You Don’t Have to Hate Anybody to be a Bigot

Throughout American history, most bigots have been nice folks who had sincere religious reasons for treating other people badly.


Social conservatives were all over the airwaves and print media this week, explaining how and why the battle over marriage equality is not over. The Supreme Court may have spoken, but the other branches of government, they promised, could still step in somehow, if we elect the right people. Or county clerks could just refuse to issue licenses. Or ordinary people could practice civil disobedience in some unspecified way. There are, Glenn Beck has promised us, ten thousand pastors willing to “go to prison or to death” over this issue (though exactly what charges will brought against them or who might try to kill them is a bit vague).

To me, the most revealing moment of this Alamo-like refusal to surrender came when Texas Senator Ted Cruz was interviewed by Savannah Guthrie on The Today Show. Cruz was defending the “religious freedom” of Texas clerks not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, when Guthrie made an analogy:

GUTHRIE: If a state clerk refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, would you agree with that too?
CRUZ: There’s no religious backing for that.

Religion and interracial marriage. To anyone who remembers the 1960s or has read the history of interracial marriage (or civil rights in general), Cruz’ response is simply ridiculous. Opposition to interracial marriage was constantly expressed in religious terms.

For example, the reason the Supreme Court had to decide Loving v. Virginia, the case that legalized interracial marriage nationwide in 1967, was that when Richard and Mildred Loving tried to get their conviction for miscegenation overturned (so that they could legally come back to Virginia), Judge Leon M. Bazile was having none of it:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Judge Bazile’s decision says nothing about hating black people or even interracial couples. Yahoos on the street might have taunted Richard Loving as a “nigger lover”, but the judge did no such thing. He just saw the sense in a Virginia law that upheld God’s plan for the races.

Segregation. Opposition to school desegregation could be similarly respectful and devout. In 1958, Rev. Jerry Falwell preached a sermon “Segregation or Integration: Which?”. (Like all of Falwell’s pro-segregation sermons, this one is sadly unavailable online. Perhaps Liberty University might want to rectify this.) In it, he expressed his religious objection to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.

If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn the line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.

That polite-but-concerned religious defense of segregation goes all the way back to 1867, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court OK’d segregated passenger trains. Chief Justice Daniel Agnew wrote:

We declare a right to maintain separate relations, as far as is reasonably practicable, but in a spirit of kindness and charity, and with due regard to equality of rights, it is not prejudice, nor caste, nor injustice of any kind, but simply to suffer men to follow the law of races established by the Creator himself, and not to compel them to intermix contrary to their instincts.

Slavery. Even slavery had religious justifications, and the breakup of the Union was presaged by the splits in major religious denominations between Northern churches who found slavery immoral and Southern churches who taught that it was part of God’s plan. As Josiah Priest wrote in 1852:

“If God appointed the race of Ham judicially to slavery, and it were a heinous sin to enslave one, or all the race, how then is the appointment of God to go into effect? …. God does never sanction sin, nor call for the commission of moral evil to forward any of his purposes; wherefore we come to the conclusion, that is is not sinful to enslave the negro race, providing it is done in a tender, fatherly and thoughtful manner.”

Hatred of men, or love of God? Like most people who oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians today, past opponents of racial equality were not necessarily the screaming haters we see in the more dramatic videos from the civil rights movement. Far more were sedate and thoughtful people who were not aware of hating anyone. They just held a sincere belief — “in a spirit of kindness and charity”, they would tell you — that blacks were an inferior race who were better off among their own kind, or perhaps under the “tender, fatherly and thoughtful” guidance of a white master.

Most believed that God agreed with them, and could cite you chapter and verse to prove it. Freeing the slaves, desegregating the schools, allowing interracial marriage — at the time, those changes were all seen as aggressions against the religion of large numbers of American Christians.

And it is a mistake to think that such beliefs are dead relics of an era long past. There are still white supremacist churches today. As the web site of Thomas Robb Ministries in Harrison, Arkansas puts it:

For the mission God has bestowed upon His chosen people, the white race, he requires their separation.  They must honor their heritage, not despise it. Other races must honor their heritage as well. In a well ordered world, this is God’s way.

Granted, such groups are small compared to the Catholics or Southern Baptists. But your First Amendment rights don’t depend on the size of your congregation. If the religious freedom Ted Cruz wants for himself applies to Thomas Robb’s parishioners as well, then of course the county clerk must be able to refuse a marriage license to an interracial couple.

Conservatism and progress. It’s not hard to see why Cruz doesn’t want to remember or identify with the historical tradition of social conservatism: When we look back from today’s perspective, we see that the slavers and segregationists were wrong. Most of them were probably very nice people if you met them in the right circumstances, but they were wrong. They had sincerely held beliefs that were firmly anchored in their understanding of Christianity, but they were wrong.

So hardly anybody wants to claim their legacy today.

That’s the general pattern of social conservatives and progress: Eventually, progress catches up to them as well, so they can look back and see that the previous revolution in social practices and public morality was justified. The slaves should have been freed. Blacks should have been served at the Greensboro lunch counter. Women should be allowed to vote and run for office and enter the professions. (I didn’t get into the religious arguments for keeping women in the kitchen, but trust me, they were plentiful, and are also still with us.)

But this time it’s different! It always is. With no one left to defend them, our memory of the social conservatives of the past reduces to Simon Legree, KKK lynch mobs, police unleashing dogs and fire hoses against peaceful marchers, and the white rabble screaming obscenities at little black girls on their way to school. The thoughtful, intellectual, devout defenders of an unjust status quo are forgotten, because their memory embarrasses their heirs.

Consequently, in every generation, the well-considered, devout bigotry of nice people is presented to the world as a new thing. They’re nothing like the villains we recall from past social-justice movements. This time they have good reasons to block progress. They have looked deep into their souls and read their Bibles and taken it to the Lord in prayer. They don’t hate anybody, they just believe that the world as it was when they were growing up was endorsed by God, and they want to stop today’s amoral radicals from upsetting God’s appointed order.

In other words, they are just like every generation of social conservatives before them. The analogy with Josiah Priest and Chief Justice Agnew and Judge Bazile and the young Jerry Falwell (who later reversed himself, removed his segregation sermons from circulation, and quietly pretended he had never believed anything else) could not be more apt.

Bigotry is not the same as hate. Bigotry just means believing that certain groups of people do not deserve the same kind of consideration you want for yourself. Their suffering and distress doesn’t count, or they must have brought it on themselves in some obscure way. You don’t have to hate those people any more than you hate your dog when you keep him penned in your yard, or hate your children when you make them eat something they hate. (The analogy of parents and children, in fact, was often applied by pro-slavery writers to the master/slave relationship. Husbands, similarly, needed to make decisions for their wives, because women were pure but unworldly creatures. That’s what men loved about them.)

I don’t know precisely why Ted Cruz or the four dissenting judges in Obergefell believe that gays and lesbians don’t deserve the equal protection of the laws, but I doubt hate has much to do with it. It doesn’t have to. The Tennessee clerks who resigned rather than issue same-sex marriage licenses — I’ll bet they’re nice people with sincere beliefs. But they’re also bigots.

Conservatives blanch in horror at that word, when someone applies it to them. In Justice Alito’s dissent, he imagines this dystopian future:

I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.

How unfair, that those who find their neighbors’ relationships unworthy might themselves be examined and found wanting. How unfair, that they might be lumped together with the past bigots they so closely resemble. Don’t we understand that it’s different this time? That these are nice, thoughtful people of sincere beliefs?

We understand quite well.

Hidden residue. On the surface, bigotry against gays and lesbians may seem unrelated to racial bigotry. But when you deny your unattractive roots rather than repent and atone for them, their influence can linger in the back of your mind, occasionally peeking out at inopportune moments.

In an Alternet article picked up by Salon, Tim Wise called attention to the lingering racial bigotry implicit in some prominent denunciations of the recent marriage-equality ruling. Congressman Louie Gohmert, for example, warned of divine retribution:

God’s hand of protection will be withdrawn [from America] as future actions from external and internal forces will soon make clear. I will do all I can to prevent such harm, but I am gravely fearful that the stage has now been set.

Gohmert is far from the only person to make this point, and his statement contains no overt racism. But think about its implications: God kept the U.S. under His special protection and showered us with blessings while we committed genocide against the Native Americans and enslaved Africans by the millions. But as soon as we celebrate people of the same gender living together in loving, committed relationships, He’s done with us.

I don’t see an alternative to Wise’s interpretation: Gohmert’s statement only makes sense if you assume that the suffering of non-whites is beneath God’s notice.

Wise goes on to discuss another Ted Cruz interview, this one with Sean Hannity. The Obergefell decision coming so closely on the heels of the Court’s refusal to gut ObamaCare made for “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history”. (“I couldn’t say it more eloquently,” Hannity responded.)

Put aside the many-people-died events in American history (like Pearl Harbor or 9-11 or the bloodiest battles of the Civil War) and just restrict your attention to Supreme Court history. Cruz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, so I assume he knows about the Korematsu decision that OK’d putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps; and Dred Scott, where the Court declared blacks had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect”; and the 1883 decision in the Civil Rights Cases, which gave the green light to Jim Crow. To be some of the darkest 24 hours in the Court’s history, preserving ObamaCare and establishing marriage equality has to rank with those.

Again, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the suffering of non-whites just doesn’t count. Wise draws his conclusion:

Sometimes, racism is manifested in the subtle way a person can dismiss the lived experiences of those racial others as if they were nothing, utterly erasing those experiences, consigning them to the ashbin of history like so much irrelevant refuse.

You don’t have to hate anybody to be bigoted against them. Believing that they don’t count is more than enough.

Summing up. There’s nothing new about nice, salt-of-the-Earth people who sincerely believe that certain other people are undeserving of empathy or respect or fair treatment. There’s nothing new about those beliefs being expressed and justified in religious terms, or put forward by ministers and theologians.

Quite the opposite, that’s the normal situation. Throughout American history, most people have been pretty nice — even the bigots. America has seen nice slaveholders, nice segregationists, nice male chauvinists. And from the beginning, we have been a religious people, who could not have lived with ourselves if we couldn’t justify our bigoted beliefs in religious terms.

So we did, and we do. It’s normal.

Bigotry has a long history in the United States. And while that tradition includes haters, they’ve never been the majority. Today’s non-hateful bigots, with their sincere beliefs and their Biblical justifications, stand in a line that goes back to the beginnings of our nation. But the people in that line have consistently been wrong, and eventually even the people further up the line see it.

That’s why they never claim their legacy or own the authenticity of their place in that line. But the rest of us don’t have to humor their historical blindness. Bigotry today looks no different than bigotry 50 or 100 or 200 years ago. There’s no reason to call it anything else.

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Comments

  • Bill Camarda  On July 6, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I’ve been struck by a somewhat analogous issue when it comes to immigration. I point out to people that nativists said the exact same thing about their own ancestors that they say about today’s immigrants: they are dangerous, criminal, dirty, lazy, prone to terrorism in the name of foreign ideologies, can’t be assimilated into American democratic values… and that those nativists somehow have always turned out to be wrong.

    I can get otherwise “nice” people to mourn how terrible it was that their Italian or Eastern European ancestors were treated that way… but somehow I can never get them to draw a connection to the way they personally view Mexicans or Pakistanis today. As you observe, they always think “This time is different.”

    • Anonymous  On July 6, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      I believe you are convoluting the issue. People are not against immigration, they are against illegal immigration.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 5:52 am

        Plenty of people are against immigration in general. I often hear them quoting statistics that purportedly prove that some huge percentage of immigrants are on welfare, or some other argument to “close the borders.”

      • Jason Lewis  On July 7, 2015 at 8:44 am

        Larry your argument is flawed. You cannot generalize about “people” without having something to back it up aside from “I often hear”. That is hearsay information as we have no way to back up your claims.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        Jason, I’m not writing a sociology dissertation; I’m sharing my own personal impressions. Apparently you are hearing different things from the people around you.

      • Eric Sanders  On July 9, 2015 at 11:35 am

        One of the other things people forget when attempting to use legal/illegal immigration as a discriminator is that there *wasn’t* any “illegal” immigration until 1875 (prostitutes and convicts) and nothing broad based until 1882 (Chinese and other “undesirables”). The first quota-based limits by nationality wasn’t passed until 1921.

        So, for the first 140 years of America, most immigrants were hated, derided, lazy, and worthless job stealers — but we can all say “my ancestors came over *legally*” because there were no laws against it at all.

    • Kristina W  On July 8, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Just had to say, because it directly relates to the article – the argument you’re making is actually doing exactly what the article says – discounting the experiences of non-white people, by which I mean Native Americans. I’m by no means anti-immigration, but I think perhaps what’s missing from this train of thought is that the original white ‘immigrants’ to the U.S. *were* in fact dangerous, criminal, prone to terrorism in the name of foreign ideologies, and did not in fact assimilate into Native American values…. in fact, they slaughtered a whole continent of native inhabitants, and left behind a legacy of white supremacy that continues to shape the country and keep ethnic minorities in disproportionate and abject poverty.

      So I guess the real question is – shouldn’t we be welcoming with open arms anyone who isn’t literally trying to kill us (who is ‘us,’ anyway?) and bait us with small pox blankets?

  • Jeff Rosenberg  On July 6, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I think this is such an important topic because it gets at the dynamic or justification that “I am entitled or have the right to something (e.g., marriage), and you can’t.” If we are going to live by the “rule of law,” then it would only be fair that laws apply equivalently to all. Thus, this issue of bigotry rips at the very fabric of what holds our pluralistic society together. Thank you for this thoughtful essay.

    And BTW, the root of bigot: “A bigot first denoted a superstitious religious hypocrite; the immediate source is French but further than that is not known.” (Oxford Dictionary)

  • Xan  On July 6, 2015 at 10:05 am

    This statemetn: “the white rabble screaming obscenities at little black girls on their way to school” would be stronger without the racial modifiers. (Not that I should be parsing your prose– you write with wonderful clarity; but this jumped out at me.)

    • weeklysift  On July 6, 2015 at 10:14 am

      I went back and forth on that. You might be right. I’m inclined to leave posts alone unless there’s something clearly wrong with them, but you might right.

  • thebhgg  On July 6, 2015 at 10:18 am

    > You don’t have to hate anybody to be bigoted against them. Believing that they don’t count is more than enough

    Another way to put “believing they don’t count” is “indifference”. Once you know some of the stories of people behind these marriages, and you remain indifferent, I think you have come very close to the dehumanizing required for bigotry.

    By the way, a year ago, I posted this TIL to reddit:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1kt9ta/til_bigot_comes_from_the_phrase_by_god_in_old/

    “originally a derogatory term applied to Normans for their frequent note of the Old English oath bī god (“by God”)”

    There is an alternative etymology listed, but the connection between bigotry and religion is (possibly) older than our language.

    • thebhgg  On July 6, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Oops, didn’t read Jeff Rosenberg’s comment, and he has the better source anyway.

  • Michael Wells  On July 6, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I am struggling with your concepts of ” nice slaveholders, nice segregationists, nice male chauvinists.” Only if you define “nice” so narrowly that it is meaningless, can there be those people. To the enslaved person, there can be only a difference in degree of barbarity of the slave owner. To the black american who is denied equal access to public facilities, there is nothing nice about those who support segregation. To the woman who is demeaned and involuntarily restricted in her work and social opportunities, the man who is a chauvinist is not nice. Unless you are saying that this people are “nice” merely because they are polite in public discourse, the concepts are meaningless.

    • weeklysift  On July 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

      I mean that they experience little malice and intend no cruelty. They may fill oppressive social roles, but they do so obliviously. I’m not arguing that they do no damage, just that they’re trying to be good people and don’t understand why anyone would think they aren’t good people. If you met them in some setting where they weren’t filling an oppressive role, you’d probably like them.

      • Anonymous  On July 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        This reminds me of a quote from Derrick Jensen’s The Culture of Make-Believe –

        “Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, “normal,” chronic state–where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised–to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized. Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remain underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode.”

      • adepsis  On July 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        This reminds me of a quote from Derrick Jensen’s The Culture of Make-Believe –

        “Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, “normal,” chronic state–where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised–to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized. Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remain underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode.”

    • weeklysift  On July 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      A big piece the worldview that animates the Weekly Sift is captured in this quote from Ender’s Game. (And no, you don’t have to remind me that Orson Scott Card is a piece of work in his own right.)

      “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”

      • JELC  On July 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        Card is interesting for the way that he combines insight into the human condition and deeply empathetic writing with some deeply unempathetic perspectives in real life.

  • Jeff Rosenberg  On July 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    There’s another interesting angle to this essay as reflected by Matthew Lieberman’s book “Social: Why our Brains are Wired to Connect.” When there is an established social order, our “self” is like a “Trojan Horse” (Lieberman’s term) in that we think of our “self” as an independent being but actually it can serve as the delivery vehicle to perpetuate social mores. When oxytocin gets ‘pumped’, it is not only a “love” hormone but also a “tribal” one in that it promotes the protection of loved ones, those in our tribe. Thus, when we humans are confronted with fundamental changes in tribal structure, we are likely to strongly resist and not be especially receptive to logical argument. It attacks what feels like the very fiber of our individuality, our being.

  • Michael Compton  On July 6, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Great essay that makes a hugely important point. I’ll be sharing.

  • Jenn  On July 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Imagine no religion

  • Anonymous  On July 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    THANK YOU for arranging the swirling bits in my head into a comprehensible, straightforward form.

    I am so tired of my friends in the southeast US being so angry about Obergefell. I’m swimming in a sea of denial down here. The most maddening thing about it is that I know, from experience, that many of them will not think like this 10-20 years from now. Oblivious both backward and forward, to how things have been, to how things change, to the damage they’ve caused. Oblivious!

  • oliver  On July 6, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Here’s a link which backs up your point in a satisfying manner.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 13, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      I disagree. The speaker in this video is consumed with fear and hatred.

      • Kim Cooper  On July 18, 2015 at 3:50 am

        You didn’t watch it through to the end.

  • Brent Holman  On July 6, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    It is really quite simple: We are dealing here with Pseudo-Conservatives, who lack any shred of EMPATHY. I know, because I know lots of people, who though they believe they are Democrats, or Liberals, or whatever, are actually ‘conservatives’, except they are NOT. They lack the ability to put themselves in other’s shoes & walk a mile. And they know it, deep down, & it makes them defensive, persecuted, & paranoid. The Classic Paranoid is NEVER wrong, cannot BE wrong, & is therefore right. That is why we call them Rightwingers.

    • John  On July 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      There are people like that on all sides of every argument. Even if someone is right, they can still be a bigot.

  • Tom WelchTom  On July 6, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    All these nice bigots tend also to be incurious, in my experience, not open, not “staying in the question”

  • Kate  On July 7, 2015 at 2:28 am

    I was somewhat ahead of a huge number of gay and lesbian people I know in supporting Equal marriage. It was off the radar and rarely talked about when I first officiated at a wedding service for two women in 1981. Given that the GBLT community itself has relatively recently come to the realization of the importance of marriage to them, I am reluctant to be too harsh on those straight who are not there yet. I wouldn’t tolerate those who break the law, but the amount of ire directed at poor white evangelicals who don’t want to serve pizza at a wedding, seems outsized and counter productive and, as oppression goes, trivializing.

    By your standards, almost all men and a huge percentage of women would have to be called bigots when it comes to women since the amount of violence and abuse we endure due to our gender engenders little concern and is done with near impunity in most instances.

  • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 5:57 am

    I can’t count how many times someone has said to me “you can’t compare same-sex marriage to interracial marriage because people choose to be gay but don’t choose their race” or “the ‘black people’ are insulted whenever you compare them.” Or my favorite, “gay people always had marriage equality, because they were free to marry anyone of the opposite sex, just like straight people.”

    Finally we can put this issue behind us and move on to more pressing matters.

  • Randy g  On July 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

    A lot of logical fallacies and outright distortions of history in this article. First, there is false attribution (as in, the author is assuming that religion prevents social progress, and that you have to be non-religious to be progressive). The author is falsely asserting that only people that he calls “social conservatives” used religious arguments to back their causes, while “social progressives” did not. This is a flat out gross distortion of history. Historically, both social progressives AND social conservatives used religious arguments and liberally quoted the bible to support their causes (maybe not all, but many did). For example, the reason that slave owners used religious arguments to justify slave ownership is because abolitionists claimed that good Christians could not justify owning slaves (Even famous Christmas carols like “O Holy Night” proclaim that Jesus will break “chains” because “the slave is our brother”). The only reason that segregationists used religious arguments to justify their cause is because the civil rights movement started out as a Christian movement lead by Christian pastors and congregations, and the segregationists were trying to deflect arguments that their behavior was anti-Christian. To claim that religious people were always on the losing side of history is to flat out ignore the fact that many of these “progressive” causes that we now applaud were actually started and maintained by Christians. So, deeply religious people were on the winning side of history, also, and the author ignores this fact. And even if religious people were on the losing side of history in past social movements, so what? The author is committing the logical fallacy of false analogy. Just because someone is wrong about, say, woman’s rights, doesn’t necessary mean that she is wrong about everything else. Besides, who is to say that being on the popular side of history is always right? This is the “argumentum ad populum” fallacy (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) – where a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so. We know from history that every bad idea (segregation, slavery, the NAZI party in Germany, etc.) was popular in its own time and place. Being currently popular doesn’t make it right. Finally, the author is guilty of the old “ad hominem” fallacy: the author attacks you personally if you disagree with his position on gay marriage by claiming that you lack the human character traits of empathy and compassion, and that you are just a selfish bigot because you don’t support the same thing that the author wants you to. The author is simply being manipulative, here, by demonizing his opponents and pulling on your emotional heartstrings, and your human desire to be liked, in order to get you to support his bad idea. And we know that gay marriage is a bad idea, based on the fact that the only way that the author of this article can get you to support his position is for him to distort the facts and emotionally manipulate you. If someone has to lie, use multiple logical fallacies, and manipulate you to win you over to his side, then he must not have any good arguments to support his position (otherwise he would have used them). I could go on, but this seems to be a good place to stop.

    • Carl Peterson  On July 7, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      I think RandyG pretty much said it all but this article stands or falls based upon the analogy with racial bigotry. To my knowledge there is no studies that have proven that homosexuality cause is definitely genetic or biological so I think the analogy is strained. I might be wrong however.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      It’s an observable fact that 99.99% of the opposition to marriage equality is religiously based. There are religious people on the other side, but they’re in the minority.

      http://www.notalllikethat.org

      • Randy G  On July 7, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        @Larry Benjaman: you are making a classic “straw man” argument in that I never denied that that the majority of opposition to same sex marriage was religiously motivated; go back and read my original remarks again.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        I would say that in the case of interracial marriage, and civil rights in general, religious people were represented equally on both sides. That’s not the case with marriage equality where religious people are overwhelmingly on the losing side.

      • weeklysift  On July 8, 2015 at 9:16 am

        I think if you had been in a pro-segregation or pro-slavery church in the deep South, your subjective experience would have been very much the same. The religious people you knew would have all been on one side. Somewhere out there were religious people making arguments against you, but they did not represent “real” religion.

    • weeklysift  On July 8, 2015 at 8:46 am

      “First, there is false attribution (as in, the author is assuming that religion prevents social progress, and that you have to be non-religious to be progressive).”

      I don’t think that point is actually in the article. The argument runs in the other direction: Cruz and others are claiming that they’re not like previous generations of bigots because they’re motivated by religion, not by hate. I’m pointing out that all the previous generations of bigots would have said the same thing.

      The fact that religious people have been on both sides of social-progress arguments — my Unitarian Universalist church, for example, has been strongly pro-marriage-equality for many years, and was strongly pro-civil-rights in the 1960s — also is not relevant to the point I’m making. It’s not that religion blocks social progress, it’s that those who romanticize the status quo and ignore its injustices very often justify those injustices in religious terms.

    • Sawyer  On July 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Brilliantly said.

      BRILLIANTLY said. I really couldn’t have said it better myself. How often secularists and others forget that Christians have pioneered many, many wonderful events in this country and beyond. Many. I suppose, though, that it’s okay to ignore this as long as you’re able to paint us as unreasonable villains who lack heart.

      And honestly, I’m over being called a bigot. As a matter of fact, I’m about to start embracing it.

      This is how I do things: I think homosexuality is wrong according to the word of God. It’s clear as a bell, no matter how people want to look at it. But it’s okay! You don’t have to believe in Christ. That’s your choice. You’re not sinning against me so I’m not going to curse you, attempt to stone you, discriminate against your or anything else. That’s not my job, unless, of course, you call yourself a gay Christian, then I’m going to let loose on you.

      In the meantime, call me whatever you like. Bigot, discriminating, etc. As long as you call me a Bible believing Christian, I’m good.

      • John  On July 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm

        Why will you treat a gay christian differently than anyone else?

      • Sawyer  On July 13, 2015 at 9:56 pm

        Of course not.

        I’m just going to tell them why I disagree with them according to God’s word. Because, as Christians, we’re all supposed to be following God’s word, no? Even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it denies us what’s pleasing to the flesh which it does for everyone regardless of who you want to be with.

        After that, my job is done. I’ve done what the Father has asked me to do. Now, it’s just my job to love them and it’s up to them to allow God to convict their hearts.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 14, 2015 at 5:54 am

        Unless your interpretation of those few passages is wrong, and theirs is correct.

        Another example would be how the Bible is “clear” that divorce is not permitted. So you can believe that divorce is a “sin,” but at the same time, oppose any secular laws against divorce, and not treat divorced people any differently than you treat anyone else. And you could have the same approach toward homosexuals – believing that the are “sinning,” but at the same time, not opposing their right to marry, and not treating them any differently from others, such as refusing to bake them a wedding cake or publishing their address so your friends can make death threats toward them more easily.

      • Sawyer  On July 14, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        Well, the same can be said for gays, no? They have to hope that their interpretation is correct. The burden of proof is on them because they’re the ones who are blatantly ignoring/twisting what’s clear. And it is clear, no matter how much people would like to misconstrue it.

        Indeed, they are taking the greatest risk because if the Bible is, in fact, true, then they’re risking their salvation for this earthly pleasure. If they really believe in God, in hell, in Jesus Christ, do they really want to risk it? Because I firmly believe that hell is not hell because of any type of torment, but because for the rest of eternity, those people will be separate from Christ. They will know what it feels to be without him and that? That thought terrifies me.

        And divorce is not the same thing; you’re comparing apples to oranges. According to the Word, it is not, in fact, God’s plan that people divorce, but he allows it because of the hardness of people’s hearts. Divorce, in and of itself is not a sin and there are certain instances when no blame is laid on a person who divorces, especially if they’re victims of unfaithfulness. However, no such provision is made for homosexuality. It is named an abomination whenever it is mentioned in the Bible, which is extremely strong language for the Word.

        As far as opposing their right to marry? I have no illusions about what this country is and what it stands for. I would have been really surprised if they hadn’t passed the law. However, God’s law, his desires supersedes that of people and until God changes his mind about homosexuality, I’m going to think it’s wrong. Period.

        That being said, do what you want. That’s your right. It’s your GOD GIVEN right and I have no right and no authority to take away what God has given. I am not going to deny you housing, I will try my best not to treat you any differently, I will treat you with love and respect because you are still a child of God and until you take your last breath, you can change to live a life pleasing to him. But I’m not going to condone or support ANYTHING that God has said is wrong.

        If I am wrong, then I will stand before God knowing that I followed His Word to the letter and that despite what everything, I showed his people love. I am determined to go to heaven or hell on MY OWN understanding of God’s word, not anyone else’s.

        When it comes to sin, I err on the side of caution. I strive to live a life pleasing to him, and of course I slip. But I will always call my wrong, wrong. If I do those things that are named sin in the Bible, they will be sin no matter who’s doing, whether it’s me or my loved ones. But not for one moment will I try to make the Word of God of non-effect by naming my sin right.

        Let every man be a liar and let God’s word be true.

        I am wrong.

        I am wrong.

        I am wrong.

        Jesus, I am wrong.

        But you, Lord, are right.

        God’s word is right, yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever more. That is what I believe. It’s what I’ll live for and die for. Honestly, it’s worst for me when “christians” call themselves by his name while insisting on living any way they want.

        It’s interesting how there are rules for most things. There are rules for being in the Army, Marines, different sororities and fraternities, clubs, organizations, etc. Those people are expected to follow those rules, and if they don’t, they’re kicked out. And yet as a Christian, I’m supposed to smile and welcome any and everyone into the fold even those who aren’t following the rules to BE in the fold. How is that right?

        How is it that, apparently, every single person who lived before the 21st century apparently did not have enough wisdom and knowledge to interpret God’s word, but this oh, so, progressive society does? How arrogant is that? Or is it just that this Burger King society is so used to having it their way that they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that you have to suffer and deny yourself for Christ?

        Furthermore, have you ever heard of a Jew who did not believe in the Torah? Or a Muslim who did not believe in the Qur’an? Or a Buddhist who didn’t believe in the Tipitaka? Then, why in the WORLD are there so many Christians who don’t believe the Bible?

        Okay, I’m going to stop there. There are so many things that Christians are expected to tolerate that no other groups are asked to and no one even gives it a second thought.

        In closing, I know I’m making it sound a lot easier than it is, that I may be sounding really, really flippant about the reality of homosexuality. But I understand, I truly do. When you have feelings for something/someone, denying them is hell. It’s hard, it’s tough, it’s torment sometimes. But with God’s help it IS possible. We can overcome any and all things with his help. And when he delivers you, he will use you to reach someone else struggling with the same problem. But he can’t deliver you if you don’t ask for his help, if you refuse to submit to his will.

        The very first thing you have to do to be a Christian is love God more than anything and anyone, including yourself. If you can’t do that, well … how can you call yourself a Christian?

      • Kim Cooper  On July 18, 2015 at 4:05 am

        Sawyer said, “However, God’s law, his desires supersedes that of people and until God changes his mind about homosexuality, I’m going to think it’s wrong. Period.”
        I want to ask if you would let God change his mind about homosexuality or anything else? How would you know if he changed his mind? You are stuck on a book written 2000 years ago. What if God has changed and is trying to tell you and you won’t listen because of that book?

      • Sawyer  On July 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

        I’m not “letting” God do anything.

        Everything I’ve stated is Biblical. You don’t have to take my word for it. Please look it up.

        Also, God has been known to change his mind about things in the Word mainly because, just like we do on occasion, we cater to those that we love. But never, ever has God redefined what was sin and what was displeasing to him. All throughout the Bible it says the same things, the same sins are named as such from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

        For God to change his mind about homosexuality or any sin, really, well, there’s pretty much no Biblical precedent for that. None, whatsoever.

        So, when I say that God would have to change his mind, it pretty much means that he would have to do something great, big and so obvious that every Christian would have no choice but to acknowledge that he’d changed his mind. But … yeah. I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon.

        Well, why can’t I be stuck on a book written 2,000 years ago? The people in this country are stuck on a piece of paper written 226 years ago and if this country, by some miracle, continues in the vein it’s in, it will easily hit the 2,000 year old mark. People are stuck on events that happened 50 years ago, paintings and monuments created thousands of years ago. So, why am I not allowed to believe in the Bible, the #1 bestselling book in history?

        To ask me such a question is inapropos. I have a right to believe whatever I want, just as you do. I can be stuck on God and the Bible, the same as those who are stuck on humanism and anything else they want. But I suppose, it’s okay for you to believe what you want, but not me because what I believe has rules that every man has to follow, because I believe in something that has right and wrong.

        Hm.

        That’s totally just.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm

        Except you’re interpreting the Bible incorrectly.

        Until you can bring the author into the room to clarify exactly what he meant, all you’re doing is twisting scripture to conform to your own personal wishes.

      • Sawyer  On July 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

        You refuse to make sense. You refuse to address ANYTHING I say and then insist on making sweeping, general statements that can apply to anyone.

        I guess I’m only interpreting the Bible correctly as long as people are being allowed to do any and everything they want. That’s fine for you and whoever wants to do that. But I will follow the Bible in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.

        No other way. In death, we’ll see who has pleased God more.

        This conversation is over. There’s no need to continue because I see what I’m dealing with.

        Goodbye.

      • Kim Cooper  On July 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        Sawyer said, “I guess I’m only interpreting the Bible correctly as long as people are being allowed to do any and everything they want. That’s fine for you and whoever wants to do that. But I will follow the Bible in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. ”

        I want to point out that there is a vast area between the rigid restrictions of “literal” interpretations of the bible and “being allowed to do any and everything they want”. People who believe in so-called “literal” interpretations have been told by their leaders that liberals want to be able to do anything and have no moral compass, and that just isn’t true. The liberal moral system is based on principles rather than rules, and is thus both more flexible and more complex and difficult, but it certainly is at least as moral as the more primitive and authoritarian rule-based code.
        http://rainbowsendpress.com/ministry/maturity.html

      • Kim Cooper  On July 19, 2015 at 9:27 pm

        Sawyer said, “To ask me such a question is inapropos. I have a right to believe whatever I want, just as you do. I can be stuck on God and the Bible, the same as those who are stuck on humanism and anything else they want. But I suppose, it’s okay for you to believe what you want, but not me because what I believe has rules that every man has to follow, because I believe in something that has right and wrong.”

        I never said you didn’t have a right to believe what you believe — you can believe anything you want as long as you don’t impose it on others. I was just asking if there was any way you would accept the knowledge that God had changed his mind. Apparently, from your reply, you are so sure that God wouldn’t change his mind, that you would not acknowledge it if he did.

        On the other hand, I have read quite a bit of argument on the subject by people who are very knowledgeable on the bible, its original language and context, and they tell me that your interpretation is incorrect. God did not speak against homosexuality in general, only the homosexual rituals in the churches of the rivals of the Jews.

        By the way, it appears you were intending to insult me by implying that if I don’t agree with you that I have no sense of right and wrong. But it is you who believes in a version of right and wrong that makes no coherent sense, and is only based on the capricious dislikes of a bunch of ancient writers rather than on what would actually cause harm.

        By the way, a lot of male homosexuals share your distaste of anal sex and do not practice it.

      • Sawyer  On July 19, 2015 at 10:56 pm

        Pardon me if I don’t read your message. I’m over talking about this. I could go around and around with you people all day long and I’m not going to. Not anymore. I’m spending way too much time saying the same thing over and over again.

        My stance is as stated and I’m standing by it. I’m not living my life based off of what you think is right, but my own understanding of the word of God. And that’s it.

        Please direct your inquiries to someone else. I’ve said all that I will.

        Toodles.

    • John  On July 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Randy G, you used the fallacy fallacy claiming that the author’s point is wrong because of using fallacies and manipulation. Though I am not a proponent of gay marriage, I do not like it when people that seem to agree with me use fallacies because it weakens the persuasive ability of my own arguments for the cause. I do appreciate you putting forth effort to point out fallacies used in the article though.

      To all readers, please note that the use of fallacies does not mean that somebody’s position is incorrect. It simply means that the fallacious part of their argument for that position is invalid. I believe that all humans deserve to be treated as fellow humans, hence I do not promote slavery, hatred, bigotry, or disrespect.

      If interpreted a certain way, I do not agree with the original author’s definition of bigotry. I encourage all to look up the definition of that word in several dictionaries before throwing it around as a label for everyone who disagrees with you. I have seen bigotry on both sides of the gay marriage arguments. My favorites (due to irony) tend to be the bigotted comments claiming that they don’t have to tolerate the opinions of bigots.

      I wish all could learn to respect others despite differing opinions, but from what I’ve seen, we have a long way to go. I have put hours and days into researching arguments from both sides as much as I could as well as finding adequate rebuttals to all arguments. I have built my own conclusions from the research I have done, and hence have a well thought out and educated opinion. None can know for sure whether it’s right or wrong, but from what I can see, I have found it to be my best option. In addition, I don’t insult and deride those with a different opinion than mine because I try to see what they’re thinking and where they are coming from (on an individual basis and not grouping people together and judging them collectively). That is when real progress can be made. When we consider the opinions of others, research both sides of every argument, and use all of this to come to a conclusion. We might all still disagree, but there’s no reason for hate.

      Long story short, if you don’t like bigotry, don’t be a bigot.

  • La  On July 7, 2015 at 11:46 am

    The bigotry that may last the longest is the bigotry against the poor.

  • palenciaadriana9  On July 7, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Reblogged this on lune de Octobre and commented:
    This person has nailed it! I just hate the fact that the governor of Texas has made it seem that the people who live in Texas use religious reasons to deny others of thier civil rights.

  • Randy G  On July 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    To expound on what Carl Peterson said, there is currently no scientific consensus on what causes same sex attraction: is it nature (genetic) or nurture (a learned behavior)? Anyone who claims that they were born gay is acting on faith just as much as the person who claims that being gay is an acquired preference.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Wrong – while no “gay gene” has been discovered, it appears to be a meta-characteristic arising from environmental factors. One study found that a man is more likely to be gay if he has an older brother. This trait could have evolved to prevent brothers from competing for the same woman. Since natural selection works on populations as well as individuals, it’s possible that a healthy society requires a certain percentage of gay members to contribute to survival in ways we have not discovered yet.

      Regardless, sexual orientation is similar to race in that it cannot be changed. This has been proven countless times, both scientifically and anecdotally by so-called “ex-gay” organizations like Exodus International that concluded after decades of failure that sexual orientation is unchangeable.

      • Randy G  On July 7, 2015 at 7:50 pm

        If sexual orientation cannot be changed, then why do married men with children suddenly “discover” that they are gay and leave their wife for a younger man? Many studies seem to suggest that no one is exclusively straight or gay over the course of a lifetime, but rather that sexual preference is mailable and somewhat fluid. Besides, by blaming sexual preference on “environmental factors “, isn’t that just another way if saying that it is conditioned (I.E.: nurtured) behavior?

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 7, 2015 at 8:01 pm

        The situation you describe is often the result of a gay man suppressing his sexual desires for most of his life, until he cannot do it anymore and finally gives up.

        Sexual orientation is not caused by “environmental factors” alone; it’s a complex interplay between genetics and environment. Claiming that it’s “conditioned” is absurd, on par with theories that men are “turned gay” by association with other gay men.

        If sexual orientation changes throughout life, it’s involuntary. In my own case, I have always been straight. When I was in high school, I was attracted most to girls my own age; the idea of being with a woman in her 30s or older was about as appealing as dating one of my grandmother’s friends, but now I find women in their 30s and 40s pretty darn attractive. I assume that’s not what you’re referring to.

      • Vicky  On July 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm

        @RandyG

        Easy: Compulsory Heterosexuality. I know lots of my own gay friends who had heterosexual relationships growing up, but admit that they always knew they were gay or “different” even as a toddler.

        There is such thing as fluid sexuality, but it’s not the same as “choosing” you sexuality. It just means that different factors can affect your sexuality throughout your lifetime. This is mostly true for women, less so for men. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if sexuality is “chosen” or not, unless you can find something inherently wrong about having a choice and taking it. I chose to wear black pants today, but unless there’s something wrong about black pants, who cares it if it was a choice? Whether or not I was forced to make the decision, doesn’t matter, because it harms no one either way.

    • Lisa  On July 7, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      Why does the reason someone is gay effect whether or not they receive equal rights? Born that way or choice has no bearing on the matter. Religion is a choice (versus race) and yet religious bigotry is considered as vile as racial bigotry. (Unless the person being persecuted is Muslim and “that’s different”.)

      I think that those in the LGBT community who focus on the “born this way” aspect are potentially undermining their own cause. It’s much more important to focus on the results not the causes here. Especially if the results come out that it is less biological and more… something else.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 8, 2015 at 6:19 am

        The reason it’s important is that if “gay behavior” is a choice, then someone could make an argument that it’s no more worthy of protection than other behavioral choices, like whether someone smokes cigarettes or drinks soda. But if sexual orientation is an unchangeable, inherent characteristic, it would be deserving of the same protection as race.

        Religion is a special case because it’s protected in the First Amendment, and while it is technically a “choice,” it’s considered so fundamental to a person’s makeup that a free society should not require people to change their religion even if it’s theoretically possible for them to do so.

      • weeklysift  On July 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

        To me, the important point is that sexual preference — however it formed — is not easily reversible by choice. To say: “You could avoid this discrimination by turning straight” would not be a helpful suggestion.

        The failures of the ex-gay movement are the attempted exceptions that prove the rule. See my 2006 book review.

      • weeklysift  On July 8, 2015 at 9:07 am

        Also, even if choice turns out to be involved somehow in sexual preference, it’s usually not conscious choice. I don’t think would be fair to say, “You should have known what you were getting into when you decided to be gay.”

    • Kim Cooper  On July 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      While there is no scientific consensus on what causes same-sex attraction, neither is there consensus (or even much idea) of what causes straight attraction, or on what might cause you to be attracted to blondes versus redheads or any other thing you might be attracted to. That fact that science doesn’t know yet doesn’t mean there isn’t something to know, it just means we don’t know yet.
      and there are some inklings of stuff about this, though it’s too early for a “scientific consensus” and would you really want to know why you are attracted to whom you are attracted to? It might interfere with it.

