Tuesday, June 12, 2012

There is but one with whom she has heart to be gay

(Title is an excerpt from Tennyson's Come Into the Garden, Maud.)

Facebook debates usually drain me at least partially and exasperate me at least a little.  I used to not speak up, but I realized that I have an opinion and just as much right to express it as anyone else.  Mind you, I don't comment on everything that I could—I pick my battles.

This past week, I was involved with a rather one-sided debate that actually left me a little...gleeful.  Maybe it was because I was on the side that had the upper hand?  It was actually around five to ten people against one, which seems a little unfair.  But that one kept fighting (and he had every right to).  It was at once exasperating and actually humorous—the arguments the guy kept spitting out were, in my opinion, so absurd and textbook fundamentalist religious.

You might have guessed from the title that the debate was about gay marriage.  What started it off was one guy's incredulity that Mormons could actually be in support of gay marriage.  He seemed completely taken aback by the possibility because, he said, wasn't supporting gay marriage also supporting the actions that follow gay marriage (i.e. gay sex)?  To him, it seemed, what he thought was wrong and what should be illegal were the same: if you didn't approve of gay marriage, then it obviously should not be legal for anyone.

If you would like to read the conversation, I have saved it for posterity here (the commenter to be on the lookout for is in dark blue; I am in light pink).

After I took those screen shots, the conversation continued; but before I could record the following comments, the guy went through and deleted all of his comments.  I hope it was because he took back what he said, or at least because he realized what he said could be interpreted as offensive.  Before he deleted his words, he had apparently compared gay marriage to public nudity, which, predictably, caused a negative reaction.

The main reasons I found this debate so intriguing was that the guy couldn't have come up with better stereotypical, narrow-minded religious arguments.  Please take care to note that I am not saying that all religious people automatically have narrow-minded and stereotypical arguments—not in the least.  This particular guy was just like a stock character, and I kept thinking that you just couldn't make up better examples of silly points.  

When people provided him with evidence that contradicted his claims, he said that they were obviously misinterpreting their sources or taking things out of context (...).  He even bore his testimony of the blessings that couples could receive from a temple marriage (not really the most appropriate or effective thing to do on a thread about legalizing gay marriage).  He also had his facts about the church wrong: He insisted that a man could not be sealed to two women simultaneously unless he was doing so without church approval, and he held that the church's stance on homosexuality had never changed.  He posed the question, Who are we to change God's law?  Again, he seemed to think that the laws of the land and the laws of God were one in the same.  

I do feel a bit bad saying that I was gleeful about the affair.  I think a big reason is that he provided me with proof of someone who ignored logic and reason in favor of (false) long-standing beliefs.  See, I told the hypothetical doubters in my mind, these people actually exist!  These aren't just caricatures!

Please again take care to note that I am not putting all religious people/all gay marriage dissenters into one group, i.e. a group with this guy in it.  He is an example of an extreme that unfortunately exists.  He is not an accurate (or positive) example of the LDS church, though he definitely represents some views that a lot of members probably likewise hold.  If you oppose gay marriage, I don't hate you.  I just hope you don't use the same arguments that this guy does.

Extra credit: Read a friend's post about the same conversation (the thread was actually on her wall).

Edit: I forgot to mention that the guy left a nice, charitable parting comment: "For something nice to say: God bless all the Gays and Lesbians of the world. May the country's laws be changed in their favor."  Hooray for him!


  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "To him, it seemed, what he thought was wrong and what should be illegal were the same: if you didn't approve of gay marriage, then it obviously should not be legal for anyone." That's a big problem with our legal system today--trying to make laws about morality, which doesn't work because everyone views morality differently! I think regardless of my views on homosexuality and gay marriage, that's at the top of my list as to why I oppose making gay marriage illegal. (also at the top, they're God's children too, EVERYONE deserves my respect and love, who am I to dictate who someone else can love, and for heaven's sake, if they want to be in a committed relationship, WHY NOT?! But I digress). I also understand the feeling of being slightly gleeful over something like this--especially the sentiment of "hey, people like this DO exist!" and thinking that it justifies me for making claims against people who have proved themselves to not be hypothetical (I do that about politics all the time...). Anyways, I'm glad that the guy ended with a nice comment! And all I can say to that is Amen!

  2. Catherine, I love your comment! And I especially like the part about feeling justified in "making claims against people who have proved themselves to not be hypothetical"! That's exactly why I was excited. I guess it was a confirmation that I was not incorrect in assuming that there were people out there who were actually like that.