Gay marriage, polygamy, and hypocrisy

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At the United Nations, the Vatican has joined forces with a bloc of more than 50 Islamic states to block a proposal to extend spousal benefits to the partners of gay U.N. employees from countries where such benefits are legal (e.g., Belgium and the Netherlands). According to The Washington Post, Vatican envoy Joseph Klee says that recognition of same-sex unions is contrary to the Roman Catholic Church's concept of marriage and the family.

Why, next thing you know, the U.N. will be wanting to recognize polygamous marriages. Oh, wait … it already does. According to the Post, "The United Nations has recognized polygamy, a common practice in the Islamic world, as a legitimate form of marriage and permits employees to divide their benefits among more than one wife." With nary a peep, one presumes, from the Vatican or the U.S. mission (which, under the Bush administration, has frequently sided with Vatican and the Islamic governments on "family" issues, and is still pondering its response to the present dispute).

One can only wonder—at the U.N., is it going to be a slippery slope from polygamy to gay marriage?

(Thanks to the Cato Institute's David Boaz for the tip.)

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  1. Jennifer:

    Just a word about myself, I don’t idolize my country or my culture, but I would like to caution you not to idolize yours.

    I was just pointing out what you said might be practiced in Saudi by some but it is against the law. So, I see now that you arn’t criticizing the law but the practice. So, let my reply to your comments.

    “do you deny that many girls are married before menarche in your enlightened society?”

    Yes. I could be wrong but I’ll be shocked if what you say is true. I have never heard of any one married before menarche. I know that there many who marry before 18, but not before menarche. If you know of any, please enlight me, I’m all ears.

    “granted, these are only anecdotes, but I don’t think your government keeps actual statistics on the number of girls murdered (by the family or the government) over sexual matters.”

    Executions in Saudi are performed in public with a signed decree, so they are published. So, if you are or any one else is interested in collecting statistics I’m sure it isn’t hard. As for the so-called ‘honor killing’ (there is nothing honorable about that), I don’t think it is easy to collect statistics as it is mostly done in bedouin (nomad) families or rural areas, where they are illiterate and keep moving from one place to the other. But I agree that is a problem that must be address and the best way to address this is to educate people. The rapidly decreasing illiteracy rate is an evidence that the government is doing a good job of that.

    “I’d always thought of murder as the one “unforgivable” crime for the obvious reason that the one in a position to forgive you is dead! But no, if the victim’s family is glad to see him go, they can collect blood money instead. ”

    Yes, there always cases where the system will be abused. But this happens in the US too. Manipulating jurors to acquit murderers (hint O.J.) is not very different from manipulating the victim’s family. Actually, I would argue that the latter is much harder.

    “but if I have sex (or expose my face in public, or leave the house by myself sans permission from a man) I am guaranteed to suffer physical pain at best and death at worst”

    My sisters-in-law all expose their faces in public and so far no “guaranteed” physical pains. They get harrased sometimes but they defend themselves well (I’ll help in their defense if I’m around). I agree covering the face is so stupid. I wish I could convince my siters to do without their face covers.

    “No, I will not apologize for the lack of respect I feel towards your country and your culture.”

    I didn’t ask for one. I just thought you would appreciate some first hand knowledge about the culture you read about but never experienced.

    “By the way, what did you think of that BBC story?”

    I read the same story in a Saudi newspapers a couple of days before the BBC published their story. In fact this was not the only one they published. They have reported several stories similar to that one where some old fart is bragging about his marriage practice. It is revolting. If I knew any of those old farts I assure you that they will hear what I have to say. I’m not sure why the saudi newspapers reported these stories, but I suspect that it is their subtle way of criticizing such practice.

    Having said that, are you trying to tell me that none of this nonsense happens in the US. I happen to read and watch on TV many similar absurd stories taking place in the US: a man marrying a women and her daughter, a man marrying a whole bunch of women, etc.
    Does the US government publish any statistics of such practices in the US?

    I believe there are many things wrong in my country (and yours). I much rather spend my energy in righting the wrongs in my country than pointing the wrongs in yours. Your lack of respect for my culture and country is not going to change that.

  2. Brent — I think you may have misunderstood my attempt at sarcasm. My comment, “One can only wonder — at the U.N., is it going to be a slippery slope from polygamy to gay marriage?” was meant as a humorous reference to worries that legalizing gay marriage may be a “slippery slope” to legalizing polygamy. In this case, those who oppose the recognition of same-sex marriages by the UN apparently have no problem with the UN’s recognition of polygamous marriages in Islamic countries.

  3. The Catholic Church condones all sorts of ideas that are repugnant to notions of individual liberty and autonomy. That they got into bed with another like-minded group opposed to such liberty and autonomy should not be surprising.

  4. Saudi judge-
    Of course there are terrible things that happen in America, too. I do not idolize my country; indeed, on other postings I’m often accused of being un-American. But in America, women and girls are mistreated IN SPITE OF the law. In Arabia, they’re mistreated BECAUSE OF the law. There are many evil things you could truthfully say about American cops, but none of them would ever force schoolgirls to run back into a burning school building because they were inadequately dressed. If they did, they’d be prosecuted.

    Here in America, we have a lot of regional prejudices; Southerners will insult Northerners and vice-versa, Westerners make fun of Easterners and vice-versa. Now, if the area where you live is being insulted, the traditional comeback is along the lines of, “Why don’t you come here and see my home for yourself, before you pass judgment like that?” However, in your case this would not work; due to my religion, my gender and my marital status I am forbidden from setting foot in your country and can only judge it based upon what I read. That one book I mentioned by name, “Princess,” was not written by a Bedouin nomad but by a member of your own royal family. Of course, in Saudi law, a woman’s testimony is only worth half that of a man’s so I suppose I should only believe half of what I read in the book.

    Perhaps I was wrong in saying that women must hide their faces. What of my other charges: that women are forbidden to run their own lives without the permission of a man, or the charge that women who have sex outside of marriage (even tose who are raped) often face capital punishment? I read that just now, on the Human Rights Watch website (www.humanrightswatch.org).

    In your own cultural heritage you have the 1,001 Nights with the marvelous message of Scheherazade: ‘Just because you can’t control women doesn’t mean you have to kill them.’ Such a pity, that the Saudi government and Wahhabi clerics seem determined to go out of their way to make Arabic religious and secular culture look as barbaric and ignorant as possible.

  5. Jennifer,

    Don’t forget the incident where girls were shoved back into a burning building because they weren’t properly dressed.

  6. Jean-
    I did mention that obliquely; I pointed out that an American cop would never do such a thing, or if he did he’d at least be prosecuted.

    Too bad the girls had to die, but let’s look on the bright side–at least some Saudi male didn’t have to look at the girl’s exposed bodies and risk having a sexual thought!

  7. Forgot to add: in America you can only be put under house arrest if you are convicted of a crime; in Arabia you’re under house arrest if you’re born without a penis. Kind of funny, the way they accuse WESTERNERS of being obsessed with sexuality.

  8. Cathy, you’ve made a few keen observations. First, platonic relationships.

    Today, the State does not ask about the sexual orientation of the prospective bride and groom. A bisexual man can marry a lesbian woman, and so forth. Eligibility regulations do not make civil marriage an exclusively heterosexual club. But marriage is about couples, of course, and the combination that the State recognizes is man and woman. The State may have created “civil marriage”, but it merely acknowledged the procreative model upon which marriage itself was created before the State existed. (Later I’ll comment on your point about the relevance of procreation in the face of recent technologies.)

    Likewise, the State does not inquire about the quality, character or even the existence of love between the two individuals who come for a marriage license. Platonic relationships are not prohibited in civil marriage today.

    As Sowell suggested, approval of the State is not necessary for couples (homosexual, platonic, whatever) to live and love together. The question of governance relevant to this issue is about the utility of “civil marriage”, and the utility of the symbolism of the procreative model, in maximizing freedom. Even a truly libertarian society has a vital interest in that.

    The advocates of SSM talk a good deal about the the theoretical equality of sexual orientations and about the normalcy of love in the SSM model. But there’s not much talk about the social consequences of irreversibly disconnecting marriage from procreation. Where is the risk analysis? The cost/benefit analysis? A look forward?

    With the SSM concept of civil marriage, it would be anti-heterosexual bigotry to bar two straight men, or two straight women, from marrying each other. There’s only a few hundred thousand same-sex couples living together in the USA today; it wouldn’t take long for double-straight heterosexual partnerships to catch-up and eventually outnumber mutually-loving homosexual unions. The next big thing: marriage for closely related individuals and for groups.

    In any case, double straight couples in buddy unions would overturn the central theme that supposedly equates SSM with traditional marriage: mutually loving fidelity between consenting adults. Monogamy will be redefined along the lines of current homosexual relationships: the standard monogamy will be emotional not sexual. Written into boilerplate contracts, I suppose. Objectively interpreted in divorce courts as distinct from extramarital relationships…

    The utility of this new model of marriage would be unlike what wehave today in the making of public policy. But maybe that’s not an unintended consequence? Advocating SSM is like advocating the destruction of civil marriage. It is not about semantics. It is not about the label but about the thing itself, marriage.

  9. Gay Marriage violates the religous convictions of millions of tax paying Americans. I’m against any policy that forces American taxpayers to support something that violates their religous convictions.

    Just to show I’m not biased, I would argue that gay taxpayers in Belgium and the Netherlands shouldn’t be forced to financialy support the policies of the American Baptist church either.

  10. Ken Shultz-
    But when you say gay marriage violates the convictions of religious Americans, you’re forgetting that gay marriage is not something that will be done TO them. Hell, being non-Christian violates the religious beliefs of millions of tax-paying Americans. By your logic, would you suggest that our police and military (paid for via taxes) should not be required to protect non-Christians from crime? If not, then how is that different from gay marriage?

  11. I assume polygamy will come up in the UN sooner or later– mainly as a women’s rights question. How the “hypocrisy” plays out will be interesting to see. How many advocates of same-sex unions will be willing to defend polygamy?

    (The Communist Chinese have always been proud to say they suppressed the practice, both among the Han and national minorities.)

  12. “… you’re forgetting that gay marriage is not something that will be done TO them.”

    You’re forgetting that our tax money pays the salary and benefits of gay employees of the UN directly. Forcing people to use the fruit of their labor to finance something they find, not just morally repugnant, but specificly against their religous beliefs is just plain wrong.

    Our definition of religous freedom has really drifted. Religous freedom once meant that the U.S. Government couldn’t establish a state religion a la the Anglican Church. It once meant that anyone should be able to practice their religion without interference from the government, and to that end, we upheld even the rights of Amish people not to send their children to school and the practice of SNAKE HANDELING!

    Besides, this principle is in evey First Grader’s American History class. Why did the Pilgrims come to the New World?

    If you don’t think that having one’s earnings coerced from them in order to pay Gay Marriage benefits, is a government intrusion on the religous liberty of fundamentalist christians, then I question your objectivity.

    P.S. Don’t you realize that this is the kind of victimization Christian fundamentalists thrive on?

  13. Sorry, but fuck a whole bunch of that, not to put too fine a point on it. All my fellow Fairfax, VA residents ultimately have to pay higher property taxes because of the more than 100 churches that don’t have to pay any. Paying property tax to, essentially, subsidize a house of worship violates my religious beliefs, so I think they can take it on the chin for this one.

    Yes, I realize that other nonprofits are subject to the same rules, but I don’t consider churches qua churches to be inherently charitable enterprises, so I think it’s bullshit.

  14. Ken-
    Are you seriously trying to make the argument that your TAXES will go up if gays are allowed to marry? Either way, you haven’t answered my question: by your logic, why should Christian taxpayers be expected to fund the protection of non-Christian lives? What about Muslim taxpayers, who pay the salaries of female police officers (which goes against their religion)?

    Don’t confuse freedom OF religion with freedom FROM things you don’t like.

  15. How much tax payer money do your local Fairfax churches absorb Phil?

  16. I wish the Saudi Judge would come back. I really wanted to hear his take on Saudi women’s rights.

  17. “Either way, you haven’t answered my question: by your logic, why should Christian taxpayers be expected to fund the protection of non-Christian lives? What about Muslim taxpayers, who pay the salaries of female police officers (which goes against their religion)?”

    Taking money from people’s paychecks to finance Gay Marriage benefits and protecting the rights of non-Christians isn’t comparable. Let’s try plugging in another variable. Maybe then you’ll see my equation.

    Imagine that Saudi Arabia is the largest single donor to the UN. But rather than financing its UN contribution with royal oil income, it got its contribution by way of an income tax. Imagine then how the average Saudi would feel when they find out that a portion of the UN budget goes to build distilleries and pig farms somewhere in Europe.

    Would that not be a violation of their right to practice Islam as they see fit?

    Back to the issue, that’s the way Christian Fundamentalists see Gay Marriage benefits. As a Libertarian, I believe that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of its citizens. Non-Christians have a right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and whole lot more. They deserve to have their rights protected by a police force, amongst other things. Paying taxes to finance that force is, thus, not even a question.

