Albert Mohler: “Undisguised intellectual dishonesty” in the NY Times’ Advocacy of Same Sex Marriage

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers serve as advocacy agents for the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Leading this charge for some time, The New York Times regularly promotes same-sex marriage in its editorials and news coverage. Even so, the paper’s latest editorial serves as a display of how the argument for homosexual marriage is often pressed with what can only be described as undisguised intellectual dishonesty....

We are living in an age marked by what philosopher John Haldane calls “erotic entitlements.” Those promoting these entitlements now demand marriage as the ultimate recognition and normalization of their relationships.

The New York Times has the right to press the case for same-sex marriage, but it does bear the responsibility to make its arguments with intellectual honesty. Just where would the paper draw the lines of rightful discrimination in marriage law, and for how long will it be willing to hold those lines?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMediaSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

15 Comments
Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

All American adults should have the right to marry as they choose? All? This means the legalization of polygamy and incest. Proponents of same-sex marriage respond to such assertions with anger and vitriol, but they cannot deny that polygamy is a very real issue and that at least some American adults have demanded a right to marry their closest relations.

He is absolutely correct.  All definitions are discriminatory.  To define marriage as between two people excludes (discriminates) threesomes etc.  On what basis can you refuse to marry two brothers or two sisters?  The the usual rationale of objecting to incestuous sex, corruption of the gene pool, does not exist because as in any homosexual union, is inherently sterile—they cannot reproduce.  Does the Times have an answer?

May 4, 8:42 am | [comment link]
2. tired wrote:

IMHO, the New York Times long ago gave up any pretense of intellectual honesty.  They are seeking to shame into action those people in NC who might still care about what the New York Times says. 

It has more to do with the end result, and nothing to do with honesty at all.  It rarely does with most of the MSM.

rolleyes

May 4, 8:50 am | [comment link]
3. Formerly Marion R. wrote:

Apropos the shame into action technique, I really don’t think it’s coincidence that this morning’s NYT launch of the Obama ‘12 Race-Is-Still-An-Issue meme is set in Steubenville, Ohio— a major hotspot of traditionalist Roman Catholicism in the US. 

I would insert here my agreement with tired, except I think the abandonment of fact-reportage journalism for design-reportage journalism is so widespread in the (now) industry that the NYT is not so much unique in that ideology as it is a natural collector of those who are its most talented practicioners.

May 4, 9:30 am | [comment link]
4. jkc1945 wrote:

All of everyone’s excellent arguments aside, I predict that we will see, within our lifetimes if we are 50 years old or less, we will see same-sex “marriage” nationwide, we will see “polygamy” nationwide, and we will be discussing other previously taboo relationships, and their eventual legalization.  Sodom and Gomorrah, after those cities reached a certain level of immoral living, could not turn around.  It literally becomes impossible for a society to recover itself after reaching a certain point.  We are no exception, sadly.  I weep for our grandchildren.

May 4, 10:45 am | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:

My teenage grandchildren are able to think for themselves, and they are fully aware that same-sex “marriage” is immoral.

May 4, 12:28 pm | [comment link]
6. Scatcatpdx wrote:

To take a a popular proverb To logical fallacies do not make a right. Both the NT time and Mr Mohler makes grievous logical errors. The NY item is typical in using word Bigotry a la Argumentum ad Hominem. While I admire Mr Mohler, I am dis a disappointed by his response.  NY Time in-spite of themselves made a justifiable challenge in which MR responded poorly, To whit:
““Opponents of marriage equality have never been able to show any evidence that any harm is caused to heterosexual marriages by granting all American adults the right to marry as they choose — because there is no such evidence.”

The editors demand “evidence” that heterosexual marriages will be harmed by the legalization of same-sex marriage, but this is an evasion. Legalizing same-sex marriage redefines marriage as an institution, leading to a fundamental redefinition of society. Opponents of same-sex marriage believe that such a redefinition, in itself, is a harm to the entire society.”
The problem I have is Mr Mohler state but fails how this will harm society his s argument does not follow.

The issue is I do not define society not any way moral but dead in sin apart form Christ.  It is absurd t apply Christian values to a secular and unregenerate world. It is why we need a government that is limited in order and individual liberty. We may never be able to change society but while acknowledge the liberty of the unregenerate homosexual to form social contracts yest remind them of my liberty not to accept nor grant them any benefit or trade personally because of their union. As for society if society wishes to jump over a cliff I do not have to join them.

May 4, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

Government approval and sanction of degenerate sex practices is harmful.  No, you do not have to jump off the cliff, but you have to swim in the sewer they make.  You cannot hide from the society they make.

May 4, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
8. QohelethDC wrote:

Potential bias alert: As a gay man, I may not be Mohler’s most objective reader.

For a writer (whom I’d not encountered before) focusing, or claiming to, on intellectual honesty, Mohler struck me as a bit disinigenuous and circular.

