Monday, March 30, 2009

A Gay, Closeted YU Student Speaks Out (Anonymously)

This is heartbreaking because it is so unnecessary:
Each of us has a challenge in the world, a roadblock on the highway of life that challenges us to become the best we can be. We are given these tests to help shape our character and to become masters of our desires, whatever they are. Whether the test is keeping Shabbat or learning afternoon seder between classes, we are all given a test in life. My own challenge keeps me up at night, preoccupies my thoughts during the day, and leaves me feeling like I am walking down a somber road in a lonely world: I am a religious Jew, living in the observant Jewish world, faced with the challenge of being a homosexual...

As a religious Jew, I have always put Torah values at the center of my beliefs. Never would I dream of trying to say that homosexuality is permissible; I know that there is something intrinsically wrong with such an act. That is certainly not to say, however, that it is not a challenge for me. Attraction, whether to a man or to a woman, is not something that one can control. The fact that I have certain desires – which I would purge from my life in a second if I had the ability – is something that I cannot change. They leave me with feelings of solitude, despair, depression, and, alas, excitement...

My path is unclear and even though I still stand alone, I stand armed with the will to live another day and fight to keep my beliefs alive. No matter the support I get, I stand on trial every day of my life. I do not know where my future will lead, nor how I can change my feelings. I live with a sense of frustration, knowing the goal I want to reach but lacking the tools to arrive there. What must I do to be able to marry a woman? What must I share with my future partner? How can I even bring myself to tell her this hidden secret? I do not know if it is fair to ask someone to live with me under these conditions, or whether I will truly be able to be happy in such a relationship. All I know is that I want to one day make marriage to a woman work – to love her and have her love me back. I want to watch her walk down to the chuppah in the most beautiful wedding dress, with tears of happiness and joy in her eyes, as I know there will be in mine.


This is especially poignant:
I thank Hashem every day for the strengths He has given me. I thank Him for the rebbe He sent me, who, instead of rejecting me, stood by my side, helping me though the most awful time of my life. I thank Him for the stamina He gave me to fight a depression that nearly led me to commit suicide.


Hashem, or more accurately, the insane belief in Hashem and in the Torah as His word, is what probably caused that depression... and this poor kid is grateful that Hashem gave him the strength to fight it.

As I wrote in response to Apikores's post about this article, some men like women and some men like men. What is the big frickin' deal?

Here's the first paragraph of my response on the Commentator website. I assume it will be deleted, but I don't know their policy:
My heart goes out to you, not just because of your pain, but because your pain is unnecessary. You're so quick to dismiss your orientation as wrong and problematic -- how much time have you spent considering whether the Torah is wrong or problematic?

Previously: How Orthodoxy Causes Good Men To Do Evil.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're a bit behind the times. That article was making controversy in YU two months ago.

DrJ said...

This is very sad. I know of other men (not myself--happily married with 4 children) who have gone through this. The halachic/Torah view is based on a pretty rational perspective from the point of view of 3500 years ago, but is wrong now. Believing in Torah MHashamaim is a big impediment here...in my mind besides the DH, laws like this prove human authorship of bible, for what god could come up with something so ridiculous!

Holy Hyrax said...

>laws like this prove human authorship of bible,

Not sure this particular thing makes sense. I mean, wasn't homosexuality pretty much accepted in the ancient world? So if the torah had homosexuality, would that prove anything in the other direction? No, of course not.

Anonymous said...

How is this any different from being romantically interested in two sisters?

Does the fact that the Torah doesn't allow you to marry a woman, and then marry her sister also prove that it's written by humans?

Anonymous said...

Clearly this is a letter which is more about the shidduch situation and less about theology.

If the shidduch people were better, then the fact that someone has gay urges but wants to marry a woman and doesn't sleep with men, would be a big bonus and he would be wanted by more women, not less.

Perhaps there is a lesbian woman out there who wants to have children in a natural manner, and be married to a man.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Does the fact that the Torah doesn't allow you to marry a woman, and then marry her sister also prove that it's written by humans?

I guess the difference is that you don't have a "yearning" for two sisters. You can deal with simply one. I think the only example that can work for what you want to say is regarding beastiliaity.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you have never fallen in love with your girlfriend's sister when you discover how much of a better person she is.

Just imagine what yaakov would have gone through, if he had been instructed that he was not allowed to marry rachel.

If a person dates a girl, and then discovers that he likes her sister that much better, I'm not sure you can deny the "yearning". I've also seen what happens when that relationship does accur, and it's not pretty for anybody.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Obviously you have never fallen in love with your girlfriend's sister when you discover how much of a better person she is.

Falling inlove is an emotion. It can be dealt with. Sex is something of instinct.

Jewish Atheist said...

Obviously you have never fallen in love with your girlfriend's sister when you discover how much of a better person she is.

You're talking about one relationship. Gay Orthodox men are denied ALL meaningful romantic relationships.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Gay Orthodox men are denied ALL meaningful romantic relationships.

no. their are denied sex.

Holy Hyrax said...

I guess by romantic, you actually mean't sex, so I guess your comment holds.

Jewish Atheist said...

no. their are denied sex.

Really? Two gay guys can get married and raise an adopted family in an Orthodox community as long as they don't engage in sodomy?

Anonymous said...

"You're talking about one relationship. Gay Orthodox men are denied ALL meaningful romantic relationships."

Marriage is only one relationship...

Holy Hyrax said...

I don't know about raising children, but I don't see why two men can't be in a relationship in an OJ community. I know it will take a while, but I have a feeling it will get there.

Holy Hyrax said...

oh, and the marriage part is obviously a no no as well. But marriage is not the same as meaningful relationship.

Anonymous said...

The writer of the article was complaining about not being able to explain his condition to his wife.

Obviously, he doesn't see the issue the same way you do.

But I was asking about how a law that restricts someone from marrying the person they love, just because that person happened to be the sister of someone they allready were engaged to, tells you anything less than saying that two people who can't have natural children together can't get married.

Obviously they are different laws and have different circumstances (otherwise you just need one law) But why is nobody hounding on about the injustice of it? After all, Yakov married two sisters.

Oh right, it's not politicaly popular these days to do so... thats why.

abandoning eden said...

whats sadder than that article is all the comments of other guys in the same situation.

orthodox judaism is a fundamentalist religion.

Shalmo said...

You know JA on this blog you talk about fagots (oops! did I just say that?) a bit too much......More than you'd expect an average straight man to be bothered with.

Since you ousted Orthodoxy, well there's nothing stopping you from coming out of the second closet as well, now is there?

Ok! Maybe you are just bi.....

It'll be interesting watching JP come in here, ranting away with his usual demands for stoning homosexuals. It'll be even funnier if now he has reason to add you on his list of people to stone.

"chuckles"

Anonymous said...

Question to gay closted frum Jew from YU,

Can you have gay sex before marraige or you have to wait till after Marriage?.

First Time said...

As I have questioned previously,
Is the point of this blog to make a home for those who have already abandoned belief in G-d/Torah, or is to convince believers that they should not believe?
Your comment on the article is entirely inappropriate if your goal is not to recruit non-believers.

Why not remain on your own turf?

Anonymous said...

what happens to us after we die?

DrJ said...

HH,

Homosexuality and idolatry were such common practices, so the Torah authors had to work extra hard to demonize them and seperate them from Hebrew practices.

The fact that the Torah legislates morality that is so obviously contextual in nature-- homosexuality, slaves, attitudes towards women, korbanot, etc-- makes it hard to see how an all-knowing, all-loving god could come up with such things that would be irrelevant in the future.

One could argue whether or not homosexuality is a victimless act. The point is that acceptance of homosexuality, along with other significant changes in societal morals makes the Torah de facto and de jure obsolete. This is why Rabbinic Judaism was created. Now if only the Rabbis could come up with a loophole...

E-Man said...

I think the point of this article is that this guy wants to live in the orthodox world and believes in it. Who cares whether you believe in it or not, he does. To say he suffers needlessly is to be ignorant of this fact. people strive to be accepted by the social circles they want to be a part of. To tell him to join the gay community is to ignore the fact that he believes in the torah and G-D. I think this kid should be commended for fighting his urges. If I were faced with such a difficult situation, I don't know how i would get through it. This guy shows what a true Torah Jews commitment should be. Fighting your most base desires in order to follow the word of G-D.

Saying that he should give in to this base desire is to say that one should just give up his beliefs. If he were to transgress and be with a man, that is a sin, but that doesn't mean he doesn't believe in Judaism and G-D, everyone sins. However, to say there is nothing wrong with it is to reject his beliefs.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Homosexuality and idolatry were such common practices, so the Torah authors had to work extra hard to demonize them and seperate them from Hebrew practices.

Why would they want to demonize homosexuality? My point of course was simply showing that just because it was outlawed, does not prove non divinity, just like had it allowed it, doesn't prove divinity.

>makes it hard to see how an all-knowing, all-loving god could come up with such things that would be irrelevant in the future.

I was never one for such reasoning. I mean, OK, so western standards have changed here, but so have other things. I don't see how you jugde subjective western morality to a diety (just because one does not agree with it)

Holy Hyrax said...

By the way, can you define what it means "working extra hard"

Jewish Atheist said...

First Time:

As I have questioned previously,
Is the point of this blog to make a home for those who have already abandoned belief in G-d/Torah, or is to convince believers that they should not believe?
Your comment on the article is entirely inappropriate if your goal is not to recruit non-believers.


My comment on the article was intended to help the poor kid. See, he's assuming his religion is right and it's his orientation which is wrong, but the opposite is true. Will it be easy to transition out of Orthodoxy? Definitely not. But at least it's possible, unlike transitioning out of homosexuality.



E-man:

I think the point of this article is that this guy wants to live in the orthodox world and believes in it. Who cares whether you believe in it or not, he does. To say he suffers needlessly is to be ignorant of this fact.

I'd say he believes in Orthodoxy and therefore obviously wants to be a member of that community. If he realized that Orthodoxy is not true and so he's been struggling for all these years for no good reason... well, maybe he won't find it so hard to leave.

To tell him to join the gay community is to ignore the fact that he believes in the torah and G-D

I'm not ignoring that fact. I told him specifically to reconsider that belief.

I think this kid should be commended for fighting his urges. If I were faced with such a difficult situation, I don't know how i would get through it. This guy shows what a true Torah Jews commitment should be. Fighting your most base desires in order to follow the word of G-D.

Why is homosexuality a base desire but not heterosexuality? It's not like the guy's a pedophile -- he's not helping anybody with his constant and successful struggle against his nature. It's just unnecessary suffering.

Saying that he should give in to this base desire is to say that one should just give up his beliefs.

Yes, he should.

However, to say there is nothing wrong with it is to reject his beliefs.

Of course I reject his beliefs! Why is that so shocking? I support his right to have those beliefs and to speak about them, of course, but I don't see why I should pretend that they aren't ridiculous and barbaric.

E-Man said...

First of all I wasn't saying it is ridiculous for you to reject his beliefs. I was saying that it is ridiculous for you to tell him to reject his own beliefs. Clearly, he doesn't want to do that and that is why he is struggling.

I don't understand you. Can you prove there is no G-D or you just don't like believing there is a G-D for other reasons? If you could prove to him there is no G-D then maybe he should listen to you. Otherwise, why is your opinion better than his?

Why would you say that it is better to reject religion than homosexuality? Why not reject his homosexuality and embrace his religion, if that is what he wants to do? When you start saying that another persons beliefs are ridiculous you can no longer have a conversation with a person. You won't listen to them and they won't listen to you.

