“Erotic Liberty vs Religious Liberty”

“Erotic liberty vs religious liberty” is the new buzzphrase for bigots who want to attack LGBT people and deny equal rights to others, all based on religious beliefs.

The implication of “erotic liberty” is that those damn dirty gay people just want to get off at the expense of the “religious liberty” of devout Christians trying to stand up for Jesus. Christians who, bafflingly, seem intent on fighting tooth and nail to deny equal rights to a group of people over something that doesn’t even effect them. That’s called bigotry.

It’s hard to conceive of a more ignorant and bigoted phrase. It should hardly need to be said, but the fight for LGBT equality is not about eroticism. It’s about marriage. It’s about equal rights and equal treatment and protections under the law. It’s about all kinds of things, but eroticism isn’t really one of them. That’s what opponents of equal rights don’t understand. That’s what they refuse to understand.

But if they insist on the term “erotic liberty”, then the fact is that LGBT people want the same “erotic liberty” as everyone else. That’s where this new buzzphrase really fails. It doesn’t even say anything new. It’s still Christians trying to deny LGBT people the same rights that everyone else has. So we’re back to square one, and that square is equality. If they want to deny equal rights to a group of people, that’s still called bigotry.

The phrase appears to have originated with Albert Mohler, who is no stranger to saying ridiculous things. I’ve been told Mohler is one of the “brightest mind[s] in evangelical Christianity”, and that “leading secularists would have to recognize Dr. Mohler has one of the brightest minds in our country”. Oh boy, I don’t think so. From everything I have read from him in regards to LGBT people, contraception, atheists, and even yoga (among plenty of other issues) that he thinks are a problem for Christians, his arguments are painfully bad. I’m no expert. I don’t have a doctorate in anything. I’m a very amateur philosopher, and I found it comically simple to pick his arguments apart on just about any issue.

People like Mohler want to force LGBT people back into the closet. They want to turn back the clock to when LGBT people were treated like freaks and weirdos and second-class citizens. They want LGBT people to think of themselves as broken and sinful. Nevermind the depression. Nevermind the suicide. Nevermind the bullying when people think LGBT people are sick. Nevermind the cognitive dissonance of LGBT people trying to reconcile their natural orientation with what they’re told they should be. They don’t care about any of that. I know Christians don’t like this label, but too bad. Yet again, that’s called bigotry.

The upside to all of this is that the tide is against those who would use such rhetoric to push their bigoted views. Love is winning over hate. More and more people are coming to realize that everyone deserves equal rights. Marriage equality is advancing state by state. It’s not fast enough, but it’s happening.

But the really good news is that, despite all their stamping of their feet and hysterical shrieks of persecution, we don’t have to care what religious people think of all this. The separation of church and state, clearly defined in the US Constitution, says that we don’t make laws based on any religion. Unfortunately not everyone gets this, but that’s too bad for them. As with other civil rights movements, we shall overcome.

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Albert Mohler on the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham “debate”

I’m unfortunate enough to be related (by marriage, lol) to somebody who is just in love with Albert Mohler.  Well, by “in love” I certainly don’t mean in a gay way, because he’s all kind of against anything LGBTQ, but… well you get me.  Supposedly Mohler is one of the brightest minds in the US and even leading secularists respect and admire him.  Um… I haven’t been able to find anything to support that assertion, and his articles certainly don’t support it.

Mohler felt the need to weigh in on last night’s “debate” between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Well, let’s be honest here: it was really a fund raiser and a desperate attempt to resurrect (ha) the failing Creation “Museum”, which will probably succeed, at least in the short term. Anyway, here’s a link to Mohler’s article, followed by my response:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/02/05/bill-nyes-reasonable-man-the-central-worldview-clash-of-the-ham-nye-debate/

Ken Ham’s creationism is indeed a very narrow and literal interpretation of the Biblical account, and is rejected by all but the most fundamentalist Christians.

Ken Ham basically stood and preached for the entire debate, while Bill brought the fact train. One example was how we measure the distance to different stars. The method is actually very simple and uses basic geometry. Ken’s response was essentially “nuh-uh”. We know that there are stars that we can see that are further away than 6000 light years (including many that are millions and billions). We have no reason to think that the fundamental laws of the universe have changed, so unless we ever find such evidence, the idea that the universe is 6000 years old is done. Game over.

We don’t need to “defend” wild assertions that have no basis in fact. I think, as it appears Bill also thinks, stating facts that can be backed up by evidence is sufficient.

As Bill pointed out, creationists use the term “historical science” in a way that no other scientists do, and they do it to muddy the waters because their claims have been shown to be wrong, so they resort to word games and redefining terms.

But again, when cornered, creationists resort to attacking reality itself. Suddenly we can’t know anything at all, and have no “intellectual authority” without a god.

Bill did indeed answer honestly when there were questions to which we don’t have solid answers. This is what intellectually honest people do. We don’t just assert things as fact that are (to borrow from AronRa) either not evidently true, or evidently NOT true. Even if you believe the Bible, you should probably go find evidence to support it. As I’ve said many times before, and as Bill Nye said, we would be happy to change our thinking given evidence.

But Ken Ham’s answers were indeed telling. He repeatedly rejects reality where it conflicts with his interpretation of the Bible. This is mind-boggling and intellectually dishonest.

Near the end of the article: “Nye seems to believe that he is genuinely open to any and all new information, but it is clear that his ultimate intellectual authority is the prevailing scientific consensus”.

This is just plain wrong. It’s not “the prevailing scientific consensus”. It’s evidence. Now yes, given evidence then scientific consensus will follow, but that is because of the evidence, not because everybody else thinks some particular thing. We do have great confidence in science and reason and evidence because they have been shown to work.

Then Mohler missed the point of Bill’s illustration of billions believing in something other that Ken Ham’s hyper-literal interpretation of the Biblical creation story. The point was that people like Ham want everybody to believe that it is impossible to believe in a god while accepting evolution. That’s not correct. Many, many, many people manage to understand and accept evolution, and still believe in a god. That was the point.

Then we come to more attacks on reality and reason itself. Suddenly we can’t be reasonable without a god. Apparently we can’t count on evidence. I would ask how, then, we would be able to reasonably conclude that the Bible is true if we can’t use reason? Seems self-defeating to me.

The central issue last night was exactly about facts like the age of the Earth and sediment layers and and fossils, but creationists WANT it to be about something else, because then they can act like it’s just a “clash of worldviews” so we’re on equal footing. Well, I suppose when your worldview involves denying reality that can be demonstrated with evidence, then maybe Mohler does have a point.

As a funny side note, Ken Ham is too crazy even for Pat Robertson.  When you’re too crazy for Pat Robertson, you got problems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01AWJ4BWxME