Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh damn, here we go again…

I am so grateful that we found out about our son’s sexual orientation while he was still in high school and living at home with us. It gave my husband and me the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our son minus all the “closet” baggage and fake personas he’d specifically designed to keep anyone from getting to know the real him. It gave us time to get comfortable with his sexual orientation and him time to get comfortable with it too. And most importantly it gave us the opportunity to talk to him about things that we would not have talked about if we had not known he was gay.

BUT it was also the worst time to find out we had a gay son. It was right smack dab in the middle of George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign for reelection. And every single day of that sickening campaign was a painful kick-to-the-gut reminder that our beloved son was nothing more than a tool to this man. We watched in horror as the President of the United States put our son’s constitutional rights up as bargaining chips in order to win over the most hateful segment of his base so that he could eek back into office for 4 more years.

No, it was an absolutely terrible time to learn that the child we loved so much it hurt was gay. And looking back, I’m damn glad that period in our lives is over. Unfortunately I think I need to brace myself for 2008 since it seems to be shaping up to be a remake of 2004, but with different goofballs playing the lead roles.

And judging from this article by Greta Christina, she thinks so too. She focuses on Mitt Romney in this article, but you could easily substitute the name of many of the other GOP candidates and no one would notice:

You know, it's not so much the fact that he's opposing same-sex marriage that bugs me. I pretty much expect that from any Republican Presidential candidate, and for that matter from most of the Democratic ones too.

It's not even the fact that Romney used to be both more progressive and more gay-friendly. After all, John McCain needs someone to keep him company in his craven rush to suck the collective cock of the far right.

What's really bugging me about Romney's opposition to same-sex marriage is that he's using religion and the Bible to defend it.

And then she gets to the crux of what’s really difficult for those of us who don’t share the same religious views as these sanctimonious frauds:

When elected officials cite religious beliefs -- and religious scripture in particular -- to defend their political positions, they're basically saying that they have the right to make decisions about other people's lives, not on the basis of evidence or ethics or good arguments, but on the basis of unsupported faith.

And not just a general ecumenical faith in some sort of God or some sort of soul, but a specific set of beliefs and rules -- about which people all over the world disagree vehemently and violently, and for which there is no basis for believing other than (a) their personal hunch, and/or (b) the tradition and authority of their parents and teachers and religious texts.

They're saying that, when deciding an important question with a powerful effect on people's lives (such as same-sex marriage), a book written thousands of years ago in a society that no longer exists -- and their own personal interpretation of that book -- is every bit as important, and maybe even more important, as what does and does not work to make our society flourish, and to make the people in it stable and happy.

Not just when it comes to their own life -- their own marriage, their own body, their own sexuality -- but mine, and yours, and everyone else's.

Because the thing about religious beliefs is that they're not based on evidence. They're based either on personal inspiration, or the authority of religious teachers and texts (or some combination of the two). And ultimately, they're not debatable. You can argue with people about their religious beliefs, but eventually it always comes down to, "I believe what I believe."


The Bible is a complicated, self-contradictory mess, written by different people at different historical periods with sometimes wildly different points of view. And it can be used -- has been used -- to defend just about any position, from slavery to civil rights, from the stoning of homosexuals to the support of same-sex marriage. (As Ingrid said: If you're trying to pass laws based on the Bible, but you're not passing laws against blended fabrics or charging interest on loans, then you need to shut up.)


It's one thing to base your own life on a collective religious tradition or an inspired religious hunch. I think it's mistaken, I think it's problematic... but I also think it's none of my damn business. But when people try to base MY life on their collective tradition or inspired hunch -- without actually bothering to look at my life and what would and would not help me and the people around me -- that is another kettle of fish. And it's a kettle of fish that stinks to the skies.

Yup Christina, you said it better than I could. And I thank you for it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not to be a downer, and I in no way want to come off as patronizing, but (and maybe this just reflects my age and what I've seen growing up), I've come to expect this. For the long haul. That period of religious discrimination, as far as I could see, never ended. It's not "here we go again" so much as "yep....still goin".

"The strong sisters told the brothers that there were two important things to remember about the coming revolutions. The first is that we will get our asses kicked. The second is that we will win." - Queer Nation Manifesto