Why churches fear gay marriage

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Why churches fear gay marriage

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:55 pm

Why churches fear gay marriage

For author Richard Rodriguez, no one is talking about the real issues behind Proposition 8.

While conservative churches are busy trying to whip up another round of culture wars over same-sex marriage, Rodriguez says the real reason for their panic lies elsewhere: the breakdown of the traditional heterosexual family and the shifting role of women in society and the church itself. As the American family fractures and the majority of women choose to live without men, churches are losing their grip on power and scapegoating gays and lesbians for their failures.

He goes on to explain:

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.

More on the original page, of course. What do you guys think? Is there something to this?

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Unread postby BrainWalker » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:15 pm

I think there's a lot of truth to this, and if it weren't for the fact that I was about to crash for the night, I might speak more about it. But I will speak on one thing that sort of jumped out at me, tertiary to the main issue. A phrase like "the majority of women choose to live without men" is a little misleading. It took me a minute to figure out what the author was getting at. It's not that the majority of women are choosing to live without men entirely; the majority of women I know are either involved with or currently seeking involvement with a man. The major difference from ages past is that they are living on their own while they do it, and they're doing it because they want a man, not because they need a man.

I dunno, that's probably obvious to most people, but it was something I had to clarify for myself. Maybe *yawn* because... I'm... *zzzzzzzzzzzzz*
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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:32 pm

I really can't think of any better translation of "it's just wrowng!" than "it goes against the established tradition, our way of doing things!" For a lot of churches I'm sure it deals more with such a change to the expected norm (and boy, does change make people uncomfortable) than a challenge to the patriarchy--at least I'm sure that's the way those without significant church status have it--but the point of those in power wanting to stay there does have merit.
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:48 pm

It's a really interesting article, but there's something missing in his analysis. Women's roles have been changing for quite some time, but churches like the RCC & CoLDS have been able to limp along with a male hierarchy nonetheless. The "problem" with gay marriage, as I see it, is that it redefines the man's role in society--or, more accurately, turns it upside down and drops it on its head.

If men go and start rejecting their God-given duties of being attracted to women and proving one's virility through the birth of 4,000 solid gold babies, then what's going to stop them from giving up on their other societal roles...like, unquestioned head of family, church, state?

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