Friday, May 8, 2009

On Cheap Laughs and Cheap Apologies

I’ve been asked to apologize for something I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the gay marriage hearing in Augusta.

Apologies should be delivered sincerely, not just to make someone feel better. So I’m not taking this lightly.

If you missed it, I wrote that those attending the hearing who oppose same-sex marriage were outnumbered three-to-one, and that they didn’t have a lot of teeth, all told, because most of them had poor dental hygiene or were rather old.

It was meant to insinuate in jest that gay marriage opponents at the hearing were not very sophisticated.

Okay, so I used unfair stereotypes attempting to garner a cheap laugh. Obviously, a person’s views should not be discounted because of any of their superficial qualities, be it age, gingivitis, or whatever else.

But the more I reflect upon what I heard and saw at the hearing, the less apologetic I feel.

How many people testified that homosexuals are basically animals?

What will we start allowing next, they ask -- bestiality? Can I marry my dog? What about my 12-year-old niece? Or my lawnmower?

“What is the next domino to fall?” asked a state representative, whose name I regrettably didn’t catch.

I have close friends who happen to be gay. These are people I care for deeply, people who have families and loved ones, people who uphold their responsibilities and make contributions to society.

Homosexuals are human beings, as capable of directing their own destinies under the law as anyone once they reach adulthood. Whether you consider their actions sinful or not, they are not animals, nor are they slightly removed from animals.

And they’re not children, who can’t fend for themselves.

I don’t even want to mention those who said homosexuals abuse and molest children -- a baseless claim as incendiary and irresponsible as any imaginable.

At least my words were meant to be humorous. These people are completely serious.

Where is their apology?

Meanwhile, these same crusaders claim to defend the sanctity of marriage and the well-being of children. While they scour the state looking for people to sign their prejudicial petition, God-knows how many thousands of Maine families are torn apart every year by divorce. Even families that are intact struggle to find the time and energy to support and connect with each other in a society that demands two incomes for a household to get by.

Where is the campaign to provide financial support for marriage counseling or parenting courses?

Can I sign a petition to create more after-school programs? Can I get a bumper sticker encouraging someone to mentor a child?

Probably not, because this fight is not really about protecting marriage and children. It’s about religion.

So if you’re hell-bent on taking down sinners, how about a law that prevents people who’ve committed adultery from getting re-married?

Let’s make it a crime to not honor the Sabbath by spending it with your kids.
Have you taken the Lord’s name in vain? Off to jail with you!

Oh, wait… we don’t live in a society that treats people differently in the eyes of the law just because one faction of a religion thinks they’ve sinned.

Huh.

All right, fine. Maybe my words insulted some people unnecessarily. Perhaps I have hindered efforts toward productive discourse on this topic.

But in this moment I’m too disgusted to utter a sincere apology.



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

BRAVO!

derek said...

There are two things you aren't supposed to discuss in mixed company, politics and religion. People get touchy when you challenge their belief systems. It's just fear of a little healthy debate if you ask me.

I read a number of accounts of the rally. To be honest what the opponents of LD 1020 said made them look ignorant on their own. Everything seemed to amount to either junk science only slightly less outlandish than eugenics and selective Bible "laws".

Maybe we should all stop mixing out milk plates with our meats, that being something God doesn't like. I think we ought to stone adulterers as well. That's Ten Commandment so it must be a big one. And while we're at it, all this wearing of mix fibers is going to send us straight to Hell.

I might as well just pick and chose which rules of the road I'm going to obey as well. I tell ya Chuck, I just don't know.