Saturday, January 14, 2012

Six softballs from Dan

Dan Nye, who is from my native land -- Edina -- throws down the gauntlet in the Strib, asking six questions of supporters of gay marriage. "Why should I?" Those are word put in Nye's mouth by the writer of the headline, but they reflect pretty accurately the tenor of Nye's questions.

Although he doesn't use the "B" word, it is clear that Nye feels the sting of the label "bigot," and it is just so gosh darn unfair! After all, says Nye, history and culture are on my side! And religion, too! Don't forget religion!

So, like talking to a slow and truculent child, we'll take Nye's questions, one by one, and attempt to satisfy Nye. Not that it will; his mind is as closed as a factory after Mitt Romney came to town. He's just another bug-eyed culture warrior, like Katherine Kersten, who you will shortly come to appreciate he sounds a lot like.
1) Were our ancestors all dumb and bigoted because they thought homosexuality was wrong?
Well, Dan, sorry, but in a word: yes. Really, some of them were just ignorant, for which I don't blame them, because they all lived in a pre-scientific world. I appreciate that Nye doesn't want to live in a scientific world, but it has another name, too: reality.

There have been gays and lesbians from the beginning of time, usually scorned, beaten, and killed, to be sure, as Nye more or less points out, but that doesn't seem like a good reason to a lot of us to continue doing it.

Especially in light of what science tells us about the innateness of sexual orientation. Some people -- it isn't exactly clear what percentage, but it is clearly statistically significant -- are born gay; they don't choose it, and in spite of what, well, bug-eyed culture warriors like Nye, Nienstedt, Adkins, Pritchard, Michele and Marcus Bachmann, Kersten and the rest may think, you simply cannot pray it away.

Not that anybody ought to have to try.

(This is also Katherine Kersten's premiere argument: the wisdom of the ages relieves us of the responsibility to think.)
2) Don't our sexual organs exist for reproduction? How does homosexuality square with that?
Humankind seems to be doing pretty well in the reproduction department, even when you put gays and lesbians on the sidelines. And where do all these homosexuals keep coming from, Dan? Is this really a mystery to you?

Lots of heterosexual couples -- not to mention randy college students -- want to avoid reproduction like the plague. A lot of people we already call "married" have no desire, intention, or ability to have children. So seriously, Dan, what's the big deal?

Marriage is in large measure -- under any circumstance -- a mutual defense pact against the world. Is it so hard to imagine that a person would want someone else to share the world's travails with, even if he or she was gay or lesbian?

It is heartless and self-absorbed to think not.
3) It is no secret that the human sex drive is a lot stronger than is needed for reproduction. Do we just give into those desires, or do we try to control them? The ancients told us that controlling our physical desires is one of the things that distinguish us from the beasts. Sexual desires, if not controlled, easily lead us into trouble.
The ancients also told us that the sun revolved around the earth. And that women were merely empty vessels for a man's seed. (How people squared this with the fact that children sometimes looked like their mother is a mystery that died with the ancients.)

This is also the point where Nye admits his question #2 above, is silly.

According to Dan, a couple should have sex only when they're trying to have a child, otherwise they're mere oxen.
4) Most everyone still agrees that humans can take their sexuality to where it is morally wrong. Almost all will agree that, among other things, adultery, pedophilia and bestiality are wrong. Why should homosexuality, which was once included in this group, be moved to normal sexuality?
This is the question where Nye, who feels so sorry for himself for being called a bigot, becomes himself an odious defamer, unworthy of sympathy, much less respect. Personally, I don't even bother to pity him. Let's look at each of the things that Dan compares a gay or lesbian relationship to.

Adultery is the breach of a promise to be faithful to the person to whom you are married. It is an act of infidelity. Gay and lesbian partners would like to be able to promise fidelity to a partner in a socially-recognized way. Precisely the opposite of adultery.

Pedophilia is a sexual act of a person with someone over whom that person has control. A priest and an altar boy, for example; the latter being incapable of knowing, informed, legal, and free consent to the act. Control is the centerpiece here; it is entirely absent from a loving and consensual gay or lesbian relationship.

Bestiality? Come on, Dan. Comparing a relationship -- a sexual one, among other things -- between two loving human beings with a farm kid's sex with a sheep is beneath, well, even you. I guess, though, I shouldn't be surprised. It is also interesting to me that bestiality laws are the most prevalent in the Bible Belt.

And don't forget Dan, like the altar boy, the goat cannot consent!
5) Prevalent homosexuality has made its appearance in human history before and has never lasted. Why is it going to work this time when all the other appearances failed?
 Homosexuality has waxed and waned before. Why should we bother? Indeed, Dan, why should we bother to do anything? We should accept homosexuality because it is the thing to do to right a wrong that has existed for millenia.
6) Here's one religious question, directed not toward those practicing homosexuality but toward those who support others who do. Should we be trying to encourage others to repent of a wrong, or pat them on the back as they go down a road that could lead to perdition?
My favorite of them all; no doubt. Nye's question assumes a uniformity in religious belief that homosexuality is a sin. Well, Dan, you really need to get out more.

There are a lot of Christians, including moi, who do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, and who think that the writers of the Books of Moses (not Moses, incidentally) and the Apostle Paul, living in the pre-science world that they did, didn't get all their Godly dictation exactly straight. Well, so to speak.

Picking and choosing Scripture to enforce is the hallmark of a culture warrior like Nye. But it has nothing to do with authentic faith; it is perhaps its antithesis.

Threaten me and my gay friends with perdition all you like, Dan; you're just a windbag.

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