Alan Keyes’ Theocratic Vision


Alan Keyes has always had a bizarre conception of the concept of natural rights, an idea espoused strongly but enforced incompletely and hypocritically by the founding fathers. He seizes on Jefferson’s reference to “Nature’s God” to claim that rights are limited by whatever the Biblical God allegedly says. He repeats this in his latest Worldnutdaily column:

Today the elitist faction promoters of so-called “homosexual rights” use and abuse the language of rights even though they reject the logic that, in light of America’s political heritage, invests that language with moral force. By that logic every claim of unalienable right (i.e., a right that trumps the provisions of merely human law) can be tested with a simple question: What is the provision of the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” that obliges and authorizes the action or activity the claim involves?

And since he equates “Nature’s God” (in the original, Jefferson capitalized both words) with the Biblical God, which Jefferson quite emphatically did not do, the Bible forms the boundaries of all individual rights. If the Biblical God doesn’t like it, you don’t have a right to do it. Welcome to theocracy.

The pursuit of pleasure, sexual or otherwise, does not in and of itself correspond to such an imperative (even though, thanks to the goodwill of the Creator, most bodily activities required for our survival, are in some degree pleasurable.) Loving human relations are of course an imperative of our nature. But loving human relations need not involve the particular physical pleasures connected with what we call “sexual relations.” If by natural necessity they must, then the prejudicial prohibitions against incest or pedophilia would be as much a violation of right as those that target homosexual relations…

Moreover, unless we mean to repeal the laws against rape, no one can by law be forced to respect or cater to the sexual appetites of others. Even temple prostitutes could discriminate against those who desecrated the idols they served. Shall we then submit to laws that require that we violate our obligation to the Author of our nature, the very authority from which our whole people derives its right of self-government, and from which our Constitution and laws derive their claim to our allegiance and respect?

*boggle* How, exactly, does equality for gay people force anyone else to “respect or cater to the sexual appetites of others”? And can he really not identify the obvious distinction between consensual sexual relations between adults and pedophilia? Seriously?

Comments

  1. Larry says

    Same old, same old: If Joe over there is doing something which doesn’t affect me save I disapprove of it, he is trampling upon my rights.

  2. Sastra says

    The concept of Natural Law applied to morality results in either arbitrary limits and restrictions (“it’s not natural to have gay sex/fly/play the violin!”) or commits the naturalistic fallacy (“if it’s ‘natural’ then it must be right.”) So the only reasonable and consistent way to interpret the idea of Natural Law is to take away the capital letters and just refer to natural laws.

    This translates ” …the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” into the claim that status hierarchies do not exist in nature. In other words “The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

    Eliminate the reference to “God” and nature alone is sufficient. The real appeal constitutional democracy makes is not to what God wants, but to what we human beings can discover in nature — to science. Does gay sex harm anyone? No. Then we have a right to it using the same standard we use when we derive all rights and duties among equals. Given a prior commitment to be fair and impartial, if you wouldn’t want gay people (or the power of the state) prohibiting you from marrying a person of the opposite sex for irrelevant reasons then you have a responsibility to refrain from prohibiting it for irrelevant reasons to others.

    I’ve told theists who use the “Nature and Nature’s God” line as a trump card to my claim that the US is secular that Nature’s God can equal Nature itself and you lose none of the meaning. Nature’s God = Nature IS “god” — all there is. It works the same. You don’t appeal to revelation or mysticism: you argue over rights and responsibilities using reason and the world. Period. As you point out, Keyes is missing this big time.

    The US constitution is not buying in to the honor culture system of theism.

  3. says

    And can he really not identify the obvious distinction between consensual sexual relations between adults and pedophilia? Seriously?

    We’re talking about someone from a perversely sex-negative subculture that seems designed to rationalize rape into consensual sex and/or rationalize away informed consent as the central pillar of sexual ethics. Their moral compass is diamagnetic.

    So, yeah, I’d seriously consider the notion that he is indeed incapable of identifying the obvious distinction.

  4. steve84 says

    Christians like that don’t think in terms of consent or rights. They only know one thing: “sin”. So there is sinful sex and non-sinful sex. The only non-sinful sex is sticking your penis into your wife’s vagina (and if you’re Catholic you can’t use birth control). Everything else is sinful – no matter whether it actually harms anyone.

  5. says

    And can he really not identify the obvious distinction between consensual sexual relations between adults and pedophilia? Seriously?

