“Faith and science have at least one thing in common: Both are lifelong searches for the truth.
But while faith is an unshakable belief in the unseen, science is the study of testable, observable
phenomena. The two coexist, and may at times complement each other. But neither should be
asked to validate the other. Scientists have no more business questioning the existence of God
than theologians had telling Galileo the Earth was the center of the universe.” – Bill Allen
By Cliff Dunn
I always enjoy explaining the difference between what’s “natural” versus what’s “normal.” For something to be considered normal, it just needs the behavioral approval of the thundering herd. What defines the “norm” explains what is normal. (Example: Culturally, it is “normal” for many African-American males to disdain the homosexual lifestyle.
This, of course, fails to account for the large number of brothers who are living on the “down-low.”) What’s “natural” is informed by one’s “nature” (duh). This isn’t to say that all things that are natural are necessarily good (Ted Bundy, for instance, found it perfectly natural to kidnap, sexually assault, and murder young women). This is where a strong moral compass (and a liberal application of impulse control) comes in handy, but I suspect that all of us deal with personal demons (or at least imps) as we marry behavior that is socially-acceptable with that which is secretly-desired, and live productively as members of the greater mass of humankind. This isn’t the point I want to make, however.
I was secretly pulling for the chop-logic coalition of libertarians, establishment stalwarts, Ron Paul mavericks, and gay conservatives who banded together in Tampa last month in an effort to drag the Grand Old Party of Lincoln and Eisenhower into the 21st Century (and the company of the rest of the civilized world) and modulate the anti-gay flame that has burned so brightly since the late-1980s in the party’s ideological cauldron. (The thinly-disguised veneer of soft homophobia that was ushered in by Pat Robertson lived long past the political career of his protégé, some time-hottie Ralph Reed, and of the bullhorn they wielded— the now-discredited Christian Coalition. Clearly, dreams can come true.)
Unfortunately, when the dust settled, the Republican National Committee adopted language that calls court decisions supporting marriage equality “an assault on the foundations of our society,” and adds that “we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman, must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.” Take that, child-corrupters in GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans.
This lurch to the extreme would have drawn consternation from even Ronald Reagan. You scoff? Consider: When “Dutch” accepted his party’s nomination in 1980, the Republican platform acknowledged the national debate over reproductive freedom, introducing its abortion plank by saying that “we recognize differing views on this question among Americans in general—and in our own party.” Consider that conciliatory prose in light of this year’s authoritarian “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” (The 2012 GOP platform also calls for public display of the Ten Commandments.)
As a small “d” democrat (and a small “l” libertarian), I believe that religious and socially conservative folks should have a voice in our great democratic republic, and representation in our halls of legislation. I have had many close friends from my childhood to the present who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Southern Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Evangelical Christians, and orthodox Jews, and they have each had a way of believing how the world/cosmos/ existence works, as seen through the prism of their individual faiths, as well as a humane way of treating and dealing with those who their beliefs might consider “different.”
That’s perfectly well and good. Score one for tolerance. (Or in the words of Tony Soprano, “They don’t want my son with their daughters, and I don’t want their sons with mine.”)
Every one is entitled to their own beliefs—but no one is entitled to their own facts (a word that comes from the Latin factum, or “deeds”), and when all is said and done, in a nation of laws, every citizen is entitled to engage in the same “deeds” as every other citizen, including that most desperate deed of all—getting married to the consent adults of their choosing.
Gay Republicans are certainly free to vote how they like, selecting the candidates and ideologies that most closely calibrate to their beliefs, values, morals, principles, and ethics. But they must know that they are doing so as second tier technocrats, who have been granted only the most grudging of nods in their party’s platform. (“We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.”)
From my vantage point, that just encourages the bad behavior, perpetuating the “Jim Queer” mindset in many on the far right with the tacit endorsement of those who should instead be calling for the full measure of their civil rights the loudest. A dirty deed, indeed.