Monday, September 6, 2010

WND's Joseph Farah: Clueless about marriage equality

I was visiting the highly regarded Pam’s House Blend blog Sunday morning, and found an interesting article of Pam’s, commenting on a column over at WorldNutDaily (remember, they can’t seem to spell “Nut” which somehow comes out as “Net,” by the “founder, editor and CEO” there, the noted slacker Joseph Farah, entitled “Conservative Surrender on Same-Sex Marriage?"

After reading Pam’s column exposing Farah’s cluelessness, I thought it might be worthwhile and fun to join in the pile-on.

Pam concludes her column by giving us four possibilities as to why conservatives are not listening to people like Joe Farah any more – the last possibility:

“4) simply tired and offended by the political bedroom-peeping proclivities of people like Farah dressed up as moral righteousness.”

I believe that last item is the most likely reason real conservatives are starting to abandon their bigoted Christianist "social conservative" associates, as society becomes increasingly aware that the Christianists are not really Christians, they are bigots who wrap themselves in a cloak of Christian-looking doctrine.

While Pam does not directly address the “Christianist” arguments beyond pointing them out and indicating that they are irrelevant, I would like to tear that fig leaf from Joe Farah, and expose the ugly truth beneath.

But first, let’s deal with the idea that Farah’s “traitors” are somehow not *real* conservatives. It's really Joe who isn't conservative - and apparently he knows that.

I’d like to turn the “conservative” part of the explanation to Ted Olson, whose credentials as a real conservative are unsullied, and whose words are authentic. The following quotes from Ted Olson are all excerpted from a transcript of his amazing FOX News interview about the recent California federal district court marriage case decision, which is available online at:

Farah cites an unnamed “homosexual activist blog” to point out :

“"But isn't it something how the issue of marriage equality is slowly starting to tear at the GOP. What a difference a few years make. In 2004, there was nary a Republican that could get behind the issue of marriage equality without looking like a Benedict Arnold. And now? The trend is shifting big time." "

And to name names, in addition to Anne Coulter:

"Ted Olson, Margaret Hoover, Meghan McCain, Glenn Beck, Laura Bush, Steve
Schmidt, Cindy McCain, Charlie Baker, Elisabeth Hasselbeck ... it's like each
day a new high-profile conservative jumps on the marriage equality bandwagon."

Af course, that astute blogger was in all probablility Pam Spaulding – see her blog essays at:



as examples of Pam’s astute analysis of Farah’s slackitude..

Farah whines:

“The people vote and express their will in overwhelming numbers to affirm
something as basic as traditional marriage between one man and one woman.”

But Ted Olson has already answered with the *real* conservative view about the clash between what Alexis de Tocqueville characterized as “the tyranny of the majority” and the bedrock conservative American value of individual rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment:

“If we didn't have a separation of powers, if we didn't have a Bill of Rights, then 7 million Californians could take away your rights, or my rights or the rights of these citizens in California. But we do have a Bill of Rights, and it's intended to protect us. The 14th Amendment was the result that -- the 14th Amendment that guarantees due process and equal protection to all citizens, to all persons, was the result of a civil war intended to enforce the promise of our Constitution that all men and women are created equal.”

Farah rants:

“Judges assail the process and explain that only bigotry could explain their votes. Election results are overturned.”

On this, and the issue of whether the California marriage decision involved “judicial activism” (a popular right wing mantra), here is what Olson has to say:

“. . . since 1888 the United States Supreme Court has 14 times decided and articulated that the right to marriage is a fundamental right. We're not talking about a new right here.

We're talking about whether a fundamental right, something that the Supreme Court has characterized as the most fundamental relationship we have in this country, can be deprived of certain individuals because of the color of their skin or because of their sexual orientation.

We do not permit discrimination, inequality. That's why we have a 14th Amendment that guarantees equal rights to all citizens. It's not judicial activism when judges do what the Constitution requires them to do, and they follow the precedent of previousdecisions of the Supreme Court.”

Ted Olsen pointed out:

“. . . most people use the term "judicial activism" to explain decisions that they don't like.”

“And what the court decided here -- the Supreme Court, as I said, of the United States has 14 times decided that the fundamental right to marry is an important constitutional right. The judge applied that right, that existing right, that fully determined and repeatedly determined constitutional right, to some tens of thousands of citizens in California who are being harmed by discrimination. That is not judicial activism. That is judicial responsibility. ”

Olson further notes:

“Yes, it's encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I am very, very pleased about that, because it is extraordinarily damaging to our citizens, our family members, our brothers, our sisters, our co- workers and our neighbors when they are labeled second-class citizens.”

Farah continues with his pathetic moans:

“The conservative movement is nearing surrender on the issue – even while public opinion stands firmly committed against same-sex marriage.“

Some of Olson’s bedrock conservatism comes out in this quote that works to skewer Farah's assertion:

“When the state of California, as it did in this case, enshrined in its constitution a separate status for certain of its citizens, it did immeasurable harm. We can't wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm that is unconstitutional must finally be eliminated.

I applaud the fact that things are changing, and I think this case is helping open people's eyes to the damage done by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Farah sobs:

“If we lose the battle over marriage, I'm not sure there's much left to preserve. Marriage is literally the building block of our civilization. Destroy it and you destroy the foundation."

Olson’s answer to this one is the cincher, the bottom line – what *real* conservatives think (addressing the FOX interviewer):

“Chris, we believe that a conservative value is stable relationships and a stable community and loving individuals coming together and forming a basis that is a building block of our society, which includes marriage. We believe that that is a conservative value.

We also believe that it's an important conservative value to sustain the rights of liberty of our citizens and to eliminate discrimination on invidious bases, whether it's race, or sex or sexual orientation. It should be a liberal and a conservative value. It is a fundamental American value. All men and all women are created equal under the law. ”

I want to repeat the principle:

“It should be a liberal and a conservative value. It is a fundamental American value. All men and all women are created equal under the law.”

Now, look at pathetic Joe Farah again. Farah even quotes from another conservative blogger – one who actually “gets” the point:

“ “In time, gay people will be married, extending the valuable social institution of marriage to more people," writes blogger Jon Henke of "In time, conservatives will argue that the positive impact that marriage has on the gay community is further evidence of the importance of the institution of marriage."”

If you want to read Jon Henke’s long-standing position on marriage equality, he makes a compelling case in his June 10, 2006 (that’s right, 2006) blog at – “The Libertarian Case for Gay Marriage

Farah has had the opportunity to read what real conservatives other than Ted Olson are saying and writing, and he is still clueless!

Farah seems to have a kind of psychotic belief not based in anything but his fantasy world, that there are people out there who are looking to destroy “traditional marriage.”

This fantasy argument has been trotted out every time that there has been legal change in the understanding of marriage, beginning with the abansonment of the common law of “coverture” that reduced women to virtual chattel status under the control of their husbands.

It was raised in New York by the social conservatives of the 1830's - 1850;s, who railed against the adoption of the two “Married Women’s Property Acts” of 1848 and 1860. They even used bible passages that indicate that "wives should be obedient to their husbands" in support of continuing to oppress women.

The sort of marriage that Joe Farah wants to “preserve” was changed long ago, and for the better. If marriage laws are made completely gender-neutral, this will have zero adverse impact on marriages between a man and a woman. They will still be permitted.

It is not, as Farah would have us believe, a matter of requiring heterosexual couples to divorce and each take on a same sex spouse – which is the only way “traditional marriage” would be “destroyed” by some kind of “same-sex” marriage. The fact is, that making marriage laws fully gender neutral will not destroy anything, but will strengthen marriage, just as both Ted Olson, Jon Henke, and numerous others have pointed out.

The fact is that real conservatives are finally waking up to the fact that they can’t reconcile real conservative principles favoring individual liberty over government coercion with the bigotry pandered by “social conservatives” whose beliefs are rooted in their hatred of people who are different, lightly wrapped in a veil of “Christian” religious beliefs.

For a number of years, real conservatives have felt they had to put up with Christianist social conservative allies, because they needed their help to get enough votes to get elected. Ronald Reagan gave the Christianist social conservatves lip service. Unfortunately for real conservatives, George W. Bush, who is himself a Christianist, gave the Christianists a lot of what they wanted. This has scared the real conservatives.

