Thursday, March 13, 2014

Holy Manchurian Lesbians, Batman!

Reasons may exist to oppose civil same-sex marriages. Ross Douthat has argued forcefully, intelligently, and coherently against it but concedes the battle is lost. Douthat also contends that Christians and social conservatives need to distinguish between being disadvantaged and being discriminated against. Discussing an exchange between Andrew Sullivan, the man Douthat deems "gay marriage’s intellectual progenitor" and American Conservative blogger Rod Dreher, Douthat writes,
Since Sullivan wrote the post quoted above, he and Rod Dreher have been having an increasingly hostile exchange about how justified religious conservatives are in worrying/complaining about legal disfavor and cultural pressure, with Sullivan complaining about “the hysteria and self-pity among those who, for centuries, enjoyed widespread endorsement for the horrible mistreatment of gay people.”
It’s a good line, with real bite. I can’t promise Sullivan that religious conservatives will conduct themselves with salt-of-the-earth optimism rather than self-pity, and I certainly can’t wish away institutional Christianity’s past and present sins.
I don't know how all religious conservatives will react, but I can say for certain that Bob Ellis will not "conduct himself with salt-of-the-earth optimism."

Responding to a Rapid City Journal report that "Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz, who have been together for more than 30 years" will endeavor to overturn South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage, Ellis asserts that Robrahn and Rosenkranz have been "waiting in the wings to assault marriage and family in South Dakota." This assault is part of "radical homosexual agenda" filled with "clear malevolent intent" and enabled by an "apostate 'church." The apostates are assisted by  RINOs in the state legislature who  allow this "strategic plan" to "attack marriage, family, freedom and normality" to proceed with "only a tweak in strategy."

Ellis apparently gets his talking points from the back-cover blurbs of Dan Brown novels. Let's be clear,the idea that these two women decided to live together for the past thirty years for the express purpose of instituting same-sex marriage in South Dakota is laughable unless one has spent the past few months sitting next to the ghost of Joesph McCarthy and watching The Manchurian Candidate on a continuous loop.

 If these women were engaging in a similar strategy to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Ellis would likely view these women as "maiden aunts" who deserve the love and respect of all. More importantly, the "traditional" view of marriage was being challenged before the Pharisees asked Jesus if it is proper for a man to"put away his wife."

Finally, I have always had trouble with the Moral Majority's, the Religious Right's, or self-proclaimed Conservative Christians' rhetoric. They seem to ignore an important Biblical injunction:
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
No amount of hysteria from Ellis or anyone else will change that fact. Instead, Ellis should follow Douthat's advice:
Christians had plenty of opportunities — thousands of years’ worth — to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status — this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.
It might also be good for all of us to frequently read the rest of Psalm 146:
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8     the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Taking up those causes as our own should keep all of us from hyperventilating.


P&R said...

My favorite Bible passage on the Christian's relationship to politics - Ps. 146.

I come down on the side that opposes redefining marriage. I also don't think we've lost. We may have lost the political fight for the time being, but calling an ox a bull doesn't make it so. Reality will intrude. Whatever we may wish to call the relationship between these two women, it is not marriage. Analagous, perhaps, but not the thing itself.

And I think it's okay to call at least some of what is happening to Christians "persecution." We ought, however, distinguish between loss of special privileges (tax exemption) and loss of common privileges (freedom of association).

But I think too many, left and right, have made an idol out of government (Douthat's book Bad Religion looks at that). Personally, I think the current trends are God's way of breaking down this idolatry of the state.

Kal Lis said...

I come down that marriage is a religious institution and the state should regulate cohabitation agreements but that two institutions differ greatly. One is God's and the other Ceasar's.

I have Douthat's book and will try to get to it this summer.

As for the issue of persecution, I have not seen the loss of freedom of association. People of all faiths retain constitutional protections.

I certainly agree with last paragraph and importance of Psalm 146.