Open Thread for AE #906: Matt and Jen


Last Thursday, a very lovely couple of 31 years got married in Austin. The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, immediately set about trying to have their marriage declared void. His reason? They’re a lesbian couple. Yes, these two women who’ve been together for 31 years and who’ve raised two children are a dire threat to the institution of marriage in Texas. In case you were wondering, yep, Paxton’s a fundamentalist evangelical, as well as a craven political panderer. He’s also one of the most mean-spirited assholes on the planet.

The calls on today’s show included one from Richard in Atlanta that’s worth a specific mention, because it was on-topic (we so rarely get those these days). Richard asked if we’d be okay with churches refusing to perform weddings for gay couples if marriage equality becomes the law of the land. The answer is, of course we’re okay with a church refusing perform a wedding for any couple, for any reason. That right is enshrined in the Constitution, and none of us wants to see it eroded. It’s also completely irrelevant to civil marriage, which is the only kind of marriage that confers any legal benefits.

Richard seemed to have some misunderstandings about marriage, including the idea that marriage has always been primarily a religious institution. That’s not correct, but that’s beside the point. Even if marriage had been an exclusively religious institution in the past, it isn’t today. It creates a unique legal relationship between two people, and any two people should be able to enter into it. That’s the issue at hand with marriage equality, not what happens in church.

Also – schmarriage!

And with that – have at it!

Comments

  1. ricksmg says

    The only thing I can say is wow.

    What is it with religious zealots that they feel they can take the moral high ground and dictate to the rest of us what we can and cannot do, who we can love, who we can have sex with and in what position.

    It is not as if a high percentage of these zealots actually practice what they preach which makes then lying hypocrites.

    I don’t even understand their motives. Are they really trying to impose their morals, or are they just trying to appeal to certain sector of society for their own selfish reason.

    If heaven actually existed, and goodness was the qualifying factor, I know a loving couple who brought up two children in a loving family would qualify. And the bigoted asshat who is either trying to impose his rules or gain election or money, would definitely not qualify and having him burn in hell is too good for him.

    Rick

  2. Jordan C. Beidatsch says

    I have such an issue with this notion. I believe that once there is a church and state separation nothing can be sanctioned by government without being made secular. So the government wants to afford incentives for marriage? the institution must now be available to all. To achieve this it must be secular. If this problem, it is a problem, continues I believe its in the governments and the peoples best interest to replace marriage with another institution. leaving marriage as a explicitly religious thing that holds no weight to, or recognition by, the government. you can be married but to get incentives you must complete paperwork to get what ever might replace the institution of marriage in the government eyes.

  3. Jordo says

    Things like this upset me. Due to separation of church and state, once something is recognized by the government and afforded incentives by that government, it is secular. Or it is wrong. So either marriage is secular or it is illegal. so if we continue to battle that marriage is a religious institution I have no interest in fighting it. Fine, it can be religious. but the government must then afford it no benefits. I say we allow marriage to be expressly religious. And we decide another institution to take its place in government. Something truly secular and for everyone. you can still get married but then you must go to a courthouse and get this new institution so the government can recognize that you may have the incentives.

  4. L.Long says

    Get the gov’mint out of the marriage business. Cancel all tax benefits for marriage. Give ‘marriage’ back to the churches and watch women being treated worse then ever!!!
    Any one who wants legal protections can get a civil contract, as many gays do now.
    I would hope that after being treated like less then manure the women would fight back, but when you can believe in talking snakes and virgin birth you can accept anything, even that the ahole will treat you good.

  5. says

    No, the government doesn’t need to get out of the marriage business. Civil marriage is fully secular and has nothing to do with the church. THAT is the point we need to drive home. Conceding marriage to the church is just pandering to the religious, which I’m not interested in doing. Rewarding their tantrums only encourages that behavior.

    “Any one who wants legal protections can get a civil contract, as many gays do now.”

    There is no contract that affords all the benefits of marriage. My significant other and I paid thousands of dollars for multiple contracts that give us a small fraction of the benefits we could obtain with a $35 marriage license.

  6. says

    I haven’t listened to the show yet, but my 2c is that, while I agree that marriage is secular, these holy-bigots do have something legitimate to fear. While the culture is already changing out from under them, having marriage equality the law of the land is going to expose the anti-gay churches for what they are. Let me be clear, I think this is a good thing and agree that they have the legal right to put whatever restrictions they want on marriages in their own churches. But, they know that their pews are going gather more dust than rear ends now. There are and will be more churches that are smart enough to reject this bigotry and hopefully we can use this evolution in morality as a wedge for a more secular culture and more secular politics in the future, even with those who still cling to theism.

  7. says

    I’d throw in that the idea of getting government out of marriage would not benefit the Government. Marital rights are essentially a cookie-cutter stamp-them-out-by-the-dozen contract. If that suddenly cost thousands of dollars to arrange on an individual basis… the lawyers might love it, but a lot less people would bother.

    There’s a lot of automatics and protections built into that marriage license, that, if two people don’t have set up, is much more of a legal headache for the courts to try to resolve. If the SO dies, who gets guardianship? Who gets power of attorney? Or child custody? Or property/inheritance?

    It’s so much easier if these things are just automatic, instead of the courts having to, on a person-by-person basis have to sort out the messes.

  8. says

    Also, while I’m on it…

    Creating private contracts that are equivalent to marriage, that are then upheld and enforced by the State courts (otherwise the contract is and irrelevant piece of paper)… you’ve basically just invented/established State-recognized marriage again. Now, it’s just a lot more expensive.

  9. Monocle Smile says

    @Jasper and Jen
    You’re correct, and the issue is that “marriage” is dug deeply into established law and court precedent, and people who say it should just be tossed out of government altogether don’t seem to realize that it’s like trying to extract a bullet fragment buried deep in your body; extraction is often riskier and more damaging than leaving it in.

  10. says

    Re: child custody – a marriage license doesn’t give you that. If you marry someone with children, you don’t automatically get custody of the children if your spouse dies, unless you formally adopt the kids. If you’re not a child’s legal parent, then the legal parent(s) must have a legal document that transfers custody/guardianship of the child in the event of the parent’s death.

    What a marriage license does do is make you the presumptive second parent of any children your spouse bears during your marriage. That means, for example, that a lesbian couple could plan to conceive via donor insemination, and neither would have to formally adopt the other’s biological children in order to establish parental rights and obligations.

  11. Monocle Smile says

    What the hell was the “evolution” caller going on about? Something about that call didn’t sit right with me. We don’t do such dumb things with math or physics or chemistry or anything else.

    The concept of evolution isn’t actually that difficult. Descent with inherent modification is a fairly easy concept to grasp; I mean, middle-schoolers can do Punnett squares. We’re not talking about comprehensively digging through cladistics here.

  12. favog says

    In regard to the call from Ariel, especially that part where she was making proposals about changing the way evolution is taught in high school: I wanted to jump in myself on that one, with so many things to say — but Matt and Jen covered every point I had, and said them better than I probably would have. Really have to applaud both hosts on that call.

  13. corwyn says

    Someone really ought to whisper in his ear: “When the gay conspiracy takes over, do *you* really want to have set a legal precedent that the state can void any marriage based on the gender of the participants?”

  14. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, that last caller…I think it was important to discuss the topic he brought up even though he was very wrong, but his comments towards the end on “atheist” and “agnostic” were some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.

  15. L.Long says

    Jen ….What bennies do you get with a marriage that you don’t get with a contract???
    The old “get to see partner in hospital’ BS is not afforded by a marriage. I get in to see my wife at the hospital because I’m Hetero!!! No one ever asked to see a marriage license I could have been the guy who attacked her for all the hospital knew. As a gay marriage will not get you in if they are bigots, they will ask to see the certificate.

  16. Narf says

    Jen ….What bennies do you get with a marriage that you don’t get with a contract???

    The couple thousand dollars she didn’t have to spend on the contract is a good start. She already mentioned that one.

    Future considerations that are granted to married couples, because of situations that Jen and her partner/wife didn’t think to include in their contract? And yes, they could get that thing added to their contract, for another pile of money, while all of the hetero, married people got it for free. You don’t see a problem there?

    Come on man, you know what the religious right is like in this country. If you allowed them to set up a separate-but-equal partnership for gay couples, claiming that it will legally be the same thing, they’ll immediately begin trying to write in special privileges for hetero marriage that don’t apply to the gay thing.

    And don’t tell me we’ll stop them from doing that. After all, TRAP laws aren’t causing any problems for women, are they?

  17. Narf says

    @4 – L.Long
    I’ve heard anarcho-capitalist libertarians make this sort of argument. The problem is the same problem that anarcho-capitalist libertarians usually have:
    We live in reality. Reality doesn’t work that way.

    Okay, so you think we shouldn’t be legalizing gay marriage, because it expands the role of government in marriage. Fine, but what you’re actually supporting with your results is anti-gay bigotry. Since heterosexual marriage is not going away, since over 90% of the population is in favor of it and is not going to change their mind on the fact (and there’s no Constitutional reason for the Supreme Court to strike it down), the end result is that you’re just propping up the status quo, which is discriminatory against gay people.

  18. says

    What benefits do I get with marriage that aren’t available by contract?

    What Narf said, plus a whole bunch of other stuff you could’ve discovered for yourself if you’d taken about 30 seconds to research it. Things like:

    – Military benefits for spouses
    – Exemption from estate & inheritance taxes
    – Spousal privilege in court cases
    – Ability to sponsor your spouse for immigration purposes

    Those are just a few benefits of marriage, and they cannot be obtained with a contract.

  19. Narf says

    @19 – Jen

    Military benefits for spouses

    Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. Wow. Yeah, I didn’t even think of that aspect. That’s a whole other dynamic to the problem, not just a single issue.

    Okay, L.Long, get a contract set up with someone, and I’m sure the military will agree to whatever terms you’ve set up within the contract, in regards to the things the military has to do for you, because of your contracted partner’s military service. Good luck with that.

  20. Narf says

    Spousal privilege in court cases

    I’d try to put together an argument, perhaps, about setting up some sort of therapist/patient privilege or some sort of attorney/client privilege, but the metaphors became too creepy too quickly, as I continued down that line of thought.

  21. L.Long says

    WTF #18….I never suggested any such thing I just gave a counter to the legal marriage thing.
    I do not know any gay couples and do not know their problems.
    And As I Said…legalizing gay marriage may give them certain bennies (that I still don’t know) but they will still be hounded by bigots as they will have to carry their licensees with them cuz the bigots are NOT required to take their word for it. And the cost of legal contracts in place of marriage may be high but that is just because of more bigotry, as there is no reason for there to be a difference.
    But the military thing is just as hard on heteros because they don’t take your word for the marriage. Heteros have to show the marriage certificate to be recognized as such and then the issued ID replaces the other documents from then on. But there is an inbuilt bigotry against gay couples in the military because of the intense growth of religious influence in the military which will not go away just because gay marriage is legal.

  22. Narf says

    @22 – L.Long
    Hmm, sounded like you were going down that path, with the whole “Get the gov’ment out of the marriage business,” stuff. Sorry. I don’t entirely see what your point was, then, if not getting rid of marriage as a legal entity, which is just not going to fly in the public-opinion sphere.

    So, you’re at least with us on making gay marriage legal nationwide, as long as we breeders are allowed to marry, too? So … what were you getting at back there, then?

    I’m not particularly with you on the subject of completely dissolving marriage, as a legal entity, anyway. It’s a handy basket of rights and legal ties, for two people who want to have a long-term, potentially lifelong relationship and want to work as one legal entity in some matters. Why are you against that?

  23. Jordo says

    I feel like I have been misunderstood. I believe that marriage is secular. The point is if you believe marriage is religious, then marriage is illegal. Beyond that, I believe in the benefits of marriage. If we cannot make them understand that marriage is secular then remove the institution of marriage AND REPLACE IT WITH A SECULAR EQUIVALENT. I realize this is a name change, but that worked for The Artist Formally Known as Prince. Then if they say that we took away a god given right. Say that churches can get Microsoft publisher and print them off a piece of paper signed by the church that they can call marriage. which will hold no standing in government.

  24. says

    “Heteros have to show the marriage certificate to be recognized as such”

    Correct. The military does not recognize common law marriages or domestic partnerships. You must present a marriage license in order to claim benefits for your spouse. How is this an argument against marriage equality?

    “But there is an inbuilt bigotry against gay couples in the military because of the intense growth of religious influence in the military which will not go away just because gay marriage is legal.”

    And you know this because…? Aside from the fact that it’s not true, I’d also be interested in why you think this is some profound argument against marriage equality. Marriage equality is already a reality in the US military, which puts the military way ahead of 13 states. That means a married gay couple in the Army will be recognized as married while on the Fort Hood military installation, but not in downtown Killeen.

  25. Minus says

    On the teaching of evolution: I learned about evolution in high school biology class about 60 years ago. It was clear as a bell to me. The basic idea of evolution, natural selection, is quite simple and easy to grasp. If only physics and chemistry were that easy. I don’t know what this woman was talking about.

  26. says

    “If we cannot make them understand that marriage is secular then remove the institution of marriage AND REPLACE IT WITH A SECULAR EQUIVALENT.”

    Why would we do that, Jordo? Why would we concede anything to them? If they don’t want to participate in the secular institution, no one is forcing them to do so. They can have their church wedding, skip the marriage license, and forego all the legal benefits of civil marriage. There’s no reason to blow the whole thing up just because some theists have their panties in a bunch over this. They’ll get over it. Or they won’t. Not our problem.

  27. Narf says

    @24

    … but that worked for The Artist Formally Known as Prince.

    Did it? I don’t know anyone who calls him anything but Prince … or has listened to any of his stuff from after the name change. 😀

    Say that churches can get Microsoft publisher and print them off a piece of paper signed by the church that they can call marriage. which will hold no standing in government.

    That’s pretty much the way things already are, right now. Churches can do whatever the hell they want, but it’s meaningless until the pastor goes down and files the paperwork at town hall.

    The problem I have with your hypothetical is that it’s granting religions domain over a recognized cultural artifact. Particularly when they’re already being assholes about it, you know they’re going to use anything you give them as a weapon to seize even more ground. There’s a certain time when you just have to draw a line and swat them with the newspaper when they cross it.

  28. Jordo says

    I feel the act of equality is bigger than ego. I don’t want their institution I want equality. I again state that I am strongly on the side that marriage is indeed secular. I simply state that if strong opposition to equality, based on marriage being a religious institution, continues then take away its power.

  29. Jordo says

    “Did it? I don’t know anyone who calls him anything but Prince … or has listened to any of his stuff from after the name change. :D”

    It did! he got out of his contract.

    “That’s pretty much the way things already are, right now. Churches can do whatever the hell they want, but it’s meaningless until the pastor goes down and files the paperwork at town hall.”

    right, but in my hypothetical, they cant file that paper anymore. It means nothing. it cant be afforded anything. it has no power.

  30. Narf says

    @26 – Minus

    I don’t know what this woman was talking about.

    Largely, religious people only know the straw-man of evolution that their pastor stuffed into their heads. “If evolution was true, monkeys would be giving birth to humans all the time!” That sort of shit.

    Strangely, teaching of evolution was probably more consistent 60 years ago than it is now. I barely remember it from high school biology, myself. I mean, I learned that it was a thing, in middle school, but I didn’t really get the nuts and bolts until college.

  31. Narf says

    @30 – Jordo

    It did! he got out of his contract.

    Ohhhhhh, is that what all of that shit was all about?

    *blink* Wait, how did that get him out of his contract? That’s insane. Contracts don’t work like that.

    Was it just some bullshit that the record company had cooked into the contract, that he couldn’t perform under that name, since they owned it? Not so much that he got out of the contract, but that once he broke the contract, he was locked out of his previous identity, because of the contract that he had ill-advisedly signed?

    right, but in my hypothetical, they cant file that paper anymore. It means nothing. it cant be afforded anything. it has no power.

    Errrrrrrr … but they’ll still be able to go file paperwork for their civil union, which will still be part of the whole process following the religious marriage. You can’t ban religious people from having a civil union, if they’ve also had a legally-meaningless religious ceremony.

    It’s still the same as what we have now, only you’ve given them a culturally potent word to use as they see fit.

  32. Jordo says

    It all stemmed from a contract dispute so one can only speculate that if changing his name to a symbol helped then the construction of the contract was poor.

    “Errrrrrrr … but they’ll still be able to go file paperwork for their civil union, which will still be part of the whole process following the religious marriage. You can’t ban religious people from having a civil union, if they’ve also had a legally-meaningless religious ceremony.”

    correct but realize that they have to file for something expressly advertised as secular. Its not that I want religious individuals to not have the benefits, its that I only want them to have right through legal and secular means.

  33. Jordo says

    “It did! he got out of his contract.”

    I misspoke he didn’t get out of his contract but it was because of a dispute with his record company about the amount of music he was putting out which made it hard for them to promote him. So this was his move in turn.

  34. Monocle Smile says

    @Jordo
    I think you really, really need to speak to someone with legal credentials about the difficulty in changing a well-established legal term that has been used in a legal sense for centuries, seeing as you pretty much ignored Matt and Jen’s points about it.

    I feel the act of equality is bigger than ego. I don’t want their institution I want equality

    Then you fuck them over. You’re going about this exactly the wrong way and worried about exactly the wrong thing. They can take their ball and go home, but you don’t let them take everyone’s ball.

  35. Narf says

    @29 – Jordo

    I feel the act of equality is bigger than ego. I don’t want their institution I want equality.

    That’s sort of the whole point. Marriage was never their institution. Sure, you had the priesthood involved in high society weddings, since the church always liked to get its fingers into everything, but it never belonged to them. Pre-Christian Rome and Greece had marriage, too. China and Japan had marriage, long before the Christian missionaries showed up.

    I again state that I am strongly on the side that marriage is indeed secular. I simply state that if strong opposition to equality, based on marriage being a religious institution, continues then take away its power.

    But we’ve already won. We won in 2003, after Lawrence v Texas. It just took a while to work its way through the system … strangely, hurried along by the right’s crazed campaign against it. If we hadn’t had such a flurry of anti-gay-marriage laws and state-constitutional amendments, we wouldn’t be having a Supreme Court ruling as soon as it’s actually happening.

    Why talk about fall-back positions now?

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @Jordo
    Also, for the record, I think you objected when Jen correctly stated that religious opposition to gay marriage is based on concepts and not vernacular, and I can tell you without a doubt that she’s completely right. Whining about the word “marriage” is merely a cover for the religious. Changing the word would have exactly zero effect on the religious opposition.

  37. Jordo says

    I really truly hope that this will be the last time I have to say this. I BELEIVE THAT MARRIAGE IS SECULAR. So that means that I want to keep the term. To be clear though, the difficulty to legislate something isn’t a good reason to not do it.

  38. Jordo says

    @Monocle Smile
    “I think you objected when Jen correctly stated that religious opposition to gay marriage is based on concepts and not vernacular”

    I don’t think I disagreed with that

  39. Narf says

    @33 – Jordo

    correct but realize that they have to file for something expressly advertised as secular. Its not that I want religious individuals to not have the benefits, its that I only want them to have right through legal and secular means.

    That’s the way things are now. The ceremony held in the church is completely meaningless, from a legal perspective. The marriage officiant is just granted the ability to file the paperwork on the couple’s behalf, just like a judge or ship’s captain is able to do.

    This is how polygamous, fundamentalist Mormons are able to get away with it. The husband only marries one of the women, legally. The other marriages are done in the church, but they’re meaningless, from a legal perspective.

  40. Jordo says

    The hypothetical, which is all it was, is simply meant to take the secular institution of marriage and highlight it as being secular, by renaming it a term that is not spelt the exact same as a religious act of marriage.

  41. Jordo says

    You don’t see the point in marriage equality…. seriously?

    Just kidding. it wasn’t meant to be a hot topic its a small step that I personally feel goes a small way in saying what we mean. The alternative of just defining the government recognition of marriage as secular in a legal standing would do just as well to me.

  42. Narf says

    I don’t see the point in renaming marriage, when we’ve already won on the secular, gay marriage front. We just have to wait for the Supreme Court to clean up the last of the mess.

  43. Robert, not Bob says

    So there were two callers advocating making concessions to religion (one on an issue we’re winning, one we’re losing). If there’s any institution that “given an inch takes a mile” it’s religion, and we ought to think twice before giving any. Especially given the fact that the fundamental political issue is one of reversing the centuries-old encroachment of religion into every sphere of public and private life.

  44. L.Long says

    Jen-Narf
    I guess I was not clear. Marriage equality is the best thing…TRUE!!
    I was trying to give an alternative of the gov’mint getting out of it as in the word marriage not the concept. At this point all marriages are a civil contract with assumed bennies and rules of law.
    Just keep the rules in place for CIVIL CONTRACT ONLY!!! and change the name slightly. Then the religidiots can go back to their beloved 14th century and males can treat their women and kids like crap, which will cause the women to file law suits and SHOW them that the religion is totally CRAP, which is why marriage became secular in the 1st place.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    To be clear though, the difficulty to legislate something isn’t a good reason to not do it

    Actually, having to overturn centuries of both law and court precedent is a very good reason to avoid doing something. You need even better reasons to override that very good reason.

    Narf referenced “separate but equal” earlier, and that’s exactly what you’d get if we followed your suggestion. Do you really think you’d get the result you desire? I have no confidence in such an outcome.

  46. kudlak says

    Something that we’ve seen here in Canada is that the very conservative churches knew beforehand that many of the other branches of Christianity were willing to marry gays. Much of the language of their opposition was focused on the fear that they would lose so many congregants that they would have to consider opening up to gays as well just to remain competitive. So, it might be more accurate to say that they don’t fear the government forcing them to marry gays, but that their beloved, bigoted church will inevitably change and they will no longer have a safe place to practice their homophobia.

  47. JT Rager says

    I’m starting to think this recent strain of Libertarianism that automatically labels anything bad if the government has any say in it is an attempt to freeze the status quo where it is by not making people play by the rules anymore. I already don’t accept the idea that “regulation is bad” per se. And I don’t see any problems with marriage as it stands (not being afforded to anyone aside). There are some things that the government does do well and doesn’t do well, it’s not a blanket “the guv’mint is bad, mmm’kay”.

    People only started saying “get government out of the marriage business” when same-sex couples got a hefty movement to have a share as well. Perhaps the marriage institution as it is is perfectly fine. The BEST thing we can do is to have either a court ruling or a law that merely says something to the effect of “anything designated through marriage to opposite-sex couples also applies to same-sex couples”. Easy peasy.

  48. kudlak says

    Speaking also as an educator, and regarding the caller who had a problem with evolution being taught in public schools, I find it difficult to imagine how a teacher can either claim the right not to teach something that they don’t believe in, or could feel justified in presenting a straw man version of it. We get paid to teach curriculum. That’s our job. They probably share my personal aversion to Communism, and they probably could come up with a religious reason for opposing it, but I doubt that they refuse to teach it, or feel that they have to lie about it either. The difference is that Communism reveals itself as an ugly, failed system all by itself, while the actual truth about evolution is just too compelling.

  49. Robert, not Bob says

    Kudlak
    Practically speaking, it doesn’t matter what a law says, or even the intent of those who wrote it, if the people and their government are unwilling to enforce it. State governments full of creationists won’t enforce the law, and school boards and PTA’s, also full of creationists, can bring a lot of pressure to bear, up to and including threatening teachers’ jobs. Rationally, anti-intellectualism is very strong in this country, and many teachers share the mental assumptions that support superstition and woo.

  50. kudlak says

    Robert, not Bob
    Could there ever be a law, something passed by your Supreme Court covering the whole country, that mandates that evolution must be taught in all public schools? Education is a states’ area of control, isn’t it? By necessity, each state would have different local histories, geographies, literature and other social studies that they have the right to address and celebrate, but that also gives them what they think is licence to say what science is within each state, which is something that really out to be pretty standardized, right?

  51. kudlak says

    Monocle Smile

    Examples such as the abolition of slavery, the granting of equal rights and votes for women were not worth the effort then?

  52. Narf says

    @52 – kudlak

    Could there ever be a law, something passed by your Supreme Court covering the whole country, that mandates that evolution must be taught in all public schools?

    Umm, the Supreme Court doesn’t pass laws, man. 😛

    Heh heh heh. Yeah, I know what you meant. I thought I would clear this up, though, since it somewhat applies to your next question.

    The Supreme Court strikes down laws and makes rulings that sort of set parameters for future laws. It can rule that laws that try to restrict things within certain areas are violations of someone’s rights granted by the federal Constitution, and any future laws that impinge upon those rights will automatically be struck down by lower courts.

    The activities of the Supreme Court have done nothing to require that evolution be taught in schools, and I’m not sure that such a thing could be done. What the federal courts (I’m not sure it has ever gotten to the Supreme Court) have done at every turn is ban the teaching of creationism in public schools, since a public school teacher doing so while working as a representative of the state violates the first amendment to the Constitution.

    Education is a states’ area of control, isn’t it?

    Eh, yes and no. In general, the policies are set at the state and sometimes even county levels. The federal government provides a lot of the funding for schools, though, and it often imposes guidelines on the states, under the threat of the withholding of that federal money.

    That said, evolution is in the school books. The problem is at the local and sometimes teacher level. I saw some poll in an article a few years back. Let me see if I can find it.

    Here we go: http://www.livescience.com/11656-13-biology-teachers-advocate-creationism-class.html

    Only 28 percent of high-school biology teachers followed the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences recommendations on teaching evolution, which include citing evidence that evolution occurred and teaching evolution thematically, as a link between various biology topics.

    In comparison, 13 percent of the teachers said they “explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.”

    Mind you, the article lists high-school biology teachers, not public high-school biology teachers. I’m sure that some of that 13% is made up of teachers in public schools, though. They’re violating the law, but they’re usually in rural school districts, full of fundie nuts who will drive anyone out of town, if they brought a lawsuit about this sort of thing.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Narf

    Umm, the Supreme Court doesn’t pass laws, man. 😛

    This is an entirely esoteric argument, but US courts actually do create law, and especially SCOTUS. That’s why it’s called case law.

    @kudlak

    Could there ever be a law, something passed by your Supreme Court covering the whole country, that mandates that evolution must be taught in all public schools?

    The kind of law that SCOTUS can pass, case law, is limited to deciding matters of legislative law and constitutional law. There is no part of the US Constitution which could plausibly be read to require the teaching of evolution. If the legislative branch, the Congress, passes a law which requires the teaching of evolution, then of course SCOTUS can enforce that law in a particular case, creating case law in the process.

    I believe your effective question is: “Can SCOTUS require the teaching of evolution absent a law passed by the Congress?”. The answer is no.

  54. Narf says

    This is an entirely esoteric argument, but US courts actually do create law, and especially SCOTUS. That’s why it’s called case law.

    Eh, I wouldn’t consider those laws in the way that the word is typically meant, but I take your point. The definitions of categories like law, judicial ruling, and legal precedent can be squishy little things.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I should have expanded a little bit. Case law is law in the important sense of being the law of the land – you can and will be judged on it in a legal court. We intuitively don’t like the idea of judges creating laws, but that’s what it is. We live in a common law society.

    Of course, judges don’t have the full discretion of a legislature when creating (case) law, and case law tends to be less important or binding compared to legislative law and constitutional law.

    Further, not all US courts are common law courts. Further, not all courts can be nicely divided into these two separate categories – there’s a lot of overlap.

