Wednesday, May 03, 2017

On accepting LGBT people

Many supporters of he LGBT community think that everyone should accept them. But, what does it mean to accept someone? Do I have to agree with every aspect of your lifestyle in order to accept you? Some people, I am sure, will disapprove of me if I have a religion, or if I have no religion. Should I expect everyone to approve if I marry a divorced person, or get a divorce, or if I sleep around, or if I stay chaste until marriage? If I think that a person has made some erroneous lifestyle choices, does that mean that I do not accept them? I am very good friends with lots of people whose beliefs and lifestyle preferences I disapprove of. In fact, isn't that the very essence of tolerance, to maintain social relations with persons when you differ with their beliefs or their lifestyle choices? Otherwise, there's nothing to tolerate. Is it part of gay rights to attack any and all disapproval?

Now, it could be argued that at least some people who are LGBT can't help being LGBT. What what they do about it is still, a matter of choice, right?



45 comments:

Mortal said...

The problem comes when what is being demanded is not just acceptance, and not even approval, but rather absolute celebration. Tolerance is no longer enough.

I personally think country music is on a par with fingernails on a blackboard. But I hold no ill feelings toward those who like such stuff - as long as they don't play it in my presence.

But in today's climate, such an attitude is enough to label me as bigoted against country music - perhaps even a hater.

Hugo Pelland said...

What is that supposed to mean: "at least some people who are LGBT can't help being LGBT"?
Are you saying that 'most' do choose to be gay? Are you saying that 'most' do choose to be transgender?

Of course, how they act is indeed a matter of choice, but that's beside the point and most basic issues surrounding LGBT rights. the point is that sexual orientation and sexual identity are 'not' choices and it is thus discriminatory to pick/reject people based on that aspect of their identity alone.

In practice, there are a lot of complex situations but, if you cannot even see the most basic facts here, there is no way one can ever discuss these more complex issues rationally.

Hugo Pelland said...

Mortal, I think you are wrong and exaggerating the situation. I totally get why you say this; there is this ironic climate of intolerance from those who preach tolerance, when you disagree with them. That being said, the evidence is usually anecdotal; unless you have statistics to prove me wrong, which I would welcome with open arms.

But in reality, what we see, statistically afaik, is that members of the LGBT community are harassed more, denied service more, and at higher risk of committing suicide as a consequence of their life being generally much more difficult. Contrast that with your complain that you might be labeled a 'hater'; so what? It is possible, yes, and it could, in some instances go too far, yes, should you be fired for an anti-country-music comment, for instance.

In reality though, the equivalent of that anti-country-music comment would be what exactly? Saying that you 'hate fags'? Then ya, that's spewing hate, deal with it. Or something milder like 'no issues with gays but I think what they do is evil', well, that's stupid imho, but nobody should suffer consequences for voicing that opinion. Now the question is: are there really that many people who suffer consequences for voicing these opinions? I do know of some individuals who were prevented to speak because of what they said against transgender, and don't get me started on my fellow UC Berkeley students... but again, can we really say that the treatment LGBT folks have received over the years is anywhere comparable to the instances of free speech being maltreated in these examples? We are talking about people getting their lives fucked over on the one hand, and merely an inconvenience on the other... i.e. We are talking about literal physical agression and shunning of entire groups of people, versus insults and disruption of speech targeted at a few on the other side.

Again, if there are more extreme cases, I will agree with you. If there are statistics showing some sort of systemic discrimination against those who dare to voice their opinions, again, I will agree with you. But the way I see it, there is no comparison between the two.

Hugo Pelland said...

p.s. just to prove the point that I am 'not' trying to support some sort of anti free speech agenda, I have followed a lot of what Jordan Peterson has to say on various topics and I really like the guy. I am not sure what I agree with, or not, in every case, but he is definitely not someone that spits out hate and that should be shut down. Yet, the SJWs of the world are doing just that, and I am appalled by it. You can just quickly Google his name to find out if you don't know what I am talking about...

Mortal said...

Hugo,

Would you label saying "Homosexuality is unambiguously and explicitly condemned in scripture," as hate speech?

(For the record, I myself do not agree with the above statement - my own views are decidedly fuzzy on the subject, and I'll admit to occasionally being influenced by the last person I've spoken to. But I know many people of unimpeachably good will who would have no problem saying it. So, once again for the record, I don't consider voicing such views to be "hate speech.")

Hugo Pelland said...

Personally, no, I don't think it's hate speech at all. It's just stating a fact about scripture, and it's a benign opinion on its own. Problems might arise when taking actions based on that though.

However, one could argue that it's naive to think that stating this opinion is benign. They would argue that it is in fact hate speech because it ostracizes a specific group of individuals based on a trait they cannot control, and which has no negative impact on anyone.

Victor Reppert said...

Most biblical claims with respect to homosexuality concern behavior. I don't think the concept of a gay orientation is even mentioned, and it is not mentioned in the literature of even the relatively gay-friendly Greco-Roman world either.

The worst that you are getting from many parts of even the most conservative parts of the Christian community is an unwillingness to celebrate gay relationships, or, in particular, gay marriages.

Many Christians think that some LGBTs are very virtuous, those who choose celibate lives in obedience to God. Those people tend to be attacked more vehemently by gay rights defenders (or just pitied) than by conservative Christians. But these people are gay by orientation, and they are not in the closet.

Hugo Pelland said...

I don't understand why people care whether someone is gay. Some guys like short and curvy women, others like tall brunettes, skinny blondes, brown bbw, or other guys, with as many different shapes and forms.

Why would any scripture be relevant here? From any religion?

These are just facts, people are super diverse and like a lot of different things. It does not make them better nor worse; preferences are just different sometimes.

Steve Lovell said...

Hugo, that all sounds very well but couldn't someone equally say "some people like small children"?

Why is this observation of the facts remotely relevant to our evaluation of them?

As a regular on this blog, I'd expect you to remember to "mind the is/ought gap".

Aron Zavaro said...

Victor,

I've always been confused by Christians who are fine with homosexuals, as long as they dont engage in homosexual activity. Didn't Jesus say, "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.". The principle to extract here is that, according to Jesus, is that it's not enough to physical refrain from sexually immoral acts. It is just as bad, to Jesus, to have the mere desire. How can Christians consistently say that it's fine to be gay as long as they don't act on it?

Hugo Pelland said...

Steve, if you're seriously asking that, it's sad that you never thought this through; why haven't you? If you already understand the difference, why are you asking?

Steve Lovell said...

Hugo, I do think there is a difference, and clearly you do too. Which is why it can't be the whole story to say as you did previously "people are super diverse and like a lot of different things. It does not make them better nor worse; preferences are just different sometimes."

You bring in information and values from outside those facts in order to evaluate them. Why do you criticise others for doing the same?

Hugo Pelland said...

Frankly Steve, I find this so absurd that this is why I am not answering the question directly; because what I criticize here is bringing up something that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. So I am sending the question back: why do you think pedophilia is different, and why would you bring that up?

Ilíon said...

"Now, it could be argued that at least some people who are LGBT can't help being LGBT."

And that would be the same argument that "homophobes" can't help being that way ... and therefore can't be judged/condemned.

Hugo Pelland said...

Always so funny Ilíon

Steve Lovell said...

Hugo, I'm simply making the point that it is incoherent to affirm both of the following propositions:

1) All preferences are equal
2) A pedophilic preference is not equal

You have strongly implied the first, and rightly back off from the second. I think you should do the consistent thing and back off from the first too.

Steve Lovell said...

And more over you should stop criticising others when doing so merely on the grounds that they reject that first statement.

There may be (other) legitimate criticisms of their views, but that isn't one of them.

Hugo Pelland said...

No, you are extremely confused and I am trying to make you disentangle your own nonsense. Sorry if that sounds condescending, but it's the fact that you still don't explicitly state what's different here that shows that you are confused.

I never said I agreed with either 1) or 2), the way you wrote them.

Again, what's different with pedophilia?
Or to make it easier, what's different with rape?

Steve Lovell said...

