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From California: Another Front in the Culture Wars

September 30th, 2011

By Hadley Arkes

From California again we get a glimpse of the future – or the future that a political class is consciously seeking to prepare for us in reshaping the culture. During the summer the legislature enacted, and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, SB48, as an amendment to “the Education Code, relating to instruction.” That Code had already made ample provision to instruct the children of California in the contributions made by all racial and ethnic groups supplying votes for politicians. But there was an appreciation also for the contributors who were “entrepreneurs” and labor unions, and whose stories deserved to be told. With SB48 the legislature took a further step by adding: “Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”

The schools were directed to give only favorable accounts of these groups in telling the story. But on the other side, teachers and administrators were enjoined not to offer any instruction or “sponsor any activity that reflects adversely upon persons on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation.” There is not the least doubt about the intention to enforce this law. Nor is there much doubt about the main target of the law. SB48 bars “any sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda contrary to law.”

For religious teaching, read: any teaching offering a claim to truth rivaling the moral teaching in the law. That alternative moral teaching will be regarded as merely beliefs of a “denominational” character or a version of “propaganda.”

Make no mistake, Fr. Schall was quite right in his recent column: We are in the midst of a culture war. And a chief purpose of that war is to make it untenable to teach Catholic doctrine in public settings, or for Catholic institutions, in their work, to respect that teaching. But we would fall into a gentle mistake if we assumed that we are facing mainly the force of “relativism,” or that the appeal now is to the rights of parents to provide for the moral shaping of their children.

Yes, in part, to both. The force of relativism was felt first in teaching the wrongness of casting moral judgments, including judgments on the “styles” of sexuality. But there is nothing relativistic about the law in California. There is no willingness to tolerate the views of those who bear moral reservations about the homosexual life. The people who brought forth this law would draw on the “logic of morals” as Aquinas had it, and as it will ever be: they would commend and even require what is “right,” and they would condemn and forbid what they regard as “wrong.”

Lincoln had all of this long ago: “If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away.” He could conceivably grant then the authority to bar the abolitionist literature from the mails – if slavery were right. And if it were wrong to cast adverse moral judgments on the homosexual life, the understandings supporting those judgments could indeed be driven out of the schools.

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  1. Roivas
    September 30th, 2011 at 13:18 | #1

    So what do you want?

    “Some people think that gay people are perfectly normal, healthy and ordinary American citizens. Others think that gay people are diseased perverts after our children who are going to burn in hell. We report, you decide!”

  2. Rich
    October 1st, 2011 at 17:41 | #2

    There is no culture war with SB48 except in the minds of religionists. The contributions of American citizens to our country encompass a huge range of abilities, cultures, ethnicities, sexual identities, religious persuasions and so much more. To deny this reality to our children is to thwart their understanding of the rich diversity of this great nation. They already know that we are a nation made from the fabric of earnest endeavors and accomplishments from a huge range of personalities. They also realize that there are many more persons world-wide who have also contributed to societal achievements and historic accomplishments. Such persons as:
    Alexander the Great
    *Macedonian Ruler, 300 B.C.
    Socrates
    *Greek Philosopher, 400 B.C.
    Sappho
    *Greek Woman Poet, 600 B.C.
    Hadrian
    *Roman Emperor, 1st-2nd c.
    Richard the Lionhearted
    *English King, 12th c.
    Saladin
    *Sultan of Egypt and Syria
    Desiderius Erasmus
    *Dutch Monk, Philosopher
    Francis Bacon
    *English statesman, author
    Frederick the Great
    *King of Prussia
    Lord Byron
    *English poet, 18th c.
    Walt Whitman
    *U.S. poet, author, 19th c.
    Oscar Wilde
    *Irish author, 19th c.
    Marcel Proust
    *French author, 20th c.
    Colette
    *French author, 20th c.
    Gertrude Stein
    *U.S. poet, author, 20th c.
    Alice B. Toklas
    *U.S. author, 20th c.
    Federico Garcia Lorca
    *Spanish author, 20th c.
    Cole Porter
    *U.S. composer, 20th c.
    Virginia Woolf
    *English author, 20th c.
    Leonard Bernstein
    *U.S. composer, 20th c.
    Pope Julius III
    *1550-1555
    T.E. Lawrence
    *English soldier, author, 20th c.
    Jean Cocteau
    *French writer, director, 20th c.
    Charles Laughton
    *English actor, 20th c.
    Marguerite Yourcenar
    *Belgian author, 20th c.
    Tennessee Williams
    *U.S. Playwright, 20th c.
    James Baldwin
    *U.S. author, 20th c.
    Andy Warhol
    *U.S. artist, 20th c.
    Michelangelo
    *Italian artist, 15th c.
    Leonardo Da Vinci
    *Ital. Artist, scientist, 15th c.
    Christopher Marlowe
    *Eng. Playwright, 16th c.
    Herman Melville
    *U.S. author, 19th c.
    Horatio Alger, Jr.
    *U.S. author, 19th c.
    Tchaikovsky
    *Russian composer, 19th c.
    Willa Cather
    *U.S. author, 19th c.
    Amy Lowell
    *U.S. author, 19th & 20th c.
    E.M. Forster
    *English author, 20th c.
    John M. Keynes
    *English economist, 20th c.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    *Australian mathematician, 20th c.
    Bessie Smith
    *U.S. singer, 20th c.
    Noel Coward
    *English playwright, 20th c.
    Christopher Isherwood
    *English author, 20th c.
    Pier Paolo Pasolini
    *Italian film director, 20th c.
    Yukio Mishima
    *Japanese author, 20th c.
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    *U.S. stateswoman, 20th c.
    Julius Caesar
    *Roman Emperor, 100-44 B.C.
    Augustus Caesar
    *Roman Emperor
    Harvey Milk
    *U.S. politician, 20th c.
    Bayard Rustin
    *U.S. Civil Rights activist, 20th c.
    James I
    *English King, 16th-17th c.
    Queen Anne
    *English Queen, 18th c.
    Marie Antoinette
    *French Empress, 18th c.
    Melissa Etheridge
    *U.S. Rock Star, 20th c.
    Pope Benedict IX
    *1032-1044
    May Sarton
    *U.S. author, (1912 – 1995)
    Edna Ferber
    *U.S. author, 20th c.
    Elton John
    *English Rock Star, 20th c.
    Margaret Fuller
    *U.S. writer, educator, 20th c.
    Montezuma II
    *Aztec ruler, 16th c.
    Peter the Great
    *Russian Czar, 17th-18th c.
    Langston Hughes
    *U.S. author, 20th c.
    Pope John XII
    *955-964
    Madame de Stael
    *French writer, 17th-18th c.
    Martina Navratilova
    *U.S. tennis star, 20th c.
    Greg Louganis
    *U.S. Olympic swimmer, 20th c.
    Billie Jean King
    *U.S. tennis star, 20th c.
    Roberta Achtenburg
    *U.S. politician, 20th c.
    Barney Frank
    *U.S. Congressman, 20th c.
    Gerry Studds
    *U.S. Congressman, 20th c.
    Hans Christian Andersen
    *Danish author, 19th c.
    Tom Dooley
    *U.S. M.D. missionary, 20th c.
    J. Edgar Hoover
    *U.S. director of the FBI., 20th c.
    Frida Kahlo
    *Mexican artist, 20th c.
    Suleiman the Magnificent
    *Ottoman ruler, 15th c.
    Rock Hudson
    *U.S. actor, 20th c.
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
    *Mexican author, 16th c.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    *U.S. author, 19th c.
    Candace Gingrich
    *Gay Rights activist, 20th c.
    Margarethe Cammermeyer
    *U.S. Army Colonel, 20th c.
    Zoe Dunning
    *U.S. Military Reservist, 20th c.
    Tom Waddel
    *U.S. M.D., Olympic star, 20th c.
    Kate Millet
    *U.S. author, 20th c.
    Janis Joplin
    *U.S. singer, 20th c.
    Rudolf Nuryev
    *Russian dancer, 20th c.
    Waslaw Nijinsky
    *Russian dancer, 20th c.
    Ernst Röhm
    *German Nazi leader, 20th c.
    Dag Hammerskjold
    *Swedish UN Secretary, 209th c.
    Aristotle
    *Greek philosopher, 384-322 B.C.
    Paula Gunn Allen
    *Native American author, 20th c.
    Angela Davis
    *U.S. political activist, 20th c.
    June Jordan
    *U.S. author, activist, 20th c.
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    *German poet, 20th c.
    James Dean
    *U.S. actor, 20th c.
    Montgomery Clift
    *U.S. actor, 20th c.
    Baron VonSteuben
    *German General, Valley Forge
    Edward II
    *English King, 14th c.
    are people who made a hugh difference in the world (for better or worse) and are integral to the educational perspective/cultural literacy of all our children. The fact that they were/are gay is a unique perspective and only adds to the larger appreciation of the historic totality of these people. This is truth. This is reality.

  3. Betsy
    October 1st, 2011 at 18:42 | #3

    Where did you find this list? And who says these people were gay?

  4. Rich
    October 2nd, 2011 at 09:06 | #4

    Who’s Who & Who’s Gay, http://www.perlring.org/whoislgb.html, collected by Joseph L. Casadonte Jr.

    Boughner, Terry, Out of All Time: A Gay and Lesbian History, Boston: Alyson Publications, Inc. 1988

    Cowan, Thomas, Gay Men and Women who Enriched the World, Boston: Alyson Publications, Inc. 1992

    Duberman, Martin, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr., eds., Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, New York: Meridian, 1990

    Katz, Jonathan, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. New York: Meridian, 1992

    McConnell-Celi, Sue, ed., Twenty-First Century Challenge: Lesbians and Gays in Education, Bridging the Gap, Red Banks, NJ.: Lavender Crystal Press, 1993

    Famous Gay People
    http://www.lambda.org/famous.htm

    Of course, any reader/student of history, art, politics and literature/biography will surely recognize most on this list. I teach Cultural Literacy to high school students. I want them to know the totality of everyone who has contributed to the rich fabric of humanity. Children should understand that contemporary gay artists/writers/actors/politicians/theologians/business people (and they know who they are), are not anomalies of the vast history of the development of civilization. It is the accomplishments of these individuals that matter but to ignore their sexual orientation is to present an incomplete picture. Why do this? Is it really so frightening that a child in school learns that many gay figures in history contributed in some wonderful/awful way to a nation’s/world’s achievements? If, at the end of the day, a student of education comes to realize that individual contributions to history are as diverse as they can be and this is mirrored in the totality of the contributors, are we not a more educated and enlightened society?

  5. Betsy
    October 2nd, 2011 at 16:16 | #5

    I still find some of the people on this list suspect.

  6. Rich
    October 3rd, 2011 at 04:35 | #6

    @Betsy
    “I still find some of the people on this list suspect.”

    That possibility not-with-standing, what about the larger message of the importance of teaching the totality of any historical/contemporary figure?

  7. Ruth
    October 3rd, 2011 at 10:56 | #7

    @Rich
    How total do we want to get?
    “This person had a tendency toward gossip, collected cars, wasn’t too sure how they felt about private schools, enjoyed the $6.99 Monday night lobster special at Moreno’s…oh! and they also discovered Plutonium.”
    What if the person in question had a complicated sexual persona?
    What if, at the end of their life, they said they regretted whatever it was they had been “into”?
    Should it be reported that the famous individual had been involved in homosexual practice, but then stopped that involvement for reasons of faith, and led a happy, productive life?
    Would that be reported?

  8. Ruth
    October 3rd, 2011 at 11:26 | #8

    Not to mention this disincentive to achievement -
    “If you work really hard in school, and become very, very successful, you can look forward to having your personal life dissected in every K-12 classroom in California.”

  9. Roivas
    October 3rd, 2011 at 11:37 | #9

    “Should it be reported that the famous individual had been involved in homosexual practice, but then stopped that involvement for reasons of faith, and led a happy, productive life?”

    Find one of those on the list that fit that and we’ll get back to you.

  10. Ruth
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:47 | #10

    @Roivas
    Why not add some of those people to the list?

  11. Mont D. Law
    October 3rd, 2011 at 13:40 | #11

    [How total do we want to get?]

    If you want to teach that John Kennedy was Catholic, William Wilberforce was evangelical, Charles Drew was black & Alexander Russell Webb was a Muslim & Albert Einstein was a Jew and how being members of those minorities impacted their lives. Then I want you to teach that Alan Turing was gay.

    It’s pretty straightforward.

    [Should it be reported that the famous individual had been involved in homosexual practice, but then stopped that involvement for reasons of faith, and led a happy, productive life?]

    I don’t have a problem with this as long as it’s true.

  12. Anna
    October 3rd, 2011 at 13:50 | #12

    “I still find some of the people on this list suspect.”

    Yes, a lot of speculation. Some of those people would be better described as bisexual as well. And the Romans and Ancient Greeks were pederasts. Now *that’s* a great thing to be teaching kids.

  13. Rich
    October 3rd, 2011 at 16:43 | #13

    So, we look to ignore an integral aspect of those who have had a profound impact on this nation and/or the world because we are afraid that our students will equate brilliance/failure with sexual identity. The premise is frightening and astounding. The sheer genius of a play-write such as Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire) comes, in part, from his own sexual identity. How else could he craft the pathos of Blanch Dubois and her conflicted husband? Who else could write of this? The sheer beauty of “The David”, Michelangelo’s masterpiece in stone is a testament to his love and appreciation of the male form. Students will want to know the inspiration for such art. Do we leave out critical aspects of the artist’s inspiration? Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (Eleanor’s beloved “Hick”) lived in the White House and was Eleanor’s paramour for 30 years. Do we ignore this relationship as we attempt to reveal the complexities of Eleanor Roosevelt’s role in shaping national/international policies as they affected women’s rights? See this for what it is people, a revelation of the totality of those who shape our history. We certainly aren’t afraid to cite President John Kennedy’s proclivities for women when we study his Presidency. On the other hand we certainly revel in the heterosexuality of Georgia O’Keefe particularly as we discover the subtle suggestiveness of her art. The kids get this, it is real, it is honest and it opens new doors to an understanding of the fabric of humanity. SB48 requires teachers to reveal the totality, the entirety, the truth, the complete picture when presenting a lesson of historical personality no matter who the person is. How is this a threat to students?

    Ruth, you presented nonsense in your rebuttal.
    “What if the person in question had a complicated sexual persona?”, you ask. I say, yes, teach it! This complicated aspect of them may be integral to a true understanding of their contribution.

    I leave you with this: to teach Walt Whitman’s “Memoranda during the War” or “Leaves of Grass” and not reveal his homosexual identity as integral to his literary genius and purpose is the equivalent of a “sin”. A lesson plan absent of this critical component would be shallow at best and absent of any integrity at worst. The teacher who ignores this is not fit and his students are robbed of the education they deserve.

  14. Betsy
    October 3rd, 2011 at 17:02 | #14

    Rich, so what you’re saying is, these people could never have accomplished what they did if it weren’t for their supposed orientation?

  15. Rich
    October 3rd, 2011 at 17:28 | #15

    @Betsy
    “Rich, so what you’re saying is, these people could never have accomplished what they did if it weren’t for their supposed orientation?”

    “This complicated aspect of them may be integral to a true understanding of their contribution.”

    Do you understand this?

  16. Rob Tisinai
    October 3rd, 2011 at 18:43 | #16

    Betsy, we don’t know what these people would have done if they’d had a different orientation. We don’t know whether George Washington would have been a great man without Martha. We don’t whether Alan Turing might have gone on to even greater contributions to math, computers, and liberty if the British government hadn’t hounded him to suicide.

    I do know that growing up and reading biographies and attending school in a conservative town, I learned about the families and spouses of famous and great people who were straight. Why does that suddenly become so wrong when they’re gay.

  17. Betsy
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:33 | #17

    “Maybe” and maybe not. I’m sure a ton of those people would be insulted by your insinuation.

  18. Ruth
    October 3rd, 2011 at 22:00 | #18

    @Mont D. Law
    “…John Kennedy was Catholic, William Wilberforce was evangelical, Charles Drew was black & Alexander Russell Webb was a Muslim & Albert Einstein was a Jew … Alan Turing was gay. ”
    I see religion and I see race, and then, all of a sudden we’re into sinful activity.
    At what age do children need to learn about Bill Clinton’s adultery?

    But wait, Rich is now defining “sin”, so maybe “gay” is a religion? Is Rich the god of gayism?

  19. Rich
    October 4th, 2011 at 04:26 | #19

    “Maybe” and maybe not. I’m sure a ton of those people would be insulted by your insinuation.

    @Betsy

    Please explain.

  20. Betsy
    October 4th, 2011 at 14:10 | #20

    That if they weren’t gay, they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what they did–what I had just said. Was that not clear? Besides, some of these people on the list probably weren’t even gay at all. And those living in an age where it was not vogue to be gay, would likely be insulted if you said that they were. A gay man might be insulted if you thought he was straight.

    Look, I learned about some of these people in history class, and with the exception of Oscar Wilde, was not taught that they were gay. That has no bearing on their accomplishments. We care about what they did, not who they did. Why does anyone’s orientation have to be brought into the picture? History classes don’t make a point of saying, Benjamin Franklin, invented items A-M, and he was straight. So in so did this, and he was gay. Fill in the blanks on tests: This person gay or straight? I mean, come on. People who are taught about in history class should be in the books for doing something significant. We don’t have to comb through gay and lesbian people to find someone who did anything remotely important just so we can teach about gay people. That’s just ridiculous. If homosexuals want equality, that should mean they are equal to straights, ie, their orientation doesn’t need to be pointed out in order to make them special. They’re not special. They’re equal. If you were an important historical figure, you make the cut. If you weren’t, you don’t. This is just like affirmative action.

    Okay. More than you asked for. But there it is.

  21. Rob Tisinai
    October 4th, 2011 at 14:18 | #21

    I see. So if the historical figure was straight, we learn about their spouse (that’s how it was when I was growing up) but if they’re gay we don’t.

    That’s your idea of equal treatment?

  22. Betsy
    October 4th, 2011 at 14:34 | #22

    Pretty sure that’s not what I said. I didn’t learn about people’s spouses unless they were a historical figure too, like Eleanor Roosevelt.

  23. Rich
    October 4th, 2011 at 17:14 | #23

    @Ruth
    “I see religion and I see race, and then, all of a sudden we’re into sinful activity.”
    This response is puerile; designed to deflect a more serious discussion with child-like responses. Come on, you can do better than that. Attack the premise of my posts: the totality of a(n) historic figure is integral to a complete understanding of his/her positions, teachings, messages. The responsibility of a great teacher is to reveal to the student the essential components of a(an) historic figure’s persona that, in totality, inform this person’s contributions to history.
    Ruth, be calm, no one has suggested, least of all SB48, that, as part of that totality, we should include “bedroom practices/sexual skills” of these people. We know Jesus to be an important personage in history. We would never presume to explore his sexual, shall we say, activities. But, you must admit, his sexual identity is important to a complete understanding of what you believe he professed as truth. Why is this not the case for Oscar Wilde, Bayard Rustin, Christopher Isherwood, May Sarton and Willa Cather?

  24. Rich
    October 4th, 2011 at 17:41 | #24

    @Betsy
    Betsy, I am suspect of the depth of your education. To learn that Ben Franklin invented the Franklin Stove, discovered electricity, invented a new alphabet and the glass ‘armonica is cute but only touches the true depth and complexity of this great man. His political skills, his savvy position as American statesman to the court of France are no less important when we also teach that he was a ladies man, a true courtesan ( a raging heterosexual) whose way with the women opened many doors to French Royalty and paved the way for some of the most important international contracts for that time. Likewise, I suggest to you that some of our great philosophers, play-writes, poets, artists and politicians were great because their homosexuality informed their actions, their philosophies and their accomplishments. Kids should know this. Their education will be so much more enriched then, perhaps, yours was.
    “We care about what they did, not who they did.”
    I couldn’t agree more. Who they are (were) is not the same as who they did. And this is at the heart of the confusion on the part of those of you who feel SB48 is all about gay sex.

  25. Anne
    October 5th, 2011 at 07:46 | #25

    @Rob Tisinai
    I do know that growing up and reading biographies and attending school in a conservative town, I learned about the families and spouses of famous and great people who were straight. Why does that suddenly become so wrong when they’re gay.

    @Rich
    ““We care about what they did, not who they did.”
    I couldn’t agree more. Who they are (were) is not the same as who they did. And this is at the heart of the confusion on the part of those of you who feel SB48 is all about gay sex.”

    Rob, are you not familiar with any of the people on the list? If you are, then it would seem that you did learn about what they did, not who they did. And now that Rich has compiled the list, it seems the objective IS to discuss “who they did”.

    As for the list, there are some pretty powerful and impressive (and ancient) people on it. It must have been an amazing and well organized effort to keep all of those people from so many different places and times “in the closet” for all of these thousands of years. It would almost appear that the suppressive power of the anti-gay community might be the most powerful and efficient force in all of history. I wonder how they’ve managed to remain so broadly and consistently successful?

  26. Rich
    October 5th, 2011 at 11:22 | #26

    @Anne

    “And now that Rich has compiled the list,…”

    Please revisit the list of citations above. These are the sources for the list.

    “As for the list, there are some pretty powerful and impressive (and ancient) people on it. It must have been an amazing and well organized effort to keep all of those people from so many different places and times “in the closet” for all of these thousands of years.”

    And this is called Cultural Illiteracy; the result of selective and arbitrary dissemination of a nation’s history, culture, contributors to fit a particular strand of orthodoxy. Sound familiar? Communist states used this to limit the masses to knowledge approved by the state. Educators fight this all the time, hence SB48.

    “…it seems the objective IS to discuss ‘who they did’.”

    Only for Anne and those who oppose the study of the totality of America’s writers, historians, politicians, theologians and cultural contributors. It really is crucial that you press the “who they did” angle because absent that, there is no rational basis for repealing SB48.

  27. Rob Tisinai
    October 5th, 2011 at 11:44 | #27

    @Anne: “It would almost appear that the suppressive power of the anti-gay community might be the most powerful and efficient force in all of history.”

    Nope, just as powerful as the forces of ignorance and fear can make it.

    “I wonder how they’ve managed to remain so broadly and consistently successful?”

    We’ll, they haven’t (hence this controversy). And the reason they’re no longer as successful is that more and more gay people are living out of the closet; more and more straight people have a close friend, colleague, or relative who is gay; and more and more people have more direct knowledge of gay people and thus less fear.

  28. Anne
    October 6th, 2011 at 07:34 | #28

    @Rob Tisinai

    “and more and more people have more direct knowledge of gay people and thus less fear.”

    The issue has nothing to do with “knowledge of gay people” or fear. You have heard the reasons why people are opposed to the homosexual lifestyle and they have nothing to do with knowledge of gay people or fear, and yet you say it again and again. That argument is a lie and you know it.

  29. Rich
    October 6th, 2011 at 16:43 | #29

    @Anne
    “That argument is a lie and you know it.”

    The issue has everything to do with “knowledge of gay people”.

    That argument is the truth and you know it. You fear that which you can’t possibly know. You can’t possibly have had any meaningful contact with a gay person and still carry the visceral hate that you have. There are millions and millions of straight people who love, respect and encourage their gay friends, family, co-workers, you name it. And yes, there are way too many like you who have absolutely no idea what a loving gay partnership and family is like because you and so many others are stuck with a preconceived notion of what the “homosexual lifestyle” is like. Well, guess what, it’s exactly like yours except that it is between two men or two women. But you won’t allow yourself to even consider that possibility because if you did, it would reveal, to you, that you are the great lie. But, if and when that day comes, what will you have left to live for? All you have now, as Rob suggests, is ignorance and fear. You call this living?

  30. Rob Tisinai
    October 6th, 2011 at 16:44 | #30

    @Anne, you may think the argument is wrong, but you are wrong to say that I am lying. I say it again and again because I believe it to be true — partly because of the many studies showing that people who know gays and lesbians well are more likely to support full legal equality for gays, and partly because I know of people who have changed their attitudes toward gay people because they have worked with me and gotten to know me.

    YOUR reasons for being opposed to gay people may have nothing to do with fear. YOUR attitude might not change if you got to know more gay people on a close basis, but the fact remains that YOU are not everyone, and that there are indeed “more and more people have more direct knowledge of gay people and thus less fear,” even if that doesn’t describe you.

    I know that you humbly pray for guidance on this issue, but it doesn’t show — not when you erroneously announce without evidence that I am knowingly telling a lie when I know first hand that it is true.

  31. Ruth
    October 6th, 2011 at 22:05 | #31

    I once heard an education professor from Harvard (he might have taught Psychology – I’m not sure) say that everyone wants to hit a home run in education, but no one knows where “home” is.
    Harvard itself was started as a school for training pastors. Literacy has been historically viewed as valuable primarily for the purpose of the study of Scripture.
    It is time for the Church to once again take up the cause of public education.
    We have the classrooms, we have the teachers, and we can once again make education a ministry to our communities.
    We know where “home” is as long as “in God we trust”.

  32. Anne
    October 7th, 2011 at 05:04 | #32

    @Rob Tisinai

    “YOUR reasons for being opposed to gay people may have nothing to do with fear. YOUR attitude might not change if you got to know more gay people on a close basis, but the fact remains that YOU are not everyone, and that there are indeed “more and more people have more direct knowledge of gay people and thus less fear,” even if that doesn’t describe you.”

    You have been here at least as long as I have Rob, and you know that I am hardly alone in voicing opposition to homosexuality for valid reasons apart from fear.

    Fear is what is being fostered when you imply to a generation of teenagers that they will be “on the wrong side of history” if they don’t embrace homosexuality as a moral right. It is what happens when a Florida teacher is fired and a major industry contractor dismissed and students suspended for voicing their religious opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.

    The Florida teacher’s job was put at stake because he posted his belief on facebook. Yet Rich is freely posting here and has stated he runs a LGBT group openly at the school he teaches in. How safe do you suppose his students feel to voice their religious oppostion?

    The “conversion” to “acceptance” of homosexuality as the result of “getting to know gay people” is more likely the fear of an impressionable adolescent generation of rejection by their peers and teachers than any well considered analysis of “irrational fear” and lifestyle perspective. Adolescents aren’t known for their keen sense of maturity and discretion, and yet they are the target demographic of the homosexual agenda.

    “I know that you humbly pray for guidance on this issue, but it doesn’t show — not when you erroneously announce without evidence that I am knowingly telling a lie when I know first hand that it is true.”

    You have been here for some time Rob. And you have seen the arguments. And you have evidenced your able intellect.

    I pray for guidance as a parent. When my kids tell me a lie, I call them out. It doesn’t make me a bad parent. And it doesn’t mean I don’t pray.

  33. Rob Tisinai
    October 7th, 2011 at 17:47 | #33

    @Anne: “You have been here at least as long as I have Rob, and you know that I am hardly alone in voicing opposition to homosexuality for valid reasons apart from fear.”

    And I never said you were the only person not speaking from fear. I never said that all people who oppose homosexuality did so out of fear (though having been here as long as you have, are you willing to say that NO OPPONENT of homosexuality on this board or nomblog has ever said a reprehensible, irrational things about gays?)

    In any case, that’s not the point. The point is your pronouncement that I am knowingly telling a lie. But it’s simply true that grown people — not just adolescents — have told me that knowing me has changed their view of homosexuality. Others have told me that they once opposed homosexuality until they got to know gay people.

    Those are facts. I am not lying. You might not believe me — you might not believe that the people who told me these things were sincere, or you might believe that I interpreted their words incorrectly.

    That’s fine, and that’s good fodder for a separate discussion. But here, now, on this thread, I have to tell you there is an enormous difference between telling me I am mistaken and accusing me of knowingly telling a lie.

  34. Sean
    October 8th, 2011 at 05:36 | #34

    I think it helps keep society whole and functioning to recognize the accomplishments of all kinds of society’s citizens. Plus, recognizing the specific accomplishments of gay and lesbian Americans helps undo the damage homophobia has caused. As people who learned that being gay is bad, or gays and lesbians are bad, are presented with evidence that they’re not, and in fact, they are just as accomplished as straight people, homophobia with wither away.

  35. Rich
    October 8th, 2011 at 09:13 | #35

    @Ruth
    It is time for the Church to once again take up the cause of public education.”

    Please do. Send dollars, otherwise used to castigate gay people in advertising and campaigns. And while you’re at it, support SB48 which will enhance public education’s mission: to foster intellectual growth, enlighten a society’s students to the tremendous accomplishments, or destructiveness of all its citizens and encourage free speech and discourse. Yes, Ruth, free speech and discourse are still very much a part of public education’s day to day function. A student of a particular faith is absolutely encouraged to express his/her beliefs in the course of a class discussion and/or debate surrounding the lesson taught. When my students study American cultural literacy as part of our American Studies course…and the topic is the American Revolution and famous speeches from that time. The students are required to deliver a speech on whatever topic they choose. The ground rules are simple and state: no reasonable topic is off limits, the student should be passionate about the topic, common civility, respect and appropriate language are a must and the speech cannot be directed at or address another classmate with intent to harm. So, what do we get: topics cover a hugh spectrum from the personal to state, national and global issues. Gay marriage, religious rights/beliefs, famous role models and so much more are regularly delivered in class. Wonderful open discussions take place, and, lest you think otherwise, all (including teachers) are encouraged to listen respectfully and respond accordingly.

    So yes, Ruth, please lend your support to public education and SB48.

  36. Rich
    October 8th, 2011 at 09:34 | #36

    @Anne

    “The Florida teacher’s job was put at stake because he posted his belief on facebook. Yet Rich is freely posting here and has stated he runs a LGBT group openly at the school he teaches in. How safe do you suppose his students feel to voice their religious opposition?”

    I have heard of but am not familiar with the Florida teacher so I have no opinion. As a teacher I would not be surprised if this teacher posted his belief on Facebook in an unprofessional, hurtful way. IF that is true, then he may have violated an anti-bullying school, local or state law…not good for a teacher to do since we try to protect and support all our kids.

    As for the Gay-Straight Alliance, I must assume you have never attended one so therefore, you do not know how we function. We are open to EVERYONE and I dramatize with caps because it’s true. As an example, we had a Christian group called VERITAS that met weekly in our school. All groups must have a faculty advisor in order to meet for security, liability reasons. The student leader of VERITAS asked ME to serve as advisor to his group. I agreed along with another faculty member. The kids know me, know that I also advise GSA and that I absolutely support the right of every student to speak his/her mind in these meetings. As the year progressed, the two groups found that they shared much in common, especially a sense of fair play and, yes, equality even while they explored a different approach to life. We explored having the two groups come together in common dialogue but, unfortunately, VERITAS disbanded for lack of a student leader to pull it together after graduation. GSA continues as it has for 20 years; kids still come out of the closet with the help of this group as they have for 20 years. Kids of all beliefs join us as they have for 20 years and no one assumes the particular faith or persuasion of anyone as they have for 20 years. Each year we solicit participation from anyone, gay, straight, religious or not as we have for 20 years. So you see Anne, if someone is afraid to speak of their faith beliefs, it is not because we don’t start every meeting with “check in” and encouragement to say what’s on your mind.

  37. Ruth
    October 8th, 2011 at 15:38 | #37

    “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.

    If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, “brethren!” Be careful, teachers!”

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1947

  38. Anne
    October 9th, 2011 at 07:27 | #38

    @Rob Tisinai
    “And the reason they’re no longer as successful is that more and more gay people are living out of the closet; more and more straight people have a close friend, colleague, or relative who is gay; and more and more people have more direct knowledge of gay people and thus less fear.”

    “But here, now, on this thread, I have to tell you there is an enormous difference between telling me I am mistaken and accusing me of knowingly telling a lie.”

    I have no right to accuse you of knowingly telling a lie. I apologize…..again.

    You and I have had a pretty meaningful dialoge. I am having trouble reconciling some of the things you say and what your motivation is.

    I’d like to make an anology regarding your comment that, “Others have told me that they once opposed homosexuality until they got to know gay people.”:

    My cousin is married and he and his wife have four beautiful children. He is attractive, intelligent and incredibly charming. Two years ago he left his wife for another woman. A woman who left her husband and four children crying on their front porch ‘Mommy please, don’t go’.

    I watched in utter amazement as my extended family welcomed this attractive, charming woman into our family. She attended my Uncle’s 70th Birthday party looking stunning in her teal blue, ankle length sun dress and white sandals. She smiled and chatted and charmed the crowd.

    My family’s reaction seemed to be “she’s nice and besides, it’s done, there isn’t any point in fighting it”. Most of my family see me as rigid in my unwillingness to dismiss the disregard both my cousin and his new love treated their families with. It is not a question of forgiveness or love. They are each worhy of both. But a willingness to forgive and love and even like them is not the same as a willingness to deny that their behavior/decicions are wrong.

    People often confuse liking a person and validating their behavior. And that is what I believe, more than a ‘dispelling of fear’, is at the root of the “conversion” of people to acceptance of homosexual behavior. People seem to think that they need to accept a person’s behavior in order to love and accept the person themselves.

    Everyone does things they shouldn’t. We can love each other in spite of our flaws. But denying the flaws is not love. It is a dangerous practice which leads to tremendous pain and suffering.

    If you ask my cousin and his new girlfriend how their children are doing, they’ll tell you they’re just fine. I would never hope that their children were not fine. I hope they cope and adjust and thrive. But if they do, it will be in spite of what their parents did to them. And their parents will always be guilty of the pain they caused. Even if their children manage their way through it.

    Homosexual couples who deny children their parents and then insist they are fine are mistaken (or lying).

  39. Rob Tisinai
    October 9th, 2011 at 16:20 | #39

    Thank you, Anne for the apology (though I’m confused by the “…again.” If I missed it the first apology, I apologize. Either way, I can assure you that I sincerely believe the things I say here.

    As for your analysis of my statement: “Others have told me that they once opposed homosexuality until they got to know gay people.”

    I can say that’s an interesting line of speculation but it’s no more than that. You have made tenuous connection — at best –between what others have told you about the well-being of your cousin’s children, and what adults have told me themselves about their own changed attitudes toward gay people. Moving away from speculation, though, here are some facts.

    FACT: Surveys show that those who know gay people are more likely to accept homosexuality.
    FACT: People have told me that their attitudes toward homosexuality changed after getting to know me (or other gays).
    FACT: These people have told me that they did not get a full picture of gay people until they actually met and worked with them, or discovered that family members were gay, and this first-hand experience was at odds with what they had been told about gays and lesbians by anti-gay straight people

    Those are facts. I will continue to repeat them. You will continue to believe I am mistaken in how I interpret them.

    I imagine we can agree on that much.

  40. Anne
    October 9th, 2011 at 19:16 | #40

    @Rich
    “You can’t possibly have had any meaningful contact with a gay person and still carry the visceral hate that you have.”

    I don’t hate anybody. You have no idea who I am and you have obviously not actually read any of my posts. I know and love plenty of gay people. My opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with hate or fear. I have had this very discussion with two of my own gay (Catholic) cousins. We have lunch and correspond by e-mail regularly.

    You don’t have to believe me. But you post about how open your GSA group is and then openly accuse me of hate and refer to me personally as “the great lie” without even considering what I am actually saying.

    You have every right to disagree with my perspective. But first you would need to actually read and consider what I am saying. And even then, if you disagree, there is no place for the accusations and personal attacks you have made.

    The idea that this is the brand of “oral interpretaion” you are teaching to emerging generations is unsettling. And that you might respond and react in a similar manner to students who would oppose your lifestyle would be nothing less than abusive. My prayers are with both you and them (in spite of your despise for my Catholic faith).

  41. Anne
    October 10th, 2011 at 07:31 | #41

    @Rob Tisinai

    The first apology was for the same offense – accusing you of being deliberately deceptive (in your analysis of pedphelia).

    It is not for me to decide if you are being deliberate or not. But I would like to ask you directly:

    Do you believe that you have motivation to interpret things the way that you do?

    And, do you suppose your motation may impair your objectivity?

    I have already expressed to you that I have no personal agenda with regard to homosexuality. I told you that I would prefer to believe that it were not harmful to society. Because I have nothing personally to lose or gain with regard to the ultimate determination of the morality of homosexuality, I believe that I have approached the question without bias or personal desire for a particular outcome, and that approach (if I have been sincere, which I can only swear that I have prayed to be) would support the premise that my perspective is reasonably objective.

    While that does not necessarily substantiate the overall validity of my argument, I believe it is an essential component in considering the interpretive value of it.

    Rob, can you claim the same objectivity with regard to your motivation, perspective and interpretive methodology?

  42. Anne
    October 10th, 2011 at 08:41 | #42

    @Rich
    “And this is called Cultural Illiteracy; the result of selective and arbitrary dissemination of a nation’s history, culture, contributors to fit a particular strand of orthodoxy. Sound familiar? Communist states used this to limit the masses to knowledge approved by the state. Educators fight this all the time, hence SB48.”

    We’re not talking about “a nation’s history”. We’re talking about the entire world throughout all human history. That is some powerful “arbitrary dissemination”.

    The far more obvious observaton is that homosexuality simply does not contain the essentail humanistic purpose to be established as a long term social norm. It’s a very comforting and reassuring look at history. Thanks for posting the list.

  43. Rich
    October 10th, 2011 at 14:22 | #43

    @Anne
    “You have every right to disagree with my perspective. But first you would need to actually read and consider what I am saying. And even then, if you disagree, there is no place for the accusations and personal attacks you have made.”

    I agree with you on the first point and my sincere apologies on the last point. You’re right, I do not know you, nor you, me except from what we post; I trust both of us have it wrong to some extent.
    As regards your middle point: I read your posts thoroughly. I try to disseminate your messages but that is not always easy. I find that more often than not, your responses skirt the issue at hand: the relative value of SB48 and the cultural literacy of our children, your allusions to Catholicism as a guiding force for you but then you call me out when I suggest that your reference to “His Church” could be very confusing for many Christians, are two examples.

    Your post above:
    “I have already expressed to you that I have no personal agenda with regard to homosexuality. I told you that I would prefer to believe that it were not harmful to society. Because I have nothing personally to lose or gain with regard to the ultimate determination of the morality of homosexuality, I believe that I have approached the question without bias or personal desire for a particular outcome, and that approach (if I have been sincere, which I can only swear that I have prayed to be) would support the premise that my perspective is reasonably objective.”, although not directed to me is none-the-less very interesting.

    In light of your gay family members and the discussions you have, I ask you to please simply state, what is your issue with homosexuality? Is it as simple as: “The far more obvious observaton is that homosexuality simply does not contain the essentail humanistic purpose to be established as a long term social norm…”? And for the record, what does this mean?
    “We’re not talking about ‘a nation’s history’. We’re talking about the entire world throughout all human history. That is some powerful ‘arbitrary dissemination’….It’s a very comforting and reassuring look at history. Thanks for posting the list.”

    I ask you these questions with all due respect and sincerity.

  44. October 10th, 2011 at 15:01 | #44

    Anne, I don’t believe you have personal objectivity with regard to homosexuality. Your first allegiance is to the Bible, or at least the translations and interpretations that you have been taught to believe. Anything you read or hear about homosexuality is filtered through that bias. Information that conflicts with it is automatically untrue for you (as when you were determined that my pedophilia video offered untruths even though you could not actually disprove anything it said).

    You’ve even made it clear that facts and studies are secondary to what is revealed in your heart and prayers — and of course it’s impossible to know whether what you see there was actually planted by God. So many different people pray for guidance only to reach so many different conclusions. What appears to be revealed through prayer might simply be a person confirming their own preconceived notions.

    Thus, in my view at least, I see a reason why your objectivity would be impaired, and I have seen that impairment in action.

    As for my own impairment, I would hazard to say that none of us are completely objective about anything. Objective truth is out there, but since we don’t have God-like minds, we can’t be sure we know it. I can’t lay any greater claim to perfect objectivity than you.

    On the other hand, my personal experience being gay might not impair my judgment but rather improve it, having as I do greater knowledge of what is to be gay.

    Either way, this speculation is veering awfully close to the ad hominem fallacy. A person might have a deep stake in the outcome in the discussion and still be perfectly correct, and a person might have no stake in the outcome and still be utterly wrong. You cannot disprove a person’s statements by asserting or even proving bias; you must instead focus on the statements themselves.

