Homosexuality: Morals and Ethics Catch-All Thread

CheezePavilion wrote:

To put it into a possibly easy to understand example, you're asking something along the lines of how we can ban people from eating dog if we're not going to ban people from eating pig.

Yes, that's a pretty good example.

Nomad wrote:

Might makes right = secular ethics.

You could also be describing democracy; the most votes decide policy. And perhaps you are more interested in theocracy.

Seth wrote:

I would point out that economics have often been the underlying factor for religious atrocities - genocide, expansion of territory under the guise of missionary-ism, etc.

...didn't I make a similar point earlier?

This, plus the focus on American slavery is kind of missing the point. Slavery existed long before the US.

Nomad wrote:

Social Darwinism[/url] completely disagrees with you Robear. While religion may have been used as a tool in the fight to keep slaves, the main tenet was often the view that blacks were somehow inferior to whites.

Sorry, but the idea that black were somehow inferior to whites came from the Great Chain of Being, a detailed religious hierarchy that supposedly ranked and linked everything in the world from most superior--god, then angels, then humans--to most inferior--animals, then plants, then rocks. For humans, the Great Chain of Being ranked everyone from kings (most superior) to gypsies (most inferior).

As Europeans pushed into Africa during the 15th century they had to fit in black Africans into that hierarchy. To those unenlightened Europeans Africans seemed to be savages, which put them low man on the Great Chain of Being totem pole. That meant that European whites very much thought they were superior to blacks, which helped to get slavery going.

And all this happened centuries before Darwin was even born and before his theories on biological evolution were misunderstood and bastardized to explain the class stratification in Victorian England.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

To put it into a possibly easy to understand example, you're asking something along the lines of how we can ban people from eating dog if we're not going to ban people from eating pig.

Yes, that's a pretty good example.

You bring up a very difficult issue when it comes to legitimate laws vs. human rights, one that I think anyone who takes these issues seriously has struggled with (I was tempted to jump into the "morals vs. ethics" debate earlier, but I thought it was a derail that would not end well). I'd go back to that previous conversation we had: where the activity is of an intimate nature between consenting adults, that's when the requirement for "*actual, real* harms" is at its strongest. We don't have to judge every law according to the same standards (for example, the way modern U.S. Constitutional law reviews some laws just for a rational basis, while others it puts under strict scrutiny). We can say that a law prohibiting two consenting adults from conducting their intimate relations as they see fit needs to meet a higher burden than a law saying you can't eat dogs because Americans think eating dog is icky.

OG_slinger wrote:
Nomad wrote:

Social Darwinism[/url] completely disagrees with you Robear. While religion may have been used as a tool in the fight to keep slaves, the main tenet was often the view that blacks were somehow inferior to whites.

Sorry, but the idea that black were somehow inferior to whites came from the Great Chain of Being, a detailed religious hierarchy that supposedly ranked and linked everything in the world from most superior--god, then angels, then humans--to most inferior--animals, then plants, then rocks. For humans, the Great Chain of Being ranked everyone from kings (most superior) to gypsies (most inferior).

As Europeans pushed into Africa during the 15th century they had to fit in black Africans into that hierarchy. To those unenlightened Europeans Africans seemed to be savages, which put them low man on the Great Chain of Being totem pole. That meant that European whites very much thought they were superior to blacks, which helped to get slavery going.

And all this happened centuries before Darwin was even born and before his theories on biological evolution were misunderstood and bastardized to explain the class stratification in Victorian England.

I'd agree that your premise is part of the reasoning behind slavery, but so were the derivatives of might makes right. As Norm said earlier, "People use the tools that are available to them to justify their already-established worldview."

Nomad I have to ask - why are you pushing this "might makes right" philosophy like it is 1) new, or 2) somehow divorced from religious history?

edit to add: the *only reason* you and I are Christian is because a Roman general used Jesus to decimate an opposing army.

Seth wrote:

Nomad I have to ask - why are you pushing this "might makes right" philosophy like it is 1) new, or 2) somehow divorced from religious history?

edit to add: the *only reason* you and I are Christian is because a Roman general used Jesus to decimate an opposing army.

Nomad said earlier that "might makes right" = secular ethics. The conversation earlier seemed to imply that without a religious influence that's all we have.

Seth wrote:

Nomad I have to ask - why are you pushing this "might makes right" philosophy like it is 1) new, or 2) somehow divorced from religious history?

edit to add: the *only reason* you and I are Christian is because a Roman general used Jesus to decimate an opposing army.

I think he's asking for "if might does not make right, what does?" and the simplest answer is "religion" because then 'God makes right' and it's all very clear cut how its supposed to work if you believe in the same God and agree on Scripture. Of course, you don't *need* a god, you just need a belief in an essential nature for human kind (e.g. "All men are created equal"). Of course, that gets into the issue of how we go about evaluating different theories on those essential natures and then like the earlier conversation brought up we get into issues of consensus and eventually we have another fun conversation about Libertarianism.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Nomad said earlier that "might makes right" = secular ethics. The conversation earlier seemed to imply that without a religious influence that's all we have.

I've never really understood how one can argue that. Euthyphro's Dilemma makes Morality either independent of God(s) or a product of Divine Command. In the first case, religion cannot be the author of morality, and in the second you have the purest form of "Might makes Right" that was ever conceived.

Valmorian wrote:

I've never really understood how one can argue that. Euthyphro's Dilemma makes Morality either independent of God(s) or a product of Divine Command. In the first case, religion cannot be the author of morality, and in the second you have the purest form of "Might makes Right" that was ever conceived.

This bothered me for YEARS before I left the faith. Even if morality were traced to God's nature, that would still be a preference, which humans would either have to agree or disagree with. In which case all God's got are nonviolent and/or violent persuasion, just like the rest of us. And then you've got the idea that a perfect being has preferences, which means that there are states of being that he finds to be lacking, which means that this perfect being can lack something, which negates the idea of perfection and aaaaaagh. But it can't even be said that morality stems from God's nature because God by nature undertakes actions that would be considered immoral for humans, so we're left with God's commands being a separate set than that which naturally belong to his nature anyway. I don't know how you get around that without going all Kierkegaard and saying "cuz you just choose to even though it doesn't make a damn bit of sense because that's where you personally find meaning". Which is all well and good (I guess) for Abraham, but for Isaac....?

Sorry, derail.

Ok, well, I was on the road for seven hours, and have been enjoying the company of my boyfriend for the last three, so I have missed most of the disastrous detail this thread has taken, so I'll re-ask the questions I posed seven pages ago that were never answered:

Can we reasonably restrict the rights of a group, in this case homosexuals, without that religious context? Can we reach a rational, secular conclusion for this restriction that does not affect the whole population regardless of sexual orientation?

Also, can we all agree that restrictions which do not have a clear secular basis, or, more specifically, completely a religious basis, do not belong in a law that can be enforced upon the general population of a free society?

NSMike wrote:

Can we reasonably restrict the rights of a group, in this case homosexuals, without that religious context? Can we reach a rational, secular conclusion for this restriction that does not affect the whole population regardless of sexual orientation?

Also, can we all agree that restrictions which do not have a clear secular basis, or, more specifically, completely a religious basis, do not belong in a law that can be enforced upon the general population of a free society?

I've always been curious as to Julia Gillard's stance on this, considering her atheism. From what I have discussed with Australians (many game critics on Twitter, so I've had chats here and there, and since this is paraphrasing, please feel free to jump in if I'm mischaracterizing), her refusal to consider marriage equality had a lot to do with being elected, so as to make sure she could have a certain demographic vote. I've seen some non-religious people attempt to express why they have these beliefs, but they most often are filtered through a society with a dominant religion that informs their viewpoints.