  • Inis Magrath (@InisMagrath)  On July 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I was at the National Archives in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago and there is an exhibit there on the women’s suffrage movement. One of the items on display was a letter to congress urging a “no” vote on the 19th amendment allowing women the vote. I don’t remember the name of the organization it was from exactly, but it was something plain and descriptive like, “The Association Against Women’s Suffrage.” Anyway, the letter articulated, point by point, reasons why it would be bad for women to vote. The the fascinating thing about this is that so many of the arguments were the same as the ones used against marriage equality. There was a slippery-slope argument (next thing you know children will want to vote), there was a “breakdown of the family” argument (next thing you know wives won’t listen to their husbands), there even was an argument that women voting will lead to SOCIALISM!

    It was all so funny if it hadn’t been so sad and tragic to see the same vein of fear of the “other” and the need to keep “those people” from having the same rights as “we” do so plainly on display.

    Segregation. Women’s suffrage. LGBT civil rights. They are all linked. In his 2nd inaugural address, President Obama noted this when he made reference to “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” I guess I didn’t realize it at the time, but the OPPONENTS of those causes share a link just as much as the PROPONENTS do.

  • CC  On July 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    This is an absolutely excellent article with one minor fault: no mention of the harm disabled people have suffered at the hands of bigots and continue to suffer today. I am autistic, and I cannot count the number of people who share my neurology who have been murdered by their caregivers, who have been forced into institutions, who have been found incompetent solely because of their inability to speak, and so on. While I’m sure you meant well and had to edit for time, it is long past time that ableism be seen on the same level as racism, sexism, and homophobia.

    • weeklysift  On July 8, 2015 at 9:10 am

      I’m glad you made this comment. I’m sure there are several other strains of bigotry I also ignored. I intended no disrespect.

  • Christian  On July 8, 2015 at 1:06 am

    I very much appreciate the thoughtful comments expressed by so many others here. They are as valuable as the article and completes it nicely.

  • lethally  On July 8, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Reblogged this on Aphrodite Rises and commented:
    “Bigotry is not the same as hate. Bigotry just means believing that certain groups of people do not deserve the same kind of consideration you want for yourself. ”

    And now, as then, the bigots are wrong.

    • Marcy  On July 10, 2015 at 12:06 am

      That is not the definition of a bigot. The definition is: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. So, anyone that is intolerant of those religious types is also a bigot. Oh the hypocrisy.

      • Jeff B.  On July 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

        So if you’re utterly intolerant only of *some* differing creed, beliefs, or opinions, you’re *not* a bigot?

  • Keith Bloss  On July 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I could site passage after passage from the bible that completely blows a hole in any racial inequality argument. The idea of it is ludicrous. Thankfully those thought processes have a shelf-life. I’ve not been so lucky with homosexual behavior in the bible. It is not a matter of nice bigoted people not accepting life styles they don’t agree with. There are biblical passages that are fairly clear. To be fair, I disagree with all of it but I respect my fellow church-goers and their right to those beliefs. I too looked up the Oxford definition of the word “bigot”. What I saw was far from the tame version you posit in your essay. I’m sure you must be aware that labeling people for their beliefs is the quickest path to division and is itself doomed to failure and the short shelf-life of truly bigoted segregationists.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 8, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      To conclude that the Bible prohibits homosexuality, you have to assume that the acts described in Leviticus and elsewhere correspond to modern gay relationships. A little thought will reveal that this cannot be the case. For example, it is impossible for a “man to lie with man as with woman” because men do not have vaginas. This should be obvious, yet most people rattle off this passage without giving it any thought whatsoever. Since the Ancient Hebrew society was profoundly misogynistic, with women viewed as little more than possessions, it makes more sense to read the passage as a prohibition against a man sleeping with another man in a dominant role, that is, how he would “lie with woman.” I don’t expect anyone who has bought into the “gay sex is sinful” narrative to accept this – which is why it may be more helpful to examine why someone would want to treat LGBT as second-class citizens, rather than trying to argue with them.

      This goes along with Doug’s observation a few weeks back that the biggest change in marriage was when women achieved equal standing as men before the law.

      • Sawyer  On July 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

        Your argument makes little sense.

        This passage: “Man to lie with man as with woman,” is clear. I don’t understand why people choose to make it complicated. How does a man have sex with another man? By turning him over and using a hole that’s not meant for that purpose. It’s the dumpster of the body. It’s unclean and no amount of washing it will cleanse it of some of the bacteria that it carries. Not only that, use that hole regularly and roughly enough and scar tissue begins to form. You know why? Because you’re damaging that area. You’re misusing it and your body is trying to tell you that.

        This is not religion. This is science. This is medicine. There are serious health issues in same-sex sex. This is fact, no matter how much you want to call it bigotry and discrimination. Blame nature for discriminating.

        Not only that, everything that’s done to prepare the “bottom” for preparation is basically mimicking the natural state of an aroused woman.

        So, tell me: How do you want a man if you take a man the same way you would a woman? Or, if you want a woman, why do you buy fake male appendages and use those to copulate? Oral is an option, of course, but we all know that the primary way to have sex is inserting a into b.

        So how is that not clear? Why do people insist on taking something as simple as this and twisting it until it’s mangled beyond recognition and then pat themselves on the back for being so enlightened?

        But I suppose, that’s what people do.

      • thebhgg  On July 18, 2015 at 11:30 pm

        > but we all know that the primary way to have sex is inserting a into b.

        Wow, that is some powerful ignorance of sex.

        Inserting tab a into slot b is probably the least important part of sex (for the sake of sexual pleasure, and for the sake of social bonding). It is, obviously, the important part of sex for reproduction. You probably think that is the only point of sex in humans, but I think science (the field of animal behavior) has a lot to teach you.

        As important as slot-fitting, other parts of sex include all the foreplay: from cuddling to heavy petting, to manual or oral stimulation of the genitals. Also plenty of talking and listening; building of trust, support and (non-physical) love. The reason social animals have sex outside of a mating season is to form social bonds.

        Lastly, given the basic function of the colon and anus (to allow material to pass through on a regular basis) I think your claim that anal sex necessarily causes scar tissue is … hard to believe without some evidence.

        After all, even heterosexual, reproductive sex carries with it tremendous risks (that pesky nature, with its scientific medical facts). Untreated STIs are no joke.

      • Sawyer  On July 19, 2015 at 6:22 pm

        “..but we all know that the primary way to have sex is inserting a into b.”

        This is ignorance? However so? Some of the things you mentioned can be done without the actual sex act. Just as you can have sex and not have those things. That’s not sex, it’s INTIMACY. The other things are in fact, exactly what I said. The way to have sex, no matter how you slip, dab it or slap it is to insert a into b. Whether that’s regular missionary, anal or oral. You’re inserting a into b or leading up to inserting a into b. Anything other than that and someone’s getting mad for getting played.

        Period.

        However, I’m not quite talking about the mechanics of sex. Just about everyone knows about that by now. I’m talking about if certain sexual practices are pleasing to God. That’s it. Define sex any way you wish. That’s cool. What I want to know is if it’s pleasing to God according to the Word of God. Let’s deal with that. Everything else is minute.

        Oh and please don’t presume to assume (LOL) how I view sex. Sex is a wonderful act that God created not only to reproduce, but to be pleasurable, obviously, because it is. He could have easily made it an act that brings no such wonderful feelings, but that’s not how it is. So yeah, have fun, but within the boundaries that God has laid down for us.

        Now, about the scar tissue. Have you talked to any gay people? Because I have. I have gay friends you know. Just because I disagree with their lifestyles doesn’t meant we can’t coexist. I tell them God’s Word once, and that’s enough. One and done. I don’t try to do anything more unless they want to hear it. All the people I met have really appreciated that approach and after I’ve shared God’s word with them, they tell me things. Sometimes it’s more than I wish to know, but there you have it. When they are honest and comfortable with you, like anyone, they open up. They tell me about many a things, but one of the things that struck me most was the actual act and some of the side effects of it. It’s things you wouldn’t know unless you know a gay person willing to tell you.

        You don’t have to believe me. Google it. Everything doesn’t need a study. Heck, some things WON’T have studies, not ones that are valid and reliable especially when what’s true might not fall into alignment with popular opinion. This means that studies are never performed, or that the results are not properly reported. That happens way too much in this country. Read this book: Even the Rat Was White. You want to see some “evidence” that book will tell you all about those same studies that you put so much faith in.

        Believe it or not, you’re putting an incredible amount of faith in human beings.

        Some things are common sense. Other things are people’s honest personal accounts. It’s as simple as that. And if you don’t want to believe that, you don’t have to, lol. That’s your choice.

      • Kim Cooper  On July 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm

        Not all gay men are into anal sex. Many of them have the same reaction of “yuk” that you do. There are other things that people can do. Just sayin’.

      • Israel  On July 9, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        Read romans chapter 1. What it comes down to is: do you believe in God, do you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, and if the answer to those questions is yes then the next is…do you want to submit yourself to His design for your life? Now, it would take quite a few lines of text here, but I could present compelling evidence forquestions one & two, & “if you seek you will find” those arguments as well, as i did. But the 3rd question can only be answered by us as individuals. It comes down to who do we trust. Do we put our faith in whatever society at the present time in its current form & place in history tells us is right? Or do we trust the One who is outside of time, not influenced by circumstance, & Creator of society itself? Maybe we don’t always know all the reasons for His warnings, but if we believe He loves us, we will trust that he guides us away from certain things for good reason.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 9, 2015 at 10:27 pm

        So are you saying that rear-entry sex is the default for men and women? Because I’m pretty sure that vaginal sex is the one most people use most of the time.

        But thanks for proving my point.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 9, 2015 at 10:30 pm

        Israel,

        I’ve read the Bible, and if anything it’s turned me off even further from religion. I don’t believe in a personal God who takes any interest in me whatsoever, and I certainly am not going to take the word of people whose motives are suspect. But thanks for your advice.

    • weeklysift  On July 10, 2015 at 11:24 am

      It’s interesting to go back and read Rev. R. L. Dabny’s “A Defense of Virginia and the South” from 1867. His Biblical justification of slavery is every bit as compelling as the Biblical argument against marriage equality is today. What the Bible “clearly” says changes from one generation to the next.

      Churches today are full of divorced-and-remarried people, in spite of what looks to me like a clear statement against that. I don’t know why Christians are fine with it now, but they are. A generation from now Christian churches will be fine with same-sex couples, and two generations from now they’ll be claiming they led the fight for marriage equality. That’s how these things go.

      But these kinds of arguments miss the point. I’m fine with you believing that homosexuality is wrong or that marriage is one-man-one-woman. Just like I’m fine with the Amish believing that zippers are wrong or with orthodox Jews not flipping light switches on the Sabbath. But when people claim that their interpretation of the Bible should control the law, I’m going to be on the other side.

    • Meg  On July 13, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      This is a great article from the Huntington Post archives written by a religion professor. It refutes the passages in the Bible that anti-gay people use to explain their beliefs by discussing their context. I found it very specific and helpful.

      http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/886102

    • Kim Cooper  On July 18, 2015 at 4:19 am

      Actually, I have read some good learned arguments that the passages in the bible that seem so clear aren’t. That the passages in the bible are not against homosexuality or same-sex marriage, but are against the same-sex temple prostitution that a rival religious group practiced at the time the old testament was written. It’s a shame these discussions were stopped — they used to be on Beliefnet before it was taken over by a big corporation who ruined it.

  • Israel  On July 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    This article is well written & I agree with several points that you make. People have used religion to excuse all sorts of evil & prejudicial thinking. Not just religion. If someone has an agenda, they will use anything they can to propagate it. Charles Darwins most famous work “Origin of Species” original title includes “..the preservation of favored races in the struggle of life”. As anyone who has studied the matter knows, evolution had been one of the strongest tools used to excuse racism & sexism, arguing that the white race was more evolved. Christs teaching was radically different than the commonly held racist& sexist beliefs of his day, new testament teachings made it clear that “there is not Jew our Greek, male or female…” “God does not show favoritism”. The difference is, slave traders & owners had thier agenda, & used any thing to support it, twisting the Bible to make it support their agenda, using evolution to support their agenda. They had to twist & misrepresent the Bible in order to make it say what they wanted. But the Bible is clear on homosexuality, one must twist it in order to make it say anything else. If being gay were akin to being black, it would be prejudice to say its wrong for them to marry. But being gay is more like being alcoholic. One does not “do” anything in order to be black. There may be certain things we associate with being black ie: jazz or rap music, the ability to dance etc, but these do not define someone as black & in fact are stereotypes assigned by others. If i were to listen to rap & learn to dance well, it would not make me black. And indeed if a black person likes country music & has no rhythm, it makes them no less black right? Well, apply that to being gay. If i love Barbra strisand, am excellent at interior design, dress well & act slightly effeminate, but am married to a woman, I’m straight! The issue is that we have labeled certain people gay & some straight, when people are far more complex than that. Many if not most “gay” people have (and sometimes still do) had sexual experiences with the opposite sex, AND visa versa. So, what the Bible teaches is that having sex with someone who is the same sex as you is sin, having sex with someone before you are married is sin, having sex with someone when you are married to someone else is sin, and those who commit such sin are all loved by God at all times without exception! Even still, its not Gods will for us to embrace that activity ie: living with your boyfriend, continuing an extramarital affair, marrying someone of the same sex. That is Christian teaching, it is not “one of many interpretations of the Bible” or a twisting of the Bible & taking it out of context. It is not one of those obscure laws clearly written for old treatment jews for a finite & specific period of time. It is a clearly taught instruction. So, the concern now that a homosexual is a labeled part of a protected people group is, will churches be forced to marry them, essentially forcing the pastor to endorse something his God has said to avoid? Will he be forced to skip over or, worse, tear out the portions of the Bible that speak against this activity, for fear of being charged with “hate speach”? Hate speech for following the teachings of his God by teaching from holy scripture? This is the fear, & it is historically justified. Particularly considering that public opinion has been swayed so much that Christians are mocked & berated continually & it seems it isaccepted & indeed encouraged.

    • Sawyer  On July 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      This is an excellent comment and you are so right. Christians have believed this way for forever. Why are you surprised that we, you know, still believe homosexuality is wrong? Haven’t you always known that we believed that? You’re also right in that I really believe a war of beliefs is coming soon. It’s almost inevitable.

      I do understand this man’s point, though: Gay people shouldn’t be mistreated. And he’s right. So, while you don’t have to hate anybody to be a bigot, you can still love and be a bigot too. I’ve decided not to let this word bother me; It is, what it is.

      However, as a Christian, the Bible is clear as a bell: It’s wrong. But, I still love my gay friends. It’s not my place to judge them. They know I think they’re wrong, I tell every last single on of them, but they know I’m not going to throw my Bible at their heads every time they roll up to my house. I told them once, that’s enough. Either they accept it or not. My job is done.

      But still, this is an excellent comment. Thank you for taking the time to throw it out there, lol.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm

        Just curious, who elected you the final arbiter of who is a “Christian?” You can decide who fits the requirements of your particular denomination, but Christianity is a vast and varied group that encompasses everything, from the Westboro Baptist Church to these churches,

        http://www.gaychurch.org

        and everything in between. “Gay Christians” are just as “Christian” as you are, maybe more so.

        The Bible is only “clear as a bell” if you read it as a reflection of your own opinions.

      • Sawyer  On July 9, 2015 at 10:41 pm

        The Bible says everyone should be believing the same thing if they’re under Christ. He’s an unchanging God and he’s not schizophrenic. So, the thought of denominations with such differences is really quite ridiculous. That would be clear if people, idk, actually read their Bibles!

        *Gasp*

        And I suppose I can say the same thing about you, no? The Bible is only clear and right if it reflects your own opinions. You should have heard what foolishness a person said to me about the Bible to justify gay marriage. It was so crazy that I had to facepalm. People are really good at basically psyching themselves out so they can have their cake and eat it too.

        And actually, it’d be easier if the Bible approved of gay marriage. If it did, I’d happily picket with you guys. The only reason I DON’T is because the Word of God says so. And until the Lord writes it in the sky that he’s changed his mind, then I’m going to continue to tell you that you’re wrong. Because it’s what God wants, all what he wants. What I want means nothing.

        I really don’t decide anything. I read the word and I say it like it is. I’m one of the ones who actually study it. So, no worries that I’m “one of those.”

        So, no, you can’t be gay and Christian. It’s an oxymoron. Like saying you like being an adulterer, or a backstabber and still love God. Which you can, but the Bible says that you’re not getting in without making an effort to change your life and live in a way that is pleasing in his sight. You cannot be a willful sinner and a Christian too.

        What you can do with any sin you struggle with, though, is to submit yourself to the will of Christ and ask him to help you. Now that, he will absolutely do.

        Question, before I skeddadle: Are you a Christian? And would you love God even if you realized that he did, in fact condemn homosexuality? Just curious. I already got one ‘no’ from this question.

        But, hey, don’t expect me to get into a long lengthy argument with you. I don’t Bible thump. My rule is one and done, lmao. I’m going to tell you once and then that’s enough. You’re not retarded. It’s your choice to believe or not.

        Besides, there’s really no reason to argue. We’ll see who’s right when we come face to face with Jesus.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        So every denomination is wrong except your own? Because there’s only one way to read the Bible, apparently, and if anyone disagrees with “Sawyer” (oops, I mean “God”) they must be wrong, because “Sawyer” is God’s representative on earth. And if belief is a choice, then prove it by believing for the next five minutes in something you think is absurd, like the Church of Scientology. Then go back to your previous belief.

        You may be able to choose your actions, but you have no power to choose your beliefs.

        I’m not a Christian, but these people are:

        http://www.notalllikethat.org

      • Sawyer  On July 9, 2015 at 11:31 pm

        You’re not hearing me. You don’t want to hear me. Rather, you insist on being argumentative and belittling which I don’t believe I’ve done. I can’t have done it simply by disagreeing with you.

        If you don’t want to have a discussion like rational human beings, then we can end this here.

        And you’re right, I am God’s representative on Earth. But I’m one of many who believe his Word, follow it and refuse to allow anyone to bend it to their own whims.

        If everyone is following the Word of God, in spirit and in truth, then everyone should be believing the same things.

        You don’t have to believe what I’m saying. The Bible says this. You know, the Bible that is the holy text of Christianity? I know that you don’t believe it, but if you’re a Christian, you should and that’s what it says. God is coming back for one church. One. Look it up. I encourage you. I have nothing to hide. I’m not lying.

        God doesn’t care about denomination, why would he? All he cares about is how much you love him. Do you love him enough to suffer for his name’s sake? Do you love him enough to sacrifice for him?Do you love him enough to hurt for him, to deny the things, sometimes the people that you love for him? How much do you love him? How much faith do you have? Do you love him enough to keep his commandments? To live a life that is holy and pleasing in his sight?

        That’s what he cares about.

        I don’t expect you to know that though, because you’re not a Christian. But Christians SHOULD KNOW. How can you say you are a Christian if you don’t even know your God?

        God has placed his truth in the heart of every man. This is what the Bible says. He will tell us how to live our lives if we open our ears to his word.

        That’s in the Bible too. I’m not making this stuff up. Everything that I’ve said is directly from the word of God. Look it up!

        You don’t have to believe, but if others call themselves by his name, how can they NOT?

        And of course they can choose whatever they wish. I said that previously. But if you say you’re a Christian, I’m going to call you out on your behavior that is not Christ-like according to God’s word. God’s word, not mine. It’s my duty to them as a fellow Christian.

        Look, they don’t have to be Christians. They can be humanists or whatever they want. That is their choice. But why call yourself a vegan if you eat meat? Why choose to be a social worker if you dislike people? Why be a Christian if you aren’t Christ like according to the very book that named him Christ?

        Does that make any sense to you? At all?

    • weeklysift  On July 10, 2015 at 11:01 am

      “So, the concern now that a homosexual is a labeled part of a protected people group is, will churches be forced to marry them, essentially forcing the pastor to endorse something his God has said to avoid? Will he be forced to skip over or, worse, tear out the portions of the Bible that speak against this activity, for fear of being charged with “hate speach”? Hate speech for following the teachings of his God by teaching from holy scripture? This is the fear, & it is historically justified.”

      No, it really isn’t justified. As Justice Ginsburg pointed out in the oral arguments, nobody forces Jewish rabbis to perform Christian wedding ceremonies, or vice versa, even though both kind of weddings are legal. The fact that same-sex marriages are legal won’t require ministers to perform them.

      I’ve been following up on claims about offenses against ministers’ religious freedom — there were a raft of them about military chaplains after gays in the military got normalized — and none of them have held water. The religious freedom of churches and ministers is perfectly safe. A lot of people want to scare you into thinking otherwise, but the truth is not in them.

    • Kim Cooper  On July 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Actually there are plenty of Christian churches that support gay marriage. You cannot claim that all Christians agree with you without declaring which Christians are “real Christians” and that’s a slippery slope. I have been taught that if someone thinks they are a Christian, then they are. Do you disagree with that? If so, then I would start by saying it is people like you who would seem to me to be missing the point of Jesus’s life and teachings. I am under the impression that Jesus taught love, don’t judge, and help the poor. The stuff about “only through me” was added later to make churches indispensable.

  • goplifer  On July 9, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Great piece. I would add a slightly different definition of bigotry that I think helps explain why religious fundamentalists find themselves consistently and somewhat inadvertently lined up with racists:

    “At the heart of religious fundamentalism, whether the believer is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or Jedi, are these two ideas:

    1) The culture I have inherited comes from sacred, revealed truth and is the only way to live righteously.

    2) Nothing I discover, learn or observe about the world must be allowed to modify the assumptions of that culture in any manner.

    Those are the beliefs that leave fundamentalists in constant tension with scientists and in persistent denial of the natural world.”

    http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/04/destroying-religious-freedom/

    No discussion of this subject is quite complete without a close look at the South’s most culturally influential denomination.

    “There is still today a Southern Baptist Church. More than a century and a half after the Civil War, decades after the Methodists and Presbyterians reunited with their Yankee neighbors, America’s largest Protestant denomination remains defined, right down to the name over the door, by an 1845 split over slavery.”

    http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/02/southern-baptists-and-southern-politics/

    And a note about Falwell. ALL of his sermons prior to 1965 have been recalled from the archives at Liberty U. If you want some entertainment, call the school and ask for copies. Try it. It’s fun.

    • Anonymous  On July 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for this additional info. I just can’t wrap my head around some of these beliefs, but this explains it a bit more fully to me. Appreciate.

  • Marcy  On July 10, 2015 at 12:10 am

    The definition of a bigot is: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. So, anyone that is intolerant of those religious types and their opposing position is also a bigot. Oh the hypocrisy.

    • weeklysift  On July 10, 2015 at 10:30 am

      I’m not sure in what sense “religious types” are not being tolerated. It seems to me that they’re saying what they think, appearing on TV, running for president, and living their lives pretty much the way they want.

      • Mark  On July 16, 2015 at 12:04 am

        Mozzilla CEO being fired for his stance. Just one example.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 16, 2015 at 6:18 am

        The Mozilla CEO wasn’t fired for his religious beliefs; he was fired because his support of an anti-gay organization reflected badly on the company. Same for the Duck Dysentery people who were very open about their faith throughout the run of the show, and only ran into trouble when one of them expressed viciously anti-gay sentiments in an interview.

        It’s a pretty pathetic “religion” that requires as one of its tenets that adherents express loudly and publicly their hatred of LGBT, then whine when everyone else expresses disapproval of them.

      • weeklysift  On July 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

        On the Mozilla thing here’s how I summarized the issue when it was current: “The personal politics of an already controversial choice for Mozilla CEO drew bad publicity to the organization, so he and Mozilla amicably parted ways. It’s still not what I would call a heartwarming story, but let’s at least be accurate.”

        On Duck Dynasty I commented: “From my point of view, the Duck Dynasty story isn’t about censorship at all, it’s one big orgy of freedom: Robertson is free to speak his mind without being fined or jailed by the government. A&E — a joint venture of Hearst and Disney — is free to disassociate itself from Robertson (or not) if that’s in the corporate interest. Robertson’s fans are free to respond by protesting or even boycotting A&E, as are the insulted gays, blacks, and non-Christians (who probably don’t watch the show anyway). The rest of us are free to judge those protests as we like. It’s one big orgy of freedom.”

        I’ve looked at a lot of these alleged cases of people being persecuted for their Christian beliefs, and they never pan out. Invariably, the details have been distorted to make them fit the persecution template.

  • Israel  On July 10, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Did my comment get deleted? Ya know how i love how tolerant open mined liberals are so willing to hear out opinions different from their own. Oh, & being called a bigot is cool, i haven’t seen name calling be so tolerated going the other direction.

    • Israel  On July 10, 2015 at 7:38 am

      No it didn’t I’m an idiot lol

  • Anonymous  On July 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    The biggest bigots seem to be those on the pro-gay side of the argument, they wont rest until you agree with their way of life… its pretty sad really.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Yeah, they should just accept that they’re second-class citizens, not entitled to the same rights you have, and just keep quiet. How bigoted of them to insist on being treated the same way you are.

  • Jeff  On July 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Sawer and Israel:
    I personally don’t spend much time or energy on the question of how to deal with homosexuality, but I do think that separation of church and state is *hugely* important. We cannot – as a matter of law – require people to follow other people’s religious texts. Therefore, if you want *the law* to say that homosexuals cannot marry, you have to present arguments that don’t rely on religious texts.

  • Kevin Karstens  On July 11, 2015 at 1:44 pm

  • Kerry Campbell  On July 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    This article precisely states what we all need to be thinking about and discussing. Change in the area of bigotry is essential for a positive future. Most progress had been opposed by religion, which has a very strong hold on people and is easily used by leaders to control people. Slavery, women’s rights, Afro-American rights, mixed race marriages, segregation, gay rights, and immigrant rights are all issues in which change has been opposed primarily based on religion. If religion, specifically Christianity, is going to survive, love, acceptance, compassion, and grace will need to be for all people as as primary tenet with the remnants of these issues of bigotry resolved.

  • David Teachout  On July 12, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Life Weavings and commented:
    Great analysis. Bigotry doesn’t require hatred, it just means your group deserves different rights than another regardless of similarities.

    “That’s the general pattern of social conservatives and progress: Eventually, progress catches up to them as well, so they can look back and see that the previous revolution in social practices and public morality was justified.”

  • Latter-day Thinker  On July 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Latter-day Thinking and commented:
    This is a good analysis.

  • Libby  On July 13, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Well done! I loved reading your logically thought out discussion of what it means to be a bigot!

  • liveslaughsloves2015  On July 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Well said, loved hearing your explanation of the difference between hatred and bigotry.

  • W  On July 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I appreciate the effort put forth by the author to draw a correlation between the plight of Blacks and that of homosexuals. Valiant effort indeed, but completely absurd, ignorant and insulting in my humble opinion. There is widespread propaganda stemming from mainstream media and other sources aimed at furthering the acceptance of the Homosexual lifestyle through legal fights for gay rights and gay marriages.

    There is also widespread propaganda stemming from mainstream media and other sources aimed at furthering the obliteration the traditional black family.
    MTV, MuchMusic, BET and other major cable networks have successfully made it socially acceptable for today’s youth to embrace same-gender lifestyles.
    MTV, MuchMusic, BET and other major cable networks have also made it culturally acceptable for today’s, especially black youths to embrace promiscuity, irresponsibility, abortion, sense of entitlement, social violence and gang culture, by globally glamorizing the anti-social and negative elements of rap and R&B music.

    While Homosexuals are celebrating incremental victories, African American communities continue to deteriorate. while making up just 12.6% of the U.S. population, they suffer higher youth and adult incarceration rates, are more likely to commit violent crimes, and have the highest percentage of abortions. Albeit, each person is ultimately responsible for his/her decisions.
    Blacks and gays have nothing in common other than suffering discrimination for VERY different reason. Anyone can suffer discrimination over just about anything. Please stop trying to draw that parallel.

  • Larry Benjamin  On July 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I wanted to pose a question if anyone’s interested.

    Let’s say hypothetically that I despise, oh, how about people from Khazakstan. I would prefer to not associate with Khazaks, I don’t want to work with them, I don’t want them living in my neighborhood, and I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.

    However, at the same time I recognize that they are entitled to the same civil rights I enjoy, so I would never do anything to discriminate against a Khazak, nor would I treat them differently from anyone else, and if my daughter brought one home, I would force myself to be civil.

    Am I a bigot? Keep in mind that in this example, I really hate people from Khazakstan.

    • Kitty Conrad  On July 15, 2015 at 3:15 am

      The person you described is a bigot. You don’t want Khazaks to have the benefit of living in your neighborhood or marrying your daughter. That’s enough for me.

      Recognizing they are entitled to the same civil rights but not in your back yard is separate but equal…they can ride your bus but sit in the back. Some of the bigots opposed to same-sex marriage have said they think giving equal rights to gays is good, as long as it isn’t labeled marriage. They ask why can’t gays be happy enough with civil unions.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 15, 2015 at 5:50 am

        You missed when I said that I would clench my teeth and be civil to one if my daughter brought one home as her boyfriend.

        My point is that my outward actions are accepting – it’s only internally that I despise these people. Am I still a bigot?

        The reason I ask is that people often say “you want to force us to accept gays” when in fact no one cares what anyone thinks as long as their outward behavior is accommodating. Or is this not correct?

    • Anonymous  On July 15, 2015 at 10:44 am

      I think you’re putting things together that don’t go together. The law is about what you do, not what you think. If you issue the marriage license to the same-sex couple, the law doesn’t care what you think while you do it.

      On the other hand, if you decide that you want to not be bigoted toward same-sex couples, then you have to address what you think as well as what you do. That’s separate from the legal requirments.

      • Larry Benjamin  On July 16, 2015 at 6:12 am

        I understand – I’m just asking if someone can be a bigot based only on their sentiments if their actions are not bigoted.

    • Kitty Conrad  On July 16, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      I did not miss what you wrote. I read it several times and gave you my answer to your scenario. You are a bigot.

      This is as old as college ethics courses. What is more important, intentions or actions? I don’t know the answer to that. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, et al. never told us definitely. My position, probably as good as anybody else’s, simply is if you feel bigoted, you’re a bigot. Acting better than a bigot is acting, but at least it’s politically correct.

      Your reply to my first reply suggests you want to debate; I don’t. If you already know your answer, why ask a question? Or at least present it as a desire to debate. This was my first time at WordPress, and I stupidly thought you meant to collect opinions about your scenario.

