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Posts Tagged ‘church’

I’ve had to remind myself this week that I still live in the United States of America. I had to check and make sure the Constitution was still in place, and, for good measure, I checked to make sure the Bill of Rights hadn’t been changed. My fear was that rich, white men were the only ones who were now entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

My main thoughts and most of my focus, much to my dismay, has been on religion.  The President was to sign an Executive Order that would grant exemptions for religious believers, schools and businesses, to federal laws they disagree with – mainly LGBT and abortion rights laws.  You know – an Executive Order that would allow people of faith to discriminate based on their beliefs – they called it – “Religious Liberties.” Thankfully, but much to the dismay of the evangelical folks, these exemptions were not included in this Executive Order.

This whole thing has made my head, and my heart hurt.

I do not understand anyone who goes to a church who tells you it’s okay to discriminate. Even if you believe in your heart you don’t agree with discrimination, my thinking is this; if you can sit in that pew and listen to the sermons, there is a part of you that does agree. And even if you say to yourself, I don’t agree with that – If you give them money, you’re supporting discrimination. I’m sorry, but that’s just how I feel.

I’m gay, so perhaps my take on anti-LGBT preaching’s may be different that a straight person, but they shouldn’t be.  I just know I could never support a church that tells me it’s okay to discriminate or that someone is less than simply because of who they are.

Personally, A church that tells anyone they are less than, is not a place I want to be. A church that tells anyone they must pray the gay away to get to heaven, is not a place I want to be. Any church that feeds the hungry, clothes the poor and does good works, and yet discriminates and pickets and marches against LGBT people – well, that’s not a place I want to be either. You either love all people as they are, or you don’t. You either believe God made us all in his image, or you don’t. Period.

This is the reason I no longer attend church. The picking and choosing of who we should vote for, who we should discriminate against, what passages of the Bible we should read…  It’s not for me.

We are all human beings. Every one of us. I want the same respect given the straight woman who lives her life just trying to help people. We’re no different in the eyes of God.

As a nation, we already have “Religious Liberty.”  The Founders made sure of that in The First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

What these evangelical people want, is the freedom to discriminate. Against women, against LGBT, against anything and anyone who doesn’t fit into their little religious box.  They not only want it, they want it to be the law of the land.

We are all searching for something. We’re all just trying to make our way in this world as best we can. Personally, I do what I know to be right and just. I write and march and protest for everyone to have an equal shot at this thing we call life. I believe that equal rights are human rights.

I don’t hang with people who are negative and have hate in their heart. I walk away from people who like to tell me I’m bound for hell because of who I am.

I try and spread kindness, and I do what I can to let other gay people know it’s okay to come out. It’s okay to be who you are. It’s okay.

And it is okay. No matter what your family, your church, even your government may throw at you…

It’s okay.

You’re okay.

Your life matters.

You matter.1-DSC_1766

 

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So – The Boy Scouts of America will continue to ban gay members.  Took them two years to review and make this decision.  I’m just wondering… were there any scouts on this panel that represented “a diversity of perspectives and opinions?”

Boy Scouts chief executive Bob Mazzuca explained in a statement: “The vast majority of parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting.”

I’m also wondering if the fact that organized religion is now sponsoring 62 percent of scout troops had any influence on this decision. The Mormon Church, which sponsors some 23 percent of Boy Scout troops, actually requires Boy Scout participation for members of its own youth ministry.

The Mormon Church pumped millions of dollars into the State of California to make sure the gay marriage law didn’t pass, so one would have to think that perhaps this “religion” may have had some pull in the discrimination of young gay men who want to join the Boy Scouts of America.

Isn’t religion supposed to be about love and forgiveness?

The word Forgive is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as follows:

  • to cease to blame or hold resentment against (someone or something)
  •  to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc.)
  •  (tr) to free or pardon (someone) from penalty
  •  (tr) to free from the obligation of (a debt, payment, etc.)

The thing is, I don’t blame these self-righteous church people for anything, and I’m not resentful; I just think they’re ignorant and homophobic and afraid of what they don’t know. Besides – how does one forgive stupid?

It’s the boys who will suffer – the boys who can’t become Boy Scouts who will feel less-than, discriminated against and worthless.  While the boys who can become Boy Scouts will feel superior, and know that it’s okay to bully and discriminate against the gay community.

The Boy Scouts of America are a privately owned organization. It’s obvious who owns them – and it’s obvious that their Bibles all preach discrimination and homophobia.  What a wonderful example of fine-Christian-Living this is, and how sad for the gay kids who already face hostility and violence every day in their own country.

How does one forgive Stupid?

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After spending a week in the place where I was born and raised I have discovered that you really can go home again, you just have to go on your own terms.

This time as I drove into town, I didn’t break out in a sweat and wonder what fresh hell awaited me by the time I got to the other end of town. This time I saw the town for what it is – a sweet little village in the middle of this beyond beautiful countryside.I drove down what used to be the main street, and I noticed how not much has really changed in the past 60 years. Some buildings have been torn down, but not really replaced with anything. New housing developments have sprung up here and there – but still – the essence of what the town used to be is still quite visible.

This is small-town America. You know what I’m talking about – The small-town America where I’m standing at the local sub shop and people honk their horns and make U-turns to come back and see me.

Small-town America where I walk into a restaurant and I know everyone is thinking; why, that looks like Barbie Hamp – you know – Dick and Beulah’s daughter… I wonder what she’s doing back here. They would never ask you who you are, they just stare at you.  That used to piss me off, now, in a sick sort of way, I find comfort in that.

This is also Republican, evangelical, FOX News, right-leaning newspaper small-town America. There are these signs everywhere with little Jesus themed sayings about how to have a nice day.  The town doesn’t have much business opportunities but, there is a smorgasbord of churches all within a 10 mile radius of this little town.  Methodist, Reformed, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness… Any religion you can think of, you can probably find it there. I don’t understand it – but, if that’s how they have to get through the day, I say; go for it. I’ll just continue to ask the Universe to give them compassion to go along with their religious views.

This is the first time I went back to my home town and wasn’t uncomfortable or angry or anxious to leave. I used to blame my feelings on the town and its culture, and my family,  and the people who live there and yet I’ve discovered that it was really me – not them – that needed to accept me for who I am. Now that I’m comfortable with who I am, and now that I’m happy in my life, and now that I feel I have nothing I have to prove to anyone – going back to this place where I was born and raised is simply that – going back to this place where I was born and raised. I focus on the happy memories, I stay away from family and so-called friends who choose to berate and judge and I simply enjoy the beauty of it all.

I love the Oscar Wilde quote: “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.”  Thank goodness the wisdom finally caught up to my age…

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