31 March 2008

OMG! Can people really be THIS stupid?

I frequent a discussion board called Topix.net. It features various news stories followed by reader comments and discussion. Any time there is a story about anything related to gay or lesbian people, it seems the 'christofascists' come out in force to spread the most awful and degrading lies I have every heard. Sometimes I wonder how these people can call themselves 'christian' and keep a straight face.

Today someone was actually trying to convice people that homosexual acts are the CAUSE of AIDS. No matter how many times it was pointed out to him that AIDS is caused by a virus and no matter how many links to correct information he was provided with, he still insisted that no, AIDS was caused by two gay people having sex. Can people really be this stupid? Another poster kept insisting that the APA still considers homosexuality a mental disorder, only they now call it 'gender identity disorder,' when in reality 'gender identity disorder' has nothing at all to do with sexual orientation, as a quick google search of the APA will clearly tell you.

It's scary the kinds of beliefs people will hold onto in spite of factual evidence to the contrary. I think it's called 'cognitive dissonance' -the filtering of information that conflicts with what one already believes, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce one's beliefs (thanks wiki). The example of this phenomenon I was given in college was something like this: WWI prisoners who were systematically rounded up and marched off for execution were routinely told they were going somewhere else for a purpose other than execution, and although they had seen their neighbors marched off the day before and not return, although they had heard the gunfire at the edge of town, the prisoners chose to believe their captors and go with them willingly. I think those who hold negative views of gay people are caught up in this pattern of cognitive dissonance. They have been told all their lives by society, by their families, by their pastors, by other religious zealots that being gay is a choice, that it isn't a natural thing, that homosexuals are going to hell. In spite of all the evidence suggesting the innate state of sexual orientation, despite knowledge that homosexuality, while certainly not the majority, is a natural variant of sexual orientation and is found in at least 1000 species of the animal kingdom, in spite of a growing recognition by religious scholars that the translations of the bible are not concrete, that homosexuality is NOT a harmful behavior and therefore cannot be a sin, some people continue to twist and filter the information, in an effort to reinforce their beliefs.

Hate groups like NARTH and the AFA prey on these people...and are guilty of using inflammatory speech and spreading terrible lies to reinforce these beliefs in an effort to further their political agenda to block equal rights legislation for gay and lesbian people. How do I know this to be true, and not just 'liberal propaganda?' I listened to what they were saying. I went to their websites and researched, checking their info against the info from the AMA, APA and many other credible sources. I started noticing that every time I would do an internet search for something related to gay/lesbian/bisexual or transgender issues, I would get a bunch of religious websites. So, I did a google search of just the term 'homosexuality.' Of the top ten listings, six are religious based websites offering their viewpoint, instead of factual information. This clearly tells me that there is an agenda...and it definitely isn't 'that gay one.' Thank God there are people out there, both gay and straight alike, who are willing to speak the truth.

Okay, that's my rant for the day.

28 March 2008

Proud to be an American - no, really....

Recently I received an email from a family member with one of those attachments...you know the ones - emotionally charged pictures of American history, historic tragedies like 9/11, and commentary on the 'war on Terror' usually with a good country music song like 'Proud to be an American' or something like that as a backdrop. The presentation included comments like - let's keep 'Him' in our constitution and our schools, etc. It illicited many strong feelings in me as I watched it.

It's good to remember tragic history and to feel patriotic.

I had to ask my family member, though...what were her true thoughts regarding keeping 'christian traditions' embedded in our civil law?

As an American, I strongly believe that dissent IS patriotic...it's our right as Americans to question the government. As both a lesbian AND a Christian, I have difficulty with the whole 'Keep Him in our Constitution & schools' thing.

Legislating based on religious beliefs is a very large part of why I don't have equal protection and am denied access to the more than 1000 rights, benefits and privileges that are associated with marriage. This concerns me, because my God, the one who created me just as I am, loves me, redeems me and sustains me, is being used to justify this blatant disregard of my basic, fundamental rights. I have been told, personally, on more than one occassion by people professing to be christians that I cannot be gay and christian because my 'lifestyle' is 'sick and deviant' and God condemns me for it, that no matter how honestly and faithfully I live my life, I am going to hell because I 'choose' to live in direct rebellion of 'God's Word,' and that my christian church isn't a true church because they are open and affirming of all people. I'm fortunate to have such a strong faith in God that these words have little effect on me anymore. My faith is and always will be stronger than bigotry. The important thing I have learned about religion is that it should NEVER be used to make laws or deny equal rights.

While current legislation regarding equal rights for all is slowly changing, there is a vast 'christian' movement who continue to thwart this progress any way they can, including spreading vicious and horrible lies about gay and lesbian people (just google OK state rep Sally Kern, as an example) and introducing legislation that opposes equal rights for no other reason than their religious beliefs. Many of the horrific tragedies reviewed in the presentation my family member sent me are glaring examples of religious extremist behavior, and should serve as a reminder of what can happen when a country does not recognize freedom of (and from) religion. Religion is a personal thing, and should remain so. It should never be used to dictate civil law.

What do you think? It's a topic very close to my heart, and I love discussing it with people.