Thursday, June 27, 2013

The DOMA Ruling: Five Ways I Wish Christians Hadn't Reacted

The Defense of Marriage Act fell yesterday on a 5-4 ruling from the United States Supreme Court.  Which you probably already knew.

The court's decision essentially invalidated the federal ban on same-sex couples receiving full rights and benefits under federal law.  It did NOT invalidate the bans individual states have placed on same-sex marriage, or on any DOMA-like legislation they may have enacted.

Now, me?  I was pleased as punch at the ruling, because I don't believe the government should be in the business of singling out a class of people for discriminatory treatment.  I even took to my Facebook page as soon as I heard the news, posting, "Ding dong, DOMA's dead."

But say you are against marriage equality.  Okay.  We disagree on this one, but here are five ways I hope you don't/haven't react(ed) to the DOMA ruling:

1. Kennedy was controlled by the gays

Enter Pat Robertson, stage kookyboots.  He wondered aloud on the 700 club if Justice Anthony Kennedy--who authored the majority opinion--did so because he might have gay law clerks.  Aside from the fact that Kennedy's clerks sexual orientation is none of Robertson's damn business, it pushes the harmful myth that the "gay agenda" exists because of secret pushers and moles in the government--not unlike how anti-Semitism pushes the myth of a Jewish-dominated media or politics.

2. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Enter Rep. Louie Gohmert, stage crazypants, who declared that the fall of DOMA represented "the end of a great civilization."  Talk about hyperbole.  The Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan represented the end of a great civilization.  A nuclear war would likely represent the end of a great civilization.  Gays and lesbians marrying one another?  Not so much.  If the logic goes that marriage is a building block to civilization, well--I think that ship has already sailed on the 50% divorce rate.  Get crack-a-lacking on  THAT.

3. The court's decision was undemocratic (darn those activist judges!)

Yes, you have a point that not everyone is on board with marriage equality, not by a long shot.  But overall demographics are trending in the direction of acceptance, and besides, it isn't the court's job to enforce the people's will--that's why the justices are granted lifetime tenure.  Besides, the court proved it doesn't kowtow to "popular" opinion with its gutting of the Voting Rights Act (whose renewal sailed through Congress in 2006 with overwhelming majorities in both houses) earlier this week, and if you're upset about the DOMA decision for this reason but not the VRA decision, I call shenanigans.

4. God will punish us for this

This is where the Bryan Fischer/Mike Huckabee argument comes in--the declaration of "May God have mercy on us" for violating His will.  First, color me impressed that mere mortals like Fischer and Huckabee are so finely-tuned to God's will.  Second, I read the same Bible they do, and the take I get from the Old Testament prophets and from Jesus Christ is that God gets wrathful over injustice, exploitation of the poor, and the worship of false idols.  The Bible isn't just about sexual morality, y'all.

5. Next up: beastiality, polygamy, and incest

Speaking of sexual morality...I saved this one for last because it so gets my temper going.  The slippery slope argument on this one (that marriage equality leads us to legalized polygamy, etc) is simply a fallacy.  I believe that God's design for marriage is one of consent and exclusivity: that is, a covenant between two adults who love each other.  That's it.  You know who else used the slippery slope argument?  People against interracial marriage in the '50s and '60's.  I'd say we have proven them wrong, wouldn't you?

I don't list all five of these reactions simply because they upset and frustrate me, or even because I find them all erroneous in some way.  No, I list them because believe me, non-churchgoing people take note of them.  They see these sorts of reactions and make conclusions--however fairly or not--about Christians and the church and the nature of God's love for THEM.  By reacting this way, you may be turning other children of God away from His message of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness because they think His church is all about judging and condemning people instead.  And to my non-Christian audience: as a Christian, I am sorry that some have reacted to DOMA in this way.  I promise you, I do not believe this is how God works.

And to my Christian audience, remember--someone's only experience of Christianity may be with you!  How would you handle such a responsibility to bear witness to Jesus?

Yours in Christ,

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