Saturday, November 1, 2008

Power and Fear-

Power does not always corrupt. Fear corrupts…mostly the fear of a loss of power over others. Enslave no one. Vote No on 8.

i'd also like to applaud farrah for speaking out about her beliefs, to what is no doubt a largely hostile audience. i didn't feel like her arguments were terribly clear to me (maybe because i can't get past the idea that someone can really love a person and still want them to be denied the right to do what makes them happy) but i do find it admirable that she took the opportunity to open the issue up for discussion. was is voltaire who said he may not agree with what you said, but he'd defend to the death your right to say it? yeah, me, too.
i listened to a radio discussion on the topic the other day. it was on the local npr affiliate, kqed, and it was a debate between the pro and con sides for prop 8. the speaker in favor of proposition 8 (a gentleman from an organization called catholics for the common good) brought up similar issues to the ones farrah addressed - namely the fear that people would have their right to be haters abridged (freedom of speech), and he also addressed the concern of churches being forced to perform ceremonies for gay couples who might get their gayness inside the pristine religious houses (freedom of religion.) icky!
the woman who spoke against proposition 8, kate kendell (executive director of the national center for lesbian rights and member of the executive committee of the "no on 8" campaign) said, on the air, that if anyone was aware of such a lawsuit being brought against a church, her organization would represent the aggrieved church in the lawsuit, because that is NOT what the law provides for, nor is it what we are in store for if prop 8 passes. if a spokesperson for the anti-8 campaign was willing to offer her obviously gay-centered legal firm's help to any church that experienced reverse discrimination as a result of prop 8 being defeated, i find it hard to imagine that this is a real issue. it seems like a classic bait and switch, where one part of an issue is highlighted so no one pays attention to another, less savory, more sticky part.
by trying to reframe this proposition as a religious freedom issue or a freedom of speech issue, people who are juggling faith and the reality of living in a modern world are allowed to make decisions they can justify, rather than admitting they just believe that gay people, while often nice and lovely people, are also wrong and their lifestyles are morally reprehensible. love them at parties, doing my hair, on tv, but not in my church or my afterlife! in the modern world, where being gay is certainly more acceptable than it has been in previous times, it isn't possible to run a campaign with the message "i'm so sorry, but you're an abomination and god is going to punish you!" so we get the more snappy and "sexy" idea of free speech and freedom of religion and the super vague idea of protecting "traditional family values." (what are those, exactly? overworked alcoholic dads who are absent from their children's lives? moms who define their worth by the success of their children, while having no interests or passions of their own? how does adoption factor into that? what about a few families living together in the same house? is it only 2 opposite sex parents with some kids? does the tradition include being a happy household, or is that negotiable? traditions change. why can't we change our idea of a traditional family to mean a household filled with people who love and respect each other?)
no one is trying to keep religious people from tsking over the eternal damnation of people who "choose" to be gay. and, all snarkiness aside, i can really understand how hard it would be to reconcile a religion that clearly tells you what to think about a class of people with your own experiences of those people. i fully respect religious faith as a valid and important foundation for some people to make their decisions from. i find blindly following a religion that runs contrary to your own feelings (love gays but hate their gayness because god told me to) to be difficult to swallow and morally icky TO ME, but i don't disdain anyone for making decisions based on what their faith leads them to.
but the defeat of this proposition isn't going to force anyone to do anything they don't want to do, aside from allowing a large group of people do something that makes them happy, and will hurt NO ONE. if two consenting adults want to get married, it's not really any of your business, anymore than it's my business what you do in your church. if i don't like it, i can stay away, and so can you. truly, it doesn't matter how lovely the separate types of union are - it doesn't matter how many rights they afford to gay couples in their domestic partnership or how much people try to play up that it's just as good. what matters is that you're saying "THIS union is only for us, not you." if it's so great, how about we abolish marriage altogether and have EVERYONE get awesome, fair, just-as-good civil unions?
abridging the rights of people for less hateful reasons than the other guy still results in the same thing. you are literally taking rights away that have already been given. that has never happened before. you're not preventing something that might happen, you're saying "yeah, that thing you really wanted, and fought really hard for, for a long time, and then finally got? oh, yeah, you can't have that anymore." imagine trying to defend doing the same thing to a person of another race. or someone who is disabled.
i would like to applaud nathan for his diplomacy and strongly encourage anyone concerned about freedom of speech and/or religion issues to check the website he included ( because it addresses point for point every concern you guys brought up. it's a shame that this thing might pass because people are being fed false information and aren't clear on the facts.

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