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Author Topic: And So it Begins
Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Misogynists and KKK members are not protected classes, of course. [Smile]

But they are guaranteed equal protection under the law by the Constitution, which means that's a bit of legal sophistry. It's hard to explain logically why some people are so important that their rights to access the market place should trump the rights of everyone else to have freedom to contract or not with them, while for other less favored people its okay to exclude them and even punish them in the market place.
quote:
There's room to argue about the photography thing. An exception might be reasonable.
It's actually a long standing tenant of law that forced service is illegal, it's tantamount to slavery. You can always quite a job even if you signed a contract to perform it. You may have to pay an economic consequence - but punitive damages are not permitted by contract. What's new here is that people are being forced to pay up where they haven't agreed to do the work, and being forced to pay punitive damages unless they agree to perform the services essentially on a slave basis.
quote:
Cake bakers can bake cakes without customizing their speech content (if any) to the customer, so I don't think that's a big deal.
You didn't read the article. The bakery was always willing to sell to gay customers, they were not willing to prepare a cake for a gay wedding. As I said before that involves a substantial time and effort commitment.
quote:
But there are things like housing and employment protections that are actually a lot more important than wedding services.
Agreed, and they involve no personal service requirement, and discrimination is prohibited.
quote:
Originally posted by KMBoots:
The cases that actually are deliberate confrontations (and these are fewer than you might think - the Idaho case for example, is not one) are similar to the lunch counter sit-ins.

They actually are not similar at all. In fact, so far as I can tell, everyone of the cases that we're reading about involves a business that was willing to serve gay customers. The baker was, the pizza place was, Chick-fil-A was, etc. What they were not willing to do in the first two cases was essentially cater a gay wedding. That's activity by the way, not a person.

Would it be okay if they refused to cater a sky diving school because the owner had a relative that died in a sky diving accident? What if the sky diving school was the only one in the region and was also the only business in the region owned by a group of black lesbians?
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Would a gay wedding cake baker be required to bake cakes for weddings at anti-gay congregations? Would an all female company be obligated to provide services to the annual mysogenist convention? Can a black owned contractor refuse to perform repairs at the KKK's national headquarters?
CAn you come up with an example that's not a false equivalence?
This whole body of law, is based on false equivalence. Protections that made sense for dealing with race issues have been extended without real thought as to appropriateness to anyone who can claim a need for protection. And in this case, they are used as a weapon against a group of people actually entitled to protection under the Constitution.
quote:
If you chose to operate within the public market, you have to play by the public rules instituted to ensure the market serves the public.
Translation. If you want to earn a living and not starve to death you are required to violate your religion.

If you intend to deny the honestly religious the ability to make a living, perhaps you should be agreeing to pay their bills rather than fining them after taking away their business.
quote:
That includes following the rules saying that you cannot apply your chosen personal beliefs to refuse services based on inherent characteristics.
Such a rule by the way doesn't exist. Only some characteristics are even remotely protected (or else you wouldn't be complaining about false equivalence above) and even some that are inherent to your birth are not protected.
quote:
There is no similar rule saying that you must provide services to elective efforts to attack and oppress you or otherwise do you harm.
Actually it appears there is, since several of these cases have been initiated purely by anti-religious activists who take the punishment way beyond any bounds of reasonability.
quote:
Once they step into the public square, then they have to operate by secular rules, which include not co-opting the market to press an overtly religious agenda.
Oddly THAT would be permitted.
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scifibum
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I can't figure out if you're entirely serious, Seriati:

quote:
You didn't read the article. The bakery was always willing to sell to gay customers, they were not willing to prepare a cake for a gay wedding. As I said before that involves a substantial time and effort commitment.
Selling a cake is selling a cake. My point is that there does not have to be any investment in or involvement with the details of the event where the cake will be served. The cake seller is not being required to participate in speech they disagree with, or be around people at a gay wedding, or anything of the sort.

There's a literal/technical distinction between "refuses to sell to gay customers" and "refuses to sell products if they will be used at a gay wedding", but if your business includes selling wedding cakes, that distinction is not important.

quote:
This whole body of law, is based on false equivalence. Protections that made sense for dealing with race issues have been extended without real thought as to appropriateness to anyone who can claim a need for protection. And in this case, they are used as a weapon against a group of people actually entitled to protection under the Constitution.
I think you're wrong that these protections have been extended "without real thought as to appropriateness". You disagree with the conclusions reached, obviously. That doesn't mean the thought wasn't "real", whatever that means.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
It's hard to explain logically why some people are so important that their rights to access the market place should trump the rights of everyone else to have freedom to contract or not with them, while for other less favored people its okay to exclude them and even punish them in the market place.
It's not hard at all, if more honestly phrased.
The freedom of those that do not have a choice in who they are to have equal access to the market place definitely trumps the choice of others to decide not to engage with a market that requires they serve the entire public equally. If you don't want your services to be equally accessible to the public, then you should privately offer your services to those who you choose to offer them to and not make use of infrastructure intended for public access.

quote:
As I said before that involves a substantial time and effort commitment.
How does that commitment of time and effort differ from any other wedding that they might cater? The identities of the people have no relevance to the requirements of the service. They don't need to use special "gay-safe" batter or "gay safe" frosting

quote:
What they were not willing to do in the first two cases was essentially cater a gay wedding. That's activity by the way, not a person.
An activity that does not represent any material harm to anyone else. It, in fact, has absolutely no effect on the lives or beliefs of anyone that does not support it that are differentiable from any other equivalent event that they do support.

quote:
And in this case, they are used as a weapon against a group of people actually entitled to protection under the Constitution.
There is no right to discriminate in business transactions in the constitution.

