Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Please Explain This To Me

The extreme right wing's justification for their opposition to gay rights has always confused me. I understand why they don't like gays. Their Bible tells them that homosexuality is "an abomination". Of course, it tells them this in the same book which also says that it is an abomination to eat shellfish or wear garments made of two types of fabrics. Putting that aside, though, it's clear what their justification is for thinking homosexuality is wrong - the bible tells them so.

They can't claim that people who do things they consider to be wrong should be denied equal rights, though. That's not how things work, so they've had to come up with anothyer justification for denying gay couples the right to marry - they claim that it is an "attack on marriage" or that they have to "defend the family". And I have to admit, I've always been very confused about that. How does allowing gay couples to marry hurt marriage or family? Seems to me it encourages marriage and family. This right wing position has always left me confused.

And now, I've got even more to be confused about, since apparently the right is now worried about more than gay marriage. Their new fear is increased penalties for hate motivated crimes against gays. Coral Ridge Ministries recently put this out:

Did you get that? Somehow, hate crimes legislation is a suppression of free speech. Last I checked, beating another human being and dragging him behind your truck isn't free speech. It's a crime. And all hate crime legislation does is give you a harsher penalty if the reason you committed the crime is hatred.

I'm not advocating the passage of hate crimes legislation (although I honestly don't see a problem with it), but I can't see any reason why such legislation would automatically lead to a "criminalization of Christianity". If hate crimes legislation passes, Fred Phelps will still be able to stand out on a corner with his hateful signs and spread his hateful message all he wants. The first amendment protects that right. And laughably, if the government did try to silence bigoted Christians, the ACLU would undoubtedly be the first to step up to defend their rights.

Hate crimes legislation is nothing more than a mandated increase in penalty for crimes that are committed out of hate. Now, honestly, is killing a gay person just because they are gay a tenet of Christianity? If it is, then it's a criminalization of Christianity. But since there are already laws against killing people, Christianity of that sort is already criminal. (Well, I guess maybe it could be a tenet of Coral Ridge's Christianity, but that's certainly not what Jesus would do.)

Can someone please explain this to me?

Oh, and incidentally, if hatred of gays is a tenet of "biblical morality", then "biblical morality" is bigoted. And it's not morality. Hate - true hate - is always immoral. This "biblical morality" that Coral Ridge Ministries is so keen on protecting is despicable. It teaches bigotry against homosexuals, women, adherents of other religions, and adherents of no religion. It condones slavery. Hell, it gives instructions for selling your own daughter into slavery. You want to believe that, well, go ahead. You want to preach that to the masses, well, go ahead. But don't expect a civilized society to cater to your bronze age world view.

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