Fundamentalist Christians oftentimes attempt to legislate sexuality — from laws that state marriage is “between one man and one woman”, to laws against women getting abortions even in cases where the mother was raped, or where the baby has no chance of surviving and poses a health risk to the mother. They oftentimes attempt to legislate that their specific religion be established — demanding that they display religious iconography on public or government property without regard for the other religions that are being excluded in the process. They cry and moan that their children are not allowed to pull out their bibles in science class in an attempt to disrupt said class when the teachings run contrary to established religious dogma. They secure laws that allow insurance companies to pay out for their faith-healing nonsense. They get their churches exempt from taxation, then preach politics from the pulpit, sometimes even campaigning on specific issues using church collections.
When secularists (which group includes both god-believers and the godless alike, don’t forget) manage to make some headway in creating laws that establish that certain outgroups, like women, blacks, or homosexuals, are every bit as human and every bit as deserving of the rights afforded to others, for instance where the civil institution of marriage is concerned, the sturm und drang from the fundies nearly drowns out any rational discourse. Extremely well-funded campaigns spring up to insert the newly passed civil equality laws as ballot initiatives, generally worded such that, rather than being presented as a repeal of a civil rights law, the question posed is “do you want to PROTECT MARRIAGE by not letting the filthy gays have them too?” And in the event that these initiatives are recognized for what they are, the fundies have another tactic — complaining that the people on the side of civil liberties are out to “force morality” on them.
Take, for instance, our favorite troll. Over at Relatively Unrelated, the troll bleated thusly:
It is wrong for the godless to force their morality on others. The fact that the godless want to punish people who disagree with them is clearly immoral. This is what scares me about the godless is that it is their way or you get punished.
I’m not sure exactly how the theists are punished for allowing gay marriage. The proposal in question actually specifically says any church that doesn’t want to perform such marriages is allowed to refuse to do so. There isn’t even a carrot for doing so — like funding from the state — that they’re being denied, in this case.
On the other hand, the fundies like our favorite troll would prefer that gays not be afforded the luxuries and institutional rights (and obligations) that come with being married — like, for instance, visitation rights when your partner’s on their deathbead. No, in the theists’ world, this is a punishment to theists — the merest fact that the law might place civil rights for all humans above the right of a homophobe to go on being homophobic, is punishment against the homophobe! As Dan said, won’t someone think of the bigots!?
No, I’d prefer not to think of the bigots. I’d prefer a government that is not allowed to legislate what happens in one’s bedroom, nor with whom. I’d prefer a government that is not allowed to ban medically indicated, life-saving procedures, based on the mistaken notion that life begins at conception. I’d prefer a government that is not allowed to decide what kind of people are allowed to enter into a civil contract with one another. Whether the NUMBER of people entering into this contract matters, is a topic for another conversation, but to say that THIS person can only enter into a contract with THAT person based on some physical characteristic of those two people, is discriminatory and wrong. And I don’t even need a foundational text to tell me so — rather, my own finely-tuned sense of right and wrong (which I have come by through evolutionary means, by the way) tells me so.
In every civil rights movement, the people on the wrong side of the argument (and oftentimes it is the religious!) are never directly affected by the rights being afforded to others. They even often admit as much. How is this fight, the fight for gay people to have the same rights as straight people, any different?
When viewed through the lens of history, with the major example being the religious fighting against the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws, it’s only a matter of time before the religious can no longer force their twisted brand of morality (as derived from their very old books, rather than their innate senses of right and wrong) on the rest of us. For those of you directly affected by this repression of civil liberties, I understand how it can seem like it’s been long enough already. Just, take heart in the fact that the fundamentalists responsible for creating the anti-civil-liberties environment are a very tiny minority even among their own proclaimed religious identification, and that the population of people that vote against civil liberties is rapidly aging and the population that’s replacing them, as they’re much younger, have many, many more electoral cycles that they can influence.
I’ve mentioned before that it’s been scientifically proven that altruism is only natural, as it’s been evolutionarily selected-for. We humans, however, are not mere “meat-puppets”. We have an advantage over other species in that we can directly suppress our urges. Homosexuals that believe God hates what they are, can actively work to suppress their homosexual tendencies; likewise, fundamentalists like our favorite troll have the same aforementioned natural proclivity to want to help everyone that the rest of us do, but their religious texts have twisted how they view right and wrong. They therefore suppress their innate need to treat everyone as equals, and, when viewed through the lens of their religious beliefs, have the need to “help” everyone by making sure that everyone believes the same things they do. Only once they’ve converted someone do they feel as though that person has truly been helped. Only once converted, do they get that “good feeling” that comes from being altruistic.
Where secularists are content with people compartmentalizing their religious beliefs away from governmental interference in peoples’ lives, and making sure everyone has the same legal rights regardless of race, creed, sexuality or faith, the fundies are driven to teach everyone about their faith in schools, display their religious iconography in their government, and take away the rights of those they think are evil and/or influenced by their make-believe evil deities according to what they think their good deities want them to. And that’s pretty well why, in a nutshell, they feel the need to legislate away people’s rights and convert everyone to their religion.