Monday, February 05, 2007

The Church and homosexuality


Warning: This is another one of my longer posts. I'm sorry, in advance. But I think you know me by now...

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Dear Colleagues,

As you know, last week the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the ruling by the Ingham County Circuit Court that allowed state universities, including the University of Michigan-Flint, to continue to offer health benefits to same-sex domestic partners. According to the ruling, we will be able to honor our commitment to provide agreed-upon benefits through the end of 2007, or through the end of the current contract for bargained-for employee groups.

On a personal note, I am deeply disappointed by this decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals. At the University of Michigan-Flint, we value all members of our campus community equally. The withholding of health benefits to certain families is not only unfair, but will inflict undue hardship to a number of our faculty and staff and their dependents.

While this news is disheartening, I am proud to be part of a University that will continue its fight to make healthcare benefits accessible. I greatly value the inclusive, respectful environment that all of us have created and fostered at the University of Michigan-Flint. This latest court ruling will not deter our efforts to make our campus a welcoming place for all members of the University of Michigan-Flint family.

Cordially,
Jack Kay, Provost and Professor


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One of the biggest buzzes in Michigan right now, especially on college campuses, involves the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals to overrule a decision that allowed state institutions like universities to provide health benefits for same-sex couples. Though as a single, heterosexual male this decision doesn’t impact me directly, I can’t help but to feel disturbed at the harassment that homosexuals continue to receive. Even if they made the choice to be gay (which I don’t believe), it bothers me to no end to see how people, especially those of us in the church; respond to them.

When we examine the religiosity of our day, it’s important for us to recognize that the only real playing chip that religion has is its license of morality. Once that’s lost, then credibility is compromised. Once credibility is lost, we may as well go out of business. It should be noted that this isn’t the first time that the foundations of Christianity have been rocked. Recall when some dude named Galileo conducted groundbreaking research to disprove the long-held biblical contention that the Earth was the center of the universe. Not only did he prove that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe, he proved that the Earth wasn’t even the center of our solar system. The Roman Catholic Church had a field day in persecuting him for discoveries that were later proven to be irrevocable. From there, the credibility of religion plummeted with many people; almost to the point of being irreparable.

In today’s time, religion is facing the likelihood of losing its moral currency by subscribing to the discriminatory actions against the homosexual community; especially doing so despite many scientific claims that sexual orientation has little – if anything – to do with personal choice. As I mentioned earlier, studies have shown that homosexuals are born with predispositions and ‘abnormalities’, but not by choice. So this begs the question: If there is an absence of choice, can there be moral culpability? I’ll try to biblical examine this from all angles:

For the religious folks who hold on to their beliefs about homosexuals despite scientific evidence suggesting the opposite (not just Christians, by the way. This also applies to Jews, Muslims, etc.), their argument is simple: The Bible explicitly points out homosexuality as an abomination. As the Old Testament tells us we are not to lie with our own. Most people are quick to point that out. Back in my “God said it. That settles it” days, I would’ve left it at that. But after exploring the Bible with more than just literal interpretation, I realize that the Old Testament is laced with rules that call for death from offenses varying from eating shellfish to committing adultery to working on Sundays to being disrespectful to your parents. If you accept one law as an undeniable absolute (homosexuality being an abomination), you must accept them all, right? If that’s the case, we’re all screwed:

For starters, everyone who played in the Super Bowl yesterday without gloves needs to be executed since the Bible clearly points out that we’re not supposed to touch the skin of dead “unclean” animals. Likewise, in addition to both teams, all the fans at the game, and the millions watching around the world also need to be executed since we all violated the Sabbath day. This weekend, I received a haircut and a beard trim. But according to Old Testament law, this is expressly forbidden. A few Sundays ago at church, I noticed people who had poor eyesight, facial blemishes, disabilities, and hutched backs approaching the alter; something that is clearly forbidden in Leviticus. As I've pointed out before, the list of infractions that we commit can go on for days.

But the fact is: progressive religion has put aside the primitive and archaic practices followed in Biblical times. That being said, for religious folks to selectively subscribe to proscriptions regarding homosexuals is not only religiously off-base, but is ethically unreasonable. We’ve basically turned into a state where we practice selective imposition of certain rules, but not of others. But if you want to use the Old Testament as a barometer, why not turn your attention to the book of Genesis? If memory serves me correctly, God made the declaration that everything He created was “good”. If science is correct and people are born with predispositions to homosexuality, how can something that God created NOT be good? I’ll let that one marinate…

Now, I’d like to shift gears and examine the New Testament; the part of Bible upon which Christianity was created. If you cite some of the works of Paul when he points out the ‘sin’ behind homosexuality, you can reasonably conclude that he was actually referring to the Roman observance of pedophilia; where grown men had sex with their slave boys. In fact, Christmas itself was originally a pagan holiday where men exchanged gifts, had sex with each other (and, of course, boys) and beat their wives. But, the practice of owning slaves and having sex with boys has long sense been outlawed. I say all that to suggest that applying Paul’s contextual writings to homosexuality between two consenting adults is like comparing apples to lima beans.

Perhaps the most important question is: How would Jesus handle the situation? After all, Christianity is ostensibly committed to following His teachings, right? But, if my Bible trivia serves me correctly, never ONCE during His ministry did Jesus address homosexuality. Sure, He talked about revenge, divorce, greed, praying, poverty, and an assortment of other things. But I can’t find a single reference made to homosexuality. If this was such a morally complicated issue, why wasn’t it mentioned?

Oppositely, Jesus did devote much of his ministry to teaching us how to treat one another. He taught us about not passing judgment on others, how to love others and how to treat others as we’d expect to be treated. That being said, let me ask you: How would you feel if you were discriminated against like homosexuals are? How would you feel knowing that your job, benefits, and quality of life stand to be compromised based on something that you probably didn’t have control over? How would you feel if you were told that you couldn’t have benefits that we heterosexuals take advantage of everyday?

Even if I don’t personally endorse the homosexual agenda, I can’t deny that it exists. The discrimination they face from society; especially from religion, is inexcusable in this day in age. When will we get to the point where science and religion can provide a sustainable balance; as oppose to conflicting views? When can we get to the point of thinking that maybe God saying “Let there be light” is analogous to “The Big Bang”? When will we realize that the Bible wasn’t meant to be followed word-for-word?

To me, the growing conflict between science and religion is an accident waiting to happen. You know its coming, you see it materializing, but you feel helpless to do anything about. Let’s hope that – for the sake of the Christ I try to serve – that I’m wrong. But with each anti-gay piece of legislation passed, and each Biblically-justified act of discrimination committed, I’m not so sure I am.

- ACL

35 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Malik said...

Well, I'm not going to attempt to address the issue of biblical law, nor homosexuality in particular, but I will make a couple of quick observations about moral law in general. First, we're not animals, and we're not captives of our inborn conditions and instincts. That fact is what makes laws governing our conduct, including our sexual conduct, possible and necessary.

Thus, the mere fact of possessing a "natural" impulse doesn't implicitly equate to having a right, or need, to express it. So the existence of laws that regulate the expression of our instincts, from anger to the sex instinct, is neither inherently "unscientific" nor irrational.

The H.C. said...

Hey Andre,
This whole thing was handled wrong from the beginning. Gay advocates tried to get Gay Marriage legalized by judicature instead of going through the political process. Since they would except nothing short of absolute equal status as a married couple, (you already know my view on why two same sex individuals do not have, in my opinion, the diversity of gender necessary to be to be equal in all instances), people like me were forced to choose between two things we were not for. I would support Civil Unions that would give gay couples benefits that they are not now receiving, but that solution wasn't even on the table by either side. Now, you choose to blame the people who advocated this law, but I say it was also the fault of the people who tried to shove their all-or-nothing approach down our throats through the courts. I wonder if, since you see this as discrimatory, do you also feel we, (the people in our insurance pool) should also pay higher premiums so girlfriends/boyfriends can get insurance? How about my brother if he lives with me? Are you discriminating against us too? Would it make a difference if I had sex with him? What if I have multiple partners who all live with me, Should they be all covered? What, only one? Are you discriminating against polygamy. Why? Are you using moral judgements? Based on what? These are all questions that have to be addressed, it's way too easy to just brand anyone that disagrees with your view as being discrimatory. I would be all for Civil Unions that would put an end to this madness. But as long as the Gay Marriage proponents have a "no concessions" attitude, this is what they end up with, as sad as it is. Great post Andre, we just disagree on this one.
P.S. Is this going to get me banned from "Inside Andre's Head"?

Greeneyes said...

Andre` ~ My Handsome Green eyed KING ,
you pot stir-Er you!!!
The church with the History of abuse within its walls should not bring wrath down on anyone , it is steeped in many immoral deeds thought hidden , and when it comes to light it is passed over within the church with little if any consequences ,FACT! it is only today that anything is being done and it is in such small steps , thus again protecting .A nasty topic but what would the BIBLE say about it ???Hhmmmmm?
A person who leads a good life and wants to care for their loved one , why is it so hard for people to get it through their pointy heads that unless an individual is hurting someone , abusing someone , or brainwashing someone etc. , and both parties are adults and consent , it is no ones business what is going on behind closed doors. If some one feels it is an abomination against God , LET GOD DEAL WITH IT !!!!!! BUT RIGHT NOW ,give a person a break. Not to long ago equal rights and such issues were weighed on a scale of religion , then race ,then sex then ......you get the point .
The matter of coverage , it is absurd that in today's society issues like this arise , if a person works and does the same job as everyone else, it entitles them to the same benefits , if they want to use their benefit to cover their spouse , the sex of that spouse should not come into the factoring .NOT THREE spouses or their goat or their brothers goat or etc ,the same amount of coverage any other person there has for the person that they have the same connection with , that of any human soul can have .
I am sure they would have to pay in some manner a premium to have this health benefit , and if they wanted it for more than one person as in a child it would increase , so who it is for should make no difference .
I would like to know the people who make these decisions and see how squeaky clean the believe their lives are , how about a change , that if your in a sexless marriage you don't qualify , or commit Adultery you need not apply , we are covering sex life conditions , yes?
and as far as :
creation vs evolution , the debate continues .!
Greeneyes **

Joslyn said...

Hey Andre,

Do you believe that homosexualtiy is a sin?

Andre said...

@ Malik: If I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that naturalism shouldn't be legally protected?

If that's the case, then being born 'naturally' black is also an offense worthy of discrimination.

@ HC: I know where you stand on this one. BELIEVE ME, I do. But I guess where you and I have our differences is the extent to which gays, as an oppressed group should have just caved in. If; prior to the 60's; blacks said "Hey. As long as access is equal, we don't mind being separated", the Civil Rights movement would've never been birthed. Now, I DO have some theories about how integration was afforded to blacks before they knew what to do with it (similar to your argument about how gays sought full-on legislation to support marriage). So to that end I agree. But I stand my ground by saying that anything less than what we heteros can receive is discrimination. Now that I think about it: that would even extend to some of the ridiculous scenarios you presented (incestuous relationships and the like). I'm not calling YOUR QUESTION ridiculous; I'm only citing how silly some people are for wanting to do those things. But, if it involves CONSENTING ADULTS, why shouldn't it be honored? Just because you, me, or some Bible doesn't approve doesn't mean that it should be absolute law. My subscription to the Bible and its rules/ordinances is for ME to follow; not for me to force on others.

@ Greeny: The problem with the position that you and I have (from the sounds of it, we're both on the same page) is that people interpret our tolerance for others as a betrayal of the God we serve. Indeed, it's just the opposite. Discrimination and oppression done in the name of religion is FLAT OUT WRONG.

How goes things in warm, sunny Canada?! *snicker

@ Joslyn: The ACT of homosexuality? Yes. I believe it's a sin. Denying people rights based on a Biblical interpretation of right and wrong? No. That's NOT right.

JOSLYN said...

