Posts Tagged With: Church

Doing Your Job Is NOT Persecution

For a good part of my life, I identified as a Christian and at one point I was even pursuing the ministry as my Bible Mixvocation. Today, I identify as Agnostic at best (leaning toward Atheist). How did I make such an astonishing transition? The biggest change was I began to empathize rather than feel victimized. What propagated the change? I admitted who I was not only to myself, but publicly – I am a gay man. It took me YEARS to accept myself and eventually learned not to feel shame about being who I am. Recent “religious freedom” laws are only good for reinforcing the “IDEA” that Christians are losing freedoms or are being persecuted – which is irrational and asinine (using it now I wish it were spelled ASSinine).

The most frequent excuse I would get when inviting someone to church back in the day was – there are Tattoo Sintoo many hypocrites. I was brainwashed by my years in the church and could easily counter that excuse by explaining all the good the church and Christians do. Once my perspective changed, I was amazed I was so blind. I tried reading and studying the Bible more and that just convinced me more the excuses I had heard were valid. The  hypocrites had their justification because the Bible can support most any prejudice. There are few things “Christians” hate more than when someone can use the Bible against what they are doing and saying. I have written before that more “Christians” should be called “Biblicans” because the hatred and intolerance they feel can be  justified using the Bible and there is NOTHING Christ like in their behavior – based on HIS teachings. The saddest thing to me is how they are blind to their hypocrisy.

The "thing" is... Atheists don't need proof of nothing! lol

The “thing” is… Atheists don’t need proof there is nothing! lol

I want to understand WHY Christians in the United States feel they need these religious freedom laws? As I see it… the freedom they want is to force others (the general public including gays) to be bound by their religious beliefs. Why would others (especially gays) having equality be a threat they need freedom from? What right have they lost or need protection from? Oh, the right to discriminate against gays; to make sex and contraception subjected to their views. Hobby Lobby is who I blame for all this shit! Providing contraception to employees should not be based on religious beliefs of the company. If the employees were forced to receive contraception, then it would be different!

Paranoid Much?

Paranoid Much?

The paranoid idea that religious freedoms are under attack is fueled by the likes of Fox News constantly having “news” (or rant) pieces about things like “The War on Christmas” that help bolster their ratings! Have they not been inside a WalMart in September? Christmas is in full bloom in the US for at least four months! Saying a non-offensive greeting like Happy Holidays is a threat? They need to go overseas to understand war on Christians. There are persecuted Christians in other countries. Like the boy that cried wolf… I have grown numb to their ideas of persecution.

It could also be fear of having to do their job for someone they USE religion as an excuse to justify their prejudice, Gay Cakediscrimination, or even hatred. All this bullshit about bakeries being FORCED to make cakes for gay weddings is RIDICULOUS! Christ taught “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” ~Matthew 5:41 A blog by Jessica Kantrowitz (http://tenthousandplaces.org/2015/04/01/bake-for-them-two/) explains this better and in a more pleasant tone than I can. Memories Pizza in Indiana received more than $850,000 from sympathetic “religious” folks for closing 8 days after standing up to a hypothetical situation that gays would force them to cater and serve pizza at a wedding. They felt persecuted for publicly stating they would discriminate against gays.

Gay pizza party... maybe. Gay wedding.... NO!  lol

Gay pizza party… maybe. Gay wedding…. NO! lol

While I respect Memories Pizza’s rights to believe what they want, it is that they made a fortune given by others that are also paranoid, scared, and frightened by unrealistic hypothetical situations that would not happen. #1 – it would be very unlikely that Gays would ever serve pizza at a wedding. #2 – anyone getting married (gay or straight) asks not forces people to make cakes, take photos, or even plan their wedding. Who wants hate cake, an unhappy photographer or an unenthusiastic wedding planner?

A GOOD reason for a gofund me! http://www.gofundme.com/pizza4equality

A GOOD reason for a gofund me! http://www.gofundme.com/pizza4equality

Bill Maher has asked why moderate Muslims have not been as vocal against the likes of ISIS. I ask why aren’t moderate Christians more vocal? I know there are moderates and extremist in any and all religions and beliefs. But the problem I have is when the extremist are ALLOWED to be the LOUDEST voices, the moderate and reasonable are complacent with what happens in the name of their religion or beliefs! I only wish I could be louder for gays, reasonable people and the nonreligious; but when others join in… we will be louder than a gofundme for hypothetical and unreasonable prejudices!

Why are Christians so BLESSED?

Why are Christians so BLESSED?

Jesus even taught,“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matt 5:10). If the LGBT community HAD equal rights, there would be no need for gays or objecting Christians to stand up for their rights… we would be equal and Christians in the US would no longer feel so hypothetically persecuted!

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Are You Crucifying Christianity?

I grew up going to church anytime the doors were open. After high school I even considered becoming a minister as my profession. Being reared in a middle-class home and maintaining a middle-class lifestyle in my single income home after university made it easier for me to hold to the values and principles I had grown up with. After admitting to myself I was gay, being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, losing my health, job, lifestyle and health insurance… I became one of “those people” – I am POOR! This is my new “coming out”, admitting I am poor. I tried and struggled for a while to hold  on to my lifestyle but was not Vegas Stylesuccessful. I had to watch as a new owner drove off in my BMW convertible and I was a witness as it faded on the road’s horizon. Soon after this event, I left Las Vegas (where I lived at the time) and I began feeling scared by the idea as an “adult” I was dependent on others for help with even basic needs.

Along with the change in location, came a change in the way I saw the world. My attitude changed. I got over: being a conservative, being a devout Christian and a Republican as I felt the challenges of my new life choking me. I can’t fully embrace the Democrats because they are not doing any better either. The more I learned from studying the Bible, the more I felt distanced from the God of the Bible. The Bible as a moral guide for my life just felt wrong. As I see Republicans fight to protect the wealthy and try to take money from social programs for the poor, the more they reveal to me that they are hypocrites that only talk about church and Jesus for their campaigns (again the Democrats are not much better, they just do not court the religious vote as much as the Republicans do). The more I learned about Jesus, the more I began to realize that most who profess to be Christian should be called Biblican not Christian. A Biblican is one who uses the Bible to justify their disdain and prejudices for others while dismissing the main points of Christ’s message – love and help one another. So now I introduce a new name I added to my vocabulary – Republibiblicans. Republibiblicans use the Biblicans to to sir up votes as they frighten people of the very things they should support and embrace – if they were true Christians.

Now, how do these things come together for me? With my background and education in marketing, I saw to it that I continued to “market” myself as something I wasn’t. I soon realized I was a Clean Handshypocrite and there are few things I hate more than hypocrites. I was presenting myself one way to the world while living quite differently. My facebook marketed myself as “healthy”, “happy” and living an adventurous life. I needed to be more honest with my family, friends, and even the few people who read my blog – MY LIFE IS A CHALLENGE! As a gay man, I urge other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to come “out”; I now want to be an advocate for people living challenging lives to “come out” and become a voice for CHANGE! As the LGBT community has learned, when people KNOW who we are, they are more comfortable embracing us as “people” they can love and accept in their lives! Being poor is no more contagious than being gay is!

Since I am no longer a person of “faith”, why am I concerned with how conservatives, Christians and Republicans are marketing themselves? Because some of “these people”… I love and care about and they are better than what these groups are standing up for and standing against! I want to encourage someone I know that is a “conservative Christian” to see that he/she is not helping his/her claim to be Christian with a post like the “PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS” photo! The photo also makes me wonder… who measures the Department of Agriculture’s “pleasure” to do anything and what evidence do they have the DoA is “pleased”?! Jesus (the Christ part of being a Christian) taught: RepublibiblicanFEED the poor, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (a “comment” Christ made about taxes), do not be like the Pharisees that wear their religion as a badge of honor! Where is the Christian outrage for what Congress is trying to do to the poor?  Isn’t the food stamp program exactly the kind of “program” Jesus would support? Would Jesus also encourage people to do even MORE to HELP these people? I am not sure who to credit with saying, “get off your cross, we need the wood”, but I do hope I am able to BUILD and do more for society than just mock poor people, because I am one of them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say, I may be poor – living only my social security disability and I do have Medicare, but I am not homeless and do not receive food stamps or welfare. That is not why I am defending the ones that need food stamps, I am defending them because it is the right thing to do! My “lifestyle” is maintained with a below US poverty level income – nothing glamorous or leisurely about my live. ALL of my worldly possessions can fit in 2 checked bags and 1 carry-on. I have been hungry, I have needed to skip meals because of a lack of food and/or money, but I have never really known HUNGER. I would rather go down fighting with people who can empathize with my situation than to help enable the ignorance so many have of what life may be REALLY like for many poor people and highlight the apathy someone must posses to ignore their NEEDS – basic needs like food, health, and shelter. And yes… my “personal” marketing campaign still includes more highlights of the “good”, simple pleasures in life than my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and finances. No longer is my “personal” marketing campaign a denial of the pain, suffering and challenges I face in life… these challenges are more difficult to express sometimes.

When I posted on facebook my feelings about this situation, I was told,”Judge not lest you be judged.” But that is exactly why I feel I need Joel Osteen Houseto SAY something, I would be judged for my silence! I cannot escape judgement of others but thank goodness and thanks to people like this, I do not fear “judgement” from their God! And OBVIOUSLY their leaders are not worried about being judged either with MULTI-million dollar homes! As I stated earlier, I have read and studied the Bible and hope never to be called a Biblican or a Joel Osteenian! But if I were called a Christian because my life reflects Jesus’ very solid ideals and sound social teachings, I would not mind at all. Just as I would not mind being called a Gandhian, Martin Luther Kingian or any variation of the name of someone who stood up for social justice! I am simply making sure my hands are clean, Mr. Marley! Maybe after a post like this… I SHOULD consider the ministry again? Maybe you can support my “MINISTRY” by using the paypal links on my page? OH MY God… I am as bad as “THEM”!! lol

Blogging is not free!  Please help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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Discarded Obama Campaign Stickers

I was visiting overseas during the U.S. Presidential election, but I tried to stay informed. This was my first time to ever contribute to a Presidential campaign. I was also the first time I was really actively involved in any campaign. The Obama campaign had sent me a few bumper stickers as a thanks for donating and I was so excited that whenever I do get home… I was going to be able to post my Obama stickers on my little OLD truck. But my conservative mother threw them away! No thought given to the idea I may WANT them. No consideration, just trash. Some I had actually purchased. 

This campaign MEANT something to me! I willingly gave up my middle class lifestyle because of my Multiple Sclerosis and I had a tough decision to make – my lifestyle or my health. My health won-out! I gave up living in a nice house with one of my most favorite people in the world as a roommate, driving a BMW convertible and living in the exciting city of Las Vegas for living at home with my parents, with no car, in a small town in Mississippi. Like I said… NOT an easy decision, but a necessary decision. I knew the sacrifices I was going to have to make and I was lucky to have a loving and supportive family to help me.  

I struggled for two years with no healthcare because my M.S. was a pre-existing condition and this was during the time Obama was trying to get what is now labeled Obamacare passed. For the first time I saw something in politics that directly affected me and it was the President leading the cause. My new standing as a poor person with no insurance helped me see a side of this issue like others could not. I was living solely on my social security disability income and living at home, I was still only barely by. Eventually I qualified for Medicare and FINALLY had health coverage.  

My conservative, Republican, Christian family that watched more Fox News than ANY other news outlet, called Obama a socialist and believed all Fox News said, even though I was one of the very people Obama was trying to help with Obamacare – they saw it as evil and bad and so was Obama. This is when a passion for what was going on in politics began to grow IN me. My frustration also grew because I could not get them to see and understand – I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE” Fox News is demeaning! My parents had Social Security & Medicare and others in my family even had Medicaid and they witnessed my struggle with health issues all-the-while I had no health insurance. I began to see “conservative” to equal – I got mine and I do not care about you.

Needless to say this created a struggle for me in relating to my family and even strains our relationship today. I felt like an outsider in my own family.  Church was so important and BEING Christian was even more important. But as the conservatives boasted of their Christianity, I witnessed a great deal of not so Christian actions. Being gay has helped me see “church”, Christians, and even God in a much different light. I saw the principles of the Democrats relate more to Christianity than the “religious right”. I wrote a blog specifically to try to engage people to explain how “conservatives” were Christian (http://wp.me/pKLa8-GU) and e-mailed a blog that asked the same but in a friendlier tone than I had be able to muster! (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/11/time-for-christians-to-make-a-choice/) Republicans extol their Christianity but for me it conflicts with their politics and I feel the Democrats live it by their politics.

I see Jesus as someone that would spend time with gays, having wine and talking with them, not standing in line at Chick-fil-a so the company has more money to prevent gays having equality! I see Jesus touting the GOOD of Obamacare, not worrying how it could affect his personal coverage if the uninsured get access to care! This creates for me my biggest struggle – it makes me see my dearly devoted, Christian mother and others in my family as hypocrites! They already dislike me for being so different in how I think… how could they deal with being viewed as hypocrites? Or possibly even racist because of things they say about Obama? Oh yeah, that is why it was such an internal struggle for me to live that close to them. I hate myself for seeing my family the way I do. We DO love each other… but there is no respect unless there is agreement and I just can’t agree with them. They refuse to listen to my points because I think they do not want to see the hypocrisy. But any attempts I make to talk and try to understand only ends badly! I am a critical-thinker and NEED more than rhetoric and “faith” to understand things! Now I live far away and even at a distance it still hurts me!

