Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Posted by Jadon at 6:35 PM
As the Year Winds Down...
I have made plenty of mistakes in my life...more than I care to admit, but I dont know how many of them I would give up for perfection. I've learned too much from them.
I have loved plenty of people in my life...more than just romantic love..... and had I known the future would I have loved them the same? I don't know. Do I regret? Yeah, sometimes, but still I find myself unable to say I would change things.
How we live, creates who we are. What we believe, determines our future.
[via robyn's nest]
Posted by Jadon at 6:29 PM
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
In the meantime, I will try to welcome pain when it comes. Not with glee, no, but with as much willingness as I can muster. Some places are easier to walk through if one doesn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming, and beauty is easier to see in dark places if one’s eyes aren’t clenched shut.
[via Quotidian Light]
Posted by Jadon at 8:52 PM
In the face of such unthinkable tragedy, we fall silent. But silence will not help. Those of us who choose to believe in a diety are stunned and troubled. Those who believe that life has meaning are stunned and troubled. Stunned and troubled is what we feel, but the essential question is, "What will we do?"
[via Real Live Preacher]
from this post via emerging sideways
Posted by Jadon at 6:55 PM
Suggestion for the next disaster:
Blogs have brought this disaster on the other side of the world into our homes and offices in an entirely new and different way.[via Old Patriot's Pen]
The next big step for bloggers in emergency response situations is to build networks of blogs that can pinpoint specific requirements (food, water, clothing, transportation, medical help, emergency survivor contact, immunizations, etc.), and to be specific - "We need 14 doses of diptheria innoculation, 24 pairs of men's shorts (12 size 28, 10 size 30, 2 size 32), and ten cases of disposable diapers, size 12-24 pounds, in xyz village in Sri Lanka as soon as possible". Blogging, linked to people with cell phones, can provide exactly that kind of specific response, down to the individual level - on both ends. Donor and recipient can be matched, the material gathered at specified node points for shipment, and distributed through specified node points where it's needed. Transportation can be included in the equation by having airlines that are heading in that direction anyway accepting shipments for specific node points on a space-available basis. If there's not enough space available on airlines, contract shipments or military assistance can pick up the slack.
Posted by Jadon at 1:24 PM
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
About the devestation in Southeast Asia:
It's human nature to want to blame someone. I am already seeing it happening already - why isn't there a weather system? Why didn't the government do anything? Why didn't God do anything? Why wasn't a warning given? It's the Americans' fault - they didn't warn us! (Yes, I saw this comment in one blog. Why not the Brits or the French, I wonder? Or the Singaporeans? Hah.)[via Messy Christian]
Faced with evidence of our essential punyness compared to the world we live in, so many still feel the need to try to reassert control. And so anytime anything goes wrong in our society, somebody has to get sued. Because we have a right to a trouble-free life, and if anything intrudes on that trouble-free life, it's because someone wasn't doing their job. But the truth of the matter is, there is still a tremendous amount about this world that are outside of anyone's control. There's a big burp on the ocean floor, and many thousands die, just like that.[via Wheat and Chaff]
Posted by Jadon at 2:54 PM
Monday, December 27, 2004
Isn't it odd how Christmases change? When you're young, these holidays have an entirely different meaning. It's all about behaving yourself until the big payoff on Christmas morning. For most kids, it's about a relationship with that bearded do-gooder, Santa Claus. I never believed in him -- my parents chose instead of educate me on the "spirit" of Christmas, rather than its patron saint.
And I have mixed feelings about that. Yes, they wanted me to remember the more religious meanings behind the holidays -- and to save me the devastation of realizing the Claus didn't exist. But part of me still wishes I could have participated in that magic.
When you get past the whole Santa-Claus stage, you move onward to the what-cool-present-can-I -get-this-year stage. Then it's all about possessing whatever the marketplace deems as the "IN" present of the year.
Posted by Jadon at 5:35 PM
Unloading After Christmas
Face it: Today is a crappy day, isn't it. The malls, museums and movie theatres are crawling with angry, disappointed people and their angry, disappointed kids. Everywhere you look, there is no escape! Besides, aren't you still (just a little bit) angry because the Grinch spoiled your Christmas? ... because Santa left you a lump of coal in your stocking? ... that your holiday dinner drama turned your stomach? Bah, HUMBUG?! Well, I have a great solution for you...
[via Living the Scientific life]
Posted by Jadon at 4:53 PM
Posted by Jadon at 4:48 PM
Sunday, December 26, 2004
[a poem I wrote today]
in judgement we gather
face to face from many paths
to meet our shared part in reaching
a verdict beyond this body
to make room for agreement
between our petty differences
over ritual slaughter of fact
our host reckons we stop
to ponder how the blame and bargains
test our firm resolve to reconcile
outstanding issues that persist
in communion we submit
factions of our very best
made with such conviction at the table
right before us
some are loyal to the law
some just want to nullify
one does not belong
on balance, unjustified
so then we offer up
another round of arguements
prolonged by much objections
at the detail
it can leave us hanging by a thread
at the end of our rope
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Posted by Jadon at 2:38 PM
This Past Season:
Dec. 6: Went to Experience Christmas! at Elim Tabernacle. Was good and lively, as usual. Unexpectedly saw some friends I would never expect at this thing. Not only that, I went (with friends) to someone's place whom I am somewhat estranged (partially intentionally). Great stuff!
Dec. 12: Went to Forest Grove Community Church for Celebrate This!. Was more subdued, but relaxing. Must remember to be "inflated" more throughout the year. You can't threaten a balloon to be full.
Dec. 19: (a) went to Riverway Church's Make a Wish Come True: An Electric Christmas. If you want something unconventional, this would be it. Refreshing and engaging. Focused on hope and wishes.
(b) went to my old church the Saskatoon Church of God for Fear Not. Almost wasn't sure I'd go, but decided to venture out. Got out of my comfort zone. Some technical difficulties, but enjoyed the video cued with live action.
Posted by Jadon at 2:26 PM
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
What a mysterious thing that is this year, the idea of Christmas. I don't believe in the outright rejection of Christmas. It's part of culture, and I don't believe in a world that lives with that uniformity that would be our world without culture. In our prime we might feel we don't need it, only to forget that it made us who we are and God knows what we'd be without it. That kind of fake cynicism becomes all too real over time. Sophistocation is cheap, remember? It's innocence and wonder that's rare.
Posted by Jadon at 8:55 PM
The question of what it means to *experience* the moments of a good book, of laughing with children, of writing thoughtful letters and reminiscing over an old photo album is the one that needs to be kept in mind as we continue to be inundated with more of everything.
Posted by Jadon at 8:40 PM
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I wish I could say that it's because I'm such a generous and thoughtful person, and that's why it matters so much to me to give a nice gift. But I think there's something less pretty behind it, like needing approval and a deep rooted insecurity. Maybe it's a need to be thought very well of, to have people say "Oh isn't she such a generous and thoughtful person! Egad.
[via Feeble Knees]
Posted by Jadon at 8:43 PM
By CommonMan in The Door Magazine's Chat Closet
In a scaffolding
Overlooking a field
In the heart of winter
Everything is asleep
The field is dead and brown
The trees are skeletons
Standing against the grey skies and exposed
The plants and trees are asleep
A creek runs through the glade
Full from the rains
Telling anyone its story
If only there was one to listen
Cars and trucks rush by
Filled with anticipation
Of reaching their destination
But they are all asleep
The sentry looks around
And asks, "Who, who will listen?"
Who will listen to the wind,
Who will hear the creek’s story?
Not one stops, no one hears
They rush by on their way
Where are they going?
There is no threat here, yet I fear
They don’t understand
They don’t listen
They don’t love
They're all dead.
Posted by Jadon at 8:25 PM
'But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted "Merry Christmas", even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.'---Alfred Anderson, in Last survivor of 'Christmas truce' tells of his sorrow by Lorna Martin, The Observer
Posted by Jadon at 8:14 PM
Monday, December 20, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
By Ralph from The Door Magazine Chat Closet-- words in parentheses are supposed to be indented
Green and red lights fade
into a panoply of red, white and blue.
The Wal-Mart lot is jammed
with cars streaming through the artificial
roads in this Discount City where savings
are awarded on the platform backs
of the downtrodden workers, who make a fuck-you
grimace as they bear the cross of nail
polish, two for two, cheap cologne on sale -
(limited supply per store.)
Santa sits despondent
in an eggnog-and-gin coma, wondering
why he has sunk to the depths
of having redneck kids piss on him.
I question my own motives
(a man's heart is evil from his youth)
for coming to this place. Maybe
because I want to mock the lives
lived inside a big box, the surreal
land of scanner beeps and company TV
(like Pravda, only cheerier.)
Or perhaps I want to cry
out with joy and exultation at the prices
of incense and of myrrh
(cash, check, or credit?)
- after Campbell McGrath
Posted by Jadon at 2:36 PM
Friday, December 17, 2004
Peace on earth and good-will toward other human beings are the best ornaments of the season, and the ones for which I'll willingly reach out my hand in fragile hope and wonder this Christmas: in hope of grasping them more firmly and surely this year, and in wonder that they're possible at all despite the chaos we make of the season.
All the other ornaments can go back in the box.
[via Quotidian Light]
Posted by Jadon at 8:44 PM
Posted by Jadon at 8:43 PM
A wall is merely a bridge upright.
A bridge is merely a fallen wall.
Posted by Jadon at 5:12 PM
Someone who makes things trivial by being overly serious
Posted by Jadon at 1:19 PM
Agreeing to Disagree:
"You're wrong...but I'll let you be wrong."
Posted by Jadon at 1:16 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Being stupid and being dangerous is a volatile combination.
Posted by Jadon at 8:46 PM
Approaching Social Change and Tradition (cont.)
Part 1 demonstrates how focusing on social change at the expense of tradition can oversimplify the case for it, which does a disservice to both. However, this may not be only the fault of progressive activism, but also with traditional commentaries against change:
"... when tradition collides with social change, some traditions are rejected while others are retained. The process of determining which traditions are kept and which are abandoned is governed primarily not by reason but by complex cultural dynamics; the resulting social customs are often both unquestioned and unreasonable."(Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict: The Culture War between Traditionalism and Feminism, p.11)
Could traditional analysis be possibly worse? Let's explore this in more depth:
[Note: Unless otherwise, all quotes in Part 2 are from Are There Homosexual Saints? by Joe Bob Briggs in issue 190 of The Door Magazine]
Part 2: The Con Position
Joe Bob Briggs' Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to address the conflict within the Anglican Communion about homosexuality, particularly regarding the active gay bishop in the United States. It confronts the dynamics and issues stemming from this situation, ultimately offering a moderately traditional stance. The article first examines why American Anglicans "make up the rules as they go along" about homosexuality, compared with the rest of the Anglican dioceses. Why are there differences? After all, even in places where homosexuality is "more common and open than it is here", it is considered by Anglicans as legal outside the church but unacceptable within it. Briggs suggests that the accountability implied by the traditional notion of sin is resisted by Americans, with the most relaxed groups proposing that some sexual behavior be overlooked instead.
With Us or Against Us
So when and where should there be accountability? The article clearly states that it should NOT be enforced from outside the church, since it does not have the authority. Because it is not the religious arm of the state or just a registered charity, church standards have sole jurisdiction there. Moreover, Briggs says, the struggle is "not about power or social justice", but "about Biblical authority or divine revelation," so only Anglicans (in this case) are applicable anyways. The broader society need not intervene.
Although this clarifies where scrutiny must lie, it has two uneasy implications. First, if tradition or the church needs social reform, it must come from inside. Yet it is not clear what recourse is available when tradition may be deemed unnecessarily certain and infallible. Second, since the main issue concerns Biblical interpretation, worries about injustice may be dismissed prematurely. When would social change matter?
Regardless, a practicing homosexual Anglican, under current policy, would be required to stop (i.e. repent) or leave, since continuing homosexual activity would be paramount to insubordination. The church could not simply ignore such behavior, like it or not. To demonstrate how this can be handled, the article offers two examples. In one, the preacher in question was expelled from the Southern Baptists without a "mechanism for mercy". The other case concerned an Anglican bishop in England who "resigned in order to protect the communion", also indicating that he and his former partner had remained celibate since 1991 to live within church guidelines.
Yet this does not explain why certain individuals act out inappropriately here. (The article does not suggest any theories.) Do the responses deal with the motivations behind homosexuality or are they just shortsighted and inflexible? Moreover, perhaps some people stay or persist because they believe it is more complicated than is evident to others. The only options presented are certainly unsatisfactory to some and does not determine whether the church could be lacking in this area.
Erring on the Side of Tradition?
Despite this, Briggs emphasizes that the church must attend to each of its members by its own terms. It does not conform itself to current values to be relevant, but with past faithfulness to tradition for the sake of integrity. This is the crux of the matter, as even the Protestant Reformation aimed for a more authentic connection to history, not social change or innovation. There seems to be no viable alternative when shortcomings are possibly evident. Also, this does not prove if tradition is accurate in its assessments of wrongdoing, since it could be only partly correct or fully incorrect.
However, to evaluate the nature of sin and homosexuality, Briggs refers to Romans 1: 24-27, which is traditionally used in this case. It states that God allowed humanity to participate in futile and unproductive behavior (i.e. sin), in order to reap the consequences of their misguided focus on nature. In order to describe how erroneous and artificial this had become, the author uses acts towards the same sex to illustrate the irony, where humans try to go towards themselves (i.e."against nature") instead of moving towards and acknowledging God. "As such, it's the ultimate self-love."
Briggs notes that this is not strictly referring to homosexual acts. "The sin isn't homosexuality. The sin is regarding God as nothing." Therefore, the article suggests, if gays are cast out, then so should other sinners as well. Yet while other actions can be forgiven by not allowing them to become habits, the pivotal question is whether homosexuality is more than simply a distorted practice. Previous thought assumed it only referred to confused or reckless heterosexuals, but today it is viewed and treated differently.
Should the church respond accordingly? This depends on how much the traditional answer here could be modified in the face of new considerations. If the issues involved are seen as more complex and ambiguous than originally construed, then perhaps a reappraisal should occur. However, if tradition must prevail in spite of everything, then some discrepencies will emerge.
Take the Biblical passage mentioned earlier regarding homosexual and sinful behavior to start. Although the fact that the two activities are related to each other may lead some to conclude that all homosexuality is automatically sinful, this obscures two things. First, the fact that heterosexual acts are not mentioned in these particular verses does not necessarily mean that they are never used sinfully. Pursuing the other sex does not guarantee that it will be more effective. Second, although homosexual acts are considered a result of sin, it does not indicate if there are instances where it is not. Perhaps it is a conflicted expression at best, so conflating everything together gives a false picture. However, Briggs does not explore these options.
Convenience Over Change
In contrast, the article affirms the traditional perspective, which can be simpler and easier than the alternative. Briggs summarizes the conflict this way regarding the active gay bishop in America:
This may be a good or a bad thing as far as society is concerned, but the church is not society. The church has believed for 2000 years, with Paul, that homosexuality is something invented by God to reveal man's selfishness. Ordaining a bishop who says, "I intend to practice it continually," becomes, for the faithful, a rejection of God and an elevation of a "me first" gospel....Aside from what the church regards as a sin in itself, the whole typology of the office is perverted.This reveals the main points of contention about this issue within the Anglican Communion. First, the option of homosexuality as a lifestyle comes from a foreign source, which can not override Biblical or church authority. Second, church precedent does not permit such behavior, as the Bible portrays homosexuality as an illustration of self-absorption. Third, the church position would be devalued as a consequence of such rebellion. Therefore, there seems no need to change the traditional view.
