Saturday, July 24, 2010

"PRIDE"; is it truly worth it?

These past few days I have been doing alot of thinking. And as my lack of posts has shown, I have been thinking more philosophically and deeper about things.  Why we do things, what our motivations are, etc... (btw, thanks for those who have been commenting, it is very much appreciated).

Through my discussions with my husband, about negativity - which you will be seeing a post on soon - as well as "gay issues" in general, I have come to a very startling conclusion. Though I am still very very concerned about gay rights and equality in the world. I have been coming at it from the wrong direction. I have been attacking, rather than dialogging. I have been angry rather than understanding. I have been shouting rather than listening. Why is this? Has my "pride" in who I am gotten in the way of my relationships? Has my passion been misplaced, or better yet, misdirected? In what way have I bettered myself through the "dialog" of anger and reactionary words? These are issues that have been occupying my mind of late, and ones that I am still dealing with.

I have read, over and over, angry homosexuals,  their rants and raves; calling those who don't agree with them the nastiest things. Is this the positive dialog that we need? Would the great civil rights leaders of our time, Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi utilize the hatred of our tactics? We have become, in our anger at being unequal, exactly what we are trying to fight against. Those against us use fear and misinformation, and to retaliate, we attack their character. We are no better than they are, we only "look" different.

To my readers, I think that you will be seeing a dramatic shift in this blog. Though I will still cover certain important issues, I will aspire for this to be a blog of questions and positivity. No longer will I spout off in anger, or at least try not to. Instead, I will focus on the really important things. The successes, the philosophy, and the heart of matters. Only through positive dialog will we be able to change the world. Negative gets us nowhere, and only drags us, and those around us, down.

Friday, July 23, 2010

College Degrees and Where You Live

Here is a very interesting visual from the New York Times on college completion rates and such. I find it very very interesting that the more liberal states are the ones who are more educated overall, and the more conservative states are the ones who are more uneducated. Food for thought.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why We Are "Victims"

Yesterday, I was discussing some issues pertaining to gay marriage, rights, etc. with someone and he said to me, "Kyle stop being a victim!!" This statement really got to me, and so I have been thinking about what it means to be a victim, what it means to have the victim mentality, and is having this mentality justified. Throughout the conversation I got the feeling that the man I was talking to believed that I was intentionally victimizing myself instead and thus did not have the recourse to be a "victim".

So what does being a victim mean and is it a good or a bad thing? Now in my thinking, there can be two different types of victims. Those who ARE truly victims of a grave injustice, and those who ASSERT that they are the victims of grave injustice. Where are the gay activists in these two statements? It really depends upon your perception of reality. Let me explain.

The individual that I was talking to yesterday believes that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, and that you are able to not "choose" to be gay. Thus, in his mind, his statement was correct. For I have chosen to be a victim. I am asserting my "rights", even though I do not realistically deserve those rights, since you should not get something based upon a personal choice. I am being a victim because I am wanting "special" privileges based upon my sexuality, and if I do not get those privileges I make a ruckus.

The other side, represented by myself, believes that homosexuality is not a "lifestyle" choice, for there is so much more to homosexuality than me sharing the same bed with my husband. It is an emotional reality and something that I believe - and science has proven - is something natural and inborn. Thus, yes I am being a victim, but in the sense that I AM the victim of grave social injustice.

This my friends, is the realization that I came to after having this discussion. That when those who advocate against us, and then claim that we want special rights, they truly think that. Because they assert that homosexuality is an external lifestyle choice, just like wearing a blue shirt or black shoes, if you extend to someone the civil rights that all individuals enjoy you are granting "special" rights. It would be ludicrous to give perks, for example, to those who wore black shoes on Saturday. In their mind, this is what we as the gay community are doing. We are advocating inclusion within society based upon a "lifestyle" choice.

But those who argue against our rights must also do so for another reason. For if they agree that homosexuality is inborn and natural they themselves have become the victimizers of the homosexual community. This is an interesting facet of human nature. For when slavery existed within this country, did not southern slave owners say that the African Americans were "property" and "not-human"? In order for those who oppress us to not feel remorse for doing so, they must tell themselves that we have made a "lifestyle" choice. They cannot accept the scientific and the natural worlds evidence, because in doing so they will condemn themselves.

So when I was told that I was a victim yesterday, was that correct? Yes it was. But should I stop being a victim? Absolutely not!! I have a legitimate reason to be one; Reason, Faith, and Science - the three great influences of our age - can back me up. Only in proclaiming our "victim-hood" will we, the gay community, ever achieve true equality in this country. For if we stand back and submit ourselves to those who blind themselves to the truth, we will perpetually live in legal slavery.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Video on UAFA

The video speaks for itself...please watch and share will all your friends.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Reason Why the Church Hates Gays: Fear and Lack of Understanding

Sorry for the relative silence when it has come to me posting. Expect a little bit more of it over the next week as I deal with the University of Memphis and Brock on course transfers and such. That being said, I stated that this week was going to be about the interplay of religion and politics, specifically dealing with homosexuality. Before I start with that though, I would like to address something that I feel is very important, and that the Christian Church should listen to.

St. Augustine of Hippo once said,  "If it happens that they authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who [interprets scripture] does not understand it correctly."

This sentiment was echoed again by Galileo, while arguing against the churches sun revolves around the earth idea,  who stated, "If Scripture cannot err, ceratin of its interpreters and commentators can and do so in many ways."

So why is this important? I will directly apply these ideas to the realm of homosexuality, as I often do, but it also can be applied to other controversies in History, such as slavery, the solar system, etc.

Many within Christendom think that Reason is some sort of boogyman, intent on destroying the truth of Scripture. They think that science is naturally evil and bent to destroy faith, and that faith is naturally good.  I always used to argue with my parents with the idea of truth. For if truth is truth, then it will stand up against anything that comes against it; science and reason cannot and will not go against truth. For since God is the author of both of them, to do so would call into question his perfection. Thus, if science and reason tell us something, yet our belife says otherwise (aka interpretation of scripture), our beliefs and interpretation must be wrong. Yet is the Christian church willing to admit to this? Not the majority of them. There are some denominations who are slowly taking the words of Augustine the heart, yet many still resist. I belive that they resist when it comes to homosexuality, and reason in general,  because of two things. Fear and Lack of Understanding.

First, Fear. The Church, since the age of Constantine has had immense power. Whether it be through the established church of Catholicism, or the institutionalized church of Britain, or the cultural church of the United States. The Church has wielded great influence across the ages, when it comes to politics. For anyone knows, that if the church is not behind something, that it most likely will fail. So why is this important? The Church as a whole is very slow to change, it is afraid that if it does embrace the current scientific knowledge or reasoning that it will show itself to be meaningless. Many within the church have come to think of their interpretations of scripture as being inerrant, because that is what the church has taught them.Thus,  if they change their interpretation of something, they admit defeat, and admitting defeat means losing their influence. Why would someone want to be on the side of an organization that constantly is wrong? And not only is wrong, but virulently defends their wrong interpretation.  Thus the Church, in order to feel that it is relevant, must not side with science or reason, and must stick with the doctrines and interpretations of millenia.

Second, Lack of Understanding. For years, homosexuality has been what the church has labeled an "abomination". For "normal" people cannot imagine what two gay guys or two lesbians do in the bedroom. Because of this "ick" factor, as it has been called, people are at once resistant to welcoming them. Human nature as it is, will automatically shun the different and welcome the similar. Hence, why racism is still a very big issue in the world today. Not only do they have this Lack of Understanding about homosexuality in general, they have a lack of understanding about their own beliefs. Christians - generalizing here - think that they hold a monopoly when it comes to their interpretation of scripture. If science or reason disagrees, science and reason must be persecuting and willfully going against scripture. But what does this really say? As I said before, science and reason tell us the truth about God, for it is the essence of His creation that we are studying. The reason of science does not disprove God, but instead shows us that our understanding of scripture itself  is flawed. And would this not make sense, for we are imperfect beings, so naturally our interpretation would be flawed. Yet those Christians who hold onto their interpretation do so because they don't have an understanding of their Faith. They think that if they are wrong on one thing, that they are wrong on all. But that is not true Faith. True faith recognizes the limits of human interpretation and reason and says to God, though I don't understand I will trust in what You have shown me in the natural world, and what scripture says about You. That is true faith.

So in conclusion, Christendom must take to heart the words of Augustine, and must throw off the Fear and Lack of Understanding that has so characterized itself over the centuries. Only by doing so will the Church again become relevant to the world.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DADT and the Conscientious Objectors - A True Lesson in Bigotry

Well, as the title to this post shows, I am clearly a little riled up by this. The New York Times just ran an article about the possibility of "Conscientious Objectors" with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Aka. There exist some within the military who want to not serve anymore because of the sex obsessed gay person in the bunk next to them. Yea.

