So let us talk about the care and feeding of the abnormal, and begin with some poetry. Yeats gave us some of the best lines composed in the 20th century.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The problem is not that we have seen various individuals who needed to be constrained by societal norms — for we have always had people like that — but rather that our entire society needs to be constrained by societal norms. Now what? This is what it looks like when a center cannot hold, and is in the process of ceasing to be a center. We have always had individual norms that collided with societal norms, but usually societal norms were present in order to take the collision.
Shortly after mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, we soon discover that there must be a center. This means that anarchy, sexual anarchy included, is always a transitional move. It is a tactic. It is the old center that cannot hold. The new center intends to hold quite well, thank you, just as soon as they get a grip. You can take that in both ways if you like.
The demand for absolute tolerance is a transitional move, designed and intended to break down the old norms. The demand for absolute tolerance does not and cannot include sacrilege toward the new norms. This is why the devotees of the new tolerance are the most fiercely intolerant people on the planet. They tolerate transgression of the old norms. In fact they positively encourage it, in the name of sacred tolerance. But if someone throws a dead cat at the high altar of their rarefied and holy sensibilities, woe betide that guy, as we say.
This is why the normalizing of the abnormal is simultaneously (and necessarily) the abnormalizing of the normal. If you insist — as you ought — that there is such a thing as normal human sexual behavior, this means that you are identifying some turn-ons as abnormal, as perverted. Since these perversions are now in the process of getting all the ribbons and accolades society can bestow, this means that the only abnormal behavior is to state out loud that you believe there is such a thing as abnormal sexual behavior. But this is what all normality does — it recognizes that which does not belong to it. And so it is that any kind of deviance from the new is greeted with an array of tolerance clubs.
So in this new order of things, an old school heterosexual coupling is going to be fine with everybody. Whatever turns you on. What will be totally not fine is for anybody to engage in a heterosexual act as normal. The missionary position will be fine, in other words, just so long as it is ironic. If it is not ironic, they will get you — not for the position itself but for the hate.
Oh, come on, and for pity’s sake, someone might say at this point. You don’t mean to maintain that the new intolerista regime would penalize normal sexual activity? Surely they wouldn’t take it that far. I take the point but the problem is that for totalitarians their “take-it-too-far” switch is busted. There are a lot of things already that I thought they would have left alone.
Now propagandizing your kids that hetero activity is today’s normal will be criminalized as child abuse.
Yesterday, the Yahoo home page had two stories. The first was about a seven year-old, whose mother claims he is a girl, meeting a transgendered(?) adult. The second story was about an 11-year-old being forced to play outside in his yard for 90 minutes while his parents were away. The first parent blogs publicly about her insanity; the second had her children taken away.
Normalizing the abnormal is rife in the mind. It is a hermeneutic of its own. Using the exception to break old rules and make new ones.
“Surely they wouldn’t take it that far.”
Well, they kill babies…
Howard Hendricks, in a message on Ephesians, once said “They’re running out of ideas for sin” when speaking about this very thing. He’s never not been right.
Our government would NEVER do something so heinous as forcibly sterilizing citi…
Oh? Um, OK. Never mind.
Doug, have you addressed with the police in your congregation the fact that they could very easily be put in a position where they would have to jail or even shoot a fellow Christian for not baking a cake? Remember that it is the actual police, not the intolerista fairies in the media and academia, that enforce discrimination laws.
Ben, I completely and totally support the right of bakers to refuse to bake weddings for same-sex couples. I think if we force people to violate their consciences, especially for such a trivial thing as a wedding cake, we’re going down a very bad path. However, “very easily be put in a position where they would have to jail or even shoot a fellow Christian for not baking a cake” is hyperbole. We’d have a long, long long way to go before we ever got to the point of jailing or shooting a person for not baking a cake. Fines,… Read more »
Segregation was the law. People had to discriminate whether they wanted to or not. Now of course the situation is completely reversed. If a Christian baker persistently avoids paying the fine, he risks being put in jail, and if he physically resists, being shot. This is not hyperbole. You can’t have a government fine without the implicit threat of violence. Again, it’s not hyperbole. It’s just that few people are bold enough to actually consider the horrific logical consequences of their views. It seems fair to me that pastors ought to inform (or perhaps “remind” is a better word) the… Read more »
“Segregation was the law. People had to discriminate whether they wanted to or not.” You aren’t, I hope, denying that there were lots of people who discriminated because they wanted to, and tried to discriminate as long as they could. The National Guard didn’t have to escort those black children into the public school in Little Rock because the law was that they had to be discriminated against. “If a Christian baker persistently avoids paying the fine, he risks being put in jail, and if he physically resists, being shot.” Then the Christian baker is risking jail for not paying… Read more »
Segregation IS the law.
You may not unite conscience with practice.
People unite conscience with practice all the time. Now you are being hyperbolic.
Laura — sure they do! — and it’s against the law.
Let’s say you’re of color, or white, and want to serve only the folks of color, or not.
Go to jail!
There’s such a thing as the sacred public mix that requires uniform practice regardless of conscience.
Are you saying that racial segregation can be a matter of conscience?
Racial integration is a matter of good & godly conscience.
But yes, racial segregation is exactly a matter of conscience — usually ungodly.
But not always.
Did you know that most women of color marry men of color.
Conscience, or biggotry?
I think we don’t agree on what “conscience” means.
Try prejudices, then.
Should business folk be free to offer their product &/or services to other folks according to their prejudices?
Conscience and prejudice are entirely different things. And let me be clear about this. If a baker doesn’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because his conscience forbids participating in this ceremony because he believes homosexuality and same-sex marriage to be against God’s law, I support that. If a baker doesn’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because he doesn’t like gay people, I do not support that, not one bit for one second. If you are conflating these two issues, you need to stop, because you are helping the opposition to the people… Read more »
Why should your understanding of God’s law be the public law then?
What if someone had the understanding of Satan’s law that same sex law should prevail?
Your basis for law is Sharia-like, not Christian.
The Christian law demands folks be left alone, and freely do business prejudicially as far as they like.
If they hate group X, Christian law says they have a right to refuse to do bidness with them.
Sharia-like law says “I, the supreme Laura and those like me, forbid that behavior on the basis of … well, we just forbid it.”
What we’re saying is that we don’t want you judging conscience or prejudices.
Let folks do their business and leave them alone.
Since you have no way a knowing what someone’s motivations are, you should support someone’s rights over their own labor in all circumstances. Being forced to work for someone against your will is slavery.
I think this used to be called freedom of association.
Be around & do business with whomever the heck you want.
And in the church room, we’ll (lovingly, hopefully) shame you for your shameful associations.
“If a baker doesn’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because he doesn’t like gay people, I do not support that, not one bit for one second.”
When you say you “don’t support that,” are you saying you don’t support it morally, or that you think it should be illegal? Because that is a very important distinction. I think it’s problematic any time we start jailing or shooting people based on thoughts in their own head.
You run straight to jailing and shooting, don’t you? What kind of person risks being jailed or shot because he refuses to accommodate, in his business, a person to whom he has no moral objection?
Can I ask – you have gay friends and/or coworkers? Family members?
You didn’t answer the question, so let me rephrase it. If a person chooses not to serve a gay wedding because he’s a bigoted jerk, do you want him fined?
I talk about jailing and shooting because it is the implicit threat of those things that lies behind any type of government fine. Without the threat of violence, there would be no reason for anyone to pay it.
Yes I have friends and family who are gay. What does that have to do with anything? Can you please answer my questions now?
“If a person chooses not to serve a gay wedding because he’s a bigoted jerk, do you want him fined?”
If that’s the law, yes. If it’s not the law, no. I am not going to support bigoted jerks. I want them to stop being bigoted jerks and if there are consequences if they don’t, I’m not going to shield them from them.
Forget the law. I’m asking you what you think is right. Or imagine you were the one making the law (we do, after all, live in a society in which we indirectly participate in the making of laws). What would you decide? Should there be a law forcing peaceful, nonviolent bigots to provide services to people they don’t like?
Of course I don’t want him fined. I find it morally reprehensible.
So a person running a business decides not to serve a person for no other reason than that he is a bigoted jerk, in the face of a law that prohibits his discrimination in this way.
Do you find this morally reprehensible? Or is it just the prospect of his being fined that you find morally reprehensible?
I find both his bigotry and the fact that he is being fined for it to be morally reprehensible.
Do you equate this fine with the fine that a religious person might face for declining to perform an act that violates his religious convictions?
Yes, because both involve threatening a nonviolent person with prison rape. We may not like the fact that the racist discriminates, but that doesn’t morally justify pointing a gun at him.
OK, so as long as we can read people’s minds, we’ll know who to fine (or jail if they won’t pay the fine). No problem then.
Did you follow the Hobby Lobby case at all, or do any reading about RFRA?
