Liberal vs. Conservative Views on Marriage Equality

The right wing has a bizarre way of turning around discrimination against homosexuals to make themselves the victims. For example, earlier in the year I had some posts on the culture wars in which I primarily characterized them as being a consequence of Republicans capitalizing on the desire of social conservatives to use the power of government to impose their views upon others. A number of conservative blogs discussing the same topic argued that the culture wars were a result of liberals forcing gay marriage on the country. Of course this really means allowing others to do as they choose. Nobody was forcing gay marriage upon anyone.

The recent court decision in Iowa has the potential of reigniting these culture wars. The Anonymous Liberal is getting in the middle of such culture wars in responding to two conservative posts. He began by quoting Rod Dreher who has a post entitled (really!) Gay marriage forced on Iowa. Dreher wrote:

This morning, I had breakfast with some guys, including a lawyer. We weren’t aware of this decision, but we talked about this issue. The lawyer said that as soon as homosexuality receives constitutionally protected status equivalent to race, then “it will be very hard to be a public Christian.” By which he meant to voice support, no matter how muted, for traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality and marriage. To do so would be to set yourself up for hostile work environment challenges, including dismissal from your job, and generally all the legal sanctions that now apply to people who openly express racist views.

That world got a little bit closer this morning. And most people don’t even see it.

The Anonymous Liberal responds:

I realize its often hard to appreciate how your words will come across to those who don’t share your beliefs, but good grief, is it possible to be more oblivious? Dreher is lamenting the fact that as the law progresses toward recognizing the rights of homosexual people, it will become increasingly hard to be publicly intolerant of homosexuality. Dreher thinks it’s getting hard to be a “public Christian” in this country.

Yeah, it’s pretty rough being a Christian in America. Maybe Dreher should try being a “public homosexual” for a while and compare the experience. If I had a Quantum Leap machine, I’d be tempted to zap Dreher into the life of a gay high school student or maybe a gay man in a small Southern town and see how easy he finds it to publicly be himself. I wonder if Dreyer has any clue how much harder that would be than anything he’s ever had to deal with as a straight white christian male.

There is more in the original post, and then an update in which The Anonymous Liberal responds to a post at The American Spectator by Robert Stacy McCain. McCain, as would be expected, has had a number of hysterical comments in protest of the Iowa decision. Regular readers will better know McCain for his blog The Other McCain. That’s the blog where last month another writer there objected to my inclusion in a list of liberal values of “Tolerance of others living a life style different from your own.” The writer there disagreed that this represented a different attitude than the one expressed at McCain’s blog. Their intolerance can be amply seen in their response to this case. Of course this came in the same post in which the writer denied claims of a difference in attitude towards science while demonstrating both a lack of understanding and respect for the use of the scientific method as opposed to religion to understand the universe.

While I’ve had disagreements here with Robert Stacy McCain (and even one post in agreement in the past week), The Anonymous Liberal seems to have been previously unaware of him. Should he, or his readers, follow the trackbacks here, I would like to provide just one more example of how his thought differs radically from ours. In December I wrote a post on how many in the religious right are resistant to moderating their views. McCain responded:

The real question isn’t the influence of Dobson, but rather the influence of God, and if you’re waiting for God to moderate his views, I suspect you’ll be waiting a long time.

I responded to this comment here. As long as people like McCain think that their objection to homosexuality is based upon following God’s own views there will be no change in their attitude. As they also lack any respect for our heritage of separation of church and state, they will continue to seek to use the power of government to impose what they see as God’s views upon others.

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  1. 1
    cognitive dissident says:

    I’ve always found it interesting that anti-gay bigots and racists worship a bigoted and racist deity, while tolerant theists worship a more open-minded and loving one.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Are you suggesting that the views which some people attribute to God are really their own personal views and prejudices?  🙂

  3. 3
    Fritz says:

    People really need to take personal responsibilities for the Deities they create.

  4. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    What I found really interesting, and wrote about in my own blog, was The Other McCain’s rather juvenile reversal of a comment made by Andrew Sullivan comparing homophobes to anti-Semites. Apparently, Mr. McCain believes that homphobia is a paranoid fantasy in the gay mind, just as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a paranoid fantasy in the anti-Semitic mind, and thus it is gay Americans who are closer to being anti-Semites. I couldn’t let that pass.

