Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chickens, marriage equality & full-time atheism

"Don't count your chickens before they're hatched," Granny always advised --- and that's kind of the way I'm feeling about rulings on same-sex marriage now pending after yesterday's arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. Hopeful, but cautious.

The justices, considering consolidated cases, will rule most likely during June on two issues --- the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage and whether states where bans are in place must recognize legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. A ruling for marriage equality on the first question also would answer the second question.

There's been a good deal of optimism (from supporters of marriage equality) and dread (from opponents) in the days leading up to Tuesday's arguments. But the truth of the matter, is --- no one knows, including (perhaps) some of the justices, right now.

If the rulings favor marriage equality, there's going to be considerable screeching and hollering about "activist" judges. The thing to remember here is that a judge is "activist" only if you disagree with his or her decision.


I'm wondering, too --- should the decisions favor marriage equality --- if those who have been praying fervently against it (including that handful up on the courthouse lawn a few weeks ago) are going to consider the outcome a cosmic "yes" to LGBT equality from the great I Am.

Most likely not. After due deliberation, the preachers most likely will decide God's negative reaction to their petitions was Barack Obama's fault --- or Hillary Clinton's.


I had to get out my "Top 10 Reasons for Converting to Atheism" list and do a little updating after the weekend Faith & Freedom summit at Point of Grace Church in Waukee. Some 1,500 evangelicals gathered Saturday evening to bow their heads with the likes of Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee as prayers against marriage equality and for the Republican party wafted heavenward.

That list is not for my benefit --- I enjoy going to church too much to consider full-time atheism. But it's always interesting to consider how others perceive the church, and increasingly it's coming across at least to younger folks through gatherings like that big weekend prayer meeting at Point of Grace.

Christians collectively, of course, always have been the top reason to abandon faith and run like hell out of the church --- although Islam is coming in a close second these days. But I like to personalize it a little more.

I've now shifted Franklin Graham --- whose major accomplishment in life has been to survive childbirth and assume his daddy's surname --- from midway through the list to No. 10 since he's not running for president.

It was a close race, but for now Mike Huckabee remains No. 1. Although Bobby Jindal is inching upward.


And of course, in light of recent hubbubs among GOP hopefuls, I've been asking myself if I'd attend a mixed-gender marriage and/or reception if invited to do so.

The answer is "yes" at least so far as the ceremony is concerned --- even though I find that lifestyle choice confusing and somewhat distasteful.

I'll pass on the reception, however. Herds of socializing heterosexuals, especially when they've been drinking, frighten me.

I've just done quick mental calculations regarding the success rate of holy unions I've witnessed in the past --- the rate is running just above 50 percent.

So from now on, if gifts are required, I've decided to demand a receipt guaranteeing full refund plus interest if the marriage survives for fewer than three years.

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