aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

But everybody else gets to!

I made the mistake of commenting on a Facebook thread made up of United Methodist clergy. It was on the Oregon bakers who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding and have been hounded from public life. The thread refuses to die. UM clergy just will not admit that everything has been said (repeatedly) and start a new thread. Their staying power in argument (= stubbornness) is truly amazing. And as the examples multiply, two things become evident.

1) The Pharisees had nothin' on us. We split hairs like nobody's business. We make exceptions for case A, we refuse to see the point in So-and-so's example, we list criteria for this or that.

2) Meanwhile, others override all argument with the Ultimate Trump Card in postmodern society: fairness. And that is what I want to post about.

It's not fair! So-and-so gets to do such-and-such, and I can't! This is the way that children argue. Not for nothing did Eric Berne point out that all lawyers are stuck at the ten-year-old stage. And no matter how much parents try to explain the reasons why Little Darling can't do whatever it is that everybody else gets to do, the whining and sniveling and fit-throwing goes on. Many a parent gets tired of the perpetual struggle and finally falls back upon, "Because I said so!" But what happens when the Voice of Authority is overruled?

The argument over gay rights (especially gay marriage) is like this. But so is the argument over letting boys and girls who feel they are the opposite sex use the bathrooms and changing rooms of their chosen sex rather than their biological one in California schools, which is now public law. "It's not fair! I should be able to do [whatever], too!" It's exhausting to argue with people who think "fairness" (reduced to simply giving me what I want because someone else has it) is the fundamental principle of ethics, law, and religion.

Well, life is not fair, as Jimmy Carter once observed (perhaps the only wise thing the man ever said). And there are reasons why some people can't do what other people are allowed to do. And sometimes exceptions can be made, but sometimes they can't. So suck it up and deal with it.

Guinness made a powerful TV commercial (you can see it on YouTube) showing a group of friends playing wheelchair basketball. At the end of the game (and just before going to the pub) everyone unbuckles themselves and stands up, but one. It is not fair that the guy confined to a wheelchair can't play the game as he used to, but that's life. What is lovely is all the other guys who will play the game the way he has to, even though they are capable of playing it on their own legs. That's love. Love transcends fairness. Of course, I could see some school forcing everyone to play in wheelchairs, since it would be unfair that some could run up and down the court and others couldn't. That would be crazy.

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