Tweets Between…

The 140 character limit was killing us, so here’s an extension of a discussion between me and tweeter extraordinaire, @NateWatkins.



  1. test

  2. Re: SSM – you’re ignoring the fact that SSM will *require* certain behaviors from people; government will force them to do things they don’t want to do or punish them. Look up the case of the N.M. photog who was fined $6600 for declining to photograph a same sex commitment ceremony.

  3. Your comments should go right through now that the first has been approved.

  4. Those individual events will have to be dealt with, as many already have. I’d be fine with allowing businesses to face the public backlash on their own after discriminating against customers. The problem is, we’ve seen this play out before, when black people were disallowed access to enough places by the community that it made it difficult to live.

    It’s a poor comparison to imagine a business, operating in public space and utilizing public resources is the same as your own home.

    Not to mention, this discussion is based around the GOP and its membership. SSM already has majority support even when including the GOP in polling. Excluding them, it’s overwhelmingly supported. Meaning, the people you need to seek support from are the MOST likely to support SSM. The very same can be said regarding abortion, health care, social services, anti-war, etc.

    Romney lost because the GOP primary forces the candidates to pander to the far right (the segment of the GOP which votes in the primary), and when the general rolled around he had just spent a full year publicly going right of the country at large.

    His positions on immigration, his foreign policy, his mockery of poor people, his statements about women, and a plethora of other things all outside of the national mainstream. There’s a reason there is so much haste right now to get ahead of the Democrats on immigration reform. Because losing 70% of the fastest growing demographic is check mate, since the GOP’s only solid demo is the one that is shrinking.

  5. I appreciate your extending the discussion, I’m enjoying it. :-)

    The NM case was dealt with by issuing a massive fine. Do you agree that people can be required by the government to participate in an act that they believe is in opposition to their faith?

    The same arguments that gays use for sexual behavior being an inherent part of who they are also applies to people of faith. My faith is a big part of what makes me who I am. It informs and shapes my values, ideas, and actions. To say that I can be a Christian on Sundays but not the rest of the week is akin to saying if gays want to marry, they can marry a member of the opposite sex.

    I see the analogy you’re drawing re: Jim Crow, but I don’t think it’s particularly accurate. I don’t claim knowledge of what it’s like nationwide, but I’ve lived in cities up and down the east coast and never seen or heard of any discrimination even approaching that level. Maybe many years ago, but certainly not today, not in a couple decades. I think the failure to patronize a business with whose values you disagree is always a good, civil response, as is encouraging other people to boycott it and even legally picketing it. Let the public decide what it will and will not tolerate.

    I don’t know if you had time (or sufficient interest) to read the Chai Feldblum paper I linked yesterday, but even though she and I are on opposite sides of this argument, I really appreciate and respect the fact that she’s acknowledging that codifying SSM into law is a action which will actively take away rights currently held by people, and took the time to state her case for doing that. What is proposed is not nothing; in fact as the VP might say it’s a big f’n deal. I think it’s worth really hashing it out in a national discussion.

    When did Romney mock poor people? His statements about women were completely innocuous. Joe Biden has said far worse, and Obama has DONE far worse – women in the WH right now are underpaid and one described it as a “hostile work environment.” What the media says about these things is false, and rather than accept the premises, the GOP should have pushed back hard. That’s the kind of thing that conservatives go batshit over and accuse the GOP of not putting up a fight, because they’re not.

    As for using amnesty to entice Latinos to become Republicans, that’s just not going to work. First of all, studies show that immigration isn’t even in their top 3 concerns. They’re more worried about the economy and education. Second, (and another blogger said this, it’s not my idea but it’s so self-evidently true I think it bears a lot of repeating) if blacks didn’t reward the GOP for its work on civil rights, and punish the Democrats for fighting civil rights, why should we expect Latinos to behave differently? Most people are disengaged. I call them Honey Boo Boo voters. No clue what’s going on, sitting around watching reality TV, and vote for the candidate who promises them the most.

    The core of my argument (about Romney and the GOP generally) is that the GOP is in power to begin with because conservatives put them there. The correct response to that is to do what conservatives put them in power to do. Not to get in power and then turn on the people who gave them the privileges they now enjoy. It was never appropriate for Romney (and of course I know all pols do this, I just don’t know wny we routinely accept it) to say what the right wanted to hear and then move left in the general election. (And based on his history, his behavior in the primary was a lie, not his behavior in the general.) What conservatives want out of the GOP is to actually stand for something apart from just getting control of the government. There’s a whole generation who has no idea why conservatism is good, how it can benefit them, what real freedom is vs. getting free stuff from the government. The GOP used to be the party that stood for those things and proselytized about them. Now the GOP just goes with the culture instead of promoting its own values. When I say evangelize, make new conservatives, that’s what I’m talking about. Making a forceful, continued case why conservatism works.

    Incidentally, you tweeted about “the gap between income classes.” That’s a very Democrat-ish concept. So what if there’s a gap? It’s completely irrelevant. EVERYONE, including poor people, did better under Reagan’s economic policies. Rising tide lifts all boats, etc. Why should we enshrine economic equality as a goal, when what we should be focused on is upward mobility?

  6. I have absolutely no problem with disallowing businesses the ability to discriminate against consumers on the basis of nothing more than who they are. Yes, I was referring to Jim Crow type events. But note, this even still occurs. Just a couple of years ago an interracial couple was denied marriage by an elected official in New Orleans due to faith reasons. Faith stops being a right when it steps over the bounds and into someone else’s life.

    The point isn’t that it’s this way today for blacks, the point is that it used to be and the government stopped it. That would and will happen to gays, and 50 years from now, we’ll look back at it like Jim Crow.

