to any couple without considering gender. (Yes, I just said couple; I’d prefer to save polygamy for another discussion.)

  3. Steve Revare says:

    People who disagree with gay marriage have been pre-judged as evil bigots who hate gay people. This has pushed the true debate, and expression of their real concerns, deeply under the surface. This is why opinion polls show support for gay marriage and votes don’t reflect that support. I am for it. I don’t understand opposition to it because I’ve never heard the other side. I applaud the effort here.

  4. What’s wrong with “gay marriage”? The same thing that’s wrong with any other marriage — it’s an institution! Just kidding. . . the answer is, “There is NOTHING wrong with allowing two people who love each other and think they want to commit to each other in a legal contract to do so.”

    Nice entry, Danny boy. Keep up the good work.

  5. I am most befuddled by the way the opposition frames this whole issue as “a war on marriage”.

    That makes no sense.

    Let’s say my business is selling Twinkies. Twinkie sales have been steadily declining for years and there is a real possibility that Twinkies may disappear altogether.

    But wait! I’ve discovered a whole new market! They want Twinkies! They’ve never been able to get Twinkies before, but they’ve heard about them and they want them! They are clamoring for Twinkies!

    So if I decide to sell my Twinkies to this new, untapped market, hoow in the hell could that possibly be construed as a War on Twinkies? Seems to me like I’m saving and expanding the Twinkie Market! Why isn’t that a good thing?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dan, I wish I could help you, but sadly I can’t. I am not against gay marriage. However, I am against the concept of marriage as it currently exists. In my opinion, which you should know from reading my fb posts, I believe strongly that marriage recognized by the State should be a civil institution only. You recieve your marriage license from the State. Therefore, marriage licenses should be offerred to any two otherwise unmarried people willing to pay the money and sign the license. That should be all it takes to get “married” as far as the state is concerned. Anyone wishing a religious ceremony can take that up with his/her own church. If the church is willing to provide the ceremony, go for it. If the church is not willing, regardless of the reason, they cannot be forced to do so. (This is how it is in Germany, as I understand it, and I think a country like ours, where we value the separation of church and state should follow their example).

    We do the same for divorce, don’t we? State divorces you – anyone desiring a religious annulment has to take that up with the Church.

    I have three gay cousins, all of whom I am very fond. All but one are in stable, loving relationships. I am equally fond of their partner. I have no problem with them being married by the state and any church willing to provide a ceremony.

    I don’t understand how you can reconcile the idea that Chick-fil-A has not discriminated against anyone in employment or service, yet you are willing to put innocent, diverse people out of a much needed job, just to serve your purpose of punishing Mr. Cathy because he doesn’t agree with you. It’s a very tall horse that can afford to take business away from struggling families, students, and the elderly who take minimum wage jobs at fast food franchises to make ends meet.

  7. Shelley Bishop says:

    I just left a lengthy comment, but it didn’t show up. I’m hoping you have to approve it first or something.

    Just wanted to add that most of the people who were supporting chick-fil-A yesterday were reporting to do so because they believe in first amendment rights without retrobution, not because they support the idea that Mr. Cathy verbalized.

  8. Shelley Bishop says:

    I guess my first comment didn’t make it for some reason. I will try to respond again.

    I wish I could answer your question, Dan, but since I support gay marriage, I cannot. However, I don’t support marriage as it exists in the US for anyone. It is my strongly held belief that marriage should be a civil union for everyone. We believe in the separation of church and state in this country. The only requirement to be married should be obtaining a license from the state, who has the requirement not to discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, etc. After paying the money and signing the license, you would be married. (require a small civil ceremony if necessary). Then that married couple could have the marriage sanctified, if they desired, by any church willing to do so.

    This is how it is done in Germany and I believe our country should follow suit.

    I have three gay cousins all of whom I am very fond. All but one are in serious relationships and I am fond of their partners as well. I don’t understand how such loving, committed people can be refused the rights commiserate with a civil marriage in our country.

    I don’t understand however, how you can reconcile boycotting a fast food franchise in an attempt to put them out of business, when that chain has committed no acts of discrimination in employment or service, simply because you don’t agree with the statement made by the CEO. That is a very tall horse indeed, that can afford to put the much needed jobs of struggleling families, students, and seniors at risk in this terrible economy.

  9. Sara Diaz says:

    Dan, As I support gay marriage to the fullest extent and as I am gay I cannot fully answer your question, although I do understand that a lot of people grew up on the statement that marriage should be between one man and one woman. As more and more of the older generations grow to realize that allowing gay marriage is for the better of their country more and more of the younger generation are now realizing that it is okay to be gay and that the country is slowly but surely becoming a better place. Gay teen suicides have risen because of people bullying them saying “It’s wrong to be gay” and “You have to change.” Why would anyone want teenagers to end their life just because they like the same sex. Everyone should be given rights to a happy life and a happy marriage whether it is with the same sex or not. I say equality for all, and whether you are straight, black, white, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, or anything else for that matter shouldn’t matter to anyone but yourself. What you do in your bedroom is no one else’s business. Just be happy with who you are. The gay community along with its supporters is protesting Chick-fil-a just because of a statement made by the CEO while there are many other restaurants, stores, and organizations that don’t allow same sex marriage either except you don’t know it because they don’t make statements about it. Just eat your chicken and be happy with who you want whether that person is male, female, or transgender.

  10. gonemild says:

    Well stated, Sara. Much love to you and your family.

  11. gonemild says:

    Shelley – I disagree strongly with the proposal that there is anything wrong with avoiding doing business with companies who support causes you dislike with the profit they get from your dollars. But that’s another topic, and I’ll not derail what has been a pretty good thread with a “free speech” discussion. Feel free to have the last word on it, if you like.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why limit to two people?

  13. Byron Funkhouser says:

    The ‘rights’ that gay people want are not extra rights or special rights, but equal rights. The prohibition against gay marriage is no different than the prohibition against inter-racial marriage. It violates their constitutional rights.

  14. les says:

    Nicely said, Sara. And your comment isn’t the only lost one–what’s up, Mr. Blog Proprietor????
    I do have one comment on yours: You said

    The only requirement to be married should be obtaining a license from the state, who has the requirement not to discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, etc. After paying the money and signing the license, you would be married.

    That is the only requirement to be married; if a couple gets married in a church, it’s only legal because the state authorizes the minister or whatever to do marriages. The homophobe (oh, all right, sorry Dan) anti gay marriage position is the implementation of religious bias through civil law.

  15. gonemild says:

    Les just can’t play nicely with others! He’s even worse in poker games!!

  16. les says:

    Drat–Sheila, not Sara–I’m old, wadda ya want. And Dan, I can’t help it if strike through doesn’t work on this low rent blog–or preview, or edit–it was out of my control by the time I saw it didn’t work. Heh, heh. Has that dude ever spoken to you again?

  17. gonemild says:

    No, but the guy who hosted the party invited me to play this past weekend. I take it you didn’t get an invitation. Shocking.

    I guess one of us will have to host a party soon. I have a lot of beer I need to get rid of.

  18. craig says:

    Dan and Les,
    If I knew you in real life I would love to get in on that poker action. It is my observation that liberals aren’t as good at math as conservatives so I should be able to clean up, although Dan is a lawyer so he is trained to lie (bluff). ;)
    Back on subject, I wish I, as a big C conservative, could convince the faux conservatives that hard core social policies are actaully more expensive in the long run.
    And Dan, the paragraph about Iowa farm families may be the funniest thing I have ever read on this blog.

  19. Jack in the Box says:

    It’s pretty simple. Some people have religious beliefs. America allows this, believe it or not. For example, Hindus won’t eat cows. They like Chik-Fil-A. That’s OK. Westerners, including atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims and Jews, don’t think there is anything wrong with eating cows. They like Gate’s and Bryant’s as well as Chik-Fil-A. We don’t call the Hindus haters because they don’t go to Bryants. Actually, we should feel a little sorry for them for missing out on “good Q”. Certain Jews and Muslims believe that their sacred writings forbid the eating of pork. We don’t call them haters for not eating the pulled pork at Oklahoma Joes. However, when a Christian (or Jew or Muslim) says that their sacred writings limit marriage to one man and one woman and that is what they support, they are called “haters.” Seems to be a bit of a double standard.

    I conclude with this quote, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” I am not attributing the quote because the author is not important, but the concept is completely accurate. I have heard way too much bile from both the pro-gay marriage camp and the anti-gay marriage camp. People – it’s ok to disagree. It doesn’t mean the other folks hate you.

    Truett Cathey doesn’t favor gay marriage. Some other business owners do and some do not. Those who oppose his position are free to boycott. However, governments are not free to deny business licenses to Chik-Fil-A franchises because of this man’s religious beliefs. What he said is not hate speech. He is simply sharing his religious belief. It’s not hate speech when someone says he opposes cheating on spouses or stealing or disrespect towards God. And, its not hate speech for you or someone else to say that you believe religious beliefs are incorrect.

    Let’s all take a deep breath and learn what tolerance really means. Tolerance does not mean “Agree with me or you are a hater” Tolerance means, “I disagree with you (in fact, I think you are completely wrong), but I will tolerate you and treat you with respect.” Tolerance does not mean that either one of us has to believe that all ideas are created equal, only that we have equal value as human beings.That is what tolerance means in a pluralistic society. It does not mean conformity to some liberal (or conservative) standard or belief system.

    In every society, someone – either the government or some other institution – will make value judgments about what is right and what is wrong. That is necessary for some degree of order even though some will disagree with where the lines are drawn. Society has always regulated behavior and it always will.

  20. Jack in the Box says:

    [I'll bet you don't post this, or my earlier post]

    “I sincerely don’t get it. It doesn’t appear to me that it is based on the Bible, because marriage in the Bible is pro-rapist, pro-bigamy, and pro-incest. Jesus certainly said nothing one way or the other. ”

    Your suggestion that the Bible is pro-rapist, pro-bigamy or pro-incest falls apart the minute you actually read the book. The Bible records all manner of human failure, but the fact that it records human failure is far different than actually condoning human failure. In fact, the Bible clearly shows the fallout from those activities. There is no glamorization of bad behavior.

    Your implicit argument that “Jesus didn’t mention gay marriage (explicitly), therefore it must be OK”, is weak on its face. He also didn’t mention methamphetamine abuse, child pornography, cannibalism or rape, but I doubt you would suggest that this implicitly condones the behavior.

    If you want to believe that gay marriage is OK, or even a good thing, that is your privilege. If you want to believe that Christian opposition to gay marriage is wrong, that’s fine too. But I see above that you’re a lawyer. Certainly you have been trained to read things carefully. You weaken your point when you rely on the poor research of others. I trust you didn’t realize you were distorting the Bible’s position on this issue and you were just being a passionate advocate. If you did realize that you were distorting the Biblical position with the intention of misleading Christians who haven’t read the Bible carefully, then that is just wrong (even though Jesus didn’t specifically mention you doing that).

  21. Gabe Smith says:


    I have no issues with gay marriage. but I should say that evangelicals have little room to complain. It was the evangelicals that demanded the State to take on matters of deep personal commitments to restrict people of different colour from engaging in thes (gasp)heinous acts. It was the Evangelicals that demanded the State to outlaw polygamy because they thought Mormons were weird. As a matter of fact an individual fought the law on First Amendment grounds and lost, (surprise, surprise). So when a large enough demographic says they want homosexuals to have the same opportunities and benefits as “straight” couples.

    I hate to break it to you but Marriage hasn’t been a religious institution for over a hundred years.

  22. gonemild says:

    How much was riding on that bet you offered?

    Jack – you’re horribly mistaken in your understanding of the Bible – please read about the multiple wives of many Biblical figures, without condemnation, and also read about the marrying of cousins. Thank you for the lecture on effective persuasion – I find that consistently having my facts straight is helpful.

  23. gonemild says:

    Sorry to be a little slow with comment processing. Someone broke into my car and stole my computer, so access has depended on borrowing. Frustrating, but not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Not nearly as frustrating as it must be to be a gay person who can’t marry the person s/he loves.

  24. Jack in the Box says:

    Dan, if you have your facts straight, I challenge you to point to where the Bible COMMENDS polygamy as a good idea as opposed to describing that many of the patriarchs engaged in the practice. What you will find is that there were many bad consequences of the practice, faithfully described in the Bible. You will also find marriage beginning in Genesis was between one man and one woman and the New Testament requires monogamy. You can’t use the Bible to justify gay marriage. You can argue that it should be legal for Constitutional or policy reasons, but not on the basis of the Bible. That’s my point.

  25. Aric says:

    Hey, I had no problem with Les at the poker game. Sure, he was a little *ahem* “abrasive,” especially considering he had never met any of us except Dan, but it’s men gambling and drinking – that comes with the territory. I will not, however, be inviting him and my friend Walker (the guy who left in disgust) to any of the same events any time soon.

    As to the topic – I have nothing to add. Was curious to see if there would be an attempt at an intelligent argument against gay marriage in the comment section, but so far no.

  26. Nick says:

    Jack in the Box –

    Regardless of the relative worth of the advice held in the bible (and surely that’s in the mote of the eye of the beholder?), the actual document itself, what is commonly refereed to as ‘The Bible’, is no more the written word of any deity (much less the god in whom you believe) than the Kansas City Star is a beacon of journalism.

    It has been demonstrated, time and again, by innumerable scholars, most of them “biblical”, that “The Bible” was piecemealed together over a number of centuries by countless authors. In other words it is a complete work of fiction, a guide or primer at absolute best.

    Ergo, you can use ‘The Bible’ to justify anything, including one’s idee fixe.

  27. Jack says:

    “the actual document itself, what is commonly refereed to as ‘The Bible’, is no more the written word of any deity”

    “It has been demonstrated, time and again, by innumerable scholars, most of them “biblical”, that “The Bible” was piecemealed together over a number of centuries by countless authors. In other words it is a complete work of fiction, a guide or primer at absolute best.”

    Wow. Which scholars? I’d like to read them. Please share your sources. I trust its not the Kansas City Star.

    Seriously, though, the point I am making is a pretty simple one. Most objections to gay marriage are religious in nature. I won’t convince you that Christianity is the way, the truth and the life by arguing with you about it on a blog and it appears you have your mind made up. You won’t convince me that the Bible is a fantasy, although I’m willing to read your sources if you have some in mind. But, I hope I can convince you that trying to use Christian sacred literature to support gay marriage is a fool’s errand. The same is true of Jewish and Muslim literature. I don’t have any knowledge about what other religion’s writings have to say so I won’t comment on that. I have Christian friends who believe gay marriage is fine, but I think they have to engage in some serious exegetical sleight of hand to make the Bible support their position. This is simply an issue that people will disagree about.

    But, try to understand this – I hope it will help you be more tolerant of most Christians. Most Christians believe that ALL are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Those of us who love God understand that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. While we believe that many behaviors displease God, we recognize that our behaviors displease God too, so we try to love our neighbors who sin differently than we do. It’s difficult sometimes, just like it may be difficult for you to tolerate someone who is religious (or perhaps you would phrase it as superstitious).

  28. gonemild says:

    Jack, I think we are in total agreement that the Bible is a poor source for actual positive statements for gay marriage. I don’t mean to argue that the Bible calls for or demands that gay marriage should be recognized in the United States. You make a fair point, and I acknowledge it.

    And I also REALLY appreciate your willingness to present your points here. In all sincerity, I was hoping that somebody like you would offer some sincere, non-hateful illumination on a point of view I was missing entirely. If you’re not one of those Christians who eschews the divine gift of alcohol, I owe you a beer.

    Now, I respectfully think you’re mistaken when you deny the point that the Bible has some screwed up perspectives on marriage. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is pretty heinous, by modern standards. And Hagar, Abraham (he’s big, right?), Gideon and Abijah, etc., aren’t condemned for their polygamous ways. And cousin weddings are all over the Bible, and yet people seem to forget that when they’re supporting Biblical views of marriage.

    No, the Bible does not specifically approve of gay marriage, but it does have enough awful viewpoints on marriage that its credibility on the topic is pretty much shot, I think.

  29. Jack says:

    “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has VIOLATED her. He MAY NOT DIVORCE her all his days.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Emphasis added.

    This describes a horrible situation. The cultural context was that women who were not virgins were considered ruined and not suitable for marriage. Try to look at the cultural context not from the standpoint that it is right or wrong, but from the standpoint that that was the context these people dealt with. The text clearly says the woman was violated which shows the behavior of the man was condemned, not condoned. Ultimately, I don’t think this shows approval of the man’s conduct. This law would be horrible in our society where non-virgin women are not outcasts. It would cause more harm than good. In that society, though, the law might save the life of the victim. No one called it ideal, though, even in the Bible.

    You are correct that Abraham really treated Hagar horribly and that the Bible shows some examples of how NOT to do marriage (for example, King David). The Bible unflinchingly shows the fallout of misbehavior. Consider the enmity between the descendants of Sarah and the descendants of Hagar. King David’s son tried to kill him. I would agree that the Bible shows many screwed up marriages and perspectives on marriage. I disagree that it promotes those.
    I am guessing you probably see it as condoning the misbehavior of flawed men and women. We can agree to disagree on that point.

    And, yes, I do enjoy the taste of a cold beer.

  30. Nick says:

    Jack -


    The Soncino Bible – Soncino Press
    The Religion of Israel – Yehezkel Kaufmann
    The Art of Biblical Narrative – Robert Alter
    Who Wrote the Bible? – Richard Elliot Friedman
    Surpassing Wonder – Donald H. Akenson
    Understanding the Old Testament – Bernhard W. Anderson
    The Historical Figure of Jesus – E.P. Sanders
    The Book of Q and Christian Origins – Burton Mack
    The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible – Robin Fox

    …as well as ‘the bible’ itself.

    Happy reading…

  31. gonemild says:

    Jack – email me at danryankc@gmail.com if you’re in KC and thirsty for a beer. Nick – feel free to join us.

  32. les says:

    Jack in the Box makes the common error of arguing people’s right to have differing beliefs–which no one commenting here has denied, I don’t think–while ignoring the behavior that flows from those beliefs. I don’t totally agree that simply holding a different belief is necessarily not hateful–there are too many belief systems that consign non-believers to second class citizenship or worse.
    But the fact that people have the right to their beliefs does not carry with it the right to legally require that everyone behave in accordance with their beliefs; and that’s where hateful action comes in.

  33. Jack says:

    Les – be careful where you go with that argument. By your definition it would be hateful to force people who believe abortion is murder to fund it with their tax dollars. It would be hateful to force people who believe contraception is immoral to fund it with their tax dollars. It would be hateful to force people who believe insurance is immoral gambling (certain Muslims) to carry insurance. It would be hateful for Muslims to consider Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists and agnostics to be heathens. I don’t consider that to be hateful. I simply disagree.

    In a free society, we will not all agree about what is right or wrong. It is not hateful to disagree. It is not hateful to try to legislate what you believe is right (why would you try to legislate something you did not believe was right or just?). I don’t consider it hateful when someone believes that alcohol consumption is wrong. I wouldn’t even consider it hateful if someone attempts to make alcohol consumption illegal. I wouldn’t like it, but my remedy and response would be to make my views known and make my vote count.

    We are turning into a nation of wimps who cry “Hater!” when anyone speaks out against our “sacred cows.” If you want to live in a free society, you have to get used to the fact that you are not the king. And, you can celebrate the fact that I am not the king either. We will both vote with the intention of molding our society in a way that we believe is best.

    When we harm or demean someone that is hateful. When we disagree about whether their actions are appropriate or not, that is not hate, it is a necessary tension found in a society of varying beliefs.

  34. Cake says:

    One argument is that the “born this way” ordeal will contradict itself. I forget the term but it’s an effect that wasn’t supposed to happen. Let’s say…a gay couple gets married. whatever. The new society mind-thinking is…you can marry anyone you love. The future man’s natural sexual attraction (to women) gets diluted. It’s not about WHO to marry but WHAT to marry. Let’s say…okay, he dates several women, but has bad experiences. As men relate better to each other, this guy starts to feel up to men. Because it’s more easier for a man to get along with another man, he might start thinking about just dating men. So “born this way” is now “chose this way…because it’s better and easier”. Basically, he convinces himself he is gay. It’s not that he was naturally gay, it’s because he’s doing it for convenience and it will all be okay because the new society thinking is there. So…basically…it wasn’t conditioned before but it will be now. It’s like how the new thinking is with children…a lot of couples don’t want children now compared to back then. Like he’s mixing up “learn to love” with sexual attraction. You can learn to love anyone but it doesn’t mean you’d sleep with them but now, if you can love them, you can definitely sleep with them. Does that make sense? I dunno. Try to help me out here.

    Personally, I try to be neutral about this all. As a Christian, I think it’s God’s decision to what “judgement” is for them. I think it’s the whole idea of horny people choosing to be gay for attention is what’s the problem and real gay people are getting equally getting the grief despite them really not able to help it.

  35. les says:

    Les – be careful where you go with that argument. By your definition it would be hateful to force people who believe abortion is murder to fund it with their tax dollars. It would be hateful to force people who believe contraception is immoral to fund it with their tax dollars. It would be hateful to force people who believe insurance is immoral gambling (certain Muslims) to carry insurance. It would be hateful for Muslims to consider Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists and agnostics to be heathens. I don’t consider that to be hateful. I simply disagree.

    Well, this is a mixed bag. I don’t share your claimed “simple disagreement.” Christian beliefs that permit/encourage terrorist attacks on doctors and clinics are hateful–motivated by hate, and abhorrent to me. Fine, upstanding christians assaulting, spitting on, terrorizing women at Planned Parenthood clinics are indulging in hateful behavior, justified in their minds by their precious and infallible beliefs. I couldn’t care less what people believe, and for the most part don’t care what they do among consenting adult co-believers; but parents letting their children die because of their beliefs is hateful, and should be stopped.
    The tax dollar argument is specious and misleading. Nobody likes everything tax dollars are spent on; I don’t like supporting pointless, destructive wars, nor do I like that the US spends as much on “defense” as the rest of the world combined. I don’t like that my income and property taxes subsidize the operations and vast accumulation of wealth by churches/religions. Tax dollars don’t, in fact, support abortion–nice try. We have a social compact, though; and under the constitution, you don’t get to abrogate it because of beliefs, and you don’t get to impose your beliefs on my actions.
    Airy fairy philosophical arguments can be fun; but people’s actions in the real world effect others, and when their beliefs justify imposing their will on folks who don’t share those beliefs, and prevent them from exercising legal rights, hateful isn’t too strong.

  36. Jack says:


    You’re contradicting yourself. First, you called beliefs hateful. Then instead of discussing beliefs, you discussed hateful actions. I agree that attacking doctors, spitting on women, etc. are all hateful actions. Believing abortion is wrong is not hateful. Believing it is so wrong it should be illegal is not hateful. Believing it is so wrong that you vote to make it illegal is not hateful. Harming people physically or emotionally who disagree IS hateful.

    The tax dollar argument is responsive to your suggestion that it is hateful to legislate that people act in accordance with my beliefs. It seems its OK to legislate your beliefs, but not mine. Your position is hypocritical, but not hateful.

    Although I am merely confident that you are wrong, I am certain you have equal value as a person.

  37. les says:

    The tax dollar argument is responsive to your suggestion that it is hateful to legislate that people act in accordance with my beliefs. It seems its OK to legislate your beliefs, but not mine. Your position is hypocritical, but not hateful.

    Sorry–as far as I’m concerned, beliefs that are offered as justification for hateful behavior are themselves hateful. We’ve gotten so far astray, I’m not sure either belief or hateful are the right terms, but whatever. Yeah, legislating my beliefs–less money on defense, a strong social/economic safety net, a more egalitarian health care system–is ok. The political/economic compact among citizens is what legislation is (or used to be) for. Legislation that requires other people to conform their personal lives to my avowedly religious beliefs, whether they share those beliefs or not, is not ok and, in this country, violates the constitution. Your inability or unwillingness to see the distinction doesn’t change the reality.
    Note that when I said above that I don’t agree with all uses of my tax dollars, I didn’t go on to say that such use gives me the right to terrorize, bomb, kill and intimidate those who disagree with me. Nor did I say that it gives me the right to demonize them, decide they’re not real ‘Murkans, or try to exclude them from the political process. Nor, back to Dan’s original topic, legally bar them from formalizing their personal relationships in the way that works best for them, on the sole grounds that it offends my tender (solely correct in all of time and space) religious sensibilities, or are otherwise icky to me.

