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Friday, 13 February 2009

Keys to equality

A member of the Isle of Man parliament – the House of Keys – has been getting it in the neck from all sides this week after he spoke out against a Bill that would extend rights to transgendered people.

One transsexual has even called on John Houghton to resign, as a point of common decency.

A member of the House of Keys, Peter Karran, said he was “appalled by the outburst”, saying: “It’s what the Nazis used to say about the Jews. I thought we had got away from this Island being seen as a Fascist, reactionary backwater.”

And the island’s Education Minister, Anne Craine, said Houghton’s “approach, his attitude, his bigotry is disgusting”.

Pink Triangle reader Stuart Hartill – of the Clinging to a Rock blog we link to on our sidebar – says in an email to me:

Incidentally, because of the furore over Houghton’s comments, a behind-the-scenes amendment no doubt arranged by the churches isn’t getting publicity. This is to fit in with an upcoming Marriage and Civil Registration Bill – promised a year or so ago but not appeared yet.

Last October, the Council of Ministers monthly meeting minutes say:

“Council further agreed that paragraph 2 of Schedule 2, be amended to exempt a clergyman from the obligation to solemnise the marriage of a person if the clergyman reasonably believes that the person has changed gender.”

Anne Craine, our Education Minister, agreed at that meeting to move an amendment, which as presented on the day becomes:

“No clergyman is obliged to solemnise the marriage of a person whose gender has become the acquired gender in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2008.”

A point I wonder about is that the Bill begins:

“(1) The Chief Registrar shall maintain in the General Registry a register to be called the Gender Recognition Register.

(2) The form in which the Gender Recognition Register is to be maintained shall be determined by the Chief Registrar.

(3) The Gender Recognition Register shall not be open to public inspection or search.”

On that basis, I wonder how a clergyman has a “reasonable suspicion” that someone has changed gender unless someone has, illegally, passed information to him from the register!

Yes, highly suspicious.

Thanks to Stuart Hartill for pointing this out to us.


Christopher Geiser said...

Hey, can theists comment on here?

Andy Armitage said...

Anyone can comment on here, Christopher, whether theist, atheist or gherkin worshipper. Just stick to the basic rules of not telling your readers to kill anyone (or their cat) and don't libel anyone. Welcome aboard.

Christopher Geiser said...

Ok cool. This is good blog and I like it a lot, it looks like there are good intentions intended with this blog.

As a theists I do believe that all people are equal under God, just like the Pledge of Allegiance of America says. You compared Hitler vs Jews and Christians vs homosexuals/trans/bisexuals..etc. Hitler's predicament was towards a race of people and therefore was racist. The Christians' predicament is with sin, not a race, Christians' do not believe that homosexuals are a different race, they believe homosexuality is a wrong act, but the person is still seen as an equal to all mankind but that they should not participate in homosexuality and other sins. So what I am trying to say is that Hitler vs Jews and Christians vs Homosexuals is not a fair comparison. Just my two cents.

Christopher Geiser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Geiser said...

Yeah, so do you follow me on that above comment of mine? cuz sometimes my comments are confusing to me even, haha.

Baal's Bum said...

Christopher,dear boy
Firstly as an unbeliever can I point out sin is just a word used by many to describe things that people do that other people don't like.
It is according to the bible.
A sin to eat Pork and Shellfish,
a sin to work on Saturdays,
a sin to not bury your faeces,It is a sin not to observe certain sacrifices for many observances through the year.
and a sin to see anyone(even your wife) naked.
I could go on with more examples but just from these few, I ask you. How many of these do you break ?
Personally I break all these laws and many more but I commit NO sin.
I commit no sin because I live within my own moral constraints.
I ask you .
What determines race ?
What determines sexuality ?
Guess what the answer is the same....Genes.
You know the little chemical packs of DNA that tell the cells and ultimately the finished plant/animal/man/woman what they are going to be,what they will look like , what colour they are, what sex and who they want to have sex with.
What business is it of anyone what consenting adults choose to do in private ?
And finally
Please do answer this one, if you do not answer any of the other questions......Why, why and thrice why are you theists so fucking obsessed with other peoples sex lives ?

Christopher said...

Well, I will try to not get defensive on you Baal's bum. What determines race and sin to me is skin color vs action. That is what it is to me. I believe that our DNA does not determine our behavior but only our appearence. That is what I believe. You don't have to believe that.

Baal's Bum said...

Thanks for replying.
You say you will not get defensive. However your choice not to answer direct questions is a defence mechanism.
You don't need to ask the authors and readers of this blog questions if you are not going to accept their replies. You have a computer in front of you connected to the internet. Therefore at your fingertips you have access to more knowledge than has ever been available throughout the known history of mankind. The answers to your questions are freely available in glorious scientific detail so if you won't take my word for it try google. One thing does however remain abundantly clear : Belief does not change facts.

christopher said...

Baal, I was just trying to not attack your ego, and I was trying to not offend you, so that was my motive. I was trying my best to be neutral. You are right when you say that beliefs don't change facts, I believe you 100%.

Diesel B said...

While I am obviously on the "atheist" side of the fence, I prefer to describe myself as a "secular humanist" or "freethinker" because the term "atheist" doesn't tell you very much about a person's motivations (Nigella Lawson, Pol Pot and George Bernard Shaw are, or were, all atheists).

Anyway, unlike Baal's Bum, I think we should be wary of claiming that human sexuality is 100% genetically determined. There is some evidence that shows a genetic predisposition, but that is not conclusive.

The Freudian psychoanalytic perspective is at least as convincing, but that doesn't mean that we should claim that sexuality is 100% psychoanalytically determined either.

Perhaps what makes one person gay, doesn't make another person gay. What makes one person straight, doesn't necessarily make another person straight. Otherwise, how do you explain identical twins, who grew up together, one of whom is gay, while the other is heterosexual?

Christopher is right, in so far as we do have a measure of free will where our sex lives are concerned. In prisons, boarding schools and the Armed Forces, many people turn to same sex liaisons even though they are not homosexual. Some feminists become lesbians, temporarily or permanently, while they work through their feminist agenda.

Likewise, many gay people settle into conventional partnerships with members of the opposite sex, raising children successfully and happily. There is also the option of celibacy, of course.

Where Christopher goes wrong, is when he wades in claiming to be an authority on sexual "right" and "wrong". Whatever determines an individual's sexual orientation, and the choices they feel able to make within that orientation, primitive religious texts are not helpful in ensuring that people lead happy, fulfilled and responsible sex lives today.

When the scriptures were written, the tribe to which you belonged lived on the knife-edge of extinction. Disease, famine, war or earthquakes could wipe out large numbers of people at a stroke. Therefore, rather obviously, a premium was placed on procreation. This meant that homosexuality and even masturbation, necessarily became "sins" (how else could illiterate, superstitious primitives conceptualise or understand their predicament?)

Today, things are very different. We know that masturbation is conducive to physical and mental well-being, while homosexuality, if more widely sanctioned and encouraged would result in fewer unwanted teen pregnancies and reduce the kind of male aggression that results in crimes like rape and child abuse, much of which arises out of bottled-up sexual frustration.

In this respect, the Greeks probably got it right - they encouraged homo-social relationships between men, which obviously had a homo-sexual side to them as well. By working with male sexuality, instead of against it, as Judeo-Christian societies traditionally have done, they were able to maintain order and achieve a great deal, socially, intellectually and militarily.

What all this historical context means, is that we should apply modern "humanist" ethics to modern human sexuality. The only "rights" and "wrongs" in sex today, are as follows: 1) Restrict activity to your own species, 2) Informed, consenting adults only please, 3) Take responsibility for your own and other people's physical and emotional well-being, 4) Live and let live, and 5) Bin the guilt and enjoy!

Simple when you know how, Christopher.

Baal's Bum said...

The only way you could possibly offend me is by not answering my questions so please un-offend me. I also note that the copy comment didn't make it on your blog (at this time )past your comment moderation.
Diesel has elaborated on my simplified explanation. Human desire is a complicated matter and it will be a long time before it will be explained satisfactorily for everyone to agree.
I will leave you with these thoughts
If you are for some reason unable to answer my previous questions at least spend some time thinking on them.(sorry to harp on about this but as much as you need to have your questions answered so do I)
There are many characters mentioned in the bible ,only two of them voice an opinion against homosexuality, many more seem to indulge in it.

christopher said...

OK, I will risk getting banned from this blog when I say this.

Homosexuality is 100% wrong. None of it is right, 0%. That is not only my belief, it is what God says in the Bible. Actions can be determined as right and wrong. The Ten Commandments are the measuring bar. It is written in stone. I myself cannot determine what is right or wrong but only God does. He determines right and wrong, not me or anyone else, He has told us what is right with His Ten Commandments, anything contrary to that is wrong. Since has told us what is right, we have no excuse to do wrong.

Diesel B said...

Christopher - I don't think anyone wants to ban you from this blog, least of all me (I support freedom of expression as it is the only way to challenge other people's beliefs and have one's own beliefs challenged). That's how we learn and grow.

What is disappointing about your responses so far, is that they don't answer, consider, or make reference to any of the points that have been put to you by other, more mature, correspondents. You have learned nothing. You have simply retreated into saying "God says in the Bible it's wrong, so it's wrong". This is just a lame attempt to trump everyone else by claiming you have Divine Right backing up your personal hang-ups!

Rather than behave like a Dalek in a dog collar, try binning your Bible and thinking for yourself instead. The Bible is not "God's word" - it is a jumble of ancient texts written by tribal elders, power-mongers and men who probably spent a lot of their time completely out of their heads as a result of fasting, drinking bad wine and eating naturally occurring hallucinogens (i.e. funghi).

The Bible is also incomplete, badly translated and parts of it were written many years after the events they purport to describe. And you think this primitive rubbish is a blueprint for living your life in this day and age? Wise up, Chris - the Bible is 100% man made.

Perhaps if you were European instead of American, you would have been exposed to far more scepticism and a much bigger range of ideas than your George W. Bush simplicity allows for (do you actually live on Walton's Mountain?).

Even if those ideas didn't shake your faith in Christianity, they would at least have provided you with enough humility and common sense not to come out with a neo-fascist statement like "Homosexuality is 100% wrong." Do you even understand how vile and offensive that statement is?

Come on, Christopher, get with the 21st century and bin the Biblical crap! You really don't need it.

Baal's Bum said...

I disagree with you, it would be nice to assume Christopher was serious with his initial question ,in fact I had half expected him after a few chats to admit he was "curious" this may still be the case but I do now lean to the suspicion he has said what he originally came to say which is something like "Teh gay issss Eeeebillsss"
I do however really want to know why these idiots are so interested in other peoples sex lives because , to me, if you don't like something you don't think about it..... says me with my bible blog ???