RTD's Dignity Problem

The editorial board of the Richmond Times Dispatch long ago replaced intellectual vigor with social media level rhetoric.  While they fancy themselves something of progressive libertarians, their editorial Wednesday chastising the relatively routine procedure of not recording votes in subcommittees, particularly on so-called “gay rights” bills, includes a statement revealing their hypocrisy.

In the editorial they argue not elevating one’s sexuality/gender identity to a protected class is akin to “Refusing to accord gay and lesbian citizens equal dignity.”  Thereby, it would seem that the “libertarian” editorialists somehow believe that it is within the power and scope of government to accord “dignity.”  That idea, of course, is absurd and hardly views government as limited.  It is a manifestation of the mind of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who created the “dignity” right out of thin air in his effort to circumvent long standing precedent in identifying a “fundamental right” to same-sex marriage. 

Dignity, however, cannot and does not come from government – it comes from God.  Every human being (regardless of their sexuality) has dignity because they are made in the image of God.  Arguing that a group of people don’t have dignity because they aren’t included in a list of “protected classes” created by government implies that government is the god that gives dignity.  It also, practically, means that anyone not included in the list lacks dignity.  Nonsense. 

Of course, if no transcendent God exists, rights and “dignity” must come from somewhere.  And for the secular left, it’s pretty clear the source is government.  In effect, they’ve simply replaced one God with another.  Legal pundit Jonathan Turley put it this way (though completely missing the fact that values don’t find their source in the majority, but in God) after last year’s marriage decision, “Obergefell would be a tragic irony if it succeeded in finally closing the door on morality and speech codes only to introduce an equally ill-defined dignity code. Both involve majoritarian values, enforced by the government, regarding what is acceptable and protectable. Substituting compulsory morality with compulsory liberalism simply shifts the burden of coercive state power from one group to another.”

And the editorialists at the RTD, despite their oft repeated ivory tower religious rhetoric, have according government just such power.