Monday, April 19, 2010

An intellectual duel with the unarmed

Battle of wits I sometimes comment on the Facebook page of one of my local stations. They do a "Question of the Day" for their newscast, and although many of the questions are about local issues, sometimes they'll choose a topic that is significant nationwide. The other day, the question was whether gay couples should have the same rights as straight couples.

I think most of you know how I feel about that. Of course, they should, and I said so. Despite being in a conservative Midwestern area, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of people who commented agreed. There were a few notable exceptions, though, and all of those who felt that way and went into detail stated no, because God says it's wrong.

Well, that's just not a legitimate reason in my book. Not when it comes to legalities. I've written here in the past how marriage is a civic institution, not a religious one. A couple can get married in a church, by a minister, but that marriage is not valid unless they have a license from the state. I'm not sure where we got off track and began thinking that marriage is strictly a religious institution. Besides, I pointed out, we are not a theocracy that is governed by any religion or set of religious beliefs. We do not and must not base our policies upon religion.

I was reasonable. You all have seen how I lay out my arguments here concerning politics or policy. When I offer my personal opinions on people or politicians, I definitely get a little more critical in my words (okay, sometimes a lot), but if I'm arguing a position on policy, I try to do my research and do my best to leave emotion out of it. I made no personal attacks on the thread—that just isn't my style. Well, one particular commenter there seems to have taken quite a disliking to me, which became evident in a thread several weeks ago. He decided to go after me (also my friend Doug, and a few others) and proceeded to call me a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and hysterically delusional.

He wrote that I misused the words "civic institution," and said that I obviously meant "civil institution," and for a "supposed writer," that wasn't very good. When I provided the definitions for both "civic" and "institution," he wrote, sure, when you combine them into one word, it "changes the meaning." What? hahaha He took the time to visit me here at my blog, said that I seemed rather "trashy," said he was sure that my "3 readers" really enjoy what I have to write, and quoted me from my previous entry about Heidi Montag and her plastic surgeries, saying that for all my writing of equality for all, apparently I have no problem with ridiculing someone if I disagree with their lifestyle. I will cop to ridiculing stupidity and foolish behavior, that's true. But this is my personal blog, and my opinions here are just that: my opinions. They had no bearing on the argument at hand, which was concerning equal rights for gays.

Pubic optionHe stated that 83% of Americans consider themselves Christians, so like it or not it's already done HIS WAY! I said thanks for singing "My Way," Frank Sinatra, and pointed out that recent polls indicate a drop in those who consider themselves Christians, to 78.5%. He mentioned that we govern based on God and the Constitution, and I asked him where he found any mention of God and/or Jesus in the Constitution. He responded with a paragraph that was taken directly from a website I found when I did a quick search, and I responded with a link to it saying that if he's going to cut and paste, it's best to include the link rather than pass such writing off as your own.

He wrote that I didn't seem to understand basic government, and that maybe in the "50 years" since I've been out of college, I've forgotten.

He said that he would pray for me (and others), and he hoped that I would find my way, but if not, he hopes that I enjoy sweltering heat! This was all becoming tiresome by now, and I said that I don't want or need his prayers, and that when it comes to evangelizing, he's failed miserably. You don't bring people over to your side with condescension, insults, and threats of eternal damnation in the fiery Pits of Hell™. Based on his behavior, why on earth would I ever want to be associated with his religion? His rudimentary argument, when countered with logic and facts, quickly descended into juvenile insults and pettiness. I pointed out that people like him are exactly why I moved away from religion.

On a new thread today, he actually mentioned me and my friend Doug by name, wondering what we'd have to say about the new topic. He also dug up something I'd written in November 2009 (I don't know if it was on my blog or in a comment) in which I said that I can't understand why Sarah Palin or anyone would find it desirable to be "purposefully retarded," and he wrote that I was making fun of the mentally handicapped. No...I was making fun of Sarah Palin, although I suppose the phrase "mentally handicapped" would also apply in her case! I'm seriously going to keep my eyes peeled for this guy, because he seems to have a rather unhealthy obsession with anyone who dares to question his superiority and authority. I never became insulting or abusive with him—again, not my style—but he apparently has a real problem with me. Since he lives in my area, that concerns me.

Perhaps he'll come back and visit my blog again. I invited him to, and welcomed his comments here. I said that some of my readers would probably enjoy them.

I know I would.

Evil grin


  1. It doesn't matter if this country is 99.99% Christian. So long as there is even one person with a differing belief, his or her rights MUST be respected in order for this nation to even consider itself free.

    Many Christians have no tangible, workable definition of what freedom entails, and they are all too perfectly happy to trample on the rights of other, equally valued citizens. It's sickening when they demand that their beliefs be respected when they themselves have no respect for those who do not share their beliefs.

    I don't know what happens to people when they get into a religion like that. Common sense is replaced by an unmitigated urge to control and and demands that people to think and believe as they do. I don't get it, but I don't think Christianity in America is capable of much or any good. It seems to pollute lives and communities with a petty bigotry fueled by an unfounded belief in a special or favored status.

    In other words, many Christians are saying, "Yay! I'm gonna go to Heaven because I'm special, and because I believe you're going to rot in hell, you don't deserve the same rights as me."

  2. All I can think of is the Joker......'Why so SERIOUS?'

  3. That seems to be the current lowest common denominator in our country, you are either a bible thumping conservative christian, or a socialist. I find it very unsavory.

  4. Oh, Dear Sweet Beth Ann... I can always count on you to stir up the Jeebus freaks!

  5. The Specials are one of my fave ska bands. 'Pressure Drop' is a cover of a Clash song, no??

    I stand by my theory that life has become filled with so much pressure that people would rather not spend the time doing any critical thinking and finding answers for themselves. Far better to simply follow the crowd and cling to things were they aren't out of place for believing.

    How else can you describe the ignorance that passes itself off as informed thought these days? Watching 'Faux News' and the deliberate disinformation that they spread makes me frustrated.

    I remember posting on message boards and the like and dueling with dullards similar to the cat you and Dan are 'pulling the legs off of'... though it was fun, it made me also wonder what would happen if they DID get in control of things..?

    Would it be like all the other hypocritical 'foot tappers' and war mongers for the sake of profit (did anyone mention Dick Cheney's name... or is that some of my liberal demogougery showing?), talking out of one side of their face and doing their diddly behind the scenes??

    It is easier to believe, laws yes. It sure is.

  6. Have you ever considered becoming a lawyer? You'd rock at it.

    I can not fathom how anyone can have a problem with gay marriage. If God exists, I imagine she's far more accepting than these people give her credit for. ;-)

  7. Hi Beth,
    Why some people feel justified in foisting their religious beliefs on everyone else is beyond me. What doesn't this guy understand about separation of church and state?

  8. You know how I feel but I'll say it any way. The guy is a bigot and a based on his flawed attempt at debating you, a not very bright bigot. I agree that marriage is not a religious institution unless the parties involved seek the blessing of a religious union. It's about legal rights and I think that's why it is so disturbing that some Christian groups are so hostile towards gay marriage. If they don't like it, then they don't have to marry anyone! Hell, religious institutions can refuse to marry two heterosexuals if they don't choose to do so. The difference is that a heterosexual couple can march down to city hall or to another religious institution and get married any way. Gay couples should have the same right. Even churches that want to marry gay couples cannot legally do so. I also resent this person for presenting himself as representing all Christians; he does no speak for me. The same section of the Bible that most anti-gay marriage devotees cite as the authority also states that if a man and a woman commit adultery they are to be stoned to death and I don't think that the reference is to smoking pot. Ask him how he feels about the stoning for adultery bit. It's amazing how many people suddenly abandon their literal interpretation of the Bible when you cite that section of Levicticus to them.

  9. Beth, sorry to hear you got tangled up with someone so hostile and grossly uninformed. I guess it is one of the perils of being outspoken. You have always written not just with your heart, but with intention, deliberation, and well supported, factual arguments. That threatens plenty of people. As the title of this post suggests, you really can't have a duel with an unarmed opponent.

    Occasionally, I have encountered ultra-conservatives that could debate vigorously, sustaining well formed arguments, and I enjoyed those conversations immensely, but those people don't come along very often. This person sounds like a garden variety conservative. They rely more on talking points and feelings, than well thought out, well supported and documented mental volleys.

    Generally, when decorum is out the door early in the discussion, that person is more interested in making a verbal display, rather than making statements that form or affirm a cohesive argument. It is always best to leave those discussions, well unless you feel in the mood to toy, tinker, and incite. If he shows up here we'll watch out for you. (Like you need us to.)

  10. You little devil, you. It can be such fun to be a lightening rod for foolishness! We've got your back, girl. When we're in San Diego, we are proud participants in the Unitarian Universalist effort there to repeal Prop 8. With Sheria, I say that Right Wing claims to ownership of Christian morality are growing thinner and weaker as their claimants grow louder and clumsier in their arguments.

  11. Lately I have just gotten so tired of this sort of thing. As another blogger (Alphawoman) said recently, "You either have a sound alternative point of view backed up with a logical difference of opinion or you resort to your attack with inane jokes and thinly veiled racism {insert whatever bigoted label here}." It makes me sad that people like this take anyone away from the belief in a loving creator. People like this, and people who mis-use the Bible. I'm getting a bit sick of it all.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?