Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ashamed of My Religion

I am thrilled that the United States elected Barack Obama, the first African-American, to the White House. It is an incredible accomplishment. I find it difficult to actually believe that it is true.

No joy is complete. With the sunshine comes the rain and the bitter with the sweet. I am deeply saddened today as well. Measures were passed in Arizona, Florida, and (probably) California to put into law discrimination against other Americans. This is from Friends of Jake:

We even lost LA county. African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prop8, thus the history-making vote for Obama hurt us badly. Why is it that one oppressed group is so ready to oppress the ones behind them in line?

But what will be remembered by the GLBT community is the Mormons and the Catholics and the conservative Christians their opposition to our civil rights. I want to stand in front of the Mormon Temple or the Catholic churches, with other gay couples, just silently staring at their faces as they walk by, and make them look us in the eye. Our community is outraged at organized religion, and I am too.
Let's hear it for the Christians. What did it cost you to raise up the flag for discrimination? You have lost any claim to simple decency. You showed that you have no soul. You are further from the Jesus you claim to follow as hell is from heaven. As Jesus said to the religious of his day:
‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. (Matt. 21:31)
I am coming more and more to the sad truth that Christianity is a sham and a scam. It is a religion of hatred and ignorance. I am ashamed to be one today.

21 comments:

  1. Be ashamed of sectarianism. The peaceful Muslims have to deal with this as well.

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  2. You know, James Madison (one of the founding fathers) criticized George Washington for being too religious in his political messages, saying that this mixing of politics and religion would sour people to religion. If you disagreed with someone's politics you'd find yourself not liking their religion much either. I'm afraid that this is what is happening with the conservative religious movement here. I find myself ashamed to be counted among the authoritarian, backwards people who claim to be following Jesus and his teachings. And, like you, it has soured me a bit on God.

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  3. Drew said...

    "Be ashamed of sectarianism. The peaceful Muslims have to deal with this as well."

    The day before the election I received 3 anti-Muslim emails from my "Christian" friends. I had a similar reaction to John's. They may not be emailing me again for a while. I guarantee that everyone of them would have voted for the marriage amendments had they lived in those states.

    I've decided to stick with
    "I'm a follower of Jesus" versus the term Christian, at least for a bit.Actually I said I was converting to Islam. I just don't know about the Ramadan-fasting part. Maybe they'll come around. I'm sure they think I'm wrong, but how does that song go "If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right"? My new theme!

    Allah Akbar! and freedom under the Constitution for ALL Americans.

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  4. Well, I'm not ashamed. There is a difference between being a follower of Jesus, and simply being part of organized religion.

    Why should I renounce the Lord, and ditch Jesus Christ because of the struggles, and blindness of others?

    I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, but I'll say it again. As long as these folks are all written off as hate-filled, evil bigots, and there is no real interest in reaching them, we are going to make little headway in this.

    I also want to point out to folks that I work with many totally secular people who would even consider themselves progressive in tons of areas who will not accept same-sex marriage. Many of them say all the politically correct things with their mouth, but are rejecting, and mocking of gay people behind their backs.

    There are also problems coming from other religious backgrounds.

    It's not just all about the conservative, "Christian," church folks.

    Prayers for my gay, and lesbian brothers, and sisters. My heart is aching for them right now.

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  5. John,
    It is not Christianity - Christianity teaches us -
    Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
    44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
    28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

    This is the hardest thing I have to do. I fall very short but I have a little reminder on my blog to "Walk in Love"

    It is not your religion (Christianity) that is at fault but those who have perverted it. - I will hold you (and yours) in the light. Jay

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  6. "I also want to point out to folks that I work with many totally secular people who would even consider themselves progressive in tons of areas who will not accept same-sex marriage. Many of them say all the politically correct things with their mouth, but are rejecting, and mocking of gay people behind their backs."

    I understand this, but, we don't claim the same title. Maybe we all support the same football team, but we don't all claim to be examples of the love of Jesus Christ on earth. My Muslim friends were horribly ashamed of the actions of their brothers. Of course, they still identify themselves as Muslims and I will continue to be a Christian. But for now, I'm a little pissed off.

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  7. This is the language of lament.

    You think my language is hard? Read some psalms--the real pissy ones.

    Let their table be a trap for them,
    a snare for their allies.
    23Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and make their loins tremble continually.
    24Pour out your indignation upon them,
    and let your burning anger overtake them.
    25May their camp be a desolation;
    let no one live in their tents.
    26For they persecute those whom you have struck down,
    and those whom you have wounded, they attack still more.*
    27Add guilt to their guilt;
    may they have no acquittal from you.
    28Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
    let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
    29But I am lowly and in pain;
    let your salvation, O God, protect me.


    Yeah, no shit.

    I am sure God and his son, Jesus H. Christ, is big enough to take it.

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  8. Oooh! Pissy Psalms, I like it. Thanks John, sums up my feelings nicely. It's much nicer than my quote from Carnac the Magnificent - "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their armpits". But it did feel good!

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  9. "Festina lente, make haste slowly. Do not rush to judgment. In sorting this out behave with the characteristic languor of Anglicans. Take the long view. Pray for those that despitefully use you…what kind of example do we set…?" said Peter J. Gomes. the quote and the context starts at 34:30 at this link: http://www.gracecathedral.org/forum/for_20080615.shtml

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  10. Thanks Drew, Gavin, Grace, Sara, Jay, and Rastus for letting me vent.

    Thanks for the Gomes link, Rastus. In Gomes' book he tells how he advised a parishioner who was grieving to read the Psalms preferably in one sitting, but within three days or so, in an unfamiliar translation, and without commentary. He said just read them through and notice their fluctuation of emotion. Then he advised her to come back and talk about the experience.

    I thought it was good therapeutic advice.

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  11. Cry like a baby. The only thing that Prop 8 getting passed has done is to make you realize that you are going to have to work harder for your cause. You have to convince more people that having gay sex is not evil or immoral. You can do it Reverend Shuck. I believe in you. How can I do my part? Should I start teaching my son that it is okay to be gay? Should I tell him that it is okay if he has boyfriends and/or girlfriends while he is in school? Or should I just let him figure it out for himself and not talk about it? Or maybe I will just tell him that some people are gay and that is okay. Is it okay for him to be gay as well? I think we should teach all of our kids to be gay. Is this what Jesus would want?

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  12. Cry like a baby.

    Ha! I only cry for a day. Then it is time to get to it.

    How can I do my part? Should I start teaching my son that it is okay to be gay? Should I tell him that it is okay if he has boyfriends and/or girlfriends while he is in school? Or should I just let him figure it out for himself and not talk about it? Or maybe I will just tell him that some people are gay and that is okay. Is it okay for him to be gay as well?

    Those are good questions. Here are some responses from PFLAG:

    FAQs

    Should I talk to a loved one about his or her sexual orientation or gender identity before the person talks to me?

    It’s seldom appropriate to ask a person, "Are you gay?” Your perception of another person’s sexual orientation (gay or straight) or gender identity (male or female) is not necessarily what it appears.

    No one can know for sure unless the person has actually declared that they are gay, straight, bisexual, or transgender. PFLAG recommends creating a safe space by showing your support of GLBT issues on a non-personal level. For example, take an interest in openly discussing and learning about topics such as same-sex marriage or GLBT rights in the workplace. Learn about GLBT communities and culture. Come out as an ally, regardless of if your friend or loved one is GLBT.

    Read PFLAG’s Dos and Don’ts for Friends and Families to get some tips should the “coming out day” happen. Your ultimate goal is to provide a safe space for your loved one to approach you when he or she is ready without fear of negative consequences.


    As a minister I have the honor to have access to people's lives that others may not.

    I have seen both healthy and unhealthy ways in which families have responded to glbt people in their families and in their communities.

    I vote for healthy.

    That comes from knowledge, compassion, and open communication.

    The best way I can suggest you relate to your son is to continue what you already do. You love him unconditionally and you are a safe place for him to be honest. You also teach him to be compassionate and understanding of others and to treat people with dignity.

    Some of the most tragic stories occur in families in which a teenager does not feel safe in his or her own family. This happens because the family communicates that it is not acceptable to be gay.

    Families that have an accepting attitude before they even know about their children's sexual orientation have a higher level of integrity, honesty, and joy.

    And that is what we want, isn't it?

    One more thing:

    I am outspoken on my blog. I am particularly critical of those who use this issue as a political weapon and use their religion to justify prejudice.

    What I say to people on a personal level (to those who sincerely are confused) is this:

    "Wherever you are on this is fine. If you are confused about all of this, that is OK. No judgment. We have enough of that. However, we don't stay in the same place. Learn and grow."

    Glad you ask the direct questions, Rachel. Its ok to tell me I cry like a baby. : )

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  13. Great questions, Rachel. The answers to all of them are "Yes, yes, no, yes, and no" in that order.

    I'm glad you're considering reasonable and honest and compassionate ways to discuss sexuality with your son. Of course, it's likely that he'll turn out straight, as do about 90% of people. But if he doesn't, I hope that you'll teach him that you love him, regardless of who he loves.

    I wish more parents were thinking about how to be proactive in discussing sexuality with their kids, at an age appropriate level, of course.

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  14. The passing of Prop 8 came as a surprise to me. It proves that times have changed in the following way. The conservative think tanks threw that issue at the Church as a wedge to separate the conservatives from the liberals.

    Yet here, what one would think of as a vastly liberal populace, voted along a different line.

    I think on average the vote in California went along the higher education line.

    There are some notable exceptions of course. But on average I think that was the divide.

    It will get challenged. I don't know how one can use a constitutional amendment to limit the rights of individuals. Aside from establishing what kind of government we have, the purpose of the Constitution in the American system has been to limit the rights of government and guarantee the rights of the individual.

    It will be curious to see how the State Supreme Court weighs in (and maybe even the Federal Supreme Court), because this precedent is exceedingly dangerous and contrary to the principles of American democracy.

    Imagine if there had been an amendment back in 1850 that defined a "person" as a white Protestant male.

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  15. Alan, can you clarify how you answered my questions again. They were kind of rhetorical questions because I don't think I will ever think that it is morally acceptable to be gay. I practice what Snad and most likely Jesus taught, which is to "love the sinner, and hate the sin." If my son ever chooses to be gay or do drugs and alcohol, I will still love him, but I don't have to be accepting of his behavior.

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  16. Rachel wrote, "Alan, can you clarify how you answered my questions again. "

    Sure, no problem. Your questions were:

    "Should I start teaching my son that it is okay to be gay?" Yes.

    To expand on that, I don't know how old he is, and I don't think there's any reason to bring up sexuality issues until kids ask. And then I think it's a good idea to limit answers to age appropriate levels. I remember a story I heard once about a kid who asked her parent where babies come from. The parent gave the whole in-depth story about sex and reproduction and birth, while the child just calmly listened, and then said, "Well, I don't know about all that, but Sally said she came from her house, and I said I came from the hospital."

    At some point, for example, he'll see two men or two women walking down the street holding hands, or see gay people on TV, or in a movie, or have gay friends at school, etc. If the lines of communication are open, then he may ask questions, then at that point I think it's reasonable to give an age appropriate answer such as, "Many men marry women, and many women marry men, but a few men marry men, and a few women marry women, and a few people don't get married at all." Or something similar.

