Thursday, August 07, 2003
Three Little Words
Regular readers -- the few, the brave -- know that I'm partial to reading National Review Online's group blog, The Corner. I think it's a fun, energetic, read, I share some, certainly not all, of the participant's foreign-policy perspectives, and I like the fact that the participants are identified as individuals and take each other to task, disagree, joke internally, etc. Maybe it grows out of all those episodes of Firing Line I used to watch. Hell, I even read Up from Liberalism.
I certainly don't subscribe to their many, if any, of the predominantly expressed opinions at The Corner about domestic matters, particularly social issues. The recent events within the Episcopal Church (disclaimer: not my church. I was raised a Baptist by my mom and switched myself to Methodist when I was in the 4th grade. I'm still technically a member of the Centerville, Tennessee, United Methodist Church, which means they get money from their local Conference because I'm in their head count, which is fine with me. I'm formally agnostic, strongly inclined towards skepticism about all things supernatural. Matter evolves from nothing, through mechanisms we may or may not be able to understand. Life evolves from matter. Spirit is an attribute of living things, not the other way around. One man's opinion, etc.), though, have brought forth comments in that blog that I don't care for, particularly John Derbyshire's comments. I won't quote them; I won't "Fisk" them; I won't give them credence beyond a link, and simple respect and sorrow, pity even, for someone who feels very differently about something than I do, yet something that I'm doubtful he has any real knowledge of beyond his reported "disgust".
Similarly with Lileks's comments today. Both his and Derbyshire's comments are based on the premises that wedding vows are wedding vows, that children's needs overrule all, and that by divorcing his wife, the mother of his two daughters, when he acknowledged his homosexuality, Bishop Robinson displayed an unfitness for -- well, if you read them it sounds like "life as we know it" -- the clergy, much less being a bishop.
Also, today, someone at The Corner linked to Lileks's comments mentioned above. Ironically, they didn't choose to link to Lileks's recent sensible comments on gay marriage.
I respect folks' differing points of view, and I take them at face value reflections of what they take as their own deeply held feelings and beliefs. I'm not in their skin: who am I to say that what they say isn't genuine and heartfelt. I stronly believe in the value of vows, in responsibility towards created children, etc., but I also understand -- and I think I understand this in a way that Derbyshire or Lileks likely never will -- that a gay man leaving a relationship with a woman, formal marriage or not, children existent or not, because he recognizes that he is a gay man is substantially different than a man leaving his wife for another woman. Their inability to see that difference -- I believe it exists -- goes beyond their sincerity in their comments. It gets to an inability to imagine something about aspects of one's being when those aspects are 180 degrees against the widely-held social and biological currents.
There's every evidence that Bishop Robinson was a responsible divorced dad. That some men in the same situation are irresponsible is no condemnation of this individual or of individuals to come.
Respecting the intrinsic rights that gay people have, and that ought to and will eventually be respected, will not, cannot, denigrate the lives of heterosexual people. Respecting and acknowledging gay relationships with legal and social institutions like marriage will not, cannot, take away from the institution as people already honor and respect it. It will change who gets to shove whom around, and that is a good thing. People who aren't heterosexual don't need to spend their waking hours worrying about who is coming for them or their loved ones, or why they aren't treated the same as everyone else.
That new shades are added to the pallet doesn't remove the value of the ones already there. The sky is not falling. Western Civilization is strengthened, not denigrated, by respecting everyone's human rights, not reserving certain rights for individuals with selected attributes.
Get. Over. It.