The Slippery Slope, an argument in which someone claims that we cannot allow item one to occur because it will inevitably lead us to item 2, 3, 4, and so on until item 10 (usually something particularly egregious) occurs. This line of argument typically thought to be fallacious because there is little evidence that such a slide will necessarily occur is often used in politics as a method to stop some change in society from taking place. In the past few years the big slippery slope defense has been employed by conservatives to combat gay marriage proponents by claiming that if we allow same sex couples to marry it will inevitably lead to unions between humans and animals being legalized. A brochure offered by the Family Research Council describes such a slide into the world of bestiality as part of their attack on gays.

While there are plenty of articles out there that sufficiently discredit the slippery slope arguments made by the homophobes (see here, here, and here) I have long espoused that there is a far more relevant slippery slope to be laid at the feet of the conservatives. That slippery slope takes the form of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church who will be appearing soon in Minnesota to claim that those that died in the 35W bridge collapse were punished because of the acceptance of homosexuality in America. The increments separating Phelps and those people fighting against gay marriage are far fewer than those increments separating homosexual marriage from bestiality.

*Phelps has been lambasted from the right and from the left for his continuing protests at the funerals of soldiers and others whom he claims have been killed by God because we accept the homosexual lifestyle.

However, how far off are his views from those titans of the religious right?

Pat Robertson:
"... the acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization."
Christian Broadcasting Network, warned that hurricanes could hit Orlando, Fla., because of gay events there.

“If the world accepts homosexuality as its norm and if it moves the entire world in that regard, the whole world is then going to be sitting like Sodom and Gomorrah before a Holy God. And when the wrath of God comes on this earth, we will all be guilty and we will all suffer for it.” - 700 Club, 9-6-95

Jerry Falwell:
The man who blamed 9/11 on gays and lesbians among others!

"In my age, we laughed at queers, fairies, and anyone who was thought to be a homosexual. It was a hideous thing, and no one talked about it, much less ever confessed to being a homosexual... I believe the United States will be destroyed if we permit homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle." "How You Can Help Clean Up America"

James Dobson:

Dobson endorsed the content of MacArthur's sermon in his introduction of the broadcast.

He stated:

DOBSON: Some of our listeners are not going to agree with what he [MacArthur] has to say, but it's going to make you think, and it's also going to be somewhat disturbing. And I happen to agree with what John MacArthur was saying on this day, and I want to thank him and his team and Woodman Valley Chapel for allowing us to share this message. It needs to be heard, especially at this time in our nation.

In his sermon, MacArthur cataloged the symptoms of what he called America's "abandonment" by God and warned of dire consequences:

MacARTHUR: I don't believe we're waiting for God's wrath in this society. We haven't had a massive calamity such as the destruction of an entire city. We certainly don't want that to happen -- pray that does not happen -- but it could happen. And God would be just in any calamity that he brought upon us. We have not entered into eschatological wrath; that comes in the end times. We are experiencing -- all of us do -- consequential wrath of sin. But this massive concept of the wrath of abandonment, I'm convinced, is now at work in our society. We like to talk about the fact that America was founded on Christian principles, God was at the center of it, and all of that -- whatever it might have been in our founding, it's no longer the way it is, and I want to show you how you know that has happened. [...]

MacARTHUR: The first thing that happens in a nation when it has been abandoned by God is a sexual revolution. Moral sexual perversion, pornographic desire describes the general character of the culture. You can't even count how many million pornographic websites there are. When a society is abandoned by God, it operates out of its own perverse sexual passion without restraint. You can go back to the '60s and the sexual revolution of the flower children, or Hugh Hefner and the Playboy world, and it has gone like a flood since then. [...]

MacARTHUR: So the first thing that you look for in a society if you're trying to discern whether God has abandoned that society is whether or not that society has gone through a sexual revolution so that illicit sex, adultery, every form of immorality is accepted as normal in that society. And we're there.

*These are but a snippet of the quotes of a religious right that is disgusted by the very existence of homosexuals. So, where does the slippery slope lead us?

The vitriol and condemnation displayed by the likes of Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson has simply been put into action by those followers of Phelps who frequent the funerals of entirely innocent Americans to remind them that our acceptance of homosexuality has lead to the abandonment by God and his subsequent wrath being brought upon us. In incremental terms, Fred Phelps represents step 2 or 3 (putting a belief into action) in relation to the religious right step 1. By contrast, the increments one needs to exhaust before acceptance of bestiality occurs in society is in all probability an infinite number of increments away.

The religious right (Michele Bachmann being chief among them in this area) must be constantly reminded that if we are to believe that their slippery slope is a valid argument then the actions of Fred Phelps and his followers are the direct result of their actions.