Opinions and musings on religion, philosophy, science, politics, and life from a conservative Catholic neurosurgeon.
Your grasp of the law is pitiful. You are correct, Parks was arrested for civil disobedience to an unconstitutional Alabama law. Davis was arreset for civil disobedience against a constitutional law. Do you see the difference? Parks was on the right side of basic human rights, and on the right side of history. Davis intentionally tried to deny a couple what the Supreme Court, and by extension the constitution, says that they are entitled to. There are similarities between the two situations, but they are between Davis and the bus driver.
Were the people who disobeyed Dred Scott and helped escaped slaves, or disobeyed Plessy v Ferguson and provided equal accommodations for blacks and whites, 'disobeying the law'? Was it right to jail them?
Were people who disobeyed Buck v Bell, and refused to sterilize handicapped people against their will, 'disobeying the law'?Should they have been jailed?
I don't know the particulars of these cases. But, unfortunately, the Dred Scott decision was constitutional. It required an amendment to correct it. But you still have not shown the Similarity between Parks and Davis, other than the fact that they were both arrested. But one was arrested for violating an unconstitutional state law. The other was arrested for breaking a federal law supported by the constitution. But there is a parallel. Both the bus driver and Davis had positions of authority and prevented citizens from obtains a service that they were legally entitled to. The big question is why wasn't the bus driver arrested. I notice that you are avoiding my previous question. If Davis was catholic, would religious freedom allow her to refuse to file a doctor's license if the doctor performs therapeutic abortions? Or refuse to process a business license for a pharmacist if they sell contraceptives?
[I don't know the particulars of these cases.]Learn about the cases. You can't debate American constitutional issues unless you know something about the history of similar conflicts. The Supreme Court has made some horrendous decisions--Dred Scott, Plessy, Buck, Roe, to just name a few. Courageous people fought these unconstitutional decisions, and they were right to do so.Obergefell is unconstitutional. Davis is a hero.
I didn't say that I didn't know anything at all about them. For example, the Dred Scott decision, as much as we both hate it, was constitutional. Prior to the equal rights act and 14th amendment, blacks were not considered citizens. As such they had no standing before the court. You can say that Obergefell is unconstitutional all you want, but the Supreme Court disagrees with you. As such, it is constitutional.
If you were a county clerk in 1858, and you were asked to certify Mr. Scott's citizenship, what would you do?
If the law was clear that he wasn't entitled to be a citizen, which I believe it was, then I would deny it. I would have taken an oath to defend the constitution and the laws enacted under it. Unlike Davis, I take my oaths seriously. Since I have answered your hypothetical, are you going to have the guts to answer the ones that I have repeatedly asked?If Davis was catholic, would religious freedom give her the right to deny to process a licence for a doctor who performs therapeutic abortions? Or to deny a business licence to a pharmacy because it sells contraceptives? If she was Muslim would she be able to deny a liquor licence to a restaurant or bar?Keep in mind that some of these must be filed in the county where the business resides. As well, keep in mind that the only answer that is consistent with your stance on Davis' current predicament is YES.
[then I would deny it.]You would have fit in nicely in a slave-state. Just followin' orders. You would have prospered in Germany circa 1940--it was full of clerks who obeyed the law, their conscience be damned. [If Davis was catholic, would religious freedom give her the right]Yes. Yes. Yes. Free exercise of religion trumps statutory law, except for compelling state interest achieved in least coercive way. Licenses can be issued by other clerks. Don't feel bad. Governments need functionaries who will do their bidding regardless of morality. You'll always have a job, and no need to worry about jail. Conscience and sacrifice is for other people.
You must hate the Underground Railroad and the French Resistance. They paid absolutely no attention to court orders.
Summary:Don't you think it would be nice to have a system in which everyone didn't have to march in lockstep with the government--where there was a healthy diversity of conscience. A balance can be reached in which Christians can live with their consciences and gays can get their licenses and Muslims can keep to their faith. It's not that hard--some occasional accommodations like going to a different clerk or office in the next county to get your form signed, going to the baker down the block to get the cake. etc.Why is absolute conformity and jail time so essential to your program?
The whole thing hinges on the oath. Your question was "If you were a clerk in 1858..." That presupposes that I already took the oath, which means that I agree with the laws of the day. If I didn't, I wouldn't take the oath or the job. Most people in the Underground Railroad and the French resistance never took oaths to uphold the laws (although they did both contain government functionaries who probably did.)But are you seriously trying to equate those actions with those of Davis'. Who am I fooling, of course you are. Forgive me if I take oaths seriously. A don't take them if I am not prepared to follow them. The only defence that Davis could have is if she took her oath of office before the Supreme Court ruling. I don't know when she was last elected. But if she was elected after the decision, then she took the oath in bad faith. Your comment about people going to a different clerk was offered to her. She refused. You keep forgetting that.
Me: "If Davis was catholic, would religious freedom give her the right..."You: "Yes, Yes, Yes"Well, I am certainly glad that both US and Canadian law disagree with you.
William Spearshake: What country are you from? You don't seem to know much about America.You seem a little confused as to Dr. Egnor's point. Here's what it is. Yes, the Supreme Court ruled that SSM is the law of the land. Both Dr. Egnor and Kim Davis think the decision is bunk, and so do I. It's a serious stretch. Kim Davis broke the law to protest it. Rosa Parks was also on the wrong side of the law (Alabama law) that had been found constitutional in Plessy v. Ferguson. Ten years later, that law would be nullified by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that would not come for another decade. At the time that Parks made her stand, she was bucking the law and the Supreme Court. So you can't say that the Parks situation is different because "Parks was arrested for civil disobedience to an unconstitutional Alabama law." Nope. The court gave segregation a thumbs up.I really think that you should read some of Martin Luther King's works. (He was a bigoted Christian homophobe, but please try.) He basically said Christians have an obligation to disobey any law that does square with God's law. That's all Kim Davis is doing. I think if you were honest you would admit to yourself that you think picking and choosing which laws we follow is fine, you just want Kim Davis to abrogate the same laws that you would. If only she would apply your thought process and your values, she would be a hero. That's really the only difference. There's no principle here, no love for the rule of law. Joey
"Forgive me if I take oaths seriously. A don't take them if I am not prepared to follow them."Yeah, and I'm sure you were pissed when Gavin Newsome started handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of California law in 2004. I'm sorry, I don't believe you.Joey
Unfortunately, I think Kim Davis is wrong here because she works for the government. But I admire her courage and I believe that she's certainly better than Rosa Parks. Joey
Thanks for your comments. I understand your view that Davis' status as a government employee means that she is morally obligated to follow the court order, but I see it differently. I apply St Thomas More's final words: "I'm the king's good servant, but God's first." More worked for the government and took an oath too, but he had a responsibility to defy human law when it contradicted God's law. Gay marriage is a direct intended affront to God--it is diabolical, literally. It should be resisted by all Christians and all people of good faith. We are now in a situation that transcends ordinary rule of law. The situation is quite analogous to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.The just man (or woman) is the man who, on gay marriage, defies the law. Heck, and gay marriage in Kentucky isn't even law. We need to tell these judicial criminals (and they are criminals) that we will not comply.
Gay marriage is... diabolical, literallyYou're crazy, Egnor, quite literally. Why doesn't your big daddy in the sky god send a clear message that gay marriage is an affront to him? Hint: because he doesn't exist.
There's a heck of a lot of lawlessness in American politics. It's really rampant. It's been going on for longer than I have been alive but I do believe that the trend has increased in recent years. No one paid a price.Then along comes this lowly county clerk in Jerkwater, Kentucky. She will be made an example of. She will be arrested and jailed, for cripe's sake. Now, the way I see it, she is in fact guilty of three things. 1) She is flaunting the law. 2) She is refusing to discharge her duties as an elected official. 3) She has defied a court order. Obama has done all of those things multiple times and yet no one can imagine him being led off in handcuffs. Laws are for the little people. I know that Kim Davis has to make her stand. It's a courageous stand in fact, but I find it very difficult to argue her case. A much better example of Christian persecution in America would be the Sweet Cakes by Mellissa case out of Oregon. You know, a lot of people say things like, Kim Davis took an oath! Or Kim Davis is a public official! Or Kim Davis has to do her job! As if these things matter. Even in instances in which the person involved is a self-employed private citizen, they still want to force them to take part in homosexual weddings in clear violation of the First Amendment. No, puny localized "nondiscrimination ordinances" do not trump the Constitution. Sorry, fascists. Joey
@troi:["Gay marriage is... diabolical, literally"You're crazy, Egnor, quite literally.]Of all I've said about gay marriage, the fact that it is diabolical is that of which I am most certain.
