Tag Archives: prejudice

My Problem With So-Called Christians

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I have a problem with many so-called Christians in this country. First of all, they aren’t Christians. They are filled with a false self-righteousness, based on a holier than thou attitude. They are eager to force their point of view on everyone. They want prayer in the schools, because everyone should be ‘Christian’. Our founding fathers knew the dangers of theocracy and made a point of keeping religion and the state separate. What we have with Rick Santorum and many others like him, is an attempt to establish a theocracy. A theocracy is a nation in which the state religion and the government are intertwined. Political decisions are based upon a religious agenda. The religious values of the state religion are imposed upon everyone. Those who oppose the state religion are persecuted, passed over for jobs, passed over in educational opportunities. Historically, the ultimate consequences are herding the heretics into their own ghettos and being subjected to inquisitions. It is insane.

Rick Santorum talks about a gay agenda, but I will tell you what the gay agenda is. It favors freedom to express oneself without fear of reprisal. It is the belief that one’s sexual orientation is their own business, and no one else’s. It is about telling the truth, instead of perpetuating a phony set of values. It is not about imposing the gay point of view upon everyone else. (actually I would argue that there isn’t necessarily a gay point of view, they disagree among each other as much as anyone). I am not gay (why do I feel I need to point that out? Is it because I want to be accepted by the bigots who read this blog?). But I support the values held by most gays far more than I support the values of hypocritical, self-satisfied, so-called Christians.

Real Christianity is about acceptance, tolerance, and love. It is not about relentless judgement and discrimination. It is about genuine love. It is certainly not about a political agenda of imposing your values on others. Relentless judgement is what is key here. That is what I encountered from a very young age. If you looked a certain way, or said certain things you were called ‘queer’ or ‘gay’. Even just a few years ago, in Las Vegas, some bonehead yelled ‘hey faggot’ out the window to me as I was walking down the sidewalk. Was there something about the way I walked that prompted that response? Or was there a way that I looked? Who knows, and who cares. Even those ‘Christians’ who condemn this sort of thing, still make those kinds of judgements, although they are unspoken. There is a deep undercurrent of hatred towards blacks, hispanics, jews, arabs, gays, the list goes on and on. And this hatred is held by church going sanctimonious people who pride themselves on being good Christians. They are not.

I still find traces of this stuff inside my  own mind, and have to remind myself that this is a residue of crap that I learned when I was a kid. We need to work hard at changing our attitudes and electing someone like Rick Santorum is a serious step backward. I don’t think he has a real chance of winning. In fact, I suspect Mitt Romney will win the nomination, but I could be wrong. The fundamentalist evangelical Christian right feels unrepresented and they are angry that the country is becoming multicultural. From their perspective the country is too liberal. They want to see some good old family values once again. This always gets a big response. Everyone supports family values. But what does that mean exactly? I grew up in a family that was very supportive of family values. It was a household in which you could not question the Bible, and you were expected to get good grades, go to college, get a good job, get married, raise a family etc. You were placed on a treadmill from the very beginning. No one questioned anything. It was largely devoid of love, and genuine respect. It consisted of following a program handed down generation after generation. It was robotic and meaningless. It makes me sick to think about it. But I don’t blame my parents because they had been just as victimized as myself when they were young. They were only doing what they were told was right, and didn’t give it a second thought.

That is what my blog is all about, telling the truth. Of course there was love in my childhood and afterward, and I was able to bludgeon my way into expressing an objection to the prevailing agenda. I exaggerated in the previous paragraph to an extent, to make a point. My intention is to wake people up to what is really going on. Are our lives authentic? Or are we following some mindless agenda which was foisted upon us? This is the problem I have with so-called Christianity. Christianity, in my view, was hijacked long ago. It was made to serve a political and social purpose, a means of controlling the masses. This is particularly true of Catholicism. You are not to question, only obey. Within this framework, our lives are not our own. However, I don’t believe the original message of Jesus Christ was extinguished. It is usually found where it was originally found, among the persecuted minorities.

I cannot even begin to express how much pain I feel inside when I consider the way in which my spirit was crushed when I was young. There was a ruthless, brutal lack of acceptance for anything that wasn’t part of the accepted culture. I despise that culture. I fear that the United States is in danger of entering into a very ugly phase, typified by a lack of tolerance. Fascism thrives in this kind of atmosphere. People like myself may be persecuted, herded away, and eventually killed. It is not that far fetched.

Some thoughtful observations of so-called Christians

I have been reading a ‘new’ history of the Third Reich by Michael Burleigh. In that book I could see how very ordinary, seemingly decent people could be persuaded to do the most horrendous things in the name of a false ideal. If the followers of the more extreme forms of ‘Christianity’ felt it was God’s Will, they would also be capable of doing horrendous things. For me, Rick Santorum represents a kind of American ‘Christian’ Taliban. It smacks of the same kind of intolerance.

 

Revolution #9 Politics, Art, and Sexuality for the 21st Century

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As I navigated to my blog to create this latest post, Revolution #9 started playing on  iTunes, which fit my topic perfectly. In this montage, you find protest, references to becoming naked, and a confusing mess of stuff which all adds up to 9, the number of spiritual transformation and one of John Lennon’s ongoing themes. This is right in step with the transformation I am undergoing (see previous blog).

I commented on Margaret Cho’s latest post on her blog at MargaretCho.com. Yes I am still following her blog. She always has something there which is worth reading. This time she was writing about women and tattoos. Recently, she had inquired about being featured in a Playboy pictorial and was told that Playboy doesn’t accept tattooed women. As I said in my comment, screw Playboy! Playboy used to stand for something, for sexual freedom and also cutting edge art and literature, although their attitude toward women was still very sexist by today’s standards. But for the time, it was revolutionary. We need the equivalent of that for the 21st century. Again, as I suggested to Margaret, lets create our own magazine! I put that out to writers, publishers, artists, beautiful women and men and transgender (which is all of us), to join together in a new magazine to bring together the cutting edge of freedom, in literature, art, politics, and, of course, a celebration of 21st century sexuality. I definitely think there is a market for it, just as there was a market for Playboy in 1953. I would love to participate in such a project and Margaret Cho could be our Marilyn Monroe, in the first issue!  Can you think of a better symbol of 21st century sexuality?

There is an interesting nexus here, between politics and sexuality. In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Carroll noted in his column that nudity and protesting so often go hand in hand. Although I haven’t noticed that the Occupy movement involves much nudity, maybe it’s too cold out for that. But for me, the overall theme in all of this, whether you are talking about political change, or a new direction in art and literature, is one of brutal honesty. People all over the world are sick of the bullshit. What better way of expressing the naked truth than by being literally naked? It drives some people nuts, and that is good, because that state of being nuts is an opportunity to get past your own programming and get real. All of us have bullshit prejudices that we often are unaware of until brought face to face with them. I was raised in the Midwest, and was programmed to believe all kinds of nonsense. I was taught to avoid niggertown, or I would get beaten up. I was taught that women belonged in the home, making babies. I was taught that sex is a necessary, but nevertheless shameful activity, which should not be celebrated. Only criminals got tattoos, and if you were gay you were a pervert. Even though I know better, and sometimes pride myself on being too hip for my jeans (sort of my variation of ‘too sexy for my shirt’), I discover those old prejudices creeping up on me when I am unawares. I have to constantly remind myself to be mindful and aware, instead of just a fucking robot.

My point? you say? I’m not the only bozo on this bus. We all need each other’s help in getting past our prejudices and being mindful. That would be the central focus of this idea of a new magazine. Mindful Sexuality Mindful Politics Mindful Art. What do you think? I’d love some feedback on this. I keep bringing up mindfulness because, for me, Buddhism, especially Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, stress mindfulness, and by that they mean Naked, naked right on down to the very ground of being. Mindfulness means brutal, but also tender, loving honesty in all things. But mindfulness also means Play. It means not taking it all that seriously, because at the ground of being everything is profoundly ok. It has already worked out. Everything is fine. But that is at the ground of being, ok? very far from the chaos of our minds. But if the first magazine was Playboy, why not name this one simply Play. Play in all things, political, artistic, and sexual. Sounds like fun to me.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting a Buddhist magazine, although it could certainly touch on that, as well as other mindful religions, psychologies, and philosophies. Mindfulness isn’t about Buddhism, it isn’t “about” anything, that’s the point.

I think there a lot of people going off in all sorts of directions right now, but the connecting thread is Freedom. There isn’t enough of it. and Bravery. That is something all of us are going to need to cultivate. and Love. as the Beatles said……..

That magazine might be a place where my erstwhile novel (yes, it exists!) might find a home. In any case, I think it is a good idea. There are a lot of magazines that touch on different aspects of what I am choosing to call Revolution #9, but I don’t know of one that brings it all together. What an exciting project!