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The Illogicacy of Christian Homophobia

December 19, 2013 4 comments

Used with permission from WikiCommons

Ah, it’s that time again. That magical time of the year when conservatives can unite around a cause in order to circle the wagons against a phantom onslaught against conservative values and perhaps Christianity. No, it’s not the annual war on Christmas, but this has to do with the supposed war on Christianity. Recently Phil Robertson, of the Duck Dynasty Show gave an interview to GQ magazine, in which he went on an anti-gay tangent. (Click Here to Read it)

After receiving a negative backlash from the public, and advertisers, A&E has suspended Phil Robertson indefinitely. Now the airwaves and social media pages are filled with people from the anti-gay and pro-gay camps weighing in.

I think it is odd that the same people who called for a boycott of Macy’s when they hired Ellen Degeneres, are now up in arms about Phil Robertson being suspended for anti-gay remarks. So when Macy’s hires a gay person as a spokesperson, the anti-gay crowd feels the need to exercise their God given right to free speech and expression by boycotting. However, when advertisers threaten to pull advertising from Duck Dynasty (essentially an advertising boycott), then the same anti-gay crowd cries out that Robertson’s free speech being violated? Yes, Phil Robertson had a right to say whatever he wants under the constitutional right to freedom of speech. He’s not going to go to jail over it (that’s what freedom of speech means: you can say what you want, but it does not preclude social or economic forces reacting). And yes, A&E and advertisers also have the right to pull advertisements, suspend him, etc. And yes I know the pro-gay crowd has done boycotts in the past. Freedom of speech goes both ways.

What disheartens me the most, is that much of the anti-gay crowd is made up of Christians. Christians who say that they love everyone, and don’t judge, yet for the LGBT segment of society, they openly judge and seek to have prejudicial and bigoted laws enacted and/or enforced. Many Christians cite to the Old Testament to provide validation that homosexuality is a sin. However, if you are going to throw around Old Testament laws to justify inequality, then you better also be following the other 613 Old Testament laws (Mitzvot), yes there are more than just 10 commandments… (Click Here for the Complete List) So if you eat pork, shellfish, meat and cheese together, touch a woman who’s on her period, have a tattoo, etc. you are going to hell as well. You can’t pick and choose, either you take them all, or you take none, to say otherwise is illogical.

I am also flabbergasted that I have friends who are clinging onto the “traditional marriage” and “slippery slope”  (we will start marrying animals, our sisters, etc.) arguments to justify inequality when it comes to LGBT marriage and relationships, when they themselves are in or have had interracial relationships. The Bible was used to justify slavery, and the Bible (specifically stories about God punishing the Jews when they intermixed), and the traditional marriage and slippery slope arguments were also used to uphold laws against interracial marriage and relationships.

For Christians, I think the choice is clear, either all of the 613 Mitzvot are still in place, or Jesus brought about a new order where the only important laws were to love God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself, or he didn’t. (Matthew 22:34-40).

Love is the true message of Christianity, not bigotry or hatred. During his ministry Jesus taught to, blessed, and healed people of all races and religious and social backgrounds. He did not discriminate, and so long as Christianity continues to discriminate and promote bigotry, people who identify as Christians, and church attendance as a whole, will continue to decline.

However, I think that if Christians will begin acting Christ-like, by showing love and compassion to all people, in an honest fashion (don’t just say “we don’t judge” while in the very act of judging), then Christianity can not only fulfill its true mission, its true purpose, but it can actually start growing again.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed this piece, please subscribe to this blog, and share it with others.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

Division as the Root of Conflict

April 22, 2013 7 comments

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonfly1965/5948700943/ (c) dragonflynan1965 2011

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonfly1965/5948700943/ (c) dragonflynan1965 2011

This has been a rough week of terrorism for the U.S.A., in a single week we have witnessed the bombing of the Boston Marathon, and the mailing of ricin laden letters to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. This week was also the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing (04/19/1995).

Those directly effected by the Boston bombing showed tremendous heroism by rushing to the aid of those injured immediately following the attack, and some runners even continued running to the nearest hospital to donate blood… after already running a marathon! The city of Boston as a whole, also seemed to show tremendous resolve and unity during the manhunt for the perpetrators.

However, almost immediately after the news broke about the bombings many people who were not directly effected by the acts seemed to be in a rush to pin the blame on someone. Were the acts done by radical Muslims? Right-wing fundamentalists? North Koreans? Everyone seemed to be in a rush to pin blame on “them”. There seemed to be an intense need to exonerate one’s own group (“us”), as well as justify deep seeded mistrust of “them”. Once it was discovered that foreign born, presumably Muslim, young men had perpetrated the bombing (Perhaps if we add in enough identifiers, each of us can distance ourselves from “them”), I watched on several social network sites, as many people almost gleefully celebrated the exoneration of their group, while armchair quarterbacking appropriate responses and protections.

While it is unknown at this time what exactly triggered the Tsarnaev brothers to commit their act, I can guarantee you at the root of it was division (a classic “us vs. them” conflict). Perhaps they didn’t feel that they fit in to American society, so the entire community composed “them”, perhaps they felt persecuted or marginalized because of their faith or ethnicity, perhaps it was an extension of the Chechnya -Russian conflict. Somewhere, there was an us vs. them mentality at the root. There always is, because regardless of what “group” a terrorist comes from, the us vs. them mentality is the fertile soil that allows the seeds of extremism (darkness) to take root and grow. The division (whether perceived or actual) is necessary for terrorism, because in order to conduct an act of terrorism, you must view your victims as sub-human, or at least deserving of carnage and death, which is not what G*d wants for us, nor is it what human nature dictates. Also, after an act of terrorism, the us vs. them mentality causes friction that prevents true healing.

Read more…

We Create Our Reality


Used with permission from Publicdomainpictures.net

Today I ran across two particularly interesting quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh that really resonated with me.

People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.

and

Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.”

These two quotes really resonated with me because the theme of how the internal path is reflected into the external world, and vice versa, has been a recurring theme for me this week.

First, leading up to, during, and after the North Carolina constitutional amendment this week that bans same-sex marriage, there was a huge amount of vitriol being spewed forth by conservative talking heads regarding the issue. Just watching the conservative political pundits and politicians speak about the amendment and issues facing the LGBT community, I was really struck by the amount of true hate that many of these people had. Even those that cloaked their opposition to LGBT rights in politically correct niceties such as “I’m not anti-gay, I’m pro traditional values”, seemed to harboring a great deal of resentment to a group of people that in no way poses any actual harm or threat to anyone. Period. Even though these people were clothing themselves in the cloak of righteousness, they were (and are) suffering because of the anger and ill-will that their views create internally and externally, whether or not they want to admit it, or even realize it. These people are not only experiencing internal conflict and turmoil, but externally they are influencing and/or governing over a society that is also full of conflict and turmoil. The vitriol is now ramping up even higher, because President Obama (thanks largely to Vice-President Biden’s horrid Washington D.C. sin of a truthful tongue slip), has finally came out in support of the right for same-sex couples to get married.

Now then, admittedly I generally fall into the libertarian portion of the scale when it comes to social issues, because I feel that as long as you aren’t hurting me, or anyone else, I don’t really have the right to force you to live your life a certain way, nor do I have the right to force my version of morality on you. However, no matter what end of the political spectrum you fall into, it shouldn’t be that great of a stretch to realize that every human being is a person that has the same rights and emotional needs as anyone else, and they are entitled to those rights and the fulfillment of those needs no matter their race or gender, or their sexual, religious, or political preferences.

Read more…

The Power of Spring Through It’s Festivals

April 12, 2012 2 comments

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is”– Jessica Harrelson

I love springtime. I love the cool rainy weather, and how all of the various plants literally spring back to life with vivid shades of color. Spring is also a time for birth and renewal, and because of this every culture and spiritual tradition has celebrated spring with various festivals, rituals, observances, and rites of passage. The festivals of the world celebrate the transition from winter, a time of scarcity and harshness, to spring which is a time of plenty as well as physical and spiritual renewal. The power of spring is best illustrated by the various religious festivals, celebrations, and holidays. Read more…

Occupy Your Life

October 31, 2011 5 comments

NYC at Night

This year has been a time of change and protest around the world. The protestors involved in the so called “Arab Spring” facilitated the toppling of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan regimes, and have made significant impacts on numerous other Arab countries. During the past few weeks the various news sources, social media sites, and blogs have been abuzz with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that began in the Wall Street district of New York City, and has subsequently spread to various cities across the U.S. Like the protestors involved in the Arab Spring, the Occupy protestors are standing up against the status quo in order to protest for change. One thing that has struck from all the protests, both from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, is the passion and resolve displayed by the protestors in order to bring about change.

So passionate are the protestors that they have put their lives on hold, and even completely changed the direction of their life in order to protest for change. In the case of the Arab Spring, those protestors quite literally put their lives, and the lives of their families at risk. However, given Oakland California’s recent heavy-handed response to the protestors, it appears that the protestors from the Occupy movement are not immune from the risk of physical harm, and even death.

The way that all of the protestors have been willing to completely give up the life they knew in order to pursue a cause they believed in reminded me of several religious and political leaders including: The Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to just name a few. Read more…

Lessons From the Norwegian Extremist Anders Behring Breivik and Other Terrorists


Breivik in faux modern Templar uniform

Like most people, it is hard for me to grasp the scope of the acts that Anders Behring Breivik recently committed in Norway. Sometimes I just can’t fathom how someone can carry out acts of violence in the name of religion, no matter how insane/delusional they are. Without in any way discounting the scope of his acts, the grief of the families, or his guilt, there are lessons that can be learned from his, and other terrorists, actions.

From what has been released, it appears that Mr. Breivik was an extreme Christian fundamentalist that was part of a subtle undercurrent of like minded individuals who believe Europe is being taken over by Islam, and that the implementation of Sharia Law is imminent. Mr. Breivik, and other like minded individuals feel that they must act out in violence in order to “save” the “Christendom” of Europe from this invading Islamic force. Unfortunately, there is a similar undercurrent present in other world countries, especially the United States. Fortunately, for now most people confine their fears of “other religions” and “other people” to private conversations, or internet forums. However, I fear that this undercurrent is gaining momentum, and more problems may be on the horizon. Read more…

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