The real conservatives have awakened to realize that the Christianist "social" conservatives are dragging them down, rather than lifting them up – and no one wants to drown in the muck and mire of bigotry and prejudice.

So let’s look at Christian beliefs – it’s time to tear that fig leaf from Farah’s Christianist cloaking. Farah is not really a Christian, he is a Christianist, because he consistently misunderstands and misinterprets the Bible as a justification for un-American discriminatory attitudes against people who are different from the majority. Real conservatives can also be real Christians. (For that matter, real liberals can also be real Christians!)

Farah sets us up with his fantasies about the nature of marriage:

“I am ashamed of these people who should know better flirting with the destruction of a 6,000-year-old, God-created institution with no regard for the unforeseen and unimaginable consequences.”

The last time I checked, neither Joe Farah nor Joe Ratzinger was qualified to speak the mind of God to anyone – and their interpretations and understandings of God and religion are not binding on the American People or on the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the several states.

As I have pointed out with the assistance of Pam Spaulding, Ted Olson and Jon Henke, no one is destroying Farah’s version of a “6,000-year-old, God-created institution.” On the day after marriage equality became the law in Massachuusetts, churches all over that state were still celebrating traditional heterosexual marriages. Nothing was changed about those marriages! The same situation is true of the other states and jurisdictions in which marriage equality is recognized – the freedom of those Christians and Christianists and other faiths who will only sanctify, sacramentalize, or bless heterosexual marriages, to continue to do so, is still maintained. The freedom of those Christian and other faiths that will sanctify, sacramentalize, or bless marriages on a gender neutral basis is no longer suppressed in those states and jurisdictions.

Farah goes on to quote scripture:

“If there is a subject upon which the Bible is crystal clear – from beginning to end – it is homosexuality. Another subject about which no one can misinterpret what the Bible says is marriage. Let's examine the text:
• Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
• Romans 1:22-27: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." ”

Let us examine the contexts. The Leviticus quote at worst may refer to one particular kind of sexual activity that may be engaged by gay men – it does not refer to all different ways in which gay men can sexually satisfy each other. But how does Joe Farah square this with the marriage of David and Jonathan, clearly presented in 1 Samuel 18?

The fact is that the Leviticus quote is more accurately limited to forcible sodomy – the kind of inhospitable treatment of strangers envisioned by the Men of Sodom. The misogyny can also be recognized – to the Men of Sodom as well as to the patriarchal Israelites, treating another man as a sex object for forcible carnal use was to lie with him “as with a woman.”

The Romans quote is the only one that is ever used by Christianists against lesbians, who also have the example of the Book of Ruth to guide them.

Farah does not look at the context of Romans 1 – which involves heterosexual people who were engaging in sex acts against their natures under the influence of the wine administered as part of the orgiastic practices of some Greco-roman religious traditions of the times, and particularly the Dionysian (Bacchic) practices. The key language in the version quoted by Farah is “natural use.” For heterosexual people, it is as unnatural to engage in same-sex sexual activity as it is unnatural for homosexual people to engage in opposite-sex sexual activity.

So clearly, Farah’s Christianity is suspect – though it is perfectly all right for him to maintain his version of the interpretation of scripture, it is wrong for him to claim that it is the only interpretation. Indeed, his interpretation flies in the face of American constitutional principles, and while he may be protected in his own freedom of religious expression, he is on weak ground when he insists that his religious freedom should trump everyone else’s, particularly outside his church.

Joe blathers on, first speaking that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law (and apparently this must include 1 Samuel 18), and he continues:

“In Matthew 19:4-6, it says: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? ”

But Jesus says exactly nothing about those instances in which a man may leave his parents and cleave unto another man, or where a woman may leave her parents and cleave unto another woman. This may not have happened in the culture of the time, though there is evidence that same-sex relationships were blessed in the early Church.

The initial Creation of Adam as a woman-man (in God’s image and likeness) and the subsequent split of Adam into Adam and Eve, is not a literal story, it’s an allegory, an allegory on the same level as the similar story from Plato’s Symposium, as related by the great playwright Aristophanes, in which he similarly explains the creation and splitting in such a way as to explain the variety of sexual orientations among humans – certainly a part of human nature, though one that was somewhat simplified in the patriarchal bible story. I would suggest that Aristophanes is at least as good a source of ancient mythology as the Bible.

Farah states:

“Either you believe the Bible or you don't.”

Apparently, Farah does not understand that there are different interpretations and understandings on what the Bible means – if we took the whole thing literally, there are numerous contradictions and some pretty bad aspects to it that would make it totally useless as a source for religious or moral guidance.

The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are not bible-based.

Farah points out :

“But followers of Jesus cannot find some happy medium where they can please God and please the world. Nobody can. I choose obedience.“

In this case, that is fine – and biblical obedience clearly implies that Joe Farah should remove himself from the Modern world to some monastery where he can remain silent, pray, raise grain and make bread, and await the return of Jesus.

In the meantime, Joe should read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8:

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

5 I say this to move you to shame. What, cannot there be found among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren,

6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?

8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Of course, this passage continues:

9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,

10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

12 All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body:

14 and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up as through his power.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid.

16 Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.

I point the second half of the chapter out because there are those who will use verses 9, 19 and 20 to criticize transsexual people who seek the appropriate medical and surgical treatment, despite the clear message in Isaiah 56, Mathew 19:12 and Acts 8 that eunuchs (a term that includes transgender, transsexual and intersex people) are loved by God. Part of the problem has to do with relying on English translations rather than looking to the original languages - and while more modern translations might further obscure the meaning, even the more literal translations, such as the American Standard Version (ASV) used here, there are ossues in the understanding of the words.

Still, Joe Farah likes to pick and choose his bible verses, anyway.

In response to that, I will reproduce here, and commend you to the investigative commentary on it, a 2004 version of a ca. 2000 “Letter to Doctor Laura” that deals with a number of “literal” Bible teachings:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev.1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness (Lev.15: 19-24). The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan,

I would like to challenge Joe Farah to address the issues posed in the “Letter to Doctor Laura” – if his version of Christianity, in which “Either you believe the Bible or you don’t” in a literal manner, without taking anything else into consideration. Is correct, he must have some answer to these questions.

But then, if Joe wants to be a real conservative, he has to understand that American conservatism, like American liberalism, is not compatible with his version of Christianity. He has a choice – to either be “obedient to” (or rather, to agree with!) conservative American principles, or to be “obedient to” his crackpot version of what he thinks God wants. He has chosen his religious beliefs. So why hasn’t he retreated from the modern world? He doesn’t have to drink any Kool-Aid to accelerate his personal Rapture – a monastery of some kind, where he can withdraw from the secular world, would be good enough to keep him on the “straight” and narrow. It does not have to be a monastery that requires celibacy – if Joe can’t control his sexual urges, the Bible allows him to get married (see 1 Corinthians 7:8-9) – I am sure there must be some sort of religious center that would allow him to practice marital relations while contemplating and praying, and keeping out of American secular affairs that are inconsistent with his beliefs.

On the other hand, if Joe really does not want the early “Kool-Aid” Rapture, or life in a monastery, maybe he can try to understand the idea of the First Amendment as it relates to both the establishment and free exercise of religion.

He might want to carefully read that 2006 Jon Henke essay about marriage, if he sincerely wants to get a clue.

Maybe he might find a way to reconcile his religious beliefs with the principles of American liberty and justice. If he wishes to maintain his intolerance, there’s always the monastery, or the Kool-Aid, or even just leaving us alone. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that he will ever see the light of reason and Truth.

Joe wrote:

“Someone needs to hold the celebrities accountable. Someone needs to offer correction.”

Joe Farah, celebrity slacker, consider yourself corrected. And if you show up on September 17th to debate GOProud’s board chair Chris Barron (reported later yesterday at Pam’s House Blend) , expect to be thoroughly exposed as the intolerant bigot you are. As a former moderate libertarian member of the late William Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom (when I was in college). I will be rooting for Chris. I may be a proud progressive Democrat these days, but I still have a moderate libertarian philosophy (one that is well removed from the near-anarchy of radical libertarianism) underlying what everyone seems to see as a liberal point of view.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you found my old 2006 post. Thanks for the kind words.