DEPARTMENT OF PROPAGATION OF VIRTUE AND PREVENTION OF VICE, USA
The US State Department has requested that the Saudi government eliminate its Department of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The Saudis are resisting doing so in deference to its religious right, lest the action lead to attacks from it upon Saudi’s oil facilities and royal palaces. It seems an unreasonable request on the part of this nation since it has such a department, if not de jure then de facto; and the government, particularly the executive head of it[George W. Bush], has much sympathy for such a department, encourages it, funds its and lauds it. In fact, it was members of such a department that helped to put him in office, among whom is Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court.
Antonin Scalia is indisputably the most articulate and powerful of the department’s leadership. The latest exhibition of his eloquence is the following bit from his interesting dissent in Lawrence vs. Texas, which struck down state sodomy laws that criminalized homosexual acts, to wit: “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct, as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools or as boarders in their homes.” And he further insinuates in it that homosexual have a nefarious agenda.
First, the agenda: Scalia and other homophobes would have the world believe that homosexuals are out to proselytize straights into gays, to homosexualize everyone and to rid the earth of morals, an eventuality very unlikely considering that one’s sexual orientation is not a matter of choice but of genes and that morals reside in every heart. The truth is that the gay agenda is simply to be able to live as straights live with all the rights and privileges they have and to be free from the vicious whimsy of rednecks that dissolve their boredom and create their recreation by beating the hell out of persons who exhibit effeminate traits.
Further, Scalia, it would seems, is intelligent enough and educated enough to know that nature and nurture determine one’s sexual orientation and that it is not determined by the conscious option of an individual and that morals are nature’s creation stored in the genome and that they are not the revelation of some supernatural entity in a colloquy with a mortal on a mountain top.
Many Americans have made it clear that they not only do not want homosexuals around them in work or play but many have made it clear that they do not want blacks around them or Latinos or wops or wogs or the poor or any other undesirable, except in the capacity of underpaid workers doing drudgery for their betters. But to the chagrin of Scalia and his likes such discrimination has been declared heretofore unconstitutional. And now even homosexuals have the same constitutional status as Scalia, who is a man of such high pretensions and strong prejudices that he is affronted by such egalitarianism. Gay sex legal!? How could God allow such an abomination?
I have had a homosexual in my home from the time he was born until he departed to go to college. I have had him in my home since with his friends frequently. I have cooked meals for him and his friends and his partner and sat at table with them. I have rejoiced with him whenever he achieved some recognition in his profession, the latest being his elevation to assistant professor in the field of creative writing. He has no agenda that is peculiar and different in any respect from my agenda.
Scalia’s frustration may be ameliorated by the action of another prestigious member of the department, namely, Pat Robertson, who has encouraged his listeners to pray to God to rid the court of its three liberal members. Well, if God is the father of Jesus and Jesus reflects the character of God and if God has kept up his books of accounts on Robertson, the liberals of the court have little reason to be uneasy. In the end, Robertson may need one of them or perhaps all of them to appeal his consignment to a heaven of homosexuals, where he might receive the respect he never gave.
It is disturbing and disheartening and disgusting to have as the president of this nation a Harvard-degreed, born-again Christian who has the moral standards of a redneck and barroom brawler and to have a justice of the Supreme Court and a faithful Roman Catholic whose moral standards rise no higher than those found in Leviticus. Has neither one of these personages ever read the Sermon on the Mount? Every preacher and politician knows that political capital is forthcoming from bashing the least of the minorities. It is an affront to God to take such advantage.
What is the difference between a Muslim who believes that all truth is in the Koran and a Christian who believes that all truth is in the Old Testament and who, upon the premises of that divine truth, as they interpret it, speak and act, order and decree, in matters that affect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of thousands? Theocrats of whatever religious persuasion are at best worrisome and at worst a plague.
The emotions associated with sex are the strongest and most ungovernable. The more one is governed by sex, the stronger and controlling are his prejudices with regard to race and sexual orientation. Heterosexuals are naturally drawn to the opposite sex. It is only sovereign rule in one’s soul of reason, empathy, understanding and charity that a straight dominants his natural bias toward a gay. Saint Paul couldn’t overcome his sexual antipathy for gays and his bias unfortunately is inscribed in the Bible. Christ would have taught Paul better manners and morals had they met.
A Department of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice whether administered by Muslims or Christians is frightening to contemplate. But it is beyond frightening to have a president and a justice thinking with the likes of Pat Robertson and his whole school of numbskulls and theocratic-minded homophobes. They are in the company in that respect with the Taliban, with the most fanatic of Muslims, and with some insane preachers that rejoice in whatever atrocity is visited upon homosexuals. May Lawrence vs. Texas sleep with them hereafter.