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Dec 10 2013

Rick Warren’s Inconsistent Arguments

Rick Warren went on CNN with Piers Morgan, forming what is undoubtedly one of the most irritating combinations of people seen on TV together since Sarah Palin appeared with any other human being, and gave this incredibly incoherent argument against marriage equality:

Megachurch pastor and now diet guru Rick Warren sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan last night to discuss his views on a wide variety of issues, including same-sex marriage.

“How can you espouse genuine equality if you don’t allow gay people the same rights to get married as straight people?,” Morgan asked.

Warren claimed that he believes in equality, but admitted he cannot support same-sex marriage because, he said, “I don’t get to change what God says.”

This is absurd on several levels. First, “what God says” is utterly irrelevant to public policy. This is not a theocracy. Second, if you accept that others have the freedom to practice religions other than your own, you’re already changing what God says. God commands that gay people should be put to death. He also commands that you keep the sabbath holy and have no other gods before him. Which means that if “what God says” is supposed to be the basis of the nation’s laws, freedom of religion is just as much against “what God says” as same-sex marriage.

But last night, Warren decided that his real issue with same-sex marriage is semantics.

“I’m more against the redefinition of the term marriage than anything else.”

And then came Warren’s real semantic argument.

“I don’t think other groups get the opportunity to redefine a term. For instance, if a Muslim says this is a term we use and all of the sudden I take that term and mean it for me. Well, that’s not right,” the pastor stated.

“Don’t take a term and and make it something different. Orwell talked about doublespeak, where words mean the exact opposite of what they used to mean.”

But Muslims don’t get to define the law any more than Christians do. You can refuse to call same-sex marriages marriage all you want, but the law doesn’t have to agree with you. And we’ve already “redefined” the term marriage many times over. Every single argument against marriage equality is just so bad.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    Every single argument against marriage equality is just so bad.

    I too have never encountered a decent argument against gay marriage. I gave up finding one after the Prop. 8 case. I figured that if one or more existed, it’d be presented in that case. Instead the anti-gay arguments in the Prop. 8 case are every bit as convincing as the creationist arguments put forth in the Dover case and I confidently hold, what climate change denialists would make if they made their case in court.

    The next big milestone for anti-gay bigots, if it occurs and it probably will, is J. Scalia or one of allies’ arguments once the SCOTUS rules on the obligation of the federal government to protect gay people’s right to marry.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    He doesn’t get to change what God says. So he’s in favor of slavery, right?

  3. 3
    schmeer

    Warren is already redefining words when he refers to himself as a Christian. He doesn’t belong to the One True Church. Protestant heathen scum! Someone get Bill Donohue on the phone!

  4. 4
    eric

    “I don’t think other groups get the opportunity to redefine a term.

    In that sentence, the words “group” and “term” are being used in a way that is a redefinition of their original etymolgical meaning.

  5. 5
    karmacat

    He is a diet guru? I guess the religion con game is not paying as we’ll so he is getting into the diet industry con game

  6. 6
    otrame

    if you accept that others have the freedom to practice religions other than your own, you’re already changing what God says

    QFFT

  7. 7
    sigurd jorsalfar

    I love how he tries to equate his opposition to gay marriage with sensitivity to Islam. What a thoughtful guy.

    He’s also employing the standard christian tactic of conflating legal marriage with church marriage. I’ve argued elsewhere that this ploy could be eliminated by removing the power of clergy to perform legal marriages. But I suspect gay marriage will become a fact in all 50 states soon enough in spite of this conflation.

    It’s sad though that God will have to smite America, just like he did to Canada.

  8. 8
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    forming what is undoubtedly one of the most irritating combinations of people seen on TV together since Sarah Palin appeared with any other human being,

    Don’t DO that without a warning, I nearly choked to death right here in my living room.

  9. 9
    freehand

    “Don’t take a term and and make it something different. Orwell talked about doublespeak, where words mean the exact opposite of what they used to mean.”

    That’s not exactly what doublespeak means…
    Orwell never used the word. The modern word “doublespeak” was probably inspired by Orwell’s 1984, however. It is used to cloud intent, to obscure meanings, to conflate different words, terms, and phrases, and to destroy the ability to speak coherently and with clarity about a subject. It is closely tied to political speech, and I would add, cult language. True, it can involve reversing definitions – for instance look at Tea Party accusations of Fascism when referring to liberal political goals and philosophy.

  10. 10
    jnorris

    No one is preventing the religious bigots from exclusive use of matrimony to describe a church wedding. Civil marriage for some and matrimony for others. Neat.

  11. 11
    Sastra

    “I don’t think other groups get the opportunity to redefine a term. 

    Good grief, did Warren really say this?

    A rhetorical question, of course. But he’ s implying here that “marriage” is not just a religious term, but a sectarian one at that — like “eucharist” or “bar mitzva.” Only people in the group get to define their own insider terms.

    Because no Muslims or Jews have ever gotten married. Nor pagans or atheists. Doesn’t happen because it can’t happen. You have to be a commited Christian. This group owns marriage, totally.

    What a maroon.

  12. 12
    zmidponk

    Hmm.

    I’m more against the redefinition of the term marriage than anything else.

    Well, taking in the wide variety of relationships that are or were covered by the term ‘marriage’ throughout the world and throughout history, this is two or more people of either gender (or, indeed, of a third gender) deciding to form a union in order to form or extend some kind of familial unit, and this would, of course, include the situation of two guys or two women getting married. So what’s your problem, exactly?

  13. 13
    steve84

    Christians are redefining words all the time. They are the true masters of doublespeak and newspeak. Especially when they talk about “love”.

    What I really hate lately is their attempt to frame this as a “difference of opinion”. Which is just BS. In that case they would just refuse to get gay married and stop trying to pass laws against it.

  14. 14
    adobo

    When Obama choose this guy for his inauguration and I heard the howls from the LGBT folks, I wondered what Obama was doing. Then the word “CONSENSUS” came to mind and I think his first term was dogged by failures because of this. In seeking bipartisanship with the Republicans, Obama merely gave the GOP the cement to build roadblocks for his progressive agenda. Rick Warren is a reminder that Democrats should never ever ever think that the GOP is worthy of being pacified. The best course of action for is to shove a 12 inch big fat black dildo down Warren and the Republican’s mouths!

  15. 15
    maddog1129
    Warren claimed that he believes in equality, but admitted he cannot support same-sex marriage because, he said, “I don’t get to change what God says.”

    This is absurd on several levels. First, “what God says” is utterly irrelevant to public policy.

    No, I’d say the first problem about “what God says” is that “God” has never “said” anything at all, ever.

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