Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't worry too much. It happens to a lot of people.

I didn't post this to my FB page like I wanted to and like I should have. Why? Because I knew that everyone that should learn something from it would probably just stop listening once they felt accused - for all the reasons discussed in the video. They would feel I was probably pointing the video right at them. Guess what? I am. Guess what else? It's not said with the venom and misconceptions you think it is.  

Bigotry is a natural consequence of transition, of growth and progress. Not everyone can change their minds at the same pace, not everyone should. Not everyone that is a bigot is a bigot because they are hateful or spiteful, shallow or stupid. Sure there is plenty of that out there too, but I don't think that everyone that condemns homosexuality as immoral is a hateful person. Some people are bigots for all the 'right' reasons. They are trying to do the right thing. They are given a paradigm about love and righteousness. It can be instilled and reinforced in a myriad of ways. It happened with racism (which still exists but know you can count on it occurring mostly in the hateful people that I'm NOT talking about here).

I don't condone any mindset that promotes intolerance of people based on who they are but we can't hope to change it if we don't fact facts about what it is. It's not a group of slur spewing, red-faced, rage addicts that are getting in the way of progress. It's sweet mothers and loving fathers. It's the majority of voters in CA and AZ and many other states. Minimizing and demonizing them won't give us any insight in to how to overcome the cultural obstacles we face. It is simply hard for some (again, for a myriad of complicated and personal reasons) to overcome their preconceptions and prejudices about the LBGT community, and the value of "traditional" marriage.

We are also fooling ourselves if we think they don't see gays as fully human and deserving of rights. They really can manage to see these as separate issues. In many cases they don't think that "gay" is real. As DE-humanizing as that is it doesn't sound like it to them. It's not like skin color, it's too easy to make it seem like a choice - no matter how much contradicting evidence they aren't listening to.

Change is hard. Not all change is progress. It's not monstrous to want things to be like you think they were when you were a kid and everything was comfortable and simple. It's not evil to have faith in an ideology that is still shared by a large majority of your fellow citizens. But in this case it IS bigotry. It's intolerance of other people for who they are, and for their differences. It IS bigotry and it is wrong and it's time for it to stop.

Please, if you watched that video and were tempted to dismiss the content, or had trouble concentrating on the words, because of the appearance of the speaker. Or, if you shutdown as soon as you felt like the the bigot label was getting smeared all over you, again. If you didn't give the video your full attention the first time. Please watch it again and really listen.


I'm going to post this on my FB page now...


  1. "It's not evil to have faith in an ideology that is still shared by a large majority of your fellow citizens."

    Except that, sometimes it is. Does ordinary Germans' complicity in the Holocaust make it moral? Certainly not. Does the legality of capital punishment make murder a virtue? Not at all. The fact that a large number of people, even a majority of people, believe something doesn't make it true, or good, or right. If 99% of people believe in something's goodness and rightness, it still doesn't make it good.

    Here's the thing about good and evil: if you believe in it (absolute rather than relative morality), then it exists independently of human adherence. Truth is truth, period. So, if evil exists, and bigotry is part of it, then the act/belief itself is still evil--even if 100% of people are doing it. Otherwise, "evil" isn't the correct word.

    You see how easy it is to get tripped up? Here you are, trying to encourage tolerance and open-mindedness on both sides of a heavily divisive issue--an admirable task of concilliation. And yet, even in that gesture is buried an undermining premise: the "good" or "evil" of belief and action. And that uncertainty--what actions are "good" and "evil"--that's what this debate is about for everyone.

    We are all of us drawing lines in the sand. Most everyone wants to be good and right. We adhere to different creeds to get it done, and those creeds contradict each other. Hell, they contradict themselves. Christianity preaches community, fraternal love and compassion, but organized religion frequently practices ostracism, shaming and bigotry. Liberal humanism espouses the equally valuable and morally significant nature of all people, but tends to take a dim view of sentimentalist religious thinking and the people who practice it.

    A final thought...
    This will never end. This particular issue--the political circumscription of the loosely allied sexual minorities--will eventually be solved. However, the larger issue of exclusion will not. Without a "them," we do not know how to define an "us," I don't think. FWIW, YMMV.

  2. So well put Renee. I completely agree with you. I don't think popular acceptance defines good or bad. I meant to say that it's not hard to understand how "good" people can justify these thoughts and actions but I absolutely misspoke. I think this bigotry is wrong, misguided and destructive. I wish I had your gift (and extensive hard work in training) for written expression. You addressed the essence of my point much better in the last two paragraphs than I managed in my whole post.

    Do you take commissions?