Pharyngula

Catholic priorities

John C. Nienstedt is the Archbishop of the Diocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, which makes him the ranking Catholic god-botherer in the region, I guess. We’re supposed to call him “Most Reverend” — priests are really good at attaching laudatory titles to themselves — but I won’t be doing that, ever. “Most Intolerant,” maybe, or “Most Boneheaded”.

Anyway, he has an op-ed in the Star Tribune. The Catholic Church is facing some rough times right now, with declining attendance, a dearth of priests, and a scary percentage of the people willing to become priests being clearly socially and sexually dysfunctional, so you’d expect him to write something about the real problems the Catholics are grappling with right now, doing something to bolster the flagging reputation of the priesthood. And I guess he thought he did: he wrote about gay marriage.

Those gays, getting married—it just wrecks my thrillingly heterosexual marriage to think that two men or two women might be having fun out there, together. And now it’s wrecking the church, too!

Actually, Nienstedt just makes the same boring and false arguments against gay marriage that they always do. This is probably more a matter of distraction.

Citizen: “Hey, there’s a priest raping a child, stop him!”

Priest: “No, look over there: there are two adults trying to engage in consensual sexual activities in the context of shared legal and social obligations! Stop them, quick, before they get insurance! It’s an EMERGENCY!!!

And really, Nienstedt makes some pathetic arguments. He’s promoting a Minnesota marriage amendment that would dictate that the only true and valid long-term relationships to be recognized by the state involve strictly one (1) man and one (1) woman. Look at what he claims:

We might learn caution from experience. Back in the early 1970s, the experts told us that no-fault divorce would liberate women from bad marriages without affecting anyone else. We now know that as many as one-third of women fall into poverty with their children as a result of divorce. Social science caught up late with the common-sense wisdom that children need a mom and a dad working together to protect them.

…says Father Nienstedt, high-ranking member of a blatantly patriarchal hierarchy. Why do women fall into poverty after a divorce? Because they are discriminated against in the workplace, because they get the bulk of the financial obligation in caring for any children, and because many men (and, I suspect, especially the men women want to divorce) fail to meet their responsibilities in contributing to child care. The problem isn’t divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture, which the church does nothing to reverse and actually promotes, and the male privilege that allows fathers to escape with diminished responsibility.

Divorce is a good and reasonable solution to marital unhappiness, unless, of course, you’re part of a culture that wants to keep women dependent on a mate.

Hey, maybe one tack we should take in promoting gay marriage is to instead play up gay divorce: we have to give gay men and lesbians the ability to break their bonds with their partners. Oh, and by the way, we’ll have to let them get married first before they can divorce.

Throughout history, human beings in virtually every society have recognized that, to make a marriage, one needs a man and a woman. What is more, it has long been acknowledged that marriage is not just about the happiness of adults but concerns the well-being of society — that is, the common good. Marriage exists in civil law primarily in order to provide communal support for bringing mothers and fathers together to care for their children. Same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose.

Forget the ignorant ahistorical argument in the first part — gay marriage hasn’t been that unusual, and it’s particularly surprising that a Christian priest would fail to have noticed the frequency of polygamy in the Old Testament — and let’s consider his “common good” argument. I would actually concede that one essential function of a stable human society is that it provide a mechanism to care for our offspring, with their ridiculously long period of dependency. Marriage is one method for accomplishing that, by pairing two people together to share the burden of child-rearing. One method…so does this priest support the idea of communes? That’s even more efficient, and I can tell you that just two people, separated from other family support by the demands of their jobs, really have to struggle to keep their sanity. This is hard work, not that a celibate bureaucrat would know.

And I think that if you look back over history, most cultures have seen it as the responsibility of a whole tribe to help raise children, not just two people. This convention of assigning all responsibility to just two and only two, who are necessarily in a heterosexual relationship, is new and weird.

I think also that if you actually look at civil law, most of the reasons for getting married are economic. Children are just one aspect of that law. If marriage just exists in the law to promote children, then what about all those marriages that are childless? Are they invalid? Maybe it’s not obvious to a priest, but people do like to be together for reasons other than procreation. I’m done with having children, my youngest daughter graduates from college in two weeks, and no, my marriage will not be dissolving at that moment. Or ten years from that moment. It won’t be over until I drop dead. And you know what? I like it!

As for the claim that “same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose”: why not? Lesbians have it easy, artificial insemination can get them pregnant; gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though…), but even so, adoption is possible, and sometimes, gay men even have children by previous relationships. Two men, two women, a man and a woman, a cooperative commune of many men and women…they can all serve that public purpose. Oh, and in all those cases, who is having sex with whom is pretty much irrelevant to the children, since these typically are not Catholic Sunday schools, so the children won’t be participating in the sex. This argument is a complete non-starter.

Would you believe Nienstedt’s argument gets even worse?

What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK, or that the influence of a mother and a father on the development of a child somehow doesn’t matter?

I think a world where moms and dads are interchangeable in their roles and responsibilities in child-raising would be a fine place to live. Aside from nursing (and again, biologists will fix that someday, too), men and women can change diapers, attend PTA meetings, play ball, give hugs, cook, and read bedtime stories equally well, with individual variation. Interchangeability does not imply that they are unnecessary. I grew up with a mom and dad who could both read to me; that did not imply to my mind that they were therefore both superfluous.

We already know that marriage is not intrinsically about having kids. People have them without getting married, married people stay married without having them. Children grow up just fine with that simple fact; I know I did.

And dear sweet jebus yes, I want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK! Teach them that gay people are fine and normal and ordinary, that old limiting stereotypes are hateful and foolish, and that only beastly decrepit bigots sit around whining that someone else might be finding happiness in life. Let’s steer young kids away from the hypocritical joylessness so well represented in Catholicism at an early age!

And finally, that last line…it’s a lie. No one is planning to teach that parents don’t matter, since they do — parents matter profoundly. I do think, though, that we can’t let repressed celibate jerks dictate who can be parents, and deprive people who might want to be parents of the privilege simply because a priest does not approve of their love.

Comments

  1. #1 Mousekewitz
    April 30, 2010

    A priest making a utilitarian argument? I guess that actually happens a lot, now that I think about it, but it strikes me as weird. It’s just a front, anyway… I’m sure if someone were to knock down his argument, he’d simply run back to “the bible says so.”

  2. #2 fishyfred
    April 30, 2010

    I can see the Drudge headlines now:

    ATHEIST MYERS: BIOLOGISTS WORKING TO “FIX” GENDER ROLES, GET MEN PREGNANT

  3. #3 Mousekewitz
    April 30, 2010

    Also, why does he conclude that making the roles of mother and father interchangeable somehow makes them unnecessary? That doesn’t make any sense.

  4. #4 justinak87
    April 30, 2010

    These diversionary tactics of talking loudly about something other than the elephant in the room won’t work. People aren’t going to ignore or forget the sins of the Church because heads of the Church are blathering on about the gays.

    Marriage between consenting adults shouldn’t be any mature persons’ concern. But look who we’re talking about.

  5. #5 Dornier Pfeil
    April 30, 2010

    Marriage exists in civil law primarily in order to provide communal support for bringing mothers and fathers together to care for their children.

    The reason common law says anything about marriage is that humans like to pair bond and virtually ALL human interactions have some kind of rules governing them. A LACK of any rules concerning marriage would be odd indeed. Throw in the patriarchal customs that established women as little more than property and you have a recipe for one man needing laws that helped him defend his ownership of his property from other men.

  6. #6 thedarwinreport
    April 30, 2010

    It’s in the common good for sexually repressed Catholic priests not to give marital advice to anyone, ever. I’m so sick of these medieval clowns.

  7. #7 gbothel
    April 30, 2010

    I may not be the official SpokesGay, but as a homosexual male, I approve of this rant.

  8. #8 Gingerbaker
    April 30, 2010

    Gorgeous essay, PZ.

  9. #9 Rey Fox
    April 30, 2010

    “Throughout history, human beings in virtually every society have recognized that, to make a marriage, one needs a man and a woman. ”

    I’m guessing that “virtually every society” here means “every American and European society that I can think of” here, but still it’s funny how other societies (which implies other religions, social structures, etc.) are usually considered fallen or deviant by Christians until they think they can use them to make a point.

  10. #10 Dornier Pfeil
    April 30, 2010

    What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children?

    Maybe we might stop overpopulating the earth.

  11. #11 ButchKitties
    April 30, 2010

    Ah, traditional marriage. How I long for the days when a man could own as many wives as he could afford to buy. Society was much more moral back then.

  12. #12 Dianne
    April 30, 2010

    Laws making divorce first possible then easier cut down on domestic violence rates. Why should this be bad?

  13. #13 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    It’s almost like the bishops have a script:

    1) Media reports on the church protecting child rapists

    2) The church comes out swinging against gay folks.

  14. #14 Mak
    April 30, 2010

    Seriously, PZ, when you’re this awesome I think I get how cults are formed, ’cause I kind of want to camp in your backyard and worship you.

  15. #15 alysonmiers
    April 30, 2010

    Throughout history, human beings in virtually every society have recognized that, to make a marriage, one needs a man and a woman.

    Or a man and several women, whatever.

    Marriage exists in civil law primarily in order to provide communal support for bringing mothers and fathers together to care for their children. Same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose.

    Right, because everyone knows same-sex couples can’t raise kids. (Except for the ones that do.)

    teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary,

    I love the smell of shitty logic in the morning!

    Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK,

    Yep!

    who is having sex with whom is pretty much irrelevant to the children, since these typically are not Catholic Sunday schools, so the children won’t be participating in the sex.

    It is the Daily Went There!

    Note to the Archbishop: You’re (supposedly) celibate and exempt from the responsibilities of raising children. You no play-a the game, you no make-a the rules.

  16. #16 Dianne
    April 30, 2010

    And don’t marriages like my 80 year old grandmother marrying her 81 year old boyfriend do more to teach children that marriage is not about child rearing than marriages between younger same sex couples, who often do raise children together? End post-menopausal marriage! For the children!

  17. #17 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    And I think that if you look back over history, most cultures have seen it as the responsibility of a whole tribe to help raise children, not just two people. This convention of assigning all responsibility to just two and only two, who are necessarily in a heterosexual relationship, is new and weird.

    Aside from nursing (and again, biologists will fix that someday, too),men and women can change diapers, attend PTA meetings, play ball, give hugs, cook, and read bedtime stories equally well, with individual variation. Interchangeability does not imply that they are unnecessary.

    Even without the pedophilia scandal, why should men who have never actually participated in the care of an child actually have ANY authority to pronounce about children should be cared for? And haven’t single-sex RCC communities (i.e. convents) run orphanages for a lot of the RCC’s history? What a surprise – consistency FAIL. Apparently children should be raised by people who have sex because their matching plumbing parts cause the purportedly-magical Middle-Easterner to be there in the bed with them or who view sex as a nasty secret behavior that one should only have with someone whom one can bully into silence.

    I’m not sure too many dads would sign up for the hormonal treatment necessary to lactate, although Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time does an interesting job of examining what such a society might be like. The idea that nursing should only be the bio mom’s job, though, is strange – many of my nursing friends have nursed other women’s babies in emergencies and I’m fairly sure that such things happen all the time in less industrialized societies (not to mention in non-human mammals!)

    A somewhat tangential rant – my teenage son overheard a conversation in which a very traditional Catholic dad explained that his son could date without chaperones and at a younger age than he had allowed for his his older daughters because if dating gets out of hand for a boy, the consequences are not as serious. My son was appalled, and I was furious. Not just because of the blatant “guard her mucous membranes” quality of sexism, but because of the parental malpractice involved in deciding that one’s male children require less guidance and protection in adolescence than one’s female children. I know the guy’s son, and I can assure the sane readers that this sort of neglect causes boys obvious distress.

    I’m so glad I discovered, via PZ, how to revoke my official membership in this malefic organizaton.

  18. #18 nigelTheBold
    April 30, 2010

    Also, why does he conclude that making the roles of mother and father interchangeable somehow makes them unnecessary? That doesn’t make any sense.

    It doesn’t need to make sense. It just needs to fit his narrative.

    That’s what you get when you spend most of your life trying to rationalize the Bible.

  19. #19 Jeep-Eep
    April 30, 2010

    I consider them not being able to carry out their ‘public purpose’ a feature, not a bug. We’re in the red zone population-wise. A couple not being able to have kids mean less births, meaning that we get to replacement just that faster

  20. #20 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    The last argument is their real argument. The patriarchal religions are terrified about gay marriage because of that last quote you used and have decided to waste so much of the Church’s “credibility” on being on the wrong side of this fight because of that last quote.

    Once people walk down the street and notice that two men or two women can be just as much in love, raise their kids, fulfill all the “parenting roles” and the like, what place is their for gender roles? What strength have arguments that men need to fulfill certain roles in the “home” and women “others” for the “good of the child”. The women in their lives will wonder about all the arbitrary gender separations, that men must fill one role and women others. If men and women can for the most part fulfill most of the roles of the other fairly interchangably and if gay couples can serve as the literal embodiment of that…

    Well, what place the patriarchy?

    What place has male-dominant home environments? Women “needing” to stay home and raise the kids and do a large load of unpaid domestic work for the betterment of the man’s stress levels and career? Women “needing” to take a back-seat in life-decisions and always playing “back-up” to the man or needing to be the one to “drop out” of the workplace when a young child is born? Women “needing” to lie back and think of England while the man meets his sexual needs.

    Women might think of themselves as humans, maybe even humans with equal worth to men, not only capable of genuinely egalitarian relationships, but deserving of them. Not only deserving, but entitled to, as if the inequality of centuries has actually been as sexist as feminists have said.

    If people can look around and see two people raising a child, regardless of gender roles, everywhere, nowhere more obvious than a couple of the same sex than the garbage about gender roles that are patriarchal religion’s bread and butter becomes just that, garbage.

    Because nothing is more powerful than a visual example. People can insert gender roles in how they perceive a straight couple, but a gay couple?

    How many of us in same-sex couplings have gotten the nervous laugh and the worried question, “But which one of you wears the pants/is the girl”?

    They are terrified by the very concept and relegating gay people to second class citizens is their final stand against the final acceptance of men and women as capable and deserving of egalitarian relationships of love on their own terms.

    So sad for them that they are losing that war, just like the one that spawned it. Each new generation is expecting as given far greater amounts of egalitarian structure than the last and each new generation could care less about whether a man falls in love with a man or a woman falls in love with a woman.

    And they are starting to get angry about a bunch of perverts and rapists trying to enforce arbitrary restrictions against what is to them common sense.

    Good on them, I say.

  21. #21 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    The Founder of Our Feast® writes…

    As for the claim that “same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose”: why not? Lesbians have it easy, artificial insemination can get them pregnant; gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though?), but even so, adoption is possible, and sometimes, gay men even have children by previous relationships.

    …which is truth and yet more truth! But even beyond the fact that raising children need not be tightly linked to the biological heritage of both parents, who says raising children is the only “public purpose” served by marriage? I say it’s the formation of households — whether or not they include children — along with the pairing of people for purposes of mutual support that makes a legal framework for domestic pair bonding a public good.

    Of course, I also don’t think any public good is served by extracting promises from people about their sexual feelings or their private consensual sexual behavior, and I therefore have some problems with civil marriage as it’s presently constituted. Regardless of that, there’s no legitimate argument for marriage, however it’s constituted, to be anything other than equally available to all.

    And, of course, a religious argument in favor of a particular government policy regarding a civil “public good” is irrelevant in a society governed by the First Amendment: It is either good or not good, based on secular civil criteria, without regard to whatever blather emanates from the Diocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

  22. #22 Zeno
    April 30, 2010

    As a childless, middle-aged bachelor, I am available to give advice on love, marital problems, and child-rearing [though not in the Catholic sense]. And I have the benefit of not being enslaved by religious dogma!

    Win win.

  23. #23 Samantha
    April 30, 2010

    Aside from nursing (and again, biologists will fix that someday, too), men and women can change diapers, attend PTA meetings, play ball, give hugs, cook, and read bedtime stories equally well, with individual variation. Interchangeability does not imply that they are unnecessary. I grew up with a mom and dad who could both read to me; that did not imply to my mind that they were therefore both superfluous.

    I grew up in a family where my Dad did 90% of the cooking, hugging and bedtime stories and neither of my parents were involved in the PTA for my schools (they did for my brother’s and yes it was my Mom). My Dad was more of a “traditional” mother than my Mom, because he was home from work earlier. He was also the “Dad” figure too, getting me into sports and outdoor activities. Actually, I’m most screwed up because my Mom was barely involved in my life and my Dad just didn’t have enough time or knowledge to be there for everything. I’d actually give a lot to have grown up with two Dads if they were like mine, only one could handle the emotional talking that my Dad couldn’t. I practically had another two or three Dads anyway, as a lot of the Scout leaders took me under their wing far more than my Mom did, and they definitely helped me out a lot as a kid.

    I’m relatively normal and well-adjusted: a bit socially rusty because social skills were part of what my Dad couldn’t teach me. I’m on the Dean’s honour list going into my fourth year of University, I have goals for the future (teaching special needs children) and I’ve had a number of healthy romantic relationships, including one that is a few days shy of reaching 2.5 years together. If I, being a child of one all-but absent parent and one flawed, albeit hard-working, parent can be so well-adjusted, how much better could a kid with two dedicated parents do, regardless of their sex? I think complimentary parenting styles and abilities is far more important than the sex of the parents, because I had a “Mom” and a “Dad”, but I didn’t have two parents who worked together to care for me. That’s what I would wish for overall, not a “normal” family.

  24. #24 https://me.yahoo.com/a/c8vgv20epfOnyZYgaPKrcYfDk4TekTh7#ed6d2
    April 30, 2010

    “A LACK of any rules concerning marriage would be odd indeed.” Actually, civil marriage for anyone but high ranking nobles is a modern phenomena. In the middle ages, the state generally just took people’s word on their being married. The city of Florence, in particular, declared it had no authority to say that guy-guy marriages were not valid, though they still made the participants pay the fine for sodomy.

    Rome allowed men to get married until after it became officially Christian. It was Constantanius who banned gay marriage in Rome not too long before the fall of the western empire. Guy on guy sex was acceptable in the early Roman empire so long as one was not too girly and ensured the line of inheritance (by adopting a close male relative such as a nephew or by having already had children). A number of Roman emperors had male lovers, including Hadrian, Galba (who apparantly liked strong, experienced men), and the infamous Nero (who we have records of having married at least one of them, Nero’s lovers did not survive long). Secundus, according to contemporary graffiti in a number of locations, was particularly good at sucking cock. We do have a number of legal records of male-male marriages from the Roman empire, we also know from court records that gay sex itself remained legal at least until a few years before the fall of the western Roman empire. Damned Christians try to pretend like western culture has always been gay hating, but it was them who spread univeralized homophobia, because the Greeks and Romans weren’t so concerned.

    Side note, men can lactate. The same methods and/or drugs that cause a woman who has never given birth to lactate will work on a male too. It’s a cultural issue, not a biological barrier.

  25. #25 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    If marriage just exists in the law to promote children, then what about all those marriages that are childless? Are they invalid?

    Actually, that’s uncomfortably close to Catholic teaching. Yes, infertile and post-child-rearing marriages are valid — but if you’re fertile, you are supposed to produce at least a few children. It is one of the purposes of marriage, and without that a marriage is incomplete. Inferior, even. And don’t get me started on the idiocy about permitted and forbidden methods of birth control….

  26. #26 nankay
    April 30, 2010

    All this Catholic talk of the sanctity of marriage makes me scratch my head. This is coming from a group that FORBIDS marriage to it’s male priests AND marries off its female adherents (nuns) to ONE invisible man/god. (Polygamy, anyone?) How DO they reconcile the thousands of “brides of Christ” with that ‘one woman/one man’ idea?

  27. #27 raven
    April 30, 2010

    PZ Myers:

    and a scary percentage of the people willing to become priests being clearly socially and sexually dysfunctional,

    The priests these days also tend to be not very bright or competent from my observations. Archbishop Nienstadt comes across as a moronic christofascist internet troll who has a fancy title.

    Few these days want to be life long virgins with no significant others, no family, and no children. The available pool of priest recruits is becoming very weird men who are frequently not too smart or sane.

    It is starting to show. Even many of the cardinals and archbishops such as Nienstadt don’t seem to be able to reason their way out of a paper bag or know when to stop digging the hole they are in deeper.

    The RCC ought to drop the celibate men only rule. It isn’t working now if it ever did. And there is no bible reasons for it. The other Real Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox have married priests and the world didn’t end and god hasn’t even noticed.

  28. #28 aratina cage
    April 30, 2010

    Lesbians have it easy, artificial insemination can get them pregnant; gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though?)

    Oooh, sniny! Such a feat would surely cause great consternation among the more bilious religions.

  29. #29 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @raven -

    Few these days want to be life long virgins with no significant others, no family, and no children. The available pool of priest recruits is becoming very weird men who are frequently not too smart or sane.

    Given the “protect girls more than boys” parenting philosophy I mentioned in my post above, perhaps the official RCC parenting philosophy is speficially designed to produce weird, intellectually dull, crazy men for the priesthood. Works as well as any other hypothesis I’ve heard.

  30. #30 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MATTIR (@17):

    A somewhat tangential rant – my teenage son overheard a conversation in which a very traditional Catholic dad explained that his son could date without chaperones and at a younger age than he had allowed for his his older daughters because if dating gets out of hand for a boy, the consequences are not as serious. My son was appalled, and I was furious. Not just because of the blatant “guard her mucous membranes” quality of sexism, but because of the parental malpractice involved in deciding that one’s male children require less guidance and protection in adolescence than one’s female children. I know the guy’s son, and I can assure the sane readers that this sort of neglect causes boys obvious distress.

    QFT. Another layer of parental malfeasance exists here, though: Not only is this guy sending a message of relative neglect to his son, but he’s also implicitly teaching that boys are not responsible for unwanted pregnancies that might result when “dating gets out of hand.”

    Strike threeeeeee!!

  31. #31 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 30, 2010

    it just wrecks my thrillingly heterosexual marriage to think that two men or two women might be having fun out there, together

    And, of course, the “having fun” happens plenty without the marriage, same as it does with heterosexuals. Marriage just gives legal benefits and obligations to those who are in committed relationships — again, same as it does heterosexuals.

  32. #32 raven
    April 30, 2010

    IIRC, some countries have legalized gay marriage, for example Canada.

    AFAIK, the world hasn’t ended and society hasn’t fallen apart. Heterosexual marriages aren’t dissolving by the millions.

    One could look at those countries as natural experiments. And the data is in. OTOH, the xian churches have never been big on experiments, data, logic, or reasoning. They would rather replace those with bigotry, inertia, and blind prejudice.

  33. #33 Samantha
    April 30, 2010

    Also, a note:

    As for the claim that “same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose”: why not? Lesbians have it easy, artificial insemination can get them pregnant; gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though?)

    Not entirely true: they can find a surrogate and get her artificially inseminated with their DNA matter. They can also mix their semen for the insemination, meaning that they won’t know whose child it genetically is. That’s how the one gay couple I know did it: they hired one of their friends for a year just to be their surrogate, had her inseminated and then adopted the resulting child. It’s as genetically theirs as the child a lesbian couple would have in a similar way.

  34. #34 Invigilator
    April 30, 2010

    Just to be pedantic, while “the Most Reverend” is the correct written form to use in a letter, you should address the Archbishop orally as “Your Excellency.”

  35. #35 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    The other Real Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox have married priests and the world didn’t end and god hasn’t even noticed.

    …and of course, married Anglican priests who “cross the channel” can be fully ordained as RC priests, and the Eastern Rite Catholic churches….

    Yeah, in the ideal world they would all become secular Humanists, but in the short-term maybe-achievable world, abolishing clerical celibacy would be a healthy move.

  36. #36 DominEditrix
    April 30, 2010

    gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though?), but even so, adoption is possible, and sometimes, gay men even have children by previous relationships.

    And don’t forget using a surrogate. One of my doctors and his husband have five kids: Two are his husband’s biokids from a previous hetero marriage, two are adopted and one is his biokid via a surrogate. They are a big, happy family, with accepting and loving extended family on both sides – and they would probably give the archbishop apoplexy, what with being the antithesis of his argument against gay marriage.

    My son’s gay; he’s great with kids, he wants to adopt – and I know he’ll be a great father [tho' he will have conniptions if a teenage daughter wants to wear what he refers to as "hooker boots" - knee-high, high-heeled black vinyl; he's quite upset that his stepmother bought some for his 13 year old sister]. Any archbishop who would attack him for wanting a stable, legally recognised household in which to raise those future children had better beware that Grandma is armed and out of estrogen.

  37. #37 chicagomolly.myopenid.com
    April 30, 2010

    Ever hear of ‘Irish Divorce’? It’s a cute nickname for desertion. Divorce wasn’t just illegal in the Republic of Ireland; it was forbidden under the Irish Constitution (which was written with a great deal of input from Holy Mother Church). So if Paddy gets tired of life with Bridget and the kids, what can he do about it? He just up and leaves and is never heard from again. And if Bridget can’t afford to hunt the SOB down she’s stuck. She can’t divorce him so she’s still a married woman and can’t get on with her life. Any involvement with another man would be officially regarded as adultery. The only solutions for her would be to wait long enough to get Paddy declared legally dead, or leave Ireland for a civilized country where she could get a divorce.

    Wherever did Holy Mother Church get that reputation for being Pro-Family? Probably the same place they got the reputation for Sexual Purity.

  38. #38 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    Also, I got to point out the sneakiness of the first quote by the Archbishop.

    “Yeah, ladies, we told you horrible things would happen if you won the battle for “no-fault divorces and they…never materialized. But hey, look, the patriarchy means that abusive or assholic ex-husbands will continue their petty ante shit after you leave them to try and keep you bankrupted as best they can and we will support them by attacking any means of women-targeted social aid, so…What I’m saying is shut up ladies and know your role because scary gay couples are marrying and besides if you leave him you’ll have nothing, NOTHING, why you gotta make your man so mad that he has to learn you like this?”

    Is basically what he’s trying to do there. Hey, divorced women have no money, so there’s no point escaping a bad marriage or even just a marriage that’s not working for you. Marriage isn’t about love, it’s about suffering, now spread your legs, think of England, and make sure there’s dinner in the stove by 5 and the kids are spotless before your man gets home.

    And yeah, having child molesters telling us the “right” way to raise kids definitely sets a good high bar for chutzpah.

  39. #39 ckitching
    April 30, 2010

    What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary

    I didn’t realize that interchangeable implied unnecessary. Now, if you’ll excuse me, since my car’s tyres and emergency spare are interchangeable, I’ll be removing them all from my car. I’ll be discarding all my food, but it is also interchangeable and therefore unnecessary. By the time I’m done, everything I’ve ever used will be unnecessary!

  40. #40 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    you should address the Archbishop orally…

    Must… not… type… GAHHH!!

    ;^)

  41. #41 Molly, NYC
    April 30, 2010

    . . . no-fault divorce would liberate women from bad marriages without affecting anyone else. We now know that as many as one-third of women fall into poverty with their children as a result of divorce.

    In other words, those were marriages that were so bad that the women would rather live in poverty than with their exes. Or more to the point–and an extremely obvious one at that–they chose lives where they control negligible assets than one where they control zero assets, not a damn thing in their lives, AND have to be some choad’s full-time, 24/7 combination maid, whore and abuse victim.

    I can’t believe these Most Reverend dumb-asses can convince themselves they have a clue as to what goes on in a marriage, much less insist on giving instruction in it.

  42. #42 Blondin
    April 30, 2010

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. — Carl Sagan

  43. #43 nigelTheBold
    April 30, 2010

    OTOH, the xian churches have never been big on experiments, data, logic, or reasoning. They would rather replace those with bigotry, inertia, and blind prejudice.

    Which one takes more effort?

    I’ll choose the other one. I’m lazy.

  44. #44 raven
    April 30, 2010

    and at a younger age than he had allowed for his his older daughters because if dating gets out of hand for a boy, the consequences are not as serious.

    This is not only stupid but just plain wrong. Great FSM, what hypocrisy.

    These days, the guy would be required to pay child support for any unplanned kids until they are 18. And with DNA testing, the social services are pretty aggressive in going after the fathers.

    Not to mention that this can result in many hasty marriages of young people who don’t know each other very well. That have a high probability of not lasting.

  45. #45 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    Molly @41

    Also this. They’re very good at shrinking the safety net, especially for women and trying to limit their options, but even in the hideous days before no-fault divorce, desperate women will still seek outs. And now at least most women can get a semi-clean break and build the pieces back up from scratch, rather than a guarantee of being separated from their children, guaranteed poverty and worse back in the days before no-fault divorce.

  46. #46 Shplane
    April 30, 2010

    This is one of the best posts I’ve seen on Pharyngula. Or pretty much on any blag.

  47. #47 rufustfirefly66
    April 30, 2010

    Fuck that motherfucker.

  48. #48 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    On the subject of the guy with the double standards for his son and daughters: Not only is he stupid and making it MORE likely that his son will become a dad prematurely, he is actually making his 14-year old boy deeply unhappy and behaviorally troubled. It’s really horrid to watch, and the son is a friend of my son, so I sort of have to.

    Needless to say, I’ll trust my own kids around on unfiltered internet connection because we TALK about stuff (plus I never found a filter that didn’t do stupid things like blocking the New York Times – I don’t have time to be correcting BS like that all the time!). Allow a conservative Catholic 14 year old boy anywhere near the internet without my hovering in the background? Not on your life.

  49. #49 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    MATTIR @17

    A somewhat tangential rant – my teenage son overheard a conversation in which a very traditional Catholic dad explained that his son could date without chaperones and at a younger age than he had allowed for his his older daughters because if dating gets out of hand for a boy, the consequences are not as serious.

    Well, yeah, it’s not like he’s the one who can get pregnant or like he’d actually have to stick around if he managed to knock her up. Just skip out on child support and it’s all good. Not like it’s his responsibility to worry about all that.

    But having an abortion is wrong and if a man “leaves a present” because “the consequences are not as serious”, we must all furrow our brows and intone sadly about how it would be a great waste of life for her to even consider getting an abortion. Instead she should carry her unidirectional “consequence” to full term and stop whining about it. It’s not like it requires two to create this “problem” or anything and besides she should have “protected herself” better if she didn’t want to get in a “family way”.

    Yeah…

    Is there a word stronger than loathe with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns?

  50. #50 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    ON the historicity of gay marriage. 1) it’s bullshit. I know there are cultures that allowed gay marriage equivalence in the past (and present). 2) to illustrate this point is there not an Asian folk tale/legend/whatever about an emperor who upon finding his lover had fallen asleep resting on his sleeve, cut off the sleeve rather than wake him? I’m sure I heard something about that.

  51. #51 PenguinFactory
    April 30, 2010

    What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK, or that the influence of a mother and a father on the development of a child somehow doesn’t matter?

    I think someone needs to formally identify the fallacy at play here. It’s the same one that leads to such gems as “If God didn’t create us than life is pointless”.

  52. #52 generallydissatisfied.myopenid.com
    April 30, 2010

    Not that you require anyone’s approval but…

    Essay? Excellent!
    Last two paragraphs? Perfect!

    Thanks, PZ.

  53. #53 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “I think someone needs to formally identify the fallacy at play here. It’s the same one that leads to such gems as “If God didn’t create us than life is pointless”.”

    False dichotomy

  54. #54 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    An awesome rant! I’ve wanted to say as much many times!

  55. #55 MrFire
    April 30, 2010

    Is there a word stronger than loathe with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns?

    I wouldn’t piss on you if you were burning…?

    Although my favorite is: I wouldn’t shit in your mouth if you were starving.

  56. #56 Nineveh
    April 30, 2010

    “The problem isn’t divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture, which the church does nothing to reverse and actually promotes, and the male privilege that allows fathers to escape with diminished responsibility.”

    PZ, I know you’re married, but I totally want to make out with you right now.

  57. #57 IslandBrewer
    April 30, 2010

    You know, I’ve always lamented the general lack of communes in this country. Oh, I know there are some here and there, and they flourished in the 70′s, but they’re still an anomoly.

    Communes are actually great environments to raise kids – ask any Israeli raised in a kibbutz. I suspect group marriages would also be great environments for raising kids(you know, the multiple men and women on equal footing type, not the wacky Mormonish one man and a harem stockpiling weapons in a compound type).

  58. #58 greg.bourke0
    April 30, 2010

    I think a world where moms and dads are interchangeable in their roles and responsibilities in child-raising would be a fine place to live

    That seems to be what Kurt Vonnegut figured would make for a great society.

    So it goes, hopefully, eventually.

