Barry Eisler

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Gay Marriage, Flag Burning, And Congress Again...

The pace of the Last Assassin tour hasn't left me nearly the time I ordinarily devote to the news, but a few items have caught my attention.

The Republican-controlled Senate has now tried twice to amend the Constitution -- first, to prohibit gay marriage; second, to prohibit flag burning (so many prohibitions! It's enough to make you miss the Bill of Rights). We'll get to the substance of these issues in a moment, but first, let's pause to consider our government's apparent priorities.

The Senate's time is limited (not limited enough, if you ask me), so you might expect Senators to spend their limited time only on the issues that matter most to the nation. A reasonable shortlist might include the war in Iraq, the war against Islamofascism, securing loose nukes, reforming the tax code, making America more energy independent, immigration reform, redressing growing income disparities, protecting the environment... I'm sure I'm missing various priorities, and I'm sure reasonable people will differ on the inclusion of various items and on their proper order. But still. Gay marriage and flag burning are the foremost crises of the day?

Let's see if we can get to the heart of the matter.

Gay marriage: some people approach this issue from a religious perspective. I can't argue with them. If your position is, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," there's nothing to discuss.

The nonreligious objection to gay marriage seems to be that marriage has traditionally been between a loving, committed man and a woman, and that we shouldn't lightly alter what most people agree is the fundamental fabric of human society.

I respect this argument, although my take is slightly different. I believe the fundamental fabric of human society is marriage between two loving, committed adults. That the two adults in question have traditionally been a woman and a man reflects not some necessary element of society building, but rather that most people are heterosexual and that our laws and mores are therefore in part a reflection of heterosexual prejudice.

So although I'm a conservative, and wouldn't lightly alter marriage or any other fundamental societal building block, I don't see gay marriage as a significant alteration at all. The opposite, in fact: because I believe that loving, committed couples are the molecules that make society strong, I want to encourage more of them. Permitting gay marriage seems an excellent way to do so.

I think we can therefore safely say that the HOTM on gay marriage is one's take on this question: what is the fundamental building block of society? Marriage between a loving, committed man and a woman? Or marriage between two loving, committed adults? If you answer "man and woman," you'll be against gay marriage. If you answer, "two adults," you'll be for it.

Flag burning: I note in the introduction to this blog that I believe our political opinions and religious beliefs are located in the same place in our brain. That the sight of a burning flag can cause anger comparable to the outrage produced by the desecration of a religious symbol supports this notion. But the fact that the outrage is real and legitimate shouldn't prevent us from asking a question: is the desecration worth banning?

I tend to approach policy in cost/benefit terms. How many flag burnings are there? How many people are even aware of them of them when they occur? How much pain do they produce? Measured against: How much would it cost to amend the Constitution to ban them (direct costs of getting the amendment through plus the cost of lost opportunities)?

Because I think people who burn flags are cranks whose provocations say far more about the cranks themselves than about anything the flag symbolizes, I rate the cost of flag burning as low -- far lower than the cost of an amendment. If your sense of outrage at the sight of a burning flag is high enough, though, the cost of an amendment might be lower, in which case you'll want to amend. I think this is the HOTM on flag burning.

So maybe amendment proponents believe that what makes marriage fundamental to societal health is the institution's exclusively heterosexual provenance. And maybe proponents are also sufficiently outraged by flag burning to think it worth banning.

Of course, there's another possibility.

It's possible that amendment proponents don't give a damn about married gays or burning flags. It's possible they're simply trying to distract voters from the real news of the day, namely Iraq, by getting the media to cover a Senatorial sideshow instead. It's possible they're trying to mobilize the right-wing base a few months ahead of the November midterm elections. It's possible that, regardless of your views on gay marriage and flag burning, the Senate is insulting your intelligence.

Perhaps I'm cynical. But I like what Oscar Wilde had to say on the subject: "That quality of seeing things as they really are is called cynicism by those who have not got it."
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76 Comments:

Blogger ZenPupDog said...

I'm one hundred percent behind gay marriage. It makes sense. Building families is an American right that people with different sexual orientations should not be denied. And religious people need to be marginalized if they think they are the majority. This GOP strategy was formulated by one of the scum who outed a CIA agent during wartime.

- ZenPupDog

Bummer sticker of the day: “When mean people breed they make little mean people”

Sunday, July 02, 2006 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Barry,

Great post.
Re gay marriage, I agree with your conclusion that permitting it seems a good way of strengthening society.

However, I disagree with your statement that "marriage between two loving, committed adults" is a fundamental human societal building block. While I agree that this may (emphasis on the "may") be the optimal arrangement for raising responsible, caring, productive members of society (which is what we're really talking about when we talk about the "societal building blocks," etc.), it certainly isn't the only viable one. We all know well-adjusted, caring and responsible individuals who were raised in single-parent homes. And how about the collective approach to child-rearing? Kibbutzes do it this way, and although it's not widely practiced in the industrialized world, it does seem to work for some Israelis. (Just curious, but I'd be interested in knowing if anyone posting on your blog knows a really screwed up Israeli who attributes their problems to having been raised in a kibbutz.)

I find the whole religious argument that permitting gay marriage would destroy the sanctity of the institution ironic. I think our divorce rate (the highest in the world isn't it?) says loads about how most Americans really feel about marriage. That's not to say that I think people should stay in bad marriages, just that a lot of people seem to see marriage as disposable. Hey, if it doesn't work out, you can get hitched again, right? Trade in that old clunker for a brand new one. Or just stay single. No need to worry too much about trying to make it work.

Re flag burning, ironic that the sponsors of this proposed legislation want to outlaw the destruction of a symbol that stands for, among other things, the freedom to do exactly what they're trying to outlaw (i.e., express oneself). I agree that the people who do this stuff are cranks, but, as odious as flag-burning is, it does help bring into focus exactly what the flag is supposed to stand for.

I think you've hit the nail on the head about the real intent behind both of these proposals. Sad, but this kind of thing works, doesn't it? Most people don't seem to realize their intelligence is being insulted.

Tom S (Tokyo)

Monday, July 03, 2006 12:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Maryann said...

Happy 4th, Barry!

You've written exactly what I've thought every time our elected leaders spend time debating issues such as flag-burning and gay marriage. Easier to ponder problems like this than our country's dilemmas with poverty, educational cuts, the Iraq and terrorism situation, healthcare for the elderly...and on and on. However, I know my intelligence has been insulted and I call my senators on it. Given the divorce rate among heterosexual couples in this country,and what it does to the children, I think two loving and committed adults (hetero or otherwise) give children a better shot at a happy childhood. As for flag-burning...the most I've seen of that comes from the countries who hate us...and no American law will stop that, right?
That's my simplistic two cents worth for this July day. Thanks for the topic.

Monday, July 03, 2006 6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Graham said...

I think you're right to be cynical, but I don't really see this as an attempt to distract from the Iraqi war. It's just standard-issue election year pandering. I'm a Republican myself but I don't agree with this kind of lowest common denominator crap.

Monday, July 03, 2006 6:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a war of ideas and culture going on. Iraq and gay marriage are only parts of what is really happening.

i myself and very tired of the attacks on traditional family and ideas which made possible the fruits we enjoy.

unfortunately, we are being put in a position to choose ideology via different types of wars.

i personally, will admit to prejudice and favor the traditionalism and its consequential Nationalism instead of the what America's enemies offer.

i could write a formidable thesis on this situation, but let me sum it up this way. it is beyond time for Christians to pick up arms and fight for their lives.

Monday, July 03, 2006 8:35:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

Barry,

I couldn't agree more, and in fact, my own most recent is also on Congress. (I made good on the plan I mentioned to you in STL to begin my own blog.) Not only is our federal legislature failing to face the more important issues of the day in order to pander, it's also failing to exercise oversight of the executive, which in many ways, is far worse.

I think Tom S's comment on the irony of a flag-burning amendment is spot on.

I'll add that I think the best summation of the argument on gay marriage came from Jon Stewart when he recently had Bill Bennett on The Daily Show. The exchange went like this:
BENNETT: Look, it’s a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a woman.
STEWART: I disagree, I think it’s a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

That's about the pithiest explanation I've heard, and one I think that needs more exposure.

Best,
Paul Belle Isle

Monday, July 03, 2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

Apologies, by the way, for the formatting on my last comment. It was mean to have one, small discrete, link on the word "post," which was originally after "recent." Somewhere along the line - either through pilot error or electronic malfunction - I appear to have submitted a comment that created a giant and really obnoxious hyperlink covering about 95% of my text. Sorry about that...

Paul

Monday, July 03, 2006 2:08:00 PM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

Maybe this is part of the reason why?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-06-27-poll-results-elections_x.htm

Is it play to your strengths or, if not, then "create" some? Maybe? Bueller?

Monday, July 03, 2006 2:45:00 PM  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I don’t think gay marriage is a smoke screen, just a way to avoid more pertinent issues of the day. At least, not with many people. It’s a contentious, divisive issue.

I’m not going to wade in fully, because in Canada, I think a lot of us feel quite “over” the debate. That said, it was still considered major news that the first gay marriage of two RCMP officers happened last week.

My religious beliefs are none of anyone’s business, and I’m quite far from where I once was. That said, it’s no secret that I’m a Bible school graduate, and spent years working in ministry. I’m not in that world now, and never plan to be again, but I have many friends who still are. We agree to disagree on a lot of things, but attitudes around gay marriage still make my blood boil.

I’ve heard many say that “those people” are loose, only interested in sex, not serious about commitment. That’s part of the “proof” of why homosexuality is wrong that I’ve heard offered from the pulpit and in classrooms.

It’s BS, pure and simple. Make it illegal for two committed people in a loving relationship to get married and then say they’re sinners because they live together unmarried.

I think, at the end of the day, it boils down to the same old tired truth. People are afraid of what they don’t understand, and they feel threatened by it. I’ve heard of actors getting death threats when they play a character in an inter-racial relationship.

Sadly, we just aren’t as evolved and enlightened as a whole society to get past some of these things. On my priority scale, I’d rather talk about other things that are actually important. The only way I care who someone else is sleeping with is if the person’s a jerk and is going to hurt them. Otherwise, be safe, be happy, end of discussion.

Monday, July 03, 2006 7:36:00 PM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

I'm a Republican myself but I don't agree with this kind of lowest common denominator crap.

Maybe you don't, Graham, but Uncle Karl (Rove) does, and it's his party now, not yours. Until more Republicans take a stand agains what you so eloquently describe as this "lowest common denominator crap", it's going to continue to be a staple of our discourse.

But it wins elections, so that's a pipe dream.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Sandra, because I don’t believe gay marriage is right, I’m not enlightened? Barry, in reading the posts, this has to be the scariest blog you’ve done yet. If these posts reflect the feelings of our country, God help us.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 3:12:00 PM  
Blogger JA Konrath said...

If memory serves, all of the amendments are there to either limit or regulate governmental power, or protect personal freedoms.

The only amendment that ever limited what a person could do, the 18th, didn't work out so well (prohibition.)

If gay marriage is banned, and flags burning is declared illegal, don't expect either to last very long.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 4:57:00 PM  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I honestly can't believe that gay marriage is even an issue, anymore. 'Course, I thought by now we'd have a woman president, cars that get 100 miles to the gallon and universal healthcare.

On the flag-burning stuff, the irony of the act itself should render it incomprehensible. I don't need a constitutional amendment forbidding it anymore than I need a constitutional amendment requiring people be mannerly. Thems as is, will be anyway, and the rest we can politely ignore.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 6:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I'm not going to touch on the flag burning issue except to note that when I saw this story I too wondered why they weren't spending time on more important issues.

As for the gay marriage issue, one of my problems with the entire debate has to do with other issues aside from "marriage" per se. That is, same sex partners are discriminated against by law in the United States in terms of matters of health insurance (by a majority of companies offering insurance plans) and other business and legal issues. The conservatives against gay marriage, in many ways, are condoning legalized discrimination. Would marriage eliminate that discrimination? It might be a step in the right direction.

Best,
Mark Terry
www.mark-terry.com

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 6:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Pricken said...

Nowadays, I figure most political news have been planted to distract from something else, entrench the factions, or both. Hell, I wonder what the German government will do now that Germany lost the semi-final match against Italy and people are starting to notice their surroundings again.

As for flag burning, I'd neither want to burn a flag nor forbid anyone from doing so, as I think it's an action of stupidity that nevertheless doesn't harm anyone, so give the idiots something to do.

With gay marriage, I'm ultra-traditional. I figure marriage to be the union between a loving man and woman of the same ethnicity. None of that mulatto crap, here. Tradition!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 4:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Regina said...

Hello Barry,

I concur with you entirely on both issues (non-issues) and like the way m.g. tarquini responded.

You hit the nail on the head when you site that heterosexuality is just more common.

As Sandra Ruttan said, "People are afraid of what they don't understand." I like the imagery that loving, committed couples are the molecules that make society strong.

Flag-burners are cranks. Why give them so much attention by banning it? Just completely ignore the incredibly few people that decide to do this with their time.

All the best,
Regina Keane

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 2:08:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea at Lochthyme said...

I agree with you Barry. The only reason these issues are on the forefront is because they are hot button issues and will distract voters from the real issues. They are hoping you won't notice the mess in Iraq, the school funding issues and numerous other issues that really should be the news of the day. I think gay marriages should be legal and flag burning should be legal. Aren't we supposed to be a free country with freedom of speech? Then shouldn't we be able to burn the flag if we want to? Not that I ever would but... As for gay marriage shouldn't two committed adults be able to get married regardless of whether it is a man & woman or not? As Barry said: "Gay marriage: some people approach this issue from a religious perspective. I can't argue with them. If your position is, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," there's nothing to discuss." But since the majority of people against gay marriage seem to be coming from a religious perspective....then if you ban gay marriages aren't you forcing your religious views on everyone? Church and state needs to be kept separate. I stongly support a persons right to their own religious beliefs but don't think they should be forced onto other people.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 5:54:00 PM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Barry, what's with the comment moderation? It kinda puts a damper on dialogue when we don’t know what really being said. When the majority of the posts support gay marriage, how do I know that is actually the majority or simply those you let through? Did someone get nasty?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger "My Point" said...

Well will agree to this much (OUCH)we are leaderless. Sadly!! Both sides of the isle. Relection and power!! Disgusting.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 7:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Regina said...

Dear Barry,

I concur with you completely. Heterosexuality is just more common. How can anyone be their best self if they are not, well, themselves? It's nice imagery to call loving, committed couples "molecules" that make society strong.

I agree with m.g. tarquini's response that these are non-issues. And with Sandra Ruttan that people are afraid of what they don't understand.

Flag-burners are cranks and should just be ignored. The very few people that decide to burn the flag with their free time should be given no attention at all.

All the best,
Regina Keane

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:46:00 PM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

Barry, what's with the comment moderation? It kinda puts a damper on dialogue when we don’t know what really being said.

jh, I don't speak for Barry, but theere have been a couple of trolls who've driven by, spewed a lot of random filth that didn't even bear on the issue at hand, then left. I don't think Barry is censoring disagreement, just random vandalism.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 5:41:00 AM  
Blogger "My Point" said...

I'll try this the JH. I believe marriage should be between a man and a women. I believe flag burning is wrong, unless it is done in the proper context.

I won't expand on on my religous reasons,I because I think Barry hit on a larger point.We have very few leaders running the country. Thats even more scarier. Look at all the contenders for the 08 election.Which one do you trust? Me absolutly none. On either side of the isle.

Time for leaders to stand up like the got a pair. I don't see it hapening.08 will be the biterest of them all.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 6:02:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

I think one of the unfortunate elements or the gay marriage debate is that there are essentially two things being debated, but they are discussed as if they were one.

Specifically, there is a pair of elements to marriage: the legal standing it confers on those who enter the covenant in the eyes of society; and the religious connotations it confers on the participants in the view of others of the same faith.

From what I can discern, the vast majority of homosexuals who want to be married want equality before the law, not equality in someone else’s religion. They aspire to be treated with equanimity by SOCIETY, not by a church or synagogue or mosque to which they do not belong, and to which they do not wish to. As long as the word “marriage” is used to define both the civil and religious aspects of a union between two consenting adults, confusion and disagreement will reign.

My suggested solution is as follows:
1. Get government out of the marriage business altogether. Government’s only role in the process should be to regulate civil affairs, and it should therefore only be concerned with providing licenses and rights associated with civil unions. That means that all “marriages” (defined as only the LEGAL binding of two adults) become civil unions, whether between a man and a woman, two men or two women.
2. Make the religious aspect of marriage a separate layer; one in which the people involved can choose to participate or to bypass. Religious organizations would then have the wholly legal right to choose to whom they grant rights of “marriage” within their faith, and, as private organizations, could exclude people from those rights as they so choose, based on their beliefs.

What this solution provides is the following:
• A level playing field in the eyes of the law for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Gays and lesbians would be given 100% of the same legal rights of union that heterosexuals enjoy, up to, and including the name: civil union. (In other words, there would be no government-sanctioned “marriage” for heterosexuals, but only “civil union” for homosexuals, as is currently advocated by some.)
• A separate, spiritual layer that avoids the pitfall of anyone practicing a faith that prohibits homosexual marriage from having to sanction that union in the context of their religion.

Under such a solution, I’m sure that there would still be people who would protest that marriage should only be between one man and one woman based on whatever faith they practice (despite, for instance, ample evidence of polygamy in The Bible) or that they shouldn’t have to have their right to “marriage” reduced to simply a right to “civil union.”

The nice thing about this answer, however, is that no one has to have their legal rights abridged because of the particular beliefs of someone else whose religion they do not share. Meanwhile, “marriage” can be defined however one wants within the context of each faith, as it will only affect those who practice it. Finally, any protest by those currently married who don’t want to be legally defined as joined in civil union and marriage separately, neatly counters the argument that civil union and marriage are already equal today, when they are clearly not.

Each particular faith-centric definition of “marriage” would be no one’s business outside the faith, just as it would be no business of any religious practitioner to try and define “marriage” for others outside of that religion.

Maybe THAT would take some of the emotion out of it. What do you think?

Best,
Paul

Thursday, July 06, 2006 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

ZPD, I'm no expert on Valery Plame, but I think it's fair to say the situation is a little murky. She was working at Langley; I'm not even sure she was under cover, let alone a NOC (nonofficial cover), as some people claimed. My sense is that if she was outed, it was to undermine Joe Wilson's credibility by suggesting he got his Niger assignment through his wife rather than because of his expertise. In their zeal, Cheney, Libby, and Rove probably lost sight of the fact that their method of undermining Wilson's credibility might out a CIA officer. Afterward, they lied about it, which seems to me to be this administration's default setting. Regardless, I think it would help foster useful debate here if we all tried to hold back on describing government officials as "scum" and the like, and focus on substance instead.

Tom S, I agree that there are many individual arrangements that can strengthen society and raise healthy kids. But unlike, say, kibbutz style collectivism, which is rare, marriage is the norm, and that's why I describe it as a fundamental building block. Collectives could go away with little overall effect on society, but if marriage were to disappear, the effects would be enormous.

And I agree that what really threatens marriage is... divorce! Could anything be more obvious, except to certain policymakers?

PBI, thanks for posting the Bennett/Steward exchange. I hadn't heard it, but IMO it's spot-on. I think your proposal to get government out of the "marriage" business, and grant only civil unions, instead, leaving marriage to religions, is insightful, elegant, and sensible. But at this point, we're so used to thinking of the unit in question as a marriage without regard to religion that I don't think it'll fly. We'll see...

Law Dawg, thanks for the link. Sounds like good news...

JH, I don't understand your comments... perhaps because you've provided no foundation?

Aside here, everyone: I've never studied rhetoric, so I'm learning as I go, but it seems to me that simply stating an opinion or conclusion without foundation or evidence -- that is, without your reasons why -- neither enlightens or persuades. I think we should all get into the habit of thinking of our opinions as arguments or topic sentences, to be followed by a phrase beginning with "because."

So JH: "Barry, in reading the posts, this has to be the scariest blog you’ve done yet, because..."

"If these posts reflect the feelings of our country, God help us, because..."

What comes after the "because" requires a lot more thought, reflection, and other effort than what came before it. It's also much more valuable.

As for, "Sandra, because I don’t believe gay marriage is right, I’m not enlightened?"

Within limits, my opinion of someone as either enlightened or unenlightened will have much less to do with what comes before the because than with what comes after. In this sense, JH, you've given me little basis by which to judge.

Joe, thanks for stopping by; checked out your blog and it sounds like the tour is off to a fantastic start. Keep it up my friend.

Patrick, I like your subversive comment about "mulatto crap..." I agree that opponents of gay marriage haven't adequately distinguished their stance from "separate but equal." I'll go further: unless you can logically distinguish discrimination against gays from separate from equal, either you have to argue that federal courts must address the issue and cannot leave it to the states because a Constitutional question (14th amendment) is involved; or you have to argue that Brown v Board of Education was wrongly decided and the Supreme court should have left separate but equal to the states.

A note on the new comment moderation: yes, I do seem to have attracted the attention of an internet troll. He's been posting here for a while under a variety of names, and I finally got tired of deleting his comments, which JD aptly described as vandalism. I already read all the comments that are left here, so moderating doesn't create any additional work for me; just means there will sometimes be a delay before a comment gets posted. As I think you can see, I don't censor seriously-intended commentary.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Divorce rates are sky-high, so I figure gay marriage can only help lower the divorce rate.

Any ass who would burn a flag has to live with the fact that they are a tool, and that should be punishment enough.

I passed by a fancy-pants boutique the other day that had a flag dress. This pissed me off, but I don't think the Senate should ban flag clothing. Uh-oh, best not to give the Senate any ideas on how to further waste our time and money.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 4:16:00 PM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

I finally got tired of deleting his comments, which JD aptly described as vandalism.

Credit where credit is due: I think Barry used the term first. I just stole it.

Friday, July 07, 2006 5:55:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

JD, if I used the term "vandalism" first... well, no wonder I thought your use was apt... ;-)

BTW, here's an interesting and, I think, level-headed piece about who "outed" Valrery Plame and why:

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/0703nj1.htm

-- Barry

Friday, July 07, 2006 2:45:00 PM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Barry, I thought my comment about the blog being scarry was very clear. It appears almost everyone writing (at least those that clear the censor)are pro gay marriage, think it is normal, and that they are enlightend because of their beliefs. It is scary because part of the gay agenda to make thier behavior seem normal. I don't need to clarify or justify my views, and I am certainly not going to waste time trying to change anyone's opinion on this topic.

I sometimes get the feeling reading some of these posts that people are writing not that which they really feel, but that which they think will gain your approval and a nice reply.

Friday, July 07, 2006 4:57:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

JH, you suggest that I'm censoring comments that are against gay marriage. You mean all the ones I receive except for yours?

Your comment that my blog entry scared you was clear; it was the reason for your fear that you kept mysterious. You've partially clarified that now, but I'm not sure I understand any better... What do you mean by "the gay agenda"? I don't know what that would be, but as for gay behavior being normal... well, isn't it? Across history, across cultures, it seems about as normal among our species as left-handedness. Am I missing something?

I wish I were powerful enough so that people might want to publicly distort their views to gain my approval, but alas, it isn't so. So another possibility you might want to consider, but which will doubtless be less comfortable for you, is that... these people are stating their views honestly? Just a thought.

You say "I am certainly not going to waste time trying to change anyone's opinion on this topic." JH, if what you've posted so far is what passes for argument for you, you are indeed wasting time.

Saturday, July 08, 2006 3:49:00 AM  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

"Sandra, because I don’t believe gay marriage is right, I’m not enlightened?"

I had a response all typed up the other night and then there was a brutal storm and we lost internet (main server struck by lightning).

My comment referenced a 'whole society' and perhaps it could have been better worded, but the truth is that in the grand scheme of priorities, I think it is rather unenlightened for collective groups to invest so much energy fighting gay marriage when there are kids starving, for example. I did my practicum at a school where they maintained a food bank on site, we monitored the kids we knew weren't getting breakfast and provided them with something to eat.

I won't delve into my views on gay marriage because they are complex, not nearly as simple as 'for' or 'against'. In some cases, I'm completely opposed to a heterosexual marriage, if you want the honest truth. But unless I know the person is an abuser or doing something to endanger the other person in the relationship, I'm just not interested in who people choose to be involved with.

