Same-Sex Marriage and the Enlightenment

Joseph Bottum is author of An Anxious Age — The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, a book I read and whose thesis I mostly but not entirely agree with.

As I understood what I was reading, In that book Mr. Bottum blames leftist politics for the decline in the mainstream protestant churches. They lost their congregations because they abandoned their mission of humane and intelligent, ethically serious and intellectually open religious teachings and adopted in its place the emotional victim group racial politics of modern left-wing liberalism. In essence, the mainstream churches became places for liberals to go to celebrate their own goodness and to condemn the supposed sins of others rather than to repent for their own sins. If that is what he meant then I agree.

But there are many comments in his book with which a conservative would likely disagree.  Just this week Bottum gave an example in an article he wrote about same-sex marriage at The Federalist:

”We get same-sex marriage, because there is literally no principled argument against it that doesn’t also undo the whole of the Enlightenment.”

I wrote this comment in response to Mr. Bottum:


It is not an Enlightenment principle that a tiny minority force a radical change in traditional institutions with storm trooper tactics. Homosexual marriage is not about equality of marriage because that already exists and always has. The push to ram a new definition of marriage down the throat of anyone who disagrees is just old time hatred and revenge. It’s a perfect example of liberal fascism.

Enlightenment, my eye.

The homosexual supremacists rampaging through America today have no claim on or right of comparison to the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, nor the Glorious Revolution or the American Revolution. They are the Jacobins of the French Revolution and the Great Fear.

Clearly, Mr. Bottum thinks those who disagree with same-sex marriage (that’s a clear majority of Americans, by the way) are just Don Quixote, quixotically tilting at windmills.  It’s not the American Spirit to back down from fundamental principles so easily.

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