Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Ken Blackwell

4/13/2013 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We can all agree that the topic of same-sex marriage draws intense emotions from both sides. But those emotions do not justify branding people who disagree with us as liars or bigots

There can be no comparison between the fight for racial equality and the movement for same-sex marriage. Supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not the same (or even akin) to supporting institutionalized racism. Marriage, as it stands and has stood for centuries, is not an institution that was driven into existence by bigotry, or constructed to deny some right to same-sex partners

Highlights

By Ken Blackwell

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/13/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: same sex marriage, gay marriage, racism, human rights, civil rights, Jay Michaelson, racism, First Freedom, Ken Blackwell


LYNCHBURG, VA (Catholic Online) - Recently, Jay Michaelson wrote a piece for The Daily Beast titled "The 'Religious Liberty' Bullies and Their Fight Against LGBT Equality." In it, he suggests that those who oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons are the same as the racists who opposed desegregation laws. He calls those who protect religious liberty, and who therefore are willing to stick up for the rights of religious people who oppose same-sex marriage, insincere and "racist," as well. "Today is a different age-but the players, and the rhetoric, are the same," he states. Later on, he says that defenders of religious liberty are "simply repurposing an old, racist rhetoric to fight the same social battles as always."
 
There are three points to be made here. One, there can be no comparison between the fight for racial equality and the movement for same-sex marriage. Two, supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not the same (or even akin) to supporting institutionalized racism. Three, concerns about religious liberty are both sincere and valid, especially regarding the social trends Michaelson discusses in both his article and a related report he recently released.
 
My first point is that there can be no comparison between the fight for racial equality and the movement supporting same-sex marriage. To begin with, race occupies a singular place in our country's history and laws. Our country fought a bloody Civil War and passed three separate Constitutional Amendments to rid our society of the injustice that was slavery. The segregation laws that followed were ugly remnants of a culture of racial slavery, and they were immoral and unjust. They defied the American promise "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Black Americans were enslaved, literally deprived of their liberty, often robbed of life, and denied the opportunity to pursue happiness. Segregation laws were a legal statement of inequality. No other law in American history spells indignity and injustice like they did, and no other law so explicitly rings false to our country's founding principles.
 
Now, for the second point. Applying the racism of segregation-era America to today's "social battles" does not make for a compelling comparison. To state what should be obvious, not all racists oppose same-sex marriage, and not all who oppose same-sex marriage are racists. To say otherwise is disrespectful and frankly ludicrous. No reasonable person is advocating "segregation" between the opposite-sex attracted population and the same-sex attracted population. I don't need to go into detail on this point. It should be enough for readers to simply think of their own family, friends, and acquaintances-some of whom, no doubt, are uncertain about or against same-sex marriage-and realize that pairing "racist" with "opposed to same-sex marriage" means labeling many reasonable people as outright bigots. That kind of accusation has heavy consequences and is dangerous to healthy discourse.
 
Marriage, as it stands and has stood for centuries, is not an institution that was driven into existence by bigotry, or constructed to deny some right to same-sex partners. People who oppose same-sex marriage do so for a variety of reasons. There are many who oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons, and others for reasons grounded in history, philosophy, and our country's Constitution. What traditional marriage supporters generally want, is to uphold a centuries-old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. It is a fixed definition. They see marriage as unique and unchanging, valuable because of (and contingent on) its singular male-female union, and meaningless without it.
 
My third point refers to the idea that those who are concerned about religious liberty rights in and around same-sex marriage are covertly advancing some right-wing agenda. This is misleading, false, and insulting. Religious liberty is a real, fundamental right, first in our Constitutional Amendments. It's what allows a man to be a conscientious objector, or a church to choose its own minister. In general, it's what protects religious people who hold views that are out of political favor. Michaelson admits that intellectuals and politicans on both ends of the political spectrum support religious liberty. He simply thinks that religious liberty is much more limited than it is or ever has been.
 
As the recent (large) batch of cases against the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate demonstrates, America has a diverse and principled religious population of citizens willing to fight for the right to express their faith in all aspects of life. That some, like Michaelson, don't agree that buying contraception for others violates a person's faith, does not suddenly appease the troubled consciences. Those who advocate strong conscience protections-whether from a contraceptive mandate or from federal recognition of same-sex marriage-do so sincerely.
 
We can all agree that the topic of same-sex marriage draws intense emotions from both sides. But those emotions do not justify branding people who disagree with us as liars or bigots. That's a cheap way to silence dissenters, when there is real and substantive debate to be had. It's also a grave insult to honest, truth-seeking individuals, and a violation of the principles of American society. All people should be free to explore and define their beliefs. And all should be free to speak, act, vote and advocate according to their beliefs.
 
-----
Ken Blackwell is on the faculty of the Liberty University School of Law and a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Watch

Image of There is also an ancient and beautiful custom in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church called the Corpus Christi procession. The consecrated Host, the Body of the Lord, is reposed in what is called a monstrance. The term is derived from a Latin phrase which means to show or reveal.  The faithful process the Body of the Lord through the streets surrounding their church buildings. This Eucharistic procession can be a powerful witness to an age which has lost its sense of the sacred.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We have received the Bread of Heaven. Let us choose to become what we consume. These Feasts are not just rituals on a Church calendar. They are invitations to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, and then offer Him to a world waiting to be born anew. On this Feast of ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service Watch

Image of Memorial Day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I live in Chesapeake, a wonderful city in Southeastern Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is an example of this. Every day, I witness the many sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day, I ... continue reading


$3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America Watch

Image of America's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Why isn't this a national priority?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We have money for perpetual war and can afford generous foreign aid, tax subsidies and cuts for the wealthy, but we cannot find the money to fix a pothole or repair a collapsing bridge. This is the sorry state of affairs U.S. infrastructure is in as we let the nation ... continue reading


Violent riot erupts at Trump rally in New Mexico Watch

Image of Unsurprisingly, a Trump rally erupted into a riot in New Mexico (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's New Mexico rally erupted in violent acts including the attempted stoning of police, glass bottles thrown at mounted units and their horses, burning shirts and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Record-breaking 38,000 illegal aliens apprehended in the month of April Watch

Image of April 2016 reaches new record for illegal alien apprehensions.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Illegal aliens continue to surge into the United States from the Southwest U.S. border, leading the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) units to announce record-breaking apprehensions in April, 2016. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the U.S. ... continue reading


Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 4:7-13
7 The end of all things is near, so keep your minds calm and sober for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world is set firm, it ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 27th, 2016 Image

St. Augustine of Canterbury
May 27: At the end of the sixth century anyone would have ... Read More