As for the latter, as someone who has been an atheist since I was eight, I've often been puzzled when laws purely informed by religion (such as no alcohol sales on Sunday in some parts of the US, or most regarding LGBT rights) have such a sway on my life, considering my non-religion.

Being a practicing homosexual, I may be biased on that front, however.

Social Darwinism completely disagrees with you Robear. While religion may have been used as a tool in the fight to keep slaves, the main tenet was often the view that blacks were somehow inferior to whites.

So what you're saying is that a concept that was popularized in the 1930's, and only referenced thinkers from the 19th century, was responsible for the religious arguments in the 18th and early 19th centuries justifying and opposing slavery? Further, Social Darwinism didn't apply to blacks and whites, but to the poor and the rich - it was based on a combination of free market economic theories and a justification of them by association with misunderstood principles of evolution. (The reason that Spencer in the 1870's can even be claimed to have been involved with Social Darwinism - a term he would likely never have heard in his lifetime, as it's only documented 21 times before 1931 - is that he coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" and worked to integrate with a defense of strong capitalism. The timeline does not work - Social Darwinism did not in any way affect the debate about slavery that raged between religious factions for hundreds of years before Darwin was even born.

Further, by claiming that the religious justification for slavery was not that blacks were inferior - that that was somehow not the message taken, despite centuries of religious argument to the contrary in Europe and the West - but that that was instead just a *justification*, you open a can of worms for the claim that it was Christianity that took down slavery. Because if Christian principles laid out clearly in the Bible - that blacks should be the slaves of whites, as quoted above - don't apply, then how can you claim that the Biblical claims of equality apply instead? Do we just ignore all the pro-slavery arguments over centuries based on religion, because we don't like to think that Christians could base their behavior on that? And then accept the anti-slavery justifications as pure and driven by religion rather than society or economy, as you say the pro-arguments are, because we now like them? Don't you see any issues with that logic?

The pro-slavery position was that the "White Man's Burden" was to teach the Negro the benefits of hard work as a way of improving them while bringing them to Christ.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made "one star to differ from another star in glory." The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders "is become the chief of the corner" the real "corner-stone" in our new edifice. I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.

Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that "in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread," and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

Alexander Stephens, March 21, 1861

That's what the policy of the Confederacy was; a more well-formed description of the thoughts underlying slavery in the 19th century in the US you won't find. For Stephens, as for most Christians in the 19th century, natural law was laid down by God, and while man could observe it, God was the one who created it. When he cites natural law, he also cites the Bible; the two are inseperable in the Christian thought of the time. That's what you're missing, here. Christianity was indisputably involved in both supporting and opposing slavery, and at the time we're talking about, natural law was considered to be *reflective* of the Law of God, not separate from it as the bias is today. Nature was viewed after the Enlightenment and before Fundamentalism in the 1870's as a *revelation* of God, not as something that could yield information to oppose it.

Religion was not just justification for slavery and it's opposition, it was the *basis* for the beliefs on both sides.

I tried to make the point, way back on page 2, that it is a waste of time sorting out the reasons some Americans are comfortable with their bigotry. There are plenty of Christians that would never consider homosexuality immoral, and reject the idea that same sex marriage is an abomination. There are even gay clergy in some Christian churches.

The issue is whether we can accept the treatment of one segment of our society in such a demeaning way. And it is not the laws or church doctrine I am talking about. It is the daily reaffirmation that gays are immoral and need to change that results in large numbers of citizens suffering mental anguish that sometimes leads to suicide. The fact that some people rely on certain interpretations of the Bible to justify their atitude is beside the point.

As a society, each of us has the power to affect the social atitude. It would not be considered intolerant that I would not welcome a racist into my home. My daughter is 15, and while I assume she is straight, I know that she has plenty of gay friends. For me to welcome someone who considers homosexuality immoral into my home would send her a message that I don't respect her friends, or possibly her if she were to come out as gay in the future. My actions, which in this case is an acceptance of intolerance, would have negative effects on many other people.