My father was diagnosed with Dementia and suddenly Fox News was not on the tv as much (if any actually). A few months later he had a stroke, then 9 days later died. At his funeral, all that spoke (including me) mentioned his trademark little, old, piece of crap Toyota trucks he had over the years.  I did eventually get a little money and had the opportunity to travel to see my friend I call Little Buddy (one of my FAVORITE people in the world) and when I returned from that trip – I bought a little, old, piece of crap Toyota truck like my Dad used to have. I was looking forward to putting my Obama stickers on MY little, old truck, but they were thrown away because no one considered them relevant at that house  – the same as me… discarded without consideration or concern!

P.S. I do love my family and they do love me… like my facebook relationship status says – it’s complicated! My writing is to express feelings I am unable to share otherwise and this is how I feel now.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Prince Without a Kingdom!

As a child, I loved “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood”.  My favorite part was when he visited the “land of make-believe”.  At this very young age of watching and enjoying “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, I was being sexually molested by a young man in our neighborhood and to cope – I created my own “Land of Make Believe”.  We lived on Johnston Chapel Road in a community named Johnston Chapel that was accessed by exiting at Johnston’s Station exit from the interstate.  So being a “Johnston” was key to my fantasy world and in my mind “The Johnston’s” were royalty.  My land of make-believe was based partially on reality, but much was IMAGINARY.  Initially it may have been a way to cope with the trauma in my life, but soon it became home, comfortable and real to me.  In my world…. I was royalty – I was a Prince!

Pioneer televangelist Oral Roberts’ openly gay, gay rights activist, grandson Randy Roberts Potts was interviewed in the February issue of Details magazine (link at bottom of article).  I saw so many parallels with one major exception… he was royalty on the Oral Roberts University campus or “compound” as it was called by some and it wasn’t just in his mind!  He has been able to parlay his experience into not only an inspiring story, but also a “cause”.  He is traveling the U.S. with “The Gay Agenda”, simple performance art based on the realities of typical day-to-day lives of many gay men.

Randy Roberts Potts inspires me….. but what can I do with this inspiration?  I have survived childhood sexual molestation, I live daily with Multiple Sclerosis, I write with intent to advocate for the poor / disenfranchised / marginalized in our society; but that is as far as it seems to go.  I have tried to summon support to get heard by elected officials (only to be ignored).  So what am I NOT doing to convert ALL this inspiration into action?  How do I get feet under my words?  I am inspired to do……????  What next, what do I do?  Write more about it in this blog that has not earned me 1 dime?

So this brings me to the heart of my frustration – lack of money!  Money may not be able to buy happiness… but it sure can help accomplish a lot of other good things.  I see Cadillac Escalades at churches and think…. couldn’t they have settled for a Chevy Tahoe and done more good for fellow man with the difference in money?  I do not know how to inspire without funds to do something!!  lol  I do not even have a car, but even if I have access to a car – I don’t have gas money!! lol  No wonder the rich just keep getting richer…. the poor have no money to advocate for themselves!  I get inspired, I get frustrated not being able to but that inspiration into action, I get depressed and look for inspiration and then the cycle starts all over again!

I know the problem is me!  I have been “inspired” to learn Spanish for almost 5 years now and still have a very limited knowledge of Spanish!  lol  In a post late December, I highlighted a young man, Johnny Robinson, that reached out to help another young gay man struggling.  He was inspired, took action and reached out.  His inspiring youtube video has been viewed more than 400,000 times by people all over the world.  But sadly, he reported on his facebook page recently that a young man in his own school committed suicide due to issues with being gay and bullied.  How can we (the willing to help) do more to help others?  I was proud watching Johnny’s video when he says, “I used to feel helpless.” “But then…” (he grins) “I stood up for myself”  I see confidence and sincerity.  He even goes on to offer his e-mail.  

What more can we do?  How can we help these young men and women find that even if they cannot stand up for themselves – there are some of us willing to stand WITH them?  Randy Roberts Potts is like me… a Prince without a kingdom and here is Johnny Robinson (homecoming) KING of his kingdom.  Yet there are some that will not ask us to help in spite of our offers.  The displaced gay royalty wants ALL of you to know …. you are STRONG and when you feel helpless…. there is help.  If not us – The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ or 866-488-7386).  So, how do I find MY kingdom, get past my excuses and start my own “Gay Agenda”? I start by asking for your help, asking you to let me help us all find our inner strength!

http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201202/preacher-oral-roberts-grandson-randy-roberts-potts-the-gay-agenda

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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