    For a slightly longer, but still brief introduction:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedent#Contrasting_role_of_case_law_in_common_law.2C_civil_law.2C_and_mixed_systems

  56. Monocle Smile says

    Examples such as the abolition of slavery, the granting of equal rights and votes for women were not worth the effort then?

    Good job not reading my post. I said you need EVEN BETTER reasons to launch into such an endeavor. The things you listed indeed had reasons that overrode the challenge in overturning law and precedent. Meanwhile we’re WINNING on the gay marriage front; there’s no need to give up and change the avenue of attack all of a sudden.

  57. Narf says

    Meanwhile we’re WINNING on the gay marriage front; there’s no need to give up and change the avenue of attack all of a sudden.

    I’ve said that a few times, now. I don’t think the the-sky-is-falling guys have bothered to read that far into my comments, though.

  58. says

    The hypothetical, which is all it was, is simply meant to take the secular institution of marriage and highlight it as being secular, by renaming it a term that is not spelt the exact same as a religious act of marriage.

    Why? To me, renaming the word “marriage” to something else just so we can claim the new word is secular is an act of accommodationism that makes no sense.

    1. The word marriage means what it means already. We have this thing we can use, it’s called an adjective, to make distinctions about the type of marriage if the need arises (“legal marriage”, “religious marriage”, etc.). Trying to change the legal or common use definition of marriage is a much harder task than you seem to realize (ask folks promoting marriage equality for the past 50+ years how hard it is) and at best it won’t change anyone’s bigotry and at worst it will validate that bigotry.

    2. What about religious marriages of same sex couples? How do we resolve the battles between the religious over “marriage = one man + one woman” and “marriage = one person + one person” definitions?

    3. Why concede on this issue when it’s one of the most visible moral civil rights issues of our time that is leading many people to question their backward religious views? Even if you care nothing for the harm being done by denying this right to same sex couples, this should be reason enough to support denying the religious this word.

    4. What will the religious ask for next? Will the forced-birth, anti-choice folks demand “birth” certificates be issued for any sonogram with a heartbeat? Might as well if they’re whining about it being their word. We’ll need a new “secular autonomously breathing human creation” certificates so it’s clear we’re not talking about the souls that come with “birth”.

    5. This would actually reverse the progress made so far, to the point that it’s inevitable at this point that marriage will be one person + one person in the eyes of the law as well as anybody who participates in their own culture to even a minor degree. Here’s what is being proposed: “You know, those bigots are right, now that the word marriage effectively means one person + one person, let’s change that so the word marriage means what the religious want it to mean (they complain so loudly) and create a new word” Saying that is, well, inconceivable!

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “Surrendering marriage to the religious”

    This is like Gould’s idea in NOMA of surrendering morality to religion. Morality has been around a lot longer than religion, and so has marriage. Both are bad ideas IMHO.

  60. Conversion Tube says

    I’m not a conspiracy nut but those two callers seemed very dishonest about their views. Even after the rationality was explained to them.

    Is it possible that christians are calling attempting to pose as Atheists and claim to agree in the overall view while claiming that “rational view” led them to the same conclusions a fundamentalist would make?

    ////”I’m an atheist and Evolution is a fact however I don’t think we should teach that fact because it confuses people”. ////

    HUH? What? I don’t believe you for a second.
    Am I committing the no true Scotsman fallacy here. I’m allowed to belief they are dishonest right?

    Evolution confuses students because they need to reflect on the misinformation they were originally taught.

  61. Monocle Smile says

    @Conversion Tube
    I got the concern-troll vibe from April especially at first, although I don’t have the confidence to make a declarative statement. I appreciate your comment; it’s nice to know I’m not taking crazy pills!

  62. Narf says

    ////”I’m an atheist and Evolution is a fact however I don’t think we should teach that fact because it confuses people”. ////
    HUH? What? I don’t believe you for a second.
    Am I committing the no true Scotsman fallacy here. I’m allowed to belief they are dishonest right?

    That isn’t a no-true-Scotsman fallacy, no. You aren’t saying that the person can’t be an atheist and hold that position. Heck, I could think of a few horribly misguided reasons someone might come to that position.

    “If we stop teaching evolution in high school, the creationists won’t receive their warped perception of evolution that they get by not being presented with the full picture, as they would receive in college.”

    There are so many things wrong with that statement, but I could see someone making it, if they hadn’t thought through things … at all, really. I’ve met a few fairly stupid and irrational atheists, particularly those who get into spiritual, woo-woo garbage and are anti-skepticism. There’s no reason that we should expect an atheist like that to be any more rational than a fundamentalist theist.

    Anyway, it isn’t a no-true-Scotsman fallacy to speculate about what could make someone make such a crazy argument. There could be a number of unspoken reasons, one of which could potentially be a lie about the arguer’s base religious position. Just don’t say something silly, like “No atheist could make that argument,” and you’re good.

  63. Narf says

    I freaking finally got around to listening to this episode, while out on a walk. I’ve been a little distracted this week.

    No, Conversion Tube, I don’t think April was a stealth theist or whatever. I don’t get that vibe from her at all.

    Actually, I’m really surprised how accurate that hypothetical I threw out there was. I think that what I outlined before is likely the case. I think she went into the thought experiment with the concept that all of the evolution straw-manning was the result of insufficiently in-depth education on the subject, rather than deliberate miseducation from fundamentalist pastors and apologists. In her defense, she lives in freaking Toronto. I don’t think she’s ever met many creationists in person, up there. Urban Canada is much more rational than most of the US is.

    Matt’s and Jen’s responses were very close to what I was thinking, in response to my hypothetical reason that April might have had.

    And MS, I wouldn’t say that she was concern-trolling in any way, just proposing a solution to a problem which would actually make the situation worse. I have no idea how she couldn’t have come up with half a dozen objections to her proposal, before even calling into the show, but there you have it. Her local school systems aren’t under assault the same way ours are, I don’t think, so she doesn’t have the same perspective.

  64. Monocle Smile says

    @Narf

    And MS, I wouldn’t say that she was concern-trolling in any way, just proposing a solution to a problem which would actually make the situation worse

    In my defense, that’s a standard concern troll tactic. I listened to the audio, not the video, and I guess I missed that she was from Toronto, so perhaps she’s insulated from creationist nonsense.

    I haven’t met too many creationists in person, but I did live with one for about a month. I was out of school and didn’t have a real job, so I needed a low-rent place. I found an ad and emailed her, and she explained that she had been renting the other two bedrooms in her house out to college students for eight years and her rent was low, so everything seemed on the up-and-up.

    Found out after about two days that she was a creationist and kind of a nut. A month later, I got the boot…she failed to mention that she had never rented to men before and was “uncomfortable” with my presence. I was perfectly happy to leave; she was not only a creationist, but seemed to think she was my surrogate mother instead of my landlord.
    /coolstorybro

  65. Narf says

    In my defense, that’s a standard concern troll tactic. I listened to the audio, not the video, and I guess I missed that she was from Toronto, so perhaps she’s insulated from creationist nonsense.

    Yeah, I was particularly keyed to that call, by the discussion we had had about it beforehand, so I’m sure I soaked up a whole lot more details from it. It’s like watching a movie the second time through, only without having had to watch it the first time.

    I haven’t met too many creationists in person, but I did live with one for about a month. I was out of school and didn’t have a real job, so I needed a low-rent place.

    I imagine that you’re mostly socially separated from them, since education and acceptance of science go hand-in-hand … go figure.

    Creationists are a lot more common around here, but I don’t actually encounter any in my day-to-day life. Everyone I associate with outside of work is rather well-educated, and my department at every job I’ve worked in the last 10 years or so has been full of atheists, whether or not they embraced the label. The users were often mostly theists, I imagine, but almost all of them had the sense to keep conversation professional and away from topics of religion and politics.

    Found out after about two days that she was a creationist and kind of a nut. A month later, I got the boot…she failed to mention that she had never rented to men before and was “uncomfortable” with my presence.

    That’s … something you should really work out beforehand, you’d think …

    Heh. Not work it out from your end, I mean. As a landlord, if the idea of having men living in your house freaks you out, you freaking say something.

    I was perfectly happy to leave; she was not only a creationist, but seemed to think she was my surrogate mother instead of my landlord.

    Ugh, yeah, I can imagine. I can see where that would have come from, having only rented out to college students previously. Most freshmen and sophomores are still pretty useless at running their own lives.

    I never interacted much with other students, socially, since I didn’t live on campus, but the stories I’ve heard from my girlfriend are amazing … girls who had no clue how to do their own laundry, use a stove … frozen dinner in the microwave were about the limit, and only the simpler ones of those. The idea of cutting up some broccoli before cooking it in some way was too stressful for them to handle …

    I don’t know; maybe it wasn’t as bad back in the 80’s and 90’s, but the current crop of parents are turning out a bunch of helpless people who don’t know how to take care of themselves by adulthood.

  66. godhunterak47 . says

    Hey JEn
    How many times did you say “um”
    To bad nobody aint learnt you how dumb you sound.

  67. ironchops says

    I live in Virginia and attend a baptist church. I profess to be a christian but in retrospect I belive I am actually atheist, however I will continue to attend church until I can truely decide. I believe that spirituallity is only of the mind and may not be actually real/true. While I don’t agree with some particular life style choices I have to realize I only have to make my own choice. I personally do not care if same sex couples or opposite sex couples get married. I would treat/view all married couples the same. I would hope we all can do the same in the future and then lets move on.

  68. frankgturner says

    @MS #14
    I know this is not one of your recent posts but I have not been on this board and I have not read through some of this until now (BTW Narf, you make some good points on here).
    .
    I suspect that the caller is someone who never had heard of a marriage being performed by a judge or a ship captain (i.e.: filing the paperwork). He probably only saw marriages in churches and came to think of marriage as being a specifically religious principle. Like he filled in the blanks and never asked or looked into it for himself. A lot of people do that in various situations.
    .
    I was in England some years ago and a man in his 50s said something to me about Americans being happy that the English invented peanut butter. I looked it up and discovered that an American invented it (of course) in the early 1900s. He, of course, had always grown up with it and assumed that it went back to before the Revolutionary War simply because he could never remember a time not having peanut butter as a child (which might make sense if he were over 100, but he wasn’t).
    .
    And I have had many a time when people (sometimes not even YECs and fundies) wonder why we put the X in Xmas, as if we are “crossing out ‘Christ'” (a common misconception).
    .
    If the caller had the natural skepticism to look up marriage he probably would have discovered it having non religious origins but he goes based on his emotional / anectdotal reasoning rather than looking for documentation of reasons.

  69. Narf says

    @69 – godhunterak47
    Dude, if you’re going to criticize people for something like this, when they’re speaking off-the-cuff, on a volunteer-run, public-access cable show, you better be able to do better … or better at least be able to write a perfect blog comment. Hell, she does a lot better than several writers and public speakers which I’ve seen on the professional interview circuit.

  70. says

    @70 ironchops

    I live in Virginia and attend a baptist church. I profess to be a christian but in retrospect I belive I am actually atheist, however I will continue to attend church until I can truly decide.

    If you don’t believe in god, you’re probably an atheist. Kudos on entertaining the idea. If you have any questions or need feedback about specific topics/ideas, I’m sure the crowd here will give you their 2c.

    I believe that spirituallity is only of the mind and may not be actually real/true.

    Given that the honest, scientific attempts to test, validate or even correlate “spirituality” (prayer, societal health, etc.) have come up empty, your conclusion seems reasonable to me. Everything else, like seeing spirits/ghosts/angels/demons, feeling overwhelmed by the holy spirit, hearing god speak to you, near death experiences, etc., are unverifiable personal experiences and we know that human brains hallucinate (and are very suggestible) and that our senses are by no means perfect.

    While I don’t agree with some particular life style choices

    I really hope you’re talking about “life style choices” that actively harm others (I like to call these types of things “crimes”), and not the “life style choices” that two adults consensually and happily enjoy without harming others. I’m not sure how you could disagree to the latter without also being against the idea of liberty itself.

    I would hope we all can do the same in the future and then lets move on.

    Me too! Can I then assume that the baptist church you’re attending isn’t actively preaching against marriage equality? Maybe ask for a report from the church where your (or their, if you don’t donate) dollars go to and check if any of those organizations are on an ERC/SPLC list (probably don’t even need to check if they have the Orwellian word “family” in the title). Since not everything in the bible is nuts: By their fruits you will know them.

  71. Narf says

    @70 – ironchops
    Yeah, like Bits said, welcome to the comment section, man (assuming that I’m making the correct assumption about your sex, from the feel of your chosen name). When you post another comment, you can check the box down at the bottom, to notify you of new blog posts by e-mail. As soon as I get the new-post notification e-mail, I click the link at the bottom of the comment box to subscribe to the individual posts, so I see when others are jumping in on the conversation.

    Ask whatever you like about something on that show, or feel free to just ask us random questions that you’re curious about. Many of us will be happy to give our opinion on just about any subject you’re curious about. Hell, try to stop us from giving our opinion, if a subject is even vaguely mentioned.

  72. ironchops says

    To be clear:
    @74-Bits
    1-I’m struggling. 2-Spirits=emotions (not ghosts or boogiemen), 3-You cut me mid sentence…”but I have to realize I only have to make my own choice”…not yours or anyone elses choice, 4-We’re struggling…don’t know the outcome?
    Thanks Narf, yes, old fashioned southern gentalmen.

  73. Narf says

    Actually, I’m originally from Chicago. 😀

    And check out the recent blog-post comment section about Pascal’s Wager, if you want to see what an asshole I can be. In my defense, Jerry deserved every bit of it.

  74. Funslinger says

    I disagree with those who say a church should be allowed to refuse service to anyone. This is predicated on the fact that churches are tax-exempt institutions. If a church relinquishes its tax-exempt status then I’m okay with its refusal to serve someone.

    I also believe that it is unconstitutional for the government to pass a law requiring a private business to serve anyone.

  75. Narf says

    The key issue in your last comment involves places of public accommodation. Say all of the places that sell food, in a small town, decide that they don’t want to sell food to that perverted homosexual who lives over there. That sort of persecution of minorities is one of the things that the constitution was explicitly created to prevent. That’s the sort of situation for which anti-discrimination laws are absolutely vital.

    Saying you’re against those sort of laws is an expression of your opinion, and you can say it all you want. Saying that they’re unconstitutional is just flat-out incorrect.

  76. Funslinger says

    Your example of “all places that sell food refusing to serve someone” is not an excuse to give credence to a law that forces a private business to serve everyone. Imagine a situation in which no one in a community decides to open a food business because of a law that forces them to serve everyone. How would that help the community? Is the government now going to force someone to open a business? Bottom line, these types of laws are unconstitutional.

    However, there is nothing wrong with the government stepping in temporarily to resolve an issue were there is no viable option for someone. Just how likely do you think your proposed situation is? In a small community it might be much more likely, but I believe it’s still mostly unlikely.

    But even if a community had no place that would serve a particular type of person, how long would that situation remain viable. Those food vendors must buy their ingredients from suppliers. Are there suppliers that would continue to sell to them? Maybe.

    We, as citizens, should use our power to boycott, not plead to our government to punish vendors who open a business that is there to serve them, not the public. The public may benefit from the business, but make no mistake, the owner started the business for his own personal benefit.

  77. Narf says

    Bottom line, these types of laws are unconstitutional.

    No, it’s not. The court system disagrees with you heavily.

    Just how likely do you think your proposed situation is?

    Try being black in some small towns in the deep south, sometime. Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was much worse.

  78. Funslinger says

    Additionally, how healthy is a community in which every vendor refuses to serve gays? If I were gay, I wouldn’t want to live there if they are only serving me because our government is forcing them to. I believe it would be better that the community’s now hidden beliefs would be exposed if no such unconstitutional laws were in place. Gays could learn that their money is supporting bigoted views and change that fact.

  79. Narf says

    Thanks, but I’ll continue living in reality, if it’s all the same to you. You are aware that there are people who are stuck in one place and are too poor to move away, right?

    You know that gay people only make up about 3% or 4% of the population, right? Until they got massive public support behind them, which is a fairly recent thing, they couldn’t do shit about it.

  80. Funslinger says

    That the court system doesn’t rule them unconstitutional may make them operationally constitutional. But it doesn’t imply that the courts have correctly interpreted the constitution. My contention is that political correctness has biased them to interpret it incorrectly. I feel the Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves if they were aware of this situation. The main reason they left England in the first place was to get away from an oppressive government. Government coercion should be the last resort. We are nowhere near that stage yet. These laws are not necessary.

    I would like to pose a question. If someone opened a business and no one came because it was run by a gay, should the government pass a law requiring us to shop there? If your answer is no then it should be no in the inverse situation.

  81. Narf says

    I would like to pose a question. If someone opened a business and no one came because it was run by a gay, should the government pass a law requiring us to shop there? If your answer is no then it should be no in the inverse situation.

    Nope, that’s an invalid comparison. The customers aren’t setting themselves up as a place of public accommodation. The shop owners are. You can’t reverse it like that.

  82. Narf says

    Tell you what, I’ll let you go talk with the other anarcho-capitalist libertarians, over in the corner. I’ll be over here talking with the other adults.

  83. Funslinger says

    What makes you think the mere fact of opening a business is equivalent to providing public accommodation?

    There is nothing to prevent one from opening a business to serve only his closest friends and relatives.

  84. Narf says

    Uh huh. It’s called learning from experience. It’s not worth the time and effort, talking to people like you. I’m out.

  85. Funslinger says

    In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I think it’s reprehensible for someone to refuse to serve a particular segment of the community. But I loathe government coercion before it is warranted almost as much.

  86. Funslinger says

    The situation for blacks in the 60s was exactly the kind of situation that requires government intervention (I say that as a southern atheist). A few vendors here and there refusing to serve gays is not.

    A good place to draw the line might be at the point where more than 25% of businesses are refusing service. If it would even be possible to reach that level in our modern society, is another point to debate.

  87. Narf says

    The situation for blacks in the 60s was exactly the kind of situation that requires government intervention (I say that as a southern atheist). A few vendors here and there refusing to serve gays is not.

    A good place to draw the line might be at the point where more than 25% of businesses are refusing service. If it would even be possible to reach that level in our modern society, is another point to debate.

    So, following your previous logic, in those situations, it’s constitutional for the government to create anti-discrimination laws, but at lower percentages, it’s unconstitutional?

    Because it was needed back in the 60’s, but it isn’t needed now (that you’re aware of), does that mean it was constitutional at one point but isn’t constitutional now?

    Do you understand how what you’re talking about has nothing to do with constitutionality and only has to do with whether or not you think it’s justified, in a particular situation?

  88. Funslinger says

    In the 60s the lives of blacks were at risk. Life is a right while buying a wedding cake is not. The government can step in to prevent a violation of rights especially those that deal with life and death. The culture in the south placed the lives of blacks in danger resulting in a need for government interference. Especially when one considers that local law enforcement was complicit.

    Refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple puts no one’s life in danger and violates no right. If you cannot see the difference then you live in a black and white, not shades of gray, world.

  89. Funslinger says

    One additional point: discrimination is not always a violation of rights and most often isn’t. It is reprehensible, but not illegal unless it violates rights.

    Insurance companies discriminate against young male drivers by charging higher premiums. This discrimination violates no right and is actually justified because young male drivers are involved in a disproportionately higher rate of traffic accidents. If there is no violation of rights, the government should not interfere.

  90. Narf says

    If you cannot see the difference then you live in a black and white, not shades of gray, world.

    Constitutionality is pretty damned black and white. If it was constitutional for the government to do it back in the 60’s, it’s constitutional for them to do it now.

    You’re the one who set the conditions at constitutionality, not me. If you don’t know what that word means, don’t use it.

    … discrimination is not always a violation of rights and most often isn’t. It is reprehensible, but not illegal unless it violates rights.

    Good, then it covers the situation we’re talking about. Once someone sets up a business to serve as a place of public accommodation, you’re violating someone’s rights, if you don’t serve them without a good reason.

    You don’t have a valid point, man.

  91. Funslinger says

    The Equal Protection Clause states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Explain to me how this applies to non-rights-violating discrimination by private businesses? This clause prevents the state from passing laws that discriminate and requires the state to enforce laws equally for everyone. It doesn’t allow the state to pass laws forcing private businesses to refrain from non-rights-violating discrimination.

    In the ’60s the government was constitutionally required to prevent violations of rights as some where forcing violence and death against others. It unconstitutionally required shared water fountains in private restaurants (no violation of rights). It was justified in requiring cities to allow blacks to ride in the front of busses because they were public busses. Today, it’s unconstitutional to require private businesses to sell wedding cakes to gay couples (no violation of rights).

    Private businesses are not set up to provide public accommodation. They are set up to allow their owners to earn a living by providing accommodation to whomever they wish.

  92. Monocle Smile says

    it’s a bit late, but Funslinger, you’re full of crap. A private business is not its own country. You use public land and enjoy the benefits of publicly funded society, then you fucking follow the public laws. Also, you don’t seem to understand that while a sign specifying different water fountains might be benign, enforcement of that policy is most definitely a violation of rights.

    i have no clue what you mean by “right,” since libertarians like to imagine them to be magical and make up the definitions as they go.

  93. Funslinger says

    Monocle Smile wrote:
    “A private business is not its own country. You use public land and enjoy the benefits of publicly funded society, then you fucking follow the public laws.”

    A private business does not use public land without paying for the privilege. Most private businesses use private land, owned or rented.

    Of course private businesses should have to follow the law, but my contention is that the law is unconstitutional. At least if enacted by the federal government. The US constitution enumerates specific powers to the federal government and specifically forbids it from assuming any other power. All other powers are delegated to the states.

    Each state has its own constitution and constitutionality of a state law would depend on that state’s constitution unless it violates the US constitution. A state law only violates the US constitution if it violates the rights of individuals since the protection of individual rights is one of the few enumerated powers of the federal government.

    —–
    “Also, you don’t seem to understand that while a sign specifying different water fountains might be benign, enforcement of that policy is most definitely a violation of rights.”

    What right? The “right” to drink from the same fountain as someone else? Sorry, that’s not a right. The action is reprehensible, but if water is provided it’s not a violation of rights.

    —–
    “i have no clue what you mean by “right,” since libertarians like to imagine them to be magical and make up the definitions as they go.”

    It should be fairly easy to comprehend. Things like life and basic human needs are rights. Shopping is a privilege and thus cannot be guaranteed by the federal government.

  94. Narf says

    Now you see why I stopped responding to him, MS. His usage of terms is completely fucked. When someone is that wrong on such a basic level, it’s not worth my time to try to unfuck his thinking.

  95. Funslinger says

    Narf, you’re the one with the fucked up thinking. One should not condone his government using force to coerce an individual to provide a product or service that is not in any way linked to a basic human right. Buying wedding cakes is NOT a right, but a privilege.

    If we disagree with the merchant’s behavior we should proceed by boycotting and convincing others to boycott his business. It is always preferable to use persuasion in place of coercion when not dealing with the violation of the few existing basic human rights. Even George Takei understands this. He is a big proponent of the boycotting process. Thankfully there are still rational people who choose more reasonable solutions.

    The excessive application of force always leads to more application of force. Once a government gains enough power through force it becomes tyrannical and its population becomes little more than slaves. Have you never read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell?

    Individuality is extremely important and should never be sacrificed for the collective good. Instead it should be persuaded to act for the collective good.

    We’re already seeing the schism of society into two political collectives, Democrats and Republicans, that refuse to truly cooperate and compromise. That’s one of two responses to inappropriate use of force. The other is the destruction of individuality as humans devolve into mindless drones.

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Individuality is extremely important and should never be sacrificed for the collective good. Instead it should be persuaded to act for the collective good.

    Textbook anarchist libertarian ahoy!

  97. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, anarchist has a point.

    The public accommodations protections of the civil rights act depends on the power of the commerce clause, not the 14th amendment. I do not know offhand whether the original intent and original understanding of the 14th amendment included a public accommodations protection, but long ago it was decided “no” by the US Supreme Court. To work around that Congress, used the commerce clause. IMHO, I highly doubt that the original intent, original understanding, plain text meaning, or any other reasonable jurisprudence standard of the commerce clause would allow for the public accommodations protection. On that point, anarchist has a point.

    Then again, this abuse of the commerce clause isn’t IMHO any worse than the quite common overreach of the commerce clause powers.

    Also, I generally find the separation of federal and state power to be unimportant. Thus this entire conversation is almost moot for me. It’s only interesting as a legalistic curiosity. I wouldn’t care all that much if we got rid of the limited powers doctrine of the federal government, and extended the power of the federal government to be the same as the states, but superior. Maybe I’m wrong, but I know that I don’t care that much about this issue.

  98. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Last multipost, really. Sorry.

    Narf, you’re the one with the fucked up thinking. One should not condone his government using force to coerce an individual to provide a product or service that is not in any way linked to a basic human right. Buying wedding cakes is NOT a right, but a privilege.

    This can be construed as an attack on the FDA. I wouldn’t be surprised if you endorsed that position.

    Let me about point at hand: It is a fact that without the public accommodations act, there would be de facto segregation in many parts of the country. I then invoke the veil of ignorance of Rawls, which loosely states that we should judge a society according to the worst-off member. In that case, I would much prefer the society where bakers have to suck it up and deal with their prejudices and bake everyone cakes, rather than live in a society where I might live in an area where 90% of the bakeries refuse to sell to me because of their prejudices.

    Having cake isn’t a basic human right. Being part of a society free from unjust segregation, de jure or de facto, is a basic human right. Taking part in a system of unjust segregation is not a basic human right – it is the denial of someone else’s basic human rights.

    Basic human rights is a measure of human well-being, not of legalistic games of “public vs private”. That’s your problem anarchist libertarian.

    We’re already seeing the schism of society into two political collectives, Democrats and Republicans, that refuse to truly cooperate and compromise.

    That’s because a majority of Republicans are batshit insane. There is a massive problem with demagoguery and tribalism in the Republican party. As soon as a large majority of the Republicans can join the 19th century and accept that the age of the Earth is billions of years old, evolution is true, there is a separation of church and state, and separation of church and state is a good thing. They’re a few hundred years out of date on some very, very important issues. Oh, and they need to stop trying to use the law to control other people’s bodies, especially of other women.

    The Democratic party has its problems. However, in terms of detachment from reality, the Republican party is way, way worse. The Republican party is now the party of lies, hate, bigotry, anti-science, war, stealing from the poor to give to the rich, and so forth. Republicans and the Republican party are welcome to become a reasonable part of the cultural conversation, but they need to drop a lot of baggage to get there.

    The other is the destruction of individuality as humans devolve into mindless drones.

    Because we’re forcing a bakery to bake a cake for gay people. Talk about hyperbole. Or a ridiculous slippery slope argument. Not sure which.

  99. Narf says

    @103 – EnlightenmentLiberal

    Textbook anarchist libertarian ahoy!

    Yup. Not the slightest concession to reality and the interdependence that we’ve built into the structure of our society.

    “Shopping is a privilege …”

    Yes, because the gay guy who’s being persecuted by every shop within reasonable distance of him can go out and grow all of the food he needs on his apartment balcony, keep sheep and grow cotton for his clothing …
    Ayn Rand was writing fiction … pretty poorly-written, wild fantasy at that, and Funslinger doesn’t seem to recognize that fact. If he isn’t going to play within the bounds of reality, why should I make the effort of dealing with him?