Adventus

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer time, and a young man's fancy turns to martyrdom

Which is understandable if you're stuck in Texas for the summer.  But this I don't get:

Dr. Rick Scarborough, a prominent Baptist pastor and president of the activist group Vision America tells News Radio 1200 WOAI it is a matter of whether to follow God's law or the politicians law, and he'll go with God.

"However the law is changed, I will do what I have always done," he said. "I will continue to preach that homosexuality is a sinful life style."

Scarborough says some 40,000 pastors and church leaders have signed a petition at www.defendmarriage.org. He says those who signed the petition will 'resist all government efforts to require them to accept gay marriage, and they will accept any fine and jail time to protect their religious freedom and the freedom of others.'

I have no idea what Dr. Scarborough imagines is going to happen, but organizing people to march in the streets in protest against same sex marriages doesn't really have the same appeal as the civil rights marches of Dr. King.  And I don't make that comparison myself:

"Dr. King, in the Birmingham Jail, said Christians have a 'duty to obey and respect God's law," Scarborough said, pointing out that King was willing to go to jail for his opposition to something he found evil...segregation, and he is willing to do the same.
Dr. King went to jail because laws against protest put him there.  Dr. King's letter from jail was about the gross injustice of American history.  I'm not sure what gross injustice of American history will be visited upon Dr. Scarbrough and people who believe as he does if same-sex marriages are allowed under law, but I'm sure he'll think of a way.  Probably from the comfort of his home, though.

You know, like St. Benedict:

Other evangelical Christians are also talking about what has come to be known as the 'Benedict Option,' after St. Benedict, who recommended that Christians retreat into monastical orders to maintain their faith as the Western Roman Empire fell to paganism in the late 5th Century.

The 'Benedict Option' has evangelical Christians forming into insular communities, much like Hasidic Jews in New York or the Amish in Pennsylvania, where the communities can respect, as much as possible, the religious teachings that the find important, including opposition to gay marriage. 
Don't let the doorknob hit ya.....well, that's unkind.  I'm still trying to figure out what "government efforts" will be made to make them "accept gay marriage."  Loving v. Virginia said the states could not criminalize mixed race marriages, or ban them at all, and yet no pastor has ever gone to jail for refusing to sanctify a mixed-race marriage, or a mixed-religion marriage, for that matter.  The First Amendment protects both speech and religion, so Dr. Scarbrough is free to denounce same-sex marriage as loudly and longly as he wishes; he is also free to refuse to every officiate at such a wedding.

He's even free to keep trying to drive those nails into his palms, though self-crucifixion is hard.

Then there's Mike Huckabee, constitutional skolar:

“Presidents have understood that the Supreme Court cannot make a law, they cannot make it, the legislature has to make it, the executive branch has to sign it and enforce it,” Huckabee told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “And the notion that the Supreme Court comes up with the ruling and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government.”

Sorry, Governor, but nobody is going to force a Constitutional crisis over this issue, especially since they have ruled on marriage laws before (Loving v. Virginia, for one).  You can ignore the ruling if you want to, but the rest of the country is not going to.

In fact, Loving is really instructive here, because there's a whole series of yahoos, including Ben Carson, Judge Roy Moore, Tom DeLay, and Texas state representative Cecil Bell, who think the Supreme Court has no business messing around with state marriage laws.  We should ask each of them if they think states should once again criminalize, or at least ban, mixed-race marriages.  And I'm still unclear what defiance will mean in this context:  Tom DeLay won't divorce his wife and marry a man?

Oddly, none of these people holds a position in government where they have to issue a marriage license or sanction a same-sex wedding.  So who do they think they're defying, and how do they expect to do it?

10 Comments:

Blogger ntodd said...

I asked somebody on FB why this law is necessary. Had there been a lot of pastoral types forced to perform marriages in which they don't believe? "Well, it's pre-emptive, and when they do perform weddings and sign the certificate, they are an extension of the civil authority." Yeah, and...?

9:34 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

It pre-empts nothing. Besides, we gave the civil authority final say over who can marry centuries ago.

9:55 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

They think it'll prevent something that hasn't happened and will not happen. It's very cute.

But real discrimination that actually has happened and continues to happen...?

10:23 PM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Clergy always have the right of refusal to officiate at marriage ceremonies under the law and under the rules of religious institutions, so far as I know, so I have no idea what the fuss is about. For my part, I'd like to see my church get out of officiating at marriage ceremonies altogether and confine itself to blessing marriages that have already taken place. Marriage is a legal contract and is the duty of the state, and I think it's time for clergy to stop doing the work of the state.

12:09 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

There was a priest in our town who caused a stir because he refused to marry a couple who he thought were too immature to get married. He was right, they didn't stay together a year.

Wasn't that a thing with fundamentalists at one period, that they tried to stay apart from the world?

I sort of agree with June Butler, though I think it's the state that should get out of the marriage business, leaving that to churches. People should have the legal right to get a civil union from the state and get married, either in a church or any other venue they believe valid. In France, I once read, the most common form of couple to enter into civil unions were unmarried daughters and their elderly mothers. Though, without that, marriage should be equally available.

7:25 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

There was a priest in our town who caused a stir because he refused to marry a couple who he thought were too immature to get married. He was right, they didn't stay together a year.

Wasn't that a thing with fundamentalists at one period, that they tried to stay apart from the world?

I sort of agree with June Butler, though I think it's the state that should get out of the marriage business, leaving that to churches. People should have the legal right to get a civil union from the state and get married, either in a church or any other venue they believe valid. In France, I once read, the most common form of couple to enter into civil unions were unmarried daughters and their elderly mothers. Though, without that, marriage should be equally available.

7:25 PM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Centuries passed before clergy in the Christian church became involved in marriages, and I'd like for the church to go back to the beginning, when marriage was a civil affair. What I wish for is not at all likely to happen, so we are where we are.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

I heard stories of pastors (never actually met one, meaning I didn't believe the stories of the pastors who said they'd done it) who refused to wed couples without counseling which they insisted would lead them to decide whether or not to conduct the wedding.

Always thought it was bogus. Small churches love weddings: it's a source of income and, rarely (but they don't think it's rare) a source of new members. It would take a particularly secure pastor to refuse to do a wedding. If it's a member, you don't dare refuse; a non-member? You give the church a black eye.

Pastors talked like they had some power over weddings, some responsibility to be sure the happy couple would stay happy. They didn't. Weddings have become completely the creatures of wedding planners and the bride's mother (forget "Bridezillas"). I found myself working against the mother, trying to get the couple to relax and lower the stress of the event (which doesn't need to be stressful).

And most people I married just wanted to do it "in the church." The church weddings I've attended have been "in the church," rather than a part of the church's life, because people like the setting.

It makes for good wedding photos.

I say, leave 'em to the state.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

As an aside, my marker for these kinds of events tend to be old movies. At the end of "The Best Years of Our Lives," there's a wedding. It's in a home, it's a gathering of friends and family, and nobody seems particularly concerned about the spectacle of the thing, about how to get down the aisle (there isn't one), how to hand off the bride to the groom, how to line up the bridal party, etc., etc., etc.

Indeed, the whole thing appears to have been planned by consensus: the couple is getting married, lets get somebody here to officiate (I think it's a J.P.; at least not someone in clerical garb, but I could be wrong), and gather the friends and family.

Nowadays a wedding that isn't planned months in advance and doesn't involve at least the expense of invitations and registry for gifts somewhere (in my day it was china and silver, now it can just be Target, but YOU MUST REGISTER!), is a social failure.

My parents got married at my aunt's house (Dad's sister). My daughter speaks of getting married in our back yard, so the tub of beer on ice will be readily available. I actually feel sorry for the people who think if it isn't a spectacle, it isn't a wedding.

10:51 AM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Rmj, you read my mind. I thought of the wedding in The Best Years of Our Lives, too. I also thought of our own simple wedding after Tom was released from his 6 months active duty in the Army in Columbia, South Carolina. We had both finished graduate school and had no money for a big splash, nor did my family have the funds, and neither Tom nor I wanted anything resembling a Hollywood production anyway.

My sister and her family lived in Charleston, SC, at the time, so I traveled to Charleston, and Tom and I married there in a very simple ceremony with a very small group of family members present.

Several Roman Catholic priests refused to officiate because we weren't in their parishes, but I finally found a priest who worked in the diocesan Marriage Tribunal office, who agreed to conduct the ceremony. We were required to go through the counseling program, but not together, Tom with a chaplain at the Army base and me with the priest. A bit strange, to say the least, but we followed the rules. We were married in the bishop's small private chapel in the cathedral, and it was lovely. I look back, and I would not change a thing.

The priest's name was Fr Francis Friend, and he was a true friend. There was no way we could have had a small wedding in New Orleans, because my extended family was quite large, and relatives would have been offended if they had not been invited.

12:05 PM  

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