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Attempting To Redefine My Perceptions About Homosexuality As A New Non-Christian


billdekay
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First off it is my hope what I have to say does not outright offend anyone. I come to you as a person trying to repair the damage left by doctrines and dogmas passed on to me that never truly fit my personality, yet none the less shaped the way I viewed the world for four decades. I realize being gay in our country still carries a stigma and burden that I can never truly comprehend. I have been ostracized for being different, but I can never claim to know what young gays and lesbians went through during their formative years. In church, I was consistently taught to believe gays and lesbians were violating God's edict to prosper and multiply. I was told that their choice was separating themselves from God's love. It's so easy to tell impressionable children how things are when they lack the capacity to tell you what you say doesn't make any sense. We believed in Santa and the Easter Bunny so why would we ever question the existence of Noah and his boat that was capable of transporting the entire known animal kingdom for 40 days and 40 nights. It's not until we start taking classes in junior high or high school where we start learning about heredity and the massive improbability noah's ark represented. As children we took things as face values. As young adults we got enough education to question the validity of our beliefs. Depending on how young they get you in church I think has a definite effect on how long it takes to stop believing in myths and start accepting reality for what it is.

 

I have never had a homosexual friend male or female. Even when I was a Christian, I think I wouldn't have any problem being their friend because I was taught to hate the sin, not the sinner. The opportunity just never came up so there's a gap of direct knowledge about what it's like to grow up a gay individual. I've seen lots of gays represented in the media, either as the whimsical lofty over the top persona or the last person you'd ever expect. It was college where I learned that being gay isn't a choice, there's DNA evidence that homosexuals are wired this way from birth so to say it's a choice is just not true. I also know there's a need for American youth to experiment, so there actually may be some social gays out there who aren't necessary wired, but definitely curious about exploring their sexuality in multiple venues.

 

Anyhow, what I'm noticing is a sort of organized gay bashing that seems to come from a place where ultra conservatives are trying to defend their freedoms by denying the civil freedoms of gay individuals. It was California's Prop 8 that became the final wedge between the way I was raised, and how I felt American citizens should be treated. At the time I found my self in a vicarious position where I needed to make a choice based on 40 years of religious programming and 40 years of historical arguments of what it means to be an American citizen. Sadly religious dogma won out, and when Prop 8 passed, I was dismayed to find that the Mormon church had technically used loopholes in campaign funding in order to put forth an extensive campaign based on deception to hide their true agenda. It was such a devastating betrayal that I actually formally rescinded my beliefs in any conventional God known today.

 

Having now put aside years of programming I find myself in a place where I ask myself constantly, "okay so what do I believe?" I believe any legal US citizen has the right to marry. I believe this because I believe in the precepts created by the founding fathers. However knowing a little U.S. history, I also understand that even back then, women were treated as invisible citizens and slavery was commonplace in all 13 colonies. To put forth phrases like, "All men are created equal," seems like such a foreign concept considering the environment they lived in at the time. Let's not forget that in order for the colonies to be built, many of the indigenous people were violently uprooted from their homes in order to make a home in the New World. The native Americans back then were often treated either as children or absolute savages which I assume is a level above wild animal. America has never been perfect, but we did put forth those ideals after the American Revolution in order to strive to become a better nation and hopefully a better people.

 

I think it was the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s that forced gays to stop being treated as hidden citizens. Uproar over our government's lack of action was enough to get even the most closeted gay out into the light. Realizing the only way to be heard is to shout as loud as possible, we're gay, we're here, deal with it! I think it worked because gay rights are now at the forefront of many political venues. Women didn't get to vote until 1920, so regardless of how much we've matured as a nation, we always come to this point were certain people are silenced because they do not fit into the greater scheme of things. But when we as citizens see others treated unfairly, we are usually up to the challenge of defending their rights as fellow Americans. For some reason the gay community on many levels are still being treated like their civil rights are null and void due to their sexual preference. And now with the ultra conservatives getting a voice, they are not only trying to strip gays of their civil rights, but are even refocusing on women's curtailing rights yet again regarding women's health issues.

 

If you live in a democracy then you must accept that any form of discrimination is wrong. Yet I feel people are still treating being gay as a social choice or a moral aberration. Which I suppose why woman's reproductive issues are now a hot topic also. But if science points out the falsehood of the nature of being gay, then why are these people getting so much air time? For me personally I'm still at a point of learning and educating myself and UNLEARNING years of backwards thinking. I have no problem with a gay couple getting married, raising children, teaching in schools, serving in the military, or moving in next door. However when I hear the Boy Scouts of America is under fire for their stance against homosexuals being allowed to be leaders I guess this is where I still have more learning to be done because I feel that Boy Scouts have a very specific mission which is to groom young boys into young men by accepting some very specific semi-Christian ideals.

 

I'm certainly not suggesting homosexuals can't be Christians, but I'm certain we all know the difficulties they face in doing so. I have no facts nor statistics, it just comes across to me that if the Boy Scouts have an obligation to the parents of the kids they are leading. Unlike school, there's a lot of interpersonal interaction that I think would be get awkward real quick if allowed in other forums. So for example, your child's gay math teacher asked if he could take your student out for a camp out, you're bound to have a few concerns. But if your child's gay math teacher calls you in and offers to spend extra time helping your kid with some tutoring, I don't think you'd have anything to be concerned about. I do not believe gays or lesbians are incapable of nurturing other people's children, but I do believe we are wired differently from one another and because of that when we are put into non-structured situations, I'm not entirely aware of how any given situation will be handled. Assuming the worse is never acceptable, but assuming there isn't going to be some conflict I think is being naive.

 

If you haven't guessed already I'm very conflicted here. What the CEO of Chick-Fil-A did was text book bigotry. The arrogance displayed as if all good moral Christians American's should stand by his side and speak out for what is right is nothing short off outright fascism in my book. If a corporation is going to run it's business in the United States, they need to adhere to the principles that our country were based on. I suppose that also goes for the Boy Scouts, but like I said, there's is a unique organization that I feel needs at least some flexibility since they are dealing with other people's kids. However if they are in fact violating people's civil rights I have no problem with this organization losing any state or federal funding over this stance; on some level I feel that may be the only tangible way to resolve the conflict for the time being. However, if we do allow this type of segregation, where does it end? Like I said I'm conflicted and open to other people's opinions on this.

 

To me the workplace should have zero tolerance for any for any form of bigotry. Yet, if a church doesn't want a gay pastor I'm torn between the individual's right to follow their calling and the communities' right to worship in the way they are accustomed to. I suppose if you turn it around and insert an ethnicity or gender then we're talking classic cases of discrimination that we normally don't accept. Yet churches do have a special relationship outside the realm of normal government regulations; and laws governing state and church relations also varies from state to state so the subject gets even further convoluted. That's where I fear my mind just haven't yet come to terms that being gay is no different than being any other ethnic group. They are people like you and me and they have the same goals as the rest of us so as the constitution professes, they have the insurance of domestic tranquility and the blessings of liberty like any other red blooded American. The only way to preserve our freedoms is by accepting the responisbilty to defend each others civil rights in all situations, not just the ones who concern us directly.

 

Anyhow I realize I'm dealing with a powder keg here. I've only been a non-Christian for a short time so I'm not trying to make a stand here or call anyone out for moral or intellectual fisticuffs. I'm someone trying to deal with my own misperceptions and prejudices about this topical subject and rather than suppress my faulty ideals, I'd figure it's best to just put them out there for scrutiny. I assume there are a lot of people who have been directly effected by these issues and concerns and I'd like to hear from them. That way I can learn more about the subject and not be ignorant when faced with the social implications of my own perceptions. It is my hope by learning more about this from other individuals, I can then make more informed decisions an how I treat those who are different from myself.

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Thank you for writing this, since I feel like I have gone through a similar transition myself over the last few years, going from having a "Biblical" view of homosexuality to seeing the need for actual equal rights for gays in the United States. Once I started to question why I was uncomfortable with homosexuality, my entire bias just unraveled. I realized that the only reason I was against homosexual marriage was because some 2000 year old book intended for a society of Canaanite goat herders told me to be. As soon as I didn't believe that book anymore, that prejudice just went away.

 

Welcome to Ex-C!

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Hi Bill,

 

Coincidentally, I had a discussion about the Boy Scouts the other day with several guys at my local hang out. They are all pretty much varying degrees of xian rednecks, but mostly harmless. The discussion started with gay marriage, but that's a whole other story.

 

On one hand, the Boy Scouts are a private club and should be able to make their own rules. I don't know if they receive any federal funds. If so, that changes things. On the other hand, I was defending gays because these guys were basically equating homosexuality with pedophilia, which is ridiculous. In their minds, both are deviant behaviors so I understood the automatic correlation for them, but I tried to help them separate the two as best as I could, and I actually think I made some progress educating them smile.png

 

Then, they asked me a hypothetical question: If my young son was in the boy scouts, would I want him to go on a camping trip with a gay scout master.? That's where the question gets a little tricky for me, but not for the reasons they initially thought. My answer is that yes, I would be fine with it if I knew the gay scout master very well. Of course, I would never assume that a man would be a pedophile just because he's gay...anymore than I would assume any hetero man would be a pedophile. I would want to know both men equally well before I trusted either enough to send my son on a camping trip with them. If I trusted the man, it wouldn't matter to me what his sexual preference is.

 

But that also got me thinking that if we were talking about the girl scouts, my daughter, and a lesbian scout master, would I feel the same way? My honest answer is probably not. The reason I wouldn't feel the need to be as careful is because I view men in general to be more predatory than women in general. This distinction however is a product of genetics as far as I'm concerned, and again has nothing to do with homosexuality.

 

Anyway, I don't think these issues are generally cut and dry and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to put all your thoughts out there.

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I'm certainly not suggesting homosexuals can't be Christians, but I'm certain we all know the difficulties they face in doing so. I have no facts nor statistics, it just comes across to me that if the Boy Scouts have an obligation to the parents of the kids they are leading. Unlike school, there's a lot of interpersonal interaction that I think would be get awkward real quick if allowed in other forums. So for example, your child's gay math teacher asked if he could take your student out for a camp out, you're bound to have a few concerns. But if your child's gay math teacher calls you in and offers to spend extra time helping your kid with some tutoring, I don't think you'd have anything to be concerned about. I do not believe gays or lesbians are incapable of nurturing other people's children, but I do believe we are wired differently from one another and because of that when we are put into non-structured situations, I'm not entirely aware of how any given situation will be handled. Assuming the worse is never acceptable, but assuming there isn't going to be some conflict I think is being naive.

 

Hey Bill,

 

Welcome to Ex-C :)

 

I'm going to deal with this section first, particularly the bit I've boldened.

 

If you think about it, none of the above paragraph is actually a concern at all. I am a former foster kid; I entered foster care as a teenager. However, when I was 23, I was informally adopted by a couple and their "tribe" as dad says, and three and a half years later, I have a very good relationship with my parents. They support and guide me, and love and accept me as their own. Where it gets a little weird is that mum and dad's roles are kind of reversed with me- mum's more my father figure, and dad's more my mother figure. I am closer to dad, in a way that most girls are usually close to their mums.

 

My family is not exactly traditional- mum and dad have four biological children of their own, fostered 25 kids, of which four are still in the family, along with their older sibling from the same family whom mum and dad never fostered, and... Hmm. I'm missing someone. I'm only counting ten, there should be one more. Oh well. There's ten or eleven at this point in time, no doubt more will come. Oh, yeah, there's eleven. Another girl they fostered. Yep, eleven.

 

Anyway, the point is, the family's not a normal situation, and some of us aren't related to anyone else, some are related to each other, some are related to mum and dad and each other, but it doesn't matter. We're a family. We're unconventional, but we're definitely a family, and even people who know us and know we're not all related have trouble working out who's related to who. No-one ever gets it right. In my family, it's the bond that matters, not the shared genes. But it's the relatioships we have that fool people into thinking we're all related. Just because any relationship seems unconventional doesn't mean anything. We're all people, we all bleed red blood and we all hurt the same way.

 

A person's sexual orientation has no bearing on the person that they are. Sexual orientation has as much influence on how a person acts as their hair colour. In other words, none at all. A person can be good and kind regardless of whether they are gay or straight, or mean and nasty regardless of whether they are gay or straight. The decisions we make in any situation are not generally influenced by our sexual orientation.

 

The other thing I wanted to talk about was me, myself. I am just now coming to grips with my own sexual orientation. I am pretty sure I'm gay. I'm not so much confused about my sexual orientation as I am about how I managed to be in denial of it for so long.

 

The last few weeks have not been easy, at all. My ex is still living with me, in the process of moving out. Some days we fight and other days we are friends again. We had been going through a really rough patch and were trying to work things out when I realised that I just couldn't ignore the truth anymore. I didn't want him, and I didn't want any other man. All I want to do right now is be alone. My whole world has been turned upside down, and while on one level I feel peaceful because I have finally acknowledged the truth, on another I'm hurting. I didn't ask for this, and I really wish I was just straight and life could be easy again. But I can't go back. And I just sit at home finding shit to do so I don't have to think about it. And I think that's probably all I'll be doing fo some time, while I try to get my head around it all.

