The problem with Anthony Kennedy’s retirement is that god never gets to change his mind.

Turnover at the Supreme Court should provoke many complex questions of law and public policy. But in the case of Anthony Kennedy’s split decision there’s little complexity to be had: Like essentially everything in American politics, this is just about abortion.

If the sun is shining and the birds are singing and bulls are shitting anywhere, Americans have got to be eternally arguing about Roe v Wade.

And all because “god’s” alleged opinions remain, by definition, things of the past.



Imagine having to walk all the way back up the mountain whenever Yahweh needs to print a correction.

Everybody knew right away what Anthony Kennedy’s decision to disrobe (if you will) means. “With Kennedy Gone, Abortion and LGBT Rights Are Next,” was the Daily Beast headline. As if describing the world’s most depressing game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

 NPR’s hed landed a bit softer: “What Kennedy Retirement Means For Abortion.”

But the answer was the same: aborted.

In the pages of the New York Times, preachers attempted some divine misdirection. “Instead of celebrating, some evangelicals are downplaying their fortune,” the Associated Press writes.

But it took less than two hours for anti-abortion and general buzzkill group Students For Life of America (who, either due to a dare or drunken error, put me on their mailing list this year) to start cavorting.

“We believe that Roe can be overturned. We are ready for the ground game,” Students For Life Prez Kristi Hamrick said in her email to supporters/also me for some reason.

So everybody knows the stakes. Ie, bodily control over more than half of the population.

Which for some reason is up to any five unelected Supreme Court Justices in any given year. Note that with Anthony Kennedy included, five of nine current justices are Catholic.

On the other hand, Pew Research says only 20 percent of the general population is. But lo, out of that 20 percent, the lord made a 55.5 percent court majority. Thus feeding the multitude of religious lobbying interests.

Despite this, Roe v Wade stands. Probably because, as we’ve noted before, Pew Research also says most Americans of all religious bents support it. Even the fucking Catholics.

Given that, why does this remain a conflict? It’s been 45 years. Most people’s marriage vows don’t last as long as this political fight.  If this goes on much longer, Sarah Weddington is going to have to become one of those celebrity head jars from “Futurama” if she wants to stay in the game.


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“Yes, these golden plates are thousands of years old but require no updating at all. That’s what we call a gold standard up top.”

As the popular protest sign says, I can’t believe we still have to argue this shit. Especially since (it bears repeating) most people agree with us and always have.

But it’s one thing to argue politics. Politics change with the times. Political leaders eventually die. Even political prejudices can die out, and we bury them at crossroads and burn their hearts on ritual pyres.

But millions of Americans insist on defining abortion as a religious issue. And gods outlive politicians.

That’s supposed to be the entire idea, after all. The world is finite, but supernatural religions are all about a wearying eternity. “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away,” the Gospels say.

(To which I respond: “Don’t you threaten me.”)

And, transcription errors and Mandela Effects notwithstanding, ancient holy books don’t change with the times. That’s their function. The world turns, but Leviticus still says the same shit.

As such, agendas born out of godly prejudices stick around longer. People may change their minds, but gods are static.

Except for Satan, of course. The “god of this world” is always changing. Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell writes in his 1981 book Satan that early Christians even believed the devil to be eternally mutable.“The notion that he had no set form of his own was common” in those days.

So among his many other roles, the devil is patron of revision. Even the hilariously stodgy Church of Satan declares, “Nothing would get done if individuals went along with established thought and never added to it.” (Funny that.)

Because in religion as in nature, stagnancy often means death. In this latest case, possibly the death of a personal freedom.


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“I know. But her emails…”