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You Say You Want a Revolution?

Reading the November 2017 issue of The Empty Closet caused—as it usually does—me to experience mixed emotions. Joy, because of the stories about adoption and other loving family issues, and fear because my own government refuses to recognize my right to even exist .

Having grown up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I bought into the lies everyone else did. As Pete Seeger so memorably sang,

“What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned our government must be strong.
It’s always right and never wrong.
Our leaders are the finest men.
And we elect them again and again.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.”
”What did you learn in school today,” by Tom Paxton

That dream was shattered when the nation ran headlong into Viet Nam, assassinations, and Watergate. The past 40 years have taught me that our government can’t be trusted to tell us the truth, that politicians—at least at the national level—exempt themselves from the laws they impose on the rest of us, and that we haven’t learned a damned thing from history. How are we supposed to react when the enemy is not at the gates but rather occupying the seat of government.

40 years ago I didn’t even know what “transgender” meant, much less the fact that it applied to me. But now we’re in the 21st century, when the spelling of the word “bigotry” has changed into “sincerely-held religious beliefs,” and we have both an occupant of the White House (I refuse to call that orange monster “president”) and an Attorney-General who both tell me I have no right to even exist, much less be treated with the same rights as everyone else in our country are.

What will be the fate of our nation if the very people who are sworn to protect and defend it “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” are themselves domestic enemies? Or are we as a nation no longer worthy of those freedoms and liberties we fought for in 1776, 1812, 1860, 1914, and 1941? Is this, as Jack Nicholson’s character asked, “as good as it gets?”

“And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it’s all right, it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong.”
–Paul Simon, “An American Tune” Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Am I the only one who thinks these thoughts? Am I crazy? Or am I thinking clearly?

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical….An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine [sic] necessary for the sound health of government.” – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787 (Emphasis added)

jefferson

Christian Evangelists Are The Main Reason I’m an Atheist

Look at this man:

robertson 2

If Jesus truly heals the sick, why does Pat Robertson always look as if he has a terminal case of constipation? Might it have something to do with all the bullshit he peddles on TV?

Here’s another:

robertson 1

For a guy who supposedly preaches the Gospel of Christ, he sure spreads a lot of hate and intolerance. But he’s not the only one.

selling gospel

Am I the only one who has a problem with people getting rich off the teachings of Christ?

Osteen

I was raised in a Christian household. My father was a Lutheran pastor. I seem to remember reading something about a camel and the eye of a needle. Or was I only imagining it?

osteen-camel

Nope, I didn’t imagine it.

Hypocrisy, intolerance, hatred, and the love of material wealth

That’s what all these “preachers” have in common: that’s what they spout as the gospel of Christ in order to become rich and famous. The very thing Christ warned against. How do they justify it? And why do millions of ignorant people continue to support them? All you have to do is read your fucking Bible:

false teachers

This, Then, is Why I No Longer Believe

If a just God as depicted in the Bible, or a loving Christ, all of these false prophets—these liars, hucksters, and con-men—would have been swept away long ago. And please—don’t tell me they’ll receive their punishment in the next world. A truly loving god wouldn’t allow these thieves to prey on the innocent in this world.

On Gods, Goddesses, and a Unifying Force

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, King James Version).

I was raised in a Christian household. Indeed, my father was a Lutheran minister, an Air Force Chaplain. I grew up accepting whatever I was taught, never questioning anything. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school—1967, to be exact—that I started to have doubts.

‘67 was a strange year.

1967 the continued presence of American troops increased further and a total of 475,000 were serving in Vietnam and the peace rallies were multiplying as the number of protesters against the war increased. The Boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship for refusing to be inducted into the US Army. In the middle east Israel also went to war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan in the six day war and when it was over Israel controlled and occupied a lot more territory than before the war. (See more here.)

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band provided the soundtrack for most of my life in 1967 and 1968. John Lennon’s infamous quote—so often taken out of context—was true: the Beatles really were more popular than Christ. I say “taken out of context” advisedly: Lennon himself later explained that he wasn’t bragging; rather he was making a sad comment on society at that time.

Christianity no longer held the answers to my questions. “Thou shalt not kill” began to be replaced by bumper stickers exhorting us to “Kill A Commie For Christ.” Any questioning of our government’s foreign policy was countered with “America: Love It or Leave It.”

And I couldn’t reconcile the teachings of Christ wit my father’s chosen vocation of ministering to men and women who were dropping bombs on brown-skinned people thousands of miles away to protect us from invasion. (History has now shown that we were the invaders.)

The following fall when I left for college, I left my religion behind.

And yet….

There was still a part of me that wanted to believe. Over the next several decades I experimented with various religions and philosophies until I found The One True Faith®.

I stayed with the Baha’i Faith for almost 40 years. It wasn’t until I started my transition that its ban on same-sex relationships affected me personally, and I began to doubt the validity of yet another Abrahamic religion that wanted to control who I could and could not love.

So I told myself, “Screw it. There’s no religion capable of dealing justly with the way I was created, so to hell with them all. I’m a fucking atheist.”

Ironically, that was the same year my wife gave me a copy of Merlin Stone’s seminal work, When God Was A Woman. 

Here, archaeologically documented, is the story of the religion of the Goddess. Under her, women’s roles were far more prominent than in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures. Stone describes this ancient system and, with its disintegration, the decline in women’s status. Index, maps and illustrations. (Goodreads)

I still wasn’t ready to give up my disbelief and embrace goddess-worship. It all still seemed too us. v. them and divisive. I had long ago left behind any concept of an anthropomorphic deity, and I wasn’t about to go back to that ancient system.

And yet….

Quarks. Quasars. The Strong Nuclear Force. Gravity. Electromagnetism. Dark Matter. There seems to be something, some common thread, running through all creation and holding it all together.  And for lack of a common definition, various peoples at various times have put names to it, in order to be able to talk about it.

Some of those names are God, Allah (which translated from the Arabic means “God), Cosmic consciousness, The Force, or any one of thousands of other names of gods and  goddesses that have been used down through history. Even in the Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner comedy sketch, The 1,000 Year-Old Man, there was a strong, irresistible force. “We called him Phil.”

And while I reject any anthropomorphic object of veneration, I do believe that whatever we call whatever it is that binds us all together and keeps our atoms from flying apart, that force—creative in nature—is most likely feminine rather than masculine.

And so I worship no one. I adhere to my own private creed, and do not embrace any formal belief system. When I let go of religion, I let go of guilt, of trying (and failing) to measure up to any standards.

I sleep better at night.

 

Robyn Jane

Matthew 25:40

The latest battle in the war being waged against gays, lesbians, trans folk and other gender-variant people is being fought in the name of Jesus. The fact that so many states in the Bible Belt are passing laws which make it legal to discriminate and practice other forms of hatred in the name of religious expression made me think that the good Christians living in these states will be the first to line up to kill Christ again if he ever does return.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to understand that they are already killing him.

Consider the following exchange between Jesus and his disciples:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” –Matthew 25:31-46, NKJV

I suppose if there were one single thing that has turned me off to religion it is the yawning chasm between what their scriptures say and the behavior of their adherents. I don’t think they realize just how badly it reflects on their religion as a whole, or specifically, its credibility. Before you go bragging about your religion’s power to change the world for the better, don’t you think you should demonstrate that power in your own life?

Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, put it this way:

“My simple point is that I judge a person’s faith by how they live their life, not by the tenets of their religion. I’ve watched the holiest of people walk past somebody in need or treat their staff mean. To me, the beauty of faith is only seen when people live it consistently or struggle to do so.”

The fact that so few people live their lives in accordance with the tenets of their faiths tells me that they don’t really believe them. And so why should I? Don’t try to convert me to your religion, or to accept the existence of an all-powerful god when your own words and actions tell me that you yourself don’t believe one exists.

The Gay Agenda, or, Fear And Loathing in The House of God

The “Gay Agenda” is a phrase religious leaders love to use as a rallying cry for their followers. According to their theory, first postulated back in the ‘70s by Anita Bryant, the fact that gays don’t have children means that we have to convert others to our way of life. Sorry, Anita; we don’t try to convert anyone. You’re thinking of The Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But it is true: there is indeed a “gay agenda.” I was unaware of this fact, but I just got my copy in this morning’s mail. I know it’s accurate, because it was sent by the Head Homosexual himself. I am reproducing it below in its entirety:

    6:00 am  Gym
8:00 am  Breakfast (oatmeal and egg whites)
9:00 am  Hair appointment
10:00 am  Shopping
12:00 PM  Brunch

    2:00 PM
1) Assume complete control of the U.S. Federal, State and Local Governments as well as all other national governments,
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle,
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages,
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels,
5) Establish planetary chain of “homo breeding gulags” where over-medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership,
6) bulldoze all houses of worship, and
7) Secure total control of the Internet and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

    2:30 PM   Get forty winks of beauty rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest
4:00 PM  Cocktails
6:00 PM  Light Dinner (soup, salad, with Chardonnay)
8:00 PM  Theater
11:00 PM  Bed (du jour)?

