Friday, May 18, 2012

Political News: Marriage Equality and Obama, Traditional Marriage, and GOP Goals

Congressional Religious Freedom Hearings, Feb. 2012

And in recent news commentary (also with religious themes) about the decision of President Obama to affirm marriage equality:  

The latest editorial of The Nation thinks that if the moral arc is bending towards justice in the area of marriage equality with the president's statement, it is doing so  because of the "unimaginable courage" of several generations of gay and lesbian people around the world.  It is doing so because of the courage of generations of gay and lesbian people who have refused to permit our humanity and our lives to be defined by maleficent others whose power to abuse us appeared well-nigh unbreakable for generations:

In the face of this almost total injunction rose one of the most remarkable social movements of the twentieth century—the struggle for gay and lesbian liberation and equality. Displaying unimaginable courage, gays and lesbians reclaimed their lives from the doctors, priests, cops and judges who would have kept them unseen and unheard. They came out of the closet, renouncing shame and secrecy. They chose their own names, made their own vibrant culture, formed their own political organizations and, when a plague struck their community, took care of their own while those in power would not even admit that AIDS existed. They forced AIDS onto the national agenda and, along with it, the demand for an end to the criminalization of gay sex and a call for full citizenship, for a place at the table.

At Religion Dispatches, Jay Michaelson argues that if we're going to keep calling for a return to the "traditional" bible-based pattern of marriage which, conservatives and their centrist defenders keep yelling, has formed the foundation of Christian civilization for ever so long, we might want to break out our bibles and recall precisely what it is we want to return to:

So, let’s see if I can total all this up. Traditional marriage is one man with multiple wives, multiple concubines, wives conquered in war and wives acquired in levirate marriage, possibly including girls under the age of ten, but definitely not including anyone of a different ethnic group, in an arranged marriage with disposition of property as its purpose. That seems very different from “one man, one woman,” does it not?

And at Salon, David Sirota reminds us precisely what all the sound and fury, the faux wars about religious liberty, gay rights, contraception, women's issues--the whole ball of wax--is really about for the men who want to continue ruling us even as the demographic base of their power erodes significantly:

Ultimately, that’s what all the debates over almost every policy really comes down to. We can tell ourselves we’re fighting over taxes or contraception or abortion or gay rights or immigration or food stamps — and at one level, we most certainly are. But when policy disagreements become a justification for Republicans to claim an opponent isn’t a fellow countryman, it’s clear what we’re really fighting over is the root idea of “American.” Looked at this way, almost every policy battle has been transformed into a proxy in a Republican war to define “American” as white, straight, male and wealthy — an us-versus-them war being waged ever more intensely in 2012 because changing demographics threaten to define the term on far different terms. 
We can thank today’s news cycle for making that war so crystal clear; at least it’s now painfully obvious what this moment’s political conflict is truly all about.

A Republican war to define “American” as white, straight, male and wealthy — an us-versus-them war being waged ever more intensely in 2012 because changing demographics threaten to define the term on far different terms: David Sirota is absolutely right.  That's the bottom line of American politics right now, and it's the vision of the United States, and of its future (and of the future of the world, due to the significant role the U.S. continues to play on the world stage) for which the U.S. Catholic bishops are now fighting tooth and nail.

For a world ruled by and a future determined by a tiny percentage of the human beings God creates in her lavish maternal love for the whole cosmos: by white, straight, affluent men.  God help us.

No comments: