|Quoting DocLightning (Reply 137):|
And they would be unambiguously wrong. Your religious freedom is the freedom to practice your own religion. When that practice steps on the rights of others, then the establishment clause steps in.
Doc - just wanted to be clear that I agree with you 100% on this. Unfortunately there are MANY people in the US who don't see the logical disconnect behind religious justification for government action other than to protect people's right to worship how they please.
The most common argument I hear on this is to the effect that "the majority of people believe that X (Gay Marriage for example) is wrong, therefore it should be the law of the land." Even if that majority believe it is wrong primarily on religious or personal preference grounds. The problem there is that if we want to just go with the majority opinion on issues of personal freedom our Constitution and Bill of Rights are redundant.
I think it comes down to how fundamentally the preferences of the majority impact the individual freedoms of a minority, especially when exercise of those freedoms can't be shown to materially injure others.
For example, the majority probably believe that public nudity should be curtailed, if for no other reason than that they don't want to see other people naked. Homophobes or religious/social conservative individuals might make the same argument about married gay couples - ie they "don't want to see that" - either because they personally find it offensive or religiously sinful. In both cases one would be hard pressed to articulate how the presence of either public nudity or married gay couples might materially injure another person. After all, over the course of history humans have probably been naked a lot longer than they have been dressed. The difference is that depriving an individual of the freedom to dispense with clothing is orders of magnitude less of an imposition by the majority than depriving gay people of their ability to exercise one of the basic human rights that heterosexuals enjoy (entering into a marriage bond with another person).
Please understand I'm not trying to compare gay people to nudists, it just works well for the logic of my argument.
|Quoting mbmbos (Reply 136):|
Nothing definitive has been worked out, but there's a lot of attention paid to an answer that is both nature and nurture; i.e., genetic proclivity (nature) coupled with exposure to certain hormones in utero (nurture).
I'm a big fan of science, but I wonder sometimes what the point of even answering this question might be, other than to show that people don't simply select their orientation. The fact is that most people are straight ('mostly straight' I should probably say) and some aren't. And both contribute positively to the "fabric of society". I'm straight and grew up programmed to be a homophobe, but being a member of a minority group myself (non-religious) I now see that we need to work toward an attitude where people can just be who they are as long as it isn't hurting anybody else. Whatever your thing happens to be.
Call me cynical, but I think that if we ever do conclusively discover the 'cause' of homosexuality, the same people who have consistently called being gay a choice would probably be the first ones to abandon that view and advocate pursuing ways to intervene genetically or hormonally to "cure" homosexuality in utero.