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Public University's Punishment of Employee for Anti-Homosexuality E-Mail Set Aside:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

[Jihad Daniel, an employee of William Patterson University, a public school in New Jersey] privately replied to an unsolicited March 7 mass e-mail from Professor Arlene Holpp Scala promoting a viewing and discussion of a film described as "a lesbian relationship story." Daniel's March 8 e-mail to Professor Scala requested that he not be sent "any mail about 'Connie and Sally' and 'Adam and Steve.'" Daniel went on, "These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned."

By June 15, Daniel had received a letter of reprimand in his permanent file saying that since the word "perversion" was "derogatory or demeaning," he was guilty of violating state discrimination and harassment regulations. Daniel appealed to WPU President Arnold Speert, arguing that the First Amendment protected his speech, only to be told that such an argument was "beyond the scope" of the finding. . . .

Daniel contacted FIRE, which on July 5 wrote Speert in protest and reminded him that state college administrators "cannot simply choose to ignore the First Amendment when it becomes inconvenient." New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey's office responded to FIRE, absurdly asserting that "speech which violates a non-discrimination policy is not protected." FIRE then took the case public, resulting in national condemnation of the university, while Daniel appealed the finding through a union grievance process.

On November 16, Daniel's hearing took place with able representation from the Communication Workers of America Local 1031. Yesterday, Daniel received notification that the hearing officer had determined that the sexual harassment charge was "not supported" and that the letter would be removed from his personnel file. Moreover, the hearing officer clearly stated that Daniel's one-time expression of a personal religious belief was not "harassment." Daniel did receive a purely verbal reprimand for sending the e-mail while at work. . . .

Cornellian (mail):
Rather appropriate that his first name is "Jihad."
12.7.2005 12:46pm
Hoya:
The best part is the reprimand for sending the e-mail while at work. Classic.
12.7.2005 12:52pm
akiva eisenberg (mail):
Regarding your comment, "New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey's office responded to FIRE, absurdly asserting that 'speech which violates a non-discrimination policy is not protected.'", is the word "absurdly" generally accepted in this context? What is the status of free-speech v. discrimination issues in current legal doctrine?
12.7.2005 12:58pm
Public_Defender:
This appears to be the right result, but conservatives should remember this case when someone uses similar language to attack Catholicism or evangelical Christianity.
12.7.2005 1:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

This appears to be the right result, but conservatives should remember this case when someone uses similar language to attack Catholicism or evangelical Christianity.
It happens all the time in academic institutions. When was the last time that you heard of an academic being punished for using such language to attack the majority religion?
12.7.2005 1:06pm
Public_Defender:
Consider how the reaction would have been different if the writer had been responding to discussion of Judaism and had said:
These are perversions. The absence of Jesus in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes Jesus, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is never mentioned.
My point is that many anti-gay people want an exception from the usual boundaries of civil conversation. They want to be able to hurl insults like "perverted" or "inherently disordered," at gay people, but then they get the vapors when similar language is used to describe their faith.

The professor in this case was rude, but he should not have been disciplined unless rudeness is a basis for discipline.
12.7.2005 1:10pm
Public_Defender:
Clayton,

Earlier this week, people rightly condemned someone for calling Jews "pigs." That's thankfully no longer accepted behavior in any respectable circle.

But many conservative Christians, including the current pope, still think it's perfectly appropriate to use similarly derogatory language to describe gay people.

You're right on one point. In academia, it's now considered improper to speak of gays the way anti-semites speak of Jews. Thank God.
12.7.2005 1:19pm
Tam:

Earlier this week, people rightly condemned someone for calling Jews "pigs." ....But many conservative Christians, including the current pope, still think it's perfectly appropriate to use similarly derogatory language to describe gay people.


Public Defender, what derogatory language similar to "pigs" did the pope use?
12.7.2005 1:36pm
Cornellian (mail):
This appears to be the right result, but conservatives should remember this case when someone uses similar language to attack Catholicism or evangelical Christianity.

It happens all the time in academic institutions. When was the last time that you heard of an academic being punished for using such language to attack the majority religion?


In my time at Cornell I have never heard any law professor speak negatively about any religion, whether Catholicism, evangelical Christianty or anything else. I've never even heard a law student do that.
12.7.2005 1:37pm
JadePhilosopher:
Odd. In every workplace I've been, the disciplinary action would have been against the person who sent the email about women having sex with women. I suspect that Mr. Daniel might have been more successful if he had complained to his Human Resources department about the sexual content of an email that another employee had sent to him. If it's not acceptable to discuss sex at work, then it's not acceptable to discuss lesbianism or homosexuality at work. The contrapositive holds as well. The PC crowd shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways.

However, I agree that it is, at best, rude to refer to someone else's beliefs as "perversions."
12.7.2005 1:47pm
Houston Lawyer:
Hasn't our new Chief Justice taken the position that the "hostile work environment" sexual harrassment laws do violate the first amendment? Current law encourages a child's reaction to every perceived slight. Maybe we should all be required to have a little thicker skin.
12.7.2005 1:55pm
Justin (mail):
I don't think a proper reprimand for failing to show collegiality infringes on the first amendment. The first amendment does not protect state employees from comporting to the principles of a cooperative workplace. This does not seem to be a case in which the original punishment was due to his beliefs in the inappropriateness of homosexuality, or even that he expressed such beliefs, but based on the manner in which he expressed those belief. If this is allowed, then emails asking not to be sent any "kike propoganda" etc. would also be unpunishable simply because the offense happened to come from a state employee.
12.7.2005 1:57pm
AppSocRes (mail):
The man was reprimanded for writing an email during work requesting that a fellow employee not use her (presumably) employer-provided email service to harass him. I can only assume that the woman in this case was even more severely chastised for using email during work time to harass her fellow employees. However, I will take bets at ten-to-one that this was not the case.
12.7.2005 2:01pm
Fishbane:
It happens all the time in academic institutions. When was the last time that you heard of an academic being punished for using such language to attack the majority religion?

I must say that I really don't follow these things. The beaten up prof saying nasty things about ID was rather harshly rebuked (I'm not referring to the beating) and forced to back down.

More generally, I went to what is normally considered one of the most PC schools in the US (Wesleyan, the CT one), and never heard harsh words for religion from the faculty. In fact, Wes has an excellent Religious Studies program in which many students who are religious feel quite comfortable.
12.7.2005 2:07pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Strangely, I'm curious about the differential treatment of the faculty member compared to the student employee.

We know the University moved to discipline the student for responding to the unsolicited email from the faculty member.

Out of curiosity, did the University take any action against the faculty member for mass emailing student employees with what might be considered politically and sexually sensitive material?

Most recipients of unsolicited mass mailings consider these things to be spam, and don't react well.

I should think faculty members spamming students would be frowned upon, even if the faculty member thinks it's for a good cause.


In some ways, this sounds like a classic "discipline those lower on the totem pole for sassing back to their superiors" situation.
12.7.2005 2:36pm
Steve:
The man was reprimanded for writing an email during work requesting that a fellow employee not use her (presumably) employer-provided email service to harass him.

I wonder if the author of this comment takes the position in other contexts as well that a communication is harassment any time the recipient feels offended.

I wonder if his objection to the film would have been seen as identically principled had he said "I don't want to see a movie made by some Jew" or "I don't want to see a movie with some nigger actor." Referring to homosexual lifestyles as "perverted" is not seen in the same light as these other types of insults, at least not today, but history marches on.
12.7.2005 2:38pm
Jack John (mail):
Racist(?) Steve:

I wonder if his objection to the film would have been seen as identically principled had he said "I don't want to see a movie made by some Jew" or "I don't want to see a movie with some nigger actor."



Frankly, I find offensive the disparity of terms here. Jew is not a word of condemnation, "kike" is. "Nigger" is a word of condemnation. To make your point, you could have said, "Jew" and "black". Or, you could have said "kike" and "nigger". But there was no reason for you to say "Jew" and "nigger," unless you think that is what African-Americans or black Americans are rightly called.

And don't start in with all that nigger is a happy-dappy word jazz, no one who says "I don't want to see a movie with some nigger actor." means it that way; such a person would say, e.g., "I gotta see the new Denzel flick, son. Denzel's my nigga!!!!" I'm sure one of your many "black friends" would note that nigga and nigger are not the same word/social use.
12.7.2005 2:46pm
anonymous coward:
The perverted "unsolicited mass email" seems to have been sent to an announcements mailing list. I base this on the "From: ANNOUNCEMENT" field on the email. If Mr. Jihad can't handle a reference to homosexuality on an announcements list (horrors!), he presumably can unsubscribe.

His reply was pretty nasty and would probably violate some IT acceptable use policies, but it doesn't strike me as harassment. I think an unofficial reprimand for being a jerk on the job is appropriate.

