December 18, 2004


I Wasn't Looking Down on Middle America (Robert Kuttner, December 18, 2004, Washington Post)

The other day columnist George F. Will took a swipe at what he called "Kuttnerism" -- the sin of liberal condescension toward middle Americans.

Will's column began, "Some liberals cannot control their insuppressible reflex to look down their upturned noses at the American electorate." He added, "Kuttner could not resist a spasm of moral vanity. He had to disparage 'middle America,' which means most of America, as so bigoted it denies the humanity of gays."

Surely the erudite Will must know that throughout our history, large numbers of Americans have been prejudiced against blacks, Jews, Catholics, Indians, Hispanics and gays, as well as against liberated women.

There's not much hope for a left so obtuse that it equates sin with race, as even past victims of racism object to the comparison.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2004 12:35 PM

I'm not sure if Kuttner is activiely supporting Howard Dean (v. 2003) for the DNC chairmanship, but if he is, it certainly would be fun to see him go on Meet the Press using the Prospect's talking points to sway Middle America back to the Democrats' side.

Posted by: John at December 18, 2004 1:17 PM

"Surely the erudite Will must know ..."
Obviously not comprehending Will's criticism, the obnoxious Mr. Kuttner extends his habit of condescension to include conservative journalists.

Posted by: jd watson at December 18, 2004 2:04 PM

This is a perfect example of the hubris of the left. They understand very well that sin is not the same thing as race, only they think that the rest of us are so stupid that we will acquiesce in their manipulation of the symbol system.

It is very much like their attempt to deceive others by calling thenselves "progressives."

Posted by: at December 18, 2004 3:04 PM

Tell me again why homosexuality is a sin.

Posted by: frameone at December 18, 2004 6:32 PM


Sin is a difficult concept, isn't it. I've stumbled over it, my whole life. Maybe these posters think men and women have physical attributes that would lead a rational person to think their nature was to mate with the opposite sex.

Of course others think they just as well spend their lives mating with the same sex or with chickens and goats.

So I guess OJ may be saying that "nature" or god is sending us a message to act in accordance with our nature as humans and forego the idea that we should have sex in a different manner.

But in a sense I suppose their are people who think they just HAVE TO HAVE SEX WITH GOATS REGARDLESS OF WHAT NATURE OR G*d says.

Posted by: h-man at December 18, 2004 8:03 PM


If that is true, why did God create gays?

If there is no sin attending consensual sex between a heterosexual married couple, why should there be with a homosexual married couple?

Ignoring, for the moment, marriage is forbidden to them.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 18, 2004 8:15 PM

For the same reason He created evil people. One of the challenges and obligations of people qua human beings is to transcend our bad & evil impulses, and do good dispite our inclinations to do bad.

Marriage is no more "fobidden" to gays that flight is "forbidden" to mankind. That is, the concept does not apply, due to the nature of the species.

Posted by: ray at December 18, 2004 8:29 PM


why did God create gays?

I don't know.

You are probably correct that there is a consistent segment of the population that is homosexual, but unfortunately I'm afraid that the number of homosexuals does vary up and down in relation to their acceptance in society.

For that reason I can see practical and beneficial reasons to NOT treat homosexuality as "normal" or acceptable. Yes it is "normal" that it occurs, but so does the "flu virus".

Marriage issue.

Stolen concept. An institution that has meaning in terms of raising a family, has no meaning in one that isn't capable of that. (yes I know there are non-fertile couples etc, but at least there is potential.) bye argue with OJ.

Posted by: h-man at December 18, 2004 9:19 PM


It degrades both participants.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:20 PM


God didn't make them gay--they did.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:25 PM

If your only argument against homosexuality is that its a sin, and its a sin becuase God or the Bible says its a sin, you have no legal justification for discriminating against homosexuals.
I hate to break it to you all but if homosexuality is a choice and a lifestyle then so is religious faith.

Posted by: frameone at December 18, 2004 9:38 PM

.. and we don;t go running around discriminating against religious faiths do we?

Posted by: frameone at December 18, 2004 9:41 PM


The fact something is a sin has always been legal justification for banning it, never mind discriminating against those who contin ue to engage in the sin. Of course they're both choices--one is good and one evil.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:42 PM


Sure we do.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:45 PM

Disobeying your parents is a sin right in the Ten Commandments, right? Worshiping a God other than the God of Abraham is a sin, right?
Where then are the laws against teenage rebellion and Hinduism?

Posted by: frameone at December 18, 2004 9:47 PM

But we don't make laws banning religious faiths, right?
Look, I respect your faith but I disagree that you have a right to legislate it so far as you want to deny other American citizens certain rights just because your faith says they've sinned.
As I see it, you're picking and choosing from the Bible which sins should be legislated against and which not: homosexuality gets legislated against but not, say, adultery which while wrong is not against the law. If you can do that then why is the Bible to be considered authoritative at all? Isn't a sin a sin? No one greater or lesser in the eyes of God?

Posted by: frame at December 18, 2004 10:00 PM

And as to the "it degrades both participates" argument, let me ask there are any sexual positions that consenting heterosexuals can practice but which inherently degrade both participants? If so, why disallow those people from marrying?

