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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wicker: I didn't mean to insult blacks, I meant to insult gays

If you remember, a while back a Pastor Hayes Wicker of Naples had this to say about gay marriage:

This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.

Not surprisingly, a lot of people, such as myself had some problems with that statement.

Wicker, for some reason, took umbrage at the outrage against his hate speech. Here's what he said in a letter to the editor:

Recently, couples from diverse denominations gathered to celebrate marriage in the Chapel of First Baptist Church, where I have served as pastor for 16 years. It was particularly part of the statewide support of seniors for Constitutional Amendment #2, which has been placed on the November 4th ballot. We renewed the vows of “holy matrimony” and affirmed that marriage is “the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife” the bedrock institution upon which the family and civil society are built.

Unsupported hyperbole and introductory remarks. Nothing too bad yet.

At that event, I made several remarks regarding the grave dangers facing America if the institution of marriage is redefined and cast aside.

A few years back, George Carlin had a routine where he described that when listening to someone speak you can say to yourself, "he sounds reasonably okay," which is how Wicker started out. Then, all of a sudden, the person will say something that will lead you to the realization that the person is "full of shit." This is that moment in Wicker's letter. See, the root of this type of thing is that Wicker and people like him don't like gay people. For whatever reason, maybe it's hatred of anyone who is "different," maybe it's a nonsensical "gross-out" type of thing, maybe it's closeted fears about one's own sexuality, whatever. The point is that people like Wicker can't just come out and say they don't like gay people, so they mask their hatred in reasonable-sounding langauge. They're still full of shit.

Take the above line, for instance. There is no attempt to "cast aside" marriage, except maybe by Republicans like Vito Fosella and Rush Limbaugh. In fact, attempts to legalize gay marriage not only don't "cast aside" marriage, they seek to make marriage stronger. And while gay marriage would change the definition of marriage, it would be a change for the better. And it's not like that definition has any sacred quality to it. It's a definition that was made up by human beings and human beings can easily change that definition. Wicker goes on:

Opponents to marriage have strategically seized upon those remarks in an attempt to take the focus off the issue of marriage and the danger of permitting the U.S. Courts to reconstruct this most basic human institution.

By definition, people who want more people to be able to get married aren't "opponents" of marriage. To say that is to assume that nobody that reads what you write is more intelligent than a three-year-old. Clearly, if you want more marriage, you are a supporter of marriage. And if one was an opponent of marriage, why would they be trying to take the focus off marriage? Wouldn't they want the focus on the thing they are trying to destroy? Did he even read this letter before he sent it in? And the courts already have the power to define what rights exist and what words like marriage mean. This was written into the original Constitution and affirmed in Marbury v. Madison. The Madison in that case, by the way, was James Madison, the guy who wrote the Constitution, so it's pretty clear that he agreed with the ability of the courts to do this.

I also noted: “If marriage and the home deteriorates, the culture and society will be dissolved."

Gay marriage will not dissolve our culture or society. How do I know? Because we already have gay marriage in Massachusetts. We're still around. Other countries have legalized gay marriage, none of them has dissolved. Heck, if George W. Bush can't destroy America after eight years of actively trying, gay marriage has no chance.

"From the very beginning, according to nature, history, tradition, and the Word of God, marriage has been between a man and a woman.”

No matter how many times hatemongers repeate this idea, it's still not true. First off, marriage existed long before the Bible, so it wasn't defined by the Christian tradition. Second, and more importantly, the most dominant form of marriage throughout most of history was polygamy. You know Big-Love-one-man-and-as-many-women-as-he-can-get kind of marriage. In much of the world, that was way more prevalent than one-man and one-woman marriage. And, in fact, if you haven't read your Bible lately, there's a whole lot of polygamy in the Old Testament, in particular, and God's just fine with it. Another passage in the book says something about leaving judgment up to God. And if one is a Christian, Jesus made it quite clear what his priorities were. He never mentioned homosexuality. He did, however, mention helping the poor hundreds of times. So, if your community, Pastor Wicker, has any poor people and you are focusing instead on gay people, then you probably need a refresher course in your own religion.

In my remarks I mentioned slavery because it was the defining issue of social justice from the Founding era until the end of the Civil War and even into the 1960’s.

Notice how the post-Civil War period is somewhat of an afterthought to the Pastor -- "even into the 1960's." It's already clear that Wicker knows little to nothing about history, but this makes it even more clear. For most of the era between the end of the Civil War and when the former slaves died, little changed for them. Because of things like sharecropping, Jim Crow, peonage, the prison-work system, etc., most "freed" slaves never knew freedom.

My remarks were not intended to diminish the crucial importance of eliminating slavery and all forms of racism from American culture.

