Meghan Kelly Gets It

Fox News host Meghan Kelly took a break from her normal role of supplying Jon Stewart with material and uttered something that was actually concise, accurate and intelligent. Speaking with one of the organizers of the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation day, she said:

“This country has a long history of discrimination against certain groups. Eventually we wind up getting it right. Right? Against women, against blacks, the civil rights movement and so on. And in justifying that discrimination when it was in place, some folks turn to the Bible and turn to their religious beliefs and said we have to have slavery because it’s in the Bible. Women have to be second-class citizens because that’s in the Bible. Blacks and whites can’t get married because that’s in the Bible. That wound up in a case. A judge wrote that in an opinion, which the Supreme Court ultimately struck that down, saying that’s not right, judge, because of the equal rights clause. What’s the difference with gay marriage?”

Meghan Kelly. The woman who responded to the UC Davis pepper spraying incident by calling pepper spray “just a food product.” Grading on a curve, this is some seriously insightful stuff.

World Net Daily has a column criticising Kelly that, I think, misses the point completly:

…there is nothing in the Bible to suggest marital unions between whites and blacks is sinful, pointed out Joseph Farah, editor and founder of WND.

“Neither can one make the case that the Bible calls for women to be second-class citizens,” said Farah. “The Bible elevated the status of women and protected their rights. In the pagan world, women were less than second-class citizens. In many cases they were no more than property.”

I don’t think that Kelly is dumb enough to question that authority of the Bible on Fox News. She said that people were “justifying that discrimination,” which says nothing about the Bible and a lot about the people interpreting the Bible.

By focusing on Kelly’s supposed misreading of the text, the WND can ignore the long list of people who have argued that the Bible does in fact prohibit miscegenation. At random, we could start with Buckner “Ariel” Payne’s 1867 pamphlet “The Negro: What Is His Ethnological Status?” Payne suggests that the flood – and pretty much every calamity in the Bible – was a result of men’s “love for and miscegenation with negroes.”

We could end with Charles Stanley, a Los Angeles county attorney who argued for the state’s anti-miscegenation laws in 1947. From Fay Botham’s Almighty God Created the Races:

“It is interesting to note,” Stanley remarked, “that the Bible is not silent upon the question of the mingling of races.” He cited a story from the book of Genesis in which Abraham made his son swear not to take a wife “of the daughters of the Canaanites,” and another, from the book of Nehemiah, in which the writer claimed to have cursed and “smote” Hebrew men who had married non-Hebrew women. According to Stanley, the Bible stories, along with his “ample evidence of sociological conditions,” together proved that “marriages between Negroes and Whites” placed “such a strain upon the family relations” and “such unfortunate social conditions for the offspring of such a marriage as to justify the legal prohibition of such marriages.”[p. 91]

One of the most annoying things about dealing with Protestants is their insistence on Biblical authority paired with their inability to agree on what the Bible says. Combined with the tendency to simply assert their supposedly biblical doctrines without “showing their work,” so to speak, leaves one with the feeling that the Bible is simply a ventriloquist dummy that will always agree with the speaker.

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  • Andrew Hall

    Let’s see, Solomon made the Temple using slave labor, “Wives submit to your husbands,” I know there is a mitzah about how much one should beat their slave, the list goes on and on…

  • Kevin S.

    In the Old Testament, women were definitely little more than property. In the Book of Job, Job’s wife (and his children) are lumped together with his cattle as a list of items God took from him.

    • trj

      When David sinned by commiting adultery, part of God’s punishment was to give his wives to another man, so that he might openly have sex with them (which by the way constitutes borderline rape). They were obviously property to be taken from David, a payment for his sin.

    • Clarice O’Callaghan

      Same in the NT, e.g., Paul => Wives submit to your husbands.

  • Ed Selby

    Update: WND has deleted the article and issued an apology

    • Custador

      Which is good.

      • JohnMWhite

        Eh, not really. Their apology is simply that they believe they were mistaken in attributing the idea that the bible condones marital segregation to her, personally, and pretended she was only citing the opinions of others. They completely dodged the point that got them so upset in the first place – it’s true, the bible does strongly support avoiding mixed-race marriages, and it was cogently pointed out by somebody they thought was on their side in the culture war. And by deleting the article, now nobody can really get at what they were actually trying to say. Revisionist history for the win!

  • Stony

    “that the Bible is simply a ventriloquist dummy that will always agree with the speaker.”

    I’m stealing that line; it’s positively elegant. I’ve been arguing with people that a god that leaves such cryptic and contradictory “instructions” behind is a pretty capricious god. But this is a capper.

    • machintelligence

      It’s not just the Bible; God frequently serves the same function. Revelations generally go: God gave me a revelation, and oddly enough, He agrees with me. With the exception of the Mormon’s reversal of their stance on plural marriage and blacks as church members (how convenient), can anyone think of a revelation that read “you’re wrong, now fix it”.

  • Lester Ballard

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

    Funny how wife is included with all those other pieces of property, things that are owned.

  • Pam

    I love that entire last paragraph. Needs to be a poster. Do I attribute “for jack”?

  • CBloom

    The bible also says that Moses took a black wife…. and when his sister questioned it, god punished her. Look it up. You can find whatever you want in the bible, good or bad.

  • Keulan

    A Fox “news” host saying something smart? Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  • vasaroti

    Isn’t this the same woman who got some people riled up because she defended taking maternity leave? She’d better watch her step!

  • Brocasbrian

    A fox neuz correspondent saying something insightful, nuanced and accurate? I’m sure she’ll get slapped down. This is evidence that Meghan isn’t the ignorant wingnut she portrays on tv.

  • Danielcb

    “One of the most annoying things about dealing with Protestants is their insistence on Biblical authority paired with their inability to agree on what the Bible says…”

    “leaves one with the feeling that the Bible is simply a ventriloquist dummy that will always agree with the speaker.”

    By the gods, this sentence deserves to be on the voyager plate.