In case you ever wondered what a straw man is…

Rob Tisinai

February 20th, 2013

Technically, a straw man is “an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.”

And boy do I have an example for you.

Gilles Bernheim, author of a new article against same-sex marriage, is the Chief Rabbi of France. That’s impressive. But just in case don’t you didn’t realize it, he spends the first 716 words of the article explaining how important he and his article are. Eventually, though, he gets to this (it’s long, but relish it):

The argument for marriage for all conceals a split between two existing visions of marriage. According to one worldview, which I share with a great number of people, both believers and nonbelievers, marriage is not only the recognition of a loving attachment. It is the institution that articulates the union between man and woman as part of the succession of generations. It is the establishment of a family—that is, a social cell that creates a set of parent–child relations among its members. Beyond the common life of two individuals, it organizes the life of a community consisting of descendants and ancestors. So understood, marriage is a fundamental act in the construction and the stability of individuals as well as of society.

According to another worldview, marriage is an obsolete and rigid institution, the absurd legacy of a traditional and alienating society. Is it not paradoxical to hear those who share this worldview raising their voices in favor of homosexual marriage? Why do those who reject marriage and prefer free unions demonstrate alongside activists in favor of homosexual marriage?

Whichever worldview you hold…

Yes! Because — obviously! — you must be holding one of these two views!

I can well understand how Bernheim is confused that we are fighting for marriage equality if we think marriage itself obsolete and absurd. It must baffle him that we spend time and money fighting for something he’s so certain we so despise. He must be flabbergasted that I and thousands of others have given up weekends to go knocking on door after door in unfamiliar neighborhoods to have personal chats with total strangers about the vital importance of marriage to our lives.

Why would we do this, when we give not one fig for marriage? It’s a paradox! Incomprehensible! Ridiculudicrous!

It’s every one of those things — to someone closing his eyes to what his opponents actually believe, to who they really are. Rabbi Bernheim characterizes us, tells us his characterization makes no sense…and then never bothers to wonder whether his characterization is true.

The irony is sad:  The good rabbi needs to understand that we are not his caricatures; that we are not made of straw; that if he pricks us, we do bleed.

Steve

February 20th, 2013

And nothing in the first paragraph is actually an argument against same-sex marriage.

Priya Lynn

February 20th, 2013

The bigots are rigidly holding on to their assertion that marriage was designed for procreation because its the only way they can create a pseudo justification for denying marriage to gays and lesbians.

There’s no evidence that marriage was ever designed or that it was intended for procreation when it first came about.

There was a time in human history when people didn’t know what caused pregnancy. I think its likely that marriage came to be sometime during this period. Long before people knew what caused pregnancy men and women were forming tight pair bonds out of a desire to be together, not to raise children. Its likely that the small groups they were in at some point chose to commemorate such decisions with some sort of group recognition that would be the beginnings of marriage. Pregnancy and children might happen before marriage, or after but initially marriage was about the joining of two people and any procreation was coincidental to that.

Ben In Oakland

February 20th, 2013

Interesting that you shoud write that, Priya.

In the times of Welsh mythology and the Mabinogion– for those who aren’t up on their mythologies, that is the Welsh national epic, like the Kalevala and homer– this was indeed the case. The ancient welsh knew that virgins never gave birth, but they didn’t know that men and women together made babies. It’s right there in the mabinogion, and in fact its the basis for some of the plot lines.

Priya Lynn

February 20th, 2013

Thanks for telling me that Ben. I’m going to make note of it.

MattNYC

February 20th, 2013

“Gilles Bernheim, author of a new article against same-sex marriage, is the Chief Rabbi of France. That’s impressive.”

What’s impressive is that he thinks this matter to anyone. “Chief Rabbis” have no authority in liberal democracies (alas, in Israel, they have far too much authority over “civil” life). They are usually just the highest level from the Orthodox community (and in some places, there are multiple “chief” rabbis). The non-Orthodox don’t give a sh*t about a “chief” rabbi. Oddly, so many countries around the world have chief rabbis. Thankfully,

It has about as much meaning as Pat Robertson anointing himself “chief Protestant Minister”. And R. Bernheim contributes about as much to society (i.e., less than zero) as Robertson.

Come to think of it, bozos like Bernheim are as illegitimate as our favorite lunatic “Public Advocate of the U.S.”

Donny D.

February 21st, 2013

His implicit notion that you hold one or the other of his presented view on marriage is the logical fallacy known as the false dilemma.

And his implicit statement that you must believe one idea about marriage or the other is an example of begging the question, yet another logical fallacy.

Hunter

February 21st, 2013

Yes to all of the above, and in addition, his view of marriage is pretty narrow and obviously based on procreation — just as one point, the relationships created by marriage include a lot more than parent-child. But if you’re locked into the Pentateuch, I guess you wouldn’t see that.

Regan DuCasse

February 21st, 2013

It’s so hard to deal with anti gay people who in their heads they believe they are being deep, but could only impress people that aren’t.
No wonder they keep repeating the same simplistic, reductive memes over and over again.
Marriage, the rites and rituals are more about IDENTITY, and for knowing who the issue of the loins BELONG to, as much as what the loins themselves do.
I mean seriously, to hear all of the anti gay tell it, MATING is the highest spiritual calling, and heterosexuality is what makes it moral.
It’s VERY hard NOT to laugh at people who keep talking AT gay folks as if gay people think the stork brings babies or gay folks don’t know what man/woman sex IS.
Identity, more than just about anything is what has driven people mad in trying to forcefully maintain identity of all kinds.
That’s why the need for virgin marriage, and artificially enforced gender roles and dress.
And as we speak, the anti gay have NO concern for the extension of the entire of the species or that all children have a mother and a father and marriage be reserved for that.
No, they are retrograding the meaning of clans, and religious hierarchies and the uncharitable attitudes towards children with no identifiable tribes or bloodlines.
The children of gay adults, are the children they want the gov’t to give no value to.
And the children of biological, nuclear married parents, the preferential treatment to.
The only problem with that is, they can’t make those parents marry if they don’t want to.
Unmarried status, will be a way of identifying gay parents and couples.
They won’t be able to claim the title of husbands or wives.
And that’s a means of IDENTITY, that the anti gay are trying to hold on to like pit bulls, even though it’s not only theirs to claim.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Born On This Day, 1951: Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury

Born On This Day, 1952: Gus Van Sant

Born On This Day, 1965: Kirk Andrew Murphy

Clinton Pays Private Visit With Pulse Families, Pays Respects To Victims

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1987: Reagan Names Gay Man To AIDS Commission

Born On This Day, 1816: Charlotte Saunders Cushman

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.