I originally published this on March 1st, and it constituted my projections at the time of how Gay Marriage would play with the Fundamentalists types in the GOP. My projections turned out to be surprisingly accurate in a short amount of time, and events since are largely playing out more or less like my Authoritarian model suggested.
Allright, here goes. My perspective on what Gay Marriage means to hardcore Fundamentalist types. But first, let me clarify that the people I will be describing are not mainstream Christians, but they are the people that influence mainstream Christians rather heavily. They are the Glenn Beck of Christian thought, and the regular Evangelicals would be Fox News in this poorly constructed simile. Much like how Beck gives voice to the deepest crazy impulses of the Republican ID while Fox News profits by dog-whistling to the crazies (Example, Fox will imply Obama is a sekrit Mohammedan, while Beck comes strait out and says it), Fundies scream the craziest shit you have ever heard (out of sight of the casual observer) while people like John Hagee profit by writing only moderately less insane books with this crowd in mind. Much like the Tea Party, (that fundies have been increasing their influence in of late) while comparatively few in number, Fundies have an outsized influence on the larger Evangelical movement.
Now let me specify what I mean by fundamentalist here. These are not Christians in the traditional sense, they are rather first and foremost authoritarians that happen to use Christianity as an excuse. These are literal american Taliban, and if the rule of law were to ever break down in this country, fundies would try and set up their own version of a Caliphate. Fundamentalism goes back to the 1920's in the US, and started off as a sort of big tent revival movement that swept through the nation. Prior to the emergence of fundies American Christianity was notably more progressive than it is today. For example, the idea of the Earth only being 6,000 years old only caught on in the world BECAUSE pf American Fundamentalists, prior to that the idea of an "Old Earth" was not terribly controversial and not often regarded as a religious issue. To cut a great deal of history short Fundamentalists were generally uninterested in politics (believing that wordly affairs were of little practical concern since the rapture was imminent anyways) until a desperate GOP engaged them as a voting block in the wake of the Nixon fiasco. Modern Conservatism was also born as a result of this strategy of engaging both Fundamentalists and Southern Racists and incorporating them as a rock solid voting block of the GOP. (This movement has long been associated with a certain paranoid style of American politics, the outreach of Conservative groups to fundies in the 70's and 80's has been at times called the "Church-Birch Nexus.)
It is hard to explain to the non-fundamentalist what exactly Gay Marriage means to a fundamentalist. Homosexuality represents an open, willful defiance to God's will that they find nearly incomprehensible (to a fundamentalist, the only pleasure one receives from "sodomy" is the thrill of defying your creator in the most perverse way imaginable), and the societal acceptance of such a horror is pure gibbering madness. The way you or I might perceive the scenes of hundreds of children speaking in tongues in Jesus Camp, they perceive the US accepting Gay Marriage. Except worse, because while you and I might feel a great selling of sadness in seeing children manipulated in such a way, fundamentalists feel EXTREME fear in seeing Gay people get married.
Let me compare Gay Marriage to abortion. This comparison is valid because fundies are going to be making this comparison a shitload in the days to come because both were brought about via the Supreme Court. While Fundies believe abortion is baby murder (which they detest) it is something they can at least understand. After all, in the Old Testament babies are murdered under God's orders numerous times. (When I was 8 the leader of my cult gave all us 2nd graders a vivid demonstration of how the Israelite s picked up the Canaanites children by their legs and dashed their heads against the rocks as God had commanded.) Baby murder is bad, but it isn't outside the natural order. Fundamentalists understand it. Homosexuality is against God's order, it is one of the vilest, cleverest lies Satan has ever concocted. In the Bible God punish's murders individually, but God flooded the entire planet once because of sodomy (Noah's Flood), and he flattened Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality. So as bad as abortion is, Gay Marriage is actually much worse.
To the fundamentalist mind legal Gay Marriage is society embracing the most vile, hated act in the entire Bible. Nowhere in the entire fundie worldview is there a sin anywhere near so dangerous as homosexuality. God has destroyed any nation in history that has ever embraced homosexuality, because it is that grievous an insult to His perfect will. By embracing sodomy in such a public way, America is turning its back on God in the most defiant way possible. To the average fundie, this is America signing its own death warrant. Revelations is at hand and the tribulation must begin soon. When I was little I heard over and over that "tolerance of sodomites" would be the very last thing that happened before God's wrath descended down upon the world. It is the final, ultimate, collective defiance of God. Satan's grandest plan to trick us all into forcing God to destroy us.
Important to keep in mind here is that the Fundie Skyman is fond of indiscriminate murder. Gay Marriage puts every American at risk. once the Supreme Court decision goes through, every Hurricane, every Tornado, every stray hiker in PA that gets struck by lightning, is going to be God punishing us for Gay Marriage. The only way to protect yourself from God's wrath is going to be to oppose the sodomites at every turn in every way possible. In this fight either you are with God or you are with Satan. Since Satan controls the world, if the world is attacking you, that means it is Satan attacking God. So you will be safe from God if everyone else is condemning your actions. What I am trying to say here is, opposition to Gay Marriage will become a matter of not only personal safety, but safety for your family. When Satan's minions call you an ignorant bigot, that means that you are safe from the inevitable punishment God is cooking up for America.
I really want to emphasize here that fundies will not be fighting this battle to win. They will be fighting this battle in that hopes that by publicly martyring themselves they will be spared God's wrath, for them and their families. they will not be saying things in public to win hearts or minds. They will not organize around the idea of actually winning this fight. They expect to lose. They want to lose. They must lose. For in losing they will assure the safety of their church's, their children, and themselves.
I would say not to mistake the seeming acceptance of Gay Marriage from the SBC or like minded Evangelicals as some sort of capitulation. I would say (for the type of Evangelical I am familiar with) it is more like the rabbits in Watership Down "Going Tharn", or being so over-stressed they just lock up and freeze in place. For others Gay Marriage will be like the State of Israel, bait for the Jesus trap. (Must happen in order for the rapture to occur.) I expect that once the decision has gone through and there has been some time to process it all, Fundies will either disengage from the political process (unlikely) or we will witness the biggest public outburst of bigotry this country has seen in a long time. In fact, I will even go so far as to suggest that much like how Ferguson served to draw a ton of racists out of the woodwork last year, whatever Fundies eventually do in reaction to Gay Marriage will draw bigots out by the busload. I have no idea what they will ultimately do, except that it will be totally irrational, and divorced from reality.
Fundies are hard to predict, especially when they are terrified. All I can really say is that once the decision goes through there will be a massive debate internally that will eventually result in some sort of unhinged reaction pouring out into the public sphere. And I mean unhinged. Like, Bundy Ranch unhinged. The real question is whether or not the GOP manages to put this fire out in time for the primaries. (I 95% doubt they will and I expect every GOP candidate to face questions about this issue) If this fire is not put out in time, a candidates stance on Gay Marriage could become a Conservative litmus test in much the same way that Global Warming and Evolution currently are. I expect that the GOP won't have the moral courage to tell these dogs to shut the fuck up, so they will try and get them barking at a more socially acceptable target. If you can't shut the dogs up, at least focus them on a target that does not deter the public quite like open bigotry does. If Hillary is the candidate, I expect that target to be women. Otherwise Muslims/The Poor will be the go to boogiemen. I expect the hope will be that if you get the base riled up enough about someone else they will forget about those icky fags. I do not expect this tactic to work, and I anticipate that the 2016 election will be so nasty, so utterly focused in its hatred of the other, that we will all pine for the folksy politeness of the 2012 GOP election season.