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That's what the headline coming out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho SHOULD have been.  But instead, the right-wing blogosphere is brimming with headlines like:

Christian Chapel Owners Were Reportedly Threatened With Jail Time and Fines For Refusing to Marry Gays — and Now They’re Fighting Back


City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

I have no idea if the purported threat is genuine; I can't seem to find any record of this story from a reputable source.  But if you read those headlines and said "There must be a catch," then congratulations on not being born yesterday.

But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.
While some might be wondering why ordained ministers are purportedly being forced to marry gay couples, consider that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, which opened in 1989, is a for-profit business, which means it is not exempt from local nondiscrimination regulations.
And there's your catch.  Essentially, this is the same bit of hypocrisy we saw from Hobby Lobby.  A business claims religious privilege when it suits them - in this case, allowing them to indulge their prejudice against gay people.  Yet they are conveniently able to look past such fundamental Christian principles as "whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33) or "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24).  Jesus makes it quite clear: there can be no such thing as "Christian profit."  It's inherently contradictory, like "Kosher bacon" or "tolerable praise music."

Let's not even address the issue of how He would feel about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony being carried out at a place called the "Hitching Post."

The Religious Right has achieved a sense of entitlement so great that they have lost all connection to the founding principles of separation of church and state.  That wall exists so that government cannot interfere with the private beliefs of citizens.  It does not exist so that a privileged class can simply shout "But, Jesus!" every time they are confronted with a law or a tax that they find annoying.  The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion, not "Congress shall not mess with thine bottom line."

The good news is that there is a solution for the ministers in question.  All they must do is get out of the wedding for profit industry.  As Jesus said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21).

I'm sure by "treasure in heaven," He meant "all the gay-bashing you can handle."


Congressional Democrats are readying multiple bills in the Senate and House in an effort to "amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which the high court used as the basis for its ruling that the contraception mandate violated federal law."  A noble goal, to be sure.  But without the votes to pass the House, it amounts to little more than political grandstanding for the liberal base.  This reminds of uncomfortably of the endless Republican ACA votes.  And I think that strategy is a mistake for Democrats.

Yes, there are obvious differences, notably that Democrats are seeking to INCREASE health care coverage, and they aren't leading four dozen votes on the issue.  That said, the Republican repeal vote strategy relies on the key difference between the two bases.  Republicans believe government should have a limited role, or no role, in improving the lives of average Americans.  Their goal as legislators is quite simple: do nothing.  Failed votes do not sour their base's opinion of the Congress or the legislative process.  If anything, it helps to reinforce their view that government is not the answer.

Democrats are trying to clear a much higher bar.  The Democratic worldwide is that government can and should improve the lives of average citizens.  To do so, the government must pass legislation.  Failure to do so is a disappointment to the Democratic voter, not a rallying cry.  We know that Republicans are opposed to free reproductive choice.  Do we need show votes to confirm it?

Fighting fire with fire also blunts our ability to criticize House Republicans over constant ACA repeal votes.  Using taxpayer dollars and the halls of Congress to pander to your base should be an affront to all Americans, regardless of party.  Fund your campaign with donor money, not with my money.  Pointless efforts to repeal Obamacare have cost the nation over $70 million.  That could be a useful club for beating Republicans in tight races.  But we lose the right to use that club by pursuing the same strategy.

Bottom line, I don't want to take on Republicans at their own shameful game.  Let's not sink to their level.


I love soccer.  I also hate Ann Coulter.  So when I saw that Coulter had written a column citing the rise of soccer in America as "a sign of the nation's moral decay," I was drawn to read it as Luis Suarez is drawn to exposed human flesh.

What shocked me more than anything was how little it outraged me.  I can no more be outraged by reality-divorced statements like "In soccer, the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway" than I could by "The sky is green" or "Orange juice goes great with pizza."  If blame is dispersed in soccer, nobody bothered to tell Roberto Baggio in 1994 or David Beckham in 1998.  Much like no one told Steve Zakuani that you cannot suffer a major injury while playing soccer (you can find that video yourself on YouTube; there is no way I'm linking to it).

"Do they even have MVPs in soccer?" Answered by Google in 3 seconds.  Yes, they do.  They also have Ballon d'Ors and Golden Boots.  And complaining about the length of a soccer game while defending American football is a bit like Ollie North accusing someone of making deals with terrorists.

Coulter's piece is a stunning example of the insularity of the right-wing media.  They are simply telling each other what they already believe to be true.  To address the errors of the pieces would be as futile as trying to explain the weak points of Diego Maradona's game to an Argentinian.  To him, Maradona is God.  To Coulter's audience, soccer sucks, global warming is a hoax, and Obama was born in Kenya.

The article also confirms what we already knew: talk of Republican "re-branding" post-2012 is dead in the water.  Soccer is popular with young people and Latinos, two key groups in the Democratic coalition.  Why not stick John Boehner in a rocket-pop USA jersey and see if those folks pay attention?  Could there be a better opportunity for the GOP's brand of fist-pumping patriotism than a battle on the pitch between the Americans and the debt-laden free-loaders of Portugal?  No.  The priorities of aging white southerners must remain paramount, even when it comes to sports.  FOOTBALL!

In the end, I can't help but smile at Coulter's rant.  It reminds me of how the heated conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage has dwindled to rote, futile mumblings about "killing jobs" and "traditional values."  Obamacare is here to stay.  So is marriage equality.  And so is soccer.

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