Recently, with the focus on gay marriage, we’ve heard a lot of theists claiming that they shouldn’t be considered bigots because they do not want to allow the same freedoms for everyone. One of these claims is in my local paper, an opinion piece by John Kass of the Chicago Tribune (the original at the Tribune is pay-blocked, the link is to a syndicated copy). I’d like to look at this claim and see if they are correct.
Merriam-Webster defines a bigot as: a person who is obstinately (perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion) or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance. Incidentally, this is the dictionary that my 7th grade English teacher touted as the best, so I use it out of habit.
Mr. Kass asks the two questions “Is it possible to be a traditional Christian or Muslim or Orthodox Jew and hold to one’s faith on what constitutes marriage and not be considered a bigot? And is faith now a problem to be overcome, first marginalized by the state and then contained, so as not to get in the way of great changes to come?”
First, we have Mr. Kass using some of the usual TrueChristianTM claims (the same claims can be applied to TrueMuslims, TrueJews, etc). He wishes to pretend that his version of ”traditional” Christianity (appeal to tradition fallacy in order to claim that something is better because of claimed age) is the only “right” one, that he knows what his god really wants and that he knows what his god really meant in the bible. However, since we have Christians who have no problems with gay marriage, and who have as much evidence that they are right as he does, we have to wonder which, if any, are right in their claims.
Mr. Kass is a member of the Greek Orthodox variety of Christianity. He claims it is a “never-changing faith” (which is belied by the constant councils they had to have to hash out what they “really” believed). Interesting, how he finds that his religion finds homosexuals an abomination but well, that shrimp cocktail is just yummy. Both are equal abominations per the bible. Why oh why aren’t the Westboro Baptists picketing Red Lobster? And my husband says that shrimp are why Louisiana was hit by Katrina. Seems that the gumbo is truly sinfully delicious!
For his claims that the “liturgy is not a costume drama” and that the laws of his religion are above the state and its laws, he picks and chooses what Mr. Kass likes in the bible and ignore what he doesn’t like. What he fails to mention is that even “traditional Christian” sects don’t agree (what should be in the bible, the idea of sola scriptura, the virgin mary, icons, saints, hell, marriage, which calendar to use, how salvation is achieved, etc) . There is little reason to find one sect better or more valid than the next. Continue reading