Who’s in the closet?

Just a quick post this morning to vent.

I know a few of you probably read the CNN article this morning, “When Christians Become a Hated Minority.” And you were probably wondering, since when did Christians become a minority and who said anything about hate?

We don’t “hate” Christians. We just want them to keep their mouths closed. Big difference.

The behavior–the sin, if you will–that we don’t like Christians committing is that they’ve made themselves the morality police. Take for example, this quote:

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

Mr. Litfin thinks that his God should be our God. He fails to understand that this magical imaginary man should not be making the rules and moral proclamations for the rest of the country. If Christians want to talk about how evil __________________(fill in the blank) is, I don’t have a problem with that. They just need to keep it inside their religious homes and places of worship. The rest of us don’t want to hear it.

When it comes to my neighbor’s sexual preference it’s none of my business. Unless he’s harming someone or engaging in sexual acts with a 12-year-old or his dog, I don’t give a damn what the hell he does. It’s not. my. business.

Isn’t it enough that we, as taxpayers, subsidize their churches so that they can preach whatever they want amongst themselves? Shouldn’t that be enough of a forum?

You and I probably find this comment ironic:

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Isn’t it funny that some Christian folks think that they are “in the closet” because it’s no longer acceptable to make gays feel ashamed of being gay? Many of us have been in the closet for a while, and I haven’t noticed any Christians in here. Have you?

There’s probably a reason why they feel funny about disclosing their views on homosexuality–and it’s not because they’re hiding in any closet. Discrimination is not OK, no matter what it’s dressed up as. They can no longer whip gays with god’s belt.

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78 responses to “Who’s in the closet?

  1. Love ReadingYour Blog!

  2. Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

    Yes, Mr. Litfin, you should be able to say that publicly. And, indeed, you are allowed to say that.

    People who disagree should be allowed to laugh at you and ridicule you when you say that.

    Both are examples of free speech.

    If you find yourself ridiculed for saying such things, that is not persecution. If you don’t like being ridiculed, then you need only stop being ridiculous.

  3. I think it’s this kind of behavior that will drive Christianity into the ground. As long as they keep their minds closed, they will not be able to progress in a progressive society. If this guy speaks for many Christians, they should think about how their intolerances make them look and understand that this is a big reason for people to turn away from the religion. They should examine how they feel, feeling like the “minority” and see how minorities like gays and non-believers feel. The Catholic Church itself has not been a stellar model of moral behavior. Maybe more people are getting wise to this. Whatever happened to: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” — or does this only apply to “good Christians?”

  4. “Hated minority”? I don’t have any atheist friends who have ever expressed “hate” towards any other religion or their beliefs. I do have MANY Christian friends who have expressed that sort of sentiment to those who go against what their Bible says is supposedly right. I can’t help but feel they use that sort of language only because they are capable of feeling that sort of thing themselves. Not sure if that makes any sense. Sort of the same thing as the thought that one can’t see something in someone else unless you can see it within yourself. At any rate, Happy Hate-Free Sunday!

  5. From where i’m sitting… it is the Christians doing the hating… Gandhi had it right when he said I like your Christ… Not so much your Christians

  6. Xtains claim they don’t hate or want to be discriminatory towards homosexuals but their policies state otherwise. Civil rights means you give a class, sect, race, etc of people equal civil rights that you have. You may not agree with your daughter marrying outside her race, but she has the civil right to do so. Legally consenting adults should have the same civil rights to choose their partners without some religious sects moral consent. That is discrimination when you want to expand your hate and intolerance outside your church.
    And no, it is not the same as dating underage children or marrying your horse. I don’t respect people that do that. I don’t believe that should be tolerated or accepted. I discriminate against those individuals. Children cannot legally consent nor can animals. It is not the same.

  7. When NC had its Marriage Equality vote last year, my anti-gay “friends” accused me of trying to squelch their 1st amendment rights when I argued against them. OF COURSE they can say whatever they want, but they better be prepared for some serious opposition. Hell, they got their despicable amendment passed, but they still feel persecuted. There is absolutely no way to satisfy their appetites for oppression.

  8. This is such a great post! Christians in the closet? I have never heard of any Christian who didn’t take it upon themselves to tell me exactly what I should believe or feel. Minority? Right, so Christianity isn’t the largest religious group in the US and the world more likely? I swear, the whole “Oh, we are being persecuted for our beliefs” whining is ridiculous. No one cares what you believe, just keep it to yourself!

  9. This false sense of persecution really ramps up with the “War on Christmas” later in the year. Talk about a tempest in a teapot. Christmas is the money-making bonanza for how many businesses and there’s now a war on it? I doubt it.

    Like old, white men, Christians are now realizing that the sun on their dominance and bullying is now setting. And thank goodness. On all accounts. The sooner we stop wasting valuable time listening to ANY religious fantasy and get started using science and logic to solve the world’s problems, the better.

    And the aspect where these huge, wealthy corporations don’t pay a cent in taxes drives me insane. They can preach political dogma, effect public policy, deny health services to women, and, in short, cost society countless millions and they get a 100% tax break. That needs to stop. For instance, the LDS church is building an enormous mall in Utah…and it will all be tax-free! A. Mall.

    http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Mormon-Mall-City-Creek-profits-go-tax-free-to-the-Prophet

    This isn’t about persecuting Christians or anybody else, it’s about being FAIR. And you would think that the last people you’d have to convince to do their fair share would be Christians. But you would be wrong.

    • @momofthree You’re preaching to the choir. I so agree with you. Corporations–and churches–affect politics and legislation, and they SHOULD pay taxes.

      “And the aspect where these huge, wealthy corporations don’t pay a cent in taxes drives me insane. They can preach political dogma, effect public policy, deny health services to women, and, in short, cost society countless millions and they get a 100% tax break. That needs to stop. For instance, the LDS church is building an enormous mall in Utah…and it will all be tax-free! A. Mall.”

  10. I like it when the religious say crazy things because it allows the majority of non-crazy Americans to see what loons they really are.

  11. Well, they can’t hate on people of other colors now, so they have to hate on the gays. Or women. They’re still pretty good at doing that in certain churches where women are still, in this century, not allowed to hold many positions in the church. Sure, they can be freaking astronauts, but lead singing? No way! This also helps them to be able to control the bodies of women under the guise of protecting unborn who they will stop protecting as soon as the unborn becomes the born . . . ah the religious right. I could go on and on. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t recognize Jesus if he was right in front of them. He’d probably appear as a gay homeless mom on welfare and they’d kick her to the side.

  12. “Funny you’re the broken one but I’m the only one who needed saving.”
    (from “Stay”)

  13. Haha – how dare WE be intolerant of their intolerance!

  14. Bryan Litfin at MBI was brainwashed as a child and has never gotten over it, therefore he is still a child because “Human beings attain true adulthood only when they learn to think for themselves.”…pir faqir
    “On religion: to each his own, IN SILENCE.”…pir faqir 1963
    It bothers me that I have to pay taxes so that churches, mosques and synagogues, along with a lot of businesses, don’t have to pay any at all. What we need is COMPLETE separation of religion and state.

    • @pir faqir Yes, it bothers me, too. I feel like, as taxpayers, we sometimes subsidize hate, too. But we always are subsidizing someone’s preference. Nothing more. It’s not right.

  15. We as a society have needed to discuss these topics for a very long time. There is much more to hear than what is found on the fringes of the conversation.

  16. Here’s the thing I struggle with…

    The one side says only heteros should marry and claim those in favor of gay marriage are the other side. No, The “other side” would be insisting that only gays can marry. Allowing both straight and gay marriage already is the freakin’ middle ground.

    I realize this isn’t quite the point of the post, but I’m so tired of standing in the middle, the compromise position, and having the lunatics claim I’m on an opposing side.

  17. I would not shed a tear if all religions vanished overnight with their (mostly) bronze-age ideas of humanity.
    Boo-effing-hoo, these good xians cannot condemn negroes anymore and now even gays are starting to be off-limits – how can they survive all this liberalism?

    I definitely don´t and won´t hate other people – I can OTOH loath them. Evangelicals are quite high on my list….

  18. You contradict yourself. You say “They just need to keep it inside their religious homes and places of worship. The rest of us don’t want to hear it.” But on the other hand, you think its not okay for people to have the same opinion about homosexuality? If someone says “I don’t want to see homosexuality in public, that offends me” – wouldn’t that be considered discrimination? Its a two-way street, right?

    I am Catholic who also supports gays, so maybe that allows me to see this from both sides. I respect your opinions and you clearly have deep-rooted issues with “religion”… those are your demons and I’m not going to delve into them; but I think you often let your passion and your emotion cloud your ability to use reason and detached analysis. Its ironic, because those are the very qualities that you hate so much about “them”.

    • @Molly There are many ex-Catholics here, and you probably already know that I was raised as one. Let me clear up a misconception–one that has been voiced here many times not just by me but by others, because I don’t agree with the premise of religion (and you) that doesn’t mean that I have “deep-rooted issues” with religion. I have no issues, no “demons,” and it’s ironic that you would use that terminology seeing that I don’t even believe in them. I’m pointing out hypocrisies, but these are not the reasons I (and others) don’t believe.

      I’m not contradicting myself. If you believe homosexuality is “offensive,” look away. People once felt the same way about couples who were of different races.

      It’s not my business whom people love. Why should it be yours?

  19. @dam you are still missing my point. You say “If you believe homosexuality is “offensive” look away” (and I don’t find it offensive, for what its worth). But then to put your own request back to you, if you think Christianity is offensive, why can’t you just look away? Is it a two way street or not?

    If there were a similar blog to this that criticized homosexuality the way you criticize Christianity, wouldn’t it be considered “hate” page? Wouldn’t that be discrimination? If I’m missing something here, please point it out. That is just my observation as an fairly dispassionate observer.

    • @Molly I understood your point. If you’ve been reading these posts, then you know I (many of us) have indeed “looked the other way” with Christianity. If you’ve been reading, then you know that all we ask is that your religious views be removed from anything government.

      This is not the same as a homosexual relationship–and surely you know–because we all share our government. Your talking apples and insects.

      You’re the one that showed up here, on a blog of nonbelievers, where we talk about the hypocrisies, inconsistencies and poor logic of religious belief. You’re in our church. Still, you’re welcome to comment, but your hardly a “dispassionate observer.”

  20. @dam its just a lot of gray area isn’t it? Hence all the debate. You’re right, I am a believer in a non-believer blog site, and I’m not trying to stir the pot…just interjecting my two cents. In my opinion, nothing wrong with a healthy debate or discussion. No need for snarkiness or defensiveness, we can just agree to disagree…

    • @molly. Funny, Molly. I see you.

      We’re not actually debating, are we? Go back to your original comment. You were not debating the issue-merely attacking me.

      If you really believe there’s so much gray area, you’re not much of a Catholic, are you? The church tells you how to think about these issues. And there is no gray.

  21. I think Molly raises a fair point that deserves to be considered.

    A Christian might say: “I don’t care if you’re gay, just keep it in your own house and don’t force the rest of the world to accept your gay marriage and thus have to be exposed constantly to your deviant lifestyle.”

    How different is that from saying: “I don’t care if you Christians have ideas about right and wrong that you say come from God, just don’t force that into law and expose the rest of us to your insanity?”

    It seems pretty equivalent to me.

    • @frogman Is this a trick question? I think that’s exactly what we’re saying, “”I don’t care if you Christians have ideas about right and wrong that you say come from God, just don’t force that into law and expose the rest of us to your insanity?” But that’s not what Molly was saying.

      She was saying the homosexuality issue = religion issue. Not so. The latter is a choice, the former is not a choice. The former affects only the people involved, the latter does not when brought into the public sphere. I do not agree that it’s a “deviant lifestyle,” and I don’t get why you care so much what two consenting adults do.

      I would not suggest that you keep to your house because of your gender, religion, race or sexual orientation….

  22. BaronGreystone

    Christianity, in my opinion, is a funny thing. I got a little shock when I recently saw a post online. The poster maintained that it was part of his religion to be intolerant of other religions and belief systems. His position was that since Christianity was the one true way, he was compelled to be intolerant of anything that Christianity disagreed with. He could not live and let live, or show respect for other beliefs. Not at all in tune with the modern world and our efforts to promote tolerance.

    • @BaronGreystone I think that all religions, not just Christianity, teach this. In order to be a follower, you have to reject all other belief systems. Yours has to be the right and only way.

  23. “There’s probably a reason why they feel funny about disclosing their views on homosexuality–and it’s not because they’re hiding in any closet. Discrimination is not OK, no matter what it’s dressed up as. They can no longer whip gays with god’s belt.”

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what minorities WE are in this part of the country, and it’s really opened my eyes about the pain that LGBTs have been going through since the beginning of time really. The act of having to hide our true feelings/beliefs, being treated differently once we are outed, and the guilt some people try to send our way. It leaves me wondering what took me so long to stand up for them, along with the rest of the world. Christians are having a hard time accepting that they are flat. out. wrong. Discriminating against someone’s sexual orientation is no different than being racist. It is that simple. I appreciate your voice in this so much as a fellow minority in a region full of hypocrites. Molly and The Frogman are completely missing the point that sexual orientation is not a religion.

    • @crystalintexas Well put: “Discriminating against someone’s sexual orientation is no different than being racist. It is that simple.”

  24. LanceThruster

    Hated minority?

    How about feared and pampered majority?

  25. To be clear, I’m an atheist who supports the rights of gays to marry. I just think that Molly’s point was unfairly dismissed as trying to stir up trouble when she was just stating that these two statements are essentially equivalent:

    “Keep your [sexuality or religion] to yourself and stop trying to turn it into law.”

    Sure. You can argue (and I think successfully) that sexuality is not chosen. But you can make the same argument about religion just as successfully. Have you looked at the statistics for the number of people who end up leaving the religion of their upbringing. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not easy.

    • @the frogman As Crystalintexas wrote, “Discriminating against someone’s sexual orientation is no different than being racist. It is that simple.”

      Those two statements about one’s religion and one’s sexual orientation are not “essentially equivalent,” not even in the same ball park.

      If you want me to take you seriously, don’t suggest something as ridiculous as we are born Catholic. Brainwashed, yes. Born, no. Seems to me you are confusing the two…

  26. It sounds like you’re reading what you think I’m saying instead of the words I’ve actually typed. Maybe I need to start with this as a prelude:

    I agree with the points you made in your post. I agree with Crystalintexas’s comment about discrimination. I agree that gays should be afforded the right to marry. I do not believe that anyone is born Catholic. I also believe that religion should be kept out of law that affects everyone.

    Now read this next part closely: I think Molly made a fair point that was rejected based on emotion rather than on logic.

    That’s all. Peace.

  27. @frogman I remember you–You’ve commented here before. It’s irrelevant whether you and I agree or not.

    I read your comments, and you (and Molly) are trying to equate homosexuality with religion. Gay rights do not affect you nor me. Introducing creationism as a valid scientific theory into our schools does. You are trying to dismiss these points by stating that I made them based on emotion rather than logic. I doubt you would say that to a man.
    Peace here, too.

  28. LanceThruster

    @dam – Good point.

    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit! ~ George Carlin

  29. @dam: Thank you for the warm welcome on my first post last week.

    @momofthree: I agree with what you stated.

    @saab93f : Yep.

    People in a position of power tend to act poorly when they begin to lose that power. They (meaning any religious group in any country that is in a position of power) like the favoritism and perks, and then view anyone who would encroach on their special prerogatives as a threat not only to themselves but society (the mechanism that gives and maintains their power). They cannot accept change and the shifting of fortunes. They miss the days when they could act with impunity. In other words, they hate being equal with anyone else. After all, their god told them they were special, so we should accept it. That is the danger of listening to voices in your head and acting on it: it makes you crazy.

    Also, there is a growing trend in America to view freedom of speech as being “freedom from criticism.” People can say what they want, but they should not act surprised when other take issue with it and speak against them. This is part of what frustrates the religious: we’re not supposes to call them on the crazy stuff they say and just accept it. Anyone who has a hard time with criticism usually has a questionable stance from the start.

    • @Derrick Good point, “Also, there is a growing trend in America to view freedom of speech as being “freedom from criticism.”

  30. I view religion as another form of bullying. And what do we do with bullies? We stand our ground and stick up for ourselves and what we believe in. Unfortunately the way they see it is a war on their religion. I agree with saab93f. “I would not shed a tear if all religions vanished overnight with their (mostly) bronze-age ideas of humanity.” As much good as many say religion does, good deeds can still be and are being achieved without religion.

    I’ve been watching a documentary on CurrentTV called Missionaries of Hate. It’s about Uganda being taken over by the Evangelical faith. 90% are now Christian.10% Muslim. The Evangelicals are on a rampage preaching against homosexuality. The gay rights activists constantly have to move their offices because they are being targeted. One activist said it wasn’t a real big problem until the Evangelicals showed up. Also just recently was the story of three South African teens that died after they attended a camp meant to make them more conventionally masculine. They were allegedly starved, tortured and beaten by employees who ran the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa.

    What upsets me about religious folk who are against gays is that their ignorance consumes them. If a baby can be born with both sexes then sexual orientation is not a choice. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child 32 yrs ago and reading about the developing stages. I can’t remember exactly how far along in the pregnancy it is when the sex is determined, but it is a very fine line as to how a female or male is selected. It is all about genetic makeup something that cannot be seen unless of course they are born with both sexes. If religion would only teach that!

    Another documentary that is worth watching about homosexuality and religious beliefs is “For the Bible Tells Me So.” Religious parents who were adamantly against gays until their own child confessed to being homosexual. Their journey through education to acceptance.

    • @mtprairiegirl I saw that documentary, Missionaries of Hate, and it was very moving. (Made me cry.) That is an interesting way to look at religion–as bullying those in and outside of the church.

      It is frustrating that people would think homosexuality (which is not a choice) should be treated the same as religion (which is a choice). I don’t think it’s fair to call homosexuality a deviant behavior. For some, it is normal. Ironically, some of the same people who label homosexuality as wrong and sinful, have no problem with two women being together. It’s only sexy when it suits them; otherwise it’s repulsive.

    • @mtprairiegirl PS Thanks for the other recommendation, “For the Bible Tells Me So.” I’ll see if I can find that one…

  31. @ Molly: I was raised a Catholic, and you saying you’re for gay rights and Catholic is inconsistent with the Vatican’s teachings–even Vatican II. Your’e what we used to call a Cafeteria Catholic–picking this, choosing that. But true Catholicism means you follow what the Pope says, and current Church doctrine states that homosexuality is against God. Love the sinner, hate the sin. How do you reconcile this and still call yourself a Catholic?

  32. Right the hell on, mtprairiegirl, right on! The reason why I find it offensive when christians demand respect is because it’s difficult to be reasonable with people who base their way of life upon something so unreasonable, the bible.

    Deborah, one of your readers who commented above has an amazing blog. Rachel, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but there is an entry that you wrote not too long ago about what might happen to your child should you die. There is even more uncertainty for your situation because you and your partner for a decade cannot get married. It is such a heart breaking article! Everyone should read it!

    I would make a plea to women in religion, especially faiths that have “holy” books such as the bible, torah or koran as their esteemed doctrine: what do your scriptures say about our gender? Do you see where your gods and saviors have treated women horribly or have at least encouraged men to do so? Now to the ladies who are catholic, united pentecostal (as well as some other pentecostal denominations), freewill baptist, southern baptist, orthodox jew, and traditional muslim: take a look around your particular place of worship this weekend, what do you see in your meeting room? I would imagine 50-75% of your congregation is female. What sex is the person up front (imam, rabbi, pastor, or priest) leading the service, and what sex fills most, if not all, leadership positions? Yeah, and let me guess what the women do there, mostly unpaid, one or two, maybe, with little pay. More than likely, they are secretaries, children or women’s classes teachers, and cook, as well as clean, the church. All of those deeds are important, but it’s sad that the women at your place of worship can’t have different positions or at least “mix it up” once in a while.

    • Here’s a link to Rachel’s blog. I don’t remember that particular post, but maybe you can link it here. http://piecesofreligion.wordpress.com/

      As for the women in religion….even my mother takes issue with the Catholic church for excluding women. Funny how these men get to dictate what women do with their bodies…

  33. LanceThruster

    @momofthree – Religions change with the times, or they cease to be.

    How do you reconcile that some RCC leadership want those who support gay rights/marriage not to take communion, but do not also make the same case for those who support the death penalty? Seems the leadership is practicing “cafeteria” Catholicism.

    I am a former Catholic turned atheist. The church has a sordid history of their treatment of “my” people that has me rejecting any of their claims of moral absolutes. If you cannot even determine that torturing and killing people for rejecting their belief is wholly, completely, and undeniably wrong…what would cause you to give then any credence whatsoever for their other positions?

  34. LanceThruster

    @dam – I am reminded of the Hunter S. Thompson observation at the end of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

    We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled that 60’s. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed around America selling “consciousness expansion” without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously… All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody… or at least some force – is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Bloviating gasbag Rush Limbaugh once remarked, “If you don’t believe in God, you have no meaning in your life, and you will thus search for meaning, and you will find it anywhere. Most people, even atheists, want religion of some kind in their life.”

    Good old Rush is always finding new ways to be wrong. What arrogance to ascribe his myopic views to everyone else.

    Christopher Hitchens sees with a far clearer eye –

    “In order to be absolutely honest, I should not leave you with the impression that I am part of the generalised agnosticism of our culture. I am not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful. …. I do not envy believers their faith. I am relieved to think that the whole story is a sinister fairy tale; life would be miserable if what the faithful affirmed was actually the case. Why do I say that? Well, there may be people who wish to live their lives under a cradle-to-grave divine supervision; a permanent surveillance and monitoring. But I cannot imagine anything more horrible or grotesque.(p. 55)

    and also —

    A true believer must believe that he or she is here for a purpose and is an object of real interest to a Supreme Being; he or she must also claim to have at least an inkling of what that Supreme Being desires. I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator – that’s beyond my conceit. (p. 57)

    from: http://www.naturalthinker.net/trl/texts/Hitchens,Christopher/LetterstoaContrarian.html

    • @LT Really nice, germane quotes…

      I do think many people are happy to live with “cradle-to-grave divine supervision” in exchange for (the illusion of) the safety net religion provides. But I agree–how lame.

      It’s funny that quote from Rush. It’s human nature to find meaning in things, to look for order. Yes, we all have a religion of some sort.

  35. @LT: CH is definitely on of my favorites. Unfortunately his talent was prematurely extinguished.

    Fiercely intelligent, beautifully articulate and extensively knowledgeable. Atheism needs more prponents like him – fortunately many more rise up every day – hopefully soon enough we will reach that critical mass that allows for balanced discussions even at the highest echelons of power.

  36. @dam……I agree homosexuality is not a choice, but I do think there are a few that may lean that way by choice only because they possibly had experienced many bad relationships with the opposite sex. There are those you can just tell they are gay by mannerisms or even the way they talk. There again….not their choice. My cousin (now deceased) was gay. When we were little he preferred playing house and dolls with me rather than trucks with my brother. He and I were very close when we were little. I had no knowledge of the term gay until he was in his early 20’s and it came out that he was gay. It never bothered me. I loved him just the same. He actually tried having a relationship with a woman only because he felt pressured by society at that time and because the gay topic was somewhat new and very unaccepted. He did however father a child, but the relationship dissolved shortly before the baby was born. My cousin was a very nice looking masculine guy, but he definitely had more of a feminine disposition.

  37. All I know is that I am much happier as an atheist, and I can’t believe just how much my little family has changed from Spring of last year to now.

    Easter of last year was one of the very last church services I attended. At the time my oldest (who recently turned eight) voluntarily read the old testament to fill in his daily required reading for school. All four of us were totally on edge with each other and miserable. At the time my oldest still had a desire to learn Spanish and Japanese. My baby (who will be five here soon) seemed a little sad and didn’t talk much. My husband was a lifer in the military who began to become anti-war half a year into his last leg of service. We were attempting to continue church one last time “for the children”, whatever that means! We were debating where to go to church, should we tithe or give offerings and as we had always done, found ourselves arguing on the way to and from church.

    Now, fast forward to spring of this year….for Easter we went to the zoo for the first couple of hours they were open, after the kids got their goodies in their baskets (as they always have). We had a great time before all the church people got there, and it was right before the rain started back up again as well. We decided to save the ham for a few days, and my husband made us all chilli. We watched our youngest boy’s “The Bee Movie” cartoon, and then watched our other son’s in depth movie, the original “Footloose”, ha! BTW, I recently found out that Kevin Bacon is an atheist after we saw the movie. My husband now works for a Christian network of hospitals since retiring and my oldest boy is taking electric guitar lessons, and has excelled these past few months. Though his teacher is a Christian, he is still a very calm, and patient person who has taught our boy “Smoke on the Water”, and “Seven Nation Army”. Now our oldest would like to learn Greek instead of his previous preferences for he tells me “I want to learn Greek so that I can better understand Greek mythology!” We are also looking into getting him a nice, used complete set of the Harry Potter hardbound books. Our youngest is more talkative and much more happy!

    Don’t get me wrong, we have tough times, but I enjoy not having “a middle man” (god, jesus, devil, and so on) in my life. The first six months were really rough, but that was because I only talked to my husband about atheism, I didn’t even reach out to anyone on line until half a year or so into my de-conversion. We had health issues during that time, and my husband had a really bad scare with his.

    Here is an illustration of much happier my home is now..

    Recently My oldest, for some reason, was talking about faith healers and how watching them on TV is like watching an adventure comedy. (I have to give it to him, even a couple of years ago he told me that he thought people falling down to the ground was gross. As he would say then “Don’t they worry about germs?!”) As soon as he made that comment, my little one yells “HA, HA, HA, BE HEALED!!!!!!!!!!!” smacks his hand on his forehead and pretends to fall back. Oh man, my hubby was on the computer in the same room and all four of us laughed so hard!

    • @Charity What wonder experiences!!! Thanks for sharing those!! I felt like I was in the room with you–I can see a little one imitating a faith healer!

      Does your husband worry that someone will find out about your family’s beliefs?

  38. @LT & saab93f…..I too am such a fan of Hitchens and miss him greatly. Out of the Four Horsemen he was my favorite then Harris. I found myself watching more of his debates than any other. When I found out he had cancer I was so depressed. I thought “who will fight for us now?” Not that there aren’t several others out there helping to fight against religion, but CH had such a compelling way of getting his point across. I so agree with his comment and feel the same way “I am not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist”

    As far as Rush goes…..it frightens me how so many listen to him as well as others that are like him. Such ignorance and hatred that spew from their mouths! Pat Robertson is another that is off his rocker!

