San Antonio Pastor Plays Constitutional Scholar, Social Scientist, Historian in Marriage Debate

by Dan Quinn

It doesn’t take long before religious-right opponents of the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples turn to fear-mongering about pedophilia and insist that civil laws be based on the Bible. Consider, for example, a “town hall” discussion Tuesday on San Antonio radio station KTSA.

The discussion featured Daniel McNeel “Neel” Lane, the plaintiffs’ attorney in the Texas same-sex marriage case currently before the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Charles Flowers, pastor of Faith Outreach International of San Antonio and a member of the virulently anti-gay Texas Pastor Council. You can listen to the nearly hour-long discussion here, but this short clip features one of Flowers’ main arguments against the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples:

Flowers: “And I think this is ultimately where we’re wrestling. We’re wrestling about whether or not God’s word is a legitimate foundation for the structure that governs our daily lives, as it relates to marriage or anything else. So for many of us who opposes the issue, it’s not really about some angst against homosexuals or lesbians. There are people who, from our viewpoint, battle with struggles just like every other person may battle with their own set of struggles. But every other person is not seeking to have their struggles legitimized and codified. So for us, it is not an issue of love and feeling, because if you get into that, then where do you draw the line for a person who perhaps is a male but he’s turned on sexually because he views a child. So what stops that thing from happening? What illegitimizes pedophilia, and legitimizes homosexuality or lesbianism? And to go back to the notion that Neel said a moment ago that sexuality is an immutable characteristic, boy, that’s a huge bridge too far. Because there are people whose sexual orientation, they have acknowledged has crossed moral boundaries.”

Trey Ware (host/moderator): “So people are not born that way? Is that what you’re saying? [Neel] mentioned eye color a second ago. So you don’t choose that, just like you don’t choose your eye color?”

Flowers: “There’s been nothing scientific that validates the fact that a person is born with a homosexual or lesbian gene. Are they born with certain proclivities, yes, but that is not exclusive to a homosexual or the lesbian. Everybody is born with a set of proclivities that may align with law and order, and may not.”

Flowers also argued (at the 56:35 mark in the full clip) that our laws and Constitution are based on the Bible:

“The Bible is the most quoted source in the formation of our founding documents, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that what formed the framers’ thinking was the Bible. … You can track down through the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the most referenced source document is the Bible.”

Flowers even echoed arguments from phony historian and religious-right propagandist David Barton, claiming that the American form of government — such as the creation of three separate branches of government — come straight out of the Bible.

At the end of the discussion, Flowers made clear that the basis for civil law in America should be the Bible — at least how he interprets it:

“ The issue is … whether or not God’s word is the foundation upon which healthy operation of society should rest. For the last 240 years, we have thought so in this country. Now we are seeking to replace the Judeo-Christian ethic and moral teaching of the Scripture as the moral foundation for the nation and move it away from that foundation….”