Showing posts with label christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christian. Show all posts

Aug 27, 2013

To the Mother of the Girl I Love

As I mentioned last time I wrote, Katrina recently told her mom the news of us moving in together. Whenever I tell someone this they're always baffled that her mom didn't already know this. Katrina avoids telling her things when she knows the reaction will be unpleasant.

The other day I mailed Katrina's mom a birthday card (let's call her Mrs. K), and I told her some things I appreciate about who she is, and that I'm looking forward to spending more time with her and her family once I'm living in town. Both of those things are quite true.

However, there are a few more things I'd like to say to her that I did not include in her birthday card. So until the day comes that I can say these things, I thought I could at least post them here--so maybe if another mom of a daughter in a relationship with a woman stumbles upon this, it may help her deal with some feelings she's having that are less-than-thrilled.


Dear Mrs. K,

1. Your daughter being in a relationship with me does not mean she doesn't love you.
You implied to Katrina that if she "really loved you" she wouldn't be "doing this". That is the most hurtful thing you could say to K--she goes above and beyond to do things to make sure she shows you how much she loves you. Don't negate everything she's said and done because you're unhappy with this aspect of her life. I've rarely met anyone that loves her family as much as K loves hers.

2. Stop placing blame. 
You've blamed yourself, you've blamed the place where we went to school together, and you've most likely blamed me. I'm sure the list is longer than that. Katrina falling in love with me is not anyone's "fault". It was not "caused" by anything other than attraction and love--just like any relationship.

3. Come out of denial.
You seem constantly astonished that we are still together. It's been over five and a half years and we are getting a place together. It's time for you to stop acting like this is a phase in her life and wishing me away... I'm not going anywhere (except getting closer...).

4. Stop taking every opportunity to let her know you disapprove.
"I'm proud of you as my daughter EXCEPT for this." "Give this thing to Ruth, BUT that doesn't mean I approve of you two together." "Here is something for your house, BUT that doesn't mean I'm ok with it." You take the "love the sinner and hate the sin" approach very seriously, but you should never suffix your love for Katrina with hate for "this thing". This is hurting your cause more than helping... it pushes her away and makes her not want to tell you things.

5. I believe your intentions are good.
I believe that in your heart you believe you are doing something good for her by doing these things. I believe you love her with an unconditional, immeasurable love of a parent, and you believe that you are just trying to rescue her from the sin of homosexuality and separation from God. You think that I think you hate me, but I have never thought that. I know that you have a good heart and good intentions. I want to get to know you more and become closer.

6. Is it such a bad thing....really?
I'm not going to get into a theological debate with you about sin...etc. Maybe sometime. But if you just take a step back, and look at your daughter... is she happy with me? Am I good to her? Good for her? Do I encourage her to be her best self, believe in her, support her, challenge her and unconditionally love her? I hope you see that those are the things I strive for. I am committed to her, I will look after her, and I will love her with everything I have. Isn't that what a parent wants their child to find in a partner? I will always, always encourage her to spend time with you, give you the benefit of the doubt, and honor you and her father. It seems shallow to me that the only reason you don't want her to be with me is because I don't have male body parts. If she doesn't mind that... why should you?


Her disapproval doesn't change anything, obviously. But I know it does make Katrina sad to know her mom is so unhappy about it. I wish her mom could just... let it go and love her daughter completely as she is. Maybe we will get there. Maybe things will change...

Sometimes it's hard to picture.

I designed some moving announcements to send to our friends and family. However, we will not be sending one to K's parents, as she knows it will upset them to see it. I just wish she didn't have to edit her life with them and was able to include them in all of it... I wish they could just be happy she is happy.

front of card - I drew a little picture of the house

back of card - with our kitties!

Aug 8, 2013

Book Review: The Abstinence Teacher

Sometimes I pick up books because they have a character named Ruth. In the case of "The Abstinence Teacher" by Tom Perrotta, I'm glad I did.

Perrotta doesn't hide from the complexities and gray areas of human nature set in present-day America. Tim Mason is an ex-musician, recovering drug-and-alcohol addict, and divorcee who is struggling to reclaim his life and be a good father to his preteen daughter. He finds hope and community in Christianity, but it still leaves him with some unanswered questions.

Ruth Ramsey prides herself on living honestly and standing up for what she believes is right. One of the things she believes is right is giving teens a no-bullshit sex education so they can make good, informed decisions. Sexuality is an essential part of being human and there is nothing shameful about it. But that type of teaching style doesn't sit well with a group of evangelical Christian parents with influence at the school where she teaches. She is booted out and replaced by a perky blonde who can't say enough how much she loves being a virgin and teaches abstinence only education.

When Ruth's teenage daughter decides she's a Christian, Ruth is at a loss how to keep her own beliefs without infringing on her daughter's. She is unexpectedly drawn to Tim and he to her, in spite of their differences.

I really enjoyed this novel for it's realness. Nothing is polished up or tied with a bow. You aren't left with cut and dry answers, because real life is messy. Relationships are multi-layered. The book explores human sexuality and our needs, our desires. It delves into Christianity, and what religion can mean to different people. For some it is transformative and life-saving. For others it is confining and even harmful. It also tackles topics like homosexuality (Ruth's best friend in the book is a gay man) and loneliness.

This is my first Perrotta novel, and I liked his writing style. He brought elements in about each character slowly, introducing pieces and parts that gradually formed your picture of them and their past. I also liked that he didn't have a completely blatant agenda, like many authors do, but told the story from various viewpoints and let the reader draw their own conclusions. An interesting read with present-day relevance.

More summer reads coming to you soon. I've been driving a ton, so you know what that means: audio books (my favorite)!

Feb 12, 2013

Sullivan High School and the Traditional (no gays allowed!) Prom

This story has been blowing up a little around news sites, especially in the LGBT community.

You know what surprises me? When people are surprised by stuff like this. I wish I could say this mindset was surprising to me.

Each time I meet someone who is an LGBT ally, this huge wave of relief washes over me and I am pleasantly surprised. My upbringing, and the environment where I was raised trained me to assume that everyone was naturally against homosexuality. You are an outlier if you support it, especially if you're straight and you support gay people (what's wrong with you?? are you secretly gay???)

Thankfully that is shifting in our culture here in the U.S., but some places seem a little bit... stuck in their old ways.

Take Sullivan High School, for example, in Sullivan, Indiana.

A prime example of the true nature of "hoosier hospitality" (I'm beginning to think they're only hospitable to white, straight, christian folk?). A group of students, parents, teachers and local ministers have come together to propose a separate "traditional prom" for their students, one that specifically bans gay students from attending.

