Fear, hatred, and religious dogma…
It amazes me that this far into the civilized human condition we are still debating whether or not some of us deserve to have rights that most of us enjoy. In America there is a distinct hatred for the GLBT community that is so pervasive and vitriolic it’s hard to justify our mantra, “the land of the free”.
Freedom is something that all Americans desire. We want to be free to pursue our own goals in life, to say what we believe, and love who we want to love. So why does the conservative movement, the ones who espouse freedom, want to viciously to condemn and deny the rights of gay people in America?
Their position has an underlying religious context, no surprise there, and mixed in with a little outright bigotry and hatred. Their position that homosexuality is a sin fuels a lot of gatherings where church goers hold up signs that say things like “God Hates Fags”, “Homosexuals Are Possessed By Demons”, and “Fags Doom Nations”.
Now this is an extreme fringe element of the Right that has a real hatred of homosexuals, and they abuse the bible as a pretext for their own bigotry, yet the movement as a whole doesn’t rebuke the fringe’s sentiments. The Fringe has taken their mantra to some pretty awful and dangerous levels of contempt. Recently Andy Gipson made a disturbing statement on his Facebook page essentially espousing his biblical belief that gay men and women should be put to death as per his understanding of Leviticus. Here it is:
“Sorry I’ve been busy and not had a chance to reply. David, in addition to the basic principal that it is morally wrong, here are three social reasons it’s horrific social policy: 1)Unnatural behavior which results in disease, not the least of which is its high association with the development and spread of HIV/AIDS; 2) Confusing behavior which is harmful to children who have a deep need to understand the proper role of men and women in society and the important differences between men and women, and fathers and mothers; and 3) Undermines the longstanding definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, a definition which has been key to all aspects of social order and prosperity. Anytime that definition is weakened our culture is also weakened. And yes, that is also true for other conduct which weakens marriage’s importance in society.”
I think this is a pretty good representation of the Right-Wing point of view regarding gay marriage equality. They believe this is unnatural behavior, and also that it is a lifestyle choice. This begs the question: Why would a person choose to be Gay? I don’t mean that in any derogatory way; I am simply saying that given the amount of discrimination, violence, and legal boundaries I don’t believe it would be a choice most would make.
Aside from that, it is pretty clear that nature has shown that genetics are the primary reason people are gay. You are attracted to who you are attracted to; that defined instinct is something we experience and come to realize, not something we consciously choose. The premise that homosexuality is unnatural is completely and utterly false, and nature tells us so.
The Natural World of Homosexuality…
According to http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx it has been observed that 1500 species in the animal kingdom engage in homosexual behavior, and this is only what has been observed thus far. Everything from lions to dwarf chimpanzees maintains homosexual relationships. So you can see that this is most certainly a common and natural occurrence in the animal kingdom.
Mr. Gipson goes on to say that homosexuals are responsible for the development and spread of Aids. This is quite a bold and unsubstantiated statement. Aids did spread throughout the gay community, as well as the heterosexual community in the 1980’s and 90’s, mostly because it wasn’t known to exist yet. I should also note that in a society where violence, discrimination, and hatred are directed at you, it will cause repression of your sexuality and seems to have created an environment where gay people were seeking to express their sexuality behind closed doors; that seems to have made it an unsafe way to do so.
The truth is both heterosexuals and homosexuals were contracting Aids, and in no way was this only a gay issue. To say they developed it is quite irrational and unfounded. There are statements by religious leaders that have gone much further down the road of insulting and disingenuous remarks like Aids is God’s answer to homosexuality. This is more of the same ignorant and bigoted nonsense that shapes many of the Rights opinions on social constructs. Some of this stuff is just unbelievable.
On the other side we have Christians that openly support equality and the right for gay people to get married and have their relationships recognized; for them we are grateful because they add a much needed voice inside the malady of Republican Party. The party is in much need of a re-calibration of character. Mind you, the Democrats suffer the same ills with corporate pandering and blatant allegiance to their will. The political discussion will come later, but for now let’s stick to Mr. Gipson and his marvelous insights into human behavior.
God Told Me To Do It…
So sayeth Mr. Gipson, that homosexuality is confusing for children to understand, that they need to know the proper role for a man and for a woman. I’m not sure how he defines “proper role”, but given the biblical contextualization I’m guessing it’s not good for the woman.
“Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
You see, he is manipulating the definition to suit his own perceptions, which is what men have done for millennia. So, the so called tradition of marriage has been evolving over time and as humans have become more civilized the more social norms have evolved to a higher level of compassion. Ultimately there is no undeniable definition for what the tradition of marriage is, and this manipulation of the phrase “traditional marriage” is a self-serving mask for bigotry born from fear.
