Monday, July 11, 2005

This is Why I'll Never be in Politics

I was having lunch with some friends recently, one of whom is gay, and we were discussing the recent episode of 30 Days where a straight Christian man moved in with a gay man in San Francisco's Castro district for 30 days. At the beginning of the show, the straight man said he wasn't so sure if he believed homosexuality was anything but a choice. The Bible says that God made man in His form, and homosexuality just doesn't fit in that mold, he reasoned.

Ridiculous, I thought. If God made us all in his image, how does that explain for all of the diversity among people? Some are black, some are white; some are tall, some are short; some are allergic to peanuts/lactose/wheat; some are resistant to certain diseases/cancers; some are left-handed, some are right-handed; some are kind, some are cruel; some are relentlessly upbeat, some are depressed; and some have physical or mental differences that lead many to label them as deviating from our standard of "perfect." All of this shows me that, while God may have used his image as a blueprint, he allowed a certain amount of variation to come into his design. And I grew up being told that God loved everyone equally, no matter who they were or what they looked like.

If only I had been as eloquent at lunch. To my horror, the first thing that came out of my mouth was something like "If God made us all in his image, how does that explain genetic differences like Down's Syndrome... Is he going to say that they are 'mistakes' because they weren't made in God's image? Or is he implying that they somehow chose to have that condition?"

Brilliant. I could see the face of my gay friend straining to think through my logic. I'd like to believe she knew I was trying to take her side, but I don't think it was lost on her that I had just compared her sexual orientation with mental and physical retardation. My point was — and is — that people are different, and many of these physical and mental differences were not chosen. What would make someone think that any of those differences makes people less desirable in God's eyes? Or less like His image?

However, comparing homosexuality to a genetic abnormality like Down's Syndrome wasn't really where I wanted to take that line of reasoning. While most of us would argue that people affected by Down's Syndrome are every bit as worthy of God's love as the rest of us, clearly those are two separate issues that are beyond comparison. I certainly don't believe that homosexuals are handicapped in any way (except, maybe in the finding a mate category ).

So you see why I won't be running for office anytime soon. I can take a stand in defending a group of people AND manage to insult that same group all in one conversation. This is why I think I'll stick to blogging. Maybe I'll stop with the analogies, too.


At 7/13/2005 6:18 AM, Blogger joe said...

The image of God is pretty deep stuff. I know a man who has been wheelchairbound his entire life. He has the best attitude of anybody I've ever met. He loves the Lord. I've been able bodied my whole life. He is a great example to me. He has held a job, as far as I know, for most of his adult life. I've never once heard him complain!

At 8/03/2005 6:19 PM, Anonymous Steph Mineart said...

In looking at the origin of the phrase from Genesis 1:26 (And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness), I wonder if that concept is really meant the way that people like the straight Christian man interpreted it, as a blueprint or model. Especially when you compare it to Genesis 1:25 (God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind.)

I've always interpreted the phrase "in his own image" as he gave man a conscious nature and a level of cognition and self-awareness that other living beings don't have, not that he used himself as a physical or ethical model. My interpretation would leave the straight Christian guys interpretation as invalid.

I really am not sure that I'm a variation of some sort from heterosexuality, as thought heterosexuality is the base and I'm some sort of offshoot. I think it's more complex than that. What if I'm the base model, and heterosexuality is the variation? There's no way really to determine one way or another unless we understand root causes, and the fact that there are more heterosexuals than gay people doesn't really count as evidence.


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