Tag Archives: discrimination

Talk Me Down!

Barack Obama has chosen Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays. The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren’s backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.

Associated Press

Did you hear that? It was the sound of my heart dropping.

Why this pastor? Just because he invited Obama to speak at his church? I don’t think that’s a good reason at all.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

People for the American Way

I understand that Obama wants to bring people together and create an atmosphere in which we can disagree without being disagreeable. I want that too! But Warren is not a person who respectfully disagrees with the views and opinions of others. He has compared gay marriage to incest and pedophilia for crying out loud! He has compared abortion to the Holocaust! He supports, promotes and actively campaigns for legalized discrimination and against civil rights. He has made a career of being divisive and he believes that his religious beliefs are the only way to gauge right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral.

Rick Warren does not represent unity in any way, shape or form, or by any stretch of the imagination. I am confused and even offended by Obama’s decision to have this man deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

Can anyone talk me down? Should I be talked down?

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Melissa Etheridge: “Forget About My Taxes”

Melissa Etheridge is taking a powerful stand against California’s Proposition 8. She says that since she and her wife (roommate? partner?) are considered second class citizens, California can forget about their half million in state taxes.

Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don’t mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We’re gay!

The Daily Beast

I have to say that I admire Melissa’s stand, and I would love to see other celebrities and California residents get behind her on this.

[Edit to add: Thanks to John Bisceglia for providing this update in comments under this post.]

Melissa closes with this heart-warming statement:

Today the gay citizenry of this state will pick themselves up and dust themselves off and do what we have been doing for years. We will get back into it. We love this state, we love this country and we are not going to leave it. Even though we could be married in Mass. or Conn, Canada, Holland, Spain and a handful of other countries, this is our home. This is where we work and play and raise our families. We will not rest until we have the full rights of any other citizen. It is that simple, no fearful vote will ever stop us, that is not the American way.

I can’t think of a better way to follow that than to watch Melissa Etheridge perform California:

California
Melissa Etheridge

Raised up on mid-western dreams
Only a few shall get
What everyone shall need
I took my family’s burden
Strapped it to my chest
A few hundred bucks,
And a kiss for luck
And I pointed my dreams west

To California
Come rescue me
California
I am almost free

I kept on driving to the setting sun
Galaxies of angels
Welcome everyone
I took my heart out of its box
Attached it to my sleeve
Well, I will be here every night
Because that’s what I believe

In California
Come rescue me
California
I am almost free

I will find my love
I will know my peace
I will seek my truth
I am almost free
I am almost free…

I am almost free
I am almost free
I am almost free

In California
I am almost free
In California
I am almost free
(Rescue me)
California
I am almost free


Atheism: A Conscious Choice?

According to the Peninsula Clarion, hating on atheists might not be so bad. At least, not as bad as hating on Blacks or Jews because, according to the author of this piece, to be an atheist, you make a conscious choice.

Before I refute this frail little argument, I believe some history and a few acknowledgments are in order:

It came to me while reading Gawd’s Word, as I routinely do. Gawd said that some grrl had been talking smak about Him so, naturally, I had to see what that was all about. Well, GrrlScientist had posted to her blog about a letter sent to the editor of the Augusta Chronicle. The letter, sent by one Alice Shannon, called for atheists to leave the United States!

Needless to say, GrrlScientist was not at all pleased, and her response is an absolute must-read.

Apparently, there is a fair bit of controversy over the origin of the letter, but that’s not relevant to the point of this post. Somewhere along the way, the letter in question was sent to the aforementioned Peninsula Clarion.

As Snopes acknowledges, attempting to assign any kind of “true” or “false” status to letters to the editor is often tricky, because such letters are generally expressions of opinion rather than fact, and the senders of such letters are not even necessarily the original authors. Sadly, Snopes also had this to say:

Given the plenitude of e-mails we’ve received over the years expressing the very same sentiments as this letter, it (regardless of the intentions of its creator and/or sender) apparently does reflect the genuine opinions of a not insubstantial readership base.

But regardless of the letter’s origin or the intention of its author/sender(s), the following response by the Peninsula Clarion jumped out at me (emphasis mine):

In two days, we receive more than 30 letters. Some were angry with her. Some were angry with us. They said we should be ashamed of ourselves for printing it, and that we would never have done that if it were about blacks or Jews. They’re right, we wouldn’t have. However, to be an atheist, you make a conscious choice.

