uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What 'Anti-Christian' Really Looks Like

Today the following anti-immigration, copied-and-pasted meme, which I've found via Google here, wound up in my Facebook newsfeed:

"While hiking down along the border this morning, I saw a Muslim extremist fall into the Rio Grande River; he was struggling to stay afloat because of all the guns and bombs he was carrying. Along with him was a Mexican who was also struggling to stay afloat because of the large backpack of drugs that was strapped to his back. If they didn't get help, they'd surely drown. Being a responsible Texan and abiding by the law to help those in distress, I informed the El Paso County Sheriff 's Office and Homeland Security. It is now 4pm, both have drowned, and neither authority has responded. I'm starting to think I wasted two stamps!"

Get it? Ha ha ha! He let the two men drown. Like much of the humor on the Right, this is somewhat funny if you simply don't think about it at all. Indeed, much of the ideology on the right requires such a suspension of thought. But I digress.

What I found interesting about this particular meme is just how efficiently it illustrates how genuinely and proudly anti-Christian much of the right wing of this country has become, even while claiming the opposite.

For what we have here is, quite obviously, a gross inversion of the Good Samaritan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christians: The Original ‘Anti-Family’ Lot

Google “anti-family” and you’ll get hits from a series of right-wing organizations that claim that gay-rights groups are tearing down the nuclear, man-woman family model in America. Most of these groups at the same time profess that they are Christian, and some even use the term “Christian” as a sort of catch-all term to summarize their family ideology, as though it is synonymous with this (rather new) family ideal.

Thus an Iowan baker, confronted with two women who informed her they were not sisters but partners, refused to take their order for a wedding cake, summarily informing them, “I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.”

But Christians should have the most appreciation for different viewpoints with respect to adhering to or rejecting the dominant family model: they’ve been arguing about it since quite literally the birth of the religion. From Jesus’ remark that whoever wishes to follow him must hate his own family members to Paul’s wish that all remain celibate like him, to extracanonical writings that venerate virginity and reactionary epistles that reinforce domestic, imperial ideals, Christian history in the first few centuries is replete with disagreements over marriage, the family, sexuality, and gender.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Whose God?

Since the GOP-led U.S. House has deemed it necessary to reaffirm the Cold-War era U.S. motto, "In God We Trust," including in its resolution an encouragement to plaster the phrase anywhere and everywhere, I thought a column from my past as an editorialist might be in order. After all, if the Right is merely going to recycle its own wedge issues every five to ten years, I might as well just recycle my responses to them.

The following column was published on Jan. 23, 2002. As you can see, this issue isn't new. But a few of my views have changed or at least become more nuanced, as you can imagine. However, I leave the column as is here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rush Limbaugh, Asinus Stultus (Dumb-Ass)

Rush Limbaugh went on an uneducated rant about a classical studies student who is occupying Wall Street, betraying in the process his utter ignorance about the degree (as he does when he remarks on about anything) in the process.

In an "aw-shucks, schoolin' is for gettin' jobs!" dilution of the university experience, he essentially boils down a protester's lament about the lack of employment (because, you know, unemployment is extraordinary high, a fact he strangely omits) by trashing the entire discipline. At one point, after reading the degree description from the University of Pennsylvania, he remarks: "Now, I don't know about you, does not make me want to sign up for a major in this."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spooky Stories From Antiquity: A Reading List for Halloween

Odysseus, middle, meets the shade of
Elpenor, left, in the Underworld.
Hermes accompanies at right.
Something on the lighter side: a list of works to read this Halloween from the ancient Greeks and Romans, who pass down to us the precursors of our own fireside narratives. Stretching a millennium -- from the eighth century BCE to the second century of the Common Era -- these all feature the sorts of stories we're accustomed to at Halloween: tales of death, magic, and the supernatural. This is of course not an exhaustive list, but represents some of my favorites.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Spirit vs. the Letter: Biblicalism and Conscience

Imagine a contentious public issue, rending not only America, but American Christendom in two. In this battle are two sides: one which maintains and asserts a literal, straightforward reading of the Bible to maintain its position; the other which argues that its side is supported by the spirit, even if sometimes not the letter, of the Bible.

