prejudice

Burning Aj

Hey Aj, glad you’re here come in…yeah, I have a surprise for you, it’s in back…close your eyes… trust me… *mutters darkly “I wouldn’t*…what’s that? …oh, I didn’t say anything…yeah, it’s a BIG surprise…closed?…good, watch out, 3 steps…there ya go…stand right here…*takes shoulders and puts back against post*…stand still…*mutters “where did I put that damn rope?…found it”*…stand still…*grabs hands and starts to tie wrists*…stop struggling!…there we go, got ’em…*mutters “should have brought a damn gag”*…quit yelling…I’ll be right back…quit yelling…*runs into house and grabs dish towel*…*shoves into mouth*…*uses sleeve to wipe spit off of face*…what was that?…what am I doing?…hard to hear you with that towel in your mouth, sorry…what do you think I’m doing…*starts piling firewood around feet*…I said I had a “Big Surprise”. this is it. I’m burning a witch…you…*mutters*…where did I put that fucking gas can? …there it is …don’t mind the smell…why?… because you’re a Witch. what’s so hard to understand?…look at it like this, you did say you like the heat *inane giggle*…where did I put those matches…*pats pockets*…hey, you got a match?…sorry, I was joking, here they are…

*****

Miller!
What?
Stop!
Why?
Aj is your best friend. You can’t burn her!
*scratches head* Why not”
She’s a person. She’s your BestFriend. You. Can. Not. Burn. Her.
Yes, I can. She’s a witch, That means she’s NOT a person. It doesn’t matter what I do to a witch because they don’t matter. It’s not like they’re “real people”. Besides, everyone else treats them like shit. What does it matter what I do to one? They’re. Not. Real. People. .. Even if they were, it doesn’t mean anything, she’s just a witch. She’s gonna bun eventually, this is just a head start. Practice, in a manner of speaking…
Miller!
*exasperation* What?
You can’t burn Aj…
Look, we always figured my life would be less complicated if I had a “normal” Best Friend, this just simplifies things because she won’t be my best friend for long…and it really doesn’t matter because she’s a witch. Nobody cares what happens to them…
Miller!!
ENOUGH!! SHUT UP
*quietly* Miller…but…she’s your best friend and you love her…
…*almost silently* I know but, she’s a witch…and no one cares what happens to them so, why should I?…

*****

*checks knots*
*pours gas*
*lights cigarette*
*throws match*
*turns back and walks away…*

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Dear Aj,

Dear Aj,

By my estimation, I’m about 85% unafraid of you and about 15% scared spitless of what I don’t understand. I don’t really stress that last bit of afraid because it just doesn’t matter…

No, Aj, I am REALLY not stressing. We’ve been dealing with this for years, you and I… I may not ever get past those last “ghosts” of my conditioning but, to quote me, “so what?” We have come a very long way since that beginning, right? Since a very afraid and confused me met a Witch. Since I set aside my “Searsucker Fundie” thoughts and wandered into Heresy. Yeah, a very long way since I had to reconcile what I thought about where I KNEW your soul was going and where I am convinced it isn’t, now. You know these things. They’re just here so that we may see them again.

Herein lies the problem, Dear Friend. I worked against centuries of conditioning. I had to fight “The Wizard of Oz” and a raft of Disney. I had to overcome the fears that prompted the Salem Trials. The thing is I wanted to. I really wanted to be what I am, your best friend. I wanted it so badly that I knew that I had ZERO choices in the matter. I was at a spot where being “scared spitless” met “you’ll lose your best friend” and “spitless” lost…

I love you to bits. You don’t scare me. What “concerns” me is that people don’t see that. I have sent you to Hell in a blog post to make the point that I think that is a lie.  As an aside, you do realize how hard that was to write?  I’ve told friends about you in conversations, blogs, “FaceCrack” aka “your daily dose of dopamine” statuses and, every other method I can think of and I’m still worried.

I know that all you want is to be left alone to practice in peace. That’s it. You don’t want to proselytize. You aren’t out to change anyone’s beliefs or moral construct. You haven’t done that to me. We’ve never even talked about it except for tiny bits when I asked, about sending energy and I know you keep a candle lit for my house, just like I pray for your safety. You see, I’m not trying to change you either but, you knew that, too. My worry isn’t “you” but “for you” because people don’t see you, the person, they see “godless heathen Witch” or they see a caricature from movies and comics or they see”my darkest fear of demons and evil”. None of which are the Truth… You aren’t evil or a joke.

So, the question remains, what do we do? How do we teach people to look beyond? How do we give the unwilling a reason to take the harder path and confront themselves and what they think like I did? How do we teach the kids because “most” adults have their prejudices formed? Not everyone is as willing as I am/was to be open. Most of them don’t have an “Aj”. I suspect that most of them would have told you to get away as soon as they suspected that you weren’t like them. I’m not saying that makes me “special” or, in any other way, some kind of a Good Person. In fact, my reasons were, and are, ENTIRELY selfish. Everyone needs a Best Friend and when someone picks you to be theirs, you…or I…accept with gratitude.

