"These are the days of miracle and wonder," sings the American, backed by African rhythms as a vast crowd dances. Paul Simon was not talking about the quest for marriage equality; few did in the 1980s. I recall that line from the Graceland album as the anti-gay Family Research Council makes a harsh, desperate, and inadvertently comical plea for a miracle of its own.
While attorneys prepared to go before the Supreme Court to debate the right of gay people to marry and to have our marriages recognized by the U.S. government, FRC urged its members to pray: "May those arguing on behalf of same-sex 'marriage' present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way. May they fail to gain traction in the minds of the Justices."
What followed were citations from the Holy Bible, which the writer presumably found more persuasive than court cases or the U.S. Constitution. Of course, federal courts were not set up for biblical exegesis; but the folks at FRC don't want legal arguments, they want God's intervention.
They cite 1 Samuel 2:9, "[T]he wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness." Since the audio tapes of the oral arguments are to be made public, we can hear for ourselves if Ted Olson and his collaborators were all struck dumb. But this involves a subjective judgment as to where the wickedness lies. Personally, I wish Justice Scalia would be quiet.
They cite Proverbs 22:28, "Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors." What? Oh, I get it – don't mess with tradition. I hate to break it to FRC, but a significant boundary stone was moved on the 4th of July in 1776. What medieval theocracy do they think they are in?
They cite Leviticus Chapter 20. Not just the notorious Verse 13, but the whole chapter, which brings in several other divine decrees of blood on various heads, including adulterers, mediums, and children who curse their parents. Why invoke those items if you are not serious about them? Is it the word of God, which all must obey, or isn't it? Verse 13 does not forbid me from marrying my boyfriend, it says we should be killed. To invoke harsh biblical edicts without intending to carry them out may be merciful, but it is incoherent.
As it happens, I can cite Scripture, too. See Matthew 22:21, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
See Acts 10:46, "For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God." Judging by their output, the folks at FRC have the gift of tongues without an interpreter.
See 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." We love. That is unconquerable.
FRC, you have no monopoly on religion. The life of the spirit comes in many flavors and tongues. You cannot control it all. Look up the video of "The Boy in the Bubble" from the Graceland concert in Zimbabwe. Near the start, seven boys are dancing on top of a wall. You can attack their dancing, perhaps, but the source of the dancing – like the impulse to love – is beyond your reach.
You are losing, Family Research Council. If you cannot lose gracefully, at least try to pray over your own sins in the future and not those of your neighbors – nor even their attorneys. See Matthew 7:3-5.
Richard J. Rosendallis a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.