Barber Sputters and Rages Against Marriage Equality in Ireland

Matt Barber got himself worked up into quite a lather on the Faith and Freedom radio show he co-hosts with Mat Staver over Ireland’s recent overwhelming vote to legalize same-sex marriage. Let’s listen to him rage, rage against the dying of his ability to oppress other people.

“What we saw happen in Ireland was clearly a mass rebellion against God’s design, clear design, millennia-old design for the institution of marriage,” he said. “As history has shown over and over again, any society that abandons monogamous man-woman marriage as a central aspect of that culture and embraces sexual relativism as they have now done in Ireland, that culture and that society is not long for the world.”

This is a nearly ubiquitous claim among the Christian right, but have you ever heard any one of them actually defend it? Have you ever heard them present any evidence for it? I haven’t either. Do tell, Mr. Barber, which ones collapsed because of homosexuality? Be specific, please, and bring some evidence to the table. And please don’t say ancient Rome, which didn’t collapse until after it had become officially Christians and Justinian outlawed homosexuality because it caused earthquakes.

Barber went on to say that not only has this vote brought “great shame and great embarrassment on the Irish people,” but it also signals that the cancer of moral relativism is sweeping across western civilization.

“I don’t know how much longer we can expect [to survive],” he said. “Certainly, this novelty of so-called gay marriage is going to be one of the primary, I believe, drawbacks that end up potentially leading to the end of western civilization as we certainly know it now, at least.”

Nope, not moral relativism at all. I don’t base my support for marriage equality on moral relativism but on a competing claim of moral absolutism: It is immoral to discriminate against people for no good reason. It is immoral to base public policy on ignorant and bigoted religious beliefs. That isn’t moral relativism, it’s exactly the opposite.

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POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Anna Elizabeth

    So, just being ourselves, marrying people we love, openly existing as LGBTQA+ people is going to destroy civilization?

    My existence as a Bisexual woman is rebellion against God? I think their God must be as stupid as his worshipers. Either God made me Bi, then wishes to condemn me for *his* mistake, *or* – there are no gods, life and sexuality are complex systems, some of us are born different, and the religious are stupid, hate-filled bullies.

    I wish one of these haters would put his money where his anus-with-teeth is, and commit to a date where his gawd will destroy whichever country for allowing LGBTQA+ people to marry, exist, be fabulous (all the horrors me and mine commit), or shut up.

  • cptdoom

    It is immoral to base public policy on ignorant and bigoted religious beliefs. That isn’t moral relativism, it’s exactly the opposite.

    Exactly. Moral relativism would be something like claiming society is threatened by sexual immorality, but defending a family that covered up sex abuse because the family is Christian. Oh, wait.

  • John Hinkle

    Fear and anger. Well, you know who else used fear and anger? That’s right, Darth Vader!!

  • MikeMa

    @cptdoom,

    Worse, I think. Didn’t the Duggar dad support death for pedophiles? Moral and legal relativism!

  • MikeMa

    @Anna Elizabeth

    Your post is excellent but the haters will not give up as they not only base their (im)moral life on hate, they base their income on it as well.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    @MikeMa – only too true, I’m afraid. Perhaps steps should be taken to reduce that income?

    I advocate making churches pay taxes. Why should they get to spew bile and hate at me while my sales and use taxes support them in doing so?

  • Morgan

    Barber went on to say that not only has this vote brought “great shame and great embarrassment on the Irish people,”

    Ah ha ha ha. The overwhelming reaction I’ve seen from my fellow Irish has been great relief that we can actually be proud of doing the right thing.

  • marcus

    Yeah well, just remember what happened to Canada after they embraced homo-marriage!

    I miss Canada.

  • scienceavenger

    I believe, drawbacks that end up potentially leading to the end of western civilization as we certainly know it now, at least.

    In a sense this is absolutely true, it will end it as we know it now, just like when slavery/Jim Crow/sexist voting standards ended, western civilization as they had known it ended. Every major social change makes for a different civilization. I’m still waiting for Barber to explain why The Fabulous Era won’t be better than those that came before.

  • Larry

    just remember what happened to Canada after they embraced homo-marriage!

    A Canadian hockey team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1993. Or, as we Yanks like to call them, the Chicago Cubs of the NHL.

  • StevoR

    Justinian outlawed homosexuality because it caused earthquakes.

    Wait, I thought it was breasts that did that?

  • StevoR

    This (that homosex causes civilisations to collapse) is a nearly ubiquitous claim among the Christian right, but have you ever heard any one of them actually defend it? Have you ever heard them present any evidence for it?

