01 August 2007

My Favorite! Politics and Religion!

I've been less than my normal self lately, dry humor and sarcastic stories have given way to deep thinking and serious musings. I hope to be more lighthearted come this weekend. I'm sick today and that always gives me weird dreams (not the normal going nekkid to Walmart dreams) and lots of thinking time when I'm hopped up on Sudafed at 3am and cannot sleep. I'll be checking & responding on comments until I'm back on Saturday...


I was reading over at The Invisible Womans blog today. She is an amazing person and always makes me think. She's made me think again this morning with this post on homophobic bullies in school. Personally, I don't like the label of homophobic because simply, not all people fear, but far too many hate.

I left this comment (with a bit of editing) on her blog but I also wanted to open it to all my readers eyes. I want to know what you think.

This kind of 'better than you' and hate for someone who believes differently or lives differently is so sad. I'm one to believe people are made this way, never born this way.

My sister wrote in her blog something you might see from my point of view.

"I would be subject to ridicule and harassment if it were clear how I lean politically [at her workplace]. In the three years I've worked there I have had to hear almost daily slander against principals that I embrace, both locally and nationally, and even had some of my co-workers talk trash about the "damn right-wing Christians" and "stupid God-lovers". I am a persecuted minority, and I don't say that jokingly. It is what it is, and I've learned to live with it."

I've read Donald Miller's Book Blue Like Jazz: Non Religious Thoughts on Christianity. I understand his refusal to define Christianity. (I'm going somewhere with this, really) It's difficult as a bible believer standing for what I believe without being labeled with all the in-your-face, horrid stereotypes you see in the media or read about on some of these religiously fanatic blogs, like bombings in the name of God. It's one thing to say you support biblical values

(which is to LOVE one another. I know the bible doesn't say love one another, except for gays and democrats. I'm being snarky, but you get it..)

It's another thing (and I stand against these) to hate gays, condemn others, bomb abortion clinics, support clergy that are nothing less than pedophiles.

I see a problem in this: Where does opinion or religious views end and hate begin? Is it perception or intention? Is it our thoughts or actions that define this?

Personally, I teach my children faith based beliefs that homosexuality is wrong, as the bible says. I teach them many things that are not main stream and some would consider hate speech. I also include instructing them on things that are equally wrong: to be drunk, lie, or disrespect others. Above all, I teach my kids, and live my life to love everyone without exception because we are all guilty of such wrongs, little or small, no matter the religious label we adhere to.

My faith has always been the center of my parenting but I'm afraid that my religious views will someday conflict with overzealous people wanting me to concede that what I believe is wrong.

To be clear, there is NEVER an excuse to hate or bully. There should be a balance for opinion or faith. I can't say myself what that is until I start taking heat and feeling uncomfortable.

Anyone else feel this way?


Stalker Cyberstalker said...

I responded to your comments at my place. I found them thought-provoking and so I rambled on forever and covered most of ancient history and good part of Western Civ, too. (Kidding)

I've always believed that if you can look deep inside the "heart" of hate, you will see fear there. People hate what they fear. The young boys the articles are about fear being labeled homosexual, and so they think that is the worst they they can call another male. They are experiencing not just fear, but terror of it. (I think my first post on the subject explains that better though).

Mean people suck, and that's the bottom line, eh?

Jenn said...

Ancient history is my favorite. I thought your two posts were well thought out. You always know how to get my brain matter moving. and you are so right, mean people do suck.

Millie said...

Wow - I read Invisible Woman's post, which was great, and I loved the story of the mom who went to school to talk to her daughter's principal and teachers about her daughter being verbally abused at school. "You can't handle being called ugly ONCE - but you expect my daughter to handle it day after day?" My hat's off to that mom. I loved her bravery. Kids need that kind of advocate in their parents.

If kids are going to be taught Christian beliefs, that should include "Love one another" along with "homosexuality is wrong." Kindness should get as much play, if not more. By their fruits ye shall know them, right?

There are so many wacky religious people out there in the world, making life hard for the rest of us who are sincerely trying to follow a belief system... it's tricky walking that path. I try to teach my kids kindness along with everything else. If they meet someone making a "wrong choice" by our standards, there's no reason to be affrontive - it's wrong, and other people have done that for us already.

Bullies will bully other kids about anything, not just homosexuality. It's less about "you're homosexual, therefore you're a sinner" and more about, "Hey, someone weaker than I am. I can pick on him and feel better about being picked on by everyone else in my life."

Jenn said...

difference between acceptance and approval, good words. Jesus walked and talked among the 'unsavory' He makes the best example for us all.

that mom gets a standing ovation from me.
I try to teach my kids kindness along with everything else. If they meet someone making a "wrong choice" by our standards, there's no reason to be affrontive - it's wrong, and other people have done that for us already.
Unfortunately it's rare to find true acceptance over disapproval of others. You explain that so much better than I... :)

Ian said...

I've always liked the Bill and Ted dogma, and it has served me well time and again. For gamers, it's definitely the Chaotic Good element. I try to encourage it in my kids too: "Be excellent to each other...and party on, dude!"


Ba Doozie said...

I have a few thoughts. First what jrh said, and this was taught to me in my social work program as well, we need to accept but we don't have to approve. And this is where the "homophobic" term really bites. Because everyone who disagree's with that lifestyle is labled homophobic when in all reality there are large portions that simply don't approve. And that goes for non christians as well. Would you be happy or encourage your son to follow a lifestyle that increases his chance of death by 80% Because the way in which they go about things is a threat to their health. and that has nothing to do with religion, it is common sense. My main point is: it is just as discriminatory to call someone a homophobic as it is to be mean to a homosexual. we need to stop with the double standards.

on that note, it is never ok to bully and hating certain groups is just idiotic. BUT you have to remember this is what some kids are taught. Their parents are ignorant and they pass that on. They teach their kids to hate. Until that stops, there will always be hating and bullies. We need to go to the source of the problem. The kids are only a symptom.

Stalker Cyberstalker said...

Dooz, nobody, least of all moi, was labelling people who disapprove of homosexuality as "homophobic." However, once you start using sexual orientation as an excuse to abuse another person, I'm going to call it like I see it. And I think that sort of fear that makes to want to lash out and hurt is defintely phobic.

I never, ever said that all people all people who oppose that lifestyle are homophobic. I want that clarified.

Why you hatin' on me, SISTER?

Stalker Cyberstalker said...

I don't what happened to my typing skills this a.m. Too much caffeine, too little toast?

R said...

I totally agree with you and think the same way.

Very good post.

Sorry you are sick. Get better! I hope you didn't catch it from me!

~Jennifer said...

We are of like mind, Miss Sometimes, so I don't have anything to add.

Jenn said...


If I can...

My main point is: it is just as discriminatory to call someone a homophobic as it is to be mean to a homosexual. we need to stop with the double standards.

I think what she is saying (and not pointedly at you...If I can speak for her, correct me if I am wrong, doozie)

its what I said to you, extremists whether to the right or left, make candidates for hate speech.

I stand corrected in that there is definitely fear in hate, but I can clarify that disagreement of, isn't necessarily phobic. I guess it goes back to my original question: Where does conviction end and hate begin?

I know you aren't labeling people. You are one of the most open peops I know. This is why I love you so. ~grins~

I just put a pot of coffee on, come on over. (I even have your favorite breakfast beer..hehe)

Ba Doozie said...

nvisible: where did you get the idea I was accusing YOU of that? I was speaking in generalities, If I have something to say to you, you'll know it sister!!!


Stalker Cyberstalker said...

Hey, I'm not getting in a snit. I'm just relieved The Doozie has stopped calling me "retarded."

Progressive Traditionalist said...

Hello, Ms Sometimes.
I think what Ms Doozie refers to, noted previously by JRH, would properly be known as "the false dichotomy of language." I've seen other examples of this, but to go to deep into that would detract from the post.

Not long ago, I listened to an interview with Tammy Faye Messner conducted by Terri Gross of NPR in 2004. Messner stated that she didn't think that homosexuality was right, but she had agreed to disagree with those among whom she was an activist. She also said that she thought it was wrong for the clergy to single out people to point out their sins.

A wonderful interview. It changed my feelings about that lady, and I am very glad of that. I am a better person myself for having heard her speak, if only in some small, intangible or latent way.

Now, the interesting question has been raised regarding a tendency and a behavior; and I find this rather odd, as I have just recently read the Rude Pundit's Ten Reasons You Wouldn't Want to Be Married to Alberto Gonzales. I'm thinking Gonzo would say that he's not homosexual, but rather that he is merely encrusted with the semen of his former lover. A big difference there.

Stated differently: Is it possible that a celibate might be homosexual? If so, then how, and to what extent?
Similarly, doesn't the issue of sexual preference ignore the issue of sexual opportunism?
Might the subject of a homophobic attack find an active defense in saying, "No, wait! I was only being opportunistic!" (?)
That is, is it the preference that is really at issue, or is this merely another sloppily worded false dichotmoy of language?

Do you suppose I ask a lot of questions?
Why on earth do I do that?

The Lazy Iguana said...

Well I guess it all depends on what "right" and "wrong" really are!

Those that advocate bombing clinics that provide abortions (and other things to - not all of which have anything to do with abortion) justify their actions and therefore think they are "right". For that matter, anyone who advocates violence in the name of religion justify their position and therefore claim to be "right".

Matters of morality also have the same problem. In some cultures what you may call "immoral" are considered the norm. What you may call taboo could be perfectly normal to someone else.

For example, self mutilation. Or allowing other people to "mutilate" you on purpose. Not done in this culture. And if a parent allowed their child to be subjected to 1,000 razor blade cuts as a rite of passage? Child abuse!

But in at least one culture, 1,000 cuts is a rite of passage into manhood. The process leaves a very intricate pattern of raised scars on a boy's back, signaling to other tribal members he is a man.

As for homosexuality, the ancient Greeks were into it. So were the Romans. And I am sure there are other cultures where that kind of thing is or was considered to not be a big deal. So who was right there?

I think that homosexuals are in some way born the way they are. The idea that you can change a homosexual into a straight person suggests that you can take a straight person and make them gay. I do not think this is the case. Life experience may have to "bring out" what is already there - but who really knows.

I think that people often loose sight of things.

wolfbaby said...

extremest usually ruin it for everyone.

bullies suck... and yes fear is at the root of there bullying i believe any way.

it's all so sad really sometimes children are so beatiful and sometimes they can be so cruel if not monitered.

Jenn said...

Doozie & Nvisiblewm,
If you start singing Kumbaya or We are the World I'm gonna puke.

Your thought process boggles me because your thinking always is on such a deep current while I feel I am still dog paddling at the surface. hehe. Are you saying it's about definitions? Am I diving deep enough? Why would you ask about questions? Do I do that?

the lazy,
yes, it does depend. The question of who your moral compass is, or what it is, greatly influences our choices. I think too, the point of radical anyone is a problem and what everyone here does agree on: Radicals suck as much as bullies.

Religion and social issues do not always mesh, but I can only speak for myself, my convictions (and not in a recruiting capacity). As PT mentioned, agreeing to disagree is one of the best ways we can effectively marry, belief and acceptance.

I'm very much an oddity (and arguably on more than just this point). From all I've read and studied I don't believe being gay is genetic but my belief that God loves us and that I am to love others, makes the genetic argument for naught and one not worth my effort of pursuing.

As I mentioned before my belief is far from "love others unless they are gay, democrat, or -fill in the blank- ". But again, radicals (not anyone here) or even government down the line (as employers do now but that is whole post entirely) could easily attempt to paint me a homophobic or someone who hates, just as if I had beaten on a gay classmate myself.

I love others as live, warm blooded people, unless there are lima beans involved, then I have full reason to hate. ~snicker~ Nacho would say lima beans are NOT The Lord's Food.

if only parents would actually parent, you know?

sarahgrace said...

Just chiming in to say, yep- I agree, what you said. : )

Sorry for all the comments in one day- I'm just now catching up on my blog peeps. Gives me something to do while I'm nursing though! ; )

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