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Posts Tagged ‘discrimination against gays and lesbians’

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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Since the Salvation Army is on every street corner and outside every store with their little red kettles trying to reach your heartstrings at this time of the year, I’m thinking perhaps this is the right time to fill you in on the do-gooders who aren’t really such good doers.

Let me state upfront that the Salvation Army has done good works – I don’t deny this – what I’m saying is this…  If you’re gay or you support gay rights – you should not put money in the little red kettles.

The Salvation Army has a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians here in the States and elsewhere in the world.  Yes, they do offer their services to all who are in need, however if you are a practicing homosexual (having sex) then you are ineligible for full membership in the Salvation Army. They also believe if you are a Christian and you are attracted to members of the same sex you should embrace celibacy as a way of life.   In other words – if you’re gay and having sex – you can’t work for them.

There are also documented cases of pure discrimination of gays and lesbians who went to the Salvation Army for help.  The gay couple was told that help would only come if they broke up and the lesbian couple and their children were told that they had two choices: One of the lesbian women could live on the street and the Salvation Army shelter would take the other lesbian and the children or… they could all sleep on the street.

The Salvation Army also gave money here in California to help Prop 8 halt the marriage rights of gays and lesbians.

Yes, I’m aware that The Salvation Army is a Christian organization whose roots are deep in the teachings of the Bible. And yes, I’m also aware that The Salvation Army is considered a “church” and thus entitled to all the tax-exempt and other misguided “gifts” our government deems to bestow upon them.  And yes, I do understand that they have every right to make their own rules and serve whomever they please. It doesn’t mean that I have to agree or that I can’t voice my total disgust with their system.

Maybe it’s just me – But I believe that an organization that labels itself a charity and collects money from anyone and everyone – should in turn give services to anyone and everyone. If I were to place money in one of those little red kettles would that bell-ringer ask me first is I was a member of the LGBTQ Community?  Would the money fly back out of the kettle because it was “unclean?”  Of course not – they take the money from everyone – but if my partner Susan and I needed their help – help would not be forthcoming without some sort of straight hoop for us to jump through.

So, just to be clear… LGBTQ money is perfectly fine to flow through the Salvation Army – but the LGBTQ Community is not worthy to partake in what help flows from our own contributions.  Does this make any sense to you – on any level?

Try and imagine how you would feel if you needed help and were turned away from a shelter simply because of who you are and who it is you fell in love with.  Charity is defined as something given to a person in need, there’s nothing in the definition about exceptions for the LGBTQ Community.  These exceptions belong entirely to The Salvation Army.

If you are considering where to give your money this year, I’m asking you to walk past the little red kettles, and please consider your local food bank, or Habitat for Humanity or any of the many different charities who offer help without any sort of prejudice.

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