Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Can't Liberal Folks Just Get It?

Inconsistency is bothersome.

Over the last couple of weeks, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, has taken considerable flack from liberals regarding a statement he made during a radio interview, namely that legalizing same-sex marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

To be sure, Cathy does support traditional marriage as the biblical definition of the family unit, and Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, does donate to organizations promoting traditional family units (see Alan Noble's detailed post about “the Chick-fi-Asco”).

And yet, regardless of where you fall within the spectrum of same-sex marriage approval (or disapproval); regardless of where you fall within the spectrum of considering active homosexual behavior to be sinful (or not); what is bothersome is inconsistent behavior.

Specifically, not a few liberal biblical scholars have announced that they will no longer eat at Chick-fil-A because of their “intolerance” towards marriage equality.

Have they forgotten the Oreo cookie?

If they have, or, if you have, the rainbow-colored Oreo cookie made an appearance several weeks ago supporting gay pride, and liberal biblical scholars applauded.

But why is it acceptable for Kraft (the parent company of Nabisco who makes Oreo cookies) to express their convictions with a rainbow-colored cookie, and yet unacceptable for Dan Cathy, or Chick-fil-A, to express their convictions during a radio interview?

Inconsistency ad abundantiam.

Why is one form of expression appropriate and the other inappropriate? Because one is being “intolerant?” Which side is being “intolerant?”

This torrent of disdain that has swirled around a fast-food chain using their freedom to express their convictions (which is, in fact, the same type of freedom that the self-proclaimed “champions of equality and tolerance” wish to preserve for pro-homosexual convictions), this raging against the “theologically conservative propaganda machine”, is nothing more than a demonstration of liberal intolerance.

James White tweeted earlier this week that being inclusive really “means exclusively the liberal left’s views. If you are inclusive, you exclude everyone else!”

He could not be more right.

Is it not inconsistent for these “champions of equality and tolerance” to applaud the “coming out” of the Oreo cookie, but frown upon the statements made by Dan Cathy supporting traditional marriage?

Where is the equality in that?


  1. The difference is that liberal's are right and the conservatives are wrong. ;)

    In all seriousness, it's the failure of a truly liberal paradigm of politics (or at least the modern version we have inherited). There is an unspoken set of moral standards which we all must attend to if we wish to participate in the secular public sphere. If we can't whittle down our philosophical system in accordance with such unspoken expectations, we are branded as extremists. There is no room for true dialogue. Or, as Philip Blond put it, "I believe in a free society where human beings under the protection of the law and the guidance of virtue pursue their own accounts of the good in debates with those who differ from them and in concord with those who agree."

    That doesn't happen here.

  2. Or, as Oliver O'Donovan put it:

    "My chief objection, then, to a religiously neutral "public reason," after the manner of Rawls, is that it is neither public nor reason. It is not reason in that it is not reasoning, such as a human being equipped for practical reason is likely to engage in. If I am to pursue the common good, I must be able to envisage it as good; and if I am to envisage it as good, it must correspond to what I know of good. Like Chesterton's "wicked grocer," who "rubs his horrid hands and asks what article is next," public reason offers us "reason" as a pre-determined quantity, ready sliced and ready packaged, a grocer's article. It does not invite us to a discursive engagement as human thinkers with other human thinkers on matters of common concern. The concept of a separate public sphere governed wholly by its self-sufficient public rules cannot sustain practical reason. The political philosopher, we may say, is not as such a human being, not what Wannenwetsch in his book calls a "homologous identity." Real-life political philosophy must be a moment in the thinking of actual human beings, beings who have to think not only about systems and societies but about much else besides. If those human beings are to achieve any moral or intellectual integrity, their political reflections must be coherent with the wider-ranging trains of thought by which all human beings have to live.

    It is not public, since it has defined the "public" as a kind of "private" sphere. That is to say, it is defined by what it excludes; but only private spheres can be defined in that way, which is precisely the meaning of the word, privatum. The public is defined as that from which we are none of us, and none of our concerns, excluded, the common space into which we may bring what we need the community to notice. We may, of course, accept two considerations on which the notion of a public reason rides: (i) not all that can be thought should be argued', (ii) some arguments appropriate to restricted settings and not to more inclusive ones. But these invite a complex inquiry into the range of restrictive factors that may properly affect arguments about different topics in different contexts. And this inquiry is simply cut short by the stultifying over-simplification of "the public realm." A lawcourt should refuse to consider certain things that a parliament should consider. A parliament should refuse to consider certain things that a school should consider. A school should refuse to consider certain things that a Church should consider. And a human being capable of moving appropriately between the lawcourt, the school, the parliament and the Church must be capable of reviewing the whole range of possible considerations, and their relevance to different contexts, in unfettered public discussion and debate. Politics is public precisely in its transcendence of the exclusions necessary to the specific tasks of institutions."