I had not planned to write about the controversy being exploited by each side of California’s Proposition 8. I did not care who voted for it, how much money was spent on it or the margin of its approval. As far as I was concerned the issue would play itself out in public opinion and in time become just another footnote of our culture. While the California Supreme Court is considering whether Proposition 8 violates the State Constitution, it is the effort to invalidate 18,000 gay marriages that changed my mind on writing about the issue to expose it as the sheer, unadulterated bigotry it is — our new bigotry.
However, where to start has been a bugbear. Then it came to me -– Rush Limbaugh, who decided to lead the charge on the day after the election. He claimed that California’s passing of Proposition 8 told judges that they could not override what conservatives did in that ballot initiative, defining marriage as a legal bond only between a man and a woman. Although I think he is a huckster, such a digression obscures the point that Prop 8 is bigotry.
Rick Warren came to mind next. He is more of a media magnet than Rush these days and he is smooth. He refers to a “five-thousand-year ... definition of marriage” with a smile, referring to Proposition 8 as a “free speech issue.” Warren’s artful dodge is that he “objects to the redefinition of marriage.” Smooth sounding intolerance is still intolerance, which is at the core of bigotry.
By definition, “one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ” is a bigot. Bigotry is “the attitude, state of mind, or behavior characteristic of a bigot; intolerance.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, also notes, “Bigot is first recorded in English in 1598 with the sense ‘a superstitious hypocrite.’"
What I am writing about is bigotry as an ideology. The obvious form is racism characterized by hostility, a belief in inferiority and an assumption that one race is superior to another. Today that is considered a human rights violation. Another form is sexism, characterized by judgments based upon gender rather than upon individualism and an assumption that one sex is superior to another. Other forms include fascism, nationalism, ageism, classism, and pretty much anywhere narrow mindedness and stereotypes overcome logical thinking.