Thursday, April 18, 2013

Most Influential Book

On Day 18 of 30 Days of Blogging, I'm using up the last of Leo's three part question, but I'm pretty sure the answer is going to surprise her. Leo offered this topic:

most influential book

There are some books that have made a tremendous impact on me over the years, but the word "influential" really struck me when I was thinking about this and trying to narrow it down. My answer is a book that I've read cover to cover only once, although I've read pieces of it hundreds of times.

The book that has most influenced me is the Bible.

I live with the consequences of its influence every day, whether I want to or not.

This has been on my mind since spring break, because the week that we were there was also the week that the Supreme Court was hearing arguments for California's Proposition 8 case and for the challenge to part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. It's very strange to live in a country where your rights as a taxpaying citizen are a matter of debate, rather than actual rights. On some level this is the case for everyone, as recent votes and arguments over the right to health care, the right to keep and bear arms, and the ongoing battle that women face for the right to make health choices about what happens inside their own bodies have shown.

As a person who hears their validity as a human being debated on the nightly news, I have to tell you that sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I feel bad when I hear myself referred to as a pervert. Or a deviant. Or a threat to families or family values or the traditions that our society is built on. As I've said before, whenever the media discusses "LGBT people" or even just "the gays", I mentally insert myself into the sentence, and a lot of times that sentence ends up bothering me. I find out that people who don't know me hate me, and think horrible things about me, and that in our society this is considered a valid argument. Whether or not I should be able to enter into a legal contract to join my household to that of another consenting adult is not a given, because the other consenting adult and I both have a penis.

Why am I off on this tangent?

Because every time someone has told me that I am sick and wrong, it has been because of their religion. And in almost every case, that religion was based on the Bible. God made Adam and Eve, you know, not Adam and Steve. Thou shalt not lie with man as with woman. Sodom and Gomorrah.


This is not to say that all religious people have hurt me, or that everyone influenced by the Bible has been negatively influenced. I'm just saying that the book that most influences me on a regular basis is that one. I feel it from October to January every year, when every store I go into reminds me that Christmas exists. I feel it every spring, when I get Good Friday off from work. I feel it at least once a week when someone reminds me that Tennessee is "the buckle of the Bible Belt".

The influence is pervasive and often unnoticed, but here where I live it is always present.

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