Friday, November 14, 2008

Now I've gone and done it. Just look at what the Tolerance Police are calling me now

In my last response to Josh Rosenau, defender of gay hate speech and enemy of evil creationists extraordinaire, I suggested he obtain a thesaurus as well as a dictionary to assist, not only in making some improvements to his knowledge about what certain English terms (such as 'marriage', 'boycott', and 'blackmail') mean, but to give him some variety in his own practice of hate speech.

I suggested that he might find some synonyms that would allow him to vary his epithets a bit from the hackneyed 'bigot'. I mean, c'mon, there have to be other pejoratives available out there to cast aspersions and make personal attacks on people with whom you disagree. This one is getting just plain tiresome.

But I'm having serious second thoughts about the thesaurus idea. Now that I've seen his new post, I realize I probably shouldn't have mentioned it in the first place since it appears that he has gotten one for himself and is using it with a frightening degree of recklessness. I may in fact have created a monster.

You see, I have now brought upon me some very heavy duty adjectival derision.

That's right. I am no longer just a bigot. I am (and this is not for the faint of heart) a "gigantic bigot." [emphasis mine]

Ouch. He must have had to flip a few pages to find that one. What are you going to do next, Josh? Blacklist me?

And this serious escalation in rhetoric is not the only thing Rosenau has to say. He claims he is not a teacher as I had charged in the previous post. And you know what? I'm tempted to believe him. Don't ask me why.

It is a serious charge to be called a teacher when in fact you are not, and I'm willing to retract it. It was insensitive, I confess. But it is not nearly so serious as my other mistake which, as Rosenau points out, was to call his organization the "NASE" rather than the "NCSE". How about we just compromise and call it "NICE", just like in C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength. After all, there are some definite similarities.

And then there is my shameful misspelling of 'miscegenation', which I spelled with an 'a' rather than an 'e'. But lo and behold, he actually appends an argument to this point (not a very good one, but an argument nonetheless).

He responds to my point that, unlike the current debate, the debate over interracial marriage had nothing to do with definition of marriage, but rather its application. His attempted refutation consists, strangely, in a quote that proves my point. It is the old Virginia law barring interracial marriage:
It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this act, the term "white person" shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian...
If the term 'marry' was defined as between persons of similar race only, then the whole section of the law would be completely redundant. But, since it was not, they had to come out and specify that marriage was not applicable to any but whites. The whole reason they had to specify such a thing in trying to bar what we all realize shouldn't have been barred was precisely because marriage did not exclude it by definition.

Oops. Another one of those obvious distinctions that have caused Rosenau such trouble in dealing with this issue.


Elizabeth said...

Ooh! Good job Mr. Cothran! :)

Josh Rosenau said...

Martin, you've just proven that the definition of marriage includes gay people. You say "The whole reason they had to specify such a thing in trying to bar what we all realize shouldn't have been barred was precisely because marriage did not exclude it by definition."

But what did Proposition 8 do again? That's right, according to the official language of the initiative it "ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY." But if marriage didn't include same-sex unions, that sentence would be gibberish as would the actual text of the amendment: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized
in California." Since both are grammatically and syntactically coherent, marriage must definitionally include same-sex unions. The statement of Prop. 8 clearly implies that marriages other than those between a man and a woman exist, but are not valid or recognized in California. Just as Virginia did not recognize marriages between opposite races before 1967, and California did not until 1948. Overturning that law in 1948 led the California Supreme Court to state: "There can be no prohibition of marriage except for an important social objective and by reasonable means," and to define the right to marry as "the right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice." No reference to gender, sex, or sexuality was made in that 1948 ruling, a fact central to the 2008 ruling that "that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights." Words matter, definitions matter, and logic means something to reasonable people.

In that vein, I'm disappointed that you totally ignored my compelling counterargument to your claim that "Same-sex couples were never able to marry precisely because marriage was always understood to be--by definition--between a man and a woman." Compelling in the sense that I offered examples of SAME SEX COUPLES GETTING MARRIED. You say it's impossible, I'm saying I attended their weddings. One of us is very, very wrong. Given that I can spell, distinguish a teacher from other professions (I'm also not a policeman, a priest, or a zookeeper, though I'm sure those would be fun jobs), and remember that C is for Cookie, I'm going to say you're wrong on this one as well.

Katie said...

Ha! This is great. I enjoy reading your biting sense of humor.

Lee said...

A "right to marry" for homosexuals is really a demand to have their relationship respected by others. It's not about granting them rights, but about forcing others to accept their relationship as valid, never mind if they happen to have religious objections.

Josh Rosenau said...

Lee, I doubt that you care whether I "respect" your marriage (or if you are unmarried, substitute the marriage of someone else close to you). Your marriage does grant certain rights and obligations, such as access to your spouse in the event of hospitalization, the right to survivors' benefits from Social Security, life insurance, etc., along with a thousand or so others.

The fight over marriage equality is over who will get access to those legal benefits and obligations. As it stands, a minister is free to perform a wedding ceremony between two men or two women. But that doesn't confer legal status, which is important if you want your wishes to be honored if your spouse is hospitalized, or if you want your children to be raised by the surviving partner, and not snatched away by a distant relative.

Similarly, civil rights legislation and Loving v. Virginia do not obligate you to "respect" interracial marriages, nor to respect black people. I think you ought to, others think you shouldn't, and you have to make your own mind up on that point.

Katie: Thanks for your support (I assume you meant me, since the original post is not, alas, funny).