Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Saturday Screed

Portugal shows it is more decent and humane than New Jersey (and virtually every state in the U.S.) by voting for marriage equality yesterday. Thank you, Portugal! Congratulations for standing up to the bullies!

The parliament approved the measure and it will likely be signed into law by conservative president, Anibal Cavaco Silva. I found this story buried in the back pages of the Johnson City Press:

Conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva is thought unlikely to veto the Socialist government’s bill, which won the support of all left-of-center parties. His ratification would allow the first gay marriage ceremonies to take place in April — a month before Pope Benedict XVI is due on an official visit to Portugal.
What exactly happened?
The bill removes a reference in the current law to marriage being between two people of different sexes.
Just a slight change in wording. Why would they do such a thing?
“This law rights a wrong,” Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a speech to lawmakers, adding that it “simply ends pointless suffering.”
Righting a wrong. It is that simple, isn't it? So what is the score on right vs. wrong these days?
Gay marriage is currently permitted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Canada, South Africa and six U.S. states also permit it.
We have a way to go. The largest obstacle to justice, to righting wrongs, to being simply decent human beings will be of course, Christians.

Let us consider the Christians. Here is what they are up to as reported by The Raw Story:

The conservative American Family Association is calling on President Barack Obama to fire Amanda Simpson, Obama's transgender appointee to the Commerce Department, because the appointment "puts the weight of the federal government behind the normalization of sexual deviancy."

"'Amanda' is a biological male in every cell of his body, and no amount of surgical mutilation is ever going to change that," AFA President Tim Wildmon said in a press release circulated Thursday. "It's a mistake for our president to appoint such a sexually confused individual to a position of public responsibility."
Why would Christians want to do such a thing? Here is a wild guess: superstition.
Wildmon went on to say that "gender is assigned by the Creator at the moment of conception, and no healthy society should ever regard sexual mutilation, even if it's self-inflicted, as something that's normal and merits approval."
Wildmon is an ignorant and an evil human being. He is certainly not alone. Our country is filled with folks who share his ideology.

My progressive Christian friends take offense when I post favorably about Richard Dawkins. To clear the air, I don't agree with everything Dawkins writes. I think there
is a place for humane, rational religious practice. But Dawkins is more right than wrong when he exposes the dangers of superstition. Christianity seldom loses an opportunity to flaunt its superstitions.

It is up to thoughtful Christians to prove Dawkins (and other critics of religion) wrong, not by defending indefensible superstitions or by claiming special privilege but by taking the necessary risks on behalf of justice, compassion, equal rights, reason, and freedom of thought.

Christians should be leading the way for gay and transgender rights. Christians should be leading the way on behalf of ecological sustainability. Christians should be leading the way defending the teaching of science in our schools. Christians should be leading the way in ending "pointless suffering" where ever it is to be found.

Dawkins and Company do not think Christians are leading the way. They think Christians are on the opposite side of justice. When I look around at what Christians are doing, I can see the evidence may be on the side of Dawkins. My comment to Christians who are offended by Dawkins is this: Don't whine about him. Get off your fat asses and do the right thing.

Now, you atheists. Yes, you are right that we Christians are bunch of fearful, homophobic, war-mongering, superstitious hypocrites. You are right to call us on it. But sitting around bitching about us over lattes at Starbucks ain't making it. Why don't you get organized and do something?

While we certainly have been ambiguous in our organization, Christians have historically built schools, hospitals, and do good work that is disconnected from superstition. We do have an infrastructure. There are a lot of progressive faith communities that are not superstitious and hold the same values as you. They are trying their damndest to make a difference. They could use your freaking help.

That is all. You may return now to your regularly scheduled programming.