Religious Tolerance and Anti-Gay Discrimination

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Eugene Volokh makes a thought-provoking argument connecting the two.

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  1. Eugene is dead on right here.

    I recently had a LOOONG debate regarding the gay issue and the First Amendent with a very intelligent Protestant Fundamentalist who was extreme in her views but pretty much towed the Religious Right’s line on these issues.

    We discussed the Free Exercise Clause’s original understanding. And I actually brought up (contentious) historical research that Rehnquist did on the original understanding of that clause. Rehnquist claimed that this clause simply prohibited government discrimination against Protestant sects. She agreed that this was exactly as the clause was and is supposed to be understood (hear that Catholics — no Free Exercise rights for you! And indeed some colonies [at least one that I’m aware of]officially discriminated against Catholics — for example barring them from serving on juries).

    And in any event, my interlocutor didn’t think that the First Amendment applied to the states.

    The religious right still has to play political ball. And there are some Sacred Cows that they can’t bash — therefore many on the religious right would be loathe to admit that they don’t want Hindus to have Free Exercise rights.

    But I think that Gene is mistaken if he doesn’t think that a GREAT deal of Christian Fundamentalists absolutely do not want the Hindu religion — a religion that worships DEMONS in their eyes — to receive Free Exercise or Civil Rights protection.

  2. Eugene is dead on right here.

    I recently had a LOOONG debate regarding the gay issue and the First Amendent with a very intelligent Protestant Fundamentalist who was extreme in her views but pretty much towed the Religious Right’s line on these issues.

    We discussed the Free Exercise Clause’s original understanding. And I actually brought up (contentious) historical research that Rehnquist did on the original understanding of that clause. Rehnquist claimed that this clause simply prohibited government discrimination against Protestant sects. She agreed that this was exactly as the clause was and is supposed to be understood (hear that Catholics — no Free Exercise rights for you! And indeed some colonies [at least one that I’m aware of]officially discriminated against Catholics — for example barring them from serving on juries).

    And in any event, my interlocutor didn’t think that the First Amendment applied to the states.

    The religious right still has to play political ball. And there are some Sacred Cows that they can’t bash — therefore many on the religious right would be loathe to admit that they don’t want Hindus to have Free Exercise rights.

    But I think that Gene is mistaken if he doesn’t think that a GREAT deal of Christian Fundamentalists absolutely do not want the Hindu religion — a religion that worships DEMONS in their eyes — to receive Free Exercise or Civil Rights protection.

  3. Eugene is dead on right here.

    I recently had a LOOONG debate regarding the gay issue and the First Amendent with a very intelligent Protestant Fundamentalist who was extreme in her views but pretty much towed the Religious Right’s line on these issues.

    We discussed the Free Exercise Clause’s original understanding. And I actually brought up (contentious) historical research that Rehnquist did on the original understanding of that clause. Rehnquist claimed that this clause simply prohibited government discrimination against Protestant sects. She agreed that this was exactly as the clause was and is supposed to be understood (hear that Catholics — no Free Exercise rights for you! And indeed some colonies [at least one that I’m aware of]officially discriminated against Catholics — for example barring them from serving on juries).

    And in any event, my interlocutor didn’t think that the First Amendment applied to the states.

    The religious right still has to play political ball. And there are some Sacred Cows that they can’t bash — therefore many on the religious right would be loathe to admit that they don’t want Hindus to have Free Exercise rights.

    But I think that Gene is mistaken if he doesn’t think that a GREAT deal of Christian Fundamentalists absolutely do not want the Hindu religion — a religion that worships DEMONS in their eyes — to receive Free Exercise or Civil Rights protection.

  4. OOOps. Sorry about that.

    I actually sent Gene some a piece of my writing that dealt with the issue of homosexuality in the public schools. He replied with a thanks — didnt’ give me too much feedback because he is a very busy man.

    My piece made very similar points — Now mind you, I am not accusing him of anything. Gene is a brilliant libertarian — and any libertarian using reason should be able to come to these conclusions (and others have made similar points too).

    But here is an excerpt of my piece:

    “The religious right has an answer (as to why sexual orientation should be given civil rights protection): “Sexual orientation” should not be included in public schools’ official non-discrimination policies because to do so is the equivalent of the government giving its imprimatur to the notion that homosexuality is not a sin. But is this the appropriate way in which to interpret these codes? For example, if a Jewish student were being harassed in the public schools because of her religious beliefs, codes that prohibit harassment on the basis of “religion” would apply. To many Christians, the Jewish rejection of Jesus is absolutely unacceptable and (as with homosexuality) it consigns Jews to eternal damnation after they die. So if the government protects Jewish students from anti-Jewish discrimination, this should be viewed as the government giving its’ imprimatur to the notion that it’s perfectly acceptable, and even a good thing, to reject Jesus? If government protects a Jehovah’s Witness from discrimination, this is tantamount to the government stating that it’s a good thing to be a Jehovah’s Witness (an organization that most evangelicals think of as a cult)? This is where the logic of the religious right leads us.”

    Just demonstrating that great minds think alike. LOL.

  5. Mostly, the same “Christians” that want to convert the homosexuals also want to convert the “pagans” (or anybody else that doesn’t want to worship their god).

  6. Jon Rowe,

    Well, keep in mind that it was only in the 1930s that the Bill of Rights were applied to state actions in any uniform fashion. Essentially these religious fundamentalists wish to see us tied to moral, etc. standards of our ancestors; the problem with this is that that they are dead but we are not.

    Side note: I have been told that Scalia was once asked whether he thought that such practices as whipping, drawing and quartering, etc., which had been practiced in the American colonies, etc., would violate the 8th Amendment. He agreed that they would because our notion of what is cruel and unusual punishment has changed.

  7. Yes — Both Rehnquist and Scalia (and probably Thomas too) believe in ONE EXCEPTION to the ORIGINAL INTENT standard — that exception is tradition. A change of tradition can trump original intent. And this is exactly why Rehnquist stated that the Free Exercise Clause should apply to MORE than just Protestant sects.

    However, I’m not sure if all Original Intentists (Bork, Graglia, the late Raoul Berger, Joe Sobran, etc.) believe in this tradition exception to Original Intent.

  8. Well, this whole discussion is a bit premature… Here in North Carolina, they are still enforcing the state’s sodomy law (delicately known here as the “Crimes Against Nature” Law).

    http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list/queerlaw/msg05251.html

    One of the more idiotic results of this is that, while the supreme court has ruled sodomy between consenting adults in private to be legal, North Carolina is arresting people for *discussing* sodomy! You can do it; just don’t talk about it.

  9. Volokh presents a very lucid argument. I cannot wait for the next time my bible-beating cousin spouts off about the evils of those kinds of people.

  10. Volokh’s argument rests on the assumption that “homosexuality” is directly comparable to a religion. Religion is a product of culture and nationality, as well as belief, and differences in religion are therefore more apt to be tolerated. “Homosexuality”, as a belief, rests solely on the idea that sexual activity between member of the same sex is unobjectionable.

    The problem is that this line of reasoning is applicable to any particular activity deemed morally unacceptable. It seems to preclude any type of “morals clause” for continued employment in government. I don’t think Volokh has presented a reasonable test of “discriminatory” standards.

    Furthermore, the trend has not been to increase discrimination against homosexuals by the government, but rather attempts by outside interests to have the government force the inclusion of homosexuals into private groups who have objections to homosexuality on moral and practical grounds, i.e. the Boy Scouts.

  11. Well the majority of the posters here have left off with the broad brush and graduated to 3hp power sprayer. So much for objectivism.

    From a more rational standpoint, here is a religious based answer to V?s religious question.

    Christians, in general, do not tolerate homosexuals working with their children because homosexuality is not a belief system but a biblical abomination whereas Hinduism is a separate faith. Most Christians that I know have a fair amount of respect for other religions as long as it leads to a relatively ?clean? life.

    Therefore a teacher who is also a pious person of any mainstream religion is likely to extol a general sense of morality in the class room while a homosexual is merely a social deviant let loose among the children.

    And for the question of whether or not homosexuality is a biblical abomination; see Leviticus 20:13 for the OT and Romans 1:27 for the NT. You don?t have to agree with the bible or think it is a divine book but for people who believe that this is the word of God to them, homosexuality is without a doubt an abomination before God.

    And MJ’s point is definitely not moot as the homosexual activists are still very much on the trail of BSA.

  12. Ray,

    As I recall, numerous BSA groups have actually broken ties with the organization due to this issue. But I guess that these voluntary actions are due to the “infiltration” that you and MJ point to. Anyway, from a legal standpoint, the Supreme Court’s ruling settled the issue. The BSA can continue to take state funds, use state facilities, and otherwise beg at the public coffer and discriminate against homosexuals (and atheists as well I might add).

