The last two nights on talkback were undoubtedly the most challenging of my career. For those outside of New Zealand, a bill on gay marriage passed its first reading in parliament by a vote of 80 to 40. I tried to encourage nuanced thought on the topic, but when it’s an issue as emotive as this, nuance is not something on most people’s minds.
Themes which fell on deaf ears included:
- Being opposed to gay marriage, but supportive of the freedom of two gay people to make that decision for themselves.
- Being opposed to gay marriage, but fully supportive of Civil Unions and the legal rights of gays.
- Understanding that ideas and accepted notions are allowed to evolve. Once upon a time even the greatest of Presidents, the most liberal of white leaders, Abraham Lincoln, believed African Americans were only capable of limited intelligence. Lincoln’s ideas were greatly challenged by the likes of Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who first impressed on him the idea of black patriotism for America (as opposed to being shipped back to Africa or to Haiti).
- Being in favour of gay marriage and accepting that it is not up to us to judge, leaving that to God (if you are religious).
- That Christians needn’t be afraid of acknowledging the historical context with which the Bible was written. Yes, there are passages denouncing homosexuality in the Bible, but there are many passages (mixing of two different fabrics, anyone?) in the Bible that no longer stack up today. These passages, whether you still apply them to your life in 2012 or not, needn’t be fundamental to your faith.
Unfortunately, much of what I got back through the calls, the texts and the emails was the ignorant spread of hate – pure and simple. There is so much written about Christ that is of great inspiration to people whether they are Christian or Muslim, atheist or agnostic. And none of the stuff I’ve read about Him suggests ignorance or hate.
To break up the mayhem last night, I played this Rod Stewart song. Considering the torrent of abuse I faced for merely attempting a civilised discussion on the topic of gay marriage, how brave was Rod writing The Killing Of Georgie back in 1977? With some of his finest, most direct lyrics, the song is not a lecture and nor is this blog entry for that matter. Just consider those words of someone who “needed love like all the rest”, whose parents didn’t understand, who eventually died a victim of hate. Have a listen and have a listen to those lyrics because I’m not sure Rod was ever better than he was here: