Does freedom to sin violate religious freedom?

I get very tired of discussing the, um, "social issues." Fortunately for me, M. Simon always seems to have plenty of stamina at about the same time I run out of steam.

Anyway, right now there is a very determined effort in some quarters to make the social issues Tea Party issues. This is problematic, because the Tea Party movement is a coalition, so individual Tea Partyers have a wide variety of positions on social issues. Notwithstanding those differences, the Tea Party movement as a whole agrees on the following principles:

Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.

The Constitution is silent on most of what what could be considered the social issues, just as it is silent on things like murder, rape, incest, marriage, drugs, speeding, and the dumping of sewage. These and other things are properly left to the states. A notable exception is slavery, which is expressly forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment. Many people forget that it took more than just the Civil War to end slavery; the Constitution also had to be amended. And in the old days, it was considered a no-brainer that the federal government lacked the power to prohibit alcohol; hence the 18th Amendment. (Which I am fond of calling the "Telltale Amendment.")

The pressing social issues of today of course touch on the First Amendment, and not just because there is a right to debate them and take any position on them. They are also debated on religious grounds, with many opponents of abortion saying that allowing it violates their freedom of conscience, and many opponents of gay rights say that allowing gay rights negates religious freedom too. I think most readers know that I defend the right to oppose abortion and/or gay rights, on both free speech and freedom of religion grounds.

But as I get tired of the debates over abortion and gay rights, I thought I would look at another social issue which is also a religious issue.

Divorce.

It is forbidden to Catholics, and that makes a lot of sense if you consider that Jesus himself condemned divorce repeatedly and very specifically, saying that remarriage after divorce was a form of adultery. Which means that divorce would certainly fall within the rubric of social issues which are religious in nature.

So it would seem to me that divorce is every bit as much of a matter of religious conscience as homosexuality or abortion. (And if we consider that Jesus did not specifically condemn homosexuality or abortion, divorce arguably deserves a higher ranking on the religious conscience scale.)

I can't remember the last time I heard anyone claim that being forced to hire or rent housing to divorced people or provide their spouses with benefits violated his religious conscience, that he had a religious right not to have his children taught by a divorcee, etc.

In fact, I don't think I have ever have heard that argument at all.

Perhaps that means times have changed, or perhaps that there has been a sort of consensus that the words of Jesus should not be taken so literally that they must become the basis of law.

But let's assume you oppose divorce on religious grounds, you run a business, and you have a child who attends public school. Under what theory can it be argued that having to hire or serve divorced people (who are, by your and Jesus's estimation, living in sin) violates your religious conscience? Or that forcing your child to attend classes taught by a divorced teacher who even goes so far as to claim that divorced people have the same rights as non-divorced people and should not be discriminated against violates your religious conscience?

Don't you still have the right to believe divorce is sinful and was condemned by Jesus? Don't you still have the right to teach your kids that? How does the fact that you are forced to serve, hire, and tolerate people who do what you oppose violate your religious conscience?

Whose sins are they, anyway? As usual I am not getting it.

If I eat pork, it's not as if I am making anyone else eat it, even if I eat it in the public square and proclaim that everyone should eat it. And if I teach children that pork is just another meat like beef, whose freedom and whose consciences am I violating?

UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and for adding some parable-like wisdom. Is it possible to have a coalition between the fists and the noses? Can we agree that it is not a good idea to hit people on the nose, and also not a good idea to put your nose in front of people? That's basic civility, right?

OTOH, If I promise not to put my nose if your face, and also promise not to hit your nose even if you put it in my face, am I giving up too much? And what about those at the opposite extreme, who believe in putting their nose in front of others and also hitting them on the nose?

(As I explained here, I have never liked the idea of getting in people's faces, or having them get in mine, but isn't it cowardice to avoid potential confrontations? Isn't this why so many people stay home?)

A warm welcome to all. Comments are always appreciated, agree or disagree.

posted by Eric on 11.16.10 at 11:12 AM










Comments

Not too many years ago ( one generation ), in many places it was forbidden for teachers to even be married, much less divorced.

Robert   ·  November 16, 2010 11:35 AM

If you ever have to work with someone who is going through a divorce, you might reconsider; especially if it is not their first, or even second divorce.

I can not count the number of times I have exercised my own right to be foolish, stubborn, or just a plain misguided jerk.

The workplace should be able require an employee to set aside their own priorities and place those of the business first while they are on the job. If they are good at that job, they will probably get considerable understanding and leeway during periods of personal stress. If they are determined to live a great dramatic life, they had better be great or an excuse will be found to hasten them elsewhere.

Which side is generating the most drama?
From where I stand it looks too close to call but it may be I am just in the wrong place to see much.

Will   ·  November 16, 2010 1:06 PM

"I can't remember the last time I heard anyone claim that being forced to hire or rent housing to divorced people ..."

The problem, of course, is that divorce has been around almost (I'm guessing here) as long as marriage.

In the Old Days (before 1900 or so), divorce was a problem because the ex-wife usually found herself penniless. Nowadays, the beatific concept of alimony may render the ex-husband dollarless. In either case, very few are brought low by divorce.

Then there's the distressing statistic that says that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce.

My solution to that little problem is the three-year engagement.

It looks like the OT was as strict about divorce as the NT.

"... perhaps that there has been a sort of consensus that the words of Jesus should not be taken so literally that they must become the basis of law ..."

This gets sticky. May we then pick and choose which words to accept as gospel?

As far as discriminating against divorced people, it really comes down to:

John 8:7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless 13 may be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Since the People are dead set on redefining marriage, maybe they can redefine divorce as well.

".. there is a very determined effort in some quarters to make the social issues Tea Party issues. "

That's a bad idea. Stick to the economy, defense, business. The Left has been throwing social issues around for years, and look where that's got us: a welfare state.

ZZMike   ·  November 16, 2010 7:10 PM

One reason I decided not to attend local tea party gatherings is because this particular group wouldn't keep social issues separate. From the very beginning it was made clear it was a Christian group.

Donna B.   ·  November 16, 2010 7:23 PM

I get very tired of discussing the, um, "social issues." Fortunately for me, M. Simon always seems to have plenty of stamina at about the same time I run out of steam.

It's odd to me that this "libertarian" blog is so hung up on "social issues". Granted that I disagree with your position there, there is a lot of ground where I agree with the libertarian view. But you don't seem to cover that ground much, if at all.

What about a post on economics? What about a post admitting that "social liberalism" has been and continues to be brought about by the power of the state overriding the wishes of the actual individual people? What about admitting that "affirmative action" and "diversity" are the true faces of social liberalism? What about more posts on foreign policy?

If you're so very tired of grinding your axe with social cons, you could just stop doing it.


>>"The Constitution is silent on most of what what could be considered the social issues, just as it is silent on things like murder, rape, incest, marriage, drugs, speeding, and the dumping of sewage. These and other things are properly left to the states"


That's the social con position, though for some reason you remain stubbornly unaware of it.

It was social liberalism which removed e.g. abortion from the states and made it a federal matter. Remember? I know you're old enough to have lived through those days. Yet you persist with these screwball denunciations of social conservatives as of it was THEY who were intent on injecting the federal government into every aspect of life.

If you'd clear up your more glaring factual errors of this sort, we'd probably still have disagreements. But at least they'd be sensible disagreements.

flenser   ·  November 16, 2010 7:38 PM

I can't remember the last time I heard anyone claim that being forced to hire or rent housing to divorced people or provide their spouses with benefits violated his religious conscience, that he had a religious right not to have his children taught by a divorcee, etc.

I can certainly recall recently hearing that the libertarian position is that of freedom of association, meaning that any person has the right not to associate with any other person for whatever reason he pleases.

That would seem to imply that even those lowly "religious people" have the right to not rent to people they disapprove of, for whatever wacky reason strikes their sky-god worshiping fancy.


Under what theory can it be argued that having to hire or serve divorced people (who are, by your and Jesus's estimation, living in sin) violates your religious conscience?

Under religious theory. But since you don't accept that, the same thing can also be argued under libertarian theory. (Which, by an amazing coincidence, is a distant offshoot of the religious theory)

flenser   ·  November 16, 2010 7:52 PM

What about a post on economics? What about a post admitting that "social liberalism" has been and continues to be brought about by the power of the state overriding the wishes of the actual individual people? What about admitting that "affirmative action" and "diversity" are the true faces of social liberalism? What about more posts on foreign policy?

I suggest that before you anonymously criticize me for what I didn't say, you check to make sure that I didn't say it.

For over seven years, I have been writing daily about whatever strikes my mind on any given day. If you read the blog, you will see that I have written countless posts on economics, social liberalism, affirmative action and diversity, identity politics, and foreign policy.

Feel free to check any of this out.

BTW, if you think that having to hire or serve divorced people can violate someone's religious conscience, how far does that go? Should Muslims be allowed to discriminate against Jews and Christians? If you are in favor of absolute freedom to discriminate, would that apply across the board, or would only Christians be allowed to discriminate?

Eric Scheie   ·  November 16, 2010 11:32 PM

flenser points to something so-call social libs should examine before sneering at social cons ... many of the soc libs are looking for their own morality to be enforced by the Government.

Darleen   ·  November 16, 2010 11:32 PM

One are where social conservatives in the tea party and libertarians (of whatever stripe) should have overlap is in devolution of power to the states.

The same limiting principles on the national government in the economic and debt realms that seem to undergird the Tea Party/Perot message, apply equally to stopping attempts to nationalize (via the judiciary or others) social issues.

Refusing to nationalize doesn't necessarily determine how either certain of the economic or social issues are resolved on the state level, but it would be a triumph for devolved empowerment overall.

bruinrefugee   ·  November 17, 2010 10:15 AM

"If you are in favor of absolute freedom to discriminate, would that apply across the board, or would only Christians be allowed to discriminate?"

Absolutely. Freedom of association, including for atheists. Try reading some of those libertarian links you have.

Reg   ·  November 17, 2010 10:17 AM

The differences about abortion and gay rights versus divorce is that no one has ever asked me to pay for anyone else's divorce, and similarly, no one is promoting special privileges and protected status for divorcees.

West   ·  November 17, 2010 10:24 AM

So far as Catholics are concerned, as I understand it, it isn't divorce that's a sin; it's remarriage.

MDT   ·  November 17, 2010 10:26 AM

"...and similarly, no one is promoting special privileges and protected status for divorcees."

Well, that's just because divorcees already enjoy protected status. It is against federal law to discriminate in hiring, housing, etc. on the basis of marital status.

Sean Gleeson   ·  November 17, 2010 10:40 AM

get real religious nuts: ...... ...... Jeebus Kryste is a fictional character out of a violent obscene book and no single mention appears in the U. S. Constitution of any alleged deity by title or name....banning abortion or divorce equals slavery..... forcing a woman to stay pregnant is worse than rape as no rapist can penetrate a victim for more than the duration time of the crime but enslaving a woman to pregnancy can be ten lunar months, fatal and can possibly create monster/s that looks like the perpetrator....mandatory pregnancy laws are worse than torture making theocrats insane evil enemies of free women 843-926-1750

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 10:43 AM

One quibble, Eric. Where you said "... with many opponents of abortion saying that allowing it violates their freedom of conscience...", you seem to have overly simplified the objection. From talking to deeply christian friends, what violates their freedom of conscience is not allowing it, but being forced to pay for it by men with guns.

Extending the governmental subsidy to gay marriage violates their freedom of conscience in the same way. Lets be real, that is the issue on both sides. Governmental subsidy. In the US, no one is going to jail for performing a marriage ceremony for gays / lesbians, no one is being fined or having their license to perform state sanctioned ceremonies pulled for celebrating a gay marriage. It's all about subsidy and recognition.

Regards,
Pol

Pol Mordreth   ·  November 17, 2010 10:44 AM

get real religious nuts: ...... ...... Jeebus Kryste is a fictional character out of a violent obscene book and no single mention appears in the U. S. Constitution of any alleged deity by title or name....banning abortion or divorce equals slavery..... forcing a woman to stay pregnant is worse than rape as no rapist can penetrate a victim for more than the duration time of the crime but enslaving a woman to pregnancy can be ten lunar months, fatal and can possibly create monster/s that looks like the perpetrator....mandatory pregnancy laws are worse than torture making theocrats insane evil enemies of free women 843-926-1750

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 10:44 AM

There are no laws conferring special protected status on divorced people. You can hire them, fire them, refuse to rent to them, and snub them at your leisure.

Adam Greenwood   ·  November 17, 2010 10:48 AM

you may tweet me on twitter I am AtheistVet but I prefer live telelephone debate: Dial An Atheist 843-926-1750

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 10:51 AM

Thanks for making this case, Eric.

The Tea Party is built around minarchism and fiscal conservatism. There is certainly a proportion of so-con TPers but I hope they understand the Tea Party movement is not a vehicle for those issues.

TallDave   ·  November 17, 2010 10:52 AM

As a (mostly) practicing Conservative(ish) Jew, I'm always... well, 'offended' is too strong of a word, so I'll say 'irked' when Conservative Christians take one sentence of MY Torah to justify discriminating against homosexuals, yet will proclaim this as G-D's word at Church barbecues where pork, shrimp, and cheeseburgers are gladly served to all. Whenever anti-gay rights protesters show up (whether from Westboro or other 'churches') I'm tempted to walk around with a sign that says "EXODUS 23:19 -- GOD HATES CHEESEBURGERS!"

CJ Casey   ·  November 17, 2010 10:54 AM

On November 16, 2010 at 01:06 PM Will said:

"Then there's the distressing statistic that says that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce.

My solution to that little problem is the three-year engagement."

My wife and I met in January, married in August. It's been 32 years now. My brother-in-law was dating/engaged to his first ex-wife more than 5 years. In my humble experience, I have found that the shorter a time couples have known each other before tying the knot, the more stable the marriage (excepting Hollywood marriages altogether and Las Vegas type drunken quickies). If it's right, it's right, and you don't need to agonize over the decision. If it takes a couple of years before you pop the question, you should probably move on. Not saying that long engagements don't work for some, but I suspect shorter ones work better. The obvious tell on this is couples that live together before marriage to test their compatability. It is a statistical fact that those that do marry get divorced more frequently than couples that didn't live together first. And they tend to be together for years before marriage.

Harold   ·  November 17, 2010 10:56 AM

You may want to look at the works of Martin Luther. He argues that even if the government allowed what was wrong, the Christian should not do it. This of course doesn't mean that a Christian will never do what is wrong, for that we have the grace of God through Christ's sacrifice when we confess and repent. Outside of excommunication, Luther didn't argue for any disassociation with sinners, perhaps because he recognized that we are all sinners saved by grace.

Using the government to create a perfect world (aka one without sin) was also something that Luther argued against. First, because Christians choosing to do what God has not chosen to do is putting our will above God. Second, because of the futility of doing this given the sinful nature.

To take your example, if a Christian felt they should not associate with divorcees because of their "sin" then they can do so, but that doesn't mean the government has to enforce your desire. Don't want to hire divorced workers, fine. But perhaps you won't be able to hire any workers. Don't want to have your children taught by divorced teachers, fine. But you can't expect the government to enforce your reference or to pay for your children going to a private school. Of course a Christian not wanting to associate with others because of their sin may want to look up the verses on Jesus dealing with prostitutes and removing large objects in your own eyes before removing small objects from the eyes of others.

yetanotherjohn   ·  November 17, 2010 10:57 AM

I can't really see the likening of the abortion issue to divorce. There is an innocent victim who loses his or her life in an abortion.

Gay issues on the other hand are a very apt comparison, especially since most of the harm to society that people say can be done by gay marriage has already been caused by easy divorce, along with birth control, and , yes, abortion.

Controversies over divorced teachers do still arise from time-to-time in Catholic schools. You don't hear about it in public schools is not because nobody has a problem with it, but because they know there is no chance of winning that fight.

BTW, I would be absolutely horrified to hear that a Jew or Muslim was fired for refusing to serve me a pork chop. So, yes, I definitely support others right to conscience as well as my own.

Rob   ·  November 17, 2010 10:57 AM

I think it you have to be very careful to distinguish between laws that enforce tolerance and laws that enforce participation or acceptance.

Can we force a pacifist to become a member of our armed services?

Can we force a pious Catholic doctor to perform an abortion?

It's one thing to say, you must tolerate the presence of something. It's another thing to say that you must participate in it, give approval to it, and so forth.

Of course, there are gray areas in the middle, where we have to consider a mixture of libertarian and social goals.

And frankly, for those gray areas, I don't think you can complain too much if some religious person sides with his own freedom over a social goal he doesn't approve of. That's democracy.

celebrim   ·  November 17, 2010 10:57 AM

flenser,

Here's a couple econ posts:

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/11/postelection_th.html

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/10/income_disparit.html

I'm more the econ guy, but Eric and M Simon tend to write a lot more here than I do, partly because they're older, wiser, and retired and partly because I'm lazy preoccupied with pursuing a plethora of picayune permutations of personal utility.

TallDave   ·  November 17, 2010 11:02 AM

Adam Greenwood, you are wrong, many laws exist to protect any person from religiious bigotry....though enforcement is imperfect ....Roman Catholics & German Lutherans led NAZI laws & crimes against humanity..... the United Nations also protects people from violence done under guise of religious perpetrators...hostile work environments include bigot bosses & rental agents.... victims may be reluctant to file complaints but bigots usually lose cases or go broke paying legal fees of appeals 843-926-1750

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 11:04 AM

"Under religious theory"

Actually, in the Bible, Jesus said "judge not, that ye shall be judged" and washed the feet of people who were far from perfect.

There is nothing in Christianity that suggests that refusing to sell a hamburger to a divorcee is acceptable. In fact, Christianity would suggest that doing this will bring judgment down on the one who does it.

I may be an atheist, and I have no idea whether Jesus ever actually existed. But I can give the religion some credit. It does not preach that one should refuse to associate with someone due to his/her past relationship problems, ESPECIALLY not in order to feel morally superior.

This is all about the right to be an asshole, and I believe we have that right. But it's not about religious rights. Whether an asshole claims to be a Christian, an atheist, a Buddhist or a Muslim, the point is that he's an asshole.

Barry D   ·  November 17, 2010 11:15 AM

I'm with Eric, the actions of another person, that do not directly effect me, have no bearing on my religious/moral conscience.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't recall Jesus ever saying, stop others from sinning, otherwise you'll be damned.

Lead them away from sin, lead them to the path of righteousness, but not preventing others from making poor choices through force or coercion. And let's not throw a straw-men about stopping a murderer in the argument.

I think to many people find their sensibilities offended, and want that stopped.

Keith_Indy   ·  November 17, 2010 11:16 AM

"So it would seem to me that divorce is every bit as much of a matter of religious conscience as homosexuality or abortion. (And if we consider that Jesus did not specifically condemn homosexuality or abortion, divorce arguably deserves a higher ranking on the religious conscience scale.)"

Arguably, what you are doing here is dumping on Christians without bothering to deal with their objections.

Though Christians can defend themselves, I'll get the arguments going:

a) Homosexuality: The sinfulness of homosexuality was not a matter of contention for early Christians or for Jesus. Hence, no need to mention it at all.

b) Abortion: The teaching of the Church has been clear since the first century. (Say, chapter 2 of the Didache.)

Best;

Anonymous   ·  November 17, 2010 11:18 AM

Several posters have made good points here. And I post this comment even though I am a libertarian constitutionalist on most social issues. I hope that both libertarians and socons that are posting here can agree on the following principles.

1. The freedom to association implies freedom to not associate, so individuals and businesses should have the right to discriminate against those they regard as sinful (like gays), and gays would have the right to discriminate back (but only against individuals they dont like, not against all religious prople generally). The sole exception is discrimination against race, religion, national origin, which are specific protected classes in the 14th amendment.

2. The federal government may not pass laws regarding social conservative issues, but the states may, unless they discriminate against a religion or race. I may oppose passage of those laws at the state level, but not on constitutional grounds, or in the federal courts, which should leave the states alone here.

3. Abortion and homosexuality should not have been addressed in the federal courts, nor should they be sddressed in federal law. It should be solely a state decision. Mind you, I will oppose socons if Roe v Wade is overturned (as it should be), and they try to pass an abortion ban at the state level, but they should have that right, constitutionally.

4. Regarding prayer, gays, evolution, and other religious issues in gov schools, the best solution is to not have gov schools, but have complete school choice with vouchers. Then the socons/creationists can have their schools, the leftists/atheists/gays theirs, and the rest of us, ours. Trying to resolve these issues in public schools schools always means either religious folks do not have freedom of religion, or non religious do not have freedom from religion, and one or the other will have their rights violated.

I agree with this blog that the Tea Party should not be addressing socon issues. If they did they would cease to a repub/libertarian cooalition, and would just become another arm of the repub party. Mind you, this does not prohibit Tea Party individuals and candidates from being socons or social libertarians, but they could only claim Tea Party backing for their Fiscal Conservative views, not their social ones, and Tea Party endorsement decisions should be made solely on the basis of Fiscal Conservative issues, not social views. So it could be legitimate for the Tea Party to endorse a candidate who was liberal/moderate on social issues, but conservative on fiscal ones, over a candidate who was conservative on social issues, but moderate on fiscal ones.

In the next 2 yrs, I hope the repubs concentrate on fiscal conservatism and size of government issues first. That is the priority now, and the main driver in the recent repub wave, not social issues. Once real progress has been made in reducing gov spending and regulation, I wont mind if the repubs try for some socon goals, but take care of excess spending and regulation first.

richard40   ·  November 17, 2010 11:19 AM

I look at it like this.

If you agree to work in a deli that has a ham sandwich on the menu, you have no right to refuse to serve me a ham sandwich. I have every right not to work for you if I choose, but no right to tell you how to run your business just because you employed me.

On the other hand, if you open a deli, I have no right to demand that you put ham on the menu. I have every right to not eat at your restuarant if I choose, but no right to tell you how to run it.

The gray areas of course are, if I own a deli that I wish to be kosher, can I refuse to serve someone who walks in with a "Pork Farmer of America" t-shirt? Do I have a right to demand service, and force the owner to do as he does not wish to do? Lately we've tended to say 'Yes' for what I think are pretty good reasons, but it is worth noting that there are slippery slopes in that direction as well and I would especially expect a libertarian to notice them.

celebrim   ·  November 17, 2010 11:22 AM

people must be free to be left alone, secure in their privacy while two different people are not free to ham one another, mutual consent defines such boundaries, not stupid fictional religious perpetrators of theocracy 843-926-1750 Dial An Atheist

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 11:22 AM

looks like we have a debate here on both HAM & ...h a r m ...843-926-1750 .... anyone here for animal rights ?

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 11:31 AM

There's a very simple solution for this problem. You guys should bring this issue up BEFORE elections, not AFTER them. Right now a lot of candidates were elected who said on their websites that they would vote against abortion. They solicited pro-life support. Now you want them to disregard their promises because you are pro-abortion.

Here’s how to prevent this problem next time. All of your candidates should put on their websites, in letters as small as you like: “I am a Tea Party candidate, therefore I will never vote to make any abortion illegal.” As long as it can be found in a search, it can be in as obscure a place as you prefer. If there is a clear statement before the election, there can be no question of electoral fraud. You won’t have the problem of voting for candidates who promise to vote my way, while you hope that they are liars, and I won’t have to vote for candidates that agree with you. Everybody should be happy.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 11:36 AM

richard40, I agree, you are too sensible to be a 2010 libertarian. Other commenters here fit that mold much better than you do. I think the issue here is how politicians, who have been assigned the Tea Party label, should vote. Should they vote in accord with their campaign promises, or in accord with Eric's beliefs? I might vote for a candidate who, before the election, announced that he'd observe a two-year moratorium on voting against abortion. I would be betrayed by a politician who, after the election, said he would not actually start voting pro-life until 2013.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 12:01 PM

To Barry D: I agreee an asshole is an adjective but why insult us proper noun Atheists ? ... You took care to capitalize Muslims,Xians, Jews & others but insult us American Atheists, Australian Atheists, British Atheists .... a billion world Atheists & every human is born an Atheist unril brain washed & mutilated into a religion 843-926-1750 Dia A Atheist Larry

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 12:01 PM

Larry Carter Center:

I agreee an asshole is an adjective

Well, I don't.

MDT   ·  November 17, 2010 12:07 PM

to Roger Conley: slavery is illegal and voting to enslave pregnant women is an establishment of your religion into women ...violating the U. S. Constitution is a crime...keep your stupid rosary beads off women's ovaries, vaginae & uteri ... leave gays &lesbians alone too... your KJbible is obscene and illegal to mail as McKinley pardoned C C Moore for selling Scripture As Pornography .... tea baggers are illiterate ... read Ezekiel 23:20 or Hosea 13:16 for the truth 843:926-1750 Dial An Atheist Larry

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 12:16 PM

to Roger Conley: slavery is illegal and voting to enslave pregnant women is an establishment of your religion into women ...violating the U. S. Constitution is a crime...keep your stupid rosary beads off women's ovaries, vaginae & uteri ... leave gays &lesbians alone too... your KJbible is obscene and illegal to mail as McKinley pardoned C C Moore for selling Scripture As Pornography .... tea baggers are illiterate ... read Ezekiel 23:20 or Hosea 13:16 for the truth 843:926-1750 Dial An Atheist Larry

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 12:16 PM

to Roger Conley: slavery is illegal and voting to enslave pregnant women is an establishment of your religion into women ...violating the U. S. Constitution is a crime...keep your stupid rosary beads off women's ovaries, vaginae & uteri ... leave gays &lesbians alone too... your KJbible is obscene and illegal to mail as McKinley pardoned C C Moore for selling Scripture As Pornography .... tea baggers are illiterate ... read Ezekiel 23:20 or Hosea 13:16 for the truth 843:926-1750 Dial An Atheist Larry

Larry Carter Center   ·  November 17, 2010 12:17 PM

As usual, the rest of Jesus' teaching on divorce is left out; "except for marital unfaithfulness."

Buford Gooch   ·  November 17, 2010 12:23 PM

Larry, atheists don't have to belong to clubs. I don't. Capitalizing "atheist" implies that one has to belong to a club to have no belief in a god. The idea that one would is completely stupid.

So is calling a noun an adjective.

Barry D   ·  November 17, 2010 1:02 PM

Mr. Larry Carter Center: You fit right in. You're a real 2010 vintage modern atheist. To me you seem just like the standard issue, except a little more so.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 1:02 PM

"How does the fact that you are forced to serve... violate your religious conscience?"

At the very least, it violates the 13th Amendment. There is no Constitutional right to force someone else to serve you.

JohnJ   ·  November 17, 2010 1:15 PM

Mr. Gooch, Regarding the word "pornia": I do not think it means what you think it means. And besides, if you read the whole Bible, you'd find that, according to you, Jesus usually left out the rest of his teaching on divorce. Mark 10, Luke 16.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 1:23 PM

Most of us socons don't have any problem with people like Larry expressing that one thought he has, as many times as he wants. We'd have no problem with Larry expressing a different thought, if he ever comes up with one. Where we get upset is when we 1) find our 1st Amendment rights to disagree threatened, and 2) when we have to pay for things we find morally reprehensible. Like abortions? Then go ahead and pay for them. Since there's not a strong consensus on abortion, ESCR, gay marriage, and the Tea Party is all about fiscal issues, why not just get the federal government out of the "financing social liberalism" game? Roe v Wade was bad law; send it back to the states, where it belongs; hey, I'm prolife as all get-out, but if Massachusetts or the Larry Carter family wants to contracept, abort, euthanize, sterilize, or otherwise annihilate itself out of existence (oh yeah there's also same-sex marriage & ESCR) there's only so much I can do about it.

Jeannette   ·  November 17, 2010 1:29 PM

Government has no business telling employers or business people who they must do business with. The more gov't is involved with the less capable it is of dealing with its essential functions, and the more destructive it is of social solidarity. Creeps like those running our gov't make us enemies of each other.

renminbi   ·  November 17, 2010 1:39 PM

You get on shaky ground when you start claiming to interpret other peoples' religions. It's not for you or anyone else to decide whether they think divorce is more or less significant, or whether when you die if you get 72 virgins or 72 grapes. It's a belief system and as such it is immune to logic. So, even if someone in an ancient book specifically forbid divorce, how that ranks in their belief system is not for you or anyone else to say.

Skyler   ·  November 17, 2010 1:56 PM

It seems to me the difference has to do with setting an example for children.

You can't usually tell, when looking at a man and his "second wife," that she isn't actually a legitimate wife. (The wealthy octogenarian married to the big-breasted twenty-something blond is an exception of course.)

You can, however, tell, when looking at a man and his "husband," that the latter isn't actually a legitimate wife. (The effeminate guy in drag is an exception of course, if he pulls it off, and if nobody gets wise to the wig and pulls it off, if you follow me.)

So I think part of the distinction between the handling of these two issues has to do with the fact that the latter issue, when encountered in the course of family life, makes your seven-year-old kid look up at you with a confused expression and ask you to explain, whereas the former does not.

R.C.   ·  November 17, 2010 2:03 PM

Doesn't this all boil down to free will?

We're free to sin or not sin.

Free will is a toughy for some.

Edgelady   ·  November 17, 2010 2:17 PM

Doesn't this all boil down to free will?

We're free to sin or not sin.

Free will is a toughy for some.

Edgelady   ·  November 17, 2010 2:18 PM

By the way, Larry or whomever first brought it up, the "except in the case of marital unfaithfulness" should not be read as an exception which permits divorce (let alone remarriage).

The correct way to read that phrase (if one is trying to read it as literally as possible and in a fashion compatible with the other synoptic gospels' retelling of the same dominical teaching) is to remember that Jesus' overall statement is that divorce is not permitted and that "remarriage is a form of adultery" and that if a man divorces his wife (thus, in that culture, leaving her penniless and without provision) he is forcing her to remarry, merely in order to not starve. But in forcing her to remarry, he forces her to commit adultery (by remarrying). By leaving her penniless, he forces her to "become an adulteress."

Unless, of course, she already was. Hence the phrase "except for marital unfaithfulness."

R.C.   ·  November 17, 2010 2:28 PM

To Roger Conley. I do not want pro life candidates to disregard their committments. But it is a matter of priority. The decisive constituency this election was the Tea Party, with their main issue being Fiscal Conservatism. In fact I know of no Tea Party group that has made socon issues part of their platform. As the blogger here stated, their only issue is spending and size of government. I beleive it was also the number one issue for most voters, especially independent swing voters. Thus it should be the number one repub priority.

Repubs did not win this election because of their socon positions, otherwise it would have worked in 2006 and 2008 as well. They won because they promised to be more fiscally responsible than the dems.

Once spending is under control, the repubs can do their socon things, but take care of issue number one first, spending. If you socon repubs think you can ignore fiscal conservatism again, like you did during Bush, you can also watch the independent voters desert you again, probably in favor of a 3rd party, and watch the newfound repub majority disappear with it.

I vote for repubs because they are normally fiscally conservative. If they aren't, I would just as soon bolt and vote for a fiscally conservative dem, or a libertarian candidate. I think most independent voters, and conservative dems who voted repub this time, feel the same. My bargain with the repubs is they can do what they wish on socon issues, as long as they also take care of spending and regulatory restraint, but without the fiscal conservatism, there is no reason for me to vote repub. fortunately, I think most repub politicos this year understand this. but for any that dont, there are always future primary challenges, and 3rd party runs.

Besides, what exactly can you do about abortion now anyway? To really accomplish anything, you will need to elect a repub president, and a repub senate in 2012, and then wait for court vacancies so you can appoint some more pro life judges. And you wont do that unless you retain the support of fiscal conservatives in the next 2 yrs. So get off your moral high horse and satisfy the voters that gave you control of congress, Tea Party fiscal conservatives.

richard40   ·  November 17, 2010 3:18 PM

To Jeanette.
I am libertarian, not socon, but I agree with you completely. I definitely agree that the feds should not spend money on things you find morally objectionable. Of course I dont want the feds spending money on much of anything else either. As many spending decisions as possible should be devolved to the states.

I also agree that Roe v Wade should be overturned, and abortion and gay policy left to the states, and not decided in federal courts. I also agree that although you can't beat up gays, you should be able to publically call them sinners all you wish.

I only ask that while you try and do all that socon stuff, you also take care of fiscal conservatism. Most full conservatives do, which is why I vote for them. A good role model for this is Sen Coburn, from OK, and Sen DeMint. Both are strong socons, but are also absolutely reliable on fiscal conservative issues, and I was happy to support them this last election. My fear is some repubs may think this wave election was a mandate just for social conservatism, rather than mainly for fiscal conservatism, and federal government restraint, and go back to the bad old days of Bush.

richard40   ·  November 17, 2010 3:36 PM

R.C. - "So I think part of the distinction between the handling of these two issues has to do with the fact that the latter issue, when encountered in the course of family life, makes your seven-year-old kid look up at you with a confused expression and ask you to explain, whereas the former does not."

So same sex marriage should be illegal because it could force some inconvenient discussions with 7 year olds....

Those same two men are likely going to behave the same in public, regardless of whether they are legally married, or just in a committed relationship.

So, your discussion is likely going to take place irregardless of same sex marriage being a law or not.

I think as a Christian it's not my place to judge what is in another persons heart. I believe a higher authority has reserved that right to themselves.

Keith_Indy   ·  November 17, 2010 3:39 PM

But let's assume you oppose gay-bashing on religious grounds, you run a business, and you have a child who attends public school. Under what theory can it be argued that having to hire or serve gay-bashers (who are, by your and Jesus's estimation, sinners) violates your religious conscience? Or that forcing your child to attend classes taught by a gay basher who even goes so far as to claim that gay bashers have the same rights as non-gay-bashers and should not be discriminated against violates your religious conscience?

You can make your own example.

anon   ·  November 17, 2010 3:47 PM

richard40 - "the feds should not spend money on things you find morally objectionable. Of course I dont want the feds spending money on much of anything else either. As many spending decisions as possible should be devolved to the states."

Even better, spending decisions should be devolved as close to the individual as possible.

On abortion, so if the law said, unlimited abortion, but states could only provide funding in the case of rape, incest, or life of mother in grave jeopardy, would some soc-cons be OK with that?

Still the question is if others are allowed to sin (in whatever form,) does that violate another persons religious freedom?

I don't think anyone has proved that it does.

Keith_Indy   ·  November 17, 2010 3:49 PM

Wow. I would think that this was already answered pretty effectively in Augustine's City of God...

Does no one read the classics anymore?

Puritan Gunslinger   ·  November 17, 2010 4:13 PM

To answser your article idea by idea....

1. You get tired? Well, then the push solibs can stop trying to shove their morality down America's throat.

2. There's always a very determined push to get socons to shut up. I've probably read a hundred such articles.

And yes, its a coalition. Small amounts of Libertarian spice to large amounts of Socon flour...but we can make a Tea party cake without spice if need be.

3. So we're supposed to seek the lowest common denominator of agreement rather than raise the debate to a higher level? Eh, no.

4. When I see a serious Libertarian effort to restrict crimes to the state level that are on the Federal level now....I may begin to take this seriously.

5. Should we make Divorce more difficult to get? Oh, yeah! Divorce is bad for pretty much everyone, and for the community as well. Divorce is way worse than gay marriage.

If I could get rid of divorce by accepting gay marriage,I would.

And Libertarians should agree with me. After all, Divorce is about the breaking of a contract, and frequently about the breaker of said contract getting great benefits from the victim.

6. And do I have the freedom to not associate with divorced people? (My Sunday school teacher is divorced...and he argues that God forgives when we repent. And he's wiser than me.) Yes, I ought to....from a libertarian pov. Its only from a social issues pov that you can argue that letting people engage in such avoidance is worse for the society than the harm inflicted by creating the law.

I'm willing to let things stay as they are on that issue. I have to admit that if I was at the point of making the law, I'd probably tend toward the freedom.

In other words, if some econut wants to not sell me something because I'm a white male destroyer of the Earth, well, that's his problem. I can go to someone else. I don't think Mr.Econut should be forced to sell to me.

Tennwriter   ·  November 17, 2010 5:05 PM

richard40, There you go using reason again. Its use here is quite conspicuous. I might even say it doesn't fit the tone of the post. As a practical matter, I agree with you. I don't see any big abortion votes coming up. But if the Obama administration escalated the guerrilla war to make everybody pay for abortions, I'd expect a politician who told people he was pro-life to oppose the attempt. I'd be happy if a pro-life politician voted to confirm a pro-abortion justice who would interpret the constitution, but I'd expect that politician to oppose a “moderate” justice who said Roe v. Wade is irreversible because of stare decisis. Even if a big divisive fight about the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice would interfere with Mr. Scheie's priorities, and prevent the passage of legislation Mr. Scheie supports, I'd expect the politician to stick to his guns.

I think a politician should support the principles he proclaims. Asking a politician not to vote pro-life because it conflicts with Mr. Scheie's priorities is just the same as asking him not to vote pro-life because it interferes with Mr. Scheie's principles. I don't know that you're right about swing voters, but even if you are, I don't think they have special rights. If a politician told everybody he was against net neutrality, he should follow through on that commitment, whether the net neutrality voters were part of his base, or whether he won votes on that issue alone or whether the issue resulted in a net loss of votes. A lot of that extra spending between 2001 and 2009 came because Republican politicians were so devoted to pleasing the people they thought of as swing voters.

If the people who run Tea Parties wanted my advice, I'd tell them that them to stick to fiscal issues. As you so accurately point out, if the Tea Parties had a position on every issue, they would have no purpose. But I do note that there is not a narrow concern limited to “fiscal conservatism” at these events. There is a broad streak of very old-fashioned patriotism that is not focused on money issues. And don't tell Mr. Scheie, but the high wall of separation between God and Tea Party is not enforced. My experience is that Tea Partiers talk about God and Country whenever they feel like it, and without apology. Here's a thought experiment for you: if for three or four elections everybody forgot to vote on election day, except those who had attended a Tea Party, what would the status of legal abortion be? If everybody who attended a Tea Party decided (in error) that the Tea Parties needed a position on abortion, what would that position be?

Anyway, it seems to me that your views are compatible with mine in the political world. You don't react with shocked, outraged surprise when some guy who said he was against abortion before the election acts like he's against abortion after the election. It seems to me that you understand there often is not a potential winner with your exact beliefs, so you weigh your priorities and vote on that basis. I'd quibble with your use of the word “bargain.” It takes two sides to have a bargain. Mitch Daniels offered a bargain. Politicians who haven't, haven't. Making assumptions about the behavior of others, and acting angry when they don't live up to those expectations, is simply irrational. What did Mr. Scheie think about Sestak commercials attacking Toomey on the abortion issue? Did he ignore them because he thought Toomey was lying? I know this is not your position, but I am insulted when libertarian types look down their noses and explain that it would be highly, highly improper for anybody who agrees with me about abortion to vote as if they agreed with me. It is perfectly acceptable for a politician to take a pro-life position, if there result is that I’m tricked into voting for a fiscal conservative. Following through on that public pro-life commitment is what offends them. Go ahead and try to beat us in the political world. But don’t be like the Larry Carter Center and tell us that our votes are criminal offenses against the Constitution.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 5:21 PM

Roger Conley.

You sound eminently sensible as well. I would have to say I dont represent all libertarians. I am more of a libertarian conservative. My "bargain" with the repubs is as long as they take care of fiscal conservatism, I am willing to tolerate the occasional socon vote, especially if those socon votes involve letting the states decide such issues. Some of the more radical libertarians would not tolerate such a bargain, but I am, since I know from experience that a pure libertarian party cannot win. But a libertarian oriented repub party can.

I agree with you that the Tea Party, in addition to just small government fiscal conservatism, also has a patriotic streak, and strong support for the constitution and the founders, which I also agree with. The only thing I would oppose is adding socon type issues to the Tea Party platform, since as I said, they would then no longer be a seperate movement, but would devolve into a repub appendage, and lose much of their independent and libertarian support. This also makes it possible for the Tea Party to endorse fiscally conservative dems in primary races (I know, true dem fiscal conservatives are few in number, but there are a few. I would like to see more.) This also does not mean the Tea Party should oppose socons, provided they are are also fiscal conservatives. It just means they should be neutral on socon issues. Scott Brown is a good example there. He is a moderate socially, but was elected because of Tea Party support because he promised to oppose Obamacare and support fiscal conservatism. At the same time, the Tea Party has endorsed candidates that were both fiscal and social conservatives. The only Tea Party endorsement I would oppose would be of a social conservative, fiscal moderate, if a full fiscal conservative was available.

I also agree with the socons that Roe V Wade should be overturned (on grounds of federalism, not because I am pro life), and they should favor judges that would. The only time I would worry is if they wanted a judge that was anti Roe, but was a RHINO on economic freedoms, like property rights or a narrrow interpretation of the comerce clause. If a judge is going to devolve abortion to the states, I would insist he also want to devolve spending and economic regulation to the states too, and also protect individual economic freedoms.

Note that if Roe ever was overturned, I might oppose the socons at the state level if they tried to pass anti abortion laws. But I would oppose them democratically, in the legislature and elections, not in the courts.

I think the writer of this blog is a little too strong in his criticism of socons. We should not want to drive socons from the Tea Party, as long as those socons are also small government fiscal conservatives. We should merely insist the socons not try to hijack the Tea party and turn it into just another repub group. There should be room in the Tea Party (and perhaps in the repub party also) for both full conservatives, and full libertarians. Together, they are a winning cooalition. But if you throw the libertarians out, as happened under Bush, you lose the independent vote and have a losing cooalition. By the same token, a repub party without socons, would also lose, as the regular Libertarian party has proven.

Mind you, if the dem party ever became true libertarians on economic freedoms, and remained liberal on social issues, I might vote dem, but I have severe doubts that will ever happen. They just have too many people in their party wanting federal handouts and federal economic regulation. I have also found that the repub party is far more tolerant of social libertarians than the dems are of economic libertarians.

richard40   ·  November 17, 2010 6:16 PM

I suggest that before you anonymously criticize me for what I didn't say, you check to make sure that I didn't say it.

For over seven years, I have been writing daily about whatever strikes my mind on any given day. If you read the blog, you will see that I have written countless posts on economics, social liberalism, affirmative action and diversity, identity politics, and foreign policy


I've read this blog off and on for several years now, so I think I have a pretty good idea of where you're coming from. Your protestations would ring less hollow if you did not preface this post by admitting: I get very tired of discussing the, um, "social issues."

If you confess to getting tired of writing these posts, you can hardly exclaim in surprise if other people confess to getting tired of reading them.

I think that there is a place for a useful libertarian criticism of conservatism. I'd be happy to see you offer it. So consider this to be constructive criticism - your opinions on conservatism show little understanding of the thing you are commenting on.

To pick just one problem, you commonly use "social conservative" to mean "Christian". There's some overlap between the two groups but social conservatives and Christians are not the same thing. There are plenty of socially conservative atheists out there, as well as socially liberal Christians.

Another problem - you commonly depict social conservatives as trying to harness the power of the Federal government in order to coerce unwilling people to behave in a certain way. This is almost entirely backwards - it is social liberalism which behaves this way.

flenser   ·  November 17, 2010 6:18 PM

This also does not mean the Tea Party should oppose socons, provided they are are also fiscal conservatives. It just means they should be neutral on socon issues. Scott Brown is a good example there. He is a moderate socially, but was elected because of Tea Party support because he promised to oppose Obamacare and support fiscal conservatism.


Scott Brown, like Snowe, Collins, Kirk, and several other Republican Senators, are "moderate" in both the social and fiscal senses.

That does not mean they should not ever be supported by the TP, the GOP, conservatives, or libertarians. It just means that we should stop pretending the existence of people who are socially "moderate" and fiscally conservative. We should admit the reality that fiscal conservatism and social conservatism go hand in hand.

flenser   ·  November 17, 2010 6:35 PM

Gee, I'm so tired of these social issues, I think I'll write another post on it. BTW, if you can damn well write whatever strikes your fancy on your blog, so-cons can damn well bring up any issue they want too. Is there a Tea Party Constitution that forbids social issues or something? If you're tired, then just shut up or else stop prefacing your posts with 'gee, I hate to talk about this, but...'

David   ·  November 17, 2010 6:47 PM

richard40,

I would very much like to be on the other side from you in a state level election campaign on the abortion issue. I think that I'd be spending a lot of time on the Libertarians for Life website, looking for the argument that would get you to change your mind. I think limited government, enumerated powers, reading the Constitution as its written, allows people with radically different views to get along. Telling us that no matter how many people we convince, there's no forum for us to win, leads to trouble.

And, on a different topic, I think that the libertarians one may meet out in the real world are more like you than the "radical libertarians" that get on my nerves. I think it was in the early 1970s that I first read Poul Anderson insisting that he was a "small l libertarian." I eventually figured out what he meant.

Roger Conley   ·  November 17, 2010 6:59 PM

Is speeding a sin?

I oppose abortions except to protect the health of the mother or in cases of incest or rape. However, the basis for my opposition has more to do with the future of of our nation than with my religion. We need children, and we need them to be reared to be responsible citizens. If we maintain hostility toward children and families as a societal policy, we will see ourselves dwindling as Europe has. We can always increase immigration from, say, Mexico, but that would mean more Catholicism, not less.

I don't think we should encourage gay marriage or open marriage or no fault divorce, because marriage between a husband and wife is the foundation of the family.

There are plenty of sins that are legal, e.g. fornication. Some religions proscribe certain foods or drinks that everyone else uses. Most religions believe in a final judgment, but such a judgment would not be a fair one if we didn't have the power to choose our actions.

There is a difference between God's laws and the laws that we pass as a society for the protection of society itself and its members. There is no law against blasphemy or taking God's name in vain.

That being said, it's a common tactic to accuse one's opponents of trying to enforce religion and thus violating the Constitution. That tactic is sophistry. I believe that all of us have the right to vote for the kind of society we want to live in. I vote for a healthy, family friendly society.

I view gay "marriage" as merely an attempt to validate sodomy as equal to heterosexual relations. The fact is that they aren't the same and we shouldn't pass laws merely to make one sliver of society feel better about themselves. I don't believe in the therapeutic society, because it generally impinges on other long-held rights that are explicit in the Constitution and seeks to create new feel-good "rights" that neither benefit society nor, in the end, satisfy those who champion them.

flataffect   ·  November 17, 2010 7:01 PM

many of the soc libs are looking for their own morality to be enforced by the Government.

But the bloggers here are neither socons or soclibs. We are libertarians. i.e. Part of the "leave us alone" coalition.

M. Simon   ·  November 17, 2010 7:34 PM

We need children, and we need them to be reared to be responsible citizens.

And a woman who even wants an abortion is currently a responsible citizen?

Uh. Aren't you confused?

M. Simon   ·  November 17, 2010 8:43 PM

if you can damn well write whatever strikes your fancy on your blog, so-cons can damn well bring up any issue they want too

Come on. Where did I ever say they couldn't? Is disagreement synonymous with censorship?

Just as social conservatives can bring up whatever they want and disagree with me, so can I disagree with them.

Now, I have obviously upset some people by saying that I am tired of discussing social issues (which I am), but I don't see how it follows that if I am tired of discussing something that I should "just shut up."

This post, BTW, was occasioned by my being asked in a long series of questions about my positions on social issues in an email, to which I devoted over an hour responding, and I really was sick of them, just as I am sick of them right now. Yet I patiently answered each question, knowing full well that I was wasting my time.

Eventually I will shut up, though. We all will. Meanwhile, we will expend a great deal of time arguing about whether people should be judged by irrelevant personal aspects of their lives like the content of their orgasms or what substances they consume.

What's to not get tired of?

Eric Scheie   ·  November 17, 2010 11:47 PM

Eric, here is my problem with your position. You have described yourself as a member of a "Leave Us Alone" coalition, in opposition to an "Enforce Our Morality" coalition. But the policies you advocate are more suited to the latter disposition than the former. (At least, that is how it seems to me, though I would welcome a corrective reply.)

I'll explain. In your post, you imagine a hypothetical citizen, and then ask what possible objection anyone here might raise to his "having to hire or serve" divorced persons, or even "forcing [his] child" to be taught by divorced persons. It's an interesting question: i.e., does the moral goal of discouraging unfair discrimination justify such coercion? You (and again, please let me know if I am wrong here) are squarely in the "Yes, by all means force this man to do business with divorced persons" camp, which is a defensible position.

But I don't see where you explain how this coercion fits with your "Leave Us Alone" governing philosophy, nor even any evidence that you understand the jarring contradiction. The way you cite your divorce example makes it seem that you think the coercive policy is the "Leave Us Alone" approach; and anyone who would leave the hypothetical citizen alone would be enforcing a moral regime. Is that really your belief?

Sean Gleeson   ·  November 18, 2010 6:13 AM

the three-year engagement

My first mate and I went together for 8 years before we got a quickie marriage (she was 8 1/2 months pregnant). We have been at it for 36 years now. Still going strong.

My parents even let us sleep together when we visited pre-marriage. And they were not very liberal. They KNEW.

And why did I get her pregnant? Well a voice told me to. I like to think God told me. But who knows? People who hear voices are considered schizophrenic. These days. BTW having children was one of the best decisions I ever made.

M. Simon   ·  November 18, 2010 6:16 AM

Sean, my purpose was not to advocate coercing people into accepting divorce so much as to comment on the anomaly of its wide acceptance by Christians despite its sinful nature.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 18, 2010 3:27 PM

I have obviously upset some people by saying that I am tired of discussing social issues


I'm not upset by it. If you have an axe to grind with social conservatives I support your freedom to grind it. It just seemed odd that you express your tiredness with a topic which you clearly are very interested in talking about.

flenser   ·  November 19, 2010 5:13 PM

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