Okay then I guess that I'm confused. In your post, you seem to suggest that homosexualtiy isn't by choice. Am I reading this incorrectly?

Andre said...

I'm saying that I don't think that the TENDENCY for homosexuality is a choice. The physcial act of a dude laying another dude down by the fire is a choice. That's the part that's wrong.

I looked back at my post and remembered that I took out a part (to keep this post from going on and on), about how studies have show that people are born with abnormal homosexual "tendencies"; similar to how some people are born with greater tendencies of agression, jealously, competitiveness, and a number of other things. It's not until the person ACTS based off of those tendancies that they become that person. A person with violent tendencies doesn't become violent until the commit an act of violence, for instance.

I didn't think it was pertinent to the discussion, so I took it out. But after thinking about it, maybe I should've left that part in. A little more length never hurt anybody...

Anonymous said...

I stood back and listened to you try to present some failed argument defending homosexuality. But for me to sit silently while you spread this nonsense around can't go on.

Homosexuality IS A CHOICE. It is the WRONG CHOICE. It is a SIN. It is AN ABOMINATION. So, to use your phrase: "God said it. That settles it."

Get over yourself and stop trying to look down on Christianity. If you're a Christian like you claim to be, you should be able to see that.

Andre said...

Sigh!

Now that I've allowed you to pitch your fit and have your tirade, let me offer a little LOGIC (that's a word that hasn't been used very often with you) for you to nibble on:

If you accept the idea that homosexuality is a choice, you're likely to believe a few things:

(1) That no one is born gay. Everybody is naturally born as a heterosexual.

(2) Homosexuality being abnormal as it is would cause people to be repulsed (or even physically sickened) by the idea of being with someone of the same sex.

(3) Homosexuality is opposed by the vast majority of the mainstream society and usually results in discrimination, seclusion, unfair treatment and -- in some cases -- violent responses.

So, based on your contention, for people to MAKE THE CHOICE of being gay, they would need to (1) consciously disregard their 'natural' heterosexual urges; (2) participate in homosexual activity which would naturally be repulsive to them and (3) participate in activies that will lead to being discriminated against, alienated from loved one, denied benefits, etc. Homosexuals, as you put it, would have to make the choice to do something that is unnatural, gross, and frowned upon by the greater society.

Think about that for a second. REALLY think about it.

Now, answer me: WHAT ON EARTH would lead them to make THAT kind of choice?!

If you still believe that homosexuality is a choice, then why didn't YOU choose it (assuming you're hetero). Why didn't I choose it? Why didn't the rest of the bloggers here choose it? What would cause some people to make that choice but not others? Are you telling me that SOME force caused a non-socialized child who hasn't even developed his cognitive abilities actually CHOSE to go against being 'normal'?

If that idea should ridiculous, good. Is should.

Your turn.

Joslyn said...

If I could step in between you and annonymous for a second....

:)

Hmmm

Okay here's what I think:

No one is saying "Hey, if you're a open homosexual, you can't have health insurance, benefits, and etc."

What's being said is that they can't have those benefits as a couple. Because their marriage isn't seen as legal, then they aren't to receieve benefits as a married couple would. This doesn't vary from two people shacking up. They can't share benefits, because they're "shacking" isn't, by law, a legal marriage.

My personal belief is that homosexuals SHOULD be able to receive benefits from their own individual jobs, just not as a couple.



:)

Anonymous said...

First of all, your sarcasm isn't doing much to support your argument. If anything you're just proving that you have to be a mean smart alec and a wannabe "intellectual" to make up for not having anything important to say.

Now that I got that off my chest, all I keep hearing from you is "tendencies" and "actions"; blah blah blah. Well homosexuals HAVE turned their tendencies (natural or not) into actions. For that reason, they don't deserve the rights that heteosexual couples get. They ARE sinning. You compared their "tendencies" to those of violent offenders. But once violent offenders commit violent acts, THEY LOSE THEIR RIGHTS. So enough will all that "Gays have rights" nonsense. Like I said earlier, get over yourself, will ya?

Joslyn said...

*OUCH!*

Anonymous said...

