I’m not opposed to same-sex unions. Americans have the right to equal protection under the law, and same-sex couples should be able to expect the same tax benefits and other considerations allowed to those of us who are now being called, in some quarters, “opposite-sex couples.”
As far as I’m concerned, Americans have the right to do as they please as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others. America is all about liberty and freedom.
But this all comes now during the season of Lent, a time of fasting and prayer, when Christians are compelled to confront the obligations of their faith.
And while I hear the new moral arguments, about equal rights and equal protection, I’ve read little about the religious freedom aspects and what the Supreme Court’s ruling might mean for houses of traditional worship.
And by the by, “opposite sex” is what heterosexual couples have been called since I was a kid. The opposite sex, that isn’t a pejorative, unless you make it one in order to feel put upon.
The federal government has already told religious institutions that run hospitals that they must provide contraceptives to their employees, even if it runs counter to their beliefs. So now, if the government ultimately compels us to describe same-sex unions as marriage, what’s next?
No, they’ve told religious institutions that run hospitals that they must provide COVERAGE for contraceptives to their employees, if they employ large numbers of employees. They don’t have to hand out condoms at gunpoint and put the pill in with the W-2s every spring.
Plus Catholic women are already on this. Never mind the non-Catholic ones who just want to get jobs.
As for “what’s next,” I think the answer is church-mandated man-on-dog. We’re only a minute away from that at any time.
To speak of faith in this context is to invite the charge of bigotry — if not outright, at least by comparison to angry fire-and-brimstone preachers who seem to use the Bible as a lash. Some wield the Old Testament like a cudgel, and avoid the New Testament, in which Christ asked us to refrain from judging and to love our neighbor.
No one with half a brain wants to be thought of as a bigot. But that’s what I and others risk as members of a distinct and irritating minority — as traditional Christians in journalism.
No, being a bigot is what invites charges of bigotry. There is nothing in “traditional Christianity” as embodied by Jesus Christ that makes you a bigot. There is much in the politics of traditional Christianity and Roman Catholicism as embodied by its present leaders that makes it glacially slow to change and pathologically quick to conflate religious and secular practice in an effort to hold onto power, but that has absolutely dick to do with Jesus. So to speak.
As to the minority status Mr. Kass is so quick to claim, nailing yourself to the cross and then bitching that your hands and feet are sore and you’re thirsty is not martyrdom, it’s self-indulgence. Nobody is going to fire you because you go to church on Sunday or wear a cross.
Being incoherent and maudlin, on the other hand, should be a dismissable offense:
It is a world of language and political symbolism, a world where ideas are often framed so that they may lead to inexorable conclusions favored by the dominant culture. In this media world, I sometimes wonder whether the word “sin” has been outlawed by the high priests of journalism for fear of offending one group or another.
So you really WANT to write a column calling all gays sinners, but you’re afraid for your job? What? What does this even mean?
As to the great risk you’re running here, Mr. Kass, I’d note you’re writing this in a major metropolitan newspaper. You’re not exactly preaching in the desert, to the stones.
Now that the debate has been framed, if I hold to my faith and resist applauding the changes, I’m easily cast as some drooling white cartoon bigot of the Jim Crow era, denying black Americans the right to sit at a lunch counter and have a meal with the white folks.
You know, you can’t claim to be the voice speaking up for the unpopular view, and then lament that it is so unpopular and makes you a target for negative attention. I mean, you can, but the rest of us find it exhausting.
What is also clear is that, given demographic shifts and attitudes, particularly by young people regarding sexuality and family, traditional Christianity is no longer the dominant culture.
It is the counterculture, fast becoming a minority view.
No, opposition to marriage equality is fast becoming a minority view.Christianity is in no danger whatsoever. Mistaking the one for the other is the central problem with this piece.
And while I struggle with the fast-moving issue of the redefinition of marriage and its effect on our culture and how to reconcile the rights of others and my own religious beliefs, I ask only one thing:
Remember that word? Tolerance?
Tolerance for those whose faith and traditional beliefs put them in what is fast becoming the minority.
Absolutely no one is breaking down your door demanding you marry another dude. You can go to church without fear of ever having to see two women plighting their troth before the altar. This changes nothing for you, except that you have to deal with losing privilege and impunity to say whatever you please without fear of disagreement.
That isn’t being a “minority.” It isn’t being persecuted. You long for bastions of traditionalism; well, you have those in your churches. You can go there and feel the comfort you need. And when you say, over and over, that you support gay people having the same rights as everybody else but you are just afraid this will start some kind of pogrom against Christians … I mean, remember the way the cities of Iowa were in flames for months after the first gay wedding? People were eating their household parakeets to stay alive. It was monstrous.
Pray, I ask you all, for peace in the Middle West.
Snark aside, somewhere in this mess is a good column, about the inability of many to articulate the fear of change that strikes us all at one point or another, and how that fear of change can prevent us from being the people we know we should be. I think what Kass is really asking for is not tolerance, but patience.
Patience with the struggle of people to understand their own faith (and their own religion, and the diferences between the two), to reconcile their childhoold lessons with the consciences God gave them, to grow and change and love each other not just in words and hugs at Christmastime but in actions and rights and responsibilities.
And if he’d asked for patience, for time to adjust, I’d still respond, and direct him to a fierce and unapologetic proponent of Christianity for some words upon the subject:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
There is, you see, a tradition here as well.