December 18, 2008
Lowering the volume on Warren-gate
Posted by: Chris
I'll admit that my initial reaction late last night to the controversy over Barack Obama naming evangelist Rick Warren to give the inauguration invocation was a bit unfair in characterizing (err, disparaging) the motives of those offended by the decision. I still believe that political correctness and ideological purity underly most of the complaints, but I have heard from some who I would never characterize that way.
One thing they cite is how supposedly "compared" or "equated" gay marriage to incest and polygamy in explaining his support for Prop 8 in California:
I’m not opposed to [gay marriage] as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.
This is neither "comparing," nor "equating." In fact, Warren specifically draws a distinction between that which he does not oppose -- gay marriage -- and the parade of horribles he thinks opening up redefinition of marriage will lead to -- incest, pedophilia and polygamy.
The proverbial "slippery slope" is used when the speaker knows his audience sees no real problem with the proposal at hand, and so must be jolted to attention by what would somehow inevitably follow:
If you raise taxes, it will slow the economy, put people out of work, throw us into a recession and require socialist bailouts to get us back on track.
Does that "equate" or "compare" raising taxes with socialism? No.
Recognizing Rick Warren's argument as slippery slope and not comparison does not make his claim any more reasonable, but it does make it less offensive -- although clearly offended is what we do best on our side, rather than meet arguments head to head, with confidence that ours is the stronger position.
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