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The Benedict Option for discrimination

The Basilica of St. Benedict in the ancient city of Norcia is seen on Oct. 31, 2016 following an earthquake in central Italy. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Remo Casilli *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-ITALY-QUAKE, originally transmitted on Oct. 31, 2016.

Over the past few years, conservative blogger Rod Dreher has made a name for himself advancing the idea that Christians in the West should set themselves apart from mainstream culture by establishing their own communities and institutions. He calls this the “Benedict Option,” because it is supposed to safeguard old-time Christian values in much the same way that Benedictine monasteries preserved Latin Christian culture from the barbarians of the early Middle Ages.

Our latter-day barbarism, in Dreher’s view, is all about gender norms. The “progress of gay civil rights” has put religious liberty “at grave risk,” he writes, even as individual Christians “face increased pressure to turn from the truth about sex, marriage, and the family, for the sake of participating in American cultural and economic life.”

But now help is on the way. The Trump Administration is taking steps to make it easier for Benedict optioneers to live according to their own traditionalist lights.

Suppose you have a federal contract. Under a rule put into place during the Obama Administration, you cannot discriminate against LGBT workers. In August, the Labor Department issued a directive that permits such discrimination on religious grounds. The plan is to turn that into a formal regulation.

Meanwhile, according to an internal memo leaked to the New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is considering defining gender as “based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” So you won’t have to worry about pesky Title IX violations if you want to discriminate against transgender people.

The most important aid and comfort, however, may come from the U.S. Supreme Court. Thanks to Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, there is a good reason to think that expansion of religious exemptions will be coming down the pike in pretty short order.

One possible case is Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which closely mirrors last session’s Masterpiece Bakeshop, which the Court punted back to Colorado for further review. In Klein, the Oregon Supreme Court found that two Christian bakers could not refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple under the state’s Public Accommodations Act.

The Court here relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1990 Smith decision, which disallowed religious free exercise claims against neutral laws of general applicability. The Public Accommodations Act is clearly such a law.

In their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Kleins ask that Smith be overturned. That decision, authored by the late Antonin Scalia in an era when Free Exercise cases were the exclusive province of small religious minorities, rejected the Court’s “strict scrutiny” standard, under which a free exercise claim could be rejected only if there was a compelling state interest in doing so.

Before 1990, the Court did not make it hard for governments to demonstrate that an interest was compelling. For example, in Goldman v. Weinberger (1986) it denied a Jewish Air Force officer the right to wear a yarmulke while in uniform.

It’s a safe bet that, back then, the Court would have found prevention of discrimination to be a compelling state interest. With the current array of justices, you’d be wise to get good odds before you lay down the bet.

In other words, if things go the way they’re headed, it will not just be easier for conservative Christians to exercise Dreher’s Benedict Option. It may not be necessary for them to exercise it all.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

128 Comments

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  • I’ve never been comfortable with wedding-cake jurisprudence. I think it should be possible for the courts to narrowly decide who can eat their cake without applying their decision to the broad spectrum of human experience.
    In my very non-professional opinion, it would be preferable to actually debate the relative merits of arguments for and against same-sex marriage, in the legislature or in the courts, instead of presenting the courts with a series of petty grievances. If my neighbors are to be denied their rights, I want people to have to state why that denial is constitutional, instead of hiding behind wedding cakes and figurines.

  • In some ways I wish they would exercise it and leave civil society to civil people.

    But I also realize that one reason these problems have cropped up is that fundamentalist types have long isolated themselves, choosing to live in like minded small towns and enclaves and away from the decadent cities and subburbs. Now they are discovering the world has progressed and left them behind and they can’t deal with the changes.

    They can try to turn back the clock BUT the world won’t let them. Global communications, education, and transportation systems have brought our world together. And global supply chains for goods and materials have bound us together.

    Somehow or another these fundamentalists are going to have to learn how to live in our beautiful multi-cultural, muti-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and irreglious world. Whether they like it or not.Their very survival depends on it.

    No man is an island. No nation stands alone.

  • Justice Clarence Thomas said it best (I’m paraphrasing): Legalized gay marriage will — and does — clash with constitutional, Bill Of Rights freedom of religion.

    You can have Legalized Gay Marriage, or you can have constitutional Religious Freedom for Americans of all beliefs & religions.

    But you ultimately can’t have both.

  • You wrote “…In the legislature or in the courts.” At one time, even Hillary Clinton agreed with you regarding (state) legislatures. She agreed with allowing public state-level legislative debate on what you called the “relative merits of arguments for and against gay mmarriage. Allowing state legislators to hear both arguments and then actually vote FOR or AGAINST on their own.

    But the reality is that the gay activists went to the courts and to the USSC, precisely to cut the state legislatures (and even the US Congress) out of the picture. Voters and their elected legislators, ordinary people who only wanted the right to vote their conscience in the normal democratic manner, were eliminated altogether.

  • Care to offer even one rational argument why I should forfeit my civil rights to fascist theocrats?

  • I’ve resisted blocking you for your endless attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with every word you say, because, frankly, you exhibit symptoms of manic behavior. But I’m not going to waste my time on your paranoia.

  • Nonsense. My civil rights are none of your concern. Get your fascist theocracy off my government.

  • “ordinary people, who only wanted the right to vote their conscience, pro or con, in a normal democracy, were eliminated altogether”

    Which is why we no longer have slavery in the US.

  • I would encourage Mr. Dreher and his followers to not only adopt the Benedict Option, but the Trappist one. 😁 It’s not silence, but don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.

  • “it would be preferable to actually debate the relative merits of arguments for and against same-sex marriage”

    Obergefell, which was about same-sex marriage, not about cakes, was argued in the federal courts for three and a half years, starting at the district courts in several states, going through the appeals, and ending up at the Supreme Court.

  • Which was also the process that now allows both you and Clarence Thomas to marry a woman of whatever race you desire Uncle Floyd. But the reality is that the [Black civil rights] activists went to the courts and to the USSC, precisely to chop the state legislatures (and even the US Congress) out of the picture. Voters and their elected legislators, ordinary people who only wanted the right to vote their conscience, pro or con, in a normal democracy, were eliminated altogether.

  • OK, then tell me, I’m not batshit crazy!

    What are the rational arguments against same-sex marriage and transgender rights?

  • Slavery was ended by eliminating the right of the people in the Southern States to vote their conscience. It was called the Civil War.

  • Gay activists did a good job of learning and exploiting the black civil rights struggle. Remember the cutesy soundbite that was coined by Michael Gross in The Advocate? “Gay Is The New Black.” An effective deception.

    But not TOO effective. Even today, if allowed a normal vote by citizens or legislators, the majority of the Black, White, Latino, Hispanic, and Native Americans in my state would unite to ban gay marriage. They would vote to legally define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. No joke.

    Why? Because of the many historical and rational disconnects between “gay marriage” and (black or white or interracial) marriage. And that’s on top of what Jesus clearly said about the exclusively gender-complementarian nature of marriage, plus the Bible’s consistent rejection of homosexual identity and behavior).

    “Gay Is Not The New Black”, says black pastor Voddie Baucham. He explains some of the disconnects.
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/gay-is-not-the-new-black/

  • Are you serious, David? Is your inquiry sincere, or fake?

    I’m asking you flat-out, because I study both Scriptural and Secular (what you call “rational”) arguments against gay marriage. I take your question seriously. (My main focus is on “gay marriage”, but I will soon work on the so-called “transgender rights” stuff too.)

    Now I certainly don’t mean to interrupt you and Monica on this exchange, of course. So I’m not jumping in, for now. But if nobody takes you up on your inquiry, then…..

  • Actually, the surveys verify that the majority of folks in the US support equal rights and marriage equality for LGBTQ folks. Your desire that the majority of the folks in your state are with you is fake news.

    No matter how many times you jump up & down hollering that same sex marriage has disconnects with interracial marriage, doesn’t make it true. We’ve naver said they were the same, but that there are parrallels in denying minorities the right to marry.

    Your six year old article by the Black preacher has more holes in it than a sieve.

  • Charlotte, this is name-calling, ugly and utterly unwarranted. Once more and you’re banned from this site.

  • The relevance of the analogy here has to do with the comparability of religious objections. Certainly there have been, and presumably still are, those who object to interracial marriage on religious grounds; i.e. claiming that God meant for the races to be kept separate. But so far as our jurisprudence is concerned, there would have to be a legitimate secular reason for not allowing Free Exercise objections to interracial marriage while allowing Free Exercise objections to same-sex marriage. The courts only get to accept or reject religious beliefs based on whether they are sincerely held.

