Mardi Gras means fat (or big) Tuesday. It is the day before Lent.
It is also called Shrove Tuesday because it is a day to be shriven, that is, to confess your sins and ask for absolution so you can enter into the season of Lent with a clear mind and heart, and the determination never again to do anything contrary to the will of God. Mardi Gras because Christians fast during Lent, and luxury foods like eggs and meat are to be finished off on that day – even if there is plenty. So it is a day both to reflect and to feast.
Tonight is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. It’s the Saturday night before Shrove Tuesday, not Shrove Tuesday itself. But this has to be just about the most egregious appropriation of a religious festival in human history.
Christians may find the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras offensive. I certainly find some aspects offensive. The sisters of perpetual indulgence, for example, a group of self-obsessed morons who mercilessly belittle and abuse the group, Roman Catholic nuns, who do more on the ground work to relieve AIDS suffering than any other.
But Christians being offended doesn’t matter. We will go out of our way not to be offensive in return. We certainly won’t subject those who offend us to physical violence.
If the gay and lesbian population really want to make a stand for what they perceive as their rights, why not hold this festival at a time or in a place when it is confronting to a culture that regards them as less than human, which decrees that gays and lesbians should be hanged, stoned or beheaded?
How about the Ramadan Gay and Lesbian Festival? Held in Lakemba?
A clear majority of Australians, including me, believe that gays and lesbians should be treated equally under the law. Not subject to sanctions, and able to register long-standing partnerships for tax or pension or bequest purposes.
But where the heck do they get the idea that a clear majority of Australians believe two men or two women should be able to marry one another?
Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Nothing anyone says is going to change that. And nothing anyone says is going to change the fact that most Australians believe the law should reflect what marriage really is, not whatever passing trends claim it should be.
And no, you can’t marry your pet dolphin.