Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Biblical Traditional Marriage? As if...

I grow weary of preachers defending discrimination against LGBTQ people. One right wing evangelist who enjoys some notoriety (mostly because of a famous relative) posted on social media today that businesses have a right to refuse service to LGBTQ people if they claim their discrimination is based on their belief in “biblical traditional marriage.” That of course spurred literally thousands to chime in to call same-gender love and attraction sinful and to cheer those who refuse to serve gay customers. I, as you will below, disagreed.

“Biblical traditional marriage? Would that include Abraham selling Sarah to a king’s harem, or him taking Hagar as a lover? Would that include David’s 8 or so wives (and love affair with Jonathan)? Would that include Solomon’s thousand spouses?  Would that include Adam and Eve who never had a wedding ceremony (who would have conducted it?). Would it include Cain and Abel and their wives (where did they come from?). Would it include Lot’s daughters who were engaged when he offered them to a rape gang? Does biblical marriage include Lot who not only offered his daughters to a rape gang but then had incest with them in a cave? And does traditional biblical marriage mean not serving single parents? Does it mean not serving remarried divorcees? Using “biblical” marriage as an excuse to discriminate against gays is mendacious and disingenuous. You’re entitled to your prejudices, but stop blaming them on God.” (dw)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Californians Facing the Fires Are in My Thoughts

I’m thinking of that old hymn, “Showers of Blessings.” I’m wishing for showers of blessings to fall upon the people who are frightened or injured or dislocated by the fires in California. May the people find the comfort they need. And God bless the first responders!

God Save Us

God deliver us from an imperial president. God bless the dreamers. God comfort and heal Jerusalem and all who call Her holy. God save us from the ravages and rage of fundamentalism no matter which religion it may infect. God restore us to sanity. God keep our hope alive. Amen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Stop Using “Sodom” Like It’s a Thing

So, SCOTUS is hearing the Colorado Wedding Cake case, where a baker claims to have the right to not bake for gay couples wanting a wedding cake. As long as a baker views someone as naughty or a couple’s love as illegitimate and claims that homophobia is Jesus mandated (which is false, btw), he/she/they should be able to refuse gay people’s cake orders. Obviously, such blatant discrimination is wrong, and hopefully, SCOTUS will make that clear. 

Still, the No Cakes For Homos position has its defenders. Someone on Social Media today in defense of the “Let them eat anything else” view posted, “An entire city was burned to the ground for sexual sin.” I don’t know how cake or religious or civil ceremonies equates to sexual sin, or how not baking a cake will somehow body block to people wanting to do the horizontal mambo. Also, the doomed city wasn’t named in the “sexual sin” post (nor was the date of the supposed occurrence nor the source of the info), but I’m in the religion biz and recognized the Sodom (& Gomorrah) reference from Genesis 19 (a storyin the Jewish and Christian bibles) instantly. When ignorance is employed to defend and promote hate, I often have to offer a counter narrative. It probably does little good, but silence will surely reduce me to drooling in a fetal position somewhere, so for my own sanity, I say something. 

Here was my response:

“Surely you aren’t throwing up the Sodom myth (poor Gomorrah, they never get much mention) as your argument for allowing businesses to discriminate? Sodom’s ‘sin’ wasn’t non-discriminatory bakeries. It was cruelty, inhospitality, and indifference to the marginalized...the Religious Right is more guilty of those sins than most! The attempted gang rape of ‘angels’ (which was foiled by the way, and PS...rape is always bad and is not the same as mutually shared attraction, affection, or even consensual bump and grind) didn’t occur until after Sodom was judged to be unworthy, and it would have been spared if any decent people could be found...it wasn’t destroyed because wedding cakes could be purchased by anyone, but because NO ONE was kind or generous or welcoming (again, starting to get close the Fundies). And, mutual attraction, love, or committed relationships are never mentioned in the story, so ‘gay’ isn’t the issue. Furthermore, the hero of the story is Lot, who at the end of the story sleeps with not one but BOTH of his daughters (after offering them to the rape gang that tried to attack the angels...even Abraham who was willing to kill his own child was a better father!). So, really, no sane person would ever use that terrible story to condemn love or mutual attraction. No, there has never been a city destroyed because of sexual ‘sin’...and even if one had been, that would have NOTHING do with a legal case about commercial discrimination.”

So, you know, stop it. Stop using Sodom likes its a thing. It’s certainly not a moral argument that justifies dehumanizing same-gender loving people. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Standing in the Need of Prayer

I love the old hymn lyrics: “It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” I happen to be someone who needs (and relies on) the power of prayer.

