Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Standing against the State Religion

I've been trying to resume blogging since September 1.  Somehow it hasn't happened, and each day I think, "Surely I'll find some time to blog tomorrow."  And then I don't, and somehow it seems silly to start a post late in the day, and...well, those of you who struggle with this whole "writer" thing are already nodding, right?

Anyway, I really wanted to write things about Kim Davis last week, but I'm sort of glad now that I was too busy.  Because what I wanted to say was that I supported her.  No, I can't say that I would definitely have done the exact same thing in the exact same way, but I can say that it took courage for her to be willing to go to jail to fight for the rights of conscientious objectors to refuse to have anything to do with the government's imposition of a State Religion and its newest sacrament, gay "marriage."

The American State Religion has tried to impose its sacraments on us before.  In place of baptism, the State Religion offers the twin sacraments of contraception and abortion.  But while both have seeped into the fabric of our society in ways that impact us more than we'd like to think--as the recent Planned Parenthood "sting" videos pointed out all too horribly--it has been possible to object in a conscientious way to these things, at least for most of us.  True, without even realizing it we quietly surrendered a lot of ground to the devotees of Sex Without Consequences, to the prophets of prophylactics and the acolytes of abortion; for instance, I doubt that many sincere Christians would choose to work in certain branches of public health, where they might have to choose between keeping their jobs or dispensing anti-fertility drugs to adolescents.  But for most of us, this particular sacrament of the State Religion has not demanded either our allegiance or our livelihoods, our money, as it were, or our lives.

The Sacrament of Gay "Marriage" is different.  Tolerance, to quote Mark Shea, is not enough: we must all approve, or be forced to pretend to approve, or be silenced.  And so I supported Kim Davis, and I continue to do so.  But if I had written about her right away, I would have missed these great pieces by other supporters:

Kim Davis' Conscientious Decision (R.R. Reno, First Things)

Is Kim Davis a Hypocrite? (Edward Peters, In the Light of the Law)

Kim Davis is Right to Fight This Despotic and Shameful Law (Msgr. Charles Pope)

As of now, Kim Davis is no longer in jail.  I hope she remains free.

Now, some of my fellow Christians have been saying that this wasn't the way forward.  They think that this wasn't the hill to die on.  They say that she should merely have resigned, as other clerks have done.

I respect those who sincerely believe that, even though I think they are wrong.  Let's face it: the Obergefell decision is akin to Anthony Kennedy and the majority deciding it would be hilarious to defecate on the Constitution, shape the newly-soiled Constitution into the rough shape of a paper bag, place it on the doorsteps of county clerks and judges and legislatures all over America, set it on fire, and run away into the night, giggling hysterically and congratulating themselves on their juvenile cleverness.  For those who opened the door, there was no really good option: resigning, or simply vacating the premises, will not put out the fire, but stamping on the bag is going to get you pretty dirty, and it may not, in the long run, do much good anyway, as the putrid sparks fly.

Still, I think that acts of defiance like Mrs. Davis' are a good reminder to the high priests of the new State Religion that they're not going to have everything their own way.  And if we wait to engage in these kinds of acts of defiance until polygamous and incestuous marriages have become "the Law of the Land" as well as the absurd lie that is gay "marriage," it may well be too late to make any effective protests at all.

Frankly, I see only one end to all of this: the State should be forced to get out of the marriage business altogether.  Already, post-Obergefell, we are living with a particular absurdity: the absurdity that says that the State may certify and regulate the (quite likely) temporary sex and/or romantic pairings of adults, for no discernible reason or legitimate State interest at all.  Since marriage, by law, now has nothing whatsoever to do with children, the State's interest in it seems sort of shady and voyeuristic. What business is it of the State's how you feel about the person you live with and/or the person you regularly engage in acts of mutual self-pleasuring with--or even whether that is one person or two (or more)?  Why should a couple of men who make some sort of vague, nebulous promise (for such is civil "marriage" post-Obergefell) that certainly doesn't include fidelity or permanence or exclusivity (and cannot, by the nature of their relationship, include children who are the natural and biological result of that relationship) get tax breaks, while two heterosexual college roommates can't?

Ultimately those kinds of questions will have to be answered.  And along the way, there will be a lot more people like Kim Davis, who refuse to pour out libations to the silly State Religion and its determination to force approval of its sacraments.  May her tribe increase.

3 comments:

John InEastTX said...

Why should a couple of men who make some sort of vague, nebulous promise (for such is civil "marriage" post-Obergefell) that certainly doesn't include fidelity or permanence or exclusivity (and cannot, by the nature of their relationship, include children who are the natural and biological result of that relationship) get tax breaks, while two heterosexual college roommates can't?

I'm not sure I see your point. If the two heterosexual college roommates entered into a civil marriage, then they would get those tax breaks.

Elizabeth said...

I'm also confused by the statement John inEastTX quotes, for another reason. For decades conservatives have insisted that there is a "marriage penalty" in the tax rates, that indicates government hostility to marriage.

illyrianfields said...

"Tolerance, to quote Mark Shea, is not enough: we must all approve, or be forced to pretend to approve, or be silenced."

...But that's not what happened here. No one was demanding that she congratulate gay couples, or shake their hand, or that she pretend to be happy about issuing the licenses. No one was punishing her for belonging to an anti-gay church. No one would have punished her for donating to a group trying to overturn Obergefell, or for protesting in public about gay marriage, or for resigning in protest over gay marriage.

No one was forcing her to even pretend to approve. What they were saying is this: she is a government official. She willingly took a job that entails providing a service to those the government deems eligible for that service. Her personal beliefs have no place there--she does not get to decide who receives the government service they are eligible for. A Muslim clerk cannot refuse to issue drivers' licenses to women because of his religious beliefs, for example. Or do you think he should be able to?

When people are legally entitled to a service, they must be able to access that service. You have every right to protest the Court's decision and to try to elect officials who will appoint conservative judges to overturn it (though I don't think that will ever happen, fortunately) or to try to get a new amendment passed. You don't have the right to break the law to stop gay people from accessing the right to marriage that they are legally granted. And if you do, you're not Rosa Parks or MLK. You're George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabaman and refusing to allow the black student to enter.

You wrote movingly about the need for Christians not to make people "Others". But that's what do you with gay people. Do you not see that? You can disapprove of gay marriage without talking about gay people, and their marriages, as if they're some other and lesser species.

I'm saying this as a (straight) Christian. The kind of disdain and antipathy you show towards gay people who just want equal treatment in this country is not coming from a place of God's love.