In Order to Form a More Civil Union

A woman makes her support of her marriage, and...

Image via Wikipedia

Note: filistro has just returned from vacation. This is the last of her previously-written articles, but it seems appropriate to publish now, in light of the recent addition of Hawaii to the civil union states, plus Obama’s decision to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.

In 1999, France legalized a somewhat unique form of civil union. This French version of not-quite-marriage carries almost all the same tax benefits and legal protections of marriage, but can be dissolved with the delivery of a registered letter.

While civil unions are legal in France for both heterosexual and same-sex marriages, traditional marriage is only available for heterosexuals. But French officials have been startled to observe the rising popularity of the civil-union option among heteros, who made up 95% of civil unions in 2009. Another surprising development is the overall acceptance of the “not-quite-marriage” in France,where there are now two civil unions for every three traditional marriages.

The New York Times had an article on the subject:

While the partnerships have exploded in popularity, marriage numbers have continued a long decline in France, as across Europe. Just 250,000 French couples married in 2009, with fewer than four marriages per 1,000 residents; in 1970, almost 400,000 French couples wed. Germany, too, has seen a similar plunge in marriage rates. In 2009, there were just over four marriages per 1,000 residents compared with more than seven per 1,000 in 1970. In the United States, the current rate is 6.8 per 1,000 residents.

In the United States, Nevada, D.C., Illinois, and now Hawaii have legalized civil unions.

It is certainly interesting to see how many people in Europe, given the option, have chosen a civil union over a traditional marriage. But what I find even more fascinating is the stunning hypocrisy of American Republicans in response to these developments. Maggie Gallagher from the National Review, who has long been a tireless crusader against marriage rights for same-sex couples, posted the following:

The New York Times reports this morning that in France, civil unions are replacing marriages—for straight couples. More evidence that Illinois made a big mistake in passing that form of a civil-union bill. If we are going to provide alternative partnership-benefit structures for couples who aren’t eligible for marriage—don’t extend them to couples who are.

If they want the benefits of marriage, they can marry.

If they aren’t as committed as marriage implies, they ought not to expect to be treated as married by the government.

Did you get that? If they want the benefits of marriage, they can marry. So much for the pretense of “separate but equal,” in which Republicans have endlessly claimed that of course they want same-sex couples to enjoy all the benefits and protections of traditional marriage…they just don’t want them to have the “name.”

Gallagher makes it all too clear what the agenda really is: to punish people by denying them rights and benefits available to their fellow citizens, simply for the “crime” of being gay Americans.


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

173 Responses to In Order to Form a More Civil Union

  1. filistro says:

    Michael and I had a discussion about this when I submitted it back in January. He felt I was misreading Gallagher’s statement… which is certainly possible because of my extreme dislike for the woman (and for all people who devote their entire lives to crusading against equal rights for other.)

    It really looks to me like she wants civil unions to remain something less than actual marriage.

    As I recall, Michael thought it was simply a matter of definition, not a distinction (or demotion.) And I am always loath to disagree with Michael, who is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met…

    I’d appreciate it if some of you would read her statement carefully and tell me how you see it. I’m always open to reasonable persuasion 🙂

  2. Monotreme says:

    I read it the same as you do.

    I would have to read Gallagher more extensively to be sure, but this seems to be another form of the “marriage is for families, and families are for procreation” argument which was so cleanly eviscerated by Judge Vaughan Walker in last year’s Proposition 8 decision.

  3. Monotreme says:

    Ahh, see, there it is, in the Wikipedia article (assuming this is an accurate statement of her views):

    Gallagher is a strong opponent of the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, and has written books toward that end. She believes the sole purposes of marriage are procreation and rearing children exclusively by heterosexual parents, and alleges that same-sex marriages diminish the value of heterosexual marriages.

    I take this sort of hatred personally, as I am married (26 years last week) and we have no children. So if the purpose of marriage is for procreation, and we failed in that purpose, I suppose our marriage has no basis to exist according to Gallagher and her ilk.

  4. dcpetterson says:

    @Monotreme

    I hear you. I take it personally, too. I’m also married — it’ll be 35 years in May. We have two kids. They’re grown. We won’t have any more. If marriage is only for procreation and for the raising of children, well, we’re done with that now. Should we get a divorce or an annulment? Our marriage, after all, has served its purpose and no longer has a social function, according to Gallagher. My partner for 35 years (close to 40, if you include our time together before being wed) must be put aside, right?

  5. filistro says:

    The central question is whether the social conservatives’ opposition to gay marriage is honestly what they say it is… a crusade to “protect the institution of marriage”… or is it simply an effort to marginalize and punish people for being gay?

    I suspect the latter… because if it were otherwise, they would be looking for solutions to the problem instead of taking such harsh and rigid positions.

    Even more cynically, I do believe it’s largely political… an attempt to mobilize a specific voting bloc by appealing to their bigotry and fear.

    Regardless, by now it’s practically moot. DADT is gone. DOMA is on its way out. And the bigots are losing this fight.

  6. GROG says:

    When liberals, like Obama, are against gay marriage are they “bigots” and appealing to “fear” like Gallagher and her conservative “ilk”? Or is it different because they’re Democrats?

  7. filistro says:

    @GROG… Or is it different because they’re Democrats?

    No.

    Obama was WRONG on gay marriage. He took that position at the urging of his political advisors in order to garner votes, and everything he’s said since then indicates he didn’t really believe it. He should never have done it, but his recent leadership on DADT and DOMA shows that he regrets it and has repented, so I forgive him.

    As for your question…

    Yes.

    Anybody who genuinely opposes gay marriage is a bigot.

  8. GROG says:

    So the argument is that Obama doesn’t RELLY oppose gay marriage. He just said he did for political gain.

    That’s nice Mr. President.

  9. filistro says:

    @GROG… He just said he did for political gain.

    Yes, he did. It was very disappointing.

    Even more disappointing is the fact that in the 21st century, in a country that purports to be leader of the free world, a presidential candidate felt it necessary to do so.

    Thankfully, those days are almost over.

  10. Monotreme says:

    @GROG:

    Intent matters. If your opposition to same-sex marriage is a heartfelt position because of your interpretation of the sacred writings of your choice, then I may disagree with you but I won’t call you a bigot. If your sacred writings of choice are contained within the Bible, I might argue that Leviticus is superseded (in many ways) by the injunction of Jesus to “love ye one another” and then we can engage in the exigesis of that passage.

    If, on the other hand, you try to argue that marriage is for the purpose of procreation and same-sex marriage should be prohibited on those grounds, then you are a bigot, and should be labeled as such. Gallagher does this. That’s why I called her writings “hatred”.

  11. Bartbuster says:

    is a heartfelt position because of your interpretation of the sacred writings of your choice, then I may disagree with you but I won’t call you a bigot

    I will. Religion is no excuse for bigotry.

  12. filistro says:

    @Treme… If your opposition to same-sex marriage is a heartfelt position because of your interpretation of the sacred writings of your choice, then I may disagree with you but I won’t call you a bigot.

    Now there’s an interesting philosophical discussion. If your position is based on a heartfelt, sincere religious belief, does that mean it’s not still bigoted?

    Say you truly believe in all those ancient Biblical injunctions agaist racial interactions, “mixing your seed with the Canaanites”, adulterating the race, etc etc…. and as a result you are opposed to integrated schools and swimming pools. Are you not still a bigot?

    (I don’t know the answer to this one. I’m just askin’…. 🙂

  13. Monotreme says:

    @filistro:

    Yes, an interesting discussion. I would say that you’re a bigot if you’ve selectively chosen to ignore many, many references in the Bible (particularly in the New Testament) to loving your fellow man, regardless of his racial heritage or sexual orientation. One has to dig pretty hard into Leviticus to find support for a contrary position.

    Again, I would submit that intent matters. Calling someone a “bigot” is a statement of what’s in their heart. If what’s in their heart is hatred, and they dig into the Bible for evidence to support that hatred, then, yes, they’re bigoted, in the same way that misguided individuals dig into the Koran for evidence supporting their evil beliefs.

  14. rgbact says:

    How are the “bigots” losing the fight? Seems alot of gay marriage “progress” was directly tied to Dem success at the polls in 2006 and 2008. If you believe that 2008 was their high water mark–we might actually see reversals in policiy, ala PPACA. Indiana is on the verge of passing an amendment banning gay marriage. It passed the House by 3:1 margin. Not sure what’s going on in Iowa since judges that enacted gay marriage were voted out in Nov.

    It does seem that Obama feels that “gay issues” are good for him though. He may even reveal his “real” views on gay marriage during the next campaign.

  15. GROG says:

    fili said: Even more disappointing is the fact that in the 21st century, in a country that purports to be leader of the free world, a presidential candidate felt it necessary to do so.

    So it’s not really Obama’s fault that he lied about being against gay marriage. It’s the fault of the people he was speaking to on the campaign trail because they’re the real bigots and they made him feel it necessary to do so.

  16. filistro says:

    @rgb… How are the “bigots” losing the fight?

    Mostly by attrition, actually. Younger people are massively, overwhelmingly in favor of gay rights, and older people who aren’t are… well.. they’re dying.

    Dos anybody seriously think gay rights will still be restricted in two or three decades? If so, they are clearly not aware of current demographic trends.

  17. filistro says:

    @GROG… So it’s not really Obama’s fault that he lied about being against gay marriage. It’s the fault of the people he was speaking to on the campaign trail because they’re the real bigots and they made him feel it necessary to do so.

    Yes! You’ve got it exactly right!!!

    What a smart caveman you are… 🙂

  18. filistro says:

    Hmmm… TPM says John Boehner may decide whether to bring DOMA up in the House as early as this week.

    Now, this will be interesting. In response to rgb, it appears that Barney Frank and John Boehner agree that “gay issues” are still NOT good for Obama. I guess we’re soon going to see…

  19. mclever says:

    @Monotreme

    I appreciate the nuance of your position in defining bigotry. If the person is sincerely basing it on an interpretation of a scriptural text (such as the Bible), then they can be reasoned with and can be brought around to a different understanding based on alternative interpretations (such as Christ’s condemnation of the Pharisees’ legalistic parsings and the freedom from the law under the “new covenant” of Christ in the New Testament, especially the Pauline understanding that something may be sinful for one person, but another person’s stronger faith may be such that it is not sinful for them).

    As you say, a sincerely held religious belief by someone who is open to new understandings is different from someone who holds hatred in their heart and looks for scriptural reasons to support their views. The latter (in my view) goes almost directly against the intent of Christ’s message to love one another.

  20. Mule Rider says:

    Homosexual behavior (NOT simply an orientation/inclination/attraction towards members of the same sex) is sin. And, as such, it is wrong and immoral in God’s sight and a Christian has every right to believe that homosexual behavior is sin and proclaim/declare it as such. In fact, any “Christian” that denies homosexual conduct is antithetical to God’s teachings seriously needs to re-read the Bible for a more critical understand of what sin is and isn’t.

    HOWEVER, with all of that said, there is nothing in the Bible directing Christians to dictate the rights of homosexuals through a secular government, even in the name of protecting the institution of marriage. If that were the case, they should also be looking into ways to restrict the rights (punish?) of people caught engaging in fornication (premarital, extra-marital, or otherwise) or of people seeking a divorce. And I don’t see much political will on that front, nor should there be.

    Anyway, as ‘Treme said, there is much to be said about “loving thy neighbor” that people overlook.

    Hate the sin. Love the sinner.

  21. Mule Rider says:

    “If so, they are clearly not aware of current demographic trends.”

    If you’re counting on the younger demographic to be more in favor or gay rights then you should also be willing to put up with the side effect of potentially greater restrictions on abortion over the next 2-3 decades because the “younger generation” tends to have more negative attitudes towards abortion than the “Roe v. Wade” one. Just thought I’d throw that out there as food for thought.

  22. Mule Rider says:

    “(such as Christ’s condemnation of the Pharisees’ legalistic parsings and the freedom from the law under the “new covenant” of Christ in the New Testament, especially the Pauline understanding that something may be sinful for one person, but another person’s stronger faith may be such that it is not sinful for them)”

    Much of what you’re referring to – especially with regard to the “Pauline understanding” which can be found in the last few chapters of Romans, something I just read through – has to do with the keeping of “old covenant” customs, such as observing a sundown-to-sundown Sabbath, following dietary restrictions regarding “unclean” meats, and observing Jewish holy days (i.e. one’s salvation doesn’t hinge on observing the Sabbath but one man shouldn’t judge another who does even though he doesn’t have to and the one who does observe it shouldn’t judge the one who doesn’t because it is not necessary) but wasn’t meant to be used as some sort of “wild card” to excuse any/all conduct just so it’s in the name of “love.”

    Yes, Christ’s new covenant teachings are centered around love but there are some commandments about behavior/conduct that transcend both the old and new covenants and are, in all cases and without exception, sin.

  23. mclever says:

    In the recent DOMA decision by the Obama Administration to no longer defend the law in court, the most salient point to me was the Administration’s statement that the law should be held to the standards of “heightened scrutiny” rather than merely the “rational basis” test.

    “Rational basis” arguments have formed much of the legal debates on gay marriage thus far. The “rational basis” principle lets the defense of the law be based on any remotely plausible justification, regardless of the law’s actual purpose. This is how we get the “marriage is for procreation” or arguments based on stereotypes.

    “Heightened scrutiny” would require the courts to examine the actual motives and intent of the law, including examining (bigoted?) statements by those who wrote and supported the law’s passage. Heightened scrutiny requires that there be a legally permissible reason for the discrimination to be valid, and that it passes Constitutional muster.

    For example: Barring felons from becoming lawyers, OK. Barring women from becoming lawyers, not OK. There is legally justifiable discrimination against felons in certain rights of citizenship, but not against women merely because they’re female, and arguing that they’re naturally timid or delicate isn’t sufficient justification for discrimination due to standards of heightened scrutiny of laws where the intent is to discriminate.

    Saying that DOMA (and other anti-gay marriage laws) should be held to the standard of heightened scrutiny means that the Obama Administrations thinks these laws should be considered discriminatory. That’s a pretty major shift in official opinion towards gay rights.

  24. rgbact says:

    As for demographics–I guess Obama is trying to fire up the kids. Course Hispanics are also a growing demographic, and I’m not sure the issue is a winner with them in 2012 and beyond. I suspect Bush’s social conservatism played a big part in him doing well with Hispanics. Every state with gay marriage is also a very white state- whose population is stagnant.

  25. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mc, fili, et al,

    If a person professes their opposition on the Bible BUT:

    They pop a shrimp into their mouths (Lev. 11:10), OR

    munch on a couple slices of bacon for breakfast (Lev. 11:7), OR

    dine on that Easter Ham (Lev. 11:7), OR

    get a divorce (Matt. 5:32 and 1 Cor. 7:11), or do not speak with the same enthusiasm against such or are accepting of such, THEN

    YES, they are hypocrites and BIGOTS.

  26. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Please quote the words of Christ, where He spoke against gays as he did against divorce in Matthew 5:32.

    Thank you

  27. Monotreme says:

    @MR:

    Nice to see you again. I’m glad we’re finding some common ground on this contentious issue.

    I’m not anxious to get involved in subjects not immediately germane to fili’s root article, but here’s the demographic data on opposition to same-sex marriage:

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1755/poll-gay-marriage-gains-acceptance-gays-in-the-military

    This was also abstracted in one of Nate’s last columns over at the old 538. It’s apparently gone now, but I found a graph from it on another site (it makes me miss Nate’s articles and particularly his Tufte-like grasp of the clean, informative graphic):

  28. Monotreme says:

    rgbact says:

    Every state with gay marriage is also a very white state- whose population is stagnant.

    I’d sure like to see you run this down, state-by-state. Since you seem to be focusing on the Hispanic population, give us a list of states, and their proportion of Hispanics. It would be great if you could sort it based on polling data as well (i.e. support for, or opposition to, same-sex marriage state by state).

    Here’s a good place to start in your project: http://pewhispanic.org/states/

    Thanks.

  29. dcpetterson says:

    On the question of “bigotry”, I think that arises out of any belief that one group is somehow “better” or “worse” than some other, and therefore should not receive equal treatment. In my mind, “bigotry” is tied in with “prejudice.” For anyone who feels that gays should not be gays, that there is something unnatural or undesirable about loving a person of the same sex, that I would classify as “bigotry.”

    Of course, it seldom is possible to know what is in someone else’s mind, unless they’re quite clear about it. For example, Pat Robertson is very open about his feeling that there is something “wrong” with gay people; they should not be gay, he says, and they should not have the rights of “normal” people. If we are to take him at his word, then he clearly is prejudiced, and engages in bigotry.

    Can a person be not prejudiced, and yet also oppose allowing equal rights to a specific group of people based on something like skin color, sex, height, national origin, or sexual orientation? I really can’t imagine how. I suppose it would be possible to come up with a justification for discrimination based on one of these features, without it being a matter of prejudice or bigotry. But I’ve never actually heard such an argument.

    To my mind, there is a difference between belief< and action. It is possible to believe that there is something wrong or undesirable about being gay (i.e., prejudice), but nevertheless to recognize that everyone, including gay people, deserve to be treated equally under the law. I see nothing inconsistent about a person who disapproves of same-sex relationships, yet would support legalization of same-sex marriage. Basically, such a person recognizes his or her own personal limitations, without forcing other people to conform to them.

  30. Mule Rider says:

    “If a person professes their opposition on the Bible BUT:

    They pop a shrimp into their mouths (Lev. 11:10), OR

    munch on a couple slices of bacon for breakfast (Lev. 11:7), OR

    dine on that Easter Ham (Lev. 11:7), OR

    get a divorce (Matt. 5:32 and 1 Cor. 7:11), or do not speak with the same enthusiasm against such or are accepting of such, THEN

    YES, they are hypocrites and BIGOTS.”

    This, unfortunately, displays a critical misunderstanding of the “old law” and the new one. Regarding consumption pork products/shellfish, yes, it was forbidden under the old covenant that God had with the Israelites and was very much a test of their faith. Those restrictions and other burdens (such as animal sacrifices) – and literally hundreds more – we meant to purify the people and atone for the sins they did commit until Christ could come, live a perfect life, and die for those sins. His sacrifice negated the necessity of adhering to such a restrictive diet or many of the other tests of faith. However, there were and are still things that count as “sin” in God’s eyes that transcend both the old and new covenants. Comparing homosexual behavior and consumption of bacon is not even like comparing apples and oranges….it’s like comparing coconuts and banana peels.

    But I agree with you regarding divorce….if people were really trying to establish a theocracy based on all of God’s teachings – and, as such, wanted to preserve the sanctity of marriage and do so through a secular government – then they should be equally as enthusiastic about limiting divorce.

    “Please quote the words of Christ, where He spoke against gays as he did against divorce in Matthew 5:32.

    Thank you”

    This might confuse some who don’t understand the Trinity, but Christ said on multiple occasions that people were to follow His Father’s commands regarding sin. Christ also said a time or two that He and the Father are One. With those two qualifiers as a backdrop, you need to look beyond the words in red lettering and throughout the rest of Bible to understand more fully God’s feelings towards homosexual behavior. I’ll save you the trouble, though. It’s very clear and distinct that God views it as sin.

    So spare me the “Christ didn’t mention homosexuality” bit. It’s been debunked a million times now.

  31. mclever says:

    Mule,

    I’m sure the regulars here don’t want to hear two Christians get into a technical debate about scriptural merits of their personal understandings of faith. I hesitate to label anyone as “true” Christians or not, because I understand that different people may read the same text that I do and reach different conclusions while still professing the same core tenets of Christ’s message.

    HOWEVER, with all of that said, there is nothing in the Bible directing Christians to dictate the rights of homosexuals through a secular government, even in the name of protecting the institution of marriage. If that were the case, they should also be looking into ways to restrict the rights (punish?) of people caught engaging in fornication (premarital, extra-marital, or otherwise) or of people seeking a divorce. And I don’t see much political will on that front, nor should there be.

    I agree completely. There is nothing in the Bible directing Christians to force secular laws to comply with particular tenets of their faith. If anything, Jesus teaches the opposite. (Render unto Caesar, and all that.) One of the beautiful things about the way our government handles religious diversity is that the civil recognition of particular marriages in no way forces churches to recognize or perform such marriages. Churches always maintain the right to refuse to marry any couple for any reason, and that is completely separate from the state’s recognition of the marriage contract for purposes of legal rights and taxation purposes.

    Furthermore, I am heartened to hear you recognize the inherent hypocrisy in singling out a particular secular practice for condemnation while ignoring others of similar “sinfulness.”

    “And I don’t see much political will on that front, nor should there be.”

    Absolutely!

  32. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule: “So spare me the “Christ didn’t mention homosexuality” bit. It’s been debunked a million times now.

    So how about running the first half dozen or so “debunkings” past us, just for our edification.

    Those restrictions and other burdens (such as animal sacrifices) – and literally hundreds more – we meant to purify the people and atone for the sins they did commit until Christ could come, live a perfect life, and die for those sins. His sacrifice negated the necessity of adhering to such a restrictive diet or many of the other tests of faith.

    Again, please cite the specific New Testament verses that lift the dietary restrictions.

    You are conflating the dietary restrictions and animal sacrifices. That is your error. Yes, Christ DID say that his death was to replace the animal sacrifices as atonement for sin, but nada about dietary restrictions. Please don’t play fast and loose just to rationalize your opinions.

    BUT, bottom line, The United States IS NOT a Christian theocracy. It should NOT use Biblical justification as the reason for it’s laws. The fact that NO STATE forbids divorce “except for adultery”, demonstrates this as a fact and is rationale enough to reject calls to continue to forbid same-sex marriage.

  33. Mule,

    Homosexual behavior … is sin.

    We had difficulties recently because of religious discussion. Are you sure you want to go there? If you don’t, you really, really should drop this line of discussion at this site. But assuming you do want to go there…

    There are certainly those who believe this (including, clearly, you). However, there are many Christians who disagree on this point. And yet, you say:

    In fact, any “Christian” that denies homosexual conduct is antithetical to God’s teachings seriously needs to re-read the Bible for a more critical understand of what sin is and isn’t.

    It’s remarkable to me that you consider someone who calls themselves Christian, yet disagrees with you on this point, not a “real” Christian. What is it about you that makes you the alpha and omega of what defines a true Christian?

    BTW, lest you think I overlooked the rest of what you had to say, I do appreciate that you wish to keep the government out of the religious facet of the issue.

  34. dcpetterson says:

    filistro,

    To the point of your article — it’s a pretty big tell. Gallagher is clearly admitting that, in her mind, there is something “lesser” about civil unions, that these are not as valuable and valued a thing as “real” marriage. That she would insist this lesser thing is good enough for one class of people, yet not good enough for Her Own Kind, is a clear statement of bigotry. And as you note, it underlines the hypocrisy of her position.

    I do think it is possible for a person to honestly see marriage and civil unions as being equal and equivalent. The tell would be, I suppose, exactly this situation. Would we truly see a hetero civil union as being “the same as” a hetero marriage? I confess, in my own case, the answer is “no.” That’s why I oppose discriminatory laws such as DOMA.

    However, let’s envision this a century from now. Suppose our culture does manage to separate the idea of a religious marriage from the related, but very different, concept of a legal contract. Two adults (potentially more) could enter into a legal agreement, if they wish, sharing property and inheritance and tax liabilities and all of the other legal aspects of today’s “marriage.” If they wish also to have it sanctified in a religious ceremony by a sect that recognizes and celebrates the sort of union they have, then they can do that as well (or even instead), but this ceremony would have no legal implications whatever.

    This would be a drastic change in our current social conceptualization of “marriage.” Under this structure, same-sex unions and hetero unions would indeed be equal, in all senses. And we also would be able to eliminate the religious aspects that currently have been sneaked into our legal code. But I don’t imagine this happening any time soon. And I think it would take a generation or two for such legal unions to be seen as having the same strength and force as “marriage” currently does.

    Maybe the magic number is 50% — maybe 60, maybe 90. I really don’t know. But when some majority of hetero couples come to prefer legal unions over religious ceremonies, then we’ll be ready to call them equivalent. But not before.

  35. mclever says:

    @dcpetterson

    To my mind, there is a difference between belief and action. It is possible to believe that there is something wrong or undesirable about being gay (i.e., prejudice), but nevertheless to recognize that everyone, including gay people, deserve to be treated equally under the law. I see nothing inconsistent about a person who disapproves of same-sex relationships, yet would support legalization of same-sex marriage. Basically, such a person recognizes his or her own personal limitations, without forcing other people to conform to them.

    Once again, you succeed in putting my thoughts into words with better clarity than I could have accomplished. Whether it’s a matter of prejudice or beliefs or whatever, the important element is understanding that none of us have the right to force others to conform to our own standards of behavior.

  36. GROG says:

    Fili,

    I must say, I admire your unwavering support for the President. It reminds me of a parent who thinks her child can do no wrong.

    The Dems are in a quandry over the support (or lack thereof) of gay marriage among african americans. 60% of blacks oppose gay marriage while only 28% support it. So in other words 60% of blacks are bigots and only 28% are not. That is why Obama could not come out in support of the issue. Dems cannot afford to lose any support at all from the black community. Even losing 10% of the black vote would be catastrophic, and gay marriage is a very important issue for blacks.

    Same is true with Hispanics but to a lesser extent. 49% of them are bigots while only 41% are not.

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1755/poll-gay-marriage-gains-acceptance-gays-in-the-military

  37. mclever says:

    Max,

    The dietary restrictions were lifted explicitly in Acts 10, the story of Peter and the “sheet” with all of the “unclean” animals. They were also addressed by Paul in Romans (as noted previously by Mule). [Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.]

  38. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule: “Comparing homosexual behavior and consumption of bacon is not even like comparing apples and oranges….it’s like comparing coconuts and banana peels.

    Leviticus 11:11, “They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination.” Hmmm, coconut?

    Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination“. Hmmm, banana peel?

    I do believe they BOTH say abomination!

    Mule, seems like you are rationalizing the Scripture to confirm YOUR OPINION. Sorry.

  39. rgbact,

    Every state with gay marriage is also a very white state- whose population is stagnant.

    Granted DC isn’t a state, but it has legal gay marriage, and is 40% white, 54% black. To exclude DC because it technically isn’t a state is to ignore the assumption underlying your assertion.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “stagnant” population. Could you please expound on that?

  40. dcpetterson says:

    GROG,
    Fili, I must say, I admire your unwavering support for the President. It reminds me of a parent who thinks her child can do no wrong.

    It’s odd to see you write this, because what Filistro actually said was (February 28, 2011 at 08:50):

    Obama was WRONG on gay marriage. … He should never have done it,…

    So, GROG, I have to ask — Did you actually read the reply that Filistro gave to your question?

  41. Max,

    BUT, bottom line, The United States IS NOT a Christian theocracy. It should NOT use Biblical justification as the reason for it’s laws. The fact that NO STATE forbids divorce “except for adultery”, demonstrates this as a fact and is rationale enough to reject calls to continue to forbid same-sex marriage.

    At least you and Mule agree on this point.

  42. GROG says:

    Yes I did, DC.

    Did you read her comment on Feb. 28, 2011 at 10:17?

  43. Mule Rider says:

    “However, there are many Christians who disagree on this point.”

    CORRECTION:

    There are many “self-professing” Christians who disagree (with me) on this point. There’s a big difference in self-professing and practicing. Unfortunately, there are also many “practicing” Christians that disagree with me that homosexual behavior is sin.

    “It’s remarkable to me that you consider someone who calls themselves Christian, yet disagrees with you on this point, not a “real” Christian.”

    Maybe my loosy-goosy use of quote marks conveys more than I’m trying to say because I don’t want to be the final authority on who is a “real Christian” or not; however, there is nothing wrong with pointing out teachings in Scripture that fellow Christians seem to completely ignore and saying that they should consider reassessing their beliefs on the matter if they’re going to call themselves a follower of Christ.

    “What is it about you that makes you the alpha and omega of what defines a true Christian?”

    I’m hardly what defines a “true Christian” but to understand sin, I try to adhere as closely to what the Bible teaches so I can reflect that in my own life. In every instance in the Bible that homosexuality is mentioned, it’s (the behavior, NOT the orientation) in the context of being condemned as immoral, wicked, evil, wrong, etc. – i.e. sinful.

    Nowhere in the Bible is it condoned, blessed, or excused as acceptable behavior.

    So while I may not have ultimate wisdom/understanding on the Christian experience, I’m at least trying to follow as closely as possible what the Bible teaches.

  44. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mc,

    I take Acts 10:15 to be specific to the occasion with Peter. Nor does the verse speak of fish without scales or fins. Thus the specificity only to the occasion.

    Also your point of Romans 14:17 is countered by verse 20: “All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.“. The offense being violation of the dietary restrictions.

    Have you anything to counter these interpretations?

  45. mclever says:

    Max,

    I think the hang-up is your interpretation of “eats with offense.” The NIV version of Romans 20 says, “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.” Which has been interpreted to mean that there is nothing inherently wrong with eating a particular food, but if you are with someone (say a vegetarian), then it is unloving to intentionally cause them to struggle by eating a big, huge steak in front of them. If they’re OK with you eating the steak, then no harm no foul. The point is to take your companions’ sensibilities into account with your behavior, so you don’t upset them.

    Romans 14:22 “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”

  46. dcpetterson says:

    GROG
    Did you read her comment on Feb. 28, 2011 at 10:17?

    I did, yes. So she certainly did not say Obama could “do no wrong,” as you implied; she said, on the contrary, that his position was a poor one, and then she presented her understanding of the reasons he took that position.

    Or do you think that understanding, say, the reasons someone might commit a robbery implies that you think the robbery wasn’t the wrong thing to do?

  47. mclever says:

    As far as I know, Mule is correct that the admonishments against homosexual behavior are never explicitly lifted in the New Testament, however there are scriptures that could support a more liberal interpretation of what to consider sinful behavior:

    1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I must not be enslaved by anything.”

    1 Corinthians 10:23-24 “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

    Colossians 2:6-23 [Paraphrased for brevity]: Don’t be deceived by rules based on human commands or teachings. Do not let anyone judge you, and don’t be discouraged by the false humility of the obsessive rule-followers.

    Taking these and other scriptures into consideration, a reasonable Christian might conclude that no behavior is technically forbidden, because we are not enslaved to laws or the judgment of others. All things are permissible, as long as the person’s intentions are helpful, beneficial, constructive, loving, and from a desire to seek the good of others.

    Righteousness doesn’t come from following rules, but from doing what’s good and right.

  48. GROG says:

    DC,

    She did say he was wrong but she pointed out that it wasn’t his fault. It was the fault of the bigoted electorate. He had no choice in that matter.

  49. dcpetterson says:

    Michael,

    I don’t have a problem, with Mule Rider (or anyone else) defining what they think it takes to be a “true” member of their religion. All religions have membership requirements, like any other human grouping. Presumably, the people whom Mule disagrees with also have opinions on what it takes to be a “true” co-religionist (even if that definition is as simple as, “If you say you are, then you are”).

    For me, the question is, what actions does someone take toward a person who does not fit the definitions? Provided those actions are not destructive or harmful, or infringe on someone else’s rights or property or livelihood, then I can’t see that it makes much of a difference.

    For all I care, Mule can insist that the only “true Christian” lives on his block. So, Mule has a restrictive definition of what beliefs one must have to be a “true Christian.” This only matters if he would give some rights to “true Christians” or take some away from people who are not “true Christians” — or if he, for example, encouraged some kind of jihad or inquisition against non-“true Christians,” or tried to keep them out of government, or otherwise discriminated by deed or instigation.

  50. Mule Rider says:

    “Righteousness doesn’t come from following rules, but from doing what’s good and right.”

    On this we can agree. And it was delightful to hear your perspective, even if we don’t quite agree on everything 100%.

  51. Mule,

    There are many “self-professing” Christians who disagree (with me) on this point. There’s a big difference in self-professing and practicing.

    I’m having a hard time seeing the distinction you’re making, and one of “real” versus “not real” Christians. In both cases I hear the “ones who are like me, and thus correct” contrasted with the “ones who are not like me, and thus lacking.”

  52. Who cares what’s a sin and what’s not a sin? We live in a society of laws, not sins, so bringing the bible into this as your argument means you already lost the debate. We went through this in the 60’s with interracial marriages.

  53. DC,

    I don’t have a problem, with Mule Rider (or anyone else) defining what they think it takes to be a “true” member of their religion.

    Nor do I. Where I start to get squeamish is when overloaded terms are used. “Christian” is a term that applies broadly to many groups of people with differing viewpoints. So does “practicing Christian.”

    Is the term “Real American” one that can be defined by the Tea Party? Is it one defined by the Constitution? Is it something in someone’s heart? I abhor people’s use of overloaded terms as a means of defining others “out.”

  54. dcpetterson says:

    GROG,
    She did say he was wrong but she pointed out that it wasn’t his fault. It was the fault of the bigoted electorate. He had no choice in that matter.

    Of course he had a choice. One always has choices. That’s why he was “wrong.” And I agree here — if he actually doesn’t have a problem with same-sex marriage, then he was wrong to oppose it. However, I can understand the political realities in dealing with the narrowmindedness of a loud segment of the electorate.

