Same-Sex Marriage Part III: All Men are Created Equal

Jefferson and such

If cliché phrases can be tools for the writers, let this be another instance of the rhetoric device:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”   -Thomas Jefferson

If you’re an American, you have been indoctrinated with these words and always keep them in the back of your mind.  These words, above all others in any of the founder’s literature, express America and American spirit, her hopes, her dreams, and her beliefs.  The meaning of these words seems to me to be as self-evident as the truths of which Thomas Jefferson is referring to.  All people, no matter the creed, belief, non-violent action, or speech act have the right to live a life in pursuit of happiness and life’s ventures.  However, there are some that would twist these words and their meaning to lessen the rights that they enjoy, simply because others are different.

These are some of the arguments for marriage equality:

In response to an argument against gay marriage, I mentioned an argument for the ‘naturalness’ of what we would call ‘gay sex acts.’  I seem to have upset some people, as they felt it was a weak argument.  However, it is a sound argument and I will present it again, in a way to define it more for those that may not have understood.

Homo sapiens have the luxury of the evolution adaptation of a rational mind.  A rational mind is a mind in which processes of the brain can help humans utilize logical speech acts to express a point or make a decision (whether it be to brush your teeth or stop at a stop-sign).

As far as human beings can understand, we are the only species on Earth that has the mental capacity to make these decisions.  No other animal has ever given scientists any indication of holding the capability to reason as humans do.

There can be no disputing the fact that occasionally, human beings act without utilizing the rational-part of the brain.  Whether that is positive or negative can be understood by the consequences of the action (if you are an ethical consequentialist).

An action can be considered ‘natural’ if a non-rationally capable animal commits the action because it does not take a rationally-evolved mind to complete the process and decide (for lack of a better word) to perform said action.

Therefore, because gay-sex acts are observed in non-human great apes and sea-dwelling mammals, and are somewhat commonplace in the animal kingdom, the act of gay-sex cannot be considered the ‘choice’ of a deviant lifestyle, as some religious folk may argue, but instead, a natural action performed by an animal (yes, human beings are animals).

I understand that it may sicken some of you to know that human beings are not anointed to be of a higher dominion than other animals. However, we are simply more-well adapted to our environment than many other animals, and coupled with the diet that our ancestors had that increased brain capacity over hundreds of thousands of generations, we are at a point in history in which our minds are the way we observe them to be, not out of a magic-man’s hands, but a natural process.  Homosexual acts are a natural action.  This argument alone is not enough to put to bed the argument that gays are somehow lesser beings than non-gays, but it is enough to put to be the pseudo-logical idea that homosexuality is ‘unnatural’.

Alive as well is the argument that homosexuals lead harmful lifestyles.  While ‘harmful’ can be subjective, the thought is that the transmission of AIDS is good enough to outlaw homosexual acts.  However, we now know that AIDS is not a disease that effects only gays, but everyone.  The transmission of AIDS is possible with any sexual contact.  The harmful lifestyle that is being referred to is now, no longer had exclusive to oppressed gays that are disallowed civil rights that all others have, but now with those non-gays that would choose to lead a promiscuous sexual lifestyles.

This argument is yet another piece of political propaganda used to put gays into a status of sub-human existence.  There is no evidence existing of a larger population per capita of gays leading a promiscuous lifestyle than there are of non-gays.  However, the number may also significantly drop if marriage equality is obtained.

Floating around in the comments from my last piece, as well as in the lungs in middle-America is the idea that marriage is purely a Judeo-Christian institution.  This is simply and easily laid to rest as there are many parts of the world in which love flourishes and Christianity has not tainted the air with its oppressive tyranny.  Civil union cannot be hijacked by American Christians and become something that is exclusive to a system of belief that holds no leverage in Politics.

If you are religious and wish to make exclusive the rights of your church, mosque, or synagogue to those that profess to feel exactly the same way that you do, you may do that.  However, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and many of the other founders warned future Americans that there would come a time in which religious oppression would attempt to take the rights away from citizens, and safeguarded the Constitution from special-interest groups with that aim.

Denying the rights of civil unions to people is a form of minority discrimination.  Those of us that are fortunate to have been born as white, male, or middle/upper class in a time of American history that is much kinder to minorities do not understand the pain, mental and physical that women, blacks, Hispanics, middle-easterners, and any person that we see as different than ‘us’ have endured.  This is the land of the free and is open to any that wish to hold the same rights that we find to be ‘self-evident’ among all people.

We are not different.  Whether you ‘believe’ that gays are leading a deviant lifestyle, or you think that those around you are going to a terrible place for not believing in the same God as you (and being rude to you in the line at Subway), or you just think that brown people are dumb, your opinion has no bearing in government and you cannot shatter the hopes and dreams of a nation and its people of holding rights that should be held.

We are not different.  I may not like the fact that I live in a country in which a belief structure that I find to be highly-harmful to liberty has flourished, but I support your right to follow it.  I hope only in time that rhetoric and logic may help those in shackles that would like to be released.  My distaste for such religious institutions is not grounds for legislation to prohibit those from peacefully worshiping the sky.

We are not different. I live with the presupposition that people in love with members of the same sex as them are not actors simply pretending to piss you and your God off.  My position is based on our Constitution and scientific evidence as precedent for the way I live my life, which is one to support all people and their private actions.

The final part of the Same-Sex marriage piece will be posted later this week.  As always, leave comments and discuss among yourselves the arguments and formulate your opinions justly.

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon

Same-Sex Marriage Part II: God’s Country and the Future of Our Children

READ ME

In Part II of this series, I outline the religious and non-religious arguments against marriage equality and expose problems in the argumentation.

Though it may be rightfully considered a religious issue, there are arguments used from both religious and non-religious sides.  Although, the reasoning of the non-religious arguments generally holds root in American Religious tradition.  It is known, albeit sometimes ignored, that our Constitutional provisions disallow any law being created for or because of religious doctrine or belief.  Even so, there are those among us that would seek to find some logical argument, even while exercising fallacies, to create a country in which their rights are sound and the rights of others are expendable.  This is the platform of those against marriage equality.

We will save the fun, religious arguments for later.  First, let us address the “non-religious” platforms for the inequality our country pronounces.  Of the three most used statements of non-religious origins, two of heavily involve the future of our children. First, ‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’  Second, ‘Gays marrying will confuse children about gender roles.’  Finally, ‘If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?’ The last one is my favorite.

‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’  This may be the most common argument used against same-sex marriage.  This is argument is one that is a surrogate for the religious arguments because it is not sound in constitutional law, instead, a much more defensive ideal that instills fear into the masses.  It solidly professes the idea that “they” will take away what “I” hold dearly to my heart.   The argument is not strong, however, because of the defensive, fear inducing motivation, and the illusion of “traditional family values.”   Traditional family values date back to the late 1940s/early 1950s.   We have all heard the term ‘Nuclear Family.’  A man and women, father works a middle-class day job and the mother is the homemaker.  They also have a couple kids that go to suburban public schools.  With the rise of fear of godless communism in the 1950s, the suburban family needed something to cling to.  Thus, the traditional family values that have since become obsolete.   Now, this tradition, being less than five generations old and already outdated with the rise of one-parent households, ambiguous gender roles, and the semi-acceptance of unmarried gay couples adopting children is irrelevant in the discussion.

Much more simply denied is the belief that gay parents would confuse children about gender roles.   In the early 1990s, unmarried gay couples adopting children started to become much more common.  Though the fear that it would destroy the future of the children was not realized, there are still groups that would perpetuate the opposite.  Since World War II, gender roles in the household have become more and more ambiguous and now, an equal number of men and women hold professional positions and do equal work in the house.  Like the previous argument, this one is irrelevant.

The final non-religious argument is my favorite.  While stating it facetiously, I enjoy using a southern accent.  “If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?”  Really, any barnyard animal can be substituted.   This is a perfect argument for the uneducated because it is a perfect example of the slippery slope logical fallacy.   Telling the layperson that the argument is a slippery slope fallacy will not convince them, so we will delve more deeply.  This is a comparison between a gay man or woman and a horse.  This argument exposes the true feelings of those against equality of any kind.  They believe that the others are lower beings, like animals.  There should be no fear that same sex marriage would give way to man-marrying-animal because an animal cannot consent and are not cognitively aware as Homo sapiens are.  If you worry about polygamy, then you’re not reading your bible very well- multiple instances in which the bible endorses it.  Additionally, Mohammed is famous for taking on many wives, and endorsing such acts if the household-head can support them all.

Though also irrelevant in law, the religious arguments are important to address because American religious institutions seem to not understand that they do not have political power outside of their own sect.  The first thing that American Christians tell you when you say ‘same-sex marriage’ is “I believe it is a sin in the bible.”  We all know what the passage reads basically that a man laying with other men as they do with women is an ‘abomination.’  The term ‘abomination’ is one of the most popular words for a Christian.  However, they seem to forget that in the same breath, the primitive middle-eastern writer also states that eating ham and wearing clothing of multiple fabrics is an ‘abomination.’  There is no way to reconcile this without admitting that the reader can interpret the severity of the sin and make their own assumptions as to what it is supposed to mean.  By trying, you take credibility away from your own argument because an average Christian parishioner is not equipped at all to interpret their own holy book.

Finally, it is common to hear that marriage sanctity is important.  Christians in America truly believe that marriage is the creation of Christians before them, and must be protected.  I will admit that if a church chooses to not marry two people, for whatever reason, the law cannot and should not force them to.  However, religious marriage and legal marriage as observed by the government are not interchangeable.  Obviously, the phrase “sanctity of marriage” is laughable, unless you include polygamy and womanservents.  I say: let the religions hate.  They will lose their members and die out (like the ultra-conservative Republican Party) unless they move with civilization into the 21st century and beyond.

The next part in this series will discuss the arguments for marriage equality.  If you wish to refute my arguments or discuss further, please comment and share this article.

 

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon

Women’s History Month: God is Looking Down on Us, and She is Pissed!

Hands new

As you all know, it is March and that can only mean one thing: Women’s History Month. I’ve decided to show my support for women with a refutation of the religious oppression of women, as well as an exploration into the right way to personify God.

The Problem of God’s Manhood

It is not much of a secret that the Christian church has had a long and spirited history with how to handle the problem of women.  Men had already taken the political, social, and economic power, and left women with household management and child rearing.  This distributing of societal standards set the precedent of which women will have to combat for almost 2000 years. With the rise of Judaism and Christianity in the West (as well as Islam in the East), a golden opportunity appeared to ensure that men would maintain power over women.

In the story of creation from the Old Testament: God created Man in His own image; the woman was created in Man’s image.  It is very interesting that people often overlook the overt sexism that is in the first couple pages of Genesis.  Aside from the numerous instances as God being personified as a man, which I will address in the coming paragraphs, God created man first, and then created a woman for the man.  The story of creation in the Old Testament was a way for men to exercise their claims that men are closer to God than women.

To keep my point manageable, I will not refer directly to the almost enumerable passages about ‘womanservents,’ slave girls,’ and ‘multiple wives in a household,’  or the passages stating that men rule over women, but please note that I am not pulling these connections between female oppression and the Bible out of thin air.

God is thought to being an ultimate, supreme, and perfect being; with qualities of Omnipotence, Omnibenevolence, and Omniscience. This description has held true through more than two millennia (though questioned by many Christian philosophers), and is one of the first pieces of propaganda that children are taught in Sunday school.  God is also said to have human characteristics and traits, based largely on the depiction of God in the Bible, such as love, compassion, morality, and jealousy.  God is the creator, the judge, the jury, and in many cases, the executioner.  God is also a man.

Aside from the obvious paradoxes that come from combining any of these traits into one being (such as a being that is all-powerful and all-good trying to perform an action that is immoral), the assertion that God is a man, or has any trait of manhood has no logical expounder.

To give God a gender is to say that one gender is more God-like than another Gender.  This is to say that one gender, manhood, is more Godly than women, therefore, should hold dominion over the other.  However, many Christian and non-Christian philosophers, including St. Thomas Aquinas have decided that it is impossible for human beings (finite), to understand or comprehend God’s essence (infinite).

For these reasons, we can reasonably toy with the notion that the story in Genesis and the conviction that God is a man are purely propaganda pieces used to oppress the rights of women for whatever the necessary end.

The End of Religious Chauvinism

Is it not possible that if a new monotheistic religion, like Christianity or Judaism were invented today, that the God would personified as a woman?

We understand that the Middle East, circa 200 B.C.E. was not a particularly friendly place for women.  However, now, in the West, women enjoy many of the same rights as men.  Women are known to be physically inferior to men’s strength and muscle mass, but women are shown to have a higher capacity than men in many academic settings.

These facts have led us to a society in which women are thought of as more equal to men than ever before.  Though it must be conceded that women are not considered completely equal to men yet, (women have less opportunity and are paid less in professional settings than men), women are more to our modern civilizations than they have been to any in history.

Women are also the leaders of the household in many homes in our modern societies.  Due to broken homes, a drastic shift in gender roles, and the growing acceptance of homosexuality over the last twenty years, women have become as entrenched in political, social, and economic roles that were until recently, left only to men.  With these changes, the necessity for a monotheistic God to be a man in order for the religion to be socially acceptable is nullified. This means that our modern societies could accept a female God.

If we may look at the traits that I mentioned earlier, which are given to the Judeo-Christian God, we see three main characteristics: Omnipotence, Omnibenevolence, and Omniscience.  A new monotheistic God must have these three traits in order to compare to current God that is perpetuated by the three modern monotheistic religions.  Our new Goddess must have the traits of Infinite Goodness, Infinite Power, and Infinite Knowledge.

It is not hard to believe that our Goddess could be infinitely good/moral.  By our modern societal standards, women are just as moral as men, and less akin to immoral actions of the flesh.  There is a discrepancy that could be argued: The social taboo of women being “sluts” or “whores” could be used as a counterpoint to my point.  However, those terms are a result of a male-driven society and do not hold up to scrutiny.

Our Goddess could also easily be with infinite knowledge.  I argued in an earlier paragraph that women do score higher than men on many academic tests that measure the capacity for learning and understanding in many subject. Therefore, if a male God could be all knowing, so could a female God.

The status of an all-powerful female God could be disputed by a chauvinist.  It cannot be defamed that men are stronger than women physically.  Even so, women, and mothers in particular are the force that give children everything that they need to grow into adulthood.  That is a power that cannot be denied.

Thus far, we have decided that in modern western society, a female monotheistic God is just as possible as a male monotheistic God, but I have not made a claim that would decide for certain that our new God would necessarily be personified as a woman.

Consider this: God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.  These traits are common with a monotheistic God’s essence.  However, the original purpose of primitive culture’s beliefs in Gods is the explanation of world around us, and before modern science, the answer to how we got here; a creator.  This is how we can know our new monotheistic Goddess will not be hijacked by men and used for oppression.

Women are the creators of life.  Women harbor the necessary tools for reproduction, in which a new life is produced from the previous form of life.  Is this not what the story of creation in any religious tradition is about?

Without the social, political, economic, and household stigmas that held women oppressed for thousands of years, we can be certain of one thing:  Our new monotheistic god will not be an oppressive and jealous oaf that must have a pissing contest with any of the creations that defy Him. Our Goddess will be loving, compassionate, and caring, like a cosmic-mother and creator should be.

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon