Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It’s All about the Benjamins, Until They Try to Marry Each Other

When I set out to voice my support for Proposition 8, I never expected to spend so much time on it. Every time I try to write about something else, Proposition 8 lures me back in with it seductive controversy and come-hither intrigue. I am like the Michael Jordan of Proposition 8. Rest assured, this will be my last treatise on this topic after which I will move on to more important things like politics, the economy and my fascination with the mythical Strawberry-Banana. Seriously Science, quit trying to cure cancer and start genetically manufacturing my dream fruit immediately! But as for now, Proposition 8, I can't quit you!

In looking over the many words I have written on the issue, I realize I have yet to boil my arguments down to their most cogent and salient issue.

The most important issue is not about how much Gay couples want to get married, despite the fact that it is about the only argument they seem to offer. After watching Keith Olbermann's diatribe on the issue, it seems you could boil his whole argument down to "Homosexuals really, really love each other and they, like, totally want to get married, so we should like let them since they have asked so nicely and all."

The most important issue is not love. They are plenty of non-traditional relationships built on a foundation of love that even Homosexuals don't support. I personally get tremendously tickled watching the gay rights movements explain why two men should be allowed to marry but one man and two women shouldn't.

The most important issue is not what good people homosexuals are. I have never met a gay man or lesbian woman I did not immediately take a liking to. However, just because you are a good person does not mean you should be able to marry who ever you want. Mother Theresa could marry Mary Magdalene and I would still oppose it (although it would make a terrific Dan Brown novel).

The most important issue is not rights. If marriage were a right, then you would not need a certificate from the government in the first place. Do I need a certificate to practice free speech? Do I need a permit to go to church? Those are rights. Marriage is no more a right than getting a drivers license. It is a privilege.

Similarly, the most important issue is not fairness. As a society, every law we have carries with it some measure of unfairness; of inclusion and exclusion. Why can't people under 35 years of age be President? Why do only men have to submit for the draft? Why are minority candidates given preferential treatment when applying to state colleges? Why do I have to drive on the right a side of the road if I am left handed? As a society, we pass such laws because the individual sacrifices they require provide greater value to society as a whole.

And in a word, that is what the issue is really about: Value, not love, not rights, not desire. Value. If we are to provide Gay Marriage with equal status then it must prove that it holds equal value.

Unfortunately for the No-On-8ers, they have yet to prove in the slightest that homosexual marriages hold the same value to society that heterosexual marriages hold. I have asked this question before and I have yet to see a valid response: "What value does gay marriage provide society that just being roommates doesn't?"

Don't tell me it is love. Love does not pay for public services or help put my kids through school. You can't buy love and love and can't buy you anything in return. While love may benefit you personally, how does it help society?

There are measuring sticks that can be used to measure the value of traditional marriage versus gay marriage. Religion, philosophy, morality to name just a few. However, few of those perspectives provide us with the common ground we need to make a collective decision. I may have my own personal religious views on the matter but in an incredibly diverse country such as ours, religion can no more help us decide on gay marriage than it can help us decide what to eat.

However, there is one way to measure value that we can all agree on: money. That's right. Greenbacks. Dinero. Scrilla. What ever you want to call it, we all know what it is and we all know how much it is worth (Answer: a lot less than it used to).

Using plain old dollars and cents we can compare the value of one relationship to another. We are a society fueled by money. The very basic services we need to survive and thrive (infrastructure, education, public safety) all require money.

The average amount of money my wife and I will earn over a lifetime will probably not be that much different than a gay- couple. In that sense, our relationships are equally valuable to society. However, there is one difference, with my wife and I, we are able to have children and those children in turn can become a tremendous benefit to society.

For example, If you figure each of my children earns $50,000 a year over 40 years of work, that is $6.0 million dollars my little family pumps back into society that a gay couple will never be able to replicate. If each of my children has three children in turn, than my wife and I can count on an additional $18 million added back to society.

While it may seem to dehumanize the issue by boiling it down to pure earning potential, at the end of the day, without it, nothing else will matter. With the incredibly top heavy social support network our society has established, if there are not sufficient workers earning enough money, than the whole system collapses. Why do you think western Europe and Japan are starting to freak out (freaking out being the technical term) about their incredibly low birth rates? Why do you think Australia will literally pay you cash for each child that you have? Why do you think Russia had a national Conception Day? ( No Seriously. It must be the first case in modern history where an entire country was given the day off and encouraged to have un-protected sex). Why have they all gone to such drastic measures? Because, as a society, they have written checks that they can't cash if there is nobody there to pay for the future benefits they have been promising. Say what you want about traditional families, but it is my kids that are going to pay for your social security not the other way around.

This also raises another salient point as to why we need to support and protect traditional marriage; because it provides these children with the best opportunity to maximize their potential. Children not raised by a Mother and Father are far less likely to be successful productive citizens. These kids are more likely go from being a boon to society to becoming incredible burden. My kids already have to pay for your Medicare and Social Security, let's not add additional prisons and food stamps to their already overflowing cup.

This concept of value is also why I can frown upon the draconian laws that prevented interracial couples from marrying while still supporting Proposition 8. Because interracial couples hold the same value as any other. They have the same ability to have and raise honest, good children and for that they are equally deserving of marital recognition.

To society as a whole, there is just no more beneficial institution than traditional marriage. It has no rival. It has no equal. Because of its tremendous, inherent value, it deserves the highest pedestal we can put it on. With this special recognition comes the societal pressures and rewards offered only to marriage that help it to succeed and, more importantly, help it to raise another generation of Americans who give more than they take.

11 comments:

Shane and Loni said...

Excellent, Joel. Excellent.

boymystere said...

Hmm... Well I guess this is where we greatly differ on what the true value of marriage is. If marriage to you is a baby-making contest, well then, you win. If the most important thing concerning you in all this is manufacturing more babies for this economy, you win. You're right. I cannot have a child directly with the man I love in a gay relationship. I could however adopt a number of babies, (made by straight people mind you, who either don't want them or are incapable of taking care of them) raise them, and potentially pour money into their education so that they could become fully contributing individuals to society. I could do that, but perhaps there is some sort of inherent lack of value that you see in adopted children that I do not. I don't think that many adopted kids would argue that they are worth less, but maybe you can. I guess I could actually have my own child with one of my lesbian friends, but I don't think I'd want to do that more than once or twice (unless there is a turkey baster involved), so you probably still have me beat there monetarily. If the true essence of marriage is not love or commitment, but to mass-produce children for a sort of economic stimulus plan for the future (and I'm sure God approves) then maybe you are right.

BUT, the last time I checked, the human race was no where near extinction. Am I right? Last time I checked we had something like 6.7 billion people here on this planet. And I'm pretty sure that number isn't going down. I've been to China, and believe me you don't want that many people running around here. Today, couples in China are allowed only one child. Could you imagine? No wonder there are not many mormons in China! (If any?) Only one child!!?? No offense, but I've known a few mormon families, one child to you is like a gay guy having only one Madonna CD... IMPOSSIBLE! I'm joking. But seriously, I've been hearing scientists throwing around words and phrases like "overpopulation," "limited resources," "global warming," "deforrestation," "famine," and countries actually running out of water. Doesn't that ring a bell? To me, making marriage a baby-making contest doesn't seem right as a value for marriage nor a value for this planet. I actually have pondered the idea that maybe gay people are Mother Nature's answer TO overpopulation. The idea doesn't hurt my feelings really. It's the yin and yang of nature, for every action there is a reaction, change is a welcome force, this planet is probably somehow fixing the fact that we have been procreating like rabbits. Who knows? Just an idea but impossible to prove.

Anyway, we can argue the religious standpoint and the morality of being gay until the cows come home. We could probably go on forever. But the point is, we're here, and we're not going anywhere. Let us help society. Let us adopt children that otherwise can't be taken care of (don't worry they're not going to turn gay anymore than I'm going to turn straight, not that there's anything wrong with it anyway). Let us help do that, and contribute to society if that's what you want. Why fight it? There is so little you can control in life. Be one with the Tao, go with the flow. Change happens. You can be happy for other people or you can be miserable. The choice really is yours.

