On Religious Freedom, the Media Serves Up More Fake News

October 17, 2017

by Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg


Donald Trump is often mocked for his mantra “fake news,” not because he is wrong but because the two-syllable sound-bite is inarticulate and leaves itself wide open for pedantic criticism. Clever ideologues can easily turn it around on him when he is inaccurate with his own statements. However, there is a truth lurking behind the sound bite. The real criticism is that the mainstream media reports falsehoods consistently to at least some degree by ill-weighting facts, ideological propagation and emotionalism. Most news reports are conspicuously devoid of sound reasoning, objective moral truth and common sense. The current trend of fake news obscures the truth in representation necessary to the good society.

An old joke about politicians goes: “How do you know when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving.” One could easily now say the same about media pundits. The mainstream media is involved in the effort to transform our society. Unfortunately, to do so, they have to degrade the family, public morals and Christianity in the process — the three roadblocks that stand in the way of a completely morally relativistic culture. Their attempt to shape society is enacted by misrepresenting reality, and their efforts can be characterized by shorthand term “fake news.”

A prime example of a sincere, ideological, intellectually misleading and morally skewed journalism is a recent piece by Masha Gesson in The New Yorker addressing Mississippi House Bill 1523, also known as the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act. The bill is intended to protect individual consciences from government discrimination which is increasingly coercing good folks to cater to the sexual liberation agenda or suffer inordinate penalties. The bill is comprehensive and a step in the right direction to reintroduce common decency into the public conversation about sexual morality.

Gesson opens with the disordered assertion that House Bill 1523 “explicitly legalizes discrimination if it is motivated by one of three beliefs: that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, that sexual relations can take place only within such a marriage, and that gender is an immutable biological characteristic.” These are three vital issues in the public square. The lie Gesson and most of the mainstream media propagate is that the goods of freedom and conscience protected by the bill are bad things. The moral and intellectual confusion is intensified by incessant waves of false media reports supported by our educational system and codified by our legal system.

The fake species propagated by Gesson is “sexual and gender identity” — which in reality flows from the genus of moral disorder, not “civil rights.” In an alarmist fashion, she states, “Doctors, lawyers, and adoption agencies, among others, are now licensed to discriminate on the basis of sexual and gender identity.” No matter how many billions of times this is repeated, sexuality and gender are not species of the principle of substantive identity. They are fake names given to certain proclivities and powers acted upon, and in reality, they are descriptions of what people do, not what they are.

Gesson falsely characterizes House Bill 1523 as the “harshest of a recent wave of so-called religious-freedom laws.” The bill is not a “so-called” religious freedom law, but it is meant to protect the authentic freedom to live by revealed and inferred intellectual truth without reprisals from an increasingly disordered government.

The Trump administration has had the presence of mind to consider protecting men and women of good will and good conscience from the rising tides of LGBT ideological imperialism, but Gesson would falsely classify it as if “reversals in L.G.B.T. rights have been unremitting.” House Bill 1523 does no harm to LGBT people, but simply defends our natural rights to hold our own beliefs in the face of coercion from the state. Gesson mischaracterizes the President’s intentions by the fake claim that “a strategy of homophobia has proved irresistible to Trump.” Homophobia is not the issue; protecting religious freedom and conscience is.

The rest of Gesson’s New Yorker article is an exercise in fake reasoning, going on to make the fake assertion that LGBT woes arise from a “trend toward ever more policing of sex and an intensifying drive for the protection of children from nearly everything.” The truth is that the public conversation on sexual morality has already moved on to polyamory and intergenerational sex. And in a final moment of false argumentation, Gesson accuses those with a rightly ordered moral conscience of just not getting it, claiming that the “era of Trumpian reversal is expressed in terms of religious belief but driven by the desire to see children grow up in a world that their parents understand.” It is ironic that Gesson and the LGBT propagators do not understand what we would mean by morality flowing out of the natural law. They would deny there is a natural law, that human nature is fixed, and that our natures define and determine the things we can and cannot do within the bounds of a proper morality.

What would our Founding Fathers say about the positions Masha Gesson asserts as good? What would all men of good will and sound mind say of these troubling positions? And yet still, the problem is not with Gesson, but the army of which she is just one minuscule part. We face an army of fake news purveyors who would see the Great American Experiment end by the means of the moral turpitude they propagate in the name of fake freedom worshiping at the altar of sex. The final line of Gesson’s distorted article is most assuredly the truest thing she writes: “It is going to get ugly.” Although even this is not completely true — it is hard to deny that it already has.

Photo credit: Mike MacKenzie via Flickr, CC BY 2.0


Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a writer in residence and teacher of philosophy and theology at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta. He is also a senior contributor to The Imaginative Conservative and has written for numerous venues on matters of faith, culture and education.

Archive: Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg

31 comments on “On Religious Freedom, the Media Serves Up More Fake News”

  • Nino says:

    My post seems to have popped off thus board. I will repeat the point. Steven misuses the word fake. On the one hand he bemoans the fact that conservatives cannot turn gays away from secular for profit businesses, and then on the other, he has no problem when the same bigoted conservatives use the government to deny Christian churches the right to perform legal same sex marriages. Steven’s support for religious liberty is fake.

  • jk105 says:

    If you want a civil discussion, don’t tell me the reality of my life. Yes, I take that personally, and a civil person would apologize. Homosexuality is an innate characteristic. I do not silently suffer lies.

    You have promiscuously dodged my point and points that others on here have made. Be honest.
    An interracial marriage involves choice. A white person has a choice whether or not to marry someone of a different color. Southern Baptists once argued it was their religious right to turn away such couples from public accommodations. You dodged my point. Why?

    Yet another one of your deflections: Your church also supports legislative bans of same-sex marriage, thus codifying its own hateful bias against gay people into law–also denying Christian Churches the religious freedom to perform legal same-sex marriages. You conveniently dodge this point. Vicious hate.

    When right wing religionist views trump the legal rights of Christian Churches to perform legal same sex marriages, theocracy reigns. Moreover, in an article allegedly about religious freedom, your continued silence while the conservatives savage the religious liberty of gay people says a lot about your lack of honesty.

    When your pope calls me “an intrinsic moral evil”, your pope is being hateful. I get to decide if this is a hateful disparagement of my humanity–not you, the person who gleefully would allow bigots to deny me service in a secular public accommodation.

    If you want an intelligent, civil conversation, start being honest.

    • Steven Jonathan says:

      Well JK105 shall we call it a day? We don’t share first principles, an understanding of reality or truth, I am sorry I couldn’t do better.

      The best example is your mischaracterization of the Pope’s words and how he really feels about homosexuals. If he is in fact loving towards homosexuals, and he would tell you he is and I believe he is, then there are only two real options. 1. Either his is wrong by lying or ignorance, or 2. you are wrong by lying or ignorance. I do not take you to be a liar based on the things you have written here. So we really have nothing to discuss and I can just imagine your red herring mantra “dodging” ha ha “promiscuously dodging” classic! I do wish you well JK!

      • Jk105 says:

        Yes, I didn’t think you would stop dodging my question. You obviously only support religious liberty when it is for your right wing views, not when it gives Christians freedom. In other words, you disdain religious liberty.

      • jui says:

        JK, I marvel at your restraint when responding to Steven. It is indeed frustrating to deal with someone who misrepresents your life and then persistently dodges your questions and feigns ignorance about the ways in which right wing religionists have used the government to harm you. He claims he wishes you well–and I assume he feels the same towards me. I take him at his word. However, I will point out that if he honestly wishes us well he would be less craven to a philosophy that dengrates our humanity (he willfully chooses this belief system), he would at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that a white person “chooses” to marry a “black” person (that choice is not innate), he would be aghast at the ways conservatives have used the government to deny gay people their religious liberty, he would recognize he does not wish us well if he believes secular public accommodations have the right to refuse us service. God made me gay, there was no choice. If Steven “decided” to be heterosexual, I assume he can tell us all about the day he made that “decision.” However, it is who I am, and if he wants common decency and civility, he would not have the gall to lecture us about the reality of our existence.
        I pray for him.