Joey:I understand what you're saying. But there is a threshold beyond which disobedience to authority is the only moral option. Obergefell was that threshold (perhaps Roe should have been).We are not living in a Constitutional republic governed lawfully, and we shouldn't pretend that we do.
Joey:Vaclav Havel wrote about this kind of situation in The Power of the Powerless, in the greengrocer analogy. It's a great essay--very much worth read, and eerily prescient about America.He describes "living in the truth", and advocates continual defiance of even subtle totalitarian methods employed by government and by society itself. His program is one of daily mass non-compliance. It played a central role in bringing down communism in Czechoslovakia and Eastern Europe.
"Gay marriage is a direct intended affront to God"Many individuals and many churches disagree with you. If you are claiming that all SS marriages are an affront to god, you must also say that all marriages performed by an institution that perform same sex marriages must also be an affront to god. Does this mean that all marriages conducted by the united church, a church that even has the audacity to have openly gay ministers, are not real marriages?
WTF is the "united church".
Billy:The sanctity of a marriage is not a function of the sanctity of the individual conducting the ceremony. This issue was resolved by St Augustine in the Donatist controversy in the 4th century.
"The sanctity of a marriage is not a function of the sanctity of the individual conducting the ceremony."I will accept your word for this. But I wasn't talking about an individual, I was talking about an institution. If a religious institution (eg, the United Church) performs same sex marriages and considers them to be the equal, in every way, to an opposite sex wedding, does that call into question the "sanctity of the opposite sex marriages?And who said that marriages had to be "sanctified". God, or a belief in God, is not a prerequisite of marriage. Davis apparently does not have any problems with issuing licenses for some couples who's marriages are not sanctified by god but refuses to issue them for others because they aren't sanctified by god. Again, selective righteousness.
Let me help you with this. The Catholic belief (which resembles, but is not identical to, the more conservative protestant beliefs) is that marriage is a sacrament--one of the seven sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, marriage, holy orders, reconciliation, viaticum). Sacraments are physical manifestations of holy things on earth. Marriage is the manifestation in our lives of the love in the Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Husband, wife and child(ren) live out the deepest and most beautiful mystery of God.No marriage perfectly reflects the Trinity. Some marriages reflect it better than others. Gay marriage is a desecration of this Holy Sacrament. We Christians are generally ok with civil laws that make life easier for homosexual couples (although I am not favorably disposed to any legal protection specially accorded to homosexuals now), but marriage is very different.
Michael, I understand the Catholic belief that marriage is a sacrament. And I have no problem with Catholics believing this and expecting other Catholics to believe this. But for many couples, it is not a sacrament. It is a promise to each other, in front of friends and family. And most of them take these vows just as seriously as Catholics do. I have a legal secular marriage that is every bit as strong and meaningful ad yours, even though we are atheists. If someone like Davis had refused to issue us a license because she thinks it goes against her religion, I would have made it a media event, as the gay couple did. Her religious freedoms end at the point where they prevent someone else from enjoying a service that they are legally entitled to. Within my living memory, and I am not that old, homosexuals were jailed because Christians thought that they should be. I assume that you agree with me that this was wrong, but it was the imposition of religion on those who did not share their beliefs.
[homosexuals were jailed... it was the imposition of religion...]I don't personally know, and have never known, any Christian who supports jailing of homosexuals. No doubt there are a few Westboro types out there, but putting homosexuals in jail is not a part of any mainstream Christian view.Legal suppression of homosexuals is actually a hallmark of atheist government. The Soviet Union, Cuba, and China had very repressive policies--much more repressive than any modern Christian country. http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_the_persecution_of_homosexualsCuba had camps specially devoted to homosexuals and Christians. The repression of homosexuality is not specifically religious, and in fact has been more strongly associated with atheist government in the 20th century.
Ah yes, Conservapedia. The source of all true and unbiased facts. Right up their alongside Fox News an Uncommon Descent. What sort of logic is defending the actions of one country (or faith) against homosexuals because they would fare much worse under another country (or faith). The Ugandan anti-homosexual law, that included the provision for the death penalty, was proposed by a Christian, with support of numerous Christian groups. But, what was the ultimate origin of anti homosexual laws? Of blasphemy laws? Are you seriously suggesting that they are not religious in origin? I don't blame religion for any of the evils conducted in its name. I blame humans for creating the religions that allow them to justify their actions. I am not naive enough to think that an atheist world would be any better, but at least they couldn't justify their societally unacceptable actions on religious freedom. As Davis is doing.
