In its euphoria over the victory of gay marriage in Ireland, the New York Times editers abandoned all pretenses of objectivity and, in an apparently unguarded moment, declared biological motherhood and fatherhood to be absurd.
This opinion wasn’t voiced by some crank writing a letter to the editor, but rather by the official editorial board itself.
The Iona Institute, a conservative Irish think tank that led the campaign to defend traditional marriage, put out a magnanimous statement after the referendum, congratulating the opposing side for “winning such a handsome victory” and for fighting “a very professional campaign.”
David Quinn, the director of the Institute, said that he knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but wanted to “provide a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who did vote no.”
The statement proceeds, however, with a simple declaration that the Institute will continue to uphold the fundamental principles that make man-woman marriage so vital, especially for children.
“Going forward, we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood,” it said.
In its editorial, the New York Times cited these words, and then asserted: “The absurdity of that statement speaks for itself.”
One cannot help but wonder in which parallel universe the Times editors live where motherhood and fatherhood are self-evidently an “absurdity.” It also bodes poorly for the future of reasoned moral discourse, when professional journalists simply write off the deepest convictions of their adversaries as unworthy of serious consideration.
It is also curious that the conviction that the Times find so “absurd” is not some freakish tenet of the lunatic fringe, but was the common consensus of the American people less than a generation ago. After all, we are not talking about stories of alien abductions here, but simply the importance of mothers and fathers, something even the Times editors probably experienced firsthand as children.
But perhaps the most troubling line in the editorial was not the one declaring the absurdity of motherhood and fatherhood, but rather the thinly veiled threat to those who still consider homosexual relations to be immoral.
“The outcome in Ireland sends an unmistakable signal to politicians and religious leaders around the world who continue to harbor intolerant views against gays and lesbians,” the editors warned.
It was the same newspaper, after all, that not long ago also proposed coercing religious leaders into changing doctrine to affirm the morality of sodomy.
Op-ed writer Frank Bruni, a gay activist, wrote that Christians who hold on to “ossified,” biblically-based beliefs regarding sexual morality have no place at America’s table and must be obliged to rewrite their moral code.
Bruni trashed all believing Christians as “bigots,” saying that Christians’ negative moral assessment of homosexual relations is “a choice” that “prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since — as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing.”
“Religion,” he wrote, “is going to be the final holdout and most stubborn refuge for homophobia. It will give license to discrimination.” Therefore, religions should be made to “take homosexuality off the sin list.”
In its statement following the Irish marriage referendum, the Iona Institute ended with an appeal that the New York Times chose not to quote: “We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”
These are freedoms that the New York Times and its followers seem prepared to bulldoze in order to pave the way for a new world order where religions either comply or face the consequences.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome