Gay Marriage, or “What’s in Your Closet, Bob?” conclusion

The Third and Final Part: In which the Elegant Bastard discusses the importance of Clean Closets!

We sense that there is still one big reason why so many object to Gay marriage, a motive that goes beyond the Word of God or general Ickiness. It likely has to do with craving “Height”. That needs a little explanation, so here it is.

As we all know, the world can be a nasty, brutish, loud and ego-crushing place, especially on week-days. We do what we can to maintain our sense of well-being and overall personal loveliness, but it can be tough, especially when so many seem to be looking down upon us from a greater Height. Look at them all: the wealthy, the well educated, the powerful, the beautiful, the coordinated. They seem measurably better than we are. Taller. They have more Height. We feel that in some important way, we are short.

But there’s more. Each of us has a private inner space. Let’s call it our Closet. Stored away in our Closet are all the insecurities, all the fears, the errors, the worries and the remembered secret crimes of our entire life. It’s a nasty little dark and smelly place and we don’t always have the courage to throw open the door, grab some spirit cleaning ammonia and just get in there and give it a good honest scrubbing. Instead, we try to ignore it. We try to shut it out. And that’s when we say to ourselves, “Damn it, I need to get me some of that there Height!”

There are two ways to acquire the Height that life may have denied. The first is by patting heads. Simply walk about the place patting little people on the head. Most will be children so take along a supply of candies or quarters as you do this. There are a couple of caveats. If your need for Height is constant, this method might become expensive. As well, you should remember never to try to pat the heads of those with more Height than you, as they may pat back hard or demand more than a quarter.

The second and far more popular way to get Height, Bob, is by sneering. This raises the question, “Who gets to sneer?” Predictably, the answer once again is those with Height, the individuals who have amassed wealth or power or beauty or several armed bodyguards. This is logical. Sneering involves looking down, not up, one’s nose.

However, one other kind of person gets to sneer: The Certifiably Virtuous! That’s right, Bob. Blessed are the Proven Pure, for they may sneer at the Unpure. Who cares that you don’t have megabucks, you aren’t Obama, the NBA didn’t even look at you and both your boss and the Beautiful Person down the street snicker every time you walk by. Fight back. Join a large and noisy Certified Virtue Group and you instantly achieve sneering Height simply by association. I sneer, therefore I am. In hating you, I love myself.

Of course there is the little matter of finding someone or something to sneer at and that is where all those Gay folk wanting to marry come into play. By insisting they are Unpure; you declare yourself Pure and you can sneer until Doomsday. Doesn’t that sense of Height feel great? But remember. If the Unpure are later judged to be Pure or even just OK, you will instantly lose Height and you will have to stop sneering. This is a real danger. We all remember what happened when Communism collapsed and now there’s talk of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Purity standards keep changing, Bob. And it’s hard to find new hates as there’s not a large number of volunteers. Thus, if Gay Marriage is suddenly deemed acceptable, there’s going to be a shortness epidemic of tall proportion!

One other potential long term consequence needs to be kept in mind. If the Certifiably Virtuous Group of choice is some off-shoot of Christianity, it is important to remember that sneering contradicts the biggest Commandment of them all: Love thy neighbour. That’s even more precise than Leviticus, right? It comes from Jesus himself, Bob, and while it’s been a while since I read the Bible, I understand that he has an important role.

I’ll admit that no one has yet reported back from the Great Beyond with information about admission rates. Still, most assume it’s harder to get in to Heaven than to Harvard. That being so, we have to assume that those who use their Certifiably Virtuous Group memberships for sneering purposes are not going to do well come the Big Day. Still, you’re a young guy, Bob. No need to worry – for now.

I’m glad we had this little discussion, Bob.  We seem to have agreed that Ickiness, property values, the need to protect the innocent, a fear of contagious homosexuality, and the Word of God are at best questionable justifications for stopping a large group of mostly quite  nice people from enjoying a fundamental human experience. Further, we have considered the idea that hating others may be a problematic and even risky way of trying to feel better about ourselves.

That more or less brings us to one final suggestion. It might be a lot simpler, and nicer, and even safer if we all forgot about the Gay Marriage issue for a moment, Bob, and concerned ourselves with one far more important question. It’s not an easy one for anyone but it has the advantage of being a question each of us can answer only for ourselves.

So it’s back over to you, “Bob”.

What’s in your Closet?

 

Gay Marriage, or “What’s in Your Closet, Bob?” pt. 2

Part 2: In which the Elegant Bastard and “Bob” each drop their Bible Bombs

Please see Part 1 before continuing.

Bob has returned and the sin-as-choice argument has apparently not done all that well. Bob has therefore brought with him with him a variation. Simply put, if God says something is a Sin, it’s a Sin, whether or not it occurs by choice. And the Bible specifically condemns Gay sex in at least three different places. Bob waves this around like North Korea waves a nuke.

I am reasonably familiar with the Bible. I read it sporadically at Sunday school, cover to cover in university and parts of it as research in my thirties. I have great respect for it, even if I poke mild fun at some of its passages. I also have a lot of respect for those who, like Bob, make a sincere attempt to live their lives according to its teachings. However, I do not turn to it for spiritual or moral guidance. Nor would I ever insist that others do so. This is why I have difficulty accepting its contents as the sole basis for the making of laws.

Three of the bigger biblical same-sex prohibitions are those found in Genesis 19, Leviticus 19 and 1 Corinthians 6. In the first, two male angels visiting a guy called Lot are threatened with rape by a crowd of men at Lot’s door. Lot offers up his virgin daughters instead but the crowd persists in its demands. Eventually, the angels strike the potential rapists blind and the story ends. All this occurs in the city of Sodom. In this tale, Bob finds an argument against Gay sex and Marriage.

Really? The big no-no seems to be rape, or, if we examine Lot’s words, the sin of poor hospitality. Lot makes it pretty clear that he has a duty to care for guests. And besides, if this is intended as a moral lesson to us all, it does seem to be giving us permission to use our sisters and daughters – our virgin sisters and daughters – as gifts to visiting mobs! Wrap ‘em in some tissue, stick a bow on ‘em and write “For You All” on the tag. (We have no idea what the return policy would be in this case.)

Bob, we will have to assume that Dear Reader’s stunned silence at this point indicates a less than thrilled response to this variation on neighbourly sharing, so let’s turn to Leviticus, who writes, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination.” [i] That seems pretty clear. Two things, however, do give us pause. First, we have to wonder what kind of strange folk Leviticus is dealing with because in the nearby pages, he feels it’s necessary to tell them that they can’t “uncover the nakedness” of, among others, their fathers, their mothers, their aunts, their uncles, their nephews and their daughters. He goes on to ban both men and women from having sex with goats, cows, and camels. I mean, who are these people?

The second and far more important issue is the range of other restrictions Leviticus lays down. Among them is a prohibition against eating the flesh of the swine that “cheweth not its cud” even if it has a cloven hoof. Bob, think for a minute. He’s talking about pork! Bar B Que! Ribs! That pulled sandwich you so love. The roadside dinner destination of millions of ravenous middle-Americans.

And please, won’t someone think of the bacon!

So essentially, it comes down to this. If we enforce  a Bible based ban on Gay Marriage, we are also going to have to give up eating any and all forms of pork, uncovering all that nakedness, and looking lasciviously at domestic animals. If, as you say, things banned in the Bible are Sins, Bob, then everything banned in the Bible is a Sin. If it makes you feel any better, Leviticus allows you to eat locusts (but not shrimp, scallops or lobsters, with or without garlic butter.) And by the way, he also bans gossip.

The bit in Corinthians is also going to force Bob to make an inconvenient choice. Here we find a list of those who will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s a pretty long list. Yes, it includes those who “abuse themselves with mankind”. This likely means those who have Gay sex. I suppose I could argue that it includes anyone who plays tackle football, hockey or rugby! I mean if those aren’t examples of “self abuse with mankind”, what is? However, I would be kidding.

My real issue is the rest of the “excluded” list. Right there in first place are the “fornicators”, followed by thieves, drunks, those who covet and a few more. Fornicators, Bob! This includes anyone who had sex before marriage as well as those who marry and then commit adultery. According to USA Today, almost all Americans have had premarital sex! [ii] And if our past or present sex crimes don’t get us, how about cheating on a tax return, drinking one too many beer one too many times, wanting anything that is our neighbour’s or even feeling lust in an improper fashion. (Apparently the kinky stuff is a sin even if it happens within a marriage!)  I don’t even want to begin to think about Heaven’s opinion on internet porn.