    As to the issue of religious toleration and homosexuality, all that you are illustrating for us here at Hit & Run is the same hypocrisy that V ferrets out. In other words, the only one being irrational here is you. To put it bluntly, both Hinduism and homosexuality are Biblical abominations of equal order (depending who you talk to, all sins may or may not be equal in the eyes of Yahweh). However, even if one were to try to rank them, it would seem that the former would be higher given the number of times homosexuality is mentioned (few – five times as I recall) as compared to the worship of other Gods (many times – even in the “Ten Commandments”). Accordingly what we see here is the prejudice of a particular culture working itself out in a particular religion – one type of “sin” is emphasized over another though the Bible does not appear to call for such a distinction, and even if it did, the Bible’s internal evidence would seem to steer us to condemning the worship of another God(s) more.

    BTW, Objectivism is hogwash. Rand demonstrated this when she made her ill-fated foray into universals; of course what else would you expect from someone who copied liberally from Nietzsche, then denied his influence on her work?

  13. Ray sure put a lot of effort into proving nothing other than people use an old text to justify their discomfort of homosexuals.

    And really, why would a God create gays only to have others loathe, persecute, and kill them? Is God an asshole?

  14. JB

    “Accordingly what we see here is the prejudice of a particular culture working itself out ”

    What we see where? In your hypotheticals wherein anyone that believes in the Bible is automatically lumped with all of your Christian boogey men (Roberts, Falwell et al)?

    And as for my own hypocrisy, all I’ve done is made a rational statement as to why reasonable Christians might look more disapprovingly on immoral acts than they would someone else’s seemingly innoccous faith.

    You seem to lack a full grasp of the meaning of the word. Nonetheless, to say that false religion, in your eyes, should be tolerated less than individual acts of immorality is again, completely irraitonal.

    You’re right that sin is sin but by your logic, Christians should be just as tolerant of murderers and they should be of someone who is shacking up together.

  15. ?therefore many on the religious right would be loathe to admit that they don’t want Hindus to have Free Exercise rights.?

    And many more on the anti-religious Left are only slightly less than giddy to admit that they don?t want Christians to have Free Exercise rights.

    ?But I think that Gene is mistaken if he doesn’t think that a GREAT deal of Christian Fundamentalists absolutely do not want the Hindu religion — a religion that worships DEMONS in their eyes — to receive Free Exercise or Civil Rights protection.?

    This guy is like one of those Wagner commercials where the guy just points his paint sprayer and ?whooosh.? Everything?s covered.

    ?Essentially these religious fundamentalists wish to see us tied to moral, etc. standards of our ancestors; the problem with this is that that they are dead but we are not.?

    I?m assuming that JB means that the ancestors are dead and not the fundamentalists. However he means it, ?whoooosh.? He has them covered. I?m not sure what fundamentalist is even supposed to mean in context to such far reaching comments but the term usually means someone who still takes the Bible, for the most part, at it?s word i.e. homosexuality is still a sin and so on.

    To make the jump from there to all ?fundamentalists? or those who believe in the Christian bible want to deny those of other faiths or practices their basic rights is beyond irrational.

    Take note here that I have not pronounced judgement one way or another as to what is moral or immoral. I am merely pointing out what the bible says and making the logical point of what the difference is between a different faith a singular abominable sin.

    You should also notice that some sin is just sin while others, homosexuality for instance, are pronounced an abomination. Both will bar your entrance in to the pearly gates though one renders you a reprobate i.e. unsaveable.

    I reiterate, I’m not pronoucning judgement but merely correcting the previous obfuscations on the subject.

  16. Religion may be a product of culture and nationality. It is also, at some point, a matter of choice. Homosexuality may or may not be a product of culture, or a matter of choice. I neither know, nor care. Consistency, is what is important on this issue. As a member of a religious group, you will either tolerate other faiths, or see them as wrong, misguided, sinful, whatever. If that is how you feel, and you consistently apply those beliefs, that is your right. But if, as a Christian (Muslim, Hindu, etc.), you are willing to tolerate other faiths, then you must also tolerate homosexuality, or you are being hypocritical.

  17. Maybe the Fundementalists will accept gays if they become Hindus?

    Yeah, I don’t think it will work either?
    The religous right loves to point to Leviticus as evidence that their God violently disapproves of homosexuality. (Yet they don’t go as far as to go all the way and do to homosexuals as the “Good Book” demands–public execution by stoning. At least, not yet. Give Rick Santorum a couple of years.) OK. Fine. God hates gays. WHY? What possible, logical, reason would our all loving, all forgiving, creator condemn his creations to everlasting torment simply because he or she perfers to have sexual relations with someone of the same gender?

    Also, as Steve touched on above, If God created mankind then how can this all perfect being have allowed homosexuals to exist if he dislikes them so much as to demand his creations to put them to death no if’s and’s or buts. Ohhhh, that right, man has free will and SAY-TAN made them do it! I see. However, I guess the christian God isn’t as omnipotent as they say he is if he let a second-string fallen angel get the better of him, can he?