    I think I can recalled times when they half-assedly tried to defend the proposition but never with any actual evidence. If we’re “lucky” maybe our resident trolls Duke Dogshit or Igutjaizus or someone else will come along and give us a demo here of just how bad they are at showing this oft asserted PRATT* has some faint skerrick of veracity. (Spoiler : It hasn’t.)

    Barber went on to say that not only has this vote brought “great shame and great embarrassment on the Irish people,” ..

    I wonder how many Irish people he’s asked about that? Actually from what I’ve read the Irish people feel proud and happy and free about it. At least two thirds or so of them judging by that landslide result in favour of equal marriage.

    .. but it also signals that the cancer of moral relativism is sweeping across western civilization.

    “Cancer” or more like cure for the old disease of puritanical intolerant fanatical Christianity that used to blight the West with all those religious wars and violence and repression and bigotry. A metaphorical disease that the West spread and infected a lot of the rest of the world with via colonialism.

    * Point Refuted A Thousand Times.

  • llewelly

    For these people, “moral relativism” is like “cultural marxism”. It’s a scare phrase, intended to conjure up a vague cowering terror.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Justinian, working from Constantinople, reformed Roman law in 529; Rome “fell” to the Vandals in 455.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    … but it also signals that the cancer of moral relativism is sweeping across western civilization.

    “Moral relativism.” They keep using that phrase but somehow I don’t think it means what they think it means. The idea that everyone is equal and should have equal access to the benefits of marriage is about as close to a moral absolute as I can think of. It’s not situational. It doesn’t apply to one group and not another. I don’t get what it is “relative” to.

    Like “nazi,” “marxist,” “communist,” and a lot of other phrases, it’s just another phrase that has lost its real meaning and now is just a signal that says “something bad.”

  • Synfandel

    …any society that abandons monogamous man-woman marriage as a central aspect of that culture…

    Monogamous man-woman marriage will continue to be a central aspect of Irish culture. Gays and lesbians are still minorities and will remain so for obvious biological reasons. The only change is that those minorities can now marry if they wish.

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

    Frankly, I’m still getting over the shock at finding out that Ireland abandoned monogamous man-woman marriage as a central aspect of that culture.

  • dingojack

    Peirce R. Butler: The FoAK notes:

    Both Martial and Juvenal refer to marriage between men as something that occurs not infrequently, although they disapprove of it.[119] Roman law did not recognize marriage between men, but one of the grounds for disapproval expressed in Juvenal’s satire is that celebrating the rites would lead to expectations for such marriages to be registered officially.[120] As the empire was becoming Christianized in the 4th century, legal prohibitions against gay marriage began to appear.[121]”

    Dingo

    ———

    FoAK footnotes:

    [119] Martial 1.24 and 12.42; Juvenal 2.117–42. Williams, Roman Homosexuality, pp. 28, 280; Karen K. Hersh, The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 36; Caroline Vout, Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 151ff.

    [120] Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 280.

    [121] Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 280.

  • abb3w

    @17, ArtK

    “Moral relativism.” They keep using that phrase but somehow I don’t think it means what they think it means. The idea that everyone is equal and should have equal access to the benefits of marriage is about as close to a moral absolute as I can think of. It’s not situational. It doesn’t apply to one group and not another. I don’t get what it is “relative” to.

    Wikipedia seems illuminating, indicating three senses:

    * Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral

    * meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong

    * normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it

    Barber seems to be implicitly claiming that this un(fundamentalist)Christian tolerance of homosexuality because some people do not agree with nor accept the (fundamentalist Christian) Biblical moral prohibition against it; ergo, like all other tolerance of things fundamentalists don’t (and some others do) consider moral, this must be an example of normative moral relativism in our culture. Contrariwise, such tolerance can alternately be framed as a prescriptive under a moral framework such as Ed Brayton alluded… in which case, since Barber clearly doesn’t agree due to favoring a moral framework based on (his interpretation of) the Bible as the particular absolute, it illustrates descriptive moral relativism. Nohow (and as you suggest) it’s probably some manner of communications error to interpret the phrase semantically when Barber seems more likely to be using it as a mere phatic signal.

  • Tony! The Queer Shoop

    ::looks at the various christian defenders of the Duggars::

    ::looks at those christians whining about moral relativism::

    ::laughs::

  • StevoR

    On how the Irish have actually been feeling and responding well, there’s no better source than Aoife O’Riordan’s ‘Consider the Tea Cosy’ blog right here on FTB :

    A couple of friends of mine walked to the local shop together. A man approached them shook their hands, and told them to never stop holding hands. Another friend talked about all the same-sex couples she saw holding hands, embracing, being unapologetically together on our streets and in our parks.

