Comment of The Day: The Same-Sex Marriage Wars

supreme-court-gay-marriage-demonstration

The Inquiring Mind left a plaintive and provocative comment on an earlier post regarding the gay marriage controversy, now once again above the fold, and it was apparently swallowed by my spam file. I haven’t see much of an uptick in Ethics Alarms comments lately (and tgt is on semi-hiatus), but the spam has gotten out of control: apparently this post was deleted, even though I try to check the spam comments (about 500 a day now) to make sure legitimate ones don’t get thrown out with the bath water. I apologize to IM, and am posting the recovered comment partially in compensation, and also because he expresses a sentiment that I have heard and read from others.

I’ll be back at the end; in the meantime, here is Inquiring Mind’s Comment of the Day regarding the tactics of gay marriage advocates:

“Jack, since the aftermath of Prop 8, I have always wondered – is the thuggery/coercion and thought control a “bug” associated with the push for gay marriage, or is it a “feature” that comes with the enactment of gay marriage?

“I just want to review the conduct of gay-marriage supporters:

  • The harrassment of proponents of Prop 8,  including death threats received by my best friend’s wife, enters into my thinking on this front. Then there was the treatment Carrie Prejean received at the hands of Perez Hilton and Shanna Moakler, among others. Then there is the attempts to expel Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton from counseling programs – because their worldview was informed by the same sort of Christianity.
  • The legal assault on Elane Photography and other businesses run by Christians who aren’t saying they cannot have their wedding or commitment ceremony, but are asking they not be forced to take part in it – even if it is photographing or baking a cake.
  • The bomb threat called in during yesterday’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

So, is it a bug, or a feature? The pattern of conduct I am seeing indicates that thuggery/coercion, and thought control are a feature of gay marriage, with religious freedom becoming a dead letter, by the admission of some proponents of gay marriage.

“If this is how the advocates act when they have relatively little power over their opponents, then how will they act with even more power? As far as I can tell, they have no problem trampling over my core freedoms. As such, it comes down to a case of “my rights or theirs” – and in that sort of case, can anyone blame people for fighting to preserve what they feel is rightfully theirs?”

I’m back.

I’m not sure what the difference is between a “bug” and a “feature,” but when a group believes it is being discriminated against, it is rare indeed for all components and factions of that group to react with tolerance, civility and understanding. As always, the noisiest, most uncivil, most disruptive and violent of the activists grab the attention and the headlines, undermining their own movement, however justified and virtuous, and hardening opposition. Indeed, the gay rights movement, in my observation, only began making headway when it largely abandoned the in-your-face tactics that were the hallmark of the group’s efforts in the 70’s and 80’s with the introduction of dignified, reasonable, and persuasive advocates who could make their case without attacks, theatrics and insults.

I suppose attempting to change the prevailing cultural message from one that gay relationships are sick and sinful to one that embraces such relationships as loving and valid and deserving legal equality could be called “mind-control,” as any cultural norm is. I’d prefer to call it education, wisdom, experience, and the process of building cultural consensus. It is no different from the similar process of rejecting former cultural beliefs that blacks were put on earth to be subservient to whites, that women are an inferior gender and unfit for the workplace of leadership, that mixed-race marriages are an abomination and that parents can and should beat their children. Culture is the means whereby we make ethical decisions, based on human experience, about what a society views as right and wrong. This culture is in the process of concluding that gay marriage, once regarded as wrong, isn’t. This is how it happens.

Almost all the incidents listed by Inquiring Mind are per se wrongful, and have been recognized as such. The government cannot ostracize citizens for holding opinions, as the arrogant mayors set out to do to the owner of Chic-Fil-A. Criminal acts like bombing and stealing proprietary documents are obviously unethical whatever the goal. I do think that impatience by same-sex marriage advocates has led to a lot of corner-cutting and biased rationalizing by professionals who should know better, as in the case of Judge Walker. (I don’t understand why Inquiring Mind calls that an “admission” on my part, as if I was somehow cheering from the sidelines. I deplored it at the time, and deplore it now.)

From my first commentary on this topic, long before Ethics Alarms, I cautioned gay rights advocates not to assume that every opponent was driven by bigotry. That is unfair. Many are motivated by adherence to religious beliefs that are not only long-standing but also that were never under serious question until relatively recently. The change in public and cultural attitudes has come with epic speed, and it should not be surprising, or held against those left behind in the dust wondering what happened, that the former majority is puzzled, frightened, threatened and confused. The Golden Rule suggests—you don’t have to be religious to benefit from the Golden Rule–that same-sex marriage advocates, whose victory is assured, display the tolerance, generosity, kindness and understanding toward their adversaries that they once sought themselves. My late father and mother, who were in their 80’s when this sea-change occurred and weren’t particularly religious, never understood, and probably never would have. They weren’t bigots, or stupid; they were just raised in a culture that regarded the idea of men marrying men as unimaginable, weird, and perverse, and they didn’t have time to undo decades of conditioning in a few years.

This is an ethical conflict, where two important ethical principles are in direct opposition: religious freedom, and equal rights. Resolving ethical conflicts are always wrenching, but in the U.S., we have pretty decisively established the ethical pecking order: equal rights wins. Bad conduct by the eventual winners will only postpone victory, and leave necessary societal scars.

Whether the tactics Inquiring Minds rightly condemns are a bug or a feature, they are counter-productive and wrong.

_________________________________

Graphic: Lehigh Valley Live

465 thoughts on “Comment of The Day: The Same-Sex Marriage Wars

  1. @Ampersand,

    I’m Roman-Catholic. My lifestyle is Roman-Catholic. My world view is Roman-Catholic. How I vote is Roman-Catholic. There is no issue, no topic, no idea that is not filtered through the lense of my faith. So no, I can’t support same gender “marriage” in or outside the voting booth. My faith takes precedence.

    • Coretta, as I’m sure you know, the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce. Do you think divorce should be illegal?

      How about condoms and other forms of birth control the Vatican doesn’t approve of. Should they be banned?

    • The thing is, in advanced democracies like the USA, France, Japan, etc., the ideal is that the laws are there for officially secular reasons. It doesn’t prevent you from having a personal religious stake in the matter, but if you were required to write out for the record the official reason(s) why a bill needs to be passed/repealed, you’ll need to give at least one reason that doesn’t recourse to God/Allah/Vishnu/Amaterasu/etc.

  2. Divorce, contraception, abortion; these are mortal sins. Mortal sin requires grave matter, full consent of the will, and full knowledge. Ideally, an informed conscience filtered through the lense of faith would guide one into using free will in accordance with church teachings. Roman-Catholicism recognizes free will as a gift from God. The exercise of free will does not preclude that one will not be opposed. In the case of same gender “marriage”, it is the moral duty of the faithful to oppose it. To do otherwise with countenance a practice which violates divine law. I’m not a legislator. I’m a citizen. I vote my faith. The idea that I should divorce my faith from politics or social action is ludicrous. Those without faith vote their world view. Roman-Catholics and others of faith have the same right.

    • ” I’m a citizen. I vote my faith. The idea that I should divorce my faith from politics or social action is ludicrous. Those without faith vote their world view. Roman-Catholics and others of faith have the same right.”
      I’m with Coretta on this. Until the US decides Christians can no longer vote.

      • Until the US decides Christians can no longer vote.

        WHAT? Do you really have that much of a persecution complex?

        I’m a citizen. I vote my faith. The idea that I should divorce my faith from politics or social action is ludicrous. Those without faith vote their world view. Roman-Catholics and others of faith have the same right.

        No. People without faith do not vote their worldview; they vote their political view, and so should you. Of course some people vote based on their personal lifestyle choices, rather than their civic duty. Those people are morons.

        I, for instance, am a vegetarian. I believe that vegetarianism is the right choice of diet and that everyone ought to adopt it as they are available. But I would never, ever, in a million years vote for a proposition banning the sale or consumption of meat. The consequence of living in a free society is that you have to put up with the possibility of other people choosing wrong. The duty of a citizen in a free society is to actively support their ability to do so.

      • No one has suggested, in any way at all, that conservative Christians should lose the right to vote, or should not be allowed to vote on whatever basis you want. Disagreeing with you is not even slightly the same as wanting to take those rights away.

        I think it’s a mistake for people to use the law to impose their religious views on others. Not everyone in American shares your religion, and in a pluralistic society we should seek to get along, not to force our beliefs into law.

        Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who is religiously opposed to same-sex marriages within Orthodox Judaism, nonetheless thinks that civil marriage is a separate category. He wrote (pdf link):

        We Jews would be very upset if the Roman Catholic teaching about divorce became the law of the land. We would be upset if the Catholic understanding of divorce became a universal value in America. Similarly, we should not be interested in the Torah’s prohibition of the homosexual act becoming the law of the land as well, just like we should not be interested in the law of the land being a prohibition on Jews marrying Gentiles.[…]

        The Torah prohibits homosexuality for reasons I do not understand. I totally follow the Torah even when I don’t understand its reasoning. But as Orthodox Jews we should not seek to impose our own religious prohibitions on the secular society.

        I think Rabbi Herzfeld’s view makes more sense than yours. If you think that Christians have a religious duty to use secular law to force their beliefs down non-Christian throats – and that’s clearly what you do believe – then I don’t see how your version of Christianity could be compatible with a free, pluralistic society.

        • Ampersand,you said,”No one has suggested, in any way at all, that conservative Christians should lose the right to vote, or should not be allowed to vote on whatever basis you want. Disagreeing with you is not even slightly the same as wanting to take those rights away.

          I think it’s a mistake for people to use Not everyone in American shares your religion, and in a pluralistic society we should seek to get along, not to force our beliefs into law.”

          But don’t you see? If Coretta votes against gay marriage it is her right to do so and her reasoning is religious. In this way she is using ” the law to impose their religious views on others.” If that is not acceptable anymore then why could she not lose her right to vote?

          • Because voting well is not the basis of the right to vote. Any attempt to take someone’s vote away on that basis is viewpoint-based discrimination by the government, and would certainly be found unconstitutional by the courts.

            • “Because voting well is not the basis of the right to vote. Any attempt to take someone’s vote away on that basis is viewpoint-based discrimination by the government, and would certainly be found unconstitutional by the courts.”

              Not that the government hasn’t bent the Constitution already but,yes. Denying any group the right to vote would raise such an uproar there would be rioting in the streets or worse. I said what I did with some sarcasm. I don’t believe the US will be denying anyone the right to vote anytime soon. 🙂

              • Thanks for this, Karla. It reminds me that in many ways the Southern Poverty Foundation, which is referenced as an authority here, is itself arguably a hate organization. The group has used its admirable accomplishments and resulting moral authority to demonize many groups that disagree with it and its supporters on such issues as gay marriage and immigration. And this publication’s definition “supremacist” described President Obama’s speech in Denver and the attitude of much of the mainstream media to a T. I’ll post on this eventually.

                • Jack, it gets much worse. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” was used by the shooter at the Family Research Council to pick his targets.
                  http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/07/splc-southern-poverty-law-center-or-sending-people-to-liquidate-conservatives/

                  It should be noted that the SPLC has scored significant civil verdicts against people and groups like Tom Metzger, the KKK, and Ranch Rescue for inciting criminal actions. The SPLC has refused to stop calling the FRC a hate group, incidentally. A second incident could get VERY interesting if the FRC decides to sue.

                • “Thanks for this, Karla. It reminds me that in many ways the Southern Poverty Foundation, which is referenced as an authority here, is itself arguably a hate organization…”

                  Then it is true. I was hoping it was conspiracy stuff.

                • Actually, disagreeing on gay marriage is not one of their criteria, as anyone who actually read their standards would know. (Note, as well, that there are many, many prominent anti-SSM groups that they don’t list as hate groups.).

                  The idea that gay marriage has anything at all to do with the SPLC’s standards is a lie, and not one you should spread.

                  • I don’t think it’s a lie at all, Barry. I think the SPLC has used the “hate group” appellation to marginalize those groups that are aligned on opposite sides of social issues like immigration and gay rights. The Family Research Council is extreme and dead wrong much of the crime, but it’s no hate group, and calling it one degrades the legitimate description.

                    SPLC is a good example of power and media fawning corrupting a once-admirable organization.

                    • Define “Hate group” for me. I don’t see how FRC doesn’t qualify. This looks like more of IM’s complaint that he’s being called a bigot for espousing bigotry.

                    • “Define “Hate group” for me. I don’t see how FRC doesn’t qualify. This looks like more of IM’s complaint that he’s being called a bigot for espousing bigotry.”

                      Better yet,show us some examples of FRC hate. The burden of proof is on the accuser. This is what I saw on their site.
                      “Florist Won’t Back-Petal on Marriage

                      In Eastern Washington, religious hostility is in full bloom. Just ask Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers. After a longtime business relationship with an openly gay customer, Stutzman now finds herself in Benton County Superior Court fighting for her rights. When her client, Robert Ingersoll, stopped by Arlene’s Flowers in March to make arrangements for his upcoming wedding, Barronelle kindly told him that she couldn’t help. As a Christian, she explained, she objected to same-sex “marriage” on moral grounds. Robert said he respected her opinion, the two hugged, and parted ways.
                      To Stutzman’s surprise, they were reunited by an interesting source: the Washington State Attorney General, who is now suing the shop for sexual discrimination. “Nonsense,” says her attorney, JD Bristol. “Arlene’s Flowers has catered to all patrons, including homosexuals, for many years.” In fact, he points out, “Arlene’s Flowers has had openly gay employees.” “This is about gay marriage,” Bristol argued, “it’s not about a person being gay. She has a conscientious objection to homosexual ‘marriage,’ not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”
                      “A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender.” according to Wikilinks.

                    • Some examples of FRC statements which led to them being classified as a “hate group” by SPLC. All the people quoted are FRC officials; some of the quotes are from the last year or two, some are from as long as 15 years ago, but the fact that for years, they’ve repeatedly been making the case that homosexuals are disgusting pedophiles who want to go after children, makes them more of a hate group, not less.

                      “The videos are titled ‘It Gets Better.’ They are aimed at persuading kids that although they’ll face struggles and perhaps bullying for ‘coming out’ as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better. …It’s disgusting. And it’s part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle.” — Tony Perkins, FRC fundraising letter

                      “[Homosexuals] – They’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.” — Tony Perkins

                      “Homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men.” — Peter Sprigg

                      “A little-reported fact is that homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households.” — Timothy Dailey,

                      “Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.” — Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies

                      “One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”—FRC publication

                      It has nothing to do with FRC’s opposition to same-sex marriage. And that so many people who say they don’t hate gays are so eager to defend the FRC really depresses me.

                    • ““[Homosexuals] – They’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.” — Tony Perkins

                      The same has been said about Christians,wouldn’t you agree? But no one who says such things about Christians are called “haters” by those who agree with it. To make a blanket statement like that is wrong,of course,but unless that person or group’s actions are that of a hate group then they shouldn’t be labeled as such. As I posted before…”A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender.”
                      I might say I hate my ex-husband (I don’t) but that’s a far cry from persecuting or physically harming him. Of course,some might see voting against gay marriage as persecution.

                    • “Karla, what do you think of all the other quotes?”
                      I would say these guys are basing their beliefs on anti-gay propaganda.

                    • Karla,

                      The FRC says that being gay is wrong. They try to use polite language, but the message is hate. Here’s an example: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=BC11A02

                      It’s all about arguing why it’s inappropriate for homosexuals to get the same government benefits that heterosexuals get. None of the arguments make any sense. Each argument against homosexuals applies to heterosexuals as well. Let’s look at one that particularly stood out to me:

                      “As another example, homosexuals who are employed by the government want to be able to name their homosexual partners as dependents in order to get the taxpayers to pay for health insurance for them. Never mind that most homosexual couples include two wage-earners, each of whom can obtain their own insurance.”

                      There’s no comment that heterosexual couples also are largely made up of dual wage earners now. This is an attempt to demonize homosexuals as money grubbers.

                      That they don’t say “Faggots are just stupid fucks” doesn’t mean it’s not hate.

                    • “That they don’t say “Faggots are just stupid fucks” doesn’t mean it’s not hate.”

                      They still don’t fit the definition of a “hate group”. And you are putting words in their mouths. I can feature the KKK (hate group) saying something like that because they have the background of violent rhetoric and actions.

                    • Karla,

                      (1) What words did I put in FRC’s mouth?

                      (2) in re your complaint of one of ampersand’s quotes: you treated comments about an innate group with comments describing beliefs. Hating someone because of what they are is different from hating someone because of what they do.

                      (3) in re your last comment:

                      If they’re saying anti-gay bigoted quotes and pushing against equality for gays…that pretty much meets the definition of a hate group. I’d change your definition slightly. Yours was:

                      ”A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender”

                      I’d say:

                      “A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a group (or the group itself) that is determined by genetic or other non-choice base factors like race, ethnicity, and gender.”

                      Since religion is a choice of belief, it really doesn’t belong.

                    • “If they’re saying anti-gay bigoted quotes and pushing against equality for gays…that pretty much meets the definition of a hate group. I’d change your definition slightly. Yours was:

                      ”A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender”

                      It’s not my definition,it’s Wikipedia and the Daily Kos’ although I don’t know where they got it but my point wasn’t who the hated group was but what constitutes a hate group. One that is organized in it’s hatred and which advocates and practices hatred against others. A group that believes homosexuality is a sin and votes accordingly doesn’t qualify unless hatred is openly demonstrated such as the Westboro church who uses words such as fags,and are happy when “fags”die and who do their level best to persecute gays.

                    • karla,

                      My mistake on attributing the hate group language to you. I should have said it was the language you proffered.

                      In the meat of the argument, you’re suggesting that the difference between a hate group and a non-hate group is in whether they use civil language. If the KKK used civil language, then they wouldn’t be a hate group, even if they were making arguments for subjugating blacks?

                      A hate group (by you now) is “[o]ne that is organized in it’s hatred and which advocates and practices hatred against others”. That’s FRC to a T. They are very organized, and advocate for second class citizenship for homosexuals. Hell, they argue that suggesting people intermingle with homosexuals is a horrible afront. Saying they “just” believe homosexuality is bad and vote accordingly is like saying someone “just” believes being black is bad and votes accordingly.

                      The ideas pushed by FRC make them a hate group, no matter how nicely they couch things in their official statements.

                    • ” Saying they “just” believe homosexuality is bad and vote accordingly is like saying someone “just” believes being black is bad and votes accordingly.”
                      Yes,that would be true if you didn’t take their beliefs into consideration. They believe that homosexuality is a sin,that it is a behavioral and moral situation. They do not believe being black is a behavioral or moral situation but a product of genetics. They do not see that the homosexual differs genetically from the straight person or is there any characteristics at all in their make up whereby they can claim they are born that way.

