I'm not Keen on Being Stoned to Death, Nor do I Know Many Lesbians who Look Good in a Burqa
an essay by James Nimmo
(Oklahoma City) What a week it's been (June 4) in Oklahoma City for gay equality!
First, the anti-gay GOPer-inspired "Marriage Protection Amendment" failed in the US Senate. Then, thanks to the efforts of the sterling efforts Cimarron Alliance Foundation and lucky timing, the Human Rights Campaign Executive Eirector Joe Solmonese and his religious side-kick, Harry Knox, were at the Mayflower Congregational Church the very next day after the Senate vote to give us a rousing pep talk and the latest low-down on the strategy of HRC to help America's gays/lesbians secure our full citizenship.
Mr. Solmonese deserves every penny he's paid--his presentation was smooth and articulate, filled with the front-row details he learns as director of America's largest-budgeted gay equality organization.
Mr. Knox is one smooth-talkin' Southern charmer able to switch immediately from the brogue of his birth to that of a skilled debater. If you weren't among the 500 or so in the audience you missed a good compendium of the gay equality fight in America.
Harry Knox is the director of the newly created religious arm of HRC which is used to provide religious viewpoints when the legislative process proves ineffective against the far-out homo-foe fundie x-tians.
As one atheist liberal, I have to ask if it's the best thing to use religion to deflect the bible-bullets our enemies direct our way. How does this help correct the ignorance which this ammunition represents? I think it's likely we'll be hit by ricocheting bullets.
Now, before you godly-pure stop reading, please take a look at this statement: I'm not opposed to anyone's observance of evolved nature worship as long as that ceremony is private, between consenting adults, and is not paid for by tax dollars, or supported by the force of law.
Sounds like sex doesn't it?
Sex is the chief fly in the fundie ointment that they're using to lubricate their way to omniscient power in civil government. That's where we same-gender-attracted folk come in.
Our private lives are the primary battering ram the homo-foes are using to demolish the First Amendment wall separating church and state policies. I don't know about you, but I'm not keen on being stoned to death by the remnants of that wall, nor do I know very many lesbians who would look good in a burqa or hajib.
Portions of religious tradition are being used to keep us gays/lesbians from full warp-and-weft inclusion in the fabric of society. Is it really such a good idea for HRC and other progressive friends to try and use other portions of religious tradition in our favor?
Don't ever underestimate the hair-splitting skill of our crafty, wily religious enemies. Whatever religious-based strategy HRC uses, it will be met serve-for-serve in the tennis tournament of opposing bible verses.
Whether used for open-minded or medieval issues, religion appeals to the emotions, which are malleable, highly reliant on circumstances, and represented by latent tribal bonds of kin vs. outsider recognition.
One can look at the broad history of America and see that the biggest dividing issues have been the Civil War of North and South in the 19th century and race accommodations between blacks and whites in the 20th century. I suggest that the 21st century dividing issue will be religious intolerance between fundamentalists and the rest of us, irrespective of sexual orientation.
This religious intolerance recedes far back in political history, but let's stop at Thomas Jefferson's time (who had his own sexual contradiction) and consider what he said about religious acceptance--"It does me no injury if my neighbor professes 20 gods or no god. It neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket."
I would like to close by thinking that the logic of jurisprudence will save our legal gay equality at the least, and our lives at the most. But the law didn't help the disembodied 2/5ths of the Indians and slaves not counted in the Constitution. It didn't help Dred Scott attain his freedom, nor did it prevent the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.
Education in the national classroom of hard knocks and experience has changed the tenor of the general American attitude towards minorities even if this does no good for the long-dead individuals in the afore-mentioned examples. It's up to us to make our case to the best of our abilities, however our circumstances may fall.
Winston Churchill said that what we learn from history is that we never learn from history. I would like to think the fight for American gay equality to be the exception to this rule.
For, after all, aren't we all exceptional?
For further consideration take a look at this New York Times article available at--
"Will Same-Sex Marriage Collide With Religious Liberty?"
James Nimmo is a Democratic Party activist in Oklahoma City and treasurer of Oklahoma Stonewall Democrats, www.okstonewall.org .
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