First up from the God Machine this week is the unexpected argument from a longtime leader of the religious right movement, who raised the prospect of an American “civil war” over marriage equality.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, a pioneer among social conservatives for the last generation, has fiercely opposed equal-marriage rights over decades, so it was all quite routine this week when he said same-sex unions would likely lead to “a general collapse” of the nation.
But as Right Wing Watch noted, Dobson went quite a bit further reflecting on the possible consequences of a Supreme Court ruling in support of marriage equality.
After Janet Porter, the creator of a new “documentary” about how the gay rights movement will outlaw Christianity, discussed her “restraining order” campaign to convince Congress to strip the Supreme Court of its authority to rule on marriage cases, Dobson said that his fellow activists “need to be realistic about what we’re up against here.”He said that the gay rights issue has reached an unprecedented “level of intensity” and put the country on the brink of conflict: “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”
Simon Brown thinks Dobson’s fears probably aren’t rooted in reality: “Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for 11 years, and somehow America has not descended into chaos. As others have joined the Bay State over time, it has not brought us any closer to internecine armed conflict.”
As a rule, far-right predictions about domestic violence in response to progressive policy breakthroughs tend to be wrong. It was just five months ago that then-Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Americans would “go nuts” if President Obama advanced his immigration policy. “[Y]ou could see instances of anarchy,” the Republican said, adding, “You could see violence.”
The violent uprising never occurred, and chances are, Dobson’s argument will fare about as well. After all, most of the country already has – and already supports – marriage equality. Still, the fact that the Focus on the Family founder is using such over-the-top rhetoric is emblematic of a movement reaching new levels of desperation.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Vatican support for international nuclear diplomacy with Iran: “Pope Francis wants to give peace with Iran a chance. Delivering his Easter message from St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Sunday, the pope gave his backing to the nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.”
* In remarks that seemed rather ironic given the circumstances, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) this week said that the LGBT community is waging a “jihad” against religious liberty.
* Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who’s also likely to run for president, said this week “that Hollywood and corporations are working in cahoots to destroy freedom for Christians, not just in states pushing for ‘religious freedom’ laws, but all across the country.”
* I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for this one: “President Obama met with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday during his trip to Utah. Among the topics they discussed was immigration, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. And while Mormons are heavily Republican and Obama is, well, not, they have a large amount of common ground on this issue.”