Homosexuals and their rights

I posted a blog post earlier in which I argued that according to nature homosexuals cannot be married – that there cannot be homosexual marriage – because marriage is the name we give to the natural estate of bearing children. There were several comments made to the post that I would like to address as a sort of on-going debate, as well as bring to bear some additional arguments I did not make before (but have been made by others). You can read the comments on the previous post here, and I will try and be obvious what I am referencing throughout this post.

As in my previous post (although I was accused of giving false pretenses), I will not argue from the Bible or from any religion save the religion of reason and nature. (By the way, anyone who says we can have a society without religion is in fact promoting the religion of humanity. Don’t be fooled or scared by people shouting that religion has no place – humanity cannot help but be religious which is why even those who say they have no religion still watch beautiful sunsets and admire art and enjoy nature, and why they even have and use words such as “beautiful” “art” and “nature”. To argue that we can be free of religion is a stupid and uninformed argument if there ever was one.)

My argument that homosexuals cannot marry because they cannot naturally have children still stands. Only one commentator tried to refute it, but I will show why her counter argument doesn’t hold water. No one else challenged it. But they gave other reasons why homosexuals ought to be allowed to be married and enter marriage, especially challenging what I said, or didn’t say, rather, concerning taxes and being protected under the laws we currently have.

First to the challenge of my argument that homosexuals cannot marry because they cannot naturally have children. The challenge was put several ways, but it is basically this:

You fail to see infertility in females or males as a natural by-product, as well, meaning that Nature in and of itself does not define marriage by the ability to produce children.

The argument fails because infertility in males and females doesn’t preclude other, fertile men and women from conceiving. If it did, then no one could have children. But in a homosexual couple it doesn’t matter if they are infertile or are as fertile as rabbits, homosexual couples cannot reproduce. The very nature of the relationship prohibits procreation and conception. This is not so with infertile men and women. The nature of the relationship doesn’t prevent conception, the nature of the person does. Of course, this begs the question of whether infertility should disqualify someone from getting married. Of course not. Who knows that they are plagued with infertility until they try to conceive? To prove infertility a person would have to be subject to government tests with or without their consent. Suddenly, simply to lay the argument of fertility as the basis of marriage, all our personal freedoms and rights – heterosexual or homosexual – are at stake. After all, if a person is proved to be fertile, they should be forced to conceive, no? Even if they don’t want to. Sorry, infertility in men and women does not debunk the truth that nature shows us that homosexuals cannot – are not allowed to by nature – be fruitful and multiply (not a religious statement but a agrarian one).

Secondly, my argument was countered with the proposal that homosexuals are being discrimated against in the tax codes because,

In terms of taxes, the tax benefits are hardly just to benefit children. Take shared insurance for example. The way things are, if the partner in a homosexual relationship needs medical care, they are not covered under their partners plan simply because they are homosexual. There are many cases of homosexuals dying of illnesses which could have been treated if they could have been covered under their partners insurance. This is a right that is given 6 months after marriage to heterosexual couples, but even if the homosexual couple has been in a committed union for 10 or more years, they are still not capable of these rights. There are a number of other examples as well such as visitation rights and will’s.

The weak link here is in the third sentence. The homosexual partner is not denied coverage simply because he or she is homosexual but simply because he or she is not married. This is the play-ground “it’s not fair!” plea. Yes, it is fair. It is fair that my partner with whom I have children and who helps me raise those children is covered under my insurance (et. al.) for the sake of our children. The only way to refute this is to argue pure self-absorption and say that I deserve to be covered under my partner’s insurance (et. al.) because, well, they have it and I want it. It amounts to a person telling the law, “But they were my best friend and we did everything together. Why can’t I have their insurance?”

The argument is purely subjective. It’s strength lies in, “They have it, why can’t I?” And the reason you can’t is because you’re not them and you can never be and are not meant to be them. You’re not the same. It basis marriage on some fairy-tale that marriage is about loving another person and sharing with them. That’s not marriage, that’s kindergarten. Marriage is about having a specific role in society, the role of procreation. For those who cannot procreate because of illness or such, re-read the first part of this post. (By the way, to use the argument involving infertile heterosexual men and women as proof as to why homosexuals can marry really only stands to treat homosexuality as an illness, disease, abberation, abnormality, and the like.)

Then comes the argument of rights. Homosexuals, it is argued, have the same rights as heterosexuals. This is true. But much of what we take as rights aren’t rights at all. Our only real rights are those common to all humans by virtue of being human. One of those rights is the right to marry. But none of those rights are the rights to life insurance or health plans, even based on marriage. It is not a right to be treated the same as others. We treat people differently all the time. What if I argued that the LA Lakers have to hire me because they hire other people and I’m a person like them? I can’t jump, shoot, or really play at all, but since I like the jersey, the pay, and the life-style, then I have right to be hired by the team. Rights only cover what is natural to the estate of being human. Procreation among homosexual couples is not natural to the estate of being human, and so is not a right. Ergo, marriage is not a right.

Finally, the best for last:

Lastly, this same “logic” has been used for centuries for countless battles over basic human rights when a discriminatory group has power. It was always “better” for blacks to be “taken care of” by their slave masters (after all, they had inferior intelligence and everyone knew it). It was always “better” for the woman to leave the worlds’ dealings to the men and remain silent in the vote – I mean, surely she had enough on her plate what with tending the children and cooking all the food. It was “better” for the Native Americans to be rounded up and quarantined onto reservations. Do you see the pattern?

This is a straw man and a nasty one at that. Those who make these claims are cowards and ignorant and are of the highest form of bigotry. To suggest that I think that marriage is outside the preview of homosexuality is the same as giving small pocks to children and whole peoples is beyond ridiculous  The laws should – and for that matter, neighbors should – protect the citizens of the nation from abuse and physical hatred.

But for the sake of decency and good argumentation the world over, let’s still look at this argument. First of all, it doesn’t refute mine at all, it merely spreads fear (great tactic by those who are wrong but want others not to point that out). As an argument itself, that we should fight for homosexual rights, it is a perfect argument if we are fighting for the right of homosexuals to live, not be murdered, have jobs, and live otherwise safe and secure lives. Oh, wait, that’s already on the books. Criminals don’t respect the books. So a homosexual can be a murderer, too. Does that mean that all homosexuals will murder? What a stupid argument.

Okay, so I’m sure I have not covered all the bases. I would like feedback – positive or otherwise. I am not arguing to protect my religion (a counter argument I didn’t take up because it’s nearly as dumb as the one about oppression). I’m saying that homosexuals do not have the right to marriage. Not because there is something wrong with them, but because they have nothing that requires marriage or the benefits therein.

For those who might want to read a bit more on the arguments as they are presented by homosexuals, you might begin here.

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5 Responses

  1. Phil, You have made a good argument that homosexuals should not (i.e. cannot) be married. You defended your points well too. At the risk of pouring gasoline on the fire though, I want to pick your brain on another issue altogether… what rights should homosexuals have.

    According to the Bible homosexual acts were treated like other crimes. Several countries (including the one I live in) still have homosexual acts and sodomy as capital offenses. Although the sentences are seldom carried out to the fullest extent (death), it is still treated like a punishable, prosecutable felony (and it is prosecuted). According to the Bible, a government has every right (perhaps even a mandate) to treat homosexual acts as something that can get your rights taken away. A bank robber has his rights seriously limited by incarceration. A 1st degree murderer by the death penalty. I’m wondering if conceding that homosexuals should have the same rights as everyone else outside of marriage is a weak position. I also realize that if arguing against gay marriage earned you such a barrage of criticism, arguing for the (re) criminalization of homosexual acts would earn you a land slide. Nevertheless, don’t know how from a biblical argument you can argue against gay marriage yet concede legal protection of homosexuality under a nations legal code. Maybe you haven’t done that, but that’s the feel I got.

    It is up to you if you want to post this or not. I’m fine either way, and I understand if you feel it is just not the right time or place to post this.

    + Peace +
    Stephen

  2. So why, exactly, do you think it is a point in your favor that you are not using the Bible or arguing from religion?

    The method of logical reasoning to determine morality, right and wrong, and proper social behavior has failed philosophy for the last 2500 years.

    In regards to this specific topic, this method has failed the para-church organizations and conservative churches for the last 5 decades as they put aside religious beliefs to attract as many people to their cause as they could. The LCMS is just starting down the road that has already been proven over and over to lead nowhere.

    I simply do not understand why LCMS pastors have fallen so in love with “natural law” and “logical reasoning” to carry the day on this particular issue over the last 3 years or so when it is so obvious this approach DOES NOT WORK.

    The only people EVER convinced by natural law and logical reasoning are people who ALREADY agreed with the conclusion.

    I really wish pastors were required to study a lot more philosophy. Then maybe they would be less likely to repeat the same mistake made countless thousands of times over the last 25 centuries.

    The truly ironic thing is that Christianity DOES work. In taking to scores of homosexuals and those same-sex-attracted who have now chosen celibacy, the only thing I have ever heard that changed their behavior was a clear and compassionate presentation of the Gospel of Christ. (although I will make an exception for Judaism – there are quite a few Jewish “ex-gays” as well).

    I have seen a compassionate witness to Christ work not only in the lives of those who grew up in Christian home but those who had left Christianity behind and those who had grown up atheist and never before had contact with Christian forgiveness. So the old saw that we should use “natural law” because the people we are addressing don’t accept the Bible is just asinine.

    So why do we leave our best tools (the Bible and religion) in the woodshed while we use those methods which have been repeatedly demonstrated to fail?

    You are a pastor. Be a pastor and leave the crap to the political science department.

    • Matt, I am arguing like a pastor. Paul argued from reason in Athens, using natural law that all men recognize gods and going from there to declare the true God who created all things.

      I actually have a BS in philosophy (with commendations) and am well aware of the limitations of natural reason and law. I am equally aware that God created the heavens and the earth and that they proclaim His handiwork and praise Him as Creator. If this is so – and it is – then they can bear witness about God (read Romans 1-2).

      Moreover, having been an atheist who rejected the idea of God or that any religion can know the truth, that all religions were indeed the opium of the people and for the weak, I know the power of natural reason. I am not a Christian because of natural law, but I began to listen to them because they were not afraid of natural law.

      The world needs to know that we are not against or afraid of arguing from nature. In fact, nature is on our side. I know that my arguments will not convince anyone (an overstatement, I think), and certainly will not make a Christian out of them. But I also know that many people (myself included) began to listen to the Church precisely because she engaged natural law.

      After all, all humans, Christian or not, are human. We have a commonality that is beyond creed. That is not to say our commonality supersedes the creed(s), it doesn’t, not at all. But it is still common. Natural law is best used to show us that we are human, and to be human means something. Which is why the philosophers of all stripes – Christian or no – make it their business to know what a human is and isn’t. It’s core to us all. So why not use what is common to show that it is unnatural to be what you are not – humans are not homosexual.

      You are right. Natural law will never bring a person to faith. Only the gospel of Jesus does that by the power of the Spirit. But what natural can do is show them why Jesus is necessary. After all, the law is written on the hearts of all men (Romans 2), so that even the pagan’s conscience knows when he is following or breaking God’s law.

      I, too, wish pastors had to take more philosophy and reason (and rhetoric). So we would be better able to engage the pagan thinkers where they are and lead them (shepherd them) to where they are supposed to be.

      Your position is not wrong, but it is too simplistic. Your own allowance of ex-gays in Judaism is proof enough of that.

      • I left off something important. Once I have engaged a person with natural law, as in this post and others like it, and they engage back, I do bring them to Christ. Don’t assume what you cannot know. Don’t assume I never engage them with the One is truly human, the Man who is our God.. I do, and quickly. Don’t assume that because I use natural law – divinely given – that I do not then show them their sin and savior.

        Philosophy has failed the Church when the Church has assumed that philosophy makes believers. But that is not philosophy’s fault but the fault of theologians and Christians who do not know how or when to employ it.

  3. I disagree with Matt wholeheartedly. The history of Christian Apologetics is long and rich. But it has been lost in the Lutheran church over the last 50 years. (I would like to know about the last 3+ years you are talking about because I’ve been TRYING to get people to educate themselves in logic more but I haven’t seen much progress.) Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon set up classical style schools that revolved around the trivium: Language, logic, and rhetoric. That tradition has been lost, and so has our ability to think. God gave us His will using language–words on a page with order and meaning. The study of language, logic, and rhetoric, is studying that which helps us understand God’s Word. They are tools we use for reading Scripture.
    We do not wish to set up a false dichotomy, i.e. logic vs. Word. But rather we’re saying that logic can serve the Word. Nature does not contradict scripture. And so when we meet up with someone who automatically puts up a wall when he hears the Bible, the wall may be broken down with language–also a gift from God. Natural revelation is a Christian concept, and the heavens DO declare His glory. Once you get the unbeliever to accept that you too have thought about both sides of the issue, then perhaps a more in-depth discussion involving Scripture can occur.

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