Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Ask, Don't Care!

America had one of its prouder moments this week as it cast aside the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevented openly gay men and women from serving in the military. The demise of the policy, which was a bald-faced example of discrimination in its purist form, is a victory for equality and a breath of fresh air from a government that has grown stuffy in its defense of the indefensible.

This issue brings up a larger question, though, one that I've had in the back of my mind for years:

Why are Americans so consumed by what goes on in the privacy of someone else's home?

This is a consistent theme in America, one that seems to grow with each passing day. We seem to be dying to not only know what others are doing, but also to judge them and, if possible, persecute them.

Our politicians are all too happy to perpetuate the problem, making issues like gay marriage, gays in the military and gays adopting children part of the national discourse. This is not because mainstream America drives the discussion - mainstream America, I firmly believe, could really care less.

No rational person believes that allowing two people who are in love to get married and share off the rights and privileges that come from that union is any way harmful to marriage. But that doesn't stop a small segment of America, often identified as the Tea Party from spending lots of money getting weak-minded politicians to do what they call "defending marriage."

Defense of marriage is really nothing of the kind. Who really believes that a man marries a woman for no other reason than because it's illegal to marry another man. That's insane. If Texas suddenly made gay marriage legal the first thing I would do - after I picked myself up off the floor - would be to divorce my wife to marry a man? That's ludicrous. The real intent behind the Defense Of Marriage propaganda is a way that right-wing politicians pander to Christian extremists, thus garnering the millions of dollars those folks have to spend on politicians who will at least say they are willing to advance the extreme-right agenda.

They don't even to seem to notice the hypocrisy in play when they evoke the name of Jesus Christ - the world's most progressive Progresssive - to hate, judge, and even, in some cases, murder.

Here's what Jesus had to say about homosexuality:


Not one word. It was a non-issue to Christ, as it has been a non-issue to civilized society for the vast majority of the existence of civilization. Sure, the Old Testament book of Leviticus makes one vague reference to man not lying down with man, but that book also lists wearing clothes made of more than one type of material as an unpardonable sin, and lays out the guidelines through which a father can sell his daughter into slavery. Is this really the moral compass for Christianity today?

Finally, we're overlooking the trump card of all religious arguments against gays. If God is the creator of all and God is infallible, why would he create people who are flawed? I mean, is God flawless, or isn't she?

If we need a religious context, it's easy enough to say that a perfect god is incapable of creating something by accident, so gay people are just as "good" in God's sight as the birds, the bees, and everything else. If we take it a step further and involve Jesus of Nazareth in the discussion, he didn't say a word about it. If you want to extend something else he said to cover homosexuality, it can be done. Jesus spoke very clearly about when it's OK to just others . . .he said DON'T. Love your neighbor as yourself. That was it. Love your neighbor whether he's gay, straight, or whatever else she might be.

I'm not one who needs a religious context for everything. To me, it's a bit of a cop out. Let's defer to someone who was writing thousands of years ago instead of exercising our own modern wisdom and common sense when talking about modern issues. No, thanks. Not necessary.

The bottom line is, it's just none of my business. Most heterosexual marriages end in divorce, so who are we to inflict that particular value on those who prefer same-sex marriage? Are we jealous of their success rate?

The end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a victory for freedom, independence, and all those other values our forefathers fought the British to gain. It's another step away from bigotry and discrimination and towards that dream we dare to dream - that we all might be judged based on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin, our sexual preferences, or any other random, hateful basis.


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