Monday, April 04, 2005

I tried not ramble, really I tried...

A letter to the editor in the Collegian:

Editor,

The letters written by AJ Bradley and Ian Otte in Friday's Collegian tackled the issues of love, acceptance, judgment and even forgiveness: all in regard to Christian beliefs.

As a Christian myself, many of the points made in those letters put me in a very introspective mood; I realized that I have not been practicing love and acceptance the way I preach it.

It is not my place to judge others, nor should I allow myself to think I may be better than someone else.

Many of the points made were well-intentioned, but misguided nonetheless.

In the end, it is up to God to judge us for our sins, but if I see a friend steal and tell him that stealing is wrong, am I judging him? On the contrary, I am simply holding him accountable.

It is true that God promises to forgive our sins if we ask for it. But that does not mean that God doesn't mind if we live in sin for 70 years and then ask for token forgiveness on our deathbed.

It is not the people I am not accepting, only the lifestyle. I have sinned as much as anyone else, and I am no better than anyone who practices homosexuality; but I have asked for forgiveness of my sins, and I do not continue to live a lifestyle I believe is wrong.

That is why I will vote not to allow homosexual marriage, and I will do it only with genuine love and concern for my neighbors' souls.

Chris Morrill

Freshman in mechanical engineering


An excellent letter, and I bet the last sentence made the Liberals out there absolutely cringe. The analogy of holding the thief accountable for his actions is an excellent one: not judging others, does not mean they have a blank check to act in moral repugnant manners, free from the disapproval of others, as many libertines often think. I also thought this line was very powerful:
I have sinned as much as anyone else, and I am no better than anyone who practices homosexuality...

This should take the wind out of the sales of those who accuse all religious opposition to same-sex marriage of having the same fire and brimstone insanity of Fred Phelps. It is compassion for gay people that causes religious people to oppose gay marriage, not homophobia or the thought that they are spawns of Satan.

The religious position is, I think, an extreme libertarian one. It seems un-Christian to use the power of the state to coerce people into not doing immoral things. Would it be moral for you to steal from a rich man to give to a poor man? Would it be moral for you to lock up people that engage in Sodomy? In the same way, would it be moral for the government to do either of these? Does the ends justify the means? Not under any doctrine of Christianity, I think.

As for gay marriage, as I said in my column and in a previous post, if it isn't legal and possible now, it never will be (and, as I stated earlier, I think the concept of gay marriage is contradictory and absurd at a fundamental level).

But one thing needs clarification. When I say that "gay marriage is legal" it seems to cause quite a lot of confusion. What I am saying is that people are, and always will be, allowed to get married regardless of whether they are entitled to the legal incidents of marriage as defined by the state. In a world without government, marriage would still be possible, ergo government is not an essential part of marriage.

Even the most ardent supporter of gay marriage can and should accept this basic point. It wouldn't really affect their support for gay marriage, either. There strongest point is not that gays are being denied marriage (that is merely the decieving rhetoric that is used) but rather that some principle of equality is being violated by privileging traditional marriage (or, I would say, real marriage) over gay marriage. This is why I conducted a lengthy explanation of the reasons why traditional marriage was privileged (that is, because it is vital to society and our future liberty, and therefore should be "subsidized" with legal privileges--a view that I think moderate Libertarians or Neolibertarians should support).

When I say that gay marriage is legal, I say so in the sense that it is not illegal. Some people interpret "legal" as to mean requiring explicit recognition of validity and legality from the government. This is why I came at the view from a Libertarian view, to counter this notion that government must explicitly recognize and "legalize" something in order to make it real.

Supposedly, people that hold the view that government recognition and endorsement of gay marriage is necessary for its existence would also think that if a toothless law was passed outlawing love, then no one would be allowed to love.

The objection could be raised to this, though, that there is something special about marriage that requires government recognition, because marriage is a public display of commitment (among other things), rather than a private thing. If gay marriage isn't legal, then people say that no one will recognize them, thus rendering them irrelevant, and not real. For example, if I say that I'm married to my television, but no one really treats me like this, then am I really married to it? Thus, explicit legal recognition is necessary.

But then the argument isn't about government recognition of gay marriage per se, but rather about public approval of gay marriage. This cannot be legislated or adjudicated. In fact, the push for gay marriage has polarized the nation, with the vast majority against it. If public recognition of gay marriage is the goal, then the push for "legalizing" gay marriage has been entirely unproductive. As it was doomed to be this way. Just like Roe v. Wade polarized the nation, so would forcing gay marriage on it. And it is unlikely that time would quickly heal the wound--look at Roe, and look also at Canada. Despite legalization of gay marriage, only 39% of the supposedly ultraliberal population of Canada actually supports it.

phew... now that is a rant. Moving from one thought to the next, with no end in sight... I could keep going to, but I have the feeling no one reads blog posts longer than two or three paragraphs.

So.

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