Category Archives: Progressive

No Homosexual Lifestyle???

In August of last year, the darling of the progressive Christian world, John Pavlovitz, wrote a post titled Repeat After Me: “There is No Such Thing as a “Homosexual Lifestyle.”  What?!? No homosexual lifestyle? I find that hard to believe. I mean, if there’s no “homosexual lifestyle”, that means I’ve been an asshole for absolutely no reason whatsoever. That is a turn of events I just cannot accept.

Look, there are numerous places where the Bible plainly states homosexuality is a sin. Here are a few of those places:

  • In Leviticus 18:22, God told Moses that men shouldn’t lie with men as they do with women because that is an abomination. Of course, a few chapters earlier, God also told Moses that the people shouldn’t eat pork and shrimp. But, I love pork and shrimp, so I ignore that part. Thank you, God, for the miracle of proof-texting!
  • In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul said that “homosexuals” won’t “inherit the kingdom of God”. Yes, I know the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the Bible until the middle of the 20th century. But, the words that have been rendered as “homosexual” are slang terms and we really don’t know what they mean. But, hey, if we don’t know what Paul meant, what’s wrong with interpreting it in a way that benefits us “normal”, straight folks?
  • In Romans 1:26-28, Paul tells us that men and women gave up natural, God-ordained relations and defiled themselves with icky, same-sex shenanigans and were promptly punished for it. Sure, in the very next chapter, Paul tells us that God condemns the kind of judgement he just threw out, but that doesn’t help my case, so I’m ignoring it.

Seriously, is this man, this “pastor”, trying to tell me that my deeply held religious belief about the homosexuals, based on a Bible verses that have been few proof-texted and cherry-picked within an inch of their life, is wrong? Really?

According to Pavlovitz, “We all have a gender identity and a sexual orientation and these things all fall along a vast and complicated continuum. It is this specific combination of both how we see ourselves and who we are drawn to that form this essential part of who we are.” Oh, come on, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation”? Everyone knows God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And, Eve was always Eve, not Steve who decided he was Eve. No less an authority than the Southern Baptist Convention backs this up in their resolution “On Transgender Identity”. How could that many Baptists be wrong about something like this?

He also says that the Christians are holding onto “the prejudices and fears our faith inherited 3500 years ago when we didn’t know what we know now” and is “deliberately choosing to not know now; preferring religion to reality”. Well, of course we are. Otherwise we might have to change. And, if there’s one thing we don’t do very well, it’s change.

Look, the bottom line is that accepting homosexuality as innate and not a “lifestyle” is just another step onto the slippery slope that will ultimately lead Christians to live by the teachings of Jesus and start loving our neighbor and turning the other cheek. God only knows where that could lead.

2016: The Year In Review

This has been my mantra for the year.

Well, beloved, we’ve come to the end of another year, which means we’re about to be inundated with “Year in Review” posts/articles/programs. And, yes, I’m doing one, too. “Year in Review” posts aren’t what you’d call a regular feature here. Unlike my annual Thanksgiving posts, I haven’t written one of these since 2012. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s not like the past four years have been uneventful or anything. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m writing this one. Probably because I figure a post about 2016 will get some views and, like all writers, I’m a bit of an attention whore.

The consensus view seems to be that 2016 has been a rather shitty year. After all, it’s seen:

  • An orange-hued shit demon take advantage of the pain and fear of a large swath of the country to become President of the United States,
  • A bunch of idiotic yahoos in my home state of North Carolina pass an obviously discriminatory law and then commit political suicide by standing behind it in the face of overwhelming opposition both in the state and abroad,
  • The most deadly mass shooting in U. S. history, in which 49 people were killed because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression.
  • Unarmed black men shot down by the police, mostly for the crime of just being black (that’s not new, but it was a big part of this past year).
  • An election that may have hacked by the Russians. At the very least, they influenced the voting toward the candidate they preferred.
  • And the death of a beloved celebrity every time we turned around.

Not exactly the best year on record, huh?

Still, it hasn’t been all bad. 2016 has also seen:

  • Working class people find a new (unlikely) champion in a 78 year old Jewish socialist. Now, if the Democratic Party (who likes to think of itself as “the party of the people”) would just get on board.
  • An announcement that Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman would be replacing former president (and slaveholder) Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. This is good because not only was Jackson was a slave owner, he was an asshole.
  • Jabba the Hut stunt double, Roger Ailes, resign as chairman and CEO of FoxNews. Ailes did so amidst a hail of accusations that he has a proclivity for making lewd remarks and/or advances to his female employees. And, punishing them when they reject him.
  • Pat McCrory lose his job as Governor of North Carolina to Roy Cooper. The best part is that McCrory engineered his own downfall with the hated HB 2, which was actually supposed to hurt his opponent, Cooper. Ain’t karma a bitch?
  • Samantha Bee debut her most excellent show, Full Frontal, on TBS. Bee, smart woman that she is, blew off the industry standard  live interview portion of the news parody format and stuck with her strength, scathing, intelligent satire. And, the television world is better for it.
  • A new Star Wars movie come out. It’s called “Rogue  One” if you’ve been living under a rock. I’m going to see this weekend and I can’t think of a better way to ring out this year.

Do these things offset losing David Bowie and Carrie Fisher in the same year? Probably not, but you’ve got to accentuate the positive. Even when the positive is not all that great.

It’s been said that 2016 has been the worst year ever. But, the truth is, it hasn’t. Not by a long shot. We’re not engaged in a global conflagration, an entire race isn’t in the process of being exterminated, there isn’t a plague killing off a significant portion of humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s been fun and I’d like to do it again. Just that it’s not been that bad. Hey, most of us even survived it. I’m not giving odds on 2017, though. I have a feeling it’s going to be a motherfucker.

10 Things You Can’t Do And Call Yourself A Progressive Christian

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An example of #3

The Progressive Edition

A certain popular progressive Christian blogger has made a name for himself with a series of posts titled “10 Things You Can’t _________”. These lists make some really good points, but I have a slight problem with them: they’re all directed at conservative, evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christians. That’s a problem for me  because it smacks of the “Not all Christians” thing. God knows progressive Christians aren’t saints, however much we’d like to think otherwise. So, I came up with my own list. And, I’ll go ahead and say you probably aren’t going to like it.

  1. You can’t call Trump supporters “deplorables”. Or “racists”, or “ignorant”, or any of the other epithets that get thrown at them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and I’m pretty sure telling someone that they’re “deplorable” isn’t what he’d consider “loving”.
  2. You can’t tell everyone “I can’t vote for him/her. I’m voting my conscience.” Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you can’t vote your conscience, just that you can’t be a condescending ass about it. Because, no matter what you think you think, that’s the way you come across when you say this. The same goes for “Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.”
  3. You can’t call people out for taking advantage of “white privilege” while doing the same thing yourself. See #2 above.
  4.  You can’t pontificate on what you’d do if ________. What I’m talking about here is something I wrote about last week. I’ve seen several progressive bloggers write about what they’d do if one of their kids turned out to LGBTQ. It’s the “if” that’s the problem here. If you don’t have a gay kid (or have any kids at all), shut the fuck up and let people who actually live this reality talk about it.
  5. You can’t put words in people’s mouths. Or thoughts, or ideas, or pretty much anything else. It’s wrong. Don’t think progressives do this? Tell you what, google “progressive Christian memes” and then we’ll talk.
  6. You can’t marginalize people because of they lack the “proper” educational credentials. Don’t think this is happening? Take a look at the roster of speakers at any progressive Christian event. I can almost guarantee you won’t find anyone who doesn’t at least have a masters degree. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against education. Hell, I’m going into some serious debt right now because I believe in it so much. But, progressive Christianity has to open it’s eyes and see that there are people out here who have important things to say that are being ignored because they don’t have any letters after their name.
  7. You can’t attack everything a person believes in. This is less about the message than the way you present it. Granted, some of the things Christians believe need to be challenged because they are, to put bluntly, fucked up. But, going all “scorched earth” on a conservative Christian’s belief that “the homosexual lifestyle” is a sin won’t get you where you want to go. Unless where you want to go is making yourself feel superior to “those people”. If that’s the case, you are definitely on the right track.
  8. You can’t block people on social media because you don’t like what they say. It goes back to that “love your neighbor” bit. Is it hard? God damn right it is. But, I think that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said “Take up your cross and follow me.”
  9. You can’t be a condescending douche. If you’re thinking most of the items on this list are covered in this point, you’re right. This attitude of theological and moral superiority (that borders on arrogance) may be progressive Christianity’s greatest sin. Don’t you think it’s about time we started working on it.
  10. And, last, you can’t make lists telling people what they can and can’t do as a Christian. This pretty much negates everything I’ve said up to now and that’s the point. I don’t think we get to be the arbiter of what is “Christian” and what isn’t. It really gets on my nerves when some hard-core conservative tells me that I’m not a Christian because I believe in full inclusion, reject the idea of Hell, that I’m “pro-life”, etc. Doing the same thing to them seems kind of shitty.

An Open Letter About My LGBT Kid

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My son, Parker, enjoying his first beer. Okay, his first “legal” beer.

Lately, I’ve seen a few straight progressive bloggers write about parenting children who are LGBT. It might be speculation about how the author would react to the news that one of their kids is gay. Or, it could be an open letter telling parents what they should say to their LGBT kid. As the parent of a child who is part of the “T” portion (see photo at left) of that acronym, I thought I’d respond to this new blogging phenomenon. And what better way to do it than an open letter! I mean, they’re so effective.

 

 

Dear Progressive Bloggers,

     First, I want to thank you for your concern about my son and his well-being; not everyone feels that way. Here in North Carolina, we are dealing with a law that can put him in harm’s way whenever he’s out. And, I have seen some truly awful things said about him and other folks who are LGBT, so please be assured that your good intentions are appreciated.
     But there is a problem. You see, so much of what I read about parenting a child who is LGBT seems to be written by folks who either don’t have a kid who’s gay or they don’t have any kids at all.  Now, while I appreciate your interest in my child’s welfare, I have to let you know that any advice you might have to offer on how raise/relate to him makes me laugh. Honestly, you’re almost as funny as parents-to-be who claim they won’t let their child watch television because, “The TV isn’t a babysitter” (FTR, the TV is a great babysitter, it’s how most parents of toddlers get things done). And, your words carrying about as much weight.
     I find it interesting that actually having a kid who is lesbian, gay, bi, or trans  doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite for penning an article letting those of us in the trenches know just how we’re fucking up. Granted, many of us may not have those fancy letters after our name (MDiv, DD, etc.), but amazingly, we have managed to raise healthy, happy, astoundingly queer offspring without the benefit of your education, status and/or stature within the progressive community. Isn’t that crazy?
     Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, this letter has certainly taken an ugly turn.” Yes, it has. And, you should probably grab hold of something because it’s about to worse.
     I don’t presume to speak for all parents who have an LGBT child, but I have had it up to here with sanctimonious, educated-beyond-their-intelligence, progressive preachers (because, no matter what you think, you’re not acting very pastoral here) telling me how to care for my son when they have zero skin in the game. Unless and until you’ve dealt with all the crap that comes with having a kid who is LGBTQ, your words don’t mean shit to me.
     I can hear some of you now, “But, Joel, we’re not talking to open-minded, progressive parents like you. We’re trying to reach those awful conservatives who have done so much harm to young people who are LGBTQQIP2SAA.” I hate to break to you, Skippy, but you ain’t reaching them. And, if by some weird chance they did click on your post, they wouldn’t make it past the first sentence of your holier-than-thou bullshit. Take it from someone who used to be one of those “awful conservatives”, words like “empowerment”, “parenting mantras” and that ridiculously ever expanding acronym used a couple of sentences ago are a one-way ticket to Ignoresville.
     So, what should you do? The same thing you tell those of us among the Great Unwashed to do when the conversation turns to issues other marginalized groups deal with: sit down, shut the fuck up and listen. And, if you want to do more, amplify the voices of people actually dealing with those issues. Because, right now? You’re just a “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal”.

DNC 2016: Hey, At Least We Aren’t Insane

     Well, the Democratic National Convention wound up last night and I have to say, from a comedy standpoint, it was boring as fuck. To be fair, though, it did have a hard act to follow. But then, next to the shitstorm that blew through Cleveland last week, “Blazing Saddles” (widely acknowledged as one of the funniest movies of all time) would seem like a big yawn. Of course, comedy isn’t everything and from a “save the damn country” outlook,  DNC 2016 was awesome.
     That’s not to say, however, that the event was devoid of whimsy. From Corey Booker’s address being totally overshadowed by the First Lady, to Hillary’s thorough lambasting of The Donald last night, there were some decent moments. As I did with the Republican’s soirée earlier this week, I’d like to offer a few observations on Hillary’s coming out party.
     As I mentioned just a minute ago, Corey Booker gave the speech of his life Monday night. It should have been his moment in the sun, his “Obama in ’04” moment. Unfortunately, he was completely upstaged by Michelle Obama. To be fair, he wasn’t the only one; no one seems to remember what came before or after Michelle’s address. Diana pointed out the Republicans didn’t offer any young, up and coming voices a chance to shine on the national stage. I said that’s because Trump didn’t want share the spotlight with anyone. It may be a moot point, though. I mean, if Trump wins, there may be another election for any young, up and coming voices to take part in.
     A recurring theme throughout the convention was that Hillary is first female nominee for president. Yeah, about that.., Hillary is the first woman to nominated by a major party. You see, the actual “First Woman Presidential Nominee” was Victoria Woodhull who was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872. I’m not trying to take away from Hillary’s accomplishment, but Woodhull was nominated for the highest office in the land 52 years before women were even granted the right to vote. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn impressive.
     The DNC wasn’t without its drama, either. Monday night was punctuated by a goodly amount of booing. It seems that some Sanders supporters who were singularly unhappy with the outcome of the Democratic primaries. They were even more unhappy when Sarah Silverman told them they were being ridiculous.  Several Bernie or Bust folks took to Twitter, renaming her “Sarah Sellout”. Why, that’s not ridiculous at all!
     But, the drama didn’t end there. When Bernie took the stage in an attempt to heal the rift between the factions, his full-throated endorsement of Clinton reduced many of his supporters to tears. And then, on Tuesday, when Sanders himself moved to nominate Clinton by acclamation and turned all his delegates over to her, many of those delegates walked out. Well, that’s mature.
I’m thinking all of the upset over Clinton’s nomination is best summed up by Seth Meyers: “We don’t have time for this. Donald Trump is ahead in the polls. The house is on fire, stop crying because we’re not putting it out with your hose!”
     Just as Clinton was a frequent target of speakers at the RNC, Trump wasmentioned frequently this week in Philadelphia. And, Hillary in particular didn’t spare his feelings. She questioned his temperament, intelligence, ego and general ability to lead in her address. At one point, she shared this direct quote from the short-fingered vulgarian: I know more about ISIS than the generals do”, replying “No, Donald, you don’t.” The criticism he had already received during the convention had driven Trump to the brink of violence. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to this.
     Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the convention is the reaction of some Republicans. Basically, Republicans are stunned and appalled that Democrats have seized the ground that their party abandoned this election cycle. Sorry folks, but that’s what happens when you nominate a narcissistic troll for President.
     Another unhappy Republican said that they heard “a lot more about God and faith at the DNC than the RNC”. Yeah, the RNC didn’t exactly set a high bar for “God and faith”. Other than an overtly partisan speech and prayer by a prosperity gospel preacher, I’m not sure God got mentioned there at all. At the DNC, however, the Almighty was mentioned numerous times.  Most notably by North Carolina’s own Rev. William Barber, called “one of the nation’s most powerful voices” by the Huffington Post. I could write pages on Rev. Barber, but it’d be better if you watched the speech.
     So, both parties have had their big “Look at us!” moments and the slate is set. This time around, we get to choose between a Terminator disguised as a grandmother and opening the seventh seal and ushering the apocalypse. All I can say is “Go Cyberdyne Systems”.

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.

What I’ve Learned In 55 Years

Actually, my birthday is tomorrow. But, I didn't like any of those memes, so...
Actually, my birthday is tomorrow. But, I didn’t like any of those memes, so…

In the days surrounding my birthday, I usually write something about questions I might have or make smart-ass comments about aging. This year, I decided to something a little different. In honor of turning 55, I want to share some of my accumulated wisdom with you folks. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

In my 55 years on this Earth, I have learned that:

  • While you have to age, you don’t have to get old. “Age” is the chronological record of how long you’ve been alive. “Old” is a way of thinking; a mindset, if you will. You can be that old fart standing on his porch, yelling, “Get off my lawn!” or you can be that really cool lady who’s been places and seen things and loves sharing those experiences with other, younger folks who haven’t. It’s your choice.
  • All too many people my age haven’t actually taken the time to get to know any Millenials. If they did, they wouldn’t post so much ignorant shit about them. I’ve raised two children from that generation and count among my friends many others. And, I can say with all sincerity, they are an amazing group of people; they just don’t approach things the way we do. Considering our track record, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
  • There is a definite limit on my tolerance for political bullshit. And, it was reached sometime around December of last year. Trump is a nightmare come to life, Hillary is terrible campaigner (not to mention a mediocre candidate) and Bernie is not going to pull off an upset in Philadelphia. I’m afraid this going to be a long, long summer.
  • Being a grandfather is the shit It’s all the fun and none of the responsibility! In fact, if I’d known how great it was, I’d have skipped being a dad and gone straight to granddad. Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. But, it should, damn it. It should.
  • The utter douchery of maledom can still surprise me. After all these years on the planet, you might think I’d be prepared for decision like the one handed down in the Stanford rape case. If you did, you’d be oh so wrong.
  • Joe Biden is a damn good man. In fact, he may be the best man who has ever held elected office in this country. Why do I say that? Read his letter to the Stanford rape victim and see.
  • Embracing something you’ve run from is incredibly freeing. For most of my life, I lived in denial of my inherent (and innate) nerdiness. A few years ago, I finally accepted the truth and took up the mantle of “nerd” with gusto. I’m haven’t looked back and I don’t intend to. Ever.
  • Progressives can be just as shitty and close-minded as conservatives. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, look at  the rhetoric of some Bernie Sanders supporters. Basically, they say “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” That sounds an awful lot like something Bush43 said about his “War on Terror”, which is something that should give you a significant reason for pause.
  • Some people will say anything for a bit of attention. Like Kevin Swanson, who tells his followers that the Girl Scouts are trying to turn their daughters into lesbians. Or, James Dobson, who recently claimed trans-inclusive bathroom laws are te same as prostituting little girls. Or, pretty much anything  comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.
  • “Choosing the lesser of two evils is still evil” sounds nice, but it’s fucking ridiculous. Life is a daily exercise in “choosing the lesser two evils”. Unless you’re 10 years old, it’s something you should be used to it by now. And, when the greater evil is a walking, talking tire fire who could wreak untold havoc not only on our country, but the world, it’s time to quit whining, put on your big person pants and do whatever is necessary keep him out of a position to wreak that havoc.
  • What you believe doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t influence what you do. In other words, don’t say you believe Jesus is Lord and then shit all over the people he came to save. And, by “people he came to save”, I mean “anyone on the margins of society”. In America, that translates to anyone who’s not straight, white and Christian.

Looking back over this list, I can see that it includes something to offend almost everyone. That brings up something else I’ve learned over the years: As you age,  you care less and less that some people get their panties in a wad over the truth. But, I don’t want to be a dick, so if something here pisses you off, sorry about that. Whether I’m sorry that you decided to get pissed off or I’m sorry that I pissed you off is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Republicans: “HB 2? It’s Not Our Fault”

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From Kevin Siers and the Charlotte Observer

Many of the arguments in favor of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (aka HB 2) sound juvenile at best, paranoid and delusional at worst. We’ve been treated to some really.., let’s say, interesting defenses for what some North Carolinians are calling Hate Bill 2, including mythical bathroom predators and what amounts to grade school whining. To say all this doesn’t us make look good is like calling World War I a minor kerfuffle; i.e. a massive understatement.

I keep telling myself, “It can’t get any worse than this.” And, every I do, you know what happens? It gets worse. Just this week, a candidate for attorney general spoke about the need to “keep our state straight“. Really, y’all, he said that. Out loud. And, in public. Where people could hear him. Now, it’s one thing when a relatively obscure state senator says something so absurd; it’s another when it comes from the man holding the highest elected office in the state.

Recently, our “distinguished” governor Pat McCrory upped the ante on the bat crap crazy dialogue that marks the Republican response to any criticism of HB 2. And, let me just say it rivals any remark he’s made the entire four years he’s been in office. If you follow NC politics at all, you know that’s saying something .

Just a few days ago, the following statement appeared in a New York Times article: “On Thursday, he (McCrory) said he suspected that the entire matter had been orchestrated by Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, to give Democrats an advantage in a tight governor’s race.” Oh, great, the chief executive of our state is in one of the world’s most widely read newspapers sounding like a deranged nutbag.

There are a multitude of problems with the governor’s accusation, not least of which is the fact that he has absolutely nothing with which to back it up; mostly because the whole thing is bullshit. But, he’s also crediting the Democrats with waay more intelligence (not to mention cunning and guile) than they actually have. The only reason we haven’t had 50 years of consecutive Republican rule is that the GOP is even more screwed up. The Democrats may be incompetent, but the Republicans have lost their damn minds.

If you think all this sounds a little crazy, you’re right. That because it doesn’t have anything to do with real reason HB 2 was passed: the thing was actually a ploy to back McCrory’s opponent in the upcoming election, Attorney General Roy Cooper, into a corner where he’d lose important votes no matter which way he went (read the full story here). Unfortunately for the guv and his pals in Raleigh, it’s done just the opposite; the latest polls show Cooper leading the governor by as much as 6%. I don’t know about you, but I find that hilarious.

With any luck, come November, we may get rid of the worst governor we’ve seen in God know how long. If we’re really lucky, we’ll also lose a few of the legislators who have done so much tear down what was once the most progressive state in the South. And that, my friends is one of the few bright spots in this whole sordid mess. Granted, it’s not much of one, but I’m pretty sure it’s about as good as we’re going to get.

Stop Bullying NC!

Bet you can't guess which one of these guys is a bully.
Bet you can’t guess which one of these guys is a bully.

In the days since North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” (aka, House Bill 2), its backers have used no small amount of time, energy and effort to assure us it will not hurt our state’s economy. As HB 2 has been law for almost 3 weeks, I thought I’d take a look at how that notion is holding up.

First, a little background. Two days after he signed HB 2 into law, Governor McCrory’s office issued a press release that said the law would have no effect on NC’s ability to create or recruit new jobs. That same day, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told the Hollywood Reporter that “Businesses will continue to move here, and the businesses that are complaining right now will continue to do business in this great state.” And, on April 8th, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), told reporters at the ribbon cutting of a new VA center in Charlotte that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. Well, okay then.

So, how do things stand now? Well, a few days after Gov. McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law, Lionsgate and A & E, both filming productions here, declared that once those projects are finished, they won’t be back until the law is repealed. Then, on April 5th, PayPal announced that they were backing out of major expansion plans in the Charlotte area, costing that city at least 400 new jobs. And, on April 8th, Bruce Springsteen canceled his show  at the Greensboro Auditorium, resulting in a loss of $100,000 in revenue.

Now, I want to point out something to you. Notice the date of Burr’s comment I mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Now, look at the dates of the companies in the previous one. Do you see it? Our senior senator said that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. after multiple businesses had already stated their intent to leave NC. Or, not come here in the first place. Holy shit, y’all.

Now, lesser politicians would be deterred by this avalanche of bad news and scramble to amend the offending statute, hopefully keeping our state from going completely off the rails economically. But, not our Governor and his partners in crime colleagues. No, these stalwart defenders of women and children stood firm against this onslaught of LGBT oppression, decrying it as…, bullying.

You read that right, beloved; white, Christian cisgender people are complaining that they’re being “bullied”. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) said that he considered Springsteen’s cancellation “a bully tactic” and compared The Boss to a kid who takes his ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way. Walker also said that Justin Bieber was scheduled to perform in Greensboro and that he might attend. Wait, we’ve sent a Belieber to Congress? Shit.

Walker isn’t the only Republican who feels bullied by LGBT activists; Michelle Nix, vice chair of the NC GOP, denounced PayPal’s action as “corporate hypocrisy and bullying” because the company has done business in countries with less than stellar human rights records, especially concerning LGBT issues. Yes, Michelle, pointing out PayPal’s ethical shortcomings is the perfect way to convince them to stay in North Carolina.

What might persuade PayPal and all the other companies who said they’ll pass us by for less backward (and discriminatory) pastures? I’m thinking that if the Republicans who passed HB 2 would stop whining about our state suffering the consequences of their stupidity and repeal this abomination of a law, it might just do the trick. Of course, that would be the smart thing to do, so I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

Looking For The Bright Side Of NC House Bill 2

Or, in this case, an odious, discriminatory law.
Or, in this case, an odious, discriminatory law.

I’ve written quite few posts about NC House Bill 2 of late and they’ve been…, let’s say, “less than complimentary”. As a young man growing up in the South, one of the lessons that was beaten into me that I learned was if I couldn’t say something nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all. Sadly, the ship concerning the latter part of that adage sailed a long time ago. So today, in an attempt to live up to my raisin’, I thought I’d take a shot at finding something nice to say about a law that I have referred to as a steaming pie of discriminatory shit. Something tells me this may not be so easy.

First up, we have to address the fact that HB 2 has rekindled conservatives’ love of laws. I mean, they’ve spent years telling us how laws (of the gun control variety) don’t stop criminals. Now, however, they’re convinced this new one will prevent the awful (and non-existent) threat posed by bathroom predators. It really makes me happy to see my conservative friends embracing law and order once again.
Next up, there’s the way HB 2 has revealed the bigotry that abounds when it comes to LGBT folks, especially the “T’s”. Okay, the fact that folks don’t seem to have a single fucking qualm about shitting on people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and the rest of the alphabet soup that makes up that acronym wasn’t exactly what you’d call a huge  secret. But, every so often, we seem to need reminders that people like to discriminate against those they don’t understand. And, more importantly, that doing so is wrong.
We can’t forget how House Bill 2 has helped shine a light on Republican hypocrisy when it comes to the best way to govern. For years, the GOP has championed small government and local control. But, since they took control in Raleigh 4 years ago, they’ve attempted to take over the operation of Charlotte-Douglas Airport, they did take over Ashville’s water system and changed the make-up of Greensboro’s city council, all without these cities consent or public referendum. Even if you disagree with their methods, you’ve got to admire their chutzpah. Or not. I mean, it is pretty shitty.
Finally, there’s the fact that our esteemed legislators didn’t say anything about religion, freedom or anything else along these lines. This is good because, for once, bigoted assholes aren’t hiding behind their faith while they treat people like shit; they’re hiding behind their wives and children. Is that just as much of a dick move as saying Jesus told you to discriminate? Well, yeah; if anything, it’s an even bigger one. But, at least the J-man is catching a break this time. God knows, he could use one.

Well, would you look at that? Turns out finding the bright side(s) of HB 2 wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I mean, all I had to do was turn my already jaundiced eye on the fetid swamp that is North Carolina politics and look beyond all the bullshit the GOP-dominated General Assembly is spewing to find the actual benefits(?) of House Bill 2. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take multiple showers in what is probably a futile attempt to feel clean again.