Friday, April 4, 2014

No Reason To Care

"God hates soft men. God hates effeminate men. If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I'd rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end."
Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington.
With California's former Proposition 8 being in the news again, with the flap over former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich having donated money to the yes campaign, I am reminded of this quote, which I first encountered in a newspaper column some years ago. It's not directly concerned with homosexuality, but Pastor Hutcherson had made a name for himself with his opposition to homosexuality - among other things.

A young person growing up in Pastor Hutcherson's congregation is going to learn that it's acceptable to use violence to convince people that they're neither soft, nor effeminate. If they're really unfortunate, they're going to learn that it's necessary. American society has not completely advanced to the point of indifference about sexual orientation. And that has left pockets where being understood as anything other than unambiguously straight has costs. In this case, that cost is the understanding that not being "manly" enough is going to earn you a place in Hell. Forever.

I, for my part, have cultivated an indifference which allows me to treat the gay people that I know exactly like anyone else. I don't do this because it's what's best for them. I do it because it's what's best for me. I don't care who people love or who they sleep with because it's none of my business, it makes no difference in my life and the energy that would be spent on it is required (and better spent) elsewhere. And likewise, if someone thinks that who they think I love or who they think I sleep with is a problem for them and theirs, that's none of my concern, because I can't do anything about it.

I am a happier person than Pastor Hutcherson because I don't have to live in fear or what man or deity thinks of me. I can walk through a door with both hands full and not be concerned that a wrathful deity will condemn me or that someone I know will suddenly doubt my sexual bona-fides because someone was kind enough to open it for me. Not because these things can't happen (although, as a non-believer in deities, I consider their wrath - even if it somehow made sense - to be figments of the imagination), but because I refuse to be drawn into thinking that, in the grand scheme of things, they actually matter.

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