Why Two?

The question has been asked, and it’s time it was answered. A select few mainstream evangelicals are posing this question, and although responses have been attempted, none have yet proved sufficient. “Why Two? Why not three, or four, or ten?” This question, of course, is about marriage. Having won the battle for the rights of two people of the same sex to marry, we now face a question designed by evangelicals to trap us into a moral corner. The assumption is that we are insistent upon marriage being confined to only two partners, and because they see our victory as a redefinition, they want to hear our explanation as to why we insist upon two. “If you are redefining marriage anyway, why stop now? Why two? Why not more?”

Now, if you are in the pro marriage equality camp, and you do feel that marriage must be confined to two partners, I would love to hear it. But our movement was never about just two. It’s about equality, and the historic fight won in the U.S. Supreme Court was about people of the same sex being able to enter into a marriage contract with one another – two because that’s the marriage convention we have. If a group of polygamists/polygynists began demanding the right to marry tomorrow, I for one would not have a problem with it; and here’s why:

Relationships that have a sexual component, in this case marriage, hinge on consent. The reason we do not allow children to marry children, or adults to marry children or animals, is because children and animals do not have the mental or emotional capacity to understand the meaning of such relationships; and cannot appropriately give consent. In the case of adults, be it two or more than two, consent can freely be given. Polygamy may not be right for you, it certainly wouldn’t work for me, but where consent is present, I see no reason to impose restrictions on it based on my own distaste. I can’t answer the question “why two,” because I am not of the mindset that it must be only two.

I must admit, I find this question a bit curious, considering where it comes from. Those posing it are firmly in the “only two” camp, and every time a progressive says what I just said, they feel a small sense of victory. “Ha! See? They have no morals! They say they are good people, but they just contradicted themselves!” The problem is that nobody contradicted themselves at all. I am a good person, and believing that marriage between consenting adults is okay, be it between two or more people, doesn’t make me a bad person. Among the many assumptions these opponents make is the belief that we agree with their morality, at least to a certain point. “We believe marriage is between two people, they agree with us on that, so if they say polygamy is okay, they have made a moral contradiction.” The reasoning behind this question is ludicrous, and based on an unfounded premise. Many of us do not agree.

The first five books of the Bible talk positively about polygamy frequently, and it’s used in all sorts of contexts – economic necessity, social organization, even by divine command. Two-person marriage is not the only God-ordained form outlined in the scriptures, yet it is seen as a fundamental issue of morality today that only two people, one man and one woman, be granted the right to it. The question “why two” is a good one, but it is being asked of the wrong people. Those asking “why two” need to have the question turned back on them. To the evangelicals asking us “why two,” I ask the same of you. I never said “two,” and the funny thing is your Bible doesn’t insist upon it either. So why two? Why is it that you are so adamant that marriage be between two people? Let’s be honest, you have more scriptural support for your arguments against same-sex marriage than you do against polygamy; and that’s not much. So why two?

As a final thought, consider this. We on the progressive left are being challenged on moral grounds by people who believe a book that says a woman, subject to the will of her father, can be forced to marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Exodus 22:16-17). We are being asked “why two” by followers of a God, eternally unchanging, who allows polygamy under certain circumstances (Genesis 16:1-11), and is arguably generally accepting of it when you take all of scripture into account. We are being asked “why two” by people who assume we think “just two.” They don’t know if we feel this way, they just assume we do, and cry moral foul when it turns out we don’t. To our evangelical opponents, perhaps you would care to answer the question: Why two?

 

Advertisements

An Open Letter To Franklin Graham

While combing through the news this week, I came across a story about how Franklin Graham, in the midst of a vile attack on the LGBTQ+ community and our fight for civil rights, has called Transgender people “predators and sexually perverted.” When are these evangelical preachers going to realize that their actions against people they fear are completely contrary to the teachings of the man named Jesus they claim to follow?

Mr. Graham:

So I’m a predator and a pervert, am I? I identify as Genderqueer, which puts me under the Trans umbrella, and at 34 years of age, I have never preyed on anybody for any purpose; nor have I ever had the desire to do so. Your hateful diatribe against me and those like me reveals a willful ignorance (you do, after all, have access to education on these issues), a fragile ego that feeds off of demeaning and degrading others, and an un-Christlike heart. You should be ashamed of yourself.

As a child, I was in awe of your father. Billy Graham and his message was ever-present in the charismatic and evangelical movements of the time. He was a powerful speaker, and I was convinced that he was ordained by God to spread the gospel. I later came to see him as a charlatan, a man who is not only dishonest, but deliberately deceptive, a man who played on the hopes and fears of people while tugging at their purse strings. You, sir, are just like him. The difference, though, and this is what makes you worse, is that you are actively campaigning to deny basic human rights; and using vile degrading language in the process.

I suppose, Mr. Graham, that you are actually quite proud of yourself. You did, after all, win your last battle to keep discriminatory policy on the books (referenced in the link above), and you are no doubt thrilled that a dozen states still have unconstitutional sodomy bans in place (as of 2014, and to my knowledge these have not changed). But while you insist upon making it difficult for us to be recognized as human beings, and as you carry on this disgusting crusade, listen carefully when I say that you are going to lose. You see, what was once a secret, what used to be dangerous to say, is no longer taboo. Of course in some conservative places, it is still dangerous to say that you are gay, Trans, or even an ally, but in most places it’s now safe to come out. The genie, as they say, is out of the bottle, and it can’t be put back in. We are out, and in the face of oppression we stand proud. That pride is why you will lose. We aren’t going anywhere, and we sure as hell are not backing down from a petty, vindictive, arrogant person like you.

I want to suggest that you sincerely try to learn about who and what we are, about the challenges we face, and about the legitimacy of Trans identity. I want to tell you that at your age it’s not too late. I want to encourage you to find it in your heart to stop fighting against humanity … but I’m almost ashamed to say that I don’t actually care if you do any of that. I am very proud of how I handle my advocacy. I am proud of my insistence on civility, my discretion with labels and ‘name-calling,’ my honesty … but I’m sick and tired of people like you. Since you’re so honest about wanting us to be treated like second-class citizens, and about wanting to deny us basic human rights, here’s a bit of honesty from me to you. I want to see you fail. I want to see your ministry investigated, to have your tax-exempt status revoked, and I want to see you fall out of favour with those who you and your father have been cheating and stealing from all these years. I want to see every piece of legislation you fight against passed, and everything you fight for struck down. And if everything I want happens, it still won’t be enough. Why? Because I could never wish enough ill will on you to match the pain and devastation you want to see levelled against us. I don’t want you put in prison for your beliefs. I don’t want to see you physically assaulted. I don’t want to see you homeless. I don’t want to see you subjected to unconstitutional restrictions on your rights and freedoms. I could never match your hatred for me, because I don’t have it in me to feel that way toward another human being.

Mr. Graham, you may think I’m a predatory pervert, but I encourage you to look in a mirror. I don’t prey on people, nor do I use them … but that’s exactly how your father got rich. I don’t publicly talk about my sexual preferences … but you seem obsessed with the preferences you imagine I have. I fight for people who are taking their own lives … while your fight is the reason they take their own lives. Stop calling us predators and perverts, Mr. Graham. You’re obviously projecting all over yourself.

 

A Coffee Cup, And A Nation Falling Apart?

The war for equality rages on, the right-wingers get louder and more angry, and by now you have all heard about the latest controversy in America. In an unprecedented move, Starbucks has launched an all-out attack on Christianity. That’s right, they took the holiday imagery off of their coffee cups in an effort to be more *gasp* inclusive. No more snowflakes, no more snowmen (which we all know are both Christian symbols in the first place, right?), just plain red cups. People across America are freaking out. Donald Trump has boldly declared that Starbucks will be boycotted and thrown out of Trump Tower, and that if he’s elected President, all of America will once again be saying “Merry Christmas;” presumably instead of the dreadful anti-Christian “Happy Holiday.” Of course, this is just the latest scandal in our leftist agenda, one that further moves America down the path to moral bankruptcy, and ultimately destruction. Next, cue the evangelicals. Somehow, this will have something to do with the “gay agenda,” it always does. After all, we “gay activists” are responsible for all the bad that goes on, aren’t we? From floods, to earthquakes, to more gay people, everything is our fault. People repent! Shun the gays and take back the Christmas Cup! The day of reckoning is nigh!

Okay, enough fooling around. Is anybody actually taking this seriously? I have asked, on more than one occasion, why anti-equality activists persist and do what they do, but if you think Starbucks taking the snowflakes off of your coffee cup is an attack on your faith, question answered. There is something seriously wrong with people who think this way. It’s not a state of mind problem, either. This is a deeper psychological issue, and it’s happening on a mass scale. This could be, I believe, just the next outrage along the path to a terrifying inevitability.

Most violent groups – Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS – rise up in reaction to something. They take action when they have been pushed to their breaking point. In the western world, we don’t have many of the problems faced elsewhere. We have it easy in comparison, and reasons to rise up are few. Frustrations, however, are boiling over, and I believe we are close to the tipping point; where the perception of Christian persecution will drive groups to form and act, with more than the hateful words we have grown accustomed to. It’s fun to laugh and poke a little fun at those who have over-the-top reactions to seemingly trivial things, but we must not lose sight of the fact that their numbers are large enough to cause some real damage. Still, as I believe we should take the possibility of a future evangelical militia seriously, I often wonder if America will be taken seriously in the decades to follow?

My neighbours to the south, what is going on down there? Republicans are embarrassing themselves daily, the Democrats aren’t much better, your politics and your religion are mashed together, and it’s all become one big mess. From the outside, it looks like a nation unravelling, and all over the inability of grown adults to cooperate and focus on the actual issues. You have homelessness growing as more and more LGBTQ+ youth are forced out of their homes, and the response is to argue over whether homosexuality is protected under the Constitution; not to mention whether or not it’s a sin. You have a seemingly growing number of police officers who are so stressed over the threat of violence that they shoot first and ask questions later, and you choose to talk about bad parenting and disrespectful children. You have people calling for the separation of church and state, something that is irrefutably protected under your Constitution, and instead of dealing with the actual issue, people take the Fox News bait and start fighting over the supposed “War on Christmas.” This is madness.

I am not an American, but I care deeply about what goes on in America. I care because (A) I care about people, and (B) I live next door. I chose to write this today because I want Americans to know that we are watching. What you do still matters, many of us still care, and we want to see you do well. The whole world is not against you, some of us care very much, and watching you falling apart like this is disheartening; to say the least. I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope that evangelicals don’t take up arms. I hope that the calls to do so fall on deaf ears, and that peace can somehow be reached. I wish Fox News would stop fear mongering every holiday season, creating rifts between you. I wish presidential hopefuls would start to actually read and think, before doing the same. As for this coffee cup issue … come on. Is this really what you want to spend your time on? Are there not more pressing issues to confront than the appearance of the cup from which you drink your spiced mocha latte? If the colour of an overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks is that big a concern for you, you are very privileged indeed.