Saturday, December 11, 2010

do tell

Normally when I see people clumping together and shouting, I try to stay out of it.

Sometimes, though, I feel like it's my own people doing the shouting and I get so flippin' tired of being implicated. So I'd like to go ahead and say a little something about this whole "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" thing.

The truth is, I don't know jack-diddly about this particular law or where it came from. But I do know enough to assume that even as I type this, some dirt-bag shock-jock is screaming into a radio microphone, telling people that if they let gays serve openly in the military then jet planes are gonna start dropping from the sky and cats are gonna start breeding with dogs and the next thing you know, gay communists are gonna be teaching social studies at the local elementary schools.

I know you might think it isn't cool of me to say this; but having been raised, as I have, in the religious tradition that a lot of these guys have hijacked (Christian) to use as a vehicle for the transmission of their fear, I am going for the purpose of this post to go ahead and let them have what I believe is their basic premise, which is this: "gay is bad and no one should ever be gay; but if they're going to be so crass as to admit that they're gay, then for God's Sake they ought to have the decency to be ashamed about it!"

I know it's not politically correct to let them have this - not even for a moment - but like I said... these are my peeps. I may think they're being totally stupid here, but I think it's kinda beside the point and I want them to listen to what I am going to say next. See, what I really don't understand is this:

If the point is to keep people who do things that you think are bad from ever openly admitting it or holding any kind of position that involves government-sanctioned access to deadly weapons, then why the farfignoogan are they stopping there? For example, I have known a few United States Military employees in my day, and based on the anecdotal evidence of these acquaintances, I would say that the lion's share of folks in the armed services fornicate regularly. And not only do they have sex with people to whom they are not married,  but they also sometimes brag about it.

The Christian tradition teaches that a moral failure is a moral failure is a moral failure, so I can't figure out why these radio idiots - who, if they're claiming to be part of the orthodox Christian tradition, must therefore also be against fornication - don't also argue for a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for heterosexual fornicators. Or for that matter, for gossips... or gluttons... or people who have haughty hearts. Seriously, if you wanna talk about folks who really make God angry, Biblically speaking, try proud people.

Maybe that's it. Maybe in order to get behind a microphone and say those sorts of things you have to be a big, fat, arrogant jerk. Maybe these guys know that and are scared out of their gourds that someone else is gonna notice. Maybe they're just running around screaming at everybody else so that no one will point out what they suspect but are too chicken to admit: that yes, if God gets angry then God is angry... but it's at them.

Since when did it become the purpose of law in this country to legislate morality? When I made the decision to be born a rich, Caucasian American, I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

But then, I guess nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

6 comments:

  1. nooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!

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  2. I find it interesting how so many people (myself included) in the Christian and secular community can be so divided when it comes to certain sins that are more 'sinful' than others. We have conveniently rated sin from 'moderate/ok' to 'you're going to burn in hell if you even think of doing this' in order to excuse ourselves from socially accepted wrongs that are commonplace and to protect ourselves from realizing that we're actually a lot worse off than we think. When we should be asking for more grace and forgiveness, I find that we often think about where the 'slip-up' rates on the scale. Why is it that so many people can be so offended with homosexuality and yet won't bat an eye with overt adultery?

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  3. I'd also like to know why there isn't a "don't ask/tell" policy for all government work. Is it just the guys we pay to shoot people in other countries who can't be gay? What about politician/decision makers? From what I hear people saying, it's not just that immoral people can't be good soldiers, it's the morale busting that (obviously) comes from proximity to gay people in a military unit - high pressure situations and all that. Why not ban openly gay people from police forces and firefighting positions? Both are high stress, group mentality, band of brothers type occupations much like military work. If you are going to ban gays from the military, you'd better start looking around at all the other things that they are apparently also unsuitable for ... and then you'd better get ready for the lawsuits and court challenges that will surely (and rightfully) come.

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  4. Excellent points, Darren. But here's how we can get around the whole "lawsuits and court challenges" thing... what we have to do is institute martial law, and have a special squad that goes around taking care of all this stuff. We tell them they're better than other people and then give them broad discretionary powers, special uniforms, and zero accountability.

    I know it sounds like I'm describing the gestapo or something, but it isn't, because they won't be suppressing people for something arbitrary, like race, it will be for moral indiscretions - something that everybody everywhere always agrees is perfectly clearly defined.

    Besides, as every parent knows, if you don't violently suppress every wayward action immediately and with extreme prejudice, you don't really love your children. Violence is all about love. Obviously.

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  5. "The Christian tradition teaches that no moral failing is worse than any other"

    Hey buddy, I like the general idea of what you're saying - why the particular outrage about this issue? - but you make a false assumption when you say that "The Christian tradition teaches that no moral failing is worse than any other". This is a fairly recent notion. While the end result of all sin is death, the immediate result of some sins is far more personally and socially damaging. That's why the outrage about this specific sin in open approval. But I agree that this isn't the only one we should be trying to oust from public service.

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  6. Good point, swift family. It is of course true that some actions have much graver consequences: I would far prefer to have you call me a poopy-face than to have you chop off my right arm with a dull Chinese multi-tool.

    I guess I was trying to just side-step that question so I could be heard in my point about the arrogance (and fear) of picking one particular issue to be adamant about.

    If we were going to rank behaviors in terms of their degree of personal and social damage, however, I don't think homosexuality would even come up on my radar right now.

    The bottom line for me is that it does not matter all that much how I rank behaviors: the Truth is the Truth is the Truth, despite my inability to distinguish it with any real clarity. What really matters to me is how well I love and encourage love in others; and I refuse to indulge my human penchant for focusing on relatively obscure moral issues that are personally very easy for me while ignoring the much larger, much more glaring and clearly delineated ones with which I personally struggle.

    I want to be a better lover, NOT a better cataloguer of other people's issues.

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