Reader Roger Newcomb suggested a thread covering recent statements from John Rich of Big & Rich regarding homosexuality. The first comment was made on a radio show in Nashville, as Rich was discussing why he supports Fred Thompson for President:
“I think if you legalize [gay marriage], you’ve got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can’t marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can’t get married, but something else that’s unnatural can happen?”
After receiving some negative feedback over this comment, he issued the following statement:
“My earlier comments on same-sex marriage don’t reflect my full views on the broader issues regarding tolerance and the treatment of gays and lesbians in our society. I apologize for that and wish to state clearly my views. I oppose same-sex marriage because my father and minister brought me up to believe that marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected.”
First, I have to ask how it’s possible that John Rich was brought up with the understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman, when gay marriage wasn’t even on the radar until the past few years. I was in college by the time people started talking about it, and I’m a lot younger than John Rich. So I don’t really buy what he’s selling there.
Second, a look back at our country’s history. Forty years ago, the state of Virginia was actually arguing in front of the Supreme Court that interracial marriage should be a crime. When they lost, the right of a man and woman to marry regardless of race was finally awarded to all citizens. That was only forty years ago, friends. What argument did the trial judge who convicted the couple eight years before that use to justify his decision to sentence them to a year in prison? This one:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
Leon Bazile said that in the eighteenth century. It’s not as catchy as “God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve”, but it does sound a heck of a lot like what John Rich and those of a similar mindset are saying today. I suspect that forty years from now, they’ll sound just as ridiculous to our grandchildren as Bazile does to us.
I’m sure even a casual fan of Country Universe knows how I feel on this one, so I’ll leave the debate over the sincerity of his apology and the merits of his original argument to you, readers. I’m sure you’ll keep the conversation respectful and thoughtful. Thanks again to Roger for tipping me off on this one. I hope he’s right about this being a good place for a discussion of this!