Heaven has walls?

I call this bad theology and bad business.

Recently, a “Christian” grocery store sent out a mailer claiming Heaven has walls, a gate and a strict immigration policy, and Hell has open borders. Then it uses the hackneyed phrase, “Let that sink in.”

On a Facebook post about this, a woman commented with a quote from Revelations certifying that, indeed, Heaven is gated and guarded. I suggested that a fevered hallucination by an old man alone on an island isn’t the best way to make public policy, and, of course, she went off. After a couple of exchanges, where she called me some nasty names, I replied that she probably should pay more attention to the words printed in red, since, as a Christian, she’s supposed to follow those words. I told her the theology of hate and exclusion is pretty effed up in my opinion because I don’t get any racism and bullying from those words in red. What I do get is the Greatest Commandment, which is in two parts: Love God, love each other.

I grew up among “Christians” who wanted to exclude everyone who wasn’t their brand of “Christian.” In fact, there was constant talk of taking over the country.

This was in the 1960s, when we were actually making progress on social justice issues, and they hated it. They hated giving the vote to African-Americans. They hated giving women the power to live on their own and manage their own finances, get credit in their own name, control their own bodies — to be human in our own right. They were vocal and mean-spirited about their hatred of anything different, and they used the Bible to back up their narrow-minded views.

There was actually a guest preacher at my church in 1969 who, from the pulpit, said, “We are doing God’s good work in Vietnam, killing those godless (racial epithet for Asians).”

I approached him after the service to say I don’t think God wants us killing any of God’s children. My pastor scolded me for being disrespectful, but I countered that I was being very respectful — respectful of the lives of God’s Asian children.

These so-called “Christians” ran candidates for school board to try and get their narrow-minded, mean-spirited views into the schools. They took over local elections and then moved on to the state and national levels.

The creature currently squatting in the White House is their creation, and they embrace him because he is as filled with hatred as they are.

It took them decades, but they are powerful now, these so-called “Christians.” Jesus would be appalled at their interpretations of his words.

I have no patience for hate, bigotry and exclusion in the name of Jesus, a man who preached love and inclusion.

For 30 years, I had to hold my tongue when faced with these things because I was a reporter and I had to be unbiased. Franklin Graham thought I liked and admired him when I interviewed him. Maybe that’s why I’m so vocal about it now. Because silence in the face of injustice is, in itself, an injustice.

People who call themselves “Christian” and who spew their hatred in the name of Jesus are just wrong. Christians have used the Bible for generations to uphold racism and misogyny, and we need to call that out every time we see it.

We can’t allow religion to be used as a club to beat those who are already down, and we can’t stand by while the public policies of hate embraced by these “Christians” continue to harm and even kill our impoverished brothers and sisters.

 

 

 

 

Love will win — eventually

gay pride button

This morning it looks as though hate has won in North Carolina as the General Assembly met in special session to pass a bill that prevents local governments from banning discrimination against LGBT people.

The hate started flowing when Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing people to use the rest room of the gender with which they identify. Apparently some people worry that the person in the stall next to them either has or doesn’t have a penis. Somehow, they seem to think having someone whose gender isn’t what’s on their birth certificate in the next stall diminishes their bathroom experience.

And, in that vein, are we now going to have people at the doors of rest rooms across the state checking people’s birth certificates? “Hmmm, you look a little masculine to me. Let me see your proof of gender.”

Immediately after Charlotte passed its nondiscrimination ordinance, Gov. Pat McCrory decided to call the legislature into special session to overrule the ordinance. But the state legislature took it another step, making discrimination illegal on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin or biological sex,” deliberately leaving out sexual orientation and gender identity and making it legal for businesses and others to discriminate against LGBT people.

In short, House Bill 2 is the most sweeping anti-LGBT law in the country.

Defenders of this abominable law claim it will protect people from sexual predators, but people intent on preying on others will still do so. What this law actually does is make it easier to flaunt prejudice against people who are “other.”

People who are transgender are not any more likely to be predators than anyone else. The middle-aged man in the men’s room is just as likely to prey on your son as the woman who identifies as a man — possibly more so.

In fact, the woman who identifies as male is probably more likely to keep to himself, fearing people’s reactions. That’s because he’s more likely than most other people to be harmed just because of who he is. (And yes, if someone identifies as female, it’s likely that person’s pronoun is “she,” whether you like it or not. Let’s say your name is Deborah, and you pronounce it the Biblical way — de-BOR-uh, but someone claims you can’t pronounce it that way and repeatedly, deliberately mispronounces it. Disrespectful, isn’t it? People who identify with the opposite gender deserve the respect of being addressed in their preferred way.)

The new law nullified nondiscrimination ordinances in 17 municipalities, according to Equality NC, an LGBT advocacy group.

I looked at the Facebook feeds of a few of my friends this morning and my heart broke at the hurt they’re feeling right now. I can’t imagine how defeated and broken they must feel today.

Imagine if something about you, something beyond your control, became OK to hate, OK to discriminate against. What’s next? Will it become OK to hurt people we consider “other?”

Eleven Democrats voted for the bill — the rest of the Democratic caucus walked out in disgust and held a news conference to talk about their stand against hate.

I will fight this law any way I can. I might not be able to make a huge difference, but I will boycott any business that discriminates against LGBT people. I will let business owners know why I won’t patronize them anymore, and I will spread the word.

It’s been about 10 years since an anti-gay group took out a double-page ad in the Citizen-Times, signed by hundreds of people and businesses. I still have the ad and I refer to it before doing business with someone. Anyone who signed that ad lost my business permanently. I don’t have a lot of money, but I will not let a penny of it go to a bigot if I can help it.

I will join any protest of this law I can because I am compelled to speak out against hate and bigotry.

I’m not alone in my disgust — national organizations are looking at boycotting North Carolina. The NCAA, which has playoff games scheduled in the state in the next two years has said it is monitoring the situation here. American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Apple and Microsoft were among corporations that issued a statement against House Bill 2.

This will not be good for the state’s economy; hate rarely is.

“Corporate leaders are speaking out against bills that could allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and other minorities – versions of which are actively being considered in states across the country,” the statement said. “This proposed legislation is bad for business.” (Read more here:)

Perhaps this latest national embarrassment will motivate voters to get rid of these hatemongers and elect people who really do care about all of the people of North Carolina.

 

 

 

 

Cry tonight, fight tomorrow

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this frustrated.

A minority of North Carolina’s registered voters just robbed hundreds of thousand of people of their rights.

Our state constitution has been amended to discriminate against people who aren’t legally married all in the name of “family values.”

Now we don’t just have a law discriminating against gays and lesbians by denying them the right to marry, we have enshrined it into our constitution and in the process robbed everyone who isn’t married legally of their rights and benefits.

People who were insured by the employers of their domestic partners will lose their insurance benefits and their rights to any say in the care of the people they love.

Parents will lose rights to their children, and children will lose health benefits.

People who suffer domestic abuse will lose their protections because they aren’t legally married to the person who’s beating the crap out of them. Sure, they can charge their abusers with assault, but they won’t have the added protections they had this morning. No order of protection, no arrest if he comes back to the house, unless he beats her senseless again or succeeds in killing her.

Let’s be clear about this: Amendment One will cause people to die — from lack of insurance, from domestic abuse — all in the process of mixing religion and the law. Because nearly everyone who objects to LGBT relationships does so for religious reasons.

We in North Carolina have taken a huge step back. We have placed hate and bigotry into our constitution, and people will die because of it.

I’m sick to my stomach tonight. I’m going to have a stiff drink and a short pity-party, then I’m going to bed because I’ll need my energy in the morning when the fight begins anew.

I want justice, and I can be damned tenacious.

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