I would like to see society start making this harmful way of looking at gays unacceptable. We would never allow new members on these forums to repeatedly point out that blacks are immoral. But right now, it is acceptable for people to repeatedly say that a segment of our community is immoral. I don't think it should, but I understand why it is right now. But I don't feel a responsibility to make sure that people feel comfortable in their bigotry.

IMAGE(http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/imagine-how-stupid-you-are-going-to-look-in-40-years.jpg)

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

What a good post, Jayhawker.

Jayhawker wrote:

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

I disagree. I think we will get there even if we do. And I don't think it'll take even 40 years to get there. I understand what you are saying and trust me--I am no fan of the lengths to which we allow parents to put stupid ideas in their kids' heads based on religion and how they treat their children because of other f*cked-up passages from holy books. I think homophobia does belong in the same category as racism; I'd throw in misogyny, where religion has a pretty bad track record too. I agree that what you're talking about would speed up the process. I just don't agree it's essential. I don't even think it's going to take 40 years.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

I disagree. I think we will get there even if we do. And I don't think it'll take even 40 years to get there. I understand what you are saying and trust me--I am no fan of the lengths to which we allow parents to put stupid ideas in their kids' heads based on religion and how they treat their children because of other f*cked-up passages from holy books. I think homophobia does belong in the same category as racism; I'd throw in misogyny, where religion has a pretty bad track record too. I agree that what you're talking about would speed up the process. I just don't agree it's essential. I don't even think it's going to take 40 years.

The combination of old bigots dying off and young people growing up in an increasingly accepting world will do it, but a lot of people are going to go through a lot of pain in the meanwhile.

Tanglebones wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

I disagree. I think we will get there even if we do. And I don't think it'll take even 40 years to get there. I understand what you are saying and trust me--I am no fan of the lengths to which we allow parents to put stupid ideas in their kids' heads based on religion and how they treat their children because of other f*cked-up passages from holy books. I think homophobia does belong in the same category as racism; I'd throw in misogyny, where religion has a pretty bad track record too. I agree that what you're talking about would speed up the process. I just don't agree it's essential. I don't even think it's going to take 40 years.

The combination of old bigots dying off and young people growing up in an increasingly accepting world will do it, but a lot of people are going to go through a lot of pain in the meanwhile.

Why would you think I don't understand that? That's why I said it would speed up the process. Thing is, a lot of women and a lot of children will also go through a lot of pain in the meanwhile if we allow the horrible ideas religion has on those topics to continue to be acceptable in society. Maybe we should do this, but then maybe we should do it for all the ways in which giving people a free pass based on religion leads to those ideas poisoning our society.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

I disagree. I think we will get there even if we do. And I don't think it'll take even 40 years to get there. I understand what you are saying and trust me--I am no fan of the lengths to which we allow parents to put stupid ideas in their kids' heads based on religion and how they treat their children because of other f*cked-up passages from holy books. I think homophobia does belong in the same category as racism; I'd throw in misogyny, where religion has a pretty bad track record too. I agree that what you're talking about would speed up the process. I just don't agree it's essential. I don't even think it's going to take 40 years.

The combination of old bigots dying off and young people growing up in an increasingly accepting world will do it, but a lot of people are going to go through a lot of pain in the meanwhile.

Why would you think I don't understand that? That's why I said it would speed up the process. Thing is, a lot of women and a lot of children will also go through a lot of pain in the meanwhile if we allow the horrible ideas religion has on those topics to continue to be acceptable in society. Maybe we should do this, but then maybe we should do it for all the ways in which giving people a free pass based on religion leads to those ideas poisoning our society.

Didn't think you didn't, just felt like expressing the point.

