“No religious tests shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall anyone be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”
I’m an atheist. I hear a lot about how I oppress Christian. I hear a lot about what I believe (most of it wrong), what I should believe (which is none of your business), and how I war on everything from Christmas to straight people, to freedom of religion. I’m constantly told I will go to hell, am destroying the country’s morals, and that I’m Satan trying to trick the righteous into perversion. And I hear this nearly every day from the roughly 75% of the nation that identifies as Christian.
The Supremes have decided about gay marriage along very predictable ideological lines and — if you’ll excuse an unfortunate metaphor — the butt hurt is strong in some. Some of my conservative friends are in a funk, convinced they are doomed to irrelevancy for eternity. Others are — again, excuse the metaphor — taking the intransigent “The straight shall rise again” approach. Neither of these positions are true and what’s more, neither of them are very cogent.
Gay supporters, forget the notion the fight is over. Gay marriage may now be simply marriage, but that doesn’t mean truly equal rights. Depending on the state, legally married queer folk can still be fired or have benefits denied. Systemic discrimination will live on. People who won’t live next door to “one of those” or that drop a vicious remark or intentional slight abound. They won’t go away…ever. People are like that. You can legislate discrimination. You can’t legislate human emotions, no matter how hard you try.
American divisiveness is a special breed of cat. American-style democracy is an anomaly in the world and so is the American way of trying to bridge divisions to balance the needs of the many and the few.
Sometimes this is a knee-jerk, willful, or greatly misguided bunk — as in former House Speaker Tom DeLay’s contention that, “We stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.” Sometimes it is a matter of forcing opinions on your opposition — like Richard Dawkins’ claim that, “What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That’s child abuse.”