Sunday, April 19, 2009

Funny parody of Hoekema Letter

Leiter has posted a funny parody of David Hoekema's letter to the APA defending Calvin College's discriminatory retention practices.

Joking aside, I find Hoekema's letter to be Orwellian. He employs the principle that diversity is a strength in defense of anti-gay discrimination.

--Mr. Zero

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The name is awesome: Redd F. Swingline! I love office space, but it took me a minute to see it that way. For fun, do an anagram checker on "Redd F. Swingline" and you will see some additional funny stuff!

Anonymous said...

It'd be a lot funnier (and have some substance as well) if the APA equal opportunity requirements actually said "religious orientation" rather than religion.

Anonymous said...

That paradoy....was awESOME!!

Bill Lumbergh said...

Is "Redd Swingline" a nom de plume for Milton Waddams?

Hey, Professor. What's happening? Yeah. I'm going to need to you to go ahead and stop discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. Yeah.

Filosofer said...

I suspect that the folks at Calvin would not object to an institution that exists for the purposes of sustaining and promoting the secular humanist tradition refusing to hire persons who refuse to embrace that tradition and its accoutrements. (That's a heckuva unwieldy sentence, but I'm pretty sure the grammar checks out.) In other words, I'm wholly unmoved by the parody. "One man's modus ponens," I guess...

Anonymous said...

Continuing to debate this issue is like beating a dead horse. Despite Habermas' faith to the contrary, the force of the unforced argument will probably not prevail. Instead, bible thumpers will post anonymous comments drawing our attention to the apparent hypocrisy of defending gay philosophers while not defending unpopular shit-disturbers like Ward Churchill, and then Alistair Norcross and his friends will fling insults at the bible thumpers (see previous thread). Nothing new. Why can't philosophers just be civil?

Anonymous said...

That's right. We only tolerate the kind of diversity we agree with.

zombie said...

As a proud graduate of Alan Turing University, I resent the implication that atheism is morally equivalent to orientationism. Duh.

Mr. Zero said...

Filiosofer,

You're right, of course. And since Hoekema thinks diversity is important, he might well go MP here. I think a lot of conservative christians wouldn't, though.

11:21,

Why keep beating this dead horse? 1. it's not dead. 2. I enjoy it.

Popkin said...

Let's try to remember that while the parody replaces "homosexual" with "religious," you could do the same thing with race, political convictions, etc. (to repeat some by-now-familiar examples: a school might claim to not discriminate against non-whites because it only prohibits its employees from displaying non-white skin, or might claim to not discriminate against socialists because it only prohibits its employees from engaging in socialist political activities).

Distinguishing discrimination against homosexuals from discrimination against people who have gay sex is totally ridiculous. Surely the whole point of having an anti-discrimination policy is to protect people's right to ACT ON or EXPRESS their deeply held values and traits, not simply to HAVE those values and traits.

Anonymous said...

In general the idea that a healthy diversity of institutions might involve some forbearance on applying thick pro-diversity requirements across the board is perfectly sensible. So while Hoekema's letter is wildly inadequate at best, and apparently susceptible to lots of counterexamples (including but not limited to the secularist parody, which he would probably just accept) there's nothing intrinsically "Orwellian" about invoking diversity about institutions against a claim motivated by diversity and tolerance at the level of individuals.

Led Zep said...

Ok, Popkin, that seems too strong to me. There are in fact homosexuals who don't consider the proper expression of their identity to involve having sex. That doesn't establish that a policy requiring this of homosexuals is ok wrt non-discrimination, but your concluding statement strongly suggests that there's no way for homosexuals to express their deeply help values and traits that doesn't involve having sex. And surely that's a bit presumptuous. More importantly, it's a bit too quick especially since the position of the Christian institutions is, or at least should be, that they endorse a view of human fulfillment that is radically distinctive, in the context of which the differential burden placed on homosexuals actually has meaning and really does involve the expression of deeply held values and traits. Again, that doesn't by itself address the question of compliance with non-discrimination policies, of course, but it's important to realize, if only to have a more effective discussion, that from the opposition's perspective you haven't even attempted to recognize that there might be a dispute as to what the relevant "deeply held values and traits" are. Part of the problem, of course, is that Christianity in general has done a crummy or at least inadequate job so far of expressing any positive view of human fulfillment for non-heterosexuals. But is it really just self-evident that an anti-discrimination policy wrt sexual orientation is designed to protect people's right to have gay sex? Perhaps it involves or entails protecting that right, but surely the point of the policy is to protect people from being discriminated against simply because they have a certain orientation, right? This is like what Mr Zero asked on one of the previous threads: if this doesn't count as violating the policy, what would? But it's obvious what would: an institution that discriminated on the basis of orientation without reference to activity or lifestyle at all.
The point is just this: conceding that at least so far, there isn't a convincing case that the distinction between orientation and activity matters in this case, it's still important to recognize at least the logical space there. In some cases it might not be obvious what it means to express or act on a trait that is protected against discrimination. It might, in fact, be a contested question. So yeah, the point of an anti-discrimination policy can't just be the protection of the right to have certain traits in the absence of any expression or action whatsoever, but there is still a difference between orientation (or trait or value) and activity, and it could conceivably be relevant in some cases. You can argue that it's not in this case, but it's important that THAT is what you're arguing, not that such a difference could NEVER be relevant at all.

Hockeyma said...

I think diversity is extremely valuable. That's why I think I should be allowed to fire people just for being different from me. Although it's good that there are institutions where people cannot be fired just for being different, it is also good to have a diverse range of institutions, including institutions where people can be fired for being different. Again, it's because of diversity that I think it's OK to fire people who are different from me.

Popkin said...

"your concluding statement strongly suggests that there's no way for homosexuals to express their deeply help values and traits that doesn't involve having sex."

No it doesn't. All I suggested was that having sexual relationships with same-sex partners is ONE important way that homosexuals act on or express their homosexuality.

"from the opposition's perspective you haven't even attempted to recognize that there might be a dispute as to what the relevant "deeply held values and traits" are."

What? In a debate regarding discrimination against homosexuals, surely the only relevant trait is being homosexual (i.e. being sexually attracted to members of the same sex).

"So yeah, the point of an anti-discrimination policy can't just be the protection of the right to have certain traits in the absence of any expression or action whatsoever, but there is still a difference between orientation (or trait or value) and activity, and it could conceivably be relevant in some cases."

I can't conceive of an analogous case where an institution could claim they are not discriminating against individuals with certain deeply held values or traits on the grounds that they're only discriminating against actions that express those traits. In fact, it seems obvious that no one in their right mind would bother to say, e.g., "I don't discriminate against socialists---while it's true I refuse to hire individuals who publicly support socialist political parties, I'm still willing to hire socialists who abstain from doing so"; no one would bother to offer such an argument because such an obviously ridiculous argument couldn't hope to carry any weight with any reasonable person. The fact that similar arguments seem to carry weight with many reasonable people when applied to homosexuality is pretty remarkable.