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Equality for everyone


by Sunny on 9th January, 2007 at 11:35 pm    

Hello Picklers, I’m a few days away from touching down in London but have some spare time so I thought I’d wade straight in and start the year with my favourite theme.

Equality is a term that I plan to cite constantly in the coming year. It is a theme central to progressive politics and we should not shy away from it. We want equality between the sexes and people of different races; we want to ensure people don’t get discriminated against because of their faith; and we also want to ensure there is no discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. So it is with regret that I read this:

Christian and Muslim groups are to stage a torchlit protest outside the House of Lords tonight against a proposed new gay rights law that they say would force them to “actively condone and promote” homosexuality.

The legislation, known as the Sexual Orientation Regulations, would ban discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexuality in a similar way to the rules on gender and race discrimination.[The Times, via bananabrain]

Surprise, surprise that religious groups who want rights for themselves want to deny it to others. These are the people who give faith a bad name - making it about hating others rather than good ethical values.

In this regards Polly Toynbee makes a good point in today’s Guardian:

None of this might matter much if it were just about the strange practices in private of religious bigots. But faith groups already run and are bidding to take over many more social services. If they win this debate, free to discriminate as they please, they will prove themselves utterly unfit to provide state services or receive state funding.

This is key. The government is indeed trying to outsource social services to religious groups. What if those groups then discriminate against homosexuals, women or people of other faith? Where are the checks and balances? Who will stand up and complain about discrimination from within their own faith? Until religious groups comprehend the idea of equality properly they should not be allowed anywhere near the provision of social and public services.

On HP Brett says it is about all or nothing, which also sums up my stance on equality.



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60 Comments   |   Add your own


  1. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 10th January, 2007 at 12:12 am  

    I went down to this…they seemed ‘harmless’ enough, its just when they got prayed that I had the Bejeezus scared outta me. Not all of them mind you - just one group - they started shaking and going all black magic voodoo style at the House of Lords - “Let us pray against this regulation in that building”

    I moved off quite quickly lest I got in the way of the Xmas CurseBeams(tm). Well attended - maybe upto 300 people.

    Oh the irony of some folks carrying “Respect Civil Rights” placards!

    There was no counter demo save for an LGB Police rep and a handful of ‘Christian gays’ did have a discussion with protesters.

    Rather a strange event…I’ve not seen such religious fervour for some time.

  2. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 10th January, 2007 at 12:14 am  

    I don’t know if I’ve spelt Fervour correctly :(

    and the photos are here:
    http://www.ethnicimages.com/images.asp?albumid=381&CatID=3

  3. Sahil — on 10th January, 2007 at 6:20 am  

    Surprisingly Inayat wrote a pretty decent piece on this today:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/inayat_bunglawala_and_abdurahman_jafar/2007/01/gay_rights_and_wrongs.html

  4. Leon — on 10th January, 2007 at 8:10 am  

    Giving faith a bad name? Too right. But where are the demo’s/lobbying by the moderate/mainstream faithers against this? Isn’t their relative silence complicity?

  5. Leon — on 10th January, 2007 at 10:14 am  

    I think Paul Linford when he says the following:

    if the church got half as worked up about injustice as it does about gay sex then maybe it would have more credibility.Link

  6. bananabrain — on 10th January, 2007 at 10:42 am  

    But where are the demo’s/lobbying by the moderate/mainstream faithers against this? Isn’t their relative silence complicity?
    oh, come *on*, leon. i would prefer to point out that their lack of turning up is a refusal to show solidarity with the people who did. apparently, to my surprise and gratification, there were no jewish groups present. you can hardly expect them to counter-demonstrate, even without the risk of this being understood.

    i heard a number of the lords speak in the debate and was struck by the fact that only the lawyers seemed to understand the actual problem. everyone else was just making emotional points based on whether they were pro or anti. if you can understand it, read lord mackay’s piece in the torygraph yesterday. the point is actually about whether turkeys (ie people who object to homosexuality on grounds of conscience, whether religious or otherwise) can be compelled to vote for xmas or not. obviously they cannot be compelled to believe it is ok - that is not the issue. the problem arises when they perceive themselves as actually facilitating the act of which they disapprove. in the proverbial case of the double bed in the hotel room, mrs bananabrain (who is a lawyer) pointed out that if sharing a bed does not necessarily mean sex is being had (yes, yes, i know, keep your comments to yourselves) then renting out a room with a double bed in can hardly be construed as doing so.

    the problem is also one of paradigms. the post-enlightenment consensus is based upon the idea that religion is a “private confession” and not related to one’s public citizenship, which is a neoplatonic and effectively unworkable approach when you are faced with people who don’t recognise the separate domains. what is more, the christian approach to this (i don’t know about muslim approaches) seems to be a version of “not under my roof”. it’s not exactly easy to define, as it seems to depend on feelings. the jewish approach to this (for those who have a religious objection to homosexual acts as opposed to orientation, for which there is no real basis in the halacha) is based upon a number of very practical considerations:

    1. what is the *act* we are objecting to?
    2. are there witnesses?

    it should be immediately obvious that in practical terms the effect of this approach is to keep what goes on in your bedroom private unless you choose to make it so. the problem arises when one expects a *specifically religious organisation* to endorse something which it cannot according to its own principles endorse. this means catholic adoption agencies have a problem. it also means that you need to distinguish between supplying goods and services to “the public” and goods and services to those who require those goods and services. otherwise, i could sue mcdonalds for discriminating against me for not supplying kosher food. similarly, someone could go to a kosher restaurant and sue them because they won’t supply a bacon cheeseburger. obviously jewish organisations are not at all concerned about the possibility of this, hence their lack of presence at the demo i expect - in contradistinction to their approach to the faith schools debate. the point is that unless specifically required not to say/teach that homosexual activity is sinful, this is all rather a stupid row. nor is it not a matter of saying that “equality is equality and that’s that”, because equality is indicated by the permissibility of actions, not words.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  7. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 11:11 am  

    Of course gays should be given equal rights, they are humans like everyone else. Only thing I have against them is that homosexuality is an un-natural act and should no way be promoted or encouraged.

    To quote Alan Partridge; “God made Adam and Eve, he didnt make Adam and Steve”

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 11:21 am  

    Equality, as noble a word as it sounds, is not only pie in the sky but unworkable as long as there are power-tripping cunts pulling the strings

    Which means the only way we can all be equal to line them up against the wall and shoot them

    Which kinda denies power-tripping cunts their equal rights…

    See?

  9. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 11:22 am  

    “Only thing I have against them is that homosexuality is an un-natural act and should no way be promoted or encouraged.”

    So why’s the male G-spot up the arse then?

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 11:27 am  

    Hey Anon+1

    So going by your Adam & Eve analogy, the fact that to build the human race it necessitated that both of them impregnate their own spawns means that your religion says incest is okay and homosexuality isn’t? And let’s face it, the first people on earth were just coming to grips with their sexuality. They were neanderthals you muppet. They shagged anything that moved.

    See those holes in your theory? I’m here to stick my dick in them and give ‘em a good fucking

  11. douglas clark — on 10th January, 2007 at 12:10 pm  

    I think I’m right in saying that there have been verified examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Which is the natural world, so it is natural. Bonobo monkeys or some such.

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 12:19 pm  

    Let’s face it, humans aren’t natural. It’s not natural to dye your hair green, spend money on stilettoes, or go on ferry trips across the sea to buy cheese made from goat’s milk.

    Human beings are unnatural freaks. It’s a thing to celebrate

    PS. Just exactly how do you ‘promote’ homosexuality?!

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

    ooh I’ve just thought of a slogan for your campaign

    Sikhquality

    Cos like, you’re sikh

    it could be extended to

    Hinductrination or Hindipendence

    Muslimbolism

    Hm

    Nope. I’m not convinced either

  14. Leon — on 10th January, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

    oh, come *on*, leon. i would prefer to point out that their lack of turning up is a refusal to show solidarity with the people who did.

    Yeah right. “For evil to triumph all it takes is for good people to do nothing.”

  15. Don — on 10th January, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    Douglas, not just bonoboes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

    Also check:

    http://www.rotten.com/library/sex/bestiality/

  17. Amit — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

    I’m definitely with you on this one Sunny. Imposition of religious values, in this manner, is utterly ridiculous!

    Lets face it, if those regulations aren’t allowed, I won’t be able to hump you in public anymore Sunnerz! :p

  18. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    I fucking hate homophobes

  19. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    Sorry, the above was apropos to nothing said here. Just something I read elsewhere

  20. bananabrain — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

    leon, the jewish community can tell this is stupid. we’re not demonstrating because we rarely demonstrate about anything. we’re not big on placards and street theatre. not turning up is a pretty vocal show of absence when you compare it to the faith schools debate.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  21. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

    You make me laugh, for one I dont believe in any of the religions from christianity and islam, right through to Taoism and Mormon :P But theres one fact that you cant deny and that is males need females to reproduce, if the entire population turned out to be gay then we’d die out plain and simple. It is UN-NATURAL as we can see from almost every single creature in the world.
    Im not a homophobe either, though I do have problems with gay people who, upon ‘coming out’ proceed to build their entire lifestyle around the camp feminine steriotype because they are so desperate to fit in somewhere.
    As for the G spot being up the arse, you are more than welcome to let the young boys stimulate it for you. As for me, i’ll pass thanks.

  22. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

    “Im not a homophobe either”

    Yes you are. Your prejudices may keep you warm tonight, but denial is the stuff of weeping into pillows

  23. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

    PS: “But theres one fact that you cant deny and that is males need females to reproduce”

    Yeah, but human beings don’t NEED to do the other few hundred billion zillion things that we do. But we do them because we can. My religion teaches me choice. Pity yours doesn’t

  24. andy — on 10th January, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    How can it be unnatural if it occurs in the NATURAL world?! In over 1500 species documented so far i think.

  25. bananabrain — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    i think the bonobo question is an intriguing one - namely if G!D has seen fit to include homosexual behaviour in the natural world it is hard to argue that it is “unnatural”. i for one find it hard to believe that the Divine would purposefully include a so-called “abomination against G!D” in the animal kingdom, after all a bonobo has no free will and without free will, there is no choice and without choice, there is no such thing as sin - at least in judaism. and for those of you that think a bonobo could be argued to have free will, there are a pair of gay penguins in the toronto zoo i believe. so as far as i am concerned there must be some reason for homosexuality in the Divine Plan even if we don’t understand it and jewish people are not permitted to engage in this particular homosexual act. it’s no different from a bacon sarnie as far as i’m concerned, i’m sure there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it, i’m just not allowed to do it myself.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  26. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    I love how you can claim that when you know nothing about me and my opening line clearly stated “Of course gays should be given equal rights”

    Ive no problem with them being treated exactly the same as how I wish to be treated and what goes on behind closed doors is again, not my business. The only problem I have is when the needless lifestyle that unfortunatley comes too frequently with homosexuality is forced in peoples faces that takes many forms. I dont go on straight pride marches, I dont beat my chest and howl at women to show my sexuality to people (etc) so why should being gay suddenly make these things acceptable?

    Again I dont care what humans get upto (unless it breaks the law), so you are safe in the company of your young boys. (who are over 16 I hope)
    Oh and again because you seem to have very selective reading, I dont have a specific religion, Im Agnostic so I reckon I have more of a choice than any other religion on the planet and dont need a religion to guide and control me unlike you.

  27. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

    It crops up everywhere I know, ive seen Ricky Gervais - Animals programme! But these creatures if all the species were gay would die out. Two males or Females CANNOT reproduce, so if god decided to include this for a reason, he didnt expect it to last!

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    No, Anon. You’re so used to judging people based on your idea of morality you’ve forgotten how to be judged based on what you say after you make your claim.

    Let me spell it out for you:

    You claim: Gays should be given equal rights. I’m not a homophobe. What people do behind closed doors is none of my business.

    But then you say what you really mean: Gay people lead a needless lifestyle. That they act camp because they are desperate to try and fit in. That what they do goes against nature.

    Your words, not mine.

    If you have prejudices, have the balls to defend them. Don’t do that ‘I never said that’ thing that annoying girlfriends do

  29. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:25 pm  

    PS. Don’t be so proud of being an agnostic. Being doubtful about what you believe in is what stuttering self-doubters do and try to cover up their half-arsed beliefs by targetting groups who they’re convinced are riddled with more doubts. In playground terms, you’re not strong enough to be a bully. You’re the kid that snitches on the weaker kid to get brownie points off the even weaker teacher

  30. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    You are so blindly missing my point, I dont care what they do and who they do it with, it isnt my concern. I view them as humans with the same basic rights as everyone else, including me.
    However I do view homosexuality as un-natural, the bible hasnt taught me this, ive arrived at that conclusion independantly. Now because of my personal, independant views, I dont like aspects of the gay culture just like I have a dislike for other cultures because they clash with ideals of my own. Again this is MY choice, im not told to dislike it but I choose to. Now why am I judging someone simply because I dont personally like their lifestyle choice?

  31. Leon — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

    the jewish community can tell this is stupid. we’re not demonstrating because we rarely demonstrate about anything.

    You’re moving the goalposts here, I never mentioned the “Jewish community” (I didn’t know all Jewish people were religious?). Do you really know all the organised organs of that community and what they think about this?

    As an aside you should note I also said lobbying, something certain pro Israeli elements know a great deal about. Shame that fervor isn’t being used now is it?

  32. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    “Now why am I judging someone simply because I dont personally like their lifestyle choice?”

    Because you have a narrow mind?

    If you ‘don’t care what they do and who they do it with’, the sentence should just end there

    Beyond that, you care. The fact that you don’t care for it means you hate it. You hate gay people.

    Accept it. It won’t make you better person but as someone whp believes every individual should feel free to be who they are, I wish you find that freedom to be loud & proud about being a bigot

  33. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

    LOL you are a funny guy. I dont hate gays at all, infact I have 2 friends who are gay but there is a specific difference between them and others. They didnt change their personality, identity and attitude upon coming out, the only way you can tell they are gay is by asking them.
    The aspect of the gay culture I hate is the loud over the top fake camp accents, the conception that being gay suddenly makes you have a really great taste in fashion and design, the thrusting of it in peoples faces in the name of gay awareness, not to mention many other things such as adopting feminine characteristics. In fact if cirtain gay people didnt adopt this image then hetrosexual people would think that the only difference between themselves and homosexuals was the sex of the partner they choose to have close relations with.
    Now run along, dont you have a god you should be asking advice from?

  34. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    Did you just really use the ‘I’m not a homophobe, some of my best friends are gay, but…’ line?!

    Listen man, everyone who feels that they belong to something adopts some of the mannerisms. Rudeboys use patoia when they speak, blondes playing the dizzy girl act giggle that little bit more, indie kids wear ill-fitting clothes. Not all of them, some of them

    Some gay men have terrible taste in clothes and, for crying out loud, they listen to house. But many don’t. Like your gay friends, if they really exist which, let’s face it, they don’t

    The only god I have is the one between my legs. And he’s not scared that a lesser god may want to secretly touch it

    Build thy shrine in thy closet

  35. Jazz Singh — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    The whole idea of the Regulations is, as has been already stated, to ensure that they are adhered to by all. By providing for exceptions to the rule, there is always the problem that the exception could easily become the rule by means of Case Law and other such means.

