May 27th, 2005

flavored with age

Downed by the Old Mainstream

The story about the Wicca parents whose divorce settlement resulted in a judge ordering that their son be protected from their "non-mainstream religious beliefs" is an interesting one, but not on its merits (this will get struck down the very second it gets to a higher court) or its meaning (if one interprets "non-mainstream" as "minority", you could define this ruling as applying to Jews, Mormons, or even Southern Baptists, so there's zero chance it will be either popular or precedent-setting).

It's interesting because, first, it provides another piece of ammo for the people who like to point out that 'activist judges' don't just come from the left:

In the order, the parents were "directed to take such steps as are needed to shelter Archer from involvement and observation of these non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The judge let the wording stand.

Yeah, ordering a child not to be brought up in the faith of his parents because their beliefs are non-mainstream. That's gooooooooood legislatin'. This has all the constitutional validity of America being governed by a king.

Second, it generated this comment:

The head of a conservative Christian group also sided with the Wiccans. "The parents have the right to raise their child in that faith, just as I have the right to raise my child in the Christian faith," said Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana.

Ladies and gentlemen, Micah Clark is the future of Christianity. He's a smart man and people should listen to him.

No, no, not his crazy Christian beliefs, which I'm sure are as dopey as any other; his effective and praiseworthy tactics are what we should pay attention to.

Lemme 'splain: Here in the U.S. -- as well as in Israel and France and South Africa and plenty of other countries where a ruling ethnic/religious/cultural elite is beginning to notice that their numbers are shrinking while the numbers of a rival ethnos/religion/culture are growing -- people are starting to worry about protecting the franchise. The U.S. is a (white) Christian nation, they say, and they're (perhaps justifiably) worried that if we keep getting more secular citizens, if the ranks of immigrants continue to grow, if Islam keeps on being the fastest-growing faith, if racial mixing continues, and so on, the franchise is in jeopardy. The white Christian may no longer be the majority. Why do they fear this? Because, obviously, one fears being a minority because one remembers how one treated minorities when one was in the majority. One wants to fuck, but not to be fucked. One doesn't seen the treatment for one's self that one dished out to others. Therefore, the primacy of whiteness and Christianity must continue. Fair enough; no one wants to drop their whip and have someone else pick it up. History is not kind in these situations.

But, but, but! The tactic being taken by Israel -- the tactic taken by South Africa until it was no longer tenable -- the tactic, increasingly, being taken by American Christians -- is to try and fight the inevitable. Oppress the minority. Keep the immigrants out. Fulminate against Islam. People, people! That's not gonna work! You can't keep a minority a minorty after they've already become a majority. You can't stop a demographic shift. And you can't argue people out of existing. The way to ensure that you won't get screwed when inexorable demographic trends start to skew against you isn't to fight all the way, kicking and screaming against a change that can't be stopped short of genocide. The way to do it is to write laws that always, always protect the minority.. The way to do it is to preserve the Constitution, and interpret it in such a way that unpopular beliefs are still legally protected.

If you don't want to get reamed when Hispanics become a majority in America, then make sure Hispanics are treated well when they're a minority. If you don't want Arabs to fuck you when they become citizens of Israel, then make sure you're not fucking them when they're not. If you don't want Islam to threaten Christianity when there are more Muslims than Christians, then write laws that ensure that ALL religions are protected ALL the time, so that they'll work for you when you're no longer on top. I honestly don't know why this is so hard to figure out: a system which extends protection to all beliefs, ethnicities, political views, religions and cultures is inherently superior, because it ensures that whatever demographic changes occur, no one can end up being tyrranized by a majority. Straight male WASPs never seemed to consider this before, because they were always the majority, but that's no longer the case in many ways; inexplicably, though, they seemed determined to fight the inexorable tide of change by beating it back, instead of focusing on securing a lifejacket.

It's really very simple: if you write a law that says 10 people can enslave 5 people, it works only so far as long as you've got the 10 votes on your side. If, all of the sudden, 20 more people move to your town and vote against you, you're a slave. When that starts to happen you can either build a barbed-wire fence to try and keep the new people out, or you can rewrite the law to abolish slavery. Your choice.

I don't know if this is what Micah Clark meant. But I hope so.