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June 1, 2013
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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…
  • Listening to: the hum of the G5
  • Drinking: Heineken
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:icongiffordm:
giffordm Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
this hits home for me...i've been dealing with being a lesbian in a family of very strong catholics.*shakes head*
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Professional Photographer
Oh dear. I wish you well. You just can't choose your family, huh!? But you can certainly choose your friends!
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:icongiffordm:
giffordm Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
this is very true. i've reached the "i don't really care what they think" point where it all just kinda washes over me. most of my family has come around to the realization that i'm happy and well taken care of and thats all that really matters. its mostly my gramma and one of my uncle's and his wife who still openly disapprove and really it's my grandmother that opens her mouth on a consistent and obnoxious basis. i love her but eventually shes gonna realize that all shes doing is pushing me away, not bringing me closer to her God. she's gonna miss out. but i refuse to sacrifice my happiness to fit into her little perfect world. 
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:iconbelote-art:
Belote-Art Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
   Damn, Michael why'd ya write this?  Now I gotta comment.  First let me tell ya I grew up Southern Baptist and am a Christian.  I also agree with a lot of what you are saying.   I have been an artist and musician all my life, and that has put me in the path of a lot of diverse people.  I inherited a lot of friends who are gay when I married my wife, who was really active in musical theater. 
   The SBC takes the Bible pretty literally, and homosexuality isn't looked too fondly on in the literal Bible.  I'm not gonna argue the point of gay, right or wrong, sin or normal point because I don't feel I have a right to,  but that's why they do it.  I'm not gay, so I don't know what gay people go through.   Southern Baptist is a denomination, founded by men (hopefully righteous, well meaning men) who are flawed.  God is supposed to be the head and I certainly hope He is, even though there is enough evidence to argue otherwise.  I don't take being Southern Baptist very seriously, but do take the word Christian very seriously.   Being Christian is a very personal, individual thing.   As this Christian I claim to be, it's my job to love everyone unconditionally and judge no one.  
People who write people out of their lives for coming out as gay, or anything else they consider "sin",  don't understand unconditional love.  That trumps all. 
   By the way, I miss the work you used to post here.  I've kept up with your blog off and on over the last few years and understand why you took the photos down.  Look at my art, from a Southern Baptists standpoint, many would excommunicate me.  I'm at peace with what I do. Enjoy that Asahi. (Baptist's aren't supposed to drink beer or consider nude photos art).   
I think I'll have a second round of Crown Royal.
Cheers!

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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Professional Photographer
Dude - if you are Crown Royal drinker, you are my people. LOL

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:iconphraught:
phraught Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A lovely piece of work, well done. Thank-you.
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:iconsichereichel:
SicherEichel Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Finally, a post of yours I can comment on. I'm a big fan sir - and this is a fantastic rant!
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:iconcyprine2013:
Cyprine2013 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
let me start of by stating that i'm french, atheist, and been a *boy scout* for 15 years (and still Prepared !).
I 1st heard of the BSA stance towards gay communauty (and atheists arent welcome either in the BSA) through a Penn & Teller episode (season 4 episode 1) [link]
Now, we have different branches of boy scouting in France, and i was part of a secular movement: no religion was professed but kids who(+se parents) wanted (them) to go church were braugh there, if pork was served for the troup, another meat was given to religion-tabooed kids, no fuss. I was taugh of tolerance, understanding and acceptance.
I remember my cub scout promise, i was around 7, and we had the choice to promise *on my honor*, or *on my honor with the help of god*. I recall thinking: *that wouldnt be /my/ honor if i need anybody's help* (and who is that god guy anyway ?) but i digress...
A month ago France got agitated around same sex marriage. Right wings & religious zealots were very vocal against the law that got voted anyways. I personaly think marriage is an obsolete notion but thats for another discussion. But a month later the commotion has appeased, everybody's enjoying their sunny vacations.
Maybe thats a cultural french trait, evolved from revolution, enlightment, post ww2 strong materialist currents, 60's french philosophers: french people dont seem too much conserned but religion (but a bit more about same sex relationships, especially in rural environemnts ). The Islamic communauty causes uneasy feelings for various (racist un+)reasons, religion being something some french people do in their privacy, not as a display (secular laws make sure public officials cannot display any faith within their jobs). Maybe i'm speaking for myself but its an alien, obsolete concept to me to see religion leaking through political matters (*in god we trust* being among them).

Scouting has given me a compass, and the people who taugh me didnt need a god to do so. Values of friendship and fraternity are at the heart of the scouting engine. *a scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other scout*
It saddens me to see that some kids will be deprived of what could be a wonderfull experience.
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:iconedenhurst:
Edenhurst Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013
An American friend gave me a framed cartoon of a clown with the caption
"You can't just say stuff like that, she told me, people will think you are serious and I nodded and said I know and won't they be surprised when they finally figure it out. She shook her head and said she should probably make plans for a back up husband".

I have no idea as to what she was trying to tell me.

Glad to see you back.
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:iconedenhurst:
Edenhurst Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
Wow, I love to see Americans 'discuss' religion (apologies to those not born and bred in the USA).

I can't say I do not believe in gods as I am British (I can say I am British as I have both English and Scottish heritage) and the Church of England was entrenched in my education. Jews and Catholics had separate services or separate schools. I knew nothing of Islamic children though I think there may have been some locally. Throughout my secondary education (11-15 age group in my case) I knew one black kid and on leaving school I worked in the same factory with a rather large black man who all of us youngsters feared but never spoke to unless we needed something.

I became a police officer at the age of 21. I swore an oath on the bible to Her Majesty and swore an oath on a bible to tell the truth (because it was expected?). It seemed to me that bigotry, racism and sexism was a way of life for police officers in the 70’s but often there would be great acts of humanity that belied the outward persona portrayed by macho cops. I don't think I was an exception. Just as religion was deeply ingrained in my youth sadly so was bigotry. For me they stand side by side.

I have used the plural 'gods' because for me if there is one god then there are many gods. Many of those other gods preceded the Judo-Christian / Islamic god. If they no longer exist I suspect it is because no one worships them any more and they gradually turn to mist and vanish.

I have read the King James Bible and the New English Bible cover to cover. It seemed to me that the bible was written by men, for men, that those men acknowledged the pre-existence of humans / humanoids and animals before Adam and Eve and that women should have little say in the formation of this religion (a generalisation but a generalisation that stands to this day).

I tried the Mormon book but I lost my way......... (Sorry, I have cut a large section as I have digressed and fallen into cynicism and deserve a good spanking).

It took me many years to realise what a bigot I was. I am still a bigot but I try to control myself. I try not to judge people because of sexual orientation, religion, race or colour but I do judge them very easily on what they say and do.

I have a daughter who loves and lives with another woman who loves her. They have a daughter and another child on the way. I will fight for their right to live in love, happiness and peace. They are happy and if any god condemns them for that that god does not deserve any worship. Even though they are both lawyers in their private life they are very caring people and how they lives has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with any other person.

I will end this by asking how men of god can sink into the depravity that has recently been revealed when they KNOW they will go to hell. Of course they always have a copout because they can repent directly and no matter what they have done they will be forgiven. Or is it perhaps they know in reality there is no god to judge them? (Cynic or what)


The Boy Scout movement began in the UK and loyalty to the (then) King and the Church (of England ) was part of the oath.


For once you have tasted flight, you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward for you know there is a pigeon up there about to crap on you.
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