June 19, 2005

The Plot Against America

After reading the cover story of this week's NY Times Magazine, strangely enough I thought of the story told by Christopher Nolan in the recent release Batman Begins.

The article seeks to investigate the underpinnings of the anti-gay marriage movement, particularly on the state level. Author Russell Shorto leads us to the obvious conclusion that the real problem that social conservatives have with gay-marriage isn't the issue in itself, but rather the recognition of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. Shorto interviewed several religious conservative activists for the piece. Taken together, the movement against gay-marriage has to do with the irrational fear among these people that gay-marriage will destroy society as we know it and sink into a pseudo-Sodom and Gomorah.

I couldn't help but see the parallels between the gay-marriage activists and the League of Shadow in Batman Begins apparently. Both have the insidious intention of destroying society. The League releases a panic inducing toxin into the air of Gotham City in order to induce chaos. The gay-marriage activists haven't even needed toxins to inject panic into American politics. And praise the Lord and Jesus, we have the Christian Conservatives (Batman) to save us from this surreptitious plot to destroy America.

Maybe I'm just crazy, but I don't see how gay-marriage in any way has this effect. The conservatives point to studies of Nordic society after their institution of gay-marriage, which show that in the 10 years following its passage out-of-wedlock births significantly increased. However, they also acknowledge the fact that these trends were already in place before gay-marriage making this sort of reasoning extremely suspect. Laura Clark, an activist which the piece centers on, believes that gay-marriage will lead to polyamory (polygamous marriage between bisexual people). However, this situation is nowhere close to developing to the Nordic countries in which gay-marriage has been around for 10 years.

Gay marriage is a personal relationship between two people. What people chose to do in their private lives are up to them. Social conservatives just use the social disorder argument in order to cover their love of interfering in other people's lives. The arguments made by these busy-body Christian conservatives are ridiculous smoke-screens for an intrinsic hatred and ignorance of homosexuality. The conservative activists in the piece frequently acknowledge the belief (largely discredited by the psychological community) that homosexuality is a choice that can be eradicated by reading the Bible and loving Jesus.

Look at this ridiculous argument made by one activist in the piece:

''The homosexual community would have us believe that marriage is simply about loving one another,'' said Rick Bowers of Defend Maryland Marriage. ''I say it's about two human beings who are wired completely differently, one with estrogen and one with testosterone, living together in love but with the purpose of procreation. It's a lot deeper than love. So I can't see how someone could look on a same-sex marriage as marriage at all.''

Apparently, marriage isn't about love. It's about the more profound hormonal difference between two people and propagation of the species.


  1. If marriage is about procreation, perhaps we ought to outlaw childrenless mariages, no? And if marriage is about religion, perhaps we ought to outlaw secular marriage, no?

  2. "Maybe I'm just crazy, but I don't see how gay-marriage in any way has this effect."

    I agree, you're crazy.

    "Apparently, marriage isn't about love. It's about the more profound hormonal difference between two people and propagation of the species."

    Well, maybe you're not crazy.

  3. Bill, can you explain why this makes niral crazy? Is your position one of simple bigotry?

  4. Chris,

    I assume you mean, why do I think Adam is crazy? I don't see a post or comment by Niral on this topic.

    Or are you saying Niral is gay, and by implication then, that my suggestion that Adam is crazy means I'm saying Niral is crazy? Or are you, Niral and Adam all gay?

    I could care less guys. And this, like many issues, is not a quick answer if you want to address it seriouisly.

    Speaking only for myself, I am concerned about a trend away from the fundamental values and ideals on which this country was founded and toward the secular, if not atheistic, European model. This covers a whole host of issues of which this is just one. It is this trend that concerns me and a lot of others who lean to the right. This appears to be of less concern for those who lean to the left because they appear to believe that God and country are just quaint anachronisms. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it because it suits yours or anyone elses "lifestyle". And it sure doesn't mean I have to sit with my thumb up my ass while someone else's lifestyle is being imposed on me.

    My comment about Adam being crazy was that he would watch Batman Begins (I haven't seen this one but enjoyed all the previous) and be reminded of anything analogous to gay marriage activism. Maybe he was just trying hard, or maybe he is gay and he would naturally make those associations. I don't know.

    Am I a bigot? Well, bigotry involves intolerance and prejudice, among perhaps other things.

    "Gay marriage is a personal relationship between two people. What people chose to do in their private lives are up to them." said Adam.

    I don't disagree with these two sentences. While I'm sure there are exceptions, I also believe most homosexuals were born that way. Since I never made a decision to be straight by my recollection, I can certainly believe someone else did not make the choice to be homosexual. I have family members that are homosexual and certainly have the same concerns and feelings for them as for other family members. My very minimal but important observations of my family would tend to support the gay from birth, not gay by choice theory. Now, where bi-sexuals fit in, and how bi-sexuality may lead to one side or the other---you got me.

    I have never considered myself intolerant, at least as an adult, of homosexuals. I can tolerate almost anything. And I believe we all should have equal access to whatever civil benefits society offers from the state or federal tax coffers as well as inheritance and access regarding medical emergencies.

    But marriage, to me, is a religous sacrement, at least in my Christian beliefs, and I think that applies to Jewish and Muslim religions. And I don't want my federal or state authorities telling me what I'm supposed to believe regarding who MUST or MUST NOT be married in my Church. I believe the federal government is constitutionally barred from making any such law at present. If a legitimate constitutional amendment ever was passed dictating such a thing, then so be it, but I consider that so remote as to be unthinkable.

    Am I prejudiced? Because of my personal beliefs, I know if my church started marrying homosexual couples because that's what the church decided was consistent with God's principals, then I would simply leave it and find a church consistent with my beliefs. Am I prejudiced because of my religius beliefs? Well, they are hardly unreasoned and I don't believe they are irrational [although some might say any religios thought is irrational]. I know I don't bear a hatred for homosexuals, that includes my family, for pete's sake. But my belief is that it is an aberration that is inconsistent with the plan for mankind that I believe God intended and I believe many if not most Christians believe similarly. I personally don't think religious beliefs make me prejudiced, but some may think otherwise. So be it.

    But there is no intrinsic hatred for homosexuals in Christianity that I practice. Which is not to say there are no Christians that hate homosexuals, obvously. What you can't seem to grasp or accept is that religion helps you define what is right or wrong for you personally, creating the necessity to recognize those things found objectionable in others. You may believe any such "judgment" is wrong because you think no one has the right to judge others. That's bunk. If you are a parent, you understand that you're judging everyone with whom your child comes into contact. That's simply your responsibility to your child. Religion, for me, carries similar responsibilities. And for many, that can include being involved in political processes as a legitimate constituency.

    If you dismiss with hyperbole the religious left middle or right as bigots to be igonored, then I think you will only find yourself more isolated.

  5. "Since I never made a decision to be straight by my recollection, I can certainly believe someone else did not make the choice to be homosexual."


    "But my belief is that [being homosexual] is an aberration that is inconsistent with the plan for mankind that I believe God intended and I believe many if not most Christians believe similarly."

    =God creates people damned from the beginning. I couldn't have pointed out the irrationality of your religious beliefs better myself. Congrats.

    Oh and the Batman analogy was just to point out the the comical, hyperbolic nature of conservative arguments that gay marriage will destroy society and the masturbatory self-idealization of religious conservatives that they're some sort of savior that humanity desperately needs.

  6. Am I gay? Not that I know of, but then again, I hear we're all part gay.

    I say this not to make a personal attack bill, but honestly, what I get from the post above this is that the root reason of your opinions on homosexuality just come down to you being uncomfortable with homosexuality.

    Lets look at your arguments one at a time.
    1. People on the left believe that God and Country are quaint anachronisms. I don't think so. However, we do believe that in America, the two should have nothing to do with each other.

    2. it sure doesn't mean I have to sit with my thumb up my ass while someone else's lifestyle is being imposed on me. How exactly does gay marriage impose someone's lifestlye on you? Its not going to make you gay, right? The gay couple down the street isn't going to force you to personally sanction and bless their marriage, right? This doesn't change the fundamental nature of homosexuality, or it statistical prevalence in the American population, right?

    3.Now, lets look at the church and state argument. Legalization of gay marraige does not force your church to do anything. It forces the federal government to grant a gay couple a marriage license. The church is still left to do whatever it wants. Churches that oppose gay marriage don't perform the cermonies, churches that have no problem with it, will perform the ceremony. So this is an issue of the federal government denying rights to one group. Along your line of thinking, there are two components to marriage - the federal recognition, and the sacrament/religious value. Legislation has everything to do with the first part, and nothing to do with the second part. And you believe we should all have equal access to the benefits given by the government, right?

    4. But my belief is that it is an aberration that is inconsistent with the plan for mankind that I believe God intended and I believe many if not most Christians believe similarly. But didn't you just say that people are born gay? So are aberrations of God's plan part of God's plan? Oh but then it wouldn't truly be aberrant, now would it. This one doesn't work. Either you stick to the indefensible position that they have chosen the wrong path, or you accept that this is the way some people are. I don't think you can naturally come into being as an affront to God, but then again, I only read the funny parts of the Bible, or the smiting, and skip the rest.

    5. Yes, a religious group is a legitimate constituency that can influence legislation. However, the idea that the basis of legislation lies in religious reasoning, and can not otherwise be legally justified, I think, is an affront to separation of church and state.

    Ok. So, now, what's your rationale? How is gay marriage going to personally affect you? And, If your church won't be forced to marry gay couples, and if it chooses to do so, you are free to dissociate from that church, what's your reasoning?

  7. Anonymous10:18 PM

    it's a beautiful thing seeing our allies speaking up, especially straight men who are willing to debate this topic and be supportive of gay marriage.

  8. Adam said, "=God creates people damned from the beginning. I couldn't have pointed out the irrationality of your religious beliefs better myself. Congrats."

    Adam and Niral,

    First of all your position is one I endorsed during my college and young married life. And as much as I know you will despise the concept, added years, children, in my case military service, just life experiences in general changes your view of religion. I am sure it may drive many away, but I think there's a reason religion is more important to the gray-hairs like me. Our mortality becomes a ticking clock that you start hearing down the road.

    I'm not familiar with a religion whereby A+B=C. In my view, it is a function of faith. I said in my post that many consider any religious thought irrational. Take Christianity, for example. It hinges on the belief that God placed his son on earth via a virgin birth, that his son had a perfect life, died in recompense for the sins of those who believe in him, and tht he arose from the dead. A tall order to believe, a taller order to understand how it fits your life. For many it just never fits.

    I do not personally blame God for every bad thing that happens to us any more than I believe that all good things are attributable to his magic wand being waived. I do not believe God damns people born with terrible diseases or abnormalities, but it happens. Some of it science has helped us to understand, a lot we don't.

    Since religion is generally defined as the belief in a higher supernatural power and/or relating to spiritual matters, I think it scores you no debating points to consider my religion [most any religion] irrational.

    Niral you suggest I'm simply uncomfortable with homosexuality. That's not my take on it. I hired [over others' protestations] and worked for several years with an individual that I can only describe as a flamer who I genuinely liked and appreciated. He proved to be a terrific employee and I enjoyed our relationship. What I am uncomfortable with is the forced imposition through our politically correct culture of the opinion that homosexuality is simply another norm, the way society and mankind has always been, and that always will be, and is worthy of the glorification of our media and possibly even our emulation.

    It's past my bedtime. I'll continue tomorrow.

  9. The religious point is semi-moot and I semi-acknowledged it. Because religion semi-lacks inherent meaning, since people get what they personally believe out of it. I think.

    I didn't jump on the bigot train, but at the same time, I don't feel like gay marriage affects me at all. I don't think you feel threatened by it...
    You still haven't answered how gay marraige personally affects you.

    1. How is it fair for the federal government to deny gay couples the benefits that heterosexual couples recieve?
    2. How does government legislation infringe on the activities of a church in this case?
    3. How does gay marriage personally affect you?

    You disagree with homosexuality, but have no problems with gay people. I think that's somewhat contradictory, which is why I view your position as illogical, or as a display of discomfort.

    But if your reasoning is grounded in religion, a religious sentiment that is admittedly not shared universally by your own faith, branches of it, or the American public, how can you support gay marriage bans, or oppose gay marriage legalization? Religion should never be the foundation for legislation.

  10. A big "Bravo!" to my boys on this one. Guys, sorry it took me so long to back you up...(I've been ignoring the blog lately, but I'm back in action now).

    Niral--a particularly excellent critique of logically-challenged Bill's comments. Well done. I owe you a Nalgene of gin and juice for that one.

    Gay marriage is one of these really sensitive issues that I talk about all the time--and not only in front of my con-o-licious stepmother. In fact I feel so strongly about it that I've publicly told family members that I don't plan to get married until gay people have the same right. N.B. This type of declaration can be undertaken at times strategically selected for maximum shock value if you have any socially conservative older relatives. They love this.

    This is clearly just a question of social-cons refusing to admit that they’re closed-minded and differentially respectful of belief systems other than their own. As Niral pointed out, no one’s trying to force Bill’s church to perform gay marriages. That’s silly. Similarly, no one would ever try to get a Jewish temple to marry Muslims or a Catholic church to marry Hindus. And here’s the shocker: There probably aren’t any homosexual couples out there that would want to get married in Bill’s church in the same way that there probably aren’t many Muslim couples who want to get married in a Synagogue or Hindu couples who want to get married in a Catholic Church.

    The fundamental difficulty in this debate (more so than in most others I must say) is that cons are not only disrespectful of other people’s so-called “lifestyles” but also feel the need to disrespect straightforward appeals to logic, equality, and oftentimes civil rights.

  11. Good points, (I think) from a military blog. [http://froggyruminations.blogspot.com/]

    "As a matter of US and international law, illegal combatants (those who do not distinguish themselves from civilians and in fact target them) have no claim to the PRIVILEGES afforded Prisoners of War. Those privileges including freedom from interrogation, recreation, certain standards of living, etc. were part of the Geneva Convention in order to offer incentives for fighting men to follow the Law of Warfare. To give those privileges to terrorists who exemplify exactly the conduct that the Geneva Convention was written to prevent, serves to ENCOURAGE nations and extra-national organizations like AQ to continue to use the barbaric tactics for which they have gained world renown. Contrary to the contentions of the Left that failing to give enemy combatants full US Constitutional protections is a source of anger and increased recruitment, the exact opposite is actually true. When well known international treaties are systematically violated without consequence, those treaties become worthless. Since when are islamic terrorists accustomed to receiving American style due process? Their home countries universally act without regard to international standards of human rights, and routinely torture and unjustly imprison their populations with impunity."