He’s not wrong

by Richard on January 25, 2007

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1

malc 01.25.07 at 1:20 pm

wow, that’s quite interesting (remind anyone of the Upper/Middle/Working Class Sketch “I know my place”), what are your thoughts on this Richard……???

2

ee 01.25.07 at 2:18 pm

Dave as usual hits the nail on the head. Very pertinent after the various contributions to the ‘debate’ on gay adoption yesterday, which made for painful listening. Why do people on both sides who are probably genuinely loving make themselves sound so genuinely intolerant?

3

kim fabricius 01.25.07 at 3:51 pm

Bingo, Malc! Of course all creative people are thieves of tradition (not to say plagiarists - cf. the recent row over Ian McEwan’s new novel). Speaking personally, I don’t think I’ve had an original thought in my life (which, no doubt, everyone has noticed!). Dave Walker, of course, must speak - or cartoon - for himself!

Hi ee.

The gay adoption “debate” is indeed an interesting - and taxing - one. I disagree with the church’s traditional teaching on homosexuality, so I am sympathetic with the proposed law. Indeed, even given the traditional teaching, I do not see a problem in placing children with homosexual parents, because I do not see it as condoning same-sex practices any more than I would see placing children with obese or affluent parents as condoning gluttony or covetousness.

However the real theological issue seems to me to be a different one, viz. who is Lord, God or Caesar? The government assumes (as it would) that the regnant cultural paradigm of secular liberalism trumps religious faith - Christian or Muslim for that matter. This post-enlightenment ideology of the state is quite indulgent about tolerating religions as long as they confine themselves to the “spiritual”, i.e. to the private sphere, while it insists on commandeering their adherents public - and bodily - actions, whether in dress (the row over the Muslim veil), or education (the row over church schools), and now over adoption. Of course also over war! And, by the way, this means that Christians, in principle, and to be consistent, should fully support Muslims over the veil.

But back to the adoption debate: I am therefore in the invidious position, on the one hand, of wanting the law to pass, and stuff the church, which teaches badly on homosexuality, while, on the other hand, of insisting that the church stand up to the state, proclaim Acts 4:19-20, and suffer the consequences - or, indeed, engage in acts of civil disobedience. Push coming to shove, however, principle trumps pragmatism. As a member of LGCM, I hope that my gay and lesbian friends will at least understand my intentio fidei.

4

Richard 01.25.07 at 4:46 pm

I’m sure you’re right that Dave is working with an inheritance in this cartoon, but there’s his usual spark of innovation. The line of people who everyone looks down on for being wrong are standing by a lift to take their turn on the upper floors. We all have a place in this cartoon, and it will change from time to time.

Kim - the key phrase in your comment for me was “and suffer the consequences”. If Christians believe that a law is wrong, they should have no qualms about breaking it. But they should also accept the consequences gladly and openly.

5

Art 01.25.07 at 5:10 pm

Priceless!

6

DH 01.25.07 at 8:41 pm

I still don’t get the cartoon. I have looked at it and I still don’t see how it pertains to homosexuality or for anything else for that matter. Also, I don’t look down at anybody for being wrong. I may believe strongly that they are wrong but I don’t look down at them. At least based on my definition of “look down on” and still “look down on”’s definition is not stated here which makes it even more difficlut to grasp this cartoon.

7

Richard 01.25.07 at 10:07 pm

Don’t worry about it, DH. And don’t forget, Dave didn’t say it’s ‘about’ anything — except of course, people looking down on one another for ‘being wrong’. You may not do that to others, but plenty of us do!

8

blonde 01.25.07 at 11:33 pm

My stand on this is - like Kim’s - a bit ambivalent. I abhor discrimination and prejudice (even while recognising both in my own attitudes occasionally) but find it difficult to reconcile all the hot air being generated round this proposed new law.

If the legislation is anti-discrimination, as touted, rather than pro-gay, I worry about the definition of discrimination. Is it really necessary to legislate conscience and belief?! Are we in danger of becoming so politically correct in respect of sexual orientation that we start to discriminate instead against minority religions (such as Christianity in the UK)?

9

Dave 01.26.07 at 12:36 pm

Thanks all. I did not knowingly borrow the ‘I know my place’ idea, but I may have done so in a subconscious or unwitting way. I do a lof of things in an unwitting way.

Good discussion on the gay adoption issue. I have referred people to Kim’s comment as it a very good one even though I do not know what ‘intentio fidei’ means. I bet the rest of you do and are laughing at me.

10

DH 01.26.07 at 2:51 pm

Great response blonde. Also, Richard, could you define “looking down on someone for being wrong”? I think many associate “strongly disagreeing”, with “looking down on someone”. I think many times when someone strongly disagrees, the person they disagree with, takes it as attacking the person when it is actually attacking the position or view a person has. Many times in these cases a positive word with the disagreement can go a long way to promote respect. Kim does this with me after I state something he disagrees with. It also is a matter of tone and how one communicates. Condicending, haughty, over the top humor can promote a lack of respect.

11

nessa 01.26.07 at 3:13 pm

well, i interpreted this a bit more literally. :-) my comment on dave’s blog was about the lift in my first university hall of residence. it seemed so much more appropriate to my own experience. ;-o

12

ee 01.26.07 at 4:05 pm

Hmm. Thanks to Kim for his contribution on this, I think it was very good. I agree that same sex couples should be allowed to adopt, but part of me also agrees that church agencies should not be forced into going against their conscience.

The thing which makes me angry and upset in the debate, as always, are the terms in which it’s conducted. Conservatives usually display ignorance of the life experiences of gay people; and liberals often display ignorance of the fact that conservatives do have legitimate questions of conscience which they can’t just ditch. And because the media ‘debate’ format is practically always bipartisan, it makes for a highly unedifying slanging match. St.Paul’s comments relating to Christians not suing each other in the law courts, as we shouldn’t air our dirty linen in public, seem to apply here. This whole debate just makes the church look terrible, when really we’re no more bigoted than anyone else.

13

Penny 01.26.07 at 7:58 pm

There is another unintended consequence that the people who say that “democracy must rule” perhaps haven’t thought through.

If they are going to say that democratically elected politicians should be allowed to interfere in religious practises, it is inevitable that religious leaders will get involved in politics.

Religious leaders and their congregations are part of the electorate. Individuals have the right to decide who to vote on based on whatever they choose, which in future will include “is this politician likely to want me to act against my beliefs”. Just as the editor of the Sun can advise for or against a political leader, so can a minister, or a bishop, or the organisation they represent.

14

kim fabricius 01.27.07 at 1:42 am

Hi Dave.

First, let me say that wherever your mind is at, I think I’m there sometimes too, and wish I was there more often, but as I can’t cartoon it, I’m just so glad glad there is someone who can - and can do it with (and this ain’t flannel) genius. You’re the best thing since Larson and “The Far Side”.

Second, thanks for taking the piss out of my Latin! Indeed I would take it as the highest compliment were you to take the piss out of me in one of your cartoons! (I would, however, sue of course.)

Finally, a few things on the adoption issue. First, the language of “rights” is alien to the church. It simply bears its witness - even if, in this case, its witness sucks. Second, although one must always obey one’s conscience, conscience can err (as Catholic teaching itself insists). Third, particularly in a pluralist society, it seems to me a fair question for the state - in fact all of us, of any faith or none - to ask how far a lead the religious conscience should be given. Or can any practice hide under the protection of religion? What then is to prevent the Bible’s recipe for moral anarchy, “everyone doing what is right in his own (religion’s) eyes?” This is a real question. Alas, there is no easy answer to it. But we must stitch together a tapestry of as many shared values as we can through ongoing public discourse as the basis of law-making, and be guided by a vision of the common good.

Finally - just so folk know where I stand - though I don’t want to misread my good friend Blonde, cries of overdoing “political correctness” and being “pro gay” are entirely inappropraite and misjudged. The former is usually just a way of being covertly prejudiced, and smugly so, while the latter is just another version of the “uppity nigger” syndrome. Precisely because, like black and Asian people, gay and lesbian people suffer so much prejudice, injustice, and sometimes violence, there must be a bias for gay people as a form of God’s bias for the poor, as a way of redressing social and structural power imbalances.

15

DH 01.29.07 at 3:59 pm

Being gay and race are not the same thing. Stating they are in the same category I think that is what confuses the point for myself and others like Blonde are stating.

16

Chris 01.29.07 at 6:02 pm

Being black and being gay are not at all the same thing but both groups are discriminated against in society. That is why people use racism as an analogy to demonstrate what’s wrong with homophobia.

The same principle applies to all discrimination, it is about discriminating using a criteria that has nothing to do with the question at hand. If I’m picking a sexual partner, their sexuality is an important factor in my choice but that’s about the only time it is relevant to anyone. I think this also responds to Blonde’s question about whether the regulations being considered in parliament are pro-gay.

To suggest that discrimination in provision of goods and services (which is what the proposed regulations are about) on the grounds of sexuality is religious practice - and therefore to outlaw it is suppression of religious freedom is a gross distortion of the term religious practice. I don’t accept the arguement that religion stops at the church door and has no place in public life but neither do I accept that certain interpretations of christian teachings can render behaviour beyond reproach. As soon as my ‘christian teaching inspired’ behaviour affects my fellow citizens, I am subject to the laws of the land that we both live in.

I think this is what distinguishes this from other ’secular state vs freedom of religious expression’ debates, this one is about treatment of others not solely about personal expression

17

DH 01.29.07 at 7:58 pm

I think one must define what homophobia is and define what is discrimination and what is actually preventing special privileges. Physically, verbally, attacking someone who is gay is wrong. Saying that adoption shouldn’t be allowed based on being gay I feel is a limiting of special privileges. Adoption isn’t a right it is a privilege and should be treated as such. I think the question of sexual orientation DOES have something to do with the question at hand with regard to adoption. Saying it doesn’t confirms what Blonde is saying about parliment being “pro-gay”.

You are quick to state: “As soon as my ‘christian teaching inspired’ behaviour affects my fellow citizens, I am subject to the laws of the land that we both live in.” How about the reverse where the laws of the land or proposed laws of the land affects fellow citizens and suppresses people who believe strongly that gay is sin. (Again it is not the people who are gay that I’m referring to but the actions commited that I’m referring to. I love all people irregardless of what they do. However that love is never in such a way as to condone behavior that God dispproves.)

Saying gay people can’t adopt is not hostile and so is not a terrible treatment of others. How about the promoting of the gay lifestyle that affects my personal expression that the gay lifestyle (not the gay person) is sin?

I don’t see the distinction from your final paragraph as you see. To put this issue on the same category as homophobia, discrimination and rascism is a gross over-generalization. To me those three are violated when attacking the person as opposed to actions of a person is done. No one here is attacking the person not are those in the majority who feel gay adoption is wrong. When the attitude that certain people are attacking the person when they are not gets projected onto them as a majority when in fact it is not that is where conflict arises and discussions go over the top.

Homophobia is attacking the person who is gay as opposed to the actions of the gay person. When this term gets used beyond this definition breakdown in communications arises.

18

Richard 01.29.07 at 8:35 pm

There all kinds of reasons why a couple might be refused what DH rightly calls the privilege of adoption.

But being gay isn’t one of them.

It really is as simple as that.

19

DH 01.29.07 at 8:54 pm

And that begs the question, and based on other statements from others on here: should it or shouldn’t it be one of them? I understand it is as simple as that but one still must take into consideration the question that is being begged “should gays get special privileges”?

Richard, while we may disagree, I do appreciate your balanced repsonse here to both myself and Chris. I take it “from your response here” that you don’t see myself as “homophobic, rascist or discriminatory” in that you know I love all people.

I stated “Saying that adoption shouldn’t be allowed based on being gay I feel is a limiting of special privileges.” Thanks Richard for understanding what I was trying to say which is that we should never promote special privileges for one group that should be reserved for another. I personally believe that gays should not receive this special privilege in that it promotes a confirmation of actions that I believe are wrong. I believe it goes the same way for parents wanting to adopt who are known to have been in adultry, etc. There is a consistency here.

20

Chris 01.29.07 at 9:23 pm

DH - your view of discrimination doesn’t seem to demonstrate much understanding of discrimination from the point of view of the discriminated. It is not merely about overt attacks, it is about being treated differently (negatively) because of an element of your identity which does not relate to the rest of your life.

The difference between a persons actions and who they are is a false distinction; just because you are discriminating based on their sexual behaviour (the term lifestyle is a terrible red herring, trying to suggest that gay people somehow live differerently other than in their sexual behaviour) does not make it any more relevant to their rights in a society. Can you clarify how protecting a minority from being refused goods and services “suppresses people who believe strongly that gay is sin”?

On the specific subject of adoption, in the UK homosexual couples are permitted to adopt. Although adoption is a privalege, to be considered and have your application considered according to relevant criteria is a right. I would agree that sexuality of parents is something that could be considered as relevant in choices of parents - I wouldn’t myself but i can see the validity of the arguement. However, the UK decided a few years ago that is is not a barrier to adoption.

The current debate in the UK, which was being referred to above, is about is an exemption for state-funded church agencies from laws preventing discrimination, allowing them to refuse to work with homosexual couples. The arguement in favour of this exemption is that a ban would restrict the right of the church agency to follow their relgious teaching. It is in this respect that I don’t believe religious belief is sufficiant justification for them to be exempted from the law on discrimination. If you offer a service to the public, you choose to offer it to the entire public, rather than selecting who you offer it to depending on your own criteria (there is an exemption for religious services - i.e. no obligation to marry gay couples). This is doubly true when you’re funded by the state.

21

DH 01.30.07 at 3:23 pm

Chris, I don’t believe in speration of church and state and believe strongly that it is wrong. So this entire argument that just because the government says it is okay for the seperation doesn’t mean I need to “go along with it”.

Also you said “However, the UK decided a few years ago that is is not a barrier to adoption.” That still doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t mean people who disagree have to sit back and “go along with this” either.

Again, I’m not discriminating because I’m not treating them negatively.

You ask ”
Can you clarify how protecting a minority from being refused goods and services “suppresses people who believe strongly that gay is sin”?” It suppress people who believe that homosexuality in a sin from seeing a greater promotion of the gay lifestyle (I use lifestyle because of Romans 1 and that people are not born gay other than temptation)(It isn’t a red herring except you making it a red herring. I should be free to use a term. If I used a sentence outside of what we are talking about yes but to nitpick a word and say it is a red herring when in fact the further discussion of it by you is the red herring seems rather odd to me.) I shouldn’t have to see a greater promotion of homosexuality. I care for homosexuals but when immoral behavior is promoted that is when responses like myself here arise.

The whole point earlier is that when people use overly hostile language (homophobe and the like) toward people who actually loves gay people as Christ does really makes for barriers in the conversation. To force people by discussion (or else be blamed homophobe, racist, etc.) to adhere to things or not promote things against homosexuality seems rather harsh to me. If a person attacks a person that is different and the laws address those. Outside of that (if we are going to use your definition of discrimination) becomes reverse discrimination.

22

Chris 01.30.07 at 11:11 pm

DH - Please bare with me becuase I’m struggling to understand the reasoning behind what you’re saying.

I understand your position on church and state - even if i disagree with it
I understand your interpretation of scripture which would see homosexuality as a sin - even if i disagree with it
I understand why, given the above postion, you don’t think gay couples are suitable adoptive parents - even, yet again, if i disagree with it
I understand the distinction between condeming the sin and sinner - even if i don’t find it convincing…

However, I don’t understand your objection to anti-discrimination legislation. If you distinguish the sin from the sinner (which is why i don’t think the term lifestyle is useful - it intertwines the two - it is the sexual acts which are sinful, not how they live their lives otherwise, no?) surely you want to protect them. That surely is the purpose and the total extent of such legislation. It is not an active promotion of the gay lifestyle, merely an acknowledgement that they are equally valid people whatever one thinks of their sexual behaviour and deserve protection from mistreatment? It is almost an embodiment in law of love/respect the sinner, hate/disagree with the sin.

I would not call you a homophobe - in fact i only used the term once! However, i would suggest that anyone who expresses their disapproval of gay sexual behaviour by treating the person unfairly in matters that don’t relate to their sexuality is failing to love them/show them the respect they deserve as people.

23

DH 02.01.07 at 5:44 pm

Chris what is in the anti-discrimination legislation, again?

24

Chris 02.01.07 at 9:56 pm

I’ll give you the specific example of the current ones being debated in the UK as they roughly follow the sort of protection that I think is necessary for gay people. I suspect that you’re unlikely to agree with the term ’sexual orienation’… but apart from that i’d say they were fairly uncontraversial, aside from possible rammifications re: adoption.

The Sexual Orientation Regulations forbid discrimination in provision of goods, services, facilities, education or public services on grounds of sexual orientation. (That’s the formal wording in the ‘Equalities Act’)

They define discrimination as “on grounds of sexual orientation, A treats B less favourably than he treats or would treat other persons”. They define sexual orientation as “a sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex, or to both persons of the same sex and of the opposite sex.”

Effectively, it means you cannot refuse to serve someone a drink/clean their windows/teach them maths on the grounds of their sexual behaviour.

25

DH 02.01.07 at 10:20 pm

I agree with you and the UK on this: “Effectively, it means you cannot refuse to serve someone a drink/clean their windows/teach them maths on the grounds of their sexual behaviour.” However with regard to the church situations referred here, adoption, etc. I don’t believe these fall into this category that you are referring to. I think the exception proposed was for the Catholic church and my strong suggestion would be to include all other churches where a compromising of Faith results. I believe the fact that the serving of people is done by churches that have religious issues with homosexuality is where there is an issue.

Basically, I have no problem working with homosexuals outside of church but within the church implies a condonign of behavior that I feel DOES affect ones religious freedom. based on your “The current debate in the UK, which was being referred to above, is about is an exemption for state-funded church agencies from laws preventing discrimination, allowing them to refuse to work with homosexual couples. The arguement in favour of this exemption is that a ban would restrict the right of the church agency to follow their relgious teaching.”

26

Jordan 08.02.07 at 12:51 pm

Hi DH,

I’d just like to point out something which bugs me occasionally; I hope you won’t take offence:

“promoting of the gay lifestyle”

I never really know how to take it when people start talking about the “gay lifestyle”. What exactly is this nebulous concept which I, and all other gay people, embody? Frankly, I have no idea! I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with my partner for four years, and have been to fewer gay night clubs than half of my straight friends. (In fact, I rather dislike clubs altogether.) What’s more, I know of at least one gay person who is choosing to remain celibate. Much of his lifestyle is entirely defined by his sexuality, because he believes that given his nature, he must never date or have a partner. Are we living the “gay lifestyle”?

I don’t mean to sound hostile, by the way. It’s just that I don’t like my entire lifestyle being defined by a single adjective. :) If you want to specify an objection to specific behaviours, then “homosexual sex” or “activities” would suffice better.

27

Beth 08.03.07 at 12:16 am

Chris and Jordan, I really like a lot of what you’re saying here, about understanding discrimination “from the point of view of the discriminated”. It’s all well and good to claim that one is not a homophobe because one simply disagrees with homosexual acts, but most people do not confine themselves to a simple disagreement. For example, they then seem to feel compeled to speak out against anti-discrimination laws such as that under discussion here; to support ex-gay ministry; to tell those gay people they know that they need God’s help to change. In my opinion, this kind of behaviour, however well-intentioned and however grounded in love it may be, is homophobic.

There is no way that anyone who has not experienced it can understand the feelings of self-hatred and disgust and worthlessness that this kind of discussion can cause in gay people. I don’t doubt anyone’s right to express their religious beliefs, but I would ask that they take resposibility for what they are saying. If you hide behind the shield of “I’m saying this in love”, it stops you from seeing the hurt and damage you are causing to people by your words.

In short, it’s your right to disagree with homosexual activity. It’s your right to speak against it. But it is not your right to claim that you are not harming anyone by so doing. Because I know for a fact that you are.

28

dh 08.03.07 at 6:54 pm

Beth, how is it harming someone when God desires us to ALL change to me more like Him? If I honestly say it in love and I don’t descriminate in my business dealings, etc. then how is that “homophobic”?

To Jordan, I commend your friend who is celibate. We are all tempted to sin but sin is a heart nature and response to do that sin that is the issue. When I say homosexual lifestyle I’m meaning those who think it is okay to do the homosexual acts and/or those who are not celibate. I will say that God can help your friend to not have to be celibate and have successful heterosexual marriages with no chance of relapse. It may be very difficult but with God all things are possible. I understand that gay people can have a difficult time with those who aren’t gay but what is great about God is that, if we have a strong relationship with God, He can help us change our behaviors whatever they may be. Beth, could it be that you are harming the Body of Christ and hurting myself by saying homosexuality is okay? May it is not your right in the reverse to claim I’m hurting anyone in light of the previous sentence? I’m not being hostile but I take issue with you saying I’m harming people in what I’m saying when God and Christ desire us to change to be more like Him whatever it may be. I still, Beth, will pray for God to truly bless you and help you to be more like Him. At least I care. :)

Jordan, thank you for not taking what I said as being hostile. I will continue to pray for you. What is great about Christ is that if we desire to change and be more like Him He can give us the power to “be all that we can be” for Him. I know many a person who disagrees, like myself, with homosexuality that has an attitude of hate, harshness, etc. which is contrary to Christ. I hope you can see how I care for you and want to see everyone to “be all they can be” for Christ. May God truly bless you, Jordan, Beth and Chris.

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