People sometime have a tough time dealing with others' speech on open listservs. Controversy over a not-terribly-offensive one-line joke about Asian cuisine at Northwestern Law has apparently caused a lot of students to want to shut down their open student listserv altogether. (I am not a student and have learned of this second-hand, so can't offer more detail.)
12.7.2005 2:49pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
The prof is the one guilty of sexual harassment, if anyone. Prof Scala sent an email to Daniel promoting discussion about a lesbian story. Daniel responded with his opinion. If Prof Scala didn't want Daniel's opinion, then she should not have asked for it.

You can concoct any politically incorrect analogy you want, but I think that anytime a prof asks an employee for a personal opinion, the prof should be able to deal with any answer she gets without whining to the administration.
12.7.2005 3:06pm
Vinnie:
I love the defense lawyer's weasle-job of clinging to the definition of perversion as "out of the norm" and the professor's assertion that mean e-mails lead to violence. I guess she read about the way Kansas professors are treated.
12.7.2005 3:56pm
lucia (mail) (www):
A Coward: Is it an announcement list? I didn't read that anywhere in the article or the links. It just said "unsolicited mass email".

If the message did come from a by subscription email announcement list, then yes, the student should have just unsubscribed. So, if you have a link to further information, that would be interesting to read!

(In anticipation of certain possible answers: I did note:
From "announcement" in the pdf file,

But doesn't necessarily mean it's from an opt-in by subscription only list serve. The university may have any number of mechanisms for mass emailing available to the faculty member which would modify "from" for any number of reasons. In fact, I know how to make the words after "from" read whatever I like in an email. There are sometimes legitimate non-spam reasons to do this. )
12.7.2005 4:04pm
Splunge (mail):
Wow, I am impressed by the number of lawyers who are kinda sorta maybe OK with the idea of punishing someone, e.g. by constraining his future job prospects, when he has privately expressed an ugly opinion to a person who was offended thereby.

I always thought the First Amendment was mildly superfluous, inasmuch as I assumed any sensible person could see the merit in an extraordinary tolerance of free speech, even when offensive, humiliating, intolerant, inflammatory, not respectful of others, not promoting diversity, discourteous, et cetera and so forth. The Founders were apparently wiser than I.
12.7.2005 4:16pm
Public_Defender:
Daniel responded with his opinion. If Prof Scala didn't want Daniel's opinion, then she should not have asked for it.

Another commentator had it right--you might change your opinion if the professor had said, "I don't want to see that Jew film. We've taken Jesus out of the class room and this is the result."

That's roughly the equivilent of what the professor said.

Tam, the pope calls gay people "inherently disordered." If someone used that term to describe Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians, we would correctly call that person a "bigot."

What makes these debates fascinating is that there is no middle ground. One group thinks it's morally wrong to engage in homosexual acts or to support gay rights. Another thinks it's morally wrong to act against people because they're gay (say, by failing to hire them or denying them the right to marry) or to support anti-gay causes.
12.7.2005 4:30pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

In my time at Cornell I have never heard any law professor speak negatively about any religion, whether Catholicism, evangelical Christianty or anything else. I've never even heard a law student do that.
I'm impressed. I attended Sonoma State University, where professors frequently through in completely irrelevant attacks on Christianity. For example, in my wife's Musics of the World class (a survey of music), the professor was discussing Native American music, and suddenly, and completely irrelevant to the subject, drops in, "Of course, the Native Americans respected the environment, unlike Christian Europeans, whose principle was use everything up." Crap like this was pretty common. One of my history professors (otherwise a pretty liberal feminist) that she had made the mistake of letting it slip in conversation with colleagues that she had started attending church, and was the subject of derisive jokes for it.
12.7.2005 4:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Public_Defender writes:


My point is that many anti-gay people want an exception from the usual boundaries of civil conversation. They want to be able to hurl insults like "perverted" or "inherently disordered," at gay people, but then they get the vapors when similar language is used to describe their faith.
I want some consistency. The liberal definition of "civil conversation" seems to have been defined in Cohen v. California. Burning flags is protected free speech, too. (I actually agree with liberals on that example.) But someone says, "Stop sending your perverted stuff to me" and this is beyond the bounds of civil conversation.

Public_Defender also writes:


Earlier this week, people rightly condemned someone for calling Jews "pigs." That's thankfully no longer accepted behavior in any respectable circle.
Your analogy fails, however, because practically no one regards being Jewish as a sickness.

But many conservative Christians, including the current pope, still think it's perfectly appropriate to use similarly derogatory language to describe gay people.
Would you prefer that we just clinically state what large numbers of homosexuals do? Sadomasochism? Random sex in public restrooms? Public exhibitionism? Maybe you don't do these things, but you know darn well that they are a large and highly visible part of your community.
12.7.2005 4:46pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

It happens all the time in academic institutions. When was the last time that you heard of an academic being punished for using such language to attack the majority religion?

University of Kansas. Professor Paul Mirecki had to cancel his class on ID after disparaging comments towards Christians he made in an email were made public. The school's Chancellor called his comments, "repugnant and vile."

He also got beaten up for it.
12.7.2005 4:48pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Public defender: For the record, I'm for gay rights.

I'm also against faculty members sending unsolicited political email to student employees. I think it's a bit much to expect student employees -- even those who I consider to be conservative bigots -- to swallow their words if they are spammed with speech they find offensive.

So, I would be interested in knowing whether or not this was an unsolicited mass email (as the FIRE article states) or whether this was email from an opt-in list serve (as A. Coward suggested).

If it was unsolicited email, the faculty member should be given a good talking to (at a minimum.)
12.7.2005 4:53pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Tam, the pope calls gay people "inherently disordered." If someone used that term to describe Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians, we would correctly call that person a "bigot."
That's the difference. Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians aren't "inherently disordered." I think you would have trouble finding even 5% of Americans who would describe any group on that list as "inherently disordered."

On the other hand, you would have no problem finding a large percentage (perhaps even a majority) of Americans prepared to identify the following groups as "inherently disordered": alcoholics; meth addicts; highly promiscuous people (more than, say, six sexual partners a year); pedophiles; sadomasochists; coprophiliacs; people with deadly STDs who engage in random unprotected sex.

Oddly enough, that list also describes a very large fraction of homosexuals. Not all of them, of course. I will give you the benefit of the doubt--in spite of what living near San Francisco has taught me--and say probably not even a majority. But such a large fraction that it seems hard to call it coincidental.
12.7.2005 4:53pm
Justin (mail):
Would you prefer that we just clinically state what large numbers of homosexuals do? Sadomasochism? Random sex in public restrooms? Public exhibitionism? Maybe you don't do these things, but you know darn well that they are a large and highly visible part of your community.

And mine. I'm straight. I've walked in on people engaging in sexual acts on several occasions in my life (damn Germans), and every single time it's been straight people. Maybe you're just lucky.
12.7.2005 4:54pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Owen Hutchins writes:

University of Kansas. Professor Paul Mirecki had to cancel his class on ID after disparaging comments towards Christians he made in an email were made public. The school's Chancellor called his comments, "repugnant and vile."
Punished? Oh, you mean he was expected to at least pretend to be engaged in an academically honest activity when teaching a class? If that's punishment....

He also got beaten up for it.
Assuming that Mirecki is telling the truth about this, this was not an action of his employer. (Unless there's something you know that I don't.)
12.7.2005 4:56pm
Justin (mail):
Whoops, I didn't even notice who it was that I responded to. And Clayton thinks its absurd that someone (totally out of line, yes) "verbally abused" and "made threats" against Clayton?

That this has happened rarely speaks approvingly of the civility of the "gay lobby". Usually, there are more nutcases who are willing to go off on someone who is so quick to slander, revile, and dehumanize such nutcase.
12.7.2005 4:57pm
Justin (mail):
PS, Cramer, on the "attacks on Christianity" complaint: maybe if you didn't crown yourself poster child for "self-identifying-Christian bigot", those that oppose bigotry in any and all of its forms might think more of Christianity (as its practiced in America, not as I interpret the New Testament, given that Jesus preached tolerance and love for his fellow man)
12.7.2005 4:59pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And mine. I'm straight. I've walked in on people engaging in sexual acts on several occasions in my life (damn Germans), and every single time it's been straight people. Maybe you're just lucky.
Was this in public?

I'm 49. I think in my entire life I have once seen a straight couple engaged in sex in public (and I'm not even completely sure of that--they were under a blanket, and I am just making an assumption based on the motions and the noises).
12.7.2005 5:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Whoops, I didn't even notice who it was that I responded to. And Clayton thinks its absurd that someone (totally out of line, yes) "verbally abused" and "made threats" against Clayton?
So you agree that it is an appropriate response to disapproval to make threats of violence and harrassing phone calls?

One of the reasons that the abolition movement started to gain strength in the 1830s and 1840s (and it still wasn't strong) was because a fair number of Northerners who didn't regard slavery as intrinsically their problem began to perceive that the slavocracy represented a threat to all liberties, because they suppressed freedom of speech and freedom of petition with the gag rule.

True, the big planters and slave traders were never a very large number of people--a tiny fraction of 1% of the population--but they exercised enormous power because of their wealth and political influence. There's a lesson on the manner in which homosexual activists (a tiny fraction even of homosexuals) have created a situation where someone says, "Don't send me more mail like this" and gets fired.

That this has happened rarely speaks approvingly of the civility of the "gay lobby". Usually, there are more nutcases who are willing to go off on someone who is so quick to slander, revile, and dehumanize such nutcase.
What makes you think it happens rarely? The reason that California Governor Wilson signed the addition of homosexuals to the state's antidiscrimination law is he got tired of continual heckling that when on at every public event for almost a year.
12.7.2005 5:07pm
Steve:
I don't know who Jack John is, or what planet he is from that he thinks "I don't want to see a movie made by some Jew" is not a derogatory comment, but whatever. To my view, his comment was well outside the blog policy.
12.7.2005 5:07pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

PS, Cramer, on the "attacks on Christianity" complaint: maybe if you didn't crown yourself poster child for "self-identifying-Christian bigot", those that oppose bigotry in any and all of its forms might think more of Christianity (as its practiced in America, not as I interpret the New Testament, given that Jesus preached tolerance and love for his fellow man)
Jesus teached tolerance? He preached forgiveness for sinners, not tolerance of sin.

You seem to be saying that anti-Christian sentiment is dominant in the academic community because Christianity says that homosexuality is wrong. That's at least an honest statement of the problem.
12.7.2005 5:10pm
anonymous coward:
lucia: Of course my guess that the announcement was distributed through an announcements mailing list from which Jihad could unsubscribe is a guess. It clearly passed through some sort of intermediary, as we see in the request not to reply to the email directly and providing a mailto: link to the professor's email address.

"...the professor was discussing Native American music, and suddenly, and completely irrelevant to the subject, drops in, "Of course, the Native Americans respected the environment, unlike Christian Europeans, whose principle was use everything up." Crap like this was pretty common."

That's hysterical! Unfortunately, I spent years at elite liberal universities without hearing a similarly derisive comment about Christianity. Though I do recall at least one politically-tinged joke about a Republican politician in a history class. Possibly two. Traumatic indeed.
12.7.2005 5:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

That's hysterical! Unfortunately, I spent years at elite liberal universities without hearing a similarly derisive comment about Christianity.
I'm just astonished. Maybe that's why they are elite universities--the professors actually teach subjects that they know something about, instead of drifting off on to subjects outside the purpose of the class.

Though I do recall at least one politically-tinged joke about a Republican politician in a history class. Possibly two. Traumatic indeed.
None of this was traumatic. It is liberals, after all, who are insistent on firing people for expressing their opinions (at least, if they don't go along with the current Party definition of 2+2).
12.7.2005 5:21pm
Justin (mail):
I didn't say it was "okay", I said it was "expected"

And you clearly lack tolerance for the "sin" or the "sinner". If only Jesus treated Mary M. the way you treat people. He'd be even COOLER!


PS, You seem to live in a fantasy world in which people seem to think of your principled opposition to homosexuality as derogatory and cruel but others who share your opposition as simply wrong. Maybe the points I am making have nothing to do with WHAT you're opposing and instead upon HOW you go about doing such.
12.7.2005 5:29pm
lucia (mail) (www):
A Coward: I'm not trying to be snarky here. I agree the note has signs suggesting it might be a listserve message. It also might be a message system that permits faculty members to send announcements to employees on behalf of the department.

The problem is, I can't tell! Right now, having been on the receiving ends of both kinds, I think either is equally likely.

Since my opinion about who was right or wrong is not based on the gay rights issue but on the "is it ok for faculty members to spam students" issue, I'd prefer to know rather than guess. So, I guess my question is: does anyone know if it was unsolicited email or not?
12.7.2005 5:35pm
The Human Fund (mail):

What makes these debates fascinating is that there is no middle ground. One group thinks it's morally wrong to engage in homosexual acts or to support gay rights. Another thinks it's morally wrong to act against people because they're gay (say, by failing to hire them or denying them the right to marry) or to support anti-gay causes.


I don't really think this is an accurate assessment. Some people think homosexuality is morally wrong, but also think it's wrong to (to use your example) fail to hire someone who is gay. There's a difference between thinking an activity is morally wrong and discriminating against those who engage in that activity.
12.7.2005 5:44pm
Cornellian (mail):
That's the difference. Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians aren't "inherently disordered."

Well, getting one's sex advice from a group of men who have all signed up for a job which entails never being able to get married or have sex - ever - doesn't strike me as particularly sensible either though I might stop short of using the term "objectively disordered." Interestingly, the members of each of those 3 religious groups believe (not exclusively but in significant numbers) that everyone in the other two religious groups is going to Hell. Since Jews do not believe Jesus was the son of God, that would seem to preclude ascension to Heaven in the eyes of virtually anyone who describes himself as an evangelical Christian. Is this an "objectively disordered" belief? A gay member of your religion can still get into Heaven (might have to confess, repent, try to avoid sex or take some other type of action, but he can still get there) whereas a straight member of another religion will not. So which one is disordered? The gay man who's going to Heaven or the straight one who's going to Hell?
12.7.2005 5:58pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I didn't say it was "okay", I said it was "expected"

And you clearly lack tolerance for the "sin" or the "sinner". If only Jesus treated Mary M. the way you treat people. He'd be even COOLER!
Actually, he did treat Mary Magdalene that way. He said that she shouldn't be stoned to death, but "Go and sin no more." I don't see any purpose in laws prohibiting homosexuality (although they are clearly Constitutional), and I would not vote for such a measure, and I have argued against such laws in the past. But neither do I see any need for the society to change to make homosexuals feel comfortable in their sinful and destructive behavior.

PS, You seem to live in a fantasy world in which people seem to think of your principled opposition to homosexuality as derogatory and cruel but others who share your opposition as simply wrong. Maybe the points I am making have nothing to do with WHAT you're opposing and instead upon HOW you go about doing such.
Such as?
12.7.2005 6:04pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
-- That's the difference. Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians aren't "inherently disordered." I think you would have trouble finding even 5% of Americans who would describe any group on that list as "inherently disordered." --

If we can't find 5% to describe these groups as "inherently disordered" it's because, unlike with homosexuality, it's no longer "socially respectable" to do so like it was in the "good old days" (or at least, this is the case with Jews and Blacks).

Majority public opinions and practices change with the historical wind.

But of course people have and still do make such assertions, which have at times resonated with the public masses.

On Jews.

On blacks.

On Catholics.

On evangelicals.
12.7.2005 6:07pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Well, getting one's sex advice from a group of men who have all signed up for a job which entails never being able to get married or have sex - ever - doesn't strike me as particularly sensible either though I might stop short of using the term "objectively disordered."
What's not sensible is expecting men to be celibate throughout their entire adult lives. (There are men that could do this comfortably, but I don't see how.) A celibate man's marital advice might be perfectly sensible in spite of this. I don't require a psychiatrist to have been locked up in a mental institution to be able to treat mental patients, either.


Interestingly, the members of each of those 3 religious groups believe (not exclusively but in significant numbers) that everyone in the other two religious groups is going to Hell.
Really? I don't know that I have ever met an evangelical Christian who believes that Catholics are going to hell. (Some may, but not for being Catholic.) I am not even sure how widespread this idea is concerning Jews. In any case, this hardly qualifies as "objectively disordered." Lots of people hold very different religious beliefs without it causing their lives to be complete chaos. Unlike certain sexual dysfunctions.
12.7.2005 6:09pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If we can't find 5% to describe these groups as "inherently disordered" it's because, unlike with homosexuality, it's no longer "socially respectable" to do so like it was in the "good old days" (or at least, this is the case with Jews and Blacks).

Majority public opinions and practices change with the historical wind.

But of course people have and still do make such assertions, which have at times resonated with the public masses.
And then Rowe quotes some nutcases (one of them, of course, a liberal journalist). I don't dispute that you can find nutcases who think this, but they are pretty scarce.

Interestingly enough, most minorities benefit from enhanced contact with the majority population in breaking down stereotypes. Not so with homosexuals.
12.7.2005 6:14pm
Justin Kee (mail):
"That's the difference. Jews, black people, Catholics or evangelical Christians aren't "inherently disordered." I think you would have trouble finding even 5% of Americans who would describe any group on that list as "inherently disordered."

On the other hand, you would have no problem finding a large percentage (perhaps even a majority) of Americans prepared to identify the following groups as "inherently disordered": alcoholics; meth addicts; highly promiscuous people (more than, say, six sexual partners a year); pedophiles; sadomasochists; coprophiliacs; people with deadly STDs who engage in random unprotected sex.

Oddly enough, that list also describes a very large fraction of homosexuals. Not all of them, of course. I will give you the benefit of the doubt--in spite of what living near San Francisco has taught me--and say probably not even a majority. But such a large fraction that it seems hard to call it coincidental."