Intended or not, they did. And what is left unsaid here, is that your remarks were intended to diminish gay Americans and meant to increase bigotry towards gay people in American culture. You can't get away anymore with directly attacking black people, so you're moving on to a new group of people to hate.

I am deeply sorry for any hurt that my statement may have caused to anyone affected by the evil stain of slavery.

And totally don't care about the hurt that your statement caused anyone affected by the evil stain of homophobia.

As a Christian, I deeply deplore hatred in all its forms and urge love for all people.

Except, of course, for gay people. That kind of hatred, he loves. A lot.

Radically reconstructing the institution of marriage could readily become the defining issue of social justice in the 21st century, especially if such a radical change occurs through the abuse of power by activist judges.

In addition to his ignorance of history, the Pastor shows a clear misunderstanding of basic English words such as "radical" and "reconstruct." If gay people are allowed to get married, the effect on other marriages is nonexistent. And, checking back with that Bible the pastor claims to love so much, I'll wager that the real defining social justice issue of the 21st century is still poverty.

Even a brief study of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas reveals the dangers of judicial activism to the institution of marriage and to the most basic civil rights of association, free speech and religious liberty.

To come to this ridiculous conclusion, one would have to do a really, really brief study of Lawrence v. Texas. That or be a graduate of the Liberty College law school. It's clear that since Lawrence v. Texas was decided, that marriage, freedom of association, freedom of speech and religious liberty haven't been affected one iota. The law that Wicker favors -- a constitutional ban on gay marriage -- goes much further towards violating these rights. The Constitution doesn't grant a right for straight people to get married. It grants the right to citizens. It also grants the right for you to associate (which includes legal association, such as marriage) with whomever you choose. And what about religions that support gay marriage, wouldn't Wicker's favored law be discriminatory towards those religions? (The answer is yes).

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia rightly indicated that this ruling now defines personhood on the basis of sexuality and has enormous implications for marriage and the home.

The same Scalia who is a big fan of the orgy? (Again, the answer is yes). What are these "enormous implications" we always hear about? They've been talked about so much I wonder what they are? they certainly can't be the other things that Wicker talked about in this letter, since you'd have to be really, really dumb to think that gay marriage would hurt straight marriage, so I wonder what he's really talking about? Maybe the big implication would be that it would be harder for hatemongers to practice their hate?

As in some other countries, those who hold to traditional marriage could be prosecuted for “hate speech” if they publicly speak out.

Ah, I was right. All he really cares about is protecting his right to be a bigot. And, again based on history, "traditional" marriage would be polygamy. Also, I'd suggest that the Pastor look up the legal definition of "hate speech," since it differs with what he is saying here.

Destroying the institution of marriage will affect every person of every race, every family, every local community and state, every school district, legislature, courtroom, classroom and board room in America. Such a watershed issue cannot be diminished in its significance.

Again, there will be no destruction. And even if there were, it certainly wouldn't affect every person. It wouldn't affect nonmarried people much at all. And it wouldn't affect anyone who really loved their spouse, since that love would really kind of go beyond a ceremony or piece of paper or contract. True love is in the heart and in the mind, not in the Pastor's strange definitions of words. And it's incredibly clear that gay marriage would have no effect on school districts, legislatures, courtrooms, classrooms or boardrooms. In fact, there isn't even any form of stretched logic to validate that claim. It's just plain nonsense. You can, it must be said, diminish the significance of a watershed issue by engaging in nonsensical, inflated hyperbole.

It is incumbent on the people of Florida and every state to do all they can to make a clear constitutional statement of intention in support of the traditional definition of marriage as the union of only a man and woman.

Actually, no such thing is incumbent, particularly, since that isn't the traditional definition of marriage. Besides, such a state law would clearly conflict with the United States Constitution, so pursuing this is a waste of time and resources that could go towards better things. Like that whole "helping out the poor" thing. If you didn't notice, Pastor, the economy sucks and people are really in real trouble. Not fantasyland trouble based on things that are actually already illegal in Florida.

While we offer love to all, may true patriots and lovers of truth never turn a deaf ear or blind eye to evil as once happened during those years of slavery.

Again, the Pastor is having problem with basic definitions here. The word "all" would include gay people. "Never," as in "never turn a deaf ear or blind eye," would include bigotry towards gay people. History has shown, though, that people who call themselves true patriots almost never are. And, really, does anyone "love" the truth? The truth quite frequently hurts. And it quite frequently sucks. Like the truth that Pastor Hayes Wicker and his supporters are hatemongers who are seeking to advance their own radical political agenda by attempting to marginalize gay American citizens.

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