The Christian Right Is Panicking Because They Know They Are Losing
A pro-gay marriage protester stands in front of the US Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Christians will be “forced underground.”
– Pastor Jim Garlow
Legalizing gay marriage will spell "the death of capitalism."
– Matthew Hagee
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage it "will have lost its legitimacy in its entirety."
– Matt Barber & Mat Staver
Marching against same-sex marriage felt like being involved in the “Civil Rights Movement.”
– Brian Brown
Gays and lesbians “hate God’s law and therefore they do hate God.”
– Peter LaBarbera
If the above statements from members of the conservative evangelical Christian commentariat sound ludicrous yet chilling, outlandish yet eerily familiar, that is because over the years we have become quite familiar with their incessant anti-gay vitriol. However, the more interesting aspect of this collection of off-the-wall commentary by Pastor Jim Garlow, Matthew Hagee, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and Mat Staver, who is also vice president of the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, the National Organization for Marriage’s president Brian Brown, and Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, is their fear that the tide of public opinion has turned against them.
As People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported, Garlow told Christian radio talk show host Janet Mefferd that gay people really don’t want to get married, but rather they are determined to “destroy marriage” and “force us to affirm an immoral behavior”: “If same-sex so-called marriage is established as the law of the land, many of the people who are listening to my voice right now, not maybe immediately but at some point in the future, if they are followers of Christ, will be forced underground. Their buildings will be taken away from them, many of their rights will be taken away from them.”
Matthew Hagee, the son of pastor John Hagee, he of the multi-million dollar San Antonio, Texas-based media ministry, warned on “Hagee’s Hotline” that, "The only relationship in natural law that can produce consumers is the relationship between a man and a woman. When you create a society that does not recognize this relationship as the foundation of its existence and you cease to produce what is required to sustain your economy, you will not survive."
On their "Faith and Freedom" radio show, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and Mat Staver declared that any Supreme Court decision other than one that quashes marriage equality "will be the nail in the coffin of the credibility of the entire judicial system…”
The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, whose organization has been trying to drive a wedge between the African American community and the LGBTQ community for the past several years, also spoke to Mefferd and told her that while he “was not alive during the Civil Rights Movement [the March 26 anti-gay rally in Washington, D.C.] is what is must have felt like” to be involved with the Movement.
Brown added: “… people were just so ecstatic to stand up and they did it in a loving, respectful way but they weren’t going to be silenced. I couldn’t be more happy with what happened today, I think it’s a huge step forward for the pro-marriage movement and I don’t think it’s going to be lost on the Supreme Court justices that we were there and we were there in force.”
LaBarbera, who has been fanning the flames of anti-gay bigotry for years, told Mefferd that “If you want to understand the homosexual movement, .it’s a movement at war with nature, with God and with truth.”
The Religious Right group Government Is Not God PAC recently warned that if the Supreme Court strikes down Proposition 8 and DOMA then “religious freedom, freedom of speech and the First Amendment will die”: “If homosexuals win, the Bill of Rights dies and religious liberty/free speech will die with it,” GING PAC maintained. “We either fight this evil or see our children and grandchildren brainwashed and/or coerced into accepting homosexuality as the new normal in our society.”
This is by no means the last we will hear from these guys. They’ll be rocking and railing against the gay for many years to come. Regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, as time passes they and their conservative Christian comrades (and there are plenty of them to go around) will become more and more isolated. In some cases, martyrdom what there hoping for. After all, that formula has paid the bills for the past several decades and will likely keep the lights on at those ministries and organizations for years to come.
Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.