The End of DOMA
Mixed in with the elation over the Supreme Court’s decision to end the Defense of Marriage Act are, I think, some sobering lessons. It’s interesting timing that the court’s decision came on the same day that Paula Deen finally appeared on the Today Show and gave her tearful pronouncement that she isn’t a racist. Both news stories are, at their root, about prejudice. Whether racial or sexual, the issue beneath both is how we treat our fellow human beings. No one can rationally identify why they are bothered by gay people getting married. The opponents of same-sex marriage frequently fall back on the Bible…which was of course written by men and is full of contradictions. But speaking of God, isn’t God supposed to be a loving deity, who wants joy and peace for His children? Somehow that concept gets kicked into the gutter by those who judge others harshly and unfairly, and who need to create God in their image in order to justify their positions. It was a milestone day in this country, there is no doubt about that. But those who put gay marriage in the same category as criminal behavior won’t silence their judgments. That’s the sobering part.
Paula Deen actually had an opportunity to teach people something about the power of words that wound. Words you might have heard frequently, or grown up around, especially if you grew up in the South 64 years ago. Words that are not casual or mild. Words that should never come easily out of your mouth because they are weighty with history and stained with blood. She could have taught people about changing and growing. Instead she talked about her own pain. She said, “I is what I is, and I’m not gonna change.” That pretty much sums it up. You’re either changing each day and trying to learn, or you’re not.
Every person and every society will be remembered for how they treated others. Were they guided by prejudice or kindness? Judgment or acceptance? I believe that’s in the Bible…as in “cast your bread upon the waters.”