Fischer: Dred Scott 2! Tyranny!

The Supreme Court’s denial of cert in the pending same-sex marriage cases has sent Bryan Fischer into quite a little hissy fit. He’s been railing about it endlessly on his radio show and in a column on the American Family Association website, where he screams TYRANNY!

The nearest parallel we can find to what happened yesterday is the Court’s 1857 decision legitimizing the institution of slavery. In the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on a pernicious, degrading, decivilizing institution and gave it the patina of constitutional authority.

The Court duplicated its wrongheaded and grossly immoral Dred Scott ruling yesterday by imposing same-sex marriage on the entire country. This is tyranny.

The Court was wrong in 1857 and it was wrong yesterday. It was wrong on slavery and it is wrong on sodomy.

The closest parallel? Seriously? There’s nothing remotely analogous between the two situations. If anything, the comparison is the exact opposite. Dred Scott explicitly denied the common humanity and equal rights of black people just as Fischer seeks to deny the same to gay people:

In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument.

It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken.

They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.

Is this not almost identical to the reasoning that Bryan Fischer and his ilk use? Like Dred Scott, they argue that the historical fact of discrimination against gay people justifies continuing such discrimination and that gay people have no rights that straight people are bound to respect. Like the court in Dred Scott, today’s bigots use such history to justify their bigotry.

The federal Constitution given to us by the Founders is silent on the subject of marriage and homosexuality. You can read it front to back, back to front, left to right, right to left, upside down and in Sanskrit and you will find not a single, solitary shred of authorization for any part of the central government to dictate domestic policy to the states.

Article I, Section 8 lists all the powers of action the people of the United States have delegated to our central government. The authority to define marriage is not among them. It is conspicuous by its absence.

The Federal constitution given to use by the Founders is silent on the subject of the right to travel freely. And the right to send one’s children to private schools or to homeschool them. And a thousand other rights that Fischer would fully support and takes for granted. This argument is just incredibly stupid.

Follow Us!
POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • steve oberski

    If I were going to make a comparison to Dred Scott, it would have been to the recent SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.

  • John Pieret

    Mat Staver, the dumbest … etc., has dragged this bit of lunacy out too:

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/mat-staver-shameful-supreme-court-gay-marriage-ruling-will-spread-disease#sthash.K3WEP3aA.dpuf

    Article I, Section 8 lists all the powers of action the people of the United States have delegated to our central government. The authority to define marriage is not among them. It is conspicuous by its absence.

    Ah, but the Federal government is not defining marriage, it is keeping bigots from defining marriage, be it for interracial or gay couples, in such a way as to deny individuals their basic right to equal protection of the law and due process.

    The bigots could, for instance, simply do away with marriage for every one, along with all the tax and other benefits … simply define it out of existence … and Federal courts would not intervene. Let’s see if they have the guts to try.

  • eric

    Fischer:

    you will find not a single, solitary shred of authorization for any part of the central government to dictate domestic policy to the states.

    Actual Constitution (as amended):

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  • Chiroptera

    The nearest parallel we can find to what happened yesterday is the Court’s 1857 decision legitimizing the institution of slavery. In the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on a pernicious, degrading, decivilizing institution and gave it the patina of constitutional authority.

    This is a misconception about the importance of the Dred Scott case. It did not legitimize slavery: slavery was already legitimized by the Constitution itself and the federal government had no authority to eliminate it in the states in which it was legal.

    One important question addressed by the case was that a slave did not become free if their master brought them into a state or territory where it slaver was illegal.

    But another important question, as pointed out in the portion Ed quoted, was even more insidious and odious. Taney held that people descended from African slaves, even if free themselves, were not entitled to citizenship and so were not even entitled to have their claims heard in federal court. I believe that there were cases where slave catcher from the South grabbed free blacks in Northern states as runaways and the free blacks were not even allowed to have their case heard in court!

    This was the main reason the “natural born citizenship” clause was added to the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War.

  • steve78b

    Is Bryan Fischer insane? Is Matt Staver?

    How do these guys get this kind of lunacy out of their minds and into print or speech? They have to be faking.

    Nobody can be that looney. Can they? Really?

    And people listen to them and think they make sense.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, he has a point. I don’t know what that point is, and the point is wrong, but he still has it.

  • shadow

    @6: MO:

    To be fair, he has a point…

    But, will they love it and pet it and name it George?

  • Trebuchet

    To be fair, he has a point.

    On his head?

  • dingojack

    Trebuchet – no. Not anymore. Being dropped on his point many times at an early age flattened it right out.

    Dingo

  • Electric Shaman

    It was wrong on slavery and it is wrong on sodomy.

    I’m unaware of the Supreme Court’s stance on sodomy so that may very well be the case, but I thought we were discussing legal issues around same sex marriage?

  • hunter

    Electric Shaman @10: The Supreme Court’s stance on sodomy is that it’s none of the government’s business: Lawrence v. Texas.

    As for Fischer’s rant: this is par for the course for him. It’s not even particularly shrill or unhinged, since he started off shrill and unhinged.

    And marriage actually falls under the Free Association clause of the First Amendment and has been held to be a fundamental right in fourteen Court decisions going back to 1888. Thus, the right of same-sex couples to marry, given the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, is guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be abrogated by the states.

    He’s wrong about everything else, too, but don’t expect him to be bothered by it.

  • hunter

    Oh, and about the relation between the Supreme Court’s stance on sodomy and same-sex marriage, see Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence:

    “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity … every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision.”

    And:

    “If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ for purposes of proscribing that conduct … what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising ‘[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution?'”

    None of this really has anything to do with Fischer’s “argument” — he just likes the sound of “sodomy.”

  • Artor

    The Sound of Sodomy? That was my favorite Simon & Garfunkel tune!