    Now, my own opinio, for what it’s worth —

    Please also note, the Administration has said it will not defend DOMA — not because it opposes DOMA on principle, but because DOMA is, in the opinion of the Administration lawyers, unconstitutional. The Administration has not come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

    In fact, the Administration has not (as far as I’m aware — if you have evidence to the contrary, please share) altered its position on same sex marriage. It has said merely that it will not defend laws it deems unconstitutional, as contrasted with its earlier interpretation that the Executive had to defend all existing laws, regardless of their constitutionality.

    So, in other words, on the question of how Obama feels about same-sex marriage — perhaps he is, and always was, personally opposed to legal recognition. But that is a different question from asking whether DOMA is constitutional. And whatever his personal preference, that is a different question again from whther he would deny equal rights to same-sex couples.

  55. Mule Rider says:

    “I’m having a hard time seeing the distinction you’re making, and one of “real” versus “not real” Christians. In both cases I hear the “ones who are like me, and thus correct” contrasted with the “ones who are not like me, and thus lacking.””

    Let me break it down thusly:

    People are free to call themselves whatever they like, and that includes calling themselves “Christian.” In doing so, I would hope they, as a professed follower of Christ, take very seriously their dedication and seriousness in taking to heart and living out the teachings of the Bible, the divinely inspired Word of God.

    And the teachings of the Bible are clear that homosexual behavior were sin (under the old covenant) and still are sin, even under a law of love with Christ as a sacrifice. Nowhere in the Bible is it condoned/blessed/etc. as acceptable behavior. And for someone to excuse it as acceptable, it takes a very liberal interpretation of a few isolated comments, none of which were addressing sexuality in any form.

    For someone to stake out that position (that homosexual behavior is acceptable) yet claim to be a Christian, I would urge them to reconsider and reassess Christ’s teachings on the matter, although I wouldn’t want it to turn into a bitter dispute. However, I am obligated to point out what is Biblical (and what isn’t), and I’m also under no obligation to worship with that same person or embrace them as a fellow believer. In some of Paul’s writings, it is even commanded that you flee from brothers/sisters who profess to follow Christ but reject his teachings.

    Again, I may have erred in insinuating I have some kind of keen insight into who is a “real” Christian or not and I regret that (especially if it came across as passing judgement because we’re told explicitly not to play the role of judge either), but I am obligated to point out what is Biblical or not, and there is nothing Biblical condoning homosexual acts.

  56. rgbact says:

    Grog-

    Yes, the question is whether this issue loses Obama support with any traditional Dem voters. Clearly he needs to re-excite the youth vote, and it appears this is the issue he’s banking on. I suspect most black voters won’t peel off for this issue. Hispanics are a different story. He hasn’t done much on immigration–so they are already somewhat disaffected. Throw in gay issues–and alot of Hispanics may bolt for the GOP. Also, it likely hurts him with “Reagan Democrats” in key states like PA and OH.

  57. Mule Rider says:

    “I abhor people’s use of overloaded terms as a means of defining others “out.””

    And I abhor people wanting “inclusion” in a definition – or wanting to define it on their way – that strays from the meaning of the word.

    Per your examples. We define a “Christian” as a “follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ” to differentiate thsoe people from those who don’t follow Jesus’ teachings. Why should an atheist or someone who believes in the Hindu god be able to consider themselves a “Christian” when that’s not what they are? Same thing with “practicing Christian,” which differentiates between those who simply say, “Yes, I’m a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ” – thus making them at least a “Christian,” by definition – and those whose life truly reflects Christ’s teachings of love and sacrifice (defined in more detail by exhibiting “fruits of the spirit”).

    If someone beat his wife, got drunk daily, stole money from his employer, and lied all the time, yet he said he was a follower of Jesus’ teachings, my response would be,

    “Well, he might be a ‘Christian’ but he doesn’t do a very good job of practicing Christianity.”

  58. GROG says:

    DC,

    Obama is going to say and do whatever benefits him most politically, like most politicians do. And as I’ve pointed out, 60% of African Americans are bigots, according to your definition. Democrats have too much invested in the black vote to turn their backs on them over gay marriage.

  59. Mule Rider says:

    ““Well, he might be a ‘Christian’ but he doesn’t do a very good job of practicing Christianity.”

    I should revise this to say,

    “Well, he might be a ‘Christian’ but he doesn’t do a very good job of practicing Christianity because none of those things are acceptable according to Jesus’ words and actions in the Holy Bible.”

    Again, I don’t see the problem with a bit of exclusionism when it comes to defining something like that. People need to know what side of the fence you’re on. Either you believe Christ was the Messiah or you don’t. Either you believe His teachings or you don’t. And either you follow those teachings or you don’t.

  60. rgbact says:

    Why doesn’t Obama show leadership and speak to an NAACP group about gay issues? Its fun to speak to a white group abour their dicriminating against blacks–but it seems noone has much courage to speak to blacks about their discrimination against gays

  61. GROG says:

    rgbact

    Good topic for discussion.

  62. mclever says:

    While I may not agree with all of Mule’s views, I have a lot of respect for his position with regard to gay marriage. He’s able to separate his religious opinions from secular legality. He has said that a Christian shouldn’t be overly concerned about secular laws that permit things that a Christian might consider sinful. Therefore, though he may consider homosexual acts to be sinful, he’s apparently able to accept that secular laws might recognize such unions as marriages.

    As dcpetterson said, what matters is how we treat people who don’t hold to the same beliefs or definitions that we do.

  63. dcpetterson says:

    alot of Hispanics may bolt for the GOP.

    It’s hard to see that happening, when the GOP has been openly hostile to Hispanics for the last two years. I don’t see the GOP changing on any of their immigration issues, or 14th Amendment issues, or “English as official language” issues. As long as the GOP continues to demonize Hispanics, they’re not likely to win back many Hispanic voters.

  64. filistro says:

    @rgb… and alot of Hispanics may bolt for the GOP

    *giggle*… have you read any Hispanic websites lately… or talked to any of your Hispanic friends? Their loathing for the GOP is deep, visceral and passionate. I’ve never seen Latino anger at this level. And the polls and electoral results are going to reflect it, too… which is why Obama can now safely afford to be a little more forthcoming about his real, honest views on gay marriage rights.

  65. dcpetterson says:

    GROG,

    If you expect me to defend a stance against same-sex marriages, you’ll be disappointed. I am also amazed that people who have seen and experienced discrimination firsthand sometimes do not recognize it when practiced against someone else. Nevertheless, not all members of a given coalition always agree with each other on all points. Libertarians, for example, disagree with most of the GOP on issues such as abortion, legalized prostitution, legalized narcotics, and a host of other social issues — yet generally vote Republican anyway, because of some economic agreements.

    Any coalition generally consists of people who agree on some issues, disagree on others. I recognize that the Republicans have used gay rights as a wedge issue for many years, driving apart constituencies that otherwise have a lot in common, and that can otherwise work together. It’s not working now; minorities of all stripes (blacks, gays, Hispanics, and others) have recognized that the Democratic Party has far more to offer them than the GOP.

    Republicans might consider not concentrating on these social wedge issues, for a change.

  66. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    You may talk all about the “teachings of Christ” as some kind of test of a “practicing” or a “professed” Christian, all you want, but, in fact, there is one and only one true statement, Acts 16:31, that defines Christian salvation.

    All the rest, as the differing interpretations of scripture show, are subject to individuals and their relationship with God. And we have NOT gotten into the contradictions between the writings of Paul and the teachings of Christ, in spite of your earlier professions of looking “beyond the words in red lettering”.

    But, STILL, this has NOT A DAMN THING to do with the Laws of the United States! No one wants to force your particular sect to perform gay marriages!

  67. filistro says:

    As for Obama’s contradictory and somewhat opaque approach to gay marriage (which my buddy GROG seems to be be particularly exercised over)…

    I’m really of two minds about this. We’ve argued it before… should a politician’s stance on these moral/social issues reflect his own personal views or those of his constituents?

    Although John Kerry was widely derided for his stand on abortion, I understood comepletely what he meant when he said that while his personal religion held that abortion was wrong and sinful, he didn’t feel he had the right as a lawmaker to impose his personal moral view on a public that disagreed with his moral stance.

    I guess, on reflection, I think a politician should make his views on these issues clear before he’s elected, tell voters how he intends to handle them, and then stick with his promise.

    But…. that leaves no room for growth or sincere evolution of thought… so I still don’t know. What do you all think?

    Oh, and in the “credit-where-it’s-due” dept., I just want to mention that while GROG disagrees strongly with almost everybody at this site (and often fights lonely battles) he is never snarky or nasty, which is why I’ve always liked him so much. GROG is a nice caveman 🙂

  68. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mc,

    BTW, in Matthew 5:18 Jesus states specifically: “ For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

    Which is correct, Jesus or Peter?

  69. mclever says:

    Max,

    No one wants to force your particular sect to perform gay marriages!

    In due credit to Mule, he has professed no desire to force United States law to conform to his interpretation of his own religious beliefs. Nor has he suggested that he thinks civil recognition of gay marriage would somehow impact his church’s current marriage practices.

    We may have been quibbling on whether “real” Christians must consider homosexual behavior to be sinful, but nowhere did either Mule or I suggest that should drive civil law.

    Just trying to keep it fair here.

  70. filistro says:

    One more thing… I am constantly bemused by the level of cognitive dissonance on the right.

    Yesterday we spent a long time discussing the perplexing fact that the same group who tried to impose democracy in Iraq by force are now looking askance at organic democratic movements in other Muslim countries.

    Today we turn our attention to the fact that states whose legislatures have (with all due solemnity) passed actual laws against the institution of Sharia law…obviously a clear and present danger!… are the very same states that would seek to codify Christian precepts within their body of law.

    I wonder what it would be like to live inside a mindset so utterly lacking in reflection, fairness and self-analysis ( as well as absolutely no sense of humor!… 😉

  71. mclever says:

    I don’t know, Max. Who’s right, Jesus, or Jesus, when (in Matthew 12) he defended his disciples for harvesting grain on the Sabbath and then went to the temple and healed on the Sabbath. That seems in direct contradiction to “not one jot or tittle” passing from the law.

    Sometimes taking a verse out of the context of the point that’s trying to be made misses the purpose entirely, but I really don’t want to get into a debate about controversial scriptural interpretations here. It doesn’t seem to fit the purpose of this site.

  72. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mc, you are correct. Arguing religion is shadow boxing.

  73. Mule Rider says:

    “You may talk all about the “teachings of Christ” as some kind of test of a “practicing” or a “professed” Christian, all you want, but, in fact, there is one and only one true statement, Acts 16:31, that defines Christian salvation.”

    With this logic, Satan and his band of demons are granted salvation, for even they “believe in the Lord Jesus.” No, you’re making a critical mistake by just taking our English word for “believe” and putting the foundation on that. “Believe” in that instance was the closest translation to a Greek word that actually implies much more than a simple belief in something.

    “But, STILL, this has NOT A DAMN THING to do with the Laws of the United States! No one wants to force your particular sect to perform gay marriages!”

