A Comment I Expect to Disappear

UPDATE: I got replies from Dalrymple. Scroll below for his replies, and mine back, which will be in blue text. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this better, please let me know.

After two posts on WWJTD?, one from JT and one from Christina, the masochist in me came out and I decided to check out the comments on Timothy Dalrymple’s whiny screed about how it hurts his feelings so much when people call him hateful when he just wants to lovingly oppress people.

No, seriously, he actually says, “I hate that I’m told that my view, that marriage is a sacrament and a covenant defined by God for the union of male and female, is hateful by virtue of the fact that it oppresses a people group.” He admits that it oppresses people, and somehow can’t figure out why people might consider that hateful!

I think we all know my opinions on this topic.

Anyway, it’s typical comments section stuff. Lots of supportive comments, then lots of opposition. To Dalrymple’s credit, he wades in a lot more than a lot of bloggers and responds. However, his responses are contradictory, empty, and nigh-on useless most of the time. But one of them was simply wrong about lots and lots of things. So I responded. But since the blog is heavily moderated, I’m not sure it’ll actually get through, so I’m going to post my response here.

I also want to be snarky but was trying to be polite on somebody else’s blog. However, for the entertainment of you, my faithful readers (all seven of you), I will put what I’m really thinking in red.

First, a queer person posted about how they feel unsafe because of how Dalrymple and his ilk “respectfully disagree” themselves into a homicidal froth. You can find the comment here, but also re-printed:

As I clarified in an entry on my journal, about “Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day”:

“Naturally, none of the people there hate me. They love me with Christlike love, and want me to find true happiness and peace. They just don’t want

* Churches other than theirs, which believe in marriage equality, to be legally allowed to solemnize same-gender marriages.

* Same-gender couples to be able to kiss, hold hands, or otherwise show affection for each other, on TV or in their sight.

* Same-gender couples to be able to marry, have children, visit their spouses in the hospital, or really exist at all, period.

I’m shaking with fear right now. I’m not used to being faced with the fact that my right to exist is considered a controversy, a thing to argue in abstract, an issue like the economy to be debated by talking heads. And when people yell at me, or bully me, or talk about how everyone like me ought to be shot or rounded up into camps or slapped stupid by our dads, it’s always somebody else’s fault … never the fault of the suburban moms who shop at Chik-Fil-A. Becaue they don’t hate me, they just don’t want me to exist anywhere near them or their kids. 5 percent of whom are LGBT, and will grow up knowing they’re not allowed to exist, either.”

I should also replace “pagan” with “Shinto / Taoist / otherkin,” but since I pray to a deity other than Jesus you’ll probably see me as that.

Dalrymple responds below it:

Churches can do what they want. Whether the unions they solemnize will count legally as marriages is the issue, but any kind of church can have any kind of ceremony.

I’m sorry you feel afraid. I genuinely am. And as I said in the post, I regret that Christians have sometimes condoned bullying or spoken gracelessly of gays. But no one — absolutely no one — is talking about outlawing homosexual behavior or relationships or displays of affection. (If you say, groups like the Family Research Council do want to outlaw homosexual behavior, then, well, you’d just be wrong, but you would unfortunately have some basis for that – nonetheless false – belief in a couple careless comments made over the years.) But the biggest red herring in your comment here is that anyone is disputing your right to exist. Of course not. You have as much right to exist as I do.

I think that hospital visitation rights ought to be decoupled from marriage, so that those without a family in the traditional sense but with significant relationships of any kind can designate those they wish to have those special visitation rights. But honestly no one on the pro-traditional-marriage side is out to prevent visitation rights. No one really cares who visits whom in the hospital. They are out to maintain the traditional definition of marriage and the family — and that definition is present in the law in countless ways, and so it has consequences for visitation rights and a thousand other things. But most of those things can be addressed — and many have already — without changing the legal definition of marriage.

Most importantly, though, I don’t know of a single representative of the Christian movement to defend marriage who is against your right to exist, much less advocating that “everyone like [you] ought to be shot or rounded up into camps.” I think we can tone it down a little from there.

And now for my response, which was just posted and is awaiting moderation:

“Churches can do what they want. Whether the unions they solemnize will count legally as marriages is the issue, but any kind of church can have any kind of ceremony.”

This bring us back to that you want to legislate your faith. You have no particular problem with people believing other than you, but they will legally be obligated to behave as you wish them to. This, of course, contradicts many of your above comments saying that you don’t want to legislate your faith at all, but you’re simply voting based on how you happen to personally believe. If there is a threadlength of difference between the two of those things, I cannot see it, and suspect that unless my brain is clogged with Christ-love I never will.

“I’m sorry you feel afraid. I genuinely am. And as I said in the post, I regret that Christians have sometimes condoned bullying or spoken gracelessly of gays.”

Bullshit. This is an out and out lie. If you were sorry or felt a lick of regret then you would actually do something about it. Not pray, which is doing nothing and feeling good about it, but actually make some sort of effort to change the climate that doesn’t involve crying about how mean people are being by calling you a bigot. There’s this strange belief running throughout the conservative Christian subculture that somehow your intentions matter, and that we should particularly care that you wish it was otherwise. Even in the piece above, you say that you really want to treat LGBT people like human beings, but shucks, you’re pretty sure this ancient book says you can’t. I find that particularly hilarious when you also suggest throughout the comment section that we should take historical context into account for those inconvenient things like slavery.

“But no one — absolutely no one — is talking about outlawing homosexual behavior or relationships or displays of affection.”

Well, from 1997 to this year the Montana GOP had it as an official party plank and only dropped it this year to shorten their platform. The Texas GOP just added it as an official party plank as well as making same-sex marriage a felony offense (you can find it under the STRENGTHENING FAMILIES, PROTECTING LIFE AND PROMOTING HEALTH section). I do have more examples if you’d like, though even two major state political parties really does contradict your “no one” assertion.

In fact, for somebody who claims that they know a particular subculture well enough to actually get paid to write about it, as you do, you seem to know very little about what actually goes on in it. It should be no surprise to you that as I type this, there is an evangelical preacher writing a sermon in which he tells his followers that gay people are coming for their children and bemoans the “moral decline” of the nation, stoking fear and anger in the name of Christ. I’m not sure whether you’re lying, or whether you are actually so deluded that you have no idea these sorts of things not only go on, but have come to be representative of what you believe because they are so ubiquitous.

Timothy Dalrymple says:

So, you show me a Montana state party platform plank that was dropped…and a Texas 2010 platform that opposed the prior legalization of sodomy. I’ll grant you the Texas one has some evidentiary merit, but there were other reasons for opposing the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas [KN: No, there aren’t]. Still, I’ll give you Texas, although it would not make it “illegal for gays to exist” or illegalize PDA’s. Where your argument would really have merit would be if it were in the national GOP platform, of course.

Listen, this has been a long conversation and way too time consuming for me. If you want to carry it on, please read some of the other pieces I’ve written on this issue before going any further. Thanks.

  • “Where your argument would really have merit would be if it were in the national GOP platform, of course.”

    Way to move the goalposts. A state party is not inconsequential, and is more than “no one.”

    As far as the Montana one, they dropped it for space reasons, not because their actual position has changed. Again, you seem to be claiming that I should care about intangibles when they are contradicted by actual actions.

“If you say, groups like the Family Research Council do want to outlaw homosexual behavior, then, well, you’d just be wrong, but you would unfortunately have some basis for that – nonetheless false – belief in a couple careless comments made over the years.”

And why, exactly, would I be wrong about that? Are you suggesting that their statements cannot be trusted? Why should I not believe what they said? Are comments only “careless” when they make people look bad? Is Bryan Fischer at the AFA also making “careless” statements? How often do people have to say that they do, in fact, want to make even the existence of homosexuals illegal before you stop trying to pretend that isn’t what they’re saying? 

I’m not even sure what this logical fallacy is. It’s kind of like No True Scotsman, but specified only to words. Clearly the terrible things this person said couldn’t have been real because this person doesn’t say terrible things! This is so pathetic, you admitting that they did say these things but basely suggesting that somehow, in some form of the universe, they didn’t actually mean it. So the Bible is to be taken literally, but people all speak in metaphor. Gotcha, Tim.

Timothy Dalrymple says:

The AFA has been clear that what Fischer says in his shows and on his blog are his own opinions and not necessarily representative of the AFA. But the AFA is quite different from the FRC, and we’re talking about the FRC. I really have no interest in defending the AFA or Bryan Fischer.

The FRC has been clear that they do not advocate illegalizing homosexuality. See my recent interview [KN: I found the link, he didn’t provide it] with Rob Schwarzwalder, if you wish. There are careless, retracted statements, and then there are official position statements. Read the official position statements.

There are a million worthy causes I haven’t the time or the calling to pursue. But if you took up the fight of decoupling hospital visitation rights from marriage, I’d support you.

  • I looked up that interview and absolutely no mention is made of whether or not the FRC wants to make homosexuality illegal. There is are a number of common distortions mentioned throughout, but nothing about sodomy laws or making homosexual conduct illegal. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you thought there was rather than assuming that you were banking on my not doing a Google search and checking it out.

    I also looked at the official policy statements and no mention is made of making anything illegal. In fact, the only contradictory statement we have is a tepid one from Tony Perkins on Hardball on Nov. 29 in which he says that the FRC is not currently working toward making homosexuality illegal, but refuses to answer questions on whether that is a long term goal of the organization or repudiate Spigg’s statement. So that also doesn’t support your assertion that we should ignore statements that the FRC won’t even retract.

“I think that hospital visitation rights ought to be decoupled from marriage, so that those without a family in the traditional sense but with significant relationships of any kind can designate those they wish to have those special visitation rights.”

Which is the safest position to hold because nobody in power is actually pursuing it and you won’t withhold a vote or demand that anyone with the power to make it happen actually do so. I would love a manned mission to Mars, but I court no controversy by saying that because it’s not going to happen for quite some time.

Or here’s another favorite of mine: “There should be no connection between religious marriage and civil unions. Government should get entirely out of marriage and have their own, non-religious thing.” You know what? I agree with you. You know what else? Nobody in a position of power gives a shit that we think that and nobody who says that will hold politicians accountable for it, so it’s a perfectly meaningless opinion. When you start clearly and loudly voting in such a way as to make elected representatives actually hold this position, then we’ll talk, but for now it’s just an attempt to look reasonable and centrist by advocating for something that entails exactly zero risk.

“But honestly no one on the pro-traditional-marriage side is out to prevent visitation rights. No one really cares who visits whom in the hospital. “

You mean other than Scott Walker who went out of his way to try and get the state to stop defending a law that did just that last year (and, obviously, the people suing to overturn the law that allows that)? Then, of course, there was that hospital in Nevada last week. Again, I have more, but this is certainly more than “no one.”

Again, for somebody who claims they know enough about a subculture to write about it regularly, you don’t seem to have the first clue what actually goes on in that subculture. Do you think we’re just making the hospital visitation thing up? Like, we’re totes able to visit our partners any time we want, but needed something to bash Christians like yourself with so we’re pretending some offense that isn’t happening?

Who do you think we are? You?

Seriously, that’s a whole heap of projection, there. Opposition to hospital visitation is a real, documented thing. It happens every day in this country and is fought for by your “pro-family” crusaders on a regular basis. When you want to join us in the real world, you’d be welcome, but until that time please stop describing your fantasy land and pretending it’s reality.

  • Timothy Dalrymple says:

    I didn’t say that no one’s views have those consequences. Scott Walker may care about preserving the meaning of marriage and not diluting that legal definition, but I assure you he could care less whether your partner visits you in the hospital.

     
  • He went out of his way to not have to defend a law that allows just that. Your assurances do not match reality. Regardless, if his views lead to this conclusion, there is no practical difference between those. The rhetorical differences are meaningless.

“I don’t know of a single representative of the Christian movement to defend marriage who is against your right to exist, much less advocating that ‘everyone like [you] ought to be shot or rounded up into camps.'”

Well, there’s the aforementioned Bryan Fischer. Let’s see, who else? Well, Charles Worley, Curtis Knapp, and Kevin Swanson. And of course we have Sean Harris who thinks that parents ought to beat their gender non-conforming kids. I suspect you’re going to now say that these people are not “representative” of your movement. I could also point out the time that Mississippi state rep Andy Gipson decided to quote Leviticus to show his opposition to same-sex marriage.

You are unambiguously wrong about your assertions in this comment and if your position relies on not acknowledging that these sorts of things exist, it may be time to reconsider. I presume that now that you’re aware of these facts you will no longer argue that your sweeping statements are true and will instead work to prevent such atrocities from happening.

Timothy Dalrymple says:
August 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm
Quoting Leviticus to defend your opposition to same-sex marriage is a far cry from advocating that gays should be shot or put in concentration camps. Please.
I’m not familiar with those other folks, but there’s a tendency to find the person who says the most extreme thing and then blow up his importance and pretend he really represents far more than he does. Sean Harris – again, a random guy – said that’s not what he’s saying, but who knows about him. Bryan Fischer is the only one here who has something of a following, but he’s regarded as extreme and way out of the mainstream, and the vast majority of Christians in America have never heard of him.
Reply
Kaoru Negisa says:
August 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm
Leviticus says, explicitly, that gay men should be put to death. How is that not a call for the death of gay men? Please, yourself.

As to the “random guys,” exactly how many isolated incidents actually constitutes a problem? There are plenty of other “random guys” I’ll happily link to saying things just as vile. Hundreds of pastors around the country say things like this all the time. Eventually a group of nobodies adds up.
On a side note in Sean Harris, just saying that isn’t what he said doesn’t mean he didn’t say it. There’s video of it. He says that if your son’s wrist goes limp, “crack that wrist.” Is breaking a child’s bone not beating a child, or was he talking about a metaphorical wrist?
Did I predict that No True Scotsman or what? I must be psychic!
But, of course, Timothy Dalrymple will do no such thing. Because he is not interested in love. He’s not interested in showing any sort of human decency to LGBT people other than the most superficial. He’s not interested in what is actually happening or the reality of anti-LGBT bigotry. He’s interested in whining about how unfair it is that he’s being called mean names, the poor lamb.
Timothy Dalrymple’s personal struggle is of absolutely no concern to me because it’s not really a struggle. Sure, he may feel bad because he’s reasonably certain his ancient collection of stories says that queer people are badbadbad, but there’s nothing he’s doing about that. He’s not convinced by alternate interpretations and I don’t see him abandoning his superstitions any time soon, so basically he’s stuck in this holding pattern where all he can do is cry in public about how terrible it is that he believes these things but doesn’t really want to.
That’s not a struggle, it’s philosophical hypochondria. There’s a simple solution, Tim. There are actually a number of simple solutions. How about you try one of them out? Because you will receive absolutely no sympathy from me that you choose to believe something awful and people don’t think your intentions matter in the slightest.

5 thoughts on “A Comment I Expect to Disappear

  1. Pingback: Why Believe That At All? | Reasonable Conversation

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