      Sorry this appears as a new first-level reply instead of responding to your response to me; the software isn’t giving me the option of making that part of the thread any deeper.

  • Mark  On July 15, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I suppose incestuous relationships between consenting adults should also be offered equal protection under the law? What about polygamy?

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 16, 2015 at 6:11 am

      Polygamy introduces complexities that are not present in hetero or same-sex marriage, since those still involve only two people. Adding a third person or more would require changing the over a thousand laws predicated on marriage being between only two people, to accommodate co-wives, co-husbands, “primaries,” “secondaries,” and so on, in areas of inheritance, home ownership, child custody, insurance, medical decisions, etc. This would be challenging, to say the least. Also, most of the poly people I know tend to be libertarian in this area, and don’t necessarily want the government getting involved in their personal relationships, so the demand for poly marriage may be too small to justify the massive legal changes that it would entail. Same-sex marriage did not require legal changes anywhere close to that scale.

      Poly marriage or at least poly relationships may be positive in that if one member of the group leaves or dies, there are still several members remaining rather than a lone parent or widow. I would oppose exploitative situations, usually religiously based, that typically include one man and several wives as these seem to be associated with misogynistic societies, such as in Islam or Fundamentalist Mormonism.

      Exploitation is usually the case with incest as well. Maybe you’re thinking of something like Jaime and Cersei Lannister on “Game of Thrones,” but in real life incest typically involves one partner taking advantage of the other in a profoundly unequal relationship, separate from any potential issues with offspring. People are often revolted by other unequal relationships, such as a boss and his secretary or an 80 year old millionaire and a 20 year old model. Not that the “ick” factor should determine whether something is legal or not, but relationships where power is grossly unequal disturb many people.

      At any rate, incestuous sex is illegal, so if you want to legalize incestuous marriage, you’ll first have to make incest itself legal. I’ll leave you to lead that charge if you’re interested.

    • weeklysift  On July 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Whether such relationships should or should not get some kind of legal recognition should depend on whether banning them furthers some legitimate goal of government. (I consider the preamble to the Constitution as a mission statement, when I’m trying to decide what the legitimate goals of our government are.) Why opponents of marriage equality lost the argument is that they couldn’t justify their position with anything other than religion, bigotry, or we’ve-always-done-it-this-way.

  • Matt  On July 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    This article completely neglects the historical influence of “religious people” and even entire churches and belief systems in over-coming each of the past civil rights struggles. In face many of the founders of emancipation, women’s rights, black civil rights, and disabled rights movements were actively religious. Despite the authors attempts to “deny history” as he accuses all those who don’t agree with him on gay marriage, the majority of civil rights movements have had frequent religious support. This is one thing that gay marriage has not had and a primary difference in this issue versus past civil rights issues.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      The article is about how religion can limit freedom, not how it encourages it. Of course many of the leaders of the anti-slavery movement were religious, along with many in the civil rights movement. Just last week I saw an article about how several mosques are raising money to assist congregations whose churches were burned down. At the same time, religion also faciltates bigotry and oppression.

      You’re also incorrect about how gay marriage has not had religious support. The only “difference” is that the anti-gay religious forces have been screaming louder. In case you missed it, I’m again posting a gay-positive Christian site:

      http://www.notalllikethat.org

      And here are some gay-positive churches:

      http://www.gaychurch.org

    • Kim Cooper  On July 18, 2015 at 4:41 am

      Matt — On the contrary, there are several churches that are deeply involved in the movement for equality for LGBT people. They just aren’t the highly right-wing authoritarian churches. Our own church calls its equality campaign “Standing on the side of Love”.

      • weeklysift  On July 19, 2015 at 7:44 am

        Amplifying: That slogan unites a number of causes — marriage equality, keeping immigrant families together, and a few others.

        The Unitarian Universalists aren’t the only religious group that supports marriage equality. For example, in 2005, the United Church of Christ passed this resolution.

    • Brent Holman  On July 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      Listen you twit: The argument from the religious right is that this is a ‘behavior’…but religious ‘belief’ is a behavior. Your premise is wrong by the way.
      Furthermore, you imbecile, If I start a movement that examines YOUR behavior, & BAN it, then where are YOU? You are arguing not only for BIGOTRY, but pretty much you are a BUSYBODY, concerned with what OTHERS are doing, living, experiencing in LIFE. You need to see a freaking therapist, if you cannot see that. My guess is you are not a glass house, rather a gauze house.

      • weeklysift  On July 19, 2015 at 7:23 am

        It can’t be time yet to start pulling out terms of abuse. We were doing so well.

    • weeklysift  On July 19, 2015 at 7:30 am

      I have not denied that religious people were on both sides of previous social justice movements — and are on both sides of this one; you really need a wider circle — but that’s not relevant to the point I’m making.

      It’s not that religion blocks social progress, it’s that those who romanticize the status quo and ignore its injustices very often justify the status quo in religious terms. That’s what’s happening here. People like Ted Cruz are implying, “We’re not like the bigots of the past; we’re good religious people.” But the bigots of the past were “good religious people” too.

  • Tom Who (@TommieWho)  On July 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    This is an excellent and well-researched article!

  • vb  On July 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    It’s interesting, the definition of bigotry is “intolerance towards those who hold different beliefs or opinions than oneself.”
    If that is true, then those who disparage individuals that have a religious objection to same sex marriage are…bigots.

    Rather like the pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps it is time to put away the invective *on both sides* and truly tolerate one another’s differences.

    • Larry Benjamin  On July 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Sorry, not buying the old line “you can’t be intolerant of my intolerance or you’re a hypocrite.” The difference is that if I say, “your intolerance of homosexuals, which you base on your religion, is wrong” it’s not the same as saying “your religion is wrong.”

      As has been pointed out countless times in this thread, there are many Christians who support same-sex marriage, and do not consider homosexual activity per se to automatically be a “sin.” And these people are just as “Christian” as the Westboro Baptist Church. Bigotry would be if I said “some Christians are anti-gay, therefore, all of them are and Christianity should be suppressed as a bigoted religion.” But if I say “your interpretation of Christianity as requiring you to be anti-gay is incorrect and demonstrates intolerance on your part,” that is not a bigoted statement.

      Hope this helps.

  • Charlie  On August 8, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I am a little confused on the part where you quoted Judge Leon M. Bazile. He didn’t exactly use a verse from the Bible to defend his position on the case. He seemed to just assume that since all of the different races are on different continents(which is incredibly ignorant by the way) God put them there so no person of one race could marry a person of another race. He basically said, “Well since I believe God put all the races on different continents no person of one race should be able to marry a person of another race.” But he used no actual Bible verse to back his statement up. He basically used his religious views to make a unfounded claim about what he believed God intended, and then he used it as a backing for his racist view. This seems a little different from the same-sex marriage debate due to the fact that the Bible clearly does not support same-sex marriage. So isn’t Ted Cruz technically right in his statement that there is no religious backing for opposition to interracial marriage?

    • Larry Benjamin  On August 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      People have used verses like Leviticus 19:19, “Do not mate different kinds of animals. “Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material” and Deuteronomy 22:9, “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled” as justification to oppose interracial marriage and even integration. The modern explanation would be that these verses applied only to the Ancient Hebrews and were intended to keep them from assimilating with the surrounding groups through intermarriage.

      So Cruz is incorrect in stating that there is no Biblical support for interracial marriage, however, like the verses that supposedly condemn homosexuality, it all depends on how you interpret them.

      The fundamentalist Bob Jones University did not admit black students until 1971, and did not admit unmarried blacks until 1975, when it instituted a campus policy forbidding interracial dating. In 1982, the university paid over a million dollars in back taxes when their tax-exempt status was revoked on the grounds of racial discrimination. The policy remained in place until 2000, and the university did not issue an apology for what it termed “racially hurtful” policies until 2008.

    • weeklysift  On September 10, 2015 at 6:53 am

      I think it’s wrong to equate “religious backing” with “Biblical support”. The idea that a religion is defined by its scripture (rather than by its practices or by the traditions that arise from its scripture) is a fundamentalist idea that is not shared across the spectrum. In the 1960s, particularly in the South, much of the population was taught by their churches that interracial marriage was wrong. That’s religious backing, whether it represents a “correct” interpretation of the Bible or not.

      From my point of view, the kind of circularity you’re attributing to the judge is pretty much universal, and doesn’t get any better when some Bible verse is included in the circle. People interpret the Bible the way they do because of the prejudices they hold, and then quote the Bible (interpreted in that way) to justify their prejudices.

      For example, people who claim that homosexuality is some uniquely horrible sin will often quote the destruction of Sodom in Genesis as proof (even though the text doesn’t actually say that homosexuality was the sin Sodom was punished for). On the other hand, Ezekiel 16:49 does explicitly say what the sin of Sodom was: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” That verse is almost never quoted, because it doesn’t support prejudice against gays.

      As Larry Benjamin’s comment pointed out, if you comb the Bible looking for verses you can interpret as banning interracial marriage, you can find them. And people did.

  • ej  On August 13, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Great article, I wish I stumbled upon it when I was de-friending all of my “nice” bigot friends, some of which were ironically african american. Thanks for all the well thought out points.

  • Gunnar  On August 15, 2015 at 12:05 am

    How would you define “nice” in your discussion if those same people also “sincerely believe that certain other people are undeserving of empathy or respect or fair treatment”?

    • weeklysift  On September 10, 2015 at 7:00 am

      Not explicitly hateful. Well mannered. They seem to have nothing personally against the people they treat unfairly, and may even believe they are doing them good. Uncle Tom’s master in Kentucky was a “nice” slave-owner. He would have said he did believe in fair treatment for Tom, but “fair treatment” included keeping him enslaved.

  • putresvigil  On September 10, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Watch the Christians all dance and erect their laughable strawmen against their own sordid history. The same damnable fools who deny their hand in the Dark Ages, the death camps of Skythopolis, and every other atrocity they took part in. God’s word is as clear as mud and as impotent as the laughably stupid, counterfeit Sun God it glorifies. These swine lied and demonized my brethren and I for thirty years through their manifold hate groups and have the audacity to call us the bad guys?

    There can be no peace with the Christian or Muslim. There can only be victory. Every century spent under the onus of these dead gods, every century spent watching these sow self fellate and congratulate themselves for being heroes, is another century of stunted progress. I revel in the suffering of Christians and Muslims. I hate your God with a passion I can’t even begin to describe.

    You are all my enemies.

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