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MACALLISTER: Gay marriage detractors need space, time

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MacAllisterWe rejoice in technological change when it improves the efficacy of our computers, but greet societal changes with less exuberance.

More specifically, the foot dragging is more noticeable on the role and status of women, homosexuality, abortion, immigration and government-support programs for the unfortunate.

Product improvement is critical to the success of the business enterprise, and its future requires new ideas, new tactics.

But change in public policy needs broad public buy-in, often found difficult because there’s a challenge to “principles” or “traditions” locked in place for centuries. It took almost a century to gain women’s suffrage, but once up to speed, we saw considerable progress, proved by the women now serving as university and college presidents, governors, senators and representatives, and chairing public corporations.

In my day, “a woman’s place was in the home.” A policy sustained by limited preparation for other roles. For example, women had little team or athletic activity, the place where a lot of guys learned how a group works together, understands role relationships, what happens when you drop the ball, your part in the effort.

There is minimal opportunity to learn marketable skills when the male—65 percent of the college class—monopolized the agenda.

In the 1970s, my church got on the bandwagon demanding female participation in church bodies, but then where do we find a female who had run a business, a political campaign or who could understand an operating statement?

The issue was not gender, but experience. Now, given the change, ladies grasped the new opportunity. Today’s church and its seminaries are dominated by women.

I confess to being slow coming to the party and I’m not altogether objective on social matters. I was conditioned in a county-seat town in Wisconsin during the WASP heyday.

In retrospect, I cower when recalling how we treated the few Jews or Roman Catholics who lived across the river, regarding them as second-class Americans. Finally, when they gained due status, lo and behold they were just like the rest of us!

Homosexuality better illustrates the point—a heinous crime on our Presbyterian “Oh how awful” list, condemned in both Old and New Testament as a mortal sin. It was bestial, depraved and practiced by perverts … who were surely going to hell.

This was society’s verdict, and let’s face it, abandoning or acceding to a precept accepted for 2,000 years is not readily negotiated because it says, sotto voce, “I was wrong.”

Think of it: A criminal offense so gross it’s punishable by death suddenly becomes acceptable? Ouch!

Erich Maria Remarque summarizes my point in a line from his book “All Quiet on the Western Front” that goes something like: “You cannot erase four years of killing with the one word, Peace.” Prejudice, or let’s say conviction, deeply implanted, dies hard.

The 20-year scuffle over changing societal mores indicates that mandatory (legal) interpretations may give a new legitimacy to old shibboleths, but does not necessarily change minds.

Second, ignoring the ingrained conviction of two millennia of indoctrination really needs acceptable rationale.

Beyond that, newer outlooks are much more quickly accepted if you don’t rub my nose in it. Go gently. In other words, be patient, because in another 10 years it will no longer be an issue.

Let’s cut some slack for those who have been wrong. They meant well. (It’s embarrassing to be that dumb.)•

__________

MacAllister is chairman of MacAllister Machinery Co. Inc. and a longtime leader in Indianapolis Republican politics. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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  • A modest proposal
    Re: "Gay marriage detractors need space, time" I could be uncharitable and suggest that they "should be rounded up in electrified pens until they die off" - like that "Christian pastor" did regarding gay people last year. But I won't. But why some "detractors" seem to feel the need to fight against SOME citizens' "unalienable" rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness and their receiving the Constitutionally promised equal protections of the law is a mystery unanswered by this article. Re: "newer outlooks are much more quickly accepted if you don’t rub my nose in it" I reject that "caricature", just as I do the trite "shoving in down our throats" response. When str8 folk display a picture of their spouse at work, it gets labeled 'displaying family values'; when gay people do it, it gets labeled "rubbing our noses in it/shoving it down our throats". It's been more than a decade already. How much more time do you need to accept that 'all men are created equal'? It's hardly a "newer outlook".

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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