Monday, June 25, 2018

#2033: Jennifer Roback Morse

Jennifer Roback Morse is a religious fundamentalist and President and Founder of the Ruth Institute, a radical anti-gay group that for a while was an arm of the extreme anti-marriage-equality organization NOM. The institute has correctly been designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Roback Morse rose to prominence – she’s pretty influential – in wingnut circles for a couple of books, as a radio show host, and as “an official spokesman for” and vocal defender of California’s Proposition 8 back in 2008. She is also a signatory to the 2017 Nashville Statement, affirming a complementarian view of gender and a traditionalist view of sexuality. 

Morse’s opposition to gay marriage is to a large extent fueled by her commitment to archaic stereotypes about gay people, for instance the thought that “neither permanence nor sexual exclusivity plays the same significant role” for them; officially, of course, her main argument against gay marriage is that legalizing gay marriage would be “removing biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with legal constructions,” but that assumption has little to do with her actual motivation. It is worth pointing out that Morse and her husband themselves adopted a child because they couldn’t have children of their own, which apparently didn’t in their eyes invalidate their marriage. Now, Morse has published a list of 77 non-religious reasons to support Man/Woman marriage. It is, of course, actually a list attacking gay marriage; Morse, who blames Hollywood for the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality, seems to be under the delusion that supporting same-sex marriage is the same as opposing opposite-sex marriages, and is demonstrably not particularly good at seeing rather obvious connections. Most of the points on that list are just vague rewordings of the single aforementioned point about biological foundations for marriage that she doesn’t, in fact, accept herself. If you are interested, the list is discussed in some detail here. Apparently, legalizing gay marriage will also let people with “drug problems, who are mentally unstable,” or who aren’t sure whether they are gay, get married, which is a novel change compared to previous legal restrictions that clearly prevented unstable people and drug users from marrying.

In 2013, she (and her group) was also behind an insane doomsday list of bizarre projected consequences of legalizing gay marriage delivered before the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee. Morse called the rant the “New Gettysburg Address of the Marriage Movement”, which is about as reasonable as the contents of the rant. Morse is also the kind of person that compares opposition to marriage equality to the position of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, claiming that “the parallels” between Nazi Germany and contemporary America “are really quite chilling” and that what happened in Nazi Germany “is happening to us”. One wonders what she thinks did happen in Nazi Germany. (She relied on Eric Metaxas’s revisionist Bonhoeffer biography, of course.) She has also been promoting ex-gay therapy, arguing that leaving “the gay lifestyle” takes more courage than coming out.

Morse has declared that anyone who “buys sperm” in order to conceive a child should be in jail. This is apparently because of God, though the details of the reasoning process is a bit fuzzy (“The child is now a product, manufactured by adults, and therefore the child cannot be fully the equal of its parent. The object cannot be the equal of its producer or its maker, you know. And so the further we go down this path, the further away we are going from the true ideal of equality before God, of equality before one another, of treating one another with dignity. And the child becomes a kind of chattel. So the legal complications and the sort of ick factor of all of this, it’s important to sort all that out and look at it, but let’s not take our eye off that ball, which is that we have defaced the creator’s plan and intention here by this behavior.” These are not the coherent thought processes of a rational mind). 

In 2012 she suggested that young people should refrain from having gay friends. There is a fine (though somewhat dated) list of other moronic things Morse has said about homosexuality here.

Gender equality
Morse has also weighed in on other social issues. In 2012 she was deeply offended by Obama’s health care mandate, claiming that it was part of a war weighed against women’s fertility. In general, according to Morse, there is no “war on women” but rather a “war on women’s fertility”, where enemy forces are making contraception easily available and encouraging women to enter the workforce after college rather than getting married, staying home, cleaning the house and having children.

The underlying source of all evils is, according to Morse, the sexual revolution, a “totalitarian” movement pushed by “hipsters” and “radical feminists” that victimizes professional women who build their lives “around the lies.” As an example of such totalitarianism is apparently the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, which she claims is a government effort to “control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts.” By requiring that insurance plans cover contraception, Morse argues, the government is “stifling dissent by essentially saying: ‘This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.’” Of course, by the same token anymeasure ever passed is by definition a totalitarian one that stifles dissent. 

The sexual revolution has ostensibly been promoted by “population controllers (who think there are too many poor people); hipsters (who just want to be libertines); radical feminists who think babies are keeping women from being ‘equal.’” And yes: of course there is a conspiracy behind it all: “All these groups have one thing in common: They’re controlled by elites, people who want to re-create the world in their own image,” rather than hers.

Apparently the sexual revolution, and especially LGBT equality, are bringing back slavery. In a statement that reveals a lack of knowledge of history to match her delusions about the present, Morse argues that “all of these issues – divorce and remarriage, abortion and infanticide, slavery, the buying and selling of human beings – all of these things, the Christian religion put a stop to. But they’re all on their way back because of the sexual revolutionThe sexual revolution is bringing back all of these points.” Indeed, the sexual revolution is “a pagan ideologythat Christians should refuse to compromise with – “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism” (conservatives were “tricked into accepting contraception). Her comments on the Hobby Lobby ruling are no less idiotic.


There is a decent Jennifer Roback Morse resource here.

Diagnosis: Incoherent, stupid and evil monster. She fits right in – and has accordingly become a rather influential and prominent voice in – fundie wingnut circles.

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