Over at Mediaite.com there’s a post [link] that attempts to cast gay marriage opponents in a ridiculous light by equating them with people who opposed interracial marriage in the past. The idea is that since people said things objecting to interracial marriage that are obviously wrong, and people make the same sounding arguments against gay marriage, they too must be wrong.
The problem with their argument is, as usual, logic:
- Frank makes argument X about subject A
- It turns out argument X doesn’t hold up when applied A
- Later Bob makes argument X about Subject B
- Whether or not the argument, X, holds up in this case doesn’t depend on X…it depends on whether A and B are the same.
The post over at Mediaite fixates on how the arguments are similar but ignores the obvious: Sex and Race are two different things. Sex implies desire, behavior, and natural function. Race is all physical appearance.
Therefore, just because the arguments sound the same, or even are the same is irrelevant. The question is do they apply in this particular case? The writer never comes close to rationality, but ends with an appeal to fear:
Don’t deny it. For every single one of these quotes you could easily switch out intermarriage for same-sex marriage, and vice versa. Just as how most people no longer regard interracial marriage as unseemly and revolting, most will eventually cease viewing homosexual relationships in such a negative light. The times are a-changin’, and the likes of the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, American Family Association, and Fox’s Todd Starnes’ views on homosexual relationships will meet up with anti-miscegenation beliefs on the dust-bin of history.
Essentially the writer’s argument boils down to: “Agree with me or you’ll look stupid when history is written!” Or to be more precise: “When the progressives write history they’ll make you look stupid!”
And unfortunately, this is what passes for “enlightenment” for leftists.
If marriage is a particular thing, then everyone has a right to take part in that institution as it stands, regardless of their personal characteristics. But to be part of the institution, they must be part of the institution. They don’t have a right to change that institution into something different simply because they don’t want to be part of it the way it is.
The post links to an entry over at the First Things blog (link) where Glen Stanton points out some of the tough questions that are finally being asked in the public debate. And not just by conservative judges:
Justice Kennedy and others illustrated the historical imbalance between natural marriage and this new proposal. Kennedy expressed that he thinks “there’s substance to the point that sociological information [on same-sex parenting] is new. We have five years of information to weight against two thousand years of history or more.”
An exchange between Justice Roberts and Solicitor General Verrilli is particularly refreshing — Especially in a time where logic and rationality are all but absent from public discourse:
We see the argument made that there is no problem with extending marriage to same-sex couples because children raised by same-sex couples are doing just fine and there is no evidence that they are being harmed. And the other argument is Proposition 8 harms children by not allowing same-sex couples to [marry]. Which is it?
Verrilli could only go to the stock “poor them” response which only made Robert’s question more relevant:
Their parents cannot marry and that has effects on them in the here and now. A stabilizing effect is not there. When they go to school, they have to, you know—they don’t have parents like everybody else’s parents.
Opponents of Prop 8 argue that same-sex marriage doesn’t harm children because we see children raised in those homes now and they’re fine. But we need to allow same-sex partners to marry because their children are not doing fine.
The First Things article is an excellent read, and I’ll stop here before I simply quote the whole thing. I’ll just leave you with this final quote:
As Alito colorfully remarked, same-sex marriage is “newer than cell phones and the Internet.” Why has this “fundamental human right” not been a long-debated (much less recognized) issue like slavery and the standing of women in society have been for thousands of years to varying degrees? It is a very good and central question.
I love good questions.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when it seems the longest “argument” most people will endure is an infographic. This one has been floating around this week amidst the latest crisis-de-jour in the media.
I thought as an experiment, I would like to try to unpack the arguments behind the sarcasm. Even though that’s always a risky proposition and most are straw-men.
1) If someone says an act isn’t natural, it’s a reference to natural moral law, not natural or synthetic materials. It could be that certain sexual behaviors occur naturally, but this doesn’t get us very far in the discussion since murder is perfectly natural, and just because it occurs naturally doesn’t equate with a moral good.
