Yes, But Are They Creationists?

The Daily Times of Maryville, Tennessee, located in Blount County, has this headline: ‘Wrath’ resolution tests commission’s faith in democracy. They have a comments feature, but you’ll need to register to use it. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

Readers of The Daily Times certainly don’t want or need to be told in this space what religious beliefs to hold. Or whether to believe in any religion, for that matter. Belief is a matter of faith. It certainly is not a matter for a newspaper to advocate.

Is it a matter for government? At a meeting of the Blount County Board of Commissioner’s Agenda Committee, starting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the courthouse, commissioners are scheduled to consider just that.

What in the world is going on there? We’re told:

Commissioner Karen Miller, in the form of Resolution No 15-10-006, proposes “condemning judicial tyranny and petitioning God’s mercy.” The resolution is a reaction to the June 26 opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation.

Lordy, lordy. This humble blog has enough to worry about, so we don’t discuss that kind of marriage here, but a proposed resolution petitioning God’s mercy looks interesting. Let’s read on:

Miller’s resolution, after eight paragraphs beginning with “Whereas,” gets to the essence: “Whereas, we are forced beyond our wishes to comply with what is clearly against our conscience, and violates what the Bill of Rights, both state and federal, give us the right to do … [elipsis in the newspaper]

With a firm reliance upon the providence of Almighty God we the Blount County Legislature call upon all of the officers of the state of Tennessee, the governor, the attorney general, and the members of the Tennessee Legislature, to join us, and utilize all authority within their power to protect natural marriage, from lawless court opinions, and the financial schemes of the enemies of righteousness wherever the source and defend the moral standards of Tennessee.

We adopt this resolution before God that He pass us by in His coming wrath and not destroy our county as He did Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities. As the Passover Lamb was a means of salvation to the ancient children of Israel, so we stand upon the safety of the Lamb of God to save us.

Wow! After a few quotes from the Founding Fathers about separation of church and state, the news story concludes with this:

It will be interesting to see how the County Commission answers that question.

Interesting indeed! We eagerly await the results. Meanwhile, as our title suggests, we invite your speculation as to whether the good folks of Blount County are creationists. If so, then the County Commission will know what to do. And then, perhaps they’ll be spared the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Yes, But Are They Creationists?

  1. According to Wikipedia, Tennessee has the highest crime rate in the US (I know you probably all know this, I am not a US citizen). Hardly due to same sex marriage is it! Also *Whereas, we are forced beyond our wishes to comply with what is clearly against our conscience* . I don’t think, Karen, that you have to marry another woman.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Wow, I’d like to see this get the ‘no second’ treatment. Or better yet, the Bugs treatment:

  3. I’m fond of Brian Griffin’s response to nonsense like this:

    Peter: It’s already done. I dropped them all off at Toys for Toddlers last night.

    Brian: All? Peter, only one gift was for charity, the rest were for the family.

    Peter: No, the rest were from the family. Weren’t they? (Pauses.) Oh crap…since when did they change the meaning of “for” to “from”?

    Brian: They had a meeting about it last night.

    Peter: Why wasn’t I told?

    Brian: They sent you a card, but it said “for Peter” on it so you must of thought it was from you, so you didn’t…you know, its just easier to call you stupid.

  4. I doubt there will be a legislative resolution in Tennessee to protect citizens from children with shotguns

  5. One thing that bugs me is that typically creationists utter the fundamentalist formula “Jesus is my personal savior” but actually think of him as a tribal god, one who punishes whole populations for the transgressions of a few. You would think, since he (in his Old Testament manifestation) is said to be a jealous god and (in the New Testament) became a personal one, he would aim his wrath at those individuals who have betrayed his personal relationship.

    Instead, the heaviest punishment often falls on the less guilty. Fundamentalists fear that if a few people in a city, county, state, or country want to marry persons of their own sex, everyone in the jurisdiction will be condemned, no matter what kind of kind of relationship they have to another person or to their god. Remember, the fundamentalist god used Katrina to hammer the Ninth Ward in New Orleans far harder than the French Quarter, where the most flamboyant sins were being committed. I mean, all have sinned and come short of the glory of god and all, so residents of the Ninth Ward were guilty too, but fundamentalists don’t focus much on the covert sins of everyday life.

  6. I’m thinking the author of this bill in Blount County has been partaking heavily of the magical Kool Aid elixir. One also suspects that like minded individuals populate the classrooms and school boards of said county.
    Otherwise this guy would long ago have been laughed out of office.
    I look forward to more important information from this highly enlightened group.

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    The Blount County Legislature implores:

    [W]e the Blount County Legislature call upon all of the officers of the state of Tennessee, the governor, the attorney general, and the members of the Tennessee Legislature, to join us, and utilize all authority within their power to protect natural marriage

    I can’t fault the concern these politicians have. Pretty much any reasonable citizen of Tennessee should have a concern that “natural marriage”, as they call it there, should only be practiced with “protection”.

    Just look what happened to the reputation of Jackson County Missouri after the Mormons nominated that bucolic place as the location of The Garden of Eden.

  8. michaelfugate

    You can’t make this stuff up. It is like a Carl Hiaasen novel.

  9. “You cannot petition the Lord with prayer” !!!!!

    Also reminds me of the scene in Life of Brian when the Palestinian Liberation Front (or whichever one it was) writes a petition. “Whereas…What have the Romans done for us! Except the aqueducts, roads, crime, etc.”

  10. Derek Freyberg

    All they need is a diaper-wearing penguin to make it complete – oh wait, that’s Bloom County, not Blount County.

  11. Y’know, these ultra-religious politicians are being awfully presumptuous, assuming that every same-sex marriage is going to be nothing but sex-sex-sex 24/7.

    How about two same gender best friends, say in their eighties and heterosexual, no families, who want the legal rights, privileges and protections for their close friendship that only marriage provides? No sexual involvement whatsoever — how can a person following true Christian ideals of love of your neighbor object? How can they find such an arrangement threatening?

  12. retiredsciguy, is there something you’re trying to tell us?

  13. Tennessee has the highest crime rate in the US (I know you probably all know this, I am not a US citizen). Hardly due to same sex marriage is it!

    I’m perplexed. I read the Times Daily article as well as this blog article and I didn’t notice anyone claiming that same-sex marriage caused, causes, or will cause high crime rates–nor did I notice any reason to correlate the very recent court decisions with past crime statistics. I also didn’t notice any same-sex marriage opponent claiming that everything that they consider wrong is also classified as a crime under law. (Most people would claim that there are things that people do that are widely acknowledged among the populous as being wrong but which aren’t normally prosecuted as crimes. These include things like being hateful, acting bigoted, breaking promises, telling lies, and loafing on the job, to name a few.)

    I freely admit that I’ve read a lot of “reasoning” on the same-sex marriage topic which left me baffled. But perhaps in this case I’m unaware of some event or context which explains why a very recent change in marriage law (i.e., recognition of same sex marriage) would or would not be tied in some way to Tennessee crime statistics of recent years prior. And during the years when none of the fifty states recognized same-sex message, there was a 100% chance that one of those states would rank 50th. So if it hadn’t been Tennessee, it was sure to be one of the other states that didn’t have same-sex marriage.

    Thus, I suppose that unless someone demonstrates that time travel has for at least several years now been common place, such that causality often violates/violated the arrow of time, I suppose “Hardly due to same sex marriage is it!” is a conclusion with which we can all agree.

    I for one consider it fortunate that no such time travel exists. Life tends to be complicated enough even without it.

  14. @SC: Nope. I’m heterosexual, married, and all in favor of sex-sex-sex 24/7. I was just putting the hypothetical situation out there for consideration. Just saying that it’s possible for two heterosexual men or women to have a close, loving, Platonic relationship, especially if they are older. Marriage would work for an older partnership to give them the security afforded by family if they have no other family.

    There are probably ways to achieve the same ends legally without marriage, but I’m no lawyer so I wouldn’t know. It would probably vary state by state, though.

  15. How can they find such an arrangement threatening?

    Seeing how the SC linked to explanatory material on that topic, I will assume the question is rhetorical. Yet it brings to mind what I consider a more interesting question which I’m surprised political leaders did not address some years ago. After all, politics involves the art of compromise and it is often easier to bring about change in stages. Small steps can sometimes please many more people a little at a time, instead of waiting longer to please only some people while displeasing many others. I believe spousal partnerships could have been modified years ago if both sides had considered ways to compromise.

    Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, these hypotheticals are all rendered moot. But in the late 1990’s I proposed the following as a way to bring about changes in marriage-related law while pleasing the most people in the ways which mattered most to each. (After all, that should always be among our goals as a democratic republic whenever possible.) So this is probably the last time this hypothetical will appear in print. [Drum-roll please.] Yes, I like to recycle.

    Here’s what I had in mind:

    (1) A lot of conservatives say:

    “Same-sex partnerships are not marriage because marriage in the English dictionary is defined as a man and a woman. Everything in this country’s state-by-state marriage laws was discussed and passed over the past 200+ years based upon everyone’s common understanding of the definition of marriage: male and female in a marital partnership. To suddenly and retroactively change every marriage law to accommodate a sudden redefinition of marriage in a way totally foreign to the English lexicon and our joint cultural heritage is to play games with language—and casually swipe aside many centuries of history. A word is a lexical constant, not a variable. Marriage redefinition is bait-and-switch by means of a single word. Would legislatures have voted differently on details of law if they had known that marriage would undergo a huge change with some future generation.”

    (2) Political Solution: Don’t touch the word marriage. Don’t redefine it. (At least, not now. The future is the future—when different voters in a different country send a different Congress to Washington.) The word “marriage” has too much cultural, religious, and political baggage. Why stir up a hornet’s nest unnecessarily?

    (3) Instead, define a new legal term. In the 1990’s I suggested terminology that would be generally understood by means of individual words which everyone would recognize, yet combined to form a new kind of federal license. The term which came to mind was spousal partnership , but that combination is already in use and has a related but conflicting legal definition. So the next term coming to mind was conjugal partnership. It’s already a legal term for social relationships in several countries (e.g., Canada, Philippines) but I don’t know if it would create any confusion under U.S. law. Other possible terms are Spousal Union or Spousal Partnership

    (4) For the sake of discussion, I’ll use the term conjugal partnership but other phrases could be applied just as easily. So let’s consider Conjugal Partnership to be defined and established at the federal level—that is, passed by Congress (with no need for collaboration or approval from the states) and resulting in a License of Conjugal Partnership. The federal government already administers all sorts of licenses through a great many departments. The obvious choice for this one would be the Social Security Administration. Indeed, the SSA already records marriage information in the management of spousal benefits, has offices in every Congressional district, and could very easily issue aLicense of Conjugal Partnership similar to what County Clerks typically do with each License of Marriage. In fact, if done on-line and entirely through the mail, couples would no longer have to pay a significant fee for a marriage license that is basically just more tax revenue for the state or county.

    (5) Congress could pass a law requiring all 50 states to recognize the License of Conjugal Partnership as legally equivalent to a License of Marriage or Certificate of Marriage. [States use various terminology.] This “equal protection” provision already applies to marriage licenses. That is, if a couple is married in Kentucky and later moves to California, California by law must treat the Kentucky marriage license as legally equivalent to the California license. So even without any changes in state laws concerning marriage, the federal government through a federal law passed by Congress could require the License of Conjugal Partnership to be treated identically by all states.

    (6) Reciprocity law already addresses equal treatment so this type of reform give everybody what they most want: Conservatives and states’ rights advocate still retain and control marriage per se and everybody else can lobby for whatever alternative domestic partnerships they wish. Everything concerning it would be settled at the federal level and no state legislature sees their laws or legal definitions changed.

    (7) Some reformers may say, “That’s not good enough! We won’t have full equality until we can truly call it marriage! Yet, anybody can call it anything they want. They can call it “marriage” and say “We are married” even if the paper in their lockbox says “License of Conjugal Partnership”. And if they want to have a ceremony where they use the word “marriage”, they can use whatever vocabulary they wish and no thought police are going to raid the ceremony. Meanwhile, Congress members can return to their district and say, “I protected the sanctity of marriage! The definition of marriage has not changed” and he/she can speak at the LGBT Alliance banquet and say, “I voted to bring all of the legal benefits of marriage to every couple in America, regardless of same-sex or different-sex unions.

    (8) In my generation and among the Baby Boomers, many gay couples strongly dislike the word “marriage” because of its cultural baggage. Indeed, one such couple appeared on TV commercials in Oregon pleading with voters to vote against a same-sex marriage law in that state. There’s some heterosexual couples who also dislike the term “marriage”. So Congress would obviously not discriminate in the issuing of the License of Conjugal Partnership and man-woman couples could choose to register their union at the federal level instead of through the state system. Yet, what if in the future, Americans decide that they want the word “marriage” to apply to all spousal relationships, even on the paperwork. My advice: Hold tight about a generation or so and such a “official definition” change will come so so easily. And people will generally forget why it used to be a huge issue.

    (9) When the Supreme Court overturns the laws of 50 states, it is legislation by nine unelected people. (Of course, that generalization also ignores a lot of important reasons why we have a Supreme Court.) Yet, achieving similar end goals through Congressional processes is surely advantageous in every possible respect. State legislatures would be left out of the process but every state would have a say through their Congressional delegations.

    (10) But what about other types of domestic partnerships? Should a couple of college buddies who simply want to share the one’s health insurance coverage offered by his employer be able to “team up” without being married? How about a brother and sister whose spouses have died and they simply want the advantages that a married couple might have under state law? These are surely important issues worthy of discussion but of a very different nature—and therefore not so casually lumped in with marriage reforms. After all, the costs are enormous. For example, if any two people can form a “domestic partnership” and thereby qualify for spousal health benefits—at skyrocketing costs for employers—the Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play. The extra benefits may sound great but those of us who have had to meet payroll understand that government mandates can mean lost jobs when the money is simply not there.

    BOTTOM LINE: The aforementioned path of legal reform would have brought to people what was most important within their value system. As as a society we often have a choice between (a) all or nothing, or (b) compromise as soon as possible and let everyone have a win/win situation. And to those who badly needed legal reforms for the immediate financial and legal benefits, I believe the aforementioned compromise could have come about by 2009 at the latest.

  16. Prof Tertius, you don’t seriously believe that the anti-gays would accept your suggestion? Anti-gays don’t just want to prevent gays obtaining the benefits provided to ‘married’ couples, they don’t want then to EXIST! Period!. Hate cannot be removed by changing the meaning of, or inventing new, words!
    As an alternative, why not just dispense with the special treatment given by the government to married people, so that everyone – gay, strait and everything in between – is treated equally? Would that be too simple?
    Let those who want to be ‘married’ (in the religious sense) do so but don’t give them any special dispensation for doing so.

  17. Third Prof: “Political Solution: Don’t touch the word marriage.”
    Yeah, because American christians, unlike most of their European counterparts, are too sensitive to endure the word gay marriage.

  18. Timatheist says: “As an alternative, why not just dispense with the special treatment given by the government to married people, so that everyone – gay, strait and everything in between – is treated equally? Would that be too simple?”

    That’s always been my recommendation. Most of the complaining one hears is because of the special break married couples get regarding the estate and gift tax — they can freely pass property to each other without such transfers being taxed. If those taxes were repealed, that complaint would vanish and we’d all be better off.

    Then there are spousal benefits under social security rules. Whatever those benefits are, the whole mess can be reformed — it would certainly be easier than tinkering with the well-established meaning of marriage. If all such benefits and preferences were revised — which were probably nothing more than marketing devices anyway — the financial reasons for revising what marriage means would vanish.

  19. 1) Nice God those people believe in, full of Love and Mercy.
    2) Why do they think that a God planning to wipe out millions would spare them, just because they asked?

  20. Derek Freyberg

    @Prof. Tertius:
    To your point (5), I note that – and this is, of course, prior to the Obergefell decision – there were a number of states that did not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states: not merely did they not permit same sex marriages in their own state, they effectively un-married same sex married couples who moved to that state. So the “full faith and credit” clause only extends so far. [The reasoning was that the state did not have to, under the “full faith and credit” doctrine, recognize something that it found repugnant to its own state law/constitution.]
    To your point (7), that sounds a little too like “separate but equal”. Remember, a number of states – also pre-Obergefell – allowed “domestic partnerships” for same-sex couples, granting them more-or-less the same rights as married couples under state law; but the claim by same sex couples is that they wanted the state to apply the same name and same dignity to their relationship as to the relationship of opposite-sex couples.
    Finally, to your point (9), two responses: (a) the Constitution has been construed, since Marbury v. Madison, as giving the Supreme Court the ultimate say on whether a law is constitutional – they don’t legislate, but they can invalidate laws they find unonstitutional; (b) the Supreme Court did not “overturn the laws of 50 states” – some states had established same-sex marriage by statute, some by state court decision, and many by Federal district or circuit court decision: the Supreme Court took Obergefell to resolve a circuit split.