Place at the Table

PDF EBook by Bruce Bawer

EBook Description

Part “mediation” and part “manifesto,” A Place at the Table strives to dispel stereotypes about homosexuals that are, Bawer believes, all too often reinforced by gay activists. Place at the Table PDF EBookIt is sometimes a calm, measured, and reasoned book, at other times a passionate polemic. The objects of Bawer’s frustration lie on opposite ends of the spectrum: on the one hand, “homophobes” (particularly the religious conservative variety, but all varieties); download; on the other hand, the “gay subculture” and its militants.

As the title implies, Bawer’s hope is that homosexuals come to be regarded as individuals deserving of an equal place in society and not as mere members of a stereotyped group, that their sexual orientation be seen as a part, and not as the whole, of who they are as individuals. His other main concern is that young men (he doesn’t have much to say about lesbians) who begin to discover their homosexual feelings be aware that they do not have a choice only between suppression or promiscuous indulgence. He argues that the social acceptance of homosexuals, and extending them domestic partnership rights, is essentially a conservative course of action, because it will reduce promiscuity among homosexuals and encourage more stabilizing and civilizing relationships as well as a certain amount of social conformity. He blames the promiscuity and anonymous sex of many homosexuals in part on the fact that they are not accepted by society and therefore tend to congregate in ghettos in the confines of a limiting gay subculture that does not (anymore than a homophobic society) view them as real individuals. Society is more likely to tolerate the "bachelor" homosexual than the committed homosexual couple, thus encouraging promiscuity. Society is, he writes, more tolerant of homosexual sex than it is of homosexual love.

His arguments are sometimes reasoned and persuasive, and at other times anecdotal and insubstantial. He relies heavily on his own experience as a homosexual Episcopalian neo- PDFconservative, and perhaps at times regards his own assumptions about other people and their motives as something like statistical evidence.

While, overall, I found his political and social arguments fairly convincing, I found his Christian arguments lacking, as he does not address the issue of tradition at all and too facilely deals with the relevant Scripture. He does not, for instance, explain why, if the prohibition of homosexual sex is to be regarded merely as a part of the Holiness Code (which Christians need not practice), it is mentioned in conjunction with adultery. If we Christians are freed from the prohibition on homosexual sex, then are we also freed from the prohibition on adultery? If not, why not? He does not explain how a Christian is to justify not only the reversal of a 2,000 year old Christian tradition of prohibition, but an actual blessing, in God's name, of that previously prohibited thing. He does raise many pertinent questions about the logic of considering homosexual sex (within a committed, loving relationship) to be immoral from an ethical/philosophical viewpoint, but he does not adequately deal with the issue from the perspective of traditional Christian *practice*. He does recommend a book on the question from a Christian perspective, however, and I may dig into that later.

Another unrelated issue I wish he would have addressed in more detail is the idea of woman as a civilizing influence on man (who is presumably willing to limit certain uncivilized behaviors in order to appease/win her). He mentions this idea very briefly, but he simply states that homosexual men can civilize each other, without expanding on the argument.

He writes well, and the book is fascinating to read. A lot has changed since he wrote this book, and it would have been more beneficial to read an updated version. Nevertheless, I appreciated it for its unique perspective and it’s impassioned recognition of the importance of seeing the individual in a society currently bent on enshrining multiculturalism and group identity. Bawer is also a literary critic, and there is a fine little section that is an analysis of homosexual literature and literature by homosexuals.

Like this book? Read online this: Society of Individuals, Under the Table.

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