The group in Sullivan, IN, planning their "traditional" prom (source)

I'm not gonna beat this to a pulp, just a few observations:

1. This high school has only 600 students. Chances are... they don't have a huge gay population. My heart breaks for that small group of kids, already probably feeling like outcasts in a community like this, being all the more un-welcomed in their own school, at such a vulnerable stage in life.

2. Even if we could all give these gay kids a big hug and throw them the coolest prom ever, that's beside the point. Separate but equal is not equal. If it was equal, it wouldn't have been separated.

3. Oh Christians. A certain percentage of you are hearing this story and applauding the efforts of these people for "standing up for what's right". And the rest of you are shuddering with a "what NOW?" wishing that just for once Christianity was in the headlines for something that wasn't related to an act of bigotry, but perhaps an act of love. Unfortunately, these are the outspoken members of your faith, and these are the things they're saying to the world:

"We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don't think it's right nor should it be accepted," Fellow Student (Don't worry, you guys are doing a GREAT job at that)

"Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason," said Madley.
"'So the same goes for gays? Do you think they have a purpose in life?' No I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it. A gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God," said Medley.
Special Needs Teacher at the School (Good thing those kids have someone like this they can talk to)

"Christians have always been prepared for a fight. Jesus gave us armor for the front, not the back; we're not running anymore," said Bill Phegley with Carlisle Church.
Local Pastor (Spreading Christ's love and message one stab of the sword at a time)

You can read the local story/watch the news report here.

4. You know what's even more discouraging? The man that they interviewed as the "con" for having a separate prom banning gays, isn't even making an argument that it's "ok to be gay". His argument is, "we're all sinners! We need to love gays, even though they're making a mistake":

Local man Jim Davis says we've all why should gays be treated with less respect?
"Love them as a person. You don't have to love what they do, because the gays may not love all the mistakes you make," said Davis.
Local Guy (Maybe that's the closest thing they have to a gay-ally in Sullivan?)

Ok, I'm done. Just... ugh. This is getting old. The light at the end of the tunnel is that in a little over a month the U.S. Supreme Court could potentially help put an end to the acceptance of this type of discrimination in our society.

Does this kind of thing surprise you? Do you think it's ok for them to have a separate prom for straight kids only? Do you see this kind of thing in your day to day life? Will it always be like this?

Feb 6, 2013

She Keeps Me Warm

And I can't change.
Even if I tried.
Even if I wanted to.
And I can't change.
My love, my love, my love,
She keeps me warm.

Those are some of the lyrics from "Same Love", by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert. Music has a powerful way of reaching the soul that words by themselves can't do. This song is beautiful, but when combined with the video, it will bring tears to your eyes...

I love when people use their gifts to do something good in the world.
I'd recommend checking out all of the lyrics.

You know what struck me most? That thought in the lines that Mary Lambert sings over and over... "I can't change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to". 

I believe that I am "designed" to have a relationship with another woman. That is what is natural to me, as effortless to me as breathing air. And perhaps I could try to change, I could work against what I feel is me. I could work towards fitting in with the "norm". But I would never be able to essentially change myself. Even if I tried. Even if I wanted to. But I don't want to. And I shouldn't have to.

My love. She keeps me warm.

Nov 26, 2012

Book Review: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

This was a wonderful way to introduce myself to Jeanette Winterson. I think we will be quite close from now on. Her memoir, "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?" was captivating, honest, and hopeful. I was amazed by her level of self-consciousness. I found myself repeating the same line just to let it sink in further. She doesn't waste one word. I loved her wry humor, philosophical viewpoints on the smallest life moments and her gift of seeing past black and white to the humanity in us all.

It's so much more than the story of her life events. It's a beautiful interpretation of what it means to be alive, to be human, to be loved and to belong. You're going to want to buy a copy and underline something on nearly every page.

I listened to the book on CD this weekend while driving, and I found myself audibly responding constantly with "Yes!" and "mmmhm" and laughing and crying. (The audio version is magnificent, read by the author herself. But now I'm anxious to get a hard-copy, I wasn't kidding about the wanted to underline everything!)

This is Jeanette's story of finding herself and her place in the world. She was adopted at only a few weeks old, and was raised in northern England by a religious zealot mother. She spent her childhood being locked out of the house or in the coal pit, preached to about the end times or being told that she was "the wrong crib" (when she was "bad" her adopted mother would tell her she wished she had gotten a child from another crib). Her adopted father was an emasculated man, whose only role in Jeanette's life was to beat her when his wife bade him to.

It's not about her feeling sorry for herself. Rather, we watch as she slowly emerges into the woman she is, despite these surroundings. She finds herself in books, books, and more books. She has to hide them from her mother who won't allow her to read things other than the six household books (including the bible, of course), because she says about books, "you never know what's in it until it's too late".

She discovers her body and desire, her desire to love and be close to another woman. As you can imagine, that doesn't go over well with her mom. She is kicked out at age 16 when she tells her mother she is in love and she is happy. Her mother replies, "why be happy when you could be normal?"

I could go on and on about this one. I would really recommend it, to anyone. She is gay, but it's not a book about that. If you love literature, and the connection that creates beyond time, beyond gender or age or race or anything, then you will connect with this book.

She follows a painful quest later in life to find her birth mother, discover the truth about where she comes from, and learn what it really means to be wanted. The beauty of it all is, that she would never take any of it back.

Anyone a Winterson fan? Should I start with "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" next? Any other favorites? I am so excited to read more!

Aug 27, 2012

The Tragic, True Story of Miss Wilma

Once upon a time there was a girl named Wilma growing up in a small town in Ohio in the early 20th century. It was a tiny catholic town built around a very large church - dutifully constructed by early German immigrants to America.

Not 20 miles from Wilma's town, was another small town of German immigrants. Only one difference: this group was of a protestant faith, not catholic. For this reason, the two towns did their best not to mix - especially when it came to their children.

Wilma dreamed of growing up and getting married. She loved children. She loved making a home. She wanted these simple, beautiful things out of life. She wanted what her parents had.

And then, she met a boy. They met by chance, and it began to grow into something more. He noticed her, she noticed him, and the feelings grew until they were going steady and in love. She knew this was who she wanted to spend her life with. Only one thing was out of place - he was from the protestant town. It didn't matter to her, but it mattered to others.

When her parents found out the intentions of the young couple to marry, they absolutely forbade it. It was non-negotiable. Wilma was obedient to their wishes, broke off the relationship, and shattered her own heart.

She lived until she was 92 with that broken heart. Wilma never married, never had children, and never loved again.

Not her actual photo, but I thought she'd look like this. (source)

My grandma told me that story this weekend, she knew Wilma. Everyone felt sorry for poor Miss Wilma because they knew her sad story. Would Wilma's parents have still forbade their daughter to have that love and happiness, if they could have seen how her life would turn out? Would they have been able to see past the doctrinal differences of their religions in exchange for giving their daughter her dreams of companionship and a family?

This isn't a story about how everyone needs to find someone else to be happy and have a good life. That is not in the least my reason for telling you this - some people are happier on their own and that is wonderful for them. This is a story about the shortsightedness, stubbornness and selfishness of parents who refuse to place their child's happiness over their own agenda for their children.

Some might argue that the parents were protecting her in some way. Looking out for her best interest and doing what they thought was best. And maybe in their minds, they were. But at some point, as a parent, don't you need to humble yourself when you see your child's broken heart, and really question, what truly matters in this life? And if your answer isn't along the lines of "to love and be loved", and sounds more like "that everyone live according to my religion", then you've desperately missed the point of it all.

I had a strange and terrifying dream this weekend that reminded me of Wilma's story. In my dream, K was marrying a man, a gay man. They didn't love each other. They were both marrying the other simply to make their parents happy, and it was working. K's mother and all these people in our lives were ecstatic that K was marrying a man instead of me. "This is good! This is right, this is what God intended - a man and a woman."

I woke up nearly in convulsions and a cold sweat at the idea of K committing her life to someone other than me. I felt as though I had been yelling in my sleep, trying to stop this for happening. It took a minute or two, and then the huge wave of relief washed over me when I realized it was all a dream and K was still mine.

I don't think K is likely to marry a gay man anytime soon, and we chuckled a little together when I told her how the man in my dream looked like one of the flamboyant gay designers from Project Runway. But the sad part is, there are parts of that dream that felt a little too real - K's mom would be ecstatic if K found a man instead of me.

Aug 24, 2012

Do All of Your Friends Look Like You?

Is it important that our friends are like us? This is something I've given quite a bit of thought to. And I still wrestle with the answer.

A while back I was talking to my mom and happened to mention how I was sad I had no gay friends. (I have since then been able to get to know some gay people - YAY!) But her response at the time was, "do you need gay friends, does that matter?"

"Yes of course it matters! I need people who understand where I'm coming from!" was my adamant response.

Should we surround ourselves with only people who believe the same things we do? Who think the same way? Vote the same way? People who've had the same types of experiences?

Isn't that what keeps us in small worlds? With no one differing, no one questioning?

I think friendship is so interesting. Every friendship is built on different things. Maybe it's your "work friend". Or a friend that you do ________ activity with. Perhaps you have friends that you only can talk about one subject with, and that is the extent of your relationship.

Those are all fine, but the best friendships are built on nothing more than two people being 'thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."

The problem is, I built a lot of friendships in the past with my faith as the commonality. And now that my faith has evaporated and I'm no longer a fish in the water... it left some gaping holes in those relationships. But I still care about those people. I still love them for who they are, with or without their faith. I see them as the individuals they are, not as the beliefs they subscribe to.

If I am anything in this life, I am loyal.

A counselor once told me I should be prepared for those friendships to fade over time. That I couldn't maintain, long term, a relationship with someone who believes that an essential part of me is a "sin". Or at least, she said I shouldn't maintain that. It's not good--it's not healthy for me.

I shouldn't have to be defending myself all the time in a relationship, working to convince them I'm happy or feeling the weight of silent judgment. True friends are people you can be happy and yourself with. Who know exactly who you are and accept you as that. Who aren't waiting for you to change someday.

It's easy to tell someone to cut those ties. But is that really the best thing to do?

I guess the answer I usually settle back on is this: it's ok to keep those friends. But don't expect them to be your best friends. And make sure they're not you're only friends. Your closest friends should be people who love you unconditionally. End of story.

Everyone else, you can keep them around as long as it's not damaging the way you view yourself. Keep an eye on that: check back in with yourself every so often. "Are the friends in my life helping me love myself more, or less?" And if the answer is the latter, it may just be time to move on.

Are most of your friends similar to you? Do you think it's important to have friends who believe different/the same things as us? Do you have "deal-breakers" for your friendships? Have you ever ended a friendship because of differences?

Aug 1, 2012

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day

Yep. It's time to talk about it. I've been kind of avoiding this one, just because I'm a little overloaded by all the attention its been getting.

So, a little background first. I grew up in a very traditional, Baptist, Christian environment. And my mom would take us to Chick-fil-A as a treat (it's a little pricey when you're on one income and you have 4 kids). Anyway, we loved it (for the record, their chicken is damn good even though I wish I could say it wasn't) and we used to get our Focus on the Family - "Adventures in Odyssey" cassette tapes there. I knew it was a Christian business from the time I was a little kid and I was really proud of the fact they were closed Sundays. Christians love having a business that is distinctly theirs just like LGBT people love having businesses to call their own as well.

Well, fast-forward 15 years, obviously my beliefs have changed a lot. I'm not a Christian, I get annoyed when things are closed on Sunday, and I am in a relationship with a girl, who I would like to have the option and right to marry someday.

So, just to be clear, I am 100% in full support of gay marriage. Duh. That's a no-brainer for me. It is clearly, in my mind, the RIGHT thing to do.

But I do remember a time when I would have felt standing up for Chick-fil-A was clearly the RIGHT thing to do.

It is amazing to me how split-down-the-middle my facebook friends are.

On the one hand I have friends posting blogs and articles about how we should protest Chick-fil-A, we should teach them a lesson for being anti-gay, we should donate money to HRC and other organizations that are pro-gay (I would personally recommend donating to Heartstrong if you're interested in doing that!). They say anyone who eats there is a biggot and an ignorant, close-minded person.

The other half are the Christians from my past and present who are rallying behind a business they believe is taking a stand for what is RIGHT. Posting pictures of the crowds gathering outside Chick-fil-A today (for Chick-fil-A appreciation day). Praising the Lord through their status' of the support the company is gaining, and the "difference it's making" for traditional marriage and how Christians will be persecuted for following the Lord when the World says something different.


I can't lie, I do find those thoughts and actions of Christians EXTREMELY distasteful. Kind of makes me want to start un-friending some people.

But here's the point I'm trying to make:

These people in my life, these Christians, who are fighting against something that is so, so dear to my heart, they genuinely believe they are doing something good. They think they're helping me by not supporting my "gay agenda", they're helping me "find the Lord". In their hearts (most of them), they have good intentions. 

In the LGBT community, we too easily DEMONIZE these people, just as they demonize us as "the liberal pro-gay agenda destroying our country". It's this extremism, this polarization that is severely unproductive in moving people forward and bringing us together. 

Look, if you're a Christian, I don't think you're a bad person. I think you believe you're doing what's right and trying to do good for the world. At least, I hope that's what you're trying to do. I have seen things the way you see them.

And if you're gay, I GET it. You feel trodden-down and second-class. I know what that's like. I want the rights everyone has. I don't want someone else's religion trumping my rights as a US citizen. I see things the way you do. 

All of the facebook status' (for BOTH sides) in the world aren't going to change the other sides' mind. We both believe we're RIGHT. We're both proud of what we believe. I don't have the perfect solution, but here are my final thoughts on this and then I'll drop it:

Christians: we're just people like you with beliefs and feelings and morals. Try not to demonize us just because we don't have your beliefs. Standing for what you believe is admirable (for both of us!). We're not "attacking" Chick-fil-A because your president is against gay marriage. We're upset because the Chick-fil-A supports groups like Family Research Council and Exodus Ministries. Do some research and find out what those companies are about and see if that still aligns with your personal beliefs. You have every right to support this business with your money.

Gay Community & Allies: I know it's difficult to relate to Christians sometimes, and it's easy to judge them in a situation like this. But try to keep in mind, they aren't doing this out of malicious intent, in their hearts, they believe they are doing good for the world. Either way, you won't change their minds by attacking them, you will probably just make them pursue this harder. So, I would recommend treating them with dignity and respect, as fellow human beings, and as you would like to be treated. The best way to help them have empathy for our cause is for them to realize we are everyday people who just want to love and be loved, as they do. This country is moving in the direction of gay rights despite their best efforts, so go easy on them, they're just going to take time to adjust to this as the new normal. We will all get there eventually and this will be a sad story for your grandchildren! In the meantime, check out the HRC Buyer's Guide, and maybe instead of protesting Chick-fil-A, put some energy into supporting business that supports equality. Money talks!

Are you gay? Are you Christian? Both? Neither? What do you think of all this? 

Sorry, I couldn't resist. This is Bessy the lesbian cow. She used to live at Chick-fil-A.

Jul 16, 2012

What Changed?

A reader asked me a question the other day, and since this isn't the first time I've gotten some variation of this, I figured it was about time to answer. *Just a warning: this is long! If you are not really interested in Christianity, you might want to just skip this post.*

"What made your beliefs about God, the afterlife...etc. change along the way?"

I can't say that I have a simple answer. I had to go back in some journals and try to get in the mindset of Ruth in the beginning of 2008. (I can't believe it's been that long!) A lot happened kind of at once and created something of the perfect storm for me:
  • I became disillusioned with Christianity. Disappointed by the people who represented it. The hypocrisy. The elitism. Granted, there were exceptions to this, but mostly the environment of my Christian college felt suffocating. I didn't like being part of it anymore.
  • I realized I was in love with my best friend, K. We both realized something intense and deep was between us exactly 30 days before I left for a semester in Australia.
  • I went to Australia, and for the first time in my life was able to truly gain an outside perspective of America and American Christianity. What a huge breath of fresh air!
  • Over the four years prior to that, each of my three siblings, one by one, had come forward and professed that they were no longer Christians. (BIG BIG deal for me and my parents, I was shaken to the core each time).
  • I had never truly questioned anything I'd been taught in 21 years. Talk about blind faith! Why did God give me a brain if I wasn't supposed to use it?
  • I made THE list, a compilation of 31 questions. It didn't come to me all at once, they were questions that had gathered over the years in corners of my mind. But I sat down and assembled them: "31 reasons I'm not a Christian anymore". (They included a variety of issues such as sin nature, eternity, free will, God being male, God's ineffectiveness to reach people, God' will...etc.)
  • "What I believe is not what I say I believe. What I believe is what I do." - a quote from Blue Like Jazz (the Christian fad book at the time) struck a chord with me. I could still "say" all the right Christian things, but I realized I did not genuinely believe them to be true. 
  • I stopped believing that God was good somewhere in all of that. I no longer trusted him.
My roommate and I having "the conversation" about how I'm not a Christian anymore...
in the Australian outback. Not sure why someone took a picture.

So all that gives you a better idea at least. I've gotten some other questions too like "is your sexuality the reason you're not a Christian anymore?" and "if you believed God accepted gays, would you be a Christian?"

No and no.

Here's where you're really going to think I'm screwed up in the head. That's ok though. The thing is, I do believe that if there really is a God, absolutely, 100% God loves and accepts gay people as they are. (Check out my book reviews for good resources on this.) There is no possible logical explanation that he/she would create something only to reject it as it is. So in other words... that is not a road block for me. There are plenty of gay christians who have no qualms about being both of those things. I think that is completely possible. 

So then... why am I not a Christian anymore?

I'm just not. I am happy without that. In fact, happier without that. And I don't think I could just crack open my Bible all the sudden and say "I believe all of this!" It'd be fake and forced. I don't believe all of it, or even most of it, in my heart or mind. I don't feel the need to. I don't feel an emptiness. I feel love and happiness and peace without subscribing myself to a certain belief system. When I first "gave it up" I always figured it was only a matter of time before I would be a Christian again. But I don't think that anymore.

The strange place I'm in is: I don't think you're wrong if you believe that. I don't know anything. So I have no right to tell anyone else they're right or wrong - I'm not superior to you in any way. I don't know if everyone's right, or no one's right, or if it doesn't even matter. I'm happy for you if your beliefs make you happy. And I think everyone deserves respect.

I know how that all sounds from the Christian viewpoint. I sat through my Contemporary Christian Belief class and I know all of the apologetics arguments. I'm sure some would say I'm believing lies or I've hardened my heart, or whatever, and they're entitled to say what they like. But I love truth, I seek truth, and I genuinely don't believe what I "knew" for the first 21 years of my life was truth. 

I don't know where exactly I'll end up with all of this in my life, but this is where I'm at now. :-)

Thank you for your questions, I'll write something happier and lighter soon!

Mar 29, 2012

Book Review: Fancy Pants

Every so often, I set aside my endless reading lists and just browse at the library for something new and different. This book caught my eye with the playful cover and title, and I was intrigued to flip to the back cover and learn more.

Fancy Pants, by Cathy Marie Hake, is the story of Sydney Hathwell, a young girl from Britain who is sent to America, after her parents pass away, to meet a man she's been arranged to marry. She finds him very distasteful and schemes up a plan to escape and meet her long lost uncle living in Texas.

The plan involves disguising herself as a boy because her uncle assumed she was a boy and told her he had no need for women on his ranch, but he could use a male hand.

In some ways, this tale reminds me of a classic Shakespeare comedy. A whole cast of fun characters. A tricky ruse involving cross-dressing, what else? A twist. A surprise love story and everything working out for the best in the end. The distinct good vs. bad characters.

The female lead is whip smart and full of tenaciousness and is fun to follow along on the adventure.

It inevitably has some interesting commentary on the roles of male and female, stereotypes, limits...etc. as Sydney challenges all of the cultural norms for her gender. Especially because it's all set back in 1890 and she's accustomed to civilized British society, not the new American frontier of the Wild West.

Overall, an entertaining, heartwarming story with a happy ending. I'd recommend it!

There was only one slight drawback. About 3/4 into the book, all of the sudden I noticed the author start to very blatantly insert the Gospel. It was so strange and out of place with the rest of the story I did a double take and did a little research on Hake. Sure enough, she's a Christian novelist. There's nothing wrong with being a Christian novelist, but I found it a little tacky to just all of the sudden start working in scriptures into your character's mouths, such as how to be saved, and how we're all sinners. Honestly, it was more odd than anything else. A little disappointing that a writer can't just be a Christian, and write fun books without trying to covertly "save people" while they're enjoying an otherwise perfectly good story. You know what I mean?

Suddenly Sydney needed to become a Christian and pray the prayer of salvation before the book could be over and have a happy ending, even though nothing in her character development up to that point made me feel like she would feel something was lacking, or that she was a sinner, or whatever.

It makes me wonder if Hake works that into every single one of her books...

Oh well, it still didn't ruin it for me.

Has anyone else ever suddenly found preaching in the middle of a story? It's awkward. But I suppose every author has a right to tell whatever story they want to tell!

Mar 3, 2012

With Liberty and Justice...for Some of Us

"I want to know what it's be normal, to be accepted..." starts this video recently posted online and being passed around social media sites. It's a gay rights video that's part of a documentary project by this guy about GLBT people being treated like second class citizens. It's well done and very moving, kind of a rhythmic poetry, portraits of gay citizens who are longing to be treated as equals in our society.

I got excited when I saw a friend I went to Christian College with had posted it on his wall. "Signs of the world changing for the better!" I thought....and then I saw his comment about it and my heart sank. I was once again filled with anger, sadness and somewhat pity for him & his ignorance.

"America we are in uncharted territory. Where what is darkness is considered right. and 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4 if you don't want it to."

Just a little background first, this kid is about my age. We grew up in not so far away places in Indiana. And he recently got engaged. He posted all about it and is planning for their perfect life as husband and wife. I was genuinely happy for him when I saw it, "liking" things on facebook and sending congratulations when I saw their cute engagement video. I have no problem being happy for people who have found love and are pursuing their happiness.Why can't they do the same for me?

Let's break this one down for truth content:

"America we are in uncharted territory"
FALSE: We have, in fact, charted plenty of territory like this from the beginning of America's founding. America has a bad habit (as most groups of humans do) of stepping on the minority groups and trying to keep them down. What's worse, is that we habitually use our "faith" as justification for treating people like second class citizens. Should women vote? No! The Bible says they should not speak out, must obey her husband...etc.  Should slaves be freed? No! The Bible condones having slavery, as long as you treat them right you are allowed to own people.  Yes, we've moved past this nonsense. But not when it comes to gay people. At least gay people can vote, they just can't get married and be recognized by the federal government, they don't have protection from all discrimination under the law.

"Where what is darkness is considered right."
FALSE: What is darkness is considered darkness. And what is right is considered darkness, according to you. Darkness to me, and other compassionate, logical humans, would be something that is harming people. Like the child armies in the Sudan. Like the slaughtering of innocent people in Rwanda. Darkness is children (or anyone) being kidnapped and raped, or beaten. Darkness is bullying and discrimination against one another. What is right in the world: love, compassion, empathy, truth. A man loving another man, or a woman loving a woman... how does that fit in with darkness? It doesn't.

"and 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4 if you don't want it to"
TRUE: You're a little confused on this one. I actually do want people to recognize that 2 + 2 = 4. You are the one who doesn't seem to grasp this concept. Please see the following illustration for clarification.

I love math! Let's do a few more just for fun. 2 (you+your girl) = 2 (me+my girl). Love = Love. Glad we cleared that up, I'd hate for you to think I'm that bad at math. We all agree! 2+2 DOES equal 4. Now let's do something about it!


Do you realize what damage a little comment like that can do to someone? Of course you don't. You just fling stuff like that out there feeling good about yourself for being so bold and Christian and "standing up for your beliefs". You feel superior, being able to condemn that "darkness", while simultaneous enjoying and celebrating the love you've found. You are God's appointed messenger to the world, bearing witness for Christ through your righteous facebook posts. Good thing God has people like you, how else would he consistently make sure all those gay people know they're worthless?

Would it kill you to take a step back, realize you don't understand what it's like to be gay, realize you're not God and he didn't carve this one in stone for you - so maybe there's a chance you don't know exactly how he feels about it? And maybe, just maybe, try to be happy for someone else who's relationship doesn't look exactly like your own?

And next time you feel the need to post something on facebook to bear witness for Christ, try something along the lines of "love your neighbor as yourself" -  Jesus' words, and what he called the 2nd greatest commandment? Something that doesn't harm others, but builds them up.

America is headed into that territory. And I am confident justice will prevail. And even if you stay twisted up in your small, ignorant beliefs your whole life, the rest of the world will not. We are a country founded on the principals of freedom for its citizens, "with liberty and justice for all". And our laws cannot be based on the beliefs of a certain religious group when that takes away the liberty and justice of some.

Jan 22, 2012

Is This Your Opinion?

I recently posted my blog on a primarily Christian website. No matter what happens in my life, or how I change and grow, I think deep down I will still always think of Christians as "my people" because I grew up identifying with solely them.

I have a passion for the reconciliation of GLBT people and Christians. And I hope that in some way my blog can help build that bridge between them.

But when I receive comments like this, I see that we still have a long way to go...

Is that your opinion?

