Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, also a Baptist pastor, wrote a response on Facebook yesterday to Sen. Jason Rapert’s lengthy op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette defending his opposition to marriage equality and criticism of Judge Chris Piazza for striking down the ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Griffen begins:
In his essay, Mr. Rapert made several claims that deserve comment because they are inaccurate, false, and glaring evidence of his bigotry.
Griffen gets off on the wrong foot with Rapert immediately by saying he has no “superior claim to represent the Creator.” Rapert is pretty firm in his belief that his (or should that be His?) Biblical interpretation is the only correct one. (Satire alert. I’m channeling Rapert, not myself, in saying Griffen is off on the wrong foot.)
Rapert’s appeal to sectarianism is both disingenuous and pernicious. Like any demagogue, he knows how to appeal to base fears, superstition, and falsehoods about homosexuality. He enlisted the company of like-minded black Christian clergy to create a visual image intended to make his major premise acceptable across racial lines. Of course, a false premise is false no matter who accepts it, but that’s of no concern to Rapert or the editorial staff of the Democrat-Gazette.
There’s lots more, including a sharp challenge of Rapert’s core assertion that the majority will is just.
Racial segregation in public education was lawful by popular vote in Arkansas, across the South, and practiced elsewhere with the force of law. The U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional 60 years ago last month in Brown v. Board of Education. Racial gerrymandering of electoral districts was lawful by popular vote. The U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional almost a half century ago in Gomillion v. Lightfoot and Baker v. Carr. Judge Piazza’s recent rulings are correctly understood in the light of these and similar decisions.
The judge has some instruction for Rapert, too, on the role of an independent judiciary.
I think Bro. Rapert’s judicial recall list has grown by one.