Wednesday, December 9, 2015

NOM is 'doing God's work'

This really is the graphic they are using. So is Comedy Network
Apparently God wants marriage equality. After eight years and the expenditure of $61 million, National Organization for Marriage has nothing to show for it. That leaves Brian Brown, NOM's president, with the unenviable task of coming up with reasons for people to donate money to keep him employed. The intended inference is “this time we won't piss the money away.” Sure.

According to Mr. Brown:
We've been in many fights together to support the truth of marriage.

We've partnered to pass ballot initiatives around the country, to defeat activist judges in Iowa, to rally tens of thousands at the March for Marriage, to defeat men in women's bathrooms in Houston.

And we know that whether we win or lose a particular fight, we are doing God's work.
NOM did meddle in Iowa retention elections for judges. That did not change anything with respect to marriage equality. The marriage marches (two of them) were supposed to influence the Supreme Court. They did not. NOM had absolutely nothing to do with the Houston election.

I would remind Brown that, when Thomas More burned Protestants at the stake, he was doing God's work. So were all those torturers in medieval Europe when they subjected suspected witches to the rack. More recently, in 2001, some folks were certain that they were doing God's work when they flew airplanes into buildings. When Robert Dear killed three and wounded nine, shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic, he was doing God's work. People who claim to be doing God's work are often doing evil.
But we also know that it is not easy. In fact, it's hard in this culture to stand for the truth.

It's hard to see an out of control Supreme Court making law out of thin air.

It's hard to see the senseless attacks against us as "bigots" just for standing for the simple truth that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage.

It's hard to constantly be the David versus the same-sex marriage lobby's Goliath.

It's hard to see some in our own families turning their backs on truth.

But the very fact that it is difficult, should give us great comfort and hope.

We were created for a time such as this. God placed us in this difficult time and place for some purpose.
Conservative Christians are wed to the belief that their beliefs constitute “truth” and nothing – neither evidence nor common sense – can dissuade them from this arrogance. Moreover, their version of truth is constructed through selective observation. The section of Leviticus that supposedly makes gay people sinners is only a few paragraphs away from the passage that requires parents to murder insolent children. While Jesus was an observant Jew, Christians do not keep kosher, nor do they circumcise, because, around 50 CE, Paul changed the rules in order to attract more adherents in Asia Minor. That was selective observation for convenience.

Further along:
I believe we have lived up to that commitment and that is exactly why the same-sex marriage lobby including Marriage Equality USA is so scared of us. They have noted with great alarm, “[NOM] has finally come clean with a startling admission of their tactics moving forward: Contain the 'damage' of marriage equality by passing laws that allow public officials and businesspeople to refuse to have anything to do with gay couples' marriages..."
Lived up to the commitment? How? What has NOM accomplished given that there mission was to ban same-sex marriage? The notion that the community is afraid of NOM is preposterous given their track record. They cannot do much more than make mischief. It was Brown who said, at the World Congress of Families that part of their strategy was to:
Contain the damage in the meanwhile by passing laws that allow public officials and businesspeople to refuse to have anything to do with gay couples’ marriages.
Another stated goal is to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell. Future justices are highly unlikely to do so. Absent from Brown's rhetoric are tangible consequences of same-sex marriage because there are none. It begs the question of just why a future Supreme Court would reverse Obergefell. And that still requires a new case to make its way through the federal courts. The lack of Article III standing creates what I think is an insurmountable barrier.
Yes, that is a key part of our efforts at NOM, but our work goes much further. To reverse the illegitimate and anti-constitutional ruling of the US Supreme Court redefining marriage. To help elect a pro-marriage champion as president of the United States. To stop communities like Houston from declaring it “discrimination" to prevent a man from using intimate facilities reserved for women like showers and bathrooms based on some vague notion of “gender identity." And to protect the religious freedom of every American to exercise their beliefs that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Trump-like rhetoric. A ruling by the Supreme Court is legitimate and constitutional per se. It is settled law that the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution. As for transgender issues, NOM got involved once in a petition drive in California to overturn the transgender access law. Predictably NOM lost another contest as they failed to acquire enough signatures. There is nothing for NOM to “protect.” In this country (which, by the way, is not a theocracy) people are free to believe as they choose.

According to the Free Exercise clause, citizens have the right to practice their religion as they choose providing that doing so does not interfere with a compelling government interest. For example, in Prince v. Massachusetts the Supreme Court held that a state could compel the inoculation of children in spite of a religious objection to doing so due to an overriding interest in public health. In Engel v. Vitale the Court ruled that Free Exercise did not include the imposition of school prayer. More recently, when Kim Davis asked the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to stay the district court's injunction requiring her office to license same-sex marriages, the Court made it abundantly clear, in denying the stay, that Davis would lose on the merits. NOM is certainly not going to change public policy.

Further along:
From helping to pass Proposition 8 to Houston I have been blessed to be a part of miraculous victories for the truth. I know how hard each of these fights have been. But I also know that they would never have happened if people had not in prayerful awe said that no matter how hard it was they were going to stand resolutely for the truth at the times that are most difficult.

I have one question for you: Will you stand with us now?
Proposition 8 was overturned in 2013. How much money went down the crapper for a temporary victory? NOM had absolutely nothing to do with the election in Houston. To “stand” with NOM means giving them more money to flush. Are people really that stupid? Based on the 2014 filing with the IRS, support is waning. One individual was responsible for nearly half of the revenue. Without him NOM would have had to turn out the lights.

However, in spite of serial ineptitude and declining revenues, NOM remains a threat. They can still make considerable mischief with sheer determination and they are determined. We will fight them (if they continue to exist, which is uncertain) and we will win. It is tedious and it can get expensive but we are more determined than Brown.

Brown has a synthetic religious objection to marriage equality. In contrast, we have a very real cause to defend marriage equality and to ensure that those marriages are equal to others. We, and our allies, are not going to surrender the bases on which Obergefell was decided which are Equal Protection and Due Process. No matter the cost and no matter how hard the fight is.

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