Wash Post continues canard that marriage hasn’t changed since the beginning of time

Marriage via Shutterstock

A guest writer, Matthew Franck, writes in the Washington Post today about marriage equality.  And of course, he begins with the canard that marriage hasn’t been redefined since the beginning of time. Franck refers to:

“the only meaning of marriage ever known in human history.”

Really, Matt?  The “only meaning” ever known?  Really?

Tell that to Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather’s five wives.

Tell that to the inter-racial couple that had to sue in the 1960s to overturn anti-miscegenation laws.

Tell that to married women who up until only recently were not permitted to inherit any property.

Tell that to most of our grandparents and great grandparents and beyond who had arranged marriages.

Today’s version of marriage is the “only meaning of marriage ever known in human history,” if you don’t know human history.

Franck continues:

Here I will content myself with observing that every one of these wrongheaded criticisms is exactly on point as a criticism of President Obama and all other supporters of same-sex marriage who rely in any way on their faith, as they understand it, to justify their support. If the people of California can be faulted for “imposing their religion” on their fellow citizens by passing Proposition 8, then it is equally true that President Obama is “imposing his religion” on his fellow Americans when he says, as he did last week, that laws preventing same-sex marriage are unjust to gay couples desiring to get married. If he is not imposing his religion on anyone, neither is anyone else.

I think “you’re imposing your religion” is an incredibly bad argument against President Obama’s view. But then I have always thought it was an incredibly bad argument against the defenders of the conjugal tradition. Will those now praising the president because of his faith-based view now renounce this bogus argument when it is aimed at the other side, as it has been for years? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

Cute. A few problems:

1. General opinions, like the President’s, don’t impose religion on anyone. Opinions that call for legislation suited to only one religion – like Matthew Franck’s – do.

2. It’s also cute how Franck fails to understand the logical fallacy of his own argument.

When you tell me how to live my life, based on your religion, then you are in fact imposing your religion on me.

It’s what Mormons routinely do in state after state, for example – spend millions trying to force everyone in the state to live under Mormon law.  And it’s what Franck is calling for in the article – the only religious freedom, apparently, is freedom for Franck to restrict our right to marry per his religious views.  Apparently, Matthew Franck now has a religious right to not be offended.  And if that’s the case, I don’t recall ever giving Matthew Franck my blessing to get married how he likes, lest I be offended.

Why do I need his blessing when I don’t get to pick and choose the way he marries?

When I ask for the law to let you live by your religion and me by mine, then the law is religiously neutral because neither of us is being forced to live according to the other’s religion. It’s the height of hubris for Franck to claim that we’re imposing our religion on him by permitting us to marry as we like.  What possible business is it of Franck’s, religious or otherwise, what faith, or lack thereof, I marry into?  And if that’s the way it works, when do I get to tell Franck what kind of marriage I think he should (or shouldn’t) be permitted to have, according to my religious views?

Is it also imposing my religion on Matthew Franck that I go to communion in a Greek Orthodox church at Easter?

Franck seems to be implying in his argument that to permit a plurality of religious beliefs and actions somehow offends his conservative religious sensibilities. So why isn’t any practice of any religion, other than Matthew Franck’s, simply outlawed in America, so that Christians like Matthew Franck don’t have to be offended by the stench of Orthodox Christians, Methodist, and other unsavory Christians?

The bottom line is that while anti-gays like Matthew Franck might not like to watch gay couples practicing their own faith (which sometimes is no faith at all), it’s not an imposition on Franck’s religion. Unless of course Franck’s “religion” is predicated on telling other people of other faiths how to live, which far too many mainstream religions in fact are.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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