This Week In Crazy: Texas Is Nuttier Than We Thought
With the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in a landmark gay rights case, this was a big week for anti-gay nuts. Not to mention the paranoid Texans who defended their state from a federal invasion, or the preacher who took to Facebook to wage holy war against a comic book character. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing.
5. Franklin Graham
Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy and noted homophobe, took to Facebook last week to lament the fall of one of America’s most enduring heroes.
The classic comic-book superhero Iceman, aka Bobby Drake—a member of the original X-Men lineup and occasional buddy of Spider-Man—was outed as gay in a recent edition of All-New X-Men. To Graham, this move from Marvel Comics represents the latest in an insidious effort to poison the youth of today.
“This is another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle,” Graham wrote. “God’s Word says homosexuality is a sin, and we are to be on guard against all sin.”
I can understand Graham’s frustration. After all, modern comics are one of the few remaining refuges of proper, morally upright God-fearing characters. So to watch the institution of funny papers fall from grace like this… it’s just heartbreaking.
Actually, when I think about it for an entire second, the logic of this move on Marvel Comics’ part becomes clear. Since the title began in 1963, X-Men — which covers the adventures of a persecuted class of “mutants” — has always been an allegory for discrimination. So in a way, it’s the perfect venue for “indoctrinating” young people into the world of tolerance for others.
What’s more, it’s part of a pattern of high-profile comic titles making the move to becoming more inclusive: Recently, a black man assumed the shield of Captain America, a woman took up the hammer of Thor, a lesbian began patrolling Gotham City as Batwoman, and so on and so forth.
And don’t forget, Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared as himself in a 2012 issue of Superman — “indoctrinating” children into science! Comics are becoming a Born Again’s worst nightmare, aren’t they, Reverend?
4. Justice Samuel Alito and Laura Ingraham
The gay-marriage-as-slippery-slope argument is a moldy old refrain we keep hearing from opponents of same-sex marriage. (If we start letting “slippery slope” arguments control the discourse… where — oh God, WHERE — will it end?)
Nonetheless, it’s an often effective distraction. You simply posit gay marriage as the catalyst for a satanic chain reaction in sexual politcs that ends with the widespread acceptance of whatever scares you the most — whether it’s polyamory or bestiality or worse — and here conservative pundits usually end up revealing more of their own preoccupations than saying anything remotely useful in the conversation about LGBT rights.
Perhaps it was inevitable, if a tad disappointing, that the slippery slope canard got wheeled out Tuesday morning during the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case that could settle the issue of gay marriage in this country once and for all. Justice Samuel Alito asked Mary Bonauto, the attorney arguing on behalf of the petitioners, whether four lawyers, say, could enter into a polyamorous marriage, assuming gay couples are allowed to marry.
Justice Alito: These are 4 people, 2 men and 2 women, it’s not – it’s not the sort of polygamous relationship, polygamous marriages that existed in other societies and still exist in some societies today. And let’s say they’re all consenting adults, highly educated. They’re all lawyers. What would be the ground under — under the logic of the decision you would like us to hand down in this case? What would be the logic of denying them the same right?
Laura Ingraham went on her show Wednesday to push the non-argument one step further: If four lawyers can marry each other, why not brothers and sisters? I mean, they’re all consenting adults, right?
“I think we’ve moved on beyond gay marriage. That’s transgenderism, and then it’ll be polyamory, maybe some type of — of incestuous relationship will be validated by the state. As long as it’s not consummated… I mean… who… who knows?”
Media Matters has the audio:
3. Pat Robertson
In terms of pure insanity, Robertson probably deserves to lead the list this week. But (right-wing nuts, take note) I knock off points for repeating yourself. And Mad Pat has certainly been doing that of late, spitting out the same old wild prognostications, apocalyptic ravings, and thick rivers of drool.
On Wednesday’s edition of The 700 Club, St. Patty rattled off the usual suspects bringing our blessed nation to its knees: liberals and deviants keep ramming sodomy, the “murder of unborn children,” and every kind of “heinous practice” down the throats of God-fearing Americans by forcing these sinful into the Constitution. And God is thiiiiiis close to unfriending us, for real this time.
“Sooner or later our holy God is going to say ‘I’ve had enough with you.’ There’s a freedom we have in America no other nation has enjoyed,” he says in apparent ignorance of the many capitalist democracies that aren’t handicapped by Puritanical zealots. America, he claims, is “founded on the word of God. And now people mock the word of God, and those who proclaim it are laughed at as fundamentalists.”
I used to laugh, Pat. Now you just bore and disgust me.
Right Wing Watch has the video:
2. Greg Abbott and the Republic of Texas
Is Texas governor Greg Abbott spoiling for a civil war? Or has he simply caved in to the more unhinged elements of his constituency?
In order to “address concerns of Texas citizens,” Abbott issued an order to the Texas State Guard on Tuesday to keep an eye on Operation Jade Helm 15, an eight-week military training exercise run by four branches of the U.S. Military. “Jade Helm 15” certainly does have a sinister sound to it — especially if you’re a old white Tejano in thrall to talk-radio paranoia.
At a recent public hearing convened to address the concerns of residents of Bastrop County, Texas, where some of the exercises are scheduled to take place, an exasperated officer for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command tried to explain that Jade Helm 15 was not a preparation for martial law, nor was it a smokescreen to sneak ISIS fighters over the Rio Grande, or even a master plot to seize anyone’s guns. “That’s what you say,” grumbled one man who held up a Webster’s dictionary for reasons that presumably made sense to him. “Dissent is not a conspiracy theory,” proclaimed one sign from another perturbed local. Another read: “Don’t Train On Me / No Gestapo in Bastrop / Keep America Free.”
Alex Jones has got his listeners thinking this exercise is the first step to establishing martial law, and we expect soon Texans will be running down the street shouting “The federales are coming! The federales are coming!” Won’t that be fun?
1. Robert Lee
What to say about this piece of human garbage?
Robert Lee, pastor of the Society of the Ten Commandments “Church” in Milledgeville, Georgia, was the unrepentant subject of a local news item when the sign outside his church caught someone’s eye. And why wouldn’t it? It read in big bold letters, where most churches have something like “Bingo tonight, mass tomorrow” and so forth: “HOMOSEXUALITY IS A DEATH WORTHY CRIME! LEVITICUS 20:13” (N.B.: Not an exact quote.)
The pastor previously had: “GAYS AND LESBIANS ARE DISGRACES TO HUMANITY LEVITICUS 20:13” (N.B.: Also not an exact quote).
“Homosexuality is an abomination. And, uh, the Bible says that homosexuality is a death-worthy crime,” Lee told a news crew, citing the book of Leviticus, forgetting that it also considers among other “death-worthy” crimes adultery, eating cheeseburgers, and saying anything bad about your parents.
“The institution of marriage was instituted by God and it should not be changed by… uh… people who deserve not to live,” he clarified in case anyone missed the big sign outside his ramshackle little guano mound calling itself a church.
Those who oppose same-sex marriage on nominally more principled grounds might want to take a look at some of the specimens on their side — among them Pastor Lee. That’s some loathsome company to be in.