In the end, when I think about marriage, my first thought is not about its value to society, though it does have value. My first thought is about what it means to me and my husband. Our commitment to each other, our love for each other, the tie that binds us. Society might be indirectly benefited from my marriage, but to me, the most important thing IS LOVE. THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IS LOVE. To be honest, you can have as many wives as you want, I don't personally care, as long as you are consenting loving adults. I mean, if the issue wasn't love, then why don't we just reinstate the idea of arranged marriages? To me, marriage is about celebrating two people finding each other (or more people I guess if you're into that), loving each other, committing oneself to each other, creating a family together, and living peacefully in society, not to mention the great tax incentives and rights you get from the country once you are wed! I'm sorry, I just don't think marriage can really be all about the Benjamins, it most importantly IS about LOVE, and for me as a gay man, its about having equal opportunity and accessibility to it in this country in which I pay taxes. Nice chatting with you.

boymystere said...

AND!! Not only that... but with marriage, society gives YOU something. It gives you recognition. Society LEGALLY recognizes the commitment two adults have made to each other in marriage. Without that recognition, society is saying to gay couples that there is something wrong with us. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF SOCIETY PROJECTING SHAME ONTO ME BECAUSE OF WHO I AM. Acceptance is one of the greatest lessons I have learned in life. The moment you accept yourself for who you really are inside, you become open. If you accept yourself, that is the beginning of accepting ALL. But you, we, have been conditioned for centuries not to accept ourselves. All the cultures of the world have been poisoning the human mind because they all depend on one thing: Improve yourself, you are not good enough the way you are. They all create anxiety in you. Anxiety is the tense state between that which you are and that which you should be. People are bound to remain anxious if there is a "should" in life. Accept yourself, love yourself. Nobody else has ever been like you, and nobody else will ever be like you. You are simply unique, incomparable. Accept this, love this, celebrate this. And in that very celebration you will start seeing the uniqueness of others, the incomparable beauty of the others.

With marriage, I will FINALLY be able to go outside and not feel like society is condemning me. I will FINALLY be able to hold my boyfriends hand with out feeling shame in public (not that I do, because I believe like Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world.") For me, being who I am is not hard, but for many people like me, especially those younger than I am will feel a lot of shame growing up and being gay. Their parent's might disown them, they might get called faggot out on the street, or maybe they'll be harassed, beaten, and bloodied an inch away from death, and get left tied to a fence in Wyoming waiting to die. Being gay can be hard. Gay marriage will give us that recognition that yes we may be different, but really we are the same. It will help us to see our differences, but embrace them. It will teach tolerance and love, which will also benefit society.

Rachel said...

Marriage IS a right. Marriage is a FUNDAMENTAL right. So held by the United States Supreme Court. And not just a passing activist court to be overturned as soon as a new party comes into to office. It's been that way for at least 50 years and has been affirmed many many times. It comes from the same basic place as the fundamental right to raise your children as you see fit, so I hope you will be supportive if the government comes in and tells you that you can't send your children to the schools you choose, or the church you choose. (also a risk if they overturn Roe v Wade!) Yes, you need a license. There are restrictions. There are also restrictions to your freedom of speech. Hate speech, incitement, time, place and manner restrictions, etc.
And lets boil it down to value, cause, why not. Personally I'd like to get married out of love and a commitment and desire to spend the rest of my life with someone, but okay, we'll boil it down to value. You are happily married and doing an amazing job raising children who i know will be happy, and well adjusted, and not a burden on society and thats awesome. You're an exception, not a rule. Straight people have sex, oops a baby! now what? they could abort the child (but im pretty sure you don't support that plan). They could attempt to raise the child, but without a desire, or means to do so, it puts the child in a horrible horrible position where it will likely be neglected, maybe abused, especially since im pretty sure drug addicts procreate at a faster rate than healthy well adjusted individuals. So. They end up in the child protective services system. A system that produced a HUGE number of people who will live off welfare for the rest of their lives (I think CPS is awesome, but it has many flaws and is overburdened because of those stupid straight people and their sex). What if those children were adopted by a nice married gay couple? No, they would not be raised in the manner you see fit, but they are MUCH more likely to lead successful lives and produce VALUE for society. on a lesser scale, how many children are raised in single family households these days. its a sad thing, but its a big part of society. How many of those children take value rather than produce it? I personally believe they would likely be better off with two mommys or daddys instead of one overworked, stressed out parent struggling to make ends meet.
And you have to drive on the right side of the road so you don't kill people. You're entitled to your opinions, but please dont compare gay marriage and gay couples raising children to a head on collision!
Oh, and nice job bringing up all those countries that want more children. But China forcibly aborts children and sterilizes parents to prevent more than one child per family. I think thats worth a note.

Shane and Loni said...

I do not know you and I hold no ill will for you, and I do not in any way mean to speak for Joel, but I need to back up my conservative views.

I can obviously tell this is a sensitive issue for you. And no matter what I say, I will not change your opinion. You can rail and rant all you want. But in my opinion, and I think I still have the right to hold it, Gay Marriage is the square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Gay Marriage and Traditional Marriage are NOT the same thing. There are various reasons, many have been posted here on this blog and have infuriated you, so I won't re-state them.

It all comes down to differing fundamental beliefs. I believe marriage is something different than you do. From your posts, I have read you define marriage as a celebration of love and commitment. Yes it is. However, I believe marriage started as much more. I believe marriage between a man and a woman was taught from God to create stable units to raise strong families to be the building blocks of society. Hence, anything else doesn't quite equate in my perspective. I understand yours is different, but I do not appreciate being called narrow-minded and a bigot for believing in a system that has worked for millennia.

Now I know there are super dysfunctional parents out there and NOTHING saddens me more, but I do NOT believe that is a reason to abandon marriage between a man and a woman.

Your cause is sympathetic and I commend you for seeking after commitment and love in our world where so much less is the current standard. I can tell you are wonderful people and I would be happy to meet you some day. However, I do not agree that Gay Marriage should be legal.

boymystere said...

First. **HIGH FIVE RACHEL!**

Second. Shane and Loni, you are entitled to your opinion that God wanted something very different when He created marriage.

I, however, am entitled to a separation of church and state.

I know that each of us can build very strong families from our standpoints.

I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. It was not my intention, and I don't recall using the word bigot, but if I did, I'm sorry. You understand though how this topic can infuriate me right? I mean one day I had rights, and then the next day they were taken away. In one state, I was declared an unfit father for being gay. This has become a very passionate discussion for me everywhere.

Ty said...

I think boymystere's second comment is actually spot on. Not because I believe in gay marriage, but his reasoning for wanting to marry another man.

Justification.

Before I go any farther let me state that I have seen and am related to a person in a homosexual relationship that is more committed and "healthy" than many heterosexual marriages today. And I am also empathetic to the struggle for gay marriage rights to an extent. I also claim, in and of myself, to know nothing of the reasoning behind homosexuality (born that way, made to be that way by circumstances, mother nature as boymystere wrote earlier.

But here is what I do know:

I am a Christian and as such I must believe the Bible as completely true. All aspects of it. Once I accept Jesus as my savior, I must lean on grace and mercy for my salvation, but I am compelled to continue to distance myself from sin.

Homosexuality has been defined as sinful in the Bible, granted the passages discussing this are few. How can I reject one part of scripture and call the rest of scripture infallible?

Our country was founded on Christian beliefs. As much as people want to diminish that, the truth is our founders were Christian and this impacted their decision making, and it impacted the culture we created in America.

So for 232 years, our culture (even those who barely practice Christianity) has deemed homosexuality as sin in accordance with the Bible.

Homosexual men and women, in my humble opinion, are seeking justification for their actions through gay marriage. Because if we say it is ok, then it will no longer be considered "sin" in society's eyes. It would remove the shame currently associated with homosexuality.

