Freedom of Religion

Religious Conservatives Look to Get Out of the Civil Marriage Business

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Dennis Bratland

Public support for same-sex marriage has grown rapidly over the past decade. The once fringe position is now held by a majority of Americans and fully 68 percent of millennials. Seeing the writing on the wall, some religious conservatives are now calling on Christian ministers to refuse to perform any state-sanctioned marriages. The Daily Caller reports:

Two Protestant pastors, concerned about rapidly-changing government definitions of marriage, have started a movement encouraging priests and ministers to refuse to perform civil marriages.

Christopher Seitz and Ephraim Radner, Episcopal and Anglican pastors respectively, launched "The Marriage Pledge" at the conservative religious journal First Things on Tuesday.

The pledge is unambiguous in calling for what amounts to a bright-line separation between religious and state-sanctioned marriage:

To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church's life. [emphasis added]

Some may view this as a last ditch attempt to oppose the tide of history, but libertarians ought to welcome it as a step toward the removal of government from private relationships.

Marriage, after all, is in essence a private contract between two individuals, and there is no reason why the government ought to be able to determine who is eligible to enter into that contract and who is not. Government involvement in marriage is a relatively recent phenomenon. Previously, marriage was an institution of civil society that was dealt with under the common law. Even today, common law marriages—legally recognized unions between people who have not obtained a formal marriage license—continue to exist in a range of jurisdictions, including several U.S. states.

The effect of government involvement has been to politicize marriage. It has turned a celebrated institution into a political battleground by making its definition a zero sum game.

If we return marriage to civil society, individuals will be able to create their own marriage contracts, and religious organizations will be free to decide whose marriages they recognize and whose they do not. Same-sex couples will be free to get married and have their marriages recognized by any religious or civil society organization that agrees to do so. Likewise, opponents of same-sex marriage will not be forced to accept a definition they fundamentally disagree with.

America's founding fathers designed a system that includes the separation of church and state. They did this to protect religious freedom and avoid the sectarian clashes that had consumed much of Europe. The separation of marriage and state would have a similar effect, reducing political conflict and maximizing individual freedom. The Protestant pastors' marriage pledge is a step toward such separation, and it should be both celebrated and encouraged.

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  1. My goodness me. The evul Rethuglican SoCons are actually supporting a libertarianish position.

    Huh.

    1. Yep, both of them.

  2. I like this idea. Do more of it, religious types.

  3. It’s a nice thought Patrick, but this will have zero effect on government issuing marriage licenses. State-sanctioned marriage provides too many juicy opportunities to meddle in peoples’ personal decisions. Not to mention that politicizing it provides KulturKampf bullshit to distract people from real problems.

    1. ANKKKURRRRRRRRR BAAAAAAAAAAAAYBEEEEEZZZZ11!!1!1one!!

  4. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.

    A. Not sure why government has any say in the matter to begin with?

    B. As they do, not sure why, given the current interpretations of 1A, the two should intersect in any manner?

    1. I have long believed that empowering members of the clergy to act as agents of the state in solemnizing marriages is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

      1. Why? Unless they are forbidding secular folks from being authorized in the solemnization.

        1. Most states only allow certain government officials (or former officials) to serve as secular officiants for weddings. Thus, in practice, probably well-over 90%+ of eligible officiants in most states are going to be clergy or other religious personnel.

          1. I favor the French model, where the religious ceremony and the civil ceremony are done separately and only the civil ceremony is recognized by the state.

            1. I was to aware a ceremony is required ever. Just a license.

              1. Wasn’t aware

  5. The SoCons might just relinquish their debilitating strangle-hold on the limited government coalitions.

  6. The Montana Supreme Court today struck the amendment to the state constitution that declared marriage is between a man and a woman.

    1. How can the state supreme court amend the state constitution? Aren’t they only able to interpret it as it is written? They can’t strike out part of the constitution by saying that it is unconstitutional.

      I am confused.

      1. I think “See Double You” got the court wrong. The news reporting I’m seeing says that it was U.S. District Court for Montana that struck the state amendment for violating the Fourteenth Amendment.

      2. Yeah, that was my bad. The judge for the U.S. District of Montana struck the amendment.

    2. God dammit, Montana. Get your head out of your ass.

    3. Judge overturns Montana’s gay marriage ban

      “This Court recognizes that not everyone will celebrate this outcome,” Morris wrote. “This decision overturns a Montana Constitutional amendment approved by the voters of Montana. Yet the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority.”

      Yes. Yes, it does.

    4. It was a federal judge.

  7. Two Protestant pastors, concerned about rapidly-changing government definitions of marriage, have started a movement encouraging priests and ministers to refuse to perform civil marriages.

    But they’ll still have to bake cakes for those marriages upon request, right?

    1. Well obviously, Tony-o has said repeatedly that is the only right-thought on the matter.

    2. Why yes, redmanfms, yes I have.

      It has indeed long-puzzled me why religious even care about civil marriage when they insist that their many interpretations of scriptural marriage. Nothing has ever stopped them from issuing, recording and certifying their own marriage records outside of civil law. Some religions do have legal systems parallel to the civil system.

      Nothing in the law precludes them from also performing civil ceremonies in conjunction with their religious rites.

      I agree that the law should not force purely religious institutions to perform ceremonies for anyone they deem…unqualified.

      What part of that do you disagree with?

      1. I agree that the law should not force purely religious institutions to perform ceremonies for anyone they deem…unqualified.

        Oh, so you’ve changed on that matter.

        You’ve been arguing quite vociferously for the last, oh 3 years (at least) that the only way to view this is as a civil right, including everything that “regrettably” goes with it. You’ve frequently lectured others on it (in your usual utterly duplicitous manner), claiming it is the only position to hold. You’ve repeatedly argued that the “government shouldn’t be in the marriage business” position is not a serious position and anyone that holds it is just silly.

        So I guess you’ve decided that you were wrong in the past and have changed your opinion on the matter.

        I suppose it’s about time you developed an actually libertarian position on an issue being discussed. Congratulations.

        1. It’s often not a serious position, a way for people indifferent or opposed to marriage equality to change the point in a way they know they can’t be called on any time soon.

          1. As opposed to gay marriage, which was taken incredibly seriously by the general public only a scant 15 years ago.

  8. So, forcing people into associations against their will is ok, but preventing people from entering into associations they want to be in is not.

    More progressive cognitive dissonance.

  9. Marriage, after all, is in essence a private contract between two individuals…

    THANKS FOR OTHERING THE MORMONS.

    1. Well, you know, if two people of the same gender can get married, then it’s just a matter of time until polygamists can get married!

      And then what, you ask? People will be marrying their dogs, dining room tables, cars, etc.! It’s not natural!

      1. And robots. Why do you hate the robots?

        1. Yes on Proposition Infinity!

        2. You can pry my sexbot from my cold, dead, sticky hands.

      2. You leave my wife out of this! And Concubines 1, 2, 4 and 8! The rest you may freely mock.

      3. I’m personally worried that someday the government will decide it’s okay to marry Yglesiases.

        If God wanted us to marry Yglesiases, he wouldn’t have made them so plastic and inhuman.

    2. Heh. [Enacts little number from “Book of Mormon: The Musical]

      1. Damnit, I’ve gotten discount tickets to see that twice through work and both times I was on vacation! Fuck! I want to see it.

        1. I’m waiting for the news reports following the opening night of The Koran.

  10. I was just thinking about this whole redefining of marriage by government thing.

    I wondered if it is a case of government imposing onto society a new definition of marriage, or of government catching up with society.

    And after some thought I concluded that it is both.

    1. Government acts in it’s own interest, not in the interest of it’s citizens subjects.

      I think we had a government one time that was ‘by the people for the people’. I’m not sure how long that lasted, was is 3 or 4 years? Anyway, it was long before I was even born and it was written in a language that no one even understands now, they called it a bill of rights and a constitution or some sort of quaint ancient term like that.

      1. By 1800, the writing was already on the wall. It just so happens that the Constitution started in such a good position regarding liberty relative to the rest of the world that it took about 100 years for us to fall back down to equal (in terms of liberty) with the rest of the world.

        1. It took longer than that, we’re still ahead of, well, everywhere.

          It’s sad really.

          1. We used to be the undisputed heavyweight champ, undefeated in all fights when it came to liberty. I think that in a collective view of liberty, you’re still right. In a categorical level, other countries started passing us in certain types of liberty in the Progressive Era (see prohibition).

        2. I would argue that it was the presence of the American Frontier that kept the FedGov in check for much of the nation’s early history. After the “Closing of the West”, there was no longer somewhere Americans to go to in order to avoid Federal interference in their lives.

          1. Agreed.

          2. ^^Either place the word “for” in between “somewhere” and Americans”, or replace the “to” behind “Americans” with “could”

          3. So basically we need to start colonizing Mars. The Martian Free State, I like it.

            1. It will start with a few of those inflatable space stations in orbit around Earth. They’ll strap some low power thrusters to the things and point them in the direction of Mars. It will be much like the old West, except instead of Conestoga wagons, they’ll be Conestoga interplanetary craft.

              1. *Cue IRS demanding taxes from American Martian colonials*

            2. Fry: Very impressive, back in the 20th century we had no idea there was a university on Mars.
              Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Well, in those days Mars was a dreary uninhabitable wasteland much like Utah, but unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made livable.

              MORMON HOUSE!

        3. ” It just so happens that the Constitution started in such a good position regarding liberty”

          Except that whole slavery thing.

          Amazing how much that gets overlooked by some libertarians.

          1. What are libertarian supposed to do about it, travel back in time? Mr. Fusion doesn’t come to market ’til next year, and Doc Brown has been captured and has been held in an undisclosed location near Benghazi since 2012.

            1. We could stop talking about how great it was back then.

              1. Fuck you Bo, you ignorant little fucking twit.

                So the whole country was a fucked up shithole from 1791 until 2013 because gays couldn’t marry?

                Quit being such a pompous douchebag. People are judged by the times they lived in, not by the times you live in.

                1. What are you talking about Francis?

                  1. He’s talking about your irritating douchebaggery.

                2. Quit being such a pompous douchebag.

                  He’s not going to.

                  So the question is, why do you guys keep responding to Blue Tulpa? You know this is precisely why he comes here, right? For arguments.

                  He doesn’t argue in good faith and despite being laid bare as a disingenuous, unprincipled ass at least 3-4 times a week, he doesn’t change.

                  He’ll continue making stupendously disingenuous claims, continue doubling-down on the stupid, and when his argument is torn to shreds, shift goalposts. It’s what he has always done.

              2. Question for you Bo: Have you used any smartphones, computer hard drives, LEDs, flat panel display screens or fluorencent lights made in the early 21st century?

                1. Why don’t you go ahead with what point you think you’re making

                  1. My point is that you’re an active user of goods made from coltan slave mining in the Congo. You, yourself, have actively benefited from slavery in the 21st century. So perhaps you should take the moral posturing down a tad?

                    1. So your argument is, sure they had state sanctioned slavery, but you might use a product that had slavery involved at one point, so it’s fine to talk about them as champions of liberty!

                    2. Actually I’m more pointing out that you state that slavery is overlooked by libertarians in a historical sense, you seem to have no problem overlooking it in the present, when it actively benefits you. Makes your moral posturing unconvincing.

                    3. Also I’m just pointing out that given your habit on this forum to proclaim yourself as the ‘true libertarian’ who holds all the proper positions, I find it interesting that you apparently have a blind spot for forced labour as long as it gets you technological goodies.

                    4. Geez, Louise, one is not the Libertarian Inquisition for asking for actual human slavery to be recognized as kind of hard to comport with any concept of liberty.

                    5. And that’s precisely why you excuse your own use of it for goods while decrying it historically? Good consistency there.

                    6. Also, your debate tactics are garbage. I specifically point to the fact that you enjoyed products that are a direct result of slavery, and all you can do is deflect. YOU benefit from slavery Bo, so kindly lose the self-righteousness. If the actions of 18th century people discredits their writings, what’s it say about you, in the 21st century, when you continue to enjoy the material gains of slavery while claiming moral superiority?

              3. Or, we could talk about the parts that they did well, and all implicitly agree that the negative parts aren’t worth mentioning because they’re obviously wrong and not in the spirit of promoting liberty.

                Of course, we could also just trash all historical comparison because the people of that time weren’t God incarnate, but I don’t think I’m smug enough to go along with that.

              4. We could stop talking about how great it was back then.

                Um, yeah. Because the economic liberty that people enjoyed back then was so terrible because societal norms of the time were so different from today’s.

                A child who understands “One of these things is not like the other” is more intelligent than your obtuse ass.

                idjit

                1. Look at how absurd you’re being: the economic liberty was great if you overlook the societal norm of mass chattel human slavery.

                  You’re like a Colbert caricature of libertarians

                  1. the economic liberty was great if you overlook the societal norm of mass chattel human slavery.

                    ftfy

                    One of these things is not like the other…

                    Like I said, children are more intelligent than you.

                    1. Yes one is far more basic and important than the other

              5. Bo, let’s assume for a minute that global warming is real and a looming ecological disaster. You write the most libertarian piece of legislation to ever grace humanity. Will it be right for people in 200 years to discredit your legislation because you drove a car?

                1. Francis, we are talking about the complete opposite of liberty, not like a libertarian who is a jerk to his mom or something.

                  1. Bo, you are a fucking moron. Back then, blacks weren’t even considered people. How could they have rights?

                    Yes, to you and I, it was an abomination. To them it was the natural order of things. And to their credit, while being an overwhelming minority, these men debated the correctness of slavery. They realized their hypocrisy, but also realized we wouldn’t get the Constitution ratified if they addressed it at the time.

                    It would be like suggesting gays should be allowed to marry in 1955.

                    Stop being such a sanctimonious little bitch.

                    1. I’m all for understanding and excusing them for their times, but praising them and fondly recalling those days as a golden age of liberty while a good chunk of the population was in literal slavery? When we do that we become walking caricatures.

            2. Who said anything about how great it was back then? The question Is what are presently living libertarians supposed to do about “that whole slavery thing.” It has been abolished, the constitution amended. What more can they do about it, except travel back in time to make sure in never happened in the first place?

              Here’s an idea, invade the Sudan to teach them slave traders what’s what. And leave the place in chaos afterwards.

          2. If you had read the next clause of that same exact sentence:

            relative to the rest of the world

            you would realize that I was exempting global norms that were anti-liberty, including slavery! In fact, that is the entire fucking reason that I wrote “relative to the rest of the world,” because I knew one of the resident pedants would try to piss on my point by dragging slavery into it.

            I figured that I had pedant-proofed my point, but obviously I didn’t.

            Technically, while it is true that the “whole slavery thing” was an abomination to the concept of liberty, the additional clause “relative to the rest of the world” implores the reader to compare the Constitution to the rest of the world at the time of the drafting. The reader must refrain from using their hindsight in this analysis, as the additional clause clearly invites analysis of the contemporary governments at the time of the drafting. While not every nation may have had a thriving slave trade, involuntary servitude was the general norm across the globe. The Founders specifically engaged in intellectual debate and compromise to incorporate slaves in their new nation, and to start the clock ticking on the end of the slavery economy. (see 3/5 recognition of personhood, end of slave trade) Beyond that, the roots of liberty set by the document have led to such a growth in the scope of liberty (new people), even as some of the metrics of liberty have receded.

            1. It’s Bo. He/She/It just isn’t worth the trouble.

              1. It’s just so fun, though.

            2. Your argument clearly was that we’ve gone backwards in terms of liberty, backwards from a point where literal slavery was sanctioned.

              1. My argument clearly was that we’ve gone backwards RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

                Stop reading your biases into my arguments!

                1. Stop reading your biases into my arguments!

                  It’s Bo. Don’t expect honest or consistent debate. He’s a retard. Ridicule is all that he deserves.

                2. So your point is supposed to be that we had this horrible anti liberty set up, but others had worse. And while we’ve gotten rid of the worst stain on liberty in our history, we’ve got the FDA and the Fed now so we are no longer the champ?

                  1. So your point is supposed to be that we had this horrible anti liberty set up, but others had worse.

                    *slams head into desk* No.. no, no… no, no, no, no, no. My point is that the Constitution was by and far the most successful attempt since Moses made the Red Sea part to impart lasting liberty on the peasantry. It was not perfect, especially when viewed from a modern lens, but it was leaps and bounds better than anything before or since when taken in the context of the era in which it was written. The foundation set by the Constitution directly led to the abolition of slavery 2 generations later, because the ideological and philosophical underpinnings needed time to establish a majority. Just because we are now in some ways freer than we were at the time of the Constitution does not mean that our subsequent abandonment of the principles espoused in the Constitution has increased our liberty. The peasantry of the US is more equal on the whole than in 1789, but the peasantry of the US is less free, ON THE WHOLE than in 1789, despite the fact that certain classes of peasants are more free than they were. In an ideal utopia, ALL of the peasants would be as free as the freest peasant in 1789.

                    1. I will add that the Articles of Confederation had the potential, with amendment, to be so much better than the Constitution had it not been abandoned.

                    2. “but the peasantry of the US is less free, ON THE WHOLE than in 1789”

                      Again, it’s incredible that you don’t see how this discounts actual slavery, and how crazy it is for ostensible libertarians to do that.

                    3. Let’s take a nation of 2 people. We’re assigning numbers to liberty to show how absolutely moronic you’re being.

                      Person 1 is a slave in 1789, they have a liberty score of 0
                      Person 2 is a white agrarian in 1789, they have a liberty score of 15.

                      Total liberty in 1789: 15

                      Fast-forward to 2014
                      Person 1 is an urban black, they have a liberty score of 5.
                      Person 2 is a suburban white, they have a liberty score of 7

                      Total liberty in 2014: 12

                      15 is greater than 12, therefore more liberty ON THE WHOLE in 1789 than 2014.

                      Slavery is not the end-all be-all of liberty like your biases tell you it is.

                    4. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2…..-of-gdp-2/

                      Clearly the mark of ever expanding liberty.

                3. My argument clearly was that we’ve gone backwards RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

                  I have no idea what that actually is supposed to mean.

                  Are you saying that we have less liberty in the US than the rest of the world?

                  Are you saying that the US has advanced less quickly than the rest of the world?

                  Are you saying that the US has moved backward while the rest of the world has moved forward?

                  If you want people to “stop reading biases into your arguments”, start saying what you mean, instead of giving us meaningless drivel.

              2. Not all liberty is the same, idjit.

                1. Yeah, taxes total slavery

                  1. I’m going to go and drink beer, smoke pot, and play cribbage with the old guy next door. It will be a heck of a lot more intellectually stimulating to listen to him drone on about his grandkids than to read Bo spouting off his idiocy.

                    Good will to all, and to Bo go fuck yourself!

          3. The Articles of Confederation were superior, anyway.

            1. The Articles of Confederation, which would have made slavery really impossible to be eradicated?

              It’s like the Twilight Zone in here. ‘Sure, the Articles were a slavery preserving set up, but they made it much harder to pass interstate commerce regulation, man, those were the days for liberty!’

              1. There was no fugitive slave clause in the Articles of Confederation. Passing the Fugitive Slave Act in a confederacy would have been impossible. No Fugitive Slave Act= slavery dying a natural death near the beginning of the abolitionist movement as slaves fled to free states, possibly before 1865 and certainly with less bloodshed and growth of central government power.

          4. The constitution took steps to rid slavery, they still had to get the popular vote though. The bill of rights implicitly forbid slavery. The rest of the world still had slaves, so the relative position of liberty remains true.

      2. Well, for some people. A minority of people.

  11. OT: WTF is going on with the Reason mobile site? Can’t stop fucking it up, eh squirrels? And right before the annual campaign too.The default size now is best described as cataract friendly and the Taboola is stacked box ads.

    1. I think playa said that we’re getting a new mobile site soon. I have to use desktop mode on my phone because of the variety of issues with the current mobile site.

