Posted by: mystic444 | July 2, 2015

Poor arguments for and against homosexual marriage

Debate over the issues of “gay” rights and “gay” marriage have been going on for some time; but since the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling making homosexual marriage legal in all States, my Yahoo News pages have been overflowing with articles both vilifying and celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision. Some of the arguments (both pro and con), however, have been extremely poor. Although perhaps you’re (justifiably) tired of reading rants on the issue, I would still like to look at a few of those poor arguments.

First, though, let me try to briefly give my own thoughts on the issue. Back in the late 1980s when I abandoned “Biblical Christianity”, I abandoned much of “Biblical” morality almost as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. Biblical views on homosexuality were among those things I abandoned. However, regarding homosexuality at least, my beliefs were in fact rather conflicted. Intellectually, I fully embraced the “gay rights” movement; but emotionally (or ‘in my gut’) I remained repulsed by the very thought of homosexual relationships. Nevertheless I sought to subdue my emotional abhorrence, and publicly denounced ‘homophobia’.

In 2010, when I began investigating Islam to see if it really was as horrible as so many people were saying, I was so overwhelmed by how totally opposite the teachings of the Qur’an were compared to the accusations that it is a hate-filled book calling for the murder of everyone who doesn’t embrace Islam, that I began to ‘fall in love’ with the Qur’an; and consequently I also allowed myself to fall under the influence of the anti-homosexuality statements in the Qur’an. I again succumbed to my emotional (or ‘gut’) feelings; hence my “I Agree With Phil” article of Dec. 21, 2013.

Recently I have once again begun to rethink this issue, and have regained my ‘conflicted’ state. 🙄 I still have that automatic feeling of disgust and revulsion when I see pictures of two men or two women ‘lip-locked’; but intellectually I see flaws in the arguments I had against homosexuality and ‘gay’ marriage.

Now I’ll examine some of those faulty arguments that I’ve been reading in the news. From the side of those celebrating the Supreme Court decision, there are those who seek to show that homosexual rights and homosexual marriage are perfectly consistent with Christianity and the Bible. Some say that the Bible never condemns homosexual marriage – to which I respond, “well, Duh!” When the Bible condemns homosexuality itself, and says that those who practice homosexual acts should be killed, why would you imagine that it would be necessary to specifically condemn homosexual marriage??? Can you imagine someone saying that although pedophilia is a major crime, if the law does not specifically forbid pedophiles to marry the children they ‘love’ it mean that adults marrying young children must be acceptable, and we must open ourselves up to ‘love’? What nonsense! The Bible (both ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments) considers homosexuality to be a major ‘sin’, worthy of death; so the Bible obviously is not compatible with homosexual marriage!

In An Open Letter to Franklin Graham Paula Garrett castigates Franklin Graham for saying that the Bible is clear about homosexuality and homosexual marriage. She says that although a few passages here and there can be cherry picked which indicate that marriage is between a male and a female, there are other passages in the Bible that have other views of marriage. The Bible allows for polygamy, concubines, and even the forced marriage of a rapist to his victim. The obvious problem with this argument is that all of those instances involve heterosexual relationships. There is simply not one hint in the Bible of an openness to homosexual relationships (including marriage). Although I have little to no respect for Franklin Graham, he is most certainly right that the Bible is quite clear as to its view of homosexuality.

If Paula Garrett had been arguing that the Bible is unclear with regard to the “Church” doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman, she would of course have been correct – and quite justified in bringing up the many passages about polygamy and concubines. But when the argument is concerning heterosexuality versus homosexuality, the Bible is quite clear about its position.

The question then is whether or not the Bible is right in its position. But for a “Bible believing Christian” such as Franklin Graham, who believes that the Bible is infallibly inspired by God, this is not even debatable. Of course the Bible is right, and homosexuality is a great evil. Repent and be converted, you vile homosexuals, lest you be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment! 😆 For an ‘infidel’ such as me, though – who believes that the Bible is at best the teachings of men, and in fact much of it is more worthy of being labeled “doctrines of demons” than “the word of God” – the fact that the Bible teaches something is not at all a favorable recommendation for that teaching. 🙂

Now I’ll refer to unsound arguments from the anti-‘gay’ marriage side. In an article in “National Review” Dennis Prager argues that the Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual marriage has completed the undermining of the USA as the ‘Founding Fathers’ envisioned it. He maintains the fallacious viewpoint that the USA was founded specifically on “Judeo-Christian” principles of morality and law, as contained in the holy book of “Judeo-Christianity”: the Bible. And of course, the Biblical (“Judeo-Christian”) view on marriage is unquestionably heterosexual, as mentioned in previous paragraphs.

