Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SSM, Mind Your Own Business

In Henny Penny panic anticipating or reacting to our same-sex marriages, 27 states have passed DOMA-style amendments to their constitutions. The decreasing margins of victory may not indicate acceptance of SSM.

Instead, anti-gay forces may have run up against the limits of how they can manipulate the most gullible of the voters. They can cross over the line that many Americans consider inviolable -- demanding government intrusion into and control of private concerns.

A clear take on that is in Uncle Sam, keep out in Salon by author and attorney Glenn Greenwald. He postulates that the Arizona defeat and the narrow Colorado victory for such amendments is more libertarian than liberal.

As he puts it:
But last week's election results demonstrate that the GOP faces a towering problem nationally. The activist social conservative agenda demanded by its Southern evangelical base is precisely what alienates voters in the rest of the country, particularly those with an aversion to federal government intervention in their lives.

Greenwald goes so far to say that this is a big chance for Democrats. Republicans have gone a long way down a wrong path. He writes:
No political party can be everything to everyone. As Republicans are forced to rely more and more on their base of white Southern evangelicals, they will be increasingly viewed as the party of intrusive governmental control. In the process, the Democrats have the chance to become the party that stands for the right of adults to make decisions about their own lives free of moralistic governmental interference and regulation. Those who cast their votes based principally on such libertarian sentiments -- driven by the belief that the government should, to the greatest extent possible, stay out of their lives -- will view the Democratic Party as the far more attractive choice.
We might add that reactionary religious politicians have not learned the lesson either. They have failed in similar efforts to mandate personal conduct, driving away their parishioners in the process. Even good Roman Catholics we know, those who attend mass regularly, go to confession and support their parish financially don't buy the whole package. They are wont to sigh or laugh at the increasingly conservative, restrictive pronouncements from our local archbishop and the Pope.

Just today, two pieces in the Boston Globe illustrate how bullheaded our clerics are being, even now. In one that does not appear to be online (New England in brief short), there is yet another Bishops decry... headline.

MSM note: For decades, press observers have chuckled over Bus plunge... heads and stories. To the press, a bus crash of even a few feet must always include plunge. In Boston at least, we can't seem to have any story on the Roman Catholic hierarchy without the phrase Bishops decry.

In this case, the allegedly non-political church is "deeply disturbed" by the recess of the Constitutional Convention. Archbishop Sean O'Malley said, "The effort to silence the people through inaction and delay has no place in democracy."

You will pardon us if we snort at his 1) invoking democracy from the most undemocratic of structures and 2) referring to silencing the people, which is his M.O.

Likewise, in Baltimore the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released new documents reinforcing old restrictions. While acknowledging that 96% of married parishioners use birth control, they said don't do it. As part of the announcement, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann (Kansas City) said, "As teachers, we have an obligation to teach, not just about the things people agree with, but the difficult things as well. . . . We have a responsibility to try and help our people understand things that, because of the culture being hostile, aren't easily accessible to them."

In other words, listen up, dummies. In addition, they suggested that anyone who didn't want to adhere to the tightening restrictions skip communion. That would be otherwise known as separating themselves from God and the church.

These sessions are never without their irony. This conference includes a call to minister to gay parishioners. In the words of the bishops, "persons with a homosexual inclination" are "disordered." However, the clerics said that even though they would maintain a strong opposition to homosexuality, homosexuals should feel welcome in their churches.

In a prolonged Who Moved My Cheese moment, reactionary and regressive politicians -- secular and clerical alike -- have been going down those same paths repeatedly. In this case, they may have finally gotten to the point where no voters will be left at the end.

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