I didn't say you agreed with 2). You did strongly imply 1), when you wrote:

"I don't understand why people care whether someone is gay. Some guys like short and curvy women, others like tall brunettes, skinny blondes, brown bbw, or other guys, with as many different shapes and forms.

Why would any scripture be relevant here? From any religion?

These are just facts, people are super diverse and like a lot of different things. It does not make them better nor worse; preferences are just different sometimes."

Hugo Pelland said...

Good, keep going; what's implied here, these preferences refer to what? Why aren't they not about rape nor pedophilia?

Steve Lovell said...

You're better than this Hugo.

I don't understand how the comment of yours which I quote above contributes anything meaningful to the discussion.

Either it's an attempt to persuade people that certain preferences are "fine" or it isn't. If it isn't, then what is it? If it is, then your trying to persuade that preference for X is fine merely on the basis that it exists. But that same reasoning could be applied to other preferences where you (rightly) refuse to accept that reasoning. But the reasoning is equally bad in both cases.

So, I conclude that your comment adds nothing meaningful to the discussion.

grodrigues said...

@Aron Zavaro:

"How can Christians consistently say that it's fine to be gay as long as they don't act on it?"

Where exactly is the inconsistency? The same standard, the specific standard that Jesus is talking about (and is latter repeated by St. Paul say) that applies to a heterossexual man or woman with normal desires, applies to someone with a sexual desire for persons of the same sex: do not go exciting lusts that cannot be righteously fulfilled.

Aron Zavaro said...

@grodrigues

I agree that the same standard can be applied to gay or straight people. But Christians seem to be ignoring this standard when they tell gay people it's ok to be gay as long as control themselves and don't act of their desires. But according to Jesus, this simply isn't good enough. It is not good enough to simply restrain yourself. You also need to restrain your thoughts and desires. So to satisfy Jesus, gay people need to do more than exercise physical restraint; they also need to mentally neuter themselves. They need to eradicate themselves of gay urges and desires. I think that Christians who make this strong distinction between homosexuality and homosexual activity are ignoring Jesus, because according to Jesus, homosexuality is the same sin as homosexual activity, because they have already committed homosexual activity in their hearts simply by virtue of having their desires.

grodrigues said...

@Aron Zavaro:

"But Christians seem to be ignoring this standard when they tell gay people it's ok to be gay as long as control themselves and don't act of their desires. But according to Jesus, this simply isn't good enough."


First, the distinction is a perfectly sensible one: there is an obvious sense in which desiring is different from acting out the desires (whether the desires themselves are ordered or disordered, as homossexual is, at least on standard Christian sexual Ethics).

Second, either said Christians are applying the standard consistently or they are not. As far as the standard goes, it makes no difference whether the desire is disordered or not, so if they are applying it inconsistently, well, they are applying it inconsistently and that is it.

However, you seem to be reading Him as saying that we should extirpate the desire itself; there is a sense in which this is true (e.g., ideally, we ought to get rid of disordered desires) and there is a sense in which it is not (e.g. as a practical reality, as a concession to human frailty, this may be impossible to attain or maybe even downright deleterious).

"because according to Jesus, homosexuality is the same sin as homosexual activity, because they have already committed homosexual activity in their hearts simply by virtue of having their desires."

Of course this is false. Or at the very least, you are begging the question against those (like myself) that do make the fairly obvious distinction (Jesus himself makes it in other contexts).

And as I said, the standard reading of Jesus' words is not that we should extirpate desire itself (a very un-Christian thing to do) but that we ought not excite desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled.

Victor Reppert said...

Grod is right. The command against lust is a command not against attraction, but against mentally feeding desires that can't be righteously satisfied. I was heterosexual before I got married, so I was attracted to women and not men. Since I wasn't married, I take it I was not committing the sin of lust just by being a heterosexual male. But if I buy a porno magazine, then I am, essentially "feeding" my sexual desires. Before I were to commit adultery, I would have to form the desire to do it within my heart. I experience attraction without forming a heartfelt desire to act on it. To make a distinction made famous by Billy Graham, a man can think a woman beautiful without lusting. But if he thinks he undresses her in his mind, that's lust.

Hugo Pelland said...

