Thursday, December 31, 2015

Catholicism, Gayness, Blind Men, and Elephants


Having neither the expertise nor the interest in engaging either Roy Moore or Rev. Glenn Jones in a discussion of Catholicism vs. Gay Love, I will offer this. The story of the Blind Men and the Elephant.
John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

My concern, if I have one, is Roy Moore's comment "One of our state congressman is even introducing a law to allow some to hate in the name of religion."

I would dispute that a religious distaste for gayness equals hate. But that is beside the point. Given that any religious belief is largely begging the question, I really could not care less what a specific religion, or all of them, says about gay love. Sex, biologically, is primarily about reproduction, but given Homo sapiens' huge brains, our relationships with each other go beyond the simple need to reproduce and Lord knows, with 7.3 billion people on the planet, we are doing quite well at reproduction. There is no need to worry about taking a few men or women out of the reproductive pool, should it come to that.

So if you don't like what a religion says about the elephant, or for that matter gayness, find another religion. Or make up your own, or forswear all of them. What I insist is that we abide by the First Amendment and make no law respecting a request that any religious belief asks to be made into law, without first translating it into a reasonable, secular rationale worthy of rational discussion.