Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fasten Your Seat Belts

I'm warning you, right off the bat, that I'm going somewhere that I'm not exactly comfortable with, and I'm pretty sure that some of you won't want to go. Feel free to stop this ride at any time - this is not required reading. The topic - same sex marriage. Curious? Let's proceed. Not curious? Feel free to check back, later.
I got a phone call, yesterday afternoon, from my neighbor Sid. Sid and Janice are lovely people; their children have grown and moved on, and I really do like having them for next-door neighbors. We've been through stuff together like building and paying for a common fence, reaching Janice on the phone when Sid had chest pains and got taken away in the ambulance, Sam was a somewhat unwitting accomplice when the neighbor kid set fire to one of Sid's trees - you know, the usual neighbor stuff.
Sid calls, wants to know if Vicky and I would join them in signing a petition for another ballot measure stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. I politely answered, "no." He politely said,"o.k., bye then," and that was that. Poor Sid. I do hope he talks to me again, someday.
We talk, all the time, in my communities of DS parents, about how our children change our lives. It's often hard to express just how. Time shifts, expectations change; after being stared at enough times you care less and less what people think about how you look, or what you're doing, because they have no clue what this is like, and most don't ever want to. Yup, I'm a minority, parent of a smaller minority.
So, there's stories about the occasional, "high functioning" Down Syndrome couples getting married. OK, there's no law against that. Should there be? They're different. How are they different? Why, it's a chromosomal anomaly. There's a behavioral gap between them and 'normal' married people.
I have grown to the opinion that homosexual people are born 'different'. I don't know if it's chromosomal, or not. I think that there's a whole range of genomic expression, just as there is with hair color, cruelty, and any other major characteristics of our human condition. I know some gay people that don't really exhibit any outward characteristics at all. There are many in key leadership positions where I work. There's a transsexual (at least one that I know about) in my building. We all manage to do what we need to do.
Now, I understand the societal implications of what I'm saying. I frankly think that there's been more damage done to our society by what is now the near requirement that both parents work to support an artificially high standard of living, financially, sociologically, and morally. That ship has sailed. We live in a country where single persons and gay couples can adopt children, 'have' them via surrogates. They live together in monogamous relationships and raise children, already. We've given them all of the de-facto trappings - more to the point, they've done it regardless of any law to the contrary. We don't have the legal/moral authority to jail them or stone them to death. Meanwhile, 90% of the children with the chromosomal condition that Emma has are killed, excuse me, prevented from living, er, what would you call it? And that's acceptable to all of us, because it continues, and is being further strengthened by the church of medicine.
What if homosexuality was discoverd to be a combination of genetic factors? Would it then become a disability? Perhaps you think it is, now. Would gay people suddenly be allowed to park in front of the grocery store? Would we evangelical folk be willing to accept them for who they were, then, now presented with a medical model, instead of a moral imperative?
This is a big pot, and this post is not going to make any sort of palatable soup. I'm reading a big book about theology and Down Syndrome. I don't know how it ends. I'm thinking that it may affect how I feel about this subject. At the moment, though, I just can't help but feel that we've got to come up with some new answers for these moral mines, answers that speak to love, God's love, that pass our understanding, that pass our propensities to alienate, that seek to bring healing relationships.
I know that some of you will disagree with this viewpoint, completely and utterly. You have other criteria. I'm just saying that Emma has changed my perspective on many things. I don't think I could ever explain myself to Seventh-Day-Adventist Sid in a way that he'd understand. I know he's a compassionate man, but I don't think he'd be able to fully see it through my eyes. I don't know if I've explained it in a way that anyone else understands.
It's amazing, what a telephone call can do.