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Grownups join the gay marriage debate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - February 1, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

First, let me apologize for not getting to this earlier.  The New York Times reported the story on Tuesday.  And Stephen Miller drew my attention to it that very day. I had meant to blog about it on Wednesday, but a friend from out of town invited me to join him at Disneyland that afternoon.  The following day (yesterday), I was preoccupied with determining the reasons for the dragon’s attack on Nah-nathas.  (And for the better part of today, I was tweaking the now-presentable Chapter Six to better set up that attack.)

Okay, now the issue.  One-time gay marriage opponent David Blankenhorn is spearheading a new coalition which, as the Times reports,

. . . plans to issue “A Call for a New Conversation on Marriage,” a tract renouncing the culture war that he was once part of, in favor of a different pro-marriage agenda. The proposed conversation will try to bring together gay men and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with heterosexuals who want to do the same.

Miller links the group’s mission statement indicating that the group wants to begin a

. . . conversation that brings together gays and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. The new conversation does not presuppose or require agreement on gay marriage, but it does ask a new question. The current question is, Should gays marry? The new question is, Who among us, gay or straight, wants to strengthen marriage?

Emphasis added. It’s about time.  It seems that many advocates of gay marriage focus on what they deem the “right to marry” (but mean the privilege of state recognition) instead of the meaning of the institution.  By proposing to strengthen marriage, those in this new coalition understand that the institution is worthy of preservation and in need of strengthening.

Too often, gay marriage advocates tell us that marriage is declining, so why not include gays?  They should instead, as Jonathan Rauch has done, use their movement to secure state recognition of marriage to remind us of the institution’s importance.

Given the group’s roster, it seems pretty clear that its leaders want to have a conversation about the importance of marriage.  A welcome move.

Let us hope this group comes to dominate the debate.

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59 Comments

  1. In an explosive June 2012 op-ed in The New York Times, Blankenhorn revealed why he’d changed his stance. Essentially, he realized the anti-gay marriage movement was about bigotry.
    “[T]o my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus,” he wrote. “To me, a Southernor by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/david-blankenhorns-marriage-reform-2013-1#ixzz2Jh2VmqVm

    Comment by rusty — February 1, 2013 @ 6:31 pm - February 1, 2013

  2. You’re going to love this………………..

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/goproud-backs-civil-marriage-for-gay-couples

    GOProud Backs Civil Marriage For Gay Couples

    The forum remarks are priceless………….

    Comment by rjligier — January 18, 2013 @ 6:34 pm – January 18, 2013

    Hey rj

    https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/6831667456/h946FBCAF/

    Comment by rusty — January 18, 2013 @ 8:37 pm – January 18, 2013

    Comment by rusty — February 1, 2013 @ 6:44 pm - February 1, 2013

  3. On Monday it came out that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has been privately fostering a friendship with a gay man who is a nationally-known LGBT activist. Following the Chick-fil-A protests of 2012, Cathy had a national platform to stand for traditional marriage. We now know that, when Cathy could have been promoting biblical views in the national media, he was sharing meals with one of the nation’s most outspoken gay activists.

    Should conservative Christians be in tears?

    Yes. Tears of joy. Cathy’s intentional and gracious friendship with Shane L. Windmeyer is a model of how all American Christians, high and low profile, should begin in dialog with the gay community.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/what-conservative-christians-should-learn-from-dan-cathy/2013/01/31/1b388f40-6bd8-11e2-bd36-c0fe61a205f6_blog.html

    Comment by rusty — February 1, 2013 @ 7:59 pm - February 1, 2013

  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/five-simple-lessons-from-shane-windmeyers-friendship-with-chick-fil-as-dan-cathy/2013/01/31/1e4c09fa-6bce-11e2-bd36-c0fe61a205f6_story.html

    Comment by rusty — February 1, 2013 @ 7:59 pm - February 1, 2013

  5. I have long believed that the debate should center more on the institution and what it stands for than “I want my goodies and I want them now, it’s not fair!!!!!” that seemed to be the main argument of so many in favor of gay marriage.

    Marriage is a great institution-I love my husband and I love being married and my marriage isn’t great because the government blessed it. If the government decided tomorrow to stop recognizing my marriage, I wouldn’t feel any less married in the eyes of God, because my marriage is about the commitment and the promises not the government goodies.

    Comment by Just Me — February 1, 2013 @ 8:29 pm - February 1, 2013

  6. I’ve been debating this issue since stonewall and my experience has always been with the hard core lefties. They hated (And still do.) everything about this country, it’s institutions, it’s traditions and hetero’s like me.

    The decades have changed alot of things in the LGBT community and one of the changes has been the realization by some in the LGBT community that they are conservatives before they are even LGBT. I may never come to the point where I can think that heterosexual marriage and gay marriage are the same but I can certainly respect and listen to people that ask the question, “Who among us, gay or straight, wants to strengthen marriage?”, and that is a BIG change.

    Comment by Richard Bell — February 1, 2013 @ 8:45 pm - February 1, 2013

  7. Well said, Just Me.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — February 1, 2013 @ 9:41 pm - February 1, 2013

  8. I have had a pretty good discussion on Cocktail Politics.

    Comment by Papa Giorgio — February 1, 2013 @ 10:46 pm - February 1, 2013

  9. Rusty, that WP article assumes all gay people are non-believers and Christians should reach out to us and love us anyway. I appreciate the writers intent, but at the same time he insults me. I am just as much a Christian as he or Dan Cathy and God loves me and saved me, regardless of how they feel about it. But, right-wing evangelicals are moving in the right direction.

    Comment by Eddie — February 2, 2013 @ 9:08 am - February 2, 2013

  10. Just Me, I agree with you. Personally, I think that the one of best way to strengthen marriage is to get the government out of it. I think that a lot of people rely to much on a marriage license. There are couples who are “playing house,” you know, living together, maybe raising kids, sharing property, taking care of each other, and loving each other the way that you expect a married couple but they don’t consider themselves married because it’s not on paper.

    There are other factors that have contributed to the decline of the institution of marriage as well. I think other things like selfishness, lack of personal responsibility, and romantic fantasies that people have amongst other things have caused a lot of the problems. But I think that it is good that there are people who want to have a more realistic debate on marriage and actually want to make it better, instead of the wanting to just win. What’s the point of winning a culture war if the culture is on the decline?

    Comment by MV — February 2, 2013 @ 10:11 am - February 2, 2013

  11. So those who are now in favor of gay marriage are ‘grownups’?

    Comment by Ignatius — February 2, 2013 @ 11:17 am - February 2, 2013

  12. Iggy, I also found the threadline kind of insulting.

    Comment by V the K — February 2, 2013 @ 11:33 am - February 2, 2013

  13. I guess that means that those of us who actually BELIEVE that marriage (the REAL kind, not the phony, counterfeit version) is a sacrament ordained by G-d aren’t “grownups.” Good to know.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — February 2, 2013 @ 11:38 am - February 2, 2013

  14. Well that’s great and all but how, exactly, would anyone go about “strengthening marriage?” I don’t see any concrete proposals for anything except to “have a conversation.” They don’t present any even inchoate ideas. Having a conversation is nice but c’mon – what do they plan to do about it.

    Comment by PeeJ — February 2, 2013 @ 2:12 pm - February 2, 2013

  15. because my marriage is about the commitment and the promises

    Excuse me… despite the side show of Dan Savage, and also those on the right who wanted to pigeon-hole it as simply a means for gays to get more benefits, that is what this has ALWAYS been about. How do you “strengthen marriage”? By being faithful to your partner and committed to the relationship. Period.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 2, 2013 @ 6:24 pm - February 2, 2013

  16. #15 – “How do you “strengthen marriage”? By being faithful to your partner and committed to the relationship. Period.”

    Really? Tell it to the left.

    Comment by Richard Bell — February 2, 2013 @ 11:04 pm - February 2, 2013

  17. Having a conversation is nice but c’mon – what do they plan to do about it.

    First, we should convene a Congressional hearing.

    Secondly, we must have trial marriage tests across the land between disparate partners who are part of an ongoing academic study monitored by companionship experts.

    Thirdly, we must introduce binding agents such as goldfish, children, restoring a vintage car, dual professional gas ranges, etc.

    Fourthly, a control group should be studied by 24/7 video monitoring to examine the effects of uncontrolled existence under the pressure of random bouts of status quo.

    As inchoate as this plan is, it is fundamental to the demands of Social Darwinism and the utilization of the state which is predicated upon the principle of delivering universal utopianism to all who go along with the fundamental principle. [Those who do not go along with the state are religious nuts, Republicans, gun-toters, conservatives, haters and aren't worth the time.]

    Comment by heliotrope — February 3, 2013 @ 8:39 am - February 3, 2013

  18. #15 Sonicfrog – Agreed.

    Comment by MV — February 3, 2013 @ 11:16 am - February 3, 2013

  19. Policywise, strengthening marriage would require things like making divorce harder and making marital benefits available only after seven years of commitment. I can’t see the gay marriage left supporting those measures.

    Societally, it would require changing our attitudes toward sex; making it an act of commitment instead of recreation, stigmatizing promiscuous behavior, teaching that abstinence is preferable to birth control. I can’t see the gay left going for that, either.

    Comment by V the K — February 3, 2013 @ 12:37 pm - February 3, 2013

  20. #19 – “teaching that abstinence is preferable to birth control. I can’t see the gay left going for that, either.”

    Of course they won’t. They’ll just say abstinence doesn’t work though anyone that works around young people very much knows abstinence is a concept easilly understood by young people. Especially young females who aren’t so sure about having something inserted in a very private part of their body. Instead, our public schools try to make the idea more “comfortable”/”acceptable”.

    It’s all part of a sadistic sadism being practiced by progressive democrats in their unrealistic goal of mandating literal equality on us all.

    Comment by Richard Bell — February 3, 2013 @ 1:22 pm - February 3, 2013

  21. I gook the “grownups” reference to be more along the line that the debate needs to focus on things other than name calling (eg gays calling anyone with a reasoned objection to gay marriage homophobic or similar names instead of taking the time to engage them in an actual discussion to find the middle group or make a reasoned case in return-and of course visa versa with people on the right who just name call without making a reasoned case).

    I think a lot of the public debate and media oriented debate comes across as childish and often more talking across each other than trying to work things out by listening to each other.

    Comment by Just Me — February 3, 2013 @ 2:57 pm - February 3, 2013

  22. A duplicitous discussion from the start as it was social liberals that undermined marriage from the start beginning with Kinsey in 1947 and 1952 and subsequently the revision of the ALIMPC in 1955. Are these “straight” participants in an outwardly appearing heterosexual relationship actually homosexuals and bisexuals?

    Comment by rjligier — February 3, 2013 @ 3:26 pm - February 3, 2013

  23. Good debate indeed, also takes the wind out of lefty sails. For them it’s only about equality. It was never really about marriage.

    Comment by Leah — February 3, 2013 @ 6:19 pm - February 3, 2013

  24. Oddly enough, I was talking to someone the other night about how the conservative community needs to have a conversation about gay marriage. Specifically, that support for gay marriage does not violate conservative values, and that people should support gay marriage because of their conservative values.

    In a time when many gay rights activists are using aggressive, and possibly militant tactics to further their goals, it is imperative that gay conservatives reach out to their straight counterparts. The risk of alienating potential conservative allies is too great. This is an opportunity to work to change minds, and ultimately show that gays are “normal” people.

    I would rather build bridges than burn them.

    Comment by B. Long — February 4, 2013 @ 1:05 am - February 4, 2013

  25. When such “bridge-building” is attempted in the real world, the ghey who tries to reach out becomes the target of hatred and vitriol as a traitor to the cause. Read the comments.

    Comment by V the K — February 4, 2013 @ 6:17 am - February 4, 2013

  26. Specifically, that support for gay marriage civil unions does not violate conservative values, and that people should support gay marriage civil unions because of their conservative values.

    Once you have the civil union, you are welcome to call yourself married just like common-law couples have done for years.

    There is no “bridge-building” between what sticks in the craws of too many of those on either side. The bridge between the “in-your-face” crowd and the “over-my-dead-body” crowd is nigh on to impossible to build.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 4, 2013 @ 8:19 am - February 4, 2013

  27. I cannot help but notice that in the “bridge-building” scenario, social conservatives still lose, and the gay left gets everything they want.

    Comment by V the K — February 4, 2013 @ 11:52 am - February 4, 2013

  28. Oddly enough, I was talking to someone the other night about how the conservative community needs to have a conversation about gay marriage. Specifically, that support for gay marriage does not violate conservative values, and that people should support gay marriage because of their conservative values.

    Wrong.

    “Gay marriage”, as exemplified by Obama-endorsed Dan Savage, is a) antireligious bigotry, b) calling for the murder of Republicans, and c) claiming that monogamy and fidelity are “hurtful”.

    Those are absolutely antithetical to conservative values. They are absolutely antithetical to MY values.

    Conservatives don’t need to change. Bigots and liars like Dan Savage need to change. Where is the argument for THAT?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 4, 2013 @ 1:25 pm - February 4, 2013

  29. So those who are now in favor of gay marriage are ‘grownups’?
    [V:] Iggy, I also found the threadline kind of insulting.
    [BF: similar vein...]

    I didn’t read Dan’s headline in that way at all. I read it as a slam on the Gay Left’s advocates of gay marriage: those who shriek for “rights” and count “benefits” have not been making a grownup argument for gay marriage… in contrast to what Blankenhorn is trying to do now.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 4, 2013 @ 2:23 pm - February 4, 2013

  30. That is how I read and understood Dan’s post as well Jeff.

    Comment by David in New Orleans — February 4, 2013 @ 2:56 pm - February 4, 2013

  31. Jonathon Rauch . . .

    From almost the beginning, however, I noticed that David was different from other gay-marriage opponents. For instance . . .

    He asserted, repeatedly and publicly, that he believes in “the equal dignity of homosexual love,” something no other gay-marriage opponent did.
    He acknowledged—including in his sworn Prop 8 testimony—that America would be, in important respects, a better country if it allowed gay couples to marry.
    He favored civil unions and legal same-sex adoption, and publicly opposed a gay-marriage ban in North Carolina that extended to partnership programs.

    Then, in June, David shared with New York Times readers his conclusion that opposing gay marriage was doing nothing to advance the goal of strengthening families or kids’ ties to their parents. He said it was time to accept gay marriage as both a reality and an opportunity. “Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same,” he wrote. He also said his discomfort had reached the breaking point with the anti-gay animus which he believes underlies too much of the opposition to same-sex marriage. He wrote: “I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.”

    http://www.americanvalues.org/marriage-a-new-conversation/rauch-statement.php

    Comment by rusty — February 4, 2013 @ 3:48 pm - February 4, 2013

  32. #15 – “How do you “strengthen marriage”? By being faithful to your partner and committed to the relationship. Period.”

    Really? Tell it to the left.

    Comment by Richard Bell — February 2, 2013

    Yeah… Because those on the Right have been exemplary in this regard…

    Oh, Wait…

    I mean, really, what kind of a response is that anyway? There are people on both sides who value the commitment, even when tested, and there are those that don’t, either because the relationship is failing and they don’t have the guts to separate before breaking their vows, they are simply cads and see no real value in being faithful, or, like Savage and the entire french culture in the the 1700′s, they have a completely different idea of exactly what being faithful even means.

    I’ve said it many times before and i will say it again – Who the hell cares what Dan savage or any other liberal thinks what marriage is? They may feel bad for me because i don’t get to indulge in having a tryst with every man who catches my fancy. But I pity them, as they have no idea about how much closer you are to your chosen mate when focus all your sexual and relationship energies on this one person.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 4:22 pm - February 4, 2013

  33. Who the hell cares what Dan savage or any other liberal thinks what marriage is?

    Enough people to make him a regular on left-wing chat shows.

    Comment by V the K — February 4, 2013 @ 4:41 pm - February 4, 2013

  34. I mean, if Todd Akin appeared on the ‘Today’ show and was presented as an authority on rape; one could reasonably conclude the producers of the Today Show agreed with his positions, right?

    Comment by V the K — February 4, 2013 @ 4:48 pm - February 4, 2013

  35. Yeah… Because those on the Right have been exemplary in this regard…

    Oh, Wait…

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 4:22 pm – February 4, 2013

    Actually, yes they have been, and even more so by comparison.

    Now, Sonic, as I always challenge people, show me an equivalent section/resource guide to that on the gay-sex marriage websites.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 4, 2013 @ 4:48 pm - February 4, 2013

  36. OK.

    That was your link. It shows nothing except there are Christian therapist to help people of faith who have been unfaithful and have cheated on their spouses. Try again.

    BTW… It’s not what you say that counts… It’s what you do. Actions speak louder than words. That sort of thing.

    And your response will be… Linking to the topically irrelevant Folsom Street Gay Pride parade in 3… 2… 1…

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 7:14 pm - February 4, 2013

  37. BTW, Here is a list of family counselors who deal with same sex marriage issues.

    http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?state=MA&spec=172

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 7:18 pm - February 4, 2013

  38. Dan savage is so important…

    That when he finally got his own TV show…

    It was on…

    Wait for it…

    MTV!

    One of the least watched and most irrelevant stations on cable.

    And the reviews are not exactly stellar. And there doesn’t seem to be much talk about a second season either.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 7:48 pm - February 4, 2013

  39. What many gays want is everything now because they want it, and nothing less. Until level heads prevail, that’s all you’ll get-complaining about being “second class citizens”. I’m so fed up with their anger. Clearly there are solutions, but as long as those who continue to take their toys and go home aren’t willing to compromise, nothing will get done, or it will get accomplished much more slowly.

    Comment by Melissa — February 5, 2013 @ 12:01 am - February 5, 2013

  40. Clearly there are solutions…

    Yeah, let them get married like everybody else. That was easy.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 5, 2013 @ 1:45 pm - February 5, 2013

  41. That was your link. It shows nothing except there are Christian therapist to help people of faith who have been unfaithful and have cheated on their spouses. Try again.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 4, 2013 @ 7:14 pm – February 4, 2013

    Oh no, Sonic, it’s WAY more than that. If one actually goes to the link, one would see that it contains a tremendous amount of resources for ALL aspects of marriage, from pre-marital counseling all the way through divorce.

    But you didn’t go to the link. That much is clear from your statement.

    BTW… It’s not what you say that counts… It’s what you do. Actions speak louder than words. That sort of thing.

    OK, then; here’s what the LGBT community is doing.

    By the way, we’ve known for decades that STD rate is positively correlated to number of sexual partners, so what is being made clear is that the gay community has far less interest in the values that actually go along with marriage.

    So why bother giving it to them, when it’s clearly an expectation in which they have no interest?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 5, 2013 @ 4:42 pm - February 5, 2013

  42. like everybody else

    Like polygamists? Why is it so plain simple to change the gender requirement and so improbable to even consider the number of spouses?

    Comment by heliotrope — February 5, 2013 @ 9:22 pm - February 5, 2013

  43. I can’t help but wonder if future historians will blame the collapse of our nation on gay marriage. And given how many people voted for gay marriage and against fiscal sanity in the last election, they will have a point.

    Comment by V the K — February 5, 2013 @ 9:36 pm - February 5, 2013

  44. Some just don’t realize that if the nation collapses, marriage will go with it.

    Comment by B. Long — February 6, 2013 @ 12:34 am - February 6, 2013

  45. I can’t help but wonder if future historians will blame the collapse of our nation on gay marriage.

    If they do, it will make no more sense than blaming the buzzing flies for the carcass: It was heterosexuals who ‘wrecked’ (from the traditionalist viewpoint) marriage, decades ago.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 6, 2013 @ 1:25 pm - February 6, 2013

  46. Why is it so plain simple to change the gender requirement and so improbable to even consider the number of spouses?

    Because the legal structure is an exclusive, mutual dyad: Two people, each putting the other first. The legal complications of making it a triad or multi-ad would be huge; neither would the structure last long, as members come and go.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 6, 2013 @ 1:40 pm - February 6, 2013

  47. #45 & 46 — Right on, ILC. For 95% of the population to blame the other 5% for the failure of society, the failure of marriage or fill-in-the-blanks-with-whatever-else is cowardly, dishonorable, irresponsible and just plain illogical.

    Time for straights to put on the big-boy and big-girl pants and start dealing honestly with their own failings.

    Comment by Lori Heine — February 6, 2013 @ 4:51 pm - February 6, 2013

  48. David Blankenhorn’s Journey
    Dale Carpenter • October 19, 2012 12:51 am

    David Blankenhorn wrote the book on opposition to gay marriage. It was highly praised by the likes of Robert P. George, Stanley Kurtz, and Maggie Gallagher. It was, I wrote at the time, the best single book making the case against SSM. Later, David was the expert witness who defended Proposition 8 in the constitutional challenge to that amendment – a case now at the certiorari stage before the Supreme Court. He spoke and debated and blogged prolifically against gay marriage. But over time his opposition softened.

    In June he announced that he now supported marital protection for gay families. Others, like Charles Murray and David Frum, had previously changed their minds on gay marriage. But David’s defection from the anti-SSM cause was by far the most significant and damaging. He was a leading intellectual voice for anti-gay-marriage activists, a serious and longtime family scholar who could not be dismissed as a simple homophobe. David explained his change-of-heart in an op-ed in the the New York Times. It’s no secret that his think tank, the Institute for American Values, paid a huge cost in lost donors when he publicly revised his view.

    Now David has gone a step further, cutting an ad in opposition to the Minnesota marriage amendment, which would constitutionally limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Says David:

    I’ve spent a decade or more fighting gay marriage. Is this helping to achieve the goal that I really want to achieve? Is this helping the society renew its commitment to the marital institution? Is this helping more children grow up in a stable two-parent [homes]? It wasn’t.

    http://www.volokh.com/2012/10/19/david-blankenhorns-journey/

    Comment by rusty — February 6, 2013 @ 5:05 pm - February 6, 2013

  49. I can’t help but wonder if future historians will blame the collapse of our nation on gay marriage.

    There will be a few… And they’ll be rightly laughed at and ridiculed just as David Barton has due to his “historical” attempt to rewrite Jefferson as a Christian.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 7, 2013 @ 9:26 pm - February 7, 2013

