Um. Wow. Bill O'Reilly and Pastor Robert Jeffress just admitted on television that we live in a secular society and that arguments against marriage equality shouldn't, therefore, include citing biblical dogma. That's a pretty big deal. Too bad it was buried within a big steaming turd-shaped Fox News Channel segment.
You might recall seeing Pastor Jeffress from the First Baptist Church in Dallas as a regular Fox News contributor, primarily because he's one of the A-list religious zealots who's made a career of shaming the gay community and demagoguing same-sex marriage. In spite of his admittedly pleasant tone of voice, he's kind of a demon. For example, while most of us believe 9/11 was perpetrated by a gaggle of terrorists financed by Osama Bin Laden, Jeffress once said that 9/11 was God's punishment against America for abortion. Right, so Jeffress' Christian God, along with all women who have had a legal medical procedure, were collectively responsible for 9/11? Interesting. He's also said on many occasions that gay marriage will lead to the emergence of the Anti-Christ and the End Times.
This species of quack actually makes the cut as a "Fox News contributor" -- a crazy pastor who markets in 9/11 theories and End Times predictions. If he instead popped-off with this kind of nonsense to, say, invisible shadow people while wearing tissue boxes on his feet and hauling around a shopping cart filled with diapers, he'd be institutionalized. I suppose it's a really fine line between gay-bashing on The O'Reilly Factor and asking Nurse Ratched to give back your rationed cigarettes at the state mental hospital.
Let's go ahead an dive into this segment. Right off the bat, Bill O'Reilly's introduction was particularly egregious.
As you may know the Supreme Court will soon rule on whether gay marriage is a civil right and should be imposed on everybody in the U.S.A.
Imposed on everybody in the U.S.A? Yes, O'Reilly just said the Supreme Court might force us all to get married to someone of the same sex. The only thing more ridiculous than O'Reilly announcing such a thing is the probability that thousands of Fox News viewers believed it. This goes back to what we've discussed at length about religious freedom. No one will ever be forced by the courts, the government or LGBT activists to be the bride or groom in a gay marriage, or especially to consummate that union. It's not being imposed on anyone who doesn't want to have gay sex or a gay wedding, therefore what are Christians so freaked out about? They're not personally engaging in the so-called "sin," so what's the issue?
Next, Jeffress appeared with his vintage Coca-Cola elf face and made a harrowing prediction.
I believe that if the Supreme Court, as expected, enshrines gay marriage as a constitutional right, I believe it’s truly going to be, to use your phrase, ‘open season’ on Christians and those who believe in traditional marriage. Once you make gay marriage a civil right then anyone who opposes it is guilty of a civil rights violation.
Well, not literally open season, but if Christians discriminate against gay people, you bet your ass it'd be a civil rights violation, just as it'd be in cases of discrimination against women or racial minorities. But merely opposing gay marriage wouldn't be a civil rights violation at all. Jeffress and his congregation can continue to personally dislike gay marriage all they want. It's a free country. When it manifests itself, however, in the form of denying equal protection and constitutional rights to gay people because of who they are, then it's a civil rights violation. Sorry.
In response, O'Reilly both invoked states' rights and then took the Bible off the table as argument against same-sex marriage.
So it's a states' rights issue, that's the way I've always seen it, all right. And I wanna address this to all the religious people out there: the pastor and me and all people of faith, we can not make an argument to the secular Supreme Court that the Bible says X, Y and Z. That's a loser all day long because we're a secular society and that's the way the founding fathers wanted it to be.
The states' rights thing aside, that's a pretty astonishing concession. Incidentally, Jeffress nodded in agreement to it all. While you're picking up your jawoff the floor, get ready for some serious horsecrap that entirely negates O'Reilly's brief flirtation with reality.
However, you can say that the federal government has no right to redefine, all right, what a human right is in the context of a union that was actually invented by the Church. I mean, you didn't have marriage before the traditional religions came in.
First of all, the government redefines human rights all the time. See also the 13th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the 19th Amendment, among many other examples, including the entire Bill of Rights and, by the way, the growing number of courts that have struck down gay marriage bans. Second, there's such a thing as civil marriage. Thousands of couples get married outside of a religious venue all the time. Thirdly and most importantly, marriage existed long before recorded history and wasn't specifically the product of Judeo-Christian traditions. I assume Judaism and Christianity are the "traditional religions" he's talking about and not multi-theistic and other ancient pagan religions, all of which featured marriage. Incidentally, ancient marriages included children being married off by their parents, and even in the Bible there are multiple examples of polygamy, in some cases involving thousands of wives. This is especially salient given what Jeffress says next.
Well I think you have to make a secular argument in a secular society. You said that a couple years ago when you talked about Christians who thump their Bibles to support traditional marriage. I agree with you, you have to do more than cite Bible verses, but Bill there really are some sociological reasons for upholding traditional marriage. There are logical reasons. For example, if you expand the definition of marriage to two men and two women, why stop there? If it’s an absolute constitutional right, why can’t 16-year-olds get married? Why can’t polygamists get married? Why can’t siblings get married? Where do you stop? It opens up a Pandora’s box of societal-wide chaos.
Okay, here we go. Do we even need to mention that this was the exact argument used against the legalization of mixed-race marriages? Well, it was. Bottom line: those aren't logical reasons at all. Not even close. 16-year-olds can't get married because they're children who don't know what the hell they're doing. As for polygamy, the ban on polygamy is a ban that applies to everyone, therefore it's not a civil rights issue. However, with the passage of more religious freedom laws, polygamy laws could be challenged by Mormons, or by any dude who wants to use religion as an excuse to form a harem of sex slaves and servants, which is what most polygamist marriages are. And siblings -- I can't believe we have to do this -- siblings can't get married because of inbreeding. Doy.
On the other hand, there are exactly zero dangers or downsides to two consenting adults getting married. Not one. It's not going to force Christians into lives of sin, it's not going to destroy opposite-sex marriages and, indeed, it ultimately strengthens the institution by augmenting the number of couples bound in loving, legally-recognized relationships.