Friday, November 18, 2005

Sighing for Texas

Texas codified hate in the latest election, but they're hardly unique. Many states are racing to prove that they, too, long for the days when it was okay to simply hate someone, and make sure "those people" know it by writing that hate into law.

Churches and other hatemongers have done a great job of making this an issue of "extra rights" for gays, but anyone who thought about this for a moment would see that this is not extra rights. I have the right to marry my SO. Why shouldn't my theoretical next door neighbor be able to marry hers? That would be equal, correct?

The argument is always that homosexuality is a sin. Says so right there in the Bible. But that makes it a religious argument, doesn't it? Why should my next door neighbor be forced to practice your religion? This is America. Freedom of religion, correct?

Don't even start on that sanctity of marriage sham argument. The only threat to any marriage comes from inside. Abuse, infidelity, and emotional neglect are internal problems. If your hetero married neighbors don't affect your marriage, either will homosexual married neighbors. And if marriage is so key to a healthy society, shouldn't we be encouraging everyone to take part?

The problem here is that this is a logical approach, and most people don't want logic. They want gut level reaction. They want retribution.

So where does all this frenzy of hate come from? I think we can look back to the last big civil rights question America faced for the answer.

When schools were forced to integrate, some whites fled public schools to spare their child the trauma of sitting in class next to a child of color. The private schools available at that time were generally religious based, usually run by very conservative religions. They got their hooks into those young minds, and boy, did they plant some nasty seeds.

Of course, it's no longer fashionable to be publicly racist, even in many small towns, but being homophobic? Well, that's perfectly fine. The lower you feel your lot in life, the greater the need to hold someone lower. Think of the power. You can stop a person you don't know who lives miles away from you from getting married. Wow. What a rush. It's also petty and small minded, but it's government sanctioned pettiness, so that makes it perfectly okay.

So much fear is behind this. People who are strongly homophobic are either closeted, self-loathing, and fearful, or they were raised to think of homosexuality as a learned perversion.

Those who are afraid that their children will "turn" homosexual believe that if they make the castle walls strong enough, their kids will be protected. But even the most ignorant person out there has a creeping suspicion now that homosexuality is in the fundamental wiring of the brain. A God level trait. Something passed on in the genes. In the panic to comfort themselves, and deny any DNA level responsibility, people are lashing out at the homosexual community. If they drive homosexuality back underground, so the thinking seems to go, even if their child is homosexual, they will never act on it, because they will have learned to hide it.

This is like asking your blue-eyed child to wear contacts to make their eyes brown. It may hide those blue eyes from the world, but the child will know. And every morning as they face the mirror, they will know that their parent hates them for those blue eyes, even though the child can do nothing to change them and didn't choose to be blue eyed.

Parental rejection like that kills a human soul.

I can be optimistic and pray that these kinds of segregationist polices, based on sex rather than race, will never stand the ultimate test of the courts, and thus will force national acceptance of gay marriage in law (not at a societal level). I'd rather people abandon their hate, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Too bad. There's a kind of internal peace that comes with acceptance and love. Who taught that? A lot of religious leaders. Buddha comes to mind. But so does Jesus. I wonder if any of these Christians have heard of him?

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