White Christianist Hatred of Marriage Becoming Iconic

“Opposition to same-sex marriage has decreased across a broad swath of religious groups in the United States, with white evangelical Christians one of the few movements for which a majority remains in opposition,” is the lede of a Newsweek.com article by Jason Le Miere about the gratifyingly unsurprising facts about American values in the year 2018. “Three years on from the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, the findings from the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2017 American Values Atlas, published Tuesday, showed growing support for LGBTQ rights, including a majority of US Muslims backing same-sex marriage for the first time.”

Say what? Yes, you read that correctly. That fact constitutes the article’s biggest — in fact, its only real surprise. Anyone with half a brain knew that the sky wasn’t going to fall if marriage equality became the law of the land, but Muslims have tended to get bad press in the US, especially since 9/11. We often assume that the murderous attitudes prevailing in Chechnya hold sway here as well.

“Muslims, by a margin of 51 percent to 34 percent, favor same-sex marriage, compared to just four years ago when a majority, 51 percent, were opposed. There were similar results for Black Protestants, with 54 percent opposing gay marriage in PRRI’s 2014 American Values Atlas, compared with 43 percent in the latest findings.”

PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus

The next part will also come as no surprise: “Opposition to same-sex marriage is now limited almost entirely to white conservative Christians,” who are clearly adept at throwing the first stone in absolute defiance of their Lord and Savior’s unambiguous teaching. “Fifty-eight percent of white evangelical Christians and 53 percent of Mormons — an overwhelming majority of whom are white — are opposed to allowing gay couples to marry. The group with the most opposition, though, is Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group which is 36 percent white, 32 percent Hispanic, and 27 percent Black in the US. Just 13 percent support the law.”

Do these religious fanatics still go around ringing the doorbells of people who are already content with the religion they have or the lack thereof? If so, this just gives us all one more reason to slam the door in their faces. I’d suggest turning on the garden hose and drenching them, but, alas, most New Yorkers don’t have a garden hose at their disposal.

What’s particularly satisfying about this newfound acceptance of same-sex marriage among American Muslims is that it proves that the vicious anti-gay violence and suppression that has engulfed Muslim nations like Chechnya and Indonesia is not intrinsic to the religion. This will come as no big whoop to most of this column’s readers. But one of you, no doubt, will be most dismayed. Read the comments sections on the online edition of the newspaper if you care to know more about this whole megillah.

The word iconic has become iconic. And that’s not a Good Thing. I’ve recently been noticing that almost everything in the world has turned “iconic.” In the past few months, I’ve been roughly keeping track of just how often things that are merely familiar — and some that are not — have been described as “iconic.” They include (along with my judgments of whether or not they deserve the adjective) the Chrysler Building (unquestionably yay), the Eames Lounge Chair (yay — even if you’re not a mid-century design freak, you’d recognize its distinctive bent rosewood base and black upholstery), “public lands” at risk of being used for logging and fossil fuels exploitation (nay — too vague; if it had been specific, like Yellowstone National Park, it might merit a yay), and, most ridiculously, Birdwell Britches men’s board shorts (so totally nay that I’m embarrassed for the copywriter who thought to employ the word).

Real iconic clothes include the Burberry’s raincoat Peter Sellers wears in the “Pink Panther” films, Givenchy’s little black dress for Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and the pink pillbox hat Jackie Kennedy wore on the day of her husband’s assassination. When something is truly iconic, you can see it in your mind’s eye (or hear it in your mind’s ear in the case of music — say, the Beatles’ “Hey, Jude”) immediately upon hearing it mentioned. I’m sorry, but Birdwell Britches board shorts just don’t cut it.

So I hereby propose a ban on the word. Listen to how often it’s used in print and on TV. I guarantee that you’ll be sick of it within, at most, two weeks.

In one of those coincidences that borders — in however a small way — on the cosmic, here’s the Times’ Jesse Green opening his review of Ain Gordon’s “217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous,” a play about the psychiatrist who shocked the 1972 psychiatrists’ convention by appearing onstage in a rubber mask and enormous, ill-fitting tuxedo and, through a voice-distorting microphone, announced “I am a homosexual”:

“The sailors don’t show up for Fleet Week until the end of the month, but right now we’ve got the shrinks. Yes, the American Psychiatric Association is in town; you may have noticed the gangs of tweedy, chin-stroking men and women wandering the side streets in search of discounted Eames Lounge Chairs.” They’re iconic, dontcha know?

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