Sunday, August 25, 2013

What Would Jesus Do?

I usually smile when I hear people ask, “what would Jesus do?” I think of Jesus and I think of a man with open arms who welcomed saints and sinners alike, but I know that people have different views of Jesus. I read an article about a church in Tennessee that is kicking out a family because the family supported their lesbian daughter’s push to change the laws in Collegedale, Tennessee. Kat Cooper, who is the daughter in question, led an effort to have family benefits extended to her wife. After the city council voted in Cooper’s favor, members of her family were allegedly invited to a meeting with church officials and told to either publicly repent for supporting their daughter or leave the church. I read this article and I had my own “what would Jesus do” moment. The church’s actions are essentially saying that Jesus would not support his family member if they were deemed a “sinner.” Jesus, the man who was willing to die for the sins of other people, would turn his back on his family. It sounds ludicrous to me. I know that the church didn’t mention anything about what Jesus would do, but that was the first thought that came to my mind. How can any church begrudge a family for their unconditional support of their child? I want to find out more about this church. I hope that the church has a long list of other families who have been addressed in similar meetings. I hope that the church has the same policy for unwed mothers and the parents of unwed mothers unless the parents have publicly repented for supporting their unwed child, divorced people and anyone who admits to fornicating or is found to be using contraception. I try to be supportive of religious freedom, so if this church is strict enough to blame the parents for the “sins” of the daughter, then every parent in the congregation should be held accountable for the “sins” of their child. Fair is fair.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

You and I

I felt like sharing a random poem today:

 You and I

You moved me
You pushed me down the stairs, around the table and out the door
My feet took baby steps
I thought about walking away
But I turned and begged you to give me more
I wanted that hurt because it came from you
I wanted to feel it, to breathe it, to bathe in it
I wanted it
And you gave it so freely

You touched me
You hit me before I fell, as I was falling and after I was on the floor
My arms protected my face
I thought about screaming for help
But I knew there was no one to hear me anymore
I wanted your love so I pushed away all others
I wanted to have you, all of you, not just part of you
I wanted you
And you denied me so easily

You broke me
You grabbed me, twisted me with your hands and struck me at my core
My body became limp
I thought about pulling away
But I knew it was my fault because I didn’t finish my chore
I wanted to tell you I was sorry
I wanted you to know it, to believe it, to finally see it
I wanted an end
And you were done so quickly

You scarred me
You ripped off the callous, squeezed it and put lemon juice on the sore
My soul wept for us
I thought about our years together
But I couldn’t get you to remember how we were before
I wanted to invade your mind
I wanted you to see us, to remember us, to want to be us
I wanted to go back
And you pulled me forward abruptly

You lost me
You hid me away, forgot what you had and what you kept me for
My heart ached for you
I thought about holding on
But I saw that you couldn’t look at me anymore
I wanted to warn you I was leaving
I wanted to face you, to tell you, to show you
I wanted to be strong
And you didn’t want anything for me.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ariel Castro's Kind of "Love"

I apologize in advance and promise that my next post will not be a rant, but I have to get this off of my chest. I live in a suburb of Cleveland. I remember when Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus went missing. I remember watching the yearly coverage of the vigils. I remember the shock and relief I felt when they were found alive. 

I look at Ariel Castro and I see him for the troubled soul that he is. I understand that people like him need to be locked away forever in order to protect the rest of us from falling victim to them. I thought people from all sides of the political aisle could come together and shake their heads in mutual disgust at what Castro did to those three women. I foolishly thought that his actions would stand alone as sick and perverted and so far away from what normal people do, that there was no comparing him to everyday people. 

I should have known better. Our society is built on sound bites and sensationalism. We beg for it like a dog panting for a bone. We live to be outraged and offended and insulted and frankly, it irritates the hell out of me. I can’t remember the last time that I watched a panel on MSNBC, FOX NEWS or CNN, and I didn’t hear someone say something that I felt was a bit extreme. We have to tone down the rhetoric because we've gone too far. We jumped overboard a long time ago and I’m starting to wonder if the ship of human decency will ever turn around and come back to rescue us from ourselves.  

I saw an article about a conservative radio host comparing LGBT love with Ariel Castro’s demented “love” for his victims. My first thought was that surely the commentator was misquoted. No rational person would ever compare a mutual love between consenting adults to a one sided love in which the unwilling partners were kidnapped, imprisoned, terrorized, beaten, raped, starved and abused in more ways than can be described in words. How can anyone even remotely link the two? I can’t fathom the thought process of people so obsessed with ratings and talking points that they abandon common sense. 

So who did this? Well I blame both people who were having the discussion. Sandy Rios, an American Family Association talk show host and Fox News Contributor, and Erwin Lutzer. Their discussion about some Facebook post, became a discussion of the ways in which love is contorted and sometimes perverted in to something that in no way resembles love. Lutzer began talking about pedophilia in an attempt to explain that all love isn’t good and loosely connect it to the idea that same-sex marriage represents bad love. Anyway, Lutzer said, “A pedophile I’m sure says that he loves children…but you can see how destructive that love is.” He went on to say “Once love is undefined as kind of this ‘I want to do this and so I’m loving’ then, of course, we end up where we are ending up today with a great slide in morality…” Here is where I take a breath to keep from screaming. His argument upsets me for two reasons: one, it is comparing apples and oranges and two, it is attributing something to love that love has not done. Let’s address the first argument. There is a huge difference between the love between two consenting adults and the love between a consenting adult and a child. Where do I begin? As a society, we acknowledge the inability of a child to consent or enter in to agreements. Gone are the days of 12 year old brides (unless you live in a cult or something). Children cannot have legal relationships with adults because we realize that children are not the same as adults. Children do not think the same way as adults. They don’t usually have the foresight to consider the long term ramifications of their actions. We don’t even trust children to drive vehicles until they are a certain age. To compare a “relationship” between an adult and a child to a relationship between two adults is to completely ignore the fact that one contains two people who can legally enter in to agreements and one does not. Proponents of same-sex marriage are not looking to make love “undefined,” they use the same definition as everyone else, only theirs is gender free. Instead of marriage being a union between one man and one woman, proponents of same-sex marriage argue that marriage should be a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender, but everything else should stay the same. And for the second part about morality, um, society started slipping down that slope a long time ago. Sex sales everything, from shampoo to food to cars. Singers prance around on stage in risqué outfits, young celebrities are sexualized way before they should be. Wholesome family entertainment is virtually a thing of the past with few exceptions and that has little to do with homosexuality and everything to do with the drastic change in American morality in which things are only immoral if you get caught doing them. 

Now back to the comment that Sandy Rios made about Castro. Castro was an abuser. His “love” for his victims was, is and always should be criminal. No one has the right to hold someone against their will and abuse them. Same-sex marriage is about people willingly committing to each other. If a gay man came to the Justice of the Peace with his partner bound and gagged in a cage, the Justice of the Peace would need the partner’s consent before and during the ceremony. You don’t get to force your “love” on other people who don’t want it. That’s why there are t-shirts that say “Against Gay Marriage? Don’t Get One.” A sane gay man doesn’t want to force a straight man to marry him any more than a sane straight woman wants to force a gay man to marry her. When proponents of same-sex marriage say that it’s about the right to love, they don’t mean to love someone who doesn’t love you back, but rather, the right for two people to love each other and express that commitment through entering in to an institution that declares their love to the world and gives their relationship legal protections under the law. Comparing same-sex love to Ariel Castro’s love reflects poorly on the person making the comparison because it is clearly a comparison that is made for emotional purposes and not based on any rational thought. 

Can we please stop with the sound bites and outrageous comments and go back to thinking before we speak?