On the way home I stopped by a fast food joint and the song playing over the speakers was Don Henley’s Heart Of The Matter. I’d heard it a thousand times before. Not in my top ten favorite songs ever, but it’s always a welcome sound when I happen across it. I guess I never listened to the lyrics, really. I don’t dissect everything I come across. Just.. most stuff I come across, I guess.

I found myself singing the chorus over and over to myself as I crossed the highway and walked the streets of my neighborhood, even walking in rhythm to it. I think it’s about forgiveness, even if you don’t love me anymore. It’s been haunting me ever since. I looked it up on YouTube on the way home.

I even found a karaoke version of it, and amused myself singing it as if it were a country song. I put a southern accent to my voice. Don Henley and all the members of the Eagles have kinda transcended genre, but one could perhaps pigeon hole them into country-fied pop rock. However, Henley probably wouldn’t appreciate his song being twanged too much.

Why was this song haunting me? Was this about my ex-wife? I haven’t heard from her in years but every now and then I catch myself wondering what she’s up to and how she’s doing. I don’t have a way to reach her anymore, and that’s probably for the best. She moved on. I pretty much stayed in place.

I’m learning to live without you now, but I miss you sometimes..

I have decided that answer is too easy. Maybe it’s deeper than that. I found love a few times. One time I was so in love I wanted to make a lifetime commitment with her. She did too. It worked for awhile. Turned out we were wrong. I lost me. She lost her. She found someone else. We moved on. Life does that. But for all the pain and sadness we went through, there were great times too. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I still love her. I always will. I like to think she hasn’t completely forgotten about me. Maybe she still loves me too.

I want everyone to have a chance at that, on their terms. However they want to meet that chance at living life not alone, if even only for awhile. I think humanity should actively seek to encourage this. We should give everyone an equal chance at finding love on their own terms, and we shouldn’t get in the way of it. We should strive to get out of the way of love, and build a society in which it can flourish. Where there can be more love and less of the other thing.

These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
…People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age

Recently President Barack Obama has finally come forward and “affirmed” his position on gay marriage. His actions have long presumed a leaning towards it, but Obama has tried to walk a moderate road this first term, in hopes of getting a second. He’s been playing it safe as best he can, but the more he tries to stay moderate, the more conservative fundamentalists drag this country to the right. I guess maybe Barack’s decided to play their game of tug of war a bit, finally. It was either this or legalize marijuana, and i guess he gambled he’ll lose less votes this way.

Why is this even an issue? In a world where it’s so hard to find and keep love between people, if any two people feel positive about one another and want to make a commitment to spend their lives together striving to make one another happy, why do we have laws that restrict this? Who ever thought it was a good idea to tell people who they can’t love? Really. Honestly. Why is this even an issue?

…And my friends seem to scatter…

Back when I was a Believer, I thought it was pretty obvious. If you claim to be a Christian, the bible’s pretty clear where it stands on sodomy. It is an abomination unto the lord our god et cetera. I couldn’t then and I still can’t now understand how anyone can rationalize being gay and christian at the same time. This stand has caused me to lose a lot of friends over the years, and it might be one of the things that made it impossible for me to pursue my love for the theater. There’s just too many gays in stage and screen, both in and out of the closet. I must have offended a lot of people over the years, making networking impossible. Many occasions I’d see doors slammed in my face and I wouldn’t know why. This was probably one of the more prominent reasons, but not the only one. I’m also a major asshole in general.

The thing is now that I’m an atheist, the dogma of christianity just fell to the wayside some years ago. I no longer feel the baggage about this issue that I once did. Oh male homosexuality still grosses me out, but allowing others to explore their sexuality should not in any way affect how I explore mine. In fact, sodomy laws on the books restricting their freedom also restricts mine. It just happens to restrict it in a way I didn’t want to explore anyway. That doesn’t make it any less wrong to restrict them.

Yet religion is all about telling people how they can have sex and under what conditions and whether or not its with the express consent of the church and government and various deities and ancestors and on and on and on. Why would a religion be more concerned with where you put your penis or vagina, than it is about whether or not every child in the world has a roof over their head and  clothes on their backs? Why must the perfect family be a husband and wife? What if two men or two women can build a family together? There’s plenty of kids without homes now, sitting in orphanages unwanted and unloved. The way religion demands we address this problem completely fails to solve several problems. This seems to be almost by “intelligent design” and I use the word intelligent sarcastically. If it was done with intelligence and forethought, it was an act against happiness and improving humanity, not in favor of it.

I’ve been tryin’ to get down
to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes…

For some, marriage is not marriage unless it’s between a man and a woman. Just like to them a family is not a family without both a husband and a wife. However, that belief simply doesn’t hold up to reality. There ARE families that exist right now which have two dads or two moms. There’s even more families with single parents and there’s extended families living under the same roof. The Leave It To Beaver ideal of a perfect family dynamic is not something every single family must be. In fact it is our differences that make us a hardier species, not our similarities.

What’s important is not the insistence that every family fit the same mold. The heart of the matter is just that: heart. A child needs a family that loves her. If that love comes from two women or two men or twelve people and a dog, why should that ..matter? It doesn’t. What matters is that every child should be loved. If two loving people want to make a family, we should encourage that. We shouldn’t actively put obstacles in the way of their happiness.

Now, rather than continue to argue this, we need to just forgive each other, bury the hatchet and move on. Liberals don’t need to laugh and point at the conservatives for once again failing to see reality through their quagmire of beliefs, and conservatives need to get over this misperception that homosexuality is somehow evil and satanic. That simply doesn’t coincide with reality on any level whatsoever. “But the bible says..” Your bible says a lot of crap. Let’s move on.

AIDS is not their god punishing gays. There’s plenty of other viruses that are nasty which transfer regardless of one’s sexual position. Is breathing an act against your god? No? Then explain tuberculosis. Who was your god punishing when he came up with that one? People who breathe.

Accept the reality of it. The bible is wrong. Again. Just as it’s repeatedly wrong in the face of reality. Slavery is wrong, yet the bible supports it. Prayer doesn’t work no matter how many times the bible insists you do it. You can eat pig meat and non kosher foods fine, all things in moderation of course and perhaps some people have allergies but you know what I mean. There’s plenty of inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the bible, so there’s no reason to demand it’s right about the gays.

I’m thinking this is about forgiveness. Even if you’re unhappy about it. Let’s accept the facts and move on. Both parties. All parties. Just let’s stop legislating morality and move on.

There are people in your life
who’ve come and gone
They let you down
and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you;
life goes on
You keep carrying that anger,
it’ll eat you up inside..

I doubt Don Henley wrote Heart of the Matter thinking it supports gay rights, and I don’t mean to insinuate that it does. However, I think the song is about living and learning, seeing mistakes for what they are, and rather than wallowing in self pity just living with the mistakes and moving forward. It’s an uplifting song, tho it deals with some melancholy issues. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try not to make the same mistakes next time. Let’s evolve. Let’s get better at doing this thing we call life.

And maybe for some people, being gay is a mistake. Let’s let them figure that out for themselves. It’s not for everybody. it’s not supposed to be, just as, apparently, being straight just doesn’t work for everybody. Heck, I appear to be attracted only to lesbians, married women and crazy lunatic clingy ladies. So I just don’t fuck anyone nowadays. That seems to work best.

Anything that encourages hate should be discouraged. Anything that encourages love should be encouraged. Religion encourages hatred towards gay people. it encourages hatred towards a lot of different kinds of people actually. it encourages a distrust of anything that differs from a predetermined norm, but it doesn’t cite legitimate reasons to be concerned about these differences beyond “do as i say for i am the lord your god.” Why keep doing stuff we know is bad for us? I forgive religion for spreading hate, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever embrace it again. It doesn’t mean I should remain silent when I see what it continues to do to humanity.

Don’t hate two men cuz they fell in love with each other. Rather, be thankful for the people in your life that love you and then go love them back. Sing corny songs to them. Hug them now and then.

I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter. My will is not weak, tho my mind’s often scattered. I think it all boils down to this: I forgive you for hating my gay friends, even if you don’t love me anymore.