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puddingmouse
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16 Dec 2012, 9:18 pm

I was watching Question Time on iPlayer and saw Peter Hitchens (Daily Mail hack) accuse the Tory party leadership and wider British society of 'liberal bigotry' for forcing the gay marriage issue through parliament. He said that the issue of gay marriage is a small one compared to many others facing the UK (and I guess this could be extended to other nations); he said that it is only being pushed as a way to bully those with conservative Christian values. He said David Cameron doesn't really care about it, he was just hates the conservative wing of his own party and wants votes from 'Guardian readers' (he does know that Guardian readers never vote Tory, right?)

Now, I'm unsure if David Cameron cares about this issue for its own sake or not, but I certainly do (as do other social liberals). The fact that it angers social conservatives is an unintended side effect of supporting what I think is right and fair. So there's one part of his argument gone. Just because he can't understand why someone would care more about gay marriage than they do about some of the things he cares about (like tougher prison sentencing), doesn't mean people don't care about it. It's not an either-or thing, anyway - either you care about the EU (like he does), or you care about gay marriage. :roll:

There were a few religious members of the audience who argued that the European Court of Human Rights would never let the proposed legal exemptions for religious institutions stand, and that the churches will be forced to marry gay people. How much weight does this argument have? I'm guessing not much, but I'll see what others have to say. The religious audience members also argued that this is a slippery slope and that we'll eventually be forced to let close relatives get married - because obviously us social liberals will need a new stick to whack the conservatives with.

Peter Hitchens finished with and argument that in the future, people with conservative Christian values in the UK will end up being persecuted. Do you think this will happen? I think the people he is accusing of 'liberal bigotry' are simply wanting to curtail the rights of others to act in a bigoted way. I will not stop people who want to believe that gays are abominations who should not wed, as long as they don't actually try to treat gays badly or stop them from getting married.

tldr version - Is 'liberal bigotry' real? If so, is this what the gay marriage debate is really about?



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16 Dec 2012, 9:26 pm

Maybe.

I call it the "Big Orange Knob".

Back in the day, if we wanted to finish a prototype project and start another, we would mount a big orange knob on the front of the device just before passing it off to the suits downstairs. They would be so focused on how ugly the knob was, that they would ignore some of the other features that we thought were important, and they would approve the product for production provided we removed the big orange knob.

Thus, we are able to get a few innovative ideas past their over-paid egos while they commended themselves on yet again thwarting our lack of fashion sense.

It seems that these "Gay Rights" bills are smokescreens to distract the politicians from bills of lesser emotional content, but that are still important enough to them get them passed anyway.


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16 Dec 2012, 9:30 pm

Here's an example of what they're afraid of from here in the US:

Ken White wrote:
If Dr. Angela McCaskill erred, it was in forgetting what kind of job she had.

As the "diversity officer" at a university, Dr. McCaskill is a modern zampolit. Ideological purity is at the heart of her job, alongside the politically confined definition of words like "diversity." So what possessed Dr. McCaskill to believe even for a moment that she could get away with indulging in actual diversity of opinion?

Dr. McCaskill is a diversity officer at Gallaudet University, a federally chartered and federally-entwined school for the deaf. This week she was suspended from her job for ideological noncompliance — for signing, at the urging of her pastor, while at church, a petition opposing Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act. Walter Olson of Overlawyered has a roundup of stories, both at his own site and at Maryland for all Families, where he is an advocate for equal marriage rights in Maryland and an vocal opponent of the anti-gay-marriage referendum that Dr. McCaskill supported by signing the petition. I applaud and support Walter's efforts to protect Maryland's new law permitting same-sex marriage, support same-sex marriage unequivocally, and was very proud that my co-blogger Patrick wrote a moving series about North Carolina's anti-gay-marriage Amendment One here at Popehat.

I agree with Walter that Dr. McCaskill's suspension represents a tremendous propaganda victory for anti-gay-marriage advocates:

We can now expect a loud outcry from gay-marriage opponents who have been scouring the horizon for exactly this kind of fact pattern — an ordinary person subjected to indefensible retaliation for taking their side — and may at last have found it.

