Conservatives and the religious right warned us we would be here in this place.
Nestled in between a string of doomsday prophecies and yet another prediction that President Obama will irreversibly ruin America, they told us this would happen.
When the Supreme Court, in Obergfell v. Hodges, held that the fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution — a day religious conservatives called one of “darkest” days in American history —they told America that they would not go away quietly.
They held prayer vigils and rallies. They preached and called their pews to action. They engaged in Kim Davis-styled, self-righteous, arm-raised defiance over the court’s ruling.
They had hate-filled temper tantrums and public meltdowns about same-sex marriage.
And they, the religious right, told us exactly what they were going to do. “I do think that religious liberty is the next front in this skirmish in American life and one of the most tragic results we can see is an unrelenting culture war from secular progressives against those who dissent,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
And they did it. They waged a war against equality on a different front and they called it religious freedom.
They successfully nudged state legislative bodies and state legislators to pass so-called “religious freedom bills.”
These bills, passed mostly in the south, have allowed business owners and individuals to deny services like therapy, catering, and adoption services to anyone they have a religious objection to serving.
The bills are clearly in response to the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, but those bills would also provide protection for those who want to deny service to interracial couples, blacks and Latinos and people of color on religious grounds.
And this strategy is not new. In fact, this is kind of their playbook. When the Supreme Court integrated schools, or allowed Black people to vote, or outlawed slavery, the religious right used the same tactics.
They created citizen action groups, you know, the Ku Klux Klan, to apply economic and violent pressure on individuals who abided by the courts decisions regarding immigration and providing rights to black citizens.
They pushed politicians and legislators to barricade school doors, create legislation aimed at continued discrimination against blacks, and otherwise resisted every attempt to integrate America.
All in the name of religious freedom.
And now, that the religious right is at it again after the same-sex marriage ruling, we are feigning surprise. We are withholding our best singers (I guess that even means you, Bryan Adams), our best entertainers, and our money from states that have passed such bills.
But the big surprise shouldn’t be that the religious conservatives have responded in this way.
The real surprise is that we didn’t see this coming. They warned us it was coming.