  59. #59 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    PZ, I know you’re married, but I totally want to make out with you right now.

    Walton, are you paying attention? Just saying the right stuff gets you sexual attention from total strangers who can type. It’s just a question of finding the right audience for your words. I suspect it took PZ some time to locate this audience, but he has obtained that ultimate prize, the Trophy Wife.

    Or you could just try to get adopted by negligent RCC parents who didn’t give a fig about your moral development and then force your attentions on someone whom you could bully into silence (no, actually, please don’t).

  60. #60 IslandBrewer
    April 30, 2010

    “I wouldn’t shit in your mouth if you were starving.”

    Wow! Thank you, MrFire. I’ve never heard that one! Now I just have to find some excuse to use it.

  61. #61 shonny
    April 30, 2010

    P

    Posted by: Jeep-Eep Author Profile Page | April 30, 2010 1:11 PM

    I consider them not being able to carry out their ‘public purpose’ a feature, not a bug. We’re in the red zone population-wise. A couple not being able to have kids mean less births, meaning that we get to replacement just that faster

    Yeah, but them catlickers are breeding like fucking rabbits, even in first world countries like Australia.

    Also I remember from anthrop readings about societies where being gay gave the person a special, advantageous status. Can’t remember any details though, but from what I can fathom, the intolerance toward gays is another particularly nasty trait of the abrahamic religions.

  62. #62 Ibis3
    April 30, 2010

    Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK, or that the influence of a mother and a father on the development of a child somehow doesn’t matter?

    Alas, though we’ve achieved marriage equality, the religious bigots are still able to prevent us from teaching children that homosexuality and non-typical gender identity are OK. Oh, and informing immigrants too.

  63. #63 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Communes are actually great environments to raise kids – ask any Israeli raised in a kibbutz. I suspect group marriages would also be great environments for raising kids(you know, the multiple men and women on equal footing type, not the wacky Mormonish one man and a harem stockpiling weapons in a compound type).”

    Communes have the problem of the “little fiance” phenomena. Children who grow up raised together tend not to recognize each other as valid sexual mates. It seems to be an innate evolved incest avoidance system. This is a noted phenomena in the kibbutz and has been a problem for some communes that form.

  64. #64 InfraredEyes
    April 30, 2010

    you should address the Archbishop orally as “Your Excellency.”

    I prefer “Your Serene Transparency”. Unless you’re drunk: “Your Ekshhellensshhhy” sounds about right.

  65. #65 Nineveh
    April 30, 2010

    @ #59

    …I still totally want to make out with him.

  66. #66 PZ Myers
    April 30, 2010

    Sorry, MATTIR, I’m going to have to dash poor little Walton’s aspirations there. I met the Trophy Wife™ in third grade, when I was 8 years old. And I didn’t sweep her off her feet with my words, I had to chase her for 15 years before she’d agree to marry me.

    Well, there wasn’t much chasing in 3rd grade. Or 4th, or 5th, or for quite some years. I had to wait for her to get over that horrible case of girls’ germs that she had. But I remember her as pretty hot all through school.

  67. #67 IslandBrewer
    April 30, 2010

    “Communes have the problem of the “little fiance” phenomena. Children who grow up raised together tend not to recognize each other as valid sexual mates. It seems to be an innate evolved incest avoidance system. This is a noted phenomena in the kibbutz and has been a problem for some communes that form.”

    Oh, completely true. I’ve seen this with my own kids raised with my close friends’ kids of the same age – and we aren’t even living in anything like a commune. I wouldn’t want to see communes as isolationist or exclusive, and kids should be able to socialize with “outsiders,” too, in order to be members of the larger community and society.

  68. #68 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    “I think someone needs to formally identify the fallacy at play here. It’s the same one that leads to such gems as “If God didn’t create us than life is pointless”.”

    False dichotomy

    Maybe. But it’s more like a simple “Q does not follow from P. Really.”

  69. #69 MrFire
    April 30, 2010

    You’re most welcome, IslandBrewer.

    I’ve so far only used it against Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and some guy in grad school that I absolutely could not stand.

  70. #70 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @PZ – Yes, that may be how YOU got the Trophy Wife, but Walton appears not to have classmates from elementary school in mind for special attentions. I just figured that since someone had identified your actual feminist arguments as sexy, perhaps Walton could use the power of speech to attract sexual attention from corporeal females of some variety. The power to articulate a coherent statement that corresponds to reality is why nerd men have a longer shelf-life than the big & stupid types.

  71. #71 cairne.morane
    April 30, 2010

    “Same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose.”

    Citation really fucking needed there buddy.

  72. #72 James Sweet
    April 30, 2010

    interchangeable and therefore unnecessary

    I cannot think of any context in which these four words would ever make sense.

    The spark plugs in my car are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary.

    Molecules of oxygen are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary.

    Oh wait, I finally found one!

    Ethically-impaired religious authorities, such as the Most Reverend Nienstedt, are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary.

    Woo hoo!

  73. #73 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    PZ, I know you’re married, but I totally want to make out with you right now.

    LMAO! Scrolling backwards through the comments at exactly the right time I actually thought this quote came from Walton.

    I almost choked on my tea. It just would have been such a hilariously great thing for Walton to say, but alas it wasn’t him that said it.

  74. #74 James Sweet
    April 30, 2010

    Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK?

    This reminds me of the NOM commercial that included the line, “If gay marriage is recognized, our children will be taught a new way of thinking.”

  75. #75 Endor
    April 30, 2010

    Oh, PZ, you make tired and strained feminist hearts leap with hope and joy. Thank you for that.

    “The power to articulate a coherent statement that corresponds to reality is why nerd men have a longer shelf-life than the big & stupid types.”

    QFT. Mr. Endor ‘scored’ me because, in response to a joke about using him as a test subject, he wrote an impressively detailed description of the experiment and offered suggestions. As a joke.

    The ability to follow “bits” with actual knowledge and intelligence is *damn* sexy.

  76. #76 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    This reminds me of the NOM commercial that included the line, “If gay marriage is recognized, our children will be taught a new way of thinking.”

    In light of that Vancouver RC school situation (link somewhere above here), you can see that’s exactly their problem: they don’t want children to come to regard LGBTs and their relationships as “normal” — just another part of the human scenery.

  77. #77 Bill Gascoyne
    April 30, 2010

    “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
    H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
    link to this quotation; check out my collection, too

  78. #78 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “This reminds me of the NOM commercial that included the line, “If gay marriage is recognized, our children will be taught a new way of thinking.”"

    I think this is true…and should be encouraged. Far too long has the population been thinking with their rectum…it’s time to try using that big squishy fatty gray organ instead.

  79. #79 PZ Myers
    April 30, 2010

    Hey, all these assumptions that my appeal lies in words are offensive! How do you know that I’m not awesome god of love in the bedroom, huh? That maybe the Trophy Wife™ picked me for my ferocious virility?

  80. #80 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Hey, all these assumptions that my appeal lies in words are offensive! How do you know that I’m not awesome god of love in the bedroom, huh? That maybe the Trophy Wife? picked me for my ferocious virility?”

    According to Revenge of the Nerds…that’s true.

  81. #81 dtm
    April 30, 2010

    Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK

    Hey, look at that – he explicitly calls out an appeal to me, someone safely heterosexual with a daughter going to be a first grader in the fall!

    So here’s a conversation I had with the little one a few months ago. She’s picking reading and we were in a coffee shop that had a flier up advertising the services of a local bakery. (It was February, so they’d been talking about MLK Jr. in Kindergarten)

    K: What’s a Civil Union Cake?
    Me: It’s like a wedding cake, but for people getting a civil union. People get those who can’t get married, like two women or two men.
    K: Two boys getting married? That’s weird. But wait, [name of other girl in Kindergarten] said that two girls can so get married.
    Me: Oh, well, yes, they can in some states, but the laws in this state don’t let them.
    K: So [boy in Kindergarten]‘s moms aren’t married?
    Me: They aren’t married in New Jersey; I don’t know if they got married in one of the states where that’s allowed, but even if they did NJ wouldn’t call them married. At least, it won’t yet. The law might change.
    K: (after a pause) So is this kind of like how those laws used to be unfair to black people?

    So this brave new world in which first graders learn that gay marriage is OK, and by implication that laws preventing it are not? My (future) first grader is already there. See you when you decide to join this century.

    (though admittedly, she seems to get the concept of lesbian marriage much more than the concept of male-male marriage)

  82. #82 Nineveh
    April 30, 2010

    “Hey, all these assumptions that my appeal lies in words are offensive! How do you know that I’m not awesome god of love in the bedroom, huh? That maybe the Trophy Wife? picked me for my ferocious virility?”

    Oh now you’re just teasing.

    PS – I’m not “Walton” I’m a girl!

  83. #83 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    Also…MY EYES! THEY BURN!

    HOW CAN I UNTHINK SOMETHING!?

  84. #84 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @PZ:

    Fantastic post. Thank you so much for it. If I ever get in a situation where I’ve got to defend gay marriage, I’ll refer to it.

  85. #85 BlueIndependent
    April 30, 2010

    “…I’m guessing that “virtually every society” here means “every American and European society that I can think of” here, but still it’s funny how other societies (which implies other religions, social structures, etc.) are usually considered fallen or deviant by Christians until they think they can use them to make a point.”

    Yes, all those other societies born of other religions that are heathenous and denying of the one true god…but they make great examples of family values and morality, sooooo…pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And to put the cherry on top of the whole rotten mess, an avowed celibate, who probably walked through the door of his Catholic high school and through the revolving door of a seminary, is telling us how things should be done.

    The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

  86. #86 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @dtm:

    Give your daughter a hug! She’s smart! If only some adults would step back and listen to the wisdom of the youngest among us.

  87. #87 beckysharper
    April 30, 2010

    I think it has already been explained very well by Cerberus and a few others, but marriage equality is an issue of gender equality.

    When I hear people like Nienstedt I always wonder about the kind of f-ed up patriarchal household they grew up in. After birth, breast-feeding is the only child-rearing activity that I can think of that is necessarily performed by a woman. On what basis does he make these assumptions about what men and women can or can’t do in the child-rearing process? Was Nienstedt breast-fed until he left home? Was his father some loser who was incapable of making his children a sandwich?

  88. #88 pixelfish
    April 30, 2010

    I’ve never been able to figure out what theoretical cocktail of traits my hetero marriage was supposed to guarantee in my potential offspring. I love kids, and I will probably have one and maybe adopt a second, but I’m not particularly maternal in the ways that “traditional” marriage crowd seems to require. Neither is my boyfriend paternal in that same mold. Except for the physical fact of me giving labour and being preggers for nine months, I don’t foresee a role in parenting that neither of us couldn’t take on or would reject.

    It’s been argued, and I can see the point, that one of the reasons the religio-conservatives are so all-fired up against gay marriage is that it so CLEARLY points out that any marriage could be an equal one, with equal labour, and with both parties equally respected, instead of “women’s work” being taken for granted.

    I myself wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time, and tape-record my conservative father and his ilk pontificating on gays being promiscuous and unable to settle down. (No, I seriously remember these sorts of talks coming up in church, along with the great canard “I wouldn’t care what they do in private as long as they keep it private.”) Boy, did that rant fly out the window when it came time to grant marriage rights.

  89. #89 naddyfive
    April 30, 2010

    “she seems to get the concept of lesbian marriage much more than the concept of male-male marriage”

    As does most of the general population.

    For some reason I still haven’t figured out, gay men getting married elicits a stronger reaction in straights than lesbian marriage. I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that a lot of straights don’t take lesbianism seriously as an orientation- they think that lesbians are just straight women who hate men, or straight women experimenting/going through a rebellious phase, or straight women who just haven’t found the right man yet.

    On an unrelated note, I’d like to chime in with the rest of the posters who’ve pointed out that PZ has been on fire lately. This is one of the few male-penned blogs that I can rely on to get feminism and queer activism pitch perfect. Plus, the commenters are among the best on the internet. Truly, an oasis in a desert made of fail.

  90. #90 Margaret
    April 30, 2010

    @dtm:

    A story that gives me hope for the future of civilization. Congrats on raising a wonderful kid. You’re clearly one of those “parents who matter” that PZ referred to.

  91. #91 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    dtm, knowing there are parents like you gives me hope for humanity :D

  92. #92 timrowledge
    April 30, 2010

    The same methods and/or drugs that cause a woman who has never given birth to lactate will work on a male too. It’s a cultural issue, not a biological barrier.

    You mean it’s a cultural issue, not a tissue-issue?

    And dtm ? Please tell your daughter “way to go!” and pass on a high five. Or whatever it is that makes one appear hip to the cool cats of today.

  93. #93 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    The tide in general is changing against the bigots, despite them holding up for their last stand. My cousin whose parents are pretty darn conservative has expressed openly pro-gay sentiments.

  94. #94 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    Riffing off PZ @79

    This was a joke on his part, but from what I’ve seen of the sexual world, non-patriarchal feminist men also tend to be the type of lovers who end up high in demand from the ladies, especially in cultures where there is a lot of open raw sexuality with multiple partners (such as polyamory or the kink scene).

    Why?

    Because said feminist men tend to not be afraid of “gay” things like valuing a woman’s consent, figuring out her desires, paying attention to them and prioritizing them so she gets an orgasm too, actually spending a good amount of time on foreplay, and the “gayest” thing of all, not being afraid to go down on a woman and service her or use other parts of his body beside his penis to get a woman off.

    Cause, funny thing, women like orgasms and they love orgasms that come from sex where they feel like a valued participant rather than a hole for some douchebag to masturbate too.

    So, yeah feminist men end up being “virile in the bedroom” because they’re less likely to buy into dumbass notions of what virility is (aka, they don’t think virility is the ability to slam their member as fast and hard into the vaginal walls as they possibly can no matter what like a porn star) and thus actually leave more women satisfied.

  95. #95 Ewan R
    April 30, 2010

    We now know that as many as one-third of women fall into poverty with their children as a result of divorce. Social science caught up late with the common-sense wisdom that children need a mom and a dad working together to protect them.

    And I’d wager that most of that one-third are still better off divorced than they would be stuck in shitty marriages. Poverty sucks, but it appears that while this priest is down on divorce and homosexual marriage he’s absolutely fine with what either amounts to prostitution, or sex slavery – so long as it’s for the kids.

  96. #96 MS
    April 30, 2010

    Re #17 “A somewhat tangential rant – my teenage son overheard a conversation in which a very traditional Catholic dad explained that his son could date without chaperones and at a younger age than he had allowed for his his older daughters because if dating gets out of hand for a boy, the consequences are not as serious.”

    I think this attitude has always been pretty common. I’m an only child. When I was an adolescent and young adult, my dad’s attitude was pretty much of the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge, that’s m’ boy” variety, although he certainly cautioned me about being smart and using protection. However, when my folks divorced and he remarried, he suddenly had a drop-dead gorgeous teenage stepdaughter living under his roof and there was a 180-degree turnaround. I halfway expected him to put a moat around the house and set up a machine-gun turret. Dad was a thoughtful and caring guy, not generally given to hypocrisy, so this double standard really shocked me. When we talked about it (years later), he fell back on “You can’t get pregnant” argument, in addition to the “you’ll understand when you have a daughter” line.

  97. #97 Ibis3
    April 30, 2010

    Great story, dtm @ #81. Gives one hope.

    And it’s understandable that she would relate more easily to lesbian marriage because she can think of herself marrying either a boy or a girl, but it’s harder to imagine a boy wanting to marry another boy — it’s an extra degree of separation. Also, in most stories for that age group*, the emphasis is on the woman (i.e. the princess) having a need or desire to marry.

    *That doesn’t change much with age, but it changes a little. Weddings and marriage seem to be higher priorities for women within our culture’s mythology/stories for adults. Although I have no idea if that’s true in reality.

  98. #98 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    beckysharper @87

    Have you seen Mad Men?

    Given the age and catholic background it was likely much much worse. My partner’s grandfather was a catholic patriarch and he very much policed proper gender roles and made sure he did absolutely no “women’s work” and there’s a number of old men living today who literally had no clue of what to do when their wives died or left regarding laundry, cooking, cleaning, or even how to work their clothes.

    So, he’s coming from a time where growing up there was no such thing as marital rape or potentially even rape at all because it wasn’t ever mentioned, a man would be physically unable to care for himself because of the strictly policed gender roles and women were literally house slaves rather than metaphorically so.

    And they think of it as a golden age to return to.

  99. #99 naddyfive
    April 30, 2010

    Yeah, Cerebrus@94. They’re the men who aren’t afraid of female sexuality, basically.

    When I was younger I just couldn’t figure out why so many men, who claimed to want sex so much, also tended to punish women who openly and admittedly enjoyed sex. It just didn’t make sense. I figured it must be an ego thing.

    It still doesn’t make sense, but now I think it’s obviously fear based: it’s not that they’re not overly confident, it’s that they’re not confident at all. Same reason other women punish women for openly enjoying sex, really…

  100. #100 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    For some reason I still haven’t figured out, gay men getting married elicits a stronger reaction in straights than lesbian marriage.

    Can’t find my citations right now and feeling lazy, but public opinion polling tends to show higher levels of discomfort, dislike, and distrust when it comes to gay men when compared to lesbians.

    This does make sense when you consider living in patriarchal societies. Masculinity is about fucking, about not getting fucked. Men who get fucked, and do so willingly and enjoy it are gender traitors, and they’er bigger gender traitors than are women who take on more masculine ways of acting.

    Consider the treatment of a man in a dress versus a woman in pants..or the ever=present “I know he’s looking at me”….or feeling all put-upon because gays are “ramming their lifestyle down our throats.” It’s all about being in the feminine position, about not “being the bitch.”

    Gay men are bigger gender violators, bigger deviants. Add to that the stigma of HIV, and long-time stereotypes of recruitment and kidfucking–stereotypes the catholic church is exploiting in order to get away with those very things–and, well, folks just don’t like us very much.

  101. #101 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    So, he’s coming from a time where growing up there was no such thing as marital rape or potentially even rape at all because it wasn’t ever mentioned

    Not just that it wasn’t mentioned, but that legally a woman gave consent to have sex any time her husband wanted to when she signed the marriage contract. That was the law.

  102. #102 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @Cerberus:

    This was a joke on his part, but from what I’ve seen of the sexual world, non-patriarchal feminist men also tend to be the type of lovers who end up high in demand from the ladies

    Really? So I really DO have a chance?! Freakin’ sweet!

    (Yes, I do take into consideration womens’ needs and desires. I totally would not be afraid of pleasuring my partner – with a little coaching, I’m sure I could give her what she wants)

  103. #103 Susan
    April 30, 2010

    The problem isn’t divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture, which the church does nothing to reverse and actually promotes, and the male privilege that allows fathers to escape with diminished responsibility.

    I love you. For such a popular male blogger to acknowledge the patriarchy in the sensible, matter-of-fact way you do helps so much to effect change. Thank you.

  104. #104 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 30, 2010

    PZ (@79):

    The existence of the hook in no way denies the existence of the fishing rod.

  105. #106 broboxley OT
    April 30, 2010

    @PZ one of those particular religious operators advised my wife and I that we were totally unsuited for each other and we would be wanting a divorce in a few years which is why he recommended against us getting married. I went over his head. That was 21 years ago, still married to the same hot lady

  106. #107 Kevin
    April 30, 2010

    @JCMartz:

    You couldn’t come up with a funnier joke… wow.

  107. #108 PZ Myers
    April 30, 2010

    I had one of my roommates, who seemed to have shared a dorm room with me in a state of terror, take my Trophy Wife-to-be™ aside and advise her not to marry me — that I was going to be a serial killer.

    This was the roommate who objected to my cat, Snowball. So clearly his judgment was not the best.

  108. #109 johnnyrodgersmorris
    April 30, 2010

    PZ – when you’re this awesome it’s a shame you dont’ get this far down on your commments- wow you’re so right on

    It’s so good to read this. So refreshing, correct, and wow i love this blog!<3

  109. #110 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @PZ – I have no idea what attracted the Trophy Wife, and frankly try hard to imagine the virility of middle-aged biologists because I’m too busy with the virility of my own middle-aged public interest lawyer. But I’m pretty sure that what attracted Nineveh was the words and what they said about the possible virility – it’s like some weird kind of signaling device for human lekking. (Is that legal in Minnesota?)

    @dtm – Great kid, great job. Given the weirdness of our society, it takes some amount of work to raise a kid who gets the idea of justice. I knew I’d done okay when my son, around age 11, announced “I think when I grow up I’ll marry a girl – I’d like to have kids and it’ll be easier to have a baby that way.” Naturally I went and repeated this to my conservative Catholic acquaintances so that I could see their brains explode.

  110. #111 matthew.james.neil
    April 30, 2010

    RE: lactation. I do think there is a biological barrier to men lactating sufficiently to feed a newborn child, though I’m sure there are ways that could be changed. But, that part of rearing doesn’t have to be done solely by the mother anyway. If you are against using formula, the mother can always pump and the father can feed with a bottle. Depends on the child’s willingness to feed that way, but there are certainly very very few barriers to a father taking on the same responsibilities as the mother.

    Excellent essay PZ.

  111. #112 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    MAJeff @101

    Of course, yes. Thanks for adding that crucial context. Yes, it wasn’t just pretended away, it was literally legal and completely unthinkable to even bring up the idea of a woman having sexual agency or desires of her own. It took evil, man-hating feminists of the 70s to even begin chipping at that wall.

    MAJeff @100

    Yeah, it’s also all about hierarchies. Women who want to fulfill the “male role” in their imaginings are non-threatening, because who wouldn’t want to “pretend” to be the dominant group. However men who want to fulfill the “female role” by “getting fucked” or the like are those of the dominant group who seemingly have “willingly” given away their privilege to be a lesser group. You see the same reaction to gay men over lesbians in reactions to transwomen versus transmen and often the two reactions are treated as one and the same because of how closely they consider cultural gender roles, sex, and sexual role as intertwined and part of the same whole (seriously, just look over the whole lesbians use dildos because they want to be men and grow their own penises crap or women in dresses want to gay molest your children in bathrooms freakouts).

    And since society is oriented around straight male dominance, their worries are placed as paramount in the cultural and tend to infect everyone else. Why wouldn’t a woman want their male child to “be someone” rather than be “ruined” by not meeting the correct roles and therefore falling “prey” to teh ghey.

    And the fall prey I think gets into the unearned nature of privilege. With all dominant, especially oppressively dominant separations of one from the other, there comes a paranoia among the dominant that this can be “taken away” from you at any notice and so you must be on guard at all times. Thus, teh ghey could snatch you away and make you a woman role and you’d lose your masculinity if you don’t police yourself.

    This is at the heart of what creates anxious masculinity, often enforced on a wide level by an implicit threat, “if the patriarchy doesn’t see you policing your masculinity, you could be ‘demoted’ to womanhood and you know how we treat women…”.

    It gets more obviously transparent when they are regarding trans people, but among the heavy phobes, it’s pretty much all the same package to them along with anyone who doesn’t police patriarchal gender roles.

    The thing MAJeff was riffing on though just gets to the idea of empathy as a function of imagination. It’s easier to imagine someone “like us” in regards to sexuality. I.e. imagining boys and girls liking girls or boys “like I do” is relatively easy whereas imagining someone who likes the other gender is harder to do.

    It’s easier for women to get over this hump, I imagine because the culture is festooned with images and narratives about desiring, pursuing, getting the girl and knowing the “dominant group” is a survival mechanism of any minority or less dominant group. Whereas men have almost no cultural messaging about liking a guy like a sex object, so there’s much more inherent work in imagining what that’s like and that difficulty and foreignness can easily breed fear.

  112. #113 steve
    April 30, 2010

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. — Carl Sagan

    Not if you get to fuck over the current generation of children to produce the next generation of priests.

  113. #114 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @matthew.james.neil (#111)

    Lactation, at least in women, is mostly a demand driven system. Adoptive mothers who have never been pregnant can breastfeed by preparing with a breast pump ahead of time to get the system moving along (I’m not sure about whether there are also hormonal treatments to induce lactation, but the breast pump system alone does do it). Then when baby actually arrives, one uses a weird little tube device to deliver formula supplements to the baby while it’s nursing at the breast. After a while, which I think is in the range of days to a few weeks, mom is producing enough milk to feed baby just fine. And wet-nurses used to work for years because demand is enough to maintain the milk supply. I’m not sure if extended lactation is part of Sarah Hrdy’s grandmother hypothesis, but it makes sense that having lactation induced by demand rather than just pregnancy could improve the likelihood of infant survival.

    One very weird thing about mammals is that male mammals not only have nipples, they also have fully functioning milk ducts, so it’s not at all improbable that a guy who decided that he wanted to feed a baby might be able to. The great thing about breast pumps is that one can outsource early morning feeding via freezer bags. It’d be hard to outsource the whole nursing thing,though, since pumps don’t do as good a nursing job as babies and it’s harder to keep the supply going with just a pump.

    Anyone care to illuminate us about the interaction of prolactin and testosterone?

  114. #115 Bad Albert
    April 30, 2010

    And I think that if you look back over history, most cultures have seen it as the responsibility of a whole tribe to help raise children

    Whoa! Hold on there. Some of us don’t have kids for a reason and that reason is we don’t want to raise kids. Now you tell me I have to put in time babysitting someone else’s rug rats. I suppose I could always get them to do chores around my house, you know, mow the lawn, take out the garbage, do the dishes, etc.

  115. #116 matthew.james.neil
    April 30, 2010

    Yes, physically men can lactate, but women have the equipment to produce much more milk. In fact, there are many women that have a hard time producing enough milk for their child despite having all the necessary gear. As I said, I’m sure something “unnatural” could be done to basically create men with breasts. But again, that’s really not necessary in order for men to contribute to feeding.

    Breastfeeding is much more involved than I think many people realize. The interaction between the baby’s development and the mother’s biology is very interactive. So pumping alone wouldn’t be a great idea, but supplemental pumping can allow a father to feed also allowing him to share in those responsibilities.

  116. #117 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    Very OT, but holy fucking shit, I just finished my first draft of my full thesis. Just need to polish the figures and read it over for the 50th time altogether to make sure there’s no errors so that I can turn it in Monday morning, but I’m now literally inches from my Master’s of Biology.

    I’m so fucking happy right now. Shame the store’s closed so I can’t buy a case of Blå Thor and get hammered.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  117. #118 Roger
    April 30, 2010

    Fuck this motherfucker.

  118. #119 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    Can’t find my citations right now and feeling lazy, but public opinion polling tends to show higher levels of discomfort, dislike, and distrust when it comes to gay men when compared to lesbians.

    ….which doesn’t, however, completely explain the grade 1 kid’s (above) greater acceptance of lesbian marriage than gay male. My impression is that, from a fairly early age, girls are more comfortable with emotional intimacy and physical contact than boys (though this may be a socially conditioned). Thus lesbian partnership violates certain societal norms less than gay marriage does.

    This supplements, rather than contradicts, explanations given above.

  119. #120 iambilly
    April 30, 2010

    thank you, PZed. Wonderful essay.

    And you knew your future wife in 3rd grade? Damn. I haven’t seen anyone I was in elementary school since I moved from Arizona to Maryland way back in ’78.

  120. #121 Jud
    April 30, 2010

    There is neither…male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Hear the Word of the Lord!

  121. #122 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2010

    If you are against using formula, the mother can always pump and the father can feed with a bottle. Depends on the child’s willingness to feed that way, but there are certainly very very few barriers to a father taking on the same responsibilities as the mother.

    …which is what we did, 25 years ago.

    I like to think that my wife and I were among the pioneers of equal-opportunity parenting. *Despite* the fact that we were still Christians at the time (albeit already on the slippery liberal slope to flaming apostasy).

  122. #123 IslandBrewer
    April 30, 2010

    @matthew.james.neil

    While many women DO have a hard time producing a enough milk for their child, a lot (not all) of these problems are the result of our modern Western lifestyles. Women who work, and have to pump while on a break, frequently can’t “keep up with demand”. My wife, because of her proximity to our daycare provider and her flexible hours, decided to not pump (mostly because she hates pumping), go in and breastfeed a couple times during her breaks and our second child has never had a bottle. She reports that she produces a lot more milk than she did with our first child. (I know – the value of a single anecdote isn’t much. And yes, I do know that we are incredibly fortunate and priviledged to be able to do so.)

    Unfortunately, she was resistant to my attempts to do a volumetric comparison of breastmilk flowrates.

    Anyway, I’m sure that clever and enlightened endocrinologists could go a long way into making fathers prodigious milk suppliers, if not completely able to sustain an infant.

    But you’re ultimately right – even if a man can’t produce sufficient milk to sustain an infant, he could at least share in the responsibility by nursing what little milk he could produce.

    The idea of having to shave the copious fur around my nipples does make me wince, however.

  123. #124 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    IslandBrewer @123

    It’s not that bad. Nipples and lower leg are the easy bits to shave as long as you’re being careful. The hard bit from what other women have told me and I’ve found myself is the goddamn thighs, specifically the back of them and the inside of them and the goddamn knee. The knee is one of the easiest areas to “nick”, the back of the thigh often requires contortions to reach and requires you to sort of intuitively guess as to whether all the hair is gone or not and the inner thigh can occasionally get “hyper-sensitive” after shaving and decide to chafe and otherwise be a nuisance.

    I’m sure other women can name their least favorite areas to shave, but the nipples are the easy bit in my opinion.

  124. #125 MadScientist
    April 30, 2010

    The church needs a new hymn for the sunday jesus eating ceremony. I think “Blame it on the Gays” would do (sung to the tune of “Blame it on the Rain”.

  125. #126 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010

    One other point about His Excellency the Most Reverend Archgodbotherer to consider. The RCC is an extremely patriarchal organization. Ya gots ta have a pee-pee in order to be a sanctioned godbotherer with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. Jebus won’t inhabit the cracker if a woman says the magic mumbo-jumbo over it.

  126. #127 broboxley OT
    April 30, 2010

    @Cerberus #124 Reminds me of a lovely co-worker from a culture that didnt think shaving female extremities was a needful thing. We were on the smoking dock when a bahston male coworker made some cutting remarks along the lines of awful disgusting and unhygienic. I waited until we were in a full elevator when I asked him in a loud voice well **** how often do YOU shave yer armpits. Beet red would be a mild description of his face

  127. #128 gould1865
    April 30, 2010

    The cardinal says “throughout history.” BAM, wakeup phrase. That phrase is a dead give-away to a certain mentality, and not good, worth a comment and worth analyzing. I’ll comment and you may analyze at your leisure.

    Having read over three thousand freshman themes, years ago, I had to ban “throughout history” for them. When you think about it, specifically what the hell does it mean, this “history?” The defect was easy to spot where I was, in a former confederate state where the U.S. Civil War is always on their mind and part of their flag. The poor freshmen did not know history enough to say, ‘throughout history.’ Then again, no one does. History is largely a myth you see, and even that of kings and queens is bullshit, or Whig history. We needed H.G. Wells to write us a new outline of history, and emphasize biology. That’s his view and there are others. There is no “throughout history.” For a person to use it, is a signal of how they are thinking, and probably not temporarily.

    I’ve inferred, you can buck, that the view of “history” is closely associated with a person’s view of civil liberties. The effects are very far reaching. Leave the 1930′s knights and Germanic warriors aside for a moment, too easy. What about France, where both views, and others are present, and under the Vichy regime where a choice was to be made? (Petain embraced Catholicism and had a woman doctor guillotined when she performed an abortion.) The French resistance was more likely to view 1789 as the beginning of modern times, and the collaborators to view the renaissance, about 1580, as the beginning of modern times. Proof would be lengthy, so here it’s a suggestion.

    So, if “throughout history” is a phrase without specific meaning, so it is something else, what is it? It’s a signal of a way of thinking, and a very foggy way of thinking, and a dangerous one.

    The archbishop, by the way, writes like a freshman.

  128. #129 Ibis3
    April 30, 2010

    @Cerberus #112

    Which is strange, because for a very long time, it was women who were characterised as being dangerous beings whose sexual appetites were off the charts and who would seduce a man given half a chance, leading him into sin and degradation. Sex itself was often seen as emasculating since it deprived men of their rationality.

    Whereas men have almost no cultural messaging about liking a guy like a sex object, so there’s much more inherent work in imagining what that’s like and that difficulty and foreignness can easily breed fear.

