Sunday, November 13, 2022

Joe Rogan's Discussion With Matt Walsh About Same-Sex Marriage

I'm going by the video here. I know the discussion was lengthier than what's in the video just linked, but I've only seen some brief clips of the remainder of the discussion. I want to respond to the portion of the exchange in the video I linked, which has already gotten more than two million views. It's the portion of the discussion Rogan's YouTube channel chose to highlight. Walsh made a lot of good points, but I want to reinforce some of those and make some points of my own.

I've written a lot about the problems with homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and I won't be reinventing the wheel here. See this post, for example, summarizing a few of the reasons for opposing same-sex marriage, both legally and in non-legal contexts. And see here concerning the sort of exceptional situations people like Rogan often appeal to. Read the comments section of that thread, in addition to the initial post, since there's relevant material in the comments section as well.

Rogan asks what harm same-sex marriage does to an opposite-sex couple. We need to keep the nature of the situation in mind, so that we know what evidence of harm we should expect to see. We're not talking about a physical assault on somebody, which would involve something like gunshot wounds or wounds from a knife. We're not talking about stealing money, which would involve immediately having less money in your wallet or bank account. Rather, we're talking about matters like the moral atmosphere of a culture and how terms are defined, which involve changes that are of a more subtle and gradual nature. People often overlook or underestimate such changes, since they aren't easier to notice in the ways people are most focused on.

Same-sex marriage weakens the male/female relationship, parenting, and some other aspects of life that should be important to the individual and a culture as a whole. It diminishes the titles, honor, and such that we give to people who do the work involved in an opposite-sex marriage, such as the work referred to in my first post linked above. For example, it takes significant work for a man and a woman to live together in a marital relationship, which benefits society by bringing about more unity between the sexes, modeling that relationship for children and others, educating the couple's children and others about living with each gender, and so on. By contrast, a same-sex relationship is less difficult in some significant ways (and, therefore, shouldn't get the same kind of honor, reward, and so forth), doesn't accomplish some of the things an opposite-sex relationship accomplishes, etc. The opposite-sex relationship has already existed for thousands of years as a distinct institution we call "marriage". Even if somebody thought we should honor the same-sex relationship, celebrate it, and so on for whatever reasons, those reasons would differ from the reasons we have for honoring, celebrating, etc. the opposite-sex relationship. It makes sense to keep distinguishing between the two. The opposite-sex relationship came first, involves far more people, and benefits society more. The same-sex relationship should be expected to accommodate the opposite-sex relationship rather than the other way around. And there are negative religious consequences to same-sex marriage, such as the societal problems that follow from disobeying God in any context and in the context of the same-sex relationship in particular. We don't need to know what all of the negative consequences will be or be able to trace all of them out fully in order to have reason to expect negative consequences. If you're a child who disobeys his parents, you can expect them to react negatively, even if you don't know precisely what form that negative reaction will take.

Let's say you're a woman who married a man in 1995. How would you be impacted by the later cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage, including state recognition of it? The harder and more beneficial work you've done in having an opposite-sex relationship (harder and more beneficial than a same-sex relationship) is now honored, celebrated, and such less than it used to be and is now classified with the same-sex relationship in such a significant context (marriage). Your reputation and relationships with other people are affected. When you're referred to as a married person in paperwork, when other people talk about you, etc., there will be more ambiguity about whether you're married under the traditional definition or under the new one. Are you married to a man or another woman? That sort of ambiguity has ramifications in many contexts in life. It creates a lot of complexities, concerns about misunderstandings and the implications that follow, and other difficulties for the people involved (how to react when you hear that somebody is engaged without knowing what sort of marriage is involved, how to react to an invitation to a same-sex wedding, what to think of somebody who's said to be married without knowing what type of marriage it is, etc.). The potential of your opposite-sex relationship to produce offspring is now being valued less, and your children are living in a culture that encourages reproduction less, with all of the negative consequences that follow. Bad examples will be set before your children in contexts like romance and marriage more than in the past. The decrease in God's favor on the nation and the increase in his disciplining of it will negatively affect you, even though you aren't as responsible as other people are for what's happened. A child whose father is a criminal suffers when his father goes to jail, even though the child didn't do anything wrong. Your sin impacts me. That includes the sin of homosexuality and the sin of same-sex marriage.

