Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not "just an opinion"!

I have to say, I am sick and tired of seeing people complain about us "militant gays" over the Chick-Fil-A issue.  The biggest complaint I'm seeing/hearing is how the LGBT community is being intolerant of Cathy's religious views and his "opinion".  When are people going to realize that this goes so far beyond just an opinion or religious view?  As I told NM State Rep David C. Chavez when we met with him this spring, if we were arguing "red or green" (obscure NM chile reference) then sure, a difference in opinion would be acceptable, but we are arguing over the basic civil rights of a group of human beings!  When your opinion or view is used to push an agenda that sets out to harm the LGBT community, it is no longer just an opinion.  Not to mention the fact that the real issue with Chick-Fil-Hate isn't so much the fact that Cathy issued an opinion, but that the company has shelled out millions to organizations who actively work to harm us!  THAT is not "just an opinion", nor is it an issue of religious freedom!  I saw this cartoon online today, and it fits this situation so well!


Thanking Chick Fil A?

Ok, I know it sounds totally insane, but seriously, I do find myself thanking Chick-Fil-A!  Why on earth would I thank a company who funds hate groups by the millions?  Well, here's the deal.  I found myself in quite an activist funk after getting moved and settling in here in Florida.  I helped to organize a candle light vigil, and have had some 1:1 conversations with people about joining GetEQUAL.  But was still not really energized to be doing organizing work again for whatever reason.  The recent brouhaha over Chick-Fil-Hate has really given me the spark I needed to get back in the game!  Yesterday, I joined Occupy Tampa as they Mic Checked a local Chick-Fil-A, then we visited another to hand out handbills to people sitting outside eating.  It was a great time, and I look forward to working with them again!  Now, I have a bit of work to do this week, this weekend, and beyond.  Time to GetEQUAL!  And so thank you, Chick-Fil-A for admitting once and for all that you fund hate groups, and for pushing this activist out of his funk and back into the game!!  See you soon!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is some video of the "Mic Check" from yesterday!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Boy Scouts, chicken sandwiches, and wedding cakes, oh my!

What a week it has been for queers!  We have seen Boy Scouts of American stand strong on their ban on gays;  we have seen Chick-Fil-A's President openly affirm that they are anti-LGBT, and then make a sorry attempt to explain their hate; we have seen Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, CO refuse service to a gay couple in need of a wedding cake.

Out of all the bad, of course, some good has cropped up.  BSA has seen a ton of backlash, including some scouts stepping down, and in at least one case, returning badges in protest of their policy.  Chick-Fil-A has received a ton of press, most of it negative, in response to their "coming out" against LGBT people.  One item I particularly love is the Jim Henson Company announcing they will no longer partner with Chick-Fil-A.  We will have to see what is in store for the Colorado bakery, but have already seen a ton of negative reviews popping up over on Yelp.

Do these organizations, like churches who practice discrimination, cause harm?  Absolutely!  Take Boy Scouts of America, for instance.  Meet Johnny.  Johnny is a young man in Boy Scouts.  Johnny is also dealing with feelings inside that scare and confuse him.  Johnny thinks he might be gay.  Johnny's parents have always taught him that all people are equal and that it is not ok to bully or discriminate against someone because of the color of their skin, or who they might love.  Johnny's parents also love that he is a Scout.  They feel that the good done by BSA outweighs the bad they do with the ban on gays and atheists.  They don't discuss this issue with Johnny because they don't want him to have bad thoughts or impressions of BSA.  Johnny saw something in the paper about the issue though.  He also overheard some other Scouts joking about the "fags" who can't join them.  Johnny, dealing with his own internal issues, will not discuss this with his parents or any of his friends, that might make people realize what he is.  So Johnny is very confused.  It is wrong to discriminate.  But BSA is GOOD and they discriminate, so does that mean that it's ok to discriminate just against gays and atheists?  Or does it mean that it's really not that bad to discriminate against gays because they really aren't equal?  Poor Johnny.

Bad move for these three!  You would think they would know better in today's day and age.  When attempted boycotts of Starbuck's, JC Penney, and Kraft Foods by Bigoted Mothers and Others have failed miserably and actually backfired on them, why would they want to make a firm stance against equality?

Bottom line is that if you support organizations, Churches, or businesses that discriminate against people (whatever the reason), you, whether you want to or not, are indirectly supporting that discrimination.  The Chicken Sandwich you eat today can help fund a harmful reparative therapy session for an already scared and hurting child.  The cake or pie you buy could allow a bigoted businessman to continue to refuse service to gays, also teaching children in the community that gay is bad!  The dues you pay to keep your child in Boy Scouts help fund an organization that teaches children that some people are not worthy of equal treatment, that to be different, to break out of the mold is bad: think, look, pray, and love like we do or you are scum!

If BSA, Chick-Fil-A, and this bakery were to have refused service, banned, or said hateful things about people based on their race, sex, or religious affiliation, more people would be up in arms against them!  Society as a whole would not stand for such things, even if done by a "private organization" or "private company."  Too many people tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to discrimination against LGBT people when they wouldn't if it were a different situation.  That, in my opinion, is actually more immoral than the discrimination taking place to begin with.  As MLK said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Limbaugh and Bane

So Rush Limbaugh's latest rant is over the new Batman movie's use of the villain Bane.  He asserts that this is a liberal conspiracy to plant seeds of doubt in more minds against Mitt Romney (Bane Capital).  Never mind that the script for this movie was written years ago.  Is this typical Limbaugh lunacy?

Limbaugh isn't totally off his rocker, you know. Bane could have been placed in the new Batman movie as a villain as a conspiracy against Romney... EVEN THOUGH Bane first appeared in comics in 1993... because, you know, using Romney logic, you can do things retroactively now. So Hollywood retroactively had this character created in '93 so that it could be used conspiratorially in 2012. Still with me?


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Religion and Faith vs. "The Church"

Some recent discussions on my Facebook wall have had me thinking a lot about this topic, and so I have decided the time is now to blog about it a bit.  What is the topic?  Religion, faith, and The Church.  First things first, let me clarify that when I say things negative about a religion, those things are about the doctrine or practices of the religion, not the people who follow it.  The same goes for when I say things about a Church.

I believe strongly that there are very big differences between religion, faith, and The Church.  Webster's  defines faith as "unquestioning belief, specifically in God, religion, etc".  Faith is a wonderful thing, and most of us have faith in some form or another (even us Humanists and Atheists).  Religion is defined as "a specific system of belief or worship built around God or gods, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, etc."  Religion can be a wonderful thing, and can also, because we are human, be corrupt and used for evil.  Church is defined as "a particular Christian denomination."  When I refer to The Church, I refer to those who run said denomination, not the denomination itself (ie, the Pope, deacons, presidents of denominations, etc).

Now, the recent heated discussions have mostly come from posts or memes I have posted criticizing either religion in general or the Catholic Church (and this is using my view of what Church means).  Catholics can be some of the most passionate people about their faith, and I admire that passion.  The problem is, most people have problems separating the ideals of faith and religion from The Church.  My criticisms of the Catholic Church are primarily over those in power.  Bishops, bureaucrats, and, of course, the Pope.  I feel that the time for rational discussion and "changing the Church from within" has passed (if it ever existed) when it comes to the Catholic church and many others.  While I admire people who stand strong in their faith, I can no longer admire or hold high the act of supporting a Church whose doctrine and rules or bylaws denigrate women and LGBT persons.  To stand by such a Church; to remain a member in good standing who not only supports the Church by attending and speaking out in support, but also by giving money to it, is, however indirectly, supporting misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and all the other ills these Churches propagate. 

Another thing that has been bothering me is the use of the bible to condemn LGBT people and our lives as sinful and wrong, while only using the portions they see fit to harm others.  Take Leviticus, for example.  Do not use that book to condemn my life unless you follow every directive in that book, which very few people in society are able and willing to do.  No tattoos, no speaking to women while they're on the period, guys, no mixed fiber clothing, etc.  IF you follow each and every one of those to a T, then we'll talk, if not, then shut up with your Leviticus condemnations.  Even more than that though is the fact that IF you want to say that my life as a gay man is sinful and wrong because your bible says so, then YOU (or your Church for those who support such Churches) are condemning me and other LGBT people to death.  Period.  Leviticus 20:13 states "And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."  I no longer accept any argument against homosexuality based on biblical principal from people unless they are willing to own the fact that the same bible also calls for death for homosexual acts. 

So, in a nutshell, if you are a member of a Church organization who has policies or doctrine against women or LGBT people, you are indirectly supporting that hate, especially if you give money to your church.  I know it is not your intent, and I know that most of you do not directly support of believe such things, but again, if you support the organizations that do, then you are helping them to do their harm.  If you are among those who say homosexuality is a sin, and you are using the bible as basis for your assertion, then you are calling for the death of LGBT people... you can't pick just the pieces you like and forget the rest (sure, Christians do it all the time).  I'm sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this one, folks.