A lot has been said and is being said this week about civil rights.
There are ongoing online discussions–and I use the term “discussion” with trepidation–about the Confederate battle flag and the “true” history of the Civil War.
Today, there are those who are celebrating the US Supreme Court ruling that prevents states from outlawing same-sex marriage, and there are others who are decrying it.
One thing that happens far too often in the bloviation (I almost used the term “jiggery-pokery”) that passes for debate these days is the making of false analogies. To quote the Texas State University Department of Philosophy, “This fallacy consists in assuming that because two things are alike in one or more respects, they are necessarily alike in some other respect.”
An example might be, “Confederate soldiers fought bravely in the War of Northern Aggression; therefore, the flag under which they fought deserves respect.” Or, “Slavery was legal in Union states; why don’t we ban the US flag?” I’m not going into these arguments here.
I don’t want to be guilty of making a false analogy, but I’m going to take the chance. Call me on it if you will. Here are a couple of quotes that I find alarmingly (and, at the same time, amusingly) similar:
“With them it is no end of the argument to prove your propositions by the text of the Bible, interpreted according to its plain and palpable meaning, and as understood by all mankind for three thousand years before their time. They are more ingenious at construing and interpolating to accommodate it to their new fangled and etherial code of morals, than ever were Voltaire & Hume in picking it to pieces to free the world from what they considered a delusion.” (James Henry Hammond, former South Carolina governor, 1845, on the Biblical case for slavery. The term “they” refers to Abolitionists)
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court.” (Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, 2015, on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage)
Do I believe the Bible, you might well ask? I do. And I like what my denomination says about it:
“Despite the diversity of viewpoints and the complexity of the many narratives contained in the Scriptures, Lutheran Christians believe that the story of God’s steadfast love and mercy in Jesus is the heart and center of what the Scriptures have to say. ” (ELCA website)