Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Mother's Son...

I recently read this article and felt the need to respond. That response gives me the chance to brag on my son is just an added bonus...

Robert Morrison recently used the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 as an argument against same sex marriage. I'll skip over my rant about the gall and audacity of his comments. I'll also only briefly mention the fact that it seems his comments actually refute his point since-by his own argument-having two dads is better than one. It's only in the case of two females getting married that a male figure is absent. (Mental note, if you are going to make a case for or against something, speak clearly and with forethought...otherwise, someone like me comes along and points out the obvious.)

The idea that a young man who grows up without a father is going to grow up to hate minorities enough to commit hate crimes is ludicrous. Hate is taught. It's learned. No one is born hating Muslims, Latinos or homosexuals...they are taught. Whether they have two parents in the household or one. Whether they have a father in their life or not...they grew up with bigotry and accepted it as truth. It doesn't even mean their parent(s) taught it to them...communities teach children values as well.

The good looking tall kid in the middle? Yep, he's mine. My son. My son who grew up without a father in his life. My son who I taught Christian values. My son who grew up in an environment where prejudice was not allowed...unless it was against a GA Tech fan and then only in fun (it's SEC football country people, smack talk is a way of life). My son who has been so blessed to have a number of positive influences in his life. Who grew up in an atmosphere and community that accepted differences even when they weren't necessarily agreed with...and who deliberately made choices that influenced his character and shaped him into the man he is today. The guy who makes friends with people regardless of color, culture or sexual orientation. The guy who accepts people for who they are and has an uncanny ability to genuinely like people in such a way that they are drawn to him. A boy, growing up to be a man...a good one.

I'm not sure if Mr. Morrison has children, but I would be willing to bet their attitude about homosexuality is similar to that of McKinley and Henderson. Would they take a homosexual man and beat him to death? No. But most of us wouldn't. We just avoid them. Make jokes about them. Think less of them.

My son doesn't do that. Has growing up without a dad been hard for him? Of course it is. I'm sure it was for McKinley and Henderson as well. But that is not what drove them to their actions and to say so not only belittles the issue but it insults Matthew's family as well as all single mothers.

All across this nation there are children being taught hate and fear and whether that is in a household where there is one parent, two parents or a grandmother doing her best to raise her grandchildren, the lesson is a terrible one. We have become a nation of extremes. There is no middle ground. No compromise. No understanding. We are blinded by our prejudices.

And as long as we refuse to stop the shouting and the yelling and the finger pointing, there will always be a mother's son being a bully, being bullied, living in fear...of being different or those that are different.

The reality is, the responsibility for Matthew's death and the epidemic of hate crimes in this country rests on the people who spew bigotry and those that tolerate it. Mr Morrison, are you willing to be responsible for something like that? Because I'm not.

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