At GOP Progress today, Nate Nelson had this to say about Republicans and gays:
Without exception, the anti-gay sentiment within the Republican Party comes from those who cannot accept that people will believe and behave differently than they do. These are the people who believe that consensual sex between gay and lesbian adults should still be criminalized, simply because their interpretation of Christian scriptures tells them that it is wrong. In this, they are no different than the Islamic extremists who would impose shari’a upon the world.
This is complete garbage, of course, and the fact that this diary entry was promoted to the primary RSS feed is a sure sign that this site is going down the tubes.
I could flatter myself by saying that I’m utterly unique in America – the only Republican who opposes expansion of gay rights and yet doesn’t want to criminalize their sexual choices – but it’s more likely that Nate’s ramblings are wrong. Bummer, I was ready to go on a star trip there for a minute.
While the Bible does not condemn homosexuality beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is fairly clear on the point that homosexual behavior is not the natural way for men to conduct themselves.
Consider Romans 1:26-27:
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Pretty obvious that means gay sex was considered abnormal and undesirable, no?
But it does not follow from this passage that homosexuals should be considered criminals or that American Christians’ have any desire for this outcome. Nelson’s making a mountain out of a mole hill, I suspect, for reasons of his own whereas most Christians would probably be happy to simply be able to turn on the television without having to see the obligatory “smart cool gay guy/gal vs. the stupid hetero loser” show on every channel.
As for Mr. Nelson’s assertion that American Christianity is akin to sharia, I’m nearly stupified to silence. But not quite. So I’d like to encourage Nate to spend some time practicing his way of life in Saudi Arabia or Iran before writing further on that topic. I’ll pay for the ticket myself so long as the return date is two years in the future.
Nelson goes on to say this:
…they are the ones who destroy families, by encouraging men like Gene Robinson and Jim McGreevey to live a lie, a lie that they will inevitably fail to live with eventually. They share in the responsibility for the destruction of families that results when gays and lesbians are forced to admit their sexual orientation to heterosexual spouses and to their children.
This is another foolish extrapolation. After all, one must strongly suspect that the wife of a man who has suddenly announced his gayness after a decade of marriage will immediately blame the wayward husband for destroying her family, the Republican party being rather far down the list of causes (unless she is a knee-jerk liberal). In such a case it is, after all, the man himself who has chosen to betray her and in perhaps the most cutting way of all – my choosing to reject her gender entirely.
Consider the unfortunate wife’s position. Can the poor woman really be expected to equate the act of sex as she and her husband performed it to that which he does with another man and grant the other the same value as that which she gives?
Nate is quite correct in saying that gay acts should not be criminalized. But neither should society be forced to grant them the same acceptance as normal human sexuality. We need only consider the design of the human body to understand that it was meant for one use and not the other.
That fact has nothing to do with Republicans or the Bible. It simply is.
12 thoughts on “GOP and Gays”
I appreciate your saying that. This is an issue that touches home for me. It isn’t an abstraction. It matters in my life and in the lives of people I care about.
As for “male-on-male sex”, I have a couple of comments: The first is that marriage and relationships are obviously about a lot more than sex. I used to know someone who was a quadriplegic, but he was in love, and in a very long-term relationship. The relationship continued—I don’t pretend to know what went on in the privacy of their home, but I can attest to the fact that their love and commitment had to go far beyond either physical attraction or physical activity or their relationship would have ended. Doesn’t matter what they “did” or didn’t “do”; they were a couple, and they deserved to be recognized as such.
The second is kind of a trivial point: there isn’t anything that gay people do in private that many heterosexual couples don’t do as well, nor is there anything that all gay people do in private. And even if that weren’t the case, I have trouble understanding the notion that “right” or “wrong” depends on what’s between people’s legs. To be meaningful, morality has got to be more than some sort of “plumbing” manual. Is picking one’s nose “moral”, “immoral” or simply something you don’t want to watch other people do? 😉
I know that my analogy of deaf people isn’t perfect, but even if one accepts the notion that being deaf is abnormal, and even if the norm is to communicate with spoken language, we don’t (at least we shouldn’t) treat deaf people as pariahs or as worthy of condemnation, even if they eschew lip-reading and spoken English for sign language. After all, deaf people should get to live full, meaningful lives, even if they are different from the general population. So should gay people.
And I don’t understand stigmatizing how gay people feel and act in terms of their love and intimacy. There is certainly a long tradition of such stigmatizing, but that doesn’t explain or justify it.
Furthermore, “favoring” certain things, including what you consider the ideal, doesn’t automatically translate into DISALLOWING other things. You can view heterosexual couples as the “ideal” just as we do hearing people. But I don’t see how excluding gay couples helps –any more than excluding deaf people from education somehow “promotes” the education of the hearing. You can both recognize an ideal AND be inclusive of those who don’t fit that ideal.
As for “affirmative action”, let’s think through your example: what one group deserves based on academic credentials (i.e., admission into a university with limited openings) is INSTEAD given to another group, along racial lines, for some policy goal, such as helping the disenfranchised racial minority.
The thing is, allowing same-sex couples to wed doesn’t mean that “deserving” opposite-sex couples are DENIED marriage certificates. There isn’t a limited number to dole out. Every same-sex couple could get married tomorrow, and there would still be nothing to prevent “deserving” opposite-sex couples from getting married as well—at least once the lines died down. 😉
“I submit that maintaining the existing incentives that bolster the nuclear family.”
I agree that there is a big problem in parts of our society with “deadbeat” and single moms. Incentives? Fine. Tax breaks, free honeymoons, whatever you think might work. 😉
What I don’t see is how disallowing gay couples from marrying helps that problem at all. Back to my deaf analogy, it would be like arguing that the educational system shouldn’t educate deaf people because of problems with education among racial minorities in the inner city. No, by all means promote education where you need to. But don’t exclude it from others–they need it as well, after all.
I am arguing that gay couples need marriage. That speaks to the vital importance of it rather than somehow seeking its devaluation.
As I said yesterday, I’ve enjoyed our exchange. It looks like everyone else has abandoned this thread. Maybe it’s time to move on for us as well. I’ll look forward to your response. I am willing to let you have the last word, and to hope that we get the chance to chat again sometime.
Rick, I agree, this was a good discussion. Thanks for sharing your insights.
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