Saturday, January 01, 2005

Protecting the Family ...?

The "recall the school board" crowd says they are concerned that teaching kids that some people are gay will undermine The Family. It is kind of hard to imagine how it actually undermines any real family, but they did get me thinking, yes they did. I started thinking about some things in the United States that really do undermine American families. Like ...

Divorce The US has 9.7 marriages per 1,000 population, and 4.8 divorces. If we consider that marriage means "starting a family" and divorce means "breaking up a family," then we should see that this is ... pretty damn bad for families. Shouldn't these extremists be pushing to outlaw divorce? Or how about adultery? --Did you realize that's not even a crime in many states? Why are these guys against gays, of all things, who at worst set a bad example, and yet when families are actually breaking up like so many Humpty-Dumpties they just look the other way?

War Before we decimated Fallujah, a Johns Hopkins survey estimated that 100,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed in the war and occupation. Of course, more than 1,300 of our own young people have now been killed, and hundreds of thousands have been torn from the homes to go fight or support the war effort. Every one of them was a family member, and every one was a potential father or mother -- if they were not parents in fact. That's thousands and thousands of families irreparably broken up by American violence. Yet you never hear an anti-war comment of any type from them. Why don't the "recall" folks try to save those families?

Prison Today there are 6,900,000 Americans locked up in prisons. More than 100,000 of those are women. That's nearly seven million moms and dads who can't bounce their babies on their knees, can't teach their family values to the little ones, can't show Junior how to hold a baseball bat. Tens of thousands of those prisoners are locked up for marijuana-related offenses. One would think -- wouldn't one? -- that the "recall the school board" crowd, being pro-family and all, would really be trying hard to reduce penalties for marijuana possession, so that more of those daddies and moms could go home to their families. But for some reason they choose to concentrate instead on the mentioning of homosexuality in middle-school classrooms.

Polygamy The original Mormons practiced polygamy. Of course they got into legal troubles over that, and claimed to stop doing it. But ... according to this Salon article:
Polygamy is still practiced by a surprisingly large number of people in Utah and nearby states. An estimated 30,000 or more adhere to what they see as a purer form of Mormonism.

Now, personally it doesn't bother me if all parties are willing and agreed to the arrangment, but, well, wouldn't you think the "family values" crowd would be a little upset about this? Is it threatening to the traditional family to have a couple, that is, two people, who love one another and set up a household together, and celebrate their anniversaries with a little cake, and happen to share the same anatomical form, but when some guy takes nine or ten wives the traditional family is just fine? Is it because some Old Testament guys practiced polygamy? Is everything in the Old Testament OK to do? How about in Genesis 20, where Abraham marries his own sister -- is incest a "family value?"

Reviewing the inconsistincies, several things seem obvious. First of all, these people are not concerned about families. That's not it. There are lots of ways you could strengthen the American family, but they don't really put any effort into that.

And you know it's not really a religious thing, even though they do get a lot of preachers to speak up about it as if it was. You know as well as me, you can find anything in the Bible. (Like THIS, which has gone around the Internet a few times lately.) But if you look at Jesus' teachings, why, he doesn't seem to care about any gay guys, he's much more concerned with forgiving people, and not judging them. These religious extremists find these little quotes here and there to back them up, but in reality they are one hundred eighty degrees opposite of the teachings of Jesus Christ ... it's not a religious thing.

Mmmm, maybe they're afraid their own kids are going to turn out gay. Well, actually, that does seem to lie behind some of their comments. And I suppose it's wrong of me to say that if all it takes is some schoolteacher telling your kid that some people are sexually attacted to other people of their own sex, and your kid suddenly converts to gaydom, uh, well, your kid was gay already. Now, as far as what he or she will do about it, whether they will simply fantasize or actively perform sex acts, that's their own decision, that's not part of any health class, that's between a person and his or her own conscience. That's where parents can teach their kids whatever their particular values are. The school is staying out of that. And by the way, that's the same problem for the straight kids. You learn that some people are attracted to people of the opposite sex, that's not a license to go out and start having sex with them. Controlling your behavior, that's a personal issue, a family issue -- it's a universal problem that has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

So, what is it? I can't tell you what motivates these people. They claim in some places to hate the sin and love the sinner, but you really can't go very far with that. A person's character is revealed in the decisions they make, and if you hate the decisions they make, it is pretty hard to say what's the other part, the part you claim to love. No, they think the homosexuality is evil. It's not just naughty, or perverse, it's an abomination, and evil thing.

It's one thing to dislike somebody, or to disagree with them, it's one thing to think they're unattractive, or unintelligent, or lazy. But when you think that someone is evil -- and that includes thinking that the decisions that someone makes are evil ones -- then the word for that is hatred. Let's not sit on the fence about this. The people who want to throw out the entire school board because they introduce eighth-graders to the concept of homosexuality are hateful and intolerant, and we need to stop them.


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