Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Thanks to the Puritans

It has started out as a blustery day in Pensacola, quite possibly making today's Blue Angels season-ending finale trickier than usual, and it would have been tricky enough with the missing No. 4 slot plane pilot grounded for "an inappropriate relationship" with a female colleague.

Sex guilt. One gift of the Puritans we can't be thankful for.

Meanwhile, in downtown Pensacola "Join the Impact" will hold a rally today just after noon. They're protesting the new amendment to the Florida state constitution approved by voters on election day. An absolutely superfluous amendment. An amendment that, at its best, practically repeats existing state law. An amendment, in short, whose sole purpose is to rub salt in open wounds and glorify the torturers.

As for the rally, it's part of the national coordinated "Join the Impact" protest against local and state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples who want to get married and, for that matter, opposite-sex couples who don't.

Sex guilt, again.

To be fair there's better reason to discipline heterosexual members of the Blue Angels team who violate anti-fraternization rules than there is to punish ordinary citizens who just want a little happiness in this life in the privacy of their home. The planes fly within inches of each other over hundreds of thousands of onlookers; one supposes the Blue Angels don't want pilots getting too emotional when they see a rival for love sidling up to them at 700 mph.

But what reason could there possibly be for Florida voters to have approved Amendment No. 2 or California voters Proposition 8? None but the Puritan legacy of fear, bigotry and the age-old impulse to punish others because it is so self-affirming. As Leonard Pitts writes, intolerance is a "seductive thing."
[I]t can be to resist the serpent whisper that says it's OK to ridicule and marginalize those people over there because they look funny, or talk funny, worship funny or love funny.
Intolerance makes a certain kind of human feel better. Never more so than when he or she suffers from sex guilt.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Just as a matter of historical accuracy, while the Puritans were indeed prudes, their form of Calvinism denied the necessity of preachers or ministers, and in fact, they had to be forced to finally allow ministers to conduct weddings, as the Puritans felt that marriage was totally secular in nature.

They also fined people for celebrating Christmas, as it was considered a pagan excuse to be frivolous and was not mentioned in the Bible as a holiday.

They wouldn't have approved of the Blue Angels either.