It's hard being the New York Times. The modern media paradigm necessitates Fairness to Both Sides and the inclusion of Conservative Voices. The Times' target audience, though, will not tolerate the level of stupidity and factual inaccuracy (remember the brief NYT-Bill Kristol marriage?) from the average right wing columnist. The paper is forced to find someone with that magical Will / Brooks / Buckley skill set that solders a layer of expensive boarding school erudition over the same old lowest common denominator conservative arguments. They need a conservative who looks and sounds like the readers expect, like someone who might be an associate professor at an expensive liberal arts college and not the usual Limbaugh-esque gas bag. They need Ross Douthat.
Ross's leather blazer and manicured facial hair ensure that he looks the part, but it's the Brooksian intellectual dishonesty inherent in trying to make right wing arguments sound palatable to smart people that make him a star. He showcases all of his skills in "Terms of Our Surrender," a rambling, mealy-mouthed defense of homophobia. Don't worry, he doesn't call it "homophobia." That would be off-putting to Times readers. Hmm, what would be a better name?
That's what we call a teaser. Buckle up!
It now seems certain that before too many years elapse, the Supreme Court will be forced to acknowledge the logic of its own jurisprudence on same-sex marriage and redefine marriage to include gay couples in all 50 states.
Here Ross uses the time-honored tactic of approaching the reader hat-in-hand, head hung low, inviting your pity from the word go. Look, he's already beaten! Shouldn't you take it easy on him? Cut him a little slack, intellectually speaking? Of course, unless you're history's greatest monster.
Once this happens, the national debate essentially will be finished, but the country will remain divided, with a substantial minority of Americans, most of them religious, still committed to the older view of marriage.
If people can get used to lady police officers and male flight attendants, we can accept anything!
So what then? One possibility is that this division will recede into the cultural background, with marriage joining the long list of topics on which Americans disagree without making a political issue out of it.
Sounds good. This has been a Ross Douthat Column. Good night and god bless. We'll see you next week with some foreign policy concern trolling about Russia!
In this scenario, religious conservatives would essentially be left to promote their view of wedlock within their own institutions, as a kind of dissenting subculture emphasizing gender differences and procreation, while the wider culture declares that love and commitment are enough to make a marriage. And where conflicts arise – in a case where, say, a Mormon caterer or a Catholic photographer objected to working at a same-sex wedding –
Find me a pair of gay dudes or lesbians anywhere – ANYWHERE – who would hire a Mormon caterer for their wedding. Unless he happens to have the only artisanal craft lilac cocktails in the city, something tells me that isn't happening. And if he does, then he's probably down with the gays.
And that Catholic photographer, does he pass moral judgment on every potential client or just the gay ones? If he's anything like most professional photographers he's probably on his knees thanking a sampling of deities every time a client makes the phone ring, signifying one more week before the photography "business" dream dies and he heads back to working the night maintenance shift at PetSmart.
gay rights supporters would heed the advice of gay marriage's intellectual progenitor, Andrew Sullivan, and let the dissenters opt out "in the name of their freedom — and ours."
Gay marriage: invented by Andrew Sullivan. Funny, I thought the Spartans invented it.
But there’s another possibility, in which the oft-invoked analogy between opposition to gay marriage and support for segregation in the 1960s South is pushed to its logical public-policy conclusion. In this scenario, the unwilling photographer or caterer would be treated like the proprietor of a segregated lunch counter, and face fines or lose his business — which is the intent of recent legal actions against a wedding photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington State, and a baker in Colorado.
Florists, bakers, wedding photographers – you know, gay shit.
Perhaps the reason people keep using that analogy is that it's a pretty good analogy, like how people use the term "racist" to describe people who say, believe, and do racist things.
Meanwhile, pressure would be brought to bear wherever the religious subculture brushed up against state power.
Ahh, the re-branding begins. It's not homophobia or discrimination, it's "dissent". It's not a bunch of assholes hung up on The Gays, it's a "subculture."
Until someone can show me the part of the Bible that says you don't have to serve someone in a restaurant or other place of business if you think they are a sinner, it's not a subculture. True, Jesus did say, "If someone sins, fuck 'em" but I think religious scholars have found some ambiguity over time.
These people don't need a law to protect them, they need a therapist. They need to find out exactly what it is about someone else having the gay sexes that drives them so insane.
Religious-affiliated adoption agencies would be closed if they declined to place children with same-sex couples. (This has happened in Massachusetts and Illinois.) Organizations and businesses that promoted the older definition of marriage would face constant procedural harassment, along the lines suggested by the mayors who battled with Chick-fil-A.
Well, when a company's attitudes are out of line with the beliefs of their customer base, that tends to happen. Maybe the better solution would be to avoid mixing the sale of greasy chicken sandwiches with morally indignant politicking. The president of Chipotle might be a Level IX Klansman for all I know, but he doesn't tell me about it while I'm in the middle of the only six-to-eight enjoyable minutes in my life in any given week with one of his burritos.
And, eventually, religious schools and colleges would receive the same treatment as racist holdouts like Bob Jones University, losing access to public funds and seeing their tax-exempt status revoked.
