Sunday, July 05, 2015

All hands on deck

I'm going to comment on this:

i) His document has a tendentious title, as if his position was misrepresented, necessitating his "setting the record straight." 

ii) Licona's complaint about how this debate cuts into his research time is like a college prof. during the waning days of the Weimar Republic whining about how having to pay attention to political developments interferes with his publishing projects. Licona shows no awareness of the magnitude of the threat facing American democracy, or the American church in particular. He doesn't seem to cognizant of the degree to which the Obama administration and its allies are waging a Kulturkampf, or how a decision like Obergefell empowers and authorizes local, state, and Federal gov't to vigorously crack down on laws, institutions, and individuals that dissent from the homosexual agenda. Now that it's a "Constitutional" civil right, the state has a compelling interest in protecting that alleged right. 

To the extent that his response shows any budding awareness of the threat, which is well under way, that's a result of the constructive criticism he received from commenters like Lydia McGrew. If it hadn't been for her intellectual stimulus, he would not have made it this far. And these are just baby steps. Licona is an American in his 50s. It really doesn't take that much for someone who's lived here all that time to notice the sea-change in the political climate. 

He fails to see how this is just part of a larger orchestrated campaign to produce a secular totalitarian regime. How Obama has weaponized the Federal bureaucracy to persecute and prosecute ideological opponents. He fails to see how this furthers other elements of the secular agenda, like euthanasia, the erosion of parental rights, &c. 

The power elite is stating a coup d'etat. In the culture wars, we need all hands on deck. Christian academics can't be AWOL. It's easy for academics to suffer from tunnel vision. Licona writes a cursory reaction paper, then it's back to business as usual. 

That doesn't mean all Christian academics need to give the same attention to social issues as Robert George, Robert Gagnon, Wesley J. Smith et al. But they have a responsibility to inform themselves on these issues, even if that's not their specialization. There are lots of lay Christians who have the right instincts on the social issues, but don't have arguments at the ready.    

iii) His response is narrowly focused on the process issue. But Obergefell is so wrong on so many levels, so damaging and dangerous on so many levels. Certainly there's the process issue, but the policy dimension equally significant, if not more so. 

iv) Under our system of gov't, judges don't have the authority to make public policy. At best, that's the prerogative of elected lawmakers.

v) And even if (ex hypothesi), judges had such authority, they don't have the power to conjure up a Constitutional right out of thin air. A Constitutional right of SSM is judicial fiction. 

vi) Moreover, the authority of legislators to make public policy is not unlimited. To the contrary, the whole point of the original (10) Bill of Rights is to say these are rights and liberties which gov't cannot infringe. You can't outlaw these rights and liberties. 

vii) So, at most, Congress, a state legislature, or a referendum, could only legalize SSM. It couldn't make it a civil right. There's an elementary and elemental distinction between legalizing something and making it a civil right.

If it's a right, then that has to be balanced against other rights. Since, however, SSM inevitably collides with 1st Amendment rights, even Congress or a state legislature can't elevate SSM marriage to the status of a civil right. If SSM conflicts with 1st Amendment rights, then those are automatically exempted. Even if homosexual "couples" are free to marry, even if that's not against the law, other citizens would likewise be at liberty, given freedom of expression, association, and religion, to disregard SSM. 

viii) In addition, I daresay all Christian denominations and Jewish groups in the US at the time the Bill of Rights was ratified opposed homosexuality. It would be a flagrant violation of original intent to prosecute modern-day Christians or Jews who take the same position as their forebears in that regard. 

ix) And that's even before we get to the deeper issues, like whether the state has a "compelling interest" in protecting natural (i.e. heterosexual) marriage.

x) Licona makes an offhand comment about persecution. Here's a more thoughtful analysis:


  1. If Islam is arguably more dangerous than homosexuality, should Christians in America be opposed to the religious freedom afforded to Muslims to practice the Islamic religion?

    1. Sigh. Here we go again. Short answer: No and no.

      First of all, Islam and homosexuality are incommensurable evils. Both endanger the soul, gravely. Islam can also be more dangerous to the physical well-being of others through encouragement of jihad. Both involve severe social ills through various mechanisms, from sharia and the mistreatment of women on the side of Islam to disease, promiscuity, and an insane view of personal identity and sexuality on the side of homosexuality.