      • kern says:

        Jonathan has indeed refused to address many issues and concerns raised by peole posting on this board. It is no “red herring” to say he “dodged” when he clearly dodged and deflected when he knew an honest answer to the points raised would expose his ideology to be immoral and biased. This lack on honesty on his part reflects badly on what he claims to be his “conservative Catholicism.” Surely telling the truth is one of the Ten Commandments.

      • nino says:

        “The best example is your mischaracterization of the Pope’s words and how he really feels about homosexuals.”

        Don’t blame gay people for the fact that your pope has uttered depraved slurs about homosexuality. That’s on him and you for refusing to condemn the church’s bigotry. “Inherent moral evil” is what he said and has said it many times.

        You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        Nino, The Church does not express bigotry and neither does the Pope. He never said “gay people are inherently morally evil.” Never once. If you really claim that he did, why don’t you provide evidence? I know why, because you can’t. In the Church we say that the inclination to same sex attraction is a disordered inclination, not that gay people are inherently evil, that is not what the Church teaches.

        Just for your information, we also say that certain actions are inherently morally evil, like killing, but we make a distinction between the murderer and the act of murder and the murderer in the eyes of the Church is a human person made in the image and likeness of God with intrinsic value. We don’t judge the state of the human soul, but we do judge actions, as apparently you do yourself, but in your case without ordered thinking.

      • nino says:

        Steven you are a very dishonest person.
        According to Wikipedia “Homosexuality is addressed in Catholic moral theology under two forms: homosexual orientation is considered an “objective disorder” because Catholicism views it as being “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”, but not sinful unless acted upon.[1]”

        Unless acted upon! What disgusting spin. Since there is nothing immoral about the homosexual sex act, there is nothing “disordered” or “intrinsically morally evil” about it. There is no divorcing my orientation from my sexual activity. So I am correct and you are not telling the truth. Your bigoted pope calls me and vast, vast numbers of gay people an intrinsic moral evil.

        You choose to worship disgusting depravity! God did not put me on earth to live a loveless, sexless, sterile life. You willfully embrace a sinister force. I go to church every Sunday where I find God–which means it is not in your church. . Then you make the analogy with murderers! What is galling is you do this while also expecting gay people to be civil in response. What is disordered is your lack of morals. An intrinsic moral evil is the dangerously anti-gay environment you want to create.

        Not only do you support the pope’s purified bigotry, you also fail to address the catholic church’s ceaseless political agenda that denies gay people their basic civil rights and religious liberties. My “ordered thinking” is perfectly fine. You are allergic to the truth.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        Nino,

        It appears to be the consensus amongst a certain type of the commenters that I am “dishonest” but one of our great popes Pope st. John Paul II said “the truth is not consensus but the convergence of the mind and reality.”

        My reference to murders was not an analogy but an example of a serious moral issue and sexual ethics brings up many serious moral issues. You take offense where there was none offered, but so have most on here.

        Please just answer me this one set of questions honestly- pretend I have children, perhaps a son and he is 15- I find out he commits the marital act with a girl from his school, do I have the right to believe that what he did was immoral? And do I have the right to tell my son that what he did was immoral? If not, why not? Please do explain in ordered thinking.

      • jk105 says:

        Yes you are dishonest. Your edit is nothing but a pot of poison that claims to be about religious liberty, but it is clear from the exchanges on this site that you would use Big Government to deny gay people and Christian Churches the religious freedom you demand for your conservatives.

        “It appears to be the consensus amongst a certain type of the commenters that I am “dishonest” but one of our great popes Pope st. John Paul II said “the truth is not consensus but the convergence of the mind and reality.”

        If your “mind” and “reality” really converged into truth, you wouldn’t have avoided the questions people asked you on this site. Your avoidance tells me you can’t answer.

        “A certain type of the commenters..” You claim you want civility and yet arrogantly can’t call us what we are: Gay Christians. And yes truth is not consensus but the convergence of the mind and reality, the straightforward fact that our homosexual natures are innate converging with the mind that God gave us, which is He did not create us to be your punching bag.

        “My reference to murders was not an analogy but an example of a serious moral issue and sexual ethics brings up many serious moral issues. You take offense where there was none offered, but so have most on here.”

        Offense was rightly taken. If no offense was meant by the straightforward analogy of murder and homosexuality, do understand that it is indeed disgustingly offensive to state that my humanity and God-given sexuality is a “serious” moral issue on par with discussions of murder. If you weren’t being “dishonest”, then an apology on your part of your ignorance is expected.

        You are in no position to be asking anyone questions. Honestly, you should first answer the many questions posters (Gay Christians) have asked you on this board. You have deviously avoided them.

        “Ordered thinking.” More arrogance on your part. Anyone who disagrees with you has “disordered thinking”–even though they can back up their opinions with facts and you just assert you are correct.

        Your 15 year old son is your legal and moral responsibility. He is also a minor and doesn’t have legal consent in sexual matters. I would tell him to wait until he is mature enough to be sexually active. But I would tell my gay son the same thing. God made him gay and he shouldn’t engage in sex until he is legally able to marry (as I have in a Christian church, blessed by God) and remain faithful to his spouse.

        You would politically create an brutally hostile environment for your gay son. Bigots can throw him out of their secular for profit businesses. You would use government to deny his Christian Church the right to legally same-sex marry him. You would call him disordered. That says a lot about you.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        Dear JK105, as absurd as your response is there is something sincere and endearing about you- most of what you say about me and say that I am saying is not even close to accurate but I can’t take offense because it seems a kind of apoplectic emotional temper tantrum, however, I am sincere when I say I find you endearing.

        And yet in your emotive raging you had the charity in your heart to answer my question and that I can’t overlook- I think what you are calling questions I consider absurd unrealities and find them unanswerable because not only do most of them mischaracterize my position they don’t really relate, like asking me “when did you stop beating your wife?” However, since you answered my question I will beg for a further charity and promise to answer one of your questions as best I can with the only condition being that if it doesn’t square with reality it will be difficult to answer, but I will still do my best.

        And finally, if you will answer another question from me since you Adequately answered my last question- here it is if I have a 21 year old son and he likes to have one night stands, am I allowed to find that sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage immoral? Let me know. Thank you JK- and blessings to you and your family.

      • Nino says:

        JK’s response was pointed and accurate. I really won’t elaborate any further because this page is littered with your dodges and dishonesty. Yes, you look adorable in your cha cha heels tap dancing around very coherent questions. Cute as it is, ultimately one comes to the conclusion that you are an unapologetic bigot, all insult, no logical reasoning. You fool no one. You hate religious liberty. You just want the freedom to mistreat people you hate.

      • jk105 says:

        Absurd response? Cute, coming from someone who is so disgustingly offensive as to state that my humanity and God-given sexuality is a “serious” moral issue on par with discussions of murder.

        Apoplectic emotional temper tantrum? Cute, coming from someone who wrote the editorial we are commenting on, an editorial liberally peppered with the word “fake” and is hysterical about the fact that people can’t invoke religion as a grounds to refuse service to gay people in secular for profit businesses.

        The reason you promiscuously deflect and dodge the questions on this post board is because an honest answer would expose your position to be morally depraved. It would also show you to be intellectually dishonest. For instance, your editorial calls for unfettered religious power in secular for profit businesses, but then you refuse to condemn the right wing religionists who have used government to deny Christian Churches the right to perform legal same-sex marriages. You therefore support religious liberty in the public square, but deny it in an actual church. That’s intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        Dear JK,

        The Catholic Church operates by the light of divine revelation and is served by the right use of reason informed by the perennial philosophy- It is not immoral or depraved or even disordered, while those of us who are less than perfect, which means all of us except the saints, are prone to serious error and of course that includes me- so the truth is that you cannot judge the Church by those of us who fall short of its principles.

        With that said- I can tell you for certain that the definition of marriage is immutable and must necessarily include the complementarity of an eligible man and a woman. It is a natural and divine institution that is the building block of civilization. It is not that we would ban gay marriages in churches it is that there is no possibility of a marriage without complementarity and the possibility of new life. By natural law it is not possible. However, I understand that you would like to call a same-sex union a marriage. I only make the claim that we have a right to believe in the definition we know. You would claim that my right to define marriage as I understand it is “depraved and immoral”- and by virtue of my claim to intellectual autonomy you would call me intellectually dishonest. These are things that are not true and you have no ground to say them.

        I never said your humanity and God given sexuality is a serious moral issue, it is the misuse of it that is morally problematic and that misuse does not lessen the value of your humanity in the least. I do believe that acting on certain sexual desires can be morally problematic, for an example, if one is married and has sexual relations with someone who is not their spouse, we believe it is a very serious moral problem, do you disagree with that?

        P.S. JK, probably the weirdest thing you do on here is ask me to apologize for things you invent- If I am not actually saying what you are saying I am saying, which I assure you I am not, then why would you continually ask for apologies for you misinterpretations?

      • jk105 says:

        “The Catholic Church operates by the light of divine revelation and is served by the right use of reason informed by the perennial philosophy.”

        So you say. You are free to believe in its heinous doctrines, but that freedom also allows decent people to condemn its brutal bigotry for the depravity that it is. That is, I condemn the Church’s barbaric teachings as well as the bigotry of the people who willfully embrace the hateful bile. I am sorry if you don’t like this truth-telling. I don’t see God in your “church.”

        ” I can tell you for certain that the definition of marriage is immutable and must necessarily include the complementarity of an eligible man and a woman.”

        Tell me for certain”? Certain! Cute coming from someone who habitually dodges, deflects and resorts to dishonesty. Thankfully you are not God and you don’t get to make this definition. You are free to believe your crackpot theory of “natural law.”, but other Christian churches have the same freedom to reject it. Theocracy is when you pollute Christian churches, against their will, with government demands that they obey your theory of “natural law.” The God who made me Gay blessed my same-sex marriage. Your opinion doesn’t factor into it. Don’t flatter yourself into thinking your opinion matters more than my Christian God. In the United States we have religious liberty, which means your church does not get to dictate laws. That’s theocracy, which you dishonestly claim you don’t advocate, but brazenly support on this site. To be clear, you are entitled to your opinion, depraved that it is. The government should never force your church to violate its teachings and perform a same-sex marriage. But that same religious liberty should be extended to Christian churches that believe it is their Christian duty to perform legal same sex marriage. You and the heinous monsters in your church have a history of using the brute force of government to deny Christian churches the right to perform same sex marriages. You molest the truth.

        “I never said your humanity and God given sexuality is a serious moral issue.” Filthy lie. My humanity and God-given sexuality includes having monogamous sex with my male spouse. Yes, the act. There is no separating the two, and you know it. I realize it is difficult for you Steven, but please try to be honest for once in your life. You are saying that my humanity (God-given sexuality and the fact that I have sex in a marriage blessed by God) is a serious moral problem, just like murder. Yes, you should apologize for this disgusting comparison.

        So once again Steven has dodged a question. It is a compulsion of yours–a rather immoral one. You have no problem using Big Government to deny Christian Churches from performing legal same-sex marriages. You continually deflect from the important point, which is not whether you are allowed to have an opinion as to if my God-blessed marriage is real, but the straight-forward fact that you would use the State to enforce your opinion on Christian Churches against their religious consciences.

      • nino says:

        Steven you write … “It is not that we would ban gay marriages in churches it is that there is no possibility …”

        First, right wing religionists have used government to indeed ban same-sex marriage, both secular and in Christian churches. So yes, you would ban it. You are not being honest.

        Second, “no possibility…” Just because it is not possible in right wing religionist churches doesn’t mean it isn’t possible in Christian ones. You and your church don’t to make that decision for other churches. That’s not religious freedom. That’s theocracy. Again, you are not being honest.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        Ok JK, fair enough. I thought I answered your question. I do not advocate a theocracy. All the accusations of dodging are a comical muddying of the waters- If you are clear about one question I will answer it and then another if you like, but it is clear we do not speak the same language and you seem pretty hateful of my Church and I am assuring you that my Church is not hateful of you and this is the interesting truth that is the wall between us. Maybe now is a good time to call it quits, but I really do wish you well. Blessings to you JK

      • jk105 says:

        Steven, you are being willfully ignorant–I call it dishonest.

        Your church has used to government to deny my Christian church the religious liberty to perform legal same-sex marriages. Hate.

        Your church denigrates my humanity. Hate.

        Your church would have gay people get turned away from service in secular public accommodations. Hate.

        My question on this issue (as well as others) has been clear. The waters only get muddy when you dodge and deflect.

        Don’t blame me that your church hates. No one is forcing to you believe in their disgusting ideology. That’s your freedom. But if it upsets you that I call you on your church’s bigotry, I suggest you encourage your church to be less hateful. A good start would be if they stopped trying to use government to interfere with the religious liberties of Christian churches that find its mission to to perform legal same sex marriages.

        I will pray for your soul.

      • nino says:

        Well I will give Steven one thing: For the first time in a week he actually answered a question, almost honestly.

        So my make on what Steven says is that there is only one form of marriage, his religious concept of marriage. Therefore when his church used government to deny gay people and Christian churches their religious liberty to perform legal same-sex marriage, in Steven’s convoluted disordered “thinking”, nothing is being banned because the only valid marriage is one approved by his particular religion–other churches be damned! Moreover, this is not denying gay people “religious liberty” because his definition of “religious liberty” only applies to when his church can’t do what it wants, especially when it wants to repress the rights of other people.

        And his is not “hate” because it is only “hate” when people criticize him and his theories.

        Interesting… Why do I say almost honestly? Because I doubt he is so cognitively disabled that he doesn’t realize that he practices hate and cheers on denying gay people their religious liberty. He dodged all this time because he knows an honest answer would expose him to be a bigot.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        JK, I am far from upset by the things you have written, I have found them very instructive. I certainly don’t recognize myself in your characterizations of me and this is helpful to know, perhaps I might find better ways to understand you and those who share your way of thinking. I believe you must be a kind and gentle soul when you do not find yourself provoked. I think you are very charitable to pray for my soul, please do. I hope you find peace.

      • jk105 says:

        Thank you for your kind words. I usually prefer more “polite” debates, but I let the other person model its tone. You may have not meant offense, however the language used in your editorial was inflammatory. I am not a shrinking violet, I give as good as I get. I thoroughly understand that people don’t completely change their minds after a few exchanges on a post board. However, I give you credit for the fact that you seem willing to consider an opposing viewpoint. I give you credit for that. Also, with a more polite exchange here, as much as I am furious with the Catholic Church’s interference in my religious liberties, in the heat of our debate I neglected to add that they nonetheless do wonderful work with the world’s poor, indeed a very holy mission.
        Peace.

  • Kern says:

    Thankfully my Christan Church embraces God’s gay children. We perform same-sex marriages. Do not fire people based on the fact that God made them gay. We think it is unholy and unAmerican to refuse service to gay people in public accommodations. I am sorry you belong to a church that hates God’s gay children. This is a great country. You are free to go to a church that mistreats gays. However a secular business is bound by the law–thank you Jesus! When your god overrides the law. You want theocracy

  • Steven Jonathan says:

    JK105, There was nothing said about denying “christian churches” the right to perform “same sex marriages.” The trouble would be if the government were to impose penalties on Christian churches that will not participate is “gay weddings.” There is no subjective version of religious liberty being promoted here except by you. State theocracy is not an option or even asserted here as a good.

    It seems you are unfamiliar with the words you are trying to use, but just out of charity I will inform you that you equivocate on the word “discrimination” here- and you make a false equivalent between sex acts, which are willful choices and racial accidents of birth- which are not a matter of moral choice- if you equate the two it demonstrates a confusion of categories.

    So your final point, I hardly think Christian churches treat minorities with contempt, and to do so is not an artifact of religious liberty, it is bigotry and immoral. Did you read the article?

    • jk105 says:

      I absolutely read the story and I will be charitable in my response to your confusion–although I suspect you are being dishonest, not confused..

