Monday, November 9, 2015

Victor's Argument for Bigotry

I have to hand it to Victor.  He has a littany of justifications for his anti-gay bigotry.  And it all boils down to religious justification.  This is piety as a cover for bigotry, as I have discussed before.  By his logic, all Christians should have the same anti-gay "principles" that he has.  But they don't.  There are many Christians who don't see this kind of bigotry as a principle of their Christian belief.  And I know that Victor objects strongly to using the term 'bigot' to describe people like him.  My use of the term here has a very specific meaning: someone who practices or advocates the practice of discrimination against some group of people, particularly when that discrimination would deny the equal rights of the victims of that discrimination.  Perhaps he's sensitive about this terminology because he thinks it is used in the much same manner that he uses the term 'atheist'.
I'm not going to argue that atheism always leads to totalitarianism, but ... - Reppert
And then he proceeds to argue that atheism leads to totalitarianism.  And what does this have to do with bigotry?  He seems to be making the case on this basis that atheists (who are the bad guys in favor of SSM) are wrong, and Christians (who are the good guys opposed SSM) are right.

This issue at hand is not one of Christian versus atheist.  I dare say that the majority of homosexuals are theists, not atheists.  Their side of the argument does not stem from atheist beliefs.  It is a question of what's right, and what's wrong, but not of Christian belief versus atheist belief.  Christian belief alone does not equate to bigotry, nor does it imply goodness.  And atheist belief does not equate to totalitarianism, nor does it imply being pro-SSM.
The simple fact is that there are people at the top of every major academic field, from theoretical physics, to evolutionary biology, to philosophy, who are serious, orthodox Christians. These are people who think very hard about these issues ... Simplistic ways of explaining them away won't wash. If they are mistaken, the explanation for their error is more complex than the simplistic answers I am used to (and tired of hearing) from atheists.
This is argument from authority, combined with an ad hominem attack on atheists, characterizing them as simplistic.  It does nothing to advance his position.  He would be well advised to just stick to the arguments, and not who is making those arguments, because this line of attack just makes him sound all the more like he is the one who is simplistic and hateful.
Religious freedom is foundational to our country. People are going to disagree about religion, and we have to find a way to deal with it. Gay marriage? Maybe. But, oh, that's not enough. We have to protect gay people from anyone expressing openly the idea that they might not be doing the right thing before God, and therefore they are unable to produce speech congratulating them for doing what they are doing.
This is deliberately distorting the issue.  It is everyone's right to practice their own religious beliefs.  It is everyone's right to hate gays if they want to, and to express their hatred openly.  And this isn't what the protest is about.  But they cross the line when they start to deny others their own civil rights.  Victor couches this argument in terms of Christians freely practicing their religion and expressing their beliefs, but he completely ignores the rights of the victims of bigotry.  They have rights, too, and this is something that Christian bigots refuse to recognize.  Go ahead and express your hatred if you want to.  Post signs in your store saying "I hate fags".  But if you try to deny them equal access to public accommodations, you are denying them their civil rights, and on that basis you are no longer shielded by any perceived religious-based right to do whatever you please.  There are limits to your rights, and this fact has always been recognized by reasonable people.
You can tell me that the deity I worship is [a ridiculously bad guy] and that's not hate speech.
Yes, I can, and it's not hate speech.  It certainly isn't advocacy of discrimination against Christians.  It is not directed against any group of people, but it refers only to the absurdity of a fictional character in a book of mythology.  Although many Christians believe it, many others don't think that the biblical descriptions of God expresses the true nature of the God they believe in.  Here is a relevant definition of hate speech.
You can say that biology instructors who teach intelligent design should be fired from their jobs. But we have to punish people who won't do wedding photographers for a gay wedding when the couple can go right across the street and find a photographer who will?
If your occupation doesn't involve serving the public, you can do pretty much what you want.  There is no obligation for a teacher in a religious school to teach science.  A business that is marketed toward a specific clientele has no obligation to serve the general public.  But both the biology instructor in a public school and the proprietor of a public accommodation have a legal responsibility to serve the public in accordance with the law.  If you're a science teacher who refuses to teach real science, you should not be a science teacher, and if you're a proprietor of a public accommodation who refuses to serve the public, then you need to get out of that business.  There's no double standard here, except in the mind of the bigot who thinks that his own beliefs should trump the law and the rights of others.
Wedding photographers pose pictures to accentuate the romance between the couple. Ours certainly did. If they didn't, they wouldn't be good photographers. That is why at least some wedding services are engaged in what seems to me to be more like speech than just cooking a meal.
Wedding photographers take pictures according to the wishes of their client, not according to some supposed "statement" the photographer wishes to make.  If a heterosexual couple tells him they don't want any pictures of kissing, do you think the photographer should insist on including them because he thinks that's part of the story the photographer wants to tell?  No, he would just take the pictures his clients are paying for.  It's not his story, it's theirs, and it says nothing at all about the personal beliefs of the photographer.  What makes the photographer think he should only take pictures that make the statement he wants to make, and forget about what his customers want?  What is his job, anyway?  Sorry, this argument just doesn't hold water. 

But there seems to be another assertion here: that a gay couple can't be romantic, or loving.  Yes, some Christians actually believe this, as if these haters actually had the key to understanding of what it means to love.  They take this "principled" stand out of the supremely arrogant belief that their own religion is the arbiter of what constitutes love, and what kind of human relationships are "legitimate", and that gay people are incapable of experiencing genuine love or entering into a legitimate loving union.
There is a principled basis within the religion for taking this position. It's not just a cover for hating certain people. ... On the other hand, I don't see a principled Christian reason for opposing interracial marriage. - Reppert
And what is this principle?  Natural law?  But it was natural law that was used to justify a prohibition on interracial marriage.  It was natural law that was used to justify slavery.  Even the great philosopher Aristotle held this "principled" belief.  The fact is that natural law is whatever you think it is.  It's whatever agrees with your own sense of morality.  The only "principle" behind Christian opposition to SSM is that you believe your own sense of morality trumps what others believe, mainly because yours comes from your Christian indoctrination.  Never mind the fact that Christian indoctrination has not led many others to hold these bigoted beliefs.
I strongly suspect that they are not primarily concerned about equal rights for gay people, they are primarily concerned about bashing traditional religion and bringing it down a peg, and gays are just a tool for doing that.
And I suspect that Victor is grasping for straws.  Not all Christians are bigots, and this argument is not about what they believe.  This argument is not about Christian belief in general.  It's about the bigotry that some Christians have, which they attribute to their religion.  And by attributing this bigotry to their religion, they think they have a get-out-of-jail-free card that allows them to practice their bigotry openly under the guise of religious freedom.
Now, a gay couple with any sense is going to head for the door. If they don't head for the door, then I am have to suspect that they are not looking for a wedding service provider, they are looking for someone to sue or shame as a bigot. - Reppert
Why should a gay couple want to patronize a business that discriminates against them?  There are a couple of reasons that come to mind.  One is that they may have no other good options available to them.  This is undoubtedly true for many.

What if bigotry was more prevalent, and gay people were being denied service everywhere they turned?  What should they do about it?  What would the bigots do if they found themselves in that position?  What if they were treated the way black people were treated before the civil rights era?  Do you suppose they would think that their rights were being violated?  Perhaps they should take a "principled stand", and fight for their rights, the same way black activists did back then.  We now see the actions of those activists as heroic, but that's not what the bigots thought at the time.  You know, the ones who justified their bigotry with claims of religious beliefs and natural law


  1. I'm not going to argue that atheism always leads to totalitarianism (Victor Reppert)

    Well, Victor may not wish to, but I have no qualms against doing so. No need to repeat my devastatingly unanswerable arguments, since I've already posted them here and over on Victor's site. History has shown, time and time again, that the inevitable result of atheism gaining control over a state is an ocean of blood and a sea of tyranny. There has yet to be an exception to this rule.

    1. You are nothing if not predictable. I have demonstrated with documented history (here), that you are lying through your teeth. And I finished up with a prediction:

      "Here's a prediction in which I am quite confident: in the tradition of Joseph Goebbels, planks length and many other Christians will continue to repeat the same old tropes and lies, no matter how much factual information is presented to them. Because they have an ideology and an agenda of their own."

      This seems to me the standard fallback for theists who have no answer for the atrocious behavior of their own fellow believers, so they try to divert attention away from that, and make innocent people sound bad. That's what Victor was trying to do in his defense of bigotry, and that's what you're trying to do now.

      What I don't understand is how people like you can claim to have such superior morality, while being so dishonest. It's one thing to believe in fairy tales, but quite another to defend bigotry based on that belief, and to claim that non-believers are the real bad guys. What you do speaks far more about you than all your empty claims.