1. Virtually every news report about President George W. Bush's support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman describes it as "pandering" to the "far Right," the "radical Right" or, less pejoratively, "social conservatives" of the Republican Party.
2. Democrats regularly describe the amendment as enshrining "discrimination in the Constitution." In the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., "A vote for the amendment is a vote for bigotry -- pure and simple."
3. Republicans are attacked for "diverting" attention from far more important issues, such as, according to every Democratic leader, Iraq and gas prices.
Regarding the news reporting: This is another example of how the news media present news. First, Democrats are rarely, if ever, described as "pandering" to the Left, let alone "radical Left." Why not? For one thing, the news media do not believe there is a "radical Left," only a "radical Right." Second, liberalism regards positions held by Democrats to be sincere and noble, therefore, Democratic positions can never pander to anyone.
This is part of the larger liberal view of Republicans and conservatives: They are not merely wrong; they are either phonies or bad. It is inconceivable to most liberals that a Republican politician can sincerely oppose redefining the most important social structure of society. And if that Republican's opposition to redefining marriage is deemed sincere, it is inconceivable to most liberals that the person is anything but a bigot.
That most liberals cannot understand conservatives' views about marriage as anything but bigotry and/or pandering is part of a narcissism that characterizes much of the Left. The very definition of narcissism is an inability to see the world through the eyes of another. Whatever conservatives' flaws, far more conservatives understand liberals' views on same-sex marriage. Most opponents of same-sex marriage appreciate that liberals feel bad about gays' inability to marry a person of the same sex. In fact, as a proponent of a marriage amendment, I not only understand the liberal desire to enable people to marry someone of the same sex, I feel genuine compassion for gays on this matter.
But such empathy for ideological foes is all but absent from the narcissistic world of the Left. To virtually every liberal writer and spokesman, only liberals mean well, only they are sincere, only they are compassionate, and only they are intellectual, rational and tolerant.
Liberals' use of the word "radical" to describe opponents of same-sex marriage illustrates this self-aggrandizing mindset. To describe as "radical" those who wish to preserve the man-woman-based definition of marriage known to every civilization is to stand the word on its head. It is beyond intellectually dishonest -- it is mendacity -- to describe those who favor preserving the definition of marriage as "radical" rather than to so describe those who wish to change the gender-based definition of marriage for the first time in history. Even if you support same-sex marriage, you should at least have the honesty to admit that it is you who favors something radical.
Some of those who want a constitutional amendment to define marriage as man-woman are indeed bigoted against gays, regarding them as something less than fully human. But most people who want to maintain marriage as male-female consider homosexuals to be just as much created in the image of God as anyone else. But though it is painful for us to see a perfectly decent homosexual unable to marry a person of the same sex, we are nevertheless more preoccupied with:
(1) Giving every child the opportunity to at least begin life with a mother and father; (2) Honoring the will of the great majority of Americans, secular and religious, liberal and conservative, to preserve the man-woman marital ideal, and not allow a judge to single-handedly destroy that ideal; (3) Preserving the ability of teachers and clergy to tell the story of marriage to young children in terms of a man and woman and not confuse the vast majority of kids who are forming their vision of marriage and sexuality.
These preoccupations are neither bigoted nor radical. They are, in our view, civilization-saving.
As for the liberals' view that gas prices are more important than society's definition of marriage, it is so self-incriminating that no response is needed.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”