It's always particularly disheartening when ignorance and bigotry is on display in young people. No baby is born with the idea that some people are superior to others; that concept is purposely injected into a child's character by their parents and other figures of authority, daily syringes of hatred and intolerance mainlined, the brain feeding on the powerful feelings of rejecting the "other." I used to feel that this poisonous behavior could be changed over time, that we could and should evolve over time as a better model of humanity, more positive, peaceful, and productive.

I don't believe that now. Or, to be more accurate, I don't believe in a permanent social evolution or an upwards trajectory of reasoned integrity. It's never going to happen. Things can and will get better for some, and it is imperative that we always -- always -- strive towards a strong vision of equality and kindness, for even small increments of change can make life better for so many. But I know now that we will always be fighting a bitter battle, and the fight will never end until there's no one left on the planet to argue with anyone else. We will never be able to overcome our brutal base instinct to exclude, to deny, and to rank in order to feel like we have a higher status, hardly different than animals. Organized religions exploit and spread these hostile hierarchies with spectacular ease and success.

Since I was a very small girl, the exclusionary rules of organized religion have rankled me, and I could never make any room in my life for the cognitive dissonance that religious belief provokes. Fortunately for me, I am an American citizen, and I have a Constitutionally-protected right not to believe in or follow any religion or god. Whew. But, Houston, we still have a massive, massive, massive problem in that we have far too many citizens and legislators whose religious beliefs cause them to bring those rules into American government.

Which brings me to a post on Buzzfeed today by Matt Stopera: "20 Young People Who Believe That Marriage Should Be Between One Man And One Woman." Simple enough: Stopera asked these 20 kids at a Nation For Marriage rally why they think "traditional marriage" should be the law of the land. Go ahead and take a look. I'll be here when you get back.

Sigh. Aside from a nation of poor spellers and ponderous grammarians, we also have millions who cannot seem to understand the fact that


I totally do not understand why this is not made crystal-clear to everyone. If you want to live in a country where religious laws take precedence, then you should go to another country. This one is not for you. Nope, in protecting the right to worship as you wish (or not worship) the government cannot give any kind of preference to any one kind of religious belief. It is not only unfair and burdensome on those who do not share those beliefs (which we should hasten to point out are BELIEFS, and not FACTS), but destroys the entire concept of freedom of religion. Your interpretation of a religious text, your belief that that particular God's laws must also be United States law, cannot cause anything but chaos, division, and gross discrimination -- which is something America is supposed to be against, eh?  A common horse-blinder vision is that if America does not legislate Biblical pronouncements (or ones from the Koran or the Torah or anything else), religious freedom is being trampled. Nothing could be further from the truth. ALL citizens are protected from the misuse of religion when we insist on the proper separation of church and state. 

When this is not followed, we get messes like the ridiculous Defense Of Marriage Act. There is absolutely no basis within our Constitution to deny any two consenting sane adult American citizens the right to enjoy the substantial legal benefits afforded by marriage. The State can prove no compelling interest in denying gay couples full marriage rights, and the facts stand solidly that it would even improve the health, economy, and stability of the nation. The only reasons anyone can come up with to deny homosexuals a marriage license are -- you guessed it -- because they think God said so...or that it's not "right"... or that they think children are better off with a female and male parent that are married. All weaksauce. With the 60% heterosexual divorce rate, with marriage not at all always something that includes kids, with years of solid social science reporting that gay couples can and do raise healthy children...for anyone at this point fired up enough about homosexual marriage to try to once again exclude, deny, and rank is


Angry religious folk, take heart. Your church will never have to marry a gay couple if it chooses not to. Never...unless we decide to tax and regulate your church as we should, considering the money religious lobbyists throw at our lawmakers. And Girl #1 on Buzzfeed? Don't freak out -- no one will ever make you marry a girl, or a guy, or anyone. If you want a traditional marriage, you will have the blessing of the government to give it a go. But here's the deal: you aren't any more important than any other citizen, and how you use your genitals or who you use them with is of no business to government. For you to insist otherwise is a losing battle. Mind your own business and your own love life, try to find something in your belief system that doesn't hurt other people, and grow up. If you can't do that, like I said, go find yourself a theocracy where you might feel more comfortable. It's working out really well in Egypt these days, I see.

Think long and hard, parents, about the cost of that intolerance you infect your kids with. No good will ever come of it, nor ever has.