I often write rants about religion, so for those who are tired of reading what I have to say about this topic - it might be a good time skip this and have a cup of tea.
I enjoy reading the daily news and having a cup of coffee every morning. I scan the headlines on my laptop and eat up all the latest scientific discoveries, local weather, and international news. I enjoyed reading about the asteroid that came close to hitting Earth because it reminds me of how fragile and insignificant we are here on our little blue marble. Our place in the Universe is pretty much meaningless in terms of time and space, yet we think we are not only important but THE singularly important species. A silly thought in my book.
Also in the news I read this: religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05… It seems a group of humans 16 million strong can't associate with another group of humans because of who they choose to love. It makes it even more tragic when I discovered that this group of 16 million is the Southern Baptist Church. They are pulling their association with the Boy Scouts of America because the BSA is now ALLOWING openly gay boys to join. I can't begin to describe my disgust, sadness, and even anger at such a bigoted, hateful, and tragic decision.
A few months ago, during a photo shoot, I had a client who told me his marriage had recently broken up. He had two children, one of which was a 17 year old gay boy. When the boy came out of the closet, his Mother told him she no longer wanted anything to do with him. He was "dead to her". A week later the boy hung himself in their family bathroom. My client told me about trying to explain this to his 5 year old daughter. He told her how some men love women, some men love men, some women love men, and some women love women. He explained that it is very difficult for those who love others of the same gender because lots of people don't understand and have a hard time accepting what they do not understand. That some people even hate them and do bad things to them. He tried in a most delicate way to tell his child that her brother was one of these men who loved other men and that he felt his life was too hard and that he would not be coming home.
My client's 5 year old daughter looked at him quizzically and asked simply,"Why, Daddy? You can't tell your heart who to love!"
This morning I wanted to stomp around my studio tearing my hair out and screaming. What stupidity. What ignorance. What ARROGANCE it is that the Southern Baptist Church thinks they have the right to dictate the thoughts and feelings of 16 million members about another group of people's love, when a 5 year old child has the wisdom and insight to simply accept it. What message does it send to the gay community to disassociate from them? What happened to "love thy neighbor"? What happened to acceptance? What is it about a person being gay that threatens them and their beliefs so much? Is THIS their way of winning the gay community over? Is THIS their way of leading the gay "into the light"??? Is THIS their way of showing "God's love"???
Not only is this an ignorant decision. Not only is this a hateful, bigoted, and fearful decision… it's simply lousy business. If you take away all the emotions and religious aspects, it's a stupid corporate move. They will not win any support from outside their narrow minded group. I also wonder how many of their 16 million members have gay family. Statistically, depending on what study one uses as reference, it will be anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000. I'm not going to get into the statistical studies of gay percentage of the population but there is enough information for me to confidently say that those 16 million Southern Baptist Church folks DEFINITELY have gay family members. Do they disassociate them from their own family? Probably - mine did.
Hatred, prejudice, and bigotry are horrid human characteristics driven by fear and arrogance. These characteristics are, in my mind, emphatically more tragic when espoused by a group of people who claim theirs is a message of love and acceptance. This hypocrisy is repeated over and over again in religion and results in segregation of society, xenophobic communities, and outright declarations of war. But it is what I have seen over and over in my life, my own family, it is what happens consistently in the news, and it is what is being procreated in the sons and daughters of the religious.
How many sons will hang themselves in the bathrooms of the religious before changes are made. I suspect it will only happen when the Southern Baptist Church and other churches like them, die out as archaic irrelevant systems of belief. I hope this will happen, I believe this will happen, but it will take generations and although I doubt I will see the day, I am encouraged to see these changes on the horizon.
I am teaching my children tolerance, acceptance, and love of all human beings. Standing against those who would spread their vitriol by holding the hands of those who are different. My daughter recently marched in a gay rally here in LA and I'm so proud of her. Her friends are a varied and diverse group. Only by information and example will our children and our grandchildren open their hearts and minds to the LBGT community and others who represent smaller percentages of our population.
I wonder how the Southern Baptist Church feels about God putting a rainbow in the sky?
I think I'll have a beer (not drinking Heineken any more…moved on to Asahi) on my patio and toast my friends and my daughters' friends. Diversity is good!
PS More on this issue from my dear wonderful colleague Halohid. www.deviantart.com/art/A-world…