Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Oh. Oh, Canada.

(BIIIIG Warning. I get very angry in here. I swear. A lot. Just a heads up.)

Was going to take a break from blogging, but this caught my eye.

"U.S. religious groups export their homophobia to Canada

After having successfully injected ignorance and bigotry into the American political process, U.S. religious organizations have waded into the Canadian debate on same-sex marriage."

(Via Kos, and A Voice in the Wilderness)

Many people who swing by here know I carry two citizenships: the US one I was born with, and the Canadian one I was sworn into. I won't lie here -- I consider myself Canadian. I also still consider myself American. And Irish. Especially Irish. 21st century, people, welcome to post-nationalism.

(Confusing? Too bad. Future moves fast people, form your own constructs and keep up.)

But, primarily, I call myself a Canadian. Why? Well, in discussing this once with a friend who's family traces back to the Alamo, I realized that it was my grandfather who came to this country. (and got himself a Purple Heart in the Bulge, in a story both amusing and tragic beyond belief). I go two generations back, tops, when one talks about roots defined by the traditional tribal sense of place.

But it's the 21st Century, people. We are not tribes. This place does not have the "magic liberty rocks." My family, and the specifically American tradition of Enlightenment thought we once valued so highly, taught me to use my brain. That reason, and its application, is what makes us not just great, but should, in theory, be the base quality of admission for citizenship. A tragic irony of modern times is that the people who throw around the term "Founding Fathers" most are the least like those men they profess to revere.

My citizenship is to an idea of democracy, not to the dirt where that idea took fortuitous root. If this continent sank beneath the ocean, would Americans abroad stop calling themselves American? Would "America" as a concept end? No, we bravely brag that the ideals we claim make "America" are bigger than one nation. And then, some turn around and claim them the singular provenance of that nation. The hypocrisy is stunning.

And in following those ideals, I found myself in Canada. I believe in the most fundamental of concept of liberty, Thomas Jefferson's favorite whipping point: "Your rights end where mine begin." At this time, in the US, people seem incapable, INCAPABLE, of letting live and let live. It is a land of enemies, of waiting converts to your cause. Ben Franklin's invitation to "Come, let us reason together," is drowned out in a din of apocalyptic screeching.

This is what defines Canada's virtue to me. Canada does not convert. Canada heals. Canada leads. First among the nations, creating the Peacekeepers. Pushing the Land Mine ban. Still not perfect, but doing their best at reconciling issues with the aboriginal peoples even as other nations such as Australia choke on their responsibility. Allowing Quebec its poetic, myopic thrashings. I'm always a little dismayed at native Canadians who whinny about Canada's missing identity. I, as an adopted son, know damn well what Canada is. "Come, have a pint, I don't mind your odd accent -- mine's a bit dodgy too. Your business is your business, we can all be friends as long as you buy the next round."

Doesn't sound all that fancy, eh? What value is a pleasant place to drink, where everyone respects one another, in this world?

It's everything, you fuckwits. It's worth DYING FOR. It may be the only thing that keeps the 21st Century from spinning off into flames, you shortsighted low-self-esteem-having BASTARDS.

WAKE. UP.

Stop looking south, worrying what the loud lad over the fence is going to do next and what he'll think of you. Look East, where Ireland has remade itself into the world's largest software exporter, showing us that nimble little economies can adapt within a generation. Look West, where the Asian nations forge alliances that will dominate the next half of the century. We're the bloody BRIDGE between those two worlds - because it certainly as shit isn't going to be Putin's Russia that connects them. Hell even our cousins in South America -- cousins by virtue of living in the same shadow -- Canada could reach out, be the central hinge through convenience of geography. Canada, if it wakes the FUCK UP, could be the center of the damn world this century.

And you know why that's good? Because of what we said earlier -- Canada reasons. Canada deliberates (sometimes, amusingly, excessively so). Canada's motto of "Peace, order, and good government" isn't some bloodless bureaucratic letterhead. Read some Fareed Zakariah, some Barnett -- peace, order, and good government will save the world. Not gunslinging.

So, when I see this, this crap, this twisted remnant of 19th century thought, being pumped into the reasonable land I love passionately, it, it ... well, it gets my Irish up. Huh. Postnationalism indeed.

There are two elements here, both worthy of scorn. First, the same-sex marriage debate. The government does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation. It does not tell you who to marry, how to marry, who to love, what God to worship, what books to read ... that is not its job. The government's job when it comes to marriage is to make sure the legal mumbo-jumbo is observed. All the things that make marriage "marriage", all the emotional and religious context, that's up to the individual couples and their communities, be those communites Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, civil ...

If you belong to a church which is against same-sex marriage, fine. If this law passes, your church will not be forced to marry gay people. Do you know why? Because, and I will take this slowly, odds are gay people are not going to your church. Strange gay people are not going to paratroop in and occupy your vestry. This law will not make you have to look at gay people, or associate with them, or like them. You will not have to forgive them, or even agree with them. The special vows that make marriage a holy institution to you, they will not being saying them in your church, changing the meaning of those vows to you. They do not change what "marriage" means to you. You can continue to argue that gay people are bad or wrong or evil in God's eyes, and do so freely. Do you understand? Your. Life. Does. Not. Change. Your rights are not abridged. And so, your right to find them objectionable or icky or evil ends where their right to enter into a legal contract begins.

You may have excellent moral, or religious, or personal arguments against same-sex marriage. But you do not have a single decent legal one. And that is the government's reach, and no farther.

(The fact that Catholics, who faced so much violent discrimination in America as "Papists" and were protected only be the strict observance of separation of church and state, can now deprive another group of that shield is beyond shameful.)

But, general principles aside, to see money for the advancement of conservative American causes not only funneling into Canada, but not getting SPAT RIGHT BACK IN THEIR FACE, is infuriating. Even if you don't believe in same-sex marriage, fine, don't you believe in Canada's bloody autonomy? Oh, yes, remember when Canada returned all those escaped slaves, because the US wanted them back? No? You venal, cowardly, seditious little pricks. I find it incredibly ironic that Stephen Harper is the leading opponent of gay rights, because if he takes this money he might as well be wearing chaps and a t-shirt that says "I'm an American Evangelical's BOTTOM BITCH."

It's the 21st Century. It's Canada's Century, if we have the balls to step up and save the world. To show that here, HERE, reason, and law, and RESPECT stand -- not fear.

Come on people. It's the future. Let's break some shit.

67 comments:

1031 said...

I've always had this strange respect for Canada. I think it's because you never hear about anything bad happening there.

Every night on the news here in the States, there's murders and high speed police chases (you missed a great one last night, John - started in L.A. and ended up down the 5 interstate close to Newport, I think). We hear about the stupid Michael Jackson case as the lead news story, and I simply cannot imagine that happening up north.

Canada is like that neighbor who keeps to himself, stays out of your affairs, and doesn't want you butting your nose into his.

But I like what you've said, about Canada needing to take charge in this new century. There's no reason for it not to, and the way America is lumbering along with this jackass in the White House, fewer and fewer counties are giving a damn what we think anyway.

And you're absolutely right about the same-sex marriage thing. Only problem is, of course, that those who oppose it, well...they're insane. They will not listen to reason at all, regardless of how elegant or well-written the argument is.

I simply do not understand what makes a person hate so much.

I'm Jewish, and we've had our own fair share of persecution throughout the ages, and it continues to this day, and for what? So someone, some group, can feel better about itself?

And I don't know what can be done to stop it, to curb the hatred. It's lasted for thousands of years, and there's no reason to think it's going to stop anytime soon. Not only hatred of Jews, of course, but gays, and blacks, and aborigines, and whatever minority you can think of.

Don't remember where I was going with this. It's late. Go Canada! Show the way and maybe the world will follow.

Or America will just invade sooner or later.

Oerwinde said...

Wow. I totally agree.

Michael Alan Nelson said...

Most people have difficulty looking at an issue through a neutral lense, especially we Americans. We all have baggage, prejudices, and a host of other things that will color our position on a particular topic--that's inevitable. But it is our ability to reason, use the brain we were given to at least try to see where the other person is coming from, why they feel the way they do.

But it seems to me that many us of simply DON'T WANT to see a topic from both sides. To do so invites the possibility that we may be wrong or that we will have to defend our position with *gasp* facts and reason. We have become a society of "I'm right, you're wrong, end of discussion." Intelligent discourse, collective reasoning, competent debate have all fallen wayside to willful ignorance and infantile name calling.

But I think it's more than just willful ignorance when it comes to opponents of gay marriage. I think the idea of gays getting married CHALLENGES THE VALIDIDTY OF THEIR FAITH. The Christian right feels the only way to maintain a moral and lawful society is through the "traditional" 1950s nuclear family of father knows best. Because they know no other way. To allow gays to marry, raise children, become productive members of society would shatter their faith-based illusion that all gays are permiscuous ass-whores who will turn school houses into bath houses with their homosexualizing midas touch. God says gays are bad so we can't give them a chance to prove Him wrong. Because god is never wrong. Just like America, his Chosen country.

And that's where we are. We are on the cusp of a watered down Sharia law here in the States. And sadly it looks like Canada heard the hissing and wants to peer inside the tent.

Personally, I think the US has gone too far down this path to come back. The right has gotten a foothold and will never let it go. Banning gay marriage is just the warm-up act. Roe v. Wade will be overturned no later than the fall of 2006 and I wouldn't be surprised if George W. is re-elected for a third term in '08. You think I'm kidding? We're at war. They can do ANYTHING under the guise of protecting America.

Shakespeare's Sister said...

A Canadian friend once moaned to me that Canada had no distinct identity, that more than anything else, they were simply "not America." In the 21st Century, that may be the finest attribute for which one could ask.

I never thought I'd say that, because I love this country. I've never thought her perfect, but her flaws were of a kind that seemed fixable--with a good dose of self-reflection and willingness to change. But now we are on a course I do not support, steered by men I do not admire, voted into office by people I do not understand.

Canada (and all of us) may yet find that being the most popular isn't particularly helpful when it comes to being the most upstanding. America seems poised to be the big dumb jock who peaked in high school and falters perilously in adulthood.

nolo said...

Yow. You are now MY HERO.

Karl said...

You know, I find that there's someone that can say what I feel worlds better than when I attempt to speak up about it.
This is one of those cases. This just rocks on all levels.

Thanks.

Bug-Eyed Earl said...

And then you have your Ann Coulter types who say you guys are lucky we let you live to the north of us.

The types who figuratively suck the US's cock every time they are interviewed, insisting our country is perfect in every way, and that the damn dirty liberals are trying to destroy it.

The types who when losing an argument about the validity of the Iraq wqar, will fall back on the fact that Iraqis protesting was something that couldn't have happened before the war, but want to have Michael Moore charged with treason and every other celebrity and Democrat.

The types who frown on socialized healthcare but ignore the fact that nearly half of all bankruptcies are declared due to medical bills. The ones that do acknowledge this would simply say they should have worked harder and saved more money.

The types who insist that gay marriage is a threat to the institution, but refuse to acknowledge that adultery, spousal abuse, lack of compatibility are the real causes of divorce.

I hate these fuckers, because they stand in the way of prgress. People like me love our country enough to want to change it for the better. The neocons and the fundies think it's fine the way it is as a "God fearing Christian nation" and that the liberals and centrists like myself want to drive moral values out of the public eye and denounce God, even though you can have morality without God (and read the New Testament; you'll see the two don't always go hand in hand), and that there are a lot of us who aren't Christian and don't

MAybe they should think of it this way; imagine they were going to a public school and the predominant religion practiced by the student body was Hinduism. Now imagine how they would feel if they were the sole Christian amongst a group of people play to Krishna or Vindu (Did I get that last one right?). Maybe then they would understand.


OK, my rant's over. John, if you read this before 5 pm Central Time on Thursday the 10th, wish me luck because I'm turning in a play for a playwriting competition. I'll be on my way to making some of that mad Transformers money.

OK,the most I can win is 200 bucks, but I could use some support regardless.

Anonymous said...

John:

You and fellow Canadian Dave Sim need to sit down and have a lovely dinner together.

Please videotape and post on the site.

(Dave is the comic book creator of "Cerebus" and, apparently, the antimatter-John Rogers.)

doinkicarus said...

Damn. I only write about drunken shenanigans, figuring, nobody wants to read my opinions on politics; I just keep to myself and read what others have to say. But seriously, that's one of the best opinion pieces I've read in a long time. It sums up pretty much any argument I've ever tried to make on the matter of church/state or individuals v. majority, etc. Only I speak with significantly less eloquenciosity. And no, that's not a word. I just made it up.

www.blamp.com

Bud said...

Wow. That was awesome.

Aaron Sorkin would be proud of your supreme democratic servage.

--Brendan

Luke Barnett said...

Hey, great post. Australia could well do more to see PAST America. But i can't see that happening with our government, it's like what's happening in America happens here, on a much much smaller scale, and then our crappy media makes it this big hullabaloo....

Anyhow, those that follow Christ truly know that there is no chosen country. Only chosen people, and not enough of them are getting rid of the crazies that seem to have megaphones across the world.

The problem with the same-sex arguments, plus the spongebobophobia (now only being reported on Down under....) is that they are looking at all these different human actions and whatnot and calling them wrong, or misleading or evil or whatever.
Geezz...

All we need to know about is one person, one purpose and one God. everything else comes from that.
...and all that money was for postcards, John?

Kevin said...

Can I be Canadian too?

Funny, Michigan is so close to Canada, but somehow living here sucks so bad.

Rogers said...

Now imagine how they would feel if they were the sole Christian amongst a group of people play to Krishna or Vindu (Did I get that last one right?).That would require empathy. Oh, and good luck. I started writing drive-time comedy pieces with Rick Jenkins, so let me tell you, it doesn't matter what the entry level is, as long as you're writing. (Of course, they were perversely subversive pieces, but still you get the idea.)

Thanks for allthe great feedback, everyone. Sorry about the rage. I got an email asking why I ruin my perfectly crafted arguments about politics with my raging histrionics. You know why? Because my rage is what drives my love of reason. it's the package, and I appreciate everyone's patience in putting up with my style.

Although, come on, you gotta admit, the Harper/Bottom bitch bit is funny. I may actually send him a t-shirt ...

1031 said...

No need to apologize, John. The rage shows that you have passion about the subject, which is sort of important for writing, is it not? If you're not passionate about something, then that's going to come through in the writing, that you don't necessarily care.

That's what makes a really good writer, huh? Being able to write about something you don't care about, but making it appear that you do...

And a friend of mine just e-mailed me the following link and you have to see it. It's freakin' hilarious - might want to wait til you're out of the Land of Dial-Up:

http://db.playego.com.br/orafiles/01122005120941567g.swf

Anonymous said...

Bug-Eyed Earl- Personally, I frown on socialized healthcare because I don't want the same people who run Homeland Security and the TSA (Lighters? We don't need no steenkin' lighters...), the DMV (gyah), the FBI (centralized databases? What now?), and the INS (proudly issuing 2004 visas to men who died in the World Trade Center!) anywhere near my health coverage.

I'm totally with you on the logic of gay marriage being no worse to the sanctity of the institution than adultery and divorce, though- and so are a lot of conservatives. Of course, some of them want to roll back no-fault divorce, whereas I just want to roll with gay marriage, so we're clearly not in agreement on what to do about the situation.

Oh, and I believe it's Vishnu.

Shakespeare's Sister- you're still in the same country. Don't give up yet. After all, some people have hypothesized that the Republican rhetoric is so effective because they spent so long as the minority party and had to persuade voters to join them. The Democratic party has a lot of dead wood that needs to be pared away; I mean, honestly, they couldn't come up with a viable candidate to unseat a weak incumbent- they've either got to change or they'll be marginalized into oblivion. I too despair about the lack of dialogue between left and right here in the States. Then I roll up my sleeves and set to doing something about it.

1031- "I simply do not understand what makes a person hate so much." You know, not everyone who's opposed to gay marriage hates gay people. Some of them are just uncomfortable with the redefinition of something they see as a fundamental pillar of good society. Remember when Ellen coming out was a big deal? 1997. She's a successful daytime talk show host now. It takes time for attitudes to change, and calling people bigots because they're uncomfortable with something isn't the most persuasive way to argue or even think about the issue. They'll shut down and go defensive.

Rosquedoodle- One, I know Kerry voters who are opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, and Bush voters who are for it in spite of them. Two, watered-down Sharia law? Hyperbole, much? Three, a third Bush term? Why bother? They could run McCain or Condoleeza or even another Bush- after all, it's the puppet masters who control Bush, right? They'll just put in a new puppet and not have to worry about violating constitutional law.

And now for our esteemed author... who makes an excellent argument for gay marriage. John, I agree with you completely. I especially like the point on Popery, and I plan to deploy it in future arguments.

However, the Knights of Colombus aren't pushing conservative American values into Canada- they're just supporting their less-wealthy brother organizations in another country. To them, stopping gay marriage is a moral issue, not a national one, and they're not bribing Canadian organizations to run their agenda. Hell, it's international cooperation- aren't Americans supposed to be bad at that? I don't like what they're doing, but there's nothing immoral or unpatriotic about it on either side.

As for Canada redefining itself- hells yeah. Go for it. Take the sentiments of the founding fathers, throw in some hockey, and build a separate, stronger identity. But take the Queen off the currency first.

~TS

Anonymous said...

1031 - re: the Numa Numa guy.

I LOVE THAT GUY. There's a version that's properly synced up with the lyrics here.

I just hope he handles his newfound fame better than the lightsaber kid.

~TS

Oerwinde said...

I like that we have the Queen on our money. Its part of our history, and the history of all our Commonwealth brothers. (except Mozambique, fakers.) We didn't cast off the British in a bloody revolution, we achieved autonomy through diplomacy and I believe our links to the queen and Britain are a symbol of that. Its part of our national identity if you will.

Kitto said...

Luke Barnett:

Damn true about that whole "Aussies attempting to ape America on a smaller scale" thing. It's truly terrifying.
However, what's even MORE terrifying is that we seem to in some cases be pre-empting America. Think that hurling hatred at people trying to promote diversity through a children's T.V show is something new? Around June last year the ABC's Playschool program showed a segment featuring a little girl going to the park or something with her 'two mums'. Quite the hullabaloo that caused. And in the last election the crazy new 'Family First' party actually won a seat in the Federal Upper House. This party was created by the Assemblies of God, and six of its seven directors are active members of the AOG. Meh, who even NEEDS separation of church and state huh? HUH?

