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David Brooks Wants Gay Rights Advocates To 'Go Gently' With Their Opposition

From this Friday's PBS Newshour, where once again their favorite Villager, David Brooks, is allowed to regurgitate unchallenged whatever nonsense he wrote in his latest column for The New York Times.
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From this Friday's PBS Newshour, where once again their favorite Villager, David Brooks, is allowed to regurgitate unchallenged whatever nonsense he wrote in his latest column for The New York Times. As we already discussed here, Charlie Pierce took Brooks apart quite nicely over this same issue earlier this week (emphasis mine).

David Brooks Would Like You To Lower Your Voice:

Which brings us to David Brooks, who would like all those hysterical gay people to start using their inside voices and to understand that their desire for equal protection under the law would be better served if they understood the feelings of the people who think they are sodomite insects who are all going to hell. No link because fk him, that's why.

As a matter of principle, it is simply the case that religious liberty is a value deserving our deepest respect, even in cases where it leads to disagreements as fundamental as the definition of marriage. Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down. But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.

"Morality is a politeness of the soul"? What kind of dog's breakfast is that? Jesus His Own Self said he brought not peace, but a sword. If Brooks wants to stand with religious-based bigotry, with the Micah Clarks of the world, he should just do so and stop wasting all of our time as a sewage-treatment plant for the worst instincts in our politics. "Neighborly problems"? If Brooks wants to say that discrimination against LGBT citizens is not really discrimination worthy of the law's attention, he should just say so, and stop wasting all our time putting Bull Connor in a $500 suit. Here's a "creative accommodation" for you. Don't be a bigot.


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Apparently Brooks doesn't read either Driftglass' or Charlie Pierce's posts, because he was undeterred this Friday and even got an assist from his milquetoast faux "liberal" colleague Mark Shields about being kind to the bigots.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, the other big story this week, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, what happened in Indiana, Arkansas.

David, let’s start with you. What does this say about where society is now?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

So, I’m pro-gay marriage. I have been pro-gay marriage out of the womb. And so I wouldn’t have supported that act. But I do think two things, first the minor thing, and then the major thing. The minor thing is substantive. There is genuinely a tension between religious freedom and tolerance and full equality for gays and lesbians.

There are some people who have different points of view than me, and somehow we have to give them some respect and some space. That doesn’t mean they’re allowed to discriminate. So, that’s just a substantive tension there, I think, between those two things.

To me, the larger issue is simply pragmatic. The gay rights agenda and the cause has had an amazing couple years, or decade, sweeping through the country. And it’s doing great in urban America, in suburban America. But there are large parts of America, a lot of rural, more religious, where it’s still facing a lot of opposition.

And so the question becomes, how do you make those areas more amenable to change? And I know so many Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but they’re wrestling, they’re really wrestling with this. And to me, making it very polarized and very culture war-seeming is the wrong way to move people. It’s much better to go gently and allow the natural momentum to build up. And so some of the reaction to the Indiana law, I thought was over the top.

MARK SHIELDS: The velocity on this issue is absolutely phenomenal.

I would just point out that, by the standards of many in the gay rights movement today, the position of the president two years ago would have been bigoted, when he said marriage is between a man and a woman, before he evolved on the issue.

This has moved so quickly. The only thing to compare it to, Hari, in American political experience, to me, is the attitude toward interracial marriage. At the time of the age of Aquarius in this country, when the flower children — 75 percent of Americans opposed interracial marriage. Now 90 percent of Americans endorse interracial marriage, and 9 percent oppose it. The same pattern is true, as David identified, in same-sex marriage.

And for the Republicans, it’s a real quandary. It’s a real quandary, because it is an issue to Republicans. Republicans oppose it. Seventy percent of Republicans oppose same-sex marriage. Three out of five independents, the swing group, are in favor of same-sex marriage.

Republicans under the age of 30, 60 percent of them support gay marriage. But, in a primary, it could be influential, especially in Iowa and South Carolina, which Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have carried respectively in Iowa, with the support of cultural and religious conservatives.

But lost in this debate — and I think David touched on it very well — and that is the whole question of religious liberty, which is basic to our country. I mean, it truly is, whether it’s Quakers not being, the Mennonites not being forced to serve in the military, or head scarves, or head gear to religions, whether it’s Muslims or Jewish people. We have had a respect for that. And it encourages tolerance. It encourages — and I just think the gay rights movement is in such ascendancy and such dominance at this point — dominance may be the wrong word — that I do think it’s time to look for converts, rather than heretics.

And make no mistake about it. I think the Indiana statute went too far when it gave the same rights to a corporate, a for-profit — a profit corporation the right of conscience that it bestows on an individual.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this something that the market will essentially correct for over time? There was — we will put up a graphic here, the Support Memories Pizza joint that decided that they didn’t want — that they would abide by the law if it was, they put out kind of a GoFundMe campaign. They were looking for $200,000, and at least $800,000 in pretty much one day from 27,000, 30,000 people.

So, over time, is this a matter of the population shifting, their customers shifting and saying, I’m going to take my money somewhere else? Is that more effective than a federal or a local state law?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, there’s obviously the Christian community who could support both sides.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Sure.

DAVID BROOKS: But that would be my solution, basically.

A lot of this issue gets down to, say, a gay couple goes to a bakery or goes to a wedding photographer and they say, would you work our marriage ceremony? And the baker or the photographer says, I’m not really comfortable about that. And does the government — should the government be forcing that baker or that photographer to work? Should they coerce them into working it?

If it was like a basic issue of voting rights, obviously yes.

MARK SHIELDS: Right.

DAVID BROOKS: To me, I would boycott that photographer. I would boycott that baker. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable with the government forcing them.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, just about 10, 15 seconds.

MARK SHIELDS: I hadn’t been aware of that pizza — the pizza story.

I don’t think there’s any question. There has been, in my judgment, a wave that is irreversible. But I do think it’s the time not to take a victory dance in the end zone. I think it’s the time to reach out and reach across the divide at this point and acknowledge the goodwill of people who are on the other side. That’s missing in our politics completely.

HARI SREENIVASAN: But not here at this table.

MARK SHIELDS: Never.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Mark Shields, David Brooks, thanks so much.

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