Category Archives: love

Christians For Tru…, Aw, F**k It

Christians for Trump
Should probably add “misogynistic predator” to the list

This is the first Monday I’ve sat down to write (here on the blog, at least) since school started back in August. I have this opportunity because it’s Fall break this week and I’m on vacation. As we normally do this time of year, Diana and I are spending a week in the semi-tropical paradise of Baillie’s Bluff on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But, getting here wasn’t exactly easy this time.

 If you live in the southeastern United States, you probably have an inkling why things were so tough. If not, I can sum it up in two words: Hurricane Matthew. Between worrying whether we would even be able to get here (we usually come down I-95), to almost getting trapped by flood waters in at Diana’s house Saturday (roads all around us flooding), to a 14 hour trip with traffic that varied from a virtual standstill to almost clear sailing, it has been an interesting four days. But, we’re here and I’m writing this from one of favorite spots on the planet: the fabulous screen porch at D’s family house in Holiday.
What, you might be thinking, could pressing enough to drag me to a computer when I could be soaking up the last bit of sun and fun for the year? First of all, time on my hands. When we’re vacationing, Diana likes to sleep in, while I couldn’t sleep past 8 o’clock unless I was coming off a 3 day coke bender. When I have time on my hands, I think about things. And, this morning, what I’m thinking about is Donald Trump and the repulsive shit that spewed from his face hole in 2005.
 As awful as those words are, there is something worse: people who call themselves Christians making excuses for them or, in some cases, saying they just don’t care. What the fuck? How can you say that shit? Do you really want a man like this running the country where the women you claim to care about live? Because, if you do, I’m not so sure you care about them all that much.
The first time I heard that shit, my response was, “I’m not sure what to say to that.” It’s taken a few days, but I think I’ve finally come up with an appropriate response.
To pastors and Christian “leaders” who make excuses (it happened before he had “spiritual influences” in his life) or dismissing it altogether (Christians don’t really care about this), you should turn in any credentials you might hold and stop calling yourself a pastor, because you aren’t. The one constant in Jesus’ teachings (remember him? The guy you claim to follow?) is love. Love your neighbor, love one another, love your enemy. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t consider treating women as conquests to be gloated over “love”.
To those of you who say you don’t care, I say “Are you fucking kidding me?” Do me a favor, if your mother is still with us, go look her the eye and say “Mama, Donald Trump’s comments don’t bother me in the least. In fact, I firmly believe that a man who brags about assaulting women is the best person available to lead our country.” Then, come back and tell me how it went.
Let me make this perfectly clear: if you overlook, gloss over, ignore or do anything but condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of women, you should either fall to your knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness or abandon any pretense of being a Christian. It’s just that fucking simple.

Am I Still A Christian?

Doubt TillichOver the years, I’ve had people ask me, “How can you call yourself a Christian with some of the things you believe?” It’s a fair question, seeing as I don’t put much stock in a lot of orthodox beliefs anymore. The short (smartass) answer comes in two parts: 1) I’m a progressive Christian, which means I’m not hung up on a lot the stuff Christians have traditionally worried about: sex, drugs, rock and roll, etc. 2) I’m not really that good of a Christian.

But, a better question is “Why do I still call myself a Christian?” I think the answer to that will make more sense if I tell what I do and don’t believe these days.

  • The Biblical creation story _ I don’t believe the story told in Genesis is a historical, factual account of the world’s creation. The evidence presented by science about the Big Bang and evolution is overwhelming and to believe otherwise is to be willfully ignorant. That is not to say that I think the Genesis story should be tossed out. For me, it exists as myth or allegory and has to do with why we’re here, not how we got here.
  • That the Bible is the literal, inerrant Word of God _ I gave this one up a long time ago, if I ever really believed in the first place. That was only reinforced by the fact that, for me, learning the history of the Bible was a lot like watching sausage being made: it wasn’t pretty. The Bible has a place in my life, to be sure. But, it’s not the be all, end all of things.
  • The Virgin Birth _  I no longer believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. That’s just not how biology works. Besides, the whole thing is based on a mistranslation of one word. In my opinion, the virgin birth story was a literary device that, like several other historically questionable events in the birth narratives, was meant to show that Jesus was special. Personally, I prefer to spend my time working on living the way he taught than how he was conceived.
  • An actual physical resurrection _ A few years ago, there was a bit of a dust-up between Tony Jones and Marcus Borg about whether the resurrection was physical or spiritual, with Jones arguing for physical. As I followed this discussion (between Jones and his detractors. Marcus was smart enough not to get down in the mud with them), I began to realize I had trouble accepting that Jesus’ body was reanimated and he walked around in it. The best I can do with this one is to believe that something happened in that tomb that inspired his followers to carry on, even in the face of persecution, oppression and death at the hands of the state.
  • The Trinity _ Actually, saying I don’t believe in the Trinity isn’t accurate. A better way to put it would be that I don’t really give a shit. Like the preceding items on this list, I don’t see how spending any time on it makes me a better follower of Jesus, so why bother?
  • Whether God even exists _ I suppose this makes me more of agnostic than anything else. I say this because I’ve never had that moment that some people talk about where God knocked me to my knees. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt the presence of God at any point in my life. At least, not in the way others have spoken of.

So, in light of all this, why do I still call myself a Christian? Because the way Jesus taught us to live is a pretty damn decent one. It  definitely makes makes me a better person. And, understand when I say “the way Jesus taught us to live”, I’m not talking about the perversion that is American Christianity, I mean what he actually said: love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, forgive those who treat you badly, don’t hoard your wealth, share with those who have less…, you get the picture.

A Few Thoughts On NC House Bill 2

Psst, HB 2 isn't really about keeping women safe.
Psst, HB 2 isn’t really about keeping anyone safe.

It would’ve been more timely if I had written this yesterday, but I had a prior engagement with some wisteria vines and privet hedge that had to be kept. That’s probably for the best because, yesterday, I was still pretty pissed off about today’s subject and things were a little raw. Had I written this post then, it would’ve been one long string of expletives and virtually unreadable (it may not be much better today). What caused all that anger? Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly shoved through a bill that pretty much ensures that LGBTQ folks in this state will be discriminated against.

If you haven’t heard about NC House Bill 2, it will, in the words of Governor Pat McCrory, “prevent basic local government overreach and intrusion into the expectation of privacy that people have, men, women and children have when they enter a restroom, locker room or shower facility,” So, you’re preventing “government overreach and intrusion” by engaging in …, government overreach? Right. I think that may be the most unintentionally ironic statement I’ve heard all year.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the governor. Senator Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Rep. Graig Meyer of Charlotte worked hard on Wednesday to get the word out about some of things the law does, like preventing cities and counties from writing their own non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ folks and veterans; removing legal remedy in the NC court system (you have to sue in federal court which is much harder) and barring local governments from setting the minimum wage in their communities. Nice, huh?

But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as multiple companies are speaking out against the law and some are questioning whether they want to do business here. When the GOP took over the reins of government in this state, one of their stated goals was to make it more attractive to business. They are really knocking it out of the park with this, aren’t they?

So, now that we’re all on the same page, there are a few things I want to get off my chest concerning this big, steaming pile of shit questionable piece of legislation:

  • First of all, I want to thank our illustrious lawmakers for the additional anxiety they’ve put on my plate. I mean, I’m not quite stressed enough whenever my son walks out the door, worrying about him running into some asshole who takes offense at the fact that he’s trans. So, this extra dose of angst I get, wondering whether he’ll be denied a service he needs or be humiliated in some other way because he’s not “normal” is really welcome. When it comes to being douche bags, you guys are the douchiest!
  • Second, there are only two ways that I can see someone’s motivations for supporting this law. One is that you think my son is predator who might use an ordinance like Charlotte’s to find new prey. The other is that my child’s well-being is less important to you than an imaginary threat to some women and children yet to be named. Either way you look at it, that’s pretty fucked up.
  • Third, how is this going to work, bathroom-wise? Are we going to post someone outside each and every women’s restroom in the state to look in everyone’s pants and ensure they’re using the bathroom of their “biological sex”? I don’t think that will go over very well. I mean, if people are worried about their daughters being in the bathroom with men, how are they going to feel about some stranger taking a peek inside their little princess’ knickers?

Of course, we could all just mind our own business and let folks pee where they like, seeing as how all the fear over bathroom bills is totally unfounded (it has been debunked by law enforcement, government officials, and women’s safety advocates all across the country). Mind our own business?!? Where’s the fun in that?

Who’s It Hurting?

Larry the Cable Guy
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had about all I can stand of Dan Whitney’s faux southern redneck pose.

On Dan Whitney, Political Correctness and Trans Issues

For reasons unbeknownst to me now, there was a time when I found Dan Whitney’s faux southern redneck pose (aka Larry The Cable Guy) funny. I shouldn’t have; even if you leave out all the racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ crap he spews, it’s still offensive to southerners because it paints us as semi-literate bumpkins who glory in their ignorance. And, isn’t that a lovely stereotype?

Whitney defends his schtick by saying it gets laughs. Once, to illustrate this point, he told one of his jokes as Dan Whitney, sans accent and ignorance and it fell flat. Then, he told it again as “Larry” and the audience ate it up. Basically, he’s taking the easy way out. Instead of writing better material, he chooses to pander to his audience’s baser instincts. When you have the kind of voice Whitney does, using it this way is deplorable.

What Whitney is doing is playing on working class white folks’ fear of change, and railing against “political correctness” is one of the best ways of doing so. Political correctness, of course, is the term certain people like to use when they demonize others for, basically, not being a dick. And, by “not being a dick”, I mean “not using language that offends others”. It never ceases to amaze me that some folks think this is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, being “politically incorrect” isn’t just a part of his “Larry, the Cable Guy” persona; it’s a part of being Dan Whitney. Last month, on his Sirius XM “Weekly Roundup” program, he went off on a political rant which included his disgust with people who are transgender, saying “Look, if you have a penis, you’re a boy. If you have a vagina, you’re a girl, That’s how it is.” Seriously? The fact that this guy gets standing ovations when he performs just makes me sad.

Now, I could list all sorts of valid research to counter Whitney’s claim; god knows there’s plenty of it out there. But, most likely, I would be wasting my breath because a lot of the people who agree with this sort of thing aren’t swayed by research or science, or pretty much anything else. So, instead, I’ll ask this question: Who’s it hurting?

The answer, of course, is no one. What is does is upset the straight, cisgender apple cart and some people have a problem with that. And, if I’m being honest, I can relate. As a straight, cisgender man, I have no problems whatsoever with people who are gay or bisexual and trans men and women don’t bother me in the least. But, effeminate men are a different story. Especially one who’s genderqueer and intentionally blurs the line between male and female. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but lipstick and a five o’clock shadow freak me the hell out.

But, but freaked out as I may be, I still don’t tell these guys to “BE A DAMN MAN!!!” I think it, sometimes, but I never say it. Why? Because I’ve seen what happens to someone when they’re not allowed to be the person they truly are and, believe me, it is deadly. So, if you’re one of those folks who agree with Whitney on this, I want you to remember what I just said the next time you want to spew some bullshit about your genitalia defining who you are. What they’re doing isn’t hurting you in the least, but what you’re doing? It’s killing them.

No One Leaves Home…

Refugees
3:30 in the morning is entirely too damn early to get up, even if you only have to pee. When that’s the case, you can stagger to the bathroom and handle your business without turning on any lights or anything else that will wake you up enough to prevent going back to sleep. Getting up at 3:30 because you have to be somewhere is a different story and that’s the case for me today. I write this, sitting at the hospital in Mt. Airy while my mom has knee replacement. With that in mind, I’ll ask you to forgive me if I take the easy way out and give you a post mostly composed of words from other people.

Yesterday, during the early service at church, one of the pastors read a poem from Somali-British author/editor/poet/teacher, Warshan Shire, titled “Home”.

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying
leave,
run away from me now
i don’t know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

In 1934, a little less than a year after the Nazi’s passed their “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring”,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke at the Fanø Ecumenical Conference and said:

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security… To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying down the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

 

Good Christian Sex

Sex ed for ChristiansYou know, after the walk down Creepy Street I took while researching Monday’s post about purity culture, I didn’t think I could find something worse. But, I did; much, much worse. A few hours after writing that post, I stumbled across a new site called Biblical Gender Roles. With a name like that, you know anything you find there will be great (and by “great”, I mean “really fucked up”). Today, I want to tell you about one of the articles I found there.

On Stephanie Drury’s “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” Facebook page I found a link to an article titled “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” and thought, “Oh, this will be good”. And, Stephanie did not fail me: Within first few paragraphs, the author stated that he is constantly accused of condoning rape and says, in red highlighted text, that “I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife or to physically abuse her in any fashion.”  In fact, he has written a post just for all the “Rape Accusers”, titled “The Frustrated Feminist Wife” (why, that’s not condescending at all). Maybe it’s just me, but I think if you’re getting accused of something so much you have to write articles and post disclaimers saying you aren’t doing that, it may be time to rethink your message.

So, what is it that has people crying “RAPE”? According the author, one Larry Solomon (a pseudonym. We’ll get to that in a minute), husbands have a “right” to sex with their wives. . According to Solomon, a wife cannot flatly refuse her husband because that is a sin against God. But, not only should a fellow coerce his wife into giving up the goods whenever he wants , he shouldn’t feel bad about doing so: “A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.” Don’t you love how he throws in that “if she yields” bit? It makes his words seem so much less rape-y.

Never fear, ladies, Brother Larry is also thinking about your needs because he discusses possibility that a husband might refuse to tickle his wife’s fancy. In fact, Solomon is so concerned about them that he dedicates a whopping 197 of the 4306 words of his article to this possibility. Of course, he says he’ll more fully explore the topic in a series on being a “godly” wife. Oh, I can’t wait.

In the past, I have rebutted posts like this point by point, but I’m going to have save that for another time. Mostly because I need a shower after reading the lead in; if I spend anymore time in the disgusting pool that passes for marital relations in Solomon’s world, I might never feel clean again. Suffice it to say, this list could serve as the definitive guide for being a manipulative, controlling asshole.

As I said earlier, “Larry Solomon” is a pseudonym. Why? I’ll let him explain:

“The reason I do not use my real name is the same reason that Christ hid himself from Jews: “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” – John 8:59 (KJV) It was not Christ’s time to die and it’s not my time to go public.”

After reading this article, I can understand why he hides his identity. If he showed his face in public after posting this shit, a good stoning would be getting off easy.

 

Purity Culture

God’s Will or Oddly Repulsive?

One of the weirder and, let’s face it, creepier aspects of conservative Christianity is its obsession with sex. And, nowhere is that more apparent than something known as “purity culture”. Now, some of you may be wondering “What the hell is ‘purity culture’?” Well, according to No Shame Movement, it is “simply the view of any discussion of things of a sexual nature outside of the context of heterosexual marriage as taboo.” Technically, that is correct; but, friends, that clinical definition doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the skin-crawling aberration that is purity culture.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m writing about this movement, thinking it’s strictly a fundamentalist/evangelical thing and doesn’t really affect the rest of us. If you think this, let me assure that you are wrong. In fact, you are so wrong that your wrongness surpasses any conceivable descriptor for being wrong. Your wrongness is so wrong that it makes Ben Carson’s all-too-frequent use of slavery and/or the Nazis as metaphors actually look right. Okay, that last one may be a little over the top, but still. Look, my point is that purity culture affects us all. How so, you ask? Like this:

That is a mother at a recent Omaha Public Schools parent meeting about proposed changes to the system’s sex education curriculum, including lessons on sexual orientation, sexual identity, contraception, and sexual trafficking. These alterations prompted the outburst from woman (now known across the internet as “puritymom”) in the video. In case you can’t make it out, what she’s saying is, “It’s my daughter! My daughter! Who’s going to keep her pure? Nobody! I am! Not OPS! Not OPS!” So, purity equals ignorance? I did not know that.

But, friends, parents raising hell because their ignorance is being challenged is just the tip of the disgusting iceberg. Take purity balls, for example. If you’re unfamiliar with this phenomenon, the purity ball is a religious ceremony/ formal dance event where dads and daughters dress up in evening attire for a night of dining and dancing, culminating with the daughters pledging to the fathers to abstain from sex until marriage. Photographer David Magnusson put together a book documenting this creepfest. Here’s a sample of his work:

From the book Purity by David Magnusson published by Bokförlaget Max Ström 2014. Copyright © David Magnusson 2011. Rules for use in copyright notice.
From the book Purity by David Magnusson published by Bokförlaget Max Ström 2014. Copyright © David Magnusson 2011. Rules for use in copyright notice.

I got this from an article on Huffington Post, but click that link with the understanding that you may feel the need to shower afterwards; it’s that bad. From what I can see, Magnusson’s book looks like a collection of prom photos from the Warren Jeffs School of Parenting. In a word, “Ewww”.

If that’s not enough for you, I ran across another story about this abnormality that raises the “ick” factor even more. In Christian Today (a UK-based media company not to be confused with Christianity Today), Carey Lodge reports that “Twenty-something Brelyn Freeman, now Bowman, presented her pastor father with a certificate confirming her virginity.” But wait. it gets better (and by “better”, I mean “oh, so much worse”): the certificate was signed by a doctor who, it seems, had actually examined Ms. Bowman to verify that her hymen was intact. Okay, then. When my daughter got married last year, if she had presented me with a document attesting to her virginity, I can honestly say it would’ve creeped me the fuck out. But, this dude? He posted a picture on Instagram of himself and his daughter holding the certificate, grinning like a possum eating briars. What the hell is wrong with these people?!?

I wish I knew the answer to that question. Maybe then I could begin to wrap my head around why seemingly intelligent adults think that keeping kids in the dark about sex will somehow magically prevent them from getting pregnant (because everyone knows teenagers don’t have an innate desire to knock boots every chance they get), that signing a pledge has a prayer of stemming up to the flood of hormones that comes with puberty and that a woman’s worth is irretrievably tied to her virginity. This whole thing is just fucked up.

 

An Open Letter To Parents Of Transgender Kids

openletter

Dear Conservative Christian Parents of kids who are transgender;

You probably don’t know me, but I know you. I’ve been where you are and I know what you’re going through, right now. Well, not exactly; while I have been a Christian most of my life, I’ve never really been a conservative one. But, I am the father of a transgender child. I say that so you’ll know I’m not some expert sitting in my ivory tower, telling you how to parent or live your faith; I’m a down-in-the-trenches dad who’s going through the same stuff you are.

You see, I know it’s hard to be the parent of someone whose identity doesn’t match their assigned sex. Heck, it’s hard enough to be a parent when everything goes “right”; throw in a hitch like this “trans” thing and it’s even gets really hard. And, a lot of the messages coming from certain pulpits just add to that difficulty. They aren’t good and most of them aren’t biblical. At best, they have a nodding acquaintance with scripture, but are twisted and taken out of context to further an agenda that is harmful to your child. Let me break a few of them down for you.

  • “God doesn’t make mistakes”
    True, God doesn’t make mistakes. Your child is a beautiful gift from God and was born they way they were for a reason. I don’t know what that reason might be, but it’s out there and it’s up to all of us to work together and find it.
  • “Why would a loving God create someone who would have endure the persecution that trans people deal with?” 
    Okay, this one isn’t one I’ve seen a lot, but it is a question that I spent a lot of time wrestling with. And, here’s what I came up with: God isn’t the problem here, we are. The last commandment Jesus gave his followers was to love one another and the way we treat people who are trans falls so far short of that, it’s pathetic. Last year, 21 people who are transgender have been murdered and as much 40% of the homeless youth population is either gay or trans. Statistics like these make me want to cry. I hope they do the same to you.
  • “It’s okay to reject your kids”
    Not only is it “okay” to reject your kids, in some circles, it’s required. This is one of those ideas that isn’t biblical. 1 Timothy 5:8 says “But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” Understand this isn’t just about kicking your kid out because you feel that they’ve rejected God by their lifestyle choice; “providing” for your family goes beyond the mere physical (housing, food, etc.), it includes the love and support that only a parent can supply.
  • “The Bible is clear about transgenderism: it’s a sin.”
    Actually, the Bible is anything but clear on this subject because it doesn’t really talk about it. There are a few passages in the Old Testament that can be twisted, cherry-picked or tortured into sounding like they do, but when you look at them in context, it all falls apart. Jesus never mentioned anything about it and, while Paul gets trotted out when this comes up…, well, Paul’s a little problematic on the issue. The ending of Romans 1 (a common passage when any LGBT issues are discussed) isn’t about trans people, he’s talking about what, today, we would call pedophiles. 1 Corinthians 6:9 is another bit of text that is often used to condemn people who are trans. But, here’s the thing: the word that’s responsible for all that, malakoi, is a slang term and no one really knows what Paul meant by it. The best scholars have come up with is “soft men”. What the heck is a “soft man”? When I asked my pastor that question, he said “Me, after visiting Donut World” (FYI, Donut World is the most awesome donut shop in the world and is located in Greensboro, NC). Like I said, the Bible is anything but clear on this.

Now, let’s talk about a few realities parenting a transgender child.

  • Being a parent to a transgender child can be scary.
    As I said in an earlier point, people who are transgender are much more susceptible to violence than people who are cisgender (i.e. what most folks consider “normal”). They are also more likely to suffer discrimination. I know these are frightening things for a parent to contemplate. But, they are real and you need to know about them in order to help your child survive to become the person God create them to be.
  • “One way or another, you’re going to lose your child unless you learn to accept them for who they are.”
    This one comes from a counselor I spoke to recently and it’s right on the money. What it means is that, if you don’t accept the fact that your child’s identity and their biologically assigned sex don’t match up, one of two things is going to happen: 1) they will walk out of your life and have little or nothing to do with you or 2) the strain of being forced to deny their true selves will drive them to suicide or other self-destructive behaviors. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true and you need to hear it.
  • Your reluctance is to accept your child’s identity is selfish.
    Think about it for a minute: if you gave birth to a girl who later realizes that (s)he is actually a boy, what damage does it do to you to accept that and love them for who they are? On the other hand, denying their identity can cause terrible damage (see previous point). Which option should a good parent choose?

I’ll end this with a personal story. A couple of years ago, my son came  out as transgender and began to transition in the past year. Prior to that, he suffered from anxiety and depression so crippling that, many days, he couldn’t function. Counseling and medication helped a little, but I worried that he would be confined to some terrible half life and never reach his full potential. In the months since he began transition, he is a new person. He has job, he’s working on getting his driver’s license and the counseling and meds for his other conditions are finally having the desired effect. I credit this to having the weight of living a false life lifted off his shoulders. If that’s a sin, I’ll take a boatload.

 

Taste The Rainbow, Mike

In the Republican race for the 2016 presidential nomination (aka 2nd place in the general election), all the candidates have touted their Christian bona fides. Hell, even the Donald has claimed the mantle of “Christian” and said the Bible is his favorite book ever (he couldn’t point to a verse he liked, however). But, in the maelstrom tempest shitstorm that compromises this contest, there is one Christian soldier who stands head and shoulders above the crowd: Mike Huckabee. Interestingly, this warrior for Christ doesn’t seem to grasp the essence of Jesus’ message; you know, that whole “Love one another” thing? Keep reading to see what I mean.

Before we begin, let me point out that Huckabee is the only ordained minister in the Republican field. Prior to entering politics and serving as a (relatively) populist governor for the state of Arkansas, Brother Mike attended the Southwestern Baptist Seminary and pastored churches in Pine Bluff and Texarkana. You’d think a fellow with that kind of background would have a better grasp of what following Jesus is all about and maybe he did early on. But, recently, he seems to have lost his way.

Last month, The Huckster jumped on the Kim Davis bandwagon, making a special trip to Kentucky, greeting the Rowan County clerk with a rally of her supporters after she was released from jail for contempt of court. That didn’t go so well, as he was almost one-upped by Ted Cruz (an alert staffer saved the day) and incurred the wrath of Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan for using the group’s song, “Eye of the Tiger”, without permission. That went well, didn’t it?

Oh, but that’s not all, beloved.  A couple of weeks ago, Frito-Lay decided to provide limited edition bags of Doritos in exchange for a $10 donation to the “It Gets Better” project. The bags sold out quickly and everyone was happy. Well, not everyone. Huckabee took a page out of Franklin Graham’s playbook and had a conniption fit because something non-shitty was happening in relation to an LGBT+ issue. He sent a letter to the company asking them to “do some honest vetting about Dan Savage and his very hateful and vulgar comments toward Christians and his calls for violence and injury to people he disagrees with.”

Huckabee isn’t alone in this fight, though; One Million Moms is also in on the action. And, really, who makes a better ally for a Christian than the fund-raising arm of a certified hate group? According to director Monica Cole, Frito-Lay’s move is an “assault on Christian values” and she urged people to call the company and ask that they “drop its promotion of anti-Christian bigotry.” Right.

I have spent the last two weeks trying to figure out how a fund drive to benefit an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for LGBT youth is “anti-Christian bigotry”. Especially when it’s just rainbow-colored corn chips. I mean, seriously, here’s a photo of the bag:
frito-gayIt’s a sad fucking day when the mere image of a rainbow inspires grown folks to lose their shit.

Of course, it’s really not the chips that are the problem. It’s not even the group that’s reaping the benefits of Frito-Lay’s largesse. No, it’s the man behind “It Gets Better”: gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who Cole says is “one of the most anti-Christian bullies in America.” Well, okay then.

I will grant that Savage hasn’t exactly been “polite” to anti-LGBT Christians (he is the person who coined the Santorum neologism(( you really shouldn’t click this link if you don’t want to be grossed out)) after all). But, if we’re being honest, people who are LGBT+ have plenty of reason to be “impolite” to Christians and we should own that shit, not whine about it.

The Church has systematically worked to marginalize the LGBT community for years and, now that society is beginning to see that marginalization for what it is, Christians are doubling down on their shittiness. That has taken a lot of forms as of late, but none quite as fucked up as dumping on a company for helping an organzation that works to reduce suicide rates among young people. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like an odd way to love one another.

Modern-day Pharisees

IslamicChristians_thumb[110]It’s a well-known fact that conservative Christians are the modern-day equivalent of those legalistic, New Testament buzzkills known as the Pharisees. From their obsession with sex to their penchant for out-of-context quotation of the Bible, conservatives are doing their level best to live out H. L. Mencken’s definition of puritanism: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” (because progressive obsessions [political correctness, gun control, non-violence, etc] are so much fun).

Take that Kim Davis woman, for instance. Where does she get off claiming “God’s authority” in denying others their legal right to marry when she’s been married 4 times herself. Someone needs to tell this woman that Jesus didn’t say anything about being gay, but he had plenty to say about infidelity and divorce (He also had a lot to say about not judging others and loving our neighbor, but let’s not muddy up the waters with such inconvenient passages). And, now she has a  book deal? Seriously? (Actually, she doesn’t. But, again, why wast time considering things that contradict what we want to believe?) And, what’s up with that hair? If she wasn’t so shitty to gay people, maybe she could find someone to take care of that for her. (Yes, because “the gays” are all about doing some hair.)

I just don’t get all this bigotry against people who are LGBTQQIP2SAA (explanatory link included for all the troglodytes who can’t keep up with this ever-changing acronym. And, I include myself in that category). Why, oh why can’t they be as Christ-like as we progressives are and join us in this march toward justice for all? I realize this shakes the foundations of everything they’ve been taught, but if they’d join us in the 21st century (and by “join us in the 21st century”, I mean “acknowledge that we’re right and they’re awful people”), things would be so much easier better.

As much as I don’t get their anti-gay stance, the political beliefs of conservative Christians baffle me even more. I mean, these people support Donald Trump, for God’s sake! Think about that for a minute; followers of Jesus, a man who preached radical inclusion and eschewed wealth and all its trappings, are losing their minds over a narcissistic money-hoarding billionaire with a xenophobic streak a mile wide (yes, progressive politicians, like Hillary “I love Wall Street” Clinton are pure as the driven snow). Honestly, though, my biggest issue is their mixing of faith and politics (something progressives would never do themselves). Okay, so maybe we do allow our faith to influence our political beliefs, but our intentions are good (and we know what road those have paved).

Isn’t it great to be a progressive Christian? I mean, what other belief allows you to fill social media with posts pointing out (to God and everyone else) all the ways you’re not like those bigoted, narrow-minded conservatives?