Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Why are religious people so afraid of gay marriage?
People'sreligiousbeliefs determine what is meaningful and important to them.Most of us are given these beliefs early in life by our families. Later after coming out, many of us may decide tofind another belief system that affirms us more. But many people adhere to their original faith life long.
These religious convictions set the baseline for the person's basic sense of what is good, bad, right and wrong. This meaning-making system forms their core values.From that value system people then set goals for themselves. From their goals they then structure their behavior. So they begin to build a structure for their lives out of the very foundation of their religious beliefs.Religion becomes, and is by its very definition,a way of life. So when you ask people to question their values, you shake up their whole life and personality structure which may get them feeling threatened or scared.
Anti-gay sentiment may be a strong cement pillar in the foundation of some religious belief systems. So if you try and tear that pillar down, they fear that everything else may crumble too. So if gay marriage is suddenly "OK" then morality is going to fall into pieces and civilized society will collapse. This may be nonsense to you and I, but is very real for the person feeling it.
That person fears that deep down their whole life is in question. For example, if one day you woke up and were suddenly straight you might panic and shout, "Has my whole life been based on a false belief?" You would have to rearrange your whole self-image and your entire way of life - all that you have known to be true. How terrifying! No wonder people are scared to change the basic underpinnings of what they believe. This does not however, defend their resistance toopen-mindedness, change and affirmation of civil rights for GLBT persons.
When we are born we have to make meaning. We pull our meaning from magic, myth and religion. Then we build our values, goals, behavior and life as I discussed. But there isa tendency to escape the truth ofthe uncertainty, unfairness and tragedy in lifein the name of religion."If I do this, I am good and will go to heaven." Simple and safe.Changing the script means feeling anxious, losing one's place and finding your own path. And no one I know likes to free fallwithout something to stop them.So until they learn otherwise, people may cling to rigid religious doctrineto feelsecure and to validate their existence.In this way, righteousness can be a false-self protecting the true-self from the angst of liberation in an open world.
If we areall truly free then "Who am I?" "What am I to do, and what does it all mean?" To handle things, we root ourselves in life like a leaf trying to plant itself in ahurricane. For some of us that root is unquestioning religion and it takes strong hold.