at least in their hatred of homosexuals.  these past few months have shed some light on the hateful speech about gays that apparently is becoming more mainstream throughout Christianity.

sorry for linking an article from Glenn Beck's website.  i actually think it's more appropriate to post their article on this, largely for those who wish to peruse the comments section. 

this article highlights 4 recent incidents that illustrate just how extreme many Christians viewpoint on homosexuality is becoming.  perhaps i'm naive, but i really thought that the WBC had a monopoly on their God Hates Fags mantra.  i thought that while many Christians disagreed with the homosexual lifestyle, it ended there.  it appears as though i was mistaken. 

i'm not sure how they can't see the obvious parallel here.  once upon a time, there was an extremist leader of a political party who had intense hatred for a group of people called Jews (amongst other groups).  we all know how this turned out.  now, a growing sect of Christians seem to be ok with this behavior, but against homosexuals.  can they not see this? 

is this why so many conservative/religious states are attempting to eliminate federal laws about hate crimes?  first comes protected hate speech.  next, people will act upon this speech.  same thing with allowing religious bullying.  they are protecting their own. 

this kind of speech is protected under the 1st amendment, but it has serious potential real world consequences.  what if a member of one of these congregations commits a violent offense against a gay person?  can the pastor be implicated?  should he be? 

i am aware that this is not necessarily a mainstream view amongst Christians - yet.  but it does seem to be spreading.  i fear that we will continue to see evidence of this, and that we will be reading horror stories about serious violence against homosexuals in the near future.  i hope i'm wrong, but either way i hope the pastors get what's coming to them. 

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you may be right John.  perhaps this is some blowback for the gains that the LGBT community has made over the past decade, and nothing more.  it could also be do to the increase of smart phones that we are actually seeing/hearing what has been going on in some small sects of Christianity. 

i hope you're right, either way. 

I'd say there is a lot of truth in this. Most people, even those who are not quite ready to go for full gay marriage are quite tolerant or even supportive of gay rights. That's what makes the loonies so desperate.

I came across this over at Debunking Christianity it beggars belief. It depicts 2 small children singing an anti-gay anthem much to the amusement of the pastor and the congregation. It is indoctrination and bullying at it's worst and I dread to think what could happen in the future of these children having been imbued with this level of bigotry at such a young age.

I think it does sort of fit with your argument that there does appear to be a hardening of attitudes to the gay community by the relgious. Any way here is the link you will need a strong stomach.

Like Matthew, I too hope you're correct John. Maybe what we're hearing and seeing is the death rattle of the anti-gay extremists in the age of instant video. However, like a cornered dog that has nowhere to go, I suspect they'll still try and bite.

well, here' another one to add to the list.  sigh.

It's hard to know whether there is increased vileness or not. As someone who is personally affected by this kind of speech, I've been aware of it for a lifetime. As someone who is a scientist by training and inclination, I need data, not just impressions. There is unprecedented acceptance in the US, especially in certain places. The idea that a president would speak out for equality boggles my mind. States that do allow marriage, and states that allow domestic partnerships - amazing. That there is even the conversation, sometimes I'm amazed.

On the other hand, even when polls show majority support for equality, when people vote, it's almost always majority against equality. One can speculate about why. Maybe 2 cases of votes that did not push back the equality movement. Even California voted against equality.

There are some very well funded organizations out there, some possibly connected to the catholic church (NOM) and fundy organizations that are highly sophisticated and outspoken. Certainly the republican candidates tried to cash in on homophobia, and fans the flames of hate for a while this year.

I think that efforts for equality bring on an outspoken backlash of hate, but there is always that undercurrent.

Even though many consider comparison of LGBT rights to the battle for racial civil rights, offensive, there is this: for more than 100 years after the emancipation proclamation and the civil war, there was profound, inhuman, hateful discrimination (Jim Crow) in the US against African American people, and even in an era of Obama, there is still inequality in a variety of ways. There are still outspoken racists. There are big inroads, but if there is still racism 150 years later, we can expect homophobic rants with what is still a short history of equal rights movement for LGBT people.

On the other hand, even when polls show majority support for equality, when people vote, it's almost always majority against equality

Actually the issue is more subtle than that. It's specifically the marriage question, not equality in general that is an emotional stumbling block. Voters do, fairly often, support conventional equal rights (housing, jobs, etc) for gay people. One thing that Jonathan Haidt is correct about is that person's 'moral' judgements are at the core not based on logic,  and as with anything not based on logic, it takes time to change things. There is perhaps an evolutionary basis for this, radical changes are dangerous for a society, and there is a great deal of inertia. Let's be honest here. Marriage exists across cultures and religions, sometimes two people, sometimes more, but until recent history I don't think you can point to a single culture with true documented gay marriage. Many cultures have accepted gay relationships (as do we with civil unions... much less controversial than marriage) but full fledged marriage is pretty much outside our collective history. (And some of the accepted relationships, like ancient Greece, would be considered more like child sex trade by modern standards).

This is a bigger change than civil rights, because it was not hard to justify civil rights changes on the fact that a black man and a white man were virtually identical in genetics and makeup. Sexual equality was a bit more of a jump because men and women are not genetically or even behaviorally identical (we're mammals after all). Even gay rights was not all that hard, because people can empathize across the division.

But in supporting gay marriage, we have to stop letting our opponents define the issue. Denying doesn't help. They are right about one thing, let's acknowledge it plainly. We are redefining marriage, we are redefining the primary public sexual contract that is at the core of most societies. We are saying it's no longer about man/woman but about a public sexual bonding, regardless of gender. This is NOT going to go down easily. It's why people who otherwise are quite tolerant of or supportive of gay rights have pause even if they can't articulate why.

Eventually if people as a whole are willing to accept marriage as a public celebration of sexual bond then things will change.

Probably not tomorrow. Right now lets keep the civil rights on the forefront.

Voters vote fairly often in support of equal employment and housing?  I would like to see the data for that.  It would make me feel better.  Maybe a couple of cases, but I think most are legislative or judicial, not voters.  Please, prove me wrong.

Also, I need to research more on the concept of marriage, but I think the idea of marriage for romantic love, or sex, is not something that has been there for eons.  It was more of a business transaction.  Something to the effect of "I own the woman.  She does what I say".  I think an equal partner marriage may be as revolutionary as a same sex marriage, and the idea of "marriage for love" is what makes same sex marriage an option.  That "public sexual contract" changed so much when it went from ownership to love, that taking gender requirements out of the picture should not be such a big issue.

Equal protections were implemented primarily legislatively (as are the vast majority of laws of any kind). However there was no voter rebellions.

You are correct that the 'love marriage' has not been around a long time. It was primarily a creation of the Victorian era romantics.

The structure varies from place to place and era to era. 'Ownership' is a strong component in some but not other cultures. In many cultures, however, marriage was more about families... that is connecting two families together rather than two people. In much of the world this is still the case.

But looking back further, the roots are in the evolutionary need to successfully pass one's genes into the gene pool. Human young are so slow developing and so vulnerable for so long that it becomes in the parents best interest to form long term cooperation. With almost all mammals, the female is fully capable or raising the young, and requires (and resists) any involvement of the male. Paternal investment was an evolutionary adaptation, facilitated in part by the adaptation of relatively continuous sexual receptivity on the part of the female (most female mammals are only receptive when actively fertile) that brought something new to mammalian reproductive strategies.

Interestingly there is an obsession in our culture with the '2 people' marriage. Even gay marriage advocates are touting that magic number. Historically, however, that was not the case. I comment on this because I have polyamorous friends--if you are going to open marriage up regardless of gender, it's about time to remove other silly restrictions as well.

But with all the different forms, and with some degree of gay acceptance in some cultures, you still will not find historic true marriage (that is a relationship in name and function socially identical to hetero marriage).

I'm predicting that there is going to be a violent (and by violent, I mean, physical assaults, taking of lives, etc.) backlash against LGBT people.  I don't know what the real mainstream consensus about homosexuality is in the United States, but in Canada gay marriage and gay rights are the law of the land and I don't see one same sex couple holding hands, expressing affection in public, etc.  Until it happens where I'm living , which is considered the bible belt of Canada, I won't accept that LGBT people are free.

One sort of intellectual and social validation gay bashers will point to is that they don't hate gay people, they just don't want them to have the same rights as everyone else.  They will get the support of Christians, Muslims, and other gay-haters who think a distorted reasoning like that will get them off the hook from having to say they just plain outright hate gay people and want them to go away.  Of course to them the "American" way of life is threatened by a small group of otherwise normal people having the same rights as everyone else.  Where have we heard that before?   Ghettos were historically built to protect Jewish people from the vitriol and violent threats they faced in "normal" Christian society, they will say, so why not ghettoize gay people?  It is all in the name of compassion and is Biblically sound, they will say.  In the face of rejection from people they think are on their side (i.e. progressive and sane Christians), they will resort to violence, pogroms, and the non-violent-but-no-less-harmful tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church.  Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage are a waste of everyone's time, but because American politicians want to deflect the attention of the mainstream away from the fact that the United States is declining in every economic category (except, maybe, casinos and song-and-dance reality shows) they need LGBT people to vilify, and eat up taxpayer money on constitutional amendments.  Pretty soon, Americans of all kinds may start blaming gays and lesbians for the immense drop of their quality of life, led by Christian politicians.  Then it's time to be really, really afraid.


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