I will address this specifically (in my mind) to the people I personally know who campaign against gay marriage - the overwhelming majority of them don't know anyone who's gay. I do. The majority of them display prejudices based on ignorance, like the one who told me all gay people ever think about is sex. Really? You learned that from all 0 gay people you know personally? I know where they learned that - it was preached at them by a minister.

And because of my background, as a Bible school grad, as someone who worked in the ministry for years, I'm quite prepared to say that the people I personally know who cast judgments based on ignorance and second-hand information dispensed from a religious leader aren't enlightened. They're manipulated.

It doesn't matter to me if you disagree with my position. But I think it's sad that I know myself so many people who will invest hours ranting against these horrid sins and turn a blind eye to abuse, neglect, poverty and prejudice. One of the people I personally know who preaches against homosexuality also preaches from the same pulpit that if a woman is beaten, it's her responsibility to submit to her husband and stay.

I have no respect for that position at all, and I can think of far more accurate, less polite terms to use than 'unenlightened'.

And, sorry to say it jh, but I couldn't care less if Barry disagreed with me on something. I mean, he's a nice guy, very intelligent (as is evidenced by his blog) and I have nothing against him. But if you think for a second that I would bend my view just to have Barry pat me on the head and say, "Good Sandra" then you don't know me. There are times I respectfully disagree, and that's one of the things that's great about this blog - alternate viewpoints can be discussed with intelligence, without tempers flaring.

I think one of the reasons you'll find people have little patience to address your posts on this matter is that when you post things accusing the blog of being 'scary' and twist peoples words to make it sound like they're putting a label on you (as you did with mine) and then say, "I don't need to clarify or justify my views, and I am certainly not going to waste time trying to change anyone's opinion on this topic," well, there's no point having a reasoned, adult conversation with you, is there? You've made it clear that you have your position, you're entrenched in it, and because we don't agree we must all be falling at Barry's feet trying to win his approval.

Which is just ignorant. If you're here to discuss, then discuss. If you can provide an argument for your position that is based on reason instead of name-calling and judgment, do so.

This goes to the heart of my problem with the people I know. I love them as people, I don't have to agree with them about everything (and I certainly don't) but hearing, "Gay marriage is wrong just because it's wrong and I don't have to defend myself to you," - maybe not, but don't ask me to offer you one iota of credibility and respect for your position then.

Saturday, July 08, 2006 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

jh from toledo said...

Barry, I thought my comment about the blog being scarry was very clear. It appears almost everyone writing (at least those that clear the censor)are pro gay marriage, think it is normal, and that they are enlightend because of their beliefs. It is scary because part of the gay agenda to make thier behavior seem normal.


"Gay agnda?" Is that the one promulgated by the Secret Cabal of Gay Elders?

It must be horrible to live with this kind of paranoia all the time.

I don't need to clarify or justify my views, and I am certainly not going to waste time trying to change anyone's opinion on this topic.

Okey-doke. Well, thanks for dropping by and sharing this opinion you're not willing to argue in favor of. It's been real useful.

I sometimes get the feeling reading some of these posts that people are writing not that which they really feel, but that which they think will gain your approval and a nice reply.

Yep, you figured it out. None of us hold any sincere beliefs of our own, we're just here to suck up to Barry. It's becuase he has nice hair, you know.

Do I get my cookie now, Barry?

Saturday, July 08, 2006 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

JH wrote: and that they are enlightend because of their beliefs.

JH makes a very valid point here. I too often (my wife insists) assume that opinions I disagree with are unenlightened (i.e., tree-huggers on war, for instance). And when it comes to gay marriage, I find it inconceivable that this (or any) government would seek to prohibit it via constitutional amendments (or otherwise). I simply find any opinion other than "come on already, it's 2006" neanderthalish. You know, the way most of yous feel I am with the war, affirmative action and the designated hitter rule/interleague play/wildcards.

That said, my wife and JH are both right ... people on the "other side of any fence" can certainly be as passionate (and intelligent) about their beliefs as each and every one of us. While I don't "get it" regarding marriage being sanctified, etc., I have to assume that people with beliefs like JH don't "get it" with my acceptance of gays across the board (and with an equal amount of amazement).

To be fair, I didn't read all the way from the top down ... I'm just catching up (i'm at work ... working hard, obviously).

For the record, I'm pro gay anything and very much against burning the flag. I don't think flag burners should be nuked ... but a nice fine would be nice ... say a few hundred bucks (to increase with recidivism) toward something useful (but let's not debate what that might be) ...

Saturday, July 08, 2006 2:41:00 PM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

Personally I try and coordinante every major decision in my life with Barry so I can act in accordance with his wishes. Its hell for scheduling but oh-so-worth-it when he gives me that wry smile I have come to love from my master.

It also saves valuable brain cells, seeing that I no longer have to think for myself. It was damn tiring.

So Barry, do I have an opinion on this issue?

Sunday, July 09, 2006 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Charlie, good to see you back here! If you hadn't shown up, I might be accused of censoring views that occasionally differ from my own...

You're right that it's an all too common mistake to accuse people of different opinions of being unenlightened or worse. But as I noted above, I think JH has attracted the moniker less because of his opinion than because of an apparent reluctance to provide a foundation for it.

And JH, as the irritated comments above demonstrate, you've done the same thing that upset you. Rather than accusing people who don't agree with you of being unenlightened, you've accused them of distorting their true beliefs. I don't see much difference.

Law Dawg, you will have an opinion when I permit it, and no sooner. Does that even need to be said?

Okay, kidding aside, I think we'd all do well to assume that the opinions expressed in this forum are honestly held, even if we disagree with them. That'll help us respectfully ask and respond to those "because" questions, which ought to get us a little closer to the heart of the matter. Otherwise, what's the point?

:-)
Barry

Sunday, July 09, 2006 9:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

Barry wrote: But as I noted above, I think JH has attracted the moniker less because of his opinion than because of an apparent reluctance to provide a foundation for it.

Yeah, but ... if you really don't buy into the opposing side on a faith based argument ... i think we have to accept that (not agree, but accept his decision not to debate or lay a foundation). I, for one, could never accept a faith based argument because I'm an atheist ... okay, an overweight one ... but, as my wife loves to point out, "that doesn't mean you (I/we) have the answer."

Sunday, July 09, 2006 9:58:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Wow, seems I struck a nerve.

"What do you mean by "the gay agenda"? I don't know what that would be, but as for gay behavior being normal... well, isn't it? Across history, across cultures, it seems about as normal among our species as left-handedness. Am I missing something?"

Barry, that’s your argument for being “normal” because its been done through-out history? Does that make serial killers and pedophiles normal because we always had them? If this is indeed normal, then I would assume you would have no problem if everone embraced this "normal" behavior? It would sure make parking easier as the race died off from this "normal" behavior.

"I wish I were powerful enough so that people might want to publicly distort their views to gain my approval, but alas, it isn't so. So another possibility you might want to consider, but which will doubtless be less comfortable for you, is that... these people are stating their views honestly? Just a thought."

As I said, if this gay behavior is so univerally approved of and considered normal, then I stand by my first statement. That is indeed scary and does make me uncomfortable. What do you tell your kids when you see two men kissing and holding hands in the public park? That it is normal warm and fuzzy? That when you grow up, you too can live happly ever after with male or female...or even a goat? After all Barry, people have lived with animals for years, must be normal.

"You say "I am certainly not going to waste time trying to change anyone's opinion on this topic." JH, if what you've posted so far is what passes for argument for you, you are indeed wasting time."

Barry, slow down and read again. I just said I wasn't going to argue the point and then you accuse me of poor arguments???? You can't have it both ways.

"It doesn't matter to me if you disagree with my position. But I think it's sad that I know myself so many people who will invest hours ranting against these horrid sins and turn a blind eye to abuse, neglect, poverty and prejudice. One of the people I personally know who preaches against homosexuality also preaches from the same pulpit that if a woman is beaten, it's her responsibility to submit to her husband and stay."

Sandra, if there are always more important things to do, or talk about, then why does Barry have a blog? That sounds like the citizen who stop by the cop for a traffic violation ask "don't you have something more important to do than stop good citizens?" Perhaps you can tell us the most important thing and then we will only discuss that. Just because someone may be an idiot in other areas, doesn't mean he might be correct in another. Look sharp JD, I just gave you a great one liner.

"And JH, as the irritated comments above demonstrate, you've done the same thing that upset you. Rather than accusing people who don't agree with you of being unenlightened, you've accused them of distorting their true beliefs. I don't see much difference."

Barry, good point, and I apologize for that comment. As I mention to JD below, I do believe people are writing what they feel. It still stikes me as odd that everyone who writes generally agrees with you.

"JH, you suggest that I'm censoring comments that are against gay marriage. You mean all the ones I receive except for yours?"

Again, how do we know? Maybe I want to believe this because I can't believe the alternative, that I'm the only narrow minded, unenlighted person left.

"It must be horrible to live with this kind of paranoia all the time."

What paranoia? I looked up the defination of paranoia; "Extreme, irrational distrust of others".
Believe me JD, I don't distrust you, I really do think you are exactly as you portray yourself. You really don't think that gays are trying desperately to make their behavior socially exceptable? Seems to be working.

By the way, who told you about the "Secret Cabal of Gay Elders"?

All in all, there is always something more important to talk about, work on, send money to, etc. Does that mean Congress should only work on one thing at a time? Just because it is not the top issue, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be address.

Monday, July 10, 2006 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

JH said:

"Wow, seems I struck a nerve."

You could say that. "Wow, I've irritated people by suggesting that they're liars and suck-ups" would be a more modest way to put it.

JH, I can't figure out what your argument is. First you said "It is scary because part of the gay agenda to make thier behavior seem normal." Now you seem to acknowledge that homosexuality is normal, but you compare it to serial killing, pedophilia, and bestiality.

Help me understand:

1) Do you think homosexuality is normal or abnormal?

2) In what ways do you think homosexuality is akin to serial killing, pedophilia, and bestiality? That they are all statistically normal isn't enough -- as I said, so is left handedness. My point is that homosexuality is as statistically normal and innocuous as left handedness. You seem to be saying that homosexuality is as statistically normal and abhorrent as the items to which you compare it. It seems self evident to me that homosexuality is as innocuous as left handedness, but you seem to sense something about it makes it akin to serial killing etc. Can you elaborate on the connection you see?

Maybe what you're saying is, "normal isn't enough," or "normal isn't relevant." Okay, let's leave the concept out -- even though you introduced the term here. But now you've lost your "homosexuality is bad because it's not normal" argument... I guess in favor of serial killing etc?

Let's try to get to the HOTM here:

"As I said, if this gay behavior is so univerally approved of and considered normal... that is indeed scary and does make me uncomfortable."

3) Why do you find homosexuality "scary?" Why does it make you "uncomfortable?" (Hint: your answer would be an argument).

"What do you tell your kids when you see two men kissing and holding hands in the public park?"

I'd try, "most people are heterosexual, some are homosexual. We're born the way we are. The main thing is to love and be committed to your spouse, like mommy and I are to each other."

4) What consequences are you afraid would flow from my proposed response?

5) How would you respond differently?

Thanks,

Barry

Monday, July 10, 2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

No, Barry, I didn’t say homosexuality was normal, you did. Your argument seemed to imply that because it has been done through out the ages it becomes acceptable and normal. Since pedophiles and serial killers (not to mention sheep lovers) have done their deeds through out the ages, they must also by your definition (not mine) be normal.

First, I would hope that my children didn’t see such a sight. However, I would explain to them that it is not their fault, or a sin that they are homosexual. The sin is in the act.

I don’t find homosexuality to be scary. What I find scary is people trying to pretend that it is an acceptable and perfectly normal alternative life style.

Monday, July 10, 2006 5:08:00 PM  
Blogger PBI said...

jh,

I'm curious about what exactly the consequences are of accepting that homosexuals are "normal," as long as any sexual relationship that occurs between two men or two women takes place between consenting adults. (By the way, this is why the "marrying a goat" argument is inoperable; goats are not consenting adults.) How does what occurs between two consenting adults affect YOU? Does the air quality drop? Does unemployment rise? Do heterosexual marriages dissolve because husbands and wives are suddenly afflicted with the temptation to "become gay"?

Or is it simply a matter of you feeling vaguely uncomfortable because somewhere, someday, someone of the same sex might find you attractive?

