In the wake of the North Carolina vote that proscribed gay marriage in that state, I had a cousin who decided to put his wedding ring in his pocket rather than wear it. He did this as an act of solidarity. With Obama's announcement that he now supports gay marriage, my facebook became very gay. There were calls to make public one's support of gay marriage.
Despite having family members who are gay, I have better things to do than obsess over gay marriage, so I don't. I just found the wedding ring post so interesting and so indicative of the times. The interesting portion is that my wife and I haven't worn wedding rings in five years. Our reasons were practical. The rings either broke or no longer fit, and we didn't feel we could justify the cost of repairing them. My wife has never worn jewelry. I never wore jewelry, but that isn't nearly as exceptional. There was a time in our lives where we did value our rings. It was important to us to have a visible token for the world to understand our mutual affection. As we've aged, we have found that the world has never really been all that concerned about us. As for myself, I have found that how my wife treats me is far more important than her showing a ring to the world. That she is faithful and true, is a good mother to our children, and maintains a good home is what I care about.
There is a victimization cult alive and well in America. Those following the Catholic Church are aware of its constant cries of being a victim in the Health and Human Services decision that employers who wish to claim to be providing health insurance must provide it on terms satisfactory to HHS. Not getting everything you want doesn't make you a victim. Politically, the Catholic Church is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country. It often doesn't seem that way for the reason that conflict is intentionally avoided from the outset. Now we have this talk of Catholics being persecuted. Of course the reality was that a number of Catholic hospitals were already offering contraceptive benefits. Slowly those benefits were being walked back. In the end though, the Obama administration wasn't going to have one of the greatest consequences of health care reform be the reduction in coverage for women.
As real community has diminished, we cleave ever the more to tokens. There are somewhere around 200 different colored ribbons for various causes today. Regardless of what one thinks of the gay rights movement, being in a registry, having an established framework for property disposition, and compelling employer recognition are rather minor persecutions if we are to speak in such terms. Much of the 'persecution' can be cured by local choices. You can choose to recognize relationships. You can ask employers to provide all household members benefits or better yet demand universal health care that respects the dignity of all people. That in the end might be part of my alienation from the larger culture. You can treat everyone around you like shit, but put on a few ribbons or do some other actions that are completely costless and consider yourself a humanitarian.