Our American Taliban

Our American Taliban
: Everybody and his gay uncle has already hopped on the hopping stupidity of Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum’s comments trying to equate homosexuality with bigamy, polygamy, incest, adultery, and probably Communism, too.

Two-parent families, says Santorum, are good. Requiring people to work is good. So is banning late-term abortions and giving religion a greater role in government. Traditional welfare, on the other hand, hurts the family. Homosexuality, feminism, liberalism all undermine the family. Even parts of the Constitution can harm the family.

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker said in a recent interview, fuming over a landmark gay rights case before the high court that pits a Texas sodomy law against equality and privacy rights.

That’s as frightening as it is stupid. Jack Balkin, smart law professor, dissects other issues this raises and sees hope in calling this the last desperate gasp of the gay-bashing right. But that’s not my point.

And before I get to my point, also consider this story today out of Sinsinnati:

A Mount Auburn Presbyterian minister was found guilty Monday of marrying gays and lesbians in the denomination’s first ecclesiastical trial dealing with the church constitutional issue.

As I’ve said here before, this is just why I left the Presbyterian Church: because it has become an institution of hate and bigotry that thinks it should judge God’s creations, because it is no place to raise my children. But that, too, is not my point.

And now consider this, on the Shia majority in Iraq threatening to impose a theocracy and bloody-stump Sharia law:

:Ayatollah al-Sadr would have wanted an Islamic government for Iraq, based on the Koran and on Sharia (Islamic law).

  • IMO this is the center of the problem from here out and I, for one, see a danger that we may have merely done the heavy lifting for the Ayatollahs.

  • Rarely do I find myself even semi-agreeing with your comments however this may one of the times we are at least fairly close.
    Lets say that there are free and open elections in Iraq with different parties and candidates running in various districts and lo and behold the group supporting a government based on Islamic Law and the Koran wins – what does the U.S. do? Can the whole deal? On what grounds?
    The American constitution protects freedom of (and supposedly from) religion however only a government of and by the Iraqi people has the right to set up such a constitution. If the new government is based on Islamic Law you already know already where that is going to go.
    Even if the U.S. writes a new Iraqi consitition before the elections what prevents a new Iraqi government from changing it once in power?
    Unless they get very, very lucky this is a no win situation for the United States and will remain for all time a study in what poor planning gets you. It will be interesting to see what happens, how the U.S. deals with it, and how the Middle East (and indeed the world) deals with how the U.S. deals with it.
    A lot rides on this and I seriously doubt the U.S. comes out of it cleanly – whether they care about that or not is another question completely.
    BTW: You missed the link about the God-Awful Flag over at MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com/news/903240.asp), it would have fit well with your post theme.

  • I fail to see how the churches are hateful for enforcing rules clearly established – I believe democratically- by the group. I also find it difficult to see how creating and requiring uniform doctrinal positions can be done without some judging of “God’s Creation.”
    I find your comparison of Islamic fundamentalists and Presbyterians laughable. One group won’t let you get married in their church the other will stone you. Yeah clearly the same thing!

  • Deb

    I don’t think it’s the same thing, but the same mindset–both want to compel everyone to live as they would. The punishments may be more severe under fundamentalist Islamic law, but the impulse behind the rules themselves is the same. And the great thing about the US is that the government, instead of enforcing the rules, enforces your right to make a damn fool of yourself, as Senator Santorum has done. The case that seems to have upset the Senator is in the Supreme Court, and they will rule on it based on their interpretation of the Constitution, not on the remarks of a Senator. And if someone doesn’t like the ruling, another case will wind its way out of the appeals process and force the Court to reconsider. And in the meantime, nobody’s getting stoned.
    It seems to me the point Mr. Jarvis is trying to make is that although we must always be on guard against that mindset that produces stonings, what we should leave for the Iraqi people is a government that protects them from that mindset–not one where the remarks of one man can become the rule of law.

  • Eugene Volokh calls this a “faux scandal.” As in, false.

  • Theresa

    This may well be the “quagmire” predicted in the early stages of the war. The ayatollah is looking to set himself up as the supreme ruler of Iraq. The “people” of Iraq, not the US or the un, have to stand up and decide if they want to go backwards or forwards. If they choose the ayatollah and shari law, then so be it. We pull out and once again they live under a tyrannical government. If they choose democracy, we are obligated to help them. Will it be easy, hell no. They need to decide what their future and the future of their children will be. The gift of choice was given to them in blood. I hope, for their sake, they make the right decision. God Bless America, our troops, and Mr. Bush.

  • button

    They’ve been kept in a bell jar for so long, they may not be equipped to make an informed choice.
    We have an interesting principle in US law: the presumption that a person cannot or would not VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE to be a slave.

  • stevy

    How can one condemn churches (whose sole purpose is to worship the creator) for condemning a lifestyle condemned by the creator of the universe and designer of mankind? How can you condemn Rick Santorum for exercising his Creator-given and constitutionally guranteed right to his own opinion? Should we do the same to yours?

  • So we’re going to impose a government on Iraq that the majority of Iraqis oppose? (Assuming shi’a muslims really are a majority) Isn’t that apt to be seen as undemocratic and absurd? How is a democractic government that we install against the will of the majority going to stay in power? By force? Wouldn’t that be tyranny?
    Hmm. Maybe we should have thought about this BEFORE we invaded Iraq.

