Category Archives: Marriage equality

Linda Harvey Can’t Find Anywhere To Shop

It's hard out here for a homophobic jerk.
It’s hard out here for a homophobic jerk.

You may not know this, but being a homophobic asshole is not without its pitfalls. Don’t think so? Just ask anti-LGBT activist Linda Harvey. PinkNews reports that Ms. Harvey is having a hard time finding places to shop because almost no major businesses oppose LGBTQ equality anymore. Or, in Linda’s words:

“For any Christian who wants to spend hard-earned dollars with family-friendly, Christian-affirming retailers, restaurants and service providers, the list is growing shorter all the time.”

Oh no, businesses have figured out it’s more profitable to treat everyone like a human being, making it hard for you to find like-minded bigots to patronize? How awful.

Right about now , you’re probably wondering just who the hell this Linda Harvey person might be (I know I was). Being the helpful, caring soul that I am, I put on my detective hat and started digging that info up for you. Granted, that entailed typing her name into Wikipedia and spending a couple of minutes reading. But, still…

It turns out that Harvey is the president and founder of something called Mission:America, a ministry which she established “to equip Christians with current, accurate information about cultural issues such as feminism, homosexuality, education and New Age influences. ” While there are other issues Mission:America speaks about (paganism and Islam, for example) , their raison d’etre is that dreaded Christian bugaboo: the “Gays” (dun, DUN,  DUNNN!!!).

Oh sure, there are articles on those other topics, but they are vastly outnumbered by the anti-LGBTQ crap. In an introductory post about Mission:America, Harvey writes, “We focus a lot here on homosexuality because of its rising visibility yet controversial place in current America life.” Which, if you ask me, is a little funny for ministry dedicated to Christian teachings. I mean, Jesus (you know, that guy we claim to follow?) never said a word about being gay. He did, however, say a lot about loving your neighbor, feeding hungry people and not hoarding (aka, caring for the poor), things I suspect Harvey considers commie propaganda.

So, now that we’re up to speed on this fine, Christian woman, let’s get back to the story at hand. This fight with retailers isn’t a new one for Harvey; by her own words, it’s been going on for several years. In the PinkNews article, she says,  “I stopped shopping at Macy’s in 2011 after learning about the retailer’s grossly unjust policy against women.” And, just what policy is so “grossly unjust”? Well, beloved, it seems that Macy’s allows people who are transgender to use the dressing room that best fits their gender identity, even going so far as to fire an employee for stopping a trans woman attempting to do that very thing. Oh, the horror!

It’s not just Macy’s, though.  Target, Harvey claims, has sold “gay pride” t-shirts in the past and “Amazon, General Mills, Google, Facebook, Paypal, Levi-Strauss and others” are joining them in “‘proudly standing’ with homosexuals and cross-dressers who want to change America’s 1964 Civil Rights Act to add ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity”, something she refers to as “anti-American, pro-deviance legislation” Yes, there’s nothing quite so “anti-American” as the notion that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated that way.

But, it doesn’t end with those companies. Harvey thinks Christians should avoid doing business with (deep breath annnd, go!): Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Dell, DIRECTV, E-Bay, Ford Motor Co., The Gap, General Motors, Hallmark, Home Depot, IKEA, JC Penney, Levi-Strauss & Co., Macy’s, Mattel, Nationwide, Nike, Nissan, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Staples, Starbuck’s, Target, TJX Companies ( owns TJ Maxx and Marshall’s), Volkswagen and Walgreen’s. Wow, she’s not kidding; there really isn’t a place for anti-LGBT shitheads to shop these days.

Now, if I were in Harvey’s shoes, I’d take the tidal wave of acceptance of people who are LGBTQ as cue to rethink my ideas on the matter. But, then, I’m not a hard-core culture warrior, locked in battle with Satan for the soul of our country and don’t equate “compromise” with “capitulation”. Does that mean I don’t have the courage of my convictions? Maybe. But, I also don’t have problems buying a new underwear when I need it. Which pretty much makes up for any angst I might be feeling on the matter.

Ted Cruz And The Religious Right: A Match Made In Heaven(?)

Ted Cruz Declares Holy War

To say that this Republican primary season has been a 3-ring circus is like saying George W. Bush wasn’t a very good president: true, but an understatement of mind-boggling proportions. Most of that circus atmosphere is a result of one candidate: human hair ball Donald Trump.

