Tag Archives: Religion

My Idea for the LGBT Response to Indiana, (and any other state’s), Religious Freedom Bill

Fair warning dear readers, this post will be a little tongue in cheek, but then again…….maybe not.  Regular readers know from my last two posts that I really don’t find boycotts effective, and I have been slowly converted into Agnostic/Atheism by the Conservative Christians.  However, with the recent passage of the so-called “Religious Freedom Law,” in my neighboring state, Indiana, I have come to a revelation.  It’s time for the  LGBT Community to create our own religion.

For the ten people on holiday in the wilds of Alaska who might not know, the “Religious Freedom Bill,” was drafted by the Republican majority Statehouse in Indiana, as a version of the Federal law of the same name but with much different intentions.  It basically allows public business owners to refuse service to anyone, based on their religious beliefs.  Republican Governor Mike Pence, who has been a potential Presidential candidate, signed the bill into law last week, saying at the time of signing, that the bill in no way allows discrimination.  Of course it does, and by the Governor’s appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, he flat out refused to answer the question that it does not discriminate against the LGBT Community, and even added that he would never make the Community a protected class, exempted from such legislation as many other States have done.

Commendably, many national businesses and celebrities have come out against the law, with some even boycotting expansion or holding events in the Hoosier State.  Angie’s List, Sales Force, GenCon, Yelp, the NCAA, Audra McDonald, Ashton Kutcher, Charles Barkley, and more have voiced their disappointment in the new law.  As much as the law was intended to discriminate against the LGBT Community amid all the growing support for same-sex marriage and equal rights, the law lets anyone discriminate based on any religious beliefs.  So realistically, a Muslim shop owner can refuse service to a woman, because they refuse to wear a burka or some type of head covering.

Now back to forming our own LGBT Community religion.  I looked it up.  It doesn’t really take much to become ordained and to start your own ministry.  An online blessing and certification, along with a quick charter and tax paperwork filed and viola!, you are an official religion that has all the same rights and grievances afforded everyone else in Indiana’s new law.

Let’s start with a name and a Diety to worship.  Personally, I think we should call the religion, “Disciples of Star Fleet,” and worship to our God, Takei.  He will be a benevolent God, teaching in the ways of acceptance and non-discrimination.  I think we should take the shooting star logo from, NBC’s, “The More You Know,” campaign, layering it above the Starfleet symbol.  With the simple prime directive, ummm, I mean religious purpose statement of, “Accepting everyone from all the colors of the rainbow,” we will have just cause to not serve anyone who does not believe as we do.

Not to stereotype, (okay, just a little), what if our first “recruitment” drive to our religion was aimed at all the hair stylists of Indiana.  Most good hair stylists I know are either in our Community, or are strong allies of it.  Could you imagine what would happen if the, “bless your heart, little old blue haired ladies,” could not get their regular weekly or monthly stylings, and could be refused service without promising to accept the LGBT Community?  Heck, just the 15 Republican women in the Indiana State Legislature alone, (thank you google), would never vote for another discrimination bill.

What if just ten percent of the star forwards of all of Indiana’s high school, college, and professional basketball teams came out as gay and refused to play against the religious private schools, on our their religious grounds?  (Basketball is big in Indiana.  Didn’t you see the movie, “Hoosiers,” with Gene Hackman?  Shame on you!)  Or what if one of our stars of stage, screen, or behind the cameras, like Ryan Murphy, Jeremy Jordan, Mike Epps, Vivica A. Fox, and Brendan Frasier, decided you could not see their movie, play or television show because you support LGBT discrimination?

What if our religion really took one of the Bible verses to heart and agreed that the most important commandment is to, “Love one another as I so love you,” with the caveat that it’s only if you aren’t straight.  Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head to the Christian Right?  So in all silliness/seriousness, who wants to become ordained with me in the Disciples of Star Fleet?  Let’s go out and spread the good word in Indiana, and maybe in Arizona and Georgia soon, that our LGBT Community has a religion as well, and some of you all that discriminate against us, may find the shoe on the other foot sometime soon.

Purporting to run a business for the general public should mean the ENTIRE public.  There should not be a law that allows discrimination based on your religious beliefs to just one segment of the population.  It has been tried before with women, black people, Irish people and more, but it just doesn’t stand up.  Not only is it not good for business, it’s not good for your so-called spiritual health.  As I kneel down, all I am asking is that the great and mighty Takei, look down upon our people, and share his enlightened wisdom.

How Christianity Converted Me To Be An Athiest (A Religious Freedom Parable)

I want to believe in a God.  I was baptized in the Episcopal Church at a young age, but my parents stopped going around my 4th birthday.  No reason really, just life and a baby brother on the way, and they have never returned still to this day.  In Junior and Senior High School, I loved reading about Greek and Roman mythology; their Gods of love and war, the sea and earth.  But something else happened around those same school-age years, I realized I was gay.  The how’s and the why’s of this revelation is really not important, I knew it was something ingrained in me, as i could not push these thoughts and feelings aside, and from what little remained of my brief religious teachings, God made me perfect, and in his image, so I was good to go, Right?  I was still afraid to admit it to anyone, but I only had the regular fears of family and friends not accepting me, since this was clearly not the norm I was surrounded with.  I didn’t even think about religious judgement.

Around my 15th birthday, after many years of selling butter toffee peanuts for a free ride to YMCA summer camps, I was able to become a camp counselor.  (Realizing you are gay and spending summers in a cabin full of boys, is a story for a different day).  If you only thought the Y was a big gym and daycare center, it actually stands for Young Men’s Christian Association.  At summer camp, the Y served what I will call, “Christianity Light.”  Every morning we would have “chapel,” that usually consisted of a few ‘Kum-By-Ya type songs, and a parable story about something like kindness, appreciation, and the like. There was also a “Rag” program, that was a voluntary experience about being a better person, and a little closer to God.

I liked the idea of being a better person and really took to the Rag program.  Because of these summer camps, I decided to see what going to church was all about and went with a couple of friends from camp to one of the local Baptist churches.  There was a band, and singing, and Sunday School, usually refreshments, and occasionally a little basketball or volleyball, so it was not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  It took almost 7 months of attending before I really got the opinion of the Church on homosexuality.  I guess I was naive enough, that I didn’t understand til then, that the reason family and friends didn’t accept gay people was because of religion.  I honestly can’t remember what I thought during that time before realizing this.  It was clear to me, that I was not cut out for a weekly church experience.

Although attending church wasn’t a good idea, I still felt the pull to be a better person, and liked the idea that there was a God or something, that has good intentions for us all.  I became the all-encompassing “Spiritual,” in my mind after I stopped going to church.  Let them believe in their God of wrath and persecution, my God wanted more for us, and was much more nurturing, than menacing.  This belief served me well.  I would try to be the best person I could be, still failing at things big and small like we all do, but there was still a grand-design for me to come out on top.

My “Spirituality,” was tested constantly, when I would have to hear stories about Jimmy Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, and of course Fred Phelps, et. al., and all of their fear and hate-based, anti-gay words and actions.  Maybe there was just good and bad people in the world, no matter what their religion or non-religion.  And there is no, “higher-power” who could really give a damn.  Maybe these Agnostics or Atheists, have a point.  I have long thought that the Bible is just a book, but it was becoming more and more propaganda to me, than just a good read.

I can no longer think of being a “Good Christian,” as a good thing.  Between the political religious right and the pastors, they have converted me.  I am now Agnostic at best, Atheist at worse.  And now I don’t consider either of those things bad.  I can not and will not idly sit by, while people speaking in the name of this religion promotes separation and hate.  The Bible cherry picking and total opposite of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ has become the highest form of hypocrisy.  How can you speak out of one side of your mouth that we are all sinners, and from the other side, say that we must denounce homosexuality more than any other sin.  If all of us are sinners, and all sins are equal, why aren’t there more protests at other “Biblical Abominations,” like at farms growing two separate crops side by side; a clothing manufacturer mixing two fabrics, or protesting the lying lips of almost everyone in Congress?

My point of this entire blog is that we have come so far, that the “Good Christians” of Indiana, in their ivory towers of their House and Senate, have decided to enact a law that frees businesses and entities from serving the public, to those who they feel are opposed to their religious beliefs.  Everyone knows that this is truly a thinly veiled law, aiming to allow people to discriminate against mostly gay people.  Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana, is said to be, “looking forward to signing the bill.”  I cannot in good faith, call myself a Christian if I supported such a bill.  As a business owner, I have decided to open a shop to serve the public, not just some of the public, but all of it, otherwise, I should not become a business owner.  It’s a truly sad day when a religion converts you to stop believing in God.