7:32 AM, Mar 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
The most recent example came last week during a trip to Alabama to draw attention to a relatively obscure item on the president's policy list, payday lending rules. The president said some "very conservative folks" recognize scriptural prohibitions against excessive interest, or usury, part of a Biblical principle to prevent exploitation of the poor. Here are the president's remarks in context:
You've got some very conservative folks here in Alabama who recognize -- they're reading their Bible, they're saying, well, that ain’t right. (Laughter and applause.) Right? I mean, they're saying the Bible is not wild about somebody charging $1,000 worth of interest on a $500 loan. Because it feels like you're taking advantage of somebody.
President Obama's citation of "folks" in Alabama reading their Bibles and concluding "that ain’t right" seems especially ironic in light of the recent drama in that state over same-sex marriage. A federal judge struck down state laws defining marriage as one man-on woman, a decision the state appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to stay the original ruling. However, the Alabama state supreme court chief justice, Roy Moore, subsequently ordered a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, and the Alabama house approved a bill that would permit judges, ministers and other officials to decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Although the president has not directly commented on the same-sex marriage controversy in Alabama, just three weeks ago White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that the president speaks out "boldly in support of gay marriage," so it seems safe to say the those who look at their Bibles and same-sex marriage and conclude "that ain't right" would not find the president in their corner on that issue.
President Obama recently attempted to use the Bible in support of his immigration initiatives, with mixed success. He noted that the "good book" says to "make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before were pulling out the mote in other folks eyes" (which does appear in Scripture), but also "don’t throw stones in glass houses" (a much more recent proverb of uncertain origin).
11:39 AM, Sep 22, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan officiated a same-sex marriage over the weekend, the Associated Press reports. It was her first.
"Justice Elena Kagan has officiated for the first time at a same-sex wedding, a Maryland ceremony for her former law clerk and his husband," reports the AP.
8:15 AM, Jun 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The administration for children and families, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued guidance in a memo
8:03 AM, May 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) held its first National Gala Dinner in Washington Sunday, and the Department of Defense used the opportunity to tout the rapid advances the military is making in erasing gender distinctions in policies regarding military spouses and partners.
4:51 PM, Mar 4, 2014 • By PETER AUGUSTINE LAWLER
Richard V. Reeves has written in The Atlantic a confident and illuminating account of the state of marriage in America today. College-educated American men and women “are reinventing marriage as a child-rearing machine for a post-feminist society and a knowledge economy.” On this front, the Americans have once again shown their superiority to the Europeans, who, in their socially self-destructive way, remain ambivalent at best about the value of being married. But a European might respond that only an American could be content with such a self-consciously mechanical view of a relational institution. It’s easy to hear the French man Alexis de Tocqueville laughing between the lines of his deadpan description of American men describing marriage in terms of “self-interest rightly understood.”
'It Makes Economic Sense for a Woman to Have More Than One Husband.'8:22 AM, Jan 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an article published a couple days ago, Time magazine endorses "Polyandry," which Merriam-Webster defines as "the state or practice of having more than one husband or male mate at one time."
"It Makes Economic Sense for a Woman to Have More Than One Husband," reads the article's headline. The sub-headline reads, "By pooling male resources, polyandry improves household incomes and combats child poverty."
8:18 AM, Nov 16, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Every time you think that we've finally touched bottom on Obamacare, some new problem emerges. So what began merely as a dysfunctional website became a broken and mis-designed system. When it turned out that lots of people were paying more for their plans, it then turned out that others were having their plans canceled—and that some people were even losing their doctors. And now we're finding that, along with everything else, Obamacare contains a marriage penalty, too.
Michael Warren, lapsed guitaristNov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The other day, I picked up my guitar and didn’t know what to play. This is happening more and more, and I guess it’s because I pick up the guitar less and less. When I was 15, I could strum my way through the entire Beatles catalogue, half the songs on classic rock radio, and any number of self-penned blues jams before I ever had to stop and think about what to play next.
2:06 PM, Oct 9, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
While everyone else has spent the last few days obsessing about Gravity, the government shutdown, and the real possibility that the NFC East division champ will have six wins, it’s quietly been an interesting week for sociology nerds who think about marriage.
Sep 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 02 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
As the debate over gay marriage began heating up, supporters of the idea insisted that it was a matter of basic libertarianism. “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t have one,” went the bumper-sticker-turned-rallying-cry. Of course, it was never going to be that simple with regard to something as foundational as marriage, and now we are starting to see there are real consequences to being publicly opposed to the practice.
Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last month The Scrapbook reported on a slightly arcane, but important, change being proposed for the American Community Survey. The ACS is an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau; it goes out to 3 million households and is one of the most robust tools we have for gathering demographic data about our country. For unknown reasons, the statisticians running the ACS proposed deleting a question about “number of times married.”
3:39 PM, Jun 27, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Whatever one’s views on gay marriage, it is appropriate — in a sense — that this issue, which was illegitimately thrust onto the scene by willful judges at the state level, has now been illegitimately advanced by willful judges at the federal level. Accordingly, gay marriage has been propelled forward at the expense of the separation of powers, and of applying state constitutions, and now the federal Constitution, as written. Even the policy’s advocates should view this as an unduly high price to pay.
5:20 PM, Jun 26, 2013 • By JEFFREY BELL
The Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage effectively leave the issue very much alive in state and national politics. The four justices appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama clearly would declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a heartbeat, if they were to get a fifth vote.
12:30 PM, Jun 26, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Bill Clinton released a statement, together with his wife Hillary Clinton, hailing the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill he signed into law in 1996.
12:12 PM, Jun 26, 2013 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Much will be written about Chief Justice Roberts's opinion for the court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, holding that supporters of California's Proposition 8 lacked constitutional "standing" to defend in federal court California's ballot initiative against same-sex marriage. (Whether or not same-sex marriage will destroy traditional marriage someday, it's certainly destroying Twitter this morning.) But one ironic twist deserves immediate mention.