Much like our society has removed the shame of: cohabitation before marriage, unwed pregnancy, pornography and other sexual "sins". As we remove the shame the behavior is justified and naturally becomes more prevalent.

As I stated before, I don't claim to understand homosexuality. If one is born that way, why would God allow that to happen? If circumstances made one to be that way, wouldn't the will to be in a "normal" relationship be able to overcome those feelings?

And then, believing the government should not legislate based solely on religous beliefs (which is different from separation of church and state which has been compeltely distorted), what is the role of our government in this matter? As a Christian, I do not believe gay marriage should be valued at the same level as traditional marriage. But if we someday became a predominantly Muslim nation, I would not want Muslim laws and beliefs becoming intertwined with the legislative process. On the same accord, it could be said that secularism, atheism or agnosticism (religions in my opinion) would become intertwined in the legislative process if we were to alter marriage to include gay marriage. What would be the next change to marriage? Where would this lead?

I don't know. And I don't know what the answers are to any of this, but I do know that as a Christian and a hetero, I will show (and have shown) love to any homosexual in the same way that I would show love to anyone that I meet. I'll treat you just like anyone else I meet. Heck, I probably won't even know you're homosexual unless you or someone tells me. And hopefully, I'll be able to know you better, pray for you and for my understanding, and learn more about what the proper role of our government is in this very complicated time we live in.

boymystere said...

Ty, I really enjoyed reading your comment. Here is a letter posted online to Dr. Laura. It's smart and funny, and one of the many reasons why I believe the Bible is not always right.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who
call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox
Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be
condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura
penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny,
as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have
learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as
many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for
example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an
abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding
some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing
odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is
not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In
this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of
menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have
tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female,
provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims
that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I
own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly
states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination -
Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can
you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in
my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be
20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their
temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they
die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean,
but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in
the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds
of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot.
Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town
together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a
private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.
20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can
help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and
unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

Ty said...

Boymystere, I'm glad you enjoyed the comment. I try to be reasonable and somewhat intelligent (and hopefully not hateful or mean at all) in my discourse.

In repsonse to the letter to Dr. Laura, I'd argue that if you are an observant Orthodox Jew then technically one should still be following the rules and laws laid out in the Torah. I find that most Jews (once again, I have to be told if someone is Jewish) that I have come across are not following such practices.

Being a Christian changes the game a little bit. The Torah and the Old Testament fall under the old covenant. Jesus came to instill the new covenant, to fulfill the law. He became the final perfect sacrifice needed to pay the debt required by sin (death).

As a Christian, I would agree that most of those instructions laid out in the Old Testament are impossible to comply with. Jesus and God, I believe would agree also, that The Law was designed to shine a very bright light on our inability to achieve holiness and our need for a savior.

In fact Jesus was questioned on this very same topic in Matthew 22. Essentially, the experts in the Law said, "It's freakin' impossible to follow all of these Laws! So, could you please tell us which is the greatest of all?" (Paraphrased and exaggerated a bit of course, and they were trying to trick him into blasphemy.) And Jesus says, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

But what Jesus didn't say was that we were to forget the other commandments. Now you are right in that it becomes tricky then to know whether I should sacrifice a bull or how to play football without touching a pig's skin.

So what is right? What is wrong? Many times in the Bible (Old and New Testament) it is stated that the Law (or Word) is written on our hearts. I believe we have a very good understanding of what is acceptable in God's eyes and what is not. And that understanding is created in us. C.S. Lewis does a much better job of articulating this in his book Mere Christianity than I can do here.

I don't mean to be disrespectful especially not even knowing you (and hopefully it will not come across in that manner, but more as something to think about), but could it be possible that your desire for justification stems from a knowledge planted within you that homosexuality is wrong?

But here's the fantastic part of all of this. The Law, whether in my heart or written on a billboard for all the world to see, is impossible to be followed. I cannot achieve a level of holiness on my own merits to stand in the same room as a perfect and holy God. All I can do is accept Christ as my replacement, as the one who paid my debt for me so that I might go free from the bondage of sin and achieve a righteousness that I haven't earned and don't deserve. And then I will strive everyday to not break the Law written on my heart because Jesus paid a great price for my freedom, and I don't want to take that for granted.

And though I believe homosexuality to be a sin, I still believe that homosexuals will very much be a part of heaven. And not because they never had sex or completely denied their homosexuality, but because they, too, accepted the free gift of Christ and strived to follow his commands for the rest of their earthly existence. They probably will have a greater place in heaven than someone such as myself with the persecution they might endure for their Savior. There's not much persecution for a middle class, straight, white man in America who professes Christianity.

boymystere said...

Ty, I think you are a cool guy. It's encouraging to see Christians with open-minds who still ask questions about life without immediate judgement on others. You are exactly the loving and understanding kind of Christian that I believe Jesus set out to inspire. Again, I was really happy to see what you had written. To give you a little history about me, I was raised a Methodist by my family, but I am not a Christian, something about the religion did not sit well with me. God seemed a little too proud and kinda like control freak. I wanted a God that was nothing but love and maybe did a little dancing. Christianity tried to answer too many questions and lay too many laws. The Bible has been written and re-written by too many hands with who knows how many hidden agendas. I just don't know how to have faith in what was said by a bunch of people I don't know in a superstitious civilization that happened thousands of years ago. I do, however, believe that there are many GREAT lessons to be learned from the Bible, and that Jesus was a great teacher and human being. The most important lessons being the one's you mentioned about Love. "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Believe it or not, I've been carrying that sign with me throughout almost every protest that I've attended here concerning Proposition 8. What an amazing teaching! It transcends all religions. Despite the fact that I don't believe in the Christian God, I do believe that there is something very special about life and this universe; and I would consider myself a deeply spiritual person. I have stumbled upon zen buddhism in the last few years and it has completely changed my life. I believe that ultimately there is no separation between you and me. We are all connected, truly, the world is constantly changing, and it is impossible to hold onto any one thing in this life.

A wise man (his name is Osho) once said, "Billions of people have lived on the Earth, and we don't know even their names. Accept that simple fact--you are here for only a few days and then you will be gone. These few days are not to be wasted in hypocrisy, in fear. These days have to be rejoiced."

"Nobody knows anything about the future. Your heaven and your hell and your God are most probably all hypotheses, unproved. The only thing that is in your hands is your life--make it as rich as possible. By intimacy, by love, by opening yourself to many people, you become richer."

"If you are simple, loving, open, intimate, you create a paradise around you. If you are closed, constantly on the defensive, always worried that somebody may come to know your thoughts, your dreams, your perversions, you are living in hell. Hell is within you--and so is paradise. They are not geographical places, they are your spiritual places."

You asked the question: Could it be possible that your desire for justification stems from a knowledge planted within you that homosexuality is wrong?

Well, to answer your question, there are so many things in this world that I do not know, and probably never will, and to be honest, I don't really know if homosexuality is right or is wrong. What is right and wrong? Who decides what is right and wrong? All I know, is that I was born this way, and it goes against my nature to think that I wasn't born exactly the way I was supposed to be. It would tear me up inside if I were constantly trying to change myself. I just accept what life gives me and try and live in THIS moment. That's all that really matters. I am born, and then I die. In the meantime, I can choose to dance and laugh and love, or I can choose to live in despair and anxiety about who I am and what happens next. There are so many things in this world that I cannot control. I can drag life around with me, or I can move with life like a river. Sure maybe I can fake the fact that I am straight to please everyone else, to make everyone else comfortable, but the point is, I'll still know. To grow real roses is difficult; you could purchase plastic roses. They won't deceive you, but they will deceive your neighbors. Who is this helping? In this life, I have to be true to myself. I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. Why waste even one moment trying to be someone I'm not? What's wrong with homosexual love anyway? It's still love. Is it wrong because its different? Is gay marriage wrong because it violates tradition? Ignorance often comes disguised as tradition.

Ty said...

Boymystere, you likewise seem like a cool guy and I'm glad to have had this conversation with you. And the truth about all of this (the religious part anyway) is that it all hinges on faith. If someone knew exactly what was true and could prove beyond any doubt that an eternal heaven was at the end of that path, I suppose we'd all be on that path the moment we were told of it.

As for who decides right and wrong, well like I said before, I believe it is instilled in us. (You should really check out the first few chapters of Mere Christianity if you haven't before.) Obviously, my Christianity affects that decision making process as well. And Christianity does not come without a responsibility to strive to live in accordance with the law laid in our hearts, but it does come with the freedom of knowing that my inability to follow the law to perfection does not stand in the way of an eternity in Heaven. This is what makes Christianity make the most sense to me (if you can apply logic to religion).

However, any sane person would ask the question: What if I'm wrong about all of this? What if I could be living my life in a way that is completely appealing to my flesh in complete disregard of religion's stipulations? What if I'm missing out on "fun" that I could be having?

Even Paul (the Christian of all Christians) asked this question and answered it in 1 Corinthians 15:19 by saying: "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."

He admits, that if our faith is misplaced then we are the most pitiable of all men. But if our faith is not misplaced then what joy we will find!

I would never ask you to pretend to be straight either, no more than I would ask a cat to pretend it were a dog. This stems from my complete lack of understanding of the origination of homosexuality in you. You say you were born that way, so I take you at your word. But can you even know that with absolute certainty? Who knows what kind of influences, perhaps completely unnoticed and unmemorable, may have also affected who you are, just as those things affect many things about us. The cool thing about Jesus is he doesn't ask you to change anything about yourself and then come to Him. (I admit misguided Christians will ask this of you.) Jesus simply says come. And then let His love and mercy and freedom take over and cause you to respond.

And likewise, I would never fault you for the love you feel for another man any more than I would fault a man for the love he feels for his wife and kids. But if I believe homosexuality to be sin, then I could not condone the act of homosexuality anymore than I could condone the man who loves his wife and kids so much stealing food from another person because he sees no other way to provide for them and is scared for what might happen if he did not. (Granted this may not be the best comparison because the act of homosexuality would not have a "victim" as my example does.) In both cases, love and the desire to provide for your loved ones and the desire to fulfill and need for yourself are the motivating factors toward the act.

We could probably go on forever about this, and believe me, I am not trying to convince you that you are wrong. Or that homosexuality is wrong. And likewise, I don't feel that you are trying to convince me that homosexuality is right. Neither one of us would probably make much headway in that conversation.

But I think the true discussion lies in what role our government plays in this matter. You, no doubt, believe marriage between two men or two women should be allowed with the full rights of a marriage between a man and a woman. You feel you have a right to this.

But what about Christians who feel they have a right to protect the vision of marriage they believe to be sacred and valuable?

Joel brings up a lot of reasons in his blogs about the benefits of traditional marriage and how homosexual marriages could damage the fabric of our society. The problem is we wouldn't know if this actually was true or not because by the time the damage occurred we'd probably all be dead and gone.

And what about couples (hetero or otherwise) that just shack up forever and never get married? Or couples that get married and then divorce within days or months or after a couple of years? These relationships could be taking their toll on the fabric of our society as well.

Being completely honest, I sit on the fence on this issue with a lean toward my Christian beliefs. On the one hand, my Christianity is craving a morality in America that may never be attainable. Do I believe homosexuality is the most pressing moral issue we face? No. But it is a domino in the chain.

On the other hand, my desire to be very mindful of any religion's influence on our country's legislative process begs me to ask right now who gets hurt if homosexuals are allowed to be married? There would probably be very little fraud in this (no more than in the hetero-realm) and certainly no direct victims. But what if this did cause damage to the fabric of our society? What if this did lead down a slippery slope toward the devaluing of marriage completely?

I would never ask non-Christians to act or believe as a Christian (that would be ridiculous), but at the same time I am not ready (and may never will be ready) to change the meaning of an institution that is so important to me.

But that's what's great about America: change comes about very slowly. It was meant to be that way so that we might have discourse and consider our actions carefully. So I would encourage you to keep striving for what you believe to be right, just as I will keep striving for what I believe to be right.