Counterproductive: Scott Renfroe Poorly Chose Rhetoric and Context

Denver Post columnist Al Knight has a fine piece today stating the arguments why the Colorado legislature should reject Senate Bill 88, the mandate to provide health-insurance benefits to same-sex couples: it embroils the state in legal battles, it violates the will of state voters, it has a negative impact on a tight budget, etc.

No, instead, Republican state senator Scott Renfroe opened his mouth during the SB 88 debate, and played right into the hands of the Left.

Explicitly biblical arguments may persuade on a personal level. But they do not directly inform the basis of our state policy, so using these arguments on the floor of the legislature at best requires an extraordinary deal of care, because they almost certainly will across as an imposition of less-than-informed personal opinion and values. In the end, the kind of rhetoric Senator Renfroe regrettably used is counterproductive: it lost votes to oppose SB 88, and it helped to tarnish the Republican brand by feeding into the Left’s narrative.

No doubt Senator Renfroe meant well when he delivered his speech. But if there’s a theme I have addressed numerous times here, it’s the shortcoming of the liberal philosophy of good intentions often falls short of good policy.

There is a time and a place to have an honest and compassionate discussion about the morality of homosexuality. In this case, the context and the rhetoric were poorly chosen.

I am not asking Renfroe or any other legislator to forfeit their deeply-held views, nor am I saying that these views ought not inform their actions in an official capacity. But greater deference has to be given to the setting, and greater consideration given to the consequences.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)


  1. says

    Homosexuality may not be ‘natural’ in the way we look at reproduction, but there are always going to be exceptions to any rule. If you can be sexually aroused while making out with your same gender then maybe you can justify to yourself that it’s a choice. But in the end, people are going to fall in love with and be with the gender that they are predestined to. No amount of Christian re-programming camps can really overcome that, they can only make people feel regretful and absolutely shitty about themselves.

    I think the ability to have your own beliefs but let others revel in theirs is an important one. If we had a Muslim majority in America, and they wanted all women to cover their faces, would a Christian minority accept that? After all, we’re talking about a majority religion, so does that make their point of view right? In the end no one is going to admit their point of view / religion is wrong. It does no good to force your religious values on to others, just to hold tightly to them yourself.

    So just make sure you’re not making out with your same gender. Not that you’d want to anyway.

  2. says

    Do Democrats and cultural radicals make any remarks that are capable of generating a media storm? Probably not with today’s media.

    The purpose of these Moments of Outrage is to trim the limits of acceptable opinion and to rope dull-witted conservatives into doing the trimming.

    Then in a few more years, it’s someone else’s turn to get cut.

    Parts of Justice Byron White’s 1986 opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick are probably already beyond the pale because the left is allowed to set the terms of debate.

  3. says

    Well said. In our soundbite environment and “moment of outrage” media culture, our side does have to learn to play smarter, though.

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