2) I don’t know anyone who has made this argument. But for the fun of it, let’s take it seriously. Is sexuality and it’s components (desire, attraction, emotional attachment etc.) immune from external influence in the same way that your height is? Height is a physical property. Sexuality is desire and behavior.
Not that it matters, as the issue here is the nature of marriage, not the malleability of sexuality. The main question is, is marriage a specific thing, or not?
3) I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings (i.e. facts) but there are other groups riding on the heels of the same sex marriage wagon. And there are those within the movement with an agenda of expanding the boundaries of marriage way beyond same-sex relationships.
4) “Straight marriage” (a redundant term) has indeed been around a long while. In fact, we’re the first generation in recorded human history to try to equate heterosexual unions with other unions. It’s almost as if everyone else knows something we don’t. Even in cases of polygamy, it’s one man married to one woman, multiple times, at the same time. Not everyone all married to each other. The ancient greeks, who celebrated pederasty never even equated homosexual relationships with marriage.
Those other things listed are in a different category altogether.
5) If you have to point out bad relationships as a defense for a new type of relationship, then maybe there’s a problem with what you’re proposing.
6) Marriage is based on two things. First, gender differences and second, the basic unit at which society is perpetuated. Meeting either of these is grounds for marriage. The second is the only reason, in my opinion, the State should be involved at all.
And yes, there are gender differences. The fact that that even has to be pointed out is a testament to the mental dark ages we’ve entered.
7) They may or may not. Though statistically it is more probable. Again, sexuality is influenced by various things, including parents…but not solely.
8) This is just a way of saying “religion is false, it has no bearing on reality, so shut up.” It’s okay to belittle certain worldviews, unless its the worldview that embraces homosexuality. Well done, Infographic.
9) I’m not going to even bother linking to all the studies that would say being raised by a biological father and mother give a child the best shot at life. They’re easy to find. This is an attack on common sense itself. Yes, many great people were raised in other situations, and others came out much worse than they might have otherwise. Many in single parent situations feel the vacancy of the missing parent. Marriage laws reflect what will most likely give the child the best chance and foster those types of relationships. To intentionally try to institutionalize other relationships as if they are just as good is insane.
10) This is just poorly written…even for sarcasm. Heterosexual unions are the basic unit of a self-perpetuating civilization. Including other types of relationships in that mix does alter the foundation. It is unavoidable. The basic unit of society is more than a social norm.
Now that I’ve taken the time to type all this out, I’m certain most people who are impressed with the wit of the infographic will not have the patience to work through the ideas I’ve presented. And we descend further into the mental dark ages.
If we look at both human nature and human history, can we reasonably conclude what the ideal situation for marriage is? Wouldn’t that ideal reflect the natural order of creation (i.e. the sexes?)
On January 6th there was an opinion piece at FoxNews.com written by Shari Johnson entitled “My Lesbian Daughter, The Bible, and Sex.” It’s a very moving admission by an evangelical who learns her daughter is a lesbian and the ensuing journey to acceptance with that fact.
First, as an Evangelical and parent myself, I can understand how hard it would be to be confronted with someone you love who admits they are what you’ve always thought was wrong. However, my concern with the article is that it’s an example of how we as Evangelicals (and a culture as a whole) have two modes: Intolerance or approval.
Tolerance these days does not mean tolerance in the classical sense. To be tolerant in that sense you must first disagree, then still respect the person while not accepting their views. When we use the word these days what we really mean is that we’ve moved from disagreement to approval.
This article is about that journey. And while I completely sympathize with the situation (my family has always been evangelical and my uncle came out as gay, so I do know something of how this can play out) the article troubles me for a few reasons.
In my beating on Heaven’s door, telling God He had to change her, He instead changed me. It seems that He was far more disturbed about my lack of love than He was about her homosexuality.