The tragedy of the previous traditions of marriage is numerous. So what tradition is it that they are trying to uphold? Though in his post Mr. Gipson says “the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman”, which I suppose is how it has always been thought of by societies, but we are an evolving society. Interracial marriage was illegal at one point in time, so was the right for women to vote. So tradition isn’t always the best thing. Some traditions are meant to be broken.
He goes to say that homosexuals are weakening the culture by weakening marriage and thus the social order. This statement is just asinine. If anything weakens marriage, the culture, and the social order it is hatred and bigotry. Recognizing the universal value of love in all circumstances is something that strengthens life in general. Gay marriage rights extend personal freedom to those who have been denied it. Acceptance of others is something that brings people together. Why are these hard concepts for Republicans and religious nuts to understand? Didn’t Jesus preach love and acceptance?
Science is Our Solace…
A family requires love and committed parents to care for a child and guide through the journey of life. Gay parents do not destroy the fabric of our culture by raising children. There is no moral consequence of gay parenting. The study by the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx shows that children raised by gay parents are no different on average than children raised by a man and a woman. In some cases they have significant advantages, like being better disciplined, more tolerant of others, and in some cases have a higher grade point average. This study also shows that gay parents have a better child awareness and interaction than heterosexual parents. Gay parents are also less likely to use physical punishment.
These are not just mere opinions; this is empirical data that conclusively shows these results. This is unbiased and irrefutable. I know how much the religious Right abhors science, mostly because it contradicts everything they believe to be true, but this stuff needs to be taken to heart and talked about. If you have a Republican or religious friend who is against equal rights for all and gay marriage, please show them this study by the APA.
There are quite a few studies that have been done over the past few decades that all show similar results. Relying on the bible for moral guidance is a lot like relying on comic books to get you through college; it’s basically just a waste of fucking time. But millions do so, and the progression of civilized society suffers. Gay marriage has increasingly become more accepted due to the brave activists like Harvey Milk and many others who have stood up against the backlash and demanded their rights. My home state of New York recently legalized gay marriage and some of my dear friends are now married. Yet leaving the issue of rights to the whims of politicians has its unintended consequences.
Since I have been observing the political process the one constant I always see is the manipulation of the public mindset by bringing divisive social issues into the election campaigns. This sort of tactic is something that plays out when the larger issues are so damning that the only way to divert attention is to inject commentary or a political PR move regarding abortion or gay marriage.
Recently president Obama has said that he supports gay marriage. This is a monumental statement; he is the first president to openly support the issue. But one has to wonder of the reasons behind his decision. The issues that are facing the country are the corruption of corporate owned politicians, the fact that America has become a police state with ever diminishing civil rights, politicians are destroying our education system, we are creating endless wars, murdering hundreds of thousands overseas, signing laws that allow the indefinite detention of Americans, and we are eroding the social protections that 99% of the citizens need to survive.
Most recently president Obama has appointed John Brennan as America’s 1st assassination czar. Can you believe it? We have an assassination czar. One person in the federal government will decide who gets killed. He is also trumpeting the drone program coming to a city or town near you. That’s right we are going to have predator drones patrolling American airspace. All of this which is pretty much blacked out of everything except alternative media outlets, and president Obama and the 4th branch of the government (mainstream media) are shifting our focus for the 2012 election to social issues like gay marriage.
Gay marriage is an important issue; the rights of millions of people hang in the balance, and I am not detracting from that. My point is simply that political candidates use these issues to manipulate the public, because this always stirs high emotions and irrational debates. The Republicans are like Pavlov’s dog when it comes to having their emotional buttons pushed. FOX News has created an entire news channel that utilizes this concept to keep their propaganda train rolling, and these baboons savagely slurp it up.
It will be made a major focus of the campaign, and it will take away from discussions about the other issues that have dire consequences for our nation. I believe that Obama’s statement was a calculated decision to make him appear progressive when in fact he is not. He has closely followed the positions of George W. Bush, and also expanded on some of the worst policies of his administration, so this distraction will serve him well while also giving much needed support for the issue.
During past campaigns the go to divider was abortion, which has been an extreme issue this country has faced, with people on the Right going as far as killing doctors that perform abortion. So this rhetoric about homosexuality being a sin that is punishable by death may not just be rhetoric.
The nature of the Right is to oppress while espousing freedom, just look at what George W. Bush did after 911. They sometimes turn to violent means to get their point across, and their rhetoric stirs the hatred and bigotry of the base. Gay teens are ostracized and bullied at an alarming rate in this country and it has to stop. Gay teen suicide is becoming an epidemic. We need politicians that will step up and take strong action to endure the right for marriage equality, not just use the issue to stir the public discord.