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Letters to the Editor

Both sides

August 16, 2010

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To the editor:

In light of Arianne Cordray’s letter on Aug. 10, I would like to thank the Journal-World for publishing Cal Thomas’ piece, if for no other reason than that the gay marriage debate needs to be open to opinions from both sides. Anyone who believes that the subject of gay marriage does not hold serious moral ramifications either way is kidding themselves just as they would if they said the same of the abortion debate.

Mr. Thomas expressed his firm moral beliefs but did so without the extreme name-calling and profane speech others have used before, and we should welcome people to express themselves and their justifications without such loathsome language. Besides, if Cordray wishes to call someone a “bigot,” I could think of better candidates than Mr. Thomas.

Arguments are uncomfortable and tend to be especially so for Americans, but attempting to dismiss a person as bigoted ultimately becomes unhelpful, especially when the individual is not being profane and is simply expressing his opinion and justifications. I respectfully invite Arianne Cordray to rebut Mr. Thomas’ piece with an argument instead of dismissing it as “bigoted, homophobic and misogynistic.” It would certainly move the debate in a positive direction.

Comments

Tom Shewmon 4 years, 5 months ago

Ms. McPheeters, it's the way of the left, namely the far-left. Name calling and wanting to silence the opposition. Our president and his administration and congress seem to not disagree with this tactic. Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals' is their political manual. Fox News, the most competent and reliable news source is hated by this adm. and congress for consistently exposing their Marxist agenda and corruption. If not for some non-biased voices in the media, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid would progress into a full-blown dictatorship in a short time.

grammaddy 4 years, 5 months ago

She said she wanted to move the debate in a positive direction. Your usual drivel doesn't qualify.And you've got it backwards anyway. This piece had nothing to do with Obama-Pelosi-Reid, but as usual your train is on it's one track.

mom_of_three 4 years, 5 months ago

ROFLMAO!
Oh, you were serious.
Well, then, to say only the left call names is well, the pot calling the kettle black.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 5 months ago

Tom, I have a very serious question to ask you. How do you live with so much hate running through you on a constant basis? If it were me it would tear my stomach up, give me high blood pressure and run off every family member I had. I commend your steel constitution and the very high level of tolerance of your family members.

Ralph Reed 4 years, 5 months ago

Tom, That goes both ways and you, if anyone, should know that. Your attaching name-calling and "wanting to silence the opposition" to the left (as you call it) is simply another form of name calling. O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh, et al, all engage in name calling and wanting to silence the opposition. By your definition, these people are of the far left which I assure you they are not. So, give it a break, lighten up on the hate and read what people are saying.

I disagree with Cal Thomas on almost everything, yet I agree with the point of Isaac McPheeters' letter. The name-calling and throwing rocks across the fence is removing debate and discussion, and replacing it with vitriolic hate speech.

Oh, Unless I'm mistaken, Isaac is a man's name. I think you owe MR Isaac McPheeters an apology for misapplying an appellation.

Corey Williams 4 years, 5 months ago

TomShewmon (Tom Shewmon) says… "My personal fav is Cheney telling Reid to "go f___ yourself". Classic."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

"I respectfully invite Arianne Cordray to rebut Mr. Thomas’ piece with an argument instead of dismissing it as “bigoted, homophobic and misogynistic.”"

Well, it was, Isaac. Which means it's not merely "name-calling."

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

That may be true, but I believe the point the LTE writer was attempting to make is that it would have been better to rebut Mr. Thomas's column with a discussion of the facts rather than just saying 'You're a big stupidhead'. If you believe a person is wrong, then explain why they're wrong. Dismissing any point of view merely because of the label you stamped on their forehead does nothing to contribute to the debate.

jaywalker 4 years, 5 months ago

Don't agree with Thomas' take and seems I wouldn't w/ this LTE writer either, but she still got this right. Thomas' opinion is the anti-side of the argument over the California legislation and should be heard. That being said, an even better reason for allowing all sides of an argument, no matter how odious an individual might find it, illuminates the flaws and out-of-date/touch thinking on such matters, allowing those on the fence to move in the correct direction, and hopefully softening the harder line stances. And in Thomas' case, not that he needs it much, exposes himself for such backward opining. I'm reminded of the old Irish proverb:

“May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.”

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

And before beatrice chimes in, yes, bea, pretty sure jaywalker meant "should", just as I did.

jaywalker 4 years, 5 months ago

Early grin of the day, gracias, nota!

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence has their own version of Comical Ali. Remember him?

"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"

"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all"

"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."

"They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks."

Sounds familiar when you listen to some of these rants.

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

Isaac and Cal have the right to their opinions and religious beliefs, but they do not have the right, through government, to force those beliefs on others.

If your religion believes that sex is only for procreation, and that contraceptives are immoral, you have the right to never use contraceptives. You have no right to ban contraceptives to anyone who is not part of your belief system.

If your religion believes that life begins when the egg and sperm meet, it's your choice not to get an abortion. But you can not force that belief onto others.

If your religion believes that homosexuality is a sin, then don't allow your minister to perform same sex marriages, but you can not force those same beliefs onto people not of your religion. A marriage license is issued through the state. If 2 consenting adults wish to marry, they should be allowed. Your church does not have to accept these people as members. You do not have to let them have their ceremony in your church. You do not have to attend a ceremony of a same sex couple. You may have to live next door to a same sex couple, but you don't have to talk to them, and please mind your own business, and stay away from their bedroom windows. I'm real sure that is none of Isaac's and Cal's business what goes on in someone else's bedroom.

Isaac McPheeters 4 years, 5 months ago

Tomatogrower,

You say "If your religion believes that life begins when the egg and sperm meet, it's your choice not to get an abortion. But you can not force that belief onto others." In short, it sounds like you're saying, "Don't like abortion? Don't have one." The same logic would say, "Don't like slaves? Don't own one." A government that allows a behavior is often an endorsement of it.

staff04 4 years, 5 months ago

Ah, nothing like the old Abortion/Slavery strawman...

Isaac McPheeters 4 years, 5 months ago

Staff, you fail to see the logic here, and it's not a straw man. The same applies for infanticide. Would Tomatogrower be in favor of my having the right to kill my child at 2 weeks old? I doubt it. The issue is not really "choice" as much as he (or she) argues, but rather the moral quality of the act itself.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Except that abortion is a very fuzzy issue, morally.

Some believe that a fetus, immediately after conception, is a human life.

Others believe that a fetus, after a certain point, is a human life.

Still others believe that a fetus, before birth, is not a human life.

Who's right, and why?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

That is one issue that, unfortunately, I don't think will ever be decided by science or logic, it will always be more a question based on morality and emotion.

Isaac McPheeters 4 years, 5 months ago

NotaJayhawk,

Certainly in the past the discussion was much more often driven by emotion, but now I think the debate is becoming more intelligent on both sides.

I must say, however, that I believe one can take an approach based on morality and logic simultaneously.

Anyway, if you ever want to read a logical approach to the anti-abortion position, I recommend "Defending Life" by Dr. Francis Beckwith. He handles many arguments on tough subjects like rape and also the twinning arguments. I know of only one rebuttal to his book, and the author claimed she could not rebut his claims the unborn was a person and proceeded to argue why we should allow abortions of unborn persons.

Isaac McPheeters 4 years, 5 months ago

Well, you're certainly very perceptive on the nature of the issue. It's not really a question of choice. If it's a person, then we still may not kill it even if we choose to. If it's not, then it's another form of contraception. This goes back to my main point that there really isn't a morally neutral ground the state can take on the issue.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Maybe.

But the argument was that your faith-based belief that a fetus is a human life from conception doesn't allow you the right to ban abortion.

Our society will continue to grapple with the issue, and try to find reasonable ways of understanding it.

Personally, the most convincing idea I've come across is that before viability outside the womb, a fetus is more like a part of the mother's body, and afterwards it's more like a separate life.

But it's a very grey area.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

"Isaac and Cal have the right to their opinions and religious beliefs, but they do not have the right, through government, to force those beliefs on others."

And, um, gee - they did that, how, again? See, tomato, they don't have the power to force their beliefs on others, either. They wrote their opinions for others to read. Nobody forced you to read them, let alone live by them.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Except that the groups that generally have these opinions also want to enact legislation to force others to follow their beliefs.

And actively try to do so.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Not saying I disagree. I said they don't, by themselves, have the power to implement such changes, and just letting them spout their ideas doesn't force anyone to do anything.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

An addendum:

There were probably plenty of people - possibly a majority - who thought it dangerous, un-American, etc., to editorialize about such ridiculous concepts as women voting, abolishing slavery, etc. Heck, even before the Constitution was written, there were plenty of folks who thought it dangerous and disloyal to talk about declaring independence.

There's no power in words alone. Some ideas will catch on, some won't. Those that do will eventually gain 'power' because people will listen, will act on them, and implement them. But I tend to believe that people are mostly good (well, except Democrats, of course, but that goes without saying). The ideas that improve the human condition tend to take root, the ones that diminish it tend to wither, if they sprout at all.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

A lovely post, except for the Democrat part (does that mean you think I'm mostly bad?)

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

I was kidding, of course. Never figured out a satisfactory way to put an emoticon inside the parentheses.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't think you're mostly bad ....

;-)

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

If you noticed, I said they have that right. Unfortunately they probably support candidates who would like to force it on others. But I personally don't think they should get rid of old Cal. I need to have my blood pressure raised now and then anyway.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Many religious conservatives would like to outlaw abortion, and have been actively trying to do so for some time.

In addition, many of them are actively anti-homosexual due to their religious beliefs.

There have also been laws on the books, some of which are still there, that make certain sexual activities, even between heterosexuals, illegal. I'm pretty sure it's not the liberals who created them.

It's a strange contradiction - conservatives advocate for less government and more personal freedom, except when it comes to sexuality.

And, when you vote, you're not voting for or against "issues", you're voting for or against legislation. You certainly have the right to do that, but if the legislation is unconstitutional, then you don't have the right to enact it.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

"There have also been laws on the books, some of which are still there, that make certain sexual activities, even between heterosexuals, illegal. I'm pretty sure it's not the liberals who created them."

I suppose you'd have to look at when they were written, and what the prevailing community standards were at the time.

"You certainly have the right to do that, but if the legislation is unconstitutional, then you don't have the right to enact it."

True, to an extent. But the Constitution was written by, and for, people. I realize that it is supposed to be something greater than that, something that is in place to protect certain groups from the 'tyranny of the majority'. Unfortunately, it was written by a majority, one that lived hundreds of years ago, and to some degree, the end result is that we are all being forced to live by what a group of men decided was 'right' over two hundred years ago.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Do you really think that liberals generally want to control other people's sexual activities (between consenting adults)?

Interesting point - it was absolutely written by and for people. I'm not sure they were a majority at the time though - wasn't it a relatively small group that was involved?

We can also amend the Constitution and have done so, so it's not a completely fixed entity. But there are certain principles involved - do you think we should just trash it and start over? What principles would you substitute?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Nope. I think the definition of "liberal" changes over time, as do the definitions of most everything else. E.g., by the standards of today, Abraham Lincoln would be considered a raving bigot.

There are moral standards that have changed over the years. Movies that used to draw an "X" rating are now "R" or even "PG". I'm not saying it was the liberals who tried to put restrictions on people's sexual habits, I'm saying that nobody approved of the commonplace stuff you can see on the internet today.

"We can also amend the Constitution and have done so, so it's not a completely fixed entity. But there are certain principles involved - do you think we should just trash it and start over?"

I never said we should amend or do away with anything. I only cautioned that it's possible. To say that a majority can not impose their will on others because of the Constitution ignores the fact that it is possible for a large enough majority to change that Constitution.

What would happen, for instance, if there was a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Supreme Court?

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Your post stated that we all know abortion is a "personal decision" - if one is trying to outlaw it, then one doesn't believe it's a personal decision.

My point, again, is that you seem not to understand the difference between the right to an opinion and the right (or lack thereof) to control other people's lives.

Let's say we live in a small community, and the majority of the community believes that Christianity is evil, and a bad influence on society - does that majority have the right to ban Christianity?

What if the community believes that white men do not deserve to be married - do they have the right to deny white men the right to marry?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

At times there were things similar to those that were considered Constitutional. And theoretically speaking, while the vote of a simple majority would not make them Constitutional again, it is possible to amend that document.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely.

But I would think the process is a bit more stringent, and makes it hard to amend the document in ways that obviously conflict with existing basic principles and fundamental rights - at least I hope it is!

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

My somewhat limited understanding of the document in question leads me to believe that it's easier to amend it in the direction of expanding rights than it is to restrict them, which, I think, was the intention. (I also think that has traditionally been the way the Supreme Court has tended to interpret the Constitution.) I.e., I think it would be easier to amend the Constitution to give 16-year-olds the right to vote than it would be to take away some groups voting rights.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Yes, that's my understanding as well.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

I could be wrong (it's been known to happen on rare occasions), but I don't think he was 'castigating' you, I think he was offering the very kind of counterpoint you're arguing in favor of allowing.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I agree with all 3 of your statements.

Why didn't you answer my hypothetical questions?

I absolutely do not preach that the "arrogant left" should control anything.

I advocate that our country was founded on certain principles, and that majority opinion doesn't have the right to supersede those principles.

You have expressed that position on a variety of threads in a variety of ways - that the majority should dominate.

I disagree with you.

And, I am trying to show you a distinction - that being that while we all have a right to our opinions, that doesn't give us the right to control others - on another thread, beatrice was offended by Cal Thomas' column and thought the paper shouldn't print it - I argued strenuously against her position, that freedom of speech means the freedom to say and write things which offend others.

Personally, I almost completely disagree with the column, but I wouldn't argue in favor of squelching it's publication.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I was assuming we were discussing a hypothetical community in the US, with our current Constitution.

  1. Yes, there is a constitutionally protected freedom of religion, so the majority has no right to ban it. And yes, if the majority ideas don't change, then the minority will have a tough time.

  2. Actually, it has been decided, in Loving vs. Virginia, that the right to marry is a fundamental right, and cannot be abridged lightly. So the answer is the same - the majority doesn't have the right to arbitrarily deny the right to marry.

The idea that the majority will prevail regardless is a bit disturbing.

But the fact that you're aware that minorities, even if they're exercising constitutionally protected freedoms, has a hard time in the face of majority opposition, is a bit heartening.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't believe that a majority is per se good or bad.

My concern is that many people equate the majority opinion with the right one, and with the right to dictate to the minority.

Even when doing so violates the Constitution.

That's just mob rule, in my opinion.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Just substitute conservatives for "Libs" and you'll also generally be accurate.

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

I disagree and you don't know WTF you're talking about.

;-)

staff04 4 years, 5 months ago

Tom in a nutshell:

Well, that pretty much sums it up.

;)

jehovah_bob 4 years, 5 months ago

Me in a nutshell:

"Hey I'm trapped in a nutshell! Let me out!"

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I hate to offend, but,...

"centered and on solid footing" is perhaps one of the last ways I would describe you, from the content and tone of your posts.

Bridgett Wagner 4 years, 5 months ago

I was with the writer right up until she compared the "issue" of gay marriage to abortion in terms of serious moral ramifications. WHAT?!

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

On the other hand, there are some members of these message boards who appear to be to the left of Karl Marx.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Have you ever come across any moderates, TS?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Sorry for the ambiguity, Defender, I wasn't talking about you. But you have to admit there are some people around here who make Mao look like Rush Limbaugh.

Okay, now that I said that, there may be a resemblance there somewhere ...

Corey Williams 4 years, 5 months ago

You mean mao had four wives, a drug addiction and someone else's viagra prescription?

Olympics 4 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of the tone/substance of this debate, your grandkids/kids/young adults don't care about limiting marriage to LGBT people.

You are losing this fight with the death of your generation.

"A witness stand is a lonely place to lie"- David Boies talking to Tony Perkins. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6754377n

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps. But that's no guarantee that our kids/grandkids/young adults will have the same opinion when they're old enough to make a difference.

MyName 4 years, 5 months ago

What I don't understand is how this LTE writer claims he wants an actual argument on the issue, and then also claims that Thomas' article was an example of this. It was vapid, worthless, shed absolutely no light on any of the legal issues and basically can be summed up as "Gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because my god says so."

How is there any other way to respond to the without calling it what it is?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Um, I dunno' - maybe by presenting a factual, logical, coherent rebuttal?

Corey Williams 4 years, 5 months ago

Shouldn't Cal have presented a factual, logical, coherent opinion?

notajayhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Opinions, by their nature, are not generally factual. I suppose you have a legitimate beef with the other two, though.

All I'm saying is that reducing it to the level of a second-grade schoolyard argument doesn't exactly help the cause of the advocates for gay marriage. If I were trying to sway the minds of the electorate (which, in the end, is the only thing that's ever going to settle the issue), and someone was trying to make comments that were disparaging to my cause, I'd say 'Bring it on', as it gives me the opportunity to expose it for what it is, an opinion, and what it's not, which is factual. If I said 'You can't print what he's saying', it gives the impression that a) he's right, b) people will believe him, or c) I'm hiding something. Bring the negative opinions into the light, where everyone can see that there's nothing to them.

MyName 4 years, 5 months ago

There's nothing to rebut. It's like "god says the sky is green, so therefore it must be green". You need to have a minimum standard of argument on one side before you can get into an honest debate.

Trying to pretend that a sham of an argument is legitimate only cheapens the arguments of the few people on the right who are actually interested in a debate while giving credibility to the fig leaf that is a Cal Thomas opinion piece.

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