Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If Your Religion...Part 5

Oh, hello there! How're we doing today? Good, to hear. So I bet you're here to find out what I'm going to rant about next, huh? Then I'll just get on with the show, shall I? Without introduction...

If your religion preaches hate instead of love, you're doing it wrong.

This seems like it would be a pretty big, "Uh...Duh Red..." but if that were really the case, then the issues we're having with homosexuals and people of other religions and races just wouldn't be happening would it?

In the US we're just about to have our mid-term elections, so the political machines are churning out massive amounts of advertising for their chosen platforms. One of the favorite targets this season is gay marriage. With the national coverage of Prop 8 in California, many conservatives are using this issue as a soap box to draw in people interested in "saving the family", "protecting the sanctity of marriage", "protecting our children from the homosexual agenda" and several other phrases of dubious meaning.

So what's really at stake here? At its core, the gay marriage issue is about civil rights, not religion. Marriage in the US comes with responsibilities and rewards, things like joint taxes, health care, decision rights concerning a spouse in a critical health situation just to name a few. By banning gay marriage, people are discriminating against a portion of the American people, and I'd thought we'd gotten past that after women were given the right to vote and black people no longer had to sit in the back of the bus.

Why am I talking about this issue then? Because it's the "religious right" that is making the most noise against gay marriage. "It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" is a popular phrase when talking about homosexuality in general from a religious standpoint.

Recently a video from made the rounds on Facebook. (WARNING! If you are offended by the "F word" or are in a place where watching such material would not be approved of, do *NOT* watch the video.) Someone shared the link off my wall and someone else commented that "to my dying day, I will not believe in gay marriage". When I mentioned that marriage is a civil issue and that civil rights are involved, I was informed that the Bible said no gay marriage and that's all that mattered.


I am fairly certain that there isn't anywhere in the Bible that says anything about gay *marriage*. It does say something about man not lying with man as with a woman, but that has nothing to do with marriage, does it? (If I am wrong and there is actually a passage in the Bible that deals with gay marriage, please let me know and I will happily correct my statement.) In fact, the idea of marriage as we know it today is very young compared to its history. An abbreviated account can be found here (among other places).

I really don't get it actually. As far as I can tell, someone's sexual preference should only matter to you if you plan on participating in it. And if living with someone you're having sex with outside of marriage is "living in sin" wouldn't the religious right want gay people to get married? Or would that be double sin? I've lost count. >.>

People screaming about the sanctity of marriage should really only be concerned with one marriage...theirs. They also should actually know what their book says about the subject before they try to thump other people with it too. (WARNING! The video is *very* tongue and cheek and pokes fun at the Bible. If that's likely to offend, ya prolly shouldn't watch.)

And then there's all those poor children committing suicide because they are gay and are being bullied. W...T...F...when did it become ok to traumatize someone so much that the only way out they can see is death?

Yes, I am putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the religious right. It is because of their doctrines of hate and segregation that these tragedies are happening. I cannot endorse or even be content to agree to disagree when the rights and lives of other people are involved. If the witch hunts and crusades taught us nothing, it should have taught us that blood spilled in the name of religion is just as damning and wrong as blood spilled for any other selfish reason. And just because it was a suicide, doesn't mean that religion didn't have a hand in putting the gun there in the first place.

And then there's the Mormons. I struggled writing this part because I know many devout Mormons who don't hate anyone and I consider them true and trusted friends. But I'm not really talking about individuals, I'm talking about the leadership, the doctrines, and how they were connected to Prop 8.

This letter written over 10 years ago shows that the issue of gays in the church is not a new one. It's just getting new attention because of recent publicity. This letter written earlier this month demonstrates that the issue is reaching the point where someone is going to have to bend...I can only hope that it will be the religious leaders that currently continue to preach ignorance and hate.

Because it is hate. You can coat it in beliefs of choice and selfishness, you can spin it in such a way as the church looks like the victim, or that it is a matter of saving the soul, but it doesn't change the fact that it's irrational fear and hate speaking. I seem to remember, back when I was a Christian, that Christ preached a doctrine of love. Wasn't it, "Love one another as I have loved you"? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was and not, "Love one another as I have love you, except those people over there." It is a shame that those with the power to enforce dogma and the will of the collective seem to have forgotten that and have twisted his words into something else.

This rant has been riding me for about a month now, and I am grateful for the chance to get it out there. If you've waded through my words this far, I thank you, and hope you understand that I know there are those who are devout and reject the principles of hate. To those, I say thank you, and hope that your example can help bring clarity to others.

To those who say, "My views may be outdated, but I thank God I will not be on this earth too many more years to see what it looks like when people like you take over everyone's thinking."

Well, I choose a different way, and so should you, whatever it may be.

Till next time, be well,

PS, for those that might say I'm only this up in arms about the issue because I'm gay and want me to admit the truth...unless you plan on trying to sleep with me, it's really none of your business.