Christianity,  Politics

How not to have a debate about gay marriage

One of the things that has become increasingly clear in the debate about gay marriage in this country is that proponents do not really want to have a debate. They have already decided that traditional marriage supporters are ignorant rubes at best or bigots at worst. In either case, there is no reason to take traditional marriage supporters seriously, and they can be safely dismissed as a part of a dying minority.

Exhibit A: Tonight’s episode of Piers Morgan’s program on CNN. He had two guests on to talk about gay marriage, Suze Orman and Ryan Anderson. Piers and Orman were for gay marriage, and Anderson was against.

From the outset, it was clear that this wasn’t really going to be a debate. Anderson did a fantastic job representing traditional marriage, but the whole thing was staged to keep him in his place. Anderson was not even allowed to sit at the table during the discussion but was relegated to making his comments from a seat within the studio audience.

Both Piers and Orman were rude to Anderson, but the most patronizing thing happened at the very beginning of Orman’s remarks. After Anderson shared his views, Orman gave him a rhetorical pat on the head. She told him that he was obviously “uneducated in how it really, really works.”

Ryan Anderson graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Princeton University and he’s a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame. He just co-authored a book that is probably the definitive case for traditional marriage. He’s a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an all-around brilliant guy. Whatever you want to think about Ryan Anderson, “uneducated” hits ridiculously wide of the mark.

So why was Orman able to get away with this? Because in the brave new world that we are living in, you don’t have to be fair to someone who supports traditional marriage. Why? Because traditional marriage supporters are bigots. Once a person declares support for one man and one woman as the norm for marriage, he is by definition backward and ignorant no matter how many degrees he has. It is not necessary to afford that person respect or understanding. They just need to be dismissed and their argument ruled out of order.

Piers and Orman were quick to point out that Anderson is in the minority on gay marriage. And they are right about that. But is that really a reason for treating him (and the rest of us) like dirt? Can minority opinions be safely dismissed simply because they are the minority? Haven’t gay activists been complaining about this kind of treatment to their views over the years? This is the worst kind of hypocrisy, and it is exactly the kind of attitude that will overthrow religious liberty if it is not kept in check.

Unfortunately, the attitude seems to be pervasive in our culture these days. And it needs to be called out for the sham that it is.


      • Jane Coaston

        She’s also gay. I am as well. I haven’t had a chance to watch the segment (I shy away from these kinds of debates), but I’d like to add in my 2 cents quickly on how this debate was shaped, if you don’t mind. I’m not sure about the commenting policy here, would you mind if I chimed in?

          • Jane Coaston

            Thank you, Ian. On further consideration, I think it might be best if I stay out of this debate – I don’t think this is quite the arena for it (I know that I’d be a bit startled by seeing someone opposed to SSM post on a blog that’s secular/more left-leaning. Peace to all of you.

      • Ed Murray

        But what about all those who do not have political power, money or jobs?
        What about Equality for The Unemployed and The Poor?

    • Mary Patterson

      Partially. She described all the financial benefits a gay couple could enjoy if they were allowed to be “legally wed”. Ryan made the excellent point that 2 sisters who live together (perhaps neither of them ever married), are not allowed the same benefits. For a while, my brother and I were living together yet neither of us were allowed to be put on each others health benefits. I guess ‘brother and sister’ isn’t considered ‘family’ these days.

      I watched the debate and while I used to enjoy listening to Suzie Orman’s financial advice, I’ll never watch her again. The smug and condecending attitude she displayed towards Ryan for not fully supporting Gay marriage, was disgusting. And Piers was no better. Talk about ganging up on someone for refusing to change their view on what “marriage” should be.

  • Kyle Essary (@KyleEssary)

    Ryan Anderson didn’t have a chance to speak clearly on the issue, because Piers didn’t give him one. He did a very good job of pointing out how patronizing they were being though and came across as the one being belittled. In a culture that thoughtlessly always rallies behind groups that they perceived are being bullied, I wonder if they realize who was bullying who tonight?

  • Michael

    I am not ready to call traditional marriage the minority position, and I wish other traditionalists would stop doing so.

    Yes opinion polls show that, but the 4 votes in 4 liberal states last fall strongly imply otherwise. The conservative side got around 47 percent of the vote in each state. Are we really to believe that the country as a whole is MORE liberal than Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota?

    More likely, there is upwards of 10 percent (or more) of the population that says the PC thing to pollsters but really believes otherwise.

    Public opinion may be changing, but the traditional side would win a nationwide vote at the moment.

    • Lauren Bertrand

      Michael, I think you are correct, but only because the bulwark for SSM–the young population–notoriously stays away from the voting booth. Which, in turn, explains why the results for SSM in those fairly liberal states last November was still pretty close.

      • Michael

        We can simply disagree on this one. Obama and gay marriage was on the ballot in those states, and young voters supported both.

        Gay marriage had had a significant “Bradley effect” — voters saying one thing and then doing another. This is seen in “live interviewer” polls compared to “robo” polls. The automated polls always show more opposition to gay marriage, because people are more comfortable stating their true position.

    • buddyglass

      Part of the reason the ballot initiative results don’t match up with opinion polls is that support for s.s.m. is highest among the young and the young vote at a disproportionately low rate relative to the old.

      Here’s some back of the napkin math. Here’s the plus/minus in those states on their s.s.m. ballot initiatives along with the plus/minus in the 2012 presidential election and the delta between those two numbers:

      Maine 6% (53 / 47) 15% (56 / 41) (9%)
      Maryland 4% (52 / 48) 26% (62 / 36) (22%)
      Minnesota 4% (51 / 47) 8% (53 / 45) (4%)
      Washington 6% (53 / 47) 14% (56 / 42) (8%)

      So it looks like support for s.s.m. in ballot initiatives “lags” support for Obama by between 4% and 22%. Maryland may be an outlier due to its high number of Catholics who are predisposed to vote Democratic but nevertheless oppose s.s.m.

      Obama’s national margin ended up being 4% (51 / 47). So on the national level we might expect a s.s.m. ballot initiative to end in a tie or come up short by 4-5% (supposing Maryland is an outlier).

      What’s important to note is the trend, and the clear trend is that support for s.s.m. is consistently increasing. Silver estimates it at 1.5% per year. If that holds and my back-of-the-envelope analysis above is remotely accurate then s.s.m. would pass straight-up national referendum in 2016.

  • Lauren Bertrand

    I am for SSM but I can still recognize a corrupt journalist when I see one. After watching how Piers Morgan treated the gun control argument, it is obvious he doesn’t care two hoots about journalistic integrity. It was painful to watch.

  • Bill Gernenz

    Notice how Piers has to continually redefine the question because Anderson clearly presents the reality that same-sex couples already have available to them all the benefits of marriage without having to redefine marriage.

    If Morgan allows Anderson to frame the argument accurately, he loses. Also, Orman is condescending and patronizing, even belittling Anderson’s superior knowledge of the issue by calling him “a good little recorder.”

    Amazing… but, unfortunately not surprising.

  • Bill Trip

    Our society is running 100 miles per hour into the buzz saw of God’s justice. He will not be mocked and He will not apologize for destroying Sodom.

  • Rob Moore (@RobMoore_1)

    Did they just bring him on as a laugh track?!? There was absolutely no serious debate going on in this clip, Ryan Anderson was written off from the word go. Wow, that was hard to watch, he was definitely alone in that room.

    • Terri Lynnm M.T.S.

      I admire his courage and that he was clear headed despite their lack of reasoning. It is hard to talk to people who aren’t reasonable.

  • Ken Temple

    Ryan did a good job; but I am wondering how Douglas Wilson, John McArthur, John Piper, or Al Mohler, would have answered the questions that were put to Ryan by Pierce Morgan. I wish they would have them on, without the room with an audience that was set up to clap and boo against the conservative kind of thing.

    Wouldn’t they say marriage is even deeper than just procreation and children(though what Ryan said was right about children), but a spiritual covenant under God and it is a God thing, a creation ordinance thing; told to us by God in Genesis 1-2 and Ephesians 5; And Matthew 19:1-6 and Mark 10:6-9.

    All the equal rights, financial issues seem to be covers for seeking to get approval for the sexual sin itself. But that subject is not allowed. It is the elephant in the room – what homosexuals and Lesbians do in private is sin; and they are free to do it if they want; but no one is mentioning that it is by nature sin anymore. They want the “marriage thing”, so that they can keep pushing down the knowledge of God and creation within them that what they do is wrong. Romans 1:18-28

    One of the problems is having an audience (that is probably set up) like that clap for the Orman/Morgan side, etc.

    When McArthur was on Larry King Live (P. Morgan’s predecessor), King was always fair to McArthur.

    I will never forget in the early 80s when Ted Koppel hosted a debate on this issue, and that has a really bad example of a Christian and the homosexual beat up on him and the audience jumped in and booed the Christian down; and Koppel let them. Seems the media set up that way to be unfair. Ryan was walking into the Lion’s Den.

  • Jordan Ballor (@JordanBallor)

    Next time the progressive/identity politics line will not just be, “You are 31? So young! What do you know about marriage?!” but also, “You aren’t married? What do you know about marriage?!” and even more bigoted, “Roman Catholic? We know we can’t trust you on sexual issues!”

    • Mike Weber

      30 states voted for it before 2012. In 2012, NC passed with a large majority because the legislation behind the initiative *purposely* put in on the ballot during a *Republican* primary (there was no ‘Democratic’ primary for all intents and purposes in 2012).
      In Maine, the people voted against the initiative (2009) before they voted for it.
      In IA, the people voted against 3 judges (2010) who judged marriage equality before they voted to retain 1 judge (2012).
      Marriage equality went 4-4 in November of 2012.
      Colorado now has civil unions for same sex couples; RI will probably have marriage equality; NM may already have marriage equality.
      If the Supreme Court rules narrowly against Prop 8, then CA will join the list and over 30% of US citizens will live in states that support marriage equality.
      And I don’t see any way DOMA Section 3 will survive past June.

      • Wesley Lowe

        You’d think that if most people favored SS”M” as fanatically as you do, Mike, it would make no difference if the vote in NC was during a Republican primary. They would have been out in droves to vote against traditional marriage regardless. But they did not.

        And SS”M” won in the ballot box in 2012 because gay marriage advocates had outspent the opposition by at least 3 to 1. And even then they won only by a narrow margin.

        You would not do well to underestimate the pro marriage forces, for they are far more numerous and active than the left bias media would mislead you into believing.

        • buddyglass

          Possibly more numerous, but also clearly less capable of spending to influence the vote in state-level ballot measures. You note that s.s.m. won at the ballot box because advocates outspent the opposition 3-to-1. What’s to say that won’t also be the case in every ballot measure going forward?

          For what it’s worth here are some potential ballot measures that are either in circulation to gain signatures or already under review for 2014. I’ve listed them from highest to lowest with respect to each state’s estimated level of support for s.s.m.:

          Pennsylvania – Marriage Amendment – Defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. (Currently banned by statute but not in state constitution.)

          New Mexico – Marriage Amendment – Would allow same-sex marriage in the state. (Currently not banned constitutionally or by statute, but neither is same-sex marriage explicitly allowed.)

          Arizona – Marriage Amendment Repeal – Would repeal a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

          Iowa – Same-Sex Marriage Ban Amendment – Would ban same-sex marriage in the state. (Currently legal.)

          Indiana – Marriage Amendment – Would define marriage in the state as between one man and one woman. (Currently banned by statute but not in state constitution.)

          Silver’s projections have the Penn measure failing, New Mexico and Arizona passing (but only barely in the case of Arizona), Iowa basically a tossup and Indiana passing.

  • Alastair Roberts

    The depressing thing is how predictably people fall for the ‘it’s just about two people loving each other’ arguments, instantly switching off all critical faculties, ceasing all questioning, and failing to engage any further. While there are cogent arguments that can be made in favour of SSM, the sheer lack of awareness of the sort of questions bound up with the issue typically exhibited by the majority of its proponents is mind-boggling.

  • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)

    Gotta love the Brit Morgan telling Anderson his views are “Not American.” These tolerance-demanding liberals are the most intolerant bullies I’ve ever seen.

    Anderson has been doing some great work at Heritage on this issue. I highly recommend checking out their Facebook page and Anderson’s articles and research on the issue of gay marriage. In particular, Anderson has focused on making the argument from a legal, constitutional perspective, which is a necessary part of the discussion in our representative republic.

    • Mary Patterson

      Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely look into it. Here in Canada, SSM wasn’t even debated. We were basically told one day that it was happening, end of story. If you didn’t agree with it, too bad.

