The Bible and homosexuality: a vew from West Wing

November 8, 2008 | By | 118 Replies More

Here’s a not-so-subtle reference to “Dr. Laura” by West Wing.  I’m posting as my personal protest to the passing of Prop 8 in California.

I suspect that all of those California Bible-thumpers who successfully voted in favor of bigotry are resting content tonight.   And no, you don’t have to be consciously and intentionally bigoted to be bigoted.

Here’s more on Prop 8 from Wikipedia:

Religious organizations that supported Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California’s largest, also endorsed the measure. . . . About 45% of out-of-state contributions to came from Utah, over three times more than any other state.

If only the Roman Catholic Church would have spent 1% as much effort on rooting out their own rapist priests as they did trying to prevent gays from having their long-term committed relationships recognized by the state.


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (118)

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  1. Vicki Baker says:

    I'm not quite buying this portrayal of Karl as a nice guy compared to us meanies. He may be polite, and prefer vagueness to being blunt, but I think he's being fairly passive-aggressive in continually hinting that homosexuality equates to bestiality and pedophilia, atheism to immoral inhumanity,etc.

    For me, any claim Karl might have had to the moral high ground was completely shot by his admiration of Andy Martin, noted lunatic, anti-Semite, and self-admitted author of one of the most vicious political whisper campaigns in recent history. By choosing to believe and propagate Martin's self-promotional ravings and unfounded insinuations, Karl lost all intellectual as well as moral credibility with me.

  2. Karl says:


    I never said I admired Andy Martin. I happen to think when a person does manage to do something correctly, despite mess-ups in the past that the thing they do correctly should be recognized for what it is.

    I'm sure you were once proud of some pretty dispicable things you've done at some time in your life. How do I know this? We are all in the same human condition in this regard.

    If people encouraged correct behavior and less obnoxious behavior the entire world would stop and take notice.

    People's political views will always have an opposition. If you think you or I are capable of taking the high moral ground all of the time we are both mistaken.

    I am not Jesus Christ, Mark is not his "ideal atheist" and you are somewhere along the spectrum, I'll let you decide that one.

  3. For the record, I don't believe there is an "ideal Atheist." Nor do I believe there is an Ideal Christian, Buddhist, etc. Ideal Types are purely rhetorical devices, but since no one could really agree on what such an Ideal would consist of, it is a chimera. It does not exist.

    I think you attribute far more to what might come under the heading Atheist than is supportable by example of even intended by my argument. But I need to think about that before answering.

  4. Vicki Baker says:

    Karl, Andy Martin is not do anything "correctly" by switching to a new tactic to discredit Barack Obama. Mr. Obama has proven his citizenship to the same standard that you or I would be held to, and that's all there is to it. Your continued defense of Andy Martin rules out my taking you seriously as a conversation partner. I'm not going to reply to anything here, so please don't let this take you off track. Please continue your discussion with Mark.

  5. Karl says:

    I believe many here at dangerous intersection think man is the measure of all things and that anything/anyone beyond people can’t be factored into their perspective. You believe you have chosen your brand of atheism/secularism/progressiveism for a humane reason. I can’t argue with that.

    However, if someone were to first suggest and then repeatedly show you that you were doing something inhumane to them, would you then feel obligated to change? BTW this type of a list of items could be innumerable.

    If so, there are values and beliefs that the society seems to be free and at will to either create or destroy. This would include the forms and documents of government for a free or enslaved people. Then the issue comes down to what is freedom from condemnation by the society. It will never find an end. Every group with any wacky, perverted or just plain strange idea should be free to push their agenda because they can claim they are not being treated with dignity or respect.

    Any attempts at raising children will soon become inhumane and many young people will declare themselves emancipated minors at younger and younger ages. Then they can do whatever they want to do behind closed doors as well.

  6. Alison says:

    Karl, you're doing all the wrong things to win an argument. You can't redefine words, invoke logical fallacies, move the goalposts, and imply slippery slopes and be taken seriously by people who recognize those as bad tactics. In addition, you've gone to great pains to tell people here how awful and immoral they really are, so you can't expect to get more respect than you've given. I'm finding myself becoming less open-minded, not more, each time I read your posts.

  7. Karl says:

    I've never said I was a paragon of virtue either.

  8. Man, as you say, may not be the measure of all things, but thus far he/she seems the only one around that has come up with a yardstick. As soon as we encounter extraterrestrials as smart or smarter than we are, we may find the kind of humility that will benefit us.

  9. Karl says:


    What words did I redefine?

    Clarify my logical fallacies if you would?

    What goal posts did I move?

