This may strike you as a bit unhinged.
“I think it’s fair to say that Christian convictions are under attack as never before. Not just in our lifetime, but ever before in the history of this great nation. We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity.”- Mike Huckabee, cited in Politico, from a conference call organized by the Family Research Council
It’s actually quite a bit more crazy than it may seem at first.
Huckabee is under the impression that the Supreme Court in on the verge of making a ruling on gay marriage that will have the effect of making it a civil, and possibly a criminal crime for a religious leader to refuse to participate in a gay marriage. This is a continuation of the misunderstanding that I tried to address yesterday. To use myself as an example, I was married for nine years. The mayor of New Hope, Pennsylvania conducted our ceremony. He did so on a voluntary basis, but the point is that he wasn’t a religious leader. Yet, I was still considered to be married under the law. I had a right to get married, which meant that some clerks were obligated to give me a certificate once I followed the required protocols. But no one was obligated to preside over the actual wedding, and no Supreme Court ruling would change that so that I could go into court and argue that so-and-so discriminated against me and denied me my rights by failing to accede to my demand that they show up at and preside over my ceremony.
Beyond this legal point, however, Mike Huckabee is confused about Christianity. This is a religion with many followers who have diverse beliefs. Christianity is not a word that is synonymous with opposition to gay marriage, and it’s insulting and presumptuous to go around talking about how widespread social and legal acceptance of gay marriage is a marginalization or criminalization of the religion as a whole.
So, Huckabee is wrong on two counts. First, he’s wrong about how the Supreme Court’s ruling might impact religious leaders and he’s wrong about what it would mean even if he was correct.
In addition to this, he’s simply nuts about how our country works.
Huckabee said that he cringes whenever he hears people call a court decision “the law of the land.”
“And I’m thinking, how many people passed 9th grade civics? This is not that complicated. There are three branches of government, not one,” he said, adding that when a court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, that does not mean that licenses should be issued the following day.
The likely presidential candidate told the pastors that opponents of gay marriage are “pariahs” among the “ruling class” and donors. He also noted that “supposedly conservative donors and conservative office holders are running away from the issue.”
“If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law,” he said. “Let me make clear: It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil, for sure, and possibly criminal penalties for violating the law, depending on how the law is written in communities, states and in the nation.”
Huckabee told the pastors that if they do follow their convictions according to the Bible, “your behavior will be criminal.”
“Once the courts have been allowed to run over us and nobody stands up for us in the other two branches of government, then God help us all,” he said.
The totality of the statement is delusional, crazy, and wrong. All of it.
The courts have the final say on what is and is not a constitutional law. The end. You can learn this in a 9th grade civics course.
Finally, the Supreme Court has a conservative majority so if they rule against Huckabee’s position on gay marriage, it can hardly be said that the liberals ran roughshod over the conservatives. All it will prove is how far out on the fringe Huckabee’s views have become.