I almost managed to go the whole day yesterday without watching the news at all, a practice I’ve found to be quite helpful in maintaining a positive outlook on life in general. Then just as I was about to doze off into my 10 PM pre-bedtime nap I got a call from my mother that shattered any hope of finishing the day completely oblivious to the days news. My mother called me to express her distress that Obama had come out and spoken his support of gay marriage.
A little background. My mom is a relatively newly ordained minister living in Alabama, the heart of the Bible belt. She also used to be one of the biggest supporters of Barack Obama around. Until yesterday. Because of her faith and what she believes to be true about the bible she feels as though she may now have to forgo voting this year because she can’t support a president who is in support of gay marriage. Not only that but she said that she thinks she’s going to have to start preaching against him now that he took a stand.
I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was to find out that my own mother was one of those evangelical Christians that tend to muck up the entire political process by boiling an entire candidacy down to one morality based issue. I have the utmost respect for my mom and love her dearly but on this issue we squarely disagree. I tried my best to present a logical argument for why her stance made no sense. But I quickly remembered that you cannot use logic to argue against religion. It just does not work.
For example I pointed out that the bible doesn’t actually take any position on the issue of gay marriage. Probably because this wasn’t even considered during that time but still how can we say the bible is clear on gay marriage when it doesn’t even address it. I also pointed out that while homosexual activity is addressed as a sin in the bible so are numerous other sins that aren’t addressed by law. And many of the other sins are given far more attention in the bible. But somehow the gay marriage issue is the one that evangelicals choose to take a stand on. I don’t see anybody standing up for a legal ban on straight people shacking up, fornicating, adulterating, or over indulging in fried chicken at the church picnic.
I asked her to examine whether her stance was actually based on the bible or based on the agenda that’s pushed by the church but I’m not sure she separates the two. My mother continues to stand firm in her belief that Obama taking a stance on gay marriage is going to contribute to the downfall of society and she can’t be a part of that.
I read the tweets from my almost entirely liberal Twitter timeline and I see how many people just can’t believe that there are people who would take a position like my mom’s and I remember that while I now live in a mostly progressive and liberal bubble in the suburbs of Washington, DC, there is indeed a whole world of people who live by guidelines that would simply baffle the liberal masses.
So I sit here today still in a state of hurt, awe and disbelief that the woman who allowed me to come into this world and raised me to be the person I am today is a promoter of some of the very beliefs that I stand so strongly against.
I’m really hoping that my mother’s position is just a knee jerk reaction and that she actually thinks it through and realizes that taking that position misses the big picture. But the hold of the evangelical church is a powerful thing so there’s a good chance her position might shift more strongly in the opposite direction from my own. Let’s just hope this doesn’t result in a very awkward Thanksgiving dinner this year.