  38. Lollie says:

    I’m old. This kind of conflict is nothing new to me. I was around during the 60s and truly civil rights arguments don’t change much. There’s always a group over here who’ve had all the rights in the world grinning from ear to ear as they say it’s not me sitting in judgement of them, it’s GOD. I saw it in the sixties when they were trying to deny equal rights to black people and I saw it just the other day in a clip where they were interviewing people outside of a local chick fil a and also in a clip where Diane Sawyer was interviewing a muslim terrorist about why he wants us to die and he grinned that same ol’ grin, and said “not me, it is not I, it is God.” Isn’t it amazing that the Muslim terrorist and the Red neck right wing Christian and the lily white Christians of the 60s ALL share the same grin? Amazing.

    I am not black, I am not gay, but I despise people that blame their sick selfish meanness on God. We are all God’s children and some times it’s hard to believe that some of God’s own children can be so cruel. But they are and when I get to heaven or hell, the first thing I’m going to do is ask why God let people be so damn selfish and cruel other to others. I just don’t get it. I never will till I die. And trust me, I won’t die from a stroke caused by eating salt that’s flavored like chicken and served up with waffle fries.

    For everyone that still eats fast food, good luck in the nursing homes if you’re against gay people… a lot of them work there. THEY will be taking care of YOU. And this is not my God grinning from ear to ear at the thought of that – it’s just ME. Little happily cruel me, thinking about you drooling. :) Look, I fit right in now.

  39. Jack says:

    You are painting with quite a broad brush. You are correct that there are many things that men and women have done in the name of Christ that are shameful. That truly saddens me, because the haters who are self proclaimed Christians are not living out the two great commandments – 1. love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul and all your mind; and 2. love your neighbor as yourself. My neighbors include those who are attracted to the same sex. As Christ defined neighbor, you’re my neighbor too. The quote below helps me understand your anger.

    “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Brennan Manning.

    Please don’t assume that because Fred Phelps claims to be a Christian that all Christians are like Fred Phelps. Don’t assume that we are all red necks, or uneducated, or uncaring, or cruel or that we wear that silly smile or enjoy the suffering of others. I don’t expect you to agree with my beliefs or even understand them, but I hope you will learn to tolerate me and those who share my beliefs. I would never ask you to tolerate the hateful BEHAVIOR you described.

  40. les says:

    Please don’t assume that because Fred Phelps claims to be a Christian that all Christians are like Fred Phelps. Don’t assume that we are all red necks, or uneducated, or uncaring, or cruel or that we wear that silly smile or enjoy the suffering of others.

    I don’t make those assumptions. But–when “real” Christians tell me I have to respect those beliefs, that I have to understand that vile behavior stems from sincere religious beliefs that I must credit as valid, that everyone’s beliefs exist in some meta-space divorced from the implementation of those beliefs–I don’t. The religious opponents of same sex marriage are the support base for the Phelps of the world, and their behavior differs only in scale, not in kind. I not only don’t have to respect those beliefs, I don’t respect those beliefs.

  41. Byron says:

    Dan, you haven’t written anything in almost two months. I hope you are okay. Even when I don’t agree with you I admire your skill as a writer & thinker.

    On gay marriage – It seems to me that any religious argument is automatically invalid. We’re a secular country. This is about the constitution & equal protection. Take care.

  42. gonemild says:

    Thanks for the kind inquiry, Byron. I’m doing great. Busy at work + long commute + lots of exercise to lose weight + dismay at the incivility of the chattering class (myself very much included) = diminished interest in spending my time on the blog. I hope to pick it back up after November – I have a really big October coming up.

  43. Intellectual says:

    well for one i am against it because of my beleifs. Also just puttin this out there wikipedia isnt trustworthy as any average joe can write something and claim it tobe a fact just sayin. I respect everyone and will not say that your wrong for beleiveing gay marriage is ok .
    Sorry about grammatical errors keyborad is on the fritz

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