  39. @Charity…..if they just wouldn’t take the Bible literally then maybe you could reason with them, right? And then if you confront them for taking it literally and start pointing out much of the bad stuff written then all of the sudden it’s that you’re only to take “parts” of it literally.

    Glad to know your transition to becoming a non-believer was positive although not so much at first. I asked my husband if he felt like huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders after gradually becoming a non-believer. He said, and I agree it’s been far more stressful and quite lonely now for us because we live in a small farming community and when you don’t go to church people notice. You no longer belong to a flock. We’re not bar people either although we enjoy drinks on occasion. In a small town if you don’t go to church or the bars as funny as that may sound it’s hard to fit in. Every organization is also religiously affiliated. A couple of years ago I joined The Soroptimist, a women’s charity group and quit because of how religious all the women were. Got tired of all church talk!

    This blog has been a life saver for me and am so grateful I finally found some likeminded people to read and share views with!

  40. Hey Deborah, I don’t think that my husband is too worried about his job. He works 30 miles away. As we have discussed on this blog before, it’s different for a man to be a non-believer than what it is for us women. He did tell me at one time that he has to be “careful” of what he says at work because of our belief system, but I doubt it would make much of an impact. I guess those of us who are penis impaired are supposed to magically trust every one and everything, especially god and man. Sorry, I don’t have any pixie dust in “me knickers” to be magical.

    Oh Julie, it makes me sad to think about you and your husband living in a far away farm town all by yourselves. Like you guys, my husband and I aren’t into the club/bar scene either and it’s hard for use to make friends here. Please don’t think that I’ve got my new lifestyle all figured out. I am only just beginning to understand who I am. I guess I’m trying to focus more on the personal triumphs I’ve seen for my little family this past year. We live in a Tennessee town of only 10,000 people. Tennessee has a huge population of retirees, and where we live has a great deal of young families. I am honestly at an advantage having small children and being a stay at home mom because I don’t have to deal with religious employers, employees, and clients like other non-believers face every day of their lives. However, because of who I am and where I live I am surrounded by women who are in the same situation, but they are all church addicts. I’m sure you’ve read some of my comments about how the people are in my community, especially my immediate neighbors. For my first two years at our house these people didn’t like me. I guess in the grand scheme of things it made it easier for me to leave Christianity, and be who I really am. Grant it, I was 39 at the time, and had struggled with Christianity all my life, especially the second half of it. I had reasoned years ago that I may not have chosen to come into the faith (I was born into a [extreme] Christian family.), but if I were to ever leave it would be because of MY choosing.

    As a teenager at bible school (over 20 years ago) I remember asking my professor tough questions in our tiny Pentateuch (Torah) class. This class was about Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. We also studied the Haftarah scriptures (other Jewish passages in the Old Testament). My teacher was/is a Messianic Jew, and I admit, he tried his best to kindly answer my questions. According to him, and other teachers, and preachers I’ve listened to throughout my life, the evil things that we see in scripture are simply the recordings of customs and laws of that time at those locations. Though I didn’t agree with such deeds, I tried to at least understand that the writers were simply recording “history”. However, I began to realize that some of those horrible acts were either overlooked by god or he himself gave men orders to do so, and would sometimes reward such behavior.

    When people of faith tell you that they read the bible often or know it well they more than likely have what I call “the trophy twelve”. Many Christians keep a dozen scriptures on a loop, studying and repeating the same scriptures over and over. Each passage could be anything from one verse to a whole chapter. Now, some are a little “deeper” they may actually reiterate up to two or three dozen different passages from the bible. As you can see this still pales in comparison with the number of books, chapters, and verses that they are NOT reading/understanding in the bible. A good Christian also knows that you can’t base doctrine on one scripture/passage, but many do. I will probably get into one example of that regarding comments that I just read about tithing on Deborah’s next blog entry.

    I am the worst kind of atheist when it comes to dealing with Christians because I know a good bit about the bible, and I have been where they’re at for so many years. Atheists have to realize that arguing politics, science, and history is ineffective in dealing with the religious, especially christians. You have to instead get them to research their own doctrines, prayer, dogma, and bible. I have learned an awful lot about all of those things because I desperately tried for decades to build upon a firm foundation in my relationship with god, jesus, and holy spirit. I’ve learned that if a relationship is one sided it’s not really a relationship. I DID NOT want to become an atheist. I was doing all I could do to stay until all I could do was leave.

    (Yikes, Deborah, I went long again, sorry!)

    • @Charity Love your comments. Yes, I agree that women are often dismissed (or just called the B-word). That’s why so few hold positions of power in churches, where they still hold tight to tradition. But you also don’t see that many female spokespeople for the atheist community. And, yet, we can affect the future in the way we raise our kids…

      I consider you our resident KJ Bible expert!!!

  41. LanceThruster

    One personal note regarding Christopher Hitchens. I had seen him speak at a couple of conferences in DC (Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Council for Secular Humanism). This was in the lead-up to the Iraq war. He was quite enthused for the US to be waging war against a Muslim country in that he felt that it served the dual purpose of drawing a line in the sand against Islamic fanaticism as well as a foot in the door for spreading secular freedoms to Islamic countries.

    It’s an area where he took the most flak because he largely supported G.W. Bush’s approach to GWOT (the Global War on Terrorism) and GSAVE (the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism). As much as I like the principled stand against anyone’s imposing their mythology on others, he unfortunately seemed to side with those who viewed this as a great crusade against the Mohammedens by America’s xian right (who scare me far more the Muslims because they are the ones constantly in my face, as part of the dominant local culture). You can reject everyone’s invisible buddy and still see that quite often one side is continuously abusing the other side (the IP conflict comes to mind).

    • @LT Re: “(who scare me far more the Muslims because they are the ones constantly in my face, as part of the dominant local culture)” Funny I was thinking this same thing last night; that I don’t really feel fear, nor have I, toward Muslims. I see xtians as more threatening–I guess, like you mentioned, because they’re here and they’re noisy. I think Muslims take the heart attack approach where xtians prefer cancer. Know what I mean?

      That’s interesting about CH. In supporting the GWOT, we become terrorists ourselves, too. All the innocents caught in the cross-fire, the damage to other nation’s infrastructure and impact on nature. It’s all too bad, really.

  42. Deborah, that is why so many of us were drawn to your blog through your CNN article! You are changing the face of atheism, better yet, your blog is showing the many faces of atheism. We are straights, bis, gays, moms, dads, lovers, partners, husbands, wives, boomers, gen-exers, and so much more!

    You are a wife, and mom living in TEXAS with a great mind, a calm disposition, and a sweet smile. You are shooting down stereotypes left and right, and showing the religious that we do have reason to question the establishment.

    Seriously, I really appreciate all that you do on your blog.

    THANK YOU!

    • @Charity That’s nice of you to say. Very nice. I’m humbled. I’m no heavyweight like Hitchens or Harris. I think we see in others what exists in ourselves. It takes a village to make a change…or perhaps just a blog or two….but I’m so grateful to have found you guys. It was pretty lonely here before.

  43. @Deborah, first, wow. Brave of you to be “out” now. That’s really cool.

    Second, your gender has no bearing on my comments. You keep stating that religion and sexuality are extremely different, but you don’t say why you think that. You do realize how difficult it is to leave a religion, don’t you? Most religious people did not choose their religion; it was forced upon them by their parents.

    I realize that at first glance there is a difference between something that is merely an idea and something that is genetically driven. Yet look at it empirically. What is the percentage of people who abandon the religion of their parents? Now, don’t brand me a heretic, but what is the percentage of people who over the course of their life change their first sexual orientation? Sexuality, like religion, is fluid. Not everybody changes theirs. But some do. For both sexuality and religion.

    Now, you can argue that even still, changing sexuality and changing religion are different. That the former is a biological imperative and the latter is a choice. But I think that at the very least you ignore the difficulty of breaking away from brainwashing.

    So it feels to me like an emotional argument to flatly state that they are different but to refuse to discuss any of the details. I’m sorry if I misread you on that. But if it’s not just an emotional response, then I assume you have reasons, beyond just wanting it to be true, that you assert that “Keep your {religion|sexuality} to yourself and stop trying to enshrine it into law” isn’t an essentially equivalent sentiment. Taken from the viewpoint of the type of person who would say each one, it just feels the same to me. The religious person would feel that certain sexual actions are an aberration, and the atheist would feel that religious thoughts are outmoded and bordering on the insane. In both cases, they are expressing the same sentiment: feel free to believe/practice what you want, but don’t change the law to suit your viewpoint.

    Now that’s not to say that they are both right about the issues in question. Just that they both feel the same way about the statement.

    Having said that, I’m not arguing for anyone to take a step back from fighting for marriage equality. Nor am I arguing that we allow religious ideas to be made into law. I’m just pointing out that Molly was making a valid point.

    • @the frogman Talk about contradictions. First, any time you say, “it feels to me….” You’re engaging in an emotional argument. Second, I thought I did tell my stand, but I’ll tell you again. Sexuality, like gender and skin color, IMO is NOT a choice. Can you argue that people change their sexual preference at some point in their lives? Of course, but you don’t know how many of those folks were bending to social pressures to begin with. And you haven’t given any data to support your claims. In the society in which I live, there is a lot of pressure on gays to be straight. Maybe not in PA where you live, although I have lived there, too, and know that parts of PA are no different than parts of TX. You say you’re, “not arguing for anyone to take a step back from fighting for marriage equality.” Yet you continue with the same old argument that gays have a choice to be gay (and that it’s a “deviant lifestyle,” as you mentioned in another comment). If people tell me that they are born gay, I believe them. However, we are not born Christian or Jewish or Muslim. It is not stamped into our DNA or on our foreheads. We are socialized into religion via our families and society. As an adult, you do choose to continue your belief. Do I know how difficult it is to leave a religion? Not really. Once I started reasoning things out, I could not believe again. To me, it is much harder to believe than not. But that’s not what you and I are discussing.

      I DO understand your argument. I don’t know if you’re just trolling, but I do understand what you’re saying. I just don’t agree. It sounds to me as if you have some underlying issues with homosexuality when you say these things: “…the religious person would feel that certain sexual actions are an aberration.” Why the hell would a religious person care what sexual acts two consenting adults do? I certainly don’t care, and I certainly don’t care (as I’ve said repeatedly) what a religious person believes, thinks, says or does as long as he/she doesn’t try to make their belief system our national beliefs.

      So. I hope I’ve explained well enough why I do not equate religious choice with one’s sexuality. I am not in any way emotionally invested in gay marriage or gay rights. I just don’t think you’re being fair. Thanks for the discussion, though. 🙂

  44. LanceThruster

    @Deborah – I’ve always felt our safety and security would be better served by taking the moral high ground and truly being that nation that rises about such blind destructiveness. We seem to live by the rules that when the “good guys” do a bad thing, it’s OK because we’re the good guys.

