[LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
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28-03-2013, 08:23 PM
[LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
This translates into something like three pages on MS WORD so I'm sorry for subjecting you to it here, but I don't really have a lot of other places I can toss it other than the hard drive on my computer where it can gather data-dust and I'd like for someone to at least notice it even if they can't trudge through the whole thing.

Background Info: I'm 18, I live in Central Texas and am surrounded by the highly religious and, by extension, the highly intolerant. It frustrates me to no end, and out of that frustration is born... a rant. This was also intended for the uneducated reader, so it may contain explanations and so on that are unnecessary for people on this forum. My apologies in advance.

* * *

Before I begin, I would like to make note of a simple fact: I do not consider myself to be a religious man, but I do consider myself to be a good man. My reasons for this are my own and do not factor into the words contained herein, but I felt it necessary to make the distinction here at the start for my own peace of mind. If you are still reading but find it difficult to stomach the idea of a man with morals but no God, I ask only that you indulge me in this one matter for a short time: suspend your disbelief and entertain the idea that man need not have religion to do good and men that have religion may well do evil, sometimes in its name.

I am writing this because of an arrow. I am not aware what the official term for the arrow in question may be (though I am certain one exists), but just know that it is not the sort of arrow that sprouted from the body of a cowboy as he and his posse were descended upon by enraged Native Americans in the black and white Westerns we watched when young or at our grandfather's knee and it is not the sort of arrow that might be used to point you on your way when attempting to reach your destination. It is the sort of arrow that has gained power during the reign of Facebook because it allows you to echo the sentiments of another without actually having to take the time to post your own thoughts and opinions.

^ is the pointed monstrosity of which I speak. Though I have made it a rarity in my online dealings, today I made use of ^ and it was at my peril.

You may have noticed the endless barrage of statuses, links, and comments being devoted to marriage equality over the last several days (many for; many against) all throughout cyberspace and, most noticeably, on Facebook.

Those in defense of “traditional marriage” – I hesitate to use the word “Christian” because I am sure bigotry runs rampant in other systems of belief or disbelief as well – say that man and man or woman and woman lying together and being symbolically bound in matrimony is an affront to the entire principle of the thing. They cite their religious texts, their delicate sensibilities, and “the way things have always been” as a rock upon which they might stand as the tides draw in the waves of change. Those – myself included – who stand on what we believe will be “the right side of history” challenge this by asking why their religious beliefs should be forced upon others who feel differently than they, why they should have a say in a matter that has no impact on the legitimacy of their own unions and beliefs, and, I, for one, look to the words of Thomas Paine for guidance on the matter as a whole: “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” The vast majority of us have not been taught to think it wrong to look down on homosexual unions; our parents and their parents before them did it, so why shouldn’t we?

A number of them also believed firmly, of course, in racial segregation and were known to bandy about words like “nigger”, “jigaboo”, and “coon” like some of us color our language with words like “faggot”. Unless you’re involved with certain gangs that preach a certain creed of a certain race’s inherent right to inherit the Earth, you might find that those terms are not as lightly looked upon in modernity as they were way back when. I would like to introduce a seed of doubt for any of you who oppose marriage equality: If the majority of them got it wrong in regard to African Americans, could we be doing the same thing with gay rights?

Back to that underrated devil, ^, though. I’ve spent the last few days sifting through a sea of “Be on the right side of history! Support marriage equality!” and “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” as I am sure most everyone has. Unlike a number of people, I have remained uncharacteristically quiet on the matter. I changed my profile picture to the red block with two lighter-shaded rectangles in the center of it as a silent, though visible, show of my support for marriage equality, and I’ve liked a few of my friends’ posts, but I have not taken the time to sit down and discuss with someone why they feel like it is complete and utter bullshit that we’re thinking about letting gays marry when Obama’s thinking about taking all our assault weapons. That’s not a direct quote, but it’s a fairly accurate representation of a number of things that I’ve come across during my expedition through Facebook.

One friend has been posting regularly thoughtful and considerate links to websites advocating tactics for Christians to make use of when the issue of marriage equality comes up. I, as I have been diligently doing with most of the links relating to the issue, have been keeping myself informed on what it is these websites have been saying. I won’t go into details, but I agree with some of the points made, and I feel as if some are a bit outlandish or reminiscent of that particular blend of arrogance and superiority, but, ironically, humility and acceptance that has always confronted and confounded me when studying the Christian faith. “You’re wrong because we read the Bible and can really gel with that bit about your kind going to Hell for an eternity, but we’re going to be really vague about it when you ask us if that’s how we feel so we don’t seem like assholes – we just are.”

