The U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry has set off an explosion of fear-mongering among conservative pundits, radio preachers and religious lobbyists. Devout people have the right to believe homosexuality is a sin and marriage is meant only for a man and woman, but those who are spreading preposterous scare stories and misleading the good folks in the evangelical community deserve to be outed as self-serving false prophets.
According to the many doomsayers, the Supreme Court has unleashed a force that will destroy America, turn Christians into criminals and possibly bring on Armageddon. Here, gleaned from comments collected by Right Wing Watch, is just a tiny sample of the over-the-top tirades flooding in from the far right:
“We’re back in the Soviet Union now,” declared Michael Savage on his radio show. “Gays will cheer as they start throwing pastors in prison.”
Cliff Kincaid, a columnist for Accuracy in Media, declared that “our form of government has been overthrown and another put in its place -- a judicial dictatorship that is devoted to elevating to protected status a sexual minority seeking the abolition of traditional values.”
A new fundraising letter sent out by the Family Research Council warns that, “With the Supreme Court ruling to redefine marriage, things are going to get rough for Christians in America.” In his call for a “generous contribution,” FRC President Tony Perkins wrote, “The Supreme Court case that revealed the government's intentions made it clear: same-sex 'marriage' is not the ultimate issue; it is a stepping-stone. The real issue is the Obama administration's dogged determination to eliminate anything and everything that stands in the way of the President's radical agenda.”
In a radio interview, conservative writer John Zmirak asserted that Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the court’s same-sex-marriage opinion, has opened the path to the destruction of independent religious institutions in the United States. “It was conscious, it was intentional and I think if we have a president like Hillary Clinton, in the first 100 days of her administration, you will see the tax-exemption of every faithful church and synagogue in America revoked,” Zmirak said.
One of conservatism’s fading media stars, Glenn Beck, told his followers that the court’s ruling could give the federal government a pretext to shut down his radio program "if I say, or anybody on this show says they're for traditional marriage.” Beck added, “The fundamental transformation of America is over. We are no longer a country that is following the Constitution of the United States of America. That is a thing of the past.”
Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz played into the frenzy by suggesting that states should nullify the court’s ruling. That neo-Confederate sentiment got jacked up several notches by radio pastor James David Manning, who said the “sodomy agenda” can only be stopped by a new civil war.
“Now the nation must be rescued from the liberal God-haters and Constitution-haters and those that are pushing this sodomy agenda,” Manning said. “America will be rescued and the rescuers will be the Confederates, the Southerners, those that have been the blood-washed, Bible-believing, locked-and-loaded.”
Matt Barber, radio host and blogger, presented the bottom line to all of this fury: “The sexually immoral scourge of same-sex marriage needs to be wiped out here in the United States. That's the endgame.”
This might be a good time to clear our heads, step back from visions of apocalypse and remember that gay and lesbian couples in California, Massachusetts, Washington, New Mexico and 33 other states already were able to legally wed before the 5-to-4 decision. In those states, anarchy had not broken out. Churches had not been shuttered. Neither fire nor frogs fell from the sky. The only change was that more people were taking part in a venerable institution and getting on with their lives.
That is not to say that the Supreme Court’s expansion of the legal definition of marriage is not revolutionary, but even people who disagree with the decision should not fall for the rants of false prophets. They are either trying to win votes, attract an audience or frighten people into sending them money.