faith and fallacies

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The replies I made to Reverend Bresciani regarding his "slap in the face" comments about Gay Pride Month had an effect, primarily a shotgun-spewing of wingnut falsities, fears, and the ubiquitous persecution complex. I don't play the fractally wrong card very often, but Bresciani is the best example I've seen in some time.

I wrote that his "slap in the face" line only makes sense if LGBT people are not also fathers, patriots, and warriors--which is not the case. According to Barna, 70% are Christians, too! As I predicted, the Reverend answered with the evasive No-true-Scotsman fallacy. He claimed that:

"It isn't Barna who determines who is a christian [sic] he simply polls them."

I pointed out the fallacy and responded: "Are you able to determine whose faith is genuine and whose is not--at least moreso than Barna can--or are you denying the existence of millions (yes, millions...do the math!) of LGBT Christians for your own rhetorical convenience?" I didn't expect much of a response, and didn't receive one. Trying to puff up the numbers of like-minded bigots, Bresciani wrote about:

"all those (About 290 million [sic] Americans who still cringe at the perversion known as homosexuality."

The US Census Bureau reports that there are 306 million Americans, of which a much smaller number would call homosexuality a "perversion" or "cringe" at it. Two-thirds are in favor of either civil unions or marriage for gay couples, and the cringe contingent is steadily shrinking. Bresciani's holy text--or his understanding of it--may be immovable, but morality will nonetheless continue to progress. He can allege "slaps in the face" as much as he wishes, but most Americans have come to understand homosexuality in a far more accurate way than was possible thousands of years ago. He complained about

"the heavy handed gay agenda we are enduring today"

but that doesn't add up either. Non-discrimination in employment, marriage, adoption, and military service are a "heavy-handed gay agenda?" (At least we already have the right to vote, or he'd be really upset!) Later, Bresciani asserted:

"You have your protections of the law."

Really?!? ENDA has been passed, and DADT and DOMA have been repealed? How could I have missed that momentous news? (Oh, that's right...because it never happened.)

[homosexuality is] "a lifestyle that will assuredly bring about the demise and eventual judgment of our nation"

Hmmm...dogs and cats living together, right?

"We who believe in both the Bible and our constitution have to tread a fine line."

Bresciani clearly doesn't believe in both--his faith always overrides the freedoms bequeathed to us by the Founders. The Constitution clearly permits many things (freedom of speech and religion, equal protection under the law, etc.) that are prohibited by his religious beliefs. Recognizing the freedom of others to make non-fundamentalist choices may seem like "treading a fine line" to him, but we are not obligated to believe in his deities, participate in his rituals, or observe his taboos. Bresciani asserted that

"Very few sins are said to be an abomination. Homosexuality is one of them."

I'm familiar enough with the Bible to not be cowed by a statement like this, but I dug into the subject a little bit more out of curiosity. The list of Biblical abominations is actually rather long: idolatry; witchcraft; improper sacrifices; eating seafood without fins or scales (and some birds); cross-dressing; dishonesty, and using inaccurate scales to cheat one's customers. Linda Malcor's "Putting Abominations in Perspective" is an excellent piece of research, and well worth reading:

Of the sixty-seven times that the word "abomination" is used in the Bible (Revised Standard Version), only twice does it appear in the New Testament. Revelation 21:27 simply says that anyone who practices abomination will not enter Heaven. In Luke 16:15 Jesus defines the love of money as an abomination to God. That's it as far as abominations in the New Testament are concerned, in spite of all the hoopla about Romans 1, which does not use the word.

Of the sixty-five occurrences of the word in the Old Testament, five refer to something as being an abomination to another people. Thirteen of the things labeled "abominations" are dietary restrictions, the observation of which would bar a person from consuming such things as clam chowder, shrimp and, one of my favorites, the non-existent four-legged insect, which certainly refers to something besides what we call "insects". Seventeen refer to improper sacrifice, although I am hard pressed to think of a single Christian (or Jewish, for that matter) congregation that slaughters animals on their altars these days. Outright adultery and adultery cause by divorce, which is prohibited by the Bible even though it is a widespread practice today, account for three of the verses. In addition to Jesus's comment in Luke, the love of money is decried as an abomination in two Old Testament passages. Four related verses cite dishonest trading practices as abominations. Twelve other verses list behaviors ranging from murder to women wearing "anything that pertains to a man" (for example, pants). Eight passages, including the one from Revelation, are not clear about what they mean by "abomination." Precisely two refer to homosexual behavior, though there was no understanding in biblical times of homosexuality as we define it today.

Another commenter pointed out that "(by any reasonable assessment) thousands of Allied troops who hit the beach at Normandy must have been gay," and Bresciani responded:

"This little gay re-writing of history is more proof enough that you live in an alternate world of your own creation."

Not surprisingly, Bresciani was the one doing the re-writing. Approximately 130-150,000 troops were landed at Normandy on D-Day, which puts the number of gays in the initial invasion force at between 1,300 (1% of 130K) and 7,500 (5% of 150K), to make conservative and moderate estimates. That's not a "gay re-writing of history," that's simple math. (This does not include any portion of the 850,000 or so that followed over the next few weeks.) There was plenty of other error-filled ranting by Bresciani, mostly directed at Obama:

"Our new socialist President"

"about two million people...are still waiting for his long form birth certificate" [...] Obama has spent "an estimated $1,000,000 to supress [sic] the uncovering of his own birth certificate and other personal documents"

"He has slapped the next generation in the face with a 9 trillion dollar debt"

He seems to hate Obama quite passionately, but calling him a socialist (how many times has that been disproven? I've done it so many times myself that I've lost count), blaming him for the national debt (over $10 trillion before his inauguration), and buying into the "Birther" conspiracy (despite how often and how thoroughly that has been debunked--see here, here, and here) does little to enhance Bresciani's credibility. His claim that an

"independant [sic] inspector" was "fired without warning for blowing the whistle"

required a little research. The firing of IG Gerald Walpin (see here and here) was done with 30 days notice, after an investigation initiated at the Board's request. (Yep, that sounds like a typical Faux conspiracy to me...)

For today's WTF moments, I offer these from among the Reverend's other remarks:

"anyone who has chosen to follow the gay lifestyle already has impaired judgment and I don't expect too much level thought after that" "It seems something in your thinking long ago caught fire and is now missing. I think the term is 'burned out.' Are you looking for it, complaining or blaming us because it is gone?"

"your own argument is...being trampled underfoot."

"your little serpent has tried to swallow his own tail."

"I think you are a long way down the road to burying yourself in your own self serving arguments. Perhaps its [sic] good for your website and your gay bloggers but it is fading beyond the pale of even the most rudimentary reason."

I honestly have no idea what he's trying to do here, other than adding some ad hominem remarks to his other logical fallacies. Although I rebutted his assertions with the relevant facts, but he kept re-firing the final lightweight and dull arrow in his quiver: he's offended because the Bible tells him that he should be. His refusal to address any of his numerous factual errors tells me that the facts don't matter to him--or, at least, they matter far less than his faith. His impervious-to-reason faith isn't much to stand on, but it's all he has left.

He had the last word over at Christian Voice, but he's not entitled to it here.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on June 28, 2009 10:16 AM.

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