When the Hateful Accuse Us of Hatefulness (link)

I almost cried reading this article. We’re allowed to be angry. We’re allowed to share our anger and our stories about the hurt we’ve endured and still endure. We’re allowed to point out oppressive attitudes and actions when we see it. We’re allowed to express our anger and hurt even if it makes our oppressors uncomfortable. After all, their momentary discomfort at our expressions of joy and pain is nothing compared to the generations of oppression they have inflicted and still inflict upon us.

Just because we won this single battle doesn’t mean the fight for equality is over, nor does it erase the unimaginable harm they’ve done to us in the name of “love”. We’re allowed to make sure that our immense struggles are not forgotten or toned down to make our oppressors feel better about themselves. It is not hateful for us to show them how they’ve hurt us, to make them aware of the damage they’ve caused and are still causing. It is not hateful for us to be angry at the terrible way we’ve been treated, or to celebrate a victory over their oppression of us. It is not hateful to recover from oppression and live our lives in ways that our oppressors dislike. 

Although I personally don’t agree with the term “fundagelical” to describe anti-gay Christians (I find it unnecessarily abrasive and would personally use another term), after how I’ve been treated and my LGBTQ friends have been treated and countless generations of LGBTQ people have been treated, I think a strongly worded article in reply is more than justified.

But I’m not going to play nice here: the Christians opposing LGBTQ rights have rivers of blood flowing down their hands.

Every single demand that we shut up, give them “respect” (again, meaning: silence and an allowance to keep acting as if they won rather than lost), and stop being “hateful” is being made while they peek at us through bloody fingers. Their hands are so close to their faces that they can’t even see the blood streaming down their wrists.

They have turned their gazes away from the lives they have destroyed, the children they have murdered and abandoned, the bullying they have done, or the constant stream of filthy smears they have made against a marginalized group–marginalized, remember, because of their hateful pseudo-love–that never actually posed a threat to anything of theirs. They can’t see any of that. When this information gets shared with them, they try to silence the messenger–because the message runs so contrary to their crafted and curated self-image. Their emotional paychecks depend on seeing themselves as the “good guys”: the embattled paladins of truth and justice fighting against a monstrous and agelessly-evil enemy. The truth would destroy that image of themselves they hold so dear–and would put into question all the other false ideas they hold. But all of this is their problem and not ours.

Until they wash their hands and get cleaned up, they have no right at all to try to shut anyone up for pointing out their error. We however have every right to talk about that error, and we will continue to do so.

We are not being hateful, and we will not be shamed into silence by those culture-warrior Christians feeling stung over their loss.***

We are not being hateful, any more than they were ever being loving.

Read the whole article here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2015/07/when-the-hateful-accuse-us-of-hatefulness/#sthash.C3pGWfEH.dpuf

I’m grieving today… and an open letter to those who cause me pain

They push, push, push, and then get angry when you finally snap.

They poke countless little holes into your heart and then can’t understand why your heart overflows with pain and anger every time they try to poke another.

They hurt without apology, inflict pain with no sign of remorse or desire to change, and then blame you for the problem.

They are always trying to prove themselves right, and you wrong. The truth doesn’t matter; understanding each other doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they’re right, and for you to know and acknowledge that they’re right.

They can see you as stubborn, obstinate, and unyielding; and yet they refuse to admit when they’re wrong and won’t lift a finger to mend things between you.

They beat you with their Bible and their religion, and can’t understand why you devote time to countering their hurtful messages and pointing out flaws in their weaponized Holy Book.

They hurt you over, and over, and over again. But it’s unacceptable for you to ever hurt them back. You must TAKE the pain but never cause them pain in return, even if the pain you deal out is only in an attempt to make them stop or the result of grief. You can never call them out on their bullshit because “that’s rude”.

But I won’t be like them. I may give in to my pain for a moment, I’m human and I sometimes react in hurt and anger like everyone else, but I will never allow myself to be like them. I will strive to never be so hard that I cannot admit when I’m wrong. I will always try to understand and respect others even if I disagree with them. And I will always try to inject LOVE into everything that I do. But I will also not stand for bullshit. I’ve been a doormat for too long, and I won’t ever fucking be one again.

Hear me, and hear me well: If you beat me with your religion, I will defend myself. If you try to poke more holes in my heart, I will call you on it and push you back far enough so you can’t hurt me again. If you pick a fight with me, I’ll put you in your place without apology. That’s not being rude, that’s being strong. And you will not make me feel bad for finally growing a backbone. If I cannot reason with you, then perhaps my firm responses will deter you from trying to hurt me again.

But also hear this: I don’t like to live in conflict. I’d much rather be friends and live in peace with you. If you show even a slight effort to change, if you try to fix things but fail a lot, I’ll bend over backwards to work with you. I can overlook many things when I know the person is making a genuine effort to accept me and make things better. It is not my desire to be at war with you.

So will you put down your weapons and meet me in the middle of this battleground? Can we stop fighting and start truly listening to one another? That’s what I’d like above all else. But I can’t do it alone.

I’m grieving today. Grieving for what I’ve lost, for the close relationships that were poisoned by fundamentalism and intolerance and religiously fueled narcissistic tenancies. Grieving for people in my life who have so drastically changed how they act towards me simply because I believe differently now. Gone is the seemingly unconditional acceptance and adoration, the praise and the trust; in its place are judgment, stereotypes, suspicion, mistrust, blame and anger. Pain pours from my heart every time they remind me of how little they respect and understand who I am now.

But I’ll survive, I always do. And at the end of this day of grieving I’ll be stronger than I was this morning. Because that’s what we do- we pick ourselves up and move forward no matter what they do to us. That’s what survivors do. And above all, I am a survivor.


Angry Atheists

Angry Atheists

Some people joke about “angry atheists” and act as though they are little children who are throwing temper tantrums. While I don’t agree with anyone who calls people names or bashes them for their beliefs, and I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want, I can see why many atheists are angry. I am an “angry atheist” myself- and here are some of the reasons why.

(Note that when I refer to Christians, I am referring primarily to fundamentalist Christians who seem to be the most vocal and harmful in their beliefs and actions. There are certainly exceptions.)

I am angry because the gay and lesbian community have endured unimaginable hurt because of the teaching that homosexuality is an abomination. Gay and lesbian teens and young adults have the highest suicide and depression rates because they are told that they are disgusting, are headed to hell, no one likes them, that they must always be alone and never act on their feelings, etc.

I am angry because Christians are pushing their personal beliefs on other people through the legal system. They don’t want to serve gays in their businesses, they want prayer enforced in schools, God on our money, cherry picked sins regulated, etc.

I am angry because modern Christianity does not really follow scripture and no one can agree on anything, and yet they want to rule the country based on their flawed interpretation of the Bible.

I am angry because all sin is supposed to be the same, and yet they only wish to outlaw certain ones- while they do sinful things themselves. It’s so hypocritical it’s borderline ridiculous.

I am angry because Christians cite “religious persecution” when people ask for equal rights or ask that Christians stop pushing their beliefs on others. It is not religious persecution when you get special privileges and then deny basic rights to others.

I am angry because churches have a tax free status but use the pulpit for promoting politics and personal gain.

I am angry because Christianity speaks of helping the poor, and yet millions are spent on opposing gay marriage or building mega churches instead of aiding starving people overseas.

I am angry because Christians get so many special privileges and then complain when they cannot have more, or when they cannot regulate the lives of others.

I am angry because Christians blame the problems of the world on non-believers and sinners instead of looking for the real problems and helping to address them. Instead of blaming hurricanes on the gays, why not send aid for the victims?

I am angry because supporters of creationism and opponents of abortion often use false or twisted information to support their views, often deliberately misrepresenting the other side or using shock tactics to get their point across.

I am angry because I am supposed to accept the atrocities described in the Bible as justified and even moral simply because God did them or commanded them. Calling genocide and mistreatment of women moral is despicable to me, and yet I must push that aside and accept that “god knows best”.

I am angry because Christianity has been and still is used to hurt others, and yet I am asked to respect it and not challenge it.

I am angry because I am told that I must not question the teachings of Christianity. If I do, I am suffering an “attack of Satan”, I am weak, I am a failure. It’s only acceptable to doubt if it strengthens my original belief.

I am angry because I was taught to fear reason, logic, and science, and to throw out any information that did not line up with my preconceived ideas.

I am angry because when I change my beliefs I am viewed with suspicion, anger, and judgement. I am considered a failure, rebellious, my original devotion to Christianity is doubted, and I am suddenly considered a moral degenerate. I’m told “it’s a phase”, and I’m not taken seriously. Friends mistreat and abandon me, and I am accused of having led a double life. I’m not good enough as I am; I must always stay a believer in order to be really accepted, respected, and be given the benefit of the doubt. Other non-believers are accepted because they are “prospects” for Christianity.

I am angry because I was encouraged to be myself and always stand for what I believed in- until I didn’t agree with them any more. Then I was called a horrible example, people were horrified at my views, and I lost friends.

I am angry because Christians say that atheists have no morals, even though that is not true. Atheist countries prove that a country without religion will not crumble into chaos or have high crime rates; in fact the opposite is true.

I am angry because I was told that I am nothing without God, that I am worthless and helpless and incapable of making my decisions without his help. This has caused me and countless others to have low self esteem and self worth, to have difficulties in making decisions, etc. Being proud of and even acknowledging my own accomplishments was wrong.

I am angry because I grew up caring way too much about what other people thought of me. I was taught that my outward appearance would cause men to sin, that I must always be a good example to others, that my actions must lead others to Christ, etc; so I was constantly thinking about how others saw me.

I am angry because I grew up thinking that sex was dirty, and that my body was sinful. I believed that my sexual desires were disgusting, that I was some kind of sexual deviant for having fantasies and having normal sexual feelings. I was ashamed and afraid of my body, my mind, and my desires.

I am angry because no matter how moral I tried to be, I could never be good enough. All the teachings of grace do not change the fact that we are supposedly morally degenerate because we cannot meet this impossible moral standard.

I am angry because young children are being taught to not think for themselves, but rather are scared with hell and told to believe like the people around them.

I am angry because when I dared to question something as a believer, I was told that “there are some things you just don’t question.”

I am angry because I see injustice and hurt being promoted by religion regularly, whether intentionally or unintentionally by the people involved. It’s not a rare and unheard of thing, it’s a part of daily life for many people.

Anger is not always a bad thing. When it’s a response to injustice and hurt, anger can be useful for driving positive change. And it’s an important part of overcoming grief and hurt. The important thing is to not let it become bitterness, self consuming, or to allow it to be directed at individuals. When injustice is done, people must stand for freedom and kindness. But eventually anger must fade and be resolved in order for us to move on and find peace; it must be exchanged for balanced action when needed and a more peaceful mindset that does not revolve around the past.

I found some cool resources on this topic that are really good: