Friday, January 15, 2016

Thank you, Ms. Evans

Bigots in various state legislatures are trying to play to the prejudices and fears of the citizens by proposing laws that will "protect the 'religious liberties' of those whose deeply-held religious beliefs" make it just impossible to serve, accommodate, employ, or otherwise treat LGBT people as equals.  There's a direct link back to the Supreme Court's ruling on inter-racial marriage and on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  There is a need to feel superior to another segment of the populace.  Although marriage equality is the law of the land, there is still money to be made and political races to be won by saying those fags have to be put back in their place.

The news of another state that will try to end the obvious attack on religious liberty (sarcasm on my part) was reported on recently.  Again it sparked in me complete disdain for these fundamentalist xns.  The story sparked a general condemnation of xnty (Christianity) that felt too broad.  I've done another blog on my questioning of religion and faith and belief and have done a lot of reading.  I started thinking at the keyboard: 

"I have a very fucked up view of theology. I'm not quite able to profess atheism, although it makes a lot of sense, and I'm positive I'm never going back to xnty. So I'm reading a lot. A Christian writer whom I respect is Rachel Held Evans, a recovering evangelical. She writes about the results of her questioning, leaving (and being forced out of) her church, in Searching for Sunday, published last year.
"In a section of the book on the desire to cure problems rather than heal them, she has two outstanding paragraphs:
"'And what [the questioning and hurting people] find is when they bring their pain or doubt or their uncomfortable truth to church, someone immediately grabs it out of their hands to try and fix it, to try and make it go away. Bible verses are quoted. Assurances are given. Plans with ten steps and measurable results are made. With good intentions tinged with fear, Christians scour their inventory for a cure.'
"'But the modern-day church doesn't like to wander or wait. The modern-day church likes results. Convinced the gospel is a product we've got to sell to an increasingly shrinking market, we like our people to function as walking advertisements: happy, put-together, finished -- proof that this Jesus stuff WORKS! At its best, such a culture generates pews of Stepford Wife-style robots with painted smiles and programmed moves. At its worst, it creates environments where abuse and corruption get covered up to protect reputations and preserve image.'
"She is a Christian I respect because she's honest, she thinks, she questions. She also writes about how she came to understand and respect us all, and not just LGBT Christians. I get atheism. I get the desire to believe in a god, too. As Hitchens, et. al. present very good arguments for atheism, Evans writes about a 15 year struggle that isn't over yet. I need to say I respect them all and I still can't convince myself one way or another.
"But I am convinced that these bigoted assholes who feel their precious prejudices need legal protections are pig shit xns."

A fellow JMGer liked that I used Rachel's book as "another point of view."  I replied:

"Thanks.  People here [at JMG] have helped me think about religion, theology, atheism, and more, but (perhaps as a Libra) I see valid points most of the time, except for fundamentalist xnty. Been there, done that, made up my mind. However, I left with no desire to return; Rachel has a need to reconcile obvious hate and exclusion (which all of us, including her, know) with her need to love her god in a community setting. More power to her."

And I truly do mean that.  She really, really wants to believe, to have her faith restored, to find a church of fellow travelers.  Me?  I think I need proof.  I need to see something, I need something tangible.  I have considerably more days behind me than before me.  I never thought I'd see marriage equality become a reality, let alone the law of the land.  Maybe I'll surprise myself and get an answer before I die.

Friday, January 1, 2016

1/1/16 asked yesterday what, if any, resolution we were making for the new year. Lots and lots of fun, serious, interesting, and cordial responses.  I was surprised that mine (as of noon on January 1, 2016) was voted up by 44 people...quite a surprise.

"Two things: My anger toward our enemies has evolved into hate. I need to get rid of that, because I see what hate has done to them. I'd rather not become like that. I intend to keep my anger, but I have to drop the hate."

The other was to get '23 Revue up and running...a workshop, recording, something, and maybe not.

As for the first, I thought I was just admitting that in spite of 2015 being a remarkable, unthinkably wondrous year for gay equality, the latter half of the year was a time I found my reactions to those who think I am subhuman or that the United States is a fundamentalist xn nation or that my tribe and I deserve death no longer just being anger but verging on hate and then actually hating them as they hate me.

My mother was not an abusive person.  I was spanked, yes, but not several times a week and not beyond a couple of swats on my tush.  It was punishment because I was doing something wrong or bad.  It worked.  I think I'm better because of that discipline.  One day I was mouthing off about something...I honestly don't know what...and I said that I hated something.  Suddenly, I felt her open palm whack me on the cheek.  It didn't hurt, but the surprise made me listen.  "'Hate' is a horrible word," she told me.  "Don't ever use it until you know what it means."

I have no idea what sparked her response.  We were white, part of a respected family, Presbyterian, owners of a family business that about every farmer used.  I never asked her where that reprimand came from, but she clearly meant it.

Through the years I've come to know what hate is and what it means. I've experienced it. I've had it directed at me and my tribe.  I see it and hear it in The Truly Religious, the candidates for the republican presidential candidates and in those who support them. "Hate The Fags" has been a prime motivator for many for decades...centuries, even.  The bible cherry pickers make it clear what they are "told by God" to do...hate, destroy, kill, keep us down.

The last few months, their rallying cries have become more strident, their fear mongering more horrible, their hate more ferocious, their lies even more unabashed.  Why is the equality of all US citizens such a horrible reality for them?  Why can't they read and understand the First Amendment and the Fourteenth  Amendment?  Why can't they read, think, be less malleable?

I crossed the line at some point.  Nothing specific, everything in general.  I realized that what I was thinking, what I was replying on JoeMyGod, the way I was starting to react...hate.  Worse, I didn't feel Mother's slap on my face.  I felt I knew "hate" well enough to use it, finally, and to dish it back.

And then maybe I didn't feel her slap, but I saw what was happening.  I was becoming a gay One Of Them.  I could see what it was doing to a large part of our population and I didn't want to be like that.  The hateful, fearful, happy to be unthinking sons of bitches are lazy, lulled into a sense that those who are different are dangerous.  Hate, fear, prejudice, ignorance...they grow, but they grow like a cancer grows, not like a healthy organism.  I stopped drinking.  I stopped smoking.  It was really hard to stop doing those things because I'd been doing them for so long.  I thought if I stopped hating now before it became part of my life it would be less difficult to discard it.

Hate, out.  What I don't want to lose, though, is my anger.  Anger at the lies, hatred, stupidity, demagoguery, misuse of religion (the difference between xn fundamentalists and ISIS is only that the xn taliban hasn't put united action together), an intentional misreading of the US Constitution, and the growing belief that they are martyrs, that they are being stifled, that their rights are being trampled.  I am angry at their pig shit.  I must get away from hating them.  There are other ways to view them; I must find them.

Anger brings about action.  I'll be 70 later this year, so my physical activist years are behind me.  That doesn't mean I can't do anything.  It's my life that's being trampled.  It's people like me who are being harmed, damaged by ignorant sheeple.  I will maintain my anger and act accordingly.  Hate?  No.  It makes you ugly, disgusting, and willingly ignorant right to the core.  I can do better.  I will do better.

And maybe get to see or hear a production of '23 Revue.