UPDATED — See body of piece for additional commentary
One of the elements in favor of the success of the movement for equality in the United States has always been the behavior of our opponents. They have lied about and demonized LGBT people, destroyed families through rejection and “ex-gay” abuse and fought to deny families basic civil rights all while LGBT people have become more and more visible in society. This is why one of the greatest “weapons” we’ve ever had is simply coming out. When a regular middle America-type person’s neighbor/uncle/teacher is gay, they’re able to see through the scaremongering and lying from the religious right much more easily, and thus the hysterical words and actions of the religious right end up winning allies to our side.
This week, we have looked at the remarkable, unrepentant dishonesty of the religious right in response to the recent rapid advances in marriage equality, and why that strategy is starting to backfire. Today, let’s look at some current religious right behavior that’s even LESS effective than their rampant lying. I’m talking, of course, about their unhinged temper tantrums. Truly, we have entered the chapter of this fight that anyone who’s ever cared for a toddler is intimately familiar with — the part where you just have to let them cry it out.
Consider the following three tantrums, all from the last two days:
1. Disgraced former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who claims he was kicked out of the Navy for insisting on praying in Jesus’s name (a big old lie), is always wailing about something, and this week he’s claiming that gay activists actually quite literally want to steal people’s souls. How are we doing this? By violating extremist Christians’ religious freedom, he says. Specifically, by forcing them to make t-shirts for gays, and in so doing squander their heavenly salvation by disobeying God. If you didn’t know about the “no screen printing for homos” clause of Jesus’s work in saving humanity, that’s because you’re not as committed of a Christian as Gordon Klingenschmitt is.
He readily admits that he’s not a lawyer (clearly), but Gordon also seems to believe that tee-shirt making is an important part of “freedom of the press.” I’ll have to ask one of my lawyer friends if that part of the Constitution also protects garlic, wine and dudes spotting each other in the gym but not in a gay way:
Insisting that measures which bar discrimination against gay customers are a violation of the First Amendment, Klingenschmitt proclaimed that gay rights activists are driven by a demonic spirit that seeks to force Christians to “disobey God” so that they will wind up in Hell.
“They want your soul,” Klingenschmitt said. “They won’t be satisfied with your money. They don’t really want the t-shirts. They want your soul. They want you to disobey God so that you go to Hell with them. It’s not enough that they go to Hell for disobeying God, they want you to disobey God so that we all go to Hell. That’s the Devil’s goal in the end”
Whoo boy. Something tells me Klingenschmitt’s tantrum is going to last a long, long time.
2. A Kansan lawyer and his wife, Philip and Sandra Unruh, have filed asking to intervene in that state’s marriage equality case, claiming that extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples amounts to a literal theft of the Unruh’s marriage. Yes, according to Phillip Unruh, esteemed lawyer that I’m sure he is, marriage equality is a violation of their personal property and is thus protected by the Fifth Amendment. To back up their claim, they cite the book of Genesis (oh, that wonderful American founding document!) and the Windsor case, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Sometimes, when toddlers are crying it out, they contort themselves into all sorts of weird positions. The Uhruhs also claim that, forevermore, their marriage will be damaged because they find gay marriage “deeply disturbing.” While I pity the Unruhs for having a marriage that is apparently so weak and vulnerable that it could be shoplifted like a set of earbuds, I look forward to reading the first American court ruling to simply say, “LOL.”
Do click and read their actual filing, if only for the spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. To be fair, it’s hard to go back and edit when you’re having a temper tantrum.
3. This last example isn’t simply crying it out. This is a veritable meltdown, straight from the bowels of wingnut fantasy land, and the story to which this post’s title alludes. Conservative writer (and former Reagan aide) David MacKinnon is plugging a book called The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country…Now, and in his mind, it is not a joke book. MacKinnon is so brainwashed by revisionist history — the genius calls the Civil War the “War Between The States” — that he believes that the secession of the Confederate states was a noble act, as opposed to the traitorous act that it was. In MacKinnon’s plan, the wingnuts would take South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Why he thinks that Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston or the good parts of Florida would want to be a part of this new nation of entitled, whining wingnuts, I do not know. (UPDATE: There’s no way on God’s green earth that the desirable, productive parts of those three states would have any interest in being part of this new nation of dingbats. That being said, they might be able to convince the nation to give up Florgia, which is basically that non-Florida part of Florida, combined with the uninteresting parts of Georgia. Savannah would stay in the United States, but they could have that interminable area of southern Georgia that seems to have no place to stop and use the bathroom. And it looks like legislators in South Florida wouldn’t have much of a problem with this, since they’re looking at splitting the state in half anyway. Why? Because South Florida is literally sinking into the ocean because of climate change, but the climate change-denying wingnuts in the northern part of the state are blocking their efforts to do anything about it.)
MacKinnon also seems to think that if secession happens again, a do-over for the slave states, if you will, that it might come out differently this time:
While speaking yesterday with Janet Mefferd about his book, “The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country…Now,” MacKinnon called for a movement of states, starting with South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, to establish a new country that will adhere to the Religious Right’s political agenda.
Texas, MacKinnon explained, was not included in his secessionist blueprint because “there have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico.”
He added that the South had “seceded legally” and “peacefully” during the Civil War, but greedy Northerners like President Lincoln “waged an illegal war that was in fact not declared against the South after the South basically did what we’re talking about in this book now in terms of peacefully, legally and constitutionally leaving the union.”
You get the boot, Texas! MacKinnon does not want to deal with your minorities.
In the next clip, he explains that this new secession would not lead to another civil war, because the “eyes of the world would be watching,” and that it would be “difficult” to take military action against the new nation. Apparently he’s not familiar with NATO or the fact that this new nation would not be a part of it. (UPDATE: Wayne pointed out to me on the phone after I published this that, with the way that the religious right has been cozying up to the Putin regime, this new nation would basically be a Russian ally. Oh, NATO would have FUN with that!)
What would this new country be called? “Reagan,” of course! Apparently “Camp Dumbass” was taken:
And of course, this secession must happen because in the actual United States, conservative Christians are being subjected to forced cake-baking at the hands of evil gays:
This, everyone, is the babbling they have been reduced to. Their faith is weak enough to be destroyed by t-shirt printing and cake-decorating, and their marriages are so flimsy they’ll fall apart if they even have to think about people they’ve never met also committing their lives to each other, if those lives include genitals they don’t approve of.
As I said at the beginning, this is even less effective than their lying. Inside the bubble these people live in, this stuff makes sense, but not to anyone else. So they’re just going to have to cry it out, one by one, until finally, they’re too tired to cry.