Of course, this view of the “Judeo-Christian” and Biblical foundation of the USA, as envisioned by its “Founding Fathers”, is simply a falsehood. The “Founding Fathers” themselves were quite explicit about this. In the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli of Barbary (ratified in 1797, only approximately 10 years after the ratification of the US Constitution), Congress unanimously agreed in article 11 of the Treaty: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, [Muslims]-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Muhammadan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. That is why the Constitution states emphatically that Congress can’t make any law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. And that is why the Constitution insists that there may not be any religious tests for prospective members of Congress or any public position.

Christianity is simply not the foundation of our nation (nor is any other religion). The Government was clearly intended to be ‘secular’, with religion and morals left up to the individual citizens and their churches. [For more complete discussion of this subject, see Are the United States a Christian Nation? and More Falsehoods From Franklin Graham.]

Mr. Prager then argues that the “Fathers” sought to base the laws and morals of the USA on the Bible because they realized that otherwise everything would be purely subjective. We would be left to what we ‘feel in our hearts’, rather than having objective ‘truth’ as a foundation. However the most famous of those “Fathers” – such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine – in fact realized that the Bible was so full of errors and contradictions that it could not possibly serve as an authoritative source of ‘objective truth’. On the contrary, the only ‘infallible word of God’ available to men is written not in a book, but in “Nature”. “Nature” speaks to men of every language all over the world. This is why the Declaration of Independence stated that true Government is founded on the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God – not the Bible and the Bible’s God.

This means that the “Fathers” believed that laws and morals are not just derived from what we feel in our “hearts”, but also (and perhaps more so) from reason and logic as applied to what can be observed in nature. Intuitive feelings are not to be overlooked or derided; but reason and nature are at least as important.

But this appeal to nature and reason might seem to in fact be the strongest argument against homosexuality. Isn’t heterosexuality ‘writ large’ in ‘nature’s book’? Isn’t it ‘obvious’ in nature itself that sexual relationships and marriage are intended to be between male and female – not male and male or female and female? This is the argument that I have used; and in point of fact it was no doubt just as clear an argument to Jefferson, Madison, and Paine.

This is an argument that Mike Huckabee used in his repudiation of the Supreme Court decision. Laws of nature – such as the law of Gravity – cannot be annulled by a fiat of Supreme Court Justices; and he feels that heterosexual marriage is as much a law of nature as the law of Gravity.

The problem with such an argument is, first of all, that laws of nature are not necessarily absolute. It is true that we can’t annul the law of Gravity (or haven’t been able to so far at least); but we can counterbalance it by exerting a force greater than Gravity’s force. That’s how we’re able to get airplanes and spaceships to fly. Even jumping up in the air illustrates a very temporary overcoming of Gravity’s force. The ability of birds to fly shows even in nature (without the addition of human technology) that one law of nature can be counterbalanced by another law of nature.

So while I don’t believe there is any ‘natural’ way to reproduce apart from ‘normal’ male/female sexual activity, we have discovered ways to impregnate a female without sexual intercourse with a male (in vitro fertilization, I believe it is called). Two males can get a female to agree to bear a child for them; and two females can get a male to provide sperm without actual sexual intercourse. Of course, there is always adoption also (though of course the adopted child could not have been born without a male and a female contributing).

As a matter of fact, though, there is nothing in nature to dictate that sexual activity must be limited to the ‘normal’ male/female relationship. Instances of homosexuality have long been observed in nature; and like it or not, homosexuality has existed ‘naturally’ among humans also throughout recorded human history. It may not be the ‘usual’ or ‘normal’ natural order, but it is nevertheless a real part of that order. Homosexuality can’t produce offspring; but who will be so foolish as to say that the production of offspring is the only reason for sexual activity? It is a reason, but certainly not “the” reason.

In fact, marriage itself is not a ‘law of nature’; it is simply a human arrangement (despite religious myths that declare that ‘God’ decreed the marriage contract and granted his priests – and government agents – the authority to supervise the making of such contracts). And human arrangements are subject to change. So I suppose that it’s perfectly legitimate for modern society to ‘redefine’ marriage to include homosexual unions. I still have my automatic ‘gut’ reactions to the concept of homosexuality and the sight of two males or two females kissing, etc.; but I have to submit to my intellect and reason telling me that it really is acceptable –and such arguments as given by Paula Garrett and Dennis Prager are decidedly poor ones.

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Responses

  1. Even I think the law should “leave people alone.” I would oppose busting down the doors of alleged homosexuals, attempting to “catch them in the act” and punish them. Absolutely!

    But that doesn’t mean I have to effectively give homosexual behavior moral or legal legitimacy. That doesn’t mean I need to force taxpayers to subsidize “marriages.” I think there is space between the various positions.

    At the furthest extreme making “being gay” a punishable, criminal offense. Another is punishing only homosexual behavior, and yet another is punishing outward proclamations and promotion that are viewed as threatening the social order. Russia has taken that route, it seems, with a recent law against homosexual “propaganda.”

    Then there is decriminilizing homosexuality, so it’s not a legal matter at all. Social “tolerance” means gays are not persecuted or discriminated against and then, of course, there is putting a moral seal of approval on homosexuality, enshrining that approval in law, and allowing gay marriage.

    Next I suspect will be enforcing homosexual rights, so it’s “bigotry” not to go along. We will be the ones who are punished for not giving our seal of approval. But that’s democracy. The people have spoken and in America, the majority want gay marriage, and so it is.

    As I said, I just hope Muslims resist because in Islam, this is not a matter of “whichever way the wind blows.” Not really in Christianity either, but as you said, America is secular–and really in practical terms, no longer underpinned by Christian morals.

    You are a strong libertarian. I was more so at one time. I was more a liberal at one time too. The actual results of this approach changed my mind. 🙂

  2. Interesting point of view. I don’t quite agree with you position, but I do see the problem with trying to construct logical, convincing talking points against gay marriage. The question I have is must everything have a logical, convincing argument? I guess so, in modern society, which is why, I think, absolutely nothing is sacred. Words like “sin” and “honor” and even “respect” hardly seem to have meaning at all. Whereas behaviors that I view as clearly shameful are now seen as pointed of pride–“Gay Pride” and “Proud Sluts” for example.

    I also have a negative gut reaction to seeing homosexual “love” on display, especially when it’s two men. Is that feeling invalid? Irrelevant? Or just not an excuse to deny gay people “equal rights”?

    I don’t even really believe in the “gay people” construct in the first place, which defines a human being by his or her sexual “orientation” or behavior. I think it’s too bad this very terminology has shaped our thinking on the matter. In the end, I think this near worship of gay people in the West is a mistake–even if I can’t quite articulate why. That said, I see no point in blustering too loudly.

    People like me lost the culture war a long time ago. We’re lucky if we’re not squeezed out of public life entirely in the coming years, and that’s exactly where the secular “religion” of Gay/Transgender worship is leading. Can anyone say this Jenner thing didn’t come off as rather cult-like worship? It felt that way to me.

    Notice if a person dares to object to homosexuality, he or she is ridiculed and castigated in the media, businesses are boycotted. It’s not that you simply disagree, but rather “hate” and are a “bigot” for your open disagreement. You can’t get away with that sort of heresy anymore, and now that there is a firm legal basis for homosexual relationships, it won’t just be social stigma–they can thwack you with the law until all dissent is effectively crushed. And that IS what’s going to happen, I have no doubt.

    Even if I’m forced “into the closet,” I will continue to believe that homosexual behavior is a sin. I think it’s possible to accept gay civil rights while still believing this behavior is a sin–but that position will not be popular, and maybe not even really allowed. We’ll just trade places–they’ll come out, and we’ll go into the closet. That’s already how it feels to me!

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful piece. As always, interesting, thought-provoking points. 🙂

    • Lenna – Thanks for that reply. Since I have acknowledged that I am conflicted about the subject, it wouldn’t matter much how I responded to you. Whatever I said, another part of me would be arguing against it! 😆

      However, I will say that I believe that in legal matters – in the USA at least – it is necessary to have a logical and convincing argument. What I “feel in my heart” is not a sufficient basis for law. The law must follow reason and logic.

      At the same time, I am ‘libertarian’ enough to believe that everyone must be allowed the freedom to disagree with Congressional and Supreme Court decisions allegedly based on logic. The law will still be able to prosecute people who act contrary to it, but people must be allowed to disagree with the law, and verbally express their disagreement – including seeking to have the law overturned through legal means. For instance, a person may strongly disagree with posted speed limits, and may write letters to the editor of his newspaper or seek to have the law changed. But so long as the posted speed limit remains what it is, a person may be ticketed and fined if he/she drives in excess of that speed. Said person could even lose his/her driving privileges if he/she drives too much (or too often) in excess of the posted limit.

      While a public business may be required to do business with homosexuals, that business may not be required to support and promote homosexuality. In the same way, a ‘white supremacist’ book seller may be required to serve black people; but he may not be required to sell books which actively promote “black pride” (or even racial equality). A Baptist Christian may be required to serve Roman Catholics in his business; but he may not be required to sell books, tee-shirts, or cakes which actively promote Catholicism or any of its doctrines which are contrary to the Baptist beliefs.

      As to feeling it necessary to “go in the closet” with reference to one’s ‘anti-homosexuality’, I suppose one could respond that “you reap what you sow”. Homosexuals have long been forced to stay ‘in the closet’; so they might now feel that it’s only ‘karmic justice’ that those who formerly forced them into the closet should experience the same thing! 🙂

      It’s nice when ‘head’ and ‘heart’ agree with each other. But since in this case my ‘head’ disagrees with my ‘heart’ (or ‘gut’), I have to choose between them; and my decision is to go with my ‘head’. Whichever way we go, though, we must be ‘tentative’ about it, it seems to me. My ‘logic’ may in time prove to be faulty; and my ‘gut’ may also prove to be wrong.

    • The law must follow reason and logic.

      I’m not sure I agree. Consider euthanasia. We put our pets out of their misery, but not (usually) our human family members. Is there a logical reason NOT to do the same with people as we with animals? Yet it’s illegal (still…I think?) to euthanize a human being in the US. There are (or were) obscenity laws, even thought it’s hard to formulate a concrete definition of what’s “obscene.” We have a notion that “anything goes between consenting adults,” yet I think most people would agree a mother shouldn’t cross into sexual relationships with her own children, even if they are adults and everyone consents. Why not? Why can’t people have multiple spouses? What is the logical argument against that? If a horse seems willing, why can’t a man have a relationship with her? This guy says it should be allowed:

      http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/11/what-its-like-to-date-a-horse.html

      I disagree with him, and I fundamentally disagree with the idea that every single thing must have a bulletproof logical argument. That isn’t how real life works. Human societies have always set standards, some of which are enshrined in law. The idea every individual should have a personal free-for-all unless and until you can make a logical argument against it is not how things have traditionally worked–and I think they worked better before the Sexual Revolution.

      • Lenna – Thanks again for a thoughtful reply. Disagreement is a right, and is welcome as far as I am concerned.

        Perhaps I went too far in saying that legal decisions must be based on reason and logic – at least in the USA. I do believe that is in fact correct in principle; however it’s a principle which is difficult to consistently practice due to how ingrained religious beliefs and cultural norms are.

        I believe it is fairly obvious that the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the USA intended to form a ‘secular’ government, based on reason as applied to natural law. There were indeed people – perhaps many of them – who wished the USA to be founded on Biblical law and Christianity (at least a ‘generic’ form of Christianity); but they were defeated by the vast majority.

        However, the ‘Fathers’ did not just discard all previous laws wholesale and begin fresh with all new laws based on reason. Most existing laws were left intact; but a principle was established whereby those laws could be challenged and changed in the future – and of course they have been being challenged and changed ever since.

        Even the practice of slavery was allowed to remain, despite the assertion in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Slavery was quite consistent with the laws of the ‘Biblical’ “God”, and many “Christians” insisted on maintaining the ‘Divine ordinance’ of slavery. Eventually, of course, ‘Biblical law’ was overruled in favor of universal human rights – when those challenging the institution of slavery became powerful enough, and the Northern States militarily defeated the Southern States.

        These days it seems like the process of challenging existing laws based on ‘holy books’ and cultural norms is accelerating. Some people celebrate this change; some resist it; and others are simply left confused by it all.

        Some – or perhaps all – of the particular issues you mentioned are being challenged, or perhaps will be in the future. Perhaps those existing laws against euthanasia, etc., are in fact remaining evidence of religious and cultural standards still embedded in ‘secular’ law – or perhaps they’re in fact laws based on reason and nature.

        Perhaps animal rights activists will challenge euthanizing animals; and perhaps on the other hand euthanasia for humans – in the form of doctor assisted suicide at least – will be accepted. I for one am one of those in favor of doctor assisted suicide as a human right and consider Dr. Kevorkian to be a ‘hero’ rather than the ‘demon’ many people consider him to have been. I also believe families should be able to ‘pull the plug’ on family members who are in a coma and for whom doctors see no chance of recovery.

        Concerning incest, laws against it are in fact based on scientific knowledge and reason. Latent genetic weaknesses and ‘flaws’ become strengthened when close family members engage in sex among themselves and conception occurs. Resulting children are liable to exhibit mental deficiencies and physical deformities. How distant the familial relationship needs to be in order to prevent such mentally or physically defective children being born may be open to question – the Qur’an for instance permits first cousins to marry, while other legal systems require much greater distance in familial relationship. Nevertheless, regardless of such differences, laws against incest are in fact based on science and reason, not just on ‘scripture’ and cultural belief.

        In reality. I think that “the law” has no business ‘sticking its nose’ into the private sexual affairs of people. “The law” should neither approve nor disapprove of sexual practices (whether ‘normal’ or not). There certainly should be no criminal repercussions for allegedly ‘deviant’ behavior so long as it harms no one and does not involve the use of force (rape). Society may continue to have its ‘norms’ and ‘unwritten laws’, and ‘frown upon’ deviation from the norm; but laws criminalizing such deviations from the norm should not be permitted. The right of minorities to disagree and be different should be upheld.

        Even with incest, perhaps the law might require that anyone involved in such a practice must take measures to insure beyond a (reasonable) doubt that conception can’t occur; but otherwise the law should leave such people alone.

        Yes, I still have a strong ‘libertarian’ tendency! 😀


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