So a while back, I signed up on Facebook. I neglected the account for nearly a year, until my sister finally shamed me into updating it and adding her as a friend, because apparently the other 9,042,188 friends she had on Facebook just weren't enough. So I updated my info and added her. Then her friends added me and I added them, and before you know it, I was suddenly swimming in a sea of online buddies.
One of the interesting (and often annoying) aspects of Facebook is that it puts you back in touch with people you haven't even thought about for decades. In a matter of days, I was inundated with Friend Requests from at least a dozen people I hadn't seen since high school. And frankly, I didn't really like them all that much back then. But I figured there was no point in being petty, so I went ahead and accepted.
Two of these "friends" were Neal A. and David B. Neal and I had never been great pals, but we grew up on the same block and we were in marching band together. I knew David from church and that was about it. So it wasn't like I was overjoyed by the prospect of reuniting with long lost chums. It was all sort of... meh.
But then, Neal invited me to join the Facebook group Ban Same-Sex Marriage. I declined, and I went to his page to tell him to just leave me out of that stuff from now on. But when I got there, I saw he had updated his status to read "Neal is praying that a same-sex marriage bill here in new mexico will not pass - GOD SAID IT IS AN ABOMINATION!!!" And right under that, David had added the comment "we are praying with you!"
I should have clicked away. I know that. But instead, I responded:
I'm not. I don't understand why so many people are terrified by the idea of same-sex marriage. Do you believe bands of marauding homosexuals are going to come down out of the hills, divorce good Christian folks at gunpoint, and force them into gay marriages? Do you feel same-sex marriage is a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to your children turning tricks behind dumpsters for their next fix of heroin? Or do you simply feel that indulging in spiteful and petty gestures against a group of people who have nothing to do with you is better than sitting around and doing nothing?
God said a lot of things were abominations. Why does everybody get so obsessed over this one?
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." -Thomas Jefferson
It was pretty much the first words I'd spoken to either of them in 20+ years, so I was prepared for some blowback. Besides, David was on the debate team, so I figured he'd come at me with guns blazing. He didn't disappoint:
No Chris. We just want our country to be moral and to not promote sin--equating it with the sacred (marriage). There certainly are other things that are abominations and I am praying that our country would reject them as well. Don't paint those of us who believe the Bible and believe that those who honor God will be honored to be homo-phobic or hate filled.
So I replied back:
Which parts of the Bible do you believe? That part about not eating shellfish? Or that part about not wearing clothes made from two types of thread (which means cotton/polyester blend is a sin). Or that part about selling your daughter into slavery or stoning your rebellious son to death? Seems like most people have no problem deciding when God was serious and when he was just screwing around.
And sorry, but referring to gay people as abominations is homophobia writ large. You can try to rationalize it any way you like, but it's still hateful and mean-spirited.
So Neal decided to weigh in:
chris, thomas jefferson also said that the punishment for the crime of sodomy in virginia should be dismemberment, and he did not mean an arm or a leg. God calls it an abomination, you mock what God hates, and i feel sorry for you, my friend.
At the same time, David retorted:
You are wrong, Chris. It's not gay people who are an abomination. It's homosexuality that is an abomination just like lying, stealing, gossiping, slander, adultery and murder. We all have sinned and fall short of God's plan but that does not mean that we create an environment where sinful lifestyles are promoted.
By this point, I decided to just cut myself loose and be done with it. So I ended with:
I get it. You guys are appalled and offended by the concept of homosexuality. I'm appalled and offended by people who use God as an excuse for their intolerance. Let's just call it irreconscilable differences and be done with it.
I'm going to stop posting, not because I've been convinced by anything you've said, but because I now realize how futile this whole argument is. As long as you guys believe your bigotry is endorsed by the Bible, there's no way anything I say is going to open your minds.
Enjoy your war on gayness, fellas.
(A lot of closed-minded Christians feel sorry for me, Neal. It doesn't really accomplish anything, but it seems to make them feel better.)
I know this post probably comes across as smug or self-congratulatory, but mainly I just wanted to get it all down in print while I could. Because less than 10 minutes after my last post, Neal went through and deleted all of my comments from the thread. So now it's just a bunch of posts of Neal and David calling me by name and lecturing me, which is kind of funny. I considered going back and posting, "Wow, who's this Chris you guys keep going on about? He must have really upset you!"
But life's too short to waste on misguided bigots. If I'm lucky, it'll be another 20 years before I hear from either of them again. By that time, same-sex marriage will be a non-issue, just like interfaith and interracial marriage. And maybe by that time, Neal and David will have moved on to more pressing Christian issues, like getting shellfish outlawed.
In a totally unrelated, but fucking hilarious story, the American Life League sent out a press release with this headline: KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES OBAMA WITH PRO-ABORTION DOUGHNUTS. Seriously!
You see, Krispy Kreme announced that they would be giving away free donuts on Inauguration Day to honor "America's sense of pride and freedom of choice." But the brain trust at ALL believes that Krispy Kreme is actually handing out delicious treats to commemorate Roe v. Wade. And the logic by which they reached this inevitable conclusion? Well, it seems Krispy Kreme used the word "choice" in their announcement. And as everybody knows, "choice" is secret liberal code for "abortion," which is why Taster's Choice coffee never sells all that well down here in the south.
If there is a God, He might want to seriously consider smiting some of these retards. They are *really* making Him look stupid.
Okay, so I managed to stay on the high road for a week before I popped back to see if the debate was still raging on Neal's page. I was somewhat gratified to see other folks taking him to task for his bigotry. One person made the point that we shouldn't be using the Bible as an excuse to deprive folks of their constitutional rights.
David replied to that by claiming that nobody's constitutional rights were being abridged and wrote (I swear I'm not making this up), "this is about protecting marriage and the family, its not about love."
How could I just let that one go? I mean, I'm only human! But my response was the very epitome of restraint:
"this is about protecting marriage and the family, its not about love."
That may be the funniest thing I've read all day.
P.S. I noticed you deleted all my posts, Neal. Class act all the way!
Neal's reaction to my post was hilariously over the top:
chris - i deleted your posts because they were garbage. you've never been able to disagree without being disagreeable. you mock God, and i take that personally offensive because of Who God is and what He has done for me all my life. i said previously that i felt sorry for you, but i don't any more. you deserve everything you are going to get from God if you continue your rebellion. repent or you will suffer eternal consequences. can i say it any stronger? you're going to go to hell if you don't change, and a lot. just as i've deleted your posts, i'm now going to delete you from my list of friends.
(For the record, I don't think I actually mocked God. Just His boneheaded followers who insist on using Him as an excuse to be bigoted assholes. But, hey! Semantics, right?)
But just to be clear, Neal honestly believes I'm going to Hell for the sin of NOT hating gay people? And people wonder why I don't go to church anymore...