Singer Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 is a passionate supporter of gay marriage – so passionate that he recently wrote a piece in support of same-sex marriage that was not only wrong-headed, but factually inaccurate, and a clear illustration of why celebrities should shut up and sing.
Featured in the “Huffington Post” on May 27, “The Big Gay Chip on My Shoulder” was written as a response after a Twitter post in which Thomas wondered why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed.
Thomas focused most of the blame on religious conservatives for California’s rejection of same-sex marriage. “Still, I'm amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion.”
Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between a man and women, received fifty-two percent of the votes in California, a higher percentage than Democrat Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential win. According to Thomas, 52 percent of the voters in California are sheep easily swayed by the T.V. ads of that small group of ultra conservatives. And the justices of the California Supreme Court who upheld Proposition 8 recently? Also sheep.
And how small is that group of ultra-conservative Christians? How do their numbers compare to the number of gays seeking same sex marriage?
Thomas could not fathom that the definition of marriage as it has stood for 3,000 years is still good enough for a majority of Californians. But he was writing on the Huffington post, the echo-chamber of the Hollywood left, and he started his piece describing himself as “a fairly liberal-leaning guy with either liberal friends or Republican and Christian friends who don't believe that being one has anything to do with the other.” It’s probably safe to say that Thomas doesn’t bump into too many of those Californians in his world.
If he did, he wouldn’t make claims like this: “There isn't one person who is against gay marriage that can give me a reason why it shouldn't be legal without bringing God or their religion into it.” We’re game. Here are two non-religious reasons: the afore-mentioned 3,000 years of accumulated wisdom, and the understanding that if marriage doesn’t mean the union of a man and a woman, it can mean anything – the union of a man and a soft-serve ice cream machine, or of a woman and a tree … If you can dream it up, you can make an argument for it.
The singer also displayed his mastery of American history.
“I also believe that anyone who says that this is a "Christian nation" has RHS, or revisionist history syndrome, and doesn't realize that most of our founding fathers were either atheist or at least could see, even in the 1700s, that all through Europe at the time, religion was the cause of so much persecution that they needed to put into their brand new constitution a SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE so that the ideals of a group of people could never be forced onto the whole.”
According to Adherents.com, Christianity was the prevalent religion of the founding fathers. More than half of them were Episcopalian or Anglican. Nearly twenty-percent were Presbyterians and another 16 percent were Congregationalists. The Deism of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin may not qualify as Christianty, it is certainly much different than atheism.
The founders did not “separate” church and state. They did not try to banish religion from the public sphere. They rejected the establishment of a state religion, which would legitimize and privilege one denomination over others. In that way, citizens would be free to worship as they chose without coercion. But apparently Thomas feels that people must choose to have the same beliefs that he has, which is frightening as he also wrote on Twitter that, “if I believed in the devil, Pat Robertson might be him.”
(The Culture and Media Institute's Sarah Knoploh co-wrote this article.)