Today’s Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage is a huge problem, but not in the way you may be thinking. While I have serious disagreement with the ruling on constitutional (and I seem to be in pretty good company on that), structure of society, and religious/moral grounds – it is not same sex marriage that I am really worried about at the moment. Rather, the decision comes on a morning when there was a terrorist attack in France that involving a beheading. This was not a captive beheaded in the wilds of Syria broadcast to the world via YouTube. This was in France – western Europe – the heart of civilization.
Yet the moment the Supreme Court ruling was released my news feed changed like someone had flicked a switch. Mention of the French attack, only moderately covered to begin with, disappeared from my feed. Now, I don’t watch TV news much, so I do not know what happened, but I am willing to bet it was close to the same thing. The local news I was watching as my wife and I dressed this morning broke away from coverage of the attack when the ruling was announced, but that is as far as I got
Regardless of how one feels about same sex marriage, I think we can agree that something is very wrong when that ruling pushes news of a beheading – A BEHEADING – out of the way. My beef all week with the Charleston coverage is based in a similar issue.
Racism is serious business. The killing of nine people based on racial motives is serious business indeed. But the killing has been virtually forgotten in the hub-bub of flags, monuments and political posturing. Regardless of your stance on the Confederate flag the killings themselves are far, far more important than symbols of a long dead proto-nation.
The heart of this nation is in a very bad place. When the the cruel and inhumane ending of human life, by shooting or beheading, is overwhelmed by pretty much anything we have a serious, serious problem on our hands. The measure of the absence of religion in our public space is less in the direct morality of things like same-sex marriage than in the sort of misplaced priorities demonstrated by what we consider “news.” We thought abortion devalued human life. But it turns out that was just the beginning.
It occurs to me that the two world wars of the last century were preceded by periods of extreme silliness. We thought strife was over and we could turn to other things. History proved twice just how silly it was to think that. But then, as they say, those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.