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Priorities

Either by the end of the week or by Monday, the US Supreme Court is supposed to render its decision regarding the legality of certain types of marriages. This has obviously been met with resistance from the type of people who think that their religion is under some kind assault because people who do not share their beliefs want to live a life discordant with those same beliefs.

I’ve read the bible, nearly all of it. Thirteen years of Catholic school will do that, I admit I’ve skipped the genealogical stuff because who cares, and I’ve breeze through the weird laws and regulations because I can bore myself to sleep reading the tax code instead. There’s a lot in that collection of books and skipping the oddly specific rules regarding how one is to wash their hands, or the pedantic method by which an animal sacrifice ought to be conducted are these obscure regulations that Moses made up at the foot of Mt. Sinai. And yes, he made them up because the alternative is that all of us have been missing out on Commandments 11-50 if they were truly delivered by God. Nevertheless I’ve read the damn thing and I have to say that those people who think that because one line in Leviticus condemns homosexuality and that’s the line in the sand really have got their priorities messed up.

The thing I was always taught was that  one of the side effects of Jesus’s coming was that he was to dismiss the old laws and regulations, but that doesn’t exactly fit with a huge swath of the New Testament (see: Matt 5:18, Luke 16:17, John 7:19, etc.). That didn’t apparently matter to those teaching my religion classes so we tended to fixate on the rules that everyone was supposed to agree were generally good rules: meekness, humility, piety, and charity before the Creator. Ok, fine, since those were the rules that were explicitly stated by Jesus anyway it seemed to make a bit of sense. As far as I’m concerned I’d like to throw out the Old Testament as well, and make all the Christians either take all of the rules or take none of the rules.

They are so fixated on two issues to the point where they are blind to all others. Sure they can cite the infamous Leviticus 20:13 regarding how homosexual men ought to be put to death, and then jump through the intellectual hoops to get to abortion; but really that is the big thing that they spend all of their money and energy on. Since abortion is never addressed in the bible, aside from a weird judicial recommendation for causing an accidental miscarriage we’re going to skip that. I live on a street that boasts five tattoo parlors and I’ve yet to see a single protester outside of them carrying a sign citing Leviticus 19:28. I’ve yet to see a protester picketing a Red Lobster citing Leviticus 11:10, although there are plenty or reasons to picket that restaurant. I’ve even seen Christians angry because they think that a town or a school is going to refrain from putting up a Christmas tree despite the biblical fact that followers of god are not supposed to decorate trees (Jeremiah 10:2-4). Jos. A Bank sells clothing made of mixed fabric, where are the protesters for that?

I know the responses to this: one is to say that certain rules are ritualistic and others are moral. Another response is to say that certain rules made sense contextually; but both of these excuses are ridiculous. They are alleged to come from God through Moses (or another person) who literally told him these rules. I’m no theist, but if a divine being gave me a list of things that I was supposed to do, as in it literally handed them to me or if I thought I was getting them from someone that literally received them from it, I would probably be compelled to follow all of them context or not. After all, Jesus said they must all be followed. I don’t know, I don’t feel any compulsion to follow these rules.

The other excuse I have read is that they don’t apply anymore because mixed fibers don’t really matter anymore to most people. That’s a pretty weak excuse, because even if none of it mattered then (like how many shellfish are you going to encounter when your group is wandering the desert) it still mattered enough for someone to mention it. The telling part of the excuse though is that if people were worked up about mixing fibers, or seeds, or selling the wrong kind of slave then there would be protesters. Yet here’s the thing: they don’t have to be upset about gay marriage either because no one is going to make them go to the wedding. My state, New York, has had gay marriages for a couple years now and I’ve only been to one gay wedding reception, and that was an accident (long story). So why care about something that is never going to affect your life in the least bit? If you are so anti-gay marriage that thought of it makes your blood boil then you probably aren’t going to be invited to one, so there ought to be no problem.

But that’s not what’s going on. They aren’t against gay marriage because they are trying to save souls. They are against it because they are under this delusion that their religious freedoms are under assault because people that they don’t know want the same rights as everyone else. It should be obvious that this is not an attack, but it’s not obvious.

If I could communicate one fact to these individuals it would be this: no one cares about you with regard to this issue. The two men getting married this weekend in my city of Rochester (probably, I’m just making an assumption) don’t care one bit about the mindset of the protesters. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Just live and be happy, or barring that why don’t you try listening to your god-given commands to help the poor and needy. Or at the very least just follow Matthew 6:5 and leave us alone.

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