Stubborn bigotry

The Supreme Court got rid of all bans on interracial marriage in 1967. Unfortunately, it took two states over 30 years each to formally get rid of the statutes they still had on the books. Both states – South Carolina and Alabama – had to go through the process of a vote because of how their constitutions work. In 1998, 38% of South Carolina voters said they did not want to remove the ban. In 2000, 41% of Alabama voters said the same thing. Those numbers were shockingly disgusting. People like to hold on to their bigotry, quite apparently.

Now the same thing is going on in Kansas:

Members of Kansas’ gay community aren’t happy as lawmakers in Topeka, KS, have decided to leave on the books laws banning homosexuality.

Laws banning gay sex have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the law remains in place in Kansas.

An effort to repeal the law was killed this week, leaving gay and lesbian Kansans outraged…

The House Judiciary Committee was considering a bill to clean up Kansas’ criminal code when a pair of lawmakers, Jan Paul from Hutchinson and Lance Kinzer from Olathe, removed an amendment from the bill that would have repealed the law banning homosexual acts.

Got that? People were considering cleaning up Kansas’ ugly past, but Jan Paul and Lance Kinzer said they prefer to keep things dirty, filthy, and ugly.

“I think their motivation is pretty clear,” said Thomas Witt, chair of Kansas Equality Commission. “They don’t like gay people and they’re going to make sure in the eyes of the law we’re still considered criminals.”

More church attacks on atheism

The Catholic church has been trying to blame atheism for its sordid state as of late. No, it couldn’t be the molestation of children or the sickening excuses by people like Bill Donahue.

“You’ve got to get your facts straight,” Donohue said, addressing sex abuse victim Thomas Roberts. “I’m sorry. If I’m the only one that’s going to deal with facts tonight then that’ll be it. The vast majority of the victims are post-pubescent. That’s not pedophilia, buddy. That’s homosexuality.”

This is one of those times where what’s being said is just so below grade, so convoluted that it doesn’t only deserve no respect, but it deserves no real response.

And it couldn’t be the pope referring to charges of child rape as “petty gossip“. I mean, it’s just massive cover ups that caused foreseeable harm to thousands of children around the world is all.

No, no. It’s all that damned secularization.

In recent decades, however, the Church in [Ireland] has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society.

Not good enough for you? Where’s the dirty A-word? We know what he means, but he isn’t saying it! How about this?

“As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist – they seem to hate the Christian God – we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain,” Dr [Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter] Jensen told worshippers.

This is another way to demand undue respect. You aren’t being nice enough to us!. As if they deserve niceness for being so hostile towards science and reason. They ought not expect “cool philosophy” when all they have to bring to the table is tortured apologetics for an evil book and an evil institution.

“Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.

“It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.

“It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves.”

What I really want to know is when are atheists going to stop beating their wives?

That whole distracting argument is irrelevant. Atheists don’t believe in God, thus anything someone thinks God declared at one point doesn’t really breed resentment. It can’t. What does, however, breed resentment is people actually trying to argue this irrelevant bull instead of addressing the issue of child rape.

The guy goes on to trot out all the normal canards used against atheists: Stalin, Pot, Hitler, and now apparently abortion. Blah blah blah. He doesn’t get it, nor can he make a coherent argument. For example,

Dr Jensen went on to say in his sermon that religion can be an “even more dangerous” form of idolatry than atheism if incorrectly interpreted.

“Here, too, religion can simply be the power game under a different guise … Atheist or religious person – we all need to be reconciled to God and give him our lives,” he added.

Isn’t that fun. Shortly after saying atheism is a religious commitment, he actually contrasts atheism and religion – and atheists and religious people – effectively cordoning them off as separate notions. He’s right to do that, of course. It’d just be nice if he had any idea why that is so.

Making the pleas

I’ve been pleading with people who I suspect or know will vote “Yes” on 1, the Maine ballot measure that would codify one group’s idea of morality over another, thus damaging the very concept of rights (and, incidentally, keeping it illegal for same-sex partners to marry). Here is one message I made specifically for someone, but it can apply to anyone leading toward oppression.

