Religious nut Mat Staver is calling for civil disobedience, should the Supreme Court decide in favor of making marriage equality legal in all 50 states. Staver is like the rest of the religious right in thinking that legalizing same-sex marriage across the board will violate the Constitution, because it forces Christians to accept something that goes against their theology. They have been crying about this for years, but Staver is now calling for something that ought to be reserved for laws that truly persecute and oppress, like, oh, same-sex marriage bans.
According to Right Wing Watch, Staver invoked the great civil rights leaders of the past, saying that followers of Christ would be walking in the footsteps of people like Martin Luther King Jr., and Europeans who hid Jews from the Nazis, in resisting marriage equality. He wrote:
Merely because a legislature or a judge passes a law or issues an opinion does not make a law just. ‘To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a dangerous doctrine indeed,’ wrote Thomas Jefferson, ‘and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.’ To cite an extreme example, if you lived under the Nazi regime and the law required you to not hide or aid a Jew in any way, would you comply with Hitler or obey God? To obey Hitler, you would have to disobey God.
This is grossly insulting to the Jews who survived the Holocaust. It’s also grossly insulting to everyone else who has ever fought oppression. It’s insulting to blacks, who used civil disobedience to achieve their equality (though we have a long way to go). And it’s insulting to the LGBTQ community, who has also fought long and hard for equality. These people need to stop this; the religious right is fighting to maintain its position of superiority. They are not fighting oppression.
There’s also a question that these numbnuts haven’t answered at all, but that we saw come to a head in North Carolina fairly recently: What about the religious freedom of churches and denominations that want to recognize and perform same-sex marriages?
About this time last year, the United Church of Christ filed suit against the state of North Carolina, saying that the state’s marriage equality ban violated their religious freedom. They’re a more liberal Christian denomination, but they have some 1 million members in the country, and were basically asking the state, “Hey! What about our freedom?”
They also said that the religious freedom of their ministers was violated when the state told them they could only minister, and perform marriages for, one segment of the public.
But of course, the religious right sees nothing but persecution coming at them from all sides. Staver and others still think it was the government that shut these florists and bakers down in other states, when it’s not. They’re either shutting down because of public backlash, which is what happens when you’re a business that angers the public, or they’re shutting down because they’re mad that they aren’t allowed to discriminate that way.
These people aren’t the new “European Jews fighting oppression,” or the new “ethnic minorities fighting oppression.” They’re still trying to be the oppressors, and are getting angry that their ability to oppress is disappearing. The rhetoric of the religious right, and Staver here, trivializes the experiences of those who actually have had to practice things like civil disobedience to gain equal rights (or to avoid execution). Equality is not oppression.