Some of my best friends are. . .

21 12 2008

Rick Warren loves gay people.  Most people know I have many gay friends. I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church. Kay and I have given millions of dollars out of Purpose Driven Life helping people who got AIDS through gay relationships. So they can’t accuse me of homophobia.

(A gay home? What the hell is that? Is everything all, you know, queer inside?)

And Rod Dreher of CrunchyCon lets it be known, just before he starts screeching about Nazi/Stalinist/intolerant/militant gay activists, that a former roommate of his is gay, that by golly he has friends who are gay.

No, Pastor Warren and Mr. Dreher are absolutely tolerant of the gays. No, it’s those nasty militant gays who are the intolerant ones, the ones who throw around terms like ‘bigot’ and ‘homophobe’ and yell at those who seek to keep the sodomites in their rightful place.

And the whole marriage thing? Let’s let the good pastor explain his opposition to gay marriage: I’m opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Now that’s tolerance! Comparing same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia, and polygamy! But hey, he at least said he wasn’t so much opposed to California’s domestic partnership laws which grant hospital visitation rights or allow anyone to name anyone else an insurance beneficiary. Although I don’t know that he’s said anything about advancing a domestic partnership agenda in other states. . . .

The problem, Mr. Warren believes, is that gays don’t seek, um, equality (can’t quite say that word, can ya, Pastor?), but ‘approval’: Much of this debate is not really about civil rights, but a desire for approval. The fact that 70% of blacks supported Prop 8 shows they don’t believe it is a civil rights issue. Gays in California already have their rights. What they desire is approval and validation from those who disagree with them, and they are willing to force it by law if necessary. Any disapproval is quickly labeled “hate speech. Imagine if we held that standard in every other disagreement Americans have? There would be no free speech. That’s why, on the traditional marriage side, many saw Prop 8 as a free speech issue: Don’t force me to validate a lifestyle I disagree with. It is not the same as marriage.” And many saw the Teacher’s Union contribution of $3 million against Prop 8, as a effort to insure that children would be taught to approve what most parents disapprove of.

Ooookaaaaay. ‘Force by law’? Damned, um, straight. Disapprove of me all you like, just as you can disapprove of divorce; just leave me my laws on equal marriage and divorce.

And if you can’t handle having someone label your speech hateful, tough shit. You want to be able to rip on your preferred opponents without anyone calling you out on that ripping—who doesn’t? But someone calling your speech hateful hardly impedes your rights to such speech. Yeah, I know, too many people think ‘hate speech’ should be outlawed (a terrible, terrible idea), but has it been? Have you been arrested crossing the state lines into Massachusetts or Connecticut, Mr. Warren?

Somehow I’ve managed to put up with terms like femi-nazi and traitor, and I’m nobody. I’d rather not be compared to the Gestapo, but I hardly think my rights have been lessened by the moron who’d called me that.You, you big, powerful man, you, you shouldn’t have a problem dealing with a few sissies, should you? (I mean, without hiding behind those African-American voters who supported Prop 8. Because majorities are never wrong about rights for minorities, especially if some of those majority members are minorities in other contexts—right?) If not, well, don’t worry: hurt feelings do not equal fewer rights.

So can the talk about the scary, child-indoctrinating queers. Oh, wait, did I as a citizen just shred your rights as a citizen to blather about incestuous, pedophiliac, polygamous gays?

And how intolerant is it of me to call you intolerant? Am I threatening your rights by stating that if tolerance is to mean anything beyond ‘I won’t kill you,’ then those who profess to tolerate Others deserve to be smacked verbally for unloading such nonsense as ‘I care about gay people’ or ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ while in the next breath explaining why queers shouldn’t marry or adopt kids, or why the demand for equal treatment under the law is somehow out of line or, gasp, militant.

Militant gay activists. Jeez, that sounds familiar. Militant unionists. Militant black activists. Militant feminists. The gall of us, refusing to accept our inferior status!

I don’t have a gun. I don’t want to shoot you or blow you up. I’m just not willing to go to the back of the line because of the discomfort I cause to your delicate moral sensibilities.

[All quotes courtesy of a transcript of a recent interview, as well as updates, posted on BeliefNet; emphases in the original.]

A coda: I’m not crazy about the term bisexual. It’s not that it’s inaccurate, any more than homosexual or heterosexual is, but that it sticks too close—hell, it is—the technical definition of a form of sexual orientation. Hets get ‘straight’, and homos get ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ (along with a bunch of other happy and not-so-happy designations), but bis? We get. . . bi. Blech.

I prefer ‘ambi-sexual’, as in ‘both, around’ (thanks Webster’s!). Ya still got the ‘bi’, but it’s rounded out, more lyrical. Plus, fretful person that I am, I like the proximity to other ambis, as in ‘ambiguous’ or ‘ambivalent’.

Bi? No, ‘ambi’. Works for me.