Friday, February 23, 2007

That's one dedicated eight-year-old

So in spite of explicitly telling my students, when I introduced the assignment, that they should NOT write their opinion papers on a topic where their main argument is "this is true because the Bible says so," I nonetheless got a paper on why gay marriage is a bad idea because...well, you know the rest.

Even by the standards of the genre, this was not a particularly well-argued piece, but there was one part I liked. I suppose there may be ethical problems with posting excerpts of a student's paper on the internet without permission (especially when it's for the purpose of bitter mockery), so I'll just paraphrase: gay marriage is bad because it will confuse children of gay parents. They won't know whether they should believe what their parents tell them, or what the Bible tells them.

...and can't you just picture a small child picking up a Bible and somehow staggering all the way through Genesis (yeah, Sodom & Gomorrah, which this student did indeed cite, is in Genesis, but nobody who wasn't looking to make an argument from the start would interpret that as saying anything about teh ghey), Exodus, and two-thirds of the way through Leviticus (working his way through lots of riveting stuff about what kinds of bugs you're allowed to eat and how to cure leprosy), and then getting to the bit about not lying with mankind as with womankind (as if an eight-year-old would have any idea what that meant), and going--"whoa! Are my parents good people, or are they an abomination, like this crazy book says? I just don't know!" Of course, if this young lad had lesbian parents, this passage would just reinforce in his mind the rightness of their relationship.

The very idea that any reader coming to the Bible with none of its cultural detritus cluttering his mind would come out of it with the strong impression that God Hate Fags is frankly mind-boggling. There is just SUCH a massive volume of crazyass shit in there that she would most likely just discount the lot of it--certainly the Old Testament. She wouldn't give the not lying with mankind bit any more weight as a moral imperative than she would the bit about Elisha summoning bears to murder the shit out of children for making fun of his baldness. And if somebody told this alien reader that this was the best-selling book in the world and that millions of people live their lives based thereon, she would think you were joking.

Disclaimer: the Old Testament contains some very nice poetry, and a lot of Jesus' teachings are right-on. But the fact remains--there is still a whole hell of a lot of crazyass shit.


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