Where did this information about God come from? Now, it may be the case that God views a lack of love more severely, but that’s not the point. What’s the basis? Feeling? Scripture? Logic? Divine revelation? None is given, though I imagine it’s the first. I may be wrong.
When I hear terms like “God’s design” and “Biblical marriage” I have to wonder who decides these things.
Well, for one Jesus does:
2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,[a]8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:2-8 ESV)
Yes, this passage is about divorce. But Jesus answers the question on divorce by explaining marriage itself. God made them male and female, therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife. It’s rooted in the created order of male and female. Paul echoes this in Romans 1. The Jewish law forbid homosexual relationships. A law Jesus said he did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
You have to go through quite a few mental gymnastics to get out of it. Now, you might disagree with what the Scripture says. Fine. But it’s consistently clear on this point.
Our cultural adaptation of marriage has certainly evolved through the ages—had God not intervened, Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death for being pregnant with a child that was not his. (An engagement at that time was considered the same as a marriage.)
In order for there to be a “cultural adaptation of marriage” there has to first be a basic idea of what marriage is before it can be adapted. Same-sex marriage isn’t about adapting, it’s about redefining. But marriage can only be defined by the Definer. Cultures may distort the ideal (as they often do), but marriages pre-existed governments and cultures. Heterosexual marriages are how society will naturally organize itself. This is a historical and sociological fact.
Marriages have looked different in different cultures. So what follows from that? The cultural adaptation of marriage may have changed, but it’s still rooted in a natural order. The argument here is that marriage has always changed and now it’s changing again. But this time it’s outside the natural order or design. Even in polygamy one sex is married to other sexes and people are not married all to each other. In that instance, one person is married multiple times. A little different than what’s being advanced now. (It too falls outside God’s parameters for marriage, but that’s another topic.)
That is just one example—so many books could be written on the history of marriage. Yet we keep a death grip on the scriptures that suit us—and the translation of those scriptures becomes more a matter of tradition, opinion and convenience than the Word of God.
Which scriptures are we holding to that suit us? What scriptures are we rejecting that do not suit us? This is a statement that must be backed up to be taken seriously. Translation of scripture (and I think she means interpretation, not translation) becomes a matter of “tradition, opinion, and convenience?” It’s true that many interpret scripture this way. It’s unfortunate. However, the irony here is that this is exacty what Johnson is doing. In essence: “My daughter is gay, therefore my interpretation of the bible must change.” Convenient.
If one can find anything amusing in all this, it is that those who are upset about sex outside of marriage are the same ones who are opposed to marriage equality.
I think this is supposed to mean: “Look, if you want people to stop having sex outside of marriage, quit denying marriage to people.” But again, sex outside of marriage is wrong for the same reason homosexual relations are: they both fall outside of the parameters God established for sex.
As for the term “marriage equality” I think it actually comes closer to stating what the marriage issue is about. It’s not about individual rights. It’s about saying this relationship between these two types of people are the same as the relationship between those two types. It’s about saying these relationships are identical. And they aren’t. One results, by nature, in the next generation of society and one doesn’t. And the only reason government should be involved in these type of relationships at all is to preserve the next generation of society. For two relationships that are supposed to be “equal” the outcomes for each are not.
The principles for heterosexual marriage are the same for same-sex marriage—love, commitment, faithfulness, loyalty, honor and respect. How can we deny that to anyone?
The claim here, and I think it’s an unintentional one, is that if same-sex marriage isn’t passed then we will be denying those couples the above things: love, commitment, faithfulness, etc. But this makes no sense. You don’t need government endorsement to set up housekeeping and do those things. Again, the government doesn’t care who we love, they (should) care about ensuring the continuation of society. And as stated above, one type of relationship does this, the other does not.
When I asked a wise friend how she reconciled the scriptures with her daughter’s homosexuality, she said, “I can’t. So I just let God sort it out.” I took her advice and I learned things about God I would never have known if I were still telling Him what His scriptures mean.
Maybe the issue here is that we don’t know how to love those who disagree with us. And if that person is close enough to us, something’s got to give. In this case, we claim we don’t really know what the Bible says about the issue, so we don’t have to deal with it.
This story will resonate with many readers. Honestly, it resonates with me. It’s powerful. It’s emotionally moving. But emotions have to be kept in check with reason. And while this opinion piece tries to make the case that “hey maybe we’re wrong about God and homosexuality” it does not give one solid reason why the “traditional” interpretation is wrong. Instead this trades on the most effective rhetorical device of the 21st century – a moving story – and in going straight for the heart bypasses the head altogether.
Regardless of your political/religious leanings, this is vile:
Or it should be, but leftists seem to see this type of personal attack as justified. Ignore the intolerance and hatred, shutting up the other side is all that matters, I suppose.
Although this story is primarily political in nature (and my point here isn’t to endorse Santorum or anyone else) the reason Santorum is being attacked is because of his view on same-sex marriage. If this is the pattern for how dissenting views on the subject are treated (ignoring the fact that same sex marriage is the dissenting view) welcome to public discourse in the 21st century.
The spirit of Nero and Diocletian are alive and well. Only instead of lions and fire we have the internet.
Also, I may do all my searching through Bing now.
Downtown there have been several blue-shirted ACLU people, usually college age, taking donations to help protect “gay rights.”
This afternoon I was heading to my office to grab something when I ran across one of them who told me that some politicians were “trying to use law to discriminate and deprive people of their rights. Like women’s reproductive rights, gay rights…” and some others that I can’t remember.
She said that, “These lawmakers are using law to enforce their morality and that’s wrong.”
“So you would say that laws shouldn’t enforce a particular moral view?” I asked.
“Right. It shouldn’t be a factor.” She said.
“But aren’t you trying to force your moral viewpoint?”
Apparently no one had ever asked her this before. She had brought up abortion, so I asked her about her views on that.
“I personally feel it’s not a positive thing. But I shouldn’t force my view on others.” She explained.
“But,” I answered, “if pro-life people are right, and the unborn is a valuable human being, then shouldn’t you enforce your view?”
At this point she was visibly uncomfortable, even though my tone was friendly and non-combative. She changed the subject by explaining that she was out there for “gay rights” not abortion. She then explained that they were attempting to create legislation that would prohibit employers for firing people due to sexual orientation. (I didn’t say this, but in this state employers can fire anyone at any time. So the ACLU would be, if I’m understanding the law correctly, trying to created a special class of protected citizens while the rest of us can be let go for any reason.)
I asked if she thought organizations had the right to hire and retain people that shared their values. She said they did. So I asked if she thought religious organizations should be forced to hire or retain people that did not hold their views. She hesitated, growing more uncomfortable and then said that the hoped someone wouldn’t work at an organziation that didn’t hold their values. That didn’t answer my question of course, and those types of situations are in the news often, but I let it go.
After a few more minutes she began to hestiate and become more nervous, often apologizing for her nervousness and then said that she knew what she believed but wasn’t good at debating. My goal wasn’t to change her mind, but to put a stone in her shoe. So, I brought the conversation to a close by saying that I hoped she would take a little time to think things through a little deeper, since these issues have wider ramifications than we often hear discussed in the public square.
I told her to have a nice day and headed on.
I have nothing against this girl. She seemed very sweet, and I’m sorry she was uncomfortable. But it was obvious that she’s been socialized into her beliefs, which led to her promoting specific policies.
But when asked for her reasons, her silence was telling.
One of the most mindlessly used terms these days is “equality.”
Every word has a range of meaning, but we never hear this term defined. It’s usually thrown around as a way to shut up opposition. “There should be equality, so X should be supported.” “Those who don’t agree with X are perpetuating inequality.”
Mostly we hear this in the same-sex marriage debate and, more recently, in regards to the economy.
