Picture 2

Picture 2

Jul 12, 2015

Supreme Court Reignites Culture Wars

According to the main stream media, aka the Pravda Press, the culture wars have been rekindled.  I agree, but I think the Supreme Court lit the match.  The Supreme Court has made it a habit of removing social issues from legislative debate by issuing edicts under the color of legal opinions. It's the edicts, not the social issues themselves, which cause big emotional arguments. The Supreme Court is abusing its power by rewriting laws and inventing Constitutional provisions.  I think that Roe v Wade should have taught us that the problem is not the issue of abortion itself.  The problem is the Supreme Court finding things in the Constitution that are not really there.

In 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted, homosexual acts were illegal in every state. The legislators who ratified it thought it was about race. The Supreme Court had to make it up to use the 14th Amendment to proclaim same sex marriage as a Constitutional right. If the Supremes had ruled that under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, a marriage legally performed in one state must be recognized on all states, there would have been right wing grumbling but not the explosion you're seeing now. The way the decision was reasoned basically says that 5 Supreme Court Justices can do whatever they want. There are no Constitutional limits which they will respect.

In the bakery case, it's rule of law, free speech and freedom of religion versus political correctness. The basic idea of the rule of law is that everyone should be able to know what the law is in advance so they can obey it. In this case, nobody could know that the fines imposed for refusing to create a wedding cake for gay marriage were going to be more than the annual profits of the entire bakery. People would generally feel that you sell standard goods to everyone, but you have the right as an artist to refuse to put images and messages on custom cakes that go against your convictions or religious beliefs. For example, you should not be forced to make a Hitler themed birthday cake, especially if you're Jewish. The administrative law "judge" made it up. There was no precedent for the finding. There was no precedent for the size of the fine or damages, whatever you want to call the $135,000 assessment against the Oregon bakers. It was a lawless act. 

It's typically minorities that need a strong rule of law to protect themselves from angry mobs. At the moment, gay marriage has an angry mob on its side. Liberals must be very foolish not to see the possibility that mobs might form with irresponsible opposing viewpoints. If there's no law, whoever has the biggest mob wins.

At this point most liberals tune out because they assume I’m a Christian fundamentalist racist bigot.  So now I have to play identity politics.  I believe that married gay couples need to own guns to protect their homes, children and marijuana plants. I go to a Protestant church once a year for Easter. My wife is not a Christian. My sister in law is black and she's the best thing that ever happened to my brother. I'm 64. I grew up in Montana. My family was a little unpopular because we paid "white" wages to Indians working on our ranch. I plan to attend a gay wedding in August where two of my friends are getting married.  This is not about the state of civil rights in 1964. This is about now.

I haven’t been able to find a link to anything about the Oregon law, either statute or administrative law. If any reader has information concerning the letter of the law in Oregon, please leave me a link in a comment. I would like a link to any published article that spells out what the law was the day before the offense. Please include any reference you find to specific penalties. To me, this looks more like $100 first offense than $100,000. Unless the law spelled out over $100,000 penalties or damages, it's abuse of power.

Liberals say the bakers had it coming because they publicly declared they would not make cakes for gay weddings.  This bothefree exercise of religion, freedom of religionrs me. I thought we had a right to free speech. Wedding cakes are an artistic product. How far does Oregon law go? If the cake is ugly, are the bakers in violation? If the bakers intended to make it ugly as a form of civil disobedience, does that come into whether they are in violation? Do devout Muslim or Orthodox Jewish bakers have to make birthday cakes with bacon on them if an administrative law judge in Oregon says they do? (Hint: Pork products, like bacon, are not kosher for devout Muslims and Orthodox Jews.)

Liberal comments give away what's actually happening. The bakers are being punished for having the effrontery to actually have Christian religious beliefs that they want to live by. My 4 grandparents had 4 different religious traditions. Three were different varieties of Christianity. One of my grandfathers was Jewish. We all got along fine because nobody insisted on conformity. You have to have some tolerance for other folks' beliefs. In the vernacular, you have to cut people some slack.  Punishing Christians for their beliefs is not a good way to gain acceptance and gradually wear down resistance to this major change. It's religious bigotry, which encourages extreme reactions. Liberals believe everyone should conform to your views of the truth and anyone who doesn't should be severely punished. Liberals think it's justified, but it's every bit as extreme as the religious intolerance of ISIS or Al Qaeda. The difference is that Liberals just want to impose severe fines. Liberals don't want to kill the dissenters, yet.

So what can we do about it?  The first step is to raise a fuss. If everybody objects loudly, we can gather sufficient number to change this. It's also vital to make clear that the problem is the law is being changed in an unlawful, dangerous way. Most people today evaluate any judicial proceeding, including a Supreme Court decision, by whether they like who "won" rather than by the reasoning used to get the outcome. It's not gay marriage itself that is threatening, at least to me. If gay marriage was adopted by state legislatures or state referendums then the people would have decided on a matter that was clearly left to the states by the Constitution. It's that the government no longer respects written law. It is doing whatever it wants. Not enough folks seem to recognize that if the law is fickle, no outcome is secure. Nobody's life, liberty or property is secure from government seizure.

So gay people celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage with no thought that the decision makes no sense. When the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, homosexual acts were illegal in every state. If the Supreme Court had used the full faith and credit act to say that a marriage legally performed in one state must be recognized in all states, it would have been a small but understandable stretch. Using the 14th Amendment as the reason gay marriage is legal tells people that 5 Supreme Court Justices can do whatever they want with the flimsiest of excuses. When the Supreme Court finds that when the law says an "exchange set up by the state" really includes exchanges set up by the federal government as well, they're making it up. The law has no meaning anymore.

Republican candidates should make clear that process is much more of a problem than the outcome.  We want legislatures to deal with these thorny problems where the Constitution has nothing much to say.  We do not want the Supreme Court finding rights to privacy and dignity that aren’t there.  Because once they start finding things that aren’t there, everyone instinctively knows there’s no end to it.

Our original revolution was started by people writing letters to each other. Committees of Correspondence are a lot easier to set up with the internet and its social media. Raise a fuss. That's what I'm doing.

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