Over the many years I’ve been staking out American television, and one corner of it especially – the lame hodgepodge of scares, misinformation, and manipulation referred to as “the nightly news” – there’s a part of their coverage that’s given me cause to laugh like no other: same-sex marriage.
And not for the reason you might think.
Nothing seems to get your average American all riled up, or to fuel divides, or create animosity and tension like the hot potato topic of gay marriage. Or gay anything, for that matter, but mostly the marriage part. And TV producers know that.
Look at Miss California and what happened there. Having disgraced herself on the Miss USA Pageant by standing up and declaring openly that she’s a devout Christian and therefore, almost by definition, homophobic, supporting discrimination, division, hate and unkindness, a move that cost her the title, she’s evidently so dumb that she took away nothing at all from the brouhaha that followed, and is now out there making news again, by actively campaigning against gay marriage, because: “it’s what God wants, I know it in my heart.”
Oh yeah, really?
Within days, guess who called Miss California to lend her support? Another devout Christian – Sarah Palin. Of course.
In truth, I’ve yet to meet an average American that cares if I’m gay or not. Indeed, outside of my bizarrely angry family members back home in England, I’ve yet to meet an average anyone at all in the entire world who has met me and cares if I’m gay or not. That’s just the way the world is: in my experience people have more pressing matters on their mind.
The ones who really do care, though, and care very, very deeply are fear-filled right-wing religious groups. Which is another oddity.
The more faith someone says they have in God, the more afraid they seem to be about life, I’ve noticed. When actually the reverse should be true. And right now what religious people are really afraid of more than anything is those ghastly gays getting married.
Afraid for the welfare and safety of children – because all gay people are sexual predators, of course. That’s not even up for debate. They just are.
Afraid that gay marriage is a threat to the stability of all straight marriages – and one thing we know for sure is that straight marriages are incredibly stable. Otherwise there’d be separations and divorces, and there aren’t.
Afraid that gay marriage breaks God’s law. God loves families and intends marriage to be between a man and woman for the purposes of procreating children. A valid point and one I must concede. Nothing else makes sense. And the kids born out of wedlock, or who hail from broken homes; the kids and wives that find themselves routinely abused by violent heterosexual dads; the dads who take a shotgun and kill their kids, their wife, and then themselves – well, how did they get into that mess? That’s not God’s doing. They must have turned their back on him and listened to the Devil instead. That’s what they did.
Afraid that God will be offended. After all, he did NOT make Adam and Steve. Got that yet? God focuses on making only certain kinds of people, the ones he likes and approves of, much the same way Santa might choose to turn out only red toy trains one year, then Barbies the next. Lucifer takes care of everybody else.
Afraid that, if you allow a man to marry a man, it won’t be long before a man will be marrying his dog. Again, very valid and I agree. Because in the part of the ceremony where the dog has to give its legal consent to marriage and say “I do”, and later when the dog comes to sign the papers, and…oh hang on. I may have spotted a flaw in that one.
Bottom line: it’s all thoroughly laughable.
In the week that yet another domino fell, when Maine did the right thing by putting centuries of hate and fear behind it and making gay marriage legal – how many states is that now? I forget – the Rachel Maddow Show last night showed a clip from the 700 Club, Christian TV’s daily infusion of shameless moralizing bullshit dressed up as intelligent comment – in which a very straight, very frightened-looking, very offended – oh boy, was she offended! – woman urged President Barack Obama also to do the right thing and celebrate the National Day of Prayer at the White House by allowing Christian groups to hold a big party there, the way her hero George W. Bush did for the past eight years.
Luckily Obama didn’t agree with her. Instead, he honored the day in his own special way: he turned his back on the 700 Club and got on with solving the country’s problems, which is what the rest of us non-fanatics and non-creepy, non-obsessed people would prefer him to do.
Juxtaposed with this item was an interview with a soldier from the US military who’d just received his marching orders: a letter booting him out of the army under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, for announcing on TV a few months ago that he was gay. Not just on TV, though, he announced it on the Rachel Maddow Show. Making the host not only the reporter of the problem, but the actual cause of it. That doesn’t happen very often.
But Maddow, who’s a lesbian herself, excels at highlighting the nonsensical nature of sexual discrimination, and I love her for that. She leaves you feeling even more astonished than before at how ludicrous all of this is, how laughable.
That a guy who’s a brilliant soldier – more than that, he’s a precious gem: fluent in Arabic and willing to risk his life for his country in Iraq – is discharged simply because he prefers men to women.
That two people who love and care for each other can’t have that love validated by marriage like their heterosexual counterparts.
But most of all that we pay even a millisecond’s attention to the 700 Club and all those other religious nuts who would infuse our minds with the same muddle-headed Biblical claptrap that keeps them chained to lives of quiet, fear-filled despair – well, it’s beyond laughable, it borders on insane.
No wonder young people are shunning religion by the tens of millions. They’re suddenly realizing something the rest of us have known for a while: it’s all made up. Spirituality is real, but religion is an entirely human construct aimed at keeping the masses duped and in check, in order to rake in huge amounts of money for church leaders. That’s it. It’s very uncomplicated.
As it is – back to the topic – I have my own, less contentious theory of why right-wing straight people don’t want gays spoiling everything by getting married.
It’s because they’re jealous.
They’re secretly very jealous of our lifestyle, our taste in home furnishings, our open-mindedness, our ability to relate to men and women equally without barriers, our ability to whip up a musical in minutes, but most of all they’re jealous of the loose gypsy nature of gay sex and its preferences, and only wish they had it so good. “They have all that, and now they want equal rights as well? Oh my gosh, then their lives would be perfect. And we can’t have that!” Irrational, of course, but that’s what it’s about. And why it’s such a huge topic.
And yet it’s not. It’s not huge at all. It’s the obsession of a blinkered, narrow-minded few, and we shouldn’t forget that. Enough people to make politicians think twice before committing positively to the issue, but still a few.
In fact, it’s my theory that most rational Americans, if you were to ask them, are privately on our side. Maybe for the wrong reason, but they are. Because what they really want to say is, “Yeah, sure, bring it on. Get married, you homos. Go for it. It’s about time you suffered like the rest of us.”
Now, that’s an argument I can relate to!
TV Swami – he say NO to religious fervor, mindless prejudice, and hate. Natch.
While you’re here, why not watch the video for Cash’s new book, Naked in Dangerous Places?