One of the more ridiculous arguments made by Confederate flag supporters is that if the flag that stood for opposition to desegregation and the Civil Rights Act is offensive to black Americans, then the gay pride flag should be banned because it is offensive to Christians. Yes, there really are people saying this all over social media, despite how completely stupid their comparison is.
Now there’s a possibly even more absurd statement coming from Wisconsin’s GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman that shows that the South doesn’t have a monopoly on idiotic opponents to marriage equality.
However, let’s talk about the flag controversy because many conservatives keep trying to make this false comparison. First of all, nobody is banning the Confederate flag. While a couple of states where the flag is still flown are planning to remove it from government property and some businesses will no longer sell it, there is no government ban on it, because that would be a violation of the First Amendment. Second, while some people claim that the Confederate flag represents Southern heritage, it is a flag that was flown decades ago to signify resistance to desegregation – and it is still a banner of the KKK, which plans to rally in support of it next month at the State Capitol in Columbia, SC. On the other hand, the rainbow pride flag represents the struggle for equal rights under the Constitution, the opposite of what the Confederate flag has stood for historically.
Now, on to Congressman Glenn Grothman who believes that the Civil War was a religious war fought over slavery, and that the 14th Amendment shouldn’t have been used to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. While religious beliefs opposing slavery were part of the abolitionist movement, the Civil War was also fought for economic reasons involving slavery, and to prevent the secession of the southern states. Of course, none of that matters to fanatics like Glenn Grothman who will say anything, regardless of the facts. Last Friday, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Rep. Glenn Grothman was on the Vicki McKenna Show, a Milwaukee AM radio program, to discuss the ruling. His remarks were quite strange; as a 1983 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, you’d think he would have studied one of the most important amendments to the United States Constitution.
Here’s what he had to say, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
“Our president during the Civil War was, of course, Abraham Lincoln, who was known as the most biblical of presidents, somebody who quoted the Bible a lot,” he said. “In the Civil War, some 600,000 people died in a country that was much less populated than that today. And it was a much more religious country and I think a lot of people who died fighting in that war felt they died fighting for a religious cause, you know, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and all that.
“I think it would shock those people who died in that war to find out the constitutional amendment which was ratified kind of as a culmination of their great efforts and their great deaths would be 150 years later, a little less than 150 years later, used by these five robed, arrogant, robed people to take this constitutional amendment and say that that constitutional amendment that was drafted after the Civil War was in fact an amendment designed to say that same-sex marriage had to be legal.”
He added that the decision is “particularly offensive” given that the 14th Amendment was “drafted by a people who felt they had just engaged in a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.” (Source)
Glenn Grothman conveniently forgets that while the 14th Amendment was proposed to address equal rights for recently freed slaves, not once is any specific demographic mentioned, other than male citizens three times in the second section in regards to voting rights. This was in direct response to the Three-Fifths Compromise which gave the southern slave states more seats in Congress, despite the fact that slaves obviously couldn’t vote.
Many important Supreme Court decisions, not just the recent marriage equality ruling, have been based on the equal rights for all Americans as set forth in the 14th Amendment. You would think that as someone with a law degree, Glenn Grothman would know this. Then again, with his record of supporting voter suppression or claiming that there is a “war on white men,” it’s pretty obvious that his grasp of the Constitution or connection with reality are tenuous at best.
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