So, I got up today, like most days, wondering what I was going to blog about. I knew I didn't want to keep dragging out stories that had already been done, even if they're still good for some mileage, so I was watching news clips of the Osama death reactions, thinking maybe there would be some angle there I could talk about or something, and I noticed that there have been a lot of gay slurs used in reference to OBL and his followers. Now, on one hand I sort of understand it, considering how homophobic the culture is, it has to be about the worst insult you can say about these people. On the other, it is, itself, a homophobic thing to say. So then I got to thinking about ok, OBL is dead and the nation is celebrating and I don't want to be the wet blanket on the national party, but other than this guy finally eating shit, things are still pretty fucked up around here. Besides just the economic problems we're facing right now, there is still a huge level of intolerance in our country for certain groups of people. As open-minded and progressive as we like to pretend we are right now because just over half the country voted for a half-black president, we've got a long way to go before we practice what our founding father's promised - all men are created equal.
Yes, a slight majority elected a half-black president. Which is itself ironic because while nearly half the country didn't vote for Obama, everyone says that his election means that the country has moved past race being an issue. Like one mixed-race president is going to reverse a history of discrimination. In a way, it's true though. Race is less of an issue now than it ever has been. Not that racism is dead, we still have a long way to go before people are truly judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin, but we have made a significant leap of progress towards a more racially equal society, and Obama deserves a lot of credit for that.
Unfortunately, racism didn't die, it merely found new groups to attack. Prejudice isn't so easily gotten rid of. So now, instead of everyone worrying about the blacks and what they're up to, we're worrying about the Muslims and the gays.
I would mention immigrants on that list too, but watching people try to hate on immigration and legislate to prevent it is like watching someone put shaving cream back in the can. That door is wide open, water is flooding in, good luck trying to shut it. Mexican Americans are fast becoming the majority in this country, so trying to legislate them "back where they came from" just isn't going to happen. We didn't land on Tijuana, Tijuana landed on us, etc. Plus, if you do talk shit about Mexicans, you're still being racist, and racism is bad and ugly and socially unacceptable, you can't just hate on brown people and get away with it. So, we have Muslims and gays as the two groups that it's still ok to be openly prejudiced against and not catch shit for it.
Now, Muslims I have less sympathy for. Not because I have a problem with their religion, I view all religion as equally poisonous to civilized society, but because they could do more to distance themselves from the radical element that gives their faith a bad name and spurs this ignorant prejudice of their people, yet they choose not to. I'm not talking about the average Muslim person on the street who insists that Islam is a religion of peace and that they don't support the radical beliefs of people like Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, etc. I agree with those people and I understand that all it takes is a small, organized group of shit heads to totally ruin the image of the group they identify themselves with, e.g. Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc. My problem is that, for the most part, the leaders of Islam are at best silent and at worst complicit to the actions of extremists. You just don't see the outrage and condemnation from high-ranking Muslim leaders whenever a terror attack is committed in the name of Islam. Now, that doesn't make hating them ok, but it's hard to convince the average, undereducated, xenophobic American that all Muslims aren't out to blow us up when you aren't really seeing the strong insistence to the contrary from the people who's opinions on the subject matter, and you don't see them cooperating with the U.S. to bring those extremists to justice. When we have to sneak into Pakistan to catch OBL, who's "hiding out" in a million dollar house in the suburbs, it's hard to convince Joe Sixpack that all Muslims aren't in on it together to hate on America. Not saying it's right, just saying I can draw some parallels. Such is the unfortunate nature of religion though, no matter what, those who believe in a different faith will always despise each other, so even if they extend every olive branch they can, I don't know if relations between Muslims and Christians will ever be idyllic, there's simply too much ideological immobility that hasn't subsided in the least for centuries.