Laura, I appreciate your desire not to add unnecessary heat to the discussion, but the level of discussion here is much less hyperbolic (if at all), than you might think). And despite your claims you did indeed split hairs there regarding the fines. Let’s take, at face value, your statement that the Christians are jailed for not paying the fine, *as opposed* to their refusal to bake the cake. Alright, but the fine is to enforce what, exactly? It’s to enforce and/or penalize their refusal to bake the cake. The fact that the cake and the jail are separated by… Read more »
Matt, here’s the thing. You are a baker. A couple have come into your bakery to order a wedding cake. Your conscience doesn’t square with your participating in their wedding. The law, written by duly elected officials who have been placed over you in government, says you have to do it. You have a choice to make: – Bake the cake – Don’t bake the cake, understanding that you are now in violation of the law; which law you may deplore, but it’s there. You don’t bake the cake. The couple have gone to the law to get relief, and… Read more »
I think Laura makes a few mistakes in her comments but she is correct that you CAN pay the fine. You may choose not to bake the cake for conscience sake, but a Christian can pay an unjust fine without going against his conscience.
You seem to be of the misunderstanding that I am unaware of the logicistical connection between substantive laws and procedural enforcement. I get all that, but you seem to think that the logistical and procedural distinction between such an “anti-discrimination” law and it’s attendant enforcement efforts somehow make the enforcement about *this* (the fine), and *not* *that* (the cake requirement). But unavoidably, the fine is the penalty for refusing idolatry. There is no argument on my part that we ought to be willing to accept consequences, but that is b/c our calling is to take up our cross, and sometimes… Read more »
Since the fine is a sort of “tribute,” You live in a world where you have to share a country and a government with people who have religious beliefs that differ from yours, or no religion at all. It is inevitable that there will be things you have to accept that you don’t agree with, because that is true of every single person. No one gets their way on everything. It gripes my cookies that I live in a country where abortion is legal. I can’t help it. I can vote, pray, talk to people, phone counsel, but at the… Read more »
First of all, let’s not cast a one-size-fits all characterization over *all* disagreements over matters of state. I have not suggested that any and every dispute we have with the civil authorities is a legitimate forum for civil disobedience and/or resistance. Being willing to absorb the consequences of something b/c it’s unavoidable, is a distinct matter (not unrelated, but distinct) from whether or not it is permissible to avoid such consequences while *also* being faithful. Are you suggesting that seeking to avoid the fine by hiring a lawyer, for instance, would be wrong? If the choice is to get shot… Read more »
“Are you suggesting that seeking to avoid the fine by hiring a lawyer, for instance, would be wrong?” No, of course not. You’re not equating hiring a lawyer with resisting arrest, though, are you? “If the law at some point is structured so that we can’t move without violating biblical principles, … then resistance would be permissible.” Of course. Lawful resistance – the hiring of a lawyer to push back, as you suggested, is permissible now. “But you are right, no one gets everything they want, and does that not also apply to the lesbians who wanted the Christians to… Read more »
Laura, Why are you quicker to cite and complain of the “stubbornness” in principled Christian resistance than you are over-reach and injustice on the part of the state? Why are you more upset over what you believe to be hyperbole of rhetoric than you are of gross injustice? Why do you not extend to bakers and florists caught in a bind the same liberties you think apply to the oppressed of the Jim Crow era. Is there no such thing as principled Christian resistance outside of a Jim Crow setting or baking a cake? And where exactly is the line… Read more »
“Why are you quicker to cite and complain of the “stubbornness” in principled Christian resistance than you are over-reach and injustice on the part of the state?” A, I expect more of Christians. Don’t you? B, when I said “stubbornness” that was me questioning how principled the Christian resistance really is here. “Why do you not extend to bakers and florists caught in a bind the same liberties you think apply to the oppressed of the Jim Crow era.” Huh? Are you referring to the segregationists of the Jim Crow era as “the oppressed”? I’m not the government and I… Read more »
Laura you turned this whole thread into a labyrinthine game of cat and mouse. Every time your ox is gored, and each time a substantive counterpoint is offered, you shift the debate. No one one here denies that we ought to accept the consequences of standing on principle as Christians, so let’s end that tripe right now. If Doug had written an article about how Christians were justified in chickening out on their principles b/c they refused to suffer the consequences, then you’d have a point. But the point he makes is about the sly game those who back the… Read more »
I’m not wincing, I’m not wringing, my ox isn’t gored.
If people want to make up stuff to fret about, like cops being made to shoot people who won’t bake cakes, and the need to line up church discipline in advance for church members who are cops, who will find themselves shooting people for not baking cakes, I think that’s way overboard, but if it makes them happy they should go for it. But that’s them hand-wringing, not me.
Besides, you’ve missed a crucial part of this exchange. You can point it out to me if I missed it – and maybe I did – but I didn’t see Ben or anyone else on here claim that we ought to reflexively succumb to violence or revolt – or whipping out firearms, in the face of the enforcement of such fines. Ben mentioned the threat of force, not to suggest that we ought to actively insight or invite that, but because, as he later said, it’s the threat of force that lies behind laws. When you couple Ben’s clarification there… Read more »
sorry, “incite,” not “insight.” My bad.
I knew what you meant. Homophones trip me up all the time.
I also suppose I ought to plead partial guilt for the cat and mouse game here. Laura, you set the trap and played the game. But I took the bait and probably prolonged it unnecessarily. I stand behind what I said even if I didn’t let the exchange die soon enough. I believe you are an authentic believer with sincere objections, but the manner in which you’ve approached this discussion is rather coy, and round-about. We all agree Christians must absorb suffering. But the problem is that nothing Doug or Ben said contradicts that, and that’s why you got so… Read more »
I never intended to set a trap and I think I’ve said the same thing all through here. 1 – People who object to serving people in their business due to sincerely held religious beliefs ought to get a pass. 2 – If they can’t get a pass b/c the law doesn’t allow, they can either acquiesce or stand their ground and take their lumps (which doesn’t rule out still trying to get the law changed). 3 – That kind of thing is going to be inevitable from time to time b/c we live in a fallen world. What we… Read more »
Points 1, 2, 3, & 5 are dead on. Absolutely 100% right. Point number four is the crux of the whole disagreement with this thread. There are two issues here – a) whether things are as bad as some of us think they are or not (and are headed even more in that direction; and b) IF SO, then what to do about it. Now, you might disagree about the state of our current trajectory, but those who disagree with you on that are not merely blindly “assuming the worst,” – rather, we are observing the trajectory. As such, preparing… Read more »
Okay, well, Ben said this:
“Doug, have you addressed with the police in your congregation the fact that they could very easily be put in a position where they would have to jail or even shoot a fellow Christian for not baking a cake?”
I think this is WAY premature. Shoot a fellow Christian for not baking a cake? But if you think it’s timely, we’ll agree to disagree.
Also, five years ago we may have had a “long, long way to go” before someone would be fined $150K and run out of business for not baking an LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ cake. Except that, now here we are, and it turns out we weren’t all that far off from such things. Laws are in place all over this country that would permit judges to hold folks in contempt for not paying the consequent fines or obeying the injunctions, and yes, in many states jail time for that would not just be potentially on the horizon, but would be possible now. That… Read more »
“in many states jail time for that would not just be potentially on the horizon, but would be possible now.”
State laws are online and can be easily searched and found. Can you tell me which states? Because I want to look.
“The over-use of swat-team law enforcement for minor civil matters in the U.S. is bad enough *now*…” It is, and there has been a lot of outcry about it, and the deployment of military hardware to cops has been brought to light and is being pulled back.
I’m not citing one or two states here – I’m talking about all state’s – judges can hold litigants in contempt for violating orders. Take note that I’m not talking about current anti-discrimination laws pertaining to LGBT matters in all states – I’m talking about the ability for a court to hold someone in contempt for thumbing their nose at a court order – any court order – one for the return of property, for injunctive relief, one for violating a restraining order, failing to pay a judgment, etc. etc. etc.
President Obama curtailed some aspects of the program that dispensed federal equipment to the states, but only some parts. They can still get such equipment, but under somewhat more specific circumstances. And, this is to say nothing of police practices themselves, nor the ability of states to procure such equipment of their own if budgeted. The President’s decision – welcome news as it was, is only slice of the problem. The states just won’t get as many freebies, that’s all.
Laura, bless your naïve little heart. I’m sure Paul had someone who was your 1st century counterpart assuring him that since he was a Roman citizen he had nothing to fear from the authorities as long as he didn’t break any laws. You said this: “Then the Christian baker is risking jail for not paying a fine, not for not baking a cake. …And if he’s shot resisting arrest, he’s shot for resisting arrest, not for not baking a cake.” The German citizen of 1938 was shot for resisting relocation to a concentration camp, not for being a Jew. My… Read more »
I’m not concerned with someone’s motives for discrimination. That is irrelevant. The point is that segregation was legal (and in some cases, mandatory), which is why no one who discriminated against blacks got arrested or shot. Today, discriminating against gays is illegal. That’s what makes it dangerous. “Then the Christian baker is risking jail for not paying a fine, not for not baking a cake. ” Laura, what if the government began fining people for having red hair in public? What if someone refused to pay that fine? Would you consider the subsequent arrest of that person to be morally… Read more »
Are you just unaware of the history of the civil rights movement?
You’re not engaging with anything I’ve said. You’ve simply asked a snide question with no elaboration on how I’m actually wrong.
I am flabbergasted at the things you say.
Laura, on conscience consider the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now we (probably) agree that they are not Christian. Further we (probably) agree that their position on blood transfusions is based on a faulty reading of Scripture. But this is an issue of conscience because they (falsely) believe that receiving a blood transfusion is morally wrong. It is, for them, an offense against God. To force them to receive blood would be forcing them to blaspheme. In matters of conscience, it is wrong to force men to do an action against their beliefs, even if those beliefs are incorrect. This is because it… Read more »
I completely agree.
So the question Laura is, do you force men to interact with people of another race when they (falsely) believe that doing so is immoral? I am happy to prevent them assaulting them, but to force them to take them into clubs, or otherwise.
They honestly think interacting with people of another race is immoral? I haven’t seen that expressed. Just that they don’t want to and don’t want to be made to.
People who don’t want to support same-sex marriage can point to Bible verses. JWs point to Bible verses. What Bible verse forbids serving black folks in restaurants, or renting houses to them?
Your question suggests that you don’t get the conscience issue. Racists are wrong, as are Muslims about Muhammed. The point isn’t that there is Scripture to point to, or a passage to misinterpret, the point is do they think doing so is wrong. And because it is difficult to judge the motives of the heart, if someone refrains from action for moral reasons it is wrong to force them. You mustn’t force men to blaspheme. Even if they are wrong in their convictions, doing the action they think that they shouldn’t do under duress alienates them from God.
I get the conscience issue just fine, thanks. I also grew up in Mississippi, and don’t assume piety in white people who want to be ugly to black folks.
(I don’t know whether the JWs are Christians or not. They say they are. It’s for Jesus to decide, not me.)
I don’t think that matters. The point is that we respect their right to obey their conscience even if, by our standards, that conscience is making demands that everyone else finds unreasonable (e.g. no blood transfusions). The point would be equally valid had the example cited Mormons, Scientologists, or Zoroastrians. I have read writings by radical racists that have called for total separation of the races on scriptural grounds. These torturous explanations generally involve Ham and Ishmael and make absolutely no sense. I should hardly have to point out that I find such views disgusting. But, if someone makes a… Read more »
My point there was that I wanted to make it clear that when I said I agreed with your comment, I wasn’t agreeing that they are not Christians. That’s not for me to say, and as you say, it doesn’t matter for this purpose.
Just because a point is questioned about how it might hold up to the extreme does not make it an illegitimate hyperbole.
To call it hyperbole can be dismissive but leaves it hanging as possible truth.
Well, anything can happen. This is no more likely to happen, though, than the stuff I see homosexual activists warning against.
If one side is accusing the other of concentration camps, and the other is warning about people being arrested and shot, where’s the discourse going to take place?
Maybe by answering the question? — and not dismissing, inaccurately, it as hyperbole.
The question of whether the church has stoked the flames by warning the cops in the congregation about something that will never happen? That question?
You should start there.
I hope they haven’t, and no, they shouldn’t.
As Laura tries to hold the center, take a glance at Yeat’s poem and let the reality sink in.
Reasoned arguments require shared axioms; those axioms have been rejected. We are at war.
I hope not. We have to find a way to share the planet somehow.
Just a little pinch of incense then?
Take away the welfare benefits. We have so much overflow of prosperity that many skirt by on the excesses. Hunger changes all this by being the base motivator.
Can we be faulted for
Burying ourselves in inanity
As we hurtle blindly through
An evil darkness toward…?
JBrigham, I wonder if many missed (what I think is a salient point) the implications of your post. The reason that will not happen is that somewhere deep in the bowels of .gov, someone knows what would happen if say, tomorrow, all EBT’s (and all government welfare) were suddenly ceased. I watched this happen (live, in-person) in microcosm in L.A. during the Rodney King riots when the looters, who having enforced social justice by stealing every TV and pair of designer jeans and kicks in sight, would torch the store upon leaving. The local infrastructure was so impacted that welfare… Read more »