Rebutting Rebuttals: Arguing Against “Marriage Equality”, Part 3

So, here we are, part 3 of a series of responses to Bob Seidensticker’s series that purports to rebut arguments against same sex mirage. Bob is “rebutting” a series of posts authored by Frank Turek, and so I’m having to do double work because Bob doesn’t make an effort to link to the specific post that he’s responding to, preferring to just pull-quote a text, and hoping that no one goes behind him to make sure that he’s being honest in his responses and arguments (ie that he’s not setting up a straw man). 

In today’s post, we’ll look at another set of responses Bob gives in part 3 of his series. 

In “rebuttal” seven, Bob tries his hand at snark, titling it “You’re infringing on my religious freedom,” in which he writes,

“The sky is falling, and the religious liberty of bakers, florists, and photographers is battered down by the merciless iron fist of the Gay Agenda®. 

Um, yeah. Probably the best known, at present time, in the US is Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who has had one case dismissed because of definite religious prejudice and is on his way back to the high court because of being targeted again. So, Bob is simply lazy in not recognizing that the threat is real. 


Now, Bob is specifically responding to a warning sounded by Frank in this post, when he responds,

Discrimination can be against the law. Break the law and bad things happen. It’s really not that hard, despite your eagerness to make it so. If your religion denied equal access based on race or carried out human sacrifice, you’d be breaking the law and your religion would lose.


Now, keep in mind that Bob is in the throes of a noticeable and implied category error, equating “race”—which is a false category in itself— with behavior. They aren’t the same thing. He appeals to a 1890 US Supreme Court decision to make his argument stick, the problem is that it goes to specific behaviors, in the court case, specifically it dealt with the state of Idaho blocking people convicted of polygamy from voting. The point of the decision was that Mormons in Idaho, as residents of Idaho, were trying to assert that their religious beliefs could exempt them from application of the law. The Supreme Court said, “not so fast”, one can only freely exercise their religion as far as it doesn’t cross into criminal territory. 

Bob demonstrates that he doesn’t understand the argument when he tries to respond by writing,

“The real rights—in America, at least—are those defined by the Constitution. You’re free to imagine whatever you want within your religion, just don’t pretend that that affects any of us in the rest of society. I wonder how Frank would feel if he worked at a company run by a Jehovah’s Witness or Christian Scientist who imposed their religious views on employees by limiting their health coverage (the Hobby Lobby treatment).


Alright, let’s run this test. In America, you have the “right” to work for whoever you want. In being hired to perform work, you agree to certain terms that the employer requires of his employees, that includes pay and benefits. If the company is providing benefits, generally, you have to accept what is offered in contrast to what you desire to have. It’s a cost/benefit consideration that every single person has to make. Now, the argument could be that, certain people (Jehovah’s Witnesses) might only be open 5 days a week, while another (Christian Scientist) might be open seven. I’m not going to say whether this is the case, but let’s just say that they make those decisions based upon their religious convictions. So what? There’s no law that says how many days a week that a business has to be open. However, if the job imposed conditions, like having to hand out copies of Watchtower magazine, might stray into questionable territory. Overall, as such it is not an argument. 


Bob continues,

No one demands that you celebrate a marriage, but you must provide equal access as demanded by the law. Your conscience tells you to discriminate and serve only some of your customers?


What is “equal access”, though? Let’s keep in mind that principally you do not have a right to anyone’s labor without an agreed upon economic exchange. Moreover, no one is required to sell you anything. The first amendment has a number of protections that are outlined in it: among which are: speech, free exercise of religion, assembly, and petition. Now, within each of these exists certain sub-categories. With the freedom of speech comes the right to not be compelled to speak. With the freedom to assemble comes the freedom not to associate. For example a t-shirt maker cannot be compelled by law to print shirts with messages that they object to. If you are going to be consistent then you cannot force a baker to make a cake emblazoned with a message that they are opposed to, or a photographer take pictures of an event that they’re opposed to, or a venue owner host an event that they are opposed to. I wouldn’t force a gay atheist to host an event that called for the deaths of gays and atheists, so why would you force a Christian who rejects gay mirage to provide services for one, unless you are just proving Frank’s point. 

in “rebuttal” number 8, titled “Let’s overthrow the government!” Bob attempts to respond to Frank’s argument, made here, regarding a call for a politicians to stand up for morality as opposed to legality. 

Bob writes,

When your interpretation of the Constitution differs from that of a state Supreme Court or a federal court, you think a governor should just flex his military muscle? Oh, Frank! You’re a real man, and I get goose bumps when you throw your weight around like that! You gonna punch the bully on the beach for me, too?

Let’s be clear: Bob isn’t responding to anything that Frank has said, nor is he being consistent. I’m sure that Bob would argue that the Heller decision, which argues for an individual right for firearms ownership, was wrong as well as the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that blacks could not be citizens, was also wrong. Oh, wait…that would mean that he holds an opinion different from the Supreme Court. 

I would like to remind Bob—and everyone else—that because States are the sovereign entities in the United States (it’s in the name, HELLO!) and many states have their own militias in order to protect their citizens from an overreaching federal authority. Sometimes those States need to be reminded of their authority and responsibility to their citizens. 

Bob tries to head this off by writing,

The stunt Frank imagines has already been tried. It didn’t turn out well for the governor of Arkansas in 1957 when he called out the Arkansas National Guard to support segregationists opposed to a Supreme Court demand to integrate Little Rock public schools. President Eisenhower’s response was to federalize the Arkansas National Guard to remove it from the governor’s control and replace it with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Game, set, and match.

The problem is that he’s still operating under the category error that all supposes that a physical characteristic is equal to a behavior. Again, I would simply put to him to show any constitutional obligation for a State to adhere to a Supreme Court decision. I mean, again he’s being hypocritical, because the very instance that he’s mentioned is an case where one Supreme Court decision overturned another. Pick one, Bob, and stick with it. 

Well, as you can see what we have here is a case of Bob wanting to have his cake and eat it too. The result is that he has no argument to actually respond to the arguments made by Dr. Turek. 

Stay tuned for part 4. 

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