Thursday, 5 August 2010

Love, Law, and Hate

Concerning This Whole Prop 8 Thing

I must say from the outset that I always thought Prop 8 (for those who don't know, Proposition 8 was a California law that banned same-sex marriage that was somehow voted in with a majority) was a horrible thing. This is not just because it was yet another blow to the equality movement, but because it indicated that a majority of California voters did not have human rights in mind when they made their decisions that day. And this is California, too; it's not quite Washington, but it's certainly not Texas, either.
This means that I was enormously pleased when I heard that a judge has struck down the law. Of course the backlash was no surprise, and I don't give it too much weight. This is how a democracy should work: when the majority start being bigots, the strong arm of the law comes down and snatches their decision-making abilities away until they learn how to use it properly again. Who exactly governs this strong arm of the law is a trickier question, but it seems to be working now. What happens if it doesn't work will hopefully be a question we never have to answer.

Moving on... I was reading what Elizabeth Esther was saying about the issue, and simply had to voice agreement. If the comments were unanimously in her favour I would have just said, "Thank-you." The comments weren't all in her favour, though, and if you know me you'll know I had to contribute to the conversation. In my view, this is not an issue that concerns public safety or governmental structure (and it certainly doesn't threaten the sanctity of your own marriage), so it's not something that we have any place encoding in law. Further, fighting so viciously against same-sex marriage is driving people from the church, which seems to me to be something Christians should be more worried about than same-sex marriage itself. Finally, and most importantly, this issue is, at heart, about love.

That is to say, Prop 8 and the voters who support it are saying that we have some right to determine how other people go about loving those around them. How can we claim to love others if we do not recognize that they feel love for each other? Perhaps God does not acknowledge that their love should result in matrimony, but that is for God to decide and for them to figure out. We (as humans, not Californians, because I am not from California) cannot support legal structures which say who can love whom and how. Of course the issue is not that simple, but I think we ought to be very careful when dealing with any issue so complicated and important as love.
But I would have let my opinions on this issue rest in my comment to Elizabeth Esther's post if another comment had not caught my eye:

In case you can't click on this to make it bigger, I will type out what this comment says:

Brianna said...

You are smart to recognize that many of the arguements the religious use
against gays and lesbians will eventually be used against yourselves.

I will eagerly vote "yes" on any future ban on Christiany or religion should
one appear in my country/region. (Posted August 5, 2010 at 03:20 PM.)

Once again this is something I should not give headspace to, but I reeled for about five minutes when I read Brianna's comment. I was about to reply with something fierce and not pithy at all, but I restrained myself. A large part of me hoped that my fears about atheist fundamentalism were unfounded. The rational part of me was in on this hope, since it seemed reasonable that there were not any or many atheists who actively sought the oppression of religious peoples. In all of my Internet travels, I had not encountered anyone who would use political means to prevent membership in religion. Now I have. These people exist. Or, at least, one does.

I desperately wish that we could dig ourselves out of hate: Christians who hate homosexuals and non-Christians, atheists who hate Christians, anyone who hates anyone. Can all my (few) readers please do me a favour? Can you try to practice love as fervently as possible the next few days? We need it.

(Also, I intend to read more queer theology when I get to BC. I hope that in posting this here I will have greater incentive to go about locating the necessary books.)

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