Member Rara Avis
Which brings me back to the point you never addressed, which is the fact that the subjectivity you ascribe to morals can be just as easily applied to ideas of "security and safety".
Perhaps everything really is somewhat subjective, Stephen, but the idea is to at least limit subjectivity even where we can't eliminate it.
Go to any country, any culture, any religion, and most people are going to have very similar ideas about what constitutes security and safety. As I said in another thread, pain is pervasive. Morality, especially when it deviates from pain, is considerably less so.
Here's, perhaps, a different way of looking at it. If it's done TO me then I have a say, either nay or aye. If it's done to yourself or another willing adult, it ain't none of my business. (And, yes, that's going to include some few things that are currently illegal in this country. As you are quick to point out, we haven't escaped morality as much as I'd like. )
The simple fact that homosexuals cannot procreate (by design) ought to give us sufficient pause, in rashly changing the laws. The fact that many scientists and medical professionals (up until recently, though political correctness) have viewed homosexuality as aberrant and harmful, ought to give us pause.
I'd say, we've been paused quite long enough, Stephen.
If you want to make procreation a stipulation of marriage then, by all means, argue that. If you want to make lack of harm a stipulation of marriage, go for it. Neither, however, are unique to a person's sexual preference and neither should be gratuitously tied to homosexuality.
The primary causes for the failure of marriages is because of greed, selfishness, or irresponsibility in one or more of the partners. But pointing out bad examples of something, doesn't provide a sufficient reason to change it entirely.
No, Stephen, it doesn't. Nor was that ever my intent.
I think it does, however, bring into question the oft claimed sanctity of civil marriage.
There are many other behavioral problems that are not simply chosen; Yet that doesn't obligate us to view them as okay. Child molesters do not "decide" to become child molesters either ... at least not in the instantaneous fashion that we think of when we think of choices. Murderers? Same thing. Rapists? Same thing.
Three quick points:
First, I would seriously question whether child molesters, murderers, or rapists are born or nurtured. Second, I would question whether any of us aren't child molesters, murders, and rapists. (And, yes, I recognize the contradiction.)
Mostly, though, I'll simply point out that we're not talking about behaviors, we're talking about innocent behaviors that in and of themselves harm no one. Eating is a behavior, too, Stephen, and one that's darn hard to eliminate. Except in rare instances (like Jeffrey Dahmer), we don't try to legislate it.
Molestation, murder and rape hurt people. Loving someone, even someone of the same gender, hurts no one.
The only thing is, the theological data you tend to view as inspired, states that homosexuality is sin and a form of moral deviance.
(Before you get upset ... You brought God into this one).
Not the way I interpret it, Stephen.
(And, of course, I'm not upset. We've had that discussion, be we can always have it again.)
Not only didn't he (Jesse Jackson) choose, but his will was completely out of the picture. Not so with homosexuality, and a host of other behavioral issues in society.
But that's exactly my contention, Stephen. Jackson didn't choose to be black, but he did choose to acknowledge his race and act accordingly. We just don't call that a behavioral issue today, though it wasn't too many years ago that many still did.
In my opinion, it's exactly the same today with homosexuality. The homosexual has no choice in his or her being, any more than you or I do as heterosexuals. We are what we are, regardless of how we choose to act. You could take a vow of chastity or even take to dating other men, but those choices aren't going to change your innate heterosexuality.
You are what you are. It is only what you choose to do with it that determines behavior.
This has nothing to do with personal treatment of homosexuals, but whether or not legislation will change concerning the issue of marriage. And when it comes to legislation, I doubt that you would want everyone treated the same on every issue. Shouldn't young people be able to draw social security now? Shouldn't adult men be able to become girl scouts? See my point?
LOL. Actually, Stephen, children DO draw Social Security.
Your other analogy is a better one, though, because the correct answer shouldn't come from either you or I. That's a decision for the Girl Scouts, not one that should be legislated by society.
More importantly, and to answer your greater question, YES, I absolutely would want everyone treated the same on every issue -- so long as it doesn't result in harm to anyone. That's the key that keeps getting dropped.
Nice try, Ron, but I think I have the upper hand on this one. Homosexual desire and acting on that desire are both "behaviors". But I suppose there are still a few cognitive theorists out there who, against the evidence, throw "internal states" at behaviorists as if it is a victory cry. The simple truth is that, while internal states exist, they are not observable. Science is about the observable, right? Any response to a stimulus that is occasioned by reinforcement (either positive or negative) is operant behavior. Thus, both homosexual desire and acting on that desire are behavior by definition. And even desire is measurable these days.
You make strong arguments, Jim. Strong, but not necessarily convincing.
This would seem to challenge your point that homosexuality is a "state of being." If the desire and resulting acting on that desire are extinguished, does that mean the homosexual ceases to be?
First, Jim, I think you put much more faith in behavior modification than is probably warranted. Extinguished? I think there's a very good reason why you may meet a recovering alcoholic, but never a former alcoholic. You might convince a person to believe they have changed sexual preference, but in the absence of continued reinforcement that belief is going to be transitory. They -- and their behaviors -- are going to revert right back to their "state of being."
Second, all of your arguments apply just as much to heterosexuals as to homosexuals. You're essentially arguing that sexuality itself is not a state of being, but rather a learned behavior. To some extant, I think that's probably true -- which is exactly why there are so many shadows obscuring any real truth -- but it's also impossible to ignore the physical manifestations of puberty and sexuality. Personally, I think you can turn either a heterosexual or homosexual into a bisexual but the base sexuality is hard-wired into the body long before birth.
I don't believe any amount of behavior modification, or castration, or hormone injections could ever make me into something other than what I am. At best, those attempts would only change my behavior and -- not incidentally -- my well being.
As to your proposed compromise, I might be inclined to propose that the jurisdiction to declare a couple married be returned to religious institutions where it was until the late 1800s. If couples want their partnership to be legally recognized, enable couples of either persuasion to seek state-recognized covenantal or contractual unions that enable them to file joint tax returns (and thus pay the "contractual union tax") and qualify for Section 125 Cafeteria Plan benefits plans for their dependents.
Personally, I think that's a good compromise, Jim. Unfortunately, I don't think it's tenable because you're essentially saying that non-religious people can no longer get married. Language still holds power, I think, and denying people the use of words like married, wife, husband, and ball-and-chain (oops, just kidding) is never going to fly. And if you don't take away those words, you have exactly the same situation we have today -- complete confusion over what is and isn't marriage.
I think, much as you do I suspect, that a line has to be drawn between religious marriage and secular marriage. They are not and never have been the same thing, but unfortunately they often overlap, and that overlap is killing us. There are many, many different religions (including the lack of one), but there has to be only a single State. The latter cannot be made to adhere to the former. That's impossible in anything short of a theocracy, which I trust none of us are advocating.
Even within the same faith, we often don't agree. The same Bible that seemingly refuses to let two men marry also seemingly refuses to let a man and woman marry more than once in their lives. Why do we legislate one and not the other? In part, it's simple numbers. Majority rules. But also in part, I think, it's a matter of pragmatism.
Some things simply can't be stopped, so must be accepted and at least partially controlled. Love, whether between homosexual or heterosexual, seems to be one of those things.
We can talk all we want about what 'behavior' or 'harm' mean, we can discuss all we want what is better for society, but gayness and 'lazy' writing are tied up with a person's identity. That means, however you put it, that they are going to be hurt, that they are going to feel 'dissed' when someone criticizes, aren't they?
I don't think so, Brad. At least not necessarily.
Whether it's part of a person's identity or not, whether it's inherent or chosen, I suspect most people feel dissed when someone criticizes . . . anything about them. It's human nature.
I'd like to think, however, that what I said to Ed in this thread is pretty much what you and others might have said had he posted a poem of similar carelessness in Critical Analysis. I attacked what he said and how he said it, not who he is. I was probably harsher than is my wont, and almost certainly harsher than necessary, but that's in small part because Edward has made a habit of snidely attacking other Members and in large part because this post was a direct attack on a two different groups of people, the gay and the people what stand up for the gay. Carelessness while learning should be corrected and tolerated. Carelessness as a weapon must be denounced and never tolerated.
Initially, I almost pulled Edward's post as an infringement of our Guidelines. The connection was at best nebulous, however, and I thought he deserved a chance to instead learn where he has continuously gone wrong in our Discussion forums. Based on his earlier conversations with LR, Essorant and others, I'm not surprised he chose a different course.
Interestingly, and not coincidentally, Edward reminds me a little of one of our Moderators circa 1999. And my posted reactions then were much the same as now. I'll let others speculate who that might be, except to quickly add that I'm very proud and happy with all of our Moderators. There's hope for everyone.