22 October 2008

Neon bible

The daughter: "I was SO mad today."

Me: "Why?"

The daughter: "On the way home from PE, I saw a sign that said 'Yes on 8.'"

Me: "That made you mad? I wouldn't get het up over a sign. We have one of those in our very own neighborhood."

The son and the daughter in unison: "We DO?"

Me, laughing: "Yeah."

The son: "WHO?"

The daughter: "I'm gonna go tear it down!"

Me, to the son: "Who do you think?"

Me, to the daughter: "You will do no such thing."

The son: "WHO?"

The daughter: "Why not?"

I tell them who and add: "Who else? Look, first of all, we are not the sort of people who deface other people's signs. Second, they have a right to their own opinion; they are guaranteed that right in this country, whether we agree with their opinion or not."

I look at my two sulky children.

Me: "And third, would you deny them the opportunity to demonstrate to the world their intolerance, hypocrisy and willingness to fly in the face of the Christ they hold so dear?"

They stare at me for one second before bursting in raucous laughter.

The son: "What was that Bible verse, again?"

Me: "Matthew 7:12."

The daughter: "Make the sign. Please..."

Me: "Of course Matthew 7:1 is good, too."

The son: "Well, use one of them."

Me: "'Matthew 7:12. No exceptions made.' Has a nice ring, doesn't it?"


Proposition 8 is not a religious issue, though it's being treated as such by the religious right. "God said..." "The Bible says..." Cherry picking Bible verses, as usual. Possibly the funniest argument is "Do it for the children..." in a trailing wail. Yeah, I'd say preserving marriage for same-sex couples is certainly good for their children.

The second funniest argument is the one about the "sanctity" of marriage. Really? With a 50% divorce rate?

But the red herring being thrown into all of this is what might happen in public schools. There is no provision anywhere for the concept of gay marriage to be taught in public schools, although tolerance is already taught, and Prop 8 will in no way change that. Religious righters, if you don't like what happens in the public schools, pull your kids out. You are not entitled to determine the curriculum of the public schools, and while I'm a taxpayer who is supporting said schools, you won't be. I am also not entitled to determine the curriculum of the public schools, which is why I pay fantastic sums for my children to be privately educated.

One of the things that mystifies me about the whole debate is why do the supporters of this measure feel so threatened? I've been married for 20 years come December, and am raising two beautiful children who are filled with common sense and compassion for their fellow human beings. It really doesn't matter to me if a man and a woman, two men or two women join in a union and call it marriage. Love is not governed by a definition of one man, one woman. Love is what love is.

I've taught my children that they should read the Bible because it is a great work of literature and history. Is it the Word of God? Perhaps, but only through the translation of fallible humans. I've also taught them that the 10 commandments are a good basis for good behavior, but that we were given one very simple rule to follow, and it's the hardest rule we could ever be asked to follow.

Matthew 7:12.

No exceptions.

Go listen to some good music: "Neon Bible" from the album Neon Bible by Arcade Fire.

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