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Views & Voices

Gays, Marriage Polls, Jesus and Sally Kern

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Washington Post on Friday reported that, as New York gears up for its second weekend of same-sex nuptials, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans split 50 to 46 percent over whether the state’s law legalizing such unions is a positive or negative outcome.

Reactions to the new legislation — like support for legalizing gay marriage in general — range tremendously across generational, political and religious lines.

Americans have grown increasingly accepting of same-sex marriage over the past decade, according to surveys by The Post and ABC, Gallup, the Pew Research Center and others. The public opposed legalizing gay and lesbian unions by a 58 to 36 percent margin in 2006, but the new Post-ABC poll finds a slight majority — 51 percent — saying such marriages should be legal.

New Yorkers — and Americans in general — are increasingly favoring marriage equality. A majority of Montanans now favor domestic partnerships. And, it’s becoming more clear that there is no threat from the “Gay Menace”. In fact, Virginia, there is no Gay Menace — and no threat.

It is worth noting, however, that the biggest statistical groups who view marriage equality as “Negative” come from “Conservative Republicans” (71%) and “White Evangelical Protestants” (71%).

Most of the weird, anti-gay vitriol comes from “conservatives” (notable exception: Ruben Diaz). The ignorant and hateful things Montana legislators have said on record have been well-documented here and on other sites (not so much in the Montana newspapers) and, you guessed it- they come from elected Republicans.

I have also noticed an element of religious righteousness when the conversation takes place with many “conservatives” whether in person, on TV or the radio. Maybe you’ve noticed it, too. I heard it last night on CNN when some Congressional Representatives had to go “pray about” the debt ceiling vote.

Now I’m all for prayer, but they seem to be forgetting Matthew 6.5-6…. The point I’m struggling to make here, is that there is an element here that will not give in- not to science, not to reason, not to compassion, not to anything but radical fundamentalism. For them, that would be abandoning God’s Word — and for a fundamentalist/biblical literalist that means Hell — the ultimate fear meme. It’s that faction that concerns me.

And it seems to be safely ensconced in the Republican Party.

Sally Kern

A perfect example is Oklahoma Republican legislator Sally Kern, who had this to say about gay persons on July 27:

To me what is hateful is when those people who say ‘you’re born this way, there’s no hope in change, you’re stuck in this, deal with it,’ that is hate. There’s no hope in that…

We’re losing our freedom of conscience. And if the homosexuals get what they want, and as you said it’s not just homosexuality, its immorality or adultery, all of that, but in my opinion the homosexual movement is the tip of the spear. They’re the ones who right now are beating down the door, have their foot in the door, trying to tear down the moral fiber of America. We have to stand up to that. The reason it’s the tip of the spear — you don’t see ‘Adulterers Victory Fund’ out there trying to promote adultery. God’s people got to stand up to this. (emphasis mine)

Here’s what’s disturbing to me about this: She can say these ignorant, hateful things in public, under the protection of free speech-and feel righteous and supported in doing so. Without serious repercussions from her party or other conservatives.

In fact, they’ve been portraying themselves as victims. (seriously, watch this) I would love to hear an elected conservative make an “It Gets Better” video. None have done so. I would love to hear the uproar from thoughtful conservatives against the unreasonable lines of thought and logic. It doesn’t happen. Maybe a few gasping voices — but no uproar. That’s a fact.

I don’t want to bash — it’s not productive, but I do want to ask the question: Where are the reasonable voices for equality in the Republican Party? Why don’t we hear from them as much as Sally Kerns or Ann Coulter?

I have strong feelings about Christian Fundamentalism. I am firmly convinced that the enormous richness of scripture — and the whole Christian Tradition — becomes diluted with simplistic personal interpretations and wanton literalism.

The Bible is a complex and varied collection of documents and literature — it is not to be simplistically reduced to quick and glib personal statements. Broad themes can be construed, yes, but not without a great deal of thought and research. And most scripture scholars would agree.

I have spent a great deal of my life studying the words and works of Jesus Christ. I have read the Bible — a lot. I have studied scholarly interpretations of scripture and worked with experts in the field. I have three degrees in theology, in fact, and I have never, not once, found a reason to believe Jesus would ever condone this sort of ignorant, non-loving nonsense. That’s not the Jesus I know and love. That particular Jesus is a creation of very frightened, and perhaps even, unenlightened people.

The real Jesus was interested in showing the love of God. He lived for mercy, justice and peace. He died for compassion and integrity and truth. I believe he’s interested in my truth. Not only interested but invested in it. And my truth is this: I am a man who simply wants to love and be loved according to my created, inborn nature- an inborn nature I spent years questioning, examining and reflecting upon.

That’s all. It’s quite simple really. I’m just asking the world to trust the reality of my experience. Arguably, the people I’m speaking of could say the same thing- but I would argue that they’ve abandoned experience in favor of biblical literalism.

There’s also this difference between us: my worldview doesn’t condemn anyone else to eternal fire and damnation. It doesn’t threaten anyone else at all, really. People like Sally Kern may think they’re being threatened, but I think they’re just scared — too scared to look at the reality of life with open hearts. Their hearts are set in stone — immovable, inflexible, afraid.

That’s not the way I want my heart to be. I want it to be open and accepting and generous and kind. I’m happy to let other people give love and receive love wherever they can. Without limits. Because that’s how I believe it works best.

And the good thing? The American People are starting to think so, too.

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11 more reader comments:

  1. Homophobia, slowly but surely, it losing its’ horrid hold on America. We may have some setbacks, but we are winning.

    Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:16pm
  2. America is a melting pot of race, religious views, and cultures. Orientation should be no different. We are all of the HUMAN race. We have rights, we are such an advanced nation and it is ridiculous to spend money and time on rights that should be given to the “greatest nation” without fighting. Fighting and discrimination only breeds hatred. If you are straight, you marry who you love. If you are gay, you should have the same options. Love is love. The more love and equality we have united we can finally stand. Break the restraints that bind. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is time to cut the cord on the production of discriminating views. Live and let live. Save the money you use to halt same sex marriage and help get the government spending under control. Feed the hungry. Clothe the homeless. Make a difference. Make all citizens equal by allowing them the same luxuries you enjoy. It will happen. Fighting it will only delay and cost more to lose. NO H8!!!!

    Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:18pm
  3. Being originally from Oklahoma (been in DE for about a year)
    Anyways, Sally Kern still makes me sick… I could barely read read her little speech you had posted in the article… All the while I shake my head and feel embarrassed about being from Oklahoma, especially when all (outside) people hear are these idiots…. Instead of good news like with Brittany Novotny (here is an article about her – – and yes I know it’s older news…)

    Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:19pm
  4. I commented under the story. Ugh. Let it go!!

    Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:20pm
  5. I love you, Alisha Carter!! <3 :)

    Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:27pm
  6. Actually, the MOST disturbing thing about Ms. Kern is not her ignorant rants, but rather how the media treats her ignorant rants. If we were in England, since they have real journalists there who ask questions and call people on their BS, she would be beaten back with her own ignorance. Here? She’s given equal time with knowledgeable people – as if her argument has equal weight.

    We know she is totally ignorant, yet she’s given far too much air time for her ignorance. That’s one of the ways you can tell that the US does NOT have a free press.

    Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 6:09am
  7. i dont remember taking this poll. im sorry but unless EVERY SINGLE PERSON is involved it is NOT accurate.

    Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:01am
  8. all that in one sentence oh geez

    Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:24am
  9. Mark, you are “spot on” or “on the Mark” as we say on this side of the pond with the observation that journalists typically and in epic fashion FAIL their duty to hold these nincompoops accountable.

    I know it’s immature and inappropriate to comment on physical appearance but I can take only so much of the venom these idiots vitriolically spew without letting the child in me comment on rare occasion so: Gosh, she looks like a skeksis-fied dumbed-down version of Aughrah from The Dark Crystal.

    Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:44am
  10. I love you, Jennie Brasher!! <3

    Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 1:11pm
  11. Are you really saying that no poll is 100% accurate? That there is room in any poll for statistical uncertainty, usually somewhere around 2 to 3%? Anyone who has studied math would agree.
    Are you saying that polls are useless because there is no way to ask every living human being their opinion? Wow.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 4:47pm