Posted by: frame at December 18, 2004 10:11 PM

Leviticus 18:22

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

It is a sin unquestionably. Should it be against the law? No, but if you think I need to find it to be acceptable behavior, think again. Like most Americans, I tolerate it but do not accept it.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 6:40 AM


Yes, thus sodomy laws were never directed only at gays.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 8:38 AM


That's the difference--religion is universally respected, sodomy universally reviled.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 8:40 AM

What, exactly, is the difference between "sin" and race?

Not a whole lot. Both are culturally relative and socially constructed.

frame: Sodomy is far from "universally reviled." In parts of highland New Guinea, for example, ritual homosexuality is traditionally a part of attaining manhood. And female-female marriages were quite common among the Igbo in Africa.

Posted by: j_g at December 19, 2004 9:53 AM


Race is a birthright--sin a choice.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 9:55 AM

Highland New Guinea is well-known as a center of modern civilzation, and where would we be without the scientific contributions of the Igbo?

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 11:45 AM

"Yes, thus sodomy laws were never directed only at gays."

So anyone who engages in sodomy should be denied the right to marry?

Posted by: frameone at December 19, 2004 3:19 PM

Yes, scientology, as a religion, is and should universally respected. I'm sure you'd agree with that. So to every religious cult and sect we can think of. All religion, wherever, universally respected by you and everyone.

Posted by: frameone at December 19, 2004 3:21 PM

Scientology isn't a religion and shouldn't be treated as one.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 4:32 PM

Anal sodomy should remain illegal.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 4:34 PM

While I have no doubt that every Scientologist is in need of significant psychiatric help, I do not know what kind of test one can use to differentiate it from a religion, other than longevity. If a weird cult hangs around long enough, it becomes a religion. Mormonism and Hasidism come to mind.

Why should sodomy be illegal? I would agree with you about bestiality, as the animal cannot consent. But non-coital copulation between adults of the opposite sex? When did that become your business?

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 5:25 PM


Mormonism is not necessarily a protected religion either--only monotheism is and there's some question about whether Mormonism is monotheistic.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 5:54 PM


How is it that monotheism is "a protected religion?"

Beware passive voice. By whom? Against what?

Also, perhaps you could clearly explain precisely why Scientology isn't a religion, but Jehovah's Witnesses are.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 19, 2004 10:00 PM

Only those religions need be protected by the Constitution which undergird it.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 10:20 PM

Isn't it easier just to say that the Constitution doesn't protect religion, as well as correct?

Posted by: David Cohen at December 19, 2004 10:49 PM


Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 11:09 PM

"Anal sodomy should remain illegal."

So again I ask you, should we deny the right to marry to heterosexuals who practice it?

Posted by: frameone at December 20, 2004 12:42 AM

And BTW I'm sure the Scientologists would disagree with you that it isn't a religion. They are after all legally a religion for tax purposes.

Posted by: frameone at December 20, 2004 12:45 AM


I don't understand why you are linking sexual practices with marriage rights. Marriage isn't a reward for clean living. Many on this site believe gays shouldn't marry because they believe the whole purpose of marriage is to encourage and protect, materially, psychologically and spiritually, children and those who care for them. If you think it is a just a celebration of love and sexual attraction, then you are very modern and may reflect majority thinking, but if that is the case, I've yet to see anyone answer the question of what the heck the state is doing defining how we honour and celebrate love. (BTW, the quaint notion that marriage is a vehicle for ongoing, lifelong sexual fulfillment is amusing, or would be if it didn't contribute to such a high divorce rate.)

Your sense of being discriminated against sexually is also very modern, in that you seem to hold the view that prohibiting or discouraging any sexual practice is irrational, cruel and illegitimate (and maybe unhealthy). Your best argument is that the hetero world dropped all its rules and constraints about forty years ago and decided to party, so why do they all suddenly discover the beauty of traditional constraints when gays want to do the same. You'll get sympathy and respect for that line here, but not much more because most of us are equal opportunity prudes and positively energized by the challenge of turning back the clock.

Posted by: Peter B at December 20, 2004 5:37 AM


Idolators like you should not claim that the only religions that are protected in America are monotheistic.

Posted by: Bart at December 20, 2004 6:37 AM


Yes, if a couple stands before a judge or clergyman and says the purpose of their relationship is anal sodomy they should not be married.

Who cares what Scientologists think their cult should be considered?

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 8:00 AM


I for one could not possibly care what Scientologists think, but I am mightily curious as to what criteria you use that separates Scientology from religion.

Just as curious in fact, as I am to discover what in the text of the Constitution allows you to negate David's assertion above

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 20, 2004 8:58 PM

It has none of the qualities of what the Founders considered religion to be and can not form the basis of the American Republic. The Constitution establishing said Republic obviously isn't intended to protect anything that subverts it.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 10:06 PM

So, in other words, you are making it up.

Unless you can specify what about Scientology subverts the republic, or what the Founders specifically said that differentiates Scientology from religion.

Which sounds an awful lot to me like separating black from the pot. And it also seems to, like Mormonism, give the very uncomfortable notion to some that religions are invented out of whole cloth.

But I fully admit to knowing not the first thing about Scientology, other than spelling. So I am willing to be educated.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 21, 2004 8:58 PM


Yes, Scientology was invented out of whole cloth as a hoax by L. Ron Hubbard. It's not a religion.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2004 10:23 PM