The City #5

So, last night some of our Home Group (St. Paul’s) went to see one of our group members, Kelly Upshaw (The Hope Trust), perform at Union Hall in Park Slope. He did a great job!
On the walk back home, Fr. Cullen and I were passing by Carroll Park when suddenly these three guys suddenly start running, one falling and getting back up, then right behind them came this cop, radio in hand, followed by a police van with lights aflashing.
The three guys ran into the park, and the cop is shouting into his radio that they are going into the park. The park is a full NYC block – quite nice actually, but not big. Suddenly, all these sirens and lights converge on the park from all directions. One, two, and then three policy cars, another police van, and then an ambulance came into view, wheels screeching. Two more out-of-breath cops run from around the corner as pedestrians pointed and shouted to the police that the guys ran “that way, that way, that way.”
We just kept walking and watching. What more could we do? Cop cars were whipping around the streets in every direction. Then, we heard this crash and I thought for a moment that it was a gun shot. I think one of the cop cars, going backwards very quickly, sideswiped one of the cars parked along the street. The smell of burning rubber started to fill the air.
As we got to the opposite corner of the park, heading for the Rectory, a few of the cop cars and policemen converged on the next block. We noticed that they got one of the guys, pushing his hand-cuffed, bad-boy self into the car. This morning after Morning Prayer, Fr. Cullen said he walked his dog afterwards and a couple streets down they had apprehended one more. He said, “He was just a kid. He had no look of anxiousness or fear…” The cops stayed around for around 45 minutes.
Drama in Brooklyn.

Strong argument?

An argument the Religious Right continues to use against high-court rulings in states like New Jersey and Massachusetts concerning granting same-sex couples equal civil recognition of their relationships is that these accommodations are court-imposed – a tyranny of an unaccountable and activist judiciary. They claim that the responsibility for granting State recognition should be the domain of the legislatures, the people, only, and the courts should have no part in the establishment of what will be recognized as true “marriage.”
I agree that the legislatures of the various states are the places for the creation of laws. The courts are charged with interpreting the constitutionality of those laws. The problem here is that when the courts decide cases contrary to the will of the Religious Right, their recourse is to denigrate the judiciary. That is a dangerous road to take – the attempt to place in the public’s consciousness suspicion and mistrust of the vary institution that is charged with protecting our rights. This tactic will come back to bite them, no doubt.
They use this argument as a primary justification for their campaign to enact through state referenda amendments to state constitutions that (will) define marriage only as state-recognized unions between men and women, and to deny same-sex couples any accommodation that resembles marriage.
This seems to be a very weak basis for their arguments – or rather a weak justification for opposing the courts. They pin their hopes on the feelings of “the people” and those who represent them. What happens to their position when the tide of public opinion changes? When public opinion changes to favor some sort of State recognition of same-sex relationships and state legislatures begin approving laws that reflect this change, what will they then do? What then will be their argument or justification for opposing State recognition of same-sex relationships?
Basing arguments on a foundation as fickle as public sentiment is a foundation built on sand. When the strong winds of public opinion shift and blow in another direction, their campaign will fail. They would be wise to stir-up public opinion based on some other sort of rational. So, my question is whether they understand this or whether they truly have such a strong sense of the “rightness” of their cause, or as Stephen Colbert might say, “truthiness,” that they believe public opinion will never change to such an extent?
Constitutional amendments have been passed and rescinded. The new amendments to state constitutions baring recognition of same-sex relationships will be another example of this; it just depends on who extensive is the public hysteria, stirred up by their propaganda, over this issue and how long it will last. Their position may be arguable, but the foundation upon which they base their argument is not strong – it is profoundly weak.