I Don’t Want Your Cookie

Republicans in Iowa want to ban gay marriage in the state:

An Iowa House panel will begin hearings Monday on a bill that would repeal gay marriage in the state.

The Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA) seeks to put a question on the 2013 ballot that would define marriage in the Iowa constitution as a heterosexual union –- and thereby reverse the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest.

That’s not the reason I’m posting this, though.

What bugs me is how the “nice” Christians are reacting to all this:

“Several of us plan to bring a token of Christian love (like a small bag of cookies or other treats) to share with homosexual activists who we’ll be encountering Monday,” the group [The Family Leader] wrote in a newsletter to supporters. “It’s time we dispel lies about Christians, by tangibly showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”

Look at how sweet they are! They’re giving everyone cookies!… Meanwhile, they are doing everything in their power to make sure gay couples cannot be legally wed in the state.

There’s Christian love for you.

What lies are they dispelling, exactly? That Christians are the biggest barrier to marriage equality in the country? That they’ve done more harm to the institution of marriage than any of the couples they demonize?

Nope. They’re just confirming those things…

The cookie idea makes as much sense to me as those Christians who hold signs saying things like “I’m sorry for how the church has hurt you” at gay pride rallies — it seems like they’re our allies, but in fact, they will never come out and say they support gay marriage.

No, they may not fight it as vociferously as other Christians, but they do very little to voice their opinion either way. It’s the cowardly way to go.

What we need are Christians who bravely and proudly tell their church they support marriage equality.

In the meantime, keep your goddamn cookie. Unless you’re opposing this amendment, you’re part of the problem.

(via Joe. My. God.)

***Update***: There are some well-said comments below and I wanted to highlight a few I really liked:

From hoverFrog:

They’re making cookies to ease their own guilt about the dehumanising of another group by a group to which they are affiliated. It is nothing to do with supporting gay people and everything to do with Christianity’s favourite game: Doing nothing while patting yourself on the back.

From timberwraith:

I think a bag of cookies is the perfect metaphor for this version of “Christian love”: junk food that contains little nutritional content. It’s not a love that sustains. It’s empty and in the long run, it will ruin a person’s well-being when one is exposed to large quantities.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Anonymous

    In the meantime, keep your goddamn cookie.

    Testify, Hemant!

  • Sue D. Nymme

    Hear, hear!

  • http://www.changeover40.com Maria

    What? Losing your civil rights? Here, have a cookie.

    I live in Iowa. I’d like to see religious and civil unions be completely separate. Marriage ceremonies conducted in a church or by a preacher or “minister of the gospel” should have no legal standing. Want a legal union? See a Justice of the Peace/magistrate.

  • Tony

    You know what they should be doing if they want to dispel the “myth”? Show up with signs saying “I personally disapprove of your relationship but IT’S NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS!”

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    Joe runs one of my favorite blogs; everyone should read it regularly. he’s a superstar.

    and yeah, how insulting is this nonsense? civil rights, or a cookie. hmmm. gosh, i really have to think about that. not.

    keep your fucking cookies, Iowa haters.

  • thebigJ_A

    Has the make-up of the court changed in Iowa? Else, wouldn’t they just throw this out if it passes?

  • Thaddeus

    There’s nothing like a cookie to make up for possibly losing your constitutional rights.

  • Carlie

    I’d worry that the cookies had been poisoned. Not that they’d do that, but having someone who is so obviously your enemy handing you food they made? Yeah, staying away from that one.

  • DJ Sydney

    I like how they use the words:
    “showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”

    As far as the gay couples I know, they are not really “struggling” with their homosexuality, but embracing it.

    Just another niave point of view from one eyed christ followers.

  • Brice Gilbert

    With all the talk recently about not using demoralizing language in political discourse I can’t help but think these people deserve to be ridiculed.

  • deong

    Has the make-up of the court changed in Iowa? Else, wouldn’t they just throw this out if it passes?

    The supreme court only has the power to interpret the constitution. They previously found that the state’s laws against same-sex marriage were in violation of the state’s constitution. The proposal here is thus to modify the constitution — if what you want to do is against the law, just change the law.

    Unless the state constitution violates federal law and authority, they can do what they want. Since federal law is currently much closer to the other side (due the reprehensible “Defense of Marriage act”), if Iowa amends their constitution to remove the conflict with the previous law, they’re free do resume their happy bigoted discrimination.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Imagine a scene from ancient Rome in a time when Christians were genuinely persecuted for their faith. A bunch of Christians have found out that they are to be used in the games as lion food. Other Christians decide to come forward and object to this heinous behaviour.

    Some nice Romans bake them some cookies so they don’t feel bad about it.

    Doesn’t look so good, does it? They’re making cookies to ease their own guilt about the dehumanising of another group by a group to which they are affiliated. It is nothing to do with supporting gay people and everything to do with Christianity’s favourite game: Doing nothing while patting yourself on the back.

    I hope that some Christian group will go along and actually support the gay activists but standing with them. Shoulder to shoulder. Maybe they will but I doubt it.

  • Erin W

    Also, they’re more than welcome to stick their condescension in the same place as their cookie.

    “[S]truggle with homosexuality”, indeed.

  • Kaylya

    Yeah. I imagine the people out at a pro-gay marriage rally are long past any “struggle” they may or may not have had with their homosexuality.

  • Nicoline Smits

    I love your column! My state, Maryland, may legalize gay marriage this year (keep your fingers crossed!), but NOM and other conservative organizations are already gearing up to put a question on the ballot. What, exactly, is their problem with love? If you don’t want gay marriage, fine, don’t get one. But how does it hurt you or the institution of marriage if two people who happen to be of the same sex want to see their relationship publicly acknowledged?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @hoverfrog,

    “They’re making cookies to ease their own guilt about the dehumanising of another group by a group to which they are affiliated. It is nothing to do with supporting gay people and everything to do with Christianity’s favourite game: Doing nothing while patting yourself on the back.”

    You nailed it. If there was an award for post comment of the month, yours would win, hands down.

  • nankay

    I was there at that hearing and I sat in on the prayer circle held in the committee room (attended by the committee chair) just before the hearing (barf) AND I did take a small bag of Cheezits they offered (among other snacks). Hey, it was a loonnngg afternoon.

  • nathanlee

    What a backhanded complement. It also reminds me of the old joke “Come to the dark side, we have cookies…”

  • Sarah2

    Why, why, why is gay marriage the biggest threat to Christians? Why don’t they take on bigger laws? Seems like a lot of people aren’t remembering the Sabbath or keeping it holy. Why wouldn’t they push to ban work on a Sunday? Is it because we don’t live in a Christian nation and to force everyone to go to church on a Sunday would be ridiculous? Gay marriage is just something to fixate on that they can be against politically. It doesn’t explain why anyone else listens or debates. All sins being equal, they should protest the legality of adultery (actually a big 10!) or premarital sex.

  • http://considertheteacosy.wordpress.com considerthe teacosy

    Seriously. They should eat their own damn cookies, since they’re the ones ‘struggling’ with homosexuality.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    How long before some “Christian” plops down a comment here claiming that they aren’t bigots because they “love” LGBT people in spite of wanting to treat us like second class citizens?

    Save your breath. I want my rights. I want to be treated like any other human being. I don’t give a shit about your superficial, saccharine love.

    I think a bag of cookies is the perfect metaphor for this version of “Christian love”: junk food that contains little nutritional content. It’s not a love that sustains. It’s empty and in the long run, it will ruin a person’s well-being when one is exposed to large quantities.

  • Yui

    It would appear that the old meme is right. The dark side really does have cookies.

    Supporting a repeal of a right makes you a bigot, kids. Your opinion and moral revulsion about others is not relevant.

  • Matto the Hun

    Wow, now the hypocrisy and bigotry has chocolate chips?

    “They’re making cookies to ease their own guilt about the dehumanising of another group by a group to which they are affiliated. It is nothing to do with supporting gay people and everything to do with Christianity’s favourite game: Doing nothing while patting yourself on the back.”

    Perhaps in a handfull of cases among these people, but I don’ think that’s the case at all.

    I’m sure most of these people are so deluded by their religion that they genuinely believe what they say. Which is even worse.

  • Jonas

    Are there any Iowa based Christian denominations which are emphatically against this ‘cookie’ idea, and standing with the Pro Gay Marriage Supporters.

    I know UUs are officially ‘Gay Friendly’, but I don’t have a list in my head of who is more liberal vs. conservitative.

    A sign like “I’m Christian, and Pat Robertson does not speak for me.” – for example, would be a start.

  • Sarah TX

    Hey now, no need to diss cookies to make a strained metaphor.

  • Libby

    I think a bag of cookies is the perfect metaphor for this version of “Christian love”: junk food that contains little nutritional content. It’s not a love that sustains. It’s empty and in the long run, it will ruin a person’s well-being when one is exposed to large quantities.

    And I think this metaphor is an insult to the cookie community. 😉

  • Claudia

    Other ideas:

    KKK Kakes. KKK members can give out cakes in Harlem to show that they don’t really hate black people. Vanilla cake, of course.

    Chinese security forces will give out fortune cookies to the children of pro-democracy activists they disappear, just to show they “love” them.

    Sudanese officials can give ice-cream to the orphans of women executed for “adultery”, so they know they actually love them too.

    Seriously, fuck you. You think a cookie makes up for striving to restrict the civil rights of others? You fucking condecending twats, how little self-respect do you think GLBT and allies have?!

  • Jon

    This post is gay.

  • Cthuhlu

    Maybe get a bunch of people together with signs that say “come to the dark side we have better cookies”. Anyway this is the usual with the religious right. NOM is in New Hampshire and Maryland because it looks like those two states will be allowing same-sex marriage this year.

    I don’t get what they are hoping to accomplish through this though. Their state supreme court already ruled it unconstitutional based on the federal constitution so even if they ban it in the state the ruling should still be in effect.

    It is pretty obvious that they are losing the battle over equality. The funny thing is in 2013 I am pretty sure that a majority of people would vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. So I wonder if they do put this to vote and the majority vote to allow it are they going to try and change it anyway?

  • Silent Service

    I grew up in Iowa and unfortunately am not surprised that this has come up. Iowa has always been very closely balanced between rational, free thinkers and backward, banjo picking bigots. This is the fight for the hearts and minds of America. As Iowa goes, so goes most of the nation. Fortunately the repeal of DADT and marriage equality slowly coming about in other locations is eroding the bigotry. I still have hope for you Iowa. Stay free and equal.

    If you’re there at the protest in Iowa and a Christian hands you cookies, just look contemptuously at them, drop their cookies on the ground and crush them beneath your heal. Talking to them will do you no good.

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    The great problem with Christian “love” is that it only appears loving if you already accept their entire worldview. Most Christians sincerely believe they are acting out of love by trying to keep people from doing things the sky daddy doesn’t like, because the alternative is letting those people go to hell. But from a humanistic perspective, their actions are morally reprehensible (srsly, shove your cookies). The precepts that religion teaches are themselves deeply evil and anti-human.

  • GG

    “It’s time we dispel lies about Christians, by tangibly showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”

    I read this as:

    It’s time we dispel lies about Christians, by tangibly showing love (to people who struggle) with homosexuality.

    There’s a Catholic priest joke in there somewhere…

    Tony:

    You know what they should be doing if they want to dispel the “myth”? Show up with signs saying “I personally disapprove of your relationship but IT’S NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS!”

    Perhaps someone should organise a big group of people to do that? If you could drown out the genuine Christians it would be most amusing.

  • http://www.bluefrogdesignstudios.com/thebluefrogsays/ The Big Blue Frog

    I actually had a Christian relative tell me yesterday that there’s nothing in the Bible that contradicts Jesus’ directive to love one another.

    It would make our lives a lot easier if they’d read the damned book once in a while.

  • Rieux

    If you give a gay a cookie,
    He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.
    When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw.
    When he’s finished, he’ll ask to be allowed to visit his partner in the hospital, and to be granted sick leave to care for him.
    And then it’s employment non-discrimination laws, the freedom to serve in the military, the right to file joint tax returns with his partner… (shudder) gay marriage….
    Better to take back the cookie.

  • Ellie

    They are even more clueless then I originally thought if they think cookies are going to make up for their hatefulness.

    I have nothing insightful or witty to say because I am utterly dumbfounded by these people.

    Oh you don’t want me to marry the person I love? Oh a cookie, well now that totally makes up for everything.

    Seriously?

  • nankay

    To be fair I met 4 different ministers on the Pro-Gay side. One was the head pastor of a very large Congregational church in Des Moines who spoke to the committee. It was very refreshing to meet some non-hateful Christians. On a funny note, when the leader of the prayer circle announced they had treats for everyone, the person next to me (a very religious person) snorted, ‘Laced with what?”

  • http://nojesusnopeas.blogspot.com James Sweet

    Damn, the famous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” could have gone down totally differently if only Gov. Wallace had thought to bring the National Guard some nice freshly-baked cookies.

  • Beijingrrl

    It’d be funny if it wasn’t true.

    It did remind of this great Eddie Izzard bit about the Church of England:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/215133/eddie_izzard_cake_or_death/

    Maybe someone should hand out biscuits for bigots. I would if I were in Iowa.

  • Jonas

    Maybe they’re hoping Gay people have Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Support our right to Equal Righ ..– Oh Cookies …

  • Jeff

    “Have a cookie. Enjoy it on your way to hell.”

    I’m sure they think this works; it’s one of the ways they rope in college students.

  • Erp

    Socially liberal Christian denominations start with the United Church of Christ, UCC (not to be confused with Church of Christ which is conservative). Many churches with the name ‘Congregational’ in them are UCC.

    One website lists 90 affirming churches in Iowa. These are churches who don’t feel that being gay is an illness or sin that needs to be overcome or resisted and probably support civil marriage.

  • Richard Wade

    Do not refuse the cookies. Accept the cookies graciously with thanks, because right then you have their more open attention. Then in the most patient and polite tone you can manage, tell them why, as has been so very well expressed in comments here, their cookie is a shamefully poor substitute for actually standing up to tyranny. Help them to see that they are only adding hypocrisy to their sin of neglect of the downtrodden, and that their cowardice of placidly watching people being oppressed is not going to be redeemed by giving away a cookie.

    Then take the cookies, wrap them up so they won’t get stale, and send them to Richard Wade. (address to follow later)

  • Sean Santos

    This is a nearly perfect picture of the essential conceit behind religious anti-gay movements and organizations nowadays. There’s all this rhetoric to make it seem softer. They talk about how it’s not about gays, but about “protecting marriage”. They use phrases like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” They complain about being called bigots, or whine about supposed threats to their religious freedoms.

    And through it all, it’s always “Me me me me me” and “we we we we we”. It’s always about feeling good about themselves, making themselves look good, convincing themselves that they are the good guys. Cookies or no cookies, they either don’t care to find out what gay people are like or how they are really affected by discrimination, or else they are so trapped in their own echo chambers that they are absolutely convinced of falsehoods. It’s all about protection of their belief systems and preventing their communities from ever feeling the slightest amounts of doubt or shame or regret over these issues, even if no one else is trying to make them feel guilty!

    When these little attempts at “being nice” to the gays play out, sometimes they are purely about relieving one’s own conscience or cognitive dissonance, but I think they are sometimes also genuine, but totally clueless, attempts to build bridges. “See,” they are trying to say, “We aren’t so bad. We’re not bigots. All we have to do is show you that we’re nice people, and you won’t be angry any more, won’t have a problem with us any more.”

    It’s missing the point, which is that it is not about them or their viewpoints or their attitudes or how nice they are. It’s about gay people and their civil rights. Every one of them would see that instantly if the state tried to ban Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, atheist or any other kind of religious marriage. Every one of them would see that if it was about interracial marriage, or the right to marry a Canadian citizen. I think many of them would even see that if an intersex person was not allowed to get married at all.

    It’s because each of us recognize what it is if someone punches another person in the face and says “It’s not personal.” or “I still love you, but I was protecting myself from having to look at your face.” or “I’ll buy you ice cream to make up for it, but I’m going to try to break your nose again tomorrow.” Even if one of these justifications is the really real reason, we don’t care. Most people aren’t comforted if person who’s harming them is a loving person, and we don’t care that much how they rationalize it to themselves. The primary thing we want from them is for them to stop harming us. Everything else, including the nice sentiments and the bridge-building and the reconciliation, happens after we agree not to keep inflicting direct personal harm upon each other. This isn’t complicated psychology; it’s about common sense and an extremely basic sense of empathy.

    And when that’s not how it works, when the victim really does accept the arrangement? Well, leaving S&M roleplay out of it, this is generally a matter of domestic abuse. A person who accepts being abused, who doesn’t complain and doesn’t try to end the abuse because the abuser is so “loving”, is not merely a forgiving person. That person instead has a codependence that we recognize immediately as unhealthy.

    To wrap this a little bit back into atheism, this is the sort of problem we see with a lot of Christian proselytizing and Christian fears about atheism, too. Christians (really, all believers) like to talk about how good and loving and just and kind their God is, and how great their community is and how their religion makes them loving people. In the process, they are skipping all the stuff that should come first, including first of all demonstrating that a God exists, and secondly demonstrating that we should actually love and follow a deity that wants to, say, command people to love him or be cast into everlasting fire, or take over the world by force, or demand ridiculous sacrifice and adherence to bizarre rules. All the feel-good stuff comes after we know that there’s something really there, and that its “loving” rhetoric isn’t just a cover for a psychopathic or bloodthirsty nature.

  • Apollo

    I have lived in Iowa all my life. When I first heard that our Supreme Court had upheld the right of all Iowans to have equal marriage, I was so proud. Iowa had once again hopped to the forefront of equality.

    Since then, I have been repeatedly disappointed by my fellow Iowans. Recently we voted to not retain (essentially to fire) three Supreme Court Justices that voted that the law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional.

    Now we have elected a legislature full of bigots, with many people voting for the sole purpose of denying civil rights to others.

    Worse yet, so many of the people I hear defending gay marriages use the argument “gay people are born that way, they can’t help it”. That argument starts from the position that there is something wrong with being gay. I will very rarely hear people say “being gay is not bad or wrong, we should grant equal rights to everybody”.

    News like this is about enough to make me scream. I’m so disappointed in my home state.

  • Inthewater

    What Apollo said.

    Another life-long Iowan here. Hoping that the people mobilize and crush these hateful ammendments if it is put to a vote.

    It is going to ba a big deal, and I hope free-thinkers and accepting people in Iowa get out and support freedom for everyone.

    I know I will.

  • martin

    “It’s time we dispel lies about Christians, by tangibly showing love to people who struggle with homosexuality.”

    The keebler elves are stating themselves they don’t approve or support homosexuals, as they speak of homosexuality as some type of disorder or disease, and not just a variation of sexual orientation. Homosexuals struggle with intolerance against their orientation, not with their homosexuality.

  • DA

    “In the meantime, keep your goddamn cookie”

    I am going to try and incorporate that sentence into as many conversations as possible.

  • DocTwisted

    Well, I’m actually one of those rare Christians that believe in gay rights. I’m currently looking for the closest GLBT friendly church, after leaving the last one after the pastor gave forty five minutes of his hour long sermon to decrying homosexuality as “evil.”

    If I were in Iowa, I’d be there to stand with the protesters, and I might even bring cookies… to keep their energy up. I’m in California, and during the Prop 8 debacle I worked alongside others to try to try to convince people locally to vote against that stain upon the state constitution. Thankfully, it looks as though its passing will be overruled by the courts.