Editor’s Note: As we approach another election season, the increasing fanaticism of the American Right is scary as hell. It’s as if the Republicans are taking their cue from the religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia. One little admission here in the interests of full disclosure: In the 11th paragraph below, I mention a lexicographical (I’m not even sure I can pronounce that word) argument against gay marriage, which I mock. I actually once used a similar argument myself in an article (click here). My only excuse is that I was young and wrong ... and that, despite what conservatives believe, evolution really does occur, even in people’s thoughts. The response to this article was overwhelmingly favorable, although I did get two nasty emails, one of which called me a “leftist fag.” The other made reference to the the small black-and-white photo of me that appears on the upper portion of my column in the newspaper, and commented that “You look like the sort of guy who has to pay for sex.” That seemed needlessly cruel. However, there was one very nice Letter to the Editor this time around.

Kim Davis and the American Sharia

For many Americans, the most important clause in the First Amendment is one that doesn’t actually exist. A hallmark of religious freedom for Christian conservatives is the God-given right to force one’s beliefs on those who don’t share them and to call anything that interferes with that right “persecution.”

At the same time, the Right has been whipping up fear of alleged Muslim demands for the imposition of Islamic law in America, as if this minority has the clout to enact legislation that will supersede the Constitution and make Sharia the law of the land. Yet these same conservatives lionize the Christian Taliban, as represented by Kentucky homophobe Kim Davis, for doing something disturbingly similar.

Republicans claim to revere the Constitution, but there was no uproar when GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said that the question of whether the Bible has authority over the Constitution depends on the specifics. One can only imagine how many conservative heads would explode if Democratic congressman Keith Ellison, who’s a Muslim, suggested the Quran’s authority over the Constitution depends on the specifics.

The Right also has no problem with Dr. Carson’s view that a Muslim should never be president, even though Article VI of the Constitution states, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for office.” Perhaps Carson never read Article VI. (Those who contend America is a Christian nation should realize that Jehovah, Moses and Jesus are mentioned as often in the Constitution as Allah, which is to say not at all.)  

Article III describes the Supreme Court’s power over “all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution.” The Right never objects when the justices (most of whom are Republican appointees) uphold conservative positions. For example, they had no problem with the “judicial activism” of the Citizens United ruling — which gives corporations the rights of people and expands the power of the oligarchy — or the Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act.

However, when the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act was twice upheld, Mike Huckabee referred to “unelected Supreme Court justices” who “legislate from the bench and ignore the Constitution,” as if these justices had seized the bench in a coup. And just before the Court rendered its gay marriage decision, Rev. Huckabee called for massive “biblical disobedience” against the “false god of judicial supremacy,” as if the Court had no business ruling on constitutionality.

Ambivalence toward the Constitution and that troublesome “all men are created equal” clause in the Declaration of Independence fuels the zeal of the marriage equality deniers who’ve made Kim Davis an icon. Her refusal to adhere to the law of the land, grant homosexuals the same rights the rest of us enjoy and do the job she was hired to do has her righteous supporters chanting, “onward Christian soldier.”

The hypocrisy of this conservative crusade is highlighted by the fact that Ms. Davis is a rather flawed vessel for sainthood. Jesus never spoke out against homosexuality or gay marriage; however, he did categorically prohibit divorce. This woman, who’s on her fourth marriage, is about as plausible a spokesperson for the defense of marriage as Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich, who are also serial adulterers, according to the Good Book. From whom does marriage need defending?

The biblical basis of Ms. Davis’ argument against marriage equality is shaky to begin with. She told Fox News that, “Since the beginning of time, God has defined marriage as between one man and one woman.” However, anyone familiar with the Old Testament can tell you biblical marriage is between one man and multiple women, as well as his concubines and slaves, all of whom are the husband’s property.

Limiting marriage to one man and one woman seems to contradict God’s Law. Fundamentalists love singing about “that old time religion,” but although “it was good enough for David” (and his many wives) and his son Solomon (700 wives and 300 concubines), as well as Abraham, Old Testament marriage is simply too biblical for most Americans. (In 1890, the federal government forced the Mormons to renounce their Bible-based practice of polygamy.)

Some homophobes hide their bigotry behind the contention that the definition of marriage should never be adulterated. I know evangelicals who oppose marriage equality based on a fatuous and incoherent defense of the traditional definition of the word “marriage,” and insist that their objections are nonsectarian. However, it’s hard to believe anyone is that passionate about Merriam-Webster or lexicography, so it’s hard to take such nonsense seriously. Besides, like everything else in the universe, definitions usually evolve.  

Of course, putting the constitutional and biblical esoterica aside, there’s a simple alternative to Ms. Davis’ voluntary “martyrdom.” If she’s unwilling to do the job she’s being paid for or to follow the law of the land, she could simply step aside, and let someone else issue marriage licenses to those people she doesn’t approve of, condemning her backup to eternal damnation in the lake of fire, while keeping her own soul unsullied by their sins.  

Pope Francis, speaking about how gay people should be integrated into society, rather than ostracized, addressed reports about homosexuals in the clergy by saying, “If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Clearly, in meeting with the pope, Ms. Davis and her American Taliban supporters have rejected this wisdom, in favor of their own form of Sharia.

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