This sounds awesome! Wait, is he trying to sell this or turn us against it?
In the past, this constant-pressure scenario has seemed the less-likely one, since Americans are better at agreeing to disagree than the culture war would suggest. But it feels a little bit more likely after last week’s "debate" in Arizona, over a bill that was designed to clarify whether existing religious freedom protections can be invoked by defendants like the florist or the photographer.
Hmm. Is that what it was?
If you don’t recognize my description of the bill, then you probably followed the press coverage, which was mendacious and hysterical – evincing no familiarity with the legal issues, and endlessly parroting the line that the bill would institute “Jim Crow” for gays. (Never mind that in Arizona it’s currently legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation — and mass discrimination isn't exactly breaking out.)
So why did they need another law? And, absent either law, the status quo in Arizona is that "mass discrimination isn't exactly breaking out"? Well, it sounds like our society is about as perfect as it can be. As long as "mass discrimination" is not taking place in the streets of Arizona, we're good. Ross Douthat, you understand the concept of laws and rights.
Allegedly sensible centrists compared the bill’s supporters to segregationist politicians, liberals invoked the Bob Jones precedent to dismiss religious-liberty concerns, and Republican politicians behaved as though the law had been written by David Duke.
Hmm, when all three of those groups are opposed to a bill, is it likely that they are all wrong or that maybe the bill isn't exactly the Sistine Chapel of abortive legislation?
What makes this response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.
No, legislating permission to discriminate (er, "dissent" – see, doesn't it sound like a noble act of disobedience? Instead of what it is, which is some gay-bashing shitwad trying to throw someone out of his restaurant?) is neither negotiating nor carving out protections. Again, show me the part of any Christian doctrine that suggests that a Christian is morally incapable of providing a professional service for someone who exhibits what he or she considers Un-Christian behavior.
See, you don't have to paint yourself up in rainbow colors and deep throat a 9-incher in the alley behind a bar called "Rumors," you just have to serve them food. You don't have to follow them home and spot them in the bedroom, you just have to hand them a cake. You don't have to play tambourine in their band, "Ophelia: A Loving Tribute to the Indigo Girls", you just have to take their money in exchange for goods or services. You don't have to condone, endorse, love, or like anything. You are not Supporting Gayness by serving them any more than you are Supporting Eating In Bed and Masturbating by serving single men in their thirties.
If you're interested in passing moral judgment on everyone who walks through the door, maybe the restaurant industry isn't for you. Maybe that man and his wholesome looking wife are on their way to a slavery-themed BDSM orgy at the Airport Radisson. Maybe that couple with the adorable kids is raising them to be atheists. Maybe my friends and I just came from a strip club and are on our way to another, raunchier strip club that won't necessarily throw us out if we try to tip with a money order. The point is, you don't know and it doesn't matter because your opinion of the decisions made by your customers is not relevant.
Which has a certain bracing logic. If your only goal is ensuring that support for traditional marriage diminishes as rapidly as possible, applying constant pressure to religious individuals and institutions will probably do the job. Already, my fellow Christians are divided over these issues, and we’ll be more divided the more pressure we face. The conjugal, male-female view of marriage is too theologically rooted to disappear, but its remaining adherents can be marginalized, set against one other, and encouraged to conform.
Ah, the Christians-as-oppressed-minority canard. Even if that were realistic – which, it is worth noting, it isn't – I guess that would be an admission that being marginalized and encouraged to conform (at "Project Exodus: Summer Camp for Troubled Christian Youth") is not pleasant.
I am being descriptive here, rather than self-pitying.
I've seen crying freshmen girls who need a C or else Dad will kill them who are less self-pitying than you were in this essay, Ross. Try reading the opening paragraph again.
Christians had plenty of opportunities – thousands of years' worth – to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status – this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.
Just strongly imply it! Wink! Or, like most non-New York Times Christians, just go ahead and complain about it explicitly and often.
But it's still important for the winning side to recognize its power. We are not really having an argument about same-sex marriage anymore, and on the evidence of Arizona, we’re not having a negotiation. Instead, all that's left is the timing of the final victory – and for the defeated to find out what settlement the victors will impose.
Subarus for everyone! Miniature versions of everything! All formal events of state will now be in drag! Everyone apply to Wellesley but also Mount Holyoke or Agnes Scott as safety schools! Ours will be a terrible victory!
Nice try, Ross Douthat. Prettier words, same lame-ass argument.
57 thoughts on “ROSS DOUTHAT GETS A BIG GAY FJM TREATMENT”
Major Kong says:
I guess I should be glad.
Apparently homosexuality is the only sin worth counting, and since I don't have that one I must be good to go.
If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing.
Major Kong says:
I seem to remember reading about a whole bunch of other ones in the Bible, but all they want to talk about is the gays.
Readind the excerpts, this Douthat guy sounds like a high school kid padding his essay with hifalutin words to make it more impressive.
It should be noted that the cases he mentions involving adoption agencies, the groups in question were not forced to give kids to gays or else. They had the option to either comply with the law and continue to benefit from government money or deny same sex couples services and lose the money. They made their own choices.
