Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hateful, bigoted, and vitrolic - huh?

In addition to this post a few days ago, I posted the following on a (rather liberal) message board (one about baby naming, but that has other boards for off-topic discussion) of which I am a member, in a thread about whether one could be opposed to same-sex marriage and not be "anti-gay" (the post below is slightly redacted from its original form, as I omitted a reply to another member's post):

My views on same-sex unions are found in this article from the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (it is not written from a religious perspective, but rather a secular one).

This is a good explanation (written by a gay man) on why Christian teaching on homosexuality has never rested on proof-texting Leviticus 18:22: The God Hates Shrimp Fallacy

As for me, I oppose same-sex marriage but I am not "homophobic" or "anti-gay." I fully agree with this:

It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
source

And this:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
source

I can differentiate between behavior and actions and people. I can object to the former without disparaging or discriminating against the latter.

I didn't stick around to see the responses to this post, as I have neither the time nor the patience for a debate in which it'd be 42 against 1 and I'd no doubt be called names and repeatedly insulted. However, a Facebook friend who is also a member of the board sent me a message in which she accused both the above post, and other comments in the same vein I'd made on FB, as being full of "hatred, bigotry, and vitriol." She is also Catholic (although one who apparently rejects Church authority on a number of issues), and she asserted that God did not share my opinion on same-sex marriage and that she was ashamed that I was Catholic. (If she gives me permission to share her exact words, I'm happy to do so as I have no desire to misrepresent her words, but as I don't have that permission at the moment I can only summarize.)

I replied to her message with the following (again, slightly redacted to omit a few details I'd rather not share on this blog):

Hatred? Bitterness? Vitriol? I have no idea where you're getting any of that. I do not hate anyone, nor am I a bigot, and I'm honestly puzzled as to how anything I've said or posted reflects hate and bigotry.

What have I said that expresses hate, bitterness, or vitriol? I'm honestly puzzled and would appreciate some clarification on this. I don't hate homosexuals. I think homosexual ACTS are sinful, yes, but that does not equate to "hating" homosexuals. All human beings have inherent dignity and worth, and value.

Where have I said that I hated homosexual people? Where have I said that homosexual people deserve to die, or should die, or should be horsewhipped in the streets? Where have I said that homosexuals should be shot on sight? Where have I ever said that homosexuals are going to hell or should go to hell?

THAT is what hatred and bitterness and vitriol is. If you don't believe me, head over to Fred Phelps' site sometime so you can see what hate REALLY is and how it manifests.

Again, I would like for you to quote something I've said that you see as hateful so I can try to understand why you feel this way, because I honestly don't get it.

As for my Catholicism, I follow what the Church teaches. I believe Jesus Christ established the Church and gave the Church that authority to teach and to bind and loose (that is, to determine what is moral and what is not moral). I believe that Truth is not established by majority vote, and I believe that the Church teaches the truth, infallibly, in terms of faith and morals.

You reject that authority on many issues and that's your choice, but I am following Christ to the best of my ability. Christ was able to separate the sinner from the sin. He could love the sinner while telling them to "Go and sin no more." I try to follow His example, and I don't hate anybody -- homosexuals included.

For example, a family member committed adultery during her marriage. I love her, very much, and always will. But I will NEVER support, condone, or encourage adultery -- her acts of adultery or anyone else's. I love her, but I hate the sin she committed because it ripped her family apart. Can't you see that? Can't you see how it's possible to hate the sin but love the sinner?

She's yet to reply so I'm pretty sure she's blocked me at FB (rather than respond to my very reasonable questions -- how very open-minded and tolerant of her), but I would sincerely like to know from others who may share her opinion: please produce a quote from me, either from the above or anywhere on this blog, that you consider "hateful," and why.

I don't think it is "hateful" to assert that marriage is not a right, but a privilege. If it is "hateful" then I must also hate pedophiles, incestuous couples, polygamists, those who practice bestiality, and so on, because I don't think they entitled to marriage by virtue of their sexual preferences either.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "hatred" as "intense dislike or ill will." This definition, for me, applies to homosexual ACTS but NOT homosexual PEOPLE! I bear no intense dislike or ill will to homosexual people, at all.