    This kind of thing concerns me more and more. I think it has to do with how objects and meanings that connect to them are arranged in a persons head. One of the things that gets lots in arguments having to do with “Objectification” is the Objective fact that our brains store information on the objects in our environment. We objectify EVERYTHING.

    What matters is how you relate the object and the computational priorities in interacting with the object. Naturally that has to do with what you know about the object and how you feel about it. If all they think of when they think of “Homosexuality” is dicks and butts, they will be able to easily move to other “Sex act” imagery when scrabbling for anything to support their tribe rhetorically.

    If they know more about the people in question empathy creates little cognitive connections with new facts about other parts of objective reality involving people of other sexualities. Those little connections make it harder to make irrational leaps without lying or compartmentalization. At some point they start seeing them as people like them no matter what they believe.

    There is a reason authoritarians like to shield people from information.

  6. matty1 says

    Moreover, unless we mean to repeal the laws against rape, no one can by law be forced to respect or cater to the sexual appetites of others.

    OK so we agree the Force Alan Keyes To Have Gay Sex Act shouldn’t pass. That says nothing about any other issue and certainly nothing about the rights of consenting gay couples.

  7. TGAP Dad says

    Why the f*** is ANYBODY paying attention to Alan Keyes any more. Can we please stop reporting on what deranged people are saying and writing?

  8. Michael Heath says

    Alan Keyes behavior here is a simple and popular affliction of conservative Christians. He’s merely coming up with falsely premised rationalizations to avoid the cognitive dissonance of being a theocrat. Dissonance created by his seeking to force all of us into a slavish childish submission of fundamentalist beliefs while simultaneously claiming he and his tribe are voices in the wilderness valiantly fighting for liberty. A liberty which defies the actual meaning of the word.

  9. says

    By that logic every claim of unalienable right (i.e., a right that trumps the provisions of merely human law) can be tested with a simple question: What is the provision of the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” that obliges and authorizes the action or activity the claim involves?

    You have to admit, it is a very succinct description of the authoritarian philosophy that lay at the heart of religious conservatism. Notice that the onus is on the person claiming the right to prove that is permitted by the God of the Bible (let’s cut the bullshit about “nature’s God”. It’s obvious what Keyes means). Based in this test, if I assert the right to follow or not follow any religion as I so choose, I’m SOL because that’s clearly forbidden by the Ten Commandments.

    This is the exact opposite of an expansive or, dare I say it, libertarian view of rights where the onus is on the government to demonstrate a compelling societal need to curtail an individual’s behavior. Keyes’ Nature’s God test is completely at odds with the founders’ view of rights. They viewed rights as inalienable unless exercising it caused real harm to others. For example, human sacrifice is not protected under freedom of religion but drinking communal wine is, even if others find the consumption of alcohol morally offensive.

    From this, I can draw only two possible conclusions: 1) Keyes fundamentally misunderstands the concept of inalienable rights or 2) he does understand it, but prefers the comforting rigidity of authoratarianism.

  10. jnorris says

    Mr Keyes , your holy book says you MUST kill the gay people, OK, the men at least. so why haven’t you done so? Do you hate your god or do you lack the balls, or both?

  11. says

    Matty 1: The “Force Alan Keyes To Have Gay Sex Act ” would be cruel and unusual punishment for gay men.

    I would, however, support a law that allowed me, and only me, to have sex with Matt Bomer whenever I wanted.
    I’m calling my senator as I write. Not really. I’ve never been able to do two things at the same time.

  12. Ichthyic says

    Alan Keyes behavior here is a simple and popular affliction of conservative Christians.

    his behavior, and even his entire argument.

    Francis Collins used the core of the “natural law” – translated as “moral law” as the basis for pretty much the entire second half of his book, “The Language of God“.

    many of us pointed out the dissonance on exhibit in that book, and yet, there he is, head of NIH.

  13. Ichthyic says

    From this, I can draw only two possible conclusions: 1) Keyes fundamentally misunderstands the concept of inalienable rights or 2) he does understand it, but prefers the comforting rigidity of authoratarianism.

    3) He’s flat out lying to outrage his base in order to maintain his career as a conman.

  14. Pieter B, FCD says

    And can he really not identify the obvious distinction between consensual sexual relations between adults and pedophilia? Seriously?

    He can. He chooses not to, IMO.

Leave a Reply