I digress…

I don’t think we’ll change the world. I really don’t think anyone cares what a middle-aged Water Witch and a balding Heretic think. Sigh. I do think that we might change one person. We could possibly teach two or three if we’re lucky. We, I, still gotta try. We have to keep showing you to them and hoping for the best. At the End of Things, Truth and Love overcame Fear…and that’s all that counts. That and that if I can overcome my fear and gain my Best Friend, every bit of the work, all of the soul searching, all the dumb questions and neurotic phone calls and texts were worth the effort…

Love,
Miller

D**n Confusing Woman…or, An Old Comfortable Pair of Jeans…

I have a friend. *grins* I really have several but, this is about one. She easily GIVES praise, when she thinks it’s deserved and will argue you into the ground to make you see it in yourself but, she REFUSES to see it in herself. Allow me to quote her…

“Sometimes I have to step back. I do not see in myself these things you write about me. I am just being me. I live my life the best way I can and do my best to always be kind and caring. I have my human moments but I ground myself and remember that every thing and every person has a purpose. I may not always know what that purpose is, but I am certain that there is one. With me just being me, I am at times taken aback when I realize these words are about me.”

Yes, you are human. I used the phrase, “In truth, she can be a stone b***h and highly opinionated”. You are entirely capable of being petty and spiteful. You are able to “beat me up” over a misphrased idea. Some days all I want to say is, “give me a break”. So what?

This was my reply to her, “… you agreed without any condition or editorial input, to be used as an example. You allow and encourage me to share details of your life, health, and faith. You, although you know me well enough to know they exist, have never set any boundaries on what is permissible to reveal. You want me to show your imperfections and failings. You have given unconditional trust to me. Do you know ANYONE else willing to do that? It’s easy to say things about ourselves. It is a far different thing to trust someone else to do that, even your best friend. See?…”

Think about that for a bit. How many of us are willing to let someone, even a trusted friend, to do that? How many are willing to, no matter the cause or end, are willing to be used as an example and have our lives shown to strangers, look at the warts and all, to show the frailties, comment on the sexuality, point out the chronic illness, use their faith, to be the Hammer?

Part of me wants to say, “okie dokie, here ya go” but…I can’t quite bring myself to…

People are confusing. We mistake being human for being perfect. We see our defects very clearly and our glories not at all. We are blind to what we do and when it is pointed out, automatically dismiss it.

So, what’s all this have to do with writing about how Christians and Pagans interact? Actually, not much…unless you figured out that it’s Aj that I’m talking about. Even then, there’s no direct reference to Paganism or Christianity…and, unless I rewrite this, won’t be…

It’s an odd thing, she likes the posts where I write about her humanity. She enjoys being The Hammer. Those aren’t fun for me. I like the “nice” posts, the ones where I get to talk about the regard I hold her in, the ones with the “hero worship” in them. The truth about her is probably someplace in the middle…

It’s kind of like an old comfortable pair of jeans, her friendship. It fits. It’s soft and comfortable. It has meaning beyond its apparent worth. When it started out it was starchy and stiff…now, even if we talk on text or chat, I hear her voice… I have a memory of a hug on a warm summer day…I know that when I need some thought, she was doing it before I knew I needed it…I didn’t want her as a friend but, as time goes on, I realize she was the friend I NEEDED…and still do.

Broken down into her parts, you might judge a bit and find the whole wanting but, the whole is what matters…and that’s the lesson. If you take people apart, you’ll always find something to dislike. Stop doing that…even to people that confuse you.

How Do We Respond?

A crime was committed against my family. I do not know what was stolen, by who, or when those things are lost to time…

My descent is Western European. There is no one, that we can tell, of any other geographical area. That means we were not always Christian. It is impossible since we didn’t spring from the ground in the 7th century AD. That means, like all others with the same roots, we had a different culture and set of oral traditions as well as a different faith. Those were stolen and we can not prove what was taken.

Anyway…that the theft occurred is a given. That one of my ancestors did it to another can also be taken as fact. What is also true, for me, is that my Christianity is my faith. Being Christian does not change that I do wonder and when I do that I can not decide which is worse, the theft or not knowing what was stolen. You see, the cultures that are gone left no written record. We have no genealogies going to those times. History was written by the victors, not the oppressed. Religion was used as a political tool to enforce temporal power.

I don’t know why my friends that are Pagan became that. What motivation other than a vague, “Christianity didn’t fit”. Perhaps someday one or a few will tell me if I ask. I wonder, sometimes if it is a longing for what was lost or anger at what was done.

*****

So, how do we right a wrong when we do not know the crime or the victims or the perpetrators?

We, Christians, have to try to set aside out fears. I know it is not easy. It wasn’t/isn’t for me so, I acknowledge them and see the person and not the practices that cause discomfort.

We should accept that there was a loss and realize that, though we don’t own the guilt, Christianity does. We need to get off our high horse with the innate moral superiority we think we have because we believe we have the ONLY path that is true and right. Paganism is our parent. They had faith before us and no matter what we want to believe, just because we have a book and all they have is an oral tradition, we are not somehow innately superior, we’re just newer. The pre-literate cultures did architecture, astronomical observation, and metal work that still amaze us. Just because they left no writings and were over-written by us doesn’t remove their validity.

We  can make a place that is safe for them to come to us. We, if we know someone that is a Pagan and odds are we know at least one, don’t mock their faith. We give the respect we so stridently demand. Even if we can not see past our sense of Salvation, we do not condemn out of hand. We ask questions seeking to understand. We don’t call it “hocus pocus”, foolish, “just a phase”, “you’re serious?!?”, or anything else unless we feel the same about Christianity and are willing to accept the same in return.

We can examine our own hearts and faith. We find our own strength and depth of faith to realize that our fears are unfounded. That the threats to our beliefs come from our own doubts. We look inward to find ourselves and do not identify a threat that does not exist. Pagans are not trying to “convert” us even while we are trying to change them so, we set aside that double standard.

If we are lucky enough to be trusted when someone does come to us with their faith, we respect that. We realize how many reasons we have given them to fear us and we count ourselves lucky that we have shown that we are worth the part of themselves  that they are offering.

*****

There’s a part of this, too, that Pagans get to do. You get to educate us. You get to teach us not to fear. You let us know you first as individuals and then if, and ONLY if, it is physically safe, let us know that you are Pagan. There will be risks to that. You risk us not understanding and mocking you or us being driven away. You will be sometimes wrong about one of us and it will be an intolerant Christian that refuses to see past our misconceptions. I am sorry, we are a fearful and xenophobic sort of people no matter what we say, we want everyone to be like us. Seriously, Aj risked pushing me away, read the middle bit of this post to see how it worked out, Which One is Pagan.   Those set backs WILL happen. You will be mistaken about one of us. You will think that one of us might be open-minded because of a view on one topic like LBGT rights or women’s rights and equate that with being open to Paganism…and you’ll be wrong. We Christians can be randomly dogmatic, sorry. I know it isn’t going to be easy. There are thousands of years of codified oppression, prejudice, and violence to overcome. You have your own baggage caused by our actions. I’m asking for you to forgive us for something that is unconscionable and I can’t blame you if you don’t but, until we both set aside our fears, y’all are outnumbered and disorganized. Our fears will win if we are allowed to keep them.

Let’s be realistic, this is going to be a series of tiny victories. Things will change one person at a time. This is not something like Marriage Equality where the SCOTUS can codify it and states can rule that discrimination is illegal. It is going to be one person educating one other person and hoping the lesson takes. Christian Churches will always be against you, they HAVE to be, by their standards, you are the embodiment of sin. They will draw no distinction and understand no difference between Paganism and Devil Worship. That battle is lost. What wins you will have will come from finding people, individuals, like me that were willing to see a person and make a change to themselves and views because of that person. Two thousand years of dogma and teaching and fear will not be undone overnight…Saying “be patient” would be useless and unfair but, it is the truth, you don’t have any other choice. You can not force fears to change. You can show that your concepts are not against ours but, different. You can try to educate us about the faces of your gods and goddesses and teach that they are not the Devil. You can gently tell us how the Christian concepts of sin and hell do not apply but, personal responsibility and morality do. You can show us that we have nothing to fear by educating us and letting us know that you’re our neighbors and friends. Yeah, tiny victories…

…and there will be setbacks. Some idiot will do some stupid violent act. It will make the news and the story will read “Pagan Commits (fill in the blank) Crime” and you will be blamed. Someone will get fed up with arrogant Christians and spout off. That will make the news, too with Christians saying, “see, I TOLD you there was a War on Christianity”. It isn’t fair or right but, there will b confirmation to Christians, some of us, every time something like that happens…and you will have to start trying to teach us again…

*sigh*

A crime was committed. The loss was immeasurable. Now, we have to try and undo it…

Fear or Enemy?

What do you fear?
I’ll start, you can ask Aj but, Tarot scares me. I don’t understand it. I have years of conditioning against divination. I don’t really want to learn much more than that. Add Ouija boards to that list for the same reasons. My faith has taught me that they are tools of demons and the devil…
My best friend is Pagan. If you read the second line, you can figure out that it’s Aj. By all rights, I should be scared of her for the same reasons as Tarot and Ouija but, I’m not. Why? Because I know her.
*****
There’s an old expression, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. What if there’s a third path. What if you don’t want to “beat ’em” or “join ’em”? How ’bout this, encourage them? That works, too. Hunh, Aj. Meaning, you don’t have to be the same as the people you love. You don’t have to do the same things. All you have to do is enjoy them doing the things they do.
*****

So, back from that digression…Just because something scares me, it doesn’t mean I have to be afraid of it. *This’ll make sense, I promise* I can not drink. Ever. If I do, the failure will be complete. It doesn’t mean I’m scared of alcohol. It doesn’t mean that, out of fear, I think it should be banned. It doesn’t mean I lash out at people that drink. It just means that I don’t.

Other differences are the same. Just because I am not Pagan and parts of what some of my friends do goes against my preferences and conditioning doesn’t make it wrong…It just makes it not right for me. That’s the odd thing about life. We can not approve of something for ourselves and think it is entirely proper for someone else. I’d no more change the Pagans I know than I’d become Pagan. It fits them like being a Heretic Christian fits me.

There is a perception that the things we fear or are different are our enemy. That is not always the truth. None of the Pagans I know are out to get me. *editorial, I don’t fear them. I just recognize their faith as different than mine* They are not waging a war against Christianity. They are just trying to live their lives in peace. The problem is that, because of a false perception on our part, we feel that we must react to a perceived threat. We think, without knowing, that we have to respond in kind to something that does not exist…

Perhaps we need to take a step back. Perhaps we need to look at our own bias and not think that we should project that on to others…Back to the top, I do fear Tarot. That makes it wrong for me. It doesn’t make it wrong for someone else. It doesn’t mean that the people I know that do Tarot are wrong. It merely means that it is wrong for me. Aj has been doing Tarot since she was 14. If there is a person that is more firmly on my side, outside of my wife and blood kin, I don’t know who it would be. If I were to fear her because of something she does, I’d remove my best friend. I may be any number of things but, I’m not stupid enough to do that.

*****

This post used Pagans and Aj as an example. You could substitute any number of other differences. LBGT/Straight or Liberal/Conservative/Libertarian are the ones that come to mind. Different does not equal enemy.

How Did This Turn Into 1600 Words? I Was Just Going to be a Smarta$$

Some bits of thoughts…

Good Lord, Happy People, it’ll be ok. It really will. *deep breath*

They’re really not out to change your world. They want to change theirs. Luckily enough, it did…

That whole “slippery slope to (fill in the blank)”, I took a poll. Meaning, I asked some friends. They don’t support that stuff any more than you do…They said, specifically, that they do not believe the age of consent should be lowered due to “maturity” issues, that close relations marrying have a host of genetic issues for the children, and they tend to be monogamous by nature…

So, after the “slippery slope” questions, I asked a follow-up, “Have you ever tried to ‘convert’ a straight person?” The answer was a uniform, “Nope…no desire to convert anyone…waste of energy!” So, based on my asking directly, I’d say that set of fears are unfounded.

I gotta tell y’all…I am, often, the only male, the only conservativish/libertarianish, the only Christian, and the only straight person, in a conversation. Generally, most of the people in the conversation are Ladies and either Pagan, Lesbian, or both. Mostly, they’re Liberalish. Given all that, I am more comfortable and less judged for my beliefs and politics with them than I am by people that fit MY OWN demographic. Hunh? Yeppers, Bucko. Funny how that works, right? The folks that my “demographic” is still trying to find ways to condemn and repress is less judgemental, and has greater reason to be, of me than my own group. Y’all wonder why I like them better than my own demographic? It ain’t because I’m a “traitor”. It’s because my group is a bunch of judgemental twerps.

Here’s another difference between me and a bunch of people, when I have a question, I ask it. I mean, the stuff up there, those comments on the slippery slope stuff, I went to some friends and asked those questions. No beating around the bush, just “do you believe that…?” “Have you ever…?” I’m not big on ambiguity and I know some people that know me well enough to not take offense when I ask.

‘Nother question I asked, “did you choose to be gay?” Again, the answer is a simple “no”. There are some background and personal details involving trying to fit societies expectations but, they don’t matter and are private. The simple answer is no one chooses to be gay. I don’t even know how that should be questioned. I mean, do straight people decide, one day, “I’m not sure if I was born gay or straight so, I think I’ll be straight”. In the words of Homer Simpson, “Doh!”…

I mean, Geeze Louise, all of these questions and thoughts are responses to the junk that I’ve been reading. Maybe that’s my problem, I spend too much time reading stuff. It makes me wonder about my own tiny bit of sanity. Just entertaining the thought that someone could think some of this stuff really boggles my “tiny pea brain”…

*****

Here’s something else that’s been rolling through my head…I write these blogs because I can. I mean, Miller, straight, white, conservativish/libertarianish, middle-aged, Christain, male can. I can’t be accused of having Lib/Prog bias or being sucked in to the “gay agenda” because, I don’t really blindly follow anyone or any ideology. I form my views by considering and pondering. I have a tendency to be “undecided” for years. I don’t jump on bandwagons. I also consider them from the perspective of ALL of the internal biases of the demographic I belong to. When I reach a conclusion, I have to be comfortable with it and I tend to be “mentally lazy” meaning, I LIKE my thought paths and “ruts”. I don’t want to have to change my perspective or outlook.

I have a bunch of Pagan friends, they are not going to turn me Pagan. I like Christianity. It fits me. Having said that, I’m not trying to condemn or convert them, either. If for some reason, they decide to give Christianity a shot because not all Christians are “judgemental twerps”, that’s cool with me. This should have been inserted before the last sentence. I don’t know the “workings” of Paganism for beans. I don’t really want to know the holidays, rituals, rites, or anything else. I have a broad understanding of it from asking some questions. Some of it I agree with, the part about Nature being an “aspect”, some I don’t. Like I say, really doesn’t matter because, in general, becoming Pagan holds no appeal to me. Nothing against it, just not my cut of meat.

Likewise, I have a bunch of friends that are girls that like girls. They don’t have to convert me, my wife is a girl. *grins* What I also don’t have is an attraction to the same sex. No biggie. It doesn’t affect my relationship with them. I’m not going to pretend that I like every person I’ve ever met that’s LBGT. I also don’t like every straight person I ever met. Jerks abound in the world and cross all demographic borders. Having said that, I’m comfortable around them. Those questions I asked in my poll some paragraphs before, I asked them straight out. Didn’t beat around or hint or ask PC or evasive. Asked “did you choose to be gay?” Asked, “do you think the age of consent should be lowered?” Asked, “have you ever tried to convert a straight person?” I fully expected honest answers to each question without evasion. I got honest answers. See the quote thingies? I quoted the answers. My demographic tends to be far more evasive and conditional, “I didn’t decide to be straight but, I think being gay is a choice and they could change back if they wanted to…” See why I like hanging out with them better? Also, hanging out with them reassures my wife. *grins* I know she knows I’m COMPLETELY faithful but, why push things. There’s no question of temptation if there’s no question of temptation. Does that make sense?

*big inhale/exhale*

Anyway…like I was trying to get to right after the “*****” thingy, I write these for them…and Z…and you…because, when I write, it’s not defensive. I can’t be seen as a member of the LBGT community writing anti-straight propaganda. There’s no chance I’ll ever be Lib/Prog and so that bias is out. I’m Christian, so, it’s hard to say I’m “attacking” the Christian Church when I point out individual attitudes.

All that translates to me writing for a minority group…or two…because they need to be seen the way I see them, not as a threat to the existential ‘Merican Way of Life. They really aren’t. In my experience, they tend to be Patriotic. Hell, Folks, they had to work to gain Rights that straight Christians take for granted. Think on that, they had to prove themselves to you. Wonder how you’d feel if it were the other way ’round?

They are people with a strong sense of morality. Yeah, I get it, you disagree because you think what two adults, of the same gender, do in the bedroom is immoral. Get over it and shut down your imagination. They think we’re uchy, too. I digress…They are Law Abiding, Tax Paying, Politically Active folks. Their hate of crimes against children is at last equal to yours. Their desire for law and order equals yours. Their want to be safe from “crimes against persons” is the same as yours. They tend to want the same monogamy that you do. The only difference is that they don’t see you as immoral like you see them.

So, yeah, back to where was I…I write for them because I should. There should be one blue collar Texan male writing for his friends. It isn’t defensive for me to write this stuff. I’m not “stridently defending myself”. I’m just trying to convince you, politely *grins, this really is me being polite and nice* to not be so worried. I mean, come on Happy People, get over yourselves. Try talking to the folks I know. If you’re a straight guy, hanging with Lesbians is fun. *grins* We get, and make, the same jokes…I suppose, if you were a straight girl hanging with gay men would be fun, too. Don’t know, I don’t fit either of those. *grins again* Relax a tiny bit. Keep your religion at church and meet some people that aren’t the same as you. Quit thinking it’s your place to make the world conform to your vision and concentrate on yourself.

Other “oh yeah” moment to add to the end…I have NEVER asked the Ladies about the mechanics of s e x. It really isn’t my business. I’m really not curious about how it works in the LBGT world. I assume it involves some form of physical and emotional closeness. I suspect a hug or a kiss feels just as good. I think that holding hands is a bonding thing for them, too. Those things mean, in the end, it’s the same for them as it is for me and Sweety. That touching the person you love is still the Best Thing in the World. That is the truth for everyone…

*sigh*

Criminy Christmas, more than 1600 words of stuff bouncing around, today. I was just gonna write some one-liners and stuff. I hope this helps. Maybe there’s more understanding gained by asking and pondering? Y’all think about this stuff and find your own path. I stumbled into this one.I like it. I’ll keep on plugging along and hope for the best.

Thanks to K, S, and D for answering my blunt and personal questions.

Your Objections Have Been Noted, Here’s My Rebuttal…

*sigh*

I gotta go back to this…

I was looking. Depending on the poll, roughly 6% of the population of the US is LBG. Broken down, roughly 1.7% Lesbian, 1.7% gay, 1.8% Bisexual. Again, that is, roughly, 8 million people, total. There are some variances in the surveys and the numbers…In the US, roughly 83% identify as Christian. That is, roughly, 264.5 million.

