I am going to take a week off from writing my Broken Chains series and comment on the Kim Davis debacle that’s happening in Kentucky at the moment by addressing some of the arguments that I’ve seen from the fanatical, fundamentalist right lately. The following are my responses that I wrote for a Facebook conversation that was taking place on a friend’s wall (she was being attacked by one of her friends for posting an article about Kim Davis stating that she should be fired for refusing to do her job.)
Here are some arguments that I saw and responded to (my responses are in black):
“The government [should] stop pushing their agenda down everyone’s throats in the name of tolerance.”
Requiring a government official to do the job that she was hired to do (in this case issuing marriage licenses to all those legally allowed to marry) is not “forcing an agenda” down anyone’s throat. It is simply requiring her to fulfill her job duties. If she no longer wants to do her job, she should resign. That’s how a job works.
“The people screaming “tolerate all” are the ones screaming “we will not tolerate your beliefs because they don’t agree with ours”
A person having a reasonable expectation that they can go into a government office and utilize the services they are supposed to offer is not being intolerant of someone’s views. A government office is a government office, not a church, not a Christian book store, or a Christian school. If she wants to be able to preach her religious views at her place of employment she should find a job at one of the other places and allow someone who will provide a government service to all American citizens to take her place. In America, there are a wide variety of religious beliefs (even no belief at all!). Every American citizen should be able to walk into a government office and utilize whatever services they offer without being discriminated against. Kim Davis’s job is not a pulpit for her to preach her religion. That is not intolerance, that is common sense. To quote a Reddit user’s statement, I wonder how tolerant these people who cheer Kim Davis would feel if a Christian woman walked into the DMV and a Muslim man working behind the counter said “According to my religion, women should wear burkas and stay in the home, so I refuse to issue you a driver’s license.” I’m pretty positive that that wouldn’t go over well with the fundamentalists on the right.
“A homosexual man has the same right that I do… To marry a woman. homosexuals are looking for special privileges and applause, not equality.”
What many fundamentalists forget is that what they have is the right to marry the person they happen to fall in love with (or someone they got pregnant, or someone they got drunk with and married in a stupor at a Vegas casino by an Elvis impersonator). Now, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, homosexuals have that same right. That is not wanting a special privilege, that is wanting access to the same right that straight Americans already have (which, should they ever decide to marry someone of the same sex, they also have access to now). As a gay person, I can tell you truthfully, I don’t want or care for anyone’s applause. Those who dislike me for being gay don’t matter to me up until that point when they start feeling like their religious beliefs should have power over me and the rights that the government offers to me. Once that happens, then we have a problem.
“So now [Kim Davis] must lose her job, and many must lose their businesses simply because [gay people] don’t agree with them and [they] want to force them to do something that goes against what they believe?”
Kim Davis doesn’t have to lose her job. If she wants to keep it she can do her job and all that it requires… Including issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. If she doesn’t like her job duties she can resign, or continue to refuse to do them and be fined or imprisoned. No one is forcing her to get married to a gay person, no one is saying she can’t believe that being gay is wrong. What they are telling her to do is to issue marriage licenses to all couples that are legally allowed to request one, which now includes gay people. If she doesn’t like it, again… She can resign (or continue to refuse to do so and face fines and imprisonment.) Just like a Muslim DMV employee can’t deny a driver’s license to a woman, a Christian Clerk can’t deny a marriage license to a gay couple. It’s really simple stuff here.
“[The] homosexual agenda [is] forcing a woman to adhere to their beliefs in gay marriage.”
No, they are wanting a government employee to provide a service that they are entitled to by law. The government isn’t charged with making sure everyone adheres to Christian principles. America is a melting pot of beliefs and cultures and we all have to coexist together within it. That means if we work at a government facility we will occasionally have to work with people who don’t share our beliefs. As a government employee Kim Davis doesn’t get to pick and choose which American citizens are entitled to the services offered in the government office where she works simply because they don’t agree with her religious beliefs.
“[Gay people are ] forcing her to go against what she believes in order to make them happy.”
Again… No one is forcing her to do anything. If she no longer likes her job duties she can easily resign and allow the position to be filled by someone that will perform the duties they agreed to perform. As a government official, Kim Davis doesn’t get to choose which American citizens she will serve anymore than a Policeman or a Fireman does. They don’t get to say “I’ll only protect and serve Christians. If a gay person is in danger or if their house is burning, I can’t help them because I might be violating my religious beliefs.” Government positions don’t work that way.
“Well how bout the bakery fiasco? Homosexuals didn’t get their way so they forced the bakery owners to do what the homosexual couple wanted.”
I’ve already written out a detailed response to the bakery nonsense, so I’ll just post a link to it here:
“This isn’t a peaceful little March for “rights.” No, no, no. This is becoming an enforcement of homosexual beliefs on everyone, regardless of what [a person] believes.”
No one is forcing anyone to be gay or even to believe that being gay is moral. A Christian having to share the rights that they already have with gay people is not forcing anything on anyone, anymore than it was forcing a “black agenda” on people by allowing black people to have the same rights as white people after the Civil Rights movement. It wasn’t forcing a “female agenda” on men when women won the right to vote. It wasn’t forcing an “interracial marriage” agenda on non-interracial couples when interracial couples were allowed to marry. It’s not forcing a “broccoli agenda” on you if I choose to eat broccoli even though you hate broccoli. It’s not even forcing a “broccoli agenda” on you if you work at a grocery store and have to sell broccoli to someone else. You don’t have to eat the broccoli, you just have to sell it to people if it’s on the shelves in the store you work in. Selling broccoli to someone isn’t violating your broccoli hating sensibilities. So, moving passed the silliness I’ll say it again: Having to share rights that you already enjoy with people that are different than you is not forcing anything on you.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s unconstitutional.”
Luckily for everyone else, Fundamentalist Christians don’t get to arbitrarily decide what is or isn’t Constitutional!
“This doesn’t “tolerate religion”. it’s forcing everyone to deny their religion to accommodate 2% of the population that is upset.”
I am not repeating the same argument over and over again for no reason. This is the same argument that is being used by the Fundamentalist Right again and again and again (and was in fact used multiple times in this same conversation), so I’ll address it once more… Gays having rights isn’t forcing religious people to give up their beliefs. All American citizens can believe whatever they want to believe. The only thing it’s forcing religious people to do is to live in a society equally, according to the law, with those that are different from them. If they can’t handle losing the privileged number one spot in exchange for a level playing field, well… That is their problem, not ours.
“She signed up to give couples marriage licenses, not to give homosexuals a right to what society has perverted into ‘marriage.’”
She “signed up” to give marriages licenses to all couples who are legally allowed to have one, regardless of what her personal religious beliefs are on the subject. She doesn’t get to deny marriage licenses to atheists, or Jewish people, or Muslims, or divorced couples, and as of the Supreme Court ruling, she can’t deny marriage licenses to gay people either. If she doesn’t like her job duties anymore she can resign, or continue to deny those services and face fines or imprisonment. (I feel like a broken record!)
“The homosexual agenda is [forcing others to stop] saying anything against homosexuality.”
I so love this “homosexual agenda” nonsense. It makes me feel like a super-villain sitting in my secret lair having a meeting with all of the other super-villains about how to take over the world. But that’s beside the point. People are welcome to say whatever they want, but as with actions, words have consequences. If a person says something I don’t like, I have every right to respond to their nonsense. If they own a business and they refuse to sell me whatever product they already offer simply because I’m gay, then I can file a complaint to the proper government authority. I can tell all my friends about what happened and they can all boycott their business. I can also post about my experience on social media (or on my blog) and everyone that reads it can choose to boycott that business also. In a few states (with more being added all the time) I can sue that business for violating anti-discrimination laws, just like they would be allowed to sue me if the tables were turned.
“A couple is defined as man and woman. man and wife.”
This again? Hasn’t this ridiculous argument been shot down already? A marriage is defined as “between and man and a woman” only in specific religious sects, not according to the Federal government. In our country, marriage is a contract between two people. While most people get married when they love each other, it is not a legal requirement for even love to be involved, much less specific genders. Sharing a specific religion certainly isn’t a requirement. People are entitled to believe whatever they want, but we live in a melting pot of beliefs and cultures and in this country all of them are treated equally. One religion doesn’t get to rule over the rest. That is what the First Amendment guarantees.
“[Procreation] is everywhere. You find it in the Bible (which you obviously don’t believe).”
The Bible doesn’t matter when it comes to discussing American law…
“But you also find [procreation] throughout nature.”
You know what else you find in nature? That’s right… You find homosexuality in nature. There are reportedly over 1,500 animal species that either engage in homosexual behavior or form homosexual pairings.
“It’s just the way we were created. we are created to procreate and that’s through man and woman.”
There certainly isn’t any scientific proof for creation by a god or gods, nor for “procreation as our sole purpose.” There are many living beings (including many human beings) that can’t procreate in male/female pairings and many that simply don’t want to. Procreation is certainly necessary for man’s continued existence, that is true, though with scientific advances, even that is changing. Some might even argue we should hold off procreating for a little awhile, what with all the children in orphanages, the current overpopulation problem, and our quickly depleting natural resources… So, as it can quickly be established, there is no “set purpose” for human beings to exist, and even if there were, it certainly isn’t this “procreation only” nonsense.
“And they have the right to marry. a man can marry a woman and vice versa. really simple stuff.”
(This argument annoys me to no end!) And now, according to Federal Law, gay couples can marry also. It’s really simple stuff.
“They want special privileges, and that is discrimination against the rest.”
As stated before… Having the same rights as Fundamentalist Christians is not having “special privileges” (Cough…Cough… Tax exempt status…) Christians can legally marry the person they love, and now, I can too! Yay!
“Yes, I’ve had gay friends. and they know I don’t approve or agree. I’m glad they do, because they need to realize it’s wrong in the eyes of God.”
As with the Bible, what a Fundamentalist Christian thinks “God” says is wrong is irrelevant when discussing American law. People like this character I was debating with are no friend of gay people. When someone tries to deny someone else basic human dignity and the Civil Rights that they already have access to, they are not a friend. A person that wishes to deny me access to Civil Rights may be a casual acquaintance, a co-worker, or even a blood relative, but they aren’t a friend and they definitely don’t love me. No matter how much they’d like to pretend otherwise.
“I love Gay people [but] I hate what they do.”
People like this only “love” gay people (but as I said, that’s debatable) so long as they conform to their beliefs and don’t live their lives as who they know they are. Anti-gay bigots don’t “hate what [gay people] do.” They hate gay people. Period. No matter how much they try and insist otherwise. Being gay is a part of who I am just as much as my eye color, or my skin color. I didn’t choose to be gay anymore than they chose to be straight (and unlike how they actually chose to be Christian). Due to a random combination of genes, environment, and psychology, I turned out gay. Being gay isn’t something I “do”, it’s a part of who I am, whether these zealots like it or not.
“Why are you forcing your “truth” on the poor judge? Sheesh! Her truth isn’t yours, but that’s doesn’t make your truth hers.”
As I’ve stated several times before no one is forcing her to do anything. She has three options here:
- Do her job and provide marriage licenses to all who are legally allowed to have them (including gay people)
- Resign from her position if she doesn’t want to perform her job duties
- Continue to refuse to perform her job duties and face fines and imprisonment
Those are the options available. Those are the only options available. Continuing to deny gay couples marriage licenses from her position as a government official, when they have been guaranteed the right to marry by the Supreme Court, and therefore by the US Constitution, is illegal. That’s all there is to it.
“With different truths, we’re left with no truth and just madness.” (This was his response to the statement that not everyone lives their lives by what he believes to be true.)
The world has mostly gotten along just fine since humanity came into existence (ignoring the wars, genocides, and mass exterminations perpetrated by religious groups) with a wide variety of different truths. Humanity existed long before the existence of Christianity or even Judaism just fine and it will continue to do so for as long as the environmental conditions and the availability of natural resources allows. Provided we don’t blow each other up with nuclear bombs first of course…
“If there is no truth.. why can’t I just murder someone?”
Anyone can technically murder someone if they really wanted to (as we see on the news every day it seems…) However, we have a system of laws in place, and those who break that law (by murdering someone for instance) will face the consequences of violating those laws. They also may experience backlash from the family and friends of the person they murdered (up to and including losing their own life in return). That is how our society works and religion has absolutely nothing to do with it. Also, if the only thing that stops someone from murdering people is someone at their church telling them not to, then I’d say they have FAR more problems than they think any gay person has.
“You do realize that this country was formed on biblical foundations right?”
As usual, the conversation always seems to head in this direction, and as always… It’s just wrong. Just because some of the men (not all of them) who founded this country were Christian, doesn’t mean they intended this to be a Christian nation. Here are a few quotes from our founding fathers (I’ll even use a couple that aren’t normally used to debunk the “Christian Nation” nonsense either!):
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” -George Washington
“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” – George Washington
“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” – 1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams
Honestly, in spite of how it may seem, I don’t enjoy having this same discussion over and over again. It’s dishearteningat best. I can’t understand how seemingly intelligent people think that it’s okay to deny rights that they’ve always enjoyed to people a little different than them. Where is the humanity? Where is the empathy for their fellow human beings? Why must we, as a country, keep reliving the same old battles, but with a change in one of the players? It seems that we are always embroiled in Civil War of sorts, that usually involves Christians vs. [insert minority group]. It’s even been Christians vs. Other types of Christians for Christ’s sake (no pun intended)!
If the religious community as a whole wants to remain relevant in this country (and even the world), then they need to wake up and stop with all of this nonsense where they viciously attack those that don’t hold to their particular faith, whether it be with bombs, guns, and knives, or with laws and regulations that attempt to deny rights to those outside of whatever the majority faith happens to be. Those that are still a part of the world’s various religious communities that just want to live in peace with the rest of us need to rise up and tell those who cause trouble or who harm others that enough is enough! With information being passed between people in an instant, religion is quickly becoming irrelevant in it’s current form, and if it doesn’t want to be left behind then the religious need to wake up and realize that the rest of world is moving on without them and find a way to coexist.
James Garcia 9/2/2015