Banning Same-Sex “Marriage”: Politics As Usual?

George W. BushYou have probably already heard that the Senate is set to debate an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In his weekly radio address last Saturday, President Bush came out strongly in favor of the amendment. He said:

Marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all (source).

Critics of the President are saying that he is merely pandering to his base and that there are more important things that he needs to be focusing on. For instance, Gavin Newsom, the Democrat mayor of San Francisco who issued same-sex “marriage” licenses in 2004, says that “It’s politics, it’s pandering and it’s placating the core constituency — the evangelicals” (source).

Even the New York Times chimed in this morning in an editorial titled “Divide and Conquer the Voters”:

President Bush devoted his Saturday radio speech to a cynical boost for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It was depressing in the extreme to hear the chief executive trying to pretend, at this moment in American history, that this was a critical priority . . .

All this effort to divert the nation’s attention to issues that divide and distract would be bad enough if the country were not facing real, disastrous problems at home and abroad. But then, if that weren’t the case, Mr. Bush probably wouldn’t feel moved to stoop so low (source).

My take on this turn of events is this. If fulfilling a pledge to do what the people who put you in office elected you to do is pandering, then let’s have more of it. The fact is that President Bush would not have been elected in 2004 had there not been referendums on gay “marriage” in swing-states like Ohio. The base turned out in election 2004 because of this very issue.

Not only that, it would add insult to injury for him not to support something that he told his base he supports in principle. He’s already demoralized his base on immigration, and he cannot afford to waver on traditional marriage.

I don’t care if he’s doing it to bring up his poll numbers. I’m just glad he’s doing it. It’s the right thing, even though it is not likely to get the two-thirds majority needed in the Senate.

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16 thoughts on “Banning Same-Sex “Marriage”: Politics As Usual?”

  1. Dr. Burk,

    I find it interesting that no matter what President Bush does, it is up for attack by the media. I know this is not a very astute observation but I remember a time when the News Media had a respect for the office of the President. I would rather see him try to pass this amendment and fail than to sweep it under the rug. These issues need to be brought to the forefront. The media will say he is trying to be “divisive” when in truth he is sticking with his platform. Here is another observation which is not very astute, tolerance has run amuck in this country and if you are one who refuses to “go along” so we can all “get along” then you are a bigot (unless you hate Christianity or conservatism, then you are part of the liberal intelligentsia) and deserve to have your free speech censured. Interesting days are ahead for those who would stand for the Truth.

    Jeff

  2. Interesting thoughts, both from Dr. Burk and from the above commentator. However, a few points to consider…

    1) Gay Marriage IS a trivial issue. Let’s look at the facts here…at absolute most, we’re talking about 7-8% of the population (some gays claim 10%, the uber-conservatives claim 3%, so let’s split the difference here), and yet Bush made it a major force of his campaign. Over less than 10% of the population? That’s a campaign issue? Only if you want to play to a whole bunch of people that otherwise wouldn’t vote.

    2) It is pandering, in the worst sense of the word. They’re playing this the same way they played the partial-birth abortion ban (which I wholeheartedly support, by the way). In the case of the partial-birth abortion ban, it was intentionally worded in a way that made it unconstitutional (all it needed was an exception for health or life of the mother). Then they get to sit up and scream that the “evil liberals” stopped them, allowing them to go out and scare up more confused religious folk to vote for them. Same case here. Put up an unpassable amendment, watch it fail, watch the social conservative base go nuts. They’re playing the social right like a fiddle, and y’all fall for it every single time.

    3) If George W. Bush is such a great Christian, a few questions…

    a) why did he support a bankruptcy bill that is contrary to the idea of the sabbath year? We are supposed to be forgiven our debts every seven years, and while this might not be (as) applicable in modern day, greed and lust filled America, if it was good enough for God, it should be good enough for a Christian.

    b) why virtually no compassion for the poor?

    c) why lie to our children and tell them that they’re getting a fighting chance in school, only to yank the carpet from under the schools? (my soon to be wife is a teacher, and I hear NCLB horror stories constantly from her and others)

    d) simple one: what’s his favorite Bible verse, John 3:16 excluded?

    4) Enough already of the liberal bashing. Do you know how many Christians fall hard left on the political divide? I go to a church filled with them, and guess what, we get scripture filled sermons as given by a male pastor with no overtures towards PC fanfare every week. We exist, and I laugh every time someone tries to defend this sad sack of a president because he claims half-heartedly that he’s a Christian.

    As for the claim that there’s no longer respect for the office of president, I scoff heartily in your direction, Jeff. I respect that office A LOT. I respect its power. I respect its authority. I respect the weight it holds in the world theater. So, when I see a president that exploits its power, I wince. When I see a president who oversteps his authority, I cringe. And when I see a president who doesn’t understand his place in the world theater, I am frightened for my children (when I have them), my soon to be wife and for our future generations.

    In short, a pox on all of our houses for falling for this hype time after time. George Bush could care less about gay marriage (in 2000, he said it should be left up to the states). He could care less about our poor, our underpriveleged. A real Christian would tend to them, like Abraham did for Lazarus in the parable. George W. Bush is one of the rich men if I ever saw one.

    Paul

  3. Paul,

    Marriage is not trival issue by any means, this country is already headed down the tubes letting same sex marriage will only flush the toliet. There are a lot more gay/homosexual people out there than your numbers say. Get off George Bush already. this is why. ” … there is no authority execept from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1 NASB

    So who appointed George to office the people of the United States or God himself? If God is in control then why are you so ready with your list of complaints against the man. Why do you have that stone in your hand? Do you complain about the people’s choice or about God’s choice? Do you really expect George to show his Christian muscles in the office of President?

    You say you respect the office of the presideancy … not seeing it.

  4. Paul
    Any good liberal knows that compassion is measured by how much tax dollars go into social programs and education. You say Bush has no compassion for the poor and has underfunded education. Under the Bush administration the amount of money going to social programs is at an all time high. As far as schools, how much money is enough? With all the tax dollars going into education one would think that American schools would be world class, but everyone knows that the old one room school house turned out better students than our schools today.

    You have much criticism about Bush and how he brings you fear, cringing and wincing, how about a president who molest interns in the oval office, lies to a federal judge and lies to the American public. Did that trouble you much?

  5. The only “country” God deals with is Israel in a prophetic sense. God doesn’t recognize America as a Spiritual entity. Our mission is “preach the gospel” not fight for legislative morality. What should it profit a country if they are conservative in their morality and their citizens lose their souls? The homosexuals will continue to practice their lifestyle no matter if the “golden amendment” passes or not. The only deliverence for them is being “born again”, just like you and me. PTL-Rick

  6. Wow. So many of the blind following the blind.

    These first three are to address Damion:

    1) I didn’t say Marriage was a trivial issue. However, I did say that “GAY MARRIAGE” is a trivial issue.

    2) Unless you live in San Francisco, Chicago (my hometown), Philly or Seattle, you’re not going to see figures larger than those 10% figures quoted in my first post. Everyone talks about how many homosexuals there are around and about destroying our country, but who here actually knows one? ten?

    3) If Bush was chosen by God, then so was Clinton. If Clinton was also chosen by God, then you have no place to criticize him either, do you?

    Next, for Craig Moore:

    4) The problem with spending is not the spending itself, it’s the programs we spend it on. Welfare reform shouldn’t have been a scaling down of welfare, it should have been a reshaping of it. What is welfare if it doesn’t provide job training, chances for better education and solid reasons for not being on welfare in the first place? What is No Child Left Behind if it allows school systems to knock out minority scores (which NCLB provisions do allow for)? As for our schools, I admit that the system is broken. We need fresh ideas, back to basics teaching and accountability at all levels. But we also need to stop chopping away at arts funding for the schools. We’re raising up a generation that is ignorant of American culture and history. Time and time again, musical training and foreign language training have been linked to all around better scholarship, and yet we’re the only first world nation to expect our children to only know one language. We’re the only nation that doesn’t give a hoot about classical or jazz music. And soon, at this rate, we’ll be losing ground in the secondary education department to countries that take scholarship seriously. Instead, we have a country that takes NASCAR and country music seriously because they’re all Republicans. Instead, there are school districts where parents are still trying to get books banned (including “Freakenomics?”)! This is insanity well beyond the usual reactionary tone that we’ve become accustomed to. You’re right. We should have world class schools, but also understand that both sides have messed up royally in the public school situation, and both sides should be showing contrition for the state that this country’s schools are in. But to think that NCLB is the answer is to have one’s head stuck ALL the way in the sand.

    As for Clinton, he was in the wrong as well. But his moral mistakes were slight compared to Bush’s fumbling of Afghanistan, Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the partial-birth abortion ban, medicare, social security, the trade deficit with China, relations with Cuba, and many more issues. As the bumper sticker says, “nobody died when Clinton lied.” I might take issue with Clinton’s indiscretions, but I’ll take those over having to live with dead friends any day of the week.

    Finally, for Henry Frueh:

    5) completely agreed. Religion and politics shouldn’t be mixing, especially at the rate that they do now. What we have now is Cafeteria Christianity, where certain key issues become the seeming whole of what Christianity is. Which is why the idea of a Gay Marriage amendment is so asinine. There are how many verses about homosexuality in The Bible? Great. Now, how many verses are there about charity and helping the poor? Good. Now, which one have you cared more about in the last week? If it’s Gay Marriage, you’re a cafeteria Christian.

    Anyway, Henry is right. We ought not be worrying about legislating this stuff. We as Christians have a job to do, and that is to spread the Gospel. And to my eyes and ears, that means doing the good news where possible, not just talking about it. Helping people wherever possible, and when asked why we do such things, telling them that we’re only doing as Jesus instructed us to do. Remember, the Christians at Antioch were called Christians. They didn’t call themselves that. That is SOOOOOOOOO instructive, and yet so many today don’t get that. Instead of looking for the people that work in the name of the Father, they look for the people that work in the name of themselves. The ones that wear their “Christianity” like a medal on their chests. This is how I know Tom DeLay and George Bush AREN’T Christians. They only talk. They don’t walk. But they get elected because Christians are so hungry to have Christians in office that they don’t ask questions. Like, “what’s your favorite Bible verse, John 3:16 excluded, and how do you live it out in your daily life?”

    If Bush could actually answer that one, I’d start voting Republican in a heartbeat.

    Back on the subject, though. We need to be praying for these people, not making life harder for them. When was the last time you prayed FOR the healing of homosexuals as opposed to praying AGAINST them?

    Just some things to think about…

  7. Paul,
    So are we to infer that you vote Democrat because those you vote for can quote another Bible verse and show how they live it out? How about “Thou shalt not kill”? as the dem’s vehemently fight for a woman’s right to abort over a child’s right to live? The GOP is not at all a model of perfection, and I don’t personally know anyone who says that it is.

    BTW, I love NASCAR and country music, and hold a ThM and a PhD, and am a college professor. So no cracks on the NASCAR-loving folks as if they are all uneducated rednecks.

    Perhaps when we are all as enlightened as you then the world will be a better place.

    Barry

  8. Barry,

    I vote independantly for the best candidates in my district, state or country. I consider abortion to basically be a dead issue because there is no way that Roe v. Wade is going to get overturned nationwide (look at how the GOP is staying silent over the abortion ban in S. Dakota). Again, it is one more instance where the GOP talks out of both sides of its mouth. More proof? The partial birth abortion ban which was intentionally worded in an unconstitutional manner. More proof? Making the Terri Schiavo debacle a national media circus while forgetting to tell the American people that Bush had passed a bill that allows for the pulling of the plug for families that can’t pay the medical bills while governor in Texas. More proof? Parading a Federal Marriage Amendment with no hope of passing while Republican numbers are in the toilet. More proof? Touting NCLB and The Faith Based Initiative as cures for society’s ills and then willfully underfunding both. How many more instances do you need before you finally realize that Bush and Co. are about as Christian as Bertrand Russell?

    As for your defense of Country music and NASCAR, I’ll back down when any Country music fan demonstrates any sort of knowledge of American culture beyond NASCAR and Country music and American contributions to the art and music world also outside of such. Haven’t seen it yet. We’ve raised at least one generation of potential rednecks in bubbles who don’t know where they came from whatsoever. And that’s sad. And both modern country music and NASCAR are indicative of that.

    And, by the way, Barry, nice job of falling back on cliches and attempts at subtle humor when you can’t argue on the merits of the discussion. You’ve made PhD’s worldwide proud today.

    Paul

  9. WOW………

    Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you being evil speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. (Matt 13:33-34, NASB)

    …..I hope lost people don’t get on here and read our conversations.

  10. Paul,
    Yes – I would like proof as to how you can possibly know the following:

    “intentionally worded in an unconstitutional manner”

    “forgetting to tell the American people” (BTW-does the GOP run the media? So was it the GOP making the TS case a debacle or was it the media? How can this possibly be attributed to the GOP? – false charge)

    “willfully underfunding both”

    The fact is, you cannot prove these claims (“intentionally,” “willfully,” “forgetting”) since they are based on a knowledge of the various lawmakers’ intentions (i.e. their mental acts), which cannot be known unless they are made public. Show me the money, Paul, and I will concede your points made here. Passion does not equal proof.

    Also – a false charge against me: I did not make the assertion that “Bush and Co.” are Bible-believing Christians or that even a majority of the Rep party are Christians. I hold no such clouded view of the Rep’s. Please read more carefully those to whom you reply.

    And yes – many of us question the timing of the recent marriage act, but I for one don’t believe the poll #’s are accurate. Perhaps I am wrong – we will have to see in November.

    Abortion is not a “dead issue” (please make another choice of words here) for a large number of Americans, many of which are Christians. In contrast, it is one that many are passionate about given that lives are at stake. I wonder if you have children. I would wager that you do not; one’s views of killing the unborn tend to sharpen when you have seen it all up close and firsthand. For this and many reasons I will not throw my hands in the air and call abortion “dead.” There is too much at stake. I am still hopeful that it can one day be sent back to the states, and for that to happen I will be sending politicians to D.C. who see things this way. At this point in history, you well know, most who hold this view happen to be Republican.

    Another false charge against me (and other racing/country fans): What would you like to know about culture? Would you like to discuss the merits of Handel or the influence of Palestrina on J.S. Bach? Or is it just American culture you would like to discuss? Music? Our history? Fine dining? Museums? Art? I am all ears concerning our culture. Much of it nauseates me, and much of it fascinates me as a study of human nature, depravity, and the glory of the Gospel of Christ when sinners come to Him.

  11. Jeff,

    first I want to address what you said. A contentious argument does not a brood of vipers make. When it comes to politics, Christians come in all shapes and colors. Some are full blown conservatives who believe that our best nation can be achieved when the barriers between church and state are taken away. There are also those like me who see the touch of Machiavelli and Constantine in the works of the modern day Republican party, and are scared senseless by it. When there are differences of opinion, of course, debate will ensue. IT IS A GOOD THING FOR THESE DISCUSSIONS TO COME TO THE TABLE. It is good for me to know that all Republicans aren’t simply sheep following an errant shepherd, and it is good for conservatives to know that there are pro-life, pro-faith based initiative liberals out there that are still very much Christians, but see their duty as Christians in a different light.

    Jeff, for me it comes down to this, and I might be wrong here, but I can’t say I’ve been seriously challenged on this notion yet:
    Conservative Christians believe in spreading the Gospel by telling people about it. Liberal (politically speaking…there is a clear difference between Christians that are liberals and Liberal Christians) Christians believe in spreading the Gospel by acting on it.

    So, that said, when people of differing viewpoints gather in one place, there will be discussion. That discussion needs to happen, and it doesn’t make us bad Christians for doing so.

    Now, onto Barry…

    I am quite enjoying the debate. Thank you, to start.

    1) Partial Birth Abortion Ban worded unconstitutionally: leaving out exceptions for life and health of the mother made it an unconstitutional bill on its face. While I know the argument stands that the mother, at this point in the pregnancy process is practically guaranteed a healthy delivery, all it took were those two exceptions to make it a lock. And the Republicans that crafted the bill refused to do so. That refusal cost them that bill, as well as their best shot at slowly chipping away at Roe v. Wade. That’s a fact.

    Personally, I tend to believe that it was done so that they could go back to Dobson, Perkins, et al, and claim that they tried, without having to answer to pro-choice republicans about it when it passed and became law. Pretty brilliant, actually.

    2) Terry Schiavo media circus: it’s definitely a GOP manipulation when lawmakers get involved, throw news conferences and make it a campaign point (please take a moment to remember the Mel Martinez (R-FL) talking points sheet about the Schiavo case). It’s definitely a media manipulation when GOP lawmakers take up valuable Senate and House floor time to talk about this case and how the godless activist judges are destroying America. So, yes, it was media manipulation of the highest degree.

    But, it becomes worse when you look at the fact that this same GOP’s House leader (DeLay) had a relative taken off of life support in much the same fashion that Michael Schiavo was attempting to do. It becomes worse when you find out that Bush passed a bill pulling the plug on patients that couldn’t foot the bill that weren’t showing signs of improvement.

    It is after one knows the whole story that the motivations become apparent. While I can’t know a man’s heart for sure, I can make a guess by studying his actions. And the actions of the GOP in those two situations alone make me realize that they are opportunists who use hot button issues (like abortion and TS and gay marriage) to win your vote, even though time and time again, they willfully go into losing battles with these same issues.

    I am glad that you see through the Chutzpah of the Rep’s these days. However, many Christians do not, and it scares me to no end. Also, Barry, please remember that in a situation like this, it is important to address one but speak to many. So, I am doing so. Please do not take this stuff personally.

    As for abortion as a political issue, as far as I’m concerned, the lack of comment from Republicans over the S. Dakota abortion ban is telling. Very much so. They want to campaign on the issue endlessly. However, they don’t want to see it actually come to light because then they will have to answer for it. Right now, they have it easy. Talk about how something is bad that has been protected by the supreme court over and over again. But, by the same token, why has a full on abortion ban not been voted on since 1994? The Republicans (the moral ones, right?) have had control, they’ve had a supposedly sympathetic president to back them up. All of their ducks should be in a row. But that silence on the S. Dakota abortion ban is telling.

    So, at the end of the day, it is a non-issue to me. Would I like to see abortion numbers go down? You bet. Do I think that the proper way to do that is through honest sex education and honest education about abortion? Absolutely. That’s something we DON’T have in America, and it’s the reason why we have the highest single mother rate in the developed world, the highest divorce rate in the developed world and the highest abortion rates in the developed world. And we thought all of those liberals in Europe were bad.

    What I’m saying here is this: all of those Republicans that you want to vote for because they’re pro-life might be great because they’re pro-life, but they absolutely stink to high Heaven in every other department in the book. So, when you vote for these awful excuses for politicians, you’re sending people into office who can’t run the country who aren’t going to vote on an abortion ban anyway!

    As for culture and art and music, sure, give me a little bit about the influence of the impressionist composers upon modern popular music of the 20th century, and how that influence upon Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington ended up influencing the whole of modern music as we know it today.

    Tell me a little bit about why Jack Kerouac was such an influential author.

    Picasso: friend of art or enemy of advancement?

    And finally, please tell me why Contemporary Christian Music is so awful? I am tired of turning down offers from Christian bands to play with them because I can’t stand to listen to them.

    Thanks,

    Paul

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