Turn Away the Gay Laws

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Any business who is turning anyone away from services based on religious belief is not Christian. I’ve said it before: if you disagree with another person’s beliefs or actions, your only option is to pray for that person. It’s right out of Jesus’ mouth, folks: “Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”

Now, if you’re praying for someone, really praying, 99% of the time God is going to change you. So just prepare yourself for that.

The real kicker is, as a Christian, what I just wrote applies to me as well. All these idiots who claim to need a law to defend their bigotry? Damn it! All I can do as a Christian is pray for them. And I have to be open to how God will change me when I do.

But let me set aside the Christian aspect of what’s happening Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas, and Arizona. I absolutely disagree that these movements are in any way Christian based, but there may really be those who believe it. Is it okay for businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation? I’m really asking the question. Race is protected. Religion is protected. Age is protected. Gender is protected. Religion is protected. Disability is protected. But there is no federal law that protects LGBT individuals. Am I right about that?

Businesses can discriminate based on the clothes you wear (or don’t wear). Why is that? If my religion requires me to keep my face covered, but your business requires that your face be identifiable, who’s right wins?

I believe religious freedom, even religion that I disagree with, should be protected. Why is it my right to make the local bakery cater my same-sex wedding?

Called a Faggot for the First Time

RenderedImageSaturday I participated in the Nashville AIDS walk, which starts at Riverfront park, loops around LP Field where the Tennessee Titans play, and ends where it starts. On the last leg of the 5k walk, a man, who appeared to be in his twenties, ran by our group and called us faggots.

I’m forty-eight years old. I’ve lived with my partner (we can’t get married in Tennessee yet, or he would be my husband) for thirteen years. My “partner” and I have raised four children. Because we’ve lead a somewhat isolated suburban life, we may have been isolate from hate speech. This was the first time I have been called a faggot.

My “partner” and I are members of a group of queer nuns called The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. We were with that group, dressed in outlandish (but tasteful) outfits and wearing clown makeup, when the man, presumably out for his morning exercise, ran past and called us faggots.

When we’re out as Sisters, we get a lot of attention. People want to get pictures made with us. We move about ten feet, and then we stop and pose for the camera. People also want to know who we are and what we’re doing. I usually respond with something like this:

We’re clown nuns. We raise  money for local organizations. We’re all about safer sex, so you if you need a condom you can always get one from a Sister. We dress up like this so anyone we meet will feel comfortable with who they are because, if I can look like all this craziness, anyone else can be exactly who they are and feel good about themselves. Mostly, we like to have fun!

When the runner came by, I had shared that brief bit of information about who we are with many curious people. In addition to condoms, I keep stick-on hearts in my purse to give away. Kids love to get stickers, and I’ve learned that intoxicated adults in bars do, too. My name, when I’m dressed up as a Sister, is Ann Wenita Morelove. I am the valentine nun. That morning, I ran out of heart stickers because I gave so many away to children, teens, and adults. The contrast was jarring when it happened. More love versus more hate. Or perhaps more fear; I can only guess at the runner’s motive for calling us faggots.

Merriam-Webster simply defines faggot as “a male homosexual usually used disparagingly”. Its origin is from a “contemptuous word for a woman or child.” That makes sense. Use of the word faggot is meant to feminize a man, to strip him of his masculinity.

_MG_7471There’s quite a bit of irony, or something, going on here since I there I was, on a public Nashville street, wearing a maxi dress from Ross, and I had spent an hour and a half putting on makeup. I was a feminized man alright, so I had become a faggot, intentionally. At least partially so. I don’t get the contemptuous or disparaging part of the word. As a matter of fact, I think I looked damn fine. I was especially happy with my eyebrows. It’s the first time I have successfully drawn them on in over a year of doing this and been happy with the results. At any rate, before I could even think, when the runner shouted, “Faggots!”, I yelled back an affirming, “Yes!”

It turns out that affirmation was right on target. I realize that now that I’ve had time to reflect upon the meaning of the word.

There’s more irony, or something, going on here in that a crowd of people can come together on a beautiful day in early October and walk or run for a life-affirming, life-giving, life-loving cause, while others would rather speak contemptuous and disparaging words of hate or fear.

Perhaps the most irony, or something, going on here is that the runner had naturally amazing eyebrows. I noticed them with one quick glance when he ran past and called me a faggot. I bet he didn’t even notice mine.

Thoughts from a Reluctant Gay Throat-Crammer

I, too, have loved the outpouring of support for marriage equality on Facebook. But I woke up this morning feeling oddly libertarian. (I hope that’s the right political persuasion.)

I woke up as I do every morning, next to my snoring lover, unless it’s the rare occasion when we have had a fight and one of us has escaped to the couch. I woke up embarrassed that nine Supreme Court justices are focused on my relationship as they publicly debate it’s legitimacy. It feels like this intense invasion of privacy.

And then I remember yesterday’s quote from a local radio talk show host about the gays forcing their agenda down the throats of the American people. Would that I had the luxury to roll over and hit the snooze alarm unnoticed.

Surprisingly, I understand how that radio talk show host feels. But let’s say we lived in a world where people who speak into microphones are historically considered an abomination. As a result, the government does not recognize the primary relationship in your  life. You go to work, and other people talk about their wives or husbands, while you either keep you silence or refer to your lover (eww), or life-partner. You have dealt with this kind of thing most of your adult life. Suddenly, the entire country is talking about you. How do you feel? Wait! I don’t want to hear it. Stop your throat-cramming ways and shut up.

The road to equality isn’t an easy ride for anyone. But a little empathy can take us all a long way down that road.

Together…With God’s Grace

“America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

“And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

“Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.”

—President Barack Obama, November 7, 2012

Metro Council Deferred Vote On Nondiscrimination Bill

*sigh*

Where was the United Methodist Church today? I only ask because it is the church I belong to. If it’s just slow to respond, could we get an official statements from the Annual Conference or Nashville District on this issue soon?

Click here to read the story at WSMV.

Jesus Said, “Love Your Neighbor.” How ‘Bout We Stop Right There?

Beaman Toyota by Doug HaglerOn February 15, 2011, the Nashville Metro Council passed bill that extends the existing non discrimination code to include sexual orientation. You can read more about the vote on the Nashville Public Radio web site.

The cause of Christ was defended when council member Jim Hodge spoke on behalf of many Christians everywhere and said:

“Jesus said it. Love your neighbor. He didn’t say endorse their lifestyle.”

Neighbor Hodge? I’m not feelin’ the love.

Isn’t it presumptuous for politicians to speak on behalf of Christians? On the other hand, if Christians allow politicians (or other Christians) to make statements like that on their behalf without protest or with passive silence, then I guess that makes it okay.

“What difference does it make,” you may ask? “The bill pass, didn’t it? What is there to get worked up about?”

I’m glad you asked. You see, this thing isn’t over. On the state level, Franklin Representative Glen Casada has filed a state bill to prevent local governments from passing non discrimination bills like the one the metro council passed. As I understand it, the bill is retroactive. You can read that proposed bill, here. Casada’s sponsorship of the bill makes his beliefs clear as he sits as chair of the State’s Health and Human Resources Committee.

On a personal note (as if none of this has been personal so far), while researching this post I discovered I can no longer in good conscious take my Toyota to Beaman to get an oil change. Let me explain.

On January 12, “a group of con­ser­v­a­tive busi­ness and polit­i­cal lead­ers gath­ered this morn­ing for an infor­ma­tional meet­ing about the ‘homo­sex­ual agenda.'” They met to see what they could do about the impending expansion of the metro council’s non discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Among those in attendance were Lee Bea­man, Stan Hard­away, Wal­ter Strick­land, William Mor­gan, and Tom Smith. Rep. Jim Gotto and state Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin. Also in atten­dance was David Fowler, who leads a con­ser­v­a­tive activist group.

I haven’t looked up any of the other businessman names yet. But Beaman I recognized. He owns the dealership where I get my car serviced. How can I keep taking my car there? Surely he doesn’t want my gay money!

I can live with that. I really should be changing my own oil anyway. Doing it myself will save me money, and it’s so butch! But how far do I take this? I also learned that this anti non discrimination meeting took place at the LifeWay building in downtown Nashville. I workout at a local Baptist church because its got a fantastic gym and the membership fee is amazingly cheap. Now, LifeWay is God central for the Southern Baptist Church. Do I have to quit going to my gym now, too?

I’m going to keep going for now, however, because I have a plan. Several weeks ago, I contributed to the It Gets Better Project. For my contribution, I’m supposed to get a t-shirt with the campaign logo on it. When the t-shirt finally arrives, I’m going to wear it to the Baptist church gym. I’m going to wear it as often as I can. If nothing happens, cool. If one day I’m escorted from the building, even cooler.

This post has gotten crazy long. But I have to point out, just in case you missed it, what has happened here. I’ve gone from being mildly concerned about a statement a politician made regarding a piece of legislation in a city where I don’t even live (I’m in a neighboring county), to boycotting a car dealership, to potentially leaving the gym I’ve gone to five days a week for over four years.

This stuff matters. It matters a great deal. But it only matters when somebody else starts this crap! Give me rights like everyone else, and I’ll shut up.