10.25.2008

My (unexpected) take on Prop 8 – Part Two

Here’s the conclusion of my take on Prop 8.  Read the first post for context, or else this post won’t make much sense to you.

image Despite all I’ve written so far, I'm voting No on Prop 8.  I'm not happy with where the situation is as a whole, and I would prefer "marriage" be a term reserved for what it has historically/traditionally been - a relationship between a man and a woman.  I don't think it should be changed.  A gay couple is not the same as a heterosexual couple.  They are of the same value, they are no less human, they are equal.  It is not discrimination to recognize that the relationships are of a different type.  But as long as the government is in the "marriage" business and that word is an important part of guaranteeing the equal rights gays deserve, then I think gay marriage should be legalized.  This is a problem Christians created for themselves by trying to make America into a "Christian nation" and trying to use the system to legitimize their way of living.  Christians made this bed and now they need to sleep in it.  By making marriage an issue of the state in a state governed by the Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for all, Christians have made marriage subject to the Constitution.  There are lots of things bound up legally with “marriage” and it doesn’t appear that simply having “civil unions” will guarantee the exact same rights for gays, and that’s not right.

image I think Constantine's declaration of Christianity as legitimate/official was one of the biggest blows to the message and movement of Jesus.  Instead of continuing Jesus' radical anti-establishment movement of love, Christians fell in love with becoming the dominant power and abused that power.  Today Christians are largely more concerned, I think, with maintaining power and making Christian culture the same as American culture - and that's a problem.  Instead of being seen as people radically in favor of love and acceptance and the gospel, Christians are seen as agents of the old, agents of hatred and discrimination.  It should not be this way.  If years ago Christians had tried to find another way to secure equal rights for gays rather than criticize and hate on them, things might be different.   But that's a fantasy land.  I think Christians have sort of made their own beds on this one and it's time to sleep in it.  By making marriage an issue of the state in a state governed by the Constitution I don't think we have any choice at this point but to allow gay marriage.

I hope I've explained and nuanced my view enough.  This started as a post explaining why I was voting Yes on Prop 8 but as I thought about it and worked through my view I changed my mind.  My guess is this will upset many of you on both sides - those of you who are strongly "Yes" will consider me a prodigal, and those who are strongly "No" will consider me only slightly better than a segregationist.  But still, it's where I am.

46 comments:

Dave said...

I agree with you. I think your post has made me consider the word marriage and it's cultural meaning more than I had previously, but overall you and I are on the same page.

MathiasTCK said...

Well said. There are rights too innumerable to mention associated with marriage.

Kevin said...

What I respect more than anything is the fact that you have challenged your preconceived notions, and looked critically at the issue. I find it hard to fault people on either side when they have subject their decision to a great deal of rigor; unfortunately, most people do not.

Andy said...

I've been awaiting this post for a long time Jackson every since you came out with 7 and 10...I thought that you might have taken the easy way out and decided to stay away from this polarizing topic. Instead, I'm delighted to see that you didn't and took a stand on it.

I agree with some of your points but while I was reading your analogy I couldn't help but think that it was going too far. Are the dance steps THAT much different between hetero and homosexual partners? Having been around a group of homosexuals (whom I work withworking in SF) and hearing the up and downs of such a relationship, I would venture to say that the dance steps aren't that different...it's not 3 dancers reduced to 2...I'd say it's still 3 dancers but with a different costume. There are the usual issues of raising a child in a semi-tolerant society but isn't that more of problem with the dance stage and not the dancers themselves? I'd say that their dance becomes changed because the stage we make them dance on is different and uneven. Just my 2 cents.

I hope everyone is able to make up their minds on this themselves, as you've obviously done, without bowing to the demands of others.

Just look at how "separate but equal" worked out...just like those laws, civil unions are interpreted differently depending on the different county/state/federal jurisdictions. I feel that Prop 8 is a step in the wrong direction.

Thanks for your post!

Jackson said...

Thanks for the thoughts. Andy, with regard to the dance analogy - I do think the "steps" are different enough because as I mentioned in my response to Adam, I think there is more to our gender than physical traits and social roles. And I believe marriage is something that completes us on more than a social/physical level - it represents something greater than the actions we take. Gender is inseparable, in my view, from who/what we are on a physical and soul level.

I'm not asking anyone to accept my definitions of gender/soul/marriage, etc. My definition of marriage is going to vary because my underlying assumptions are different from yours.

What it comes down to for me is the fact that my view of marriage is not that of the larger culture - and as long as various rights are bound up with the state's involvement in culture it's wrong to deny others those rights who don't share my point of view.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jax,

Reading through my post yesterday, it comes across harsher than I had intended. Hopefully you know I respect your opinion even if I don't agree with it.

I agree with your current post that Prop 8 is a step in the wrong direction regardless of one's beliefs about what marriage is.

It's also awesome to see someone really analyze their own opinions and being willing to change them if necessary. That's something we all, myself included, should do more.

- Adam

Jesse and Melissa said...

The reason government is involved in marriage isn't to put their stamp of approval on two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together, or love each other, or whatever. Government is involved in marriage, and has been for a long long long time, to build up the next generation and secure the future of the society it's trying to protect/propagate. Governments define and protect marriage because marriages are generally what produce, protect, and grown the next generation.

andy said...

Unfortunately, the government was in the business of putting their stamp of approval on who can get together by denying marriage licenses to interracial couples. People of our generation don't realize that it was only in 1967 that the Supreme Court finally ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional (Loving v. Virginia). 1967. Before that, states could (and a lot did), prohibit marriages based simply on race.

It's just not as bad as China where you have to sweet-talk the local communist party representative...spill your financial history/work history...bring a resume...:-P

Also I believe that the basis for governmental involvement in marriages is not based on protection/propagation of the human species (I challenge you to find any mention of that in the constitution). Instead, the government has involved itself because marriage is a legal contract. Contracts are defined, interpreted, and protected by the federal and state constitutions. It is only in that view, that the government has had the right to dictate the rules and definitions. We do after live in a country that is supposed to have separation between church and state.

Jesse/Melissa, when you got your marriage license, what questions did the clerk ask you? Did they ask if you were planning on having children? Did they ask if you had enough income to raise a child? Did they even ask if you loved one another? The answer is no...the government can not and does not ask those questions because it has no legal right/responsibility to do so in the issuance of marriage licenses.

I would encourage people to listen to a particular episode of "This American Life"
http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=293

In Act 2, they interview Dan Savage who with his partner adopted a boy...who opposes gay marriage. Seriously, it's a good listen just to maybe broaden your mind a bit and get a little perspective on the issue.

Ricky said...

I've been having quite the discussion with Jackson via email about this. So this really isn't my first comment....

Anyway, it doesn't matter what any of us think, what the government thinks, what Dan Savage thinks, or anything else at all.

What does matter is that the Bible specifically says marriage is intended for a man and a woman, that God created man and woman and marriage, and that marriage is to be taken and treated with the utmost regard and respect.

So as a Christian, one who believes the Bible is in fact God's word, there is absolutely nothing that can take away from the fact that marriage is God's idea, and as Christians we should do everything possible to uphold His perfect plan for it. So that's while I'll be voting yes on Prop 8.

God said marriage is intended for a man and a woman. He created marriage, so he should know best. He's infallible. So who are any of us to disagree with that?

Jackson said...

Ricky - should we make a law declaring that everybody must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? The Bible does teach that we are all sinners in need of God's grace. Why don't we pass a law forcing people to do that too?

We should also pass a law forcing people to go to church, because God also says that's a good thing to do in His Word and Christians are commanded to be a part of Christian community.

I also expect you'll be proposing we pass a law outlawing adultery and making it a punishable offense, because that too is contradictory to the way God calls us to live.

By your "logic" we should pass all of these laws.

Come on Ricky, it's not that simple. We can't force people to follow laws based on what we think is right or wrong as a matter of our religious conviction. It is possible to believe the Bible is God's Word, to believe homosexual relationships are not in accordance with God's plan, and yet still vote No on Prop 8. That's what these two posts are about.

The fact that you still insist that your position is the only correct one with regard to Scripture is baffling, and you really do need to develop a more nuanced and less judgmental approach to voicing your differences with others who also respect and try to follow Jesus.

You can't legislate people into being Christian and when you try to force people to live in accordance with your values you do nothing to help your cause or the cause of Christ.

Jeannette said...

hi jax,

a big high five to you for explaining yourself, and your entire thought process. i have no patience for typing as long as you do. :)

thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and helping those who may be on the fence with this and other propositions. although not me cause i voted two weeks ago. heheheheheh!!

hugs, and see you sooooon!!

Anonymous said...

Jackson and Ricky -

Jackson, your comment to Ricky was exactly along the lines of what I was going to say, only I don't know enough about Christianity's "official" stance on the issues to say it as well as you did. Great reply.

To both Jackson and Ricky, I was wondering if you could explain the difference between legalizing gay marriage (something you feel the bible is against) and the legal status of divorce in the case where it "just doesn't work out". I know there are provisions for divorce in the bible under cases of "unfaithfulness", but in other cases isn't it as frowned upon as gay marriages?

Matthew 19:9
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery"

Matthew 5:32
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

As Jackson already knows, I'm way out of my league when it comes to the bible and what passages were intended to mean.

But it sure sounds like divorce and especially remarriage, in *most* cases, is a big no-no according to the bible. So why is it that there is such a huge movement to prevent the legalization of gay marriages when there is such complacency over laws concerning divorce?

Is it because I'm not understanding the bible's stance on divorce? I realize this doesn't really matter relative to the proposition in question, as Jackson so eloquently explained, but it's something I'm curious about.

So after all that, my questions are:
1. Why do most Christians accept divorce being legal, regardless of the reason, regardless of whether they personally agree with it or not?

2. Is frivolous divorce and remarriage not a sin according to the bible?

3. If most cases of divorce and remarriage are considered a sin and/or adultery according to the bible, why do Christians accept it legally but don't accept gay marriage legally as well?

Again, this is all so I can understand people a little more. I'm not trying to argue anything here.

Thanks in advance!

- Adam

Jackson said...

Thanks for the post Adam. As you have probably been able to discern, when it comes to Christians there can be a variety of viewpoints regarding issues like this. I'm not copping out on the question but it'd be way easier to just talk about it in person or have me do a different post about it.

There are also a lot of people under the "Christian" banner so you'll hear every single perspective out there on the issue and it will be claimed as Christian.

The questions are ones of hermeneutics and exegesis with regards to these verses (you can google those words). There are different standards people use to decide what the Bible says and what it means. I personally think you need to take into account the literary, historical, and cultural context of a verse/passage when deciding how to read it to get closest to the author's intent and the meaning. That's a whole different conversation we can have sometime when we're hanging out. I like to talk about it as much or more than you like to talk about languages.

Michael said...

I am not "deeply concerned" about your "no" vote... though I did not find the support for it. I am not so troubled by government being involved in marriage. Marriage rarely, if ever, has only been a private agreement between two individuals.
I am concerned with your tone towards Ricky's response. But I am not scared of a fight and in an arrogance contest I am going to out-smug you any day of the week! But let's pray it doesn't come to that... for your sake! :)
You said "We can't force people to follow laws based on what we think is right or wrong as a matter of our religious conviction."

I find that a rather strange position. In Sociology 101 the professor said that "laws are society's final statement about right and wrong." In a democracy citizens are given a portion of the decision making of those ultimate statements. It is Constitutional that the Federal government has no authority to make laws respecting the establishment or prohibition of any religion BUT there is nothing in there that says I ought to ignore my own faith when voting for or against a law. The Gay Rights Movement is trying to enforce their idea of right and wrong on society for various reasons (some no doubt faith based) and I am doing the same.

"It is possible to believe the Bible is God's Word, to believe homosexual relationships are not in accordance with God's plan, and yet still vote No on Prop 8."

This is true IF there is something in Prop 8 that would be offensive to God. However IF God is my highest loyalty and the Bible teaches homosexuality is offensive to God and there is a law which claims that homosexual relationships will be prohibited and there is nothing in the law unsound (poorly written, horrific riders etc) then I can find no logical reason for voting against that law.


"The fact that you still insist that your position is the only correct one with regard to Scripture is baffling, and you really do need to develop a more nuanced and less judgmental approach to voicing your differences with others who also respect and try to follow Jesus."

1. There is nothing "baffling" about a Christian with the belief that they understand God's Word or taking the same position as Ricky. This is not necessarily because of arrogance.
2. I respect nuance and subtle writing. But that is an issue of style rather than substance. God's truth is something that a child and the simple minded can understand. It is not reserved for the elite intillectuals (such as ourselves)
3. I did not sense that Ricky was being judgemental towards gay people by accurately stating the general trend of the Bible regarding the subject. I understand how a person who has heard these words as a preclude for hateful condemnation could associate the two together and I try to be sensitive to that fact BUT Ricky wasn't speaking cruelly or harshly.
Maybe you found such a direct and public refutal on Christian grounds disagreeable but you know Proverbs says "if you correct a wise man he will love you." I am sure Ricky did not nuance his statement because he respected you so much he was sure you would thank him.
3. Why didn't you just come out and say "Maybe when you've taken as many seminary classes as I have you will be able to talk to me about the Bible."

btw I found the first two hypothetical laws stretching the general trend of the Bible. I am not sure the Biblical arguement for forced conversion or mandatory church attendence is as strong as the Biblical arguement against homosexuality. But as for adultery, I would also support that law and for the same reasons.

Ricky said...

Hey Adam,

I wanted to reply to a few of your questions, because once again I don't agree fully with what Jackson had to say in his answer, specifically his "There are also a lot of people under the "Christian" banner so you'll hear every single perspective out there on the issue and it will be claimed as Christian."

While I'd agree that people will differ and have different perspectives on things, what I do know is that the Bible is the end all be all. So it really doesn't matter what humans have decided is right or wrong in 2008. And what I find

Adam you asked some really good questions about divorce and why it seems to be ok in today's world. And you know what, it shouldn't. It should be something that we Christians take more seriously. Divorce should be frowned upon just as much as civil unions and other things that Christians seem to be complacent about.

My opinion Adam, is that when Jesus came to earth, he did away with quite a ton of the laws from the old testament, and gave us very specific instructions on what laws Christians should follow and how to act. Now, he didn't do away with EVERY law from the old testament, but he did get rid of a lot the more crazy ones like "do not eat moths" and things like that. So, those things that Jesus did take the time to preach about (marriage, adultery, theft, etc) are things that obviously are very important to him and Christianity.

So to answer your question and to disagree with what Jackson said, I really don't care what humans today have made less (divorce, marriage, etc) because I believe that God didn't put a time limit on how long we were supposed to live according to his law. He didn't say "Divorce is not allowed unless adultery is committed. However, when things really start going south in the 21st century, I'm not going to be as concerned with that anymore." No. God is timeless. And what he says goes. Don't steal. Don't murder. Don't commit adultery. Marriage is intended for a man and a woman.

You don't know me Adam. Which is why you might think I might sound extremely arrogant, pompous and holier than thou. But I'm a humble guy that sins daily, struggles with everything just as everyone else does, and I've broken my own marriage vows. So when I speak about such things, I speak full well knowing that had I not sinned in my own marriage, things would have been a lot easier. The same thing goes for homosexuality, murder and theft. God created the universe, he's perfect, and his knowledge far surpasses that of anyone on this blog or anyone else on this planet.

Christians should not, in your words Adam, accept divorce and adultery as commonplace ok things that just happen. I wish we would all listen better to God's word and teaching. I wish we would all spend the amount of time we are on this blog with each other about prop 8, on things like divorce, adultery and other things.

So, I'm done replying on this particular subject on Jackson's blog. I've said my peace. And I find it extremely reassuring that the two Christians I know, Michael and Jesse, both agree with voting yes on 8. Why? Because the bottom line is that no matter how complacent we've become as a nation to things like gay marriage, divorce and those things, as Christians, we are called to follow his commandments for the entire time we are here on earth. Not just some of the time or most of the time.

I John 2:4, "He who says, 'I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him."

Jackson said...

I think it comes down to a question of what we think the role of the government is. I don't think it's the role of the government to enforce one religion's values on everyone else, even if I happen to agree with that religion's values. There appears to be a difference of opinion on that matter.

I don't think the rules of right and wrong have changed, and I don't think it's okay for Christian to do the things you've mentioned Ricky, and I think Christians should continue to have a problem with divorce etc. I just don't think codifying these things into laws that non-Christians have to follow is the right way to go.

But at this point, I think the immortal words of Ron Burgundy will have to suffice:

"Agree to disagree."

Ricky said...

That's the point Jackson, it does NOT come down to a question of what we think the role of the government is!

It comes down to: What did God say about marriage? And the follow up question is: As Christians, are we called to enforce and uphold those values?

Period.

"When in Rome...."

Jackson said...

Yes, the question is, "are we called to enforce" those values on non-Christians? I think no, you think yes.

That is a separate question from whether or not we should uphold them in our own lives or hold other Christians to them or even saying they are morally right.

Andy said...

I'm glad that I'm hearing viewpoints from all over the spectrum and not just one side...that way I can make up my own mind.

I almost felt a slight chill when I read Ricky's comments esp where he says that it doesn't matter what any of us think about this matter. However I appreciate the time that he took to put his thoughts down and tried to pare them with my current knowledge.

Not that I have anything in particular against Christianity which has inspired so many amazing examples of culture...but we wouldn't be having this conversation were we all true Buddhists. :-P There's a reason why there are no wars fought in Buddha's name.

Also, might I add that when people immigrate to America...we usually think of it as "the land of the free" and not "the land of the Christian free". I do realize that so much of our country's history is rooted in Christian ideals but I hope people realize that the Bible is open to interpretation as it has been throughout the ages. How can you say the Bible is absolute and inviolate when there are so many denominations with so many varied views? I believe that Ricky is claiming that HIS interpretation of the Bible is absolute and inviolate, something that I can't get behind.

Don't forget that mixed race marriages in the past were banned by statutes that were written by Christians that believed that such unions were un-holy.

Read this for proof that there are some Christians that feel this way:
http://www.stormfront.org/truth_at_last/archives/interracial.htm

How far does your interpretation of the Bible go Ricky? Is it conscionable to pick and choose the sections to live by AND force upon others?

I had no first hand knowledge that there were people who equated believing and following God's commandments included putting those values on others.

I view this behavior as touching upon "JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED" and "CAST THE FIRST STONE" proverbs but then again I'm much more Buddhist than Christian in my personal beliefs. I don't hate people simply because they are different from me, or have a different viewpoint, or have a different religion...nor would I seek to push my own views on other people...I simply encourage others to experience\learn other views if only to strengthen your own. This is why I'm so interested in Jax's viewpoint on things since I feel that he is much more willing to take a wide-angle view of his own beliefs. His posts and thoughts on this particular matter have only served to help me think more about this issue from another viewpoint and actually helps God's ministry because I almost feel that if the religion can tolerate views like this, then it can't be all that bad. Unfortunately, there are those who are not interested in building a tolerant ministry and would rather enforce a strict by-my-interpretation ministry. Since humans are fallible, I have an unhealthy fascination with people who do so and then fall from grace.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_evangelist_scandals
All of those people would have told you and their parishioners what the Word was. However, they seemed to feel that or "forgot" that it also applied to them.

Anyways, let's all work on our own lives and not meddle in other people's lives! :-P (subtle shout out against Prop 8)

I'm done here but I seriously appreciate broadening my horizons due to the many viewpoints expressed here.

Austin said...

As a Christian living in the semi-Democratic experiment that is the United States of America, I have a unique role to play in my government. As a citizen, I am asked to vote the way my beliefs incline me to do so, whether those beliefs are religious, or secular, or what have you. As a follower of Jesus, I'm called to be tolerant of those who don't agree with me, loving them, and caring for them as best I can.

To me, these two things connect on this issue, and I'm voting no on 8.

