Ayarane Project

Tag: atheist yoshi is atheist

The one about equality and religious freedom

by Yoshi on Jul.06, 2015 | ITP: , , , ,

It’s time for some… well, maybe not UNPOPULAR, but it’s a controversial topic that I’m a little late to because of other things, but had been musing about all the same.

SO.

A couple weeks ago, the internets and medias were all in a kerfluffle over the whole “okay marriage equality is officially a national Thing now!” Good for them! It’s been a long time coming, but at least it’s in the bag.

I wasn’t expecting a lot of fallout on social media since my friends are 99.5% liberal or at least “I am okay with gay people” and the two that wear their Jesus on their sleeves was something I could smile and nod my way through. Then I was reminded very quickly that sometimes just two people can be louder than a hundred if they felt like it.

I’m an atheist. I don’t exactly broadcast it, I’m the person who politely declines when people offer to pray for me because I don’t really think prayer is anything more than an emotional placebo, but I don’t want to be the jerk who shoots holes in your (unusual to me) coping measure. I find the Bible fascinating as a work of literature and mythology (and to that end, I see video games running on Armchair Empire processors and other fictional things that play with Judeochristian themes– Xenogears, to name a huge example– as being not unlike how Western media often plays with Norse and Greek/Roman mythology). I get a little uncomfortable at the sight of Facebook posts that are ever-so-subtly judging nonbelievers, or that proclaim that everything good in the world is only that way because of your god. I really want to charge in and (very tactfully) point out how there is good being done in the world by people who do not partake in any religion, and that one need not have divine inspiration to be virtuous, but it’s PROBABLY better that I don’t, because as we all know, the sort of people who wear their Jesus on their sleeves get a little defensive if you as much as poke them! So, uh, let’s not do that.

Still, though, seeing these two people being unusually loud and overly dramatic in their “lamentation” over marriage equality… I feel like I need to address the recurring things I’m seeing. So, I’d rather just do it here, in somewhat-more-general terms.

1. Same-sex marriage will give rise to polygamy/bestiality/pedophilia! OHNOES! Um, no, doesn’t work that way. This merely allows (with consent) two people to get married, regardless of gender. There’s no change in regards to the other things (which carry issues of consent and, in one case, animal cruelty). Polygamy is another issue altogether, and I’m not even going to touch that one beyond “it’s not even in the same category as what this drama is about.”

2. Same-sex marriage will ruin this country! Other nations have had it for awhile, and they don’t appear to be falling apart at the seams. Perhaps you would be less stressed if you try not to think about what those two dudes on the opposite side of the country are doing in their bedroom?

3. But, but, the sacrament of the institution of– Heterosexual people have tarnished whatever “purity” that your definition of marriage entailed long ago, now a lot of people get std testing in la because they doubt on their behavior. And not just with reality shows like The Bachelor and Wife Swap, either. Really, the whole system was broken since the beginning, back when it was used as a method of trading one’s daughters for property or political gain, and as an unspoken safe harbor for violence against women.

4. I believe in the Bible. Um… sure. You acknowledge that it’s a book that exists. A lot of us do, whether religious or in it for the good reads. Spoiler alert: it went through a mess of translations before it arrived in a form you can read, and probably saw a lot of alterations along the way (to account for idiomatic phrases as well as translator’s discretion, also sometimes passages were altered to accommodate social/political biases at the time. See: the King James translation). If God wrote the Good Book… well… the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” comes to mind.

(also, small tangent here: Is it me, or is the Bible a ginormous editor’s nightmare? Specifically the New Testament. Seriously, the first half of it is just mostly-redundant retellings of the story of Jesus. Okay? Could we not have compiled all of the accounts, eliminated the overlaps and seeded in the differences where appropriate? I understand wanting to give each one their proper due, but, come on, there are limits!)

5. This is a Christian nation! And we don’t want gay people getting married! The First Amendment disagrees with you, sir. As much as you cling to that Amendment as your guarantor of your ability to wear your Jesus on your sleeve, it also says that one religion CANNOT be the law of the land. And that is a very good thing, given our incredibly diverse population. Now, I imagine there are some very bad actors that would really like a “state religion” imposed, so as to enable them to go after nonbelievers, but… well, let’s not go there.

Rather than dwelling on the theoretical boogeymen arguments surrounding gay people and what allowing them to marry might do to this country (because most of the “what-ifs” center around misleading, harmful stereotypes), let’s instead look at the good things that will happen as a result of allowing same-sex marriage. Specifically the very industry of weddings themselves. Getting married is expensive! And for the people we hand off that money to, getting married is extremely profitable! I bet those wedding planners, florists and bakeries must be salivating at the thought of all the new business they’re about to get. For this reason alone, same-sex marriage is very good for the economy! (Also, marriage licenses cost money, so there’s another source of revenue for the government. A small increase, but still…)

6. I don’t hate my gay friends, I just don’t agree with their lifestyle. This is where we have a little problem with “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin” talk, because that “sin” (being gay) is kind of integral to their core identity, and is just as important as their other major personality components. The common rebuttal is that heterosexual people don’t parade their straightness around*, but that’s not really a fair counter because, for all intents and purposes, straight is “default,” and I am hard-pressed to find historic examples of heterosexuals being oppressed for their orientation.

* except heterosexuality IS paraded around, every day, and we all take part in it. That picture you have of your girlfriend on your desk? That counts. Bragging about your hot date? That’s “parading,” too. Even talking about your wife and kids, that counts because you’re giving away that you had sex with a woman, to productive ends! And that’s just individuals. The media glorifies hetereosexuality. “Parading” is an understatement.

7. I just want to express my opinion per my First Amendment rights and not be persecuted for them. Understandable. Change and accepting it is hard. However, in this case, maybe loudly protesting, exaggerating, hyperbole and positing doomsday scenarios isn’t an effective way of swaying others to your side. The LGBT community is not trampling on your beliefs (in fact, there are Christians and other devout sorts among them), they simply want a shot at being themselves with the same dignity as the rest of us.

So, sit down and relax. All this stressing about same-sex marriage… well, certainly it’s not good for your blood pressure.

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