Christianity,  Culture,  Politics

President Obama and the Rhetoric of the Gay Marriage Debate

One of the main rhetorical strategies of gay marriage supporters has been to frame the issue as the next phase in the struggle for civil rights in America. As a consequence, they brand traditional marriage supporters as “bigots” who support “discrimination” equivalent to that of Jim Crow. For the most part, that rhetorical strategy seems to be working. This means that if you are a Christian who believes the Bible, there are many who simply believe you to be a morally retrograde bigot.

If you think that I am exaggerating, then you are not paying attention. Just this morning I read another article that makes this point in no uncertain terms. A professor at Lancaster Theological seminary argues that even if your convictions about marriage are rooted in deeply held religious views, you are nevertheless a bigot. This kind of language has the effect of marginalizing and stigmatizing those who agree with what the Bible teaches about marriage.

It’s troubling that this kind of rhetoric has gained such a foothold in the public discourse. It’s even more troubling that it is now being used by the President of the United States. Earlier today, President Obama released a series of Tweets aimed at diminishing Mitt Romney’s newly minted running-mate, Representative Paul Ryan. One of the tweets said this:

FACT: Paul Ryan supports writing discrimination into the Constitution with an amendment banning gay marriage.

Obviously, President Obama’s statement is meant to cast aspersions on Rep. Ryan, but it goes beyond that. What Paul Ryan actually supports is an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. There are many Americans who support such an amendment. Yet in the President’s logic, they too would support “writing discrimination into the Constitution.”

Some will say, “It’s just a single tweet. What’s the big deal?” It’s true that this is just a tweet. But it is a tweet that is fully engaged in the current culture war over marriage. It’s a tweet that makes use of civil rights rhetoric in order to stigmatize and marginalize those who have a Christian view of marriage. The language of “discrimination” with all of its negative connotations is there for a reason.

For those who think that conservatives are the only ones interested in culture war, think again. It’s on both sides, and the President is warring against the Bible’s definition of marriage.


See also:

“President Obama’s Scriptural Defense of Gay Marriage” – May 9, 2012

“Black Pastors Hold the Line against Same-Sex Marriage” – February 29, 2012


  • Matt Burke

    “This account is run by #Obama2012 campaign staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.” -

    Though he presumably agrees with and promotes the same rhetoric.

  • Don Johnson

    The title of Carey’s article is ‘Christians Who Are Against LGBT Misuse The Bible’. This is his main charge, and since he claims it is true, he comes to the conclusion that anyone who uses the Bible to be “against LGBT” are bigots, hiding behind the “skirt” of the Bible.

    Yes, he is being deliberately provocative with his claim to bigotry of his exegetical opponents but it is not really a response to claim one is simply agreeing with what the Bible says on marriage. One really needs to try to deconstruct his arguments.

    As believers, we know that trying to make God into our image is a form of idolatry. His argument is that LGBT “bigots” are making the BIBLE into their own image, and this would again be a form of idolatry, making the Bible (God’s words) into something it is not.

    This is similar to abolitionists’ claim that slaveholders were simply racists and were hiding being their self-interested interpretation of the Bible. It might have been inflammatory back then, but most people would agree today that the slaveholders WERE racists, in fact we would agree that almost everyone was racist back then. The Bible did not change, but the understandings about what it said about slavery and race changed.

    My point is I would like to see more engagement with his exegetical arguments. I know how I would try to deconstruct them, but how would you? I and pretty sure it would be different than mine.

  • David Thomas

    Hhmmm. Does this mean that Barack Obama was a “bigot” in his adherence to the traditional view of marriage until he “evolved” to where he declared himself to be a few weeks ago? The brazenness of the whole thing (basically grounding the argument in what everyone knew all along–that the president of the United States was lying about his position on the matter) is simply breathtaking.

    *sigh* Although there are plentiful reasons from a purely sociological standpoint to argue for “traditional” marriage, I believe we need to go right at it and frame the whole thing theologically. We need to be prophetic in our approach the same way Jesus went right at things the final week of His earthly life.

    Marriage, more than anything else (yes, including love, commitment, and even child bearing and rearing–as important as they all are) is about imago Dei. As Christians we are bound to defend the image of God so that His truth may stand; homosexuality distorts that image. This truth cannot be framed politically and (paradoxically) the Holy Spirit convicts the sinners heart not BECAUSE the message is good PR, but IN SPITE of the fact that it isn’t. We serve a crucified Lord whose kingdom is not of this world.

  • Davis Marsh

    What’s even more troubling is that actual bigots,like you, would still prefer people to sit in the back of the bus.

    History will prove you wrong, and your grandchildren will be forever embarrassed by you.

    • Denny Burk


      It’s clear that we disagree about this. But do you think it’s helpful to label traditional marriage supporters as “bigots”? That is exactly the kind of language that stigmatizes and marginalizes. I just think we can and should do better. Let’s be honest about disagreements. Let’s try to persuade each other of what we believe to be right and true. But let’s leave behind the inflammatory rhetoric. We can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s what we should be aiming for.

      Thanks for taking time to comment.


      • A.D. Fountain

        I welcome correction if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that President Obama has said that same-sex marriage is a civil right. He said that he personally supports same-sex marriage, but states should be free to define marriage. Consequently, when he tweeted “Paul Ryan supports writing discrimination into the Constitution . . .,” I believe he was not referring to civil rights discrimination but to the broad definition of the word, i.e., the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on his or her membership in a certain group or category.

      • David Thomas

        Actually, Denny, I think Davis’ language is enormously helpful, albeit in an ironic way. He demonstrates the lay of the land admirably.

        I remember the days when John 14:6 was the big stumbling block–Jesus’ declaration that He was the only way. That statement falls under the rubric of “special revelation.” But now the stumbling block is Genesis 1:27-28–the idea that God hardwired monogamy into the created order, which falls under the category of “general revelation” (God revealed through nature). So Christians have gone from making the case for the divinity of a Jewish carpenter to baby-stepping people through the biological realities of heterosexual procreation.

        How can a person like Davis Marsh be reasoned with? The simple answer is, he can’t be reasoned with. We are to be courteous and gentle (kudos on this, by the way, Denny), but in the end he has bought into a doctrine of demons. And there is no reasoning with demons.

        It is interesting to hear Davis predict how our progeny will view us. For my part, I look back on my Christian “grandparents” who faced similar opposition in the first centuries of the Church. They proclaimed Christ in a world of dissipation and consequently were branded misanthropists and anti-social freaks. That era is typically seen (right or wrong) as the golden age of the church, a time of purity and undiluted love and sacrifice. I, along with most Christians, are terribly proud to come from that seed, and hope deeply, should the Lord tarry, to be seen by those who follow the way we look upon those who stayed faithful in the past.

  • Davis Marsh

    Yes, I do think my language was fair. Gay people marrying takes nothing away from your marriage, or mine. My wife and I have been together for 20 years, five kids and two grandchildren. You’re repeating the same old tired argument that “whites only” folks spouted years ago. Shame on you. Unsubscribed.

    • Denny Burk

      Davis, I would just ask you to realize what you are saying. You are saying that if a person holds to Christianity’s view of marriage, then they are bigots. Is that really the position that you want to take? That is the essence of intolerance, and it doesn’t leave much room for Christians in what is supposed to be a pluralistic society.

      The Bible’s teaching about human sexuality cannot be equated with the inhumane discrimination of the Jim Crow south. If you think that it is, then you either don’t understand Christianity or you don’t understand the Jim Crow south. They are apples and oranges. Jim Crow regarded black people as less than persons. It deprived their civil rights because of the color of their skin.

      Traditional marriage supporters are not trying to take away anyone’s civil rights. Traditional marriage supporters believe that homosexuals have the same civil rights as any other individual in our society. What we disagree with is the notion that anyone has the right to redefine marriage. We also disagree with the notion that sexual orientation can be used to create a “protected class.”

      • A.D. Fountain

        At least one dictionary defines a bigot as “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” If you agree with the definition, Christians and other people of faith who believe that only their religious beliefs are correct could be defined as bigots.

        • Corey Hambrick


          Denny did not call people in his article who disagree with him as bigots. That is what I find so strange about this entire line of thinking. Those of us who believe marriage as the bible defines it are being called bigots and I don’t hear many of us calling the Gay and Lesbian communities bigots.

          Society has now moved to the place where tolerence is no longer about the individual but all the views people have. We are not longer suppose to say that we disagree with a view. We are know in a place that says “I will not tolerate your intolerance of my view. If you say my view is wrong, I will not tolerate you, you are a bigot.”

          The very notion of tolerance indicates that you have to disagree on something before you can tolerate it. If you say you are going to tolerate someone who believes in Islam, Marxism, etc, you have to disagree with what they say before you can say i will tolerate them. If people are not in a place to say that any view is right or wrong, how can they tolerate it.

          I love this quote by D A Carson.

          “The new definition of tolerance is not only inconsistent, it’s incoherent and proves, in fact, to be less tolerant then the brand of tolerence that was around under modernism. Because at the very point where it comes up with that which disagrees with it the most, it has to dismiss all opponents as intolerant and bigoted, and there becomes in fact, totalitarian.”

        • Sean Egan

          So a person who supports gay marriage but is against marriage for polygamist would also be a bigot by that same definition right?

        • Johnny Mason

          Based on that definition, everyone in this debate is a bigot. Those on the pro-gay marriage side are obstinately devoted to their opinions, are they not?

      • Adam Miller

        Denny and Davis,

        It seems that your disagreement is not taking into consideration all of the facts surrounding the issue.

        Denny – How far would you go to defend the integrity of the trinity? Would you limit tax exemption from churches that are pantheistic? Would you pass legislation that says that a congregation could not be called a church if they don’t teach the triune nature of God? We are called to earnestly contend for the faith, but I don’t see anywhere in Scripture a precedence that we have to defend the doctrines in society by passing legislation. I don’t think Davis is calling you a bigot solely because you believe homosexuality is a sin, but because you are attempting to legislate it.

        Davis – Denny is right. This isn’t about civil rights. This is about statist recognition of homosexuality. The unfairness here is that heterosexual marriages are given special stimulus from the government and therefore afforded special rights that homosexuals don’t get. This is not a civil argument, but it does have specific ramifications that limit homosexual’s rights. While I consider homosexuality to be a sin, I don’t feel the need to force my views on anyone else. Does that make me a bigot?

        I don’t see any biblical precedence why Christians should expect any legislation defining marriage. If Christians really cared about protecting the rights of the Church (Particularly what will eventually be labeled “hate speech”) they out to consider what they are losing when fighting to limit the rights of homosexuals. If a group of people want to get together and call themselves a church and marry their congregants, that shouldn’t affect another church who is exercising the same liberties.

        I recently wrote on this issue…

        I am strongly opposed to homosexuality as a sin, but I still have not heard a biblical argument on why the government should be bound to define it by biblical principles.

        Forgive me if I came across as too harsh. As a strong evangelical with a high view of Scripture, I cannot see any precedence for legislating morality. Voting is not about what I believe, but what is best for a nation to protect our beliefs. Christians are quickly losing the battle by making this a war on beliefs when we should be concerned with protecting everyone’s liberties.

        • Johnny Mason


          “I cannot see any precedence for legislating morality”

          All laws that are passed is legislating morality, the only issue here is what the morality is based on. It is immoral to steal or murder and no one seems to have a problem legislating those morals.

          There is also more going on here than just “legislating morality”, because this is about definitions of things and encouraging and normalizing sinful behavior. The first move was made by those who wanted to redefine the word marriage to mean something it is not, then when people pushed back, they could claim bigotry or “legislating morality” or denial of civil rights.

          Marriage has been the union of a man and a woman for centuries and if you (the general you, not you specifically) are going to change the laws to redefine it, then the burden is on you to come up with a compelling argument why this needs to change, and crying “help, help, I’m being oppressed” is not going to cut it.

          Secondly, there is a big difference in passing a law to outlaw immoral behavior and passing a law that rewards, normalizes, and honors immoral behavior. Recognizing gay marriage is the latter.

          • Adam Miller

            #1. To understand what I mean by legislating (individual) morality, see my response to Derek below.

            #2. Normalizing sin? I don’t see how legislation is helping in boding the tide of sin’s normalization. If anything, it’s making matters worse. We are called to be salt and light, not stones and a barrier.

            #3. I am not advocating for homosexual marriage to be legalized by the federal government. On the contrary, I don’t want the government to define something that they have no need to define. There would be no need to define homosexual marriage and reward their action if we were not also given preferential treatment to heterosexual marriages. But this is really an issue of economics and the expansive growth of the federal government.

            Question: How does defining marriage protect liberty?

            Please feel free to read the link I posted in my comments above.

        • Jason Owens

          I recommend the book “Uncompromised Faith” by Michael Craven. Good arguments about the necessity for upholding the biblical definition of marriage. It looks at the impact of the family unit on the health of society as a whole. And ultimately points out the need for not being neutral on the issue because it will end with standing up for anything biblical, even Jesus, will not be allowed.

          • Adam Miller

            Jason. I’ll look into the book, but it sounds pretty similar to the position of Wayne Grudem in his book, “Politics According to the Bible.” I have a problem with the position that defining marriage is essential for a society because it is based off of the teaching of Aristotle, a totalitarian. The argument fails to take into consideration the importance of liberty in a free society. (See my response to Derek below).

            I don’t understand you final argument. If you read my article that I linked to above, you would see that I believe it is essential for people to stand up for what God calls sin. I don’t think it is necessary to hold that standard to the world.

            I’d love to hear you thoughts more fleshed out, however.

        • Derek Taylor

          Adam Miller says “I cannot see any precedence for legislating morality”.

          Adam, you have set up two categories for laws/governing rules:
          1) laws based on morality and
          2) laws NOT based on morality.

          Can you name some of our laws or governing principles that fall into the latter category?

          • Adam Miller

            I’m sorry Derek, but I don’t think you raise a valid point. There are a lot of laws that are based on immorality; i.e. abortion, divorce, etc.

            The point I made is about legislating an individuals morality. Obviously you would agree with me on this issue because you don’t legislate all morality. Would you put legislation to restrict the religious freedom of others? I put forth liberty as the greatest standard that Christians have to offer politically. No other religion can make that same offer. Based on liberty, you cannot do anything that will legitimately affect my liberty. Therefore, you can’t kill me, steal from me, or damage my person or property. This is the inalienable right that is afforded to me by God and the US constitution. That is the standard our laws ought to be based on, not legislating and therefore forcing morality. You cannot force someone to be what you want them to be. You can only enact force on them when there actions are an attack on your liberty.

            It is not your liberty to live in a society void of married homosexuals.

            • David Thomas

              See my post, below, Adam. I see you as sincere, but sincerely mistaken. Our society can and does legislate “individual morality” (up to and including the size of the soft drinks we purchase), because what the individual does ultimately affects the whole.

              NYC made a law about soft drinks because they claim obesity affects the common good adversely through increased medical costs and decreased productivity. But homosexual behavior (particularly the male variety) is extremely unhealthy, almost always invoilving the ingestion of excrement and the practice of pentrating the rectum which leads to the rupture of tissues that are not meant to be ruptured–introducing pathogens from the lower intestine directly into the bloodstream. A host of diseases are borne of it, and consequently public health funds are poured into keeping the tide at bay (from condoms to inordinate research for HIV vaccines, and everything in between). We can blush, shudder, and balk at the directness of my speech all day long, but THESE PRACTICES, and not one guy loving another (friends have done this for years with no issue), are the problem.

              Of course, I have only mentioned health issues. Do you really think that there is no communal effect when the law of the land changes to recognize zero difference between a heterosexual couple who raises their own biological offspring (or even adopted offspring who /conceivably/ could be their own) and a homosexual couple whose child will know by adolescence that his/her parents could not /possibly/ have given them birth?

              Ignoring natural realities as we draft our laws moves us from dealing with our fallenness as best we can to actually /rejoicing/ in that fallenness. The result is a butcher’s bill too high to pay.

              • Adam Miller

                David, We clearly see this issue through two different lenses. However, I feel that your argument lends more to my position than yours. I obviously don’t agree with NYC’s war on diabetes. Nor do I agree with them legislating homosexuality. There are evident risks. I’m not denying those risks. There are also risks with smoking and drinking alcohol. A perfect case in point is the prohibition, which only made the matter worse, not better.

                Yes, there are societal problems inherent with homosexuality. The solution however is not to give more control to the federal government. There are no Christian orphanages in Massachusetts, where I live, because they are required by law to allow gay couples to adopt. I think that is equally wrong, but that is what we have when we make the war about legislation and not about individual and corporational rights to decide for themselves.

                This discussion is getting a little bit deep, particularly in the idea of altruism and the collective. It is equally (if not more so) affordable to suggest that the legislation has actually made the matter worse. We are called to be salt and light. Salt is designed to preserve not butcher. Light is designed to point to the truth, not create a barrier.

          • Nathan Cesal

            The law defining Labor Day isn’t based on a specific moral.
            How about the majority of the tax code? On what moral basis is the age of retirement set? Or how the tax exclusion tables are determined?
            What about the laws depicting the denominations used for our currency? I’m sure we are much more moral by NOT having a $2 denomination.
            How about the driving age? Or the requirement to have a vehicle licensed? Or vehicles numbered with a unique VIN?
            There’s a law that states the state of Colorado is called the state of Colorado. Would it be immoral to call it something else?

            Not all laws are based on morality. Some are there for convenience or contrivance.

            • Derek Taylor

              Labor Day came about in the industrial revolution and was controversial. Those pushing for it wanted to use it to further “worker’s rights” and some even wanted to further communism or at least the ideals of communism. It was not without controversy and some opposed it on moral grounds.

              Some libertarians and anarchists sincerely hold their views and oppose government oversight of any kind, so some of the seemingly benign laws you mentioned are still contested by at least some individuals and are seen to be a violation of natural law.

              Also, some people object to the idea that they hold to “morals”, but even an anarchist is holding to a certain type of morality or amorality.

              The naming of cities, schools, streets, states and governments may not always be controversial, but sometimes they are very controversial, because what the community names itself or its landmarks says something about what they value and believe in.

              Laws are an expression of what someone or some group of people in a position of power decided was best for the people it governed.

        • David Thomas

          Adam, with Derek I am mystified by your statements regarding biblical morality vis-a-vis nation state legislation. There is no such thing as amoral legislation–anywhere or at any time in human history.

          What you /may/ be trying to say is that while moral codes directly linked to the perceived /public welfare/ are naturally legislated (such as laws against murder), so much so that it isn’t even worth mentioning in the argument, moral codes dealing with /personal/ welfare cannot be legislated (and for this reason we cannot outlaw adultery between consenting adults).

          The problem with this appoach is that it is based more in post-Enlightenment individualism than in either the Bible or in sound societal principle. The simple truth is that there is /no such thing/ as “individual moral code”; we are all inextricably linked as a society. This is what I find so ironic about the pro-gay lobby: they paradoxically argue that it is a private matter and no one else’s concern, even as they attempt to recast calibrate the group think of an entire society. A blind man in a dark room wearing sunglasses can see that they want more than to “do what they want”–they already have that to a great measure. What they really want is everyone to think like they do.

          Sexual practice is at once an intimate, private affair and also one that is profoundly public and societal, linking all people in a community together and dictating how that community deals with other communities in the larger human family. This is why a simple Google search of “secular arguments against gay marriage” will result in a gold mine of hits. Secular thinkers have observed the realities of family and society, and, lo and behold! they have determined that the Bible is right on this issue: Societies that follow the pattern of monogamous, life-long marriage result in stronger family units and hence a stronger society. Even married couples with no children reinforce the pattern for those who do, and for children who observe them. In other words, sexual politics are very, very public and not at all merely private and individual.

          Just because the Bible and good sense coincide doesn’t mean we should start talking about tossing the idea of morality in legislation entirely.

          • Adam Miller

            David, interesting thoughts. Though I would encourage you to see my response to Derek as I addressed the issue of legislating (individual) morality.

            I think that my standard for legislation is based on liberty and the unalienable rights afforded to us by God and the US constitution. That’s the standard for laws in our nation today, which I consider to be very much a Christian gift to society. What troubles me is that we are sacrificing that right to uphold a standard that doesn’t affect us.

            If we don’t legislate adultery, why are we fighting so hard to defend the sanctity of marriage? I would suggest that divorce is of far greater concern for Christians, yet it is incredibly easy to throw away a contract made before God and witnesses.

            • David Thomas

              I saw that and responded to it. I still think you are not granting enough room for the effect of individual trangressions of natural law upon the common good; you are far more interested in “liberte Americana” than the balancing mater of responsibly applying law for the sake of the common good–which is also a Constitutional issue.

              Homoseuality is the gravest degree of distortion affecting the family unit we haave yet dealt with. Will you argue this way when it comes to laws allowing for incest? Bestiality? Polygamy?

              • Adam Miller

                David, you’re right. I don’t see a biblical precedent for legislation to limit the natural consequences to sin. I have made the case that we have made matters worse. Prohibition, the war on drugs, the war on terror, etc. are perfect examples of how government meddling has amplified the problems without ever eradicating the root issue.

                I agree that homosexuality has gross and grave affects on society. It is a gross sin, as is beastiality, pedophilia, incest, etc. I think, however, that these things would be less of an issue if we could deal with them more on a localized level. The same problem persists in the church as well. Instead of dealing personally with a brother who is sinning in the church, we make a rule and put it in the standard of conduct. I have never seen how this was more effective than just walking up to the person and confronting them out of genuine love and concern.

                We must also remember that Jesus lived and Paul wrote during a time when homosexual pedophilia was a common practice in Greek culture. Yet this was not the concern for them. They were concerned with giving the world the only thing that could possibly evoke change: the gospel.

                I’m not saying that we shouldn’t confront the sinner, I just don’t want the government doing it. We have made a complete mess of things by allowing the government to gain more and more control. I am for limiting the government and giving the responsibility back to the people.

                Your position would have us doing exactly what secularist are doing to limit our rights. Eventually, we will be like England and Europe who were quickly over-powered by the secularist and forced into sacrificing their own freedoms. I am for creating an equal playing field where we are concerned with equal liberty. If we can pass laws that will limit the expression of others, it is just a matter of time until those people will be passing laws to limit our rights. Canada is a good example of this, they cannot preach about homosexuality at all with risk of going to jail. I work in Christian radio. We are already fighting staying on the air when legislation is looming that would label the gospel as hate speech.

                You’re absolutely right. I am most concerned with liberty. Without this key principle to American freedom, we will set a precedence to lose our opportunity to freely preach the gospel.

        • Evan B.

          While it is true that though legislation we can’t make people moral, it is not true that we can’t make laws based on morals. Every law is based on someone’s morality. Why should Christians relinquish their’s in law-making?

          • Adam Miller

            Evan, great question. I don’t think that Christians should relinquish their morals when voting. Understand that my view is that there shouldn’t be special legislating affording rights to heterosexuals either. I think the issue I am fighting for is a matter of liberty, one of the most important convictions we should defend in this nation today. If we don’t, we will quickly lose our freedom. I believe liberty to be the essential quality that has made America great. We are losing that quality and therefore losing our greatness as a nation. We are about to be passed by a communist society that has lower moral standards than us (China). So the argument cannot be raised that we are suffering for allowing sin, but we are suffering for forfeiting liberty.

            • Derek Taylor

              “We are about to be passed by a communist society that has lower moral standards than us”

              Ask a Chinese adherent to Christianity or Falun Gong how loose their standards are. Ask someone who has dared to criticize the government openly. You want to try being gay in China? Get ready to go off the grid.

              Their standards may be different than ours, and they aren’t informed by Christian beliefs (at least not directly) but they are definitely not low.

    • Johnny Mason

      Do you think brothers and sisters should be able to marry? Fathers and daughters? Do you think polygamists should be able to marry? If not, then why? None of these things take away from your marriage.

  • James Harold Thomas

    The response of those who disagree with the Bible’s teaching has “evolved” quite a bit in the past couple of decades, and it hasn’t gotten softer.

    Remember the days of “that’s true for you but not true for me”? They’re long gone and “YOU’RE A HATEFUL HOMOPHOBIC BIGOT!” has replaced them. The people who used to say “don’t force your morality on me” have changed from defense to offense and found that forcing their own morality on others is oh so fun.

    Disclaimer: I know this is a generalization. There are many folks on BOTH sides of the issue who are respectful toward those who disagree with them. (But it looks like our own President might be moving out of that camp.)

  • Nathan Cesal

    “The President is warring against the Bible’s definition of marriage.”

    …no, he is warring against making it the law for everyone to follow. Allowing everyone to follow either the Bible or something else is not warring against the Bible — it’s as American as apple pie — it’s the freedom of religion…

  • Steve Cornell

    Anymore it seems courageous to be willing to write what you have written. I think you’ll appreciate an expanded consideration of the tactical rhetoric in 7 predictable arguments used to promote gay marriage:

    1. Using the language of civil rights:

    For several decades, we’ve heard increased association of gay rights with battles for racial and gender equality. A desire for homosexual sex (we’re told) is an inborn condition, not a choice. Although based on false comparison and without scientific support, the aim is to get the public to view gays and lesbians as they would people of race. If successful, those who morally oppose gay marriage will be viewed as hateful racists who oppose the civil rights of an oppressed minority.

    2. Using accusations of hate and irrational fear:

    The goal has been to convince the public that opponents of gay marriage are bigoted hate-mongers with irrational phobias. They are homophobic and full of venomous prejudice. People are not permitted to see things differently. They are not free to choose a moral position on homosexual conduct. The agenda is in overdrive to portray anyone who does not endorse the gay lifestyle as irrational religious fanatics who destroy civility. Supporters of traditional marriage are presented as dangerous people who cling to bigoted ideas of a by-gone era.

    3. Exposing heterosexual hypocrisy:

    Attention is drawn to marriage as a failing institution among heterosexuals. This is partly done to make Christians appear to be hypocritical for opposing gay marriage when they have their own marriage crisis. It’s simply an effort to silence opposition to gay marriage. It also assumes that gay marriage will improve the marriage scene.

    4. Using the language of justice:

    In a twisted way, radical gay activists portray opponents of gay marriage as perpetrators of injustice. Accusations of inequity for denying loving people the opportunities to have the same rights and freedoms others enjoy are repeatedly used. The laws that protect all citizens are sufficient but gay activists demand special laws for their lifestyle choices.

    5. Using the language of religion:

    Connecting gay rights to religious freedom and claiming God’s approval of gay relationships is another tactic. Repeated scoldings are issued to remind religious people that God is about love and tolerance. Although every major faith for most of history opposed homosexual behavior, they suggest that it’s the view of a fringe radical group of fundamentalists. They even deceptively portray Jesus as favoring gay marriage based on an argument from silence (see: Matthew 19:3-9).

    6. Playing the victim card:

    Every crime or death that can be connected in any measure to opposition to homosexuality is used to demand special laws for the homosexual lifestyle. Much of the media want us to believe that all opposition to gay marriage incites hate, violence and even suicide. This has played on the gullibility of Christian compassion in an effort to silence differing viewpoints.

    7. Using judicial coercion:

    Since State after State has approved constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage, radical gay activists have used the judiciary to force Americans to accept gay marriage. In Massachusetts, for example, four justices unilaterally imposed their endorsement of gay marriage on the entire state — despite surveys indicating that the majority of residents did not favor gay marriage.

    These tactics are being used to pressure the public to accept and celebrate the homosexual lifestyles as normal. Those who chose the homosexual lifestyle use to say that all they wanted was to be left alone to live as they desire. The new agenda is not about tolerance and respect but pursuing special status, laws and recognition for the sexual choices of a small percentage of citizens.

    We must not fall for the unproven hypothesis that being gay is something comparable to race and gender. Homosexuality is about the sex people are choosing, not unalterable conditions of birth. It’s both cruel and unloving toward those tempted by homosexual desire to teach them that they have no choice but to accept that they are born for this and cannot change.

    Steve Cornell

  • EM

    I wrote this comment earlier today, but it appears it was deleted, and I am not sure why. I am submitting again….and not sure why it did not appear in the comment section, as I saw it published before I left for work. Am I not understanding some rule about comments? If so, please let me know what I am doing wrong.

    Thank you

    My comment I wrote this morning with some minor grammatical corrections:


    As a heterosexual, married, Christian female, who has served as a military officer and also owned her own business, I have given this issue of gay marriage vs civil rights a great deal of thought. I have strong beliefs in the biblical view of marriage and stand by my convictions. But with my background as a military officer and business owner, I have strong convictions for civil rights, especially as a female who had to surprisingly overcome several issues in the military and in owning a business even in today’s world.

    Having said that, I wondered if anyone could indulge me for a moment and allow me to explain what I feel is the issue and how I feel this issue could actually be resolved, if only the “powers at be” could see it the way I am understanding it? Or, if someone could explain to me how my way of thinking may be off?

    First, my let me just simply say that my exact knowledge of dates/scriptures and writings both the constitution and the bible are vague at best, but it is the philosophy here, that supplies my solution to this issue.

    “Marriage” is a holy, religious sacrament, plain and simple. It is one of many holy, religious sacraments. Such as, let’s say, baptism. Baptism is another holy sacrament. I believe marriage is a holy union binding a man, woman AND God.

    In the United States, when two people get “married” they must go to a city hall and apply for a “marriage license” to make it legal. Therein lies the real issue that could solve this current issue of gay “marriage” vs civil rights.

    At some point in our country’s history (again, I do not have the date), our government took this holy sacrament, marriage, and applied certain civil privileges to it. However, this holy sacrament is not LEGAL until a piece of paper is filled out in some city hall – which now makes this union LEGAL. Why this marriage sacrament allows for civil privileges but not other sacraments is a mystery to me. I mean, if one gets baptized, which is a holy sacrament, do we get tax deductions, insurance discounts? See what I am saying? Why is the government picking and choosing which of my holy sacrament are to receive special civil privileges? Why any holy sacrament at all?