As an American citizen, who happens to enjoy religious freedom, and believes that there is much value in the separation of church and state, I can't vote for something that I see as unconstitutional. The fact of the matter is that homosexual adults have a right to state benefits from living a monogamous, loving relationship, with whomever they chose, just as heterosexual adults do.

As a follower of Jesus, I can't help but think that legislating my religion will ruin it. The Kingdom of God isn't defined by the politics of this nation or the other nations in the world (as evidenced by Jesus' vanquishing of the "enemy"--he did it through what would be called failure by today's political institutions and standards--the death of a criminal), and as a person charged with working towards that kingdom, I'm not too keen on seeing it become a political system, or a political party, or anything of the sort. Indeed, I'm inclined to say that's exactly the opposite of what Jesus would have wanted. I can't hold people that don't believe the same thing I do responsible for not believing that, especially in a nation that prides itself on the "freedom" it gives all of its citizens.

As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor. I'm going to love my gay friends, but voting for public policies and laws that allow them the freedom to live the lifestyle that they would like, and dialog with them about that as they make those choices, rather than forcing them to live up to standards that are ONLY meaningful if one chooses them.

Anonymous said...

Ricky -

Thank you for your reply. Although I cannot agree with some of what you said, I did not think you sounded pompous or arrogant in your post.

So you've taken the stance that you should always vote to legally enforce your personal morals. Again, I don't agree with this because if everyone did this, the laws of any democratic country would be identical to that of its most popular religion. This equates to eliminating the separation between church and state. While this might be fine for a plurality of citizens (if not a majority), for all others this represents a loss of freedom. Even though one might be a Christian living in America, your views on any given subject may even be in the minority and you would then legally be obligated to act (or be restricted from action) in a personally immoral way.

That said, I can certainly understand the idea of trying to push the world in the direction of your personal ideal. After all, if you could choose between a more perfect world or a less perfect world, who wouldn't choose the "better" one?

This is why I have no problem with people publicly supporting or being proponents of a religion. If you can introduce someone to your beliefs and they embrace it with their heart, it's meaningful. But if you shackle people's actions to following a mockery of those beliefs by enforcing them legally, you are hurting your own cause and preventing many people from seriously considering their own faith.

One more problem, is that with all the different religions and divisions within each religion, it is quite possible that any one sizable group, while not a majority, could become a plurality when voting. That means that the views of a minority could dictate the laws of the majority. This is also not desirable in a "democracy".

Thank you again for responding to me. I feel I understand your current position better and I hope you understand some of my viewpoints.

My next question to you would be:

If you feel it is good to legally prohibit gay marriage because it is against your moral code, would you vote to make divorce an illegal and punishable offence? If not, why?

- Adam

Michael said...

Jackson has asked me (quite reasonably) to address the arguments of his post rather than state my own position. Upon rereading his post more thoughtfully I realized I did not read the post very critically or carefully the first two times. Rather I read it rather ideologically. My bad.

So I repent that mistake and have read the blog with the specific purpose of exploring and analyzing the thesis and not the conclusion. Why we vote is certainly as important as how we vote (from a Christian perspective).

So Jackson can correct me if I am incorrect but I believe his thesis is:
"By making marriage an issue of the state in a state governed by the Constitution I don't think we have any choice at this point but to allow gay marriage."

I will respond to this statement in particular because (if I am correct) it is the foundation of his position. First, I believe that the issue of whether or not marriage should be or has recently become an "issue of the state" has been adequately addressed by Jesse. There was no response to that post and so I will have to let it stand as it is.

But more important to Jax's decision is whether or not "we have any choice... but to allow gay marriage." The reason he said we wouldn't have any choice is because we live in a state that is governed by a state constitution which is part of a nation which is governed by the Constitution, which he believes (as does the CA Supreme Court) defends equal rights for everyone in all situations. I read the portion of the CA Constitution about our rights-Article 1 (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_1) and it does not mention equal rights specifically. Philosophically we could draw principles of equal rights in article 8 and 31 however as far as the state constitution is a legal document the government is largely obligated to regard it literally rather than philosophically (I concede that the court system has authority to interpret the gray areas philosophically). Looking at the State Constitution as a legal document I think it is defensible to say it does not command the right for gay marriage. Strictly as it reads that discrimination according to sex, race, color, creed (article 8 only) and national/ethnic in regards to jobs (art. 8) and public employment, education and contracting (art. 31). In this sense the State Constitution does not in itself demand equal rights of marriage to homosexual couples.

Proposition 8 (I believe but am not certain) is an attempt to amend to state constitution. If it passes then the state constitution will have a more nuanced definition of what “equal rights” means, which would refine (for good or ill) the definition of “equal rights” to reflect the will/values of the majority This is not unusual or a necessary denouncement of the principles of equal rights any more than prohibiting thirteen year olds from voting or convicted violent criminals from gun ownership is a necessary denouncement of equal rights. This is just a continual attempt to further define the values of the people (for good or ill).

Now regarding to Jax’s concerns that since the state is governed by the constitution and the current interpretation of the constitution is that homosexuals have the right to marry we have no choice but to allow gay marriage. That is actually not true; we have the legal recourse to attempt to change the constitution, which is what Prop 8 is attempting to do. Certainly today the state’s legal recognition of homosexual marriage is the law of the land and in that sense the only lawful act for government agencies is to recognize that fact. But citizens have lawful choices in regards to laws they feel are unjust or harmful.

So far I have only been discussing the secular facts, that prop 8 is a legitimate choice that each citizen can vote for or against for all kinds of various reasons. However Jackson brought up some questions that are for “believing Christians” and those who are not “believing Christians” are outsiders looking in on a somewhat private discussion.

The first is regards to ultimate authority. Jackson said that if the State Constitution allows gay marriage “believing Christians” have no choice but to accept this. Ricky answered this with what he believes the Bible says. At this point he was not irrationally parroting pulpit talking points but responding to the perceived position that “believing Christians” are obligated to obey the law of the land even if it is at odds with God’s will. It is true he was not nuanced in his approach but his answer I believe is a correct understanding of the ultimate loyalty all “believing Christians.” In the book of Daniel it was the law of the land that all people should bow down before an idol of the king. In the times the writing of the book of Revelation it was the law of Rome that all people must proclaim Caesar as “Lord.” In both situations the Godly response was to refuse to obey the human laws out of respect for God.

It is the same principle today in that the custom of the day says that all people must be afforded equal rights, but “believing Christians” believe that the some acts are un-Godly and ought to be prohibited the only correct response for a “believing Christian” is to resist the custom of the day. This can only be done in a Christian way but if choosing between the ideals of secular humanism and the ideals of God a “believing Christian” by definition will reject the ideals of secular humanism and seek to conform to the ideals of God.

Jackson said...

Thanks for the post Mikey. My contention is not that Christians should go along with the spirit and culture of the day and abandon their principles. It's more a question of whether Christians have the right to make the law of the land something that compels non-Christians to live in accordance with Christian values. I think one can Scripturally support a position wherein Christians do not have the obligation, right, or command from God to enforce the rules of Christian living upon those who aren't Christian. Though I suppose that would be another thread. I think Adam's questions and post are the logical next step in the conversation in this thread here, if indeed anyone wants to continue it.

Frances said...

i almost hate to put my toe in the water here, but i feel like one glaring omission is how this proposition came about in the first place. the issue of gay marriage has been voted on in this state and denied. it was a judicial decision that made gay marriage legal. Jackson, you said,

"I don't think it's the role of the government to enforce one religion's values on everyone else, even if I happen to agree with that religion's values."

i think that the fact that the people in this state have spoken on this issue in the past but were ignored by the government just goes to show that the government is forcing values on the people of California. besides, you can't say objections to gay marriage only stem from those who call themselves Christians, so it's not forcing one religion's beliefs on everyone.

Jackson said...

Hey Frances, no worries, I appreciate your input and don't think you opened up any non-existing cans of worms.

I do think the fact that the judges overruled the people's vote is not right - but I think that's a separate legal issue. I'm not saying that issue doesn't warrant looking into, it's just separate from the point I'm discussing.

That being said, the fact that this is up for vote again does mean that if California still feels that way it did when the vote was previously made, it should pass. It's up for vote again and at this point the Government won't be forcing anything on anybody, it will be a vote decided by the people of California.

Like I said, despite that, the fact that the judges went around the law is pretty shady and not something I'm saying I approve of. That's a dangerous legal precedent.

Mikey G said...

First regarding the California Supreme Court: I believe the courts have the right and obligation to overturn voter approved laws if they believe those laws contradict the state constitution. I read the portions of the state constitution and feel that their judgement was poor at best. But it is intentional that the court system is not directly subject to the will of the people.

Jackson said...

Oh yeah...that whole "separation of powers" thing...the basis of our governmental structure. Duh. Can't believe I didn't think of that.

Mikey G said...

hey Adam you asked about divorce and I was delighted by the excellent parallel.
I can not tell you for certain why the religious community (which I wish to distinguish between Christianity) has campaigned so hard for this issue. If I were to guess I would say the reason is largely political. In politics a group does not take up every issue they care about but rather picks the issues they will get the most "traction" over.
You may as well ask why do Democrats care so much more about the environment today than they did ten years ago. They picked the issue of the day and did they best they could with it.
For me, as a Christian and a survivor of divorce, I would support stronger restrictions on divorce. But I am not currently campaigning for this cause for the same reason I am not currently campaigning for Prop 8. I'm too busy trying to follow God. I have time to vote my conscience once every couple of years but usually I am working on much more important things.

but when I vote I am going to vote as a Christian.

Dwayne said...

On Prop 8, I disagree with you, Jackson, almost as much as I love you.

Let me throw a couple of other considerations into the debate:

First, if we follow the logic that we should allow gay marriage in order to protect a person's rights, where does it end? Logically, if you vote no on 8, you would also have to allow polygamy - who are we to take away the Mormons or any testosterone fueled guy from marrying more than one woman? How can we deny someone the right to marry 2 men and 3 women? Or to marry their own mother, or sibling, or a consenting minor? Or your pet dog or horse? What would your basis be for restricting marriage to anyone who has a unique or different leaning in their desires?

Second, as a follower of Christ, I believe that all of God's commands and laws are meant for our own good. They are not arbitrary, just to mess with us. If God says homosexual practice is wrong, there must be a good reason. And if I believe that, then wouldn't it be unloving to give my stamp of approval to a harmful act, such as homosexuality, or heroin usage, or whatever. The loving thing to do is do my best to uphold God's standards to a world. I can't force anyone to follow them - God gives us the free will to choose our path, whether to follow Him or not.

Christians are not to blame for marriage being institutionalized between a man and a woman in our country. It was created by God long before Christians were around, and been a common practice throughout history and in every major world religion. While many claimed followers of Jesus have made serious mistakes, when you blame Christians for institutionalized marriage, it sounds like you have read one revisionist history text book too many.

And as a divorced person, I am against divorce. In nearly all cases, it does more harm than good... that's why God hates it.

Jackson said...

Thanks for the comment, Dwayne. I think you may have misunderstood what I meant when I said Christians are in some way culpable for the current situation. I like to think of myself as a fairly conservative historian, and as a history major I think I gained some skill in discerning between good and bad history. My stance is not based on any revisionist history books. I'm not claiming Christians are somehow to blame for "institutionalizing marriage between a man and a woman." Marriage as a social/religious institution existed before Constantine declared Christianity official. I'm talking about Christian marriage as a government institution.

By conferring special privileges and rights based on "marriage" to the government, the institution of marriage became not just a social/religious institution but also a government institution. That's what I'm talking about. My "marrying" (if you'll excuse the expression) ourselves to the government power structure, we brought about some consequences we don't like - like making people think they need the word "marriage" to be fully accepted and have equal rights under the government. If the US Government did not issue marriage licenses I can pretty much guarantee you this would not be an issue. There would be different churches that do gay marriages, like today, but this legal issue would not exist. That's more what I'm talking about.

Your other point, about protecting people from harmful things, has a bit more merit, I think. I don't think gay marriage is one of those issues where we need to protect people from themselves - but I can understand that line of argumentation a lot better than many of the others being used in favor of Prop 8.

As a child of divorced parents whose outlook on life and relationships has also been impacted quite severely by divorce I also hate it and know why God hates it. That doesn't mean I think passing a law outlawing it is the right way to go. You understand better than I do as a parent that you have to let people learn from their choices and in some cases by placing too much restriction on someone that they don't get, you aren't going to win them over. I don't think Christians are going to get anyone close to believing the Gospel of Christ by passing a law trying to force them to go along with a Christian definition of marriage.

I really did try to picture Jesus starting a political reform movement in Rome, or encouraging His disciples to do so, where they would get the Roman government to pass and enforce laws that were meant to make pagans live by Christian precepts but I just couldn't do it. My vote is as motivated by my love of Jesus and the Gospel as yours; we just have different conclusions regarding what the best choice is.

Dwayne said...

Hey Jackson, I can't picture Jesus starting a movement to legislate morality either, BUT if he were in the flesh here in the US in 2008, I can't picture him voting to uphold gay marriage, nor encouraging others to do so... there is a difference between making an issue (like gay marriage) your core focus (which would be a mistake); and as you try to follow Christ, doing what you can to uphold God's standards. I'm sure not advocating making homosexual acts illegal; I'm just saying we shouldn't put society's rubber stamp of approval on them either.

