A son’s coming out story

James Alexander is a 20 year old college student in not conservative at all state of  Texas.  In October of 2012, he came out to his parents in an email.  In that email, he also heavily criticized them for how they treated him, and he cleared up some misconceptions they, and many people have about homosexuality:

Over the past several years, you and dad have said and done many hurtful things. You two have cause much physical, mental, and emotional stress and turmoil within my life. Both of you have tried to raise me as if I was my sister and most recently, dad has tried to flat out control me in an “alpha male” defense from his clear insecurity. I’m not my sister. I’m an individual who’s very smart, kind, passionate and strong. You may know that already, but you honestly don’t know your son at all.

For years I’ve had to hide that I’m gay because my parents own words and actions hurt me so much. I’ve had to make plans that no child should have to make that include ways I’d survive if I were to be kicked out because of my sexual orientation. You may think you raised me well and in some ways you did, I have great values, morals, and a great sense for the world around me. I’m able to sympathize and empathize in ways that not many other people can and I can see every angle on any issue because of my willingness to learn. It is clear that my own father is the exact opposite.

I’m tired of him trying to push his views on me. I’m an individual and I’m capable of making educated decisions instead of blind opinions and I’m tired of him judging anyone who isn’t white or straight. As for you, you took me to a counselor as if something was wrong with me, but in reality, I’m perfectly fine. The American Psychology Association even agrees there is no problem with homosexuality, bisexuality or any sexuality that is non-traditional and the Association goes on to say that any therapy to try and change someone’s sexuality is extremely detrimental to their well-being and does not work. Your actions hurt me. Especially when you decided to make grand assumptions that I’d go around sleeping with my male friends, that I was promiscuous in the first place, goes as far as monitoring all my phone calls and texts, and even call me a liar. I’ve avoided such confrontation from happening again by simply changing the number I text from. My friends and anyone who knows me, knows that your actions and dad’s actions are awful and they can tell it upsets me.

What I need from my parents is not someone constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m being good. I need my parents to let me make my own mistakes and learn from them because the mistakes I’ve allowed myself to make so far have given me insight about the world and made me smarter and wiser. If you and dad keep trying to monitor everything I do, checking my phone calls and texts, checking my bank account, I will not be able to grow much more and if so, only at a snail’s pace.

For the past several months, I’ve been having one unique reoccurring dream which I’ve managed to decipher. The dream comes and goes and the more nights in a row I have it, the stronger and more violent it gets. It starts out with a simple dream where I speak, but no one hears me. It progresses the next night to me yelling at the top of my lungs and still, no one hears me. The next night, It’s a full on scream in you and dad’s face while you repeat the same words over and over that I can’t understand but know aren’t good. The worst it got was right before I found out I couldn’t go to the university. I yelled and hit dad while trying to understand that his son can’t change, never will change, and that he needs to accept it. These dreams stem from a place of anger that can only be fixed with the understanding and support I need from my family.

College was going to be my escape from all of that stuff. All the stress, the dreams, the anxiety; I wouldn’t have to deal with it because you two would be nowhere in sight and I’d be around tons of people who accept me for who I am, love me for who I am, and will always support me no matter what. Both of you have yet to prove you could do so and I will be astounded when that day comes, if it ever does. I desire a proper, supportive, and loving family. My sexuality is not a phase, it never was, it is not a disease, it is not a mental disability, it is not a demonic plague, it is not a choice, and it is certainly not a disgrace to our family. Both of you have a chance to become greater people not only in my eyes, but everyone else’ as well. To have a gay son and handle it so well and support and love them is a challenge, but it is also very simple. All you have to do is say “okay, I’ll do it” and to defend your son for who he is, is a show of strength many people do not ever get to experience.

Because I’m gay, I’ve gone through so many stages of turmoil ultimately leading to acceptance. I know who I am as a person. I do not waiver in my views just to fit the crowd. I proudly would stand alone for whom I am, than with everyone else, and I rather be homeless, than in a family that will treat me horribly for something that isn’t under anyone’s control. As for religious beliefs conflicting with sexuality, Homosexuality has been known all throughout history, the word for is just was not created till the late 1800’s. There were even sanctified gay marriage ceremonies back before the dark ages, only after was it forbidden because the way it was translated from Latin to English. If any religious text is read from the time it is written there are no negative ties to sexuality in anyway. Thusly, the only choice I’ve made is to be happy and proud of whom I am. The choice you must make is, are you willing to stand side by side as a family and support me, or abandon me.

After reading this, you must not know what to think, you may even want to call me. But I urge you to sit down with dad, talk with him and educate him so that you both may have an educated view on this matter. I am not going to fight you over this, I am not going to cry over this, I will not sit down and discuss anything more because this is all I have to say. If you feel that it’s not safe to be a gay male, well it is not. Buy me a Taser if that makes you feel safe. Give me money for prophylactics if you are going to assume I will have sex, but I guarantee if either of you, or my sister dare to make assumptions about me, stereotype me, say hurtful things, I will brush it off and tell you to stop, and if it continues, I will no longer be able to live in your household.

I’m here with my friends who love me. Do not call me, do not text me, and do not ruin my much needed break. I will be home on Sunday. If my stuff is sitting at the front door, then I’ll leave and find somewhere to stay and go to college. Once again, this is something for you and dad to discuss not something I feel the need to discuss any further than this letter unless you two have an apology. Once we can move forward as a family, I’ll no longer be so angry and the harmful environment should change with the values of the family. This was written because I’m tired of the hurting, tired of feeling less human, and feeling like my home is not safe, is not a loving environment, and is not supportive. I’ve done all I can do, it’s your turn to make things right.

Read the many attached articles linked below and then I will talk to you. See you Sunday.

I hope you make the right choice,

Your son, James.

The story does not end there. His parents responded.  I won’t spoil which way it goes, so if you’re curious, click the link.

A son’s coming out story
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A son's coming out story

James Alexander is a 20 year old college student in not conservative at all state of  Texas.  In October of 2012, he came out to his parents in an email.  In that email, he also heavily criticized them for how they treated him, and he cleared up some misconceptions they, and many people have about homosexuality:

Over the past several years, you and dad have said and done many hurtful things. You two have cause much physical, mental, and emotional stress and turmoil within my life. Both of you have tried to raise me as if I was my sister and most recently, dad has tried to flat out control me in an “alpha male” defense from his clear insecurity. I’m not my sister. I’m an individual who’s very smart, kind, passionate and strong. You may know that already, but you honestly don’t know your son at all.

For years I’ve had to hide that I’m gay because my parents own words and actions hurt me so much. I’ve had to make plans that no child should have to make that include ways I’d survive if I were to be kicked out because of my sexual orientation. You may think you raised me well and in some ways you did, I have great values, morals, and a great sense for the world around me. I’m able to sympathize and empathize in ways that not many other people can and I can see every angle on any issue because of my willingness to learn. It is clear that my own father is the exact opposite.

I’m tired of him trying to push his views on me. I’m an individual and I’m capable of making educated decisions instead of blind opinions and I’m tired of him judging anyone who isn’t white or straight. As for you, you took me to a counselor as if something was wrong with me, but in reality, I’m perfectly fine. The American Psychology Association even agrees there is no problem with homosexuality, bisexuality or any sexuality that is non-traditional and the Association goes on to say that any therapy to try and change someone’s sexuality is extremely detrimental to their well-being and does not work. Your actions hurt me. Especially when you decided to make grand assumptions that I’d go around sleeping with my male friends, that I was promiscuous in the first place, goes as far as monitoring all my phone calls and texts, and even call me a liar. I’ve avoided such confrontation from happening again by simply changing the number I text from. My friends and anyone who knows me, knows that your actions and dad’s actions are awful and they can tell it upsets me.

What I need from my parents is not someone constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m being good. I need my parents to let me make my own mistakes and learn from them because the mistakes I’ve allowed myself to make so far have given me insight about the world and made me smarter and wiser. If you and dad keep trying to monitor everything I do, checking my phone calls and texts, checking my bank account, I will not be able to grow much more and if so, only at a snail’s pace.

For the past several months, I’ve been having one unique reoccurring dream which I’ve managed to decipher. The dream comes and goes and the more nights in a row I have it, the stronger and more violent it gets. It starts out with a simple dream where I speak, but no one hears me. It progresses the next night to me yelling at the top of my lungs and still, no one hears me. The next night, It’s a full on scream in you and dad’s face while you repeat the same words over and over that I can’t understand but know aren’t good. The worst it got was right before I found out I couldn’t go to the university. I yelled and hit dad while trying to understand that his son can’t change, never will change, and that he needs to accept it. These dreams stem from a place of anger that can only be fixed with the understanding and support I need from my family.

College was going to be my escape from all of that stuff. All the stress, the dreams, the anxiety; I wouldn’t have to deal with it because you two would be nowhere in sight and I’d be around tons of people who accept me for who I am, love me for who I am, and will always support me no matter what. Both of you have yet to prove you could do so and I will be astounded when that day comes, if it ever does. I desire a proper, supportive, and loving family. My sexuality is not a phase, it never was, it is not a disease, it is not a mental disability, it is not a demonic plague, it is not a choice, and it is certainly not a disgrace to our family. Both of you have a chance to become greater people not only in my eyes, but everyone else’ as well. To have a gay son and handle it so well and support and love them is a challenge, but it is also very simple. All you have to do is say “okay, I’ll do it” and to defend your son for who he is, is a show of strength many people do not ever get to experience.

Because I’m gay, I’ve gone through so many stages of turmoil ultimately leading to acceptance. I know who I am as a person. I do not waiver in my views just to fit the crowd. I proudly would stand alone for whom I am, than with everyone else, and I rather be homeless, than in a family that will treat me horribly for something that isn’t under anyone’s control. As for religious beliefs conflicting with sexuality, Homosexuality has been known all throughout history, the word for is just was not created till the late 1800’s. There were even sanctified gay marriage ceremonies back before the dark ages, only after was it forbidden because the way it was translated from Latin to English. If any religious text is read from the time it is written there are no negative ties to sexuality in anyway. Thusly, the only choice I’ve made is to be happy and proud of whom I am. The choice you must make is, are you willing to stand side by side as a family and support me, or abandon me.

After reading this, you must not know what to think, you may even want to call me. But I urge you to sit down with dad, talk with him and educate him so that you both may have an educated view on this matter. I am not going to fight you over this, I am not going to cry over this, I will not sit down and discuss anything more because this is all I have to say. If you feel that it’s not safe to be a gay male, well it is not. Buy me a Taser if that makes you feel safe. Give me money for prophylactics if you are going to assume I will have sex, but I guarantee if either of you, or my sister dare to make assumptions about me, stereotype me, say hurtful things, I will brush it off and tell you to stop, and if it continues, I will no longer be able to live in your household.

I’m here with my friends who love me. Do not call me, do not text me, and do not ruin my much needed break. I will be home on Sunday. If my stuff is sitting at the front door, then I’ll leave and find somewhere to stay and go to college. Once again, this is something for you and dad to discuss not something I feel the need to discuss any further than this letter unless you two have an apology. Once we can move forward as a family, I’ll no longer be so angry and the harmful environment should change with the values of the family. This was written because I’m tired of the hurting, tired of feeling less human, and feeling like my home is not safe, is not a loving environment, and is not supportive. I’ve done all I can do, it’s your turn to make things right.

Read the many attached articles linked below and then I will talk to you. See you Sunday.

I hope you make the right choice,

Your son, James.

The story does not end there. His parents responded.  I won’t spoil which way it goes, so if you’re curious, click the link.

A son's coming out story

It gets better…right?

The fight for equality for LGBT individuals has seen tremendous strides within the last decade, specifically in the area of marriage equality.  As of this writing, 19 states have expanded marriage equality to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals:  CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, and WA – plus Washington, D.C. Fourteen additional states have seen federal judges overturn bans on same-sex marriage, though with a stay on their ruling:  AR, CO, FL, ID, IN, KY, MI, OK, TX, UT, VA and WI.  A record number of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans live in states where they can marry the person they love.  44% of Americans live in  a state that has extended marriage rights to LGB individuals.  The fight continues though, as Hawaii, Idaho, and Nevada are set to have their bans on same-sex marriage ruled on by the 9th Circuit Court.  The tide does appear to be in favor of equality (even with US District Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling that upheld the ban on same-sex marriage in Louisiana), although nothing is certain.  Given the makeup of the Supreme Court of the United States (largely Catholic, and look how they screwed over women in their Hobby Lobby ruling), and the inevitability of them ruling-at some point-on same sex marriage across the country, the issue of marriage equality is hardly settled.  That said, progress has been made.

Unfortunately, while marriage equality has made great advances, the situation for LGBT youth is, in many cases, still dire: LGBT youth are roughly 5% of the overall youth population, but make up 40% of the homeless youth population.  In many cases, children are kicked out of their homes, and cut off from all financial and emotional support by deeply religious families.  That was the case with Jackie:

When Jackie got to college, the “typical gay sorority encounters” she found herself having didn’t seem to qualify as anything more than youthful exploration; she thought all girls drunkenly made out with their best friends. By her sophomore year, she was dating a fraternity brother but was also increasingly turned on by a friend she worked with at the campus women’s center. “I was just playing it off as ‘So maybe I’m just gay for you – I mean, I don’t have to tell my boyfriend’ kind of thing,” she says. “I knew what I wanted, but it was never something I ever envisioned that I could have on a public level.” And yet, as her friendship with this woman turned physical and their relationship grew more serious, Jackie saw her future shrinking before her: a heterosexual marriage, children, church and the knowledge that all of it was based on a lie. “I honestly thought my whole life I was just going to be an undercover gay,” she says, shaking her head in disbelief.

For better or worse, that plan was never to be. Toward the end of her sophomore year, Jackie got a text message from one of her sorority sisters who said she’d been seen kissing another girl, after which certain sisters started making it clear that they were not comfortable around Jackie. (“You’re living in the same house together,” she says, “and, of course, to close-minded people, if somebody’s gay, that means you’re automatically interested in all 80 of them.”) Eventually, she went before her chapter’s executive board and became the first sorority girl at her college to ever come out, at which point she realized that if she didn’t tell her parents, someone else would. “I was convinced somebody was going to blast it on Facebook.”

So while Jackie hoped for the best, she knew the call she was making had the potential to not end well. “You can’t hate me after I say this,” she pleaded when, alarmed to be receiving a call in the middle of the night, her mom picked up the phone.

“Oh, my God, you’re pregnant” was her mom’s first response, before running through a litany of parental fears. “Are you in jail? Did you get expelled? Are you in trouble? What happened? What did you do?” Suddenly her mom’s silence matched Jackie’s own. “Oh, my God,” she murmured in disbelief. “Are you gay?”

“Yeah,” Jackie forced herself to say.

After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. “I don’t know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,” she said before hanging up.

Reading this fills me with tears of rage. Aside from the fact that belief in a deity is utter B.S., this family rejected their child. They cast her out and shut her out of their lives, and she didn’t do a damn thing wrong. She didn’t kill anyone. She didn’t rape anyone. She didn’t commit arson. She didn’t rob a bank.  She came out of the closet, and for that, her family rejected her.  It’s like a light switch turned off in their heads.

This is what life is like for countless numbers of LGBT youth.  They’re cast out and become homeless.  Unloved and unwanted by their families.

Research done by San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project, which studies and works to prevent health and mental­health risks facing LGBT youth, empirically confirms what common sense would imply to be true: Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay – a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population. The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States. Meanwhile, as societal advancements have made being gay less stigmatized and gay people more visible – and as the Internet now allows kids to reach beyond their circumscribed social groups for acceptance and support – the average coming-out age has dropped from post-college age in the 1990s to around 16 today, which means that more and more kids are coming out while they’re still economically reliant on their families. The resulting flood of kids who end up on the street, kicked out by parents whose religious beliefs often make them feel compelled to cast out their own offspring (one study estimates that up to 40 percent of LGBT homeless youth leave home due to family rejection), has been called a “hidden epidemic.” Tragically, every step forward for the gay-rights movement creates a false hope of acceptance for certain youth, and therefore a swelling of the homeless-youth population.

Reading this fills me with despair.  Yes, I’m incredibly thankful that my family didn’t disown me, and continued to love and support me, but it doesn’t change the fact that my heart goes out to all those who’s families reacted so inhumanly.  I know the feeling of dread roiling in the pit of your stomach as you try to find the words to say “I’m gay”.  I know the possibilities that run through your mind before you speak those words to your family. I know the feeling of hope that exists deep down; hope that your family will find some way to keep loving you. I wish no one ever had to experience that feeling. Moreover, I wish that no one had to experience the rejection of their families. It’s heartbreaking and is indeed a hidden crisis.

While same-sex marriage has become more and more accepted in the United States, we can’t become complacent and think that all is good. We can’t ignore the fact that marriage equality is not the only fight for equality faced by LGBT individuals.  There are other struggles.  Ending the epidemic of homeless LGBT youth continues to be a struggle.  I hope to see a significant reduction in the incidence of LGBT homelessness at some point in my life, but stories like Jackie’s fill me with despair and dwindling hope.

 

It gets better…right?

This is Rape Culture

CeeLo Green Tweets That It’s Only Rape If The Person Is Conscious, Then Deletes His Twitter Account

Let me get this out of the way first.

no.

No.

NO.

NO!

Rape is non-consensual sex.  If someone doesn’t consent to a sexual encounter of any kind (not just PIV sex, but oral sex, anal sex, fondling or more) and you continue trying to have sex with them

THAT IS RAPE!

Only YES means YES.  If you think the actions of your partner or partners are ambiguous with regard to consent, make sure you get a clear signal before you proceed.  If alcohol or drugs are involved, and you don’t know for sure if the person’s judgment is impaired- DO NOT CONTINUE.   Don’t be that person-usually a guy-messing around in that grey area.  If it’s a grey area, just back off.  Wait until a time when your partner or partners is of sound mind and body and can make a properly informed decision.  Sexy funtimes should be something all people involved consent to, so that they can *all* enjoy.

That’s what CeeLo doesn’t understand.  He doesn’t understand what rape is and why it is so horrible. It’s a massively intrusive violation of the bodily autonomy of another human being.  It’s an imposition of power from one individual to another.  It’s one person (or more) dominating another, saying “I will do what I want to you and your feelings on the matter are inconsequential”.  That’s not sex.  That’s rape.  

GET CONSENT!

If that means you have to literally ask your partner(s) “Would you like to have sex with me?”, then do that!  Get a clear answer.  No answer? No sex.  

I’m not going to copy/paste any of the bullshit CeeLo said in his Tweets. They’re available at the above link.  Needless to say a Trigger Warning applies.

 


 

 

Perhaps you’re uncertain what the phrase ‘Rape Culture’ means.  If you’re one of those people, this is for you:

In reading through feminist forums and articles online, particularly in articles about rape or sexual assault, I notice that sometimes in the comments section, people make statements about how rape culture is just a phrase that’s made up to make men look bad or to make it seem like rape is something that happens far more often than it actually does.

And, given, after reading these comments, I could have easily dismissed them as just simply fodder written by online trolls and gone on with my day.

But it really got me thinking.

Perhaps some people truly don’t understand what rape culture is.

After all, if you’re hearing the phrase for the first time, it can be really confusing.

We understand the word “culture,” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint, to be things that people commonly engage in together as a society (ranging from the arts to education to table manners), and we find it difficult to link the word “rape” in with that concept.

We know that at its core, our society is not something that outwardly promotes rape, as the phrase could imply. That is, we don’t, after all, “commonly engage” in sexual violence “together as a society.”

To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).

When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.

We’re talking about the way that we collectively think about rape.

More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.

And this happens a lot.

All the time.

Every day.

And it’s dangerous in that it is counterproductive to eliminating sexual violence from society.

So what, exactly, does rape culture look like? How does it present itself?

Well, to see what I’m referring to, take a look at the examples below.

Because if we don’t understand the meaning behind the concept of rape culture, or if we have a skewed interpretation of the meaning in our minds, we may find it easy to deny its existence.

And you may think that some of these examples are isolated, one-off situations. But in reality, they’re part of a larger societal trend.

That is rape culture

Please go read the 25 examples listed.  It’s not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it should give a good idea of what is meant by the phrase ‘Rape Culture’.

 


 

 

Mississippi gay man says Baptist teacher raped him for three years so he’d hate men

Trigger Warning: Homophobia, Religious Bigotry

 

A Gulfport, Mississippi man says that he was repeatedly molested by a teacher at the conservative Christian school he attended in the 1990s, beginning when he was 14 years old and ending when he was 17.

The Washington Blade reported that Jeff White said his teacher at Bethel Baptist School in Wills, Mississippi justified the abuse by calling it “ex-gay therapy,” designed to make White “hate men.”

White told the Blade that he was enrolled at Bethel from 1996 to 1999 and that his appointments with the accused teacher took place every Wednesday.

“He would rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change,” White said in a July interview.

White’s parents sent him to the school when he came out to them at the age of 14. The teacher is now an associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, which operates the Christian school. The church is known for its hardline approach to Christian doctrine.

“[Bethel’s pastors] looked at Southern Baptists like they were liberal faggots, like they would say from the pulpit,” White told the Blade.

 

SIGH.

What did I just say above?

Rape is non consensual sex.

Rape is about power. It is not about sex.  It is a violation of the right to bodily autonomy and integrity that all human beings have.  To violate that autonomy by having non-consensual sex is to treat someone else as if they are less than human.  You are robbing another individual of one of their fundamental human rights:  the right to decide what happens to and with their bodies.   If you do that, you are a rapist, and you are treating another human being as subhuman.  As a thing.  As someone beneath you. I can’t express the depth of my disgust with peopl
e who do not recognize the humanity of others.  Yes, that means I’m disgusted by rapists.

That disgust is amplified in this situation because we have a teacher, a person in a position of power and authority misusing their power and authority over a child in multiple acts of rape.  Then to add to that, the teacher raped this teenager as some form of fucked up conversion therapy.  “Hey I’m going to violate your human rights and treat you as a thing, but it’s for your own good.  You won’t be gay any longer.”  In addition to the lack of respect for the rights of another and the abuse of  power, this teacher is also a homophobic bigot who thinks sexuality can be changed (and by rape of all things).  All major psychological and psychiatric organizations in the United States condemn the use of so-called “conversion therapies”.  Homosexuality, contrary to the “teachings” in religious texts, is a natural expression of human sexuality (animal sexuality as well).  As I’ve said repeatedly, there is no moral component to homosexuality (claims to the contrary rest on divine commands…suffice it to say, morality does not consist of being told to do something by an invisible, inaudible, undetectable entity, being, or energy; morality concerns the interactions between human beings and determining what actions are right or wrong, good or bad based on the desired outcome).   The actions of this Baptist teacher are deplorable and I hope he goes to jail for a long, long time (this is example #98490 in ‘religion poisons everything’).

This is Rape Culture

Daniel’s Coming Out Video

Trigger Warning:  homophobia, asshole parents

Recently, I wrote about the details of my coming out.  It wasn’t easy, and the response from my parents was far from ideal.  One thing they didn’t do though-they never kicked me out of the house.  They never beat me.  They never emotionally abused me.  They never disowned me.  Their reactions, homophobic though they were, never rose to the level of treating me as if they didn’t love me.  Would that that were the case for other LGB people.  By now, the Internet is abuzz with the story of Daniel Ashley Pierce, a young gay man who recently came out to his family (and recorded it), only to face the kind of rejection that fills me with sorrow for his plight, and near blinding rage at the homophobia and utter lack of compassion demonstrated by his family.   Here is some of what was said by his family:

“You can deny it all you want to,” the woman continues, “but I believe in the word of God, and God creates nobody that way,” Daniel’s mother tells him. “It’s a path that you have chosen to choose.”

Daniel, who is 20, talks about his biology and psychology classes. He tells his family he believes that “scientific proof trumps the word of God.”

“You go by all the scientific stuff you want to,” she responds. “I’m going by the word of God.”

The woman then says, “we will not support you any longer.”

“You will need to move out, and find wherever you can to live,” she adds. “Because I will not let people believe that I condone what you do.”

As the exchange heats up, there sounds like a slap, the camera is jarred, and Daniel says, “You’re not going to fucking hit me.”

Someone else says, “Son of a bitch,” and it sounds like a physical altercation is underway.

Daniel is called “a damn queer,” “a disgrace,” and “a little piece of shit.”

Someone, likely a woman, says, “I’ll beat you…” 

Religion poisons everything.  I believe it was the late Christopher Hitchens who coined that phrase, and it is so true.  When you strip away the blind, unthinking, unquestioning obeisance given to religion and religious beliefs…when you look at the effects religious beliefs have on people around the world…that smack in the face should be enough for people to reject religion asap.  Religious belief poisons the discourse on the rights of women. Religious belief poisons the treatment of rape victims.  Religious belief poisons the attempts to seek justice for the victims of the priestly sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.  Religious belief poisons the discourse on gun control in the US.  Religious beliefs poison the discourse on corporal punishment as well as capital punishment.  I could go on at length, but I’ll add one more:  religious beliefs are one of the biggest obstacles to equality for LGB individuals across the planet.

Religious beliefs teach that we’re immoral.  They teach that we’re bound for hell. They teach that we’re in defiance of god’s rules.  They teach that we’re sinful.  They teach that we’re to be killed.  They teach that LGB people are no better than thieves, rapists, or murderers.  These beliefs can be found in religious texts in many cases.  In other cases, they’re beliefs instilled in people by their preachers, pastors, and ministers, regardless of their presence (or lack thereof) in religious texts.

These beliefs lead far too many people to reject us  for being LGB.   We are still rejected by our families and friends.  We are still kicked out of our homes.  We still live in fear of our parents or friends finding out and disowning us, or worse, killing us.  All for the “crime” of being gay.   All because someone’s religious text is interpreted as saying “the gays are icky, immoral, bestiality-loving, child molesters“.   I’ve written before that there is no moral component to being LGB, and there isn’t.  This isn’t an issue of morality, yet so many people view homosexuality in that light because they’ve been taught that in church.  There is no connection between being LGB and bestiality.  What intolerant, hate-filled bigots cannot seem to realize is that being LGB is about finding ourselves attracted-physically, psychologically, and emotionally-to people of the same sex.   When we seek relationship, we seek consensual relationships with other human beings.  When we fight for marriage equality, we’re seeking to marry another consenting adult.  We’re not seeking to fuck animals. We’re not trying to molest children.  Every. Single. Time. I’ve heard these lies, they’ve been spewed by fundamentalist religious assholes (of the Santorum, Bachmann, Dobson, or Coulter vein), with not a shred of proof to back their assertions up.  But when you’re talking about religious beliefs, proof is rarely in the picture.  Which is one of my many problems with religious beliefs.  People have them, and far too often, they don’t care whether there is evidence to support their belief.  All that matters is that this is what their deity believes, and that’s what they have to follow.

The family of Daniel Pierce chose to adhere to the antiquated, barbaric rules of their religious text rather than love their child.  They put their affection and love of a fucking book, and an imaginary man in the sky above their own child.  I cannot stress how much I despise shit like that, especially since I’m an atheist.  I see no saving grace in religion.  All the good stuff can be had in secular form.  All the bad stuff needs to be consigned to the dustbins of history.  I believe that people ought to ditch their religious beliefs and form opinions and beliefs based on the real world.  One of the things you’ll find if you pay attention to empirical evidence is that homosexuality is a normal and positive expression of human sexuality (so says the American Psychological Association).

But even IF one is religious, one need not be so narrow minded and bigoted.  I know plenty of people who are religious and who love their LGB friends and family.  They manage to rationalize their beliefs-and let’s face it, most believers rationalize their beliefs, bc I don’t know a damn person who follows all the tenets of their religious belief system-such that they don’t reject their friends and family if they come out of the closet.  They choose to continue loving that person, because to them, that is more important. They choose love.  The parents of Daniel, sadly, chose hate and fear.  I hope for their sake (and, depending on what he wishes, Daniels’ sake) that they realize at some point in the future how wrong they were and grovel before him and beg forgiveness. 

There is a bright spot to Daniel’s story.  A lot of people have become aware of it.  

Daniel’s boyfriend 
posted the video to Reddit. A friend of Daniel’s posted it to YouTube, and Dan Savage posted it on his blog, followed by Joe.My.God. and The New Civil Rights Movement. Soon after other sites, including the Backlot and The Advocate, had published it as well.

As a result, when Daniel’s boyfriend set up a GoFundMe Page, the money came pouring in.  As of this writing, more than $90,000 has been donated to Daniel.  Despite being kicked out of his home, at least he’ll have money to find a place to live on his own.  I don’t know what his feelings on his family are, so I won’t speculate if even that amount of money is worth what he’s endured (my gut says no), but at least it makes things a little less difficult for him.  


If you’re the parent of gay, lesbian, or bisexual child, I implore you:  don’t kick them out.  Do not physically or emotionally abuse them.  Being LGB in society is hard enough as it is.  We need the love and support that every child should have from their parents.  Being LGB is not immoral, I don’t care what your archaic religious text-written at a time before people even had the word ‘sexuality’ (let alone understood its meaning)-has to say.  If you’re going to place your religious beliefs above the love for your child, you’re an abominable human being.  You’ve utterly failed at being a baseline decent human being.

Please remember, if you are an LGBT child or teen in need of help, the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY can help you. The Ali Forney Center has a local and national LGBT youth online resource guide. In the Atlanta, Georgia area Lost-n-Found Youth serves LGBT homeless youth. They’re also on Facebook.

(via TheNewCivilRightsMovement

Daniel’s Coming Out Video

Daniel's Coming Out Video

Trigger Warning:  homophobia, asshole parents

Recently, I wrote about the details of my coming out.  It wasn’t easy, and the response from my parents was far from ideal.  One thing they didn’t do though-they never kicked me out of the house.  They never beat me.  They never emotionally abused me.  They never disowned me.  Their reactions, homophobic though they were, never rose to the level of treating me as if they didn’t love me.  Would that that were the case for other LGB people.  By now, the Internet is abuzz with the story of Daniel Ashley Pierce, a young gay man who recently came out to his family (and recorded it), only to face the kind of rejection that fills me with sorrow for his plight, and near blinding rage at the homophobia and utter lack of compassion demonstrated by his family.   Here is some of what was said by his family:

“You can deny it all you want to,” the woman continues, “but I believe in the word of God, and God creates nobody that way,” Daniel’s mother tells him. “It’s a path that you have chosen to choose.”

Daniel, who is 20, talks about his biology and psychology classes. He tells his family he believes that “scientific proof trumps the word of God.”

“You go by all the scientific stuff you want to,” she responds. “I’m going by the word of God.”

The woman then says, “we will not support you any longer.”

“You will need to move out, and find wherever you can to live,” she adds. “Because I will not let people believe that I condone what you do.”

As the exchange heats up, there sounds like a slap, the camera is jarred, and Daniel says, “You’re not going to fucking hit me.”

Someone else says, “Son of a bitch,” and it sounds like a physical altercation is underway.

Daniel is called “a damn queer,” “a disgrace,” and “a little piece of shit.”

Someone, likely a woman, says, “I’ll beat you…” 

Religion poisons everything.  I believe it was the late Christopher Hitchens who coined that phrase, and it is so true.  When you strip away the blind, unthinking, unquestioning obeisance given to religion and religious beliefs…when you look at the effects religious beliefs have on people around the world…that smack in the face should be enough for people to reject religion asap.  Religious belief poisons the discourse on the rights of women. Religious belief poisons the treatment of rape victims.  Religious belief poisons the attempts to seek justice for the victims of the priestly sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.  Religious belief poisons the discourse on gun control in the US.  Religious beliefs poison the discourse on corporal punishment as well as capital punishment.  I could go on at length, but I’ll add one more:  religious beliefs are one of the biggest obstacles to equality for LGB individuals across the planet.

Religious beliefs teach that we’re immoral.  They teach that we’re bound for hell. They teach that we’re in defiance of god’s rules.  They teach that we’re sinful.  They teach that we’re to be killed.  They teach that LGB people are no better than thieves, rapists, or murderers.  These beliefs can be found in religious texts in many cases.  In other cases, they’re beliefs instilled in people by their preachers, pastors, and ministers, regardless of their presence (or lack thereof) in religious texts.

These beliefs lead far too many people to reject us  for being LGB.   We are still rejected by our families and friends.  We are still kicked out of our homes.  We still live in fear of our parents or friends finding out and disowning us, or worse, killing us.  All for the “crime” of being gay.   All because someone’s religious text is interpreted as saying “the gays are icky, immoral, bestiality-loving, child molesters“.   I’ve written before that there is no moral component to being LGB, and there isn’t.  This isn’t an issue of morality, yet so many people view homosexuality in that light because they’ve been taught that in church.  There is no connection between being LGB and bestiality.  What intolerant, hate-filled bigots cannot seem to realize is that being LGB is about finding ourselves attracted-physically, psychologically, and emotionally-to people of the same sex.   When we seek relationship, we seek consensual relationships with other human beings.  When we fight for marriage equality, we’re seeking to marry another consenting adult.  We’re not seeking to fuck animals. We’re not trying to molest children.  Every. Single. Time. I’ve heard these lies, they’ve been spewed by fundamentalist religious assholes (of the Santorum, Bachmann, Dobson, or Coulter vein), with not a shred of proof to back their assertions up.  But when you’re talking about religious beliefs, proof is rarely in the picture.  Which is one of my many problems with religious beliefs.  People have them, and far too often, they don’t care whether there is evidence to support their belief.  All that matters is that this is what their deity believes, and that’s what they have to follow.

The family of Daniel Pierce chose to adhere to the antiquated, barbaric rules of their religious text rather than love their child.  They put their affection and love of a fucking book, and an imaginary man in the sky above their own child.  I cannot stress how much I despise shit like that, especially since I’m an atheist.  I see no saving grace in religion.  All the good stuff can be had in secular form.  All the bad stuff needs to be consigned to the dustbins of history.  I believe that people ought to ditch their religious beliefs and form opinions and beliefs based on the real world.  One of the things you’ll find if you pay attention to empirical evidence is that homosexuality is a normal and positive expression of human sexuality (so says the American Psychological Association).

But even IF one is religious, one need not be so narrow minded and bigoted.  I know plenty of people who are religious and who love their LGB friends and family.  They manage to rationalize their beliefs-and let’s face it, most believers rationalize their beliefs, bc I don’t know a damn person who follows all the tenets of their religious belief system-such that they don’t reject their friends and family if they come out of the closet.  They choose to continue loving that person, because to them, that is more important. They choose love.  The parents of Daniel, sadly, chose hate and fear.  I hope for their sake (and, depending on what he wishes, Daniels’ sake) that they realize at some point in the future how wrong they were and grovel before him and beg forgiveness. 

There is a bright spot to Daniel’s story.  A lot of people have become aware of it.  

Daniel’s boyfriend 
posted the video to Reddit. A friend of Daniel’s posted it to YouTube, and Dan Savage posted it on his blog, followed by Joe.My.God. and The New Civil Rights Movement. Soon after other sites, including the Backlot and The Advocate, had published it as well.

As a result, when Daniel’s boyfriend set up a GoFundMe Page, the money came pouring in.  As of this writing, more than $90,000 has been donated to Daniel.  Despite being kicked out of his home, at least he’ll have money to find a place to live on his own.  I don’t know what his feelings on his family are, so I won’t speculate if even that amount of money is worth what he’s endured (my gut says no), but at least it makes things a little less difficult for him.  


If you’re the parent of gay, lesbian, or bisexual child, I implore you:  don’t kick them out.  Do not physically or emotionally abuse them.  Being LGB in society is hard enough as it is.  We need the love and support that every child should have from their parents.  Being LGB is not immoral, I don’t care what your archaic religious text-written at a time before people even had the word ‘sexuality’ (let alone understood its meaning)-has to say.  If you’re going to place your religious beliefs above the love for your child, you’re an abominable human being.  You’ve utterly failed at being a baseline decent human being.

Please remember, if you are an LGBT child or teen in need of help, the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY can help you. The Ali Forney Center has a local and national LGBT youth online resource guide. In the Atlanta, Georgia area Lost-n-Found Youth serves LGBT homeless youth. They’re also on Facebook.

(via TheNewCivilRightsMovement

Daniel's Coming Out Video

The notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg strikes once more!

‘America has a real racial problem’.

Those are the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who sits upon the highest court in the United States-the Supreme Court.  Those words are almost an understatement.  As of this writing, 23 days after the murder/homicide of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the latter still has not been detained or arrested.  The protests are still ongoing in and around the city of Ferguson, MO. The country is having a discussion not just about the devaluing of black lives and racism, but also police accountability, the responsibility of the police, the militarization of the police, and gun violence.  Justice Ginsburg’s comment shows that she’s paying attention to the state of race relations in the US.  It’s a shame some of her fellow Justices are not:

The Supreme Court was “once a leader in the world” in combating racial discrimination, according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “What’s amazing,” she added, “is how things have changed.”

Ginsburg, who was one of America’s top civil rights attorneysbefore President Carter appointed her to the federal bench in 1980, spoke at length with the National Law Journal‘s Marcia Coyle in an interview that was published Friday. In that interview, she lays out just how much the Court’s outlook on race has changed since she was arguing women’s equality cases before it in the 1970s.

In 1971, for example, President Nixon had begun to reshape the Supreme Court. As a presidential candidate and, later, as president, Nixon complained that the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decisions had intruded too far on local control of public schools. Yet, as Justice Ginsburg points out, Nixon’s hand-picked Chief Justice, Warren Burger, authored aunanimous Supreme Court decision recognizing what are known as “disparate impact” suits, which root out discrimination in employers with policies that disproportionately impact minorities.

Burger’s resolution of this case “was a very influential decision and it was picked up in England,” according to Ginsburg.

The Court’s present majority, by contrast, seems much more interested in using its power to thwart racial justice. In 2013, for example, the Supreme Court struck down a key prong of the Voting Rights Act, effectively ending a regime that required states with a history of racial voter discrimination to “preclear” new voting laws with officials in Washington before those laws went into effect. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts justified this decision because he claimed that racism is no longer a big enough problem in the states covered by the Act, and thus the Voting Rights Act’s longstanding framework was outdated. Permitting the federal government to apply such a check against racially discriminatory voting laws was an “extraordinary departure from the traditional course of relations between the States and the Federal Government,” and it could no longer be allowed, according to Roberts, because “things have changed dramatically” in states with a long history of racism.

Two hours after Roberts claimed that racism was too minor a problem to justify leaving America’s most important voting rights law intact, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that Roberts’ decision would allow a gerrymandered map and a recently enacted voter ID to go into effect. Federal courts had previously blocked both the map and the voting restriction because of their negative impact on minority voters. Alabama made a similar announcement about its voter ID law the same day Roberts handed down his decision. Less than two months later, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed a comprehensive voter suppression law adopting many provisions that reduced minority turnout in other states.

It boggles my mind that Justice Ginsburg was able to anticipate the effects of gutting the Voting Rights Act, yet Justice Roberts couldn’t see that (nor could the other Justices that voted to gut the act).  Or perhaps he is willfully delusional.  Either way, his actions have widened the gulf of inequality between white Americans and African-Americans (not to mention Hispanic Americans and Indians), as evidenced in the decisions of the TX Attorney General and the Governor of NC.  SCOTUS is out of touch with one of the biggest sources of divisiveness in the United States:  racism.  Many people in the United States still hold negative biases and prejudices of people who are not white.  These biases and prejudices manifest everywhere:  in the workplace, on our streets, in government, even in interpersonal relationships.  One of the biggest problems is that many people-especially and most importantly, white people-associate racism with the use of the word ‘nigger’, mobs, lynchings, separate but equal spaces, and the lack of African-Americans in politics.  Now that people don’t use the word ‘nigger’ as much (but don’t believe for one second that the word isn’t used a lot-it still is), lynchings have all but vanished, and spaces are-for the most part-integrated (unless it’s a Sundown Town), the perception by many white people is that racism is over.  These people don’t realize that the entire system is stacked against African Americans.  Ending the use of racial slurs or mob lynchings doesn’t change the institutionalized racism in this country. It doesn’t ensure that black people are paid the same amounts as white people (with the same qualifications in the same job).  It doesn’t ensure that black people are treated the same by police. It doesn’t ensure that black people are treated fairly by the justice system.  All of that (and so much more) is built into the system, and is a more subtle and insidious form of racism-because white people don’t see it. They don’t experience it firsthand.  It’s hard to argue that racism is non-existent when you see images of black men and women strung up by a crowd of cheering white people.  It’s hard to argue there’s no racism when you go to the beach and see a ‘whites only’ sign.  But when it’s about a paycheck?  Or how many more black people are ‘stopped and frisked’?  It becomes more distant, more difficult for people to visualize how this is an example of racism.  Somewhere along the way, the discourse on race in the US shifted.  White people are blinded by their privilege to the racism in this country (as an example:  according to Pew Research, only 37% of white Americans think the events in Ferguson raise important issues about race).  White people need to listen to black Americans.  They need to listen and empathize.  They also need to stand up and speak out.  Black people are often ignored. Our concerns are not always listened to. In fact, they’re often dismissed.  White people have the unique ability to talk to other white people and reach them in ways that Black people cannot.  Given the history of rac
ism in the United States, and the role of white people in perpetuating racism, it is imperative that White people lead the way in fighting against racism.  It may result in a loss of privilege, but it would make this country a better place for millions of Americans struggling just to live.  There are enough obstacles to encounter in life.  Having to deal with racism shouldn’t be one of them.

 

On a separate note, Justice Ginsburg also said this:

In what may become the most controversial part of her interview with Coyle, Ginsburg also suggests that public acceptance of gay Americans is eclipsing our ability to relate to each other across racial lines. “Once [gay] people began to say who they were,” Ginsburg noted, “you found that it was your next-door neighbor or it could be your child, and we found people we admired.” By contrast, according to Ginsburg, “[t]hat understanding still doesn’t exist with race; you still have separation of neighborhoods, where the races are not mixed. It’s the familiarity with people who are gay that still doesn’t exist for race and will remain that way for a long time as long as where we live remains divided.”

I might quibble with her wording, but I don’t disagree with her statement.  Obviously I’m glad that civil rights for gays and lesbians has advanced, and I’m happy to see that we’re more accepted by society at large.  She’s right though.  The discourse on race isn’t happening anywhere near to the same degree as the discourse on lesbian and gay rights.  In some ways it seems like this country can only talk about one thing at a time, rather than have an ongoing discussion of multiple, important issues.  This is one reason I don’t just talk about gay rights on this blog.  Or civil rights for African Americans.  Or civil rights for atheists.  Or women’s rights.  They’re all vitally important.  They *all* need to be discussed. In addition, these issues are intersecting.  As a gay person of color who is an atheist, that’s three axes of discrimination and oppression that affect me.  I can’t separate one as more important than the others (well I guess I could, but I’m not a fan of ranking oppression):  they all affect me.  Millions of other people deal with multiple axes of oppression in their everyday lives as well.  That’s why an understanding of intersectionality is important. 

Intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. The concept first came from legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression. When possible, credit Kimberlé Crenshaw for coining the term “intersectionality” and bringing the concept to wider attention.

I learned about intersectionality around the same time my interest in feminism developed (which makes sense, bc feminists talk about the intersectional nature of various forms of oppression).  Coming to understand how various forms of oppression intersect and affect people helped me come to understand how peoples’ lives were affected in ways I couldn’t immediately relate to.  It’s helped me become more empathetic and understanding.  Due to my privilege, I’ll never know what it’s like for a woman to struggle to get people to believe her when she’s been raped.  As a result of my privilege, I’ll never know the anguish a trans man goes through when denied the right to use the men’s restroom. Empathy however, and an understanding of the ways oppression affects the ability of people to just live their lives–that is enough for me to see that advocating for equal rights for all is a fight well worth engaging.  I don’t just want life to be easier for me to navigate.  I want that for everyone. We’re all equal and we all deserve it.

The notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg strikes once more!

LGBT news

From Empathize This comes a reminder that bisexual people are often treated poorly or even erased in LGBT spaces.

This is not acceptable.  I admit, with a great deal of shame, that in years past, I engaged in similar behavior. I treated bisexual people poorly.  I felt they were trying to “have their cake and eat it too”. Sometimes I thought they just couldn’t make up their mind.  In the last 4-5 years, I’ve come to examine many of my biases and prejudices.  It hasn’t been easy, but I think I’ve become a better person for it.  This doesn’t mean I’ve rid myself of every bias that I have, but I do try to engage in self-reflection and reexamine my opinions and views when challenged.  So when I came to rethink my beliefs about people who are bisexual-which came when I actually listened to people who were bisexual and stopped talking over them/down to them-I realized that their lives and their experiences are valid and valuable.  I realized that I can’t expect others to respect my dignity and right to exist as I choose if I don’t extend the same respect and courtesy to others.  Once I realized that, I felt…well I felt pretty shitty.  There is no excuse for my behavior.  I can’t make up for what I’ve done in the past, but I can damn sure not repeat those actions in the future. Moreover, I can speak out about how such behavior is shitty.  Bisexual people are not trying to have it both ways. They are not trying to have their cake and eat it too. They are not “undecided”.  Their experiences are their own, and they are every bit as valid as mine or anyone else’s.  I refuse to engage in the behavior I once did, and I ask everyone to check themselves…to examine their beliefs and biases and give thought to the harm those beliefs could bring to others.

(via Feminist Batwoman)

Russian gay couple marries in the most fierce way possible through loophole:

Two brides have become two of the most kickass women in the world by marrying to protest against homophobia in Russia.

Alina Davis, a 23-year-old trans woman, and Allison Brooks, her 19-year-old partner, donned matching white floor-length bridal gowns and married at a civil registry office earlier this month.

As Davis is still legally regarded as male, the office had no choice but to hand them a marriage certificate.

It is unfortunate that the government of Russia will not allow all consenting adults to marry regardless of gender or sexuality.   I hope the day comes where this will be the case.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to marry without the state dictating the terms (obviously this applies to consenting adults only).  I wish the couple a long and happy life together.

Iranian Muslim lesbians marry in religious ceremony in Sweden:

Iranian Muslim women Sahar Mosleh and Maryam Iranfar married in Stockholm on 2 August during the city’s annual LGBTI pride festival – perhaps the first Iranian women to marry each other in a religious ceremony in the world, and the first in Sweden.

The couple married in a ceremony performed by Algerian born South African based Imam Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed who was in Stockholm as the festival’s nominated Imam.

Oh noes! It’s ‘ArmaGAYddon’!!!! Run for the hills! It’s the end of civilization as we know it.  Not really.  Unless you’re a bigot who thinks marriage equality is going to somehow be the downfall of society.  Which makes me wonder what the time table is on that.  Massachusetts has had same sex marriage for how long now-runs off to check…over 10 years now-and somehow their state hasn’t fallen into chaos and disarray.  Maybe The Gay takes a little time to set in.  Perhaps it creeps up on you little by little and before you know it BAM! You’re just like the couple in this hilarious horror movie parody:

I just realized that the commentary above could apply to the video or the story about the lesbian couple above it.  That wasn’t intentional, but it was neat.

LGBT news

Kevin Sorbo doesn’t understand atheists

Kevin Sorbo was the star of a syndicated 1990s tv show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.  Recently, he starred in a christian film called God is Not Dead where he played an atheist.  He says he doesn’t understand why atheists are so angry about a god they don’t believe in: 

Sorbo, who is still promoting his most recent film, God Is Not Dead, in which he plays an atheist, said he can’t comprehend the logic behind atheist’s lack of beliefs and their anger.

“I’m a Christian myself and had to play an atheist. I see the anger of these (atheist) guys on TV and it’s like ‘wow, how do you get so angry at something you don’t believe in?”  Sorbo said.

Earlier this year, Sorbo discussed self-professed atheist Bill Maher, calling him “angry and lonely,” before adding, “I did Politically Incorrect a couple of times, and all I can do is feel sad for the guy, because I think he is a very angry and lonely man. Comedy comes from anger anyway. You know, what are you going to say when a guy talks like this?”

 

My first question I’d ask him is have you ever listened to an atheist?  If he had, he’d realize that we’re not angry all the time.  You see, atheists, like other human beings, are human.  We possess and display the full range of human emotions (to one degree or another, and at various points in our lives).  

We laugh when we’re happy.

We cry when we’re sad.

We get frustrated when things don’t go as planned.

We shrug our shoulders over things we don’t care about.

We care about the lives of family and friends.

We show concern when the people we care about are hurt.

We are most certainly *not* angry all the time.  To believe that is to truly not know what the fuck one is talking about.

We do get angry though. 

Some of us get angry on a regular basis, and guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that.  Anger is an emotion and like all emotions it helps us express our thoughts and feelings.  There is much in the world to be happy or joyous about.  There is also much to be angry about.  I could discuss a great many things about religion in general that make me angry, but I’ll limit it to just 5 items (and not just christianity Mr. Sorbo, it’s hardly unique):

  1. I’m mad that the Catholic Church uses it position as one of the most powerful organizations on the planet to deny women the right to have an abortion.  The right to bodily autonomy is a right all human beings have.  It is foundational to the right to self-defense, which is a right all humans have.  To deny women the right to have an abortion results in women being denied a right they are entitled to by virtue of being human.  Such a denial relegates women to second class status, and I condemn that 1000%. 
  2. I’m mad that children are brought up, indoctrinated into religious belief.  The foundation of religious belief-faith-instills in children (from a very young age) the idea that it is preferable to hold beliefs without any reason to do so; in the face of evidence to the contrary.  Religious belief hinders the ability of children in the areas of logic and critical thinking.  The damage isn’t irreversible, but is difficult to overcome.  The ability to use critical thinking, logic, and reason is essential in learning how to understand and interpret the world around us.  These tools are also important in allowing us to cut through the bullshit we so often find in life. Faith-belief without evidence-allows people to believe in all manner of things, often to their own personal detriment.
  3. Religious teachings on sexuality are wrong.  As I’ve written before, there is no moral component to sexuality.  It’s personal to each individual, and has no bearing on questions of right and wrong in interactions between people.  I find the teaching of *many* religions on the subject of sexuality to be abominable.  Homosexuality is not morally wrong. Bisexuality is not morally wrong.  That many religions teach that homosexuality is morally wrong is itself deeply immoral.  These teaching have led parents to disown their kids, kick them out of their homes, and even kill them.  These teachings have led to a lifetime of shame and disgust that many people feel over their sexuality. These religious teachings have led entire countries-I’m looking at you Russia-to enact legislation that discriminates against and oppresses people.  All for the “crime” of not being heterosexual. Religious teachings on sexuality-on the whole-are deeply harmful to people, and actively work to make people miserable and the world a worse place.
  4. Creationism does not belong in the classroom.  It is a wholly religious idea that has no foundation in science.  There is no empirical evidence in support of creationism, yet despite this, there are efforts across the US and other parts of the world to teach creationism in place of evolution in the classroom.  This angers me because I want people to be educated, but I want that education to be reality based.  Not fantasy based.  Evolution has mountains of evidence to support it, and a vast array of scientific disciplines support the theory of evolution.  
  5. I am an atheist.  That means I do not believe in the existence of any god or gods.  That does *not* mean I’m an immoral shitbag who has no reason to not rape or kill people. I am angry that people believe-without knowing who I am-that I’m an immoral person. Morality concerns the distinctions between right and wrong or good and evil actions between humans.  How does one determine whether a particular course of action is good or evil?  One way is to attempt to understand how the other person feels in that situation.  If I’m trying to decided if I want to punch someone or not, by imagining myself in the shoes of someone else, it can be easy to see that they wouldn’t like to be punched.  I know I don’t want to be punched either, so it’s probably a good idea for me to not punch them, at least if I think they have the same rights as I do (which I do).  The Golden Rule-basically treating others as you would be treated yourself-has been in existence for longer than christianity, and informs morality.   Likewise, morality was a necessary component in creating societies.  There must be rules to govern our interactions if we’re going to live among each other, and humans being a social species, that’s pretty much going to happen everywhere.  These rules attempt to balance the desires of the individual against the desires of society as a whole.  Destructive, damaging behaviors obviously harm society as a whole and are discouraged.  Positive behaviors are encouraged.  This is obviously in simple terms, but we don’t encourage people to kill or rape one another because that threatens social cohesion by affecting the safety and security of others.  The idea that you cannot have morality without god is a false one (and ridiculous anyways-how can you decide which actions are good and which are bad when {if you use christianity} god commits genocide and encourages or permits rape, slavery, and murder?)

If Sorbo were interested in actually learning why many atheists are angry-sometimes-he ought to check out Greta Christina’s book Why Are You Atheists So Angry:  99 Things That Piss Off The Godless. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of good reasons to get angry at the actions of the religious. Given the shit going on in the world, if you’re not angry, then you don’t care, and apathy is responsible for tremendous amounts of human suffering.

Incidentally Mr. Sorbo, we aren’t angry at god. We’re angry at how believers act in the name
of god.

Kevin Sorbo doesn’t understand atheists

Kevin Sorbo doesn't understand atheists

Kevin Sorbo was the star of a syndicated 1990s tv show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.  Recently, he starred in a christian film called God is Not Dead where he played an atheist.  He says he doesn’t understand why atheists are so angry about a god they don’t believe in: 

Sorbo, who is still promoting his most recent film, God Is Not Dead, in which he plays an atheist, said he can’t comprehend the logic behind atheist’s lack of beliefs and their anger.

“I’m a Christian myself and had to play an atheist. I see the anger of these (atheist) guys on TV and it’s like ‘wow, how do you get so angry at something you don’t believe in?”  Sorbo said.

Earlier this year, Sorbo discussed self-professed atheist Bill Maher, calling him “angry and lonely,” before adding, “I did Politically Incorrect a couple of times, and all I can do is feel sad for the guy, because I think he is a very angry and lonely man. Comedy comes from anger anyway. You know, what are you going to say when a guy talks like this?”

 

My first question I’d ask him is have you ever listened to an atheist?  If he had, he’d realize that we’re not angry all the time.  You see, atheists, like other human beings, are human.  We possess and display the full range of human emotions (to one degree or another, and at various points in our lives).  

We laugh when we’re happy.

We cry when we’re sad.

We get frustrated when things don’t go as planned.

We shrug our shoulders over things we don’t care about.

We care about the lives of family and friends.

We show concern when the people we care about are hurt.

We are most certainly *not* angry all the time.  To believe that is to truly not know what the fuck one is talking about.

We do get angry though. 

Some of us get angry on a regular basis, and guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that.  Anger is an emotion and like all emotions it helps us express our thoughts and feelings.  There is much in the world to be happy or joyous about.  There is also much to be angry about.  I could discuss a great many things about religion in general that make me angry, but I’ll limit it to just 5 items (and not just christianity Mr. Sorbo, it’s hardly unique):

  1. I’m mad that the Catholic Church uses it position as one of the most powerful organizations on the planet to deny women the right to have an abortion.  The right to bodily autonomy is a right all human beings have.  It is foundational to the right to self-defense, which is a right all humans have.  To deny women the right to have an abortion results in women being denied a right they are entitled to by virtue of being human.  Such a denial relegates women to second class status, and I condemn that 1000%. 
  2. I’m mad that children are brought up, indoctrinated into religious belief.  The foundation of religious belief-faith-instills in children (from a very young age) the idea that it is preferable to hold beliefs without any reason to do so; in the face of evidence to the contrary.  Religious belief hinders the ability of children in the areas of logic and critical thinking.  The damage isn’t irreversible, but is difficult to overcome.  The ability to use critical thinking, logic, and reason is essential in learning how to understand and interpret the world around us.  These tools are also important in allowing us to cut through the bullshit we so often find in life. Faith-belief without evidence-allows people to believe in all manner of things, often to their own personal detriment.
  3. Religious teachings on sexuality are wrong.  As I’ve written before, there is no moral component to sexuality.  It’s personal to each individual, and has no bearing on questions of right and wrong in interactions between people.  I find the teaching of *many* religions on the subject of sexuality to be abominable.  Homosexuality is not morally wrong. Bisexuality is not morally wrong.  That many religions teach that homosexuality is morally wrong is itself deeply immoral.  These teaching have led parents to disown their kids, kick them out of their homes, and even kill them.  These teachings have led to a lifetime of shame and disgust that many people feel over their sexuality. These religious teachings have led entire countries-I’m looking at you Russia-to enact legislation that discriminates against and oppresses people.  All for the “crime” of not being heterosexual. Religious teachings on sexuality-on the whole-are deeply harmful to people, and actively work to make people miserable and the world a worse place.
  4. Creationism does not belong in the classroom.  It is a wholly religious idea that has no foundation in science.  There is no empirical evidence in support of creationism, yet despite this, there are efforts across the US and other parts of the world to teach creationism in place of evolution in the classroom.  This angers me because I want people to be educated, but I want that education to be reality based.  Not fantasy based.  Evolution has mountains of evidence to support it, and a vast array of scientific disciplines support the theory of evolution.  
  5. I am an atheist.  That means I do not believe in the existence of any god or gods.  That does *not* mean I’m an immoral shitbag who has no reason to not rape or kill people. I am angry that people believe-without knowing who I am-that I’m an immoral person. Morality concerns the distinctions between right and wrong or good and evil actions between humans.  How does one determine whether a particular course of action is good or evil?  One way is to attempt to understand how the other person feels in that situation.  If I’m trying to decided if I want to punch someone or not, by imagining myself in the shoes of someone else, it can be easy to see that they wouldn’t like to be punched.  I know I don’t want to be punched either, so it’s probably a good idea for me to not punch them, at least if I think they have the same rights as I do (which I do).  The Golden Rule-basically treating others as you would be treated yourself-has been in existence for longer than christianity, and informs morality.   Likewise, morality was a necessary component in creating societies.  There must be rules to govern our interactions if we’re going to live among each other, and humans being a social species, that’s pretty much going to happen everywhere.  These rules attempt to balance the desires of the individual against the desires of society as a whole.  Destructive, damaging behaviors obviously harm society as a whole and are discouraged.  Positive behaviors are encouraged.  This is obviously in simple terms, but we don’t encourage people to kill or rape one another because that threatens social cohesion by affecting the safety and security of others.  The idea that you cannot have morality without god is a false one (and ridiculous anyways-how can you decide which actions are good and which are bad when {if you use christianity} god commits genocide and encourages or permits rape, slavery, and murder?)

If Sorbo were interested in actually learning why many atheists are angry-sometimes-he ought to check out Greta Christina’s book Why Are You Atheists So Angry:  99 Things That Piss Off The Godless. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of good reasons to get angry at the actions of the religious. Given the shit going on in the world, if you’re not angry, then you don’t care, and apathy is responsible for tremendous amounts of human suffering.

Incidentally Mr. Sorbo, we aren’t angry at god. We’re angry at how believers act in the name
of god.

Kevin Sorbo doesn't understand atheists