Friday, November 05, 2004

Just to clarify

I do not think I have a monopoly on right and wrong and I am always willing to engage the other side in a discussion to understand their point of view. I think that much is required if you ever expect them to engage you. Also, I absolutely agree with your Greenwich Village point. Most people in Greenwich village are probably ignorant about the way farmers live. I myself am no expert, though I spent my youth emersed in tensions among rural, suburban, and urban cultures. I am not suggesting that people from the red states all backwards bumpkins. Some of the people I most respect are against gay marriage. I think that on this issue they are ingorant, probably because they were raised in a culuture that is ignorant on this issue. As they said on the Daily show, middle America is more concerned about gays than New Yorkers because, they have a healthy distance from gays. All I am suggesting is that if that distance was not so "healthy," attitudes might change. (Perhaps if the word ignorant were replaced with "unfamilar," would that make you feel better about the characterization?)

The real issue I take with the anti-gay-marriage crew is not their religious position but their desire to legislate that onto others. If a christian evangelical says that gays shouldn't marry because homosexualaity is sin, how is that different from worshiping Allah or the Golden Calf? (lest we forget the same arguments were made about interracial marriage just 35 years ago) I am christian too, but, in the words of John Kerry, I don't think I should legislate an article of faith onto others. Your church does not have to allow gay people in, your state does.

Furthermore, Bush may say he supports gay people and civil unions but I submit that the bulk of the people who voted for the bans (and for him) would not put such a face on it. I grew up in a culture (not at home but in the surrounding community, especially school and sports) where the worst thing you could be called was gay. To say that the people individually were unfamilar is to miss that the culture was. Anti-gay sentiments were engrained in it. The issue was not humanized within the culture because pretty much anyone who was gay would move out of town before coming out of the closet. Then the discussion would be "did you hear so-and-so came out of the closet--ugh, he always did seem to be weird, what a [epiteth]." The more "enlightened" would not be so overt about it, they might say "he was always a bit off" or "well, it just goes to show you never really know about someone," but the same general sentiment was there. There were plenty of people who did reach out to the gay community, but it was far the exception and not the rule (And before I came to Duke, the only two places I had ever lived were 2 of the 3 North Florida counties that went blue!)

That's exteme unfamilarity and I suppose that is the only anti-gay-marriage culture I know. If there is another one out there, then I am ignorant of it.