Freedom of religion is irrelevant here, because this isn't an issue of personal practice or observance, it's an issue of regulated market transactions with the general public. People doing something that you don not like, even something that you believe would violate your personal religious standards does not constitute material harm to you or your beliefs.

quote:
. If you want to earn a living and not starve to death you are required to violate your religion.
That's completely absurd. WHen you are doing business in the public square you are acting in a secular, not a religious context. IF you want to precondition access to your services in a certain field on religious conformity of others, then you should offer your services on a private basis and not present yourself as being open to the general public. Otherwise you don not have the right to force your patrons- the general public- to conform to your religious standards.

If your conviction is that you are religiously prohibited from offering certain services on the terms set by a given market, then it is your religion, not the market in question that is prohibiting you from engaging with that market, and you should either find a different market to present yourself to- such as your church or faith community, or a service offering that you can make on a non-discriminatory basis.


quote:
quote:
There is no similar rule saying that you must provide services to elective efforts to attack and oppress you or otherwise do you harm.
Actually it appears there is, since several of these cases have been initiated purely by anti-religious activists who take the punishment way beyond any bounds of reasonability.
You're suggesting that providing a cake for a gay wedding would have exposed them to punitive damages? In what way does the marriage itself- the thing that service was requested for, represent any form of actionable harm or threat to the people? Being incompatible with their religious beliefs is not a harm to them, as they are free to believe anything they want about it even after providing the cake.

If you're suggesting that they might be on more firm grounds refusing to cater a planning meeting where activists were plotting to undermine their business, but they'd have to prove that the wedding was actually just cover for such a conspiracy to make that a valid claim.

The event itself has no material effect on them outside of the requirements of any other equivalent event that they would serve. There is no basis for allowable discrimination.

quote:
Only some characteristics are even remotely protected
All of which are considered to be inherent characteristics that should have no relevance to market transactions, while discriminating based on them represents an objective harm to the people so affected.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
That's completely absurd. WHen you are doing business in the public square you are acting in a secular, not a religious context. IF you want to precondition access to your services in a certain field on religious conformity of others, then you should offer your services on a private basis and not present yourself as being open to the general public. Otherwise you don not have the right to force your patrons- the general public- to conform to your religious standards.

[my bold/italics]

The bolded portion is the reason you don't understand this issue. Religious people do not ever do anything at all that is in a non-religious context. Their entire lives are encompassed under the auspices of their beliefs, all of their actions anywhere a part of their religious life. Muslims pray at work. Christians theoretically do their work 'in the name of Jesus.' It's not like a university historian who might say something like "Right now I'm speaking as an historian when I say this, but tomorrow at the pub I'll take that hat off and forget about my job for a night." A Christian, for instance, does not take off his hat. He does not 'act in a secular context', because to such a person there is no secular context. If the whole universe is overseen by an omnipresent God then it would be foolish even to discuss doing anything 'outside of' the religious context. Many people have a notion that a Christian should 'set aside' the religion in the 'secular workplace', but this not only misunderstands what religion is, but also tacitly states that in order to participate in the marketplace one must at least temporarily renounce one's religion.


quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:

If your conviction is that you are religiously prohibited from offering certain services on the terms set by a given market, then it is your religion, not the market in question that is prohibiting you from engaging with that market, and you should either find a different market to present yourself to- such as your church or faith community, or a service offering that you can make on a non-discriminatory basis.


All this sounds like is "religious people not welcome here." It sounds like the equal and opposite of "no gays allowed." In order to work at a job you have to pretend not to be a Christian, basically. And if you want to be an observant Christian, then go do so in a Church and stay there.

It all sounds like a violation of constitutional rights to me. Seriati called it a kind of slavery, where the alternatives are to submit or to be penalized. In this sense I would call it less similar to slavery and more similar to the Spanish Inquisition, where wrong opinions are punished. It is most ironic that the wheel has so turned that now Christians are penalized for having the wrong beliefs, and where compliance is seen as the ultimate good in preference of volition.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Let's admit that these examples--a videographer for a gay wedding and a cake designer for a gay wedding--are pretty close to the line of where freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination cross. We don't want to force people to do things they are uncomfortable with. We also don't want people denied services just because the owner dislikes "their kind." Either would be wrong. Balancing the two is tricky.

Can we also agree that these two examples do not constitute an all-out attack on Christianity, and anyone who describes them as such is just trying to make trouble?

I agree with the first paragraph fully. For the second one I would say that outside of any context your statement is reasonable. As it happens I do think there is a movement 'against' Christianity right now and that a lot of this actually is an attack against religion in general. I think many people believe as Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins do that religion is stupid, dangerous, and maybe even evil. These people would quite like for religion to 'be abolished', and do not at all respect religious people for having a different opinion. Usually they deride religious people as being idiots or uneducated.

Based on this I don't have trust that there is good faith on either side, necessarily, as each side has both good arguments and also good reasons to produce bogus arguments to further their side's case. I think you are wrong about one thing, though, for sure: Some people definitely want to make others do things they are uncomfortable with. They are bullies, and they believe that anyone who disagrees with them is evil and needs to be punished. This type of attitude used to be one utilized by religious fanatics, but they no longer have a monopoly on it.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
These people would quite like for religion to 'be abolished'
I'm curious: what form do you think Maher and Dawkins think this should take? Do you believe they envision government crackdowns on religion?

quote:
It is most ironic that the wheel has so turned that now Christians are penalized for having the wrong beliefs...
Again: bull. Even if we accept your words at face value (which I don't, because they're histrionic and ill-reasoned), they are "penalized" for acting in ways incompatible with a secular society. And we do in fact live in a secular society nowadays. Perhaps they have to learn to cope with this?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Religious people do not ever do anything at all that is in a non-religious context. Their entire lives are encompassed under the auspices of their beliefs, all of their actions anywhere a part of their religious life. Muslims pray at work.
Muslims take a break from work to pray, if you're talking about the formal prayers. They don't make it a requirement that everyone in heir office must pray with them as a job requirement.

quote:
A Christian, for instance, does not take off his hat. He does not 'act in a secular context', because to such a person there is no secular context.
And completely irrelevant to the notion that they have to act in a tolerant manner to others in a secular context, and if they choose to be intolerant, then they have to do that by opting themselves out, not arbitrarily excluding segments of the public from the market.

Note that this does not apply both directions- they are trying to exclude people from them market based on non-secular criteria. That is not allowable. When gays try to get service from them, the objective is to be included in the market, not to exclude them from the market.- a market, to note, that operates on Caesar's credit, not their temple credit. There's a pretty explicit statement by Christ that using the public coin means you need to follow the public rules for the use of that coin.

quote:
In order to work at a job you have to pretend not to be a Christian, basically. And if you want to be an observant Christian, then go do so in a Church and stay there.
Pure nonsense. Who you do business with has nothing to do with being a Christian in general. IF anything Christianity demand that they do business with everyone, no matter how much they dislike or disapprove of them.

The distinction is "If you choose to violate the market rules for public access, then you are opting yourself out of the market; you cannot prevent others from accessing it"

Asking a bakery to make you a cake, you are not restricting anyone's access just because they may not like you. If you refuse to serve someone, then you are restricting their access to the market.

You can choose what businesses you do or do not patronize based on your religious freedom. You cannot choose who patronizes you business based on the beliefs of others- that amounts to violating their freedom to not follow your religion and has no bearing on your own. Your freedom to religion ends at the end of your own behavior- forcing others to conform to your religion in order to access services that you have offering to the public is a violation of their religious freedom, not an exercise of yours.

quote:
In this sense I would call it less similar to slavery and more similar to the Spanish Inquisition, where wrong opinions are punished.
Except no opinions are being punished. Only actions that deny equal public access to services offered using the public market infrastructure. You can have all the opinions you want, you just can't use them to arbitrarily deny people equal access.

[ April 29, 2015, 09:41 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
These people would quite like for religion to 'be abolished'
I'm curious: what form do you think Maher and Dawkins think this should take? Do you believe they envision government crackdowns on religion?
In Maher's case he's a quasi-libertarian so he wouldn't want that, and I'm not sure about Dawkin's politics. Although the recent religious protection law is about preventing the government outlawing religion, the government isn't the only body that can effectively ban religion. For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs. Maybe he'll be ok at some other job, but imagine that all kind of companies stepped into line and wouldn't hire him because of his beliefs either. This would mean that it is de facto illegal for him to be Christian, and the government doesn't even need to be involved. Now this is only one angle of the issue, and the government obliging Christians to do certain things would be another. So far it's not a huge deal, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that it could progress and become more serious. But right now the jabs are coming from different directions slowly.

quote:
quote:
It is most ironic that the wheel has so turned that now Christians are penalized for having the wrong beliefs...
Again: bull. Even if we accept your words at face value (which I don't, because they're histrionic and ill-reasoned), they are "penalized" for acting in ways incompatible with a secular society. And we do in fact live in a secular society nowadays. Perhaps they have to learn to cope with this?
The main issue is that it's a question of living in a different kind of country than existed 50 years ago. There's going to be a transition phase where both religious and non-religious people will have to figure out how to adapt. But telling one class of people they'd better just adapt to the culture of another class seems a bit one-sided. There is a fundamental separation of church and state in the U.S., but there is no fundamental separation of church and business; i.e. it isn't illegal to entwine religion and a business. If some people are trying to enact, as you're suggesting, a completely secular marketplace then this would be something brand new, with no historical precedent or justification. Maybe it's a great move, but it must be recognized that it's a new move and 'deal with it, yo' isn't the most effectively way to communicate with people that you're changing the society they were born into.

I would ask you, though, why do you say we're living in a secular society now? What about society do you think implies it is bereft of religion?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Although the recent religious protection law is about preventing the government outlawing religion...
In what conceivable way is it "about" that?

quote:
the government isn't the only body that can effectively ban religion. For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs.
Are you suggesting that private individuals should not do business according to their conscience? Unless their conscience is telling them to oppose same-sex marriage?

quote:
But telling one class of people they'd better just adapt to the culture of another class seems a bit one-sided.
It sure is. That's what you get when one side is unambiguously wrong.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Although the recent religious protection law is about preventing the government outlawing religion, the government isn't the only body that can effectively ban religion. For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs. Maybe he'll be ok at some other job, but imagine that all kind of companies stepped into line and wouldn't hire him because of his beliefs either. This would mean that it is de facto illegal for him to be Christian, and the government doesn't even need to be involved. Now this is only one angle of the issue, and the government obliging Christians to do certain things would be another. So far it's not a huge deal, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that it could progress and become more serious. But right now the jabs are coming from different directions slowly.

How many people have lost their jobs or had people not hire them because they were gay? I mean, maybe they will be okay in some other kind of job but imagine that all kind of companies stepped into line and wouldn't hire him because of his orientation either. This would mean that it is de facto illegal for him to be gay, and the government doesn't even need to be involved.

Actually, you don't have to imagine; you could just look around.
quote:


But telling one class of people they'd better just adapt to the culture of another class seems a bit one-sided.

Really? You don't think that non-Christians have had to adapt to the culture of another class since, well, forever? Not requiring other people to adapt to a specific kind of Christian culture* (or to have to adapt less is not oppression of Christians. For goodness sake, the country is over 70% Christian and you are worried about persecution?

*Reminder, not all Christians are anti-gay.

[ April 29, 2015, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Wayward Son
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I think, Fenring, that if you could provide specific, verified instances of Christian persecution, it would help the conversation.

I say verified, BTW, because I have seen several instances of "Christian persecution" which turn out to be overblown or outright lies. [Frown]

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Mynnion
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Divorce and remarriage is considered adultery per Jesus and a sin. I find it incredibly hypocritical to give homosexuality some kind of elevated sinful status.
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D.W.
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You should probably reframe your request Wayward. That persecution exists seems obvious. That it is noteworthy considering the influence still held by and the demographics of Christian faith in our country is another matter.

Possibly better to ask where through law, economic or social pressure Christians were forced to break tenants of their faith?

[ April 29, 2015, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs.
That is not true at all. He didn't have to step down, he _chose to step down_ because he'd offended a significant portion of his customer base and chose not to apologize to them for contributing to harmful actions against them.

And nothing about being Christian requires him to give money to causes that harm others, that was purely his choice, even if his interpretation of his religion motivated him to do so. Spending money to impose his religious beliefs on others is well outside the context or protected freedom to hold whatever religious views he wants.

quote:
What about society do you think implies it is bereft of religion?
That's a nonsensical question. Secular means that its authority and its rules are decided using non-religious standards; it is definitionally secular, because it's fundamental law is a human written constitution, not a holy book, regardless of the distribution of religious beliefs. Secular is the complement to sacred, not the inverse of it. Being secular means that it can't point to the Bible for justifications for law and policies, not that it excludes religious people.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
That persecution exists seems obvious.
If it is obvious, then think we have different defintions of what is "persecution." [Smile]

When I think of "persecution," I think of unreasonable attacks that have a major detrimental effect on someone's life. Losing a job. Getting physically attacked. Being completely isolated from a community.

If it is a minor inconvenience or makes you "feel bad," that is not necessarily persecution. Having someone disagree with you or tell you you're full of it. Telling you to follow the law, even if you disagree with that law. Ignoring your wishes. Breaking the tenants of your faith because keeping those tentants would cause major problems for someone else.

So examples of "persecution" would help the conversation by defining exactly what the problem is.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Although the recent religious protection law is about preventing the government outlawing religion, the government isn't the only body that can effectively ban religion. For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs. Maybe he'll be ok at some other job, but imagine that all kind of companies stepped into line and wouldn't hire him because of his beliefs either. This would mean that it is de facto illegal for him to be Christian, and the government doesn't even need to be involved. Now this is only one angle of the issue, and the government obliging Christians to do certain things would be another. So far it's not a huge deal, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that it could progress and become more serious. But right now the jabs are coming from different directions slowly.

Your argument suggests that it is somehow wrong for the public (or a company designed to serve the public) to hold someone in contempt for their beliefs.

I can all but guarantee that you would feel differently if Mr. Eich's beliefs had been, say, Nazism. Your argument evaporates if you consider, as I do, religious beliefs to be no more or less worthy of protection than any other beliefs.

That religions have persuaded the general public of their own sacredness, and are not considered merely "deeply-held opinions", is the greatest single problem I see in the US regarding religion. I am not in favor of abolishing religion (as if such a thing were possible) - I don't think it would create a better society in any meaningful way. I do think, however, that society is better off that does not give special protections against scrutiny to any particular opinion. Opinions, even religious ones, should fend for themselves in the marketplace of ideas.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Spending money to impose his religious beliefs on others is well outside the context or protected freedom to hold whatever religious views he wants.
Well, no. Spending money to advance a political agenda -- religiously-motivated or not -- is itself a protected form of speech. Which is why the only opposition Eich faced was vocal complaints and boycotts; there was no legal remedy, because he (and anyone else) is perfectly within his rights to donate his money to any cause he wants.
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D.W.
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quote:
When I think of "persecution," I think of unreasonable attacks that have a major detrimental effect on someone's life. Losing a job. Getting physically attacked. Being completely isolated from a community.
That definition is what I meant by reframing. By some definitions I am a persecutor. I have friends who are openly hostile and insulting in words and writing towards all religious people. It's "obvious" to me because I see it and in some lesser forms am part of it.

That said I've never physically attacked anyone, I have no power to isolate anyone nor could I cost someone their job even if I wanted to. I'm respectful to people's faith as long as that faith doesn't attempt to hurt or emotionally abuse outsiders. Even when someone doesn't reach that bar, I don't lash out in a way which would fit your explained definition.

That's why I asked.

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Wayward Son
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And even my definition is limited. There are some instances of persecution that don't fit my particular definition. There are other instances that would fit my definition that I wouldn't consider persecution.

That's why I asked for specific instances, so we can see (in a sense [Wink] ) exactly what this persecution looks like.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Although the recent religious protection law is about preventing the government outlawing religion...
In what conceivable way is it "about" that?
The basic principle of free society is that each person chooses with whom to associate and do business. The introduction of protected classes changed the game and created a scenario wherein people are legally obliged to do business with certain people if the only reason not to do so would be their protected class status. Therefore the law introduced the notion of forced commerce within certain narrow parameters. The Indiana religious protection law is ostensibly (if you believe the legislators that drafted it) designed to prevent further laws from forcing commerce in a religious scenario, and also to provide some shielding against possible deleterious effects of the laws already passed. In short, it's to provide people with some protection from previous and future government laws designed to force commerce. The social issue is between religious people and other people, but the legal issue between religious people and the government.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
the government isn't the only body that can effectively ban religion. For instance when Brendan Eich effectively had to step down for being Christian (i.e. for donating money to a cause in line with his religious views) he was being censured for his beliefs.
Are you suggesting that private individuals should not do business according to their conscience? Unless their conscience is telling them to oppose same-sex marriage?
No, they absolutely should do business according to their conscience, including boycotts or whatever else they feel like doing. I wasn't suggesting that the backlash against Eich was in any way illegitimate, but rather just that the 'attack' on Christians is taking many forms right now, some legal, and some social.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:

quote:


But telling one class of people they'd better just adapt to the culture of another class seems a bit one-sided.

Really? You don't think that non-Christians have had to adapt to the culture of another class since, well, forever? Not requiring other people to adapt to a specific kind of Christian culture* (or to have to adapt less is not oppression of Christians. For goodness sake, the country is over 70% Christian and you are worried about persecution?

*Reminder, not all Christians are anti-gay.

You're absolutely right that 'what goes around comes around', and making Christians get used to new conditions for a change is fine. After all, it's not like they're a persecuted minority. However expecting people to adapt to change isn't the same thing as saying you're going to change all kinds of things without their consent and then they'd better just deal with it. It should be expected that a group that feels like it's losing ground will try to create resistance. This doesn't have to be framed as them refusing to accept reality, but instead can be seen as them trying to resist the changes in the first place. It's no surprise and I don't blame them for trying.

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
I think, Fenring, that if you could provide specific, verified instances of Christian persecution, it would help the conversation.

I say verified, BTW, because I have seen several instances of "Christian persecution" which turn out to be overblown or outright lies. [Frown]

If you mean persecution on the level of beatings and killings then not in the U.S. What I'm talking about is a combination of public censure, hate speech, and small incremental laws that make it hard to abide by one's religion legally. I'm hesitant to use the word "persecution" only because it sounds like a very strong word, but I would certainly call it "aggressive backlash" against the people previously seen as the oppressors.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:


quote:
What about society do you think implies it is bereft of religion?
That's a nonsensical question. Secular means that its authority and its rules are decided using non-religious standards; it is definitionally secular, because it's fundamental law is a human written constitution, not a holy book, regardless of the distribution of religious beliefs. Secular is the complement to sacred, not the inverse of it. Being secular means that it can't point to the Bible for justifications for law and policies, not that it excludes religious people.
Public law is just public law. Nothing in it is defined as "secular." In fact, many aspects of public law include religious convictions as their basis, even though the law does not mandate a state religion. For instance some states may have a law against sodomy. That is obviously a law involving religious convictions and it's part of the public legal system. The terms "public law" and "religious beliefs" are completely orthogonal to each other. The set of laws applicable to the entire public is not relatable to the sets of personal codes people live by, as parallel rule-sets that you switch between when you change from 'public life' into 'private life.' Rather, these rule sets exist concurrently with each other, functioning at the same time on different levels. The public law certainly does enforce some religious convictions, like it or not. It is not a secular law just because it applies to everyone. In fact, if it was even called "secular law" then it would be in violation of the separation of church and state as it would suggest that everyone must exist in a secular framework.

quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
Your argument suggests that it is somehow wrong for the public (or a company designed to serve the public) to hold someone in contempt for their beliefs.

I can all but guarantee that you would feel differently if Mr. Eich's beliefs had been, say, Nazism. Your argument evaporates if you consider, as I do, religious beliefs to be no more or less worthy of protection than any other beliefs.

It is not at all legally wrong for the public to hold anyone in contempt and to act accordingly. Whether doing so is a moral good is questionable but I could see arguments for each side. On the one hand we want to encourage acts of conscience in the world. On the other hand is it good to boycott any business whose owner doesn't happen to accord with our own beliefs? This sounds like a very intolerant scenario and is surely not a direction in keeping with supposed liberal values.

As for whether I'd change my tune had Eich been a neo-Nazi, I hope you'll agree that being a Christian is not comparable to being a Nazi in any way, shape or form. Or rather, I will say that if you think they are similar then you essentially have stated that Christianity is evil and must be opposed, which leads back to my claim that many people do, in fact, think this is the case. They are perfectly free to oppose it, of course, and Christians are perfectly free to resist that pressure.

In short, had Eich been a Nazi I would agree that I would be reluctant to support him. But Christians aren't Nazis and while I might oppose a Nazi no matter what in any old context, I would not choose to harass a Christian just for being a Christian unless he/she had done something terrible such as what the Nazis advocate.

The funny thing about boycotting someone with disagreeable views is that it actually introduces an ideological component to the marketplace that the people opposing the religious protection law are saying they think shouldn't exist. Pyrtolin has been saying that he feels the marketplace should be an entirely secular place operated by secular rules, which I think is just a way of saying "this is a place of business, not a place to introduce ideology." But let's say some atheists boycott any business run by a Christian, or let's say Republicans start boycotting businesses that employ registered Democrats. This is 'legal' but is it good? Do we want the business place to be a place of trying to punish people for having different world views? We grant that certain world views are innately criminal or violent in nature, such as Nazism, and so trying to stamp those out has some kind of exceptional utility. But sliding down the slippery slope and censuring anyone at all who doesn't agree with you...I don't know. It sounds the world would be a terrible place if it was like that.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The Indiana religious protection law is ostensibly (if you believe the legislators that drafted it) designed to prevent further laws from forcing commerce in a religious scenario, and also to provide some shielding against possible deleterious effects of the laws already passed. In short, it's to provide people with some protection from previous and future government laws designed to force commerce.
Except that it explicitly does not allow discrimination against protected classes, even for religious reasons. That's actually why the right wing in Indiana panicked and backed away (temporarily) from the law, because it looked like the law had created enough momentum to make sexual orientation a protected class in Indiana. Which would have actually been worse (from their POV) than the pre-law status quo.

quote:
I wasn't suggesting that the backlash against Eich was in any way illegitimate, but rather just that the 'attack' on Christians is taking many forms right now, some legal, and some social.
It seems to me that you are perhaps confusing homophobes with Christians. Is there an "attack" on Christians who are not trying to prevent gay couples from marrying?

quote:
It's no surprise and I don't blame them for trying.
Why can't we blame them for trying? When white folks were forced by law to desegregate schools, could we not have blamed them for trying to keep those schools segregated?

quote:
For instance some states may have a law against sodomy. That is obviously a law involving religious convictions and it's part of the public legal system. The terms "public law" and "religious beliefs" are completely orthogonal to each other.
Except that there is legal precedent that says otherwise: namely, that if the only rationale that can be produced for a law is a religious one, that law is likely unconstitutional wherever challenged when it restricts the behavior of those who do not share that religion. It's for this reason that various groups have tried to come up with secular post-facto justifications for blue laws and sodomy bans.

quote:
I would not choose to harass a Christian just for being a Christian unless he/she had done something terrible such as what the Nazis advocate.
I will point out that no one harassed Eich for being a Christian; they specifically harassed him for using his wealth to prevent gay couples from marrying. I personally think that's beyond the pale, BTW. But, again, let's be clear: Eich was not persecuted for being a Christian; he was persecuted for acting to perpetuate bigotry.
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D.W.
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quote:
let's say some atheists boycott any business run by a Christian, or let's say Republicans start boycotting businesses that employ registered Democrats.
OK, so they do. Does anyone at all have a problem with anyone choosing not to be a client somewhere? It's the inverse that's at issue. You are free to not spend your money somewhere.

It's when a service is being denied that there is a problem. Can't stand being around homosexuals? Don't get your coffee at the cafe owned by or frequented by homosexuals. Do you believe abortion is sinful or just amoral? Don't have one. It's not that difficult.

Accept that people will, and are legally permitted to do and say things you find uncomfortable or disgusting or amoral. It's not your job, divine calling* or right to force them not to or punish them. *If it IS your divine calling, tough **** I have zero sympathy for your crisis of faith in a society which challenges you so.

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Fenring
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Tom, there are some Christians who don't believe in gay marriage who choose to remain passive and apolitical, and others who try to make waves. Just because the ones actively trying to stop SSM are the ones receiving flak doesn't mean the passive Christians are somehow not involved. They believe the same thing. It's just that some people go out there and try to change things, and others spend their time working, with their family, or whatever else. The two groups aren't any different as Christians, it's just that some people like to take up causes and others don't. Any flak issued towards the more activist variety should be understood as pertaining to anyone who agrees with them but doesn't happen to enjoy spending their time crusading. So yes, it's not just anti-homophobia, because in a strict sense homophobia (i.e. having a problem with homosexuality) is built-in to most sects of Christianity.

Regarding laws having a religious background or not, you're right that they can't be defended only on religious grounds, but let's face it: many of the mores in the Judeo-Christian world come from the religion. You can create ex post facto 'secular' reasons to justify them but honestly it's BS. It is true, though, that old laws justified by religion can be sought out and struck down, and this is fine; but Pyr's claim was that all public law is by definition secular, and I say this is not true (whether or not it should be true).

D.W.: The issue here isn't about trying to punish someone for doing something you find disgusting or amoral. The issue is trying to punish someone for *not doing something* they find disgusting or amoral. And there's a world of difference there. You are right that denying service sounds like a bad thing. Forcing people to do things they don't believe in also sounds bad. They are both bad, and in some cases they intersect and that is why it's an issue. The question is how to balance them and to draw a line that doesn't completely decimate the rights on either side.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom, there are some Christians who don't believe in gay marriage who choose to remain passive and apolitical, and others who try to make waves. Just because the ones actively trying to stop SSM are the ones receiving flak doesn't mean the passive Christians are somehow not involved.
There are also some Christians who do believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. Is the issue that people are Christian, or that some people oppose permitting same-sex couples to wed? The latter, I suspect.
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D.W.
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quote:
The issue is trying to punish someone for *not doing something* they find disgusting or amoral.
There IS a world of difference there. It happens to be a make believe fantasy world that doesn't happen. I missed "Thou shall not baketh a cake for the sodomites" in Sunday school.

Should a priest be forced to preform a marriage which his faith does not condone? No.

Should a doctor be forced to write a perscription for birth control if they believe their religion forbid's it's use? Yes. (or quit being a doctor/specialist put in a position you may be required to do so.)

Should a doctor be forced to preform an abortion if they believe it's murder? No.

If you are being forced to break your faith, I think you should be protected. If you are hindering others from living and acting in a way that is not consistant with your faith then the law should stop you from doing so.

We should be free to practice our faith as we see fit and be protected by law to do so if it brakes no other laws. More important to me, we should be protected from others attempting to impose their faith upon us.

[ April 29, 2015, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Tom, there are some Christians who don't believe in gay marriage who choose to remain passive and apolitical, and others who try to make waves. Just because the ones actively trying to stop SSM are the ones receiving flak doesn't mean the passive Christians are somehow not involved.
There are also some Christians who do believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. Is the issue that people are Christian, or that some people oppose permitting same-sex couples to wed? The latter, I suspect.
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage. You simply will have rejected the Church's authority if you believe that. With Protestantism it's a little different because there are so many sects, but the majority of them don't accept homosexuality as ok. I'm sure you can find some Christian groups out there that are ok with it but they are a vast minority and therefore aren't really germane to a discussion about how to assess a religion that, by-and-large, simply isn't ok with certain lifestyles. You can assume for the purposes of this discussion that when I say "Christian" I mean the majority of them that don't think SSM is ok.
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NobleHunter
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The Anglican Church of Canada is okay with homosexuality, so not a vast minority. My mom's priest offered to bless, essentially almost but not quite marry, my relationship with my fiancé at the same time as we got a civil marriage. He's gone to a different and I'm still not married, but it's still a mainstream Christian church that stopped just short of offering the sacrament of marriage to a gay couple.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

We should be free to practice our faith as we see fit and be protected by law to do so if it brakes no other laws. More important to me, we should be protected from others attempting to impose their faith upon us.

This is entirely the point. Different laws are currently in contradiction and in fringe cases a 'winner' must be determined. I think your statement here is entirely reasonable, except that you can make a new law which ends up preventing the ability to abide by one's religion, and thereby make irrelevant the statement that we should be free to practice our faith as we see fit and be protected by law to do so.
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kmbboots
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quote:
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage.
Yes. Yes, you can. In fact, most US Catholics do. Also, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, UCC, and a big chunk of the Methodists.

[ April 29, 2015, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The Anglican Church of Canada is okay with homosexuality, so not a vast minority. My mom's priest offered to bless, essentially almost but not quite marry, my relationship with my fiancé at the same time as we got a civil marriage. He's gone to a different and I'm still not married, but it's still a mainstream Christian church that stopped just short of offering the sacrament of marriage to a gay couple.

Wiki says the Anglican Church of Canada has around 1.5 million members, so that's not too bad at all. But compare with American groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention (16 million members), the LDS (16 million), Catholic (78 million), Mainline Protestant (20 million), and others. I agree there are a decent amount of Christians who may believe in SSM, they are easily a vast minority. We can assume for the purposes of this conversation we're not talking about them.
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scifibum
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quote:
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage. You simply will have rejected the Church's authority if you believe that.
kmbboots might disagree. [Smile]

http://publicreligion.org/2015/04/attitudes-on-same-sex-marriage-by-religious-affiliation-and-denominational-family/#.VUFDQIvF_N6

If you add up the categories that call themselves Christian, those in favor add up to 46.2%. This is slightly larger than the opposed group, which measures 45.9%.

It's no longer safe to say that the majority are opposed.

Edit: I was beaten to the punch. But I think I brought the best data.

[ April 29, 2015, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Wayward Son
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There is a difference between not believing that homosexuality is OK and not believing in allowing secular SMM. You can still believe that homosexuality is a sin, but allow homosexuals to marry.

With that distinction, are you sure that a majority of Christians don't believe the government should condone SSM?

And if it is not a majority of Christians, can you call it a Christian attitude? [Wink]

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kmbboots
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I am not sure how you are defining "vast". About 60% of Catholics and white mainline Protestants support SSM and about 40% of African American Protestants are at about 40%. Even among white evangelical Protestants 20% support is which isn't exactly "vast".

[ April 29, 2015, 05:16 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage.
Sure. But personal belief has no bearing on provided contracted services. Providing contractually obligated services for something does not require that you approve of it. Disliking someone certainly does not create the right to persecute them by excluding them from access to publicly offered services as you're suggesting they should have.

quote:
Public law is just public law. Nothing in it is defined as "secular."
Unless you're talking about an explicit theocracy, that allows laws to be passed by religious dictate, public law is secular by the definition of the word secular. It doesn't matter if the intent to pass a law had roots in religious beliefs, the law is passed by a worldly authority using worldly methods. That's what it means to be secular. Unless you can point to official priests in our government with the authority to issue laws based on sacred authority, all of our laws are secular because they are not imposed or created by a religious institution.

quote:
You can assume for the purposes of this discussion that when I say "Christian" I mean the majority of them that don't think SSM is ok.
You're sitting on false, if not completely spurious, assumptions here.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage. You simply will have rejected the Church's authority if you believe that.
kmbboots might disagree. [Smile]


You think? [Smile]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
You can't be Catholic and "choose" to be for gay marriage. You simply will have rejected the Church's authority if you believe that.
kmbboots might disagree. [Smile]

http://publicreligion.org/2015/04/attitudes-on-same-sex-marriage-by-religious-affiliation-and-denominational-family/#.VUFDQIvF_N6

If you add up the categories that call themselves Christian, those in favor add up to 46.2%. This is slightly larger than the opposed group, which measures 45.9%.

It's no longer safe to say that the majority are opposed.

Edit: I was beaten to the punch. But I think I brought the best data.

I'll accept this distinction for sure. It is possible to be against homosexuality but ok with accepting SSM (or at least indifferent). So on the political level it looks like it's split roughly 50/50, while on the social level I'd say my original comment is accurate that most Christians are not ok with homosexuality. If, as Tom mentioned, the issue is with homophobes, then the portion of the Christian community that are not ok with homosexuality but are ok with SSM would still be homophobes, just ones willing to accept something bad since others want it.

I have a question for kmbboots, though: When you say American Catholics are frequently for SSM, how is this position justified? In other words, how would a Catholic of that sort (and maybe you are one) phrase a sentence explaining their belief on that within the context of the Catholic Church viewing homosexuality as a sin? I would have thought it would be a no-brainer that SSM would desecrate the sacrament of marriage as an institution.

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kmbboots
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And you would be wrong. I would phrase it as the leadership of the Church has not yet caught up with the Church on this social issue. But I have faith that, as in so many other issues, they will. For a more detailed argument, you are welcome to check out my many previous posts on the topic.

I would add that it is not necessarily a case of thinking that homosexuality is a sin but allowing it to be legal. It might be for some but you can't generalize that it is the case for all or even most. In fact, according to a poll from last September, more US Catholics (49%) say that homosexuality is not a sin than say that is it (44%).

[ April 29, 2015, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
In other words, how would a Catholic of that sort (and maybe you are one) phrase a sentence explaining their belief on that within the context of the Catholic Church viewing homosexuality as a sin? I would have thought it would be a no-brainer that SSM would desecrate the sacrament of marriage as an institution.
You do know that the Catholic Church's official position is or was the same on Protestant weddings? That it only very recently grudgingly decided to recognize some Catholic/Protestant weddings as legitimate in its eyes? But yet that did not translate into Catholics attempting to try to use civil law to prohibit other people from getting married anywhere but in a Catholic ceremony. This is no different than that. SSM that occurs in a civil context or in a Protestant, Evangelical, Mormon, or even a non-Christian religious context simply isn't relevant to the Church. The fact that it doesn't, internally accept and recognize it is not a commandment to take control of civil machinery to prevent other people from doing it, or even a command to the members of the Church to disparage the non-catholic marriages of the people around them.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
And you would be wrong. I would phrase it as the leadership of the Church has not yet caught up with the Church on this social issue. But I have faith that, as in so many other issues, they will. For a more detailed argument, you are welcome to check out my many previous posts on the topic.

I would add that it is not necessarily a case of thinking that homosexuality is a sin but allowing it to be legal. It might be for some but you can't generalize that it is the case for all or even most. In fact, according to a poll from last September, more US Catholics (49%) say that homosexuality is not a sin than say that is it (44%).

And yet isn't the Pope supposedly infallible in matters of faith and Christian doctrine, even though the Church is free to change its mind on other official non-spiritual positions such as regards science, politics, and so forth? How is it possible the Pope could be wrong that homosexual behavior is sinful?
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NobleHunter
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I was not aware the Pope had made a pronouncement ex cathedra on the subject of homosexuality.
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