Salon.com has an interview with gay Catholic and Mexican-American writer Richard Rodriguez (shown at left) on Proposition 8 and religion that’s worth reading. In the interview Rodriguez attempts to explain the passage of Proposition 8 and he suggests how gay men and lesbians can fare better among the religious.
Rodriguez correctly identifies that discrimination against gay men is more along the lines of misogyny than racism, since what it is that really seems to make gay men feared and hated is that many if not most of them represent the feminine, which is feared and hated. (And gay men have always seemed to me to be more reviled than are lesbians.)
But what it all really boils down to, I think, is that gay men and lesbians are dangerous to the blind obedience that the Mormon cult, the Catholic church and other organized “Christian” religions expect of their members.
Gay men and lesbians throw a monkey wrench into the patriarchal order that the “Christo”fascists want to impose upon everyone.
Yes, everyone. A huge goal of both the Mormon cult and the Catholic church is to overrun not just the United States, but the entire world, with their members. Thus their emphasis on irresponsible over-reproduction, including opposition to birth control and to abortion rights.
We gay men and lesbians — well, most of us — don’t reproduce like good little breeders “should,” so the Mormon cult and the Catholic church attack us.
And gay men especially tend to display liveliness and love and creativity and spark that the “Christian” organizations feel the need to snuff out. We gay men are, or at least often are, anathema to the doom and gloom and guilt and self-hatred and walking deadness that the “Christian” institutions espouse. Therefore, we should be eliminated; if we can’t be physically eliminated (as AIDS was just allowed to decimate gay men), then our rights should be restricted as much as is possible. Minimally, we should be minimized at all costs.
And, of course, as Rodriguez points out, as organized “Christianity” continues to crumble in the United States — because organized “Christianity” refuses to change and grow with the times — the “Christians” have to blame someone. Racism is out of fashion, but good ol’-fashioned homo-hatred is still acceptable among at least half of Americans, I estimate. As they say: gay is the new black.
I do have some disagreement with Rodriguez. In his interview with Salon.com he states: “I think gay activists … should not present ourselves as enemies of religion. I am not prepared to leave the Roman Catholic Church over this issue. The Catholic Church is my church.”
I am not fully decided as to whether gay men and lesbians should remain in their churches and try to reform them — or leave their churches and let their churches die the natural death that they need to die. (I lean toward the latter, however.)
After Prop 8 passed, a Latina friend of mine who opposed Prop 8 (and who went to two anti-Prop 8 protest rallies with me here in Sacramento) announced, to my shock and awe, that she was considering joining the Catholic church.
She and I then had a strained conversation about this.
Her position was that people like she should try to reform the Catholic church. I don’t know, I told her; when I think of one institution on the planet that is the most resistant to change, it’s the Catholic church. (The Mormon cult would be No. 2 on my list, mainly because it’s much younger than is the Catholic church.)
Among the many things the Catholic church and the Mormon cult have in common, besides gay-bashing and involving themselves in right-wing politics, is that both excommunicate dissenters who oppose a serious threat to the established order. What better way to resist change and to preserve the status quo than to expel anyone who represents real change?
I told my Latina friend that should she make any real headway in helping to significantly change the Catholic church, they’d boot her out.
I understand her desire for community and service, but the Catholic church?
Not all Catholics are bad, she said.
True, but, I asked her, how can you support an institution that creates harm without contributing to that harm yourself? I mean, even if someone was just a daycare worker for the Nazis, didn’t that person help the overall Nazi cause, even though she or he never harmed a single hair on the head of a single Jew? How can one so neatly separate himself or herself from the evils that others within his or her institution commit? How can you support the Catholic church, even peripherally, without helping the church to oppress gay men and lesbians, since a big chunk of the church’s agenda is to continue to oppress gay men and lesbians?
Anyway, while I generally oppose violence, as does Rodriguez, I disagree with Rodriguez’ assertion that we gay men and lesbians must not offend the religious. Oh, fuck the religious. They routinely offend me with their ignorance, fear and hatred that they cloak with the name of Jesus Christ — I mean, what worse blasphemy than to commit evil in the name of Jesus Christ? — so fuck them if I offend them. They don’t worry about offending me, so I won’t worry about offening them. They need to be offended.
There is this belief that no matter what ignorance and hatred the “Christians” spew forth, we are still to “respect” their beliefs. You know what? I “respect” their homo-hating beliefs like I “respect” the Nazis’ anti-Semitic and white supremacist beliefs.
No, trying to change monolithic “Christian” institutions from within is too much like banging your forehead against a wall ad nauseam.
Better to create something new, different and wonderful outside of these institutional dinosaurs and let these institutional dinosaurs go extinct by starving them of our time, energy and money, which is better spent creating something new, different and wonderful.
Boy, did I digress.
But read Rodriguez’ interview.
But if you don’t, these are the excerpts that I found the most poignant:
- “…Latinos and blacks [took] part in this terribly tragedy [the passage of Prop 8]. We persecute each other. The very communities that get discriminated against discriminate against other Americans.”
- “I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women’s movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society”
- “Then there is the Roman Catholic Church, my own church, which has just come off this extraordinary season of sexual scandal and misbehavior in the rectory against children. The church is barely out of the court and it’s trying to assume the role of governor of sexual behavior, having just proved to America its inability to govern its own sexual behavior.”
- “…[I]t’s one thing for the churches to insist on their right to define the sacrament of marriage for their own members. But it’s quite another for them to insist that they have a right to define the relationships of people outside their communities. That’s really what’s most troubling about Proposition 8. It was a deliberate civic intrusion by the churches.”
- “To my knowledge, the churches have not accepted responsibility for the Bush catastrophe. Having claimed, in some cases, that Bush was divinely inspired and his election was the will of God, they have failed to explain why the last eight years have been so catastrophic for America.”
- “The divorce rate suggests that women are not happy with the relationship they have with men. And whatever that unhappiness is, I would like people to know that, as a gay man, I’m not responsible for what’s wrong with heterosexual marriage. On the other hand, whatever is wrong with the heterosexual marriage does have some implication for the world I live in. Women are redefining sexuality in a way that’s going to make it easier for me to be a gay man.”
Rodriguez’ next book, which I’ll probably buy, is on what he calls the “desert religions,” Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which, he asserts, need to be “feminized” — not taken over by women or the feminine, but balanced out by the feminine, I believe he means.
“If the male is allowed to hold onto the power of God, then I think we are in terrible shape,” he says.
Yup. And it’s the male power that wants to continue to hold on to its power that finds us gay men and lesbians, especially us gay men, so threatening.