Category Archives: Freedom

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage have prompted a slew of Facebook status updates declaring “for” or “against.” I’m still friends with a handful of people I went to church with as a teenager, and many of them are clearly against gay marriage. One shared this status update, which he got from a friend:

“With all of the marriage equality focus in the news, I thought I would offer one man’s view on what it means to take a Biblical stance on the issue and still be Christlike In the process. My reason for sharing is that the media refuses to show this side of Christianity, instead making us out to be anti-gay when in fact I am anti-sin of all kinds, including my own. Without question, even a cursory reading of the Bible makes it clear that gay relationships and marriage is wrong and sinful. However, homosexuality is no worse than any other sin. Sin is sin, and we all fall short of the glory of God. So when I say that I am for Biblical values and against gay marriage, it does not make me a bigot or a hater or any of the other words that the media would throw my way. It means that I am a sinner who has been forgiven based upon my faith in Jesus, and that my mission in life is not to single out gays and make their life miserable. My mission is to love them as I do all of mankind, and to hate their sin as much as I hate my very own. My desire is to see all sin cease, including my own, so that my God and Savior will be pleased with what He sees. So you see, when I take a Biblical stand on the issue, I am expressing my right and freedom to practice Biblical values in hopes that the land that I live in will see things the same way. If in the end laws change that show that the majority of people in the land I live in disagree with Biblical values, then it will be my fault as a Chrisitian for failing to show the love of Christ and teaching others to live as He commands us to. But at no time is it acceptable for me to hate others and single out their sins. If more believers would focus on their own sins instead of others, and spread the Gospel rather than hateful words toward others, then maybe just maybe people who are caught in all kinds of sins would be more prone to listen to what we have to say. In short, if you are gay, please know that while I disagree with your lifestyle choice, I love you and will help you in any way that I can if you ever need me. Though your sin in wrong just like mine is, Jesus will heal and forgive you if you will turn to Him in faith.”

There are so many things wrong with this that I didn’t know where to begin. I messaged him privately with a link to this article, You Can’t Quote Leviticus to Prove God Hates Homosexuality, which I found to be an excellent read. It’s a great argument for why Old Testament law no longer applies to modern Christian life. I mean, if it did, and Christians took the entire bible literally, they’d have to outlaw shellfish and pork as food, fortune tellers would be stoned, and tattoos would be against the law.

First, where in the bible does Christ command people to live as heterosexuals? Second, you may think you’re not a bigot, but you are, by definition:

“bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance” (source)

This whole status update makes me very sad because these people are so blindly following a religion that seeks to keep certain groups oppressed. He preaches love, but at its foundation is hate, and he doesn’t even realize it.

Christians don’t seem to understand why freethinkers have a problem with their beliefs. This is why. Christians constantly try to force their beliefs upon others because they are told to “share the faith” and “bring others to Christ.” They think they’re doing a good thing by bringing people to Christ, but they’re really oppressing large groups of caring, loving people who want nothing more than to be accepted in society.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Think Birth Control ‘Poisons’ Women’s Bodies

Let’s just get this out in the open. I am hopping mad over this situation. I flew into a rage on Facebook, where I saw the ThinkProgress article posted. Then I went over to the Tulsa World and read the story of this man, Senator Clark Jolley (R-Edmond), who is “morally against contraception.” Here’s what I have to say to Mr. Jolley – get your religious beliefs out of my government!

His constituent, a “natural family planning consultant and women’s health researcher” (yeah, right), a cardiologist named Dr. Dominic Pedulla, believes that birth control “poisons women” and that women are “worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are.” What kind of an idiot takes this man seriously? Mr. Jolley, it appears. And nine other people on the Business and Commerce committee. Someone please explain how contraception is related to Business and Commerce!?

Would you like to give Mr. Pedulla a call? Here’s his practice phone number: (405) 947-2228.

So this Mr. Pedulla believes that women are defined by their ability to have children. I have two kids, and I love them very much. I love being a mother and I love everything that comes with it. But motherhood does not define who I am. It is not the only thing that describes me. I certainly don’t feel deprived because I’m no longer having children. Actually, I feel more suppressed and poisoned when businessmen with no regard for science and fact try to make decisions about my body! I wish for just one minute that someone would force these men to do something that takes away their freedom. They have it so easy.

“Studies show that women using contraceptives consider pregnancy more unwanted than wanted, he said.” You’re damn right, Mr. Pedulla! We choose whether or not we want to bear children. We choose to use the available options to plan our families. We choose when, where, and how we have our children. This is our right as women, and you are trying to take it away, and put more power into the hands of large corporations by allowing them to deny coverage. I don’t agree with Catholic organizations denying coverage, but I understand it. Allowing any company to opt out of providing proper care for women and protecting a woman’s right to choose how to plan her family is morally wrong.

The problem is that they’ve lumped abortion in with contraception in this measure, and these are two fundamentally different things. Contraception prevents abortions, and studies have shown this! Denying abortion coverage is one thing, but contraception is a basic female need these days.

I fear for my girls’ future. I fear for their ability to make choices for themselves. We must stand up to these two men, and we must not let this pass. The problem is that I have no experience fighting lawmakers and I have no idea how to go about it. Tips and advice? I really want to be involved in taking this measure down. It’s unacceptable, and it’s time for this to stop. If you have ideas for what can be done, I’d love to hear them!

Republicans, are you listening? As long as you pull crap like this, you will never win me over. Ever. 

The way to see by faith – Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s History

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
-Benjamin Franklin

One of my favorite quotes… Oh, and would you look at that!? It’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America! Even though Ben Franklin wasn’t an atheist, he rejected the Christian dogma of his time and found his god in nature and rationalism, typical of Enlightenment deists. I find this interesting because so many claim that America is a Christian nation and, by God, we’re a-prayin’ folk!

Well, America was and is home to many Christians, like founding father, John Jay. However, not all of our fearless fathers were Christian. John Adams was a Unitarian. Thomas Jefferson, like Franklin, believed in a deity, but he rejected Christianity as a whole and spoke out against the Catholic church. Jefferson once said, “to talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings,” regarding his view of god. James Madison, the “father of the Constitution,” was almost solely responsible for the First Amendment and the laws governing the separation of church and state. And George Washington, though deist, publicly called for people of all faiths (and no faith) to adopt a tolerant mindset that would help Americans feel safe that they could believe or not believe whatever they chose.

So to those who say we are a “Christian” country, perhaps a course or two in history and the humanities will show you the truth about our origins. Americans are everything – Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Atheist, Wiccan, and Pastafarian. And every single person in this country should be allowed to believe and practice as he or she pleases as long as it does not a) hurt anyone or encroach upon someone else’s right to practice as they please and b) involve government agencies. Involving government agencies, meetings, and the like, only breaks down that which James Madison worked so hard to ensure – freedom of religion. Freedom.

Why is this so difficult for people to understand? Why must those who believe differently than you be the target of such hatred? Can’t we all just friggin’ get along?

City of Sand Springs Praying to Jesus Before Meetings

What do people not understand about the separation of church and state? It protects not only the non-religious, but also the faithful. It keeps that faith sacred and meaningful. It keeps the various faiths from being overrun by another. It prevents the government from telling a Christian that they must worship Allah, and vice versa. Why must people continue to bring their god into the government? It’s so simple to leave it out, yet people continue to invoke the Christian god before meetings and as a way of solving the difficult problems.

Check out this post by Beau McElhattan on the City of Sand Springs council meetings. Beau wrote an email to the mayor. I think I will do the same. Here’s a video of the prayer “in Jesus’ name.”

http://youtu.be/gtsLXRZgw_g

Come on, Sand Springs, get god out of the government. Not everyone believes the way you do.

Staying Strong in the (Lack of) Faith

As far as my (lack of) faith goes, I’m fairly new to atheism. This means I must learn news ways of dealing with stress and life situations that does not involve prayer. I still find myself wanting to cry out to “god” when I’m frightened or worried. I catch myself before I do and try to remember that these physical responses are all part of my natural instinct to survive. I suppose when I comes down to it,  I’m technically agnostic. I just lean more toward the belief that there is no god. I think if there is a higher power, it is most certainly not any of the gods that man has created here on Earth.

I also still find myself buying into spiritual crap. For example, there’s a local radio station with a morning show I listen to out of sheer morbid curiosity. It’s so ridiculous that I can’t believe I listen to it, but still…I do. Every couple of weeks they feature a famous psychic – Gary Spivey. This man is able to help people with their problems and can “guess” remarkable information about people. I find myself buying into it and often have to change the radio station because of the doubt it places in my mind. As a Christian, I was taught that psychics were “of the devil.” They were false prophets who did more harm than good. Now I see them differently – they are counselors of sorts. They have the gift of reading people, and that’s what I have to keep in mind. Even though I still believe that psychics do more harm than good with their talk of angels and the afterlife, they seem to do more good than many pastors I knew growing up.

Every day is a struggle to keep my feet planted solidly on the ground. I learn more about myself every time I tap into that natural instinct to calm myself without reaching out to a higher power that doesn’t exist. It’s funny, I still feel more free than I ever did as a Christian. I grow and learn every day, and no one tells me what to believe. I decide that for myself. I love life even more now that I know we truly are beings with a free will.

Choice

The “Us vs. Them” battle is raging in Washington D.C. and I have to say, it’s frightening on both sides. It should be so simple to decide what is right and what is wrong but so many people don’t seem to understand that right vs. wrong is not the issue here. Our differences seem so broad but really, they’re so simple. It comes down to choice.

I see it much like Dale McGowan writes in Parenting Beyond Belief when he says, “The key distinction is the attitude toward difference.” Our attitudes determine our life stance. The problem I see with some viewpoints is that the choice is taken away. For example, I believe it is wrong to force my children to pray before bedtime, therefore I do not force them to pray. A conservative believes that it is wrong to have an abortion. So, instead of just applying that belief to their own family, they attempt to apply it to everyone. Why not just abstain from abortion in your own family and let the rest of us have the right to choose? If you believe it’s wrong, then so be it. It sucks that abortion has to happen sometimes, but I believe the choice is what’s important. Why must our choices be taken away because of one group’s belief?

It’s frustrating to me that conservatives cannot see how they are stifling our choices. I do not force their children to believe in evolution, so why must they attempt to force my children to pledge allegiance to a god? I will fight that until the day I die.

I’ve never been a minority in my whole life. But I certainly am now, and I recognize the difficulty of life as a minority more and more each day. I know it’s only going to get more difficult as my children get older and start attending elementary school, but I’m preparing myself to fight the good fight. I’ve always been one to stand up for my principles, and standing up for choice is one of the noblest battles I can think of.

So let us be different, for a world where we’re all the same would be incredibly dull. But let us all have the choice to believe and do what we want as long as we aren’t hurting others. After all, this country was not founded on god, but on the freedom to choose to believe whatever we want to believe.