Carl Olson of Ignatius Insight refers to this excellent article written by Frank Furedi from the Spiked website out of the UK, as ‘a solid and rather chilling analysis.” Mr. Furedi is the author of On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence; and his article on the ‘Unholy Marriage of Snobbery and Snideyness’ should be required reading for those concerned with the directions of ‘gay marriage’ debate in our western world.
Fact is, tolerance for ‘gay marriage’ doesn’t mean extending the same courtesy to those who know the truth about ‘gay marriage,’ as Mr. Furedi explains:
“. . . for many left-leaning politicians and observers across the Western world, support for gay marriage is now a matter of principle.”
“Whatever one thinks about the pros and cons of gay marriage, a tolerant society cannot deny the right of homosexual couples to formalise their relationships. But the campaign for gay marriage is not just about rights; it is also about the contestation of values and attitudes.
“. . . over the past decade the issue of gay marriage has been transformed into a cultural weapon, which explicitly challenges prevailing norms through condemning those who oppose it. This is not so much a call for legal change as a cause, a crusade – and one which endows its supporters with moral superiority while demoting its opponents with the status of moral inferiority.
“The campaign for the legalisation of gay marriage . . . also represents a demand for the institutionalisation of new moral and cultural values. This attitude was clearly expressed last weekend by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission. . . (warning) that ‘an old-time religion incompatible with modern society’ was driving Christians to clash with mainstream views, especially on gay issues. Incidentally, by ‘mainstream’ he of course means views which he endorses.
“Phillips’ choice of words implies that . . . criticising or questioning the moral status of gay marriage is a violation of the cultural standards of ‘modern society’. What we have here is the casual affirmation of a double standard: tolerance towards supporters of gay marriage, and intolerance towards opponents of gay marriage.
“The claim that certain values and attitudes are ‘incompatible’ with modern society tends to serve as a prelude to stigmatising and attempting to silence those values and attitudes. That is why the so-called enlightened opponents of ‘old-time religion’ more than match the intolerance of those whom they denounce as homophobic bigots.
“In the Anglo-American world, gay marriage has become one of those causes through which the cosmopolitan cultural elites define themselves and construct a moral contrast between their kind and ordinary folk. What’s really important for them is the sense of superiority experienced through the conviction that ‘we’ are not like ‘them’. In this way, a clear moral distinction can be drawn between the forward-looking attitudes of an enlightened, courageous minority and the backward-looking prejudices of a homophobic majority. . . It is the sense that supporting gay marriage is now a virtuous thing to do, as culturally sanctioned by a cosmopolitan elite . . .
“In the US, questioning the status of gay marriage is often depicted, not simply as an expression of disagreement, but as a direct form of discrimination. The mere expression of opposition towards a particular ritual, in this case gay marriage, is recast as more than a verbal statement – it is itself an act of discrimination, if not outright oppression.
“So American journalist Hadley Freeman recently argued in the UK Guardian that gay marriage is not a suitable subject for debate. ‘There are some subjects that should be discussed in shades of grey, with acknowledgment of subtleties and cultural differences’, she wrote. But ‘same-sex marriage is not one of those’. Why? Because ‘there is a right answer’, she hectored, in a censorious tone. The phrase ‘there is a right answer’ is really a demand for the silencing of discussion. And just in case you missed the point, Freeman concluded that opposition to her favourite cause should be seen for what it was: ‘as shocking as racism, as unforgivable as anti-Semitism’.
“It is worth noting that the rise of support for gay marriage, the emergence of this elite crusade against sexual heresy, coincides with the cultural devaluation of heterosexual marriage. Today, heterosexual marriage is frequently depicted as a site for domestic violence and child abuse. . .
“Paradoxically, in some quarters the idea that marriage for heterosexuals is no big deal coincides with the cultural sacralising of same-sex unions. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that behind the gay-marriage discussion there lurk some profound questions about how to endow intimate relationships with meaning today. And in such circumstances, elite-sanctioned snobbish intolerance is really no more acceptable than anti-gay prejudice.
We suggest you read the entire article on the ‘Unholy Marriage of Snobbery and Snideyness.’ Cowboy Papist is grateful there are some reasoned writers today who can see the whole picture without the snobby elitist attitude of those self assigned superiors who are more culturally and politically educated than the peasant rabble of America.
- “Gay marriage … represents a demand for the institutionalisation of new moral and cultural values” (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Two Questions: Do We Need to Use a Different Word for Marriage in the Church? and, Should Catholic Clergy Cease Signing Civil “Marriage” Licenses? (adw.org)
- Three essays on marriage, the conjugal life, and homosexuality (insightscoop.typepad.com)
And a Tip of the Hat to Carl Olson of Ignatius Insight