Fireworks and flags, for good and bad

What a run-up to Independence Day.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that men and women have a constitutional right to marry people of their own gender. It was the most important marriage equality decision since 1967's Loving v. Virginia, when the high court tossed anti-miscegenation statutes out on their racist ear. Somehow a majority of the court withstood Justice Antonin Scalia's temper tantrum and agreed that equal protection meant equal protection, neither greater than or less than but most third-grade math students have that one figured out.

Huffing, puffing, and speaking in tongues, Scalia ranted: "The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie." Still, it was more coherent than his bluster over the Affordable Care Act decision: "The Court's next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery ..." Jiggery-pokery? Oh! It's British!

Those of us old enough to remember the early years of Saturday Night Live recall Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin routinely parodying 60 Minutes' Point-Counterpoint segment. Curtin arrogantly made her point first, setting up Aykroyd's loathsome, patronizing retort. Reading the Scalia dissents invokes those memories, and I wish I could eradicate my vision of Scalia glaring at Ginsburg and starting his diatribe with, "Ruth, you ignorant slut."

Democrats celebrated, the mainstream GOP shrugged, but a band of Sour Grapes Republicans grasped for the nearest straw. Texas and Michigan proclaimed that public servants would not be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it was contrary to their religious beliefs. Oklahoma was ahead of the curve on that one, but the bill flew through the House and floundered in the Senate. Two Alabama probate judges declared they were out of the marriage business. Most colorfully, Geneva County Probate Judge Fred Hamic told an Alabama Media Group reporter that, "This decision is not based on me being a homophobic [sic], people can do whatever they want in private. It is based strictly on my Christian beliefs."

But as the rainbow flag was being raised in Washington, the Confederate battle flag was coming down at South Carolina's Capitol in the wake of a racist mass murder at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston. Those Christians, family members of the dead, told the accused killer they forgave him.

One state to the north, the Klu Klux Klan was passing out recruitment fliers in the name of God, directing would-be Klansmen to a website that said, "We will unite proud white Americans to our cause because we have the LORD on our side. And with CHRIST we can't lose. So if you are White and proud join the crowd join the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan TODAY!!!! WHITE POWER!!!"

Southern hatred and its twisted ties to Christianity are deep. In 1908, when whites shared a meal with blacks at a New York hotel, the Richmond News Leader opined that, "Of course the whole affair was eminently disgusting, but really it does not concern the South in the least. It is a matter of Northern taste, though taste most offensive to every instinct of every man and woman who has a right to be recognized as white, and not a Caucasian degenerate and pariah."

Eventually, as the hashtag said, love wins. Hatred of blacks, hatred of gays, hatred of women, eventually, much too slowly, dissipates. Fred Hamic should check his Bible before he shuts the doors on marriage. One verse in particular comes to mind this week, from I Corinthians 13:8, which says, "Love never fails."

May God please bless America this Fourth of July. We get it right eventually.

Published: Fri, Jul 03, 2015

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »