Christians Mistake Their Beams For Motes, Crucify Selves On Own Logic

Today’s Globe contains a delightful letter from one Kris Mineau, who may or may not be a man, or a woman, or a boy, or a girl, but who self-identifies as the President of the Massachusetts Family Institute, apparently out of Woburn, Massachusetts.

The first warning bell should be the organization’s name, the Massachusetts Family Institute, the sort of name behind which Christian fundogelicals hide their narrow-minded views of the world.

Here’s the letter, appropriately commented by a Christmasless Grumpy Lion:

DERRICK JACKSON has failed to recognize a key reason Americans chose Barack Obama to be their leader: his ability to disagree without being disagreeable. In lambasting President-elect Obama’s choice of pastor Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation, Jackson has embraced hypocrisy and intolerance rather than hope and change.

M. Mineau cast Derrick Jackson, a regular Globe columnist, of progressive leanings, as a hypocrite and agent of intolerance. A strong opening salvo by Mineau.

Whether Jackson likes it or not, the vast majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. So does the incoming president. Every state – 30 in total – in which the people were allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage has passed such a measure. Obama recognized that to lead the entire country, he must reach out symbolically to the tens of millions of Americans who may or may not have voted for him but who embrace Warren’s Christian worldview.

Now Mineau falls into a couple of  typical fallacies practiced by people seeking to rationalize their intolerance. If six billion people believe the world is flat and one person believes it is round, is the world flat or round? If Thabo Mbeki believes AIDS is not caused by a virus, but by poor living conditions, is AIDS caused by a virus or poverty (hundreds of thousands of South Africans died because of that man’s arrogance)? If fifty states voted to make the enslavement of people of color legal, would slavery be right?

If Rick Warrren believes that a certain minority group of Americans, who hold jobs, who pay taxes, who feel the same emotions as the rest of humanity, should be discriminated against in law, should be denied the same rights and privileges accorded all other Americans, does that make it right to do so?

Mineau says yes to Warren’s bigotry, and would also, by Mineau’s own fallacious logic, have to say the earth is flat, AIDS is caused by poverty, and slavery is just hunky-dory.

While America readies itself for a new brand of leadership, old-guard liberals will have to learn how to be more inclusive of their fellow Americans.

Perhaps Mineau would care to explain how liberals and progressives must be more inclusive of bigots, but the bigots can simply continue about their business of corrupting American democratic values to exclude anyone they don’t like.

Perhaps Mineau would care to explain just how it is that marriage is under attack, given that there is no evidence of anyone getting divorced from a straight marriage simply because gay marriage has been legalized in a few states, and given that no one is telling straights that they can’t get married, and given that fifty percent of straight marriages end in divorce and the highest rate of divorce occurs in the so-called Bible Belt states.

Perhaps Mineau would care to enlighten the citizenry about the roots of the Christian arrogance and bigotry that Warren and others of his ilk apparently practice and wish to inflict on the rest of society.

Mineau’s got a huge beam in his eye, but, typically for a Christian, Mineau can’t see it.

33 Responses

  1. You might be able to spot a mote in your eye, but I’m guessing that those beams tend to blind people.

  2. Perhaps someone could explain to Mr. Mineau that the US is not a democracy but a republic, then explain argumentum ad populum, then perhaps school him on the Civil Rights movement.

  3. It occurs to me that ‘Mineau’ could easily be French for ‘little water’ (or a homophone [he won't like that word] for ‘minnow’), as in ‘his logic holds little water’, or even ‘his thoughts are minnowesque in their depth and truth’.

  4. “Now Mineau falls into a couple of typical fallacies practiced by people seeking to rationalize their intolerance.”

    Ric, disagreeing with someone doesn’t make them guilty of logical fallacy. I support the argument that the state has no business involving itself in the sexual relationships of consenting adults when conducted in private. The argument for state recognition of gay marriages is the opposite argument, because state recognition of marriage is the state regulation of a sexual relationships between consenting adults. It has to be one or the other.

    And it’s hardly liberal or democratic to impose state recognition of gay marriages, when the majority of the public is against state recognition – and also, if gay marriages – why not incestuous or polygamous marriages?

    The real question is why does the state need to legally recognise who we fuck?!!

  5. No, disagreeing is not a fallacy, obviously. But claiming that a thing is right because large numbers of people want it so, or because a so-called authority wants it so, are fallacies. Mineau offers no evidence that gay marriage is destructive of straight marriage, or that there is in fact any rational, evidence-based reason to ban gay marriage. All he offers is the appeal to authority and the appeal to numbers.

    In fact, the evidence shows that gay marriage does not disrupt society or cause any change in morals or ethics or behavior. Massachusetts legalized it and the state hasn’t come apart; society functions just fine; the institution of marriage is alive (I’m not convinced it has ever been well, but that’s just me).

    Gay marriage is not, no matter how you parse it, a threat to civilization. Institutional bigotry and the denial of rights to a minority does threaten a foundation of Western civilization. To say a black is a second-class citizen merely because he is black isn’t acceptable; why is saying that to a gay person acceptable? The real argument isn’t about being gay and married. It’s about denying civil rights to a minority segment of the citizenry because they are different in some respect from what may be considered the so-called norm in society.

    For what it’s worth, polling in California shows that enough people feel they were misled by religious propaganda on Proposition 8 to reverse the results of the vote. So what’s the rule here – propaganda makes right?

    The underlying idea is wrong, despite the fulminations of the religious right who apparently think society should be governed by Leviticus, or parts of Leviticus they think they can get away with. If they truly had the courage of their convictions they would be out murdering gays and Wiccans and atheists like me. But then that might conflict with the demands of Christ in the New Testament and they would all fall into catatonic psychosis… actually, not a bad outcome. And I don’t doubt that if the religious wingnuts ever gain the political power they want (theocracy, tyranny, etcetera) they will do what they’ve done in the past – murder the people who disagree with them, who don’t follow their theologies.

    As for the need for the state to legally recognize who we fuck – taxes!

  6. @ Phillychief

    Mineau didn’t make an argumentum ad populum (if the majority believe it so, it is so) – she argued that a president cannot rule without the consent of the governed, which is a central argument of John Locke’s theory of the republic and the social contract, and was one of the founding principles of the US Republic. So she obviously has a better understanding of the American constitution, political theory than you but that doesn’t matter because she’s a Christian and you can’t bear the fact that she might have a rational argument for objecting to state imposed morality.

  7. BTW, Mineau is a retired military man.

  8. Steph -

    The governed include the majority who voted for Obama and the Democrats and strongly refuted the government of the past eight years, including the religious fanatics who figured so prominently in Bush policies. Obama and the Democrats have been given consent to govern. The Mineaus and the Warrens have not. It’s not the business of government to kowtow to a minority of its electorate when they are wrong on an issue. Consider their view, yes. Possibly even compromise, depending on the depth of their wrongness.

    Mineau and his ilk are on about a single issue – gay marriage. That’s all he addresses in his letter.

    And how can he et al have a rational argument for objecting to state imposed morality, when if he were the state he would impose his morality?

  9. @ Ric

    Mineau offers no evidence that gay marriage is destructive of straight marriage,

    She doesn’t have to you have to make the case that there is an argument for state recognition of marriage, the burden’s the other way round. You’re arguing that this should be a right – why?

    “or that there is in fact any rational, evidence-based reason to ban gay marriage.”

    Actually she does: lack of public consent.

    “All he offers is the appeal to authority and the appeal to numbers.”

    That would be rule by consent of the governed – she (or he) didn’t write the American constitution but that is the American constitution.

    In fact, the evidence shows that gay marriage does not disrupt society or cause any change in morals or ethics or behavior.

    Stonewall argues the opposite, that the government has a duty to impose gay rights legislation in the face of public opposition and to change the public view. There are many arguments against state recognition of gay marriage, but the most important is there isn’t broad public consent for doing so. The public at large does not accept that there is a social or moral equivalence between gay and straight marriage. Whether or not you believe gay marriage undermines the sanctity of marriage and the family depends on your point of view. You can argue in favour or against gay marriage from a theological point of view.

    “To say a black is a second-class citizen merely because he is black isn’t acceptable; why is saying that to a gay person acceptable?”

    Ric, defining yourself as gay is a lifestyle choice, being married is a lifestyle choice, being black isn’t. There is no evidence to support the notion that anyone is born gay, and no one is denying a gay person their sexual preference. State recognition of marriage isn’t a civil right. Gay people are not being denied a civil right or being sexually oppressed here, this is just an argument for state recognition of gay marriages.

    As for the need for the state to legally recognize who we fuck – taxes!

    That’s not a need, it’s a reason why the state shouldn’t be regulating who we fuck.

  10. @ Ric

    As I said, no evidence at all! That article was back in 2005, fast forward to 2008 and you still won’t find a single peer reviewed scientific paper identifying a gay gene. Even Stonewall has publicly rejected that a gay gene exists or that sexual orientation is genetically or biologically determined.

  11. I’m sorry, I agree that everyone deserves equal rights, but all of this pales in comparison to Zimbabwe:

    http://girldujour.wordpress.com/2008/12/27/zimbabwe-update-cholera-lack-of-food-and-water-mugabe-not-for-the-faint-of-heart/

  12. And in Paris, all they want is somewhere to live:

    http://iht.com/articles/2008/12/23/europe/homeless.php

  13. John Locke? Oh, very nice. I don’t remember Kris invoking Locke, but since you’ve got your crystal ball there to read his mind and also my mind by stating my objections are simply due to him being Christian and not on the actual substance of his letter, how could I possibly object?

    Of course you’re completely daft.

    …she might have a rational argument for objecting to state imposed morality.

    Would that “rational argument” be in his comment that Obama must reach out to those who “embrace Warren’s Christian worldview”? Is basing laws on the BIble what’s the so-called rational argument or kowtowing to the current majority of voters who subscribe to it? Which are you calling the rational argument?

    As for Locke, if the government fails to respect the rights of the people, it has failed its obligation of the social contract and is worthy of overthrow. People like Mineau like to phrase their case as “protecting marriage” but what they’re protecting is their privileged status gained by subjugating others. That is not a right to be protected, but rather the right not to be subjugated is. The government is clearly failing in it’s social contract by denying the same rights to gays as straights enjoy, just as, not that long ago, it also failed by denying the same rights to blacks as whites enjoyed.

    JFK recognized the government was failing its responsibilities and in ’63 offered his Civil Rights bill. LBJ later championed it, knowing full well that it would mean sacrificing future Southern support for not just himself, but for the Democratic party, but plowed ahead anyway and saw it passed. NO popular vote, NO succumbing to the majority opinion. This example of what you’d call “state imposed morality” Steph was in fact a great example of government living up to its obligations to those it governs. In Locke’s state of nature, we are all equal but bound by the “Law of Nature” which commands that we not harm one another in regard to “life, health, liberty or possessions”.

    The fact that the majority may wish that the government deny its responsibility to a minority group has no bearing, and is a gross misunderstanding and perversion of Locke’s theory of the republic and the social contract, and clearly a lack of understanding of US history and the US Constitution.

    …defining yourself as gay is a lifestyle choice, being married is a lifestyle choice, being black isn’t. There is no evidence to support the notion that anyone is born gay

    Well one could just as easily argue there’s no evidence to support the notion that being homosexual is a choice. Why should that be the default position? If there is to be an error made, shouldn’t the error be in affording rights and not denying them? Also, for anyone who ever grew up with or around anyone who later came out as gay, you know it’s not a choice.

    Furthermore, blacks were denied the “lifestyle choice” of marriage once, so you’re “choice” argument concerning blacks makes no sense. Sitting anywhere on the bus was a choice, as was sitting anywhere in a cafeteria, going to any public school, drinking from any fountain, etc. ALL were choices denied to blacks, as today the choice to marry is a choice denied to gays. Such choices are not flippant, but critical to the inalienable rights to the pursuit of happiness and rights to property. Leaving the love out of it for a moment, marriage is a contract which addresses property rights, including rights to things such as health and SS benefits. You have to have more of an argument to deny that to a minority than saying a majority wishes it so.

  14. @ phillychief

    You can’t call me daft when I’m right and when you’ve been caught falsely accusing Mineau of making an argumentum ad populum, when he hadn’t. And when you’ve also accused him of failing to grasp the difference between democracy and republic for arguing government with the consent of the governed.

    You don’t know what an argumentum ad populum is, you don’t recognise Locke theory of government by the governed and your knowledge of your own constitution is pitiful. Your criticism were clearly bogus.

    And if you’re too much of a coward to admit that you were wrong and I just might know a little bit more about jurisprudence, logic, philosophy and political theory than you, you’ll look even more of an arse.

  15. I’m sorry to inform you Steph that outside of your imagination, you can’t read minds and your claims are not accepted without a warrant. Do I need to explain argumentation 101 to you?

    Let me explain argumentum ad populum for you as well. You might be more familiar with its other names like appeal to the majority, bandwagoning, or appeal to belief. It’s the fallacy that assumes something is right because a majority believes it so. Mineau offered “the vast majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage” as both proof that opposing same-sex marriage is right AND to warrant anti-gay Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation. Something is not right simply because a majority believes or wishes it so. Capiche?

    Now it would be great if perhaps you offered ANYTHING beyond assertions and self-aggrandizements. I mean sure, it’s a lot quicker and easier to simply assert you’re right, others are wrong, and you’re awesome, but you can do better, can’t you?

  16. @ Ric

    Mineau said:

    Whether Jackson likes it or not, the vast majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. So does the incoming president. Every state – 30 in total – in which the people were allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage has passed such a measure. Obama recognized that to lead the entire country, he must reach out symbolically to the tens of millions of Americans who may or may not have voted for him but who embrace Warren’s Christian worldview.

    Nowhere does he assert that if the majority believe that gay marriage is wrong, that it logically follows that it must be wrong. He argument is government by consent of the governed. That is NOT an argumentum ad populum.

    You agreed that disagreeing with someone’s argument is no basis to accuse them of logical fallacy. So don’t you think you ought to acknowledge that you were wrong to accuse him of logical fallacy in that letter? Otherwise what does that say about your intellectual integrity?

    And, whatever his motives, his argument was not based on prejudice.

  17. @ Philly Coward

    Your irrational, misogynistic, rants change nothing. I haven’t just asserted that I was right, I have proved that your accusation that Mineau ran an argumentum ad populum was false. If you’re too stupid to grasp the rather obvious point that an argument for rule by consent isn’t an argumentum ad populum, then that just proves what an intellectual pygmy you are – but the fact still remains it is not an argumentum ad populum.

    So you keep on lying to yourself because you don’t have the balls to admit your wrong, even when it’s there in black and white. Ha, ha, ha… pathetic! ciao.

  18. Alright, children. Argue, if you will, but name calling is reserved to The Lion in this neighborhood.

    As for the consent vs. populist to-do, just because the governed consent by majority vote to something does not mean it is right. Whichever appeal Mineau is making, he does not necessarily have right on his side. The civil apparatus that governs this country has as one of its core principles that the majority may not abuse any minority (we’re not talking about criminal minorities like thieves and insurance companies). That is one of the roots of the balance of powers. Does it work perfectly? No, of course not. But it does work pretty well when men of good conscience are in charge and when the issues are discussed openly and the discussion is based on facts and evidence rather than propaganda and deceit. Mineau’s crowd habitually chooses deceit, fitting the facts to their ideology/theology.

    As for my intellectual integrity… I think that Mineau was conflating the arguments and saying might makes right is equivalent to the consent of the governed. He is wrong. I’ve seen nothing in your statements to convince me otherwise.

    Consider also that polling over the years has indicated a growing acceptance of gays, gay rights, and so on. What happens to Mineau’s arguments when the tide turns and the majority rejects his view? He’ll be standing out there babbling in his swamp of Stone Age theology and crying out that just because the majority approve of something or consent to something doesn’t make it right. No matter how he cuts it, he doesn’t seem to have an honest case or argument.