    Even without the dominance issue, I think familiarity or cultural messaging has a lot to do with the “squickness” factor. Hetero women are often portrayed and seen in real life holding each other, stroking each other’s hair, kissing on the cheek or forehead, holding hands, leaning on one another–all without any sexual innuendo. We’re so used to it that sexual contact doesn’t seem that far of a departure. Males (likely because they’re afraid of being thought of as gay), limit themselves to handshakes, claps on the back, and full-on hugging or other affection only in extreme circumstances or when there can be no possible confusion as to motive (e.g. celebration of a win during a sports contest). Even homosexual men are constrained in public, and we rarely see homosexual couples in the public sphere, i.e. as politicians, actors, athletes (though it’s becoming more common, thank goodness).

    And how many years of Will & Grace did we see with very little male-on-male physical affection let alone passion (even if one could presume the audience wouldn’t have imploded from the shock)? How much more odd to see (esp.) male homosexual romantic and sexual behaviour completely normalised (i.e. treated exactly as a similar heterosexual situation)? The only mainstream movie or show that I can think of is Torchwood.

    It’s not a wonder that people have a hard time imagining it or feeling comfortable with the idea. Which only serves to perpetuate the problem. We’ll get there eventually (I hope).

  129. #130 tutone21
    April 30, 2010

    Why? Is the paper being paid by the church to put this in? And why would I accept counseling from someone who not only has no actual experience with mariage, but chooses to never even give it a shot! Seriously? Why whould I allow someone, that belongs to a group that deferes to prayer for problem solving, to give me advice on the merits of sexuality? On anything really. The whole thing is fucking stupid!!

  130. #131 salemwsmith
    April 30, 2010

    Amen, PZ. A great essay.

  131. #132 IslandBrewer
    April 30, 2010

    @Cerberus #124

    Huh. I haven’t had any problems shaving my thighs, back when I used to shave the legs. Despite the furry legs, I never had much hair on the backs of my knees, and neglected them. then again, the legs weren’t being shaved for appearance, although it was sort of nice feeling the novel smoothness at the time.

    Well, when the hormonal revolution comes and I’m called upon by my commune to provide nursing duties, I’ll remember that the nipples are easy for shaving.

  132. #133 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Males (likely because they’re afraid of being thought of as gay), limit themselves to handshakes, claps on the back, and full-on hugging or other affection only in extreme circumstances or when there can be no possible confusion as to motive (e.g. celebration of a win during a sports contest). Even homosexual men are constrained in public, and we rarely see homosexual couples in the public sphere, i.e. as politicians, actors, athletes (though it’s becoming more common, thank goodness).

    Go read mid-nineteenth century letters between middle class male friends, not lovers. You’ll see much more language of affection than you tend to among middle class men of today. One of my favorite histories is George Chauncey’s Gay New York a look at the rise of a gay identity and subculture in turn-of-the-century NYC (19th-20th). During the second half of the 19th century “the homosexual” emerged as a type of person within medical discourses. The emerging field of sexology created a whole new list of sexual deviants, of newly defined kinds of people. Over the course of the next 100 years, “the homosexual” emerged as the ultimate sexual deviant. One of the things that happened over this time period was a decline in expressions of affection within friendships among heterosexual men…a mechanism of establishing normality and heterosexuality by excluding affections that might stigmatize one as the ultimate sexual deviant and outsider.

  133. #134 AdamK
    April 30, 2010

    When I was younger I just couldn’t figure out why so many men, who claimed to want sex so much, also tended to punish women who openly and admittedly enjoyed sex.

    They mean something different by “sex” than what normal people mean. By “sex” they mean “the power to extract sexual pleasure from women by force, persuasion, manipulation, purchase, etc.” They don’t want a woman to enjoy “sex,” they want her to submit to it. When they say they want sex, they mean they want power.

  134. #135 chgo_liz
    April 30, 2010

    Last September I told a story I’ll link to
    here.

    Basically, the Catholic Church in Britain refused to allow a returning vet (Falklands war) to marry in the church because he was injured in such a way that he could not father children. Apparently this is a big deal to a Catholic, because a civil marriage, or one in a church of a different denomination, is not considered a “real” marriage.

    It was considered an outrage in Britain (among non-Catholics).

    Purposely trying to have as many children as possible is one of the Catholic church’s requirements for marriage. They even say so in the ceremony.

    The Catholic church seems pretty desperate to make sure that there is a steady supply of small children near at hand.

  135. #136 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 30, 2010

    He’s promoting a Minnesota marriage amendment that would dictate that the only true and valid long-term relationships to be recognized

    Wait wait wait wait a minute here. “True and valid”? What the fuck does that mean on catholic planet? Oh, I know…one man, one woman, ideally catholic, doesn’t matter if the marriage is horrible, as long as they breed lots of little soldiers for god. I know too many religious people who think my 30+ marriage isn’t valid because we chose not to breed.

    We now know that as many as one-third of women fall into poverty with their children as a result of divorce.

    Uh huh, there it is, the stench of “oh, women aren’t really human beings, they need to be under a man’s thumb. Beatings? Oh, those are necessary, you know.” *spits*

    Marriage exists in civil law primarily in order to provide communal support for bringing mothers and fathers together to care for their children. Same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose.

    Bullshit. The ‘good’ father is ignorant of the origins of marriage; however, extended family has always been important in the care of children, and gay people have always been a part of that family; gay relationships have never been unusual, and gay people are perfectly capable of having children if they wish.

    I think also that if you actually look at civil law, most of the reasons for getting married are economic.

    Yep. Economically, the best solution for a couple is marriage. That’s one of the reasons I did marry, even though I wasn’t crazy about the idea. Primarily, it was for a quilt. That’s a different story. ;D

    What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary

    Oh FFS, where is that coming from? I don’t know anyone who teaches that parents are interchangeable with random people or that they are unnecessary. Your parents are your parents, their sexual orientation does not matter, full stop. That doesn’t mean children can’t have other adults in their lives who are important to them and it sure as hell doesn’t matter if those adults are gay, bi, hetero or trans. The more children are taught that sexual orientations are normal, the better.

    I do think, though, that we can’t let repressed celibate jerks dictate who can be parents

    Amen, amen.

  136. #137 naddyfive
    April 30, 2010

    Aha, Adam… that actually makes sense. Makes a lot of puzzle pieces fit that I couldn’t find a place for.

  137. #138 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary

    I’m willing to bet this idiocy comes from the assumption that only men can play daddy*, and only women can play mommy. When he says interchangeable, he doesn’t mean that the same functions will be performed by different people, but rather that the functions themselves can be exchanged for others. Basically, a family with two mothers would imply that “daddy” skills aren’t important, while a family with two fathers would imply that “mommy” skills aren’t important either.

    In reality of course people with vaginas can do the “daddy” part, while people with penises can do the “mommy” part, so his argument is based on ridiculously false premises.

    - – - – - – - – -

    *I was originally going to write “only men are capable of fathering, and only women are capable of mothering”, but then I realized that those words don’t work like that. “fathering” means supplying the sperm for; “mothering” means taking care of. Linguistic sexism FTL

  138. #139 raven
    April 30, 2010

    …refused to allow a returning vet (Falklands war) to marry in the church because he was injured in such a way that he could not father children.

    Why did he even bother telling the priest? It is none of the priest’s business. Or do they do genitalia checks to make sure the equipment is in operating condition? On adults, I mean, not children.

    Purposely trying to have as many children as possible is one of the Catholic church’s requirements for marriage. They even say so in the ceremony.

    The Catholic birthrate in the USA is identical to the national average. If they tried enforcing the no birth control ban, the RCC would be done for. No members = no money and no next generation.

    The birth control ban is just something a Pope made up a few hundred years ago anyway. It isn’t in the bible.

    What is in the bible is a not often quoted passage from jesus. The one where god the kid says men should castrate themselves if they can bear it. No one ever does it, bunch of hypocrits.

  139. #140 dutchdoc
    April 30, 2010

    I went to that first link PZ provided (the diocese: link).
    And there is a picture of the guy.

    And look: he has “STD” behind his name.

    So, at least they WARN you!

  140. #141 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    They mean something different by “sex” than what normal people mean. By “sex” they mean “the power to extract sexual pleasure from women by force, persuasion, manipulation, purchase, etc.” They don’t want a woman to enjoy “sex,” they want her to submit to it. When they say they want sex, they mean they want power.

    yup, that’s it in a nutshell. I wrote a whole blogpost about this idiotic conundrum of wanting sex, but hating women.

  141. #142 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Ibis3

    Males (likely because they’re afraid of being thought of as gay), limit themselves to handshakes, claps on the back, and full-on hugging or other affection only in extreme circumstances or when there can be no possible confusion as to motive (e.g. celebration of a win during a sports contest).

    Believe it or not, the importance of there being no-possible-confusion about physical contact between males has actually been used as a justification for why there shouldn’t be women on submarines.

    From the Washington Post article on the plan to have women serve on submarines (4/22/10):

    John A. Mason, a bubblehead who served in the Navy from 1977 to 1994, said he plans to submit to Congress written comments he has collected from 380 people opposed to adding women to sub crews. He said he has nothing against female sailors in the rest of the Navy but that underwater is another matter.

    “Hormones do not shut down just because you go out to sea and submerge for many months at a time,” wrote Mason, 53, of Comer, Ga. He said sailors rely on various coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of extended deployments, including man hugs, rear-end patting and other rituals; another veteran cited a tradition in which submariners who cross the equator for the first time are required to strip to their underwear.

    It’s pretty inarticulate, but I think what he’s trying to say is that if there are women around, someone might think the underwater man-hugging rear-end patting strippers are gay. Yeah, that’s what I think when I see men hugging, fondling each other, and taking obvious pleasure in making each other strip. I think that even when the men are NOT underwater. (smirk)

  142. #143 OurDeadSelves
    April 30, 2010

    It’s posts like this that remind me exactly why I love this blog, PZ. Thank you!

  143. #144 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    “fathering” means supplying the sperm for; “mothering” means taking care of. Linguistic sexism FTL

    Eh, as long as it doesn’t get to German herrlich and dämlich

    (I’m not sure if dämlich really comes from Dame, but I don’t have a better idea, and haven’t encountered any alternative derivation yet.)

  144. #145 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Eh, as long as it doesn’t get to German herrlich and dämlich

    oh fuck, I never even thought of that. That’s… facepalmalicious

  145. #147 Shadow
    April 30, 2010

    Posted by: Invigilator Author Profile Page | April 30, 2010 1:32 PM

    Just to be pedantic, while “the Most Reverend” is the correct written form to use in a letter, you should address the Archbishop orally as “Your Excellency.”

    I wouldn’t address the archbishop orally — or in any manner.
    Must

    cleanse

    mind.

  146. #148 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    oh fuck, I never even thought of that.

    Neither did I, till someone mentioned it in my presence as an example of misogyny in, I think, the 2nd-to-last year of highschool.

    That’s… facepalmalicious

    Quite so.

    (…Anyone else reading this? Herrlich means things like “magnificent” and “marvelous”, and comes from the old/religious meaning of Herr, “lord”. Today the by far most common usage of Herr is as an address, “Mr.”. Dame is the French import for “lady”… and dämlich means “daft”.)

  147. #149 David Marjanovi?
    April 30, 2010

    What is in the bible is a not often quoted passage from jesus. The one where god the kid says men should castrate themselves if they can bear it.

    No, he just states that some do, and doesn’t condemn the practice; he doesn’t explicitly recommend it either.

  148. #150 rippingrich
    April 30, 2010

    Nothing like a little fear mongering to make a catholic priests day complete. No matter what kind of lies you have to tell to do it.

  149. #151 OurDeadSelves
    April 30, 2010

    … And after reading this entire thread, I’ve got to say, I love the commenters, too!

    <3!

  150. #152 Moggie
    April 30, 2010

    #34:

    Just to be pedantic, while “the Most Reverend” is the correct written form to use in a letter, you should address the Archbishop orally as “Your Excellency.”

    Thus perpetuating the unearned respect which the church depends on, and which is a large part of the problem with religion. I’m not necessarily advocating addressing the guy as “motherfucker”, even though, on the strength of the article quoted above, he probably deserves it. But a simple “Mr. Nienstedt” is perfectly adequate, I feel.

  151. #153 irenedelse
    April 30, 2010

    As for the claim that “same-sex unions cannot serve this public purpose”: why not? Lesbians have it easy, artificial insemination can get them pregnant; gay men don’t have that option yet (give the biologists a few more years, though?)

    Two words: uterine replicators.

    Plus, I bet a lot of women would find them damn useful too.

  152. #154 OurDeadSelves
    April 30, 2010

    Those gays, getting married?it just wrecks my thrillingly heterosexual marriage to think that two men or two women might be having fun out there, together. And now it’s wrecking the church, too!

    Adapt or die. The RCC is losing numbers precisely because of ass-hattery like this.

    And on the note of heterosexual marriage: mine is incredibly sexy*. I have no problem with homosexual couples having incredibly sexy marriages as well**.

    * Like right now. What can I say? I’m a limber multi-tasker.

    ** Or boring marriages. Or being unmarried. Or whatever floats your individual boat.

  153. #155 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    @ Cerberus

    Very OT, but holy fucking shit, I just finished my first draft of my full thesis.

    Nice work! That must be a relief and bring a sense of satisfaction.

    @ PZ – Thank you for this post (and thanks to excellent commenters here). It?s nice, every once in a while, to see someone actually portray gays as humans. Aside from being the object of ridicule, job and legal discrimination, or physical abuse, there?s a terrible psychic toll that comes with being part of a stigmatized group, but it?s rarely talked about?it?s being the depersonalized object of discussion.

    Women, gays, trans people, people of color?all of us have to endure, to one degree or another, being less than fully human in public conversation. We?re societal issues. We?re political topics. We?re controversies. We?re deeply troubling phenomena that cause (real) people with agency to do much earnest soul searching.

    But we are never simply humans. Humans with people we love, and an interest in protecting them. We?re never just humans who have to pay their bills, who need to eat, who deserve legal enfranchisement. At the risk of sounding pomo, we?re ever the object, never the subject.

    This is a constant subtle drone in the background for many of us. It?s not the most obvious consequence of being a minority, but it?s subtly draining and demoralizing. For those who?ve never experienced this, it?s probably hard to imagine.

    Most ordinary, run-of-the-mill ?normal? folks don?t do it intentionally. But these wicked, selfish, evil bastards in dog collars make their very living from it. Bastards like archbishop Nienstedt fall into the very small category of people I actively hate, and it?s a white hot hate. I long for them and their entire morally bankrupt cohort to die off. You cannot change them, you cannot shame them into feeling human empathy, you can only wait for them to die and take their hatefulness to the grave with them.

  154. #156 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    April 30, 2010

    “you should address the Archbishop orally as “Your Excellency.”

    When I was ten the Bishop visited the Christian Brothers Orphanage and before he arrived we were all orally to address him orally as “Your Excellency”.

    Like any good altar boy I did my best, but clear enunciation is difficult with a Bishop’s boner shoved down one’s throat and the most I could manage was “whrooar eshshellnshy”. Fortunately that seemed sufficient, if the sticky commnion wafers he fed us were anything to go by.

  155. #157 raven
    April 30, 2010

    No, he just states that some do, and doesn’t condemn the practice; he doesn’t explicitly recommend it either.

    Matthew 19:12 NIV:

    12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage[c]because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    Looks like jesus does both. Should is an imperative word.
    The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    This would solve the RCC priests + kid problem. The biblical literalists always seem to forget the recommendation to cut their testicles off. Bunch of hypocrits.

  156. #158 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Smoggy’s back!

  157. #159 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Josh OSG –

    Forget the silly bishop – what I ant to know is where you stand on the subject of straight guys fondling each other and stripping while underwater (see above comment). Enquiring minds want to know the official position on whether the presence of women would inhibit their harmless non-gay funning.

  158. #160 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    April 30, 2010

    Josh @ 155. I really appreciated your comments, and I’m sorry they didn’t get a better follow-up than my sad attempts at crass humour. If we value our humanity then it’s way past time for us all to speak out, as PZ does, for those oppressed by the bigoted and intolerant.

    Long and happy life to you.

    Smog

  159. #161 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    @ Smoggy, #160 -

    Oh, please – you know I’m all about crass humor! :) No need to apologize. As others have noted, I like my serious mixed with silly, and in equal measure.

    BTW. . .message for you on the Molly thread. You scoundrel.

  160. #162 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    @ MATTIR, 159:

    what I ant to know is where you stand on the subject of straight guys fondling each other and stripping while underwater (see above comment).

    Extremely in favor of. Want.

    Enquiring minds want to know the official position on whether the presence of women would inhibit their harmless non-gay funning.

    Inhibit? I rather think the presence of women could help facilitate this (talk to me privately about starting a joint venture). Then again, so can alcohol. . .