Jayhawker wrote:

We would never allow new members on these forums to repeatedly point out that blacks are immoral. But right now, it is acceptable for people to repeatedly say that a segment of our community is immoral. I don't think it should, but I understand why it is right now.

I find comments like these curious because there hasn't been a single person in this thread who's said anything that would substantively impact homosexuals' rights to do... anything. It's not like people are coming in here and spewing a bunch of hate and invective (at gays, anyway).

In terms of preventing people from expressing their opinions here, it depends on what kind of debate environment you're looking for I suppose. But like Bloo Driver said ealier, if you don't want to hear an opinion on homosexuality that's different from your own, don't click on the thread.

Jayhawker wrote:

We are not going to get there in 40 years if we continue to accept these small-minded views just because they want to hide behind their church.

Give it 20 years. Pretty much all of the Silent Generation will have kicked the bucket and a decent chunk of the Boomers will be gone as well.

IMAGE(http://www.people-press.org/files/2011/11/Gay-mar-update.png)

Of course charts like this should be shoved in the face of anyone who's pushing to outlaw gay marriage. The demographics of the country are such that gay marriage is just a matter of time.

Trying to pass laws or amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage now is just a petty, petulant thing to do.

Robear wrote:
Social Darwinism completely disagrees with you Robear. While religion may have been used as a tool in the fight to keep slaves, the main tenet was often the view that blacks were somehow inferior to whites.

So what you're saying is that a concept that was popularized in the 1930's, and only referenced thinkers from the 19th century, was responsible for the religious arguments in the 18th and early 19th centuries justifying and opposing slavery? Further, Social Darwinism didn't apply to blacks and whites, but to the poor and the rich - it was based on a combination of free market economic theories and a justification of them by association with misunderstood principles of evolution. (The reason that Spencer in the 1870's can even be claimed to have been involved with Social Darwinism - a term he would likely never have heard in his lifetime, as it's only documented 21 times before 1931 - is that he coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" and worked to integrate with a defense of strong capitalism. The timeline does not work - Social Darwinism did not in any way affect the debate about slavery that raged between religious factions for hundreds of years before Darwin was even born.

Further, by claiming that the religious justification for slavery was not that blacks were inferior - that that was somehow not the message taken, despite centuries of religious argument to the contrary in Europe and the West - but that that was instead just a *justification*, you open a can of worms for the claim that it was Christianity that took down slavery. Because if Christian principles laid out clearly in the Bible - that blacks should be the slaves of whites, as quoted above - don't apply, then how can you claim that the Biblical claims of equality apply instead? Do we just ignore all the pro-slavery arguments over centuries based on religion, because we don't like to think that Christians could base their behavior on that? And then accept the anti-slavery justifications as pure and driven by religion rather than society or economy, as you say the pro-arguments are, because we now like them? Don't you see any issues with that logic?

The pro-slavery position was that the "White Man's Burden" was to teach the Negro the benefits of hard work as a way of improving them while bringing them to Christ.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made "one star to differ from another star in glory." The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders "is become the chief of the corner" the real "corner-stone" in our new edifice. I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be against us, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.

Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that "in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread," and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves.

Alexander Stephens, March 21, 1861

That's what the policy of the Confederacy was; a more well-formed description of the thoughts underlying slavery in the 19th century in the US you won't find. For Stephens, as for most Christians in the 19th century, natural law was laid down by God, and while man could observe it, God was the one who created it. When he cites natural law, he also cites the Bible; the two are inseperable in the Christian thought of the time. That's what you're missing, here. Christianity was indisputably involved in both supporting and opposing slavery, and at the time we're talking about, natural law was considered to be *reflective* of the Law of God, not separate from it as the bias is today. Nature was viewed after the Enlightenment and before Fundamentalism in the 1870's as a *revelation* of God, not as something that could yield information to oppose it.

Religion was not just justification for slavery and it's opposition, it was the *basis* for the beliefs on both sides.

As has been said already in this thread, people use the tools that are available to them to justify their already-established worldview. If slavery and Christian thought were "inseperable" as you say, why then do we see that the abolitionist movement arises from a mostly Christian base? Alexander Stevens was a southern civil-war era politician looking to use whatever means necessary to support his world-view.

Nomad wrote:

As has been said already in this thread, people use the tools that are available to them to justify their already-established worldview. If slavery and Christian thought were "inseperable" as you say, why then do we see that the abolitionist movement arises from a mostly Christian base? Alexander Stevens was a southern civil-war era politician looking to use whatever means necessary to support his world-view.

Because religion is just another one of the tools being used to justify worldviews. Saying that God is on your side allows for some very simple decision-making, which is why it is a great tool to rally support behind an idea(slavery and abolition simultaneously, for example).

Let me throw this out there to see how you folks think about this (partially because we're kind of circling the drain a bit and partially because I'm curious):

Overlooking the morality or lack thereof of homosexuality, what are the ethics of LGBT acceptance and/or discrimination? As I understand the concept, a Stoic philosopher might say both sides are right as long as peace of mind is found, whereas a Hedonist philosopher might say that it is ethically wrong to accept LGBT, as there are more people who are displeased by acceptance than are pleased.

(N.B. I'm taking a basics of philosophy class shortly, so if I'm wrong on this, I'm sure my professor will fill me in in a couple of weeks.)

OG_slinger wrote:

Trying to pass laws or amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage now is just a petty, petulant thing to do.

Why? Does your objection extend to pro-gay marriage rules as well? What's wrong with leaving an issue not addressed by the federal government up to a popular vote?

NormanTheIntern wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Trying to pass laws or amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage now is just a petty, petulant thing to do.

Why? Does your objection extend to pro-gay marriage rules as well? What's wrong with leaving an issue not addressed by the federal government up to a popular vote?

It already was, by Prop 8.

And fortunately, we have a judicial system in place to monitor and ensure that our laws aren't a case of the Tyranny of the Majority (which our Constitution is written specifically to guard against).

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

We would never allow new members on these forums to repeatedly point out that blacks are immoral. But right now, it is acceptable for people to repeatedly say that a segment of our community is immoral. I don't think it should, but I understand why it is right now.

I find comments like these curious because there hasn't been a single person in this thread who's said anything that would substantively impact homosexuals' rights to do... anything. It's not like people are coming in here and spewing a bunch of hate and invective (at gays, anyway).

But the comment wasn't "We would never allow new members on these forums to repeatedly point out that blacks shouldn't do such and such." It was as above, which is correct. Sure, no one has said "I think gays should be locked away and/or not allowed to do X, Y, or Z." But what has happened several times in this thread is this -

"I don't hate gays. I just find it immoral and wrong."

"I think that's a backwards attitude."

"Well, I can see I'm only going to be persecuted here for my completely harmless beliefs. I'm not surprised."

Whereas if someone said -

"I don't hate blacks, I just find being black to be immoral," they'd get jumped on and I would suspect possibly moderated depending on exactly how they went about stating it. The difference, of course, is the semantic argument of "Well being black is a state, whereas homosexuality is an act," which is something of a logical fallacy that leads to an impasse. Some people do not see homosexuality as an identity, just an action or behavior. You know, as if the moments where they're not engaging in rail-laying (or... whatever off color metaphor there is that I don't know offhand for lesbians), they're not homosexual.

I've seen people cling very tightly to that attitude, and I don't know if it's something that can be cracked once it has had time to set.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Trying to pass laws or amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage now is just a petty, petulant thing to do.

Why? Does your objection extend to pro-gay marriage rules as well? What's wrong with leaving an issue not addressed by the federal government up to a popular vote?

Only if we can vote to invalidate any marriage certificate signed by anyone other than judges. Gotta keep that government out of religious institutions, right? Ooh, maybe we can vote to invalidate my marriage too, since my wife and I are different races.