Everyone is entitled to believe what they like to believe. But I would personally like to stick to believing things...that are true. Let's examine this person's statement for it's truth content:

1.  "Not to step on toes or "judge" (which the Bible TELLS us to do according to His word).

50% true. The Bible does tell us to judge, and it tells us not to judge. After doing some preliminary research, I can see a defense for both sides of this argument according to the bible. Paul does write a bit to the churches about discerning the "righteous from the wicked". But likewise, the gospels (and Jesus) seem to warn more against judging. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2) Which one is the correct approach? When in doubt, I would think it makes most sense to follow, not the words necessarily, but the actions of Jesus himself. After all, Christians by definition are called to be "little Christs". When Jesus found himself in the presence of people condemned by society as "sinners", did he act in judgment or love towards them?

2.   "but if you read any of the Bible, you will see that homosexuality is an abhorance to God."

0.02% true. If you read any of the Bible? There are over 31,000 verses in the Bible, and not more than 7 of those verses refer to homosexuality. (Whether or not the "homosexuality" in these verses is the same as what we consider "being gay" in this current day and age is a whole other issue that I'm not going to get into now). If you do that math, that would be approximately 0.02% of the Bible is about homosexuality. So I'd have to say this statement is 99.98% false.

3.  "Don't take my word for it. Read the Bible"

Yes, thanks for that. Do not worry about me just taking your word for it.

Why do you think this is such a hot-button topic for a lot of Christians? What is it about this issue that makes people snarl and rage with indignation, and fling words like "ABHORANCE" at you? There are sins in the Bible mentioned many, many more times than "homosexuality". Pride, anyone? Who was Jesus always angry with, the "sinners" of society - or the Pharisees who were judging the sinners and condemning people with their legalistic superiority?

Who you love is part of who you are. You say God abhors that I love who I love. So God abhors me. Should I take your word for it? How sure are you on this - that this is what God wants? Sure enough to cost a person's life? Would you bet your life on it?

Jan 11, 2012

The Beginning of Everything

Today is my four year anniversary with K. I wish today, especially, I was with her. Some days I just need her. I've been really weighed down thinking about some of the... crappier aspects of the world we live in. Because of all the hype with the Republican primaries I feel like all the issues with gay rights have been really stirred up lately. Not that that's bad, it's good people are talking about stuff. It's just hard to hear the horrible things people really believe about gay people.
There's so much hate.

I just have to block all that out for today and think about what really matters. What matters is I love this girl, and she loves me. And our four years together have not been easy, but they've been well worth the fight. And I believe we have so much to look forward to.

“I love her and that’s the beginning of everything.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love the song "Songbird", by Fleetwood Mac. (I actually know it because of Glee... Santana sang it to Brittany and I cried.) Nothing I could write today could compare with these words.

For you, there'll be no more crying,
For you, the sun will be shining,
And I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right

To you, I'll give the world
to you, I'll never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.

And the songbirds are singing,
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before.

And I wish you all the love in the world,
But most of all, I wish it from myself.

And the songbirds keep singing,
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before, like never before.
by Christine McVie

I finished some new artwork today for my apartment, to encourage myself that "it's alright, I know it's right". 

Dec 5, 2011

For the Love of God, Read This Book

I just finished reading John Shore's "Unfair: Why the 'Christian' View of Gays Doesn't Work".

I'm not trying to exaggerate, but anyone who reads this book and still has a hard heart towards gay people defended by a christian worldview, I would seriously question the existence of their soul, conscience, heart or ability to reason.

How's that for an introduction to a book?

Let me just start by saying why this book matters to me.You might think, Ruth, you're not a Christian, why do you give a rat's ass what Christians say about gay people? Well, I'll tell you.

-This book matters to me because my father looked me in the eyes and told me that the type of relationship I'm in, that I seek and am drawn to, and that makes me happy is "inferior, immoral, and unnatural".

-This book matters to me because my Love is tormented with the thought of having to choose between God and being with me. She has to choose between love and love. If that's not fucked up, I don't know what is.

-This book matters to me because I know that being with her is not a sin. I know this instinctively, with everything that I am. I know that this is a good and beautiful and truthful part of being a human, and that what I have with her is not wrong. But when I tell someone that, someone in my life who is a Christian, they look at me with pity, "poor little Ruthie, trying to justify her sin". It's condescending, it's disrespectful, and it's unjust, that I shouldn't be treated that way by Christians in my life.

-This book matters to me because my best friend is going to bring a little baby into the world next year, and I don't want him to be taught these lies, develop these prejudices, and look down on people who are gay, including me. Or worse yet, if he turns out to be gay and is made to believe he's inferior and not worthy of love. I want him to live in a world, and know a Church, that LOVES above all else.

-This book matters to me because maybe I have stepped away from that "faith" I knew when I was younger, but that doesn't mean I will never find peace and love with "God", whoever or whatever that is. But I can never reconcile with a creator than rejects me, his creation, as I am.

-This book matters to me because of the hurting community of gay people in this world. This isn't about a political movement. It's about a minority group of human beings who have been stomped on, locked away, isolated, taught to despise themselves, shunned, and told they're not worth loving--all in the name of God. And there is something sickeningly screwed up with that.

So it is time to set the record straight.

-It's time for Christians* to stop unreasonably fighting for the right to condemn gay people (get off your high and mighty heterosexual horse).

-It's time for them to stop clinging, white-knuckled, to a couple piddly verses taken out of context just to prove a point (and an incorrect point at that).

-It's time for them to stop swaggering around in their pharisee get-up, shut up, listen to the words of Jesus, and, for the Love of God,  love their neighbors.

(*um...if you are a Christian who has already come to understand that God loves gay people, and he created them as they are, and that everyone is welcome in the body of Christ....just ignore all this...)

Geese-o-peese, this really gets me worked up. Deep breath. Ok, moving on to the book.

You need to read it for yourself, honestly. My little review of it isn't going to make much of an impact compared to reading the whole thing.  Let me just tell you what it's all about.

Shore presents a collection of letters that he's received over the years from GLBT individuals who have had a first hand experience of the Church's discrimination against gay people (he writes a blog, so he gets a lot of mail/email from readers), interspersed with essays written by himself, all ultimately demonstrating "Why the 'Christian' View of Gays Doesn't Work". The last chapter is an essay written by Shore and his wife entitled Taking God at his Word: The Bible and Homosexuality, which addresses the 7 specific verses in the Bible that appear to refer to homosexuality.

The letters themselves are what I found most powerful about this book. Personal accounts of people who have lost relationships, livelihood, and love because of the Church's insistence on defending the lie that God does not accept gay people as they are. Some of them lost hope and lost their faith. But a very good many of them learned to separate the Church (humans) from God, and found that God loved them and wanted to have a relationship with them. It is really beautiful, and this testament supports the overwhelming truth of this book. God loves everyone, he created everyone to be exactly who they are, and he intended gay people to belong in his Church body.

Shore's essays are sharp and clairvoyant. He has a gift for seeing the true nature of things, and expressing it concisely with words. He clears the cloudiness in our minds of why this issue makes people uncomfortable, why they fight it so strongly, why this topic, hardly discussed in the Bible, is blown SO COMPLETELY out of proportion as to destroy people's lives. He exposes the blatant hypocrisy in the church on this issue, that should leave just about anyone who identifies as Christian, not just a little embarrassed. He is confident that things are changing, and that it is only a matter of time before the church hardly remembers a time when it excluded gay people.

John Shore is a straight, married man. He didn't become a Christian until he was 38 years old, but he is very earnest about his faith, and I think that's why this is so important to him. He came into the church later in life and was horrified to see that this was going on in communities of believers. People who grow up in the church I think become immune the appalling attitudes of the church towards GLBT people.

Just one more thing. If you are a Christian, and you're thinking, "I'm not one of those people picketing 'God Hates Fags' signs, I don't hate gay people, I'm really nice to them. They're just sinners like the rest of us...they're just choosing to live in sin and need to be changed by God...".  YOU are the one this book is written for. Yes, You. Not Westboro Baptist church, not the Bible Belt pulpit slapping preacher, You. You think you have the PC Christian answer, but you are doing worse damage to your gay brothers and sisters than you can possibly know.

Please, for the Love of God, read this book.

Nov 22, 2011

Did God Create Us to Hate Us?

Random train of thoughts. I'm cleaning getting ready for Thanksgiving, and listening to Pandora Christmas music (I told you, I can't stop!) and Blaine & Kurt's duet from Glee comes on, the one where they sang Baby It's Cold Outside. 

For three seasons now, America has followed Kurt's story: being bullied at school, being different, coming out to his dad, his first kiss, being crowned prom queen (as a cruel joke), and finally accepting himself and embracing who he is. His first relationship, falling in love, losing his virginity. I know this is a fictional character. I know this is a TV show. But the best stories are based on truth, and there is truth in this story.

And it is this truth, that makes me start tearing up when I hear him and Blaine singing together.

I don't read what "reviewers" are saying about Glee. I'm sure there are some conservative Christians out there condemning the show as.... well... the work of the devil. But for all the dumb high school drama, I believe good has come from it. Viewers are relating to Kurt, they are understanding that some people are gay. Some people are inherently different.... And that's ok.

This all reminded me of a joke I heard on the Colbert Report. I know Colbert was just messing around and being a punk, like he is apt to do, but he said something along the lines of "God just likes to create some people just so he can hate them, like gay people."

All of his snark and sarcasm aside, this might have a valid thought.

Why would God create something he supposedly hates*? Some humans are different from the "norm". If God created everything purposefully, then he created them to be different. Why would God make us all so different if he wanted us to be the same? Why would God create a human being he knew he would be destined to hate? This doesn't jive with an image of a loving God.

Maybe the word hate is going too far for some people. How about: why would God create a being that he would reject when that being was being fully him/herself?

I don't have the answers, but something in me says "no, absolutely not. If God is real, and he/she created me, then God must be ok with who I am."

*according to some lines of conservative Christian thought
**pretty sure that's from the movie "Saved"

Oct 27, 2011

Aren't We All A Little Weird?

Odd one out. (source)
I spend more time with this group of people than my family, my friends, and my girlfriend combined any given week. We're together 40 hours a week, on the good days, the bad days, and every ordinary work day in between. Co-workers will either make or break your job. If you can't stand them, you can bet you won't fight to keep that position long.

The truth is, I love these people. I've gotten to know them over the 2 years or so I've been at my job, and I really care about them. I think they care about me too. Some people are good at detaching their emotions or personal life from work, but I am not. People are people, even if you are all being paid to be there together.

When I first started working there, I didn't even consider telling anyone about K. In fact, I wasn't even "out" to my parents at that point. So I sure as hell wasn't going to tell these strangers. But they aren't strangers anymore, they're my friends. And it's starting to weigh on me - this big secret part of my life that I can't talk about. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to tell them. The more it will seem like I was hiding this huge thing. By not telling people, I think it seems like I'm ashamed. I'm not ashamed, I just fear the unknown consequences of coming out at work.

I think if someone asked outright, I would tell them. I did with one co-worker, she's the only one that knows. But the rest of them, including my boss, have no clue. Truly, no clue whatsoever.

We all went out after work for someone's birthday, and we're talking and for some reason "homosexuals" come up in conversation and they were talking about this gay bar in town. They didn't say really anything bad, but they were just talking about "those people" like they were weird or diseased. Those outsiders. And I feel this pang, my face is warm, and I think "they're talking about me...they just don't know it".

Later on in the conversation one co-worker was talking about how she has this group of Christian friends. She was saying how they're all spiritual and good and never cussing. How they're always praying with her, and how her boyfriend can't stand to be around them. She says "they're kind of weird, a little strange".  And I couldn't help but think: at another time in my life, I would have been sitting at that table thinking "they're talking about me...they just don't know it."

I know a lot of people think Christians and homosexuals are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  But the truth is, we're just all living our lives, being ourselves and believing what we genuinely believe

Who are we unconsciously making feel like "an outsider" in our workplaces, churches and among friends? I think everyone at one point or another feels like someone on the outside. Maybe we are all just a little "weird". What's so bad about that anyway?

Oct 19, 2011

Book Review: When She Woke

Just finished a new and intriguing book by Hillary Jordan, "When She Woke". It's the story of a girl named Hannah Payne, a futuristic reworking of the Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne).

In the future, the U.S. has implemented a new form of punishment for criminals: chroming. They literally inject a virus into you that changes the color of your skin. Depending on your crime, you get a specific color. Hannah gets a red injection after having an abortion. This branding is almost worse than prison, because although you are in society, you are shunned.

In this future U.S., religion has been heavily integrated into the government. The President even has a Minister of Faith on his cabinet. Jordan gives you a chilling scenario of what that integration of church and state would be like for our country.

This is the story of Hannah's awakening. She is the good girl everyone wants her to be. Wearing her skirts, volunteering at church, being the perfect Christian girl. But then she falls in love with a man...a married man. He is a public figure, a godly leader. She knows that aborting their child is the only hope of not destroying his life. Abortion is illegal, and she is discovered, tried, and sentenced with red chroming, for murder.

This just marks the beginning of Hannah questioning everything she's been taught, re-examining who God is, opening her mind, and finding herself. A few pages in and you'll have trouble putting it down.

Obviously lots of pertinent subject matter here: Christianity, church & state, criminal justice, feminism, abortion. And - although I was not expecting it - lesbians! Always happy when they make an appearance.

I'm excited to see what else this author comes out with, this is only her second novel.

Oct 5, 2011

Then and Now

Last night I watched "The Children's Hour". This is a movie from 1961, starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine (who is amazing!). Here is the summary from the netfilx envelope:

In this daring drama, Karen (Audrey Hepburn) and Martha (Shirley MacLaine) are the headmistresses of an exclusive school for girls. When they discipline a malicious little girl, the vindictive child twists an overheard comment into slander and accuses her teachers of being lesbians. Soon the scandalous gossip engulfs the schools community, with repercussions that are swift, crushing...and tragic.

It will break your heart. I'm going to spoil some things here, so skip a few paragraphs if you're going to see it. But after they are accused of this (it is actually a false accusation), Karen and Martha try to fight it. But it's all hearsay, and they have no proof. The little girl gets other girls to lie about it too. Anyway, in the midst of all the battling it, Martha breaks down when she realizes it's true. She realizes she is in love with Karen. She confesses it to Karen, who doesn't really know what to say. This scene is so powerful, you can just feel the shame radiating from her, the self-hatred.

"It's funny. It's all mixed up. There's something in you, and you don't know anything about it because you don't know it's there. And then suddenly, one night a little girl gets bored and tells a lie, and there, for the first time, you see it."  I feel that way sometimes, not the about the demon child lying. But that there's always been something in me but I didn't know anything about it. Luckily for me I "saw it" because I kissed my best friend, not because I was "outed" to the world and shunned by my community.

This film came out 50 years ago, at a time when they wouldn't even explicitly say "lesbians" or "gay" in the movie. It was all subtle and implied. People did not talk about this...ever. I was shocked to even discover that this film existed. People were shunned. People were ashamed. In the end, a horrified Martha, realizing "what she is", hangs herself.

As I was mulling all this over, I was considering how this has changed between then and now. Things are better. It's more explicitly mentioned now, books, movies, people speaking out. Pride. Celebrities owning their orientation. BUT, even with all of this, there is still a 14 year old boy being shunned and ashamed in his community, and committing suicide. Just two weeks ago, this kid, Jamey, killed himself after being bullied at school relentlessly for being gay.

This is his own "it get's better video" he posted earlier this year.

Even as I was watching that again tonight, I saw people were still posting hateful comments towards him on his video. Several people (if you can call them that) had posted that he's in hell now.

"Being a fag is the against the scriptures. God calls them abominations and worthy of death. In Romans 1, He says that they have vile affections, and only serve their lusts. The fags also bully Christians. My church members have been chased by fags and beaten up by them, just because we tell them to stop sinning."

In another 50 years, I hope we look back on this all as a nightmare, and no one is committing suicide for being who they are, and loving who they love.

Sep 29, 2011

An Impasse

I like to think that everyone has the potential to grow. To expand their mind. To seek truth. To find peace and happiness and accept people for who they are, especially themselves.

But what if I'm wrong--what if some people can't change? Or worse, they can change, but they won't.

You shall not discover truth by being blinded by faith.

I read that in Malinda Lo's "Ash" a few years back, and it sank right in. I was always taught, growing up, that everyone else out there, all those unbelievers were blind, lost. Wandering souls in darkness.

But the truth, my reality is, I feel like I was blind my whole life, until I became an "unbeliever". It wasn't until I stepped outside of my blind faith, I found myself blinking in the light, freer than I've ever been. And a sense of peace filled my heart.

What if someone we love never accepts who we are...and they think that by not accepting me they are loving me. What if they are blind to it. What if they never change.

I don't know what that relationship does to you after time. Do you just drift this impasse? Does one of you break down and give in? Which will destroy you: letting go of your faith, which you life is built on, or holding onto it? I don't expect everyone to have the same experience with me, and I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

Blind faith by Forrest King

Sep 27, 2011

Pro-Family, Anti-Logic Citizens

Don't forget your pearl necklace ladies!
I recently started following this great blog, def shepherd, "observations from the intersection of religion, science, politics, and culture". Today he posted this report that just came out from the North Carolina Policy Council. I know this is not my state. But it's my country. And there are still organizations like this in every state.

Reading something like this brings quite a range of emotions. Disbelief that they are being serious. Extreme sadness that this is such a reality for so many people. Entertainment at the ridiculousness. Rage and indignation.  I know, I know. I shouldn't let it get to me.

I was pretty amused, as a designer, at the cover. It's like a stock photo of some glittery mardi gras masks. It earned a chuckle. All those "homosexual activists" running around in their bedazzled masks, promoting "the deception".

I don't know whether to laugh, scream, or cry.

I'm reading along through the pages of (poorly designed) bullshit, and I come across this quote and I am stunned.

"The redefinition of marriage will also strip all citizens of their rights to religious freedom and free speech—resulting in the silencing of anyone who dares to publicly express traditional values about sexuality, gender, and the family."


Allowing gay couples to marry each other will strip ALL citizens of their religious freedom and free speech.

That is literally what they said.

Where, oh where, is the logic behind this? And who is actually buying this? If our country's laws don't comply with your personal religious beliefs and scriptures, then that means you are not free to practice or religion or speak freely about it? No one is taking away your beliefs. No one is taking away your rights. No one is taking away your freedom to publish these opinions.

The only thing you are being denied is the right to enshrine your personal religious beliefs in our country's laws. The whole point of our laws are to protect everyone, so that no one's beliefs are forced upon them.  So everyone is treated equally, and able to pursue happiness in this country. You will be able to continue exactly as you are, teaching your children what you choose to teach them. No one will force you to marry a same-sex partner or remain single. No one will deny you having or raising children. Your ignorant lifestyle will be yours to cherish forever*.

*I should warn you: your children and grandchildren will most likely look back on this time in our country's history with disgust and disbelief, and might be ashamed of some things you wrote. Logic is pretty contagious, and once it starts, it doesn't usually move backwards (slavery...women's rights...).
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