Skeptics (who can usually count me one of their own, but to their annoyance I also embrace mysticism, optimism, and recurring bouts of faith) will ask me if I really believe that prayer works. My experience is, as they say in 12 step programs, “It works if you work it.” That doesn’t mean that every wish is magically granted or that every difficulty instantly goes away. But lots of overlapping realities make getting support problematic (for me) sometimes. Maybe I don’t know how to ask or maybe I don’t know who to ask, but many times seeking encouragement from a friend (or acquaintance, colleague, or even professional listener of some sort) has left me feeling as lonely or anxious or defeated as if I had never sought it at all. BUT...whenever I have prayed, “Help!” to the seeming nothingness around me, I have almost always found relief. Maybe I am able to rest. Maybe a fresh idea comes to mind. Maybe I see things from a broader and brighter perspective. Maybe I find new resolve. Maybe I just accept that I can’t do much about the problem in that moment and that kind of surrender can lead to peace or at least temporary relief. Once in a while, a miracle (a dramatic change of perception) shows up!

I’ve asked people for  support...sometimes I got it in abundance, other times I got a little and what I got came begrudgingly, still other times I got squat, but when I have asked the god of my ever evolving understanding and experience for support, I have received it. Did the support come from God, my higher Self, my subconscious mind, or are they all the same Thing (or all parts of the same Thing)? I don’t much care. What I know is that prayer has offered relief that didn’t seem to come from anywhere else. 

I think if I were an atheist I would be a praying atheist. My experience of prayer is that encouraging. So, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep praying. I may not do it the way you do, I may understand the mechanics of prayer differently than you do, but I have come to depend on and be profoundly grateful for moments of prayer. And, as a side note, I find some of the most cathartic prayer experiences happen in the middle of the night, but really, I think any time is a good time for prayer.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Read the Bible, eh?

A woman in Tennessee said on social media today that all “sins” are equal, and went on to say “homosexuality is the same as murder” at the sin level. I challenged the assumption that love or even attraction could in any way compare to murder. She responded by telling me to read the Bible. My response was probably overly thorough; nevertheless, here is what I said to her:

Where should I start in the bible? Perhaps 1 Timothy 2.12 that says that you as a woman have no business trying to instruct me, a man. Of course, that is the sexism of the culture and times and not a mandate from God, so let's move on.

Should I read the creation myth that has humanity created out of nothingness, or the myth (one page later) that says men were created from dirt and women were created a week later from the man's rib? They can't both be literally factual (neither of them is). Should I read where Cain and Abel took wives (but only their parents had been "created" so far in the tale)? Where'd the wives come from?!! Was God pulling off another creation nearby? Did they hook up with some unmentioned sisters (ick)? Should I read the version that says that Eve was created from Adam, which defies the gender binaries the Christian fundamentalists lift up as sacrosanct.

Perhaps I should read the Sodom and Gomorrah story...a story about angels narrowly escapinig gang rape (which of course is a bad thing but has nothing to do with mutual love or attraction) and continue reading to find Lot (the supposed hero of the story) having incest with his daughters in a cave. Maybe that's not a good story to use for ethical or honorable behavior. 

Maybe I should read about Jephthah who murdered his own daughter because he promised God a human sacrifice. 

Should I read in Ezekiel about a woman's lovers having donkey sized genitals and horse powered emissions? (That's hot, but doesn't support your case). 

Perhaps Ephesians 6.5 ("slaves obey your masters") is a part of the bible you'd recommend (moving on, I'm afraid you wouldn't find anything wrong with that one!). 

What about Deuteronomy 22.28-29 that would force a female victim to marry her rapist? 

Perhaps I should read about the patriarchs like David (who was in love with Jonathan long before he raped Bathsheba and murdered her husband...by the way, his covenantal relationship with Jonathan isn’t the problematic part of his story!), or Solomon with his hundreds of wives and concubines, or Abraham who exploited (to put it mildly) and then abandoned Hagar and their child, but since he sold his wife to a King and was willing to murder his only child, his character was always a bit sketchy. 

You see, I am familiar with the texts, familiar enough to know that same-gender love and mutual attraction are never condemned in scripture (and, even if they were, we'd still have to explore the issue). Rape and exploitation (i.e. Temple prostitution) are condemned (obvs), but love never is. In fact, even Paul (whose condemnation of idolatry in Romans 1 is misused to torment gay people) said that love fulfills the law! Maybe YOU should read the bible, and question it, and wrestle with it, and ask questions of it and about it...and stop using it as a crutch to support your prejudices and superstitions.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why is 45 Stirring Up “Merry Xmas” BS in October?

If we’re going to be a Xian Theocracy, let’s do it properly. I’m going to insist that ppl wish me a Holy Advent, a Glorious Epiphany, a Meaningful Lent, a Joyful Easter, an Uplifting Ascension, a Powerful Pentecost, and a Righteous Reign of Christ Sunday. If its about “xian values”...Xianity is more than Xmas!

Also, Christmas is Dec 25-Jan 5. It offends Baby Jesus if you wish me a Merry Xmas too early, and it breaks his heavenly heart if you forget to wish me xmas blessings on Dec 26, 27, 28, etc. So, do follow the Christmastide precisely, won’t you?

Onerous? Silly? Fine. Then let’s forget it and let those who wish to do so offer the polite and inclusive “Happy Holidays”...And while we’re at it, let’s NOT be a xian theocracy or any other kind of theocracy...they tend to be oppressive.