Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I hate to break it to Mr. Staver but he is neither Dietrich Bonhoeffer nor ML King

Mat Staver
In Wednesday's Christian Post Mat Staver and a group of pastors threaten “civil disobedience” if the Supreme Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans. Staver, head of the anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel, along with Deacon Keith Fournier, editor of Catholic Online, have drafted a pledge to that effect. Exactly what they plan to disobey or how they plan to do so remains unexplained. Marriage equality does not require Staver's participation, nor his approval. In fact, marriage equality does not affect Staver in any way whatsoever.

Staver is quoted as saying:
We either all stand together, or we hang separately. This is indeed a Bonhoeffer moment. They might be able to pick us off individually, but collectively they can't. Whenever someone gets targeted, we must gather around them and say no.
The notion that opposition to same-sex marriage is comparable to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's opposition to the Third Reich is preposterous. Comparing the rights of a minority that one disapproves of to the Nazi regime is insane. Bonhoeffer was eventually hanged in a Nazi concentration camp. What peril does Staver face?

Staver's quote is referring to wedding vendors and it serves to crystallize a point that I have made repeatedly. Staver and his ilk are encouraging people to violate anti-discrimination laws, not because their religious beliefs prevent them from complying, but as a means of expressing their disapproval of same-sex marriage. Over the past decade a handful of business owners have chosen to defy anti-discrimination ordinances. The overwhelming majority of presumably saner wedding vendors have welcomed the new revenue source.

In the actual pledge Staver refers to Martin Luther King:
The Natural Law is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as a higher law or a just law in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Mr. Staver is not the late Dr. King either. Once again, Staver is making the thoroughly absurd comparison of opposition to same-sex marriage in contrast to opposition to segregation. It is ludicrous and offensive to the memory of Dr. King.

Civil Disobedience is the title of an 1849 essay by Henry David Thoreau in opposition to slavery and American imperialism. Thoreau's name is noticeably missing from Staver's creation, perhaps because Thoreau was probably gay. Need I note that Staver is not Mohandas K. Gandhi either?

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