Can You Learn More Civics From Fox News Or From "Funny Or Die"?
Obama led the congregation in a rendition of "Amazing Grace" during his eulogy for Reverend Pinckney. Ed Pilkington was in Charlestona covering Obama's eulogy for The Guardian:
He referred to the gun rampage by an avowed white supremacist as an act of terrorism, linking it to America’s long history of racist church bombings and arsons.Over on the fringes of the far right-- on Hate Talk Radio, on Fox News-- extremists were talking about secession, armed resistance, the end of the world... and, of course, asking the suckers in their base for contributions to carry out their work. In the decision that finally legalized same-sex marriage, even some the dissenting Republican justices hinted that the decision smacked of treason. The four right-wing dissenters poured fuel on the fire of controversy over marriage equality with invective and hyperbole, accusing the Court's majority of a "putsch." "Thus," explained the Daily Beast, "the unprecedented calls of elected officials for open revolt against the Supreme Court-- a shocking display of treason-- are now accompanied by calls from within the Court itself that Obergefell is illegitimate, and the Supreme Court itself no longer worthy of full respect."
He said the shooting was not a random act, “but a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.” He said the alleged shooter, who he did not name, had imagined his deed would “incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion,” as “an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.”
In the course of a eulogy in which Obama had the audacity to sing Amazing Grace in front of a rapt audience of 5,500 mostly African Americans in the College of Charleston TD Arena, the president also made a robust case for the tearing down of the Confederate flag. As debate continues to rage over the enduring presence of the old secessionist symbol across much of the deep south, Obama said bluntly that the flag was a “reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.”
The flag did not cause the murder of nine churchgoers at a Bible-study meeting on 17 June, Obama said. “But as people from all walks of life-- Republicans and Democrats-- have acknowledged, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride.”
He said taking down the flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s state capitol in Columbia “would not be an act of political correctness, it would not be an insult to the valour of Confederate soldiers, it would simply be an acknowledgement that the cause for which they fought-- the cause of slavery-- was wrong.”
Speaking in front of political leaders from both sides of the partisan divide, including Hillary Clinton and the Republican leader John Boehner, as well as African American household names such as Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton, Obama also called for action to address what he called the “mayhem” of gun violence in America.
He also touched on police brutality towards black communities, endemic poverty in many African American neighbourhoods and Republican attempts to introduce new voting laws that would make it more difficult for people to cast their vote.
Bobby Jindal was the first of the Republican Party presidential hopefuls to embrace the idea, calling for abolishing the Supreme Court. Jeremy Peters reported on the responses from the right-wing justices for today's NY Times:
Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, said that while he was certain that “some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag,” he was determined not to bow to a decision he saw as illegitimate. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court,” he said Friday.Justin Amash (R-MI), a Republican but a thorn in the side of the party's strategic careerism, more a libertarian and reformer than a doctrinaire party hack, expressed a very different view from most of his party's conference on Facebook:
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said he would push for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to continue prohibiting same-sex marriage. “No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience,” he said. “We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.”
Others tried to shift the debate to the safer terrain of religious tolerance.
Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, was brief and more tempered. In a statement that ran just 82 words, he said that while he believed the court had erred, he urged respect for all couples, “including those making lifetime commitments.” He then said it was crucial “to protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.”
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also criticized the decision but added, “We live in a republic and must abide by the law.” The next president, he said, must focus on protecting “the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage.” (Mr. Bush and Mr. Rubio, unlike Mr. Walker, have said they do not support a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s ruling.)
The varied reactions reflected the priorities of the Republicans seeking the presidency. Some, like Mr. Bush, are eyeing a general election in which hostility to same-sex marriage could present difficulties in winning competitive states. Others, like Mr. Huckabee, Mr. Walker and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana-- who said Friday that marriage was ordained by God “and no earthly court can alter that”-- are focused on winning over social conservatives in early nominating states like Iowa and South Carolina. A few, like Mr. Rubio, seem equally mindful of both.
Throughout history, different cultures have defined marriage according to their own customs and practices. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and atheists do not share identical views on marriage. In fact, significant differences regarding marriage exist even within Christianity.And that brings us to Coheed and Cambria, a progressive rock band from New York formed 10 years ago. If you haven't had an opportunity to listen to their latest yet, it's at the top of this post, courtesy of Funny Or Die. One-upping Fox News, they performed an acoustic song that borrows copiously from Scalia's insane dissents on the two decisions. If you've been over at Amash's Facebook page, you might want to check out what the Children of the Fence are saying about the Scalia song at Coheed and Cambria's Facebook page.
What makes marriage traditional is not its adherence to a universal definition but rather that it is defined by personal faith, not by government. For thousands of years, marriage flourished without a universal definition and without government intervention. Then came licensing of marriage. In recent decades, we've seen state legislatures and ballot initiatives define marriage, putting government improperly at the helm of this sacred institution.
Those who care about liberty should not be satisfied with the current situation. Government intervention in marriage presents new threats to religious freedom and provides no advantages, for gay or straight couples, over unlicensed (i.e., traditional) marriage. But we shouldn't blame the Supreme Court for where things stand.
To the extent that Americans across the political spectrum view government marriage as authoritative and unlicensed marriage as quaint, our laws must treat marriage-- and the corresponding legal benefits that attach-- as they would any other government institution. So, while today's Supreme Court opinion rests upon the false premise that government licensure is necessary to validate the intimate relationships of consenting adults, I applaud the important principle enshrined in this opinion: that government may not violate the equal rights of individuals in any area in which it asserts authority.
Barney Frank had a comment worth reading this morning about Scalia's warped homophobia. You can read the whole thing at the link, but here's a taste to give you an idea what's waiting for you: