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Jumping at the Conclusion

There is nothing more to this video than a piece of the world around us.  I stopped for a moment yesterday and was amazed at what I found right before my feet.

The world is worthy of our wonder.

Chris Christie for President: The Pros and Cons

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination today. By my count, that makes officially a whole buncha Republican presidential candidates so far… to be precise.

What makes Chris Christie different from all the rest? The following are the pros and cons of the Christie for President 2016 campaign;

Pros:
– While Chris Christie opposes many gun control laws, he supports some of them, and admits that having a large number of privately-owned guns in New Jersey has been a problem. “I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there,” Christie has said.
– Chris Christie has at times criticized extreme anti-Muslim activists, saying that it’s wrong to “paint Islam with a brush of radical Muslim extremists that just want to kill Americans because we are Americans.”
sweaty chris christie for president

Cons:
– Chris Christie supports the right of state governments to prohibit same-sex marriage.
– Chris Christie has been working hard to rival Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in weakening labor unions. Christie has taken the side of corporate executives who are attempting to circumvent workplace safety protections and are trying to keep workers’ wages low.
– Chris Christie is rude. His Republican supporters refer to this personality characteristic as “no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners”, but to the rest of America, when Christie shouts at voters, blusters at reporters, and shouts at other political leaders, he just looks like a bully who isn’t able to exercise any self-control. Do we really want a President who will expand his power with no holds barred? That isn’t the American way. We have a Constitution to put holds on executive authority, and we need a President who understands the value of those limits.
Bridgegate is a huge weight around Chris Christie’s neck. Christie used his power as Governor of New Jersey to make sure commuters trying to get into Manhattan would be blocked from doing so. Christie arranged for lanes on the George Washington Bridge to be closed, and didn’t give any notice in advance to local or federal officials. Christie thought this would be a clever way to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for neglecting to endorse his re-election campaign. How would you like to see that kind of abusive withdrawal of services used as a political weapon at the federal level?
– Chris Christie vetoed oversight legislation aiming to avoid corruption and waste in spending on recovery efforts after “Superstorm Sandy”.
– Chris Christie is inexperienced in foreign policy. Even Republican cheerleader Warner Todd Huston writes of Christie that “he has no record of thoughtful foreign policy ideas”.
– Chris Christie has a low level of support from his home state. The longer he stays in the Governor’s mansion, the less New Jersey voters approve of the job he’s doing.
– Chris Christie consistently gets basic facts about tax policy wrong. For example, he commonly states that the United States is the only country in the world that taxes corporations twice on money that they earn abroad. In fact, corporations are not taxed twice on these earnings – and often, corporations use shelters and loopholes to completely evade ever paying any taxes for these earnings.
– Chris Christie has vetoed legislation prohibiting the dumping of waste products from hydrofracking into New Jersey waterways.
– Chris Christie’s tax plan would result in big benefits for the corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while forcing middle class and poor families to pay a bigger share of the price of radically-reduced government services.
– Christie’s government gave Prudential a $250 million tax break in return for relocating its headquarters to New Jersey… from another address in New Jersey.
– Chris Christie has not had a record of successful job creation in New Jersey during his time as Governor. New Jersey’s rate of job creation has been less than half that of the national average while Christie has been Governor. With Christie in charge of New Jersey, the state has ranked 49 out of 50 in terms of job growth.
– Climate change has been cited by the Pentagon as the greatest international threat to U.S. national security, but nowhere on his campaign web site does Chris Christie even acknowledge that climate change exists.
– Chris Christie has vetoed legislation that would prohibit on the job discrimination against workers in New Jersey.
– Chris Christie seeks to support big oil corporations by allowing them to export crude oil overseas, a policy that would increase the amount of petroleum being burned while increasing the price of fossil fuels here in the United States. The result: Accelerated climate change, dirty air, and degraded public health.
– Chris Christie cut a special deal with Exxon to help the big oil company to avoid paying a high penalty for pollution in New Jersey.
– Chris Christie aims to increase pork barrel spending on the military and war overseas while reducing the services government provides for American citizens get here at home.
– Chris Christie has vetoed legislation requiring materials used by the New Jersey Department of Public Works to be made in the USA.

Is An Anthropological Study of Atheists Possible?

Over at Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, the editors have recently published an entire issue devoted to the ethnographic study of atheists.

This single issue is intended to “set the agenda for researching the aspirations and practices of godless people who seek to thin out religion in their daily lives. We reflect on why processes of disengagement from religion have not been adequately researched in anthropology.”

Anthropology Journal Social AnalysisActually, Social Analysis is not an open access journal. Its current issues haven’t even been available on JSTOR – a network through which people at libraries can gain electronic access for free – for the last two years. Online, the journal sells its articles one by one at a cost of $33 each, bringing the entire issue of articles about the anthropology of atheism to a total cost of $250. The checkout cart software to enable for a one-year individual subscription to the journal at a lower price isn’t functioning properly. This is not an arrangement likely to set an agenda for anything with much substance.

Nonetheless, I’m determined to read the issue, as I am interested in both cultural studies in general and cultural perceptions of atheists more specifically. So, I’m traveling to an Ivy League university library later today in order to read the darned thing. It looks like I’m allowing the Social Analysis journal to set my agenda, at least for today.

For now, as I have my morning cup of coffee, I want to consider a few of the broader issues that are introduced even by the issue’s abstract-level ideas.

First, the anthropologists writing for Social Analysis seem to have taken on a theism-centric perspective in their studies. In their introduction to the issue, Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic describe atheists as “people who seek to thin out religion in their daily lives”. In doing so, they confuse religion in general with theism in particular. Not all religion is theistic. More importantly, they presume that atheists start out as theists, with their lives thick with religion that needs thinning out in order to achieve atheism.

Blanes and Oustinova-Stjepanovic further describe atheism as a “reluctance to pursue religion”, as if atheists’ relationship to worship of gods is one of mere hesitancy. This position doesn’t even do adequate justice to many agnostics, who, rather than being indecisive, have chosen a path of determined refusal to commit to any position on a question as inherently unanswerable as whether divine beings have any true existence. Atheists go even further, being divided philosophically into two camps: 1) Positive atheists, who have the belief that no gods exist, and 2) Negative atheists, who lack any belief in gods. Neither atheist position is characterized by reluctance.

For many atheists, their position is strikingly independent. Most atheists don’t belong to formal atheist organizations or even to loose atheist social networks. Even for those who do belong to groups such as American Atheists or the Freedom From Religion Foundation, there are few rules of membership, and no claim of speaking on behalf of all atheists. There is no course of indoctrination and initiation, and no creed to which members in these groups must adhere.

In short, atheists are a disparate group mostly defined by their lack of participation in theistic culture. There isn’t a single atheist culture, but many. Large numbers of atheists are so singular that they don’t belong to any atheist culture at all. They’re on their own.

Given this multiplicity, how is the anthropological study of atheist culture possible? It’s akin to doing an anthropological study of people who don’t have cars. There’s a great deal of difference between a person who doesn’t own a car because of poverty, a person who doesn’t own a car because of environmental idealism, a person who doesn’t own a car because of residence in a dense urban environment, and a person who doesn’t own a car due to physical disability. These people don’t belong to a coherent non-automotive culture, and in the same way, atheists don’t belong to a single non-theist culture.

The academics who contribute to the Being Godless: Ethnographies of Atheism and Non-Religion issue of Social Analysis seem to have have sensed the challenge of the cultural multiplicity of atheists, and some have responded by using the ethnographer’s traditional approach of choosing a small cultural area defined by a limited physical space.

