EXTRA WARNING: FROM THE TITLE YOU CAN SEE THE SUBJECT MATTER OF TODAY'S POST IS CONTROVERSIAL, AS I'M SURE WILL BE CONSIDERED SOME OF MY STATEMENTS. I HAVE TENDENCY TO BE CURSE-Y. I'M NOT TRYING TO PROMOTE MY VIEWS TO ANYONE, I AM SIMPLY SHARING WHAT MY VIEWPOINTS AND OPINIONS ARE, WHY I FEEL SOME OF THE WAYS THAT I DO. YOU ARE FREE TO AGREE OR DISAGREE. BUT REMEMBER, YOU'RE ALSO FREE TO SKIP THIS AND RETURN ON A DIFFERENT DAY.
Religion, politics and abortion.
We're not supposed to talk about that.
But when do I do what I'm supposed to do?
I mean, I haven't yet.
Why start now?
Besides, I've been trying to avoid writing this post because I knew once I got rollin' it was gonna turn into a whole big thing. That once the flood gates opened and hot pink nails started a tappin' on keys there would be no puttin' the genie back in the bottle. It got to the point that every time I thought about posting about something ridiculous and disturbingly, yet weirdly interesting (aka: my life), I found myself fighting the urge to a chat about one or more of these three subjects. Apparently, I've gotta get a few things off my chest so that I can resume regular random BBGWorld programing. Here we go...
BBG Confession: Religion might be killing me.
Just because you should have a reference point as we begin our time together, I'm Catholic. How Catholic? School girl uniform wearin' (not now, get your mind outta the damn gutter, hell, stop and think about what a Big Brown Opps I Did It Again look might actually be like, bet you're sorry now? Shame on you.) - Midnight/Ash Wednesday mass goin' - do unto others doin' - don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent - there's a glow in the dark rosary in my purse - I believe in running my life in as Jesus-y of a way
(This, of course, does NOT mean I'm perfect in my BBGness. I'm capable of being thoughtless, although usually not maliciously. I'm prone to telling someone to fuck off if I feel the situation calls for it, Jesus probably wouldn't do that. I make stupid mistakes and errors in judgement. When I'm hungry
Now lemme tell you what I think about your religious, or non-religious views...
Oh, that's right, I don't.
I don't mean that in a disrespectful way. I just think that's between you, your conscience and whichever him/her/it you have faith in. You're a grownup and in charge of you. Whatever your personal mantra or doctrine is, is really of none of my concern. Mozel Tov to whatever works for ya.
This is America. We're the OG's of freedom of religion, son. I was fortunate enough to have been schooled in an environment where we had classes about other religions, we took field trips to the local synagogue, Greek Orthodox, Baptist church, etc., therefore I knew my religious views weren't the only views. I knew how similar the roots and ideals of many religions are. As I sat in Old Testament class listening to a man in a collar explain the passage we were discussing, I was never told my faith was more important than anyone else's. I was raised to have respect for my beliefs, but I was also taught to have respect for the beliefs (or non) of others. And it's beginning to feel like I'm the last girl on that program.
It seems everyday I'm appalled and offended by the lack of respect for any religious view other than their own and the downright hateful things people do and say in the name of their religion.
And anything taken to extreme is eventually going to turn problematic. If your passion and dedication to your favorite sports team morphs into complete ire when you see the colors of your rival and next thing you know you're in a mob in the parking lot handing out a beat down to the guy wearin' the 'enemy' jersey, that's a problem. If your gig is drugs/drinking there are a million and one examples of that turning into a problem. It's the difference between, "Aunt Pia collects Precious Moments" and "Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh, Aunt Pia hoards Precious Moments" (complete with obligatory eye roll). It's not the, weirdly put into adult situations , large eye'd, dust collectin', ceramic babies that are the problem, the problem is Aunt Pia's inability to control and keep perspective of her zeal for them. Anytime anything holds such a prominence in one's life it's rife for slipping into fanaticism.
Religion is no exception. And again, I'm not bad mouthin' your religious beliefs (or lack there of), or even religion in general. I'm talkin' 'bout those who've crossed the line between being a person ruled by their faith, to a person who uses their faith to rule others.
Honestly, what someone does in practice of their religion (obviously, as long as it doesn't involve actual crime) in their own life, in their own home, at there own gatherings or in their own place of worship? I could literally not give less of a fuck about. Do your thang. Believe your beliefs. Live long and prosper. But too many religious folks, of all varieties and flavors but
Wait. An intolerant dick? I was raised to believe that being a person of faith (and I don't mean mine, I mean any.) meant being kind, tolerant, accepting of your fellow man. That you were to be generous in heart and spirit. That your deeds and words should be helpful and of service. That empathy should be exercised vigorously and love should be practiced aggressively. Ya know, how Christians are supposed to be acting, all Christ-like?
Unfortunately, from my perspective it's an earned rock. Too many (not all) Christian folk have embraced a level of fanaticism that they firmly believe it's appropriate to act in some decidedly un-Christ like ways. And too many Christians notice that this is happening and don't speak up about it. When you watch a someone getting bullied, if you don't stand up with/for the person getting bullied, you've already sided with the bully.
It seems every day as we approach the upcoming elections and I'm that much more in tune with the news 'o the day in an attempt to keep up with ta-doin's, I see/read/hear something that inevitably makes me think that if I hear/see one more person using their faith to belittle or denigrate someone/group, or use their beliefs to manage someone else's life, I fear my head may explode.
Again, I'm not saying you don't have the right to practice your religion in any way you see fit. I am saying you (I) don't have the right to expect or try to enforce that anyone else should be beholden to your (my) faith based values.
Faith, yours or mine, shouldn't factor into which grown ass American citizen is allowed to marry another grown ass American citizen. It shouldn't decide if an American woman (under any circumstances; from rape and incest all the way to full on swingin' from the chandelier gittin' it on) must forcibly carry and deliver a child, being a few of the stances taken by some "Christians". In short,
Obviously, there are faith based beliefs that are the law of the land. Murder, for example. A no-no legally and biblically. On the surface one could argue that's religion influencing law. That it's illegal because it's immoral. That of course would be the short-sighted assertion. Yes, in my opinion, redrum is immoral too, but it's illegal because it's significantly impacting, ya know, in the harmful kinda way to the decedent (not to mention their family, friends, community, etc.,). Indeed something that should be illegal and carry severe ramifications.
However, gay marriage? Abortion? Fine. It (they) might offend your personal sensibilities or your interpretation of your religion, but (NEWSFLASH) those aren't actually crimes. (For those subscribing to 'personhood' viewpoints, in other words that abortion is wrong [a, should-be crime to be outlawed if given the chance] because from the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg it is a person, folks? While it's your right to hold such an opinion and live your life by that belief, allow me to present to a real fact that the rest of us live by:
You are allowed to have your own beliefs. You're just not allowed to have your own facts.
Neither issue has an impact on your life if you have no intention of marrying someone of the same sex, or no need/want for an abortion. See how easy that is? Instead of allowing that to be that, too many Christians have adopted a 'my way or the highway' stance on such issues. A mindset that perplexingly justifies taking God's plan for us to exercise our own freewill and has Calvin pee on it.
Before you think I'm only calling out or picking on Christians, it should be noted that I'm troubled by many fanatical and extreme subsets of faiths that bring out the worst of someone. Ones where critical thinking is eshewed even if it comes at the detriment of the extremist. (It reminds me of that old God/boat joke.) For instance, the Taliban. Much like I'm not calling out ALL Muslims because the Taliban is not representative of all of those who practice Islam, I'm also not calling out ALL Christians because I also know that they are not representative of the far Christian right. The (New term!) really right is an example of the most fanatical of Christians in our nation. It just so happens they seem to be, in eerily similar ways taking moves straight outta the Taliban playbook as they ascended into power as the really right does today in an attempt to grasp for power in our country.
And let's not forget the other fanatical Christians, you may know them by their initials, KKK.
Acknowledging the 'if it walks like a duck-edness',
A religious banner awaiting the obligatory sign run through at a public high school in Texas.
My problem with it? Nothing. If they were cheerleaders holding it up for Our Lady of Bad Cathlolic Kidz, or any other church-y school. Because they're private institutions. A public school, the last time I checked was, um, public. As public as City Hall, or the Post Office, also places it would not be okay to post a religious message. (And yes, I know some places do erect Christmas trees and the like denoting Christmas, but around here at least, in public buildings you'll also see a Menorah to acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal celebrations. It's hard to argue hypocrisy or deference, when pretty much everyone gets included.) In a society (Society: a highly structured system of human organization of, or large-scale community living that normally furnishes protection, continuity, security, and a national identity for its members: American society.), it's inappropriate to behave as if everyone holds your religious views, whateverthefuck they are.
Some may say that somehow this means religious freedoms are taken away. As if, if you're not allowed to make some Jewish/Hindu/agnostic athlete have to read your stance on your faith before he hits the field, that your freedoms are being challenged, nay, that an agent of the government will soon breech your home, line you, your children and goldfish up and shoot you all in the head during the night because you dared to go to church on Sunday. Really?
Mmmmkay. Imagine if you will, that your Christian kid played at a public school and the vast majority of the population was atheist/agnostic, wouldja think it was ok for him to have to run though a sign in opposition to your religion beliefs?
They call people who feel these ways a liberal. But when a really right Christian/Republican/conservative (which are morphing into being all the same of late. Soooooo, new word? Republaright? Conserveatian? Christpublican? ...I'll work on that.) says it, it doesn't sound like; Liberal: a person who believes in freedom so much that they want people to be free to do their shit... as long as it doesn't infringe on someone elses shit. Nooooo. It sounds like; Liberal: A stupid. Godless. Freeloader, or at a minimum, pro-freeloadin'. ...That you've probably had an abortion,
The word didn't used to sound so dirty and treasonous. ...But then again, The people who would refer to liberals as the other side of the political spectrum didn't used to think it was a word, or concept worthy of such levels of contempt, disdain and near hate-like fervor. That was, of course, when there were still moderates in power of the party, before it was hijacked by the far right Christan conservative contingent.
Now, I don't wanna brag,
But that was back in 'tha day when (as I recall it from a kid perspective) in large part we were deciding on pragmatic and secular issues. And as the Nostradamus-esque and one time GOP Presidential nominee, Barry AuH2o stated it, before "these preachers" got ahold of the party. In the time before this >> would have had to have been pointed out to serve as a legitimate reminder...
These days we can't get enough done for our nation. It's a perplexing dichotomy of one party being increasingly comprised of believers who often attempt to use their faith to legislate law, (ignoring the fact that our founding fathers purposefully did not decree an official religion of the states. Good ol' Johnny Hancock and the boys didn't just forget that lil' detail, ya know? They were mindful not to allow any particular religion to have a greater deference than another. Mindful to not set up a nation where religion supersedes the Constitution in terms of our land and laws.) whilst simultaneously crying that their religious freedoms are being taken away, when all that is being asked is that they extend the exact same religious freedoms to everyone else. (That's not exactly my understanding of the definition of 'religious persecution', is it yours?)
And the other being chocked full 'o people, like me, who think that the pursuit of life, liberty and justice for all, not to mention happiness, for every American doesn't include your (or my) faith. Which is decidedly not the same thing as being anti-religion.
The problem being that it would require a compromise on the part of the far Christian right. A concept that is generally viewed as a good thing. Except, when you're fighting for God, there's no room for compromise or reason when this is the catalyst for your fight. There's only room for being faithful soldier armed with your convictions in a battle royale that can be applied to every thing, and one different than you, where if you acquiesce even a single point it will show that you are weak or not as holy and righteous as you think you are, and you can't have that. Instead you have the 'pry it from my cold, dead hands' dynamic.
It's an ethos that reaches from the pulpit to the conservative representatives holding office. It feels like it's one of the things that has emboldened the GOP to be so obstinate on, um? How do I say it? Oh, right. Everyfuckingthing. To a degree larger than I'm comfortable with we are gridlocked and mired down in trying to run a religious nation, at the cost of running THE nation. I donno about you, but I'm not ok with that. Putting party first is not in the best interest of America. Not by either party. But it's hard to say by any measure where important governmental business has be as stagnated by Democrats in the recent years. Doubt the veracity of that statement? Get to Googlin'. If everything that's being held up, blocked and filibustered on is being done by one side, almost exclusively, there's a reason why. Now, is it more likely that every single decision the other side has made have been wrong. Every - single - one? Or that 'we can't pass anything or it will look like he's accomplishing shit?' is the issue? If even an blind squirrel finds a nut, isn't just kinda likely that some of the President's ideas and leadership have been the correct calls? ...You sure wouldn't know that from any Republican I know.
Even I find it sad that this is now how I perceive Republicans and the GOP. Being a Republican used to make me think someone who had a different idea of how we should be divvying up the budget. Or what our policy should be about the Congo? That maybe we'd debate how many children should be allowed per classroom, whether we should scrap the penny or Daylight Savings, or how we'll proceed with our investigation of space? I never would have imagined that there would have come a day where being Republican meant being the associated with a party that had a chance to help give 2nd class gay American citizens the freedom to marry and benefit from all of the tangible rights that accompany it, and didn't because you've (I donno?) been bullied or bamboozled into backing it in order to gain a political tactical advantage, when a significant number of you know it's wrong. It makes me sad for the party to see it in such a state. It's a low point for the party that gave us great leaders like Lincoln. Roosevelt and Eisenhower.
I have voted in every election and the vast majority of primaries since I turned 18. I've always believed that men shed their blood so that I would have the freedom to cast a vote to have my say in how my city/state/country is managed, and that the very least I can do is to pay attention to issues and candidates at hand and each November show up and do it. As I formulate my decisions, I try to take in to account what (person/stance) provides for the greater good, in my opinion, for my neighbors, I try not to be a solely self-serving voter. Mainly, because I don't believe that's what America is about. (Or religion for that matter.) I work under the SOP that we're only as strong as our weakest links. I come from a place that we look out for our own, which of course is a tres copkid way of thinking. Over the years I've voted for Democrats and Republicans. In fact, during the early part of the Republican race I was both impressed by and interested in what Jon Huntsman brought to the table. I also hold some pretty conservative views on things like capital punishment and my love of guns, although I have a more moderate stance on gun control. I try to be open to seeing what anyone or any party has to offer.
This election is, for me, incredibly cut and dry.
When you wonder why you lost my vote, please remember, it's not me, it's you.
I'd like to think that had I been alive in the days of segregation that I wouldn't have sat on the sidelines watching other citizens being treated as second class citizens and doing nothing, therefore I can not in good conscience sit and allow you to continue to work against the interests of gay Americans and to continue to treat them as less than equals to me just because I dig men. (related post: My Big Fat Gay Manifesto)
Because I believe that the only thing denying access to legal abortion stops is women dying in back alleys. That wealthy people will always have access to abortions, yet the poor will only have access to coat hangers if you have your way. And because I don't have a crystal ball and can't see into the future to know what it will hold for my Goddaughters, I cannot have their freedom to manage their ladyparts as they see fit put at risk in lieu of some hazy combination of governmental oversight, invasive and unneeded procedures, legislators who believe in "legitimate rapes" and a woman's magical properties to "shut it down" mixed with religious views that they may or may not hold.
Because I, and nearly 50% of our nation are chicks, I refuse to back a party and candidate who actively work against laws that would ensure that we close the pay gap between men and women, with women in 2,000 and fucking 12 still earning only .70 per $1.00 a man earns. Of course, opposing the Violence Against Women Act didn't really help your case either.
I cannot vote for you because I can't condone a party who seeks to limit voter participation by instituting essentially a poll tax, which the the Constitution is expressly against (see Amendment #24). I cannot vote for a party that in this low voter climate isn't working to increase voter participation. I can't vote for a party that cites "voter fraud" as a reason to roll voting percentages down to pre- '08 levels by instituting voter ID laws ostensibly to prohibit in-person voter fraud. Ya know, that massive voter fraud the the Wall Street Journal calls "statistically zero" and "less than 1%", yet ignores absentee ballot voter fraud, which the WSJ reports constitutes a problem 50x larger which ID's don't address at all.
I certainly can't back a party holds opinions on black American voters that allow them to feel these are somehow innocuous and appropriate statements; “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban— read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” (Doug Preisse, chairman of BBGbus county Republican Party and elections board member) Or the former Florida Republican Party chair who says, 'some GOP leaders were meeting to discuss ways they could suppress black votes'. Oddly, while having a discussion over this exact topic a friend implied that me bringing these statements up and allowing it to influence my views means that I'm playing the race card. I'm not sure at what point in history, noticing sumthin' (by way of representatives of the GOP and their actual words) and having the audacity to comment on it turned into being some Black Panther card carryin', hyper sensitive race card playa vs. an informed and concerned person, but apparently that's where we are in terms of the chasm between my vote and where the GOP is.
(Update:) And now this?
I can't side with people who think if an American citizen is sick and uninsured that the answer is "let him die." Or that think 47% of our nation is "irresponsible, government-dependent & victims", when that 47% consists of grandma's and grandpa's who worked hard all their lives, veterans, active military members, students, the earnest 'working poor' (which applies to those making up to $50,000/yr. who don't pay income tax) and disabled citizens. Of course, there are scoundrels who take advantage of what is commonly called entitlements. There's nothing scoundrels won't try to scheme to their benefit, but that's an issue of management, requirements and being more diligent in sussing out fraud. I don't have the answer for that, but I know the problem isn't my friends mother who if it weren't for Medicaid keeping her cared for in a nursing home would be out in the fucking street, the problem isn't the poor kid who's hungry that food stamps keeps in groceries, and I can't allow them to be put on more vulnerable footing by a party who seems to be, again, if we take them at their words, ok with lettin' people die, where in true Darwinian fashion only the strong and wealthy enough to fend for themselves survive. They shouldn't be put at greater risk because we haven't come up with a better way to keep criminals from doing criminal things.
As a girl with a pre-existing condition, never again having to contemplate lying about my condition out of fear of this being the time the insurance company would deem it uncoverable and having that declaration hanging over my head for the rest of my life, is a large weight off of my shoulders. Knowing that my mother who has an illness that will require intensive and on-going care all the rest of her days will never hit a spending cap is another important factor. If the GOP had its way I wouldn't have that health security as it's something they've tried to repeal 31x (yes, including even AFTER the SCOTUS upheld it).
You've made it near impossible for me to even get to our fiscal philosophical differences, because you've become so entrenched in representing the wrong side of so many human issues. I implore you: GET BACK TO focusing on and coming up with ideas to help run our country! And not our bedrooms and uterus'. Stop backing people who represent and pander to those who hold the most extreme religious ideas, who you've allowed to gain influence in your party. It's weakening you. It's turning voters who otherwise might support you away. If you don't draw the line in the sand and modify your behavior I can see you having a splinter party breaking off in the future to shake the stench of some of the social issues shit you seem intent on stepping in by Republicans who don't want to have to own that anymore. Frankly, I'm not even opposed to a multiple party set up, as long as they're large enough to do something other than give an advantage to the other side. Without a party having enough support to win, around 30% of the nation, a vote for them becomes a vote against the next closest platform that you would support.
I hope we won't have to have this chat again and that you will embrace a lil' hope that you can take your party back and will create the change to make it happen. But for now, I bid you adieu. (drops mic, walks off stage)
...Now, that I've got that off my chest maybe I can just keep my head from exploding until November.
If you've stayed with me this long, know you have just earned yourself one BBG Gold Star! If you are of a like mind and wanna comment, please do. If you are diametrically opposed to everything I believe in, coolio. It's one of the best things about America, that we are all free to hold our own opinions, if you want to share yours have at it, but mind you, it would have to be a pretty compelling argument to get me to turn my back on people who I don't think of as 'victims'