Although Randall Terry’s announced anti-gay protest in Washington, DC fizzled on October 10, 2009, the man remains important to understand because of his past prominence and his ideological centrality for Christian fundamentalist movements. For two decades, Randall Terry and his Operation Rescue were central to activist efforts against women’s legal right to have an abortion. If you were politically aware during the 1980s and the 1990s, you know of the abortion clinic picketing and human barricades. Randall Terry was the man behind all this, and his activist approach helped create the current model of fundamentalist Christian activism.
I wanted to know what reason Randall Terry had for standing in Mount Vernon Square and speaking through a megaphone against same-sex marriage equality. So when he started walking along the sidewalk after one of his megaphone speeches, I followed him and asked him with a recorder in hand. The following is a transcript of that conversation:
Irregular Times: Mr. Terry? Mr. Terry, I just wanted to know if I could ask you a couple of questions. In particular, I wanted to ask you why you’re here today. I saw your press release. Are you here today in order to talk about Barack Obama in particular or the state of law?
Randall Terry: The lifestyle, and the fact that no human court, no president, no majority, no minority can change the laws of reality. God made marriage to be between a man and a woman. That’s the end of the story for ever.
IT: That’s an interesting nexus, between the laws you describe coming from the Bible and laws that are made here in this city which are written by the Congress and signed by the President.
Terry: I haven’t heard those chants in a long time. I’ll be back.
IT: But I just wanted to ask you this question…
Terry: Sure. There have been times when majorities have made laws that are repugnant and evil, so there has to be an ultimate arbiter outside of people.
IT: My question is, then, whether you want to see those two laws come into alignment.
Terry: Well, when it comes to marriage, marriage can never be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Ever.
IT: Is that because of the Biblical standard?
Terry: Ultimately, it is because God made the world and made the rules. And governments must abide by the principles of the ten commandments. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Marriage is between a man and a woman.
IT: Thank you very much for your time.
[Randall Terry nods and walks away]
There you have it from the mouth of one of the men who has been most central to fundamentalist Christian political activism in America over the past thirty years: the reasoning behind anti-gay activism isn’t limited to anti-gay bigotry. The reasoning is broader than that, and it’s based in theocracy, rule by religion. The aim of Randall Terry and people like him is to do away with democracy and majority rule. In its place they would institute a system in which governments abide by a religious text. Randall Terry’s religious text.