Nov 14, 2010

[Technicolor Musings] A Doctrine of Prejudice And Ignorance

I got into a minor argument with a more conservative friend of mine this week. Well, I felt it was an argument - I think he only sees it as a misunderstanding or me not respecting the need for the culture of his Facebook Wall or whatever he wants to call it.
It all started when he posted Katy Perry's latest video, Firework, on his Wall to celebrate how much he liked it and how he envisioned it as a song to carry along with his friends headed to World Youth Day next year. Given the content of the video includes a wonderfully poignant moment of a young gay man finding the courage to make his feelings known for another guy. For those who haven't seen the video, you definitely should - check it out:

Katy Perry - Firework

I replied with a short message of "Go gay love!" or something like that, fully knowing the irony of the video that he had posted. I didn't actually expect an acknowledgment - that would have made total sense to me given the beliefs he so publicly espouses. But instead he sends me a personal note to explain why he had to delete my comment given his other friends and how as much as he respected "my views", he needed to think about his other friends and how this might affect their opinion of him.

So yeah, naturally I flipped out, replied with a lengthy email about bigotry, hypocrisy and how he doesn't get to celebrate a video that prominently features support for gay relationships then turn around and tell me I shouldn't post stuff like that on his wall because of everyone else. Yeah, he only has a problem with "my views."
And thus we get to today's Technicolor Musings post about my continuing beef with the Catholic Church and how I don't expect us to peacefully co-exist if they keep up their currently practices.

First I think people need to remember the difference between spirituality and religion. One can have very strong personal believes in whatever deity or icon they choose and define their own methods for showing their devotion. This is part of being spiritual and that's all well and good. However religion involves accepting the rules and beliefs espoused by the group in a wholesale manner. You don't get to pick and choose what you like - you a normally obligated to take the whole nine yards.

For the Catholic Church, this includes concepts like contraception being bad since it's all about murdering would-be babies and of course the ever classic notion that homosexuals are doomed to go to Hell. Some go as far as saying that technically, they have no problems with how we choose to behave as members of the LGBT community. However once we have sexual relations with members of the same sex, well, then we've crossed the horrible line of damnation and there's no going back.

So we can behave like the gay men that we are but we can't share the same bond men and women share since it's written in the Bible, or some jazz like that. And this is quoting the same antiquated texts that give all these rules on how you should cut your hair, how pork is bad and what exactly your daughters are good for.

Flickr: theloushe - Mar 02 (03)
Mar 02 (03)
by Jessica Lucia / thelousehe via Flickr.

So I have no qualms about people being proud about their spiritual beliefs for the most part - we define our unique brand spirituality for ourselves after all. But when you start throwing religion in my face as a justification to espouse messages of hatred, predjudice and bigotry because you've chosen to support a few lines from a centuries-old book while ignoring all the other parts, well that's just wrong. I don't see were you get off on that kind of behavior when both Christianity and Catholicism are supposed to be religions defined around the love of God and Jesus and all that.

Why are religious conservatives so hateful even though they claim to believe in love above all else? Did you ever stop to think about that?

Flickr: jk5854 - Day 179: God Hates Fags, But I Love You.
Day 179: God Hates Fags, But I Love You.
by Juli / jk5854 via Flickr.

And you know what is most ironic? A lot of these supposedly devout relgious conservatives are all guilty of crimes against their own religion. And these aren't just isolated cases that happen once in a blue moon. I'm talking about the small yet habitual things that are clearly part of life such as the fact that contraceptives are still widely in use despite the Church saying that they rhythm method is all they need, people still lie all the time even though they're not supposed to, people have unclean thoughts about their neighbors, co-workers and what have you every single day and in the end, people just aren't perfect and so why should a religion try to force that issue?

And don't get me started on the whole thing about forgiveness - I don't see why they can't accept that homosexuality is real and natural and it'll keep happening and so Church Doctrine needs to come around. I don't think we need to wait for some big Vatican II-style conference just to determine this. Then again, this is the same religion who took forever to see women on a more equal footing and who still don't allow them to play a larger role in the Church other than being nuns. So why should I expect them to figure this out this quickly, right?

I'm not telling a religion what to do here - that's what religions do to their followers, not me. I'm just thinking out loud, hoping for the best even though they're not even listening to a gay man like myself. I'm not telling my religious friends what to think either - that is up to them to decide. But what I am asking for is for people to really think about the kind of messages that are being delivered in the name of the Church. Is this really who you are? Do you really agree with everything that they're saying? Don't you feel that there are too many things that they're getting wrong and for now we just have to deal with it?
All I'm asking you do is to think.

Religion is nice and comforting, yes. We're all born into one system or another, it gives us a good moral compass in our formative years. In time we drift away to explore ourselves and come to terms with who we are as human beings during the horrors of adolescence. And then eventually we drift back , in search of new answers.

But when you get down to it - who doesn't appreciate the value in a large organization in order to feel like you're getting closer to god? You shouldn't stick around "just in case", which is insulting and ridiculous and what far too many people do. You need to fully understand what being a member means, what they'e teaching and who they're condemning on the pulpit. Are these really the kind of people you want to associate with? Are these really your principles and ideals? I can never stress enough the importance of personal reflection and self-examination of all your beliefs at one point in your life or another. This is one of the bigger questions that tends to come up.

And it's not just stay with your religion or become an atheist - you over simplify things. You can stay, you can join another religion, you can make your own religion, whatever. The point is you always have a choice in your beliefs and it's always important to act in a way that is consistent with those beliefs at all times. If you need to pretend to be something you're not, then there's a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Well, I got a heck of a load off in writing this post, and I know it's not one of my better ones. I'm usually more structured in how I write these kinds of things but right now it just feels a tad raw but still very, very honest and of course passionate.
It is what it is, as we folks in the corporate world tend to say sooner or later.

Flickr: San Diego Shooter - Just a thought
Just a thought
by Nathan Rupert / San Diego Shooter via Flickr.

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