(Source: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/99/Sep/agenda.html)

But please! Remember that this is a joke! I almost didn’t post it for fear that someone would take it seriously. After all, truly fundamentalist believers are not noted for their refined senses of humor.

And if you’re wondering about my own gay agenda, here it is:

Wake up

Get out of bed

Make coffee

Drink coffee

Wrack my brains trying to come up with a topic for today’s post

Wonder for the umpteenth time if being queer is the same as being gay or lesbian and, if so, which one am I?

And that’s pretty much it, with daily variations.

The Atheism Agenda

Can we talk? Come a little closer. Are we alone? Good! I’m going to let you in on the dirty little truth about The Atheism Agenda: It doesn’t exist!

Lisa R. Petty does a much job of explaining the whole thing in her wonderful article at Huffington Post, entitled (appropriately enough) The Atheist Agenda. If you’re interested in why it doesn’t exist, I recommend reading her article.

It Ain’t Just Queers That Have to Worry

Several legal experts who have analyzed some of these “right to discriminate” laws are already warning that they form the basis of allowing people to refuse to perform interracial marriages. Conceivably, since the bible condemns left-handedness, they could also be construed as prohibiting left-handed people from getting married, or adopting children.

Finally, This Is What It Comes Down To For Me

wrong choice

Thanks a lot, all-loving god.

Haters Gonna Hate…Especially When They Lose

On The Twelfth Day of Equality
The haters gave to me…

“The Confederate flag isn’t a symbol of racism, it’s a banner of pride in our heritage.”

Maybe so, but what if Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was governor of California, decided to fly the Nazi flag on the State Capitol grounds as a way of expressing pride in his heritage? After all, his father was a Nazi….

And these same “proud Southerners” have a problem with people in Texas flying the Mexican flag. But after all, Texas was a part of Mexico long before it became first an independent republic, then a Union state, a Confederate state, and a Union state once more. And besides, some of the families flying the Mexican flag have been in Texas far longer than most of the rest of the population of Texas.

Speaking of Texas, the latest revision of that state’s history—and which will be taught in their schools—makes no mention of slavery or the Ku Klux Klan.

Is There a Point to All This, or Am I Just Ranting?

There is most definitely a point and it is that we are in the midst of tremendous social change in the United States. And while social (or cultural, if you prefer that term) change is usually slow, there does come a time when certain forces come together and culminate in one, big explodey BOOM!

And isn’t that what’s been happening for the past couple of weeks in the United States? First, we had the decision—some would say the inevitable decisions—by the Supreme Court of the United States that same-sex marriages are, in fact, protected by the Constitution. Then we had the tremendous push-back against the display of the Confederate battle flag as a result of yet another white supremacist committing yet another murder (in this case, murders) in yet another African-American church in the South. And just yesterday I read that the City of New York was ordered to pay nearly $6 million to the family of yet another Black man killed by the police—this time because they used an illegal choke-hold to restrain him, despite him telling them that he couldn’t breathe. And this time, the coroner had no trouble ruling his death a homicide.

How many times have you heard—or even said yourself—that “we fear what we don’t understand”? Do you have even a basic understanding how hatred grows out of not only ignorance but fear? And make no mistake: I’m not using the word “ignorance” as an epithet or to dismiss people as being stupid. Far from it. There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. As someone once told me, “Ignorance can be cured,  but stupid is forever.” My own view of the difference between them is that ignorance comes from a lack of education or experience, where as stupidity is deliberate and a conscious choice.

As an example, take the fact that there are still people who believe that the Earth is flat. This, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Compare that to the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon jungle who have had very limited contact with the outside world. If they don’t know that the Earth is round (and I’m not saying they don’t; after all, the ancient Greeks knew that fact), I would put that down to ignorance rather than stupidity.

So here we sit at the junction of progress and regress, of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance. Where we go from here, and how long it will take, is a combination of those of us who choose to take positive action as well as the dying off of older minds who still cling to the lies and hate.

As for me, I choose positive action.

Thanks for reading,

Robyn