California’s Proposition 8

It almost seems silly to need to write about this, but as there are some rather vociferous folks out there who seem determined to roll us back to earlier days of bigotry and superstition, I guess one needs to get to work on the Enlightenment now and then. Most of you have probably heard already that California courts decided that it was fine for same sex couples to marry. The world did not end. The big earthquake did not arrive to dump California into the ocean. On a personal level, I did not, upon hearing of this news, decide to become gay, leave my wife and marry some guy. Our marriage is fine, and in fact, I rather doubt that any marriages were put into trouble by the decision that 2 people who love each other could be married even if they happened to be the same gender. Certain special interest groups (religiously motivated, of course) decided that this state of affairs is unacceptable and introduced Prop. 8 to needlessly ban gay marriage. If they really want to support traditional marriage as practiced in the Bible, we need to have polygamy. Perhaps, like Solomon, our President should have several hundred wives. Hard to see how he’d get any work done.

Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church essentially says marriage should stay defined as between one man and one woman because that’s the way it has been for 5000 years. It was a surprise for me to learn that every religion for 5000 years has defined it this way. I wonder if Rick has learned anything about Islam or even read the Bible? Nor has he seem to have taken a course in anthropology. Rick Warren wants to define marriage according to his narrow view defined by what he believes his religion tells him. Yes, Rick, this is a religious issue, not a humanitarian issue, as you claim. The humanitarian thing is to allow 2 people who love each other to get married if they wish. It affects neither me or even Rick Warren if they do. Rick, if you do not believe in gay people getting married, do not marry a gay person. Last I checked, we still have separation of church and state in this country.

There are excellent discussions on Prop. 8 here, here, and here. In the first link, Sean Carroll makes an interesting statement:

Eventually, of course, gay marriage will be accepted throughout the country, and we will look back on today as the bad old days of discrimination. But that’s cold comfort to the couples who would like to celebrate their love for each other right now.

I tend to agree. I do, with hope, think that those supporting Prop. 8 will be on the wrong side of history. Historically, humanity has seen momentum in the direction of Enlightenment values. We have a ways to go, but generally slavery is regarded as evil, discrimination based on race or gender is considered wrong (although we still have problems in this area), and many other such matters may be considered. However, the universe does not care if we are enlightened, barbarians, or if we exist at all. Although the trend seems to be good and well reasoned arguments can be made as to why this is so, there is no natural law of which I am aware that states that humanity must always progress positively (from an Enlightenment perspective). As noted earlier, there are many among the religious fundamentalists who are fighting hard to bring us back to the Dark Ages. Although hopeful, I do not think we can afford to be complacent. Progress of the Enlightenment will happen, but only if we make it happen. It is something we’ve got to keep working at.

Time is running short on this particular proposition, but I urge you to join the fight to stop Prop. 8.

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