More than that, it represents something very troubling. There's no indication whatsoever that Dr. McCaskill, in her role as diversity officer, was less than fully supportive of gay students. In fact:

"She's been a great ally to the LGBT community and supported many of the LGBTQA Resource Center's programs," said one student, who asked to remain anonymous. "I'm heart broken about this."

. . . .

“In her role as Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. McCaskill has made many advances for Deaf people of color, LGBT and other minorities at Gallaudet,” said a staff member who wishes to remain anonymous. "This situation is very disheartening for all of us."

But action is not enough, it seems. Some people seem eager to assume the very extreme and unbecoming position that right-wing anti-gay groups would like to attribute to them: you must not only act the way we want, but think and believe the way we want. Such people threaten not only freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, but the steady progress of the very freedoms for gay and lesbian Americans they purport to support. Fighting for your rights is strong. Petitioning to expand your rights is strong. But demanding that other people think and speak and vote in support of your rights, or face official sanctions from government-sponsored institutions, is a sign of weakness.

I hope that Dr. McCaskill gets swift and effective legal assistance from an appropriate source. As Walter hints, one thorny question is whether Gallaudet should be treated as a public institution for purposes of the First Amendment, given its federal entanglement. I regret that, given the current atmosphere at American universities, another thorny issue will be whether private ideological purity is a lawful job requirement. If she is permitted to return, it might be prudent for Dr. McCaskill to clarify her job requirements. I propose some questions:

1. Must a diversity officer privately support affirmative action, or may she agree with some challenges to it?

2. Must a diversity officer privately support university codes prohibiting "hate speech," or may she question them on First Amendment grounds?

3. There are many divergent opinions on the best way to regulate immigration in the United States. What opinion must a diversity officer hold privately?

4. May a diversity officer privately condemn female genital mutilation, or would that be anti-diverse?

5. Is it prohibited for a diversity officer to believe and espouse, privately, that the Americans with Disabilities act has been abused and should be amended?

Those are just a few questions. Once we accept that private ideology is a suitable subject for regulation, there will be many, many more.


http://www.popehat.com/2012/10/11/zampo ... education/


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Declension
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16 Dec 2012, 9:36 pm

Quote:
Is 'liberal bigotry' real? If so, is this what the gay marriage debate is really about?


Well, it's certainly true that gay marriage has more emphasis placed on it than you might expect. The number of gay people who want to get married is very small. But this is because it's really about much more than "help out the gay people who want to get married".

The first point is that it's a symbolic issue. When the issue is framed in terms of "equal rights", it becomes imperative even if the number of people affected is quite small. As an analogy, if there was a law forbidding people named Kevin from buying ginger beer, it would be imperative to overturn it even though it is a "small" issue.

The second point is that liberals love to upset conservatives. So when conservatives loudly advertise that they don't like the idea of gay marriage, it makes liberals want to get it done. This is where Peter Hitchens might have a point - it is being used by liberals as a display of power. But why shouldn't it be? After all, the liberals earned this power fair and square by winning people over to their side.



puddingmouse
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16 Dec 2012, 9:38 pm

@Fnord: That's an interesting way of putting it. That's probably similar to the current strategy of the Tory party. It's more about distracting the electorate than it is about alienating a section of it.

As for social liberals in general - I will say this, since I am one - I have as much disdain for conservative ideas as they have for mine. It's not bigotry to simply disagree with someone. I do think that other liberals are too quick to jump up with accusations of homophobia, though.
Even if someone is homophobic, you don't persuade them by calling them that - because these social conservatives are phobic, they're not hateful. They're scared of the way society is changing. Their identity is knitted into a theology that they couldn't do away with without causing a personal crisis. When I see conservative religious people from modern societies, I wonder how much their heart is really in it, and how much of it is just a psychic defence mechanism.



Last edited by puddingmouse on 16 Dec 2012, 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

puddingmouse
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16 Dec 2012, 9:43 pm

Declension wrote:
Quote:
Is 'liberal bigotry' real? If so, is this what the gay marriage debate is really about?


Well, it's certainly true that gay marriage has more emphasis placed on it than you might expect. The number of gay people who want to get married is very small. But this is because it's really about much more than "help out the gay people who want to get married".

The first point is that it's a symbolic issue. When the issue is framed in terms of "equal rights", it becomes imperative even if the number of people affected is quite small. As an analogy, if there was a law forbidding people named Kevin from buying ginger beer, it would be imperative to overturn it even though it is a "small" issue.

The second point is that liberals love to upset conservatives. So when conservatives loudly advertise that they don't like the idea of gay marriage, it makes liberals want to get it done. This is where Peter Hitchens might have a point - it is being used by liberals as a display of power. But why shouldn't it be? After all, the liberals earned this power fair and square by winning people over to their side.


Nice analysis. I will agree that it is partly a display of power by liberals - and from some quarters a deliberate attempt to upset conservatives.

I don't think it is part of a conspiracy to actually implement the persecution of conservatives, as is claimed by Hitchens and others, though.



Utnapishtim
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16 Dec 2012, 10:25 pm

Hitches has his own political and Christian agenda! I'll talk more about that later. Cameron is using this issue to try to please the middle ground of votes, the center of his party plus the Lib Dems. As a social liberal myself I was quite surprised that the Tories of all parties would think about gay marriage!

Now Hitches is an former Trotskyist, and ex member of both Labour and the Tories parties. Currently he classes himself as a "Burkean conservative" an euphemism for being a liberal conservative IMHO. Also he was an atheist now a member of the Church of England, who beliefs that both the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are a "poetic translation" of the word of God.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19211869



puddingmouse
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16 Dec 2012, 10:30 pm

^ So, the 'liberal bigot' he takes issue with is a memory of his former self projected on all current social liberals?



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16 Dec 2012, 10:53 pm

^ yes

He was a Trotskyist while studying politics around the late 60s to the mid 70s. Two years ago he called Trotskyism a "poison of cruel revolutionary rubbish". Then joined Labour then left them in the 80s due to working for the Daily Express. He was a Tory between 1997 to 2003, he ran against Michael Portillo in a byelection in which he called him a "liberal".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/1999 ... iticalnews



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17 Dec 2012, 12:45 am

The liberal bigots are often worse than the conservative ones. But they deny they are bigots, and are convinced that only conservatives can be intolerant.


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19 Dec 2012, 3:59 am

The day that Roman Catholic priests are legally compelled to celebrate a marriage in which one of the parties has a divorced spouse still living, then I will agree that the religious fear has some substance worthy of discussion.

It is patently obvious that clergy are free to refuse to marry people who do not qualify for the sacrament of marriage within the particular religious tradition concerned. If this is the best argument that religious objectors can come up with, then I see no merit in their claims.


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19 Dec 2012, 5:37 am

visagrunt wrote:
The day that Roman Catholic priests are legally compelled to celebrate a marriage in which one of the parties has a divorced spouse still living, then I will agree that the religious fear has some substance worthy of discussion.

It is patently obvious that clergy are free to refuse to marry people who do not qualify for the sacrament of marriage within the particular religious tradition concerned. If this is the best argument that religious objectors can come up with, then I see no merit in their claims.


in cases concerning national churches the issue is quite different though, the church isnt an independent authority as such, despite the level of autonomy it may show.

the danish church quite simply doesnt have a choice, they are subject to the state as that is their funding.

any danish citizen can stop paying church tax by resigning their membership to the church(something we are all, unfortunately, born with)
there is also a free playing field for other religions so if people want to be in a church that opposes homosexual marriage then they are free to do so.


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Utnapishtim
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19 Dec 2012, 9:34 am

^ good point and thinking about it the Church of England will have as say over this when it get to the House of Lords.
26 Church of England bishops sit in our upper house!

Anyway officially the Church of England are against same sex marriage.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20680924



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19 Dec 2012, 9:43 am

Utnapishtim wrote:
^ good point and thinking about it the Church of England will have as say over this when it get to the House of Lords.
26 Church of England bishops sit in our upper house!


They shouldn't be there - they're an anachronism. I can understand the wisdom of having an unelected revising chamber, but not one which has special privileges for religion built into the thing.



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19 Dec 2012, 9:45 am

Tim_Tex wrote:
The liberal bigots are often worse than the conservative ones. But they deny they are bigots, and are convinced that only conservatives can be intolerant.


A river runs through their thought landscape --- De Nile.

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