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Richard J. Rosendall Headshot

Days of Miracle and Wonder

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"These are the days of miracle and wonder," sang Paul Simon in "The Boy in the Bubble," from the 1986 album Graceland. He was not talking about the quest for marriage equality -- few did in the '80s -- but I can't help but recall that line as the anti-gay Family Research Council makes a harsh, desperate and inadvertently comical plea for a miracle of its own.

While attorneys prepare to go before the Supreme Court to debate the right of gay people to marry and have our marriages recognized by the U.S. government, FRC is urging its members to pray, "May those arguing on behalf of same-sex 'marriage' present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way. May they fail to gain traction in the minds of the Justices."

What follows are citations from the Bible, which FRC presumably finds more persuasive than court cases or the U.S. Constitution. Of course, federal courts were not set up for biblical exegesis, but the folks at FRC don't want legal arguments; they want God's intervention.

They cite 1 Samuel 2:9: "[T]he wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness." Because audio recordings of the oral arguments will be made public, we will be able to hear for ourselves whether the attorneys on the side of marriage equality are all struck dumb. But FRC is making a subjective judgment as to where the wickedness lies. Personally, I wish Justice Scalia would be quiet.

They cite Proverbs 22:28: "Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors." What? Oh, I get it: "Don't mess with tradition." I hate to break it to FRC, but a significant boundary stone was moved on July 4, 1776. What medieval theocracy do they think they are in?

They cite chapter 20 of Leviticus, and not just the notorious verse 13 but the whole chapter, which lists divine decrees of death for several other groups of people, including adulterers, mediums and children who curse their parents. Why invoke those items if you are not serious about them? Is it the word of God that all must obey or isn't it? Furthermore, Leviticus 20:13 does not forbid me from marrying my boyfriend; it says that we should be killed. To invoke harsh biblical edicts without intending to carry them out may be merciful, but it is incoherent.

As it happens, I can cite scripture too. See Matthew 22:21: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

See Acts 10:46: "For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God." Judging by their output, the folks at FRC have the gift of tongues without an interpreter.

See 1 Corinthians 13:1-2: "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." We love. That is unconquerable.

FRC, you have no monopoly on religion. The life of the spirit comes in many flavors and tongues. You cannot control it all. Watch the video of Paul Simon's performance of "The Boy in the Bubble" in Zimbabwe. Near the start, seven boys are dancing atop a wall. You can attack their dancing, perhaps, but the source of the dancing, like the impulse to love, is beyond your reach.

You are losing, Family Research Council. If you cannot lose gracefully, at least try to pray over your own sins and not those of your neighbors (or even their attorneys). See Matthew 7:3-5.

A version of this piece appeared in Bay Windows and Metro Weekly.