I do NOT believe anyone, homosexuals included, should be denied basic human rights as listed by the United Nations.

Regarding Article 16 of the above, it states the following:

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Note that it does NOT say, "without any limitation due to sexual preference or orientation."

I do not believe marriage to someone of the same sex is a basic human right. Marriage to someone of the opposite sex is not even a basic human right unless the persons wishing to marry fulfill all requirements of the law when it comes to marriage. Otherwise, we'd have to concede that a 52-year-old man could marry the 14-year-old he's raping.

Finally, some incredibly mature individual decided to take this argument to my ExpectNet game, and posted a guess with the handle "Gays are people too." I made a slight modification (see guess #6, unless he or she chooses to delete it), but the inherent accusation contained therein absolutely baffles me.

Where have I said - anywhere - that gays are not people? Seriously, if the person who posted that is reading this, PLEASE prove your accusation. Find a blog post or a message board post or a Facebook comment in which I said that gays were not people. In fact, I have said exactly the opposite. I have been VOCAL in my opposition to people like Fred Phelps who try to claim otherwise.

The most ironic part of this entire debate is how many proponents of same-sex marriage are also in favor of abortion on demand. They deny the basic right to life to over 50 million unborn children and I'm the one who is hateful and bigoted?

[Note: this post spawned a follow-up post in order to reply to one of the comments below; you can read it here.)

19 comments:

  1. JoAnna, maybe if you would stick around and actually defend your position instead of doing a post and run maybe people at BNaBBT would be willing to treat you with more respect. I find it ironic that you want to be treated with respect and courtesy, yet you use sources that are deliberately inflammatory. Then you bolt faster than the Roadrunner. What are you so afraid of?

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  2. I don't agree. Marriage IS a right. Choosing when to have children IS a right. Anyone should be allowed to exercise those rights. Anyone.

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  3. I find it amusing that "anonymous" is discussing courage on here.

    I guarantee you one thing knowing her all these years, JoAnna is not afraid of debate. She may be afraid of wasting her valuable time on people who instinctively call her a hate monger for having a differing opinion.

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  4. JoAnna, I fully support your position and you. As always, you are doing an excellent job of explaining your views (which are those of the Church) in a kind yet plain way that leaves no error for misunderstanding. Keep doing what you are doing.

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  5. Anonymous, I didn't cut and run. I stated my reasons above: "I didn't stick around to see the responses to this post, as I have neither the time nor the patience for a debate in which it'd be 42 against 1 and I'd no doubt be called names and repeatedly insulted."

    People are free to PM me on the board or e-mail me if they have questions they want addressed. I'm happy to continue the discussion if it's one-on-one.

    As for my sources, I used the Vatican, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the personal blog of a Catholic gay man. Can you clarify how these these sources are "deliberately inflammatory"?

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  6. Anonymous 2 - if marriage is a right, why can't pedophiles and their victims marry? Why can't a father and daughter marry?

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  7. Thank you for your courage, JoAnna. It is so refreshing. And you are not inflammatory in the least. You are kind and patient. Thank you, thank you.

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  8. Interesting that both Anonymous posters have been unable to quote any specific words of mine that they consider "hateful", nor have any others chimed in...

    I'm still trying to figure out how my sources are "deliberately inflammatory as well." I mean, gee, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy is such a controversial source. ???

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  9. No-I didn't post the anonymous comments above. I just wanted to say I am a little amused that you are being called out for the same "transgressions" I have been accused of over at the Bubble, namely "bolting from the debate."

    Maybe now you'll understand that I too have left conversations because "I have neither the time nor the patience for a debate in which it'd be 42 against 1 and I'd no doubt be called names and repeatedly insulted."

    Funny how things come full circle.

    -gwen

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  10. Well, gwen, I've never once seen anyone at the Bubble call you names or repeatedly insult you. So if you could please point out where that happened, I'd love to see the evidence.

    However, this HAS happened to me (and others) at the board I'm a member of - it's not heavily moderating when it comes to debate - so I knew that any participation on my part in that thread would just be more of the same.

    However, I'm more than happy to correspond one-on-one via e-mail or PM with anyone who wishes to continue the debate. (In fact, I am continuing the debate on FB messaging.) I don't think I've seen you extend a similar offer, gwen.

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  11. Just now found your blog. Love your fighting spirit. You are solid.

    Small world - hello, gwen.
    Hi, Leila!

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  12. gwen,
    At the bubble, I've seen you mostly swing in to denounce the rest of us as having no sense or an education that's not up to snuff, and then you want your subsequent point taken seriously. One attracts more flies with honey than with vinegar, as granny would say.

    And to JoAnna's point, she separates sin from sinner.

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  13. Understanding the official Catholic position on homosexuality requires more than one-step thinking, and this is not our culture's strong suit. Sound-bytes, slogans, and appeals to emotion: this is all our culture understands. We cannot fit into a pithy headline the Church's logical philosophy about the inherent sinfulness of homosexual acts and the inherent dignity of homosexual persons, so it's easier for the media and colluding politicians to label the Catholic Church (and all who agree with her) as bigoted and hateful. It's lazy stereotyping at its worst, but this is what our culture is best at doing because it's all most people understand (as evidenced from the responses you've garnered).

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  14. How the bloody hell is calling someone "objectively disordered" and comparing them to pedophilia/incest not deliberately inflammatory? I am engaged to a man. How does this affect you in any way? How, then, would it affect you if I had a wife instead?

    As you said in your recent entry, gays can't procreate so they don't need marriage. It's a good thing we don't let the infertile or post-menopausal marry!


    You cut and run. You do it all the damn time, so don't even TRY to play the victim here.

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  15. Hannah, I'd like evidence of your accusation. I've never called anyone objectively disordered.

    As for pedophelia/incest, please explain how they are not at least similar. Many pedophiles claim they are "born that way," just like homosexuals. Many incestuous couples are consenting adults who aren't hurting anyone. The parallels are there even if the details are different.

    I never said that "gays can't procreate so they don't need marriage." If you're going to respond to specific points of mine, please use direct quotes. It appears you're either misinterpreting my words or taking them out of context, and I can't respond to either. Infertile and post-menopausal couples still have the potential for childbearing if not the ability, even if the probability is low. Homosexual couples cannot procreate naturally, period.

    I'm not trying to "play the victim." I gave my reasons for not sticking around the thread, and I offered to continue the discussion (or any discussion) one-on-one with anyone who cares to do so. I've a full-time job, I'm pregnant, and I have three kids to take care of; I simply don't have the time to engage in a lengthy debate with 42 different questions flying at me every five minutes.

    Also, as it says above the comment box, please be respectful and courteous when commenting.

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  16. JoAnna,

    I'm going to do my level best to explain where I am coming from, though I recognize we are never going to see eye to eye on this issue.

    The reason your words provoked outrage is precisely because, to many people, myself included, the term "objectively disordered" is offensive in the extreme. It suggests something is fundamentally wrong with a person, and is often used to describe conditions of great deviancy, such as pedophilia. Surely you can appreciate how, no matter the distinction between sin and sinner, why that phrase in particular would be cause for a great deal of anger and outrage? If you're not calling homosexuals objectively disordered, why use a quote that describes the condition of homosexuality as such?

    Furthermore, if you believe that homosexuality is not a choice, then yes, it does become rather more complicated to separate out "hating the sin but loving the sinner" as the two become inextricably linked. Obviously we are never going to agree on the point of whether or not homosexuality is a biological orientation or a choice, but at least try to understand where people's anger and outrage is coming from instead of feigning surprise at their reactions.

    As to your arguments about incest and pedophilia. Incest doesn't technically harm anyone if the two adults involved are consenting, but there's issues of whether or not that consent can be genuine, for a start. I have my doubts whether it ever can be truly consensual, but aside from issues of consent, there's the fact that closely related biological individuals procreating vastly increases the risk of serious genetic conditions.

    As for pedophilia, really? Pedophiles might be "born that way," but their victims are unable to consent. Neither of these conditions holds true in a consensual, adult, homosexual relationship. It's also deeply offensive to me to relate homosexuality to incest and pedophilia, even for the purposes of making an analogy (however poor I think it may be), and many others feel the same.

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  17. (part two, since the first comment got cut off for length)


    And a note about the "secular" article you posted from the Harvard Review - if you had returned to the thread, you would have seen that Halfwright challenged the assumption that the article is wholly secular: "The second author has written several books on how government should enforce morality (his morality, of course). The first author has written (religiously-based) letters to the editor about abortion and wrote his senior thesis on the (moral) dangers of premarital sex. At least two of them are very devout Catholics -- the first page of google turned that up easily -- and write frequently about the issue from a faith-based approach. Religion absolutely informs their views. Though they might not reference religion specifically (and they even try their hardest to stay away from it), I'd argue that religion is front and center in that piece." The vehicle might be secular, but to claim that they are approaching the issue from a wholly secular standpoint seems disingenuous, at best, to me.

    In response to your quote above that "I never said that gays can't procreate, so they don't need marriage" - if that wasn't your intent with this quote "As homosexual couples are, by nature and design, unable to naturally procreate, the privileges are unnecessary" - then what was? I take privilege to mean the privilege of marriage, unless I'm misreading the sentence?

    Lastly, at the very least, two consenting homosexuals in a long-term relationship should not have to jump through endless legal hoops to obtain the same benefits extended to heterosexual couples. You do not have to be married to someone in order to will your house to them upon your death, but failing your explicit directions otherwise, the state will automatically assume that your husband is the inheritor. Gay couples do not have that right. If you'd continued to read the thread, you would have read how Jemma's family was denied tuition benefits because her wife is not legally considered to be married to her, and thus Jemma's daughter was not able to avail of faculty tuition benefits the way she would have had her stepmother been a stepfather instead. There are countless little slights affected against gay couples every day because the state does not recognize or makes very difficult their ability to obtain the same benefits that are automatically conferred upon heterosexual couples. To me, that is wrong. If two people have committed themselves to each other, then they should get the same rights as any other two people in a similar situation, regardless of the genders involved.

    I'll stop here since this comment is reaching epic proportions, and I don't know that I'll feel compelled to comment again, but I thought this once, I would give it my best shot.

    - Maya

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  18. And part three, since apparently I really have a lot to say.

    You also assert in your previous post that you do not need to be married to someone to, for instance, be able to will your property to them upon your death. No, you do not, this is true. However, in the event you do not take extra legal steps to specify that you wish this to happen, the state will automatically assume that your property will go to your husband. If something were to happen to you, nobody would challenge the notion that your husband was legally the next responsible person for raising your children, he would automatically be granted those rights. Gay couples suffer through countless little slights each day that to me, are unnecessary. Why should they have to fight legally and jump through hoops (or sometimes even be denied the ability to jump through hoops) to obtain the same privileges conferred automatically upon heterosexual couples?

    To use a real example, in the thread, Jemma mentioned just one way in which the exclusion of considering homosexual couples to be legally wed in Pennsylvania has affected her family. Her wife works at the university her daughter attended, but "My daughter attended that university and, for her first three years, she had to pay tuition, whereas the step-children of straight couples do not. That little example cost my family about $20,000. By her final year, my wife's union had won same-sex benefits. That's just one small example."

    To me, this is wrong. If we as a society hold that the ideal relationship legally is two people, bound to each other by law to the exclusion of all others, then the benefits of that legal relationship should extend to any in a similar situation, regardless of the genders involved.

    I've also never been able to understand, nor received, a satisfactory answer as to what changes when one partner in a homosexual relationship undergoes a sex change, transforming the couple into a heterosexual one. Suddenly, they are allowed to marry, yet they are not able to naturally procreate, so would they also be denied the ability to marry in your worldview? I'm genuinely curious.

    I will return to read your reply, but I don't know that I'll feel compelled to comment again. However, just this once, I decided to give it my best shot at explaining why I feel the way I do, and attempting to get you to see why your remarks would provoke such anger and hostility on the board.

    - Maya

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  19. Maya, thank you for your respectful and courteous response. (Some of your comments went to the spam folder -- I released them and deleted any duplicates.)

    I will probably respond to you in a new post due to the length issue, and it will probably take me a day or two to write out my response, so please bear with me.

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Please be respectful and courteous, and I will reciprocate.

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