We still don’t know for sure who if anyone is responsible for shoving 93-year-old Billy Graham back into the harness of right-wing politics after so many years of devoting himself to loftier causes, in order to marginally boost the numbers for North Carolina’s Amendment One. But this statement from his son in response to the president’s announcement of support for same-sex marriage is certainly a pretty big hint:
On Tuesday my state of North Carolina became the 31st state to approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. While the move to pass amendments defining marriage is relatively new, the definition of marriage is 8,000 years old and was defined not by man, but by God Himself.
In changing his position from that of Senator/candidate Obama, President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.
The institution of marriage should not be defined by presidents or polls, governors or the media. The definition was set long ago and changing legislation or policy will never change God’s definition. This is a sad day for America. May God help us.”
A swift response to Franklin Graham from a fellow North Carolina minister, the Rev. Murdoch Smith, pastor of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, said it all for me: “I am always suspect when someone says that they know the mind of God.”
I understand that many sincere Christians fundamentalists believe they are submitting themselves to God and subordinating their own egos and their own self-interest by simply following in their lives what they understand to be infallible divine revelation of the Bible. Many of them, indeed, are so humble it would not occur to them to impose their views on other people, much less force them to live as they do.
If there is anything humble or self-effacing or ego-immolating about Franklin Graham, I certainly don’t see it. As Rev. Smith says, he doesn’t follow God; he knows God and speaks for him, the God that not only fully reveals his Will to Franklin Graham via Franklin Graham’s infallible interpretation of scripture, but through God’s great and characteristic conservatism, his deep and manifest satisfaction with people like Franklin Graham who defend the ways things used to be before women and gay people and other lesser breeds got all uppity.
When people like Graham presume to accuse the President of the United States of “shaking his fist at God,” they are assuming the Prophetic Stance, the Hebrew tradition of calling down divine wrath on a depraved society. Ask yourselves: what kind of prophet would look at today’s world, with its poverty and violence and gross inequality, its environmental brinksmanship, its intolerance, its sheer wastefulness and lack of charity—and decide that what merits divine wrath is gay marriage? What sort of man of God could look at all the grievous occurrences on earth, and declare, with absolutely no indication of self-doubt, that God is grieving over gay people deciding to commit themselves to each other in love?
I’m sorry, I just do not get it. Graham has confused himself with God to an extent that when Barack Obama dares take a position he doesn’t like, he’s shaking his fist at God. I think Franklin Graham’s the one who’d better look out for thunderbolts.
By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, May 11, 2012
Mitt Romney, so incredibly comfortable in his skin he apparently couldn’t give a damn what anyone except his radical right wing overlords think, last night in a show of true homophobic independence announced he didn’t really mean to say he is “OK” with gay couples adopting children, and he’s very sorry you misunderstood his real positions on the matter. Wait, what time is it?
“And if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, or even to adopt a child — in my state individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children,” Romney had told reporters on Thursday. “In my view, that’s something that people have a right to do. But to call that marriage is something that in my view is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”
That, as we said, was Thursday, and apparently there were… sunspots that caused a technical malfunction… or something.
Because today, in flip flop number 412, Mitt told reporters what he meant for them to have heard on Thursday is that, according to CBS News, “he simply ‘acknowledges’ the legality of such adoptions in many states.”
In other news, the Romney campaign acknowledged the legality of skeet shooting.
CBS News adds:
But then on Friday, he was asked, in an interview with CBS’ WBTV in Charlotte, N.C., how his opposition to same-sex marriage “squared” with his support for gay adoptions. Romney told anchor Paul Cameron, “Well actually I think all states but one allow gay adoption, so that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislators, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.”
Romney did remain consistent on one point: He said he does not intend to use President Obama’s flip flop of same-sex marriage against him in the campaign.
Of course, Romney hadn’t checked in with his radical right wing overlords, who have already decided they, er, Romney will be campaigning on President Obama’s affirmation of the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Meanwhile, gay kids continue to commit suicide, largely due to anti-gay bullying fueled and supported by the environment Republican politicians create — from Mitt Romney to Reince Priebus to Michele Bachmann to Rick Santorum, and all the way down to this school board member and this school board member.
By: David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement, May 12, 2012
There was a time not long ago when Democrats feared the culture war. They’d try to make campaigns about things like economic fairness, and just when things seemed to be going their way, Republicans would jump out from behind a bush and shout “God! Guns! Gays!” Voters would scream in alarm and pull the lever for the GOP. But here we are today, with Republicans desperately trying to change the subject away from gay marriage and back to the economy. Whodathunkit?
Just a few days ago, most people thought it would be too risky for President Obama to come out and support marriage equality. But now not only has he come out in support, his campaign has released a web ad touting his support for it and slamming Romney for not supporting even civil unions. It uses George W. Bush (!) saying he supports civil unions, and hits Romney for supporting a constitutional amendment to forestall marriage equality. “President Obama is moving us forward,” the ad concludes. “Mitt Romney would take us back.” Meanwhile, Republican leaders are trying desperately to avoid talking about marriage.
But this story is not going to go away, at least not for the next few days. Because guess where Mitt Romney is scheduled to give a speech tomorrow: Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. It was scheduled some time ago, but in the midst of all this, when Romney keeps saying he wants to talk about the economy, he’s going down to Lynchburg to address an audience of evangelicals, where he’ll of course have to heap praise on Falwell, one of the most divisive culture-war figures this country has ever seen, and of course he’ll have to proclaim his support for “traditional” marriage, and of course he’ll have to talk about abortion, and of course he’ll come off sounding like someone who has to keep proving to the hard right that he’s “severely conservative,” in his own immortal words. And this all comes on the heels of the bullying story. It has been one tough week for the guy.
In honor of Mitt’s appearance at Liberty, I give you this: quite possibly the best hip-hop anthem about an evangelical university ever produced. Critics everywhere said, “Not nearly as awful as I expected!”
By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, May 10, 2012