I still don't understand why you say Judaism is barbaric? Why is killing bad? Because it affects other people, is that your answer? Why is affecting other people bad? If there is no G-D, why is that bad, what do you lose? Why is a pedophile bad? Why is sleeping with your own child bad? Why is using racial slurs bad?

All I am saying is clearly, according to this guys beliefs, there is a necessary struggle. To say that he should give up his religion is to ignore his other desires. He desires to be part of the Orthodox Jewish community more than being a homosexual. If you desire to be accepted into society, but you have an urge to kill people or to steal or use racial slurs or any other thing that would not allow you to be accepted in society, which urge should win?

Holy Hyrax said...

Here is an interesting question, and literally, im just curious. JA has said he would believe Torah if it can be proven to be divine, but wouldn't this problem (of this YU kid) still exist. What would you tell him had you been convinced its true?

Jewish Atheist said...

E-man:

First of all I wasn't saying it is ridiculous for you to reject his beliefs. I was saying that it is ridiculous for you to tell him to reject his own beliefs. Clearly, he doesn't want to do that and that is why he is struggling.

He doesn't want to do it because he thinks OJ is true. If he looked into it for real, he'd find out it wasn't. Then he probably wouldn't want to believe any more.

don't understand you. Can you prove there is no G-D or you just don't like believing there is a G-D for other reasons? If you could prove to him there is no G-D then maybe he should listen to you. Otherwise, why is your opinion better than his?

I can't say I can prove it, but I will say the case against God is a lot stronger than the case for OJ.


I still don't understand why you say Judaism is barbaric? Why is killing bad? Because it affects other people, is that your answer? Why is affecting other people bad? If there is no G-D, why is that bad, what do you lose? Why is a pedophile bad? Why is sleeping with your own child bad? Why is using racial slurs bad?


Empathy.

He desires to be part of the Orthodox Jewish community more than being a homosexual.

Yes, but would he still make that choice if he realized that OJ is no more true than Mormonism or Scientology?


HH:

Here is an interesting question, and literally, im just curious. JA has said he would believe Torah if it can be proven to be divine, but wouldn't this problem (of this YU kid) still exist. What would you tell him had you been convinced its true?

I'd tell him God's apparently a petty son-of-a-bitch. If the Torah is divine, God's an asshole.

E-Man said...

I still don't understand why the case against G-D is any stronger than the case for him. Are you afraid G-D might exist or is there something that actually convinces you of this?

E-Man said...

Onmy blog I write why I believe in G-D, do you every write why you don't? You can find it here http://markset565.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-do-we-believe-judaism-is-correct.html

Jewish Atheist said...

E-man:

How I became an atheist

I can't prove it, but it seems much more plausible. But I'm much more convinced that Orthodox Judaism is false (there was no flood, probably no exodus, the chumash was put together centuries after Moses's time, if he ever existed at all, etc.)

E-Man said...

I don't know why you would say there was no flood or no exodus. You can not say these things definitively. I have had this discussion with my brother who shares the same views as you. However, as I tell him, you can not disprove that G-D exists. However, I can not give you tangible proof that G-D exists to the extent that I can tell you that a tangible object exists.

Why say Abraham Lincoln existed? Were you there? Why say Alexander the Great existed and that he conquered so much of the world? Those historians could have been making it up. Why does orthodox Judaism seem false, I just don't understand why you say this.

That is all I am looking for, a reason for your opinion. My brother always tells me he doesn't believe in Judaism because there is no proof . No archaeological proof. Even the historical accounts are flawed because they lack the ability to triangulate their stories. This, at least, is a reason, but you just keep saying orthodox Judaism is false without giving a reason. If you have a reason, like a lack of evidence that doesn't convince you, that is one thing, but to say it is false and say there definately was no exodus and so on, is not intellectually honest. This is because you can not prove it didn't happen. If you can please tell me how.

Specifically for the flood incident. There are several sources outside of Judaism that talk about a massive flood that occurred in the world that killed everyone but a man and his family and they were saved in an ark. Check it out there is a link at www.jewishhistorythroughtheages.blogspot.com.

E-Man said...

Ok I read your link, but i am still unsure of how you are so sure of yourself. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it is wrong. You might not believe it, but that just means you are unconvinced, not that it is false.

Tigerboy said...

This poor individual has been made to feel that his perfectly normal sexual urges are bad and must be struggled against.

He easily could marry some poor woman, thereby creating an unsatisfying sex life for two people. His intention of doing that very thing is plainly described.

Which probably ends up with him having sex with other men behind her back, possibly exposing her to various STD's, due to the fact that he feels driven to have anonymous encounters.

He finally realizes, years down the road, that the marriage was a huge mistake and he ends it.

Q: Why was he made to feel that there was something wrong with his natural desires in the first place?

A: A few lines in an old book.

Two lives ruined by superstition.

The ignorance of the situation would be laughable, if it weren't so heartbreakingly sad.

Jewish Atheist said...

E-man:

There are about 5 years of archives. I spent a lot of time in the past talking about why I don't believe. Feel free to dig through.

Tigerboy said...

This society refuses to recognize and encourage gay people's right to form stable marriages.

Many, many times, in these pages and elsewhere, I have read:

---"Gay people have exactly the same right to enter into a marriage with a member of the opposite sex as anyone."

So, we are encouraging gay people to enter into dishonest marriages. Wonderful. And, as the post demonstrates, thanks to religion, lots of gay people feel tremendous guilt and pressure to try to conform. Many feel the need to give the dishonest marriage a try. It doesn't work.

Two lives ruined.

And, why? For what reason?

---"If there is anyone here today who can think of any reason why this marriage should not take place, speak now, or forever hold your peace."

If gay people do not enter into a dishonest marriage, they are demonized for being promiscuous.

When will we recognize that homosexuality is a perfectly natural part of being human? Homosexuality has been a part of the human condition since the dawn of our species, since before recorded history.

Human societies DO NOT have an interest in forcing gay people into pretending to be that which they are not.

Human societies have JUST AS STRONG an interest in promoting stable families among gay people, as they do among straight.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Human societies have JUST AS STRONG an interest in promoting stable families among gay people, as they do among straight.

1) based on your subjective value, you are saying society has a strong interest in promoting.... Lets at least be honest here, (everyone should be honest here) that your first objective is gay marriage IRRELEVANT of its affect on society whether good or bad. You then tack on "society have just a strong interest" in supposedly attempt to make yourself sound objective.

2) This logic would be fine IF and only IF you extend this across the board to any other marriage that is not deemed proper by society

Holy Hyrax said...

>So, we are encouraging gay people to enter into dishonest marriages.

No, that is not what was meant by the initial statement. The initial statement is one of law. Whether honest or dishonest is not a matter of law (not like anyone is forcing a gay man to marry a woman, just like no man is forced to marry a woman either)

E-Man said...

Also, it is against the interests of the greater society for there to be gay couples for the following reason: If everyone were gay then human beings would cease to procreate and thus there would be no more humans.

Also, I am not so sure about your claims that homosexuality has been a reality of life since the beginning of time, how do you know this? It stands to reason that the opposite is true. Otherwise, how would we all exist today?

Holy Hyrax said...

>If everyone were gay then human beings would cease to procreate and thus there would be no more humans.

E-man

But everone is not gay. The vast majority of people will never be gay.

>Also, I am not so sure about your claims that homosexuality has been a reality of life since the beginning of time, how do you know this?

If you look at LEAST the written record, we know ancient civilizations practiced homesexuality. And, the fact the torah outlaws it, means it was done.

>It stands to reason that the opposite is true. Otherwise, how would we all exist today?

Well, this goes back to my first comment, which is that the vast majority are NOT gay. Hence...you are here.

E-Man said...

To say something would be acceptable would mean it would be ok if everyone did it. So would it be ok for everyone in the world to be gay?

Hanan said...

Not sure I quite understand. Regardless of what the Torah says, homosexuality exists. The Torah forbid it. Now, had it said nothing about it, it would not mean that the majority of people would all of a sudden become gay.

Tigerboy said...

Hyrax:

My objective is NOT gay marriage "IRRELEVANT of its affect on society whether good or bad."

My objective is a society where we recognize fair treatment of all law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, regardless of the discriminatory bias imposed by the religious beliefs of some.

We do not live in a theocracy.

America should not be extending rights and benefits to straight people, and denying the same rights and benefits to gays.

Saying that gays can make use of those rights and benefits by marrying someone of the opposite sex is not the least bit fair or satisfactory.

It is like saying that a prohibition of interracial marriage was not discriminatory, because people already had a right to marry someone of their same race.

It says that, unless they pretend to be straight, gay people are not entitled to the same level of respect, for themselves, for their children, that is already enjoyed by the rest of the citizenry.

The bias of a superstitious belief system should not be allowed to determine who is, or is not, entitled to equal access to rights and benefits.

Society has a clear interest in promoting stability FOR EVERYONE.

Honest people understand that gay people cannot merely decide to be straight, nor is it a wise idea that they be coerced to try. The ONLY rationale for this futile attempt at coercing them to become something which runs contrary to their nature is religion.

Belief in the supernatural, belief in that for which there is no evidence, is a protected right. But, it is not a valid justification for approving of rights for some citizens of the United States, while denying those same rights to others.

In America, we are all supposed to get fair treatment under the law.

Fair treatment of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens is not "IRRELEVANT of its affect on society."

Fair treatment goes to the very heart of civil society.


E-man:

In a world of almost 7 billion people, which is DOUBLE what it was just a few decades ago, and which is forecast to reach 9 billion just a few decades from now, are you seriously arguing that we shouldn't allow our gay citizens fair access to rights and benefits because it would make the human population disappear?

Seriously?

Hanan said...

>We do not live in a theocracy.

This is always such a silly comment. Supposidly adding this in puts me on the defensive as if I want to pope in charge of this country or something. Be a bit more original.


>America should not be extending rights and benefits to straight people, and denying the same rights and benefits to gays.

Look, LEGALLY, a gay person has the EXACT same rights as a straight person. Gov't does not extend the right for a person to get married since they are not the ones to have created it. For all intense purposes, a gay couple can find a church and get married. What gay couples are looking for is gov't recognition. The question is, does gov't need to recognize that sort of union. Precedence with other groups show gov't certainly does pick and choose who to recognize.

>Saying that gays can make use of those rights and benefits by marrying someone of the opposite sex is not the least bit fair or satisfactory.

Fairness is always going to be arbitrary. If you want to discuss "legality" then we all have the same rights. And like I told you before, if you want to talk about fairness and satisfactory treatment, then you have to be consistant and apply it across the board.

>It is like saying that a prohibition of interracial marriage was not discriminatory, because people already had a right to marry someone of their same race.

No, because laws were actually CREATED to PROHIBIT interracial marriages when the existed before. Marriage was never contigent on race, but one of gender.

>It says that, unless they pretend to be straight, gay people are not entitled to the same level of respect, for themselves, for their children, that is already enjoyed by the rest of the citizenry.

This is red herring. No piece of legislation has been written "thou shall not respect gays." The reason, I believe other citizens get to enjoy it, is simply because marriage already has come prepackaged. Other citizens are not forced into marriage but choose to partake in something that already has a definition. Again, by your logic, then you MUST extend this "right" to everyone else as well

>The bias of a superstitious belief system should not be allowed to determine who is, or is not, entitled to equal access to rights and benefits.

Another red herring. Rights and benefits exist and the arguments against gay marriage stand on their own with out superstitious beliefs. In fact, if you have been following JA's posts, NOBODY has ever brought up God in the arguments.

>Society has a clear interest in promoting stability FOR EVERYONE.

Now be very specific here. How does marriage, rather than civil unions NOT promote stability? Or, is this another subjective argument. And, are you willing to carry this across the board to everyone, even unions that are currently illegal?

The rest of your comments are, I believe totally subjective as well. All of a sudden gay marriage is an aneiliable right? Face it, under the law, both the straight person, and the gay person are being treated exactly the same. We are both prohibited and allowed the same exact thing.

LM said...

"To say something would be acceptable would mean it would be ok if everyone did it. So would it be ok for everyone in the world to be gay?"

Ah. The categorical imperative argument. Interesting--I've never thought of that as applied to homosexuality. But what is the maxim of action for homosexuality? Is it "act in a homosexual manner," or "act in accordance with my personal sexual nature?" If the latter, I think Kant would give us a pass..

E-Man said...

Everyone is missing my point.

-Would everyone agree it would be bad if everyone were gay?

-Also, I agree with Hanan that Gays do have all the same rights as heterosexuals. The only difference is that the government doesn't want to call the gay union marriage.

Also, the idea of marriage is something between a man and a woman. If you want to come up with a different name that leads to all the same legal benefits i am sure the government will not mind, in fact I believe they already did it in a lot of states. see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_unions_in_the_United_States

The fact is that being gay does not make a person evil. However, how does on describe what is proper? If something is proper that means all of society can do that. However, if all society were gay that would totally destroy our world. I am not saying there is a possibility that the whole world is going to be gay. I am just saying what is proper is something that it would be ok for everyone to be. I don't think gay people would want the whole world to be gay, otherwise, they would not be able to have children and humankind would cease to exist.

I am not saying I think the whole world will be gay, but soething that is acceptable in society should be something that that entire society can accept. This was my last attempt to clarify, unless someone actually asks me to clarify.

E-Man said...

LM understands me. Only, I am not sure why we get a free pass.

LM said...

Haha, I admit "pass" was a poor word choice (but yes, I do understand you). To rephrase what I wrote: if a homosexual's maxim of action is phrased as "act in accordance with my sexual preference," there is no problem with THAT rule being applied universally, as heterosexuals would then do the same and keep reproducing.

But I admit that it seems like a matter of interpretation to me. Alas, I am not a Kant scholar.

I think a counterpoint to consider, though, would be the utilitarian argument: society will not actually be harmed by this, and in things which will not actually harm society or other individuals, society is happier on the whole when people are left to do as they please/believe is right.

One could debate if this is more of a legislative point than a "moral" one, but it's important to consider anyway. It seems like you may have already considered it, with your point that you don't disagree about gay rights in general, but only about the act itself.

Tigerboy said...

E-man:

Everything you have said would be true if everyone became female, also. It's not gonna happen.

With the exception of a small population of transgendered folk, people do not decide to become female.

Neither do people decide to become gay.

Your decisions about which people are "proper" are influenced by the bigotry taught to you by your religion.

Hanan:

---"Gov't does not extend the right for a person to get married since they are not the ones to have created it."

Religion did not create marriage, either. And, yes, marriage is an inalienable right. Marriage is a human right. Marriage far predates any organized religion. It absolutely predates the Torah. As do homosexual relationships.

Religion did not create marriage, religion is not the only provider of marriage ceremonies, and religion does not have the right to define what marriage should look like for the secular citizens of this country.

The secular government of the United States seems to be in the business of recognizing significant relationships. And, for excellent reasons, too. If we are calling that governmental recognition "marriage"--gay citizens are entitled to marriage. If gay citizens are only entitled to "civil unions"--then it's civil unions for everybody.

Are you going to rally the troops to start circulating petitions that demand that the government refer to its recognition of straight relationships as "civil unions?" No? I didn't think so.

I absolutely love your statement:

---"No piece of legislation has been written "thou shall not respect gays."

Someone is confusing the laws of the United States with the language of the Bible. Imagine that.

You felt that my statement "we do not live in a theocracy" lacked originality. I was not trying to be original. I was trying to make a point. It's okay if that point has been made by others.

Religion is not the same as secular law.

THOU SHALT recognize that the laws of thy religion are not the laws that govern the citizens of these United States. (Didst thou find a greater measure of originality?)

I must point out that I used the correct second person singular present tense form "shalt," whereas, thou didst use the incorrect first person singular present tense form "shall."

I shall. Thou shalt.

I shall forgive thine error. If thou speakest this type of language, much like thy religion, 'tis considered confusing and archaic.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Religion did not create marriage, either.

You keep up bringing religion. why? who here is talking about religion?

>Marriage is a human right. Marriage far predates any organized religion. It absolutely predates the Torah. As do homosexual relationships.

Ya, but none of that has to do with a marriage between a male and a male.

>Religion did not create marriage, religion is not the only provider of marriage ceremonies, and religion does not have the right to define what marriage should look like for the secular citizens of this country.

Um ya, you keep bringing up religion. Nobody is talking about religion here. It was specifically told that the argument against gay marriage has nothing to do with religion but one of keeping what marriage is.....one of gender.

>The secular government of the United States seems to be in the business of recognizing significant relationships. And, for excellent reasons, too. If we are calling that governmental recognition "marriage"--gay citizens are entitled to marriage. If gay citizens are only entitled to "civil unions"--then it's civil unions for everybody.

Ya, but since the US government did not create "marriage" and is asked to recognise "marriage," they should recognize a "marriage" (if one chooses to part take in it) which is defined by gender.

>Are you going to rally the troops to start circulating petitions that demand that the government refer to its recognition of straight relationships as "civil unions?" No? I didn't think so.

Whats their to rally. Places that have civil unions, they refer to them as civil unions.

>---"No piece of legislation has been written "thou shall not respect gays."

>Someone is confusing the laws of the United States with the language of the Bible. Imagine that.

Sorry. That doesn't even make any sense. You claimed they are denied "respect." Not sure how you pass a law enforcing "respect." But so far, the gay community, is very highly respected by their peers, and have thriving communities.

>You felt that my statement "we do not live in a theocracy" lacked originality. I was not trying to be original. I was trying to make a point. It's okay if that point has been made by others.

>Religion is not the same as secular law.

Ya, you are simply arguing straw men here. Nobody is talking about religion. This is all a waste of digital ink when this has to be repeated.

E-Man said...

Tigerboy-

I am not going to argue with you. Hopefully you will, at some point be able to understand what I am saying, like LM does. But I totally agree with Holy Hyrax here and I want to add that calling my religion bigotry is not something that is said in a discussion of ideas. Rather it is clear that no matter what I say you will disregard. Therefore, since there can not be a mutual respect, as shown by your statements, I am not going to make any more comments trying to explain myself.

Holy Hyrax said...

Anyways guys, I think we are all do for some news as to how JA's wedding preperation is going and just how many of us are inviting :)

LM said...

Tigerboy:

I'll attempt to act as an interlocutor and explain what E-Man was saying, for the sake of understanding all around.

The issue he was raising stems originally from Kant's theory of morality. To simplify (very much), Kant believes that reason commands us to consider the following before undertaking any action: could my principle of action be applied as a universal law? If not (as will be explained below), Kant says that reason commands us against it and to act only in accordance with those principles that follow the above imperative.

So, for example, suppose someone really badly needs a loan, but knows he will not be able to pay it back in time. He wants to promise to pay it back anyway, knowing he will not be able to. According to Kant, he must stop and think: could my principle of action--namely, making a promise I know I cannot keep--be universally applied? It could not, because if everyone did that, "promise" would have no meaning--and so the principle of action is self contradictory. It's not about what will practically happen, but which actions are proper/right based on how consistently the principle behind them could theoretically be applied all around.

E-Man was arguing the same for homosexuality. That being said, you can see my thoughts on this argument in my comments above, as well as thoughts on the Kantian approach in general.

At the same time, I have to wonder if nowadays religion really plays no role in this debate even when it is not mentioned.

Tigerboy said...

Of course religion "plays a role."

From whence do you think the hatred of gays originates?

The Spanish Inquisition reserved some of it's most insanely horrific tortures for homosexual men.

In addition to Jews, the Roman Catholic Adolph Hitler exterminated homosexuals. They worn the pink triangle. Nobody ever remembers that little fact.

The biblical literalists of the Westboro Baptist Church regularly carry signs that read: "God Hates Fags."

The biblical identification of gays as "sinners" has been responsible for the demonization of gays for centuries.

Why would anyone care if two men got married, but for religion? The fact is, prior to organized religion, nobody did care. Some societies have celebrated homosexual partners.

I have tried to study Kant, and it's very dense stuff. I don't claim for one moment to understand the philosophies of Kant, and I doubt that there are enough readers of this blog who are serious enough scholars of Kant that some poorly-understood, over-simplified summary of his work is going to contribute a great deal to this discussion.

From the little I do know about Kant, I know that he was raised in a very religious home, and he, himself, believed in God. Does that mean that I am in a position to dismiss everything the man had to say? No. Neither does it mean that I am prepared to accept it. He was a smart guy. I don't understand enough about his philosophies to discuss them.

I know he believed in God. I do not believe in God. The very notion of a "universal moral law" is something with which I have a great deal of trouble. I do not believe it.

You are discussing principles of action. Homosexuality is not an action, it is a state of being, just like heterosexuality. Do you describe the principle of action of a tiger having stripes as being self-contradictory? If you do, I'm prepared to call it absurd.

I believe that people are born to their sexuality. Just like eye color, just like skin color, just like adult height, certain traits are innate. I didn't choose my sexuality, and I do not believe anyone else did, either.

Like they say about justice, we should be "color-blind." We should treat everybody equally. Certainly, all should be treated equally, and fairly, under the law.

Allowing two people, who just happened to be born heterosexual, the right to marry, with all the legal benefits that follow from that, whilst denying that right to two other people, who just happened to be born homosexual, is unforgivably discriminatory.

America is not supposed to work that way.

Religion does work that way, which is one of the reasons I find religion to be hateful, divisive, and bigoted.

My secular government, the government of the United States of America, is supposed to protect people from such injustices.

That is my opinion. You are free to disagree.

Now, go work yourself into a dither about Immanuel Kant. He's far too deep for me.

Regarding Hyrax's little change of subject:

---"Anyways guys, I think we are all do for some news as to how JA's wedding preperation is going and just how many of us are inviting :)"

Yes, JA, big smiles all around.

I wish you great happiness on the occasion of your wedding. I will not be allowed such a celebration of my life, of my relationship.

My best wishes always go out to other people, such wishes never come back to me, and yet, I wish you and your bride long life and good health. How lucky you both are, to have found each other, and to be heterosexual.

Many people are not so fortunate.

Holy Hyrax said...

TB

If you wish to play the strawman game, be our guest. I will not deny that religious people ALSO use religion against it, but like I said above, and JA's post have continously proven, this subject has never garnered religion into the equation. There have been OTHER arguments not one of them religion or theocracy. You are constantly choosing to ignore that and steer the debate back to what its not. Fine.

Anyways JA, we are still waiting for the invitation list.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Allowing two people, who just happened to be born heterosexual, the right to marry, with all the legal benefits that follow from that, whilst denying that right to two other people, who just happened to be born homosexual, is unforgivably discriminatory.

This is a contortion of what anti gay marriage people have been saying. They infact DO want gay partners to have all legal benefits that hetero marriages have. You are simply arguing over a word. A word with an already existing definition, that in my opinion is not subject to change based on emotions.

Holy Hyrax said...

>My secular government, the government of the United States of America, is supposed to protect people from such injustices.

How did this all of a sudden become an "injustice?" DUM DUM DUUUUUUMMMMMM.

It's like, you have an agenda, now lets start adding slogans to it in order to prop it up as some 21st century human right abuse in par with Darfur or something

Jewish Atheist said...

Tigerboy:

Thanks for the best wishes! I think the fight for legal gay marriage is almost won. Another decade or two and it'll be over. In the meantime, I'm happy to treat every couple who thinks of themselves as married as married.


HH:

You're being disingenuous. A vanishingly small percent of non-religious people oppose gay marriage. It's HUGELY a religious issue.


This is a contortion of what anti gay marriage people have been saying. They infact DO want gay partners to have all legal benefits that hetero marriages have.

That's just not true. Maybe YOU want that, but most gay marriage opponents have also opposed civil unions, etc.

How did this all of a sudden become an "injustice?" DUM DUM DUUUUUUMMMMMM.

If something is not just, it's an injustice. What's so hard to understand?

As for the invite list to my wedding, don't worry, you're not on it. :-) Don't be too offended; I've never even met you!

Holy Hyrax said...

>You're being disingenuous. A vanishingly small percent of non-religious people oppose gay marriage. It's HUGELY a religious issue.

No, because i never denied religious people involved in this but simply said the arguments are NOT about religion. So in the end for a debate, you deal with arguments themselves, not WHERE those arguments come from.

>That's just not true. Maybe YOU want that, but most gay marriage opponents have also opposed civil unions, etc.

I have not seen this at all. I listen to a lot of talk radio, and I recall each caller that was against 'gm' was pro benefits.

>If something is not just, it's an injustice. What's so hard to understand?

Agreed, I simply don't see an issue something here not being 'just.' Emotionaly people might feel its unfair, but we can talk about "fairness" till the world ends with ANY subject.

>As for the invite list to my wedding, don't worry, you're not on it. :-) Don't be too offended; I've never even met you!

Probably better off not inviting me. I WAS going to give a Rashi set

Jewish Atheist said...

No, because i never denied religious people involved in this but simply said the arguments are NOT about religion. So in the end for a debate, you deal with arguments themselves, not WHERE those arguments come from.

But the arguments are so ridiculous that nobody would buy them if not for the fact that they support their religious beliefs. You know, kind of like "intelligent design." They'll argue until they're blue in the face that it's got nothing to do with religion... it's just some kind of crazy coincidence that everybody who pushes ID also is religious.

I have not seen this at all. I listen to a lot of talk radio, and I recall each caller that was against 'gm' was pro benefits.

The Chairman of the RNC said a couple of weeks ago that it's "crazy" to even consider instituting civil unions. In 2004, the official Republican Party Platform opposed civil unions.

Agreed, I simply don't see an issue something here not being 'just.'

We do.

Probably better off not inviting me. I WAS going to give a Rashi set

LOL. Good thing.

Holy Hyrax said...

>But the arguments are so ridiculous that nobody would buy them if not for the fact that they support their religious beliefs. You know, kind of like "intelligent design." They'll argue until they're blue in the face that it's got nothing to do with religion... it's just some kind of crazy coincidence that everybody who pushes ID also is religious.

And Union workers are mostly democrats. So what. Clearly people with certain values will go in certain directions. Religious people tend to be more traditional than secular. You are making up that the arguments are ridiculous. You might say, you don't agree with them, or that under law, it still does not apply, but the argument that you don't redefine something that defacto has a definition, is not based on "my bible says so"

>The Chairman of the RNC said a couple of weeks ago that it's "crazy" to even consider instituting civil unions

Fair enough. This is where I, as well as many, even on talk radio (shock) part from him.

Tigerboy said...

If the US government is in the business of handing out "marriages" to citizens, where's mine?

If gay people may only get "civil unions" then it's "civil unions" for all citizens. Since Hyrax was being obtuse about this distinction earlier, I'll clarify:

No government "marriages" for ANYBODY. (We all know that's not going to happen.)

But, make a choice. "Marriages" for all, or "civil unions" for all.

You call that quibbling over a word? Fine, I'm quibbling over a word. Straights get the respect that comes with the word "marriage," again, where's mine?

I'm a citizen. I go to work every day. I pay my taxes. I vote in every election. I obey the laws of this country. Where's the respect for me?

Somebody wants to get married in a religious ceremony, I've got nothing to say about it. You may define your religion however you choose. It's protected. I find religion hateful, but I respect the reasons why it is protected. I absolutely defend your right to define your marriage within your religious context.

But, my secular government is handing out marriage licenses to straight people, and telling me: "Well, maybe we can get you a civil union." Sorry. Not fair.

"Marriages" for all citizens, or "civil unions" for all citizens.

As we learned during the Civil Rights Movement, SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL.

Meanwhile, Iowa and Vermont are becoming the third and fourth states to recognize fairness.

Holy Hyrax said...

>No government "marriages" for ANYBODY. (We all know that's not going to happen.)

You are of course missing the point. It has nothing to do with you paying taxes or going to work. The fact that you go to work and pay your taxes mean that you can marry your grandmother?????? No, of course not. Gov't recognizes certain things, and doesn't recognize other things...like polygamy for example. It doesn't need to recognize everything an individual wants on the basis that you pay your taxes.

>I'm quibbling over a word. Straights get the respect that comes with the word "marriage," again, where's mine?

funny that your respect hangs on that word. In life generally, we don't get what our emotions want, does that mean I feel less of myself or others feel less about me?

If you want to legislate based on "fairness" I am sure people can line up for miles with complaints of unfair treatment based on a want of theirs.

Tigerboy said...

Hyrax, you are also quibbling over a word.

You claim you support providing equality through civil unions. If it is truly equality, if civil unions provide everything that comes with marriage, why not call it marriage? If you support providing all the same benefits through civil unions, but refuse to call it marriage, then it is YOU who is quibbling over a word.

(Unless, of course, the civil unions you support are not really equal. Then, we're back to discrimination.)

Holy Hyrax said...

I admit whole heartingly to quibbling over a word. I believe the word 'marriage' already comes with a definition. I have told people numerous times that gay people should have next of kin rights, tax breaks etc etc.

Tigerboy said...

---"funny that your respect hangs on that word. In life generally, we don't get what our emotions want, does that mean I feel less of myself or others feel less about me?

This has nothing to do with my self-esteem. My self-esteem is just fine.

It has to do with the fact that a person who is born straight should not be given one dust mote of greater respect from his/her government than a person who is born gay. Separate is not equal.

Polygamy is about the subservience of women. I really do not see a growing movement to codify women's lesser status. America is about equality.

I don't really see a large population of people who feel that they are being denied their right to marry because they only feel attraction for their grandmothers. You are trivializing the very real issue of millions of gay people.

Marriage already had a definition as far as being between people of the same race.

Marriage already had a definition as far as being an exchange of property, or land, or making political alliances.

Marriage already had a definition as far as the subservient role of women.

Marriage changes as a society changes.

Marriage exists between members of our modern society. Modern society is starting to realize how unfairly gay people have been treated. Just as it came to realize how unfairly black people had been treated. Just as it came to realize how unfairly women had been treated, etc.

If you made the argument that marriage was a religious rite, and that the secular government should only hand out civil unions, to anybody, I could see the logic. But, you keep saying religion has nothing to do with it.

As long as the government is handing out marriages to some citizens, all citizens are entitled to marriage. Nothing less than marriage. I'm not sitting in the back of the bus.

E-Man said...

"Polygamy is about the subservience of women. I really do not see a growing movement to codify women's lesser status. America is about equality."

I am pretty sure many polygamists would not agree with this statement just like you disagree with the statement that marriage should be between a man and woman.

This brings me to wonder, would you be ok if marriages were performed between a man or woman and his or her dog? If not then why? Why should a person be denied the right to marry the thing they love?

Holy Hyrax said...

>It has to do with the fact that a person who is born straight should not be given one dust mote of greater respect from his/her government than a person who is born gay. Separate is not equal.

1) Respect has nothing to do with it. Gov't respects Mormons all they want...as long as they don't marry another woman
2) This idea of seperate but equal equivalence is absurd and a reason the Black community was just as outraged. Seperate but equal was not an ends, but a means to segregation. Nobody is being segregated here.

>Polygamy is about the subservience of women. I really do not see a growing movement to codify women's lesser status. America is about equality.

Oh I'm sorry, I thought your argument was based on rights, and not someone elses subjective values on what a relationship constituted. If these women want to be subservient to their husbands, who are you to pass laws against it? And if you are so interested in STABILITY, then you SHOULD make polygamy legel...that way they can be stabile and even have outside help if they need without fear of being turned in.

>I don't really see a large population of people who feel that they are being denied their right to marry because they only feel attraction for their grandmothers. You are trivializing the very real issue of millions of gay people.

Sorry, numbers have NOTHING to do with issue of rights, right? I mean, what if only a hundred gay people wanted to marry...would you stop your support?

Marriage already had a definition as far as being between people of the same race.

Marriage already had a definition as far as being an exchange of property, or land, or making political alliances.

Marriage already had a definition as far as the subservient role of women.

Marriage changes as a society changes.


Marriage was never defined by race regarding the rest of your things, yes, they were about property and politics...but guess what....once married, it was all about gender. It revolved around the opposite gender coming together for whatever the need of a king, or a peasant.

>Marriage exists between members of our modern society.

Sure, of genders.

>Modern society is starting to realize how unfairly gay people have been treated.

I agree with this. I think they have been treated unfairly. But I don't believe in a black and white world where you have to give in to EVERYTHING because of past treatments.

>Just as it came to realize how unfairly black people had been treated. Just as it came to realize how unfairly women had been treated, etc.

Ya, this is why you lose your arguments. You equate identity (black and women) and how they were treated because of simple hate in the case of Blacks...to Gays, which is about sexual preference and has nothing to do with identity no more than someone being a left handed is synonymous with his identity. Gays have all the rights and extremely successful in everything they do. They are politicians, CEOS, entertainers and are not put in back of the bus nor beaten by the government nor segretated.

The further you make these equivalences, the worse your stand is.

>If you made the argument that marriage was a religious rite, and that the secular government should only hand out civil unions, to anybody, I could see the logic. But, you keep saying religion has nothing to do with it.

Yes, I keep saying it has nothing to do with it it, and for some odd ball reason, you keep IGNORING what I said above. Is it because you SOOOOOOO WANT this to be about religion to kick around? Have you noticed NONE of my arguments have put GOD in anything?

>As long as the government is handing out marriages to some citizens, all citizens are entitled to marriage. Nothing less than marriage. I'm not sitting in the back of the bus.

So like I said, be consistent and upon up the gates to anyone that wants it.

I wrote a post on this if you wish to read it.

http://holyhyrax.blogspot.com/2008/11/propistion-8-and-lessons-for-gay.html

you can always email me, at holyhyrax at gmail.com

TikunOlam said...

JA,
Didn't have the patience to read through some of the homophobic comments on this thread. All I reacted to is what the writer said about fighting suicidal depression. People really need to get this. Gay men and women, because of cultural or religious demands, who are unable to accept their own sexual orientation and live outwardly as gay individuals are at one of the highest risks for depression and suicide. This is true for OJs with supportive rebbes as well.