Why is it so hard to figure out? A “Gay Army” is not out to destroy Christianity. Assuming that some portion of the 8 million are Christian, lets use half and make it lower than the stats would suggest, that leaves 4 million. By what reach of imagination do we get to this war against us?

*sigh*

Holy Birdbrain, Batman. Even if the numbers were doubled, there wouldn’t be enough. Even if they cared enough to be out to get you, odds are by the time they got to you, they’d be worn out from trying.

*sigh*

“But my Bible says…” Yeah, I have one, too. I read mine, too. I read the spot where Moses brought down the Law. No words about being gay there. I read the Laws Jesus gave us…

“28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” ”  Mark 12:29-31

There is no ambiguity there. Those are the rules. No exceptions. Anything else is against the words of Christ. I read some preacher, wish I remembered who, say, “Jesus and the Bible hate gays”. Ok, I’ll play, where in the Bible did JESUS say that. Look in the bits that have red letters, those are his words. Find a quote. Cite chapter and verse. No, you don’t get to paraphrase or “read between the lines”, quote the verse, I’ll wait…Never mind, there’s no point, Jesus never said those words.

“But Paul said…” Ok, I’ll play, Paul is NOT the Son of God. He wrote his opinion. Period. The Words of Jesus should be every Christian’s “default mode”. If they aren’t, we have vastly different ideas of what being a Christian is…

*****

Ok, next point and arguments…

“They want to redefine marriage”…How? By saying that they want to make a lifetime commitment? Ah no. Your objection has been noted. “But marriage is for procreation…” So, you are saying a paraplegic can not be married, either. You are saying my marriage is invalid because we are, and will be, childless. “But marriage is a CHRISTIAN institution…” So, you invalidate every couple that is not Christian’s marriage. Tell that to the other 17% of the population that isn’t Christian.

Those objections have been noted and rejected.

*****

Final objection…

They are re-interpreting the Constitution…How? The Constitution has not one single word about marriage in it. It does have some specific wording, though, “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The words you are looking for are “No State “,”citizens”, “due process of law”, and “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. There is not the tiniest bit of wiggle room. There are ZERO exceptions listed. Not “citizens except the gay ones”, just “citizens”. Period. That is the strictest possible way to read it. If your straight Christian marriage is protected, so is every other one. Period.

“Blah blah blah slippery slope to pedophiles or livestock or appliances…” etc. If you are so thick skulled and obtuse as to think that a predatory criminal act is the moral equivalent of a non-criminal act between adults, then there’s no point in trying to reason with that point. You failed the test.

*****

*sigh*

Look, here’s the bottom line, it’s done. It won’t be undone. No matter how much you whine, it’s over.

For what it’s worth, I’ll admit my bias, again. I’m a married, straight, Christian man. My best friend is a single, Lesbian, Christian. She’s no threat to you. She doesn’t want you to do something that makes you feel your religion is under threat. She’s the first one to jump to your right to your beliefs. She’ll be the first one to defend your right to all the non-PC comments you want to make. She was a soldier. She went into Iraq during the First Gulf War. She probably thinks more of the Constitution than you do because she swore an oath to defend it and never quit that oath. I promise she’s more conservative than you ever thought about being. She doesn’t want “special” privileges just “equal protection” since she is a “citizen”. That’s not too much to ask.

You can keep your objections. They have been noted. The War on Marriage, the Judicial Over-reach,  The Against My Religion, allow me to be blunt…or ignore me, I really don’t care. You are being paranoid. That victim mentality you want to use to repress a minority of the population looks ugly on you.

*****

Sorry for the tone of this post. I’m really not angry, just worn out. I love Z. Yeppers, freely admit that I love another woman that isn’t my wife. I hope she does find a woman worth her and get married. *Editorial, loving a girl that likes girls isn’t a threat to my marriage. Nothing is because my wife ALWAYS will be the love of my life* I take it personally, far more than Z does, when I read how she’s going to be the “downfall of ‘Merica”. I take the perception that she’s a threat to people she defends as an insult to her. She earned better treatment than that. So, I HAD to write a rebuttal to the stupidity and hate that I see.

If none of my answers apply to you, pose an argument that is valid, not defensive.

If my answers defend your rights, that was our point. I’ll always have Z’s back…and yours.

In the end, it really is that simple, we are not allowed to judge the quality of an adult’s love for another adult. We are not given the right to demean or devalue someone for being different. We, the majority, should be protecting the minorities. We are, ultimately, ALL minorities because, we are all individuals. When I stand before God, he’s only going to show me the value of MY soul, not yours. My actions and thoughts are the ones I answer for. How I treated the ones I love, not who you loved…that’s it. We were born alone and we’ll die alone. In the middle, we should try to walk in peace with each other…

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

I’m an Opinionated Jerk

Truth be told, I like being a jerk. I enjoy letting my temper go. Being an ass feels good. Problem is, I don’t like that guy much, I mean, the one that gets an adrenaline rush from anger. So, I bite it back and try to decide to be nice. I am, mostly, the nice guy I sometimes have to pretend to be…

I also am not as much of a social person as I appear. I am able to make a thousand excuses not to leave the house. My job forces interaction and teamwork. The rest of the time, I’d prefer not.

I don’t like that many people and, in return, do not expect to be liked by everyone I meet. I am stubborn, opinionated, and grouchy…when I’m not being a goof…My biggest prejudice is stupidity…Did I mention I was arrogant, too?

I felt like I’d list my personality flaws to make a point. *editorial, I have some good traits. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the people in my life that I do.*

If you don’t want to like me because of those flaws, I’m more than fine with that. If you want to like me for the good parts, that’s also fine.

There really is a point to this. I was reading some moron saying that the flooding in Texas is because of Pagans and gays. I have seen various comments by people blaming the troubles of America on the LBGT population. I have seen that the Duggars protected a child molesting son and are anti-gay. Remember my prejudice against stupidity? These kinds of people fit that description. They, the Duggars and the Nutzo Wack-job branch of my faith, hit my buttons…

Z, Dear Z, fits most of the same personality traits that I have. You want to dislike her for that, go ahead. You don’t like her because she prefers Tequila over Gin, that’s fine, too. Hating, yeah hate, her because she’s gay makes ZERO sense. You’ve never spoken to her. You have no clue what’s in her heart. It’s the same thing as hating her because she’s short.

I know I’m being hypocritical. I hate stupidity. Stupid people can’t help it. They were born that way…unless it is a choice…You can decide to protect a child molester and then claim the moral high ground for your homophobia. That is stupidity by choice. You can blame someone for the weather. That is stupidity by choice. You can say you are defending families and be against people wanting to form families.That is stupidity by choice.

Hate me, if you will, for the choices I’ve made. I decided to be an addict. Nine years and change removed do not change that fact. I have no problem with that hate. I did “destroy the moral fabric”. You can hate me for wanting to be an anti-social jerk. I do that sometimes.

I’m not asking you to like Z, the person. She can be, in her words, “a bit intense”. I am asking you to consider not hating her for what she can not change. She can no more become “un-gay” than she can become “un-short”. Consider that and think, do you want the same standard you apply, hating an intrinsic trait, applied to you?

I suppose that was the entire point…Either admit hypocrisy or change it. I freely admit mine. I have double standards. I will embrace a strongly opinionated loved one and condemn an opinionated stranger. I am a jerk…and a loyal friend. It doesn’t make me any difference if you hate me for any characteristic of my personality or my demographic because it’s directed at me, the individual. Hating a demographic that includes Z without judging each individual as a person is stupid.

I hope this made the tiniest bit of sense. I knew what I was trying to say. I hope you got it. Base hate on individuals and not on prejudices.

Please Do Me a Favor

Please do me a favor. Please don’t defend my “religious freedom”. I am a Christian. I am a straight married male. I am not a member of the LBGT community. I am NOT under attack.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…I don’t want any more than what the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. That’s it. I don’t want any law that says more than that. I may pray at any time and any place. It is my choice not to inflict it on the outsiders in my community or at work. My faith is between me and God.

Whatever I might believe on ANY topic within the context of my faith, I do NOT have any right to use those views to influence the way I treat any other human. You see, the Constitution doesn’t state that humans are only straight. It doesn’t just say that they all are Christian. It does say “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Not one single place does that have any definition other than “citizen”. Period.

*ponders if this should become a “Z post”*

Get over it. There is no “gay agenda”. There is merely a desire to be treated equally with any other citizen. How hard is that to comprehend? If you were to ever meet Z, what you would find is a good citizen. She’s a veteran. She’s conservative, probably more conservative than most. She’s a Christian. She’s a good mom. She’s a Patriot. She’s hard working. You wouldn’t know she’s gay without being told by her. I didn’t and I knew her for years before I found out.

In spite of all of that, there are people that ideologically line up with everything she stands for that would deem her as less worthy of the rights of citizenship that they are shrieking they are being denied. NO part of her life or her actions are to their detriment. No act of volition on her part has earned the contempt that they seem to show for a fellow citizen. Here’s the kicker, she doesn’t want to be a “protected class”, I asked. She merely wants to be left alone to live her life like any other citizen.

I’m protective, as much as I can be from a thousand miles away, of my friend. I rarely use the word “love” and never casually. I love Z to pieces. My life is a better place for having her in it. This country needs more citizens like her. Every value we want our kids to learn, she has. Every attribute I want in a friend, loyalty, honesty, and trust she has in spades.

