Love thy neighbor

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. When it comes to the existence of homosexuals, it remains the operative principle of a disturbingly high number of Californians. According to a recent Field Poll, nearly one-third of Californians believe that sexual relationships between adults of the same sex are always wrong. More than half oppose gay marriage. Among some supporters of gay, lesbian and transgender rights, these numbers, which marked an improvement in societal attitudes toward homosexuals, compared with a similar poll taken a decade ago, were seen as cause for celebration. We see them as further evidence that much work needs to be done.

That’s painfully clear here in the River City. Last month at a Sacramento City Unified School District board meeting, dozens of parents railed against increasing student awareness of homophobia, the word “Gay” circled in red with a slash through it silk-screened on their T-shirts, their minds oblivious to the irony of their sartorial choice. Many claimed to be Christians, though none appeared aware of Christ’s second commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Perhaps if they stopped thumping the Bible long enough to turn the pages to Matthew 22:36-40, they’d learn something.

The gay bashing continued last week, as conservative religious groups got their panties all a-twist over Senate Bill 1437, a proposed state bill that would require schools and textbooks to mention the historical contributions of gays and lesbians. You know, like how Gertrude Stein, famed lesbian of the literati, influenced Ernest Hemmingway, the most overtly heterosexual writer of the 20th century. The bill, according to Karen England, chief inquisitor of the pro-family (read: rabidly homophobic) Capitol Resource Institute, will lead to the end of life as, well, the institute and fans of Leave it to Beaver know it.

“This bill is the most extreme effort thus far to transform our public schools into institutions of indoctrination that disregard all notions of the traditional family unit,” said England. How so? She was only too happy to oblige: “School-sponsored activities include everything from cheerleading and sports activities to the prom. Under S.B. 1437 school districts would likely be prohibited from having a ‘prom king and queen’ because that would show bias based on gender and sexual orientation.”

Au, contraire, Mme. Marie! Are not two queens better than one?

Alas, humor has little effect on those who possess no sense of it. With righteous indignation, they cordon off culture in the name of protecting the little ones, yet woe be unto the children who color outside the lines, for they will have their crayons broken, along with their fingers. These alleged purveyors of piety are in fact corrosive to the soul of a country founded on the principle that all human beings are created equal.