Thursday, 20 September 2012

Gay Marriage

The gay marriage debate has been going on for a bit now and I've had the opportunity to carry a fairly extensive discussion with several people that are vehemently against both the concept of gay marriage and also the people involved.

It's all been pretty long winded and, of course, extremely emotive.  I'll state my position now, in that I support gay marriage whole heartedly.  My stand point on marriage itself is that it's entirely a personal thing.  What other people do, what other people think and/or say should have absolutely no bearing on your own marriage nor on your relationship with your spouse.

Getting into the debate was something of an exercise in patience and involved a great deal of research and being careful to not just broadly take a totally intolerant approach.  I figured that there had to be some logical and structured reasoning behind having such a solid and immovable opinion on what seemed to be such an important thing to those in the against team.

Now clearly there is one group that has the loudest voice when representing the against team and that is from Christianity.  I myself was bought up a Catholic and was to all intents a perfectly good Sunday Christian.  I suspect that this is greatly true for the majority of church goers.  It's the whole mentality of 'if I go to church on Sunday once a week than that is my heavenly requirement'.  It was this hypocrisy that pushed me away from faith and ultimately from believing in a God at all.  That and having a religious education teacher essentially self destruct when I asked about evolution in Catholic School... woops...

The basis for the argument is as follows (and I'm paraphrasing but I believe that it's the gist of the thing).  "Homosexuality and gay marriage is wrong because it says so in the Bible".  OK.  I get the overwhelming control/guidance that the Bible gives to Christian believers and in most things it's very clear.  Thou shalt not Kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not blaspheme etc...  All pretty obvious stuff and from a moral perspective, things that I can get on board with... without needing the Bible.  Much like Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists.  It's pretty much ingrained in all of us that killing is bad, stealing is bad, shagging your neighbours wife is bad... the blaspheming thing is pretty much a religious thing which I, and most other reasonable people can leave.

So in looking into this "because it says so in the Bible" we start to discover that it's not as clear cut as all of that.  It's not in the 10 commandments, it's not actually clearly stated anywhere in the original texts and even the more recent biblical publications do not state emphatically that homosexuality is against Gods law.  The truth of the matter is that it's an interpretation of some obscure references that people have decided to place on the same level as killing, cheating and stealing.  Thinking about it we know why you don't kill, because the person at the receiving end comes out in a pretty bad way.  We know why you don't steal, you're depriving someone of something that is theirs.  We know why you don't rape, cheat or commit adultery, we even know why the Bible says 'Don't take Gods name in vain'.  They're all pretty obvious and the moral aspect of it is ultimately very clear.  So here is my question.  Why is being gay bad?  Who does it hurt?  What moral code does it conflict with?  What human decency does it impinge upon?  The answer is simple - IT'S NOT AND IT DOESN'T!

Interestingly the very recent 'translations' of the Bible have been rewritten to 'clarify' the meaning of the 5 most quoted passages of text.  They have actually been re-written to include the word homosexual, a word that didn't exist when the texts were first penned.  I think the reasoning behind this is pretty simple.  It's basic prejudice.  It's people that clearly have an issue resolving with something different, with something that doesn't fit with their 'norm' so they have trolled through the Bible and found some extracts that could in the loosest of terms be interpreted as being 'possibly' anti gay.  The gay marriage thing is an extrapolation of a loose interpretation.

This is fine.  They can believe what they want.  It's their right to believe that, but when it gets forced upon other people in an oppressive and frankly degrading way, then I have an issue with it.  It's not that they don't like it, it's that they actively compare homosexuality with killers, thieves and rapists and then actively attempt to push this degrading opinion on others.  The narrow minded bigotry is stunningly blatant and the required ignorance is somewhat mind boggling.  When challenged on this front, that being of the Bibles seeming lack of clarity on the subject, I got back a very telling answer.  "I'm not God.  It's not for me to question or define sins because that would make me trying to be like God".  This blew me away because in one very simple statement they're effectively handing away any and all culpability for any of their decisions.  The implications of this fall to the very soul of religion.  Do as you're told, do not question, it's all a matter of faith.

That people are re-writing the Bible to 'clarify' content should be troubling as is it not doing exactly what a good Christian shouldn't?  Is not rewriting the texts tantamount to putting the interpreters words into the words of God?  It's not difficult logic but it's wilfully ignored.  The end result is that it's easier to ride your prejudices and persecute a minority because ultimately you don't need to question it.  It's a matter of faith and God said so... except he didn't, the Bible didn't and the persecution smacks of exactly the same thing that was happing to Black People so many years ago.  It seems that humans do not learn from history.

I find anyone telling another person that they are subhuman to be abhorrent.  I especially find someone avoiding personal responsibility for these persecutions by saying that it's what their God says to be foolish and weak minded.  For a religion whose core belief is supposed to be Love thy Neighbour and treat others as you would have them treat you.  Where goodness and compassion are supposed to be the guiding tenements there seems to be a huge amount of hate, bigotry and heartlessness going on.

Simply put - homosexuality is not bad, in fact it is the core of many loving and caring relationships of two consenting adults.  Marriage is a right that all should have as a standard of human equality and if you believe that it degrades your own marriage then you need to seriously consider how much weight you give to the conviction of your vows.

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