It could be objected that people like Rogan are asking what harm same-sex marriage does from their perspective. So, if the person in question (e.g., Rogan) isn't religious, for example, we shouldn't give religious reasons for thinking that same-sex marriage is harmful. But if that's what they mean, then they should say so. And it would be a less significant question. Asking what harm same-sex marriage does within Rogan's perspective, for example, carries less weight than asking what harm same-sex marriage does without that sort of qualifier. Matt Walsh is going to make judgments based on his own views, not Rogan's. And it's not as though Christians haven't argued for their religious beliefs, in addition to arguing for their non-religious ones. For example, we have many posts in our archives here arguing for Christianity in a lot of depth. If somebody is going to ask what harm same-sex marriage does in the sort of unqualified way that Rogan asked the question, the answer shouldn't be expected to be secular, to limit itself to Rogan's current beliefs, or anything like that. In fact, Rogan even referred to people viewing marriage as "under the eyes of God" at one point, which suggests he was allowing religious perspectives if Walsh or somebody else wanted to offer them. To the extent that you're trying to persuade somebody like Rogan, you have to appeal to common ground to some degree, but it doesn't follow that you have to limit yourself to common ground.

Analogies are often helpful. Think about what would happen if we changed definitions in another context. What if we were to allow anybody who supports the military to be considered a veteran, regardless of whether he's ever served in the military? Will that redefinition of "veteran" cause a person who's served in the military to instantly die? No. Will his bank account immediately lose all of the money that's in it? No. His life won't suffer that sort of more immediate, more obvious, more despised consequence. But the meaning of being a veteran will be diminished, the person who's served in the military will lose some of the honor and other advantages he's had, the culture will think less of the significance of being a veteran, and so on. People will still be grateful to those who have served in the military, those who have served will still be honored in various ways, and so forth, but the fact that good things will continue to happen in some contexts doesn't change the fact that the situation has gotten worse in other contexts.

Somebody could be willing to accept the negative consequences of redefining marriage, since he thinks the benefits outweigh those negative factors. But that misses the point I'm focused on here. I disagree that the benefits weigh more, but what I'm focused on is the fact that there are negative consequences. People like Joe Rogan shouldn't be acting as if there aren't any, much less should they be acting as if it's so difficult to even comprehend any. There are many negative consequences to accepting same-sex marriage, there isn't any significant difficulty in discerning that fact, and Rogan and other advocates of same-sex marriage haven't even come close to demonstrating that the benefits of accepting that relationship equal or outweigh the negative consequences. Instead, they're in such a hurry to bring about acceptance of the same-sex relationship while not having done much research on the relevant issues. That's similar to the way many people approach the situation with transgenderism and so many other issues. Notice a pattern?


  1. Matt should have challenged Joe on homo "marriage". He should have asked him if he was against brothers and sisters marrying?
    Homo "marriages" have hurt a lot of people. Think of companies that don't allow a person to speak against them and get fired. Think of the shame these relationships have brought on families. I personally have experienced that.

  2. Paul VanderKlay had some good takes on the interview as well. One is to point out it's moving down the road that started when marriage become primarily about love and much more individualistic. I had always thought same-sex marriage popped up out of nowhere, but it's just another stage of a process that has been going on for well over a century now. He or someone else showed a tweet that suggested "till death to us part" be replaced with "until this relationship is no longer healthy and good for me" (something to that affect). Good luck creating community with that transactional view.

    I've only recently come around to realizing that thinking about this and other issues at the atomic level of the individual handicaps the argument. Because sure, at the level of two people, what's wrong with letting them do what they want (at least that's how it would be seen by your typical liberal)? But as you point out, the change affects social pressure and what is seen by society as good. And similar to Reagan's joke about if you subsidize it you get more and if you tax it you get less, if society values something more you get more of it and if society values something less (or is entirely hostile to it) you get less. How anyone can look at a society that has decided to commit suicide en masse as a healthy society is beyond me. Population in the US and other western countries is temporarily propped up by immigration, otherwise it would be declining.

    1. I just ran across an article from the BBC titled "The benefits of self-marrying". No further commentary necessary, I think.