Cutting Through The Crap

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gay Marriage On The Brain


In times like these, it's beyond comprehension that fighting gay marriage continues to be an important rallying point for conservatives. People like Rick Santorum and those who love him make me feel I'm on another planet; their kind of primal pigheadedness on the subject (to put it more gently than I'm inclined) is as foreign as breathing sulphur.

Never mind "times like these." Why is it an issue at all, ever? In what way does the marriage of Adam and Steve or Ellen and Eve affect anyone else; why do so many people find it in need of outlawing? Outlawing! As I've written about it, and wondered, I think I've danced around the truth of it, tried to bring into focus what, in retrospect, I never fully articulated: if you believe the Bible is the literal word of god, and if your sense of well-being, your very life, in your mind, depends on it; and if you observe that gay marriage is acceptable to some -- to anyone -- then your world falls apart, the props underneath it crumble away. Here's a piece that says, much better than I ever did, what I'd been trying to say, trying to understand. The fact is, it's not about rationality at all, and rational questions are irrelevant:

... Santorum and other homophobes cannot speak frankly because their real motivations are private, emotional, and incoherent. It’s not as though Santorum dispassionately selected Catholicism from a menu of religious ideologies. He believes because he feels. Even before his wife’s miscarriage (in 1996), before his political career, some concatenation of circumstances installed what some have called religious “software” in his brain. Things are good when religion is dominant, bad when it is not. This is the truth of his experience.

I’m reminded of a story told by Tim LaHaye, notorious author of the apocalyptic “Left Behind” series. LaHaye was ten years old when his father died, and obviously devastated by the loss. As LaHaye tells it, it was during a pastor’s eulogy for his father that he truly came to believe. The pastor explained how his father was now in heaven with Jesus, and the young LaHaye knew this to be true, felt it to be true. Indeed, he must have wished it to be true as well. Of course he did; what ten-year-old boy wouldn’t?

That, not evolution or homosexuality or any other point of dogma, is the real issue for people like LaHaye, Santorum, and Chambers: the fundamental comfort that religion provides. If people evolved from apes, according to this logic, Timmy LaHaye’s father is not in heaven with Jesus and Rick Santorum’s son died for no reason.

And this is why we cannot argue with people who subscribe to this framework: there is simply too much at stake for them. They have wedded their fundamental sense of okay-ness to the truthfulness of a set of doctrines. Not only is sociology not at issue for Rick Santorum, Romans isn’t either. What is at stake is his very sense that the world is a good place, that things are basically okay, and that he himself is okay as a result. That may be expressed in a theological framework, but it is a psychological reality. If I marry my partner, therefore, Rick Santorum is not okay...



The phrases bolded by me distill it perfectly. But if they answer the question, they also suggest there's no hope, ever, for changing minds of people like Santorum. If belief in your god is the only barrier between you and emotional collapse, and if that belief says homosexuality is against your god, nothing -- no science, no studies; in short, no reality -- will change your view. The only hope, I guess, is that there are enough emotionally-healthier people out there to keep reason alive. It's an open question. In my state, the (outgoing) governor has just announced her support for legislation legalizing gay marriage. Already the self-righteous initiatives are being filed against it.

The author of the above article ends with a thought that, given the truth of what he'd previously argued, might just be whistling in the dark:

The fake secularism, the fake science, the bogus constructions of homosexuality—all of these are so transparently false because they are mere props. As one after another of them collapse, anti-gays will eventually be left only with their convictions, and the reasons why they have them. Perhaps only then, echoing Portnoy’s therapist, might we say “Now vee may perhaps to begin.”

2 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

"Santorum and other Homophobes"
You mean like the current President?
Or maybe the previous DemoKKKrat President, the one who had a retarded Black man executed...
Cause umm, y'know, it's been like almost 3,000 Soldiers killed in Iraq/Afghanistan, I mean 3 years and He hasn't changed his opinion on SSM.
I know, he's probably like me, and thought it was "S&M" and wouldnt admit to liking it pubicly, even if he did.
Of course BHO only won by 100 electrical votes, so He cant take too many controversial positions, y'know, like presiding over the killing of the most hated man in the World...
Oh wait, Dick Chaney's still around, make that the SECOND most hated man in the world..
And believe it or not, I've done everythang to encourage my daughters to embarce the "L" world, Softball, All Girls Summer Camps, Sumluminal "Men Suck" tapes...
All to no avail :( you think I WANT some Muscleheaded dude tryin to work his way into my Estate??

Frank

Rattakin said...

I still can't figure out why this can be voted upon by the populace. I thought one function of the government was to protect the rights of its constituents, even if they are in the minority. Especially if they are in the minority. But in this instance, the majority of voters gets to decide if gay people get the same rights as everyone else?

I'm waiting for the pony vote. You know, where we all get to vote on whether everyone gets a pony. I'll bet the voters would pass it in a landslide!