If what comes to mind is America's continuing culture wars over gender and sexuality, and specifically same-sex relationships and how the law and the church should approach them, my guess is you're not alone. According to public polling, the issue of acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals is trending toward inclusion, and many mainline Protestant denominations are reflecting this movement.

But we needn't go too far back in the country's history for a strikingly parallel issue that likewise divided the nation and its churchgoers: that of slavery. Like today, abolitionists saw a moral imperative to end slavery even if finding an explicit justification for that in the Bible was difficult. Like today, those who sought to protect the status quo pointed to the Bible -- and its literal, obvious meaning -- for justification of their position.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Major Journalism FAIL: Media "Balance" and the Disservice to Scholarship

A major journalism failure out of The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., illustrating just how badly served the public is when most media outlets contend with scholarship.

The story is supposed to be just an announcement of sorts about an upcoming lecture by The Jesus Seminar that will explore the Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic text found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt (or if you are the reporter, Nag Hamaradi). But something seems awry immediately in the second paragraph when she calls the seminar "a contentious group." Contentious? Within itself? Not any more so than any other scholarly group. What does this mean?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Romans 1:26-27: A Clobber Passage That Should Lose Its Wallop

Papyrus codex of the Pauline Epistles,
Chester Beatty Library
Whenever I’m debating with someone who authoritatively declares that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and who cites the infamous Romans 1:26-27 as proof, I almost always offer this rejoinder: “What do you make of the vocative at the beginning of Romans 2?”

The question is admittedly pretentious on my part but I’ve found it effective, because those often most eager to wield the Bible as an authoritative weapon are also often those who have read it only in translation, and not very closely at that.

But it’s not an idle question.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jesus and OWS: Political and Economic Subversion, Then and Now

A dispute has broken out in response to many liberal Christians' use of Jesus imagery in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Some have attacked the use of the imagery as completely inapplicable to the OWS demonstrations. To these folks, as best as I can tell, the messages in the Cleansings of the Temple (each Gospel has its own version) are wholly religious, and therefore can't be used by these folks to argue an economic or political point of view.

In fact, one writer even suggested that "Jesus never went anywhere uninvited. Even when he rebuked the money-changers in the Temple, he did not approach the institution as an antagonist, demanding entry on his own terms." This is, as the discussion to follow will show, historically indefensible.

For anyone who has read the Gospels carefully and has studied their greater context (that is, the tumultuous years of the first century in which Jerusalem was under the imperial occupation of the Romans, and the Jewish leadership was collaborating with them), this denial of any subversively political or economic dimension to the story of the Cleansing represents a radical reinterpretation that does violence to the text.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mohler Hates Postmodernism Almost As Much As Modernism

I find it richly ironic whenever conservative Christians complain about post-modernism, given that they've been railing against modernism now for well over a century.

Yet a lecture by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, this morning on Christian-right radio was devoted entirely to warning his evangelical flock about the horrors of postmodernism, academia, psychology -- really any profession whose work is not produced from within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How I Read The Bible

GA 2444, Gospels miniscule,
13th century, Gospel of Mark.
There are certainly a great many out there more qualified than I am to answer this question: “how should we view/use the Bible?” Yet a reader today humbled me with this question while trying to piece together my views from disparate entries on the subject.*

First and foremost, I agree with most scholars (and when I say most scholars, I mean those at secular universities and mainline Protestant seminaries, who have in general followed the tenants of Higher Criticism since the late 19th century) that the Bible is a library, not a book. In fact, many have noted how the word “Bible” itself has evolved from a plural one (the Greek biblia, a neuter plural meaning “scrolls”), to a feminine singular in the Romance languages. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Is How Apologetics Work

During debate on John Shore's blog about a pastor recently fired from his church for merely sharing a link on Facebook about the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, an apologetic troll decided to defend the Bible's take on slavery. According to this person, in the ancient world, slavery was only entered into for crimes committed or for indentured servitude, by which I think he's referring to debt slavery.

Slavery came up because, naturally, I question why it is that some Christians who insist on being "Biblical" can take a moral position against slavery despite the clear references in the New Testament epistles admonishing slaves to obey their masters.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not Just a Rejection of Science

National Public Radio, which I generally like but which seems to be veering into the new "balanced" he-said, she-said form of journalism largely pioneered by Fox News, did a follow-up this week to a story a month ago about divisions among Christians over the science of human origins.

My first reaction was one of utter boredom, and I speculated aloud whether they would be talking about the invention of the steam-engine next, because the conflict over human origins is at least 150 years old. Of course, this was largely because of the story's bland, generalized headline, as though this were some sort of new phenomenon deserving of a fresh look. But the recent departure of a theology professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., gave NPR the news hook they needed for a 30-minute discussion, which included some call-in remarks and a debate of sorts between another of Calvin College's professors, Daniel Harlow, and Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Plagiarism for Profit

Below is a letter I sent to my congressional representative, Keith Ellison, this morning regarding the existence of companies that offer custom-written essays designed to beat plagiarism rules at universities. As I mention in the letter, this should be considered fraud. Companies should not profit from academic dishonesty. If you feel similarly, I encourage you to also contact your representative about this. Write your own letter though -- probably wouldn't send a very good signal if they got multiple, identical letters on the issue of plagiarism!

Rep. Ellison,
I am currently completing my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, where I work as a graduate instructor teaching Greek and Latin. On every syllabus I hand out, there is a warning from the college about academic dishonesty. Most of us who teach have been good about spotting plagiarized work, and certain sites have assisted with this.
But I was shocked recently to read a commentary from a former employee at a company that writes customized essays for students to circumvent plagiarism (found here). Then this morning, during a routine web search, I ran across this company, which audaciously boasts that it will write a paper for students that can "beat any plagiarism test."
I don’t understand how this is not already covered under the laws governing fraud, but if not, I am alerting you to this as my representative in the hopes that this can change. In an era in which every politician running for anything hyperventilates about the state of education in this country, I find it disturbing that we would wink at the existence of these fraud machines, churning out more unqualified graduates for the workplace and encouraging more of the same. It is perhaps telling that this company and another like it appeared in the fourth and fifth top sites upon my Google search. This indicates to me that these sites are popular and probably used more often than we know.
Thank you for any attention you can give to this matter, and any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.
Don M. Burrows

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Finding Pride In Dwindling Mainline Protestantism

Logo for the NCC
After appeals to make it public, Prof. David A. Hollinger's article on ecumenicalism vs. evangelicalism has been posted by the University of California-Berkeley, where he is on faculty. This article is a must-read for anyone who is currently a mainline protestant, who grew up as one, or whose parents were once mainline protestant, because it charts the process whereby the conservative Christian denominations staked out ground against their mainline counterparts -- and more importantly, how and why. For anyone interested in the very stark "two-party" Protestantism in the U.S., Hollinger's analysis is indispensable.

Delivered as the Presidential Address to the Organization of American Historians, March 19, 2011, in Houston, Texas, Hollinger's essay in essence chronicles the widening of the mainline protestant tent as these denominations embraced diversity and secular governance, "the dialectical process by which ecumenical Protestants lost their numbers and their influence in public affairs while evangelical Protestants increased theirs."

Religious Right To NYC: You'll Pray Whether You Want To Or Not!

The latest ginned-up controversy among the religious right concerns the 9/11 memorial service for the 10-year anniversary. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has opted not to have open prayers led by clergy because of the staggering number of different faiths that would need to be accommodated, so six moments of silence will instead be offered for personal reflection and quiet prayer.

Of course, quiet is something the religious right decidedly is not. If ever there were those who resemble the hypocrites of Matthew 6:5 ("And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others"), these guys are it. To them, religious freedom is not the right of each person to pray -- or not -- in the manner according to their conscience, but rather forced participation in prayer as led by the government. For people who continually gripe about the government, they sure want the government to exercise their religion for them --  a lot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Selectively Biblical: How "Submission" Becomes "Respect"

Ever since Michele Bachmann was asked in a GOP presidential debate whether she would "submit to her husband" based on her previous comments, and ever since she responded that to her, submission "means respect," the media has taken a sudden interest in this strand of conservative Christian theology -- an interest unseen since the Southern Baptist Convention added such a notion to its Faith and Message in 1998.