    2. Hah! Since I only have a Stupid Phone, I can’t do Reason Mobile, and thus do NOT have this problem!

      *counts blessings*

  12. One reason the govt had to get involved in marriage was because of the
    issues of such things as child custody in divorces, alimony, and so forth. It would be relevant to observe that none of the laws related to marital issues have any relevance for same sex couples (no children, no alimony, etc). Same sex marriage is more likely a means of getting tax breaks and employee spousal benefits, which don’t really make any sense in the case of same sex couplings. But marriage laws related to taxes, employee fringe benefits, etc have always discriminated against single folks. Both single and married employees at the same pay levels should get exactly the same fringe benefit amounts, to be used however they choose. Why there has never been a class action lawsuit about this blatant discrimination is something of a mystery. Our govt has subsidized marriage and offspring. So the first task is to remove any financial or tax advantages enjoyed by married folks at the expense of singles. As far as the libertarian definition of marriage as “anything goes,” then marriage with one’s pet becomes entirely legitimate. Of course, same sex marriages make
    no biological sense, regardless.

    1. Is there no marriage tax penalty, then? I thought there was a marriage tax penalty.

      WHERE’S MY MARRIAGE TAX PENALTY!?!?!

      Wait…

    2. Why there has never been a class action lawsuit about this blatant discrimination is something of a mystery.

      Because there’s been no recognition by the courts of unmarried individuals constituting a protected class and it would take some truly extraordinary reading of the Constitution to find one?

    3. Same sex couples don’t have any children?

    4. I’ll take your arguments seriously when you can explain to me how heterosexual marriage makes “biological sense,” since marriage is a civil concept that has precisely fuck-all to do with biology. And when you can comprehend the idea of consenting individuals voluntarily entering into a contract with each other — because it’s only the libertarians in your fever dreams advocating for pets and children to be eligible for marriage, or Visa cards, or whatever other stupid shit you’re proposing.

  13. A Twist Ending

    “Outgoing presidents often unleash a flurry of executive orders and regulations in a last-minute attempt to leave their mark on U.S. policy. Frustrated by Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass the president’s agenda, the administration already is taking steps to do it through executive action.
    With his immigration bill dead, the administration rolled out a proposed rule to address some of the major issues in the failed legislation. It will tighten border security, streamline guest-worker programs and pressure employers to fire illegal immigrant workers.

    Bush said it was an example of acting within the boundaries of existing law when Congress failed to act.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/2029…..G0RnVfF-rA

    1. Yes. Because libertarians are all closet conservatives who will jump up to defend Bush.

      idjit

      1. I’m no criticizing libertarians genius.

  14. Hey guys, you can’t complain about abuses the Federal Government commits today because did you guys know that at one time lots of people had leprosy?

    That’s way worse than anything the government is doing today, so all of your arguments are invalid.

    /Bo

    1. No, what I’m speaking against is praising the slave state of the past. Of course we can criticize today’s relatively smaller violations of liberty in their own right. It’s when we say ‘you know when we were the champs of liberty? When we had a massive slave state’ that we become absurd.

      1. It’s one thing to excuse our Founders as not knowing any better or falling short of an ideal because of practical concerns, it’s another to heap praise on them. What they did might be excused (but will we excuse Wilson and the Proggressives for following the Zeitgeist of their time?) but shouldn’t be justified, or worse commended.

        1. it’s another to heap praise on them. What they did might be excused (but will we excuse Wilson and the Proggressives for following the Zeitgeist of their time?) but shouldn’t be justified

          Your argument is flawed (let me find my surprised face). Heaping praise on a document or a group of people does not indicate tacit approval of every single policy that the document or group espouses. Do you think that you’ll find very many people defending eminent domain? That’s in the Constitution. Just because we didn’t include explicit boilerplate disclaimers about the anti-liberty provisions of the Constitution doesn’t mean that we somehow accept them all on their face. Surprisingly, we CAN believe that our liberty has generally eroded in this nation (both in relative and absolute terms) without liberty having eroded in all facets for all peoples. But, then again, we’re not all pedants who get off on exposing people’s implied assumptions.

          1. “we CAN believe that our liberty has generally eroded in this nation (both in relative and absolute terms) without liberty having eroded in all facets for all peoples.”

            Good grief, so it was about what I said upthread all along, not just saying we were the tallest midget at our Founding, but that liberty has absolutely eroded.

            It’s preposterous to say that this country, say, before the 13th Amendment was ahead of where we are now in liberty. To do so is to discount the greatest affront to liberty in our history.

            1. It’s preposterous to say that this country, say, before the 13th Amendment was ahead of where we are now in liberty. To do so is to discount the greatest affront to liberty in our history.

              1) We weren’t arguing absolutes, but you muddied the waters, so I went there, too.

              2) In the bizarro world were we were arguing absolutes from the start, the quoted statement would have gotten a helluva lot more traction than your pedantry.

              3) I think you’re wrong. Slavery was a question of equality first and of liberty as a distant second. After the 13th, most blacks were stuck working on the same farms doing the same work, only to get paid a token wage that would buy the same food and the same accomodations as when they were slaves. Not to say that this was bad, only that it wasn’t some earth-shattering overnight change.

            2. It’s preposterous to say that this country, say, before the 13th Amendment was ahead of where we are now in liberty.

              It depends on what liberties you focus on, and what weight you assign them. Judging by the demographics, it’s pretty unlikely the average Reason reader would have been personally impacted by slavery, women’s suffrage, or gay marriage in 1789. So in the ways that actually impact our day to day lives in 2014, most of us are relatively less free from government encumbrance today than we would have been in 1789. It was much easier for the vast majority of people in those days to be left the fuck alone. That’s not an endorsement of the ways in which everyone was less free in 1789, nor did anyone say or imply that it was, the persistent voices in your head notwithstanding.

              By the mere absence of slavery, modern Iran is, by your estimation, both morally superior to, and more free than the United States in 1789. Even if true, I can tell you where I’d rather plant my cishet white privileged ass.

      2. Who here is praising a slave state? Who here excuses Wilson for anything? And I repeat my question: what are current, presently living libertarian folk able to do about any of this crap from happening except travel back in time?

        1. “Who here is praising a slave state?”

          Those who are saying this nation prior to the Reconstruction Amendments was some Golden Age of liberty.

          “what are current, presently living libertarian folk able to do about any of this crap”

          Only one thing: don’t praise a state which sanctioned slavery as the high point of liberty.

          1. Those who are saying this nation prior to the Reconstruction Amendments was some Golden Age of liberty.

            Name names.

            what are current, presently living libertarian folk able to do about any of this crap from happening except travel back in time?

            Nice selective quotation, asshole. Have I ever praised the existence of a slave state? Having not ever done so, what more could I do so that it a slave state never exists. One thing: travel back in time to kick ass and take names.

            Alas, that option does not exist. Don’t blame for not being able to prevent something that happened two centuries before I was born.

          2. Waiting.

            1. Bo seems to be a troll…if he was actually in legal studies my guess is he wouldn’t have the time to troll here constantly.

          3. Bo, I often want to come to your defense around here, because I don’t think your arguments are always given a fair shake. But then you go ahead and post stupid shit like this, and I can empathize with those who call you a retarded concern troll.

            “Who here is praising a slave state?”

            Those who are saying this nation prior to the Reconstruction Amendments was some Golden Age of liberty.

            No. Just no. Absolutely no one here is praising a fucking slave state. All that’s been said is that in some ways, many people were freer in their daily lives earlier in our national history. Nothing that was said discounts the fact that many people were not freer, because they were either slaves or otherwise second-class citizens. The posters who’ve been patiently trying to explain this to you are merely saying that it would be nice if we were all as free now as the freest citizens back then. And you’re the only person who is evidently either incapable of understanding this, or deliberately pretending to be in order to shit on the thread.

  15. “Likewise, opponents of same-sex marriage will not be forced to accept a definition they fundamentally disagree with.”

    [explodes into hilarious laughter]

    [wipes tears of laughter from face]

    Thank you, I needed some cheering up.

    1. You should make them bake you a cake.

  16. “We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage.”

    And they never should have in the first place.

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