In a recent email interview with the Huffington Post, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage showed just how Pope Francis’ admonition regarding the obsessive relationship that many Conservative Catholics have with same-sex marriage is falling on deaf ears.
Gallagher was asked “Do you see yourself as ‘obsessed’ with gays?”
To which she answered “No. I am obsessed with marriage because I think its demotion from the foundation of the family to an intense romantic connection is a demotion, one that is doing harm.”
Not only does this answer show that Gallagher has pretty much ignored Pope Francis, but also shows the fact that she never understood the nature of marriage in the first place. Marriage was about property and economic stability, not family or emotional connection.
While Gallagher might say that she feels that Pope Francis is “magnificent”, her unwillingness to actually look into her self and reassess her priorities are startling.
Gallagher claims that “I find Pope Francis exhilarating and radiant. Personally, I have taken to heart his call for an examination of conscience. In my case: What am I doing to help the poor and the suffering? What can I do in my personal sphere to do more? I’m just a lay Catholic, and trust me, a bigger sinner than the pope. But each of us can do more.”
Except that she does not. Rather than devoting her life to helping the poor, she obsesses with forcing people to conform to her religious beliefs.
The Huffington Post asked Gallagher “What do you think this interview, along with his other recent statement about gay Catholics, ‘who am I to judge,’ means for the American forces opposed to same-sex marriage?”
To which she, who claims to be a writer, responded with “What I find most exhilarating about Pope Francis, is the possibility that we can reach out to those with whom we disagree without surrendering principle. I will say I have not found that true generally. I have found the gay rights community — the activists anyway, not the ordinary folk — is mostly asking for one thing: Agree, or be judged a hateful bigot.”
The problem for Gallagher is that most of us do not care if you want to dislike homosexuality. The problem that we have with people like Gallagher is that she and others use misinformation in the guise of ‘truth’ in order to try and legitimize their hatred. What makes someone a bigot is not the nature of their fears or the nature of their dislikes, but the lengths to which they go to justify it.
The difference between a bigot and someone who is just uncomfortable with someone else is thin, admittedly. If you are afraid of or uncomfortable around, say, men, it is easy to attack them because of that fear; however, admitting to the fear often dispels the hatred even if it does not eliminate the fear.
Gallagher showed that she has nothing but hatred for LGBT people when she answered a question about the direction that opposition groups are going to have to go in. She said that “I see us being in the next phase, because I believe the courts are going to shut down the marriage debate — unfairly and without constitutional legitimacy, in my opinion, but that is what [Justice] Anthony Kennedy clearly signaled. The next phase is: Now that the view of marriage I hold dear is ‘privatized,’ how do we sustain in a new way to protect as many children (and men and women) as we can? That’s where my energies are now.”
When she de-legitimized the opposition, which is what she did there, and then talk about protecting children, she distorted the reality, which is that marriage as an institution is good for children irregardless of the parents involved.
Gallagher also distorts the basis for her own opposition to same-sex marriage. When asked about religious leaders turning away from the battle over same-sex marriage and making a secular case against same-sex marriage, Gallagher basically lied and claimed that “My case against same-sex marriage was always entirely secular. I believe we need a social institution that is about directing the passions of men and women attracted to the opposite sex — 98 percent of people — so that our sexual acts do not hurt the children our bodies create in passion. To me, that’s the heart of ‘civil marriage’ and the explanation for why the government is involved.”
First of all, that ‘98%’ figure has not been accurate since the 1990′s, and is based off of faulty estimates. The best estimates we have regarding LGB people is around 10% of the population is lesbian, gay or bisexual; however, given the complex nature of sexuality, one estimate is that lesbians, gays and straights make up about 20% of the population and bisexuals and sexually flexible people make up about 80%.
Secondly, the idea that homosexual acts hurt children is based off of what? The problem for Gallagher is that it is based on a religious interpretation of human sexuality and it not bourne out by the science involved.
Gallagher then went on to say “I hope I am wrong that gay marriage will change that as the public idea of marriage, but the evidence is pretty strong that I am right: It is very hard to see two men as a marriage, and still see marriage as integrally involved in procreation and family structure. Would love for you to prove me wrong. I would love nothing more than to be wrong about this.”
This is the “there are none so blind as will not see” moment. Gallagher will not see because she refuses to see. No amount of scientific evidence will prove her wrong, and no amount of anecdotal evidence will suffice. Never mind that there are hundreds upon thousands of stable, same-sex marriages with healthy and happy children in the nation. So long as Gallagher will not see them, they do not exist and her bigotry will continue forward.
Gallagher has been proven wrong time and time and time and time again, and yet, she clings to her hatred of LGBT people like a barnacle on a sinking ship.
Gallagher is then asked “Do you ever worry you have wasted your life being on the wrong side of history?”
To which she answers “No, not at all. History doesn’t need my help. I’m a writer. I see my mission as telling the truth, within the limits of my insight. That’s the only way I can make a contribution, to people living today certainly, much less to history. I’m very satisfied I’ve done my best to tell the truth about the good as I see it. One cannot do anything better with one life, as far as I’m concerned.”
Unfortunately for Gallagher, the ‘truth’ she has spread is so tainted with lies that one can only feel sorry for her for she cannot see the pain she has caused others.
Back in the 1990′s, writer Mercedes Lackey wrote a story about a man who made a deal with Satan to become a famous and wealthy televangelist. Before Satan came to collect his soul, the man prayed to be forgiven of his sins, and of course he was. Unfortunately for the man, he never prayed to be forgiven for the sins he caused others to commit through his distortion of the Bible and through his preaching, and the pain he caused others to feel.
Compared to the sins he, himself, had committed, the sins and pain he caused others was a mountain.