Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sharia Law, Homosexuality, and Facebook

This conversation occurred on my wall on Facebook, and I wanted to blog it here (as well as commentate) before it faded into Facebook history. One of these days, Facebook needs to make searching through old material more extensive than its present linear process.

I shared an article that addressed my belief that forcing "Christian" law on someone is just as intolerable as it is to force "Islamic" law on someone. (I brought this up a few months ago too and had a few "defriendings" occur for holding such a position.) The conversation that followed was interesting to me and I think it shows examples of a lot of viewpoints.

I want to commentate on two items. First, my friend Kim brings up the issue that poorly behaving Christians in the present and in the past, by virtue of their behavior, do not get to lay claim to the name Christian. I hear this argument regularly in Christian circles (in fact, I just heard it again yesterday) and I don't think it is valid. It is just too easy to say that every bad Christian is not really a Christian. To me, it would be like saying that every communist economic system that failed wasn't really communist (after all, says the communist, if it were really communism it would not have failed). You can't just dissociate from every bad egg in your group.

Second, my brother Steve contends that most people's negative feelings in regard to gay marriage are not religiously based - religious folks are simply the loudest on the issue. I don't buy this point either. In fact, I have NEVER heard a secular argument against gay marriage made. If anyone is aware of any studies on why people are against gay marriage, I would love to see them.

More threatening and more real than Sharia Law is theocratic laws dictated by the Religious Right. I find any group threatening my freedoms to be equally immoral... regardless of what god banner they carry.
Members of the Religious Right say they fear Muslims imposing Shariah Law on America. This isn't about to happen. But what is taking place is a home grown movement to turn America into their version of a modern day theocracy -- say, Iran.

14 June at 13:20 · Privacy: ·  ·  · 

  • Revrnd Skyler, Bruce  and Jason D like this.

    • Kim
       ‎"more threatening and more real"? That's a most idiotic statement. I know of no society in the world ruled by theocratic laws dictated by the Religious Right that stones women, cuts people's hands off, and blinds people with acid. These things are happening today in countries ruled by Sharia.
      14 June at 16:29 · 

    • Kim
       These radicals that Frank Schaeffer describes are fringe and few. The attempt to equate them with mainstream evangelicals is misguided at best and most likely malicious. I would suggest you would be hard pressed to find 1 in 100,000 who would take these types of radical views. Its probably closer to 1 in a million.
      14 June at 16:34 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 

      kim - religious conservatism has a history of supressing minority groups... when secular law prevents the more overt mistreatment of one, they move on to another. the religious right is more of a threat to the freedoms of americans than any sharia law. i do not expect my local laws making women dress in bee keeper suits anytime soon, but the religious right regularly uses their interpretation of the bible as a basis for intrusion into the freedoms of others.

      14 June at 16:42 · 

    • Kim 
      Sorry, but I disagree. I think that is complete and utter BS. You are making statements with no backing at all. If you are trying to say the KKK was religious conservatism, you are way off. Even when they were relatively popular, they were not supported by mainstream Christianity. Historically, real Christianity was the source of every freedom we have in the world. It is true that some have tried to use the Bible as justification for their stupidity and ignorance, but they were not, by any rational person's measure, true followers of Christ nor, if you looked at their personal lives, did they even pretend to be.

      14 June at 16:48 · 

    • Kim
      This article is taking an extremely small fringe movement and equating all of Christianity, specifically evangelicalism, with it. It would be like me saying that all Mormonism is horrible because they marry multiple women and allow older men to marry 12-year-old girls. I recognize that this is an extreme and fanatical group who call themselves Mormon but do not represent the true spirit and heart of Mormonism. It is amazing to me that you and people like Frank Schaeffer do not see the same thing regarding Christianity. Makes me think there is a chip-on-the-shoulder behind this that goes far beyond what is being stated.

      14 June at 16:58 · 

    • Andrew Hackman i think we have different definitions of extreme. to you, it is the kkk... to me it is the happy clean cut couple down the street who want to deny equal rights and protections to gay couples because.... well, because they want to enforce their religious convictions on others.... it is still religiously based opression
      14 June at 17:47 ·  ·  1 person

    • Andrew Hackman and in history, i think religiously justified slavery was normative. yes, there were powerful religious people who fought against it, but they were bucking the system and were not mainstream... if they were, we would not have had hundreds of years of slavery and its racist continuance
      14 June at 17:54 · 

    • Justin 
       I think Andrew makes some good points here. How many laws are currently in effect across the states due to someones interpretation of the bible? How many laws are currently in effect across the states do to someones interpretation of the Koran?
      14 June at 18:34 · 

    • Justin 
      I can think of a number of laws that are in effect due to Mormonism or Christianity. For example, in Utah car dealerships cannot be open on Sunday. In many places in the country you cannot purchase alcohol on a Sunday (and in some places you can't purchase it at all). In some states women are required to go under a certain number of hours of consoling before they can get an abortion. Oh yeah there are also gay marriage bans. I could go on but you get the point. Now can you point out a single Sharia law that has been implemented within the US?

      14 June at 18:39 · 

    • Justin
       Here is a short list that I'm sure is missing a lot:
      14 June at 18:41 · 

    • James  
      You are worried about the religious right? I am worried about people who can look me in the eye and say that abortion is ok because it isn't a human being until it pops out of the vagina. Just because there is a beating heart, pumping blood, and brain activity, there is no reason to jump to crazy conclusions that it is a human being in there. And heaven forbid if a woman needs to have some consultations before having an abortion. Shame on the religious right for believing in such a waste of time. Even though some women regret having an abortion later, why have them consider alternatives? Really?? That is the threat on freedom? Sarah Palin is going to take away your right to a speedy abortion? Worst article I have ever read. I agree with Kim above 100 percent.

      15 June at 05:16 · 

    • Justin  While I don't like abortion (due to religious beliefs) I also don't like regulating those beliefs. People should be able to chose which religion they want to follow and not be forced to follow one. Why can't I buy a car on Sunday in Utah? Why can't I buy a full strength beer in the grocery store? We are to chose to love and follow God not be forced to do it by someone else who has made that choice.
      15 June at 08:52 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 

      James - but it seems like your contention is with one issue (abortion) but what about the underlying principle? I think when this issue is addressed we start arguing the good or bad of particular laws; or get distracted by stating how bad those under Sharia law have it. But to me, all of that is deflecting from the fact that (it seems) Christians are ok with a theocratic state just so long as they are the ones holding the reigns. All the talk of freedom and constitutionality is just smoke and mirrors - at the end of the day, they see no problem enforcing religious and biblical convictions on others, because they believe it is for the higher good.... just like those wanting to spread Sharia law.

      15 June at 16:16 · 

    • Steve 
      Andy, what about people who want to deny gay's certain rights but don't do it from a religious conviction?
      15 June at 19:26 · 

    • Steve 
      After reading the article I can see the politics of fear show no repect for party. Liberals and Conservatives both use it but in Frank's case I say he found his little niche by playing the "I've grown up in the secret conservative meetings and this is what they think" card and then some poor liberals who have no friends in these circles proclaim, "Oh My, is this real" and the fear begins
      15 June at 19:31 · 

    • Andrew Hackman steve- if that was the only group stating the desire to supress the rights of gays... it would still be wrong, but would equate in number to those proclaiming a flat earth. the supression of the rights of gays occurs in america due to people enforcing their religious convictions on others.
      15 June at 20:21 · 

    • Steve  
      I believe those that are most "vocal" in opposition do so from a religious conviction. The average middle class guy who votes "against" behind a voting screen in numerous states where these ballot initiatives take place probably do it less from religious conviction and more from a personal view that it just ain't right. There are a number of social issue laws where a persons motivation could be secular, religious or a combination. Abortion for instance. An atheist and an evangelical can both be against abortion. An atheist and an evangelical can both believe that homosexuality is wrong. Again, I concede the religious argument gets the loudest but thats because the cab driver who is against it is too busy to be vocal.

      15 June at 21:18 · 

    • Andrew Hackman i would like to hear some feedback or see some stats on that... i just never hear that argument being made. I struggle to even imagine why anyone would care outside a religious bias. Even in your case, having been raised in a community which was hostile to homosexuals, I struggle to believe you would care if the inertia of your church upbringing and environment were not propelling you.
      15 June at 21:31 · 

    • Justin 
       There was a time when people thought it just wasn't right for black people and women to vote. That didn't make their beliefs right.
      15 June at 21:35 ·  ·  1 person

    • Steve 
      You're kidding right? You believe that the number of ballot inititives aimed at traditional marriage that have passed did so solely because of people with religious conviction? For me, I can honestly say that I don't endorse (not to be confused with tolerate) a homosexual lifestyle but would have the exact same position if I had no belief in God. That doesnt' mean I don't have good friends that are homosexual in the same way I have friends that take drugs and have cheat on their wives. My lack of endorsement for drug usage or adultury is separate from by Christian convictions but admittidly are in line with them

      15 June at 21:43 · 

    • Steve
       Ugh, I told myself I wasn't going to be drawn into any "gay" debates and here I am. Slow work day and just a little bored...
      15 June at 21:46 · 

    • Andrew Hackman Steve - Prop 8 in California is probably the most famous... and yep, I don't think it would have passed without the furious time and money spent by the religious. It is one of the few cases when Evangelicals stood hand in hand with Mormons.
      15 June at 22:38 · 

    • Justin 
       Maybe we should give gays their own pool? And maybe their own water fountains while were at it...
      15 June at 22:40 · 

    • Steve
       Yeah, because when one thinks of California, Mormons and Evangelicals are what springs to mind :)
      15 June at 22:42 · 

    • Steve 
      Justin: Well I suppose it would depend on what they wanted the pool for...they may want their own pool :)
      15 June at 22:43 · 

    • Andrew Hackman But that was the point Steve... Money was being poured in from around the country (Utah gave BIG) on a state issue that was not their own.
      15 June at 22:43 · 

    • Justin 
      well eye witness reports say they were not doing anything inappropriate... I remember a similar story where some friends of mine were walking though the temple down town while holding hands and they were escorted out. Bigotry is bigotry it doesn't matter who being the bigot or who is being a bigoted against. People should have a right to live their own lives the way they see fit as long as they are not harming someone else. Two gay people getting married has absolutly no effect on me or my marriage and claiming otherwise is just bigotry.

      15 June at 22:46 · 

    • Steve
       I don't argue that Andrew but money won't change a lot of what is already someones conviction. Not many are going to be against prop 8 and then see a Mormon sponsored ad and say, "Ok, now I'm for it". Hey, are their strong religious forces out there out to legally stop all things argument. I just don't think think this can be dismissed as a wholly religious argument
      15 June at 22:47 · 

    • Steve
       Keep that fire lit Justin...and remember, never trust anyone over 30 :)
      15 June at 22:49 · 

    • Justin
       crap I can't trust myself or my wife then....
      15 June at 22:50 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 
      Then your saying someone has a religious conviction that people shouldn't be gay... or they just like telling perfect strangers how they should live their lives. I think the second option is just senseless. I at least can understand someone bound by a religious conviction.

      And its not like they put a Moroni on the ad. The ads like Focus on the Family, preyed on a lot of folks fears and paranoia... and yeah, people still have a lot of latent bigotry that can be triggered. Ever hear some 80 year olds talk about black people? I have an 80 year old friend who thinks she is being generous by saying that "black folks can clean up rather nicely".

      15 June at 22:54 · 

    • Steve 
       Justin: Trusting myself leads to all kinds of mischief...
      15 June at 23:12 · 

    • Steve 
      Andy, we as a society always tell perfect strangers how to live their lives all the time. Your a school teacher for crying out loud, you get a roomful of strangers every year and tell them how to lead their lives. You tell them to not take drugs but you don't show them the recreational user who has is middle class and enjoys themselves, you show them the strung out addicts because "fear" is how we condition people to behave. I don't agree with "fear" or its use it in any form. I don't disagree with homosexuality out of fear any more than any other thing I disagree with. Do I agree with you that Prop 8 was mostly fear based...yes. Do I agree with the way religious people position the Does that suddenly make me a supporter of homosexuality...of course not. Thats why I tend to avoid these debates because they seem to be between people that support homosexuality, and those that use fear to fight it...and I am in neither camp

      15 June at 23:20 · 

    • Chris  came in on this a little late, so you might have to read back...@Steve am I to understand that you "tolerate" me as a friend the way you do a drug addict or adulterer?

      15 June at 23:21 · 

    • Steve 
       What would you like my position to be Chris?
      15 June at 23:23 · 

    • Brook
      15 June at 23:23 ·  ·  2 people

    • Steve 
       Thanks Brook, this conversation needed to get a little lighter :)
      15 June at 23:25 · 

    • Steve  And Chris, are you saying someone who takes drugs is wrong?
      15 June at 23:26 · 

    • Brook I came in on the conversation about 2 seconds ago, read none of it, just saw an opening and took it. :-) (no puns intended...)

      15 June at 23:30 · 

    • Chris
       You can have whatever position your convictions dictate. I just wonder if it is possible to be friends with someone with which you disagree without cateforizing them with other "undesirables"
      15 June at 23:32 · 

    • Steve 
       You know Brook, I have a great comeback to that "pun" wise but know this public and wouldn't want my mom to read it :) But think of the exchanges between Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett from "30 Rock" and you get the picture
      15 June at 23:33 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 
      Steve, every example you give (strung out addict, adulterer) has harm occurring... you are trying to make correlations where there are none. I have yet to hear why, if Joe loves Jim, that is such a problem for you. Again, you can have a relgious conviction that YOU should not be a homosexual. You may also just have an aversion to homsexuality. But I cannot see where you have a right to take your stance and legally force it on others.

      15 June at 23:33 · 

    • Steve 
       Chris, do you agree with every position, lifestyle choice, orientation of all of your friends? Most likely you don't. Most of us wouldn't have any friends if that were the case. To answer your question, Gay or Straight has no determination on whether someone is my friend or not
      15 June at 23:37 · 

    • Chris   I think you are missing my point Steve, I am not questioning your disagreeing with me or anyone else. I am questioning you comparing people you call friends with other groups that are generally not looked on in a complimentary light.

      15 June at 23:42 · 

    • Steve 
      Andy: Again I mentioned someone who takes drugs and you come back with a "strung out addict". I think you are biased against other people's substance taking orientation. Many people, including Bill Maher, would argue against drug usage being seen as harmful. And adultury doesn't physically harm anyone.
      15 June at 23:44 · 

    • Steve 
       But homosexuals Chris have traditionally not been looked on in a favorable light. I suppose someone caught in adultery could take offense at my lumping him (or her) in with homosexuals
      15 June at 23:46 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 
      Steve, I just think you are being evasive... you use examples with clear intent, then want to focus on their nuances rather than address the question.... I have yet to hear why, if Joe loves Jim, that is such a problem for you. Again, you can have a relgious conviction that YOU should not be a homosexual. You may also just have an aversion to homsexuality. But I cannot see where you have a right to take your stance and legally force it on others.

      15 June at 23:49 · 

    • Chris
      exactly, we (I and the adulterer) both feel like you just patted us on the back and said, "you can be my friend, i have plenty of undesirable friends"
      15 June at 23:59 ·  ·  1 person

    • Steve  
      Andy, I think you miss the point of how this started. I simply took issue with my conviction that homosexuality is wrong (and yes, I agree it is wrong and Joe loving Jim is not in the best interest for Joe, Jim, or society at large) was simply from a religious conviction, which it is not. I do not engage in legal measures to stop Joe & Jim from doing what they want. I do not agree with many of the legal attempts that are done

      16 June at 00:09 · 

    • Steve Sorry Chris, I suppose in my argument with Andy, I got carried away. If it makes you feel better I like you as much as any white, Republican, evangelical ;)

      16 June at 00:15 · 

    • Steve 
       Sorry guys...have to run
      16 June at 00:18 · 

    • Revrnd Skyler  I'm a bit late to the argument, but I have to ask; what secular reason can you give for denying homosexuals to marry?
      16 June at 01:28 · 

    • James  
      If you want to look at things from a secular point of view then why not legalize gambling everywhere, legalize drugs, and legalize prostitution also. The list is pretty much endless on what you "should" be allowed to do if you take that point of view. And a secular point of view? I don't recall homosexuality fitting into the whole natural selection process anywhere. I could be wrong but I have yet to see documented proof of homosexuality in the rest of the animal kingdom. I could care less if two guys or gals want to do their thing. But it is a choice and that does not make me feel compelled to open up marriage for them any more than I would for a guy wanting more than one wife or another guy wanting to marry his sister. From a secular point of view all these things should be fine. The secular point of view of things is not always the best way to view the world, unless it happens to somehow help the one issue you are fighting for. And if you argue against anything I listed above being allowed as opposed to homosexuality then you are adding your own morals to the argument.

      16 June at 06:05 · 

    • Krista
      Couple quick questions and a comment:

      @Steve- Curious how Joe loving Jim is not good for society. I happen to live in a very open community. Several of my kids friends have 2 moms or 2 dads. We also have staunch Catholics and surfers. Everyone gets along just fine. Some of my favorite neighborhoods (Greenwich, Asbury Park) would not exist if it weren't for the gay community moving in and making it into something great. The breeders had decades to make a move, they did not. So I am curious, what negative effects could a same sex couple make on society? I see no evidence of this.

      @James- Did you make a choice to be attracted to women? When did you decide that? If it is a sin, then are you tempted to do it as you could be tempted to cheat or steal? Do a bit of research and you'll find many animals practicing open sexuality (both sexes) and self pleasure. Surprise, surprise, they are in the primate group. I also agree with legalizing prostitution, legalizing marijuana (not a drug) and decriminalizing drugs. If you take the case study of Portugal, you'll find that it is a very socially and economically successful approach. Also, you CAN marry your cousin in 26 states. You can marry your same sex partner in only 6.

      As someone who has traveled in both evangelical circles, and secular. I have yet to come across a truly non-religious person who has any issue with homosexuality, or allowing their equal treatment. You may not think it's for you, but that's because you weren't born that way. For a religious person to claim their reasons for discrimination are not religion based seems highly unlikely. And yes, it is discrimination even if you think god told you to do it.

      16 June at 07:46 ·  ·  3 people

    • Revrnd Skyler  
      We aren't discussion those things. We are discussing gay marriage. Homosexuality is actually practiced by the animal kingdom, look up bonobos for a quick look into that. Of course it's not 'selected for' because usually they don't breed. But it happens, and it happens naturally. The reason we need to look at this secularly is because that's how our government is supposed to legislate just because you're not into it, or you don't like it doesn't mean we need to pass laws against it or deny it.

      16 June at 07:56 · 

    • Revrnd Skyler  ‎@Krista, better said than I!
      16 June at 07:59 · 

    • Krista
       Oh yeah, one more thing: "What the hell do you care if gay people marry, it's not like you're going to let them into heaven...", Daniel Tosh
      16 June at 09:51 · 

    • James 
      Krista, you didn't answer about a brother and sister marrying? What about a son and a mother marrying? What about a guy and a goat marrying? None of those things happening will personally hurt you or I. My point is everybody has a cut-off point of what is acceptable to them and what is over the line. Just because your line and my line might be different doesn't mean one of us is more right than the other. Right now the majority of people draw the line at gay marriage. Why don

      16 June at 10:36 · 

    • James 
       Sorry, clicked enter too soon. Why don't politicians make laws for gay marriage? Because they want to get re-elected and the majority of the voters don't want it. That pretty much tells the story there.
      16 June at 10:37 · 

    • Krista  ‎@James you just made Andrews point about forcing the entire population to live under your religious based laws. There was a time when people didn't want blacks and whites mixing either and it was backed by law. Eventually it seemed to be the ridiculous discrimination that it is. This is no different.
      16 June at 11:19 ·  ·  1 person

    • Chris
       I am unable to respond because I am busy erecting a statue of Krista!!!
      16 June at 14:19 ·  ·  1 person

    • James 
      First off, they are not my religious based laws. Second, gay people are allowed to be gay. No one is stopping them. The religious right do not want them to have legalized unions because it would stamp a seal of approval on the behavior, which the religious right do not approve of at all. Once again I will bring up a brother and sister wanting to get married. Why would this be heavily frowned upon? Does it hurt me? you? anyone? The answer is no but it is not socially acceptable so it is a no-go. The gay marriage thing has made progress and no doubt one day they will get their piece of paper and we can look forward to watching Judge Wapner Jr. deciding gay divorce cases on the People's Court. That day hasn't come yet. To the majority it is not acceptable to grant gay marriage. Just like women getting the right to vote, and the civil rights' movements in the 60's, it takes time and a heck of alot of effort to change people's attitudes and to change laws. Once society agrees with your view we will have gay marriage, legalized drugs, prostitution, and whatever else is on your list.

      16 June at 14:52 · 

    • Andrew Hackman 
      I could not help but think of the movie Serenity while having this conversation. Young River is asked by her teacher why the rebels hate the Alliance. River responds:

      "People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome."

      Religious folks, by and large, are meddlesome. They want to be in our homes and in our heads.... and they haven't the right. I agree with Justin... gay couples marrying and receiving those legal rights does not threaten me, my marriage, society, or my children. Those who want to deny these rights have control issues. They are just this generation's advocates of a Jim Crow caste system.... and history will remember them that way.

      16 June at 15:56 ·  ·  2 people
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