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Customer Discussions > The Dangerous Book for Boys forum

Starting a "Dangerous Book for Boys" Club

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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2007 7:54:40 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 3, 2008 9:18:16 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2007 8:19:41 PM PDT
Fred Goodwin says:
"Boy" Scouts? That's kinda limiting, sexist and exclusionary, isn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2007 8:22:01 AM PDT
If the Boy Scouts stopped discriminating against gay and atheist boys tomorrow, I'd have little but praise for 'em; boys (hell, _all_ kids) _should_ learn to tie knots, shoot, build a fire, and a hundred other things the Scouts can teach. It's just a shame their management insists on enforcing bigotry against a few hand-picked groups.

They have a lot of good lessons to teach. Unfortunately they make it a package deal with some embarassingly antiquated ignorance. Bring on the Dangerous Club...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 12:19:25 AM PDT
lscollison says:
I was a girl scout for many years. Loved it. Went camping, of course, and did lots of other stuff. I went on to become a skydiver, skydiving instructor, a sailor, a volunteer firefighter, a scuba diver. Also, a wife, mother, grandmother, and registered nurse, though not in that order. As a skydiving instructor, I had to pull the ripcord for as many "boys" as "girls". As a sailor, I've stood my watch, and as a voluteer firefighter, I've fought brush fires right alongside the macho guys.

RELAX, boys. RELAX, girls. Be MAN enough, be WOMAN enough to cut the other gender some slack. Sure, we're DIFFERENT. But we have much more in common than some of us would like to admit.

-- Linda Collison, author of Star-Crossed (Knopf;2006)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 6:53:48 AM PDT
Jon Coleman says:
Hello Michael,

What exactly is the "embarrassing antiquated ignorance" they are packaging?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 12:24:30 PM PDT
DonkaDoo says:
"What exactly is the "embarrassing antiquated ignorance" they are packaging?"

The discrimination against gay and atheist boys.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 1:04:51 PM PDT
Jon Coleman says:
First off, discriminate is a verb and ignorance is a noun. I was looking more to the nature of the ignorance, and not the end result of it.

But ignorance is defined as not having information. I don't think they don't know something that everyone else does. They may believe differently than you and I do (most people do think differently than me) but that doesn't mean they lack information, just that the information is evaluated through a different world view.

Also, as far as antiquated, their views are based on their faith. I would not consider faith in God to be antiquated. Perhaps out of style, but not antiquated. The meaning of antiquated carries a negative connotation that is not accurate. Perhaps old fashion is a better term. And as I've said before, I don't believe just because something is modern makes it a good thing.

I also don't believe that they discriminate against "boys" but they do keep atheists and homosexuals out of leadership positions. Since the organization ideals are built upon faith in God, having Michael Newdow as a leader in the group would be like electing Billy Graham president of the American Atheists Association. It just wouldn't make sense.

I do have a problem when people expect any person or group with what you would call traditional values to keep quiet about it and/or change their policies. Increasingly we are being asked to keep "controversial" beliefs to ourselves when in public. This is particularly true of religious views that don't seem to mesh with modern society. In this country we are supposed to be allowed freedoms to express who we are. Increasingly it is becoming less and less acceptable to do so if you are "traditional" in nature. In California there was a court ruling that equated the term "family values" with hate speech. There is a "hate crimes" bill in the house that could render the reading of certain passages out of the Bible illegal (much the same as it is in Canada). Of course Michael is allowed to join or not join any group he wants, but had I left a posting in a similar tone to his about some groups (be they homosexuals, minorities, women, etc.) it would have been viewed as hateful.

Now, the disclaimer:
I do not believe that anyone should be discriminated against for their religious views (atheist or otherwise) or sexual orientation. Everyone in this country should have the ability to be who they want to be (or at least try to, I'm never going to be a rock star). I have a number of atheist and homosexual friends and family. While we may not always agree on things, we do realize we all have the right to exist and do the things we want to do. People do not have to be enemies, or hate each other when they disagree.
(I just can't write a small post very often can I? And this one isn't even on topic. Yikes!!)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 2:36:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2007 2:40:45 PM PDT
DonkaDoo says:
"First off, discriminate is a verb and ignorance is a noun. I was looking more to the nature of the ignorance, and not the end result of it."

I don't understand this comment. I didn't say discriminate, I said discrimination--which is a noun. Arguably, isn't this particular brand of discrimination the result of ignorance of biological processes? Maybe you don't think so, but gays and atheists do, and many non-gays would agree...

You really like to argue semantics, don't you...

"Also, as far as antiquated, their views are based on their faith. I would not consider faith in God to be antiquated. Perhaps out of style, but not antiquated."

How does faith in God justify discrimination against gays?

"I also don't believe that they discriminate against "boys" but they do keep atheists and homosexuals out of leadership positions. "

I don't think so...I think it's more of a don't ask/don't tell policy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2007 6:37:07 PM PDT
Jon Coleman says:
My apologies, discrimination was the original word used. However, it was used as the end result of said ignorance. They discriminate because they are ignorant. I was mostly curious what they were ignorant of.

That leads me to a question. Which biological process are you speaking of? To my knowledge there is no "gay gene" that causes someone to be gay. There was a study that showed that in identical twins (they have the same genes) 81% of the time (it's been a while since I read it so I might be off), if one twin was gay, the other one was as well. While this may show that there can be a genetic predisposition to homosexuality, it also shows that there is not a gene that says you are gay, since both identical twins have the same genes.

Also assuming that homosexuality is entirely biological (I don't believe it is based on the evidence) that does not mean that any group of people need to accept the behavior as ok. If you make that argument (that being biologically determined) makes it ok, I could make the same argument for a number of other things that we all would agree are not acceptable.

I would also like to point out that while this group is large and highly organized; it is still a private group. Every group makes choices as to who they let into their group. I'm sure you do it as well. They do "discriminate" but we all do in some ways.

The members of the Boy Scouts, as well as other traditional Christians, feel that being attracted to members of the same sex is a temptation like any other. Not all people have the same temptations and some can be worse than others. In this way homosexuals are no different from anyone else. Everyone is tempted to transgress God's will. They would see the difference between themselves and the homosexual in their recognition of their sin. Christianity teaches that one must turn from their sin and someone who is a practicing homosexual would not be making an attempt to turn from, what the Christian sees as, their sin. Since, at least partially, they are a "Christian" organization their rules should, at least in some aspect, reflect that view. Therefore, to have them in a position of leadership is contrary to one of the goals of the organization.

In this way, their views are not "ignorant" but follow their own world view in taking the Bible seriously. They may be different but not ignorant.

Again, I'm not sure what the boy scouts actually philosophy is as far as the kids (never been a member) but at that age, they shouldn't be sexually active any way (unless I'm underestimating the ages).

Obviously, discrimination in avenues of life such as work, education, equal access to government services etc. should not be allowed. Part of the thing that makes this country great is that people have individual freedoms and license to do what they want as long as they don't hurt other people. But since every private group decides for itself what the criteria for joining is, it can be based on religious principles.

This however, is so off topic as to make me think that perhaps if we were to continue this debate it should be somewhere else (in email, or another board or something). If you want to continue it, you know me, I won't ever walk away from a debate, but I'm not sure if this is the right forum for the debate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2007 8:17:38 PM PDT
john dickson says:
Taking a stand for one's values is not bigotry.

Given your anti Christian bias, you qualify as a bigot by your small minded standards.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2007 5:19:48 PM PDT
DonkaDoo says:
"That leads me to a question. Which biological process are you speaking of? To my knowledge there is no "gay gene" that causes someone to be gay."

No you're right, there is no gay gene, however there have been numerous studies suggesting that homosexuality is the result of the amount of testosterone an infant is exposed to in the womb at any given time. Surges in testosterone affect brain development differently at different times. <--fascinating article. It's the future of neurobiological science.

"The members of the Boy Scouts, as well as other traditional Christians, feel that being attracted to members of the same sex is a temptation like any other."

I understand that Christians feel this way--I also feel as if lust is a natural temptation based in biology. However, I don't see this temptation as innately immoral in hetero or homsexuals.

Homosexuality is more than just wanting to make it with someone of the same sex. It's more about having female characteristics/interests as a male--higher pitched voice, liking fashion, musicals and fufu dogs, and male characteristics as a female--deeper voice, manish body, liking big dogs, good at plumbing and electrical work...

I would be happy to start a conversation in another board if you like...Though I find the homosexuality conversation completely relevant to Boy Scouts/Christianity--because I think it's at the heart of tension...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2007 6:50:14 PM PDT
Jon Coleman says:

The problem I have with that study is it ignores the disparity in identical twins where one twin is gay and the other is hetero. I do find it possible that it could lead to a disposition (much the same as gene might) but that it will cause it I think is unlikely due to the evidence.

I don't believe Christians view the temptation as sin, but the acting out on that temptation as sin. It's not sin to be tempted to commit adultery, it's a sin to do it (or to fantasize about it based on the New Testament).

I don't think that Homosexuality inherently causes "feminine" traits in men (or the opposite in women). I know a number of homosexual men (not as many women) and, while some are, most are not the stereotypical flaming "Jack" from Will & Grace. I actually think that's more of a socialized behavior rather than an inherent characteristic.

Hey if you want to talk about it here that's fine with me. I suppose it does have something to do with the topic.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 8:17:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 19, 2007 8:24:28 AM PDT
I'm going to itemize this, since Amazon's system makes direct replies difficult. ;)

- First off, please note that I only made a criticism of the organization in response to another poster's praise; I never suggested that they were doing anything illegal or that they should be forced to do otherwise, simply that they're doing something _I_ think is inappropriate.

- Second, "ignorant" is often used poetically to refer to beliefs that're backward and bigoted. As an example, the idea that "God placed the races on seperate continents because he wanted them to be seperate, thus interracial marriage should be illegal" could be described as "ignorant", even if the speaker wasn't _literally_ lacking any specific information.

- While "faith in God" may be considered reasonable and mainstream by most people, "Leviticus mentions that homosexuality is bad, so I'm going to discriminate against gay people in my organization" is a whole different animal. People adapt their religions all the time to reflect our constantly improving understanding of the world (the Bible endorses slavery, requires animal sacrifice, and forbids the eating of shellfish or travelling on Saturday, for example). Using the Bible as an excuse to indulge one's own bigoted impulses is, well, antiquated ignorance.

- I _don't_ think that the Boy Scouts should be forced to accept gay members. They're a private organization, and their right to exclude whom they wish is balanced by others' rights to call them out on their bigotry. The only serious problem comes in when an organization that discriminates based on religion and sexual preference is given preferential access to government resources (and this becomes less of a problem all the time as the government gradually wises up).

And heck, Amazon created these forum sections so that we _can_ ramble a bit about issues that surround the book; it's to keep us from soapboxing in the product reviews. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 8:22:17 AM PDT
Kyle Watt said:

"Taking a stand for one's values is not bigotry."


"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

Standing for your "values" is frequently bigotry. When your values demand that a large minority that harms no one either be denied a right that the majority enjoys or make do with a "seperate but equal" equivalent, then you are a bigot.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 9:01:09 AM PDT
Jon Coleman says:

As to the first off, what makes it inappropriate? You may disagree with their philosophy but to say they are inappropriate is not the same as saying you wouldn't do it. For example, I wouldn't wear orange pants, but it would be inappropriate for me to wear no pants.

If ignorant can be ascribed to those who are bigoted even if they lack certain knowledge can I use that world to describe you? You are, based on your tone (using words like backwards and ignorant), bigoted against people of actual religious faith (as opposed to those who have a form of religion but don really believe it). If, people, in your view, have to believe homosexuality is fine, to not be bigoted, doesn't that make you bigoted against people who don't accept it?

Second, what makes the belief that God doesn't want people to act out on homosexual urges "backward?" Your example of races would be ignorant, but it would be ignorant of Biblical facts. If you are basing your views on the Bible, all races came from one, so the idea that they shouldn't intermix based on the Bible runs contrary to it. Also in the New Testament Paul clearly states that race is irrelevant (Gal 3:28).

Like I said before, the Boy Scouts prohibition is against active homosexuals in leadership positions. I don't believe that they would have a problem with someone who is attracted to other men but did not act on it. Also, and I don't know there stance on this, but they should also disallow unmarried sexually active heterosexuals in leadership positions as well. Again, I've never been a boy scout, so I'm not sure on all their policies.

Also, the Bible doesn't "endorse" slavery but does mention it. It was a sociological norm at the time. It doesn't endorse adultery but makes note of when it happens as well. Animal sacrifices were done away with 2000 years ago and served to point to the Messiah. Also the meat was eaten so it was a ritualistic slaughter of animals (unless you're a vegetarian you shouldn't have a problem with killing animals and eating them). The prohibition on shellfish is based on the understanding of the natural order. The animals that the Bible endorses eating are, generally prey animals. They are not scavengers (as shellfish are) and not carnivores (with the exception of fish). They exist for health reasons. Work is what was forbidden on Saturdays (well not really Saturday, sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday). Traveling is mentioned specifically because traveling a long distance thousands of years ago would interfere with the intent of the Sabbath (the time period you are speaking of). The intent of the day was akin to a tithe of time, setting apart time specifically to worship God.

You also keep labeling the belief that homosexuality is wrong as bigotry. For it to be bigotry there has to be hatred. There is a difference between not accepting a behavior as normative and hating the person who does it. I think drinking to excess is bad behavior. I have, over my life, known those who did drink to excess. I did not hate them. Another example would be Jerry Falwell and Larry Flint. Jerry thought Larry's actions were inappropriate and he told Larry so. However, they were good friends. I find that, generally speaking, Christians don't hate gays, they disagree with their behavior but gays dislike or even hate Christians.

How about groups given preferential access to government resources based on race? Gender? Those exist. The Congressional Black Caucus will only admin black members, should it be forced to admit whites or go away?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 5:26:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 19, 2007 5:31:41 PM PDT
DonkaDoo says:
"There was a study that showed that in identical twins (they have the same genes) 81% of the time (it's been a while since I read it so I might be off), if one twin was gay, the other one was as well."

"The problem I have with that study is it ignores the disparity in identical twins where one twin is gay and the other is hetero. I do find it possible that it could lead to a disposition (much the same as gene might) but that it will cause it I think is unlikely due to the evidence."

These are two contradictory statements. Are you referring to the 19% where one is gay and the other isn't? I am willing to bet that twin is in denial-much like Ted Haggard. :) Seriously, I will put $100 on it.

"I don't believe Christians view the temptation as sin, but the acting out on that temptation as sin. It's not sin to be tempted to commit adultery, it's a sin to do it (or to fantasize about it based on the New Testament)."

I understand that Christians view gay sex as a sin. I also KNOW that Catholics specifically, view the thought of sex with ANYONE (besides their wives and only if babies come out of it), let alone the same sex, as a sin. I know you're Irish-I am assuming Irish Catholic?? How Catholic is your upbringing?

I don't see gay sex as immoral. I just don't. No one's provided with evidence that is is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 6:06:32 PM PDT
Jon Coleman says:

Actually after I sent the post with 81% I went looking for the stat on line (in case I had to site it) and I couldn't find it. I could find stats with the rates lower than 81%. Your assertion that one is "in denial" isn't scientific or provable. I think as much as biology might play a part (like I said in setting up the disposition) but I believe that nurture (outside of the womb) plays a part as well (early on obviously, but still post natal).

I was not raised Catholic (I actually wasn't raised in any particular religion). Although, I would agree, if that's the Catholic position, that fantasizing about sex with someone other than your spouse is sinful. Having a momentary thought of it is more of a temptation than a sin (an involuntary thought) and I would not consider it a sin.

As far as evidence that it is immoral, that's an interesting question. How do you supply evidence that any act is immoral? Is it immoral to lie, to covet, to commit adultery? If so why? You can demonstrate that it might be destructive to society (or individuals) but immoral implies a moral standard (for it to be against or contrary to). In that case it's just a matter of determining the moral standard. If you were to take the Bible as the moral standard, or even just the New Testament, then homosexual sex is clearly immoral. Perhaps it is not as "bad" as some other immorality but still against the moral standard.

If you reject the Bible as a moral standard, then first you must define your moral framework. Unfortunately without some outside framework (something that comes from outside you such as the Bible or Koran) then it becomes more of an opinion rather than an absolute moral standard. I understand that you don't see it as immoral, and that's fine. I actually don't see it as the big deal it's made out to be. Sin is sin and while it's important for someone to recognize and repent of their own sin, what their particular sin is (since we all have them) is not as important.

I don't know how theological you want this thread to get, so I'll leave it there for now but I can expand on it later if the thread goes on.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2007 10:05:16 AM PDT
Thomas Spear says:
Hey Mike...grow up and get a life ! Do you really want some gay scoutmaster overseeing your child.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2007 6:28:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 28, 2007 6:56:21 AM PDT

Again, I apologize if my reply seems disjoint; I'm trying to answer efficiently in this format.

- Christians (I'm restricting my discussion to Christians in the States for the moment, though this certainly happens elsewhere) don't merely "disapprove" of homosexuality; they work actively to deprive gay Americans of the legal rights that straight Americans enjoy. The Boy Scouts teach intolerance of at least two minorities that harm no one, and work to exclude them from their organization. _I_ disapprove of religion--I think it's foolish, baseless, and destructive to the individual and to society--but I've never tried to stop anybody else from practicing it, and I'd very, very loudly criticize any proposed law to prevent religious worship. I'd also fight very hard if any group I'm a member of tried to exclude religious people from its membership. If you think my perspective's equivalent with that of American Christians and the Boy Scouts, then you're free to call me a bigot, but I disagree.
[edited to add: I was sloppy in saying that "Christians" work to discriminate against gay Americans; a very vocal _portion_ of Christians does so. The overwhelming majority of Christians I know personally either think all love is good, don't bother themselves with other people's choice of partners, or feel uncomfortable about homosexuality but recognize that it's not their place to discriminate based on their discomfort.]

- I think that preferential access to government resources by any group that discriminates in its membership (including black groups, women's groups, and, indirectly, affirmitive-action programs) is equally unacceptable. Being well-intentioned doesn't eliminate your obligation to treat all people fairly.

- Shellfish were once dangerous to eat, but now they're not, so we ignore those passages. "Travel" (IIRC, moving more than ~2000ft outside of your "town", but my knowledge of Shabbat laws is pretty rusty) was once time-consuming and difficult, but now it isn't, so we ignore those verses. Slavery felt like it made sense back then, so it was explicitly allowed in the Bible (Lev 25:44-46). We now know better, so we disregard those verses. Homosexuality squicked the ancient Hebrews (Reform Judaism argues that homosexuality was seen as a feature of pagan religious ritual, and was forbidden for the same reason as most other items in the holiness code), so the Bible calls it "an abomination" and demands capital punishment. If we can't demonstrate that homosexuality is harmful, why should we cling to a few vanishingly brief disapprovals from Leviticus and Paul when they cause real, material harm to a minority in the modern world? Religious homophobia has much more to do with rationalizing a subcultural bias than with piety.

- Note that Bible-based opposition of homosexuality is at least _consistent_ for orthodox Jews who really _do_ keep all of the laws in Leviticus, even to the extent of refusing to switch on a light on the Sabbath to avoid "kindling a flame".

- My acceptance of homosexuality is not equivalent to other people's condemnation of it ("If, people, in your view, have to believe homosexuality is fine, to not be bigoted, doesn't that make you bigoted against people who don't accept it"). I simply say that I see no reason to condemn, which is a fact. If you or anybody wants to say "it's wrong" then the burden is on you to provide compelling evidence that your assertion is correct, _particularly_ if you want to use that idea to discriminate against a minority. Very importantly:

- I see no more reason to accept "this book says that God doesn't like homosexuality so homosexuality is wrong" as evidence than I see for accepting "this man's son should be forced to clean sewers because the Bhagavadgita says that his caste is determined by his karma". If you wanted to _believe_ that such-and-such is right or wrong based entirely on a book feeling right to you, mazel tov. I have neither the right nor the desire nor the ability to force you to think anything else. But you wouldn't have provided any evidence. By any objective standard, the non-acceptance of your assertion would be more correct than the acceptance of it. As long as the objections to homosexuality are entirely based on religious faith, I consider myself on steady ground rejecting them until better evidence is presented.

- According to the American Heritage Dictionary, bigotry is "preference for one's own group to the point of intolerance". Intolerance is "unwillingness to tolerate differences of opinions, practice, or beliefs", and "opposition to the inclusion or participation of those different from oneself". Hatred is unnecessary. Attempting to prevent participation and practice is all that's required.

- As a matter of personal experience, I've met more Christians who hate gays than gays who hate Christians, but we're both working from biased samples, so I'd hesitate to draw any larger conclusions from that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2007 6:41:11 AM PDT
"Hey Mike...grow up and get a life ! Do you really want some gay scoutmaster overseeing your child. "

Good to see so many balanced, thoughtful responses.

To answer your question (though your creative punctiation makes me wonder if it's really some kind of grammatically inventive imperative), I do not, in fact, want a gay scoutmaster overseeing my children. As I said, I wouldn't want the intolerant influence of the Boy Scouts in my childrens' lives, and I want them to learn about religion from responsible, level-headed people (my orthodox Jewish religion professor from the University would be a good example, as would Jon above, with whom I disagree, but who discusses his opinions rationally and consistently). Not knowing said gay scoutmaster personally, I'd have no reason to believe that he's such a person.

When I have access to people I trust, however, and whom I consider a good influence on my kids (whether or not we agree on everything), his or her sexual preference is far from a consideration. If the combination of gay men and small children occupies your thoughts to the extent that it interferes with your ability to select caretakers for your children, I can only reassure you that the field of therapeutic psychoanalysis has made great strides in its effectiveness in the last few decades.

In other words, lighten up, dude! The Gay Menace ain't out to despoil your young'uns! ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2007 11:22:13 AM PDT
Jon Coleman says:
Hi Michael,

Can you be specific as to which rights Christians try to deprive gays of? I don't want to know what some small group or faction believe, but what mainstream belief is from people such as Hank Hanagraff, Paul Meier, Norman Geisler, etc. There are cooks in every group and you shouldn't judge a group by some who claim membership. Also, I would like to point out that joining the boy scouts is not a right. I noticed you tried to soften the point a bit, but I still think it is an erroneous statement. There are laws in congress and the house right now that seek to limit Christians' abilities to express their views (hate crimes laws that deal with speech not with actions).

I'm glad to see that you're consistant on your views of who should and should not get public funding. Actually I don't think the boy scouts or any private group should get government funding. Our government wastes far too much money and should get back to the jobs that government is supposed to do and not handing out money to get votes (that's a slam on both parties incase someone was wondering).

Many of the laws in the OT (primarily the Torah) are speicifically for the group that they were given. They were a people who were directly led by God. They did not have to interpret His will. They also served the purpose of making that group ready to bring forth the Messiah (I get that you think it is all Myth, but I'm trying to explain why capital punishment would not be followed for the same things today). We as a people do not have the same purpose or direct leadership as those who the law that said "you shall not suffer a witch to live" so I don't think it would be appropriate to stone him/her. The mission now is to seek and save the lost, not to prepare a people for the first advent. I actually don't think it's a good idea to eat shellfish (which I am happy to do as I've never liked shellfish any way). I don't take long trips on the Sabbath. And while slavery was allowed, it was never endorsed. Your statement about "kindling a flame" is a perfect example of works based salvation. Switching on a light is not the same as starting a fire (if you've ever started a campfire you would know that). There is also the fact that the "laws of ordanances" were done away with by the sacrifice of Christ (this is distinct from the 10 commandments).

There is no way to provide evidence that any behavior is "wrong" without a moral framework. You can tell someone that murder is illegal, but not wrong. Wrong implies a moral judgment and without a moral standard outside of yourself, you can not say that something is universally wrong. You can punish it, but not condemn it. If you think I'm incorrect, I would like to know which standard you base right and wrong on? Is murder wrong? Is adult/child sex wrong? Is doing crack wrong? How do you judge?

Again, no one is trying to force someone to "not be gay" they are saying that according to the moral standards they believe come from God, it is something God does not approve of. They should be free to say so without your condemnation since it has no less logic in it than homosexuality is not wrong. You just start from a different world view (even though it could be argued that homosexuality breaks the natural order despite it's appearance elsewhere in nature).

The vast majority of Christians don't fall into the definition of bigotry then. Neither does the boy scouts. Not allowing their membership in the boy scouts is not intolerance. While both groups would discourage participation in that lifestyle, they do not prevent one from practicing it.

Also, telling someone you don't agree with their choices or lifestyle is not hate. It is an opinion. Examples of hate the way you are describing it are not common for the Christian community.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2007 9:36:59 AM PDT

(I'm not sure what you mean by "hate the way I describe it"--I simply said that "hate" is unnecessary for establishing "bigotry"; exclusion is enough. When I say I've met Christians who hate gay people, that's what I mean--animosity, hostility, disgust, foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric... Again, I _don't_ think it's reasonable to draw conclusions about Christianity as a whole from this handful of extremists.)

Again, I was sloppy in saying "Christians" try to deprive gay Americans of their rights; a vocal portion of American Christians try to legally discriminate against homosexuals in a variety of ways. A handful off the top of my head: evangelical groups opposed and protested the Supreme Court's eventual striking down of anti-sodomy laws; these laws criminalized private sex between gay Americans. Large numbers of American Christians (as well as non-religious bigots) have denied gay Americans the right to marry their partners, passed marriage non-recognition laws (unprecedented since the days of anti-mescegenation laws) that would deny equal rights to gay couples who'd been married in other states, or insisted that gay couples be given only a portion of the rights guaranteed to straight couples under "civil unions" (note that even in the handful of states that require "equal" civil union benefits, our nation decided in 1954 that "seperate but equal" is inherently unequal). These actions by American bigots go far beyond simple disagreement.

"There is no way to provide evidence that any behavior is "wrong" without a moral framework....I would like to know which standard you base right and wrong on?"

Who is harmed? If you like to stand on your head and scream the Star Spangled Banner at the top of your lungs while a Prussian maid tickles your toes, I won't tell you that what you're doing is immoral. I may not _understand_ it, but I won't be so foolish as to presume that you've violated some transcendant moral code independent of human comprehension. Now, if you're coercing said Prussian maid into toe-tickling she wants no part of, _then_ I'll call it immoral, and make my case for how coercing people into your fantasies does them harm. If a body wants to say that homosexuality is immoral, it's his job to back up that suggestion, not mine to prove that it _is_ moral. And if all a body has is "God says so!", then his opinion carries exactly as much weight as that of the fellow who tells us we should all dress as pirates, as the Flying Spaghetti Monster wills it; their cases should be treated with no different degrees of respect.

Note that I've talked about "immoral", but there's also "wrong". An idea that's unsupported by any compelling evidence or which contradicts existing evidence is most likely wrong--this is a different matter.

"...according to the moral standards they believe come from God, it is something God does not approve of. They should be free to say so without your condemnation..."

So should my state's chapter of the KKK be free to say that black people and Jews are morally wrong to live in the United States without my condemnation? Unsupported and poorly-supported ideas _should_ be condemned--it's the way free speech balances itself out.

" has no less logic in it than homosexuality is not wrong."

Note that this is not how logical decision-making is done. The _fact_ is that a minority of people practice homosexual lifestyles. A portion of the Christian community hypothesizes that there is something wrong with this lifestyle. As the positive claimants, they're obligated to provide compelling evidence that their hypothesis is correct. In light of the evidence or lack thereof, the observer makes a decision about the reliability of their hypothesis. If the claimants frovide no compelling evidence, the rational course is non-acceptance of their hypothesis. Determining that there's nothing wrong with the gay lifestyle is simply the reasonable conclusion until the Christian minority provides sufficient evidence to shift that conclusion.

Note that "God says so" requires that the claimants demonstrate that they know the will of God, a difficult proposition when all they have is a book with a fairly clear secular provenance.

The Boy Scouts teach by example that it's appropriate to exclude a minority that harms no one. They teach that a kind of love is wrong, without any rational basis (note that they don't even have the Bible to fall back on, as they claim a non-Christian "your personal god" orientation that embraces all faiths, even as they discriminate based on a few ancient lines from Leviticus and Saint Paul). They're declaring a large minority inferior based on nothing more than "feels right to me", and they deserve condemnation for it. I would _strenuously_ object to any proposed law that'd force them to accept gay (or atheist, or Jewish, or black) members, but their policies are no different from those that forbid atheist, or Jewish, or black members: they're bigoted, and they're ignorant, and they're an embarassment to a great nation that should've learned much more from the civil rights movement. I'd never encourage my kids to join such an organization, and we haven't gotten this far as a country by pretending that organizations that arbitrarily exclude minorities are just as right as those that don't.

...To end on a conciliatory note, I'm with you all the way on "hate crime" laws, _especially_ WRT "hate speech". You _don't_ combat destructive ideas by suppressing them. My right to free speech requires that _everybody_ be able to speak freely, no matter how strongly I may disagree or how destructive and baseless those ideas may be (yes, I'm one of those people who thinks the government shouldn't interfere with KKK marches). The way to combat poorly-supported ideas is to meet them with better ideas, not to suppress them. If I'm right about homosexuality, then I'm confident that eventually my idea will win the public discourse (it's worked so far with women's suffrage, antisemitism, anti-black racism, and a thousand other facets of progress); hate-speech laws, IMO, only say "I don't think my position can stand up to scrutiny". They're immoral (harm's done to others!) and they're counterproductive. While I love my friends who support the laws, I think they're missing the mark.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2007 11:24:41 AM PDT
Jon Coleman says:
Well as far as gay marriage, we've already, as a country through legislation, defined what marriage is (more than a hundred years ago). When Mormons had to abandon polygamy that set the framework for what a marriage was. A homosexual has no fewer rights than I do as far as marriage is concerned. They may not want to marry who is available, but that might also be true for a heterosexual. Gay marriage is and has always been about trying to force social acceptance not about rights. In California (where I live) all of the rights are available through civil commitment but gay marriage is still sought here. It's because the object is not the set of rights, but an attempt to force people to accept that lifestyle as "normal."

Another question occurs to me for you. Where do people derive their rights? Is it the government? If it is, there is no right to homosexual marriage as the government hasn't given it to them. If it isn't the government, then what are they derived from?

What about those who say that "no one is harmed" when adults have sex with children? What degree of harm? Psychological? Physical? Emotional? Financial? If financial "harm" is immoral, is it immoral to boycott a company? Is it wrong to lie? If no one finds out you lied, is it immoral? For example, you are out of town on business (left your wife and kids at home) and you meet an attractive woman. She knows she won't see you again so you tell her you're not married and sleep with her. You don't tell your wife and she'll never find out. Is that immoral?

Like I said, I don't think there should be laws against homosexual behavior. However, you could argue that it is "socially immoral" in that acceptance or embracing that behavior does not help the society and the culture move forward (which is the purpose of the society). Homosexual sex will not produce offspring. Therefore it doesn't build tomorrow it only satisfies the wants of the individual. That doesn't help society, and acceptance of it slows progress, hence it is "socially immoral" as it can hurt the society.

Again, you display your own bigotry toward those who believe in God with your statement about "spaghetti monsters." This is the basis of your entire argument. You don't want there to be a God because if there is, He would have a right to demand certain standards from you (as if there is a God, you are his creation). And in the final analysis, you don't want to have that over you.

By the way, what would you say is immoral but not wrong (or vise versa) since you said they are different.

In short, yes the KKK should be free to say things I find objectionable (short of calling for physical assaults). Of course, I can't suppose what their reason for saying that would be (the Bible is very clear that racism is wrong). This however is not the same as saying homosexual acts are immoral. One is the ancestry of the person (no control over that) and the other is an act the person does (some control there). You might be able to make the argument that they didn't choose to be attracted to members of the same sex, but I can make the same argument for serial killers and child molesters (taking it to an extreme there). Being predisposed to an activity is not necessarily mean that it is a "good" or "proper" thing to do.

They do not claim they are inferior, just not invited to the party. If you were having a party, you can invite anyone you want. You are putting words in their mouths. I also don't understand why the date something was written has anything to do with it. You call them "ancient" as though to dismiss them because they are old. Being new doesn't make something better and being old doesn't make something worthless (smog is new and personal responsibility is old). Again you are trying to link ancestry to behavior. Being black or Jewish is not the same as being gay. I realize it has been a strategy to paint them as the same but they are not. Homosexuals aren't a minority. They are a group who are predisposed to a certain type of sexual behavior. Are dom/subs a minority? Are people with foot fetishes a minority? Are "chubby chasers" a minority? No, none of those are, why are homosexuals a minority. It has nothing to do with who they are, but what they do.

Again you call them ignorant. What are they ignorant of? That homosexual sex is ok? They are not ignorant of that, they just don't accept it as true. Perhaps you should demonstrate why it is good?

I think in the end we will just have to agree to disagree. You're free to dislike Christians, but I hope you do realize you are as bigoted against them as you claim they are against homosexuals. Again, I think you interpret the "we don't accept homosexuality as ok or normal" as hate. It is not hate. I can disagree with a behavior and not hate the person doing it. I disagree with the straight people I know who hope around from person to person having casual sex. I don't hate them. I think they are doing something wrong, but I don't hate them.

And as far as hate crimes, I'm glad we agree on something (LOL).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 8:10:04 PM PDT
This book is the young man's version of the Ranger Hand Book. Where the boy scouts offer the squeaky clean citizens path, this book offers the path to scrape your hand on a rock while pondering the stars. Most importantly to me is that it puts Martial values back into the boys life. Valor and Honor are given a spotlight in the form of BATTLES that every boy should know about because they apply to many facets of life. Ancient and Napoleonic battles were never part of my education and I think I suffered because of it. The absolute best value of this book is that it doesn't try to hide dangerous things from our boys. We banned lawn darts in the 80's and we've been bleeding manhood ever since. I bought a copy for every father and son I could think of and I'm looking forward to skinned knees and mistakes during some very practical learning. I intend to supplement this good start with motorcycle mechanics and engineering in a glorious new tradition of ANTI-BSA teaching. Our patches will probably be scars and a well-rounded brain. About damned time someone had the guts to publish something like this.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 7, 2007 6:06:33 AM PDT
BettyMay says:
the presupposition, the foundation that the Boy Scouts rest upon, is a moral and Biblical one, i.e., a God-centered one. We live in a world of choices, here in America.
Living according to a moral code is a noble and awesome task.
Antiquated? Atheism and homosexuality are ancient human traits. Your argument that the Boy Scouts discriminate because it is antiquidated does not address the issue.
The issue is what is the presupposition of the group and do some people agree or not agree with those notions. No one is forced to belong to the Boy Scouts.
And if atheists and homosexuals want to create a similar group they are free to do so.

We are a free people.
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Initial post:  Jun 6, 2007
Latest post:  Sep 6, 2010

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