Monday, 12 January 2009

And another thing....

In furtherance of my thoughts on the Rick Warren, gay marriage, inaugural invocation thing let me also link to this interesting dialog between Hendrick Hertzberg and his readers and add a hearty "yeah! What he said."

In particular, let me reiterate in summary:

1) Opposing gay marriage is not the same thing as being homophobic.
2) That the position is wrong (and I do think it's poorly reasoned as well as morally wrong to oppose marriage rights) doesn't make the people bad.
3) If good people believe wrong things, the appropriate response is to tell them why you think they are wrong.
4) Politely.
5) Without assuming that this one wrong view makes them on universally bad or wrong.


christine said...

3) If good people believe wrong things, the appropriate response is to tell them why you think they are wrong.

If we do this its usually taken as a criticism of religious freedom (ex: Mormon church's response to protests on their involvement w/Prop 8)

How is not believing in gay marriage not homophobic--even just slightly?

Obama London said...

Hi Christine, as always, thanks for your good comments.

As for telling people why you disagree being mistaken for religious intolerance, that's the in teh same category as Rick Warren's silly claim that implementing gay marriage would deprive him of the right to oppose it. It's possible to disagree respectfully, and if you have done so the onus is on the other person to reciprocate. They may not (in fact, they probably will not) do so, but that doesn't remove the obligation from you.

As for how opposing gay marriage isn't automatically homophobic, one could believe any of the following:

1) This is too radical a change to make to a massive, stable institution such as marriage.

2) Marriage is primarily a religious, rather than a civil institution, and no major world religion currently includes gay relationships in the sacrament of marriage.

3) There are other ways to ensure the legal rights of gay relationships (though civil contracts etc.) that do not overlap with religious institutions at all.

Now, I don't actually agree with any of these arguments (Marriage has changed radically in the past to abolish polygamy, accomodatge female equality, and allow for divorce; marriage is both a religious and a civil institution, and some faith groups do accomodate gay marriages; contractual arrangements are expensive, uncertain and unwieldy - plus legal gay marriage does not preclude a religious prohibition, as the Catholic Church prohibits divorce), but I do think we need to actually MAKE the arguments. Accusations of homophobia can merely distract and divide.

There's an old saying that when the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. When neither the facts nor the law are on your side, holler.

We've got the facts and the (spirit of the) law on our side. That's why the other side keeps hollering.