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Wise Counsel?

© Jen Sorensen

How can people who claim to be against the “nanny state” be for anti-abortion counseling? If they are actually trying to protect people, then it would make more sense to require counseling before you order a drink in a bar, but don’t have a designated driver.



  1. Jeff wrote:

    People who are anti-abortion believe that it’s a moral issue that overshadows all principles of government and morality. Same thing with gay marriage. To those who oppose it, it is a spiritual and moral battle. Therefore, government intrusion is repainted as “government righting the moral compass of the people” and who’s going to argue with that?

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 4:12 am | Permalink
  2. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Jeff is right. Toss in a healthy dose of compartmentalization and there is no stopping the hypocrisy.

    On a related note, I’ve been reading “The Authoritarians” over the past month or so in my limited free time. It is a free book available online. I highly recommend it.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 5:13 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree with 1032 ad Jeff – your either for nanny-ness or not. On the issue of gay marriage it’s always seemed ironic to me that conservatives are against and liberals for. It seems to me that given the oft stated “who stands for gov’t involvement or not” argument that conservatives would be against gov’t intervention in the bedroom and liberals would be for it. So, given that idea IMO it comes down to a mingling of church and state whch then most certainly goes against the constitution. Now I don’t feel (given that separation of church and state) the state should require churches to perform same sex marriages either.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  4. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Yea I’ve heard that several times from people who are against gay marriage. I definitely wouldn’t say that it won’t ever happen (especially given our litigious nature!), but I’m not sure it is a reasonable concern.

    To me this comes from the meme that same-sexers are attempting to shove their lifestyle down America’s throat, etc. They really just want the same rights that everyone else has.

    I mean, who would want to get married in a place where they felt unwelcome?

    I’m with you on this one, I don’t think I would ever support forcing churches to marry same-sex couples if they were against it for religious reasons.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    Regarding same sex marriage, I believe the controversy stems, fundamentally, from a conflation of the civil and religious institutions. For the vast majority of people (especially here in the U.S.), there is no perceived difference. If you get married, you go through a ceremony with your local church and sign some papers after. The whole thing is perceived as one act.

    However, the two institutions are distinct. You can go to a JOP and get a civil marriage license that allows you to do things like file joint taxes and provides you with oodles of benefits, such as automatic survivor benefits. Or you can go through the religious ceremony, but never file the paperwork. In that case, you are married in the eyes of your personal deity, but not in the eyes of the state.

    The fear from opponents of marriage equality is that the proposed changes would be mandated for both institutions. That is, they fear that the state will force their churches to perform gay marriages, which constitutes the government meddling in personal religious practices. I believe that is consistent with being anti-nanny state.

    The conflation of the institutions is why you hear some people claim to be against gay marriage but in favor of civil unions. They typically define the latter as providing the secular benefits, but without calling it marriage. This distinction is pedantic. What they are proposing as civil unions IS the institution of civil marriage. They just don’t recognize it as such. The idea of civil unions, though, is really problematic from a logistical standpoint. Do you really want ALL levels of government to spend a crapload of time identifying EVERY law on the books that relates to “marriage” just to insert the words “and civil unions”? Talk about government waste…

    As for abortion, for many people, it is not as simple as calling it a moral issue. Many people believe that a fetus, from the moment of conception, is a distinct human that is guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As such, in their view, it is a fundamental priority of a just government to preserve these rights for fetuses. Hence, the hyperbolic claim that abortion is murder. (Of course, most people that make this claim are logically inconsistent, especially when you raise the issue of punishment. They really should just say that abortion is AKIN TO murder and is a wrong action in and of itself.) Again, I don’t view that as being inconsistent with opposing the nanny state.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    No church is required to perform a marriage for anyone, so that argument is a red herring.

    Besides, I have never heard anyone who says they are in favor of forcing churches to perform marriages for same sex couples.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK – I understand your point #1 and have not heard myself of any churches being asked for services. However, that may be because same sex marriage is only legal in a handfl of States. In out litigious society I could easily see a same sex couple filing a discrimination suit against a church in the future, if for no other reason then just because they can. So I disagree that its a red herring. We should make it clear now and eliminate any fears of that to our religious communities and citizens. It would have the added benefit of perhaps easing at least 1 objection to gay marriage from the right. In my state it has been one of the main objections to becoming the 6th state to allow it, and mine is possibly the bluest state in the union. Suprisingly, the most vocal objectors have been black churchs and they are mostly democrats. The bill originally looked like it had a good chance to pass, until that caucus began to object and the writers of the bill refused to add that amendment. Sadly, its probably going to fail with only 2 weeks of ths years session left and the budget yet unresolved.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, it has been made clear. Every actual law I’ve seen to legalize gay marriage has included language that stipulates that churches are not required to perform gay marriages, just to make that argument moot.

    Even without that language, it would still be a red herring. Yes, anyone can sue anyone for anything, it is true. But let’s say a Jewish couple sued their local Catholic church, because the church wouldn’t perform a marriage for them. Can you guess how long that suit would take to get thrown out?

    Can you provide a link (to a real news source) about your claim that “the writers of the bill refused to add that amendment”? I haven’t seen that.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    IK, the arguments I listed above are not red herrings. They are misunderstandings. Every single opponent of marriage equality that I have spoken to falls back on that argument. They understand superficially that you don’t have to have a church wedding, but they somehow believe that the civil institution makes you religiously married. They do not perceive the cognitive dissonance, and it is never challenged. They simply do not think about it.

    You claim that it has been made very clear that these laws explicitly state that churches are not required to perform gay marriages. If it has been made clear, why do so many people (e.g., Patriotsgt and those I’ve talked to) still believe that the integrity of religious marriage is at stake? There’s a disconnect between what we believe people understand and what they actually know. Most people have not and will never read the legislation. So they won’t see the explicit exemption.

    The important question is why this disconnect and this false argument persist. In my view, there is a small minority that is simply anti-gay. They will never say that explicitly, but they despise the idea of people being gay. These are the people that are feeding the FUD that marriage equality threatens churches. It fits into the narrative of the myth of American Christian persecution. Incidentally, these are not people that oppose the nanny state, because they view America as blessed by God, believe the separation of church and state is a myth, and argue that the government has a role in supporting the religious beliefs of individuals. From what I can see, these people are winning the battle but losing the war. Polls show that the number of people that support marriage equality is constantly growing.

    I never said the argument holds water. But that is the most persistent objection that I have found to marriage equality, and I do my part to shatter it when I can. As long as that misunderstanding exists, opposition to marriage equality is not inconsistent with opposing the nanny state.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Michael, I totally agree.

    This false argument persists for the same reason the “death panel” argument persists and the birthers persist. Willingness to cravenly lie to advance your agenda.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink