[My Profile] [My Settings] [Exit]  

Home Blog My Games Reviews Friends Exit
Lewis Lewis Denby is a freelance videogames journalist and critic. As well as HonestGamers, he has written for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, The Escapist, Gamasutra and BeefJack.

Title: Pro-Marriage organisation launches Anti-Marriage campaign
Posted: April 23, 2009 (04:08 AM)
Mr. Walker points to this astonishing campaign by America's National Organisation for Marriage:



I was going to write a lot of things about this myself, but, well, he says just about everything I would. So just read that. I'd additionally argue that the notion of "being married" doesn't intrinsically change a serious relationship in the first place, so the shift between a couple cohabiting and being married makes literally no difference to anyone.
[reply]

honestgamerUser: honestgamer
Title:
Posted: April 23, 2009 (01:59 PM)
If marriage made no difference, Lewis, you wouldn't see people fighting over it as passionately as they do. Marriage is the most sacred thing in the world to your typical born-and-raised Christian. There's pretty much nothing more important and--right or wrong (wrong, I say, since the Bible is pretty clear that your works aren't a ticket through the golden gates)--a lot of Christian beliefs about the things you can do to get into heaven and the things you can do to get into hell revolve around that institution.

It's important to a lot of homosexual couples, too, and not just because of the legal rights that now go along with it. How people miss this obvious point (a point that prominant homosexuals have admitted on television and elsewhere) is beyond me, but it does explain why non-Christians regularly crop up saying "Let them have their little Christian marriage thingy if it means so much to them" without understanding that it is asking the typical Christian to compromise everything he or she has stood for his or her entire life.

And why? Not so that homosexuals can have the rights of a union--most of which are now part of a civil union--but so that those couples can in effect say "See? We can do what we want and you can't stop us!" If it were just about rights in a general sense, you'd see homosexuals pushing for more rights to be given to a civil union (adoption, tax breaks, spousal privilege, etc.) and perhaps you'd see a lot of Christians supporting that notion (though some certainly wouldn't because, after all, they do believe firmly with plenty of Biblical support that homosexual marriage is wrong). Some homosexuals do push for increased civil union rights, to be perfectly fair. But most are pushing for marriage--a religious institution with all of the trappings and preferrably in a church--precisely because of the psychological benefits.

Until you have an emotional investment in one side or the other--either as someone raised a devoted Christian (not just someone who grew up in a family that went to church sometimes), or as a homosexual, or as both--then there's no way that you can possibly understand on a gut level the massive force of conviction that drives both sides on the frontlines of this issue.

The real issue here didn't begin just with the homosexuals trying to have a Christian institution applied to something that goes against what Christianity stands for, though. The real issue began when the separation between church and state vanished long enough for marriage to become an institution in which state had a stake. Nothing good ever comes of that, clearly, unless you're of the mind that the state should have the right to dictate what people believe and practice as part of their faith. Me, I'm not.

Edit: I haven't viewed the video, by the way, nor do I plan to. It wouldn't surprise me to find that it contains a bunch of stupidity, but that's normal from both sides of the argument. The article you linked to contained plenty of its own stupidity, as well. This is one of those arguments that inspires a lot of stupidity and ignorance from both sides.
[reply]

JANUS2User: JANUS2
Title:
Posted: April 23, 2009 (03:56 PM)
"they do believe firmly with plenty of Biblical support that homosexual marriage is wrong"

Maybe it's because I'm not a devout Christian but I don't understand how you can interpret the bible literally. More to the point, if you do interpret it literally, then why only selectively? Rachel tells Jacob to sleep with the maid because it's her fault that she can't bear children. Does this mean it's OK to blame women for infertility and then sleep with the maid? Religious practices and beliefs adapt to reflect social developments (abolition of slavery, suffragettes, Darwin, etc.). No sensible Christian would now argue that the Earth is at the centre of the universe, despite biblical evidence that suggests it is. Can attitudes to homosexuality change despite literal condemnations? Time will tell.

Also, marriage can be seen as an institution used by both the church AND the state to control the individual (depending on who wields the power). As a non-Christian, I happen to believe that the separation of church and state is absolutely vital. This doesn't mean that the state should have the right to dictate religious practices (unless they infringe civil rights). But it does mean that society should adhere to civil laws and not one specific religious authority.

But I do find it odd that non-Christian homosexuals would want to get married in a church, in the same way that it's odd that non-Christian heterosexuals would want to get married in a church.

EDIT: Although saying that, I think the desire for non-Christians to marry in a church reflects the fact that church and state HAVEN'T always been distinct from each other (certainly in English history). This means that people still confuse the secular practice of marriage as civil union with the Christian idea of doing it before God, etc, etc. Plus the Church of England has never actually sought to keep marriage exclusive (when my parents got married it was good enough for my dad to simply say he had been Christened, even though he hasn't).
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: April 23, 2009 (08:28 PM)
I agree with Janus, if I was a non-Christian homosexual I would not want to get married. Why would anyone want to take part in a religious sacrament that condemns their lifestyle?

As HG's token Libertarian here's my take: marriage is a sacred sacrament and should remain a sacred sacrament, which means out of the government's hands. Why the hell is the government telling people who they can and canít get married to? This problem can simply be solved by the government not granting any marriages, gay or straight. So government recognizes only civil unions (that way you donít have to put gender down or anything) and leave marriage up to the private sector. If one of the more liberal/progressive religions want it then thatís fine but if the conservative ones donít allow it then they have the right not to.

Also Christians shouldnít have too much beef with same sex marriage because itís basically just a government contract and not an official marriage/sacrament under God. Iím donít see why homosexuals should be discriminated against when it comes to government contracts but I think the system is flawed.
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (01:56 AM)
I'll write more about this in a bit, but Jason: it's worth noting that the writer of that blog post I linked to is an extremely passionate Christian who works with the church a lot. And thinks the anti-gay-marriage bandwagon is hateful. So you're not necessarily right in all cases.

More to follow...
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (02:54 AM)
The issue is that the NOM advert is totally a hate campaign masquerading as serious human rights stuff. It completely sticks out. It's so condescending to same-sex couples, really sneering towards them, with a sense of "Bless 'em, they can do what they want, but not in MY state" all the way through it.

It refers to the idea of same-sex marriage as "a storm" that's going to somehow wipe out Christian values. A couple of the arguments hold some weight, even though I disagree with them: the minister who says his faith and work would conflict if gay marriages became legal has a strongish case. The mother, on the other hand, who seems thoroughly disturbed at the fact that her son might grow up in a society where it's okay to be gay - well, she's just a dispicable wretch.

The main problem is that NOM doesn't even make an effort to reason its own arguments. It just stirs up hate. The site asks "how will the legislation affect your marriage?" then proceeds to ramble on about how the very notion of marriage will change and anyone who disagrees will be labelled a bigot. So, not answering the question at all. Later, NOM talk about black people for some reason. In the FAQ, one question reads "are you bigots?" Their response, spectacularly, is to talk about how their views aren't racist, and how that assertion is offensive to African Americans. W, T, and - indeed F?

Their campaign also seems to be primarily based around The Children. As if allowing gay partners to marry would somehow mean children are - and this is a fucking direct quote from the site - "robbed of a mother." This is just staggering. It assumes that if gay men aren't allowed to get married (and do note that the whole campaign is based around gay men. The term "lesbian" is used peripherally, but the whole thing is centred on the lack of a mother) then they won't be gay any more, and will have a child in a happy, "normal" family. It makes literally no sense, and it's a complete denial of the very idea of homosexuality.

The worst thing I found on the website was a section which reminds people to avoid saying "ban gay marriage" yet very heavily implies that's what they're about. The suggestion seems to be that NOM supporters should, basically, lie a bit about what they want to achieve, just to sneak their way into public acceptance a little bit first. It's really horrible.

If anyone's still not convinced that it's a hate campaign, wander over to their blog. My current favourite is a post whose author seems thoroughly appalled that a student society has been in trouble with a university because they banned membership for homosexuals. They think that's okay. This is what they stand for.

The worst thing of all? The hideous assumption that just because their views are based on religious values, they're somehow automatically more important than everybody else's - even when they're in the minority. I hope no one here would get behind that outlook.
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (02:54 AM)
Additionally, all of this:

"This problem can simply be solved by the government not granting any marriages, gay or straight. So government recognizes only civil unions (that way you donít have to put gender down or anything) and leave marriage up to the private sector. If one of the more liberal/progressive religions want it then thatís fine but if the conservative ones donít allow it then they have the right not to.

Also Christians shouldnít have too much beef with same sex marriage because itís basically just a government contract and not an official marriage/sacrament under God. Iím donít see why homosexuals should be discriminated against when it comes to government contracts but I think the system is flawed."
[reply]

sashananUser: sashanan
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (03:25 AM)
I seem unable to discuss this issue because I view marriage as a legal construct in a secular state and consider its religious meaning to be a separate process. As such I'm not on the same wavelength to begin with.
[reply]

JANUS2User: JANUS2
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (04:15 AM)
God bless the Netherlands. I mean... if you want to be blessed that is.
[reply]

zigfriedUser: zigfried
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (01:54 PM)
One Christian value is to spread Christian values to everyone. So anything that goes against Christian values really could be seen as a storm threatening to wipe out Christian values. Anything that opposes the spread of said values is a threat, and threats must be dealt with.

That's one of my issues with organized religion. It's intolerant, sometimes overtly so -- and even the faiths that preach tolerance are intolerant in their own way.

In today's world, Jesus would have an extremely hard time finding a Christian church that he could truly condone and support. He would probably go off and do his own thing and preach love amongst all, which would essentially be a major snub of all the churches out there.

That being said, I think today's world is way closer to his beliefs than the worlds of 100, 200, 300 years ago.

//Zig
[reply]

sashananUser: sashanan
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (02:55 PM)
In today's world, Jesus would have an extremely hard time finding a Christian church that he could truly condone and support. He would probably go off and do his own thing and preach love amongst all, which would essentially be a major snub of all the churches out there.

Didn't work out for Him so well last time, did it :)
[reply]

honestgamerUser: honestgamer
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (03:25 PM)
In today's world, Jesus would have an extremely hard time finding a Christian church that he could truly condone and support. He would probably go off and do his own thing and preach love amongst all, which would essentially be a major snub of all the churches out there.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus made a point of loving the sinner, not the sin. He told sinners to "Go and sin no more." The Bible is clear on the matter of homosexual relationships: they are a sin. Should the church love homosexuals? Absolutely. Should it condone the sin, sanction it, make it convenient and pretend that the sin isn't a sin? Absolutely not! Yet that's what these laws are attemting to force the church to do, which is why I have a problem with them. I don't want the state forcing the church to say that it believes something it doesn't, just as I don't want the church strongarming the state into passing legislation to enforce the beliefs of a given religion or even the bulk of religions.

Churches should have a fundamental right to refuse to perform a religious ceremony celebrating the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman or a man and a pig or any other coupling (including a man and a woman!). Civil unions and marriage should be two separate things in a legal sense, with civil unions perhaps a part of the whole "marriage" thing but with a marriage yielding no financial or legal benefits unless it is accompanied by the state's version, the civil union. It's the simple, obvious solution, so of course it will never happen and of course neither side on the current debate has put much thought behind advocating such a thing.
[reply]

zigfriedUser: zigfried
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (09:37 PM)
I wasn't aware that the proposed legislations were attempting to force churches to perform ceremonies. I agree that's just plain wrong, and such legislation deserves to be crusaded against.

My issue was with religious organizations trying to make it impossible for a same-sex couple to find a faith that would actually condone their union, but as you've pointed out, that may not be what's really happening here.

//Zig
[reply]

sashananUser: sashanan
Title:
Posted: April 24, 2009 (09:42 PM)
Churches should have a fundamental right to refuse to perform a religious ceremony celebrating the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman or a man and a pig or any other coupling (including a man and a woman!). Civil unions and marriage should be two separate things in a legal sense, with civil unions perhaps a part of the whole "marriage" thing but with a marriage yielding no financial or legal benefits unless it is accompanied by the state's version, the civil union. It's the simple, obvious solution, so of course it will never happen and of course neither side on the current debate has put much thought behind advocating such a thing.

Pretty much how I look at it, though whether or not the legal thing should be called a marriage becomes a point of contention at that point (though one that I personally consider only semantic in nature).

We have at least come to the point in the Netherlands where "marriage" as in the state thing is fully open to same sex couples - the law having been thus worded that it is precisely the same thing, not an "extra option" - but even so, even here, there's a lot of work left to do on the social stigma front.

God bless the Netherlands. I mean... if you want to be blessed that is.

Why not. We can use all the help we can get.
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: April 25, 2009 (12:25 AM)
I wasn't aware that the proposed legislations were attempting to force churches to perform ceremonies. I agree that's just plain wrong, and such legislation deserves to be crusaded against.

I don't think they are. Yet
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: April 25, 2009 (04:14 AM)
I don't think they are. Yet.

This. All that's being proposed is that it would be legal for them to do so if they wish. NOM are conveniently ignoring this, and attempting to pass it off as the religion being forced to operate outside its ethics. It's scaremongering and the disruption of truth, masquerading as a human rights campaign, when actually it's a campaign rooted in fear and hatred.
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title:
Posted: April 25, 2009 (08:43 AM)
But I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually happens here. The government has already broken the Constitution so many times to the point where attempting to control Churches and private institutions isn't that far out there anymore.
[reply]

LewisUser: Lewis
Title:
Posted: April 26, 2009 (07:23 AM)
I don't buy that at all.
[reply]

eXTReMe Tracker
2005-2012 HonestGamers
Opinions expressed in this blog represent the opinions of those expressing them and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of site staff, users and/or sponsors. Unless otherwise stated, content above belongs to its copyright holders and may not be reproduced without express written permission.