I see Keith Bardwell has resigned his position as Justice of the Peace down in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. This is the fellow who, back on October 6, refused to marry a mixed-race couple (white lady, black gent).
As a defiant serial miscegenator myself, I was naturally attentive to this story. What’s one to make of it?
So far as I can judge, Mr. Bardwell was within his rights. He recused himself on conscientious grounds from performing the ceremony, as a judge is surely entitled to do. He believes that interracial marriage is harmful to the children of the union, because they will not be fully accepted by either white or black citizens. I don’t agree with that myself, and it seems to be contradicted by some rather glaring evidence; but that’s Mr. Bardwell’s opinion. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be entitled to hold it, nor indeed to act on it, so long as he harms no-one. Plenty of my friends have nutty opinions (though my own are of course all rock-solid …) and I don’t hold that against them.
No harm was done here. Mr. Bardwell didn’t prevent the couple from getting married, and had no power to do so, and knew he had none. The early reporting on this was very misleading — really a disgrace to the journalistic profession. Google-News “keith bardwell license.” You will find dozens of news stories from mid-October telling you that Mr. Bardwell had “refused to issue a marriage license” to the couple. It took me less than five minutes at the keyboard to find out that justices of the peace do not issue marriage licenses in Lousiana. That is done by clerks of the local courts. The justice only performs a ceremony and signs the license, as a priest would. Offenders here included some big names like Associated Press, Newsweek, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and of course the ever-dubious Wikipedia. They have now mostly cleaned up their act, and are reporting that Mr. Bardwell merely refused to marry the couple.
(The fatuous Bobby Jindal contributed to the cloud of ignorance here, declaring that Mr. Bardwell’s license be withdrawn. Louisiana justices of the peace don’t have licenses. They are elected officials. Would it be too much to expect the governor of the state to know that? In Jindal’s case, yes.)
In a free society, there should be the widest possible room for the exercise of freedom of conscience. Mr. Bardwell’s conscience told him that he’d be doing a wrong thing if he married this couple, so he recused himself, as judges do all the time, and ought to be entitled to do. He seems to me, to judge from his TV appearances, to be a nice old geezer of — well, obviously — strong principles.
The poor guy was of course made the subject of a Two Minutes Hate by all the muckety-mucks of political correctness, with much shrieking and wailing about “injustice,” the persistence of “racism,” the “ongoing struggle,” and all the rest of the threadbare clichés of the self-righteous prigs who want to tell us how to live and what to think. Senator Mary Landrieu got quite breathless with indignation, hyperventilating about how “deeply disturbed” she was by Mr. Bardwell’s “ugly bigotry.” Hands up anybody who believes Sen. Landrieu’s deep disturbedness cost her so much as a picosecond of sleep … Anybody? … Nobody? … Thank you, that’s what I thought.
Now Mr. Bardwell will likely spend the rest of his life watching his assets being transferred into the pockets of crook lawyers from legal-terrorism outfits like the ACLU and SPLC. I don’t imagine those assets amount to much. Median house price in Tangipahoa Parish is less than $200,000, though houses seem to go a tad higher in Robert, where Mr. Bardwell lives. The parish is, by the way, a Whitopia, with 1,294 whites in residence, 25 blacks, and 20 other. Now that the unfortunate inhabitants have drawn attention to themselves, and are known to have elected Mr. Bardwell to local office, any day now they should expect notification of a massive HUD lawsuit demanding they build “affordable housing.”
It’s not as if opposition to miscegenenation is such an unusual thing. Without trying hard, I can think of three groups among whom quite visceral opposition is widespread: (1) East Asian men, (2) black women, (3) Orthodox Jews.
And what about our president, the sainted Barack Obama? In his autobiography he tells us about the white girlfriend he had in his New York days. At last he broke up with her.
She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if whe could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough.
— Dreams from My Father, p. 211.
Apparently it wasn’t enough for Obama. He left the unidentified girl to her regrettable whiteness and married Michelle. Does he perhaps nurse negative feelings about interracial marriage? Someone should ask him.
Furthermore, what we saw in this little drama was a harbinger of what we have to look forward to as homosexual marriage gradually spreads around the country. If a justice of the peace decides, on strict principle, that he cannot in conscience marry two men, or two women, will he endure the same storm of denunciation from pompous, self-righteous nitwits as Mr. Bardwell has? And what of priests, who are carrying out essentially the same function? Shall priests be permitted to recuse themselves from their duties on conscientious grounds? Not, I suspect, in Eric Holder’s America. Now just read that last question again. Priests? On conscientious grounds? Have we gone stark staring mad?
In any case, though I obviously disagree with Keith Bardwell on the miscegenation business, I cherish him as a little remnant of the old, weird America not yet hammered down flat by the forces of orthodoxy, conformity, preening priggishness, bogus indignation, and totalitarian bullying. He’s welcome to drop in to my multiracial household for a drink and a chat any day that suits him … Though by the time the guardian schoolmarms of our public morality have dragged him behind their chariots round the borders of Tangipahoa Parish with all the shyster “civil rights” lawyers of America in howling pursuit, briefcases a-flapping, I doubt he’ll be able to afford the bus fare up here.