    There really is a huge persecution complex at work here, which is exactly analogous to anti-Semitism: the people advocating prejudice against gays, secular humanists, agnostics, and so on are claiming all these groups are conspiring to destroy their rights by advocating their own. I don’t often agree with Andrew Sullivan, but he was right about that.

  5. 5
    Kevin says:

    Hi all,

    This is the first visit to this blog, and I must say, I am impressed with it’s content. 

    Now, I am no theological scholar, but I have always wondered why Christians use the Jewish book of faith (the Old Testament) to bolster their intolerance.  Jesus, to my knowledge, never professed his views one way or the other about homosexuality.  One could make the argument that Jesus would never deny someone the right to happiness.

    Please check out my blog for other interesting commentary.

    Progress Not Congress

  6. 6
    Kevin says:

    Sorry about the typo in the previous response

    That would be “its content” not “it’s content.”

    Sorry, I’m a bit anal.

  7. 7
    cognitive dissident says:

    “Are you suggesting that the views which some people attribute to God are really their own personal views and prejudices?”

    I would never suggest such a thing! Although, as Montesquieu wrote:

    “It has been very well said, that if triangles were to make to themselves gods, they would give them three sides.”

  8. 8
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Or, as the apocryphal Darwinian schoolteacher of Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence said:

    “God created man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.”

  9. 9
    nomoreGOP says:

    wowzers.. I really got a few going on the american spectator

    I am trying so hard to somehow understand any part of some of these crazy conservatives’ side of this argument and it just isn’t working.. I mean they completely switch from pro ‘small govt.’ to expecting the feds to make some sort of sweeping nationwide anti-abortion legislation? Is it really that hard to see the hypocritical nature of this?

    Not to mention they consistently try to use their own beliefs as arguments against the opposite side.. One of my favorites was from the above linked post..
    “You are the hater because you want the government to force me to change my religious beliefs…”
    When has the left ever said anything about wanting the government to step in and change conservatives religious beliefs? Oh wait.. its that projectionism again (totally made that word up, but I like it I think) lol

  10. 10
    GB says:

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
    ———–Anne Lamott

    Title: Some quotes for the political theocons

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    For the benefit of conservatives who need this spelled out for them, there are two main objections to the conservative views being discussed here:

    1) We do not believe that social conservatives have any special knowledge as to what God might really believe and

    2) Such religious beliefs should not be used to decide public policy. While religious beliefs might legitimately be considered (as in prohibitions against killing) religious beliefs should not be used as the sole basis for civil law. You can hold religious beliefs but you cannot use the law to impose them upon others.

  12. 12
    nomoreGOP says:

    ok.. F “The American Spectator”

    they are not only some of the most ignorant and difficult people to have a conversation with.. the websites monitor actually was so scared that some of my posts might actually get their own side to wonder, that they took out the longest and most thought-out, researched posts.. Just straight deleted them.. there was no violation of blog terms.. nothing..

    just goes to show that there really is no effort to try and come to a compromise on any situation.. its their way or no way at all..

    pretty 5th grade if you ask me..

  13. 13
    Fritz says:

    The American Spectator (and Tyrell) were witty and enjoyable 20 years ago.  Then they went seriously mean and stopped being entertaining.  Quite sad.

  14. 14
    ulimi says:

    cognitive dissident said: “I’ve always found it interesting that anti-gay bigots and racists worship a bigoted and racist deity, while tolerant theists worship a more open-minded and loving one.”
    This is because there is no god but what we imagine for ourselves. So whatever god we invent for ourselves will naturally reflect our values – or lack thereof. I still say the best solution for the entire marriage conundrum is to simply get the state out of it altogether. The government has no business sanctioning certain classes of romantic relationships or families over others. There should be no such thing as state recognized marriage. Instead, people should all be free to negotiate their own relationship terms with their partners. This could easily be done by repealing all marraige laws, reforming the tax code and forcing employeres and insurers to modify their policies to allow for less narrowly defined conceptions of families and intimate relationships.

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