      There is literally no simple rubric according to which Islam is "more dangerous" unless one restricts oneself, artificially, to pointing out that there are far more Muslim terrorists than homosexual terrorists. But for reasons of public policy, that would be very artificial and foolish, since terrorism is not the only issue in public policy.

      Now, as far as the "freedom to practice the Islamic religion," to the extent that that means honor killings, female genital mutilation, and bombings, of course Muslims are not and should not have that freedom. End of subject. And all those things are against existing laws, so they don't. I have also advocated a "jihad sedition" law that would make it explicit that advocating jihad is the same thing as advocating the overthrow of the government (which it is) and hence is not protected under the first amendment (which it isn't).

      But if we're just talking about going to a mosque and worshiping Allah, then it is not more in the interests of public policy to forbid this than to *fail to give special recognition to* homosexual "marriage." In fact, the latter is more in the interests of public policy than the former.

      Moreover, the recognition by the government that Islam *is* a religion (which means, e.g., that an imam can take a parsonage exemption or that people can get tax deductions for donating to a mosque) is recognizing what is, in fact, true. Islam *is* a religion. In contrast, stating that two men are married is *false* and will always be false and cannot be made true by waving a magical legal wand. There's a small difference between a public policy that tells a lie and a public policy that tells the truth. (By the way, I made this point before, and probably in a forum that you, Mr. Hashtag Confidential--can't imagine who you could be--have read. So you're just ignoring the good answers to this enduringly foolish analogy.)

      If a particular imam starts giving bomb-making classes, he should go to jail, because that's a crime, and then his parsonage exemption will be a moot point.

      And for the umpteenth gazillion time, the state's saying that homosexual couples are married is *not* (not) "affording them freedom to practice" homosexuality. They can sodomize each other in private all they wish, and the lack of calling it "marriage" doesn't stop them. Homosexual "marriage" is not granting them "freedom" to do anything. It's forcing _others_ to call what they are doing "marriage" and to give it the special treatment pertaining to that state. This continual slanted wording just shows a lack of openness to reason.

      All of these points have been made before.

  2. Thanks for the reply. Perhaps you’re right. It seems somewhat counterintuitive, however, to understand that Muslims are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to worship Allah.

    1. Hashtag Confidential

      "Thanks for the reply. Perhaps you’re right. It seems somewhat counterintuitive, however, to understand that Muslims are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to worship Allah."

      In the context of modern America, a Muslim American citizen is free to worship whatever deity he or she subscribes to. Just like Mormons and Scientologists are free to worship whatever deities they subscribe to. In this respect, they're all "endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to worship," even if it means worshipping a fictitious deity.

    2. I don't recall using any phrase about being endowed with an inalienable right to worship Allah, and I can't for the life of me figure out where that is coming from.

      Rocking's point is well taken inasmuch as the real Creator doesn't want people forced to worship him in any event, so in that limited sense the real Creator allows people to worship Allah rather than Himself.

      I myself tend not to make my argument for the religious liberty of those with false religions on the basis of rights talk at all. However, I think it is *good policy* and would have been endorsed by the Framers not to try to stop people from worshipping Allah per se. There are offshoots of worshiping Allah that would be good and right to stop (like terrorism), and I've taken a lot of flak for being in favor of religious discrimination in immigration policies. (Not that we have any immigration policies anymore these days, just anarchy, but that's a different issue.)

      In any event, I cannot really feel that "Hashtag Confidential" comes across as a person arguing in good faith. On the contrary, such odd and sweeping comments as his most recent imply the contrary.

      Let's keep this simple: There are *really good* reasons for not trying to stop Muslims, by law, from worshiping Allah in and of itself. There are *no good* reasons for calling homosexual couples "married." The latter is, in fact, a *lie* about social reality. There are *good reasons* for calling Islam a religion. Short reason--because it is a religion. So that is *not* a lie.

      This is neither rocket science nor dependent upon tendentious phrases like, "Muslims are endowed by their creator with the inalienable right to worship Allah."