The article Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to explain the tension about the practicing gay bishop in the States, offering a rationale for the traditional objections against any change. Yet it does not explain why this seems merely convenient instead of truly adequate. Moreover, it conveys social change as insufficient while ignoring the tendency of some to hide behind the church when it expresses potential prejudice. It also does not give any conditions under which change may be required when needed. At best, this article appears overconfident in its conclusions.
Caught in a Stalemate
These articles illustrate how difficult it can be to justify social change or tradition. The typical response tends to focus on one side while generally downplaying or dismissing the other, with a fairly insufficient result. It is easy to be complacent when we agree. Why does this happen so often? In essence, the appeals provided either way are ultimately fraught with compromises, since the circumstances are technically caught in a stalemate. This does not indicate that there are no real solutions to these problems, but that people want more fulfilling resolutions than there may really be. Let us proceed carefully.
Posted by Jadon at 7:57 PM
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
But can we call anyone a failure? We don't know ultimate purposes or ends, so how could anyone here make that judgement?
Posted by Jadon at 2:45 PM
A journey is only a mere aspect of a destination.
Posted by Jadon at 1:14 PM
things in spite of us = things because of us?
Posted by Jadon at 1:12 PM
Friday, December 10, 2004
Easy to mock, harder to change
Posted by Jadon at 8:33 PM
Thursday, December 09, 2004
"Rigidity arises from the attempt to achieve stability (security) through paralysis - if nothing changes, then everything will be all right. (Such rigidity is part of the popular caricature of the conservative, but how often do people of any stripe admit fundamental errors in their view of things?)--from The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Daniel Taylor
If you get out of step in a subculture you are often subtly made to feel if not crazy, then guilty, or stupid, or anything else that will pressure you back into the pack. And these feelings heighten if you assume that everyone else believes what they do for unimpeachable reasons, while your difficulties merely evidence your own weakness, recalcitrance, or bad manners.
Sometimes that may be the case, but often reflective people are out of step because they sense that something is not right. They may be confused themselves. but they should be listened to.
Posted by Jadon at 8:51 PM
Love can be more demanding. After all one can be compassionate towards someone, understand their feelings, "feel with" him, but just not care for him much. Applying the term LOVE may imply requiring yourself not only to understand him, but to actively, well, love him. Just make sure it's really HIM that you are loving, not an idealized abstraction.[via A Progressive Christian]
If you interpret "compassion" in a manner like mercy, you might import a hierarchical view of feeling compassionate to those beneath you.
Posted by Jadon at 8:36 PM
Reference re Same-Sex Marriage
IN THE MATTER OF Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26;
AND IN THE MATTER OF a Reference by the Governor in Council concerning the Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, as set out in Order in Council P.C. 2003-1055, dated July 16, 2003
Indexed as: Reference re Same-Sex Marriage
Neutral citation: 2004 SCC 79.
File No.: 29866.
2004: October 6, 7; 2004: December 9.
Present: McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron JJ.
REFERENCE BY GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL
Constitutional law -- Distribution of legislative powers -- Marriage -- Solemnization of marriage -- Federal proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes -- Proposed legislation providing that marriage for civil purposes lawful union of two persons to exclusion of all others -- Legislation providing also that nothing in Act affecting freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages not in accordance with their religious beliefs -- Whether proposed legislation intra vires Parliament -- Constitution Act, 1867, ss. 91(26), 92(12).
Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Equality rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether proposed legislation consistent with guarantees of equality rights and freedom of religion -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 2(a), 15(1).
Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether guarantee of freedom of religion protects religious officials from being compelled by state to perform same-sex marriage contrary to their religious beliefs -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 2(a).
Courts -- Supreme Court of Canada -- Reference jurisdiction -- Discretion not to answer reference questions -- Whether Court should decline to answer reference questions -- Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26, s. 53.
Pursuant to s. 53 of the Supreme Court Act, the Governor in Council referred the following questions to this Court:
1.Is the annexed Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?
2.If the answer to question 1 is yes, is section 1 of the proposal, which extends capacity to marry to persons of the same sex, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?
3. Does the freedom of religion guaranteed by paragraph 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect religious officials from being compelled to perform a marriage between two persons of the same sex that is contrary to their religious beliefs?
4.Is the opposite-sex requirement for marriage for civil purposes, as established by the common law and set out for Quebec in section 5 of the Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars and to what extent?
The operative sections of the proposed legislation read as follows:
1. Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.
2. Nothing in this Act affects the freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.
Held : Question 1 is answered in the affirmative with respect to s. 1 of the proposed legislation and in the negative with respect to s. 2. Questions 2 and 3 are both answered in the affirmative. The Court declined to answer Question 4.
Posted by Jadon at 7:17 PM
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Sometimes groups reorganize foolishly, making both more weaker and inflexible.
The best reasons for groups to reorganize (including separating) are:
Strength (of the whole group)
Flexibility (of the whole group)
Posted by Jadon at 8:05 PM
Monday, December 06, 2004
Too often, I think, humans are polar creatures. I don't mean we walk around on all fours in really cold climates. I mean we tend to think about the world just as though it's black and white, or some shade of gray. We like to think of things as being either this, or that, or somewhere on the road between those two points.
That would be fine in a one dimensional universe. However, sometimes it pays to realize that we don't live in a one dimensional universe. I think that's hard, but we should endeavor to do that--to imagine a multidimensional world.
[via a badchristian blog]
Posted by Jadon at 5:55 PM
...it is always tempting to just talk and simply overrun people with clever arguments and things which maybe aren’t quite true, or not quite remembered well. It is much harder to say ‘I don’t know’, or ‘I need to look into that’. It is much harder to take the time to do the research. It is much harder to argue in such a way as to uplift those who disagree with me, in a way that informs and gives them the benefit of the doubt, in a way that doesn’t use cheap tricks like straw-man arguments and the like. It is easier to just talk, but it is much more loving to care enough to argue well.[via Just Two Guys]
Posted by Jadon at 2:34 PM
When you view others as more than they are, they see you as less than you could be.
Posted by Jadon at 10:05 AM
Saturday, December 04, 2004
"I'm thankful life isn't fair. Because if life was fair, there'd be justice, and that would mean I'd be dead. I know myself too well. I'm thankful I don't have what I wanted. I'm not handsome, and don't have a lot of money. It reduces my options. I'd probably fail every test that confronted me. Every breath is a gift from God. If you have food or clothes, you have what you need."
- Ole Anthony, publisher of The Door Magazine
Posted by Jadon at 11:49 AM
[a poem I wrote today]
cutting lines over and over
thinly etched, deeply sliced
almost anorexic without fault
just marking rows from strife
made in order, to divide
like fences between neighbours
(for proper separation)
or wrinkles in perfection
measured and ruled across time
until the skin is breached
cracked instead of healed
so it appears at first
drawing life to the surface
frozen after into clots
with only arctic winds of change
and discontented winter.
Approaching Social Change and Tradition
[note: unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in Part 1 are from Warren Postlewaite's article Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash in Planet S]
Social change can be more stressful when engaged with tradition. It also pressures us to adjust. Yet, while social change and tradition are complex and ambivalent (at best), how it's approached is not. The usual tendency is to make things simpler and easier than they really are. This results in otherwise decent perspectives becoming mediocore and unhelpful.
To get a sense of this, let's consider two articles discussing issues of homosexuality. Both of them deal with social change and tradition from different perspectives.
Part One: The Pro Position
The first article we'll be examining is Warren Postlewaite's Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash. This article focuses on the struggle for gay rights against meddling from government and religion. It starts off by describing how homosexuality became more accepted and legalized by the Canadian government, with the newest wrinkle being gay marriage. Postlewaite states that "the case for gay marriage is simple: Equal treatment under the law." * So in time the courts will oblige and make marriage available to gays and lesbians. Yet, the article reminds us, all this social change doesn't come easy, and the fight still continues. "The case against [gay marriage] is led by the Church, or to be more fair and accurate perhaps, unrefined religious doctrine. What is a judiciary to do?" *
Too Negative? Too Easy?
