Calling Jon Stewart’s Bluff

I am a Jon Stewart fan even though I only occasionally see clips of the Daily Show. Stewart was Larry Sander’s permanent guest host on the Larry Sanders Show, which earns Stewart high marks in the Hart household, the Sanders Show being a brilliant homage and parody of the late night talk show genre. Stewart also makes a cameo appearance in Wordplay, a witty and charming documentary about the culture of New York Times crossword puzzles’ editors, designers, players, and competition. For these reasons I was heartened to see thanks to my headlines feed at Google Chrome that Stewart had poked fun at Democratic mayors for saying that Chick-Fil-A was unwelcome in their cities. Here is the clip.

Stewart, as you might expect, dishes it out both ways, which is fine since using a sandwich as a form of political identity does not exactly seem what the Greeks had in mind when thinking through representative government. But (spoiler alert!) when he concludes that Chick-Fil-A’s and gay marriage’s products are both good, I demur. For one, has Stewart really considered how healthy a fast-food fried chicken sandwich is? I’m sure that dressings, fat, and steroid drenched chicken breasts make such meals a challenge to good health. For another, how do we know that gay marriage is a positive social arrangement? In fact, one objection to this change in law is that we have no idea what the consequences — positive or negative — of such a change to millenia of legal arrangements and cultural expectations will be. Though we do have some data from social scientists on the benefits of regular marriage.
(For instance, we have enough time to say that the National League is superior to the American League because the former does not use the designated hitter.)

So maybe the way to resolve the kerfuffle over Chick-Fil-A is to be doubly contrarian. Both Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage are unhealthy for America.

Then again, has anyone noticed that homosexuals are among the leading defenders of marriage at a time when marriage is at an all time low in the United States? Could it be that folks who used to thrive on an anti-bourgeois, urban, and culturally and politically radical identity have now embraced a convention associated with white-bread, middle-class, suburban life? Or is gay marriage simply a way of flipping the bird at all those Chick-Fil-A eaters who made family values a political slogan? You want family? You got it.

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44 Comments

  1. Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Let’s compromise. All gay people will be allowed to marry as long as they agree to hire Chick-fil-A to cater the reception. And I agree that the NL is better, although I confess to being in an AL & NL fantasy league this season.

  2. Alberto
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Unhealthy for America as well is the misinformation people spread on blogs, like saying that chickens are drenched with steroids. It’s against the law to feed or inject chickens with steroids in the United States; cows are a different story. Are you all really scared of ingesting a peptide hormone?

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Meat_&_Poultry_Labeling_Terms/index.asp#15

    A better explanation for the desire of some to have governmental recognition of marriage is to simply feel more accepted in society; a bit over simplified, but still probably better.

    I am personally considering a nuclear option for marriage; let’s destroy it by taking away any legally recognized marriage.

  3. Alberto
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Slight correction; the popular use of “steroid” slightly infected my thinking for a moment. I’m not aware of ANY animals for consumption that are given steroids, but growth hormone of some kind is given to at least some cows; that is why I said the cows are a different story. Steroids and growth hormone are not the same thing.

    Again, why be afraid of ingesting a peptide hormone?

  4. Bobby Mosteller
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Alberto,

    Ok…weird. Talk about missing the point. Do you work for Tyson? Your acceptance theory is isn’t necessarily better, it is your opinion. Either way, we do not know the long term ramifications regardless of why the LGBT community want state sanctioned marriages.

  5. Posted August 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    I confess to being in an AL & NL fantasy league this season.

    Traitor.

  6. Alberto
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I apologize Darryl; my posts were too hostile. The hormone thing is just a pet peeve of mine. I’ll try not to do that again. If I could, I would erase my posts. Sorry brother.

  7. Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Alberto – Now you tell me. I decided to go all-out at Texas Roadhouse after reading your comments. Best ribs I’ve ever had.

  8. Posted August 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Since D.G. brought it up I would like to take the liberty to interview myself on the topic of gay marriage:

    Q: Is gay marriage a good idea?
    A: No

    Q: Is gay marriage forbidden by God’s word?
    A: Yes, I believe it is forbidden.

    Q: What would you do if your church embraced gay marriage?
    A: Leave

    Q: Did our founding fathers conceive of the idea of gay marriage?
    A: I don’t think so

    Q: Can gay marriage be legal?
    A: Yes, I think it probably can.

    Q: But if the U.S. is a Christian country how can it be legal for gays to marry?
    A: If the U.S. was a Christian country the founders would have made Christ, the Bible, and God’s law much more explicit than they did. They kind of used some “God language”, but totally wimped out on making Christ, the Bible, and God’s law explicit.

    Q: Should gay marriage be legal?
    A: If I have a vote I say “no”, but that’s just my vote.

    Q: Should ministers speak out on gay marriage?
    A: In their churches, yes.

    Q: No, I mean should they speak out publicly on gay marriage, by calling press conferences?
    A: Probably not. Why would the general public care what they think.

    Q: Is it odd for ministers who do not practice church discipline in their congregations in the case of divorce to be speaking out publicly on gay marriage?
    A: “Odd” is one way to put it.

    Q: Is it good for kids to be raised by a same-sex married couple?
    A: Probably not

    Q: Is it better for kids to be raised by a same-sex married couple than to be orphans, in foster care, or in a single-parent or divorced home
    A: Maybe

    Q: Will the general public become more accepting of gay marriage and will it be legal soon?
    A: Yes and yes.

    Q: Will this hasten God’s judgment of our country
    A: I do not know. He has plenty to judge us for already, though.

    Q: Thank you for your time.
    A: You’re welcome.

  9. Posted August 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    “Gay marriage” is an oxymoron. In line with both natural law and the inscripturated Word (for example, our Lord’s much-referenced comments in Matt. 19:4-5), “marriage” is by definition between a man and a woman and a “creation ordinance.” No attempts by fallen man (including fallen men acting corporately in the civil government) to redefine it to be anything other than what it in fact is can be viewed by the believer as having any validity whatsoever. For example, if the civil government abuses its authority by legalizing “gay marriage” (as it has in many cases in recent years) then as believers “we must obey God rather than man” by not recognizing the validity of such civil unions (at least not recognizing them as valid “marriages”). (God defines marriage, not government.) When the state sets up laws in opposition to God’s moral law revealed in nature and Scripture, we are not bound to recognize the validity of such laws, even as we may disregard the laws of man that forbid the church to do what Christ has called it to do (for example, Christians in countries that forbid Christian evangelism must still evangelize in obedience to their Lord’s great commission even though in doing so they disregard the civil law at that point.)

  10. Jeremy McLellan
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve gone back and forth on this. To me, the strongest argument for pastors going beyond opposing gay marriage in their churches to telling their flock “Do not support state or federal legislation or referenda extending the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians” is the commandment not to lie. Insofar as referenda require merely a statement about what is true, I would probably vote “against gay marriage,” even though the results of voting “for gay marriage” are results I think would be better for the common good.

    Gay rights advocates really put conservative Christians in a bind by forcing us to lie in order to support things like children receiving health insurance if their biological father is a stay-at-home-dad whose “husband” is the breadwinner in a company that only offers insurance to dependents of legally recognized unions.

    –Presbyterian Jeremy

  11. Donald Philip Veitch
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Sheesh, Darryl, a tad disappointed that you’d accomodate a genre of “low comedy” like Stewart. I’d prefer a higher genre, like the Greek tragi-comedians with their developed vocabularies and strong bite, rather than backwoodsish American types like Stewart, Leno and Conan. But then, to argue this would be to say “it’s all about me” (I’ve adopted your phrase).

    Regards.

  12. Posted August 5, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Viking, the, sorry, but I’m a boomer.

  13. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    But, Jeremy, don’t ministers have the burden to only exhort their congregation and speak for God only where he has spoken? Your strongest argument sounds an awful lot like those who want to say the Affordable Health Care Act is to indulge covetousness. Come on with the creativity. If you don’t like the law then oppose it politically, but don’t invoke spiritual reasons to oppose political matters. That’s a page from the liberal playbook. There’s also the problem of enforcement—disciplining actual and unrepentant lying is one thing, but is anyone really prepared to spiritually chide for political conclusions?

  14. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Is Monty Python low comedy, or does the developed vocabulary and strong bite (to say nothing of the smarty-pants British accents) make it high or just upper-middle?

  15. Jeremy McLellan
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: “But, Jeremy, don’t ministers have the burden to only exhort their congregation and speak for God only where he has spoken?”

    JM: Yes they do, but insofar as political speech is still speech, members of the congregation are not allowed to lie, and I don’t see anything wrong with a pastor telling his flock to tell the speech in public.

    Zrim: “Come on with the creativity. If you don’t like the law then oppose it politically, but don’t invoke spiritual reasons to oppose political matters. That’s a page from the liberal playbook.”

    JM: You jumped a few steps. I’m not saying I think pastors should tell their congregations to oppose Amendment One (I’m using that as a placeholder). If I were a pastor, I probably wouldn’t tell my congregation how to vote on a referendum, but I would certainly tell them not to tell the lie that same-sex unions are marriages. I’d probably stop there, since I’m not sure voting “for gay marriage” is the same as “saying same-sex unions are marriages” even though it has that effect.

    Zrim: “There’s also the problem of enforcement—disciplining actual and unrepentant lying is one thing, but is anyone really prepared to spiritually chide for political conclusions?”

    JM: Yes they are. Not to create scandal, but after some prayers at my church (PCA) asking that God would grant Obama forgiveness for attacking marriage, I asked my Session if they would discipline me for supporting gay marriage even though I thought it wasn’t marriage. They said that was “calling good evil and evil good,” and I would be subject to disciplinary action if I supported it. That was a few months ago, so maybe they aren’t “prepared” or they are just waiting for me to make a mess, but yes people are willing to do that.

  16. Posted August 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    High comedy would be “Yes, Minister” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister; Netflix it if you haven’t and you won’t be sorry.

  17. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy, I don’t see anything wrong with pastors exhorting to tell the truth in public either (and in private), but isn’t not saying how to vote on Amendment One but exhorting “not to tell the lie that same-sex unions are marriages” a bit of wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more (speaking of Python)? And instead of giving your Session a reason to confuse morality and politics and intrude on your political conscience, it may be advisable to humbly suggest that public prayers to guide our President to rule in wisdom and maintain law and order are more appropriate than politicized speech disguised as prayer.

  18. Jeremy McLellan
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: “I don’t see anything wrong with pastors exhorting to tell the truth in public either (and in private), but isn’t not saying how to vote on Amendment One but exhorting “not to tell the lie that same-sex unions are marriages” a bit of wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more (speaking of Python)”

    JM: Yes, it is. I’m not sure how a pastor–who strictly abides by the regulative principle–would avoid that implication when they tell their flock that gay unions aren’t marriages. Another good reason I’m not a pastor.

    Zrim: “And instead of giving your Session a reason to confuse morality and politics and intrude on your political conscience, it may be advisable to humbly suggest that public prayers to guide our President to rule in wisdom and maintain law and order are more appropriate than politicized speech disguised as prayer.”

    JM: In hindsight, that would have been advisable. Right now, I’m just not saying how I would vote on such a referendum (SC already passed it a while back) but instead talking about the concepts around it.

  19. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure how a pastor–who strictly abides by the regulative principle–would avoid that implication when they tell their flock that gay unions aren’t marriages.

    Maybe since the Bible doesn’t mention gay unions there would be no reason for an RPW pastor to tell them gay unions aren’t marriages in the first place, thus wink-wink avoided.

  20. Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Q: Can gay marriage be legal? A: Yes, I think it probably can.

    Not according to WCF 24 (slightly tweaked, but I believe still applicable): “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful [otherwise]. … Nor can such … marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.”

  21. Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    RubeRad – To clarify – I mean can it be legal according to U.S. Law — not should it be legal according to God’s law. As Christians we can “not recognize its legality” in the same sense that we might not recognize the legality of abortion, but if homosexuals are getting marriage licenses (as they are in Iowa as we speak) and if women are getting abortions every day at Planned Parenthood, our nonrecognition is of little real consequence to the Pagans in our midst. We do still need to speak the truth, though, as we have opportunity.

  22. Jon
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    The only reason gays want marriage is because it gives them an issue to fight. It gives them drama. They are engaged in a hopelessly unnatural and unhealthly lifestyle that goes against the created order. Deep inside, they know they are doing something fundamentally wrong. But the gay marriage issue gives them automatic martyr status and a battle to fight.

    I honestly believe that some of them jump on the gay bandwagon as a way to be “different” and get attention. Unfortunately, the more we fight them, the more we give them the attention they desperately crave. But what can we do? We can’t just give up.

  23. Posted August 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The only reason gays want marriage is because it gives them an issue to fight. It gives them drama.

    A probing insight that has no doubt resulted from the gays you know and interact with.

