Sunday, April 19, 2015

Now, Let's Deny That Sacrament To Some People

"Bartender, a double Prestone, and see what the pundits in the backroom will have," periodically states one of America's most colorful bloggers, which is Piercian for "I feel like my head is going to explode."

The saying came to mind as I skimmed Ted Cruz's announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in March that he was running for President and found him declaring "imagine a president who says 'I will honor the Constitution, and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.'"

Ignore the non sequitur that Iran being allowed to acquire, or prohibited from acquiring, a nuclear weapon has anything to do with the United States Constitution. Presumably, Cruz was talking about something like the Affordable Care Act, which he vowed for the 457th time he would abolish upon being elected President. Legislation that has granted millions of Americans health insurance, millions more preventive care, and blocked insurance companies from throwing sick people off their insurance presents a grave threat to the Republic.

But it was in that same speech Cruz declared "Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life... and to uphold the sacrament of marriage."

Cruz was interrupted both after his reference (or what the activists rightly assume is a reference) to abortion and after his reference (or what the activists accurately believe is a reference) to same-sex marriage. Were the lights not guaranteed to evoke applause, one could only come to the conclusion that the senator from Texas is confused.

I am not referring to "the sanctity of  human life," which is broken when a woman's pregnancy is ended between fertilization and implantation, for it would be a little much to expect a conservative to admonish God (or even  nature) for ending human life, or its potential.  Rather, it's "to uphold the sacrament of marriage."

Cruz, who says "I’m Cuban, Irish and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist.” is the son of an outspoken evangelical pastor in Texas, and has proclaimed "We have never seen an administration with such hostility toward religious faith." Perhaps he ought to be less concerned with the faith of others and more concerned with his own, given that

The cornerstone of Reformation theology developed by Martin Luther, then adapted by John Calvin on its way to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, was the idea that human beings could not ourselves determine what God had marked as sure indicators of God’s grace in us. Rather, Luther argued that scripture alone (sola scriptura) pointed to what God has ordained as the holy rites essential to the salvation of every Christian—these being Baptism and Eucharist only.

If Ted Cruz believes, contrary to his (Protestant) faith, that marriage is a sacrament, he ought at least to acknowledge that he departs from his religion in that matter. So, too, should he not continue to con his followers by implying that same-sex marriage should be resisted because it is a sacrament. (Below, Cruz talks about the issue.)

The closest secular equivalent to a "sacrament" would be "fundamental right." According to Ted Olson (albeit not a disinterested observer), the United States Supreme Court has on 15 occasions found marriage to be a fundamental right- and it probably has thus claimed more often than that. Into this breach steps Senator Ted Cruz, who tells evangelical Christians marriage is a "sacrament" and that sanctioning same-sex marriage would be "rampant judicial activism. It will be lawlessness, it will be fundamentally illegitimate.”

(Of course, if it were not for Ted Olson, George W. Bush probably would not have been installed as President in the December, 2000/ January, 2001 coup. Heckuva job, Teddie.)

A law curtailing a fundamental right is to be subject to the "strict scrutiny" ssm bans cannot withstand and the US Supreme Court this summer probably will strike down all such state laws. It may do so on equal protection or on due process (citing "liberty interests") grounds or both, but it will be predicated on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment- of that United States Constitution Cruz believes President Obama is destroying but which Cruz says he "will honor."

If any Justice has a sense of irony (doubtful), he or she will note in the majority or concurring opinion that most same-sex marriage critics (however ludicrously) believe marriage to be a sacrament, perhaps even a God-given right. With friends like the Texas senator- and those of similar beliefs- gay marriage opponents need no enemies.

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