Sunday, July 19, 2015

Its The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

The Pilot Newspaper: Columns

First, a correction from last week’s column.
In that column, I reported that Donald Trump was polling second in the crowded field of Republican candidates. Between the time of the writing of the column and its publication date on Sunday, Trump became the front-runner.
This columnist regrets the error, but probably not as much as the GOP regrets having Trump in the lead for the nomination, since the same poll shows Hillary Clinton beating him by 17 points. Anyway, on with the show.
Well, I expected a complete freakout on the right after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage. But I have to say, the drama queenery, raging paranoia and hysteria exceeded even my wildest expectations.
Some of it took the form of dire predictions of what happens next, as if the legal sanction of lifelong monogamy between consenting adults is the key that will inevitably unlock the floodgates to practitioners of every imaginable perversion.
This wingnut trope was most bizarrely expressed by former Texas Rep. and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Tom DeLay. DeLay told Newsmax TV that he’s found a “secret Justice Department memo” that reveals “they’re now going to go after 12 new perversions, things like bestiality, polygamy, having sex with little boys and making that legal. … LGBT is only the beginning.”
It should be noted that DeLay only specifically mentioned three out of the 12 “new perversions” the DOJ is preparing to “legalize.” Wonder what the other nine are? On second thought, probably best to just let that go. Imaginations like that are best left unexplored.
Not content to torment themselves with fevered dreams of what nasty things others might soon be doing legally, a certain segment of Christians is pretty much convinced that the gays and the liberals are going to treat them pretty much the way they’ve advocated treating LGBT people. Some are even convinced the Christians who don’t back gay marriage are going to be jailed for their beliefs.
In fact, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have filed a lawsuit claiming they could face up to 180 years in jail under the town’s anti-discrimination ordinance for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding.
Only problem is, no one’s threatened the Knapps with any such penalty, the ordinance in question specifically exempts “religious corporations” like the Knapps’ “Hitching Post Wedding Chapel” from its coverage, and the very Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage specifically states that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”
That, however, doesn’t stop people like Republican presidential candidate and Ted Nugent sideman Mike Huckabee from repeating the falsehood that the Knapps are being threatened with almost two centuries of jail time, apparently by the voices in their heads.
Finally, there are the people predicting that, because of the action of the Supreme Court in lifting bans on same sex marriage, God himself will either smite our country or allow evildoers to do so, leading to thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of deaths.
“God’s hand of protection will be withdrawn,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, “as future actions from external and internal forces will soon make clear.” (Texas again. What IS it with these people?) Fox News pundit Todd Starnes even blamed recent heavy rains and flooding in the D.C. area on the Lord’s pique over the Supreme Court decision.
“Anyone got an ark?” he quipped.
This particular style of “prophecy” has always bugged me, by the way, as it implies that God will indulge his wrath by indiscriminate slaughter of both the just and the unjust, including, one supposes, opponents of gay marriage. I’m glad I don’t follow that God, because I’ve got to tell you, that one’s kind of a psycho.
Look, folks, the day Obergefell vs. Hodges, the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, was decided, I woke up, kissed my wife, and took her to her doctor’s appointment. Later that day, we took the dog to the vet together. (Everyone’s fine, thanks for asking). The week after, I helped my son move. Nothing that happened at the Supreme Court affected my marriage or my obligations to my family in the slightest. And it doesn’t affect you.
If you don’t like same-sex marriage, then don’t do it. If you’re a member of the clergy and you don’t want to perform a same-sex wedding, then don’t. It’s that simple. There’s no need to panic, file lawsuits to prevent things that aren’t going to happen, or flee the country to avoid God’s fiery and indiscriminate wrath.
It’s going to be OK, y’all. Really.