Saturday, November 14, 2009

reject letter

If you know where I live then it would likely come as no surprise that there are around these hills people who believe that gay people are all evil, predatory perverts. It's part of the agenda you sometimes hear about that apparently makes us go out and recruit people.

This intractably held position is firmly rooted in scripture, ancient texts meant to exist for all time as the code to absolute right and wrong, assuming it's KJV.

I'm just really having trouble even finding a way to approach this. What I really want to tell people and make them understand is that they can disagree. They can have an abiding faith that gay people are going to totally ruin it for everyone when the plague of a week long endless rain of flaming frogs and hurricanes that only rip up chain link fence and ruin automobile paint jobs. Believe the shit out of it, but there's a line at which you can't make me do stuff because you believe something I don't.

All of this stems from a letter to the editor I read in the local alternative newsweekly, print edition. My first response when I read the letter earlier today was to wonder why they bothered printing it. I began a post about the letter before finding the online version. It kind of sucked the day out of my day a little. I was freshly home, finally off work, had the French press working its magic on a cup of coffee, and I was smoking, standing on the back porch ready to read a brand new edition of the local alternative newsweekly.

I began, as I sometimes do, with the letters to the editor. It's right there in front. My next response was just a general dismay that I'd bothered reading this particular letter. From the first paragraph you know what you're getting.

If you don't want to bother reading the letter it starts with a fervent call to pray away the gay, a longstanding and oft tried technique that still seems to have zero-ish percent actually working to make someone not gay. We're led then into the horrors of the gay agenda and the eventual comeuppance exacted by slapped in the face once too often god of justice.

People really are free to feel however they want. You can hate me and think I'm an awful person, but religion is for churches and for personal codes of conduct, not for setting civil equality standards. If you can't give me a reason for laws that do not in anyway rely on your ancient texts then it probably doesn't have much place in a document meant to govern a free people.

For blog purposes I then went and found the online version of the letter, linked to above. Of course having found it I then had to read the online comments. One comment, as of now, is a long series of quote from people one might consider to have been founding fathers, one is to question the newsweekly's decision to publish the letter, and one is from the editor not entirely justifying the publishing with a request for a more reasoned response worth publishing and suggesting it isn't right to reject letters based on disagreements with wingnuttery contained therein.

As gay people we shouldn't need to keep explaining why we should be treated as people. It really is just that simple. We are normal and a part of the human gender/sexual orientation continuum that so many people can only see as man plus woman equals the only thing that is okay, KJV version. They trivialize everything down to sex as being the ultimate query, can you and your partner perform sexing that can result in pregnancy? And then they won't accept our claim that what we are discussing is so much more than sex but is also on so many levels an issue about sex.

So my own question comes back to why the newsweekly felt any need or obligation to run this particular letter. I get not rejecting letters because of point of view issues. Certainly it makes sense, but when the other side is using such horrid arguments to justify discrimination I can't really see any reason to present them. We all know people like that. We get that we live where we do and that this is a fairly common sentiment regarding gay equals damnation. As important is that we see it so damn often that it's inescapable. Perhaps christians will find that acceptable, that their message is so pervasive that people are really less likely to listen or to take them seriously.

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