Wednesday, July 13, 2005

There are More Things in Heaven and Earth, [Cross-Currents], Than are Dreamt of in Your Philosophy

Cross-currents makes a particularly weak argument in favor of their "opposition to the gay lifestlye."

Here is a direct quote:

In a nutshell: It is an essential aspect of our Jewishness that we strive to be other-oriented rather than self-oriented. This leads us directly to G-dliness, or is perhaps a subset of G-dliness, as we strive to serve His needs rather than our own. By marrying someone who is wired like me (a male) or even someone not wired like me but nonetheless innately familiar to me (a female, but a close relative of mine) I will not become as other-oriented as I would had I married someone who is completely different than I am. (This also gives context to the linkage between feminism – ‘no differences’ between roles of men and women – and the gay lifestyle.)


Since they are known not to always publish comments which disagree [SECOND update: my comment now shows up there.], I'll simul-post my response here:

With all due respect, I find your rationalization utterly uncompelling. What you seem to ignore is that gay people cannot enter into a good marriage with a member of the opposite sex. It’s just not an option. (Please note that I specified a good marriage.) Clearly, by even your logic, marrying someone, even a member of the same sex, would make you more “other-oriented” than would remaining single. Forbidding same-sex marriage forces people to be LESS other-oriented, and so you should be against a prohibition.

Moreover, proponents of a ban on gay marriage seem to believe that if it’s forbidden, gay people will just go away or magically become straight. This is not the case. There are already gay couples who live together, have children together, and create families together. Banning gay marriages serves only to discriminate against such couples and their children and does not provide any benefit. [I added the next line to my post here for emphasis:] A gay marriage ban does not prevent gay families, it just discriminates against them. You must first recognize that gay families exist and then deal with that reality rather than assuming that if you ban gay marriage, gay people will just disappear.

5 comments:

Eli7 said...

I did not read the Cross Currents post you quote, but by your own admission the post is talking about the "gay lifestyle" and not gay marriage. Cross Currents seems to be giving a rationalization for why living a gay lifestlye and being a gay family is wrong, not for why there should be a ban on gay marriage.

That said, while I agree with the conclusion (that one should not live a gay lifestyle), I agree with you that that reasoning is none too compelling.

However, the bottomline is, and I know this is something you're probably not gonna like, that the Torah is pretty clear on this one, and it's pretty clear that living a gay lifestly ain't so great.

Whether to permit gay marriage, however, is a totally different question, which I have no interest in discussing here. But I will say that while banning gay marriage will certainly not make gay families go away, permitting gay mariage takes a way more of the stigma from something that according to the Torah is pretty bad.

Jewish Atheist said...

permitting gay marriage takes a way more of the stigma from something that according to the Torah is pretty bad.

This is true. However, what does the stigma really accomplish? What are the results of the stigma? Teen suicide, teen beatings, estrangement from parents, unhealthy sexual behavior (i.e. sexual promiscuity on the side rather than gay monogamy), sham marriages where the straight partner has to suffer as well, innocent kids who are discriminated against, and families being broken apart.

And what's the benefit, according to you? Fewer people have gay sex? That might be true and it might not, but at what cost?

Eli7 said...

I'm not staying we should discriminate against homosexuals. I do not think we should discriminate under any circumstances.

However, we can be tolerant without saying we think what they're doing is ok. Permitting gay marriage is saying that we think the gay lifestyle is completely acceptable, which an Orthodox Jew cannot really think (at least according to my interpretation of the Torah).

Legislating against discrimination and making that discrimination a hate crime (as new legislation seeks to do) is something completely different. I think we can be tolerant without condoning something that Judaism says is wrong.

Jewish Atheist said...

Permitting gay marriage is saying that we think the gay lifestyle is completely acceptable

I don't see how it's any different than "permitting" eating shellfish or committing adultery or driving on shabbat, all of which are currently legal despite Judaism's disapproval. I don't think people should call each other jerks, but I don't think it should be illegal, either.

jjew said...

Jewish Atheist, the question is not to what the stigma accomplishes, but rather to what does the existence of the stigma indicate? This is the proverbial root of the question (issue, problem), the reactions to homosexuality, potentially stigmas, are indications to a "value clash" in society and in the minds of people. The model of America is designed to give its citizens rights; it is a right-oriented model, even when a person's right to do something is considered immoral by the standards of society. There is democracy when it comes to organized voting, but is there democracy when it comes to the standards of society?

There is a long list of possible social problems that society can have, and by no means is homosexuality the only one. There is an innate problem when it comes to a free society, as all free societies can attest to; the government must allow everyone to do what they want (within rational borders), rights become the definition of existence, individuality becomes the point of living, and obligations become obstacles to self-fulfillment. As it continues, the term "rational borders" in itself is subject to change as long as those borders obstruct personal fulfillment, people will try to change them. The answer is not to take away freedom from the society, but for individuals to make right and thought out decisions. This has become difficult for us to do. Society will continue to function however, only that it will function on necessity, to maintain the status quo; money goes in and money goes out so that we can eat and buy stuff, but what we do on our own time is our business. Is this really a living society? Is this pointless idealism?

But this is no doom's day nonsense. The truth is that, in all history, society has had the potential to go down as well as to go up, and sometimes the two happen simultaneously in accordance with different sectors of the population. Gay marriages aren’t just about gay marriages, just as the right to beat your wife isn’t just about your desire to beat your wife, just as women’s suffrage isn’t just about a woman with a big mouth, just as the illegality of murder isn’t just about your justified rage towards another person. It makes more sense holistically. If you view society as a bowl of fruit, you’ll notice that when mold starts to grow, it grows on many fruit at the same time and then spreads. We can’t have a perfect society, but we can do our best. The trick is that we live inside of society so, to a degree, we become numb to certain ailments, sometimes to the degree that is convenient.



But this is no doom's day nonsense. The truth is that, in all history, society has had the potential to go down as well as to go up, and sometimes the two happen simultaneously in accordance with different sectors of the population. Gay marriages aren’t just about gay marriages, just as the right to beat your wife isn’t just about your desire to beat your wife, just as women’s suffrage isn’t just about a woman with a big mouth, just as the illegality of murder isn’t just about your justified rage towards another person. If you view society as a bowl of fruit, you’ll notice that when mold starts to grow, it grows on many fruit at the same time and then spreads. We can’t have a perfect society, but we can do our best. The trick is that we live inside of society so, to a degree, we become numb to certain ailments, sometimes to the degree that is convenient.