Thursday, February 10, 2005

The ugly

I received two general classes of feedback from readers: the congratulatory and the, um, decidedly unhappy. Before I go on, I want to clarify that I am always thrilled to get any kind of feedback from readers. Positive or negative makes little difference to me. Yes, I like getting "happies". My ego likes them, too. But on another level, ticking someone off so intently that he/she takes the time to write a pointed response is also quite satisfying, albeit in a somewhat altered form.

Admittedly, some of the responses scare me. They exemplify the thinly-veiled dark side to which I often allude. They barely conceal the hatred that I believe exists in society, and they sadden me because they fall so short of the human ideal. Even if the words fall short of outright attacks on my person and/or perspective, I still shudder that such thinking persists in this world.

Then again, this motivates me even more to swing for the editorial fences my next time out. If I don't strive to reach every last reader that I can, I'm not doing my job, and I'm not being fair to my idealistic world view.

With that, I'd like to paste pieces of some of the more vitriolic messages that I received. Although my personal policy is to respond to all readers who take the time to e-mail me, I draw the line at a given level of nastiness. To respond to those who have no intention of listening would merely fan the flames of hatred that much higher. I want dialog, not senseless argument.

I hope this gives you a glimpse of the kind of response I get when I touch a nerve. I apologize for the length of this post: I snipped out much of the material, and still it runs orders of magnitude longer than the column that inspired it.

Read all the way down till the end...I've got a question for you when all is said and done. Here goes:

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From your words in your column I could tell that you do not study God's word - the Bible, because if you had, you would not have written it.

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Why is it that "unenlightened" individuals such as yourself pretend to know the will of God while telling others who claim the same, do not? "Pseudo-journalists" such as yourself continue to push the gay agenda down the throats of average Canadians who want no part of it. Funny how left-wing individuals who support this degenerate and perverted social agenda always manage to demean traditional marriage as a basis for their argument. Anytime the government intercedes in the affairs of Canadians, be it lax divorce laws, abortion and now same-gendered unions, family breakdown is not far behind. "At the end of the day" you're wrong.

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I must admit I find your assumptions about "opponents of same-sex marriage" or "champions of the traditional concept of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman" to be somewhat inaccurate, rather generalized, sometimes stereotypical, and even harsh.

Just because someone supports the traditional definition of marriage (a tradition thousands of years old, and a definition that was endorsed just some seven or eight years ago by a large majority in the Canadian government to be maintained as the only definition--but our liberalist politicians seemed to have lost their moral and intellectual integrity these days) does not mean that he or she is hateful of homosexuals.

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Same sex couples cannot naturally multiply and therefore cannot fulfill one of God's mandates because a same sex union does not have the capacity to reproduce.

God hates the sin homosexuals commit, yet offers them a way of escape if they repent and turn towards Christ as their Savior.

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The issue of same sex marriage has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with what is right and wrong. Denying someone permission to do something wrong is not discrimination.

For a moment let's forget about same sex marriage and use another hypothetical example to illustrate my point. Suppose a bank robber goes to court to claim that he is being discriminated against. He alleges in his suit that the current law against bank robbery is interfering with his right to earn a living as a bank robber. I am sure a lawsuit such as this would be thrown out of court because what he asking to be allowed to do something which is wrong in itself. Society has chosen to forbid stealing and punishes anyone choosing to earn a living this way. This is not discrimination. You have to look at the act itself in terms of right and wrong.

The same goes for same sex marriage. Homosexual acts are wrong and are forbidden in the Bible because they are wrong in themselves. The Bible is not discriminating when it forbids homosexual activities, any more than when the Bible forbids theft.

If you are truly interested in finding out what God has to say on this issue I would urge you to read the Bible.

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It is true that this present generation has helped to defiled the institution of marriage through adultery and divorce. That was not true of our parents generation and prior to their's or at the very least was not acceptable to the majority. It has only been in this generation that the break-down of God's laws especially those regarding family have been attached with tsunami force. What I am trying to tell you is that just because humans do not want to believe God's laws and obey them does not make them go away. Just as in sports when someone breaks a rule (law) of the game, you can bet that everyone wants see the penalty for that infraction given. So it is with God's laws. Each time we break his laws there is and will be a penalty.

We all have our cross to bear. Homosexuality may be yours and/or others. You have to seek God out and find a way to beat it! Just as the adulterer, the pedophile, the murderer, the thief, the coveter, the liar, etc, etc, etc, must. For like it or not, homosexuality is listed among those.

Homosexuality is a physical act. It is not a race of people.

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I am one of those clergymen opposed to same-sex marriage so I read this column by Carmi Levy with interest. I do not hate gays and I am not proposing that they be discriminated against and denied rights. How can Carmi and so many others not see that marriage is not between two people of the same sex? Look at the way we have been made. Call their relationship whatever you want but not marriage.

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Carmi makes it seem like all we do is picket outside MPs' offices. Pro-life, pro-family and pro-marriage persons in London contribute a great deal of good to our society. I believe that we have a right to make our views known and even a moral obligation to do so. There is no question that God has standards for society and our moral behaviour. The question is whether we are going to try to follow them or ignore them. God should be graciously dragged into every issue of life with respect still for those who do not believe in God.

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Carmi here: I'll publish the more positive responses once I've heard back from the folks who wrote 'em. In my experience, the ones who try to burn me with words are typically hit-and-run operators. They blow their wad, and are never heard from again. The ones who are somewhat more in tune with the core of my argument tend to be more regular readers. I owe them the courtsey of a heads-up before posting their words in my blog.

Now that you've read these comments and have seen how I feel, it's your turn: how does reading this make you feel? Am I on the right track with my writing or am I simply provoking the yokels of society for no good reason?

10 comments:

sxKitten said...

I, for one, think you're definitely doing the right thing. You'll never reach the extremists, but there are a lot of folks in the middle of the road who are capable of hearing what you say and maybe even giving it some thought.

I admire your courage, too. I don't handle criticism or conflict at all well, and admire people like you who are willing to take a stand.

Linda said...

How does reading that make me feel. In one word, frustrated. I am going to leave it at that for now, because I fear if I wrote any more it would become a magnum opus.

I completely feel like you are on the right track with your writing and your thoughts about this.

I hope that those who feel so strongly about tradition remember that there was a time when women being denied voting rights and rights to attend college was also very much a tradition held in esteem of many men. Slavery was a tradition as well. Some things just stop fitting the social paradigms over time.

markisdead said...

Keep doing what you are doing, Carmi, because you do it very well. Superstitious 'dinosaurs' that daren't take a leak before consulting an old, much ammended and dubiously translated book will die out eventually. They generally have done in Britain, and we're getting on fine without them.

EJ said...

Terrified & Enraged- These are not the people I want running any country, yours or mine.

I said it in a previous comment. Religion has NO place in government. The thought of the religious right taking over government and telling me how to live my life is an absolutely terrifying thought.

And for the moron who used "robbing a bank" as an example...That actually hurts someone, takes something away from someone. Homosexuals do nothing, NOTHING but offend your sence of right and wrong. They do not take your property or physically threaten you in anyway. Find another example Perhaps this time you will compare apples to apples.

Camellia Rose said...

Okay, so I'm a bit traditional. I don't support same-sex marriage, but I also don't belive that it is my right or obligation to use my belifs to dictate the actions of others. God said that we should let Him be the judge, so that's what I do.

These people who try to force their strongly traditional ideals down the throats of society at large are only succeding at making themselves and every other Christian look bad.


I agree with ej that the comparison between same-sex marriage to bank robbing is faulty. Bank robbing is considered somewhat universally wrong in that it takes what belongs to another there by causing that person or institution harm. Same-sex marriage being right or wrong though is, as illustrated by your article and it's responses, a matter of ones opinions and belifs.

It is in times like this that I am honestly ashamed by the way many of my fellow Christians choose to behave.

MoMMY said...

I agree with the above comments. It frightens me that people want to legislate something that does not hurt anyone. If they feel God would be so offended then let God deal with it. Who are we to judge? I think gays should be allowed to marry in a civil ceremony and let the churches take their own stance. Homosexual couples deserve the same civil rights as hetero couples. You can still leave the church ceremony up the the church.

pat said...

I don't even know where to begin in responding to this - I'm filled with such anger it overwhelms me - sadness too.
It's difficult to imagine someone claiming you are unenlightened while simultaneously declaring they right based on their religious beliefs.
It never ceases to amaze me how intolerant people are - perhaps they need to re-examine a belief system that is so exclusive and racist.

Joan said...

The one that scared me was the one who made the whole "I don't like it because it's wrong" speech.

Like Linda said earlier, women voting used to be thought of as wrong and treating people of color equally used to be thought of as wrong. You know what? There are still people who believe those things now, but they are in the very small minority.

The other thing that really rankled me was the person who basically said that my generation will pay for being so open to people of different sexualities? Huh?

Hey! All you religious right folks...let me refresh you on that Bible you love to quote from so much but only read the parts that condemn others: Jesus Christ himself said simply to "Love One Another." Why don't you practice that? Oh! And here's something else to remember too: "Judge not lest ye be judged."

I may not like what you say or how you act, but if it's not physically hurting another human being, I'll defend to the death your right to do it.

Wheelson said...

Reading these reinforced my opinion that the best way to deal with the issue is to analyze the oppositions arguments and undermine them rather than counter them.

For example, several of the emails you cite equate homosexuality with adultry and stealing. I think we all want to counter that argument with "Love our neighbors!" or something.

However, that's just the equivalent of yelling back another argument without really listening to what the other person said. (I'm speaking generally here and not to your writing style...I hope you dig what I'm laying down?)

So while yes we should love our neighbor, it's sort of a non sequitur.

Instead I'd like to see more people saying things like, "Listen, homosexuality is not adultery because..." and cite law and biblical studies to back it up. That undermines those people's arguments.

Now, I'm in no position to give a professional writer advice and I'm not pretending to do that. I'm just saying I'd like to see people try and make underminding foolish arguments flashy rather than keeping to counter arguments, which are much easier to make and more interesting to read.

Carmi said...

You all overwhelm me with the thought you put into your comments - today and every day. What a great forum we've evolved here! I can't thnk you enough.

Dean: I totally dig what you're saying. I'm often struck by the connection between ferocity of an argument and total amount of listening/comprehending. Those who simply spew seem to spend no time actually reading the work that provoked them in the first place. Too bad: they might learn something if they did.

They might also stand a better chance of getting their letters to the editor published. News/editorial desks have a general aversion to those who spew gibberish.