Saturday, February 23, 2008

Prager, Assertions, Love, and Homophobia

Homphobia is a very interesting psychological ailment. It can inflict the most well-meaning, otherwise sane, polite and loving person, and cause him to be unable to see any reality that falls outside his preconceived notions of romance, love, and sex. Dennis Prager's recent article about love is a perfect example.

Prager, like so many of the pious who cannot defend their outdated social views with any science, is a master of the unsupported assertion. "State it and it will be true" seems his credo. How else can one explain comments like this:

"The love relationship between a man and a woman is unique. There is no love like it for two primary reasons: First, it is the love of equals -- all other love relationships (except same-sex friends) are between unequals. Second, it is sexual."

One can be forgiven if one rereads that paragraph 10 times trying to find the catch. The love between man and woman is a love between equals, but say, a love between homosexual men isn't? This strains credulity to say the least. How can a love between radically genetically different beings be one of equals, but love between beings far more alike not be? The fact that Prager includes same-sex friends as equals exacerbates the point. Does Prager simply deny the existence of homosexuals? Or is he claiming tacitly that they cannot have love relationships?

Added to the mess of an assertion is that the religious institutions that Prager so consistently defends make a point of saying that women are NOT equal to men, lacking the authority to teach over them per the Bible, and being refused the higher positions in most of the churches.

His second point, that the man/woman relationship is sexual, only makes his omission of homosexuals that much more glaring. This is typical of Prager, and of so-called religious thinkers: merely assert things that are either absurd (men-woman relationships are of equals) or obvious (that they are sexual) and pretend it is some grand insight. One might as well prattle on about how the crucial issue with regard to Jesus was whether he was indeed God. Perhaps Prager will clear this up.

"Because it is the only love relationship between equals (again except for friends), it is the only relationship in which it is a good thing to seek to be loved. In other relationships, it is bad to seek to be loved. Parents who seek to be loved by their children will inevitably do a poor job as a parent. They may even damage their child. Leaders who seek to be loved by the public will be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. One can only lead if he does not yearn to be loved. A teacher who tries to be loved by her students will likewise fail. Parents, leaders, teachers have jobs to do, and seeking to be loved compromises their ability to do those jobs properly. They should seek to do the right thing, and doing the right thing often means being not loved, even hated. If they seek any response from those they lead, it should be respect, not love. "

Assertion, assertion, assertion. Where is the evidence, nay, even any ad hoc reasoning, to support any of these contentions? Again, where are the homosexuals in all this? Further, why doesn't seeking to be loved in man-woman relations, or among friends, cause people to be ineffectual in those roles as well? What is Prager's explanation?

"But in the love of equals -- i.e., the love between a man and a woman and the love of friends -- it is not only all right to seek to be loved, it is a good thing. Taking the love of a spouse or friend for granted is perhaps the single greatest cause of marital divorce and the breakup of friendships. "What can I do to ensure his/her continuing love?" is a wonderful thing to keep in mind.

But seeking to be loved is not the same as taking the love of someone else for granted. This should be obvious, but apparently to Prager it is not. Could he be twisting logic into a pretzel and saying it is OK to seek to be loved in these circumstances because one's mate should not take your love for granted? Apparently.

The rest of his article is equally contentless, logic-free, and completely homophobic in its tacit presumption that homosexuals do not exist. As I have asked previously, what planet does this man live on, and why do people on this planet give him forums to display such gibberish?

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