This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Messing with Constitutions

Writing in the September 5th Washington Post, 4th Circuit Judge Harvie Wilkinson, III makes an excellent case for refraining from constitutional amendments on Gay Marriage at the state (especially Virginia) and federal levels. However, the judge, in trying to be rational with the proponents misses a few obvious facts.

The first one is that, as John Dean showed in Conservatives Without Conscience, the people proposing these amendments are not doing so out of rationality but out of authoritarianism. They believe (albeit wrongly) that God does not want gays to be married (as if He would rather they be promiscuous). If the religious right were rational, they would see that Truth is on the side of Gay Marriage - both so our gay bretheran can be reached with the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ and because, to a large extent, the witness of Love gays show eachother in hardship shows that they already have. They ignore the Apostle Paul's injunction to be all things to all men, even the gay ones (and lesbians too).

The second point he is ignoring is that the state amendments are proposed to rally the base. They are a political ploy so the right wing looks like it is doing something while they are despoiling the country. He also knows, although he cannot say (because it would prejudice the matter which will come before his Court) that these amendments will be challenged on equal protection grounds - although he alludes to prefering that the judicial branch not be involved - even though the equal protection case is clear once sodomy laws are a violation of privacy - as te Scalia dissent prophesies. As such, this effort and especially the federal effort are dress rehearsals for an amendment as backlash to Supreme Court decisions that are likely inevitable on gays in the military and gay marriage. In such a circumstance, if the Congress does not act, the states will call for a convention (and Lord help us if that crowd gets a convention organized on its agenda).

I was going to say that possibly the right wing is doing what others have speculated by stirring up passions among their base even though they know that the Courts will not back their agenda - that making this base angry serves some perverse authoritarian function by convincing their rank and file that the federal judiciary is their enemy and that they can only trust their pastors. I could even speculate that they want to actually discourage the rule of law and breed extremists like Eric Rudolph (who attacked gay night clubs as well as abortion clinics). I was going to say that until my conclusion in point two. I think WHAT THEY REALLY WANT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO HIT ALL OF THEIR ISSUES AT ONCE. They want to recriminalize sodomy, enact a flat tax, ban abortion, ban flag burning, ban pornography, overturn federal intervention in voting and civil rights and display religious symbols and maybe even declare Jesus Christ the personal savior of the United States. You can almost see it by how they talk about activist judges. I don't think this is just some electoral strategy, I forsee the possiblity of long term violence to what they see as secularism (which is also known as the rule of law). I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.


Blogger Progressive Christian said...

There was a time when I agreed with your fears. I do not any longer because, while numerically large, the base of the Christian Right is such a small percentage of the electorate, it doesn't even represent a significant plurality. Thus my own anger at the Republican Party (echoed this past spring by Richard Viguerie) for using wedge issues to rally "the base" while having no detailed plan for enacting the legislation. Whether it's gay marriage, flag burning, prayer in public schools, or whatever, the Republican Party uses these issues as talking points; they have no interest, indeed it would be against their interests, in getting them enacted into law. I think this year will see a dramatic shift in Evangelical voting patterns; Christianity Today has even gone so far as to print a series of articles on global warming and the Christian response. In the quarter-century since Ronald Reagan first wooed them, the world in which Christians think politically has changed drastically, and the Republican party is pandering to a smaller and smaller crowd.

7:02 AM


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