I used to think that our nation's collective sense of not giving a shit, coupled with our short attention span, would save us from this kind of shit, but now I'm not so sure.

We live in interesting times...

1031 said...

TS,

I wasn't necessarily referring to only hatred of gays, and I do think it's a hatred, and a fear, that these conservatives have.

As I said, I'm Jewish, and yet my people have been hated for thousands of years. Black people were long considered inferior by people who were really smarter and should have known better.

It's not people being "uncomfortable with the redefinition of something they see as a fundamental pillar of good society."

You're saying the Nazis wiped out six million Jews because they were uncomfortable with them and just needed more time to get used to them?

And don't tell me I'm reaching here, comparing the Holocaust to the current debate over gay rights. They are very similar rights in this regard: Group A is different from Group B, and Group B can't handle it.

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I guarantee that if you were to get these conservatives, the president, all these religous-right people, if you were to take them aside, and ask them, off the record, they would tell you that they would love to kill off all the gay people in the world.

They see being gay as an incurable disease, an imperfection, the same way being Jewish was looked upon in Nazi Germany.

And like everyone knows, how do you contain the outbreak of a disease? You burn it.

And if that's not hatred, I don't know what is.

Rogers said...

TS - Well said. However.

However, the Knights of Colombus aren't pushing conservative American values into Canada- they're just supporting their less-wealthy brother organizations in another country. To them, stopping gay marriage is a moral issue, not a national one, and they're not bribing Canadian organizations to run their agenda.a.) You'll note that Dobson's group is also sending money. and

b.) They are pushing their moral agenda into political codification. That takes it outside, to me, their right to support a brother organization in attempting societal change. The amount of money they're spending distorts Canada's own discourse in an unfair way. Democratic deliberation is dependent on proper representation of the opinions of certain proportions of the population, within its own sphere.



> Hell, it's international cooperation- aren't Americans supposed to be bad at that?That's disingenuous at best. That's like saying Halliburton's dealings with pre-war Iraq and current (ending) involvements in Iran are just signs of good international cooperation.

I don't like what they're doing, but there's nothing immoral or unpatriotic about it on either side.We can agree to disagree. I, personally, think taking money from an extra-national group, giving you far more financial influence in your domestic political scene than you'd ordinarily have because of a lack of supprt in your own community is at the least undemocratic.

I also laud your pleas for temperance. I just think people are TOO reasonable when it comes to tolerating prejudice.

Oh, and we'll leave the national health care debate to another time. But if you're cool with medical expenses being the leading cause of bankruptcy in America, 40 million uininsured, and hurtling towards even more reduced employer benefits, even major corporations arguing we need a national plan, and all this making the US the only industrialized nation where the illness of a child can mean the ruin of your family, well than, we're probably back in "agree to disagree" territory.

Anonymous said...

1031- I do think the Holocaust parallel is overreaching, but I don't think we'll agree on this issue because I don't think that "all these religious right people" actually hate gays. I think that gays make them uncomfortable, but that many of them are big enough to realize that they *are* being prejudiced and can move past it. Maybe I'm too optimistic. I don't think I'll be able to sway a provocateuse like Ann Coulter, but I have more faith (pun intended) in the character of the average American. Even if they can't bring themselves to accept gays, I think they would recognize and respect the argument of gays deserving equal rights. Personally, I think the best compromise solution would be to remove the word "marriage" from the law books- let the law come up with something else to describe the life partner relationship and leave marriage to the churches, but that's not realistic either.

John

Re: Dobson's group- either way, it's organizations in the US contributing to organizations with the same goal in Canada.

As for pushing their moral agenda into political codification, those American dollars don't have votes- Canadian citizens do. American gay activist groups could donate money to Canadian gay groups to counter-program just as easily.

Are you suggesting that such contributions be banned? Isn't that a regulation of free speech? Democratic deliberation is dependent on the decisions of an informed public- would you want the Republican-dominated US government deciding which international organizations can donate money to US causes? If "your rights end where mine begin", doesn't the right to free speech include foreigners? I'm dashing this incoherence off before I run to class, but this seems to be a free speech issue.

The line about international cooperation was a joke.

If the anti-gay marriage lobby is small in Canada, it would seem to me that that shows the good sense of Canadians. Are Canadians so easily swayed by a few more TV spots and newspaper ads?

I understand why you're angry, but wouldn't it be more productive to fight fire with fire and keep government regulation out of public debate?

As for health care, I didn't say that our system doesn't need reform. I just don't think that a government-run system is the best solution.

~TS

Ajnin said...

I just wanted to thank you, John for posting online your beautiful rant. You've summed up perfectly my feelings on the matter. As a Canadian of Irish descent, I agree that it gets my 'Irish' up too.

BTW, Hope all is going well with the TF script... I haven't forgotten that I still owe you and Don cookies for finding a way to fit in limited size changing. He wants oatmeal raisin.. What's your preference? ;-)

Alex Elliott said...

I have more faith (pun intended) in the character of the average American. Even if they can't bring themselves to accept gays, I think they would recognize and respect the argument of gays deserving equal rights.I don't know. Several of those anti-gay-marriage state amendments that were passed in the last election prohibited civil unions ("any arrangement that grants the rights of marriage") as well as just plain marriage.

I'm an American who has been living in Canada for three years now. Before the last election, when people asked me if I going to apply for citizenship, I always said no, I'm not really planning on it. After seeing those amendments all pass - every single one of them - even the ones that squashed domestic partnership arrangements, I've decided to apply after all.

My partner is not American. Although the bill allowing you to sponsor same-sex partners for immigration has been defeated in every single Congressional session over the past few years, I figured that it would pass eventually. However, after 2004, I am no longer convinced that sponsoring my partner for a green card will be possible in my lifetime.

I'm apparently being told that I must make a choice between my country and my closest and most intimate personal relationship. I guess that if that's the choice I must make, I will make it.

Rogers said...

Are you suggesting that such contributions be banned? Isn't that a regulation of free speech? Democratic deliberation is dependent on the decisions of an informed public- would you want the Republican-dominated US government deciding which international organizations can donate money to US causes? If "your rights end where mine begin", doesn't the right to free speech include foreigners? I'm dashing this incoherence off before I run to class, but this seems to be a free speech issue.I believe such contributions should be regulated -- as does John McCain. And my outrage is not toward the donators on this issue, but the recipients, the people accepting theses donations, quite contextually in the whole Canadian/American relationship. (Besides the fact that opposing same-sex marriage is, indeed, bigotry. I don't care that we use the soft words "uncomfortable" and "moral values." People my parents' age were "uncomfortable" about blacks voting, and the generation before that was "uncomfortable" with the idea of a Catholic president. And that's exactly how they would have phrased it. They weren't dicks or bad people either. They were, however, still bigots)

The anti-same-sex marriage force is indeed small, in Canada, and multiple surveys show Canadians as a whole are comfortable with the idea. But with an influx of dollars from a massively different economy, this small group could distort its apparent support with media buys and lobbying of MP's. Also, considering one of the political parties has pegged a chunkl of its power on this stance, every dollar spent on this issue by a non-governmental group is quite explicitly equal to a dollar spent by this political party.

This is also, to me, a dangerous precedent, primarily because of the dollar/influence ratios we're discussing. Moderate Americans would never think to contribute to Liberal-oriented causes in Canada, but motivated Conservative americans have indeed shown a willingness to throw money and manpower towards an issue. With the lower population, smaller political party election budgets, etc., that's a heavy thumb on the scales, heavier than you're used to thinking of in US terms.

Why, consider how horrible it would be if an unbalancing economic influence entered american public discourse, as if, say, a group of highly conservative millionaires bought up much of the media in the US, or controlled the private contracts for government work in Iraq, or ... heyyyyyyy ....

1031 said...

"Even if they can't bring themselves to accept gays,"

This is exactly the problem here. This is what I'm talking about. Being gay is not something that should or shouldn't be "accepted." It shouldn't be something where a group of people says "Well, I guess we'll allow you to be here," like they're being done a huge favor.

All men (and women) are created equal, and as such, everyone is entitled to the same rights, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, or skin color, but those that are against gay marriage (or civil unions) do not believe this.

If a person is gay, or Jewish, or black, or Muslim, that is not something that other people are supposed to "tolerate." To tolerate something means that you permit it, that you'll endure it, like they require your permission to live.

The world does not need more tolerance. It needs less of the hatred and fear that make tolerance necessary.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your Canadian rant, as after the US election, I downloaded Canadian citizenship information because I'm extremely pessimistic about not only the future of freedom in America, but also the future of the US as an economic power once Bush et al finish sowing the seeds of ruin.

However, I would only add that for Canada to become the center of the world, they would stop being Canada. Reason doesn't lead humanity; it can only repair the damage. For Canada to become the leader you imagine it would end being the US and thus a clone.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your Canadian rant, as after the US election, I downloaded Canadian citizenship information because I'm extremely pessimistic about not only the future of freedom in America, but also the future of the US as an economic power once Bush et al finish sowing the seeds of ruin.

However, I would only add that for Canada to become the center of the world, they would stop being Canada. Reason doesn't lead humanity; it can only repair the damage. For Canada to become the leader you imagine it would end being the US and thus a clone.

Oerwinde said...

However, I would only add that for Canada to become the center of the world, they would stop being Canada. Reason doesn't lead humanity; it can only repair the damage. For Canada to become the leader you imagine it would end being the US and thus a clone.I disagree. To be a clone of the US we would need the largest economy in the world and the largest military in the world. Most nations don't oppose the US because they're afraid of them. With sanctions or military action they can cripple most nations. If Canada became a leader of the world, it would only be because people choose to follow, as there would be nothing to fear from us. That is a major difference.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of your points, John. And I cringe every time the gay rights stuff is brought up, by any side. I personally think homosexuality is wrong, being a choice, not an inborn characteristic. The irony is that most self professed "Christians" don't read their guidebook, as it were. To paraphrase, "Every sin will be forgiven, barring blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (the power and works of The Father). So obviously, if Yahweh's the real deal, as I believe He is, then at least one homosexual will have repented of his ways. We're all sinners, and no better than another (excepting idiots, of course :p); thus, to actively or even passively intimidate or trash or bash others for reasons solely based on personal pride (and we know that that's the root of this) is MORE wrong than the "offenders" that had been victimized. How can one honestly perpetuate his Faith to others if he's clearly made it his own, corrupting it? Moral Compromise, the Doom of All.




Salt Shaker

Karl said...

If you need to apologize for this, I hope that you have a continued need to apologize further.
Honestly, you need a podium for Def Poetry and just read this outloud or something.
And, also, I find the fact of Catholic organizations funding this extremely ironic.

They should use those funds to clean up their own houses {I'll drag out the ye ol' Priest scandal card here} before they even think they have some god-given right to tell others what to do in theirs.

Michael Alan Nelson said...

I agree that there is a bit of irony in Catholic organizations funding anti-gay initiatives, however I do think that it should be said that there is a HUGE difference between gay priests and pedophile priests. The gay priest is someone who finds romantic and physical connections with adults of the same sex, the pedophile priest is a monster who should be skull-fucked with a Volkswagon. Unfortunately they too often seem to be lumped together in the same category.

It seems to me that the battle over gay marriage is indicative of a broader push by some of our elected officials toward Biblical law. Yes, the idea is a bit extreme and actually typing it makes me come off as paranoid, but oh well. It's jsut something that worries me.

Salt Shaker made an interesting point when s/he said:

"How can one honestly perpetuate his Faith to others if he's clearly made it his own, corrupting it?"

I think that is my problem, how many choose to perpetuate their faith. I have no issue with people who wish to spread the word of their god and try to bring others into their fold. None at all. But when the rule of law, our CONSTITUTION is changed to enforce religious tennets that not everyone agrees with, it makes me nervous.

Karl said...

Oh yeah, big difference. Nothing meant to be implied there on any similarity, whatsoever.
And, yeah, what's going on now just doesn't make me nervous. It makes me wonder what will be next.
I mean, I want to know who funded the "studies" that have come out stating about the "gay brain", where it's being suggested that there's some "difference" between hetero and homosexual "shape" in the brain.
And, how these "studies" might forment more "research" and even further "studies" in order to "fix" or "correct" the "problem". And, even worse, to have Government funding being right behind it.

Karl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"It's impressive to see a man feeding off his emotions."

Morgan Freeman as William Somerset in
SEVEN

I entirely understand your vehemence. It's not just galling, but maddening to watch petty pipsqueaks use words like "freedom" and "democracy" to camouflage their methodical dismantling of those very principles. When did 'conservatism' stop being about the government keeping its nose out of your life as much as possible and start being about that nose being rammed as far up your body politic as fear, apathy and public ignorance will allow?

Anonymous said...

I mean, I want to know who funded the "studies" that have come out stating about the "gay brain", where it's being suggested that there's some "difference" between hetero and homosexual "shape" in the brain. no idea, but its not so much the overal shape, its the size of certain parts. These small changes mean the a Homosexual Male brain has more resemblence to a Hetrosexual female's brain than it does to a hetrosexual males.

And, how these "studies" might forment more "research" and even further "studies" in order to "fix" or "correct" the "problem". And, even worse, to have Government funding being right behind itwell, short of some new type of brain surgery to physically shrink the parts of the brain (an in all likleyhood cause severe brain damage at the same time) and grow other parts, I dont know of any way to change the individual parts of the brain.... not that this will stop people trying, I mean look at the "ex" gay ministries - almost to a man they've relapsed, or have suffered great deals of psychological trauma surpressing their instincts. Many have ended it themselves.

On a related issue, I've heard Alabama (I think) try to change the constitution to make it impossible for homosexuals to marry (this is even after changing the laws to prevent it).

Anonymous said...

Wow, i thought i'd be flamed, lol.

Karl, dunno if you were replying to me, but i'm not catholic. I'm Christian. as far as i'm concerned, anyone that perpetuates division in the (meaning one) church (including denominations) has disobeyed God's very command in the matter, and splintered off to fulfill his own will. to be blunt, makuing his own religion, catholic, methodist, or Christian Science, which is really just a scam lol.

to Roquesdoodle: i'm a he ;)




in the end, i'd like to know how homosexuality or bisexuality or whatever else is instinctual. also, what's this brain nonsense? there's plenty of effeminate men that are straight. i don't think this female-ish brain is really the "cause", and as someone else said, how would one operate to "fix" it??

and what about lesbians??

Michael Alan Nelson said...

Reason rules here. No flaming. John holds his guests to higher standards.

I think the study of how sexuality is determined or shaped by our neurological wiring has merit, but the idea of "fixing" gays seems wrong to me. I mean, are homosexuals "broken?"

Jeff said...

"1031 said...
"Even if they can't bring themselves to accept gays,"

This is exactly the problem here. This is what I'm talking about. Being gay is not something that should or shouldn't be "accepted." It shouldn't be something where a group of people says "Well, I guess we'll allow you to be here," like they're being done a huge favor."
Every single difference between an individual and another is something to be tolerated or accepted, not forcibly accepted with open arms. If I ignore whatever it is I don't like about you (be it sexual preference, religion, skin color, size of your feet - pick a difference) and tolerate it, that is the most even and fair and equal reaction there can be. People are never, ever going to agree on everything. With that in mind, indifferance is as good as it gets.

"All men (and women) are created equal, and as such, everyone is entitled to the same rights, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, or skin color,"Unfortunately people aren't created equal but should at least get equal opportunity to succeed or fail.

"but those that are against gay marriage (or civil unions) do not believe this."

How do you know? Did you ask them? It more than likely comes down to difference of opinion.


"If a person is gay, or Jewish, or black, or Muslim, that is not something that other people are supposed to "tolerate." To tolerate something means that you permit it, that you'll endure it, like they require your permission to live."They are as good or as bad reasons to like/hate/tolerate something as any. Black, white, big feet, small feet....its all the same to me. By being indifferent, I can neither impose my ideals against those parties, nor comply and impose on someone else who may not agree.

"The world does not need more tolerance. It needs less of the hatred and fear that make tolerance necessary."Remove hatred and fear and I'm with ya 100%.

Call me when you're finished.

pattygal said...

applause. again. its so nice that you express myself so eloquently.

Rogers said...

in the end, i'd like to know how homosexuality or bisexuality or whatever else is instinctual. also, what's this brain nonsense? there's plenty of effeminate men that are straight. i don't think this female-ish brain is really the "cause", and as someone else said, how would one operate to "fix" it??

and what about lesbians??
Neurological and biochemical differences between homesexuals and heterosexuals are fairly well-documented. I'm on dial-up, but google up some hard-science sites and you'll find it all easily enough.

Although, with all due respect, your comments on homosexuals and lesbians kind of indicate, if not an ignorance (I don't use that in the pejorative term, I mean it literally) of homosexuals, at least an amazing lack of contact with them or their lifestyles. Just as many effeminate men are not gay, many gay men are not effeminate. I once worked with an ex-Marine who was gay, and you wouldn't know it until he decided he trusted you enough to share the fact.

Thinking that this effeminate behaviour (socialization is different than biology) is what makes people gay is very, very innocent. Actually, naive. It also explains why you thought lesbianism was a different subject, I assume because lesbians are stereotypically more "masculine" than hetereosexual women.

Effeminate is not gay. "Effeminate" is a behaviour, as is "butchiness." Who you are sexually attracted to and can form long-term intimate relationships with is what determines sexual identity.

Again, with all due respect, you need to get a little more educated on what actual gay people are like, and not just the images you've seen of them on TV or in the media, before you start drawing neurological deductions based on your personal guesses.

koop said...

I found your list of Canadian ideals refreshingly similar to what I think...I was worried I was the only one. I'm a natively born Canadian of two immigrant parents from different backgrounds. I talk to them and my grandparetns about what Canada is. I've found Canada to be the only place left in the world where cultures may still be able to come together and put their best foot foreward. Where reason dominates over passion.

I'm a son of post-Nationalist idealogy, I read an article that called it Civic Nationalism which (since its attriubtes a quality rather than stating a root) I prefer.

Canada is a state in which activism and a sober look on the world as a geographicly marginal (despite our size our dominion is over the northern extreme) and northern nation is truly possible. Canada should be active, within its borders primarily, leading by example. Then on the world stage.

koop said...

I found your list of Canadian ideals refreshingly similar to what I think...I was worried I was the only one. I'm a natively born Canadian of two immigrant parents from different backgrounds. I talk to them and my grandparetns about what Canada is. I've found Canada to be the only place left in the world where cultures may still be able to come together and put their best foot foreward. Where reason dominates over passion.

I'm a son of post-Nationalist idealogy, I read an article that called it Civic Nationalism which (since its attriubtes a quality rather than stating a root) I prefer.

Canada is a state in which activism and a sober look on the world as a geographicly marginal (despite our size our dominion is over the northern extreme) and northern nation is truly possible. Canada should be active, within its borders primarily, leading by example. Then on the world stage.

Salt_Shaker said...

to Rogers:

My statements were not formed from an initial bias or naivety. I'm aware anyone can be homosexual. Firstly, most anytime someone says "gay" they are referring to men, which is slightly hypocritical (i dont like gay mean, but lesbians... oh, yeah, baby...-like statements). and the feminine comment was in reference to the comments stating the brains connections and differing areas of largeness. it came off sounding like effemininity was what made or precluded someone to homosexuality, at least as far as men are concerned (again, as referenced from the post). i admit i may have assumed too much, but please understand that i hold no such ignorance in this area. i've been around many homosexuals, so i've not been shocked by any of this.

anyways, as i said earlier, i still believe it's a choice. unlike some people, however, i don't mock them or harangue them for their choice, or hate them on that merit. i find it funny that people speak out against homosexuals, but leave a lesser outcry against pedophilia. how's that for friggin' irony??

flynn said...

As I've said before, John clearly exhibits latent maple syrupity.

Alex Epstein said...

As a New Yorker who ditched LA for Montreal, I totally sympathize. Paranoia level wayyyy down here. Sure it's Quebec, so you do get raised voices from time to time. But you can be reasonably sure no one's going to punch anyone, unless all are in agreement first that punching someone is appropriate (e.g. outside Hurley's on a Saturday night).

Some right-wingers were accusing Europe of being a woman to America's man. Canada's definitely on the womanly side of that equation. But remember, women are cool. And they get men to do things for them without punching anyone.

Salt_Shaker said...

It's because they are evil. After all, they sinned first :p 8-O


but seriously folks...

C. Land said...

As a lesbian living in the US, I definitely have mixed feelings. As a country, we've made much progress accepting others who are different, but that tolerance always seems to be on the cusp of vanishing with the least little provocation.

My present relationship has lasted 11 years and I hope it will last until the day I die. But I really would like to know that I have a financially secure future, because as a housewife, I have no retirement recourse. Presently, if my spouse were to die, I cannot pull out her pension plan to reinvest. If she were to die during her retirement, I'd lose her social security, AND her retirement pension. I'd be penniless and destitute...a ward of the state.

I for one don't think that's what citizens of the US want for ANY of their citizens...whether they despise them or not. They may not want me to marry, but I don't think they'd mind a civil union that would allow me to have more security in my elderly years.

Sure, there are some people that are so mean that they'd go so far as to shoot me, but most people don't fall into that extreme category. They would prefer to live and let live, but so far they just haven't realized that they're being manipulated by political shenanigans which persist in using the word marriage for to sole reason to DIVIDE the country so people can't unite enough to vote in more moderate candidates.

Todd said...

I like Canada a lot but the idea that Canada is so much more "progressive" than the US is short-sighted.

There are two kinds of libertarians in the world - social libertarians and civil libertarians. Social libertarians think that as a whole, it should be "society" that is free to set the rules. Civil libertarians, on the other hand, think that it's "individuals" who should set the rules. I'm primarily a social libertarian and I think that many in the US are as well. Canada has this real mean streak of civil libertarianism that hurts it more than helps it.

Why do I think this? Well, it's real simple. How many steps does Canada have to take to make the people of Quebec happy? After all, every cereal box has French printed on the side, and there's all sorts of laws recognizing someone's cultural identity. But does this make these people happy? Absolutely not. And the reason that they're not happy is that they're like a spoiled child who doesn't get everything their way. Eventually these folks gotta grow up and take responsibility for their own unhappiness. Appeasement (which you so clearly advocate here) doesn't work. Allowing people to live "freely" doesn't work either. If I start a religion where killing is ok, should it be allowed?

At this point you're probably thinking this is all nonsense, but think about it a little more. We all have our limits and impose them on others no matter what we'd like to say about it. I don't think that there should be taxes, yet somehow I still have to pay them. I'd have you thrown in jail for stealing no matter why you did it because our society has said that it is wrong. So what's wrong with having limits on marriage, especially when it's for the benefit of society?

For the record, I believe wholeheartedly in individual freedom when the government really doesn't have a vested interest. For example, the US Supreme Court threw out Texas' anti-sodomy laws about a year ago, and I fully supported that ruling. What you do on your own time and in your own bedroom is up to you. I personally think it's wrong. I'd make the same case for drug use since I see very little difference between smoking pot and drinking alcohol. (I did inhale once, and got drunk once, and didn't enjoy either experience.)

I guess that the whole idea of man/woman marriage is a time honored institution and I'm not sure why the gay community feels a need to change that. To the contrary, I'd think that they'd want to avoid it. After all, marriage and religion are often intertwined, and for the most part the gay friends that I have don't want to have anything to do with my religion because they think that it's too judgemental. (I agree with the post that as Christians we need to be forgiving.) Why not a civil union that gives all the benefits without the word "marriage"?

Anonymous said...

See the main problem with homosexuality is that it CANNOT be indulged in by every single person in world. It is simply not a natural human relationship, it does nothing to further the beauty of our species, nor does it encourage evolution. Freedom to me means that each person can freely indulge in whatever they want.

Though this view probably does not hold up to indepth analysis, it is simply my superficial opinion when I begin to ponder the issue of gay marriage. Even though I understand the great need for equality, in my mind this is the reason that holds me back from saying 'Homosexuality is completely fine'.

Anonymous said...

todd:

You'll note that many states are already banning not just s/s marriage, but s/s civil unions, and even (Virginia, for example) making it illegal for two people to do paperwork to grant each other the merest trappings of marriage. Power of attorney and all that are things that are automatically granted to a heterosexual couple, but which need to be fought for. There's no sense of "seperate but equal" being bandied about. Not even "seperate but unequal". It's "seperate, and spat upon".

The fact is that much of the existing body state and federal rights hinge on the definition of civil marriage. Probably far more than you realize. It is neither joke nor exaggeration to say the discrimination effectively destroys the lives of law abiding families, and that it's getting worse.

That's why mine has been saving up for the big move -- one we've had planned well before the latest "election".

Todd said...

Hi Anonymous. I sure wish you had a real name that I could use. ;-)

I want to follow up with you because you make some good points, but I'm kind of curious as to why you put the word "election" in quotes. Are you saying that you don't think that the last election was a fair election (like it was rigged?), or did you just not like the outcome? I can understand the latter, but certainly not the former.

Ok, now to your issue of feeling like you're persecuted or somehow "less equal" than married couples. I can fully understand where you're coming from and why you feel the way that you do. It might surprise you that many Christians feel exactly as you do. In their mind, the fact that judges are throwing out laws and that duly elected officials are ignoring the laws that they're sowrn to uphold are taken as forms of persection. Here in Seattle, Christian organizations are being denied building permits for new churches in rural areas under the guise of controlling "urban growth". Whether you think that it's fair of conservatives to feel this way, I hope that you'd respect their feelings in the same way that you'd expect everyone reading this post to respect yours.

Much of what you're seeing today from conservatives is reactionary. It's not only a reaction to recent events like the court decision in Massachusetts, but to 50 years of court decisions that have changed the face of the country. Rulings on things like school prayer and abortion have had a big impact on conservatives throughout the country. Many Christians look how quickly the right to pray in school was taken away from them and are afraid that gay marriage is just another erosion their rights.

I hope that you understand that I'm not saying this stuff to make it sound that you're wrong. I'm only saying it in hopes that you'll get some kind of idea of why things are happening the way that they are. I sometimes get the feeling that people outside the conservative community think that conservatives are unfeeling or uncaring. That's far from the truth. While a conservative won't necessarily express his or her feelings in a vocal or public way, they act on them with just as much zeal as anyone else. Passing laws is just one way of expressing those feelings.

So where do we go from here? I'm disappointed to hear that anyone would think about leaving the US because of a couple of elections that didn't go their way. To the contrary, when I see the courage that several million people in Iraq had to go vote then I'd hope that we'd have the courage to work through some of these issues here on our own turf. I'm as tired as the rest of you that Congress is so polarized. I can't stand to hear all the juvenile name calling that happens on both sides of talk radio. I'd love to see an end to corporate subsidies and the abolishment of invasive social programs. I'd like to think that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" still means something for us today.

I guess all that all I can do is to ask you to rethink your move. Although I would never condone your lifestyle, I'd like to think that the US is still the best place in the world to live. Canada may have it's merits, but it's not all roses over the border either.

Rogers said...

I guess that the whole idea of man/woman marriage is a time honored institution and I'm not sure why the gay community feels a need to change that. To the contrary, I'd think that they'd want to avoid it. After all, marriage and religion are often intertwined, and for the most part the gay friends that I have don't want to have anything to do with my religion because they think that it's too judgemental. (I agree with the post that as Christians we need to be forgiving.) Why not a civil union that gives all the benefits without the word "marriage"?You see, there's the fallacy in your argument. They're not trying to change "marriage", or what you think of "marriage" in your community. You cannot at the same time say "Marriage is a societal concept of man/woman only, so why the fuss?" and at the same time have "marriage" be the term by which the government defines all the legal rights given to a couple. Civil unions have been floated as half-measures, and have been brutally, repeatedly shot down. In both a societal sense -- meaning they want acceptance of their relationships as legitimate -- and a legal sense -- government refuses to divest the legal argument from the word "marriage" -- homosexuals have been brought to this playing field by their opponents.

Also, to be frank, I say this as a straight guy -- when the hell did it start mattering that in this country you were denied legal opportunities because other people were bothered by the terminology?


"50 years of court rulings have changed this country"? Todd, with all due respect, this is just more completely historically inaccurate talking points mush pushed in order to motivate people - voters - with feelings of persecution.

"Under God" wasn't even in the Pledge of Allegiance 'til the 50's. Prayer in public schools (hell, public schools as you know them) was almost unheard of until the same period of time. The nation muddled along for 75% of its existence without them, it seemed to do just fine. Sure, the judges legalized abortion -- and stopped racial discrimination, corporate abuse of the worker (i.e. you), and secured the tax empt status of many organizations you probably support. you're probably too young to remember before religion was tempered in public discourse -- Catholics like me were called "papists" for being the wrong type of Christian and religious reasons were given for racial discrimination. All in all, if you bother to read a little history, humanity was done a solid by the progressive judicial system.

You have an evangelical President, and a chunk o' Senators and Congressmen. Laws are getting passed left and right promoting crap like intelligent design. (and yes, it's crap. as far as real science. crap.) Name a right, a single solid fundamental 10 amendments right that devoted Christians have lost in the last ten years, I'll eat my shoe. The thing you folk, who seem nice enough, don't seem to understand, is that you're not losing anything -- the United States, BY THE DESIGN OF ITS FOUNDERS -- it supposed to keep legal stuff in the government, and religious stuff in the public discourse. You occasionally mix up your beliefs with legal rights. They are not the same.

And the US is the best place in the world to live. Unless you go by infant mortality, literacy, the income gap, health insurance, science funding, education costs, employee rights, blah blah blah ...

Courtney said...

You ROCK.
Seriously. People who think they have the right to tell others how to live their lives are fucktards.

Martine said...

In a comment, Todd said:

"How many steps does Canada have to take to make the people of Quebec happy? After all, every cereal box has French printed on the side, and there's all sorts of laws recognizing someone's cultural identity. But does this make these people happy? Absolutely not. And the reason that they're not happy is that they're like a spoiled child who doesn't get everything their way."

Was this comment serious or was it meant as a joke?

If only I (a "spoiled child") had known that happiness could be found on the back of a box of cereal...

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