Saturday, May 12, 2012

Uh Oh...Some Politics & Religion...Family Values & Homophobia: I Want My Kids to Know We Support Marital Equality

There's a fascinating letter that has made its way to millions of viewers via email and the internet.  Purportedly, it was authored by a Professor at (or formerly at) University of Virginia.  However, he has disclaimed authorship and has written a fascinating collection of the correspondence he's received in response to the letter he didn't write and some analysis.  Dr. Laura has also disclaimed the statement to which the open letter responds.  While the history of the missive is interesting, I'm not posting it here for that reason.  Nor am I posting it because Dr. Laura made the comment (I don't listen to her so I don't know), nor because Professor Kauffman wrote it (I have no idea who wrote it).  Let me also be clear that I have no interest in being disrespectful to religious beliefs or religion.  I am however really concerned and upset about the lack of tolerance toward homosexuality and marital equality (this week's events in North Carolina for instance, are very upsetting and disappointing and our President took way too long to come out in favor of marital equality just as Bill Clinton's don't ask don't tell was hugely disappointing and wishy/washy). I do think that the open letter is a witty response to the biblical argument that homosexuality is abhorrent.

I know numerous people who have religious faith and/or are observant, who don't have an issue regarding homosexuality.  For those who lack tolerance regarding homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change your mind regardless.  It just doesn't seem to work that way.  I am, however, committed to speaking up on this issue.  There's too long a history of not taking a position because we don't want to offend people.  If you believe that homosexuality is abhorrent and my strong and clear objection to that belief offends you, I'm okay with that and I don't want to be silent about it -- it is important to voice the view that homosexuality is not abnormal nor is it abhorrent.  That's how I feel.  And if you don't want to do business with me because I support marital equality and rights for the LGBT community, I can live with that too.

In the April 27, 2012 NYTimes, there's a piece referencing newly published research that states:

"In recent years, Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.
One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”

It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it. In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchers provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire."

I didn't scrutinize the underlying research and it is worth noting that the NYT piece was written by one of the co-authors of the research (as opposed to an independently researched take on the study). What I do know (or maybe I should say 'what I do strongly believe') is that if you endorse "family values" then instead of wasting your time with anti-gay sentiment, teaching and lobbying or any kind of homophobia, why not go outside and have a catch with your kids or listen to some music with them or take a walk with them? Once I publish this post, that's precisely what I aim to do (after I remind them how strongly their parents feel about tolerance, of course).

Now let's have a few laughs at the very nicely crafted letter below (which I didn't write but kind of wish I had).
Quoting a letter widely distributed by email and on the web:

"Owning A Canadian

On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger (America's most popular talk show host) - said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura and posted on the Internet.
It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.  When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1.       Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighbouring nations.

A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.
Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2.       I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. 

In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3.       I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual un-cleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24.

The problem is how do I tell?  I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4.       When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9.

The problem is my neighbours.  They claim the odour is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?

5.       I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.  Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.

Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6.       A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.

I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7.       Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.

I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8.       Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.

How should they die?

9.       I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10.     My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.

Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia"

No comments:

Post a Comment