Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Did Civil Unions Destroy the Illinois Indians?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    During this week’s debate on the civil unions bill, Rep. Ron Stephens(R-Greenville) suggested that allowing gays to marry would cause our society to join classical Greece and imperial Rome in the dustbin of history.

    “If you look at the sociological history of societies that have failed, what are the commonalities?” Stephens asked. “One of those is that open homosexuality becomes accepted in the higher society, whether it’s in Greek times, the Romans or others, and here we are at that precipice again.”

    Stevens didn’t have to look all the way to Europe to find an example of a society that crumbled as a result of open homosexuality. In fact, he didn’t even have to look outside the state. Here is famed historian Francis Parkman on the Illinois Indians, the tribe on whose ruins we have built our own civilization:

    The Illinois were “addicted to practices which are sometimes supposed to be the result of a perverted civilization,” Parkman wrote in his seven-volume France and England in North America. “Young men enacting the part of women were frequently to be seen among them.”

    The Sieur de Liette, a French explorer who met the Illinois in the late 17th century, wrote that “they have tapering legs which carry their bodies well, with a very haughty step, and as graceful as the best dancer.”

    We can only imagine the scene in their tribal council, as they passed the calumet from sage to sage, debating whether to allow young men to act like women.

    "Anyone who opposes this is a hypocrite," the most outspoken elder might have shouted. "I know what the rest of you do in the wigwam with widows and other men's wives, under the cover of birchbark. It's about fairness, y'all. That's all."

    Sadly, the Illinois had never heard of the Greeks and the Romans, so there was no one to warn them of the consequences of their behavior.

    Not surprisingly, the Illinois were driven out of their native country by the Iroquois, who were less graceful dancers but had more weapons. Today, the tribe is remembered only for inspiring the laughable nickname of the University of Illinois’s sports teams, the “Fighting Illini.”
     
    Are we about to become the second group of Illinoisans to lead ourselves to ruin through our addiction to practices which are the result of a perverted civilization? Rep. Stephens warned us. State Sen. James Meeks warned us. Now, only Gov. Pat Quinn can save us. Before he signs the civil unions bill, he should visit the Cahokia Mounds, to see the magnificent achievements of Illinois’s Indians, before they turned totally gay.

    If Quinn signs the bill, we may end up going the way of the Illinois Indians. Not that there will be anything wrong with that.