The passage of California's Prop 8 comes to many as a shock, to some as a wake-up call, and to the rest of America as no real surprise. In 2000, Bush's newly formed faith-based initiative bashed the wall between church and state. Eight years of presidential evangelical indulgence has fostered anger, intellectual regression, and self-righteous divisiveness.
The church made "Yes on Prop 8" the rallying cry for those hoping to bargain for their god's favor. The proposition came wrapped in the ballot-box pork of eternal life, streets paved with gold, and redemption from sin.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book On Death and Dying, examined the psychological stages of grief specifically as they relate to the terminally ill. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance - in that order, were the phases experienced. Frightened of life's 75-year terminal illness, too many Americans are stuck in the "bargaining" stage of their mortal lives. Looking for pleasant answers in our often-brutal world, humankind has always run to religion.
Fanaticism and fundamentalism rise as fear and bargaining seek to be fortified. Criminally opportunistic church leaders offer hope in a donation, a set of beads, a grilled cheese sandwich, or a green prayer cloth (see video). For voters frightened of death, Prop 8 was one way of hedging their heavenly bet against the grim reaper's eternal dirt nap.
Ever since AIDS mobilized their community, gay Americans have fought harder to claim basic rights. The church has torn at them repeatedly as a sacrificial lamb. Citing scripture and ignoring the constitution's demand for equality, the church has led an appalling, unrelenting fight against gay America.
Time and time again, believers have gone against the golden rule, exacting statutory punishments that suffocate America's intrinsic ideals and sociological evolution. If a god does exist, he/she/it will see through the manipulative pandering and damn the church for its loathsome judgment.
Christians could play a safer card. Rather than using Americans as their negotiating tool against certain death, they'd be best to leave the final pronouncement up to their omnipresent maker. We need to stand up for the ideals of freedom and equality for all, while striving for a happily rewarding and drama-free life of our own.
Earlier in his political career when George W. Bush was faced with a "yes or no" choice in response to a court opinion, he allowed the judgement to stand, leaving his god to do the eternal damning. In 1998 Bush, then Governor of Texas was asked to halt the execution of Karla Faye Tucker. Tucker had been convicted of brutally murdering Deborah Thornton, an acquaintance, with a pickaxe. When the grisly murder was discovered, Karla's iron hand tool was still embedded deep into Thornton's heart. Thorton's boyfriend was lying next to her in a bed soaked with fetid blood; he had been beaten to death with a hammer. The brutality of the cold-blooded crime landed Tucker on Texas' death row.
Karla Faye Tucker found her god whilst awaiting death. She gained stature as one of the penal system's most strident born-again Christians. Tucker preached her bible in prison, converted desperate prisoners to Christianity, and denounced abortion, euthanasia, and, not surprisingly -- capital punishment. Pat Robertson, America's self-appointed messenger of God, along with Newt Gingrich, and Pope John Paul II befriended Tucker anointing her as an evangelical saint and media sensation.
Robertson demanded Gov. Bush hear his grandstanding appeal for her clemency. Larry King interviewed Tucker under the hot lights of prime time. The world waited for Gov. Bush to be captivated by her heavenly aura or let the court's death sentence stand. Ultimately, Bush said he weighed the factors, and not knowing what to do, would send her via lethal injection to her beloved God. Bush would leave it up to The Almighty to hash the whole thing out. No activist judges, no reversal of judicial prudence, just straight-on American justice.
As America looks toward a stronger tomorrow we acknowledge religion, and celebrate its message of eternal hope, but we should not use Americans rights as bartering tools to heaven. Those who voted for Prop 8's passage are villainously wrong, and heaven knows, someday they'll have hell to pay for it.