Hello to you, and welcome.

This is not one of my usual posts. There is no intent here to be funny, I won’t be taking my usual sideways look at the world around me, be it a game or the ‘real’ world.

No, this is a serious post. This comes from my heart, and I wish I weren’t writing it. But I am, and I fully intend to publish it, in the hopes that once it’s out and gone from my head, so will be all of the bad things that have been building up in my brain all day.

I’ve had the desire to write about this for months, and I haven’t done so, because it just wasn’t appropriate for a ‘gaming blog’.

Yes, I know, I’ve always said this blog is for me to write about whatever I want to write about, and you’re all welcome to come along for the ride, hating it or liking it as you wish.

Along the way, one thing that I’ve tried to do is  avoid anything that was confrontational.

The heart of the reason why is, I know full well that anything I say, any argument I may make or reasoning I may frame will do nothing to change someones mind. All I would be doing would be making noise, and hurting people.

Hurting people? Yes, indeed. Nobody wants to hear someone else criticize their opinions or beliefs. If I weigh in on a serious topic, someone else will feel strongly about it and feel hurt that I said things they did not agree with. Plus, hey, I am not that smart, and my position may very well be wrong. Why hurt someone else AND be wrong? Better if I stay silent and have the chance to continue to learn and grow.

So, faced with no positive result from a post, and the surety of hurting someone, why do it now?

I’m doing it now because I can’t take it anymore. I have to say something, I have to get it out of my head. I have never felt quite so helpless before, so powerless, as I have done earlier today, and as pointless and ineffectual as this forum is to actually accomplish anything, one thing it will do; it’ll get this crap out of my head and out there where I can feel that I did something.

At least I won’t have done nothing about it, nothing at all.

Gay marriage. Specifically, the fight against legalizing gay marriage.

I’m a married white straight man that attends Catholic church every Sunday morning. I declare that up front because people who believe in labeling people care about that shit. There are a lot of people who, after reading that, will undoubtedly feel confident that they know everything there is to know about my opinion on any subject worthy of discussion.

Fine, think what you want, while I get on with this.

I and my family went to church this morning.

I grabbed the bulletin of announcements on the way in, and read it a bit while sitting in the pew, waiting for the service to begin.

The section of the bulletin that the pastor uses to write his weekly message was titled “Supporting Marriage: The Responsibility of All The Faithful.”

Within this section, I read the following, which I have re-typed exactly as it was published, except where I noted to preserve anonymity;

This past Thursday Archbishop Nienstedt gathered the priests and deacons of the archdiocese for a teaching day. One thing  that the Archbishop wanted to stress  is the importance of supporting the Marriage Amendment that will be on the ballot in Minnesota in November 2012. The archbishop is asking all priests, deacons, and indeed all the faithful to work for this cause. The amendment will ensure that marriage remains defined as between one man and one woman. As your pastor I fully support the archbishop and this effort and I greatly appreciate his courage, vision and leadership on this issue of our time.

Eric (last name withheld) has volunteered to head up a committee in our parish to work on this effort. The committee will serve to first reflect on marriage and its purpose and then to inform, and coordinate our parish efforts to support marriage. I thank Eric for stepping forward to serve in this important role. (Information on volunteering for the committee withheld)

At the teaching day last Thursday, it was noted that the ultimate goal is not simply a victory at the ballot box next November, but rather a deeper understanding and appreciation for ourselves and society of the true nature and purpose of marriage. I look forward to the next twelve months as we as a parish take time to reflect on marriage and its role in society and the importance it has on all of us.

That is what I read in the bulletin this morning, written by the pastor that was about to speak to us.

When I read those words, my brain kind of froze for a bit. I was trying to get my brain moving, but it felt like I was a light truck with bald tires on an icy surface, lots of spinning and movement going on, none of it going anywhere.

I lasted like that until the pastor got to his sermon. I pretty much went on automatic pilot until he started to speak.

The sermon he gave today was about the two most important commandments that all the faithful should obey; To love god with all of our soul, heart and mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

That was the sermon. That was the message.

And that sermon went into my brain, a brain that was still trying to digest the words this pastor had written.

We are to go out and vote to define marriage as between one man and one woman, AND we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

They just kept hitting, colliding in my brain. They still are.

I wanted to shout at the pastor right there in the church, “You mean love all our neighbors, as long as they are straight? But to hell with the gays, is that it?”

But of course I didn’t. What would it accomplish? Will I change his mind? No, of course not. Either he truly believes that this is what God wants, or he will do exactly as he is ordered by his superior the archbishop regardless of what he actually believes is right or wrong.

Either way, I’m not going to change his mind, I’m just going to cause a scene and hurt a lot of people who feel that this is somehow right, or just, or Gods will.

I know, I’m not saying this well. 

Let me try and take this through how I see this.

An Amendment on Marriage that seeks to define Marriage as between a man and a woman does not actually support marriage.

Right now, are marriages between one man and one woman forbidden, denied or blocked? No.

If one man and one woman, of any faith, requests their union to be recognised as a legal marriage, it is a simple series of legal steps to make it happen.

So, is an Amendment necessary to ensure that keeps happening in the future?

No.

Such an Amendment would not give any additional benefits to one man and one woman seeking a legal marriage bond.

Is same-sex marriage legal right now, then? No. Right now, in the state of Minnesota, same-sex marriage is ALREADY denied.

So what would this new Amendment do?

It’s purpose would be to add an extra layer of legal bullshit preventing same-sex marriages from being accepted. See, right now the existing laws are being challenged, so if there is a second law on the books, then if the first law gets overturned, there will still be a second one that has to be fought.

It is an Amendment not to provide but to deny, and really, to stick the boot in, too.

It is an Amendment aimed directly towards one goal; to provide an additional layer of legal defense to continue to discriminate against same-sex marriage, both sexes still being composed of PEOPLE. American citizens. You know, people.  

If you are singled out or excluded, you feel hurt, don’t you? You feel rejected, unwanted, even hated depending on the lengths someone is willing to go to just to exclude you.

That is what this is. In my mind and heart that is how I see this. I can’t find any OTHER way to see it. And for that, I am truly grateful.

This proposed Amendment is a tool of hate, because it has no purpose other than to single out and exclude an entire group of people from enjoying the same legal benefits under our government that others take for granted.

Or, as Governor Mark Dayton is quoted as saying, “I’m here to support those Minnesotans and Americans who want the same rights, freedoms, opportunity, respect, dignity and legal protections and legal opportunities as every other one of their fellow citizens… which is the founding principle of this country!”

Notice please that I vote Republican and Mark Dayton is a Democrat. I mention this to point out that this isn’t a political discussion, it’s discrimination against people. Discrimination is discrimination. Period.

And yet, the message of the pastor in our church this morning is that we are to love our neighbors as we do ourselves.

Is it that gay people are evil? Is that the message I’m supposed to be getting here? Would the very existence of same-sex marriage sunder the bonds that hold families together? 

But are we not supposed to turn our cheek, to give no offense, to embrace others and show them love and compassion?

Are we not all people, regardless of our race, our religion, our philosophy or our chosen nation? Are we not all people regardless of whether we are atrtracted to the same sex, the opposite sex, both or none of the above? 

How can someone that truly believes that ‘God is love’ be capable of showing so much determined hate towards other people?

How does denying same sex partners the right to legally marry in any way affect the quality of the marriage between one man and one woman?

That is a rhetorical question. I can tell you right now, the entire rest of the world can be engaged in same-sex marriages, and it will not affect my personal marriage with my wife one bit. However, if I don’t stop spending so much time playing WoW and more time fixing the house, I am going to be in trouble. 

If one man and one woman engage in a marriage and it falls apart, the blame cannot be laid to rest at the feet of same-sex marriages. It can be blamed on the couple.  

This is how I feel. I look at this… this bullshit going on, and what I see is our generations’ future shame.

Right now, we, our generation, can look back on the civil rights wars of the 1960s, and we can wonder, “How the hell could anyone be so racist and so hateful that they would try to make it a law that black people and white people could not drink from the same water fountain, or go to the same school, or eat in the same diners. How fucked up did those people have to be to have that much hate, to want to exclude an entire people, and who the hell would stand up in any meeting hall and have the guts to try and pass laws like that.”

We can say that now, but guess what? Those people, many of them, are still alive. They are still around. And when we wonder this aloud, they keep their mouths shut, but inside, they are still the people who were there back then. Those folks didn’t just vanish into the mists of time. They hear their grandchildren wonder about racism, and who could be so stupid and wrong, and they keep their mouths shut.

I feel that is where we are right now.

Right now, all across America, all this hate, this same stupid hate and fear is all out in the open, and people are actually standing up and proud of their efforts to exclude the gays, and to block them from the legal rights straight people enjoy.

But someday soon, gay people will see the justice they deserve. They have to. It is inevitable. There are too many of us in this country that are continuing to grow with an open mind and an open heart, and are raising our children the same way. We grew up with a lifetime of accepting and understanding that discriminating against a people based on the color of their skin is wrong, and discriminating against a people based on the religion they practise is wrong

Is it any wonder that with the lessons of the past to show us the evil of such discrimination, the civil rights movement and the Holocaust just to name TWO in the last century, that we find it ever harder to understand how those types of discrimination were evil, but discriminating against someone on the basis of gender or sexual orientation is just fine and dandy? 

The hate is still alive now, but within 40 years there will be teens wondering aloud how fucking stupid and evil and hateful people had to be to try and prevent people from being legally acknowledged as married just because they were bith the same sex, instead of understanding that it’s what a person has in their heart that counts.

And these people now, these people we see right in front of us, they will be the ones that hold their past in their hearts and keep their mouths shut, because they don’t want to look like a hate filled bigot in front of the grandkids.

But why do we have to wait 40 years? Why? Why do we have to be able to see this so damn clearly right now, how FUCKED UP this is, without being able to speed it up?

I said to Cassie, I don’t know how I can even argue this with someone. I start with, “I hold this truth to be self-evident. That people are people, and intentionally hurting people is wrong.”

I don’t know where to go from there. If you don’t get that intentionally hurting other people is wrong when they are doing nothing to hurt you, when their actions have no affect on your life, if you just can’t get that key point, then where do I go in convincing you? 

I don’t know. I’ve never felt so powerless. I know, nothing I say can change even one mind. Sure, I can live my own life, and I can raise my children to keep an open mind and see people as people, but that does nothing to change how other people are raising their kids… and how long this whole struggle to stop the hatred will continue.

I’m sorry, as I said. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, and I don’t want to be controversial. I don’t even see this as controversial, that it is is just… stupid. I’m not very articulate about speaking my heart, it’s not like writing some cool story. But this shit… this stuff going on in my mind, it’s really bothering me. I just don’t get how people can’t see what it is they’re doing. I can’t get it through my head how anyone can be that full of hate, or worse yet, so uncaring of the affects of what they do if they just blindly go along with it.

Cassie tells me it’s not just the Catholic Church, it’s a lot of Churches, and I understand that. I also understand a lot of the arguments are made that it’s in the Bible and is the will of God.

Well, there is a lot that is in the Bible that isn’t acted on because we understand the Bible was written by men, not God directly. Or has anyone noticed all the banks being forbidden to charge interest on loans all of a sudden? Anyone? I know my mortgage has interest payments, I don’t know about anyone else.

Just saying.

If the basis for an argument is that God said so in the Bible, then every single thing God decreed in the Bible better be in place, or fought for equally hard. You don’t get to pick just the bits to enforce as Gods will that let you be a hate-filled bigot. If you do that, then you are acknowledging that you don’t agree with God on everything, just the bits you think he was right on. Now you’re picking and choosing… and we’re back to this bullshit being about what people do to other people, looking for a justification, and has nothing to do with Gods will.

I don’t know. Hopefully when I push publish, I’ll get that cathartic cleansing that means all this is now dumped on someone elses id.

Tomorrow will be a new day. Every day is a gift, and I don’t want to be walking around tomorrow still pissed off at the hate of a bunch of stupid people. 

I do know one thing. Singling people out and hurting them because they are different than you is wrong. It doesn’t matter what the ‘different’ is. Gay, black, jewish, space alien, I don’t care, it’s wrong.

I don’t know much else in this life, but that I know, and I WILL stand by it.

I say, it’s not enough to block this stupid Marriage Amendment. No, we need to go further, and pull back the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act AND the federal level Defense of Marriage Act.

Huh. How about that. I really do feel better now. And yet, I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. Go figure.

102 Responses to “I’m Not Right in my Head”
  1. Apple says:

    Thank you.

    It may not do anything, but it’s encouraging to hear it, from members of the church.

    Thank you.

  2. Kolan says:

    John,

    You got something very right there. There is very little in your argument that any person would be able to disagree with.

    Cheers

    Kolan

  3. Brad says:

    Thanks *hugs*

  4. Bruennor says:

    Thank you. I agree with you.

    People need to accept the things that make us different. Repeal the defense of marriage acts.

    Bruennor

  5. Vink says:

    Big Bear, you moved me to tears of outrage and grief. I wrote about 7 paragraphs and then deleted it all because people are people and to hell with the religion and politics. We need to stop treating each other like crap. We really need to come together. I watch the news and worry for my child’s future, because her future is all that really matters to me. What life are these idiots going to give her? There are nights that I wish I didn’t have children, because of the mess they are going to inherit from our political and religious leaders that focus on hate and money, and not the benefit of all. Sorry BBB, just had to put it out there. Don’t want to be a downer.

  6. Foo says:

    Your blog is your platform. Most of the time you give ‘on topic’ messages. There are however times we need ‘compensation’ from our readers. For some, that is advertising. For me – it is the (hopefully rare) political viewpoint post.

    You have accomplished speaking to the undecided. There will be at least one undecided reader out there that will be swayed towards gay marriage.

    I eat pork, sometimes work on saturdays, use contraception and eat shellfish too. I also oppose marriage by rape. I decided some time ago that religious ‘morality’ did not live up to my standard of ethics. Which is somewhat sad given my ethics have been based in a christian education; to the point that I seriously considered becoming a minister.

    I am not sure of the rules in the United States; but in Australia defacto hetrosexual couples of a few months have more legal rights, recognition and responsibilities than gays living in a 20+ year monogamous relationship. This annoys me too.

  7. Jason says:

    It’s hard to feel like what we feel and say will even make a difference now… but what you say does more that you may know. Well said in my book!!!!

  8. Jeffrey Boser says:

    One of my favorite bloggers was Real Live Preacher, a baptist pastor of a small church. He often had to deal with the differences between what people thought God wanted (often a rationalization of their own fears and hatreds) and what his beloved, distorted, religion actually was actually about.

    He wrote about the biblical passages regarding homosexuality, you might want to check it out. They aren’t what other people are telling you they are, “in the bible” really isn’t so and it doesn’t take a theology scholar to figure out.

    • Symbiode says:

      BBB, thank you for writing this post, as without it I would not have seen the link Jeffrey posted. This is why I have been a loyal BBB reader since ’07, keep doing what you’re doing, I’ve yet to be disappointed by any post you’ve made. Jeffrey, I can’t thank you enough for providing that link.

  9. Steaksammich says:

    Because there’s more need and room for love in this world than there is for hate and fear, I’ll throw a little of the love that I’ve got available your way, and hope for good things for you and your family as you continue to provide an example of what it means to be a kind person to the world at large (both in real life, and online). With words and ballots and hugs (sometimes, when accepted) and kind words, we can fight against the angry, hurtful people who would deny the love and happiness that they feel on a daily basis to those who just want to be able to publicly admit that they feel it sometimes, when possible.

  10. Zwingli says:

    I pastor a southern baptist church, and I run into this all the time. Once, a seminarian told me that “those gays are ruining marriage.” I looked at him and said, ” No they aren’t. We’re doing a fine job of that already. Or have you not noticed the 50% divorce rate among evangelical Christians?” He was gone from the church within a couple of months. I’m a firm believer of separation between church and state. I’m sorry your parish brought politics into your worship service.

    Everyone, regardless of orientation, has the right to pursue happiness. We shouldn’t stand in their way.

    Z

  11. Nimizar says:

    Well said, BBB. And while you may feel like it doesn’t help, it’s lots of little steps like this that help make that future you can already see actually happen.

  12. Neil says:

    I agree with everything you’ve written here, except for the last line: “I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.” You certainly have.

    Maybe you haven’t singlehandedly turned the tide of Minnesotan or American or Catholic politics, but you have shown at least one weary, cynical, and generally jaded liberal that there is decency, sanity, and love among the folks on the “other side” of politics. I’m not proud of how easy it is for me to forget that, and I’m in your debt for reminding me.

    In the big picture, it might not mean much – but to me, it means a very great deal.

    Thank you.

  13. Jonathan says:

    There is a solution, but it’s not one that is simple or easy.

    The core problem here is that marriage is a two-fold thing. On the one had, it is a religious sacrament. On the other, it is also a civil action. One unites two people before God. The other ties their property together in a specific legal way.

    The libertarian solution for the commited Christian is, I think, to sever the two. Abolish *marriage* as a legal term. Replace it with *civil union* for everyone, Gay, straight, whatever. Everyone gets a civil union, that’s what the state recognizes. That’s what insurance deals with. Now, if you are a churchgoer, you might very well also choose to get married, in front of an altar with a priest or pastor or what have you. That second transaction is between the two of you and God above. The other is between the two of you and society.

    I personally think that the best way to save marriage, in a state where there is no State Church, is to put it away from the morality of the world. The morality of the world is not the morality of the church, and never has been. Pretending that it is only leads to grief.

    • Malphailuron says:

      This is exactly my belief, with the added stipulation that we need to review the rights granted to married couples, tease out those given because couples are expected to raise families, and grant those rights only to legally married couples who raise children (whether by birth, adoption, foster care, or something else).

      Thanks for writing this, BBB. It shed some light on a subject few want to touch. Perhaps you cannot sway opinions with a single rant, but you can get readers to think more deeply about the issue. And that’s a start.

    • fellow christan says:

      I completely agree with you. The problem is that church and state are not separate enough right now. The real solution is to get rid of the marriage under the law, and go to something similar to what France has (or I at least heard they have). In France you can enter into civil unions. Man and wife, mother and daughter, room-mate and room-mate, man and man, etc. There are different kinds of unions (dependents, co-habitats, etc) which define your tax, medical, and other legal rights. Leave marriage for the church. Let people be married under god as they choose. Let people live how they want to live.

      Just to comment on the “love your neighbor” part about the blog, I think this other blog sums up my personal belief on homosexuality and the bible. http://trevinwax.com/2011/10/18/how-i-wish-the-homosexuality-debate-would-go/

      Keep writing BBB!

  14. Klepsacovic says:

    A few years back the higher-ups in the Church noticed a rainbow pin thing going on and decided it was a problem. Their response seemed like the worst one possible: they said that no one with the pins should get Communion. The church my parents attend gets in trouble now and then for things like this, because they don’t follow the line. Rather than exclude open gays and supporters (and where I’m from, that would be a lot of people to exclude), the pastor said, as I recall without actually referencing the pins, that everyone was welcome to receive.

    It all just doesn’t add up. If we assume (wrongly, but let’s run with it) that homosexuality is an abomination, then wouldn’t gays be the ones most in need of saving and therefore the ones to not exclude? And while we’re at it, what does gay marriage actually have to do with sex? Married people are perfectly capable of not having sex and unmarried people are perfectly capable of having sex, probably more so if they’re already ‘breaking’ one rule, so it’s not as if blocking marriage prevents anything bad or allowing it causes anything bad.

    And then if we don’t assume homosexuality is an abomination, then it all collapses into “so what?”

  15. Figure says:

    “You don’t get to pick just the bits to enforce as Gods will that let you be a hate-filled bigot. If you do that, then you are acknowledging that you don’t agree with God on everything, just the bits you think he was right on.”

    Thank you for so eloquently and succintly phrasing the heart of my difficulty with those who constantly refer to the Biblical rules and reasons regarding same-sex marriage (and plenty of other things, actually). Bookmarking this post for the next time I get all frustrated with humanity.

  16. Kobay says:

    Well said, John. If you would allow me, I have two things to add.

    First, I have often said that anyone who wants to amend the Constitution (usually I mean Federal, but it’s true at the state level as well) to restrict the rights of a group of people Doesn’t Understand the purpose of the Constitution. It’s there to define and limit the powers of the government, not to take rights away from “those people.” (whoever “those people” happen to be this week.)

    Second, there is a hypocrisy in that church, and if it were me I wouldn’t go back until it is resolved. I don’t presume to tell you what to do, and I know that matters of Faith are never clear cut. But it seems to me that you have surpassed this man and the teachings of his church by seeing through the conflict of interests that he can not. He has nothing to teach you.

  17. Elladrion says:

    If being gay is an affront to God, why does he make so darn many of em? I couldn’t agree more with this post. Not just for the gays, but for choice of religeon and politics as well. Stop infringing on the freedom of others. If something doesn’t affect you, how can you be so vehemently againt it? It doesn’t affect you. Are you so insecure in your faith that somebody not sharing your beliefs brings your beliefs into question? If someone not sharing your opinion shakes the core of your faith then you have not put in the effort to deserve it.

    It angers me that people can be so hateful in the persuit of “god’s love” and in their supposed support of Him, throw away everything the true teachings of christianity stand for. Love thy neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Judge not lest ye be judged. Treat others as you would be treated. It is not simple hypocrisy, it is hateful and harmful and wrong. If these people (the gays/athiests/pro-choicers/muslims/jews/blacks) are doing nothing wrong by you, why do you put so much energy into denouncing them instead of trying to be better, lead by example, and trust that people that your works and deeds stand as examples?

  18. Elvgren says:

    Sorry it’s vexing. As one who has no doubt that organized religion is anything other than a political party it doesn’t shock me. Faith is fine, embrace it. Organized religion needs to be brought down.

  19. Morgrog says:

    My 77 year old father is struggling with exactly the same issue, and for him it’s personal as his neighbours are gay, and some of the best neighbours anyone could have. He hangs on because of friends and community, but can’t stomach the leadership of the church in Australia who have stepped back from most of their past concerns with social justice. Here in Australia they now have people that audit church services to make sure the priest is preaching the party line. And they wonder why the church is in decline?

  20. Jamie says:

    I will also give a firm thank you. I am a legally married lesbian, but only through arcane loopholes of law that probably apply to a few hundred people in Australia, if that many. I was born with a mind and body out of sync with each other on gender. When I got married, I was legally “male”. I am now legally “female”. But the Australian courts have specifically struck down forcing people in my position to get divorced. So while Australia does not recognise same-sex marriage as a whole, they are forced to recognize /mine/.

    Actually, no. They are force to not NOT recognize mine. I know, double negatives are usually bad, but in this case they are necessary and go to the heart of one of the ‘complaints’ people put forward, about giving same sex couple “special rights”. That is a BS argument. It isn’t about giving THEM special rights. It is about not maintaining OTHER people who already HAVE special rights.

    Anyway. Thank you for posting this, and as others said, never thing you accomplished nothing. Standing up and saying ‘This is wrong’ is never nothing. It is a very brave thing to do when you can be so easily ostracized for doing so.

  21. Kel says:

    BBB, my level of respect for you just went waaay up. I’m so happy to see that there are some Christians that are able to see that different people are still PEOPLE. /hug <3

  22. Mark says:

    You may think you’ve accomplished nothing, but you’re mistaken. Every time someone stands up and says that discrimination is wrong, it makes a difference. You can let them hate if they need to, but don’t let them hate on your behalf. There’s a picture that’s been going around the web, ever since Bishop Nienstedt’s dvd campaign against gay marriage, of an older couple, a man and a woman, bundled up, standing in the cold, with a sign that says, “We don’t agree with Bishop Nienstedt.”

    The good news? The people who want to enshrine discrimination in our state and local constitutions? They’re going to lose. They’ve still got some fight in them. They may win a few more amendment battles, but their victories are going to be smaller and smaller, and further and further apart. And eventually, these people, who use the exact same, word-for-word arguments that people used against interracial marriage in the 1960s, will find themselves in the same position as their predecessors.

    I’m a gay man. I’m legally married in Massachusetts, where I live with my husband and our two young children. It was just a few years ago that Massachusetts was the first state to achieve marriage equality. And look at the progress since then! Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York. The other side may think they’re winning, by outlawing something that’s already not legal, but they aren’t changing anything. Six states in seven years? That’s amazing.

    Thanks for not allowing someone else to speak for you.

    • theanorak says:

      And to add to this: I suspect these (hopefully continuing) changes are brought about, at least in part, by an ever-increasing number of people saying, “no, that’s not right”.

  23. Masith says:

    I think this is a fantastic post mainly because of the source. In England the prevailing view of Republican Christian Americans is that they are hateful bigots and the world would be a much better place without them. This is obviously not true for all and this type of stereotyping is no better than the hatred against homosexuality that seems common in much of society.

    This is why I think it is doubly important for Christians to stand up and shout out that they do not believe this crap and that these people are not speaking for their views. It is the silence of the moderates on both sides that leads to the incredibly divided political landscape we currently see, for example if I was an American I would likely vote Democrat but on many economic issues I actually agree with the (moderate) Republicans, it is just that I feel so strongly about this kind of social injustice that I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to vote for them.

  24. You’re an absolute star.

    This is your life. You get one hit at it. You therefore need to say and do what makes you happy.

    If this makes you feel better then it was time well spent.

    The only way things change is when people like you have the balls to stand up and try.

  25. Sgt.Sausagepants says:

    Thank you for writing this.

    BBB, you CAN do something.

    You can take your pastor aside, and let him know how much you disagree with both his arguments, and with the way he used his influence at church. You might even bring along other friends from your church who feel the same way.

    You could also tell him that if the church keeps pressing the issue, that you will find leave and find a church that you agree with.

