Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christian Shame

Here in California, we're fighting for basic civil rights.

Yep, some people out here think that it's not only the right thing to do to stop gays from marrying, but it's the Christian thing to do.

Ok, I get that religious fanatics are threatened to the core by social acceptance of me and my husband.  I get that their rabid homophobia is irrational, emotional and reeks of their own disturbed and fragile sexual identities.

What I don't get is:

(a) how come as an adult, tax paying, professional, responsible, peaceful person in the United States of America, my full civil rights to marry the person I choose is up for a simple majority vote?  Huh?  Liberty and justice for all?  What kind of crap is this?  Why don't I get to vote on which straight people get to marry?  I'd have definitely stopped George the first and Barbara from tying the knot and probably would've stepped in between whoever Karl Rove's parents were.


(b) how the Catholic Church (and other right wing religious groups) continues to get away with blatant political activity without losing its tax-exempt status.  I mean, isn't one of the reasons that churches don't have to pay taxes is that they promise not to pursue a political agenda from the pulpit?  If they truly believe in the virtue of honesty, wouldn't you think that they would relinquish that status so that they could pursue their political activity with integrity? Ok, so back to the Christian thing. 

It's one thing to fight for tradition.  Tradition can be a great thing, a comforting thing.  Like canning peaches from  your own tree or following in the family business footsteps.

But to blatantly ignore everything modern science and culture has to say about homosexuality in favor of antiquated and twisted logic and beliefs blows my mind.  Have we learned nothing from our history of exploiting and oppressing other minorities?

Let's just say, for argument, that homosexuals DO choose their lifestyles (which they don't). Isn't this a free country?  So it makes Father Pedophile uncomfortable to have to look at a proud and out gay man who makes no apologies- does this give him the right to make church policy?  What does give him the right to sit in judgment of me and the people I choose to love?

One day, the church WILL apologize for how they are behaving now.  Just like they had to apologize for their role in the Holocaust and for their treatment of priest abuse victims who were ignored for years, the church will eventually have to admit that their 21st century treatment of gay people was wrong and harmful.

Politicians who use my civil rights as a "wedge" issue to divide voters will be remembered one day just like the racists of the the past who felt so comfortable in their "rightness" about separation of the races, they promoted their support for oppression of minorities in campaign ads.  Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond's political records will forever be tainted with their reputation as racist bigots, doomed to the tiniest of footnotes if at all.  

I'm no angel.  I make mistakes.

But I do try to live up to some standards.  I learned a lot about Christianity from the inside, growing up in my fundamentalist family.  I learned for example, that judgment of others is reserved only for God.  That means that when I want to get really angry at someone, particularly someone I don't really know,  I try to keep myself from going too far with that snap assessment I just made.  Just because I might not agree with someone, like John McCain or Sarah Palin, for example, it doesn't mean that I want to take away their rights or assume that my way is the only way.  I also suffer when I am not being sincere or genuine.  Something inside me screams "you're a fake! you're a fake!" and I have to eventually stop the charade.  It's like that virtue thing again- not lying.  I take that very seriously.

The stories of a peaceful, loving Jesus were the most moving and memorable to me from those times.  Amidst all the hell fire and brimstone sermons, there were these pearls of beauty. Stories of Jesus healing and inspiring and accepting.  Jesus hung out with prostitutes and thieves and challenged anyone to cast the first stone.

My problem is that the Christian church seems to have veered way off that path.  The church is a place to go to validate  your prejudices, to feel "ok" about your judging and to hear little sermons that justify your fear of strangers and your self-righteous take on life.

It's hard to try to live up to those standards I learned about as a child in Sunday School.  It's particularly hard to continue to show compassion and peace and to love my neighbor when they put up "Yes on 8" signs in their yards.  

Yet, I will continue to try to turn the other cheek and to show love to them even when they show so little love to me.  If they come to me for advice, I will give it.  If they come for food, I'll feed them.

Being a real Christian must be hard.

And lonely.

What a shame.

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