                    • karla

                      ” Saying they “just” believe homosexuality is bad and vote accordingly is like saying someone “just” believes being black is bad and votes accordingly.”
                      Yes,that would be true if you didn’t take their beliefs into consideration. They believe that homosexuality is a sin,that it is a behavioral and moral situation. They do not believe being black is a behavioral or moral situation but a product of genetics. They do not see that the homosexual differs genetically from the straight person or is there any characteristics at all in their make up whereby they can claim they are born that way.

                      So, they get a pass because they flat out deny reality? I think not. If someone thought being black wasn’t genetic, would they be “just” saying and doing such things? Heck, we do know that there are people that believe that blacks are descended from Cain, which makes them evil. Would that justify said comments?

                      They are a hate group because of what they lobby for. What irrational things they refer back to are irrelevant.

              • Karla, it’s a powerpoint slide, and it’s an incredibly stupid one. According to the Army Chief of Chaplains, which investigated the slide, it’s “an isolated incident not condoned by the Department of the Army.”

                I think to determine from a single slide, which was immediately disowned and which virtually no one in the political world or the army defends, that Christians (why not Jews and Muslims, also listed on the slide?) are a persecuted group in America, is not a reasonable conclusion from the evidence.

                (Incidentally, Jack, that slide that Karla’s talking about doesn’t seem to be based on the SPLC’s work, although other slides were.)

                • The point of the slide is in the notes:

                  Extremist is a complex phenomenon; it is defined as beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, or strategies of a character far removed from the “ordinary.” Because “ordinary” is subjective, no religious group would label itself extreme or its doctrine “extremism.” However, religious extremism is not limited to any single religion, ethnic group, or region of the world; every religion has some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only “right way” and that all others are practicing their faith the “wrong way,” seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others.

                  Bolding is mine. The point was to note that extremism can come from inside any group. The idea was good, but the slide was done horribly all around. “Evangelical Christians” aren’t one group. Sunni’s are really a racial subsplit (it’s about 75% of all muslims). Interchangable use of Islam, Islamist, and Muslim (Same for Jewish and Judaism).

                  Also, if we’re going to use slides from Military briefings to claim a bias against Christianity, we’d have to overlook the repeated briefings of the army as warriors of Christ and Christian just war theory. Hey, there’s the spiritual wellness test that everyone has to take, and that recommends counseling for people who answer secularly.

                  • “Also, if we’re going to use slides from Military briefings to claim a bias against Christianity, we’d have to overlook the repeated briefings of the army as warriors of Christ and Christian just war theory. Hey, there’s the spiritual wellness test that everyone has to take, and that recommends counseling for people who answer secularly.”

                    Not quite the same. To be labeled extremist by today’s standards means to be thought of as potentially dangerous. If it doesn’t mean that then why the warning? There have been Christians in America since it’s inception. Why are they now being labeled extreme?
                    “One who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm.”

                    • As noted, the slide was terrible. The general idea was fine. (subgroups of everyone can be extremists).

                      Christian groups have been labeled extreme throughout US History. Labeling some subsets of Christians as extreme is not new.

                      Also, I know my examples were not the same. I’d say they were considerably worse. This slide was just a horribly done, but the underlying idea wasn’t bad. There’s no good idea behind pushing Christian just war theory or judging soldiers on how religious they are.

          • Yes, I really object to the false argument that “we shouldn’t impose our religious views on others” when it is used like Barry uses it here. This is also the logical flaw that has allowed hypocritical politicians like Biden, Kerry and Cuomo say that they personally think life begins at conception (hence abortion is, as some pro-life advocates, the taking of innocent life, or murder) but aggressively support NARAL because they don’t want to “impose their religious views.” That is crap, of course, and having your cake and eating it too. What Barry says is, as you suggest, a way to discriminate against the religious by saying their opinions don’t matter, aren’t worthy of respect, and shouldn’t be the basis of their political action because they were formed by, or influenced by, religious views.

            People believe what they believe politically for many reasons, and the reasons are seldom all or even substantially rational. Religion is no more or less valid as a basis for political orientation as being brainwashed by a typical leftist college professor.

            • “People believe what they believe politically for many reasons, and the reasons are seldom all or even substantially rational. Religion is no more or less valid as a basis for political orientation as being brainwashed by a typical leftist college professor.”

              Yes,most religious people,if not all,base all their decisions on religious considerations first and foremost. They wouldn’t be able to vote if they had to divorce those convictions from politics.

            • What Barry says is, as you suggest, a way to discriminate against the religious by saying their opinions don’t matter,

              That’s an entirely false accusation; I didn’t say anything like that, nor did I say anything that can be reasonably interpreted that way.

              Jack, I defy you to to directly quote me (or the Rabbi I was quoting) saying that the opinions of the religious don’t matter. You owe me an apology.

              • How? It’s a fair reading if this, from a recent comment: “I think it’s a mistake for people to use the law to impose their religious views on others” as you mean it. If it’s not a mistake to use the law to impose your ideological views, your family’s views, your region’s views, your demographic group’s views, your cultural views, your education-bolstered views, but only a “mistake” for religious people to decide on candidates, policies and laws based on their religious beliefs, you are saying that those beliefs are not worthy of being considered, while the others are.

                I’ll agree that “don’t matter” is a little blunt, but that’s sure seems like what you’re really saying, and its a very popular and insidious way to marginalize those of faith. I don’t know what you’re insulted about—explain how you can take tell the religious that voting on teh basis of their core beliefs is a mistake, but you voting on your non-religious core beliefs is fine. That means “My views are legitimate, yours aren’t.”
                What other meaning could it have?

                • Jack, you’re shoving words into my mouth so fast that I’m amazed your arms don’t get tired. 90% of what you just wrote, is stuff I never said.

                  I think it’s a mistake for ANYONE to use the law as a way of imposing their simple moral beliefs on others; everyone, including atheists, should separate the question “what do I think is moral?” from the question “what do I think should be illegal?”

                  There are many things I think are wrong, which I don’t want to be illegal. For example, I come from a culture which says that voicing anti-Jewish sentiments is disgusting, but I’ll still never vote for making it illegal to say or publish anti-Jewish views, because I make a distinction between “what is wrong” and “what should be illegal.” (I could easily name dozens more examples of me making the distinction between “this is wrong” and “this is illegal.”)

                  So yes, I think that religious people should make that distinction. But you’re being unfair and dishonest when you state that I expect that of religious people but no one else.

                  (Of course, even if we all accept that there’s a distinction between “this is wrong” and “this should be illegal,” that doesn’t end the discussion, since obviously people will still disagree on exactly where the distinction lies. See the debates over guns, copyrights, reproductive rights, and virtually everything else for examples of this.)

                • One further point, Jack: I think it’s generally a mistake for anyone to outsource their policy views to a higher authority, whether it’s someone saying “I vote how my religion tells me to” or someone saying “I vote how Noam Chomsky says I should vote,” and I object to anyone saying such a thing.

                  I assume I don’t have to argue to you that Noam Chomsky is capable of error and therefore outsourcing one’s policy views to Chomsky is a mistake. But the same thing is true of ANY authority, including a Church authority. God may be incapable of error, but the mortals in the Church who are interpreting God’s views are very much capable of error.

                  It’s irresponsible for any citizen of a democracy to uncritically accept any other person’s views on how they should vote. Logically, anyone speaking to you could be in error, and that possibility should always be considered.

                  (Even Catholic theology admits that in most circumstances, it’s possible for the Pope to be wrong; Papel inerrancy only applies in a few specific contexts.)

                  • I am not talking about authority. I am talking about genuine beliefs, wherever they come from. You are making an invalid distinction between genuinely held moral beliefs and any other belief. That distinction is biased, based on your biases, and doesn’t exist. One influence is as valid and invalid as any other. Someone following the Bible and someone who is convinced Noam has all the answers still believe what they believe, and however they got there, they have the right and reason to push, like Barack Obama or Rush Limbaugh, for laws and policies consistent with those beliefs.

                    • You are making an invalid distinction between genuinely held moral beliefs and any other belief.

                      I don’t think I am making any such distinction. You’re making it up, I suspect because you lack a logical argument against what I actually did write.

                      …they have the right and reason to push, like Barack Obama or Rush Limbaugh, for laws and policies consistent with those beliefs.

                      Jack, I am in no way arguing against anyone’s “right” to vote and push however they want to, so it’s a straw man for you to bring that up.

                      Since you’ve brought it up, however, let me make this perfectly clear: I have not argued, and never will argue, against any citizen’s right to vote. I believe all citizens of voting age have an absolute right to vote based on anything at all they want.

                      However, I am arguing that everyone – including but not limited to Christians – should make a distinction between what they think is morally wrong, and what they think should be illegal. These two categories inevitably overlap, of course, but I do not believe that any free, pluralistic society could remain free and pluralistic if everyone believed that there was no distinction to be made there at all.

                      Nor do I think that religious Americans should get a special pass that says that their reasoning and consistency should never be criticized and never be questioned. The right to vote is not a right to freedom from criticism.

                    • Then what the hell are you saying, Barry, when you say it is “wrong” for anyone to “impose their religious beliefs on others” in the context of genuine held political and civic beliefs based on faith or religious upbringing? It sounds to me as if you are saying X clear as day and then when I write, “you say X, and that is a double standard and wrong!” you retort, “how dare you accuse me of saying X?

                      “Imposing one’s religious belief” is no different than imposing one’s political belief, ideological belief or experiential belief. A belief is a belief, and if you aren’t trying to make a distinction in which people of faith propose laws based on their beliefs are presumptuously “imposing their will” while followers of Milton Friedman or Rush Limbaugh or Howard Zinn are just normally and legitimately voting and acting in civic bodies based on their views of the world, then heaven knows what you mean. First you argued that religion-based views are giving up one’s free role in a democracy to an authority, which is, again, just using pejorative terms to favor form of belief over another. If someone votes for an anti-abortion candidate because her parents, God-less though they were, taught her that life begins at conception, is she “imposing” less than a Catholic voter? Or are only conservative voters guilty of “imposing”?

                      Now you’re blurring the dispute by saying religious people have no pass “that says that their reasoning and consistency should never be criticized and never be questioned.” Where did I ever even vaguely suggest that? Changing the subject, straw man, avoiding the issue, which again is that religious voters and officials don’t impose their views any more than any other voters or officials impose THEIR views. Both not only have a right to do this, but also have no choice but to do it if they have integrity. Lawmakers and voters try to impose their views on society based on their sincere beliefs, wherever they come from, because they believe that measures following these beliefs are in fact better for society and the individuals in them, and where those ideas come from is none of anyone’s business. If YOU believe that, then your statement about religious belief having some special disqualification as the basis of policy is inconsistent. If you don’t believe that, then you are applying an anti-religious double standard.

                    • “However, I am arguing that everyone – including but not limited to Christians – should make a distinction between what they think is morally wrong, and what they think should be illegal.”

                      I think I get what you’re saying. A Christian thinks homosexuality is wrong but they would be against gay folks being prosecuted for being gay.

                    • I explain it in this Usenet post .

                      Religion has influenced the political and social life in this
                      country for centuries. Indeed, most American politicians follow one of
                      many faiths that derive their moral traditions from the Sheva Mitzvot
                      B’Nei Noach
                      (Laws of the Sons of Noah). Certainly, they must follow
                      these morals with respect to their PERSONAL lives. And yet, what about
                      public policies they endorse? Based on their faith, how must they
                      decide on many issues facing society? For example, the Sheva Mitzvot
                      B’Nei Noach
                      prohibits idolatry and blasphemy. And yet, the First
                      Amendment PROTECTS idolatry and blasphemy. There seems to be a
                      conflict between the First Commandment and the First Amendment.

                      But such a conflict is not necessary. The Supreme Court stated that
                      “[t]here is a basic difference between direct state interference with
                      a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative
                      activity consonant with legislative policy.” Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S.
                      464 at 475 (1977) Thus, while, notwithstanding the First Amendment’s
                      free exercise clause, there is no duty to enact legislation criminally
                      punishing idolatry, blasphemy, or sodomy, policies funding shrines to
                      Zeus, Quetzacoatl, or Saint Mary would violate the Sheva Mitzvot B’Nei
                      Noach, as well as the First Amendment’s free exercise clause.

                    • Jack,

                      You’re begging the question. Barry said that it’s wrong to conflate morality with law. In response, you conflated morality with law, and called it morality.

                      If someone has a moral belief that their morality must be law, then their moral belief is bad, just as Barry said.

                      “Imposing one’s religious belief” is no different than imposing one’s political belief, ideological belief or experiential belief.

                      Assuming they are all without evidence, then I think that’s what Barry is saying. None of those should be imposed just because someone thinks so. Barry never split religion away from the other pure beliefs, he split beliefs away from rationality

                      Barry was saying that just because someone believes something is good does not mean they should force everyone to do that. I think it was implied that the other half was that if it’s necessary or important for society, go to town, but you better have actual reasons for it, not just pure beliefs.

                      If someone votes for an anti-abortion candidate because her parents, God-less though they were, taught her that life begins at conception, is she “imposing” less than a Catholic voter? Or are only conservative voters guilty of “imposing”?

                      Barry was quite clear on it. Both those cases are imposing belief. Someone who votes against abortion for actual, rational reasons would be fine. Conservative/liberal has nothing to do with it…unless you’re suggesting conservatives vote beliefs while liberals vote evidence.

                      Lawmakers and voters try to impose their views on society based on their sincere beliefs, wherever they come from, because they believe that measures following these beliefs are in fact better for society and the individuals in them, and where those ideas come from is none of anyone’s business.

                      This shows the issue again. If the beliefs are without evidence, then it’s wrong to impose them, no matter where they came from. If the beliefs are backed by evidence, then it’s right to impose them. If someone is backing a position because of their religious belief, then it’s not backed by evidence, and it’s morally wrong.

                    • ” If the beliefs are without evidence, then it’s wrong to impose them, no matter where they came from. If the beliefs are backed by evidence, then it’s right to impose them.”

                      Really tgt? Any belief on any and everybody? So if I want to teach my child Christianity and the state wants to teach him there is no God,the state can trump me?

                    • Michael E,

                      Furthermore, how do we define religion? Not all religions have gods.

                      That has no bearing on the argument. As Barry has been saying, religion is not special here.

                      Indeed, most American politicians follow one of
                      many faiths that derive their moral traditions from the Sheva Mitzvot
                      B’Nei Noach (Laws of the Sons of Noah). Certainly, they must follow
                      these morals with respect to their PERSONAL lives. And yet, what about
                      public policies they endorse?

                      “Derived from” is the interesting term. The morality of universal unitarianism is much closer to enlightenment values than anything old testament. It doesn’t matter what the original source of a belief was, only if it’s valid.

                      For example, the Sheva Mitzvot
                      B’Nei Noach prohibits idolatry and blasphemy. And yet, the First
                      Amendment PROTECTS idolatry and blasphemy. There seems to be a
                      conflict between the First Commandment and the First Amendment.

                      Here you switch from “holding beliefs derived from X” to “believes X”. That’s improper. (If you aren’t doing that, then there’s no even inkling that there could be a contradiction)

                      Thus, while, notwithstanding the First Amendment’s
                      free exercise clause, there is no duty to enact legislation criminally
                      punishing idolatry, blasphemy, or sodomy, policies funding shrines to
                      Zeus, Quetzacoatl, or Saint Mary would violate the Sheva Mitzvot B’Nei
                      Noach, as well as the First Amendment’s free exercise clause.

                      This is incoherent. Everyone makes grammatical mistakes, but not everyone reposts them elsewhere as good examples. Your statement is [In spite of the first amendment], there’s no duty to enact legislation [directly against the first amendment] would violate [religious law], as well as the First Amendment.

                      I can’t even figure out anything you could have been trying to say with those various sentence fragments that would follow from the previous quote. Can you help me out?

                    • karla,

                      ” If the beliefs are without evidence, then it’s wrong to impose them, no matter where they came from. If the beliefs are backed by evidence, then it’s right to impose them.”

                      Really tgt? Any belief on any and everybody? So if I want to teach my child Christianity and the state wants to teach him there is no God,the state can trump me?

                      What do you mean trump you? You have the right to teach anything you want to your kids, no matter if I, the government, or a prairie dog thinks it’s morally wrong to do so. The state, meanwhile, should teach reality, whatever reality may be. Because governments have been known to be pretty horrible when it comes to religious beliefs and dissent, our founders decided our government couldn’t be trusted with power over those things. I think they made the right call.

                      It’s definitely right back true things, but limits on institutions that show they won’t back certain true things seem fine to me.

                    • “What do you mean trump you?”

                      You said,” If the beliefs are backed by evidence, then it’s right to impose them.”
                      So I got the impression that gave anyone the right to over ride my wishes as to what I teach my child. “Impose”?

                    • Karla,

                      I think I understand.

                      Impose is following the wording previously used. It’s the idea of making actions legal/illegal. I should have made clear that Speech (which teaching is) falls outside this scope.

                    • “I think I understand.

                      Impose is following the wording previously used. It’s the idea of making actions legal/illegal. I should have made clear that Speech (which teaching is) falls outside this scope.”

                      Yes,you’ve stated it better than I did. That’s the point I was trying to make. Impose is like using force as through legal action.

  3. I am still trying to make better sense of the differences in viewpoints between the supporters of marriage re-definition, versus the supporters of marriage definition remaining strictly as the union of one man and one woman. What I have read in this blog and particularly in this thread has been thought-provoking, but so far the reading and re-reading, and subsequent pondering, has not yet helped me to think more clearly or to my satisfaction about the marriage issue.

    I tend to think that the union of one man and one woman in a relationship of marriage deserves exaltation by the larger society greater than the exaltation that society practices toward all alternative relationships, however they may approximate a marriage that consists of one man united with one woman. I continue introspectively pondering why I tend to think like that, with the aim (at a minimum) of understanding myself better, if that is possible.

    I want to move forward by more completely settling my thinking about the marriage definition issue. So here, I have forced myself to attempt to “practice empathy.” That is, I have tried to imagine myself as one of the sexual beings who I am not, and furthermore, as one of such beings who support the re-definition of marriage to include those who I am unlike. In truth, I am a heterosexual man who is married to one woman, the same woman in the only marriage either of us has entered, for 30-something years – married longer than I was single. I have attempted to “enact” my thinking as if I was someone other than who I am, by writing what I believe I might write to articulate my views as one who has sexual attractions that are completely alien to what are my true attractions.

    So, with hope and trust in the followers of, and in the fellowship enabled by, this blog, I want to share my “writings from attempted empathy.” I humbly ask (and welcome with gratitude in advance) all thoughtful, ethical (or, ethics-minded and non-snarky) responses by anyone who has the heart and time to help me in my personal struggle to make better sense of the differences in viewpoints.

    My writings from attempted empathy follow in quotes. I speak in those quotes as if I am trying to speak on behalf of as many persons as possible who are “like me.” I recognize that in this exercise, I may be completely off the mark in articulating how persons of same-sex attraction think about their status in society. I also suspect that in places, I may be painfully on the mark:

    [Begin attempt at empathy]
    “We are different, and we are hated by some persons because we are different.”

    “We deserve to be treated as equals with those persons who we are different than.”

    “We have rights to love whom we choose to love, and we deserve equal rights to express our love as freely as those who we are different than, who have rights to love whom they choose and to express their love to.”

    “We have a right to not be hated, and those who hate us have a duty not to hate us. We hate the hate of those who hate us, but we do not hate those who hate us. Our hate is correct and rational; the hate of those who hate us is either incorrect and irrational, or, it is incorrect because it is criminal and subjects us, who are different than those who hate us, to the status of unequally protected persons, regardless of whether the hate is rational (‘rationalized’) or irrational.”

    “We are different. But, the fact that we are different is irrelevant to the fact that we have a right to be treated as equals with those who we are different than. Simultaneously, the fact that we are different is of paramount relevance to the fact that those, who we are different than, have a duty to treat us as equals to themselves despite our differences.”

    “Therefore, if two of us who are ‘of the different’ desire to be in a relationship of commitment, trust, and intimate sharing of ourselves with each other in most (or, even all) of the manifestations of life, liberty, property and love which are the same manifestations experienced, exercised and practiced by pairs of persons of opposite sex whose similar relationships are recognized as marriage, then we have a right to be deemed married also, and our relationship deserves the same exalted state and status of marriage as those opposite-sex pairs of persons already enjoy and have long enjoyed, with all the attendant benefits. And, those persons currently exalted in such marriage status have a duty to recognize pairs of us ‘of the different’ as also exalted in married status equal to their married status. To do otherwise is to continue to subject us ‘of the different’ to unequal treatment and unequal protection under the law.”
    [End attempt at empathy]

    Back to me as I truly am: While that exercise in empathy has helped me to feel what I believe is some of the frustration and pain of those who suffer what they perhaps feel as a result of being excluded unjustly (in their view) from a certain status, I remain skeptical that a change toward more inclusiveness would satisfy them to the extent they hope and aspire, or even begin to satisfy them so.

    So my position remains: Something very important in the state’s recognition of human relationships may be terribly broke and in long overdue and urgent need of fixing, but I am not persuaded that the fixing that is currently being proposed is the fixing that is worth doing.

    I just do not see how institutionalizing “relationship-exaltation equality” is somehow a superior state of liberty and justice for all – a state which somehow reconciles inherent dissimilarities in individuals’, and/or pairs’, erotic tendencies which are in turn inherent to relationships which are being considered for being deemed “equal.” Call me heterosexist, but I do not favor indiscriminate relationship-exaltation, let alone relationship-exaltation “equality,” based on persons’ other-than-heterosexual and other-than-one-adult-paired-with-another attractions.

    • Getting down to brass tacks….

      If marriage is defined as between one man and one woman, I can never marry.
      My son could never have married biological parents.

      I ask those against changing the definition, just as it’s been changed more radically many times in the past, to write an explanation I can give to him. How exactly> “this is for our own good”. He doesn’t think it is – but then, he’s only 11 so probably doesn’t understand these subtle philosophical points. He just wants his parents to be married.

      • Zoe, I ache for the challenges that you and your mate and son face, but your exceptional circumstances are not sufficient for me to agree that a complete change to the rule is justified. Instead, an exception to the rule is tolerable to me and seems reasonable to me in your case.

        Of course it’s fair to ask: But how exceptional must circumstances of each exception be, and how many exceptions must there be, before I would conclude that the rule is self-evidently invalid, “arbitrary,” unequally protective, etc? I don’t know. I just know that the rule is, and has been, reasonable and constructive – including, reasonable and constructive on balance, despite how it has historically caused adverse impacts to persons in exceptional circumstances and despite how it might be projected with certainty to continue to cause such adverse impacts.

        Zoe, you and I seem to have come to different conclusions about the equal protectiveness of the restrictive, “discriminatory” criterion of one man united with one woman. You and I also may have some very different conclusions about the lessons of history in general. Where the definition has been changed more radically and many times in the past, as you say, I suspect that most (if not all) such changes were enabled and made amidst (and were sustained as a result of) norms and mores, policies and practices, which are almost universally abhorrent today and with good reason. I believe that in the marriage definition debate, we may be struggling with the limits of minority accommodationism, and with the risks of exceeding those limits with the result of enabling and sustaining oppressive minoritarianism (which comes full circle to segregation).

        • Of course it’s fair to ask: But how exceptional must circumstances of each exception be, and how many exceptions must there be, before I would conclude that the rule is self-evidently invalid, “arbitrary,” unequally protective, etc? I don’t know. I just know that the rule is, and has been, reasonable and constructive – including, reasonable and constructive on balance, despite how it has historically caused adverse impacts to persons in exceptional circumstances and despite how it might be projected with certainty to continue to cause such adverse impacts.

          You just said that on balance, that gays can’t marry has been reasonable and constructive over allowing them to marry. How did you come to this conclusion? All you list are drawbacks to the difference. No bonuses. I can’t see any reason the scale has tipped against gay marriage.

          I believe that in the marriage definition debate, we may be struggling with the limits of minority accommodationism, and with the risks of exceeding those limits with the result of enabling and sustaining oppressive minoritarianism (which comes full circle to segregation).

          This is just stupid. The minority is asking for the same right as the majority. What limits could their be on this? What possible harms could their be from the equality? Why in the world do you call equality “oppressive minoritarianism”. If we deny majority oppression, we don’t create minority oppression.

  4. @Ampersand,

    You say Christians should not vote their worldview, if that view is formed by faith. You only say this because the Christian worldview opposes a position you support. Would you object to a Christian that divorced faith from politics toward a cause you opposed? If a Christian said, ” I personally oppose Nazism based on my faith, but others disagree. Therefore, I will vote only on whether the Nazis were elected constitutionally”; You would say they were betraying their faith. Many Southerners opposed segregation based on faith, but acquiesced because it was legal. Legality and not moral principles determined actions.

    • I didn’t say that, Coretta.

      What I am saying applies to not just Christians, but all voters, including atheists. Which is this: There is a distinction between “things I think are wrong” and “things I think should be illegal.”

  5. Also, Roman-Catholics and other Christian are not Jews. We have entirely different world views. The Christian approach to faith is based on the mandate to spread the gospel. Voting our faith is a religious imperative. We are Christians first and Americans second. Christians also do not believe that all world views are equal.

    • Coretta, please stop talking as if you are the representative of all Christians, everywhere. You are not; there are many Christians who disagree with you.

      “Voting your faith” isn’t as simple as you make it out to be. For instance, many Christians believe (as you do) that there is a mandate to spread the gospel. But very few American Christians would vote for a law forcing all Americans to attend weekly gospel classes. Many Christians believe that divorce is wrong, but few would vote for a law banning civil divorces. Most Christians believe that premarital sex is wrong, but many Christians would not vote for a law banning premarital sex. Many Christians believe that the marriages that aren’t solemnized by any Church (for instance, a courthouse marriage performed by a judge with an atheist ceremony) are not marriages in God’s eyes, but many Christians would not vote for a law banning recognition of such marriages. Many Christians believe that Buddhism is both wrong and harmful (because it is an alternative to Christianity, and its followers will be damned if they don’t find Christianity before they die), and yet many Christians would not vote for a law banning Buddhism.

      This is because for Christians – like Jews, atheists, and everyone else – there is in practice a distinction made between “things I think are wrong” and “things I think should be illegal.”

      • “Many Christians believe that Buddhism is both wrong and harmful (because it is an alternative to Christianity…”

        I don’t think Coretta is suggesting we become a theocracy,only that Christian voters will vote according to their worldview just as others do. She could vote against gay marriage while others will vote for it. There is nothing in our form of government that forces you to conform to Christianity but if something is up for a vote,Christians will vote,well,like Christians.

        • If Christians are the majority, how is Christians voting Christian beliefs not theocracy? If the laws mirror Christian values, than the laws do force people to conform to Christianity. It’s democratic theocracy, but that’s still a theocracy.

          • I know you weren’t asking me, and we more or less agree on all this stuff anyhow, but I’m going to answer anyway:

            One reason it’s not a theocracy because Christians don’t have a single, unified belief system.

            I saw in a survey yesterday that about a quarter of Christians aren’t religiously opposed to SSM. Of the ones who ARE religiously opposed to SSM, about half said that they are opposed to it religiously but still believe it should be legal. The other half are opposed to it both religiously and opposed to it legally.

            There are too many different Christians and Christian groups, and their beliefs are too varied, for a majority of Christians to make this country a theocracy. (There’s also the matter of the first amendment.)

            • It’s still theocracy, just a limited theocracy. First, the first amendment can be modified. As recently found in a Huffpo/YouGov poll, about a third of people want the U.S. to recognize Christianity as the official religion. That brings me to the second point, despite there rarely being 2 people with identical religious views, the generalized labels are backed. Desires for the U.S. law to be more Christian and for bible readings in schools are supported across the different Christian sects.

              Once the idea of religious rules are allowed generally, specific religious rules are likely to crop up in smaller locations. Also, with our representative democracy, and the two party system, you really just need a plurality of people willing to back a candidate in the primaries. Once they’re to the general, the specific Christianity is less important than the party affiliation.

          • “If Christians are the majority, how is Christians voting Christian beliefs not theocracy? If the laws mirror Christian values, than the laws do force people to conform to Christianity. It’s democratic theocracy, but that’s still a theocracy.”

            So what do you suggest,tgt? Revoke their right to vote? Tell them how to vote?
            Theocracy: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided . Webster’s. Your definition doesn’t match.

            • So what do you suggest,tgt? Revoke their right to vote? Tell them how to vote?

              How about try to foster a culture where people vote based on reality, and call out people who don’t (whether religious or nonreligious)? Social pressure to be a good citizen is a good thing.

              Theocracy: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided . Webster’s. Your definition doesn’t match.

              This was my bad. The term theocracy has more meanings in the circles I run in. The secular movement has pointed out that if the laws are based on religion, even if there is no technical theocracy (really, ecclesiocracy), we end up with the same result in practice. It’s been shortened to just calling those situations theocracy, as there’s no practical difference for the citizenry if a church is officially in charge or not.

              When I’m there, the term is clear. Here, it wasn’t. I apologize, but would you mind looking back over my comments with that idea in mind?

              • “How about try to foster a culture where people vote based on reality, and call out people who don’t (whether religious or nonreligious)? Social pressure to be a good citizen is a good thing.”

                Yes,you could do that.

  6. Dennis Prager

    if opposition to same-sex marriage is as immoral as racism, why did no great moral thinker, in all of history, ever advocate male-male or female-female marriage? Opposition to racism was advocated by every great moral thinker. Moses, for example, married a black woman, the very definition of Catholic is “universal” and therefore diverse and has always included every race, and the equality of human beings of every race was a central tenet of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other world religions. But no one – not Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Aquinas, Gandhi, not the Bible or the Koran or any other sacred text, nor even a single anti-religious secular thinker of the Enlightenment — ever advocated redefining marriage to include members of the same sex.

    To argue that opposition to same-sex marriage is immoral is to argue that every moral thinker, and every religion and social movement in the history of mankind prior to the last 20 years in America and Europe was immoral. About no other issue could this be said. Every moral advance has been rooted in prior moral thinking. The anti-slavery movement was based on the Bible. Martin Luther King, Jr. was first and foremost the “Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.” and he regularly appealed to the moral authority of the scriptures when making his appeals on behalf of racial equality. Same-sex marriage is the only social movement to break entirely with the past, to create a moral ideal never before conceived. It might be right, but it might also be an example of the moral hubris of the present generation, the generation that created the self-esteem movement: After all, you need a lot of self-esteem to hold yourself morally superior to all those who preceded you.

    • Selected issues (I don’t think Prager goes 10 words without a logical error or misrepresentation, so I’m just calling out a few obvious ones:

      the very definition of Catholic is “universal” and therefore diverse and has always included every race

      The very definition of Family is inclusive, therefore the FRC has always been inclusive of other groups. What stupidity

      and the equality of human beings of every race was a central tenet of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other world religions.

      I distinctly remember God commanded the Jews to wipe out an entire race. He also commanded them to take slaves from other races. No Jewish slaves, just other peoples.

      The anti-slavery movement was based on the Bible.

      Absolute and utter bullshit. The anti-slavery movement was grounded in enlightenment thought. There were some early religious adopters, but the lion’s share were pro-slavery. Their was reinterpretation of the bible that came slowly over the course of the movement and the next century.

      Same-sex marriage is the only social movement to break entirely with the past, to create a moral ideal never before conceived.

      There are so many things wrong with this statement.I think the first would be that EVERY movement FIRST started with someone who was contrary to all previous thinkers.

      The meat of the argument is an appeal to a counterfactual tradition. Was this posted as an example of the stupidity of some of the leaders of the anti-same sex marriage crowd?

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