Saturday, July 11, 2015

Game Over

Well folks,  It's all over except for the crying;  and the backlash by some state government officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples; and the cries of apocalyptic doom from some religious leaders that God is going to smite the crap out of us for this terrible decision by the Supreme Court.

It's been 14 days since the Supreme Court declared that same sex couples are protected by the 14th Amendment and gay and lesbian couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that states must recognize those marriages.  Since the decision, several states have complied and their counties and cities are issuing marriage licenses and people are moving on with their lives.  There are a few however, who are holding fast or at least attempting to make it very difficult for people to obtain their license to marry.   Texas, which is the state I was born and is the state where I currently live, is one of those (others include Louisiana and Mississippi, although as of today, they seem to have given up the fight) who are attempting to circumvent the ruling.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said that County Clerks may refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples on religious grounds. Mr. Paxton said that if it violates the free exercise of the Clerk's religion to issue the license, then they can refuse to do so. Of course, this is in direct violation of the Supreme Court's mandate, and states must comply with decisions from the court.  This is a stalling tactic, and Mr. Paxton knows, eventually he will have to give up the effort.  It's good theater now and certainly it in Texas, where no one misses an opportunity to bash the Federal Government.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, one of the several hundred candidates for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 2016 has been incredibly strident in his objections to the decisions signed an executive order called the Marriage and Conscience order, which not only allowed for business discrimination against same sex couples (he says it doesn't), but also provides protections for parish clerks if they refuse to issue marriage licenses.  The order has resulted in a lawsuit from marriage equality supporters who made the discrimination claim.  The response from the Governor was not surprising:  “This Executive Order protects religious liberty. The ACLU used to defend civil liberties, now it appears they attack them. The Left likes to pick and choose which liberties they support at any given time, and it seems to me that religious liberty has fallen out of favor with them," he said. "Well, I’m not going to be swayed by the latest opinion poll or left wing lawsuit. Religious liberty is fundamental to our freedom as Americans and I will not back down from defending it.”  

Religious discrimination claims are coming out like a plague of frogs falling from the sky now.  In several states such as Kentucky, people, whose job it is to provide marriage licenses are refusing to do so because it violates their "religious freedom".   Religious Freedom?  The claim is weak tea.  It does not violate a persons religious freedom.  The individual is free to believe what he wants. What it does is tell that person that they may not act on their belief if it violates the law.  A devout Jew or Christian, who literally believes the Bible is the ordained word of God and all commandments and directives are law from the Almighty herself, cannot stone an adulteress to death in this country. Can't do it.  Why? because we have laws that tell us we can't do that.  So, if one exercised their "freedom of religion" to stone said adulteress to death, then they would be escorted to the nearest facility that houses those who break the law.

The religious community who are so ardently against this decision have come out in full force warning us that God will unleash a might truckload of wrath on us and that we are doomed as a society.  Here's a few examples of the dire warnings those closed to God have brought forward:

Franklin Graham, evangelical pastor and head of Graham ministries is "deeply saddened" because the Supreme Court has "endorsed sin".  He says we better be prepared for Christian persecution and wrath from God as punishment for our violation of God's standards.  Here's the link to the video where the good reverend suggests we need to repent: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/franklin-graham-christians-must-prepare-persecution-and-gods-judgment-america.

John Haqee, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio says we can kiss the country goodbye because of our progress toward gay marriage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeMZ9QkU-AY

Dr. Robert Jeffress, head of Pathway to Victory had this to say about the decision:  "The Supreme Court said in essence, “We know better than God how to define marriage.” For thousands of years both Christians and Jews have believed in both the Old and New Testament definition of marriage that was written by Moses and affirmed by Jesus Himself when He said that God “made them male and female … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5)".  Here's a video for those who want to hear it from the "horse's ass", oops, sorry, meant to say "horse's mouth": http://ptv.org/supreme-court-gay-marriage/

Many of the faith that are followers of the good reverends above are ironically heartened that God will rain down his wrath on this nation because of that despicable decision.  Unless we change our ways, the God that loves us so much will cause terrible things to befall us because we are so naughty.

It's not just our religious community who have decided we've lost our way.  To date, none of the 13 or 14 or 17 (I can't keep count) of the candidates for the Republican nomination for the Presidency have done anything except complain and whine about the decision.  Some have accused the court once again of being an "activist court", full of people hell bent on legislating from the bench.   Here's a sample of the politician's perspectives on the decision:

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin - The ruling was “a grave mistake,” the Republican governor said, touting his support for amending his state’s constitution “to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker said in the statement.

Former Governor Jeb Bush - “Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” he wrote in a statement. “I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz on the Court's ruling:  "It was the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

And finally, the most over the top response to the ruling from the pack of GOP Presidential Candidates:  Former Governor Mike Huckabee:  ‘God had to bless America or we would not exist … But will God continue to bless America without our repentance,’ he asked.
‘1975, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham said that “if God does not bring his judgment upon this land, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah,’ he continued.
‘She said that 40 years ago. What would she say today if she was still alive? When the Supreme Court just two weeks ago, or as I call them, the Extreme Court, made the most radical decision when it comes to the definition of marriage, it truly was a remarkable day in which they did not vote for equality of something, they voted for the redefinition of something.’'
With all of the woeful portents of ecclesiastical smiting, plea for repentance and aggressive anti-gay backlash in either acts of over refusal from state and local governments to comply with the ruling you'd think the country at large is dead set against the idea of same sex marriage.  You'd be wrong.  Since the Stonewall Riots of 1969, slowly, but surely, the idea that gay people were not diseased or perverted or just flat "icky" has been slowly falling away.  We all know gay people.  We've known gay people that were in the closet living lives of quiet desperation and those who were flamboyant and out and proud of who they are.  Sure, it has been a process of acceptance, but guess what?  We've generally made our peace with this. Few people (other than the zealots out there) have a problem with people being gay.  Here's an interesting chart that shows the progress relative to acceptance of the idea of same sex marriage since just 1996:  
In just 19 short years, the country has decided instead of gay marriage being a bad idea to more than half of the population saying it should be legalized.   This should put the matter to bed.  But, know it won't. Not for a while at least. The reason?  We love to hold on to some warped idea of how well things were in the past.  Yes, the "Good Old Days". Don't you miss them?  Don't you miss Jim Crow?  Don't you miss polio? Don't you miss those days when Men were Men, Women were Women, Black people were something else altogether and obviously gay people like Liberace were "confirmed bachelor's" that just hadn't found the right woman yet?   Come on folks, the good old days stunk to high heaven.  No, this backlash and idiotic cries of persecution on the part of "religious leaders" will be around for a while, but it is dying and hopefully within my lifetime we'll look back on this period and say "What the hell was wrong with us"?  Why did it take until 2015 to finally get the protections for people to be treated equally?
This last swell of anguish and anger about allowing them to get married are the dying throes of a arcane point of view that is better consigned to the ash heap of history of bad ideas and beliefs.  The anger comes from religion. Religion is such a large part of political life that the politicians that must cater to that crowd are cowering in their Saville Row suits and telling the faithful what they want to hear.  Charlatans who claim to be representatives of God but are more interested in their bank accounts and political power are trumpeting the pending ass whipping that God will bring to us because of our wicked ways. 
Those who believe that "God" will unleash a fury of Biblical revenge on us for this aren't paying attention.  Same sex marriage has been legal in this country in at least two states since 2004.  Those states were Massachusetts and Vermont.  God's wrath, if its coming is certainly slow.  Not So!, some say.  They say what about Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy? Surely that's God's punishment for our evil ways.  (editorial note: Why is God always punishing us with Hurricanes?).  Well, if Katrina and Sandy are God's punishment for Vermont and Massachusetts allowing Gay marriage, then you have to wonder 1. Why did it take her until 2005 to unleash Katrina and 2., How come Vermont and Massachusetts weren't demolished as a result?  No, Mississippi, Louisiana, parts of Texas and Alabama bore the brunt of God's wrath with Katrina, and they are four of the most ardently anti-gay states in the union.  What about Hurricane Sandy?  Well, certainly hitting New Jersey and New York are closer to the target, but you have to wonder if the Almighty was taking lessons from George W.Bush on deciding to unleash revenge:  Two states launch the same sex marriage actions and God decides to take out states that had nothing to do with the decision.  Sound familiar?
Look, for you of the faith attempting to figure out what God has in store for us as a nation because of this "darkest 24 hours in our history" according to Ted Cruz, you need to think about this:  Why didn't God smite us when we exterminated 90% of the indigenous population in this country during the first 130 years of our existence?  Why didn't She bring down the plagues and torments with our atrocious history of slavery and Jim Crow?  Here's the reason.  God, if she does indeed exists is likely about as interested in gay marriage as to who will win the World Series or Superbowl.  That's to say, not at all.  It's time for the those who think God really gives a damn about this issue to give it a rest. It's time for the politicians who are catering, manipulating and using the faithful for their own purposes to shut the hell up.  The die is cast, the song is over, the deal is done.  Get over it and move on to something more relevant today, like denying climate change.

Tell me what you think.
Regards,
Dennis





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