I have just one question to ask people here on News24: What is it to you?
An atheist doesn’t believe in god. What is it to you?
A pagan believes in Odin. What is it to you?
A gay couple holds hands in public. What is it to you?
Why does it matter to you what other people do or don’t do, or what they believe or not believe in? What business is it of yours? What difference does it make in your life?
Are you prevented from believing in god? Are you prohibited from going to church? Is it illegal for you to pray around your family table? Was every CUM bookshop in the country forced to close its doors? Did they stop playing jingle bells in every shop over Christmas? Was every Christian radio station and cable TV station shut down? Were you in any way prevented from watching or listening to Christian programming? S your church forced underground, and do you stand on pain of death for admitting your beliefs in public?
Were you prevented from sleeping with your wife? Were you forced to marry a gay man and have homosex in the gym shower? Were you told how filthy you are for sleeping with your wife or husband?
Well? Could you answer yes to even a single one of these questions? Can you truthfully say that you, the one reading this, was in fact forced to do anything you didn’t want to because of atheists, homosexuals or people of alternative faiths in your own personal capacity?
Well? Can you?
Then I ask you again: What. Is. It. To. You?
Can you explain to me how it affects YOU when a homosexual couple sleeps together? If I sleep with my partner in OUR house, what business is it of yours? How are we negatively impacting on you? What impact does that have on ANYONE else, really?
Your neighbour is an atheist. What business is that of yours? How is she negatively impacting your life by being atheist? How is anyone negatively affected?
If you are not affected at all, then seriously, what is your problem?
Oh, society is affected? How so? How is society harmed by atheists, pagans, gays etc?
Isn’t society composed of individuals? And if no individuals are negatively affected, how can society as a whole be negatively affected? I’d say more individuals are harmed by capitalism than atheism. I’d say more societies are harmed through the enforcement of religious dogma than through granting homosexuals equality.
The loss of godly values will lead to societal collapse? Possibly. It depends on the exact morals you refer to. Let’s take theft.
If a society allowed theft, you might as well kiss the concept of ownership goodbye. Would that necessarily lead to societal collapse? In a capitalistic society, quite possibly. This society values possessions. But in other cultures? Some Native American nations existed quite happily without the concepts of ownership of land or possessions. Conflict would then only arise when members of that nation encountered members of another nation. Morals can therefore be said to be dependent on societal necessity.
How about murder? If anyone was allowed to kill another, then all basis for cooperation would disappear. Why would I help you if I knew you could kill me at any time? A society like that couldn’t function. Survival of the individual as well as that of the society rests on mutual cooperation. We all agree that we shouldn’t speed, because if we did, people would die. The more people died, the fewer people we’d have around to maintain our society, and society exists in the first place to help us survive. Killing is clearly counterproductive. In a society that values individual possession, so would theft be. But believing in a different deity? How does that threaten society, unless the values somehow threaten the overall survival of society?
Can you in all honesty say that your survival, or the survival of society as a whole are threatened by either atheism or homosexuality, or muslims or pagans?
Let’s take a good look at homosexuality. It’s currently estimated that about 1-10% of the (global) population is gay. Homosexuality is mentioned throughout history. It was present in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, China, North America, South America...in every nation, on every continent throughout history. We don’t know the exact percentage due to a number of factors: some societies (like some Native American nations) didn’t care about it at all, and so didn’t bother to put numbers to it. In other societies it was taboo, and so many homosexuals simply didn’t come out publically, again distorting the numbers. That is still the case today, making it hard to get an accurate present or historical idea of the numbers. What we do know is that homosexuals have always been present everywhere. So what can we deduce from that? Well, for one we can say it didn’t significantly influence the human population. We’re currently at 7 billion people. 7,000,000,000. That gives us an estimated maximum of 700,000,000 gays. Which means there are 6,300,000,000 straight people (yes, I’m oversimplifying massively by not subdividing for bisexuals and another sexualities, and not correcting for surrogacy and infertility and people who for various reasons choose not to or are unable to reproduce) who can reproduce.
Take a good look at that number. 6.3 billion people. More or less. Can you honestly tell me that homosexuals pose a reproductive threat to humanity? If NONE of those 700 million gays reproduced, are we as a species threatened with extinction? We wouldn’t be threatened with extinction if even 50% of humans didn’t or couldn’t reproduce for whatever reason. Even 3.5 billion people are more than enough to maintain a genetically viable population.
Oh, I know the argument. I’ve heard it from many, many people before: “if everyone turned gay, we’d be extinct.” This is one of the more stupid arguments because there have never been a point in history where every single human being was gay, nor will there be. Why not? Because being gay isn’t a choice. Giving gays equal rights (in other words, giving them exactly the same human rights that everyone else has) will not change the number of homosexuals. Homosexuals have always been there. They always will be. They’ll always be present as a certain percentage, but never as a majority. Homosexuals don’t recruit. Why? Because it’s not a choice. If I came to you and asked you to be gay, would you be able to sit down and make a reasoned decision regarding your sexuality?
Let’s play a hypothetical game. Let’s assume that we lived in a society where homosexuality was celebrated. Would you, given the offer to become homosexual in such a society, be able to choose to be gay? Would you be able to choose to be aroused by other men (or women if you are female). Can you in fact imagine any incentive that would allow you to choose to be gay? If you answered no, you can’t choose for even a single moment to be gay, that there is no circumstance under which conditions you would choose to be gay, then how could you possibly say that homosexuals pose a reproductive threat?
You are what you are. If you are born straight, no amount of talk or attempts at persuasion will change you. The same applies to homosexuals. We are what we are, and nothing you do or say will change that. You can make it illegal. You can act like Hitler did and gas us. You can spit on us in the streets. It won’t change anything. It won’t change us. You can denounce us from a million pulpits. It won’t change anything. We have always existed. We always will exist. What we won’t be, nor were we ever, is a threat to you. Why? Because we all have straight families. We were all born of our parents. We have straight brothers and sisters, and cousins, and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews. We love our families, even if our families reject us. And if our families reject us...well, then we simply look for people who will accept us. There are plenty of them out there. There always have been. There always will be.
We’re not asking for special privileges. Show me one instance where we are demanding something you don’t have? The right not to be discriminated against? Is that something that’s exclusive to gays? Does it not also apply to women? Are we saying you MUST employ a homosexual? No. We’re saying you shouldn’t deny a qualities homosexual on the basis of homosexuality just as you shouldn’t deny the position on the basis of religion, skin colour or sex. Special protection in terms of hate crimes? Is there such a thing as violence directed at specific groups? If there is, then should such a crime be treated as a general crime, or something more specific? Let’s say Jews are targeted for being Jews. Would you say that Jews as a group are at higher risk than other groups, or the same risk? If they’re being specifically targeted, then how can you say their risk is the same as everyone else’s? Because there’s an additional risk that others are not exposed to, there is specific legislation to deal with it. Such as hate crimes on the grounds of religion, or sexual orientation, or skin colour.
I also recently saw an argument that homosexuals shouldn’t be homo in public because it can influence children to be homosexual. Very well. In that case, I demand you stop being heterosexual in public because that would influence children to be heterosexual. I also demand you stop being Christian in public because it might influence children to be Christian. I demand that Chinese people stop being Chinese in public because it might influence children to be Chinese. I demand that everyone behave absolutely neutrally in public. You can’t be black or white or gay or straight or Christian or atheist. We all know what you’re really saying when you use children as an excuse for bigotry. You’re saying “it’s wrong to be what you are, and what you are must not be allowed to exist in the next generation.” That’s what you’re saying. We all know it. It’s a pity you don’t.
Do you see how ridiculous that position is? You are who you are. We are who we are. None of us should have to hide what we are. As long as no one is hurt, there is no reason why anyone should in any way be expected to hide themselves. Be you gay or straight or atheist or Christian.
So I ask you again in conclusion: what’s it to you?