I was watching a debate between Dennis Prager and Perez Hilton when Prager said that men and women were equal but not the same. Hilton reacted as if Prager had uttered nonsense which tells me that “sameness” and “equality” are synonyms in Hiton’s mind. But the question is sameness in what regard? Equal in what?
There may be equality among individuals, but that does not mean that all relationships between those individuals are equal. And the marriage debate is about relationships, not primarily individuals, even though individuals are involved.
So when a man and a woman are in a lifelong committed relationship, they are not in an identical relationship as two men or two women in a same-sex committed relationship. How do I know? I know because:
- 1)The natural outcomes are not the same* (heterosexual relationships naturally produce the next generation of society, as a rule)
- 2) There are innate differences between men and women.
Though many would contest #2, the fact is a man can never truly know what it’s like to be a woman and vice versa. That innate distance creates a dynamic between heterosexual couples that does not exist between same sex couples.
Individuals may be equal in terms of basic human rights, but that does not mean individuals have a right to everything. I do not have the right to engage in certain things just because others do. And incidentally, every American citizen currently has the same rights. Everyone (straight and gay) can engage in, through marriage, the type of relationship that results in the next generation of society and is with someone of the opposite sex. No one (straight nor gay) can engage, through marriage, the type of relationship through marriage that does not result in that end, and is with someone of the identical sex.
Everyone currently has the same rights. No one has ever been able to legally engage in the relationship they are trying to legitimize through legislation. Those who champion gay marriage as a right that has been denied are simply wrong.
*Obviously not all heterosexual relationships are able to result in children. But those are exceptions. I am talking here about categories as a whole. Childless heterosexual couples are still not the same as same-sex couples because #2 still holds.
There are a lot of topics that Jesus never addressed. If Jesus never mentioned a certain thing, does that mean it’s a moral gray area?
The Silent Jesus Argument has often been used to support same-sex marriage and abortion, but insert whatever issue you like. It’s a very strange argument to make. It’s usually made at Christians and it implies a respect for the authority of Jesus. Or maybe it’s a way of playing on the Christian’s respect for His authority. In which case what’s really being said is, “You say you’re a Christian but Jesus never said anything about this. So you’re making it up.”
In addition to being a logical fallacy (The Argument from Silence) it ignores the context of Jesus’ life and worldview. It’s like describing your environment with earplugs in and your hands over your eyes. Let’s take Jesus’ view on same-sex marriage, since that’s a hot topic these days.
FACT: Jesus never said anything about same-sex marriage.
True. But did he say anything on marriage at all? Yes, he did:
2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,[a]8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:2-8 ESV)
The Pharisees ask a question about divorce. And Jesus answers them by going way back to the beginning when God instituted the marriage relationship. So, he answers the divorce question by explaining marriage. He says “God made them male and female… therefore [since they are male and female] a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.”
Jesus, as a Jew, would have held to the law, which forbid homosexual relations. But on this question about marriage, he uncovers the roots of marriage. And they are deeper than Judaism and the law of Moses. They are rooted in the natural, biological order at creation.
So, while it’s true Jesus never mentions gay marriage, he does mention marriage and anchors it in the created natural order of biology.
My main point here is not to argue against same-sex marriage, polygamy, or whatever else we have to fill in the moral blank. The point is that the Silent Jesus Argument is misleading and betrays a very immature way of not only reading the gospel, but of reading in general. Just because something may not be explicit doesn’t mean it can’t be known.
Jesus did not come to make a commentary on what was moral and what was immoral. That was, in part, the purpose of the Mosaic Law. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt 5:17) And he did that by living, flawlessly, according to the letter of the law and then dying in place of those who violated it.
Which is all of us. Myself included.
Don’t fall for the Silent Jesus Argument. And if you disagree with Christians on the issues, fine. Make your case.
But the Silent Jesus won’t defend your view.