|"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice"--M.L. King|
As I just noted, the toxic lies spread by the religious right in the U.S. to assist a particular political party have real-life consequences: they inflict real pain and real misery on some human beings, in the name of God. And so, in other news this morning, it's interesting to note that the 9th U.S. circuit court of appeals in California yesterday struck down the state's proposition 8 law removing the right of civil marriage from same-sex couples. Candace Chellew-Hodge reports on this today at Religion Dispatches, noting that the court ruling states,
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.
A law whose sole purpose and effect is to lessen the status and human dignity.
And yet this is a law that the top leaders of a number of religious groups--notably the Catholic bishops and leaders of the Mormon church, but also leading right-wing evangelics--worked to pass. A law designed to to lessen the status and human dignity of a targeted, despised group of human beings, a minority whose fundamental human rights are under attack in many places in the world today.
And this law designed to lessen the status and human dignity was actively promoted by religious leaders who claim to speak in God's name. And who expect even the U.S. government to bow to their dictates and tailor its regulations prohibiting discrimination to the moral scruples of these religious leaders.
At the blog site of my state's weekly independent paper Arkansas Times, as soon as a posting was placed on the blog about the decision of the California court, the comboxes lit up with outraged comments about how a liberal activist court had just dissed the majority of California citizens and, in particular, Mormons and Catholics. And how there is no such animal as human rights, how human rights are a liberal fiction. And how the movement to accord nonexistent rights to any and all minorities is designed to dismantle a nation unique from every other nation, since it was founded by God.
And every single one of these comments was made by a white heterosexual male. By the very same group who said the very same things when the rights of people of color were under the microscope in the past. And then when the rights of women were under the microscope in the past.
And so whom are the leaders of the Mormon and Catholic churches and the churches of the evangelical right serving when they claim that their God wants us to treat gay and lesbian human beings as human beings of lesser human status and deserving of lesser human dignity?
I have a great deal of trouble not seeing it this way: these religious leaders are equating the humanity of heterosexual males (and, usually, these are white males) with God. The humanity of white heterosexual males is privileged humanity against which the humanity of all other citizens of the world is to be measured and found wanting.
And the "God" these religious leaders are proclaiming is a god made in their own image--in the image of the powerful minority group on whose behalf they primarily function and speak. Which is to say, white heterosexual (or heterosexual-posturing, since, as Steve said yesterday when we talked about this, no one can seriously believe that the Catholic leaders promoting this vicious homophobia are mostly straight) men.
(See also Peter Montgomery's report at RD on the California court decision.)