Where is the Love?

Much of the New Testament focuses on the concept that Jesus is love. In all the accounts written about him he was exemplifying love and mercy to those around him (perhaps with the exception of chasing out the money changers in the temple). Jesus’ ministry focused on healing the sick, blessing children, and befriending the outcasts. If Christians are followers of Christ, then Christianity at it’s most basic level = doing what Jesus did… right? Why, then do so many of my friends and even family who claim to follow Christ live lives so opposite of how Christ lived?

My Facebook feed is filled with stories and posts about the evils of public assistance and how most people are just out to milk the system. The loudest refrain I hear is that people must work, work, work – if you are on public assistance you must not be working hard enough. The assumption seems to be that poor people are lazy and should simply work harder. Those Americans fortunate enough to not be in that position should not have to help out those less fortunate than themselves. Given that a large percentage of people who hold to those ideas claim Christianity, I question their understanding of the Bible. What about this attitude is Christian? Where in the Bible did Jesus tell people to work harder and stop looking for help? How many beggars did Jesus use as an example of what happens to lazy people? How many sick people did Jesus turn away because they couldn’t pay for his services? Can you envision Jesus turning away children or leaving them to go hungry? Would he have prided himself in making lots of money and living in luxury while those around him suffered, struggled, and starved? No. Those are all current American ways of thinking and living. Jesus wasn’t American. Granted, there are more than just Americans who think and act this way. I suppose what I mean more specifically is that many people who claim Christianity have confused what it means to be Christian with what it means (to some) to be American.

The story that really got me thinking about this was how some Americans have responded to the immigrant children that have recently flooded our borders. These children have risked life and limb to reach America, because they believed that they would have a chance at happy, hopeful lives here. These children are fleeing violence, rape, enslavement, and abject poverty in their homelands. Why is this a crime? Why are children spat upon as if they were criminals intent on destroying America? This is America – we have a statue who stands as an emblem of hope in New York, and upon that statue are these words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

~ Emma Lazarus

 I find it ironic that many people I know who are so staunchly opposed to immigrants and programs that provide aid to people sing a song in church that talks about Lady Liberty and how proud they are to be Americans. I guess they’re so stuck on the “liberty for you and me” part that they’ve forgotten about everyone else, particularly the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Lady Liberty’s poem seems like it should be a mantra Christians would be happy to live by. Indeed, there are many who do… but rarely do they carry the title Fundamentalist or Baptist.

If you are a Christian, please take away this: don’t be so busy squabbling over who’s right and who’s wrong that you neglect to behave as followers of Christ. Jesus set a beautiful example for all of humanity, and the core of his ministry was showing love to people. If you don’t want to love others, stop using Christ’s name to describe yourselves.

Further reading:

The One About God, the Church, and Modern Religion

Here’s How You Can Help Unaccompanied Border Kids Without Giving to Glenn Beck

Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island

 Matthew 18:1-6, 19:14,21 6:24; Luke 14: 13-14, 18:16-17; Acts 2: 44-45, 4:32-37; Romans 13:1-7 and pretty much everything Jesus said or did

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Finding My Voice

I pulled out of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement (and Christianity as a whole) in the fall of 2011 – that’s roughly thirty one months ago. My beliefs have changed so much during that time frame. Who I am has changed, and I’m very thankful for that fact. I’m happier. I’m healthier. I’m more confident. My spirituality is more fulfilling. I’ve found my voice and am no longer afraid to use it. Life is better.

Christian fundamentalism greatly stunted my personal growth. I’ve only recently realized how greatly it stunted my ability to use my voice. For starters, fundamentalism did its best to prevent me from developing my individuality. Self-aware individuals don’t conform to rigid rules and certainly don’t do well with one-size-fits-all doctrine. Individuals realize the world doesn’t fit into a box. Individuals use their voice to ask questions. Questions are dangerous if they remain unchecked. A child may except pat answers, but when that child grows up, his questions will not so easily be set aside. Fundamentalism prides itself in having the answer to everything, even if that answer is “God’s ways are not man’s ways” or “God knows best.” Receiving an answer like that was very unsatisfying, but it usually was enough to shut me up because I didn’t want to appear to be questioning God or the authority of the person whom I’d asked. Asking too many questions got you in trouble or, at the least, caused people to find you annoying and troublesome. I asked too many questions anyway, though, and didn’t get enough answers.

I can recall puzzling through matters of theology as a college student. Homework assignments designed to help me better understand my faith only made it more puzzling. One particular event stands out in my mind. I had been studying the arguments for and against predestination and free will and thought I’d had a breakthrough moment of understanding. I wanted to share my discovery with other people so I did my best to put it into words (which was long and complicated to do) and then put in Facebook. Immediately I got backlash from fundamentalist friends who disagreed; ultimately I chose to take down what I’d written. I saw then and there that a hole-proof, Biblical argument that reconciled predestination and free will didn’t exist. That was one of many things that I realized was not as hole-proof as fundamentalism declared/needed it to be. My faith was crumbling,
not being strengthened, and I began to realize why hyper-conservative fundamentalists declared higher education to be a “tool of Satan” used to pull young people away from their faith. I was not involved with Satan, though, and had only studied at conservative Christian educational institutions. My fundamentalist faith was not holding up to the thoughts inside my own head, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Eventually I had to start telling the people around me that I was no longer a believer. My voice was a squeaky whisper as I fearfully undertook the task of breaking people’s hearts. I put on a brave face, tried to protect myself by putting up a wall of defense, but nothing helped. I could no longer believe, could not live a lie to please people, but couldn’t bear to cause the people I loved so much pain and confusion. The year during/after my exit was messy and painful for all involved. I felt desperate for independence and a chance to discover the rest of the world, and in my desperation I made some bad decisions (my first marriage being one of them). Mistakes added to the pain and confusion, but through it all I began to find my footing and realized how strong I was – not how strong a deity or religion could make me. I found a place where I could blossom, a partner who supported me, and a faith community that was safe and nourishing (Unitarian Universalism). Finding love and support has given me the confidence I need to start using my voice.

I recall one conversation with my mother sometime after I had left fundamentalism: she asked me not to become an activist. Turns out the term activist made her think of 70’s era feminists like Jane Fonda. I know very little about Jane Fonda, but I’m aware that some of the activism of days gone by left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Feminism and environmentalism both got a bad rap in IFB circles, and since those are two of the most well known areas of activism, I guess many fundamentalists assume activism is crazy, despite their very active attempts at proselytization and protecting themselves from what they considered to be infringements on their religious rights. IFB told me to speak out about salvation so the world would not all die and go to hell, but it cared very little about the worldly state of humanity and the Earth. Humanitarian efforts were seen as secondary (at best) to missionary work that resulted in conversions. I was always troubled by this, and wanted to involve myself in something that sought to help others at whatever level they needed help – not just their souls.

I guess I’ve always been an activist at heart. I don’t like sitting idly by when I see something that is needed, but years of doing just that must be overcome. I’m finding my voice and have lots I want to say. I don’t have the courage to speak very loudly, and the thought of public speaking still terrifies me, but I’m finding ways to use my voice. This blog is really what got me started; I needed to tell my story, and in the absence of an existing audience I made the web my audience. There are other things I’m passionate about, and I’ve been able to use the web to help me speak out about those things as well. Now that I’m a member at my local UU church, I think I will quickly find new ways to speak about what is important to me. I don’t have a special story, but I do have my story. I don’t have great ideas or even unique ideas, but if I don’t speak my thoughts I remain part of the silent majority. I want to bring about change, not remain silent while the world dies around me.

(Real) Love Conquers All

I suppose there a lot of other things I could be blogging about right now – like Doug Phillips being sued for molesting his children’s nanny, or my current perspective on Easter – but tonight I write about love.

 

I’ve written some about my first marriage and how IFB shaped my view of love here, here, and here. My first marriage tanked pretty quickly. I had no prior experience with an actual relationship, thought you were supposed to marry your first love, and believed that there would never be another person who would tell me he loved me and wanted to take care of me. I went into the relationship with a very low level of self-worth, which turned into me letting my then-boyfriend-and-eventually-husband push me into things I wasn’t comfortable with as well as letting him run me down and treat me like a child (not that children should be treated that way). I had gotten myself into an abusive relationship with a racist, misogynistic, mentally ill guy who believed the world was run by lizard aliens called the Illuminati. Yeah…. He was an expert liar and I was blinded by love, only to be blindsided by the craziness after we were married. After a few months of abuse, an opportunity to get out came, and I chose to leave. As hard as it was at the time, I’ve never regretted my decision and am so thankful to have my life back. Other ex-fundies have talked about experiences like this and refer to marriages like mine as “starter marriages,” because so many ex-fundies lack the real-world knowledge and experience to start in healthy relationships.

When I left my first marriage I was terrified of my ex, had even lower self-esteem than before, and was struggling with depression. Love had betrayed me. Marriage was supposed to be an ultimate goal that, once obtained, meant you were safe for life, but my marriage had dissolved due to things I had never dreamed possible. I lost a lot of things in that relationship, but the experience I gained changed my life for the better. I knew I would never marry someone without living with them first – no more prudish views about what I once considered a pretend marriage. No more promises made about abstaining from sex before marriage – sex was great and even sacred, and it didn’t make sense for me to hold back that part of a relationship until after I had married someone. The legality of marriage was huge and scary – something I didn’t fully grasp until my name was legally bound with the name of someone else whom I needed to divorce. For awhile I toyed with the idea of never entering into a legally-binding marriage again. A couple’s commitment to each other was sufficient for me, so why add the hassle of getting married? What was so important about this marriage thing anyway? Was it outdated and unnecessary? 

Then I was swept off my feet by someone else (also an ex-fundie). The origins of our relationship are complicated and tangled, but that’s not relevant to this post. We went through the gaga-eyed honeymoon phase like every couple, but on the other side of that phase we were still happy and very much in love. We had our issues, like learning how to communicate with each other effectively, but instead of him shutting me out or me burying my concerns, we figured it out and our relationship grew stronger. He has built me up, piece by piece, until I’ve reached the point I’m at now. I’m finding my independence and am becoming confident in who I am, what I can do, and how much I’m worth simply because I’m a person. I have built him up as well and helped him find balance in life. We truly function as a team, which means so much to me. We have found the meaning of love and are living it out one ordinary day at a time.

He and I were married this past weekend through a beautiful (and legal) Celtic handfasting ceremony. We debated whether marriage was relevant to us (he had been married once before as well). We decided the positives outweighed the negatives and began to plan our wedding. Along the way we added to our family (he has a son we are raising) and announced to the world that we were expecting a baby (it’s a boy!). Pretty much everything about our wedding was non-traditional, from the ceremony to my baby bump that made me feel like a goddess at the wedding. Neither my husband nor I went into the ceremony expecting it to change our relationship. We’d lived together for over a year already, so why would a ceremony change anything? Saying our vows in front of a carefully-selected group of people, surrounded by symbols of love and support, we both found ourselves forever changed. It was a beautiful experience and has added to the bond we share. My faith in the concept of marriage has been renewed, and I’ll probably write further on the this topic in the future.

A thought that has come to mind in recent days is this:
My heart is not a bag of Skittles that is capable of being emptied. My heart is capable of an infinite amount of love.

The bag of Skittles analogy is one I picked up at a fundie camp during my teen years. It was a lie, but I didn’t know that then. It was only after I hit rock bottom and then found love again that I realized how amazing my ability to love is. Love grows and changes and can be spread out across your whole life. I love my parents and many people from my past. I love my husband. I love his son. I love the son that is growing within me right now. I’m growing to love people in our new community. All this love and no worries about an empty Skittles bag.
Love conquers all.

A Disturbing Picture of Love

A friend posted a link to this family’s blog post. I do not know the family, but I’m a sucker for pregnancy stories so I decided to check it out. It was very sweet and exciting to read until I got to this part:

Dear Itty,
The pregnancy test confirmed that I am pregnant…but probably with only one baby. We’ll never know if it is #6 or #7 who lives on within me, so we have decided to call you Itty. And today, although we are so delighted to be housing and mothering Bitty, we want to say goodbye to you.
Itty, I never had the chance to tell you in person, but there is a holy God who made you—at a level much higher than the scientists who joined sperm and egg in the lab. This God loves you very much, and He put His stamp of affection on you by creating you in His own image! His ultimate desire for every person is to be with Him, enjoying Him and worshiping around His throne (which is like a huge and fancy high chair). But we are all born into a disobedient family, even you, Itty, who will never properly be born at all. So God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life and be killed as a punishment for the sins of those who believe in Him by faith—making it possible for us, though we are not holy ourselves, to be together with our holy Creator God. That delightful, sunshiny presence that you now bask in—whether as an embryo or as a full-grown person I do not know—is this loving God, who has brought you near to Him by forgiveness through Jesus.
We love you because He first loved us. We wish that we could have had the chance to meet you and see you grow… Goodbye for now, Itty. We love you and miss you already.
love,
Mom and Dad

I’ll get back to this letter in moment. First, let me say this:

I’m all too familiar with the ways Christians often speak of God. People plan things and then add the statement, “if it’s the Lord’s will.” People say they are incapable of doing anything good apart from God. Literally every part of their life is dominated by their God. I myself used to think and live like that. Being able to pass off responsibility onto cosmic forces of good or evil is very easy and more comfortable than taking personal responsibility. If you do something wrong, you can blame it on your old sin nature and the Devil. If you do something right you say God helped you and praise him for it. Why? Because you know that we are all incapable of doing the right thing apart from God because we are evil and sinful and he alone is good and holy.

I now take issue with this mentality. Individuals are left powerless – incapable of doing anything themselves – and that is bad. Powerless individuals can’t take responsibility for themselves and their actions. These individuals may have trouble making decisions in the first place, because they have told they are incapable of doing anything correctly by themselves. Children raised in this atmosphere will probably have a harder time adjusting to the so-called real world, because it takes confidence in your own abilities to be able to succeed. I personally have struggled with this mentality. Women in particular are put into powerless positions in many Christian teachings/circles, so we women are hit even harder.
_____________________________________________________

Now, back to the letter I quoted above. Does anyone else find it highly disturbing that most of this letter is dedicated to informing Itty that he/she would have been born into sin and gone to Hell if not for this amazing God who had his own son die instead? This letter is like a mini-sermon to a dead fetus, whom they believe to already be with God. They want to say goodbye, but they do it by talking about God rather than all the things they would have done together as a family or how much they would have loved Itty. In regards to love, they state, “We love you because He first loved us.” That particular phrase disturbs me more than anything else they say. Why? Because the Christian concept of love being totally dependent on being saved by Jesus is so… wrong. Most of the world is unsaved. Guess what? Most parents across the world love their children.

As an IFB Christian, I was confused by the concept that we Christians had a monopoly on love. Teachers and preachers told me it was so, but all I had to do was look around me to see it wasn’t true. In fact, many people of the world seemed to have a much better grasp on love then the saved people I knew. This observation has held true, as I am now one of those people of the world. Christians tell their kids they will go to Hell if they don’t accept Jesus into their hearts; they see this as the most loving thing they could do for their children. I (and most other people) see that act as horrendous and far from loving. Tell a small child they are inherently evil and incapable of doing good? Tell a small child they will burn in a lake of fire for all of eternity if they don’t say the magic words? Sure… that’s gonna be wonderful for their little developing minds and hearts. I’m sure they’ll have wonderful self-images when they are older and faced with the stresses of life. No!

I’ve always struggled with feelings of worthlessness, insignificance, being unable to do anything right, etc. I still struggle with those feelings today, but, since leaving Christianity I have seen great progress in this area. I’m not the only ex-fundie with this experience – the web is full of their stories. There are plenty of other people with the same story that may or may not have a religious background. If a child grows up constantly hearing that he is evil, bad, or unable to do things right, it will impact how he views himself and his own worth as a human. That’s just common sense. I personally came out of IFB Christianity with a damaged perception of children. I was taught at church and school (not so much at home) that even little babies were sinning because they cried when they didn’t need anything, because we are all inherently bad from day one. I realize now that this teaching is horrible and total bull… but it is ingrained in me nonetheless. I am actively seeking to unlearn these harmful teachings and replace them with positive things.

The image of love portrayed in Christianity is disturbing and I’m glad I’m no longer a part of that world.

Previous posts that are relevant:
Article: I Love You and You Are an Abomination
Love… Or Is It?

Josh Harris, Sexual Abuse, & My Opinion of Courtship (5-27-13)

Kudos to Josh Harris (of I Kissed Dating Goodbye famedom) for taking a stand on sexual abuse in the church. Read the story here. Really appreciate what he has publicly said, particularly this part:

My hope is that a person would hear me and think, “Okay, if the pastor can admit that in front of the church then I can call the police and tell someone what is happening to me. I can get counseling. I can tell my story, too.” It’s very difficult because it feels like such a shameful thing, but we need to learn how to talk about sexual abuse in the church. We need to teach people who have been abused that it’s not their fault.

I respect Josh Harris for making this stand; I know what a huge issue this is in churches, and what he has done will hopefully make a difference. i I think this is a deplorable turn of events for all involved. Allow me to explain why.

I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye as a teenager. It was one of two books my mother provided me with on relationships and sex. Well, they weren’t really about sex so much as avoiding it like the plague until you’ve said your marriage vows, but anyway. Even as a fundie teen who cared deeply about staying pure and someday having a godly relationship, I thought the message of Harris’ book was off. It’s been so long since I read it that I can’t remember what in particular it was that bugged me, but it was enough that I put the book on a shelf and never picked it up again. I think part of my issue was the premise for the book – dating is bad. I like(d) old fashioned things, but falling back to courtship in the way prescribed didn’t seem healthy. Fast forward a few years to when I’m reading Created to be His Help Meet and other Quiverfull literature. Even then I took issue with the concept of true courtship. Despite my feminist thoughts, many notions about courtship, marriage, and relationships in general were poisoned by the ideology I’d read about and even heard from teachers and pastors over the years. I consider the teachings poison because they lead to unhealthy relationships. I speak from personal experience.

The notion that the only real relationships are the ones that lead to marriage is prevalent amongst people who propose courtship over dating. Marriage is the assumed end result of courtship, after all; dating focuses on creating a relationship and then maybe marrying that person. To enter into courtship is like becoming engaged, whereas dating someone has far less strings attached. When I entered my first serious romantic relationship, I still had the courtship model stuck in my head. I wasn’t overly concerned about the parental aspect of things, but how I viewed the relationship was clearly impacted by my past. Once I got started into the relationship, I didn’t feel like I had the option to end it. If I truly loved him, I would stick with him, no matter what. I felt like anything short of marriage was a failure on my part. He was my first love, after all, and having no practice, I didn’t know many important things that could have saved me from much heartbreak. Saving your heart for your spouse was widely pushed onto young people, and it stuck with me. I saved my heart very well. I prided myself in the fact that I had never actually dated anyone, because I was just waiting for the right guy to along and marry me. So that’s exactly what I did, except he wasn’t the right guy and I was too inexperienced to realize it. Well, I take that back. I realized I had made a mistake a few times before actually tying the knot, but still felt I had no other option but to marry him anyway. Another common teaching amongst those who praise courtship over dating is to advocate that women stick with their men regardless of any abuse or mistreatment (read Created to be His Help Meet for a clear picture of this teaching). That teaching also influenced my reasons for sticking with the relationship for as long as I did (which was not long in measurements of time, perhaps, but eons in measurements of the soul).

My marriage was not a healthy one because my relationship wasn’t healthy enough to support marriage. He had initially asked that we live together first, but my need to have the “real” thing led me to refuse. I told him I didn’t want a trial marriage. I thought I was doing the right thing and was darn proud of myself for it too. Now I know how foolish I was to think and act as I did. Dating is sometimes knocked because it can take on the likeness of a trial marriage. Why on earth that is a bad thing, I will never actually understand. Sending people to vows of eternal commitment without any prior experience is crazy. In my opinion, courtship is a far too sheltered approach at building relationships. It is male-led, parentally controlled, highly restrictive, and is focused so much on the end goal of marriage that actual compatibility can’t be explored well enough.You must KNOW the person you want to be partnered to, and you must know him/her in ways that can’t come to light unless you’re living together. Anyone can play charades long enough to “get the girl”; it’s what happens behind closed doors at odd hours of the day that composes the true nature of a person. You can’t know those things until you’re behind those closed doors together.

I am now a strong advocate for dating and living together as a couple before making anything legally permanent. I also strongly advocate against courtship and all that it brings to the table. In my case, there were many negative factors that ultimately contributed to the ending of the relationship/marriage, but I place a large amount of blame at the feet of courtship teachings, because without them I honestly don’t think I would have been in that relationship in the first place.

Article: Sloppy Seconds Sex Ed (5-17-13)

Please read the article here.

I sincerely hope more Christians will take up this message and use it to prevent further damage from abstinence-only teachings. I grew up hearing similar things from people whom I respected (camp counselors, preachers, teachers, etc.); the teachings did impact my ability to view sex as a normal, healthy part of life. The teachings have impacted countless people over the years. I know a few of those people personally.

Some Quotes & Some More Thoughts on Sex (4-30-2012)

‘‘The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things—bad language and whatever—it’s all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition,’’ George Carlin in a 2004 interview. 

‘‘There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body…. It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.’’ ~ George Carlin


The first statement is very interesting to me – I’ve never heard anyone draw that conclusion before. The second statement is what initially caught my attention. I couldn’t agree more with him, as you will know from reading my previous post. The first time I took Biology class, it was embarrassing, seeing those body parts for the first time and reading about the functions for which they are used. The principal of the Christian school I was attending taught that chapter to us, because of the silliness that teachers knew would ensue from discussing the topic of sex. I imagine silliness and embarrassment are part of any classroom discussion about sex, be it Christian or non. I think that shows that our society has made the wrong choice in how it approaches the topic of sex. 


If you are reading this, then you had a mother and a father who joined themselves together and created you. Many of you had parents who were married, some were not married, some may not even know both of their parents… but you have sex to thank for your existence. Sex is a regular bodily function, and the parts of the body that are involved are just that – parts of the body. True, it is those body parts that allow humanity to continue its existence through the creation of babies – a power not to be taken lightly. The making of babies has been going on for a very, very long time (obviously), but the ways in which the act of lovemaking have been viewed during that time frame are quite varied. I recently was reading some on the culture of the Celts, including their views on sexuality, and found the openness of it all to be rather refreshing. It was assumed that young people would be sexually active long before they were hand-fasted (Celtic equivalent of marriage). Even their view of marriage was strikingly different. A couple could be fasted for a year, in which they would live together as husband and wife, and then after that year they could choose to part ways or make the relationship permanent. The Celts also allowed sexual freedoms to the married people, if they chose not to remain monogamous. I wouldn’t choose to embrace that idea myself, but I do think people should be allowed to live that way if they choose to, so long as their partner is in agreement with it. Basically, the Celtic approach to sex can be summed up in the word “freedom.” The Christian view of lovemaking is quite different. Sex is to occur only between one man and woman, and only after they have been married – any other occurrences are immorality/adultery and therefore sin. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses marriage and the sexual desires of Christians. He says several times that single people are better off, and that a man is much better off if he never has sex with a woman. Paul seems to be telling people that, if you are strong enough to repress your need for sex, you are making the best decision, but if you can’t, it’s okay, go ahead and get married and have sex… but you’ll really be better off if you don’t. After so many years of religiously-driven celibacy, it should be apparent why humans need to find outlets for their sexuality instead of repressing it. I wonder what happened in Paul’s life that left him thinking this way. He had to have been married at one time, since he was a high-up in the Jewish system… I wonder if he had a bad wife or something that left him blessing singleness. 
Anyway. 

Repressing anything results in problems surfacing later. If you hold in emotions, they will explode out later in chaotic and even harmful ways. If you hold in fears, guilt, and painful past events, you can greatly effect your mental health and consequently effect your physical health. If you don’t have a bowel movement, and instead hold it all in, you will back up your system and cause your body to poison itself. If you habitually force yourself to hold your bladder instead of relieving it, you will cause problems there. Why, then, is it somehow better for you to suppress the sexual appetite that you are born with? I get that the usual problem associated with pre-marital sex is a lot of kids that often lack things like a dedicated father, financial support, a mature mother, etc. Of course, marriage does not ensure those things exist… but it does increase the likelihood. People should be allowed to choose when they make love, and they should be in charge of deciding when they bring little dependent babies into the world. Teaching people that sex is normal and good – instead of something to pretend/wish away or not speak of – and teaching them how, why, and when to partake in it, seems to be the logical way to go. The same applies to the usage of alcohol, etc. Vagina and penis shouldn’t be dirty words that kids aren’t allowed to hear – they’re the names of body parts that are very important (for many reasons in addition to sexual function). Women’s menstrual cycles, private body parts, etc. should be normal things by now, not embarrassing, gross things.  Education and freedom has helped a lot of other problems (racism, bigotry, sexism, etc), so why not apply it to sex? Their is great power in knowledge, great power for good. If everyone was properly acclimated to sex, accepting its natural place in our lives and knowing when it is appropriate, rape and molestation would decrease, and unwanted pregnancies would probably decrease as well. Victorian prudishness creates ignorance, and that ignorance is certainly not bliss when some girl starts to experiment, maybe out of curiosity about this feeling she suddenly has, and ends up pregnant and scared and shamed by people around her. Fear, guilt, and shame should not be linked to such a beautiful act as making love.  

It’s late, so I will wrap this post up now, but I will probably touch on it again in the future. 

Bias, Courage, & a Reporter

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/anderson-cooper-the-fact-is-im-gay.html

I have been a big fan of Anderson Cooper since I watched him cover the Arab Spring. His cynical brand of humor is certainly entertaining, but that’s not what I love and respect him for. He is honest – brutally so – and he has managed to be perhaps the most unbiased sounding reporter I have yet to hear. His interviews are marked by respect and fairness for those he is interviewing – he’s there to get facts, not score an agenda. He has regularly covered a variety of events and people, often stories that other reporters usually ignore or simply deem unworthy of international/national news.

All that being said, I can now add to this description that Anderson Cooper is gay. Guess what – it doesn’t change anything. He’s a great person, great reporter, and he happens to be gay.

I cannot begin to imagine the new flack he will receive over this announcement. I say new because there has been speculation for years about Cooper’s sexual orientation. The argument has been made that his orientation makes him biased and therefore the wrong person to be reporting on issues that involve, say, homosexuality. Funny thing is, everyone is biased – that’s a cold hard fact of life. Even funnier is any outcry that a homosexual is reporting on homosexuality, because heterosexuals can report on heterosexual issues without people becoming upset at them for their bias. Reporters are people, not robots, so they will all be biased about something. Christian reporters, Muslim, Jewish, etc. all have a bias that affects their worldview – and I submit that their bias is no different than the bias of homo or heterosexuals. What really matters is how one’s biases influence the telling of facts.

So long as Anderson Cooper (or any other reporter) continues to tell the facts – all of them – in the most unbiased way possible, I will support and respect him. The courage and class he exhibited in not only “coming out” but also the manner in which he did so has only increased my respect for him. He is clearly a man who has accomplished much in his life, likes who he is, and is deeply contented with himself – he’s truly happy. The world can learn much from a man like this.

Kudos to Anderson Cooper. 🙂