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

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.