politiku

Appropriating Slavery

Francis Walsh, of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania here in Guam, has decided to compare himself — a white man — to Dred Scott:

The US Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on whether a ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional later this month. They are expected to render a decision by the end of June. Father Walsh compares this movement to that of the Dred Scott decision issued by the US Supreme Court in 1857 that said slaves had no legal rights and that African Americans were not entitled to American citizenship.

“Marriage is not the product of what the civil law says. The only rights that the state has is to regulate the civil consequences of marriage. It does not have any right to define marriage. Now if the state should overstep its boundaries and create that kind of an injustice, our response would be the same that we would make for the Dred Scott decision,” Walsh contends.

The outcome of the Dred Scott decision, Father Walsh points out was a civil war.

“What we are dealing with now is something along the same lines–a major social catastrophe; and what has to be done is total resistance for the good of the whole society,” says Walsh.

Just to clarify, the appropriate parallel here is between slaves who were denied legal rights and LGBTQ people who are being denied equal rights under the law.  Both are about bigotry and discrimination being suffered by a specific category of people.

Walsh is calling for a theocracy, an extremist Catholic theocracy parallel to present-day Iran.  He doesn’t want a democracy in which all citizens are treated with equality regardless of their religion, and have religious freedom.  He is misapplying his particular narrow religious beliefs to the state, which must encompass many people of many different positions on religion.

And he is calling for a second civil war over this?  Over gay marriage?

This is madness, but it is also the calculated madness of the essentially helpless.  He has nothing but his lies and bigotries.  Francis Michael Walsh has no army, no government, no country — and clearly no shame.

Arnold Davis, who has filed a lawsuit against the Decolonization Registry and its plebiscite that will never happen and will never be taken seriously by the U.S. or U.N. even if by some miracle it does come to fruition, liked to compare his white self to black people’s struggle too.  He claimed in court that he was a victim of racism just like black people were in the American South.  Of course, once again, that was exactly wrong.  The indigenous people of Guam who had their island stolen and their human rights curtailed by a U.S. military dictatorship were the victims of racism, very clearly noted in the historical record, and the victims of colonization.  Arnold Davis had no place in the plebiscite which was meant to point out that historical atrocity.  He clearly has no sense of history or metaphor, or the U.N. conventions on such plebiscites.  But international law can never be allowed to enter into a colonialist equation.  People might start thinking they deserved liberty and democracy.

Walsh and Davis, you are white men.  Old, ego-ridden, privileged white men with all the time in the world to say every foolish thing that enters your heads, frivolous lawsuits included.  Do not compare yourselves to African-American people living under slavery and racism.  Have some sense of dignity and self-respect, if nothing else.  Think about who you are and what your positionality is as white men on this island.  Think about the history of how white people oppressed black people under the slave system.  Don’t pretend you know what it’s like to be a slave.  Or a Chamorro person living under colonization.  Or a lesbian woman living in a world that refuses her basic legal rights.

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