My colleagues and I have a list of banned topics for research papers, topics we just can't bear to deal with for one reason or another. Abortion tops the list as it seems there are very few folks able to make a nuanced legal argument regarding abortion rights. I've recently added another one to my list: same-sex marriage. I just can't take it. I'm willing to talk about all kinds of controversial issues in my classes, but I am intolerant of the intolerance of homosexuality. On a good day, I find opposition to homosexuality preposterous. It makes me laugh because it is so illogical to want to allow legal limitations on relationships. Who the hell cares who anybody else sleeps with? On a bad day, though. Whoo boy. Well, bad days are another matter because I find myself so blood vessel poppingly furious that it is remotely socially acceptable to express vile hatred. I don't know what it is about this one issue that makes me incapable of listening to other views, but it gets me every single time.
So I wasn't looking forward to reading the stack of papers about same sex marriage. I made it through most of them and got to the very last one. She was supporting gay marriage, so I thought it would be less painful than reading the homophobic screeds. This student had researched Barack Obama's position on same-sex marriage. She quoted him: "In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, 'I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.'"
I assumed my student got her research wrong; I hoped my student got her research wrong . . .
I can manage to overlook a stated opposition to legalizing gay marriage. It doesn't make me happy, but I can accept that as a necessary political platform for a presidential candidate. As for using a justification of Christianity for the reason to limit marriage to heterosexual relationships? Well, in most cases, I could manage to shrug it off. People twist Jesus Christ's message in a lot of ways. I don't pretend to understand all of the confusing Protestant interpretations of the Bible. If I read that quote from a Methodist or a Baptist, I would probably just shake my head and mutter something about the true meaning of Christianity.
Senator Obama, however, is not just any kind of Christian. Senator Obama doesn't belong to one of those other churches whose missions I don't understand. Nope. He is my kind of Christian, a Congregationalist. He belongs to the UCC, the same denomination that I was raised in. He belongs to a church that made a nationwide effort to support the rights of homosexuals to marry. Not only does the UCC encourage same-sex marriage within their church, but they have issued actual literature that encourages legalizing same-sex marriage at the federal level.
Unlike many people, Senator Obama didn't stumble into just any church that would take him. He searched and pondered. He chose. I've read some of his views on religion that have spoken to me personally. His thoughtful approach to religion has been one of the things I admire about him. This is reprehensible. Disagree with the legal platform if you must, Senator, but don't blame your endorsement of discrimination on the Jesus Christ my family worships. Shame on you.