    • @LT Thanks for the Dawkins/Harris link, which I’ll read later tonight. I like your approach in the comment you made here–and you’d have my vote: “I’ve always felt our safety and security would be better served by taking the moral high ground and truly being that nation that rises about such blind destructiveness. We seem to live by the rules that when the “good guys” do a bad thing, it’s OK because we’re the good guys.”

  45. LanceThruster

    Interesting piece here on Dawkins and Harris and their attitudes towards Islam —

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2013/may/03/atheism-dawkins

    • @Lancethruster That was an interesting read on Dawkins/Harris. I thought this was great (Martin Robbins is the author, for those who haven’t read it): “Suffice it to say that in my lifetime white Christians have been consistently the largest terrorist threat in my country, and I suspect that one of the first lessons people learn at terrorist school is how to not look, dress and act like one of the villains from Team America: World Police.” And this, of course:” ” None of that alters the point that inflammatory, irrational and blundering attacks by privileged white male atheists against Muslims of all stripes achieve little more than book sales.”

      I think Robbins is spot on, but I can also see that sometimes “an honest man’s story never sticks together.” I read that quote about 20 years ago, but have not been able to remember if it was from a Hemingway or Twain book. I think it was the former, though it sounds like the latter. Damn getting old. It makes sense, though, that when you are being honest, you won’t always say or think the same thing twice because, as you add time, distance, new information, you occasionally do (and should) change your stance.

      Thanks, as always, for sharing the interesting reads you find.

  46. @Deborah, are we still talking about Molly’s comment? That was SO four days ago. LOL.

    Thanks for the reasoned response. I can see from your point of view that you think it’s far harder than I do for a person’s sexuality to change, and far easier for a person’s religion to change. I can respect that.

    I have a brother-in-law who declared himself bisexual at about age 18. About 25, he told everyone he is gay. About 35 he said he wasn’t so sure anymore. About 40 he said he was heterosexual. I know that one person’s experience doesn’t make truth for everybody, but I do know that it can happen. I don’t know to what extent external pressure contributed to his swings in understanding his own sexuality, but I know that he approached sexuality differently at different stages in his life.

    I also have seen very smart people look at the same facts that I did in regard to religion and not be able to break away from the social conditioning of their youth. I’ve gone through an extremely painful period myself when I finally freed myself from religion, and I know that it can be a very difficult journey. Can I blame myself for believing for most of my life? It wasn’t my choice. It was my upbringing.

    That said, I feel I need to emphasize again that I am not arguing Molly’s point because I personally agree with it. Maybe that’s called trolling, but I’m doing it only because I can take a look at this issue both from the way that I think about it as well as the way a religious person might think about it, and I can see that when they talk about it from their perspective, not everything they say is instantly invalid, especially when considered in light of their assumptions. And I think in this case, that’s the salient factor. If you start from the assumptions of the people who argue for each side, the statement “You can do X in privacy, but don’t make it law” has the same feel. Yes, we can argue about the validity of the underlying assumptions, but the feel of the statement is the same. That’s the part of Molly’s comment that I felt was dismissed.

    You’ve attributed some of the statements that I placed in quotation marks to be my opinion, when I was simply trying to explain how a religious person might look at it. “Aberration.” “Deviant lifestyle.” If you’ve read anything on my blog, you know that I am faced with the same accusations for my “deviant lifestyle,” which in my case really is a choice, and I would be the last person to accuse a gay person of being an aberration or deviant. I don’t feel those things are true. But I do recognize that some religious people feel that way about it.

  47. Read this on another blog, talking about a book:
    When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith.

    This just isn’t sustainable, in my opinion. It seems like either Christians who aren’t anti-gay need to take back the definition of their religion, or negative trends in membership will continue as Christians, as a whole, are seen to marginalize others. Hopefully the former option will prevail.

  48. LanceThruster

    @Deborah – I looked for the source of your quote but couldn’t find it. Here is a similar Twain quote I remember.

    If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. ~ Mark Twain

    • @LT Thanks, I tried finding it, too. I like that other Mark Twain quote, and ain’t that the truth…well, until you get older and your arteries start to harden. Then you can make stuff up because you’re old.

  49. @Charity……we actually moved from our smaill farming community of approximately 500 to a larger town of 3000+ a few years ago when our daughter had only 2 remaining in her class, her being 1 of 2! When the kids were younger it was a little easier to fit in than it is now cause we were more active with what they were involved in so had more of a social life, but since everyone knew we weren’t involved in church anymore people started distancing themselves from us. We thought by moving to a larger town would make it a little easier, but unfortunately news or gossip travels within small communities. Our son didn’t hold back his beliefs when we moved here so that probably didn’t help, but I’m happy his feels secure enough to not let what others think bother him. It probably bothers me more. The majority of his class are involved in church and the actiivties they have for teens so those kids tend to hang out together in various groups, which our son isn’t really part of, but hasn’t excluded himself from them either. He considers himself “floater” and goes from group to group. He has another year of high school and that for him cant’ come soon enough to finish so he can leave and venture off to college. I’m half tempted to follow! 😉

  50. @charity – I am sooo sorry I missed your comment from DAYS ago! I swear I wasn’t ignoring ya. Deborah’s blog comments are immense and I get swallowed up in the whole big world of her blog. Thanks for your kind words, Charity, about my blog and my situation!

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