May 14, 2012

"If we consider this to be a civil right, and I do, I don’t think civil rights ought to be left up to a state-by-state approach."

"I think we should have a national policy on this."

Here comes the pull from the left on same-sex marriage. That's James Clyburn, who ranks 3rd among Democrats in the House.

Marriage is actually unusually hard to handle at the state level — which was why Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. If any state permits same-sex marriage, couples who want to marry can travel to that state. Are you going to allow individual states to decide whether to recognize that marriage? DOMA was a decision to say yes, but Obama has said he believes DOMA to be unconstitutional, and he withdrew from defending it in court. Presumably, in appointing federal judges, he hopes to find individuals who share that legal opinion. And the federal government uses marriage status for many purposes. It must either accept the same-sex marriages from the states or not.

So the federalism solution really doesn't work. I know I said — just this morning — that "Leave it to the states is a fine — truly excellent — way to package the issue and set it to the side." It's not as though I'm not aware of the legal problem. I teach the topic in law school classes frequently. It's only that I think the issue can be politically packaged that way. But I must acknowledge that a truly probing questioner would succeed in opening that package back up, and Clyburn is encouraging that inquiry.

118 comments:

chickenlittle said...

DEMOCRATS leading the distraction.

Duly noted.

Jay said...

Why do Democrats keep bringing up these social issues?

John Bragg said...

I've never heard anyone credible state the answer to this question(s):

If a marriage is legal in State A but not State B (consanguinity, of-legal-age, etc.), what is the existing interstate legal regime?

If two (straight) 15-year-olds marry in Mississippi, and then move to Massachusetts, are they married?

rhhardin said...

How about marriage means man and woman.

It's only a crisis because there's an interest group and an echo chamber.

edutcher said...

Still trying to figure out when marriage became a civil right.

As Zero is finding out.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And if we DON'T consider marriage to be a "civil" right but rather a religious status????


You want civil? Have a civil union, those are pretty commonly issued by the government. Leave religious marriage out of it.

Why do Democrats keep bringing up these social issues?

Well, I would assume it is because....>SQUIRREL!!!!

chickenlittle said...

If two (straight) 15-year-olds marry in Mississippi, and then move to Massachusetts, are they married?

Probably truant and not even employed.

Jay said...

From CBS News:

On Obama's motivations for same-sex marriage: 70% of independents say it was for political reasons, not bc he thought it was right thing.

From the same poll:

Most oppose same-sex marriage: In CBS/NYT poll, 51% think it should be illegal; 42% say legal.

Fun times...

Partridge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

It sure is weird to see what subjects are deemed ripe for opening up and which ones aren't - and who decides or gets to approve this process of opening and closing. I mean, I have given you compelling evidence it is Mormon doctrine to start a theocracy in this country, but almost every mention of Mormonism is met with a cry of "bigotry," with no further investigation of the cult's particulars by any of you self-appointed bigotry spotters.

Meanwhile, let a cause near-and-dear to your heart - but that only pertains to 3% of the population - be picked up by men known for saying cock-a-mamy things, like Biden and Clyburn, and all of a sudden it's a *great* topic for further discussion on the national level.

Needless to say, the Tyranny Of The Elites is alive and well in America,...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

On Obama's motivations for same-sex marriage: 70% of independents say it was for political reasons, not bc he thought it was right thing.M

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time"

I guess this is that last one.

America's Politico said...

Was at the Oval Room for lunch today. Will have to stay in tonight with the blonde. SO, The WH is all excited that POTUS is raising so much money that Romney and the GOP are running scared. We can smell the victory as part of our lunch.

It is over for the GOP. All-Over. Nothing can be done.

Andy R. said...

Sooner rather than later gay marriage will be treated as a federal issue and then marriage equality will come to the entire country.

Partridge said...

Further proof that this question will, in the end, tear American society apart. It is simply a non-negotiable issue for many on both sides.

But I only hear one side demanding that this be a "winner takes all" scenario.

Phil 3:14 said...

While I certainly understand the political motivation to discuss anything but the economy, this won't play out well for the Dems.

While Independents or generally positive toward some sort of recognition for SS unions I don't think they're in the mood for discussing it, let alone fighting over it, now.

Jay said...

Oh and that CBS poll has Romney ahead with the women vote by 2.

Which really means at least 5.

Obama is terribly, terribly unpopular.

chickenlittle said...

America's Politico said...
Will have to stay in tonight with the blonde.

Why are you talking like edutcher?

When will you tell us about your recent trip to Colombia?

Henry said...

If you're going to force gay couples to buy health insurance, you might as well make them get married as well.

Bob Ellison said...

Don't we have something somewhere in the Constitution that says we can fix problems like this? It's not easy, but hadn't we better try that first?

yashu said...

From Jan Crawford (CBS) on twitter, re CBS/NYT poll:

Romney takes 3-point lead over Obama in new CBS/NYT poll, 46 to 43%. A dead heat a month ago.

War on Women? Romney now edges Obama among women, 46-44%, in new CBS/NYT poll.

Romney leads w independents in CBS/NYT poll, 43-36% Obama has even bigger edge among moderates, 50-39%.

Most oppose same-sex marriage: In CBS/NYT poll, 51% think it should be illegal; 42% say legal.

On Obama’s motivations for same-sex marriage: 70% of independents say it was for political reasons, not bc he thought it was right thing.


NB the "war on women" snark. This from a liberal newswoman!

Delicious.

edutcher said...

Jay said...

From CBS News:

Most oppose same-sex marriage: In CBS/NYT poll, 51% think it should be illegal; 42% say legal.

Fun times...


615 (they must be joking) registered voters, MOE 4.0.

Forget it.

They add support for same sex marriage and civil unions to say a majority supports same sex unions.

Don't bet the farm on that one.

What they don't say is, if you add support for same sex marriage and civil unions, the figure has been dropping since 9/2011, from a total of 65% to 62%.

That's why they're pushing this. The window may be closing.

edutcher said...

PS Isn't Clyburn the one who said they don't worry about the Constitution much when they're trying to ram through a law?

America's Politico said...

All this is totally, completely, not relevant.

There is no way - not even in the hell - that Romney/GOP can win.

The race is over. Remember: listen to me now, and believe me later.

GOP will lose every-where in the US of A. Every-where. Even SC, TX, etc. southern states will vote for POTUS, lock, stock, and 50 voting booths.

There is no hope for GOP. None. Nothing.

Pogo said...

Romney: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Obama: Gay marriage!

Jay said...

yashu,

did you see Kos try to respond to her on twitter?

Too funny...

Jason (the commenter) said...

The Crack Emcee: ...it is Mormon doctrine to start a theocracy in this country...

The only person for calling such a thing was Santorum. And I hardly think the country is going to vote for a Mormon led theocracy, or the military would put up with it, so it's hardly an issue.

Jay said...

CBS poll: 22% of independents, 12% of Dems say Obama's stance on gay marriage makes them less likely to vote for him.

Ha!

rhhardin said...

You can't fool all the people all the time, but if you do it just once, it lasts for four years.

- Roger Price (1955)

yashu said...

Jay, yes, nice little smackdown from Jan:

That story is from April--our last poll.

Heh, sorry Markos.

The Crack Emcee said...

Andy R.,

Sooner rather than later gay marriage will be treated as a federal issue and then marriage equality will come to the entire country.

And one day we're all going to do this in real-time, on camera, so you can hear us boo your every utterance at the same time.

♬Celebrate Good Times - COME ON!♪

Jason (the commenter) said...

Obama's personal opinion has been announced as if it were some new article of faith.

There was no, "everyone has their own opinion," or, "you're free to disagree with me".

This is not the act of someone trying to change people's minds, but command them. I think his actions here have been damaging to the gay community.

somefeller said...

Partridge says: But I only hear one side demanding that this be a "winner takes all" scenario.

Very true. Those people who support a Constitutional Amendment forbidding recognition of gay marriages really do want the whole enchilada, don't they?

Nathan Alexander said...

Crack,
Intent is one thing.
Without capability, there is no threat.

Winning the presidency may increase mainstream acceptance of Mormonism. Or it may help expose some of their more cultish aspects. Electing JFK POTUS did not give the Catholics a US theocracy. Neither will electing Romney make an appreciable difference in Mormon power/control outside of Utah.

The Crack Emcee said...

Jason (the commenter),

The only person for calling such a thing was Santorum.

So NOT CALLING FOR IT would be the smart move, if you want it, no?

I hardly think the country is going to vote for a Mormon led theocracy, or the military would put up with it, so it's hardly an issue.

Oh yeah? Tell me - how's that attitude worked out in Utah? Which branch of Utah government is free of Mormon control? And when did the military ride to the rescue?

Keep me posted,...I'm now going to go back to my reading on how aware of the Maharishi, The People's Temple, Scientology, The Landmark Forum, and "The Secret" you all have been, and your many miraculous efforts to stop them from ripping people off, driving them crazy, or killing them in mass.

Having your assurance you're on top of things has put me totally at ease.

BWAAAAAAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!

Peter Hoh said...

"Marriage is unusually hard to handle at the state level."

Really? Somehow we've muddled along thus far.

Some states allow first cousins to marry. Others do not. Some states allow young teens to marry. Others do not.

YoungHegelian said...

Obama has given the Democratic Party a ticking bomb with his blessings of SSM.

For now, he gets the gay community (3-4%) of the population to pony up big bucks. The black community (12%) is pissed off, but in the end will stand behind the first black president with their votes (probably not 95% this time around, I bet...).

But next presidential campaign, there will probably yet again be a honky as the candidate. The gays will push for the inclusion of SSM in the party platform, and the blacks will balk. And without a black candidate to rally around, the blacks will stay home, and the Democrats will lose.

If I were a gay activist, I'd start working REAL HARD on outreach to the black community because if you think the Dems can walk away from 12% for your 4%, you're nuts!

Partridge said...

Those people who support a Constitutional Amendment forbidding recognition of gay marriages really do want the whole enchilada, don't they?

That amendment, to my understanding, is not on the table.

And in the amendment scenario, you're at least talking about 2/3 of the states and the winner takes all. As opposed to what the professor is basically implying, where it is 1 out of 50 controls. Now you're not even talking winner takes all. You're talking one state controlling the rest. Why would any other state ever accept that?

People like the professor who support gay marriage have to say it is impossible to have a federal solution. Because it creates a no-lose scenario for them.

A no-lose scenario that is simply unacceptable. Hence, the country will be torn apart.

Alex said...

I agree let's enshrine it as a civil right and get on to Iran.

ndspinelli said...

I'm sure the Dems are confident because they have the sharp legal mind of James Clybourn leading the way.

Mundane68 said...

Look, if we can't agree that stuff IN the Constitution means the same thing from state to state (2nd Amend, 8th Amendment) then how in hell do these "Penumbras" rate universal application?

Moose said...

Civil Unions, or perhaps contractual relationships, should exist for any person or *group* of people. Why are we limiting this to SSM? Why not (in a serious way) extend this to polygamy, or groups of like minded people (communes, collective relationships, etc, so that we would, if we chose, never be alone. Given the fact that SSM arguments are based around loose definitions of "love", then we could, logically, extend that same courtesy to other groups of people.
We've managed to whittle down the concept of marriage to a very loose set of rationales, so that the very *potential* to reproduce and have a committed relationship to support the children of that relationship is *secondary* to the arguement of *love*.
It could be argued that due to the studious efforts of popular culture, we've made marriage and childrearing completely unrelated functions. Given this, the fact that the primary arguement for SSM is now "straights have totally fucked up marriage. Now let us have at it!" seems to hold sway.
The further trivialization of marriage is now inevitable. I would suggest that some sort of contract law will now be the next logical step to handle the inevitable chaos that will follow.

Bender said...

Yes, it is and was obvious.

Grossly dishonest bait and switch.

frank said...

If two (straight) 15-year-olds marry in Mississippi, and then move to Massachusetts, are they married?

Let's hope the boy can ejaulate--at least their kid[s] will have health insurance for 26 years.

Bill said...

"Andy R: Sooner rather than later gay marriage will be treated as a federal issue and then marriage equality will come to the entire country."

If, and that's a HUGE if, the Supreme Court should ever grant cert to a case about gay marriage (there's a good shot with the Prop 8 case), I don't think there's much doubt that gay marriage will be legalized.

Kennedy is the swing vote, and his opinions in both Romer and Lawrence make it pretty clear on how he'd vote in a case on gay marriage. When you cannot satisfy the rational basis test for a statute banning gay marriage, it's deemed to be solely based on animus and will be struck down.

In the event that day ever comes, that's exactly how it'll play out.

chickenlittle said...

So the federalism solution really doesn't work. I know I said — just this morning — that "Leave it to the states is a fine — truly excellent — way to package the issue and set it to the side."

Ha Ha. Now I see why Althouse said that lying was interesting earlier.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Sooner rather than later gay marriage will be treated as a federal issue and then marriage equality will come to the entire country.

Only if the 9th and 10th Amendments are repealed.

PS Is Hatman screaming, "bigot", all over the place supposed to make us feel guilty, as if he said, "Raacisst"?

If so, that ship sailed a long time ago.

somefeller said...

Partridge says: That amendment, to my understanding, is not on the table.

It seems to be on the table for Mitt Romney, as he mentions his support for such an amendment on his website. And social conservatives certainly put it on the table (and therefore were the ones to nationalize the issue first - not social liberals) when they started pushing for such an amendment during the 2000s. Now, I suspect Romney isn't interested in using much of his political capital on the issue (he seems too cosmopolitan and focused on economic issues to want to spend much time on that), but others may push the issue and he seems to feel a need to at least pay lip service to the concept. Once again, social conservatives push for big government solutions, when the opportunity presents itself.

Hagar said...

The way to get out of this is for the Supreme Court to declare that "marriage" is a religious rite, and the federal government and the states all need to get out of the marriage business and leave that to the religious organizations.
Then the federal government and the states can each enact whatever statutes they want for "civil unions" for taxation and civil benefits purposes, and everything will be nice and "Constitutional."

Pookie Number 2 said...

Sooner rather than later gay marriage will be treated as a federal issue and then marriage equality will come to the entire country.

We might well find a cure first, and then we can stop the pretense that your psychological disorder is (ahem) normal.

YoungHegelian said...

@somefeller,

Once again, social conservatives push for big government solutions, when the opportunity presents itself.

Would you mind explaining how enshrining the marital status quo for not only the US's history but the history of every society in the planet's history until the last 20 years is a big government solution?

Patrick said...

Professor, wasn't this the source of your consternation lo, these many years ago when you tried to confront some libertarian/conservative types at a conference about how "states rights" can ultimately allow some states to continue to discriminate absent an amendment to the constitution?

I think that is the heart of this issue.

I've never really had a satisfactory answer to that dilemma. Freedom of association vs. equal rights. I don't see the issue as all one sided.

I am answerless.

hombre said...

Crack(6:38): I mean, I have given you compelling evidence it is Mormon doctrine to start a theocracy in this country, but almost every mention of Mormonism is met with a cry of "bigotry," with no further investigation of the cult's particulars by any of you self-appointed bigotry spotters.

Forget "bigotry" and try "implausible." Christians have been persecuted for centuries based on one line of nonsense or another -- sometimes coupled with bigotry, sometimes not -- frequently fomented by atheists.

Maybe that's why we respect Mormons' freedom to worship as they wish and abide by the notion that they are also Americans who respect our constitutional government. (We are, after all, Christians first and Americans second, but do not espouse theocracy as part of our theology.)

Secular progressives and Marxists -- virulent atheists -- are simply a greater threat to the republic and our freedoms than Mormons.

My youngest child went to a school run by Mormons from K to 5 and emerged with his Christian beliefs unassailed. I am not unfamiliar with Mormons.

BTW, I do not accuse you here of being the kind of atheist referenced, above.

somefeller said...

YoungHegelian - Pushing for constitutional amendments that would prevent local jurisdictions from recognizing gay marriages and civil unions seems rather authoritarian. And make no mistake, civil unions are in the cross-hairs also. That's shown by the way that state anti-gay marriage amendments have generally been drafted - see North Carolina for a recent example. I won't deny that recognition of gay marriages / gay civil unions constitutes a big public policy shift. It also happens to be a public policy shift in favor of personal liberty. And those who want to prevent voters or legislators in a particular locality from being able to enact laws to recognize such unions (and once again, that's what these amendments do at the state level whenever possible and I have no reason to believe those who want to enact a national amendment wouldn't want to go that far if the opportunity presented itself) aren't acting in a libertarian manner.

frank said...

Saying that SSM is a 'state' matter is--at best--a prick tease. Over 1400 federal benefits flow from the designation of 'marriage'--chief among them Soc Sec and Citizenship. Ann--your orgasm is mere foreplay.

Jason (the commenter) said...

YoungHegellian: Would you mind explaining how enshrining the marital status quo for not only the US's history but the history of every society in the planet's history until the last 20 years is a big government solution?

The extended family has generally taken precedence over any man/woman relationship during most of human history. To the point of ancestor worship. In many parts of the world today marriages are seen more as contracts between two extended families than as romantic arrangements.

What we consider "normal" in America is an aberration.

Ralph L said...

If I were a gay activist, I'd start working REAL HARD on outreach to the black community
A group of black pastors in Greensboro took out big ads against the NC amendment, saying it could be used to limit government benefits for non-gays, without explaining how. I presume they didn't spend their own money.

Leave religious marriage out of it.
But that's half the fun, poking those hicks in the eye.

wv - est mmar Fundi

hombre said...

8:02: "The further trivialization of marriage is now inevitable. I would suggest that some sort of contract law will now be the next logical step to handle the inevitable chaos that will follow."

Logical yes, but the complete trivialization of marriage is necessary if secular humanists are to eradicate the concept of traditional family. Civil union is simply not enough.

hombre said...

Just a prediction: Kennedy is no Blackmun -- fortunately.

Ralph L said...

In many parts of the world today marriages are seen more as contracts between two extended families
Or, as in much of the Muslim world, within one extended family. Yet the bride isn't passed around like a bong.

YoungHegelian said...

@somefeller,

You accuse social conservatives of not behaving like libertarians. When have they ever pretended to be such?

@Jason,

You point of family obligations vs romantic love as the basis of marriage may be historically true, but is not apposite here. There was never a time where those notions of "joined families" was ever seen to include same sex relations as a family unit.

Also, your historical point may not be as true as you think. The great majority of mankind had no property or wealth to worry about, so who the hell knows what ideas they had about what makes a good marriage. Their voices are rarely in the historical record until quite recently.

madAsHell said...

I'm married. I've been cohabitating for a loooong time.

Can someone explain what I have that a cohabitating gay couple doesn't have?

Is all this nonsense about a tax break?

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

Once again, social conservatives push for big government solutions, when the opportunity presents itself.

Some social Conservatives, by no means all, and probably not a majority.

This is the sort of thing we hear from shiloh and a few of the other trolls.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

You accuse social conservatives of not behaving like libertarians. When have they ever pretended to be such?

That's my point. They don't care about liberty, limited government or any of that sort of thing when push comes to shove, though they like to use rhetoric using such terms. They are all about big government as much as if not more than the sort of left-liberals that many people around here rage about. And they also happen to be a large (and on domestic social policy, dominant) part of the conservative coalition, which is why a lot of us feel utter skepticism if not outright contempt when we hear claims about how conservatives are going to take government off our backs.

walter said...

"Obama has said he believes DOMA to be unconstitutional, and he withdrew from defending it"

So he appointed himself to replace SCOTUS? He really IS cool.

(Romney's still short)

walter said...

What I haven't heard mentioned is that by merely uttering "support", even without appreciable action, he is able to resuscitate a bit of the "historical" nature of '08. I mean, already played the race card..

walter said...

Although..in light of the TIME cover, it would be would be great if he could suggest he himself is 1/32 gay.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

You accuse social conservatives of not behaving like libertarians. When have they ever pretended to be such?

That's my point. They don't care about liberty, limited government or any of that sort of thing when push comes to shove, though they like to use rhetoric using such terms.


No, as I say, just some. Most don't like big government solutions to social issues anymore than they do to other things.

We've had this discussion before with Seven Machos.

Titus said...

chick, I don't think there are any gays in Mississippi.

Saint Croix said...

"I think we should have a national policy on this."

They know they're going to lose, and lose big, so now they're going for martyrdom.

Nathan Alexander said...

Here's the deal on marriage and gay marriage.

Taking traditional marriage out of the legal sphere and putting it purely in the religious sphere, and having civil unions for straights and gays won't work.

Legal marriage is about one thing, and has always been about one thing:
Providing a legal contact that supports the long-term stability of two disparate beings, with disparate needs, disparate strengths, and asymmetrical methods of manipulation, abuse, mistreatment, etc.

Meaning that, without legal marriage, women can manipulate male sex drive for material gain. Men can manipulate female desire for security, or maternity, for their own sexual satisfaction. There's lots of thought behind that, I just don't have the room to do more than shorthand.

In short, without marriage, a relationship becomes a prisoner's dilemma, with each side having pretty much only armageddon-level weapons to threaten or punish.

Marriage equalizes out the disparities...adds legal means and social expectations that protect men somewhat from being manipulated by their sex drive, keeps women from being manipulated by their maternal drive and lesser physical strength and aggressiveness.

And if the marriage fails, the legal system helps ensure that the dissolution has a chance of being conducted fairly.

The legal and social standards of marriage were originally developed to protect the interests of families, to encourage and support honorable behavior within marriage, and protect the sunk assets of both if the marriage utterly failed.

That transferred well to protecting individuals when the extended family assets/needs were marginalized.

That is the basis of marriage across the whole world.

But SSM involves the union of homogeneous types. SSM doesn't protect one male from another, or one female from another. Between two females, who gets the alimony? Both have the same career prospects, same future relationship prospects.

Between two males, who has stronger claims to the adopted child, if neither provided sperm? In a SSM, which one was societally encouraged to sacrifice career more to be the caretaker of the home?

Who needs to be protected from what in SSM?

No bright line at all.

And so SSM is just cargo cult thinking, that assumes that if gay relationships can have the traditional nomenclature, they will have acceptance.

Ms. Althouse displays some wonderful teleological thinking when she asserts that denying SSM is somehow preventing society from shaping gay behavior toward heterosexual marriage norms of stability.

The obvious rejoinder from SSM advocates is to point at multiple divorces of individuals, out-of-wedlock births, anecdotes of infidelity, etc, to say that heterosexual marriage is already far, far short of the original ideal of marriage.

Well, let me put it to you this way:
If Billy Bob starts beating up Jimmy Joe, breaks Jimmy's legs, arms, jaw, ribs, fingers, etc, then finally murders Jimmy with a bullet to his head, it would be pure evil to say, "Killing him was a mercy, he had no chance at a decent quality of life, being that beat up."

The same group of people claiming SSM will do no more damage to the institution of marriage than is already there are of the exact same ideology that has been destroying marriage for decades:

- abortion on demand
- sex education for elementary school children
- easy/cheap/free access to contraceptives
- no fault divorce
- weakening of obscenity/profanity laws
- family court default bias toward women
- domestic violence laws overreach
- extremely low threshold of proof for rape charges
- avoidance of penalties for false rape/violence charges
- lowering of penalty for women who murder spouses/children
- creation of societal pressure for women to work, derision toward women who stay at home

Nathan Alexander said...

hat's my point. They don't care about liberty, limited government or any of that sort of thing when push comes to shove, though they like to use rhetoric using such terms. They are all about big government as much as if not more than the sort of left-liberals that many people around here rage about. And they also happen to be a large (and on domestic social policy, dominant) part of the conservative coalition, which is why a lot of us feel utter skepticism if not outright contempt when we hear claims about how conservatives are going to take government off our backs.

Your point is wrong.

There is this thing called the US Constitution. You may have heard of it.

It describes the role of the Federal Govt, and the States.

Conservatives referring to the US Constitution are not looking for Big Govt solutions.

You are displaying the liberal tic of not really understanding the meaning of words, but catching the negative emotional context, and so trying to turn it back on the people you heard it from.

You were completely ineffective.

Liberty doesn't mean "doing whatever you want". Liberty means you have the unlimited and inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, just like everyone else. You are not allowed to exercise your rights to the extent that it takes away the rights of others.

But since most people are lousy judges of their own limits, the US Constitution helps delineate and clarify limits.

You may not understand the limits. You may not like the limits. You may not recognize the limits.

They are there nonetheless.

"Big Govt Solutions" refers to anyone who says "the govt should fix this" without consideration as to whether it really is the govts role or not. "Big Govt Solutions" are always an expansion of govt control of and intervention in daily life.

Social conservatives are not looking for an expansion of govt power, they are attempting to block a liberal push to expand the state and federal govt power to give them what they want: legal SSM.

Carnifex said...

As Titus says, Mississippi is like unto Iran? Or maybe Titus is a bigot about southerners? (I like this game).

And obviously Crack is a Mormon bigot.

And America's Politico is still a dumbass. AP! You remember that ol' commercial about never letting them see you sweat? Man, you are pouring buckets, bud. Is your job on the line?

As far as SSM, you morons will get your wish sooner or later, and then all hell will break loose when every other deviant demands "their" equal rights. I wanna' know though...What are you gonna say to NAMBLA? I'll just bet you're a bunch of pedophile haters myself. In other words, hypocrites.

Jane said...

Related issue: if marriage is all about "love" and has nothing to do with children, then why has gay marriage required such things as changing birth certificates to read "parent A" and "parent B" and insisting that adoption and foster agencies give equal consideration to gay and straight couples?

