Thursday, April 23, 2009

i apologize for calling miss california a douchebag

so in my last blog, i called miss california is a douchebag and i really feel the need to apologize. before you get too excited, know that i'm not apologizing for calling her a douchebag (because truth be told, i'm still kinda standing by that one); i'm apologizing because i didn't explain why i think she's a douchebag.

her pageant answer bothered me, sure. for one, it wasn't very intelligent. "opposite" marriage? for real? thank God for miss teen south carolina cuz she is about the ONLY one who could make you look good after that one. and for two, to be perfectly honest, it bothered me because i just didn't agree with what she had to say. but regardless of our differences of opinion, the way that she presented her different opinion was really ungraceful and quite polarizing. i mean i know she thought she was being real cute when she attached the "no offense" part to the end of her statement as if those two words are license to say whatever you want but tell me, if i told you, "hey, you are stinking pile of worthless shit -- no offense!" does that really get you to go, "yeah, that was a little harsh but since you don't mean any offense i guess that's alright." of course not! and though all those things were enough to get me riled up, it is absolutely NOTHING compared to how angry and hurt and upset i've been in the days that followed.

i am a pretty sensitive individual when it comes to issues of injustice be it for race, gender, class, sexuality or any combination therein. i am totally that girl who will speak up when you're talkin' crazy racialist, challenge your ideas about what is "girly", question the worth of a capitalist system that depends on exploitation and if you tell me something is "so gay" you BETTER be talking about something homosexual because i WILL call you out whether i know you or not. but when you implicate MY faith, MY church, MY Jesus in your language of denigration and inequality -- let me tell you -- you have taken my social justice rage to a whole new level and you haven't seen ANYTHING yet, my brothers and sisters.

to those of you who are applauding miss california's boldness, bravery, commitment to her faith, let me employ some biblical language: YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! [or how about a modern translation?] YOU EFFING DOUCHETARDS! what are you doing? no seriously, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? the Bible is VERY clear and gives us many examples of whose side Jesus would take in this public debacle. when it came to the battles of "sinners" vs. "the righteous", Jesus ALWAYS took the side of the underdog! in fact, Jesus got called out by the religious folk, the church-going well-behaved (presumably) heterosexual popular kids for hanging out and spending time with the hookers, the swindlers, the most marginalized.

there's a passage in Luke that to me is eerily resonant with this current situation. Jesus paints this metaphor using the story of a pharisee (a religious dude) who goes to the temple and prays loudly, thanking God for not making him like the tax collector. and rather than taking the side of the man who was living right, behaving well, and subscribing to the right religion, Jesus took the side of the tax collector who i'm sure, was probably not the best dude either and probably did his fair share of sinning. if we were to put a modern day spin on this metaphor, i feel like the pharisee [or televangelist or fox news anchor] could've just as easily been shouting, "Thank you God for not making me gay!" and what would Jesus say to that douchebag? "... all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."In other words, don't get so uppity there homeboy, you will get yours and it will NOT be cute.

there's another passage in John that's pretty famous; it's where we get the idiom about now "throwing stones". here we have a woman who was behaving in a way that scripture clearly said she shouldn't; she's an adulterer and the Bible says pretty clearly that it's not cool to be a cheating hobag. so what did the religious people do? they brought her in front of Jesus, pointed to the scriptures that proved she was a sinner [probably somewhere in the old Testament next to the homosexuality stuff, only there would probably be WAY more than the small handful of verses scattered throughout the Bible that mention homosexuality but I DIGRESS] -- the religious people point to the scripture that proves them right and what does Jesus do? He tells the proud religious folk who feel real good about their grasp on scripture, the kids who feel super awesome for NOT being a sinner like the hobag they've got in tow and Jesus effectively rips them a new one! He tells the ones who AREN'T sinners to come forward and go ahead and proceed with their scriptural indictment. Jesus does NOT condemn the adulterer the way that the religious people did. Jesus does NOT sanction these religious teachers and leaders to define and enforce the sin in her life. granted, Jesus does tell the girl to "leave her sin" at the end of the passage but note that it is between Jesus and HER what that sin is! there's a lot of ambiguity here, i mean we don't even know what Jesus wrote in the sand! Jesus doesn't say "leave your sin, you know that sin of adultery that those dudes were about to murder you for" He simply offers her love, a gentle rebuke, and now that she knows she is accepted He releases her to work out what the new life apart from sin looks like. and listen, before you jump to your keyboard to outline what you KNOW that sin is, what you KNOW the sin of others looks like, let's not forget the lesson we just learned not a few sentences ago: IT IS NOT YOUR JOB, HOMEY! until you figure out a way to stop sinning entirely, you do NOT get to puff up your chest and point your finger at other people who you do not know, who you are not in relationship with and [sorry to say] you clearly do not love.

i haven't yet mentioned the other figure at the center of this whole thing is the dude who asked the question, perez hilton. i know he's far from a saint and he has said some really terrible things in these past few days that i do not excuse or defend. but to his credit, he did one thing that was actually VERY Jesus-like of him: he invited miss california to coffee -- into a conversation, into a personal relationship. what bums me out is that so far, all she's said is "no comment". another prominent LGBT group has also invited her into a conversation and though i would hope she'd accept, call me cynical but i really doubt it. honestly, this is probably the biggest problem with us Christians right now. we are not having this conversation, we are not actually entering into relationships, we are staying at our comfortable distance and pointing our fingers from afar. we're afraid of engaging in the messy and painful dialogue because what i think we're most afraid of is that we might be wrong.

a lot of people want to say that this miss california is just a victim of religious persecution and wowee, didn't she give up so much ("boohoo, i didn't get to be miss USA!") but before you get to thinking that the Christians are the most marginalized around these parts make no mistake -- Christianity is the religion of privilege in our country. every American president has claimed Christianity and why? because there is NO WAY America would let a president be anything else -- as evidenced by all the scare propaganda (and might i add, the SUCCESSFUL scare propaganda) that claimed Obama was a Muslim. there is no way that America would elect a non-Christian president because us Christians -- no matter how much of a victim you feel like and no matter how much you want to shake off the responsibility of that privilege -- us Christians aren't the marginalized ones. in fact, we are on the forefront of those perpetrating the denigration. we are the ones patting ourselves on the back for our good behavior and winding up our good pitching arms ready to chuck stones at the easiest targets. and notice here i'm not saying "you" i'm saying "we" because i know that i am just as guilty, just as slow to change, just as comfortable with what privilege i have and just as hesitant to give it up at times. but i am calling out my brothers and sisters both out of love for you and love for my gay and lesbian friends. it is time for all of us to get over our self-righteous selves and REPENT! we are doing wrong and the consequences are a matter of life and death. if we do not teach the next generation to change, if we don't teach our kids that it is not okay to behave like the pharisees and proud religious folk, if we continue to rob anyone else of their God ordained humanity we will reap a world of unimaginable heartbreak.

i know i've said some pretty heated stuff so i won't be surprised if some of y'all feel prompted to comment [that is, if you make it to the end of this ridiculous thing] but let me warn you: this is not the miss america pageant and you don't get to say whatever you want if that something alienates or marginalizes someone else. you are welcome to say whatever you want about me but if your comment in any way degrades or denies the dignity and humanity of my gay friends (who i love not in SPITE of who they are but BECAUSE of who there are) i promise you i WILL delete your insensitive, un-Jesus-like comment. be a bigot on your own blogs, kiddos -- homey don't play that here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

i know this is a weird time to get all uppity about this, but dang it -- i just twittered about it and now i feel the need to elaborate.

miss california
is a douchebag. i know some of you thought before now that douchebag was a term to be reserved for the male gender but believe it or not, the term's etymology has its beginnings as a means to demean women and although i'm not really for demeaning women, i am for calling out douchebags who are douchebags and miss california, sorry -- you're a douchebag.

i know that my views on gay marriage are very different from most evangelical Christians. i know that my passion for what i believe to be a GROSS injustice is even different from many non-religious folk as well. and though what i believe about homosexuality and heteronormativity and heterosexism is probably much juicier and far too involved for ANY blog entry, much less this blog entry that i'm writing in lieu of doing the massive amounts of reading i should be doing for school -- i feel like the issue of gay marriage is one that i can more or less knock out pretty simply because believe it or not, it's a pretty simple issue for me.

my convictions about gay marriage changed on the first day of my intro to politcal science class. our first assignment was to read the declaration of independance and respond with a short one-page paper on your reaction to it. there was no prompting as to what that response would entail. i read over the opening paragraph, a paragraph i have practically commited to memory and not even on purpose, simply by way of its ubiquity in our educational system. they were words meant to indict an unjust colonizer but when i read them, the indictment was just as stinging although this time, the accused was America.

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.

there is no asterix next to the "all men" part that allows anyone to deny ANY man or woman those rights on the contingency of their moral convictions nor are there any caveats that say that the pursuit of Happiness is only allowed when that pursuit doesn't make me uncomfortable.

and before anyone busts out the classic "slippery slope" argument ["if we allow gay marriage, what's next? marriage to animals?"] let's watch ourselves and remember that gay people are PEOPLE -- they are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends... they are not animals, they are not brutes, and REGARDLESS of the hegemonic representations to the contrary (and the 3 20-something gay people you kinda know), they are not simply hypersexualized mongrels (not anymore than their heterosexual counterparts, anyhow). and if you want to continue down the hugely problematic "slippery slope" path anyway and try to be "devil's advocate" (an apt idiom, actually) and try to argue, "what if someone's 'pursuit of happiness' includes child molestation? are we supposed to make that legal?" i say to you how DARE you compare the abuse of a child to a monogomous committed relationship between consenting adults. and if you want to continue down the "slippery slope" path anyway, let me just remind you that this kind logic was applied by those who advocated for the upholding of slavery, antimicengenation, and Jim Crow laws except in place of the word "homosexual" in your argument was the word "blacks" or whichever race happened to be the subject of denigration at the time. so if you'd like to align yourself with peeps like them, be my guest.

the point is, regardless of your moral convictions about homosexuality, ALL men (and women!) are created equal and have UNALIENABLE (i.e., undenyable, untake-away-able, unjack-able) rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. even if those with religious leanings that say that homosexuality is an abomination, it still does not give you the right to deny someone equal rights! period! it boggles my mind that convicted murders can get married behind bars (ted bundy much?) and yet millions of American citizens in committed monogamous relationships can't get married simply because they're not heterosexual. and i know the big catch phrase is something about "protecting marriage" and blah blah blah but how does keeping some people from getting married protect your marriage exactly? seriously. i'd love to know. and how anyone could be so deluded as to believe that denying anyone their rights protects your own is BEYOND ME!

i hope my passion and abuse of the caps lock (oh, and that one time i called miss california a douchebag) doesn't keep anyone who might have different convictions from hearing my heart on this matter. you can feel however you feel personally convicted to feel about homosexuality (although i might argue that if you yourself aren't homosexual, you're not necessarily in the best position to have personal convictions about it BUT I DIGRESS) -- my point is that this injustice has to stop because it is dehumanizing, demoralizing, and denigrating us ALL in the process. Dr. King said it most succinctly -- injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

much too much

i don't get stressed out very easily or very often for that matter. school doesn't stress me out because i've learned not to stress out about grades -- although i should note that i no longer resent tests and my nerdiness has ballooned to such mind boggling proportions that i've actually started to enjoy tests. i know. frightening. i've learned not to let my friends stress me out because love is patient and i can't claim to love my friends if i'm not willing to be patient; this of course is mostly theoretical and it does take a good deal of effort to put into practice -- not because my friends aren't lovable but because i have a tendency to be a heinous biznatch [on the inside, at least]. my work has always been super fun and life-giving and though busy, mostly manageable. and my family, while not free of the requisite dramz, is for the most part the source of my deepest joy and fulfillment.

but these past few weeks... oi. these past few weeks have been a rough go. i have been hit from every angle and with full force. for the first time in a long time, i've felt genuinely and overwhelmingly stressed the eff out. yesterday, my pastor asked me a pretty innocuous question ["how are you?"] and i responded by bursting into tears. yeah. intense. i'd love to report that things are going to calm down and i'm going to spend the next few days and weeks chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool and all... well, i would never shoot basketball in or out of school [i'm not that coordinated] but i digress. the point is, things aren't exactly going to slow down anytime soon and to be honest, the prospect of even another hour of busyness like this makes me wanna shave off an eyebrow -- which is truly indicative of the severity of my anxiety since my grandma gave me some fantastic eyebrows and i'd have to be nutzo to wanna shave one of these babies off.

were the sneaker on the other toesy, i'd give a girl like me the advice i've doled out to countless friends and unwilling audiences alike, gems of wisdom accumulated over many, many years of Sunday school: if the weight is too much to bear, it's probably not yours to bear [Matthew 11:28]; anxiety is unproductive [Philippians 4:6]; God's strength isn't made perfect in your strength, it's perfected in your weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9]; and so on and so forth forever and ever amen. but the thing is, i'm fantastic at dispensing advice [whether it's asked for or not] but i have a hard time following advice, even when it's my own and thus i've been mostly freaking out and spontaneously crying and not so much casting my cares on Jesus, praying, and owning up to my vulnerability [save for those instances when my vulnerability manifests itself involuntarily and with copious outpourings of snot to boot].

but tonight in staff meeting the pastors graciously recommended that i take some time to do what i have to do to take care of myself and care for my soul. and since i don't find any comfort in the kinds of outlets most normal people do [i personally believe that my brain is wired in such a fashion that working out sucks up endorphins rather than releasing them] i am here doing the one thing that i know how to do, the one way that i know how to care for my soul: i'm writing about it. sure, i worry that it's a bit self-indulgent and super post-modern of me to wax poetic about the dreariness of my middle-class existence. in fact, in my preparations for my show last week, i discovered that when i write songs, i mostly write about times i'm frustrated or my feelings are hurt and as a result, about seven-eights of my songs are embarrassingly gross and emo [as are many of these blog entries] but despite my hipster shame [which, by the by, i've recently conceded to the idea that i might be a hipster since i get so offended when people call me one] where was i? oh yes... the thing is, this method seems to be working for me because in my normal day to day life [with the exception of these past couple weeks perhaps], i'm a pretty happy, amicable human being.

so pardon my emo, excuse my whining and if you can stomach my boo-hooing i commend and appreciate you. for whatever reason, this is my process and ya know what? i feel better already.