Screwing for Virginity

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Elton John does not want to hurt your family!

Over the past several weeks I have heard of several rallies both local and around the country masquerading as pro-family gatherings when they seem to have one specific MO – to oppose same-sex unions. As a Christian, I am pro-family, but my homophobic brothers and sisters have yet to convince me that same-sex unions are the enormous crisis the Family Research Council would have us believe they are.

“But homosexuality is a sin,” they say, “so we should oppose it, right?” OK, well, greed is a sin, but I don’t see many American Christians rallying against capitalism or attempting to force the government to institute a cap on how much money a person can make.

Why are we attacking homosexuality and not greed? Perhaps because it’s easier to take on a handful of poets, musicians, and actors than the structure that governs our country and allows us to participate in the sins we like. Condemning the immorality of the minority while condoning (and often participating in) the immorality of the majority is hypocrisy, which Christ condemned vehemently even though he did not say word one about homosexuality.

And even if it is immoral, is the purpose of government really to prevent people from sinning? I get the impression from the Bible that that is the job of the Holy Spirit who works through the church. Has the church become so ineffective that it needs to pawn off its responsibilities on another institution?

I have read articles, listened to ads, and read Tony Perkins’ Washington Updates that appear in my e-mail on an almost daily basis (why did I sign up and how do I turn it off?), and nowhere have I seen any compelling evidence that same-sex unions would be bad for society. I have heard people say that if we don’t define marriage, then eventually anything goes: polygamy, bestiality, incest. This “slippery slope” argument seems utterly groundless. If I am shown that a significant number of Swedish men are now lobbying for the right to marry several male Göinge goat siblings, I will retract that statement.

“But what if I end up living next door to a homosexual couple?” Then you may have to be neighborly to someone you don’t like. If the Samaritan could do it, certainly people empowered by the Holy Spirit should be able to.

“But I don’t want to raise my children in a society that supports homosexuality.” If your household is run in such a way that society has more influence on your children’s morality than you and your spouse, then you are the one who should not be allowed to marry and have a family.

The worst rhetoric I have heard is the comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah. I have a hard time making a connection between the guy who wrote “Hakuna Matata” and an angry group of gang rapists. Are they saying that same sex unions will lead to homosexual rape? In that case we’d better outlaw heterosexual unions in order to stop heterosexual rape.

I also struggle to comprehend why college students are so involved in these rallies (at least those who attend conservative Christian universities). How are single heterosexuals promoting the family better than “married” homosexuals?

Most of the homophobic rhetoric from Christians includes a call to love homosexuals but offers no practical ways to love. Might giving tax benefits to same-sex couples be a way of showing love?

If Christians were truly concerned about immorality, then they would be so busy removing specks from their own eyes that same-sex unions would not even be an issue.

50 Comments:

  • At 8:36 AM, October 25, 2004, Blogger z said…

    Actually, the Bible makes it very clear. Read 1 Co. 6:9.

     
  • At 8:53 AM, October 25, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    The Bible makes what very clear? 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not say that same-sex unions should be outlawed in the United States.

     
  • At 8:10 AM, October 26, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love gay people.(more on that later if you care to hear) However, I would like to say something in defense of those on certain Christian University campuses. How can you expect people who are so infrequently presented with diversity to accept that which they don't understand? I know it is possible, but frankly I don't see it being very probable.

    Buddy, come on, give them a break. I don't hear anyone asking about the last time someone hugged a person who had a different skin color. I've known few who listened while someone talked about a major area of study that is different from their own well enough to be able to pass the information onto another.

    I'm fairly certain that single people are still treated differently (unfavorably so) than those with significant others. I know, I experienced it first hand while out with you and a group of others a couple weeks ago...And I'm a heterosexual white female with a middle class background (raised in a Baptist church). I don't think I'm scary and aside from letting a few harsh words slip more often than should be the case I don't think I will have a negative influence on anyone's faith. But, I too feel on occasion like an outcast with the people you are presenting this challenge to.

    Buddy, come on, they've proved to me that as a community they can't love their own, how are they supposed to love people few of them have met?

    (sorry for opening a new can of worms)- Megan

     
  • At 2:42 PM, October 26, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Buddy

    As usual, you have hit the nail on the head. The central issue, I think, is the one you pinpointed in distinguishing our relish in attacking homosexuality from our absolute silence regarding greed. This issue has far more to do with oppressing and silencing a marginalized group than about "standing for the truth." It is a worldly mentality which asserts its power by shouting down and oppressing a weaker few, not a Christian one (Jesus overwhelmingly stood BESIDE the marginalized - often immoral - outcasts and AGAINST the "moral majority").

    This is nowhere more blatantly illustrated to me than in the argument utilizing God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. While it is commonly preached that God judged these cities for their sexual (homosexual) immorality, this is something that is largely inferred from texts such as Genesis 19. I think it is telling, however, that one of the few very explicit descriptions given in the OT regarding this judgment is rarely, if ever, even mentioned. Ezekiel 16:49 explicitly states the "sin of Sodom" and homosexual sin is not mentioned. Could it be that the explicit reason given in this text hits too close to home for conservative evangelical Americans and, therefore, must be ignored? If "arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned" are not excellent descriptors of many American Christians, I don't know what are.

    Anyway, Buddy, keep up the good work. The Church needs far more voices like your own.

    -Gabe

     
  • At 7:52 AM, October 28, 2004, Blogger Judy said…

    As far as rally attendance goes, just remember that when you stir a pot, the scum rises to the top.

    I feel that I cannot comment on this topic any more without drawing a clear distinction between the Christian's view of homosexuality in the church, and the Christian's view of homosexuality in the public square.

    Find a small community of believers and dig in. God will surely send to that church people who need what He has to offer through you.

    Also, believing that homosexuality is not genetic, expect to see an increase as the family continues to unravel. Instead of attacking homosexuals, or the people who attack homosexuals, start looking for what might be causing such an increase.

    Lack of a father in the home? An over extended mother? Sexual abuse? Emotional abuse? Bullying? Wrong sexual information taught in the public schools?

     
  • At 10:22 AM, October 29, 2004, Blogger Ryan said…

    Hey there Buddy, sorry I haven't written for awhile either. Things are finally settling down for me a bit. Well... first off, I have to say that this is a great topic to think about, and I'm glad that it was brought up (and for the way it was brought up). Now, so what's the deep issue? it's what Buddy said in his first comment... should government be implementing Christian standards on society? so, should they? now, this question to me comes down to standards. what basis (or standard) do we have for passing any law? like rape, or murder, why are they illegal? is it b/c it's a fact that it's wrong? we look to a standard to judge or decide if something is right or wrong, and by those standards, the government should operate. obviously, the church's role in all of this would be a totally different discussion, which i think we should have as well.
    so the question comes, if we aren't looking to the Bible for the standard of what is right or wrong, what are we looking to? i'm fine w/ saying that the government shouldn't look to the bible, but somebody should tell me what they are looking to, or else how can we ever have justice? if it's an ever-changing standard that is based on the majority vote to decide our principles, then we as a country have no principles. i'm not saying that we do, but should we strive to?
    anyway, i totally agree w/ you buddy, on the hypocricy of the whole thing, and i hate it something fierce. Christians drive me nuts to listen to them talk about this stuff sometimes. so yeah, i'll end there and keep up better with my posting.

     
  • At 1:07 PM, October 29, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our standard of justice in the United States is based on a common law system. Basically, that is interpreting previous cases and applying them to the present. This is done by judges elected by the public, or in the highger courts' cases, appointed by other elected government officials. It is a rather loose system relatively speaking.

    Since the justice system was brought into question (and I believe it should be) I thought I would present that clarification whether it helps out or not.

    **please research and vote on the judge candidates in your area***


    - Megan

     
  • At 2:07 PM, October 29, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man! This is a great topic, and I can't help but comment on some of the posts that have come up recently.

    First of all, JudyH stated that "believing that homosexuality is not genetic..." Upon what, exactly, does one base this "belief?" If this is based upon Scripture, I guess I have yet to be convinced of this argument. Certainly it is nowhere explicitly stated that homosexuality has no genetic or biological basis, and any arguments based upon the assumption of "free will" or "choice" seem dubious to me at best. Scripture seems far from clear on just how "free" ANY human being truly is (otherwise the OT Law should have been enough).

    If one is basing this "belief" on the scientific evidence, then I think that we must conclude that the jury is still out on this subject. I would completely agree that the current research, contrary to the claims of some groups, is solidly inconclusive in establishing a genetic link to homosexuality. But it is also true that the current research is far from conclusive in establishing with any degree of certainty that there is NOT a genetic component. In fact, there is compelling evidence that there is at least some biological/neurological aspect to homosexual orientation (although the exact nature of this aspect and the role of any genetic influences is still highly questionable).

    It seems to me that if we are serious about trying to understand the "reasons" for homosexual tendencies, then we have to at least hold the door open to the possibility that biology and genetics plays at least a role. This may complicate matters for us (I know evangelicals HATE that), but I am leary of jumping too far ahead and assuming to know the "reasons" for a struggle that I do not personally experience.

    Second, at the risk of being long-winded, I have to respond to Ryan's excellent question as to the standard for public law. I want to suggest that the standard by which we ought to measure legality/illegality is not right or wrong (morality) but justice. And justice, I believe, must be based upon basic human rights. In a multicultural social structure, the basis for social regulation (law) should not be a question of morality but a question as to whether or not someone (or group of someones) is being deprived of his/her basic human rights. Therefore, rape or murder should not be illegal because it is wrong (although I believe it most definitely IS), but because it involves someone being deprived of his/her basic human rights.

    Seen in this light, I think we can further understand the basic hypocrisy of our current society. We have largely tended to blur the distinction between law and morality, relegating "law" primarily to the interpersonal arena. If I steal from you, this is wrong ("thou shalt not steal") and it is illegal. The "free market," however, is intrinsically amoral. There is no right or wrong, only the shifting dictates of "the market." If, therefore, I am the CEO of a company and I exploit the labor of you, the worker, for my own financial gain, this is neither right nor wrong but simply "shrewd business" and, therefore, not illegal. Understanding the basis for law as justice rooted in basic human rights, stealing your labor as the owner of a company would be viewed exactly the same as if I picked your pocket. In both cases I am depriving you of the right to enjoy the fruits of your own labor, obtain adequate food, clothing, and shelter, etc.

    The obvious question then becomes,"On what basis do you decide what is a 'basic human right'?" The answer, I think, must be interdisciplinary in nature. As Christians, we SHOULD have something to say in the public arena regarding justice as the Bible does provide principles for understanding basic human rights. I think we should use the Bible as ONE source for thinking about justice, but not by picking out verses describing standards of personal piety and morality. Thinking this way about justice, we can begin to discern the universal principles of human rights from the specifics of Christian piety. We could also seek help in this area from disciplines such as history, philosophy, cultural anthropology, and many of the other sciences (even psychology!).

    Anyway, GREAT topic and discussion. I would welcome any feedback to help me in my thinking.

    -Gabe

     
  • At 3:03 PM, October 29, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    Gabe,
    Would you consider yourself Derridean in your view on Law and Justice? Would you consider the law to be deconstructable and Justice, if there is such a thing, to be undeconstructable?
    Is Justice "infinite, incalculable, rebellious to rule and foreign to symmetry, heterogeneous and heterotropic" and Law "stabilized and statutory, calculable, a system of regulated and coded prescriptions" as Derrida wrote in "The Force of Law" and "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice" respectively?
    I think you are onto good things here.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, October 30, 2004, Blogger Ryan said…

    It seems as though "human rights" is based on morality, so i don't know how they can ever be truly separated. w/out your standard to look to, you'd have no evidence that something was a violation of human rights, instead of just something bad.
    We seem to have this notion that something is only a crime if it hurts somebody. this doesn't even exclude hurting yourself (helmet and safety belt law). is it violating your human rights to not wear a helmet? there's got to be something else going on there besides just evaluating if something is in violation to what we're owed as a human being.

    anyway, i'm not sure that i would have any grand solution out of the situation we're in regarding church/state... but i'm not satisfied completely with the way it is now either. although i agree that it would be hypocritical to pass a law b/c of its moral violations, i feel it's also hypocritical to say that morals don't play a part in our laws/justice system. :) so where's the line? thoughts? (Gabe, i really appreciate your comments!)

     
  • At 1:50 PM, October 31, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Judy and Gabe,

    Is the question why are there homosexuals or is the question how can we love them? Are we avoiding action by asking more theoretical questions?

    Is the economy the problem or is our attitude towards the economy and money/wealth in general the problem?

    Chris,

    Great questions, but how do I apply them? Maybe I'm dumb, but I'm not sure what to do with that information?

     
  • At 3:29 PM, October 31, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    For convenience, please identify yourself in some way when you post.

     
  • At 8:36 AM, November 01, 2004, Blogger Judy said…

    Identify myself? Um...I am Judyh, birth-giver of large babies...

    Read further in my comments, as I illuded to what I believe are the causes of homosexuality.

    I also see the need for a dicotomy between loving a person who happens to be a homosexual, and excepting the behaviour of a group.

    I'm also not so sure that Elton John doesn't want to hurt my family.

     
  • At 1:42 PM, November 01, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    To whomever posted anonymously,
    Perhaps I am just recommending that you read some Derrida. He speaks a great deal about law and justice.

     
  • At 10:09 PM, November 01, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ELTON JOHN DOES WANT TO HURT YOUR FAMILY

    I am posting without a name, because I know how these things can be, and right now I am not ready to reveal to the whole world my past with a link to my name. Anyways. Buddy, have you even been gay? (one reason I ask is that a while back on the discussion board you asked somone if they were married, and since they wernt you basically told them that they had not place in talking about why masturbation in the terms and confines of marriage is wrong----just something to think about---please be consistent in how you consider arguments)The main reason though that I ask is that I was at one time, so I think I am a little qualified to talk about the gay community and the activites that really go on. So I am not speaking on terms of just having read studies or anything like that, instead I am talking about stuff from my experience in the gay community. My experience in living in that world and mindset for almost three whole years is that those studies(which you deny and claim are false or are not strong enough evidence)are in fact pretty accurate. They are not right-wing nut job claims about homosexuals with no basis, quite the opposite in fact. The things that homosexual fathers do to their own children, especially their own sons, is beyond comparison. In all actuallity, it would be better for a child to be raised by only one person,a single heterosexual, because havin two "loving" homosexual parents is in all essences wrong and does not work, being raised by one homosexual parent is bad enough as is. The idea that a homosexual couple can raise a child equal to or better than a single heterosexual parent is ridiculus. A lot of gay people, actually most, will not admit to what they actually do because they would be ashamed of it, they instead try to fool the general community that their life is pretty normal and like that of a heterosexual community. That statement is a deliberatly falseified statement. A lot of homosexual couples will say that they are monogomous...but what they fail to menition is that they will be monogomous with a person for a little while, and then they will be monogomous with another person, and this is quite common in the homosexual community. While true that the heterosexual community shares some of the same problems, the homosexual community takes it to the extreme.
    What they do is abhorent. Incest, raping their own sons(which is in all honesty very common in the homosexual community) and involving/enticing their own sons into participating in the homosexual life style, even at young ages(one man I had the "pleasure" of crossing on the internet and on the phone had raped his son at the age of five and since then had continued to engage in different sexual activities with him, not only him, but he also "lent" his son out to his friends for a few hours on end to please themselves with his son. After his son had grown older, his son continued and willingly gave his body to other men for their sexual pleasure. After his son had gotten older, he then prayed on other kids...he had admited to raping at least three kids under the age of ten) And if they don't participate in this activity with their own kids, they find people online to participate and fill out their fantisies with--it really is a sick community, if anythign trust a person who has been there for three years.
    Unfortuantly I am not the best at putting thoughts into words in type all the time. But I can honestly say from my experience in living in the homosexual community that things such as the marriage march in DC which people from Cornerstone have attended are not hate marches. Far from it. Instead they are marches which christians should participate in, since they are defifnatly worthy causes. Buddy, you say that they are hate marches, that we are being narrow minded and that we shouldnt be pushing and mixing religion with politics. Homosexuals are mixing their "religion" with politics so why then should christians not mix their religion with politics, and arn't you be narrow minded by trying to force your idea on others. If you can't belive the studies becuase you don't think they are founded correctly, then belive instead a person who has lived that life, belive a person who was immeresed in that lifesyle for a very long time, and one thing I have to say is that those studies are founded correctly, and that they portray a good representation and good resoning for establishing a marriage ammendment. Is homosexuality a sin, yes, should we love our neighbors who are gay? Yes. Is a tax break a way to show them love? NO. Is recognizing unions or marriages showing them love? NO.

     
  • At 12:25 PM, November 02, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    howdy all, this is Ryan's friend, Sean, from back east... a pleasure to meet all of you.

    i couldn't resist making a comment about the anonymous post just above... to the poster: many props for your courage in revealing the horrors you have witnessed. let's all take a moment and pray (those that do at least) for this person's continued recovery from the past.

    while i don't think that Buddy is being closed-minded or forcing anything on anyone, you (anonymous) bring up a good point: we (forgive me if i am making assumptions here...at least some of us) haven't seen the inside of the homosexual community. what it seems tends to get argued about is homosexuality as a concept, which we separate from the world of sin with which it is intimately connected. we forget that to allow homosexuals to have unions is to allow one man to lay with another. THIS is where my major opposition to homosexual unions comes from: not the tax breaks, not even the degredation of the family. and while i don't think the government should be able to stop them from having state-backed unions, i also don't think the church, any church, should allow practicing homosexuals to get married or ordained so long as they do not acknowledge and repent from their sin....in the very same way they should deny ordanation from someone who is a practicing alcoholic or a practicing serial killer. maybe that wasn't the issue. what was the issue? sometimes i forget. anyway let me see if i had anything else to say...

    as a brief tangent, i also wanted to suggest that capitalism does not equal greed, as Buddy's root post implied. quite earnestly i believe that capitalism is the only way for the standard of living to be raised in a country and the world. yes, american companies suck. but imposing rules on them won't take their greed away from them. rules just take us closer to socialism, which we've already seen fail many times. what's wrong with being rich anyway? i'm a poor bastard, but i want tax cuts to apply to the rich as much as the poor. heck i'd rally for a flat tax. just remember that rich people employ poor people. wihout the rich, the poor would have no jobs. likewise, without the poor the rich would have difficulty finding workers. but we'd better start another topic if we're to discuss that.

    well if you can't tell i consider myself conservative and by definition i am a fundamentalist christian. however, i would like it if i could have the opportunity to stop people from making generalizations about this group of people. perhaps i am a bit of a rarity, but i have come to my opinions after pouring over these topics for many years (just ask ryan)...and i am still very open-minded about my conclusions (as oxymoronic as that sounds).

    so back to homosexuality, basically what i've gathered from the anonymous post is that because homosexuality is a sin, YES, homosexual unions can and do lead to homosexual rape... as well as a host of other atrocities. arguments that draw analogies between homosexual unions and heterosexual marriages don't hold any water, in my opinion, because one promotes a sinful tendency (genetic or not) and the other promotes God's design. therefore to farcically say we'd better outlaw heterosexual unions to stop heterosexual rape is just that...farcical, because we all know that one does not lead to the other....whereas homosexual unions promote sinful thinking.

    well, as Buddy said, i can offer no practical ways to show love; i'm not good at practical stuff. hang on there's something in my eye...

     
  • At 3:03 PM, November 02, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    I apologize if I confused anyone as to my identity. I thought the little "-Gabe" at the bottom of the posts I made sufficiently identified me. I am a bit of a technological Neanderthal, so getting a "blogger" name is a big step for me.

    I really appreciate the comments and further discussion from others on this issue. It really helps me to clarify my thinking to hear other perspectives.

    The Dish - I have ready Derrida (admittedly a very rudimentary amount) and I have really liked his stuff, although I probably understood far less than I read. As a psychologist, my exposure to more "constructionist" philosphers involves those more closely related to the social sciences (such as Foucault), but your post did prompt me to read "The Force of Law." I liked it and, at least from what I understand, I would tend to agree that law is "deconstructable." It at least seems to me that all Law must be historically contextualized and understood as inherently limited in its ability to reflect "justice." I am still thinking this over, so I don't know that I can comment much more beyond that (but I will try to read more Derrida).

    Ryan - perhaps I approached the issue poorly by seeming to juxtapose "morality" and "human rights" too sharply. What I did not mean by thinking of law in terms of human rights was that there were no value judgments involved. There certainly are value judgments, and perhaps one could equate those judgments with moral ones. I guess my major concern was too readily equating "right or wrong" with regulation of behavior in the public sphere. As in, "certain behaviors ought to be crimes because they are wrong." Lots of things are "wrong" if we use biblical definitions and the dictates of Christian piety. Adultery is "wrong" (in fact a "sin"), but should it be a crime? Any religious faith besides Christianity is "wrong" according to Christian morality (in fact, if you consider ultimately rejecting Christ as the sole means for salvation the "unforgivable sin," this may be the greatest "wrong" of all), but should the practice of any faith other than Christianity be a crime? It does seem to me that we have to draw a distinction between what is owed to all human beings because they are human (rights) and Christian piety. This admittedly involves a value judgment, and, as I wrote, the Bible and Christian values should be part of the equation, but only part of it. What I object to (I'm not saying that this is what you are contending) is any simplistic notion that "the Bible says it is a sin" so therefore it is justified to make it illegal or enact legislation that violates a person's rights.

    As a final thought, I think it is very important to be extremely nuanced in our approach to this issue. To the individual who wanted to know if being too "theoretical" was a diversion from action, I would say that it is critical to approach complex issues with full appreciation of complexity exactly BECAUSE it is so important how we act. "Loving" a person is not only a matter of good intentions. Plenty of people throughout history have been deeply wounded and wronged by those who had nothing but the best of intentions. We must attempt to understand the complexity of human beings precisely because they are human beings (not "issues" or "concepts") who need to be loved in a certain way. For instance, one problem in this whole discussion is to treat "homosexuals" or the "homosexual community" as though these were homogeneous categories. The anonymous poster who indicated being in a "gay community" for three years gives experiential knowledge, but only of a particularized "gay community." I do not, in any way, wish to denigrate his (I am assuming male gender) experiences, but they are just that "personal experiences." To come to universal conclusions based only on personal experiences of a particularized community is dangerous. That's like saying "the Christian community is largely racist" when one really has experience of a particular Christian community which may have been racist. I do think, therefore, we must rely on good scientific research into these areas. I have never read a single, methodologically sound study which indicated a link between homosexuality and pedophilia. To insinuate that homosexuals tend to commit "incest and rape" based only on personal experience leads to stereotypes and bias.

     
  • At 3:46 PM, November 02, 2004, Blogger Judy said…

    I chose to believe an eye-witness view over those of the scientific community.

    The anon poster doesn't say anything that I haven't heard from countless others who have left or are fighting to leave the gay community. Why shouldn't I listen to them again? I'm trying to understand that, but I just can't.

     
  • At 5:56 PM, November 02, 2004, Blogger Ryan said…

    Wow, who would've thought that anybody had anything to say about homosexual unions? :) Well, I think that as we probably know, there has to be a healthy balance of scientific evidence to support your personal experience and vice versa. to say that you'd take an eye-witness over scientific evidence (which is supposed to be gathered from others with experience) is ignoring something crucial. i'll just say that we need both, and that it's too hard of an issue for me to say something that sweeps across an entire group of people (especially since my personal experience with them has told me differently). I agree with Sean (thanks for posting) that we need to be praying for these types of situations all the time, just as we would with heterosexual hate crimes. i'm sure there would be one among us who has had terrible experience (or is close to somebody who has) with the heterosexual mindset. so let's not be too hasty, even though there is validity amongst the emotion.

    anyway, I feel like I agree with about 90% of the stuff that has been said, which is interesting b/c there have been opposite points of view expressed. where has buddy dashed off to, since he opened up this vat of vicious worms? :) we miss you Buddy!

     
  • At 9:33 PM, November 02, 2004, Blogger Judy said…

    Might Buddy be standing in line, waiting to vote?

     
  • At 11:57 PM, November 02, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    Anon,

    Thank you for your honesty. The Christian community needs more of it, and it's a shame that we can't be honest publicly.

    No, I am not gay and have never been gay. For that reason, I would not presume to speak to a homosexuals as if I knew where they were coming from, just as I would not respect advice on marriage from a single person (they do like to hand it out, though don't they?). I am, however, a Christian, and as such I consider myself qualified (in fact commanded) to address problems that I see in the church. I don't see the inconsistency.

    The argument that homosexuals are mixing religion and politics so we should too is incredibly shaky. They apparently do other things that we shouldn't do just because they do them. I also never said that we shouldn't mix politics and religion; I think doing so is inevitable. I have said that we should not force our morality on others. Pedophilia is and always should be illegal, but even if many homosexuals engage in it, it is a separate issue and should be handled separately from homosexuality. If this has been going on while homosexual unions are illegal, then what makes us think that keeping them illegal will solve the problem?

    I am in no way forcing my opinion on others. Even if same-sex unions were legalized, no one would be forced to enter one or prevented from entering a heterosexual marriage.

    I use the term hate to describe the march (which I was later informed was a only a rally) not as an judgment upon the intentions of the persons in attendance (most of whom are probably good, loving people) but as a description of the message sent. It creates an us/them dichotomy that is unwelcoming and exclusive. This is the opposite of love, and I called it hate.

    Even granted what you have said, I still don't believe that the way to solve the problem is by political means. This is a spiritual issue, and the only institution capable of fixing the problem is the church.

    What I am still searching for, and perhaps you can help me, is some practical ways to love homosexuals, which most Christians assume we should do. I do not believe that legislation is the appropriate solution when love is just too hard.

    Sean, I appreciate your comments and will address them, but it's late, and I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep

    And miles to go before I sleep

     
  • At 12:02 AM, November 03, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    By the way, when I asked for identification, all I meant was give us something to call you so we don't have to begin with, "This is to the guy who said..." Signing at the end is fine, and you needn't put your name. Just a handle so we can attempt to sort out who said what. For instance, "Cap'n" or "Tyler Durden's cousin" or "OpinionatedCollegeGuy80"

     
  • At 8:19 AM, November 03, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad to see the conversation come back around to loving people. I thought maybe I had misunderstood the heart behind the original post. I'm sorry to hear people admit that they don't have practical suggestions for loving homosexuals... after all they're people and I can assume that most of you love people on a regular basis. I still stand on the idea that people are a bit more scared of diversity than they are willing to admit. I also admit I don't know what its like to be scared/ uncertain of/ or unfamiliar with diversity, since I was raised in a home where embracing others regardless of who they are was the only acceptable option. So I apologize for suggesting that this is more obvious than it might be.