    Religion should have no say on whether someone who is gay can be discriminated against when it comes to employment. But, in all honesty, who’s to say that the religious institutions in the form of the employer won’t find another ‘reason’ or excuse as to why the employee is not suitable for the job?

    And one other thing that the religious institutions should marvel at is the fact that someone may wish to work for them, regardless of the fact that the religious institution condemns homosexuality.

    It takes a very gutsy person to go to a mosque and say “I’m gay, but I’d really like to be employed by yourselves.” Would such a situation ever arise? Possibly not, but at least this legislation will protect individuals who do find themselves in that situation.

  36. Jazz Singh — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:29 pm  

    The same goes for the provision of services. It’s unlikely that a gay man would go to a ‘homophobic’ church for support when there may be an alternative place to go to such as a charity working specifically for the provision of services to gay men and women, but at least he’s protected if he does.

    What objections can be realistically be raised by Christians, especially given their “Hate the sin, love the sinner” ethos?

  37. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Actually I didnt use the “my best friends” line i used the “2 of my” line. My best friends are straight and have very different views to me on both ends of the spectrum, the 2 im refering to are people I know from college.
    The mannerisms you describe are small traits, they are NOT radical shifts in behavior like gays sometimes adopt, and its the radical behavior that gives most people the idea that all gays are some kind of aliens.

    Now why cant you accept that I dont think gays should be treated differently than other people, but i dislike cirtain aspects of their sometimes adopted culture?
    Im pretty sure you dislike cirtain things about cirtain people, does that make you a narrow minded bigot? No

  38. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    I dislike many things about many people, but that’s because they happen to be INDIVIDUAL people. I can extend it to a GROUP of people that I don’t know, for instance the Combat 18 or people who buy Daniel Beddingfield records, but I can’t extend it to people who are born the way the are and choose to live how they want

  39. Kismet Hardy — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    Talking of nothing (and to change the subject to spare the tedium of others) It’s certain not cirtain. And unnatural isn’t hyphenated. If I can’t help you with your prejudices… :-)

  40. Ravi Naik — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    However I do view homosexuality as un-natural, the bible hasnt taught me this, ive arrived at that conclusion independantly.

    It would be unnatural for homosexuals to have sex with women. Or not?

  41. ZinZin — on 10th January, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    “None of this might matter much if it were just about the strange practices in private of religious bigots. But faith groups already run and are bidding to take over many more social services.”

    Apart from christian fundamentalists running a few acadamies in the North-East of England are they making any other inroads? ie Health, Housing.

  42. Don — on 10th January, 2007 at 6:03 pm  

    Adoption agencies, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, that sort of thing. And a quick google shows hospitals, which rather suprised me. The religiously inclined never tire of pointing out that they run a lot of charities. However, when they threaten to shut down services if their demands are not met, then we might want to consider the definition of ‘charity’

    According to PT (and I assume she has a source), ‘Christians running soup kitchens say they want to refuse gays shelter and soup.’ Certainly some church groups have said they would close down breakfast clubs if forced to share their toast and corn flakes with gays. I help run a breakfast club at school (not for charitable reasons, kids who have had a decent breakfast are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than those who haven’t eaten for 15 hours) and I couldn’t see how that was remotely an issue. However, a perfectly pleasant christian on another forum told me that his group like to invite guests to give inspirational talks at their gigs and they might feel a bit awkward if the topic of the day was ‘Fags rot in Hell’. So to avoid offence they don’t want that sort there.

    By the way, the B&B complaint is phony, there is a clear exemption for hoteliers who live on the premises. And the ‘harrassment’ issue is a bit of a non starter. The best excuse I’ve heard is that a gay might wander into a religious book store and be offended by a poster denouncing homosexuality as a sin. Forcing the store to take down the poster which represents a deeply held belief. Tough.

    It all just shows again why people should keep their belief in supernatural beings with a plan out of the public sphere. If your imaginary friend inclines you towards good works, well and good. Do the work and shut up about your motivations in a spirit of .. what was it? Oh yeah, humility.

    Kismet,

    Just checked out your link ( I assumed it wasn’t work safe). Freddie the dolphin! I remember Freddie, saw him several times in Amble harbour. Bit of a flirt, it has to be said, but a popular lad. Came to a tragic end. Washed up with propeller marks all over him. It was widely believed he had been hit by a police launch, but the police insisted he had been hurt swimming down the station steps.

    Jazz,

    Are you new? If so welcome, very salient points. The whole ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’ thing has a problem in that ’sin’ is an abstract and therefore impossible to attack directly. So you kind of have to approach it via the sinner. Traditionally this has involved pliers, sharp things and fire. But all motivated by love of the sinner (now a quivering mass of raw flesh).

  43. Desi Italiana — on 10th January, 2007 at 6:17 pm  

    Anon:

    “The aspect of the gay culture I hate is the loud over the top fake camp accents, the conception that being gay suddenly makes you have a really great taste in fashion and design, the thrusting of it in peoples faces in the name of gay awareness, not to mention many other things such as adopting feminine characteristics.”

    Er…. this stereotype is actually more often than not formulated by heterosexuals about how they see gays and what gays are like. For my money, many of the stereotypes center around a gay, white middle class/upper middle class conception. Perfect example in pop culture is the TV show Will and Grace.

    There are plenty of gays that do not fit the mold that you are ascribing them to.

    BTW, Happy New Year to everyone!

  44. Anon+1 — on 10th January, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

    A male to be with a woman is very natural.
    Anyway
    Perhaps this image isnt the majority, but the gays you do see and often build up this profile are giving others in their lifestyle choice a bad name.
    Theres a gay area in my city, when im out and about I see people fitting this steriotype.

  45. Don — on 10th January, 2007 at 7:05 pm  

    I can’t remember where I heard this but apparently around 8% of rams are gay. There is a suspicion that 8% of sheep are lesbian, but as a sheep indicates sexual receptivity by standing still then nothing much happens. Except ovine sapphic yearnings.

    Anon+1,

    If you are genuinely not homophobic (and the BNP link is a bit of a giveaway) why not just slightly adjust your attitude towards the flamboyantly camp, which seems to bug you? All part of life’s rich tapestry, etc. Come on, a really over the top gay pride pageant is surely something you wouldn’t want to miss. It wouldn’t be my personal style to put on fishnets and basque for a performance of the Rocky Horror Show, but it lifts my evening when I walk past a queue that has made the effort. Loosen up.

  46. ZinZin — on 10th January, 2007 at 7:35 pm  

    Anon+1
    The BNP and Far-right are full of homosexuals. Thats unnatural.

  47. Billy — on 10th January, 2007 at 8:23 pm  

    “Perhaps this image isnt the majority, but the gays you do see and often build up this profile are giving others in their lifestyle choice a bad name.”

    Can you tell if someone is gay just to look at them? I’m impressed (!)

  48. Gibs — on 10th January, 2007 at 8:30 pm  

    What a shame that whenever the various religions that exist in Britain DO unite - it seems to be in defence of bigotry.

    I wonder how many people actually support this law specifically because it would upset such bigots ? (and if they did support it for that particular reason, who can blame them ?).

    The right of bishops to vote in the House Of Lords should be removed forthwith. Unfortunately, some of the talk on reforming the House Of Lords has suggested “extending it to representatives of other faiths”. This would be going in completely the wrong direction.

  49. El Cid — on 10th January, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

    “But where are the demo’s/lobbying by the moderate/mainstream faithers against this? Isn’t their relative silence complicity? ”

    I just want you to imagine the profanities streaming through my head.

    I think it’s a disgrace that in southern Africa we are witnessing the greatest loss of life through untreated disease in human history, but I don’t recall protesting about it. In fact, there’s a lot of things I disagree with but I don’t go actively protesting about them. I guess I’m complicit in all these too.

    I don’t see the gay community protesting against the use for casual batty sex of public toilets in public parks frequented by children. Are they complicit too? No I don’t think they are either.

  50. William — on 10th January, 2007 at 10:36 pm  

    Anon

    The problem with the word unnatural is that we have to decide what exactly is nature to say what goes against it. The challenge is for anyone to give one which is without inconsistency and which we can form some kind of unanimity.

    “To quote Alan Partridge; “God made Adam and Eve, he didnt make Adam and Steve”

    If there was a God who made anything how did he make the conditions which would produce some situations where Adam would fancy Steve (in the case of male gays). Sue would fancy Jill (in the case of female gays). Adam would believe they were a Sue or a Jill would believe they were a Jill in the case of transsexuals. I mean God has hasn’t got it right in the design stakes if he wanted to avoid the possibility of any of this.

    I am not assuming you hate gays but I am not convinced.

  51. William — on 10th January, 2007 at 10:47 pm  

    I am for universal human rights and against discrimination. Also if it were permissible to discriminate in this way it could precedent for a return to other forms of discrimination blacks, Irish??

    I wonder if the Christians Jews and Muslims realise that it is only some religions and specifically the Abrahamic ones that have the Homosexuality is a sin stuff. It is not found in Hinduism, Taoism, Sikhism, Buddhism. That is at least another half of the world. God did not manage to get his message accross in some parts.

  52. Clairwil — on 10th January, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

    ARRRGH!
    Why is the natural v un-natural argument even relevant? Homosexual behaviour is as natural as rain, the full time homosexual identity isn’t. Neither is heterosexual lifelong monogamy and it’s held up as an ideal. Natural doesn’t equal good or moral. Rape and violence both spring from our natural instincts. Watch any wildlife programme. The uncivilised world is brutal and cruel.

    It’s irrelevant whether you find rimming disgusting (I don’t -nothing rivals the sensation). The debate should be about the limits of the state. End of.

    Religious groups can discriminate against who they like as long as the state isn’t funding them and they don’t frighten the horses it’s none of my business.

  53. douglas clark — on 11th January, 2007 at 2:50 am  

    Well, this debate is descending into the swamp. There must be a reasonable limit on sexual practices. Rimming probably is as much thrill for the rimmer as the rimee. What with the prospect of getting farted in the mouth. Yeugh.

    I doubt even Sunny would approve of a necrophiliac’s right to cart a dead body into a B & B. I certainly wouldn’t. So what, ladies and gentlemen, are the real limits?

    There have to be some, don’t there?

  54. Sunny — on 11th January, 2007 at 6:50 am  

    Hi douglas, interesting question and my first answer would be that my answer keeps changing as time goes by. I think my gut feeling is that its best to be fairly libertarian about this because I don’t trust the state or religious bodies to decide what is right or wrong for me. In other words people can do what they want as long as its consensual and not hurting anyone. I don’t think necrophilia or beastiality would be included within that definition.

  55. neenaa — on 11th January, 2007 at 9:09 am  

    I also agree that talking about natural or un-natural is kind of silly but at the same time you could say that using contraception for any kind of sex is un-natural, and as in the case of homosexual sex doesn’t lead to procreation. Which is kind of the position of the catholic church, so at least they are consistent.. even if I don’t agree with their thinking.

  56. douglas clark — on 11th January, 2007 at 10:29 am  

    Sunny,

    I kind of agree that the state has no place in consensual behaviour. There are, as you rightly say, some things that are beyond the pale, (if that expression is OK on PP :-) )

    We do live in a mobile society where boundaries change, and what was once unacceptable, to the majority, becomes just a matter of a shrug of the shoulders. Doesn’t, obviously, mean we have to subscribe to becoming active participants.

    For your amusement, I once looked up sexual deviation in the Enclyclopedia Brittanica, as you do when your bored, and there were around thirty odd deviations that were male orientated, only a few that were joint, and one that was exclusively female. And that was lesbianism! It was quite an old copy. Nowadays, shoes would have to get a mention.