So is Douthat's name pronounced like "do that", or "doubt hat"?
It's pronounced "dick – face," Jimcat.
John Danley says:
The part about PetSmart. You can't beat that.
c u n d gulag says:
Douche-hat- aka: Mini-Bobo,
Did you eat any bacon or pork sausage yesterday, or in the past week or two? Or ever?
Have you eaten shellfish or flounder recently? Shrimp cocktail, perhaps?
Have you ever worn wool pants and a cotton shirt?
If you have, then STFU!, because those are also considered to be abominations in Leviticus – the same part of the Bible that gave homophobes this line:
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."
In other words, Douche-hat, if you have done any of the above, you might as well have enjoyed sucking on another man's dick, or enjoyed having your dick sucked by another man.
I often wonder, how many of these Bible-thumping douche-canoe's have a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, then go to their church where the grifter in the front give a barn-burning anti-gay sermon in his polyester suit and cotton shirt, and silk tie, and then the whole congregation all go out to Red Lobster for their "All-you-can-eat" shrimp special?
Conservative sociopaths pick and choose which parts of the Bible, or the US Constitution, they'll obsess about, and forget the context of the rest of the documents.
Assistant Professor says:
Douthat's role is to present how Rome's canon law and moral theology treat sexuality to people who (for the most part) don't believe in the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. And since Douthat's mealy-mouthed AP-English essays aren't going to convince anyone of anything, why not just go balls-out and hire a Roman Catholic moral theologian or canon lawyer? That person wouldn't convince anyone of anything either, but would be a much more interesting read.
If any of these religious poseurs had actually read the bible, they would know that Jesus kept an open table. He didn't turn anyone away. He associated with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, you name in. In fact, he was criticized for it. These phony Christians want to do just the opposite. Also, Jesus was quite adamant about keeping your religion to yourself and not calling attention to yourself. Anyone who prays in public is slapping Jesus in the face.
"Religious-affiliated adoption agencies would be closed if they declined to place children with same-sex couples."
Sound like a feature and not a bug, Ross. The farther the criminal conspiracy to molest children / RW lobbying organization currently calling itself the "Catholic Church" is kept from defenseless children the better. And don't even get me STARTED on the evangelical "adoption" racket that snatches kids from Africa, etc to get beaten to death with plastic tubing in the name of Jeebus – I hope there's a hell just so there's someplace to put those fuckers UNDER.
Where can I get tickets to an Ophelia show? Are they coming to a coffeehouse near me any time soon?
Oh, my. Now that we're 'winning', he wants us to be gracious and accommodating to his sensibilities. Because of Jesus.
"Meanwhile, pressure would be brought to bear wherever the religious subculture brushed up against state power."
In the English spoken by those of us who aren't professional liars, "brushed up against state power" means "used state power as a whip, like we've always done."
"Conservative sociopaths pick and choose which parts of the Bible, or the US Constitution, they'll obsess about, and forget the context of the rest of the documents."
A better writer than I, whose name I cannot recall, said they treat the Bible and the Constitution like software license agreements: You don't read them; you just scroll to the bottom and click "I agree." (Only in the case if the conservatives, they proceed to spend the rest of their lives bragging about having accomplished this incredibly difficult, world-saving task.)
"that solders a layer of expensive boarding school erudition over the same old lowest common denominator conservative arguments."
Why I read this blog. But so many other good lines, maybe some even better. Thanks, Ed.
This is the only way I'll ever read Ross Douthat, BTW.
I freely admit to getting mind-blowingly drunk, many weeks in a row, at drag night, in a bar, called Rumors. Do you think any of these assholes will still want to sell me stuff?
For years- pretty much ever since I deconverted from evangelical Christianity- I've been trying to explain to outsiders how these people think. People who have never been one have no idea.
Fundamentally, the fundie/evangelical types believe in NOTHING. It's fundamental to their belief system. My Christian handlers hammered into us over and over again that life is meaningless, and that the only reason it is wrong to kill people is because God randomly decided to say so. This is why you so often hear the canard about how atheists are immoral. These Christians are literally unable to conceive of morality as anything but a meaningless list of random commands from God. How could atheists possibly come up with the idea of not murdering people, if the only thing that marks "murder" as evil is the fact that God randomly picked it to be a sin? This is also why so many Christians fail to understand why Leviticus is so offensive to homosexuals. *Shrug* Sure, God said we were supposed to kill you. He also said not to eat shellfish! God says lots of crazy stuff- it's nothing personal.
It's also why they are so slippery in arguments. They will come on strong, arguing that Christianity has been proven by logic and evidence. When they lose that argument, they say, "Oh, that just shows how ignorant you are. Maybe if you'd read the Bible you'd know Christianity is about faith, not logic." Just look at C. S. Lewis. A recurring theme in his books is that logic is just a convenient weapon to use against atheists- and if you find that it isn't working for you, just discard it.
What we're seeing now is, for the first time, Christianity in broad retreat. That's why, in recent weeks, we've seen Christians here arguing for agnosticism. Christians used to argue for Christianity. They don't really believe in agnosticism, but they've got to win *something*, so they figure maybe agnosticism will score them some points.
They used to put homosexuals in jail (if you were lucky. If you were unlucky, the Christians killed or castrated you.) Then they said, ok, we won't put them in jail, but homos can't get married. Then they said, ok, they can get married, but we don't have to cater their weddings. Now some Christian churches are moving toward "accepting homosexuals as full-fledged members of their communities," with the hypocritical exception that there won't be any gay marriages. The writing is on the wall: the market has shifted, so Jesus, Inc. needs to change its "core beliefs" if it's going to continue to be a money-making proposition.
Frankly, my prediction is that we're going to see a very prominently Christian anti-gay Holocaust. Several, in fact, in Russia and across Africa. And just as the Nazi Holocaust made fascism and eugenics a third rail that nobody wanted to be associated with, the upcoming Holocausts will break the back of Christianity in America.
Do you want to call their bluff? Find out if a local car dealer has donated to an anti-gay cause or an anti-gay politician. Then have hundreds of gay people and their families and friends call up the car dealer and tell him they won't offend his religious sensibilities by doing business with him. If you want to see a guy crap his pants, this is the way to do it.
For the record, the rule about not eating shellfish wasn't random when it was first written. Shellfish had a very high rate of poisoning, and as a matter of fact, to this day there is still a rule among British royalty that they don't eat shellfish. It's the same thing with pork, the rule against which dates from well before modern refrigeration and preservation methods. You don't (didn't) eat those things because they would probably kill you.
Don't ask me what the thing is with the mixed threads.
Ed, you ought to write a follow-up to Hofstadter's Paranoid Style in American Politics, maybe substituting the word 'Paranoid' with 'Pant-Shitting'. Conservatives like to claim that left-wing identity politics created a 'nation of victims', but they themselves wallow in imagined persecution, and it goes largely unremarked upon. Douthat's a prime example, but it's at least kind of understandable that Jesus freaks would indulge in martyrdom fantasies, however ludicrous. But you've also got billionaires wailing that they're victims of Soviet-style confiscation (because the top rate of income tax went up a couple points) and a new Kristallnacht (because people said mean things about them after they cratered the global economy). You've got gun nuts convinced that the gummint is going to bust into their bunkers and take all their guns away. The thousands of right-wing apparatchiks in the media all grouse forever about the damned liberal media. (The Fairness Doctrine is coming back any day now, you watch.) These people are constantly besieged by threats of their own imagining, from death panels to the Reconquista to creeping sharia law to Agenda 21. There's a line of Christopher Hitchens, from back before he turned, that has stuck with me, warning of "that most risky and volatile of all things—a self-pitying majority.”
I think the title of Douthat's column should really be "White Straight Catholic Man Haz a Sad That He Can't Hate on Anyone Anymore."
Huh. Sorry, but as a gay-married homosexual I believe I am legally "the victor", from whom "the defeated" are awaiting settlement terms, and I'm certauinly not wasting this long-awaited utter subjugation on fucking Subarus. We can start with a ban on fracking, breaking up the big banks, a maximum-wage cap, bullet trains, and Walt Whitman's birthday as a national holiday.
Also that last paragraph really had a gone-with-the-wind, defeated-honor, the-south-will-rise-again feel to it, to me anyway. There's going to be some Avenging Heterosexual Virtue In Sheets before we're out of this.
The fundamental problem with theocrats of any stripe, really, is that their worldview is incompatible with the modern secular state, and with the US constitution.
Frankly, I have no problem with religious people believing whatever the hell they want. You want to follow some "religious word" that makes no logical sense to me? Have at it. Freedom of religion is written into the constitution. Go ahead and believe in Yahweh and think pork is traife, follow the Wiccan Reed or the Jedi Law, believe the Pope is infallible, get religiously married to a polyamorous "nest" in the Church of All Worlds, consider Onanism a sin, or be a good Methodist. Hell, go ahead and think Jews are damned and black people are inferior. I don't care. How you choose to live your own life is your business, whatever nonsense you believe.
The problem with fundies is that they're not content to leave it there. It's not enough for them to practice abstinence before marriage and reject their own homosexual inclinations as sinful; no, they have to bring their beliefs into the secular realm, and try to deny birth control to other people and refuse to sell cakes to gays. It's not enough for them to have only religiously sanctioned marriages to opposite-sex partners; they have to force the rest of us to follow their rules as well. They're not content to just believe the Jews are going to hell and leave them alone to sin, or to just avoid the black people they don't like; they have to persecute them or deny them the right to vote.
Ross Douthat's problem isn't his religious beleifs, but rather his political ignorance. It's his inability to understand that in America, all the godless heathens have the exact same rights he does. Nobody's forcing him to gay-marry or refusing to sell him flowers because he's a prick. He just can't see why he has to act the same way towards us as we do towards him. And THAT is what's wrong with American fundies.
Glen h says:
A serious question by a foreigner here- besides the obvious nastiness of the Arizona bill, to me there seems to be a bit of a worry no-one else is seeing. The refusal of service seems to carry a lot serious impact on voting for minorities.
I don't know enough about the bill to say my self if it is correct or not, but the refusal of service seems to carry over to local and state electoral employee and volunteers- the ones who man the electoral stations.
The provision to discriminate seems to cover religious views, so extreme Christian Reconstructionist could refuse black voters, as they fall into the drawer of water, hewer of wood class ( you know, slaves).
Fundamentalist Protestants could refuse Catholic voters ( lots of Catholic Hispanics out there)
And obviously you could also refuse the gays as well.
Any thoughts on this one, or am I reading too much into it?
Leading Edge Boomer says:
cekman: Thanks for the Hofstadter essay reference. Sadly describes the US today.
jimcat: I always pronounce it "Doubt That."
A fine rant. A greater typographical difference between quotation and comment would help.
Glen – no, I don't think you're necessarily reading too much into it, but so far the corporatist-republican right has been testing less flamboyant methods of restricting the vote, without calling in the theocrats. (And with the gay thing, corporate and theocratic America are not on the same page; gays are profitable.) But no bigotry ever extant in this country has ever really flourished without copiously footnoted theological justification, and once-commonplace biblical interpretations served well in defending both slavery and antisemitism. "Freedom of religion" has already allowed pharmacists to keep their jobs while refusing to do their jobs (dispensing legally prescribed drugs), and I think a subset of the theocratic right is chomping at the bit to reclaim more authority to exclude and discriminate. It must be pissing them off enormously that they're having a harder-than-expected time putting this in place even for a group so recently and universally loathed as queers.
"all the godless heathens have the exact same rights he does"
Bingo. In a democracy, one person's personal mythology doesn't trump my rights.
Once again, Republicans are welcome to look at Iran or Saudi Arabia as an example what an actual theocracy looks like. In fact, they're welcome to move there.
The entirety of references about the gays in the Bible basically comes from Leviticus, which has lots of stuff that is simply bat crap crazy, (except for the part about sending the females away during their period, that's just common sense) and writings from Paul, a guy that never met Jesus, never claimed that his words were what Jesus said, and never claimed that he spoke with God, and these were the words he was told to write. He was simply a guy that was trying to give counsel to early congregations about how he thought various subjects should be viewed. How that turns into the infallible word of God escapes me.
Maybe had Paul claimed that his advice was divinely inspired, I might cut the fundies a little slack, but the source of their belief system about gay people is so ripe for skepticism that I just don't get their voracity about the subject.
Well, we've already got the rules which say that pharmacists don't have to dispense medications that they find objectionable. (Wonder what'll happen the first time a Christian Scientist pharmacist says "I'll pray for you very hard" when Grandma and Grandpa need their heart medication. Oh wait, that rule only applies to women, because we all know that slutty women deserve what they get. Never mind.) There are men who believe that women are fundamentally inferior to men, in the biblical sense, and the fact that the average man can beat up the average woman, as well as the fact that there is now a serious problem with rape of women serving in the military, is proof of that inferiority. My lifting capability tops out at about 35-40 lbs, and Goddess knows I'm not going to toss some big guy over my shoulder. If LGBT folks can be turned away at the polls because OMG gay people!!!1! I really don't see what's to stop some MRA shitbag who doesn't believe women should be voting from turning women away. We do have that constitutional amendment, but we've seen the way that right-wingers like to pick and choose the bits they like from among the amendments to that document as well as their bible.
Surly Duff says:
@ Skipper: "Do you want to call their bluff? Find out if a local car dealer has donated to an anti-gay cause or an anti-gay politician. Then have hundreds of gay people and their families and friends call up the car dealer and tell him they won't offend his religious sensibilities by doing business with him. If you want to see a guy crap his pants, this is the way to do it."
But then, according to Constitutional scholars, like Sarah Palin, you are just undermining their right to free speech! Why do you hate the Constitution?!
Met/Spoke: road to Damascus
Authority: Peter see 2 Peter 3:15-16
I'm not sure where this belief that because Jesus is "silent"—read: no reference made in the Gospels—that means Jesus is super cool on the idea of something.
This doesn't stand when the rule of "like for like" is applied.
The act of adultery also was punishable by stoning.
In John 8:1-11 we have an account of a woman caught in adultery—and one very absent tango partner.
This is the famous: "Let him without sin cast the first stone." passage.
Does it conclude with him saying:
A) Nor do I condemn you, so go ahead and do whatever makes you happy.
B) Nor do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.
The takeaways are:
A) Clean up your act and *stop* doing that.
B) Put the rocks down, there's to be no more killing.
The way I see it if people want a civil union—hospital visitation, final wishes, transfer of estate, tax purposes, medical insurance etc.—that's cool. If there's something that straights get as de factos then that should be granted equally too.
However, showing up at a church and demand to be married there or that the minister has to marry you? Sorry, but no.
If the Church of Whatever's Trending Today will do the job, but more importantly that's the group of believers you congregate with, then that's that denomination's prerogative. But why should a church where you've rejected their beliefs, and have no association with community that congregates there have to accommodate you? That'd be like a Baptist demanding to be married in a Catholic cathedral because it's a nicer building. Not going to happen.
"all the godless heathens have the exact same rights he does"
Bingo. In a democracy, one person's personal mythology doesn't trump my rights
– Well said wetcasements. Another way to look at it is that if someone is a Buddhist and finds the consumption of meat religiously objectionable, he can refuse to send his taxes because the government subsidies ag production, buys it directly and subsidizes the consumption of it through various means. It also means that a Buddhist could refuse service to anyone who ate meat, although if any Buddhist business owner did that, I would imagine he or she would go out of business soon.
The whole "religious" argument is silly though- if anyone refused to serve a Muslim or Jew or even a black person or a Latino, the business would be sued to discrimination, and would lose. While there is a right to refuse service, the whole crux of the argument is that people want to discriminate against "THE GAYS" and want a law making it okay. As someone who has run a store, I wouldn't imagine ever telling someone to *not* spend money in my store unless there was a pretty good reason not to- and I can't believe that any successful business owner would actually tell a paying customer to fuck off because of something as silly as gay marriage.
Sarah- most pharmacy chains (I know this because until yesterday, I worked for one) require pharmacists to dispense medications such as birth control or Plan B, regardless of their religious feelings about it. As a pharmacist, they have to answer to the board of pharmacy for their professional license, and if a doctor has prescribed a medication, unless the person is abusing or other illegal uses of the drug, they ethically should dispense the medication. As for the chain pharmacy point of view, you're a pharmacists, unless there is something that may be illegal or unethical going on with the drug, you better fill it. Both Walgreens and CVS have fired pharmacists for refusing to fill Plan B without a better reason than "my religion says I can't"- FFS, if a Muslim or Jewish employee refused to sell pork rinds, they'd be out on their ass, why should it be any different for legally available birth control?
What I do not get is that people are by and large cool with the idea you cannot go into Jewish deli/butcher or Halal butcher and demand they sell you Parma or a ham and cheese toastie, because freedom or something. We don't do it, in fact it doesn't cross most people's minds as something to consider. At least sensible civilised people do not, but there are arseholes of many stripes.
I find your collective glee at seeing it as your right to harass and bully Christians out of business highly disturbing. There's no light between that sentiment and sense of entitlement and a group of f-tard skinheads smashing up the business of a gay person, black person, Asian, Latino, or whatever. Harassment and bullying are harassment and bullying, it does not matter who's name or cause you do it under.
If a business doesn't want your money, that's their stupidity. It's even more stupid if someone publicises this fact, vote with your feet and make a business you actually like successful+. And you thought you hated "the invisible hand of the market". But when you and your cronies start abusing and threatening the owners then you've gone too far.
While I support ENDA, and though you can legislate all you want, at the end of the day a douche is a douche. Do you really want to work for someone who's that much of a douche? You might have to take job for various reasons (thus ENDA), but in the long run you won't be happy.
Far better to use that as a springboard to a company where you're encouraged to bring your partner to the company BBQ. You'll be far more productive.
+This in no way condones Mary Crow laws, and other forms of structural/legislated disenfranchisement.
@Khaled: on the pork rind thing. I often wonder if at some point in the near future grocery chains in Aus will find themselves in a bind. A large number of Muslims are employed in the deli counter area.
No one is asking to be able to march into any church at any time and demand a marriage ceremony. No one. Not even the most hardcore, radical Gay Liberation Front activist is demanding that. I don't understand why you even mentioned it.
No one goes into a Jewish deli and asks for Parma or a ham and cheese sandwich because they do not carry those products. They do not stock them, they aren't in the store, they won't order you any, they don't carry it, thank you we have some wonderful pastrami though. It's not as though photographers and wedding cakers don't sell photography services or wedding cakery, they just want to refuse to serve gays, because EWWWWW, gay.
What the fuck are you on about?
He's on about being a fuckwit, purty-talking, apologist for Jesus-flavored bigotry, as usual.
"What I do not get is that people are by and large cool with the idea you cannot go into Jewish deli/butcher or Halal butcher and demand they sell you Parma or a ham and cheese toastie, because freedom or something"
I don't get why I can't go to a vegan, gluten free cafe and order a hamburger either. It's not fair.
D.N. Nation says:
Ross Douthat is a pudgy, pasty bozo with pathetic facial hair who once blamed his inability to get it up on feminism. That the NYT thought this flatulent clown was worthy of column space says much for that paper.
Phoenician in a time of Romans says:
I find your collective glee at seeing it as your right to harass and bully Christians out of business highly disturbing.
Of course, in order to stay in business, all these Christians have to do is sell their product to EVERYBODY, at their normal market price – which includes a profit margin.
There's no light between that sentiment and sense of entitlement and a group of f-tard skinheads smashing up the business of a gay person, black person, Asian, Latino, or whatever.
Except, you know, one group wants to smash a business and the other wants to give the owner their money. Apart from that, identical.
If I thought Xynzee actually believed any of this, there are so many interesting questions one could ask.
For example, in the 1970's the Mormon church changed their policy on Blacks, in response to IRS pressure. Does he feel the Mormons should be allowed to discriminate?
Does he feel that the laws that forbid discrimination against Blacks in hiring are no different from, say, lynching a Black man by nailing his scrotum to a log, and setting fire to it? (True story.) Is there really "no light" between those two?
But, of course, Xynzee believes none of this. He is the perfect type of Nihilist Christian. He believes in nothing except, possibly, himself. Earlier he said quite plainly that the Israelites did God's will when they tried to exterminate my kind. Now he's bemoaning bigotry in all its forms. Whatever.
Xynzee and his ilk remind me of an old trope from movies. The villain spends 90 minutes killing and torturing with arrogant impunity. Then, in the final reel, cornered by the hero, the villain cravenly tries to appeal to the hero's sense of fair play- only so he can buy time to stab the hero in the back.
Then there's the fact the Donut thinks Sullivan is an expert on anything. That right there . . .
My husband is African-American, I am not. Should a baker/florist/photographer be legally entitled to refuse our custom on that basis, Xynzee? Or only because we have the same naughty bits? Inquiring minds want to know!
Please Ed, don't eat alone in bed. It leads to uncomfortable crumbs interrupting the… well, you know.
Maybe Douthat is an asshat, trying to use language with some NYT-reader palatability. But for the sake of argument, would the commentariat have a look at this crazy guy thoughts on gays and reproduction:
This is what I fear the most about America.
Oh wait, there's something outside of the US, so you were saying?
If I was a "Christian" I would probably wish death and eternal hellfire on these hypocritical assholes. Alas, I am atheist.
Having worked for myself for many years in the south, I have had to deal with all sorts of racist, bigoted republicans. Many of them were great clients. I just avoided whatever nonsensical shit that they brought up, and got back to business. The only people that I wouldn't do business with were people who didn't pay their bills on time or were complete assholes and the profit margin was not high enough to alleviate my headache from their whine.
When the "let me discriminate against whomever I please" bill comes up in Vermont, give me a holler. I voted for Bernie Sanders when I lived there.
While trichinosis was a problem with pork, it is my understanding that pigs eat everything that humans eat. They also need water to keep cool as they do not sweat well. Therefor the pigs caloric intake as opposed to the output for human consumption was not a wise thing insofar as scarce water/ feed resources were to human beings over the duration of time that these books were written.
That being said screw bigots and I want me some oysters!
Ooops sorry that link is for Marvin Harris. Anthropologist at Columbia. I assume that this crew is much better read than I but this is one of my bibles. It helps me to understand why people in general suck.
@Suttree: thanks for bringing up Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches- I love that book (and its sequel, Cabbages and Kings.)
Re: Xynzee… Again, Xynzee's dishonesty is breathtaking. It truly knows no bounds. If you read the actual article he linked to, the title is "Gay Couple May Sue Church Of England Following Passage Of Marriage Equality Bill".
So is this about a private church- like Xynzee's- being forced to officiate a wedding to two jackbooted thunderbears who smashed their door down?
Er, so. It's about *a* gay couple who *might* sue the Church of England- not the Baptist Church, not the Methodist Church, but the ESTABLISHED CHURCH OF ENGLAND. They haven't sued yet, and they certainly haven't won, and even if they did, good for them for forcing the Church of England to FOLLOW THE FUCKING LAW of the government that supports them. If you don't like the idea of being forced to officiate gay weddings, fine- just get off the government teat.
All Xynzee had to do was say "you know, I kind of flew off the handle there." But he won't. We all know he never apologizes. It's because he doesn't worship God. He worships Xynzee. For Xynzee to admit that Xynzee made a mistake would be a mortal sin.
So, Xynzee scours the internet for *anything* that might retroactively back up his total strawman.
Meanwhile, if I draw a line connecting Xynzee's support of homophobic murder to the gangs of priests who are beating gays to death in Russia these days, he sniffs that that's irrelevant, because he doesn't think gays should be beaten to death *today.* He just thinks it was a great idea back in the days of ancient Israel.
@Robert and Phoenician: I think you should try reading that again.
There's a difference between the situ Khaled describes. ie taking someone to court and suing them for discrimination. That is a *legal* means to address a grievance.
I support that.
I support a civil community action of we'll take our money else where. If they're that stupid to take the money. Let the market decide, and their business will die. Too bad, so sad. It's also a legitimate and legal recourse.
So I believe we're on the same page.
Now compare that with:
Sending the owner death threats and making harassing phone calls. Thereby driving someone out of business through threat and harassment.
See the difference?
One is proper social discourse and the other is thuggery.
So whether the person is a Mormon, a JW, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Fundy, gay,(insert_race) or whatever… thuggery is unacceptable.
There's no difference between one act of thuggery just because it's inline with your cause.
Those are the behaviours and attitudes that give me pause.
Ironic that Xynzee should say "try reading that again." I did, and his position was stated quite unambiguously: if gays want to be served as customers, that's an attempt to "harass and bully" Christian businesses out of existence, morally equivalent to burning stores down. He was actually very careful to spell out the fact that he believes that discrimination against gays in hiring should be illegal, and that there should not be institutionalized anti-gay discriminaton by the state, but that private individuals *do* in his opinion have a right to maintain a straights-only soda fountain, so to speak.
It's fascinating that Xynzee's latest bigoted rant should happen so soon after the other thread on the Jim Crow era, because it really proves all the things people said in the comments there.
In the past, Xynzee has humble-bragged about how he once emulated Christ by inviting a couple of penniless, wicked whores- oops, I mean lesbians- to dinner at his house. But now, he's arguing that asking a Christian baker to provide a cake for a lesbian wedding is like asking a Jewish deli to serve bacon.
How do we reconcile Xynzee's two seemingly divergent positions? Simple: it all depends on the power relationship between the Christian and the homosexual. When Xynzee invited that lesbian couple for dinner, he had power over them, because they needed his charity. Xynzee is very comfortable with that kind of noblesse oblige role. But if two lesbians are *paying customers* rather than charity cases, Xynzee loses his shit, because now the Christian needs their money, rather than vice versa.
It's exactly what Ed pointed out about the soda fountain photo. The racists were fine with a Black man being an *employee*. He just couldn't be a *customer.* Same with Xynzee and homosexuals.
Picking up your iPhone and using it to dial a proudly bigoted fuck and call him a bigoted fuck that you will never do business with is totes the same as smashing his windows or holding him at knifepoint. I am also horrified at the tons of credible stories about the Pink Panthers marching on Christian businesses and making strong arm threats, wreaking havoc and dispensing physical violence. Except that is not happening anywhere except for the tortured analogies and faux victimizations of Xynzee and his ilk.
Also, making Jews sell pork is totally the same as making bakers bake cakes. Except it isn't unless you are taking about making bakers bake giant dick cakes or goat-headed lucifer cakes or cakes that look like aborted fetuses. And that is again something that absolutely no one has proposed, though I would like to be invited to those weddings.
So Bill, why is it ok in your book to discriminate against satanists?
"But now, he's arguing that asking a Christian baker to provide a cake for a lesbian wedding is like asking a Jewish deli to serve bacon."
"Asking a Christian baker to provide the tuxedos for a lesbian wedding is like asking a Jewish deli to serve bacon." Correct. Both requests would be unreasonable. Bakers don't provide tuxedo rentals, and Jewish delis don't sell bacon. Businesses have a right to choose what products they sell. (This is why everything from vegan restaurants to Christian bookstores are legal entities; the vegan restaurant doesn't have to serve meat to anyone, and the Christian bookstore doesn't have to sell the works of Bertrand Russell to anyone.)
"Asking a Jewish deli to sell pastrami to a goy is like asking a Christian baker to sell a cake to a lesbian." Correct. Both requests are reasonable. The Jewish deli has to serve the goy its (halal) products, the same way the baker has to sell his cakes to whomever wants to buy them. Because you can't discriminate on who you serve. (We did have a whole civil rights movement about this, remember?)
Is it really that hard to understand?
I think you've misunderstood the context of the Huffington Post article that you've cited, which was to rattle sabres in a way that justified the exceptionally pro-religious framing of the same-sex marriage bill consultation.
When the UK Parliament enacted law to provide for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, it afforded exceptional protections to the Churches of England and Wales specifically, and to religious bodies more broadly. It does this through a series of measures colloquially referred to as the 'quadruple lock'. These are:
i. The Act provides an ‘opt in’ system for religious organisations who wish to conduct same sex marriages
ii. It ensures that no religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same sex couples or permit it to occur on their premises. [Elle's note: This means that even if a religious body decides to introduce same-sex marriage, an individual religious figure cannot be compelled by his own religious body to perform/celebrate one.]
iii. It amends the Equality Act 2010 to prevent any discrimination claims being brought against religious organisations or ministers reusing to marry a same sex couple. [Elle's note: Access to the critical piece of anti-discrimination law required to go to law is thereby denied.]
iv. It ensures that the Church of England or the Church of Wales cannot conduct a same sex marriage without a change to primary legislation. – [Elle's note: This means that even the decision-making bodies of the churches themselves cannot reverse their own position. Parliament must also concur, and pass primary legislation to this effect.]
There is a ludicrous theory that the European Court of Human Rights may somehow compel the UK to provide for same-sex marriage in its established churches, in order to redress a breach of people's article 8 [right to a private and family life] right under the European Convention on Human Rights. There is not a single reading of any of the Court's decisions in cases that involved same-sex marriage that could possibly lead a reasonable person to that opinion. To describe it as 'possible' is akin to saying that it is 'possible' that all of the members of the court will drop dead and be replaced by Perez Hilton.
@Bill & Ellie: you are correct the kosher deli example was not well thought through.
@Elle: I only cited HuffPo (not great analysis) because it was the first I found not associated with something on right wing watch.
I look forward to an example in which a state is actually affording de facto or de jure privilege to LGB rights or non-discrimination above the right to manifest a religion or religious non-discrimination. Otherwise the horror of being compelled to sell people you find icky cake will have to match up with torture, murder, and imprisonment.
Comments are closed.