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Another day, another silly argument

January 16, 2014

Well, my morning news reading today brought me yet more examples of how engaging in the culture war tends to bring out some interesting reasoning.  I suppose this is to be expected.  If you are a big believer in culture war then you already have bought into the “enemy” theory; that everyone who disagrees with you is an enemy.

Since you now assume you have an enemy, as opposed to someone who just thinks you are wrong, it is important to try and convince non-warriors how evil the other side is and how logical it is to support your side.  You need to put the situation into an either/or choice and make it clear that the consequences of letting the other side win are catastrophic while if your side wins we will all be happier.

To do this requires some imagination and creativity.  It particularly helps if you can tie your cause to something everyone is in favor of.  It is this effort that brought three different articles to my inbox.  I am going to give you the articles without links because, as a conscientious objector to the culture war, I feel it is my moral duty to not send people to warrior pages.  If you wish, I am sure you can find this stuff.

The first was this amazing declaration.  Being pro-life is good for the economy.  Huh?  Well, it turns out this claim is based on the idea that babies take a lot of work.  When they come into the world we need to buy diapers, baby clothes, baby furniture and special foods; need to give them special medical care; need to hire day care and the like.  All this gives people jobs providing those needs and – Ta-da – the economy improves.

Not to be outdone, the other side on this issue had their own declaration.  Being pro-choice reduces crime.  The theory here is that unwanted babies will be unloved or at least under-cared for.  This will cause personality difficulties and all these unloved babies will grow into disturbed adults more likely to engage in criminal behavior.  Besides, even if they somehow avoid being emotionally disturbed, they will surely be disadvantaged and need to turn to crime to live.

Don’t you just love the way both of these arguments sound so logical?  Logical that is as long as you are willing to ignore the million other factors, influences and circumstances that impact these nice, neat constructs.

My final example was my favorite.  Some folks in Indiana are trying to get an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage on the state constitution.  Now, I respect that they have the right to make this effort in the same way I suppose that others might have the right to try and get an amendment requiring same-sex marriage passed.  Knock yourselves out.

What I do request is please don’t use silly arguments to support your views.  Here are the four reasons Advance America gives to support the urgent need for this amendment, followed by my comments.

  1. Beginning in kindergarten, schools would be required to teach children that homosexual marriages are normal and acceptable and the same as heterosexual marriages.  Uh,no.  Laws and determining school curriculum are two different things.  There are all kinds of laws in effect that are not required to be taught in school.
  2. A pastor that preaches what the Bible says about homosexuality could be prosecuted as a criminal under a hate crime law resulting in jail and fines.  Sorry, no again.  By definition, hate crimes speak to motives for committing something that is already a crime.  So, if a pastor was preaching such a sermon while simultaneously beating up a gay person that might be true but not for just preaching. 
  3. The next step would be to legalize “gender identity” which would give men who dress as women legal access to women’s restrooms and women’s dressing rooms.  Once again, no.  First of all, I am happy to report that there are no laws against gender identity as we all have one.  Secondly, the whole gender identity issue is not about “men who dress as women.”  Nothing in this concept give freedom for any guy to put on a dress and walk into the ladies restroom.
  4. Christian businesses could be fined and sued if they refuse to participate in homosexual wedding ceremonies (ex. bakers, florists, catering halls, photographers, etc.).  Sorry, you’ve gone 0 for 4.  I assume this refers to the cases in Colorado and New Mexico where merchants ran afoul of discrimination laws.  But those cases were brought up under discrimination laws already on the books.  The States in question already had “sexual orientation” as part of their anti-discrimination laws for businesses.

As I’ve said over and over, if you feel the need to fight the culture war, whichever side you are on, I’m not going to try and stop you.  I do ask, particularly of my fellow evangelicals; please don’t make up “facts” to support your war.

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3 Comments
  1. All but #4 are examples taken from California law. 4 is a dicey situation indeed, kinda like, “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” signs. It’s not that these things are proposed to happen necessarily. But, it has happened and people are afraid that to do nothing is allowing evil as they see it to triumph. This is the only place where I have a rub in all the rhetoric: PEOPLE are not the enemy. Philosophies counter to your own and counter to popular culture are, philosophies which are so anathema to the beliefs of the Church that for some reason one can’t exist in peace until the other one is silenced are. That is the enemy. Honestly, at first when I started in the whole culture war bit 10 years ago, I was like that. The mantra for all the cultural warriors should be ‘ hate the sin and love the sinner’.

    As far as going 0-4… Maybe you’re right in saying that SSM doesn’t come with all of these, but with a legal precedent and support equal to the task of passing all of it, that is indeed a slippery slope. I’m sure you can understand the fear motivating any abrogation of fact, which considering the pattern isn’t all that egregious an abrogation.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I’ve never been a fan of the “slippery slope”idea; as if one decision must lead to another. This is particularly true in culture war issues where both sides claim that not agreeing with them leads to a slippery slope. It appears as if the slope is slippery in both directions.

      • I agree. It is true on both sides. I’ve seen those in favor of SSM screaming that if we ban it, pretty soon we’ll be demanding open gay conversion therapy clinics and what not. Personally, the ONLY reason I engaged in this sort of thing is the whole part of it that involves “force of law”. Our government was not designed to be the police of society. It was designed to be the exact opposite. Maybe it’s a treatise on how truly insane our society has become. Either way, both sides have adopted the stance that gives nor accepts any quarter.

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