As if the mere fact that this online-comments-section-come-to-life is dominating an actual political party’s primaries wasn’t bad enough, things on got even worse when self-professed “Mama Grizzly” Sarah Palin endorsed Trump in a speech that was breath-taking in its abuse of reason, the English language and pretty much anything else that comes to mind.

Of course, the media and the hosts of certain late-night TV shows are ecstatic at this developement. Many of us, however, recoil in disgust at whatever incendiary statement crosses the Donald’s lips (and generally scratch our heads at whatever spills out of Palin in her bizarre stream-of-consciousness romps). Progressives, in particular, lose their minds when Trump’s latest repellant pronouncement comes across their social media feeds (because let’s face it, no good progressive actually watches television anymore).

There’s a problem with all that outrage: it’s misdirected. Consulting the Google provides ample evidence that Trump is nothing more than an opportunistic attention whore (maybe that’s why Palin decided to endorse him; birds of a feather, and all). If hell were to freeze over and the man was actually elected president, the chances that he would enact any of the asinine policies he’s put forth aren’t all that great. Whatever else Trump might be, he’s a businessman at his core and doing any of that shit wouldn’t be good for business. So, if Trump isn’t the conservative boogie-man we’ve made him out to be, who is? That’s easy: Ted Cruz.

Yes, Ted Cruz. Aka, the man who, back in December, successfully won the support of James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the nation’s most influential evangelicals. That endorsement came on the heels of others from  the Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats, the National Organization for Marriage, and GOP activist/direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie.  In other words, the Religious Right has anointed Cruz as their man. But, why?

Now, I could list the Tea Party darling’s socially conservative bona fides, like his hatred of Planned Parenthood or never meeting an anti-LGBTQ pastor/activist he didn’t like, but that’s been done so many times, it’s not funny anymore. Besides, there are other candidates who have championed these issues far longer than Cruz without getting a fraction of the attention this gynotician has amassed in his 4 years on the national stage.

Take Rick Santorum, for instance. Santorum holds views that are just as reactionary/batshit crazy as anything Tailgunner Ted has said and he can’t get arrested on the campaign trail. That probably has something to do with the fact that he’s Catholic, but still. And, then, there’s Mike Huckabee. Hell, Huckabee was a preacher and had a show on Fox News. You’d think that would make him a sure thing for the religious right’s support. But, nope. Both Santorum and the Huckster dropped out after dismal showings in Iowa.

So, what is Cruz’s secret? What is the magic recipe this “dirty syrup guzzler” has cooked up to woo social conservatives in a way that no one has done since George W. Bush captured their hearts 16 years ago? I belive it’s not what he’s saying, it’s the way he’s saying it.

In the lead up to the Iowa Caucuses, Cruz urged his supporters to  “Strap on the full armor of God” and claimed his campaign has sparked “a spirit of revival” leading “the body of Christ rise up to pull us back from the abyss.” If you want to woo evangelicals, you  can’t do better than draping your message in Jesus and the Bible, no matter how antithetical to either of those it might be.

Cruz’s uncompromising support of socially conservative positions (which, along with a repellent personality, has earned him the title of “most hated man in the Senate”) and his sermonizing political speeches combine to make him the religious right’s (wet) dream candidate. Whether that turns out to be a blessing or curse for the Texas Tosser remains to be seen. Me? I’m hoping for “curse”.

Pat Robertson: Wordsmith

0_21_robertson_patAfter a month or so of going at Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham pretty hard, I decided to take a break from writing about their shenanigans. That hiatus was still in force this morning when I was going through my emails and found a Google alert about the host of The 700 Club that linked to a Right Wing Watch article with this title:
Robertson: ‘Homosexuals … Want To Come Out And Stick It To The Christians’
But, wait; it gets better! Robertson also used the phrase “organized thrust” just a few words later.  I think you can see how irresistible this was.

Robertson’s complaint came in connection with a story that ran on CBN’s website that “reported” on the awful persecution American Christians are suffering these days. According to Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Bowman, asking people like Kim Davis to do their damn job is part of an attempt by progressives to push our agenda. How? By “redefining jobs”, of course.

According to Pat, expecting people to do what’s in their job description is “tyranny” because “Believers should not be forced to do something they don’t believe in”. Hell, I don’t believe in paying interest on loans; since the company that holds my mortgage is American, does that mean I drop that and just pay the principal? That would be pretty freaking sweet because it would save me nice chunk of change.

In his own classically clueless way, Pat says that being LGBT+ “used to be considered perversion, it used to be considered an abomination”. And, he’s right; Leviticus 18:22 does say that. But, it is interesting to hear this statement coming from man wearing clothes made of different fabrics, with a nice haircut and fresh shave, and who quite possibly had shrimp or barbecue for lunch. I guess those “abominations” don’t count. Funny how that works, huh?

I find it…, thought-provoking? No, what about “fascinating”? Not that either. Hmm, maybe “intriguing” is the word I’m looking for. No, that’s not it either. Let me think for a minute. Hey, I’ve got it: “fucking ridiculous”.  As in, I find it fucking ridiculous that Pat Robertson can go on television and say, with impunity, that expecting people to what they were hired (or elected) to do is “absolute tyranny” and that you’re standing up “for freedom” by insisting you be allowed to continue discriminating against people who are LGBT. Imagine if Christian leaders had said this kind of stuff about interracial marriage? Oh wait, they did.

I keep hearing people carry on about how holding someone to the agreement they made when they took a job is “tyranny” or “persecution” or any number of other inflammatory terms. And, they would be right…, if the employees in question were being in those jobs against their will. But, they’re not. Every person crying “Persecution!” in these cases are free to leave and find a job that won’t infringe on their personal beliefs. Sounds like some folks need to learn what “persecution” actually means.

Look, you can believe whatever you want to believe; in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that an evil, alien space lord dumped billions of his people in a volcano and blew it up or that the Bible says “gays” are an abomination. But, what you can’t do is use that belief to deny people their inalienable rights. Especially when you want to do that while collecting a government paycheck. If you ask me, that’s an abomination.

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? 

Kim Davis And America’s Favorite Pastime

Just a little sample of the shittiness I'm talking about.
Just a little sample of the shittiness I’m talking about.

You may have noticed that I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet about Kim Davis since she’s been jailed for contempt of court. There are two reasons for that: 1), I felt like crap last Friday and writing was not exactly at the top of my list and 2) I’ve been taking some time to sort out what I think about the whole thing. Yes, I realize that second item is a bit of a novelty for me, usually I just say whatever pops into my head. But, looking at the discourse surrounding Ms. Davis, I didn’t think that would be such a good idea. Plus, being sick when the shit hit the fan forced me into a period of self-reflection; which is probably a more truthful rationale for the reasonable, well-thought out tack I seem to be taking (it’s too early to know if I actually mean all this).

First, disclaimer: no matter what else is said in this post, I firmly believe that it is wrong, both legally and morally, for Kim Davis to refuse to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples and that if she cannot do so in good conscience, she should resign her position immediately. You might think that I wouldn’t need to say that here, as I’ve said it at least once before on this very forum. But, I have to waste time and space repeating myself because, on the internet, saying something once (and, a week ago, to boot) is like never having said it in the first place. Okay, let’s get on with this.

A little earlier, I mentioned “the discourse surrounding Ms. Davis”, saying that it gave me pause. That’s because a lot of it has been pretty fucking shitty. And, I’m not talking about the people taking up for her, either. There have been some really ugly and derogatory memes and comments floating around progressive circles since last Thursday, some almost gleeful that she “got what was coming to her” and others denigrating her faith and her background. As much I’d like to say “Come on, people; we’re better than that”, after the past 5 days, I’m not so sure.

Let’s get one thing straight: what’s going on here is nothing but redneck shaming (if that’s not an actual term, it should be) and I don’t understand it. Why  do  people freak out when poor black folks are called “freeloaders”, “thugs” or “welfare queens” but have no qualms about calling rural white folks (especially southerners or mountaineers) “inbred”, “ignorant” and “redneck”? Maybe it’s cognitive dissonance or maybe  it’s just plain, old hypocrisy. Either way, it’s fucking wrong.

This goes deeper than a few ugly memes and comments about Davis, however; it’s about the fact that rednecks are the last group of people we can denigrate with impunity. In an article on white, rural poverty, Leonard Pitts wrote, “In a vacuum, yes, Honey Boo Boo, would be fairly meaningless. But the show is not aired in a vacuum. Rather, it is aired in a country where art and scholarship have spent two centuries pounding home the idea that some of us are ‘white trash,’ ignorant ‘crackers’ and, most infamously, ‘hillbillies’ — America’s unalterable and unfixable misfits.” Indeed. It seems that America believes rednecks exist for two reasons: the entertainment of their “betters” and, more importantly, to fill the slot of the ultimate “other”.

All this is not to say that you must agree with Kim Davis; you can disagree to your little hearts content. And, you can continue making your shitty little “redneck” and “hillbilly” jokes. But, understand that if you do, you’re really no better than the people you’re ridiculing. Maybe even worse, because what they’re doing, they’re doing out of love; misguided though it is. You have no idea how much I wish I could say the same about the rest of us right now.

Christian Persecution?

religious_persecutionEver since the issue of marriage equality popped up on the national radar, conservative Christians have been worried about being “persecuted for their beliefs” (and by “persecuted for their beliefs”, I mean “not allowed to shit on gay people anymore”). We’ve heard about bakers getting in trouble for refusing to make cakes for “gay” weddings, fears that pastors will be prosecuted for preaching against same-sex marriage, clerks of court being ordered to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, etc. That last example brings us to Casey Davis, clerk of Casey County, Kentucky.

Like his associate, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Casey has refused to issue marriage certificates to couples who are LGBT. However, unlike Ms. Davis, Casey has not just refused to issue marriage licenses, he’s taking his protest of the Supreme Court’s decision to a new level: martyrdom. That’s right, beloved; Casey Davis says he is willing to stand by his belief that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman even if it kills him. In his words: “Our law says ‘one man and one woman,’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected. If it takes my life, I will die … because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do.” He also said that there is a “war on Christianity” and that the Court’s action was “completely unconstitutional.” Well, okay then.

There are a couple of things wrong with Davis’ statement. First, the law that said “one man and one woman” was overturned by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. That means it isn’t the “law” anymore and, as a government official, he has to respect that. If he can’t, then he should resign, as Governor Beshear told him. Second, it’s awful easy to say you’re willing to be martyred over a belief that no one actually wants to kill you for holding. Lastly, I may be wrong about this, but as the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of what is or isn’t constitutional in this country, a decision from them can’t be unconstitutional.

But, let’s be clear: not being allowed to discriminate against others is not persecution. I can’t believe we have to keep talking about this, but since we do, can we talk about why some Christians need a freakin’ law to get to them behave the way the man they claim to follow asked?

When Jesus encountered someone who had been marginalized by the dominant culture, what did he do? Did he tell them they had straighten up and conform (i.e repent of their sin) before he’d have anything to do with them or did he welcome them with open arms and love them unconditionally? It’s the second option, in case you’re wondering; the first was the Pharisees’ gig. Now, just in case I’ve put too fine a point on things, let me say this: Going out of your way to deny historically marginalized people their God-given, lawfully accorded rights because you think your Christian faith requires that means you have no fucking idea of what it means to be a Christian.

 

The Gatekeepers Are Not Happy

TheGatekeeperWizardofOzOn Monday, I told you about the people who felt it was their Christian duty to stand outside my church and verbally harass members spread the love of God. Now, it’s possible that I’m still a little…, let’s say “sensitive” (mostly because I don’t want to say “butt-hurt”) over their protest, but I got a little irritated at a Christian Post article I read this morning. It seems that First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC is “now accepting of gay ordination and marriage.” Of course, the church couched their decision in much less douchy terms: “In all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching and committee/organizational leadership, First Baptist Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” As you can imagine, this isn’t sitting well with the self-appointed gatekeepers of all things moral.

One of those gatekeepers is Al Mohler, who said the church’s decision puts it “at odds with Scripture, at odds with the history of the Christian church, and this is also significant, at odds with the denomination with which the church had so long been affiliated, the Southern Baptist Convention.” Oh, there is so much that’s wrong with this comment. First of all, as he usually does, Mohler assumes that his view of scripture is not just the right one, but the universally accepted one; it is neither. Second, he says FBC is “at odds with the history of the Christian church”. Yes, because the history of the Christian church is sooo wonderful. Seriously, falling back on a legacy of genocide, persecution and oppression really isn’t the selling point he thinks it is. And, then there’s the idea that it’s “at odds with the denomination with which the church had so long been affiliated, the Southern Baptist Convention.” I’m not sure why that’s even in there, as 1st Baptist left the convention in 1999 after hardliners like Mohler took over that organization. Much like the history of the church, being at odds with SBC isn’t such a bad thing, in my opinion. Finally, Mohler said that FBC’s decision was “not unexpected”, but it was “still tragic.” Following Jesus’ final commandment to his followers is tragic? That word must mean something different to me than it does to him.

Of course, Brother Al isn’t the only one with their knickers in a twist; Franklin Graham also had something to say on the subject (imagine that). According to Graham, “First Baptist Church of Greenville, S.C., has decided that it is going to not only accept same-sex couples, but they’re going to ordain gay and transgender ministers into their pulpit! This is disappointing and discouraging.” He followed that lovely sentiment up with this one, “… [T]hey said they are ’embracing the complexities of gender identity.’ According to God’s Word, what they are embracing is sin. The Bible says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness …’ (Isaiah 5:20).” Maybe it’s just me, but that may be the most unintentionally ironic use of scripture, ever.

Let’s be honest, here; the only difference between the people who stood outside my church the other Sunday with their ugly signs and their toxic theology and these guys isn’t the message, it’s the delivery. They’re all saying the same thing: that people who are just trying to live their lives as God created them aren’t beloved children of that same God; Mohler and his associates just aren’t as open about their feelings as our WBC wannabes are. In other words (stealing a line from The Bard), a turd by any other name still smells like shit.

NC’s Own Westboro Baptist Church?

Yesterday, after a great worship service and breakfast with my friends, I walked out of church to this:20150823_104834

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, beloved, these people are protesting my church. Why? I’m not really sure; I wanted to ask, but they wouldn’t stop preaching at me long enough for me to get a word in. So, I just took the picture, laughed and went on my way.

You might think that this would end there and it probably should. But I’ve never been the object of a protest before and I’ll admit, it left me a little rattled. I mean, it’s one thing to see these jokers on television, or even to drive by them while they spew their bile at whoever they happen to hate at any given moment. But, it’s a little different when it’s you they’re calling “filth” and a “stench in God’s nostrils”. I spent most of yesterday trying to process this before I remembered something Chris Hardwick said: “Comedians make jokes about horrible things because, as humans, this our defense mechanism for trying to process those horrible things and gain power over them.” Now, calling me a comedian might be stretching things a bit and I don’t have a show like Hardwick to work this stuff out.  On the other hand, I am a smart ass with a blog. So, let’s get processing!

A little earlier, I said I didn’t know why these douche canoes decided to picket our church, but that’s not exactly true. Sure, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise when I first saw them, but one look at their sign told me exactly what their problem might be: We’re a welcoming and affirming Baptist church. Really? That’s the best you’ve got? Hell, it’s no secret that we’re cool with folks who are LGBT+; it’s plastered all over our website and we held an anti-Amendment 1 rally a few years ago. Seriously, if you going to go to all the trouble protest someone, do your homework. There are so many other things we do and/or believe that would drive these guys crazy. Like the fact that we don’t use the KJV exclusively, teach from books other than Bible now and then, “encourage” doubt by allowing members to ask questions, occasionally have secular music during service and, perhaps worst of all, allow women in positions of leadership. I’m sorry, fellows, but this was just lazy activism.

I’m not sure exactly who they are or where they’re from because, when I finally got a chance to talk to them, they wouldn’t say. All they’d cop to was that they weren’t local. Whether that’s because they’ve been threatened with violence or are afraid someone might show up and protest at their church (as so many people have done to those trolls at Westboro Baptist Church), I couldn’t say. But, it seems to me that if this is the case, you might want to reconsider your message.

Interestingly, these folks staged their “protest” right beside a sign that reads, “Where loving God means loving people.” And, when I say “right beside”, I mean that literally: they were like 10 feet away from it. So, let me get this straight, you’re spewing hate in God’s name while standing next to a sign that references a passage from the Bible? Sadly, the irony of it all seemed to be lost on them. Of course, that reference wasn’t taken directly from the Authorized King James Version of 1611, so maybe they were confused.

Their sign lists Hebrews 12:8 as a reference for their claim that people who are LGBT+ are nothing but bastards. But, let’s look at that passage and see what it says:But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters.” Hmm, nothing about gay folks in there at all. To be fair, though, when I finally got a chance to have a bit of conversation with our visitors, one of them said that they weren’t just talking about homosexuality, but “all sin”: fornicators, liars, thieves, porn watchers like he “used to be”(that’s what he said, I’m not questioning his honesty there), etc. In other words, we’re all bastards. And, while this does seem to echo Will Campbell’s “Gospel in 7 words“, he forgets the most important part: yes, we are all bastards, but God loves us anyway.

I have to say, however, that just talking to these guys was exhausting because they couldn’t say three words in row without it turning into a sermon. And, the hostility? It came off of them in waves. But, I’m proud of my church family, because they didn’t let those ugly signs and the toxic theology get to them. Our pastor invited them in for breakfast and offered them some water (for a heathenous false teacher leading us all straight to hell, he’s not a bad guy).  And, one of the ladies who prepared breakfast took some food and water out to them; they wouldn’t touch it, though. Maybe they were afraid some “gay” might’ve gotten on it, I don’t know. Of course, it probably didn’t help that when she took out to them, she tipped her head at one of them and sweetly asked the other, “Is he your partner?”

I find it interesting that these people were quoting the Bible and “calling out sin”, but seemed to be completely ignorant of Matthew 7:1-2. You  know the one that says, “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you.” Or, James 4:12, who said “There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you?” Funny how that works, huh?

I’m not sure what their endgame was, but I suspect that, on some level, they hoped that all their preaching, sign-holding and Bible-waving would cause us all to see the error of our ways and we’d fall to our knees and ask God’s forgiveness. Or, failing that, maybe some college student would hear their “message” and turn from the life of depravity that they had been living. Yes, because nothing brings a person to God quicker than the knowledge that God “hates” them and wants them to burn in Hell for living the life God created them to live in the first place. That is such a compelling argument.

Okay, this thing is getting a little out of hand, so I’ll close with something my son, Parker, had to say about the whole thing: “If you have protesters outside your church, completely unprovoked, you must be doing something right.” That’s the way I’m looking at it, anyway.

The Dumbest Thing On The Internet

I’m thinking about starting a new feature called “Dumbest Thing On The Internet”. If that happens, this will most likely be the inaugural piece. 

citizenship-oath

It appears that some folks are a little upset over a recent change in the United States Oath of Allegiance. claiming it was done to comply with Sharia law. According to the latest from the tinfoil hat crowd, this is a problem because “Islamic supremacists” (that’s a new one) could “feign loyalty to non-Muslim “infidel” authorities”. These new changes will allow them to carry on their pretense without fear of having to live up to their oath. Yes, because that makes so much sense.

Wherever did I find this jewel of a conspiracy theory? In an article from the Breaking Israel News website, titled “Obama Alters U.S. Oath of Allegiance in Compliance with Islamic Law“, that’s where. You might think something this crazy sounding would be a one-off, only showing up on that one site. If so, you really don’t know the internet. Google that shit and you’ll get page after page of unfiltered, batcrap crazy.

Before we get into all that nuttery, let’s take a look at these changes to the oath. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. The new guidance clarifies that a candidate:

  • May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
  • Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
  • May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

That’s pretty much it.  As you can see, it’s not a sinister plot to help Muslims bring about an American caliphate, just a change that reinforces new citizens’ right to conscientiously object the same as natural-born ones. I’m not sure how this morphed into Obama instituting Sharia law. I guess it comes with the territory when you’ve lost your god-damned mind due to Obama Derangement Syndrome.

As I read this article, I was thinking, “Holy shit, this is some whacked out stuff”, but I didn’t really see a way to use it here at The Progressive Redneck. Then, I found it: the first item in the criteria says that a candidate may request a modification based religious belief or conscientious objection “arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.” Hmm, I thought, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before? Oh yeah, in all those damn “religious freedom” laws conservatives have been shoving down our throats in the last couple of years. We all knew this “religious freedom” was just for Christians, but now it looks like it doesn’t have jack shit to do with actual freedom either.

Why do I say that? Because the same conservatives who demand we acquiesce to their temper tantrum respect people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” on marriage are pissed off because the oath of allegiance now includes a couple of changes that actually respect the “deeply held religious beliefs” of some of this country’s newest citizens; who, incidentally, might not be Christian. That is some Grade A hypocrisy, right there.

Am I being a little hard on folks who believe this shit? Maybe. Okay, probably. But, I’m a little short-tempered because we’re 7 years into Obama’s presidency and people still believe he’s a secret Muslim. Seriously? Okay, so maybe he doesn’t wave his faith in everyone’s face like some of our leaders have (I’m looking at you, G. W.), but he doesn’t hide it either. Of course, this disconnect on the president’s faith most likely arises from two sources: 1) while he may be a Christian, he’s a progressive one. And, we all know that progressive Christians aren’t really Christians. 2) “Muslim” is a code word. And, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you what for.

So, yeah, I’ve been a little harsh and dismissive of people who believe some things I find ridiculous. And, believe it or not, that does bother me. I’ve spent hours struggling over this post, worrying that it’s too mean, doesn’t adequately respect the beliefs of others, etc. I don’t like being an asshole (although that does seem to be my default setting) and try to avoid it as much as I can. Okay, saying I don’t like being an overt asshole is probably closer to the truth, but shit like this riles me up. I console myself with the fact that when Jesus got riled up, he could be an asshole, too.