      Most people I work with are all for gay marriage and I’m looked at like an alien if I say anything positive about traditional marriage. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the Twighlight Zone.

  • Allison Marie

    Ignorance isn’t just about how many degrees you have. A person can have a PHD in as many subjects as they like an still be ignorant to the ways of the world. What I want to know from marriage traditionalist is how extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is going to affect THEIR lives in any way. I know how it will effect same-sex couples, but as a heterosexual I personally don’t feel threatened by allowing gay couples to marry. It won’t affect any of my heterosexual relationships, my parent’s 25 year marriage will not suddenly suffer, in fact I can’t think of a single way allowing same-sex couples to marry will effect me. Seems to me marriage traditionalist are just interested in keeping the status-quo for the sake of keeping the status-quo.

    • Michael Lynch

      Do you believe the government has the right to go around redefining words, institutions, ideas, etc.? Can you think of any that if redefined would effect you?

      And the thinking that “everything is permissible if it doesn’t hurt anyone” doesn’t stop laws from being put in place that do hurt others (abortion for instance).

      Are you okay with polygamy if all involved are consenting? The government restricts this. Should there be a limit to the number? Are you okay with incestuous marriage if it doesn’t hurt you or your parents’ marriage? The government restricts this.

      Just a few thoughts.

      • buddyglass

        I’m not Allison, but I’ll take a stab at answering:

        Do you believe the government has the right to go around redefining words, institutions, ideas, etc.?

        Not only does it not have the right, it isn’t even capable of redefining words in the fundamental sense. A word’s meaning is whatever the speakers of a given language understand it to mean. Thus a word’s meaning can change organically over time and, in some cases, can come to possess multiple distinct meanings. Consider the word “gay” as one example.

        What the government can change is the set of unions it’s willing to accept as “marriage” for the purposes of assigning and enforcing legal rights and responsibilities. It has done this in the past (and rightly so). Would you say the government “redefined” marriage when it decided to afford legal rights and privileges to interracial opposite-sex couples?

        And the thinking that “everything is permissible if it doesn’t hurt anyone” doesn’t stop laws from being put in place that do hurt others (abortion for instance).

        Sure. But why is that relevant to the question of same-sex marriage? If s.s.m. does not, in fact, harm anyone, then on what grounds does one disallow it?

        Are you okay with polygamy if all involved are consenting? Are you okay with incestuous marriage if it doesn’t hurt you or your parents’ marriage?

        I’m not as horrified by the prospect of polygamous marriages as some are. I could see opposing them, however, if they were be shown to significantly increase the rate of abuse of women. If that were shown to be true then the govt. would have a legitimate interest in promoting binary marriage at the expense of polygamous marriage.

        With respect to heterosexual incestuous marriage there’s a high risk of harm to children in the form of genetic defects. One can support s.s.m. but oppose (heterosexual) incestuous marriage on that basis alone.

        One interesting corollary of that particular rationale for prohibiting incestuous (heterosexual) marriage: if it could be shown that certain non-incestuous heterosexual couples had a disproportionately high likelihood of producing offspring with genetic defects then the government might have an interest in forbidding such couples from marrying. For instance, if both members were carriers of a horrible hereditary disease.

        • buddyglass

          Allow me to correct some imprecise use of language on my part. I wrote “..might have an interest in forbidding such couples from marrying.”

          It would be more accurate to say, “…might have an interest in refusing to legally recognize the marriages of such couples.”

          The govt. cannot stop anyone from entering into true, biblical marriages. All it can do is refuse to legally recognize those marriages and confer the associated rights and obligations. For instance, before there was legal recognition for interracial marriage I’d argue it was still possible for interracial couples to “marry” in the biblical sense.

          The question we’re currently debating isn’t whether same-sex couples can “marry”. They can and have always been able to. The question is whether the state should recognize them and confer the associated legal rights and obligations.

    • Roger Stalingrad

      Allison I would have to disgree with you. There is much more to homosexual marriage than simply trying to maintain an age-old tradition. Whenever the govt. allows people to get married, they are saying something about constitutes a marriage. At present, advocates of homosexual marriage simply put forward that sexual love is the only criterion for marriage. Pressed to its logical conclusion, there is not really anything that marriage should not be if this is implemented across the board. It is also potentially very harmful to children to grow up in homes without both parents. Girls especially, have been found to be involved with drugs, get pregnant when they are younger, and lead themselves to ruin. The question for anyone who advocates gay marriage is, “WHY do gay couples need the government to endorse and reward your relationship for you to have it?” Answering that “They’re being denied their right to marriage” is simply a way of saying that you’re already assuming, without any basis, that marriage must include homosexual couples (which is what the whole argument is). One can’t assume their own position in a debate about the very thing that is being debated.

    • Nicole Kirk

      The issue before the Supreme Court is the definition of marriage. What is marriage? If the Supreme Court strikes down our current laws which define marriage as a union between a man/father and a woman/mother, they will use the coercive power of government to force everyone to accept a radically new definition of marriage, which removes the gender requirement. And as Justice Sotomayor succinctly asked, if the State cannot restrict marriage to two sexually complementary people, how can it restrict the number of participants to two, or the age of the participants, or the biological relations (no brothers and sisters). The argument for redefining marriage to exclude the norm of sexual complementarity is simply an argument for abolishing marriage altogether, which would affect everyone, but most negatively – children whose well-being is best promoted by being reared by their mother and father in marriage.

    • Mary Patterson

      I believe that what we do in private can certainly affect our society as a whole. 30 years ago, women having babies on their own without having the father in the picture, was very much in ‘vogue’. The idea was ‘I don’t need a husband in order to have a baby’ and society in general, seemed all too eager to adapt this new idea. You could have a baby, and if you were single, you got to go on Mother’s Allowance for the next 18 years and you were paid handsomely. I knew one woman who had 2 kids (both from different men she happened to just sleep with) and she was making more in a month than what I was working full time. And of course, it wasn’t anyone else’s business right?

      Fast forward 30 years. It is now an established fact that children raised by a single parent (usually the mother) is nowhere near as stable as children who are raised by a mother and a father in the same home. Statistics reveal that children raised without a father are more likely to start smoking, have a problem with substance abuse and end up in trouble with the law. And it affects society as a whole. We pay for these kids to get help or our tax dollars pay to house them in prisons, etc. Unfortunately the damage is done and no one wants to admit that it was a bad idea from the get go.

      I believe the same thing will happen with regards to allowing gay people to legally marry. 30 years from now, we’ll assess what damage it’s done to our society and something tells me it’s going to be far worse than what anyone thinks.

  • Ron Swanson

    Whichever side you’re on, this is typical of a lot of prime time “journalists”, left or right leaning. This was the left but watch Bill O’Reilly for the right. Most people just like to watch shows that validate their own beliefs rather than see a true debate so I’m not sure why anyone is surprised when this sort of thing happens.

    • Lauren Bertrand

      You are dead-on, Ron. Judging from your name (Parks and Rec?), you and I see pretty much the same side of this issue. The left might have Piers Morgan on prime time, but this blog is no less of a mouthpiece for the right. Certainly not any more objective. I am no more convinced that the anti-SSM contingent want a debate on this than the pro-SSM crowd does. Neither side is going to budge an inch, and both are fully guilty of the tactics by which they accuse the other side.

    • Akash Charles

      well on this issue those on the right will be watching something- cause Bill O’Rielly said last night he does not care about this issue .

      also If a Man was talking to a woman like this woman was , he would have been called sexist and a woman-hater by all the feminists on the show and the crazy feminists here-so much for equality

  • Roger Stalingrad

    I did not hear one argument from the proponent for gay marriage…I only heard the following:

    1. Assume the denial of people to marry someone of the same sex is the denial of a fundamental right (which is assuming your own position in the very thing you’re debating)

    2. If you don’t agree with me you’re ignorant and stupid.

    3. Instead of asking the govt. to allow benefits to other people who live in my household (which would be much easier), we will go the harder and more difficult route of forcing the redefinition of the marriage institution and forcing everyone in all 50 states to agree and the government to endorse our lifestyle by calling it something it’s not.

    Proponents of gay marriage should simply admit that they are either:

    A. Ignorant and on the bandwagon


    B. Gay themselves and therefore argue for it by default. You do not need the government to endorse your devotion to your partner. Period.

  • Nicole Kirk

    With secular moral-relativism the established religion of all public schools across the nation, it is no wonder that public opinion on genderless marriage is shifting. It is also no wonder that it is now culturally acceptable to rudely and condescendingly dismiss others opinions, beliefs, and/or arguments because they are based upon traditions or morality.

  • Daniel Palm

    Thanks, Prof. Burk, for calling this to our attention. I’m astonished Anderson isn’t deemed worthy of a place at the table. Either CNN is incredibly sloppy with their planning (only room for host and two guests on stage?) or meant to demean one of their panelists. Anderson is co-author, with Robert George and Sherif Girgin, of one of the best books on this subject, “What is Marriage?” One of their central points is that marriage is not simply based on tradition or religion, but a relationship grounded in nature itself. I’d go so far to suggest we err if we speak of traditional marriage–marriage needs no modifiers. It simply exists as an essential and unchangeable human institition, male and female, end of story. Calling two men “married” reminds one of Lincoln’s riddle: “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does he have?” If CNN blew it with their panel discussion, a much better one appears on CSPAN (probably on their website) with Anderson’s co-author, Sherif Girgin, filmed at Harvard Law School.

  • Ken Temple

    These two articles are also very well written and articulated and both by conservative Christians who believe that so called “same sex marriage” is wrong.

    But they both make great points, that we need to get our facts straight when making arguments; and we need to speak the truth in love; and we need to resist the temptation to fight like the devil in order to stand for truth.

    These illustrate the probable reason why we conservatives are loosing the “culture war” of the past 30 years. The young people and things like the “Emerging Church Movement” are responses to that, even though I also think they are wrong.

  • Nathan Cesal

    Civil marriage that the federal government supports right now has a depth and breadth to it that is clearly outside the type of marriage Anderson supports. Monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency are optional within the definition of marriage. According to his own argument, children will be harmed if society abides by the legal definition of marriage. Yet, he is not arguing for legal proscriptions to protect children from those things. Heritage Foundation’s agenda is pretty transparent.

  • James Howie

    People need to realize that Christians are specifically sensitive when someone tries to redefine marriage. Regardless of possible social impacts much is debatable. Marriage is the illustration given between Christ and his Church. Demanding that the church change the definition is extremely offensive in itself. Demanding that we support same sex marriage is like demanding a Christian to renounce their beliefs.

    The most offensive aspect to this won’t stop at equal rights for gay couples. The next step is them forcing churches to marry them. Those churches who’s doctrine specifically speaks against it is now put into the position that it is now the bad guy because they won’t marry them. God is love, but people often forget he is holy and pure – and will show his wrath for those that oppose him at the end of days.

    Government forcing a church to marry a same sex couple is like the government forcing every church to open a strip joint in the basement. It goes completely against it’s core beliefs. Where then is the separation of church and state?

    Get ready America, this is what lies ahead…we’re seeing here in Canada already. Liberalism is running wild. If you want to pursue a gay lifestyle that’s up to you, real Christians will love you regardless, just don’t expect us to agree and condone your lifestyle. Force me to and now you’re being intolerant.

    • James Bradshaw

      James H: It is legal for Christians to marry Jews. It is legal for heterosexuals to marry ten times in their lives. Interracial marriage is also legal. Has a church ever been forced to perform one of these marriages? No. Why do you think it would be different for gay marriage?

      “God is love, but people often forget he is holy and pure – and will show his wrath for those that oppose him at the end of days.”

      This has nothing to do with opposing God. People develop relationships with others and come to love and care for others not because they hate God, but because they’re human. If God is offended by that but not by the buying and selling of humans as property (as did the founders of the SBC), well, I don’t understand the ethics of your God.

      • Ken Temple

        James Bradshaw – the root of homosexuality is an opposition to God – Romans 1:18-32 clearly shows this. It is a rebellion against God and the way He made people – it is suppressing the knowledge of God on the inside by being busy in more unrighteousness. Romans 1 says it is against nature and the natural function of the way God created us.

        The slave trade was clearly wrong also – Exodus 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8-11. (kidnapping, selling) Rev. chapters 17-18. Rev. 18:13. The slavery of the OT was voluntary indentured servitude in order to survive some crisis. (war, poverty, famine, catastrophe, etc.)

        • James Bradshaw

          @Ken: So are you saying that the founders of the SBC who bought and sold humans for their own profit and gain and encouraged others to do so are … in Hell?

          • Ken Temple


            When the SBC was founded in 1845, American slavery had already been established from the 1700s onward.

            I don’t justify any of it; but from what I understand, those that had slaves and were Christians justified it by the fact that they inherited that situation; and they were not involved in the earlier slave trade of kidnapping people in Africa and selling them to Europeans who then brought them over to the American colonies.

            Each individual case would have to be looked at in order to make any sort of judgment. Difficult to do. One would have to know the whole life and beliefs and actions of each individual in order to make an evaluation. Some slave owners were cruel, and probably not even believers; others were good; some conditions horrible, some were not bad – like workers who do menial work all day, etc. (I am not justifying it; and I am just saying that there are different levels of the whole institution.

    • Linda Jackson

      I am gay and I don’t want a Christian Wedding or a Christian Marriage, USA=separation of State and Religion. Christians have had too much say in our government for too long, that is slowly coming to an end and you all are going to have to deal with it. Many different cultures, religions, and atheist marry, Christians do not hold the only key to getting married. Get over yourself.

    • Linda Jackson

      I think most people who think Ryan Anderson was brilliant, are clearly prejudice. I think he came across as an amateur with no backbone. He did not answer direct questions and one of his responses(solutions) was so way small-minded(the one about changing the inheritance laws, and then things will equal), hahaha, with that response he does show his ignorance(or as Suze Orman so eloquently put it, that he is uneducated in this particular area)- she is nicer than me. There are Sooo many more benefits that married people have than gays who cannot get married(federally). I won’t even start the list. If you all Super Christians want to preserve “YOUR Marriage,” then you do so by only marrying people in your church that you agree to marry. STOP trying to control the country, separation of Church and State. The country has been christian biased for so long, but now things are changing and I understand that it is hard to accept.

  • Ken Temple

    Hi Linda,
    Regarding the often used phrase “USA=separation of State and Religion” :

    There is a difference between “separation of church and state” vs. “separation of State and Religion”.

    The founding fathers of the USA did not seem to mean total separation of all ideas of religion and God out of government, or to separate moral principles from the foundation of God – “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” and “inalienable rights endowed by their creator” (the Declaration of Independence)

    And there is a difference between “separation of church and state” vs. “the separation of the idea of God out of the government”.

    Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut, who were worried that the Congregational Church (the official state church of Connecticut at the time) would persecute the Baptists:

    If you read the whole thing, Jefferson even talks about prayer and “the common father and creator of man” we share. (Meaning God the Father and creator)

    I bet that Jefferson and everyone else in his day would agree that the Creator created them “male and female” and “the two will become one flesh”. (Jesus in Matthew 19:3-6 alluding to Genesis 1:1; 1:26-27; 5:2; and fully quoted Genesis 2:24)

    So, even Jefferson and others did not mean total separation of the idea of God from government or society. Jefferson meant that the federal government cannot favor one church over another church. It would be interesting to know if any of the founding fathers ever considered other religions beyond the Christian religion in these issues and contexts. Many times even the word “religion” was meant as “the different Christian denominations”.

    The significant part from Jefferson’s letter:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.”

    Linda, I am curious, what kind of “wedding” do you want? (assuming you want a wedding, etc. )

    If it is not an “atheist” or humanism wedding, what “god” will you make your vows in front of as a higher power witness?

    or will you just vow to each other, without any acknowledgement of a higher power?

    You wrote:
    Christians have had too much say in our government for too long, . . .

    All of human civilization from the beginning knows that only male-female marriage is marriage – for over 10,000 years of all cultures, not just the west.
    So, it is not that “Christians have had too much say”, etc. rather all of history and all cultures and all of human civilization has been that way from the beginning.

    . . . that is slowly coming to an end and you all are going to have to deal with it.

    You may be right about that, unfortunately. We can “deal with it” and we also have the freedom to speak out and call homosexuality sin in the public square and in argumentation, hopefully. If that gets restricted, it will be a violation of the freedom of speech. Hopefully, you can see that our opinions should be allowed. We can disagree, and both sides have the right to express opinions.

    Many different cultures, religions, and atheist marry, Christians do not hold the only key to getting married.

    True, but every other religion and culture agrees with Christians – Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism (the Dalai Lama agreed with conservative Christians). It is only this post-modern western secular humanism/atheism that believes what you are saying.

    It is a creation ordinance in Genesis chapters 1-2 that all cultures agreed on in all of history. It is not an exclusive Christian thing.

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