  19. girldujour -

    I’m not going to disagree about Zimbabwe. It’s a horrid and disgusting situation. It’s just a matter of what’s closer to home.

    Apparently the Western nations aren’t going to take any effective action against an obviously psychotic Mugabe, and it is just as obvious that the African nations will not do so either. Zimbabwe will become, as things stand, just another charnel house in a long line of them. Of course if they had oil the United States would find some excuse to invade, kill a few thousand or tens of thousands of Zimbabweans, and either toss Mugabe onto the ash heap or make a deal with him for oil.

  20. Only in your mind was Mineau invoking Locke, Steph.

    You have no idea what his motives are Steph, as you showed earlier you had no idea what mine were when you asserted my objection was due to him being Christian and not for the content of the letter.

    So I’m guilty of misogyny because I stand up to your assertions? Are you then guilty of misandry because you picked an argument with me? Or perhaps logic is simply a one way street for you? I’m sensing everything is a one way street for you. What you imagine is true, what contradicts your imagination is false, and anyone who advocates for such contradictions is a “misogynist”, a “coward”, or an “intellectual pygmy”. Wow. Talk about “pathetic”.

    Ciao

  21. Misanthropy, fair and balanced, is the only way to go.

  22. oh yeah, ric,

    did you see that that asshole (it’s an inevitable admission) has hijacked your post? i’d mention the blogger’s name, but she’d likely re-contact my employer on some trumped-up threat of a sexual harassment suit.

    such private desperation.

  23. sk-

    At least my post was ‘festive’, whatever the hell that means. Maybe it was an insult, you know, like accusing me of being ‘Christmassy’.

  24. You are right, Ric. If Zimbabwe had something that we wanted, we’d be right in there taking it–and putting a lovely spin on it as if we were there for the good of the people.

    Disgusting.

  25. Hey, Steve – how’s it going! The man who broke my blog! In a good way.

    The last 18 months have been great for me, I haven’t been threatened with lawsuits over libel or plagiarism, had my livelihood threatened, or had any of my works summarily shut down on the say so of an outraged loon.

    Seems like no-one’s tried to ruin your career either, result!

  26. @ Steph – since I know you’ll be checking on this thread…

    I see that you and Bob are managing a sports company now. Did the ‘international kidnap recovery specialist’ gig not work out?

    Shame that even after 18 months you STILL don’t get the same amount of comments that you did on blog.co.uk. Why did you ever leave there?

    By the way, did you ever get round to reading Midnight’s Children?

  27. @ Philly Chief

    Don’t worry about the name calling. I’ve lost count of the different names I was called.

    I think the most fun part of her posts to you, apart from calling you a misogynist with no grounds, was ‘…I just might know a little bit more about jurisprudence, logic, philosophy and political theory than you…’.

    She’s the definition of closed minded.

  28. not steph -

    If you want to have a personal conversation with Steph I’d appreciate it if you did it at her blog, not here. In any event, I think she doesn’t come around here anymore.

    Thanks,

    Ric

  29. @ Ric

    Congratulations on getting Steph to debate in a forum where she doesn’t get the final word. Of course she then retreated back to her safety net where she can block dissenting views.

    For extra lulz, check out this parody site. (Its not mine).

    http://stephi.blog.co.uk/

  30. @ Ric

    Sorry – Didn’t mean to overstep the bounds. I just got a bit carried away there. I stumbled over her for the first time in ages. I promise not to do that again, although I guarantee she will come over and have a look.

    Again – my apologies.

  31. not -

    No apologies needed. But you could send money, booze, women, or food in lieu of.

  32. Hope springs Eternal, hm ? We certainly dusted off the distinction between argumentation and name-calling. I can’t say I’ve run into that many recognizable female Reich-Wing trolls ( of course, Malkin is in a class all by herself ), but Steph seems to be going for the gusto.
    PhillyChief done righteous.

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers

%d bloggers like this: