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March 01, 2004

My Ignorance, My Bliss

While I was wrestling with a moot cour/LRW brief arguing that receipt of a gun as payment for drugs constitutes "use" of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, it appears Three Years of Hell and the Curmudgeonly Clerk found much to dislike about Congressman McDermott's speech that I posted yesterday, as well as the fact that I posted it at all. There are several comments on their pages, as well as more in dialogue with Letters of Marque. Anthony (of Three Years) and the Clerk argue that McDermott is making a dumb argument, and that it was dumb of me to post it. To review, McDermott made a short speech using citations to the Old Testament to mock those who would like to make U.S. social policy conform to "Biblical principles."

I admit my ignorance of Biblical specifics is gross (meaning broad or general), in part because I determined long ago that any reference to the Bible (Old Testament or New) to support or refute any position was asking for trouble. Obviously, reference to the Bible to point out this fact is also asking for trouble. But seriously, people can toss "scripture" at each other endlessly and there's never going to be a winner in those fights. In that spirit, I didn't intend the McDermott speech as a serious argument about gay marriage or anything else; it simply mocked the ridiculous "prayer request" it responded to, and I still think it did that quite well. When the Presidential Prayer Group asked that U.S. policy conform to "Biblical principles," it didn't specify any content to those principles, so McDermott chose to respond with Old Testament citations. Anthony and the Clerk claim it was ridiculous or dumb or disrespectful or something along those lines to refer to the Old rather than New Testament, and perhaps they're right. But if McDermott's point was that the Presidential Prayer Group's request was ridiculous or dumb (and I think that was at least part of the point), then choosing those Old Testament passages made that point quite well.

But as I said, in posting McDermott's speech I wasn't trying to make a serious argument about gay marriage or civil unions or the Bible, and therefore I admittedly didn't do a lot of (or any) homework on these subjects. I figured my intent would be clear from the glib sarcasm of my remarks following the quotation. For future reference, if I want to make a serious argument about gay marriage or civil unions, I probably won't base that argument on the Bible.

All of this is tangential to the main and more important point on which Anthony and I agree: The government simply shouldn't be in the "marriage" business. We should grant equal rights to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, and leave "marriage" to religion.

Now back to that brief...

Posted 06:00 AM | Comments (9) | general politics

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