    But paying taxes that go directly to finance something like Gay Marriage or Abortion is a violation of the rights of Fundamentalist Christians just as paying taxes that go directly to finance something like pig farms and alchohol would be a violation of the rights of Muslims.

    That’s why the U.N. should avoid engaging in such behavior.

    Is there any question that in a struggle between U.N. Personell Policies and the Bill of Rights that the U.N. should be more flexible?

  18. Ken-

    OK, let’s take the issue out of the UN and put it in the local police force. Let’s say that in Libertyville, USA the police only enforce Constitutional laws and they never violate the Bill of Rights and all these other great things. A perfect police force.

    As compensation for their services and the risks they assume, cops are given the contractual guarantee that if they die in the line of duty their freely designated survivors will be given a pension. Well, a cop killed while trying to arrest a murderer, and the cop just happens to be a gay man, and he designated his gay lover/spouse/civilly united partner/whatever as his beneficiary. And some fundamentalist taxpayers in Libertyville are angry that their money is going to “finance” a gay relationship.

    What to do?

  19. Ken said:
    “Taking money from people’s paychecks to finance Gay Marriage benefits and protecting the rights of non-Christians isn’t comparable.”

    Yes, it is, because your original argument is that religious people should not see their tax dollars go to fund something that goes against their religion. As I pointed out already, the same religious book that prohibits homosexuality also prohibits other religions. The Book of Exodus clearly states “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” and yet every day tax money is being spent to protect Wiccan lives, firefighters put out blazes in Wiccan homes. . . .you name it.

    Now, seriously, I doubt that you would suggest that only Christians should enjoy the benefits of law. But I think again that you are confusing freedom OF religion with special benefits TO religion. You have religious freedom, yes, but that does NOT mean you will never have to be exposed to things that offend your religion.

    Again, let me ask you: should females be kicked out of the police force and military, on the grounds that Muslims are taxpayers too, and female authority figures go against the tenets of Islam? By your logic, the answer is yes. Indeed, by your logic, any one single taxpayer should be allowed to play the “religious offense” card to stop ANYTHING he personally dislikes.

  20. Ken,
    Your tax dollars go to polygamist benefits. My tax dollars go to all sorts of stuff that people don’t approve of. Should a Muslim or Jew be able to say that subsidies on pig farmers are a violation of the 1st Amendment because they don’t approve of swine? What about forcing Quakers to pay for the military? Don’t you realize that all sorts of atheists [gasp] and adulterers get beenfits from Christian taxpayers even though they are major sins. They make God’s top 10 list of big no nos. Goodness, tax dollars pay for work on the Sabbath too, yet another 1st Amendment violation.

    Last I checked, Christians (and everyone else) can practice their religion as they please. As long as they don’t ask for the government or government entities to step in. I have a problem with Catholic Charities being forced to pay for contraceptive benefits. But most of the complaints from the religious right is that Christianity is being brought to an equal level with other religions.

    Remember, traditionally, the Catholic Church was one of the biggest proponents of the seperation of church and state, not some group of atheists.

  21. “Gay Marriage violates the religous convictions of millions of tax paying Americans. I’m against any policy that forces American taxpayers to support something that violates their religous convictions.”

    Man, if I had a nickel for every program the Federales fund that I have moral, ethical, intellectual, philosophical and even, (gasp, can it be true, from an AGNOSTIC?) religous objections to, I’d have enough money to buy a house in the Bay Area.

    First off, from what I understand, just about ALL taxes are bad things to libertarians. So maybe we should just find another way to fund these things. Your money won’t go to benefits for spouses in gay marriages. And my money won’t go to abstinence only sex “education”, propping up brutal and repressive gov’ts(hey, Jennifer, is there room on the Anti-Islamic-Treatment-of-Women Bandwagon, cuz I got some things to say about female genital mutilation), subsidizing farmers…. etc. etc.

  22. Thoreau-
    I liked your cop example, and want to take it further. Imagine a hetero cop who wants a vasectomy, which will be paid for by taxpayer money as all cop medical procedures are. But some of those taxpayers are Catholics, who think vasectomies are sinful. Should the cop be denied his operation?

    Wait a minute, why am I asking you? I want Ken to give me the answer.

  23. Thoureau,

    Tricky. I’m not sure I have an adequate answer for that, but here’s my gut. Municipal and State workers should have such questions determined by the relevent municipality or State.

    Let’s not forget that there is a private “benefits” market out there in the form of life and health insurance too. I’m sure that there are myriad entreprenuers eager to contract for such benefits, and such arrangements certainly don’t need government approval.

    There’s private charity to help pay poor government employees premiums too.

    But, ultimately, the problem stems from the fact that taxes are coerced from us in the form of an income tax rather than paid voluntarily in the form of a sales tax.

  24. “Wait a minute, why am I asking you? I want Ken to give me the answer.”

    Same answer I gave to Thoreau, Jennifer. Municipalities should decide for Municipalities, etc. I shouldn’t have much to say about the personnel policies of the San Francisco Fire Department, for instance.

    Also, once again, the problem is the income tax, rather than some kind of fee based, voluntary system.

    P.S. After re-reading myself, I wanted to point out that I am not a Fundamentalist.

  25. “How many advocates of same-sex unions will be willing to defend polygamy?”

    Here’s one.

    However, for me to advocate any relationship of any kind between anybody, I have a precondition: the participants–ALL the participants–must be allowed to freely choose to enter or not to enter the relationship (and leave it if necessary). Inherent in the choice is the responsibility to bear the consequences of that choice.

    That’s a no-brainer. Really.

  26. “But, ultimately, the problem stems from the fact that taxes are coerced from us in the form of an income tax rather than paid voluntarily in the form of a sales tax.”

    Depends on what’s being taxed. If there’s a sales tax on food, is the tax voluntary? A city girl has to eat too, and growing my own– heh, sorry I’m 12. Growing my own FOOD isn’t an option. I suppose it’d work if the sales tax was on luxury goods only. But one man’s luxury is another man’s necessity which leads to a whole new set of arguments.

  27. Come to think of it, any plural marriage that includes at least one man and one woman is a same-sex union, at least in part. I mean, it is, isn’t it?

  28. Heather,

    Sales taxes are entirely voluntary in that the buyer takes them into consideration when they make a purchase.

    If you’re looking to defeat the entire idea of Libertarianism by pointing out that we all “need” things, …well…let’s just say that the idea has already been considered and rejected by most Libertarians.

  29. Ken-

    You’re dodging the question. Say that the city council of Libertyville and/or the legislature of whatever state it’s located in has already said “A police officer may designate one or more surviving beneficiaries, and a pension shall be divided amongst them as the officer provides, if that officer is killed in the line of duty” or whatever the legalese is. And this isn’t done as any sort of social engineering or redistribution, but simply as compensation for those who render the services of a cop and assume the risks.

    And a private benefits market won’t cut it. Sure, it could lower the gov’t’s risk to pay survivor benefits on an insurance basis, where in exchange for a flat annual fee the insurance company handles survivor pensions for any and all cops who die on the job. But that premium on the insurance policy still has to be paid out of tax dollars.

    A sales tax won’t cut it either. Sure, it isn’t an income tax, but as a practical matter it is still coercing people to pay a tax if they want to buy a product from a vendor within a certain jurisdiction. Neither the vendor nor the buyer has any say in the matter. In the end, there’s no getting around the fact that all taxation involves some amount of coercion.

    So, we’re left with our dilemma: If the police department in Libertyville lets cops designate a recipient for survivor pensions, and if one of those cops designates a gay lover/spouse/civilly-united-partner/whatever as a beneficiary, Christian fundamentalists can whine that they were coerced into spending money on a gay relationship.

    For that matter, they can whine that the city is “sending the wrong message to the children” by even hiring a gay cop. And Muslim fundamentalists can complain if that gay cop is a woman (gasp!).

  30. Ken-

    After posting I see that you already argued that sales taxes aren’t coercive because people can take them into account when making spending decisions.

    Hey, I can take the income tax into account when making my budgetary decisions. Sure, in some regards the sales tax may be much less problematic than an income tax (I don’t want to get into the details of that debate right now, let’s just accept that in at least some ways the sales tax might be a “lesser evil”) but it is still coercive.

    Now, I realize that as long as we have government to handle things like cops and military and courts and whatnot there will be at least some level of taxation, and taxation will by its nature be coercive. My point is that people will always be able to complain “They didn’t just coerce me into paying for the defense of people and property and whatnot, they coerced me into paying for those immoral gays! (or whatever their bogeyman is) At some point we have to be able to tell them to shut up and get used to it.

    I’ll now pause as the purity police escort me out of libertopia. I just hope none of those purity police are gay, because that would really screw things up! 🙂

  31. Jennifer:

    “In Arabia, they’re mistreated BECAUSE OF the law.”

    Are you talking about the law in theory or what actually happens on the ground? Please stick to one, it makes the discussion much easier.

    “There are many evil things you could truthfully say about American cops, but none of them would ever force schoolgirls to run back into a burning school building because they were inadequately dressed. If they did, they’d be prosecuted.”

    I’m not sure that shooting people for having the wrong color of the skin is not as bad.

    Any way, I’m aware of the incident you illude to. There were consequences (not as serious as one would hope) for that incident. The head of the women’s education lost his job.

    BTW, The account of what happened might not be as clear cut as you think. If you have an open mind here is something about that incident you probably didn’t know.

    The Saudi government accused the religeous police of preventing the girls from leaving the building causing the deaths of ~14 students. This accusation, in my opinion, was for ulterior motives by the government. They used the backlash to merge the women’s branch (which was controled mostly by religious people) and the men’s branch of the ministry of education which they were planning to do but waiting for the right time. The ultimate responsiblity for puting out the fire lies on the civil defense police (the fire department). It doesn’t make sense to me that a bunch of reigious fanatics could stop the police from doing their job. After all the fanatics of the religious are not armed and the police is armed. The buidling itself was not a propriate and the saftey of the building was questionable. So it wasn’t entirely the fault of the religious fanatics.

    As an evidence of the ulterior motives of the government, there were far more serious fire incidents and other tragedies after the school’s incident with many more deaths that have resulted in zero outrage (from the saudi newspapers) and zero action from the government.

    “due to my religion, my gender and my marital status I am forbidden from setting foot in your country and can only judge it based upon what I read”

    That is simply not true. There are more than 6 million foreigners, at least 2 million are non- muslims. I would also estimate that at least 1 million are females. I’m not sure what is your religion/marital status but I’m quite confident that someone with similar status has been granted visa to Saudi. The only exception I know of are Israelies, and possibly granting visa for same-sex spouses. I know that the US has similar restrictions.

    “In your own cultural heritage you have the 1,001 Nights with the marvelous message of Scheherazade: ‘Just because you can’t control women doesn’t mean you have to kill them.'”

    The message I get from the 1001 nights is that a smart women can manipulate a man no matter how powerful he thinks he is. But that’s just me.

    “Such a pity, that the Saudi government and Wahhabi clerics seem determined to go out of their way to make Arabic religious and secular culture look as barbaric and ignorant as possible.”

    Perception is in the eye of the beholder. BTW, I get the feeling that you use muslim and Arab interchangeably. They are different things. One is a religion and one is an ethnic group.

  32. I wasn’t dodging Thoreau, like I said, I’m not sure that I have a complete answer to your question.

    But I think you’re mistaken about the private benefits market, and I disagree about the effect of income taxes on issues like this.

    A fundamentalist can find ways to work around a sales tax, at worst, if he so wishes, he can move to a municipality that doesn’t offend. But income taxes are unavoidable that way.

    I would also point out that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are highly charged this way. Every soccer mom has a right to make decisions about coverage precisely because we all pay into the general fund.

    Oh, and every Fundamentalist that pays income taxes has a right to make decisions about coverage too.

  33. Thoreau,

    I didn’t see your post until after I’d posted also.

    Good luck with the purity cops.

  34. Isn’t it good that Catholicism & Islam can find common ground?
    Neither condone homosexuality, and hence oppose same sex marriage.
    Every cloud has a silver lining.

    About Speedwell’s observation that polygamy is same sex:
    Does Islam dictate how multiple partners are to be managed?
    The Mormons of old, preferred separate households.
    Brigham Young said of the promotion of polygamy
    that it was the worse burden to be put on one man,
    sapping his wealth, time and energy, plus taxing his patience.

  35. I don’t think that polygamy is considered same sex marriage because it’s see as the man having two wives married to him, rather than three people married to eachother.

  36. Mo, et. al.

    Yes, one of the reasons that I think the government should do so little, and the private sector do so much is because of the very kinds of things you’re listing.

    Why should Muslims be forced to finance the acquisition of a liquor store by way of the SBA? Why should Jews be forced to underwrite pig farms by way of subsidies?

    If only the government would refrain from such activites, how much better off would we all be?

    I want three things from the federal government. Briefly, I want a military force sufficeint to deter a foreign invasion, a domestic police force to protect me from crime and a fair judicial system so that I’ll have somewhere to go for redress when I’m wronged and so I’ll be treated fairly if I’m accused of wronging someone else.

    Which of these things violates the religous convictions of anyone?

    P.S. Maybe Quakers regarding national self defense, but I really don’t know that much about Quakers.

  37. Ken-
    So basically what you’re saying is MY rights can be taken away if they offend YOUR religion, am I right?

    Saudi judge-
    Glad to see you back.

    COncerning the school fire, first of all, I do NOT blame the mutawae’en for the fact that the school burned down; I blame them for the fact that they refused to let the girls leave. Big difference.

    As an atheist and an unmarried female, I could not enter your country. Even if you guys didn’t mind atheists, I still couldn’t enter your country, because my last name sounds Jewish and you guys won’t let Jews into your country.

    My main question, which you have not addressed, concerns women. WHY do you keep all of your women under a permanent state of house arrest? You alluded to America’s mistreatment of blacks; granted, we have a lot of stains on our collective conscience, but a black man in the South during the days of segregation still had it far better than your women do now.

    Get this: ever since I lost my teaching job I’ve made money by going to estate auctions, buying stuff and then selling it for a profit on the Internet. This is a business, but I also think it’s fun; I happen to enjoy going to auctions. This does not just bring me money; it brings me happiness, too.

    This is what I did last weekend:
    1. Drove my car fifty miles to an auction house
    2. Talked to the auctioneer (a male to whom I am not related)
    3. Talked with various other junk dealers (both male and female, none related to each other)
    4. Bid on and bought items (by myself, with no male relative placing bids or making purchases for me)
    5. Loaded my purchases into my car (with the help of still more non-related males)
    6. Drove myself back home.

    That’s it. I had a good time and made money to pay my bills. I hurt nobody. Nor did I solicit any acts of prostitution, which you guys seem to think a woman does every time she leaves her man’s sight. And yet, EVERY SINGLE THING I did would have been forbidden in Arabia: women can’t drive. Women can’t leave the house by themselves. Women can’t buy things from males. Women can’t talk to men unless they’re related.

    WHY? What are you so afraid of? Why are you so obsessed with what does or does not dangle down between a person’s legs? Just today I read in “Arab News” where Prince Turki (Haifa’s brother, I assume) insisted that women are not oppressed in Arabia. Riiiiiight.

    Incidentally, the only manipulation performed by Scheherazade was manipulating the King into breaking his habit of fucking a virgin every night and killing her the next day. We women are so sneaky, trying to stop men from murdering us like that.

  38. Meanwhile, here’s a fun story on today’s BBC News:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3520362.stm

    To summarize: a Saudi man is about to marry wife #60. SInce no Muslim can have more than four wives at a time, he will do his usual practice of drawing lots to decide wich previous wife he’ll divorce to make room for the lucky new one. The new wife probably hasn’t hit puberty yet, and hasn’t consented to her geriatric husband, but at least there’s no homosexuality here! Praise Allah.

    If the Pope had a grain of intelligence he would think “The fact that Bin Laden and I agree on something should really make me second-guess it.”

  39. Huh?

  40. How much tax payer money do your local Fairfax churches absorb Phil?

    Beats me. Doesn’t matter. Any amount greater than zero is too much, and violates MY right not to support religious activity with my money.

    See, this sword cuts both ways, huh?

  41. Correction-
    Did I say that the King in the Arabian Nights was “fucking” a virgin every night? I meant to say “raping” a virgin. I’m sorry. My bad.

  42. Actually, Jennifer, the Vatican, Muslim nations, and the US (when governed by Republicans) have consistently formed an anti-sex, anti-woman, anti-gay bloc at the UN. The Cairo conference, which replaced support for coercive Population Control with support for empowering women, was denounced by Islamic governments, the Vatican, and the GOP.

  43. Joe-
    That’s exactly my point. What kind of revolting anti-life attitudes do these people have? In Saudi Arabia, if I were to murder you, I could avoid prosecution by giving money to your family. But if I had SEX with you. . .chop-chop! Off with my head!

    Here’s an interesting side thought: in America, a lot of the anti-homosexual sentiment seems based upon the notion that sex and marriage are ONLY for having babies. Presumably the Muslims have a similar doctrine, and yet there is an Arab proverb to the effect that a woman’s first period should be in the home of her husband, not her father. If procreation is the be-all and end-all of human relationships, why make girls get married when they’re still years away from being physically capable of motherhood?

    DJ-
    You asked how Muslims maintain separate marriages. In theory, each wife is to be treated with strict equality. A few years ago I read a book titled either “Princess” or “Saudi Princess,” a biography of a woman in the Saudi royal family. She said that in practice, the only Saudi men who have multiple marriages are either the very rich (royals) or the very poor(Bedouins): the very rich can afford to buy each wife her own palace, whilst the Bedouins had only to erect a new tent for each new bride. Middle-class men, however, can generally afford to maintain only one middle-class existence, and so they tend to be more monogamous.

  44. That’s the point Phil. If any church received any tax payer money it would violate the establishment clause. Churches don’t pay taxes, they don’t receive tax money.

  45. Jennifer:
    “I do NOT blame the mutawae’en for the fact that the school burned down; I blame them for the fact that they refused to let the girls leave. Big difference.”

    I don’t see you blaming the Saudi fire department for not saving the girls or puting down the fire. Anyone who singls out the mutwae’en for the blame isn’t being honest and might have ulterior motives. Any way, I’m not sure the mutawae’en did in fact stop the girls from leaving. Read my previous post.

    “a black man in the South during the days of segregation still had it far better than your women do now”

    Easy for you to say. I will gladly believe the black slaves if they made that claim. But not you, no offense intended.

    “Even if you guys didn’t mind atheists, I still couldn’t enter your country, because my last name sounds Jewish and you guys won’t let Jews into your country”

    Like I said before, I’m sure that at least one of the ~6 million foreigners is an atheist. As for the second part of your remark, that is simply not true. It is Israelies (not jews) that are not allowed in the country. Thomas Friedman (from the NYT) visited Saudi and I believe he is a jew. One of my professor when I went to college was a jewish american. That is 2 examples that contradicts your theory.

    “Nor did I solicit any acts of prostitution”

    What’s wrong with soliciting prostitution? After all, they say that it is the oldest profession.

    “women can’t drive”

    Yes, they can’t drive in Saudi (they are allowed to in other Arabic/muslim countries). This is a prohibition that I totally disagree with. In fact, a group of women publicly defied the government in 1991 and I hope other women will do the same again and again until this prohibition is repelled. I’m proud to say that one of my sisters-in-law took part in that demonstration.