In short, what I'm looking for is a basis for your concern that's rooted not in religion, but actual real-world consequences, so that those of us who might not share a faith that prohibits homosexuality can understand all the fuss.

Why exaclty is this something that we really need to be worried about? And, for the sake of argument if I grant you that it is, where does gay marriage fit in the priority list of the problems facing America? Ahead or behind climate change? Before or after world hunger? Leading or trailing the War in Iraq/North Korea's nukes/Iran's burgeoning arsenal/the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan? Preceding or following health care/the federal deficit/the trade gap? Where does it rank, if it's such a crisis?

Finally, do you actually KNOW any gay people?

Paul

Monday, July 10, 2006 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alan D. said...

“…this isn’t really about the hunting, is it?”

There I was, reading “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” – attempting to better my repulsive writing skills, and suppose what catches my eye but a certain book, patiently waiting for me to finish my current title. ‘Well, maybe just a page.’ (Read next with a Charlton Hesston tenor) Damn you Mr. Eisler; damn you to hell! Two days, with little sleep, later and I am just getting back to my previous book, having completely forgotten all that stuff about commas and full stops. But I must say the Panda on the cover now has a more sinister look.

Another great book Barry. When is the next one coming along? :->

Flag burning – not really an epidemic where I am sitting. But frequency should not be a determinant of acceptability, and social acceptance based on personal or group comfort should not be a basis for legality. That being said I have to apply my golden rule – does flag burning physically harm anyone or infringe on anyone’s personal rights. Short answer – no. It is an extension of freedom of speech and therefore can’t be infringed upon.

To put it bluntly, only a clueless asshole or a professed enemy of this country (or both) would burn and/or defile my flag. Would it make me want to have a little wall-to-wall counseling with the perpetrators should I encounter such a demonstration – yes!

Gay marriage – will try to keep this short. Again, the golden rule – harms or infringes – no. Civil marriage and religious marriage are two different subjects. While I do not personally agree with, nor think homosexuality natural, it has no bearing on whether homosexuals should be aloud to be recognized, by law, as legal partners. It is a slippery slope to tread when one tries to turn religious doctrine into law.

The jury is still out for me on same sex partners being able to adopt. It bears the need of much thought. But, I am out of beer so must stop thinking until I can make a supply run.

Alan D.

Monday, July 10, 2006 8:46:00 PM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

JH-

I can't equate homosexuals and serial killers on a "moral" or "right" level. Sorry. One involves two consenting people doing some, in my eyes, pretty strange stuff but it doesn't involve the abrogation of civil rights nor is it a forced behavior. Serial killing involves one human taking away every civil right another has through violence. One is definitely not consenting to the act. Pedophilia is the same. As is sheep loving.

As for whether it is "normal" or not, that is a different question. A behavior is not "normal" because it is statistically notable. It is "normal" because a society says its normal. End of story, unless we begin adding deification, which again relegates it to the paragraph above (moral). Several thousand years ago mass murder was normal in certain societies (Aztec, Toltec, etc.). I mean mass murder on a grand scale, and all done in public (not hidden from view like in Nazi Germany, USSR, etc.). That was "normal." Do you find it so today? OTOH, homosexuality is considered fairly normal in today's society, if not quite cracking the majority : http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/prej_prev.html Homosexuals do not have to live in underground communties. In fact, they practically have their own TV channel (Bravo). That would seem to make it at least tolerated, if not 100% accepted.

Normality is defined by societal mores, nothing more. But does that make it "moral?" Good question. I'm curious as to your answer.

You claim homosexuality is a sin. That makes it a religious argument, which has no basis in logic. Faith and logic are mutually exclusive. This is not an argument.

But let's use your criteria for a moment. I will assume that the only person you have looked at and acted on sexually is your wife, because to do otherwise is a sin (Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."). The mere lusting after another woman is a sin (Lust is sin (Matthew 5:28) and sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28 NKJV). According to the Bible, when we entertain fantasies through pornography, masturbation, voyeurism, adultery, fornication, phone sex, etc., we sin with our minds. According to Jesus, that's the same as committing the act.)

Are you still going to play the sin card? Because you have committed one of the seven deadly sins, and I bet you do it all the time. Just like every other human being on the planet. Remember that thing about throwing the first stone......?

At the end of the day I could give a fart in the wind what people do with each other in their home. That's their business. I leave them alone. And they should leave me alone as well.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Wow. I'm late to the party and I find law dawg's said it all for me.

Save's me a heap of responding to our friend JH.

Thanks, law dawg. I owe you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

Law Dawg wrote: The jury is still out for me on same sex partners being able to adopt. It bears the need of much thought.

This one confused me as much as JH's arguments against homoxexuality being normal ... but again, I'll admit there's no monopoly on "enlightenment" from either side of this issue.

I'm am curious why the jury is out on adoption, though. I do think if the constitutional amendment was used in reverse (to support gay marriages), it might put an end to the issue of gays adopting (which would be very fine wtih me). I guess the statistics side with far too many straight people doing terrible jobs of parenting for me to want them to hold onto the adoption monopoloy.

JH, as much as I want to defend your right to not debate your arguments, I have to say they seem pretty weak. I'll accept they are faith based ... but I have to tell you that's one of the reasons I'm an atheist. All religions appear to be way too selective when it comes to defining morality and the like. The argument about consenting adults is a very strong one. And unless you believe (because of your faith) that two consenting adults kissing in pulbic (never mind behind closed doors) is somehow harmful to others, I do think you do need to present a position supporting it other than tossing "normal" around like a nurf football. If your faith precludes you from acceping gays, I respect that (but do feel sorry for you and your faith). If it isn't your faith, why don't you accept it?

On the flag burning stuff ... well, I'm just a dinosaur ... while I agree people who engage in it are either assholes or enemies, why have veterans who served their country put up with it? I guess if a vet sees it and doesn't mind, that's cool. If he decides to break the burner's face, that's cool, too. If the law gets involved, I'd like to see a fine of some kind (me being a curmodgeon, i guess), but I don't get the constitutional amendments on anything but securing the rights of gays, not precluding them.

Christ, my old bleeding heart friends will think I've rejoined the movement, won't they?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

Okay, I’ll take them as they come. For some reason, I can’t copy and paste today, so I will try to respond so that it can be followed.

Pbi, yes, I do know some gay people. Would you believe that some of my best friends… never mind. Ever wonder why they always want you to know they are gay. Has any heterosexual ever come up to you made it a point to tell you they were heterosexual? I wonder why that is.

I would hope both male and females would find me attractive. Why would that bother me? I can certainly recognize a good-looking guy. Barry’s kinda cute.

Why can’t my answers be rooted in religion? Why is that an automatic turn off for so many people? Besides in a very very early post, only one person (can’t remember who) is allowed to quote the bible on this blog.

I try not to rank things like this, I didn’t bring up the subject, Barry did.

Alan di, a voice of reason, where did you come from?

Law dawg:

Doesn’t anyone read the statements made. Barry’s argument was that since it has been around since the beginning of time, then it must be okay. I mentioned that serial killings and pedophilia have also been around since the beginning of time, ergo, they must also be okay. Not my argument, Barrys.

I must confess that I am guided in a lot of my thinking based on Church teachings, common sense, and practicality. I happen to think that the main purpose of sex is to continue the race, not spread disease.

Copy is now working:

“You claim homosexuality is a sin. That makes it a religious argument, which has no basis in logic. Faith and logic are mutually exclusive. This is not an argument.”

I didn’t know that. There’s no logic in the Ten Commandments? I can covet my neighbor’s wife? Once again I’m not allowed to use religion to answer questions. Why is that again?

“But let's use your criteria for a moment. I will assume that the only person you have looked at and acted on sexually is your wife, because to do otherwise is a sin (Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."). The mere lusting after another woman is a sin (Lust is sin (Matthew 5:28) and sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28 NKJV). According to the Bible, when we entertain fantasies through pornography, masturbation, voyeurism, adultery, fornication, phone sex, etc., we sin with our minds. According to Jesus, that's the same as committing the act.)”

Barry, why is everyone else allowed to quote the bible except the only one that apparently believes in it? Is that fair?

“Are you still going to play the sin card? Because you have committed one of the seven deadly sins, and I bet you do it all the time. Just like every other human being on the planet. Remember that thing about throwing the first stone......?”

Sorry, missing your point here. Did I say I was without sin? Because I might (might) sin, does that mean I can’t recognize it as a sin, or that because I commit it, it is now okay?

“At the end of the day I could give a fart in the wind what people do with each other in their home. That's their business. I leave them alone. And they should leave me alone as well.”

Thank you, my point as well! Keep it in the closet where it belongs. Don’t push your life style on my children in school, in the scouts, on the news, in the movies, etc, and don’t try to make me believe that it is normal and worth making a mockery of the marriage rite.

David:

Read above.

I was hit by what I think was incite this morning about 0400 hours. Or maybe it was lack of sleep. Please follow along.

First off, I have to go back to something Barry said:

“I'd try, "most people are heterosexual, some are homosexual. We're born the way we are. The main thing is to love and be committed to your spouse, like mommy and I are to each other."”

You would really and truly say this to your child? I’m sorry, but the only response I could think of was “gag me with a spoon”. I know, very juvenile and not even an attempt at an argument, but I was stumped on this one.

Any way, the fact that the gay right movement is a powerful movement with an agenda is not paranoia, but fact. Consider this example:

The recent sex scandal in the Church with the priests was covered extensively by the mainstream press. If you asked Joe Blow on the street what the problem was with the priests he would tell you it was because all those so and so priests were all pedophiles. Based on what coverage he heard, that would be the correct answer.

In fact, all of the documented cases were not pedophilia, but homosexuality. There were no young children involved for anyone to either define it, or charge it as pedophilia. Yet, that is what the press would have you believe. Why? Because pedophila is not yet (Barry please don’t ask your readers, leave me with some hope) socially acceptable, while homosexuality apparently is. We don’t want to upset any gays, they might strike, march, pout, etc. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about pedophiles marching on St. Patrick’s yet.

Another example is how Hollywood pushes the gay agenda. Ever notice how cute and funny gay people are in the movies and on TV? Would that cowboy movie (stone mountain, cold stone mountain, homo on the range, whatever it was called) have been nominated if it didn’t have the gay theme? It certainly wasn’t that good of a movie.

Anyway thinking about the above made me realize something and made me feel bad. Many of you are writers. Like politicians you must be careful in whom you insult and what you say. While it is acceptable to bash Bush, the Bible, the Church, congress, the war, the right to life, etc., it could come back to haunt you in sales to offend the wrong group. I remember Mel Gibson a few years ago got in hot soup in a Playboy (oh nuts, law dawg you caught me) interview when he said something about gays. While I have the freedom, being no named, of saying what I feel, you have no such freedom. You must stay PC in these areas.

Anyway, love to hear from you all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 3:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alan D. said...

You see that LD? Charlie just paid you one hell-uv-a compliment. :-> Charlie, it was I, Alan D. (the strikingly handsome one) who should be attributed with the adoption statement. "The jury is out" means I have not worked it through to completetion. I guess some of us are slower than others.

I will expound on issues I have with adoption when I have a little more time. I just didn't want LD to get a big head. After all, we can't all be Navy. ;->

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 4:58:00 PM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

"JH, as much as I want to defend your right to not debate your arguments, I have to say they seem pretty weak. I'll accept they are faith based ... but I have to tell you that's one of the reasons I'm an atheist. All religions appear to be way too selective when it comes to defining morality and the like. The argument about consenting adults is a very strong one. And unless you believe (because of your faith) that two consenting adults kissing in pulbic (never mind behind closed doors) is somehow harmful to others, I do think you do need to present a position supporting it other than tossing "normal" around like a nurf football. If your faith precludes you from acceping gays, I respect that (but do feel sorry for you and your faith). If it isn't your faith, why don't you accept it?"

Chalie, I don’t know how to respond to you. One of the reasons you are an atheist is because you don’t want religion to define morality for you? Then who defines it, you? Based on what, television, movies, Barry’s blog? Why is it that so many people are so keen on telling me that they don’t believe in religion, God, and the Bible? I never brought it up that I remember. The same people continually quote the Bible to either prove their point, or prove me wrong. It’s almost like people are trying to prove how progressive they are by their lack of faith. Like the more they sprout it, the more likely they themselves will really believe it.

Strange in your very last line, you name the Son of God.

My faith (am I a Buddhist?) does not hate gays. In fact they are to be loved and respected. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 5:10:00 PM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

First, I would hope that my children didn’t see such a sight. However, I would explain to them that it is not their fault, or a sin that they are homosexual. The sin is in the act.

Actually, when I was just in this situatiion, we really didn't get into a discussion of "the act," just that some poeple love members of the same sex.

You'd really talk about "the act" with children? Gross.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:36:00 PM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

Many of you are writers. Like politicians you must be careful in whom you insult and what you say. While it is acceptable to bash Bush, the Bible, the Church, congress, the war, the right to life, etc., it could come back to haunt you in sales to offend the wrong group.

See Shut up and Sing at my blog.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:44:00 PM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

jh,

Your response does little but make me sad. As for anyone being allowed to quote scripture, why do you always play the victim here? You're allowed to quote scripture, but if that's the only basis for your beliefs, you have to understand that not everyone shares your faith. So, if you plan to implement public policy based on nothing but your religious faith, you have to understand why a pluralistic and secular community might object. Just as you would object to a muslim theocracy, I object to a Christian one. Find your way, pray to your God, I won't stand in your way. You don't believe in homosexual marriage then don't marry one. But if you try to impose your narrow morality on me, then we have a point of contention.

I'm not an atheist, by the way. Based on my experience, I believe there is a God, He just doesn't give a fuck.

As for your comment about "gag me with a spoon," I raised my daughter with just the beliefs you find so repellent and she's turned out OK.

But I've known plenty of people raised in strict Christian households who have not.

Tough to generalize, isn't it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 8:38:00 PM  
Blogger PBI said...

JH,

Well, you neatly didn't answer my question about what exactly we're supposed to fear as a result of gay marriage. Apparently, somebody - or some organization - told you it was "bad," and you have decided that there's no need to question that declaration.

With regard to you're knowing gay people, there are indeed annoying homosexuals whose whole identity is wrapped up in the fact that they are gay. There are also annoying heterosexuals whose whole identity is wrapped in the fact that they are hetero. (Think Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith.) You make a VERY sweeping generalization that all gay people want you to know they are gay; I think you are over broad, and that you know more gay people than you think you do.

In any case, so what? Again, how does somebody letting you know he or she is gay affect you? Does your property value drop? Do you want to leave your wife? Does your car cease to run? Does the grocery store run out of milk?

I asked you not to root your answer in religion, because if religion is the only basis for your statements, then anyone who doesn't share your faith won't follow them. I believe this is law dawg's point: it's not that statements like the commandments can't be logical in and of themselves, it's that starting from a declarative statement that is based in faith rather than fact cannot be the basis for a discussion with someone who doesn't share that faith. Postulates are improvable principles upon which everyone agrees so they can begin talking about something, but if your postulate – “my faith tells me homosexuality is bad in and of itself” - is not accepted by everyone, then anything further you base upon that initial statement doesn't follow. Ergo, it is not logical.

Also, it’s very obvious that you try not to rank things like this. My point in asking you to rank order the place of same sex marriage was to get you to THINK about how much of a problem it really is. Seriously, try and buckle down as a thought exercise for yourself, and see if you can do it. Maybe you can imagine you are the president, and you have issues you’d like to address, but need to prioritize, because you only have limited resources.

Your claim of loving the sinner but hating the sin is a pretty transparent dodge designed to keep you from paying attention to what actually goes on around you. All faiths that prohibit homosexuality have persecuted gays to one extent or another in extremely unloving fashion. (Which, by the way, I believe ties into the need that some gays and lesbians have to declare themselves; they want you to know that they are proud of who they are and don’t feel like they have to take that kind of crap anymore.)

I’m not sure from what news sources you are getting your reporting on the Catholic Church scandal, but your statement that “There were no young children involved for anyone to either define it, or charge it as pedophilia,” is ludicrous. Pedophilia is defined as an adult having sex with a child. A child is defined as anyone of minor age. (There are very few laws that use the term “pedophilia” as a charge, instead, charges are almost always in the form of “sexual abuse of a minor” as they have been in the Catholic Church scandal.) Almost every single act of sexual abuse visited by Catholic priests on their flock was performed by an adult priest on a child under the age of consent. Not only is this documented in police records, to prove it to yourself, just do a time line on the ages of those who have testified against their former priests by subtracting the age they would have been at the time of the incidents they describe from the age at which they testified. Further, there were not only abused boys, but abused girls, too.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association both attest that less than 1% of homosexuals are pedophiles. Simply stated, homosexual men desire sex with men; pedophiles desire sex with children without restriction to gender. Homosexuality and pedophilia are separate and distinct, and your attempt to conflate them – as you did with bestiality – is dishonest. (Again, a child – like a goat – is not a consenting adult.)

I’ll refer you to my original post on this topic. This is not an argument about whether marriage should be between one man and one woman. It is an argument about whether gays are part of the human condition (to which all empirical evidence points) or some kind of fetish. If you choose to blindly accept something you have been told, feel free; just leave those of us who choose not to – and those who would be affected by your “leap of faith” – out of it.

Not everyone needs someone else to tell them right from wrong; treat others as you would have them treat you, and I think you’ll find that it solves most problems you encounter.

Paul

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Alan D. said...

Charlie wrote:
The jury is still out for me on same sex partners being able to adopt. It bears the need of much thought.

This one confused me as much as JH's arguments against homoxexuality being normal ... but again, I'll admit there's no monopoly on "enlightenment" from either side of this issue.




Issues I have with same sex adoption. As an addendum to my previous post, I thought I should clarify as to the ‘why’ for my ‘jury being out’ on same sex adoption.

Applying by ‘golden rule’ (see above post) to this situation, the answer is ‘potentially – yes’ This goes beyond the ‘two consenting adults’ argument and moves to a child who has been given over to the state for custodial care and as the child’s guardian the state is responsible to act in the child’s best interest.

According to studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, persons self-identified as homosexual in comparison to the general public had almost double the rate of suicidal ideation or attempts, substance abuse problems and psychological disorders. This statistic gives me pause when thinking of a stable, safe environment required for a child to thrive.

What of the effects of growing up with the stigma of have homosexual parents in today’s society?

What long term negative effects will there be, depriving the child of a natural environment lead by a mother and father?

Those are a few of the points rolling around in my head. But, even with those listed, is having no parents at all better than having homosexual parents? I think not; which gives rise to a ‘second preference’ situation where homosexual parents can adopt but heterosexual parents have first choice. Now, tell me that doesn’t create a whole new set of problems. :-> So I am still kicking this around – hence the jury has not reached their verdict. And like I said some of us (i.e. Me) are slower than others.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 9:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

For JH …
One of the reasons you are an atheist is because you don’t want religion to define morality for you?

Bingo … never, ever, ever.

Then who defines it, you? Based on what, television, movies, Barry’s blog?

Me would be the correct answer here. I can handle it. I don’t need the catholic church (I was raised a catholic and chose to ignore it at the very first opportunity—graduation from catholic school—I haven’t been back since) or any other religious institution to make my choices for me. As for Barry’s blog … I’m a political junkie at heart and at times have to take drugs to stop myself from engaging … but I’m probably one of the more contrary opinions to this blog …

Why is it that so many people are so keen on telling me that they don’t believe in religion, God, and the Bible?

I can’t speak for others … for me it’s simply a matter of trying to understand your “hating the sin” … it doesn’t make sense to me at all without your religion (not that it makes sense with it, but at least I can understand why you’re not making sense). Does that makes sense?

It’s almost like people are trying to prove how progressive they are by their lack of faith. Like the more they sprout it, the more likely they themselves will really believe it.

Here’s where my wife would agree with your 2nd sentence above, but she, too, accepts homosexuality without any regard for what you call their “sins”. Now, speaking of sins … I was divorced three times/married a 4th. Does that qualify me for the sinners hall of fame? If so, I go in proudly.

Strange in your very last line, you name the Son of God.

I have several Gods, JH, but none of them are the one I think you speak of. Lombardi is my football God. George V. Higgins my writing God. Angelica Houston, well … that might be a sin. If you’re referring to “Jesus” … I use that name a lot, but I think it might be from habit. I was brought up catholic in a very knockaround household (lots of cursing and using the name in vain stuff). Dad usually prefaced everything directed my way with Jesus Christ (i.e., “Jesus Christ, stop playing those god damned drums.”

Anyway thinking about the above made me realize something and made me feel bad. Many of you are writers. Like politicians you must be careful in whom you insult and what you say. While it is acceptable to bash Bush, the Bible, the Church, congress, the war, the right to life, etc., it could come back to haunt you in sales to offend the wrong group.

JH, I’m one of the very few Bush supporters here (in spite of his constitutional amendments). I don’t think he’s an evil person (like many do) … I don’t think he’s all that articulate, but I do believe the guy is the right man at the right time in the right place (nobody liked Truman very much when he ended his Presidency either). I think we’re forced to take the good with the bad (some of his policies disturb me), but for me the alternative was disastrous regarding terrorism and what we (the United States) would do about it. Living in the great blue state of New York, I have been personally burned by Democratic policies ever since I went legit (yes, there was even more sinning on my part pre getting published). I have little use for slick talking rich Democrats imposing their idea of “fairness” on me and mine.

Me, careful? I’m lots of things, JH, but careful isn’t one of them. I abhor political correctness. I’m not into the Bible or right to life (I'm very pro choice), but I am also very pro war (I make many arguing against you here on this blog cringe on the war, by the way) and I have abandoned the Democratic party until they show some balls again (i.e., my boy, Harry again).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:33:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Many of you are writers. Like politicians you must be careful in whom you insult and what you say. While it is acceptable to bash Bush, the Bible, the Church, congress, the war, the right to life, etc., it could come back to haunt you in sales to offend the wrong group.

I don't know how I missed this, but I thank JD for reposting it.

What this statement says, on its face, is that we can't possibly hold the views we've stated, that we're liars, hoping to please some grand amorphous group of liberal readers who monitor our every post on every political blog.

Not only is this offensive, but anyone who thought this would suffer from over-inflated self-importance.

Anyone who's read me or Mr. Rhoades knows that political correctness is not something that keeps either of us awake at night.

If anything, I worry more about some right wing whackjob hunting me down and making harrassing phone calls to my house. And yes, that's happened. I sent him a picture of my 1911 and he stopped.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:35:00 AM  
Blogger "My Point" said...

Well not much left to be argued , but intresting to see the battle between Secular Progressives and Traditionalist. Gotta love the SP's here. Two questions only. Why the strong defense of the topic? Do you have a agenda?. Why the attack on JH? Is he wrong? Why feel sad for him? One last question, and I mean this literally. I don't mean to be a jerk. If you have no religious views and you have only the belief that we evolved from a fish that crawled out of the pond, being gay is normal, Ok...What happens to society? If your agenda evolves, there will be no one left, unless that to evolves too.
I don't mean to judge, because I don't really care. But I just wonder how population will fare if being gay is "normal". I guess the question of the chicken and the egg comes to mind? Or the birds and the bees.
Listen, I am not "normal", hell I could be a pychologist dream come true. So please don't be angry, I just often wonder if being gay is so normal what will happen to our society's population because even if you do believe that we evolved from fish, then it still takes a boy and a girl to make baby.
Well that was more then two questions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 7:18:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Since I'm avoiding work, I'll try to answer Mr. Point's questions. Of course, I speak for no one other than myself, but here goes.

Why the strong defense? First, amending the Constitution to protect the flag is political grandstanding and won't do a thing to make this a better place to live.

As for the gay issue, I see it as pure civil rights. If that's an agenda, so be it. I don't believe society should have different laws for people based on their sexual orientation any more than I think there should be different laws for people who are left-handed. For me, it's that basic.

You assume that I, as a secular progressive, have no religious beliefs. You could not be more wrong. It's just that my beliefs aren't anyone's business but mine. You might think the world travels about the universe on the back of a turtle. I might think we sprang from the forehead of Marilyn Monroe.

To base public policy, one that applies to all of us, on religious dogma means that one of us is not going to be happy. So, in their wisdom, our forefathers decided that laws should be the product of reasoned debate, not faith, and that reasoned debate can lead to compromise and that's how we all get along. If you base laws on an individual's understanding of God's word, there can be no compromise. To me, that is the death of our peaceful way of settling political disputes.

Evolving from fish? I'd suggest you get a more nuanced grasp of natural selection and then we can talk.

You do hit on the central thesis here, though, and that is, what's normal to you may not be normal to me. That's why we all have to defend the civil rights of those who are not like us, because in the eyes of someone, we are all "the other."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:11:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Oh, I forgot to add, granting homosexuals their civil rights would not, in the least, entice me to have sex with men.

No, not even Barry.

If your sexual orientation is so shaky that you worry that a change in law will change your essential sexual nature, then perhaps that's something you should take up with a licensed therapist.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

I just often wonder if being gay is so normal what will happen to our society's population because even if you do believe that we evolved from fish, then it still takes a boy and a girl to make baby

Somehow me thinks "life will find a way" ...

I love quoting dinosaur movies.

Surely you aren't serious? By my crystal ball war prognostications, the human race will end of its own accord long before it runs out of heterosexuals willing to bump uglies and reproduce.

And, if I'm not mistaken, there are ways to make babies without the actual bumping of uglies.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:21:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

my point,

It’s not a question of anybody “attacking” JH, but rather of refusing to take unsupported statements at face value. We “Secular Progressives” are trying to engage in an actual conversation, but are being dodged repeatedly by “The Traditionalist.” Virtually none of the questions we have asked of JH have been met with any kind of answer that stands up to even minimal scrutiny, when they have been answered at all.

In point of fact, “The Traditionalist” - and now you – are the ones who seem to be doing little besides attacking the messengers, questioning whether we are “moral” or if we condone pedophilia or accept bestiality, or in your case, if we have “an agenda” and whether we are sending the human race down a path to eventual extinction.

(This last position, by the way, strongly seems like a joke, but what the hell, I’ll take it on anyway. The most current estimates put the percentage of gays within the total population at an upper limit of about 7%. That means that fully 93% of the globe’s population is free to procreate like rabbits. The gay proportion of the population is not growing and as far as can be determined does not, and will not, grow. Still worried?)

I can’t speak for others, but my own strong defense of the topic is for the following reasons:
1. Gays/gay marriage is a false flag “issue” used to keep people’s attention away from things that genuinely affect them so the greedy and powerful can take advantage of the blind spot. (Again, how does gay marriage affect you specifically?)
2. Denying loving, consenting adults the same rights as other, loving, consenting adults is un-American. The tyranny of the majority is precisely what the Constitution was designed to prevent.
3. I have gay relatives and gay friends and I would prefer it if they were treated as equals rather than second class citizens. JH questions why gays self-identify and wrap their identities in their sexuality; maybe it would be less of a big deal if other people weren’t already doing that for them, and just treated them like people.

You are correct on one point, and that is that I, at least, have an agenda. My agenda is to minimalize the damage inflicted by the ignorant and self-righteous on others, to encourage people to think for themselves and make decisions based on facts, and to try to get people to treat one another as human beings rather than “Secular Progressives,” or “sinners” or some other convenient, dehumanizing label.

And with that, I will need some help climbing off my soap box, which seems to be a little taller than usual. I’ve got to get back to work.

Paul

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

JH, several people have asked you straightforward questions that would help clarify your argument and you still haven't answered them (I even numbered mine for your ease of reference). Why this reticence? I may be wrong, but it feels as though you're holding back because you're afraid to say what you really think -- which is what you've several times accused other people here of doing.

I can easily distill the anti-amendment argument: "Homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone any more than lefthandedness, so to treat gays differently under the law is discriminatory."

Do you see how this is an argument? Even if you don't agree with it, you can respond. For example, "No, homosexuality isn't like lefthandedness, because...". Or, "no, homosexuality does hurt people, because...". Or, "No, we should treat gays differently under the law, because...".

By contrast, your argument is... what, exactly? Do you not see that, other than some vague religious references, a few contradictory thoughts about what's "normal," and an acknowledgment of a personal aversion (the notion of men kissing or holding hands makes you want to "gag"), you haven't taken a position. If you try answering the questions I numbered above, it would help me understand you better. If you don't answer... well, that would help me understand you, too. And save me from feeling obliged to engage you any further.

David Odeen (My Point): "Ok...What happens to society? If your agenda evolves, there will be no one left, unless that to evolves too... I just often wonder if being gay is so normal what will happen to our society's population because even if you do believe that we evolved from fish, then it still takes a boy and a girl to make baby."

DO, first, can you please define what you mean by "agenda?" Second, what do you mean when you say the "agenda" could "evolve?"

JH, do you see how, although I disagree with him, DO has presented an argument? "We shouldn't treat homosexuality as normal because if we did, everyone could become gay and the human race would die out." DO, I'm paraphrasing and working a little bit in the dark because I don't know quite what you mean by "agenda" and "evolve," so if I've misstated your argument, please correct me.

The assumption in DO's argument is that, with just a little encouragement -- in fact, in the absence of discouragement -- many otherwise heterosexual people would become gay. JH, you seem to share that assumption, in kind if not in degree: "Don’t push your life style on my children in school, in the scouts, on the news, in the movies, etc."

(BTW, who's "pushing a lifestyle?" Who has ever argued that straight people should be gay? The argument is that gays should be treated equally under the law. Is that what you mean by "pushing a lifestyle? If not, what do you mean?)

Perhaps, then, this is part of the HOTM: people with an anti-gay agenda (can I call it that? or is there only a "gay agenda?") believe human sexuality is primarily determined by the environment -- as JH suggests, by what's shown "in school, in the scouts, on the news, in the movies, etc." Whereas people who think homosexuals and heterosexuals should have equal rights believe human sexuality is primarily innate.

(My own view is that, for the most part, we're born with our sexual orientation. But the origins of sexual orientation, although interesting, aren't the real issue here. The issue is whether homosexuality is harmful in a way heterosexuality isn't. And, again, I've yet to see anyone here present any evidence that homosexuality is harmful, although DO has suggested that, if not discouraged, it could lead to the extinction of the human race, and that is, at least, an argument).

JH and DO, I want to test my theory. Do you think if as a child you'd been told in school, scouts, etc. that homosexuality is normal, that some people are gay, some are straight, you would be gay today?

If the answer is no, why do you assume that so many other people -- including, for DO, the entire human race -- are so susceptible?

Alan D, thanks for the kind words; #6 is outlined and I'm looking forward to writing it when the tour's done...

David T, I think you will agree that the "licensed therapist" comment was gratuitous -- especially alongide your otherwise trenchant points. We all get a little irritated in these discussions at times (I know I do), but let's keep trying to keep it civil...

:-)
Barry

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Kirsten Bernard said...

As a South African, looking in on American culture and society and their state of affairs from an outsider's perspective, with what I've learned from news, television, literature, and from friends I have on message boards... it's always puzzled me that so few seem to focus on what appears (to me at least, and to most of the people around me) to be the biggest issue affecting their lives: The US president is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children - and the American people are harping on about trivialities about gay marriage, flag burning, which books should be banned from schools, is Harry Potter Satanic and that sort of thing.

Half the people I talk to on a daily basis online either don't know where Iraq actually is, or don't think it's a huge issue. These people are all usually kids, between 15 and 20 (my age group). It seems clear to me that they're not being exposed to the atrocities of what is going on there. In our newspapers, every single day we have photographs from Iraq showing dead children. As desensitised as I am to violence and death and murder by now... those photos are the only thing that make me want to cry, or throw something or scream at someone.

All the people I see in real life, my family, my friends, can't understand why no one seems to care, why they (Amercians) can't see the biggest issues affecting them, affecting the world.

Maybe I don't know the whole story. In fact, I'm fairly certain I don't - after all, I've never set foot on American soil, I've never actually been out of South Africa and I've lived in the same city my whole life... but somehow... something seems to be so wrong with the whole picture.

I'm glad you're someone who can see it. I admire you for that, and for the fact that you're capable of being so open-minded with regards to the gay-marriage issue.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 2:03:00 AM  
Blogger "My Point" said...

Respectfully speaking, maybe "my point" was less then clear. I will add this. It seems to be an undertone here. I have not put a finger on it completly, but clearly there is anger over the topic. Seems almost Barry if you are upset with people who don't share your opinion. I think JH touched on that. No I don't know him. Your base is set here, do you want different opinions or not? And do they need to only be argued in a way you approve? That seems to be the tone with others too. Not all of America is as well spoke as you Barry. I was day dreaming during school of baseball and apple pie!

Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

The US president is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children

You forgot the Sunami, hurricane Katrina, AIDS, Global Warming ... and I think there was a car accident off the corner last night (58th Street and 21st Avenue) I'm sure you (looking in on our state of affairs) could probably blame on "the US President" ...

Oh, boy (or Jesus) ... it's time for my 12-step non-blogging cycle to begin anew ...

Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:05:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

MP/DO, find me a political or social topic that gets argued without anger in an Internet forum, and I'll buy you a beer...

I see what you mean when you say that I seem to get upset with people who don't share my opinion. What's really happening, though, is that I get irritated with people who won't make a point. People can and should differ with me all they want -- and in fact *I* want that, otherwise these discussions would be dull and pointless. But simply stating an opinion without argument and evidence to back it up is pointless, self-indulgent, and boring. Who cares about someone's opinion? I want to know *why* the person has that opinion. Otherwise instead of comments I could just offer a box to check: agree/disagree.

So when people come here and state an opinion that I don't agree with, I'm glad. When I then engage them with questions to understand their argument and they don't respond, I get irritated.

Do you see the difference? Am I making sense?

Cheers,
Barry

Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:11:00 AM  
Blogger "My Point" said...

Loud and Clear!! Sir! Yes Sir!

I'll go earn some money now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:44:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Barry,

As much as I appreciate you keeping me in line when needed, my comment about the gentleman seeking the assistance of a licensed therapist was not gratutitous. There may have been an undertone of sarcasm, but my point was quite sincere.

If granting homosexuals equal rights is likely to turn more people gay (as was the gentleman's point, I believe, about the human race dying out), the person making that argument must have some basis for thinking sexual orientation is built on a shaky foundation of public acceptance.

If the gentleman honestly believes that, it's my contention that his own sexual orientation may rest on his perception of what is acceptable and is, therefore, an internal problem, one that he would wisely seek help in unraveling.

My suggestion that confusion over sexual identity is best worked out with the help of a professional was an honest one, and it's an opinion I still hold.

But I will try to refrain from any hint of sarcasm in future posts.

I hope that clears things up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 6:14:00 AM  
Blogger law dawg fed said...

Mr. Stella-

You incorrectly attributed a quote to me "jury is still out on gays adopting....". I have no need for the jury. That was someone else. I stand 100% behind them doing so, since two gay friends of mine have already adopted two little girls from China.

Sorry, but that wasn't me.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 3:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

Sorry, Law Dawg ...

Barry, what's the read on Iran/Syria's influence on the kidnappings on the eve of the summit (talk about distractions)?

Before anyone blames the U.S. (and its President) for this, too, remember you can't have it both ways ... they can't "engage" the Israeli situation and be blamed for what's going on (if they aren't engaged in the first place).

Friday, July 14, 2006 7:44:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

David T, I didn't find your comment sarcastic (for sarcasm, see Charlie's response to Kirsten); it struck me as more akin to a "learn to drive, buddy" exchange on the road. In the history of the world, no one has ever been yelled at that way and responded by thinking, "hmm, that fellow has a fair point, I really should attend a driver's education class." Similarly, no one who's ever been advised in an argument that he needs therapy has ever thought, "hmm, that's a fair point, I really do need psychological help...". So I still feel that advising someone that he needs a licensed therapist is intended not as advice, but as an insult, no matter how sincere the sentiment.

I know I'm a a stickler on this stuff, and it probably gets irritating. But I'm concerned that once the insults and sarcasm start, the substance will immediately be lost. And I want HOTM to be as substantive as possible.

Thanks everyone for listening and for being patient with me. I'm learning how to moderate as I go.

Charlie, good question about Iran/Syria and what's going on in the middle east today. I'm dying to write about this, and about the North Korean missile test. Just haven't had time -- drove 600 miles from Boston to Pittsbugh yesterday. Now off to Dayton, with less insanity for the next few days. So I'll post more soon...

Friday, July 14, 2006 8:13:00 AM  
Blogger David Terrenoire said...

Barry, point taken. And you made me laugh. Always a bonus.

I am completely flummoxed by the whole Mideast situation. Israel going into Lebanon again, Gaza burning, more bombings in Iraq, Syria and Iran pulling terrorist strings from a distance...it's the definition of disaster.

I don't see anything good coming out of this. More blood. More terror. Bad shit without end, and we're bound to get some on us.

Anyone optimistic here? I could use a few notes that aren't so blue.

Friday, July 14, 2006 8:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

(for sarcasm, see Charlie's response to Kirsten)

Guilty as charged, although I thought it was unnavoidable sarcasm (if there's such a thing).

Apologies to Kirsten (with a brief explanation) ... our President was elected by almost half the voting U.S. public, so they (we who supported him) are all guilty of war crimes/attrocites as well (not to mention all the Democrats who voted to support the war). You have to blame more than just "the U.S. President" for the attrocities you mentioned. Some of us (me for one) just don't buy the all inclusive arguments.

I do wonder how you perceive the problem in the middle east right now between Israel & the two terrorist organizations (and their backers) that attacked her. Do you find fault with Israel or its enemies? Just curious.

Friday, July 14, 2006 9:23:00 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

David, nothing but more blue thoughts on the Mideast. particularly after reading this morning's paper.

But I TOTALLY agree with Barry on gay marriage. it's so damn hard to find love in this world, who are we to stop two people who believe they've succeeded in finding happiness together?

Besides, did you know that marriage did not become a Christian sacrament until sometime between 600 and 900 A.D.? I learned of this from a priest who is a canonical judge (he serves on the Roman Catholic equivalent of a circuit court of appeals) and an expert in church legal history.

Prior to this time, marriage was just something people did. But during the Middle Ages, when many people were dying of rampant plagues and the barbarian tribes were pillaging their way through Europe, social mores crumbled. Men began dumping their older wives for younger ones in droves. Since women had no means of income at the time, and no property, they were unleashed on the streeets to beg, leaving a poverty-stricken church in a quandary.

The Christian church of the time (remember, this was before the Schism and the Reformation, and therefore there was only one church), thought that maybe if they made marriage a holy sacrament, it would deter divorce.

And that's how marriage became a religious sacrament. To protect one of society's most basic building blocks. Religious institutions have every right to protect their own view of marriage. But legally? What happened to the separation of church and state that made our country what it is?

If two people want to celebrate their love and simultaneously protect themselves with the legal institution of marriage, more power to them.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I was going to lay low on the discussion here about comment moderation and the seeking of cookies from Barry. After all, I’ve got a book to outline, pots to clean and a teenager to feed. But I can’t help myself; there’s simply too much to say.

What Barry has created here in Heart of the Matter, through artful moderation and engaging rhetoric, is a true marketplace of ideas. There may be other places like HOTM, but I've never found one.

All of us who choose to express our opinions here owe it to each other, not just to Barry, to justify those opinions with some kind of evidence or argument. Or else, who cares? It's just an opinion.

Too much of the rhetoric on TV, radio and in political writing is just that: opinion. Have you watched those TV talk shows where anything goes, voices are raised and name calling runs rampant? Can those of you who don’t want comment moderation and prefer to state opinions with no argumentation truly tell me that you can bear to see grown men and women shouting at each other like children in an elementary school cafeteria food fight?

And then there’s the argument, "We can agree to disagree." While no one here has directly stated this argument, its appearance seems imminent. I believe that this is the argument of people who don’t want to think about the reasoning behind their opinions. What’s to fear? Maybe thinking will cause people who like using this argument to give up their opinion. Maybe thinking is just too hard. Either way, this is no argument at all, does nothing to engage other participants in the marketplace of ideas.

The point of engaging in a marketplace of ideas, like HOTM, is not to agree to disagree. It’s not to express opinions with neither argument nor evidence. And it’s most certainly not to agree with Barry. I’ve met quite a few of the regulars from HOTM, and I can assure you not a single one of them would temper their comments for Barry’s approval -- or anyone’s approval for that matter.

Barry, I applaud you for thoughtfully moderating comments. And I applaud you for patiently laying out the rules of the game here, and reinforcing your point through carefully rendered exposition.

Last, I thank you for a great experience at HOTM. I hope your book signing trip goes well, I hope you sell lots of books, but mostly I hope you’re back soon for more engaging rhetoric.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

There was an article in today’s paper about proposed gay bathouses opening up in Cleveland and the cooresponding “worry that the bathouse could fuel a growth of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.” When I read this I remembered that I haven’t visited Barry’s site for a while to talk to my gay rights friends. So here goes.

JD Rhoades said...

”You'd really talk about "the act" with children? Gross. “

First time I agreed with you, gross is right!

David Terrenoire said...
jh,

”Your response does little but make me sad. As for anyone being allowed to quote scripture, why do you always play the victim here? You're allowed to quote scripture, but if that's the only basis for your beliefs, you have to understand that not everyone shares your faith. So, if you plan to implement public policy based on nothing but your religious faith, you have to understand why a pluralistic and secular community might object. Just as you would object to a muslim theocracy, I object to a Christian one. Find your way, pray to your God, I won't stand in your way. You don't believe in homosexual marriage then don't marry one. But if you try to impose your narrow morality on me, then we have a point of contention.”

David, I ask again, when have I ever quoted the scriptures in this blog? I haven’t. What has happened is that everyone quotes it to me to try to trip me up, or prove their point and then tells me not to quote the bible to them. Does that make sense? My point is why can they quote it to make their points right after they tell me they don’t believe? Why is my opinion on this one issue “narrow”, because I don’t agree with you?

“I'm not an atheist, by the way. Based on my experience, I believe there is a God, He just doesn't give a fuck.”

How sad. Have you created anything special that you don’t give a --- about?

”As for your comment about "gag me with a spoon," I raised my daughter with just the beliefs you find so repellent and she's turned out OK.’

I am happy for that. Many children living with drug addict parents also turn out okay, but that doesn’t justify their parent’s behavior.

”But I've known plenty of people raised in strict Christian households who have not.”

Well, as you can see from these posts, unfortunately not everything can be taught in the home. There are so many bad outside influences and pressures on children in the schools, media, and other places on what is acceptable behavior.

”Tough to generalize, isn't it. “

Sorry, I miss your point here.


PBI said...
JH,

”Well, you neatly didn't answer my question about what exactly we're supposed to fear as a result of gay marriage. Apparently, somebody - or some organization - told you it was "bad," and you have decided that there's no need to question that declaration.”

Sorry, I thought I did many times. To recap, I resent people trying to make an activity that is not natural, spreads disease, and in some peoples’ view immoral seem like it is a wonderful, healthy, and natural activity. Like Law Dawg said, keep it in the home, don’t force it down my throat.

”With regard to you're knowing gay people, there are indeed annoying homosexuals whose whole identity is wrapped up in the fact that they are gay. There are also annoying heterosexuals whose whole identity is wrapped in the fact that they are hetero. (Think Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith.) You make a VERY sweeping generalization that all gay people want you to know they are gay; I think you are over broad, and that you know more gay people than you think you do.”

Well that is certainly possible. My point was that I have never had anyone make a point to tell me they were heterosexual. I have had many people tell me they are gay, as if they want approval or want to create controversy. By the way, I’m not sure about Anna Nicole Smith.

”In any case, so what? Again, how does somebody letting you know he or she is gay affect you? Does your property value drop? Do you want to leave your wife? Does your car cease to run? Does the grocery store run out of milk?”

Not much of what’s been discussed affects any of these things. Your point?

“I asked you not to root your answer in religion, because if religion is the only basis for your statements, then anyone who doesn't share your faith won't follow them.”

Again, I haven’t discussed the bible!!! Why does everyone keep saying that? Doesn’t anyone read these answers. Besides, what makes you think everything in the bible is based on faith? There is a lot of logic and fact in there I thought. I thought much of our legal system was based on many of these ideas.

“my faith tells me homosexuality is bad in and of itself” - is not accepted by everyone, then anything further you base upon that initial statement doesn't follow. Ergo, it is not logical.” I don’t know what faith makes such a blanket statement like that without explanation, but mine doesn’t. I’d explain further, but as you and others have written, you don’t want to hear it.

”Also, it’s very obvious that you try not to rank things like this. My point in asking you to rank order the place of same sex marriage was to get you to THINK about how much of a problem it really is. Seriously, try and buckle down as a thought exercise for yourself, and see if you can do it. Maybe you can imagine you are the president, and you have issues you’d like to address, but need to prioritize, because you only have limited resources.”

So you’re saying when Barry posts an issue that we don’t rank high then we shouldn’t write in?

”Your claim of loving the sinner but hating the sin is a pretty transparent dodge designed to keep you from paying attention to what actually goes on around you. All faiths that prohibit homosexuality have persecuted gays to one extent or another in extremely unloving fashion.”

I didn’t know that. My church must be pretty crafty to try to confuse me like that. I wonder what other things they are saying to twist my mind.

“I’m not sure from what news sources you are getting your reporting on the Catholic Church scandal, but your statement that “There were no young children involved for anyone to either define it, or charge it as pedophilia,” is ludicrous.”

Most if not all were teenagers, not young children. Most were male, making it a homosexual act, not pedophile. This from my on-line dictionary “Pedophiles are almost always males. The children are more often of the opposite sex (about twice as often) and are typically 13 years or age or younger” Like I said, homosexual, not pedophile. (Gee, I hope I’m allowed to quote from the dictionary as I am not pushing any one publisher)

“Homosexuality and pedophilia are separate and distinct, and your attempt to conflate them – as you did with bestiality – is dishonest. “

Maybe it’s my writing skills, but I was making the opposite point. It’s the media that is trying to turn what is mostly a homosexual problem into an attempt at pedophile. I agree with you, they are not the same. I hope that is clear.

”I’ll refer you to my original post on this topic. This is not an argument about whether marriage should be between one man and one woman. It is an argument about whether gays are part of the human condition (to which all empirical evidence points) or some kind of fetish.”

It’s no clearer the second time around. Many things are part of the human condition. That doesn’t mean we have to make separate laws for them. I also don’t think my drive through window at the bank should have instructions in Spanish either.

“Not everyone needs someone else to tell them right from wrong; treat others as you would have them treat you, and I think you’ll find that it solves most problems you encounter.”

The trouble is they want to be treated more equal and have separate laws just for them. Are you suggesting we can throw out the criminal laws because everyone knows right from wrong already?

Paul said:
”Those are a few of the points rolling around in my head. But, even with those listed, is having no parents at all better than having homosexual parents? I think not; which gives rise to a ‘second preference’ situation where homosexual parents can adopt but heterosexual parents have first choice. Now, tell me that doesn’t create a whole new set of problems. :-> So I am still kicking this around – hence the jury has not reached their verdict. And like I said some of us (i.e. Me) are slower than others. “

If gay marriage is so right and natural, why would Paul and Law Dawg have any doubts about the adoption issue?


Charlie Stella said...

”Me would be the correct answer here. I can handle it. I don’t need the catholic church (I was raised a catholic and chose to ignore it at the very first opportunity—graduation from catholic school—I haven’t been back since) or any other religious institution to make my choices for me”

Charlie, I could have won money betting you were a fallen Catholic! Sorry you couldn’t cut it.

“I can’t speak for others … for me it’s simply a matter of trying to understand your “hating the sin” … it doesn’t make sense to me at all without your religion (not that it makes sense with it, but at least I can understand why you’re not making sense). Does that makes sense?”

NO.

It’s almost like people are trying to prove how progressive they are by their lack of faith. Like the more they sprout it, the more likely they themselves will really believe it.

”Here’s where my wife would agree with your 2nd sentence above, but she, too, accepts homosexuality without any regard for what you call their “sins”. Now, speaking of sins … I was divorced three times/married a 4th. Does that qualify me for the sinners hall of fame? If so, I go in proudly.”

I hope you are kidding here. No wonder you had to quit the Church. Can’t have anyone tell you that marriage should be for life now can we!

”I have several Gods, JH, but none of them are the one I think you speak of. Lombardi is my football God. George V. Higgins my writing God. Angelica Houston, well … that might be a sin. If you’re referring to “Jesus” … I use that name a lot, but I think it might be from habit. I was brought up catholic in a very knockaround household (lots of cursing and using the name in vain stuff). Dad usually prefaced everything directed my way with Jesus Christ (i.e., “Jesus Christ, stop playing those god damned drums.””