    "Should I tell him that it is okay if he has boyfriends and/or girlfriends while he is in school?" Yes. Again, if he asks. More than likely if your son is gay or straight, you'll probably be aware of it before he tells you, either way. If he has girlfriends at school, will you tell him that it isn't OK? I don't think this is something that needs overt "teaching" as much as modeling tolerance for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gay or straight. Kids learn far more by example, than by overt teaching.

    In the unlikely that he's gay and he believes you to be intolerant, then he'll simply do what almost every kid with an intolerant parent does: hide it from you until he's old enough to be out on his own. Then he'll either choose to come out to you and you'll work things out somehow, or it will go badly and he'll simply start to cut ties. Parents rarely ever win in a battle for loyalty between themselves and their kid's lovers, and that's true whether the kid is gay or straight.

    "Or should I just let him figure it out for himself and not talk about it?" No. I don't think it is ever helpful not to talk about sexuality when children have questions. Start down that road and they'll never bring up questions regarding sexual behavior, safety, contraception, etc.

    "Is it okay for him to be gay as well?" Yes. Of course. If that's the way the good Lord made him. Statistically, the likelihood is small, since LGBT people are somewhere less than about 10% of the population. But fortunately for the world, God does make a few of us, just to make the world a bit more interesting. :)

    "If my son ever chooses to be gay..."

    There is no evidence of any sort that sexual orientation, gay or straight, is a choice. In fact, all of the available scientific evidence demonstrates that sexual orientation, gay or straight, has a significant biological component. That's also a good lesson to teach your son, again, when appropriate.

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  17. "Jesus taught, which is to "love the sinner, and hate the sin."

    BTW, if you can find Jesus uttering the phrase "love the sinner, but hate the sin" anywhere in the Bible, I'll give you a hundred thousand bazillion dollars. ;)

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  18. Alan, I was really quoting Snad. She said that or something like that in a thread awhile back. I need to find it in my mailbox though. Thanks for answering my questions. I am pretty sure that Jesus taught that we should keep the commandments of Moses and the prophets before Jesus. I will check again though. It is okay to be gay. What would be wrong with me telling my three-year old that some people are gay and that it is okay for him to be gay. I agree, we need more research on why people are gay. I always thought it was environmental and just a little genetic, like drinking. Who knows? I don't think I care. I don't care about being in an organized religion either. I think you are all silly. Yep, that's it everyone is silly, including me.

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  19. I practice what Snad and most likely Jesus taught, which is to "love the sinner, and hate the sin." If my son ever chooses to be gay or do drugs and alcohol, I will still love him, but I don't have to be accepting of his behavior.

    Rachel - I don't teach that. I mentioned to you that such a saying was attributed to Jesus, but I didn't mean that I agree with it (at least when it comes to homosexuality). You gotta think something is a sin before you decide to waste your time hatin' on it.

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  20. Oy vay. Here comes the scrambling to explain why we're all about Jesus upholding the Law of Moses when it comes to The Gay but not the shrimp cocktail and cotton-poly blends.

    "You see, sometime off camera Jesus probably said something about 'not one letter shall pass from the law, except the bits that conservatives find acceptable to their lifestyles.'"

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  21. "Oy vay. Here comes the scrambling to explain why we're all about Jesus upholding the Law of Moses when it comes to The Gay but not the shrimp cocktail and cotton-poly blends."

    After years of hearing these arguments, I've decided there's a law of sin balance at work here, fly. If you eat shrimp, shellfish, and touch the skin of a dead pig, you can't at the same time be gay or you'll tip the balance and go to hell. If you only eat shrimp, shellfish, and touch the skin of a dead pig but aren't gay, then you don't quite tip the sin balance.

    Fortunately for me, I refuse to eat anything that once swam, and I have no interest whatsoever in football, and (of course) I only wear natural fabrics. So I'm fine.

    But every time I see someone tailgating at a UM game, eating BBQ shrimp, throwing the football around, and wearing horrible synthetic fibers, I think to myself, "Wow, one more thing and you're so screwed." I keep thinking I should warn them about not trimming the corners of their beards, just in case.

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