13 July 2004

Falwell on slavery

I'm sure many extremist conversations occur that I don't hear. I generally don't tune in to fundamentalist shows (although some are very entertaining) or read white supremacist writing (less entertaining). But every so often those conversations are injected into what I normally do listen to. This morning, Tavis Smiley had a discussion of the political dialog that surrounds values. The same-sex marriage amendment was his starting-off point, but he wanted to include all areas where values are at issue and he opened with a quote from Bush and a quote from Kerry stumping about values in their respective campaigns.

I don't know if I'm better or worse off because I didn't change the station when Tavis introduced Jerry Falwell as one of his guests to discuss the issue.

Falwell opened up full force by comparing those who are against gay marriage, but also against the constitutional amendment, to those who allowed people to own slaves. His logic: if you do not agree with something yet allow it to occur, you are complicit. And for added context, Tavis Smiley is a black radio host who discusses news that is of interest to the black community.

The mind boggles. And not in the funny, Peggy Hill way.

And what was more frustrating was that Tavis didn't hip-check him on his deficient logic. It reminded me somewhat of the Terry Gross debacle when she allowed Bill O'Reilly to nail himself to a cross as she "no-spinned" him. Although she acted poorly, he was an idiot. With Falwell, Tavis was desperately trying to keep on topic, and the other guest, Jim Wallis, could barely get a word in from the interruptions. Jim Wallis is an evangelical (another key point of Falwell's logic: you always hide behind the evangelical flag) who is against gay marriage, but feels that abortion and homosexuality are two very limited subjects of moral value:

I think we have to move beyond, though, just the very narrow conversation ... I don't think Jesus would be talking about the gay marriage amendment.


You [Falwell] are so selective in what you call moral issues: gay marriage, abortion, that's the end of your short list.

Wallis was very sane in a maelstrom of insanity. Props to that evangelical.

When should kooky ideas be discussed in the mainstream? Scientific American or Nature doesn't publish articles on astrology for good reason. It's a waste of print/bits. If someone provided any nominally empirical data on astrology, then the subject would be in the realm of interest of those publications. Similarly, if someone compares ambivalence on gay marriage to fellow-traveling slave-holders, I'm not sure that they should have a voice in the mainstream.

But perhaps since those people are already in the mainstream, and have an effect on the mainstream (of sorts), we should listen to them and understand that their type of dementia exists.

[ posted by sstrader on 13 July 2004 at 9:26:45 AM in Culture & Society ]