Securing the chains of history
I was perusing Dispatches from the Culture Wars this morning when I saw this image. This is Bryan Brown of the National Organization
Against For Marriage as the state of New York legalized marriage equality. He’s crying.
Good. I hope it stings. I hope this chaffs Bryan and every single person who opposes same-sex marriage something fierce.
Of course, there are more asinine reactions to the bill. Consider the words of archbishop Timothy Dolan. I could write a dissertation on all the rank fatuousness in this single blog post of his (“Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people”…just like the Grand Canyon should not be considered a hole in the ground), but here’s the phrase that really got me.
“Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.”
Read his afterthoughts: they are a veritable ejaculation of hatred. It’s quite literally a testimonial of praise to the manner of government-dictating-peoples-lives tyranny he so despises in the hands of foreign dictators. When your religion compels you to equate love with wanton murder, your religion has become oppositional to both the felicity and maintenance of the human species. Period.
At least Dolan is merely an archbishop in the servitude of a man/organization notorious for chaperoning pedophiles. Ruben Diaz, on the other hand, is a New York senator (and Pentecostal minister) who loudly opposed the bill.
“We have to organize better. The problem with the Christian movement, with the Christians and pastors, is that they pray too much and act too little,” the Bronx state senator told CP.
“Pastors and religious leaders are supposed to remember that we are supposed to be Christians before being Democrats or being Republicans. Our responsibility is with Jesus and not with Democratic Party or Republican Party.”
He added that party affiliation is always secondary to one’s Christian faith in political decisions.
“We have to learn that because Jesus said that who is against us is not with us, that who is for us is with us.”
Wow, these are the words of the messiah we’re told possessed a wisdom unrivaled elsewhere in the pantheon of human history? What does he have for us next? “Skittles that are purple are not red, but those that are red are red?” That’s pretty fuckin’ deep.
Or try this little gem…
“I made history. I’m the only New York State Democrat that voted against the bill. I will wear it as a badge of honor,” he said.
“No one will make me abandon my faith. No one can make me change my life. I love Jesus. All what I am or what I do, all of what I have is because of His grace.”
This is not some extremist. Senator Diaz gives voice to millions upon millions of Americans who, like Diaz, love Jesus enough to hate love. Diaz is the epitome of gangs of our neighbors who subscribe to a faith they tell us is will unify humanity. It unifies humanity alright: against of a multitude of normal men and women who wish to love as they please, not as the hordes Christian acolytes pleases. And, like Diaz, it results in the minions of unreason being proud to delight in choking away the happiness of others and to consider depriving others of love as a primary means of improving the world. If we care about happiness for ourselves and those around us, the mindset of faith which enables this type of behavior is something all decent people should oppose with every breath in their body and at every opportunity.
Liberal Christians will tell us not to blame the religion, because the oppress-gay-people-and-call-it-love Christians simply get religion wrong. Bullshit. The 45% of the country that opposes gay rights believes they are privy to the will of god for precisely the same reasons as the liberal believers, and the reasoning sucks for both of them. They don’t get religion wrong – each and every one of them gets reason wrong. We should not press for a more affable brand of irrationality or pretensions to absent knowledge – we should attempt to eliminate irrationality to whatever extent we’re able. Unreason is anathema to us.
So why do I draw such frequent attention to the cacophony of squeals from religious leaders on the subject of gay rights? I do it because I agree with Senator Diaz: he did make history. He made history and we should hold him and the Christian faith accountable in the future. Throughout American history, the Christians have repeatedly been dragged into modernity kicking and screaming. Once it became apparent, despite the words of the bible, that slavery was inhuman, the Christians forgot the swath of religious fervor in its favor from millennia before. The next generation of believers then attempted to invert reality in full by claiming that followers of Christ were not the power base for defending slavery, but that they instead actually led the charge for emancipation. They did this by frantically pointing to the handful of religious leaders who, for the same bad reasons that other Christians held contrary beliefs, thought slavery was not the will of god. The same occurred after the patriarchal Christian culture of the early 20th century made up the bulk of hostility to women’s rights.
We are moving toward a day, not far off, when it will be all-but-unanimously accepted that a dislike of gay rights makes you a bigot and a bad person (whether or not you think you have god’s approval). When that time comes, the Christians will attempt to wash away the fact that such sentiments emanated directly from the pulpit for the breadth of human history, including the state of New York in 2011. They will try to say that the noble Christians were not the cause, but the solution!
When that time comes, we should make them wear Ruben Diaz’s badge of honor to remind them both of the culpability of religion in fostering a world divided by hate, and of faith’s ability to twist the best of intentions into malice toward our neighbors; to make otherwise good people fervently scratch and claw at the happiness of others and to somehow still sincerely call their actions ‘love’, all the while believing that a gay individual giving a pretentionless kiss to a person for whom they’d trade the world is the actual perversion.