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Author Topic: Slipping Down the Slope
Paladine
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http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gvmt-minister-rebukes-bishops-on-catholic-sexual-teaching-youre-not-allowed

If this reporting is to be believed (can any of our Canadian members speak on that one way or another?), legislation is being debated that would force the Church in parts of Canada to stop teaching what it's believed for centuries about sexuality, the family, and the human person inside its own schools, and would instead be forced to set up pro-gay clubs. Just curious, how many of our progressive Ornerians would support something like this being done here?

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Mynnion
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The local Amish community would love this.

While I don't think any school should teach hate the idea that the State has the right to control what private schools teach or don't is certainly a well greased slope.

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JWatts
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It's important to note this is for "publicly-funded Catholic schools".
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Paladine
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The piece says "all schools"; I think it's just noting there that Catholic schools in Ontario receive some kind of funding.
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RickyB
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Good catch, JWatts.

They can decline the public funds and continue teaching hate, if they prefer.

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Paladine
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Where does it say that, Ricky?
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Jordan
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If it's only for publicly-funded schools, I'm all for it. If it's for schools run wholly on private funds, I'm less enthusiastic, though not opposed on principle to establishing boundaries with respect to what must and must not be taught by any school.

(For example, can schools refuse to teach children how to read, write and do arithmetic? Can they teach them that it is acceptable for men to beat their wives? Where does one draw the lines here?)

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Paladine
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And FWIW, is it really necessary to mischaracterize it as "teaching hate"? We don't teach hatred of gays, just as we don't teach hatred of people who masturbate or have sex outside of marriage. Thin-skinned leftist sensibilities aside, we need to start being able to say "I disagree with what you're doing or saying but respect and love you anyway" without saying "I hate you and everyone like you". Your insistance upon conflating those two vastly different things is poisonous to public discourse.
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Paladine
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Jordan, do you think that forcing schools to start up pro-gay clubs is of a sort with requiring them to teach how to read, write, add, and multiply?
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Jordan
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I note that this is part of the broader discussion on how to protect children from bullying, which inevitably deteriorates into a discussion on homophobic and transphobic bullying in particular. The bill tries to mandate what schools must do to protect children. Given that such bullying is a grave and dangerous reality, it would be useful to ask those who don't want to see GSAs what sort of measures they would take to prevent such bullying. It is purely dishonest to pretend that gay or transsexual children are not bullied any more than their heterosexual, cissexual peers and thus do not require special treatment; therefore, a workable counter-proposal would be very useful in pressing their case.
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Jordan
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quote:
Paladine:
Jordan, do you think that forcing schools to start up pro-gay clubs is of a sort with requiring them to teach how to read, write, add, and multiply?

I was establishing that it is legitimate for the government to mandate that schools must teach some things, and must not teach some others. If one accepts this premise, the question is not whether government should be allowed to interfere with private schools, but rather, to what extent it should be allowed to interfere.

Certain children are at an elevated risk of bullying, and schools have a duty of care to these children. It seems legitimate for the government to demand that schools act accordingly and provide appropriate protections for such children. I understand that religiously-centred schools do not wish to allow students who are naturally inclined to disagree with them to officially associate, especially when they might come into contact with national groups who will support them in such disagreement; in which case, what alternative support mechanisms are being proposed to protect such children?

[ April 14, 2012, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

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Paladine
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I work in a Catholic school administered by religious brothers. Our common belief in Christ and his Church defines our relationships with each other as a community of teachers and learners. Naturally built into that is an intolerance for hatred, bullying, and cruelty.

We believe that we're all God's children made in his image, that every human life has innate dignity and worth. We believe that charity is a virtue, that only he who is without sin (none of us) can cast stones, and that we are called to love and undertand each other. We believe that the role of parents, teachers, coaches, and adminstrators is to provide discipline when students fail in charity to one another.

That's how we address bullying. Having spent years in public schools, in private schools, and now at a Catholic school, in my observation the latter is by -far- the most effective despite not having a gay straight alliance or any such nonsense. The reason is pretty simple: we're not just telling kids "don't do that!" or giving them a state mandated gender sensitivity course; we're presenting them with a clear and consistent message which overflows into everything they do, into every interaction they have with every person in their life.

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Jordan
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quote:
Paladine:
Having spent years in public schools, in private schools, and now at a Catholic school, in my observation the latter is by -far- the most effective despite not having a gay straight alliance or any such nonsense. The reason is pretty simple: we're not just telling kids "don't do that!" or giving them a state mandated gender sensitivity course; we're presenting them with a clear and consistent message which overflows into everything they do, into every interaction they have with every person in their life.

I attended two primary schools and four high schools due to moving around a lot. I agree that various aspects of school culture influence students' behaviour towards one another, and will even say that some aspects of Catholic schools in particular were effective in this respect. Nevertheless, I saw and experienced bullying at all of those schools, Catholic schools included. It was bad enough that I didn't act or think like other boys; I wouldn't like to guess what would have happened if I realised and let it be known that I was gay.

It is possible that at your school, LGBT students do not experience bullying at significantly higher rates than their peers. I can assure you that this is not the case at most schools, Catholic schools included, and that people are right to be concerned about their safety and well-being. I am a little taken aback by your calling GSAs "nonsense," but will merely observe that if Catholic schools were willing to undertake measures to specifically address the safety of their LGBT students that would not involve allowing them to formally associate, it would take a lot of wind from the sails of this proposal.

[ April 14, 2012, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

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Paladine
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FWIW one advantage of what we do is that we don't teach that there's nothing wrong with people or that we should "tolerate" them. We teach that there -are- things wrong with everyone, including us, and that we're called to love each other and respect each other, not just to tolerate, despite those imperfections. That's a far more valuable and far reaching thing than saying that you should be nice to this group or that group; it's a principle that governs in an extremely favorable way all relationships between people.

The alternative of having support groups and alliances for gays and trangenders and minorities and fat people and whoever else doesn't sound too appealing by comparison. I'd rather we live in a society where people believe in love and charity instead of tolerance (which stems from the Latin tollere, meaning to endure, as one might a headache). I'd go so far as to say that the latter is unworthy of human relationships. I'd rather they be taught that we can love and respect those whose actions we believe are wrong instead of being brainwashed into believing that nothing's wrong. The latter implicitly sends the message that respect and love are predicated upon the correctness of behavior (i.e. don't hate gays because there's nothing wrong with being gay) instead of appealing to our common humanity with all of its inherent imperfections as a call to extend to others the same understanding and charity we ask for ourselves.

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Paladine
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We don't believe in calling a group of our students LGBT or thinking of them that way, and neither do we see their sexuality as something that ought to be extended special deference or attention. Ditto for our fat students or our socially awkward ones, or our black students or our Hispanic or Asian ones. We don't have tribal groups or polcies aimed towards them. It's just not how we operate. Our common call to charity and love and our common consolation in the face of hatred and persecution are Christ and his Cross. That's the consolation we offer to those who suffer cruelty at the hands of their peers, just as it's the consolation we offer to all who grieve and suffer. Again, by forming people of faith and strength we equip them with tools of universal rather thsn narrow appliction. Instead of saying "here's how you should cope with bullying about your sexuality" we say "here's how you should respond to hatred and adversity as a person".
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Jordan
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quote:
Paladine:
We teach that there -are- things wrong with everyone, including us, and that we're called to love each other and respect each other, not just to tolerate, despite those imperfections. That's a far more valuable and far reaching thing than saying that you should be nice to this group or that group; it's a principle that governs in an extremely favorable way all relationships between people.

I completely agree that this is an awesome and powerful message, and that love and respect are worth far more than simple tolerance. Unfortunately, not all students are receptive to this message, and schools are responsible for protecting their most vulnerable students from violence against them. You describe exactly the policy of the two excellent Catholic schools I attended, and while it had a recognisable impact on the overall ethos of the school, it remains only a mitigating factor; LGBT students still had plenty to feel unsafe about.

Let me share a personal experience with you. One lesson did more to make me feel safe and loved than anything else that I recall at the Catholic school I attended. Our RE teacher was explaining that if you asked God a question, He was bound to answer it somehow, even if it wasn't the answer you wanted. One example he gave was, if you asked God if you were gay, the answer you might get was, "sorry, yes, you're gay."

Bear in mind that I didn't know I was gay at that point, but I did know I was different in personality and sexuality. This was the first time I had heard anyone avow that being gay was something God would allow, that it didn't mean you were some horrible, awful person.

That wasn't all. He then went back and corrected himself, and said that actually, no, there was no need for a "sorry" in God's answer. There was no reason for God to apologise to you for you being gay. That, more than anything, brought home that maybe, even though I wasn't normal, I wasn't necessarily something bad either.

That lesson sticks out vividly in my memory as the first and only time a teacher recognised that some of us were gay, and that wasn't something we should hate ourselves for. It also struck me that having other students hear this and become aware of this was a good thing, and might mean they wouldn't hate me either.

There is surely a middle ground between us. On the one hand, you don't think Catholic schools should be forced to countenance support groups for LGBT students. On the other, I can't accept the idea that you can fully protect your students while declining to recognise that some are at more risk than others, and avoiding any specific measures for them. There are almost certainly gay students at your school who fear being bullied, and perhaps are being bullied right now. If you don't currently recognise their fears and problems explicitly, you really should consider it. You have no idea how grateful they will be, now and in years to come, for whatever scraps of support and encouragement you can offer them.

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djquag1
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Regarding gay clubs, are they being forced to open them? Or being forced to allow students to open them when they allow other outside of class associations to form? There's a difference there.

It also depends on whether it matters if they're taking public funds or not. If they're not taking taxpayer money, then fine, teach the kids whatever crazy BS you want to teach them. If they are, then they should be held to the same standards as every other publically funded school, and I see nothing wrong with having a policy of, when clubs are allowed in general, gay clubs have to be allowed too.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gvmt-minister-rebukes-bishops-on-catholic-sexual-teaching-youre-not-allowed

If this reporting is to be believed (can any of our Canadian members speak on that one way or another?), legislation is being debated that would force the Church in parts of Canada to stop teaching what it's believed for centuries about sexuality, the family, and the human person inside its own schools, and would instead be forced to set up pro-gay clubs. Just curious, how many of our progressive Ornerians would support something like this being done here?

It all hinges on the word "force" here. As far as I can see, it simply means "make a condition of receiving taxpayer funding". If that is indeed the case, then yes, I support it 100%; the sooner the better.

Obviously I would be opposed to any attempts to use any actual force against these institutions. They should remain free to choose, from now til eternity. But this question is about the use of public funds, which are not a civil right.

The Church seems determined to go down fighting on these kinds of issues, but the fact is that their rigid conservatism relative to dogma is going to push them further and further from relevance. The "hundreds of years" aspect is precisely the problem: very few social positions from hundreds of years ago remain acceptable. The treatment of women, minorities, the mentally ill, animals, criminals and the poor; examples of these things from the past would horrify most of us these days. If you go back further, there are plenty of *official* Church positions which appall present members of the Church (or would, applied in a modern context). Society isn't static; if the Church decides to be, it will just find itself further and further behind.

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TomDavidson
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Paladine, you share a religion with Rick Santorum and Kate Boots. Kate's all about loving people and, as a consequence of that love, forcing herself to overlook their faults. You stand squarely in the middle. And Santorum, I like to think, is way over in his own little steaming pile of hateful rhetoric.

But here's the thing: if all or even most religious people were like Kate, GLBT support groups wouldn't need to exist. If all or even most were like you, they would just be political lobbies. Sadly, there is an additional need for social support, precisely because a universal message of love is sadly not what is being conveyed.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

But here's the thing: if all or even most religious people were like Kate, GLBT support groups wouldn't need to exist.

That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
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Pete at Home
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I spent some time over at the Catholic Answers Forum and I'll say without qualification that many of the members there are in serious need of anti-hate intervention and anti-bullying indoctrination.

Not sure that I approve of the government funding the endeavor, though. I don't think that the chronic bullying of anyone that exhibits any difference on CAT stems from any teaching of the Catholic Church, so much as the incestuous and sadistic nature of fora united by a single faith or political point of view. People can be stupid, but ideological organizations cannot ultimately be anything else.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

But here's the thing: if all or even most religious people were like Kate, GLBT support groups wouldn't need to exist.

That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
From what I've observed in the US and Mexico, the most violent episodes of homophobia are entirely secular in motivation. Those that crucified that Wyoming kid weren't exactly religious zealots. They were young washed up tweakers. The crime had more to do with meth than myth.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
But if all religious people were like Kate, organized religion would support gay people against secular anti-gay prejudice.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
But if all religious people were like Kate, organized religion would support gay people against secular anti-gay prejudice.
And you'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice? Does the separation of church and state cease to apply when we agree with the church?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
And you'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice?
I'm not sure where "involving itself in politics" came from, since it's not anywhere in my statement.
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Pete at Home
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How else would religious organizations combat secular trends without resort to politics?

I'm not fencing with you, Tom; just trying to understand what you mean.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
From what I've observed in the US and Mexico, the most violent episodes of homophobia are entirely secular in motivation.
Motivation, but not cause. It's rather hard to argue that certain cultures do not raise their children steeped in homophobia which they use their religion to justify, Pete. If those children then beat up someone they think is gay because they've been raised to think they should hate gay people, does it matter whether they only threw the punches because they were high on meth or booze?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
How else would religious organizations combat secular trends without resort to politics?
Minus the religious opposition to homosexuality, there would be no massive secular "trend;" religions would only need to provide support and comfort.
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Jordan
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quote:
Pete:
[Y]ou'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice? Does the separation of church and state cease to apply when we agree with the church?

I don't believe we should legally sanction churches for taking political stances, even those I disagree with. This does not preclude me vigorously opposing their agenda when I strongly disagree with it.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Jordan:
quote:
Pete:
[Y]ou'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice? Does the separation of church and state cease to apply when we agree with the church?

I don't believe we should legally sanction churches for taking political stances, even those I disagree with. This does not preclude me vigorously opposing their agenda when I strongly disagree with it.
I agree, and well-said.

I don't want my church becoming a political control lobby like some churches, because I'd see that as a pollution of my religion. But politically, a church should be able to have a voice just as any other cultural institution.

[ April 15, 2012, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
And FWIW, is it really necessary to mischaracterize it as "teaching hate"? We don't teach hatred of gays, just as we don't teach hatred of people who masturbate or have sex outside of marriage. Thin-skinned leftist sensibilities aside, we need to start being able to say "I disagree with what you're doing or saying but respect and love you anyway" without saying "I hate you and everyone like you". Your insistance upon conflating those two vastly different things is poisonous to public discourse.

Sorry, but it's teaching hate. It's teaching that homosexual sex (and assorted other behaviors that come with being part of the GLBT family) is morally repugnant and that GLBT people are either selfish hedonists or psychologically damaged or both if they engage in such perversion. Also, "love the sinner hate the sin" is weaksauce bollocks which completely fails to address the underlying problem of "love the sinner but teach your children that they should pity and look down on him because he's a degenerate pervert who'll go to hell for who he is".

You cannot argue that homosexuality is wrong without arguing that homosexuals are inferior people. You cannot argue against full legal recognition of gay rights without arguing that homosexuals deserve to be legally persecuted.

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Paladine
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Jordan,

I don't want to give anyone scraps of support or encouragement; I want to give everyone the full loaf. I think where we're coming apart here is that you think that since kids with homosexual tendencies (or what are perceived to be the aforementioned) are bullied in many places to a greater extent than others that specific accomodation should be made for them as a group.

I tend to agree that such kids are likely to encounter cruelty from their peers and the broader society, as are fat kids and socially awkward ones, as are those with developmental disorders or speech problems, etc. Instead of having a separate support group or network for each group or class time devoted to each if these groups, I think we're better off teaching lessons with universal application. Not to say that nothing's wrong with this or that that is perfectly normal, but instead that a great many things are wrong with all of us, and the real or perceived faults of others don't make them lesser people, or make them less worthy of respect and love. That goes for each of us, too.

---------------------------------------------------

Adam,

It's not "dogma", and whether or not you consider us to be "relevant" is of vanishingly little interest to me. Society has gotten some things right which it had gotten wrong for a long time; it's also gotten a lot of things wrong which it had gotten more or less right for a long time. The fact that things have changed doesn't always mean for the better, as skyrocketing rates of divorce, illegitimacy, suicide, and sexually transmitted disease will attest. We do many things better than previous generations, but we do many things a good deal worse.

------------------------------

Tom,

In your obsevation does loving someone mean pretending that their faults aren't faults, or does it mean understanding that they're flawed and loving them anyway?

----------------------

Rallan,

Gays deserve to go to hell for what they do; you won't get any argument out of me there. So do straights and so does everyone else. So do I, and so do you. We're saved not by our works or our merits, but by the grace of God. That's the central teaching of Christianity.

Implicit in that is that we're -all- broken. It's a radically different way of looking at people than the modern pop psychologist who holds that everyone's just fine. We admit faults in ourselves and in others. So yes, we say that the person who engages in gay sex misuses his sexuality. So we say about the person who masturbates or uses contraception or has sex before or outside of marriage. So we say about the person who lusts after someone. For what it's worth, pretty much all of us (myself included) fall into one or more of those categories, whether we're gay or straight or whatever else.

