In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 8, 2006 / 12 Sivan, 5766

Demagogues and the marriage debate

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a statement opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment debated in Congress this week, Senator Edward Kennedy said that "gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights as married couples under state law" and dismissed the amendment as "a wholly inappropriate effort to override state courts and to intrude into individuals' private lives."

How should those who disagree with Kennedy's position react to it? By explaining on the merits why they believe he's wrong? Or by calling him names — a "gay-loving fanatic," say, or an "immoral pervert"?

It's a no-brainer. Only a demagogue believes that the controversy over same-sex marriage can be improved by hurling insults at those who radically want to change the meaning of matrimony. Even if you think they are wrong, there is no reason to doubt that most Americans who favor legalizing gay and lesbian marriages consider it an issue of fairness and tolerance. Their arguments should be challenged with facts and logic, not vitriol. Anyone who slandered Kennedy with slurs like those above would be considered contemptible, and rightly so.

It is just as contemptible when the slurs and slander are hurled in the other direction.

"A vote for this amendment," Kennedy has said repeatedly, "is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." Like so many on his side of the debate, he insists that supporters of the marriage amendment are fanatics and haters — knuckle-draggers from "the rabid reactionary right" who want to "stain the Constitution with their language of bigotry," as he put it the last time the Senate took up the issue. If you are strongly committed to the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of husband and wife, in other words, you aren't just wrong — you're evil. You aren't fit to debate with, only to demonize. Kennedy and his allies don't want to consider your point of view, and they don't want anyone else considering it either. And they know that there is no better way to make a viewpoint so toxic that decent Americans shun it than to portray it as the equivalent of racism and prejudice.

But if it's "bigotry, pure and simple" not to want same-sex marriage to be forced on American society by a handful of crusading courts, then among the bigots must be the large congressional majority — 85 senators, 342 representatives — who passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, confirming that marriage in the United States is between members of the opposite sex only and allowing states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. Former President Bill Clinton must be a bigot too: He signed the bill into law.

The bigots must also include the dozens of American religious leaders who signed the Religious Coalition for Marriage statement endorsing the marriage amendment. The list of signatories is remarkably ecumenical — Roman Catholic cardinals, Greek and Russian Orthodox primates, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, rabbis, an apostle of the Mormon church, the president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, the editor of Christianity Today, and many others. Bigots all, apparently.

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Vastly more numerous are voters in the 19 states where constitutional amendments securing the definition of marriage have been put on the ballot. "In every case," as President Bush observed this week, "the amendments were approved by decisive majorities, with an average of 71 percent." All told, 45 of the 50 states either have adopted constitutional amendments or enacted laws meant to keep the timeless meaning of marriage from being undone. If Kennedy is right, all those states, all those lawmakers, all those voters should be despised as bigots.

But Kennedy isn't right.

It is not bigotry to insist that there is a good reason why marriage has existed in every known human society, and why it has always involved the uniting of men and women. It is not bigotry to acknowledge what reams of scholarship confirm: Family structure matters, and children are more likely to suffer problems when they are not raised by their married mothers and fathers. It is not bigotry to resist the dishonest comparison of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage — skin color has nothing to do with wedlock, while sex is fundamental to it. And it is not bigotry to fear that a social change as radical as same-sex marriage could lead to grave and unintended consequences, from the persecution of religious institutions to a growing clamor for legalizing polygamy.

Pro, con, or undecided, Americans should be able to discuss something as serious as redefining marriage without resorting to slander and ad hominem attacks. There are sincere, compassionate, and thoughtful people on both sides of this issue. How can you tell who they are? They aren't the ones calling people bigots.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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