    I did not imply a slippery slope, I stated it for what it is.

  10. Karl says:


    Pride goes before a fall, or there is no sense in discussing humility.

    Peoples actual view if reality is based upon what they want it to be until it is no longer reasonably possible to believe otherwise.

    I still believe it is possible to learn from the historical past measures of man. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    The yardstick you refer to if its based upon the average normal person will always be changing. May we all come to our senses before the mob of angry self absorbed uncivilized (but very principled) masses carry out their next scorched earth campaign.

  11. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl, we don't "think man is the measure of all things and that anything/anyone beyond people can’t be factored into their perspective." The Biblical point of view is that everything is tailored to the scale of man. My (our?) view is that man has recently discovered and proven that this is very far from the truth.

    See this post from last year: The Universe is not Specified to Human Scale that details how most of what we have learned that disagrees with Fundamentalist Biblical Literalism comes directly from having discovered, bit by bit, the huge range of scales of the natural universe that are beyond unenhanced human perception. None of the discoveries that modern existence depends upon were mentioned or even alluded to in the Bible (a book written by men).

    Science is all about discovering how things really are, independent of the prejudices and foibles of Man. How can you define a Kelvin in terms of man? How about a light year? A Roentgen? The Planck length? The statistical calculus that relates individual behavior to mob psychology?

    Okay, that last one is a distinct measure of Man. But it was not available until we were able to look outside of ourselves and see how our own behavior is at variance with how we perceive and report it.

  12. Karl says:

    The Kelvin is defined by man as the coldest temperature limit to which matter can be subjected. Man defines all the terms. There could be a real temperature colder for which matter can not be involved. It removed relative temperatures and allowed for clear direct kinetic energy comparisons.

    The constant relationship between a light year (distance) and a time is a derived calcualtion that man assumes can exist but may actually be something different from the assumptions. There is no reason to mandate that with light energy, distance and time must be considered absolute, it's sure is convenient, but it might be a logical fallacy based upon man's assumptions.

    As for the roentgen although its use was allowable under the SI system, it is not itself an SI unit and continued use is "strongly discouraged" by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A man made assessment.

    The Planck length is deemed "natural" because it can be defined from three fundamental physical constants: the speed of light, Planck's constant, and the gravitational constant. This a fundamental smallest common factor between the relationships of these other assumed constants. The assumed nature of the constants appears elegant, but they could again all be interdependent upon the methods of their definitions and assumed constancies.

    I believe science does have absolutes in regards to how man perceives them, but these are based upon human observations and assumptions which don't necessarily have to be invariant.

  13. You know, Karl, there's an in-built irony I find in your approach to science, politics, etc. You are a profoundly dedicated relativist. In fact, I'd almost go so far as to say that your conditional responses to "all things man-made" constitutes a kind of deconstructivist apprehension Derrida would have found touching. Which makes some of your more absolutist pronouncements kind of…odd.

  14. Karl says:

    My perspective towards man is that manmade absolutes don't exist. My perspective towards the physical world is that it may all very well be an illusion which mankind can delude himself about by thinking in absolute terms about matters that are indeed relative in nature.

    My perspective towards matters of the Spirit is that there are indeed absolutes against which no manmade concept or law will ever suceed. These spiritual absolutes are the character and Nature of God.

    This is why you find my thought process ironic.

  15. That's very Zen, Karl. Almost Buddhist.

  16. Dan Klarmann says:

    Although you can claim that the Kelvin was defined by man, as opposed to discovered, its definition is absolute. Read up on Bose Einstein condensates (that I've mentioned before to you) and you can see why the absolute bottom temperature must be absolute. Asking what is colder than absolute zero is basically wondering what is slower than a dead stop.

    The constancy of the speed of light was discovered by Einstein by assuming that the well-proven equations of Maxwell were correct, and that all motion is relative. That's it. That's all you need to prove that the speed of light is constant and finite, and that matter actually is energy (E=MC<sup>2</sup>).

    These (and other) absolute definitions were hotly disputed discoveries of how the universe actually works, not inventions of man. They all have practical consequences that can be measured in many ways, to confirm their objective nature.

    Well, you need to know some fancy math to prove them. Read A History of Mathematics to get an idea of where that comes from. Or at least read the relatively brief Wiki on the subject.

  17. Karl says:

    I believe I still read the word assumed in most of what you wrote. Who has done the assuming, a yes, men and women.

  18. Karl says:

    Mark says:

    That’s very Zen, Karl. Almost Buddhist.

    Buddhists need a way to get beyond of their mistakes as much as anybody else. I believe they have one thing clear, matter is not all their is.

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