May 22, 2011

Hate is a Learned Behavior

This is an original work that appeared in in April 2011.

Never off the conservative bandwagon, my state proposed legislation that would further strengthen anti-gay marriage laws. Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in Indiana. If passed, this new legislation keeps the state’s courts from overturning an existing gay marriage law.

This is like rubbing salt in a wound. How can our legislature spend a minute on this when we have a ten percent unemployment rate, when our roads and infrastructure are failing, and when people live under bridges in our state?

I have never been able to understand how two persons of the same sex who have a lifelong committed relationship can harm society.

I grew up blue in this red state, with family members on both sides of the proverbial political coin. What I have discovered about many so-called “social issues” is that ignorance prevails over malice. Maybe I am horribly naïve, but I do not believe that people hate for the sake of hating.

As weak an argument as this may sound, I paraphrase the old cliché which says there are no atheists in foxholes. When most people learn that a family member is gay, everything changes. That is of course a generality on my part. There are individuals who can never get beyond their own bigotry, but I assert that it is fear and ignorance driving this prejudice.

And as the song from South Pacific says, you've got to be carefully taught (to hate.)

With Christianity the primary religion in the Midwest, there is often a Bible verse thrown in discussions about the subject of homosexuality.

As a progressive Christian, I believe the Jesus I love and respect from the New Testament would rebuke those who make judgments about individuals they don’t even know or understand.