For example, for her article, Ambivalent Atheist Identities: Power and Non-religious Culture in Contemporary Britain, Lois Lee attempted to study people in South East England (easily-accessible from her post at University College London). The people Lee focused on were those who do not identify themselves as “non-theists or atheists”, but who participate in “non-theistic cultural threads” nonetheless. She concludes that such “unmarked” atheist identities “may be simultaneously empowering and disempowering”… suggesting that, on the other hand, these identities may not be simultaneously empowering and disempowering at all. So, just what has Lee really discovered?

Furthermore, is there any particular reason to believe that atheists in South East England are culturally distinctive from atheists in North West England? Might it be that there is a greater diversity of atheist experience within any particular physical locations than there is between atheists in distinct physical locations within a country such as the United Kingdom?

In Atheist Political Cultures in Independent Angola, Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe limit their study of atheists to Angola, comparing public manifestations of atheist identity in present-day Angola and Angola in the 1970s and 1980s. They conclude, based on this limited study, that “atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.” Didn’t Blames and Paxe begin their study with this idea, though? Isn’t that why they restricted their scope of study in the first place? Their conclusion that atheist cultures are locally-determined looks like a tautology, rather than a discovery.

Even focusing their research on Angola, Blanes and Paxe are unable to build a model of a single, coherent Angolan atheist culture. Instead, they refer to plural “cultures” of atheists in Angola. I look forward to learning how these distinct atheist Angolan cultures are different from each other, presuming Blanes and Paxe achieved such depth of ethnographic inquiry.

In her article, Antagonistic Insights: Evolving Soviet Atheist Critiques of Religion and Why They Matter for Anthropology, Sonja Luehrmann doesn’t really conduct an ethnography at all. Instead, she reviews the academic work of Communist atheist sociologists, working in the last years of the Soviet Union to study religion. The subject of her study is thus a particular, extinct variety of atheist academic, culturally disembodied, represented only through their public writings. Her aim seems to be to use the Soviet academics to reflect upon the limits of the relationship between anthropologists and the people they study, rather than to pursue the study of an atheist culture for its own sake.

From what I’ve seen of this special journal issue on the anthropology of atheists, I’m not seeing the ground for building any single agenda for the ethnographic study of atheist cultures. If anything, the authors seem to be moving into a more atomized approach, seeking out coherent atheist cultures in particular times and places, and yet failing to define even those.

However, this is only so much as I have been able to determine through the thick screen created by the limited access to the Social Analysis journal. Later today, I hope I may have some deeper findings to report.

5 Things USA Today Says You Need to Know (and 5 Things that Come a lot Closer to Meeting that Need)

USA Today is back, grinding out its daily “5 things you need to know” article. Here are today’s entries; according to USA Today, apparently I need to know that:

1. “N.Y. escapee is in the hospital”. I don’t need to know this. Even if I lived in New York State, I wouldn’t have needed to know this (and I did just spend a week’s time upstate while the two prison escapees were hiding out). Take a look at a map to see how large the state of New York is, and visit the U.S. Census Bureau to verify that 19.75 million people live in the state. I don’t need to feel danger when the danger is statistically ridiculous.

2. “Greek banks to remain closed”. I give USA Today a little bit of credit for this. As an American, I don’t need to know about the suffering of people in Greece due to the behavior of banking institutions. But although I don’t need to know this piece of news, it probably does my heart and brain good to think about the suffering of people socially unconnected to me.

3. “Supreme Court to issue final rulings of term”. This translates to “there are rulings the Supreme Court hasn’t made yet.” Why do I need to know this? The “news” is inaction, not action, so there’s nothing affecting my life here; the story is one of emptiness, not presence. The Supreme Court is so cloistered that I’m not going to be able to influence the decision of its members, either.

4. “Obama will host Brazil’s president”. That’s nice. I hope they serve cookies at the State Dinner and all, but I’m not invited to participate in or hear the discussions, and neither are you.

5. “Game, set, match! Wimbledon gets underway”. It’s a game with rackets on a lawn.

1 out of 5 articles in USA Today’s list qualifies here, sort of. If a newspaper is going to use the word “need” then it should actually share information that either affects a reader, or that the reader can act upon in some fashion, or both. It’s not hard to come up with 5 pieces of news that affect your life and/or that you can change. Here are my nominations:


1. “Your Representatives are Coming Home Soon. Here’s Where you Can Confront Them.”. In the summer recesses for the U.S. Congress and your state legislature, U.S. and state senators and representatives will be making visits to their home districts. You’ll see notices in your local newspaper of visits that your representatives in governments made to towns near you to listen to constituents. But those notices will largely be in the past tense. That’s because your representatives make appointments with the rich and powerful, who are informed of events, while you are kept out of the loop. But you don’t need to be. Find the websites of your U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative and state legislature here, here and here, respectively. Call your legislators’ offices and ask their staff when they’re coming to your town and how you can attend a meeting. You’d be surprised at how often you’re given the information you need to know and a chance to give a powerful politician a piece of your mind. If they decline to share that information, or if they tell you that there will be no such meetings for the public, on the other hand, now you have a useful piece of news to share in a letter to the editor of your local paper: your representative gave the kiss-off to one of “the little people.”

2. “Planning a Trip to the Nation’s Capital this Summer? Step Off the Fake Trolley and Add Your Voice to the Clamor.” Thousands and thousands of people travel to Washington, DC in the summer for some tourist fun.  This can involve a cheesy megaphone-driven tour on a fake trolley, but it doesn’t need to. Why not add a bit of civic participation to your tourist experience?  Here are three ways you can see DC in action while raising your voice on issues you care about.  Laugh, cheer, scream.  Make the noise a little louder:

3. “It’s Not Just Prisons: Three Quarters of a Million Americans are in Local Lockup.”  When we think of the sky-high U.S. incarceration rate, we mostly think of people languishing in state or federal prisons.  But the Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released statistics showing that on a typical day in 2014, 744,600 Americans were locked up in city and county jails.  If these trends hold for 2015, then if you’re an average American, it’s a good bet that someone you’re acquainted with is going to end up in the local pokey this year, a result of the unusual decision by American politicians to starkly criminalize human behavior.

4. “If You Hate Corporations that Abuse Workers, Stop Buying Gildan Shirts”.  U.S. retailers selling Gildan shirts typically make $6 or more in profit for every single shirt they sell.  But in Haiti, the factory workers who make Gildan shirts are paid $6 a day for their sweat, and as a result are so poor that they can’t afford running water in homes that squeeze an entire family into a single room.

5. “It’s Not Just Gildan: Third World Factories that Make Your Stylish Clothes Endanger Children”.  While sweatshop workers work hard for hardly any pay to stitch together your fashionable clothing, what happens to their children? In a report released last week, the Workers Rights Consortium shares its findings regarding child care provided by Gokaldas, a contractor making clothing for Puma, Adidas, Marks and Spencer, Columbia, Nike, Gap, H&M and Levi’s brands.   WRC concludes in its report that Gokaldas disregards safety laws and thereby endangers children’s lives in the nurseries where workers’ children are placed.

Jill Stein Presidential Campaign Lapses Into Sluggish Communication

In the 2012 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein wasn’t allowed to participate in the debates, but she made the news anyhow, because she got involved in the strongest liberal political movement of the time. She went to Occupy protests, and even got herself arrested through her participation in them. Stein didn’t win the election, but she was a full participant.

In 2016, Jill Stein is running for the Green Party presidential nomination again, but this time, the tone of her campaign isn’t at all the same. Take a look at the Stein campaign’s recent Twitter feed to get a taste of what she’s been up to:

weak jill stein outreach 2016

Notice when Jill Stein’s last tweets were? Friday June 26 – the day when the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision that state governments do not have the constitutional right, because of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, to deprive homosexual couples of equal protection under marriage law.

Jill Stein didn’t bother to Tweet about the Supreme Court decision. Likewise, Stein has written nothing about the decision on her campaign’s Facebook page.

