The Sanctity of Logic or the Logic of the Bigots

Yesterday in Open Mic I posted a response by Kevin Hague to the mis-information of Family First over the marriage equality bill currently before parliament.

Predictably we had the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to bang on about “the gays”. The funny thing was, as is often the way with blogging the exact same issues that we were debating are also being debated elsewhere and the exact same results are happening.

Glenn Fleishmann encountered a person much like Andrei or Lucia in their world view. He wrote a post called the Sanctity of Logic about his encounter. It is very enlightening…though perhaps not for Whaleoil readers as we have seen the exact same tactics and arguments deployed here.

I got into a long debate a couple of nights ago with a self-identified Catholic pro-lifer, Suzanne Fortin (@Roseblue), who has an answer for every question as to why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed. None of them rely precisely on legal precedent; rather, they seem to stem from a specific set of historical values, a reading of what “natural” means, and an insistence on a property that only a pair of men and women can share.

I spent hours engaged with this woman partly because I wanted to know exactly what people who maintain this line of reasoning are really espousing. Here’s what I came away with. 

She was game, almost so much that I thought she might be a troll, making up stuff to confuse those of us who support the notion of government not intruding on personal decisions about who we love and how our children are raised in safe environments. I appreciate that we had a long and civil, if tense, discussion that ultimately involved dozens of other people, including a woman in a same-sex relationship who has given birth to five children, and another who lost the ability that afternoon to ever have children, and was outraged at Fortin’s statements.

Here’s what I learned from her, if you’re trying to understand the thinking of religious fundamentalists on the issue. This is apparently a bit of catechism among people who think like this and it starts with three principles.

  • Complementarianism requires a man and a woman in marriage.
  • Heterosexual monogamy is natural, while homosexuality is not.
  • Procreation is the basis of marriage.

It’s all the same stuff…and equally inane. Reading through Fleishmann’s post though you get to see the logic failures and the outright ignorance and willful manipulation of facts that opponents of marriage equality will resort to.

I especially like his conclusions about her arguments that procreation is the basis of marriage…the very same arguments that Andrei and Luci have used.

The logical conclusion of her arguments would be:

  • Penis-vagina child creation is best. Failing that, any current medical intervention to get a married sperm and ovum together is just fine, including in-vitro fertilization and other techniques that involve no penis-vagina contact. Her position on turkey basters is inferred.
  • If you can’t have kids, either current procedures will allow you to have them, or some magical medical procedure will be invented to repair you, such as an artificial uterus. Even if there’s no cure, the fact that it could be cured means it’s ok.
  • If you don’t want to have any kids, the fact that you could, accidentally, makes your marriage legitimate in her eyes.
  • Lesbians can’t have children even if they give birth. Because those children, bereft of a married sperm-ovum combination, can’t have a loving home.

What’s odd is that her arguments have a strange eugenics tinge to them along with the religious. Because her worldview doesn’t require actual intercourse as the sole method of procreation, that means she’s concerned essentially about the combination of genetic material from marriage couples.

I asked her if she had heard of parthenogenesis. She didn’t reply.

I brought up anti-miscegenation laws, slavery, and other issues, noting that in years past her arguments about nature and historical practice were given in often exactly the same words, and we’ve moved on. Her response was that procreation was unique.

It is astonishing to watch this unfold. I have watched over the months the very same thing unfold here at Whaleoil. People ask me why I bother…and Fleishmann has an answer to that too.

Many people wondered why I bothered. But I wasn’t so much looking to convince her, but to understand the shape of her logic, because so many people clearly believe similar things.

What became clear is that her appeal to nature was “natural law,” a religion-derived interpretation; her invocation of a sometimes magical “potential for procreation” in theory and not in fact a derivation of Catholic thinking and never encoded in American law in this way as a marriage requirement or basis; and her dismissal of adopted parents (but, weirdly, not children) among other characterizations that she finds very few marriages actually meet her test for approval.

If you believe procreation is a blessing bestowed by the, a, or some god(s), you won’t hear any complaints from me. The process and results are a secular miracle if not also a religious one. But when you define that miracle as a protected right that you want to enforce on everyone else, you are the one at odds with the way in which secular society works.

She’s a bigot and lacks empathy. It’s worth understanding her point of view, as we continue to need to counter it to increase the amount of love and happiness in the world.

I agree with Fleishmann about people like Suzanne Fortin and Andrei and Lucia. They are bigots. We still need to hear their arguments, mostly to laugh at them but also to find out where their attacks are coming from…then counter them, again mostly with laughter.

I believe that they are angry and bitter, they surely must be to mount such a bitter and angry attack on people who in all likelihood they will never ever meet. Their lives must be filled with sadness and bitterness. It is the only thing that explains their need to interfere in other peoples lives so much.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.