One of right-wing media's leading voices on what should or should not define the institution of marriage has said that same-sex marriage will lead to legalized incest and polygamy, and has argued instead for a definition of matrimony that requires women to consent to sex with their husbands as often as possible, regardless of their "mood." Now the media figure -- talk-radio host Dennis Prager -- is being embraced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Prager, a conservative talk show host, author, and contributor to National Review Online, will host a fundraiser on March 19 for McConnell, who is in the midst of a competitive reelection campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell, who voted against closing the gender wage gap in 2012, is losing female voters by a large margin. Given Prager's history of inflammatory rhetoric on gender equality issues, McConnell's decision to attend a Prager-led fundraiser is an interesting demonstration of the weight of the conservative talker's influence in right-wing circles.
Indeed, Prager has been a leading voice in the conservative fight against marriage equality, and his views are often extreme. He has said that marriage equality will lead to the legalization of polygamy and incest and that tolerance of the LGBT community will lead to "fascism in America." He compared the 2013 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling on Proposition 8 to the Egyptian military coup of the country's elected government.
Nationally syndicated columnist and National Review Online (NRO) contributor Dennis Prager declared that the "radical and extreme" notion of marriage equality leaves "no plausible argument" against polygamy or marriages between brothers and sisters or parents and children.
In his February 18 syndicated column, Prager assailed a spate of recent judicial decisions opposing state bans on same-sex marriage or, in the case of Kentucky, calling on state officials to recognize same-sex unions performed in other states.
Challenging the court rulings, Prager cited the margins by which state voters have approved bans on marriage equality - a standard by which bans on interracial marriage would also have been valid; in 1958, 94 percent of Americans opposed such unions. But Prager assured readers that same-sex and interracial unions are in no ways analogous (emphasis added):
For [marriage equality supporters], it is identical to ruling that laws that banned interracial marriages were unconstitutional. But that argument is utterly flawed. First, the analogy is false because there is no difference between black people and white people, while there are enormous differences between males and females.Second, no great moral tradition or thinking ever forbade interracial marriages (inter-religious marriages were sometimes forbidden). Moses, for example, married a black woman, and neither the Bible nor God hinted that it was wrong.
In other words: God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And because gay people have been historically disenfranchised, there's no reason to start granting them equal rights.
Prager proceeded to predict the consequences of allowing marriage equality to take root (emphasis added):
Proponents of same-sex marriage regularly label opponents "radical" and "extremist." However, given that no society in thousands of years has allowed same-sex marriage, it is, by definition, the proponents of same-sex marriage whose position is radical and extreme. You cannot re-define marriage in a more radical way than allowing members of the same sex to marry. You can argue that is the moral thing to do. But you cannot argue that is it not radical.
This is another example of the lack of serious thought -- as opposed to serious passion -- that underlies the movement to redefine marriage. If American society has [in the words of Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled against California's Proposition 8] a "constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis," then there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry.
Syndicated columnist and radio host Dennis Prager uncritically recited Stephen Jimenez's shoddily-reported claims that Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder wasn't an anti-gay hate crime, using the claims put forth in Jimenez's discredited book to assail the "lies" allegedly used to advance progressive goals.
In a December 3 column for National Review Online, Prager joined the chorus of right-wing praise for The Book of Matt -- a book which attempts to prove that Matthew Shepard's murder wasn't motivated by anti-gay bias. In the book, Jimenez claims that Aaron McKinney and Aaron Henderson attacked Shepard as part of a meth deal gone wrong, not because Shepard was gay. Filled with wild conjecture, questionable or anonymous sources, and cavalier dismissals of strong evidence of McKinney's homophobia, the book has nevertheless served as a rallying cry for right-wing media figures determined to undermine the LGBT movement galvanized by Shepard's death.
Prager's column continues in that same vein, indicating a stronger interest in using the book as a cudgel against progressives than actually getting to the bottom of Shepard's murder (emphasis added):
It turns out that Matthew Shepard's murder had nothing to do with his being gay.
As early as 2004, the ABC News program 20/20 broadcast (to its credit) a denial by both murderers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, that the murder had anything to do with Shepard's being gay. It was, they both claimed, a robbery gone bad.
"It was not because me and Aaron had anything against gays," Henderson told ABC.
As a result, ABC News was widely attacked by all those who had a vested interest not in truth but in maintaining the homophobia story: the liberal media, the gay-rights movement, and the lawyers for the victim's mother.
Now a book has been published, written by Stephen Jimenez, himself a gay man, that confirms the accuracy of the 2004 ABC News report. Matthew Shepard was involved in the hyperactive Wyoming meth drug culture; he was murdered over a drug deal; and his primary murderer was a bisexual who had probably slept with Shepard.
[I]t shows how powerful the left-wing media are, how they are dedicated to agendas rather than to truth, and how much of what Americans believe is shaped accordingly.
It would indeed be convenient for Jimenez's cheerleaders if only those with "a vested interest" were disputing his account of Shepard's murder. In reality, however, The Book of Matt has been condemned by Tim Newcomb, Henderson's appellate attorney, former Laramie police commander David O'Malley, and Detective Rob Debree, who said that investigators thoroughly probed the drug issue before concluding that Shepard's murder wasn't a "meth crime."
Meanwhile, despite changing his story on multiple other aspects of the case, McKinney -- a self-proclaimed "homofobick [sic]" individual -- has consistently denied knowing Shepard prior to the attack.
Given his determination to call out allegedly biased or unreliable critics, you'd think Prager would apply the same scrupulous standards of objectivity and reliability to Jimenez's sources. They include confessed meth addicts, a disbarred attorney who agreed to talk to Jimenez on the condition that he disputed the conventional understanding of Shepard's death, and one purported former lover of Shepard's - whom Newcomb revealed had apparently attempted to extract money in exchange for information on the case. But Prager simply transcribes Jimenez's arguments as the gospel truth, apparently uninterested in the sources behind them.
National Review Online columnist Dennis Prager declared that he believes tolerance for LGBT Americans could lead to a fascist takeover - a threat he once considered "overwrought" but now sees as a reality.
In an August 27 column for NRO, Prager asserted that "tolerance" is only a mirage for leftist efforts to impose state tyranny on the American people. To support this claim, Prager cited high-profile anti-discrimination cases, as well as a new California law protecting the rights of transgender students:
I have never written that there is a threat of fascism in America. I always considered the idea overwrought. But now I believe there really is such a threat -- and it will come draped not in an American flag, but in the name of tolerance and health.
Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that an event photographer's refusal on religious grounds to shoot the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple amounted to illegal discrimination.
This is what happened to a florist in Washington State who had always sold flowers to gay customers, but refused to be the florist for a gay wedding: sued and fined.
This is what happened to a baker in Oregon who had always sold his goods to gays, but refused to provide his products to a gay wedding: sued and fined.
This is what happened in Massachusetts, Illinois, and elsewhere to Catholic Charities, historically the largest adoption agency in America. Their placing children with married (man-woman) couples, rather than with same-sex couples, was deemed intolerant and a violation of the law. In those and other states, Catholic Charities has left adoption work.
In the name of tolerance -- fighting sexual harassment -- five- and six-year-old boys all over the country are brought to the police for innocently touching a girl.
In the name of tolerance -- girls' high school teams in California and elsewhere must now accept male players who feel female.
In the name of tolerance - businesses cannot fire a man who one day shows up on the sales floor dressed as a woman.
It's not likely that many observers would compare the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling on Proposition 8 with the military coup that toppled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi last week, but National Review Online's Dennis Prager insists they're basically the same.
In a July 9 NRO column, Prager likened the overthrow of Egypt's elected government to the Supreme Court's refusal to affirm popularly ratified anti-gay discrimination:
As much as I loathe the Muslim Brotherhood and the whole Islamist enterprise, it is difficult to imagine any other response among Islamists than this: Our votes don't count.
They were voted into office; many Egyptians and the army didn't like the results, so the vote was overthrown.
With some important differences -- and not all of them to the credit of the United States -- the Supreme Court of the United States, colluding judges, and the Democratic party of California did the same thing to the voters of California.
