Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rainbows Over Dublin

I'm a little worn out over the whole Duggar thing. The Family Research Council, the "Christian public policy ministry in Washington D.C. defending religious liberty, the unborn & families" for which Josh Duggar worked until last week, when he resigned, is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. You know, right next to all those factions of the Klu Klux Klan. I read a statement on the Family Research Council's website which said that one-third of all child molesters are gay, so I investigated further--and no, it isn't true. The statistics get sort of complicated, as statistics usually do, but basically being a child molester, or a pedophile (which is actually a subset of child molesters) is not connected with being gay or straight, any more than having blue eyes is connected with either being a child molester or being gay or straight.

It is sort of ironic that Michelle Duggar made political phone calls recently claiming that transgender people were just child molesters in drag--that the only reason they dress funny is so they can sneak into public restrooms and abuse your child--and that JimBob Duggar is on record as saying, during a failed Senatorial campaign, that he thinks people who commit incest ought to be executed. And Josh himself, while working for the Family Research Councils, spent a whole lot of time claiming that gay people molest children. Logically speaking, this would lead you to believe that 1) Josh is gay; 2) his dad thinks he deserves to die.

I'm sure that's not true. But maybe we all need to tone the hyperbole down a bit. 

I bring you instead, the people of Ireland, who not only voted 62% in favor of gay marriage in the first national referendum on that subject, but did so with joy and compassion. Ireland is the 20th traditionally Catholic country (a list including France, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil) to legalize gay marriage, and they did so not because they reject Catholicism--they don't, over 83% still consider themselves Catholic in a country badly damaged by abusive priests--but because they believe the teachings of Christ require them to love their neighbor as themselves, and because they believe that God created all humans in God's image. And maybe because the Irish understand love. I've been to Ireland four times; along with South Africa, it's a foreign place where I feel entirely at home. My son said, "Of course the Irish voted yes. As long as nobody's bothering their families, their sports, or their chance to drink a beer, they don't care what anyone else does." 

But see, it was bothering their families. Lots of Irish families, like families everywhere, contain gay people, who wanted to marry like everyone else. So the Irish fixed it.

The posts I saw were crazy lovely. First a bunch tagged #HomeToVote, which showed trains, ferries, airplanes and airports full of Irish citizens returning from Great Britain and Europe because it was important to them to vote. Then the riotous celebrations when the votes were counted. Finally, oddly enough, rainbows that evening all over the Dublin sky--a sure sign, the Irish said, that Jesus was voting yes.

According to another post I read, of the main religious denominations, Catholics are most likely to be in favor of gay rights. Now, understand, there are two definitions of the Catholic Church. There's the hierarchy, the Pope and all that, and while I love the Pope the official line from the hierarchy is still anti-gay. But then there's the rest of us, the body of the Church, and apparently a whole lot of us stand with Ireland. And Luxembourg. Belgium. Portugal. Non-Catholic countries like Canada, Great Britain, South Africa. Still, it makes me proud to be Catholic, so it does. Let's hope for some rainbows over Washington, D.C.