  • Jack Tanner

    Santorum’s correct about using the right to privacy and consent, he’s wrong about homosexuality being dangerous to traditional families. Why isn’t the law being challenged in the state legislature? Well that would force the state legislators to take a stand wouldn’t it.

  • Richard Aubrey

    You will note, although you already know it but hope others can be stampeded into not noticing, that the Presbyterian Church (USA) is not attempting to force its views on the rest of society. Actually, they are. That’s the Washington Office and its advocacy, with which I suspect you agree wholeheartedly, even though they are trying to make the church’s position have the force of law. Like wacko Muslims, you don’t mind using law to enforce religious beliefs, as long as they’re correct religious beliefs.
    But the PCUSA is not attempting to force its views on marrying homosexuals on anybody else. As you know.
    As you ought to know the rest of us know.
    Santorum’s remarks can only be considered offensive to homosexuals if the other practices he mentioned are morally bad.
    Are you judging these other practices? What gives you the right?
    Are you a closet bluenose?

  • crionna

    Let’s get back to the real reason we went into Iraq in the first place, to eliminate WMD and the tyrant who was apt to use them at his first opportunity.
    It took Hussein decades to reach a point where he could threaten us with WMD and once he got there and the American people were willing to accept a war, we went in and put an end to it.
    Its my undrstanding that Islam and government cannot be separated. To believe that we can force Iraq to speed through the lessons that its taken Iran 24 years (and counting) to learn makes little sense to me.
    What we should be doing is getting the power, water and food flowing again and then telling the Turks that its just too damn bad that they’re concerned about their borders and split the country three ways, Kurdish north, Sunni middle, Shiite south. All three areas have oil so there will be no poverty-land.
    This allows the Shiites to implement their Islamic law if they want, eliminates a source of contention with Iran (who may eventually strike Iraq to “protect” the Sunni minority) and allows the Kurds (who seem to have been doing pretty dang well on their own) the chance to live in a free Kurdistan.

  • Danjo

    I agree with you Jeff. Nothing witty to say (awwweeee) but you expressed how I have felt about “religious fanatics” perfectly.
    (Wow, stop the world honey, Danjo agrees with me, my life is complete!)
    A god in his own mind. (hummm, isn’t that the first sign of insanity?)

  • Jeff, you’re a smart guy and a whip-sharp writer, but this post proves we all have our closet idiotarian stands. In the USA, no one anywhere forces any adult to attend any church or subscribe to any religious creed against their will. In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the authorities not only forced obediance, they forced it at the point of a gun or stone or a wall or whatever they could turn into a weapon. The Presbyterian church has, as you well know, been torn asunder by, among other things, the role of homosexuals in the church. It’s an ongoing issue, and the church will try to enforce its rules and regulations on its clergy and even its laiety when it’s deemed necessary. But membership in the PC USA is entirely voluntarily, as you well know because you left and no one tried to hunt you down and kill you. Try leaving any mosque in Iran and see what the Ayatollahs do. In this post you’re taking a stand that makes Christians like me genuinely fear for our religious freedoms. You will obviously demonize us in any way you can to make your point, and you seem not entirely to understand the purpose of religion or faith. From the looks of this post, given the chance you’d suppress religions with which you disagree if you could, on whatever pretext you found handy.

  • Nikko

    If one objects to pre/extra-marital sexual relations of ANY sort, what sort of “bashing” would that constitute? For mainstream conservative religions (i.e, Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Muslims, et. al.) to accept homosexual activity as a valid form of sexual activity by the “marriage only” standard, one of two things must first occur:
    1) If homosexual unions were to be recognized by the church, those identifying themselves as homosexuals must commit to not engaging in sexual relations either before or outside of church-approved marriage, as the heterosexual membership has always been expected and encouraged to do; or,
    2) The church itself would have to change the standards by which heterosexual relationships have heretofore been held accountable, establishing that pre/extra-marital sex is not a sin or, at least “no big deal” (thereby, effectively diluting if not invalidating the entire “marriage only” standard).
    If heterosexual junior-high kids/college students/married folks having sex outside of marriage is considered a sin by their church of choice, is it “hetero-bashing” to call the activity sinful, inappropriate and worthy of strong condemnation? And, where are the “No Sex Before Marriage” advocates (and practitioners) in the homosexual community, anyway?

  • Mystieone

    I have nothing against homosexual people, but I do believe it is a sin, just like adultery, incest ect..does not mean I hate gays.
    I do have a problem with people like you who lump people like Rick Santorum’s who does not agree with the views of homosexual people, as hatemongers and bigots.
    By the way I have been called a hatemonger and bigot for telling pedophiles on the internet that their views of child/adult sex is morally wrong. http://www.annabelleigh.net/
    Sad when you stand up for your beliefs and are called a hater and bigot :(

  • This is an issue that will never go away. For too many thousands of years, too many people have considered homosexuality sinful. They don’t hate people just because they think that, either.
    I know people who think drinking alcohol is sinful, but they don’t hate me. Even though I drink regularly, and am unashamed of that.
    Look: is it the purpose of the Supreme Court just to throw out laws like this simply because we find them distasteful? Which I do, by the way? Or is that what democracy is for?

  • diana

    That is how we must define freedom for Iraq. Emphasis added.
    I’m still trying to square that with my definition of freedom.
    If we’re defining it for them, it ain’t freedom.