Open Letter to Phil Robertson

Dear Mr. Robertson,

Since the release of your remarks on race and homosexuality, I have found myself literally hurt by your comments. For days now, I have been so mad at you. You see, I occasionally watch Duck Dynasty, ONLY because my gay son is a fan.

My son was born gay, and that does not make him a sinner. This is something he could not change no matter how hard he tried. You may not believe that, because you believe scripture says homosexuality is a sin. But what other reference do you have for making that judgment? Do you even know (I mean personally know) a member of the LGBT community? Have you ever read what the American Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, or the American Psychological Association have to say after many years of research on the subject? I know you don’t condone selling your daughters into slavery, so you must use other references in making moral decisions.

Not long after my son starting walking, I started to suspect he might be gay. It became apparent when he started putting on every pair of women’s shoes he saw by the age of 3. He always preferred  what society considers girl toys. When he developed a fascination with Batman, I was thrilled. Every time we went to Wal-Mart, he got a new batman. Grandma made him a cape and he wore it everywhere. I finally realized, the cape represented a dress. I hated it and struggled with it, often seeing my son disappointed because of the “boy” toys I continued to buy and encourage him to play with.

While I had gay friends, I was still uneducated about homosexuality and feared the stigma this would bring to my son’s life, and (selfishly) to mine. Having been raised in rural, Conservative-Christian East Texas, I still believed homosexuality was a sin – though at this point, I was having serious struggles with my Christian faith as well. I eventually reconnected with an old high school classmate who was female to male transgender. Thank the Universe I did. I fear the damage I would have done to my son if this person had not come into my life.

My old high school classmate became my friend. In high school, while he was living as a female, he was miserable. I barely knew “Lisa” and couldn’t even remember her saying more than a few words, but “Mitch” was a happy, healthy, very outspoken grown-man. As he told me the struggles that “Lisa” endured, including a suicide attempt, I felt so much guilt. I had contributed to “Lisa’s” pain. “Mitch” forgives me, but I’m not sure I will ever forgive myself.

As I began to realize that I could not change my son’s sexual orientation, I decided the best course of action was to instill in him the confidence and strength to be exactly who he is. There is no need to change my son, because there is nothing wrong with him. My son is almost 17 now and never had to “come-out” to me or his father.

Even with the confidence he has, growing up in the rural southeast has not been easy for him. More than one of his teachers has made remarks similar to yours, Mr. Robertson, in an effort to make him believe something is wrong with him. Many LGBT children must deal with that rejection at home also, and face merciless bullying by their peers because of this inaccurate portrayal of homosexuality. Therefore we have an extremely high suicide rate in the LGBT community.

Now, my son had to watch yet another person – Phil Robertson – tell him something is wrong with him, when he knows this is something he cannot change – nor should he want to. Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with him.

Please, Mr. Robertson, educate yourself.

Sincerely,

Concerned parent

If you must judge Paula Deen, judge her for who she is today.

Everyone who knows me, also knows that I am an outspoken opponent of bigotry in all forms. Yet I have sympathy for Paula Deen. I don’t know her, nor do I watch her cooking shows. I have only the basic knowledge of her as a famous southern cook who is on television. I do, however, understand completely how a person can be a racist simply because they were raised to be one and yet grow to reject bigotry.

Growing up in my small hometown in East Texas in the 70’s and 80’s, that hated word was how most white people referred to black people (when no black person was present). While our schools were integrated, we had, for the most part, segregated ourselves. On the outskirts of town, across the tracks, was the “quarters”, which included remnants of the old “black school”, a dilapidated park, and a close-knit, all black community.

We all went to the same school and interacted through academics, clubs, sports, band, and riding the school bus together, but we usually kept our social lives separate. There were a few white girls who were ostracized for dating black boys though. When one of those girls was also one of my best friends, I began to see things differently. I realized my narrow view from “my side of the tracks” was wrong. We were not only not better, but not very different. However, culture and peer pressure are powerful things especially with the insecurities of being a teen.

Eventually, I grew up and moved away. I now adamantly object to the use of that word and all bigotry – racial or otherwise. I sincerely apologize to society for spending my first 18+/- years believing successful, white, straight Christians were somehow superior members of the human race. That is my most shameful admission, but it is the truth. While I can’t change those years, I am no longer that person.

I don’t know Paula Deen – the person or the celebrity – nor do I know that she is currently a racist. It is neither hard to believe or understand that at some point in her life she may have been racist. She didn’t choose to be born into the racially segregated south, and the reality is we know what we are taught. I believe I should be judged on the person I am today – the person who eventually rejected the bigotry.

Not that it matters, but I judge Paula Deen on her honesty about her past and how she chooses to handle this very important conversation. Children are still being raised to think in this bigoted way. We need look no further than Jackson, MS for proof. Even if Paula Deen is currently racist, we should reach out to her and teach her. If she is not, I encourage her to use this opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about the reality of racism in America.

Constitutional Blasphemy

Pledge

I suppose I’ll get some shit for posting this on my Facebook page, maybe lose some friends. Oh well. I hope somebody asks me why I feel the need to constantly post about my non-belief. My family believes I do it just to piss people off, but that really isn’t the reason. I love my country, and I feel like the addition of God to the original pledge is constitutional blasphemy. America is a secular nation to ensure religious freedom. Why is that so hard to understand?

Living as an open liberal atheist in the Bible Belt is not easy. Everyone assumes everyone is a Christian; sending emails praising God and condemning those who want to “remove God from everything”. I usually correct anyone making that assumption about me. For some reason, people find any mention of my beliefs offensive, but never consider their own declarations offensive. I am willing to keep my beliefs personal – as they should be – when I am no longer expected to accept public displays of other’s beliefs or have to be subjected to public prayers or being singled out for not participating.

The purpose of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause is to guarantee an individual’s right to live by her own beliefs. If our government favors any one set of religious beliefs, then we no longer have religious freedom. Our founders realized the importance of religious freedom because they remembered a government sanctioned religion and its ability to oppress – and oppress it does. While we are far from having a government sanctioned religion, it would be untrue to say our government doesn’t favor Christianity.

As you can see from the Pledge of Allegiance, our money, and our motto, God has entered our government despite the egregious constitutional violation of the Establishment Clause. Our government is making the assumption that all of America’s citizens trust in a “God”. Even if you are a believer, this should be offensive as an American. Imagine the words “There is no god” printed on your money, or a world where no churches were allowed, and all religious texts were banned. That is not religious freedom and that is why our government should not favor any one set of beliefs.

While I am vocal about my non-belief knowing some will be offended, that is my constitutional right. To inject one’s religious beliefs into public life and force others to either participate or be singled out is unconstitutional and unpatriotic. So I will continue to be vocal and public with my beliefs until I am no longer subjected to the beliefs of others.

American First

I am so proud to be an American. Today, and every day – especially in the face of tragedy – before we are republican/democrat, conservative/liberal, religious/non-religious or any other thing that divides us, we are Americans and united we stand.

The USA definitely can improve, and we’re not 1st in every category of measure. Americans bicker and argue over politics and religion and a long list of other things, but one thing most of us share is compassion for each other and love of country. When you hurt Americans, you hurt our country and threaten our way of life, and we will literally stop our lives to find you.

What unfolded in Massachusetts after the Boston Marathon bombing showed America at her greatest. Law enforcement agencies and citizens came together to show the world that while we are all individuals with individual ideals that sometimes divided us within, we are united as Americans always. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.

So today, and every day, let us look at each other as Americans first, knowing that while we may disagree on many things, we love the USA and united we stand.

 

 

Which side of the fence?

I received this email a few years ago from a former friend of mine. While reading this, keep in mind my friend was a single working mother receiving food stamps, state-funded health insurance and disability benefits for her daughter. In no way do I fault her for receiving the benefits. She did not abuse her benefits, she did not drink or use drugs. Her daughter was severely mentally disabled and was a handful. The mother worked hard, had an associate’s degree in drafting and made $9.00 per hour. This demographic, along with veterans and seniors are the majority, not the minority, of government benefit recipients. At the time, I also was a single working mother, although I only had 2 children to her 4. I never received any state benefits and provided insurance for me and my children through my job – because I was able to, just as she would have if she had been able. Imagine my shock and surprise, as a registered Democrat, to receive this from her.

Which side of the fence?If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a Republican reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A Democrat will delete it because he’s “offended”.

Well, I forwarded it.

I didn’t respond to her, but I wrote something to get it off my chest. Well, guess what? Today I received this email from another “friend”. So today, I’m posting it…to get it off my chest.

Which side of the fence?

I never wonder, because I’m too informed to vote for the current group called Republicans.

If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. The main reason so many gun owners are Republican is because they believe this lie below.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. Reasonable gun control is not outlawing guns, and it does work. Another Fox News lie (just one of a million)

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. Only a Republican would believe this.

If a Republican is homosexual, he demands legislated respect. If a Republican is not a homosexual, he demands a law to make it illegal.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands equal protections and benefits under the law as guaranteed in the US Constitution.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he points fingers because it is NEVER his fault.
A Democrat wonders how to better not only his situation, but the situation of others.

If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he demands that they be shut down.
Democrats just switch channels.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church, and he remains very quiet about his religious status, and when asked, usually pretends to be a Christian.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion kept out of our SECULAR government, as instructed in the Constitution.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he just lowers his employee wages or cheats someone to cover the cost, thereby making everyone else pay his way.
A Democrat works and pays for his.

If a Republican reads this, he’ll forward it because his friends are also uninformed.
A Democrat will revise it… because it is so inaccurate.

Well, I revised it.

Support Marriage Equality -Support Freedom

gay-american-flag-749601Marriage equality as it applies to being an American is a matter of respecting the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution. Our founders – remembering the power of religion to oppress, and recognizing the value of individual freedom – made a great effort to guarantee that laws were not passed respecting an establishment of religion or impeding the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately, there are those who either do not understand this effort or do not respect it.

Most opponents of same-gender marriage believe homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are wrong for religious reasons. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Some people believe – and science confirms – homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are a biological reality. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Unfortunately, this group is being denied that right by being denied equal marriage rights.

Vocal supporters of marriage equality – like myself – are often accused of forcing their opinions on those who believe differently. Nobody is forcing opponents of marriage equality to enter into same-gender marriage. Vocal support of marriage equality is a constitutional right, while supporting laws denying marriage equality supports a violation of the US Constitution by forcing the beliefs of some on all.

The serious consequence that opponents don’t understand is that these laws pave the way to forcing everyone to live by the beliefs others, including them. Something our founders understood to be a threat to all of our individual freedoms. All Americans should agree that each individual has the right to one’s own beliefs and the right to live according to those beliefs with equal protections and benefits under the law.

Supporting marriage equality is supporting freedom – yours and mine. As George Washington once said, “As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.” At this point, that is not the reality.

tnfreethinker:

The majority of the Republican party is clueless, as former Senator Rick Santorum shows. This is the party stripping Americans of their rights. Liberal Americans do not want the government to provide all of our needs. We want our government to protect our rights from the ‘ruling class’, such as Senator Santorum. We are happy to provide for ourselves when we are paid for our productivity and contribution to a companies success, instead of funding homes around the world, and luxury cars and boats for the owners. Owners deserve to make a profit, but not by paying slave wages to its’ employees.

Originally posted on CNN Political Ticker:

(CNN) – Former Sen. Rick Santorum delivered a solemn but forceful rallying cry when speaking about the death of a close family member Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

With tears in his eyes, the former presidential candidate talked emotionally about his nephew who passed away Thursday in Pittsburgh from what Santorum described as “a horribly painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body.”

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