Dennis Prager is not happy about The New Yorker's latest cover.
The syndicated columnist and radio talk show host took to National Review Online on July 2 to blast The New Yorker for featuring "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie snuggling on a couch, watching a TV that shows the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The New Yorker released its cover following the Court's decisions to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismiss California's Proposition 8 case.
According to Prager, the cover indicates that "the Left has an agenda to deprive children of their innocence":
But for the Left, Bert and Ernie (and whatever else the Left can get its ideological hands on) are transformed into vehicles for a left-wing cause. And no cause animates the Left these days more than the social advancement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and the transgendered (LGBTs).
One consequence has been the robbing of children's innocence by prematurely sexualizing them. Rendering Bert and Ernie as gay is only the most recent example.
From the October 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Conservative columnist Dennis Prager offers up a truly nonsensical definition of freedom:
Through the use of public opprobrium, laws and lawsuits, Americans today are less free than at any time since the abolition of slavery (with the obvious exception of blacks under Jim Crow).
Public opprobrium is known as political correctness, and it has suppressed saying anything -- no matter how true and no matter how innocent -- that offends left-wing sensibilities.
"Merry Christmas" offends leftist views on multiculturalism. So, it's largely gone.
Note how, to Dennis Prager, Jim Crow is just a footnote in a discussion of the relative freedom enjoyed by Americans today and a hundred years ago. Sadly, that parenthetical was Prager's only concession to reality, as he quickly moved on to complaining that some people say "happy holidays." Why, that's a greater infringement on freedom than the lack of women's suffrage was!
Prager has more examples, though they don't get much better:
High school and college teams with American Indian names must drop those names because by definition, according to the left, they offend American Indians.
Outrageous! But … maybe not quite as outrageous as denying Native American citizens the right to vote.
What Prager describes as an infringement on freedom is actually just the existence of criticism and disagreement. He says sports teams "must drop" their "American Indian names" -- but he doesn't really mean "must." The Florida State University sports teams are still known as the "Seminoles," and the high school I attended still calls its teams the "Chiefs," to pick just two examples. Some people criticize Washington's NFL team for going by the name "Redskins" -- but nobody has prohibited them from doing so. Likewise, nobody is stopping Dennis Prager from saying "Merry Christmas." They're just choosing to say "happy holidays."
When Dennis Prager says Americans today lack freedom, what he means is that they lack freedom from disagreement and criticism. That's absurd.* Worse: Prager actually says such disagreement is a greater infringement on freedom than has occurred since the end of slavery -- greater than the denial of voting rights to women and Native Americans, or the internment of Japanese Americans.
If there is a dumber definition of "freedom," I hope never to encounter it.
Oh. Wait. Prager isn't done yet:
A woman may reveal as much of her body as she wishes. But if a man is perceived by a woman as looking too long at what she reveals, or if he comments on what she reveals, he may be fired from his job and/or sued for "sexual harassment." A woman may wear a miniskirt and crop-top, but a man may not have a calendar of women wearing miniskirts and crop-tops on his desk at work. That constitutes sexual harassment and a "hostile work environment."
That's the kind of "freedom" Dennis Prager misses.
* Not included in Prager's rant about the lack of freedom in America today: Bans on gay marriage. Probably because those are actual infringements on freedom, which Prager doesn't seem to care about.
Is there a more self-important columnist than right-wing radio host Dennis Prager? (OK, I'll give you George Will.) Reading a typical Prager column, two things are immediately clear: He's very impressed with what he thinks are his deep ruminations on serious topics, and his thinking has all the depth and clarity of a mud puddle.
A quick glance at recent Prager headlines ("What Do Women Want?," "Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals," "For The Left, Opponents Cannot Have Decent Motives: The Ground Zero Example," "The Left Hates Conservatives" … and so on) establishes his fondness for sweeping generalities about huge groups of people, and his latest is no exception: "For the Left, There Are No Sacred Texts."
[F]or leftism -- though not necessarily for every individual who considers himself a leftist -- there are no sacred texts. The two major examples are the Constitution and the Bible.
One cannot understand the left without understanding this. The demotion of the sacred in general and of sacred texts specifically is at the center of leftist thinking.
