Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why churches fear gay marriage

Richard Rodriguez explains to Salon how the crusade for Prop 8 is fueled by fear:

You said recently the real issue behind the anti-gay marriage movement is the crisis in the family. What do you mean?
American families are under a great deal of stress. The divorce rate isn't declining, it's increasing. And the majority of American women are now living alone. We are raising children in America without fathers. I think of Michael Phelps at the Olympics with his mother in the stands. His father was completely absent. He was negligible; no one refers to him, no one noticed his absence.

The possibility that a whole new generation of American males is being raised by women without men is very challenging for the churches. I think they want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things. I think the pro-Proposition 8 movement was really galvanized by an insecurity that churches are feeling now with the rise of women.

Monotheistic religions feel threatened by the rise of feminism and the insistence, in many communities, that women take a bigger role in the church. At the same time that women are claiming more responsibility for their religious life, they are also moving out of traditional roles as wife and mother. This is why abortion is so threatening to many religious people -- it represents some rejection of the traditional role of mother.

In such a world, we need to identify the relationship between feminism and homosexuality. These movements began, in some sense, to achieve visibility alongside one another. I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women's movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually -- even form our sense of what a sex is -- sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers.

More here.


Counterlight said...

I notice that there's lots of agonizing over the family as an institution, and not much concern at all for the welfare of actual families.
Perhaps the most family friendly thing the government could do is paid family leave time, something which the religious right opposes as "socialism."
The second most family friendly thing that could be done is to raise people's wages. Average pay remained largely flat for almost 30 years. The cause of a large portion of divorces is not adultery, but arguments over money.

Counterlight said...

I actually agree with this guy about the link between gay lib and feminism. But, I still think gay rights is a civil rights issue, and so is feminism.

Ann said...

Great essay at Counterlight's place on marriage and christianity.

Ann said...

Rodriguez spoke at our diocesan convention one year - on "brown" --

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