Thursday, February 14, 2008

Frank Kameny on Atheism, Theism, & Gays:

Frank Kameny is the godfather of gay rights activism. He is also a fervent atheist. He's not an atheist activist ala Dawkins, Dennett, Harris et al., but could be. I sometimes correspond with him via email and I sent him my post to which he has (in his words "hastily") responded. I remember Kameny coined the phrase "gay is Godly," and thought perhaps, though an atheist, he might support pro-gay theism. But, his emails explain what he intended. Here they are:

There is so much here to respond to that I don't know where to begin -- and won't, more than briefly, for now.

Atheism isn't gay -- or anything else -- friendly or hostile. All it is is a belief that there is no supernatural. End.

Since about 1940 I have characterized myself as "a good pious atheist". By this I mean that there is not a shred -- not the smallest shred -- of valid, credible, persuasive evidence for the existence of anything supernatural or other than material. That is all that atheism is, in my view. So there is no possible connection between atheism and homosexuality, or anything else.

Within the framework of the common Christianity in this country, this means that there are no supernatural beings: God(s), angels, demons, devils, satans, souls; that there are no supernatural events: miracles, resurrections, afterlife; that there are no supernatural places: heaven, hell; AND that when you die you''re dead and it's over for you permanently.

There is no objective morality. Matters of morality and immorality are ones of personal opinion and individual religious belief, upon which each person may make up his or her own mind and conduct him or herself accordingly in his or her own life, but that alone, but not impose his or her opinion upon disagreeing others (granted, that rises to the level of a moral precept, itself).

As for my saying that "Gay is Godly", that is part of a rhetorical response to the religious "them" out there who are trying to impose their views upon all of us and may not know of my atheism, as they tell us that gay is bad, ungodly, and immoral and sinful and I respond by saying that Gay is good, godly, moral and virtuous, and American, while they are evil, ungodly, sinful and immoral, irrational to the point of utter lunacy and beyond, and unAmerican and anti-American and that they don't have a clue as to what America and Americanism are all about (It is always helpful to wrap oneself in the flag) ------- all usually presented in a less cumbersome manner than here.

I also take the position, with them, that our homosexuality is a divinely-inspired gift and blessing, given to us by our true god to be enjoyed to its uttermost, exultantly, exuberantly, and joyously.

That leads, inexorably to the assertion that the god of Leviticus is a false god who is an irrational homophobic bigot and an abomination.

As for "natural law", whatever that really means -- perhaps more about that anon. Most people don't realize how profoundly and utterly totally unnatural we are from the moment of birth until after death, in absolutely EVERYthing we do. And that acting naturally is certainly not a desideratum. Life would be a misery if we did.

Written somewhat hastily. Maybe more later.

Frank Kameny

Theism can be pro-gay, anti-gay, or anything else. It's all an imaginary invention, and those inventing it can -- and do -- make of any particular theism whatever they want.

Some people believe in Grimm's fairy tales, some in Andersons, some in the Bible, some in the Koran, some in ---- whatever. None of it has any reality or is worth spending any time on, or has anything much of use, value, or worth to offer us.

Certainly we should do our own thinking for ourselves and not let our thinking be done for us by intellectually-primitive, culture-bound gurus who lived millennia ago -- or more recently in some instances: They keep inventing themselves without cessation and the gullible keep listening to them.

Frank Kameny


Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

My problem with Western concepts of religion have nothing to do with sexual orientation. My beef rests more on the anthrocentric glorifying of it all. The earth is 4 billion years old and we, a species that has been around a mere 100,000, think that WE are the center of it ALL. The whole thing kind of makes me queasy, actually.

Unknown said...

And non-western ones don't?