The Crack Emcee said...

hombre,

Forget "bigotry" and try "implausible."

Maybe, but so was Jonestown and much more - including Utah itself. Just because "most people don't think" (as Ann once said) doesn't mean they shouldn't - or that they shouldn't take precautions. We currently are doing neither, which is the biggest problem with cultism:

People have such a vested interest in protecting their belief they're in cable of learning.

Christians have been persecuted for centuries based on one line of nonsense or another -- sometimes coupled with bigotry, sometimes not -- frequently fomented by atheists.

So? And? What am I supposed to do/think after thousands of years of religious persecution from all sides? History is. 



Maybe that's why we respect Mormons' freedom to worship as they wish and abide by the notion that they are also Americans who respect our constitutional government. (We are, after all, Christians first and Americans second, but do not espouse theocracy as part of our theology.)

Hold on, Kimosabe, are you really going to tell me you're willing to elevate Joseph Smith's ripped-off "teachings" to the same level as Jesus'? Please be clear about this because it's a big stickling point for me - you're going to accept the easily provable, cynical, convicted con man, adulterer and rapist into the religious fold? 



Secular progressives and Marxists -- virulent atheists -- are simply a greater threat to the republic and our freedoms than Mormons.

Please. For starters, as I've pointed out many times, you're usually talking about NewAgers passing as atheists. I'm over half a century old and well-traveled but I've met very few real atheists in my life. Even the famous Richard Dawkins recently came out as agnostic, so be careful with your terminology. Atheists are a threat to nothing but superstition.



My youngest child went to a school run by Mormons from K to 5 and emerged with his Christian beliefs unassailed. I am not unfamiliar with Mormons.

Good for you. In my household, we're dealing with the issue of a Mormon teacher repeatedly labeling a kid "Jewhombre" in school. Considering Mormons wrap their bullshit primarily around Christianity, I'm not surprised your kid got through O.K. but I doubt you know as much about them as you think.



BTW, I do not accuse you here of being the kind of atheist referenced, above.

Thanks. I'm not - I even give so-called atheists the willies. Something few give me credit for,...

MadisonMan said...

Divorce is easier in some states than others. Why shouldn't marriage be?

PatCA said...

Right, Jane, if it's "love" then why can't three people get married, or a brother and sister?

I don't care if gays get married or not. The more stable families the better, but they can do that "without the piece of paper," as straights say derisively.

So what bothers me is the outcome. Roe v. Wade was shoved down our throats. Public opinion has changed tremendously, to the opposite of what the proponents predicted. We are more anti-abortion than ever. So why do gay advocates think shoving another law down our throats will change what is in people's hearts about gays? Why? This will not help people understand each other better and accept each other. No, it will be another battle in the long war, for what purpose I don't know, and the other side will be arming for the next round.

Steve Koch said...

From wikipedia entry on Evangelicalism:

"Demographics

The 2004 survey of religion and politics in the United States identified the evangelical percentage of the population at 26.3 percent while Roman Catholics are 22 percent and mainline Protestants make up 16 percent.

In the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the figures for these same groups are 28.6 percent (evangelical), 24.5 percent (Roman Catholic), and 13.9 percent (mainline Protestant.)"

Evangelicals are a hefty chunk of the USA population and growing.

The GOP has to make serious progress on converting hispanics to the GOP. One of the best ways will be to reach an accommodation with the Vatican since the Catholic church is such a potent force in the hispanic population, especially among those of Mexican descent. The church has been somewhat lefty but it needs to realize that the left will inevitably betray them sooner or later.

The Crack Emcee said...

Carnifex,

And obviously Crack is a Mormon bigot.

That is such bullshit. In order to be a bigot, I'd have to hate out of ignorance. But I usually know more about religion and spirituality than all the rest of you put together, so suck my dick.

If anything, you are usually bigots - against learning itself - staying with the superficial once-over handed to your by journalists and other whatnot.

Rarely has anyone here ever taught me a damned thing about religion, so before you go calling anybody a bigot, you'd do well to drag your own sorry ass before a mirror and let fly, baby, because I ain't the one.

I'm one of the few that knows what the fuck he's talking about.

Just because you poot butts don't like hearing how softheaded you usually are is no sweat off my brow:

Only your friends will tell you,...

Ironclad said...

A civil right? Then how can you forbid marriage between first cousins, brothers and sisters, or your parent? How can you take away their rights - since marriage is not about having kids (or so we are told).

Polygamy, polyandry, where does it end?

That is why you open such a can of worms whenever you start messing with the one man - one woman formula.

And don't even GO to the religious implications of all this - what is a "civil right" to one is an abomination to another.

Ralph L said...

Titus obviously forgot about Tennessee Williams and his delicious Brick, and Blanche DuBois's husband, to say nothing of Faulkner's Quentin Compson.

Steve Koch said...

The GOP should relentlessly push federalism, especially on social issues. There is no reason for the federal government to be in the marriage business.

Titus said...

Yeah, but Ralph didn't they all move away when they had the chance?

Peter Hoh said...

Ironclad, marriage of first cousins is perfectly legal in 22 states, and only a handful of states consider first cousin marriages from other states to be void.

Ralph L said...

No, they usually committed suicide (Quentin, DuBois), or tried to (Brick). Only the fabulous gays leave for the big city.

Perhaps you should consult squirt.org for cruising sites in Mississippi.

Titus said...

Ralph, Squirt is so like 2000.

It's all about Grinder now.

Get with it girl. It will get to the South...in a few years.

Trashhauler said...

Marriage is not a civil right. Marriage is an arrangement between two people, historically a man and a woman, to which society has applied certain benefits and advantages. Society did so because there was seen to be good reasons for society to support the formal joining of man and woman in wedlock. Those reasons have mostly to do with child-rearing and property rights.

The LGBT community would be far less interested in marraige if it were not for these accrued benefits and advantages. But the key question is this: Would the extension of the marriage benefits to gays serve the same purpose for society as the original reasons for them being given in the first place?

Ralph L said...

IIRC, Quentin went to Harvard and jumped in the Charles River with rocks in his pockets, so even Cambridge wasn't fab enough a hundred years ago.

only a handful of states consider first cousin marriages from other states to be void.
No one has challenged that under the full faith and credit clause?

I learned last week that my 81 y.o. boss got married in VA because his bride was 19, and 20 was the age of independence in NC at the time.

yashu said...

Crack, you're seriously suggesting that Mitt Romney intends to foist Mormon theocracy on America.