On the Jill Stein for President campaign site itself, the most recent piece of “news” is from a remote article, published on Friday’s about Jill Stein’s years-old demand that she be allowed to participate in debates with the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. There’s nothing at all about the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, issued a positive statement about the Supreme Court decision right away, saying, “The Supreme Court has breathed life into the words engraved in the building’s marble pediment: ‘Equal Justice under Law.’ This decision is a victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights… For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community… I am very glad the court has finally caught up to the American people.”

Why should anyone become active in a movement to demand that Jill Stein be allowed into the presidential debates, when Jill Stein won’t herself become active in the politics of the country? What’s the point of getting Jill Stein into the debates, when she doesn’t even bother to fully use the opportunities for political speech that are available to her right now?

On Same-Sex Marriage, God’s Judgment is … Where, Exactly?

For years, right-wing preachers and political pundits like Stephen Bennett, Harold Camping, Graham Dow, John Hagee, Yehuda Levin, John Piper, Pat Robertson, Maurice Mills, Ken Crow, Michael Oard, and Ken Ham have insisted that God uses hurricanes and other weather disasters as tools of divine judgment against homosexual sin.

Just this week, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage must be legally allowed across the entire United States.

We’re in hurricane season right now.

Where are the hurricanes?  Well, here’s a report from the Delaware County Daily Times of Pennyslvania:

“It’s part of the upward arc of what Martin Luther King called the long arc of history,” said D. Bruce Hanes, the register of wills for Montgomery County who made history two years ago when he issued the state’s first same-sex marriage licenses to Loreen Bloodgood and Alicia Terlizzi of Limerick.

The speed with which this political and cultural sea change has surprised even her.

“I knew the winds of change were blowing in our direction, but it has been like hurricane-force winds changing everything,” Bloodgood said. “Just think, it was not even two years ago now that the Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and Bruce Hanes decided he would start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and now its the law of the land.”

Did you hear that? Hurricane-force winds! There’s been a hurricane! In Pennsylvania! And… oh, wait, there’s more.

“And Bloodgood said experience has proven that same sex marriage is not the cultural disaster its critics claim.

“It’s been about 10 years now I think since Massachusetts started by legalizing same sex marriage and the world hasn’t fallen apart. In fact, after 92 years, the Red Sox finally won the World Series so if you’re looking for signs, that might be one.” Bloodgood said.

Oh, it was one of those metaphors. No hurricane in Pennsylvania. Well, looking on, here’s another report of an anti-gay hurricane judgment of doom at LocalMemphis.com:

“Any day now, the United States Supreme Court could make a decision on whether same-sex marriage will become legal across the country.

One of the plaintiffs in the case is a same-sex couple who lives in Memphis, but got married in New York.

They are fighting to have their marriage recognized here.

Ikpe Dekoe and Thom Kostura began their battle to have their marriage legally recognized in Tennessee in November of 2013. Now the couple is coming into the homestretch, waiting for the nation’s highest court to make a decision.

“It’s been a long process. We have been at this for almost two years now. We are pretty much at the center of a very big hurricane,” DeKoe said.”

“At the center of a very big hurricane!” A gay couple! In Memphis, Tennessee! But wait again…

“While waiting for this decision, this moment is beyond them.

“We will probably be very busy answering our phones and calling all our friends and then we will be getting in touch with our friends who we know their marriage has been recognized and their marriage has been validated. Congratulating them,” DeKoe said.”

Curses, another metaphor. No hurricane in Memphis.

As a matter of fact, if we check the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center reporting page, we see something that might be surprising to the fundamentalist weather forecasters:

Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity June 28 2015 -- nothing there, despite gay marriage legalization

Eastern Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity, June 28 2015

There’s a bit of storm activity around Cuba, but Cuba is one of the diminishing number of countries where marriage is banned.

Why, it’s almost as if God is… is… very happy.

FOX: If We Can’t Force Our Morality Upon Others’ Personal Lives, it Must Mean We’re Being Persecuted

“Reporter” Todd Starnes of FOX News has issued his prediction for the fallout from yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that because of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, conservative Christians can’t continue to prevent other people from exercising their own freedom to marry:

“Churches and faith-based business should prepare for lawsuits and government investigations. Pastors who refuse to perform gay marriages and preach from the Bible should prepare for hate crime charges. All dissent will be silenced by the government and the activists.”

This statement says more about Todd Starnes than it does about the reality of the situation.  Just as churches have maintained the absolute right to refuse to perform inter-faith weddings or inter-racial weddings (yes, refusals to perform inter-racial weddings still happen in American churches), so too they will maintain the absolute right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings if they choose.  As for pastors being charged with hate crimes for preaching from the Bible, I can’t find a single report of this.  Finally, if “all dissent is to be silenced by the government,” how did Todd Starnes’ column slip by the censors?

No, Starnes isn’t speaking from a perspective of objective reality.  But he is speaking from a perspective of personal psychological reality.  In his personal psychological world, Starnes holds on to a cherished reality in which his personal beliefs can and should be used as a basis to keep others from living their lives as they’d like.  Starnes has lived for 47 years inside the bubble of this particular personal reality, and so he seemingly can’t imagine that, once unshackled, the people who’s freedom he’s strained to squash won’t try to squash him right back.  Starnes can’t or won’t see the possibility of living his life freely and letting others live their lives freely too.  Starnes can’t see the other way of living that the marriage equality movement has successfully forged.

Of course, I live inside my own perception of reality, too.  I could be deluded.  Todd Starnes could be right. We’ll see who’s right.  Let’s check back in six months and see whether pastors who refuse to perform gay marriages or preach from the Bible are charged with a crime.  Let’s check back in six months and see whether all dissent has been silenced by the government.

What do you think we’ll find in six months’ time?

Atheists Wage All Out War!

Jennifer LeClaire, author of the book Satan’s Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft, is warning American Christians that militant atheists are waging “all out war”. She writes that Christians are coming “under fire” in these attacks.

all out warThe number of victims is not yet known, but LeClaire’s report sounds pretty bloody. All out war, after all, involves unrestrained violent rampages across the countryside, with violent seiges using guns, bombs, flying killer drones, amphibious assault vehicles, exploding rockets, and even hand-to-hand combat.

Just what has gotten into atheists these days, to make them become so combative, with this hateful warfare against anyone who disagrees with them?

Hold on… wait a minute…

The tactics of all out war that Jennifer LeClaire accuses atheists of inflicting upon American Christians are actually just restricted to this: Putting a letter in the mail.

The letter was sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to a county judge in Warren, Arkansas, where a flag representing the evangelical Christian “Appeal To Heaven” movement has been placed on the flag pole atop the Bradley County Courthouse. The letter asks for “assurances” that the flag will be taken down out respect for the separation of church and state.

Does a letter asking for assurances count as all out war?

Anti-Equality Bigots Can’t Count

After the Supreme Court decision yesterday, ruling that same-sex couples have the right to equality in the administration of marriage laws, a little group of right wing protesters ran over to the steps of the high court to show just how many people are determined to stop gays and lesbians from getting married. They held up a banner reading, “One Man, One Woman”.

Actually, I see two men, four women, and one person of indeterminate gender (and tight jeans) hiding his or her face.

If these anti-equality bigots can’t even get their numbers straight, why should we listen to their rantings about family life?

Count, Christian Soldiers. Count.

one man one woman protest

My Impromptu Dog Garden, For a Season

My long-term gardening plan where I live in Maine is simple in the abstract: let the woods grow in from the edges over time and find something other than grass in the middle.

As always in a garden, concrete reality becomes more complicated.