    And I wasn’t arguing anything of the like. If you read what I said carefully, I’m separating out my personal beliefs from what should be the secular treatment of homosexual relationships. I just reserve the right to believe and call it what it is: sin.

    Re: Matthew 5:18

    What is he talking about when he says “the Law”? I don’t think it means what you think it means. But I don’t plan on arguing with you and setting you straight as you seem more intent on engaging in a flame war than listening to others’ opinions.

  74. GROG says:

    Thanks fili. (My crush continues.)

    I don’t necessarily blame Obama. As I said earlier, I think the Dem Party is in a quandry over gay marriage because of opposition to it by blacks and hispanics. No one here seems interested in discussing it.

    Family and family values are very important to African Americans and Hispanics. It runs deep. Both tend to be very socially conservative. Since blacks married themselves to the Democratic Party 50 years ago, the black family has been in steady decline. They (Dems) know they can’t take the black vote for granted forever. That’s why they avoid the gay marriage issue like the plague.

  75. rgbact says:

    Hispanic websites? No, I stick to my Eastern European heritage websites. You may be right about Obama’s calculation on gay issues. Obviously, Hispanics still vote strongly Dem and I’m not naive enough to think they will leave easily. Just saying, the last “gay election” was 2004—the same year the GOP got its highest level of the Hispanic vote.

  76. GROG says:

    And they certainly can’t go around calling 60% of the black population and half of the hispanic population bigots, as some here have done.

  77. mclever says:

    @filistro

    I guess, on reflection, I think a politician should make his views on these issues clear before he’s elected, tell voters how he intends to handle them, and then stick with his promise.

    But…. that leaves no room for growth or sincere evolution of thought… so I still don’t know. What do you all think?

    I think a politician should make clear the sorts of principles and reasoning she will apply to the situations she is likely to encounter, rather than necessarily spelling out the immutable specifics of each viewpoint. I like hearing where their current thinking is on the issues of the day, but I don’t expect them to stay locked to those once they get into office and discover information that they could not have known as a mere candidate. As you say, there needs to be room for growth or sincere evolution of thought. I’m much more likely to vote for a pragmatic rationalist who demonstrates clear-thinking rationales for his views than an ideologue who shows no signs of flexibility when confronted with an unexpected scenario.

  78. rgbact,

    Why doesn’t Obama show leadership and speak to an NAACP group about gay issues?

    Probably for the same reason that he doesn’t go to a Teamsters meeting and talk gay issues. In public speaking, it’s important to understand the audience to whom you are speaking, and to speak to their issues.

  79. Max,

    But, STILL, this has NOT A DAMN THING to do with the Laws of the United States! No one wants to force your particular sect to perform gay marriages!

    This looks like it may be a strawman. I don’t recall seeing where Mule said he wants it to be illegal, nor that he expected the law to force his church to perform gay weddings.

    Mule, this is a good opportunity to clarify your position. Do I understand it correctly?

  80. rgbact says:

    Grog-

    The proressives don’t want to discuss it as they’ve built a bigoted strawman of opposition to gay issues that has the face of an older, religious, white southerner. It sells well with the youth! Having to look inward at intolerance in their own party is uncomfortable.

    So when gays/libertarians lecture so-cons about gay issues at CPAC, they laugh at the GOP “schisms”, but have absolutely no balls to give simlar lectures to their own interest groups.

  81. Mule Rider says:

    “In public speaking, it’s important to understand the audience to whom you are speaking, and to speak to their issues.”

    I think the point remains, though, that it’s a bit hypocritical to lambast and comdemn any bigotry towards the homosexual community so long as it’s coming from the older, or Caucasian, or Southern circles that lean more “conservative” and to ignore the same bigotry from demographics that make up your base.

    It is, after all, the Democratic Party that embraces the rap culture, and the rap culture is rife with lyrics akin to “F^&k the homos!”

  82. Mule Rider says:

    “Do I understand it correctly?”

    Yes, you do.

  83. GROG,

    As I said earlier, I think the Dem Party is in a quandry over gay marriage because of opposition to it by blacks and hispanics. No one here seems interested in discussing it.

    I’m not interested because I don’t think it is much of a quandary.

    Family and family values are very important to African Americans and Hispanics.

    “Family values.” Now there’s a classic “dog whistle” term. The words themselves shouldn’t preclude, say, a childless heterosexual marriage. Or a married couple of men with children. Nor should it preclude a heterosexual couple with two children, all atheist. Nor should it preclude a heterosexual couple with two children, who are practicing Christians, and nudists at home. Yet it would appear that all of the above are not practicing “family values.”

    GROG, this is a great opportunity for you. Expound on the term “family values,” and why it excludes one or more of the categories I outlined above.

    Since blacks married themselves to the Democratic Party 50 years ago, the black family has been in steady decline.

    Are you suggesting a causal relationship here?

  84. filistro says:

    GROG and rgb… I don’t think Dems are ignoring the gay marriage issue because of fear of losing the black or the Hispanic vote. At least not anymore. Like the “Bradley Effect”, I think that’s just something the right HOPES might be happening, but it’s a false hope. Because Dem strategists know that when push comes to shove, tribal loyalties always outweigh moral precepts. Black voters will always solidly back Obama when he’s on the ballot, as long as they think he is serious about promoting specifically black issues which are mainly employment, schools and social programs.

    For Hispanics, ethnic solidarity also trumps moral issues. As long as the GOP is perceived as being opposed to Hispanics as an ethnic group, those votes will continue to go to the Dems no matter what decisions the Dems may make on gay marriage.

    And recent events have given the Dems even more breathing room, because of the sudden renewed fury amongst union members. In recent elections, the unions have been less than fired up because they felt Obama was excessively cosy with the corporatists. Now the foolish GOP has gone and poked a sleeping tiger. Just watch the next cycle, where the unions are going to be organizing and fundraising like maniacs. It will be a massive nationwide mobilization. They are FURIOUS.

    And those three demographics that were a bit iffy in the last election… Hispanics (except in Nevada, when they pushed Harry Reid way over 50%), blacks, and unions… have been so energized by missteps and over-reaching by the GOP that they will now give the Dems the electoral luxury to appease their base on issues like gay marriage.

    Poor old GOP… seems they never miss an opportunity to overreach and damage their own cause…

  85. GROG,

    And they certainly can’t go around calling 60% of the black population and half of the hispanic population bigots, as some here have done.

    And why not? Do whites hold a monopoly on bigotry?

  86. rgbact says:

    MR-

    You beat me to it! Its horrible bigotry by one group—its a political issue to be massaged for another.Which is it?

  87. Mule,

    it’s a bit hypocritical to lambast and comdemn any bigotry towards the homosexual community so long as it’s coming from the older, or Caucasian, or Southern circles that lean more “conservative” and to ignore the same bigotry from demographics that make up your base.

    Political darwinism necessarily creates those sorts of situations. I don’t condone it, but it’s sure not going to drive me to vote for a conservative.

    It is, after all, the Democratic Party that embraces the rap culture

    Really? This is news to me. Was there something added to the national party’s platform about rap culture, when I wasn’t looking?

  88. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Michael and Mule,

    I quite understand that to be the case. At the same time, within the context of the thread, Mule certainly did bring in the religious issue.

    To what purpose?

    As I also have stated: “arguing religion is shadowboxing”. Once the religious issue IS made a part of the thread, then game on.

    Mule, please don’t consider my arrows to be “flaming” (no pun intended), but to point out the differing interpretations that can, AND ARE, given to the same scriptures. As none of us are truly gnostic, we mere mortals DO NOT have all the answers, those will be affirmatively disclosed come Judgement Day, should they actually hold it.

    It is when one of us mere mortals become pretentious enough to believe we HAVE become suddenly gnostic and so treat others as though they are ignorant unwashed, that those arrows shall fly. Your inclusion of religion in a secular debate opened hunting season.

    Again, to what purpose?

  89. GROG says:

    MW,
    And why not? Do whites hold a monopoly on bigotry?

    I suppose they could go around calling blacks and hispanics bigots, but they won’t.

    GROG said:
    Since blacks married themselves to the Democratic Party 50 years ago, the black family has been in steady decline.

    MW said:
    Are you suggesting a causal relationship here?

    Yes I am. Since Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society started giving money to black mothers who had babies out of wedlock, there became a decentive for black men to marry black women and have children in wedlock. We then started moving blacks into the ghettos and tought them to become dependant on government. Then if any Republican ever suggests cutting back on welfare, there’s a backlash from those recieving government assistance and Republicans are accused of being selfish and not caring about people and being racists.

    Most of those on government assistance then vote Democrat life.

    This is why I truly believe as blacks and hispanics become more prosperous, the Democratic Party will be in serious trouble.

  90. GROG,

    Since Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society started giving money to black mothers who had babies out of wedlock, there became a decentive for black men to marry black women and have children in wedlock.

    Fascinating. Were other races excluded from that money? Is there something special about “black men” that makes them less likely to marry? And how, exactly, did the Great Society “mov[e] blacks into the ghettos?” Wasn’t that the same era when racial covenants on property deeds were deemed illegal?

  91. GROG says:

    No, other races were not excluded but in the 50’s and 60’s blacks were still much poorer compared to other races so they obviously were going be the recipients at a greater rate and needed it more then the rest of society. At that time the black family was strong and stable. Single parent families were the exception. Today 70% of black children are born out of wedlock.

    One of the most devestating to the family was that if an unwed woman became pregnant, moved out of the home of her parents, did not name or know who the
    father was, then the welfare state would provide for all her essential needs. Ergo she no longer needed a husband or the support of her family. In fact, the more children she had out of wedlock, the more money she would receive from the government.

  92. dcpetterson says:

    GROG
    And they certainly can’t go around calling 60% of the black population and half of the hispanic population bigots, as some here have done.

    I think, GROG, that you’re the only one here who has done that.

  93. GROG,

    …in the 50′s and 60′s blacks were still much poorer compared to other races so they obviously were going be the recipients at a greater rate and needed it more then the rest of society. At that time the black family was strong and stable. Single parent families were the exception. Today 70% of black children are born out of wedlock.

    Incarceration rates of blacks also rose significantly starting in the 80s. And those higher incarceration rates strongly correlate to lower marriage rates. So, yes, it could be Great Society. Or it could be the increasing incarceration rates that came from sentencing and unequal application of the law, targeting blacks, that caused it. Got any evidence to suggest that the latter is wrong?

    In fact, the more children she had out of wedlock, the more money she would receive from the government.

    And she’s too stupid to realize that these additional children aren’t free?

  94. dcpetterson says:

    Michael,
    And she’s too stupid to realize that these additional children aren’t free?

    I’ve had this argument with conservatives. They refuse to believe that it costs more to feed, clothe, and house a kid than a poor person gets from welfare. More, they refuse to believe that Black women understand this.

    Grog and rgbact, you seem to claim we progressives are backing off from gay rights issues. Yet here we are, discussing exactly that issue. We pushed through the repeal of DADT. We will win on DOMA as well.

    You want to see an argument among Democrats about this issue. It won’t happen. The coalition that forms the Democratic Party realizes there are more issues that unite us than divide us.

    Looking at Democrats who hold elective office, there are a variety of views on a variety of issues. (After all, we’re Democrats.) And elected Democrats tend to vote their conscience on the various issues that come before them. (That’s why they seldom vote in a unified block. ) So those elected Democrats who do not favor same-sex marriage, for example, or abortion rights, will vote against these bills when they come to the floor. The same goes for issues like gun control.

    Republicans want to use these as wedge issues to break the Democratic coalition apart. It didn’t work in ’06, or ’08, or ’10, and it won’t work in ’12. We’ve realized that, in a democracy, you win some votes, and you lose some votes. And to vote in a way that insures you lose nearly every vote is plain stupid.

    So a Black person is not going to vote for a Republican who will gut everything they care about, simply because the Democratic candidate favors legalized same-sex marriage. Ain’t gonna happen.

  95. mclever says:

    I’m so flabbergasted by the “Democrats destroy black families” line of reasoning, that I honestly don’t know what to say.

    Can we go back to agreeing with Mule about the separation of personal religious views and secular legalities?

  96. Mule Rider says:

    “Really? This is news to me. Was there something added to the national party’s platform about rap culture, when I wasn’t looking?”

    Nice strawman. I didn’t say anything about the party’s platform. I said the Democratic Party embraced rap culture. If you dispute that, then why didn’t they utter a peep when Kanye West and his ilk so vociferously campaigned on their (Obama, most notably) behalf in the ‘o8 election? The last time a Democrat in a major leadership position repudiated that segment of the base was Bill Clinton in his ‘sister souljah moment’ – but even then it wasn’t just him calling out the negativity produced by that culture; it was to call out some comments that were beyond the pale. The only other thing that comes to mind is Tipper Gore calling out the rap culture with some of her remarks – which I applaud her for – but not many Democrats followed suit then and even fewer are willing to take a stand now…..I mean, why not, Snoop, Kanye, etc. are all multi-millionaires, have tons of influence over a broad segment of our youth, and are willing to tell them to go vote and vote Democratic.

  97. Mule Rider says:

    “At the same time, within the context of the thread, Mule certainly did bring in the religious issue.”

    This is incorrect. I did not introduce religion into this thread. It was first mentioned by Monotreme and there were subsequent comments discussing the topic as it relates to religion by Bartbuster, filistro, and mclever before I ever chimed in.

    I just gave my two cents trying to address both sides of the coin: where I stand personally in how Christians should treat that community via a secular government and my personal beliefs that I feel are guided by teachings in the Bible. But I didn’t bring religion into the thread.

  98. Mule,

    Nice strawman. I didn’t say anything about the party’s platform.

    No, you said the Party, which has a policy defined by the platform.

    I said the Democratic Party embraced rap culture. If you dispute that, then why didn’t they utter a peep when Kanye West and his ilk so vociferously campaigned on their (Obama, most notably) behalf in the ‘o8 election?

    So let me see if I get this straight. Someone comes along and endorses members of a political party. If they don’t take efforts to explicitly distance themselves from that person, that amounts to an embrace of whatever “culture” that person may be a part of? Did I understand you right?

  99. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Reread MY comment. I DID NOT say you introduced religion to the thread. Thank you.

    mono, fili, GROG, and mc, all spoke to bigotry hiding in the name of religion. But you, my friend, began your FIRST LINE of your comment following those folks with :
    Homosexual behavior (NOT simply an orientation/inclination/attraction towards members of the same sex) is sin.“, at 10:28. You immediately followed that at 10:31, and then at 10:39 with more Biblical justification.

    Sorry.

    We can debate Christianity another time, but I believe all will agree (especially since there have been volumes written about it, and all sorts of rationales given) that the Christianity of Jesus’ “words in red” and the teachings of Paul have significant differences with difficult reconciliations. Most agree as well as these primary reason was Paul’s expansion of Christianity from a Jewish sect to an appeal to gentiles as well, along with Paul’s Sadducee and Greek background and training. Until that debate.

    Good evening all.

  100. dcpetterson says:

    Interesting.

    Max pointed out, “mono, fili, GROG, and mc, all spoke to bigotry hiding in the name of religion.”

    Mule helpfully confirmed this thought: “Homosexual behavior (NOT simply an orientation/inclination/attraction towards members of the same sex) is sin.”

    Thank you, Mule, for thoughtfully providing supporting evidence for the theory proposed by mono, fili, GROG, and mc. And thank you also for suggesting that this bigotry should not be reflected in the laws of the land.

  101. rgbact says:

    Just to respond to points on hispanics and stagnant populations I made:

    –5 states where same sex marriage is legal (NH, CT,IA,VT, MA)
    –3 of those 5 are ranked in the top 5 of “whitest states” (very few hispanics/blacks)
    –only one of those states (NH) grew at more than national average in last decade. IA and MA will lose electoral votes.

    Yes, DC is an exception. Not sure about other big cities (Detroit, Chicago)

  102. Monotreme says:

    @rgbact:

    You had originally said:

    Every state with gay marriage is also a very white state- whose population is stagnant.

    Thanks for that. So if we include DC (no reason to exclude it), then half are among the “whitest” states, and half are not. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of your position, especially since we could include California now that Proposition 8 has been invalidated there.

    I honestly don’t see the connection between the percentage of population that’s Hispanic and the legalization of same-sex marriage. The burden of proof is on you to provide evidence of a causal relationship, since you’re the one who postulated it. I also don’t see where 3 of 5 (even by your definition) constitutes “every”.

    Further, I don’t know how you’re defining “stagnant” populations, but I strongly suspect that you’re trying to make some sideways point about gay couples not being able to reproduce. If I’m wrong, please tell me so.

    Since I don’t have any idea what you mean by the adjective “stagnant”, I’m ignoring that part of your argument.

  103. rgbact,

    Just to respond to points on hispanics and stagnant populations I made…

    I really shouldn’t have diverted attention to DC. Your primary point is that Hispanics, who tend to be socially conservative, support Republicans more than Democrats, with the exception of 2008. Am I correct?

  104. rgbact says:

    MW, My points were:

    1) There doesn’t seem to be much support for gay marriage among hispanics/blacks- who are a big part of the Dem party
    2) Why does the Left go around accusing people of bigotry when they seemingly have alot of bigotry in their midst–which they appear to ignore “to keep the coalition together”
    3) If gay marriage truly is a “white issue” and hispanics are the growing demographic–why is the Left not actively speaking to Hispanic groups about gay tolerance given they should identify with discrimination?

    And I think you’re playing numbers gymnastics not admitting that states with gay marriage are uber-white.

  105. rgbact,

    There doesn’t seem to be much support for gay marriage among hispanics/blacks- who are a big part of the Dem party

    The last polls I saw show blacks at about 60/40 against, whites about 60/40 in favor, and hispanics evenly split.

    Why does the Left go around accusing people of bigotry when they seemingly have alot of bigotry in their midst–which they appear to ignore “to keep the coalition together”

    Because the bigotry is explicitly and publicly supported by Republican politicians.

    If gay marriage truly is a “white issue” and hispanics are the growing demographic–why is the Left not actively speaking to Hispanic groups about gay tolerance given they should identify with discrimination?

    See my answer to your first point.

    And I think you’re playing numbers gymnastics not admitting that states with gay marriage are uber-white.

    Sorry. I admit it; states with gay marriage are über-weiß. But I think it’s coincidental. Want to see the evidence to support that?

  106. Mule Rider says:

    “So let me see if I get this straight. Someone comes along and endorses members of a political party. If they don’t take efforts to explicitly distance themselves from that person, that amounts to an embrace of whatever “culture” that person may be a part of? Did I understand you right?”

    In short, yes. By not calling out the negativity and welcoming the time (GOTV efforts, fundraising, etc.), money, votes, etc. with open arms, they are giving their tacit approval/endorsement of their actions. If I have a bunch of neo-Nazis who follow me around and shout with gleeful adoration, “We love you Mule Rider!” and “We’ll do whatever you want us to” and I just silentlty keep on walking, barely acknowledging their existence (either positively or negatively), people are going to think I like the attention from these wackos and will start associating me with them. Now, if I very publicly excoriate and repudiate them with, “Beat it, assholes. I don’t like you, and I don’t want anything to do with you,” then people will know I’m doing my best not to associate with them.

    “But you, my friend, began your FIRST LINE of your comment following those folks with :

    Sorry.”

    So rather than admit you were wrong, you engage in a usual round of sophistry and spin. Yeah, that truly is sorry.

    Thanks for playing. You’ve been schooled yet again, old man.

  107. filistro says:

    I love you, Muley! For years and years, I’ve always taken your side and protected you from detractors! You know that’s true!

    There you go. The ball’s in your court. Now you have to turn on me and utterly reject me, or everybody will think you’re a bleeding heart liberal with wimpy progressive tendencies, agnostic leanings and secret Canadian sympathies 😉 😉 😉

  108. Mule Rider says:

    “…everybody will think you’re a bleeding heart liberal with wimpy progressive tendencies, agnostic leanings and secret Canadian sympathies”

    Maybe you just figured me out!!! 🙂

  109. GROG says:

    GROG
    And they certainly can’t go around calling 60% of the black population and half of the hispanic population bigots, as some here have done.

    DC
    I think, GROG, that you’re the only one here who has done that.

    No, you’re wrong.

    Fili said on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:50:
    “Anybody who genuinely opposes gay marriage is a bigot.”

    60% of blacks oppose gay marriage and I would have to assume it’s genuine unless you can show they disingenuiously oppose gay marriage.

  110. filistro says:

    bigot [ˈbɪgət] noun

    Def: a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

    Origin: [from Old French: name applied contemptuously to the Normans by the French, of obscure origin] bigoted adj

    Got that? a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

    If somebody is opposed to giving a group of innocent fellow citizens a basic human right that is available to the majority, how could that person be called anything but a bigot?

  111. GROG says:

    fili,

    I’m not questioning your definition, but according to your definition 60% of African Americans are bigots and only 28% are not bigots. And because the LGBT community and the black community are of utmost importance to the progressive left and the Democratic Party, I think this puts them in a bit of a quandry. That’s pretty much my only point.

  112. mclever says:

    And I thought Newt Gingrich actually understood how government worked:

    http://theweek.com/article/index/212596/could-obama-really-be-impeached-over-gay-marriage

    Of course the Obama Administration can stop fighting legal battles over DOMA, as long as they continue to enforce it until (and if) the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional.

  113. mclever says:

    GROG,

    While you may be right about how many minorities feel about LGBT rights, your perception that this places the Democratic Party in a “quandary” is coming perhaps from your Republican perspective. In the Democratic Party, it’s understood that folks won’t always agree on things, so the coalition is looser than the Republican Party which places greater emphasis on party and platform unity.

    Furthermore, you may be mistaking the placement of importance of these issues for those minorities. They may not particularly approve of gay marriage, for example, but they probably care a whole lot more about supporting the party that advocates strongly for the whole host of social justice issues that really matter to them.

    From my perspective, it’s harder to vote for someone who’s in favor of taking away rights than it is to vote for someone who’s in favor of granting rights that I might not agree with, as long as I agree with 80-90% of the rest of the platform.

  114. filistro says:

    @GROG.. And because the LGBT community and the black community are of utmost importance to the progressive left and the Democratic Party, I think this puts them in a bit of a quandry. That’s pretty much my only point.

