We’ve got a full post planned for tomorrow, but for now, I saw this and my eyes almost popped out of my head because this goes way way way past the normal bizarre WTFery one sees out of the Christian Right. Yes, it managed to shock me.
If this was News of the Weird, then “Christian Homophobic Bigots-for-Jesus Get Caught Being Ultra-Hypocritical Somehow” would have become classified as “no longer weird” years and years ago. It’s so common nowadays that it’s almost boring–almost. Certainly it’s not hard to find lists online of anti-gay bigots caught being gay (or should we mockingly say, as many of them do through their crocodile tears, that they were caught “acting on their same-sex attraction“?)
When these hypocrites aren’t actually gay themselves, then at the very least they’re having affairs. Or they’re into child pornography. Or they’re doing something super-sketchy* that is anything but them being paragons of virtue in their communities.
But this… well, this really takes the cake.
Right Wing Watch brings us the story of a Detroit News exposé of Michigan State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. These two Republicans** are pretty much the whole schmear when it comes to Fox News talking points, and as you can imagine were fast becoming two of the favorite golden-children of the Tea Party.
Religious freedom–DING! Definition of marriage–DING! Activist courts–DING! America’s in danger because we started letting same-sex couples access the same exact rights opposite-sex couples get–DING! Homosexual “lifestyle”–DING! Christian persecution–DING! Their god will totally punish America for not doing what these bigots are telling everyone to do because he doesn’t care one bit about saving crime victims or curing cancer, but he gets SUPER pissed off about two men holding hands–DING! END TIMES–DING! Guns for everyone–DING! THEY TERK ARE YERBS–DING!
Traditional marriage–DING DING DING!
They don’t miss a single note in the playbook, and I’m sure their target audience of frothing-mad, panty-twisted, booty-quivering right-wing Christians eats it all up with a spoon and begs for more. And these two lawmakers do every single bit of their dirty work wearing Jesus smiles and loudly talking up their pious faith.
By “traditional marriage,” of course, these two lawmakers, like their peers, mean marriage more or less exactly as everyone envisions it now in American culture except straights-only marriage for opposite-sex couples only. They certainly don’t mean genuinely traditional marriage–the kind where Cindy Gamrat wouldn’t have been allowed to be a lawmaker over men or get a serious education, own property in her own name if she wished, have a career outside her home, obtain reliable birth control without having to justify to total strangers why she needs to have it, or be anything but the chattel of her father and then her husband–chattel that her husband could rape with impunity because marital rape wasn’t even a crime in “traditional” views of marriage–or even recognized as a thing that can possibly exist.
No, they don’t mean that kind of marriage. They just mean the “tradition” that only exists in the most gauzy visions dancing in the minds of fundagelical bigots-for-Jesus: that weird mashup of 1950s Mad Men-meets-Mayberry utopia combined with middle-class imperialism, xenophobia, “benevolent” racism, casual sexism, and unbridled violent nationalism. In their minds, the only part about it that is really that different from regular marriage is exactly who is allowed to marry. And Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat are totally convinced that if same-sex couples are allowed to access that right, everything will be just ruined. Somehow.
So these two were doing everything in their power to stop gay marriage from being a thing.
After SCOTUS’ decision, these two actually tried to pass a law in Michigan that would have made it so only religious ministers could legally marry couples in that state and only religious leaders could even sign marriage licenses. Seriously.*** They are actually trying to pass four laws in total meant to hassle and harass LGBTQ people and completely defang if not utterly reverse the SCOTUS ruling–because remember the rule: when toxic Christians catastrophically lose a fight, their inclination is to proceed as if they won anyway and hope nobody notices or stops them from doing so. That their laws would usher in what critics have called “a Christian version of Sharia law” did not matter in the least. BABY JESUS WAS CRYING, YOU GUYS. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE BABY JESUSES?
And obviously a totalitarian religious theocracy is totally okay if it’s Jesus-powered. Muslim Sharia law is bad because it’s Islam which is obviously evil and demonic. If Christians are doing the exact same things down to the letter, that’s totally okay because that’s Christians doing it. (Lest you imagine I’m straw-manning, I have literally heard a number of Christians make this exact claim to explain why Muslims controlling people’s lives and enforcing their religious beliefs by law is bad, while Christians doing the same thing is YAY KINGDOM.)
I mean seriously, they even called themselves “gladiators” on occasion! When their peers in legislature gave them pushback (like when Ms. Gamrat got expelled from the caucus in April for leaking confidential House business from, among other platforms, her freakin’ Facebook account), they were quick to call those critics “bullies” who opposed the “liberty” that they were bringing to their state.
What I’m trying to say is that these two lawmakers really, really, really, really hate gay people and they genuinely imagine themselves as a pair of valiant paladins of truth, goodness, justice, godliness, and purity fighting against the increasingly-powerful forces of evil arrayed against them like it’s a superhero movie.
But I don’t remember paladins from my tabletop games behaving like this.
Given everything I’ve written about these two bigots, you’re already expecting to hear that one or the both of them are hugely hypocritical.
And you’d be right.
The funny thing is, it’s a pretty mild kind of hypocrisy: the two of them were sleeping together. That’s it. They’re married, but not to each other (in fact not only are they married, but they have seven kids between the two of them), so this is adultery.
Neither one appears to be secretly gay and cruising bathrooms; neither one got caught hiding child porn on their work computers. Neither one of them seems to be involved in a Thai prostitution ring. Adultery is a serious problem in fundagelical circles, but lots of Republicans and Christian leaders generally have committed adultery and bounced back just fine. Christians can be really harsh when it comes to outsiders, but all their darlings have to do is cry some crocodile tears on a stage with their “loving” wives and claim that Jesus forgave them. As long as the offense was with someone of the opposite sex, everything works out. Christians play it tough, but when rubber meets the road they’re just as pragmatic as any other group.
So they had an affair. They were sleeping together. They were committing adultery. That’s hilariously hypocritical considering their constant talking-up of “traditional marriage,” but I can hear you saying: “C’mon, Cas. That’s not that shocking.”
And you’d be right again.
So how about this?
Mr. Courser decided to try to cover up the affair by starting his own rumor–false, apparently–that he was a porn addict who had been caught with a male prostitute fucking behind a nightclub. The rumor was that he was a “Godless Addicted Monster” and bisexual to boot.
He and his paramour figured that the rumor was so shocking that the denouement–that no no, really, he was just having an affair with a colleague in the anti-gay crusade he’s waging–would be like a sigh of relief. He called the rumormongering a “controlled burn” meant to make everyone relieved that it was just an affair. Oh, they’re just committing normal ole adultery. Whew! Someone pass me those anti-gay smear-campaign fliers about ‘traditional marriage’ comparing gay people to pedophiles! Let’s get back to work! Who’s up for some hymns and book-burnings?
What are these people, emotionally fifteen years old?
More importantly, they’re part of a Christianist movement that repeatedly insists that non-Christians simply have no idea how to live morally, making totally necessary Christianist control over our lives–yet have no idea in the world how to manage that themselves. I’m no Christian, but I’m pretty sure I know that fucking someone behind my husband’s back and then covering it up with a wild rumor isn’t really moral.
Mr. Courser tried to talk one of his aides into taking a day off work to send the rumor into the wild by emailing it to a bunch of Republicans in the state, but the aide refused, clearly a little more aware of that whole “don’t bear false witness” thing than Mr. Courser is. The aide’s attack of conscience didn’t save his job, unfortunately: the lawmakers fired not only him but Ms. Gamrat’s own aide–who I’m imagining similarly refused to help these two adulterous hypocrites lie their asses off to save their skins; it wouldn’t even be the first time someone got fired after confronting them over their affair.
There you go.
A pair of holier-than-thou sanctimonious liars-for-Jesus who crusaded on a platform of guns, god, and bigotry got caught having an affair, and rather than do what Republicans normally do in this situation,† they decided to invent a preposterous rumor in the hopes of maintaining Christianist favor and squeaking through with a bare minimum of trouble.
I’ve got to say: that might not be so shocking to you, but it’s so convoluted and downright Scooby-Doo-level wacky that it’s hard to know where I should even begin. Every time I think I’ve heard it all, I discover Christians like them digging themselves a new low at the bottom of their barrel.
Isn’t it weird that the Christians who are the loudest about controlling other people’s lives seem to be the least capable of living by the rules they want to impose on everyone else?
And isn’t a good thing that America is a secular nation that doesn’t impose “Biblical law” on people? Because if it was, then these two would be heading for their executions around about now. Good thing we don’t execute adulterers like the Bible demands in its “traditional marriage” laws, isn’t it?
If these two nuts are the gladiators of Christianity, the holy crusaders, the ones appointed by a real live god to bring about the re-Christianizing of America, I reckon we’re doing a hell of a lot better than anybody could ever have hoped.
* Tell me the guy in this particular story doesn’t have “serious anger management issues like WHOA” written all over his face. Go ahead.
** I really didn’t need to mention their party, did I? Not all Republicans are bigots-for-Jesus, but it sure seems like every bigot-for-Jesus we see is a Republican.
*** Isn’t it weird that the people who seem to fetishize our Constitution are the ones who appear to know the least about our laws and governing documents?
† Deny everything; blame someone else; claim Jesus totally forgave them; demand critics SHUT UP, THAT’S WHY; get mad at liberals; quietly slink away to “spend more time with their families”; run for President; etc.