Posts Tagged 'gay marriage'

A Difference of Opinion

Since we last talked about signs I’ve been doing a comprehensive study of them.  I get a lot of time to do that while shlepping the old folks around on the bus.

For example, I’ve noticed that colors seem to denote a difference in character.  Brighter colors are associated with brighter candidates…like the Muslim Guy.  Duller colors seem to be associated with…well, duller candidates like the Snow Queen and the Old Guy.  Size seems to be a factor too.  Smaller signs seem to go hand in hand with simple requests…like vote for me because I’m best suited for the job.  Larger signs are a bit intimidating…like vote for me or you’ll go to hell.

I’ve also determined that certain signs seem to go together.  Obama/Biden signs and No on Prop 8 signs, the gay marriage travesty, share space on the lawn.  Yes on Prop 8  signs always go hand in hand with McCain/Palin placards…a sure sign that the Old Guy and the Snow Queen are far from being uniters.

Opposing signs seem to be dueling with each other as I drive the bus down the street.  Yes on the left, No on the right…hmmm.

Another duel of sorts took place in the Ventura County Star yesterday.  Prominently displayed in the opinion pages were two opposing pieces about Prop 8.  Rabbi John Sherwood , Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emet, Woodland Hills, California took the No on 8 position.  Gerald Christian Nordskog, chairman of the Ventura County Christian Leadership Council, tried to convince me to vote Yes and keep those homosexuals in the second class citizen status they deserve.

Rabbi Sherwood, wearing the bright colors, simply asked for someone to explain why granting the right of marriage to gays threatens his own marriage.  He strongly supports the opinions of colleagues who disagree with him on moral issues, but…when arguments for this attempt to take away the civil rights of literally hundreds of thousands of our citizens…I am obligated to call attention to the truth.

The Rabbi deftly takes on the Yes on 8 arguments about how whips will be used on teachers who refuse to teach gay marriage to Johnny, and how bamboo will be inserted under the fingernails of clergy who refuse to unite Joan and June.  He finishes his indictment of Prop 8 by reminding us that we are all created equal.  Simple ideas to go with bright colors.

But none of this antiquated “do unto others” stuff is nearly as effective as Chairman Nordskog’s arguments in support of the proposition that gays are unworthy of marriage.   After providing us with a stern warning from that great Jewish humanitarian Dennis Prager, and a reminder about those activist Supreme Court justices who had the unmitigated gall to protect the rights of all Californians, he proceeds with a lesson in anthropology…

Not a single religion or moral philosophical system — East or West — since antiquity ever defined marriage as between members of the same sex.” The audacity of those today, 6,000-plus years after the creation, to think they are suddenly smarter than any prior civilization, and wiser than almighty God.

He then invokes the Ten Commandments which he would undoubtedly etch on the foreheads of those activist judges but for the Constitution of the United States…

The Ten Commandments, handed down by God on Mt. Sinai to Moses for all the people for all time and eternity, clearly spells out…“Honor your father and mother.” (man and woman) — the Fifth Commandment. God indeed created Adam and Eve, and guess what?  Surprise, surprise!  They match and fit together perfectly. They are, in all ways, an ideal complement to each other.

After a lesson in physiology reminding me that it takes a man and woman to create a child, he gets to the heart of the matter…

Homosexual conduct is sinful and unhealthy, according to the Bible. There has never been any proof that a same-sex or bisexual person has an extra gene or is born different in his physical and emotional makeup.  In truth, it is not genetic, but a learned-behavior which is abnormal, irresponsible and most unhealthy.

Remember my earlier blog?  You know, the one about that huge “Yes on 8” sign in front of the Baptist Church that made me nearly drive off the road.  See, it all supports my signage hypothesis.  Small signs say “Vote for Me, I’m Best Suited For The Job.”  Big signs say “Vote for Me…Or You’ll Go to Hell.”

 

God help us

Sweetie and I drove back from Lake Casitas this morning after taking photos of docks, herons and reflections in the water.  I love going to the lake.  When  I told Yoram that I had chosen Casitas as my next subject for a photo project he said “Why?”  Good question.  We’ve been there a bunch of times and each time, if we wait long enough, an interesting subject generally appears.  Not always but, like one good golf shot in an otherwise unmemorable eighteen holes, it brings you back again and again.  The trip focuses your senses on the task at hand and that in itself is calming.

We finished taking photos of docks and, as has become our custom, got back in the car determined to drive around the lake in the hope of that once in a lifetime photo-op.  We didn’t get very far when I spotted some rowboats stacked up in drydock looking very forlorn.  We parked the car, got out, and looked for something that said “shoot me.”

A paunchy guy about my age joined us and stood by a heavy, black metal box that looked like an old boiler.  “What’s that” I said.  “A barbecue” he said.  “Built it myself.  Fact is, it’s one of four I put together awhile ago.”  He stared at the tow bar extending from the end of the barbecue.  It was lying flat on the ground in a position that didn’t look quite right.  “Loaned this thing to a guy who works in the coffee shop.  Broke the tow bar.”  I thought “What a nice thing to do for that guy and it’s a shame that he broke the bar.”  Before I could verbalize my thoughts, he said “What do you expect from a Mexican.”