Homosexuality has been viewed as deeply problematic by many different cultures, of many different religions and of no religion at all. Maybe it has more to do with homosexuality itself, than with the motives of the people who don't like it. The acceptance of homosexuality in the West over the past 50 years has led to 1) AIDS and an epidemic of STD's 2) the emergence of the gaystapo. Maybe the closet is the right place.
"It is a promise to each other, in front of friends and family."Okay, so what's the state got to do with it? And if it's between the two people, made in front of friends and family, when then must I recognize it? What if I'm an employer and I don't want to insure your pseudo-husband? What if a military chaplain wants to sponsor a married couples retreat but exclude the homosexuals? The purpose of SSM is not to get the state out of the bedroom, but to get the state into the home, the schools, and yes, eventually the churches. It's purpose is also to push those who object to the margins of society. I've often wondered why, when SSM advocates blabber on about how caring, dedicated homosexual couples really love each other, they don't stop and ask themselves one simple question--do same-sex couples in jurisdictions that do not recognize their illegitimate marriages love each other any less? If the answer is "yes," then no one is standing in the way of their love, and presumably of their happiness. Joey
"-do same-sex couples in jurisdictions that do not recognize their illegitimate marriages love each other any less?"No. Of course they don't. " If the answer is "yes," [I assume that you meant "no", but please correct me if I am wrong] then no one is standing in the way of their love, and presumably of their happiness."As a man, your wife is probably covered by your health insurance. This is not always the case with unmarried same sex couples. As a married man, your wife can be with you on your death bed even if your family do not like her. For an unmarried same sex couple, one is often excluded from this important time. As a married man, your wife automatically inherits your house if you die. This is not the case with unmarried same sex couples. So, yes, it is important for many same sex couples. Besides, who are you or I to judge if it is important to them.
Although I supported civil unions in the past, I do not anymore. The gaystapo has made it very clear that its goal is not "equal rights" but oppression of Christianity. I do not support laws against homosexual conduct (although I think a very reasonable public health case can be made against male homosexuality), but under no circumstances can I support legislation making any special accommodation for homosexuals at all. The homosexual lobby has forfeited any claim on good will. It should be systematically dismantled and politically destroyed.
"(although I think a very reasonable public health case can be made against male homosexuality),"As can be made against heterosexual sex; and schools, and day cares, and county fairs, and anything that brings a large number of people into close proximity. "but under no circumstances can I support legislation making any special accommodation for homosexuals at all."What special accommodations are you talking about? The right not to be discriminated against with respect to employment and advancement? The right not do be denied basic services? When does it stop being the expectation of basic human decency and a special accommodation? I don't see where they have asked for anything that the rest of us don't take for granted.
Male homosexual behavior is one of the most dangerous activities in which a human being can engage. It is at least as dangerous as a lifetime of heavy smoking, drunk driving, IV drug abuse, etc. [What special accommodations are you talking about? The right not to be discriminated against with respect to employment and advancement? The right not do be denied basic services? When does it stop being the expectation of basic human decency and a special accommodation? I don't see where they have asked for anything that the rest of us don't take for granted]Expectation of human decency? What's 'decent' about destroying someone's livelihood because they won't bake you a cake?If homosexuals had made a point to politely acknowledge the legitimate moral concerns of other people--just say a friendly "I understand, my friend" to a baker who can't be a part of their ceremony, and moved on to one of the vast majority of bakers who would be happy with their business, I would have some sympathy. I have no sympathy now. F*ck them. Their behavior makes it very clear why they were in closets. [I don't see where they have asked for anything that the rest of us don't take for granted.]I've never destroyed anyone's livelihood because they had moral qualms about my behavior, and I would never destroy anyone's livelihood for that. We decent people don't "take for granted" our prerogative to ruin people or put them in jail for their religious beliefs. I wouldn't ruin the business of a Jewish deli owner who declined to cater my son's confirmation party because I wanted ham sandwiches. In fact, I'd have the basic human decency not to ask a Jewish deli owner to do that--I respect his faith. The homosexual lobby is brownshirt scum. I have no sympathy whatsoever. They need to be stopped, and nothing more.[The right not to be discriminated against with respect to employment and advancement?]Why should we show homosexuals considerations that would merely put them into positions in which they will attack Christians, as they are doing all over the country? [The right not do be denied basic services?] What basic service? To have a Christian bake you a wedding cake against her will? To have Kim Davis sign your "marriage" license?To the extent that such things are "rights" (a right to cakes?), it is only a right to get it from someone, not to get it from a Christian who is merely exercising her real right to Free Exercise of Religion. Why do real rights like First Amendment religous rights mean nothing to you, but fake rights like "Christian gotta bake me a cake" rights trump all? Asshole.
"Expectation of human decency? What's 'decent' about destroying someone's livelihood because they won't bake you a cake?"You like to pick the examples that prove my point. It is law in many jurisdictions that people in the service industry are not allowed to withhold their services to people based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. these laws have been in place for a long time. Anybody who is in business is well aware of them. Baking them a cake, taking their wedding photos, issuing a wedding license, are in no way a sign that the person is personally condoning or promoting the choice of the couple getting married. As such it is not a violation of their religious freedom, it is just the act of a bigoted, judgemental person. By the way, calling someone an asshole does not lend support to your argument. But feel free to continue to show your true character.
Michael,AIDS started out in Africa as a heterosexual disease and possibly an iatrogenic disease (when Africans were misdiagnosed as having syphilis based on cross reacting positive serology to other treponema like infections and administered anti-syphilis injections - of very doubtful efficacy - through multipatient unsterilised needles). It then jumped to Haiti as a result of Haitians returning from West Africa. Who then gave HIV infection to many plasma donors due to negligently run blood donation centres.And visiting American homosexuals picked up the infection from male prostitutes in Haiti.AIDS started as a disease of heterosexuals with many sex partners and as a medical infection and became a disease of homosexuals with many sex partners and a medical infection (from contaminated blood transfusions). And also shared needles in IV drug addicts.It's the 'many sex partners' that's the key. Homosexuals in a monogamous relationship are no more prone to infection than heterosexuals in a monogamous relationship.
[are not allowed to withhold their services to people based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation,]You lie. The bakers did not withhold the cakes on the basis of sexual orientation--they were willing to sell gays any products they'd sell anyone. They would not make a gay wedding cake--for anyone. It's about the cake, not the customer. You know that, and you lied in your argument
[Baking them a cake, taking their wedding photos, issuing a wedding license, are in no way a sign that the person is personally condoning or promoting the choice of the couple getting married.]Do you support forcing a black baker to make a cake with a KKK theme?
Michael,'Do you support forcing a black baker to make a cake with a KKK theme?' Yes, why not. There's nothing stopping the baker quoting and charging a price double that he'd ordinarily charge. Or providing a very good product at a good price showing the Klan that blacks can produce very good cakes.And anyway, the KKK currently isn't the worst, not by a long shot, racist organisation. It's more of a joke.
"Do you support forcing a black baker to make a cake with a KKK theme?"I'm Canadian. The KKK is illegal and nobody would have to. Next argument.
bach:Your totalitarian itch shows through. Billy: Evading the question, for the obvious reason that either answer is a catastrophe for your position. Either you're a totalitarian thug (force the black baker to bake the KKK cake) or you admit that people shouldn't be forced to do things against their conscience. Have the minimal decency to admit it.
There is no evasion here. Your question was "Do you support forcing a black baker to make a cake with a KKK theme?" In Canada, it would be illegal to knowingly provide any services to the KKK. As a law abiding citizen, I would obey the law. Most laws that require businesses to provide services without discrimination, provide categories for which you can't discriminate. Most of them include sexual orientation."You lie. The bakers did not withhold the cakes on the basis of sexual orientation--they were willing to sell gays any products they'd sell anyone. They would not make a gay wedding cake--for anyone."Ahh, I see that you are a graduate of the Barry Arrington school of debate. Falsely accuse the opponent of lying and declare victory. Please explain to me how denying to bake a cake for a same sex marriage is not discrimination based on sexual orientation. I am interested to see how you can twist logic to get the conclusion that you want.If you provide services to the public, you have legal obligations. If you are a government employee, or an elected official, you have legal obligations.