My erudite and incredibly pithy husband wrote a short essay on the subject of the recent passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina. I say “short essay” but it was actually a comment on the book of face. He was responding to someone who took umbrage with his viewpoint, saying that it wasn’t accurate to blame Christianity for the outcome of the vote. It’s too good to not call an essay.
(I’ve edited some of this for privacy).
The thing is, the gay marriage debate is wholly and unequivocally a religious issue. I realize that not all Christians are for the ban (I know several who aren’t…), but those who are for the ban are uniformly Christian (That or another religion such as [Islam, Hinduism, etc.]. I certainly wasn’t making any case for those, and I don’t view any of them as a good religion while Christianity is a bad one. To me they’re all so many sides of the same hulking, lumbering coin. However, with this particular struggle taking place in modern day Bible Belt North Carolina, you can be fairly certain which god those who invoke his name are speaking of.).
There’s a reason you don’t hear any secular defense of the anti-gay viewpoint. It’s not a coincidence that the pro-Amendment 1 pre-election fervor was spearheaded by Billy Graham, and that those at the rallies kept shouting about homosexuality being a sin and an abomination, and that marriage between one man and one woman is what God wanted and clearly spelled out in the bible (Completely false, by the way, which is what prompted me to post this graphic in the first place.). That’s because, for those who so self-righteously voted away the rights of their gay brethren, this absolutely is a question of faith, and they believe that God is intensely interested in the outcome, and that they are fighting on his side. I have no doubt that it’s not a religious question for you, but if you think that’s true of the other side, you haven’t been listening.
I never made the case that all Christians were ugly people. Again, I know a great number of very pleasant ones. I think you yourself are a hell of a great [person]. However, you and they would be so with or without your religion (Unless of course you think that the idea of not murdering, raping, and pillaging simply never would have occurred to you in the absence of Christianity. You’d have a hard time selling that notion to me, particularly since I can’t imagine you believe that yourself.). In fact, as I pointed out in my response…above, you are good people largely because you’re prepared to ignore expansive sections of the bible.
Are there good and inspiring parts of your holy tome? Absolutely. Although nothing unique to Christianity (the Golden Rule is Confucian, perhaps even older), and certainly nothing that demands faith in the inexplicably supernatural to understand. The fact that we have no trouble discerning the pretty parts from the abundance of passages that are by any standard abhorrent and barbaric shows that we don’t actually glean our virtues from the bible, and are quite capable of defining our morality without it. It’s done through rational discussion of questions of human happiness and suffering, not revealed from on high. The passage of Amendment 1 is an example of what happens when people substitute the wisdom of bloodthirsty bronze-age tribal elders for their own. I agree with Steven Weinberg when he says, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”