I’m trying very hard (teeth clenched, smiling) to understand how conservatives think. What kind of future do they see that’s so scary? Fewer guns. More people in committed relationships. More trust in people, to make decisions about their. own. lives. Why is that so menacing?
There was an opinion piece in the local paper today about “restoring tolerance,” and by that, the author, Steve Cornell (a local pastor), means tolerance for homophobics (by definition, people who fear or have contempt for lesbians and gay men). Mr. Cornell made three points: sexuality must always be viewed in the context of volition; it is propaganda to suggest that most Americans endorse gay marriage; it is childish to accuse someone of hate for disagreeing with a lifestyle.
One by one, here we go. If sexuality is a matter of will, I should have no problem making love to a woman. Mr. C should have no problem caressing a man’s chest– I could get WAY more vulgar here but won’t. I tend to think, unless there’s something he’s hiding, that he would have a problem with doing that, as do I. I cannot choose to be attracted to a woman. I cannot ignore that from the age of- oh, ten or so, on, I have always been drawn to men- the sharp jaw, the broad shoulders– and not to the curves and softness of my own gender. I didn’t choose this, it just happened. (Edit: Or as my brother said, it’s not like shopping for a new car where you choose the Accord over the Camry because it has a better package.) For this columnist to suggest this is something we choose is to ignore his OWN EXPERIENCE. So, one down.
The columnist uses as “proof” that most Americans do not support gay marriage the quick, loud, and effective response to Phil Robertson’s firing. So. A vocal relative few show A&E that they support a religious guy spouting centuries old rules, and that is proof? The three top returns in an internet search show 50+%, 52%, and 55% of Americans support gay marriage; the flip side is not the remainder, either, because there is a margin of people who don’t care or don’t know– so those against it number in the low 40s. The columnist’s use of “Duck Dynasty’s” small audience as a measure is like saying Ellen Degeneres is popular so it must be that most of us support gay marriage. So, two down.
Thirdly. I imagine that gay people do not care what you think about them. They probably do not care if you think they’re going to hell. So in that regard they’re not calling you a bigot because you don’t fully support them. They’re calling you a bigot because you refuse to acknowledge that you’re depriving them of a civil right, to marry the adult of their choosing. They were not given the chance to approve or vote on your marriage, so why should you hold that power over them? No one’s asking you to marry someone of your own gender, no one’s demanding you divorce your wife– why in god’s name do you CARE so much about who a gay person might marry? You say, Mr. Cornell, that Phil Robertson and by extension you and by extension all who hold your position do not demand “nationwide conformity” and that GLAAD is trying to “marginalize and suppress the free speech of anyone who disagrees with same-sex lifestyles.” (Edit: ugh, I’m so sick of calling gay people’s lives “lifestyles.” A “lifestyle” is Winter in St. Martin, Spring in Paris. Flopping on the couch to watch a movie with your partner of 10 years after the kids go to bed is– life. To discuss this as solely about sex is to suggest ANYONE’s life after 30 or after kids is sexy-time-all-the-time, which is flat out ridiculous.) I think GLAAD and by extension all of us who support same-sex marriage don’t give a shit about what you or Phil think or say- you may “KNOW” that gay marriage is wrong in god’s eyes but in the public forum you have to admit that you can only “HOPE TO GOD” that it’s wrong, because religion is not fully comfortable without something to denounce. Know why? Because 1.) if it’s not, that may mean another fissure in the dam of your religion, and 2.), how can you fully enjoy basking in the sunshine of god’s eternal love, your heaven, without knowing that in some fiery hole others are suffering eternal damnation, hours and days and millennia of constant pain and agony? You must admit that on some level you find that just a bit thrilling…
Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. William E. Gladstone, 1809-1898