 Ms. McNeil got a hot-line call that raised a new issue: the caller said he considered homosexuality an abomination and wanted to be a conscientious objector because he could not serve in the military alongside gay soldiers.
“I told him I wasn’t trying to criticize, but he was already serving with gays, since there’s lots of gays in the military now,” said Ms. McNeil, the executive director of the Center on Conscience & War, a nonprofit group that supports conscientious objectors. “He said, ‘Yes, but now if they come out, they can be forced out. But if homosexuality is actually allowed, I will be housed with somebody who’s sexually attracted to me.’ ”
This my friends is the irony of these "soldiers" position. They somehow think that the military is, in some ethereal way, different than normal society. Does the soldier truly think that he will be spared the influence of the evil gay people in the locker room at his local YMCA, or the gazes of the gay man at his new, non-military place of employment, or how about when he is walking down the street? Is this "soldier" going to exist in a bubble so that he is protected from the outside world of those who are not like him?

Now some of you many have noticed that I keep putting the word "soldier" in quotation marks. This is very very purposeful. You see, I have a deep respect for the military and its purpose, and though I might not agree with everything that the military does, I respect the sacrifices of the individual soldiers. Yet for those "soldiers" who somehow claim that they no longer can defend my freedom, because someone around them is exercising their right to be who they are, deserves non of my respect. It is shown by his actions that he did not enter the military for the right reason. Because for someone who entered the military and actually wanted to perpetuate the American dream of freedom and liberty, he would do so no matter what. He would not only do so as long as the military conformed to his ideals. Any true soldier will recognize that he exists to protect even the freedom of those he disagrees with. 

Not only is the above "soldier" not living in the real world, he is also extremely insecure; because of both his own sexual projections, as well as his lack of faith in his own sexuality. The last phrase of the "soldier" was this - "But if homosexuality is actually allowed, I will be housed with somebody who’s sexually attracted to me.". Oh the Horror!!! But seriously, this shows a very deep problem. It allows up to see the "soldiers" sexual projections. You see, when the "soldier" voiced his fear to Ms. McNiel, he took a very victim like tone. HE would be victimized by another man "checking him out". How does he know this? Because he himself, albeit to women, agressvily and sexually projects himself on them. Because of this projection, he assumes that all men who are gay and are sexually attracted to him will also "victimize" him; the same way that he victimizes the women that he comes into context with. This my friends, is the fallacy of the homophobic "soldier". He is actually not "homophobic" per say, instead he is afraid that he will be exploited the same way that he exploits others if he is on the receiving end of sexual attention. 

The "soldier" is not only insecure because of his projection, but he is also insecure in his own sexuality. Lets me use myself as an example. I have been "sexually checked out" by women, but does this impact me at all? No, as a gay man who is very secure in his sexuality, it does not bother me that a woman might check me out. I'm ambivalent; they are not going to change anything, as hard as they may try. The "soldier" on the other hand, because of his fear that the gay man is going to check him out or try to sexually assault him, is doubting his own sexuality. If a gay man does try something with him, does he not have the self-control to say no? In his mind, he obviously does not. 

Even with the stupidity of the "soldiers" insecurities, the chances of a "gay rape" or "gay assault" happening are very low. Why? Because, even if something did happen when DADT is repealed, the perpetrator would be brought up for military discipline. The 'soldier" does not have to fear being sexually assaulted by the man in the next bunk, because if he was, that man would be out of the force in no time. Sexual exploitation, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is not tolerated in the military. 

Now some of you many have noticed that while writing, I keep putting the word "soldier" in quotation marks. This is very, very purposeful. You see, I have a very deep respect for the military and its purpose. Though I might not agree with everything that the military does, I do very much respect the sacrifices of the individual soldiers. Yet for those "soldiers" who somehow claim that they no longer can defend my freedom, because someone around them is exercising their right to be who they are, deserves none of my respect. It is shown by his actions that he did not enter the military for the right reason. For someone who entered the military and was truly fighting for the American dream of freedom and liberty, he would do so no matter what. He would not only do so as long as the military conformed to his  version of what he deems acceptable. Any true soldier will recognize that he exists to protect even the freedom of those he disagrees with. For our gay and lesbian women in uniform currently, the fact that they have fought for our freedom while also being subjected to the cruelty of Don't Ask Don't Tell, shows that they are truly fighting for the right reasons. 

Book of the Week (BOTW) - American Gospel

As it is Sunday, it means that it is time for Book of the Week!! This weeks pick seems to be an excellent book, from the author Jon Meacham; an author that I have read numerous times and whose work I very much enjoy. This book is also a good precursor to the type of posts that I will write this week. American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation chronicles the influence that religion has had on the development of the United States, from colonial times to the present. It promises to be an insightful book that gives the middle ground on the subject of religion and politics, a middle ground between those of the Christian Right who claim that the United States is a Christian country and that somehow we have "fallen" from this perfection, to the secularists who claim that there was no religious influence at all.

Hopefully you all will pick up this book, either at the Library or at, and read it with me this week!!

American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation
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