Maybe the problem is with how you were raised, and not the Church.



Anyway thinking about the above made me realize something and made me feel bad. Many of you are writers. Like politicians you must be careful in whom you insult and what you say. While it is acceptable to bash Bush, the Bible, the Church, congress, the war, the right to life, etc., it could come back to haunt you in sales to offend the wrong group.

David Terrenoire said...

“What this statement says, on its face, is that we can't possibly hold the views we've stated, that we're liars, hoping to please some grand amorphous group of liberal readers who monitor our every post on every political blog.”

No Dave, I do think you believe everything you write.

”Anyone who's read me or Mr. Rhoades knows that political correctness is not something that keeps either of us awake at night.’

You wouldn’t know it from what you write on these posts. Under the guise of fiction doesn’t really count does it.

“If anything, I worry more about some right wing whackjob hunting me down and making harrassing phone calls to my house. And yes, that's happened. I sent him a picture of my 1911 and he stopped. “

Now you’re talking!


"My Point" said...
“Well not much left to be argued , but intresting to see the battle between Secular Progressives and Traditionalist. Gotta love the SP's here. Two questions only. Why the strong defense of the topic? Do you have a agenda?. Why the attack on JH? Is he wrong? Why feel sad for him? One last question, and I mean this literally. I don't mean to be a jerk. If you have no religious views and you have only the belief that we evolved from a fish that crawled out of the pond, being gay is normal, Ok...What happens to society? If your agenda evolves, there will be no one left, unless that to evolves too.
I don't mean to judge, because I don't really care. But I just wonder how population will fare if being gay is "normal". I guess the question of the chicken and the egg comes to mind? Or the birds and the bees.
Listen, I am not "normal", hell I could be a pychologist dream come true. So please don't be angry, I just often wonder if being gay is so normal what will happen to our society's population because even if you do believe that we evolved from fish, then it still takes a boy and a girl to make baby.
Well that was more then two questions. “

How’d you get on this blog??? And what religion do you belong to, to have such wrong and evil views???


David Terrenoire said...

“As for the gay issue, I see it as pure civil rights. If that's an agenda, so be it. I don't believe society should have different laws for people based on their sexual orientation any more than I think there should be different laws for people who are left-handed. For me, it's that basic.”

But that’s the point, they want different laws! They want to be able to play mommy and daddy, well, daddy and daddy maybe, like the majority of the people. They want their own law!

”You assume that I, as a secular progressive, have no religious beliefs. You could not be more wrong. It's just that my beliefs aren't anyone's business but mine.”

How sad that you are ashamed to state your religious views. Why have them if you don’t follow them or lead your life by them. You don’t have to talk your religion, you can also lead by example like Mother Teresa.

“To base public policy, one that applies to all of us, on religious dogma means that one of us is not going to be happy. So, in their wisdom, our forefathers decided that laws should be the product of reasoned debate, not faith, and that reasoned debate can lead to compromise and that's how we all get along.”

Right, that’s why we have “In God we trust on our money”. Like it or not, our society was based on a Christian standard.

“If you base laws on an individual's understanding of God's word, there can be no compromise.”

You are correct here, it is always dangerous to do this. That’s why we have a teaching Church available.

”That's why we all have to defend the civil rights of those who are not like us, because in the eyes of someone, we are all "the other." “

Why is not giving them something above and beyond a violation of their civil rights? They have the right to get married properly like you and I have. If I want to have two wifes, and I complain that my civil rights are violated because they won’t made a special law for me? Believe it or not, it is okay sometimes to just say no!

David Terrenoire said...

“If your sexual orientation is so shaky that you worry that a change in law will change your essential sexual nature, then perhaps that's something you should take up with a licensed therapist. “

As the arguments fail, the insults begin.

“It’s not a question of anybody “attacking” JH, but rather of refusing to take unsupported statements at face value. We “Secular Progressives” are trying to engage in an actual conversation, but are being dodged repeatedly by “The Traditionalist.” Virtually none of the questions we have asked of JH have been met with any kind of answer that stands up to even minimal scrutiny, when they have been answered at all. “

I’ve written about three pages now on this issue. Are you reading them?

”In point of fact, “The Traditionalist” - and now you – are the ones who seem to be doing little besides attacking the messengers, questioning whether we are “moral” or if we condone pedophilia or accept bestiality, or in your case, if we have “an agenda” and whether we are sending the human race down a path to eventual extinction.”

“The Traditionalist”, is that me? Cool. Didn’t mean to attack the messengers, only the ideas. Sorry if you can’t separate them.

”(This last position, by the way, strongly seems like a joke, but what the hell, I’ll take it on anyway. The most current estimates put the percentage of gays within the total population at an upper limit of about 7%. That means that fully 93% of the globe’s population is free to procreate like rabbits. The gay proportion of the population is not growing and as far as can be determined does not, and will not, grow. Still worried?)”

No, thanks I do feel better.

Gays/gay marriage is a false flag “issue” used to keep people’s attention away from things that genuinely affect them so the greedy and powerful can take advantage of the blind spot. (Again, how does gay marriage affect you specifically?)”

I agree, why are the gays doing this?

‘You are correct on one point, and that is that I, at least, have an agenda. My agenda is to minimalize the damage inflicted by the ignorant and self-righteous on others, to encourage people to think for themselves and make decisions based on facts, and to try to get people to treat one another as human beings rather than “Secular Progressives,” or “sinners” or some other convenient, dehumanizing label.”

But it’s okay to call me a traditionalist, self righteous, and ignorant? I’m confused.


Barry said...
“JH, several people have asked you straightforward questions that would help clarify your argument and you still haven't answered them (I even numbered mine for your ease of reference). Why this reticence? I may be wrong, but it feels as though you're holding back because you're afraid to say what you really think -- which is what you've several times accused other people here of doing.”

Barry, I spent hours answering these questions. Is anyone actually reading them. If there are any left that I forgotten, I would be happy to address them. Perhaps I should have numbered my answers.

I can easily distill the anti-amendment argument: "Homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone any more than lefthandedness, so to treat gays differently under the law is discriminatory."

”Do you see how this is an argument? Even if you don't agree with it, you can respond. For example, "No, homosexuality isn't like lefthandedness, because...". Or, "no, homosexuality does hurt people, because...". Or, "No, we should treat gays differently under the law, because...".”

Barry, I don’t need instructions on how to argue. If you read your original quote you were comparing the two: homosexuality and lefthandedness as an argument without backing it up.

”By contrast, your argument is... what, exactly? Do you not see that, other than some vague religious references, a few contradictory thoughts about what's "normal," and an acknowledgment of a personal aversion (the notion of men kissing or holding hands makes you want to "gag"), you haven't taken a position.”

Boy, ask anyone else if they think I haven’t taken a position. If what you summarize as my arguments is what you read, then maybe I need a writing course refresher. I didn’t make any vague religious referendes. My thoughts on what is normal were certainly not contradictory (wrong maybe, but not contradictory). I didn’t say that the thought or notion of two men wanted to make me gag, but only your hypothetical statement to your children.

“If you try answering the questions I numbered above, it would help me understand you better.”

No, if you read what I actually write rather than filling in your own thoughts, it “would help me understand you, too”.


”JH, do you see how, although I disagree with him, DO has presented an argument? "We shouldn't treat homosexuality as normal because if we did, everyone could become gay and the human race would die out." DO, I'm paraphrasing and working a little bit in the dark because I don't know quite what you mean by "agenda" and "evolve," so if I've misstated your argument, please correct me.”

Gee Barry, I was almost positive I mentioned the race dying out, the financial burden of supporting more married couples, and the spread of disease. Did you read my last post?

”The issue is whether homosexuality is harmful in a way heterosexuality isn't. And, again, I've yet to see anyone here present any evidence that homosexuality is harmful, although DO has suggested that, if not discouraged, it could lead to the extinction of the human race, and that is, at least, an argument).”

Barry, you don’t believe that AIDS has been spread primarily by gay sex?

”JH and DO, I want to test my theory. Do you think if as a child you'd been told in school, scouts, etc. that homosexuality is normal, that some people are gay, some are straight, you would be gay today?”

Barry, I think that young women and especially young men are extremely vulnerable. Yes indeed I think that a role model, a coach, a teacher, a priest, could certainly cause them to try and perhaps embrace a gay life style if this might please in their mind the adult. This would be certainly be the case if everyone believe that being gay was perfectly natural an socially acceptable.

Why don’t many people break laws? Because they are afraid of jail. They don’t want to be socially embarrassed. Because they think it is wrong. If shoplifting (and no I don’t think it is the same as being gay) were made legal and socially allowed wouldn’t we have more shoplifters? Right or wrong what keep some people from doing some things if from fear of punishment. Make drugs legal, or the gay lifestyle “normal” then of course we will have more people trying it.

I may not be gay today, but I would have to live with what I did. Much like abortion. It may be legal, but it still cause great anguish in people.

"My Point" said...
“Respectfully speaking, maybe "my point" was less then clear. I will add this. It seems to be an undertone here. I have not put a finger on it completly, but clearly there is anger over the topic. Seems almost Barry if you are upset with people who don't share your opinion. I think JH touched on that. No I don't know him. Your base is set here, do you want different opinions or not? And do they need to only be argued in a way you approve? That seems to be the tone with others too. Not all of America is as well spoke as you Barry. I was day dreaming during school of baseball and apple pie! “

Now I’m sure you are in the wrong place!

"My Point" said...
“Loud and Clear!! Sir! Yes Sir! “

Whimp.”just kidding”
4:44 AM

law dawg fed said...
Mr. Stella-
”You incorrectly attributed a quote to me "jury is still out on gays adopting....". I have no need for the jury. That was someone else. I stand 100% behind them doing so, since two gay friends of mine have already adopted two little girls from China.”

I thought it was you too. Better double check.

Elizabeth said...

”But I TOTALLY agree with Barry on gay marriage. it's so damn hard to find love in this world, who are we to stop two people who believe they've succeeded in finding happiness together?”

I think it was Truman who said if you want a friend, buy a dog.

”Besides, did you know that marriage did not become a Christian sacrament until sometime between 600 and 900 A.D.? I learned of this from a priest who is a canonical judge (he serves on the Roman Catholic equivalent of a circuit court of appeals) and an expert in church legal history. “

Perhaps he should go back to school. It was a sacrament when Christ made it one, not when it was formulized.

”Prior to this time, marriage was just something people did. But during the Middle Ages, when many people were dying of rampant plagues and the barbarian tribes were pillaging their way through Europe, social mores crumbled.”

Jesus often talked about divorce. If they weren’t married, what were they getting divorced from?

Monday, July 17, 2006 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Stella said...

Charlie, I could have won money betting you were a fallen Catholic! Sorry you couldn’t cut it.

And here I thought I was enlightened. Sorry you can’t think out of the box, JH.

I hope you are kidding here. No wonder you had to quit the Church. Can’t have anyone tell you that marriage should be for life now can we!

No kidding. Had to quit? Uh-uh, I chose to quit. My wife, on the other hand, still believes (poor woman) … but JH, please tell me you don’t believe marriage (i.e., any marriage) should be the sentence you suggest.

Something tells me you believe abortion should be regarded as murder. I could have won money betting you’re a right to lifer!

Maybe the problem is with how you were raised, and not the Church.

If I thought you weren’t brainwashed (badly brainwashed), I might take offence. Instead, I prefer to chuckle. I do hope your kids escape the fanaticism you coach. Chances are good that in a free society they will escape sooner or later ... and good for them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 6:49:00 AM  
Blogger PBI said...

jh,

You have used an awful lot of text to avoid providing substantive answers, responding to questions with questions, and exhibiting a love for both the factually unsupported argument and attacking the messenger rather than the message. I'm sorry you feel that you have been ganged up on regarding this topic, but your contributions have done more to hurt your position than to help it.

Paul

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous jh from toledo said...

pbi, To the best of my knowledge, I have answered each and every question (some more than once) that has been put to me. If you have a new one, please ask. I also have never said I feel gang up on. I respect everyone right to have an opinion here. I try hard not to attack the messenger, only the message. If you gave some examples or arguments as Barry might say, I could respond to specifics.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:33:00 AM  

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