Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WHY I'M OPTIMISTIC THE VOTE ON PROP. 8 WILL BE OVERTURNED

As you know, I'm optimistic that the California State Supreme Court will overturn the recent vote affirming Prop. 8. As far as I know, if the vote to prevent same-sex couples from marrying is allowed to stand, an historical precedent will have been set if the Court eventually affirms the legality of that vote, as there has been no other case in history, to the best of my knowledge, where a Constitutionally mandated right as adjudicated by a state Supreme Court has been able to be successfully overturned by the will, or tyranny, of the majority of the voters.

Should this vote be allowed to stand, every single minority group, from women, selected workers, African Americans, children, assorted ethnic groups, and selected classes of people would be vulnerable to having their current Constitutionally protected rights be rescinded by the will of the majority now or in the future, which is something the Founding Fathers deliberately chose to avoid, if not prevent.

That is one of the reasons why they set up the United States as a Democratic Republic rather than as a Democracy, where the tyranny of the majority might well prevail over Constitutionally guaranteed protections hitherto afforded each and every citizen in the U.S. to the detriment of us all, as well as to the very fabric of the social structure of the United States.

The California State Supreme Court last May stated that the historical denial of access to "marriage" to same-sex couples was now, and always was, unconstitutional; therefore, same-sex marriage must be allowed in California, and should always have been allowed in California.

It is unlikely that the California State Supreme Court would now, not only invalidate its own ruling because of the values and emotions of the majority of the voters in California at the time of the recent elections, but would want to be in a position of opening up the can of worms that would threaten each and every other minority group in California and, by possible extension, in every other state as well.

Renown [sic] constitutional scholar Tobias Wolff, an openly gay professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, filed an amicus brief on behalf of civil rights organizations.

"This lawsuit is about the rights of all minority communities in California," Wolff said. "If a ballot initiative and simple majority vote could be used to take away the rights of one unpopular group, then the rights of any group could be subjected to a popular vote. That is why some of the nation's leading civil rights organizations have joined together to support the challenge to Proposition 8."


[For the full article, see here.]

What was true for the African American civil rights struggle is no less true for the Gay rights struggle! Hear President John F. Kennedy:



Californians and the rest of the country should have learned the painful lessons taught in the struggle for African American civil rights and how the rule of law must trump the rule of the majority. Indeed, if the will of the majority ruled the day, we'd undoubtedly still have institutionalized Segregation in the U.S!

The dynamics of the overcoming of the discrimination against, and the oppression of, African Americans is no less relevant or true regarding the dynamics of overcoming discrimination against our Gay fellow citizens!

And our Constitution, as well as the lessons learned from American history, reveal that the overcoming of institutionalized discrimination against any minority group must lie with the Judiciary, and not be held hostage to the whims, politics and tyranny of any "religious" or secular majority of the people.
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2 comments:

tim p. said...

I would agree that the modern church has failed miserably in revealing a true living expression of Jesus to the world. We have come to focus on the issues of the day and directed our resources and our passion at full force against them, all the while lauding this as the revelation of Christianity. To attain to some moral pinnacle of living.

The church has fallen into blaring the wickedness of abortion, which I agree breaks the heart of God, but it also plays into the reality of making this sin bigger than that of lying, or course joking. The bible says if you fail at just one point of the law, you are guilty of all of it.

The early church didn't spend it's time addressing the issues of the day but rather said "You must be born again". This means we cease to have any authority over our life, but we willingly offer it to Him, not because we are made to or we are proving our ability to will it so, but because He deserves it. Because we love Him and we want to give Him our life.

That which you would chastise in the church is the same spirit by which you now speak.You say that you are denied your rights for homosexual marriages when the life that Jesus served as an example is a life without rights.

We are to engage in the affairs of this world to some degree, but we must recognize that this government, this country and even the current religious systems for the most part are not the kingdom of God. He says we are aliens here, we are not of this world. We are a divided party in that some are Christians by title and some are Christians by lifestyle.

As the man that stood before God and said he had cast out demons, healed the sick and raised the dead was confronted by a Holy God and told "I never knew you", Jesus speaks to us today and asks us "Do you even know me?"

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks for your comment, Tim. I agree with most of what you say.

However, you say the following: "That which you would chastise in the church is the same spirit by which you now speak. You say that you are denied your rights for homosexual marriages when the life that Jesus served as an example is a life without rights."

It's easy to dwell on "living in the Spirit," which is something all Christians are called upon to do. However, merely stating that fact and living that fact by showing love toward others is directly contradicted by demonizing and condemning others, and seeking to deny others civil and sacramental rights.

Never did Jesus say, or even hint, that we are to hurt others or enmesh ourselves in this world's system by cozying up to reactionary forces in civil and political society to deprive others of equal rights; never did He counsel us to hurt other people and seek to deny them the same civil rights that we enjoy.

As you must know, to be a Christian is to be an agent of God's grace in this sin-cursed world, knowing full well that we are not yet in Heaven, the New Jerusalem. But, on the same token, we are not to assist, or become enmeshed with, the demonic forces in this sin-cursed world by contradicting and contravening Jesus' Great Commandments to us to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; not judge or condemn others.

Unfortunately, all too many clergy and other professing Christians have lost sight of these Commandments, and seek to impose assorted laws, rules, and regulations upon others, preaching a false gospel of legalism and perfectionism from which Jesus set us free, and perversely and falsely invoke Jesus' name in so doing.

They thereby contradict the Gospel of Christ, and do inestimable harm to assorted minority groups, such as Gay people, and cause many decent and intelligent people to not even consider Christianity as a "reasonable faith," by which to navigate their lives while on this earth.

Moreover, untold numbers of suicides, assaults, and murders of Gay people, just like the oppression historically visited upon African Americans in the not too distant past, have been fomented and reinforced by such professing Christians who were and are on the vanguard of that oppression, which clearly violates the only Gospel to be found in Christianity: the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor to us), faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness.

We show forth God's holiness in us by our love toward others; not by our affirming others' oppression and/or being in the vanguard of discriminating against others.

Those who in any way oppress others, or advocate others' oppression in the name of Jesus, spit in His face, misrepresent and pervert Christianity, and cast aspersions upon God Himself!

Best wishes, Jerry.