We had an interesting and stimulating conversation, where we mostly disagreed about a number of subjects.
- He insisted the Bible was the whole and final word of Christ. I claimed that I must love God more than he does because I expect more from the big guy upstairs. Surely he couldn't logically claim that an asshole like Paul could write more meaningfully than Henry David Thoreau, Bill Shakespeare, Alice Walker, Louisa May Alcott, etc. God, I reasoned, created the human race to evolve, to be better, to be more like him. How could we stay stuck in Biblical times and still evolve as we are intended to? Or, should we be sacrificing a goat right now?
- Further into the discussion, he compared being gay to being a child molester. I asked him how many gay friends he had, to which he replied "None. Wait, a guy I went to junior high with went gay." I applauded him for knowing (a long time ago) someone who had eventually gone that way, but encouraged him to have more gay friends. This would open his mind so he could understand the lifestyle and how far away it is from being a criminal.
- I told him how disappointed I was that Barack Obama said he supported only a "basic set of rights" for gay people and that he really had no right. My opinion was that Obama was basically treating gay people with the same mindset of discrimination that his father and ancestors had experienced. He told me he worked with a "black person" (whispered) at work who hated that being a minority and being gay were sometimes put in the same category. Being gay was different, he said. It was simply a personality trait -- like having a bad temper. But, it didn't excuse gay people from having the responsibility to surpress their urges (like surpressing a bad temper). At this point, I looked at him as if he had two heads.
- He proudly told me he spanked his kids, but was disappointed that his son was such a weiner. Whether he barely tapped him or spanked him, the cry was the same intensity. I let him know the reason for this was that the child felt humiliation. At this point, my neighbor on the plane turned very red.