Monday, December 26, 2005

Incessant Buzzing

Lampreys sucking on the shark's belly or that damnable mosquito that returns to your ear lobe. The most annoying critters are the ones that keep that their tiny minds on their parasitic tasks.

The political equivalent has become the fundies who nip, bark and bite at equal rights, particularly for gays and most particularly for same-sex marriage. When they lose in the legislature or courts or by gubernatorial action, they come from another angle. Bite. Bite. Bite.

Persistence is overrated.

In a year-end straightening effort, I'm recycling maggies and rags in my office and elsewhere in the house. One had a hidden treasure by David Mamet headlines The Burden of Faith. (Unfortunately, not much of this fluffy journal is online and this article is not.)

First, know of the matrix for this little gem of a think piece. A constantly surprising delight to those of us who still touch paper is Salon's bonuses. Pay for premium and they regularly notify you of free maggy subs. I think this is where this came from. Best Life is true toilet reading, short, easy-on-the-mind articles, bits of health (it is off Rodale Press), a little fashion, a pretty woman, and the LITE philosophy.

Mamet's fits the latter. He could write for Scholastics kids' newspapers. This but that...on one hand.

He's onto intelligent design as a tool to get to fundy v. thinking issues. As he put it, "Perhaps more useful than the statement 'The Bible is true' is the statement 'The Bible exits to make us ask, "What is true?" Evolution and intelligent design are both true. They are each true in a different way. The first is true, as it is scientifically verifiable...There are also great truths that may not be objectively proved: A Bach fugue is superior to a Wrigley's gum jingle, but there is no way in which the scientific method may be applied to prove this truth..."

He does a variation of there-are-no-atheists-in-a-foxhole. Human beings forced (or politically manipulated) to choose science or religion may elect one camp or the other and live under it banner. Everyday life will be little affected by the choice of camp (the dying agnostic will still pray, and the financially confused businessman fundamentalist will still refer to his calculator before his Bible).

The current national debates over evolution, school prayer, and gay marriage are not moral debates (as the Right would cast them); nor are they, as the Left holds, legal debates. They are a contest between two ways of perceiving the truth.

He calls the contest artificial and writes that (n)either reason nor belief will solve the conflict."

There we differ. I think these lampreys of fundamentalist will be knocked loose enough times that eventually the nation can swim free. Unfortunately they are tenacious. We have seen the silly laws and amendments put up like so many beach umbrellas to keep the sun and wind away, or in this case to keep them queers out of town clerks' and justices of the peace's offices.

Yet nationwide and worldwide, the winds and tides of change and fairness blow and flow. Why are they so slow and patient?

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