    “Women can’t leave the house by themselves.”

    not true.

    “Women can’t buy things from males.”

    If you knew anything about Saudi, you would know that is simply not true. In fact, the norm is for a woman to buy from men not women.

    Now, let me ask you a few questions of my own:

    How many women held the highest post of government in the US and how many in the muslim countries?

    Why do women in the US tend to make less money than men when hired to do the same job?

    Why women in the US are not allowed to show their boobies in public?

    Do you take offense at women wearing hijab or that the fact that they are forced to do it?

  46. Jennifer:
    “In Saudi Arabia, if I were to murder you, I could avoid prosecution by giving money to your family. But if I had SEX with you. . .chop-chop! Off with my head!”

    I don’t think that you know what you are talking about. In Islam (and in Saudi law) If you murder someone, money will spare your life ONLY if the family of the victim agree to it. If they refuse, then … “chop chop”.

    As for the having sex part, in theory, adulterers are to be condemned to death ONLY if they are married. That goes for women AND MEN. If you have sex and you have never been married, then the penalty is much more lenient than the death penalty (I think it is like
    80 lashes on the butt, and again that goes for women AND MEN).

    Oh, and can you please tell me what is the Arabic proverb you mentioned in your post. I never heard of it (not to say that there is no such a thing)

  47. Saudi judge-
    In the past two months I’ve checked out from my local library and read fifteen books about Islam and Arabic culture. Some sounded pretty nuanced, some were obviously anti-Arab, and a couple sounded suspiciously pro-Islamic fundamentalism. I will confess I don’t remember exactly where I read the proverb. However, do you deny that many girls are married before menarche in your enlightened society?

    As for sex leniency: What matters is not theory but practice. After all, in theory, the Soviet Union’s constitution promised everyone human rights and a Utopian society, but that does not change the fact that the Soviet Union was a repressive place.

    Likewise, who cares about the ‘theory’ that unmarried people who have sex are “only” given 80 lashes rather than death? In practice, the Muslim world is far too fond of honor killings. There were also anecdotes in “Princess” of a pregnant rape victim facing execution after she gave birth, or a girl drowned in her family’s pool after ‘making out’ with a boy. . .granted, these are only anecdotes, but I don’t think your government keeps actual statistics on the number of girls murdered (by the family or the government) over sexual matters.

    As for the murder payoff: I’d always thought of murder as the one “unforgivable” crime for the obvious reason that the one in a position to forgive you is dead! But no, if the victim’s family is glad to see him go, they can collect blood money instead.

    So to reiterate: if I murder someone there’s a chance I can avoid prosecution by paying money, but if I have sex (or expose my face in public, or leave the house by myself sans permission from a man) I am guaranteed to suffer physical pain at best and death at worst, with no possibility of a payoff.

    No, I will not apologize for the lack of respect I feel towards your country and your culture.

    By the way, what did you think of that BBC story?

  48. Here’s the facet of this grand argument I’ve having the most trouble with: how will gay marriage negatively affect straight marriage? I mean, really….how does 2 guys or chicks living together in peace adversely affect mom and dad with their 2 kids down the street?

    And now the UN is getting on the bandwagon..with help from the (somewhat unchanging) Vatican? Sheesh. To call it a “slippery slope from polygamy to gay marriage”…that, too. I’m not sure what makes it a “slippery slope”. That term is usually used to connote a regression into something bad or something from the past. I’m not quite sure gay marriage falls into such a category. Arguably, the issues of multi-racial coupling or woman’s suffrage, at their height of debate, would have been categorized the same way. Nowadays we don’t even give either a second thought.

  49. Jennifer:
    “I do not oppose the inherent idea of a woman wearing hijab, but the fact that she is forced to do so. ”

    So, I guess you would show the same outrage if some government forced her to take it of, right?

    “And the color! Bad enough to force women to wear tents, but they also have to be black? Heat-absorbing colors in the desert?”

    So, you don’t have a problem with the color in the winter? I’m sorry that the color offends your taste. Black isn’t my favorite color either. But that hardly warants the “barbaric” term you used earlier.

    “It was the Saudi news who first reported this, not a Western news agency with an anti-Saudi bias.”

    Like I said before, the Saudi government (which controls the saudi press) had ulterior motives for the accusation. I said nothing about western news agencies. Read my previous post.

    As for the shopping issue, here is a link with some pictures that some one took in a shopping mall in Riyadh, see for yourself (I’m sure you can find more using google):

    http://www.btinternet.com/~dafyddk/riyadh/Riyadh.htm

    BTW, there are fantastic malls in Riaydh and in Dubai (in the UAE), if you are interested in shopping.

    “During the Jeddah economic conference your Grand Mufti recently declared that the mingling of the sexes is the cause of all evil in the world”

    Well, if he said that then he does not know what he is talking about. Pat Robertson thinks that homosexuality (and islam) is/are the source of all evil in the world. Religious nuts are out of touch with reality. Tell me something I don’t know.

    “from a woman’s perspective, America is a far better place than Saudi Arabia”

    I’m sure that they are alot of Saudi women who would disagree. But, that is a personal choice.

  50. Doesn’t this argument actually demonstrate the link between polygamy and same-sex marriage? I mean, we’re told again and again that there is a principled difference between the treatment of the two by SSM proponents, yet when the UN treats them differently, the UN is accused of hypocrisy?

    Is there a principle that will allow us to legalize SSM and not legalize polygamy? I don’t think so, and neither, apparently, does Cathy.

    BTW: the Vatican can’t oppose or support anything at the UN, as it isn’t a member of the UN; that perhaps goes a long way to explaining why there hasn’t been much talk about the benefits for polygamous relations from the Vatican–there’s no state willing to oppose them.

  51. Saudi: As for the shopping issue, here is a link with some pictures that some one took in a shopping mall in Riyadh
    I?d have to agree with the ?Saudi Judge? here ?Jennifer?.

    I have visited the majority of the countries centered on the Gulf. (The UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, ? etc. for the last 15 years of my military career). I have been in and out of large and small cities around the back hill country areas. I have read several books and compared them to reality. I also have no political agenda on the matter. Now that the background is out of the way?
    UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have a lot more western culture then most people who have never visited them realize. Particularly the UAE. I have seen women(especially tourists) wear ?revealing? clothing that would get them into trouble in a lot of places in the US.(I have traveled a lot in the US also). The malls are better and offer more products them most of their US equivalents.

    Jennifer: “And the color! Bad enough to force women to wear tents, but they also have to be black? Heat-absorbing colors in the desert?”

    The garb worn by women is fairly comfortable from talking to them. As to the color, black is not my preference but having worn brighter and darker clothing I didn?t feel a real difference in the sun. If I could have gotten away with it I would have worn a tent too?..

    Jennifer: ?Nor did I solicit any acts of prostitution”
    Saudi : What’s wrong with soliciting prostitution? After all, they say that it is the oldest profession.

    Briefings from the military claimed prostitution was against the law in most of the countries around there. You would not have been noticed due to the extremely large number of women (men too) soliciting at all times of the day and night. It was worse then Thailand and the Philippines in many ways.

    Jennifer : “Women can’t buy things from males.”

    I?ve seen local women freely shopping everywhere I went. I did not notice any problems with the sex of the seller/customer. Some women (men too for the same reason) in my unit had problems with shopkeepers. Being generally young and insensitive to all but their own desires they would not conform to the general rules of negotiation held by that country.

    Jennifer: ?This is what I did last weekend:
    1. Drove my car fifty miles to an auction house?

    Other then the driving you could do everything in most of the countries. I don?t agree with limited women from driving.
    After talking to several locals I found out men have a hard time getting to drive also. The age limits vary but the average I heard was over 27. You pay a lot of money from the privilege also.

    Jennifer: ?do you deny that many girls are married before menarche in your enlightened society?”?
    Saudi Judge: ?Yes. I could be wrong but I’ll be shocked if what you say is true. I have never heard of any one married before menarche.?

    I have talked to several families and friends from the region. The practice was a lot more frequent depending on the region and $$$ the family had. I have not researched the laws but from my conversations it is not legal anymore. I am sure it still happens but it is much more isolated and falling out of common practice as the education level rises.

    Looking at other areas around the world. ?Thailand/Philippines?, countries north of Singapore, Mexico, Countries South of Florida, Texas, Hong Kong, Korea, etc.. children are abused a lot more then I have ever seen in the Gulf region. At some point in time from 1983 to the present I have visited areas from above and have always seen rampant child prostitution, which is accepted by the community even if it is against the law.

    Jennifer: ?No, I will not apologize for the lack of respect I feel towards your country and your culture.?

    The Persian Gulf area has it problems as does the US and areas discussed above. If you are basing your opinion on ?Books? and ?news? I recommend you try talking to real people from the area with an open mind. Then go live there if possible. It is the only way to really understand it. The ?news? is biased towards the negative aspects of the world, as people only have limited attention spans in general. Politicians are even worse since they tend to try to satisfy the public?s shifting whims. It doesn?t help when you are broadcasting statements as above with no ?real? knowledge of the matter. I have seen a lot of the negative side of life in the world. Even with my knowledge of the negative aspects I would not make that kind of broad statement????

  52. Jennifer:

    “but over here Robertson is viewed as a joke,”

    I’m sure millions of Americans disagree with you on that. In fact, I’m not sure he has less influence than our Grand Mufti, especially with the current US administration.

    “I can’t go to Arabia and see for myself, though, because I am a single female who has no desire to get a job as a maid”

    In earlier posts, you claimed that you can’t get to Saudi because of your gender, marital status, and your jewish-sounding last name. I refuted your claim. Now, you claim that you can’t get their because you don’t want to work as a maid.

    If you qualify to work as a teacher, doctor, nurse, or college professor (just to name a few professions), then I’m sure that you can get a job there if you are interested.

    “Any comment by the judge on my main complaints: the sex segregation”

    What segregation? I gave you a link to some pictures. Did you look at them? In one picture you see women forming a line at a Mcdonald only a few yards from the men’s line. In another, you see a woman buying cosmetics standing less than a yard from a male salesman. Do you call that segregation? Do you want pictures of women humping men to be satisfied?

    “the original complaint that consensual sex is legally often a worse crime than murder?”

    The law doesn’t distinguish between men and women neither in adultery nor murder cases. So, no discrimination there.

    Jennifer, I have a feeling that you are either not reading my responses or you like to argue for the sake of arguing. You made some general claims that I refuted. Then, you made specific claims that I refuted. When some other posters also refuted your claims, you went back and recycled your original claims. How pathetic!

    I don’t feel like repeating myself. So, have a nice weekend.

  53. “If you’re looking to defeat the entire idea of Libertarianism by pointing out that we all “need” things, …well…let’s just say that the idea has already been considered and rejected by most Libertarians.”

    No, not really looking to the defeat the entire idea of Libertarianism. First off, that’d be a bit rude on a libertarian site. Plus, even if I tried, especially with such a simplistic argument… well, the phrase “dogpile” comes to mind. I was just pointing out that any collection of money by a gov’t is pretty much coercive. Whether it’s sales tax, income tax, flat tax, property tax, or a “are you breathing American air– then pay for it!” tax, it’s coercive if you either don’t want to pay it or disagree with some of the purposes for which the money is used.

    Personally, I think that’s what democracy is for–if I don’t like how the gov’t uses my money, I try to change the gov’t. I know, I know, damn liberals and their optimistic ideas about regime change.

  54. Jennifer,

    “Heat-absorbing colors in the desert?”

    Two small points:

    (1) Heat absorbing colors are also heat-radiating colors.

    (2) Typically, people who live in hot places (such as the desert) do not stand around outside during the middle of the day. That’s the origin of the phrase “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”.

    Don’t get me wrong: I have no great love of Saudi culture. However, if you want to criticize Saudi culture, you should do it sensibly. Having some sense of how cultures develop might also be helpful. For example, do you really think that, say, 70 years ago it would have been a wonderful idea for a woman to go travelling long distances completely alone (bear in mind the types of transportation then available, and recall that none of them had windows, locks, or could go over about 15 mph)? Bear in mind that one of the big implications of women not being able to drive is that their male relatives have to play chauffeur to them all the time — i.e. culturally this has a tendency to force male relatives to protect their female relatives. Is this outdated with modern cars? Yes. Is it absurd for a people not to drop cultural norms which have kept it safe for centuries in a few years without any resistance at all? Not if you know anything about human beings.

    When considering other cultures, especially other traditional cultures, you really should bear in mind that while as a modern American you grew up in one of the safest places in the world to live, not all of the world was always so safe. In some places, people actually had to vary their habits or endure inconveniences in order to avoid dying.

    By the way, if you see some sort of contradiction in the idea of a woman marrying a little before she can bear children (and hence get impregnated by someone who is not her husband and who might just abandon her) and marriage being about producing children, you really should take the “genius” part out of your email (either because of its modern connotation of intelligence or its more ancient connotation of male fertility).

  55. Jennifer: Yes, Pat Robertson is easily as idiotic as your Grand Mufti,

    Depending on your viewpoint I have heard people call Howard Dean as idiotic as the above people. Lots of people where taking him just as seriously until recently. Not to mention any of your other radical left/right wing politicians….

    Jennifer: I can’t go to Arabia and see for myself, though

    Actually you don’t have to qualify as a teacher, doctor, etc…. Volunteer for aid work in the area via any of the organizations servicing the gulf region. I have seen men/women in various countries that had little education or skills, just a desire to help.

    Jennifer: Any comment by the judge on my main complaints: the sex segregation, the fact that women can’t control their own destinies, and the original complaint that consensual sex is legally often a worse crime than murder?

    Saudi Judge: The law doesn’t distinguish between men and women neither in adultery nor murder cases. So, no discrimination there.

    I would have to say the woman is more stigmatized whatever the law states. However other then severely tradition areas which are few(again getting a lot less over the years) I have not seen sex being treated worse the murder?. Adultery(sometimes)?As for men get into the same trouble. It is harder to prove against the man.

    Of course with the availability of prostitutes(as mention in the prior post) most of this attitude is decaying away??

    Lets talk about the U.S. Women are more generally more stigmatized here also. (Anywhere from their ?Reputation? to taking care of unintentional offspring). That too has improved over the years. Look at general treatment of unwed mothers even 50 years ago. Of course men here have there own problems with getting child custody, etc.(but that is off subject).

    Sex segregation was explained in above post.

    Talking to my friends and from observation the older women have a lot to say in their ?families? destinies. Many of the younger men and women have less control over major aspects of their own life as compared to the US. I have had to baby-sit enough of the 18-24 year old people coming into the military. They always think they are right until they get into trouble and then want someone else to ?Fix? their problem. Maybe they have too much control of their ?destinies???..

  56. If the Pope had a grain of intelligence he would think “The fact that Bin Laden and I agree on something should really make me second-guess it.”

    Ah, like the belief in a Creator God who spoke to Adam, Abraham, and Moses? Like the belief in the Virgin Birth? Like . . .

    Well, I could go on, but to what point? If Bin Laden happens to believe that no woman should be forced to have sex without her consent, does that mean you should second-guess your beliefs on rape?

  57. Saudi judge-
    Yes, Pat Robertson is easily as idiotic as your GRand Mufti, but over here Robertson is viewed as a joke, not one of the guys who sets policy. You still didn’t answer my question about why the sexes are so strictly segregated over there, though. As I understand it, this is not even required by Islam; it’s just a Wahhabi thing.

    If I’m wrong about Saudi women being mistreated then I’m glad to be wrong. I can’t go to Arabia and see for myself, though, because I am a single female who has no desire to get a job as a maid, and I understand Saudi tourist visas are basically non-existent.

    Any comment by the judge on my main complaints: the sex segregation, the fact that women can’t control their own destinies, and the original complaint that consensual sex is legally often a worse crime than murder?

  58. Saudi-
    A couple of points in no particular order:
    1. I said the *segregated* blacks were better off than modern Saudi women, not the black slaves. Again, huge difference.

    2. I do not oppose the inherent idea of a woman wearing hijab, but the fact that she is forced to do so. And the color! Bad enough to force women to wear tents, but they also have to be black? Heat-absorbing colors in the desert?

    As for the school fire: it is not the fire itself I am criticizing. Fires happen in all countries. People sometimes die because they can’t get out in time. But in that school in Mecca, the girls actually did make it out; problem was, they were forced back in. I’m not blaming the firemen unless their water hoses are what shoved the girls inside. It was the Saudi news who first reported this, not a Western news agency with an anti-Saudi bias.

    Some of your other answers interest me, however. I’ve always read that women in Saudi Arabia face such restrictions as: not being allowed to leave the house, let alone the country, without either a male relative or a ‘pass’ signed by a male relative, or not being allowed to talk to any men outside their families. I have also been told, at least during the Gulf War, that American servicewomen stationed in Arabia could not buy things from male storekeepers, but had to have a male escort do the marketing for them. Are you saying this is not true?

    And why the strict sexual segregation? During the Jeddah economic conference your Grand Mufti recently declared that the mingling of the sexes is the cause of all evil in the world.

    You;’re right in saying that American women suffer some inequalities compared to American men, but still, from a woman’s perspective, America is a far better place than Saudi Arabia, or any place run by people who say and seriously believe things like “Men and women socializing is the root of all evil.” Men and women socializing is merely the root of all BABIES. Whether or not those are evil is another matter entirely.

  59. I am a late-comer to this conversation. I arrived at it a short while ago after typing “statistics on gay marriage” into a Google search. This has been very interesting reading. I am impressed, for the most part, with the overall quality of thought expressed in the various posts.

    A few thoughts of my own:

    1. Joe and Jennifer: To what Cairo conference are you referring? The only Cairo conference of which I am aware was basically a racist rant by the Arab states calling, once again, for the destruction of Israel. Was there another conference that I missed?

    I’d be very interested in seeing some evidence backing up the suggestion that the Vatican and GOP support coercive population control. Isn’t that more of a Communist China and Planned Parenthood sort of thing?

    2. To: chairm, ctl and Thomas. Great posts.

    3. To: Anonymous. Ah, yes. The fallacy of origin, i.e., that a proposition is wrong simply because of its source. As though 2+2=4 would cease to be correct, if your math teacher was Adolf Hitler. Comical.

  60. How did the government get involved in sanctioning marriage in the first place? It seems to me that had the government stayed out of this issue…getting involved ONLY when contractual disputes arose, then this whole” gay marriage” and Polygamy thing would sort itself out.
    Example. In my humble opinion, anyone who is not married in a formal, widely recognized, church, is not married. Now you can call me any names you want, but that is my opinion. And that is what I live by. I will denounce you (if I feel like it) for entering into a gay marriage or a polygamy arrangement. But I will not get my shotgun and come after you because I am tolerant (tolerance doesn’t mean agreement). But I am not married because the state says so. I could not care less what the state says. I am married because my church says that I am. And I don’t recognize your weird church that approves of gay marriage. That’s the way a free country works. Of course, the USA is far from being a free country.

    Scott
    Indianapolis

  61. One other comment. Polygamy, which I am against, should only be tolerated when practiced among adults. Many of these polygamist are violating the rights of children.

    Scott
    Indianapolis

  62. I have a question i am a little confused and i need a muslims help is it haram to marry a guy that converts to Islam? Or is it just wrong to the parents and family? Please somebody help me out with this question. Thank You!

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