I once was blind but now I see – thanks to the cuttlefish. A battle has long been raging between evolution and creationism, a battle to be forever personified by the Scopes Monkey Trial, a battle in which I have sided with Darwin. Darwin built a cogent logical argument for how animals developed on earth from the simplest of foundations to the most complex of creatures, man. Creationism has its scientists too, but so often creationism comes across with the weaker “Then a miracle happened!” argument. Now, because of the cuttlefish, I am leaning away from Darwin and closer to God.
The cuttlefish is small and squid-like in appearance and is known for being able to change skin color and pattern in the blink of an eye. This ability is well documented, but there is a very special aspect of this camouflage talent which has just come to light. In observing the mating rituals of cuttlefish, scientist noted that when more than one male was in the presence of a single female, the male in closer proximity showed male skin patterns to the female, but the side facing the other males was patterned after the female! This makes the cuttlefish, the first non-human species on the planet to have adopted the social behavior of cross-dressing.
Scientist currently interpret this behavior (which occurred thirty-nine percent of the time during observed courtships) as an attempt on the part of the cross-dressing male to avoid conflict with other male cuttlefish, thus raising his procreation chances with the female of interest. Since cross-dressing in the human population is often conceived as a deviation by fundamentalists, there can be no reasonable explanation for the cuttlefish evolving a supposed socially unacceptable behavior. Therefore, cross-dressing in cuttlefish can only have been achieved by God’s plan, and if something can be considered a gift from God in a lower species, how can it not be celebrated as such in humans.
The ramifications of this are enormous, earth-shattering, of universal importance. Think of it, God created cross-dressing, therefore cross-dressing is acceptable. Since cross-dressing has been for quite some time associated (though not exclusively) with the gay community, there now exists both scientific and religious proof that homosexuality is both a knowing creation of God and socially acceptable.
Think of the relief that will sweep across the fundamentalist and extremist communities. Finally there is a hate to cross off their list. These people so strongly opposed to so many things will wake up tomorrow or the next day with a considerably lighter heart, and perhaps the things remaining for them to hate will seem just a little bit less important.
With this revelation, I cannot shake the image of the lion now lying with the lamb or in this case Pat Robertson lying with the drag queen. I can almost hear the pen scampering to the paper to re-write next Sunday’s sermons. With creationism now behind the gay community, trumpets will blow and walls will crumble. To hell with gay unions, gay marriage will easily become the order of the day.
As farcical as this argument seems, it is far more farcical that we treat same-sex couples as anything less than complete people by denying them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. Laws pass and are struck down out of religious zeal much more so than any substantive legal argument. To me this denial seems to violate the constitutional rights of religious freedom and free speech as-well-as the constitutional separation of church and state.
On the religious side of the coin I have always been drawn to the Matthew 22:36-40 :
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The second greatest commandment and the one that guides us in how we treat all those around us, demands of us to treat our fellow man as we ourselves wish to be treated. Christ does not say love only those that think like you do. In fact, God and the Declaration of Independence seem to me of one mind on this matter as one of this country’s founding principles is that all men are created equal.
I admit that I am often angered at the fight over gay marriage which seems to me to have such a self-evident answer. It seems if you believe in God’s love and the word of Christ then you must come to the conclusion that an adult couple is an adult couple and should be granted the sacrament of marriage. It also seems if you prefer to think like an American, then you believe all men are created equal and you must come to the conclusion that an adult couple is an adult couple and should be given the legal right of marriage. My life and the lives of my family have been too deeply touched by gay couples who define love and commitment for us. I must contain my temper on this issue, because I am called to “love my neighbor as I love myself” even if that neighbor may be closed minded and more homophobic than God-fearing.