So is self abuse with mankind the bad one because it’s the one you don’t do and the rest are just naughty examples of boys being boys? I don’t think that’s the way it works! The problem with using the Bible as a rule book, Bob (and as I said earlier I have no real issue with that idea) is this notion of consistency. You can’t just pick and choose what is and is not a Sin and for whom. And if you feel you can, then we really aren’t dealing with the Bible.

We are dealing with the Boble.

Let’s consider two further Bible related points here.  We need to keep in mind that the Commandments begin with “Thou” either stated or implied. For example, “Thou shalt not kill.” or (Thou shalt) “Honour thy father and thy mother.” No Commandment begins “Other people shall not … .” Thus, while a concern for the holiness of neighbours may be touching, it isn’t what the Bible’s going on about. No one is going to be denied the Kingdom of Heaven because the neighbours sinned. If that were so, no one would live within 100 miles of a Kardashian. No, that Divine Finger is pointing at you, Bob, so do let’s be careful. We don’t want another Sodom here, now do we?

And if your primary motive is less the holiness of others and more their pain, God doesn’t really need help there either. I mean this is the deity who managed to come up with great floods, columns of fire and assorted plagues without our help.

Let’s end today’s letter with a new but key point. Assume you and Bobawa have invited the neighbours over for a dinner celebrating your anniversary. We all arrive bearing small wrapped gifts. Conversation begins. You mention your first apartment. We ask what the sex was like there and did you “do it” on the balcony. You go on to speak adoringly of the birth of your two children. We ask for details about their conception. You reminisce about family vacations over the years. We want to know if you had sex in all the hotel rooms or just in those with three stars. You then unwrap our presents and discover that everyone has brought you condoms, albeit in different colours and several flavours.

At that point, you would (I hope) – with righteous and justifiable anger – demand we all take our filthy and sex-obsessed imaginations out of your nice clean house.

My point, Bob, is simply this. The issue being discussed is Gay Marriage and every argument you have raised has to do with sex. And since you undoubtedly would agree that you are married to Bobawa even on those days when you do not have sex, we must assume that there is more to marriage than sex. That being so, perhaps in part three of this letter we could move on?

Cheers for now, Bob.

The last part will be posted on Friday.

 



[i] Leviticus 19, 22.

[ii] http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-12-19-premarital-sex_x.htm

 

 

Gay Marriage, or “What’s in Your Closet, Bob?”

Part 1: In which the Elegant Bastard and Bob discuss whether Gay Marriage is Icky, Contagious or a threat to Resale Values in Iowa.

Dear America,

You and I may have already met but allow me to introduce “Bob”.

I know that his name and the obvious subject of this letter will lead a few to assume “Bob” needs no introduction. For them, the name and context would have instantly conjured up the image of a chubby, middle-aged mid-western white guy with a beer in one hand, a gun in the other, a child on either side and a wife we can’t see because she is in the kitchen. There is likely a dog, also chubby. And if this image comforts you and aligns with your planets, so be it.

However, truth be told, Bob may or may not actually be his real name.  In fact, Dear Reader, you may eventually need to become comfortable with ambiguity since Bob may or may not be chubby, may or may not be white, and may or may not drink beer, or be overweight, or love football, or live in Iowa. In fact, Bob may not even be male.

What we do know is that Bob, his children (Bob Junior and Bobette) and his wife (Bobawa)  and likely his little dog ( Rob) do not approve of Gay Marriage. Our task is to determine why this is so and then, in the true spirit of Diversity, determine whether to accept Bob’s arguments or look elsewhere for a solution.

I will admit, America, that I found Bob’s insistence on discussing this issue a little strange. After all, if Salima weds Fatima or Dick elopes with Dan, it should really only concern me if 1) I am paying for these weddings, or 2) I am God or 3) I happen to actually be Salima, Fatima, Dick and/or Dan. If none of these conditions hold, then my polite inner Canadian will no doubt whisper to me that my primary duty is to shut up and butt out. However, let’s hear what Bob has to say.

