Sins of the Children
“Make sure and tell your father that he’s going to hell for your sins,” the fat, angry man in the ugly brown jacket shouted as I snapped his photo. In his arms were two strongly worded protest signs. Beneath his feet was a damp and dirty American flag.
My father has been dead for 12 years. If there is consciousness after physical death, I’m sure he is acutely aware of what sins he is or is not doing time for. Although the Chaos Theory allows for the possibility of just about anything happening, my guess is that odds are low that my dad is burning on my account. But if he is, there are far more interesting reasons for him to sizzle and pop in the underworld than my belief that the government should stay out of the marriage business and let adults decide for themselves whom to marry or not marry.
I like a freak show as much as the next person. Ok. I probably like a freak show more than the next person, but when Rev. Fred Phelps (http://www.godhatesfags.com) sent his traveling band of poorly socialized absexual performance artists to my usually laid back city, I saw something I’d never seen before. On one level, theater is so dead that you can’t pay for a performance this genuine. On every other level, organized and insolent hatred such as this isn’t something I want to encounter very often, whether genuine or imitation. There’s an inherent toxicity to the kind of all-consuming self-righteousness that traveled from Kansas in order to prance, squeal, sing off key, and shout condemnation because Portland has issued more than 3000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
I understand that some people are profoundly uncomfortable with the fact that there are guys who like guys and girls who like girls more than they like the folks who use the other bathroom. But that’s the way it is. There are blonds who prefer blondes, and brunettes who prefer brunettes, too, but you don’t hear about people traveling the country to protest against it. As long as everybody’s old enough to legally consent to what they’re doing and aren’t harming my person or property, it’s not really my business. Other than keeping any contracts in order, I don’t think it’s really the government’s business, either. Just like it’s not really anybody’s business whether or not someone likes to dress up like a meter maid, dance naked for dollar bills, suck cock for Franklins, love two people at once, get their genitals pierced, watch midget porn, be bare bottom spanked, stop shaving their legs, eat only vegan meals, live a celibate life – or even believe that there’s a god somewhere who’d send my father to hell because I think sex can be a nice way for people to share a wide range of satisfying experiences together.
Ultimately, it’s not anybody’s business – including the fat, angry man in the ugly brown jacket – whether or not me, my father, or anyone else goes to heaven, hell, Elysium, Hades, Shangri-la, or dystopia. My understanding of even the more radically altered forms of Christianity is that regardless of how obvious one’s Just Reward may appear, it’s up to the Big Guy to make the final decision. Since that leaves out Rev. Phelps, John Ashcroft, George Bush, and all the other moral busy bodies with so much spare time on their hands, perhaps they could find more wholesome ways to get their jollies other than protesting the fact that somebody, somewhere is having a good time without their permission.
– Originally published in Playtime Magazine –