In mid-January, CNN’s Larry King Live aired a four-person discussion of Brokeback Mountain and marriage for gay persons. The guests were Janet Parshall and Albert Mohler speaking for the religious right, and Chad Allen and Casper, Wyo., councilman Guy Padget speaking in favor of allowing gay people to marry.

At a new web site called A Tenable Belief, Steve Boese analyzes the rhetoric: The logic (or lack thereof) of each speaker; how many words were spoken on a variety of issues, and the percentage of discussion devoted to religion, civil liberties, or unrelated issues. ATB discovers that “conservatives got 50% more words in than the progressives, and faith garnered twice as much attention as rights and liberties.” ATB observes what may have changed, and what hasn’t, in the public debate over the past 10 years.

with a detailed analysis of Parshall’s rhetoric, ATB observes that “The true root of resistance by folks from the religious right to granting recognition of or civil rights for blgt folks is that gays hold wrong beliefs. Arguments like those offered on the King show — that no recognition of gay folks is called for because gay people who adopt conservative Christian beliefs no longer need distinct civil liberties or rights — recalls the work of some Christian missionaries to remote tribal cultures, where long-standing beliefs and traditions mattered primarily as targets to be eradicated.”

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