Remember the controversy over the installation of a monument to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building by Chief Justice Roy Moore? Well, really, there wasn’t much of a controversy. Pretty much everyone, including most conservatives, denounced Judge Moore as a scofflaw. The Ten Commandments were removed, and Moore was forced off the bench. All mainstream commentators agreed that the rule of law must be upheld, and the prevailing law–right or wrong–must be obeyed.
Fair enough. It is interesting, though, to compare the press’s treatment of Judge Moore and the Ten Commandments with what is currently happening in San Francisco. Gay marriage is unquestionably illegal in California, based on a 2000 initiative. Yet the City of San Francisco has decided to ignore the law, and has begun issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Thousands of such licenses have been issued, while San Francisco judges have refused, so far, to hear motions by lawyers for public interest groups who have tried to shut down the plainly illegal issuance of such licenses.
And how has the press responded to this lawlessness in San Francisco? Censoriously, with lectures about the importance of obeying existing law, whether a particular official agrees with it or not? Of course not. All of the press coverage that I have seen has been euphoric, celebrating the happiness of the newly (albeit illegally) wedded gay couples. This photograph of a lesbian couple at San Francisco’s City Hall exemplifies the tone of the coverage:
Now, there were undoubtedly Alabamans who visited the state’s Judicial Center and were inspired by Judge Moore’s monument to the Ten Commandments. But not one mainstream news outlet, anywhere in the country, would have dreamed of predicating its coverage of the Ten Commandments controversy on photos of, and quotes from, happy Jews and Christians. Such a slant is simply unimaginable.
So: whether being a scofflaw entitles one to favorable or unfavorable news coverage depends entirely on the law being scoffed at. And, for whatever reason, homosexuality is favored, and the Ten Commandments are disfavored.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell