Tag: ssm

Recipe for a Wedding Cake

 

In his famous poem “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley describes the head of the tyrant’s statue lying in the desert sand:

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

Ozymandias’ nameless sculptor had one thing in common with his innumerable brother sculptors, painters, and other artists throughout the ages: he was not well-positioned to turn down the job. Had he suggested to the king’s agent that his religion and his conscience really did not permit him to honor the king with his artistic talents, presumably the sculptor’s head would have hit the sand long before the king’s statue did.

Elections and Cakes Have Consequences

 
Brad Avakian

Brad Avakian, the Democrat who lost his race to be Oregon’s Secretary of State.

The dust is settling on election season, mostly. The Democrats have been doing their best to kick it up as much as they can in the presidential election, but that’s proving to have dubious results at best. Of course in the states, the Democrats have lost a lot of ground. In many ways, they are being pushed back to their coastal strongholds to lick their collectivist wounds. But even those are not safe. Though Oregon is mostly a one-party state, and almost all major offices are held by Democrats, Republican Dennis Richardson managed to take the Secretary of State’s office in a race against Brad Avakian.

BuzzFeed Targets HGTV Hosts for Attending Christian Church

 
Joanna and Chip Gaines

Joanna and Chip Gaines, hosts of “Fixer Upper” on HGTV.

So Buzzfeed reporter Kate Aurthur wrote a post about popular HGTV hosts Chip and Joanne Gaines which informed the world that the Gaineses’ have a pastor who is opposed to same-sex marriage. This post had one purpose and one purpose alone: to harm the couple. The post served no news purpose—even Aurthur concedes she never learned the Gaines’ view of same-sex marriage. The post cannot be termed “activism” since it fails at every level to persuade readers of the rightness of the same-sex marriage cause. Even the most generous alternate topic of Aurthur’s post, “Texas pastor opposes same-sex marriage,” is as dog-bites-chew-toy as a news item can be. The only conceivable purpose of targeting the popular television couple in this manner was to cost them viewers and, perhaps, their jobs.

Show a Little Class, Anderson Cooper

 
Cooper Bondi

CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

I am no expert on the fine art of social dynamics. Nonetheless, it seems pretty clear that in times of great national stress, such as the carnage in Orlando, our impulses should be to unite a nation reeling from its wounds.  But evidently that simple message of compassion and good sense never reached Anderson Cooper of CNN, who has found himself embroiled in a controversy over his interview with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that turned into a stern lecture about her role in the litigation of same sex marriage in Florida that ended two years ago.

Member Post

 

Back in the 1970s, our culture embraced the idea that freedom includes the ability to divorce (ie, reject) a child’s other parent without cause. This is also known as “no fault divorce.” It is commonly viewed as expansion of liberty. It is very common for divorced adults to behave as is if they no longer […]

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Gay Marriage: An Awkward Moment

 

20151029_164626A few months ago I attended a T’ai Chi Chih Conference and met a lovely woman. We had a lot in common besides our practice. At lunch, we sat together with a woman friend who had come with her to the conference. I thought they might both be gay — no big deal. Then “Gayle” introduced me to her wife, and explained that they’d been married two months before and were so excited. Awkward. The only thing I could do was smile and say “Congratulations.” (For the record, I tried wearing the same-sex marriage idea for several months, but all the pulling on the hem and shortening of the sleeves wouldn’t work; I can’t support same sex marriage.)

Generally, I’m not reluctant to speak up when I have a serious disagreement with someone, but face to face with two people who felt safe enough to share their relationship with me caught me off guard.

Have you been in this spot? Was it no big deal? How did you respond? If you haven’t been there, what do you think you’ll do when it happens?

Kim Davis Is No Martyr

 

Kim-Davis-mugshotTed Cruz made his feelings clear about defiant county clerk Kim Davis: “Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith.” Mike Huckabee said, “having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country.”

Mat Staver, who is representing Davis in court, compared her to several Christian martyrs. “Kim joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience,” Staver said. “People who today we admire, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan Hus, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more — each had their own cause, but they all share the same resolve not to violate their conscience.”

Balderdash.

Marriage, Schmarriage, and Blarriage

 

Earlier this year, I signed on to one of the amicus briefs arguing against judicial imposition of nationally recognized same-sex marriage and I am not changing my position here. However, I have gradually come to understand — largely thanks to the tireless efforts of SSM-supporting Ricochetti over on the SSM PIT — a pretty good argument for it. This argument deserves a fair hearing, and traditionalists like myself deserve the chance to confront it directly. Hopefully the result will be that some of us understand each other a little better, even if no one is actually convinced of anything.[1]

I say the argument is good because its premises support its conclusion and all of the premises — if not unquestionably true — at least have something going for them. Now, arguments have forms (as I explained here) and it’s probably best to not jump right into the argument itself, but its form, which is as follows:

Member Post

 

If you have access only to the online version of the Wall Street Journal, you may have been puzzled by the illustrations for the June 17 article, Moms, Let Dad Be Dad : That goofy teasing and hyper play actually help young children develop, according to new research.   If you click on any of the […]

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Obergefell and the Limits of Judicial Supremacy

 

shutterstock_162764102In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court used its power of judicial review to legalize gay marriage throughout the nation. In one fell stroke, five Justices short-circuited the democratic process, which was gradually removing barriers to gays, and swept aside the Constitution’s reservation of family-law matters to the states. Even while they may disagree on gay marriage, most Americans believe they must obey Obergefell because the separation of powers gives the Supreme Court the ultimate authority to interpret the Constitution.

Prominent defenders of traditional marriage, however, have gone beyond the usual criticism of a mistaken judicial decision to attack the Supreme Court as an institution. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” said Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and GOP presidential candidate. “We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” Fellow candidate and Republican senator Ted Cruz has proposed constitutional amendments not only to overturn Obergefell, which other candidates support, but to subject Supreme Court justices to periodic elections.

While these politicians, I believe, have overreacted, they hit upon an important truth about our Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Obergefell does not settle the question of gay marriage, because the Supreme Court cannot finally determine any fundamental constitutional dispute. Claims of judicial supremacy have appeared before, ranging from the odious (Dred Scott’s defense of slavery) to the courageous (Brown v. Board of Education’s condemnation of segregation). But these views mistake the Court’s right to decide cases or controversies under the Constitution for supremacy in its interpretation.

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From Breitbart, via Chicks on the Right:  Lovett, who worked for Obama during his first term, reveals that he used his White House privileges to sneak in a pair of gay men under the guise of giving them a tour, then performed a wedding ceremony in the Rose Garden without the knowledge of the president. […]

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Pennsylvania Law as a Model for Dealing with Same-Sex Marriage

 

love-park-philadelphia-600x400This is a little on the end of “cart before the horse,” but it’s definitely a predictable direction that legislative action can take in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when it comes to dealing with the recent SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. Of course, since the ruling, there has been a flurry of commentaries and stories about potential lawsuits against churches that refuse to sanctify these unions. That problem may not play the same in Pennsylvania as it will in most other states.

The commonwealth already has two forms of marriage licenses available in many counties, because our law permits self-uniting marriage licenses. Enjoy the irony if you like, but that is because of a religious belief – Pennsylvania is the Quaker state, and Quakers do not believe that a human being can stand between God and couple when they enter in a covenant of marriage. Their beliefs only permit people to witness that covenant, so we have marriage licenses that only require signatures of two witnesses. Until 2007, it was possible for a county to refuse to issue those licenses without verifying the religious beliefs of the couple, but now they cannot do that. Anyone can opt for the self-uniting license, if they are willing to pay a little more for it.

Because the difference in price isn’t significant (it’s just $10 more in the City of Philadelphia, for example), same-sex couples in Pennsylvania that might want to sue a church over refusing to sanctify a marriage will be a little difficult. If our legislature would happen to change how people get marriage licenses in the first place, those lawsuits would be impossible to start in the first place.

Slate’s Rising Intolerance on Gay Rights

 

In my recent Defining Ideas column, “Hard Questions on Same-Sex Marriage,” I sought to explore some of the intellectual cross-currents and difficulties in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. There were two basic points in the article.  First, I sought to explain the difficulties in finding a constitutional right to gay marriage, even though most of the standard arguments against same-sex-marriage tend to fall flat as a matter of social and political theory. The article was in no sense an effort to rally religious conservatives to stop the powerful political juggernaut that has resulted in a surge in public approval for same-sex-marriage.

The second point was my deep uneasiness that the same-sex-marriage movement is moving sharply from its defense of gay unions towards a massive intolerance of those individuals who, for religious reasons, oppose the practice and wish to conduct their own personal lives and business activities in accordance with their own beliefs — beliefs that I hasten to add are not my own. The recent hysterical screed against my column by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, laden as it is with abusive epithets, shows just how rapidly that form of intolerance is taking over the gay rights movement more generally.

A Random Sampling of Progressive Opinion on Religious Liberty

 

SCOTUSLest you think that I was overly alarmist in my earlier post on Obergefell’s threat to religious liberty, consider this.  I wrote a slightly longer version of the piece for City Journal, which was then posted to RealClearPolitics — so it attracted a fair number of eyeballs outside of the conservative bubble.  Here are some of the comments I got:

  • Religion is the problem, not gay marriage. Religion is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that threatens the civil liberties of everyone. Religion is as pervasive as pornography in this country, but much more harmful to our culture.
  • If the institution of marriage is removed from its unnatural cloud of accompanying religious magic . . .  it is a right, like any other. As such it should by law available to ALL citizens. In THIS country at very least.
  • I think it’s always dangerous to defend anything based on religious belief.
  • It’s a “threat to religious liberty” only if you think that people should be free to use their religion as an excuse to screw others.
  • There are so many parallels with the 1960’s civil rights movement it is hard for any rational person to fathom how those on the “pro-religious” freedom side expect history to view their backward cause.

Progressives feel momentum on their side and nothing will get in their way. If new rights can be invented by the judiciary, then old rights — like the free exercise of religion — can be just as easily interpreted into oblivion.

Member Post

 

My fellow traditionalists, you don’t get it.  SCOTUS did not disregard the obvious authority of states to define marriage requirements. From the progressive perspective, the definition of marriage remains unchanged. From that perspective, what changed is that a wrongfully excluded class of people has been granted access to that which the states continue to define. Preview […]

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Member Post

 

My wife asked me over the weekend to think about how we should explain the whole SSM brouhaha to our young son.   I hadn’t put much thought into it prior to that. When I first heard the question, it seemed easy to state the basic facts and say little more, but upon reflection it is more […]

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The Marriage Immigrants

 

shutterstock_784954512When immigrants move to a country of their own free will, they have an obligation to adapt to their adopted country’s values. This doesn’t mean abandoning their old culture entirely or pretending that the new one is beyond reproach, but at the very least it means giving up aspects of it that are incompatible with their new one. After all, if you think your adopted culture is worth immigrating to, you should want to try to keep and cherish it basically as you found it.

As of this Friday, gay people across the nation are now immigrants to marriage culture. Some of them have been here for a while — I personally know gay couples who’ve been legally married five times longer than I — while most are freshly off the ship. Like all voluntary immigrant populations, they have a positive duty: to assimilate to the culture they chose to adopt and to do so with enthusiasm.

That probably means not only being as married as your straight peers, but more so. In practical terms, that means being more monogamous than straight couples, less prone to divorce, and even more interested in your children’s (should you have any) welfare. And if you’re so inclined, think what a powerful message it would be for marriage if you said that sex only belongs within marriage, even for you.

Member Post

 

I was away on vacation for the past week plus and missed a very eventful news week. (Side note: was down in Disney World and while my five year old loved it I found it rather inane. What is it about these parks that some adults return over and over?) I probably missed some very […]

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