So no, my saying that someone is tempted to do what's wrong or even my saying that someone does what's wrong is not to say they're inferior people or that they should be looked down upon or anything of the sort. There may well be hatred being spoken here, but it's not coming from me.

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Pete at Home
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Within strains of Christian thought, I'd say that the traditional mangling of the Bible's story of Sodom is a clear example of hate. Some Christians confuse the story of attempted gang rape in Sodom (mistreatment of strangers) with consensual homosexuality. And go on to mis-infer that God destroyed Sodom for "homosexuality." That's clearly a lesson of hate, since one might even derive a justification for violence against gays.

But despite having actual examples of hate speech to criticize, Rallan's argument misses the jugular entirely:

"You cannot argue that homosexuality is wrong without arguing that homosexuals are inferior people."

Can you argue that religion is wrong without arguing that religious people are inferior people? After all, there's strong evidence that we have a genetic tendency to be religious. Or do you reserve that logic for homosexuality?

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MattP
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quote:
Can you argue that religion is wrong without arguing that religious people are inferior people? After all, there's strong evidence that we have a genetic tendency to be religious. Or do you reserve that logic for homosexuality?
I think you have to be more cautious about any general criticism of a minority group because it can exacerbate the negatives of an existing power disparity and our innate tribalistic tendencies. So yeah, it's probably worse to criticize homosexuals as a group than to criticize "religious people" as a group in a society where most people are religious and very few are homosexual.
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MattP
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quote:
Instead of having a separate support group or network for each group or class time devoted to each if these groups, I think we're better off teaching lessons with universal application.
It doesn't necessary have to be one or the other. I think we should do whatever is most effective at protecting the most kids. Teach general principles of love, tolerance, and empathy AND give extra attention to groups that are disproportionately affected. Sort of like how you treat infectious disease - first by encouraging good hygiene, but then also by vaccinating against specific pathogens that are particularly virulent or harmful.

[ April 16, 2012, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
But if all religious people were like Kate, organized religion would support gay people against secular anti-gay prejudice.
And you'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice? Does the separation of church and state cease to apply when we agree with the church?
Organized religion did reasonably well with civil rights 50 years ago. It should do better now than it is doing.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That's a bit unfair: anti-gay prejudice abounds outside of organized religion as well.
But if all religious people were like Kate, organized religion would support gay people against secular anti-gay prejudice.
And you'd have no issue with organized religion involving itself in politics to oppose anti-gay prejudice? Does the separation of church and state cease to apply when we agree with the church?
Organized religion did reasonably well with civil rights 50 years ago. It should do better now than it is doing.
If I were Catholic, I would respond by saying: "Secular society did better with protecting important social institutions, such as marriage, 50 years ago. It should do better now than it is doing."

You, and others, just don't seem to understand that the Catholics think homosexuality is bad for both the individual soul and for society at large, and that they have reasonable and logical explanations for why the believe that.

You can't just dismiss them out of the argument. You're just being foolish when you try to.

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kmbboots
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You might want to be wary of telling folks, "what Catholics think". When Tom noted that I share a religion with Paladine, he was speaking of Catholicism.

pssssttt, more American Catholics are like me than are like Santorum.

http://publicreligion.org/research/2011/03/for-catholics-open-attitudes-on-gay-issues/

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PSRT
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quote:
You, and others, just don't seem to understand that the Catholics think homosexuality is bad for both the individual soul,
a) Most Catholics support same sex marriage in the United States

b) The individual soul is not a valid concern of the law.

quote:
and for society at large, and that they have reasonable and logical explanations for why the believe that.
When they present such an argument that is reasonable and logical, as well as not being contradicted by the available evidence, then much ground will have been gained by opponents of same sex marriage that they have not yet claimed. If those arguments do not rule out huge numbers of marriages that already existed, then we can have an actual conversation about those, to this point, completely hypothetical arguments.

[ April 16, 2012, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Can you argue that religion is wrong without arguing that religious people are inferior people? After all, there's strong evidence that we have a genetic tendency to be religious. Or do you reserve that logic for homosexuality?
I think you have to be more cautious about any general criticism of a minority group because it can exacerbate the negatives of an existing power disparity and our innate tribalistic tendencies. So yeah, it's probably worse to criticize homosexuals as a group than to criticize "religious people" as a group in a society where most people are religious and very few are homosexual.
How exactly do you distinguish this from "that argument works against people that i agree with but not with people that i disagree with?"
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