I thought I had said my last word (for a while) on gay marriage, but Bill O’Reilly has made an important point about the issue that deserves to be examined, saying that opponents of gay marriage can’t just “thump the Bible.”

The clear-thinking, articulate O’Reilly did not make his point as artfully as he usually does, but it is a good point to make. And in this video that Republicans are frantically sending to each other today, O’Reilly delivers that message on Fox News to another principled, thoughtful conservative, Laura Ingraham. If you can get past the prickly, awkward, cringe-inducing, frosty interaction between the two, you can see where conservatives — and Republicans generally — are hung up.

Many good and honest people are against gay marriage, and the vast majority of Republican office-holders are against gay marriage.  But what is their public-policy vs. religious reason for holding that position? The Bible gives us many admonitions that haven’t produced legislation. We can’t pass a law that bans every sin – wouldn’t that be Sharia law?  And even the Bible is imperfect in giving guidance on the matter; depending on where you turn in the Good Book, there was a time when God permitted multiple wives and concubines. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that that be a basis for any public policy today.

I’ve lost track of what public good is done by forbidding gay marriage.  I invite readers to remind me.