  161. #163 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MATTIR #159

    A while ago I told a story about stripping naked when in a submarine. We were not actually submerged at the time but this did happen in an actual submarine with an all-male crew.

  162. #164 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    Tis, #163 -

    And as I recall, I invoked Rule 34 (obliquely) in response to your . . .dark. . .little tale.

  163. #165 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Josh OSG OM #164

    Of course you did, Josh. You’re a pervert (and no, I’m not referring to your orientation).

  164. #166 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Tis – that is disgusting, but you are definitely quite the hero for doing it. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that it’s not what the Georgia Bubblehead had in mind. (I worked on a hog farm as a teen and even when I went back to school, I smelled like pigshit for ages).

    @Josh – Yes, I actually went back to find said passage, figuring that you’d be mightily amused at the weird auto-delusional quality of the quotes. And if auto-delusional isn’t a word, it definitely should be – used to refer to a certain egregious quality of ignoring the plain truth of one’s statement, above and beyond the normal use of “delusional”.

  165. #167 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    You’re a pervert

    That’s prevert to you. Or, morphodite (if you’re nasty).

  166. #168 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    Also,

    thrillingly heterosexual marriage

    . . .simply must be an album title.

  167. #169 Buzz Parsec
    April 30, 2010

    Maybe someone already caught this… The wheels on my car are interchangeable. I guess that means they must be unnecessary. I’ll go remove them now. Bye.

  168. #170 Kel, OM
    April 30, 2010

    In Australia our government is currently under a lot of pressure in the media over breaking several election promises. So what was the government’s response? To put a 25% hike in tax on cigarettes and move towards making cigarette labels plain.

    Now one could say that the government is acting out of the concern for the welfare of non-smokers and potential smokers who might take up the habit because of price and packaging, but there’s that cynical voice in my head that suggests that the cigarette issue is nothing but a deflection from the issues of failed governance.

  169. #171 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    but there’s that cynical voice in my head that suggests that the cigarette issue is nothing but a deflection from the issues of failed governance.

    Your cynical voice is right. Cigarettes are the easiest tax to raise, because smokers are a reviled social class, and have no voice with which to push back. Pols say, of course, it’s to “cut back on smoking,” but then they draw up budgets that count on revenue from cigarette taxes far into the future. It’s politics at its most craven. Were the tax to work as they claim they want it to – to decrease the smoking rate – they’d come up dry for their pet projects.

    And then – goodness, what a novel idea – they’d have to actually tax goods that everyone uses. But, no need to do that now. Teacher salaries need increasing? Smokers. Arts council needs funding? Smokers.

  170. #172 Buzz Parsec
    April 30, 2010

    OOPS Ckitching #39 beat me to it…

  171. #173 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Josh –

    Actually there are actual anti-smoking activists who think the same thing about tobacco taxes. Taxes do actually work to change behaviors at the margins. I recall a recent article about an experiment showing increasing junk food costs leading people to choose healthier foods (this was a designed study in which people were given money to buy food in a mock grocery store, btw, not some observational study of real life behavior with all those messy uncontrollable variables). At some point, though, the government becomes a partner with the sin-industry, not just a beneficiary of a plan to decrease the behavior. (Can anyone say “state lottery?”)

  172. #174 snap
    April 30, 2010

    @72

    interchangeable and therefore unnecessary

    I cannot think of any context in which these four words would ever make sense.

    The spark plugs in my car are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary.

    Molecules of oxygen are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary.

    Thanks alot James Sweet! I was all ready to sell my unecessary lungs and kidneys on EBay for a bundle and you ruined the whole deal!

  173. #175 Margaret
    April 30, 2010

    “The birth control ban is just something a Pope made up a few hundred years ago anyway.”

    [catholic]
    Pregnancy is God’s punishment for sex, and to use birth control is to escape God’s punishment, and hence is evil.
    [/catholic]

    Since only women get pregnant, god only punishes the woman. He’s obviously a misogynist.

    He’s also not very powerful since he can be defeated by taking some little pills, just like he is too weak to overcome iron chariots.

  174. #176 Snap
    April 30, 2010

    Oh, I also noticed that the ‘n’s in my last post were interchangeable so I removed one from ‘unnecessary’ since it was..well…unnecessary.

  175. #177 Cerberus
    April 30, 2010

    Josh OSG, OM @155

    I am indeed! I’m especially looking forward to regaining a relatively normal sleep schedule instead of constantly feeling awake at 3 am…like now.

    And yes to everything you said. It’s why I believe one of the most radical weapons the marginalized or minority groups has is one of the most easiest to perform. That is the “weapon” of simply being honest and open about one’s self.

    Resisting the insidious internalized pressure to act like you need to apologize for yourself or buy into the frames that there is something wrong with you and that you owe the dominant groups some sort of apology for your existence. Standing up for yourself and just being yourself. It is amazing how powerful this is.

    Almost more powerful than the people one informs, the allies one gains, is the confidence it gives you to live your life freer and without shame and that gives one the strength to confront active bigotry.

    Building on your point, if the culture treats us as objects, it is important that we ourselves treat our own voice as subject and utilize that subject against the objectification tide.

    The self-censors in our heads are almost our true greatest enemies. Sure, active bigotry is real, sometimes deadly, definitely suck-inducing in many many ways, but these old men standing athwart history yelling stop are just that, sad old bullies clinging to their petty unearned privileges. We do ourselves far greater disservice when we kowtow to them and think they’ll like us a little better if we just were a little more…something.

    It’ll never be enough and it’s not worth selling oneself short for bigotry.

    And I should probably see if I can knock myself out before I drift into full manifesto mode (and we will climb that hill, brave soldiers of the front, yea on this fine hour….Bob in Himmel, stop me).

  176. #178 Pierce R. Butler
    April 30, 2010

    raven @ # 139: The birth control ban is just something a Pope made up a few hundred years ago anyway.

    As in, Pius XI in 1930.

    Damn, did I fall into a time warp again?

  177. #179 boygenius
    April 30, 2010

    Josh OSG, OM @155 demonstrates why he is Mollyrific. Beautifully written comment that highlights the ambient discrimination in our society. I’ve never had to endure the level of intolerance that GLBT folks have, but:

    In ’92 I was “stomped” by 3-4 drunken rednecks while walking home from a bar. I was targeted because of my long hair and my attire (hippie). While they had me on the ground and were kicking me, they repeatedly called me “faggot”. The bruises, split lip and subungual hematoma healed in a short time, but the feeling of being dehumanized because of who I was still infuriates me almost 20 years later. I don’t think my attackers really believed I was gay, but for some reason using the epithet helped them to justify their behavior.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like for GLBT folk to have to live in a society that marginalizes them and talks about them rather than with them.

    Anyhow, for what it’s worth this Deadhead (not a hippie) has got your back.

  178. #180 timrowledge
    April 30, 2010

    Women, gays, trans people, people of color?all of us have to endure, to one degree or another, being less than fully human in public conversation.

    Appallingly true – but don’t forget that humans can be even more expansively stupid.

    Sure, I’m white (well, pinky-grey to be pedantic), male (yup – just checked) and even middle-aged, so obviously I’m at the top of the heap, completely free of problems, right? Nah. Never that simple.
    To start at the beginning – I’m Welsh-born simply because of where my mother happened to be at the time. But I’m English because of the recent ancestry of both parents. Makes me a nice convenient target on both sides of the bigotry line. Then we moved to the north-middle of UK and I obviously picked up a local accent just in time to move south and get picked on for being a Northerner. I was smart (ouch), chubby (ouch) and not interested in team sports (ouch) and a keen reader (ouch) of science fiction (which still makes me a subject of derision). When I moved back to the midlands for work my ‘posh git’ accent nearly got me killed. Oh and of course, since I ride motorcycles I’m a dangerous thug in need of attempted murder-by-auto and police harassment. Since I have a sizeable schnozz and dark hair I get to enjoy some of the anti-semitic fun and occasionally even some of the anti-arab prejudice. Only some of those prejudices posed a threat to my life but all of them are about making one ‘less than fully human’.

    While it is important to educate the world that women are real people, those with dark skin are proper humans and that gay folk are just folk, the real issue is to stop the whole panoply of bigotry, exclusionism, and general stupidity. I’m not holding my breath though – apart from anything else it would turn me blue and we all know them blues are just scum in need of a good thrashing, right?

  179. #181 Evil Queen
    April 30, 2010

    There were earlier comments on why being lesbian is more socially acceptable over being gay, and one important reason was left out: For reasons I do not comprehend and have not had satisfactorily explained to me, straight men have some sort of sexual fascination with lesbians, that, again for reasons not understood or explained, does not translate over to gay men.

    Case in point: I am bisexual. When dating men, I have never been asked if I “have a website” nor has anyone gone making a spectacle out of me for kissing my boyfriend. Both of these things happened (on several occasions) when I was dating a girl. Lesbians are often seen as merely entertainment for straight men, in addition to the other reasons mentioned.

    Because straight men can sexualize/fetishize lesbians and get something out of that type of relationship, it gains greater traction in the mainstream. (Note, I don’t mean to pick on you straight men out there, but I never had a woman, or gay man ask or point the way straight guys did)

  180. #182 Carlie
    April 30, 2010

    This is a constant subtle drone in the background for many of us. It?s not the most obvious consequence of being a minority, but it?s subtly draining and demoralizing.

    *gives Josh a hug*

    *and boygenius*

    *and Cerberus*

    then wonders what the hell is wrong with the world. :(

  181. #183 E
    April 30, 2010

    I’m coming way late into this thread, and I don’t have enough time to read through all the comments, so I apologize if the comments I’m about to make have already been made.

    First, excellent essay, PZ. This is an important issue.

    Second, @#20,

    :If people can look around and see two people raising a child, regardless of gender roles, everywhere, nowhere more obvious than a couple of the same sex than the garbage about gender roles that are patriarchal religion’s bread and butter becomes just that, garbage.

    Because nothing is more powerful than a visual example. People can insert gender roles in how they perceive a straight couple, but a gay couple? How many of us in same-sex couplings have gotten the nervous laugh and the worried question, “But which one of you wears the pants/is the girl”?

    I’m the one who leaves the towels lying on the floor, has a well-honed sense of direction, and is incapable of multitasking; my husband is neat and tidy, gets hopelessly lost driving around our hometown, and can manage to talk, type and watch TV at the same time. So if I’m a woman with a number of stereotypically masculine qualities, and my husband has some stereotypically feminine ones, you would say there’s probably some overlap in our gender roles at home, right? In any couple there is always overlap. The idea that parents must adhere to strict gender roles in order for children to grow up well-adjusted is laughable.

    Plus, even in my heterosexual relationship, I would be seriously offended if someone asked which one of us “wears the pants”. It’s just plain sexist.

    and

    So sad for them that they are losing that war, just like the one that spawned it. Each new generation is expecting as given far greater amounts of egalitarian structure than the last and each new generation could care less about whether a man falls in love with a man or a woman falls in love with a woman.

    In my little corner of Canada, I would say that, happily, this is true. At least it is for the Catholic religion. Where I live (and especially in my socioeconomic bracket), families are pretty small. I can see how, in a family with seven or eight children, it might be fine (or maybe an honour, even?) for one of the sons to enter the priesthood, but I can’t imagine many mothers encouraging such a thing if it meant kissing their only opportunity to be a grandmother goodbye.

    The bad news is, the Mormons might be gaining ground.

  182. #184 Citizen Z
    April 30, 2010

    The thing about no-fault divorces, they’re all based on state laws. They’re not based on court rulings that need to be overturned. IANAL, but it seems that all you’d need to get rid of no-fault divorces would be a state legislature willing to get rid of them.

    And yet the Archbishop is not calling for the legislature to overturn the state’s law on no-fault marriages, a much simpler task than his proposed amendment to the state’s constitution. Even though he is certain that no-fault divorce directly causes “as many as one-third of women (to) fall into poverty with their children”.

    Now there are various ways to explain the discrepancy. Maybe the Archbishop is simply unaware of various aspects of no-fault divorce. This is unlikely, since he is certain enough about his argument to base a pretty serious political proposition on it. And have his statement published in a paper of record! Surely his facts have been checked and double checked.

    Puerile minds might suggest he just hates gays, but that is contemptible. We have all been reassured, repeatedly, that members of Christian faith harbor no animus towards homosexuals, they’re just against altering the institution of marriage. And this is a man of the cloth we are discussing. Any claims of homophobia are simply outrageous.

    What we are left with, then, is one conclusion. Gay marriage is simply a much more destructive force than no-fault divorce, requiring greater political effort to avoid is deleterious effects. This means, since one third of women and children fall into poverty because of divorce, a far greater number would fall into poverty due to gay marriage, likely by an order of magnitude. With gay marriage, we could easily see two-thirds of women and children falling into poverty! The mechanism is unclear, unfortunately the Archbishop didn’t elaborate, but it’s too dangerous to take any chances. Think of the soup kitchens. The women with their children on the street corner, with a cardboard sign saying “Lost job due to gay marriage” or “Will work to prevent Zach and Michael from getting married”.

  183. #185 boygenius
    April 30, 2010

    And… Cerberus gets my next Molly vote for saying exactly what I wanted to say but didn’t have the eloquence to do so.

  184. #186 E
    April 30, 2010

    Evil Queen@#181:

    There were earlier comments on why being lesbian is more socially acceptable over being gay, and one important reason was left out: For reasons I do not comprehend and have not had satisfactorily explained to me, straight men have some sort of sexual fascination with lesbians, that, again for reasons not understood or explained, does not translate over to gay men.

    Maybe lesbianism is less threatening a straight man’s own sexuality? For a guy, watching two girls get it on is a little kinky (and aren’t most guys into a least a little kink?), so it will probably turn him on — and if so, no one is going to question his masculinity.

    Also, there is the whole bad p.r. issue surrounding ass sex, which is associated with gay men (although I know that some large percentage of sexually active gay men don’t indulge in it — 25% maybe? — and many heterosexual couples do). Maybe that has something to do with it.

  185. #187 RickR
    April 30, 2010

    Evil Queen @181-

    For reasons I do not comprehend and have not had satisfactorily explained to me, straight men have some sort of sexual fascination with lesbians, that, again for reasons not understood or explained, does not translate over to gay men.

    You mean, why are straight men aroused by the idea of lesbians but not by gay men? (I say “the idea” rather than the reality of lesbians because it seems to me that real, actual women who have no need of men in the bedroom would have a withering effect, so to speak. From what I’ve seen, straight guys are into the fantasy of two or more straight women “exploring” together, waiting for the man to show up, who is apparently out in the kitchen fixing a snack or something.)

    This phenomenon has actually been studied, believe it or not. It was found that self-identified heterosexual men were equally, if not more, aroused by female/ female porn than they were by male/ female porn. This makes intuitive sense, since str8 guys are attracted to women, the more “female” the stimulus, the more excitement.
    Also, there is a significant population of straight women out there who really really enjoy man/ man scenarios. Not exactly gay porn per se, but the market for slash fiction is huge, and dominated by straight women.

    This is where I read about the studies done on erotica and reports of sexual arousal-

    Sexual Landscapes

    The author calls it the “pseudolesbian porn” response.

  186. #188 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    @boygenius:

    I don’t think my attackers really believed I was gay, but for some reason using the epithet helped them to justify their behavior.

    Doesn?t matter – the hateful thug behavior comes from the same place. As I?ve said before, homophobia and sexism are just two sides of the same coin. Looking for an excuse to beat the shit out of someone? How better than to cast them as the feminine. You were just as much a target of this sickness as any queer person is.

    @Carlie, #182:

    Thanks for all the hugs.:))

    Now, I resolve to stop bringing Mega Drama (TM) to this thread. Everybody have fun tonight (or, if you can?t do that, at least Wang Chung tonight).

  187. #189 MATTIR
    April 30, 2010

    @Citizen Z

    What we are left with, then, is one conclusion. Gay marriage is simply a much more destructive force than no-fault divorce, requiring greater political effort to avoid is deleterious effects. This means, since one third of women and children fall into poverty because of divorce, a far greater number would fall into poverty due to gay marriage, likely by an order of magnitude. With gay marriage, we could easily see two-thirds of women and children falling into poverty! The mechanism is unclear, unfortunately the Archbishop didn’t elaborate, but it’s too dangerous to take any chances. Think of the soup kitchens. The women with their children on the street corner, with a cardboard sign saying “Lost job due to gay marriage” or “Will work to prevent Zach and Michael from getting married”.

    QFT! Brilliant! Finally a coherent argument against gay marriage. I wonder if it’s too late to get the resignation form back from the RCC?

  188. #190 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 30, 2010

    @Cerberus, #177:

    The self-censors in our heads are almost our true greatest enemies. Sure, active bigotry is real, sometimes deadly, definitely suck-inducing in many many ways, but these old men standing athwart history yelling stop are just that, sad old bullies clinging to their petty unearned privileges. We do ourselves far greater disservice when we kowtow to them and think they’ll like us a little better if we just were a little more…something.

    Rock on, girl. Can I get a ‘amen’ up in here?

  189. #191 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 30, 2010

    Elroy:

    In ’92 I was “stomped” by 3-4 drunken rednecks while walking home from a bar. I was targeted because of my long hair and my attire (hippie). While they had me on the ground and were kicking me, they repeatedly called me “faggot”. The bruises, split lip and subungual hematoma healed in a short time, but the feeling of being dehumanized because of who I was still infuriates me almost 20 years later. I don’t think my attackers really believed I was gay, but for some reason using the epithet helped them to justify their behavior.

    I am so sorry that happened to you, Elroy. I’ve been with friends leaving a gay club and we’ve been attacked – it was unusual, because generally these slimeballs go after someone who is alone. I took a few punches, but I damn well got one idiot’s nads and did some serious harm. The only thing a person can do is stand up, speak out, fight back and mock and shame these assclowns at every opportunity.

    Evil Queen:

    Case in point: I am bisexual.

    Welcome to the biclub. ;) I know just what you mean. There are some hetero men who have utterly creeped me out when they discover I’m bi. Even though what you say is true, I’m not sure it equates to being more socially acceptable. What I get from it is more of the “oh, women aren’t really human” thing, in that lesbians are seen as a form of entertainment (as you noted), a type of porn, something to be owned, viewed, then tossed. I tend to be wary around hetero men I don’t know well, because in my experience, a great many men, rather than viewing bisexuals or lesbians as entertainment, seem to be convinced that a stiff dick, whether welcome or not, would fix what was ailin’ them. It’s a nasty, frightening attitude.

  190. #192 sav
    April 30, 2010

    In CA, I have to divorce my domestic partner if I want to dissolve our relationship. Doesn’t seem fair that we’d have to pay divorce lawyers and state courts if we want to dissolve a relationship the state doesn’t recognize as equal to a marriage. Oh, and we had to spend a shitload of money just to protect our rights of inheritance and so forth, whereas straight people can just pay a modest fee for a license and get married. Sucks all around.

  191. #193 Evil Queen
    April 30, 2010

    @Caine

    That it is. I’ve had that experience, though the person who suggested all my gf and I needed was a stiff dick was bisexual herself and was probably joking (though in poor taste). It is a scary way to think, imo.

  192. #194 greytrench
    April 30, 2010

    Ok, since nobody’s mentioned it yet, I guess I’ll have to. There is a movement to protect marriage in CA- really, really protect it. Currently, 0% of marriages in California end due to gaydom, but about 50% end due to divorce. So let’s end the real threat to marriage!

    And before you even ask, yes- Poe’s law applies.

  193. #195 Watry
    May 1, 2010

    I’m going to reply to an anecdote with an anecdote. Earlier someone mentioned their young daughter’s simple acceptance of homosexual marriage,but that she more easily accepted lesbian marriages than gay.

    My seven-year-old* cousin asked me the other week why I didn’t date (I’m asexual) when his sister is married. Our conversation turned to gay marriage and the exact opposite happened; he accepted the idea of male/male marriage more easily than female/female. Any ideas?

    I can accept and understand the reasons given for adults acting this way, but why kids?

    *I know there’s an age difference here, but as my uncle believes “all gays should be hanged along the highway”, I was being careful.

  194. #196 E
    May 1, 2010

    greytrench@#194: And before you even ask, yes- Poe’s law applies.

    I’ll say. Here’s a comment from that site:

    “I can?t believe that people use their filthy genitila to touch each other, except in the traditional standard missionary-position within marriage. I mean why would anyone one do even that ?cept to make that precious next generation! Any other reason is not what I allow in my America. An America that is strong, free, and most importantly, free from deviant other ?positions? or couplings whatsoever.”

    Really? Really?

    If PZ’s compelling feminist discussions can inspire the women here to want to make out with him, I wonder what kind of women the guy who made the above comment can manage to attract?

  195. #197 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 1, 2010

    I keep hearing, over and over again, that gay marriage threaten heterosexual marriages and will destroy western civilization as we know it. The thing that’s never explained is how GLBT marriages will do this, but the homophobes* are convinced it’ll happen 20 minutes after GLBT marriages become legal.

    *Oops, can’t call them that, they get all excited about how they don’t hate and fear gays. They even let gays use their toilets.

  196. #198 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Our conversation turned to gay marriage and the exact opposite happened; he accepted the idea of male/male marriage more easily than female/female. Any ideas?

    I’m going to go with what someone said earlier: kids aren’t that good yet at imagining being in someone else’s shoes, so they find it easier to accept situations when they can use themselves as a reference. so boys will be able to grasp the concept of male/male relationships better, and girls will be able to grasp the concept of female/female relationships better.

  197. #199 ambulocetacean
    May 1, 2010

    Re male lactation, I’m surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned this guy. Or did that turn out to be bullshit? (Ananova – what a blast from the past!)

    Re PZ’s mad writing skillz bringing all the girls to the yard: Isn’t that just another example of the changing pattern of human sexual selection? Women no longer need a bloke who can clobber a sabre-tooth tiger (although I’m sure PZ could); they want one who can make mad money in the “information economy”. Amirite?

    Re blokes paying attention to a lady’s night-time needs, you can take it too far. There’s no point being, like, “You’re going to have an orgasm if I have to disclocate my jaw doing it.”

    Still, if I ever find myself on death row I know what I’ll be requesting for my last meal.

  198. #200 beardedbeard
    May 1, 2010

    I don’t know if anyone has brought this up and I am too tired to read all the posts but lots of things are interchangeable. You can change break pads with new ones, pads of a completely different brand or design just so long as they are roughly the same shape. I wonder if his excrementcy would be ok with me pulling his break pads out since they are clearly not important.

  199. #201 TVS
    May 1, 2010

    >> “It was found that self-identified heterosexual men were equally, if not more, aroused by female/ female porn than they were by male/ female porn. This makes intuitive sense, since str8 guys are attracted to women, the more “female” the stimulus, the more excitement.”

    May be it’s an instinct coming from our long history of polygamy? I think, in their minds, straight guys think the lesbians are their er… harem?

  200. #202 FossilFishy
    May 1, 2010

    Another anecdote and opinion here. My daughter has three grandfathers on her mother’s side of the family. I cannot see for the life of me how her gay Poppies could have a negative effect on her.

    In fact, if they were able to openly acknowledge their 25 year commitment to each other, to be married in the eyes of the law and the full community in which they live wouldn’t that be a benefit to her? Wouldn’t that reinforce to her that everyone, everyone, has the right to love and be loved in their own way. Because it’s a fallacy to suppose that there’s only one way to love, even within the constraints of heterosexuality.

    So all I’ve got to say to the Catholic church and any one else who presumes to dictate how the rest of us should love: Fuck you fucking fuckers, you motherfucking fuckers!

  201. #203 RickR
    May 1, 2010

    TVS- I don’t know if it’s all that complicated. I don’t think an evolutionary explanation is required. Human sexual preference seems to begin as something like “imprinting” on a particular body shape. Heterosexual males are turned on my women.
    Female = arousing.
    Multiple females in a sexual context = VERY arousing.

    Essentially, what the researchers were trying to discover was: were these men aroused by heterosexual imagery? Yes, but on a much more basic level, they were aroused by FEMALES in a sexual context. Does that make sense? It’s late and maybe I’m not expressing myself very well.
    And of course, with gay men, they found the same (though opposite) effect:
    Male = arousing.
    Multiple males in a sexual context = VERY arousing.

    (For the record, women are mostly the same, although the context of what triggers female arousal can be somewhat different. Although the whole “men’s triggers are visual” and “women’s triggers are emotional/relational” are way overstated. It seems men and women aren’t really all that different, and it’s also unclear how much of how we respond is learned and cultural, and how much is instinctual.)

    I think sexual imprinting and development comes waaaay before we begin to determine what kind of relationships we want to pursue, (both in our individual lives and probably as a species). But I’m no sex researcher, just an interested student. ;)

  202. #204 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 1, 2010

    FossilFishy:

    So all I’ve got to say to the Catholic church and any one else who presumes to dictate how the rest of us should love: Fuck you fucking fuckers, you motherkidfucking fuckers!

    I amended that sentiment a bit.

  203. #205 Diane G.
    May 1, 2010

    Cerberus @ 94: HEAR, HEAR!! (And to several subsequent posts as well.)

    Josh @ 155: That brought a tear to my eye. Straight into the keepers’s file.

    dtm: Wonderful story, kudos. Reminded me of one of my kid stories–OT, but funny (I hope…)
    An erstwhile biologist, I was rather proud of myself for bringing up my kids to see sex as a natural part of life by simply discussing behaviors we observed in our own animals, or in the wild. Until one day my kindergarten son observed matter-of-factly, of one of his classmates, “When I grow up, I think I’ll mate with Rebecca.”

    * * *

    Hosannas, PZ. You can never really know how grateful you’ve made so many of us.

    Similar sentiments to all the great Pharyngula family in this thread…

  204. #206 FossilFishy
    May 1, 2010

    Caine:

    I amended that sentiment a bit.

    Heh, exactly.

    I was quoting from this.

    Entirely not safe for work, nor for anyone susceptible to earworms.

  205. #207 Haley
    May 1, 2010

    I’m really late on the game with this one, but MATTIR, about your anecdote, who the fuck is the younger boy supposed to date? Some random young little “whore” who apparently doesn’t need protecting? I’m sensing HUGE amounts of virgin/whore complex here. Obviously, being a sane human being, I see that females have worth outside of their relationship to men (eg, someone’s little girl, someone’s sister, someone’s mother, etc) but following the Catholic dad’s viewpoint doesn’t he at least feel bad that his son could be destroying some other girl, a girl just like his daughter? Disgusting.

  206. #208 neutron.phil
    May 1, 2010

    Great post and loads of great comments – the joy of Pharyngula. Reading through it I recalled a long-put-off idea of mine for a sci-fi story where the indigenous population has “both sets of plumbing” (physical and psychological). This allows each individual to settle precisely upon their own gender role and sexual preferences without any gender tags or prejudices and without having to shoehorn themselves into what society expects or demands.
    Hmmm…where’s my typewriter…

  207. #209 blf
    May 1, 2010

    Hmmm…where’s my typewriter…

    In front of you. It’s that thing with a glowing screen, keyboard, and is what you used to ask where it is.

  208. #210 SEF
    May 1, 2010

    Re human males (spontaneously) lactating: this subject has arisen here before (I’ve posted links to news items myself!). There have been various recorded instances over history. It even rates a wikipedia page these days.

    @ chgo_liz #135:

    the Catholic Church in Britain refused to allow a returning vet (Falklands war) to marry in the church because he was injured in such a way that he could not father children.

    That demonstrates another aspect of their dishonesty and hypocrisy – an utter lack of faith in god on their part. Despite the bible going on about god causing pregnancies in barren couples, those priests don’t really believe it. They have no genuine faith in a miracle-causing god, only in the determinations of science/medicine.

    @ boygenius #179:

    I was “stomped” by 3-4 drunken rednecks … because of my long hair and my attire (hippie). … they repeatedly called me “faggot”.

    As with the antipathy towards gay men, you were betraying their male gender stereotype, of having to be seen to be powerful (in order to maintain the convenient illusion/delusion for all men), by being overtly peaceful (viz hippie). They’d really hate the Jesus character too, were such a person to turn up today as usually portrayed. That’s the irony within the typical Christian attitude.

  209. #211 SEF
    May 1, 2010

    Incidentally, has no-one else noticed the gender-stereotypical role enforced on posters by this (and some other) websites? To petition the site to accept one’s offering on a thread, one has to “submit”. Where’s the button for red-necked males who want to “penetrate” the thread instead?! ;-)

  210. #212 Quotidian Torture
    May 1, 2010

    You Catholics and your quaint little “categories”.

  211. #213 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    I keep hearing, over and over again, that gay marriage threaten heterosexual marriages and will destroy western civilization as we know it. The thing that’s never explained is how GLBT marriages will do this, but the homophobes* are convinced it’ll happen 20 minutes after GLBT marriages become legal.

    My personal theory is that all the people who are most vociferously promoting this idea are closeted gays who would, in fact, bolt out of their own marriages for the sweet joys of gaydom 20 minutes after it becomes legal. Or are the partners of people who they have suspicions of being closeted.

  212. #214 MAJeff, OM
    May 1, 2010

    My personal theory is that all the people who are most vociferously promoting this idea are closeted gays who would, in fact, bolt out of their own marriages for the sweet joys of gaydom 20 minutes after it becomes legal

    Jeff Jacoby basically made that argument during the debates in Massachusetts. He looked at the Civil Unions that had taken place and noted that several folks who entered these relationships were once in different-sex marriages. In order to protect marriage, not only do gay relationships not deserve any kinds of protection or recognition, homosexuality must be restigmatized so those folks would have stayed married.

  213. #215 Cerberus
    May 1, 2010

    neutron @208

    You may have gotten scooped by Ursula LeGuin, but do write it anyways. We could do with more than one interesting sci-fi story about that.

    Watry @195

    As Jadehawk said, it’s easier for kids to imagine themselves as a focal point for a hypothetical than others.

    They actually have the opposite problem of the adults. Adults can imagine others as themselves so it’s easier to grasp women “wanting to be them” or “liking girls like them” than to imagine someone liking guys of either sex. Kids think of themselves and can imagine being paired with a girl or a boy, but have difficulty fully grasping that that thought experiment is actually expandable to other people.

    Teaching them this skill ends up being good for building empathy but can lead to hilarious conversations when you’re just starting out.

    Carlie @213

    My personal theory is that bisexuality of the Kinsey spectrum variety is a hell of a lot more common than people believe and may be around half or more of the population. And I think that’s key to both how this idea of being able to be “turned gay” came up and how it became so wide-spread and powerful.

    As an asexual, the idea of becoming another sexuality is foreign and “true” homosexuals and heterosexuals (i.e. Kinsey 6s and 0s) find it equally baffling, because there’s really nothing there to even hint at “switching”. But for someone in the range in the middle, there actually are fantasies, attractions, little hints that one could easily have “gone down that path” and thus the idea can hold frightening weight especially to those with little to no real sex education.

    I see the “they’ll break up traditional marriages” as part that, but mostly it’s them being very honest and hoping we won’t look too deeply into the “traditional” part.

    What they are stating quite bluntly is that they’re scared that gender-role-policed “traditional” marriages where the woman is house slave and sex slave to the man will be dealt its final blow with gay marriage and that many of their women will notice this death and flee from the unhappy marriages they feel trapped in by religious obligation and “the children” or otherwise begin to get uppity about greater egalitarian treatment.

    And they are right, gay marriage will probably be yet another blow against “traditional” marriage and a further affirmation of marriage as a marriage of equals who married out of mutual love and respect for each other rather than a property transaction often fueled by sexual necessity (someone got knocked up) between father and husband.

    And that’s, again, a good thing.

  214. #216 Bobber
    May 1, 2010

    Jeff Jacoby basically made that argument during the debates in Massachusetts.

    Jeff Jacoby has been, is now, and it seems is always going to be, a useless pile of conservative talking points masquerading as a human being. There are dozens of things I miss about leaving Massachusetts. Having to read Jacoby’s poorly-written and ignorant drivel in the Globe (while desperately trying to avoid Jay Severin on 96.9 FM) is not one of them.

  215. #217 Cerberus
    May 1, 2010

    MAJeff @214

    Datum like that just makes me wonder just how much life could be improved by teaching the Kinsey scale to everyone in the country. Bigots always seem baffled by the very notion of bisexuality and every time they think they’ve found a “smoking gun” they never realize that a) they’re always wrong, but also b) if they were right, it wouldn’t matter because bisexuality exists.

    It’s like, “ha ha, we can change orientation”. Uh, no you can’t and furthermore even if you actually did “succeed” for once in your life, you would have…found a bisexual. Same with “oh, ho, some new gay couples were once heterosexually attached, obviously they’ve been switching”. Or…they’re bisexual. Or closeted, yes. But a bi person could easily have the same damn pattern.

    It’d also get ourselves away from the sick dualism we in the West get obsessed about. No, there have to be two and only two possibilities and they have to be vastly different, almost antagonistic to each other. There couldn’t be a vast spectrum for a lot of things because biology just works like that.

  216. #218 lordshipmayhem
    May 1, 2010

    Ah, yet more of the Wookie defence: Instead of responding to the bad news, “Look at the Wookie! Lookit the Wookie!! I rest my case.”

  217. #219 AJ Milne OM
    May 1, 2010

    Well, me, I think the rest of us should probably all get together, see ’bout putting together some statutes that ban Catholics from getting married…

    Oh. And Mormons.

    I mean: marriage is about providing a framework for raising kids, good of society, mom ‘n apple pie, America the beautiful, remember the Maine, live free or die, yadda yadda etc… Anyway, clearly none of those folk have the wherewithal to do any of that right. (I mean, these are the folk what gave unto the world Pope Palpatine ‘n Glenn Beck, consider the case for poor child-rearing rested…)

    So let’s ban ‘em. For the greater good, Reagan bless America, ad nauseum…

    Also, adopting. We should stop them doing that, too. So we need a law for that too, clearly…

    I mean, think about it: let Catholics ‘n Mormons marry ‘n adopt, they may very well turn the poor little adoptees Catholic or Mormon, whichever… Just as bad: other impressionable folk might get the idea that it’s actually okay to be Catholic or Mormon…

    Obviously enough, not good… Not to mention the alarming possibility: they may even reproduce, as difficult (and painful) as this is frequently is to picture…

    Oh. Right. And the Southern Baptists. I mean, as if we want more of those around.

    (/Heads off to draft various ballot measures…)

  218. #220 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    My personal theory is that bisexuality of the Kinsey spectrum variety is a hell of a lot more common than people believe and may be around half or more of the population. And I think that’s key to both how this idea of being able to be “turned gay” came up and how it became so wide-spread and powerful.

    I think so as well. I wonder if it’s not a bell curve with the majority somewhere in the middle, but even if it’s mostly bimodal, there’s so much complexity to sexuality (genetics, hormonal cascades, societal conditioning) that it has got to be a continuous distribution of some type, so an inverse bell would still have a heck of a lot of smear across the middle. And as for those in the middle, I think it the degree to which they identify with it or even realize it probably intersects with internal libido – those with a high sex drive are more likely to think about and experiment to the edges of their interests across genders, while those with a low sex drive would be content to stay within classically socially accepted norms. Get someone right smack in the middle of the Kinsey scale, with a high sex drive, who happens to be a conservative fundamentalist, and there’s your “they choose to be gay” mindset.

  219. #221 Aquaria
    May 1, 2010

    I think a world where moms and dads are interchangeable in their roles and responsibilities in child-raising would be a fine place to live

    Bishop Needledick:

    Fuck you.

    Seriously, fuck you.

    You have no fucking clue what it’s like to live with a sorry ass son of a bitch for a father who cheats on your mother in her own bed while she’s at work, with your children only doors away.

    I wouldn’t have cared if I had two moms, if I’d been spared that sight.

    I wouldn’t have cared if I’d had two dads, because most gay men I know wouldn’t cut and run on their kids, not looking back until it was too fucking late, like my sorry ass son of a bitch father did. My mother’s second husband came out of the closet at one point–even after their divorce, he took care of me, looked out for me. Even when he was dying, he was trying to do for me, to make my life better, if he possibly could. He was infinitely more a man and a father than my real one ever was or could be.

    So fuck you, Needledick. How dare you impugn the character and parenting abilities of a good and decent man like my “dad”. How dare you attempt to tell someone like me that just because a heterosexual sired me, that I needed that worthless piece of shit sperm donor in my life?

    I didn’t.

    Fuck you.

  220. #222 FossilFishy
    May 1, 2010

    neutron.phil #208:

    If gender oriented SciFi is your bag take a look at Samuel R. Delany’s “Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand” IIRC the pronouns the characters use to address each other varies depending on their sexual relationship. It’s set in a world where gender switching is easy and common and half way through one of the characters changes. All the pronouns used by and for that character change at that point also. I found it a hard read, but then most of it was probably going over my head.

    Now that I’ve gone through most of the comments I have to say:

    I used to go to gay nightclubs back in the 80′s with a group of friends who were for the most part straight. Once we’d shown that we weren’t assholes out to gawk at the fags we were for the most part accepted, or at least tolerated. But inevitably a few months or a year later we’d look around and realize that the club was full of us straight folk. The original gay patrons had moved on.

    Thinking back, I now realize that I’ve been massively guilty of that dehumanization Josh pointed out in 155. I suspect that the majority of the conversations I had with the clubbers outside my group did exactly that: reduced them to societal problems. Here these folks were, just wanting to have a good time and they end up having to endure a bunch of straight kids trying to prove their open mindedness. Enough of that and of course you’re going to flee to somewhere where you can just get drunk and dance with your friends, at least till the next invasion.

    You know, I’ve learned a lot lurking around the edges of Pharyngula but I never expected anything like this.

    Thank you Josh.

  221. #223 Ing
    May 1, 2010

    “I had one of my roommates, who seemed to have shared a dorm room with me in a state of terror, take my Trophy Wife-to-be? aside and advise her not to marry me ? that I was going to be a serial killer.

    This was the roommate who objected to my cat, Snowball. So clearly his judgment was not the best.”

    WTF was your undergrad major PZ!?

  222. #224 PZ Myers
    May 1, 2010

    I was a zoology major, a degree that is hard to find anymore. Lots of comparative anatomy and physiology, embryology, histology, stuff like that. And I worked my way through college as an assistant in an animal surgery in one of the med school departments.

  223. #225 naddyfive
    May 1, 2010

    I just had a look at the Kinsey scale wiki, and it’s interesting to note that, although the common sense understanding is that women are more naturally bisexual than men, only 6% of women ages 20-35 qualified as a 3 (bisexual), while nearly twice as many males ages 20-35 qualified. I’d say that counts as more proof that people are far less threatened by lesbianism than they are gay men so long as the girl-on-girl action is considered just a “side project”…

    Being a 3 (well, at least a 2.5) with a strong drive, I sympathize with the bisexuals on the thread. I still remember the first time I was attracted to a girl- sexually, not just little kid crush style- and it was, admittedly, very confusing. Since I also liked males, very much, I’d always just assumed I was going to be “normal”.

    Being stubborn, and proud, I’ve always known and maintained that I *am* normal. But by reality’s standards, not society’s.

  224. #226 DaveWTC
    May 1, 2010

    “The problem isn’t divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture [ ... ] and the male privilege that allows fathers to escape with diminished responsibility.”

    Wow! 223 comments and no one takes you to task for this statement. Where have you been? Obviously, you have never been through a divorce so maybe you have about as much right to comment as the priest has to talk about marriage and child raising!!
    I have been through a divorce and I can tell you that, from the start, I was presumed by the State to be a criminal (no priors!) who would fail to meet, or even avoid, his obligations and would be hunted down and possibly jailed for it; there was zero chance (at that time) of my being awarded physical custody because I was the father (you would not believe the tortured logic behind this one); my ex most certainly did NOT end up with the major financial responsibility (your previous statement), I did; and as far as any other “male privilege”, I’ll have to think about what that might be, unless of course it’s being told when and how often I was allowed to see my child. So much for “patriarchal culture” in this arena; maybe a little easing off on the sweeping generalizations, including the one that says it’s always only the woman who is caught in the bad marriage, is in order. BTW, I have an excellent relationship with my now adult child, despite divorce laws that seem designed to promote maximum hostility both during and after the event. And to suggest that it is a “privilege” to escape your responsibilities and that fathers are getting in line to do so is insulting beyond belief. Time to go back to squids and gawds.

  225. #227 OurDeadSelves
    May 1, 2010

    Cerberus,
    I’m off to amend my Molly noms because I inadvertently overlooked you– your honesty and willingness to share personal stories in a frank and straightforward manner is something that always amazes me and makes my day.

    In short: You rock!

    Love,
    ODS

  226. #228 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    For reasons I do not comprehend and have not had satisfactorily explained to me, some straight men have some sort of sexual fascination with lesbians – Evil Queen

    Corrected for you. It’s one I’ve never shared. I suspect (on grounds neither better nor worse than those suggesting bisexualiy is much more common than Kinsey’s figures indicated, i.e simple hunch) that it’s not as common as generally believed.

  227. #229 naddyfive
    May 1, 2010

    Dave, there’s no question that divorce can be brutal on men, fathers and families, or that men sometimes end up getting a raw financial deal in divorce. (Especially men with large incomes whose wives don’t work…)

    But for most people, especially those in lower income brackets, women are unduly saddled with the financial and other burdens of raising children.

    Also, you’re forgetting to count all of the unpaid labor women do as wives and mothers. If you factored that into your account, you’d see things differently, I suspect. You might even see alimony as a form of back pay.

  228. #230 smith.pelican
    May 1, 2010

    Check out the latest on the father marcial maciel and his ultra-wacko legionaries of christ. After first dismissing his misdeeds as just some of the usual priestly shenanigans, they finally brought the hammer down (albeit gently). Anyone interested in corruption and coverup should explore this story.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/world/europe/02legion.html

  229. #231 Andre
    May 1, 2010

    ‘Because they are discriminated against in the workplace, because they get the bulk of the financial obligation in caring for any children, and because many men (and, I suspect, especially the men women want to divorce) fail to meet their responsibilities in contributing to child care.’

    Sorry, PZ, there’s not one part of that statement that is at all true. On the workplace item, please consult Dr. Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Earn More”.
    On the issue of child support, lets consider that it is the sole choice of the woman if there will BE a child. -Her body, her choice, her responsibility.-
    See also: Technical Analysis Paper No. 42, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Income Security Policy, Oct. 1991, Authors: Meyer and Garansky.
    * Custodial mothers who receive a support award: 79.6%
    * Custodial fathers who receive a support award: 29.9%
    * Non-custodial mothers who totally default on support: 46.9%
    * Non-custodial fathers who totally default on support: 26.9%
    http://www.childrensjustice.org/stats.htm
    On what kind of men women divorce (And, women initiate at least 70% of all divorces) see Sanford Braver ‘Divorced Dads; Shattering The Myths’.
    PZ, the comment of yours I quoted is as discredited as ID is.
    As for women getting ‘back pay’ after a marriage, try selling any employer on that concept…

  230. #232 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 1, 2010

    Where’s the button for red-necked males who want to “penetrate” the thread instead?! ;-)

    They can go make their own blogs. This is PeeZed’s dungeon, and he’s the sole dungeonmaster.

  231. #233 Knockgoats
    May 1, 2010

    On the issue of child support, lets consider that it is the sole choice of the woman if there will BE a child. – Andre

    This is such an obvious lie it isn’t even worth investigating the rest of your claims. You never heard of condoms, Andre?

  232. #234 OurDeadSelves
    May 1, 2010

    Andre:
    I have always LOVED! the poor poor man defense:

    Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. In 2008, 28.7 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 13.8 percent of households headed by single men and 5.5 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.

    So, complain all you want about men not getting as much child support– they aren’t as likely to live in poverty as single mothers are.

    http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/

  233. #235 broboxley OT
    May 1, 2010

    Andre,
    In the state of alaska the male name on the birth certificate owes the state 60% or so of their gross income whether one is married or not. This tax comes out of every paycheck until the child turns 18. Not much of what is collected goes to the mother or to the child. Many other states are just as draconian. This forces a lot of men to either give up or go off the books. This isnt good for anyone, the child, the parents or society because these poor kids grow up.

    Any child should have loving or at least reasonably caring parents and all of us should be willing to help out financially to those in need regardless. The current system is badly broken when it drives men from the workforce. If a man isnt worth a shit fuckem.

    I didnt have any problem taking my stepdaughter into my home and heart. The ignorant fuck who was the sperm donor made north of 60k a year and in the last 2 years before she turned 18 sent a total of $150.00 I didnt give a shit and told my wife to ignore the cheap fuck. The kids are usually better off without them.

  234. #236 MAJeff, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Yay! MRA hijackers!

  235. #237 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Y’all, it is SO HARD for men these days, what with women up to making something like 77 cents on the dollar, and some states having divorces where you don’t get to blame women for what they did wrong, and there’s Title IX, and women even wear pants and shit.

  236. #238 broboxley OT
    May 1, 2010

    Carlie,
    women shit? whodathunkit

  237. #239 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    yeah, plus now they have the right to refuse the precious homunculus you implanted in them for incubation!!!

  238. #240 realinterrobang
    May 1, 2010

    Yawn, MRA trolls. Listen, bucko, if you don’t want the risk of having to pay child support, don’t leave your gametes around in someone else’s reproductive tract where they might get stepped on used to make a baby. Condoms are widely available, and vasectomies are pretty near 100% effective…

  239. #241 DLC
    May 2, 2010

    Let’s face it, he just doesn’t want men to be able to marry men because then he’d face actual commitment to someone and not just some casual sex.

  240. #242 Phoenix
    May 2, 2010

    Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK[...]

    I remember my Sunday School teacher (back when I was in sixth-gradeish, and still a Christian) ranting about how his kids were going to grow up being taught that gay marriage was okay. Even back then I thought it was a stupid argument. Apparently I was corrupted by them gays into thinking they deserve equal rights.

  241. #243 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 2, 2010

    John Capistrano:

    Here is the ideal citizen manufactured by the Liberal State: an ignorant, vicious, foul-mouthed slut pierced like a savage, tattooed like a criminal, draped in filthy rags, stuffed with state-approved slogans and screaming like a stuck harpy.

    What a surprise, this moron’s ultimate nightmare horror of a ‘person’ is female. What else? Ugh.

  242. #244 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    John Capistrano,

    Well I can only agree: strong language is so much worse than protecting child rapists from justice, isn’t it?

  243. #245 MAJeff, OM
    May 2, 2010

    Well I can only agree: strong language is so much worse than protecting child rapists from justice, isn’t it?

    Saying “kidfucker” is obviously worse than being a kidfucker. Well, it’s worse than being a kidfucking priest.

  244. #246 Carlie
    May 2, 2010

    women shit? whodathunkit

    My bad phrasing ftw! :)

    Women shit, but they shit rainbows.

  245. #247 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    John Capistrano,

    If you’re serious, you’re a piece of shit. If you’re joking – not funny.

  246. #248 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    Googling the Peter Tatchell quote from John Capistrano, the only hit turns out to come from a fascist site.

    PZ! Fascist scum on the thread!

  247. #249 MAJeff, OM
    May 2, 2010

    Piltfuck

  248. #250 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    I should say “alleged Peter Tatchell quote”. I’ve no idea whether it’s genuine, and if it is, what the context was (e.g., could have been about a 16-year-old having consensual sex with a 15-year-old).

  249. #251 PZ Myers
    May 2, 2010

    “John Capistrano”, as you might have guessed, is actually Piltdown Man. Again.

  250. #252 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    MAJeff,

    You could be right.

  251. #253 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    So now we know – what Piltdown Man really wants is to rape young boys. Can’t say I’m in the least surprised.

  252. #254 Kieranfoy
    May 2, 2010

    Say what you like about this new (or old) troll (such as “Fucking dickheaded misgynistic Arch-Cunt-servative lump of dog shite”), John Capistrano just rolls off the tongue.

  253. #255 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 2, 2010

    Oh, Pilty. Should have known. Ever the kidraper protector.

  254. #256 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    Kieranfoy,

    Googling the name, turns out he was a “saint” – and, as it turns out, a vicious antisemite and persecutor of “heretics” – just the type to appeal to the loathsome Piltdown Man.

  255. #257 Kieranfoy
    May 2, 2010

    @Knickgoats: Looks like an utter, complete prick.

    Figures. Our troll has delusions of grandeur. Well, he’s nowhere near as big a prick as the original.

  256. #258 Alexis
    May 4, 2010

    If god thinks that a marriage should be of one man and one woman, and that a mother and a father are necessary for proper child raising…..WHY DID GOD CREATE SO MANY FREAKIN’ ORPHANS AND HALF ORPHANS!!!! by killing off one or both parents with plagues, accidents and violence. I’d think that the maker of mirakewls should have taken care of that issue. And how about the suicides? Gawd sez “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you do that just yet. You have a child to raise.”