Sunday, May 20, 2012

Religious Arguments About Political Issues - Nothing New

It's all been said before... just with a different target in mind... Commentary: Gay marriage sermon isn't surprising -

I would like to copy the whole thing, but that wouldn't be right. So, here is a taste....

Segregation and the recognition of interracial couples was the last time religion was incensed by the news of the day. And the preachers weren't always on the side of peace, hope and love.
In a 1955 opinion upholding Jim Crow laws, the Florida Supreme Court cast segregation as a divine construct. “When God created man, he allotted each race to his own continent according to color.” (Native Americans might have wondered what happened to their allotment.)

In a famous 1956 address to fellow southern religious leaders, Texas preacher W.A. Criswell, pastor of the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, attacked the Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation decision two years before as “idiocy” and “foolishness” and “a denial of all that we believe in.”

Another notable Baptist leader, the Rev. James F. Burks of Norfolk, similarly warned that integration (not much more than a legal theory in the 1950s South) was an abomination against the “plain truth of the word of God” and would bring on the very apocalypse.
It wasn't until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for its racist past. (They were pro-slavery at one time, as well as pro-segregation.‡)

There is more like that, if you click through to the article. And there is the author's (Fred Grimm) first hand account of what happened in one Mississippi town when a federal court ordered it to desegregate the schools in compliance with Brown V Board of Education - two years after they should have done so.

So when they say the same things today, about how letting gays and lesbians have spousal social security benefits and inherit property without getting wiped out by estate taxes is an abomination, about how opening up the 1300 rights conferred by marriage (that number depends on who is counting) to gay couples will undermine the 50% of straight marriages who seem to avoid divorce, you'll excuse me if I don't just say "of course." It is like when the gun-fearing weenies say that "concealed carry will cause wild-west gunfights over parking spaces, and blood will run in the streets over road rage." It isn't true. It hasn't been true. But they have to say something or shut up. And they sure as hell won't shut up.

On the Baptists and slavery:
Of course, God as a racial segregationist had been an easy transition from the religious axiom espoused in the previous century that God was cool with slavery. Slave-holders got their theological approbation from the Rev. Richard Furman, a Baptist leader and educator (Furman University was named in his honor) who delivered his Exposition of the Views of the Baptists Relative to the Coloured Population of the United States in 1838. Furman said, “The right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the heathen nations.”

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