  57. Anon+1 — on 11th January, 2007 at 11:30 am  

    Right, no more on this issue from me only…

    Growing up with a realisation that you might be gay is a possibility, its normal for this to occur. However we can see from the design of life that males are built for females like yin/yang, bat and ball, sausage and letterbox, which makes it un-natural.

    Growing up, being gay was portrayed in a negative light due to enhanced steriotypes and behavior of some of those people found in the typical Rocky horror queue. Now if you were actually gay in a community that thought mainly this, you wouldnt mention it and bury it deep inside to avoid insults. When finally coming out the need for acceptance or desire to fit in, unfortunatly in some cases leads to the adopting of this steriotypical image so they can finally be classed in their own cultural bracket and this feeds the steriotype fires even more. Those that dont adopt this image are still unfortunatly effected in some way.
    Now if the problem was addressed and being gay wasnt portrayed in a negative light (through education perhaps?) then people could be alot more comfortable with who they are without the need to adopt this false image for the sake of fitting in. People who have this image of the typical gay will be phased out until the only real difference remains, and thats sexual partner gender.

    As for religious leaders making decisions or getting a consultation on policies, that should be strictly forbidden unless the policies actually include or will effect them.

  58. Kismet Hardy — on 11th January, 2007 at 11:31 am  

    “It’s irrelevant whether you find rimming disgusting (I don’t -nothing rivals the sensation).”

    Clairwil,

    I’m officially in love with you

  59. bananabrain — on 11th January, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    You’re moving the goalposts here, I never mentioned the “Jewish community”
    you said “faithers”. however, that’s not really a helpful adjective, because non-orthodox groups would certainly consider themselves “faithers”. and they’d be on the gay rights side. in terms of the orthodox and ultra-orthodox, i thought i’d already explained (obviously i haven’t) that they don’t really think it has any practical applications. we don’t just demo for the sake of it, or lobby come to think of it.

    perhaps i am being a little slipshod in my terminology but if you’re not religious, this is really not an issue. therefore the people who care enough to get worked up about it are either going to be jewish gay rights lobbyists, who are presumably included in the gay rights side of things, or the ultra-religious - who wouldn’t go near a group of christians and muslim protesters in this country; they’d be too scared. on the other hand, i am sure you’re aware of the recent shameful fiasco over the gay pride parade in jerusalem, in which neither side covered itself in glory. but the UK is another matter.

    Do you really know all the organised organs of that community and what they think about this?
    that’s what the board of deputies is for. and they say that as far as they know, no jewish group is involved.

    As an aside you should note I also said lobbying, something certain pro Israeli elements know a great deal about. Shame that fervor isn’t being used now is it?
    call me mr over-sensitive, but i don’t much care for your tone. perhaps el cid put it much better than me in post #49. lobbying by its nature is obviously less public (you seem to be implying it is inherently unsavoury and suspect, or maybe that’s just pro-israeli lobbying), but i am unaware of any that is going on, because as i have already pointed out, it isn’t really something to do with us. i don’t know if the jewish peers in the house of lords got involved in the debate, but i don’t think there are many religious ones to start with. as for silence equalling complicity, i don’t recall a huge number of people rushing to assure the israelis that they were standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of the threat of iranian nuclear annihilation, with the welcome exception of certain politicians that everyone seems so keen to condemn.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  60. William — on 11th January, 2007 at 6:54 pm  

    Clairwill

    It is the difficulty in ascertaining what is nature that in fact is what makes it in a way irrelevant.
    You also say that the full time Homosexual identity is not natural. I wonder what you mean by this. I wonder if it would lead on to some of the points I have in mind. Are you saying that human identity is unnatural because identity = culture. That is differentiated from the animal plant kingdom. But I would ask why is culture/identity unnatural and why can’t we call it natural if we want to.

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