Prager doesn't bother to address the fact that the vast majority of liberals are people of faith (only four percent of Americans identify as either atheist or agnostic.) Instead, he just breezes past that inconvenient truth:
The reason is that elevating any standard, any religion, any text to the level of the sacred means that that it is above any individual. Therefore, what any one individual or even society believes is of secondary importance to that which is deemed sacred. If, to cite the most obvious example, the Bible is sacred, then I have to revere it more than I revere my own feelings in assessing what is right and wrong.
But for the left, what is right and wrong is determined by every individual's feelings, not by anything above the individual.
I'm sure this seemed smart to Prager as he was writing it, but it's extraordinarily dumb. Look: If "the left" really thought that it is up to each individual to choose according to his "own feelings" what is right and wrong, and that no text can outweigh those feelings, "the left" wouldn't support laws against murder. But "the left" does. So Prager's just spewing nonsense.
He goes on to spend a few paragraphs purporting to explain why the left is "so opposed to Judeo-Christian religion," ignoring as he does so all those liberal Jews and Christians who falsify his thesis by their very existence. But the emptiness of Prager's argument really becomes apparent when he gets around to comparing liberals and conservatives:
This explains the belief that is universally held on the left that the Constitution is an "evolving text," meaning that it says what anyone (on the left) wants it to say.
Conservatives, on the other hand, do not share this view. They do not believe the Constitution has something to say about everything they believe in. While the left sees the right to abortion in the Constitution (because the left believes in the right to abortion), those who oppose abortion do not believe that the Constitution prohibits abortion. They believe that the Constitution is silent on the issue. Precisely because the right does believe the Constitution is to be treated as sacred, it does not claim that whatever it supports is in the Constitution or that whatever it opposes is unconstitutional.
At this point, I can only assume that Prager has simply constructed his own versions of both "the left" and "conservatives" -- versions that exist only in his head, and that bear no resemblance to real-world liberals and conservatives. How else to explain his bizarre belief that "those who oppose abortion do not believe that the Constitution prohibits abortion"? Anyone in Prager's position has surely encountered many abortion opponents who believe precisely that.
And even if he has somehow never encountered such an argument, a simple Google search for the phrases "pro-life" and "constitution" would have quickly yielded examples. The very first hit, for example, is a column on Alan Keyes' Renew America web site titled "The Constitution is a pro-life document" that argues that "unborn children" are protected under the fourteenth amendment and, thus, "Not only is abortion constitutionally illegal it is a great sin in God's sight."
That is not an uncommon argument among Prager's fellow conservatives. The fact that he is unaware of even his own side's arguments does even more to demonstrate his political illiteracy than all his inane rambling about "the left."
National Review columnist Dennis Prager pens "A Letter from a Republican to Hispanics":
How many people can this country allow to come in?
The moment you answer that question is the moment you realize that Americans' worries about illegal immigration have nothing to do with "racism" or any negative feeling toward Hispanics.
Those who tell you it is racism or xenophobia are lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons.
Democrats will act as your defenders, telling you that opposition to your presence here is race-based. There is no truth to that.
Nothing to do with racism? No truth to that? Really? That doesn't seem right to me:
Now, given Dennis Prager's comments about Keith Ellison and the Quran, it's possible Prager just doesn't recognize bigotry when he sees it, and sincerely believes there is absolutely no "negative feeling toward Hispanics"in America. But it seems more likely that Prager knows he's badly exaggerating his case. How could he not? And what is his case? That Democrats lie about opposition to immigration in order to score political points.
In short: Dennis Prager is spreading falsehoods about opposition to immigration in order to score political points against Democrats by accusing them of lying about opposition to immigration in order to score political points. He's doing exactly what he purports to denounce Democrats for doing: "lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons."
Conservative media figures have jumped to the defense of Mel Gibson after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested for driving under the influence.
While defending actor Mel Gibson from criticism Gibson has received for making anti-Semitic remarks during a July 28 drunken-driving arrest, right-wing columnist and radio host Dennis Prager revived the discredited allegation that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made "private remarks that were anti-Semitic" more than three decades ago.