Sunday, March 25, 2007

Interfaith Dialogue

Jim Nimmo, a gay rights activist from Oklahoma, wrote an interesting article in the American Chronicle, (link) in which he argues that the opposition to gay marriage is linked to religion and that all religion is based on bigotry.
I sent him the following email:
As someone who supports gay marriage, I question some of your arguments. You seem to operate on the assumption that any opposition to gay marriage or to gays in general is based on homophobia and is of a religious origin. The reason why I support gay marriage is that I look around and see gay couples who are married and function in the same way as heterosexual couples so it seems reasonable to me have our marriage laws reflect this reality. Someone could be a complete atheist and look around and say that gay couples have not reached that point so we should just leave the laws as they are for the moment. If we present the argument for gay marriage like I just did then I believe we could get most of the country and even a decent percentage of people on the right to go along with it. In general I fail to see how any religious ban on gay sex would be any different then bans on eating pork or eating meat during Lent. I see homosexuality as an action that should be defended upon libertarian grounds. Not as a state of being that should be defended as a civil right. If we assume that homosexuality is a state of being then the state has the right to start asking itself what sorts of beings it prefers. Your attacks on religion are not helpful. By attacking religion you are making this about religion. Many people on the right suspect that the gay marriage movement is a conspiracy to get the courts to say that anyone who does not support gay marriage is a bigot. Hence the court would be saying that any religion that does not support gay marriage is bigoted and is no different then say the KKK.
Benzion N. Chinn
P.S The term is Hasdic Judaism not Hasdism Judaism.

He responded to my email:
Mr. Chinn,> > Thanks for reading and also for your support of gay marriage.> I think we're on the same page in regard to a libertatrian POV about> two people of any gender combination and/or religious/non-religious> status being recognized first from the civil government for a valid> marriage license. Religious ceremonies can come later, if at all.> > I think the issue IS religion and the pernicious, parasitic way it> has of infecting our civil and social atmosphere.> > I do not wish any opponent harm: I want them to leave their> prejucide out of the public forum as it always brings harm to those> whose beliefs and education differ from the oppressors.> > Until our American First Amendment is formally repealed, instead of> being simply ignored by many, we should maintain a strict seperation> of religous views from being injected into our civil codes, be they> progressive or knee-jerk beliefs.> > As I stated in my essay, why should one denomination be allowed to> hold sway over another? Is the intent of such a practice to> reinforce the inculcated bigotry some people choose to use as a> smoke screen, a bigotry which we both want to suspend?> > Thanks for the terminology correction. I knew it didn't look right> but couldn't get my head around it. Living as a goy in Oklahoma> leaves me little exposure to non-xtian practices and language.> > Best wishes.> > Jim Nimmo

To which I responded:The issue of the more extreme factions of a group being able to hold> the more moderate factions hostage is an interesting issue that goes> beyond religion. I see it all over the place.> Particularly in the case of religion, the more extreme groups (in> the case of Judaism that would be Hasidic Jews and other types of> Haredim.) do not view the more moderate groups as having any sort of> legitimacy, while the moderates still view those on the extreme as> being legitimate. The reason for this is that the general perception> is that those on the extreme are the most religious, the "true> believers." This allows those on the extreme to ignore the moderates> while the moderates have to constantly pay attention to those on the> extreme.> At the end of the day it those who are on the extreme who manage to> dictate the agenda and everyone else is caught simply trying to> react.> One of the problems with how we currently put the first amendment> into practice is that it makes it very difficult to deal with> religion in a public context. Religion becomes something that only> goes on in private religious circles, where the extremes can> dominate the conversation.> Just as I have no problem with having government paid chaplains in> the armed forces and Congress opening sessions with a prayer. I have> no problem with there being government chaplains in public schools> and there being prayer in public schools. Just as long as it does> not cross the line into becoming an active campaign to create a> dominant religion.> As to my letter. You did not answer the question of what is the> difference between banning homosexual sex and banning any other> action? Religions usually have lots of taboos, why can't> homosexuality simply be one more of them? While this may put the> members of a given religion who are homosexuals in a really tough> position, it would not make the religion homophobic.
Benzion Chinn

I have never been given any sort of answer as to why homosexuality must be treated as a state of being instead of as an action that some people enjoy doing. Of course once we start treating homosexuality as an action then the notion of gay rights collapses.


Miss S. said...

Wow; I just sent off my absentee ballot for FL and I voted for an ammendment that would define marriage as an instiution between a man and a woman. Yes, me...the Democrat! Funny. :-D

Izgad said...

If I were a Republican operative I would have a big case file on you and a picture of you up in my office with a sign: "Why is this person not a Republican?"
You are against affirmative action, gay marriage and you are a very religious person. If Republicans are going to want to win in the future (we both know that this November is going to be a loss for them.) they are going to have to figure out how to get your vote.