The day after most elections I’m usually a little sad. This is because even though I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my fellow voters will have fucked up yet again prior to the election, the morning after provides confirmation.
Today, in addition to the hint of sadness I’m a little angry about the passage of Amendment One and I think I know what’s at the root of it: the vote in favor of the amendment was in large part a religious referendum and not a political one (for those not aware the wording Amendment One is “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”).
I make no effort to conceal my atheism (or libertarianism for that matter) but hardly go around shouting my beliefs at all or any passersby. In short, I have a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards life that’s basically live and let live. I don’t really mind that other people, including my neighbors, believe in a god (or gods) so long as they keep it to themselves and don’t try to involve me or my family in their worldview (such as trying to get me to go to church, praying for me, or coming by my house uninvited with “literature” in an attempt to save my soul).
While driving around last week, messages like “God defines marriage” or “One man, one woman” started appearing on church signs (and why is it that man always appears first?). These signs listed the scripture to support these statements, and inevitably it was Genesis 2:22-24, which in my copy of The Revised Standard version of the bible (yes, I own a bible) reads thusly:
. . .and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
To begin with, nothing here states that they actually get married before the eyes of god or anyone else. It merely states that they, you know, fuck and have a kid. Even ignoring the literal interpretation of this passage though, the justification for codifying marriage into our state’s constitution is predicated on suspending all scientific evidence, rationality and reason in favor of believing (or rather, having faith) that a god from above who no one has seen of or heard from for at least 2,000 years made a man, took out one of his ribs and made a woman, and then declared they procreate. Color me unimpressed and unmoved by such “logic”. I’m not even sure my 2 year old would believe such a lark.
While we’re on the topic of the bible and the subject of wives, here’s this statement from Ephesians that no one seems to take seriously anymore:
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (5:22 )
And there’s this gem a little further down:
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; (Ephesians 6:5)
I could go on and on quoting the bible endlessly about shit no one in their right mind could believe to be true, let alone to be right, just or fair. Needless to say, citing the bible to support the feeble cause for legally defining marriage as between a man and woman only is casuistry at best.
Worse than that logic though is the insistence of forcing other people to think like or, at least, behave like yourself. We’ve become a nation of nannies, paying attention and judging everyone elses thoughts and actions while taking little time to consider the consequences of our own. And nobody seems capable of being big enough to ever state “I was wrong” or “I change my mind based upon the evidence”. Exactly what crime is being committed when two (or hell, more) consenting adults love each other and want to get married?
And here’s the fix for the problem, though I don’t understand why nobody in the debate, or relative lack thereof, is capable of making: why is the government involved in marriage at all? Why must it be assumed that government be the sole arbiter of who gets married and who doesn’t? So long as we continue to accept the government;s role in something it definitely should not be involved in, then we’ll have groups of people who want to lord it over other groups. Sadly though, we’ve just become a nation of nannies who have no respect for minority viewpoints and have come to accept the same of our leaders who are elected to represent their constituency and not push their own private agendas on the rest of us. I suppose that would be too much to ask of mere mortals and that’s why amendment one’s will continue to be passed in various forms for years to come.