An Open Letter To Evalyn Bennett On Opposing Equal Rights

Apr 10, 2013

Dear Evalyn Bennett:

In your open to letter to the SCOTUS you presented arguments in opposition to equal rights for same sex couples.  After reading your letter I found your arguments to be founded upon fallacious reasoning which, even though the SOCTUS will dismiss your letter, I thought I would take time to debunk and refute your arguments publicly.

You begin with the argument that “The reason you [SCOTUS] are having difficulty reviewing the cases [DOMA & Prop 8] is because the premise for their consideration is found in God’s moral law (natural law), not the Constitution.”  This argument commits the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam or appeal to authority.  There is no reason to consider the divine revelation of your religious scripture to be authoritative.  Further, the laws of the United States and the judiciary are not contingent upon or bound by the allegedly revealed truth contained in your scriptures; we are not a theocracy.  The argument is also a fallacious appeal to nature, the claim that a thing is good because it is ‘natural’, or bad because it is ‘unnatural’.  Even if we can agree that some things are natural and some are not, what follows from this?  The answer is: nothing.  There is no factual reason to suppose that what is natural is good (or at least better) and what is unnatural is bad (or at least worse).

You then assert that the “interpretation of DOMA and Proposition 8 must be based on the cultural and moral context of the United States at the time the Constitution was written and ratified.”  This is false for if that were the case then slavery, being both culturally and morally acceptable at the time the Constitution was written and ratified, would still be allowed.  As a matter of fact, your Christian forbearers argued just as you are now that slavery was endorsed by their god, that it was allowed by scripture and was therefore good and moral.  Our society evolved and through the application of reason, as opposed to revelation, decided that the ownership of black people by white people was actually immoral.  Society adapted and changed for the betterment of everyone which is what you will see again with the striking down of laws forbidding equal rights and privileges to same sex couples.

You are partially correct, the “Constitution and Bill of Rights do not define or assert traditional marriage as an inalienable right” however the reason is not “because it was inconceivable to the Framers of the Constitution”. The Bill of Rights does not grant us our rights nor does it define all the rights we claim for ourselves.  By your logic, as a female you should have your right to vote revoked because the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not define or assert that women have such a right.  It was inconceivable to the Framers of the Constitution that women would actually want a voice in government.  Perhaps they were just obeying 1 Timothy 2:12.

You assert that discrimination against homosexuals has been “based on the Old and New Testament teachings of our Judeo-Christian heritage” and “has prevailed in our nation until very recently.”   The fact that something is traditional does not make it correct.  Our laws are not contingent on the Old or New Testament, if they were we would be stoning disobedient children to death and forcing rape victims to marry their rapist.  John Adams himself signed the Treaty of Tripoli affirming that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

You cite correctly that “until 1973 homosexual conduct was considered deviant behavior by the American Psychiatric Association” but this fact is irrelevant.  Psychology is a science and not a religion; it changed its views to fit with observation.   The current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.  Your derision of the SCOTUS for striking down state sodomy laws reflects your anger over secular civil law trumping religious law.  What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home, as much as you would like to impose your religion on them, is of no concern to you or the state.

You claim that “the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is defined by God, and it is not man’s prerogative to change God’s moral law.  His law is codified in the numerous statutes recorded in the Old Testament.”  SCOTUS is not hearing arguments pertaining to a change of your religious law, we are not a theocracy and are not governed by your religious law.  This issue concerns civil law, the law which actually governs our society.   The laws of United States are entirely separate from and in no way subordinate to the religious laws enacted by 6000 year old Middle Eastern tribes, a fact that seems to escape you.  Are you honestly unaware of how our government operates or are you being willfully ignorant so as to argue for the imposition of certain theocratic laws which have been cherry picked from your scripture?

You cite that “the Constitution does not grant homosexuals a fundamental ‘right’ to marriage” but nor does it grant heterosexuals a right to marry, it is silent on the issue.  There is no rational basis for your constitutionally undeclared “right to marry” to be granted special recognition and treatment by the government.  Your assertion that “what God has unequivocally deemed wrong, man’s law can never make right” is another appeal to authority.  Secular law is not contingent on religious pronouncements and though you have every right to shout, write letters and preach sermons about what your god has deemed wrong, unless you can provide a rational basis to conclude something is wrong, your claim is unworthy of consideration.

Your assertion that the 40,000 children being raised by gay couples is a tragedy is ridiculous on its face.  It is so absurdly bigoted that I will not insult the intelligence of the reader by bothering to refute it.

Your claim that granting equal protection to homosexual couples will lead to things like bestiality and incest is not only a slippery slope fallacy but absurd.  Adultery and sex outside of marriage are not unlawful nor do we obey your religious law whereby god commands the execution of adulterers.  Attempting to tie marriage rights for gay couples with bestiality and incest is a non-sequitur argument.

You assert that your First Amendment right of religious freedom would be infringed because “Bible-believing Christians would be forced to pay taxes to provide benefits to same-sex “marriage” partners of federal employees.”  This argument fails for an obvious reason, the reception of federal benefits by people whom your religion condemns and whom you despise in no way infringes upon your right to practice religion.  Your freedom of religion does not require the Congress to seek religious approval before spending money.  You pay taxes as a citizen of the United States; there is no such thing as Christian tax dollars or Muslim tax dollars, your religious affiliation is irrelevant.  Your right to religious freedom is in no way infringed when someone with a different sexual orientation receives equal treatment from the government.

You claim that DOMA and Prop. 8 enacted your god’s standard of marriage.  If that is true then that is the only reason needed to justify their being struck down.  Laws based on nothing but religious pronouncement clearly violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

You assert that “God’s moral law does not need the defense of DOMA, Proposition 8, or the states’ amendments”.  Then I have to ask, why did you waste your time writing an open letter to the SCOTUS?  If you actually believe what you just wrote then it should not matter if the SCOTUS grants equal protection to same-sex couples, your god does not need those laws.  You go on to cite further scriptures and even reference the myth of Sodom and Gomorrah as if you are unaware that the SCOTUS does not base judicial decisions on religious scripture.  Did you actually read the story? Lot did not seem very worried about marriage or fornication when he offered his two virgin daughters to be raped by the crowd of men outside his house.  Could that be because at the time the myth was written women were seen as property and rape was OK if you were trying to protect a couple of strangers?  I wonder if the SCOTU would have ignored that part like you?

Your claim that the SCOTUS is accountable to your god is absurd, your god is completely unsubstantiated.  Your god, if he does exist, has seemingly chosen to keep his all-powerful mouth shut on every issue you have cited.  The fact is your god, if he actually existed, is apparently apathetic about the issue.  The only people raising hell are religious zealots upset at the fact that their religion, with its Bronze Age morality and magical claims, is not being taken seriously in our modern civil society.

Like the slave owners and racist of decades past, society evolved away from irrational and immoral traditions and toward a better society.  They were on the wrong side of history and in a few decades, after you have passed away, generations to come will look back and note that you too were among the bigots and backward thinkers also on the wrong side of history.

Sincerely,

John Tremblay [EMAIL]

AccordingToReason.org

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