    You are conflating the Civil Rights movement. The GOP worked on the legislation, but the people who vote for the GOP now were not even CLOSE to supporting it. The parents of current voters were southern Democrats. What party they were a part of at that time isn’t relevant to the philosophy. Blacks don’t give the GOP credit because the current GOP is made up of the offspring of the people who fought against Civil Rights 50+ years ago. Nearly the entire south had to be forced to allow interracial marriage because none of them legislated its legality on their own. Which brings us right back to SSM, as that’s exactly what will happen again.

    The GOP isn’t in power (from a voting standpoint) though. The only reason they hold the House is because of gerrymandering. The Dems actually won the most House votes nationally.

  7. That gap in income is crucial to any discussion about economic and public policy. Reaganomics have been an utter failure in every sense of the word. His administration taught future politicians that deficits are irrelevant. He set us on the path that continued to put more and more of a tax burden on the lower classes. While philosophically I have no problem with that model, fiscally it’s atrocious. The biggest demand generators in the country are the paycheck to paycheck livers and the middle class. They dwarf the rich. What began to shift 30ish years ago is that income increasingly went to one portion of society, while the incomes of the 90ish% stagnated. That shift came from policy. A policy which reduced pensions, pushed for tax breaks on things like health care, retirement savings etc, rather than paying higher income.

    We became way too focused on the existence of business and lost sight of the existence of laborers.

    Ironically, Karl Marx championed this very component of Capitalism. The gap in wages is a necessary step in convincing the average worker to consider Socialism. Keeping this from happening protects us from labor revolts. We’ve seen movements grow lately as people become increasingly concerned with their comparative position in the economy.

    Meanwhile, we’re stuck propping up the very industries we made so large by stupid policies, airlines, automotives, banks because they threaten the entire economy. Then, of course, in the midst of a 100 year recession, the gap skyrockets. How do you think this is possible? The stupid economic model we’ve supported for 30 years.

    If you think this gap is irrelevant, I suggest you spend a LOT more time studying the economics of labor and consumer demand.

  8. the point of the discussion still stems from one thing, GOP failure as a national party. They are getting trounced in the demographic most important for the future, the sub 35 category. Even rolling over on a gay marriage (something that is an absolute necessity) and supporting substantive immigration reform may not repair the decade of stupid social policy. Putting forward more Santorum’s and Bachmann’s to preach to people will negate any growth. Don’t even get me started on the likes of a Newt talking about family values and morality.

  9. Probably 25% of my closest friends are immigrants. A couple have become citizens, a few are on green cards and a few more are on VISAS. Those on VISAS have been here for 10+ years, graduated college, worked every since, and are very productive members of society. Some even invest with me.

    Two people are on VISAS expiring in a few months. The time table for a green card is like 2 years, VISA extensions require a lot of legal work, support from an employer and are again, only temporary.

    IMO, only a complete fool would disallow progress on immigration reform like that needed by some of the most important members of our society (especially in technology/science fields) just to make it known to conservatives that we are focusing on the border. Meanwhile, nothing on the border even changes.

  10. Okay, dissent isn’t going to be tolerated. I appreciate your honesty about it. Why don’t your privileges stop being a right when they step over the bounds of my constitutionally protected faith?

    I live in New Orleans and I’m very familiar with that incident. It had nothing to do with his faith, if he even has a faith. He refused because he had a misguided concern about how mixed race children are treated in both black and white society.

    The GOP worked on the legislation, but the people who vote for the GOP now were not even CLOSE to supporting it.

    That’s an unprovable assertion. Is it so hard for you to admit that the party of Lincoln was in fact in favor of civil rights and Democrats were the racist bastages behind the fire hoses? Today’s GOP is made up of the offspring of southern Democrats? Any evidence for that assertion?

  11. The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of the federal taxes, so I’m unclear why you think lower income people have “more and more of a tax burden.”

    The gap is what the media is making of it, which is political hay for the Democrats. Today’s “poor” enjoy a lifestyle that greatly exceeds what the middle class enjoyed just 30 years ago. There is very little actual poverty – in the way that most people think of poverty; no place to live, not enough food – in America. People are demonstrably better off in just about every area of life. I can find a couple of studies if you’re interested. Class envy is ugly, it’s anti-American, and it’s being cultivated purely for political reasons. Furthermore, there is no one class of “the poor” which pretty much stays poor. Studies have shown that what *rates* of poverty (and again, the definition of poverty is arbitrary here, having less to do with actual lifestyle than it used to) have stayed the same, for the people in that classification the situation is very fluid. What I’m trying to say is that a person in the bottom 25%, for example, rarely starts out life there, stays there, and dies in that same bottom 25%. They move up to a different classification and are replaced by someone else.

    I do agree with you that we are propping up various industries and we need to phase that out as quickly as possible. From corn and wind subsidies right down to banks that are “too big to fail.” It is not capitalism when profits are private and debt is public.

  12. I’m not particularly a fan of Admiral Bachmann :-) though I did agree with some of what Santorum had to say. In general I’m not much of a social con; when in doubt, I choose freedom. You’re assuming that new GOP voters can be bought with policies like gay marriage and amnesty. I’m saying there’s no evidence that’s so. For one thing, they can have those things (plus a whole lotta government cheese) from the Democrats already. Incidentally, that “decade of stupid social policy” was mirrored by the Democrats, who now apparently get a free pass for that. Obama changed position, what, six months ago? A year, maybe? Hillary is just now changing position this week. The fact is that gay marriage has only come up as a serious topic pretty recently, and up until recently it was opposed by most people, not just Republicans. It seems very strange to me that you’re this down on the GOP for this when the Dems have changed so recently.

  13. Depends on how you define progress, doesn’t it? I’m not saying the current immigration system is GOOD. It should be streamlined and it should be based on the needs of the United States, not the needs of immigrants. My church supports an orphanage in Mexico and I’d love to bring each one of those kids over here – they would have a much better life if we did. But that is not a supportable policy for our nation. We can’t form immigration policy emotionally and by anecdote.

    If we need more tech immigrants, then we should authorize that – but we should work hard to qualify our own citizens for those jobs, too.

    Mexico has excellent immigration laws. We should mirror them.

  14. Who said anything about buying voters? I’m talking about not perpetually turning them off. Not changing course on gay marriage is a death sentence. Abortion is a worthless venture, 60% of the country supports it during the first trimester. The GOP platform on these two issues will continue to cost them elections, period. The rest of the stuff doesn’t even have to come up.

    The Democrats have been bad on social matters too, I never denied it. However basically ALL of the progress on gay rights have come from them. Just because major players in the party are just recently changing their minds (age matters in this discussion), the vast majority of the party supports it.

    The support rate among those under 35 might as well end the GOP’s existence.

  15. Of course Lincoln pushed for civil rights. His speech about the inevitable voting rights coming after abolition got him assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer.

    How exactly do you think it’s unprovable that southerners (now entirely Republican) are the offspring of southerners? That’s pretty much how reproduction works.

    I don’t even know what “dissent” you are referring to. All rights cease being a right when they step into the public domain and interfere with someone else’s. You have a right to have a gun. You don’t have a right to go outside and point it at someone. No one is telling someone they can’t be religious. Religious people constantly tell people they can’t be gay and legally married. Hell there’s a guy in the state house in Georgia who wants to force everyone’s to have a car tag with “in God we trust.” Another guy who wants to make state science education to be based on Creationism.

  16. No, they pay 70% of federal INCOME taxes. That’s a monumental difference.

    JPMorgan once said it is evil to pay yourself more than 30 times your employees. Today, the CEO’s of banks like JPMorganChase earn over 300 times their lowest paid employees. That gap has skyrocketed in the past 30 years.

    It has nothing to do with class envy or anti-Americanism. Those are rightwing emotional phrases that have no business in a discussion. My position is based on nothing more than economics. The wider the gap, the more strain it puts on the demand side, which drives our entire economy (70% consumption based). For this reason we have more frequent boom/bust business cycles, incredibly high debt rates and low savings. The higher the gap, the more drastic these conditions.

    The only group which has seen a real wage increase in the past 30ish years is the upper class. Why do you think this is?

  17. No, it doesn’t depend on how you define it. Kicking people out who are viable members of society, who we paid to educate is just an idiotic system. We have a backlog of immigrant applications for positions our labor force desperately needs. I heard Bill Gates once say he estimated we are short about 1 million people in the tech field at any given time.

    I never said anything about bringing poor kids over the border. I’m talking revolutionizing the system because it is broken. We have 12 million +- illegal immigrants. Many of them don’t even know of another place outside of the US. You cannot overestimate the positive impact on society it would have pulling them into the fray. We lose countless billions in economic activity and tax revenues by keeping them hidden. And we want to maintain this condition so we can hold firm on self deporting the parents of US citizens? The irony is, it would be easier to focus our attention on border security if we didn’t have to monitor so much across the country.

  18. We won’t qualify enough citizens in those fields until we start putting more emphasis on science. That isn’t going to happen when a huge portion of the country still doubts basic Evolution.

  19. Okay, there is a distinction between trying to “buy” them and trying not to “turn them off.” But I haven’t seen any evidence that a single election has turned on these two issues. If you have something that shows that, I would gladly consider it, just link it. If it goes into moderation I’ll approve it.

    I think to a certain extent we’re talking past each other, though. For the purposes of argument (and also I don’t have time right now to research it) I’ll accept your assertion that people under 35 will not vote GOP because of social issues. Why is the only correct response to this for the GOP to assume the Democrat position on these issues? Why shouldn’t the GOP actually make the effort to define and defend the positions they ran on, and were put in office to implement? If the GOP leadership wants to change the platform, why should it be able to do so without the consent of the people who put them in power? To make the case TO US why the platform should be changed? Or to make the case to others why certain ideas are valid and deserve defending?

    I don’t care if the GOP ceases to exist, if it’s going to treat me like a red-headed stepchild. The GOP exists in order to represent the people who put them in office. When it stops doing that, it *should* go the way of the Whigs.

    And again, I’m not against SSM because “Eww, teh butt secks!” or directly because of what the bible says about homosexuality. It’s *indirectly* because of what the bible says about it. That is to say, the bible identifies it as sinful. Now, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s sin, because my own are sufficiently serious that I really need to keep my attention on that. BUT… if somebody at church comes up to me with a gossipy prayer request – you know, “Please pray for so-and-so’s son because he has a drug habit and prostituting himself to pay for it,” the correct response is for me to rebuke them, to say something like, “I’ll pray for you, because you’re gossiping right now, in telling me more than I really needed to know.” In other words, I have the choice of not taking part in that person’s sin, and when they dump it in my lap like that I can call them out for it.

    In the case of SSM, extending that right to gays means that I will either take part in that sin OR accept second class citizenship. The government is sufficiently entrenched in our lives that unless I significantly withdraw from society, I’ll be forced to either act against my beliefs or be punished for them. i.e. the NM photog who was fined $6600. Now, gays might feel like it’s time for them to have some payback – after all, they’ve experienced discrimination, and there’s bound to be satisfaction in sticking it to the people who did it to them. I get that, but you certainly can’t expect me to accede willingly.

    You say, “All rights cease being a right when they step into the public domain and interfere with someone else’s.”

    Okay, then. Your right to marry someone of the same gender ceases being a right when you step out into the public domain and demand that someone who disagrees with your choice must either take part in the ceremony (photograph it, cater it, rent you the church) it or else be punished.

    Do you agree with that? If not, why not?

  20. Your position is essentially no different than the entire south was 50 years ago on interracial marriage. They don’t have a right to do it because I’m going to be forced to recognize it. You aren’t forced to do anything. No one is saying you don’t have the right to marry heterosexually for any reason at all. There is no right to keep someone else from doing so, it simply doesn’t exist. That isn’t how rights work.

    If you want to debate whether or not businesses should be forced to treat customers equally, that’s a different issue. One that has no bearing on whether or not someone gets to marry in the first place. Society works these details out. The government isn’t some abstract entity operating in a parallel universe. It is bred by the members of society. Society, through government, said businesses cannot keep treat black people as second class citizens. That’s how democracy works. If you want to operate a public business, you have to live under public rules. That, again, has nothing to do with restricting their unions. And it ESPECIALLY has nothing to do with criminalizing gay sex, which is also something that some rightwingers push for.

  21. Yes, but we never do actually get around to border security or doing anything to stop an ongoing problem, do we? Reagan’s amnesty was supposed to be IT. We do this, this one time, and we’ll make sure we don’t need to ever do it again. Except here we are.

    As for the backlog of high-level job applicants, I am happy to agree with you that it should be expedited. If the country needs those people, let them in. Again, immigration policy based on the country’s needs, not the immigrant’s needs.

    I’d also be happy to speak about legalizing people who broke the law to get here AFTER we’ve done at least as much to secure our southern border as Mexico has done to secure her southern border, and implemented laws such as those in Mexico which prohibit lawbreakers from enjoying many benefits of breaking the law.

  22. I never said people under 35 only vote based on gay rights and abortion. I simply said, especially with gay rights, the support is so overwhelming that it’s just way too big an issue to fight against.

    You literally have to consider that it’s the same to them as interracial marriage is to people in the 40-60 range. I wouldn’t vote for someone who was my twin if they were part of a group that tried to make interracial marriage illegal.

  23. Honestly, I don’t think the problem is so much Creation/Evolution as it is the horrific failure of the public schools to teach much of anything. I mean, there was a study recently that something like 80% of public school graduates in NYC were functionally illiterate. At this point, I’m strongly in favor of just cutting the crap, and teaching english, math, science – and just POUND the scientific method into these kid’s heads because we desperately need critical thinkers – history and civics.

  24. We already do. Our border security is way better than most people think. The issue isn’t dealing with them, it’s addressing the 12m already here. That takes up the vast majority of DHS resources. ICE is constantly rounding people up. Deportations have gone up considerably over the past 5 years.

    Imagine how much more secure it could be if we didn’t have to chase down all of this other stuff?

    There is very little “benefit” from illegal entrance, unless you are referring to employment and shared living quarters. There seems to be some confusion in the rightwing that illegals are living off of welfare and voting in elections. That’s just not the case at all.

  25. You can’t expect kids to put any effort into science, when one of the biggest scientific theories taught (evolution) is being disagreed with by their families.

    I do agree with you, that public school is a horrific failure for a myriad of reasons. Not the least of which is people creating families who have no business doing so.

    Which is another reason that abortion and contraception (something some people still rant about) is an absolute necessity.

  26. As to criminalizing gay sex – I’m not aware of rightwingers pushing for it, but then I also don’t pay a lot of attention to it. I’m pretty sure oral sex is still illegal here in Louisiana, and I’m pretty sure no one pays the least bit of attention to that. Laws restricting consensual sexual behavior should be stricken from the books. If I encounter a fellow conservative making the case to criminalize gay sex, I promise you I’ll argue with them about it and tell them to knock that crap off. (Hey, look, a topic on which we agree! :-) )

    You make a good point about government being bred by society. I don’t agree that it’s particularly representative, in the sense that I’ve come to despise most voters for being uninformed, Honey Boo Boo watching sheeple who have absolutely no idea what government is doing on their behalf (read the book “Three Felonies A Day” for more on that topic, it’s mind-blowing). But as far as it goes, yes, government officials are elected and appoint bureaucrats generally according to the public will. An idiot government for an idiot people.

    The difference between interracial marriage and SSM is the 1st Amendment. While some people tried to employ religious arguments against interracial marriage, that is and always was utter crap. That concept simply doesn’t stand up as theology, even on the most superficial level. So they tried to make a case that the government had no right to regulate privately owned business and that failed, so here we are. I’m not saying people, especially young people, aren’t equating the two. They’ve been trained to do so. I’m just saying they shouldn’t because it’s inaccurate.

    There has always been tension between religious rights and conducting any kind of business, and more so as the government works on regulating pretty much every aspect of our lives. Can Christian pharmacists refuse to dispense abortifacients? Can Muslim cab drivers refuse to carry alcohol and dogs in their cabs? Can someone in a non-essential service business like photography (as opposed to a common carrier or public accommodation like a hotel or administering life-saving health care) be REQUIRED by the government to act against their beliefs?

  27. President Obama’s illegal alien Aunt Zeituni is just one example of someone here illegally who has lived on the dole for decades, including public housing. Then there are the people who come here illegally and have a baby who is a US citizen. That citizen is eligible for benefits. Then there are the children who were brought here illegally by their parents, now receiving public education, free meals, etc. As for voting, it really does happen, there have been people prosecuted for it. I doubt it’s enough yet to swing an election, though.

    I can imagine how much more secure it would be if DHS did nothing but 1. enforce employment laws against Americans who employ illegal aliens, 2. prevent government agencies from issuing them even one dollar of taxpayer-supplied benefits, and 3. arrest and prosecute illegal aliens who commit identity theft.

    Interior enforcement + Mexican-style border enforcement would pare down that 12m pretty handily. Unfortunately, that’s all I can do – imagine it – because it’s never been seriously tried.

  28. I just looked it up; 46%, good grief. I’m honestly surprised. I’ve been a Christian for more than 20 years, and I’ve been a member of a neo-Calvinist, reformed, charismatic church for ten. That is to say, I’m a bona fide bible thumper. And I’m just not seeing people going nuts over evolution. The few people I do know who are like that (two families, and one actually visited that creationist museum) homeschool their kids. These people really aren’t disrupting science classes in public schools. I know, this is anecdotal (sorry!) but I came up in the public schools, my daughter went to public school for grammar school, and I never once heard of anyone griping about teaching evolution. I think it’s a lot more of a non-issue than you do. I think kids aren’t learning STEM because they’re not learning much of anything.

  29. I just fact-checked myself. I was wrong, Zeituni has only been here illegally since 2004. In any event, yes, people here illegally do receive public benefits. Efforts have been made to reform the system so they don’t, but they are still eligible for many things, and through the magic of identity theft, enjoy some benefits illegally.

  30. There is a limitation on replies and it makes it tougher to read.

    Good converation

  31. I’m not saying people are going nuts about evolution. I don’t think most people really even care about it. What I’m saying is that not taking evolution seriously impacts one’s ability to advance scientifically in many fields. The same can be said with climate science. There are just way too many components to each topic which literally requires acceptance in order to learn. It’s also why nearly every scientist in the world accepts certain things.

    One of my biggest complaints about conservatives is the lack of belief in expertise, and the overlapping disdain for academia. Mocking very high quality schools (Ivy Leagues) and college kids for being clueless. When people like Palin start talking about this, the rest of what they say becomes completely pointless to me. You’ll never convince a society to care more about education when big time voices mock the places the highly educated from other countries desire to go.

  32. I disagree that it impacts school kids in any serious way. Evolution and climate change are not heavily taught at that level – as I recall, evolution took a few days – basic concepts, pepper moths, yada yada yada. It just wasn’t a big deal. And by the time kids reach college level, it’s a whole other ballgame; anyone who wants advanced education in the STEM disciplines will have personally resolved the issue by that point. Or are you saying that they would completely reject STEM due to familial belief in evolution?

    And… here we go… As to climate science, there is a great deal of… shall we say… nuance to that. The fact is that top level climate scientists have resorted at times to faking it (hockey stick, etc.). Go ahead, associate me with neo-Nazis and call me a denier, or what-have-you. The planet did warm, for a while. That stopped about 17 years ago. The models are consistently wrong. The scary predictions don’t come true. In the past the planet has been MUCH warmer than it is today, and at times MUCH colder, and this was long before the Industrial Revolution. It’s also true that you can attribute some of the disbelief to media hype. Did you know that the NY Times was hyping climate change (at that time, an upcoming “ice age”) in 1896? Not a typo. Four years prior to 1900. They’ve switched from cooling to warming and back approximately every 25-35 years since then. And all of that media hype was based on what scientists said at the time was solid evidence. Now, it’s easy to laugh off that stuff from the turn of the century, but less for much more recent changes. Frank Capra was making global warming propaganda videos in the 1950s – look up “Unchained Goddess” – I’d swear Al Gore plagiarized Capra. Which, hey, if you’re going to steal, steal from Capra, but it doesn’t help the case for global warming that we’re still waiting on the dire predictions of the 1950s, and that we’ve had a global cooling scare since then. When I was a kid in the 70s, I remember adults telling me to enjoy my summers because it would be cold year round when I grew up.

    Furthermore – and this is indisputable – the temperature measurements are for crap. Anthony Watts did a comprehensive study on that, again, it’s REALLY worth your while to look into it. Temperature stations sited adjacent to air conditioning units or in the middle of asphalt parking lots. That’s simply not good science.

    Is there climate change? Yes, of course, the climate is always changing. Is manmade activity the primary generator of that change? Maybe. But until scientists start acting like scientists again, I’m withholding judgement. Deceptive graphics, withholding information, changing information after the fact without noting it – that’s not the scientific method I was taught. And until the people hyping it start living like they believe what they’re preaching then I see no particular reason to modify my own behavior. My carbon footprint is incredibly small to begin with (not that I think it matters) so I don’t enjoy lectures from Al Gore and other people who travel in private jets and live in mansions.

    Maybe this makes the conversation “completely pointless” for you, and if so that’s unfortunate. I didn’t come into this really expecting to convince you to flip on your issues, but I still feel that civil interaction with someone with an opposing viewpoint is always worthwhile. If you don’t want to continue, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you and wish you the best.

  33. I hear a lot of Christians say, “but the religious arguments against interracial marriage weren’t proper; this is different.” Neverminding the theological debates raging inside the church right now on this issue (I imagine 50 years from now homosexuality will be widely accepted as interracial marriage is today), the only point that matter is how it’s used. In reality, interracial marriage was opposed on religious basis for basically the entire existence of Christianity. It’s only in the past few decades that it has been considered religious acceptable. Even still I know people who think it’s sinful.

    Your last paragraph is where society spends most of its time dealing with rules on social order. Those circumstances get addressed as they come up. That still has no relationship whatsoever with denying a right to someone else because of what might happen.

