Skip to main content

The arc of the universe

Sunday morning, a horrific act occurred.  It was not the first and it will not be the last--whether you consider mass shootings or attacks on gay clubs, or terrorism or any kind, etc.  But the reaction to it has made me glad.

Answering the call for much-needed blood in the area, thousands of people lined up to donate.  Ironically, sexually active gay people are still banned by the FDA from donating blood.  But to see the overwhelming response from concerned neighbors, friends, family, and perfect strangers is very heartwarming.

I remember as a child seeing something about gay people on TV.  The memory is vague, but as I recall there was some debate as to whether or not it is a choice to be gay.  I remember at that time there was a general feeling of disgust toward gay people--either from the TV show itself or from my family.  On another occasion, I was watching a TV show and there were two teenage boys who were friends.  At one point in the show, the one boy confesses to his friend that he's gay.  I recall a member of my family asking why I would watch such an immoral show, and I recall being embarrassed about it myself.  There was a lesbian who taught at the high school I attended.  I remember very unkind things being said about her behind her back, and I cannot remember one single nice thing said about her.

I mention all of these things because they are so long ago.  15-20 years ago.  The majority of voters supported things such as "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the "Defense of Marriage Act", which were both anti-gay laws.  The public view of gays was largely negative.  Gay people were perverts, immoral, deviant.  They would seek to corrupt your children and turn them gay as well.  And decades before that, it was entirely common for police officers to be the perpetrators of violence against gays, raiding bars such as Stonewall to persecute gay people.  They viewed themselves as righteous--acting in god's name to quell the immorality of homosexuality.

Martin Luther King, Jr said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."  I believe this encapsulates his message very well.  He dreamt of a future which was more just and equitable than the world in which he lived.  And I believe that we have made progress in the last several decades.  I think we have made progress on matters of race, and certainly on matters of sexuality.

It is now no longer routine for entire police departments to plan raids on gay clubs and beat gay people the way it happened decades ago.  It is now the case that the majority of voters support marriage equality.  And it is now the case that when a gay club is attacked and there is a desperate need for blood, thousands of people line up to donate to help out.  I believe progress has been made, and I think it is important for us to acknowledge that progress and continue to press forward toward a more equal society.

There is still work to be done.  Clearly we are not yet in a society where gay people are accepted and treated fairly and equally, since events such as the shooting yesterday morning still occur.  And we should continue to work hard to improve society.  But it warms my heart to see the compassion and selflessness that has been shown in reaction to the shooting.  It makes me smile to see so much support that would not have been there even twenty years ago.  We can change hearts and minds, and we should.  We should continue to come out of the closet and to be out and proud, to show our families that we are loving, happy people.  We deserve all the rights and protections that anyone else deserves.  Let us do what we can to eradicate the remaining fear and hatred toward us and toward all classes of people.  Let us continue to nudge the arc of the universe in the right direction.

Popular posts from this blog

What's a gainer?

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest reading my previous post before reading this one.  It's sort of an introduction and gives the motivation.  Also, by way of disclosure, this post is not sexually explicit but it does touch on the topic of sexuality and how that relates to the subject at hand.

So, what is a gainer?  I'll relate, as best I can, the experiences I have gone through myself to help answer the question.  I remember when I was a young boy--perhaps around 6 or 7--I would have various fantasies.  Not sexual fantasies, just daydreaming about hypothetical situations that I thought were interesting or entertaining.  I had many different fantasies.  Sometimes I would fantasize about becoming very muscular, sometimes about becoming very fat.  
These fantasies varied in degree of magnitude and the subject of the fantasy.  Sometimes I myself would change weight--I would become muscular or fat.  Other times, I would do something to make other people fat or musc…

The scientific method vs the religious method

I find it interesting when people cite the fact that science keeps changing as a reason to disbelieve it and to believe instead in the "eternal" doctrines taught by some church or other.  Let's examine why science keeps changing.  Here's the scientific method.

Develop a hypothesis (this means "have a belief").Design an experiment to test the hypothesis.Conduct the experiment.Determine whether the hypothesis is believable based on the results of the experiment. This is why science keeps changing--because people notice flaws in it and correct them.  People once thought the solar system was geocentric, but now know that it's heliocentric.  How did this happen?  By using the scientific method.  Scientists are willing to admit that they're wrong.  They're willing to give up a bad idea when they see evidence that it makes no sense.  Contrast this with the religious method (simplified version). Have a belief.Look for evidence to support that belief.Ignor…

Cancel the gym

After I went to the gym this morning, I pulled in to the McDonald's drive through.  While waiting for my food, I played out in my mind a possible conversation I might have with someone concerning just this.  In fact, I have had many real conversations of similar nature.
"How was your morning?"
"It was good.  I went to the gym.  Then I grabbed a late breakfast at McDonald's on my way to work."
"Won't that cancel out?"
"Cancel what?"
"Going to McDonald's after the gym.  Won't that undo all the work you just did?"

I understand the humor.  I laugh about it.  It's funny.  And I think humor is an important thing, and that we should all laugh a little bit more and be offended a little bit less.  And so I write this not up-in-arms, but in the attempts of perhaps reaching some of those who literally believe this line of reasoning.

To the person who asserts that eating "cancels out" going to the gym, I ask just this…