Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Why is it anyone's business?

This morning, I read this article and was left wondering (as I occasionally am), why does anyone care if anyone else is gay? I don't understand the investment in anyone else's sexuality or relationships, as long as no one is harmed. Pedophilia is a problem. Abusing your spouse is a problem. But I just can't understand why homosexuality is such an abomination.

Don't - don't! - tell me it's because the Bible says it is. The Bible says all sorts of things we understand are no longer relevant in today's world. So in my book, it's not valid to justify your bigotry through quoting the Bible (your book may be the Bible - mine isn't; I'll respect your book if you respect mine). Leonard Pitts Jr. says it eloquently here:

I've had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists.

By which I mean people ... who dress their homophobia up in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it's not homophobia at all, but just a pious determination to live according to what the Bible says.

And never mind that the Bible also says it is "disgraceful" for a woman to speak out in church (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) and that if she has any questions, she should wait till she gets home and ask her husband. Never mind that the Bible says the penalty for going to work on Sunday (Exodus 35:1-3) is death. Never mind that the Bible says the man who rapes a virgin should buy her from her father (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and marry her.

I'm going to speculate that you don't observe or support those commands. Which says to me that yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you'd be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside.

I'm stuck back at that question - why does anyone care? Go ahead, believe it's a sin - I don't mind. I'll let you believe what you like, if you let me make a life with who I like. Is that a deal?

Because, when the argument comes down to gay animals, I start to get lost. On the one hand, I think - hey, if penguins are gay, it's clearly not an aberration of nature. But then I wonder - why is it an aberration of nature if it's humans, but not penguins? Do we blame society for homosexuality, but if we can prove it's not society, then we'll be okay with it? Ultimately, I'm not really sure how drawing the line somewhere, pointing to a cause, or a starting point, or a commonality with the rest of the animal kingdom, impacts the argument for or against homosexuals.

Let's get down to basics. The swans mentioned here are gay. I am gay. The swans and I are both animals, and frankly, I doubt either of us woke up one day and said, "Hey, I'm gonna be a queer." Are you straight? Did you wake up one day and say, "Hey, I'm gonna be straight"? Didn't think so. Didn't happen that way for me either. No matter what or how it was caused (you can believe it's God or nature or genetics or environment, or our rapidly deteriorating society) it just is.

But why does anyone care?

Here are sins I worry about: Some people starve to death while others have so much food, they throw it away rather than eat it. Some folks have no home while others have homes the size of Rhode Island. Some people rape, beat, murder other people. Some people are mean. God, I hate mean people - even when I'm having one of those days, and it's me being mean. Some people neglect their children - their own children, for goodness sake! Some people drive 85 mph, swerving between lanes, endangering not just their own lives, but the lives of everyone on the freeway. Those are sins!

Do what you will with your own life. Believe whatever you want, and please, please implement that in the life you create, just so long as you don't harm others. Just stop caring so much about my life, or else explain to me why it's any of your business. Please.


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