I established last week that “but” does not generally negate what comes before. When people say they love LGBT people and then say “but,” they are in fact saying (1) that they love us, and also (2) some other thing that contrasts with that love. However, even though no one has shown any hole in the reasoning from my last post, it seems pretty evident from the responses to Clive (and those who’ve preceded him) that, reasoning aside, quite a few people think it’s impossible to say “I love you” and “I don’t accept your lifestyle” and mean both.
I thought about why this might be, and I think I know. And as we leap into the meat of things, a question: is it really a question of being loved, or is it a question of feeling loved?
Because “but” can, certainly, be used to make one clause negate the other. It’s raining, but it’s clear. It’s 110 degrees, but it’s cool. I love you, but I don’t love you. The thing about these sentences is, they’re nonsense statements. It can’t be both raining and clear, and it can’t be both 110 degrees and cool, and a person can’t both love and not love you, because the meaning of the two clauses are opposites on the same scale, whether weather conditions, temperature, or degree of love, and (outside quantum things, I guess?) we can’t have a condition from one end of the scale and another from the opposite end of the same scale at the same time.
This is why so many gay people find “I love you, but I don’t support your lifestyle” -type statements so frustrating: they are clumping “support for lifestyle” onto the continuum of love. As a result, “I don’t support your lifestyle” is synonymous with “I don’t love you,” and obviously “I love you, but I don’t love you” is crazy making. In their minds, loving someone without supporting their lifestyle is as nonsensical as claiming it’s both raining and clear. The problem with this is that accepting someone’s lifestyle is on a completely separate scale from loving that person. You can love a son away at college without loving his lifestyle, which burns through your money. You can love a friend who cheats on her husband again and again, even though he’s your friend too. You can also support a lifestyle without loving the liver, as we all do for (almost) every elected official. “I don’t support your lifestyle” is not synonymous with “I don’t love you.”
But the homeless kids!
I’m not a heartless bastard.
However, Clive said this: “Rather than try to understand, support, and accept these young men for the sons of God that they are, their fathers and mothers demanded conformity as a pre-requisite for granting parental love.” This as an unjustifiable claim. Of course parents are wrong to put their children on the streets. Some of the demands Clive attributed to them were stupid ("I love you and want you to stay, but you can't keep thinking you have same sex attraction"), and some were reasonable ("I love you and feel your pain, but you better not bring your gay friends into our home"), but not a single one is a sign that those parents don’t love their children.
This was impressed on me by Misty, the same Misty Clive mentioned. In fact, my comment on her post and her response come just after Clive’s comment. If you read her post, brace yourself. It’s awful. It’s offensive. It’s infuriating. Yet in it, Misty is adamant about the fact that she loves gay people. I wracked my brain over how I could prove her wrong, and I came up with . . . nothing. I can’t prove that her mother heart isn’t full to bursting with love for the gays, just as you can’t prove that those parents who kick their children out don’t also love them, because it’s impossible to prove that a person doesn’t feel what they say they feel.
This should be a very familiar concept to gay Mormons, because so many of us have been in this situation with the roles reversed. How many times have you heard that gay love isn’t real love? “I love my wife, but what you have with yours? That’s just lust.” Though this happens less as the years go on, it still happens all the time: people try to tell us what we feel, and we dismiss them as ignorant patronizing hicks who literally don’t know what they’re talking about. How can we possibly justify using the same (failed, faulty, stupid) tactic on people who say I-love-you-but?
We can’t. Every time we do, we leave ourselves open to charges of hypocrisy.
Tangential: "The underlying issue is that these parents do not or cannot accept the fact that their sons are homosexual males, no more afflicted than any of their heterosexual children. They believe that in the end, their SSA-behaving sons have a choice."--Clyde, same post I linked to in the middle
Now, whether it's ever, ever, ethical to pressure or guilt someone into "choosing" a life they don't want, that's a different question.
“If language is not correct then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone. If this remains undone, then morals and acts deteriorate. If morals and acts deteriorate, justice will go astray. If justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence, there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything."--Confucius in The Power of Words
"Aristotle is only warming up to his main theme, which is the study of sentences that assert or deny something . . . He says that one statement is contradictory of another if it is an exact negation of it, and, as he points out, it's a matter of some subtlety to determine this. For instance, the contradictory of 'all humans are white' is not 'all humans are not white,' but rather 'some human is not white.'"--Peter Adamson in The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Episode 35
“Offence-takers win by society’s choice of appeasement as its response to their unreasonable demands and incessant agitation. The agitators will generally present themselves as people of peace. They have no desire to start a culture war. All that society has to do is to accede to their – perfectly reasonable! – demands and peace will prevail. . . . Offence-takers consistently lament the belligerence and intractability of their opponents.” --Alastair Roberts in On Triggering and the Triggered, Part 4
There’s no call for butchering innocent conjunctions and denying the feelings of our straight family. Leave the hypocrisy, the faulty logic, and the victim cards to the small-minded Christians. We don't need those things to win, and in fact, they're only bogging us down.
Next week I’ll explore the concept and consequences of feeling love without making that love felt.