Unspun Logo

The “Right” Religion

Posted by Rick · August 20th, 2003 · 2 Comments

It’s always interesting for me to see the intersection between what I think and what the “right” thinkers say. (And, for the record, although I engage in a little word-play in explicating the differences betwixt Peter Sean Bradley and myself, I have—at least so far—nothing but respect for him, although I recognize there are huge political, social and religious differences in our two belief systems. But that’s part of what I find so fascinating about the point that our beliefs often intersect.)

And when he says…

Marriage, which may be the single highest safeguard against poverty, is under attack, not the least from the fact that we now have a generation for whom the idea of serial marriages is normal and natural

I can only find myself in complete agreement with him if I correctly interpret that these words slant not just from the html code for “italicize this,” but as a result of recoil from the shock and sadness that these words—horrid in this application—perfectly apply, although they are perfectly inappropriate, to current attitudes towards marriage.

I also couldn’t agree more about his assessment of Judge Moore’s activities, although I harbor a slight wonder over whether I agree for the wrong—or at least different—reasons.

Yet—in that very same post that evokes these thoughts—is the splinter that festers so as to prevent a full and healthy agreement: the belief that the support of a clearly-bigoted and hypocritical institution is our salvation. (In fairness, at least one writer believes it’s not clear that the man credited as the inspiration behind the Boy Scouts was actually gay; it could be the evidence is being misinterpreted.)

How is it possible that a group that espouses exclusion of particular individuals who break no laws and hope only to live their own lives in peace simply because they don’t subscribe to the same point of view can be held up as the vambrace of virtue? Why is it that to protect what is good, we must advocate what is evil?

Formerly, we held these truths to be self-evident, that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Well, yes, one might say, but that wasn’t meant to include faggots! Well, truthfully considered, as written, it wasn’t meant to include women or “Negros“, either!

But our society has tried to move beyond the social limitations of the times in which those words were written to the spirit that underlies them. We no longer consider that “long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object” to be acceptable as pertains to anyone who isn’t a red-nec—er, -blooded— human.

And it’s high time we stopped supporting institutions that think it is.

Categories: Religion


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter Sean Bradley // Aug 21, 2003 at 12:25 am

    Well, thanks for the notice, but a few points. First, my view about the social ills engendered by divorce isn’t premised on religion, it’s based on sociology. If you dig into the sociological data on divorce, you will find that divorce is particularly pernicious for those whose income is less than the median. Divorce is great for the wealthy, optional for the middle-class, and a disaster for the poor.

    Second, as to the Boy Scouts, my view is informed by my still robust commitment to the libertarian philosophy of the Robert Nozick as expressed in Anarchy, State and Utopia, and, incidentally, to the “right of association” clause of the First Amendment. The left may have a view of the right ordering of society, but I don’t. Oddly enough, God or Reason haven’t descended from Heaven or the Platonic Ideal to tell me who has to associate with whom in their non-State structured lives, (which ought to be a non-trivial aspect of everyone’s life.) Therefore, if the Boy Scouts, or a majority of their members, decide to exclude gays, or Catholics, then under their First Amendment rights, they can do that, and for the State to use its powers to override those constitutional rights is simple fascism. [FYI, I wouldn’t join the Masons, and you can’t join the Knights of Columbus if you’re not Papist. And that isn’t a problem – it’s called “diversity.” Of couse, there are many who sincerely believe that diversity isn’t diversity unless it’s “proper diversity,” but they are not far off from the fascists.]

    Stop for a moment and reflect. Is human freedom truly exercised only when exercised correctly? [See, incidentally, my post on Augustine and Free Will.]


  • 2 Winkola // Aug 21, 2003 at 4:25 am

    The title of my post was “The ‘Right’ Religion,” but nothing in the post specifically imputes to you a religious basis for your comments about marriage. (I even state that we have “huge political, social and religious differences,” so I recognize that some of our different opinions are motivated other than by religion. Also, let’s not forget that I actually agree with your statement and since I’m culturally jewish, but best described [a bit simplistically] as “atheistic,” I’m pretty sure my agreement isn’t god-motivated.) I think my note stands regardless of whether your comments are religiously or sociologically motivated.

    On the other hand, I think I could be forgiven if I *did* impute to you a religious basis for your comment. After all, 1) you use the word “jihad”, 2) you juxtapose it with commentary on a religious crusade run amok, and 3) in that commentary, you note your stance regarding separation of church and state, and appear to indicate you are at least less strongly motivated in that respect than the friend you quoted (whose article I also read). Also, 4) the majority of your blog articles I’ve read appear (to me, anyway) to hover around religious—specifically Catholic—ideas and address such religious writers as Augustine. I’m hard-pressed to note an article you’ve written which doesn’t mention either Jesuits, Catholics, Episcopalians or some other religious group (or individual).

    The word “jihad” is usually used in the context of “a holy war.” (See http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-5-57-1356.jsp.) And, clearly, Judge Moore and his supporters see their activities as being a sort of holy war. (See my comment in this blog titled “Let’s Get This Straight” and my comment titled “Ten Commandments Judge” at http://www.techstop.com/archives/000020.php.)

    Then, of course, we have the Boy Scouts of America. Although they pursued, and won, their case against Dale (120 S.Ct. 2446 (2000)) on a First Amendment expressive association basis, their original objection to his homosexuality was driven primarily by religious convictions. The talk changed to expressive association (to avoid religious discrimination problems?) only after legal proceedings issued. In fact, if you read about their conflicts with the Unitarians over this, you’ll see religion is very much the driving force. (See “Unitarians and the Boy scouts’ ‘sin’ of homophobia” at http://www.uua.org/news/scouts/sin.html.)

    So much for religious infusion and confusion over such infusions.

    Addressing the second point you make (and my own libertarian tendencies probably partly explain now the intersections of agreement betwixt you and me), I don’t believe a “robust commitment to libertarian philosophy” either requires or justifies a laissez faire attitude from indiiduals towards the BSA.

    But that is actually somewhat beside the point. How we got from my complaint that “the belief that the support of a clearly-bigoted and hypocritical institution is our salvation” to “for the State to use its powers to override those constitutional rights is simple fascism” eludes me. Did I somehow imply a belief that the State should use its powers to override anyone’s constitutional rights?

    I took issue with your characterization of the BSA as “the one cultural institution that might – just might – be able to fight the trend [against seeing serial marriage as normal and natural].” I never said anything about the State abrogating the freedom of association clause of the First Amendment, even in the face of the Scout’s disingenuous adoption of it after litigation began. (See http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20000630_yoshino.html.)

    My question to you (not the State) remains, “Would you (seriously) take a similar stance towards a group which advocated a treatment of African-Americans or women equal to the treatment accorded by the BSA towards gays?” After all, the Ku Klux Klan also purports to be strongly against divorce (at least in those incarnations of which I was aware while trying to avoid them as a jewish child living in Munford/Atoka area of Tennessee, where KKK women were virtual prisoners of their husbands). Would you not react negatively to someone’s complaining about a “jihad” by “elite culture” against them on the grounds that they were against serial marriage?

    Finally, based on your chosen profession, I find it difficult to swallow that you could believe a robust libertarian philosophy justifies discrimination. (See http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20000630_yoshino.html.) It’s an odd philosophy that allows one to work as an agent in a system that *does* have the job of ordering society while supporting the idea that libertarianism requires us to turn a blind eye to the perpetuation of hate crimes, however mild. Your comment that “[t]he left may have a view of the right ordering of society, but I don’t” smacks of the O’Reilly drivel that drove me to name my site “The UNSPUN Zone?” in the first place. BOTH the left AND the right wish to order society; each wishes to make it over in its own image. It’s a nice rhetorical device to imply that “the left” mistakenly believes “the right” wants to structure our behavior, but that more intelligent people realize this isn’t true. But that’s all it is: a rhetorical device. (And crap, at that.)

    So forgive me if I find support for the BSA—even on hardcore libertarian grounds—a little (pardon the pun) queer.

Leave a Comment