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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

I’m always hopeful when I write about Gay Pride that this will be the last year I have to explain why indeed it is we still need Gay Pride Parades.

Ask me why we need Gay Pride Parades, and I’ll ask you why we need St Patrick’s Day Parades, or Cinco De Mayo Celebrations or Groundhog Day Festivities or Octoberfest or Halloween or May Day, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, or any other of the myriad of celebrations that happen in a country with such diverse cultures.

Tell me why you celebrate any of these things, and then we can have a conversation about the celebration of Gay Pride.

I’m always hopeful that people will stop asking me why it is we want “special” rights, and me having to explain that we don’t want “special” rights, we simply want the rights promised us in the United States Constitution. The rights promised to every single American Citizen. You know – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Everyone wants/needs their life to be validated.  We’re all individuals, but, we all need love and kindness and acceptance.

I won’t use the word tolerance. I believe in acceptance of people for who they are. Tolerance just means you put up with someone or something. I don’t want anyone to tolerate me, I prefer acceptance for who I am. I mean if you’re simply tolerating me, what’s the point of my being in your life at all?

As for those who believe that being gay is a choice. Let me just this: My being gay is as much my choice as my being 48% Scottish, British and Welsh.  I had no say in any of those things. I’m proud of them all, but I had no choices to make. It’s all a part of who I am.

Unless you are gay and you’ve experience the fear that lies with coming out, you have no clue the importance of Gay Pride.

Unless you’ve been bullied and spit on, or not seated in restaurants, or not given hotel rooms, simply because of who you are – you have no idea of the importance of Gay Pride.

Sadly, I know there are people who aren’t gay who are experiencing these sorts of atrocities right now in these United States of America. People who are being bullied and shot at and spit on and yelled at simply because of who they are, the color of their skin, and what they believe.

I don’t understand the hate, but I do understand that the feeling of empowerment of these haters is coming from the those in our government who have the power to do good and spread kindness and instead they foster resentment and hate and do whatever possible to divide us.

When you have a President, who says it’s perfectly fine to grab women by the pussy, well then, it must be okay to grab women by the pussy, and do whatever you feel is necessary to make you feel like a man. The women want you to do it.

If the President refuses to recognize Gay Pride month, then it must be okay to not recognize the millions of LGBT citizens, and take away those pesky rights we are entitled to.

If the President wants to take away health care from millions of Americans to pander to himself and the other 1%, then it must be okay if you can’t afford the medicine that keeps you or other members of your family alive.

If you have a President who says the Press is bad; with the exception of Fox and Breibart  and Rush and other Alt Right Conspiracy News Makers, and that Crooked Hillary, and President Obama, and President Clinton, and China and  Women, and Gays, and Muslims, and Planned Parenthood, and Black Lives Matter, and Hollywood, and Libtards are responsible for your lot in life – then it must be okay to beat them up and post vile pictures and continue to follow blindly a leader who cares nothing for you or those you profess to love.

It’s sick and twisted, and if you can’t see what’s happening – shame on you.

More to the point – If you stand behind the hatred and divisiveness – shame on you.

This year – Gay Pride matters more to me than ever before.  Vice President Pence is quite clear on his stance on how he feels about LBGTQ Americans. He finds us disgusting, and blames us for the decline of American society. He doesn’t approve of gays in the military, prefers conversion therapy and signed a bill in Indiana that allowed businesses in the State of Indiana to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on their personal religious beliefs – And this man has the ear of the President, and he’s helping to write legislation…

I’ll be cheering on everyone who marches in our San Diego Gay Pride Parade. I’ll be crying with pride, when the military members walk by, and the police and firefighters. And all the churches who support and love their fellow human beings, and when that big gay flag comes at the end – I’ll be grabbing hold – as I have the past 16 years, and I’ll be crying and celebrating and asking the Universe to give the world more love, more kindness, more acceptance, more joy, more understanding, more peace.

Until next year –
Happy Pride.

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Tradition and history tells us that we must accept the results of a Presidential election and move on. There have also been those people who have been taking pleasure in telling me I must “move on.” “move forward,” “suck it up,” and many other little phrases that have done nothing but infuriate me.

I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to “move on.” I’m grieving, and I’ll take all the time I need to grieve the loss of The United States of America as I have known it.  The America of immigrants and diversity. The America of religious freedom and a press who did the work and could call themselves journalists without fear of retribution.  The America where women were starting to make their way to being equal and gay rights were a reality, not something we spent years marching and protesting and dreaming of.

With the election of Donald Trump, my America is gone. Angry white voters made sure of that, and Republicans in the House and Senate will put the icing on that big white, gun-toting, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic cake. Life as we all knew it, is over.

But, that’s what the disenfranchised voter wanted. That’s what they voted for, that’s what they honestly believe will “Make America Great Again.” No religious freedom, unless of course you are a Christian. No gay rights, but extra bonus rights for Christians to discriminate against “the gays.” No women’s rights, and again, extra bonus rights to the Christians who will do whatever needs to be done to not allow a woman to make any decisions when it comes to their bodies. No access to healthcare, unless you’re rich and can afford to go wherever you want.

The list of what he wants to do the first 100 days is stunning:  http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days

So, no – I will not be “moving on” any time soon.  I will continue to support people of color, and respect people of all religions, and I will continue to send contributions to Planned Parenthood and any other organization this Administration will try and destroy.

And the moment this Republican run government starts to take God-given rights away from gays, immigrants, women or any other group of Americans, I will be marching and protesting and fighting – and I won’t be alone in that fight.

So, you all go ahead and build your walls, and ruin the land, and throw millions of Americans out of the Country. Go ahead and forget about equality and diversity and charity beginning at home.

At the end of your Presidents term, we will still be here. We’ll still be gay and transgendered, and Muslim and Jewish, and Mexican and women and democrats and independents and black and white and – well you know – Americans, and we’ll be more than happy to take our Country back when your little experiment has imploded on you.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Thomas Jefferson

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Susan and I went to a funeral yesterday. It’s not something one looks forward to, but a sweet friend had lost her Father, and we wanted to be there to lend our support and love for our friend and her family.

Our friends father (Bill) was a very sweet man. We didn’t’ meet him until the rages of Alzheimer’s had taken over his body and his mind; and yet his sweetness shown through.

I had an inkling this funeral was going to be different when we arrived at the church and there were white chairs set up outside. They were placed on a hillside with beautiful green grass surrounded by trees and flowers with a view of the San Diego Bay that was simply breath-taking. I’d never been to an outside funeral, but after today, I can’t imagine any other way of honoring a loved one.

From those who spoke, I soon understood this was a man who was loving and was loved his entire life. His wife, his children, his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Love, love, love. He loved being outside, loved camping, loved sunsets, loved ice cream and coffee, and loved being the family “tickle monster.”

One of his daughters started to speak about his courage and how he emphasized to her the importance of being still, and it was in that moment I found my mind began to wonder.

I began to think of the death of my parents. My dad in 2010 and Mother in 2012.  I thought of the lessons they had taught me, and what it is I still miss about them.  Some days the image of them is so clear I swear they are walking right beside me. Other days, I don’t feel them at all.  It’s those moments when I am “being still” that I feel them most of all. When I have my tea in the afternoon, sitting quietly on my patio watching the birds, sitting by the San Diego Bay knowing how much my parents loved to sit in the same spot some 30 years ago.  Dad’s ashes are scattered in this Bay so that every US Navy ship that goes in and out of San Diego has to pass over him.

The thing is, I never understood my parents – ever. I thought of this today as Bill’s children and grandchildren were speaking of him so lovingly.  I never understood some of my parent’s decisions, their beliefs, their grudges, their never wanting to talk of anything.  So many things were left unsaid, unsettled, unknown. I love them, I just wish…

I left this funeral with the understanding that life is most certainly meant to be lived. It’s meant to be shared with those who love you unconditionally. You’re meant to be still, to be tickled. You’re meant to watch the sunset, and eat ice cream and drink coffee. You’re meant to laugh and love and share your thoughts and dreams and desires .You’re meant to make memories that will carry on long after you’ve gone. This is what your life is supposed to be.

We walked away from the service on that beautiful hill to the Reception Hall where an ice cream social in honor of Bill awaited us.  Ice Cream, every topping you could think of, whipped cream, cherries, nuts, cookies and coffee. For the first time ever, I left a funeral feeling upbeat and hopeful.

As a side note – the pastor who spoke at the funeral had a voice that simply drew me in. She was kind and compassionate, and spoke in a way that wasn’t condescending or judgmental.  As the pastor was speaking, I leaned over to Susan and said: “If anyone could get me back to church, I think it might be her,”  And it’s been many years since I’ve spent any amount of time in a church.

Bill must have been smiling knowing that I had been still and was listening.

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I’ve spent some time thinking about the whole Kim Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis / Pope thing.  I wanted to just go off and vent, but…  I took the higher road and just let the whole thing play out.

Now, there is the: Well the Pope met with his gay friend thing, and the Pope never asked to meet with Mrs. Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis thing, and it’s an Archbishop who liked Pope Benedict and wanted Pope Francis to look bad thing.  It’s like a scene out of the halls of a Junior High School.

Blah, Blah, Blah…

It’s left me to wonder a few things.

  • When does religion trump friendship?

I ask because Pope Francis called to meet with his gay friend, and yet – in the religious world in which he is the head – he doesn’t welcome his friend, he doesn’t honor his friend, and he would never officiate at the marriage of his friend.  So – he’s his friend, but he has conditions on that friendship.

Is that really being a friend? The whole I love you, but I can’t support your wanting to marry the person you love, and you’re not really accepted in my church thing – Is that really a friendship based on love, respect, compassion? Is that really a “I’ll be there for you” sort of friendship?

  • When does religion make lying okay?

I ask this because Mrs. Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis has these lawyers who are affiliated with Liberty University Law School/Jerry Falwell Ministries.  They have outright lied, been caught in the lies, and yet continue to lie.

They have an agenda, an anti-gay agenda, and they stop at nothing to continue their quest against the homosexual. Sort of like a crusade.  What sort of religion is that?

I have many more questions, but mainly I wonder why these folks who profess to be Christians don’t follow their Jesus.  Not the dogma of their church or the beliefs of their hate-filled leaders – but their Jesus.

I mean, if you have to follow someone, why can’t you follow the Jesus who loved and respected everyone. The Jesus who walked among the dregs of society and washed their feet and blessed them and told his disciples:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I don’t see any conditions there, any judgments, any restrictions. And yes, I know there are other rules from Jesus, but really – isn’t this one the most important?

Why do people insist on making it so very complicated?

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For years now I’ve been writing about tolerance and kindness and how we just need to love one another. I’ve tried to stay focused on the end result which is love and justice and the freedom to simply be whoever we are and live a life of truth as we travel along our journey.

But – I have to tell you – I’m tired.

As tired as Franklin Graham is of … “the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats” – that’s how tired I am of his religious balderdash that’s being crammed down my throat. I’m tired of the Christian religion showing up in my government and my schools and anywhere else they deem it necessary to save humanity. It irritates me that some Christians believe that their religion should dictate the laws of the land that include millions of people who do not follow their religion.

I have nothing against religion – nothing at all. However – We live in a Country that was built on the Freedom of Religion. You know – a Country where we all have the choice to go to a church or synagogue or mosque or meeting hall or a building in a strip mall and worship as we choose.

We also have the choice to not go to any church and not read a Bible or a Koran or any book and simply live our lives doing the best we can trying desperately to do no harm to anyone or anything as we go along.

I’m a lesbian – and the Franklin Grahams, Jerry Farwell’s of this world have decided that my life of “moral decay” is not worthy of their sort of inclusion – unless, of course, I change my ways and do as they say…

Allegedly, Franklin’s Mother instilled in him that he follow the teachings of Jesus, but as far as I know – Jesus never spoke about homosexuals. So – does he follow the teachings of Jesus or does he follow the Bible? And if he follows the Bible – does he believe and follow every word or does he simply pick the parts that suit his gay-bashing agenda?

It’s this sort of evangelical, religious craziness that I have grown tired of. I’m a human being – not some sex-crazed, porn-watching, marriage bashing, end of the human race, lesbian.

My life with Susan has absolutely nothing to do with the high divorce rate in the United States. We had nothing to do with it – really.

My life with Susan has nothing to do earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes – and my favorite – September 11.  (Jerry Falwell pointed his finger and his Bible in my face and said the gays and lesbians ‘helped this happen.’)

I understand that people need religion. I understand the need to feel inclusion and acceptance and a purpose to this life that at times feels out-of-control. What I don’t understand is when a religion turns into bashing.

You don’t need a religion to love one another. You don’t need a religion to be kind and thoughtful and polite and gentle. But – if you have a religion and it doesn’t include any of the above – then what is the purpose of said religion?

Religion or no religion – go out into the world and be kind.  That’s it – Just. Be. Kind.

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I was roaming the aisles of our local Barnes and Noble yesterday afternoon and I came across this book by John Izzo titled: “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die.”

I pulled the book off the shelf and started leafing through it. Leafing led to reading snippets, and the reading of snippets led to sitting on a chair reading word for word taking notes.