Really.

You don't think you're going a wee bit far with this? Like maybe down the rabbit hole?

If you believe it, well, nothing I say will convince you otherwise. I'm not going to even try to argue you out of it.

But let me say this. If there's any validity to your anti-Mormon anti-Romney critique, pushing it beyond the realm of plausibility destroys your credibility on this issue in toto.

Like: it's one thing to question and critique Santorum's hardcore Catholicism; it's another to suggest he may institute an Inquisition. Or, it's one thing to raise questions about Obama's Muslim background and sympathies; another to suggest he may be a secret member of Al Qaeda.

There's not a single shred of a trace of an indication in Romney's entire political and public sector career, in his entire life, that he's interested in furthering the influence of the Mormon Church in government or corporations.

Unless Mormonism has taken root in Massachussetts or Bain Capital and I missed it.

There I go starting to argue when I wouldn't. I'm just saying, Crack, I think you might be losing your sense of perspective.

And it saddens me that this anti-Mormon thing has you (even indirectly) supporting an Obama second term. (Hey, at least Obama isn't a secret theocrat!)

hombre said...

Crack (10:32): Hold on, Kimosabe, are you really going to tell me you're willing to elevate Joseph Smith's ripped-off "teachings" to the same level as Jesus'? Please be clear about this because it's a big stickling point for me - you're going to accept the easily provable, cynical, convicted con man, adulterer and rapist into the religious fold?

Oh, c'mon. You can hold your opinion that a Mormon theocracy is imminent without implying that I'm engaging 

in heresy because I said it is implausible and that they are entitled to freedom of worship. It is and they are.

I don't elevate Joseph Smith's teachings to the same level as Jesus's. It is, however, apparent that the First Amendment does just that.

Bottom line: I think Obama and the interests he represents are a greater threat to my faith, my family and my country than Romney and the Mormons.

Henry said...

Romney is a theocracist the way Nixon was a pacifist. The country is still reeling from the Quaker theocracy he put in place.

Carnifex said...

Peace Mr. Crack, it was meant as a joke. I know you hold all religions to be myth and superstition :-)

Roger J. said...

I need some legal opinion here--does not the full faith and credit clause in the consitution protect the "transportability" of marriages entered into out of the current state of residency? Seems to me there is already a consitutional protection in place. I am certainly not a constitutional lawyer (although I did stay in a Holiday Inn express last nite). Seriously, can some qualified lawyer enlighten me?

Lyssa said...

I support gay marriage because I think that it is a good solution to a (somewhat) newly recognized problem, and because I think that the public policy benefits of having gay marriage outweigh those of not having it.

I do not think that it is a "civil rights" or "equality" issue.

Lyssa said...

Nathan Alexander: But SSM involves the union of homogeneous types. SSM doesn't protect one male from another, or one female from another. Between two females, who gets the alimony? Both have the same career prospects, same future relationship prospects.

Between two males, who has stronger claims to the adopted child, if neither provided sperm? In a SSM, which one was societally encouraged to sacrifice career more to be the caretaker of the home?


This is a non-sequiter. Modern family law, at least in theory, treats males and females as equal in ability to earn a living and claims to children. Any differences between the sexes is fact-dependant, not assumed.

If my husband and I were to get a divorce, I'd be paying him alimony.

Brennan said...

Rick Santorum is right. If marriage is a civil right, what are its boundaries? If homosexual couples are prohibited from marriage recognized by the state and that violates their civil rights, then the very same claim can be made by any two, three, or more consenting adults.

Dan Savage has no answer for this. He only has puerile games which is why that is all that he uses to rebut legitimate concerns.

RonF said...

To say that civil rights should not be decided at the State level is to beg the question; is being able to get a professed bond between two people of the same sex set the legal status of a professed bond between two people of disparate sexes a civil right?

I say no. It's not a civil right. The nature of the bonds are different.

Advocates of the creation of a new civil right say that they are the same. But that's unprovable. And in any case, they base it on love and claim that heterosexual couples enjoy the right to marry someone they love and thus so should they. But there are two arguments against this:

1) States in fact do NOT let you marry someone you love of a different sex. You cannot marry your sibling, your parent, your aunt/uncle and in many cases your first cousin. If you answer "But that's a different kind of love" I will answer "so is that of a homosexual couple".
2) Examine your state's marriage law. I'll give great odds that the word "love" is not used in it. Marriage laws are not based on love. The State does not require the two people getting married to love each other. The State is not in the business of evaluating love, and I don't think we want it to.

RonF said...

Another argument that I have heard is "Civil rights have never been won by the vote, they've always been won in the courts." But that's clearly not true. The courts withheld civil rights from blacks until such time as the Congress and the States voted to grant them via Constitutional amendment. The courts then followed the vote. They neither contradicted them nor acted in their absence.

Rusty said...

Oh yeah? Tell me - how's that attitude worked out in Utah? Which branch of Utah government is free of Mormon control?


Easy there , hoss.
Nobody is going to give you Mormon.
Remember Pennsylvanis was once run by the Quakers. Maryland by the mackerel snappers, and Rhode Island.............I ferget who right now but probably another bunch of religious assholes.
Within an easy 10 minute drive from my house there are at least 15 protestant churches of all colors and 5 Catholic churches,including Greek Orthodox, 2 synagogs, Some Muslim thing and a really interesting looking Hindu Temple.
And I don't have to go to any fucking one of them.

Yours in Homer Simpson

Rusty

RonF said...

American's Politico:

Here's your 2012 election.

The House stays in the hands of the GOP, with roughly the same balance give/take 10 seats (normally they'd lose more, but red states gained some seats in the recent reapportionment I believe).

The Senate edges Republican. Maybe 52 seats.

Romney/Obama is Romney in a squeaker, I think. Could go the other way, it's still a long time until November and neither candidate has really warmed up in going after the other one. Romney certainly hasn't.

I'd say "You read it hear first" but if you've been looking around at all you haven't. This is the early consensus. That doesn't make it a lock, but it's the way to bet.

AJ Lynch said...

Clyburn is the dopiest looking Congress critter evah!

Steve Koch said...

"Modern family law, at least in theory, treats males and females as equal in ability to earn a living and claims to children."

Only in theory. In reality the mother has a far better chance at getting custody of the kids than the father.

Lyssa said...

Only in theory. In reality the mother has a far better chance at getting custody of the kids than the father.

Tell that to the perfectly unobjectionable mother that I'm fighting for, who, thanks to a really minor run-in with the police, for which she hasn't been convicted of anything, just had the formerly absentee by choice dad pop back into the picture and take the kids to another state, and the courts won't do anything.

Believe me, it works both ways.

Brennan said...

I support gay marriage because I think that it is a good solution to a (somewhat) newly recognized problem, and because I think that the public policy benefits of having gay marriage outweigh those of not having it.

How would you go about implementation of the law?

Personally I think the state should stay out of marriage and that civil unions are better. However, I have no idea how to prevent through law, polyamory, polygamy, etc, if consenting adults want to engage in such contracts.

Steve Koch said...

Hombre is the man.

Arguing to reject Romney because the Mormons will establish a theocracy in the USA is deranged.

The big concern about Mitt has nothing to do with religion but is whether he will be sufficiently conservative. If Mitt wins, conservatives will need to watch him closely and make sure that he does not stray too far to the left (like when Bush II nominated a crony to the supreme court and conservatives blasted Bush II until he withdrew the nomination).

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Lyssa said...

Brennan said: How would you go about implementation of the law?

I'm not quite sure what you mean. I would simply say that two people can get married, with the other usual limitations such as age, etc., regardless of sex. Like I said, all other domestic laws are really written on a gender-neutral basis, so application shouldn't be much of a problem.

You said that you think the gov't should be out of marriage all together - a lot of people say that, and it sounds good, but it's a pipe dream. People are going to form partnerships which affect their stuff and children. We need an organized (as organized as possible) system, which we call marriage, as to how we're going to deal with that when people die, split up, become financially dependant on each other, and produce offspring.

You can change the name of that to civil unions if it makes you feel better, but that's pure semantics and meaningless.

If polygamous couples want to make up their own contracts, fine, but there's not room for the same broadly organized system because a) they are so rare, b) each "unit" is different - different reasons, numbers of people, etc, and c) it's not practical to offer up third party benefits (gov't, employer) for more than one other person.

Steve Koch said...

Lyssa said...
"Tell that to the perfectly unobjectionable mother that I'm fighting for, who, thanks to a really minor run-in with the police, for which she hasn't been convicted of anything, just had the formerly absentee by choice dad pop back into the picture and take the kids to another state, and the courts won't do anything.

Believe me, it works both ways."

Statistics trump anecdotes and single data points. The mom gets custody of the kids the vast majority of the time.

Jane said...

So exactly what are the benefits of marriage that gays are seeking, and why do they exist in the first place? In some cases (visitation rights) it's a case of naming a "next of kin," which is (or should be) doable without marriage (and applicable, say, to the family that watches out for the elderly childless widow next-door). But what are these thousands of bennies for married couples that are being touted, and how many of them really make sense in 2012?

Jeff said...

@Crack,

I think the reason you're not getting much traction with the "Romney is a cultist" meme is that most of us know that most people don't really take their religion that seriously. How many Christians sell everything they own and give the money to the poor, as Christ clearly commanded?

I have personally been acquainted with a few Mormons. They appeared to me to be fairly devout, as these things go, but not crazy. One of them was very kind to me and helped me out of a few tight spots when I really needed it. So I don't worry too much about Romney being crazy.

Like Romney, I am a successful parent and grandparent. One thing I do know is that really crazy people, as you seem to believe Mormons are, are usually not very good at parenting. I think you can tell a lot about someone's character and sanity by looking at his children. Romney appears to pass this test with flying colors.

Many of us agree with you that Mormonism seems cultish. Some of us would extend that to all religions. However, it doesn't actually seem to have led to a lot of really crazy behavior.

Lyssa said...

Statistics trump anecdotes and single data points. The mom gets custody of the kids the vast majority of the time.

Sit in those courtrooms for a while and then tell me why. Believe me, more moms get custody because more moms want more custody and more dads don't. I can't count how many times I've seen the dad stand up in court and proclaim that the mom should have custody, because she's the mom. And, obviously, if, during the marriage, the family decided that mom would stay home or work part time to care for the kids, mom's going to have a better argument for custody. There are reasons for the statistics.

But that's not really the issue, is it? The question is, how can the existing family law structure be applied to gay marriage, and the answer is, easily.

Steve Koch said...

Lyssa said...
"Sit in those courtrooms for a while and then tell me why. Believe me, more moms get custody because more moms want more custody and more dads don't. I can't count how many times I've seen the dad stand up in court and proclaim that the mom should have custody, because she's the mom. And, obviously, if, during the marriage, the family decided that mom would stay home or work part time to care for the kids, mom's going to have a better argument for custody. There are reasons for the statistics.

But that's not really the issue, is it? The question is, how can the existing family law structure be applied to gay marriage, and the answer is, easily."

If you are claiming that there is not a huge systemic bias against fathers getting custody, you are wrong. Let's agree to disagree.

The more fundamental question, the question Althouse raised, is whether the issue should be left to the states or should be settled at the federal level. I think it should be decided at the level of the states rather than at the federal level.

Ralph L said...

You can change the name of that to civil unions if it makes you feel better, but that's pure semantics and meaningless
Except many SSM advocates want that word "marriage" and won't accept just civil unions. So much for Gay Pride.

hombre said...

Lyssa (9:01): You can change the name of that to civil unions if it makes you feel better, but that's pure semantics and meaningless.

Evidently this argument doesn't cut both ways. If it did, there would be no strife.

Additionally, a contractual agreement differs from a religious sacrament regardless of the fact that there have been civil marriages between men and women.

It is the religious sacrament that is under assault here. I wonder why.

The Crack Emcee said...

yashu,

Crack, you're seriously suggesting that Mitt Romney intends to foist Mormon theocracy on America. 

Really.

How much of the Mormon material I've posted have you looked at? It's been repeatedly stated how they've planned on doing this but you seem to have no clue about any of it.

So which is it, yashu? You don't believe or you don't want to believe? I will point to every cult atrocity in history - let's stay contemporary from Charlie Manson and The People's Temple to 9/11 and the Your Black Muslim Bakery - and, in every case, no one believed or wanted to believe. They could've been stopped, with just the slightest bit of recognition but they were not - everyone wanted to be "open-mined." That was their focus. That self-serving self-image was what was most important. Every. Fucking. Time. Here's Marshall Kilduff - who tried to expose The People's Temple - after the Your Black Muslim Bakery murders:

There's an age-old question always asked when a monster falls: What have we learned to avoid a repeat? Judging from these two stories, there's a clear answer. Absolutely nothing.

