On election day, voters in the state of Washington legalized marijuana use and gay marriage, prompting Jen McCreight to assume she was going to wake up the next day to find a haze of pot smoke and glitter. Others, especially the Christian right types, are beside themselves about it. Including the Discovery Institute’s David DeWolf:
Well yes, authoritarian control of the moral choices of others when those choices have nothing to do with you is a “Christian virtue.” And it was rejected. Good. This argument translates very easily from wingnut to English: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! People are doing things I don’t like! Make them stop!”
To David DeWolf, who teaches law at Gonzaga University, a Catholic institution in Spokane, the votes reflect individuals disconnecting from the rest of society, “elevating the desires of the individual over the needs of the community.”
DeWolf, a Catholic, sees the votes as “sort of a reversion to a less developed way of living,” he said. “The impulse here is a kind of selfish, me-oriented way of not wanting to think about the impact my behavior might have on the rest of society.”
He, too, thinks about ancient Rome. “The introduction of Christianity was the introduction of a way of understanding ourselves that says we’re made for better things, we’re capable of real charity and concern for one another and living a life of virtue.”
Christian virtues, which he believes were ignored in this election, have created “much of what we value in society,” DeWolf said. “In my mind, this is an unhappy reversion to a pagan understanding of ourselves and of society.”
Steve Beren, a conservative Christian political consultant from Seattle who has run unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, says just because something is celebrated doesn’t mean it’s right. “I feel bad for those people, because they’re celebrating what they’re doing wrong,” he says.
He sees the votes as giving license to people to do other things he considers wrong. Each time something “clearly wrong or obviously immoral” is given sanction, celebrated or even ignored, it implicitly sanctions other immoral acts, he says — for example, President Clinton’s sexual transgressions.
Despite seeing the recent votes as moral deterioration, “I don’t necessarily buy that it’s irreversible,” Beren says. “If you go back into history, you’ll see they were burning people at the stake and sacrificing children.”
Uh, Steve. It was your ideological ancestors that were burning people at the stake and sacrificing children. It was moral progress when we made you stop.