/slap someone
Mood: tired
Posted on 2006-10-15 00:01:00
Tags: politics
Words: 222

First of all, I love getting the Washington Post in the mornings - it's a quality newspaper!

This passage that I read this morning (from this article) made me want to punch someone, though:

At 7 p.m. Sunday, evangelical leaders including Perkins and Dobson plan to broadcast a 90-minute television special from a Boston church to hundreds of other churches across the country in an attempt to keep religious conservatives from sitting out the election.

Called "Liberty Sunday," it will "highlight specific cases and stories where people's religious liberties have been threatened because of homosexual activism and gay marriage in Massachusetts," said Family Research Council spokeswoman Bethanie Swendsen.

(emphasis added)

Oho, so people's religious liberties have been threatened because of gays gaining rights? I know it's a good strategy to portray your group as being oppressed, but firstly, gays aren't saying you can't practice Christianity. Actually, that wouldn't be threatening someone's personal liberty, but gays aren't lobbying for a law to be passed outlawing Christianity.

Also, for fun you can spin most of the civil rights advances of the last century in this way! Weren't white bigots's liberties being threatened when blacks wanted the right to vote? Or people who didn't want interracial couples to be able to marry?

(I was going to continue on in this vein, but you get the point)


Comment from wonderjess:

cheer up and read this. hehe. gaybys. it's a funny word.

Comment from gerdemb:

I agree with you completely and it's probably stories like this that get religious conservatives all excited:


If gay marriage were allowed, there would be more married households which is what I thought Christians wanted....

Comment from anonymous:

Dear Greg,

I don't usually comment on these blogs, but I suspect that the main focus of "Liberty Sunday" will be the recent unpleasantness wherein Catholic Charities was forced to stop performing adoptions in Massachusetts because they refused to do gay adoptions.

More generally, marriage comes with innumerable legally mandated benefits. As gay marriage is legalized in more and more places, I expect massive lawsuits concerning things like employee health insurance, etc. This will definitely become a church-state issue, as religious groups (not to mention deeply religious private citizens) employee huge numbers of people, perform charity work, act as landlords, etc.

Comment from gregstoll:

This is true - the whole situation with adoptions in Massachusetts seems like the worst of both worlds to me.

I guess I was just irritated at the way the article put it: that their "religious liberties" were being threatened. You could argue that having to recognize gay marriage is a threat to that, I suppose, but no one's forcing them to hire gay people, for example. And the whole "my tax dollars are going to support them" argument never did a whole lot for me - even if I disagree with the war in Iraq, my tax dollars are going to support that whether I like it or not. It's the consequence of a centralized government.

So, yeah, it may cause people who strongly disagree with gay marriage to be uncomfortable/disapprove of things, but that still doesn't reach the level of trampling on their liberties. If they want to use that to motivate people to vote for Republicans, well, whatever I guess.

Comment from anonymous:

Dear Greg,

No one is forcing them to employ homosexuals? Isn't that what anti-discrimination laws do? (just as important -- how does an employer find out that you are gay before they hire you? I mean, some people you can just tell, but certainly not everyone; for instance, back at Rice I was pretty sure that David was gay, but I was slightly surprised to learn that you were. Do you really want companies to be able to fire you once they learn your orientation?).

I really think that it is important to acknowledge that these kinds of laws will place a burden on religious people. An excellent article on that by Chai Feldblum (one of the more important advocates for gay marriage) is located at
It is part of a conference held by the Becket Fund last year; the rest of the papers are also quite good (though a few of them are rather right-wing), and spell out the conflicts which will occur in the coming years.

ps : I'm posting anonymously because I'm on the job market this year, and I don't want google to turn up any pages in which I discuss any contested social issues whatsoever. If you ask me to I'll email who I am privately.

Comment from gregstoll:

Well, anti-discrimination laws do to some extent, but those aren't in every state right now, and I thought there was some sort of exception for religious groups. (does a Catholic church really have to be religion-blind when hiring a school teacher, for example?) I guess the answer is that yes, I would like to see those, but I do support religious groups to have an exemption to not be forced to hire people who are "living in sin" or something. (like I said, I thought there is something like that now, but I could be wrong).

I guess the point is they do place a burden on religious people, like all laws place a certain burden on everyone. It's a burden for them to recognize mixed-race marriages, and for a time that was an issue as well. I respect their right to disagree that this is the way society should be going, but not to say we would be trampling on their religion. (well, you know, I respect their right to say it but it's pretty misleading in my opinion)

Forgive me if I'm coming off a bit harsh - I'm getting to the point where if we were a straight couple, we would want to get married, and not having this option is a lot bigger deal than it was for me even a few years ago...all the legal crap we will have to get written up, sign, and keep handy copies of to get some of the equivalent benefits that straight couples get with the stroke of a pen.

Actually, yeah, I would be interested, and I'll keep it in confidence. I do appreciate having a discussion about this - obviously there's a lot of self-interest in it for me, and it can be hard to see the "other side".

Comment from pegamoose_g:

I think homosexuals are also responsible for blocking my view of the TV, the hole in the ozone, and taking the last blueberry muffin. Or, was that Native Americans? Oh well. It doesn't matter. As long as it follows their fantastic leaps in logic. I might as well blame Afro-Americans for breaking the burnt-sienna crayon, Jewish people for losing the key to the garage door, and people who dye their hair unnatural colors, like electric blue, for traffic congestion in Austin.

I'm curious to know what the "highlighted specific cases and stories" are. Why do I picture the witch burning scene of "Holy Grail" ("He turned me into a newt, so I couldn't attend church on Sunday.")

I think religion and politics threaten this person's liberties to live in peace.

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