Nice. Support the ostracization of a group and then blame them when they behave in an anti-social or deviant manner.
12.7.2005 6:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Nice. Support the ostracization of a group and then blame them when they behave in an anti-social or deviant manner.
You are assuming that the anti-social behavior is the symptom of ostracization, not the cause. It has been 30 years since California repealed its laws against homosexuality, and at least 20 years since most Californians thought of homosexuals as weirdoes. So when's the anti-social behavior going to end?
12.7.2005 7:01pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Really? I don't know that I have ever met an evangelical Christian who believes that Catholics are going to hell. (Some may, but not for being Catholic.)


Well, the President of this university believes that Catholics qua Catholics go to Hell.

The only loophole in this assertion is that only if a Catholic were to REJECT Catholic Dogma and accept that salvation comes from Christ alone could he or she be born again and thus saved.

This is, by the way, I think a more intellectually honest way of reading Protestant fundamentalist dogma, and I think most doctrinaire fundamentalist preachers would agree with BJ's logic.
12.7.2005 7:02pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Interestingly enough, most minorities benefit from enhanced contact with the majority population in breaking down stereotypes. Not so with homosexuals.


Every single public opinion survey I've ever seen on the matter is 180 degrees opposite of this assertion. You, Clayton, may have had your personal opinion of gays soured by more rather than less contact. And I'm sure that you are not alone in this. But the data suggest that you are the exception, not the rule, that gettig to know more homosexuals personally has the opposite effect.
12.7.2005 7:05pm
Cornellian (mail):
You are assuming that the anti-social behavior is the symptom of ostracization, not the cause. It has been 30 years since California repealed its laws against homosexuality, and at least 20 years since most Californians thought of homosexuals as weirdoes. So when's the anti-social behavior going to end?

Is it going on now? In statistically significant numbers, or just your impression because you once saw a gay pride parade?

And attributing the behavior of some homosexuals to all homosexuals makes about as much sense as calling all straight men rapists because some of them are.
12.7.2005 7:06pm
Steve:
If personal contact with homosexuals made straight folks less tolerant, rather than more so, you would expect that the straight populations of San Francisco and New York City would be among the most homophobic on earth. Yet, I doubt you'll find much empirical evidence of that.
12.7.2005 7:37pm
Harriet Miers' Law Partner:
To all and singular: To say that an invitation to a movie about a lesbian relationship is sexual harrassment presumes that any movie featuring lesbians is pornographic. That's insulting. I would note the movie is about two Jewish women who are lesbians and their relationship over a period of roughly forty years -- during which, at one point, one of the women contemplated suicide because of the homophobia directed at her and her children. Further, the movie was shown in connection with Women's History Month; it seems perfectly in line with a legitimate academic inquiry (or at least if one accepts that months like these are useful for starting a dialogue).
12.7.2005 7:39pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
HMLP bursts my bubble. I was feeling rather sad that no one at *my* workplace sends me e-mails inviting me to watch movies about lesbian relationships.

Houston Lawyer's "thick skin" comment reminds me of a class I took which, being an English lit class, had degenerated into a bull session, with one young lady of no inconsiderable girth loudly denouncing PC speech and proposing that we all just call 'em as we see 'em, so to speak. Which led the lady to my right to mutter into my ear, "I wonder how 'fat' would go over?"

It seems that most people who want others to shrug off such remarks, are confident that most of their co-workers aren't calling *them* any little pet names based on their skin color, sexual preferences, or suchlike.
12.7.2005 8:03pm
Harriet Miers' Law Partner:
Anderson,
You made me laugh out loud. Thanks.
12.7.2005 9:23pm
Perseus:
In academia, it's now considered improper to speak of gays the way anti-semites speak of Jews. Thank God.

This notion of not being able to use derogatory language in academia is utter nonsense.

How am I supposed to teach Marx, who referred to religion as "the opiate of the masses"?

How am I supposed to teach Nietzsche, who called socialists "dolts" and called last men "herd animals" (speaking of pigs)?

How am I supposed to teach Machiavelli, who argued that "because fortune is a woman, it necessary to beat her and strike her down"? (When I was an undergrad, one of my professors actually apologized for repeating such language lest anyone be offended.)
12.7.2005 9:30pm
Conrad (mail):
Cramer and Justin:

If you're going to debate the Bible, it would be helpful if you could at least display a working familiarity iwth it text.

Justin wrote:

"And you clearly lack tolerance for the "sin" or the "sinner". If only Jesus treated Mary M. the way you treat people. He'd be even COOLER!

And Cramer replied:

Actually, he did treat Mary Magdalene that way. He said that she shouldn't be stoned to death, but "Go and sin no more."

Unfortunately for them both, there is simply nothing whatsoever in the scriptures supporting their assertion that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute all, much less the woman that Jesus saved from stoning.

See, e.g., here:

"Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute or a sinner. At some point Mary Magdalene became confused with two other women in the Bible: Mary, the sister of Martha and the unnamed sinner from Luke's gospel (7:36-50) both of whom wash Jesus' feet with their hair. In the 6th century."

This is not an obscure bit of arcania. I thought pretty much every knowledgeable student of scripture new this by now, which raises questions about the utility of listening to anything either of you have to say on the subject.
12.7.2005 10:34pm
Justin Kee (mail):
"So when's the anti-social behavior going to end?"

I would reckon when people stop equating homesexual orientation with a moral fault thus justifying the moral opprobrium of the community at large.

The nice thing about continuing this debate is that today, people, especially young people, are not buying into the homophobia espoused by and justified by organized religon and the correspondingly antiquated attitudes.
12.7.2005 10:40pm
JB:
"So when's the anti-social behavior going to end?"

WHen California becomes its own little universe, so the gays in San Fransisco don't have to pay attention to the ostracism they get from the rest of the country.

If the rest of the country stopped treating them like freaks, then the really freaky stuff would wither away. Of course, there'd always be a few people doing that, but there's lots of wacky straight sex going on that you never hear about.
12.7.2005 10:58pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
To all and singular: To say that an invitation to a movie about a lesbian relationship is sexual harrassment presumes that any movie featuring lesbians is pornographic. That's insulting.
Sexual harassment is usually defined in terms of unwelcome sexual messages, whether pornographic or not. Prof. Scala's email promoting lesbianism was unwelcome. Daniel was merely objecting to the sexual harassment, privately explaining why he was offended, and asking it to stop.

Prof. Scala also promoted "discussion" of the pro-lesbian film. She should be reprimanded for trying to stifle such discussion in a university that ought to be open to discussion of controversial issues.
12.7.2005 11:19pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Is it going on now? In statistically significant numbers, or just your impression because you once saw a gay pride parade?
Yes. If you have reading coverage of the problem with meth and syphilis, you would know this.

And attributing the behavior of some homosexuals to all homosexuals makes about as much sense as calling all straight men rapists because some of them are.
I specifically said that all homosexuals behave that way. Go back and re-read what I said.
12.7.2005 11:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Steve writes:

If personal contact with homosexuals made straight folks less tolerant, rather than more so, you would expect that the straight populations of San Francisco and New York City would be among the most homophobic on earth. Yet, I doubt you'll find much empirical evidence of that.
I've read that hate crimes against homosexuals are much more common in the Bay Area than in many other parts of California.
12.7.2005 11:27pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Conrad writes:

Unfortunately for them both, there is simply nothing whatsoever in the scriptures supporting their assertion that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute all, much less the woman that Jesus saved from stoning.
You are correct. I followed Justin's error on this. The woman who Jesus saves from stoning is never identified by name. She was not a prostitute (necessarily) but was caught in the act of adultery.
12.7.2005 11:29pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:



"So when's the anti-social behavior going to end?"


I would reckon when people stop equating homesexual orientation with a moral fault thus justifying the moral opprobrium of the community at large.
Would it not help for homosexuals to stop equating their orientation with promiscuity, the pursuit of children for sex, sadomasochism, and "bug hunting"? Try searching for the phrase "Totally Nude Toronto Men". Yes, they regularly march (in that condition) in the Toronto Gay Parade. Or read this very positive description of one of the founders of the gay movement and his support for NAMBLA.


The nice thing about continuing this debate is that today, people, especially young people, are not buying into the homophobia espoused by and justified by organized religon and the correspondingly antiquated attitudes.
When I was young, I shared that view, as did I think most of my contemporaries. The older you get, the more you learn about what really is, not what you would like the world to be.
12.7.2005 11:38pm
Justin Kee (mail):
Clayton:

Again you miss the point on the debate. It is the people who condemn homosexual activity, e.g you in this thread, who raise the issue of homosexuality solely in negative terms. Your posts depict homosexuals in conjunction with "alcoholics; meth addicts; highly promiscuous people (more than, say, six sexual partners a year); pedophiles; sadomasochists; coprophiliacs; people with deadly STDs who engage in random unprotected sex." You are feeding the stereotype, not them. Most openly gay people that I know are descent people who do not represent themselves in this manner. Nor do I see the majority of homosexual persons who present themselves in the media as supporting these stereotypes. Singling out particular instances such as NAMBLA to prove the rule is disingenuous indeed.

"The older you get, the more you learn about what really is, not what you would like the world to be."

What exactly are you saying here? That the wisdom that accompanies aging justifies the view that homosexual behavior is wrong? I highly doubt that to be the case. From my experience with younger people in higher education, they are capable of complex moral reasoning and have, for the most part, determined that homosexual behavior is not anathematic to socially moral behavior.

This is the civil rights issue of the younger generation, much like equal rights for racial equality was for the preceding. Do yourself a favor and do not stand on the wrong side of history.
12.8.2005 12:06am
ANM (mail):
"But many conservative Christians, including the current pope, still think it's perfectly appropriate to use similarly derogatory language to describe gay people. "
Not to advocate one side or the other, but the Bible deems sexual relations between two men an 'abomination.' It is to be expected that those who profess the most belief in the Bible will castigate homosexuals. And there is no 'real' appropiateness of an argument, as any argument can offend some and obtain respect among others. Is all truth dependent upon the whim of the oh-so-romanticized masses?

"I wonder if his objection to the film would have been seen as identically principled had he said "I don't want to see a movie made by some Jew" or "I don't want to see a movie with some nigger actor." " It's not about the content of the argument. A consistent endorsement of the freedom of speech requires that speech of, say, the KKK and the Catholic Church deserve equal protection, if they are similarly styled (as in, if the most offensive speech protected is spewing hatred but not calling for extermination, then the KKK and evangelicals should obtain the same protection).

"I am not even sure how widespread this idea is concerning Jews." My (Orthodox) Rabbis have told me that non-Jews can obtain a place in Heaven if they follow the Noahide laws. The same rabbis however, question whether Christianity is in fact monotheistic (I've been told that, if forced by sword to convert, converting to Islam is somewhat allowed while conerting to Christianity is not).

If you take issue with gays, straights, blacks, Jews, whites, Latinos, Asians or any other group, you can express as much by exercising your freedoms, especially that of association. Humans tend to associate those most similar to them; it is only in developed countries where this tendency has yielded minimal strife between races.
12.8.2005 12:08am
ivy (mail):
I agree with the points made by Roger Schlafly above. Although Mr. Daniel's tone might have been considered rather rude by some, it's certainly not harrassing. I also find it rather petty that a Professor would accuse an employee in the Information Services area of harrassment -- someone who is probably junior to her in the organization -- I doubt she really felt threatened. He responded to an e-mail that was probably sent to all employees on behalf of the Women's Studies Department. Would it have been considered harrassment if he'd actually gone to the movie and expressed those same views as part of her invitation to discussion?

What's interesting is how so many of the comments jumped into talking about homosexuality and Christianity, considering Mr. Daniel is not a Christian but is Muslim.
12.8.2005 12:11am
Ross Levatter (mail):
Mr. Cramer is confident that " you would have no problem finding a large percentage (perhaps even a majority) of Americans prepared to identify the following groups as "inherently disordered": alcoholics; meth addicts; highly promiscuous people (more than, say, six sexual partners a year)..."

Since I wish to avoid being labeled as "inherently disordered", I'm hoping Mr. Cramer can more precisely clarify the "highly promiscuous" group. Is the "more than...six" sexual partners per year an average? If I had only, say, 3 partners by age 50, can I have 303 partners in the next year and yet avoid the label when averaging over my lifetime? Or is it better to average over my sexually active lifetime? But this would yield the result that people who started to have sex earlier could have more partners overall while still avoiding the "promiscuous" label, which seems counterintuitive. Should it be considered, instead, an absolute limit--six per year, tops, independent of other years? Is that a calendar year, or any consecutive 365 day period? Does it matter whether the sexual actions are consecutive or concurrent? Does group sex over one night with six partners run up your limit for the entire year? I guess if you had continued group sex with the same six partners throughout the year this would be OK, compared to the tramps that have consecutive 7 week relationships with other individuals, consumating 7+ times per year.

In any case, I appreciate Mr. Cramer's conern in raising this delicate issue and beg for more clarification so we can all avoid invidious labeling.
12.8.2005 12:44am
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
I'm surprised no one else has commented on this statement by Mr. Cramer:
I don't see any purpose in laws prohibiting homosexuality (although they are clearly Constitutional)...
I'm not aware of any jurisdiction in the U.S. that has ever tried to prohibit homosexuality. Some have prohibited homosexual conduct, but a ban on homosexuality itself would be a status crime, much like banning addiction instead of actual drug use. We don't allow status crimes in this country.

And let's not forget that the Supreme Court struck down a law against homosexual conduct two years ago in Lawrence v. Texas, where Justice Kennedy, writing for a 6-3 majority, said of homosexuals:
Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. "It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter." [citation] The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.
What Cramer deems "clearly Constitutional" is thus demonstrably unconstitutional. Even if you believe with this decision was mistaken, the fact that six Supreme Court justices disagreed means that you can't be "clearly" right. The only thing "clear" in this analysis is that Cramer doesn't know as much about constitutional law as he believes -- or at least as he wants us to believe he knows.
12.8.2005 1:43am
ShelbyC:
Just out of curiosity, how would one politely express the view that homosexual conduct is "perverted" or that people who wish to engage in it are "inherently disordered" ?
12.8.2005 9:48am
anonymous coward:
"Even if you believe with this decision was mistaken, the fact that six Supreme Court justices disagreed means that you can't be "clearly" right."

I think you underestimate the intellectual arrogance of some of our right-wing friends. Many of whom are supremely confident they know more than biologists about evolution and more than climatologists about climate change.
12.8.2005 9:50am
Public_Defender:
Just out of curiosity, how would one politely express the view that homosexual conduct is "perverted" or that people who wish to engage in it are "inherently disordered" ?
The same way some people "politely" express their belief that Judiasm is a "gutter religion."
12.8.2005 10:29am
anonymous coward:
By handing out Jack Chick pamphlets?
12.8.2005 10:42am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

What Cramer deems "clearly Constitutional" is thus demonstrably unconstitutional. Even if you believe with this decision was mistaken, the fact that six Supreme Court justices disagreed means that you can't be "clearly" right. The only thing "clear" in this analysis is that Cramer doesn't know as much about constitutional law as he believes -- or at least as he wants us to believe he knows.
The decision was based on a false history of laws prohibiting homosexual sex--making the claim that laws specifically banning homosexual sex are of recent origin. In 1900, I would have just as clearly said that segregation by race imposed on private entities was contrary to the 14th Amendment--and you would have pointed to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to say that I didn't know what I was talking about.
12.8.2005 10:59am
ivy (mail):
There is no way to politely express any view if one insists on using words such as "perverted" or "inherently disorded." I'm not commenting on views; I'm commenting on behavior. To me, Daniel's e-mail was childish and rude (but not threatening nor harrassing.) The Professor's response was petty and vindictive. Both would have been better served by simply hitting "delete" instead of responding the way they did.
12.8.2005 11:25am
Public_Defender:
. . . Both would have been better served by simply hitting "delete" instead of responding the way they did.
This is the wisest comment so far.
12.8.2005 11:54am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Ivy wrote:

Both would have been better served by simply hitting "delete" instead of responding the way they did.
There's not much that I agree with Public_Defender on, but I do agree with him about this. What one person perceives as an important truth, someone else perceives as a nasty insult. Unless you have crossed the line into threats, or the materials are aimed at children, the best thing to do is ignore it. Email, at least, can be filtered so that you never see the vast majority of material that you find offensive.

Now, if only liberals could be persuaded that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
12.8.2005 12:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Ross thinks he is being clever:

Since I wish to avoid being labeled as "inherently disordered", I'm hoping Mr. Cramer can more precisely clarify the "highly promiscuous" group. Is the "more than...six" sexual partners per year an average? If I had only, say, 3 partners by age 50, can I have 303 partners in the next year and yet avoid the label when averaging over my lifetime? Or is it better to average over my sexually active lifetime? But this would yield the result that people who started to have sex earlier could have more partners overall while still avoiding the "promiscuous" label, which seems counterintuitive. Should it be considered, instead, an absolute limit--six per year, tops, independent of other years? Is that a calendar year, or any consecutive 365 day period? Does it matter whether the sexual actions are consecutive or concurrent? Does group sex over one night with six partners run up your limit for the entire year?
You might try getting out of the law school environment for a while. You think you are being cute. The majority of Americans--probably even the vast majority--would recognize 303 sexual partners in a year as an indication that someone has a very, very serious emotional problem.
12.8.2005 12:25pm
Aaron:
CEC:
"In 1900, I would have just as clearly said that segregation by race imposed on private entities was contrary to the 14th Amendment--and you would have pointed to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to say that I didn't know what I was talking about."

Given my reading of his posts, am I alone in doubting very much that CEC would have taken that position?
12.8.2005 12:33pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:

You are feeding the stereotype, not them. Most openly gay people that I know are descent people who do not represent themselves in this manner. Nor do I see the majority of homosexual persons who present themselves in the media as supporting these stereotypes. Singling out particular instances such as NAMBLA to prove the rule is disingenuous indeed.
Sorry, but I've worked with homosexuals, and of course, they were widespread in the Bay Area. Reality beats your wonderful ideology.

Yes, I know that there are homosexuals who have nice ordinary lives settled down with their partner and two cats and the white picket fence house. But the wild party bunch that is mixing meth, Viagra, and syphilis is a sizeable fraction of gay men. Ditto for the crowd that actively seeks AIDS--the ones who advertise in singles as "bug hunters."


What exactly are you saying here? That the wisdom that accompanies aging justifies the view that homosexual behavior is wrong? I highly doubt that to be the case. From my experience with younger people in higher education, they are capable of complex moral reasoning and have, for the most part, determined that homosexual behavior is not anathematic to socially moral behavior.
I'm saying that it is very easy to believe what the establishment propagandizes about homosexuality when you have only run into a few homosexuals. One of the reasons that disapproval of homosexuality gets more common as age increases is that you start to realize that the propaganda of homosexuals "as just like everyone else, except for who they love" is incorrect.

You want to believe that my generation was always disapproving of homosexuality, and that the younger generation, having not grown up with negative views of it, won't change. Sorry, but when I was growing up, homosexuality was different, but at least where I lived, it wasn't disapproved of. I can remember when California's legislature debated the repeal of the laws against oral and anal sex in 1975 that there were people arguing that this was a bad idea, because it would legalize homosexuality. I couldn't imagine what these benighted sorts were thinking to see this as a bad thing. I don't think that I even knew one person who thought of homosexuality as evil, or immoral--it was just different.

Of course, within a few years of the repeal, the orgy of casual sex among gay men had turned AIDS from a disease so rare that it had never been identified, into a major public health problem. And yes, the repeal of the law in 1975 was clearly part of what caused the rapid spread of AIDS. Homosexual men had been forced by police harrassment to be relatively circumspect. They didn't have commercial establishments where men lay face down and waited for lines of complete strangers to come in and sodomize them.

I can think of one homosexual that I have worked with or associated with who I would say was well-adjusted and responsible. She was greatly outnumbered by the homosexuals (male and female) that I have worked with in California who were pretty clearly severely damaged people. The high levels of substance abuse, the extremely casual sex (often in public places), the entire category of paraphilias (such as coprophilia, sadomasochism, dominance, pedophilia) that are such a big part of the homosexual culture in the Bay Area, really blow out any claim of being healthy.
12.8.2005 12:42pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Just out of curiosity, how would one politely express the view that homosexual conduct is "perverted" or that people who wish to engage in it are "inherently disordered" ?
The same way some people "politely" express their belief that Judiasm is a "gutter religion."
To follow your analogy, what if a professor promoted a pro-Judaism movie and encouraged comment on it, and an employee sent a private email to the professor saying that Judaism was a gutter religion? Should the employee be punished for expressing his opinion? I say no.
12.8.2005 12:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Given my reading of his posts, am I alone in doubting very much that CEC would have taken that position?
Ad hominem attack. Let me point out that even a fair number of black civil rights activists reject the homosexual/black parallel argument.
12.8.2005 12:45pm
Public_Defender:
Let me point out that even a fair number of black civil rights activists reject the homosexual/black parallel argument.
I tend to agree. The better parallel is to Judiasm and anti-semitism. Just like homosexuality, there is a decent argument over whether someone is born a Jew or chooses to be a Jew. Certainly under Christian doctrine, a Jew can chose to give up Judiasm and become Christian just like some Christians say that gay people can become straight.

And Jews refuse to do the one thing that Christianity teaches is central to salvation--accepting Jesus as Savior while gays (at worse) violate a much less important rule.

50 years ago or so, it was normal for respectable people to talk about Jews the way many conservatives now speak of gays. Hopefully, it will soon be as socially unacceptable to say that gays are "perverse" or "inherently disordered" as it is to say the Judiasm is a "gutter religion."
12.8.2005 1:40pm
sprice (mail):
The professor is a wimp that has turned into a bully once provided the protection of a university. She should be reminded that the protection of the university is to try to correct, rather than censor, the views she finds threatening.
12.8.2005 1:51pm
Aaron:
Me:
"Given my reading of his posts, am I alone in doubting very much that CEC would have taken that position?"

CEC"
"Ad hominem attack. Let me point out that even a fair number of black civil rights activists reject the homosexual/black parallel argument."

Non sequitur. Let me point out that a fair number of posters reject your argument by anecdote. Your tone is clear, and so is your message; your are intolerant. Is is therefore unreasonable to question your tolerance on other matters of civil rights?

This Black civil rights activist rejects the rejection of the Black/homosexual parallel argument.
12.8.2005 2:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I tend to agree. The better parallel is to Judiasm and anti-semitism. Just like homosexuality, there is a decent argument over whether someone is born a Jew or chooses to be a Jew. Certainly under Christian doctrine, a Jew can chose to give up Judiasm and become Christian just like some Christians say that gay people can become straight.

And Jews refuse to do the one thing that Christianity teaches is central to salvation--accepting Jesus as Savior while gays (at worse) violate a much less important rule.

50 years ago or so, it was normal for respectable people to talk about Jews the way many conservatives now speak of gays. Hopefully, it will soon be as socially unacceptable to say that gays are "perverse" or "inherently disordered" as it is to say the Judiasm is a "gutter religion."
I rather doubt that you could find anyone 50 years ago in the U.S. calling Judaism a "gutter religion." (You can find people on the left who use such language today, but those are your allies, not mine.)

There is one rather big difference: Jews don't hold parades in which they depict themselves engaged in the blood libel. Homosexuals in parades, on the other hand, work aggressively to remind everyone of the nastiest stereotypes of homosexuals as child molesting (NAMBLA) and promiscuous (the S.F. pride parade in which naked men were either actually or simulating having sex with other naked men on parade floats). Why is that? Because the blood libel is exactly that--a completely false statement. There isn't a group called the North American Jews For Human Recycling Association.

With gay parades, NAMBLA and all the rest of the sickness aren't just nasty stereotypes, but represent substantial factions of gay culture.
12.8.2005 2:30pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Your tone is clear, and so is your message; your are intolerant.
Intolerant? For saying that laws telling homosexuals what they can do in private are a bad idea?


Is is therefore unreasonable to question your tolerance on other matters of civil rights?
Yes, because you are the one who insists on a parallel that many black civil rights leaders regard as inappropriate.

This Black civil rights activist rejects the rejection of the Black/homosexual parallel argument.
Fine. That doesn't wipe out the fairly large number of others who find the parallel wrong.
12.8.2005 2:33pm
Aaron:
CEC:
"Yes, I know that there are homosexuals who have nice ordinary lives settled down with their partner and two cats and the white picket fence house. But the wild party bunch that is mixing meth, Viagra, and syphilis is a sizeable fraction of gay men."

Sure there are "good ones", but watch out for those wild ones...

"I'm saying that it is very easy to believe what the establishment propagandizes about homosexuality when you have only run into a few homosexuals."

In small doses, I'm sure that they are ok, but get a bunch together, and there goes the neighborhood...

"I can think of one homosexual that I have worked with or associated with who I would say was well-adjusted and responsible."

Look, some of my best friends are...

Seems to me that I've heard these arguments in another context...I wonder...could he possible be referring to...nah.

In any event, to get back on thread, there seems to be a lot fo people hung up on the word "lesbian" as fraught with sex. Is there anyone who thinks that if the prof had spammed Daniels to see "on Golden Pond" regarding the relationship between two elderly people, and he responded that he wished to be spared from e-mail re: the "perversion" of a non-procreative "marriage", that the prof would be guilty of sexual harassment?
12.8.2005 3:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

In any event, to get back on thread, there seems to be a lot fo people hung up on the word "lesbian" as fraught with sex.
It isn't that it is fraught with sex that caused the objection, but with a form of sex that the receiver of the email (and a majority of Americans) regard with disapproval. I don't approve of homosexuality, but if they don't insist on having sex in public places, pressuring us to make them feel "normal" (by recognizing their marriages), and demanding the right to have sex with minors, most of us will just ignore them.

Privacy was a strong public policy argument; insisting on the right to be offensive isn't much of an argument from privacy.
12.8.2005 3:32pm
Public_Defender:
You've given one cite to a gay person's support of NAMBLA. That proves nothing, especially since there are so many heterosexual rapists and child molesters out there. (Some in the gay community have quite argued that age-of-consent laws should be equalized for gay and heterosexual sex, but that's a far cry from supporting NAMBLA).

A few cases of man-on-boy molestation may make the news, but I've had many, many cases of heterosexual rape and molestation cross my desk. I have yet to represent a man accused of molesting a boy. My experience in the criminal justice system is that exploitive sexual perversion is a primarily heterosexual problem.

It's interesting that anti-gay bigots don't want gays to be promiscuous (hence the condemnation of some behavior at some gay pride parafes), but they also don't want gays to be monogamous (hence the opposition to gay marriage). I guess they just don't want gays to be, period.

You're wrong that references to Judiasm as being a "gutter religion" are statements from the left. Farrakhan is the one who referred to Judiasm as a "gutter religion." His views on gay and family matters are far more similar to those of James Dobson and Pope Benedict than Ted Kennedy.
12.8.2005 4:14pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Clayton E. Cramer wrote:
In 1900, I would have just as clearly said that segregation by race imposed on private entities was contrary to the 14th Amendment--and you would have pointed to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to say that I didn't know what I was talking about.
You seem to think Lawrence v. Texas is analogous to Plessy v. Ferguson, but you are quite wrong. Lawrence is analogous to Brown v. Board of Education, which overruled Plessy. Plessy's analog in the gay rights arena is Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the case which upheld anti-sodomy statutes and which was emphatically overruled by Lawrence.
12.8.2005 4:37pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

You've given one cite to a gay person's support of NAMBLA.
Okay, here's a bunch more.

David Thorstad is a homosexual activist and historian of the gay rights movement. 48 He is a former president of New York's Gay Activists Alliance (gaa), a prototype activist group founded in December 1969. The gaa at its inception opposed age of consent laws, which prohibited adults from having sex with children. 49 Thorstad is also a pedophile and founding member of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).

Thorstad argues that there is a natural and undeniable connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. He expresses bitterness that the gay rights movement has, in his view, abandoned pedophilia. Thorstad writes: "Boy-lovers were involved in the gay movement from the beginning, and their presence was tolerated. Gay youth groups encouraged adults to attend their dances...There was a mood of tolerance, even joy at discovering the myriad of lifestyles within the gay and lesbian subculture." 50

The inaugural issue of the Gay Community News in 1979 published a "Statement to the Gay Liberation Movement on the Issue of Man/Boy Love," which challenged the movement to return to a vision of sexual liberation. It argued that "the ultimate goal of gay liberation is the achievement of sexual freedom for all—not just equal rights for 'lesbian and gay men,' but also freedom of sexual expression for young people and children."

In the early years there was some reluctance to accept pedophilia, primarily among feminist and lesbian activist groups. In March 1979 the Lesbian Feminist Liberation (lfl) accusing "so-called Man/Boy Lovers" of "attempting to legitimize sex between children and adults...Feminists easily recognize this as the latest attempt to make palatable the sexual exploitation of children." The coalition went on record as opposing "the sexual abuse of children by heterosexual or homosexual persons." 51

Despite this opposition, Thorstad claims that by 1985 homosexual pedophiles had won acceptance within the gay movement. He cites Jim Kepner, then curator of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles: "A point I've been trying to make is that if we reject the boylovers in our midst today we'd better stop waving the banner of the Ancient Greeks, of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Horatio Alger, and Shakespeare. We'd better stop claiming them as part of our heritage unless we are broadening our concept of what it means to be gay today." 52

In 1985 NAMBLA was admitted as a member in New York's council of Lesbian and Gay Organizations as well as the International Gay Association—now the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). In the mid-1990's ILGA's association with NAMBLA and other pedophile groups cost the organization it's status as a Non-Governmental Organization in the United Nations.

ILGA's renewed attempt to gain admittance to the UN was rejected again in April 2000 because the organization "did not document that it had purged pedophile groups such as [NAMBLA]." The Washington Times reports that Ishtiag H. Anrabi, Pakistani delegate to the UN Economic and Social Council, expressed concern that ILGA was continuing to be secretive about ties with pedophile groups: "For more than a year, the ILGA has refused to provide documentation or allow review of its membership list to demonstrate that pedophilia groups have been expelled." 53

48. Thorstad is co-author, with John Lauritsen, of The early homosexual rights movement (1864-1935) (New York: Times Change Press, 1974).

49. David Thorstad, "May/Boy Love and the American Gay Movement" Journal of Homosexuality 20 (1990): 252.

50. Ibid., p. 253.

51. Ibid., p. 258.

52. Ibid., p. 266.

53. George Archibald, "U.N. Group Keeps Ban on Gay Lobby," Washington Times (May 1, 2002).

54. Raymond-Jean Frontain, "The Works of Allen Ginsberg," Journal of Homosexuality 34 (1997).

55. Mary Eberstadt, "'Pedophilia Chic' Reconsidered" The Weekly Standard 6 (January 8, 2001).


Public_Defender says:
That proves nothing, especially since there are so many heterosexual rapists and child molesters out there.
Multiple studies that I have read indicate that men who molest only boys are at least 20% of child molesters. That's about six times what you would expect if homosexual molesters were proportionate to their 3% or so of the male population. This article also points to a number of studies that demonstrate that homosexual men are disproportionately child molesters. That doesn't mean that most homosexual men are molesters—but it does explain why groups like NAMBLA were present in gay pride parades without opposition until they became politically inconvenient.

(Some in the gay community have quite argued that age-of-consent laws should be equalized for gay and heterosexual sex, but that's a far cry from supporting NAMBLA).
Uh, no. The 1975 California statute that decriminalized sodomy also made the penalty for sodomy also created a special category for sex with minors less than ten years younger than the adult. Sometime in the 1990s this spread to cover sexual intercourse as well, but it is pretty clear that the objective was to make the penalties for adult men having sex with 16 year old boys less severe.

A few cases of man-on-boy molestation may make the news, but I've had many, many cases of heterosexual rape and molestation cross my desk. I have yet to represent a man accused of molesting a boy. My experience in the criminal justice system is that exploitive sexual perversion is a primarily heterosexual problem.
Well it better be, since heterosexual men outnumber homosexual men by about 19x.

I hope that this isn't a surprise to you, but as difficult as it is to get girls to report sexual abuse, it is even harder to get boys to do so. I have actually talked to a number of men who were molested as boys by homosexual adults—and they would call me a flaming liberal on the subject of homosexuality. Some, I fear, with a six pack or two on board, might well be gay bashers.
12.8.2005 5:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

You seem to think Lawrence v. Texas is analogous to Plessy v. Ferguson, but you are quite wrong.
Only because you choose to identify homosexuals as victims of oppression.
12.8.2005 5:48pm
Justin Kee (mail):
"Only because you choose to identify homosexuals as victims of oppression."

Given the vitrolic that has been presented in this forum, that statement is a reasonable assertion. Nearly every post by Cramer is ended with the repetitive mantra of homosexual behavior equating with antisocial behaviors. Cramer's continual linkage of homosexuality with pedophilia is a particularly noxious example. A similar fallacious argument would be to illustrate the unfortunate cases of sexual child abuse by Catholic priests and conclude that Catholicism leads to said abuse and all Catholics are prone to be abusers and thus are suspect. A sad analogy indeed.
12.8.2005 6:21pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
A similar fallacious argument would be to illustrate the unfortunate cases of sexual child abuse by Catholic priests and conclude that Catholicism leads to said abuse and all Catholics are prone to be abusers and thus are suspect. A sad analogy indeed.
Almost exactly what I was going to say, except I would have referred to all priests instead of all Catholics. The percentage of Catholic priests who molest boys is probably several times higher than the percentage of men overall who do so. But by Mr. Cramer's logic:
...men who molest only boys are at least 20% of child molesters. That's about six times what you would expect if homosexual molesters were proportionate to their 3% or so of the male population.
being a Catholic priest must be morally wrong, so it is OK to treat them worse than we treat non-priests, and statutes criminalizing becoming a priest would be constitutional.
12.8.2005 7:21pm
Justin Kee (mail):
"Almost exactly what I was going to say, except I would have referred to all priests instead of all Catholics."

Very good point...
12.8.2005 7:25pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
Mr. Cramer, undaunted by the questions I asked concerning his views of what constitutes perverion (like, having more than, say, six partners per year), comes to a variety of unsuprisingly incorrect conclusions.

First, he thinks I think I'm cute. Not so, and with good reason, though I admit I think I'm capable of ironic wit, especially when given such an easy target.

Second, he thinks I'm a law student. In fact, I'm a middle-aged physician.

Third, he claims I am unaware of the fact that that having 303 sex partners in any given year (or any given lifetime, for that matter) is somewhat heterodox. And yet the hypothetical stems directly from his unseemly prurient desire to quantify matters of intimate relations. I suspect Mr. Cramer's desire for quantification, from which my questions flow naturally, is somewhat of a sham on his part. I suspect Mr. Cramer's inner belief is that perversion is someone else having more sexual partners than does he.

Why this intense desire of Mr. Cramer's to determine what other people do is or is not "perversion"? Does he intend to legislate against it? He claims not, though he seems unhappy with recent SC precedent that leaves the bedroom off limits to the gendarmes. It may be merely Puritanism on Cramer's part, defined by Mencken as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy. Or maybe it's the common desire to value order over liberty. I value liberty more than state-imposed order. So while I agree with Mr. Cramer that some things are morally inappropriate, and suspect we both agree the world is going to hell in a handbasket, I suspect he disagrees with my belief that one cause of hell on earth is so many people so interested in other peoples' business.
12.8.2005 9:02pm
civil truth (mail):
Reading this thread I wonder if the citizens of our country have loss their collective senses. The asininity of the university is almost matched by level of invective and vitiol over what are relatively minor offenses on both the professor and the student employee. We're talking about one-time incidents via an intermediary agent, no threats of bodily harm, no pattern of behavior. The professor sends an unsolicited e-mail - an error of judgment - and the student makes an intemperate response. In a sane world, the professor would have just shrugged off the student's response (especially since, as I read the story, his use of "perversion" was directed to the content of the e-mail, not the professor personally) and perhaps filed it as documentation in case of repetition.

Or to gain perspective, put this on a scale against other things that could have happened, for example escalations where the professor or the student persists in sending offensive e-mails, or one party seeks out a personal confrontation with verbal harranging (or worse) -- you get the idea. These outlier situations would merit outside intervention.

Here's what I see the crux of the matter. I think we can all agree the the government has the right to regulate actions (within Constitutional limits). Unfortunately, I see a growing trend, as reflected in this thread, to want to regulate thoughts by preventing certain thoughts from finding verbal expression by employing the the coercive power of law, codes etc. that go far beyond traditional speech limits such as incitement of immediate violence, creating public danger (e.g. "fire in a crowded theater"), etc.

However, I see a slippery slope in this movement towards legal (or administrative) coercive limits on speech considered "offensive" rather than the perfectly appropriate means of social opprobrium. The danger is that we will end up in the name of "tolerance" in prescribing a code of permitted thoughts/speech that will be totalitarian in nature.

More specifically, the main reason today that anti-Jewish statements, anti-Catholic, anti-black, etc, speech has become rare in our public discourse is primarily because of social opprobrium. (I will pass over here the whole issue of anti-Israel/anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism controversy.) I suspect that in the not so distant future, social opprobrium will push anti-gay public discourse to the periphery such that gays will enjoy equal rights. But to get there, we must not give up our rights and indeed our duties as citizens to assure a vigorous public debate, the exercise of which will of necessity offend some people.
12.8.2005 11:04pm
ANM (mail):
In a similar vein, civil truth, I see many people confusing morality with legality, figuring that if something is immoral, it should be illegal. I suspect it is more common on the left, but it is quite prevalent among the "religious" on the right.

The inverse of this is even more ubiquitous among liberals, like if society is morally obligated to care for its crippled, then we must provide for them through government. A curious example I saw in a Reason letter: Would you shop at Whole Foods if they promise to donate 5% of their revenue/profits to charity (of their choice)? Or would you find a shop whose prices were 5% cheaper and donate yourself?
12.9.2005 1:03am
Public_Defender:
it is pretty clear that the objective was to make the penalties for adult men having sex with 16 year old boys less severe."
In most states, its perfectly legal for most adult men to have sex with 16 year old girls, and I don't see why the rule should be different for boys. If you think that is the same thing as supporting pedophilia, then your definition of "supporting pedophilia" is meaningless.

Given the HUGE consequences of a sex offense conviction, it seems reasonable not to criminalize consensual sex between a 20 year-old and a 16 year-old. I agree that it's creepy for any 40 year-old to have sex with any teenager (even a 19 year-old), but some things are better left for social, not criminal, condemnation.

You also did not provide an example of any gay rights group that openly supports pedophilia. You cited one group that was refused disprove an association with NAMBLA by turning over membership information five years ago. But the source for that was one guy from Pakistan. Other sources give one guy's opinion of the movement fifteen-twenty years ago.

What gay rights groups today argue that pedophilia is a good thing? And I'm NOT talking about groups that support equalizing statutory rape laws for heterosexual and homosexual sex.
12.9.2005 9:02am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Public_Defender writes:

In most states, its perfectly legal for most adult men to have sex with 16 year old girls, and I don't see why the rule should be different for boys. If you think that is the same thing as supporting pedophilia, then your definition of "supporting pedophilia" is meaningless.
Uh no. In California when the 1975 law was passed, any sexual intercourse with a minor female was stautory rape. There are states where the age of consent is lower than 18 for sexual intercourse (Illinois, for example, sets it at 17), but quite a number of states set it at 18.

You sure you are a lawyer?

Public_Defender:

You also did not provide an example of any gay rights group that openly supports pedophilia.
I've emphasized the important word. NAMBLA was still marching in gay parades in the early 1990s without protest from homosexuals. Only when Focus on the Family made an issue of it did NAMBLA become unwelcome.


You cited one group that was refused disprove an association with NAMBLA by turning over membership information five years ago. But the source for that was one guy from Pakistan. Other sources give one guy's opinion of the movement fifteen-twenty years ago.
Back in the early 1990s, when NAMBLA's SF chapter was meeting in a library meeting room, one of the local TV stations (I think channel 4) ran an expose on this, using hidden cameras. Being a good liberal, the reporter went out of his way to get responsible homosexuals to distance themselves from NAMBLA--but he made an interesting point. His staff visited five gay bookstores in San Francisco--and found NAMBLA's publication "The BulliTEN" offered for sale in four. He asked Roberta Achtenberg, one of the gay county supervisors about this, since she had just denied that there was any connection between NAMBLA and gays--and she gave a very lame "freedom of the press" argument. Oh yes, the "Women's Building" owned by lesbian groups, rented space to NAMBLA for their national convention one year.


What gay rights groups today argue that pedophilia is a good thing?
NAMBLA calls itself a gay rights group. The ACLU (America's largest gay rights group) is currently defending NAMBLA from a lawsuit.
12.9.2005 11:40am
Public_Defender:
So, you can't provide an example of a single gay rights group that supports NAMBLA. Some in the past have, but that only shows that they are willing to admit mistakes. Old news and old gripes.

And so what if more than a decade ago, four bookstores carried their NAMBLA's legal magazine and someone else rented space? You're really, really, stretching here.

The ACLU doesn't support NAMBLA's views, but the ACLU does support NAMBLA's right to advocate changes in the law. If you think the ACLU is wrong, what other laws should we be punished for trying to change?

Uh no. In California when the 1975 law was passed, any sexual intercourse with a minor female was statutory rape. There are states where the age of consent is lower than 18 for sexual intercourse (Illinois, for example, sets it at 17), but quite a number of states set it at 18.
There may be a few states that still set the age of consent at 18, but my guess is that's the exception, not the norm (if you provide a state-by-state survey showing I'm wrong, I'll concede, but my bet is that the age of consent is less than 18 almost everywhere).

Your argument that supporting changing the age of consent to 16 is the equivalent of pedophilia makes pedophiles out of legislators all over the country.

In sum, your attempt to smear the modern gay rights movement with supporting NAMBLA is not only wrong, it is dishonest.
12.9.2005 12:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Public_Defender writes:


The ACLU doesn't support NAMBLA's views, but the ACLU does support NAMBLA's right to advocate changes in the law. If you think the ACLU is wrong, what other laws should we be punished for trying to change?
It isn't NAMBLA arguments in favor of changing the laws that ACLU is defending; it is NAMBLA's instruction manual on having sex with little boys and how to get away with it that is at the heart of the suit. It would be if someone published a manual on how to rape women, and avoid punishment--a very detailed manual listing specific steps to take in finding women in vunerable positions, how to avoid leaving evidence or witnesses, that sort of thing.

Your argument that supporting changing the age of consent to 16 is the equivalent of pedophilia makes pedophiles out of legislators all over the country.How many states have recently changed the age of consent downward? And how many of those changes were done for the benefit of gay men?


In sum, your attempt to smear the modern gay rights movement with supporting NAMBLA is not only wrong, it is dishonest.
You are going to have to explain to me why gay men even ten years ago were vigorously defending NAMBLA.

Talk about dishonest. I presume that you don't approve of pedophiles. Good. Most gay men that I talk to share that feeling. But there's a disturbing number that I hear from who either think I'm being unreasonable in wanting 10 year olds off limits, or who start making distinctions between "pedophiles" (who want sex with prepubescent boys) and "ephebophiles" (who want them just a little older than that).

You seem to want to believe that homosexual pedophiles are extremely rare. You might find this news story of interest. Poor Mr. Patalino, down on his luck. Never married. Oh, and here's probably why he never married:
Patalino was convicted in 1991 of felony first-degree sexual abuse involving a 10-year-old boy in the city of Rensselaer, according to the Colonie Police Department's Web site.
12.9.2005 2:37pm
Public_Defender:
You're the one who says it age of consent to be 16 is abnormal, so back it up. How many states have an age of consent at 16? 18? I shouldn't have to do the research you should do to back up your posts.
12.9.2005 4:58pm