Today she posted a picture of baby feet that mimicked the marriage equality picture – red background, pink bars (feet) – and said something to the effect of how if we want to talk about rights, we shouldn’t be talking about the right of gays getting married because they at least get the chance to live life. We should get down to business and talk about how awful abortion is because those babies don’t even get rights because someone decided they didn’t deserve them.

Someone stated that they didn’t see how the two were related.

I said ^.

I got deleted.

Now, before I go on, I would like to clarify that I don’t particularly mind when someone deletes me from Facebook because I directly insult them (you should have seen my liberal self around election time), or I go head to head with them and refuse to budge because I’m stubborn and can’t they just see how wrong they are?! or I say something totally outlandish that should rightly cause them to seek refuge from my antics. But this girl was a close friend. I didn’t even say anything of my own. If you wanted to get technical, you could substitute “I don’t see how the two are related” in for my arrow, but even that’s not too terribly antagonistic.

What really bothers me is that, good a friend as she was (is?) to me, I am honestly not as upset about her deleting me as I am that I didn’t get to say anything expressing my views and my beliefs to warrant it. I just looked for a correlation and noticed that someone else was as well. My entire participation in the matter was ^. I didn’t get to say that while abortion may be wrong – time will tell on that count, I suppose – it’s an issue that will be an issue when you go to bed tonight and when you wake up tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. A landmark decision on the matter is not being made at this moment in time and, horrendous as some may see it, it is still occurring and will continue to occur for some time yet.

Marriage equality, though, is happening now.

The nation is watching; those it affects and those it should not are holding their breath to see what the Supreme Court might decide on the matter. After decades of picketing and the give-and-take of rights in this state or that, it is finally being decided whether you can give and then take the right to wed from individuals because of sexual orientation. I highly doubt that it will make an amendment requiring marriage equality in all states, but imagine the precedent it might set and all that could be done because of this ruling.

There’s a quote in a book you might have read called The Perks of Being a Wallflower. At one point in it, the narrator says: “I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.”

Take those words how you will, but I would like to apply them to the present situation. There will always be a more awful problem we can look to shift the public’s attention toward when it comes time to choose sides and make hard choices on controversial topics. It is easy to degrade the issues faced by one group by saying, “Yeah, they think they’ve got it hard, but have you forgotten X or Y? They’re the real victims here and they’re not even in the limelight!”

It is also easy to see people disagree with us on these sociopolitical matters and make the decision to cut them off. Sometimes it can be limited to losing a friend on Facebook, but sometimes it translates into your real world dealings with them as well. I have always felt that people are the most important thing to me and I have never sought to cut a person out of my life for having a different viewpoint than I, especially not on matters where most everyone will see things differently. I have debated, I have compromised, and I have grown because of that and because I yearn to see the issue from all sides. Imagine the world we might live in if we all adopted this outlook, as I have been taught to try and do.

Lastly, while I do attempt to keep an open mind, I would like to remind anyone reading this that their beliefs are just as valid as anyone’s – their mother’s, their friend’s, their enemy’s – and that they should never allow what they feel to be right to be subjected to the whims of another. In twenty years, I know that I will be more proud walking down the street with my children, pointing out a gay couple with rings on their fingers and grins plastered on their faces and saying, “I believed in that, even when it cost me something,” than I would be saying, “I believed in that, but I said nothing because I knew that standing for something so many reviled would have come at a price.”

I thank you for your time.
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28-03-2013, 10:46 PM
RE: [LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
Good for you man. I dislike the title "Traditional Marriage" because the original marriage ceremonies are nothing like the current ones, and if they were really for traditional marriages, they would be for the stripping of the female's right to marry whoever the fuck they want.

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28-03-2013, 11:37 PM
RE: [LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
Facebook is a funny thing.

I recently heard a person claiming to have thousands of "very dear" friends on Facebook. I commented about that at work this week and several of my coworkers chimed in that they have thousands of "very dear" friends on Facebook too. I grilled them a little, because I assumed that "very dear" means different things to me than it does to them. I think in the end we agreed to disagree. For me, "very dear" means someone I know and trust and care about a lot. Someone I would let into my home when I'm not even home. Someone I would lend money to and not even write it down because I'm sure they'll pay me back, honestly and timely. Someone I would leave alone with my daughters. Someone I spend quality time with whenever I get the chance because they are "very dear" to me. I don't even have 20 such "very dear" friends in real life, and zero on Facebook (of course, excepting my real life "very dear" friends who are on Facebook). I wouldn't have time for more than that - the dozen or so that I have take up a great deal of my time (time I spend gladly since they are very dear friends), but that doesn't leave me any time to cultivate even more such friends - I'm at my time limit.

Sorry for the side rant, but I have a point.

In addition to odd e-friendships, we seem to put assume more significance for those e-friendships than they maybe deserve. It strikes me as a fairly common thing that people do; I certainly have.

But another oddity about Facebook and our e-friendships is that we are as quick to abandon those e-friendships as we are to make them. This is the real point I'm trying to make. Your "friend" deleted you from an e-friendship. Would the same person do that in real life? Among my dozen or so "very dear" real friends, we have lots of differing opinions. I don't delete them and they don't delete me from our real lives over a differing viewpoint. Sometimes we debate, even argue, but we're still good friends.

Real friendships are not so easily "deleted" over what amounts to fairly trivial differences.

Facebook e-friendships, however, seem to be extremely easy to make (just click the Friend button and you have a new e-friendship) and they seem to be just as easily disposable, too.

You said you didn't really mind being deleted very much, and apparently your e-friend didn't mind deleting you. Sounds to me like this was one of those disposable e-friendships that are a dime a dozen on Facebook.

Me, I wouldn't suggest putting too much significance on these kinds of e-friendships.

And for God's sake, speak your mind! You're worth it. Your real friends will appreciate you for it.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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05-04-2013, 07:13 PM
RE: [LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
I loved reading this. ThumbsupBowing

"My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight." - Marcus Luttrell
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05-04-2013, 07:29 PM
[LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
Excellent post, Zook!
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05-04-2013, 10:10 PM
RE: [LONG] Marriage Equality Rant
Enjoyed reading this.

But yeah, FB friending is weird. I used to just accept requests, then I got sick of being being hateful. I ended up with homophobes, racists, and all sorts of undesirables and I didn't even know who the hell half of them were. So I deleted about 100 people, and it sure did feel good. Sometimes people delete me for things I post regarding politics and religion. Sometimes I celebrate after I notice by posting a link to Queen's "Another one bites the dust" video.

I hate to bring it up again, but since it's relevant, a distant cousin of mine friended me, then (when the Chick Fil A thing was happening) she posted photos of herself and her husband protesting gay marriage by eating chicken sandwiches. I was so upset I could have burned her house down right then, and continued to be very upset for a few days after deleting her. Then she actually called me on the phone, somehow thinking SHe deleted ME, because I had liked something vaguely anti-christian. my point is that FB shows me things about some people I don't even want to know, and because of the socialness of social networking, many people don't think before posting. But this one just cannot accept that not everyone is christian, and will not back down when told that people aren't interested. She called me on the phone to tell me I'm a sinner, I need salvation, and I obviously and stupid and have no interest in the world. But anyway, this is why I don't automatically friend distant relatives (she is my mom's 1st cousin, and pretty much the opposite of me: she's very religious, very conservative and republican, thinks religion should be in gov't, etc.).

As for the bit about starving kids in china, I didn't read that book, but it made me think of a book I read called 'the culture of pain," which, as you'd assume, is about pain and what it is and how people cope or don't cope. There are many types of pain. It mentions how futile it is to compare different types of pain. Like, years ago, my brother might have had a respiratory infection or something, and would complain that it sucked. And my mom would say, "so what! I had cancer!" That's not even relevant! Saying your lungs hurt now has nothing at all to do with her having had cancer years ago, but people do that. I really can't stand when people totally dismiss other people's legitimate pain and suffering by saying someone else has it worse.

but the picture with baby feet, that's just.. completely irrelevant and throwing in a red herring to distract people from the fact that it is a real issue happening right now (and what if the babies end up being gay?). I think a lot of people who are christian and also homophobic do this because they think religion is on their side; they can hide behind the bible instead of people thinking they are personally a hateful person. They're not hateful; they're just being 'good christians,' in their minds.

I've read that many christian denominations were ok with abortion up until recently, not sure though. I know that God kills a whole bunch of babies in the bible, though, and I don't think it's even mentioned. As I see it, and I may be completely wrong, it's something many people latch onto to feel morally superior. Every time someone argued with me to say it's wrong, their only arguments were appeals to emotion (as some of you know, I don't have any, so this does not work on me) or saying, "what if the kid grows up to be a nice/smart person?" I don't know.

But with both abortion and gay marriage, what really gets me is that the antis seem to think it's their business to meddle in other people's lives. Even if their god is against it, I think it should be their god that intervenes, not his followers.

Sorry for the rambling.
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