    I know that’s your point. In ordinary times it would probably be valid. But my point is that basic needs always trump societal precepts. In a time when you are having trouble paying for housing and feeding your family, your vote is going to be determined by who can best help you keep the wolf from the door… not who can most effectively prevent gay people from getting married.

  115. mclever,
    Tecnically, a President can be impeached for anything. But it’s not very meaningful if he doesn’t get convicted. There’s no way, of course, that Obama would get convicted of anything having to do with DOMA, short of violating a direct command from the Supreme Court to enforce it. And maybe not even then.

  116. Mule,

    So rather than admit you were wrong, you engage in a usual round of sophistry and spin. Yeah, that truly is sorry.

    I didn’t bother agreeing with him on that point because it wasn’t relevant. When it became clear that it was important to him that I agree with him on that point, I did. But he’s using the point as evidence that being a predominantly white state is the reason that they have legalized gay marriage. It’s not, and I have plenty of evidence to back it up.

    So…in what way was I wrong?

  117. mclever says:

    Michael,

    Of course, you are correct that a President can be impeached for any reason, no matter how insubstantial or flimsy.

    I was using the term “impeached” with the colloquial implication of conviction. I will endeavor to be more precise with such terminology going forward…

    I agree with you that there is absolutely zero chance that impeachment for failure to fight legal challenges against DOMA would be successful in removing Obama from office.

  118. Monotreme says:

    So in summary, according to both me and the dictionary (both equally authoritative sources, in my opinion), a bigot is not someone who I disagree with, and not someone who professes an opinion opposing gay marriage, but a person who holds any opinion (rightly or wrongly) that they will not let go of for any reason.

    That is, MR, no one is calling 60% of any population “bigoted”. Rather, we are saying that some undefined subset of that 60% is not only opposed to same-sex marriage, but will not listen to any arguments that run counter to their position. Those are the bigots, and I would hope they are a smallish minority of the 60%.

    If you look at the data I’ve supplied upthread, you will see ample evidence for this. A bigot will not change his/her position no matter what. However, a substantial percentage of people (including me, by the way) have changed their position on same-sex marriage. By definition, they’re not bigots.

  119. mclever says:

    I posted that article (with the video included if you follow the link) more because I was so stunned that Newt of all people would suggest impeachment as an appropriate recourse for purely political purposes.

    Didn’t he learn anything from the last time around?

  120. mclever,

    I was using the term “impeached” with the colloquial implication of conviction. I will endeavor to be more precise with such terminology going forward…

    Hey, no harm, no foul. I used to do the same thing until the Clinton impeachment, when it became clear to me exactly what a difference it is.

  121. Mule Rider says:

    “So…in what way was I wrong?”

    ???? That wasn’t meant for you….sorry if there was any confusion. That comment was directed at Max, telling him that he was/is wrong for insisting I brought “religion” into the thread.

    “That is, MR…”

    You sure you don’t mean to address GROG or rgbact with that comment? I’ve hardly contributed any input to that end of the discussion.

  122. Monotreme says:

    You sure you don’t mean to address GROG or rgbact with that comment? I’ve hardly contributed any input to that end of the discussion.

    Oh, sorry, MR. You’re right. My mistake. And yes, Max, I introduced religion into the thread. I now regret having done so. It’s in the February 28, 2011 at 09:01 comment. I was trying to make a point in response to a question from filistro, and I mentioned religion only in passing, but others took it and ran with it.

    So, GROG:

    So in summary, according to both me and the dictionary (both equally authoritative sources, in my opinion), a bigot is not someone who I disagree with, and not someone who professes an opinion opposing gay marriage, but a person who holds any opinion (rightly or wrongly) that they will not let go of for any reason.

    That is, GROG, no one is calling 60% of any population “bigoted”. Rather, we are saying that some undefined subset of that 60% is not only opposed to same-sex marriage, but will not listen to any arguments that run counter to their position. Those are the bigots, and I would hope they are a smallish minority of the 60%.

    If you look at the data I’ve supplied upthread, you will see ample evidence for this. A bigot will not change his/her position no matter what. However, a substantial percentage of people (including me, by the way) have changed their position on same-sex marriage. By definition, they’re not bigots.

  123. Mule,

    That wasn’t meant for you….sorry if there was any confusion.

    Got it. Yeah, it’s easier when responding to multiple people in a single comment if you call them out by name. It’s hard to keep all of the subthreads straight even with them.

  124. Mule Rider says:

    Max said: “Reread MY comment. I DID NOT say you introduced religion to the thread. Thank you.”

    That comment was: “At the same time, within the context of the thread, Mule certainly did bring in the religious issue.”

    We report. You decide.

  125. Oh, GROG…you haven’t responded to my comment here. I eagerly await your response.

  126. rgbact says:

    Filistro-

    Thanks for the definition of “bigot”. I suspect liberals need a better term to define “hate” as bigot appears to not apply. I suspect liberals use the term to imply hate–not merely inflexibility. Else, they’d use the term in discussions not related to minority groups. I could be wrong.

  127. filistro says:

    @rgb.. I suspect liberals use the term to imply hate–not merely inflexibility.

    I think you’re probably right. The denotation is quite straightforward (and that’s the way I use the word) , but the connotation has, as you point out, become quite negative over time.

    I think my impression of the word “bigot” was first set in my formative years by Archie Bunker, who was the archetypical bigot and yet was a complex, lovable, essentially good-hearted man.

  128. Gator says:

    Fili

    Maybe the best sitcom ever. Lear did a superb job of infusing the show with politics and yet keeping it hilarious. It was appointment TV.

    “Stifle, Edith. And what are you lookin’ at, Meathead?”

  129. filistro says:

    Gator… sigh. “Those were the days…”

    Now we have Charlie Sheen. It’s all downhill.

  130. Gator says:

    “when goils were goils
    and men were men
    Mister we could use a man like Hoibert Hoover, again.”

    Just thought all of that would be somewhat apropos to the setting.

  131. filistro says:

    @Gator…

    “when goils were goils
    and men were men
    Mister we could use a man like Hoibert Hoover, again.”

    LOL… That reminds me of Mel Brooks, who’s always said he wants the epitaph on his tombstone to read : “He gave da voild a giggle.” 🙂

  132. GROG says:

    Mono,

    I was referring to fili’s definition. Yours seems to differ substantially from hers.

    In fili’s opinion:
    “Anybody who genuinely opposes gay marriage is a bigot.”

  133. GROG says:

    MW: And she’s too stupid to realize that these additional children aren’t free?

    I didn’t mean to ignore your question. It’s been a busy day.

    No, I don’t think she’s stupid. I think when any woman who is poverty stricken with multiple children and no father to be found becomes desperate. When she and her children are hungry and have no idea where the next meal is going to come from or the rent payment or the next utility payment, she will do just about anything for a little extra money. And if that means having another child, then so be it.

    It may not be a long term solution but it may help for a little while. Anyone who has children knows they cost much more as they get older. Usually hungry people aren’t thinking much about the future. She probably didn’t sit down with her financial advisor and go over a cost/benefit analysis of having more children vs. not having more children.

  134. mostlyilurk says:

    Grog,

    How is it that you know so much about the thought process of a “woman who is poverty stricken with multiple children and no father”?

  135. filistro says:

    @mil… How is it that you know so much about the thought process of a “woman who is poverty stricken with multiple children and no father”?

    But you gotta admit GROG is onto something. After all, every time I’m broke, exhausted, starving and desperate, that’s what I do. I have another kid. Works every time. Solves all my problems.

  136. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Thanc ewe fer skoollin me. I rilly lerned alot frum ewe. I be leve ewe tawt me everthang ewe no in jest a fue minnits.

  137. mclever says:

    @mostlyilurk

    How does GROG know how an impoverished single mother thinks?

    The same way that your average minimum-wage worker knows how a millionaire thinks…

    (In other words, projection mixed with antipathy.)

  138. mostlyilurk says:

    That’s why I was so gobsmacked by the remarks, fili. Who knew that that’s all it took?!? Certainly not me…

  139. filistro says:

    @mil… Who knew that that’s all it took?!? Certainly not me…

    EVERYBODY knows having a kid can solve all the problems of a woman with “multiple children and no father.” After all, it’s a hell of a deal. All you need to do is suffer through 9 months of varicose veins, morning sickness, hemorrhoids, clumsiness, weight gain, fluid retention, stress on your heart and kidneys, sleeplessness, aching breasts and ugly blotches… then twenty hours of labor followed by pain equivalent to forcing a bowling ball out through your navel, followed by several months of leaking breasts, no sleep at all and brutal hormonal swings… accompanied by expenses for diapers (about $110 per month), formula (close to $200 per month), child care (at least $10 per hour), baby equipment, baby food, baby vitamins, baby clothes, anti-gas and teething meds, … and in return you can score as much as $500 a month!

    As I said, one hell of a sweet deal. I sure hope word doesn’t get around, or everybody will be doing it.

  140. GROG says:

    But you gotta admit GROG is onto something. After all, every time I’m broke, exhausted, starving and desperate, that’s what I do. I have another kid. Works every time. Solves all my problems.

    Fili,
    I never said it “works every time” nor did I say it “solves” all ones problems. I was arguing exactly the opposite.

    Are you a single, African American women living in a poverty stricken ghetto in some American city? I don’t claim to know what those women are thinking. I can only imagine. But unless you’re in those women’s shoes, you can’t either.

    What has become of the American inter-city is one of the great tragedies of this country. They’re good people in a desperate situations and sadly most children born in those conditions stand little chance in this world. The welfare state we have provided is failing them.

  141. filistro says:

    @GROG… The welfare state we have provided is failing them.

    What would you propose as an alternative?

  142. mostlyilurk says:

    When I read this:

    “No, I don’t think she’s stupid. I think when any woman who is poverty stricken with multiple children and no father to be found becomes desperate. When she and her children are hungry and have no idea where the next meal is going to come from or the rent payment or the next utility payment, she will do just about anything for a little extra money. And if that means having another child, then so be it.

    It may not be a long term solution but it may help for a little while. Anyone who has children knows they cost much more as they get older. Usually hungry people aren’t thinking much about the future. She probably didn’t sit down with her financial advisor and go over a cost/benefit analysis of having more children vs. not having more children.”

    it sure sounded to me like the author was claiming to know what a what a single mother living in poverty would be thinking. Grog, thanks for the clarification that it was simply the product of your imagination.

  143. GROG says:

    What would you propose as an alternative?

    I don’t know fili. That’s above my pay grade. What do you propose? Or do you think we should stick with the status quo?

  144. mclever says:

    GROG,

    How ’bout making birth control available to these women for free.

  145. GROG says:

    I’m all for it, mclever.

  146. filistro says:

    @GROG… What do you propose?

    Oh, I have tons of ideas. Just for starters, I think we should start educating these young women instead of just throwing money at them. I think we should start with young girls and enroll them in programs that give them a sense of self-worth and some attainable goals. We should mobilize a voulnteer force that helps them to find clothes, skills and training to get jobs. Maye we could organize an outreach program that helps women escape the ghettoes with their kids and find good, safe jobs in small towns and rural communites across the nation. Even more importantly, we could also provide similar opportunities to young black boys, and then maybe revamp the penal system so 30% of young black men aren’t cooling their heels in jail cells for relatively minor crimes.

    Of course, all that would cost money, and as soon as they got back into power Republicans would gut the programs.

  147. mclever says:

    @filistro

    Based on what I know from volunteering in those communities, all of your suggestions would go a long way towards making a real difference.

  148. filistro says:

    mc… as you so pithily stated, “projection mixed with antipathy.”

    Republicans believe young black women really WANT to live in squalor on government handouts… and they loathe them for being what they imagine them to be, without ever learning the reality of their situations.

  149. GROG says:

    Republicans believe young black women really WANT to live in squalor on government handouts… and they loathe them for being what they imagine them to be, without ever learning the reality of their situations.

    That’s not true.

  150. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    As a heterosexual, twice divorced, I see absolutely no reason whatsoever that gay couples should not have the pleasure of of the trials and tribulations of going through divorce court!

  151. GROG,

    I didn’t mean to ignore your question. It’s been a busy day.

    No problem. But you answered the low-hanging fruit and missed the more important question:

    Why would you conclude that marriage among blacks has declined due to the Great Society, and not due to the sharp increase in the incarceration rates of blacks since 1970?

    I pointed you to a study that shows a high correlation between incarceration rates and decline in marriages. It even provides an explanation for a mechanism by which this would be expected to happen, and shows how the results line up with that mechanism very well.

  152. GROG,

    That’s not true.

    OK, so what do Republicans believe about these young black women? Clearly, one thing that Republicans who post on political blogs under the name of GROG believe is that young black women have babies in order to collect more money from the government…

  153. GROG says:

    This is what gets me about this blog. Filistro can make the generalizations she did about Republicans, but I don’t recall ever seeing an article or discussion about the plight of African Americans in inter city America.

    Is this not an important issue among the progressive left? Why are you not interested in discussing it? Why is discussing Fox News and Sarah Palin at nauseum, and what some deputy attorney general tweets about, more important than discussing the tragedy of inter city black America?

    Then you lecture Republicans about not caring.

  154. GROG says:

    Michael,
    You can misconstrue my opinion in anyway you wish but I believe these young women are doing what any woman in their situation would do which is to do what they feel is best for them and their families and were put in this terrible situaton by our government. It’s about survival and human nature.

  155. GROG,

    This is what gets me about this blog. Filistro can make the generalizations she did about Republicans, but I don’t recall ever seeing an article or discussion about the plight of African Americans in inter city America.

    Typically, we try to write articles that are timely, attached to something in the news at the time of publication. On the occasions when we do not, we get less traffic and fewer comments. The plight of African-Americans in inner cities hasn’t been in the news of late.

    Much as in the discussion about the news media (in the Ailes article), we are in many ways a slave to the market. If we don’t keep current and interesting, people leave, and we cease to have reason to continue.

    Why is discussing Fox News and Sarah Palin at nauseum, and what some deputy attorney general tweets about, more important than discussing the tragedy of inter city black America?

    So now you know why.

    It’s an interesting topic to me, because I see firsthand the economic effects of many of the things that have been done to minorities and the inner cities. Perhaps I’ll tackle it at some point.

  156. GROG,

    You can misconstrue my opinion in anyway you wish…

    Misconstrued? These were your own words:

    Today 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. …if an unwed woman became pregnant… then the welfare state would provide for all her essential needs. … In fact, the more children she had out of wedlock, the more money she would receive from the government.

    I presume that you didn’t think that the 70% of black children were coming out of non-black women, so it’s pretty safe to assume that we’re talking about black women. It’s further clear that you were observing that the more children they had, the more money they got.
    And then you followed that up, on the very same topic with:

    When she and her children are hungry and have no idea where the next meal is going to come from or the rent payment or the next utility payment, she will do just about anything for a little extra money. And if that means having another child, then so be it.

    It’s pretty clear that the antecedent of “she” is the same black women to whom you referred in the first quote. And it’s clear that you’re saying that these women, when desperate for money, have more children as a means of collecting more money from the government.

    How else was I supposed to construe this???

    And you’ve continued to dodge my much earlier question about Great Society versus incarceration. You can also answer my more current question about what Republicans do believe about these young black women. What do Republicans believe should be done with them?

  157. GROG says:

    The plight of African-Americans in inner cities hasn’t been in the news of late.

    I’m not buying it, Michael. You post topics about John Wayne Gacey, the tweets of a Republican deputy attorney general, a random George Lakoff article, and Bernie Madoff. If this blog was genuinely concerned about the topic, you could squeeze in an article about inner city black America.

    It seems to me the topics that drive the most traffic are not current event type topics. They tend to be more philosophical differences conerning the right and left. But hey, it’s not my blog.

  158. GROG,

    You post topics about John Wayne Gacey, the tweets of a Republican deputy attorney general, a random George Lakoff article, and Bernie Madoff.

    The Gacey article (actually about the death penalty) was a guest article. Sure, we could have sat on it until the death penalty was in the news, but we try not to force guest writers to hold to that same standard.

    The article on the Indiana deputy AG was exceptionally timely. It was within 24 hours of his dismissal. Likewise with the Lackoff article (it had been posted the day prior). The deputy AG article got less traffic than I expected, but the Lackoff one was much busier.

    But, yes, the Madoff article (really about Ponzi schemes), was not particularly timely. And…a total of eight comments. It got scant traffic. Of all the articles you mentioned, it was the one with the least interest.

    It seems to me the topics that drive the most traffic are not current event type topics. They tend to be more philosophical differences conerning the right and left.

    Yes, the two factors that seem to matter most are currency and polarization. The articles that have both tend to get much more than the others.

  159. GROG says:

    Michael,

    There’s a reason inner city black American isn’t covered by the left wing media like Huffington Post, Daily Kos or MSNBC. It’s because blacks vote Democrat almost without fail.

    The media aren’t interested in covering it. This blog certainly isn’t interested in covering it. It seems like high poverty levels, high drug use, and deplorable schools in the African American community would be of utmost importance to the left.

    But the left are getting what they want…votes. And apparently blacks are content with what the left is providing. So what’s the point in discussing their plight?

  160. mclever says:

    GROG,

    The topic specifically of *black* poverty hasn’t been covered as a post on this blog, but commenters here (including myself) have talked about poverty in general. We’ve talked about income inequity. We’ve talked about systemic unemployment. There are stereotypes of course, but not all inner city residents are black or even minorities. Not all impoverished Americans are black or minorities. Folks who actually deal with trying to help the poor tend not to see it as a race issue, but as a poverty issue. That’s why we talk about things like fixing failing schools, providing healthcare to the uninsured, sex education/birth control/access to abortion, and the unfair application of the judicial system (all of which have been discussed by liberals on this blog, if not always as official posts). We talk about the working poor and minimum wages. We talk about things that might actually help people rather than blaming them for being black and born in a city.

    Honestly, righting the macro-issues of the economy as a whole and the deterioration of education have been more pressing lately than the micro-issues of how the declining economy is hitting a particular minority segment. It does nothing to develop good workable plans for helping impoverished, inner-city minorities move into the middle class if there’s no middle class left for them to move into. Your attack on us for not addressing this issue specifically is a little like me accusing you of not writing an article about how you’ve stopped beating your wife, which must mean you’re still abusing her every day. Right?

    Seriously, if you’d like a post that specifically addresses the inner city situation, then why don’t you write it? Mr. Universe is quite gracious about accepting guest articles about topics that may not be immediately current but which may have application in our politicosphere.

  161. GROG,

    There’s a reason inner city black American isn’t covered by the left wing media like Huffington Post, Daily Kos or MSNBC. It’s because blacks vote Democrat almost without fail.

    Didn’t we already have this conversation?

  162. GROG says:

    mclever,
    Your attack on us for not addressing this issue specifically is a little like me accusing you of not writing an article about how you’ve stopped beating your wife, which must mean you’re still abusing her every day. Right?

    No. I’m concluding that because this blog doesn’t write about it (I don’t remember ever seeing a post about inner city America – black or non black), you’re not concerned about it.

    And I think you’re not concerned about it because blacks/minorities in the inner city vote Democrat 90+% of the time.

    The very poor (under $15k/yr)vote Democrat at a 3 to 1 rate and incomes between $15k and $30k vote Dem at a 2 to 1 rate. As the electorate become more affluent they tend to start voting Republican. Why would the Democratic Party want the poor to become affluent?

  163. mclever says:

    GROG,

    Blacks/minorities not in the inner city also vote Democratic 90% of the time. Citing those statistics about income and voting patterns is misleading, because political scientists have also shown that party loyalty and liberal/conservative identification are fairly stable for individuals over the age of 18, and if anything become more firmly entrenched as people age. In other words, the semi-squishy liberal in college becomes a staunch party organizer for the Democrats in his forties.

    So, from that perspective, why wouldn’t liberals want to make their supporters stable and economically productive, because that will mean thousands more able to contribute their discretionary funds to Democratic campaigns!

    Right?

  164. GROG says:

    because political scientists have also shown that party loyalty and liberal/conservative identification are fairly stable for individuals over the age of 18, and if anything become more firmly entrenched as people age.

    Do you have links to the studies you’re referring to? That hasn’t been my experience with people I’ve known. I know many people who were extremely liberal as 18 year olds who are now very conservative. (Of course my personal experiences are very unscientific.)

  165. mclever says:

    From page 2:

    “That individual partisanship does not change is a virtually undisputed claim (Campbell et al. 1960; Key 1964; Aldrich 1995). Party identification is an attachment forged in an individual’s pre-adult years and once formed it is permanent.”

  166. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    1964 – GOP, Goldwater. Hillary Clinton, Max aka Birdpilot
    2008 – Dem, Obama. Hillary Clinton, Max aka Birdpilot

    Exceptions to every rule.

  167. GROG says:

    Thanks. I’ll have a read.

    I was thinking earlier more about people who are born into poverty but manage their way out and have children of their own. What party loyalty does the next generation who found their way out of poverty have?

  168. mclever says:

    GROG,

    Children tend to follow the political lead of their parents, but as I myself can attest, there are always exceptions to every rule.

  169. GROG says:

    mclever,

    I don’t buy that. There’s a strong link between how one votes and one’s income level. If a person never changes political affiliation and that person’s children follow the political lead of their parents, then income would have nothing to do with party loyalty. Unless of course, no one ever changes income level individualy and from generation to generation.

  170. mclever says:

    GROG,

    Actually, there is very little mobility between income levels from generation to generation, and very few people significantly change their individual income levels. It’s unfortunate but true that the “land of opportunity” doesn’t have as much opportunity as we like to think it does.

  171. GROG says:

    I don’t know. There were a lot of Irish and Italian and Greek and Jewish (etc.) immigrants who came to this country at the turn of the century with nothing to their names and produced some pretty successful offspring.

    Sadly, maybe you’re right. Maybe that oppurtunity is now gone.

  172. mclever says:

    OK, this is a little late for this thread on civil unions, but it made me giggle.

    From The Onion:

    “Marauding Gay Hordes Drag Thousands Of Helpless Citizens From Marriages After Obama Drops Defense Of Marriage Act”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/marauding-gay-hordes-drag-thousands-of-helpless-ci,19325/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s