Bob has apparently decided that Gay Sex is “icky” and Gay Marriage will inevitably lead to Gay Sex. This may be true. In fact, Bob, Other People Having Sex (OPHS) generally is icky to uninvited observers. That is why OPHS tends to take place indoors, at night and behind curtains. In other words, Bob, you would have to work really really hard to actually see married Gay Sex (and that nice policeman who does the late night neighbourhood patrols might not understand why you need to) so why bother. Much easier to stay home and watch porn. Of course if next door newly-weds Larry and Barry decide to install floodlights and go at it rabbit-like on your front lawn, we will understand your objection. When this happens, let us know.

Bob now decides that arguments based on sexual aesthetics might not wash so we are moving on to concerns based on maintaining both family and property values. But here, too, there are problems. Surely family values must be set by individual families. You cannot insist that I watch “American Idol” with my children; I cannot insist that you watch “Big Bang Theory” with yours. Your spouse works; my common law partner does not. We are vegetarian; you are carnivores. Your walls are beige; mine are light green. Bob, mi casa no es tu casa.

Property values are another matter, but ever since the first reports came out suggesting that an influx of Gay couples actually boosts house prices[i], I am frankly amazed that recession-hit towns aren’t begging them to move in and start the renovations NOW! Besides, if neighbourly behavior really impacted property values, Bob, weed whackers, rap music and large reptilian pets would all have been banned decades ago.

I knew we would ultimately come to the next concern and here we are. Please won’t somebody think of the children!

Simply put, Bob wonders if the she-bop shenanigans of neighbours Beryl and Cheryl will confuse the emerging sexual identities of Bob Jr. and little Bobette. In other words, he is worried about contagious homosexuality in the same way that any parent might worry about mumps or measles. The fact that studies have shown that parental sexual preference has no impact on the choices made later by their adult children[ii] only increases his worries, especially since those very same studies remained mysteriously silent on the impact of Neighbour sexual preference! (Everybody loves a conspiracy, eh?)

Is Bob’s concern legitimate? Let us assume that adult sexual identity is contagious if it occurs between 35 and 50 feet away from impressionable children and only if the “germs” have to pass through two intervening external walls. Let us further assume that 5 % of the adult population in America is naturally gay. Finally, we will take as a given the fact that `natural` homosexuality was invented by communists at the start of the Cold War – say around 1950. We will use these assumptions to track the hypothetical growth of the feared Gay tsunami:

If, in 1950, the first subversive Gay Anti-American Sex Pair  (GASP) was infiltrated into, say, Smallville, then by 1965, the time it would take those born in 1950 to begin regular sexual activity, an additional 15 % of the population would have been infected. By 1980, GASP would grow to 45%. The takeover would be complete by 2010. As it is now 2013, Bob needs to accept that if Gay sex is communicable, not only will Bob Jr. and Bobette definitely be gay, Bob himself and Bobawa already are.

I sense we are now moving closer to the core of Bob’s concern. He believes that even if Gay behavior isn’t contagious, it is sinful and allowing Gay marriage means encouraging the growth of sin in the community. If true, this is indeed a troublesome notion and it deserves the same thoughtful consideration we have given Bob’s other arguments.

Let us begin by understanding the nature of sin. Sin occurs as the result of free choices we make. Eating, breathing and drinking are not in themselves sinful since we have no free choice in the matter. However, if we choose to fricassee our mother-in-law’s yappy poodle while inhaling cheap drugs and drinking bathtub gin, we have definitely committed several sins!

Now comes the difficult part. Bob and many of his buddies say that being Gay is a sin; ergo, it follows that people are Gay by choice. If this is so, then Bob’s argument becomes quite strong. However, we must be thorough. To determine if such actions are committed by choice, we must now ask Bob to select any one or more of his best buddies and go test this hypothesis, preferable behind the afore-mentioned closed doors and closed curtains. If neither Bob nor his closest friends are able to rise to this challenge, then we will have to assume that being Gay does not occur by choice and therefore cannot properly be call Sinful!

We’ll wait for you here, Bob.

(End of Part 1. Part 2 will be posted Wednesday)