A restraining, or protection, order is issued by a court to protect a person or an entity, or the general public, in dangerous situations involving domestic violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault. Every state in America has some form of domestic violence restraining order law, and if the subject of the restraining order does something the court ordered them not to do, or refuses to do something the court ordered them to do, it is a violation of the court order and police are called to enforce the court’s wishes.
Nearly all conscious Americans comprehend that a longstanding rule is that only a court can issue a restraining order. However, like many things in 21st Century America, evangelicals refuse to accept that the rule of law applies to them any more than they believe the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Of course, an increasing number of Republican members of Congress, state legislatures, and governors cannot accept the Constitution either, so it was no great surprise that evangelicals followed the lead of two congressional Republicans and issued religious orders restraining the ‘wrong‘ kind of Supreme Court Justices from fulfilling their duly sworn Constitutional duty.
Within the past month, religious Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and evangelical Representative Steve King (R-IA) introduced legislation in their respective chambers of Congress to prohibit the federal judiciary from hearing or ruling on same-sex marriage cases. Since the two congressional Republicans were unsuccessful in getting their legislation passed and signed into law, the religious right took matters into its own hands and issued a reported 300,000 restraining orders against liberal Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan prohibiting them from hearing or ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges.
The case stems from the 6th Circuit Court’s decision to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky. According to their mandate in the U.S Constitution, the justices will decide whether states are required to issue marriage licenses between two people of the same sex, and whether states are required to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states under that section of the pesky document Republicans and evangelical fanatics refuse to acknowledge; the 14th Amendment guaranteeing all Americans equal rights and protections under the law.
One of the pre-eminent religious arbiters of all things relating to the Supreme law of the land, president of Abiding Truth Ministries Scott Lively, has unilaterally disqualified Justices Kagan and Ginsburg from hearing or ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges because he decided “they have committed an unparalleled breach of judicial ethics by elevating the importance of their own favored political cause of gay rights above the integrity of the court and of our nation.” As a typical religious hypocrite, Lively does not hold the conservatives on the High Court who attend churches preaching against homosexuality, or have been inordinately vocal in their opposition to gay rights to the same standards because something about god, bible, and traditional marriage. None of which have any relevance or impact whatsoever on the 14th Amendment or any part of the U.S. Constitution.
The 300,000 restraining orders that Faith2Action President Janet Porter said were due to be officially “served” on the nation’s highest Court, and delivered to the Republican church in Congress, to prevent any Supreme Court Justices from ever ruling on gay marriage were represented by 60 empty boxes. The idea was to symbolize in boxes just how “restrained” the Court is in the bigoted eyes of the religious right movement. Preacher Porter said, “We have appealed to Congress to restrain the judges, and the good news is Congress has heard our cry.” She is certain that as righteous Republicans, “Congress has the ability to remove appellate jurisdiction. What that means,” Porter asserted confidently, “is we can actually take from them their right to rule on marriage before they even rule on marriage.”
However, that is not the case in the document any sane American understands is the real law of the land. According to the Constitution’s Article Six, Clause 2, “the United States Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby” in spite of any religious edicts or attempts by Republicans in Congress to decide otherwise.
What that means for Steve King’s “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015” removing jurisdiction to rule on gay marriage from federal courts, and Ted Cruz’s “Protect Marriage from the Courts Act” prohibiting any federal court from having jurisdiction over same-sex marriage cases, is that they are invalid. The Supreme Court retains its “right to rule on marriage” and anything else the Court deems necessary despite House or Senate legislation, or 300,000 pretend restraining orders issued by religious bigots in the anti-same-sex marriage movement.
Apparently what incited Scott Lively, and Janet Porter for that matter, to attempt to ‘restrain‘ two Supreme Court Jurists from fulfilling their duty was as Lively complained, “Kagan and Ginsburg’s vividly demonstrated disposition in favor of the same-sex couples.” Lively is very angry that Justice Ginsburg officiated over the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser and economist John Roberts in 2013. Same-sex unions had been legal in the District of Columbia since 2010, and besides it is not uncommon for High Court Justices to officiate at weddings. Ginsburg even waited until after the announcement in two major Supreme Court same-sex marriage cases ruling that the federal government may not refuse to recognize legally married gay couples and reinstated a lower court ruling that found California’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.
The absurdity of religious right maniacs issuing restraining orders to prevent Supreme Court Justices from hearing or ruling on a case evangelicals cannot accept is as bizarre as Republicans in Congress introducing legislation to restrict the federal judiciary from deciding what is and what is not constitutional. However, it is a trend among the religious right Republican movement to impose its theocratic will on Americans whether by legislation legalizing discrimination disguised as religious freedom or allowing evangelicals to control and restrain women from making their own reproductive health choices.
As some claim, it may well be that issuing 300,000 restraining orders on the High Court and Congress is a desperation act on the part of frightened religious maniacs who think they are losing the war to control America. But because they are frightened and desperate, they are as dangerous as any rabid wild beast and dismissing them as anything less is a monumental error. Because like any terrified true believer, the religious right will not be dissuaded by something they regard as invalid like the U.S. Constitution.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.