Disingenuous: We all know that discrimination has multiple meanings, one of which is to make a careful distinction between things and another of which is to judge or act on the basis of prejudice. The NYT was clearly using the second meaning, which is widely used, particularly in discussing political or social issues. Mohler’s effort to shift to the first meaning is simply a word game.

Circular: After registering (faux?) outrage about the NYT’s presumption in demanding “evidence” that same-sex marriage would harm heterosexual marriage, Mohler offers none. He doesn’t say that straights would hold their own marriages any less precious or divorce more frequently. Instead, he simply claims that refining the definition of marriage—as humankind has done before, revising it from a property arrangement in which a male owned females as chattel to a sacrament of love between equals—is harmful because it’s a redefintion.

May 4, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
9. QohelethDC wrote:

New commenter moderated by elf.

May 4, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
10. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

refining the definition of marriage—as humankind has done before

Yep, humankind has run amoke all over the map redifining things; typically without good outcomes.  In case you are not familiar with who Al Mohler is, he is a staunch, faithful Christian who believes in the Authority of Scripture.  So, his assertion that refining, or redifining, marriage is indeed harmful for mankind comes from his knowledge that the harm comes because mankind is desecrating the sacrament of Holy Matrimony [marriage for civil parlance] defined by God Almighty.

May 4, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
11. tired wrote:

I would suggest the burden of providing evidence lies with those proposing the change.  Prove that the change will do no harm.

Primum non nocere.

May 4, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
12. QohelethDC wrote:

New commenter moderated by elf.

May 4, 5:58 pm | [comment link]
13. Mark Baddeley wrote:

Re: #6 and #8

Mohler isn’t trying to make a case in this essay. He’s critiquing a case made by someone else.  He doesn’t need to make a positive case for his view in order to critique a case arguing for the opposed view. (Which you’ve demonstrated by doing exactly what he’s done - critiquing him without launching into a large argument for an alternative position with each step carefully justified.) There are a number of examples of people around who have made different kinds of cases that you want Mohler to make. But critiquing and making a case are two different things. If you find an essay where he claims to make the case but skips the step you want him to cover you’re entitled to call him on it.

#8 Mohler isn’t being disingenuous, he’s pointing out that the NYT is being so in its use of ‘discrimination’. Hence his observation about their claim that all Americans have the right to marry - they (apparently) don’t actually believe that, but they use that soundbite in an attempt to conflate the two senses of ‘discrimination’ precisely so they don’t have to make a case why, of the various sexual unions not recognised as compatible with marriage, same gender sex is the only one that is wrongly placed. They argue that it is ‘discrimination’ without arguing why it uniquely is discrimination.

It’s hard to be the champion of marriage equality while championing the continuing exclusion of polygamy and incest from marriage. But it is politically unwinnable to fight for those - many of those who champion marriages between people of the same sex don’t want those sexual unions eligible for marriage. So places like the NYTimes plays on the two senses of ‘discimination’, runs arguments for same gender marriage that work equally well for incest and polygamy, but reject any ‘knock-on’ effect of the arguments. (And also have a nice ‘drip feed’ of postive and human interest stories about polygamists and consenting incestual relationships which prepares the way in case progressives decide that that is the next great justice cause that needs to be established.)

It’s intellectually dishonest as it stands. It’s a good way politically to get your social change to happen - especially if you want almost all restrictions on marriage eventually eliminated. But it’s intellectually dishonest. Mohler is right to call them on it.

May 5, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
14. Scatcatpdx wrote:

@Mark Baddeley
“You right he is critiquing perhaps I am confused how Mr. Mohler uses slippery sloe argument I missed the last paragraph.
The New York Times has the right to press the case for same-sex marriage, but it does bear the responsibility to make its arguments with intellectual honesty. Just where would the paper draw the lines of rightful discrimination in marriage law, and for how long will it be willing to hold those lines?”
Still the problem come back to us of “rightful discrimination in marriage law” I beg to differ it the only rightful discrimination by civil authority is to ensure force or fraud is not used against the liberty of those who wish to enter a social contract;(ie. both are consenting adults) this right doesn’t mean gay have any right to force me or others to provide approval or any benefit on behalf of the homosexual’s social contract.

May 6, 1:06 am | [comment link]
15. Mark Baddeley wrote:

@Scatcatpdx

I think at that point there is a difference between a libertarian view of the role of government and that of a liberal (NYTimes) or a conservative (Mohler).  Mohler is never going to have a lot of traction for a libertarian as his views on the role of government aren’t centred on preserving the libertry of adults to responsibly enter into voluntary social contracts, but has that as one (relatively small) aspect of a larger view of government’s place in God’s economy. This article probably is not the format for discussing that issue, although I think Mohler’s views on this are basically in the mainstream of Christian thinking on the place of government, while I suspect that libertarianism is going to get more and more traction with westerners who are looking for a while out of the conservative/liberal tussle to control the institutions of society that are able to drive social and legal change ‘from above’.

May 7, 1:12 am | [comment link]
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