  45. October 10th, 2011 at 15:25 | #45

    Just to clarify, the second-to-last paragraph of my last post should read, “…having as I do greater knowledge of what it is to be gay.”

  46. Anne
    October 11th, 2011 at 04:58 | #46

    @Rob Tisinai
    “Anne, I don’t believe you have personal objectivity with regard to homosexuality. Your first allegiance is to the Bible, or at least the translations and interpretations that you have been taught to believe. Anything you read or hear about homosexuality is filtered through that bias. Information that conflicts with it is automatically untrue for you”

    Then why would I have told you I questioned it?

    There are infinite interpretations of the Bible. You haven’t heard me espouse any particular one. In fact, if you’ve read my posts, you would know that I believe God speaks to us in whatever language we are willing to listen to Him in.

    I agree with you that no one can be absolutely objective about anything. But some people do try harder than others. I’m just telling you I try. And that I have no agenda in coming to the answer to the question of whether “gay marriage” is harmful to society except that society choose the right answer for the sake of all humankind.

    I do believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Church, because I believe She has the fullness of Truth about who Christ is. And I believe that ultimately the Church will prevail in Her message of Love and Truth and Justice. That doesn’t mean that the devil won’t have some success in attacking the Church and creating confusion and divistion. And it doesn’t mean that Christ doesn’t speak to people of all faiths and reveal Himself to all of His children.

    Jesus often spoke against the hypocricy of the Jewish authorities. Which is why I would not preach the teaching if I didn’t believe it. Which is why I asked Him myself. I pray constantly for necessary reform of the Church. And united hearts of all faiths. What divides the religions is not nearly as important or powerful as what unites them. So, in deepest prayer, I consider the teachings.

    I apologized for accusing you of lying and, in an effort to give you the benefit of the doubt, instead asked you several questions. Your comment is the equivalent of my original accusation.

    But ultimately, the issue with regard to what we might each assume about each others efforts and perspective, is less about fair play than it is about genuine objectivity.

  47. Rob Tisinai
    October 11th, 2011 at 09:52 | #47

    @Anne: “Your comment is the equivalent of my original accusation.”

    I don’t understand what this part means.

  48. Anne
    October 11th, 2011 at 11:37 | #48

    @Rich
    I genuinely appreciate the apology Rich, thank you.

    “I find that more often than not, your responses skirt the issue at hand”

    It is never my intention to skirt any issues. As you may or may not have noticed from my posts, I have a large family and work two jobs. I address what I can, when I can, and it is never my intention to be deliberately vague or deceptive in what I choose to answer.

    “….your allusions to Catholicism as a guiding force for you but then you call me out when I suggest that your reference to “His Church” could be very confusing for many Christians,”

    Perhaps my recent post #46 will give you some insight into my perspective on my Catholic faith. As we established on another thread, I am not an English master (or writer) so I will try to expand if you need clarification.

    “I ask you to please simply state, what is your issue with homosexuality?”

    I wish it were simple to state. I will do my best. I believe there are two essential components to your question which I need to address in order for you to understand my perspective:

    First, I will tell you that I believe that homosexuality is opposed to the natrual order. I believe that God created us to live according to His design. I do not deny the sincerity of homosexuals who say they were born as homosexuals. I believe many people are challenged by inclinations which are to be opposed and not indulged or pursued. I believe that when we pursue our personal desires in opposition to God’s plan for us, that we will never find the fulfillment He desires for us. That is what I believe. I do not believe I have any right to impose those beliefs on anyone else. I choose to share them out of love because I sincerely believe that people harm themselves when they oppose God’s plan for them.

    Secondly, and the reason I am here discussing the issue, is that I believe that the individual genders are absolutely purposeful and necessary in families. My husband brings things to my children and my marriage that only he can. The same is true for me. The concept of “gay marriage” denies the purpose of our individual genders. These two concepts, essential purpose of gender and gender neutrality, oppose each other. Because they oppose each other, only one can be adopted as the social norm. The one which naturally breeds the species is the one we need to adopt as the social norm. I believe that to do otherwise is suicidal to the species and will cause confusion and chaos in society.

    I have no right or desire to deny you your freedom to embrace your homosexuality. But because I believe that denying the essential purpose of gender in marriage and family is harmful to society, I do not believe it can be adopted as a social norm.

    We are equal as human beings. We are equaly entitled to be treated with dignity and to live free. But gender neutrality and essential purpose of gender are not equivalent as concepts or social norms and cannot be used to measure equality.

    “I ask you these questions with all due respect and sincerity.”

    I have done my best to answer them in kind.

    Peace.

  49. Anne
    October 11th, 2011 at 11:54 | #49

    @Rich

    ……your other question:

    @Anne
    “We’re not talking about ‘a nation’s history’. We’re talking about the entire world throughout all human history. That is some powerful ‘arbitrary dissemination’….

    It refers back to the earlier part of the discussion:

    @Anne post #25
    “As for the list, there are some pretty powerful and impressive (and ancient) people on it. It must have been an amazing and well organized effort to keep all of those people from so many different places and times “in the closet” for all of these thousands of years. It would almost appear that the suppressive power of the anti-gay community might be the most powerful and efficient force in all of history. I wonder how they’ve managed to remain so broadly and consistently successful?”

    @Rich
    “And this is called Cultural Illiteracy; the result of selective and arbitrary dissemination of a nation’s history, culture, contributors to fit a particular strand of orthodoxy.”

    My point is that the list is quite comprehensive. It spans more than “one nation’s history and culture” and therefore there is more than arbitrary dissemination of “a” nation at the root of why homosexuality has not become broadly accepted as a social norm throughout history and across so many cultures.

  50. Rich
    October 11th, 2011 at 15:41 | #50

    @Anne
    Let me first say that I very much appreciate your responses as they finally help me to understand the core of your beliefs and, as you say, they are yours and not necessarily others or mine.

    Your concept of God and his designs is different from mine. We both come to our respective beliefs from our own faith, life experiences and communication with God. And, either there is more than one God or, as humans, we are not listening to God. But, with all due respect, I have an advantage over you. I am gay and I know a God who has no regrets about his creation; my questions (relative to my homosexuality) have been answered and I have been charged with a task. My duty now is to serve as a mentor to and advocate for all the gay youth who continue to search for a community/state/nation/world that respects, loves and trusts them enough to let them be themselves, be honest and live a full and happy life. No more marrying a heterosexual because it fits a neat social construct and is safe (despite the irreparable harm done to husbands/wives/children); no more hiding in the closet because you have a self-loathing encouraged by those who want you to loath yourself; no more platitudes of “I love the sinner but hate the sin” because God does not, for a second, feel that way about a gay young person. I could go on and I recognize that this borders on an “evangelical” calling of a different sort. My partner and friends call it my mission; I like that and see it as that. But you must also see that we are humans; the natural order you speak of is not guaranteed and it will never be. That is not right or wrong except when we hurt someone*. I think this is the best argument for gay marriage; two gay people who love, respect and are committed to one another create their own order.

    * Children, in a gay family, are most often used as the example of those who are hurt when denied a father and mother. My take on that is that the presence of a mom and dad, in marriage, is absolutely a wonderful family construct. But it is not absolute nor a guarantee of the best environment for the child. None of us can guarantee that this will always happen for all children (for many reasons too numerous to list and we all know them) and it doesn’t mean that devastation must result. To deny a gay couple the responsibilities and joys of marriage will not, in any way, guarantee that a child won’t be born into a different family construct. We all know this to be true. So let’s make it work for the child and, as teacher, I have been witness to many wonderful families with different constructs.

    The concept of gay marriage does not, in my estimation, deny the individual purposes of our genders. Here, again, we will have to agree to disagree.

    My partner and I bring to our 18 year partnership (civil marriage hopefully) the very core of who we are in both our love and devotion to each other and to our three sons (all married to women and absolutely committed, I pray). We have absolutely no assumptions of the right or wrong of their marriages or our partnership nor do they. We simply all love (adore) one another and now that a grandson (with another grandchild on the way) has blessed us all, we are a growing family.

    How did we accomplish such a wonderful family construct. It took lots of hard work on behalf of everyone: biological mom and dad, step-dad, me, great siblings and now fathers/mothers-in-law. Everyone pitched in in whatever ways were necessary. When youngest son, at his wedding, raised his glass, in a toast, to his four fathers, the cheers were thunderous, the pride palpable and the love all-encompassing. And God was very much present. The natural order you speak of turned out to be our natural order. Our respective genders have only served to provide those aspects of gender identity that were important to supporting our family and our happiness. We never asked for more.

    I tell you this Anne, because I want you to understand what was gained and what could have been lost if those of us in this dynamic had not found truth, sought guidance and made self sacrifices to save ourselves and our children.

    I have absolutely no doubts that you have a beautiful, loving family. I admire you, tremendously, for the hard work you so obviously put into supporting your kids and husband. Two jobs is, unfortunately, the means to survival these days but you do it because you believe you are doing good by your God and your family.

    We are not too different, you and I.

    And the civil laws of the land should respect that, too.

  51. Anne
    October 11th, 2011 at 18:25 | #51

    @Rob Tisinai

    It is wrong for me to assume you are lying, and it is wrong for you to assume I have a bias.

  52. Ruth
    October 12th, 2011 at 08:07 | #52

    @Rich
    “no more platitudes of “I love the sinner but hate the sin” because God does not, for a second, feel that way about a gay young person. ”

    Are you saying that God does not “feel” love for people, or hatred for sin?

    Are you referring to the God of the Bible, or another god?

  53. October 12th, 2011 at 09:22 | #53

    @Anne: You did bring the issue of bias into the discussion, and I don’t think my saying you and I and everyone else has some sort of bias and no one has a claim to complete objectivity is “equivalent” to repeatedly calling someone a liar when you haven’t proven anything they’ve said to be untrue.

    But I think I did overreact for stating definitely that you have a bias rather than pointing out (as you did) reasons why one might suspect you have a bias. There is a difference there. And I regret using the clinical word “impairment.” Sorry for that.

    How about this. We won’t call each other liars, and instead of raising questions of each other’s bias we’ll just focus what the other has actually said.

  54. Anne
    October 12th, 2011 at 09:25 | #54

    @Rich

    I very much appreciated reading your story. It is genuinely touching. I have no doubt of the sincerity of your feelings and expressions of love and joy and family.

    I thought and prayed for some time last night about what you wrote. Your comments address quite a few essential and emotional components of this debate and I am anxious to share my thoughts with you on several of them, as I can, perhaps over the next several days.

    For now, I would like to thank you for your sincerity and hope that we have moved past the idea that what separates us with regard to this issue involves hate and lack of knowledge but rather differences in our perspectives of what Love calls us to do.

  55. Anne
    October 12th, 2011 at 11:41 | #55

    @Rob Tisinai
    “How about this. We won’t call each other liars, and instead of raising questions of each other’s bias we’ll just focus what the other has actually said.”

    That sounds like a great plan Rob. I’m in.

  56. Anne
    October 12th, 2011 at 12:14 | #56

    @Rich
    “The concept of gay marriage does not, in my estimation, deny the individual purposes of our genders. Here, again, we will have to agree to disagree.”

    This is a very significant point to “agree to disagee” on without comment Rich. I have witnessed what my husband has been able to give my children which I simply can’t. And I know there is no bond like a mother and child. To dismiss these bonds and their purpose as insignificant is unfair and untrue.

    You are right that there are many different family constructs. And children are denied these bonds for different reasons. But to dismiss their absence as if they are unimportant is wrong. Their absence should be acknowledged and mourned, not dismissed as unnecessary. A child without a mother is sad. It is not innocuous. The sadness can and should be addressed and abated. But it should not be disregarded.

    Children are very resilient. They are able to overcome and thrive in the face of adversity. But that doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to deliberately create an adverse situation in order to pursue our own desires (even if that desire is a relationship which involves deep affection and love as yours does) in the hope that they will not suffer for the loss we create.

    You refer to your sons and their mother and four fathers. It’s a beautiful reality for them that they are surrounded by love. They were born to their mother and had the benefit of that relationship. Why would you justify deliberately denying other children that precious and essential gift and right? As a mother, the thought of children being denied the kind of love I have for my children which is unique to the mother child bond, is heartwrenching. And not something I can simply “agree to disagree” is (un)important.

  57. Rich
    October 12th, 2011 at 12:55 | #57

    @Ruth
    God loves his people gay and straight but, I particularly think he has a soft spot for young gay kids because of the terrible shame, ridicule and lack of care that too many adults heap on them. After all they are His children; He created them. I suspect if God hates anything it’s that very unflattering cult-like persona created in His name through human story telling in a book called the Bible. Now, if he can just get some of His people to ditch the bad-guy routine and get with the times.

  58. Ruth
    October 12th, 2011 at 19:16 | #58

    @Rich
    May each of us find our identity, not in what we are tempted to do, or not to do, but in our loving heavenly Father.
    “But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
    “And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.”

  59. Rich
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:59 | #59

    @Anne
    Thanks Anne for your post. I will respond accordingly when I can finish up a round of College Applications for my students.

  60. Rich
    October 13th, 2011 at 08:10 | #60

    A quick note: this whole post started with an expression of concern for the implementation of SB48 in California. Not enough signatures were gathered to repeal the law so it goes into effect in January. I strongly encourage anyone with any misgivings with respect to the law to get into the schools and observe the implementation. I suspect you will find that the dreaded “gay agenda” will not exist and kids’ educations will benefit from a more enlightened and encompassing perspective of the many important people from history and present as suggested by the list with which I started. At the very least you can speak from knowledge based upon observation and research; a critical component to a fair assessment of a lesson’s worth.

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