The first reactions were predictable. Conservative allies of Bachmann criticized the question as sexist. But for most of us, the theology of wifely submission is itself sexist, so asking Bachmann to defend it hardly seems so. Nonetheless, many have gone out of their way to defend the notion of wifely submission in much the same way Bachmann did -- by suggesting that the media and others were misconstruing their family theology to make it sound like they treated women like slaves. The latest volley into this discussion comes from The Tennessean, which featured Jeremy and Jill Rose, one of whom is a pastor (guess which?), and who follow said rules on submission.

"Men and women are created equally," the newspaper quotes Jill Rose. “People have this stigma of the male chauvinist domineering over the wife, and that’s not what the biblical perspective is at all.”

That sounds reassuring. But is she right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Classic Apologetic: In Trying to Allay My Fears, Billy Graham's PR Guy Does Anything But

A. Larry Ross
I suppose to "balance" a previous piece by Michelle Goldberg on Christian dominionism, The Daily Beast today published a response by A. Larry Ross, the  spokesperson for Billy Graham for three decades. If you are looking for a classic piece of Christian political apology, this is it.

In trying to set us straight about how mythical dominionism is, no matter what Goldberg or other religion journalists like Sarah Posner say, Ross regurgitates a host of truisms by the Right on why we have nothing to fear from the coupling of their religious convictions with a political activism that seeks to enact those convictions in public policy.

He offers 10 examples of "things the media get wrong about evangelicals and politics ... general areas of disconnect between the press and the pews," and in so doing, offers up a litany of talking points I myself used to make back when I was a good, young, conservative evangelical (and that was almost 20 years ago).

Friday, August 19, 2011

FRC's New Low: Perkins Reduced to Adolescent, Quote-Mark Rant

The Family Research Council doesn't just want to exclude gay and lesbian adults from the full rights and privileges of marriage equality. They also really want gay and lesbian kids to feel horrible about themselves.

That's the message in the hateful organization's latest fundraising letter taking aim at President Obama's participation in the "It Gets Better" campaign. In a latter sent to donors, Tony Perkins, head of the organization, frets openly about a president telling young children that they are OK and shouldn't contemplate things like suicide, a real problem for LGBT youth.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anoka-Hennepin's LGBT Problem: Neutrality and Objectivity Are Not the Same Thing

Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Dennis Carlson has a response this morning to a Star-Tribune editorial calling his school district's policy on homosexuality "gutless," because it embraces a "neutrality" standpoint that some have connected with the dismal record it has on LGBT bullying and suicides. Six students have taken their own lives, and another two are filing suit against the district, alleging the bullying they experienced went unabated by the staff there, which even, according to the latest suit, punished the bullied student instead of the perpetrators.

Carlson laments the Star-Tribune editorial for a number of perceived sins, including confusing the school's bullying policy -- which supposedly bans bullying based on sexual orientation -- and the school's bizarre curriculum policy, clearly intended to placate religious conservatives.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Non-Political "Christian Unity"?

It now appears certain that Rick Perry, the secession-inclined governor of Texas, will run for president, with an announcement perhaps coming on Saturday. Of course, to many observers, this was made obvious when he announced his prayer event, "The Response," which captivated the blogosphere over the weekend, not only for the political theater sure to ensue, but also for the theological doublespeak that recurred throughout the event and the chatter leading up to it.

Indeed, Perry repeatedly said "The Response," despite being hosted by the American Family Association, was "not political," remarking at one point that
"(God’s) agenda is not a political agenda, His agenda is a salvation agenda." Yet he also remarked during prayer that "as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us."

Which of course raises the question, "how?" How indeed has our nation "forgotten who made us" or "who blesses us"? What policies has the country pursued against the will of God?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Don't Like Something? Just Call It 'Liberal'

My wife and I have a fun and recurring banter that we do. It goes like this: when we have a disagreement about something, and one of us is proven to be right via incontrovertible evidence (usually her), the other of us, pretending to ignore said evidence, merely shrugs and muses, "Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree."

A case in point: during a rare trip together to the grocery store recently, she arrived at the checkout aisle where I was already loading items on the conveyor belt, and set down a bag of flour she had asked me repeatedly to get at the store (I usually do the shopping), but which I had repeatedly told her was not there (I should point out that she uses the flour to make homemade, from-scratch bread, an activity otherwise known as The Best Day Of The Week).

"That's the flour I asked for," she said triumphantly. "You said they didn't have it."

"And I stand by that," I said, looking straight at the plainly marked bag.

Knowing, of course, the game we were playing, she reasserted: "But honey, it's right there."

"Yes, well, I don't accept that."

I'm quite sure we crack ourselves up more than anyone else who happens to hear us, but as silly as it sounds, this line of reasoning -- outright rejection of any piece of evidence that contradicts one's point of view -- is becoming rampantly entrenched in our increasingly ideological society.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bryan Fischer: One-stop shopping for all the arguments you thought no one made anymore

I know, I know. It's better to ignore people who are increasingly the fringe characters our children will puzzle over in detached bewilderment in their social studies textbooks, the way we puzzle over photos of the Ku Klux Klan and the angry faces that greeted the first blacks at school during desegregation. There will always be prejudice in the world, but it shifts with every generation as traditionalists defending the status quo eventually accept a wider circle of participation in this thing we call Society.

Until that time, when yesterday's George Wallace has fully become today's David Duke, during that liminal period where it's clear how attitudes are changing but there are still the strident some who wish it weren't so, we are treated to the increasing shrillness of those who, no doubt, know like we do that they represent the last thrashing throes of a dwindling ideology.

Such must be the case with Bryan Fischer, a "director of issues analysis" at the American Family Association, who tweets and writes regularly the sort of arguments you'd expect from old men grousing at the country store about the price of snap peas. Fischer's blogs on the AFA's website are like a strawman emporium for liberal commentators wishing to phone it in for the day -- a smorgasbord of arguments long since discredited that can be easily dismantled. I say they're strawmen only because they should be the sorts of things we don't have to argue about anymore. They should be the sorts of things a 10th-grade debate team captain regurgitates in his first speech in order to proudly denounce them in the effortless way they can be. Because like the strawman of L. Frank Baum's classic, these arguments don't have any brains. But alas, Fischer and his scores of followers keep on making them and keep on finding some sort of mysterious resonance in them. True, it would be perhaps better and healthier for one's blood pressure to simply ignore Fischer and his sort, were the AFA not hosting a prayer event that will be headlined by a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Nonexistent Slope, Slippery or Otherwise: SSM Opponents Latch On To Polygamy Suit

Brown with three of his wives.
I've written previously about the frustrating habit of otherwise intelligent people bringing up polygamy whenever talk turns to legalizing same-sex marriage.

With news this week that Kody Brown of "Sister Wives" fame had filed suit in Utah to challenge the criminal law against polygamy, such comparisons went into overdrive.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How Studying History Can Undercut Bullying

On Thursday, I tweeted a link to the news that California had passed an LBGT history requirement for its public schools with a countdown to the inevitable right-wing outrage that would ensue. Sure enough, it came, and where else would one expect it than on Fox News?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

'Ex-Gay' Therapy: Just Another Right-Wing Denial

Reaction to the news that Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus ran a clinic that engaged in “ex-gay therapy” – directing gays and lesbians to God and prayer to “cure” them of their sexual orientation – has been predictable. While a large swath of the country is understandably shocked and suspicious that a candidate for president would be connected to such a medieval practice, her defenders have instead blamed criticism of the practice on – you guess it! – the media, liberals, homosexuals, and Washington.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Christians and Marriage: From Disease to Divine Design

Paul and Thecla, 6th century fresco,
in the Cave of St. Paul near Ephesus
“The hilt of a sword is smooth and handy, and polished and glittering outside; it seems to grow to the outline of the hand; but the other part is steel and the instrument of death, formidable to look at, more formidable still to come across. Such a thing is marriage.”

The above quote is not from some godless, 21st century culture warrior trying to “undermine the institution of marriage.” No, it’s by Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and saint.

Indeed, for anyone familiar with the early history of Christianity, there is perhaps nothing more dissonant than hearing modern Christian leaders talk about marriage as the central, lofty institution they believe it to be, most especially when they view it as under attack merely by its extension to same-sex couples.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Math Proving Same-Sex Marriage ≠ Polygamy

Barely a day goes by when I don't hear otherwise intelligent people invoke polygamy when discussing possible objections to same-sex marriage. How one can equate extending the benefits of a legally recognized, monogamous relationship to that of a polygamous relationship is beyond me, but it should be addressed nonetheless.

The recognition of same-sex marriage is, of course, the next natural step in the evolution of marriage into what it is today -- a legally recognized status of companionship between two people. The mere fact that we, unlike in the vast majority of premodern societies, each choose our own spouses is case enough for same-sex marriage. Marriage is now a relationship one can enter with anyone one chooses, regardless of class or race, yet this was of course not always the case. Removing sex as an exclusionary category would merely reflect what marriage has already become.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Prejudicial Template

Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, has done proponents of same-sex marriage an invaluable service. In one, sweeping column published by Fox News (where else?), he has offered up all the absurd, prejudicial, fear-mongering, and internally illogical arguments spouted by the One-Man-One-Woman Crowd, all in a singular, neat package. All of us who plan to work toward marriage equality should read this nonsense to familiarize ourselves with these time-worn arguments.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I Became a Liberal (For Good)

Video still of me covering
the first Human Dignity
debate, April 21, 1998
Watching the Minnesota House debate a constitutional amendment to declare marriage as between one man and one woman (a declaration that, given the modern definition of marriage as simply the legally recognized companionship of two people, has no secular rationale) took me back quite a bit, especially in the speeches favoring the amendment in the weeks that preceded the final vote. In those speeches, we heard a lot of religious justification for how we should define marriage legally, and plenty of regurgitated nonsense about the supposed health risks of being gay, the sinfulness and wrongfulness of it, and declarative statements about the End of Civilization As We Know It. These are boilerplate arguments that have been made for decades. I know, because as an impressionable and unfortunate youth, I made them myself. Having just moved to the Bible Belt in 1991, I was caught up in the conservative religious culture that in many ways permeates all life there. And as a member of the high school debate team, I routinely refined my arguments against the litany of social ills that good Christians should avoid, complete with accompanying Bible verses and anecdotes from “common sense” (a good indicator that someone doesn’t actually have an argument is their deferral to common sense, which is really just an effort to avoid thinking about a given issue).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Riding the Prejudicial Merry-Go-Round

Another day, another sad set of arguments against same-sex marriage, this one out of the Austin Daily Herald's Wallace Alcorn. We'll get to Alcorn's more impressive rhetorical flourishes in a bit, but first let's address this common meme among those prejudiced against gays and lesbians. Keep in mind that advocates of Minnesota's constitutional amendment defining marriage as One Man, One Woman were only a couple of days ago lamenting that proponents of gay marriage undeservedly call them "bigots." And what better way to prove that you have all the respect in the world for your gay and lesbian neighbors than to compare their relationships to -- you guessed it, incest!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rationalizing Bigotry

Katherine Kersten had a column in the Star Tribune over the weekend regurgitating a common trope by NOM's Maggie Gallagher. You know the shtick: proponents of same-sex marriage "distort the issue" by calling opponents "bigots." To Kersten, this is manifestly unfair (more unfair than excluding a sizable minority from the full rights and privileges of citizenship?), because in fact opponents "argue, very reasonably, that marriage is rooted in nature ... and that children need both a mother and a father. They say that's why it's the bedrock institution of procreation and social order in virtually all times and places."
If you haven't heard these arguments before, get ready -- this is the pseudo-intellectualism that same-sex marriage opponents trot out whenever they want to make secular arguments.