Friday, November 14, 2014

You can't be "nice" and deny equality

As we move into the end game of the marriage equality issue, our opponents are trying to figure out how to live with us married LGBT folk.  (Mostly, they are trying not to , on the basis of religious freedom).

Some of them are trying to tell us there's nothing personal, that they may oppose our marriages but hey, they aren't anti-gay bigots.

Here's an oldie but a goodie, on how you can't be "nice" while denying equality. 

First, the author begins with a discussion of a writer named Halee Gray Scott , who wants to separate her anti-marriage equality views from that of a more openly homophobic man, Charles Worley.
Worley wants to deny LGBT people their basic civil rights and legal equality because he hates them. Scott wants to deny LGBT people their basic civil rights and legal equality for other reasons.

See? See how very different they are? Same result. Same vote. Same fundamental discrimination enshrined in law. But Worley is mean. Scott is nice.
That sort of assumption — lumping her in with people like Charles Worley just because she wants the same legal outcome as they do — is hurtful. It wounds her feelings. Being compared to people like that is not nice.

And people should be nice to her, just as she’s being so nice to all the LGBT citizens whose legal equality she wants to nicely deny.

“I’m not asking for anyone to approve or accept my views,” Scott writes, magnanimously.

And it’s true. She doesn’t want anyone else to approve or accept her religious perspective. All she asks is that they allow her to write it into law....
Yeah, that's the part they miss.

But the argument is that you can't be NICE and still treat people badly.
Look, here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a nice person. And it doesn’t matter if your tone, attitude, sentiments and facial expressions are all very sweet, kindly and sympathetic-seeming. If you’re opposing legal equality, then you don’t get to be nice. Opposing legal equality is not nice and it cannot be done nicely.


It’d be terrific if Scott’s heartfelt plea for “a hermeneutic of grace” toward Christians who oppose legal equality had also thought to include such a presumption of grace toward the human beings whose legal equality those Christians continue to deny.

Scott wants to carve out a space in which she can be unfair, but still kind. Such a space does not exist and cannot exist.


JCF said...

Ironically, these same issues are playing out at Thinking Anglicans the past few days.

Regular commenter (at TA, and around the Anglican blogiverse) Canadian priest Tim Chesterton still isn't convinced, "theologically", that two persons of the same sex should be able to marry (he states he fought it legally, in Canada, till it passed, then...gave up? Went silent?)

...and then, as the Holy Spirit would *of course* have it, his daughter came out, and got married. Which Tim happily attended.

But he still doesn't think that---if the AngChCanada permitted (by God, come ON already!)---*he* would personally officiate (as celebrant) at a same-sex marriage.

IMO, I think suffers from some "morbid scrupulosity" (Evangelical iteration): y'know the ol' "If I believe the WRONG THING!!11!1! I'll lose My Eternal Salvation!" disease. Sad, for him. But I'm not sure it rises to the level of "not nice", per this post. What do you think, IT? [Given that you think "Eternal Salvation" itself is a fiction! But play along. You might want to check out the thread, where I summarized Tim's contributions: Nice or not nice?]

IT said...

JCF, I do not think is "not nice". I think he's conflicted. To me, it comes down to this: is he trying to prevent people from marrying? Is he try9ing to impose his beliefs on others?

And he's not. he's entitled to wrestle with his scruples in whatever manner, as long as he doesn't impose them on others.

I think Tim is pretty nice.