  50. Trolling for an argument on Jefferson? I know about Deism and what else Jefferson was into. I ain’t saying he was a fundamentalist, far from it; but if he were alive today, the Left would see him as Christian, let’s put it that way. He prayed and referred to God often, and led America to war against Muslim state-sponsored terrorists – oops I am not supposed to say that; say “pirates” – after discovering that appeasing them wouldn’t work.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 7, 2013 @ 10:54 pm - February 7, 2013

  51. I guess that the real thrust of Sonicfrog’s remark @ #49 is aimed at David Barton, not Jefferson. People For the American Way is a Soros funded group dedicated “to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement.” As such, they have Glenn Beck in their crosshairs and that leads to David Barton.

    David Barton has a site called Wallbuilders which is dedicated to “presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional history.”

    Beck and Barton are both engaged in a project called Black Robe Regiment which asks Pastors and ministry leaders to take the Black Robe Regiment Pledge.

    Now, this is all very churchy and just the sort of thing to stick in the craws of people who have a gripe with the whole religion and morality “thing.” But there is also the age-old “dueling academics” thing where historians go to the mat to protect their particular slant on what is “accurate.” Warren Throckmorton (A College Psychology Professor’s Observations About Public Policy, Mental Health, Sexual Identity, and Religious Issues) is a Huffington Post writer and reformed “cure the gays” advocate. He also is the co-author of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President.

    There is an on-going cat-fight between Throckmorton and Barton which involved getting a publisher to cancel publication of Barton’s book: The Jefferson Lies.

    All of this is the same old story about which revisionist has got it right. Look at the titles: “Getting Jefferson Right” vs. “The Jefferson Lies.”

    But, more important by far, is the attempt to silence a voice in the Glenn Beck movement. Love him or hate him, Glenn Beck has got the Huffington crowd, the Soros group and Progressives in general foaming at the mouth.

    Sonicfrog brings the Progressive moonbattery here.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 8, 2013 @ 9:30 am - February 8, 2013

  52. Heliotrope… Do you not understand the book was pulled by the publisher, a christian based publisher, for not only getting historical facts wrong, but omitting facts that contradicts his central thesis that “Jefferson lived his life as a Christian”. How can you live your life as a Christian if you don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God?

    And no one is “silencing” Barton. Obviously, he’s able to get his voice out just fine.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 8, 2013 @ 8:13 pm - February 8, 2013

  53. Barton certainly has popped off with his homophobic rant

    Comment by rusty — February 8, 2013 @ 9:02 pm - February 8, 2013

  54. Sonicfrog,

    No, I do not “understand the book was pulled by the publisher because:” “(—)”

    The “because” is an introduction to “the facts.” Show me the facts. Not the speculation, but the facts.

    My point @#51 is that you chose to bring a point to this thread that is dripping with innuendo. The Throckmorton v Barton clash is between a Christian “conservative” psychologist and a Texas evangelist over “truth” and “lies” about Thomas Jefferson’s belief system.

    I have lived at the foot of Monticello for 45 years and I have not yet heard all the arguments about the “truth” and “lies” about Mr. Jefferson because the enigmatic great man invites such quarrels. For instance, why did Jefferson hang a painting of the head of John the Baptist on a platter among portraits of Madison, Washington, Magellan, Franklin, Bacon, Locke, Newton, etc. in his salon? You can only speculate. Kevin Hayes has offered that Jefferson’s penchant for editing (the Jefferson Bible) was to make “the factual information less wordy and more precise.”:

    Jefferson intercut a passage from Matthew to describe John’s baptism of Jesus (3:4-6, 13). After quoting from Luke (3:23) to record that Jesus was now “about thirty years of age,” he related a story from John (2:12-16) showing how Jesus chased the money changers from the temple. He also included the memorable phrase, “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.”

    After this episode, Jefferson flashed forward, intercutting the story of Herodias asking her father for the head of John the Baptist for the sixth chapter of Mark. This biblical episode was one of Jefferson’s favorites. Hanging at Monticello was a finely rendered copy of Guido Reni’s Herodias Bearing the Head of St. John.

    So. How do we “know” that Hayes has it right that “this biblical episode was one of Jefferson’s favorites?” How do we “know” that the painting is a “finely” rendered copy? Blah, blah, blah. Nit-picking Jefferson always seems to reach this stunningly silly level.

    Why would Jefferson retain the text of having Jesus say “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise” if he did not want to preserve the son of God theme? It is a question that invites skepticism and speculation, but not proof. (For instance, calling God your “Father” does not mean you believe you are “His only begotten Son.”)

    There are a whole lot of people who are out to destroy Glenn Beck, David Barton, the call to greater Christian morality, the religious right and more. Throckmorton and Barton are within the same house arguing with one another. That is not uncommon among believers. What stinks in this argument in how Throckmorton has gone over to the Progressives to get support. How Throckmorton has used the enemies of his enemy to promote his supposedly academic disagreements with Barton.

    You dragged that cat-fight here, but you also have voiced an underlying agenda about who Thomas Jefferson was.

    We who live in the shadow of the sage of Monticello have heard all manner of Jefferson analysis through the years. It must be very, very frustrating to tear away at the man and never succeed at tearing him down to the level of human debris that is so satisfying to some.

    Being a docent at Monticello is no easy job. There is often a skeptic lurking in the crowd who has read some Jefferson gossip and can’t wait to try to trip up the docent. Imagine having to be the good natured instructor who has to have all of the answers and to satisfy every mood and underlying predetermination.

    I suppose you threw Jefferson into the thread on “the gay marriage debate” because of some anxiety over the Judeo-Christian ethic and religion in general.

    When Rusty talked of Barton’s homophobic rant, I went googling and found this. Honestly, if what Barton said was homophobic, it is because of an overdrive determination to find homophobia.

    Barton touches on the interesting conundrum of why we focus on some health problems and skip over more blatant health problems because of victim group political correctness. Perhaps Barton is a profound homophobe. I have no idea. But, shouldn’t gays and all people be concerned about the health problems that gays suffer and propagate?

    I don’t know enough about David Barton to have a side in this battle. What always intrigues me is the motivation behind attacking such a person. When you scratch the surface and the Soros groups and the Progressive demagogues pop up loud and clear, it occurs to me that the man is being made a political pariah to promote a political agenda.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 9, 2013 @ 11:00 am - February 9, 2013

  55. I suppose you threw Jefferson into the thread on “the gay marriage debate” because of some anxiety over the Judeo-Christian ethic and religion in general.

    No. If you go back to my post, it was a reply to V about what historians would write. The assertion that historians would write that this country fell because it allowed gays to marry is kind of far fetched. My point is that it would be a silly thing for someone who is a historian to write with any conviction… Unless there was a greater agenda at hand. The undoing of this country will not be because 15 or 20% of 3% of the population was allowed to get married. Civilizations end, when not destroyed militarily, due to large scale imbalances that the governing structure and society simply can’t adjust to or absorb. The Roman empire could not in the end deal with the growth of a new religion, and probably more important, they simply ran out of peoples to conquer, which reduced the influx of wealth keeping the state and upper levels of society, the ruling class, afloat.

    Why would Jefferson retain the text of having Jesus say “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise” if he did not want to preserve the son of God theme? It is a question that invites skepticism and speculation, but not proof. (For instance, calling God your “Father” does not mean you believe you are “His only begotten Son.”)

    Agreed, which is why trying to project that Jefferson was a Christian based on that, and other things, is a silly endeavor. It’s very clear from from the mans own writings what he believed.

    What always intrigues me is the motivation behind attacking such a person. When you scratch the surface and the Soros groups and the Progressive demagogues pop up loud and clear, it occurs to me that the man is being made a political pariah to promote a political agenda.

    I am not attacking the person of David Barton. I am attacking the impulse a sect of Conservatives have to rewrite history to favor their political agenda. I hate that impulse of certain Liberal factions too. I was subing for a 5th grade class, and while looking through some of the assigned reading materials during my break, I came across a book that was devoted to Malcolm X. It was a total hero worship thing. I have no problem teaching about the guy, as long as you do it honestly. But this book, in a 5th grade class….. I shouldn’t have been stunned. I’ve been doing this long enough. But I was just the same.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 11, 2013 @ 4:03 pm - February 11, 2013

  56. PS. On Jefferson and Barton. When his book came out, it was reviewed by Jefferson scholar / NPR “Jefferson Hour” creator Clay Jenkins. He has issues with the book, but did appreciate some of the interesting questions. He made a point that what Jefferson himself did express was not very popular, and drew the ire of many of his contemporaries. If he were really a Christian, he certainly would not have made it a secret. He would have shouted it from the rooftops. Would have made his political life much easier.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 11, 2013 @ 4:10 pm - February 11, 2013

  57. Sonicfrog,

    I don’t pretend to speak for V, but gay marriage is a “metaphor” for pandering to rather small “victim” issues when compared to confronting deficits, largely uncontrolled illegal immigration and a sour economy and a high level of unemployment. Perhaps V was using such a metaphor.

    I would suggest that like Mr. Jefferson’s Christianity, there will endless debates in years to come (as there have been in centuries before us) concerning why Rome disappeared. Certainly, it is generally agreed that its government became corrupt and its society became culturally flabby and lethargic.

    Mr. Jefferson wrote a letter to Doctor Benjamin Rush in 1803 in which he declared himself to be a Christian.

    To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other….

    In 1819, Mr. Jefferson wrote a letter to a Rev Ezra Stiles Ely which stated:

    You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know. I am not a Jew, and therefore do not adopt their theology, which supposed the God of infinite justice to punish the sins of the father upon their children, unto the third and fourth generation; and the benevolent and sublime Reformer of that religion has told us only that God is good and perfect, but has not defined Him. I am, therefore, of His theology, believing that we have neither words nor ideas adequate to that definition. And if we could all, after his example, leave the subject as undefinable, we should all be of one sect, doers of good, and eschewers of evil. No doctrines of His lead to schism. It is the speculations of crazy theologists which have made a Babel of a religion the most moral and sublime ever preached to man, and calculated to heal, and not to create differences. These religious animosities I impute to those who call themselves His ministers, and who engraft their casuistries on the stock of His simple precepts. I am sometimes more angry with them than is authorized by the blessed charities which He preaches. To yourself I pray the acceptance of my great respect.

    Like so many others before you, I suppose you may to read Mr. Jefferson as referring only to God when Mr. Jefferson writes “Him” and “He” in his letter. However, it would be passing strange to find the “He” reference to be to God in this statement: “I am sometimes more angry with them than is authorized by the blessed charities which He preaches.”

    I enjoy Mr. Jefferson’s method of putting Calvinist Ely on notice: “…the speculations of crazy theologists which have made a Babel of a religion the most moral and sublime ever preached to man, and calculated to heal, and not to create differences.”

    Ely was a bit of a firebrand and I suspect Mr. Jefferson was not entirely enchanted with the book Ely sent to him “on the science of the human mind.”

    A year to the day of Mr. Jefferson’s death, Rev Ely called for a Christian party to take over the US. Perhaps Mr. Jefferson rolled over in his grave that day; he was the very proud author of The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.

    I add this bit of a letter to William G. Munford in 1799:

    I join you therefore in branding as cowardly the idea that the human mind is incapable of further advances. this is precisely the doctrine which the present despots of the earth are inculcating, & their friends here re-echoing; & applying especially to religion & politics; ‘that it is not probable that any thing better will be discovered than what was known to our fathers.’ we are to look backwards then & not forwards for the improvement of science, & to find it amidst feudal barbarisms and the fires of Spital-fields. but thank heaven the American mind is already too much opened, to listen to these impostures; and while the art of printing is left to us science can never be retrograde; what is once acquired of real knowlege can never be lost. to preserve the freedom of the human mind then & freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, & speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement. the generation which is going off the stage has deserved well of mankind for the struggles it

    Comment by heliotrope — February 11, 2013 @ 10:27 pm - February 11, 2013

  58. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines,

    That, however, is not the standard as defined by modern Christianity. You specifically have to believe in the Holy Trinity.

    Anyway, yes this did get off topic, which was not my intention.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — February 12, 2013 @ 12:29 am - February 12, 2013

  59. Sonicfrog,

    The Council of Nicea in 325 AD was called by Constantine to “organize” the tenets of Christianity. Sort of a form of community organizing where they wrapped up the divergent strands emanating from the New Testament and putting a bow on it.

    Mr. Jefferson was highly interested in the words and thoughts expressed in the Gospels. His study did not deal with miracles; he concentrated on the philosophy.

    I doubt he gave much thought or even interest to the Council of Nicea, which is where your “Holy Trinity” was pondered out and laid down.

    So, in one sense, Mr. Jefferson was a Christian, as he said, and a sect unto himself, as he also stated.

    I charged you with bringing the Barton-Throckmorton scuff-up and Mr. Jefferson’s questioned Christianity issue here as a diversion to the gay marriage debate. I have enjoyed our exchange and I believe we understand one another better as a result of it.

    When Rusty decided that Barton is a homophobe, I was compelled to wade into this. Barton may be a homophobe. I really do not know. But I am very sensitive to attacks on Christianity as the ready, homophobic foe of a person who is gay. Phelps and related loons are not the face of Christianity. I suggest that reading Mr. Jefferson’s The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (The “Jefferson Bible”) would not annoy the average open-minded gay person.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 13, 2013 @ 1:36 pm - February 13, 2013

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