Here he is again:

Both [Jim] Jones and {Yusef] Bey were never seriously investigated until late in the game. Jones ran a string of rest homes and foster care facilities that he milked for income. He sheared off pension checks from his elderly followers and sold their possessions in exchange for a promised-land journey to Guyana, where their lives ended. There was no official inquiry until Rep. Leo Ryan went to Guyana in 1978 to check on temple members at the behest of their worried families. That mission unhinged Jones, who oversaw the forced deaths of some 900 followers, including his own suicide.

Bey [leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery] who died from cancer in 2003, was a less spectacular saga. His business enterprises brought him respect and standing. His troops chased off drug dealers, which led City Hall and police higher-ups to protect him from investigation. If that sounds like a defensible bargain, you're forgetting the people raped, abused and killed by Bey's soldiers.


Sound familiar?

From Day One, the Mormons have been involved in every form of crime known to man, always accompanied by a straight and up-right image, as they've been chased from one end of this country to the other, screaming they're "persecuted" for their beliefs. But we're supposed to understand, now, they only have the best of intentions for the rest of us. Sure. As much as I buy Utah doesn't have a theocracy. (Nobody can explain why that's happened, since the Mormons would NEVER do it.)

I keep telling you, yashu - I deal in reality - not what I want to "believe," or don't think can happen, or wish would. Here is one of my guiding quotes from someone who went through Mormon initiations with Romney:

How would a President who was also a good Mormon obey those secret oaths? It wouldn't even take a phone call from church headquarters to the White House. Mitt, being a well-trained Mormon, knows "in his heart" what God would want (which is the same thing that the church wants, of course) and doesn't need to be told. That's the way it works already in the only American theocracy in existence today (Utah). The Mormon politicians who run that state - the judiciary, the legislature, the executive branch - don't have to ask church leaders for direction. They know what they should do, without asking specifically (usually).

All you're saying is "He/they wouldn't do it." Or the American people wouldn't let them - just as they stopped all the other cult plots.

Sorry, but that's not good enough for me,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Especially because you guys aren't even taking the simplest of precautions, like seriously vetting the man.

You're just being fools,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Jeff,

@Crack,

I think the reason you're not getting much traction with the "Romney is a cultist" meme is that most of us know that most people don't really take their religion that seriously. How many Christians sell everything they own and give the money to the poor, as Christ clearly commanded?

No, you're doing it because you're ignorant. What do the individual member's actions have to to with the workings of a cult itself? Very little. Many members come and go, but then you still find yourself with 900 dead after drinking Kool-Aid and the rest of you asking how it happened.

I have personally been acquainted with a few Mormons. They appeared to me to be fairly devout, as these things go, but not crazy. One of them was very kind to me and helped me out of a few tight spots when I really needed it. So I don't worry too much about Romney being crazy.

What do those individuals have to do with church leadership and ambitions? Nothing. Have you investigated the church leadership and ambitions? No. Do you understand church doctrine? No. So you know nothing but you're defending it. Congrats, you're brilliant.

Like Romney, I am a successful parent and grandparent. One thing I do know is that really crazy people, as you seem to believe Mormons are, are usually not very good at parenting. I think you can tell a lot about someone's character and sanity by looking at his children. Romney appears to pass this test with flying colors.

Sure. Ignorance is your friend. Look - here's a woman being congratulated on being a great student and person after life in a cult devoted to sex with children.

You want to try again, Einstein?

Many of us agree with you that Mormonism seems cultish. Some of us would extend that to all religions. However, it doesn't actually seem to have led to a lot of really crazy behavior.

You haven't even checked. I live in Utah and see crazy shit happening all the time. Not crazy to them but crazy to everyone else. Why should anyone - including you - take your word (or theirs) for anything? You're both liars.

Peter Hoh said...

Me: only a handful of states consider first cousin marriages from other states to be void.

Ralph L: No one has challenged that under the full faith and credit clause?

Ralph, to the best of my knowledge, this has not been challenged. Perhaps someone with a legal database will be able to give a better answer.

Earlier you asked about civil unions. I think it goes both ways. That is, yes, there are same-sex marriage advocates for whom the word "marriage" seems more important than the rights associated with marriage. But there are plenty of people opposed to same-sex marriage who have also worked against civil unions. Richard Cizik lost his job with the National Association of Evangelicals for suggesting that perhaps civil unions would be worth considering. The National Organization for Marriage has thrown itself into efforts to repeal or block civil unions in some states. And then you have amendments like the ones in Virginia and North Carolina that explicitly block civil unions.

David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch tried to get a civil unions compromise going a few years back. No one from either side showed much interest.

Marriage is ultimately a state issue, and I don't see how a national civil unions compromise was going to work.

Jeff said...

Crack,

I've read your web site and really like it. I understand your pain and outrage at the cults. But you know that not everyone is as vulnerable to them as your ex was.

What do the individual member's actions have to to with the workings of a cult itself? Very little. Many members come and go, but then you still find yourself with 900 dead after drinking Kool-Aid and the rest of you asking how it happened.

and

What do those individuals have to do with church leadership and ambitions? Nothing. Have you investigated the church leadership and ambitions? No. Do you understand church doctrine? No. So you know nothing but you're defending it.

I'm not defending anything. But we're electing an individual, not the leaders of his church. Your argument makes sense only to the extent that Romney is a puppet of that leadership, and you haven't shown us that he is.

Yes, 900 people died at Jonestown. But according to Wikipedia there were at least 5000 members of the People's Temple before the move to Guyana. Less than a fifth of them were nutty enough to make the move. And even then, most of them were not so insane as to kill themselves. Most were murdered.

The power of a religious leader to wreak havoc depends on how stupid his followers are. But even in cults, not everyone believes everything they're being fed.

Another thing to remember is how religions age. New religions often become saner over time as their stupidest members run off to join even newer and stupider cults.

Do Mormons have some doctrines that sound completely batshit crazy? Sure they do, and like you, I'd love to see everyone turn to rational atheism. But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting.

Sometimes I wonder how people can profess to believe stuff that makes absolutely no sense and still seem mostly sane. I don't understand it, but I see it every day. Pollsters tell us that almost everyone professes to believe in one god or another. And yet, somehow, science and technology march on, medicine gets better, and life in general continues to improve for most people.

From all of this I conclude a couple of things. One is that, for most people, religion is really not as important to them as they say it is. They kid themselves.

And second, it's not enough to say someone's church is nuts. They all are. If you want to persuade us that electing Romney is dangerous, you need more than that. You have to convince us that he would have both gone to Guyana and been one of the murderers, not one of the murdered.