The California Supreme Court is being hit with numerous lawsuits regarding Proposition 8, the anti-American constitutional revision disguised as an amendment voters passed November 4 to take civil-marriage rights away from GLBT citizens. Most of the cases rightly oppose the measure, and the high court has agreed to hear and consider them. One amicus brief I didn't see on the docket (which means the court may or may not choose to hear it) comes from San Diego's Kingdom of Heaven World Divine Mission, a right-wing, evangelical church devoted to the "worldwide divine government on Earth" that purports to be speaking for the case's true plaintiff: God.
The purpose of the suit is to ensure Prop 8 remains in effect and that the rules that KoH's faithful reign over everyone in California under force of secular law. Given the wording of the brief itself, it appears the church's hope is to scare the bejesus out of the high court justices so that they will bend before the will of the KoH deity.
From the church's brief:
Acting on behalf of the Almighty Eternal Creator, who is holding sole ownership to His creations, all planets, including the earth and everything above, below and on it, myself is His heiress, and the Kingdom of Heaven World Divine Mission (also known as Rebuild My Church Divine Mission), a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of California, submit this Amicus Curiae brief to address the legal standard for granting "yes" on Propisition 8, passed with 52% of California voters' votes, as the State of California Constitution Amendment: "Marriage between one man and one woman only!"
Much of the argument is based on the notion that the will of the people should always win the day. (This, of course, ignores the judicial role to protect unpopular minorities from the tyranny of a bigoted majority.) The brief notes that since the will of the 52% who voted Yes on 8 obeyed the will of the Almighty Eternal Creator as expressed in the old and new testaments of the Bible, it should be upheld no matter what. Would KoH have filed a case if 52% of the people had voted against Prop 8? I assume so: As the brief later argues, the will of the people is not really the point: It's the will of God as the church interprets it, and no religious or secular court on Earth has the right to pass a law that God wouldn't like.
So why should a secular court bow to the will of God as interpreted by this church? KoH testifies that we will be subject to numerous calamities if it doesn't. The document recounts a litany of horrors you need to read to appreciate fully. Combined with the notion that those of us who think differently will face problems ranging from financial instability and mental deterioration to death and terrorist attacks are reminders of the US's sinfulness: Bush's Iraq occupation, Bill Clinton's and Eliot Spitzer's infidelities, abortion, school shootings, and the separation of church from state. (Seriously — this could have been written by Pat Robertson!)
Let's hope the California Supreme Court justices read the brief in full. Even if they ultimately opt to toss it, the Kingdom of Heaven's brief could turn out to be a valuable tool for No on 8 supporters. The document clearly states the problem with Proposition 8 — opposition to marriage equality is based primarily on rules set by certain religious institutions. It says that in the church's view, the state — which is supposed to refrain from using any religion to govern over our pluralistic society — must rule using God's law. That is the total opposite of the anti-Prop 8 case: The state — a secular institution — is not supposed to give preference to one group of citizens over another or give one group of citizens the power to take rights away from another on the basis of religious opinion.
Discriminating on the basis of religion — essentially having the state punish believers and nonbelievers alike under civil law based on one set of religious opinions — is wrong. It's immoral. It's anti-American.
The fact is that we are not dealing with religious marriage here. The subject is civil marriage, an institution governed by the state. KoH will not be forced to preside over gay weddings; it is and will be free to discriminate within its walls. But how dare a church or religious group insist that a state constitution — a secular document — be revised for the purpose of discriminating on the basis of religious belief? Should an atheist heterosexual couple have to bow to God or get the deity's blessing to be married in a courthouse? KoH and other houses of worship can have their holy matrimony — all those of us seeking equality under civil law want is civil marriage. And no, civil unions won't do if hets can get civil marriage — separate but equal is not equal. Knowing that, it is obvious: If the American promise of equality for all under law is ever to be achieved, Prop 8 must be repealed.
Let us pray (or hope) the justices get the message and do their job: Protect the minority from the tyranny of the religionist majority.
(Thanks to SistersTalk for the pointer.)
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