I re-read my post amd I have to back-track.

I have this problem of always judging people without trying to put myself in their shoes.

I now understand that even though homosexualtiy is a sin, there are some who have been raped, molested, and other things that have occured in their lives that cause them to be this way. Just because they have never happened in my family has cause me to be insensitive to others.

Please pray for me as I endeavor to become less judgemental and more understanding, without compromising my morals.

Even us conservative Christians make mistakes sometimes.

Andre said...

@ Jos: This is a clear example of how one form of discrimination leads to another. Society is basically saying "We're not going to allow marriage unions for gays." Immediately thereafter they say "Since you're not married, you can't have partner benefits." It's a Catch-22 plus 22.

Interestingly, some states (i.e. California and Nevada) impose the 7-year rule where couples who have been "shacking up" for seven years or long are REQUIRED to file with the government as man and wife. So much for the sanctity of marriage, eh?

Even more interesting is that this newly formed couples CAN receive benefits.

@ Anonymous: Wow. If you're apart of the body of Christ, you must be the Athlete's foot...

Anyway, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but criminals DO have rights. Their rights are limited (i.e. felons can't vote and will likely have a hard time finding employment), but those limitations don't include the right to marry and have benefits. Besides that, criminals lose certain rights because they violate OTHER people. Who gets violated from two gay people getting married; besides super-religious folks like you (inside joke) who can't seem to mind their own business.

My knight takes your bishop. Your move.

By the way, I'm curious: do you just sit around and wait online for me to say something? I mean, for me to not have anything "important" to say, you seem pretty preoccupied with hanging out on my blog. Just curious...

Anonymous said...

I don't care how you try to rationalize it, its people like me who keep the word of God alive in a crazy world. If it were up to people like you, Soddom and Gomorrah would be U.S. Captiols. We all know what happened to them.

By the way, I visit many people's blogs. I don't spend all my time on yours. Don't flatter yourself. It's not that good in the first place.

Secondly, that other anonymous person isn't me. Do me a favor Andre. Don't try to smear me with your childish antics.

Andre said...

Look.

I'll accept my role in this conflict for being a smart alec asshole. Some of my comments were mean and uncalled for. But let's not kid ourselves here. You haven't exactly been the innocent victim. You've tried to call me out on numerous occasions, insulted some of my blogger mates, and made it a point to be as rude as possible.

I'm all for open and friendly dialogue. But, the key word here is FRIENDLY. Contrary to some belief, I don't have a group of people who accept my word as law. I ALWAYS run into people with whom I have disagreement. But the difference between you and people like HC, Will, Malik, Joslyn, and Joanne is that we share our differences in opinions without resorting to disrespecting others, while you do just the opposite. Through our disagreements, we learn from each other and grow. But when dealing with you, I feel like you're intentionally trying to ace me any chance you get. Once you start challenging my intelligence, my spirituality, and my thinking JUST BECAUSE IT DOESN'T match yours, that's when the claws come out.

If you can't accept what I have to say, you really don't have to be here. But as long as you are here, you need to respect other people's opinions; especially if you want yours to be respected. Being a Christian, I'm SURE you know about the Golden Rule, right?

Let's keep this civil.

Andre said...

By the way, that other anonymous person wasn't me. Maybe it was somebody poking fun at you...

Anonymous said...

Again, I have to apologize for my crazy behavior.

The truth is that I do sit around all day and wait for you to answer. And yes, you should be flattered that I anxiously await you to post a new blog each and every day, so that I can respond to it argumentitavely. I don't have many friends because I'm so radical. Again, I ask for your prayers as I try to become better. We all need prayer.

Will Luongo said...

I think any legislature that prevents businesses from offering insurance to people is wrong. I also think it is wrong to legislate mandatory insurance offerings. This has nothing to do with religion at all.

I thought the part you left out was very insightful into the moral issue of homosexuality, but I think that these are two separate issues, like you said.

HC raises good points, and I think these are the body of the legislative question, and that the religious aspects of homosexuality are an entirely different post worth of subject matter.

I'd read that one too though. :)

Anonymous: From the things you have said, I inferred that you are also a 'christian'. I also inferred that you think Andre is wrong for looking down on christians for believing something other than what he believes.

It also seems that you look down on him for looking down on other christians. Since you are both christians, aren't you doing the same thing?

Further, his blog isn't going out and heckling people where they lay. Doesn't it seem that you are? Which is worse?

P.S. I am a christian too, so don't look down on me either.

anonymous #1 said...

Sigh. I can see that SOMEBODY is trying to post things on my behalf again. That last offering from the other anonymous person didn't come from me ONCE AGAIN.

Will, I'm only trying to set the record straight. If he's wrong, he's wrong. I'm sorry that I'm not buttering up to him like everybody else.

Andre said...

@ Will: Many of the laws that hit the books are courtesy of legislators who base their decisions on religion (more notably, those laws that deal with morality like abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. Yet concepts like eliminating poverty never seem to make the cut.) To that end, I think it's safe to say that an issue like this is HIGHLY LIKELY to get voted against based on politicians ties to religion.

That's scary to me.

@ anonymous #1, 6, 12, or 93: You know what? I just don't care anymore. Say whatever you want. I won't stop you. I won't block anonymous comments. I won't do any type of censoring.

I'm too confused to deal with you or whatever other anonymous people are out there.

Joslyn said...

I'm sorry....But Anonymous #2 is funny...


I'll answer your reply when I get done laughing Andre!

LOLOL

Will Luongo said...

anonymous #1: I don't really see that I could be accused of buttering him up, since I argue/disagree with him at least as much as you do.

I do think though that I tend to do so in a more constructive way.

Andre: I think you are a little misguided in your belief of the government system regarding these issues. Politicians don't care about religions, they care about politics. They only pretend to care about religions to improve their political clout either way.

All I am saying is that politicians manipulation of religion for their gain, and the people's malleable belief systems are two separate issues.

And concepts like ending poverty ARE in the legislation. They just aren't good solutions. And no amount of good religion (or bad) is going to make an impact (politically I mean) until we have governance that is run by the people, rather than marketing hype.

Malik said...

Andre:

I said, in a nutshell, that human conduct is NOT merely a product of natural instinct, it's a product of rational choice, which is why we have laws governing conduct of all kinds, and hold people morally accountable for their actions.

"Naturalism" isn't even a real word, at least not in the sense that you're trying to use it. And attempting to conflate homosexual behavior with black identity is reductionist, and frankly, racist. Black people are a PEOPLE, in the fullest sense of the word. Your argument implies that black identity is nothing more than a discrete, quantifiable, physical trait that somehow sets us apart from other human beings and determines our behavior. That notion is the basis of segregation and racial supremacism, and it is a notion generations of both black and white people have striven to disprove, with great effort and sacrifice, a fact which makes your appeal to the civil rights movement all the more offensive.

Andre said...

@ Will: Whether politicians personally subscribe to religious idealogies or not (or, for that matter, EVEN CARE about religion), they effectively use it as an agent to secure political support from their constituents. Why? Because their constituents are die-hard, religious fanatics. Even if adopting religiously charged policies is done to garner support from voters, it IS still used. That's my point.

I think you discount the impact that religion has in the political arena.

@ Malik: Thank you for the clarification. After going back to one of my responses, I see how I used the term "naturalism" incorrectly (*Embarrassed to admit that I'm about as dumb as George Dubya right now*). Nevertheless, my argument (minus one questionable word) still stands. Let's see if I can articulate this a little better this time around:

For starters, I would NEVER juxtapose the profound struggles of blacks during the Civil Rights movement to those experienced by the homosexual community of today. The Civil Rights struggle, to me, represents more than just a progressive shift in policy of THAT time. Instead, it represented the demise (at least, legislatively) of centuries worth of institutionally-supported oppression; tracing all the way back to the Diaspora. The homosexual struggle just doesn't carry the same weight.

Now, back to the meat of the discussion: My ultimate point is that systematic discrimination (laws, for instance) used in opposition of people's 'natural impulses' is just not ethically reasonable; whether that person decides to express their impulses or not (unless, of course, those impulses pose a viable danger to others. Laws were made to protect people, right?). To discrimate based on those criteria is no different than discriminating based on color, gender or any other 'natural' trait; for which we have no control. THAT'S where the comparison between the CRM and gay rights comes into play.

By the way, I never implied that black identity was "nothing more than a discrete, quantifiable, physical trait that somehow sets us apart from other human beings and determines our behavior." I never came up with characterizations that monolithically describe black folks. Sadly, B.E.T. does that for us...

Malik said...

Your argument is self-contradictory. On the one hand you say that, "I never implied that black identity was 'nothing more than a discrete, quantifiable, physical trait that somehow sets us apart from other human beings and determines our behavior.'" But on the other hand you say that denying legitimacy to homosexual conduct is equivalent to discriminating on the basis of "color, gender or any other 'natural' trait for which we have no control." There's some serious moral and intellectual dissonance in your arguments.

Anonymous said...

this is for anonymous #1
you should really learn how to leave a comment without a personal attack , it is not very Christian like ,you did say something about the word of GOD, and something like you being the one to enlighten everyone ! Try again ,you can have a difference of opinion without insults or anger ,try it ,MAKE GOD PROUD!
You dont have to butter up people but attack ,come on grow up .



Opinions are like Butts everyone has one but some of them stink , Ahemmm!!!See now that was just WRONG!!!!!!

Andre said...

Malik, maybe I'm missing something here, but I just don't get your point. I'm trying to find connections between your statements and the issues I've raised in this post. But the connection is hazy, at best.

If you set out to confuse the Hades out of me; to the point of submission, congratulations! I'm hopelessly lost on this one. :)

@ Anonymous: I suspect that our other anonymous friend is probably not as bad as the comments would imply. This is a delicate subject; which is likely to incite emotions and strong reactions. I agree that comments in a debate SHOULD be absent of personal attacks, but that's not always the case.

The secret is: not to internalize any of this stuff. I guess sometimes that feat is easier said than done, however...

Malik said...

Andre:

You're basically saying that human beings are nothing more than the sum of their genetically determined parts, and that biological imperatives are the essential determining factors in human behavior. Then you go further and use "color" as an example of a determining biological condition. Think about that. Not only are you implicitly dismissing the role that rationality and free-will--the essential attributes of the soul and the very things that distinguish us from animals--play in human behavior, you're implicitly endorsing the idea that there is an intrinsic genetic distinction between black people and other ethnic groups, which is the foundation of racism. Your argument is fundamentally materialistic. Much respect to you, but I can't get down with that. You inspired me to do a little write-up of my own on the matter. Maybe that'll help clarify my views. You can read it here.

Andre said...

@ Malik: I think I see where this is going. That's not to say that our exchange is any less confusing now that it was before, but I think it's all coming to me piece by piece. But what I do see is that my proclamation that discrimination based on sexual orientation is just as much of a diss as any other repugnant forms of discrimination somehow got lost in the discussion of racial identity and, more notably, the philosophical implications behind racial identity.

This conversation is making me wish I didn't sleep through my Philosophy of Science and Nature course as an undergrad. Maybe I would have a little more to add to the conversation...

I'm glad that you were able to present a new and challenging argument for me to consider. I just wish I knew how to make sense out of it. Don't fret, though. I'll get it eventually.

On an unrelated note, I thought it was interesting to discover that you're the same Malik who I've been following for a while. I've had your page bookmarked for quite some time; and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Interestingly, I never made the connection. I mean, what are the odds that -- out of the millions of blogs out there -- you'd stumble on mine?

I'm honored...

Joslyn said...

Okay, after reading you and Mailk's comments and getting hella confused, I leaving this topic alone.....at least for now :)

Malik said...

Andre:

The honor is all mine brother, and I appreciate your openness. I drew the link between gay activism and racism because, aside from the fact that I believe it's completely true, I think the force of the word "racism" is one of the only things that can cut through the p.c. rhetoric and prompt individuals to examine the core implications of the argument they're advancing on behalf of legitimizing homosexual conduct.

The argument for treating the refusal to legitimize homosexual conduct as morally equivalent to racial discrimination has three aspects: biological, moral, and legal. If you'll indulge me, I'll take the time to go through them one by one and explain why I believe that the argument is tantamount to racism.

1) The biological aspect of the argument asserts that homosexuality is an inborn behavioral instinct, which may very well be true in many cases. Then it goes on to assert because the inclination is inborn, it should be accepted as "natural". Now, I'm not going to make any assertions as to whether or not homosexuality should be accepted as a "natural fact", but it has to be recognized that there are a multitude of "natural" conditions that are nevertheless recognized as deviations from the body's normal functioning, and they are medically treated as such. Further, it's abundantly clear, from a strictly scientific standpoint, that homosexual activity thwarts the primary biological function of the sex instinct, namely, procreation.

2) That brings us to the moral aspect of the argument, and this is where things get very hairy. Gay activists rightly assert that humans are more than the sum of their genetic parts (an acknowledgment that in itself tends to undercut the biological argument). We are thinking, moral beings, who possess self-awareness, and if you're religiously inclined, immortal souls. We are not to be judged and manipulated on the basis of our genetic characteristics, as if we were prize cattle. But then they go on to argue that making any moral, legal or medical distinction whatsoever between homosexual and heterosexual mating is morally equivalent to arbitrarily assigning individuals to a subordinate political class on the basis of color. That's where things completely break down for me. First, by repudiating any rational distinction between homosexual and heterosexual mating, homosexuality is abstracted from a biological condition to an existential state. But at the same time, it's emphasized that homosexuality is an immutable biological trait, much like skin color, and for that reason, making distinctions based on sexual conduct is as immoral and irrational as making distinctions based on skin color. There's a lot of intellectual sleight of hand going on in this analogy, not the least of which is comparing a behavioral instinct to an environmental adaptation, but that issue is relatively minor. The deeper issue is the implication by analogy that race, like homosexuality, is an immutable physical condition that makes us intrinsically different from other human beings, and at the same time a trivial biological characteristic that's irrelevant to our essential humanity. And there you have it: naked and unabashed racism, in both its genetic and "colorblind" forms, expressed in the starkest terms.

If you're confused at this point, it's because the analogy between racial discrimination and the illegitimate status of homosexual conduct is itself confused and incoherent. And from this self-contradictory and morally abhorrent analogy, the legal arguments are derived, which at this point, I'm too exhausted to get into, and if you've managed to make it this far, you're probably glad of that.

HeiressChild said...

wow!!! this is one of the best blogs i've come across. where have i been? i followed the link here from green eyes blog a couple of weeks ago, and i looked at your random thoughts of wisdom blog, but didn't leave comments. linked up from her blog again tonite, re-read random thoughts and decided to check this one out. very interesting indeed!

Andre said...

@ Malik: I was reviewing your comments and your subsequent post on your blog related to our discussion; and something hit me:

Though I support scientific evidence suggesting that homosexual tendencies are determined as biologically as skin color, homosexual biology can possibly create a person's identity (behaviors, predispoitions, urges, and the like) while skin color does no such thing. Essentially, being born "black" doesn't shape behavior; while being born with homosexual tendencies more than likely will. So, to that extent, I can see where my juxtaposition between the levels of discrimination face by oppressed groups was off.

Even if your point spoke to other questions that I didn't fully explore, the aforementioned revelation is what I ultimately got from the discussion.

@ heiresschild: I'm humbled by your comments. While I regret that your first experience with my blog involved one of my notoriously heated debates (one where I got my ass handed to me. Thank you, Malik. Urgggh...), I'm glad that you've enjoyed your stay so far.

In the spirit of the mafia: Any friend of Greeny's is a friend of mine.

Malik said...

Andre:

Thank you. Although the discussion thoroughly wore me out, it helped me to articulate some things that I wasn't able to previously. I appreciate your willingness to challenge my thinking and to be challenged, it helps us all to grow.