Now this is the kind of religion I can support and respect. I know I talk a lot about the abusive kinds of religion, and that’s because it’s a huge problem and it needs to be challenged; but I also like to acknowledge positive versions of religion too. At the end of the day, I don’t care what the motivation for their good actions and attitudes are; if they are kind and are working to make our society more fair for everybody then they’ll have my respect and teamwork.
Funny, but also sobering. I grew up thinking my only options were boys too… I wish I’d had someone talk to me like this when I was little, to tell me that it’s ok to like either one or both. Instead I had to figure it out myself years later.
FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) is distributing a pamphlet called “An X Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible” that talks about the disturbing and violent sex acts and practices described in scripture. The cover includes a lewd cartoon of a Bible with a human face sticking its hand up a protesting woman’s skirt. Yes, the image is disturbing, I don’t like it- but so is the sexual content in the Bible, which is being handed out to teens and children for them to read whether they’re mature enough to handle that kind of content or not. How can we decry this leaflet when the Bible contains horrific sex acts that children and teens are being encouraged to read? It’s a shocking tactic, yes, but I think it’s a necessary one.
Seidel said he believes the school district backed down from it position banning some of FFRF’s materials after realizing it could not legally keep FFRF from passing out materials while still allowing Bibles to be distributed.
“I think what they tried to say was basically we revisited our initial decision to censor the materials, and have reversed it. I think the reality is probably they were not allowed to do that,” he said. “They cannot approve the Bible, which is full of all the things that are in the pamphlet, and then say that our materials are somehow obscene.”
Read more and see the image here: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/brittany-m-hughes/illustration-be-handed-out-public-schools-human-bible-sexually
They can’t stop the pamphlet because it’s just reiterating what they’re already promoting and passing out in scripture. Calling it obscene would also be calling their Bible obscene. The only difference is that the leaflet highlights the sexual and violent content instead of hiding and ignoring it. But in both cases, students are introduced to the same graphic content.
“I think we recognize that it might upset some people, but the Bible upsets many, many non-believers, especially when it’s being pushed in the public schools,” Seidel said. “So really, all it’s doing is placing believers and people who are in the majority in the position that we in the minority have been in for a very long time, and are in every time the government espouses one religion over another. That’s what we feel like all the time.”
How does it feel to know that your children are being exposed to materials that you don’t feel are appropriate for a school to be promoting? Non-believers have been dealing with this for decades, and have been ostracized and bullied for daring to say anything about it. It’s about time that this practice was called out. I admit the image is a bit shocking and crass and personally I would have probably picked a different one, but on the other hand without this image it would never have attracted the media attention that it has. And sadly, change often doesn’t happen unless an injustice gets enough media attention. Sometimes you have to do legal but shocking things to point out the inequality and injustice of the system.
Perhaps in the future they will disallow BOTH publications, since both are inappropriate for children and teens to read without adult approval and guidance.
Why is abortion such a huge issue in the US right now? It didn’t used to be as controversial, and in many other developed nations it’s not controversial at all. Here are my thoughts.
1. Since Roe vs Wade, the number of women experiencing health problems and death from unsafe illegal abortions has plummeted into almost non-existence. Thus the risks of not having abortion legal and safe have been forgotten or overlooked by many abortion opponents.
2. There is a lack of empathy that is pervasive in the US. It’s seen in so many of these issues. “It’s all about ME- my views, my standards, my life. Who gives a shit if my actions and teachings hurt others- everyone else must live MY way!” My way or the highway. That’s how it so often works in the US.
3. American is obsessed with being at war- even with itself. Just look at our politics, it’s easy to see! We don’t just disagree, we alienate and demonize the other side so that we don’t have to consider anything that they have to say, even if they’re people we know and love. The debate over abortion, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, between political parties, against immigrants and atheists, etc. shows a lack of desire for peace and understanding. America lives for conflict… and when there is none, they create it. It’s an “us vs them” attitude that invades almost every issue. But this isn’t new. The Civil war showed the lengths Americans will go to in order to not work together. The states are always at odds with the federal government and with each other. There’s little unity or cohesiveness; we should be called “The Divided States of America”; it would be more accurate. After living in Canada for several years where people get along much better, it was easy to see just how messed up and divided the US really is.
4. These issues are distractions that are skillfully manipulated and promoted by political and religious leaders and the media (and I’m not talking about Obama!) If people are fighting each other over gay marriage and abortion and religion, they won’t notice their rights being eroded and they won’t see just how screwed up their country really is. Or if they do, they’ll blame it on the “gays”, atheists, abortion, or Obama instead of realizing that all of us fighting each other has contributed to the abhorrent state of our nation.
One of the most well-respected OB-GYN programs in the country could be forced to stop teaching its students how to perform abortions, if the North Carolina legislature ends up approving a piece of legislation that was introduced this month.
Tucked deep in HB 465, an anti-abortion bill that would restrict the procedure in several different ways, is an obscure provision that stipulates that “no department at the medical school at East Carolina University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall permit an employee to perform or supervise the performance of an abortion as part of the employee’s official duties.”
Grimes called the proposed legislation to restrict abortion training “outrageous” and an “unwarranted intrusion” into doctors’ professional lives. “Some religious groups are also opposed to blood transfusions. So should the state legislature in North Carolina pass a law that would close down the blood bank at the university hospital?” he said.
Now they’re trying to stop doctors from even being trained to perform abortions at all. So what happens next? Women have to go to untrained doctors to get abortions, risking their lives and health? Before Roe vs Wade that’s exactly what happened- that’s when abortions WERE dangerous. Legal abortions are safe because doctors are trained and facilities are clean and regulated (abortion is currently far less risky than childbirth); but these so called “Pro Life” groups want to take us back in time to when women died because of unsafe illegal abortions. They don’t care about the risk to the mother, as long as the fetus lives… then when the fetus grows up and wants an abortion her rights evaporate. Where does it end? We’re already seeing women go to jail for “pregnancy misconduct” because their fetus has more rights than they do.
When it comes down to fetus vs mother, they both can’t have the same rights because a fetus is literally sharing the mother’s body. It’s not the same as an invalid or comatose person, because anyone could take care of them, but only the mother can grow the fetus. Giving a fetus the same rights as a mother is not fair because then the mother’s rights are automatically infringed upon. Until a fetus has been born, the mother’s rights must always take priority. Think that’s unfair? Imagine being literally forced to grow another human inside of you when you don’t want to be pregnant. Imagine how helpless and violated you would feel to lose autonomy over your body and entire life, being forced to endure risky childbirth and either give up a child or raise a child and have to give up your dreams of further education, that great career, etc. Some women are fine with that choice, but others are not, and it’s grossly unjust to force any women into a pregnancy that she does not want.
And no, having sex is not a contact to have children. Women are raped or pressured into having sex every day. And even consensual joyous sex is still not a contract for having children- birth control fails, passion in the moment happens, that does NOT mean the woman should be punished by being forced into motherhood.
I’ve heard a lot of people praise the Food Babe, but I’d never researched her much until recently. Apparently she is NOT a reliable source of health information and advice (neither is Doctor Oz, he’s gotten in serious trouble for promoting weight loss scams). And it’s not just one source that decries the Food Babe as unreliable, I looked her up. The people calling her out actually have extensive medical and scientific training in these fields, unlike the Food babe, who was a computer engineer and banker before starting her food blog.
Pseudoscience sells and spreads like a virus. We need to make sure that we’re taking advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about; confidence and popularity do not equal reliability. Just because someone has a huge following and claims to be a health expert does NOT make it true. Just because someone got better doesn’t mean it was their diet change or homeopathic treatment that cured them, even if they truly believe it was the cause. We have to go by facts- not opinions, theories, causality assumptions, or wishful thinking.
Just to clarify, I’m not at all opposed to healthy living, it’s important and there is a lot of crap out there that we eat and probably shouldn’t. I try to eat healthy and there are many things in my diet that I try to avoid. However, I AM opposed to misinformation and unhealthy methods being promoted as thought they’re safe and factually sound. If someone can prove their statements factually and show that they are a reliable source of information in that field, I’ll seriously consider what they have to say. A certified nutritionist or medical professional with confirmed facts backing their advice? Certainly! Random blogger with no relevant training or degree that’s been decried by professionals, or a professional that touts unfounded products or ideas and gets in trouble for it? No thank you! (*cough* Food Babe and Dr. Oz!)
Don’t believe somebody just because they make something sound good or because they’ve scared you with their media hype. Look them up, see what other professionals in that field have to say about their claims. Question everything, compare sources, look at their credentials… never assume. Can a non-credentialed person ever come up with something that professionals in that field have missed? Sure. But it’s not common in medical and science fields, and when they do they have to prove it just like the professionals do.
Here are a few of the many sources decrying the Food Babe. Notice that they are educated people in these fields, not random bloggers stating their opinions. To me that carries far more weight than anything the Food Babe says…
http://www.scibabe.com/foodbabeway/ (I HIGHLY recommend this entire blog, not just this post! She’s sassy and knows her stuff: “Yvette holds a B.A. in theatre, a B.S. in chemistry, and an MSc in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics.“)
Why causality and causation are not the same:
“Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.
I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late twenties, I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part — and not always the biggest part.
I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship, and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.
As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.
It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions, and with my sexual history.”
Articles like this make me want to either burst into tears or go bang on a church door with my fists because it makes me so angry that yet another human being has been shamed into denying who they are because of Christianity.
Before the church taught her that it was a sin, she was happy. Then the church told her she was broken and sinful, and at some point she started believing it. Then she had to deal with the tears, pain, confusion, and struggle of believing that her sexual orientation was somehow immoral and would send her to hell.
This is why I am so opposed to many versions of Christianity… it takes our perfectly natural and beautiful attractions and calls it sinful, disgusting, deviant, unnatural. It forces us to constantly be at war with, or be in denial of, our true nature in order to please a deity or a church community. So many people are pressured to choose between their faith and their sexual orientation. These same teachings resulted in me being in denial of my own bisexuality for years, and have caused so many LGBTQ people to suffer from depression. There’s a reason why the suicide rate in the LGBTQ community is so high… These doctrines are hurting real people every single day.
My journey was the opposite of this woman’s. I grew up with the shame, the guilt. I was in denial of my sexual orientation- really my sexuality in general. Since I was bisexual, it was easier for me than it is for gay or lesbian individuals because I was attracted to “appropriate” potential partners. But the guilt and denial was still there under the surface. When I stopped believing (for other reasons, see my deconversion story), I started to see things differently and was slowly emancipated from this shame and guilt. But it took two years after my deconversion for me to realize I was bisexual; the homophobia I was raised with had been incredibly ingrained within me.
If your religion shames people for their sexual orientation, race, etc, then it is abusive and hurtful and is a negative force in society. It doesn’t matter how nicely you say it, there are consequences when these teachings are accepted by society- real people suffer.
My tastes in music have been growing wider now that I no longer feel the need to filter it by “spiritual acceptability”. I was raised on Christian music, and “worldly” music was discouraged. Of course I still listened to some, mostly Backstreet Boys and oldies and the occasional punk band- but my music was very “vanilla”. Now I listen to classic rock, Lady Gaga, and so much more- but only recently did I try heavy metal. And I was very surprised… because I liked it.
I’ve included some lyrics and video links from the heavy metal band In This Moment, which I was recently introduced too and now love. I LOVE how powerful and sensual the lead female singer is. 5 years ago I would have called it demonic; now I see something complete different. I’ve come to understand that music is an expression of different parts of ourselves, including our “dark side”, our sensual side, our need for inspiration or laughter, etc. Heavy metal just connects to another part of our inner selves; it’s one method of expressing and connecting with emotion. It’s not evil or bad, it’s simply one form of self expression. (I’m still not a huge fan of hardcore screamo, but not on moral grounds. Just personal artistic preference.)
So why did I never seriously listen to it before? Why did I feel such apprehension about it during my years in Christianity? Why was it presented as “demonic”? Here are my thoughts.
1. Sexuality is sinful and threatening.
I can be your whore!
I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner
I am your whore
But let me tell you something baby
You love me for everything you hate me for
I’m the one that you need and fear
Now that you’re hooked, it’s all becoming clear
That all your judgments that you placed on me
Was a reflection of discovery
So maybe next time when you cast your stones
From the shadows of the dark unknown
You will crawl up from your hiding place
Take a look in the mirror
See the truth in your face
Women in fundamentalist Christianity are supposed to be sweet, submissive, polite, modest, chaste- women like the one in the above video are ANYTHING but! But you know what? I LOVE IT. Her raw sexuality, chaos, imperfection, and unfiltered emotion is unapologetic and in your face. She’s not ashamed or fearful about expressing this side of herself, she does it without asking anyone’s permission or forcing herself into anyone else’s box. And that scares oppressive religious groups that believe women should be ruled by men and religion. Bold, powerful women like this are too hard to control- so they demonize them and raise their little girls to never, ever be like these “bad women”.
2. “Dark is bad!”
You see I am the wolf,
And this dirty, little piggy lives inside of me.
You see every now and then,
I forget which one that I want and which one that I need.
I have come to realize
That both of them have become a necessity
I now have come to realize
That I become which animal I choose to feed
Light vs darkness is translated into good vs evil, and it is the epitome of Christian doctrine. But in reality, we all have light and darkness within us that’s always there, whether we admit it or not, no matter how “good” we are. Violence and peace. Healer and warrior. Sensuality and chastity. Selfishness and selflessness. Loud and quiet. We have to find a balance between ALL of our different sides- squashing or denying one side just makes us be at war with ourselves. What good is the healer if they don’t also have their inner warrior to protect themselves when needed? What good is selflessness if we don’t ever put ourselves first in order to take care of our needs too? There is a time for peace and a time to fight for what is right… We require ALL parts of ourselves in order to survive and thrive, not just the pretty shiny bits. It’s not about these things being good or bad- it’s about balance and letting these parts of ourselves come out in a positive, instead of a negative and hurtful, manner. By demonizing our “dark side”, oppressive forms of Christianity force us into a never ending war with ourselves. Instead of teaching us to channel this side of ourselves into productive and helpful avenues, we’re told to fear and crush it.
3. I used to fear the kinds of emotions that this kind of music evoked within me.
Emotion is not evil. Emotion is sometimes ugly, imperfect, chaotic. Music conveys emotion in a way few other things do. It connects with something deep inside of us that we often don’t feel any other way. When I listen to songs like the ones I posted in this article, it makes me FEEL things- I experience EMOTIONS that I rarely tap into on a daily basis. It’s the same thing that happens when I listen to beautiful classical music or a serenading violin- it captures my emotions and mind and moves me. This kind of music just does it in a different way, and connects with a different part of me than classical music does.
I love them all. I go to different kinds of music when I want to feel different things. I listen to Celtic music when I desire inspiration, relaxation, and to write historical fiction. I listen to Katy Perry when I want to dance around my room singing into my hairbrush in striped socks. I listen to bands like Halestorm and In This Moment when I’m feeling fierce, erotic, and want to wear red lipstick black leather and badass high heels. I like this music because I feel bold, powerful, and sexy. Not exactly emotions we’re encouraged to feel in conservative Christianity.
4. It was obvious that these people didn’t need God.
I must confess,
I’m addicted to this
Shove your kiss straight through my chest
I can’t deny, I’d die without this
Make me feel like a God
Music, love and sex
I crave excess,
Turning wine into sweat dripping down my neck
I can’t deny, I’d die without this
Make me feel like a God
Adrenaline and sex
(Lyrics from this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXMfdpjnAHU)
Gone is the supplicating, needy verses that adorn so many Christian songs. Gone is the humility, the begging for forgiveness and God’s help, the loathing of “sin” and sexuality. This is blatant, in your face, people who fully embrace their dark side and don’t see it as negative at all. These are people who obviously don’t think they need the Christian God at all; what they actually need is music, love, and sex. Shocking! But this is scary to fundamentalist and conservative religion because they want you to think that being like this makes you broken and damned, not happy and fulfilled. It throws a wrench in their plans to make you think you need the shackles that they’re offering. It also glorifies being an imperfect mess- something that many types of Christianity decry as un-spiritual and negative.
It’s ironic that oppressive forms of Christianity claims to offer freedom, because I’m starting to realize how fearful and restricted I was. What exactly did this kind of Christianity free me from? Certainly not fear, because we were taught to fear so many things because they were “demonic” or “sinful”. Certainly not from immorality, because we can be moral without believing in a deity and many fundamentalist doctrines are horribly immoral. It didn’t make me stronger, because it taught me that I was incapable of doing anything on my own and needed external help for everything. So what did we really have freedom from? Nothing. I was a slave to a man-made code of rules that demonized self expression and my imperfection.
I leave you with this song… it’s my new musical anthem. It conveys so well what I’ve felt and experienced these past few years… and to be honest the musical style really fits. Take a listen if you desire, and decide for yourself if you love it or hate it. 🙂
“So when they continued asking him
He lifted up himself, and said unto them,
‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'”
Listen closely, to what I’m about to say
I think I’ve heard just about enough of your hypocritic ways
Don’t try and stop me now
Don’t you make a sound
You’ve built yourself up oh so high just to tear me down
I’m so tired of you telling me
How to live and what I should not be
And I’m so tired of you telling me
What to do and what I don’t believe
And after all that you’re telling me
Why is there hate and only you can see
And I’m so sick of you telling me
That I will burn, I will not be free
This is my song
My red crusade
What will I say?
What will I do?
Maybe it’s fear that leads your rage
Maybe you’re me and I am you
So go ahead and point your finger
Tell me who to love is it him or her?
When will you see this is who I am?
Natural Born Sinner
I’m not gonna change
So stay out of my way
I don’t need you to understand
That I’m already saved
Maybe you should stop question all your pain
Can you look me in my eyes and say we’re not the same?
Did you really think by pushing me
I would become what you want me to be?
And did you really think by hating me
I’d open up, I’d just hand you the key?
I know you’re scared and don’t understand
This is my life, this is who I am
What I do know is come Judgement Day
Before the Lord can you say the same?