Gays, on the other hand, have done everything they can possibly think of to be treated just like everyone else. The gay community has been more than patient with the ignorance and bigotry of the religious right and the homophobic general populous. Unfortunately, unlike race, sexual preference is something that the bible thumpers can use their religion to justify. They can point to bible scripture that says homosexuality is detestable and a sin, thus justifying their prejudice. Never mind that the same bible also says women who aren't virgins on their wedding day should be stoned to death, that children who talk back to their parents should be killed, that women should never be allowed to tell a man what to do, that even thinking about having sex with someone who isn't your wife is a sin and a bunch of other rules that 99.9% of the Christians in America don't believe in, or even think about following. It's this "Cafeteria Christian" mentality that makes it ok to hide behind the bible to justify why you hate gay people but excuses you from having to beat your daughter to death because she had sex with her boyfriend before marrying him.
I use the term "Cafeteria Christian" a lot. It means someone who treats Christianity like food choices in a cafeteria - just like you pick and choose what you want to eat and leave the rest, you pick and choose what parts of Christianity you want to practice in your daily life and ignore the rest. So, you don't beat your wife to death for trying to tell you what to do in your own home, but it's ok to hate gays because the bible says so. You don't force men who've had vasectomies to leave church and forbid them from worshiping (The bible states, clearly, that no man with missing or damaged genitals should be allowed into the house of the Lord), but it's ok to hate gays because the bible says so. You don't beat your children to death for saying "Fuck you dad!", but it's ok to hate gays because the bible says so. You look at internet porn, drink a beer or two with friends, go shopping on Sunday or maybe watch the game, have sex with your wife without trying to get her pregnant and a bunch of other stuff that the bible expressly forbids, but it's ok to hate gays becasue the bible says so...
Basically, we have a nation of hypocrites who hide behind the bible to justify hatred and prejudice and completely disregard it when it gets in the way of what they want to do. They pass a proposition to ban gay marriage, because the bible says so. So where's the proposition to make stoning non-virgins to death legal? Where's the proposition to make death by corporal punishment an acceptable disciplinary action for unruly children? That's what I thought, you're all a bunch of fucking faggots. Hypocritical fucking faggots.
It really bothers you that much that gay people be treated like everyone else? The idea that two gay people could love each other and want to be in a lasting, committed relationship and have all the benefits and protections that marriage affords straight people is really that horrible to you?
"Letting gay people get married would cheapen and ruin the institution of marriage!"
- What about the straight people who get married 5, 6, 7, 8... times? That doesn't cheapen marriage? Going through wives or husbands the way some people go through cars, that doesn't cheapen the institution of marriage? You know, the bible frowns on divorce too, but yet we still allow divorced people to remarry, and wouldn't you know it, marriage is still standing!
- What about people who get married on a drunken whim in Vegas and then divorce 48 hours later? That doesn't cheapen marriage? Britney Spears married a dude for 48 hours and we let her get married again and that one ended in divorce and yet marriage remains untainted as an institution, how can this be? Carmen Electra married and divorced Dennis Rodman over like a week and she also remarried and divorced again, and still marriage endures.
- What about people who get married for a green card? That happens all the time in this country, and yet they're still allowed to do it, and marriage continues to survive.
- What about open marriages? A significant percentage of the adult film community is married with one or both partners working in adult film, having sex with other people for money, and yet their marriages are fully recognized and valid. What about swingers? People who regularly engage in sex outside of marriage with other partners? Swingers have full spousal rights, and they live a lifestyle that is far more promiscuous than that of the average committed gay couple.
"If you're going to let gay people get married, you may as well start letting people marry animals next!"
I call this the "Bill O'Reilly" argument, because I've heard him use it numerous times on his show to defend marriage as only being between a man and a woman. He seems to believe that there is no way you can allow gay marriage without also having to allow interspecies marriage as well. Here, in case you need proof:
This is a long clip, but the meat of my point is in the first few minutes. O'Reilly uses his go-to argument that under "equal protection", to allow gay marriage means you must allow polygamy and beastiality. He has stated this in numerous "talking points" on the subject, although in this particular clip he only mentions polygamy. The problem with his argument is that presently, equal protection doesn't have any bearing on the fact that marriage is currently restricted only to a man and a woman. Using O'Reilly's argument, if equal protection means you can't allow only some people to have a benefit without extending those benefits to everyone, then that means everyone should already be allowed to marry whoever, or whatever, they want. Obviously, this isn't the case, and that's because the whole "equal protection" argument is bullshit. Besides that, though, just the notion that gay marriage is on par with beastiality is so bigoted and offensive that it's sickening. Equating a gay couple with people who want to fuck animals is beyond insulting and disgusting.
As this clip plays, however, you see a great back and forth between O'Reilly and his guest, a Yale professor who conducted extensive research on progressive European countries that allow gay marriage that basically proves that extending marital benefits to all sexes increases the overall marital rate and lowers divorce rates - both strong positives for the "pro-marriage" crowd. His research also proves that allowing unmarried, cohabiting partners to have the same legal rights as married couples reduces the number of single-parent households. Basically, allowing two people who are in love to have a legally-recognized, committed and sanctioned relationship promotes that behavior and leads to a higher number of committed, sanctioned relationships. Now, there's no skyrocketing increase in beastiality or interspecies marriages in those countries, nor is there a huge population of polygamists there either, two facts Mr. O'Reilly didn't even bring up because he knew they would be immediately shot down and completely dis-proven. They're just inflammatory remarks, made solely for the purpose of inciting the ignorant, bigoted base that O'Reilly is preaching to. A clear indicator of this is the fact that O'Reilly defends against that exact conclusion by going on a preemptive defense by saying "That's the classic liberal argument, if you disagree with me, you're a bigot and a bad person." No, Mr. O'Reilly, when you say bigoted things, like gay people marrying is the same thing as people marrying animals, then you are a bad person, there's a difference.
So, here we are. 2011, black president (well, he's half-black, as all my conservative friends are quick to point out whenever anyone accuses their birth certificate obsession of being racially motivated), and yet when it comes to gay rights, it's like we're still in the days of segregation. Don't want to allow gays to marry, don't want them teaching our kids, don't want them "forcing" their lifestyle on us, don't want them "polluting" our society with their sinful and filthy ways... I wonder where I've heard that kind of talk before?
The recruitment effort of the KKK was a huge success because the Klan capitalized on widespread social prejudices and the feeling that immigrants, Catholics and other groups with interests against those of "Real Americans" were "invading" and trying to force their beliefs and their ideologies on the people. The people recruited by the KKK wanted to "restore" America to a time when it's values and beliefs were pure and untainted by the influence of those groups who sought to change the spirit of America as these people saw it.
The same fear tactics, the same calls to "Restore America," the same invocation of God and Christianity as a justification for xenophobia, segregation and prejudice. The same way that the KKK preyed on fear and ignorance in the 1920's, the same way the segregationists preyed on fear and ignorance in the 1960's, it's the same way groups like the Tea Party prey on fear and ignorance today. The enemies have changed with the times, but the message is the same. In the 20's it was immigrants, Catholics, blacks and jews, in the 1960's it was immigrants, blacks and gays, in 2011 it's immigrants, Muslims and gays. In every case, a movement is formed that manipulates fear, ignorance and prejudice in the people and rallies them against each other.
It's ironic how much hatred is spewed forth in the name of "Christianity," how much intolerance is perpetrated in the name of a God who loves everyone and created all mankind in his image. There is so much hypocrisy behind the continued denial of gay rights, so much hateful, purposeful misinformation being spread by people who know better - politicians, media figures and educated men and women who are well aware of the falsehoods they are spreading, yet do it anyway simply to further their own hateful agenda. So much "Cafeteria Christianity" being practiced.
"Oh, we'll allow women to be treated equally to men, even though the bible says not to. Oh, we'll allow women to lose their virginity before marriage and still live, even though the bible says not to. Oh, we'll allow divorced people to remarry and continue to go to church, even though the bible says not to. Oh, we'll allow all these things that the bible used to forbid and demand be punished by death, even though the bible says otherwise, because we know that the bible is a living document and must be interpreted and adapted as the times change, as was God's will when he wrote these words through his prophets... Except when it comes to gays, because God didn't want that part to be changed, he was very clear on that..."
You're all a bunch of fucking faggots and I hope your kids all become gay. I hope you have to work for a gay boss. I hope you get sick and have to be treated by a gay doctor. I hope a gay priest gives your eulogy when you die and I hope you accidentally get assigned to the "gay wing" in heaven. Only faggots hate gay people.