Weird Arguments About Love and Marriage

by John Holbo on March 11, 2013

I haven’t watched the video of Sullivan debating same-sex marriage with Douglas Wilson (no, I never heard of him either). To judge from this First Things write-up, I can expect some familiar, bad arguments from the anti- side: first and foremost, a failure to appreciate the sense in which theological arguments ‘can’t be offered’ in this sort of debate (a failure of appreciation at least semi-shared by the author of the First Things piece, Peter Leithart.)

Sullivan demanded that Wilson defend his position with secular, civil arguments, not theocratic ones, and in this demand Sullivan has the support of liberal polity.

Sullivan’s is a rigid standard for public discourse that leaves biblically-grounded Christians with little to say.

The problem isn’t that they can’t be offered – it’s a free country! say what you like! think what you like! It’s that the person offering the argument can’t reasonably expect it to be accepted. It will be – should be – weighed in the balance as a private expression of preference. But someone else’s preference as to how I should behave doesn’t, automatically, carry much weight. [click to continue…]