    And I walk down the street alone with a Yes badge on my shirt- I can’t bear to take it off yet. It’s met on every street with infectious, unstoppable smiles. Moments of overjoyed connection with strangers- and not just the strangers we’ve been led to expect. The buttoned-up, the middle-aged, the most conservative appearing of us can’t help but break into grins when we see each other. … (snip) .. This campaign has changed Ireland. It is about marriage, yes- and I can’t wait to join my friends in celebrating the lives they build with each other. But this campaign and this referendum became about so much more than that.

    This campaign was a fight between two Irelands. There’s the Ireland that the world thinks we are. Parochial, old-fashioned, under the thumb of the Vatican, resistant to change and too complacent to stand up for itself. And then there’s the other Ireland- the one I always want to be part of. The Ireland that is the best that we can be. The Ireland of inclusion, of community, of generosity. The Ireland that never met an underdog it wouldn’t stand up for.

    I am proud of my LGBTQ community for being that Ireland, and I’m proud that our friends took up our invitation to join us there.

    This referendum should never have been necessary. It is a disgrace that we were forced to beg our country for the right to be treated equally under the law. But we took that disgraceful necessity and we used it to create faster and more beautiful change in our society than I have seen in my life. We used it to come together. To listen to each other, and to understand. To be patient and kind.

    For all of us who never check ourselves again. For all of us who fearlessly, thoughtlessly take the hand of the person they love, and never have to let go. For the indescribable bravery of every person who took off years of armour and bared our vulnerability to the world. For every person who never knew us, who was scared of us, and whose heart was softened by that humanity and vulnerability. For the people who held us when we cried, and who heard our anger and our outrage when we were finally somewhere safe to express it.

    Source : http://freethoughtblogs.com/teacosy/2015/05/25/never-stop-holding-hands-how-love-took-on-a-monster-and-won/

    There are other more recent posts on the Irish referendum there too all well worth reading. But that one. Well you feel the jubiliance and blissful glow through the words on that blog post. that capture of an lingering instant of ectasy.

    It is an excellent counterpoint to the sour bitter rage of the homophobic losers like Barber. The winners who triumphed over their hate, they have happiness now as Aoife O’Riordan’s title says love took on a monster and won and the Irish, they know and feel that too.

  • dingojack

    Hmm — and what do Americans think about marriage equality?

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Well, well, well… overall if Americans were to hold a plebiscite on the issue:

    57% of all adults would vote ‘yes’ and 39% would vote ‘no’.

    Just like the Irish did. Well, fancy that!

    Dingo

  • Synfandel

    …and embraces sexual relativism as they have now done in Ireland…

    What is “sexual relativism”? Is that where I look relatively sexy next to Lyle Lovett?

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14822869 Paul Chapman

    @6: Making (Christian) churches pay taxes is actually consistent with the Bible, which says “Pay the emperor what is owed to the emperor.” (Matthew 22:21)

  • Anna Elizabeth

    @PaulChapman,#25 – Thanx for the reference, it’ll come in handy. :)

    I find most Xtians that “debate” (cough, cough) me online haven’t read the Bible at all.

  • sinned34

    Yeah well, just remember what happened to Canada after they embraced homo-marriage!

    Yeah, we wound up voting in a right-wing (by Canadian standards) Conservative party to form our government. Gay marriage really has been a disaster for Canada.

  • vereverum

    @ Paul Chapman #25

    .

    Just for information only, here is an interesting well reasoned contra to the standard interpretation of that verse. Actually Mark 12:17, but it’s the same incident.

    The link takes a few seconds to load: the thread has well over 37,000 comments. Personally, I think it’s based on a false premise but that’s neither here nor there; it’s still interesting imho.

    http://pandasthumb.org/bw/index.html#comment-340606

  • colnago80

    Re sinned32 @ #27

    I notice that Harper has so far made no move to reverse the same sex marriage law in Canada.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    dingojack @ # 18 – If I interpret your esoteric acronym correctly, you say that the Wikipedestrians tell us that Rome (West) thrived for several centuries while allowing gay unions, then began restricting them and subsequently went down the cloaca, glub glub glub.

    Why didn’t Gibbon & Toynbee warn us?

  • Synfandel

    @29 colnago80 wrote:

    I notice that Harper has so far made no move to reverse the same sex marriage law in Canada.

    Prime Minister Harper is a savvy political operator. He knows that retracting same sex marriage would be political suicide. That’s also why, in spite of the howls of his social conservative base, he has refused to ban or restrict abortion. The majority of Canadian voters wouldn’t tolerate it.

  • dingojack

    Gibbon was particularly scathing about the effect on Christians on the Roman Empire.

    Dingo

    ———

    Sorry FoAW = ‘Fount of All Wisdom’ (note the level of sarcasm in the tag)