    My practical suggestion on how to love homosexuals: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Do you like being hugged?
    Do you like being invited out for coffee or to the movies or to play cards....?


    - Megan

     
  • At 8:21 AM, November 03, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    One more thing... Sean, thank you for mentioning the bit about capitalism... I agree and was just too lazy to bring it up.

    - Megan

     
  • At 9:16 AM, November 03, 2004, Blogger Ryan said…

    I'm sorry, I thought that the heart of the issue was the method behind the madness of the Christian stance opposing homosexual unions. I do come down with Buddy on that issue at the end of the day, I was just raising some questions that I thought pertained to the thought process. As far as practical ways to love homosexuals, I would agree that it's the same practical way that we're called to love everybody else. That is, sincerely. If I were to give a list of things you could do like hugging, dancing or even giving tax breaks... if the heart behind that action isn't right, it's not showing them any love. My practical advice is this:

    If you have something buried in your heart that is stopping you from loving homosexuals in a sincere, Christ-like manner, then you need to go before God so that he can take that something out of your heart. Because believe me, that's NOT the holy spirit convicting you that homosexuality is a sin, that's something different that needs to be removed or you'll always see yourself as slightly above them.

    For those who don't have that something stopping them, my question is what the hell are you waiting for?? start hugging and dancing and playing cards! :)

     
  • At 9:20 AM, November 03, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    What I said about capitalism seems to be a bit of a sticking point. I do not think that capitalism equals greed. I do, however, see that capitalism allows greed to thrive unchecked in the same way that legalizing same-sex unions will allow sexual immorality to thrive (according to The Family Research Council and others).

    The difference is that we can see how capitalism has allowed greed to flourish, while all implications that same-sex unions will lead to rampant immorality are purely speculative at this point.

    As far as the critique that limits lead to socialism, I ask, what's wrong with socialism? Communism has indeed failed many times, but socialism still seems to be thriving in Canada, Great Britain, and elsewhere. As to the question of being rich, I have yet to find a passage where Jesus speaks positively about wealth. But you're right, Sean, that's probably for another topic.

    In the meantime, they're still here, they're still queer, and we still have to love them. Thanks for your suggestion, Megan. I still wonder, is there a way that we as a Christian community can embrace the homosexual community on a structural level that does not compromise our "morals"?

     
  • At 9:49 AM, November 03, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    Judyh - You said,"The anon poster doesn't say anything that I haven't heard from countless others who have left or are fighting to leave the gay community. Why shouldn't I listen to them again?" My answer would be, first of all, that I think we should listen to them. I did not mean, and do not think, that we should dismiss the criticisms, observations, or personal experiences of those who have been in the "gay community" and have left or are attempting to leave. In my work as a psychologist, I have had the opportunity to talk to (and listen to) people with many different experiences related to homosexual orientation and behavior. I have spoken with clients and colleagues, gay activists and psychologists working with individuals desiring to change their sexual orientation, individuals rejecting a "homosexual orientation" and individuals struggling to accept their orientation, people "leaving" the gay community and those "leaving" the Church and finding acceptance in the gay community. I think we should listen to ALL of their stories and experiences.

    What I object to, however, is giving priority to personal experiences, particularly when in reality we are only listening to those with personal experiences that confirm our preconceived notions. That is like saying that all Christians are immoral and hypocritical based upon the personal experiences of those who "have left or are fighting to leave" the Church. While we should listen to their experiences and understand that they may very well have legitimate observations, their personal experiences do not necessarily tell the whole story. They are, in fact, biased. The advantage of the scientific process (although by no means the only or ultimate arbiter of truth) is that it at least attempts to remove personal bias as a factor (how effective it is at doing this may be another issue). For all of its flaws, the scientific method at least tends to clarify those things which may be viewed as more common (or universal) to people or groups of people from those things which, though very real experiences, tend to skew our thinking in one direction or another.

     
  • At 10:24 AM, November 03, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    damn this "internet". i just lost a huge post. guess that's what i get for posting at work.

     
  • At 8:22 AM, November 04, 2004, Blogger Judy said…

    My main point: if one accepts bad science, it can cause one to interpret another's story wrongly.

    I seriously doubt that what the church needs is some sort of plan to love the gay community. If you look closely at what the church is called to do, you WILL find people who are loving the gay community, and doing it very well. BUT, they are doing it without all of the bells and whistles we've come to associate with it. All the bells and whistles that come along with the majority of Christian activity frightens me.

    I will also say that I believe that homosexuality is a mental illness. Science believed that for years, and then changed it's mind. But, having said that, I have a few mental illnesses of my own. Anxiety disorder: Have that. Depression: Been there. I dearly loved a grandfather who was schizophrenic, who actually tried to kill my grandmother. He recovered nicely, and so did she. Loving people isn't all that difficult, but it is messy and not for the faint of heart.

    I agree with 'love your neighbor as yourself'.

     
  • At 11:02 AM, November 04, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    okay i have faith in the internet once again.

    another good one to remember is "in humility consider others better than yourselves." or in any case remember the whole plank in your eye thing. i think the main reason heterosexual christians have a hard time loving homosexuals is because they subconsciously think that homosexuality is a "really bad sin" or because it's so totally foreign to them. but don't all sins separate us from God? i mean, no one can argue that some sins have worse worldly consequences, and some sins hurt people more than others. however. saying that homosexuals are 'worse' than any of us (which i'm not accusing anyone here of) is like feeling smug about being the taller of two people trapped in a 92-foot pit. (reused that one from my lost post)

    i mean how would Jesus love homosexuals? he'd hang out with them. he'd wash their feet. but he wouldn't let them get married or lay with one another. i don't think he would anyway.

    good points on capitalism but i'll refrain from saying too much...i do agree that capitalism allows greed, but only in the same way that freedom allows sin. this issue is analagous to the homosexual unions one: should the government be the one who tries to stop corporate greed? even if they do will they have much success? i would answer both of these questions 'no'. we should allow a free market...at least it's proven to increase the standard of living for all people, rich and poor. also i'm not a canadian so i can't agree or disagree that socialism is 'working' in canada.

    so in much the same way, even if the government does decide to outlaw same-sex unions, will that stop the sin? certainly not. before i go too much further though, i just want to raise a question. many of us have expressed or implied that they feel homosexual intercourse, even in the context of a union, is wrong. however i was wondering if there was anyone in the forum who does not feel that it is, and would like to hear from them if they'd like. let's also discuss the biblical passages about homosexuality so that we are't getting too deep into our own theories. i'll throw that out there to someone who is more familiar with scripture than i am.

     
  • At 5:42 PM, November 04, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    Sean,
    I agree that Christ would hang out with and wash the feet of homosexuals. I would also say, rephrasing what you said slightly, that he would not condone marriage of homosexuals or condone them to lay together. Yet, he would not make it a legal matter either. He would love them and say what He had to say about it, but he would not pawn His responsibility off onto the governmental system.
    I believe the Church, through Christ, should do the same. We should love them and say what we have to say about it.
    As citizens of a participatory democracy, we cannot deny homosexuals the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which homosexuals would like to manifest in civil unions. But as the Church, through Christ and indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we can show them an authentically-directed life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in which they respond faithfully to the call of God and live in right relation to Him.

     
  • At 11:35 AM, November 05, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dish,

    i wholeheartedly agree. i apologize if i didn't get my ideas across correctly. i guess i'm more of a libertarian than a conservative in that way: i think that the government shouldn't be able to keep homosexuals from getting married. i like the idea of limiting the government's influence, even if it does mean making some sins legal. the government shouldn't be our moral authority--it should just be there to keep us safe and maintain peace (but what that entails exactly is subject for another discussion altogether). however i do feel that marriage is an institution of the church, and the church should be the one to decide whether or not to allow homosexuals to marry.

    i think i'm too idealistic.

     
  • At 3:33 PM, November 05, 2004, Blogger Ryan said…

    buddy, loved the Over the Rhine plug... but i must say what everybody has been thinking for awhile now. Elton John didn't sing Hakuna Matata, that was Timone and Pumba, with Simba joining in for the 3rd chorus. obviously this disproves everything you've stood by in this discussion. sorry. by the way, we're in town, looking forward to getting our chess buzz on tomorrow.

     
  • At 5:46 PM, November 05, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    Ryan,
    I meant it as a Robert Frost quote, but I'm glad you liked it. I suppose I should think twice before I base an argument on a Disney movie. That's shaky ground. Looking forward to tomorrow. I haven't lost at chess in a while.

     
  • At 11:01 PM, November 05, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    Sean,
    I'm with you on this one. I am often labeled an idealist. A question: is one an idealist because they want things to be how they should be? Another question: does that make everyone else fatalists?
    Keep up the hard work of Kingdom building, whether you are called an idealist because of it or not.

     
  • At 9:39 AM, November 08, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    Sean,

    While I appreciate (and partially share) some of your Libertarian leanings, I have to differ with one of your assumptions (I know this isn't the point of this thread, but I can't help myself). Capitalism does not "allow greed" in the "same way that freedom allows sin." Capitalism ENCOURAGES greed - big difference. The whole history of industrialization in the Western world has demonstrated that controls (limits) are necessary or exploitation and injustice will happen. The simple reality is that "free market" capitalism has NEVER been practiced in the real world. There are always limits (laws); it has only ever been a question as to whom those laws benefit. The rich and powerful have always used law to protect their interests and define what "free market" is.

    This is a long and complicated discussion, I know, so I won't go on and on here. But suffice to say that there is always a "structure" to any given economic system. This structure yields laws, and those laws benefit the groups who have the power to enact them (and get the state to protect their interests with guns in the name of "stability").

    By the way, you mentioned the government having the responsibility to "keep us safe." I am assuming that you mean some degree of "peace." Does peace imply justice? If so, is it the government's responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure justice (including econonic justice) for all of its citizens?

    Gabe

     
  • At 9:54 AM, November 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow, that was a lot to read! I know that it was briefly said that personal experiences should only account for part of the problem/ solution... and so I just wanted to interject a little ongoing personal experience of loving in the gay community.
    Growing up I never really heard much about the homosexual community, cpecially with as redneck as my family is.. but what I did hear was a lot of bigoted/ racist speech... thank God that I didn't listen to family and while they were not looking found and accepted Christ into my life...
    When I went into high school I "found out" that a number of my friends were choosing to experiement in this area of their lives. They did not want to say anything to me because they knew that I was a Christian and they did not want me to judge them... I was still young in my faith and I never gave them cause to think that I wold judge them, but the fact that I was a Christian, made them not trust me.. after getting over the hurt of being left out of a major part of my friends lives, we talked, and the thing that shocked them as well as the local gay community was that I stood by them and continued to be their friends, I still ran to them with hugs and HS dreams of a better life, I listened to their own frustrations, we laughed about that one teacher who just could not do anything right but we loved anyway or the other teacher that assigned way too much hw because of whatever...
    but the thing that really marked our relationships was the respect we had to build for each other... they saw that I loved them, and I knew they loved me.. but when the topic of their lifestyles came up, I could tell them honestly what I believed and explain the bible as best as I understood it at the time, I never sugar-coated the sin, or the fact that they were going to hell for not believing in Jesus Christ as their personal savior...I never condemned them because of their sin, I knew that would get us nowhere, the Holy Spirit can transform them, I can't...
    as I understood it then as I do now.. we are all sinners .. yeah we have to come down on sin in the church, but as a Christian community we need to stress the importance of Jesus Christ
    This is an ongoing experience, because the wonderful man I married, brother is gay... and I love my husband's brother.. he is such a sweet-heart.. a little opinionated at times (I think that just runs in their family) but over all just great.
    My husband and I have prayed a lot on the issue of same-sex unions, cpecially in light of knowing that we could potentially piss-off people on both ends... we never came to a final decision on voting day, so I left it blank ... (not that it mattered that much anyway after seeing the percentage that voted for proposal 2 in this state)we talked about it afterwards and we agree that it is not the laws that are passed or not passed, the marches, the rallies, the blogs, the media or anything else of that nature that is going to make a significant difference in our community or that of the homosexual community..
    but the thing that will make the difference is the transforming power of Christ...this goes for any area of sin that we battle... and I think it is safe to say that we all have friends as well as ourselves (plank) that fall into some area, we constantly need Christ.. this we can practically give each other... treat the homosexual community like any other community... love them and give them the Good New of Christ.. what they do with it is up to them, just like it was up to you..

    Hope this helps,
    DITR

     
  • At 4:48 PM, November 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would suggest that capitalism encourages/allows each person to make the best decision for themself or economic unit. This does not always mean greed. It does encourage searching for value(which could be construed as a relative of greed, but I will suggest is merely basic sense), if you study economic theory in depth. I would suggest that our US culture as a whole encourages greed, but that capitalism left alone does not. Greed is encouraged by the media and a gazillion other parts of our daily North American life. It is then cycled into being a perpetual problem because people think more will satisfy and thus assert that feeling into their economic decision making.

     
  • At 4:49 PM, November 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sorry Buddy, the last capitalism quote was from me.... Megan

     
  • At 11:35 PM, November 08, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    Capitalism, by definition, is a competitive economic system. Therefore, there will be a "winner" and a "loser" in Capitalism. No one wants to be the "loser". The "winner" receives higher economic gain, this is greed. Therefore, I believe, greed is intrinisic to Capitalism.
    Why can't trade be fair? Why can't both parties in a barter be the "winner", by both receiving their proper due?

     
  • At 2:14 PM, November 09, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    You hit the nail on the head, Dish. Profit (the desire for which is the foundation of the Capitalist system) inerently involves an unequal exchange. In order to make a profit I must receive greater value (if that's the terminology you want to use) than I put out. Dick DeVos is not worth $1.2 billion (or whatever he's worth now) because he earned it from his own labor. He benefitted from a system which allowed him to make a TON of money from the labor of OTHERS. I don't know what else to call this other than "exploitation" and "greed."

    This is also why, wherever you see Capitalism, you will also see a history of state-sponsored violence to ensure that some people make a profit from an unequal exchange (whether that is labor or natural resources - yes, oil! - or whatever). Some good examples are Great Britain's influence in India or Africa in the 19th Century; another is the involvement of the United States in Latin America, especially in the 1980s. This is to say nothing of the impact of Spanish violence on the Natives of the Americas in the 16th Century, slavery in the U.S., the genocidal obliteration of the North American Natives by the U.S. army in the mid to late 1800s, or the police violence against labor unions in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

    By the way, thanks for sharing DITR. That was really neat!

     
  • At 11:33 PM, November 12, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ok theres a lot to say.

    to dish and gabe who are trying to put down capitalism. dish you are right that capitalism is a competitive economic system, but lets get one thing straight, every and i mean EVERY exchange that takes place in the market is VOLUNTARY. Why is this important? because no one is making an exchange unless they value the thing they are receiving MORE than the money or object they are giving away. This means that every, and ill say it again, EVERY exchange is "fair" and both people are the "winner".

    right along with that, give it up with the whole greed thing. the only way a person makes money in a capitalist society is by offering a good or service that is desired by those around him. if you offer a good that isnt desired - i.e. you are not providing something that is wanted/needed by society - your company wont last and you wont make money. the point im making is that capitalism forces you to FIRST serve those around you before you can feed yourself. think about it. i dont get money unless i work for it by first doing something that people around me value. it doesnt matter why they value it, only that they do.

    it seems like you brought up dick devos to somehow say he doesnt "work hard"(meaning manual labor) and doesnt deserve his money. actually the value of someones job is not determined by your opinion or by how much they sweat while they "labor under the sun" or something. wages, like everything in the market are determined by supply and demand. anyone can be a janitor or flip burgers so the supply of possible laborors is high while the demand for those things is limited, thus low wages. Dick devos however was integral is running alticor, something which few people are offering, or have the means to offer. Alticor only made $6 billion last year by making products people actually want. also dick devos didnt get rich by "exploiting" the workers under him (who by the way, if you will remember from before, are working for him voluntarily).

    the only thing about capitalism that could at all be conducive to "greed" is the fact that it is grounded on freedom and private property. people have the dignity to own there own things and the right to provide for themselves and those they love. Are there people who abuse this? yes. among the billions of sinful humans in the world, some of them abuse freedom. big surprise. The only

    if you are disagreeing with any of what i am saying you need to read less karl marx.

    on a completely different topic, i dont think fighting for peace is at all like screwing for virginity. virginity as a "state of being", if you will, once lost can not be regained. once you have sex, it is impossible to ever be a virgin again. peace on the other hand is a state that can be entered into and left many times. if in certain cases reaching peace requires sacrifice and battle, then so be it. Christ after all did have to die to bring us life.

     
  • At 9:40 AM, November 15, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    How can you read less of something?

    Yes, Christ did die. But he did not kill. That is the point. I am all for sacrificing oneself for a cause, but killing others in the name of peace is a contradiction of the worst kind.

    I have nothing more to say about capitalism.

     
  • At 2:08 PM, November 15, 2004, Blogger Chris said…

    I do.
    It seems to be an oversimplification and rather naive to believe that there are only "winners" in a capitalistic barter. There are basic needs that must be filled. If I give all I own for a piece of bread or I give a quarter for a piece of bread, it is rather ridiculous to say that in both cases I am the "winner". In the first case, the bread salesman is obviously the "winner". The second seems more fair, even though I do not know what pieces of bread are going for these days.
    "Rats and roaches live by competition under the law of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."

     
  • At 1:41 PM, November 16, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i apologize for fueling a debate about capitalism in a thread that was intended to be about something else. everyone has made several good points. i have only one more question to ask of those opposed to the free market: what makes the state magically able to govern our economy? just remember that the government is as corrupt, if not more, than any american company, because it is made up of people, just like any american company. i have several more opinions i could blurt out, but i'll refrain unless Buddy creates a new thread.

     
  • At 2:20 PM, November 16, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    Here. Let me see if I can put down my copy of Das Kapital long enough to formulate a reply to the anonymous poster. Actually, my thinking on this issue has been far more informed by Theology (particularly neo-Calvinist), History, and a desire to pay attention to what is happening right in front of my face. I find Marx largely unappealing.

    The problem with your analysis is that it is largely ahistorical and, therefore, fails to correspond to reality. If "EVERY exchange" within the market is "completely VOLUNTARY," then there is an awful lot of historical editing that is needed. Are you really contending that there have never been imperialist wars in the history of capitalism? The British wars in India and Africa never happened. The U.S. government and early U.S. settlers never stole land from the native peoples here - all that genocide and treaty-breaking are figments of the historical imagination. The whole slavery thing in this country also never happened, I suppose, because "EVERY" exchange in the market is "VOLUNTARY."

    Well, I'm not sure what you mean by voluntary, but the fact is that power has always been a part of the capitalist system. Thus, your rosy picture of "everyone's a winner" exchanges just doesn't jive with the real world. Perhaps if you're attempting to describe the dynamics of ten year olds trading baseball cards, but not in the actual, grown-up working world.

    Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that we could edit out all of the nasty historical facts related to the use of power for economic advantage (hard to see how the systematic extermination of the Native Americans is the result of a few bad apples "abusing freedom," but we'll try). The fact is that a gun to the head is only one form of coercion. It is one thing to say that I "voluntarily" hire a worker because, if I don't , my profits may slip from 5% to 3%; it is another to say that I "voluntarily" take or stay in that job because, if I don't, I will starve. Unless you'd like to define food and shelter as voluntary aspects of the human condition. The inequity of power in such a transaction IS a form of coercion. Witholding the good (particularly if it is a necessity) is a form of psychological coercion that can be just as powerful as a gun to the head - in either case my survival is at stake. For something to be truly voluntary, there must be at least a relative equality in power. If one, or a few, hold all the resources, how is there anything close to a truly "voluntary" exchange?

    So, the only option left to the many is to use their numbers (organize) to create greater equity of power and, thus, create a situation in which there are far more voluntary (and just) exchanges. But wait! Another history lesson. This did happen. And what was the response of the corporate ruling class to this voluntary movement to organize? The use of state power to beat up, intimidate, and kill those who organized. It appears gun-to-the-head coercion is not all that foreign to free market capitalism after all.

