Since writing Bigotry In The Name of Jesus H. Christ in response to the expulsion of Shay Clark last week, I've received nearly the entire Bible via e-mail along with an array of strongly worded memes condemning me for advocating -- what's that thing? Equal rights for all Americans?
Bottom line: certain Christians and Republicans simply hate gay sex. Hate it. They hate it as if they're being forced to engage in it. Come to think of it, maybe some of them are. But if that's the case, they should probably ask the warden to move them to a different cell block. Word of warning: Shillinger, however manly and Aryan, likes it -- so bring a shiv.
The arguments I've received from the anti-Jesus Christians and anti-democracy Republicans were mainly off-the-shelf regurgitations of learned morality. Just because Daddy told them that gay people are funny and weird simply makes it so; in the same fashion that racism is handed down from generation to generation.
Mainly though, opponents of same-sex marriage and the gay community have passed along specific Bible verses which seem to condemn gay and lesbian lifestyles. This faith-based point of view appears to be almost entirely generated from three brief passages in the New Testament (thankfully there were very few quotes from Leviticus of the Old Testament). Three. Out of how many hundreds of pages? Not a single quote from the word of Jesus. Furthermore, one of the verses might not have been written by the apostle to whom it's often credited.
Primarily, the passages cited by the homophobic Christian right-wing are Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. All three mention "men lying with men" behavior, but not a single one explains, 1) why this brief interpretation of religous morality should be legislated in a secular democracy; and 2) why should it be legislated while other biblically defined "sins" are not.
Romans 1:26-27: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet." King James Bible
Overall, in this passage and others, Paul has some interesting beliefs which I think would vary greatly from Christ's. It's worth noting that Paul was also a proponent of the oppression of women, as he wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35*. Paul was also somewhat abivalent towards the notion of slavery which has been used in the past to justify it (see Philemon 1:15-16 and 1 Corinthians 7:21). I think we can safely say that these ideas can be categorized in the roster of biblical passages which have no bearing on modern reality. You can also find justification in Bible for genocide; the death penalty for prostitution and non-virgin brides; and torture. The latter can also be found in the policies of the Bush administration, but that's another story.
1 Corithians 6:9-10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." King James Bible
Once again, more condemnation from Paul. This passage could actually describe most of the Republican leadership. Almost the entire right-wing radio apparatus is engaged in reviling behavior every day. Mike Savage actually uses an abusive word as a his last-name pseudonym. To "savage" someone is to abuse them, no? Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. That's abusive language taken to the extreme. How many congressional Republicans engage in thievery and extortion? Could selling your stock just before it tanks be considered a form of stealing, Senator Bill Frist? How's about fornication, Mr. Bill Bennett -- former drug czar and author of "The Book of Virtues", "The Moral Compass" and "The Book of Virtues for Children"? What say you about drug abuse as being a form of intoxication, Mr. Rush Limbaugh? And Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and Rick Santorum -- where do I begin?
Should revilers be denied the right to marry or denied equal rights and protections under the Constitution and laws of America? In others words, should we legislate against the use of abusive language just because Paul said so thousands of years ago? If that were the case, 99 percent of the people who send me hate e-mail each week would stripped of their rights, as would comedians, pundits, and the entire cast of DEADWOOD.
But you know, I don't begrudge Limbaugh's (possibly former) habit. Nor do I take issue with Bill Bennett's proclivities or any of the others whose trespasses were globally harmless. What I do take issue with is their hypocrisy. And there's not enough bandwidth on this website to encompass the length and breadth of the right's two-faced demagoguery.
1 Timothy 1:9-10: "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine." King James Bible
This passage is said to have been written by Paul, but there's many disagreements as to who actually wrote it and when it was written. Some people say it was definitely Paul, while others say it was written up to half-a-century after Paul's execution. Others say that it was written by a student of Paul. The word "homosexual" is used in various modern translations of this passage, but that term was coined in the 1800s and the original Greek word in 1 Timothy was a conjunction of two Greek words which were joined together by the author. Suffice to say, no-one knows for sure the veracity of this passage so how can it be relied upon for accurate moral guidance regarding sexuality -- so much so that it should become the basis for the law in America?
Once you eliminate the modern validity of certain sections of the Bible, all that remains is faith or ignorant hatred (bigotry) to explain why the gay community should be denied the same rights as the rest of us. However, it's impossible to rationally legislate something which is entirely based on either -- especially in a country founded on freedom and equal opportunity for all. If you have faith that the Bible says homosexuality is a "sin" and an "abomination," then that's your right. But it's not an absolute truth which should somehow extend to the same-sex couple next door to you.
When we as a nation are ruled by such tyrannical theocratic laws, then we cease to be the democratic nation which the founding fathers intended. We become a theocratic dictatorship in which a single extremist faction enforces their subjective Biblical morality upon those who don't subscribe to the same religion -- or even the same translation of the text. We become a Christian nation in which even a large percentage of Christians would be put to death as heretics. The separation of Church and State was designed to prevent this from becoming reality.
*1 Corinthians 14:34-35: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
SHAMELESS PLUG: Dick Cheney's latest Blogcast is online here.