    Your argument is essentially the same as removing alcohol because it may be used for drunk driving, or removing guns because they may be used for a crime.

    This actually brings up another topic, legal weed (another BIG support issue outside of the GOP primary base, and one which is killing them with young people). You don’t restrict freedom due to a future, hypothetical crime.

  34. What you’re saying about interracial marriage & Christianity really isn’t true. Moses was in a mixed race marriage, Solomon was in several. Jesus had at least one black ancestor. I can come up with other examples if you’re interested, but that’s just off the top of my head.

    Oh, glory, don’t get me started on weed… I had this argument with my liberal son in law last year. I really don’t care what people do to pollute themselves. Honest. They can 420 their lives away. But here again is where it affects others. There’s a pot smoker in my family who has under/unemployed for decades. And more than one in my husband’s family. Whenever they’re on the dole due to chronic potheadedness, that’s yours and my tax dollars they’re sucking up. I used to be a business owner, and you are still one, right? So if someone has a few drinks at lunch and then has an accident at work, well, you can tell they’ve been drinking and you’re less liable, if you’re liable at all. If they toked up at lunch and have an accident at work, can you prove whether they smoked the pot a few hours ago? No. They can tell you they enjoyed an entirely legal doobie on Saturday night, and up go your premiums and you’re potentially subject to a lawsuit. Until there is protection for business owners and the public with more accurate testing – where you can tell WHEN they got high last – I oppose legalization.

    You don’t restrict freedom due to a future, hypothetical crime.

    That’s a brilliant way to put it, because it makes it harder to make a case against it. But the fact is that it’s ALREADY restricted, and so the burden of proof of why it should be legal – and this is the same for SSM in my view – is on the people who want to make the change, not the people defending the status quo.

  35. Well, on second thought – I responded before to something you didn’t specifically say and I don’t want to assume what you meant by it – it’s certainly possible that churches and whole denominations have ignored the mixed race marriages in the bible and taught something different. And again, I hate to resort to anecdote. I’m going to do a little research to see if there’s anything to it – but I was raised Catholic and I’ve been a Protestant in several denominations in the last 25 years, and that was never taught, not once. I could see those Phelps bastards preaching it, but nobody reputable has ever preached that, to my knowledge.

    Added: You wrote, “It’s only in the past few decades that it has been considered religious acceptable.” At first glance, I can’t find much on this beyond the last few decades. On what do you base that statement? And of course I’m not talking about in the Jim Crow south where there were many excuses for pre-existing racism – I mean popularly taught doctrine on miscegenation.

    Update 2: Can you tell that struck a nerve? :-) My research so far – no, definitely not Catholics – in fact the Catholic church was instrumental in getting anti-miscgenation laws struck down. Which leaves Protestants and the various denoms thereof, and I don’t mind saying I’m going to be heartily pissed off if they did teach false doctrine on that.

    Update 3: No, it’s not true that “interracial marriage was opposed on religious basis for basically the entire existence of Christianity.” Not only is it not biblical, but I can find no major denomination in Christianity that taught that. Ever. Whoever told you that may be thinking of biblical prohibitions against inter-FAITH marriages. And tell whomever you know that says it’s sinful that I said they’re wrong.

    Bonus interracial marriage content from John Piper:

    Moses, a Jew, apparently married a black African and was approved by God.

    We learn in Numbers that “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman” (Num. 12:1). A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. We know this because of Jeremiah 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian [the same Hebrew word translated "Cushite" in Numbers 12:1] change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Attention is drawn to the difference of the skin of the Cushite people.

    In his book From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race, Daniel Hays writes that Cush “is used regularly to refer to the area south of Egypt, and above the cataracts on the Nile, where a Black African civilization flourished for over two thousand years. Thus it is quite clear that Moses marries a Black African woman” (71).

    In response to Miriam’s criticism, God does not get angry at Moses; he gets angry at Miriam. The criticism has to do with Moses’ marriage and Moses’ authority. The most explicit statement relates to the marriage: “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.” Then God strikes Miriam with leprosy. Why? Consider this possibility. In God’s anger at Miriam, Moses’ sister, God says in effect, “You like being light-skinned Miriam? I’ll make you light-skinned.” So we read, “When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow” (Num. 12:10)

    God says not a critical word against Moses for marrying a black Cushite woman. But when Miriam criticizes God’s chosen leader for this marriage God strikes her skin with white leprosy. If you ever thought black was a biblical symbol for uncleanness, be careful; a worse white uncleanness could come upon you.

  36. Yes, I’m saying kids are turned off to the idea of future studies in science because their surroundings tell them to ignore what the scientific community says regarding things like evolution, climate change, the big bang, etc. I’m not having a discussion about climate change. That wasn’t the point of my statement. More to the admonishment of expertise if various fields of study.

  37. Good catch on the assumption. I wasn’t talking about what the Bible teaches. That is something, to the denial of most Christians, ultimately irrelevant. Religion exists in practice, not theory. What the Bible says about something only matters to the extent it’s widely practiced. Slavery being a perfect example, interracial marriage being another.

    You’re ignoring one important aspect of Moses’ marriage. He was derided by the community. God even punished Aaron and Miriam for their treatment of the marriage.

    As if often the case, Christians’ opinions on historical marriage is incorrect. It was a legal construct, not a religious one. There were all sorts of restrictions by race, class, social status, and even borders. Religions meshed their social beliefs with their religious beliefs. I should have probably been more clear that the two were related, but the point stands. It’s precisely how Christians overwhelmingly opposed interracial marriage in the US. 40 states at one point banned it, and as such it became natural for religious groups to do so as well. Social and religious order generally overlap. Also, it’s why today, the single largest American group to oppose interracial marriage is white evangelicals. By memory, Pew polls are in the mid to high teens, more than double the national average.

