More on “gay marriage”: what was President Obama thinking?

The obvious question arises, what it a political decision for the President to endorse “gay marriage?” The answer is straightforward, but needs a bit of qualification. Buckle up for the ride.

Of course it was political. Everything that a politician does is a ploy of some sort and that is not being cynical. We are inclined to devalue the art of political positioning, but it is a time-honored tradition. Yes, President Obama has declined in popularity because of his decision, but that is not necessarily a signal of his righteous intentions. Now, there is a small distinction here. The President is certainly following his own moral instincts, which (sadly) closely mirror those of the typical American Christian.

The President is doing two things here, and he is pretty smart (even if one does not agree with his position). First, he is immunizing himself from criticism in November. By the time of the General Election, most of the fury will be expended and there is simply nothing new to be added. Secondly, and more important, he is also defusing many of the other moral time bombs that are always ticking away and ready to demolish any candidate of the slightest progressive inclination. How this works is pretty interesting.

President Obama knows that “gay marriage” is gaining momentum in public acceptance. We all know gay people. They are excellent folks. They have parents and siblings who are generally sympathetic. The harsh words of a few political opportunists may play in the deep south and in certain religiously attuned conclaves, but America is generally sick and tired of the abusive tone of public conversation.

This is a somewhat subtle maneuver, and people in Arkansas will hardly notice it, but the President has marginalized the Republican arguments against same gender unions. Yes, Mitt Romney will still speak out at Liberty University, but the developing GOP strategy will include a much softer stance in a larger venue. Just watch and see how much play the Republican owned and operated Fox News gives to the more inflammatory anti-gay rhetoric.

In reality, the Evangelicals have been completely abandoned by the Republican Party. There will surely be plenty of lip service to “traditional marriage,” but not in any way that might cost anybody anything. It is exactly like the abortion debate. The strategy this; lie to the Evangelicals for as long as we can get away with it. It has worked perfectly well in the “sanctity of life” debate for 30 years. For the GOP, there is only one sacred value, subsidies for the rich and corporations.

I know lots of my conservative friends will not believe this. Let me just ask a question about the Republican supposed opposition to Roe v. Wade, faint as it has always been. How’s that working out for you guys? Made any progress?

Republicans still win the White House, and probably both houses of Congress, in November. By endorsing “gay marriage,” President Obama has assured that he will not carry one single southern state and no western states except California and Oregon. Republicans will stage a strong “niche” campaign in the south and other socially conservative strongholds, but the larger image will be “the softer side of Mitt.”

This has a tremendous consequence for the Arkansas legislative races, especially in the Second District. More on that in a day or so. It should also be observed that this developing situation bodes ill for Evangelical Christians and those who profess a serious commitment to the gospel message. Does anybody still have the Holy Spirit’s phone number?


About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

8 Responses to More on “gay marriage”: what was President Obama thinking?

  1. Ben Allen says:

    lol Pat, as you know I am a conservative but NOT a republican or a member of any party. Even tho I am conservative I could care less about same sex unions because I don’t consider it any of my business. Same with abortion. Neither of those are any of my business nor are they the business of the federal government. My problem with R v W is that it’s based on a flawed constitutional principal. The SCOTUS’s imaginary “right to privacy” which is nowhere in the constitution (nor is separation of church and state). When SCOTUS started MAKING laws instead of interpreting them as they are directed to do by the muchly ignored constitution, that’s when things started to go to hell.

  2. patlynch says:

    To begin with, the question of same gender marriage is everybody’s business for the very simple and straightforward reason that it involves a binding legal contract that confers particular benefits on a certain class of people with concurrent rights and responsibilities. If it matters, which it probably doesn’t, I am somewhat sympathetic to an argument that government should not be licensing marriage in the first place and the legal aspects should be confined to regular real property issues. I presume that you would favor a legal system that permits the orderly transfer of property from the estate of a deceased person to a designated heir.

    All of the above is entirely theoretical babbling because marriage is embedded in our insurance policies (and laws), the tax codes, employment policies, and a dozen other ways we never even think about. Marriage is here to stay and it is our business.

    Privacy rights are enumerated throughout the constitution. I refer, first of all, to the Third Amendment, which forbids government from housing troops in residences. Our private religious beliefs and practices are protected in the main body (religious tests for public office) and in the First Amendment. The Fourth Amendment used to stand as a strong protection for one’s person and papers. Privacy rights are heavily presumed and favored in the constitution. It is a sorry thing that the Wars against nouns have so decreased our individual protections against government.

    The normalization of same gender marriage will provoke an avalanche of litigation, unwanted regulation and social abuse against those orthodox Christians and members of other religious traditions that hold to a different understanding of the marital state. The government may not require ministers to perform same sex weddings, but the seeds of religious persecution are being sewn. It is a damn shame.

  3. Ben Allen says:

    Well my question remains, what business is it of the “orthodox” christians if people who don’t share their views receive the same basic rights as they now enjoy. “Unwanted regulation”? You already said you’re not comfortable with the government licensing marriage. What social abuse do you see coming to “orthodox christians” (other than someone being allowed to excercise their rights in a way that the “orthodox christian” doesn’t agree with, if the government, as they should, refuses to legislate either way? How are seeds of religious persecution being sown if we merely allow others to live their live according to their beliefs? I think it’s the other way around and we would be spreading religious persecution if we attempt to legislate one groups beliefs on those who don’t hold those beliefs. The only marriage that is your business is YOURS. No one else’s and if you maintain that someone else’s choice in marriage threatens your own then I believe your marriage could stand some scrutiny. I always continue to wonder why some people thing their own beliefs are being THREATENED when someone else doesn’t agree 100% with their’s.

  4. Ben Allen says:

    Over 50% of hetero marriages end in divorce. Studies have shown that the percentage of gay couples that stay together over 10 years is markedly higher than that of hetero couples. But I guess my main question remains. Why does this threaten you?

  5. Ben Allen says:

    And I find it a bit humorous that I (a sworn conservative) is arguing on the side of allowing same sex unions with a (sworn liberal) who is against it. Just shows that you can never assume how someone will feel or believe.

  6. patlynch says:

    … and it’s a pleasure!!!

  7. Ben Allen says:

    It is! Thanks and no matter our differences in opinion I respect you as a broadcaster and a journalist.

  8. Ben Allen says:

    You probably don’t even remember the first time we met. I was getting a tour of the KARN studios and Neal introduced me to you when you walked out of the studio and the only thing you said was “How can you be in broadcasting with that name?” LOL

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