Our Intv w/ Michael Eric Dyson: Are We Clinging to Shotguns & Religion When it comes to Same Sex Marriage


Ever since President Obama came out and says he supports same-sex marriage it’s been interesting and somewhat amusing observing all the hoopla, uproar and call to arms by those who stand in opposition. It’s been interesting watching all the Biblical cherry picking of quotes and hypocritical behavior by many who have declared Obama’s stance as some sort of gauntlet in the sand and the start of sort of holy war on the institution of marriage..

In the interview linked below to our syndicated Hard Knock Radio show, I talk with Professor and ordained minister Michael Eric Dyson about many of the issues surrounding this debate..Dyson got himself in this firestorm last week, when he called those who were intolerant to same-sex marriage ‘sexual rednecks’. he questioned how is it that those who have been oppresses and still find themselves oppressed can turn around and oppress others?  You can peep our engaging discussion  HERE

As you peep the interview, here’s some food for thought….

What’s been fascinating over the past week is seeing how folks have been jumping out the woodwork claiming same sex marriage is gonna damage the institution of marriage. With divorce rates skyrocketing as much as 75% in some communities and reality show after reality show offering marriage as some sort of game show prize to be discarded at the slightest whim, one might argue, war was declared a long time ago and it had very little to do with same-sex marriages. But let’s not digress.

The issue is not a real concern for marriage, because if it was we would’ve been marching in the streets long ago trying to set clear examples of how to stay married and keep the institution uplifted. We would’ve been celebrated and upholding those who have healthy and long marriages as models to emulate, instead we highlight and placate everything that is opposition to loving relationships. The upset isn’t about marriage being destroyed its about folks holding on to homophobia and intolerance and for many that’s a hard truth to swallow.

Many have tried to frame this discussion as if it’s the Black community against the LGBT community which they depict as white. What many have refused to acknowledge is that the gay community has a pretty sizeable number of Black folks and other people of color, many of who have and continue to either helping lead or right there on front line fighting to put an end to injustice. Folks wanna erase the contributions and leadership of James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes,  Marsha P Johnson just to name a few. Folks wanna act like we don’t have current day leaders and activists who are also a part of the LGBT  community like Keith Boykin, Dr Adreanna Clay of SF State or Aids activist Phil Wilson.

What’s also been most amusing, is watching all those people who laughed and scoffed at conservative leaning voters back in 08 accusing them of being bitter and ‘clinging to shotguns or religion’. .We chided those voters for being ‘unenlightened’ and outdated in their thinking. We said their refusal to ‘open up’ has resulted in them being close minded, xenophobic, racist and intolerant..We told them it was high time they evolve and step into the 21st Century. Today we have many who were once mocked their conservative counter-parts, literally running to the closet and grabbing their own shotguns as they cling to religion as justification for expressing their own intolerance.

Many in this group wanna now conveniently fall back on ‘tradition’ and talk about the ways things have been for  3000 years and why we shouldn’t change.  Meanwhile these same folks seem to have no problem letting go of centuries old traditions cloaked in religious practices like slavery, women being deemed subservient or property and sacrificial rituals to name a few all of which have been pushed to the wayside because they been deemed ‘oppressive’, impractical or archaic.

Once upon a time in some cultures, marriage meant giving up some cows and property in the form of a dowry. There was a time marriage was arranged, you had no say so who your mate was. It wasn’t too long ago  within some religions you could take on more than one mate in your marriage. Still in other traditions you had to be virgin in order to be ‘properly’ married. It used to be you got married to procreate.. We could go on and on listing what it meant to be married and in each case folks and sometimes the church itself got together and redefined things. It didn’t matter if it was a centuries old tradition. You heard people say we had to evolve.

Today we go to down to City Hall which all of us straight, gay, Black, Brown white etc.. pay with our tax dollars and get a marriage license from the state. In other words we don’t have to go through any ‘religious ceremony’ or a church. I seen folks get married on beaches, in nightclubs  and at barbeques, all far cries from what many have deemed traditional.

Some of us have gone to weddings where folks are taking sacred vows and switching up the words.  How many times have we seen women scratch out the part where it says ‘You’ll obey your husband?  Tradition be damned. Religion be damned.. As I heard one bride say .. ‘this ain’t 200 AD it’s 1993 it’s equal partnership time.. I ain’t obeying no one but God’. People laughed and applauded as she went on to complete her wedding.

