© Kristen Becker.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
What a week. It seems like every time I turn my head, some Christian politician is forcing their religious beliefs on anyone who will listen. If you have been following my journeys, you know I am a “hard-to-hide lesbian” living in Louisiana. If you have ever been to Louisiana, you know it is currently a “right in your face with my religion” kind of state. I say currently, because, while Louisiana has always been religious, this new found extremism is not reflective of the atmosphere that surrounded me growing up.
Before I moved south, I was raised in a Catholic neighborhood. All Catholic. The west side of Buffalo. Catholic and Italian. When I visited my dad’s side of the family, we went to Irish Catholic South Buffalo. When I was about 10, we relocated to Louisiana. It might sound hard to believe, but the first time I laid eyes on a synagogue was in Shreveport, Louisiana, not New York State. Once I moved to Louisiana, my knowledge of different religions expanded immediately. At that time, Louisiana public schools were not recommended, so if you had the means, you sent your child to a private school. Most of those were Catholic. Guess what? Your “brand” of religion didn’t matter. Pentecostals and Methodists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, oh my. Somehow we all managed to learn together.
There was that one time the Methodist girl passed out in church because she had never had to kneel that much in her life, so was not trained to do so. On that day we learned that if you kneel too far down on your shin, you risk cutting off blood flow and fainting. Stick to the knee caps for kneeling, that’s what they are there for. I may or may not have believed I had caused this, BTW. This same girl told me that same day that I was going to have acne when I grew up, and I had then wished that something bad would happen to her. Nothing horrible. Just a little embarrassing. This might have been the moment I realized I had power. The point is, no one sued, no one made fun of her. It was explained to us that she was new to the way we worshiped and we went on with our day. No one assumed she was trying to disrupt the services in order to force her Methodist-ness onto the class and interrupt our religion. Why did no one do this? Commonsense, that’s why.
Our country was founded on many, many principles. Separation of Church and State is just one of them, yet one that we seem to forget. There has been a movement to say we live in a Christian nation. If you believe that this country was founded on any religion, you are wrong. The thing that made this new land of ours a leader in the world was our freedom from religion. Anyone was allowed to come here and worship as they pleased. We are still a very young country. In the timeline of the world we are adolescents at best, and as of late we sure are acting like it, aren’t we? Spoiled, unable to listen to rational thought, pout until we get our way, teenagers.
I’ve spent the last two months watching people spew pure hatred at others. In the name of their God. When did we lose our minds? When did “making everyone the same” become our country’s motto? How dare any religious person look me in the eye and tell me I am making the wrong “choice.” That my homosexuality is a choice. It isn’t. I can’t convince you of that, in the same way you can’t convince me that your Bible says I am going to ‘Hell.’ I’m going to stop trying to convince you of anything from this moment on. Turns out, I don’t need your approval or consent.
Let’s talk about “choices,” shall we? Religion is a choice. You are not Christian by birth. As a matter of fact, quite a big deal is made about the day you choose to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I believe the term is “born again.” How do your choices deserve legal protections and mine do not? You choose your religion every day, yet have somehow convinced yourself that those choices get civil protections, but mine do not? Okay. Let’s go that route.
I will start the Church of Perpetual Love. That is my choice to make, isn’t it? My beliefs are as valid as yours, are they not, Mr./Mrs. Christian? I’m assuming this Church will allow me the freedom to refuse renting to anyone I perceive as a religion different than mine, correct? You might be thinking, “wait a minute Becker, religion has nothing to do with sexuality.” Au contraire. I believe many, many religions have laws, rules, and guidelines about when and where you can put your private parts, whether or not you can use a condom, all kinds of gory details.
In the Church of Perpetual Love, all congregation members may put their parts wherever they see (or they will) fit. You may love whoever you choose to love. This would be the place where I would put something about people being “of age” to participate, because other religions have tried to tell you that Homosexuals = Pedophilia. As a representative of the Church of Perpetual Love, I can promise you this is not something OUR church practices, it is something the Catholics do. See, we don’t stifle sexuality, here at the Church of Perpetual Love (cough, cough, wink, nudge). As a result, no one is hurt in the process. If someone refuses Perpetual Love, we will not force our love on them. We will not try to convert you. We will, however, offer you a place where you belong.
This means that once gay is a religion, homosexuals are free to refuse services to people of other religions, correct? Do you have any idea how many nurses / doctors / firefighters and police officers are gay? Sure do hope you hide that cross around your neck on the way to the hospital. That is, of course, as long as the EMT driver doesn’t belong to the Church of Perpetual Love. In that case, he/she can just leave you on the side of the road, right?
I hoped to live in a world where civil discourse was possible. A place where we could debate our points without devolving into vitriol-spewing hate machines. It is clear we cannot do that right now. Those of us who are being persecuted have no choice but to protect ourselves by any means necessary.
P.S. For the record, I don’t like to get into religious debates. I believe that humans are one tiny part of this planet and there is something bigger than all of us. There is no denying that. Too many humans on a planet that had no communication with each other set up their own way to worship something bigger than all of us. Before the Internet. People all over the planet came up with names for their God. That tells me something bigger exists. However, I am done accepting the position of a vocal minority that is slowly taking my rights away.
P.P.S. FYI — “Vitriol” is used to characterize a caustic though often literate verbal attack or argument posed in highly abusive terms. The word applied in this way comes from its meaning in chemistry, where oil of vitriol refers to sulfuric acid. In its purest form, oil of vitriol is tasteless, odorless, and found in abundance in many geographic areas, particularly among volcanic sulfuric crystals. The chemical industry uses vitriol in diluted form for a number of commercial applications that include battery acid, manufacturing fertilizer, and processing wastewater.
Text prepared by:
- Bruce R. Magee
Becker, Kristen. “Can’t Vitriol, Get Along?” Kristen Becker. 6 May 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2015. <http:// kristen becker.com/ 2014/05/06/ cant-vitriol-get-along/>. © Kristen Becker. Used by permission. All rights reserved.