The Corner

Andrew Sullivan…

…is up with a preachy post about my post saying he’s preachy. He seems to concede that a kind of moral absolutism and judgmentalism do indeed characterize his advocacy on this issue–which was my point.

This is fine by me. I just wish, in that case, he wouldn’t pretend that all the moralism in our politics is on one side. Worse, he essentially favors having an unelected elite–i.e., judges–impose his moral view on the rest of us. Cotton Mather would be (sort of) proud! A couple of points on substance:

1) He attributes to “the Santorum wing” the view that Vatican/Biblical edicts should be applied directly into U.S. law. Absurd. Santorum has never said this; almost nobody outside the Christian Reconstructionist fringe says this; and Andrew appears to be completely incapable of seeing that there are people who want to ban same-sex marriage and even sodomy who are not enthusiasts for Bible-based law.

2) He says it is “indecent” to amend the Constitution to ban not just same-sex marriage but civil unions and domestic partnerships. The vast majority of supporters of FMA do not believe that it does those things. Andrew is free to disagree, but he either has to say they are lying about their own beliefs or that it’s “indecent” of them to take a different view of the legal issues involved.

3) There is a dispute about the meaning of the Virginia law, too, not that Andrew acknowledges the existence of a different view.

4) As for bigotry, why should anyone take lessons on tolerance from Andrew? He routinely smears fundamentalists and evangelicals, attributing to them as a bloc views that many of them (and sometimes most of them) do not hold, and saying that America is at war with them.

5) He says he supports my civil rights and I oppose his. Is Andrew capable of writing anything on this topic that’s not question-begging? Opponents of gay marriage like myself don’t believe that a civil right to marry someone of the same sex exists. We obviously aren’t for denying to gays the rights to speak, vote, own guns, etc. If Andrew reformulated the point in neutral, non-question begging terms, it would be something like: Lowry and I disagree about the definition of civil rights in this instance. Not very damning.

But preachy moralists–who often aim to bludgeon and vent as much as to persuade–don’t write in such cool-headed terms, so it would be foolish to expect anything different on this issue from Andrew Sullivan, preachy moralist.

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