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I just read an editorial entitled Don't Shake Your Fist at God, by Larry Bufford. In the editorial he comes out against same sex marriage based on the Bible, and his view that it is not a civil rights issue. He refers to gays as "reprobates", and implies that by allowing same sex marriage, our society is on the threshold of becoming a latter-day Sodom and Gomorrah.
Larry Bufford is a friend, and a very gifted writer, but I found his position on this particular issue be absolutely ridiculous. While I'm as straight as they come, and it's beyond my comprehension why one man would want to marry another, with all the beautiful women in this world, it is just as incomprehensible to me why one group of people would insist on shoving their belief system down the throat of the entire world. It simply eludes me why a person who's against same sex marriage can't be satisfied in simply saying, I totally against same sex marriage, so I'm going to make it a point to marry someone of the opposite sex, and then, just leave it at that. But that's not good enough for some people. Some people are not satisfied unless they can make their opinion, THE LAW. There's simply got to be some kind of pathology attendant to that kind of obsession.
I was raise by devout Christians, and most of my values are consistent with the values reflected in the Bible, but I didn't get them by reading the Bible--I call them common sense. But even though my values are consistent with those of the Christian tradition, I have refused to formalize my association with the Christian community because of narrow-minded and discriminatory attitudes just like the one reflected above--and I am sure that there are millions of others just like me.
While I have pointed out several times in this column that true Christians are some of the most loving and beneficent people in the world, unfortunately, there are far too many demagogues hiding among their number. These people find the Christian community a very convenient place to hide and spread their hatred and bigotry. By feigning to be Christians, these demagogues are allowed to say, "It's not that I hate everybody who don't look, act, and think like me, it's just that God hates them, and I'm just following his word." That allows them to demonize and slaughter anyone who is different from themselves, while at the same time being propped up by the legitimacy of the Christian community. And if that's not bad enough, their poison seeps into the thinking of legitimate Christians, as I suspect has happened in the case of Mr. Buford.
We've seen the demonic impact of these people during the Inquisition, and the burning of so-called witches, we saw them raise their ugly heads with the brutality of slavery, and during the so-called "Manifest Destiny" where they slaughtered nearly all of the Native Americans, and we're currently seeing it played out again in Iraq. So I want to take this opportunity to point out to my well-meaning, but grossly misguided colleague, that whenever one group in our society tries to take away the rights of any other group, it is, indeed, a civil rights issue.
When I was a kid of five years old I had a friend who was clearly quite effeminate. It was clear that he was "different" long before we even knew what sex was--and now that I look back on it, it is clear why the adults use to whisper and giggle whenever he'd come around. But of all my friends, even then, he was the smartest, and the most loyal. Later in life, it turned out that he was gay, but there is no one on the face of this Earth that can tell me that he had a choice in the matter, anymore than I had a choice in growing up to love women. Therefore, if God made him gay, who are we to discriminate against an act of God?
With respect to the Bible, many Christians tend to be quite hypocritical in picking and choosing what scriptures they choose to adhere to. While those who are against gay marriage often select scriptures like the one referred to above, there is another scripture--one of much more importance, at least to my mind. It says, "Judge ye not." What makes that scripture so important is that it seems to be a warning from God. It tells man to stay out of his business, because we're much too narrow-minded, and not nearly qualified, to understand why he chose to do what he has done.
It is important to remember that the people who taught us the attitudes and religious beliefs that many Black people so passionately embrace, had us tied next to the mules when they taught it to us. They were killing and abusing us even as they taught us to "Love thy neighbor", and it seems that many of us have learned our lesson well--to love only those neighbors that we haven't been taught to hate.
We should also remember that at the time that Barack Obama was born, there were many states in this union where it was illegal for his mother and father to marry, and many people thought those laws also reflected God's will.
Eric L. Wattree