My response to This Modest Mom

A blog by the name of This Modest Mom recently published a post about canceling a $6,000 vacation to Disney World over a same-sex moment in the upcoming live-action version of Beauty and The Beast. After she received hundreds of responses that she deemed “hate mail,” she wrote a response defending her views as being neither homophobic or unreasonable. I was unable to post a response on her blog due to a server error, so I wanted to share it here in the hopes that she might run across it one day.

​Perhaps the reason people are singling out your anti-LGBT comments is because you made a point to focus on that issue in your last post. It’s in the title for goodness sake!

As someone who grew up Pentecostal, I would venture you are of the same background based on your appearance. I am also gay. I understand how strongly most Pentecostal people feel about homosexuality, but your “boycott” of Disney feels more like a convenient way of getting attention than a personal conviction.

After all, if you use Google, Facebook, or WordPress, you are utilizing companies that strongly support LGBT causes. Heck, the company that makes the phone you use most likely spends vast amounts of time and money promoting equality. It seems a bit hypocritical to pick and choose which companies you refuse to do business with, especially when your trip to Disney was an unnecessary vacation that would have cost you several thousand dollars.

While I am sure you are a nice person who is simply trying to do the “right” thing, I hope that one day you will wake up and realize just how wrong you are. You are on the wrong side of history, and you ignore the most basic tenets of Christianity while attempting to live a Christian life. It’s all about love, really, and if you can’t love and accept those who are different, then I don’t know how much you truly know about Christ.

Different

Although you were several years my senior
There was an awkward kinship between us
An unspoken acknowledgement
Both swimming against the tide
Of social constructs around masculinity and gender

Once, while being being chastised for having long hair
And being called “effeminate”
I used you as an example
Of a Christian who seemed both gay and femme
I was sternly corrected with
“He’s just different”

Several years later
After I had come to terms with my own sexuality
I ran into you at a local gay bar
We shook hands
Both seemingly relieved that the pretenses
Were no longer necessary

I heard things about you through
The Gospel Grapevine
Religious tongue-waggers
With nothing better to do than
Ridicule those who are different

About your failed attempts at relationships
How you ultimately joined the Catholic faith
And devoted yourself to it
Much like a priest shelters himself inside the Church
To hide from his perverse inclinations
You probably felt you had a sickness
That you needed to protect yourself from

But you should have known that you
Like everyone else
Were fearfully and wonderfully made
And deserving of God’s love and acceptance
Whether or not God’s children ever gave you either

I heard you passed away the other day
And the thing that bothers me so much
The one question that nags at me is
Were you ever truly happy with yourself?

I hope so…

Hate replaces hope

I kept hoping someone would pinch me and wake up me from the horrible nightmare last night. It just didn’t seem like real life.

Honey and I finally gave up on the dire-looking election results and went to bed with heavy hearts. I tried to go to sleep, but just kept lying there imagining all the terrible scenarios that could happen under a Trump presidency. Adrenalin coursed through my veins as I considered his mental instability and his coming access to nuclear weapons.

I awoke in the early morning hours to check my phone, hoping for a miracle, only to be terribly disappointed. Donald Trump was officially president-elect.

How could America choose this man? Isn’t good always supposed to triumph over evil?

I have been hearing chatter from Christians for months about how terrible Hillary Clinton is, all the while excusing Donald Trump’s reprehensible behavior because he is a “baby Christian.” That is complete bullshit.

Isn’t good always supposed to triumph over evil?

Donald Trump embodies everything that is wrong about this country. Greed, pride, sexism, misogyny, racism, adultery, sexual assault, and dishonesty all while pretending to be a follower of Christ. Nothing about him reflects the beliefs of Jesus.

Hillary Clinton is a life-long Methodist who subscribes to the mantra of her faith, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

She has spent her life helping the poor and sick, working for more access to childcare and healthcare, and promoting education and equality for people from all walks of life.

She isn’t without her flaws (are any of us?), but she has stood the test of time and proven that she will never back down when the going gets tough.

All of this is why I am so blown away when Christians say Donald Trump is the better choice.

If abortion is your main issue with Clinton, then remember that Donald Trump was pro-choice until he started running for president.

If gay marriage and equality is your main issue with Clinton, then remember that Donald Trump was for gay civil unions before he started running for president. He was even seen waving a gay pride flag onstage a few weeks ago, and he claims no other candidate would be as good for the gay community as he will be.

I really don’t care about either candidates religious views, but I DO care about idiots who make their voting selections based on a very narrow view of which candidate most fits with their religious ideology – as if that should somehow supersede every other important issue (like climate change, war, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and helping the economy). There is much more at stake in this country than whether your candidate matches your religious beliefs. Anyway, ever heard of separation of church and state?

I can’t help but feel completely depressed over the election results. It feels like everything President Obama accomplished over the past 8 years will be wiped clean, and that the country will revert back 50 years. Women’s rights will be decimated. People of color will feel less safe in our country. The LGBT community can only live in fear of when our gains will be reversed.

Obama gave us hope; Trump gives us hate.

Religion: You’re doing it wrong

Over the past several years, I have went through quite a cycle in my life with regard to religion. Even while attending church off and on, I have never been able to successfully drown out the nagging questions I have always had about anything to do with faith and its practices. But it has only been over the past couple of years that I have developed such a distaste for religion that overcoming those questions has transitioned from unlikely to nearly impossible.

It has gotten to the point where I view religion as my enemy. The loudest opponents to equality and rights for the LGBT community in America typically consider themselves to be conservative Christians (the liberal Christian is a rare bird, indeed). Most days, after a glance at the news, I spend much of my time feeling helpless and angry.

I get angry when I hear that American Christians and their Republican counterparts are funding and fanning the flames of homophobia in Uganda – where things have gotten so bad that the average Ugandan believes lesbians should be raped and gay men should be killed.

I get angry when I hear that Josh Duggar has molested multiple girls much younger than himself (including his sisters), yet his mother made robocalls last year to tell everyone to vote down a non-discrimination act for transgendered people, wherein she said men would dress as women to get into women’s restrooms to molest little girls.

I get angry when someone I have never met comes on this blog and posts a comment saying I will be “anally raped by the Devil himself in hell,” and then threatens to kill me.

I get angry when the Vatican says Ireland’s recent vote for marriage equality was a “defeat for humanity.” One would think they would direct their outrage at child-touching priests instead of consenting adults who simply want to get married.

I get angry when Christians habitually discriminate against anyone that doesn’t fit their narrow, bigoted view, and then scream about religious oppression when they get called out on it.

So, when I stop to get gas and the store is playing contemporary Christian music over the loudspeakers, I roll my eyes. When I see parking lots full of church attendees, I feel nothing but contempt. When I hear someone ask for prayer over the most mundane thing possible, I cringe. I don’t hear or see genuine faith in action; I see weak minds and pettiness. I don’t see unconditional love or people helping the poor; I see people who are most likely spending their time and money to work against the very things I want out of life. I see enemies of equality and freedom, and enemies of myself.

There are good Christians and there are bad ones, but even the good Christians I know are usually perfectly content to be ignorant of anything outside their bubble-shaped world. For example, I recently had someone ask me why certain gay men like to dress as women, but as I tried to explain drag queens, they became overwhelmed and said they didn’t want to hear about it. If you don’t want to know, then don’t ask.

The more time goes by, the more I find myself agreeing with the old quote, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Casting stones

Each day, when I browse the news and look at social media, I see countless stories concerning religion that make me sick at heart. Whether it is someone committing mass murder in the name of Islam, a “Christian” refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple, or a politician trying to appeal to his conservative base by making disparaging remarks about same-sex marriage, it all makes me completely disgusted with religion.

The only problems I have ever had from being openly gay are because of people who have been blinded by their religion. I have had people tell me I am going to hell. People who have given me books about how God can make me straight. Family members who refuse to be around my partner at family functions. Anonymous people who have harassed me and called me names online. People I know who have done the same.

The common denominator between all of these activities has been religion. Specifically Christianity. How someone can follow Christ and know anything about him, yet allow bigotry and hatred to overcome their thoughts and actions is unconscionable.

I am glad I am gay, mainly because I have had to question things that some take for granted. It has made life more difficult, but I feel like I can see things more clearly than so many who use their faith as shields while they throw stones at anyone they deem abnormal and unworthy of love.

Christian agnostic

I am writing for the Christian agnostic, by which I mean a person who is immensely attracted by Christ and who seeks to show his spirit, to meet the challenges, hardships, and sorrows of life in the light of that spirit, but who, though he is sure of many Christian truths, feels that he cannot honestly and conscientiously ‘sign on the dotted line’ that he believes certain theological ideas about what some branches of the Church dogmatize.

Leslie D. Weatherhead, ‘The Christian Agnostic’

HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ and childhood trauma

HBO’s new series, The Leftovers, looks very intriguing. And a little scary. After roughly 2% of the world’s population disappears in a rapture-like event, the show follows what happens to those who remain behind. This reminds me a bit too much of the movies I was forced to watch as a child while attending a Southern Baptist school.

I grew up without television, so when our teachers decided to show us a movie it was usually a treat. Not only did we get to feast our hungry eyes upon delicious cartoons like Bambi, we got to skip the monotony of classroom activities. Unfortunately, the movie selection wasn’t always so innocuous.

While still in elementary school, we were shown A Thief In The Night and A Distant Thunder – films that detailed the Rapture and the horrifying events that followed. These movies not only showed people being forced to receive the Mark of the Beast, but what would happen to those who refused. The first movie in the series had a particularly haunting song that is stuck in my head to this very day.

There’s no time to change your mind; the Son has come and you’ve been left behind. I wish we’d all been ready.
Children died, the days grew cold. A piece of bread would buy a bag of gold. I wish we’d all been ready.

Because the Holiness church had taught me nothing about the Rapture but everything about what would happen in the End Times, I knew I would be one of those who was left behind to either take the Mark or be put to death. I wept hysterically throughout both films, so much so that my teacher mistook my tears for a desire to be born again. She led me in prayer a couple of times, but soon realized she was getting nowhere and told me to talk it over with my parents when I got home.

Needless to say, it was a traumatizing experience. Almost as bad as the time my aunt and uncle (also Baptists) showed my family a video of people dying in car accidents and going to hell. Good times.

So, it is with trepidation that I am actually looking forward to watching The Leftovers. Hopefully I have watched enough horror movies and reality television over the past 20 years to desensitize myself.