No one including the pastor got bent out of shape about her switching up those vows and changing tradition. No one tripped that she had been living with her husband for 5 years prior to getting married and no one tripped that she had multiple sex partners prior to meeting her husband. No one told her that God who she said she would obey, might’ve wanted her wanted follow those vows where she obeys her husband..And everyone held their tongue about her other ‘transgressions’ after all its a new day and age and those pesky religious rules get bent all the time when it suits our individual or collective purpose. They get bent all the time except when it comes to same-sex marriage..

Many of were told to not get upset w/ Obama for being silent on Troy Davis, he had to do what was political expedient

What has also stood out to me during this same-sex drama is all the glaring political MIS-POSTURING.. What do I mean by that? Well it wasn’t too long ago that folks who opposed President Obama on any number of issues like;  mass deportations, warrantless wiretaps, the resigning of the Patriot Act, his deafening silence on cases involving the police killing of Oscar Grant and the execution of Troy Davis, him giving money to build more prisons, his continued drone strikes in countries like Pakistan and Somalia where innocent families have been killed, his seeming indifference to the plight of poor folks as he constantly over-compromises or outright saddles up with multinational corporate interests, big Pharma, the telecoms, Goldman Sachs, and Monsanto to name a few, were rebuffed and often ridiculed by those now crying foul about this same-sex marriage endorsement..

If I go through my Facebook posts, twitter timelines or blog message boards, there were quite a few of these folks who would give lectures to anyone pushing the president to address issues specific to the Black or Brown community. The rationale usually broke down this way;  ‘President Obama is not the President for Black people, Brown people or one political persuasion ...President Obama is President for all people’  Folks opposing Obama were often chided and told; They ‘need to see the bigger picture and not focus on one or two issues’ and support the President’.

Many would staunchly point out that the President had enough opposition from the Tea Party and far right extremist forces and by behaving ‘emotionally‘ they were fueling the fire for his enemies..Folks opposing Obama on such important issues which adversely impact us day in and day out were essentially told to be quiet, because the President was ‘playing chess’ and executing shrewd political gamesmanship. We were told that Obama had to be politically wise in order to win over certain voters. Now that this same sex marriage endorsement is on the front burner, those folks who told us to pipe down are making all sorts of noise and following their own advise.

This past weekend there was big conference call put together by Rev Jamal H Bryant. he made a public call for Church leaders to get on the conference call to discuss Obama’s same-sex marriage endorsement..I would hope this wasn’t the only issue in recent days that he and other church leaders put out a nationwide conference call to undertake. I’m gonna assume that there were nationwide conference calls by these churches to address issues like skyrocketing poverty, massive incarceration rates, increased police and vigilante killings, war efforts in Africa, higher education becoming less and less affordable etc..Maybe I’m wrong to assume. I hope not.

Currently there are some who are so upset about the same-sex marriage endorsement to the point that they are calling on folks to sit out the 2012 election.. Now just a few months ago, many of these same folks were running around chastising anyone who objected to President Obama’s policies on war, poverty, government surveillance, deportations etc labeling them ‘Emo Progs’ (emotional progressives) aka Professional Left Y’all remember that term? What do we label those upset about ‘this one issue’ of same-sex marriage,  who are now threatening to ‘derail the 2012 election? Emo Churchers?  Professional Religious Zealots? The New ‘Ralph Naders?

I’ll tell you one lesson learned from this whole debate.. If you have issues of importance to you, you best speak up and push any and everyone who is in elected office to do right by you. There were many in the LGBT community who never piped down and even with this endorsement by Obama have not let up. They’re still pushing him as they should. There is no room for compromised citizenship. The goal is not an endorsement, but true equality and an end to state sanctioned discrimination.

written by Davey D

8 comments on “Our Intv w/ Michael Eric Dyson: Are We Clinging to Shotguns & Religion When it comes to Same Sex Marriage

  1. I respect your right to have your point of view regarding President Obama’s “silence” on some very serious issues. As regards same sex marriage in a society supposedly created on religious grounds and with the makeup of our country leaning once again toward the spiritually “enlightened”, I can only point to several of the “Holy” books which plainly state that homosexuality is against nature, i.e. the Bible “Romans” …and man will take unto himself that which is recompense and woman shall forsake her natural use.”

    I am a Soldier and am forced into living situations with gay Soldiers with which I am uncomfortable although however, as long as they do their jobs I have no issue with their lifestyle. What I do NOT like is having their lifestyle sanctioned as if it is natural and ok. In my opinion the lifestyle is a huge tear in the moral fabric of our global community. Being gay is not a race but a sub-culture of humanity, the lifestyle is wrong but people are people and deserve human kindness and tolerance.

    I feel that your other points are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the issue of same sex marriage…sorry I kinda wandered away from coherent writing but I believe you get my point…if not, I would be more than happy to engage in further discussion after I have had some sleep!!!

    jdobypr http://jdobypr.com

  2. jdobypr First of all our country was not founded on religious grounds.. Our country was the result of a marginalized group of people leaving one land coming to another and committing wholesale genocide against a population already here and then enslaving another group to build it up.. As far as what we wanna quote from ‘holy Books’, there’s lots of things to quote.. are we following all that in it or cherry picking when its suits us.. In Romans there’s an entire section that talks about submitting to government authority.. it commends us to listen to govt bc it represents God.. So we’ve had authority say all sorts of things we rebelled against including slavery, women being property, child labor etc.. Romans has been used to justify oppression, but we seem to have no problem with the dismissal of those things we find oppressive..

    Romans also talks about keeping our body as a temple and to refrain from drunkeness and other acts that are deemed immoral in Gods eyes, but perfect legal, profitable and even encouraged here in this country which u claim was founded on religious grounds..Your in the military where the rate of rapes are at all time high.. women getting raped on the regular.. we’ve not cleaned that up or disbanded the military.. Cats still go to strip clubs, hook up with ‘juiceys and do other ‘immoral things.. a lot of it still legal..

    Lastly Romans talks about let God get revenge which can call into question ur role as a soldier.. Are u adherring to Govt law.. or did you volunteer to join an outfit which is in Afghanistan doing what? Seeking revenge for 9-11 attacks.. We cheered that on and said the heck with God getting revenge we’ll do it ourself.Now of course all that I stated can easily be refuted with a bunch of other quotes…which brings us back to the original point in the essay..

    Lastly as far as feel uncomfortable? welcome to the real world.. We got cops patrolling our streets who feel uncomfortable around Black and Brown folks.. Same rule applies to them as u.. Its your job to be professional and get over ur discomfort.. Just like for a gay soldier it’s they job to be professional

  3. Davey D…I agree with you about we as a people using quotes from the various “Holy Books” to suit a specific purpose. I am a Soldier and I am professional and as long as the other person does their job, everything is fine. However, we all know that the gay lifestyle is not natural…nevermind man made laws…just look at the laws of nature…things are designed to work a certain way and usually trouble comes when we try to force our human ways of thinking on nature.

    It is NOT my job to get over being uncomfortable when forced into living situations with those going against nature. My JOB is to kill my governments enemies, protect our constitution, etc. For more than 12 years and with 6 combat deployments, I have more than earned the right to say what I feel even if I am required to follow orders. It is because of what people like me do for a living that people like you have an opportunity and the right to say what you feel…don’t you ever forget that Sir.

    Lastly, you are dead wrong about the reason for this country being “invaded” and I DO agree with you that this country was invaded and that genocide was practiced in the name of God, etc., I don’t agree with the WAY this country was established however, we cannot change that part or the history of oppression in this country. I do not feel the need to oppress ANYONE and will defend anyone’s human and civil rights. I just don’t have to agree with them or their lifestyle.

  4. My friend lets get a few things straight… u have no idea what I do for a living, what sacrifices I made or my family have made now or in the past to bring about a better world.. Please refrain from trying to establish hierarchy about who is doing more or who is more valuable in our quest for societal upliftment.. I can easily say that about my line of work or what my family does YOU are better off… Also you are not the first or only person to put on a military uniform of any kind of uniform to serve this country- so let’s knock that bit off and respect each other as being adults having a conversation…I hear where ur coming from in terms of having a right to speak ur piece.. But the larger pt I’m making is along policy lines..And that policy is Gays and Lesbians are gonna have seat at the table and everyone gotta learn to get comfortable bc they ain’t going away anytime soon.. I’m glad to see you are professional in how you handle the situation.. sadly being uncomfortable was what many white boys felt when it came to Black and Brown folks serving.. to this day many are still feeling uncomfortable and wanna act upon it.. My remarks to them.. too bad get over it, that ship has already sailed..

    First part, what’s natural and what isn’t? More than 10% of the population is Gay and that’s by small estimates..That’s translates into millions of people That means that you have people who are attracted to folks of the same sex.. Gods law?? I don’t know what God’s Law is in terms of he made everyone and everything on this earth. He made my autistic cousin, he made my handicapped neighbor, he made my healthy sister..He made the gay homie down the street.. All are human beings.. We also know there are hundreds of studies to show that animals i.e. nature have same sex and unisex groupings as a regular occurrence.. That’s nature..

    As far as how things play out in America, the land you serve, there’s separation of church and state and thus allowances made for diversity in beliefs.. That means while you may quote the Bible all day and I can counter and say I don’t believe in God or have a completely different religion.. Guess what? In America you HAVE to make room for it..

    Romans talks about submitting to law.. and as we know Jesus himself talks about people will come from many different places top God.. But aside from all that in America you have no legal right to kill another person who is Gay hence they are deemed human beings whether you or I believe its right or wrong based upon our belief systems..

    As for things being designed a certain way.. we can look at it from this perspective, in an overpopulated world with dwindling resources, we find that we don’t have folks having 8-10 kids as they did just 50 years ago.. in short procreation is not as paramount as it once was.. two people getting together of the same may not be urs or mines cup of tea.. but who knows maybe this is occurring naturally bc its about love and companionship and not procreation in 2012..

  5. Well I was not trying to start an argument or declare who is better or who has done more…I was defining how YOU and people like YOU are able to have the freedoms the do have today…the situation was not about me but people LIKE ME and most certainly that includes the many honorable members of YOUR family as well. So just understand I do not feel superior to anyone or that my contributions to the human community are any more important than anyone else’s.

    I also agreed with you on many points but somehow that seems to have escaped you. I also recognize that God’s people will come from everywhere and all walks of life and I believe that is validated in the Book of John in one of his letters to fellow Christians in other lands.

    I stand by my point that same sex intimate relations and marriage among humans is against natural law. I ALSO recognize that some of the greatest armies in the history of man, practiced homosexual acts while they were out on mission, for example Alexander when he was trying to subdue SW Asia. Even though he took an Afghani wife, he preferred his boyfriend over her. That did not stop him from being a great military mind or innovator nor did it make his army an weaker. But just because he was successful does not make that lifestyle RIGHT.

    Now that we have our pride out of the conversation, perhaps we can move forward. I respect your blog and most of what you write, I tweet it, digg it and sometimes even reblog items from you, because I DO respect what you have to say…doesn’t mean I will agree all the time. Feel free to block me if you wish, that will not lessen my support for your blog in general…#salute

  6. no blocking necessary..thats not my get down.. i appreciate the clarity and props.. how does one determine natural law? unusual occurances or what was written in a Holy Book? Ie we once believed left handed people were devils and unnatural..

  7. to me natural law is that which is obviously right…man with woman…the parts are made to fit…if you are over 35 then you have had “THE EXAMINATION” in which even if they use a cuetip hurts like hell because it is exit only…THAT is natural law. Trees growing upright is also natural law. Everything outside of natural law is a mutation or degradation of a natural event. We all know the deal, but just like sodom, folks want to make that which is unnatural a normality.

    I feel that even if their were no holy books to lean on, the human race would know what was natural and that which is unnatural. BTW, I am left handed and DID suffer because of that, even from my own mother LOL…they tied my left arm down and tried to make me use my right, etc., it didn’t work LOL…I think with the right side of my brain which makes me left handed NATURALLY, there is no part of anyone’s brain which makes them gay…naturally. Of course I am not an expert so it is just my opinion. Take a look at the birds sitting on the ground on a windy day…watch how they face into the wind, that is a natural occurrence…nature speaks to us if we just listen.

  8. If something exists it is natural. Case closed. Otherwise it simply wouldn’t exist. Looking at things in any other way just promotes confusion. Murder and chaos are also natural.This doesn’t mean they are good, but they are natural and have existed part and parcel with the human experience since the beginning of time. Personally I think homosexuality between men is utterly disgusting, but my personal view is irrelevant. Homosexuality exist everywhere in nature. From dogs to our nearest biological relatives – chimps.The world doesn’t conform to your ideological ideal of “natural law”. The world does what it wants. Including fuck people of the same sex. (..yuck!).

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