“I am the victim of h8 (that is, you having an opinion that makes me h8 you)”

Brendan Eich is gone. The creator of JavaScript and co-founder of mozilla.org has quit as Mozilla’s CEO, forced out by the uproar over a donation he made six years ago to a ballot measure against gay marriage.

via Slate

…or for traditional marriage, since – despite the deliberately misleading rhetoric of the pro-ssm camp – something important in traditional marriage will be destroyed if marriage is redefined.

The distinction is important. Whether or not you believe, personally, that the redefinition of marriage is good or bad, the reality is that there’s only one reason for refusing to acknowledge that marriage is being redefined, and that is to make it sound like the only motive someone could have for voting “against gay marriage” is animus.

Which turns the entire argument into an ad hominem – as the side that openly and unapologetically hates its rivals accuses the other side of being motivated by hate and thus having no argument.

But I digress:

But that wasn’t enough. A revolt among Mozilla staffers, compounded by pressure from software developers, outrage on Twitter and a boycott movement spearheaded by OkCupid, has driven Eich out. Baker, having accepted Eich’s resignation, offers this apology: “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

 

It may seem unrelated, but a professor on campus was recently arrested for taking the sign from a pro-life protester and destroying it. The professor said – apparently sincerely – that she had a “right” to be free of their viewpoint:

I asked Miller-Young if she could have behaved differently in this instance. There was a long pause. “I’ve said that I think I did the right thing. But I acknowledge that I probably should not have taken their poster.” Miller-Young also said that she wished that the anti-abortion group had taken down the images when they demanded them to.

Miller-Young also suggested that the group had violated her rights. I asked Miller-Young what right the group had violated. Miller-Young responded, “My personal right to go to work and not be in harm.”

Miller-Young elaborated that one of the reasons she had felt so alarmed by this imagery is because she is about to have the test for Down Syndrome. Miller-Young said. “I work here, why do they get to intervene in that?”

via Washington Post

We appear to have reached a point where identity politics teaches its adherents that they literally have the right to be free of any dissent – free of the presence of dissenters, and free of any unwanted signs of dissent.

The next question will be, is there an upper limit on what may be done to those who dissent “inappropriately”?

But of course, we should not confuse the rejection of Eich’s viewpoint (as a position so extreme it renders an individual unacceptable for prominent employment) as an act of intolerance. As Mozilla tweeted:

@nycconservative We believe in openness & that no one should be persecuted for the beliefs they hold, no matter what they are.— Mozilla (@mozilla) April 3, 2014

via The Federalist

Welcome to diversity. This is what tolerance looks like.

realistic_coexist1

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Trying So Hard…Coming So Close….

Ever have a ‘friend’ insist that you shouldn’t be prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit because obviously you’re too stupid to have committed the crime?

It’s known as a “backhanded compliment”, I think.

The facts of her case do suggest that she regards marriage as a religious sacrament with a procreative purpose, that her Christian beliefs cause her to reject same-sex marriage, and that her business discriminates against same-sex weddings because she believes wedding photography requires artistic efforts to render the subject captured in a positive light. She believes making that effort would be wrong.

In America, there is plenty of homophobia, plenty of anti-gay bigotry, and plenty of people whose antagonism to gays and lesbians is rooted in hatred. Sometimes the language of religious liberty is used to justify behavior that is anything but Christ-like. But the Slate article is implicitly trafficking in its own sort of prejudice. The working assumption is that homophobia, anti-gay bigotry, and hatred are obviously what’s motivating anyone who declines to provide a service for a gay wedding.

That assumption is wrongheaded. A closer look at the photographer’s case is the best place to begin. Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin lost a case before the New Mexico Supreme Court, and have now appealed the ruling. As noted in their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Huguenins’ photography business does serve gay and lesbian clients, just not same-sex weddings. Insofar as a photographer can distinguish between discriminating against a class of client and a type of event—there is, perhaps, a limit—their business does so: “The Huguenins gladly serve gays and lesbians—by, for example, providing them with portrait photography—whenever doing so would not require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”

The photography business has also turned down clients other than gay and lesbian couples while citing religious objections. “They have declined requests for nude maternity pictures,” their petition states, “and photographs portraying violence.”

Finally, it isn’t just same-sex weddings they’d be uncomfortable photographing: their petition states that they’d also refuse business capturing a polygamous marriage.

Set aside for a moment the tension here between individual liberty and non-discrimination law. Whether you think the New Mexico Supreme Court decided the case rightly or wrongly, that is separate from the question of what motivated Elaine Huguenin. I’ve never met the woman. None of us can look inside her heart. But her petition presents a perfectly plausible account of why she would refuse to photograph same-sex weddings for perfectly common religious reasons that have nothing to do with fear of gays, intolerance toward gays, or hatred of gay people.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time around practicing Christians. In such circles, there are plenty of ugly attitudes toward gays and lesbians, as well as lots of people who think gay and lesbian sex and marriage is sinful, but who bear no ill will toward gays and lesbians themselves. I wish even the latter group would reconsider. I don’t regard homosexuality as sinful. Unlike my friends in the orthodox Catholic community, I don’t regard sex before marriage or masturbation or the use of contraceptives or failing to attend Sunday Mass as sinful either.

via The Atlantic

Listen to the unwitting nature of that condescending “well maybe we shouldn’t be quite so bigoted toward those backwards people but ohhhh I do so wish they would give up their primitive superstitions already….”

They aren’t arguing for the “coexistance” they claim to prize so highly; “diversity” in this case is not to be celebrated. That Christians are to be tolerated in this case is based on the fact that they’re wrong, stupid, and immoral, “but”….

It’s the lack of self-awareness that is so weird. What makes Christians so awful is their lack of desire to celebrate other peoples’ values. So how come the people who claim that celebrating other peoples’ values is such a great thing to do are themselves exempt? If diversity is a good thing, then why do they act as if Christians holding out marriage as sacred – honoring more than just the sexual pleasure but the whole thing – is somehow evil, in a way that is far more urgent than, say, Islamic honor killings?

Most people are not even aware of the problems that could (and, I predict, will) be associated with same-sex marriage. The issue is the culmination of two disastrous policies: “identity politics” (the idea that justice should be adjusted according to your status as “victim” or “privileged”), and the sexual revolution (the idea that adult pleasure should be prioritized over the well-being of children, families, and social obligations). Both ideas are unsustainable, not only because they are unjust but ultimately because they aren’t grounded in truth – or even reality.

I suspect that, before this issue is done, the secular humanists are going to end up learning a lot more about why Christians hold concupiscence to be contrary to God’s will.

If my wife and I had contacted a wedding photographer who said she refused to photograph our ceremony because we’d “lived in sin” together before marriage….

I actually have experienced such a thing: a particular wedding professional made it very clear that he does not go outside his own denominational beliefs, and we could just deal with it. Can you imagine if I’d played drama queen victim and tried to file a lawsuit? How ridiculous would it be, for a grown-up person to throw a temper tantrum because they’ve encountered religious beliefs that are different from their own!

And I should also note: the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize my marriage. I am not three and therefore I can handle the existence of a person separate from myself without feeling the need to find the nearest available courtroom so that I can drum my heels against the floor and scream like Veruca Salt in front of everyone.

If we want a level playing field with fairness and justice for all, let the law focus on crimes of violence, and let individuals use persuasion in all other matters. This means letting people get away with doing wrong, as long as they commit no act of outright aggression. Even if it is wrong for Elaine to discriminate, we must be tolerant of such behavior if we want to live in a free society with a thriving entrepreneurial base. Those who take joy in this case because the law has ruled in their favor may come to regret a future day when that precedent is used to rule against them. The better way is to not give government such power in the first place.

via Forbes

Two Separate Questions

So what are we to make of the divisions that emerged in the course of Arizona’s consideration of its version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the responses it inspired? I think it comes down to a matter of priorities, and to the broad-based willingness to let personal inclinations about what society ought to look like overwhelm a reasonable understanding of the ramifications of giving government the power to shape that society.

via The Federalist

Two question:

  1. “What society should look like” – that is, we should or shouldn’t limit Christian power, and/or we should or shouldn’t limit gay rights, or whatever.
    (In other words, the ends that may or may not justify the means.)
  2. Question #2: Should government have the power to shape society into (1)?

Are people even thinking at all about how it might change our world to change our structure of governance – changing the right to be free from governmental coercion into the right to use government to coerce the other guy?

Two Issues Raised By The Coy Mathis Case

If we, the populace, have now lost the right to expect that our daughters will not have to share a bathroom with little boys, I think there are two issues that we need to demand clarification on, before we just passively accept this huge change in the boundary-line between private and public. We need:

1. A definition of sex and gender that is grounded in science rather than ideology

Science has the obligation to inform us about facts, but not the right to demand we accept ideological value judgments.  What we are seeing is not “fact”. We don’t even have a consistent definition of what gender is or whether it matters: the mental health “experts” who are quick to insist that Coy Mathis will experience some really awful, negative consequence if he’s forced to acknowledge his male body are the same people who insist there’s nothing wrong with gay people deliberately making children motherless or fatherless – because sex and gender are apparently so unimportant to children that one can swap out a mother for a father with no loss at all involved. The rule seems to be “if it involves destroying a sexual boundary, then it must be right”. That’s consistent with the ideological goals of the so-called sexual revolution (which describes the destruction of sexual boundaries as “liberating”) but when science is separated from ideology (GIGO) the arguments are far less compelling.

Coy was diagnosed with “gender identification disorder” a mental ailment that the American Psychiatric Association, after years of lobbying from some advocacy groups, removed from its lists of mental ailments. The main objection those groups had been that the treatment consisted of getting the patient to accept its biological designation, that the designation of a mental disease would cause undue stigma and it would reinforce the binary model of gender in society. This last items is something the advocacy groups strongly reject, and are advocating against.

This is dripping with irony because by rejecting “boy things” in order to wear dresses, have long hair, play with dolls you are reinforcing male to female stereotypes…

From boricuafudd

2. A definition of “mental illness” that consists of more than just ideologues voting on who should and should not be stigmatized as a precondition of receiving what they need to live

If a person is going to argue in court that they can’t have a normal, decent, or happy life unless other people lose their rights (whether it’s a child’s right to have a relationship with his own real mother or a little girl’s right to not have to share the bathroom with boys), then that’s not normal or healthy.

Everyone has the right to make whatever lifestyle choices they want, but that right does not come with the right to demand that others consider themselves obliged to worry about your special needs. It can’t be both ways; it has to be one or the other: if you need accommodations, then you can’t argue that your condition is “equal”. To make such arguments is not only dishonest, but it does a major disservice to all those disabled people who are thus doubly stigmatized by the implied claim that there is something “icky” about being classed as disabled.

Mental health services originated as a promise – that people would be cured of their dysfunctions and would be helped to live better lives. It is a betrayal of that promise when mental health service providers who admit up front they don’t know how to “cure” much of anything focus instead on using their awesome authority to control and manipulate us, telling us how we ought to feel about function and dysfunction, forcing us to accept their ideological values and depriving us of our rights to self-governance and liberty, using people like Coy Mathis as mascots and meat shields who will be hurt if we do not acquiesce in their power grab.

In Creationism as a Mental Illness, Robert Rowland Smith argues that creationists exhibit several signs of mental illness including denial, psychosis, and inability to grasp irony.

The specter of mental illness does indeed loom large over creationists, but they are not alone. Signs of psychopathology can also be seen among their political bedfellows, conservative Republicans, especially when you consider a wide range of illness indicators. In his award-winning 2005 book Dr. James Whitney Hicks discusses 50 signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia….

From Psychology Today blog

 

The editors of this volume provide compelling arguments for many destructive trends in the mental health professions – most particularly, psychology, but also psychiatry and social work. They demonstrate from an insider’s perspective how activism masquerades as science in the APA, and how “diversity” has been redefined into a kind of narrow politicism, where differing worldviews are not only summarily dismissed, but the holders of such views actually punished.

The authors condemn the APA for providing forums only for their preferred worldviews. They particularly note how psychology is undermined when APA makes resolutions and public policy statements on issues for which there is little or inadequate science. Such prostitution of psychology by activist groups within APA is contributing, they say, to the profession’s demise as a scientific organization. “Psychology and mental health,” Cummings says, “have veered away from scientific integrity and open inquiry, as well as from compassionate practice in which the welfare of the patient is paramount” (p. xiii).

From http://www.narth.com/docs/destructive.html

Belief Or Hate Crime?

This is why people can’t “live and let live”.

Because if I disagree with you, I’m “hateful” – but if you disagree with me, then I’m “hateful”. Isn’t that how it goes?

I’m having a tough time with this idea that a belief that has existed for thousands of years is now a crime simply because one group of people says it is. That’s not exactly a new way to “win” a debate over rights, but I thought we’d replaced rule by “whim of the elite” with the consent of the governed?

There’s just something crazy backwards about one group claiming it’s “oppression” for parents to teach their kids that children are born to mothers and fathers.

The gay rights argument is saying, in essence, that because they hold their own beliefs to be sacred, then anyone else with beliefs that contradicts theirs has to be put down – and so what if the other people hold their own beliefs to be equally sacred?

It’s a funny form of quote-unquote “equality” that privileges one set of beliefs over other beliefs. (As I’ve argued before – here and here – I disagree strongly with the idea that civil rights can or should be resolved by use of coercive force. Real civil rights both can and must be resolved through persuasion.)

And if the criticism of this book had stopped short of “playing the hate crime card”, I probably would have left it alone – or at least would be making a very different argument. But classifying a core Christian belief as a hate crime is serious stuff.

I don’t think it is coincidental that, although I have asked many, many times, not a single person has ever volunteered a reason why being gay needs to include the right to force your kid to live without a mother or without a father. Just what is gained? What horrible thing would happen if gays were expected to teach their children to call their biologically unrelated partner “stepmother” (like everyone else in the world has to do) instead of misrepresenting that person as a “second mother”? What’s so awful about letting the kid meet his dad? A child does in fact have reason to want to know his dad; he has reason to value that experience, that relationship. So why is it so important that he not be allowed to do so?

Because shut up, that’s why.

I say it’s not coincidental because I believe there is a direct correlation here. When people arguing a case have a strong argument, they don’t use bully tactics. For instance, gay rights activists know they’re on firm ground when they argue that “nobody should be forced to live a lie”. They’ve got a compelling argument. The destruction wrought when gays are shamed into lying is well documented, and so they can make their argument based on logic, reason, facts, evidence, anecdote, and persuasion. And it’s hard to refute (I have yet to hear a persuasive rebuttal).

But when it comes to why any child needs to be required to accept “having two mommies”, suddenly all those arguments about how “marriage is not procreative” vanish, in favor of a host of excuses, justifications, sob stories, sleight of hand, denials – anything to minimize what they are doing to their kids.

I believe it’s precisely because they know they’re demanding something unethical that makes them incapable of withstanding criticism. But that’s a real problem, given that approximately half the nation (give or take) disagrees with at least some of what they’re demanding claiming.

We gotta coexist. That has got to cut both ways. It’s simply not reasonable to demand that Christians will adopt humanist beliefs – beliefs that they find offensive and believe to be morally wrong, even evil – just because humanists are sure they are right. (Hey, guess what! Christians think they’re right, too!)

Reciprocity is the basic building block of civil discourse. Is it really coincidence that every world religion that holds family ties to be sacred also posits some variation on “the Golden Rule”?

The Golden Rule
do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Nobody is forcing humanist families to make their kids read this book. It’s not likely anyone ever will – in fact, it’s far more likely that Christian kids will be forced to read “Heather Has Two Mommies” than the other way around.

But that’s not enough. It’s not enough because in order to believe that Heather can “have two mommies”, there has to be a taboo. We have to understand that we mustn’t ever talk about why Heather doesn’t get to know what it is to have a father. We must pretend that there are no differences between fathers and mothers.

Because precious rituals, experiences, relationships, and traditions are terribly, terribly important when gay people don’t get to have them, but we’re supposed to believe those things don’t matter at all when Heather is the one who won’t ever get to experience them.

The argument is that It’s okay if Heather never gets to do all the things girls do with their dads because, we are told, Heather doesn’t mind. The problem with this argument is that Heather decided she wasn’t going to mind before she was born. Her “decision” was made under duress.

Too many gay rights activists routinely teach their kids that Christians – or, to use their phrases, “Christofascists” and “Godbags” – are responsible for everything bad in the world,  deliberately ignoring or misconstruing anything that doesn’t fit the narrative, and then say it’s justified on the grounds that Christians are haters. They don’t even pretend to be halfway as tolerant toward Christians as they expect Christians to be toward them. They’re just right because they know they’re right, and that means they’re justified. Believe what I tell you to believe, or else you’re just obviously a h8r.

Well, I don’t care what gays do in bed, but I am angry about how gay rights activists are behaving in public. I’m angry at how venomous the comments on that blog site are, and how venomous the comments on that Amazon site are, and how hypocritical the people making the comments are being. And how openly, unapologetically nasty they are. They are the ones who want a society that is 100% completely ruled by their beliefs, no dissent allowed.

They can’t win by persuasion, and they don’t really try – and I think it’s because they know they can’t defend the practice because there is no reason why being gay means their child has to be motherless or fatherless. There’s no reason except “I want”, and “want” is not enough to justify what they are demanding.

No child should ever have to grow up without both mother and father. Any child unfortunate enough to be in that situation should be allowed to grieve – openly.

No child should ever have to pretend that having a stepmother is just as good as having a dad. It isn’t, and you can’t get a child to pretend otherwise except through duress – that is, emotional abuse.

Because there is such a thing as reality, and it does matter.

Christians are allowed to believe that – and so is anyone who cares about honesty.

BTW it has nothing to do with being gay: a growing number of lesbians and gays are innovating solutions (such as coparenting contracts) that do not require that their child live without the chance to know both a same-sex parent experience and an opposite-sex parent experience. You don’t have to do this to your kid, even if you are gay and you want to live as an openly gay person.

Because let’s face it: when your entire argument is based on the idea that it’s evil to live a lie – how can you turn around and ask your kid to lie for you?

Addendum: The Right To Be Normal

I have some personal experience that I should probably add (if only for the sake of honesty – “conflict of interest”, you might say). I have experienced firsthand the part about being the one everyone must pretend to be okay with, even when they’re not.

The problem is that it requires the constant application of force.

When the force is not available anymore, it’s like a pressure cooker blowing up.

This contradicts what most people think happened during the supposedly-analogous civil rights movement. We like to try to make heroes out of the men and women who “made” everyone to be nice to black people (which man is really responsible for the Civil Rights Act legislation?) while underestimating the real change-makers. Like Sidney Poitier:

This is how you fight for change – not with enforced lies and suppressed dissent, but with cultural dialog. (It only works if both sides of any given debate are free to express themselves openly, and without fear.)

It is a myth to argue that interracial marriage bans collapsed because of coercion. Those laws collapsed because there was never any logic to them anyway. Nobody ever seriously held “genetic purity” as an important value – least of all the bigots, the grandsons of slaveholders who notoriously had no qualms about mixing their own genes with black genes.

There was never a good reason for interracial marriage bans, but what’s more important is this: nobody ever sincerely believed there were good reasons for interracial marriage bans. (At least not that they were willing to admit to openly.)

Bigots used thinly veiled arguments to hide the reality that their real motive involved not wanting blacks to be equal. It is not therefore true that every other dispute over marriage is going to involve the same  motives. That wouldn’t be a fair assumption to make under any circumstances (it’s an ad hominem – a logical fallacy), but it’s especially unfair when one looks at the genuine point of dispute: gay marriage really does involve trade-offs. It is not like interracial marriage. It is actually more like a disability claim than a racial one.

I just thought of another example of this problem – in this case, I was the perpetrator rather than the victim. There was a little girl with some really disgusting, creepy disease. Her skin was coming off in chunks, and she smelled. The grownups made us play with her. I didn’t want to. I wish I had done everything I was told, because later this girl died, and I would feel so much better today if I’d been the friend she so desperately wanted. But I didn’t, and I wasn’t. I played with her, but she knew. At least, I think – I fear – she did. (I’ll never really know.)

Nobody thought to even bother trying persuasion. Just force. The girl needed someone to play with, and therefore she shall have playmates.

To this day, I wonder how much of the motivation in that incident involved genuine concern for that poor lonely girl, and how much involved appearance (can’t have the visual of a lonely child on the edge of a playground, can we?) or even using that child to teach the rest of us right from wrong – that is, how we ought to be thinking and what we ought to value. If the goal had genuinely been about the girl, was the way they went about it really a good way?