To those of us who have, over the years, followed the efforts to bring back religion as a basis for public policy despite laws explicitly banning that, presentation of religious ideology as secular claims is by no means unfamiliar. In fact, at the ultra-dishonest Discovery Institute, there is a name for this tactic: the call it the Wedge Strategy. This is mere an exercise in trying to circumvent the law.
This kind of hypocrisy is by no means limited to the US. Even in a country like France, where secularism (“laicite”) forms the very basis of the Republic (as a reaction to the church having acted hand in glove with murderous kings for centuries), use of this kind of smokescreen goes beyond just trying to win cases at litigation. Unlike the US, where religious right politicians tell their constituents that they are doing things because the bible tells them so, and then defend the same actions in court offering secular reasons, in France they have to be more subtle, because the public frown on open bible thumping.
A couple of days ago, around 200 protesters gathered in the central plaza in Toulouse to protest proposed legislation to make gay marriage legal. In France, like in the United States, same-sex marriage is a point of contention. But, unlike in the States, the protesters weren’t holding up holy books and screaming about Leviticus. Arguably worse, they voiced their disgust from a completely secular platform.
The protesters claim that they are out there fighting for “Children’s Rights”—yes, these French people actually believe that same-sex marriages mess up children. One man told me, “Parents do not have the right to a child; Children have a right for parents.” When I asked him why those parents couldn’t be of the same sex, made-up studies and intolerant jargon began to spew forth like shit from his mouth. “The paring of male and females is part of the history of mankind…Their kids will be made fun off… it’s not fair for kids… you need both parents to raise a child, without mother and father, it’s a grave injustice”.
Right, gays need to be second class citizens so homophobes won’t make fun of their children. Like, the society not other way of dealing with something like that? And leaving kids waiting for adoption in the system is not an injustice? Oh, and paring of male and female is the history of mankind, so is living in hunter-gatherer tribes.
But what is worse is that a great many people are falling for the secular “cheap tuxedo”.
Two French students told me that they had never witnessed an anti-gay rally of this size, and the secular prejudice was, to them, a new phenomenon.
And yet, if you want to know what the true motive of the protesters was, look who the organizers were: “Alliance Vita”, founded by a certain Christine Boutin.
In 1993, Boutin founded the anti-abortion NGO Alliance pour les droits de la vie (ADV) (English: Alliance for Human Life), considered the largest pro-life organization in France. The same year, she became a consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Family headed by Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo. In 1998, Boutin became somewhat famous because of a five hour speech in opposition to the PACSdomestic partnership plan, arguing that its adoption by the government would encourage homosexuality. She held a Bible during the speech, an image which would later become associated with her.
Oops. It seems that, no matter how hard they try to hide it, where there is homophobic bigotry, there is religion.
So if the dishonestly-religious are the enemies of gay people who are their friends?
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans favor same-sex marriage. Within this group, however, there are differences in intensity. Atheists and agnostics (89%) are more likely than secular Americans (70%) and unattached believers (57%) to favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.
We are no atheists because we want to be immoral. We are atheists because we are more moral than they are.