Sunday, June 19, 2005

Anti-Gay activists, God Love them.

After reading the 6/19/2005 NYT Magazine article on gay marriage opposition ("What's Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? (It's the Gay Part)" by Russell Shorto, temporarily available at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/magazine/19ANTIGAY.html?pagewanted=all, free registration req'd, I'm going to have to find a way to abbreviate that), I had to respond.

First of all, the article's title is clearly right (never say clearly, you're always wrong when you do). Gay Marriage Opponents are, almost without exception, Gay Opponents. It's not that their marriage is threatened, or their society, or their sanity, by others' marriage. Their etceteras are threatened, in their view, by the acceptance and permissive attitudes towards gays that foster this evil, sinful, God-damned lifestyle. It's a choice, remember, no matter how stupid that position sounds. Hate the sinner, love the sin- wait, that's not how they say it. Oh, right, it's supposed to be hate the sin, love the sinner. Well, these folks hate the sin, and they don't much like the sinners who insist they're not sinning at all. Why, it's prideful, arguing that they know for theirselves what God created them to be, how they should love, who they should marry, and so on. They should burn in hell, the queers, think these imaginary bigots I'm picturing.

I know people who will, with a straight face (pun intended, sort of) that the "dignity of the institution of marriage- straight marriage" is indeed at risk. I suppose you could believe it. Society's being threatened by these undermining anarchic free-love non-monogamous queers, and here are some of them now... looking to get married and settle down and raise kids...

The Kids issue I will take up at another time.

For now, let's go in depth on a quote from the article.

A quote from a pastor, one Brian Racer, whose own instruction and whose adherents are featured:


''The Hebrew words for male and female are actually the words for the male and female genital parts,'' he told me. ''The male is the piercer; the female is the pierced. That is the way God designed it. It's unfortunate that homosexuals have taken the moniker 'gay,' because their lifestyle and its consequences are anything but. Look what has happened in the decades since the sexual revolution and acceptance of the gay lifestyle as normal. Viruses have mutated. S.T.D.'s have spread. It shows that when we try to change the natural course of things, what comes out of that is not joy or gayness.''

Now, Mr. Racer is, it's evident to me, a smart man, a thoughtful man, eager to look for God's word to support what he's learned is moral. He's consulting language- I guess- to realize something about the implicit point of view of the ancient Hebrews, and, again I guess, what God thought that meant about their appropriate sexual and marriage habits. Maybe he's confused his Biblical literalism with his linguistic literalism. Does he believe women are c___s and men are p____s? [rude words removed for the sensitive; if you know what I'm saying, you won't care, and if you don't, please presume they are very rude words] Well, maybe he's not so reductive. But he does love to toss in things he's heard, read, and thought.

What else does he say? Again, that bolded passage: when we try to change the natural course of things, what comes out of that is not joy. Now, this may surprise you, as it did me. I have lots of reasons.

  1. I thought this gentleman was some other flavor, but he sounds like one of the medicine-rejecting Christians. Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses: these are the folks who reject vaccines or live-saving treatments. After all, it's all in the hands of the Lord, and if you become sick, it's a prime sign that you're supposed to die. [I once rode in a car driven by a woman who prayed loudly to saints to protect her as she turned, changed lanes, and interacted with surrounding traffic. It was a deeply frightening experience. "Trust yourself! Use the Force! Be assertive! Stop praying out loud!" I wanted to scream.] Even if, by using human knowledge and tools, and human free will, you could be cured and live longer and do more good on Earth. After all, the motto of despairing fatalistic anti-science no-free-willers is, "Screw you humans, I'm with God, and His Will is what matters." I'm perhaps interpreting here. Maybe his statement was narrower, and had only to do with marriage.
  2. Just in case I'm wrong though: He may also be against humans building dams; must check this. How about wild apes using tools, or termites doing their excavations, or birds building nests? Natural? Can any human innovation be "to the greater glory of God"?
  3. Maybe he's actually talking about marriage alone, as the article might lead you to believe. In that case, he means: when we [don't marry in the way I read the Bible to instruct us to], what comes out of that is not joy.

Now, this third point is much more interesting.

My favorite first argument of rebuttal is, where the hell were these people when the women were getting equality?

I think Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, of international blogger fame as Daily Kos) is a left wing wacko- good people, in other words, for the most part, but watch out for the backswing- but he also lets other folks post, and so you get impressive pieces of writing like this: The Reality of the Institution of Marriage by ejpoeta.

Now, the above mini-article is less than correct, because it's too shallow. It says, for example, "Then there was the honeymoon. Its original intent was not romantic. The groom would wisk his bride off to a hidden location to ensure her pregnant [sic] before her family should find them. " Now, this is, as I said, less than correct.

The honeymoon is not about kidnapping from the bride's family. It probably does indeed encourage impregnating the new wife, but it is symbolic too. It's about the husband taking his new property/sex partner/partner in equality (take your pick) away from all other biological and romantic competitors, and getting a shot at passing on his genes. Also, there's the aspect of tying down the love relationship, forcing the new couple closer together, and starting on a long voyage together which involves intimacy as well as cohabitation. The explanation about "before her family could find them" has no basis in biology or history; the family wants her to reproduce, biologically speaking. The family is not competing with the new groom. Other males would be.

That said, the article is right: marriage today is not anything like marriage of yore, because society has changed. Had to, must have, did. Property rights come and go, so do trendy covenant marriage customs, but the role of women (the idea of the role of women) in society is not what it once was. Will never be again.

Given that we have thus departed from what fundamentalists would have us believe is the latest word of God on proper marriage, I can't imagine what they're thinking in telling us that changing society is going to make us unhappy.

They want the gays to stop gaying (they can be gay, just don't act gay or have gay sex; also, stop fornicating, you straights) and to go back in the closet, or be cured. They want women to assume their proper place in the home and in society and in the world. They think it's due to gayness, not lack of proper education, that S.T.D.s are as rampant as they are. They think that viruses are spread by sin rather than by poor hygienic practices.

They want committed asexual gays (Never heard or imagined they exist? Well, imagine with me) to live forever unmarried, because marriage is for straights who make their own kids, or possibly adopt, never for gays. What if they infected the children with Gay? Oops, I said I would save the post on adoption til later.

The article should hopefully wake up some moderates. They're not after the gays who want to marry. It's a metaphorical and ideological war, with their scriptural authority (terrible though it is, and I'll address that in a post sometime too) on one side, and with most of the rest of us, and gays, and Elton John, and Rosie, and Queer Eye, and condoms in high schools, and premarital sex, and adoption by gay parents, and happy sex-positive life on the other. Also, if I may guess, God is not on their side. He may not be on My side, but he sure as sin is not on the side of those who ignore the words of Jesus, whether or not Christianity is at all True.

Again, I refer to Slacktivist and the words of John summarizing his teachings, here.

"And that's the way it is." - Norm Macdonald, SNL Weekend Update.

3 Comments:

At 7:58 PM, July 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also a nice little argument about what IS actually natural and how you can claim something is natural. Who gets to decide, and if you just go back to the Bible, shouldn't poligamy be okay (You know, the guy who had to marry 2 sisters)? Seriously though, if you go out and really study nature, you have all sorts of asexual reproduction and multiple sexes and seahorse males bearing young and all sorts of frightful things that God must have thought up the morning after eating some of his more psychedelic vegetable creations.

 
At 8:48 AM, July 10, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

I don't know how "nice" it is to refer to biblical behavior for guides to our own; there is in fact a reason Jesus rejected much of the tradition, in favor for a stripped down rule that was in essence, treat others no worse than you would be treated yourself, or would treat your beloved brother.

Nevermind polygamy; what about slavery, handing your daughter over to a mob for gang rape to protect yourself, dashing infants' heads against rocks, and destroying the cities of those who worship false gods? The Bible has a lot of behavior, by the Chosen people or at the direction of God, that I would not recommend emulating.

I really like your turn of phrase there. I need to get myself another copy of Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation by Olivia Judgson, reviewed here by Danny Reviews, which astonishingly criticizes Dr. T for her lack of sufficient breadth - because although "pretty much every aspect of animal sex is at least touched on" she fails to deal with "the fascinating topic of pollination" among other concepts.

While his biting criticism might be appropriate in a hoary tome of reference material, I find it preposterous when it comes to this breezy, non-technical, factual and fun book for dilettantes and laypeople.

My favorite bit: "Anxious in Ambroseli" writes in to report a litany of symptoms, which concludes with the complaint that his penis has turned green. Dr. Tatiana's diagnosis: he is an African elephant suffering from SINBAD (Single-Income, No Babe, Absolutely Desperate) syndrome. Hilarious.

 
At 9:59 PM, December 29, 2005, Anonymous Pamela said...


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