    It seems that the only real-world options (aside from retreat to Fantasyland where we play-pretend none of these inequities exist) that would point toward a more just situation is either to remove all regulation, thus allowing the majority to gain and exercise equal power to the wealthy few through direct action and force of numbers (this is close to an Anarchist critique), or else regulate the market to ensure just and equitable outcomes so that no one group has an advantage due to power inequalities. Since I find there are problems with Anarchism, I choose public regulation for the good of all.

    Lest you think I have been suckered by Marx, consider Isaiah 5:8, just for starters. "Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land." Wait! Isn't this placing limits on the right to private property? Clearly a socialist paradigm. It seems that Yahweh needs to read a little less Karl Marx Himself.

     
  • At 11:34 PM, November 16, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Regardless of how you may feel about it the amendment did pass with overwhelming support, and now its up for the constitutionality of it (more of our money gone to waste) I wish it had not been put on the ballet in the first place. (there are bigger things than this that the government should be concerned about)

    - Andrew

     
  • At 2:34 PM, November 17, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    alright i give in. there's no turning back now.

    yes yes, but why should we allow the GOVERNMENT to place limits on profits, or working conditions, or environmental emissions? what the hell does the government know? no one seems to want to address this concern. Capitalism, at least my version of it, doesn't mean that the market will have no limits. i just don't want the state to decide those limits. if a company is damaging the economy or abusing workers or profiting recklessly, those situations should not be controlled by the government, because as i said before, power is corruption! as long as the political system is entangled with our economy, there will be room for bribes and unfair lobbying. why not leave moral-economic controls in the hands of third parties, such as the better business bureau? the existence and dependence upon othis type of organization will cause the sub-moral and environmentally damaging companies to eventually fall out of business. when the government places controls on the economy, the whole world economy suffers. period. but when the economy is allowed to flourish on its own, ALL people benefit, even the poor. ESPECIALLY the poor.

    To address one of Gabe's points (and by the way i love this, just want you all to know i respect you very much), if you traded all you own for a piece of bread, you would certainly not be a 'winner', you would be a fool. you would be a fool because there are plenty of other ways, especially in our modern economy, to get a piece of bread. if you bring your argument into reality, suddenly there is a city all around you with employment opportunities. There are private charities to help you get off your feet. There are churches, with free food pantries and soup kitchens to feed you and your family. all made possible by the free market and its prosperity.

     
  • At 9:16 PM, November 17, 2004, Blogger Gabe said…

    Sean.

    You raise some very good points, and I wish to attempt to respond to them. I appreciate your honest attempt at diaglogue.

    First, though, while I do not have a particular fondness for government per se (if you'll notice in my post I said i am in favor of PUBLIC regulation, not necessarily GOVERNMENT regulation), I must admit that I am a bit confused by the way you seem to be referring to the state as though it were some kind of embodied entity. Do we live in a monarchy? Aren't the ideals of our government supposed to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people?" Isn't the government supposed to be "us," not "them?"

    Now, I admit that the reality is much different from the ideals - hence all of my harping on history and war. So, my critique would in fact extend to our governmental system. Power inequalities are created not just by economic factors but by the fact that many have little power to truly control their own (communal) destinies. In other words, under our present system government actually is "them" rather than "us" much of the time. The few with wealth and influence have a far larger say than nobodies like you and me.

    Ideally, it seems to me that a societal structure in which small, localized communities are granted power to shape their own local destinies is very appealing (this is the aspect of Libertarian thought that makes sense to me). This would ensure enough power to each of its members (decisions could be more TRULY democratic, with each member having an equal say), as well as maintain appropriate accountability to each member. Attaining this societal situation, however, seems highly unlikely.

    Which brings me to your point about "disentangling" the political and economic systems. I would not, out of hand, have a particular problem with this. However, the major issue in any "disentangling" would be one of accountability. If the onely choice is to have limits imposed by nebulous, amoral "market principles" or limits imposed by a bureaucratic, often wasteful "government," then I choose government because at least our system makes governmental agencies ACCOUNTABLE to the public. The same principle applies to "third party" regulation. To whom are these "third party" entities accountable? Does the public have the power to hold such parties accountable to ensure they are truly seeking their best interests? Where do these "third parties" derive their authority to enforce any corrective actions or limits, if not from government?

    Also, keep in mind that, if we are going to "disentangle" government and the economy, this would include the way in which government supports private enterprise. The U.S. government awards millions of taxpayer dollars each year to private entities in the form of grants and subsidies (welfare for the rich) to "stimulate the economy" or support "emerging markets," or bailout failing entities (remember the whole S&L thing). Such "welfare for the rich" violates free market principles (read Adam Smith) since those not able to compete should be allowed to fail.

    I will try to respond to your comments regarding charities and aid to the poor at a later time. It's late and I'm tired.

     
  • At 10:06 AM, November 29, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good points. i must be getting close to the end of my chains of logic because i don't have much to say in response. let me give it a try though...

    after a lot of thought, i'm pretty sure that the reason i feel the government is a "them" and not an "us" as you put it, is because i don't feel that i have a voice. I don't think that a truly libertarian government would work, just as a truly communist one wouldn't. i do think, though, it would be possible to give the people a greater voice than they do: by lessening the power of the federal government, and increasing the power of state and local governments. in fact, i'd like to see the federal government exist only to give power to those smaller governments (and to keep peace, along with perhaps enforcing a few economic standards such as enforcing legal contracts). this way, the smaller governments would more directly reflect the views of the people living within each region. I don't care if some people have welfare, i just don't want to be voting against people in california over it. this would blur the line between "governmental" programs and "private" ones. If you want to give money to your local social security fund, you can. however it's not a federal requirement. and over time, people would move themselves about the country to the areas with laws that best suit them...in this way moral relativism and church-run governments could co-exist in the same country...the trick is to keep a federal government with just enough power to keep peace.

    i can see now after typing it out that there would be plenty of problems...most notably that it would never happen in our lifetimes. also, it is doubtful as to whether the federal government could keep peace between two states with different morals and religious views and such. we just don't live in a world where people can understand each other, unfortunately.

    also, as i'm getting pretty tired of talking about economics and government, i'll very quickly touch on your last couple points:

    i suppose the accountability of third party regulators would have to come from public support. how would such an organization get money anyway? most likely from the public (let's jump back to our libertarian scenario). when an investor wished to research the moral responsibility of a firm, they would probably pay a small fee to support the organization who is providing that information. so there could be several competing moral-information firms, and the one who provides the most reliable information would become the market leader. so they become accountable to the public. so really the same problems exist in this situation as a government-regulated economy, with one exception: the power is not concentrated in the government, where power tends to corrupt leaders. But the public can decide not to hold firms accountable, just as the public can decide not to hold the government accountable. Really the problem is in the public. And our sin. but i'm still not convinced that government is the answer to the public's problems. at least not our current government.

    Well i don't know about all of you but i'm getting frustrated. i don't feel like i've said anything at all in this post. that means it's time to go do something else.

     

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