  • Just suggesting one possible perspective.

    Some of us are old enough to remember Jim Crow in the South. On the surface at least, the argument over cakes is petty and trivial. There is no doubt about that. But from the gay point of view, the issue probably goes deeper. Can religion be used as an excuse to practice Jim Crow against gays?

  • But Klein v Oregon and Masterpiece Bakeshop were test cases that had nothing to do with cake and everything to do with civil rights. I would prefer that people have the courage to press their cases that way, instead of hiding behind cakes and nuns and county clerks.

  • Re: “Over the past few years, conservative blogger Rod Dreher has made a name for himself advancing the idea that Christians in the West should set themselves apart from mainstream culture by establishing their own communities and institutions.” 

    Pity the precious snowflakes! Why, the poor little things have to hide themselves from all those terrible mobs who’re trying to wipe them off the face of the planet! Why, it’s almost as though they have no control over anything at all and are subject to just being slaughtered, any time they set foot outside their doors. 

    Oh wait. It’s not like that! In fact, they are the ones who run the country! Their champion is in the Oval Office; they control both houses of Congress; they’re a majority of the Supreme Court; they have a majority of state governorships, and legislatures too. 

    Yet, somehow, despite their political and social domination of the country, they’ve managed to convince each other they’re a wickedly-oppressed minority in danger of instant extinction. Oh the poor things! Boo hoo hoo, little babies, boo freaking hoo! 

    https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2013/03/31/christianitys-obsession-with-martyrdom-and-persecution/

  • So being “transgender” is really a mental disorder? And has nothing to do with ones birth gender?
    Good to know.

  • Many don’t know what a sunset town is. There is a great little book written about the sunset towns of Illinois. It is some of those towns, I lived outside of one, that are very Conservative today.

  • I just learned that Mark Silk has banned Ben in Oakland from this entire site, not just his own columns. That is unacceptable to me. Therefore in solidarity with him I am out of here, which I’m sure will be greeted with cheers by people like Bob Arnzen / Mark Connelly, et al. It was fun while it lasted.

    Bye y’all.

  • All of this breakdown of Western progressive values has to be music to the evil ears of Putin and Trump. Voting as liberal as we can is the only remedy for the toxic morass of social conservativism.

  • Excuse me? You routinely allow commenters to dehumanize LGBTQ+ people on this site, despite your claim that homophobia is not allowed.

  • My sincerely held beliefs tell me that it is wrong to give a platform to known terrorist organizations, such as the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • If you read Loving vs Virginia you find that the SCOTUS actually looked (albeit obliquely) at the claims of so-called religious underpinnings of anti-miscegenation laws and found them bogus. They expressly noted that it was not really miscegenation itself that was targeted but only miscegenation involving whites. The driving force behind these laws was not religion but white supremacy.

    And although Leon Bazile’s personal opinion on the subject was part of the record of the case and is often quoted, assuredly the SCOTUS justices also recognized that there is absolutely nothing in either scripture or the tradition of Christianity in general that supports any “religious” objection to interracial marriage. It is wholly an American peculiarity and not even a particularly old one.

    The same may not be said of objections to SSM.

  • The process of passing the 13th Amendment was more contentious than you evidently realize. Considerable maneuvering was necessary to get it through. The Emancipation Proclamation was only an executive order issued during wartime; without a constitutional amendment any later president could have revoked it.

  • Elag, I’m not sure how that’s possible. I hope it’s a misunderstanding. Anyway, you know you’re welcome to join the old gang anytime.
    Peace – Monica.

  • I have a problem with government contracts going to contractors who are allowed to discriminate on the basis of the religion of the employer or contract holder Government contracts are paid for with my tax dollars. I do not want my tax dollars to be used to support discrimination or a particular religious viewpoint. There is also the problem of tax dollars given to “charities” that are then allowed to use their religious criteria to supply what they consider acceptable services and to not deliver other services that are legal. Here I am thinking of any monies given by the U.S. government to any national or international group affiliated with the Catholic Church which will not allow money to be used to provide condoms or birth control, will not provide referrals for abortion services to women who have been subject to sexual slavery, and will not include LGBT families in adoption services.

    Equal rights for all is important, especially in the job markets and the market places where goods and services are bought and sold. And equal rights, and respect for the individual, are necessary in the actions taken by government.

    Can we even exist as a nation if we break ourselves into religious enclaves where different sets of rules apply? Maybe we should have different states choose a religion they will promote/allow. Then individuals can move to some place that incorporates only the particular forms of religious bigotry that the individual approves of.

    That would tear our country apart. We need for our governments – state and federal – and our market places to be the meeting place where all are treated equally, fairly, and where no one religion is promoted over another.

  • Oh, yes. Many times YES.

    I grew up in Jim Crow, watched it wane, but know it is still alive. It was and is real. It does seem to me that this wanting to put barriers in the way of LGBTQI people living life as fully as heteros – is just another version of Jim Crow. As is the hullabaloo over the ethnicities of those allowed to immigrate. I watch what is happening with white power marches and mass killings in churches/synagogues (Black in one case, Jewish in another) , at so called “gay” bars. We have militias planning to go to the border to make sure the immigrant caravaners don’t get into this country. This is the same wildness of the Jim Crow days.

    I do not know anymore how to have a political community – a state or nation – that can incorporate multi-religious beliefs and democratic freedoms simultaneously. I do not know how to draw lines that simultaneously respects the person of faith and the person of another faith . Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option can only work if those who want to live under Benedict’s rules cut themselves off from participation in other communities that do not think as they do and if they are not allowed to limit the freedoms/rights/ opportunities of those who live outside their community. Can they be self-sustaining – these communities who don’t want to live in recognition of freedoms, rights, beliefs others may have?

    What is ironic is if the Benedict option people separate themselves into their own communities, how do they evangelize, spread the faith? They have to go out of their communities, into the spaces where the “other” lives, the non-Benedict people. I wonder if the non-Benedict communities could ban those outsiders for breaking rules of the non-Benedict people when they “invade” their territory.

  • Well, my take on Rod Dreher and his paranoid Benedict Option has also been removed here and the post was sent to to “pending” in this thread…so a a lot of people are getting blocked here.

    Summary…if this post deos not get removed?…Rod Dreher is so outraged that LGBT people exist (trans-people especially drive him nuts) — that he hopes to create Christian communities of Hasidic-like Ben-Op followers. Amazing how religion can turn people paranoid.

  • Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and federal funding was being given to groups and organizations that refused to hire Christians or give them services? I imagine Mark Silk and his fellow Christian would be screaming bloody murder about it. So why can’t they see it’s wrong to do that to gay people? Oh for a Christianity that doesn’t involve mistreating other people. I know it’s hard to imagine, but imagine how much better this world would be if Christians treated others the way they want to be treated? I know that would be shocking, but we can dream can’t we?

  • As a military move to end the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ended slavery in 11 states by confiscating the property of those states in rebellion against the Union in his role as Commander and Chief . The slave states that remained in the Union lost their slaves due to an amendment to the Constitution passed by Congress and at least 75% of the states that had remained in the Union.

  • I think this is short-sighted. Dreher’s case, long-term, makes sense to me. Trumpism is a short-term fix for evangelicals et al that will end up a disaster for social conservatives. Evangelicals’ infatuation with Trump will end in their disgrace and the destruction of their Christian witness. (I write this as a “Never Trump” social conservative, by the way.)

  • Please, it’s nt just fundamentalists who choose to live in like-minded enclaves. This separation by ideology is now characteristic of the USA as a whole, even in the state or metro area.

  • Americans have always hated each other, as well described and evidenced (historically and currently) in “American Nations: The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” All eleven cultures are found in the USA. One extends into Mexico. One extends into Canada. Some hate the federal government (except for war). When Lincoln was elected Congress was ready to let the South leave the Union. Other regions then planned to follow. The “firing on the flag” at Ft. Sumter changed all that. The US people (except for the Confederates) rallied to the flag and upheld the Union.

  • No one is compelling any religion to perform gay marriages. Like more and more Americans. most gay people do not want a religious marriage rite. Marriage is a civic institution, not a religious institution. Christianity did not invent marriage.

  • Our latter-day barbarism, in Dreher’s view, is all about gender norms.

    I’ve read Dreher’s book, and this is an incredibly unfair characterization of his thesis. I recommend people click on the link to Dreher’s BenOp Q&A provided my Mr. Silk and read for yourself.

  • I don’t think there’s any global polling on the definition of “sex” – whether it means the traditional definition that the Trump Administration is proposing or the new one pushed by the Obama Administration, but I’d make a guess that the vast majority of people in this beautiful, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and irreligious world would define it the way that the Trump Administration is proposing to do.

  • There is confusion between sex and gender roles. Sex is biological gender roles are social. Most would I agree say that sex is determined by your genes BUT sex and gender roles are not connected or shouldn’t be connected and quite honestly have never been connected. There are instances in the Bible for example of men and women filling a great variety of roles. There are examples in many cultures of men and women filling “non traditional” roles in their communities. What Trump is trying to restrict are gender roles–trying to insist that gender roles adhere to ones biological sex. He is simply pandering religious nuts.

  • “I imagine Mark Silk and his fellow Christian would be…”
    Mark Silk is Jewish. He has no “fellow Christians.”

  • Mark Silk is precisely what you expect from a Religion Professor – an LGBT propaganda machine that doesn’t believe a word of the Bible.

  • Dreher does not spend a great amount of time discussing LGBTs in his book. That you think he is so “outraged” by them that they are the impetus to form insular Hasidic-like communities reveals your are familiar with his book only through hearsay.

  • A good response to Silk’s mischaracterization of “The Benedict Option” can be found in Dreher’s “The Myopia of Liberal Elites”, October 29, on The American Conservative website.

  • As a Jewish Religion Professor, he’s already ruled out the New Testament. As for the Old Covenant, who (apart from himself) knows what he believes. He’s not made it clear in any particular statement.

  • Thomas said a lot of ridiculous things. Your religious freedom is not endangered by gay marriage. Discrimination is not free exercise of religion.

  • This is just a reiteration of how bigots deal with expanding civil rights. They attack it at the margins and look to legislate loopholes to undermine rights. Segregationists back in the day were acting like this. These new segregationists are just following the pattern.

    Make no mistake what these “Christians” want us nothing short of Jim Crow 2.0. Which btw all involved laws passed by majority vote.

  • I guess people will rationalize anything to get away from the obvious.

    White supremacy, much like your views of heterosexual privilege draw their support from half baked religious excuses. It’s telling that the current religious right got its start as segregationists and argues currently for segregation.

  • No, white supremacy doesn’t draw its support from any such thing. It is a cultural issue that people have attempted to shoehorn into scripture the same way they have tried to shoehorn a case for ssm into it. Neither works.

  • Not a bit different from those who claim that the Bible’s teachings lead them to embrace ssm. No sirve.

  • Goalpost shifting and trying to reframe the argument through avoidance. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

  • I believe it was David Allen, above, who first shifted the goalposts from ssm to interracial marriage in order to make an ugly racial crack at Floydlee. Try to keep up — you’re behind as usual.

  • He made a valid analogy. The arguments are identical. Conservatives using religion to justify giving their bigotry color of law.

    Its telling that the anti-gay crowd is also seeking segregation and attacking who can and cannot get married. Just like the racists did. Of course they are really the same group, separated only by time.

  • No, the arguments are not identical, as I demonstrated. Whereupon you flung out your all-purpose “goal-post” objection that usually appears after you are completely lost and fresh out of things to say. Even you don’t seem to know what it means.

    Read more, Tater, read more.

  • Nope. Its all still using religion to rationalize prejudice and demanding color of law for it in order to attack classes of people.

  • One he is trying to deny or ban (not sure which term best fits here) the existence of transgender folk. Two he is trying to tie gender roles to biological sex. Which is a way of denying transgender folk. I.e. the sex on your birth certificate determines what bathroom you can use-so a transgender male to female still has to use a mens bathroom. So transgender folk will no longer be a protected minority i.e. an employer can fire someone simply because they become transgender. Health care for hormone tretments and/or surgery can be denied to transgender folk.

  • Bigots here, bigots there, bigots everywhere. How, in the name of honest rhetoric, do you get “bigotry” out of my observation that Mark Silk is Jewish, and that such facts have implications for his beliefs? You’re just viewing your opponents through bigot-colored glasses – and thick ones at that. It’s a weirdly bigot-colored world you live in that leaves no room for honest disagreement.

  • Not a denial. Just a sign you are thin skinned about the label. Oh well. There is also “snowflake” which best describes your position here. Someone easily offended by honest descriptions of their position.

  • Here is how Dreher interpret’s the Silk’s piece: “If you read the column, it becomes clear that Silk is aggrieved by the prospect that traditional Christians might not be driven out of the public square. Religious liberty protections are there precisely to defend religious minorities from bullies like Mark Silk.”

    Dreher is concerned about, “a wide array of modern phenomena disintegrating the Christian faith,” not just about LGBT rights. Silk got that wrong. On the other hand, it appears that protecting LGBT rights is enough to cause “traditional Christians” to “be driven out of the public square,” so LGBT rights are not a trivial issue for Dreher.

  • How typical — full of invective, but empty of any answer to the relevant question. So — let me ask it again: “How, in the name of honest rhetoric, do you get “bigotry” out of my observation that Mark Silk is Jewish, and that such facts have implications for his beliefs?”

  • You aren’t disputing the label is incorrect. Only that you don’t like to hear it. There is no dumber response to an accusation if bigotry than the standard “you are playing the bigot card”. I can’t help it if your feeling are hurt. Truth here is unpleasant.

  • Transgender people will continue to exist regardless of what Donald
    Trump does. You can’t ban someone’s existence. He’s not denying their existence either. I don’t know what Trump’s views are on whether transgender people exists, but defining sex for the purposes of Title IX as you’ve defined it above (as a biological distinction) does not deny the existence of transgendered people. It merely says that transgendered people are not included in a statute that refers to “sex,” as opposed to “gender.”

    As to your second point, to my knowledge, Trump’s proposal does not effect employment or health care. It merely effects Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Prior to 2014, “sex” meant what you describe above – whether someone was biologically male or female. President Obama redefined it to include “gender identity.” The Trump proposal would return the meaning of sex to the intent of Congress when it passed the law. People have been and will continue to be free to pursue any position in society that they want. Nothing should change in regard to women and men can pursuing any career path, familial role, leadership position, etc. that they wish. Traditional gender roles are being smashed all the time and will continue to be.

  • The question itself is a denial that “the label is incorrect” — AND a demand that you justify it (by something other than your “feelings”). And at risk of becoming redundant, let me point out that it’s now twice in a row you’ve refused to answer it.

  • That’s three times you’ve refused to answer my question It’s becoming a conditioned response.. Is that because you have no answer, or because it would embarrass you to answer it honestly?

  • Your religious based bigotry and demand for discrimination isn’t any different from past religious based demands for discrimination. Your hate is somehow different? Don’t flatter yourself.

    The segregationists of old are the same group as the new segregationists. They even recycle the same arguments.

  • Have I noticed? FOUR TIMES IN A ROW.
    My “position” was simply this: “As a Jewish Religion Professor, he’s already ruled out the New Testament. As for the Old Covenant, who (apart from himself) knows what he believes. He’s not made it clear in any particular statement.”

    Again, how is this “bigotry?” (there’s your “denial”)
    Or, in the alternative, if you think that “position” is a “joke,” what’s the punch line?

    Want to go for five in a row?

  • Your position is to whine about bring callers bigot. There is nothing from your spiel which shows its incorrect. Only that you are a snowflake about it. Nothing worth taking seriously.

  • For crying out loud, Tater, he’s making fun of you, in case you haven’t noticed. No one cares whom you call a bigot, and it upsets no one. But throwing it around like you do is a proclamation that you have nothing at all of substance to offer. One can hardly resist needling you about it.

  • Of course, some of us have actually experienced a little segregation — as in using actual “For Colored Only” bathrooms. You have not.

    Hence your specific arguments are fatally weakened thereby. Trying to equate opposition to gay marriage with the segregation of the Jim Crow era — you just gotta be kidding.

  • The desire to not be involved in situations that smack of sexual immorality is different in that there is 4000 years of scripture and tradition behind it. Miscegenation laws are wholly an American phenomenon of the modern era with no scriptural support whatsoever.

    But as is always the case with you, one must have some scriptural background to realize that. That’s where you get off the bus.

  • Yet you have not learned the lessons of that era and follow along with the new iteration of the old segregationists. How sad.

  • I can’t help it if the obvious facts are so detrimental to your position. To anyone remotely honest there is no difference in attitudes or actions between one set of discriminatory bigots and another. Both are apparently too spineless to own up to their feelings and use religion to pretend it is socially acceptable or beyond criticism

  • Situations being a dishonest euphemism for open commerce and not attacking people in service of your faith. I couldn’t card less that laws now prevent you from treating various classes of people like crap in public settings. Calling it religious belief just cheapens religious belief. Makes it look worthless, venal and malicious. On the upside, your brand of bigotry is s great advertisement for non belief.

  • You can’t help much of anything, can you Tater?

    “Here lies Spuddie. She couldn’t help it. “

    To anyone remotely honest, unable to read minds, AND totally without background in scripture, history or law, I’m sure there is no difference. These are not, however, people that one should waste time and effort trying to convince.

  • What “obvious facts” are detrimental to what “position?” I’ve already given you my “position” – and you have utterly refused to explain how it constitutes “bigotry” in your mind – those are the relevant “facts” of this discussion. All you’ve done is to emit your usual cloud of invective to cover your retreat from dealing with a direct rhetorical challenge.

  • You’re a bigot. Your posts drip of prejudice and malice. You are annoyed its pointed out. Nothing more to say here other than your expressions of how thin skinned you are about it pointed out. Bye.

  • I am not the one advocating for one kind of bigotry based discrimination using religion, but not another type. I have nothing to reconcile or make lame excuses for. Your inconsistency is a function of your lack of intellectual honesty here.

  • Your perception of inconsistency is a function of your having no background in scripture or in law and therefore no idea what you’re talking about.

  • You are using self serving proof texting of the Bible to justify your bigoted desire for discrimination while pretending a prior effort at self serving proof texting the Bible to justify bigoted desire for discrimination was materially different. It takes some major denial to try your argument with a straight face.

  • How can a person with zero background in scripture be expected to understand what is or is not “proof-texting” or whether one issue is scripturally different from another?

    The answer is, she can’t. All her assertions on the subject, no matter how loud or how often reiterated, are mere noise to be disregarded

  • Different races must not marry or even be seen in public. God commands it. 1960

    Gays must not marry or even be seen in public. God commands it. 2018

    Nope. No appreciable difference in act or even justification. Changing the target of discrimination doesn’t make it OK or even fundamentally different. Honest people recognize that. You are not one of those.

  • “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” Lev. 20:13.

    “If a white person lies with a black person, both of them have committed an abomination.” Said no scripture, no apostle, and no church tradition, ever.

    No sirve, Einstein. Well-versed people recognize that. You are not one of those.

  • Thank you for proving my point. The spineless love to justify bigotry and harming others by proof-texting the Bible.

  • The rule of general applicability was a good-faith attempt to provide an objective measure for the 1st Amendment freedom of religious exercise, but it was a bad idea from the beginning. Any standard of judgment that would rule that a state instituting a general ban of infant circumcision wouldn’t interfere with the Jews’ right to freely exercise their religion has serious problems.

  • Now that makes SIX TIMES IN A ROW you’ve pointedly refused to respond to my challenge to provide substance to your insults. Conclusion: you have no substance to provide – only sneers and scurrility.

    So, I’ll have to decline your challenge to an insult duel (personal slurs at a digital distance), as I have pressing duties to fulfill. I painted my utility shed today, and I need to go watch it dry – just to make sure that nothing goes wrong with the process, understand.

  • “Declare victory and retire from the field” is the default response when the Tatersaurus faces a challenge he can’t meet.

  • It’s all I need here. Anyone trying to rationalize their malice and prejudice is unworthy of taking seriously. Sorry if honest assessment if your position makes you all snowflakey.

    Of course nothing about the label is untrue. Bigots seek discrimination under color of law. Ones who are spineless use religion to justify their beliefs to pretend it is above criticism or somehow socially acceptable.

    No need to treat such people with civility. Insults and invective are a necessity. Lest people assume such positions are worth polite discussion.

  • “It’s all I need here”
    Apparently your self-righteousness is all you need for ANY rhetorical purpose: “I’m morally superior to you, so I don’t have to pay attention to anything you say, much less extend you the respect of one human being made in the image of God to another.” So be it. But what goes around comes around, and that’s why you end up just talking to yourself, and praising yourself as the victor in all of your rhetorical confrontations. You’re living in a one-man echo-chamber.

  • It is pretty hilarious – given the intense bigoty of Republicans and conservatives – that they consider anyone other than themselves to be elites. There is nothing elitist about welcoming all kinds of people from all faiths into your political party, the way the Democrats do. It is, actually, the opposite of being elite.

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