    And people wonder why I stopped being a Catholic and became a Born-Again Atheist.

  18. >>Ray sure put a lot of effort into proving nothing other than people use an old text to justify their discomfort of homosexuals.

    This is the grounds on which V frames his arguements. How else should Ray respond? Arguements from constitutional law are shot down as being “outside the scope of this thesis.”

  19. >>Ray sure put a lot of effort into proving nothing other than people use an old text to justify their discomfort of homosexuals.

    These are the grounds on which V frames his arguements. How else should Ray respond? Arguements from constitutional law are shot down as being “outside the scope of this thesis.”

  20. What I failed to note is that being hypocritical is also your right, I just find it objectionable.

  21. mm156

    I suppose we need a clarification on the word “tolerate” then.

    I am less tolerant of teachers that would overtly espouse their political views to a class full of young minds than of many other social moors.

    But as a Christian, I still believe homosexuality is a sin. Does this mean that I condone any kind of mistreatment of them? No, of course not. So am I tolerant of homosexuals?

  22. Citizen,

    Well its Ray’s double-standard that is possibly the most troubling, and also enlightening. If Christians can tolerate those of other religious persuasions, then they likely have the ability to tolerate homosexuals as well.

  23. I have read over my own posts and have failed to find one shred of hypocrisy on my own part.

    Unless someone can actually figure out the meaning of the word and then properly apply it, we should really stick to the subject.

    “A teacher who is also a pious person of any mainstream religion is likely to extol a general sense of morality in the class room while a homosexual is merely a social deviant let loose among the children.”

    This is a quote from myself but everyone seems to have failed to actually read my posts all the way through or they are just ducking the simple logic of it.

    This is what V’s question comes down to; why would the Hindu’s be treated any differently than gays.

    I’ve answered it.

  24. Ray,

    Well, my argument is predicated on the notion that the Bible means something; if it doesn’t to you and your main desire is to pick and choose the types of “sin” that you wish to loathe, then fine by me. But don’t expect to accept that as a rational response.

  25. Ray,

    BTW, if you don’t like lumping, then one wonders why you lump together all homosexuals as “sinners.”

  26. “Well, my argument is predicated on the notion that the Bible means something; if it doesn’t to you and your main desire is to pick and choose the types of “sin” that you wish to loathe, then fine by me. But don’t expect to accept that as a rational response. ”

    Then you don’t know your bible Jean. This is a reiteration but apparently you need it.

    You were right in your basic point that any sin will get you into hell but not all sin is seen as “an abomination.”

    Would you, assuming you lived by Christian ideals, be more critical of two people living together than you would be of a murderer? Of course you would not. This is entirely consistent with the Bible.

    And I’m not lumping anyone into anything. We are talking about the bible’s definition of homosexuality. If you don’t subscribe to that definition, fine, but the original point of this thread is the biblical defintion or at least the fundamentalist interpretation thereof.

  27. Quite possibly, but having shown that at least in Biblical terms there seems to be a difference between the two, it’s not sufficient for you to rebuff him by saying, “That’s stupid.”

    And yet the secular world makes similar distinctions, too. Would you be comfortable with a felon teaching your kids? What if the felony was only larceny? What if it was aggravated assault? The point is that the law sees them both as felonies (and in some cases punishes them with exceedingly inconsistant sentances) but as non-robots we can make more subtle distinctions. Why is it irrational for fundamentalists to believe that homosexual pose a larger threat to their children? Remember, I didn’t say that it was true, simply that it could be rational.

    Sorry for the double post.
    And I refuse to acknowledge the discussion that Mark wants to start here.

  28. Steve, Mark S.,

    I don’t really know of a god anywhere (Greek, Norse, Celtic, etc. mythologies) that isn’t really just some sort of suped-up human with all the foibles and shortcomings that that entails. I’ve always felt that any god I might worship would have to be a demonstrably better person than I.

  29. Still, no one has addressed the original point of V’s question.

    Or at least no one besides me. That I’ve spent so much space defending myself instead of my actual remarks, I guess means that JB & Co have no real points.

    A teacher who is also a pious person of any mainstream religion is likely to extol a general sense of morality in the class room while a homosexual is merely a social deviant let loose among the children.

    I’ve answered it. If someone thinks that this is not the answer, it is at least sticking to the point.

    And where is all of that evidence of my hypocrisy?

  30. Ray: So the social deviant will automatically try to convert the kids to the joys of his/her lifestyle while the pious man of (different) faith will not point out the fine qualities of his religion? The hypocrisy comes in accepting the sins of one group, as they relate to your faith, while condemning the sins of another, for the same reasons. I do however think we can agree on the idea that teachers should teach, rather than indoctrinate.

  31. Mark and Steve,

    Yes, I am an asshole.

  32. Since JB is still editing his posts, let me clarify while we wait.

    A perfect example of sin that is a true “abomination” in the eyes of God is homosexuality.

    Go to Romans 1 and read the second half of the chapter, not just verse 27. Now being gay here is pronounced an act of being a reprobate. In biblical terms, you can’t get any worse.

    The theological debate is two fold. Reprobate isn’t supposed to be possible unless you have first turned away from God. So a gay wouldn’t automatically be reprobate i.e. beyond salvation, unless he had first been “saved.” The other part is whether or not there are different levels of hell for “really bad” sinners. I haven’t seen any biblical evidence of this so generally dismiss the convesation as pointless.

  33. Citizn,

    Fine, but that distinction appears to be less a Biblical one, and more of a one based on culture (which has been my point all along).

  34. “So the social deviant will automatically try to convert the kids to the joys of his/her lifestyle while the pious man of (different) faith will not point out the fine qualities of his religion? The hypocrisy comes in accepting the sins of one group, as they relate to your faith, while condemning the sins of another, for the same reasons.”

    First of all, I have not said that I have anything against gay teachers. I have merely pointed out what I believe to be the logical point; that one thing is seen as essentially dirty whereas the other is wrong.

    The bible does indeed make differences between sin as I have pointed out in previous posts so these charges of hypocrisy are unfounded.

    Again, using this logic, anyone who would have a tatoo (Leviticus 19) is just as bad (or intolerable) as a mass murderer.

    So, in direct response to V’s question, and not any of my own view on homosexual or Hindu teachers; the Hindu would be seen as spiritually wrong perhaps but not “dirty” in the immoral sense where a gay teacher would be seen, literally, as dirty. The fears would range from the spread of AIDS through casual contact to the increased risk of child molestation and so on.

  35. The spread of AIDS through casual contact?

  36. Lets not forget, the point wasn’t what JeanBoob thought about Christianity in general but would (and if so why) “fundamentalists” treat gay teachers any differently than Hindus or whatever other religion.

    Assuming “fundamentalist” means in this context a biblical literalist, then yes, they would treat them differently.

    Because of Romans 1, gays are generally seen as unredeemable whereas Hindus can be converted.

    The bulk of these posts however have been written on the false premise that the bible treats all sin the same. This is not entirely true and thus the thread has turned into a reluctant bible study.

  37. Ray,

    I still maintain that you are a hypocrite. And a bigot to boot.

    “A teacher who is also a pious person of any mainstream religion is likely to extol a general sense of morality in the class room while a homosexual is merely a social deviant let loose among the children.”

    Well, the assumption here is that a homosexual cannot be pious – or an otherwise moral person. Many would beg to differ with this point. Furthermore, how can any non-Christian be pious (in the sacred or reverential sense of the term), according to Christian doctrine? In fact, if anything, a non-believer would be prone to false piety if anything.

    As to the original point of V’s mini-essay, I agree with it, so why should I address or critique it (I assume by address you actually mean critique)?

  38. mm

    I just mentioned what the fears of fundamentalists parents would be.

    People would be worried about the gay teachers sneezing on their children. I didn’t say I would, I said those that would object, AIDS would be one of their objections.

  39. Back to topic. As a (lapsed) Catholic, I was always taught that the 10 commandments were the laws by which we should live our lives in order to be true to our faith. By that definition a murderer IS as bad as an adulterer. Do I personally feel that way? Of course not. But you cannot get away from the logic of V’s argument by picking and choosing your quotes.

  40. nm156,

    Well, as to the “casual contact” issue, remember we are dealing with poorly educated American religionists here. *snicker* 🙂

  41. Jean,

    You remain dedicated to my status of hypocrite though you cannot prove it?

    Par for the Jean Boob course.

    Your inability of rational thought is stunning.

    Piety does not pertain to one religion but is a word that pertains to one who is bascially true to their own religion, so you could be a pious Hindu or a pious Christian.

    And because I “confessed” to being a Christian, I am automatically agianst gay teachers (something I have not said) and so therefore must be, by default, a bigot and a hypocrite.

    I maintain that Jean b is an irrational flake incapable of cogent thought.

  42. Ray,

    Well, the issue is Christian piety, not piety in general. Which I made very clear in my first statement. Quit trying to dodge the issue.

  43. mm,

    The bible does teach that no sin shall enter into heaven, so whether you’re an adulter or a murder (unrepentent) you’re going to hell.

    But the bible does make a difference between sin; some sin is an abomination and some sin is not. In the OT, some things would get you stoned, some things you just had to make an extra sacrifice.

    More to the point, murder, adultery etc, are repentable sins. According to Romans 1, homosexuality is not something you can be saved from. So, according to the bible, some sin is worse than other sin, even though both will get you to hell.

  44. Ray: Yes, some sins are “worse” than others. But when did God stop being able to forgive ALL our trespasses?

  45. mm,

    I’ll be leaving on this one and it’s been fun, really.

    Some stick to the Romans 1 where Paul said “God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;”

    The inconvenient being homosexuality. But in Matthew, Jesus said that to be a reprobate, you have to first receive the Holy Ghost or be saved before you could be a reprobate. Essentially meaning, that you can always turn to God from any sin but once you’ve “known” him, there are some things you can’t come back from.

    The jury is still out on that one but the point remains, whether it is before or after the act of being “saved,” there is a point in homosexuality that you cannot come back from.

  46. So much for the whole, “With God all things are possible,” huh? Personally, I like my Deity a little more omnipotent than you. Que sera sera.

  47. mm,

    ok, one more because I just looked it up.

    Matthew 12:31-32. Jesus says that all manner of sin shall be forgiven except speaking against the Holy Ghost.

    If a person takes the bible literally, then you have to “get” the Holy Ghost to be saved (John 3:5, Acts 2:38). So the teaching goes that if you’ve never received the HG, all manner of your sin shall be forgiven. But if you’ve actually had what they call an Acts 2:38 experience, and then turn completely away from God, you’re essentially cut off. In context to Romans 1, this would mean that homosexuality is redemmable if you haven’t already been “converted.”

  48. Mm,

    The bible doesn’t say God isn’t able, but that he is not willing.

    Reprobate is the difference in a girlfriend of two weeks cheating on you and your wife of 20 years stepping out on you.

    Anyway, I’m over due, g’night.

  49. Mark S.,

    My question was of course rhetorical. God isn’t an asshole nor a nice guy, god is a social-construct, a man-created-myth. I can’t “prove it,” because to do so would be to prove a negative, which is what the concept of a capricous deity is, negative.

    Regards,

    Steve

  50. Ray,

    Essentially you wish to judge homosexuals by a standard exclusively taken from the Bible, but Hindus by another standard (one largely based on the humanist, liberal Western tradition). Thus, you’ve qouted Romans for the former, while ignoring the issue of “false religion” and the Bible when it comes to Hinduism. Also you’ve said that Hindus can be pious, and I would agree with you that they can be on their own terms, but you’ve yet to tell me how they can be pious in a Christian context.

    Now you also state that Romans 1 makes a distinction between homosexuality as a sin, and other types of sins. Having read it, that is the ASV, I do not see this distinction being made. Clearly it states that “God gave them up as reprobate,” however “liars” and “idle gluttons” are also “reprobates” in Titus 1, as are men who take “captive silly women” in Second Timoty 3. Now whether the authors mean by the same thing by the term “reprobate” is unknown to me, however the fact that the term is used so liberally does take much of the edge off what you argue.

    BTW, as far as irrationality is concerned, there are few things more irrational than a belief in deities, especially ones created by goat herders thousands of years ago.

  51. Who was it that said, “I respect God because God is man’s greatest invention?”

  52. God is unwilling to forgive us our sins? Since when? Maybe your “Christian” faith does not allow for final absolution, but mine does. God is the final judge of all our sins, and it is folly to think you know His mind.

  53. JB: Belief in a deity(s) may be irrational, but many very learned minds believe that the more we, as a race, learn about our universe, the more unlikely it seems that this is all a random event. Still, this was an interesting go-round. Now back to work before I get fired.

  54. Reprobate is the difference in a girlfriend of two weeks cheating on you and your wife of 20 years stepping out on you.

    And when it’s the latter, God fights that pre-nup like hell, huh?

    I swear, I can almost hear a booming voice: “I call Old Testament vengeance, no tagbacks!”

  55. (1.5 puns in previous post unintentional.)

  56. Unintentional, but funny as . . . no, lets not go there (oops).

  57. Also, as Steve touched on above, If God created mankind then how can this all perfect being have allowed homosexuals to exist if he dislikes them so much as to demand his creations to put them to death no if’s and’s or buts. Ohhhh, that right, man has free will and SAY-TAN made them do it!

    Well, you know, all those homosexual teenage boys are really lusting after–er, wanting to court girls, because God wouldn’t create any other kind of male human. It’s just that adopting homosexuality is too powerful a temptation for them, what with the daily beatings and the near-total ostracism. Desiring pain and loneliness, that’s a sin, too, right?