Oh, where to begin? I can’t possibly address all the holes in this argument but, as always, I welcome comments and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Assuming, to begin with, that atheism really is a conscious choice, which I am not prepared to concede, the author of this statement is basically saying that bigotry toward a group of people who choose their minority status is not as bad as bigotry toward people who don’t. Let’s examine this, shall we?

If atheism is a conscious choice, then theism must be as well. If people can choose their way out of theism, then by definition they can choose their way in.

So why is one kind of religious bigotry unacceptable in America while another is just fine and dandy?

Furthermore, Christianity is a conscious choice to deny all other gods and faiths. Would the Peninsula Clarion have published this letter if it had been directed at Christians, demanding that they leave the country? Not likely.

Protestants consciously choose to reject Catholicism. Catholics consciously choose to reject Mormonism. Mormons consciously choose to reject Hinduism. And so it goes.

There are many choices that people make which, if it were demanded that they leave the U.S. because of it, would no doubt be considered bigotry by mainstream society. What about interracial relationships and marriages, for example? People consciously choose to enter into those relationships. Oh sure, you can’t help who you’re attracted to, but you can certainly choose who to date and marry.

We’ve also made a lot of progress where gay couples are concerned. I’m not saying that homosexuality is a choice (although it doesn’t need that disclaimer as validation) but engaging in a same-sex relationship definitely is. And yet, it seems most people think it’s not OK to hate on gays.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

All that said, however, I’m not convinced that atheism necessarily is a conscious choice. While I made the conscious choice to begin examining my Christian faith and follow the evidence to where it lead, I don’t believe that atheism was a conscious choice for me so much as a logical conclusion. I know some would argue that I could have chosen to ignored the evidence, deny the facts and remain faithful. Of course, that only brings us right back to Christianity being a choice and the question of why it’s not OK to bash Christians, while bigotry toward atheists is alive and well in the United States.

We must also consider those atheists who never believed in any god(s). Theism is learned — we do not emerge from the womb believing in one deity or another. People are taught their religious beliefs. This is evidenced by the fact that religious practices vary greatly according to geographical locations. Many American Christians would, in fact, be Hindu had they been born in India to Indian parents, for example. Also, how many people born to Catholic parents end up Baptist, or vice versa? People generally adhere to the religion they are born into and raised to practice.

But what about those who were never taught any religion? Did they choose atheism? I submit that atheism is no more a choice to many of them than Hinduism was to me, being raised by staunch Baptists in the United States. Have they heard of Christianity or other religions? Probably. Could they choose to pursue a religious lifestyle as adults? Certainly. But, again, that brings us right back to religion being a choice and the question of why bashing religion is called bigotry while bashing atheists is not.

The argument that atheists choose their minority status and, therefore, discrimination and bigotry against them isn’t quite as bad as hatred toward other groups is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to legitimize said bigotry. It begins with a false premise, is logically inconsistent, reinforces misconceptions about atheism and attempts to excuse prejudice and hatred.

It’s ignorant, it’s shameful, and yet Americans continually and enthusiastically accept it and make excuses for it, and I am on a mission to bring awareness to this ongoing issue. I realize the article is old but the problem is definitely ongoing. I am sending a link to this post to Peninsula Clarion. You can voice your opinion here, if you’d like.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Civil Unions: Separate Drinking Fountains

There’s no denying that we’ve made considerable progress in allowing same-sex unions in some parts of the U.S. But even allowing same-sex couples identical rights, benefits and responsibilities of married heterosexuals, while refusing to call their unions/contracts “marriage”, has never sat right with me.

In an interview with John McCain, Ellen DeGeneres explains in a very touching way what it says to her and how it makes her feel:

I literally choked up when Ellen talked about being able to sit there, just not there.

You can sit on the bus, just not in the front. You can drink from the fountain, just not from that fountain.

Mike and I talked about how we might feel if we were told that we could have all the benefits of marriage, but that our union wasn’t quite good enough to be called a marriage. I think it would feel demeaning and, as Ellen said, isolating. I think it would feel like we were being devalued as individuals and as a family. Sure, we could live in society with the rest of you, we just couldn’t be part of it. Not completely.

I can’t think of a justification for this apart from religious beliefs. You know, the whole Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve bumper sticker mentality. It’s not as if there’s a finite number of marriages to go around. Letting gay people be married and call it that doesn’t affect anyone else’s marriage in any way. It doesn’t affect anyone else at all, with the obvious exception of pissing certain people off. And if that’s the only requirement for legislating something, there are a lot more things that need to be legislated out of existence. Where do I send my list?

Without falling back on religious doctrine or Bible verses, can someone give me a legitimate reason for allowing gays the same rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage and then denying them the title?

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On