Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Red meat

Sorry, I can't resist.

VirtueOnline, the eponymous website of conservative Anglican writer David Virtue, provides a unique insight into the deeply theocratic conservative thinking that exists among many Anglicans in the US. It was that site that provided the tip to this story.

Recently, John Danforth, former embassador to the UN, Senator from Missouri, and ordained Episcopal priest (and Republican), spoke to the Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday night:

Referring to the marriage amendment, he added that perhaps at some point in history there was a constitutional amendment proposed that was "sillier than this one, but I don't know of one."

... Danforth said he is opposed. "The basic concept of the Republican Party is to interpret the Constitution narrowly, not expansively, so that legislatures, and especially state legislatures, can work out over a period of time the social issues in our country," he said.

VirtueOnline posts the story, and gets comments like this:
The USA is a nation of laws - and laws are intended to govern behavior. The reason the civil rights laws were effective in the 1960s and up to today is they recognized that an inherent personal physical property was not a behavior - a woman is a woman, a black is a black, and a person born in Spain could not also be born in the USA at the same time. Danforth's comments are idiotic for if carried to their conclusion imply that no law should be passed to govern behavior.
Of course, we know what Danforth meant -- supervision of bedroom activities, or interference in benign social practices is not the government's job. Another comment (emphasis mine):
Everyone, over time, will get to see the difference between the carnival of sodomy that is Massachusetts and the relative child safety zone that is Missouri. Unfortunately, it means in practice that a generation or more of Massachusetts children become the victims of a perverted social experiment.
And another, just to make sure your ears ring while you read the rest of the post:
Danforth is primarily a politician, and he is championing the ECUSA [Episcopal Church U. S. A.] party line masquerading as a priest.

Is he also bisexual? One wonders.

But come to think of it, I lived in Massachusetts for 7 years, and I don't remember "carnivals of sodomy" or "perverted social experiments." I bet the difference over time will be pretty small. Except that more kids will be adopted who wouldn't have been otherwise, people will have a less hostile attitude toward homosexuals, and more gay and lesbian Bay Staters will be "locked" into monogamous relationships, so to speak. If only we could agree on terms for a wager, I'd be willing to put some money down.

I bother to cite all this to point out how a site devoted to conservative Anglicanism (and in some cases outright theocracy) very quickly slides into boilerplate social conservative arguments. This is what is most disturbing for me -- one can avoid dealing with religious arguments by making to social ones, and then avoid social arguments by making religious ones.

I have no problem with people expressing their political or social opinions as motivated by their religious beliefs, but if their arguments ultimately depend solely on what God thinks we should do, then they don't belong in the public arena where God's intentions are not always so clear cut (let alone rationally debatable!). Advance a sociological argument, and we'll debate it, but if you brandish the Bible, then don't expect (or demand) that people pay attention to you. (For example, demonstrate your claim that there is, on average and across all categories of human wellness, a marginal benefit to being a kid in a home run by a heterosexual couple than in one run by a homosexual couple. Hint: your answer will require statistics. You have 30 minutes to answer this question. Good luck.)

Visit the site if you want your blood to boil. Like I said, red meat.

And by the way, the Federal Marriage Amendment is an election year ploy.

(image of John Danforth from Log Cabin Republicans)

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