Democracy Soup

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Rick Warren is on the wrong side of gay marriage, even among conservatives

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Tue, 12/23/2008 – 10:08am

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He’ll say: Are you married?
We’ll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you’re in town.

Winter Wonderland, 1934, by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith

The holidays bring on songs we only hear this time of year. Most are Christmas songs, though there seem to be more Hanukkah songs each year. But Winter Wonderland is one of those holiday songs that everyone, regardless of religion, can appreciate.

The above lyric is one that sticks out even in normal times. Sleigh bells ringing and snow glistening set a tone, but marriage suggestions and the idea of being married by a snowman divert the theme into a side road.

If the snowman really was Parson Brown, or a person named Parson Brown, would the parson ask a young couple where the genders were the same, “Are you married?”

In 1934, this probably wasn’t a question of major concern. After all, in quite a bit of the country, people of different races couldn’t get married, even if the genders were different.

Now 74 years later, we try to define what marriage is. The image of a young couple, sitting in a horse carriage, being swept up in the holiday spirit, perhaps hanging on extra tight to their special loved one, thinking about marriage is supposed to be one that society encourages.

There were plenty of people who thought those of different races shouldn’t be married. And there were armed with religious reasons for their beliefs. In 1934, we might have taken that seriously. In 2008, we laugh at the thought that marriage between people of different races would be banned.

Mariah Carey, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, and Barack Obama are all famous people who were the blessings of an inter-racial marriage.

Then there is the current story of an 8-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia who was married off to a 58-year-old man. The girl wanted a divorce, but the ruling came down that she cannot divorce her husband until she reaches puberty.

Could you imagine Parson Brown asking an 8-year-old girl and a 58-year-old man, “Are you married?”

When Rick Warren hears this holiday song lyric, what image does he have? A young heterosexual couple, probably white, virgins, of course, not thinking about having sex until just the right time (i.e., procreation).

The last thing Warren is likely thinking about two men, or two women, deeply in love, because he thinks gay marriage is wrong. Warren thinks homosexuality is wrong.

There are a lot of conservative preachers who think the same way about these issues as Warren does. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would likely concur.

This isn’t where the shock comes in. People of a similar ilk told us that it was a sin for people of different races to get married, and a few years before this, told us slavery was OK because the Bible said so. So we get that the conservative preachers are behind the curve.

But Warren is more dangerous: he comes across as not-so-bad. He’s not like that weird Falwell or Robertson. He seems normal.

And Warren kicks it up another notch: not only does he say gay marriage is wrong, but he compares it to incest and pedophilia. So in the mind of Warren, he equates the case in Saudi Arabia to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi.

Is there a religious reason behind this? Even the most conservative religious figures can’t pull up Biblical interpretations to justify this stand. Perhaps Warren is going mavericky on us, God, and the Bible.

It’s bad enough to use religion as a method to promulgate hate. But when you exaggerate the impact of gay marriage, and can’t even back it up with religion, this is behavior to be condemned by society, not praised.

In 1934, when Parson Brown became known worldwide, girls under the age of 18 found it easier to get married. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians couldn’t marry those of other races. All that has changed in the last 74 years. Despite what conservatives think, the definition of marriage is ever-changing. And someday, even in the United States, we will figure it out. Of course, this means Parson Brown will be busier than ever. But we’re sure he won’t mind.

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Written by democracysoup

December 23, 2008 at 10:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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