Note to Religious-Righters: Opposing the Freedom to Marry Isn’t the Same as Opposing the Nazis

by Dan Quinn

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are as evil as Nazis? That sure seems to be the message in an email on Thursday from two Texas-based, religious-right groups, Dave Welch’s Texas Pastor Council and Rick Scarborough’s Vision America.

The email insists that “Christians must rally to defend Biblical marriage in Texas.” It then calls on readers to contact lawmakers in support of legislation that “defunds homosexual marriage” in Texas:

HB 4105 is a simple, two-page bill that affirms our existing law and also defunds homosexual marriage. This law will enable our Attorney General Ken Paxton to safeguard Texas against the potential upcoming judicial supremacy by the U.S. Supreme Court. The passage of HB 4105 now will enable Texas to defend against the imminent out-of-state pressure to impose homosexual marriage on Texas beginning the last week in June.

House Bill 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, would do no such thing. While the bill would attempt to prohibit the use of state or local funds to license or support the marriage of gay and lesbian couples, it wouldn’t trump a Supreme Court ruling. The U.S. Constitution demands that Texas abide by such a ruling, just as the state had to abide by rulings striking down racial segregation in schools in 1954 and the ban on interracial marriage in 1967. In short, HB 4105 simply reflects a legislative temper tantrum by opponents of freedom and equality.

In any case, after asking pastors to include information about HB 4105 in materials for Sunday services, the email closes with a quote attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Bonhoeffer was a Protestant minister who actively opposed the Nazis. The Nazis arrested him in 1943, then hanged him in the final weeks of World War II in 1945.

The suggestion that opposing the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples is like opposing the Nazis is repulsive. It doesn’t just demean loving, committed couples seeking to marry. It also diminishes the despicable crimes committed by the Nazis.

But in their desperation to stop the advance of freedom and equality for all, religious-righters are turning to increasingly hyperbolic rhetoric. And that rhetoric shows their opposition is based on little more than prejudice and hate.

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