Yet another blog for spewing. This one may end up with a lot of religious and social content.

2005-12-11

Well, Cry Me a River

Apparently, in my family now it is classed as "intolerant" to disagree with a family member, even if what that family member advocates is bigotted and narrow minded. Apparently, not approving, and moreover being appalled and saddened by a family member's anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-dominionist, pro-religion pusher public writings is a taboo.

It doesn't matter if the other, male, family member wants to shove gays back in the closet, deny them equal rights, and deny women control over their own lives and bodies. It doesn't matter if he wants his religion to be the only one represented in our governance, with not even lip service paid to other beliefs (or even tolerance of a lack of belief.) *I'm* the intoletrant one, because I haven't given my mother grandchildren, because I'm the one that has the non-mainstream beliefs that I'm sure are just considered "a phase" or some other stupidity.

Apparently my BiL is allowed to spew, at length, repeatedly and for pay, claptrap and bigotry cribbed from fundamentalist think tanks advocating a rollback of basic rights and freedoms, but if I dare disagree and call bullshit where I see bullshit, *I'm* being intolerant and not showing proper familial affection. At least I don't take money for reinforcing intolerance and hatred, disguised as "love the sinner, hate the sin".

Is it really so much to ask, that people keep their bigotries out of law? I don't demand that prayer be banned from the public square, why do they want it mandated in the public square? Are they insecure so much in their faith that they must have it enforced by law, pushed onto children as part of public school indoctrination, pushed onto individuals as they make their life choices, saying that anything not considered "right" by their religion, even if it harms no one, must be banned or punished?

I never ask for religion to be removed from public discourse. I only ask that it not be pushed onto others who believe differently. Don't believe in gay marriage? Don't have one. Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one. (There is no scientific evidence for a non-viable fetus having a soul, folks, and if it can't live independent of its host, it's a parasite, not a human.)

I support prayer in public, as long as it does not favor any one religion or denomination over another, and as long as no one is forced to attend. But don't imply that this is a "Christian nation". It's not. We have religious pluralism in this country, and I'm not just talking about different types of Christian. I personally know Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Heathens, Mormons, Wiccans, Pagans, and Shinto. They all have the same right to religious freedom as the Protestant Christians and Catholics, including the right *not* to have the religion of another shoved down their throats.

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. If students want to form religious clubs, they should, even if the religion is Christian. If their parents want them to remain ignorant about biology, safer sex, and STDs, fine - let them opt out - but don't force the rest of the class to the same standards of ignorance. IMO, parents should teach their kids this stuff, but most are too lazy or chicken to do so, and they assume that keeping their kids in the dark will keep them celibate. Teen pregnancy and STDs are social problems that aren't solved by simplistic "Just Say No" and abstinence preaching. But you can't tell some people that, no matter how many tighly focussed studies you run.

So, some of my kin are religious reich dittoheads, and others want my implied assent and "tolerance" of their bigotry. While I will always defend to the end their right to say what they will, in public, I also reserve the right to disagree, argue, lambaste, and express my disappointment and displeasure at such things. After all, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

BTW, the reason this is public is because the other is public. I was always taught that the counter for hateful speech is more speech, not angry silence or censorship. While I'm sure my BiL has a far higher readership, seeing as he's a paid member of the staff of a right wing publication, and I am just another blogger, I still need to try to counter his advocacy of theocracy.

I'm still sad, though. I'd held a higher opinion of my BiL. I expect drug addled blowhards like Rush Limbaugh to spew this stuff, or megabuck right wing TV preachers seeking temporal power in a theocracy to advocate it, but not my own family.

This doesn't mean that I don't love my sister, BiL, or nieces and nephews. I do, even as I fear for the kids because of the narrow environment they are being raised in. Is it their parents right to raise their kids as they see fit? Yes, as long as they don't commit actual abuse, which I know my sister would never do. If my sister and brother in law want to raise their kids in an intolerant, judgemental religion, that's their right. After all, *I'm* not the one who wants my religious biases written into the law of the land.

I don't talk about my personal religious beliefs much, except to those who I know to either share them, or hold similar ones. Religion to me is such a personal and powerful thing that it would be a disrespect to pitch it on a streetcorner like some sort of past date milk or bootleg CD. Because of that, I get people who assume they know what I believe, and all of that crap. The fact that I can discuss the theology and lore of religions that I don't practice just confuses the matter.

But one of my beliefs is that it is a grave wrong against the divine to try to enforce religious thought and practice by force of law. Law is for the temporal, here and now. The best purpose of law is to prevent one citizen (or group thereof) from doing unto another without consent, to prevent the predators from preying on their fellow citizens. Needless to say, I disapprove of victimless crime laws, or "nanny state" statutes that tell individuals how to act "for their own good".

I'm sure I will catch more flack for this, but I won't meekly stand silent while my BiL advocates religious interference with the lives of others. I would be a hypocrite if I did so.

Unlike Martin Niemoller, I will not stay silent against the tide of hate.

2 comments:

Grandma_Ellen said...

"*I'm* the intoletrant one, because I haven't given my mother grandchildren, because I'm the one that has the non-mainstream beliefs that I'm sure are just considered "a phase" or some other stupidity.

NO! I respect your beliefs. I respect your right to disagree. This post, except for this bit of tripe, was well written and rather eloquent. My ONLY objection was to he personal attack on your BiL and Sister and their love for their children.

Goodness, do you really think I consider your well thought out belief system a "phase"? What have you bee doing that you are so unaware of what I really think. Surely you have not been reading my blog or you would know better.

I love you. I am proud of you. You have achieved much and overcome some major physical and emotional setbacks. When I visited you in 1990 I came back home and told your sister that you were doing great. Yes, you are pagan, but I would put your psychological healthy system by which you live up against any in the world. It is geared toward self-worth, responsibility and personal decision making. That I had any hand in rearing such an amazing person who thinks so well never ceases to surprise and delight me.

Tolerance of your views and acceptance of you as a person of value and worth is and always has been easy. Tolerance in its very best means to agree to disagree, to respect your right to hold your views and express them as long as you do not personally attack others for having opposite views.

All I have ever asked of you is and was that you accord the rest of the family the same acceptance and tolerance of differences that you want from us. I love you, Ravan, always have and always will. I respect your ability to think outside the box. Hell, I'm the one who always taught you not to follow the crowd just because it was convenient. I'm the one who taught you to ask why. I do, always have. It is a gift and often the bane of my existence. My love extends to your partner, just as it extends to your BiL and for the same reason. They are people who love my children and who make them happy.

I know you feel angry and attacked. No one is telling you to feel any different. I also know that your BiL didn't write what he wrote to attack you personally. He discusses ideas. Whether you, or I, for that matter, fall within one of the groups he criticizes is not his problem. It is ours. Where we do, I choose to just note same and agree to disagree with him about that idea, not to attack him for having that idea. He loves and supports your sister and his family, with, if you will remember, some of the same physical limitations that you face.

Take down the wall, please, and let us love you for yourself. No, you are not perfect, but neither are we. So, you have some different beliefs, what of it? You can still enjoy the company of your family as your family who care about you and want to see you and your partner. Oh, and I don't give a flying flip about your giving me grandchildren or not. I am not defined by grandchildren, never was and never will be. They are n nice, sure, but I don't plan my life around them as do some people. They are the icing, not the cake. The happiness of a good relationship for my children is the cake and it has no gender strings on it either.

Mr Lucky Doubles said...

Ahh, Family. Particularly right wing family... no fun.

I'm not religious at all, but I am still amazed at how the right wing has twisted what is a pretty obvious message of jesus: Tolerance, helping the poor and non-violence.

Bill McKibben - who is a christian - wrote a really good piece about the republs. and how they get christianity wrong here:

http://www.harpers.org/ExcerptTheChristianParadox.html

merry christmas.