Gay Marriage Still Under Attack by Religious Right Zealots
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Apr 16, 2015 at 08:00:04 AM EST
Dr. James Dobson is talking about a second "Civil War." Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action is calling it "a Bonhoeffer moment," a reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis. Other Christian leaders are complaining that gay activists are duping the masses.

As America awaits two and a half hours of oral argument at the Supreme Court set for the morning of Tuesday, April 28th, followed by its decision - likely in late June -- on the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state, the Christian right's doom and gloom squad is coming out of the closet in droves. And they're bringing the type of unrestrained rhetoric not heard since, well, those heady days last month when Indiana and Arkansas were forced to temper their strict anti-gay "religious freedom" laws.

With thirty-seven states currently allowing gay marriage and opinion polls showing over 60 per cent of the public supporting same-sex marriage, the tide has clearly turned. Many Christian right leaders, however, will not accept the memo, and instead are predicting that dreadful things will befall America should the US Supreme Court rule that same sex marriage is the law of the land. A major brief has been filed, a conference call for Christian right leaders to vent was held, and Republican Senators are also weighing in on the issue.

The underlying threat from the religious right was clearly stated by the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, when, shortly after President Barack Obama's re-election, he warned of "a revolt, a revolution" if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, with "Americans saying, 'You know what? Enough of this!'"
The Joyce Meyer Ministries, the Lincoln Institute, Public Advocate of the U.S., the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund and pastor Chuck Baldwin, have joined together in a brief to the Supreme Court filed by the U.S. Justice Foundation and the law firm of William J. Olson.

The brief reads like a Christian right's version of sharia law.

"Should the court require the states and the people to 'ritualize' sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God's judgment on the nation," the brief said. "Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is 'defiled,' the people have been cast out of their homes."

The brief relies heavily on Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 24-30:

"Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for in these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. And the land has become defiled; therefore I have punished its iniquity, and the land has vomited out her inhabitants.

"But you shall therefore keep My statutes and My decrees, and you shall not commit any of these abominations, either the native citizen or any foreigner who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

"For whoever shall commit any of these abominations, those persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinances, that you do not commit any one of these abominable customs which were committed before you, so that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God."

The brief concludes: "Whatever justification any judge may believe compels a State to define marriage to include same-sex couples, it is not found in the Constitution, nor is it based in any constitutional principle. For any judge to require a State to define marriage to include same-sex couples is an usurpation of authority that he does not have under the laws of man or God, and is thus illegal."

In early March, more than thirty prominent church leaders joined a conference call, which gave them an opportunity to express their views on the ramifications of a Supreme Court that would codify same-sex marriage.

One consistent theme: Christians would pay a heavy price for such a decision, and they needed to fight back regardless of the consequences.

"With the current administration, there is every reason to believe that the Executive Branch will use the full weight of the Federal justice system to enforce this. We must be prepared for that possibility," said Rick Scarborough, president of Vision America Action, who set the tone for the conference call.

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk Radio, who spent a chunk of his career putting the anti in "anti-gay," said that Christians "will be attacked from every direction, and critics will do all they can to weaken and embarrass us, but so what? Are we going to sit on our reputations and go to our graves without having played a role? This is Roe v. Wade all over again. I am standing shoulder to shoulder with all who will stand up for God's Word concerning marriage. We don't know all of the steps that must be taken, but God will reveal His will. To the extent that I am able to influence anybody, I will do it with passion."

The Associated Press reported in early April that "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz are among 57 Republicans in Congress who are calling on the Supreme Court to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage."

"A federally mandated redefinition of the ancient institution of marriage" nationwide should not be imposed, a Supreme Court brief filed by Republicans stated. They counseled the court to leave the matter to voters in the states.

Despite recent setbacks on the marriage equality front, the religious right is alive and well, and will remain so regardless of the Supreme Court's decision. After all, the Culture Wars have no expiration date.




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It strikes me that the Religious Right pastors and pundits are selective in their view of what constitutes corporate sin and what constitutes individual sin. The conservative evangelical strong emphasis on individual salvation doesn't cancel out their perceived risk of corporate contamination by other people's sins - hence the perceived necessity to anathematize rather than persuade sinners.

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