Ila and I stared at each other with the kind of look that says “What a jerk.”  In a nanosecond I weighed the consequences and benefits of confronting the bigot with “What’s being a Mexican got to do with anything?”  Or…  But we just walked to our car and drove off.  Cowards.

That was our tasteless encounter for the day, I thought.  Driving down Highway 150 we looked at the mountains, yellow grass, blue sky and absolutely no other cars.  Beautiful.  We turned left at the 150/33 junction and came up on the Baptist church.  Nice looking property.  Rolling slopes, trees…and a very large painted sign stuck in the ground that said “Vote Yes on Prop. 8…Save Marriage.”

I forgot about the old bigot at the lake and focused on the new bigot stuck in the church lawn.  You’ve read all kinds of stuff about Prop 8, the California ballot proposition that amends the state constitution to proclaim that the word “marriage” only applies to the union of a man and a woman.

All sorts of arguments have been advanced that support the proposition.  All of them are a facade.  There is only one honest reason why proponents want to change the constitution…they dislike gays and lesbians and many are using the bible to justify their feelings.  No right thinking Prop 8 proponent believes that the institution of marriage will end, or that Junior will bring home pictures from his first grade class that show the seventeen sexual positions preferred by homosexuals, or that their very own pastor will be forced at gunpoint to conduct a wedding ceremony for Jack and Jim.  No, they just don’t like them.

But this was the first time I had actually seen a big sign, undoubtedly approved by the minister and his lay leadership, planted in the front of a church that said “Gays and Lesbians Not Welcome Here.”  I wondered if there were other signs, used long ago and gathering dust in the shed behind the church that said “Negroes Go Home” or “Jews Stay Out” or “Mexicans Leave Us Alone.”  I wondered if Barbecue Bob was a member of the church.  I wondered whether there was a sign, in temporary storage til after the election, that said “Do Unto Others.”  Probably not.

 

My father was gay…

Forty years ago before the word was in common use, my mother-in-law Marge was listening to a couple of friends talk about their hairdresser, Zindel.  “You know, he’s gay” one friend said to the other.  “No, really?” the other said.   Marge, never at a loss for words, joined in.  “My father was gay, he was always gay.  He was a gay man.”  As in happy.

If Marge were around today she would use a different word to describe Toiveh.  While we may be more at ease with the words gay and lesbian, some of us are fearful of the people the words describe.  Sadly, they aren’t satisfied being alone with their fear.   They want us to be just like them.

California Proposition 8 would enshrine the definition of marriage in the state constitution.  Like we need to be reminded.  The good folks promoting Prop 8 want to make sure the word “marriage” applies exclusively to the combination of one man and one woman.  Not two men or two women.  All these other strange, fearful combinations are just so much chopped liver to them.

The state budget is about to blow up in our faces and Governor Terminator is begging the Feds for a loan.  But the most critical thing is to make sure that Jim and Jack can’t ever say they’re married.  For all we know the earth will stop spinning if Prop 8 doesn’t pass.  That’s what some religious leaders have promised us.

Just to test the earth spiraling into space theory, I have given serious consideration to telling Sweetie that I want to be married to my good buddy Harry.  Just as a scientific experiment, you know.  Maybe just for a week or two.  But if I can’t introduce Harry as my husband or wife (it’s his choice) then all bets are off.  Gee, maybe I should vote for Prop 8.

If these same bible thumping folks had been around when Hank Greenberg began looking like Hall of Fame material, they probably would have changed the constitution to redefine the term ballplayer.  The same treatment would no doubt have been applied to Jackie Robinson.   Maybe they would have called them ballguys.  That way ballplayer would have remained reserved for those with proper credentials.

Or how about that first black NBA player Chuck Cooper (duh, who?).  Instead of basketball player, we could have amended the U.S. Constitution and called him a basketball boy.  And, because we were foolish enough to leave things alone, look what’s happened.  Eighty-three percent of all NBA players are black.  Come to think of it, maybe the Prop 8 proponents are right.  If we don’t pass Prop 8,  in a couple of years eighty-three percent of all married couples will be Jack and Jim, or Jane and Joan, (or Harry and Fred.)

One of the compelling arguments used by the backers of Prop 8 is that public school teachers may be forced to teach kindergartners about marriage.  I presume that the logical extension of that is that first graders would begin to marry schoolmates of the same sex.

Another astounding argument is that it’s the ruling of four “activist” judges in San Francisco (that hedonist city) that put us into this predicament.  It used to be fashionable for Republicans and religious conservatives (redundant, I think) to label Democratic appointees as activist.  Six of the seven California judges were appointed by Republican governors.

One of the hallmarks of the success of any religion is to keep its basic thrust simple.  Maybe the best example of that is “do unto others…”  That includes things like respect, understanding, equal treatment and, would you believe, even love.

Maybe my grandfather was gay.

 


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