Changing the definition of bigotry

I did not think arguments against same-sex marriage could get any worse, but alas, I was wrong.  Here is Pastor Aaron Fruh, of Knollwood Church in Mobile, Ala, writing (inexplicably) in the Chicago Tribune:

If I were counseling a married couple who were about to break their marriage vows by agreeing to an open marriage, I would tell them that adultery is a bad idea. Adultery erodes marital trust, splinters the lives of the outside partners, results often in divorce and shatters the lives of children in the families involved.

In the same way, I can say to a teenager who is considering having premarital sex that it is a bad idea. The emotional scars that sex before marriage and abortion leave cannot be measured.

In the same way, it is not discriminatory hate speech to say to gay couples that same-sex marriage is a bad idea. Here’s why: Proponents of same-sex marriage want to change the meaning of marriage. To them, marriage is any romantic relationship between people. They believe the state should regulate and recognize same-sex marriage because it has an interest in stable romantic partnerships.

Again with the pseudo-Platonism on the meaning of concepts.  Pastor Fruh alleges that he’s not a homophobe or a bigot for denying, without good reason, gay people rights he enjoys.  But that’s the very definition of those terms–“homophobe” and “bigot.” Why does he want to change the meaning of those terms?

In all seriousness, someone ought to have pointed out that the Pastor’s argument against gay marriage uses as premises the consequences of non-marital unions.  I imagine that a proponent of same-sex marriage would likely agree with Pastor Fruh.  “Yes, non-marital romantic relations of type x or y are inadvisable and bad–that’s why I want to get married.”  But this person’s desire to get married will be frustrated, won’t it, by Pastor Fruh’s bigotry.

The rest of the article is the usual compendium of slippery slopes (why not polygamy?  I don’t know why not, ask King F—ing David or Abraham), bogus empirical claims, insinuations that same-sex marriage will replace “traditional” marriage and thus doom our society which no longer merit refutation.

8 thoughts on “Changing the definition of bigotry”

  1. When does he ever get around to demonstrating that same-sex marriage is a bad idea?
    That has to be one of the worst arguments against gay marriage I have ever seen. Even the crazy dude that passes out the blue fliers condemning gay marriage at NEIU makes a more convincing case.

  2. He doesn't.  Someone really should have a contest at this point: make the best, non-fallacious, empirically supported (not the faux empiricism of say the Heartland Institute) argument against gay marriage.  You will win a prize: losing an argument with some modicum of class.

  3. Soooo… his advice to gay couples is premarital sex and no access to a social or religious contract with expectations of monogamy? 
    In the same way, it is not discriminatory hate speech to say to the Chicago Tribune that printing hateful nonsense is a terrible idea.  The emotional scars cannot be measured, except possibly in declining readership.

  4. John,
    Aaron's op-ed is beyond my iron-manning skills. I can't find a complete argument in there, not even a bad complete argument. I think he's just lacking the courage to state the obvious. He does not condone gay-marriages for the simple reason that he considers the gay lifestyle to be sinful, therefore ethically wrong. As sinful as pre-marital sex, adultery …
    I think the above can't be proved empirically (that gay lifestyle is ethically wrong). However, I think in the realm of politics and our laws, a different kind of argument is needed. Simply calling it sinful is not enough.
    Here's CS Lewis on a related topic. His solution was to make a sharp distinction between a Christian marriage and a non-Christian marriage. Would that be something that's doable in our society? I'm not sure.
     "Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question – how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christians lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with the rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not."

  5. BN,

    That is a step in the right direction.  As a matter of fact, one is free nowadays to have a Christian Marriage, or not.  Many atheists even get married nowadays.  Does this mean they're gay?

  6. Oh no! How am I going to tell my wife that I'm gay? And that she is gay also?

  7. “Same sex marriage” is an oxymoron. Anyone pushing it is pushing Orwellian newspeak. We don’t even need to discuss the moral bankruptcy of the position as there is an absolute and undeniably intellectual bankruptcy in pushing your redefinition of terms onto people who’ve got the honesty – including many homosexuals! -to see it as the sham it is.

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