I’ve got dogs.  Big dogs.  Digging dogs.  These big digging dogs have their favorite spaces to dig big holes, and it seems no matter how promptly I fill these holes up, the dogs will dig them back out again.  I’m reasonably comfortable with chaos, but my patience has its limits, and I’m trying to figure out how to reclaim these spots.

Sunflower seedlings in a spot held by a dog hole.

This year, I’m trying out sunflower seeds.  They germinate quickly and they grow quickly.  My hope is that if something’s there, the dogs will be flummoxed and fail to dig.  That’s my hope.  Reality may be more complicated.  When I went to snap this photo, my dogs followed me right to the spot and, seeing my attention to that spot, decided to roll in it.  There’s always a surprise in the garden.

What are you hoping for this year in your garden?  What have been your surprises?

Mike Huckabee Combines Stupidity With Bigotry In Reaction To Marriage Equality Decision

Mike Huckabee has managed to appeal to both sides of the Republican Party with his reaction to today’s Obgerfell v. Hodges decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” Huckabee said.

What Huckabee could not say was what exactly the Obgerfell v. Hodges decision would force him to acquiesce to.

The Supreme Court decision doesn’t require anybody to do anything except to stop discriminating against other people. The decision doesn’t require heterosexuals to get married to homosexuals. It doesn’t require heterosexual marriages to break up. It doesn’t even require bigoted priests to show some humanity and officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies.

All that today’s Supreme Court decision requires is for state and local government officials in the minority of states that still have failed to pass marriage equality laws to stop denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Mike Huckabee couldn’t acquiesce to the Obgerfell v. Hodges decision if he wanted to. Really, how exactly does Huckabee expect to demonstrate his refusal to acquiesce – by stubbornly closing his eyes whenever someone he thinks might be gay enters the room?

Huckabee calls the Obgerfell v. Hodges decision “tyranny”, but tyranny is a condition of government under which people suffer terribly under rulers who refuse to recognize their right to live in freedom. Where is the suffering resulting from the Supreme Court decision? Where is the loss of freedom?

As I write this, I am sitting at a restaurant in Chicago’s Ohare airport. There are hundreds of people sitting next to me, or walking by. I don’t see in agony. It’s a perfectly peaceful and ordinary scene.

chicago ohare tyranny after same sex marriage legalization

Look over there: It’s two men sitting at a table together. Maybe they’re gay, maybe they’re just traveling together. They don’t look upset.

I see two heterosexual couples – maybe romantically linked, maybe just friends – who are eating their lunches without sobbing, or shrieking in agony.

Oh, but then there’s that man, eating alone. Did his wife just leave him, because she heard that she can finally get married to her lesbian lover? It doesn’t seem so. He isn’t giving any signs of emotional suffering. He’s probably just traveling alone. Besides, if he really did have a marriage that was held together only by a state-level prohibition of lesbian weddings, you couldn’t really blame the Supreme Court for the breakup of his marriage, could you?

No one is suffering. Freedom in the USA has been increased today, not decreased. No tyranny has resulted from the Obgerfell v. Hodges decision. Mike Huckabee is just plain wrong when he claims that it has.

Huckabee is also showing astonishing stupidity by suggesting that his persistence in trying to deprive gays and lesbians of equality in the United States is morally equivalent to the American Revolution. In 1776, Americans were not fighting to preserve injustice and inequality. The British monarchy was not trying to impose new liberties upon the American colonies. It was the other way around.

If there is any historical parallel between Mike Huckabee’s homophobic tirades and the events of 1776, it would have to place Huckabee on the side of the redcoats, not the American patriots. Huckabee is trying to squash back the progress of American freedom. He’s decided that people who aren’t like him don’t deserve equality under the law.

We should be grateful that the Constitution has other ideas, and prohibits inequality under the law in the Fourteenth Amendment, saying that no state government has the power to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Mike Huckabee isn’t just on the wrong side of history. He lacks the basic intelligence to distinguish history from his small-minded fantasies of right wing Christian theocracy.