As is my practice, when I decided to write my thoughts on this issue I looked first at arguments on both sides of the issue. I found that James Dobson’s book Marriage Under Fire distilled his viewpoint to ten arguments. And since he seems to be one of the National Leaders in this arena I decided to use his points for the anti-gay-marriage viewpoint. There may be others, but I’m not trying to write a teatise here, only express my own view. My thoughts on each argument are expressed beneath the relevant argument. My overall thoughts are articulated following the arguments.
Argument #1. The implications for children in a world of decaying families are profound. A recent article in the Weekly Standard described how the advent of legally sanctioned gay unions in Scandinavian countries has already destroyed the institution of marriage, where half of today’s children are born out of wedlock.
Hmmm. I would think he would have quoted the bible rather than the Weekly Standard as an authority. My recollection regarding marriage in Scandanavian countries is that they long ago abandoned the “requirement” of marriage. It seems to me that legally sanctioning any form of marriage would add to the marriage base rather than take away from it. Is he saying that if gays are allowed to marry that heterosexuals will abandon marriage? It seems to me that the responsibility for promoting traditional marriage falls squarely into the lap of the church. This sounds to me like a case of not paying “attention to the plank in your own eye“. In any case, I don’t think its as much an argument against gay marriage as it is an argument for loving, lifetime marriages. That is an area where the church could have a positive impact instead of accepting (in a practical sense) divorce among its parishoners.
Argument #2 The introduction of legalized gay marriages will lead inexorably to polygamy and other alternatives to one-man, one-woman unions.
The movement of time is inexorable – the prophecy of James Dobson is not. As to whether gay marriage would lead to other “alternatives”, what if it did? So what? In some religions (unrecognized by James Dobson as true religion I’m sure) polygamy is fine. In that case, it is a matter of which religion has it right. Who is to know or judge which one is correct? The answer, of course, is God. And to get that answer it is necessary to interpret what the interpreter believes is the will or word of God. The world is at war right now (and has gone to ware historically) because there is disagreement about the word of God.
Argument #3 An even greater objective of the homosexual movement is to end the state’s compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriages have been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver’s license or a hunting permit.
Oh boy. Now he is arguing for maintaining the state’s interest in marriage. But it has to be marriage as he defines it within the context of his religion. Well, the state is about laws, not religion. And the church is about religion, not laws – in this country. In this matter, one of the founding tenets or our Republic is separation of church and state. Laws are intended to codify the will of the people at their essence. When the will of the people indicates a change to be considered, our legislators consider changes. That is our system. If you want to change that, you must change the system. “divorces will be obtained instantly”. How is that the fault of the gays? Where were you when no-fault divorce was emerging? “will not involve a court” If it is “no-fault” why should a court be involved? Convince your parishoners to truly believe and live their lives according to those beliefs put forth by the church and the church could play a much bigger role in keeping families together. “and will take on the status of a driver’s license or a hunting permit” That is said as though it were a dire, unintended consequence of gay marriage. How is the existing marriage certificate any different now? The state already controls the issuing of various legal documents.
Argument #4 With the legalization of homosexual marriage, every public school in the nation will be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
“Perversion” is a perjorative term and is clearly used here as such. What it really means though is a deviation from behavior which is normal in a particular society. In the society of some religions, homosexuality would definitely be considered a perversion. By the same token, within a homosexual society, heterosexual behavior could be considered a perversion. So unless there is a movement among homosexuals to infiltrate heterosexual societies and openly practice homosexuality, I don’t see the “perversion”. I think you missed an opportunity here James. It won’t be just the public schools it will be all schools because anything which teaches otherwise would be illegal in the same way that any school which taught that negroes were sub-human would have a problem with the law. In the eyes of the law gay marriage would have moral equivalancy as it should. In the eyes of the church it could be a different matter altogether as it should. The church is free to preach what it believes. Even if it believes in transubstantiation – which if true might amount to cannabalism in the eyes of some.
Argument #5 From that point forward, courts will not be able to favor a traditional family involving one man and one woman over a homosexual couple in matters of adoption.
So… no discrimination allowed. What is the point here? Am I missing something? It sounds as though discrimination in favor of heterosexuals or against homosexuals is desired. I would be interested in seeing the moral or biblical basis for that discrimination.
Argument #6 Foster-care parents will be required to undergo “sensitivity training” to rid themselves of bias in favor of traditional marriage, and will have to affirm homosexuality in children and teens.
“to rid themselves of bias in favor of traditional marriage” I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that would be unconstutional. I’m pretty sure I’m allowed legally to have any sort of bias I’d like to harbor. I’m not allowed to act illegally because of my bias, but I can certainly have it. And, if I had children of a teachable age I could teach them all about my bias. It is my constitutional right to do so.
Is Dobson suggesting it would be better to deny homosexual tendencies in children? Of course, he is once again making a prophecy about the training. He may be right about it, but I don’t see it as any different than sex education. The issues are there. Children should be educated. Isn’t “sensitivity training” really about non-judgmentalism? Isn’t that a pretty big part of religious training? Don’t they teach that in Sunday School?
Argument #7 How about the impact on Social Security if there are millions of new dependents that will be entitled to survivor benefits? It will amount to billions of dollars on an already overburdened system.
I wouldn’t think that this would even need to be addressed, but evidently it does. Those who are currently recieving survivor benefits are the beneficiaries of taxes paid by gays. Upon what basis is it appropriate to tax people for something they are legally excluded from benefitting from? Either allow everyone who pays a tax to benefit from it or stop collecting taxes from those who, by law, are excluded. Do you not remember the Boston Tea Party?
Argument #8 Marriage among homosexuals will spread throughout the world, just as pornography did after the Nixon Commission declared obscene material “beneficial” to mankind.
And also like Christianity. By the way, pornography has been around and spreading, since the beginning of recorded history. Evidently God hard-wired curiosity for that sort of think into humanity. I am not in favor of exploitation as is sometimes used in the porn industry, but I am favor of consenting adults participating in activities which do not harm others. Prove that a porn production company is using men or women against their will (or children in any capacity) , or that people are being forced to look at pornography against their will and I’ll be on your side to prosecute the criminals. By the way, some people are seeing Christian propaganda on billboards or door-hangers when they don’t want to be exposed it. In other cases, people are being accosted on the street by evangelical missionaries and having a tract put in their hand. Sometimes a missionary will actually come to your home, knock on your door and try to “share the Gospel”. I am not aware of the porn industry doing anything like that – they put out what they have and interested people find it on their own. No one exposes anyone to an unwanted message.
Just to be clear on the pornography comparisons I’ve used, they are useful in my counter argument. I am not a proponent of pornography, I’m merely using it as an example because Dr. Dobson interjected it into the discussion by referring to it in his argument.
Argument #9 Perhaps most important, the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be severely curtailed. The family has been God’s primary vehicle for evangelism since the beginning.
God will be defeated by the gays. Hmmmm. He couldn’t be defeated by communism in the USSR or China, or by the Mullahs in the Mideast, but the gays will get him. Christianity will roll over to the will of the gays. Those gays are really powerful. By the way, as I recall the Gospel was originally (“the beginning”) spread by the Apostles. Most if not all of them were not married. Now if what you mean is that children born to Christians become Christians by virtue of being a family member then I get the point. I do have an issue with children “coming to the Lord” before the age of reason as I question the reality and permanance of that type of conversion.
Argument #10 The culture war will be over, and I fear, the world may soon become “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37, NIV). This is the climactic moment in the battle to preserve the family, and future generations hang in the balance.
Then perhaps you should spend your time and energy spreading the “Word of God” rather than the “Word of James Dobson”. And if the message is clear and relevant people will adopt Christianity and your fear will be unrealized. As it is, fomenting hate against others will only further divide our nation. Most of gays work, pay taxes and lead conventional lives similar in most ways to yours and mine. They have the right not to be judged – which as I recall was kind of a major message from Christ.
To wrap this up…
Our country was founded upon principles including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I fail to see how denying people the right to marry in any way at all provides for liberty or happiness. In fact I think it distinctly tramples on those unalienable rights. In my view gays are being unfairly and illegally targeted for discrimination in this matter. I haven’t seen any cogent arguments which would change my view, though I’ll consider them if someone can put them forth. There are gay people in my life whom I love, respect and admire. That is because they didn’t exclude me. In fact they reached out to me and made an effort to make me feel welcome in their midst. They didn’t ridicule me because I didn’t share their sexual proclivities, they accepted me. While I’ve never discussed it, I suspect it is as difficult for them to understand why I prefer members of the opposite sex as it is for me to understand why they prefer same-sex relationships. But, that isn’t the issue or the problem because it isn’t necessary for me to understand or agree in order to relate and accept. Some of those gay people have adopted children and I have had the privlege of seeing them interact with their children. My experience has been that they are exemplary parents. Like most adoptive parents, there is a special bond due to the fact that they consciously chose to commit their lives to these children as opposed to the many parents who unintentionally find themselves in the role of parent.
I take full responsibility for my own opinions, comments and slurs against asshats. I'm just another guy with just another opinion. Although, I may be turning into my father who my mother always said was 'the world's foremost authority."