Not long ago the Obama campaign rolled like a freight train through the States and gave hope wherever it went that wrongs could be made right and the nation made whole again – unanimous in its goals and desires. “Yes we can!” echoed in the streets, and in the minds of us all, and it was difficult not to succumb to the ‘Obama fever,’ throw your hands up in the air, and cheer. The prospect of having a qualified, measured, and tempered individual at the helm in the US is not just beneficial to American citizens; it affects the citizens of all the world. US foreign policy has changed much in the 3 short centuries it has existed. From steadfast isolationism to aggressive policing of the world through force, America is the global teenager, enacting at a steady pace the methods gleaned from history. I will not get into the audacity of presuming to speak for the world (and please bear in mind I speak for none but myself) when I heard former president Bush rail on about freedom, liberty, and democracy while at the same time being commander in chief of the 101st airborne and the world’s largest fleet of tactical stealth bombers, poised to strike at all the “rogue nations” of this world.
Nor was I impressed by the stance the former administration took on matters such as human rights, religious freedom, and gay marriage.
Just yesterday a discussion with a friend renewed in me some self-evident truths. Though the institution of marriage must be tied to the government for legal reasons, there is a common misunderstanding as to their role in this matter. Their role is one of facilitation, recognition, and acceptance. Theirs is not the prerogative to meddle, judge, or censor. This morning’s Dutch Telegraph featured a story about the Dutch organization ProGay which is an umbrella for many gay rights groups, events, and community related issues. They are organizing this year’s Gay Pride parade in Amsterdam under the theme: “Extraordinary” with the emphasis on the fact that the gay community enriches this world which we all share. It seems, many heterosexual people have not yet come to realize, or terms with, the fact that many famous athletes, Hollywood stars, politicians, and yes… even military servicemen and women are in fact gay. Their contributions to our society, our history, and our lives cannot be retroactively negated because you don’t like homosexuals. My point was this: when the federal government steps in and takes a (wildly unpopular) side to a social debate, they are grossly overstepping their bounds. The government exists in any good democracy (or Republic in this case) to serve the people – too often this is wholly forgotten in favor of politics, bureaucracy, and power.
To truly understand why the government has decided to come down on one side of the issue as opposed to the other we have to examine something that may be (even more) painful than gay marriage itself. Had not the church denounced gay marriage as a sin – an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, your government would not even have been able to pick a side. Alas, in the States, a politician cannot get far without the votes of his or her church-going, God-fearing constituents, and thus, despite the noble notion of separating church and state, the two are, and will forever remain, intricately linked.
Now do not misconstrue my meaning: I am all for having a government, and I am all for religious freedom, but I am also in favor of the two institutions remaining truly separate, and tending to matters that are their purview to tend to. The church gets to have a position on gay marriage – the government does not. The government in turn gets to have a position on prayer in public schools – the church does not. (unless it’s catholic school, in which case you’re going to church and learning something at the same time quite incidentally)
The fact remains that gay people are people too, no different from you and I in a great many ways. For whatever reason however, their one difference – their sexual preference – has historically been disproportionately weighed. I would like to say here and now that, though perhaps I may not be the best example, I truly do not care what sexual preference people may have. This is due to two very simple factors, the first being that it is none of my business. The second is this: defining people by their sexual preference says a great deal about the narrow mind it takes to be so singular in your judgement. Suppose for a moment you meet someone, you get along very well, and interact on a daily basis. Does it matter, for the purpose of business, what this person does when he or she is on their own time? Do not trouble yourself with too much thought on that question – it was rhetorical. The fact of the matter remains that “coming out” to the world around them is a problematic step for many homosexuals because of the reactions of the heterosexuals in their lives. Our disbelief and shock at such admissions, and our actions which come forth from those feelings, are often childish and ridiculous. We owe it to the gay community to curb our enthusiasm in actively seeking out who is gay and who is not, proposing and passing special laws to circumvent the unlawful segregation of people who are different from us, and projecting an image of homosexuality as being a failing in people – a disease, or conscious choice.
I have lived many years amongst, and happily with, gay people of whom I both knew in some cases, and did not know in others what their sexual preference was. My life was not encumbered by their presence, nor was I at odds with them any more than I am with any of you. What do I care if they want to marry someone? If I did, would it be my business to even voice an opinion? Moreover, how low must I sink before I take to the steps of congress with a sign that reads: “Jezus hates you!”
If one person had the capacity for understanding and tolerance, do you not think it was the son of the Lord? He forgave us for all our sins – including being ignorant, judgmental, and often times childish little people. I for one beseech you to cast aside matters as trivial as these in favor of the bigger picture: we are not alone on this earth, and we really ought to try to make this global community thing work.