Starnes Bleats About Marriage

Todd Starnes of Fox News can almost always be counted on to offer the most hysterical and overblown perspective on any issue. In a column at Charisma News he makes some terrible arguments and unsupported claims about same-sex marriage, but he starts by displaying his inability to distinguish between TV and reality.

I grew up in a time when father still knew best—when Mr. Cunningham was dispensing words of wisdom to Fonzie, when Andy took Opie fishing and when Cliff Huxtable declared that he brought his son into the world and he could take him out. It was a time when Hollywood reinforced the values of the traditional American family. Television shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Brady Bunch presented portraits of strong families where parents ruled the roost and children knew their place.

Uh, Todd…those were TV shows. In the real world, that idyllic 1950s world was one in which your parents said the very same thing you’re saying now, that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and sin was running rampant, only they blamed it on Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis instead of gay people. Black people and women were legally discriminated against on a daily basis, protesters were being beaten by cops, attacked by dogs and had fire hoses turned on them. Not exactly the flowery picture that the sitcoms portrayed.

Critics might argue that the nation’s divorce rate is actually declining. But Jeffress believes that’s evidence of a much greater problem.

“Fewer and fewer people are getting married, so fewer people are getting divorced,” he says. “The overall health of the American family is in critical condition.”

I don’t think Jeffress understands what a divorce rate is. Not the sharpest bulb in the sign, to say the least.

Jeffress believes the legalization of same-sex marriage has “cheapened” traditional marriage.

“When you counter something, you cheapen its value,” he says. “When you say marriage is whatever you want it to be, people begin wondering—why bother getting married anyway? This counterfeit of marriage is having devastating sociological effects. More kids are being raised in one-parent homes. You simply cannot break God’s most basic moral law without serious ramifications.”

Okay, how about a little evidence of those “devastating sociological effects”? Massachusetts has now had same-sex marriage for 11 years. Have people in that state stopped getting married, started getting divorced more, stopped loving their kids? Nope. In fact, none of those horrible effects you folks keep bleating on and on about have actually happened anywhere same-sex marriage has been legalized. The bigots are like the boy who cried wolf. When the wolf never shows up, no one takes them seriously anymore.

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  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    Todd…those were TV shows. In the real world, that idyllic 1950s world was one in which your parents said the very same thing you’re saying now, that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and sin was running rampant, only they blamed it on Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis instead of gay people. Black people and women were legally discriminated against on a daily basis, protesters were being beaten by cops, attacked by dogs and had fire hoses turned on them. Not exactly the flowery picture that the sitcoms portrayed.

    And worst of all, the top marginal income tax rate was over 90%.

  • Loqi

    “…he brought his son into the world and he could take him out.”

    Murdering your children really is the pinnacle of family values.

  • sinned34

    I basically said the same thing to a conservative on another site yesterday. He wanted to go back to the fifties, and when I said it was a great time to be a white protestant male, the response was that I was “bad mouthing white men.”

    Thinking is a skill some conservatives just don’t have.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    In the real world, that idyllic 1950s world was one in which your parents said the very same thing you’re saying now, that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and sin was running rampant, only they blamed it on Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis instead of gay people.

    That is so true.

  • The Gregarious Misanthrope

    Still trying to get Mrs. Anthrope on board with the whole traditional marriage thing, but the concubines have been a real deal-breaker. If you can’t take an Iron-Age goatherder’s word on that, can you trust anything he had to say?

    Still waiting for some xian conservative philanderer to claim that the other woman was a concubine and that it’s all OK from the traditional marriage angle.

    @Loqi #2 Murdering your children is OK once they’ve been born. Lot’s of support in the Old Testament for that.

  • dugglebogey

    I love it when people complain about divorce rates being too high. Do they not understand the alternative is unhappy people staying together and being miserable? Who is in favor of that?

  • steve78b

    “Jeffress believes the legalization of same-sex marriage has “cheapened” traditional marriage.

    “When you counter something, you cheapen its value,” he says”

    So would DIVORCE be ‘counter’ to marriage? I feel that there are more divorced people than people wanting a same-sex marriage (probably an awkward way to phrase that).

    Starnes is another reason to add to my list of WHY NOT TO WATCH FOX NEWS.

  • cptdoom

    Uh, Todd…those were TV shows.

    Well, to be fair, both the Waltons and Little House were based on real families, however whitewashed (reportedly the real Laura Ingalls Wilder was not a nice person). Somehow both shows managed to address racism, sexism and the struggle against poor economic conditions.

  • dingojack

    Highest inflation rate Jan 1950- Dec1959: Feb 1951 9.6%

    Highest inflation rate Jan 2003- Dec 2013: Jul 2008: 5.6%.

    Unemployment peak/ employment population ratio:

    Aug 1957: 7.5% / 55.5%

    Feb 2011: 9.2% / 58.2%

    Homicide rate per 100000:

    1959: 4.9

    2012: 4.7

    Hmmm…. not quite as rosy as it’s painted

    Dingo

  • Moggie

    dugglebogey:

    I love it when people complain about divorce rates being too high. Do they not understand the alternative is unhappy people staying together and being miserable? Who is in favor of that?

    God, that’s who!

  • scienceavenger

    I grew up in a time when father still knew best—when Mr. Cunningham was dispensing words of wisdom to Fonzie, when Andy took Opie fishing and when Cliff Huxtable declared that he brought his son into the world and he could take him out.

    First of all, Opie and Cliff were 30+ years apart. so just how large is your “time”. Second, ah, yes, the good old days, where everything was not being messed up by those homos, which as I once reminded Michael Reagan, would never have anyone on stage saying “fuck” or anything so horrible as that. Though they might lean over to the security people and say “get those niggers back in the cheap seats where they belong”.

    If you are white, I don’t give a fuck what you think of America pre-1964. That’s like a South African looking back at the good ol days of apartheid. It’s easy to think the view is loftier when you are standing on a pile of bodies.

  • dingojack

    Even the nostalgia was better in the old days….

    :/ Dingo

  • Abby Normal

    Gee, I wonder why he didn’t mention Different Strokes, Too Close for Comfort, Bosom Buddies, My Two Dads, The Courtship of Eddies Father, Kate & Allie or any other sitcom that featured more, shall we say, liberal, family structures. Even sitcoms weren’t the conservative paradise he imagines.

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    When the wolf never shows up, no one takes them seriously anymore.

    I suspect this bit of common wisdom if mathematically formalized (in terms of interactive proof theory) might suggest interesting implications.

  • naturalcynic

    Took a long time growing up: Griffith was ’60-’68 while Cosby was ’84-’92.

    But he’s still a petulant 4 year old.

  • U Frood

    I think his point is that some of the people who before would have gotten married and then divorced, are now just skipping the marriage part. Is a 5 year marriage healthier than one that never occurred to begin with?

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Apparently he hasn’t heard some of the less that pleasant allegations about Bill Cosby’s personal life.

  • U Frood

    “…he brought his son into the world and he could take him out.”

    Murdering your children really is the pinnacle of family values.

    No, just threatening to murder your children, like Abraham.

  • freehand

    Wait – didn’t Ron Howard have two dads?* He turned out OK.

    .

    * Sherrrif Taylor and Mr. Cunningham.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    First, Mr. Cunningham was NOT Fonzi’s dad.

    Seriously. What nostalgia buff doesn’t know that?

    Second,

    You simply cannot break God’s most basic moral law without serious ramifications

    Let’s see. What’s God’s most basic moral law? I remember the top 10. Um, really really wishing you had a donkey that could haul as much barley to market as your neighbor’s donkey? Promising in the name of God to get your kid some baklava next time you’re in town but forgetting? Oh, oh! Maybe it’s flipping a light switch on Saturday. Or going to church on Sunday when you’re really supposed to do it on Saturday…especially if your reason for switching over was because it was convenient for scheduling around pagan traditions 1000-1700 years ago, though those pagans are probably still below their absolute numbers in Europe today vs. 1500 years ago which makes them, in today’s dense-pop world, a vanishingly small minority.

    Hmmmm. Providing tax breaks + inheritance benefits + a consolidated mechanism for establishing legal joint parenthood rights in one secular document isn’t in there. Sodomy seems not to be in there anywhere.

    Mr. Starnes, could you perhaps educate me a bit? What is your religion anyway?

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Black people and women were legally discriminated against on a daily basis, protesters were being beaten by cops, attacked by dogs and had fire hoses turned on them.

    I think in Starnes’ little, pointy head, that’s a feature, not a bug.