Monday, April 20, 2009

Difficult Truth #2

No one is obliged to respect your religion.

This one hit me when I was reading about the Miss America contestant from California, who replied to the openly gay blogger Perez Hilton when he asked her about her opinion on gay marriage, that "In my family, in my *country*, I think marriage should be between a man and a woman." Emphasis mine. Firstly, I was ashamed of Hilton. He knew that there was a "right" answer to this question, and it was downright MEAN of him to give the contestant the choice between lying and shaming herself on TV. A director of the Miss California pagaent STUPIDLY replied that she didn't think religion had any part in a pagaent. Lady, you're doing your cause no favours. The christian right looooves to wallow in self-pity about how the world is aligned against them (even though they're a majority in the US). You just gave them some bait and they're going to bite.
My first thought was: "I have no respect for Christianity." My second thought was that that does not make any sense at all. Christianity is a concept. A philosophy. It's hard to have no respect for something as nebulous as a philosophy. I can't well say "I've got no respect for Marxism", afterall, there have been some communist movements around the world that have had good points. Marx had some ideas that I respect. I can, however say that I do not respect Chairman Mao's interpretation of Marxism.
And that's key. Religion is a concept of pairs: the idea and you. It's stupid to say "I don't respect any of the pairs", because it's likely there's one in the bucket that you'll agree with, and you will be wronging them and discounting their valuable ideas. This is one reason why the UN resolution against blasphemy is dangerous and dumb. (Link to fox news. Apparently their hate for the UN and Muslims in the UN trumps their love of Christian fundamentalism.)
I respect the Christianity of my friend James. For him, homosexuality is evil, and so is masturbation...but he respects and will listen to other people's opinions. His Jesus gave the time of day to people with whom he did not agree on moral issues. His Jesus led by example instead of condemnation.
I respect the Christianity of my boyfriend. For him, Jesus was a good, patient and inspiring teacher who has caused him to examine his own actions and to empathize with the actions of others. He genuinely wants to make the world a better place, and Christianity helps him to focus on this.
I do not respect the Christianity of my ex-landlady. Her Jesus was a narcissistic hillbilly who during his own lifetime and that of his parasitic followers has devoted himself to the extortion and blackmail of the human race. This is the Jesus of the NOM ads and the prop 8 movement, too.
Back to the beauty pagaent, though, I'd like to add a corrolary to this difficult truth.

You have the right to say pretty much anything that won't endanger others. This does not mean that anybody else has the obligation to respect your opinion.
Just because you CAN say something doesn't mean you SHOULD, and this is a lesson that both Hilton and Miss California need to learn. Miss California should have dodged the question or pointed out that her lifestyle choices aren't nessesarily right for other people. Hilton should have bit his tongue. Either way, this news story would have been non-existant.
Every time I hear someone whine about being persecuted for not being "politically correct", they're trying to cover their asses for saying something that betrays a lack of respect for their fellow humans, also known as LACK OF TACT. In fact, I can't think of a single instance of "persecution for lack of political correctness" in which this is NOT the case. The political correctness police are about as real as leprechauns, fairies, and the gay agenda.
So yeah. You have a right to be tactless. You also have the right to pick your nose while talking to me and in either case, I have the right to call you disgusting. Disagreement is NOT persecution.

1 comment:

Linh said...

Those overly concerned with the "political correctness police" generally don't understand the difference between ideas/abstraction and the physical world. Well reasoned arguments might prove to be an existential threat to their ignorant assumptions but don't actually pose an existential threat to their persons. They also have a very poor understanding of causality from what I can tell, i.e. , they think a gay couple getting married in another state will somehow endanger their marriage. These same people probably think there's some anti hetero marriage force hat gay couples radiate that will cause their marriage to unravel. In any case, these NOM people are a bit scary and are not a credit to whatever religious society they claim to be protecting.