With that introduction, the article then turns to the opposition to gay marriage, starting with how the "anti-gay avant-garde" argues against gay relations. Proof-texts from the Bible are crudely used as their "manifesto" to resist homosexuality and same-sex marriage. For example, take Leviticus 18:22, which condemns same-sex relations as an abomination. This type of negative press can fuel "some of the most hateful anti-gay speech and propaganda", which avoids the broader, gentler context of the issue.
To augment his concern, Postlewaite tries to demonstrate the absurdity of this particularly negative reference by comparing same-sex relations with discouraged cultural practices (like tattoos or eating pork). Since the latter are not prohibited now, why should the former be? Otherwise, shouldn't tattoos or eating pork be outlawed too? Yet by comparing two different categories, he undermines his point unnecessarily. (Try the previous argument using incest instead of same-sex relations, and see how it comes across.)
Although it is easy to see how being narrow and negative is counterproductive here, it is unclear how to manage negative or hostile elements of tradition effectively concerning this issue, since homosexuality was not understood the way it is now. The article does not indicate anything specifically. Moreover, there is no indication why a more positive response is required, other than it had not been that way beforehand and seems inadequate because of the struggle for gay rights. Either way, it definitely seems not as easy as it looks.
Change Good, Tradition Bad
After deeming "unrefined religion" * lacking, the article focuses on the relations between "traditional Christian precepts" and the "conservative legal culture". Postlewaite determines that the church hinders and discourages the state from initiating social change, because they are too similar. Therefore, the courts do not reappraise their "assumptions, prejudices, or practices". Over time though, change is inevitable and so tradition must lose out to reform.
How does that apply here? The article explains:
"Like the anti-divorce and anti-abortion lobbies before it, the current backlash against same-sex marriage has come about precisely because of the vast sea in change in public values, reflected in the latest [Canadian] Appellate courts' decisions. Thirty years ago, the Vatican wouldn't have bothered going on television to say that homosexuality was sinful. After all, who would have argued with that? All these rearguard actions reflect the increasing desperation of religious and social traditionalists in a modern, secular world spinning increasingly out of their control." *So, just as tradition is depicted as universally bad because of a restrictive understanding of homosexuality, social change is deemed universally good because it reflects a relaxed attitude toward the issue. What the article doesn't make clear is how to integrate both groups with the complex and ambivalent reality of these circumstances. Traditionalists may see more mixed consequences with social change, especially looser configurations in relationships, yet the traditional solution could be insufficient anyways. However, while social change may be warranted, it may be more difficult than the courts (in this example) could resolve.
Optimistic and Simple
While Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains an optimistic expression of hope for gay rights, the way it construes and handles tradition sabotages this message to some degree. This is partly indicated by the flawed rebuttal of a negative Biblical reference, and using unflattering language only about tradition throughout the article. Moreover, the presumption that social change is the only response to the issue of gay rights and gay marriage is just as easy and simple as the tradition portrayed here. All in all, Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains enough significant problems to make it unsatisfying and unimpressive.
[End of Part One..."Turn Tape Over"...errr...stay tuned for Part Two]
Posted by Jadon at 10:57 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Before the Next Election
Should I be hesitant? The thing is, I don't buy the theory that Bush won by courting the "traditional" marriage supporters; rather, I feel that he won despite of it. The demographics are changing in the States such that a person can be both pro-gay and pro-war in Iraq (and vice versa) and to witness this political upheaval is encouraging. Left and Right have no meaning anymore and now's the time where we demarcate the new divisions.[via BumfOnline]
Posted by Jadon at 8:47 PM
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Post-Election Analysis, XV
[Hereafter to be called "Before the Next Election"]
what exactly "the division in America" really means. Is the conventional wisdom regarding the nature, source, and extent of the division in America accurate?[via The Hopeful Cynic]
The contemporary American political process naturally demands a certain level of division.In every election competing candidates offer competing or opposing positions and visions for the future; and in every election only one candidate can win. That's the way it works. Why does this election demonstrate some kind of unique divide?
Posted by Jadon at 7:07 PM
Finding bargains without considering the price
Posted by Jadon at 7:02 PM