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Ray Boltz


Peter T Chattaway
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I just wonder when that studly old Bear, Carmen, is going to finally come out...

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Heh.

FWIW, out of curiosity, I scanned the online archives of a couple of Christian outlets that I write for, and found:

For whatever that's worth.

Oh, and the People article is up now, and it states: "The born-again Christian singer also reveals how he told his mother Faye he's gay four years ago." Again, for whatever that's worth.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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He was definitely embraced by the evangelical world for a while there. Thomas Nelson published a biography/inspirational book about him a few years ago, and Christian retailers also carried his CDs, at least his Christmas one. I know this only because, after reading about Clay "coming out" earlier today, I checked Christianbook.com and they had the aforementioned products. Perhaps not much longer, though.

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I wonder if this counts.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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  • 1 year later...

I just listened to the song. Not exactly my style of music, though it is catchy. I do empathize with where Boltz is at, and how he feels, regarding traditional Christian sexual morality. I am a single, 36-year-old Christian man striving to live chastely, and as I've written recently here, it AIN'T easy.

With that said though, I find the moral reasoning in this song (such as said reasoning even exists) to be extremely problematic. Ray Boltz sings, "Don't tell me who to love/ Don't tell me who to kiss"...... "I know what it's in my heart/ And that should be enough."

Exactly where does one stop with this line of reasoning? NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) representatives would say much the same thing (as Boltz sings in his song about his desires) about their criminal behavior. How would one refute them, other than by appealing to laws against sex with minors-- which NAMBLA members could simply say are outmoded and unjust, and then work to overturn them? We might think that such a scenario is self-evidently absurd, reprehensible, and unlikely, but not very long ago, the same was thought about gay marriage.

Edited by Christopher Lake
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Well, the big difference there would be the issues of consent and coercion.

Only in the sense of current legal understandings and definitions of those words-- which again, NAMBLA representatives could argue are outmoded and unjust, and then work to change. In fact, they already are-- that is the whole point of their organization. Moreover, they have minors working with them on that social/cultural/legal project. How does one coherently argue against that project, if one follows Ray Boltz's reasoning, in the above quoted lyrics?

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That new single effectively obliterates the myth that homosexual males are innately stylish, hip and creative.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Well, I wouldn't say November of 2008 is "new," but okay. The discussion I had with friends about this back when it came out involved using this as another piece of evidence in the argument that art, when it is created solely to communicate A Message, is rarely-if ever-worth paying any attention.

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Christopher Lake knows more about NAMBLA than I do.

Joel is correct that this is old! I missed this somehow.

Stephen is only correct insofar that art that is intended to communicate a message to market yourself to people that already basically agree with you does not merit our attention. He ain't no Phil Ochs.

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Christopher Lake knows more about NAMBLA than I do.

Just to clarify (!), the knowledge that I have of NAMBLA is largely from a friend of mine (not Christian but heterosexual and married) who visited their website and read their supporters' "testimonies." The ages varied, from minors to much older men. As for why my friend even visited the website, I guess that one might say it was anthropological and psychological curiosity?

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Exactly where does one stop with this line of reasoning? NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) representatives would say much the same thing (as Boltz sings in his song about his desires) about their criminal behavior. How would one refute them, other than by appealing to laws against sex with minors-- which NAMBLA members could simply say are outmoded and unjust, and then work to overturn them? We might think that such a scenario is self-evidently absurd, reprehensible, and unlikely, but not very long ago, the same was thought about gay marriage.

Dude, faulty reductio ad absurdum.

Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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Precisely, and while i put NAMBLA stuff in the category of box-turtle arguments that scarcely merit a response, the fact that there are young people who argue against the arbitrary way age-of-consent laws are applied and enforced and the way that fits into the systemic infantilization and disempowerment of adolescents doesn't change the obvious fact of a lack of symmetry in power and privilege between people of different ages, which makes those kinds of relationships inherently coercive, and inherently unjust.

Whereas there is a fundamental symmetry that Boltz describes, however artlessly, in the prohibition between relationships between 2 consenting adults of different races and 2 consenting adults of the same gender.

Mostly I love this song because it's the collision of everything hilariously dumb about Christian music and everything hilariously dumb about gay commercial culture.

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Exactly where does one stop with this line of reasoning? NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) representatives would say much the same thing (as Boltz sings in his song about his desires) about their criminal behavior. How would one refute them, other than by appealing to laws against sex with minors-- which NAMBLA members could simply say are outmoded and unjust, and then work to overturn them? We might think that such a scenario is self-evidently absurd, reprehensible, and unlikely, but not very long ago, the same was thought about gay marriage.

Dude, faulty reductio ad absurdum.

An assertion is not a refutation. If you're going to make an assertion about my argument, wouldn't it be helpful to demonstrate how your assertion is valid?

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Precisely, and while i put NAMBLA stuff in the category of box-turtle arguments that scarcely merit a response, the fact that there are young people who argue against the arbitrary way age-of-consent laws are applied and enforced and the way that fits into the systemic infantilization and disempowerment of adolescents doesn't change the obvious fact of a lack of symmetry in power and privilege between people of different ages, which makes those kinds of relationships inherently coercive, and inherently unjust.

Whereas there is a fundamental symmetry that Boltz describes, however artlessly, in the prohibition between relationships between 2 consenting adults of different races and 2 consenting adults of the same gender.

Mostly I love this song because it's the collision of everything hilariously dumb about Christian music and everything hilariously dumb about gay commercial culture.

How is it exactly that the "NAMBLA argument" scarcely merits a response? You haven't really attempted to answer it, other than to simply assert that relationships between adult males and minor boys contain the "obvious fact of a lack of symmetry in power and privilege between people of different ages" and that such relationships are "inherently coercive and inherently unjust."

Consider this-- if marriage between two people of the same sex is legally allowed, why should we stop there, really? Who exactly is to say that NAMBLA-type relationships are "inherently unjust and coercive"? Some of the minors involved in them certainly don't seem to think so.

Emotional/psychological maturity can vary widely from person to person, and sometimes irregardless of age. On the terms of your argument, doesn't the "inherently" merely express your own preference for a certain type of societal convention? Who decides what is "inherent" in such a relationship? How is it "obvious" that there is always a lack of symmetry in power and privilege between people of different ages? A precocious, wise-beyond-his-years teenage boy from a well-off family might be more powerful and privileged than an older man of average intelligence and maturity who has little money or societal connections.

I have never heard a convincing argument from people who are in favor of legalization (and thus, societal acceptance) of gay marriage about why other types of relationships/marriages should continue to be illegal. I'm still waiting.

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I have never heard a convincing argument from people who are in favor of legalization (and thus, societal acceptance) of gay marriage about why other types of relationships/marriages should continue to be illegal. I'm still waiting.

I feel reasonably secure concluding that pedophilia is coercive & exploitative, but if you honestly want to make an argument that it's not, based on what your friend saw one time on some website, go ahead. I've never heard anyone argue that there's anything inherently coercive about same-sex relationships, so maybe you can explain that to me.

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I fear the obvious slippery slope that opposition to gay marriage presents. Why not put people in jail for being gay? Make homosexuality a crime again, rather than merely keep gay marriage outlawed? Especially when homosexuality represents such a major threat to children according to marriage and family groups.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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An assertion is not a refutation. If you're going to make an assertion about my argument, wouldn't it be helpful to demonstrate how your assertion is valid?

Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as flippant. Hopefully the following will be helpful.

There are numerous reasons why the analogy between Boltz v. the World and Pederasts v. the State is a poor one. No one would build a legal case from the (virtually non-existent) reasoning of Boltz's song. As you said, it's a purely moral defense of his actions; but that doesn't translate into a legal defense of homosexual conduct (much less gay marriage), which never hinged on questions of right or wrong, but on whether proscribing said behavior violated the right to privacy and Due Process.

The reductio argument you put forward is actually very similar to the one used in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), in which the the Supreme Court upheld a state statute criminalizing sodomy, inclusive here of both genders and sexualities. Justice White, in the majority opinion, argued that 'if all laws representing essentially moral choices' were to be invalidated under Due Process, the floodgates of litigation would be thrown open--to pedophiles, zoophilics, et al. This assumption fails because of the issues of consent that HM raises, which are not obviated by the mere fact that NAMBLA finds them unjust and oppressive. (If they are really so injurious, then why is the Man/Boy Love Association the only voice calling for their abolition?) The legal age of consent exists to protect a huge and vulnerable portion of the population from sexual abuse. Even granted the theoretical possibility of relationships, currently illegal, that are nonetheless formed by the mutual consent of competent individuals, abolishing proscriptions against pederasty would throw open the floodgates of injustice and would, in practice, make it much more difficult for the state to identify cases of abuse (now treated no differently from adult abuse, but still involving the reality of circumspect powers of consent). The actual age itself is arbitrary and differs from state to state. But everyone agrees that there has to be some line under which a person is not competent to consent, and that it has to lie somewhere. The state's interest in ensuring the protection of the aforementioned vulnerable populace outweighs the interest it has in the freedom of a extremely tiny minority to do as they please. On the whole, and needless to say, I would expect a change away from such laws to conduce to a great deal of harm and suffering.