Even though I’m unlikely to change your mind if you’ve already decided, I still want you to know that no one should impose their morality upon another. That is what “Yes on 1” means. It doesn’t simply mean you are against homosexual sex or relationships. It means you believe it is your place to tell people how they should behave. Look deep within yourself and ask if your rights are being infringed by same-sex marriage. Ask yourself if you will hurt financially or physically. Ask yourself if your religious beliefs can no longer be practiced. Ask yourself if this harms your liberty or life. Does it prevent your personal pursuit of happiness?

As November nears I find myself getting more and more passionate and more and more focused on this issue. I give almost no thought any more to whether or not love matters. I care little about whether or not homosexual sex is moral or immoral (or amoral). What concerns me – and far more deeply than anyone knows – is that this is fundamentally about rights. Infringe upon the rights of one group and you no longer have those rights for any groups; they become privileges. They place one group above another based upon majority rule, not based upon equality and fairness. Rights must be rights for all.

New Hampshire plays catch up

New Hampshire has caught up with most of New England by passing a bill to allow same-sex marriage.

New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage after the Senate and House passed key language on religious rights and Gov. John Lynch — who personally opposes gay marriage — signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.

I’ve had discussions with people who claim Lynch is acting out of political pressure. I don’t see evidence for that. It’s certainly a possibility, but the man is hugely popular and won by landslides in his last two elections. At the very least, it seems just as likely that he was caving to political pressure when he initially said he was against same-sex marriage. In fact, why not more? He had more to gain then than he stands to lose now.

Lynch, a Democrat, had promised a veto if the law didn’t clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services. Legislators made the changes.

The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

I believe this is correct. Morally, it isn’t, of course. It’s bankrupt in that sense. However, in a legal sense – and this is a legal issue – religions are protected by the First Amendment in this regard. Time may very well conclude that they are not, but it would appear that they are afforded these protections right now. Of course, the KKK is afforded First Amendment protections.

It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

This, however, is not constitutional. This moves from the realm of protecting religious beliefs to harming people. If a religious organization hires a married homosexual, it is not germane to their beliefs to deny insurance. We’re talking about secular legal and tax issues, not religion at this point. New Hampshire went to far here. They are allowing religion to trump individual rights.

On the up side, discrimination has been significantly lessened in New England over the past few months.

Taking morality back

There are far too many claims coming from atheists and humanists that the religious do not have the sole claim to morality. It’s true, of course, they don’t. But that argument is getting old. What’s more interesting is that the morality of the religious, if anything, is lesser than that of the secular.

As time marches forward, secular thought prevails more and more in public policy. The religious often claim credit for these things, but they’ve long been known as liars (see intelligent design). It’s merely a matter of time until a large roadblock to equal rights is quashed; homosexuals will have the right to marry in most parts of the country within the next two decades. It’s simply an inevitability. The religious zealots never win these arguments. Their basis is weak (i.e., belief in superstition). They have no good grounding for their bigotry. Interestingly, it will be discrimination on the basis of gender that actually falls. That is, the government does not make distinctions on the basis of gender in deciding who can enter into a contract. It’s clearly illegal. That is precisely what is happening with this “one man, one woman” bigotry that pervades the country, most notably the backward-thinking south.

It is with the secular that we see an increase in our morality as a nation. The secular progressiveness of Europe has shown itself with a strong repudiation of torturing. It has shown itself with its higher regard for animal rights. Perhaps most importantly of all, it has shown itself in the fact that the vast majority of the continent’s nations have outlawed the death penalty, a punishment based upon the desire for revenge, a petty and callous reasoning.

The argument atheists and humanists should be putting forth is not that the religious do not have the only say in morality. It’s that they have very little. They have a distorted view of reality. They are not interested in freedom, equality, and being good people. They wish to pursue their largely evil gods at the expense of everyone else. It is the religious who must present a case for why anyone should listen to their version of ‘morality’, not the atheists and humanists.

Maine religious leaders get it right

A collection of religious leaders across Maine recently held a news conference advocating that Maine end its current policy of active discrimination.

BANGOR — Religious leaders across the state held news conferences Thursday to urge Mainers to end marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian couples, and called for the state to create same-sex civil marriages.

“We feel a moral obligation at this pivotal time to raise our voices on behalf of Mainers who are denied that most basic human right — the right to marry and form a family with the person of their choice,” said the Rev. Mark Doty, pastor at the Hammond Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Bangor.

It’s refreshing to see some of the semi-rational religious leaders of Maine finally get their voice out there (there are still religious leaders, hence the “semi”). Of course, with the semi-rational leaders come the crazies.

“I [Marc Mutty, director of the Office of Public Affairs] don’t think [the coalition] represents a great majority of the religious community in Maine,” he said. “They represent marriage as a civil right and believe that anyone that meets certain criteria should be able to marry.

Of course they don’t represent a majority of the religious community. They aren’t bigots.

“Marriage is the building block of society and includes procreation,” Mutty continued. “Without procreation, and same sex couples can’t, they’re missing out on a huge piece of the puzzle. The argument is not any more complicated than that.”

It’s beyond me why someone thinks this is a valid argument. It is not required that one have children or even touch one’s partner upon obtaining a marriage license. Intent or ability to procreate is irrelevant when the state issues a marriage license.

Unfortunately, one of the semi-rational leaders had to go and reconfirm the need for the “semi” before he stopped speaking.

“I cannot fathom a God who would discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity,” she said. “My Universalist tradition believes that God loves everyone equally. Why then should we deny anyone who loves the right to make a lifelong marriage commitment?”

I can fathom a god who is misogynistic. It isn’t very hard. I can also fathom one that discriminates based upon sexual orientation. In fact, the particular Christian god feels sodomy is a capital crime.

Solid Argument

This is from a bigoted article by Gerald Christian Nordskog, with Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Snyder. The bigotry isn’t particular important (or well constructed). The interesting piece is when these mooks try to venture beyond their expertise of hate-mongering.

Most homosexuals seem to have adopted an irrational, unscientific view of the now defunct evolutionary model. They fail to realize, however, that, if evolution were really true (which it isn’t), there actually wouldn’t be any human homosexuals in the world. Why? Because, according to evolutionary theory, nature would have “selected out” over time, by the so-called “natural selection” evolution process, any truly genetic homosexual tendency because homosexual people do not procreate, or create any descendents. Thus, their deviant tendencies would have been eliminated from the gene pool by the untenable methodology of evolution.

No biologist is going to claim there is a gene which determines sexual preference. That isn’t how genetics work. Although studies have been conducted which have found that the genetic marker Xq28 conveys a tendency toward homosexuality, there is nothing that says homosexuality is deterministic. In fact, that study is far from solid but if it were true, it still wouldn’t say homosexuality is deterministic. This is essentially the problem encountered (unwittingly) by these bigots.

I may have a gene which gives me a predisposition to strong muscles around my shoulders. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be a great pitcher for the 2013 Boston Red Sox. It doesn’t even mean I would necessarily even have a chance at making it into an Independent League. Most genes have some degree – often a high one – of interaction with environmental conditions. This is why there is no “gay” gene(s) – and just the same, this is why there is no “straight” gene(s).

But just to be antagonistic toward these bigots, one possible way a gene which gives a predispotion (though not determinism!) toward homosexuality can be maintained in a gene pool is through sexually antagonistic selection.

The results of this model show the interaction of male homosexuality with increased female fecundity within human populations, in a complex dynamic, resulting in the maintenance of male homosexuality at stable and relatively low frequencies, and highlighting the effects of heredity through the maternal line.

These findings provide new insights into male homosexuality in humans. In particular, they promote a focus shift in which homosexuality should not be viewed as a detrimental trait (due to the reduced male fecundity it entails), but, rather, should be considered within the wider evolutionary framework of a characteristic with gender-specific benefits, and which promotes female fecundity. This may well be the evolutionary origin of this genetic trait in human beings.

Bigotry never wins.