  24. john sizer
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Jed,
    “A probing insight,” really?

  25. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Sometimes snark doesn’t translate well in print. The point is, Jon’s “theory” of why some in the gay community want to be married is sorely lacking. The point of depravity is that it twists otherwise good desires – it should elicit our understanding and compassion, not harsh judgement.

  26. Jon
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Jed,

    Hmm, I seem to have hit a sore subject with you. Strange. However, your own assertion seems to be the one that’s “sorely lacking:”

    “The point of depravity is that it twists otherwise good desires”

    Really? So, what is the good desire behind murder? What was Jeffrey Dahmer’s “good desire?” Please do inform us, seeing as how you are the self-proclaimed expert.

  27. John Sizer
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Jed, Sorry, I thought it was a play on words.

  28. Posted August 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Is Jon Stewart commenting on Old Life as “Jon”?

    Well, Mr. Stewart, Jed’s snark aside, I think he’s right that there’s a lot more to it than “drama.” I expect there is a desire for normalcy, both in their own eyes, and in the eyes of their neighbors. There’s also the desire for formal approval, both in the eyes of the world and the church. There’s the legal aspect of a whole bucket of benefits (and penalties) that are tied up with marriage in our tax and legal code (though many of these have been unwound). Finally, married gay couples takes away a major argument from the opposition, namely, that the gay lifestyle is inherently unstable, promiscuous, and outside the bounds of establishment behavior. I suspect when you’ve lived your whole life experiencing an “alternative” lifestyle, deep down you probably want to feel normal from time to time.

    But I’m not gay, so I don’t really know.

  29. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Jon,

    You seem to be confounding an erroneous notion of Absolute Depravity with the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity. Then you engage in a reductio ad absurdum by confounding homosexuality with serial homicide. But, let’s back up and look at what Calvin has to say about the topic:

    …it is not admitted that there is any thing naturally bad throughout the universe; the depravity and wickedness whether of man or of the devil, and the sins thence resulting, being not from nature, but from the corruption of nature, nor, at first, did anything whatever exist that did not exhibit some manifestation of the divine wisdom and justice. – Institutes 1.14.3;… If anyone thinks that it is absurd to condemn all desires by which man is naturally affected, seeing that they have been implanted by God the author of nature, we answer, that we by no means condemn those appetites which God so implanted in the mind of man at his first creation, that they cannot be eradicated without destroying human nature itself…we hold that all human desires are evil, and we charge them with sin not in as far as they are natural, but because they are inordinate, and inordinate because nothing can proceed from a corrupt and polluted nature. – Institutes 3.3.12

    Or Hodge:

    The universal depravity of men is no slight evil. The whole human race, by their apostasy from God, are totally depraved. By total depravity it is not meant that all men are equally wicked, nor that any man is as thouroughly corrupt as it is possible for man to be, nor that men are destitute of all moral virtues. – Systematic Theology 2.8.13.2

    Or Horton:

    Total depravity therefore means not that we are incapable of any justice or good before fellow humans (civil righteousness), but that there is no Archimedean point within us that is left unfallen, from which we can begin to bargain or to restore our condition (righteousness before God). As Berkhof points out total depravity does not mean “(1) that every man is as thouroughly depraved as he can possibly become; (2) that the sinner has no innate knowledge of the will of God, nor a conscience that discriminates between good and evil; (3) that sinful man does not often admire virtuous character and actions in others, or is incapable of disinterested affections and actions in his relations with his fellow-men; nor (4) that every unregenerate man will, in virtue of his inherent sinfulness, indulge in every form of sin…” (Systematic Theology 246-47) What is meant by “total” is that the whole nature of humanity, not only it’s body and desires, but the soul, mind, heart, and will is corrupt. – The Christian Faith p. 432

    So, you see that the fact that sinners have dignity, and their desires have their uttermost source in something good, that through our fallenness become inordinate and therefore depraved is attested throughout the history of the Reformed tradition. And, yes, the topic strikes a nerve, because I have friends, colleagues, and family who are either practicing homosexuals, or Christians who live with the perilous reality of this sinful struggle. And, frankly, I cannot abide the unbelievable arrogance that is displayed by those in the Reformed community, who claim to be nothing less than sinners saved by grace, yet have the audacity to malign gays simply because of the particular sin they struggle with, when they too are no better. You basically charge gays with desiring marriage because they are desparately in need of a cause, and they love the drama – rather than acknowledging just how deep (and painful) the realities of depravity run, where gays experience the same kind of natural desires you and I do for companionship and love. Yet, their desires bear a sinful twist, that should move us to compassion, not scorn, because if life circumstances were slightly different, it isn’t inconceivable that we would find ourselves in their position. The fact of the matter is that we are all sinners, and that without God’s intervening grace we would be just as hopeless as any other sinner, so we have no room for pride or boasting before men, unless our boast is in the grace of God.

    It sure seems that your theonomistic impulses cannot simply acknowledge the dignity of certain classes of sinners, so they are maligned. The fact of the matter is sin isn’t so simple, and it isn’t a mere psychological defect, otherwise we would need psychologists to help us past the need for drama and a cause; rather we need a Savior, because there isn’t an area that sin has not touched our lives, and therein brought ruin. I know, it would just be easier to eradicate our social sins by using the Scripture as a modern manual on political science, and simply executing certain classes of sinners because they are bad for society – but eventually there wouldn’t be much of a population left to hear the good news that God forgives sinners, and is patient enough with our sin to offer us ample opportunity to come to repentance and new life in him.

    Honestly, are you any better than the gays you impugn here?

  30. sean
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Brian writes;

    “here’s the legal aspect of a whole bucket of benefits (and penalties) that are tied up with marriage in our tax and legal code (though many of these have been unwound). Finally, married gay couples takes away a major argument from the opposition, namely, that the gay lifestyle is inherently unstable, promiscuous, and outside the bounds of establishment behavior. I suspect when you’ve lived your whole life experiencing an “alternative” lifestyle, deep down you probably want to feel normal from time to time.’

    Sean;

    This is basically Andrew Sullivan’s argument for gay marriage, except that Sullivan actually wants to use it to NORM the ‘bathhouse’ homosexual. So, more than just removing the argument, he wants to use the institution to actually raise the level of morality within his own community. He even talks about it as if he would be open to a sunset provision, if you will, so if it doesn’t actually modify behavior then maybe it’s not something that the homosexual community has a right to pursue. Still, with the lack of success hetero’s have with keeping their vows much less staying together I’m not sure we want to use the law in that way.

  31. Posted August 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    It would be fascinating to know what percentage of the homosexual community is motivated by the desire to rebell & to transgress and what percentage really want to settle down and be married like heterosexuals are. What kinds of conversations do these factions have? What does the “bathhouse community” have to do with the marriage community. Within the last decade I was in Chicago on vacation with my wife & kids and my parents. We stumbled upon the “international men of leather” convention. I don’t think most of these dudes (hundreds if not thousands of them) were the “marrying type”. Dudes on leashes, dudes with nothing covering their butts…It was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen. I think Jed means well but I think he is normalizing at least a segment of the population that has no desire to be normalized.

  32. Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I also ran across one of the weirdest books I have ever seen the other day. I think the title was “Ecstatic Body Prayer” or something like that. It had a photo of a naked guy either praying or blowing into another guy’s rear end. It seemed like some guy’s attempt to invent his own religion to correspond with homosexual activities. Very weird.

  33. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    Where in the world do you surmize that I was normalizing a group that ranges in diversity from racouos drag queens to suit and tie Republican attorney’s. Your argument seems to be akin to saying that desegregation laws were as trying to normalize matters for a good deal of.acks who like the back of the bus and their own drinking fountains. The fact of the matter whether we agree with them or not, the issue of marriage in the gay community is a matter of equal rights under the law, which is a legal precedent in the US, not a matter that compells every gay to wan’t to be married. Surely some don’t want to be married, but that in no way militates my point that the desire on the part of some gays to be married has less to do with a penchant for drama and more to do with a genuine desire that is expressed in a sinful manner.

  34. Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Jed – I was responding to “You basically charge gays with desiring marriage because they are desparately in need of a cause, and they love the drama – rather than acknowledging just how deep (and painful) the realities of depravity run, where gays experience the same kind of natural desires you and I do for companionship and love. Yet, their desires bear a sinful twist, that should move us to compassion, not scorn, because if life circumstances were slightly different, it isn’t inconceivable that we would find ourselves in their position.”

    I think by saying this you are the one “stereotyping” gays by saying they merely have “natural desires” that “bear a sinful twist”. Some, maybe, but by no means all.

