Justice For All: Gay Marriage And Bigotry
[Beneath The Spin]
Currently in the U.S.A: Nine states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage; 38 states have banned same-sex marriage; six states allow civil unions between same-sex couples -- not marriage (Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island)
I recognize that everyone who is against gay marriage is not a bigot.
There's much more to being a bigot than merely one's opinion. Bigots are also mean-spirited, and they generally know that their attitudes are unjust. That's why they maintain them - to express their hatred.
One doesn't have to be bigoted to hold bigoted beliefs. Some people are raised to hold certain attitudes, and while the person himself, or herself, is not a bigot, they hold discriminatory beliefs. Those beliefs have the very same kind of negative impact on society as a mouth-foaming, sheet-wearing bigot.
That's what happened during slavery. All White people didn't hate Black people, but the impact of their unexamined ideas had the very same negative consequences as those of bigots.
That's also what happened in Nazi Germany, and what led to the near extinction of Native Americans here in this country. In those instances, many of those people weren't bigots, but they allowed themselves to hold on to attitudes that allowed the true bigots to thrive.
In the case of Black people, it's important for us to understand that we're either against discrimination or we’re not. We must either be for all the people in our society to be treated equally, or we're not. There's no in-between.
And the argument that if we allow same-sex marriage, "we also have to allow a man to marry his dog, or his sister," is invalid -- because we don't allow anyone to marry his dog or sister. So everyone is being treated equally in that regard.
So what Black people should always remember is, we're products of the very same bigoted environment as White people. So we're capable of being just as bigoted as any racist Hillbilly. Look at any hip hop video and count the number of dark-skin sisters in them; very few. When was the last time you heard of a person committing a drive-by wearing a sheet? Again, very rarely, if ever. The reason for that is our own bigoted attitudes towards one another has rendered the Klan redundant in some instances.
That's why when I became a thinking adult I decided to reassess all of my attitudes and beliefs. Anything that didn't stand up to reason, I unceremoniously discarded. That included religion.
I replaced religion with ethics, because I realized that the only reason I held the religious beliefs that I did was due to an accident of birth.
With just a little bit of God-given logic, it became clear to me that if I had been born in Israel I would have believed something altogether different. If I'd been born in Iraq, I would have believed something different still. That fact alone made it abundantly clear that my religious beliefs were forged by man, not God.
It became clear to me that the only way that I could truly know God's will was by observing what God has done. God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. So if I allowed myself to be more loyal to what man has written than what God has done, my faith is not in God, but in man.
In fact, that's what faith means - that you've decided to embrace what you've been told.
Just because you've decided to embrace a given philosophy as your religious beliefs does not mean that you have the right to shove those beliefs down everyone else's throats. That's exactly what many people in this country are trying to do.
That's stupid, and it's exactly why the founding fathers chose to separate church and state. To protect us from our stupidity.
For more columns by Black Star News resident philosopher Eric L. Wattree who holds a PhD. from The University of The Street Corner please go to wattree.blogspot.com