Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jesus, Republicans, and the "Gay Agenda"

I can't remember exactly when I first heard the term "gay agenda" but I think I was around 16 or 17...coincidentally (or not), around the time I first started hanging around "church people". My understanding of the gay agenda was that the gays were rising up to take over our families, our churches, our nation and eventually, the world! (Is now a good time to start the Pinky & the Brain theme music?). I also learned that Catholics were secretly Satan worshippers and Joseph Smith was Satan's younger brother (or something like that...they were definitely kin).

I actually tried to do some research on the concept of the "gay agenda" but I couldn't get past the second line of most of the articles that Google search provided me with...the most I could glean is that conservative Republicans and Christians started throwing the term around to great affect around 1992. I am not sure what happened in that time frame that the Republicans needed to begin waging war on the LGBTQ community....but the term became very popular very quickly in those particular circles. Fear is a popular political weapon...especially when avoiding the real issues.

The entire conservative political realm and all Christians were up in arms...and with good reason, those gays were going to convert our children! And despite the fact that science and society has come-by and large-to accept the fact that this is not a "choice" or a "lifestyle" but indeed they way they were born, Conservative Christians and Republicans by and large ignore that fact because it contradicts what they want to believe. And even though the terms have become a bit more politically correct, the "gay agenda" is still a tool being used to strike fear in the hearts of "true Americans."

You guys...can I please explain to you...in the most simple way I know how...that there is no "agenda". The LGBTQ community wants exactly what every heterosexual wants. They want the right to be human. And to be treated fairly. They want to get married, have a family, and go out for a frigging burger without it being a major big deal. If their partner gets sick they want the same rights as a heterosexual couple and if one of them-God forbid-dies, they want the same rights to properties as heterosexual people. If they are a teenager and homeless they want to be able to seek help without who they are preventing them from a decent meal or a bed in a shelter.

If anyone has an "agenda" it is conservative Republicans (and not all of them but I can't make a list for every paragraph so let's just say it is the majority of them and that therefore-for the sake of simplicity-I am going to just say "conservative Republicans"). Their agenda is to put the rights of the white, upper middle class and rich, preferably male Americans above everything else...in short, because those are the ones who keep them in office. Politics is very little about governance these days and very much about power. And to keep the power, you have to keep the office.

History note: do you know a conservative Republican included women in the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Not because he wanted women to be protected, but because he thought that would ensure it didn't pass. That might be irrelevant but in case you were wondering why I stated "preferably male" please do your research and realize little has changed when it comes to Republicans and their stance on women's issues.

Since Republicans took over Congress in January they have cut both estate and income taxes for the nation's wealthiest while at the same time cutting food stamps and other public assistance. They recently including an abortion bill in an anti trafficking bill and then held the bill and the confirmation of attorney general Loretta Lynch hostage until Democrats acquiesced and passed the bill with the anti-abortion clause intact.

They tell us that tax money shouldn't pay for abortions because tax payers should not pay for other peoples mistakes and that they should learn the consequences of their actions. But they then approve further bailouts for brokerages, banks, etc that made rash decisions that caused a recession. And, again since January, voted to repeal restrictions and laws that had been put in place after the recession to try and ensure such things could not happen again. Because their agenda is all about the most wealthy. They say tax payer money shouldn't pay for the irresponsible poor to eat, but they subsidize Amtrak which has consistently lost money for a decade (for the younger ones, Amtrak is a train-and a train wreck both figuratively and literally. People used to ride them as a means of transportation but now they are more a novelty) because the federal government owns a major portion of it. They give Israel 3.5 billion dollars a year to fund 1/4 of that nation's military budget when it is estimated that there are 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States on any given night.

And heaven forbid you should question the idea of giving money to a nation that routinely takes land that it doesn't have the right to or that kills innocent women and children in the thousands. Any other nation would be considered terroristic but Israel. And if you question this, you are automatically anti-Semite. In the same way that if you criticized George W Bush you were anti-American and a terrorist (remember the Dixie Chicks?) but Obama is free game.

And, the worst of it is, that somehow Conservative Republican and Christian have become synonymous. And if you disagree with any of this you are not a true Christian.

So...last week Republicans refused to allow SA 290 to pass the Senate because it contained an anti-discriminatory clause. In case you are unfamiliar with S.A. 290, it would have re-authorized the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act which provides resources, shelter and other services for homeless youth. Democrats included the anti-discriminatory clause because-at this time-any youth who identifies as LGBTQ can be refused services and many are because so many non-profits are religious in nature and that is part of their religious freedoms...to kick a homeless kid to the curb because of how they were born. (There was a similar scenario when it was time to reauthorize the Violence Against Women's Act and Democrats included an anti-discriminatory clause. Republicans delayed the bill but were not able to completely stop it because at the time, Democrats controlled Congress)

I am going to tell you that I don't believe Jesus cares one bit about your religious freedoms. I think he cares more about you being known by your love than he cares about your right to refuse a gay person service at your business. I believe he cares more about that homeless kid-no matter if they are a lesbian or heterosexual-than He does about your crappy political agenda. I believe that He even talked about feeding and giving shelter to the least of these. And I am pretty sure He and the Bible has a lot to say about giving preference to the rich.

While your Conservative Republican Senator or Representative is waving his Bible around, maybe he should read the thing.

Last week Tom Delay claimed God had written the Constitution of the United States and while I think that is one of the most ridiculously loads of drivel I have ever heard, perhaps they should start acting like it. Because the Constitution was written for the general welfare and gave everyone the rights to the "blessings of Liberty". That means black, white, female, male, heterosexual and the LGBTQ community. That means young and old, impoverished and wealthy.

I once heard John Perkins speak at a conference and it was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. He explained the current political attitude toward the impoverished and explained "they tell you if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day...but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life time...but then they tell the man, you can't fish here, it doesn't belong to you"

The reality of the situation is that as many times as Republicans tell you that everyone gets an equal opportunity in the United States, it simply isn't true. There are too many places that those who live in poverty and minorities just aren't allowed to fish. And despite what conservative Republicans or Fox "News" tells you...there is no "gay agenda" and the riots you see in Baltimore and Ferguson are not because they are vicious or out destroy America but because they want to be treated equally. They want their rights. They want to be seen as human.

There is a movie called "Man of the Year" It is, in my humble opinion, one of Robin William's best and least appreciated movies. In it, his character talks about political smoke screens and how politicians use them to distract us from the real issues. He used flag burnings and abortion as two of the favorites. I would add the concept of the "gay agenda" as a third. I encourage you to turn off the news and do your own research because CNN and Fox News are not out to inform you but to gain ratings...and they do that more by inflaming you.

I would also encourage you to separate your politics and your religion (that whole separation of church and state thing) long enough to take a look at some of the issues before you. Take a deep breath and forge the fear mongering. And take an honest interest in what is going on in your country and what is happening to those who live in it. Look at both sides. And remember exactly how politically involved Jesus was...because He was more about people and grace than He ever was about policies and politics. And if we are Christians (i.e. like Christ), perhaps we should follow His example.

I realize I attacked Republicans and left Democrats completely out of it. For those who wonder, I don't identify as Democrat either. Neither do I think myself a liberal. I am a moderate. I don't give my loyalty to any political party and I only called out the Republicans because in the last five months they have consistently made decisions that are in direct contrast to what I believe and what I believe the gospel says. The last straw was in deciding politics were more important than the estimated 1.6 million homeless children in the United States today.

Neither do I believe in abortion as a means of birth control. But I do disagree with forcing a woman to have a child and then denying her the means of prenatal care and taking care of that child by reducing social services (especially at the same time as you bail out the nation's richest). Bonhoeffer noted society's responsibilities to women and even went so far as to say that if we refused to help the mother in duress, we were complicit in the sin if she had an abortion "A great many different motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed, in cases where is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual..."

It is time we started holding our politicians responsible for their actions and demand they do the job we elected them for...and it is time we lay aside prejudices and fears whipped up by ridiculous concepts and catchy phrases. It is time that this country actually be a place where all men and women are created equal and have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Regardless of sex, religion or sexual identity.

And it is time for us as Christians to lay aside our prejudices and our political adherences and get down to the business that Jesus gave us.




4 comments:

  1. Amen. Amen. Amen. Please find a way to go big with your blogging. You have a tremendous gift for words and your message is important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! As soon as I figure out how to do it...

      Delete
  2. I love you so much, Cindy Battles!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks! (PS It only shows Unknown so I am not exactly sure who loves me but I appreciate all the love I can get!) :-)

    ReplyDelete