It's time for America to grow up and recognize that homosexuality is neither a choice nor a disease, any more than being a heterosexual is. Homosexuality is a natural predisposition that exists throughout the animal kingdom. Over 50 years ago, Dr. Alfred Kinsey used a sliding scale of one to six to prove that all of us have both homo and heterosexual tendencies. Scoring a six meant you were primarily homosexual, while a score of one meant you were primarily heterosexual. Kinsey believed most people were somewhere in the middle, although many would be afraid to admit it.
American society is still suffering from its puritanical roots, and many of our citizens refuse to accept anything that contradicts our cultural norms. The worst offenders are the zealots who claim, "God hates fags," and that gays are flawed or immoral human beings. Televangelists like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have poisoned millions with their hate-filled tirades against gays. I've watched these bigots mesmerize the masses with laser-like precision and wondered, "What would Jesus think? Would the Prince of Peace really endorse this behavior?"
How many gay, lesbian and transgender Americans have committed suicide because of their hate-filled sermons and broadcasts? How many more are in therapy and gulping anti-depressants because these bullies convinced them they are depraved sinners?
In studying mental toughness training and critical thinking for the last 28 years, I've discovered that every one of us has the capacity to be mentally tough. The problem is most of us don't know how to access our toughness, and as a result, people who are operating from a weak state of mind and are vulnerable to bullies and bigots. That's why critical thinking demands that the mentally tough stand up for the people who aren't strong enough to stand up for themselves. Would the average American allow a bully to beat up a little kid? No, but that's exactly what we've allowed these religious extremists to do to gays.
America has a long history of discrimination that includes blacks, Native Americans and women. Lincoln freed the slaves and it still took another 100-plus years for blacks to be treated like equals. Some people claim racism is still alive and well in modern day America. For all of our country's claims of exceptionalism, we have some pretty shoddy history as it relates to human rights. Sure, we're ahead of most of the world in this area, which is like saying I'm a killer but I killed fewer people than you so I consider myself exceptional.
In a country that claims to be a Christian nation, we have a funny way of demonstrating Christ-like behavior towards minorities. Educated Americans know that gays are no better or worse than anyone else, and should be left alone to pursue their own version of the American dream. This includes the right to marry.
Religious leaders claim that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and that's why they are against it. This is another far-right fabrication. The real reason they're against gay marriage is because it would make gay couples equal to straight couples and remove the stigma that has been cast upon homosexuality. If the issue was actually a technicality, could we not make the case that a 2,000 year-old mandate be updated? Furthermore, can the Bible really stand the test of technical accuracy? It fascinates me how the religious community manipulates the masses with its interpretations of the Bible.
First of all, how does anyone know what the authors of the Bible we're thinking, much less God himself? Even former President Jimmy Carter, a long time Sunday school teacher, claimed in an interview with The Huffington Post that, "God inspired the Bible but didn't write every word of the Bible." This is a common manipulation tactic designed to empower clergy to embrace the good parts of the Bible as inspired by God while distancing themselves from the bad. Carter's church accepts gay members on an equal basis, but will not allow them to marry. Is this not akin to allowing blacks to attend school with whites but insisting they drink from separate water fountains? I guess we can call it partial bigotry.
Serious thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin understood the idea that the masses need to believe in something beyond this life so badly that they will believe almost anything. Benjamin Franklin was reluctant to discuss his spiritual beliefs in public for this very reason. Toward the end of his life he said he believed in the moral teachings of Jesus but had doubts to his divinity. Jefferson felt the same way and even penned his own version of the Bible called The Jefferson Bible, which are the teachings of Jesus minus any reference to miracles.
Here's my point: Believe anything you wish to believe. I don't care if you believe in Santa Claus, but the minute you start justifying bigotry, hatred, and violence with your belief you've infringed on the rights of others. The delusional thinking on gay rights and marriage is that it's about protecting the integrity of what's written in the Bible. This is one of the most ridiculous claims ever made, since the Bible is full of evil acts and suggestions we choose to ignore. Where is the integrity in that?
Critical thinking says that the church is losing its choke hold on American society and the legalization of gay marriage would deliver another major blow to its eroding power structure. The opposition to gay marriage is all about control and power, and it's just a matter of time before the majority of Americans realize it. Gay marriage will be legal in every state in the country within 10 years because it's the right thing to do. The bullies and bigots will kick and scream like the small minded manipulators they are, but it won't be enough to prevent Americans from doing the right thing. It's time America grew up and welcomed everyone into our culture as an equal and allowed people to live their lives on their own terms.