So, explain to me how giving her the same basic human rights that the Declaration of Independence started and the Constitution ended are infringing on you? Tell me that you feel that you are offended by her existence and, as a result, think you have some right to repress her basic rights. Tell me how what she does with an other human being is causing you harm. Tell me that, as a Christian, you think she’s worse than the whores and tax collectors Jesus hung out with. Tell me that when Jesus prayed for the ones that gambled for his clothes as he was dying at their hand, that she’s worse than they are. Explain to me that your “traditional Biblical marriage” includes King David’s 1000 wives. Explain that, according to your definition, a woman is obligated to marry her rapist. Please inform your wife that she is your property.

“But Miller, we didn’t mean that”. I am a Christian. I’ve read the Book a couple of times…All of that is in there. When you say you want a “traditional Biblical marriage” you are saying that.

What you really want is to use religion as an excuse. You want a freedom that doesn’t exist. You want freedom to not be exposed to something you don’t want to see. You want freedom to think you are more worthy than an other citizen. You want to believe, without knowing, that being gay is immoral and a choice. It isn’t, no more than being straight is. You desire to impose your views on an other human without having found them guilty of a crime. You do understand that the citizens we are allowed to take rights away from are called “criminals” and even they get a trial.

*sigh*

I am not objective. I, too, am offended. I hope that is coming through. I am offended by people that presume to use my Faith as an excuse. I don’t like the idea that Christianity is being used as an excuse to repress. I don’t have is the right to discriminate against people with a view that differs. I don’t have is a right to tell you that you can not be that way because it isn’t the way I am and think. I don’t have a right to not be offended.

If you don’t want to have anything to do with the LBGT community, don’t. If you think it’s “uchy”, come out and say that. If you want to find a religious stricture against being gay, apply it to yourself. If you feel that being gay is immoral, fine. Those are your rights. It is not your right to impose those views on others. Again, being gay is NOT criminal. People that are not criminals ALL have the same rights.

*sigh again*

I’ve beaten this dead horse enough for one day. Those that get it, will. Those that refuse to, never will. It’s always gonna be personal to me…at least it will as long as people keep saying Z has less value than they do. I wouldn’t trade one of her for all of them. I’d be getting ripped off. Maybe that’s the answer. Look past the “gay” and see the Z. See the human, the citizen, she is and tell me that she has less worth than they do. See who I see. See my friend for what she is, a treasure and a fellow citizen…and a human.

*Z, these will always, every time, be about and for you. Thank you for letting me write them. No matter what some stranger has to say, my life and world are better for having you in it. Thank you for being you.*

More Thoughts on Prejudice and Fear

Before I start, to clear things up about this post. I am not regretting writing these or wanting to quit because I have no desire to write these…

I wish I could quit writing this blog. I wish there was no need for it. I wish that I didn’t feel a need to convince people that fearing someone because of how they love or what faith they have was not needed. *editorial.I know that being Pagan and being gay are not the same.*

I wish there was one tool or magic dust I could sprinkle that would erase fear and prejudice.

I wish that I could convince people that who I was, a meth addict, did actual harm to society. That, where I get praise for being an “ex”, it is undeserved. Being praised for no longer being a criminal is ridiculous. Being Pagan or LBGT is neither criminal nor harmful, yet, those people are scorned and I am not. Why?

To be entirely honest, I do not like every member of those communities I have met. Not every person is designed to like every other person. Having said that, the reason for the dislike are not their faith or who they love.

I can not see myself becoming a member of either group. It isn’t the way I’m wired.  It won’t stop me from standing up for them just because I don’t understand. I mention my Pagan friend, Aj. I don’t understand how she came to her faith. I don’t really care. Being Pagan is part of who she is. That’s enough for me. The person she is has become my best friend. I don’t understand why Z is attracted to women. *editorial, as a straight male, I do understand liking women* That, too, doesn’t matter. If I didn’t already have a best friend, Z would be a good one to fill that spot. She’s a treasure. *other editorial, that is just a comment on her worth as a person. Z should be someone’s best friend. she’s great* I do know that being a Lesbian is a part of who Z is. That’s all I need to understand.

Prejudice puts us in the position of deciding that we, by accident of birth, are better than someone else. We are not. Fear of what we are prejudiced against makes us want to repress. We should not. To say that I have some innate value that is greater than yours just because I was born doesn’t make sense. If I have earned some value because of study, practice, or talent only gives me greater value in the areas those apply to, not as a human.

To deny Equal Protection because of some perceived self-worth is to deny humanity. If I were to allow myself to be prejudiced against everyone that is “different”, I would be prejudiced against every other human in the world. If I were to fear everything that doesn’t fit the mold I was created in, I would fear everything. I refuse to live my life that way. My wife, as much as I love her, is far from being a copy of me. She has different wants, needs, and likes. That doesn’t make my love for her any less. That, also, doesn’t lessen her value. It merely makes her different.

Please, try to find a way to reach out. No matter if you are Pagan or Christian, gay or straight, try to find the value in other humans. Respect that they have the same capacity for love as you. See that they, too, have the same rights as you. Look for the common ground and ignore the differences. Enjoy the uniqueness and variety inside of the humans around you. Set aside fear and prejudice. Life is far too short…