The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition (IFFC) held its 12th Annual Spring Kickoff on Friday. The guest of honor (I can’t say “big draw” for reasons that will become apparent in a moment) was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is, of course, Ron Paul’s son.
There were several other luminaries there as well: Chuck Grassley, Steve King, Ralph Reed. Grassley talked about Christianity being under attack. Steve King talked about Christianity being under attack. Ralph Reed talked about Romney defeating Obama. The Iowa Republican reports that “The Ron Paul supporters in the crowd who still think he has a chance of winning the GOP nomination did not like those lines.”
But it is Rand Paul’s speech that interests me here. Last night, Sarah Jones wrote that where marriage equality is concerned, Republicans must evolve or die. We apparently have our answer from Rand Paul: he is choosing not to evolve. He is choosing to act like a third grade boy instead. We know he’s not: he knew something his crowd did not, obviously, who Dostoyevsky is and about “All Quiet on the Western Front”, references that bored his audience, so he went all Republican bully instead. Declining to address Obama’s decision to support marriage equality on its merits, he made fun of them saying: ”Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer.”
I did not know you could have a “gay” view on marriage. This is, literally speaking, a third grader alternative to intelligent discussion.You all know how it goes: “That’s gay!” or “You’re gay!” to which the immature response is, “Oh yeah? You’re gayer!”
On the one hand, we have President Obama very eloquently articulating why he has decided to announce his support for marriage equality. The president said,
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
On the other, we have Rand Paul, who says, ”Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer.”
It’s nice to know the Republicans are represented by such people. It will make our task easier in November. Schoolyard bullies are never popular.
Watch the video from the Iowa Republican (Paul begins talking about Obama and marriage at about the 5:20 mark):
Paul’s immaturity got big laughs from the underwhelming crowd of 300, which the Iowa Republican reveals, consisted mostly of “SCC members, politicians and political staffers”. See their numbers and tremble:
Channeling that third grade bully, Paul went on to the amusement of his crowd of sycophants:
“It did kind of bother me though that he used the justification for it in a biblical reference,” he continued to more laughter. “He said the biblical golden rule caused him to be for gay marriage. And I’m like what version of the Bible is he reading?…I don’t know what version he’s getting it from.”
He continued: “Now that doesn’t mean we need to be harsh and mean and hate people…But that doesn’t mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions. We’ve got 6,000 years of tradition.”
Well, not really 6,000 years. We have about 2,000 years of Christian tradition tied precariously to about 1200 years of Jewish tradition, making about 3,000+ years, give or take – and for most of the 2000 years Christians hated and killed and forcibly converted Jews. Even the hated Romans never outlawed Judaism, not even after three revolts. Of course, they didn’t outlaw Christianity either.
But then we know the GOP isn’t good at math and fundamentalists are even worse so what’s a third grade bully going to do? We should ask Paul which tradition he is talking about: the hating Pagan tradition (synonymous in fevered Christian imaginations with sexual immorality) or the hating Jew (they killed the Lord) tradition. It’s easy to get confused.
And I’m not surprised that Paul didn’t get the reference to the Golden Rule (Obama’s reference was to Matthew 7:12), which is of course much older than either Judaism or Christianity. Difficult as it is for religious bigots to admit, morality, loving your neighbor, philanthropy, have all been around for a lot longer than the Bible, which didn’t even exist until more than a century after Jesus’ death.
Paul could have taken Amy Sullivan’s route in the Washington Post, that “Obama’s case for same-sex marriage shows that invoking faith isn’t just for conservatives anymore” but that’s not as much fun as calling the other guy a heretic, is it?
The new Golden Rule is, of course: “Do unto others. And if they complain, cry persecution.”
But let’s not nitpick, because Paul wasn’t through. Channeling his inner Santorum, he said it was time for traditionalists to stand together to “save the Republic” and that the traditional family unit needed to be defended.
“The family is a really important thing. We shouldn’t just give up on it,” he said.
Because as we all know, fixing the family will fix the economy and pull millions of Americans back to work, get them back into underfunded schools, put food in their bellies the Republicans have taken away, and magically make our air safe to breathe and our fracked up water safe to drink! “”Atta boy!” you want to shout.
Once your head stops spinning, of course.
Of course, just to make sure we don’t forget he hates women as much as he hates gays and lesbians, Paul reminded the crowd of his already serious conservative cred:
“We’ve introduced the Life at Conception Act, the Pro-Life Act, the No Taxpayer Funding forAbortion Act, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, I’m also co-sponsor of the Human Life Amendment,” Paul said. “I’ve also been trying to defund Planned Parenthood. Anybody here for that?”
Look, it’s not that hard to figure out: our country needs help and that help can only come from the government in the form of spending. We already know from Europe’s example that austerity is a one-way road to irrelevancy. Rand Paul’s solution is to take one thing already proven not to work and add to it two things that have nothing to do with the problem: embrace that austerity and to tell gays and lesbians they can’t get married and women that they have no right to their own vaginas.
I honestly don’t have anything to say to this. What can you say? I think Rand Paul has said it all, don’t you?
Note: While we’re on the subject, take a look at Five myths about gay marriage in this morning’s Washington Post. Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day!
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.