I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Love and Hate in Arkansas

I know there are a lot of gay people out there who are all kinds of happy, happy because a judge in Arkansas has ruled in favor of gay marriage.  Well, I just want to interject a little temperance into the jubilation.  While 53% of Americans either approve of gay marriage, or are neither for nor against it, 47% oppose it.  The vast majority of that 47% live in the deep south, the heart of the Bible Belt, and also the stronghold of the Republican Party.  Since many of these people still have not reconciled themselves to the reality of the Civil Rights Movement the concept of Gay Rights is a true horror.  Their religion has legitimized this hate for as long as they can remember.  Let me give you an example.
Thirty some odd years ago I joined the Navy and went to both Boot Camp and 'A' School up at Great Lakes Training Center.  There was always a notice on the school bulletin board about 'free box lunches' - you could get a free box lunch by getting on a van and going to a Baptist Church in downtown Chicago.  One Sunday some friends and I decided to take advantage of the offer.  It was an eye opener.  The focus of the Sermon was not on God's love, but on men who play piano.  I was stunned as the Pastor told the congregation that 'men who play piano sit on the bench in a funny way.'  He went on to say how none of his sons would ever learn to play the piano because he would not want them sitting like that.  He claimed that 'those men' are a blemish in God's eye and because of this they are to be despised.  Of course he had no idea that I both played the piano and was gay, and because of that could feel the hatred he was feeding his flock.  We all know this was not an isolated sermon.  Unfortunately, I suspect this Pastor was on the mild side since his church was in Chicago.

I always like to lean towards the side of caution.  Changing a law does not change the hearts and minds of the people.  Just because you can now marry legally in Arkansas doesn't mean some pudding head isn't going to burn down your house in the middle of the night.  One of the sad facts of life is that the vast majority of hate crimes in the deep south are never reported out of fear of repercussion.  So, if you're sitting comfortably in your Democratic suburb, you need to remember these people have a hate which has been legitimized by their faith since birth.  I think the best thing we can do at this point in time is to be cautious in our optimism.  Only time will tell what effects this change of law will truly have in regards to love and hate in Arkansas. 


1 comment:

  1. Change comes with time, but a lot of time that change needs a good healthy push. :) Here in Iowa, gay marriage isn't that big of a deal anymore.

    Just discovered your blog and I'm really enjoying it! I'm starting to ride my bike as well. :)