How to sell a lie: First, convince your audience that you, and only you have the truth. Then feed them half truths and manipulated data to build their trust and make them reliant on your teet for every single bit of information they receive. Then bring out the big lies.
This is how the far right has been convinced that churches will be forced to marry gays — there’s not a single shred of evidence to support this claim, yet every single wingnut pundit and commentator says this without impunity. Not only is there not a single shred of evidence to support the claim, there’s not a single gay rights group or a single activist that even remotely WANTS to force churches to marry gays.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Openly gay California State Senator Mark Leno filed Senate Bill 1140, which specifically would specifically protect churches if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
Although the bill clarifies and reinstates rights already protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, it also states that marriage is a civil contract, not a religious one, and should not interfere with church beliefs and policies.
Besides protecting churches, the aim of the bill seems to be to make it easier for opponents to change their minds and lend their support to same-sex marriage, if it is made certain that it would not enforce churches to marry gay and lesbian couples.
This piece from the Christian Post is a refreshing change from what we normally get from right wing bloggers and websites, especially on the issue of marriage equality. For example, when the Pentagon established policy that would allow chaplains to marry people of the same sex, it suddenly became all about forcing chaplains to marry gay couples.
Take this post from Breitbart for example. The lead paragraph sets out the claim front and center:
The stage is being set so that military Chaplains can and most likely will be ordered to perform same sex marriage in contradiction to their religious beliefs.
I wish I could say that this is an extreme example of right wing blogger tactics, but it’s sadly become the norm lately. When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats opposed a measure to “ensure that military chaplains are not forced to perform same-sex marriages,” they were immediately attacked for “wanting to force chaplains to perform gay weddings.”
Of course, when we look at this thing called “reality,” it becomes a far different tale. The reason that the Democrats opposed the bill was because it was completely unnecessary. In fact, the Pentagon specifically said that chaplains were “permitted” to marry same-sex couples in states that have marriage equality.
Then there’s this guy. Less than a minute into a four minute video rant, AlphonZo Rachel makes the asinine claim that “liberals have no respect for the First Amendment” and that “they do not believe in freedom of religion.” With one factually wrong statement (read: lie) after another, Mr. Rachel piles on enough excrement into a pile so large, my dog is wondering why I don’t just rub his nose in it.
Which is to be expected from a video entitled “Liberals Hate the First Amendment and Religious Freedom.” Yeah, I know. The stupid. It hurts. The most relevant dropping is a little more than 45 seconds into his rant, he makes the claim:
“Though they try to deny it, their objectives will ultimately lead to churches being forced to marry same sex couples. See, that is a violation of religious freedom.”
Which is, of course, not even remotely true. We don’t have to “try to deny it,” big guy. We go out of our way to make sure people understand that marriage equality is about civil marriage, not religious sacraments. Leave it to a hip-looking blowhard like Mr. Rachel to not only lie through his teeth about marriage equality, but to give it a “cool” flair that almost sounds sensible.
A lie, no matter how presented, is still a lie. A turd, no matter how polished, is still a turd.
I’ve spent a bit of time actively looking for people who want to impose same-sex weddings on the Church. So far, bupkis. The closest thing I’ve found is a series of debates in the United Kingdom where the law separating church and state is a little more ambiguous than it is in our Constitution.
The simple fact is this: gays have no desire to impose same-sex nuptials on the church. Military chaplains have the ability to perform weddings — or not — for any couple they choose. They won’t be drummed out for preaching that homosexual relationships are sinful. The sky won’t turn green, and the ground is not going to open up underneath the White House. Life will go on.
When we get our information only from one set of sources — all of which have an anti-gay agenda — it’s important to view both sides of the issue and understand that dealing with human sexuality is a complex, multi-faceted discussion that goes far beyond “tab-A goes into slot-B.”
Reality is rarely simple. Lies, on the other hand, are almost too simple — but they require a full network of complex layers to defend and protect them. Once we dare to look beyond the falsehoods and into the truth, the house of cards come tumbling down.
I don’t blame people for believing the lies. I do blame them for being too lazy to learn the truth.