The Westboro Baptist Church, known for its “God hates gays” demonstrations and military funeral disruptions, is now picketing Kim Davis, the county clerk who refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Why? According to the church, gay marriage is God’s punishment. We must accept that punishment. Therefore, breaking the laws that require gay marriage is rebellion against God.
Like many of her critics, Westboro Baptists point to Davis’ four marriages as evidence of hypocrisy that undermines her claim to both strongly held religious belief and the moral authority to deny others marriage licenses. They also frame their criticism in a larger story about America’s declension into a full-blown Sodom and Gomorrah (a claim that many others in the Religious Right predicted with Obergefell v. Hodges but have not taken quite as far). The church, drawing from its hyper-Calvinist understanding of God’s engagement with the world, explains:
[T]he Supreme Court of the United States, fulfilling their destiny, made same-sex marriage the law of the land. The duty of all mankind is to OBEY the laws of God and the laws of man. Enter, Kim Davis….The Supreme Court, in the providence of God, and for the punishment of this nation, has declared that same-sex marriage IS the law of Doomed USA. So DO IT!! … Just note Kim Davis … God will NEVER have Same-Sex Marriage, but he does not require YOU to disobey to deal with this nation. … God has HIS weapons in HIS armory, so Kim Davis needs to HUSH and OBEY the law that she helped bring about.
In WBC’s view, same-sex marriage is a punishment that God is inflicting on America for our much larger failure to adhere to God’s standards for sexuality, specifically in our embrace of legalized abortion, no-fault divorce, and high rates of remarriage after divorce and premarital sex. Westboro Baptists are speaking not only to Kim Davis but to all of America when they say of same-sex marriage, “You asked for it, you begged for it by your disobedience and refusal to receive correction or instruction, so take it and like it!”