    As a Christian, my real contention is having non-believers redefining my holy sacrament, marriage, which is based on my beliefs according to my religion. According to the bible, marriage is between one man and one woman along with a covenant with God. The government waters it down to basically a legal union between two agreeing parties (currently man and woman), as defined by the law, which is the legal license we must get at our local city hall.

    Now, as a prior military officer, American, and, as a Christian, I do not want to see any of my fellow American denied any right to anything that I have a right to either. A law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, who wants to spend his/her life devoted to another person of his/her choosing may do so and also receive health benefits, tax deductions, insurance, and visits in the hospital and so on. These are legal, civil matters, not religious.

    The simple solution would be is just to stop calling these legal unions “marriages” because they are not. Since everyone is required to get a legal license to marry than it would stand that (both heterosexuals and homosexuals) would have to go to city hall and apply for a legal license (not a marriage license) and apply for a legal document such as Permanent Partner License or Life Partner License or something of some sort.

    THEN….a “Marriage License” would be issued by the church. It is holy, and deemed as holy, so the church is the only identity legally who “marries” (or not) according to its beliefs.

    This way, Christians (such as myself) preserve the sanctity of our holy union, and we do not allow anyone else to redefine “marriage” as it is already defined according to biblical laws, and kept separate from man’s governing laws. And the gay community may have a legal license that recognizes they are a legally bound to one another as they see fit. And if they happen to find a church that “marries” them, then that is up to that church, its values, and its morals, which they must deal within their own community.

    Legal forms such as applications, school forms, government forms that ask for race, date of birth, single….married….change that to last one to “single or legally partnered in which city hall or church______”

    I do understand that this will not solve the issue of what legally partnering up gay couples may or may not do to our society morally. But as Christians, I feel our job is to live our lives in the way that pleases God and to have enough faith to know that God is ultimately in control. I do know that out of all that Jesus says that is important in life, He said, “love” is of the greatest.

    I personally do not understand why this one holy sacrament was taken out of the church and incorporated into the government, and yet, I do understand how marriage is a reflection of the image of Christ and His church and this country was founded on the principals of God. However, it is the Christian marriage that is under attack, not the civil rights of gays. And I find it so mind-boggling that this simple concept is lost so often.

    The government, not Christians, discriminate. Yet, our holy sacrament is the object of attacks. It seems that whenever we are “pro- family”, we are automatically “anti-gay” which is absurd. That is like saying because we are “pro-life” then all those who don’t agree with us, ought to be labeled “anti-life.” But they aren’t called that, they are called “pro-choice.” They are “pro-choice” and yet, we are “anti-gay” when we happen to really be “pro-family”.

    I would like to see my holy sacrament of marriage to remain that: holy, and left to the church as it should. The legalities should be left to the government, and for the government to stop calling it “marriage” when in reality, it is just a legal contract in order for them to keep track of taxes and for insurance companies to keep track of premiums. Let the gays be legal, but let me keep my marriage holy and whole. That doesn’t make me “anti-gay” one bit. It just makes me strong in what I believe without hurting anyone.

    It is the government who is mucking it all up and they are looking for a scapegoat. Or in this case…the lamb for the slaughter to appease the jeering crowd….hmmmm…sounds familiar. Wonder where I read that?

    • Derek Taylor

      EM, A lot of folks have tried to broker some kind of compromise, but the militant folks on the gay marriage side do not want there to be any kind of legal or social difference between their marriage and heterosexual marriage. They view any difference to be discriminatory in nature. In fact, I predict that it won’t be very long until the terms “husband” and “wife” become controversial words and we start seeing pressure placed on corporations, schools and government bodies to replace these words with gender neutral terms. Mark my words.

  • Erin Monroe

    Thanks Denny, I did not realize the policy and thanks for posting my comment all the same.

    Derek, thanks for the reply. Your reply only makes me question the issue all the more then. Is the issue with gay marriage about civil rights – meaning that “married couples” receive benefits not given to those who are not married? Or is it an issue that gay couples simply want to be recognized as a union?

    I personally see it as THREE issues desperately trying to roll itself into one cause – a cause that basically yet again, divides our nation.

    The three issues as I see them are:

    1) The government making a decision to use a holy, religious sacrament as a means to apply civil rights to certain groups and now using this decision as a tool to be used as needed to gain its own political agenda as needed.

    Solution: Take the sacrament of “marriage” out of government policies/programs/benefits completely.

    2) Gays want to be recognized as legal, partnered couples with the same benefits as heterosexual unions (married) couples.

    Solution: Institute a new name for an already existing and required license for said union. Instead of a “marriage license,” everyone (including heterosexuals) now must obtain a “permanent partnership license” or something of some sort. This would make everyone who selects a life partner the same.

    3) Christians want the sanctity of marriage to remain as defined by the bible and for the government to leave their religious beliefs alone and do not want their holy sacrament to be taken over by a governing institution and redefined simply based on legalism.

    Solution: See solution #2 and in addition to #2 Christians are able to apply for a marriage license from their church and hold a private ceremony in which their church leader (or Temple) has authority to issue their religious marriage license in the eyes of their God.

    I just don’t see how this would bother the gay community, as it is meeting all the requirements that most liberals seems to tout loudly:

    * Religion does not belong in the government
    * What someone believes is a personal choice and no one’s business
    * Everyone should have the same civil rights, liberties and benefits
    * The government does not have the right to define someone’s religious beliefs and at the same time, they cannot penalize or withhold benefits if they do not fall in line with those beliefs either.

    Unless I am seriously missing something, I am can’t wrap my head around as to what exactly is the real issue? Again, as a Christian, I believe I have a right to not have my government redefine what God had defined as well as my church.

    But what my government CAN do is ensure that all of our citizens are treated equally and with respect and ensure that we each have the right to our own beliefs without fear that if our own beliefs don’t line up with the latest, or loudest issue, that our businesses or our dreams will be boycotted or disrupted simply because we too, are Americans with the same freedoms as those who choose to misuse their freedoms by trampling on fellow Americans.

    • Don Johnson

      This is what a few conservatives have put forth, as a way to stop the stampede of government encroachment on almost everything. The basic mistake is that the government should never try to be in the marriage defining business. Once you grant that principle, the government is free to change the definition according to what the leaders think is the will of the people.

