Obama Wins, As Does Anti-Gay Bigotry

President Obama it is. Cool. I wanted Hillary Clinton, but I’ll take what I can get. And even though I’m one of those people who says things like, “If you’re not cynical, you’re not paying attention,” I confess to being moved by Obama’s victory speech.

Can he lead? Who knows? The braying nincompoops from the National Review notwithstanding, I see little evidence that Obama is some sort of left-wing ideologue (not that I hold that against a candidate). In fact, my great fear is that he values compromise and pragmatism so greatly that he will bend over backward to placate the right-wingers.

That said, it really does not take much for a President to win my support. I want flaming left-wing judges. After that, I’m happy if my President can avoid doing anything colossally stupid. You know, like starting unnecessary wars with insufficient planning, staffing government relief agencies with incompetent cronies, pursuing economic ploicies specifically designed to redistribute wealth upwards, and standing in the way of scientific advance at every opportunity.

Alas, there were several reasons for being something less than euphoric with how everything turned out. Our friends in Minnesota seem to have dropped the ball, reelecting the odious Michelle Bachmann and apparently reelecting the equally odious Norm Coleman (he defeated Al Franken by less than 600 votes. There will be a recount, but I’m not optimistic).

On the subject of gay rights it seems that Florida, Arizona and California remain majority bigot. Even when I have strong feelings about a subject I go to great lengths to try to understand how it looks from the other side. That’s one of the reasons I spend so much time hanging out with creationists, after all. But gay marriage has defeated me completely. Who could object to recognizing gay relationships with a handful of legal rights? In what conceivable universe does such a thing threaten traditional marriage?

But why dwell on the negative. Obama flipped a whole bunch of red states. (I still can’t believe he won Indiana). Elizabeth Dole lost. Anti-abortion measures failed in South Dakota and Colorado. Washington state’s Democratic governor Christine Gregoire won her rematch against Republican Dino Rossi. (In 2004 Gregoire won only after several recounts and a court battle. (Appreantly the state has gotten over it).

In other news, I agree with the common sentiment that McCain’s concession speech was very classy. I was kind of hoping he would say something bitter or partisan. Oh well. The fact remains he ran a sleazy, dishonest, vacuous campaign pulled straight from the Republican playbook. Don’t believe anyone who says this race was never winnable for him. Of course he could have won. Just imagine if he had chosen a competent VP candidate, or had responded to the economic crisis in some sensible way, or didn’t make a fool of himself trying to attack Obama during the debates. McCain lost this election because he sold his soul trying to appeal to the worst in people, and will now end his career in much-deserved disgrace.

I suspect we have heard the last of Sarah Palin. Conceivably she could become a senator from Alaska, but that’s as far as she goes. She will never be a serious candidate for President or VP, and she will not become chairperson of the RNC or anything like that. The only thing she brings to to the table is an utter lack of conscience and a near perfect ignorance regarding national and international politics. As the old saying goes, “Beauty fades. Dumb is forever.” Her main contribution to this campaign was to embarrass McCain at every opportunity, cost the Republicans votes among moderates, and to make Alaskans look very foolish indeed.

Classless as ever, the folks over at National Review are already bashing Obama for his choice of Rahm Emmanuel as his Chief of Staff:

Obama’s apparent selection of Rahm Emanuel for White House chief of staff is an extremely disconcerting (if not wholly surprising) first indication on the “which Obama will we get” question. It suggests both that he wants to be ruthless and partisan and that he does not have a clear sense of how the White House works.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Ruthless, partisan, and confused, all based on his choice of Chief of Staff. Pathetic.

While I was slumming over at NR, I also got a kick out of this:

Down-to-earth, Fargo-talking Palin was a missed opportunity because almost immediately for some reason she was served up to the DC press in gottcha interviews and caricatured as a hockey-mom bimbo by NY-DC grandees of her own party.

Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were not exactly asking hardball questions. Palin made a fool of herself all on her own. When your answers to easy questions are so bad that Saturday Night Live can not make them any funnier, something more than bad campaign advice is in play.

So that’s it for now. Let’s endure two more months of Bush, and then see if the new guy can actually acomplish something.

Comments

  1. #1 steppen wolf
    November 5, 2008

    Hi there, there are still provisional ballots to be counted, and as those are 3-4 mil and the difference between yes and no is only 400,000, this might not be over yet.

  2. #2 Rich Lawler
    November 5, 2008

    Nicely put.

    I’m still crossing my fingers on some recounts for Prop 8 and the Coleman/Franken race.

    The whole gay marriage thing is such a non-issue. Like you, I am boggled that it still surfaces every so often.

    Up here in Massachusetts, through referendum, we managed to beat down some libertarian nonsense about eliminating state income tax, reduce criminal penalties for pot possession, and ban dog racing. A sensible trifecta if there ever was one.

    On the whole, I’m positively giddy that 2900 days of Republican vice-Presidential “leadership” are soon to be gone.

  3. #3 Greg Esres
    November 5, 2008

    Of course he could have won.

    I agree. If he had not kowtowed to the religious right, I would certainly have considered him. As it was, I would have voted for almost anyone who ran against him.

    All I really ask for in a candidate is a little character, just being true to themselves. I would have considered voting for Bob Dole in previous elections or Al Gore, if they hadn’t tried to be something they were not during the latter part of the campaign. That shows their handlers are in charge, rather than the candidate, and I don’t respect that.

  4. #4 Jason Rosenhouse
    November 5, 2008

    steppen wolf -

    Well, here’s hoping!

  5. #5 Simea Mirans
    November 5, 2008

    I was puzzled by the opposition to gay marriage too, until I read this comment by A. Columbo in favor of the ban, on the MSNBC poll:

    I don’t want my kids to have to decide what their sexual orientation is. They have enough to worry about.

    Now it all makes sense. Who would impose arduous choices on their kids? All we need now is a constitutional ban on puberty.

  6. #6 Pierce R. Butler
    November 5, 2008

    Emmanuel Rahm for years has been the poster boy for corruption within the Democratic Party – sort of the Mitch McConnell of the center-right.

    If Obama had any progressive instincts at all, the only place Emmanuel Rahm would have on his appointments short-list would be as ambassador to some island whose high point is about one foot above sea level.

  7. #7 J. J. Ramsey
    November 6, 2008

    Pierce R. Butler: “Emmanuel Rahm for years has been the poster boy for corruption within the Democratic Party”

    Link, please?

  8. #8 Jonathan Lubin
    November 6, 2008

    On the appropriateness of Palin as vp: The LA Times today quotes (via Fox News!) someone on the inside of McCain’s campaign who reported that Gov. Palin thought that Africa was a country rather than a continent.

  9. #9 Pierce R. Butler
    November 6, 2008

    J. J. Ramsey: I’ve been looking for the one story that sums it all up about Emanuel, and so far haven’t found it.

    Short version: as head of the Dem. Congressional Committee, he has consistently declined to support promising anti-war candidates, but instead recruited pro-war millionaires. He’s been an ardent promoter of Bush’s wars, the militarization of the Mexico border, and the military-industrial complex in all its facets.

    Here’s one well-put put-down: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1118-34.htm. For more – and so as not to overload this comment with URLs – I suggest you go to progressive news sites such as commondreams.org, truthout.org, firedoglake.org, etc, and search for his name.

    Mostly you’ll find short allusions such as this, from http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/10/23/dear-speaker-pelosi/ -

    … of the 20 House Democrats who vote with the Bush Administration most frequently in tough roll call votes, 10 are freshmen recruited by Rahm Emanuel.

    BTW, if by “corruption” you read “stuffs his own pockets”, I have no information on that and regret the implication. I meant “corruption” in the sense of “pro-oligarchy and pro-Bush” – for which context I do think it’s the right word.

  10. #10 Robert O'Brien
    November 6, 2008

    I want flaming left-wing judges.

    There is a more succinct word for those: frauds.

    On the subject of gay rights it seems that Florida, Arizona and California remain majority bigot.

    Where “bigot” is defined as:

    One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.

    Who could object to recognizing gay relationships with a handful of legal rights?

    If gays want to “marry,” then they need to play by the same rules as everyone else with a cause and pass an amendment. Glorified pettifoggers, otherwise known as left-wing judges, do not get to invent “rights” out of thin air.

  11. #11 Free Radical
    November 6, 2008

    As usual, the problem here is that liberals and conservatives have no real understanding of the arguments being made by the other side. Liberals see marriage as the state acknowledging a long-term relationship between two individuals in love. That’s why you get quotes like this one, from San Francisco’s mayor: “You decided to live your life out loud. You fell in love and you said ‘I do.’ Tonight, we await a verdict.” We think this is what marriage means, and wonder why conservatives have to be such jerks.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, see the world and the institution of marriage through completely different eyes. They see marriage as explicitly procreative – it is a pact between two people that states their intent to reproduce and create a stable home for one or more offspring. The key here is that this is not a secret – they say it ALL THE TIME. For example, this from Jeff Flint, who the LA Times calls a Prop 8 strategist: “I think the voters were thinking, well, if it makes them happy, why shouldn’t we let gay couples get married. And I think we made them realize that there are broader implications to society and particularly the children when you make that fundamental change that’s at the core of how society is organized, which is marriage.” There it is, right at the end – the “core of how society is organized.” In other words, the basic social unit is the nuclear family – whose primary purpose is not “love,” but “organizing society.”

    A lot of conservative “marriage protection” activists, then, are truly not trying to be jerks – they see a marriage as the inauguration of a procreative family unit, and therefore totally irrelevant to gays (or to love, for that matter). Having never, ever thought of marriage as anything else, they wonder why WE’RE trying to be jerks and tear society down around their heads.

    Until the two sides understand better the argument they’re having, we’re never going to be able to really resolve it. I have a blog post that goes into this in greater detail.

  12. #12 Collin Brendemuehl
    November 6, 2008

    The gay marriage is not so minor an issue that it only means the granting of a certificate. There are other more significant concerns.
    1) In Mass., in two matters, the presence of homosexual marriage has meant (a) the reduction of religious liberty and (b) the reduction of parental rights in education.
    2) In Calif. the teachers union still gave $1M to try to defeat the measure. The union thought it necessary to make this an educational curriculum matter. It’s not about simple interpersonal tolernace but about the reduction of Christian morality in the lives of students. Nothing less.
    Yes, homosexual marriage does affect straight marriage and family. It has in Mass. and it would have in Ca, Fl, and Az. So while some, Jason notwithstanding, call us “bigot” I would suggest an alternative, that the virtue of religious bigotry is behind the movement.

    “Conservatives” see marriage through history, culture, and natural law. To give up the definition of the term to the courts or legislators is a violation of historic precedent. To bypass natural law is to bypass one of our nation’s founding principles. To those who want a nation governed by “science” and “reason”, with a liberal bent and without any relgious influence, I’ll suggest that “scientific atheism” has been attempted and failed miserably. Not even John Lennon could go back if he wanted to.

  13. #13 CommiusRex
    November 6, 2008

    Oh Colin… You are a very silly man.
    In what way has gay marriage reduced religious liberty or parental rights in education? Be specific.
    And on your point 2) – you are aware that it’s unconstitutional to bring religion into public schools, aren’t you? “Christian morality” belongs in people’s homes, or in churches. Not in school.
    And please – “natural law”? What the hell is that supposed to be then? Or do you mean the rules set out in your big book o’ bronze-age myths? Read your bible often? Plenty of marriages in there that didn’t consist of one man and one woman.
    Ultimately, the difference is that supporters of gay marriage want everyone to have the same rights under the law. opponents of gay marriage want the right to discriminate enshrined in legislation. From a civil rights perspective, this is just as bad as being against interracial marriage. Do you think that’s a bad thing too? Idiot.

  14. #14 Free Radical
    November 6, 2008

    I have a couple questions, Collin.

    1) Can you be more specific about the ways in which gay marriage has meant the reduction of religious liberty and parental rights?

    2) When you mention that “‘scientific atheism has been attempted and failed miserably,” can you tell us what regime or regimes you mean?

  15. #15 Jason Rosenhouse
    November 6, 2008

    Free Radical –

    If gay marriage opponents were really motivated by the idea that marriage is inextricably linked to the idea of procreation, then they would not allow marriages between people past child bearing age. Nor would they allow marriage between people who for some medical reason are unable to bear chldren. And they would argue that people who get married but then decide not to have kids ar edamaging the institution of marriage by doing so. They don’t do any of those things.

  16. #16 mufi
    November 6, 2008

    CommiusRex wrote: Read your bible often? Plenty of marriages in there that didn’t consist of one man and one woman.

    Indeed, although the Bible offers more textual support to Mormon polygamists than it does to homosexuals (to put it mildly).

    And, particularly in the Old Testament (or TaNaKh, in Hebrew), the Bible says little, if anything, about Natural Law and says a lot about Divine Will. However, the former concept was adapted from Aristotle by the Christian Church Fathers and later passed on to Enlightenment thinkers, like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, who restored it to its more secular form.

    That said, while there is a secular precedent in American history for defending legal positions on the basis of Natural Law, it is, in my opinion, an out-dated one with little more going for it than religious appeals to Divine Will or Scripture.

    For instance, as previous comments here illustrate, it is by no means clear to everyone (especially, in my experience, to non-religious individuals): (a) what makes homosexual relationships “unnatural”; and (b) even one agrees to some definition of “unnatural” (e.g. “deviating from the norm”), why they should then be deemed unethical, let alone unlawful.

    Situations like these have led me to conclude that Natural Law arguments tends to be little more than attempts to rush past serious ethical deliberation so as to claim absolute moral authority over others.

    Nice try, Colin, but it just won’t float.

    mufi

  17. #17 tresmal
    November 6, 2008

    Free Radical, do you mind if I answer the questions you asked Collin for him?
    1) No.
    2) He thinks communism is “scientific atheism”.

  18. #18 Eric Thomson
    November 6, 2008

    The first joyous Presidential election in 12 years. What a relief. I supported Obama from the start not because of any policy issues (indeed, I slightly prefer Hillary on policy), but because I was sick of the Democratic party losing because they picked people with zero charisma. Policy is necessary but not sufficient, and Obama is a great demonstration. Hopefully Democrats will remember that.

    Just think, if Hillary had been nominated, no Palin. If no Palin, McCain would likely have had a much better showing. Fewer moderate conservatives would have jumped ship.

    It is fun reading the arguments about the primary way back when on your blog. I basically said, pick Obama because Hillary is too polarizing and uncharasmatic, that candidate selection is a constraint satisfaction problem, not a choice based on a single dimension. Roy Niles went ballistic on me. Good times.

  19. #19 Jason Rosenhouse
    November 6, 2008

    Eric Thomson –

    It’s hard to say what would have happened if Hillary had been the nominee. Chaos theory and all that. She brought clear weaknesses, but clear strengths as well. I was skeptical of Obama’s ability to win, and as I remarked in the post I think McCain had as much to do with losing this as Obama did with winning it.

    But who cares! It’s all water under the bridge. For the first time in eight years this country managed to make the right decision, and by a considerable margin. Only thing to do now is to wait for the inevitable heartbreak and disappointment.

  20. #20 Free Radical
    November 6, 2008

    Jason,

    I think you’re overlooking a couple points. First of all, nearly all state marriage laws state that a marriage will be considered null and void if not sexually consummated; remember that conservatives consider the exclusive purpose of sexual intercourse to be procreation. Such a law, then – particularly in a conservative state – is tantamount to a statement that your spouse cannot reproduce with you. Some state marriage laws include specifically procreative language to emphasize this point.

    I offer a couple of quotes from the Catholic Church’s rules on annulment. This example is imperfect, I realize, since Catholic marriage and state marriage are not the same; remember, of course, that the Church concedes no such thing, nor do most members of other Christian denominations.

    “GROUNDS FOR ANNULMENT:

    You or your spouse did not know that marriage is a permanent relationship between a man and a woman ordered toward the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.

    You or your spouse married intending, either explicitly or implicitly, to deny the other’s right to sexual acts open to procreation.”

    Remember also the culture from which these people come. Relatively few “marriage protection” activists will ever have known anyone who got married and openly decided not to have kids, or who got married despite pre-existing knowledge of a medical condition preventing procreation (indeed, having concealed such a condition from your spouse is ANOTHER grounds for annulment). These people tend to get married young and have a lot of kids, and they probably WOULD think the people you describe were damaging the institution – if those people ever appeared on TV. To them, the world is divided neatly into people who want to support the institution, and people who want to tear it down altogether.

    Take a look at this picture of the Prop 8 supporters celebrating. This is a crowd that REALLY thought something was at stake – not simply the happiness of some strangers, but the very structure of society. Is it really productive to continue ignoring their argument simply because we think we’ve already won it? Clearly, we haven’t.

  21. #21 Free Radical
    November 6, 2008

    tresmal -

    Certainly I think you’ve predicted Collin’s answers correctly (at least the second one); I was just hoping to really get into it with him. Probably too much to ask.

    I think he’s certainly right that communism – at least Soviety communism – included scientific atheism as a core philosophy; I simply deny that a person (or regime) cannot be one without the other. Scientific atheists are not all Stalinists any more than meth addicts are all Hitlerists. The conflation is an unfounded caricature.

  22. #22 windy
    November 6, 2008

    “Conservatives” see marriage through history, culture, and natural law.

    What does this crystal ball tell you about the time before the church took over marriage?

  23. #23 cwfong
    November 6, 2008

    One poster above stated, if Hillary had been nominated, no Palin? And then fewer conservatives would have jumped ship?

    But it’s just as reasonable to argue that Hillary’s nomination would have made Palin seem even more of a viable choice for McCain. And the unpredicted (at least by the voting public) stock market debacle would have helped Hillary just as much as it clearly helped Obama.

    So the claim that this poster had picked Obama because he foresaw the circumstances that led to his election is a bit disingenuous (putting it kindly), since he really didn’t foresee the factor that made the difference, which was the sudden economic downturn.
    Not one of nature’s predictable purposes unfortunately.

  24. #24 Free Radical
    November 6, 2008

    windy -

    Unfortunately, there is no such time. Church has only seemed to “take over” state marriage because separation of church and state is a brand new concept to which only modern churches have needed to respond.

    Premodern religion, almost without exception, permeated society to a degree historians are only recently coming to recognize – there would be no reason for a state institution to be explicitly religious, because ALL state institutions were explicitly religious. Governments were divinely ordained, social structure was divinely instituted, and nobody ever asked: “does God’s law apply to this situation?”

    At risk of sounding repetitive, I have a couple of essays at my blog that discuss this subject further. If you’re interested in calling me crazy, give ‘em a look.

  25. #25 Collin Brendemuehl
    November 6, 2008

    In Mass., two thing happened.
    1 – When homosexual marriage was legalized, the RC church was told that it had to place foster children into homosexual homes. No accommodation was made and the church was taken out of a normally responsible public service. Their ability to interact with society, framed by their beliefs, was restricted by the state. The state could have made an accommodation but chose otherwise.
    2 – The Parkers were not informed of the homosexual education given to their children. Why? Becuase, according to the state, if it is legal then there is no controversy. Religious objections were summarily dismissed, along with parental involvement in education.
    * I submit that the same loss of liberty will expand proportionately with the expansion of homosexual marriage.

    Natural Law is reflected in our Declaration of Independence: “Nature and Nature’s God” is clear. I trust you’ve read it.

    You can find natural law even in the work of socialists as well as constitutionalists. Before he left socialism Leo Strauss wrote a whole book about it, but dealt with it in terms of “natural right.” In principle it is part and parcel of both the Left and the Right. For Marx what was natural was (a) materialism and (b) the (social) dialectic. All else was subject to these ruling principles.

    Marriage was part of common law, whether w/in or w/out any church. That ought to be easy enough.

    But, alas. CommiusRex does not know how to argue from anothers’ framework. Seems your logic is ruled by straw.
    “From a civil rights perspective, this is just as bad as being against interracial marriage. Do you think that’s a bad thing too? Idiot.”
    Problem is, it’s not a “civil rights” issue, else that brother and sister in Miss. a couple of decades ago would also be allowed by the same principle. The term has become so broad that anything not allowed is now a “civil rights” issue. It’s a sad abuse of rights.

    There’s plenty to read on Scientific Atheism and Government:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=scientific+atheism+as+government

    Enjoy yourselves.

  26. #26 tresmal
    November 6, 2008

    @ collin:”1 – When homosexual marriage was legalized, the RC church was told that it had to place foster children into homosexual homes. No accommodation was made and the church was taken out of a normally responsible public service. Their ability to interact with society, framed by their beliefs, was restricted by the state. The state could have made an accommodation but chose otherwise.”
    Hypothetically if a church was biased against blacks and the state told said church that they would have to treat black foster children the same way they treated whites would that be a loss of religious liberty?
    “The Parkers were not informed of the homosexual education given to their children. Why? Becuase, according to the state, if it is legal then there is no controversy. Religious objections were summarily dismissed, along with parental involvement in education.”
    What the hell is “homosexual education”?

  27. #27 windy
    November 6, 2008

    Unfortunately, there is no such time. Church has only seemed to “take over” state marriage because separation of church and state is a brand new concept to which only modern churches have needed to respond.

    I didn’t claim that church took over the modern concept of ‘state’ marriage. I mean that it gradually took over traditional marriage. For example in medieval Sweden, the traditional wedding and the church wedding existed side-by-side. The latter didn’t become compulsory until 1734! So why should this redefinition be set in stone?

    Your position may be a good strategic one for the US, but from an European perspective there may be no need to retreat that far.

  28. #28 Collin Brendemuehl
    November 7, 2008

    tresmal,
    You keep changing the subject. Homosexual marriage is not a civil rights issue.
    “Homosexual education” is (a) the removal of any stigma, even religious objection, attached to the behavior and (b) the propagation of the idea that it is both acceptable and promotable. (A) came about when the state declared it non-controversial, thus removing parental rights in the direction of their children’s *moral* education. (B) is nothing more than an inducement to behavior.

  29. #29 Eric Thomson
    November 7, 2008

    cwfong said:
    So the claim that this poster had picked Obama because he foresaw the circumstances that led to his election is a bit disingenuous (putting it kindly), since he really didn’t foresee the factor that made the difference, which was the sudden economic downturn.

    I did not made such a claim. My claim was that I wanted Obama because he was more likeable than Hillary. This is clearly important, and a point I hope the dems don’t forget by picking another Dukakis, Kerry, Gore, or The Tin Man.

    I think it is likely McCain wouldn’t have picked Palin if it were Hillary. He didn’t pick her until the Dem convention started. Of course it is silly to actually argue about such things: McCain would probably say he’d pick her no matter what, and we’d argue about whether that was true. Blah blah.

    I agree with Jason’s response: of course we don’t know if Hillary would have pulled it off. I’d like to think so, but remember this is the country that elected Bush in 2004. It is time to celebrate and bask in the pleasure of a Dem win, and the old arguments about Hillary seem trivial now. That really was my point.

  30. #30 jmc
    November 7, 2008

    Collin Brendemuehl, your information on the Massachusetts Catholic adoption agency is inaccurate. When the Church refused to continue placing children into same-sex homes, they were no longer eligible for state funding since they were violating non-discrimination laws. The issue would be the same if same-sex marriage had never been legalized. Church leaders decided to discontinue the practice despite the charity’s board voting to maintain their open placement policy.

  31. #31 Free Radical
    November 7, 2008

    Windy,

    You raise a good point. However, I think the problem is that in most cases even traditional marriage was explicitly procreative, often arranged, and usually for social and economic benefit. Find me a premodern traditional marriage that was offered to same-sex couples, even in a comparatively tolerant society, and I may be forced to revise my position somewhat.

    As to your second point, I suspect that European countries are more fertile ground in that they are liberal enough to revise traditional marriage, and secular enough to divorce it from church marriage. The United States is really neither; we are still substantially a center-right Christian nation, wherein the concept of marriage is too culturally and historically loaded to be useful. I wouldn’t think of it as retreat – I would think of it as disarming our opponents. But even so, really good points.

    Collin – what about the hundreds of times religious spiritualism has been used as a basis for government? In many, many cases such states have been disastrous failures, and by modern standards I would argue not one has been up to snuff from a civil rights perspective. Does it make sense to comb over all states that embraced scientific atheism with a fine-toothed comb will giving a pass to all states whose beliefs were in opposition?

  32. #32 Rich Lawler
    November 7, 2008

    I don’t think the Roman Catholic Church has a pot to piss in when it comes to looking after the well-being of children in Massachusetts. Let’s see, where will our children be more safe, a gay home or in the hands of a Catholic priest? Hmmm?

    As to what is taught in the classroom regarding the “homosexual agenda,” I guess there is a few ways to look at it. Education is about increasing our rational understanding of reality; this can be done through scientific means, collective discussions, learning of facts, structured pedogogical experiences, fieldtrips, whatever… Hence if a book illuminates a portion of reality (for example, the fact that bacterial resistance to antibiotics has increased over the years), and that book is adopted by the school system, to me this just says that education is doing its job.

    The mission of education is to cater to the reality that is out there, not our idealizations of it. Thus the adoption of a book that portrays homosexual families is in-line with teaching other aspects of reality– contentious as they may appear to be. Gay families and the “homosexual lifestyle” are part of reality and we can responsibly educate our students to think about these topics, just as they can think about funeral practices among the Inuit or how to calculate the height of a flag pole from a shadow. Education would be poorly served if it catered to teaching things that do not correspond with reality. Our textbooks would be filled with all sorts of nonsense about the sun revolving around the earth, spoon-bending via thoughts, angels, and a flat earth. You can disagree with these topics but you can’t wish them away. But once education no longer serves to increase our rational understanding of reality, it ceases to be education and just becomes a set of codified opinions that cater to a particular group.

  33. #33 Collin Brendemuehl
    November 7, 2008

    jmc,
    That’s correct. The state’s rules changed so that participation was not broader or more tolerant but more intolerant and restrictive. That’s what simple accomadation is about. The state set up an unnecessary condition of confrontation.

    Free Radical,
    I will agree that, to any degree, that all governments are failures. There is nothing redemptive in government — government does not provide Hope. It is a mechanical institution only.

    Rich,
    What is Scientific about teaching a new Morality? Unless you want to change the nature of education from informational to Religious the terms need to change.
    You’re also suffering from an ethical challenge, confusing Is with Ought.

    Enjoy

  34. #34 Rich Lawler
    November 7, 2008

    Collin, I do in fact understand the difference between IS and OUGHT.

    Here is an example: you IS socially intolerant and I OUGHT to ignore you.

    Good luck with the rest of your life.

  35. #35 windy
    November 7, 2008

    You raise a good point. However, I think the problem is that in most cases even traditional marriage was explicitly procreative

    Usually yes, but not exclusively (like when someone married a rich old widow, or when someone like Thomas More married an older woman to take care of the kids.)

    usually for social and economic benefit.

    Hmm, isn’t it still?

    Find me a premodern traditional marriage that was offered to same-sex couples, even in a comparatively tolerant society, and I may be forced to revise my position somewhat.

    Well, there have been claims… Not a full analogue of course, and maybe not even an example of a possibly sexual union. But I’m not sure why a full analogue is needed, when history shows that ‘traditional marriage’ has been open to revision all the time.

  36. #36 Free Radical
    November 8, 2008

    Windy,

    The examples you mention that aren’t explicitly procreative would fall, I think, under the umbrella of “social and economic benefit.” Which, of course, marriage still provides, but that description was intended to contrast with the notion of marriage for love – a very new concept in Western civilization, and one that it would not be prudent to anachronize (not that you have done so).

    What you seem to have provided there was an early example of a civil union, which – while a legal contract providing rights and managing inheritance, much like a marriage – did not have the NAME marriage, and clearly did not serve the same social function. One of the key issues we may be forgetting: gay activists have repeatedly pointed out, quite correctly, that civil unions – even where legally identical to marriage – are not sufficient for their purposes. They do NOT seek a legal arrangement unique to their circumstances – such as the affrerement – but inclusion in the pre-existing social and cultural institution of marriage.

    The article you cite is a good example of an exception to the traditional family model, not a revision of marriage. As far as I know, to make this particular change would be to alter the one constant factor in marriage throughout human history. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, as progress necessitates change, but I think it would be wise to call a spade a spade.

  37. #37 Larry Fafarman
    November 9, 2008

    Rich Lawler said,

    I don’t think the Roman Catholic Church has a pot to piss in when it comes to looking after the well-being of children in Massachusetts. Let’s see, where will our children be more safe, a gay home or in the hands of a Catholic priest?

    First the Catholic church had to pay all that compensation to the victims of pedophile priests and now Catholic adoption agencies have to place kids in gay homes. What hypocrisy. They’ve got the Catholic church coming and going.

  38. #38 JimCH
    November 10, 2008

    Larry…
    Just in case you really are that ignorant, homosexuality ≠ pedophilia.

  39. #39 JimCH
    November 10, 2008

    Funny, the preview recognizes the html code for the symbol for “is not equal to”. Plenty of ignorance of one kind or another to go around apparently. I’ll take my html ignorance over Larry’s ignorance any day though.

  40. #40 Dale Husband
    November 11, 2008

    Robert O’Brien said:

    If gays want to “marry,” then they need to play by the same rules as everyone else with a cause and pass an amendment. Glorified pettifoggers, otherwise known as left-wing judges, do not get to invent “rights” out of thin air.

    Total nonsense! Why? Because a liberal justice would say that whatever is not forbidden in the Constitution should be permissible, you dumbass!

    Larry Fafarman said:

    First the Catholic church had to pay all that compensation to the victims of pedophile priests and now Catholic adoption agencies have to place kids in gay homes. What hypocrisy. They’ve got the Catholic church coming and going.

    You lying sack of crap! There is NO equating homosexuality with pedophilia!