I am a bigot. I am a stupid, antediluvian redneck, bitterly clinging to my guns and god, insufficiently educated to note the distinction between my posterior sphincter and divot in the earth. How do I know this?
Because I do not support gay marriage.
If this reasoning satisfies you, by all means, stop reading here. I just saved you five minutes. I’m a giver.
This is an issue I have been avoiding. Because too many people I know disagree vehemently the other way, and I have doubts about the efficacy of getting into such arguments on Facebook. It’s Just. Not. Worth it.
Not only that, but a good few of my FB Friends are gay, and I have no wish to cause them agita, because they are my friends. Friendship often requires that we let slide certain topics, certain discussions, because to bring them up reveals gaps that cannot be bridged, arguments that have no end. Courtesy is, or ought to be, a Christian virtue. So I’ve long regarded it as discourteous to jump into the fray every time someone says something that I find irritating or obnoxious. Conservatives living in blue states learn this habit quickly.
So to those whose membership in the rainbow tribe may cause to take my opinion as a personal affront: please understand that I do not intend it as such. I have no wish to attack you or yours. I do not waste time shouting about gay people and how horrible they are. I do not blame the collapse of the American family on the fearsome Lavender Lobby. Heteros accomplished that all on their own.
So why speak up?
In the first place, I’m not made of stone. Being told that I can have no other reason for my opinion other than hatred or ignorance doesn’t get better with repetition; in fact, the reverse is true. I’ve actually thought about speaking up for some time now, if only to say “You know, you shouldn’t assume that everyone agrees with you.”
What affirmed my purpose was the news that my alma mater’s alumni association had bowed to public pressure in allowing a lesbian couple to join their Hawk Mates contest. St. Joe’s is a Catholic institution. The Catholic Church’s teachings with regard to homosexuality is unlikely to change; it’s too old. But a good many graduates and others insisted that, regardless of the teaching of the Church, they should be included anyway. They are now crowing their victory over the forces of darkness as we speak, thinking nothing of the fact that they have forced a religious institution to act contrary to its principles; in fact, celebrating it.
This I cannot permit to go by without comment.
This word, “bigotry,“ it does not mean what you think it means. It does not mean “statement with which I disagree.” It does not mean “statement that offends my belief system. “ Bigotry means the irrational intolerance of anything with which one does not agree. By the same token, “intolerance” does not mean “refusal to embrace what one disapproves of.” It means “refusal to tolerate.” Tolerate means to allow to exist without prohibition or hindrance. It is to live and let live.
Which, if that were all anyone was asking for, would be fine. But it is not.
Which brings us back to the issue of gay marriage. Much ink has been spilled, and I will not spend a lot of time repeating the standard arguments. I would much rather look at this a different way. Put yourself, my progressive friends, in my shoes (I’m told you have quite the talent for such). Imagine yourself someone who believed that ethnicity and sexuality were not analogous, and so this was not exactly like the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Imagine yourself as someone who knew and understood the reason behind the Catholic teaching on human sexuality.
Ah, but you can’t imagine being that stupid! Haha! Damned witty! But just humor me for a second. You’re a conservative. Yes, you might even watch Fox News. We are down the rabbit hole, indeed. Should have taken the blue pill, right. I see what you did there. And ask yourself:
What is in all of this for me?
I think I know why gay people want their relationships recognized as marriage. It’s the final normalization, the last official statement to the effect of “there’s nothing wrong with you, the way you are. You aren’t odd. You aren’t a freak. You’re exactly what you’re supposed to be.” It doesn’t take much to understand why a long-marginalized group would want that.
And I suppose I see why the progressives want to give it to them. And I’ll stipulate that it’s more than just the rush to promote oneself from Not-Homophobic to Super-Not-Homophobic. Seeking out old traditions, questioning them, undoing them, this is what you guys do. The world is to be made better by direct action, and the worries of the doubters be damned.
But what do I, the conservative, get for my assent?
To not be called an ignorant spewer of hate? For what, five minutes? Personal best!
And then what? Are we going to start suing churches that won’t perform same-sex marriages, photographers who decline to shoot them? I’d like to believe that you won’t start doing that. But in a world where President Obama expects Catholic organizations to provide abortifacients for their employees, where Catholic adoption services had to leave the state of Massachusetts, where a Jesuit University can’t not give a lesbian couple an internet thumbs-up, I don’t.
I’d also like to believe that this step will satisfy the progressive left on matters sexual. That they won’t start looking for new taboos to violate. That I won’t see them give an excited high-five to pagans with three husbands, a tolerant shrug to a Muslim with four wives. That they won’t jump on board the Tolerance Tobaggon down the forty-year slope to recognizing the rights of Sister-Wives. That they won’d continue to push the notion that marriage is an archaic concept unfit for modernity. But in a world where The Frisky ponders the New and Fascinating Trend of “non-monogamous marriage,” I don’t.
So I trust that you’ll understand that from where I sit, I have no reason to give my assent to this, and every reason to fight it to the last tooth and nail, if for no other reason than delaying whatever’s next. More, that you’ve made no effort to persuade me that any of my fears are ungrounded. All you’ve done, when you’ve taken the effort, is tell me that I am obviously stupid and evil, and that Slippery Slopes are logical fallacies. I’ll assume you’re aware that Ad Hominems (only the stupid and evil could disagree with you; bringing up the Church’s horrid, wretched, disgusting, shameful sex scandals every single time Catholic doctrine is mentioned) and Appeals to Novelty (the Bible is OLD and the Church needs to get with the times) are also fallacies of logic. I know; they’re terribly satisfying, aren’t they?
Right now it appears to me, that if I give my “tolerance” to this, I bring intolerance upon myself, my worldview, and the faith of my fathers. I’d love to be wrong; I fear I’m not.
But I’m a bigot. So I deserve it.