      • Adam Miller

        Don, This is a great point. I whole-heartily agree. The laws we are establishing today to keep those who disagree with us in compliance, BY FORCE, are only going to be turned against us when we are no longer the majority. We are setting an awful precedence for the future that will see us become more like England and Europe today.

        Erin, I know an Erin Monroe, we may actually know each other. Your points are exactly right. Government has no place in defining marriage. In providing them that right, we will only see it used in a corrupt manner. Unlike what Derek and some of the others would say, this really isn’t about homosexuals trying to destroy America. While there are a few who are extremists, and we saw a recent shooting that would confirm this, most of them are not at the forefronts trying to push their agenda on everyone else. They just want equality, and right now the laws on the book provide special rights for heterosexuals. The problem with what you proposed is that most evangelicals will not compromise on their firm stance against homosexuality. They will see any political appeasement as an attack on Christianity. But the precedence they are creating to control the population is only effective as long as Christians are the majority. Once that has changed, and on our trajectory it will, those same practices will be used to limit the rights of Christians. We are already seeing this take place today by labeling anyone who will preach on sin a bigot. This will eventually be used to get Christian broadcasting off the radio and television. Some pastors in Canada have already been fined for preaching from Leviticus.

        The real fight here is with liberty. If we do not do our best do defend the principles of individual freedom, we will not be able to thrive as a Christian community without political oppression. Ironically, I can stand in support of liberty with homosexuals, Muslims, atheists, and pagans. Voting for a Mormon president shouldn’t even be an issue, it should be whether or not he is concerned with liberty. (Mitt Romney, however, is not!)

      • Derek Taylor

        I agree with Don here as well. But Erin, I think you are also missing an important component of this discussion – that of religious discrimination. Even if we were to take the approach you recommend, a church or an adoption agency or really any organization for that matter would have no right to distinguish between a person who views their arrangement as a sacrament and a person who doesn’t. This means that religious people will have the right to privately believe what they want about marriage, but in actual practice, they will have to live their ways by rules that violate their conscience.

        Honestly, I think you might not be aware how militant SOME of these people are. Or how anxious they are to erode this next’s generation’s concept of what marriage even means. This is a battle of worldviews to them much more than it is what the claim (a simple wish for equality).

        • Adam Miller

          Derek, orphanages should be free to discriminate between adoptive parents. The only reason they are not is because we have created an equal precedence by limiting the rights of homosexuals. This is why defending liberty is so important. Your very efforts to legislate individual morality is being used against you.

          I hope everyone can see that all of these arguments are only pointing to the need to defend liberty, not uphold a standard that the government shouldn’t be drawing in the first place.

          • Derek Taylor

            I can sympathize with your libertarian leanings because I share many of those impulses myself. But as I said before (and you did not answer my question as to which laws are not based on morality – Nathan did and I answered him above), even your liberty principle is based on a personal conviction that not everyone shares.

            For example, libertarians themselves don’t agree what to do with abortion. Some of them oppose it on the grounds that it is the violation of the unborn person’s civil liberties to live (e.g. Ron Paul), while others argue that the mother’s civil liberties are being violated (her right to conscience on the viability/health/status of her child).

            In a libertarian state, you’re going to have the same type of disagreement. Some will say that the homosexual couple’s civil rights are being violated if an orphanage/adoption agency declines to work with them on the basis of their sexual identity. Other libertarians will agree with you and favor the rights of the agency/orphanage. Who decides? By whose standard is one right and the other not? Both are principled beliefs and both champion freedom and libertarian principles. Both beliefs are grounded in a certain type of MORALITY.

            • Adam Miller

              Derek, I don’t think you really understand libertarian views.

              There is no argument amongst libertarians that a private institution such as an orphanage, doesn’t have the right to discriminate on any terms. As a private institution, no libertarian would put those sort of regulations on an orphanage. If they did, they wouldn’t be a libertarian. I live in Massechusettes. There are no Christian orphanages here because they cannot discriminate clients. Christians should be fighting for the right of private organizations to discriminate, not fighting for the right for government to discriminate.

              Furthermore, your argument on abortion is irrelevant. Under a libertarian position, no one would be taxed without representation and therefore your money would never go to abortion clinics. For that matter, there would be no federal or state funded abortion clinics. This alone would save millions of lives. Any argument amongst libertarians about abortion would eventually fall to the judicial branch anyway. It’s not an issue of popular opinion or political strongholds.

              As for laws being moral, I saw your questions and responses above. As far as I can tell, they bare no relevance to the discussion.

              I do want to add something new to this thread. I was ordained by a local independent church. This gives me the legal right to marry couples. There is no record of my ordination in any government database. They had no say on my qualifications. Even if I were not officially ordained, the marriages that I have performed would still be recognized by the state. Only I would be fined $300 dollars. So if my ordination has nothing to do with the state, why do we need the government involved in defining marriage? I bring up the original question I posed toward Denny. How far would you go to defend the integrity of the Trinity? Would you regulate tax exemption away from pantheists? Would you require that a person has to be a heterosexual male in order to be ordained and therefore officiate weddings? How far would you go?

              I have yet to see a moral argument to defend government’s role in defining marriage that hasn’t been a gross misrepresentation of liberty and an outright threatening precedence for individual freedom.

              • Derek Taylor

                This video is just a small window into the different views that shape the debate within libertarian circles. They do of course advocate the position you do, Adam – but they admit that eventually some very difficult questions will have to be addressed, discrimination being one.

                In short, even in a fictional state where everyone signs on to libertarian principles, you’re still going to have to address the situation of a photographer who doesn’t want to photograph a gay wedding – or an adoption org that only wants to deal with heterosexual married couples – REGARDLESS of whether the state recognizes their marriage or not. Some libertarians will favor prosecution of the photographer or adoption org and others won’t. And the list goes on and on.

                You’re really back to square one. And this is in a fictional state of libertarians only!

                • Adam Miller

                  Derek, You REALLY don’t understand libertarian views. You’re comparing apples and oranges. The video proves my point, not yours. And a libertarian government is not a fictional state. I don’t know how you are drawing your conclusions because they don’t make sense.

                  No libertarian would ever propose that a private institution be regulated against discrimination. The discrimination they are referring to in the video is political. That is the only function they control. The reason it is complex is because there are so many unnecessary regulations already in place. Under libertarian leadership no one can be discriminated for their personal beliefs. A pastor cannot be charged for not performing a wedding, a church cannot be fined for not providing birth control to their staff, an orphanage could not be regulated to treat homosexuals equally. You’re talking about two completely different things here.

                  An individual libertarian may think that it is discriminatory that a photographer wouldn’t shoot a gay wedding, or that an orphanage wouldn’t service gay clients, but it wouldn’t matter what their individual beliefs were because they would not exercise force against a private individual’s or institution’s rights or opinions. I’m sorry if you met someone who made you think otherwise, but the libertarian view is based on the principle of non-aggression. Giving homosexuals the right to be married is not an exercise of force.

                  The proper question you should have raised is does an individual or corporation have the right to discriminate against someone because they are gay, black, female, etc. This answer is a little more complex. If someone were fired solely because they were black, under libertarian principles, they would still be afforded the right to take the individual to court but it would be a civil matter. This is why we have courts. Corporations would be foolish to discriminate in this way because they would lose a lot of business since the common consensus would turn against them. The only reason Dan Cathy can get away with what he said is that his statements do not reflect their business practices. Homosexuals are allowed to work for Chick-Fil-A. If he had gone beyond that to fire gay employees or not service homosexuals, I would be very disappointed with him and he would lose my business.

                  I new two Christian town justices when I lived in NY. Both of them resigned after they passed the same sex legislation. I think that is a shame that a Christian cannot be a justice because their are no laws in place protecting their individual rights and beliefs. People could easily vote them out of office if they disagreed with them, but instead they resigned because they could have been fined if they refused to officiate a gay wedding.

                  All the more reason to fight for “Fictional” libertarian policies.

                  What do you propose? Think about how your policies could be used against you if your views were no longer the common consensus. With our current trajectory, that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

                  To address your question about moral laws, anyone could put a spin on any law to make it pass congress. (It’s not like they read them anyway.) That doesn’t make them moral. In reality, most of them are based on personal or party interests. It’s only later that they make it about something moral to get it through the legislative process. This is why the question is irrelevant because it doesn’t matter what an individual bases their morality off of because the government must answer to the moral standard of liberty, which comes from the Bible.

                  You say you share some of my “impulses” toward liberty, but it appears you fail to take it all of the way. Perhaps you even think liberty to be naive or idealistic. I’m glad our founding father’s didn’t think that way. I implore you to study how liberty affects more than just yourself and decipher how it must equally be applied to all individuals. If it is not, then it is not liberty, it is private privilege and self-interest. In the Church we call that legalism. In politics we call it legislation. In business we call in discrimination. Jesus called it hypocrisy (Matthew 23:23). Israel cried out to God for a king, willingly giving up their liberties, and God gave them what they asked for: Saul.

  • Justus Cade


    In a true libertarian state, the federal government handles defense and pretty much nothing else. All other legislation would be handled by the independent states.

    The libertarians who support abortion would live in states that allow it, and the reverse would be true, too.

  • Erin Monroe


    Thank you for taking time to read my response, as I am not as nearly as educated on the systems/policies/government as most of you. Adam, you have stated (above, your latest response) beautifully much better than I could ever hope to express.

    I completely agree with you in that we need way less governmental regulation and more private institutions (non-governmental funding) to support personal beliefs. I totally agree with you Adam, as in the case with Mr. Cathy and his opinion and how his stating his beliefs did not deny nor discriminate against anyone. Should his personal beliefs cross that line, then, as you say, a general consensus would most likely band together and affect his business.

    As I stated before, and after watching the video mentioned above, and after reading all the interesting comments, I am still not quite grasping as to why “marriage” – the definition – is being allowed to be redefined by the government, when the government itself, is doing all it can to distance itself from religion?

    Yet, marriage is about as religious as it can get…why in the world is the government so insistent on defining a religious practice? Why not just legalize a civil union, a legal permit FOR ALL, and within the privacy of recognized religious organizations, a “marriage” can be performed by that organization determined by its own morals and values?

    I am just going to bow out for now, read and learn and accept that I just do not understand. I hope and pray that we Christians will learn to speak up lovingly, but firmly, and not be afraid. We must never forget that we are here to please God, not man. And we are here to love, not hate. We are here to glorify God and to be the example, not to make examples of others.

    Thank you for sharing and helping me to learn.

    • Adam Miller

      Thank you, Erin, for your kind words. Keep searching and studying. Liberty is such an essential part of what has set America apart from the world, and based on the direction that we are moving, we are about to lose our testimony that true liberty promotes prosperity.

      You raise some interesting questions, and although I cannot know for sure why the government focuses on this particular issue, I can offer my opinion based on astute observation…

      Most of what we see in politics today is about polarizing audiences on irrelevant issues. This allows politicians to look busy and represent themselves as fighting for the cause, while, in reality, they are taking cues from strategists who are telling them what hot words to say, and taking gifts from lobbiests who basically control policy. What politician, when cornered, wouldn’t agree that we need to simplify the tax code? Yet the fact that it remains complicated only benefits large corporations and wall street executives who know how to manipulate the system. This is why you will never see either the Democrats or Republicans changing the tax code.

      Ironically, the same major corporations have been the largest backers of the republican and democratic presidential candidates. Why would the same organizations give money to both campaigns? Perhaps it is to keep the people in power who won’t actually change anything.

      Take away the hot topic issues like abortion and homosexuality and tell me the distinguishable policy differences between Obama and Romney.

      Look at the record for both candidates. Both have voted or said that they would have voted for every expansion of government in the last four years. Likewise, both have flip flopped on the most popular issues as if taking cues from their party representatives. This allows the candidates to appear as though they are polar opposites, when in reality, they are more alike than they are distinct.

      I propose that the real issues we should be concerned with are liberty (based on the non-aggression principle) and economics. I encourage you to study the difference between Keynesian and Hayekian (Austrian) economics. That is a good place to start. Once you understand the importance with those key issues, liberty and economics, you will be right on track to being a better informed citizen with the foundational answers for everything in politics.

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