BY DON NELSON
If you ever had a doubt regarding the conservative rightwing religious intent as to how our government needs to be reconstructed – you only have to look at the latest developments in the Land of Fallinstan.
It is necessary to go back to the first step in a series of steps that have led to this place of national disgrace.
“Oklahoma Question 711 of 2004 is an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. The referendum was approved by 76% of the voters. Additionally, it is the only such amendment that establishes criminal penalties for issuing a marriage licence in violation of its provisions.
The text of the amendment states:
[a.] Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. Neither this Constitution nor any other provision of law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
[b.] A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another state shall not be recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of the marriage.
[c.] Any person knowingly issuing a marriage license in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” [Wikipedia]
This codified what people the likes of Sally Kern, Ralph Shortey, T.W. Shannon, Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin, Tom Coburn, James Lankford and James Inhofe – to mention just a few – support.
The tactic is, and will remain, to codify – make something a statement of law or of Constitutional nature – all measures that the extreme conservative religious right deem necessary in order that actions can be taken to enforce said laws.
What has transpired in Oklahoma and in other T-Publican-controlled states – not governed but controlled – is the beginning of reconstructing secular governances into Theocratic States.
We now have restrictions on citizens designed with the intent of placing undue hardship on them for the sake of a minority view of religious correctness.
It is not a new phenomena, this move toward righteous behavior. It is as old as recorded history. It was the dream of John Calvin to structure society in such a way as to make everyone compliant with his particular interpretation of “righteousness.”
Today we have people like Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins and the late Jerry Falwell pressing forward with a theocratic vision of American Society.
Theocracy has never succeeded as a just system of governing. It has, historically and currently, always oppressed a minority. The presence of xenophobia always runs hand-in-hand with the desire to control the masses.
Minorities have almost always served as scapegoats for those desiring theocratic systems. Theocracy can also be called tyranny, dictatorship, and monarchy.
Those titles all refer to what drove the earliest colonist to brave the dangers of travelling to a different place and a new hope. Interestingly, along with those that wanted to be free from religious tyranny came those desiring to establish a new religious tyranny.
It has been an ongoing struggle throughout our history – keeping religion and government separate. The Founding Fathers had first-hand experience with the foibles and dangers of allowing religion to influence governance and government taking control of religion.
Oklahoma is slap in the midst of such a struggle.
For most people who attend religious services and sing hymns of faith, it seems hardly a dangerous thing to do. How can it be bad to want to “do good?” Yet it is that very desire that threatens the fabric of not only our state, but also the tnation. The “doing of good” it seems depends on whose “good” you are doing.
I know many Oklahomans want to appear religious and faithful. That’s fine and dandy. You can dress the part, talk the part and still not understand that what you are supporting is in some ways the very opposite of what you proclaim to believe.
The state of Oklahoma is drifting toward a ditch that will be very difficult to climb out of. Once the laws are written, once the minorities are denied, once the quality of education has been reduced to a minimal level, once the revenues and support structures are whittled away – one tiny little scrap at a time – we will look up and wonder how it all happened and when.
How it happened – many good citizens of this state decided to allow it. When it happened – look around you – it is what you are experiencing.
If you are OK with that, then “God Bless you, sweety.”
– Don Nelson lives in Lawton, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer