I Hate Gays Because FREE SPEECH; or, Why We Should All Get Over The Duck Dynasty Fad Already

HA!

Okay, first: I don’t hate gays. I love the gays. I love the straights too. I am a straight, I have a bagillion gay and lesbian friends. An old friend took his own life a few years back because of a depression stemming over his family’s rejection of his homosexuality. If my children ever come home and tell me they are gay, not a damn thing will change. I’m not going to tap dance around this for fear of losing followers: I believe in equality for the homosexual community in every way, shape, and form. People are people, regardless of what they do in the bedroom.

If you have a problem with that, you can get the fuck off my blog page. Now.

I’m Catholic. That means I’m a Christian, by virtue of the fact that the Catholics worship and try to follow the teachings of … wait for it … Christ. Christ (the bearded guy who died for all our sins – sins I can only assume did in fact include ancient-style homophobic hatred) preached one thing above all others: love.

Love, motherfuckers. LOVE.

Not judge. Not hate. Not make moral judgments for which you have limited moral understanding. Not claim that you could actually – in a million years – know with absolute certainty God’s agenda.

Love. That’s it.

So are we clear on these things before I go on? Okay, great.

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So this whole Phil Robertson-Duck Dynasty thing has got me super riled up. It didn’t start out that way. At first I didn’t care, because seriously I do not understand why in the actual fuck the world is so enamored with those long-bearded hillbillies. Then as the day wore on, I saw more and more people on Facebook and Twitter and all of the other areas of the Internets (which I am now convinced should really be called the “Everyone’s An Expert Soap Box”) claiming that this guy’s right to free speech was being violated because he was suspended from the show for making homophobic comments. Phil Robertson for President Facebook pages were popping up. Keep Calm and Boycott A&E shirts were being sold.

Put down your shot guns and slow your fucking roll, hillbillies!

My friend Ava over at Journey of Jordanna East said it perfectly: “One of the biggest problems with America is that Americans don’t actually know how their own country works. It’s so sad.”

It is true that we have a freedom to speak what’s on our mind in this country. That is – essentially – the essence of the first amendment, though there are limitations. One of those limitations is that it truly is with regards to free speech on government matters. And it does not protect freedom of speech in areas like sedition or treason. I could continue, but this is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that’s deviating from the point. Did Phil Robertson have the right to make whatever homophobic, racial, or otherwise comments he wanted? Sure. Of course he did.

That right to say whatever he wanted, though, did not in any way, shape, or form protect him from the consequences of those hateful and hurtful words. That’s just not the way the constitution works.

People don’t seem to have gotten that, though. In fact, even when confronted with this logical discussion, and the basic facts of the constitution, people just seemed to be screaming louder and louder – FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH. As if just saying that over and over again will refute any and all truth.

1504935_586891554731885_366015547_nAnd as the day wore on, it got worse. Suddenly the world of Twitter was discussing what everyone’s opinions about the first amendment and the definition of free speech is. I’m sorry, huh? Opinions? Interpretations? We aren’t talking about varying interpretations of the color of a person’s bowel movements here. We’re talking about an empirical and constitutionally upheld fact. Are you on the Supreme Court? Then all your fucking opinions are INVALID.

Here we have the reason why I think it’s about time we all get over the Duck Dynasty fad the nation has been enthralled in for years now: all this hillbilly TV has just further contributed to our collective stupidity. Instead of learning about things like the actual freedoms protected by the constitution, we slap ourselves down on the couch for six hours of television every, single night. We scream FREE SPEECH from behind the safety of our computers, all the while refusing to actually read about and understand what freedom of speech really is. And we do it not only behind the security of a computer screen, but under the sanctity of our religious views.

This is why so many people think religious people are ignorant anyway – because they choose ignorance over intelligence time and again, out of laziness and a general sense that saying something (FREE SPEECH!!!!!) over and over again will make it actually come true.

But it doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you say it; and it doesn’t make Jesus love you, because Jesus does not love bigots. No matter how much the constitution guarantees their rights to proclaim that bigotry.

The thing that is so fascinating to me about the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty controversy is that people seem to be too chicken shit to actually say they want him to stay on the show because they hate the gays too. I mean some people are saying it, but more are just screaming that freedom of speech line and claiming Robertson had the right to speak “God’s plan.” Why all these smoke screens? Why not be real and say that you hate the gays too? That the thought of gay sex is icky to you and, therefore, Robertson can say and do whatever he wants?

Is it because of some fear that there may actually be consequences of you exercising your own free speech as well? But if you acknowledge that, then of course you’d have to accept A&E’s suspensions, which would then require you to acknowledge just how inherently wrong others in the world think your hate is.

I hate gays because FREE SPEECH? I love everyone just because.

I don’t really understand why The Gays want to get married anyway …

Marriage sucks. I mean it’s got its perks (I have yet to find many). But it’s hard. My grandmother – married for 63 years before my grandfather passed away, just this February – once said to me “you aren’t doing marriage right if it’s easy.” True ‘dat, Grandma. True ‘dat.

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When I got up this morning, I came to a bit of an epiphany. After all this gay marriage, equality talk – people turning their Facebook profile photos red, and rallying with the rainbow flags and such – I realized something rather striking: I don’t really understand why The Gays want to get married anyway.

I also don’t really get why The Straights are so opposed.

Think about it in terms of my marriage. Every day I get up in the morning and see that my husband has left for work. There was no kiss good-bye. There was no subtle waking me up to say “I love you” one more time, before dragging himself to work – like they do in the movies. My husband doesn’t have to be dragged to work; he has to be dragged home.

I get up and make breakfast. I make cereal for Pookies, a banana for me, and I see that in the sink my husband has piled dishes from his own breakfast. Rather than place them in there uniformly, or – dare I suggest – on the counter, he’s submersed them in a bowl of rancid, cold water that was soaking the stuck-on food from cooking dinner the night before. I spend a while getting the contents out of the puke water, with my bare hands, before losing my appetite.

I go to the bathroom and fall in the toilet. Still half asleep, I haven’t noticed the toilet seat was left up. I shower. While in the shower, I get soap in my eyes and the only close towel is my husband’s. I use it to rub my eyes, praying this isn’t the place he dried his balls with this morning. He’s been scratching them a lot lately. I clean tiny beard hairs off the sink and toothpaste off the counter.

Later in the day, I’m vacuuming. I get to our bedroom and on the floor are my husband’s clean socks. Rolled up. Sitting next to the dresser. Where his sock drawer is. I bend over to pick them up and put them away and a twinge hits my lower back, telling me it’s time to stop.

But I don’t. I have to make dinner, and to make the dinner I prepped yesterday, I have to get the BBQ going. On Sunday I asked my husband to clean the grill. He watched The Walking Dead for a few hours, then read about the Dodgers on his computer for a while instead. On Monday I asked him if he could please do it and he promised he would. On Tuesday at 11 o’clock in the evening, while getting ready for bed, he still had not done it.

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At 6:00 my husband hits quitting time. At 6:30 he’s still at work: solving problems, getting caught up, finishing things ahead of schedule, answering superfluous questions, and avoiding coming home. Dreading the minute I call to ask where the shit he is.

On his way home, his former carpool lady calls. Can they start the carpool again? It was so nice to have someone to talk to on that long, 50-mile drive, he thinks. “Sorry – my wife won’t allow it … you got me home late too many times in a row,” he says.

Poor Nick gets home. Around 8:30. He’s been gone since 7:30 in the morning. At this point I’m past being tipsy from wine o’clock and onto having a headache from it (I’m a lightweight). There will be no sexy time tonight. I bitch about my period coming soon. He prays to God it’s my period and not early symptoms of pregnancy.

Poor Nick is resigned to this. I’ve made chicken and rice. Again. For the fourth time this week. Poor Nick chokes it down with something of a smile. I complain that he never tells me my cooking is good, my hair is pretty, my ass isn’t fat. He goes to put on pajamas and sees I didn’t make the bed. I never make the bed, and this annoys him.

Around 11 we go to bed and play the game of “these blankets are mine,” “no these blankets are MINE” until it’s time to get up again in the morning.

Now you all may be thinking this is a pretty miserable situation, and you would be right to think so. There are of course the good times, and the reasons for being married, together forever. But there is all this other stuff that makes so many people say “marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do.”

So why in God’s name would The Gays want this?

If The Straights are so against The Gays; if they really think it’s that gay sex is wrong, or it says it’s wrong in the Bible or whatever, why not LET them have all this bliss? All the hairs on the counter, the numb complacency, the wine o’clock headaches, and the nightly fight for the covers? This misery, this daily difficulty – it would serve them right. Right?

On a serious note, I think I know the reason why The Gays want to get married, legally. Because this isn’t an issue of The Gays or The Straights, or what your religion says, or what mine says; but that of human rights. It isn’t really gay marriage anymore than it is straight marriage, just like they aren’t any more The Gays as we are The Straights. We are all human beings and our sexuality, just like our race, creed, religion, or underwear color preference has nothing to do with being treated as such.

As a Catholic, with many family and friends that are Catholic, I struggle with this and many other political issues. Fortunately, with my family and friends, we are able to disagree and still maintain our close ties; which is why I am fine with saying that I am in full support of anyone’s right to marry, regardless of their sexuality. It’s just that when I think about it, I remember that my religion is not the religion of everyone – so why should I have the right to tell people that may not believe the same as I do what they should do? And that there are a lot of things the Bible says to avoid that people don’t – like eating shellfish. Who still abstains from shrimp, which the Old Testament unambiguously states is a punishable sin? (Get it: times change). More than any of that, as a Catholic and a believer in my faith, I believe that Jesus preached love. That’s it. Love and equality. Maybe I’ll burn in hell for being in support of gay marriage; maybe one day I’ll lose someone important to me because of our opinions.

But I think that when push comes to shove, my belief in love above all will prevail. Isn’t that what Jesus taught anyway?

What it Really Means to be Gay

Let’s get uncharacteristically serious for a second, here…

It was really hot last week.  I mean hot – like 95 degrees with humidity and no air conditioning-hot.  Usually when that happens, I have to leave the front door open to prevent the entire family from dying of dehydration; this time it was a necessity for most of the day and night.  On the third day, a group of punk ass kids were walking by outside and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, which was riddled with the term “that’s GAY.”  This annoyed me, because I’m almost certain that they were not referring to things that were actually gay.  So I thought it would be good if we established for everyone what it really means to be gay, once and for all.

(This might seem a bit simplistic for our usual discussions, but it is clear that this conversation needs to be spelled out as simply as possible.)  There are a few possible definitions of the term “gay.”

#1 Gay:  happy, a state of overjoy.  This is the more archaic way of referring to someone that is happy.  I remember when I was about six I kept asking my mom what it meant to be “gay” and she said “happy” so for a few days I walked around saying “I am feeling very gay today!”  Most people giggled, but the older folks were glad I was so happy.  There is nothing wrong with saying you feel gay if you mean you are in a great mood.

#2 Gay:  homosexual, or identifying with a group of people who prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as their own.  In the “gay community,” there are many different factions:  lesbians, bisexuals, homosexual males, transexuals, etc., etc.  Sometimes when you say “gay” in the “gay community” you are referring to the man-et-man faction; other times you will hear lesbians and bisexuals saying they too are gay.  There is nothing wrong with saying you are gay if you mean you prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as your own.

There are a number of things that the term “gay” does not refer to:

The term “gay” does not mean something is bad or stupid or unfortunate.  This is a direct negation of the first definition, which was “happy, a state of overjoy.”  Would you be happy and in a state of overjoy if you were in the presence of something bad or stupid or unfortunate?  I think not.

The term “gay” does not mean something is morally wrong.  No matter what your moral standard, “gay” does not mean something that is morally wrong.  If you mean overjoyed, there is certainly nothing wrong with that feeling.  Further, there is nothing wrong with being “gay,” as in homosexual, from a moral perspective.  Let me elaborate:  if you use religion as your moral standard, you cannot say there is anything morally wrong with being gay – unless you are so literal as to your interpretation of the Bible that you abstain from the entire list of things that are considered wrong.  This is including (but not limited to) driving on Sundays and eating shellfish on any days.  Do you drive to church?  Then you are not a literalist and you cannot apply your loose Biblical standards so fickly.  Every person that I explain this to goes on, then, to say that being gay, as in homosexual, is morally wrong because it is unnatural for a man to have intercourse with another man.  To that, I ask:  why?  Why is it unnatural?  Is it natural for women to give hummers to their boyfriends?  Is it natural for men to watch shark porn?  A personal preference in the bedroom is no more unnatural than preferring to add salt instead of sugar to your apple pie.

And while we’re at it, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.”  There is marriage, there is gay (happy), and there is gay (homosexual) – and I’m very sure that there are gay (homosexual) people that are married and gay (happy).  But there is no more a thing as “gay marriage” as there is “straight marriage.”  There is marriage, which is a spiritual, as well as legal and financial, union between two people.  Not a single person or law has a right to mandate who those two people can be – whether they are of the same sex or not.

Generally, when people try to use the term “gay” in a pejorative way, they do so because they think that underhandedly establishes a precedent for saying that gay people are bad.  All this does is make them sound ignorant, though.  How stupid do those punk ass kids walking outside sound when they say something is “gay” when we have established that “gay” either means happy or homosexual, and that there is nothing wrong with either one of those things?  “Dude, that shirt is so gay.”  Why thank you!  I thought it was happy-looking, I’m glad to hear you are overjoyed at the sight of it!  “Mrs. Steiner is so gay!”  I’m sure Mr. Steiner is not a woman, but if he were – what is your point?  To the punk ass kids walking by, and anyone else that believes “gay” means anything other than what we have established, shut the hell up.  All you are doing is making yourself sound even stupider and ignorant than you already are.  One day this whole “gay thing” will go down in history books as another blunder on the part of ignorant America, like segregation and racism against African Americans was.  Do you want to be lumped in with those ignorant hillbillies that were too stupid to read a dictionary?