United Methodist Church Divided Over Gay Marriage

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“A Church Divided: Methodists Clash Over Gay Marriage,” produced by Amanda Winkler. About 8 minutes. Original release date was May 20, 2014 and original writeup is below. 

"The church is really trying to sweep this under the rug and we're pretending we're all united, we're the United Methodist Church after all," says former Methodist minister Frank Schaefer on the division within the United Methodist Church (UMC) over the issue of homosexuality. 

Schaefer says there was "no way in Hell" he would have declined when he was asked to ordain his son's same-sex wedding in 2007. "I saw it as an act of love," says Schaefer. 

Others within the church saw it as an act of rebellion. Former Methodist Minister Frank Schaefer was stripped of his clerical credentials this past December after a 13-member jury of pastors found him guilty of disobeying church law. The UMC Book of Discipline, which contains the church's laws and doctrines, forbids celebrations of same-sex marriages and asserts that the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."

While Schaefer's defrocking may have been meant as a warning to silence rogue pastors who disagree with the UMC Book of Discipline, it has arguably had the opposite effect: The church now faces a legitimate uprising by clergy members and laypeople within the denomination who passionately disagree with the church's stance on homosexuality. The internal debate has been waging since 1972 when the first language condemning homosexual practice was introduced in the Book of Discipline. 

Schaefer is now an outspoken activist working to change Methodist policy on gay marriage. This movement within the UMC prompts the question: How do voluntary, private organizations changeâ€"or refuse to changeâ€"policies about matters that are central to their missions?

Religious practices change all the timeâ€"just ask Catholics who celebrated mass in Latin until the 1960s or Protestant groups that started ordaining women as ministers in the 1970s. But are there certain core beliefs that can never change? 

Conservative theologians within the church argue that Schaefer's defrocking was justified because church law, by definition, must be upheldâ€"otherwise, it is not a church law. They maintain that homosexuals are welcome in the church, but that one should abstain from the practice of homosexuality. 

"The ultimate debate is not over sexualityâ€"it's just one battle flag issue in the current culture wars that's been going on in the last 150 years between traditionalist and liberal revisionists," says Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative Christian think-tank in Washington, D.C. UMC is experiencing a split in opinion on gay marriage

However, liberal theologians are a sizeable minority within the church and have been pushing back against the restrictive language every step of the way. Hundreds of Methodist ministers have publicly rejected the doctrine and, like Schaefer, some face punishment by trial for performing same-sex weddings. 

Fellow mainline protestants have already moved toward accepting gay unions. These include the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church of America. However, the Methodist church seems to be going in the opposite direction. The margin of vote against changing the church's stance on homosexual unions was 61 to 39 percent at the 2012 General Conference, which meets every four years to vote on changes within the church. This was a wider disparity than in 2008.

The explanation has to do with the structure of the Methodist church. The UMC is very centralizedâ€"the General Conference makes rules for everything by way of a majority vote. This is very different from the other mainline denominations who operate as a loose federation of congregations with a shared tradition but not necessarily the same doctrine or rules. The loose federation allows the different congregations across the world more autonomy, a structure that has helped them maintain their unity even in the midst of disagreements on issues such as gay marriage. 

Some UMC congregations believe gay marriage should be allowed in the Church. Congregations in the UMC have less autonomy and a significant portion of the church lies outside of the U.S. While membership in the U.S. is declining, overseas branches are increasingâ€"and these tend to be more conservative. The growing African Church has provided the votes at the General Conference to block any changes to the Book of Discipline liberalizing the stance on gay marriage. 

"If the Church abandons its teaching on sexuality, there will in fact be a much deeper division and a formal schism," says Tooley.

About 8 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Todd Krainin, Joshua Swain, and Winkler. Narrated by Todd Krainin.

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  1. The churches should get out of the marriage business.

    1. The churches should go out of business.

      1. Your Mom is open for business.

        1. It’s only a business if you charge for it.

          1. Exactly. That’s why people say “Mind your own *beeswax*”.

    2. “We are United, We are Methodist, We are Churchy, We are Gay…

      Hey is this thing on?”

      chirp chirp chirp

    3. I agree there should be a separation of church and marriage because most weddings are being done by any ordaned minister.

  2. On this youtube video I found a Real Youtube Comment Of Genius.

    I hate that the rich kids do not fight this so called democracy we are loosing to corporations calling the shots. Remember this Boston Tea Party was not just about taxes but East India Tea company being only company selling tea and owned by King of England. Sounds like Wal Marts today.and buying products from Communist China for cheap labor and no environmental regulations. Ubpatriotic bastards.

    I didn’t know Wal Mart was owned by the King of England.

    1. Mason-Dumbass line*? Snark or serious?

      *from the song.

      ————

      I think I know the person who wrote that comment.

      1. Probably serious. James McMurty is a leftist dipshit, which is why his songs tend to attract leftist dipshits.

      2. Tolerance!

    2. Or a monopoly of any kind whatsoever.

    3. Uhm, if the EITC was the only company allowed to sell tea, then why would England have taxed the *consumers*?

      That would just create resentment (as it did) when they could tax the EITC and have the EITC quietly pass on the tax to the end-user.

      We do that shit all the time today and people hail the brave government for ‘taking on the corporations’ and ‘making them pay their fair share’. Hell we’d still be part of the UK if that scenario had come to pass.

      1. You know, now that I think of it – there’s a good argument for corporation tax (which, until now, I universally panned).

        Government (for what ever reason) wants to ‘increase revenue’ but we know that government is horrible at figuring out the most efficient use of resources.

        So you tax a corporation, which has the incentives in place to find the least harmful ( to the corporation anyway) form of tax incidence.

        They’ll do the dirty work of trying to figure out the best split between increased prices, lowered worker compensation, and lowered profits. All while keeping your local politicians hands clean of the fallout.

        1. Not a bad argument re:economic efficiency, but it would seem to violate traditional concerns of proportional taxation.

          1. They’re already violating the ‘no taxation without representation’ by taxing a corp and having it passed on to me. What’s one more wrong?

  3. Obama blames Founding Fathers’ ‘structural’ design of Congress for gridlock

    He also said Democrats suffer from the “congenital disease” of not voting in midterm elections.

    RACIST!

    1. Interesting fact: Less intelligent voters are less likely to vote at midterms and also tend to have lower turnout rates.

      So if the Democrats have problems at midterms and have difficulty getting their voters to come to the polls…well, I wonder what that says about the average intelligence of a Democrat voter.

      1. I wonder what that says about the average intelligence of a Democrat voter.

        Has that ever been in doubt?

      2. I’m not sure what measure of intelligence you’re using Irish, but if it is educational attainment I think the data shows that Democrats are overrepresented at the low but also the high ends.

        I also think that given American values of democracy a party that wins only when most of the electorate doesn’t show up doesn’t have a lot to brag about either.

        1. I also think that given American values of democracy a party that wins only when most of the electorate doesn’t show up doesn’t have a lot to brag about either.

          I was going to disagree with your conclusion, but then I realized my actual issue was with your premise: given American values of democracy. I don’t think democracy is anything to value. The list of sins committed by democracy is quite long.

    2. Never forget that those Founding Fathers are old dead white men who owned slaves,used big words that nobody understands anymore and,like,it was a hundred years ago or something and they didn’t even have iPads so they wrote in cursive.

  4. Methodists? Postmillenialists. So the question is, will gay marriage accelerate the establishment of the thousand year kingdom of heaven on earth? ‘Cause that has to happen before Jesus comes back.

    1. I think you may want to re read.

      1. Yeah, its the other way around – Jesus comes back to establish the millennial reign.

        OTOH, all this sin *has* to be good for establishing the conditions for the rise of the anti-Christ, right?

  5. Well, clearly the UMC should bow to a bunch of progressive activists over church doctrine and tradition, the wishes of the majority of their congregations, their fastest growing base of support, and (most importantly) what they believe scripture says about the subject.

    This is not a fight which concerns libertarians, nor is it an appropriate place to inject politics. UMC should make a decision based on its own principles, not what is popular at the moment.

    1. Amen.

    2. Yes, because one thing that never, ever changes is a denomination’s doctrines.

      1. That change should be made if and when a church believes that their doctrine is in conflict with one of their foundational principles, not when it becomes popular to dispense with these principles and beliefs. Seeing as how the person spearheading this change self-describes as a “political activist” and offers his personal experience rather than evidence as the reason for changing a policy, I don’t see how this can possibly be described as other than how I have described it.

        In either case, it has nothing to do with libertarianism or classical liberalism.

        1. The fellow spearheading the change was a Methodist minister, so it’s not like he’s some outside agitator, and as the story makes clear about 40% of the General Conference voted for what this ‘political activist’ wants, and the number would be higher if not for the growing proportion of the Conference representing African Methodist churches.

          Change among church denominations about what principles are foundational and which should be discareded is normal, heck there would be no United Methodist Church if it were not.

          “it has nothing to do with libertarianism”

          For a guy whining about my supposed drive for libertarian purity you sure have a lot of advice for and about what libertarianism should be all about lately (libertarians should not dismiss working class concerns over immigration, they should not worry about gay rights in private organizations, etc).

          1. It’s not about what libertarianism “should” be, it’s about what it is. Libertarianism is a socio-political philosophy with little or nothing to say about non-violent interactions which do not involve property rights. And this:

            libertarians should not dismiss working class concerns over immigration

            Is something that I have never said. My specific complaint was precisely that Feeney’s posts on UKIP seem to be a lot more about the affectations of the “professional middle class” than libertarianism.

            they should not worry about gay rights in private organizations

            I’ve long opposed calling you stupid since I don’t think you are, but this makes me wonder. There *are* no rights (gay or otherwise) in conflict here; regardless of the decision taken by UMC their gay congregants will be secure in their life, liberty and property just as they should be. Literally the only things you have noted in favor of this change are that 1) this guy used to be a Methodist minister (so what?), and 2) a lot of people agree with him. Both are non-sequiturs as far as formulating principle goes, and it is no more acceptable than, say, accepting closed borders or drug prohibition as libertarian merely because a large minority of self-proclaimed libertarians think it’s a good idea.

            1. “Libertarianism is a socio-political philosophy with little or nothing to say about non-violent interactions which do not involve property rights.”

              There’s some debate about that. Libertarian thinkers have long weighed in on purely social matters, especially ones where they feel the social issues have been heavily influenced by past governmental coercion.

              “There *are* no rights (gay or otherwise) in conflict here”

              I’m curious, if someone were talking to you about a part of the civil rights movement where blacks urged private establishments like Woolworth’s to serve blacks the same as whites, would you correct that person ‘actually, there are no rights at issue there, so that’s not really part of the civil rights movement.’ If you knew the guy was a libertarian would you go further to say ‘well, why do you have a position on that? Libertarianism is only about the government!’

              Of course my larger point stands, that such definitive statements about what libertarianism ‘is’ and what it is not, coming from someone who has been wailing about my supposed heavy handed attempts to define libertarianism, is pretty rich.

              1. if someone were talking to you about a part of the civil rights movement where blacks urged private establishments like Woolworth’s to serve blacks the same as whites, would you correct that person ‘actually, there are no rights at issue there, so that’s not really part of the civil rights movement.’

                If that someone were a libertarian, classical liberal, or even a conservative who should know better, then yes I would say exactly that.

                And of course I have a position on the subject; I just can’t claim it to be based on a proper understanding of libertarianism.

                And sorry Your Boliness, but in this case it has to do with philosophy and *how* to think about issues (something that I do know a little something about) rather than your finger-wagging about whether a specific *action* or policy position is or is not kosher by the almighty rules of the LP.

                1. Some broader forms of libertarianism do think that part of it is to reject the kind of collectivist, ‘tribal,’ thinking that informs many irrational prejudices, even those that only operate socially (and again, especially when they were largely fostered by centuries of government coercion).

                  As to your point about philosophy and policy positions, of course the latter are judged under the former.

                  1. “Some broader forms of libertarianism” are wrong and a minority view in any case. The primary philosophical impulse of libertarianism is a construction of a universal ethic of liberty. Anything which does not help such an aim is at best tangential, at worst counterproductive to such a goal and a maximization of this value requires that other values not be held as its equal lest the system be destroyed by a contradiction of these two values. (An obvious example in the case of destroying “collectivist thinking” and “irrational prejudice” would be the Cult of Reason in Revolutionary France and anti-clerical efforts by liberals throughout the 19th century, both of which were highly injurious to personal liberty.

                    The libertarians who claim this mantle are best classified as classical liberals of a sort somewhat akin to Voltaire or Locke (both of whom included anti-Catholic animus as part of a general program for improvement along mostly liberal lines).

                    1. I agree libertarianism is not necessarily involved with combating irrational prejudices per se (Objectivism might be said to be though), but I was talking about irrational collectivist thinking behind some irrational prejudices. Yes, libertarianism puts the emphasis on liberty, but individuality as opposed to collectivism is a pretty common pillar of most versions too.

          2. As far as this goes:

            the number would be higher if not for the growing proportion of the Conference representing African Methodist churches

            It’s assholery that makes me dislike the political activists that much more. In Africa, polygamy is not only legal but the norm in many of the communities being ministered in; the African Methodist churches have a much harder time adhering to the principle of heterosexual monogamy as a norm than their American coreligionists do. “Let’s have gay marriages because my son is gay, but fuck you and yours, you have to live by monogamy because I the rich white prog think Polygamy Is Bad” is a real fuck-you moment to that part of the church.

            See, I don’t give a shit about this as far as politics goes. People — regardless of sexual orientation — should be secure in their rights to property, liberty, and contract, and I see good arguments for why expanding government marriage might help with the last item. I also see how well-meaning people might want to reverse an accurate perception of the church as an institution which has not served gays well in a variety of ways. I do have problems with this as a Christian. Arbitarily overturning principles on the basis of current fashion or personal feelings is a wholesale rejection of principle. Christians should start making Scriptural or traditional arguments for their beliefs rather than pulling out their kids or personal experience, and Non-Christians should butt out.

            1. I would think you of all people could entertain the idea that Africa’s cultural position is so different than America’s, that it might be a bit concerning to have their representatives, in a denomination historically an Anglo-American institution, be the votes that put this issue slightly over the edge to one side.

              “Arbitarily overturning principles on the basis of current fashion or personal feelings is a wholesale rejection of principle.”

              Of course that’s begging the question, if you talk with and ask those advocating this change they think it is more in line with their foundational beliefs.

              1. Africa’s culture is not what is being argued here, a Scriptural or traditional understanding of gay marriage is what is at play — and on this issue, African as well as American churches have been in unison for quite some time now. Not that you care, but the reason that African churches hold these doctrines is because the successful Protestant missions in these countries tend to either be 1) experiential and phenomenal in nature (i.e., renewalist), and/or 2) highly focused on individual and communal scriptural reading, which favors the traditional view of the church on gay marriage. IOW, the African church’s position on marriage is arrived at in contrast to their native culture, rather than because of it. The problem is not African culture (at least, not in this instance), it is white ministers whose agonies of conscience is the only matter of importance when it comes to doctrinal change.

                if you talk with and ask those advocating this change they think it is more in line with their foundational beliefs.

                That’s nice. If they can’t back up these beliefs with some common reference point for other Christians, they can’t claim these principles as Christians and impress them upon other Christians any more than the Reichskirche had any authorization to impress upon its members its beliefs on eugenics without a similar reference point. It’s kind of Protestantism 101, and if they don’t like it they can take another page off the Protestant textbook and split.

                1. Are you a Protestant? I am, and from a denomination not distant from Methodists. I can assure you that the Methodists fighting to change the UMC’s position on homosexuality puts forward Biblical arguments at the forefront of their claims.

                  “the African church’s position on marriage is arrived at in contrast to their native culture, rather than because of it”

                  Yes, the different cultural ideas on homosexuality have nothing, nothing to do with their position on gay marriage!

                  1. If you’re trying to generally imply that African culture or native religion has a specific animus to homosexuality greater than that of Europe or Asia, you’re dead wrong. Plenty of African ethnoreligions in fact include homosexuality as part of their coming of age rites,

                    Animus to homosexuality in sub-Saharan Africa is of a more recent vintage and is related to 1) AIDs and its virulence on the subcontinent and 2) the influence of the Abrahamic religions: Islam’s animus to gays is codified in law as a matter of ideology, and Christianity has long-standing objections to sodomy which have (unjustly, I believe) been taken by many new Christians to mean that anti-sodomy laws are appropriate. Both of these issues tend to intersect in obvious ways; both Islam and Christianity have capitalized on AIDs as a supposed confirmation of their moral positions.

                    I can assure you that the Methodists fighting to change the UMC’s position on homosexuality puts forward Biblical arguments at the forefront of their claims.

                    I’ve read these arguments, and they are not persuasive or illuminating but rather obfuscatory of basic historical and textual truths. The fact of the matter is that most of the Ancient Near East religions were highly critical of sodomy, and that Judaism and Christianity are among them both in practice, tradition, and scripture. That criticism should not be taken as a license to treat such individuals without dignity, but neither can it be waved away.

                    1. “I’ve read these arguments, and they are not persuasive or illuminating but rather obfuscatory of basic historical and textual truths.”

                      You’re begging the question and moving the goalposts at the same time. We were discussing Methodists arguing with other Methodists about what is in line with their beliefs. At first you acted like they were not making arguments based in theology and Biblical text. Now you admit they do, but say they are just not persuasive, which in this context means they are not closer to Methodist beliefs and values.. It looks like you not only know more about libertarianism than libertarians, but you know more about Methodism than Methodists do!

                    2. Not at all. My claim was never that the arguments did not exist; it is that these arguments are not essential to the “why” of the movement for Methodists to allow clergy to perform gay marriages in the same way that, say, an understanding of salvation through grace was during the Reformation. There is a motive which pre-exists and is more important than the arguments, as shown by the weakness of the arguments. In the same way that a Neo-Nazi turned “libertarian” cannot be held to be honestly debating from libertarian principles on the issue of immigration when his argument from principles is weak, so too is it the case that the tenacity of the opinion held by these ministers goes beyond what the strength of their argument allows for. In this case, we have a leader of the movement who has expressed that his primary motivation is not sound Scriptural exegesis, but rather his love for his son — not a bad thing, but certainly not admittable as evidence for doctrine.

                      If it is the case that my findings are in error given a mutual acceptance of Christian scripture, practice, and tradition, I would love to hear a reasoned case for it. As far as I’m concerned, the church’s treatment of gays has been atrocious and I see no particular reason for holding irrational or unsupportable doctrines. Yet one wrong turn does not deserve another, and I see no reason to accept superficially poor arguments out of a misguided attempt to make gays or any other person feel more welcome.

                    3. “Arbitarily overturning principles on the basis of current fashion or personal feelings is a wholesale rejection of principle. Christians should start making Scriptural or traditional arguments for their beliefs rather than pulling out their kids or personal experience”

                      This is what you said above, right? Now your story is ‘oh, yeah, Christians have been making Scriptural and traditional arguments for these beliefs, but I find them so wholly unpersuasive that I think it is just a fig leaf for fashion and personal experience.’ But here’s the thing: Christian denominations have changed their doctrine on all kinds of things throughout their history, are you saying that the ones in which you, IT, find the Scriptural or traditional basis for unpersuasive are somehow illegitimate or condemnatory?

                      Again, it’s a big exercise in question begging. You’ve responded to the debate by declaring that one side is so wrong there must be something else, something illegitimate, up with that side and their pushing with such a weak case.

                    4. Lemme revise that statement so that it has the full meaning of my argument:

                      Arbitarily overturning principles on the basis of current fashion or personal feelings is a wholesale rejection of principle. Christians should start making Scriptural or traditional arguments the basis of their beliefs rather than pulling out their kids or personal experience, or risk making a subjective point the focus of their ethical system.

                      And yeah, Bo, arguments for gay marriage in Christianity that I have seen have been transparently based on current political trends rather than a re-evaluation of Scriptural or traditional norms. This campaign was not the result of scholarly poring over Christian principles; it emerged as a position among the laity and the clergy which was tied to the general debate on SSM. I don’t begrudge anyone their views on SSM, as it can be a difficult (if ultimately somewhat inconsequential) subject. I do begrudge the twisting of Christianity into a vehicle for political or social concerns, which is exactly what this is. Hell Bo, even the liberation theology folks have more on their side than those in favor of Scripturally-or traditionally-sanctioned gay marriage.

                      Again, I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong so if you have an actual argument you can link I’d love to read it. Neither you nor Reason have in fact presented such an argument, and those which I have seen have about the same commitment to integrity as Arming America does to the history of gun ownership.

                    5. IT, do you think that Christian rejection of slavery in England and the US was the result solely, or even primarily, of ‘the result of scholarly poring over Christian principles?’ Or better yet, how about the vote in 1956 when the Methodists approved the ordainment of women? It’s laughable to think either was based solely or even primarily on that rather than what you deride as ‘tied to the general debate on ‘ these subjects. Do you condemn these movements (which, by the way, caused a great deal of schism in many denominations including the Methodists)?

                      In other words, people with Christian beliefs faced these social issues and debates and applied them as best they could. Persons like you, conservatives, of course judge these issues in terms of strict reading of text and tradition, while of course more liberal or moderate theologians and believers feel they are taking overriding principles from that same scripture and tradition and applying them to novel situations, because, ‘no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.’

                    6. Bo, you’re a historically illiterate moron every day of the week — it’d be nice if you’d take a day off just once; both of your examples are utter crap for the point you’re trying to make. Slavery has obviously been of great concern for Christians since the very inception of the religion, with a great deal of tradition regarding slavery as an evil institution and the freeing of slaves as a charity, requiring certain treatment of slaves, forbidding the enslavement of fellow Christians, etc. There is a reason Europe went from being ~25% slave population in Roman times to having the practice virtually extinguished in Christian realms by medieval times. Protestantism accelerated the abolitionist trend, as there is much in Scripture that could be used to argue the point and virtually the entire abolitionist movement was full of the sort of religious nuts redolent in social conservative circles today. Suffice it to say, there *was* no 18th-19th century argument on abolitionism without Christians, their traditions, and their texts. Not to say that there is no possible other interpretation of Scripture as regards slavery, but the argument against it is strong and certainly much stronger than a Scripturally-sanctioned practice of homosexuality.

                      Ordination of women is similarly muddled in Scripture, with some obvious examples of women in authority throughout Old and New Testament. My denomination has never had a problem with (or made a big deal out of) its ordination of women.

                    7. In contrast, you have a practice which has been universally condemned since the inception of Christianity, which is directly spoken against in Scripture (Old and New testament), and where there is precious little in Scripture suggesting an alternative reading or interpretation. The folks penning their apologia for sanctioning gay marriage seem like decent people, but it is incredibly obvious that their views are not coming from a fair appraisal of their own religious tradition but rather from how they feel about the current politics of the situation. That’s fine, but then they can’t demand that their church change its doctrine to accommodate their personal, uninspired views on the subject.

    3. This is not a fight which concerns libertarians, nor is it an appropriate place to inject politics. UMC should make a decision based on its own principles, not what is popular at the moment.

      Just because it isn’t a libertarian issue, I shouldn’t have an opinion? I guess that settles the deep-dish pizza debate. It’s not a libertarian issue, so our opinions don’t matter.

  6. At first, I thought this was the same Frank Schaefer Obamabot at HuffPo. But when I read that he wasn’t blaming racist conservatives for anti-gay stuff, I knew it was someone else.

  7. I never realized that Church was supposed to be a democracy. All those in favor of abolishing hell and dropping the eligibility requirements to heaven signify by saying Amen.

  8. A schism just a consequence of a free market in religion. Believe what you want and form your own dogma company. Jesus, Luther, Mohammed, Calvin, L. Ron Hubbard … all spiritual entrepreneurs. Go for it.

  9. European elections swing hard-right.

    According to exit polls, the Front National of Marine Le Pen came first in France with more than 25% of the vote. The nationalist anti-immigrant Danish People’s party won by a similar margin in Denmark. In Austria, the far right Freedom Party took one fifth of the vote, according to projections, while on the hard left, Alexis Tsipras led Greece’s Syriza movement to a watershed victory over the country’s two governing and traditional ruling parties, New Democracy conservatives and the Pasok social democrats.

    We’ve also got the typically brilliant Guardian commenters:

    Isn’t marvelous how capitalism has managed to make so many people selfish and scared of so called “foreigners”. First UKIP appearing to have won in the UK, and now this. I despair.

    Yes, when has a Socialist nation ever hated foreigners? I can think of no examples.

    1. Even better, the socialist party of the French president only got 15% of the vote.

    2. Great news all around!

      1. Except that these aren’t American right-wingers who want small government. They’re European right-wingers who are basically just like American Democrats, only with a hatred of immigrants and the EU.

        Hating the EU is always nice, but I’m not going to celebrate that a leftist like Marine Le Pen gets to call herself ‘right-wing’ just because she’s opposed to immigration.

        Also, the victory of Syriza in Greece is terrifying. Syriza actually has Communists on their steering council. Add to that the fact that the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn won another 10% of the vote, and Greece seems to be moving in a disturbingly totalitarian direction.

      2. Danish People’s Party?

        “The party’s expressed goals is to protect the freedom and cultural heritage of the Danish people, including the family, the Monarchy and the Church of Denmark, to enforce a strict rule of law, to work against Denmark becoming a multi-ethnic society by limiting immigration and promoting cultural assimilation of admitted immigrants, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, and to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work, and to protect the environment and natural resources.[22] This means that economically, they fit somewhere between the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party on the left side of the spectrum”

        Front National?

        “the party…converted towards politics of social welfare and economic protectionism. This was part of its shift away from its former claim of being the “social, popular and national right” to its claim of being “neither right nor left ? French!” Increasingly, the party’s program became an uneasy amalgam of free market and welfarist policies.

        Under her leadership, Marine Le Pen has been more clear in her support for protectionism, while she has criticised globalism and capitalism for certain industries.”

        And Syriza?

        I guess you didn’t read the whole thing, just saw the reference to ‘swing hard-right’ and swooned.

        1. Yeah, I don’t know why some people here seem to believe the European ‘right-wing’ governments are our kind of right-wing. UKIP comes closest, and even they have some serious issues.

          Several of these parties are only called right wing because they don’t like immigrants. Wanting a socialist welfare state which only French people are allowed to partake of is hardly a libertarian philosophy. It’s just socialism for certain preferred nationalities.

          1. That’s pretty much what conservatism means almost everywhere outside of the Commonwealth countries.

            1. Yeah, but the support some of these parties get from people at Reason is just bizarre. If people from Reason were actually living in France rather than commenting on French politics from abroad, I don’t think many would be supportive of Marine Le Pen’s electoral victories.

              1. For a lot of them, I think it’s less and less bizarre every day.

              2. Agree. This is where I would have such people refer to Hayek’s article, “Why I Am Not a Conservative” for a primer.

                1. And anywhere someone refers to “Why I Am Not a Conservative”, I feel equally obliged to refer them to “Why I Am Not A Libertarian”.

              3. If people from Reason were actually living in France rather than commenting on French politics from abroad, I don’t think many would be supportive of Marine Le Pen’s electoral victories.

                I don’t live in France. As a liberty-loving American I want a world of independent sovereign nations, not a one world government (quasi- or otherwise). Foreign “rightists” are strong on national sovereignty (often above all else) and that it is in my interest (and against the interests of my enemies) so I am sympathetic to them on that issue alone.

                1. I’m more interested in a world of sovereign individuals, so I don’t give a shit what kind of hard-core statists France wants to elect.

        2. I guess you didn’t read the whole thing, just saw the reference to ‘swing hard-right’ and swooned.

          As a matter of fact, I watch European politics quite closely. I understand perfectly well what those parties represent. And I understand that in the interests of retail politics the nationalists have made consessions to socialist economic policies. The concessions the nationalists are making to socialism are nothing compared to the ones they’ll have to make when your enlightened selves flood their countries with third world immigrants. So I repeat – Great news all around!

    3. In Britain, the Nigel Farage-led insurrection against Westminster was also tipped to unsettle the polticial mainstream by coming first or second in the election.

      Bloody Tea Party!

    4. “Alexis Tsipras led Greece’s Syriza movement to a watershed victory over the country’s two governing and traditional ruling parties”

      I did not hear about this. Man, those Greeks are gluttons for punishment.

    5. From the WSJ:

      Poland’s ruling center-right party narrowly won the national elections to the European Parliament, while radical libertarian conservatives scored the best result in years.

      The biggest surprise, one likely to have consequences for national politics, is the emergence of the libertarian Congress of the New Right, which won 7.2% of the vote.

      The party is led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who has said the European Union is a socialist experiment which he will try to destroy from within. He has also said women and other social groups shouldn’t have the right to vote, and taxes should be minimal.

      Mr. Korwin-Mikke, who said Poland should be an absolute monarchy rather than a democracy, served as a national lawmaker in 1991-1993. Afterward, his political groupings have failed to win seats in the national legislature. Mr. Korwin-Mikke has also unsuccessfully ran for Poland’s president four times.

      Hoppe fanboy?

      1. The party is led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who has said the European Union is a socialist experiment which he will try to destroy from within. He has also said women and other social groups shouldn’t have the right to vote, and taxes should be minimal.

        Mr. Korwin-Mikke, who said Poland should be an absolute monarchy rather than a democracy, served as a national lawmaker in 1991-1993.

        I question how a person who believes certain groups should have no right to vote and yearns for a return to an absolutist monarchy can be described as ‘libertarian.’

        1. It does come close to paleolibertarianism.

          1. It’s also weird considering that Poland has never had anything approaching an absolute monarchy; the PLC was closer to a decentralized federation than anything else and preserved a number of nobles’ rights (including the right for any one member to veto a policy’s enactment indefinitely). The closest it got to such was during the reign of some of the Piast kings, whose family at one point *was* most of the nobility.

            1. Also, what’s the point in saying women shouldn’t be allowed to vote when you want to return to an absolutist monarchy?

              In his world, wouldn’t no one have the right to vote?

              1. It is rather redundant, isn’t it…

              2. You’ll have the right to vote as the king demands.

                Its an important right and women can’t be trusted with its responsible use.

                1. Because they often don’t do what they’re told, amirite?

  10. Could Boehner Actually Use the VA Scandal to Suggest a More Libertarian Solution?

    “More than two decades ago, House Speaker John Boehner said, he floated an idea that was controversial: Why not privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs?

    The idea was soundly rejected by veterans’ organizations.

    Now, in the midst of a sweeping scandal over allegations that government officials falsified reports on how long veterans were waiting for medical treatment, Boehner said yesterday that the idea still has merit.

    ‘I still like the idea, and especially now,’ he said.”

    http://www.dispatch.com/conten…..ehner.html

  11. Church and state are separate. Churches should be able to make their own decisions on the matter of gay marriage. They should be able to do most things within the church. As long as it’s willing followers and they aren’t imposing their will on the public. Gay and want to get married, go to the court house.

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