Friday, April 21, 2017

Choice Retreat

Amidst the tens of millions of Americans, including numerous pundits and intellectuals, who support same-sex marriage and reproductive freedom or oppose both, there is a different opinion lurking among some elites. It was well-expressed by the confused Damon Linker when in the wake of Hodges v. Obergfell he wrote

Whereas a reasonable argument can be made, with no reference to revealed truths contained in scriptural texts, that someone (a human being at an early stage of development) is harmed (fatally) in an abortion, no opponent of same-sex marriage has ever made a persuasive case that anyone at all is harmed by living under laws that permit gay Americans to marry.

Even the cogent and persistent David Frum, who has made since November 8 the best conservative (and perhaps simply the best) argument against Donald Trump, fell victim when he recommended (asterisk his) three months ago

Don’t get sucked into the futile squabbling cul-de-sac of intersectionality and grievance politics. Look at this roster of speakers from the January 21 march. What is Angela Davis doing there? Where are the military women, the women police officers, the officeholders? If Planned Parenthood is on the stage, pro-life women should stand there, too. If you want somebody to speak for immigrants, invite somebody who’s in the country lawfully.

Most of those are good recommendations but the idea that an individual opposed to reproductive freedom should speak at a rally called to advocate for women's rights is counter-intuitive and foolish.

But it's not as foolish as arguing that Scripture is silent on the right to marry someone of the opposite sex while unqualifiedly opposing the right to an abortion.

If one wants to go Bible- not the best criteria for determining social policy- one can hardly ignore Genesis 2:24, in which Moses, describing the creation of woman from man, wrote "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."  Earlier (verse 7) in the same chapter, we read "then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." A fetus does not begin to breathe until roughly the 32nd week of a woman's pregnancy, which implies that a fetus does not become a living person until- well, that's fairly obvious.

That is, if someone wants to base his/her views of  the third leg of the "God, guns, and gays" trilogy on the Holy Bible.  Yet, the notion that avid support for same-sex marriage is inviolate while support for abortion rights is debatable has infected also secular individuals. And so it was that Bernie Sanders was asked by Joe Scarborough  "But can the Democratic Partty be open to candidates that may not be rigidly pro-choice, may not be rigidly pro- gun control..."  He responded "The answer, I think, is yes," unsurprisingly failing to add "and that applies to gay rights, also."

Emerging from short-term obscurity, Hillary Clinton chose to speak on Thursday at a fund-raising event at an LGBT organization (Obama at 1/15 State of the Union, below).   She did not say "of course, you can be gay-friendly and be opposed to same-sex marriage," which would have seemed to many people an odd remark. Yet, the woman who expected to shatter the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman ever to become President was not reluctant a year ago to maintain "of course, you can be a feminist and be pro-life."

That may have presaged some of the daft thinking which took her down seven months later. It also puts her into the mainstream of a portion of misguided elite opinion.

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