@Steve Lovell

First of all, my initial comment was more of a question, and it was actually followed by questions, as you quoted: "I don't understand why people care whether someone is gay. Some guys like short and curvy women, others like tall brunettes, skinny blondes, brown bbw, or other guys, with as many different shapes and forms. Why would any scripture be relevant here? From any religion?"

After that, you raised the unrelated issue of pedophilia, and I raised the unrelated issue of rape, to try to make you realize why it's actually your comments that were irrelevant, not mine. I tried to make you see what the difference between these types of preferences are; I even gave you more hints: what was implied by my comment? Did you try to address that? No... So I have to give up now, it seems you are either unwilling or incapable of seeing what the difference is.

When I was talking about 'some guys like...' the implications was that this is related to consensual sexual relationship. In that case, it does not matter whether some men like tall women or short ones, or other men. Moreover, it also does not matter what their preferences are if they want to rape of have sex with children; who cares whether a pedophile prefers little girls or little boys? Who cares whether a rapist prefers men or women? You see, my point that preferences are irrelevant actually applies even more broadly actually... or perhaps it doesn't, and that was the point of my questions: why should we care? But obviously, I don't expect any answer here, it would be shocking to hear some valid reasons... but if anyone wants to try, go for it.

I had thought of another way to put it, so that's a bit redundant but I think it makes the problem with your usage of the world 'preferences':
- Person A, a man, has a preference for tall women
- Person B, a man, has a preference for short women
- Person C, a man, has a preference for men
- Person D, a man, has a preference for rape
Doesn't that make it explicit that the meaning of the word 'preference' is very different under D)?
That's why I found it so absurd that you would bring up pedophilia, and I made it more explicit with rape, but it's the same thing. There is an equivalency fallacy when one tries to argue that these are all just preferences, which was not my point at all, because A-B-C imply consenting individuals, while so-called 'preferences' D has nothing to do with the object of the desire and all to do with a lack of consent and urge to exercise power over someone.

Frankly, this is such a good example of how religion can mess up one's ability to reason properly. Because there is this notion that homosexuality is bad, for no specific reason at all, it makes people forget the notion of consent, as if rape was on the same foot as pedophilia or a so-called bad choice of sexual partner. The religion creates this muddy situation, devoid of any universal principles. Isn't it ironic? The religions are usually claiming that without them we cannot have strong principles, yet this is the perfect example showing that the religion messes up with one's ability to reason properly about an otherwise very simple topic.

And of course, to be clear, it's an isolated issue and it means nothing regarding anything else. Religious folks, depending on their level of commitment to the dogmas, are usually very good at compartmentalizing issues such that they can be perfectly rational on issues that don't clash with their religion.

Hugo Pelland said...

@Victor and grodrigues

You do sound consistent in your definitions of what is acceptable or not, but are you really saying that 'thought crimes' are something significant? Just curious to know whether I understand your position clearly... And obviously, I would not have anything to say against it given that it simply comes straight from scripture. i.e. there is no defense of it so nothing to address either way. It seems that it's like that just because Jesus said so...

Hugo Pelland said...

Historically, yes, that's completely true. Does it justify thinking like them?
We cannot ignore what we now know about sexual orientation today.

And if we are to mention how things have been, I can cite my personal experience and make a similar, but limited, claim: I have never witness a world where people make a difference between A-B-C. I have literally never lived within a society where people care about homosexuality, nor do I know anyone who would, as far as I know. So the overwhelming majority of human beings I interact with do not care about such preferences. Why should we?

Now, you added D-E-F, which are actually more interesting to think of!
D) This arguably hurt someone else; it includes a 3rd-party so that's what make this preference different than just who someone prefers.
E) That's just bizarre; someone wanting to contract HIV? Not sure why we should care though.
F) Also bizarre, but I also don't see why we should care about that one either?

So, it's not that much complicated after all. If it's consensual, it seems to me that the preference in terms of partner is still irrelevant; I don't see why one should be label as more/less morally permissible than the others. Why, why not?

Ilíon said...

Hugo, I may be funny, but *I* am rational, always. Contrast this with yourself.

Hugo Pelland said...

I know! I wish I could be rational like you, just on occasions, but it's hard, I am just not built for logic, it's too hard for me.

Ilíon said...

"I wish I could be rational like you, just on occasions"

QED, and from the horse's mouth.

Hugo Pelland said...

What does QED mean? Which horse told you that?

Steve Lovell said...

Firstly Hugo, please keep in mind what you wrote: "people are super diverse and like a lot of different things. It does not make them better nor worse; preferences are just different sometimes".

Of course preferences are different sometimes. Why do you say that doesn't make them better or worse? As clearly demonstrated, you think they are better or worse on other groupnds. So do I.

Now your latest comments suggest that what matters is consent. Now I agree that consent matters, but I don't think it's all that matters. Consent is relevant to actual physical acts.
But we aren't merely talking about physical acts. I think it's possible for not only for the physical acts to be right or wrong but for a preference itself to be disordered. And although you dislike the term (and I only use it, because I don't know a better one), some people clearly do have a "preference" for young children ... and though I can't really get my head round what a "preference for rape" would be like, I dare say that "people are super diverse"! These desires, preferences or whatever are disordered.

We reckonize the possibility of disorder of apetite in other areas of life. Lots of people have a weird relationship to food (mine is a little odd, frankly ... I'm a shocking comfort-eater). There is no question of whether or not the food consents to being eaten.

Now I don't think the right way to go about helping a person with an eating disorder is to criminalise or to ridicule them. And there may not be a "cure". But that doesn't mean their current state is on a par with someone who has a healthy relationship with food.

Now ... I shall brace myself for the tirade of abuse (not particularly meaning from you, Hugo).

grodrigues said...

@Hugo Pelland:

"You do sound consistent in your definitions of what is acceptable or not, but are you really saying that 'thought crimes' are something significant?"

Huh?

"It seems that it's like that just because Jesus said so..."

Well, since Christians reckon that Jesus is the Son of God, the mere fact that He said it is a pretty strong reason to accept it. To pretend otherwise is either simply a restatement that Christianity is wrong (a wholly different discussion) or merely moronic.

And then again I never said or even suggested in my previous comment that "Jesus said ergo..."; what I did was explicate what Jesus did say and what follows or does not follow from what He did say; in other words, you are battling figments of your own imagination.

Hugo Pelland said...

Steve,
It's not that 'just' consent matters, it's that this was the difference between the category of preferences that homosexuality falls under, whixh I was exlusively talking about, and the preferences that pedophilia and rape fall under, which some individuals bring up to argue that homosexuality is wrong. They confuse completely different things. Are you?

grodrigues,
I was just asking you what you think, not battling anything. But you did not even answer. Do you think thought crimes are something serious? If yes, is it just because Jesus said so? If yes, ok, you did explain why it's sufficient for Christians, just asking...

Victor Reppert said...

What Jesus says makes sense, and virtue ethics perhaps helps us see this.

Person A goes around wanting to kill person C, is ready to do it if he gets the chance, but the opportunity never materializes.

Person B wants to kill C, the opportunity arises, and he does commit murder.

Now, from the perspective of the law, B is open to prosecution and A is not, and rightly so. But in the eyes of a God who is assessing character, did not the two actually have the same character, and differ only accidentally?

Hugo Pelland said...

Yep, great example Victor. In theory, God being able to know for sure whether A and B had the exact same intentions and willingness to act, the judgement would be the same, for valid reasons.

In some similar cases, the law might actually also care; premeditated murder doesn't carry the same consequences as non-premeditated.

But then my question would be, why do we need the concept of God here?

We don't have the super powers required to actually judge A and B that way, but we have the ability to discuss the issues, even if just theoretically.

Ilíon said...

"... in other words, you are battling figments of your own imagination."

Oh, now! Give 'im a break: if God-deniers aren't to be allowed to battle figments of their own imaginations, they'll have *no* victories.

Hugo Pelland said...

Exactly TheLion, as an irrational person, there's nothing I can be right about except when I argue with my own imagination. But then it does make me right sometimes, so I am not never right anymore. Or am I? Because it's imaginary so it doesn't count. I don't know, too hard to think of, so I lose, again, *never* any victories.

Ilíon said...

Poor Hugo!

His problem isn't that he's irrational, though of course, he is, and that's a problem. No, his problem is that the chooses to embrace irrationality so as to deny the reality of God. He chooses to affirm/assert a metaphysic -- God-denial -- which he clearly doesn't believe; for if he *did* believe it, then he'd also affirm the inescapable logical implications of it, which non-exhaustively include:
* there are no rational beings; there are no agents (for there is only matter-in-motion, that is, material/physical cause-and-effect);
* it is impossible for any human to reason (for there are no rational beings);
* it is impossible for any human to know anything (for it is impossible for any human to reason);
* he himself does not really exist (for there are no rational beings); that is, while there certainly is a biological human entity that we may denote as 'Hugo Pelland', there is no self or mind or person there, for there are no rational beings and there are no agents.

The astute reader will have noticed that even so short a list of some of the logical entailments of God-denial is self-contradictory and incoherent. And thus we can know that God-denial is itself self-contradictory and incoherent.

And still, poor, poor, Hugo clings to his delusions.

Steve Lovell said...

Hugo,

I haven't been arguing that homosexuality is wrong. I've been trying to show that the statement of yours that I first responded to, did nothing to show that it isn't wrong.

I quite agree that comparing homosexuality and rape to try to argue for the immorality of homosexuality would be floored. There are clearly many relevant differences. But that is exactly why you shouldn't be making the sort of statement you did ... conclusions about what is right and wrong cannot be reached from a mere observation of preference.

Victor Reppert said...

The reason God is relevant here is that if there is a God, then there is someone who knows when thought crimes have been committed and can fairly hold people responsible for them. If atheism is true, then even if they reflect the character of the persons involved, they are by definition unavailable to others. So nothing about them can reasonably be brought into a system of justice. But Jesus' point can be made about character without referring to a divine being.

Hugo Pelland said...

Steve,

Fair enough, but you still don't get what my point was... as I was pointing out that in this specific situation, preferences are varied, benign and inconsequential, and thus wonder why it matters what certain books say about that. Why would any scripture be relevant here? From any religion?

These are just facts, people (who engage in consensual sexual relationships) are super diverse and like a lot of different things (when it comes to choosing who they like to have sex with). It does not make them better nor worse; preferences are just different sometimes (and some other times they may matter, should someone prefer to rape, but that's not what homosexuality imply).

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor,

You say that God is relevant AND that Jesus' point can be made about character without referring to a divine being. The latter means that God isn't relevant...

The judgement is the same whether there is a God or not. That's what I agree with as we can discuss these moral questions even if we cannot read thoughts.

Whether there is a God or not changes the post life consequences, should there be any, but then that's like saying that actions morality depend only on consequences, which I would argue is a bad way to judge, because intentions matter. That's the point here, isn't it?

Felippe Narciso said...

I'll take the via negativa and say that up to the moment you think a person should take a painful lifestyle (with low chances of happiness) rather than the lifestyle she is currently in, you have not accepted that person. It really means nothing to say you have accepted LGBT people when you think they should live in lifelong celibacy.

Lifelong celibacy isn't bad because of the lack of sex (althoug a medical argument could be made that it is). It's bad because of the loneliness that person will eventually have to face. Their parents, if not already, will eventually die. Their friends, gay or not, will probably marry and have/adopt children. People (at least where I live) are suspicious about old men who haven't married or never appear to be in a relationship (unless that person is a Priest or a Monk or something), so making new friendships is a difficult thing at a higher age, and nothing will suffice the need for company that a human being needs.

Unless that person decides to enter a monastery or become a priest. But again, I'm pretty sure that it is bad for a person to enter priesthood if they don't really want to. And being a gay priest, I can imagine, is tough. How can you be responsible for the salvation of the people who you know probably think you won't achieve salvation yourself.

This, of course, does not undermine any arguments showing that homosexual acts are immoral. As far as comparisons go, the "right" lifestyle suggested for gays and lesbians is the same suggested to pedophiles. And no one accepts pedophiles.