Religious folk shouldn't be filled with so much hate

A waitress with a pro-LGBTQ tattoo received this note from a customer. 

I realize I am a reluctant atheist, but in my lifetime, I have read the Bible from cover to cover three times (which is more than many ardently religious people), so I am familiar with the teachings of Jesus. 

And yes, while it would admittedly run counter to everything Jesus taught, I am fairly certain that he would at least want to punch this bigot in the nose for invoking his name in support of intolerance and hate.  

I like to think that even Jesus had his limits.

Fear not. This is not an example of bigotry as I initially thought. It's simply stupidity.

Behold. The White House published this photograph of First Lady Melania Trump and the other spouses of NATO leaders at the Royal Castle of Laeken in Brussels during the recent NATO summit.

Initially left off the captioned list of names was the First Gentleman of Luxembourg, Gauthier Destenay, who is married Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, making Bettel the first European Union head of government to marry a same-sex partner. 

The man in the photograph is gay, and his name was the only name left off. 

I was inclined to assume that the omission of Bettel's name was an act bigotry given Trump's complete abandonment of his campaign commitment to the LGBTQ community, but in addition to the omission of Bettel, Melania Trump's name was listed twice, Brigitte Macron, the first lady of France, was listed as “Brigitte Trogneux,” and the year of the photograph was listed as 2917.

The trifecta of stupidity. 

So the omission was probably typical Trump incompetence rather than Trump bigotry.

Though possibly both.  

This should not be surprising coming from a President who didn't know that Frederick Douglass was no longer alive.

A President whose administration who invented The Bowling Green Massacre, the Swedish Incident, and "alternative facts."

A President who continues to assert that his Electoral victory was one of the largest in American history when it was actually one of the narrowest. 

A President whose administration managed to unbelievably include a typo in Trump's official Presidential portrait.  

It's almost always correct to assume the worst from this President. It's just difficult to determine if the worst is the result of his complete incompetence or his despicable nature. 

Star Wars will have gay characters. Bigoted heads presumably explode like Alderaan.

Director JJ Abrams has announced that there will be gay characters in future Star Wars films.

“When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course there will be gay characters.”

“I would love it. To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
— JJ Abrams

My first thought:

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of bigoted, small minded, homophobic voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

I love it when the news can ruin a bigot's day.

A note to my children regarding the shame and embarrassment of 2015

When you read about the year 2015 in the history books, little ones, please remember this:

Yes, it’s true. It is still perfectly legal in much of the United States in 2015 to terminate a person’s employment because he or she was gay.

But please know that many of us – and perhaps even most of us – are nothing like the bigoted, cowardly elected officials who allowed such laws to persist.

I don’t know a single person who supports this form of discrimination, little ones. I know these bigots exist. I see them on television from time to time, holding up grammatically incorrect and poorly spelled signs and expressing their support for the predominantly old, white men who either believe in this form of discrimination or are too cowardly to stand by their own convictions and oppose their constituency.

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The country is changing fast, little ones. Same sex marriage is now legal in a majority of the states and for the vast majority of Americans. Ten years ago, there was just one state where same sex marriage was legal. The shift in attitude has been profound.

I have no doubt that by the time you are my age, the ability for an employer to fire an employee because he or she is gay will seem as archaic to you as Jim Crow seems to me. And like Jim Crow, a large majority of Americans opposed those laws at the time, too. But changing the law is oftentimes more difficult than changing attitudes and beliefs. 

Thankfully, the country is changing more quickly than anyone would have ever imagined. Just not quick enough if you are gay.

If given the choice, I choose this tea party over the one that advocates killing gay people.

No, not the Tea Party that includes Oklahoma State House candidate Scott Esk, who endorsed stoning gay people to death via his Facebook page.

This was a kinder, gentler, more rational tea party with my daughter, but with strict rules about behavior and a serious condemnation of my chosen attire.

My daughter can be quite demanding. Then again, this tea party was planned for two days, so perhaps her expectations were reasonable.

Please note her own change of attire mid-party, which was the result of having to use the bathroom and not wanting to pull her princess dress back over her head.

Perhaps formality isn’t as important as she originally thought. 

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Exit the bigots

The Boy Scouts of America have lost six percent of their members since changing their policy on gay participants, the group recently announced.

Some may think this is bad news.

I think the opposite.

They’re merely weeding out the bigots.

It’s true that in some cases, unbiased boys may be denied the benefits of Scouting because of their bigoted parents, but I think the greater  percentage of the decrease in membership is the result of the elimination of bigotry.  

As a former Boy Scout who loves Scouting and owes a great deal to the organization, my hope is that they reverse their decision on allowing gay adult leaders soon, too.

Scouting may lose another 6% of it’s membership or more by allowing openly gay adult leaders to serve, but I’d much rather see a smaller organization that adheres to the tenets of the Boy Scout Law and Oath than a larger organization populated by bigots and fools.


This Stephen Colbert segment is perfect. Stop everything and watch it now.

This satirical, snarky, occasionally condescending segment from The Colbert Show has given me heartfelt, legitimate hope for the country. It has caused me to question some of my assumptions about people and reminded me to keep an open mind at all times. It’s inspiring. And funny as hell.

It’s one of the best seven minutes of television I’ve seen in a long time.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Another bad day for the bigots

This is the second day in a row that I write about Pope Francis, and in a fairly positive light both times.


Today, it’s just one sentence, spoken yesterday by the pope and reported in the New York Times among many other places:

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” – Pope Francis

My mother was a Catholic. If she were still alive, I suspect that she would be feeling especially proud of her faith today.

It took them long enough to come to their sense, but still. It’s a great day for the human rights struggle. 

More importantly, when the religious defense for bigotry disappears, the only thing the bigots have left to stand on is their own hatred and stupidity.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, I can’t help but accentuate the negative

I think it says a lot about me that as happy as I am about the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, I take infinitely more pleasure in imagining how outraged, surprised, angry and defeated the bigots in this country must feel right now.

I should feel elation for my gay friends and the equality they so deserve. They should be people in the forefront of my mind on this historic day.

Instead I find myself focused on the image of some probably old, probably white bigot somewhere probably south of me, sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch, pained as he watches the America he once loved rapidly transform into an America that we can all love.  

I’ve always been a fan of schadenfreude. This is the one instance when it feels not only good but somehow righteous as well.

The recent decision by The Boy Scouts of America has left this Boy Scout rudderless

I’m a man in conflict.

You may have heard the news:

The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday announced that it will uphold its existing ban that excludes gays, something the group said was "absolutely the best policy" for the group.

"While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."

I was a Boy Scout for more than ten years, and it was by far the most positive and meaningful experience of my entire life. I learned more from Scouting than from any school or college that I ever attended, and summers I spent at Camp Yawgoog were by far the best times of my life.

When I die, I have asked that my ashes be spread on the waters of Yawgoog Pond.

Yet the organization that I love and hope to one day become active in again with my son has upheld its ban on homosexuals, and I am not sure how to reconcile my overwhelming respect with and love for the organization with this stupid, discriminatory, hateful policy.

What’s even more frustrating is that it’s clear that this policy cannot and will not stand forever. The US military has overcome it’s discriminatory practices against homosexuals. States have begun permitting same sex marriage. The laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians are slowly beginning to crumble just as the laws that discriminate against African Americans fell generations ago. It is only a matter of time before we do away with these arcane and mindless policies entirely. Holding onto these policies and beliefs at this point only serves to identify your state or organization as backwards thinking and incapable of accepting the inevitable.

In twenty years, the policy that excludes homosexuals from Scouting will most certainly no longer exist. End the policy now and stand with the righteous or risk the legacy of those Southern states were desegregated through military intervention.

Until the policy is ended, however, what am I to do?

In the past, I have questioned the decision of people who choose to remain affiliated with religions that base their belief on a text filled with racist, sexist, homophobic doctrine. I have criticized religions that elevate books like the Bible as the Word of God while knowing full well that to follow its dictates to the letter would require them to stone many of their friends and relatives to death. I stand in opposition to people who use religious doctrine to justify their racist, sexist and homophobic beliefs while simultaneously ignoring the book’s less convenient dictates.

I have also challenged specific religious institutions who have adopted the same arcane policy that the Boy Scouts have recently upheld. If your church policy is homophobic, I have argued, find another church. Lord knows there are plenty from which to choose.

In response, I have been told that the good that these organizations do far outweighs policies, practices and teaching that even their congregants may openly question.

I have scoffed at this notion.

But now I find myself in the same position as many of these people. While not currently affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, my fondness for the organization remains. Rarely does a day go by that I do not think about a moment from my time as a Boy Scout and smile. My experience with the Boy Scouts serves as the foundation upon which much of my life has been built. My greatest hope is that my son will someday love the Boy Scouts as much as I did and still do, and that I can participate in Scouting with him in a way my father never did for me.

But when that time comes, what should I do if this discriminatory policy remains in place?

Reconcile my participation in the organization by declaring that the Boy Scouts do far more good than harm?

Vow to promote change from inside the organization?

Argue that even though I do not agree with many of the laws of the United States, I remain a proud citizen of this country and will therefore take the same tact when it comes to Scouting?

None of this sounds right to me. It strikes me as a convenient use of semantics. But rejecting the Boy Scouts outright until this policy is changed is something I cannot see myself doing either. When I was fatherless and rudderless as a boy, Scouting was there for me and made me the man I am today. Ironically, I have little doubt that my stand against this homophobic policy and the internal conflict that it has generated would not exist had I not been taught by the Boy Scouts to respect and honor all people.

Thanks in part to Scouting, I know that a person’s sexual orientation is irrelevant when it comes to judging a person’s character and honor. Yet they have failed to learn this lesson themselves.  

I am a man in conflict. The thing I loved and respected most as a boy has let me down. I am the son of a flawed and failing parent, the product of an organization that has failed to stand behind its tenet to “help other people at all times” and keep oneself “mentally awake and morally straight.”

I love the Boy Scouts with all my heart, but now that heart is broken.