Now, I would like to hear your opinion on where we would draw the line on marriage after we allow gay marriage. How would you argue against polygamous or incestuous marriages, for example? If we must allow gay people the right to marry, I think logically we'd have to allow everyone else to, as well. What do you think?

Dwayne said...

Additional clarification: Jesus didn't start a movement to disallow divorce, but He spoke out against it... he didn't "vote" for it when he was asked about it.

Mikey G said...

There is a a kind of popular sentiment in church culture to say that Jesus wouldn't be involved in politics if He were here today. That goes along with the idea that if Jesus were here today He would be here for the same reason He came two thousand years ago.
I most certainly do not feel qualified to defend a sophistiacted pre-trib post-trib escatology view. I am pretty sure I can't even spell the words BUT in all of my own study and exploration of God's Word I get the impression that it is in His nature to give commands, make laws and expect others (even those who do believe in Him) to follow. He is called "Lord" and "King of kings" right?

Jackson said...

Dwayne, have you read the comments before your own? They might help further illuminate my position and the thoughts of some others.

If I could vote for some different Prop that granted gays equal rights under something called a "civil union" instead of a "marriage" I would. The problem is there's a lot of legal investment in the word "marriage" and unless gays get access to that word, they won't have equal rights. So you could say I'm more voting FOR equal rights than I am voting for gay marriage. And I think granting gays equal rights is more important than keeping the word "marriage" for ourselves.

As for your question regarding polygamy, that's a classic slippery slope:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope

I see where you're going with it, but we can cross those bridges when we come to them. When it comes to laws in a democratic society it is important to protect minority rights while still having majority rule. I don't think there is a sizeable bestiality movement but I could be wrong. We can cross those bridges when we come to them. But right now we are faced with a large portion of the population clamoring for equal treatment under the law and I think the right thing to do is give them equal rights, not deny them those rights based on a religious conviction regarding marriage.

As an aside, every piece of legislation is "legislating morality." The question is, whose morality are we legislating, and on what basis do we manage the weightiness of majority rule/minority rights. That's a whole separate discussion, though.

Lastly, Mikey - our failure to follow God's laws creates a debt between Him and us. I don't think that gives Christians the obligation to try to create a theocratic state by which we force others to live by our religious standards.

To both of you guys I would say:

I think if you were to vote consistent with the logic you are using here, we should also vote for laws that force people to go to church, make divorce illegal, read their Bibles, outlaw other religions, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Why don't we?

One reason is we know those laws will only treat the outside and not deal with the heart. It's not possible to force someone to hold the same point of view you do in this issue. I see this vote on Prop 8 as one where we are trying to force others to accept our view of marriage. We judge those inside the church, not those outside the church. I think it's regrettable but as I mentioned I don't think the price tag (more division and antagonism between the Christian community and the broader culture) is worth keeping the word "marriage" what we want it to be.

I think gays should have the same rights under the law as heterosexuals, and in many instances the word "marriage" is necessary for those rights (especially inheritance laws). My ideal situation is that "marriage" be for a man and a woman, but since there are rights tied up in the word in the legal system, I don't think we can deny them the rights based on our religious convictions regarding the word marriage.

I wish this weren't an issue and I think gay "marriage" is a bad thing, but I think Christians are causing more harm to the gospel by being so rabidly opposed to giving up the word. We've already lost the culture war. We are missionaries in a post-Christian place and I think trying to force others to live by God's laws is a losing battle that will push people farther away from the Gospel. That's my primary motivation - how to reach more people with the Gospel. And I just can't see Jesus trying to change a pagan world by passing laws forcing pagans to do what He wants. I can see how you differ - but I want to assure you my motivation is also to do what I think Jesus would have me do.

That's my point of view, my best understanding of what I think Jesus would want based on my understanding of Him and Scripture. I understand we differ, and that's okay.

Mikey G said...

Could you tell me why Dwayne's logical consequences of polygomy & marrying turtles are a slippery slope but your logical consequences of manditory church attendence and the like are not?

I personally do not think that either are fallacies but pretty reasonable extensions of the logic. It seems you disagree but can you tell me why. I am worried that I might be using a slippery slope logic without relaizing it. If I had the standard you used to distingish one logical consequence from an illogical inferance I would be better equipped to remove this mistake from my own thinking.

Now you had mentioned the difference in that there is not a sizable movement for polygomy but by that same logic we shouldn't be worried by the mandatory church consequence because there isn't a strong lobby for that either. So why is Dwayne's consequence "a classic example of a slippery slope" while your's are not?
I was a little disappointed by how little attention you gave the question of all legislation is legistlating morality. You asked "whose morality are we legislating?" but wasn't it clear that every vote is a person's is an expression of their own morality. So a Humanist legislates a humanistic morality, a Christian a Christian morality and so forth. It would be a counter to your logic which said that we (Christians) should not legislate our morality on others if we accepted that all legislation is an attempt to enforce a morality upon the whole but it seems to me you dismissed that out of hand.

now the question of the balance between the rights of the minority vs. the rights of the majority does relate to legislating morality. But this is a question for the method for governments to make decisions, not necessarily for individual citizens. If a citizen believe in issue X strongly they are not obligated to vote against that issue out of a sense of ettiquette but instead will rightly vote their conscience. If they did not, one would suspect they did not care much about the issue or else care more about the feelings of others more than the issue.

I also was disappointed that you did not respond to my counter to your "wwjd" arguement. You had asked me to read your blog and respond to the logic of the arguements and when I gave my knee jerk response (emphasis on the jerk part) you correctly criticized me for stating my own position rather than analyzing the logic behind your own. Therefore I put more thought into how you came about your position and found what I consider weaknesses. But it seems that you have not responded to my objections but have instead have restated your starting points.

Dwayne said...

Jackson, thanks for your response. i did read all the previous posts. I still disagree with you, and that's OK. (I'm not sure I'm smart enough to understand everything Mikey G said)...

Here's my last comments I'll post on this... The slippery slope argument you used to brush off my concerns... the slippery slope is REAL. What basis will you have to deny any other kind of marriage? Honestly, Mormons should be outraged... The door will be wide open, and you won't be able to stop it - because you are basically saying we cannot impose our morals on others. Where on earth do we get the belief that polygamy or marrying a family member or a child is wrong? You are saying Christians should not stand up for their morals, while humanists are free to impose their morals on me.

You voted against Prop 8 as a vote for equal rights... but, how about the rights that will be violated or ignored if we have gay marriage? It will be taught to your children and mine as a normal, acceptable, and moral lifestyle. Paid for with my tax dollars. Now, I don't want my tax dollars paying to teach someone about Jesus, but I also don't want them paying to teach someone that homosexuality is OK. Someone else's world view, someone else's morality, is being forced on me. My rights will be violated. I agree with Mikey G that we have to vote our world view.

I don't want my kids having to deal with these issues until they are old enough to understand - in high school. But the gay lobby is smart - they knew the way to change the laws was to reach the children - in kindergarten and first grade. I've already been funding that with my tax dollars; my rights have already been violated.

Our children will be confused and misled. I believe more of our children will experiment with their sexuality. My God, I am old, but not that old at 45 - I never even knew what homosexuality really was until I was in college... and then it was pretty foreign. Holding gay marriage up as a norm will harm our future generations, will harm Belle and Seth and Josiah.

I will agree that SOME Christians are causing more harm to the gospel by the manner in which they are opposing gay marriage... but you can avoid the issue and hope the world likes you better... the truth of the matter is that the Bible says those who habitually practice sin (homosexuality as well as heterosexual immorality, stealing, drunkenness - 1 Corinthians 6:8-11)will not have a part in God's Kingdgom... so we can ignore sin for now, but as people get closer to Jesus, sooner or later they will have to confront it... and be offended - by a morality that Christians did not create, but was ordained by God.

Sorry for my wordy reply. Darn preachers. I wish I could be more to the point.

Dwayne said...

Jackson, thanks for your response. i did read all the previous posts. I still disagree with you, and that's OK. (I'm not sure I'm smart enough to understand everything Mikey G said)...

Here's my last comments I'll post on this... The slippery slope argument you used to brush off my concerns... the slippery slope is REAL. What basis will you have to deny any other kind of marriage? Honestly, Mormons should be outraged... The door will be wide open, and you won't be able to stop it - because you are basically saying we cannot impose our morals on others. Where on earth do we get the belief that polygamy or marrying a family member or a child is wrong? You are saying Christians should not stand up for their morals, while humanists are free to impose their morals on me.

You voted against Prop 8 as a vote for equal rights... but, how about the rights that will be violated or ignored if we have gay marriage? It will be taught to your children and mine as a normal, acceptable, and moral lifestyle. Paid for with my tax dollars. Now, I don't want my tax dollars paying to teach someone about Jesus, but I also don't want them paying to teach someone that homosexuality is OK. Someone else's world view, someone else's morality, is being forced on me. My rights will be violated. I agree with Mikey G that we have to vote our world view.

I don't want my kids having to deal with these issues until they are old enough to understand - in high school. But the gay lobby is smart - they knew the way to change the laws was to reach the children - in kindergarten and first grade. I've already been funding that with my tax dollars; my rights have already been violated.

Our children will be confused and misled. I believe more of our children will experiment with their sexuality. My God, I am old, but not that old at 45 - I never even knew what homosexuality really was until I was in college... and then it was pretty foreign. Holding gay marriage up as a norm will harm our future generations, will harm Belle and Seth and Josiah.

I will agree that SOME Christians are causing more harm to the gospel by the manner in which they are opposing gay marriage... but you can avoid the issue and hope the world likes you better... the truth of the matter is that the Bible says those who habitually practice sin (homosexuality as well as heterosexual immorality, stealing, drunkenness - 1 Corinthians 6:8-11)will not have a part in God's Kingdgom... so we can ignore sin for now, but as people get closer to Jesus, sooner or later they will have to confront it... and be offended - by a morality that Christians did not create, but was ordained by God.

Sorry for my wordy reply. Darn preachers. I wish I could be more to the point.

Jackson said...

Mikey, I'm not sure how I can better articulate my complete thought process. I don't buy into your criticisms of my arguments and believe they basically boil down to you believing we should legislate Christian values that the rest society doesn't agree with and I disagree. You say you vote the way you think Jesus wants you to vote (wwjd) and I say the same thing - we have different understandings of what that means and what Jesus would do. I don't buy into your assumption that "believing Christians" will pass laws that force others to live by some facade of Christian values they do not share. I think it is entirely consistent with the position of a "believing Christian" to vote the way I voted, for the reasons I have stated. I'm not going to be able to convince you I'm right and I'm not inclined to spend any more time and energy on it. Our baseline assumptions are apparently different.


Here's how the slippery slope point differs, from my perspective.

If polygamists organize and start requesting equal rights then we can have that discussion about legalizing polygamy. I am not advocating that we grant gay marriage rights and deny the polygamists that are asking for their rights. If I were then you'd be right in calling me on my inconsistency. This is different from pointing out flawed and inconsistent reasoning.

I am taking issue with your reasoning on voting for Prop 8. The reasoning is: God is against gay marriage so we should outlaw it. If I believed that way I would be introducing Propositions outlawing other religions because if it's my job as a Christian to make laws forcing people to abide by the regulations of the Christian life then that's what I'm going to do. If God wants us to advance His kingdom through political means, we are remiss in our responsibilities if we only pass stuff like this when it comes up. If this truly is an effective and Christ-like way to serve God then we should be working harder at passing laws that make America truly ruled by the laws Christians are supposed to live by. That is how both positions are not on a slippery slope.

I only briefly mentioned the "legislating morality" thing because like I said it's a whole big issue that deserves its own space. My comments with regard to the role of government basically illustrate where I stand on that issue. If we believe something as an article of faith I tend to think we should not pass laws forcing others to accept the implications of our own article of faith. People should vote as they believe - and it is a part of my Christian value system that I should not force my value system on others, so I am in fact voting in accordance with my values system and legislating the morality I consider correct - that of not forcing my religiously-based values on someone else. I too am voting as a Christian, not as a Secular Humanist as you claim.

The passage that keeps popping into my head with regard to this issue, other than the passage in 1 Corinthians which says we are to judge those inside the church, not those outside it, is Colossians 2:20-23:
"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

The thing I take from that passage with regard to this issue being - change is wrought in our hearts by the work of Christ, not by the following of rules and regulations.

I honestly can't explain myself any more clearly on this and am not particularly interested in trying to further explain my point of view in this regard. If you don't get where I'm coming from at this point then I'm just not good enough at explaining it. I'm not saying my arguments are impregnable but I find them a far sight more convincing than those advocating the establishment of an American Theocracy.

Jackson said...

Dwayne, we must have been typing/posting at the same time. My responses to Mikey still apply to your post. And with regard to gay marriage negatively impact the children, like Belle, I will go with the words a friend of mine posted (who I'm not sure agrees with my position on Prop 8 but makes a good point nonetheless). He wrote:

"Why is fear such a popular voting motive? I should probably give this a whole post- cuz I have HUGE concerns about how Christians interact with a secular society... but I don't understand the ones who say I should vote Yes on 8 for fear that my kids might learn at my public school that there are people who think homosexuality is a lifestyle one can raise a family under. There are tons of things my kids learn at school I don't support. But I also have not deligated their learning away. If it's taught as THE way, then that's a problem. But A way? Well, I'm not sure not teaching that is changing much these days. They learn condoms can protect pre-marital sex, abortion is ok, the absense of God, a view of religions I don't agree with, and a bunch of other stuff. I took Tyler to a museum this week with his class where they subtly told him again that he has evolved from nothing... which all of my kids are taught at one stage or another in the public school realm. But I use it as a teaching moment, not a fear moment. I didn't tell Tyler he can't go to the museum because they'll say he evolved from a soup of nothingness. Anyway- I don't fear the society I live in, I want to influence it- which is why our kids are in the public school environment in the first place. Voting is one of many ways I can continue to spread my influence. But at the core, I want to engage this society and teach my kids and students to think about what America does or does not teach and learn to agree and disagree sensibly and Biblically. I don't fear it. I don't think Jesus did or does either."

I'm not worried about Belle learning that some people consider homosexuality a viable alternative to heterosexuality. That's the prevailing point of view in our culture. I can try to pretend it's not there and hope she remains ignorant as long as possible, or I can take it as it comes and help her sort through it and teach her what I believe and what God's Word says and why. I don't think my rights will be violated by people teaching stuff at school I don't agree with or people saying things around my kids that I don't agree with.

Jackson said...

Lastly - I am not saying humanists have the right to force their morals on you. Perhaps if they forced you to marry another man they would be, but two men marrying one another is not an imposition on your rights, from where I stand. I sincerely hope another religious group with a similar political philosophy does not gain power, because otherwise they will "stand up for their rights" all the way into a government that forces us to live their way because they think it is right and that God wants them to do it. I am voting to not deny rights - not to force a particular behavior on anyone.

Dwayne said...

Jackson, it's quite a leap to say that I'm advocating a theocracy, which I'm not. There is a difference between voting for your values, and voting to impose your faith. I would never try to impose my faith. I actually find your premise offensive. You are saying that for me to vote against legalizing gay marriage I am imposing my values and faith,but it's quite OK for someone else to impose their views and values. It defies logic. My view on marriage has been the prevailing view across history, cultures, and religion for thousands of years - until someone else imposed their views on me. Not to mention the foundation of civilization. Secular, humanist studies have shown that children do best, in fact, need, a mother and a father. Please don't redefine those terms' gender.

I'm not living in fear, either. I'm being wise. You can teach Belle your values all you want, but if you expose her at age 5 to someone else's values for 180 days a year for 6 1/2 hours a day, there will be an effect. If not, why would that be a big part of the gay agenda to change society? I am not trying to hide my kids from others' views... I am trying to protect them at a young age from having others (authority figures = their teacher) tell my kids their views are wrong, and that gay marriage is morally right. It's a big difference.

You may be OK with having your tax dollars pay to teach moral values that you don't agree with, but I'm not... and will assert again that my rights are being violated. I would never ask public school teachers to teach Christianity, but I do not want them to teach humanistic values either... stick to English, math, science, etc. Stay away from imposing someone else's moral values on my kids.

Jackson said...

Well Dwayne I guess I'm just going to have to leave it at "agree to disagree" here. We have different opinions on what it means to force your values on someone else and we're not going to convince each other otherwise, because we have a number of differences on our premises, let alone our conclusions. We've both had our say and I think people have gotten a good glimpse of our different points of view, and can make up their own minds as to what they think.

Mikey G said...

I can agree to disagree and would just conclude with my repudiation of the other logica; fallacy of false dilema. You can vote against Prop 8 and be a committed Christian. You can vote for Prop 8 and be committed to social justice. So much love to Jackson... but according to standard arguement by-laws the first to say "agree to disagree" forfeits the debate. Therefore Mikey G wins! :-P

Ricky said...

Jackson,

You've got to take a moment to realize that every Christian that chose to respond to this topic on your website disagreed with you.

And with your other emails and comments on my website, it feels like you're going through some sort of tug-of-war with God. I've known you almost 10 years, as a considerate, slow to speak person. But the things you've told me, and said to others recently make me sad.

In every response you wrote, and especially that "agree to disagree" response, those are exactly the opposite lessons I am being taught in school on how to stand up for Christ. Agreeing to disagree is a copout.

And as my final final statement on this subject on this blog, whether you respond to me or not, I'll leave you with a quote I heard a pastor in Sacramento say to a group of Prop 8 supporters "If you have to choose sides, it's best you choose God's side."

Jackson said...

If you'll read the posts more carefully you'll notice at least three Christians who agreed with me. Two I know personally and one I don't know (Austin). But by your standards we aren't acting Christian so who knows. But counting up votes doesn't matter. If you took a survey of Southern Christians in 1940 you'd find a whole heck of a lot more who said blacks should drink out of different water fountains than whites? Does that make it correct? No. More people saying something doesn't make it right.

Your arrogance and insistence upon declaring your position to be the only possible committed Christian decision is almost as staggering as your willingness to proclaim judgment on my spiritual status.

Agreeing to disagree is not a copout. It is reaching a point where you realize you are not going to convince one another and deciding to move on. I've explained myself as best I can, and so have you. You don't buy my arguments and I don't buy yours. What else is there to say? You can keep telling me I'm being unfaithful to God if you want but it's not going to bring me any closer to your point of view. I'm doing my best to be faithful to Jesus and Scripture, whether you believe it or not.

Let's not discuss politics anymore and stick to talking trash about our football teams.

Dave said...

First I agree with Jackson's position.

Agreeing to disagree is by no means a copout. I think that the fact that Jackson has engaged in a discussion with several people on this particular issue shows that he's not copping out.

I believe this country thrives on the ability of its citizens to agree to disagree.

I learned a long time ago that I can't convince everyone to believe what I believe; to believe otherwise is naive and will only lead to frustration. While everyone can convince themselves that their position is right it doesn't mean that they should argue and attack everyone that believes differently. Look at those God Hates Fags people; they think everyone should believe what they believe and attack and belittle anyone that believes differently. This definitely doesn't help their position, it doesn't make their position any more valid, and it definitely doesn't make them very well liked.

I'm not going to come into your house and tell you that you should use natural peanut butter and not regular peanut butter, then tell you how wrong and stupid you are because you don't like Adam's Natural. Eat whatever you want; I don't have to convince you to eat it. If you don't want to eat it then don't eat it; just don't make me eat it...

Holy crap...I just had a root canal so I hope some of that makes sense. The analogies may not be the best but I hope I've made my point.

So in closing... if everyone agreed about everything, we'd live in a utopia; if everyone fought about what they thought was the way to do things, we'd live in anarchy; if everyone agreed to disagree, but worked with each other in spite of their differences, we'd live in a democracy.