Monday, January 27, 2014

Religious Homophobia: Not Tolerating Intolerance

You like that sign?? Yeah, neither do I. It makes me sick to my stomach to see something like this propped up in someone's hand or adorned on their Facebook wall as a liked or shared picture, displaying their anti-gay stance for all to see. And that's what it is, an anti-gay stance. As much as it makes me cringe and want to hunt down the person and smack them six ways to Sunday, I do not.

The thing is, I have learned to tolerate a diverse cornucopia of opinions and beliefs. Some I mesh with just fine, while others make me so flabbergasted, it completely morphs the way I view the person who holds the belief. But I don't try to force my beliefs on others, nor do I condescendingly say "Oh, we'll just agree to disagree."

 I've often at times considered myself  a hypocrite in my promoting "tolerance and acceptance" because of the way things in my personal life played out. About a year ago, I abruptly ended a friendship with someone who had been a really good friend to me. Although I knew she was a Christian and did not accept homosexuality, we were still friends and cared deeply for each other. But, one day when talking about an old classmate of mine who had "renounced" his own homosexuality, we had a heated disagreement when I contended that he had not changed his sexuality, and she argued that the power of God could do just that. I wasn't an atheist then, but was well on my way; she gave me the slight push I needed. During my doling out of the point that you can find instances of homosexuality in every culture, she countered with, "Well you can also find murder in every culture, too."

It stunned me. My silence gave her the wrong impression that she had just made a valid point, but she couldn't have been more wrong. That she had the audacity to think that murder was a logical comparison to homosexuality hurt me deeper than anything I had ever heard said about gay people. It was in that moment I knew we would not be friends, and that I was not really being genuine about tolerance or acceptance. So with that, I never called her again (in hindsight, it was the wrong way to go about it) and I changed my mission.

So here is my question, fellow LGBT'ers: Do you tolerate intolerance? It is a paradox of sorts that is brought up many a time when an anti-LGBT person feels the need to throw out pure venom at us and then say that we should tolerate their "opinions" and not be so hasty to condemn them. Now, while I will admit that I've seen many instances where I have actually come out on the side of the anti-gay person in the interests of anti-censorship, there is not one time where I could honestly say that a response wasn't warranted when someone like Tony Perkins or Maggie Gallagher from the National Organization for Marriage hop on their soapbox, and rely on deception and thoroughly refuted pseudo-science to bolster their bogus claims about gay marriage and how children are harmed because of it or how gay marriage is primarily to benefit children.

And then we have these fuckers. Well, not these fuckers, per se; the group they represent. These are Mormons, and if you know anything about Mormons, it's these three things: Their founder was a con man, the magic underwear thing, and the millions of dollars they pumped into the anti-gay legislation Proposition 8, all with NOM's backing. One thing you often hear from these groups is "Why am I being attacked for having an opinion?" or "Tolerance goes both ways." Yes and No, to both of those actually, and I'll explain why.

Hi, Tony Perkins of known hate group Family Research Council. If you want to have the opinion that marriage is the sacred union between a man and a woman, you go right ahead. I've heard you speak in public and on radio; you don't like being called a bigot. And you say it is because you hold a different "opinion" on the institution of marriage and gay rights. If this were only about your opinion, you'd still be loathed, but most of us wouldn't care. But as it is, you take your opinions and attempt to legislate them. You take your personal morality and personal Christian religion and attempt to dictate to the rest of us that we should live by your moral standard, and that anything less is just liberal leftist propaganda. That is why you are a bigot, Mr. Perkins; and the other lot of you too.

I think I've had just about enough of people saying that I should tolerate their intolerance. We no longer tolerate social forms of hate like racism or sexism, so why is it that homophobia is still somewhat socially acceptable? Why should I tolerate someone's personal beliefs saying that who I am and what I do in my life are disgusting, filthy abominations? Why should I keep my mouth closed while someone tells me that I am going to be subjected to some arbitrary punishment because I believe differently and live differently from them? Why should I have to accept someone's religious beliefs simply because they hold them to a high degree when they use them to both malign someone's character and then to morally absolve themselves of any wrongdoing? I'm not interested in changing or denigrating someone personal beliefs, but if you bring that crap to my doorstep, you better be ready with a list of answers to my questions about your beliefs or you better be ready to do an abrupt about-face the fuck off of my doorstep. That may not seem "tolerant" of me, but hey: if you open that door, be prepared to have it slammed in your face.

Okay, I'm done.

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