Who's the bigot now?

Michael Cook
Oct. 30, 2014
Reproduced with Permission

Increasingly it seems that the touchstone of success for supporters of same-sex marriage is shifting from accommodation and acceptance to unconditional surrender. Disagreement and criticism will not be tolerated.

In a recent speech in Washington DC Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University in the US and vice chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom explained why.

"The whole argument was and is that the idea of marriage as the union of husband and wife lacks a rational basis and amounts to nothing more than 'bigotry.' Therefore, no reasonable person of goodwill can dissent from the liberal position on sex and marriage, any more than a reasonable person of goodwill could support racial segregation and subordination."

Since they regard the definition of marriage as exclusive to a man and a woman as bonkers, it deserves no more respect than the flat earth theory . In fact, it deserves less, as it actually "harms" people who are denied the "right" to marry.

In fact, the irrational ones are the supporters of same-sex marriage. It is intellectual blindness to dump into the rubbish bin of history the countless arguments, drawn from law, tradition, psychology and sociology which buttress conjugal marriage. However, Professor George points out that victory is making supporters dangerously arrogant.

"Thus, many advocates of redefinition, sensing that they have now won and there is no turning back, are increasingly open in saying that they do not see these disputes about sex and marriage as honest disagreements among reasonable people of goodwill. They are, rather, battles between the forces of reason, enlightenment, and equality - those who would 'expand the circle of inclusion - on one side, and those of ignorance, bigotry, and discrimination - those who would exclude people out of 'hatred' or 'animus' - on the other. The 'excluders' are to be treated just as racists are treated - since they are the equivalent of racists. Of course, we (in the United States, at least) don't put racists in jail for expressing their opinions - we respect the First Amendment; but we don't hesitate to stigmatize them and impose various forms of social and even civil disability upon them and their institutions. In the name of 'marriage equality' and 'non-discrimination,' liberty - especially religious liberty and the liberty of conscience - and genuine equality are undermined."

George believes that it is impossible to compromise by offering, for example, civil unions.

"There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted. Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, 'full equality' requires that no quarter be given to the 'bigots' who want to engage in 'discrimination' (people with a 'separate but equal' mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs."

In his view, "liberal secularism" has turned into a kind of religion of a particularly intolerant kind. Interestingly, George obliquely compares it to Islam.

"Liberal secularism will tolerate other comprehensive views so long as they present no challenge or serious threat to its own most cherished values. But when they do, they must be smashed - in the name, for example, of 'equality' or preventing 'dignitarian harm' - and their faithful must be reduced to a dhimmi-like status in respect of opportunities (in employment, contracting, and other areas) that, from the point of view of liberal secularist doctrine, cannot be made available to them if they refuse to conform themselves to the demands of liberal ideology."

And because the gay rights movement's victory came after such a long struggle, its supporters will feel smugly justified in their oppressive measures:

"The very success of the movement to which they have given their allegiance will reinforce the belief among their compatriots that the movement's victories were victories of righteousness over evildoers, and expressions of dissent, even small ones, will increasingly be perceived not only as deeply wicked, but as presenting a grave and intolerable danger to the order of goodness that was, after a long struggle and at great cost, achieved."

Is it time to throw in the towel? By no means, says George. The future is not determined and supporters of conjugal marriage must continue to fight. The notion that same sex marriage is historically inevitable is ludicrous.

"Same-sex marriage and the assaults on liberty and equality that follow in its wake are 'inevitable' only if defenders of marriage make their adversaries' prophecies self-fulfilling ones, by buying into them."

What history really shows is that bad ideas are eventually exposed and melt away:

"Let us think back to the 1920s and 30s when eugenics was embraced by the elite institutions of American society - from the wealthy philanthropic foundations, to the mainline Protestant denominations, to the Supreme Court of the United States. Affluent, sophisticated, 'right-minded' people were all on board with the eugenics program. It, too, seemed like a juggernaut. 'Three generations of imbeciles [was] enough.' Only those retrograde Catholics, joined by some other backward religious folk - the IRD-types of the day, resisted; and the thought was that the back of their resistance would soon be broken by the sheer rationality of the eugenics idea. The eugenicists were certain that their adversaries were on 'the wrong side of history.' The full acceptance of eugenics was inevitable.' But, of course, things didn't quite turn out that way."

This is an excellent, albeit disturbing speech. Read it.