I take Facebook seriously. And so that you know that, my current profile picture expresses an unamused scowl. Every sarcastic comment I make on your status? Scowl.
However, I don't take myself too seriously. And so that you know that, my cover picture is me sleeping with a cat. Is it funny? Is it cute? Is it staged? You'll never know.
So imagine what happens when an issue I do care about, something like gay marriage, pops up on my Facebook timeline. When a young, Christian woman who is a stranger to me claims on a (quite handsome) friend's status that she (and God) love gays so much that she (and God) are completely against gay marriage (it's for our own good), this is my postmodern response:
I get a bit confused when the Bible becomes main proof against gay marriage. I don't mean to antagonize you; I would simply appreciate you walking me through the importance of gender as you read from the Bible.
I gather that you believe that God made man in the image of himself, and that he made woman from man to be his companion. That's very considerate, but doesn't this create the same gender hierarchy that still existed through the suffrage movement and perhaps still exists today? While those values may have been important to ancient society, I'm quite happy that my father couldn't sell my sister's hand in marriage for livestock (even though my 12- or 13-year-old self would have disagreed that time she stole my Game Boy).
Jokes aside, this makes me wonder why sentient man, created in the image of God, can't possibly love another sentient man, or why woman (arguably sentient) can't marry another (arguably sentient) woman. Does this mean that marriage requires a predetermined hierarchy? That the real issue behind gay marriage is the lack of having a subordinate? That gays can't get married because their union and love is too perfectly equal?
You yourself seem to be in a beautiful, loving relationship, one that you chose to be a part of and weren't sold into. Of course, this is the same beautiful love that gay marriage supporters want everyone to be able to openly express -- but aren't we all wrong? I didn't think marriage, as the Bible defines, is truly about a public commitment to love. I thought marriage, as the Bible defines, was more of a political arrangement that benefits two different families.
OK, so perhaps we then agree that "love" is the new currency, replacing cattle. Perhaps we are still following God's rule that the goal of marriage is to "sell" ourselves into each other's lives for the benefit of each family, which is pretty beautiful, really. But this still makes marriage more of a private affair at its core, simply with a public ceremony. So if two people have an arrangement for private benefit, why does outside opinion matter? To me, it just seems that those who disagree with the union, whether because it's between two gays or because it's for too few cattle, should simply skip the public ceremony.
I'm really interested in your thoughts, and I'm glad that society lets women have Facebook accounts so that you can openly share your own opinions with me.
(Imagine if the Bible had rules for Facebook accounts, like, "Woman's profile must be sculpted out of the HTML backbone of her husband's, or she shall not exist online, for her profile exists only as a companion to her husband's. As such, she exists only to support her husband's online endeavors and must like the same #LOLCats images and may not have a #Farmville of her own; she exists to be fruitful and multiply the #FirstWorldProblems memes that relate to her relationship" [Zuckerberg 21: 9-12]. But then wouldn't that mean that we were all sculpted in the image of Zuckerberg's HTML code? That we are all equals? That, suddenly, the gender hierarchy disappears? If it's just computer coding, what does "relationship status" even mean, and does it even matter? Aren't we free to "like" the pages that we choose without it "meaning" some predetermined destiny? But then again, how does computer coding differ from the "real" world's atoms and forces and energy? At what point do we all agree that the best way to live this undefinable life is just to be happy and do what makes us feel good, whether that is marrying another man, defending our personal beliefs or writing postmodern Facebook responses to people who think they know what is best for others?)
I appreciate the love and support you're trying to spread, but you're going to drive yourself crazy trying to save the world! I think it's best to agree to be a good person for yourself and for those in your personal circle. Any effort you spend saving strangers' lives is effort you could put into loving and supporting those who already love and support you. Really, that's all we want with gay marriage: to love and support someone that loves and supports us. And that benefits all; a strong society is no more than a network of strong interpersonal connections. Let's support as many strong, private, interpersonal, equal connections as we can so that we can unite as a strong, public, compassionate, respectful human culture.
Her counterpoint was procreation-centric, to which I replied that reproduction can't be the limiting human purpose, given that God himself already seems pretty capable of this production thing. I assured her that I don't attempt to speak on God's or anyone's behalf, that I only ask questions to try to understand our universal purpose, theological or otherwise -- OK, and sometimes to be a (hopefully thought-provoking) antagonist.
What do you think? Too convoluted? Just convoluted enough to prove my point? Comment below and let me know how you handle online gay-marriage bashers. (But, most importantly, let me know if this achieved the right balance of wit and intellect to earn the attention of Mr. Swoon-worthy Mutual Friend!)
Follow J.W. Harvey on Twitter: www.twitter.com/xjwharvey