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The other thing I wanted to talk about was me, myself. I am just now coming to grips with my own sexual orientation. I am pretty sure I'm gay. I'm not so much confused about my sexual orientation as I am about how I managed to be in denial of it for so long...

 

...My whole world has been turned upside down, and while on one level I feel peaceful because I have finally acknowledged the truth, on another I'm hurting. I didn't ask for this, and I really wish I was just straight and life could be easy again. But I can't go back. And I just sit at home finding shit to do so I don't have to think about it. And I think that's probably all I'll be doing fo some time, while I try to get my head around it all.

 

(((Pudd)))

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Sorry, but worrying about an adult homosexual around your children JUST because of the homosexual part is all indoctrination on your part. There is nothing special about a gay man being around your kids that should concern you. NOTHING. EVER. JB has the right idea of wanting to trust ANY adult a certain amount before something like a camping trip with his kids.

 

I had an openly gay ballet teacher when I was a child. As in, a gay man would put his hands on me twice a week to guide my body into the proper way to hold a pose and such. Measure me for costumes too. He never touched me in any improper way, and was excellent with all children. I've never known a kinder or better soul, really. Still, like you, lots of parents had reservations about sending their girls to classes with him, and others outright refused and sent their girls to a far less qualified instructor as a result. They were stupid. There never lived a better dance teacher than this man, and he never made me feel the least bit uncomfortable. I started lessons with him when I was 4.

 

Homosexuals aren't inclined to be any more interested in children than heterosexuals are. Any feelings you have that they are is ENTIRELY influenced by indoctrination, and they are WRONG WRONG WRONG.

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Wow, great responses. Like I said, I think my perception would have been helped greatly if I had a gay or lesbian friend growing up. Knowing someone on a personal level is by far the best way to separate fact from fiction. I had a blind friend in high school and I was amazed how many misperceptions I had about blind people until I hung out with one. I also found it interesting to see how the public at large treated him and I was there first hand to see how he would challenge their perceptions of what people without sight were really capable of. I really appreciated that learning opportunity.

 

It was never a conscious attempt on my part to avoid making gay friends, I just never met an openly gay individual during my youth. It would be interesting to go to my 30 year reunion and see how many couples are now openly gay now. Even though our school was pretty casual, I'm certain there was still a lot of pressure felt over coming out during those formative years in the mid 80s. nowadays we hear on the news of so many ugly and tragic stories of what peer pressure and backwards thinking has done to our younger generation. Anyhow, all your comments are great and I look forward to further reflection. My wife was right, this really is a great forum!

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This whole topic resonates with me deeply. Both my parents know I support gay rights and have learned to just avoid the topic or I will just RAGE. I have never, never felt that homosexuality was really wrong. I couldn't. I wasn't raised from birth to believe that, but from about late-elementary and on I was. No matter how much I heard about homosexuality as a sin I just couldn't accept that. I would go through hours of reading rebuttals to the argument and different interpretations of scripture. As a Christian, I wasn't supposed to support homosexuality, but as an American, I felt that if two people want to be legally recognized as being in a committed, loving relationship and given the rights that go with it, why would ANYONE stand in their way?

 

Eventually I had to choose: Am I a Christian or an American?

 

I chose to be an American. The very fact that the religious right makes such strong attempts to keep rights away from people who deserve them makes them un-American. They value an ancient fairy tale book as a bigger authority than the US Constitution. To me, the religious right are social terrorists. Nothing more, nothing less.

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It takes a brave person to seriously re-examine their indoctrination. I commend you for doing some real thinking about this sensitive subject. You'll likely learn in time that pretty much everything you were ever taught about gays and the gay community (not to mention every other social issue of our day including abortion) was a flat-out lie. Fully untangling the truth of these issues took me many years. There's just so MUCH misinformation and twisting of truth to wade through, and a lot of it happens so evangelicals can maintain their stranglehold on the increasingly disaffected body of Christians.

 

One of the most offensive phrases I've ever heard is that one about "love the sinner, hate the sin." It's not your fault, though, I know. I've no doubt that in time you'll recognize this hollow platitude for the permission slip for bigotry that it is. I'll be glad when that shit-stain on the underwear of society finally slides out of view forever. Equating homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality is also pretty awful; evangelical leaders should feel ashamed of themselves for ever coming up with that disgusting bit of false witness. There is no reason whatsoever to fear a gay person with a child; what little I've seen of evidence suggests that your kids may be even safer with one. Frankly, I'd be way more worried about letting a minister have a single moment of unsupervised access to a child.

 

PS: Hate to break this to you, but you undoubtedly had some gay friends while you were in the church.

 

PPS: ((((pudd))) If it helps, I've heard several lesbians say that they were in the dark about their orientation for many years. I think it's more common than one thinks especially among those who were Christian; it's not like most Christian sex is that awesome, so I can easily see a woman not realizing that the reason for her discomfort and lack of fulfillment might not just be sheer ineptitude. <3 you :)

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Hi Bill! Welcome to ex-c.. I've read a couple of your posts and I think that you're doing the very best- least offensive- thing you can do, which is to question your assumptions and notions, own that you were a different person who said/thought different things during that life experience and you're prepared to move forward. It's not easy and I applaud your bravery and willingness to be open about it.

 

I shamefully admit that I definitely was one of those people who at one time said things like, "hate the sin, not the sinner" and similar nonsense. As I began to deconvert, I became ambivalent and then in university two of my best friends were/are gay men and it's fine (I know more about gay sex than I ever wanted to, thanks guys)... it was a process and I'm sure it always will be and that's okay because the point is you're CHECKING your bias and assumptions and that's all you can do. My parents- hardcore fundies that they are- love my gay friends, by the way. My mom proudly told me she stood up for them at a women's bible meeting.... sometimes it take putting a face on it to change things, like you admitted.

 

At any rate, thank you for sharing!

 

Also, Pudd, thank you for sharing and big hugs as your're going through all these changes. Hope you find peace and freedom as you figure out more about yourself! xo

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The other thing I wanted to talk about was me, myself. I am just now coming to grips with my own sexual orientation. I am pretty sure I'm gay. I'm not so much confused about my sexual orientation as I am about how I managed to be in denial of it for so long...

 

...My whole world has been turned upside down, and while on one level I feel peaceful because I have finally acknowledged the truth, on another I'm hurting. I didn't ask for this, and I really wish I was just straight and life could be easy again. But I can't go back. And I just sit at home finding shit to do so I don't have to think about it. And I think that's probably all I'll be doing fo some time, while I try to get my head around it all.

 

(((Pudd)))

 

I'm really sorry for your struggles, Pudd. You have our support--you certainly have mine. I hope that you find happiness. :)

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Coming out of fundagelicalism is hard, and this is another reason: we have not had time to adjust or acclimate to the world around us. We deconvert and find ourselves having to sort stuff out for the first time.

 

Well, now that you are unencumbered, may I suggest getting to know some gay folks?

 

Keep learning, keep growing. It's wonderful, scary, difficult and delicious all at once.

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Welcome to the board billdekay. I too wanted to say that you probably knew quite a few gay people, they just were in hiding. It's nice that you are asking questions, not just about gays but in general, that's the only way to mythbust from the xian programming.

 

I thought what you wrote was pretty good until we got to the Boy Scouts. I personally don't think they should discriminate but it's hard to explain that to an organization that still believes it's a mental problem. I understand that all xians are led to believe that gays and children don't mix, but that's really over used. I'm gay. I am the oldest of my siblings and all my cousins. I babysat many times with them and kids who were not my family. As an adult I used to work in a job where children were a huge part of the clientele. I am really good with kids, and kids (and pets) just love me.

 

I, however, am not very fond of kids. I don't hate kids, I just prefer to spend my time with adults. You see xians want to demonize gays so that people will hate us. "oh you're one of them!", that's what they want people to think and say. xianity does that a lot, makes you fear things so you stay in the cult. But they forget that gays & lesbians are interested in having relationships with adults. Kids are something we raise, not have sex with.

It is assumed that a gay man will want to have sex with any male, and children are in danger. But it is overlooked that gay men are interested in gay men. A child does not have the traits a full grown adult does. It's like a tricycle or a Lambourghini. And who wouldn't want a Lambourghini. :D It's just not the same thing. And of course sex in the church is evil so add those together and it's just satan waiting to steal your soul. :o

 

Most men who commit a sexual crime against another male (juvenile or adult) are usually heterosexual. It always ignored that this occurs. Sexual crimes are not about sex. They are about power, they are about repeating a sickness pattern. Sex is how they are acted out. And since the subject of sex is so off limits in the church, people never get to learn about the origins of these uncomfortable topics. No preacher would ever sit and explain why sexual crimes are actually comitted in order to educate his flock, he would just say satan is loose an y'all better close up your minds.

 

Although the gay culture is not the same as the straight culture, almost every aspect of our lives is like everyone else. We have to work, eat, drive, plan for retirement, get haircuts, find a partner, buy cold medicine, learn new skills, tolerate drunk relatives, do laundry, rebuild the motorcycle, bake birthday cakes, and mow the lawn. We do all the things anyone else does, we have the same emotions, we have dreams, goals, hobbies.

 

What is different is the fact that we have same gender interaction more often than not. There is no "he said, she said" misunderstandings. The gender is completely gone in our world. Do we still have relationship problems? Yes, we are human, but gender is removed. We are also different in the sense that we see the world around us from a straight and a gay perspective. We all were raised to be straight so we see the world through those glasses, but we are able to see the gay culture underneath. That is kind of an explanation of gaydar.

 

The best way to understand what a gay person is like is to look at your life and just change the gender. That's really all it is. You and your wife/girlfriend are eating dinner. Change her gender and you have the same situation, that's all that changes.

 

There is a lot of talk about "gay marriage" , but to us it's just marriage, we want marriage. "Gay marriage" is really a term that should be applied to "domestic partners" because that's really gay marriage, not equal marriage. 11 countries have legalized marriage, 22 countries have domestic partnerships, it is a global change. If all the negative things xians said about gays were true we would be having a new version of the witch hunts in 2012. The reality is we are just humans who are different, like every other human.

 

Religion teaches us that we must be part of the group. We must fall in line with everyone else and all act the same. It doesn't work. It creates stupidity on a massive level.

 

When you learned things about the world through your blind friends eyes, you actually touched the secret to living in a better world. Whenever we put ourselves in the uncomfortable shoes of experiencing someone else's world that is very foreign to us, we understand it better. We stop believing all the soundbites about it and actually search for more facts.

 

Ask uncomfortable questions and you will grow. Being different is actually normal. If we all had the same thought, no one would ever have a solution to a problem. Being different means we have many answers to the problems in life. People contribute on a greater scale when their differences are celebrated instead of punished.

 

I might be gay, but that is only one aspect of who I am. We are all like diamonds, each facet holds a different aspect of our lives. There are many facets to every human.

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I would also like to welcome you, bildekay! I was always one to "love the sinner, hate the sin." I had genuine friendships with homosexuals, but I felt that they were living in sin if they acted on their desires. It was a relief to come to a conclusion that they would not face eternal judgement for their orientation. I have a friend now who is transgendered. That's a little harder for me to relate to, but I understand her (formerly him). She's a lesbian now (still likes girls but always a girl inside). It takes all kinds, huh?

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I always wondered about that, London -- when a guy is nailed for pedophilia against little boys, it's never "OMG GAY PEDOPHILE." It's a guy who identifies as straight--who may even have a wife and kids of his own. WTF is up with that? They're not really gay, right? Like that scoutmaster in South Park who replaced Big Gay Al who was married but taking naked photos of the kids.

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It seems to me that the very hatred of 'sinning' may be the actual Armaggedon--Chrisitianity is self destructing. Hate wears on most of us, and we don't want to spend our life hating someone else that we don't even know. I see the split between the accepting churches and the right wing churches as huge and a big disaster for xians. It goes beyond gays and extends to all bigotry and hateful things going on in right wing churches.

 

I grew up in a time when gays were not discussed. When I got my first job, I worked with a lot of people. A couple of guys were fun, outgoing and never out of line. We had a great time at work, and (waay back then) I had no idea my two guy friends were gay--I was very naive then. We were friends first before I learned I was supposed to hate them. But that one incident has never left my mind. These were great people, why did the church want me to hate them? Believe me, it played in my eventual decision to leave xianity.

 

Since you are looking to change your bigotry, just realize that the fact that they can get married--or not--is really none of our business. I believe we have no authority to vote on other people's rights. It is really hateful to think we do. Just because it is 'icky' to usually straight men, they have a problem with it. (I have often wondered how many of them are not living their true life of being themselves.) Religion has spread the hatred and their own self destruction. People are sick of seeing gays picked on just because they are different. They are human. And face it, I don't want to think about the sex lives of anyone I know, straight or gay. It is none of my business. Live and let live. LeslieHappyCry.gif

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Hi Bill, and welcome!

 

 

I'm gay and nothing you said hurt my feelings. And I agree, some of these issues are a little bit... sticky. Personally I think it's important that the BSA and churches be allowed to continue their discriminatory practices if that's what they want. I just don't want them getting tax money for it. I think Chick-Fil-A needs to be allowed to do their thing and I think it's appalling that local governments are threatening to shut them out because of their exercise of free speech. I think it's up to market forces and not the government to fix that.

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Yeah, I knew writing some of my misconceptions was going to bother some people, but since I never had any openly gay friends to ask, I never had a chance to challenge any of my notions. Ignorance is never pretty, but on some level we can understand why it exists and thanks to education, we know how to dispel these myths; with truth. I thank everyone who took the time to to help me understand these falsehoods I was raised with. Once again, I do apologize if my examples were considered offensive. Deep down I know they're wrong, but I just haven't been given enough life examples to know why.

 

The only reason I ventured to expose these thoughts and misconceptions is due to the fact there are a lot of people trying to force an anti-gay agenda and I'd rather be armed with knowledge rather than ignorance when I'm asked to vote on related topics. I believe prejudice is always going to be part of the human condition. It's why women inflexibly hold their purse tighter when someone is walking toward them. It doesn't matter the race or age or clothing worn, the person represents the unknown and I think it's natural to fear the unknown. When I brought up the Boy Scouts issue I knew that was going to push some buttons, but that's exactly why I brought it up. I have concerns and I wanted them to be brought forth in open discussion rather than just clutch my proverbial purse of mistrust. That doesn't give me the right to spout off a bunch of ignorant bigotry ridden rhetoric, but I guess this is that moment where you just have to trust me when I say, what I say is from a place of ignorance, not intolerance.

 

I continue looking forward to be educated by people who share my desire to know truth.

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By the way, I'm new to forum structure so I have no idea how to directly respond to individual posts other than just mentioning the member's name.

 

For instance, Thanks Zaphod for your response and I firmly agree with you. It's always going to be "We the People" who are ultimately responsible for dealing with intolerance; I just wish we were just a little more organized. It does seem like every time something major happens and the government steps in, we somehow lose more freedoms as a result. There's a lot of special interest groups that seem to know how to use the power of the people, I just keep waiting for a common sense rational thinking group to form so I can join their cause.

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Let me join the welcomes and thank you for your thoughtful post.

 

I believe that business owners should be able to express their opinions and manage their businesses as they see fit. I also believe that the paying public -- by deciding not to be paying customers -- will be more effective at smacking down bigots than any laws or regulations ever could be. (Evidence: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/53026-what-would-you-do-if-you-saw-gay-parents-getting-bashed/) We go into really dangerous territory when we ask government to censor or punish anybody for mere opinions.

 

I also have a dear Christian friend whose beloved son is gay. She began as fundie (politely fretting that she feared her son would be "separated" from her after death), but the intolerance eventually got to her. She's moved to a much more tolerant denomination now.

 

Life is change ...

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Hi Bill :) You didn't offend me at all, just saying. You're being really brave to re-examine these deeply-inculcated beliefs.

 

I also believe that Chik-Fil-A should be free to put its corporate money toward bigoted hate groups. That's fine. It's their corporate money. If a community doesn't want "values" like that in their community, that's their right in turn. When considering Chik-Fil-A, I put that against "What if it was a business that a deeply conservative community disagreed with, like a pro-choice group? What if Storm Front's leader started up a jewelry shop and wanted to open in this town?" If you deny one business based on values, that can get really sticky fast. It's not an easy decision. But ultimately it's the business' call where they put their profits. I in turn do not give money to groups whose corporate funds go to groups like that, using my right as a consumer.

 

BSA is not just a private group. From what I hear they get government freebies all over the damn place--reduced or free rent, etc. If they're getting government funds, they don't get to be discriminatory. If they eschew those freebies, then yeah, let 'em do whatever the fuck they want. It's incredibly sad they're creating an atmosphere like that, but it's not like any evangelical church in the nation is doing things any differently. I feel this way about churches, too; if they're operating with a tax-free status, they need to keep the fuck out of government entirely. If they did this, I wouldn't have near as much of an issue with how they do things. But they don't.

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The Boy Scouts have become dominated by the LDS church, just like Prop8, so it's not hard to see why they've drawn this line in the sand.

 

Billdekay, I'm a dad, a few years older than you, and I'd be careful with ANY adult male who wanted to go camping with my kid. The odds of getting molested by a man who identifies as straight are much higher than by a gay man. One hopes organizations have some kind of process to weed out the bad guys, but I would, and have, gotten to know the guy at least a little. Plus, molesters tend to go after kids whose parents are less involved, so if you're around and your face is familiar, that's worth something. It seems to have worked - my son has found good, positive older friends and mentors, including at least one guy who is gay.

 

Otherwise, I don't see anything wrong with what you've written. From what I can tell, most LGBT people don't really care how the rest of us *feel* about them, they just want to be left alone to live their lives, like we all do. Most of us, especially people around our age, have made huge changes in our thinking over the last 30 years. We're all learning, and sometimes it surprises me how much. When I was a kid, gay men were a big scary mystery, creepy back alley perverts we never saw or knew anything about. Now, out gay couples are winning Emmys in mainstream sitcoms and even conservative Christians have to talk about them as actual people to be loved, even if they have to "hate the sin". I think by the time our kids are our age, sexual orientation will be as significant as right-or-left-handedness. It won't be an issue, just a normal fact of life.

 

It is tricky, at least for me, to act "normal" when I'm self-consciously aware of trying to overcome a prejudice. If you do get to know any LGBT people, for practical, day-to-day interactions, someone else's sexual orientation only becomes important when a) one of you wants to date the other, or B) when people talk about their significant-other-type relationships. For the former, when I've been approached by guys (doesn't happen a lot, but occasionally), a simple "That's flattering, but I'm already spoken for," has always worked fine. No big deal, and we might have a laugh. (Except for the one guy who insisted on dancing with me because he liked my beard. So I danced with him, and I'm sure he regretted it because I'm a terrible dancer.) For the latter, I kind of make a point to show the kind of social interest I would with a straight couple. "How long have you two been together?" shows respect for the relationship and helps fill in real details about the people as individual people rather than as stereotypes.

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Being born in the early 80s, I feel I was raised at just the right time to be open minded about the world and those in it.

 

While on the one hand church was an ever present influence in my life, I watched TV, read novels, and played video games that all taught me about equality and fighting for it no matter what I personally thought about a subject.

 

I think we're seeing that a lot with other people of my generation as statistics who that people in their early 30s and below are much more accepting of LGBT rights and have a higher rate of being non-religious.

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In church, I was consistently taught to believe gays and lesbians were violating God's edict to prosper and multiply. I was told that their choice was separating themselves from God's love.

 

 

I have input on this, and maybe a question.

 

Maybe it will help you to get beyond this if you understand that my husband and I do not want children. Long before I met him, I had myself sterilized at the age of 23. I have never regretted this. So, we married knowing that we would never "prosper and multiply." As it turns out, we have prospered very well, but the multiplication, not at all.

 

So - would you have (or, does your church) believe that my husband and I are violating "God's" edict to prosper and multiply, and that we by definition separated ourselves from "God's" love?

 

If so, then it isn't about homosexuality at all, is it? It's really about forcing people to follow the mould.

 

If not, then why not?

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WW: HOW DARE YOU enjoy the copious benefits of marriage without doing the penance that goes along with it!

 

Oh wait I'm in a childfree marriage too. Had myself tied about 15 years ago and not a regret in the world. Every man I've been with since has reacted to the news that I don't want kids in the same way: "Oh. Really? Is that even possible for a woman? .... Will you be my girlfriend?" Considering some 20-25% of women hit their 40s without procreating, one would think men would be aware of the phenomenon of a woman not wanting kids, but to them women like us are unicorns grazing in a sparkling meadow of fairy dust. Add "competent tabletop GM" to the list and for a while there you could write your own check, relationship-wise.

 

A lot of the anti-gay arguments boil down to someone feeling uncomfortable with another way of handling life and not realizing just how contradictory their arguments against it are. They think anal sex is icky, but forget that a lot of straights have it and love it. They think the idea of two guys kissing is weird-looking, but most of them are happy to watch girl-on-girl porn. They think marriage is about kids, but forget that a lot of straights get married and never have kids (too old, don't want 'em, or can't have 'em). They make up stupid non-facts about gays being dangerous to society or to THE CHILDREN WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN, without a shred of proof of any of their claims. It's about having a very insular, narrow view of the world and an egocentrism level that can be spotted from high orbit. We know this is the case because the surest way to shake that kind of bigotry out of someone is to have them make friends with a gay person or discover a gay person in their own family. And this is why conservatives have given "multiculturalism" such a dirty reputation, and why they fear education.

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