Monday, July 16 , 2018, 4:16 am | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Randy Alcorn: In Debate over Prop. 8, Religious Dogma Conveys Conventional Stupidity

Same-sex marriage harms no one — except those without capacity for rational thought

One of the reasons America’s founders so carefully structured government to be a republic, an indirect democracy with devices like the Electoral College, was that much of the public was ignorant, superstitious and subject to the conventional stupidities of the day. Today, we still have a significant portion of the population basking in the stale effluent of their comfortable catechisms, their mental acuity stultified by self-certain ideologies. Not content to dwell all their lives in a state of peaceful, unintrusive, ignorance, these people actively seek to determine public policies that can impose their beliefs on anyone and everyone.

Randy Alcorn
Randy Alcorn

Such is the case with California’s Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage unlawful. Yes, the majority of voters approved this law, but when the majority of the population thinks like fearful idiots we can, through the devices of direct democracy, get idiotic laws like Prop. 8. When the courts test such hoi polloi laws against the master law of the land, the Constitution, these laws, fomented by special interests and driven by reactive emotion and ideological absurdities, fail the test.

Then, of course, judges are blamed for having their own doctrinaire prejudices. Eventually, the legal tests may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court gives the final exam. Once decided there, only a new wave of legislation or a constitutional amendment can reset the process. Such is the way we prudently govern ourselves to mitigate the tyranny of the majority that has historically demonstrated its capacity for injurious stupidity — typically condemned and regretted by latter generations. Codified racial segregation, brutal subjugation of Indians, prohibition of women’s suffrage; Japanese- American internment; and prohibitions against alcohol are examples. Following the trend of graduated enlightenment, future generations will marvel with disgust at today’s insane war on drugs, and at same-sex discrimination.

The issue of same-sex marriage is just another national waste of time and a regrettable distraction from far more important concerns. The fact that homosexuality persists as a focus of attention involving laws, the courts and public debate is evidence that too many minds in America have rusted in a dogmatic fog. If two men or two women want to have a ceremony that unites them as a couple and bestows whatever rights or obligations heterosexual couples have, who gets hurt?

Legal prohibitions against victimless personal choice — whether those choices involve sex, drugs, travel destinations or the color one paints one’s house — persist not because of conventional wisdom, but because of conventional stupidity derived from irrational, constricted notions of acceptable personal behavior. When enough people are so uncomfortable with other people’s personal lifestyle choices that they prohibit those choices, we have tyranny of the majority.

Gay marriage opponents argue that children will be subject to the perverting influences of a society that condones “unnatural” unions. Protecting the susceptible minds of children from the harsh realities of the world is often used as the justification for oppressing the adult population. But, in a digital world where even the most secretive institutions, like the Pentagon, cannot keep its secrets from the general public, how can any parents prevent their children from exposure to the realities of life, whether those realities be judged good or bad?

The best thing parents can do to protect their children from the wicked world is to prepare them for it by teaching them to effectively use nature’s greatest gift to humanity — the capacity for rational thought. While basic Golden Rule moralities are essential, filling a kid’s brain with the sludge of immutable doctrine impedes critical thinking and, when experience contradicts doctrine, can precipitate neurotic guilt or wholesale refutation of doctrinal moralities.

Those who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds present the most egregious threat to fundamental human rights because they believe that the dictates of religion supersede secular laws. Taken to its extreme, religious law replaces secular law. This is the case in some Islamic nations where citizens can be savagely punished for infractions of religious principles.

Other than a lobotomy there is probably no greater impediment to rational thinking than unquestioning religious dogma. The notion that some mythical deity, through the medium of ancient writings, alleged apparitions, or images on pastries, dictates the parameters of human behavior defies logic — dangerously so when it informs public policy.

Nevertheless, when they do not impose themselves on public policy or cause harm to others, religious beliefs and practices, no matter how ludicrously implausible or repugnant to social convention, should be tolerated. For instance, polygamy among consenting adults has no victims and should not be prohibited by secular law.

We may not be entirely comfortable with certain lifestyle choices, but we should tolerate them and defend the right to chose them because, ultimately, personal freedom and human rights are more essential to everyone’s pursuit of happiness and fulfillment than are the comfortable conformities of conventional stupidity.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >