This past week has been an eventful week, not necessarily for me; but, I have witnessed meaningful events and consequences that any would be writer should file away for reference. There are stories in this week.
One such event was the Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage. I am not gay; but, I have spent a significant portion of my life working with associates who were gay. I’m neither a doctor nor psychologist, and cannot therefore lend factual researched underpinning to my ideas on this decades old social hot button. My experience tells me that homosexuality is not a matter of choice, it’s simply how some people are wired. I can also tell you that homosexuality is not contagious, nor are those who’s taste run in that direction predators – anymore than some heterosexuals are predatory.
It is with dismay that I observe the over the top reactions to the SCOTUS decision by the extreme right, and/or Evangelical Christians. The dismay is actually more closely identified as embarrassment, which extends also to the unChristian-like attitude and rhetoric on display.
Justice Roberts suggested this was a popular decision that had nothing to do with the Constitution. In reality, this has everything to do with the Constitution and human rights. I am chagrined that the same Chief Justice who chose to consider the intent of the Affordable Health Care Law rather than a poorly expressed three word phrase, would then claim that the human rights of the gay population have no standing among human rights expressed in the Constitution. This is giving with one hand and taking with the other! The comments of Justice Scalia have nothing to do with jurisprudence and everything to do with a narrow prejudicial mind, unfit for the highest court in the land. His strict interpretation posture wanted to hang the AHC over three words, yet he chooses to ignore the words “maintain a militia” in article two. Convenience is thy middle name, Justice Scalia.
The writer in me, however, sees a greater danger in this “convenience,” a struggle between fear and intelligence. There are meaningful stories to be told on this issue that can put some human perspective on the issue. Stories instruct by example, not by preaching. I shall file this week’s events.
Mike Huckabee is a Republican Presidential candidate who was nearly apoplectic over the ruling. He claimed it was tyranny, and as such, we are not compelled to accept the ruling or abide by its results: very Presidential. He has alluded to religious persecution over gay-rights and abortion on a multitude of occasions. It’s simply not true. What is remarkable is a failure to understand the founding principles of this country, and an awareness of just who these founding fathers were as men. Many of them were Deists or atheists. Religious freedom was the motivation, not a Christian nation. They did not want the government telling them how to worship. The re-writing of historic fact is breathtaking.
To my knowledge, there are no Christian churches closed because they refuse to recognize gay marriages or perform them. There are no Christians forced to use birth control, or have an abortion. No one is forcing anyone to marry a person of the same sex. Yet for someone to claim the beliefs of the Christian right are being persecuted because someone believes otherwise, points to the essence of religious freedom and an affirmation that we have separation of church and state. Mike Huckabee’s religious beliefs are not the policies this government.
Holding up God as a defense for a position is an ancient practice. It’s convenient! God is unassailable, and no more justification is necessary. Wrapping oneself in religious certainty eliminates the need for thinking or considering. It is then a short step to demonizing and scapegoating someone or something because you’re exempted from proof, logic, merit, or understanding. If that does not work sufficiently well, then declare yourself persecuted! And that’s where we are today. There is no rational discussion of issues because the participants are all cloaked in rigid moral certainty. They have protective shields that exempt them from consideration, thought, evaluation, or understanding of any idea outside their experience.
I find it hard to accept a belief in a Divine Spirit who would not be encouraged by an intelligent thought process in which we consider and evaluate positions openly. We can only understand what we understand, and the intelligent approach would be to consider what we don’t understand in an effort to find an understanding that leads to intelligent social behavior. This is not happening today. The cloak of God has been hoisted because it’s too hard to meet a multi-cultured world and live responsibly.
God is unassailable. This perspective is dangerous when it shuts down thought processes and discussion. It becomes a rush to judgement.