I began responding last week to some of the arguments being commended to her listeners by Mandy Connell, the ostensibly conservative host of WHAS's morning talk show in Louisville, in regard to same-sex marriage. In going back to check on several things that were said, I listed to the podcasts of a couple of shows last week and was reminded of two maxims I voiced to myself many times which I repeatedly (to my own woe) fail to heed :
1. Never listen to radio talk shows. Just don't do it. You either have to listen to people who disagree with you on an issue who you just want to reach into the studio from your car radio and strangle or you have to listen to people who agree with you on an issue who you want to reach out and strangle even worse. Do something more enjoyable with your time. I suggest having your skin slowly peeled from your body.
2. If the talk turns to religion, turn the channel. As fast as you can. Forever. And don't come back. Whenever a conversation turns to religion on a talk radio show, you have the faux theological experts showing up: the Biblical revisionists who think they know what they are talking about but don't, and the Biblical fundamentalists who think they know what they are talking about but don't. When the show is over the Bible is in complete tatters and no listener in his right mind wants anything to do with it. The only thing that prevents a resulting mass exodus from Christianity is some even more insipid atheist calling up and proving that he is even more narrow-minded and ignorant than the religious people he called to insult.
Mandy is not to blame for this. In fact, she is victimized by the nature of her format as much as her listeners. I used to think it was just their implicit secularity that caused talk radio hosts to avoid talking about religion. But now I see the wisdom of the policy.
Mandy herself is clearly not well-versed in the Bible or in theological topics, but she's cognizant of the fact. Some of the people who call in do seem to have a familiarity with Biblical texts, but even then they falter in articulating it because what they have in the way of Biblical knowledge they lack in the rhetorical arts.
But the chief problem is that Mandy seems to have bought in to the idea unfortunately propagated by both sides of most of her audience on this, which is that current marriage laws are premised on a religious objection to same-sex marriage, and that, because such a restriction is irrelevant to the secular purpose of the law, the default position on the issue is that it shouldn't exclude same-sex relationships.
Well, first off, this isn't even close to being correct. Current laws don't even contemplate the issue of same-sex marriage because same-sex relationships have never been thought to have anything to do with marriage. The historic definition of marriage by its very nature excluded anything like it.
Marriage excludes same-sex relationships not because they are wrong according to religious moral traditions but because it is not and never has been a part of the definition of marriage. I know people have a short attention span anymore, but nobody even thought to suggest same-sex relationships could even contemplated in a marriage context until about five years ago.
No one. Including non-religious people.