Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another absurd threat of resistance - this time from Mat Staver

Mat Staver
Mat Staver is head of the anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel. Today he is threatening civil disobedience if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality:
Civil disobedience has a long and noble history in Western culture, and we will need a primer on it if, as seems likely, the Supreme Court rules against natural marriage in June.
Same-sex marriage is as natural as traditional marriage. It unites two people in matrimony.
Of course, civil disobedience is not justified just because we disagree with a human law, but only when that law conflicts with a higher revealed or Natural Law. 
By higher revealed Staver means religious doctrine which means his religious doctrine. Natural Law means whatever Staver claims that it means. We are a nation of codified laws — civil and criminal. They form the basis for our behaviors and mores as a civil society just as that same civil society effects laws. Ultimately, what Staver is referring to is laws that he does not like.

Staver goes on to invoke Martin Luther King which is galling. MLK's late wife claims that King (just as most iconic survivors of the Civil Rights Era have done) would have been a champion for gay rights. This is an overt and cynical attempt on Staver's part to cause friction between the African-American and gay communities.
He [King] went on to say: “I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
Staver goes on to provide historical and biblical justification for his form of resistance. These include the inevitable references to Hitler. As a Jew I am offended by Third Reich comparisons but Staver will never get it. As commentary I am skipping a great deal of irrelevant fluff (Staver is verbose). Finally we get to the portion of Staver's treatise subtitled What we must do.
The temptation for many will be to cave or compromise. The temptation even for the faithful will be to retreat into our churches and cloisters. In 2004, same-sex “marriage” came to Massachusetts. Contrary to the claim that such laws would usher in an age of “tolerance,” the law immediately became a legal club to beat unwilling participants. Catholic charities bravely refused to place orphans in same-sex homes, because it was contrary to their mission.
Civil disobedience first requires a means of disobeying a law. How would one go about disobeying a law permitting same-sex marriage? What does Staver propose? It's unclear. Is he suggesting a wholesale revolt against anti-discrimination laws. Those all existed prior to the recognition of same-sex marriage. Defying them has little consequence except to create legal peril for those engaged in the defiance. How does disobeying anti-discrimination laws demonstrate civil disobedience over same-sex marriage? By the way, Catholic Charities withdrew from adoption because it lost taxpayer revenues.

From Staver we get more blather than bluster:
But what would happen if, instead of quiet retreat, many thousands of individuals, agencies, charities, churches and schools all came together, prepared, prayed and peacefully refused to countenance a Supreme Court decision that violates not only our highest legal document, but the laws of Nature and Nature’s God?
Exactly what is it that these people will do to withhold their approval of a law that they do not like? What form of discrimination is Staver championing? The point of civil disobedience is to effect change. What can these people do to effect a meaningful change. The only way to reverse the Court is with a constitutional amendment. In this case that is not even a remote possibility as there aren't 38 states that would ratify. Do the math.

The only way to demonstrate disapproval of same-sex marriage is not to enter into one.

Presumably Staver's constituency has no intention of entering into same-sex marriages. That's just fine with me and just about everyone else. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of our citizens will go on with their lives after same-sex marriage in the same manner as before same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage doesn't affect them. That what has occurred in every state where marriage equality has become a reality.

There are no demonstrations here in Florida. Nobody has taken to the streets to object to gay people getting hitched. Even the flame throwers at Florida's Christian Family Coalition and Stemberger's Florida Family Policy Council have been absolutely silent. There is no reason for anyone to waste time and energy objecting to something that doesn't affect them. Not individually and not the masses.

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