I don’t mean to go all political in my second-ish posting but I’m going to anyway. This article hit a bunch of my trigger points so I’m going to bring it up. Both 365gay.com and advocate.com carried this article and it also can be found through the Associated Press website.
Conservatives Say Religion Under Attack By Gays
To quote the most irritating part of this particular article:
Perkins and others are building a case file of anecdotes where they say religious people have spoken out against gay marriage only to be punished. Perkins specifically cited the decision by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich in June to fire his appointee to the Washington area transit board after the board member referred to homosexuals as “persons of sexual deviancy.”
The board member, Robert J. Smith, said he was expressing his personal beliefs as a Roman Catholic.
To make one thing perfectly clear from the start: I don’t personally agree with the decision to fire Mr. Smith. I don’t think it does the gay community or civil rights movement any good whatsoever to encourage the punishment of people who say mean things about us. Honestly, it has very little bearing on my life if Mr. Bob Smith of the Washington Transit Board doesn’t like that I fuck my boyfriend in ways that my him feel icky.
If Mr. Smith was going to be fired for anything it would be not understanding the appropriate way to express one’s beliefs in public. I would have been far more offended if I was on the transit board with this fellow and he disrespected the board itself with this kind of unnecessarily inflammatory language (granted I just said “fuck” a bit ago but there is a difference between a blog and being on a government committee).
All that said, his argument is awfully weak. “I was expressing my beliefs as a Roman Catholic” is a shaky argument, which at its core undermines the foundation of civilized society. That may sound a bit like that inflammatory language I just complained about but hear out my argument. Mr. Smith has never met me, and I doubt that his interactions with the GLBT folk he has met has had much influence on his thinking. However, I feel relatively comfortable saying that he is a small minded bigoted idiot. I could say that I know this is true because he is a self-avowed Roman Catholic.
If I said this on the Washington transit board, I could argue that as a figure of leadership in the pagan community it is my obligation to point out that strict inflexible monotheistic belief systems with little room for personal interactions with deity are in fact small minded and bigoted in their essential nature. I don’t personally feel this way, but I could make a strong argument if pressed.
If Mr. Smith and I both made these arguments at the same meeting I doubt much work would be done of vital concern to Washington commuters. To paraphrase a famous author, “Civility is the glue that holds society together.”
As an American, Mr. Smith should have the right to say what he thinks and feels, without having to retreat behind the skirt of protection of religious expression. If he is to be reprimanded, let it be by his peers who could point out that he is being a jerk and ignore him if he persists. However, as a member of polite society, people like Mr. Smith whose religious beliefs devalue members of that same society need to learn when to shut up.