I have never heard a convincing argument from people who are in favor of legalization (and thus, societal acceptance) of gay marriage about why other types of relationships/marriages should continue to be illegal.
Certainly, the legal burden does not lie with supporters of gay rights, or anyone for that matter, to defend the proscriptions against pederasty, but rather with its proponents to argue why those proscriptions should be abolished. So far they're not doing a bang-up job. According to Wikipedia, their public presence has dwindled down to near nothing.

I think the main issue here is not whether NAMBLA puts forth a good argument (or not), but whether the terms of the conversation change if one supports gay marriage. As someone who hasn't crystallized any political opinions on the gay marriage, I'm having trouble seeing how this is the case. Your assertion is that accepting gay marriage means accepting pedophilia: meaning that we give up some important principle in the legalization of gay marriage that is essential to the proscription of pedophilia. But gay marriage has its own legal focus distinct from sodomy and especially pederasty. Whenever I start thinking about gay marriage my head hurts, but I've never seen a serious pro argument based around the right to love, no matter how often you hear it bandied about. It sounds nice, but it's void of content. Since Lawrence v. Texas (2003) found statutes exclusively proscribing homosexual conduct unconstitutional, gay people have not lacked such a right. By contrast, the issue of pedophilia, both before and after a theoretical transition to gay marriage, hinges on the common law principle of the age of consent. If you find that unconvincing, then that's your judgment. But this, the main argument against legalizing pedophilia, has little to do with sodomy or gay marriage either way. So, what parameters change if one accepts and supports gay marriage? How does this change pave the slippery slope to NAMBLA?

Edited by KShaw

Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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I have never heard a convincing argument from people who are in favor of legalization (and thus, societal acceptance) of gay marriage about why other types of relationships/marriages should continue to be illegal. I'm still waiting.

I feel reasonably secure concluding that pedophilia is coercive & exploitative, but if you honestly want to make an argument that it's not, based on what your friend saw one time on some website, go ahead. I've never heard anyone argue that there's anything inherently coercive about same-sex relationships, so maybe you can explain that to me.

In a way, Holy Moly, your reply gets to the heart of the problem here, in terms of the legalization of gay marriage, becoming, indeed, a "slippery slope" to the legalization of other sorts of "relationships"-- to the point that they too could become legal marriages.

Pedophilia is commonly defined as a condition in which an adult experiences sexual desire for a child. Currently, depending on the state in which one lives, the age of legal consent is between, I believe, 16-18 years old. Now, consider the following scenario(s).

1. A 13-year-old boy enters into an emotional/sexual "relationship" with a 30-year-old man. 2. The boy subjectively experiences that "relationship" to be a positive one. 3. That subjective experience grows into a conviction that such "relationships" should not be illegal. 4. Out of that conviction, the boy becomes involved with organizations such as NAMBLA, which to crusade to societally normalize, and thus, eventually, legalize (by lowering the age of consent) those sorts of "relationships." 4. Over time, many "open-minded" Americans are persuaded out of their formerly "backwards, outmoded" opinions about those "relationships" (similarly to the process that gay marriage advocates say is happening across America, in regard to their cause), and the efforts to legalize them are successful. 5. With gay marriage, by this time, already being widely legalized and societally accepted, and the age of legal consent for sex being lowered, the same people who pushed for adult male/teenage boy "relationships" to be legalized now have nothing legally standing in their way, and if 13-year-old Rick's morally bankrupt parents are fine with it, he can now marry 30-year-old John.

Logically and realistically speaking, if gay marriage becomes widely legalized in America, why could the above scenario not also come to pass legally? More importantly, why would it not?

Again, you may think that such things could never happen in America, but as I wrote earlier, the same was once widely, virtually unspokenly, assumed about gay marriage in the U.S.

Edited by Christopher Lake
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1. 13-year-old boys have homosexual "relationships" with 30-year-old men. 2. Those boys subjectively come to believe that such experiences were/are positive ones for them. 3. Out of that subjective sense of positive experience, they become convinced that such "relationships" should not be illegal. 4. Due to that conviction, they become involved in organizations such as NAMBLA, which crusade to legalize, and thus, societally normalize homosexual adult/minor "relationships." 5. 15-30 years from now, American society "grows out of" its "backward, outmoded" thinking about those sorts of "relationships" (similarly to what gay marriage advocates would say that America is now doing in regard to gay marriage).

You seem to be stuck in a hypothetical fantasyland. I just don't see your point #2 happening in any circumstance that isn't a) purely hypothetical or b ) on some website that your friend saw this one time a while back. Which, you gotta admit is a a pretty weak place to argue from.

13 year olds who have relationships with much older men seem to universally or near-universally understand these experiences as abusive/traumatizing/gross/etc. Whereas gay couples universally or near-universally see their relationships as really good things regardless of whether social approval exists. You aren't comparing apples and oranges, you're comparing apples and goat manure.

Edited by Holy Moly!
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Just wanted to add, I'm skeptical of the claims that there are underagers actively working within NAMBLA. Though their webpage abounds with boys' testimonies, that doesn't translate into NAMBLA itself being composed of them. It is more well known as an organization that gets together to appreciate (at a distance) the sexual allure of children and advocate for various related issues. Unless the children want to admire themselves, an analogous group would be an organization of kids that met to share their appreciation of beautiful old men. It may be very easy to inflate the size and prominence of the youngster coterie past anything resembling reality, just as it may be easy to inflate NAMBLA's size and prominence beyond anything resembling reality. Peak numbers indicated around a thousand members, and since then the organization has been in decline.

Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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I fear the obvious slippery slope that opposition to gay marriage presents. Why not put people in jail for being gay? Make homosexuality a crime again, rather than merely keep gay marriage outlawed? Especially when homosexuality represents such a major threat to children according to marriage and family groups.

Nezpop, if the general drift of American society were toward more (commonly defined) "conservative" and "traditional" values, I could probably see your point, as a living, real concern which Christians, especially, would need to address in the legal sphere.

However, that is decidedly not the general drift of American society, as it now is, and for that reason, I think that the scenario I described above to Holy Moly, in my last reply to him, is much more likely in the future than the scenarios that you posited.

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1. 13-year-old boys have homosexual "relationships" with 30-year-old men. 2. Those boys subjectively come to believe that such experiences were/are positive ones for them. 3. Out of that subjective sense of positive experience, they become convinced that such "relationships" should not be illegal. 4. Due to that conviction, they become involved in organizations such as NAMBLA, which crusade to legalize, and thus, societally normalize homosexual adult/minor "relationships." 5. 15-30 years from now, American society "grows out of" its "backward, outmoded" thinking about those sorts of "relationships" (similarly to what gay marriage advocates would say that America is now doing in regard to gay marriage).

You seem to be stuck in a hypothetical fantasyland. I just don't see your point #2 happening in any circumstance that isn't a) purely hypothetical or B) on some website that your friend saw this one time a while back. Which, you gotta admit is a a pretty weak place to argue from.

13 year olds who have relationships with much older men seem to universally or near-universally understand these experiences as abusive/traumatizing/gross/etc. Whereas gay couples universally or near-universally see their relationships as really good things regardless of whether social approval exists. You aren't comparing apples and oranges, you're comparing apples and goat manure.

What I describe above is anything but a "hypothetical fantasyland." Just as there are underage girls who have emotional/sexual "relationships" with older men, and not only claim no damage from them, but claim them to be positive experiences, the same is true for underage boys and older men. I'm not saying that these claims are right, but they exist.

Read some of Allen Ginsberg's more explicit homosexual poems which tell of his encounters with males of much younger age. Those encounters seem to have been experienced as positive ones for both parties. From what I understand, he was a supporter of NAMBLA.

On Salon.com, in a piece of writing, the title of which truly must be seen to be believed, Camille Paglia also protests the "lynch-mob hysteria that dogs the issue of man-boy love." She claims that Ginsberg's stance on the issue was/is one of the ones for which she "most admire(s)" him, and that his "celebration of boy-love was pure and sinless, demonstrating the limitations of Judeo-Christian paradigms of sexuality." http://www.salon.com...glia970415.html

Edited by Christopher Lake
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