A response to Joe Bleich

January 29, 2015






Last Sunday, the Ruston Daily Leader ran a column by Joe Bleich, an attorney and former state supreme court judge, titled “Declining days of our society?”


The article concerned itself with the degradation, and maybe even disintegration, of our society that would be caused by enacting laws to allow gay marriage.


Articles like these lend themselves better to stammered exclamations of disbelief than actual attempts to refute them, but I’ll give it a try anyway.


At the beginning of the column, Bleich writes, “I do not attempt to proselytize my religious beliefs.”


Opposition to gay rights has its foundations firmly rooted in the Abrahamic religions. Saying you are not proselytizing religious beliefs while touting a very obviously Christian belief is a little contradictory.


He then goes on to claim the main reason for the fall of the ancient Roman Empire was their propensity for sexual debauchery.


There are many theories as to how the Roman Empire fell, and, admittedly, moral decay is one of them. It was first suggested by Edward Gibbon in his book “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”


Interestingly enough, Gibbon’s reason for the fall was that Christianity and the promise of the afterlife distracted Romans from the day-to-day running of their empire.


Gibbon’s theory is disputed, however. Other theories on causes of the fall include environmental degradation, mass lead poisoning, lack of farmland and too large of a population. Others think Rome never truly fell, it simply transformed into a different body politic over the centuries.


Regardless of which theory you would like to believe, gay people had nothing to do with the fall of Rome.


A statement, which, actually, Bleich only hints at. He brings up the sexual abuses wrought on the citizens by their government and the Bacchanalian religious rites popular in Rome.


He then writes,“I do not suggest that we have gone quite that far.”


Then there is no reason to bring it up! Linking gay marriage to political and religious abuses that lay in traditions more than 2,000 years old is sensationalistic to the point of ridiculousness.


I am sure the 9 million gay Americans who simply want to be with the person they love would have an issue with that comparison.


He ends his column by bringing up the Merriam-Webster definition of marriage, in which one of the definitions is “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”


He focuses on that “like” with laser-like intensity. He then says if cats are like dogs, then couldn’t people just buy cat food for their dogs? The answer is no, by the way.


It disappointed me something like this would be published in Ruston. I thought maybe we were growing past these knee-jerk reactions rooted in ignorance of the topic.


I was wrong.


John Sadler is a junior journalism major from Extension who serves as editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.


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