      The contemptible discrimination right wing religionist churches have against gay people is based on their innate sexual orientation. That is an innate characteristic, just like race. You equivocate. A white person choosing to marry and have sex with a black person involves just as much choice as two men marrying and having sex. Try to be honest.

      You deflected. There is a history of right wing religionists using government to deny Christian churches the right to legally marry same sex couples. Why did you dodge my point? So Stevie Old Boy is disgusted with the Right Wing Religionists who would use the brute force of government to deny Christian Churches the right to perform legal same-sex marriages. Right? Or is it only his version of morality that has religious liberty? If so, then that is not religious freedom but state theocracy.

      “State theocracy is not an option or even asserted here as a good.

      Fake. If your right wing religionist view of morality trumps the many Christian churches that want to perform legal same sex marriages, then what you indeed advocate is theocracy.

    • Jui says:

      Actually conservative “churches” have historically treated gay people with immoral contempt. Witness Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore invoking his so-called “religious” beliefs to support putting gay people in prison. You are not being honest.

      I also notice you have refused to condemn the right wing “churches” that have tried to use the machinery of government to prohibit Christian Churches from performing legal same-sex marriages. I take your dodge as acknowledgment on your part that you have no problem when evangelicals weaponize the state to harm people they hate. You only cry about your lack of “religious”liberty when you (often wrongly) perceive government infringing on your “moral” view. You slickly urge a theocracy.

      • Steven Jonathan says:

        I am a conservative Catholic and the Church does not treat gay people with immoral contempt. I admit that certain people and perhaps even certain segments of fundamentalist Christian churches have expressed immoral contempt but that has nothing to do with my article or this bill and your inductive reasoning claiming otherwise is mere assertion. Even less credible is your charge of dishonesty by negative evidence- I mention nothing about “right wing ‘churches’ that have tried to use the machinery of government to prohibit Christian churches from performing legal same-sex marriages.” This is just bad judgement on your part, for I am aware of no such thing. If you read the bill you will see that it is to protect people with consciences formed to Christian morality from being punished for choosing not to participate in things we believe are immoral, there is no protection for a bigot who refuses service on hateful grounds. To your next point, not only is there no crying going on here, this is no such thing as an urging for a theocracy. Quite to the contrary of your accusations, the Christians I know do not hate gay people and ironically, the bill is designed to protect others from the pro-homosexual segment of society that would use government machinery to weaponize the state to punish people they hate (namely Christians). It is not a Christian ideal to hate, and an honest merchant who is a Christian who cannot by good conscience participate in a gay wedding is not being hateful but faithful- and the people who would destroy that merchant’s livelihood are hateful, this bill protects that liberty, not the kind of discrimination you decry. Jui, your points are not well thought out or well expressed. I am all in on a civil debate but false charges of dishonesty and false attributions about urging for a theocracy when there is no such urging and citing an absence of assertion as a “dodge” are not only bad reasoning they are not respectful forms of dialogue.

      • jk105 says:

        Stevie Old Boy, you write “I am a conservative Catholic and the Church does not treat gay people with immoral contempt.” Yet the Pope says: homosexuality is “an intrinsic moral evil.” That is disgusting and immoral contempt. Your church also supports legislative bans of same-sex marriage, thus codifying its own hateful bias against gay people into law–also denying Christian Churches the religious freedom to perform legal same-sex marriages. You conveniently dodge this point. When right wing religionist views trump the legal rights of Christian Churches to perform legal same sex marriages, theocracy reigns. Moreover, in an article allegedly about religious freedom, your continued silence while the conservatives savage the religious liberty of gay people says a lot about your lack of honesty.

        You also conveniently dodged Jui’s point about Roy Moore. Your silence says a lot.

        You write: “I mention nothing about “right wing ‘churches’ that have tried to use the machinery of government to prohibit Christian churches from performing legal same-sex marriages.” Yes, how convenient. Pretending ignorance about the right wing’s political interference in the religious and secular lives of gay people undermines your point and makes it clear that you are dishonest. Yes, the right wing religionists you hang out with are indeed hateful.

        If it is against your alleged “morals” to serve me in a public secular accommodation, then don’t open a secular public accommodation where you have to treat gay people with common decency. You don’t get to pick and choose which laws you want to obey. Baking a cake for my same-sex marriage is no more “participation” in that wedding than the clothing designer “participating” in this wedding because he designed the underwear I may happen to be wearing. Furthermore, don’t flatter yourself into thinking I want you present at my wedding. My marriage was performed in my church, by my Christian pastor, in front of family, friends and God. Your presence isn’t needed.

        Meanwhile you are free to keep your contempt in your hateful “church”, where you have the religious freedom to treat gay people as second class citizens.

        If you want a civil debate, then don’t deflect and dodge. Try to be honest. An interracial marriage involves choice. A white person has a choice whether or not to marry someone of a different color. Southern Baptists once argued it was their religious right to turn away such couples from public accommodations. You dodged my point. Why?

        If you want a respectful dialog, then be respectful. Stop dodging and stop expecting gay people to silently suffer bigotry. Try being honest.

      • Jui says:

        Steven has deflected again. You seem to like that.

        You can’t be so ignorant that you don’t know that your church (as well as many other conservative churches) have a long history of lobbying federal and state governments to ban same-sex marriage. Not only is this purified bigotry, it also directly violates the religious liberty of Christian Churches to perform legal same-sex marriages.

        Your persistent dodges on this point makes you look dishonest. Your indifference to gay people losing their basic civil rights and religious freedom also says a lot about your morality.

        Don’t call me confused. Your biased screed assaults my humanity. I know when I am under attack. Certainly you can dish it out, but you can’t take it when people return a volley. If you want a respectful debate, start it by being respectful.

  • jk105 says:

    Homophobia is not the issue; protecting religious freedom and conscience is.

    Really? So Stevie Old Boy is disgusted with the Right Wing Religionists who would use the brute force of government to deny Christian Churches the right to perform legal same-sex marriages. Right? Or is it only his version of morality that has religious liberty? If so, then that is not religious freedom but state theocracy.

    People who want to discriminate against gay people legally can’t do it in a public accommodation. People who want to discriminate against interracial couples also can’t do it in a public accommodation. That is the law. Yet, you are still free to go to your right wing religionist churches and treat minorities with contempt. That is your religious liberty.

    • Steven Jonathan says:

      JK105

      I would be very willing to have a civil debate with you, but it seems we don’t share a definition about what is civil. We will go with my definition on it not only because it is correct, but because it may lead to us finding common ground –
      it is permissible and even encouraged to discuss contentious points of disagreement.

      Let me give you an example- you believe same sex attraction is an innate characteristic in the same class as race. I make the claim that it is not. This is something we ought to discuss.

      It is not permissible to claim that your opponent is saying something he is not saying. Let me give you an example- you claim I am advocating a theocracy, and I am telling you that I am not. In a civil debate you allow your opponent to state his assertions, you don’t state them for him. If you are convinced that he as lying, as you suggest I may be, then the liar is disqualified from civil debate as well by the act of lying-

      So I can very well understand why you are so intense on this topic and the personal things you mentioned give sense to some of your passionate words. I would like to discuss these things with you but you really ought to take me at my word or disengage if you really think I am being dishonest.

      Points we ought to discuss- What the Pope says about homosexuality

      I haven’t dodged a point at all, I don’t see how you can assert the things you say about the Catholic Church and your specific points about hateful Christians are unfamiliar to me and it is impermissible to paint all Christians as “hateful” because they don’t support same-sex marriage- this is something we ought to discuss civilly.

      My silence on Roy Moore tells you nothing more then I don’t’ even know who that is. You ought not to say it means something it doesn’t mean.

      The Catholic men I hang out with are not hateful. I am telling you this and you are saying that this is not the case. I am not hateful to gay people- I object immoral activity- I would say the same to people who engage in heterosexual sex outside of the bonds of marriage, this is not hateful, this is Christian morality.

      If you would like a civil debate let’s take it one point at a time and make the effort to listen to what I say as I will do with you, rather than invent my intentions. You clearly have a lot to say, you are intelligent, and perhaps we could both stand to learn something here.

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