Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Some": A Clarification

There has been an interesting debate going on in one of the threads on Peter Paddon's (of Pendraig Publishing) Facebook page that got me thinking...

The original discussion came about due to Peter's post that said:

I can't believe I'm having an argument with a Wiccan who believes that two men who love each other should not be allowed to call their union marriage, because "marriage has always been between a man and a woman." She says she supports equuality for them, but that because their love is "different", they should call their union something else. I always thought that love transcends everything, including gender, while she can't seem to see that love and sex aren't two words for the same thing!

Eventually, some posters started saying that this was an example of Christian morals being used by Wiccans. That you just can't take Christian theology out of some folks. My response was one of confusion over how homophobia is a Christian moral. Honestly, I have a confusion in general as to how morals are religious at all.

Let me explain...
Most folks believe that it's wrong to kill someone. Right? That's sort of a basic no-no on everyone's List of Things Not To Do. That rule of society is shared by Christians, atheists, pastafarians, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, Wiccans, Taoists, and most anybody that you can find on the planet. Killing other folks is - on the whole - not something we should do. It goes to the core belief that human life is valuable and sacred and...hey, we don't want folks killing us, so let's not kill other people.

The point is that it's not a purely religious moral. It doesn't fit neatly into something that only Christians believe or Wiccans or whomever.

Let's take this to a bad place, to the topic at hand: homophobia. Disliking gay people, discriminating against them, harming them, wishing them harm, etc. This 'moral' of believing that gettin' hitched is only for a Jack and Jill, male/female couple isn't Christian, either. Some Christians believe that gay marriage is wrong. Some don't. Right now, in America, somewhere between 43 and 62% of the entire population is in favor of gay marriage. With over 70% of the population of Americans being Christian, that leaves the educated guess that at least some Christians that are just fine with gay marriage.

So... Some Christians' morals tell them gay marriage is wrong, and some Christians believe otherwise. However, to get to a middling statistic like 43% or 62%, that means other religions have stances on civil rights as well. That means there are Muslims who fall on both sides of the issue. That means there are atheists that fall on both sides of the issue. That means that, whatever group you belong to, there are going to be people that fall on both sides of the issue.

Let's clear something up. Lean in close. It's a secret.

There are homophobic pagans.

Also, there are racist pagans. There are pagans that don't recycle. There are pagans that think you should fart loudly and often while in public. Morals have no religion. They have no god. They belong to all creeds and colors and backgrounds and faiths and non-faiths, and just because some folks in a religion do something does not mean they all do it. 

Some pagans used to throw Christians to the lions. That doesn't mean genocide is a pagan moral. 

Let's continue the fight for fairness in our discussions, Rioters, and remember that just because 'some' people do something, that doesn't make an entire group guilty.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

6 comments:

  1. I think this is a "I agree with Fire Lyte day!" In all seriousness, though, very well said.

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  2. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, homophobia is rather unique to Abrahamic culture, particularly Christianity. Indeed, cultures that previously had no problem with homosexual practices only *developed* problems with it after contact with Western cultures that were, by-and-large Christian (often because they believed that they needed to emulate the values of a civilization in order to emulate it's economic successes). A prime example of this is Japan and the practices of shudo. Shudo was a part of the samurai code (vaguely like the Roman pederasty) that no one saw as wrong until Japan tried to become more Western in order to be accepted by industrialized Europe. After WW2, when there was push to reclaim national identity, homosexuality went back to being a non-issue.

    Even the Western cultures seen as uber-manly had very different ideas on the subject. The Viking Answer Lady has an excellent article on this, but I can try to nutshell it. Basically, the problems with men being together in Viking society had nothing to do with gender, but the concept of submission. If the (visibly) submissive partner was a non-Viking, no one cared. If the relationship was between older Vikings past their prime fighting years, no one raised a stink about it. We all know Greco-Roman ideas on the subject.

    In some African and Asian cultures the problems with homosexuality stem from the value placed on offspring. Once you've done your bit for the gene pool, it tends to become a non-issue. The current deadly prejudices in African countries can be directly linked to missionary culture attempting to "civilize the scary Voodoo people", which is both elitist and misguided.

    Yes there are values and prejudices which have a non-religious origin, but this isn't one of them. The reason we are seeing a rise in tolerance is because there is an equal decrease of the weight that society gives to infallibility of religious scripture.

    I challenge you to name one opponent to gay marriage that doesn't mention the words 'God', 'Bible', 'Christian', or 'Jesus' somewhere in their argument.

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    Replies
    1. Followthespider, you had me right up until the very end.

      The fact is, there are other groups out there that are also against same-sex marriage, and it has nothing to do with religion. It's about money.

      There are many large corporations and government entities that are against same-sex marriage because of all the money it will cost them if same-sex couples are allowed to receive all the financial benefits that married couples currently do. Spouses share in health benefits, discount insurance rates, filing jointly on tax returns, social security, medicare, disability and veteran benefits, pension and retirement benefits, property and inheritance rights... it all just translates to $$$. In some (if not all) these cases, there would be no visible financial impact if same-sex marriage became legal (for one thing, same-sex households make up a fraction of the population, and not all of these couples would opt to get married) but there is a sizable portion of the heterosexual community that is against same-sex marriage because they honestly fear that there will be financial consequences... like insurance rates going up. Which is a selfish mentality, but that's just human nature, I guess.

      Of course most of the arguments against same-sex marriage ARE religious... but not all. They're just the most visible. In any political issue, follow the money, and you will find where the less visible interests lie.

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  3. Those who are surprised that there are Pagans or Wiccans who are homophobic have clearly never read either of Gerald Gardner's (non-fiction) books on Witchcraft.

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  4. Why is marriage regulated? Licensed? Straight people get married and fail at it all the time. Why is it that gays don't have the same opportunity? I just get so pissed off at the idea that straight people are better or somehow more qualified to be in a marriage. It doesn't make sense, and when things don't make sense, it's pretty much nonsense.

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  5. Yeah, my ex was an atheist who in fact did not believe in gay marriage, for no other reason than he just felt it was "wrong".

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