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A view from the middle, part II

Yesterday, I tossed out two common sentiments and invited readers to compare and contrast them. And wow, did you folks go to town over it. There was a brief incursion of asshattery, but the conversation quickly returned to civility and many thoughtful responses -- several of which actually annoyed the hell out of me, because they were using some of the ideas and concepts I am using in my upcoming "big piece."

But I figured since I started the whole thing, I ought to toss in my own opinion:

Anti-war activists: "support the troops, oppose the mission." Anti-gay fundamentalists: "love the sinner, hate the sin."

To my way of thinking, these two sentiments have a great deal in common. Both have a large number of people who state them. Both have a large percentage of those who state them who tend to not actually believe them, but mouth them as platitudes to conceal their own biases and bigotry. And most importantly, the louder a person proclaims one of them, the less likely they are to accept the legitimacy of the other. Those who shout against the war tend to say that the anti-gay activists are hypocrites for stating their position, and vice versa.

LT SMASH's piece was the catalyst, but in no way should that be considered a criticism of him. His blog is in my top 10, but it is not at the top of the list. However, on the list of bloggers I respect and admire, he is number one. His piece was followed by Rosie O'Donnell's latest asshattery, and I was reminded of how many gay rights activists say that "love the sinner, hate the sin" is hypocrisy. That the two positions made such wonderful mirror images suddenly "clicked" in my head, and I had to toss it out.

Comments (8)

Jay, two questions.<u... (Below threshold)

Jay, two questions.

  • Do you think your two "sentiments" are equal, morally?
  • Are you sayin' you actually think hating sin is hypocrisy?
voices, I thought I made it... (Below threshold)

voices, I thought I made it clear: I think both are valid positions -- but are expressed by a lot of hypocrites. There are those who sincerely hold them, but there are also a lot of others who mouth them without really meaning them.

Not all who express those sentiments are hypocrites. Just a very significant portion.


Those two positions are sim... (Below threshold)
the Brain:

Those two positions are similar in that they recognize that the individual is not inherently evil or wrong due to membership in a group. However, they differ in that soldiers are compelled to obey legal orders, whereas gays are not compelled by force of law. Gays are defined by the act, where soldiers are an occupation.

Viewing from the Right: The... (Below threshold)

Viewing from the Right: The two have many, many parallels.

Which of the mirror IMAGEs in your mind did you like best, dead Iraqi's or fudge-packing and donut licking?

I think both of those resta... (Below threshold)

I think both of those restatements were responses to twisted criticism. The criticism lobbed at those who opposed the war was that they were criticizing the troops. The criticism lobbed at those who opposed gay rights was that they weren't loving thy neighbor. Both of those criticisms are distortions meant to twist the original positions. And both of your statements, however hypocritical or ineffective they may be, were crafted to counter that distortion.

One of the great simulariti... (Below threshold)

One of the great simularities betwixt the two groups of people is that fact that they are reviled by groups of people just for existing. Within the revilers of the troops you see them being very condescending toward those poor people who were tricked into serving their country. The choice that they made would never have been made if they had but known that they had other opportunities. (Obviously, I am omitting the groups that carry their revulsion to the point that they wish the troops dead. Do not deceive yourself, there are many that ghoulishly rejoice at each new death seeing it as a repudiation of the policy that put them there.)

Those that revile the homosexual are in some ways, more transparent. They despise the person for doing things that they think unnatural. The naturalness, or at least acceptance, of the same act performed by the opposite sex sometimes is called into doubt as well. Most of those opposed to homosexuality do not think it is inherent, but a choice, similar to the choice to be a soldier. But even if it is genetic in nature, the argument goes, they can chose to abstain. All sex is a choice, after all. We are not animals ruled by chemically induced passions.

But therein the two diverge. One must ALWAYS have the guardian for a society to survive. The guardian must function both within and without. In our society, the two functions are separate from each other. This is not the case everywhere. But one could surmise that those with issues against military policy will probably also have issues with police policy as well. The function of the police internally is not the same as the function of the military externally, but the implimentation of the policy is done the same way.

That is, someone of high rank makes a decision for the lower ranks and this is the rules that they, the lower ranks, follow. Thus the problem of some, or even many, of the military revilers is not with the military, [i]per se[/i], but rather with the idea of higher authority controlling them. (Of interesting note, if the higher authority is "enlightened", that is it agrees with their personal political point of view, then the current reviler may have found, in the past, lower ranks acceptable, or at least tolerated. Sometimes, the old feelings of distrust of all things military live hale-and-hardy lives.) It seems that the battle against the use of the military is not so much a protest against their use, but rather a philosophical test to see if one is holding the correct world view.

With regards to homosexuality, the opposite holds true. Those most adamant about the behavior are usually those that will cite higher authority than themselves as the reason and justification they feel that way. One will not, as a matter of course, hear someone say they oppose homosexuality because of hygeine issues or because they think they know the only way people should reproduce. Those that usually oppose homosexuality may or may not believe in personal freedom and responsibility, but for the most part, they seem to insticitively defer to authority to have made the decision to reject it.

They are, in a sense, just following orders.

But how does choice enter in this? Well, a large portion of those opposed to homosexuality hold that one is a sexual [i]tabula rasa [/i]when born and it is a learned pattern, similar to language or accent, that one acquires from the environment. One can imagine that their hope is that the sinner will reject the old pattern and learn the new pattern. The admonition in Scripture against homosexuality comes with a whole host of further warnings that either are ignored or downplayed, sometimes directly in the face of the confronting the homosexual about their behavior. It seems that for some, maybe even many, the battle against homosexuality is not so much about changing people's minds but convincing those near them philosophically, that they are pure.

"support the troops, oppose... (Below threshold)

"support the troops, oppose the mission." Runs into problem with its application. For example, one can oppose the war in Iraq and think we need to get out. That is opposing the mission. However simply saying you support or like the troops is not supporting the troops. You need to give them the supplies and means to accomplish their mission. That way they can do their job. Unfortunately many who claim they support the troops do what they feasibly can to undermine their mission. Try to change the mission if you can but do not sabotage the troops efforts.

I'm reading Christopher Hit... (Below threshold)

I'm reading Christopher Hitchens' "Why Orwell Matters", and he calls the "hate the sin, love the sinner" distinction a "false distinction".

As for me, I only believe those who say they love the sinner or support the troops if they actually show their love for the sinner or actually support the troops; say, a care package might be a good way to show some support ma'm. I think there are true followers of both those statements, but many others who just use them as a half-assed defenses against criticism.

I'm a Christian, and I don't "hate" sin* but I forsake and reject it for myself. At the same time I should not reject sinners, but in my weakness I do tend to distance myself from people that I feel are sinning more than others; that tastes of judging others, and I shouldn't do that. I don't want to put myself in a situation where I appear to them as judgemental, so I stay away instead. Hm. Paradox.

*: Sin in general. I know too little of this gay debate to say whether it applies to that.






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