Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Broken Promises

Sorry for the lack of blogging this weekend. I was away coaching my old debate team at the Harvard Debate Tournament (at the same tournament--and with the same team actually--as Powerline's Deacon). If you're interested in the results, go here.

While I was away, one of the breaking stories was on the so-called Bush Tapes. Now, when my GOP friends saw the headlines I knew they were having panicky Watergate flashbacks, but these turn out to be pretty tame. Except for one thing.

In response to requests by Christian Conservatives that he exclude homosexuals from office, Bush responded quite clearly that he would not join in "kicking gays." Noble sentiments. But that simply makes Bush's support for the FMA all the more abominable. Not only is it purely political, not only is it pandering to the basest of human instincts, but it broke a solemn promise Bush made to himself prior to running for office. If legally codifying discrimination into our constitution, if deliberately inciting a new run of anti-gay hysteria for political gain, if seeking to destroy real families while purporting to the protect "the family" is not "kicking gays," then I don't know what is. I understand that politicians sometimes posture and lie for the camera. But presumably what Bush said in that room, in private, was his real and true principle at the time. That he was so ready to abandon it for a quick political bounce speaks volumes of his character and tenure in office.


Anonymous said...

I disagree that any promise was broken or any "gay" kicked. Bush and most decent social conservatives see a distinction between a homosexual person and the homosexual activists' efforts to culturally legitimize homosexual conduct (and of course, societal recognition of "gay marriages" inherently recognizes the legitimacy of homosexual sex). This sin/sinner distinction is one most liberals ignore.

Liberals take for granted that homosexuals will engage in sodomy, such that they believe that a rebuke of the act is a rebuke of individuals who are apparently destined to engage in it. Similarly, liberals deem it a given that teenagers are doomed to have premarital sex and, therefore, must be provided condoms and assured that it's all good fun. There seems to be no conception that either teenagers or homosexuals have the fortitude or moral capacity to refrain from behavior roundly regarded as immoral.

Rather than uphold traditional standards of morality at the cost of hurting some feelings, liberals work to absolve the sinner by legitimizing deviance in its full glory--so long as no-one gets hurt (in the immediate foreseeable future).

Bush expects more of people.

David Schraub said...

With all due respect, that has absolutely nothing to do with the FMA and represents a remarkable disrespect for the institution of marriage. The FMA has absolutely nothing to do with sodomy--indeed, it can't, considering the Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Marriage, be it hetero- or homosexual, is a far more sacred and meaningful union than the sex act. However, by defining marriage (or at least gay marriage) as sex and gay sex as immoral, you degrade marriage into just another expression of sexual attraction. This seems to be far more destructive to marriage than anything proposed by homosexual "activists" (whose only proposal is to enjoy the same rights as other citizens). Traditional Christian morality holds non-procreative sex by heterosexuals to be immoral as well, but we don't focus on the fact that most heterosexual married couples engage in it anyway--or say marriage "sanctions" it. That's because we recognize that the overriding importance of marriage isn't two people banging each other--it lies in the lifelong commitment of two persons to love each other, cherish each other, and take care of each other until death do us part. The difference between liberals and conservatives, I dare say, is that we can see beyond sex for ALL parties, not just "normal" folks.

Indeed, it is your end of the debate that can't see beyond the sex act--for if that was the case you would support allowing homosexuals to enter meaningful, lasting relations with each other same as any other citizen (love the sinner) while protesting the particular acts they may engage in (hate the sin). However, by seeking to write discrimination into the law that has nothing to do with the act itself, the bias is betrayed. To be fair, I do not think moral disapproval, in absence of any proof of harm, is not a legitmate reason for law (and the Lawrence court concurs). Such laws could literally justify anything; and while they may be okay in some circumstances, when they conflict with the basic and fundamental protections found in our constitution they must be held void. However, at the VERY least, any law based on morality has to be limited to the specific "immoral" act--vague link stories about "sanctioning" it simply go too far (half of Fox's TV shows "sanction" extramarital sex--that may make them immoral, but illegal?).

Furthermore, you badly understate the harm being done here. It isn't "hurting some feelings." It is quite literally making homosexuals only the second group ever to be constitutionally relegated to second-class citizenship (the first, of course, being African-Americans). Marriage gives couples access to hundreds of federal benefits unavailable to the general populace--from social security survivor benefits to automatic assumed inheirtance--and that doesn't even count the social stigmatization that occurs when one group is legally seen as subordinate to another. Simply put, the place to express moral condemnation is NOT in the legal code--that's a reckless abuse of constitutional authority.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, the tapes also included Bush's position against gay marriage. From the breaking NY Times article: "Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both anti-gay language and recognizing same-sex marriage..." So this position is not something new.

Anonymous said...

Well, I certainly didn't expect you to agree with my take on it, as I'm sure you're wedded to your views (no sexual relationship implied). Debate is of course fruitless in these days. But I thought you might at least consider the possiblity of less than hateful or cynical motives on the part of religious conservatives.

Suggesting that marriage isn't about sex is silly. Failure to consummate a marriage is grounds for annulment. Marriage between closely related individuals is barred because sex between closely related individuals is the immoral act of incest.

Now I know from experience that liberals hate analogies, but if liberals imagine sexless, amoral marriages, there's no reason to restrict sisters from getting married. Two of my great aunts (sisters) live together. Does the state's failure to recognize the marriage of sisters, denying them hundreds of federal benefits, relegate them to second-class citizens? No. It merely puts limits on what constitutes marriage. Blacks WERE discriminated against, as a Black man could not marry the love of his life if she were White, while a White man could marry the same girl. Today, a gay man cannot marry a man, and neither can a heterosexual man. Nobody is denied anything that anybody else has a right to. Hence no equal protection problem. Just claiming that it is unfair to deny anyone the right to "marry" the love of their life (besides creating a gruesome slippery slope) simply renders penises and vaginas interchangable and disregards sex differences against virtually the whole of human and mammalian history. In all sincerity, we can disagree about the extent of difference between the sexes, but clearly there IS a distinction to be made.

It is a victory for gay activists that we are debating the "ban" of gay marriage, as opposed to a policy debate on the extending of the marriage institution to homosexuals. Up to the present, there has been no gay marraige to ban. Semantics are largely pushing this debate and fueling the left's sense of moral superiority on this issue. And when pursued in the context of a debate about "banning" the love that dare not speak its name, the FMA seems harsh and moralistic. I agree that the FMA should not be unnecessary. But considering the tack taken by gay activists to pursue gay marriage through the courts rather than the legislature, it seems that a constitutional amendment is the only possible defense. Even if Bush were convinced that the FMA could not pass, it was a warning to courts and a sign that conservatives do not intend to lose the culture war.