    I realize how big a deal that is, I suppose it comes down to how strongly you feel on the issue, and by no means is it the only solution. Just remember that it’s an option. There ARE churches out there who support gay rights. Hopefully you will be able to find an answer that is less drastic than leaving, but there comes a point where institutions like this aren’t going to change or learn until their members start MAKING them. Vote with your dollars, as it were. (or donations, in this case) The more of their members tell them they don’t accept this, the sooner they will change.

    I hope it works out somehow.

  26. Erex says:

    Reminds me a bit of the episode that turned me from being in the church every Sunday to just be christian without belonging to any church. I was 18 at that time.
    In my country the church are just open around the service.
    So a cold winter day (near 0 farenheit) just before the service started a homeless drunk came in and sat himself on the last bench. He smelled like crazy and was drunk, but he didn’t make a sound. The bells started and people around the drunk started to move away. Church were not very full so there was space enough to create an empty pocked around the drunk. The priest noticed the disturbance, noticed the drunk, whispered to one of the “servants”. Servant went back in the church and asked the drunk to leave. The drunk asked if he just could stay here. He promised to make no sound, but it was so cold outside. (I was at that time of my life normally situated on one of the last benches and could hear everything.
    The servant grabbed his arm and more or less forcely kicked him out of the church.
    The services continue and the speach of the day was about loving your next kind as yourself…..

    Later that Sunday I visited the priest in question and voiced my concern, ending up in me severing all ties to the church, removing myself from a couple of church organized activities and since then never visited any church again (apart from wedding/funerals/babtisme going on in my family. Don’t want my family to suffer too much because I could not live with the falsnes of the church)

    This is over 30 years ago and it does not seems like the churches have become any better :)

  27. Simon says:

    Firstly, BBB, I wholeheartedly commend you on this post, your views and your eloquence. Choice, for me, is all important, as is the freedom of choice for the individual.

    But whenever I see posts or hear discussions about such things, particularly when they refer back to less enlightened times of blatant bigotry or accepted racism, I do have to wonder where we will be in another fifty years time. will there be marches to support the rights of oppressed practitioners of pagan faiths? Will there be demonstrations about the rights of those who practice bestiality? Will pedophilia be considered less of a mental disease or genetic defect (just as homosexuality was 50 years ago), or will politicians be campaigning to remove the age of consent entirely?

    Interesting times

  28. Maebius says:

    To use an over-used Internet cliche. This^.

    Your thoughts echo my own very accurately. I was an assistant minister in my Lutheran church, and slowly drifted away to more Unitarian Principles, because of this very sort of thing.

    I think Johnathan commenting above also sums up how I’d prefer to handle the issue. Civil Unions are the legal status used by governments. Marriage is a decidedly non-secular concept, that just happened to get lumped into a legal state for insurance/tax/etc reasons. Splitting the two concepts and letting the Church (regardless of denomination) handle the union of spirits and souls in Love and Light, etc… That keeps the “sanctity” of Marriage apart from the more worldly paperwork aspect of it.

  29. Adambrady86 says:

    I’d like to say thank you as well. From both my wife, and myself. It’s refreshing to hear such an earnest, feeling post from someone that follows a faith that isn’t completly blind. I know you feel like you’ve done nothing here, but just the action of tossing it up on the internet might be enough to start something. It might be months from now, or years, but this is a chance for someone to use an honest, well written idea to try and push back all these hateful people.

  30. thomstel says:

    BBB, you are not alone in this. Take heart, a deep breath, and feel better. From the comments so far I hope you know that your level-headedness and honesty has earned a lot of cred with your readers, myself included.

    As others have mentioned, faith in something bigger than yourself is fabulous, and should be embraced. However, as soon as humanity gets ahold of something, they’ll twist it around to serve their purpose, so be wary. I had to walk away from a Protestant religious background, which causes occasional tension in my family get-togethers, but otherwise was one of the wisest decisions I ever made in my life. I’ve even dabbled my toes back in the water of a Church of Christ setting recently and ran face-first into the same crazy I saw when I was growing up.

    Seeing the kindness of people connecting at a personal level in church is great. Hearing the sermons, full of wildly skewed rhetoric that exists simply to support the pastor/churches message, with everyone else nodding in agreement all around me? Not so much.

    Don’t doubt your own feelings, and share them with those you trust.

  31. Babb says:

    As a devoted Christian and a libertarian, this (along with drug prohibitions) is an issue I have struggled with.

    As it relates to the State marriage is a legal contract.
    Just as no government on Earth legitimately has the authority to prohibit its people from speaking freely against it, or to prohibit the exercise of religion, no government on Earth legitimately has within its authority the power to prohibit any willing parties from entering into a Contract. (We all know of governments that do these things, but these prohibitions are violations of the inalienable rights of Man)

    Frankly, when it comes to the dealings of our secular governments, I think we can all agree there are far bigger fish to fry…things that actually do affect everyone directly that we should focus our efforts on.

  32. Talfrund says:

    Bear,

    I tend to vote Republican, and I’m a Texan, born and bred. And I agree whole-heartedly with every word of your post. The DOMA is legally-enforced hate and it needs to go the way of Jim Crow laws.

    Speaking out has a snowball effect. As more people do it, even greater numbers begin to speak. You did affect something or have an effect on someone.

  33. SirFWALGMan says:

    Seriously I wish that “Marriage” was disavowed as a legal term and everyone had a Civil Union. Then any religion could call what they do a marriage, or a join join good good if they wanted to. The religious part would be totally separate from the legal joining of two people. The whole situation is ridiculous.

  34. Devvi says:

    I agree with you totally. There is so much that is hateful and un-loving done in the name of Christianity, that it’s good to know some ppl don’t just blindly follow what their pastors/bishops tell them to do. Jesus was friends with and included an adulteress among his friends, and invited her to break bread with them….much to the shock of the religious establishment of the time. I feel that he would do the same with gay ppl today.

  35. anon says:

    Funny how many Christians that want to fix marriage focus on homosexuality and not divorces.

    Mark 10:1-11: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her”

  36. yunk says:

    Bravo, thanks.

    Even when I believed in God and was active in the church, it seemed like a huge disconnect. I never saw my fellow Christians getting so bent out of shape over other sins. The only thing that makes me more furious is when the “family” groups talk about teen suicide and say bullying is good. It makes me want to hit them, since they think hitting is fine.

    As a member of a Christian industrial band, and also traveling around a lot to different churches, I saw firsthand how people confused the way they grew up and what they were used to, with morality and “God’s law”. Not just average people, but people who had MDivs, studied history, and should know better.

  37. Sarabian says:

    Install a “Like” button so I can hit it repeatedly.

  38. Ancestor says:

    My whole opinion of gay marriage was flipped on its head when I was 19, back in 1999. I too am Catholic and my pastor, Father Larry of the Lexington (KY) Diocese brought up the subject during his homily. And to my surprise, people were so disgruntled that they actually walked out, for the idea he espoused that day was ‘unconditional love.’ He spoke not in support of gay marriage, but in support of promoting love, no matter the type, no matter the person.

    After Mass, I stopped him in the hallway and asked him, “Father Larry, so are you for or against gay marriage? What’s the deal?”
    He looked me square in the face and said, “I think the world could do with a little more love right about now.”

    Father Larry, pastor of Pax Christi … he changed my mind in that instant. I think the world could do with a little more love right about now, too.

  39. Rauxis says:

    I support your post with one minor exception – you make a difference every time you speak up. Big changes are very often the result of many small steps *points to the Arabic people and the events of 2011*

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

  40. Dubhe says:

    I’m glad I found this blog. I truly appreciate your heartfelt thoughts and comments. I think that’s what I wanted to say.

  41. Whisty says:

    I started following this column back in the day because I was trying to learn to play a bear. I stuck around because it’s rare to find someone who honestly portrays today’s world in a way I get. Thank you for this column. I hope and pray that my kids will learn the same open-mindedness that we were taught growing up. It isn’t easy – but man I think it’s more crucial now than it ever has been.

  42. Xaeth says:

    Hey,
    I’m in the middle of a huge assignment and having major issues with some of the calculations but I couldn’t let this one go without commenting.

    BBB, I felt obliged just to leave a comment here, firstly you said that no matter what you say it won’t make a difference because people won’t change what they believe and you’ll end up hurting some people because of their beliefs. That’s wrong, yes some people are gonna be hurt by this post and about the same amount of people will read this and be encouraged or even supported, but perhaps just as importantly are those people that aren’t sure what they believe and that’s why this post makes a difference. No one undecided could read this and not understand the “bullshit” going on in the world.

    When I read “Supporting Marriage: The Responsibility of All The Faithful.”, I was like wow that’s good to hear some people support gay marriage, because I naturally assumed that’s what it was. I was born catholic myself but studied philosophy and ethics for awhile and well it’s hard to believe in any religion but I firmly believe in God, and if He (gender assumption not my own) is watching us make a mockery of His “laws” well shit, hell or no some people are gonna get a slap in the afterlife.

    Thanks for posting and keep up the good work,
    Xaeth.

    ps. I’m glad many other people have posted too, allowed me to make my message somewhat smaller.

  43. Morrighan says:

    You have made a difference you know. I wanted to say this when the talk about sexism in WoW was doing the rounds, and I wrote a post in response to something Larisa from the Pink Pigtail Inn wrote at the time, but I’ve had a busy time recently and it got lost in the many things I never got round to.

    Writing a post like this. Standing up and being counted. Thinking about the issues involved and trying to pick them apart and draw conclusions from them. And then, most importantly, putting them out there for people to read. This is action. Its not action in the standing outside with placards sense. But its just as successful in its own way. The great civil rights leaders aren’t thought highly of because of their placard waving, but because of their eloquence. The great feminist theorists are writers who put their words down for people to read. The wonder of all this newfangled technology is that anyone can do this! Anyone can write something eloquent and meaningful and put it out there. And it will be heard by an audience who will think about what you have written. Where civil rights leaders were one person preaching to a massive audience, you are one of many preaching to a smaller audience. But if 10 people write a post like yours and each is read by 1000 people then 10,000 people have been reached.

    In terms of the feminist debate I felt that Larisa’s call for women to challenge men in their own realm rather than just talk about it was wrong, because talking about it is JUST as important as going out and showing that women can play games too. The same thing applies here.

    Well done for writing this. In the UK things are a little better. Same-sex civil partnerships were introduced in this country a while ago (these provide the legal consequences of marriage, but are not considered marriage), and the current government has said it wants to legalise same-sex marriage by the end of its term in power. With a bit of luck there will be more countries and states following this example. /hug

  44. Saif says:

    I’m glad I followed the link here – well said, sir.

    I’m so happy when I see religious people standing up to their leaders who’re the only ones pushing this kind of thing, and saying, “No.”

    Incredible work, please keep it up.

  45. Cozy says:

    Respect.

    You had my respect anyway. You’ve just confirmed another reason why.

    Should I ever have children, I hope I can bring them up with the level of open-mindedness that you’re trying to instil in yours.

    Best wishes.

  46. Herr Drache says:

    Bear,
    Well, you *did* accomplish feeling better – something that shouldn’t be underestimated!

    As to the topic of your post – here’s how I see it (Disclaimers: I am a Christian, nondenominational. I don’t vote because I’m a legal alien, but I might show more support to the Republicans, who also suck!):

    Short: I agree with your post.

    Long(er) and trying to stay brief: When will people start to understand that it’s a legal right that is being sought? Let them marry under the law of the USA (or whatever other country), I don’t care, it doesn’t affect me, my spouse (hetero couple here!), my tax bracket, insurance, income, in short, my life. It really doesn’t. The only thing that legalizing gay marriage would achieve that impacts ME is that all the billboards, ads, “walks”, etc. finally go away and we can all go on and start being concerned with real issues.

    On a Christian note, well, here’s what I believe. Love each other (that’s hard enough, and I fall short often enough). That doesn’t exclude gays :)
    Now, the Bible does state that acting out on homosexual tendencies is a no-no. So is stealing, murdering, lying, having sexual relations outside of marriage, etc., in short, it’s another way of screwing up. I can’t find a single passage that says “only love your hetero neighbor”.
    To say it with the words of one of the teachers I ran into “Hate the sin, love the sinner”.

    In as far as I can tell, the gay community is NOT looking for a Christian blessing, and they’re NOT trying to redefine the Christian marriage. All they want is the legal/worldly recognition of their partnership.
    This does NOT affect my religious beliefs. “Render unto Caeser…” – it’s a legal thing. Totally and entirely.

    Gay people already live together, share the same responsibilities, etc. There won’t be a change in the status quo. My neighbors and some of my friends will still remain gay, they’ll still be nice people that I like, they’ll still live together and pay their mortgages. And they still won’t be Christians. They’ll get their piece of paper, and they’ll get treated just like any other couple in the eyes of the law!

    So yeah, please, don’t put any more hurdles in their way, legalize their status, and get on to more mature issues, like, well, perhaps the economy, the environment, or even the tax code.

    Harumph!

  47. Ursuron says:

    Actually, there is a positive result from you posting this.

    There’s now one more reasonable, well-thought and principled article on the internet saying that discrimination is wrong.

    And for that, thank you.

  48. Elynea says:

    Respect, all props and much love. You said all I believed and said many times, and let me know there are others out there who agree. We need to speak up and be heard, or hate will win by default.

  49. Ablimoth says:

    hear hear

  50. Siobhann says:

    You seem to think that Christianity lives in churches. Incorrect. It lives in the hearts and minds of those who “get” what Jesus Christ was trying to say, many of whom have run screaming from churches the way your mind was attempting to do this past Sunday.

    As far as marriage, the whole concept is unconstitutional. Marriage is religious and always has been. We screwed up from the start by giving it civil/legal status, which violated separation of church and state. All couples should require a license for a civil union, which is given to any pair of two consenting US citizens and can only be revoked by the courts with a divorce. If a couple wants to marry as well, they find a church that agrees with them and have the religious ceremony. Without the civil license, the church marriage is religious only and does not confer any legal/civil benefits.

    • Gumps says:

      “Marriage is religious and always has been.”

      Yeah, I dunno about that. Maybe it depends on what you point of view you read, your background, how far back you want to look. For me, a married agnostic Australian, when I take a look at the origins of marriage I look back to a time when marriage was NOT tied in any way to religion. Marriage was a civil union of mutual consent. At some point it became the role of the church to register marriages (non-compulsory), and later still all the trouble started – the church AND state decided to get involved.

      My wife and I were married by a non-religious civil celebrant. Here in Australia, religion can have as little or as much to do with marriage as a couple wants. It’s pretty darn awful that influential figures like BBB’s pastor can weigh in on an issue like he did but, really, the whole thing is bloody ridiculous. I think it’s pretty revolting that there are legal/civil benefits to marriage over de facto relationships. And there are. That being the case, I think it’s disgusting that certain governments around the world can point at some people and say “Yes, you are eligible for those benefits” and to point at others and say “You’re not.” But it’s more basic than that – they shouldn’t be able to point at people in the first place! Give me a break – if two unrelated people can’t get married, no matter their sex, then I believe society hasn’t progressed as far in the last 1500 years as we’d like to believe. Next thing you know, they’ll be means-testing marriage applicants and testing for genetic compatibility. Married people live longer, so gotta make sure they aren’t a financial burden on the system. And it goes without saying we’ve got to try and encourage genetically “strong” progeny – they’re less of a burden. Eesh.

      I won’t discuss my thoughts on the church weighing in on this issue. I’ll leave that aspect to people with far more knowledge on the matter than me.

      BBB, I salute you. It’s great to read the thoughts of someone looking at this with different eyes. Ballsy stuff, but not out of the blue – your writing has kept me coming back two years after I quit WoW. Hopefully our kids will only know about this shamozzle through a couple of obscure lines in a chapter of their Year 10 history books.

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