Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just Say Yes to Proposition 8

Years ago, when prominent evangelical Christians warned that there were those who wanted to make it legal for homosexuals to marry one another, I honestly thought that they must be joking. Surely no one would be that stupid, I reasoned. But I was wrong.

Recently, in California, a public school took its first grade students on an "educational" field trip, where the little ones attended their first lesbian wedding. Or perhaps I should call it an indoctrinational field trip, since it's clear that that was the purpose of the outing.

Proposition 8 is an attempt, on the part of Californians who dislike the idea that California might become the Sodom and Gomorrah of the 21st century, to reclaim the traditional definition of marriage. I wish that I lived in California, just so that I'd have the opportunity to vote for that proposition.


sweat, tears, or the sea: prop 8 edition said...

hey, thanks for the post.

anyways, it's "children have a right to a mom and a dad" week on my blog, there are also some really interesting posts. i thought you and anyone who reads your posts might be interested

Reuven said...

Prop 8 will legalize incest and polygamy!

I don't want to marry my sister, and one wife is enough!


I'm voting NO on Prop 8

Mark Pettigrew said...

Regarding the comment made by Reuven, I'd never heard that claim made, so I did a Google search just now to find out what the basis for such a claim might be. Here is the web address for the page I found.

I must confess that I found the argumentation contained in that article to be ridiculous.

Essentially, the argument seems to be twofold: a.) Mormons are the primary force behind Prop 8, so therefore the proposition must embody Mormon beliefs about polygamy, even though there's nothing in the actual proposition which legitimizes polygamy, and even though the LDS church has been opposed to polygamy (officially, at any rate) for over a century (to the point that the LDS church has a policy of excommunicating practicing polygamists). b.) Since the proposition's wording says, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," and since it doesn't specifically limit the number of people involved in the relationship to two people or specify who those people should be, it "leaves the door open" for polygamy and incest.

I frankly find both arguments to be ridiculous; and I should go on record as saying that I, like many of those who support Proposition 8, am a Bible-believing Christian who believes that Mormonism is a cult, at least in the doctrinal sense.

Let's look at the first argument. I don't know how many of the people supporting Proposition 8 are Mormons, and I frankly don't care. The logical fallacy known as "argumentum ad hominem" is embodied in the notion that an idea is inherently wrong if it is believed or supported by people who happen to be wrong about other things.

I could never be a Mormon because I came to the conclusion years ago that their beliefs were heretical (and unsupported by the historical evidence), even apart from the whole polygamy thing. But that doesn't mean that I think that Mormons are incapable of speaking the truth about anything! For example, I suspect that most Mormons, who are even more opposed to intoxicating substances than most fundamentalist Christian churches, would strongly support legislation designed to inhibit people from driving drunk. Does that mean that we should oppose such legislation? Of course not! Drunken driving is a public scourge which has needlessly taken many human lives, so I welcome any allies in the battle against such driving, even if they aren't believers in God at all. One can find common ground with people even when one strongly disagrees with them about other things.

If an unrepentant mass murderer said to me, "You know, I really think that people ought to bathe at least once a week," I'd say to him, "You know, I have to agree with you about that, even though I think that you, in general, are a real scumbag who ought to remain in prison for the rest of your life." A good idea is a good idea, regardless of its source.

The second argument against Proposition 8 is just as fallacious as the first one. First, it says "a man" and "a woman" ... not "one or more men or women". What part of "a" do you not understand, Reuven? It's a singular word which obviously precludes the possibility that it might be taken to refer to multiple men or multiple women.

But even if that were not the case, it would be lame to suggest that the proposition ought to encapsulate every possible permutation of marriage. The proposition is clearly aimed at preventing same sex marriages, period. There is no need for it to specifically forbid polygamy, because (in case you haven't noticed) polygamy is ALREADY AGAINST THE LAW! The same is true of incest. There's no need to write a law which prevents an activity which is illegal already.

Opposing Proposition 8 on the grounds cited in the article would be like opposing a law or constitutional amendment which forbade the use of heroin because it did not also specifically forbid every other conceivable addictive drug known to man.

If passed, would Proposition 8 prevent every conceivable form of sexual immorality? No, probably not. But wars are fought and won one battle at a time, and it's going to be hard enough to pass Proposition 8 as it is, without expecting it to do everything which needs to be done (as well as things which don't even need to be done) all in one pass.

Things get even more ridiculous when you consider Reuven's statement, "I don't want to marry my sister, and one wife is enough!" That statement suggests that not only would Prop 8 legalize incest and polygamy, but it would make such relationships mandatory. What is the basis for such a claim? None, so far as I can see.

Tony Perkins, the conservative Christian head of the Family Research Council, strongly supports Proposition 8. Somehow, I doubt that he would do so if Prop 8 legalized or mandated incest and polygamy!

Mark Pettigrew said...

To Sweat, Tears or the Sea:

Thanks for your expression of approval for my blog post. I visited your blog, and it seems to be serving a worthwhile purpose, although I will refrain from a wholehearted endorsement of the blog until I have had a chance to read everything on that blog (which isn't likely to happen for a while, due to time constraints on my part).

Mark Pettigrew said...

Incidentally, lest anyone should deliberately distort things which I said in my reply to Reuven, let me preemptively make a couple of things clear:

1.) I personally shower once a day whenever possible. (The comment about bathing at least once a week was merely rhetorical for the sake of making my point.)

2.) I do not regard Mormons as "scumbags". Doctrinally deluded folks, yes, but often they can be nice folks nevertheless. And Christians with whom I agree on doctrinal matters can sometimes be real jerks. So it's nothing personal.