    Many are being bad because they really want to be bad and thumb their noses at whoever. Read Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” sometime.

  35. Jon
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Brian Lee,

    No, I’m not Jon Stewart, lol.

    Regarding your statement, I understand your points and agree with them for the most part. I realize that there are more reasons for why sodomites desire marriage than simply to get attention, but I do think that is a big factor that is often overlooked and I wanted to point it out. I realize that Jed considers himself the self-appointed homosexuality expert, since in fact, he knows homosexuals personally (how unique), but I also happen to know one in particular who has ZERO interest in marriage until it became a big issue and then all of a sudden he jumped on the bandwagon. I also have a lesbian cousin who has a lifelong track record of dramatic, attention-seeking antics, and it was SHOCKING when she “came out” as a lesbian.

  36. Jon
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    Be careful debating Jed. He is the smartest guy in the room: ask him; he’ll tell you. He once told me he could not speak to me about economic issues because he was SO much smarter than me and more well educated regarding economic issues. (Never mind just debating the issues at hand.)

    But, Erik, you make some excellent points above. You are much more moderate than many who post here. Keep up the good work.

  37. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Jon,

    Thanks for the backhanded compliment, and dealing with none of the substance of what I wrote. Besides, your economics theories, in the discussion we had, belied the fact that you have studied little of it, beyond the stuff that some theonomists/Reconstructionists like to use as jargon. Now, there are theonomists that do have some good economic analysis, like Gary North, that I find more than helpful even where I disagree. I am not the smartest guy in the room, or even on this blog, but I have spent a good deal of time in the field of economics in both an academic and business environment – so, I at the very least can articulate economic theory, and which ones I think work best – if that makes me a genius, then we have lowered the bar on that requirement. But, don’t worry, I get it, when you are tired of debate, you can cast smokescreens – tough stuff, I am not quite sure how to combat it.

  38. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    I see where you are going with this, and I think we are speaking in two very different directions here, let’s see if I can clarify, let me know if it helps:

    1) I think all you are asserting is that homosexuality is unnatural, and not within the scope of how God designed humans to exist as sexual creatures. On this point we are agreed.

    2) The issue of all desires being depraved, with a wholesome root – maybe somewhere down there well beneath the surface that is distorted when the desire is carried out – is well attested in not only Reformed theology, but also throughout the history of the church, at least back to Augustine. Even the worst desires that give rise to the most grotesque actions are evil because of depravity, not because the root desire is, by virtue of nature, evil itself.

    So, lets take the analogy that Jon tried to use as a defeater, the case of serial murder – even the root desires that give rise to such horrific actions have something at their core that is quite natural. Obviously, there are multiple factors that might lead someone into being a serial killer, so it may not be as simple as locating one single desire, but many which have been depraved and twisted into such psychopathic behavior. However, serial killers may have a natural desire for control over the affairs of their lives, many of whom who had this taken from them (often at early age), who seek to exert inordinate control, over human life even, in order to quell their needs for control. They may also have a desire for recognition and achievement, that again is brutally twisted, but is fed by the attention their crimes receive. Some desire mastery over an art, which they sinfully apply to crime and murder. Yet at their core, properly constrained, desires for self-control, affirmation, and mastery of a skill, not to mention power, are not sinful in and of themselves – they are sinful when they become inordinate (as Calvin himself says). But we need not go to the most awful extreme of desire to see that they can become depraved.

    The desire for companionship, and sexual fulfillment are quite natural, good desires, that God provides healthy avenues for expression. However, these desires can be twisted in many ways and varying degrees, not just for the homosexual, but for us hetero’s to, as any of us here can attest to areas where we have expressed sexual desires in sinful ways. So maybe some of the more promiscuous expressions of homosexual desires may be more depraved than the expressions of some hetero desires, but that does not make the core desire, such as sexual gratification evil in itself – without slipping into some form of monastic dualism. My argument against Jon was simply that the desire for gay marriage may actually be motivated with similar desires as we might feel as heterosexuals, but where the twists and distortions occur differ slightly in their object (i.e. same sex) than it does for us. Maybe there are drama seeking gays involved in the movement for gay marriage, but is it different in any other movement such as Occupy Wall Street, or the Tea Party? The fact of the matter is we can better sympathize with what motivates homosexuals when we can begin to acknowledge that we are sinners as well, and that the only real remedy for depravity is not one policy or another (even if maybe some policies might restrain depravity which gay marriage opponents quite fairly argue), it is the work of Christ as expressed in the gospel. Christian arrogance and superiority on the matter only places more barriers to belief for sinners who are by no means out of the reach of God’s grace.

  39. Jon
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Jed,

    So granted your point on sin being a distortion of something good, wouldn’t that also apply to the desire to seek attention?

    If so, why all the blubbering about me being so hard on homosexuals vs. other sinners (which is an odd assertion seeing how you don’t really know how hard I am on myself and other sinners). Your post (or rant, rather) was just so full of assumptions and straw men it is hard to know where to begin. Perhaps you might be reacting to something you have experienced with others?

    Also, to turn your arbitrary argument back against you: why are you not as hard on homosexuals as you are on other sinners? (If you try to answer that that is not the case, then you will simply prove my point.)

  40. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Prove a single straw man Jon – it takes going point through point with my arguments here, not sidestepping them and trying to make me look like a jerk for taking issue with your statement and offering real arguments to back it up. I’ll make it easy, let’s just operate off the assumption that I am at least as much of a jerk as you think I am, and more than likely worse. How does that inform how you respond to the substance of my argument?

  41. Posted August 9, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Jed – All I’m saying is tht some homosexuals fight the desire to sin and are deserving of our mercy while others love the sin, revel in it, throw it in our faces, and are not deserving of our mercy. It’s not one homogeneous group (no pun intended).

    In some sense we are all sinners and are not justified in passing judgment on anyone else’s sin, but in another sense we can make some distinctions between good behavior and bad behavior in other people.

  42. Jon
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Jed,

    It’s funny. You spend a lot of time complaining about me avoiding your arguments, while you completely avoided mine.

    Here’s what I wrote in response to your dissertation about sin being a distortion of a good thing:

    “So granted your point on sin being a distortion of something good, wouldn’t that also apply to the desire to seek attention?”

    So, in fact I did respond to your points and gave a counterpoint (not only did I respond, I humbly conceded your point!). I am eagerly awaiting your response.

    Yours truly,

    Jon (not Stewart)

  43. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Jon,

    If you had read the quotes by Calvin, Hodge, and Horton (and Berkhof in Horton’s quote), you would have easily surmised the answer to the question – which is yes. Underneath every desire, once we go underneath the depravity is a longing for something that only God can provide – the fact is, I had assumed you had read what I had already provided.

    You still have not come clean on what I originally challenged you on, and then you continue to shift the focus back on how you don’t like my answers. Was your characterization of gays warranted or reasonable, or frankly even charitable? Can you defend your original point that the reason why they are seeking the right to marry is on the basis of a need for drama, and attachment to a cause?

    Even if you provide a few examples affirming this, which I doubt you will, you must then extrapolate that these few examples can be deemed indicative of all (heck even most) gays, otherwise the entire premise of your statement was fallacious. My pushback on the issue of desire, and what may motivate gays for marriage (which is a sin), was solely to demonstrate that we as sinful humans are all in the same boat with respect to our motivations and desires – all depraved. Yet, at the core each desire, even what we might consider to be the worst, is seeking a good thing at the most fundamental level (e.g. in the case of same sex marriage; companionship, sexual gratification), but the desire is being sought inordinately, and in the wrong way.

    Yet, you continue to toss up smokescreens, and try to turn my simple challenge to you back on me without ever actually dealing with the substance of my replies. So, you accuse me of being “too smart” to debate with you, which this discussion alone disproves; or, that my arguments have little merit because the issue “strikes a nerve” personnally, and it all adds up to the fact that you don’t seem to be able to sustain an argument of substance without resorting to cheap tactics. You want me to take your arguments seriously? Then answer the substance of my challenge instead of nipping away at the corners as an attempt to discredit what are reasonable issues I bring up.

    And if you want to know what boils my blood, underneath this argument, is the fact that the church has such an atrocious witness to the gay community – and this a problem of our own making. Where gays should be shown compassion, taken seriously as image-bearers, and generally be treated with neighborly love; more often than not they are treated with malignant disrespect, as if they are somehow the enemies of the church, as opposed to being recipients of the ministry of reconciliation regardless of how they respond.

  44. Posted August 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Jed,

    Jon is about the last of the theonomists (he claims borderline) who continues to post here. I think they don’t like how most think who tune in regularly here. Do you think that is so?

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