    (I’ll bet a dollar that a “religious figure” somewhere has already made this argument with a straight face.)

  58. Jean Bart writes: “The DOMA is a perfect example of attempts to enshrine discrimination into law.”

    No, it’s not. For something to be dsicriminatory, it has to treat two socially equivalent things differently over insignificant attributes. Homosexual pairings are not socially equivalent to heterosexual couples, for the rather significant differences that heterosexual couples are capable of procreation*, and the fact that women and men do not have symmetrical roles in their relationships. Marriage as an institution was developed to account for and address the issues of children and male-female differences which simply do not apply to homosexuals.

    As to the BSA, my point was whether the Scouts won or lost the case, but rather that the lawsuit happened at all. Also the BSA has not been the only group that has faced such attempts at coercion, nor have the others been as successful rebuking such efforts.

    *And before someone plays cute with an argument about “infertile heterosexuals can marry”: I contend that infertility due to circumstance (disease, injury, age, etc.) is still a significant difference from infertility due to biological definition (same sex).

  59. Volokh’s argument fails if one doesn’t consider homosexuality a belief system.

    If it is a belief system, then it merits First Amendment protection. The first Amendment protects ideas, communication, and one’s freedom to believe however one wishes to believe. It does not guarantee one’s right to act on one’s beliefs.

    For example, it’s perfectly legal to believe that shooting Ron Reagan will cause Jodie Foster to love you. It’s perfectly illegal to take any actions to make it happen.

    You could argue that sexual behavior is a communicative act, and therefore protected under the First Amendment. That’s what protects titty bars – because there could be some grain of expressive conduct. But if sodomy is protected as expressive conduct, then so is polyamory and bestiality, and pretty much any sexual behavior you care to mention – subject only to minor time, manner, place restrictions. For example, you can’t have a Rick Santorum inspired man-dog daisy chain within 15 feet of an abortion clinic entrance. After all, the Amendment protects categories of speech, not individual statements, and permits only mild restraints, subject to proof of compelling state interests.

    Prof. Volokh is a brilliant man, but sometimes he tortures an idea until it is ready to sign a confession. The desire of individual rights libertarians (like Volokh and Randy Barnett) to expand individual rights by stretching the First Amendment to cover every conceivable type of behavior is no less violent to the Constitution than the Warren Court’s fabrication of doctrines from whole cloth.

  60. Stephen,

    After stating his core question, Volokh gives a disclaimer specifically stating he is not making an constitutionality argument.

    “Why shouldn’t devout conservative Christians apply the same principles to homosexuals that many of them would to Hindus? (I’m not asking whether the Constitution should be interepreted as compelling this — my question here has to do with what’s right, not how the Constitution should be interpreted.) “

  61. Ray is definately using two different standards here. He is doing this because he knows that Volokh’s argument is airtight.

    He called Hinduism, “innocuous.” Excuse me, but what kind of Fundamentalist are you Ray? Okay — you might not be a Protestant Fundmentalist — I didn’t get your exact brand of Christianity here. But every Protestant Fundamentalist that I have come across tells me that Hinuism involves the worship of FALSE DEMON GODS. Does this sound innocuous? And the Old Testament deals with worshipers of false Gods as seriously as homosexuality. Proselytizing for false Gods gets you the death penalty.

    And religion involves more that just faith or belief it also involves CONDUCT (that is the EXERCISE of religion). The religiously motivated conduct of a Hindu or a Hari Krishna involves the most serious type of evil to the Protestant fundamentalist — it’s the worship of DEMONS for God’s sake.

  62. chthus,

    You beat me to the punch. Stephen also forgets that speech also can be found in acts, such as the burning of a flag.

  63. “Marriage as an institution was developed to account for and address the issues of children and male-female differences which simply do not apply to homosexuals.”

    Marraige was created for a number of reasons, some of which are what you have stated (primary amongst these was the regulation of economic transfers as well as the maintenance of certain classes in power). However, being tied to the dead hand of tradition is hardly a convincing argument in my eyes, especially given the horrible things that can be defended as “tradition.”

    “I contend that infertility due to circumstance (disease, injury, age, etc.) is still a significant difference from infertility due to biological definition (same sex).”

    Can you explicate the difference, or are we supposed to just guess?

  64. gay-OK,

    Well, it becomes obvious that when marraige is allowed to idnividuals outside the procreative years that marraige serves things other than issues related to procreation. Also, given the financial benefits that marraige serves, it is also made obvious that marraige serves more than the regulation of male-remale relationships.

  65. these matters would be settled much more easily if yahweh found himself a better PR agency and consolidated his message. the freelancers he has now are too fragmented and all seem to be giving out different and often conflicting information.

    here’s a serious question which probably won’t sound too serious. would it be considered political speech if someone travelled to a state with sodomy laws with the expressed intent of violating the law? (and perhaps documenting via film, photos or DAT/minidisc)

    this probably seems murky, but i was having a talk with a friend the other day and she said something that really stuck with me – for her, sexual expression is a form of communication, a transmission of information (mostly nonverbal, obviously). i don’t necessarily agree with her interpretation but i think in part, at least in limited cases (like the scenario above) it can be a form of political communication rather than interpersonal.

  66. Comparing religious tolerance with tolerance of homosexuality is comparing apples and oranges.
    The first three commandments are religious in nature, dealing with the proper relationship between man and God. These are the kind that we tolerate deviance from ( such as wth Hindus).
    4-10 deal with matters of human interaction. These are the kind that affect each of us, and we are less tolerant of violators ( such as people who kill and steal). The admonition against homosexuality is a quasi-commandment, but it clearly resembles commandments 4-10 ( especially the 6th commandment forbidding adultery) more than 1-3.

    We do not tolerate killers and theives at all, and we frown on liars and cheating spouses. One can make the argument that lying and cheating are less severe sins, and that homosexuality should not be any more criminal than adultery is.
    But if all commandments are not created equal, it is specious reasoning to mix and match religious and more secular commandments as in Volokh’s argument.

    For the record, I personally think the first 4 commandments ought to be considered “low-priority”, not just the first 3. “Honor your father and mother” seems redundant to me- if you follow the others, aren’t you honoring them? And what if they don’t warrant honoring?

  67. Volokh’s argument is nonsense.

    Hindus don’t go to Christian churches. Homosexuals do. (Anyone here heard of that Andrew blogger character?)

    Imagine a Hindu attending a Catholic church and demanding to worship outside the scriptures.

    It’s good to solve this problem, but Volokh’s argument doesn’t help.

  68. Rex,

    Tolerating deviance from Commandments 1-3 as you put it is a product of modern Western Enlightenment liberalism, not longstanding religious traditions (thank God the Enlightenment rubbed off to some degree on fundamentalist Christians).

    The Old Testament is no more tolerant of religious differences than it is of homosexuality. Those who proselytize for “false Gods” merit the Death Penalty in the Old Testament. Hinduism involves the worship of Demons to the Fundamentalist Christian — how can that be any more tolerable than homosexuality?

    In an unpublished piece that I wrote, I make a similar point to Volokh’s, but I put it a bit differently:

    The religious right argues that we can’t have “sexual orientation codes” because that would in effect grant the government’s imprimatur to the notion that homosexuality is not a sin, or is “acceptable.” But we need not get this message from these codes. And this is where the analogy to religious freedom is apropos.

    For example, it is not acceptable, good, or right to a Protestant Fundamentalist for one to be a Mormon, a Hindu, a Hari Krishna, a Jehovah’s Witness, or even a Catholic or a Jew. Yet these are all given “civil rights” protection.

    “So if the government protects Jewish students from anti-Jewish discrimination, this should be viewed as the government giving its’ imprimatur to the notion that it’s perfectly acceptable, and even a good thing, to reject Jesus? If government protects a Jehovah’s Witness from discrimination, this is tantamount to the government stating that it’s a good thing to be a Jehovah’s Witness (an organization that most evangelicals think of as a cult)? This is where the logic of the religious right leads us.”

    Demanding government neutrality doesn’t equate to the government endorsing the notion that these “conditions” are valid or acceptable — it is just stating that government must remain neutral and it’s not their business to draw lines or discriminate on these grounds.

  69. MJ,

    Au contraire. The DOMA is a perfect example of attempts to enshrine discrimination into law. As to the BSA case, the BSA won, so the point is rather moot.

  70. Jean,

    You are correct. But rarely does the debate get that far…. the few times I have debated this subject I barely get past the “man on dog,” arguments. Simply because rational people generally will not argue against gay marriage unless they have some philisophical hang-up with the concept (e.g. religious objection).

    Regards,

    Steve

    🙂

  71. who says hindus worship demoms. we are the oldest surving religion inspite of all onslaught by other religions. we are better desiplined than all of you. mind you we dont have fathers to forgive our sin but we approach god. we are far superior, by behaviour and tolerance, if you think that praying to demon people are bad.

  72. who says hindus worship demoms. we are the oldest surving religion inspite of all onslaught by other religions. we are better desiplined than all of you. mind you we dont have fathers to forgive our sin but we approach god. we are far superior, by behaviour and tolerance, if you think that praying to demon people are bad.

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