Maybe because I’m going to be 63 this year and I know there is more of my life behind me than in front of me – I feel the need to live my life to the fullest and to be the best person I know how to be.

Here are the Five Secrets Mr. Izzo believes we must discover before we die.

  1. Be True To Yourself
  2. Leave No Regrets
  3. Become Love
  4. Live The Moment
  5. Give More Than You Take

I was only confused by #3 – Become Love.  I wasn’t sure what that meant – and then I read this:  “life is love, and if you miss love, you miss life.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

It’s pretty clear to me that the only thing that matters when you get to the end of your life is love.  From the things that I’ve read, and the things I’ve experienced, people who are dying don’t surround themselves with piles of cash and bank statements on their deathbed; they surround themselves with photos of loved ones, with photos of vacations that were filled with love and happiness; and the only thing they spoke of was the love they gave and the love they received throughout their lives.

They also speak of regrets and what-ifs and I should haves – which covers all of the things Mr. Izzo says we should discover before we die.

The Be True To Yourself is the hardest for me.  I try; but there are times when I find myself defending who I am and what I believe way more than I feel I should have to. I don’t understand why it matters so much to so many what I believe.

I don’t struggle with my beliefs – I struggle with those who insist I’m wrong. And it’s not so much a struggle as it is me not understanding why we just can’t let people be. So we believe different things – does this mean we are no longer human beings? Does it mean we no longer love our fellow man?  Does it mean we no longer treat each other with kindness and respect? Does this mean you are no longer my friend? I don’t understand believing in something that makes you separate from others, when the whole purpose of life is to love…  These – these are my struggles…

Read over the Five Secrets again and think of your life as you’re reading. How are you doing? Have you discovered the secrets?

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Today I was sitting in a Panera Bread eating my lunch.  This man came up to me and asked if he could sit with me and chat.  Not wanting to offend, I said yes.  Turns out he was a “Christian Minister” and what follows is part of the conversation…

  Minister: Are you a Christian?

  Me:  Well, what do you consider a Christian?

  Minister: You live your life in accordance with the Bible, you follow the teachings of Jesus, you go to church, you tithe to your church, you follow the bylaws of your church – and you spread the word of God everywhere you go.

  Me: Well, by those standards – no – I am not what you would consider   a Christian.

  Minister: Well then – what are you?

  Me:  I’m a human being.

  Minister: NO – what religion do you believe in?

  Me: I believe in human kindness. I believe we are all one people – all deserving of love, respect and kindness.

  Minister:  So – you have no faith?

  Me: I have an abundance of faith.

  Minister: But you don’t go to church, you follow no religion – how can you have any faith?

  Me: Some days it isn’t easy – but most days I believe in the goodness each of us have within ourselves to help others, to love others, to show respect and kindness toward one another.

  Minister: You’re a dreamer.

  Me:  As are you.

  Minister: If you don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, you are damned to walk the road that leads to hell.

  Me: I don’t believe in hell.

  Minister: Well, what do you believe in?

  Me: Love, Kindness, Goodness, Tolerance, Respect,

  Minister: You need Jesus in your life.

  Me: How do you know this? You don’t know me at all. You know nothing about my life, you know nothing of what I do in my life – And yet – you judge me. 

  Minister: I’m not judging – I’m telling you, you need Jesus.

  Me: And if I don’t have Jesus?

  Minister: You are on the road to hell – there is no saving your soul – there is no hope for your life…

  Me: I live a good life – I’m kind, I’m loving, I’m tolerant and respectful and yet – you’re telling me if I don’t have Jesus – nothing about my life matters?

  Minister: Jesus can save you.

  Me: I don’t need saving.

  Minister: You are on the road to hell.

  Me: Well – my road is paved with good intentions.

  Minister: You need Jesus

  Me: You need to leave now…

This – this is what makes me crazy.  This man had never seen me before – and God willing – will never see me again. And yet – he felt he had the absolute right to tell me my life didn’t matter unless I had Jesus making all my decisions.  This man was an ordained minister – supposedly a man of God – telling me my life didn’t matter. He certainly did nothing that would entice me to follow his religion. If anything – he convinced me I don’t need to go to church to be a good, loving, kind, caring person.

I have people of all religions and no religions in my life. I love them all, I respect them all, and I do not judge them. I respect that this is what they need in their life to get them from day to day, and I would never tell them their life didn’t matter – every life matters.

Apparently, I’m on the road to hell – I wonder where that intersects with the yellow-brick road?

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