  38. You have an unfortunate albeit common opinion of restricting freedom. It’s the very same argument the Temperance movement was making against alcohol.

    Whether or not weed is legal (and it’s increasingly become so) has nothing to do with a basic human right. The ability to consume what you wish. It’s literally no different than certain regions of the world restricting meats, porks, etc.

    The hypothetical misuse of something isn’t a good enough argument to eliminate one of the most basic human rights.

    In fact, it’s basically the exact opposite of what freedom means. It actually reminds me of federal spending. They just say, hey this is what we spend, you have to argue why it shouldn’t be this way.

    We have laws which protect what someone does out in the public domain. Just like homosexuality, that has nothing whatsoever to do with someone’s actions in their own private homes.

  39. please continue the conversation in a new window, so it makes it easier to see the white/gray panels.

    Reply from Laura: This better?

  40. There’s no evidence Moses was derided by the community. He was derided by his sister, whom God put the leprosy smackdown on pretty quick. Given the fact that leprosy meant total societal ostracizement in those days, if anyone else agreed with Miriam they got over it real fast. And my point stands – Christian doctrine (both Catholic and the Protestant denomations) never opposed interracial marriage. You imply that because some Christians oppose interracial marriage, (and not even close to a majority, either – I saw that Pew poll too, and it was in the teens) that means Christianity is somehow at fault for it or justified it. In a Venn diagram, I agree there would be overlap between Christians and racists prior to the 1960s but correlation is NOT causation. The majority of the country was Christian, and in those days, racism was much more common than it is today. (Catholics took a lot of abuse too, for that matter, and so did most minority groups whether affiliated by ethnicity or religion.) You could as easily make a correlation between being areligious and dressing casually, because since the 1960s the country is much less religious and jeans are now popularly worn by pretty much everybody except George “Dungarees” Will. Your point is simply wrong.

    I’m really not sure what you mean by saying that “Christians’ opinions on historical marriage is incorrect. It was a legal construct, not a religious one.” It’s been both since time immemorial. Both old and new testament marriages involved financial arrangements and property transfers, legal obligations AND religious obligations.

  41. I never implied causality. Correlation is all that is needed. Religious people overwhelmingly (more than the national average) opposed interracial marriage. And it’s proven today that the lingering vestiges of opposition are still much higher among religious groups.

    Marriage was invented as a social construct, a way to monitor female trade and offspring. It wasn’t considered a religious event until around the 13th century. Which, is about the time the Vatican started putting restrictions on priests and marriage, sodomy laws became popular, etc.

  42. If correlation is all that’s needed, I guess I’m free to blame gays for the AIDS epidemic in the United States and the massive epidemic of SDTs in San Francisco. That seem reasonable to you?

    For you to say that marriage wasn’t a religious institution until the 13th century – that is repeatedly disproved by the bible. In Genesis God created Eve for Adam: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Whether you read the Adam and Eve story as literal or metaphor is irrelevant, the Pentateuch is a collection of oral histories written down – most likely by Moses – almost 3000 years ago (around 1300 BC). All throughout the bible this is repeated. Matthew 19 (written around 50 AD) specifically states “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Added: One more thing, because it bugs me – you wrote, “religious people overwhelmingly (more than the national average) opposed interracial marriage.” Overwhelmingly? That’s a really inaccurate word choice. The Pew poll was 16% of white evangelicals opposed. So the percentage of evangelicals who opposed interracial marriage was actually a pretty small minority of evangelicals generally. In fact, considerably less than the percentage of Democrats who are Truthers. Other religious opposed at lower rates than evangelicals. So religious people DO NOT overwhelmingly oppose interracial marriage; none exceed 16%. It IS accurate to say that more religious people opposed interracial marriage than non-religious people. Seven percent of non-religious people opposed interracial marriage. So, a 9% gap there. Is the 9% gap “overwhelmingly more than the national average,” to give you the benefit of the doubt and parse your sentence a little differently? I don’t think so.

    If you have any studies showing a series of polls like this over time, I’d be very interested in seeing them.

  43. Opposed is a past tense word. The 16% is present tense.

  44. Please cite evidence that Christians used to oppose interracial marriage in overwhelmingly higher percentages than areligious people.

    Also, is it okay to blame gay men for the AIDS epidemic in the United States?

  45. No, it’s actually because of them that we tackled AIDS. It was an epidemic until the stupid Supreme Court upheld sodomy laws in the 1980′s (remember those gay privacy laws we discussed earlier?). That is the historic tipping point when gay rights started becoming a major social push, which included addressing AIDS (no longer an epidemic in the US).

    I didn’t say it was overwhelmingly higher. I said it was an overwhelming percentage, and that percentage was higher than the rest of the country.

  46. AIDS in the US started in the gay community and correlation is sufficient evidence for fault, right? Where and how did AIDS originally spread in the US? Which group has the most AIDS even today? So if I want to blame gay men for that (and I’m specifying men, not just saying “gays,” because as a group, lesbians have less AIDS than anybody) why shouldn’t I? The correlation is obvious and inescapable.

    Christianity, and by that I mean Christian doctrine is not the cause of individuals who claim Christianity who also espouse racism. Christianity demands a lot of things from its adherents, and we all fail to live up to it in many ways. For example, I can behave like a real jerk sometimes. I wish it didn’t happen, I try not to be, yet at times I fail. No less than John Piper admitted he’d been a racist when he was younger. That is not the fault of the gospel. It is the fault of humanity.

    Christians were among the first – and most dedicated – to fight slavery in this country and in England. You have not provided any proof whatsoever that shows Christians used to be more racist than the public at large. You have been asserting it but you haven’t provided any evidence. If you have evidence, I will gladly consider it. Post away.

    As to the most recent Pew poll – that establishes that a higher percentage of Christians disapprove of interracial marriage than the public at large. (That is, IF it doesn’t simply establish that a higher percentage of Christians are less willing to lie about their views than the public at large is willing to lie about holding an unpopular view. Unprovable, but certainly possible. See the Bradley effect.)

    Nor does it establish the reasons why they oppose it. Could they be well-meaning, and just wrongheaded nanny types, like the guy who refused to marry the interracial couple because he was concerned about what life would be like for any children they had? (I agree that those theoretical children were none of his business, but I’m discussing motive here.) We don’t know because Pew doesn’t ask. The poll is interesting and I don’t discount it, but it’s also limited and doesn’t even attempt to get to what’s going on in people’s hearts.

    You’re smearing Christians with racism/bigotry and so far you have failed to back that up. Back in the beginning, I griped how the GOP simply accepts the liberal premise in many arguments and just doesn’t fight well and often not for the right things. This is the sort of thing I’m talking about. You just basically asserted, racist Christians didn’t like interracial marriage and they were wrong about that, and they’re wrong about SSM, too. Inherent in that supposition is the idea that Christians are bigots and haters whose concerns may safely be dismissed without addressing them. Except you haven’t established that. It’s a very convenient way of shutting down argument or shunting it off into a channel you can more easily defend.

  47. I never said correlation is the same as causation. I said for the point I was making correlation was all I was addressing.

    Are you seriously asking for proof that Christians opposed interracial marriage more than the rest of the country? The very case which led to to the SC hearing the issue was based on religion. Loving v Virginia. They were convicted for interracial marriage on the basis that God created races, put them on separate continents and obviously intended them to never marry. The SC ultimately shot the ruling down and forced the ENTIRE south (the most religious population in the country) to eliminate their interracial marriage bans.

    Do you even know anyone who is against interracial marriage? I know several, and all of them call it sin. I never said religion was WHY (causality) people opposed interracial marriage though it seems pretty obvious. I simply stated the fact that religious people were more against it.

    It doesn’t take much reasoning to see the connection between the two.

    Check out the demographic break downs. Southerns (more religious), conservatives (more religious) and old people (more religious) are all far less supportive of interracial marriage.

    If you want to blame this all on the rest of the country just lying about their bigotry, that’s on you.

  48. the gap is simply way too wide for the Bradley effect to remove. The far more likely scenario is that your own religious bias (as you said you were a Bible thumper) won’t allow you to accept the reality of the discussion.

  49. btw, I never said gay guys weren’t the reason AIDS exploded. I simply pointed out the fact that AIDS is now totally under control, and it was because of gay groups that it became such a focused on and solved crisis.

  50. Of course I’m predisposed to like my own side and think we’re right. Everybody does that. :-) But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to facts and logic; I just think some of what you’re saying is more assumption than fact, and that you have biases of your own. You wrote:

    I hear a lot of Christians say, “but the religious arguments against interracial marriage weren’t proper; this is different.” Neverminding the theological debates raging inside the church right now on this issue (I imagine 50 years from now homosexuality will be widely accepted as interracial marriage is today), the only point that matter is how it’s used. In reality, interracial marriage was opposed on religious basis for basically the entire existence of Christianity. It’s only in the past few decades that it has been considered religious acceptable. Even still I know people who think it’s sinful.

    It may seem obvious to you that Christianity is at fault (ie racist), but that doesn’t make it true. I don’t know what kind of Christians you’re hanging out with, but Christian doctrine does not say that interracial marriage is a sin. At all. It’s just not there. It never was there. Racists tried to build a case about Ham being cursed and some such nonsense, but that was always garbage. No reputable Christian seminary or theologian taught interracial marriage was sinful. Ever. Loving v Virginia proves that Virginia (like the rest of the south) was racist, and the fact that the trial judge for the Lovings had to resort to citing Blumenbach instead of a theologian indicates that he couldn’t find any theologians to back him up.

    I’m not really sure how to reconcile the fact that Christians were demonstrably anti-slavery up to and including risking their property and even their lives (which certainly implies that they were not racists), with the idea that several decades later they were more racist than the general population. But I’ll accept for the sake of argument that such a transition took place. It’s still not the fault of Christianity, that is, Christian doctrine/the bible.

    You used the word “overwhelming” and it’s just not so. Sixteen percent of evangelicals and LESS of other denoms hardly “overwhelms” the vast majority of Christians who are a-okay with interracial marriage. I do think the Bradley effect is a factor, though I agree with you it’s not the entire difference between the 16% of evangelicals and the 7% of the areligious population. Certainly there are some otherwise well-meaning people (in addition to good ol’ fashioned unrepentant racists who still bizarrely call themselves Christians) who use false theology to prop up their racism, particularly in families where the kids are brought up to be racists. You get a couple of generations down the road from there and you end up with some cookie-baking sweet old grandma (or the original judge in Loving) telling you with a straight face that obviously interracial marriage is sinful, but she’s never in her life given it any meaningful thought, much less conducted a serious bible study to see if her views are in line with what the bible says about it. That reflects poorly on her, not on Christianity itself. Which came first, the Christians or the racism? Because Christian doctrine does not support racism, I’m saying the racism is the key component here and the Christianity (or more accurately, the avowed Christianity) is incidental.